14 Things to Completely Rethink about Email Marketing in 2011

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Jay Jhun, Email Services Director at Engauge, recently walked through many commonly held 'best-practices' in email marketing and why you may be missing out on the true potential of this channel. …

Jay Jhun, Email Services Director at Engauge, recently walked through many commonly held 'best-practices' in email marketing and why you may be missing out on the true potential of this channel. You'll walk away with actionable takeaways that will sharpen your focus on what really matters PLUS you'll get a peek into a few of the latest innovations in email.

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  • 130 million emails deployed annually700 campaigns planned and executed annually
  • Analogy:
  • Analogy: unmarked wrapped Xmas present; like an elevator pitch, first impression; Marco Polo
  • Analogy: Awkward you know someone but can’t remember their name when you bump into them again
  • Analogy:
  • Gmail @ 1280x1024 screen resolution
  • Analogy:
  • Analogy:
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62DyIIgiOxo
  • Analogy: Well,
  • Analogy: This is like me telling everyone I know that kimchi is the perfect food
  • Analogy:
  • Analogy:
  • When people unsubscribe, don’t hit the panic button – it’s not personal, it’s just that they’re no longer interested.At the same time, argument has been made by Gary Vaynerchuck, that a very REAL, human way to approach unsubscribe mitigation is to follow up with customers who unsubscribe with a phone call (where applicable) to ask why they unsubscribed.Analogy:
  • COMMON REQUEST/QUESTION: ‘How do my email open and click rates compare to industry standards?’
  • Analogy:
  • Analogy:
  • Analogy:
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62DyIIgiOxoGmail within Google Apps environment (status unknown)


  • 1. 14 Things to Completely Rethink About Email Marketing in 2011
  • 2. partners & clients
    Email Service Providers
  • 3. Why we need to rethink email marketing
  • 4. the impact of facebook | social +/= mobile
    People on Facebook
    More than 500 million active users
    50% of our active users log on to Facebook in any given day
    Average user has 130 friends
    People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook
    Mobile Usage of Facebook
    There are more than 200 million active users currently accessing Facebook through their mobile devices.
    People that use Facebook on their mobile devices are twice as active on Facebook than non-mobile users.
    Source: Facebook | Experian Hitwise Report
  • 5. Windows Phone Ad | Really?
  • 6. where people spend their time / read their email
    Webmail Usage Down
    Mobile Email Usage Way Up
    Ranking of Webmail Visits: (1) Yahoo! Mail, (2) Gmail, (3) Windows Live Mail, (4) AOL Mail
    “Despite such declines … email remains one of the most popular activities on the web, reaching more than 70 percent of the U.S online population each month*.”
    Sources: Experian Hitwise Report | *comScore
  • 7. Email Usage on Mobile
    Source: Nielsen
  • 8. email marketing then and now
    • The new reality is that we must assess how social & mobile are influencing our existing methods of engagement with our customers. As a result, we must adjust our email marketing practices
    • 9. Using email as a broadcast/reach medium still happens but short-changes the channel’s full potential to learn and optimize over time
    • 10. Email communications powered by customer data is a great way to nurture customer relationships and reciprocate value for customers’ permission & loyalty
    • 11. Permission, relevance & reciprocity are the three key ingredients that drive success in email campaigns.
    • 12. If we say that by opting in people get access to special/exclusive deals, but never get anything exclusive, then there is no value to our customers
    • 13. If I opt in for Gap email, Gap gives me 40% off an item, I give them $30 for something that cost $3 to make, it’s a WIN-WIN
  • Rethinking 14 facets of Email marketing
  • 14. “best-practices” defined
    “Methods and techniques that have consistently shown results superior than those achieved with other means, and which are used as benchmarks to strive for. There is, however, no practice that is best for everyone or in every situation, and no best practice remains best for very long as people keep on finding better ways of doing things.”
    - BusinessDictionary.com
    “The idea is that with proper processes, checks, and testing, a desired outcome can be delivered more effectively with fewer problems and unforeseen complications.”
