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Posts in Email & eCRM

Online retailers squandering email opportunities

junk mail

Online retailers are getting lazy, irresponsible, and are disregarding best practices when it comes to responsible email marketing, according to a new study from Return Path.

These dire findings were based on buying items from 45 online retailers, then monitoring their transactional and promotional message streams. These emails messages were then compared with messages received by registering for the same retailers' email programs without making a purchase.

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Companies still failing to track email ROI

A lack of measurement is still an issue for many email marketing campaigns, with almost half of companies failing to track their ROI from email.

Econsultancy's third annual Email Marketing Industry Census, sponsored by Adestra, found that 42% of organisations did not know what their ROI was from their email efforts, despite its proven effectiveness.

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Will social media throttle email marketing?

empty inboxAre you getting less email these days? I am. And that can't be good news for email marketers. Is email beginning to wither on the vine?

By "less," I'm not referring to work email (if only!) or messages from marketers, but less of the type of email that added a little frisson to checking the inbox: fun, flirty, and conversational messages from friends, family, and objects of affection. That stuff is now flowing in through all sorts of other digital channels, of which email constitutes a smaller and smaller part.

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Making the unsubscribe process as painless as possible

If recipients decide that they want to unsubscribe from your emails, it's best to make it as easy as possible as the alternative is having hit the spam button, which can of course be harmful for your sender reputation.

I've been taking a look at some best and worst practice examples from UK retailers...

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Sears is serious about channel integration

sears logoSears Holding is reorganizing its on and offline channels under an ambitious new initiative dubbed ShopYourWay. The program intends to integrate the scope of the goods and services the retail conglomerate provides across a panoply of channels, including in-store, online, mobile, electronic kiosks, even PDAs.

ShopYourWay has launched on Sears.com, and will soon be introduced to Kmart.com. When that happens, the full range of Sears products will be available to shoppers on Kmart, and vice-versa. Such cross-merchandising will increase the options available to consumers. Shoppers on Sears property LandsEnd.com, for example, will be able to view apparel from other Sears brands.

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Hitwise: Twitter looks like a social network

Yesterday I detailed my experience of trying to use Twitter as a search engine. It wasn't a good experience.

A lot of people have been trying to define and categorize Twitter lately with minimal success. That's probably due to the fact that Twitter is being used by lots of different people for lots of different things; it's hard to fit it in a neat little box.

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Email continues to struggle with relevance

Frustrated womanRelevance. It is the key to success for email marketing, but still it continues to be a sore spot. Two separate but synchronous email studies shed new light on relevance, and the lack of it, in email marketing. One addresses the desires of the hyperconnected 18-24 year old generation. The other recognizes said relevance problem and identifies some solutions for online retailers.

The Gen Y study comes from the Participatory Marketing Network and Pace University's Interactive and Direct Marketing Lab. It shows that the majority of Gen Y consumers welcome direct brand interactions through email, but they want more ability to control, organize and manage the interactions. Only 28 percent of those surveyed believe the email they get from companies is relevant. But they are eager to see “innovative services” that increase that relevance. Specifically, 62 percent would communicate directly with retailers about their favorite products in exchange for getting preferential pricing. 44 percent would subscribe to an email service that collected and summarized multiple offers of interest to them. And in direct opposition to the Nielsen social media report issued on Tuesday, which painted a bleak picture for advertising within social networks, 32 percent would share promotional email offers with members inside a social network.

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Give your digital marketing a shot in the arm

We’ve just launched our 2009 Breakfast Briefing sessions which aim to give digital marketers a quick digital boost before the day starts. The short sessions start at 8.30am and finish at 10.15am and are intentionally designed to give quick actionable tips that you can return to the office and actually action straight away.

Our first session ‘Optimising your Digital Business using the 80:20 rule ‘ works on the premise that in many digital campaigns there are a lot of quick and easy wins which will significantly improve your ROI and yet most businesses are missing the opportunity to do so.

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New research ties email to customer loyalty


emailMaybe consumers really do want to read about toothpaste, paper towels, and soda.  A new study from ROI Research and Epsilon claims that 62 percent of customers that receive permission- based emails are influenced by those emails, and 75 percent have read company or brand content as a direct result.

The survey was conducted in mid-October and measured 1,517 people. Not exactly a statistically projectable dynamo, (and it is, after all, sponsored) but even if half the numbers are on the money they are significant. They support the continued effectiveness of permission-based email, and they support the concept that content will attract consumer attention, which will increase engagement and then purchase intent.

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Should you increase email frequency?

It is a temptation for email marketers to begin to send out more offers to customers if current campaigns are working well in the hope that increased frequency will yield greater returns.

This can be a risky strategy though; while more emails may produce better results, there is a point at which customers will tire of too many emails and start to unsubscribe, ignore, or mark emails as spam.

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How to fail at email marketing and lose subscribers

For all the talk of email marketing best practice, there are still those that persist in duping their customers to generate artificially high click rates.

One company, alas, is gadget retailer Firebox, which yesterday sent me an email with the following subject line: ‘And the winner is… you!’.

“Brilliant”, I thought, “I’ve won a gadget!”

The only concern I had was that I couldn’t remember entering any competition. But stranger things have happened. 

I opened the email. I clicked on the ‘display images’ link. And the image-laden newsletter duly unfurled in front of my eyes.

Oh for a light sabre!

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Email: time to put an end to double opt-in?

emailOnce a gold-standard best practice, is double confirmed opt-in for email marketing programs now "outdated" and a "terrible idea"?

Email marketing veteran (and, full disclosure, personal friend) Bill McCloskey thinks so, and list a myriad of scenarios that can go wrong when marketers take this virtuous path.

I'm hardly unbiased when it comes to confirmed double opt-in. When the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sought recommendations for CAN-SPAM legislation back in 2003, I testified in Washington on the virtues of confirmed double opt-in.

Plenty may have changed in email over the past six years, but not that part.

Let's look at Bill's fallacious arguments.

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