    - Wikipedia
  • 15. 1. pay closer attention to your subject lines
    30-40 Characters
    Include your Company Name
    Descriptive of the contents of your email
    Primary cue the recipient sees when considering whether to even bother opening your email
    Factors into whether the email gets flagged as spam by firewalls/filters
    Gmail Priority Inbox takes its cues from a variety of behaviors that include which emails are opened or replied to.
  • 16. 2. personalize your subject line
    Assuming you have a First Name associated with each email address, simply inserting a merge field in the subject line makes it feel like you intentionally sent the email to the right person
  • 17. 3. add preview text to your design
    BEST PRACTICE: Preview text consists of the first HTML text that email software or webmail environments detect in any email.
    Can be an impactful complement to the subject line in order to convince the reader that your email is worth opening
    Counteracts impact of Priority Inbox (which prioritizes emails on a variety of behaviors that include emails opened/replied to)
    Ignores any images that are present; Most commonly placed at the very top of the email
    Great way to include a text link to your primary CTA that will work even if images are off.
  • 18. example of subject line + preview text (Gmail)
    Why shorter is sweeter
  • 19. subject lines & preview text (iPhone)
    Another reason to rethink how long your subject lines are and what appears as your preview text.
  • 20. 4. identify your primary call-to-action
    BEST PRACTICE: Draw the reader’s eyes to the desired action you want them to take which, very often, is a button and keep it above the ‘fold’
    Example: Modified to work in both Outlook and mobile environments
    Primary CTA: Download the UPS Mobile App
  • 21. 5. balance your image/text ratio
    BEST PRACTICE: 50% image, 50% text
    CONTENT: If your big message delivery is embedded in an image, and images are off, your message will never arrive at it’s intended destination
    LINKS: Make sure that your primary call-to-actions are presented as both buttons AND HTML text links so that the recipient can take
  • 22. Subject Line: Visit Sonny's for Big Deals for the Big Game
    Subject Line: Streamline Your Shipping with UPS
  • 23. Subject Line: Visit Sonny's for Big Deals for the Big Game
    Subject Line: Streamline Your Shipping with UPS
  • 24. Subject Line:
    Get Your Smokin' Hot Deal from Sonny's
    33% Open 23% Click
  • 25. 6. analyze past campaigns by days/time of send
    More emails are opened on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays;
    Do not send on Mondays, Fridays or weekends if you can avoid it.
    Every business and every campaign has different goals so test different days
    Theory to test: More people will open, click and purchase/donate something online if you send the email
    During lunch hours ? After work when people come home from work ?
    On the 1st and 15th of each month after paychecks arrive ?
  • 26. 7. segment your list and send fewer emails
    Stop sending every email to every contact and select distinct customer targets leveraging ANY data you have.
    By Gender
    By Lifestage
    By Geography (City, State, Zip)
    By Preferred Store
    By Product purchase history
    The more you segment, the less email you may send, but the more REAL your engagement statistics will be.
  • 27. 8. focus on your engaged audience
    If you send a weekly/monthly email, refine your list to only communicate to your ‘Active’ audience
    People who have opened or clicked your email
    People who you know have purchased a product or interacted with you in a different channel like social, direct mail, telephone
    Make the distinction between your ‘contactable’ and ‘valuable’ email address
    Establish sensible definitions for what constitutes an active/inactive contact
    Example: Active = Has opened/clicked an email in the last 6 months; has purchased a product within the last 13 weeks
  • 28. 9. provide appropriate level of attention on unengaged
    Just because they are ‘inactive’ doesn’t mean you are throwing them out. Set them aside for
    Special promotions or sweepstakes where there is an incentive to reactivate them
    General holidays greetings
    If you have any particular date-based information (birthday, anniversary, first purchase, opt-in), set up triggered emails to try to passively re-engage
  • 29. 10. mitigate but embrace the unsubscribe
    Set up a preference center up-front as part of your opt-in process
    Work with your ESP to set up a custom unsubscribe landing page that allows people to modify preferences around frequency and content
    Silverpop: Snooze’ Feature
    Unsubscribes happen, but that’s better than spending time and money sending emails to someone who never opens your emails, watering down your campaign engagement results.
  • 30. 11. reset your metrics around conversion/ROI goals
    TRUE or FALSE: There are marketing benchmarks for email open and click rates
    • The only benchmark that really matters is performance of your own email campaigns
    • 31. Opens and Clicks are only scratching the surface of engagement metrics for your emails
    • 32. Get the data you need to tell your CEO/CMO that your email program drove incremental conversions/revenue
    • 33. Once you determine how much incremental value your emails are driving per contact, you can assign a dollar value to your email addresses
    • 34. Also enables you to set appropriate budget for email acquisition campaigns
    Sources: Epsilon & Email Experience Council Q4 2010 Email Trends And Benchmark
  • 35. 12. identify your mobile email audience first
    Determine how many people are actually opening your emails in a mobile environment before you rush off to create mobile versions of your emails
    Complement this with web analytics data to see how many people are visiting your website on mobile devices.
    IBM Unica
  • 36. 13. let analytics guide optimization
    Integrating your email and web analytics enables you to test and quantify differences in email creative, subject lines, offers.
    For Bottom Dollar Food, we produce a weekly flyer email where we had named our links using Google UTM tags and noticed a trend that the most popular links were to view the flyer online and to get coupons.
    We simplified the content to focus around those two calls-to-action, maintained the same subject line and saw a 92% improvement in the unique click-through rate.
    50% shorter in length
  • 37. 14. leverage social content for email content
    The conversations and questions around your brand/product that abound in the social realm (blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter) are very likely to be relevant to other customers that are not following/fans.
    The added benefit is that your customer will feel even more valuable because we took the time to listen, respond and share their ideas/opinions/concerns
  • 38. what’s next?
  • 39. today’s coding/styling limitations
    Today, there is a large disparity between what designers and developers can do on the web versus what they can do in email.
    • HTML: Largely limited to structure content on a grid in tables
    • 40. CSS: Limited to inline CSS styles and a little bit of embedded CSS revolving around text and font styling; poor support by ISPs around most other elements
    Email Standards Project | http://www.email-standards.org/
    Campaign Monitor Guide to CSS Support in Email Clients | http://www.campaignmonitor.com/css/
  • 41. new developments & possibilities
    there is hope … as a few innovations are available now (or at least, very soon).
    • HTML5 support in Apple Mail for Mac, iPhone & iPad
    • 42. Javascript support in webmail environments
    • 43. GroupVine – Engagement Widgets
  • HTML5 support
    Video*, animation and other capabilities that come with HTML5 are available in a few environments
    Apple Mail*
    iPhone Apple Mail*
    iPad Apple Mail*;
    Yahoo Mail (web), Gmail (web)
    Sources: Campaign Monitor | PC World
  • 44. javascript support in webmail environments
    Hotmail Active Views
    Javascript enabled within a web mail environment
    Enables code to be delivered securely based on authentication
    System only allows approved parties to send messages:
    Orbitz, Monster.com, Linkedin
    Conversion activity and goals can happen without ever leaving the web mail environment
    Sources: Hotmail | Mashable
  • 45. GroupVine – engagement widgets
    A new way for customers and community to engage with you and each other in real-time
    Bringing social into email for the first time, enabling:
    Customer insights
    Social awareness
    Relationship building
    Powered by "Engagement Widgets" that are customized and embedded in the email HTML
    Integrates with multiple ESPs
    Customer profiles take shape over time with responses
    Source: GroupVine
  • 46. GroupVine: data capture & matchback
    GroupVine survey and engagement data can be exported manually and via API (coming soon) enabling us to build richer customer profiles and thus, refine our segmentation and targeting capabilities.
    Sources: Hotmail | Mashable
  • 47. to wrap it all up
    Social media and mobile adoption are making a significant impact on email marketing
    Now is the right time to rethink, refine and refocus on goals for your email marketing program
    Establish “best-practices” that produce results that are tested, properly valued and that deliver a ROI that will ultimately grow your program and your business
    Sources: Hotmail | Mashable
  • 48. Q&A
    If you’d like to talk more about any of the content presented, feel free to reach out to me:
    Jay Jhun | Email Services Directorjjhun@engauge.com | @emailrocks | 404-601-4353