Only Influencers

Only Influencers is the Email Marketing Communities Oldest and Most Trusted Resource.

Only Influencers is the Email Marketing Communities Oldest and Most Trusted Resource.

Aug
02

This week's Member Discussion

This week's Member Discussion

Members: Login to read the latest OI discussions. This weeks discussions are: 

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Jul
31

Constant Contact: What Went Wrong?

Constant Contact: What Went Wrong?

"Constant Contact seems to be having a hard time, recent downgrading to sell.  It a shame to see one of the industry originals not being considered a long term investment. Constant Contact were one of the first small business targeted very low cost self-serve platforms that at one point seemed to own the space, founded 1995, 100,000 customers in 2007. They lost their way 7 or 8 years ago. Anyone got a view on what went wrong there?"

An incredible discussion why Constant Contact is being sold. It includes the following great puns which are too good not to share with the public: 

Dave Hendricks: 

"I agree with Loren that they are a great entry point for email marketing but can a Cheetah change its spots?  Or are they destined to be a Brontosaurus that can't find a profitable segment to own?  The transition will require some Alchemy, but if it Worx it will be an e.piphany - it's hard to go from Epsilon to Zeta, but they have a Bigfoot print.  Perhaps they will Sailthru this, but it's not clear whether their current leadership is Fluent."

Dela Quist: 

"Pardot me for butting in with an Acxiom but surely What Counts is whether they have enough Experian ce on the board to Get Response without making iContact with the Wall Street analysts"

Dave Hendricks: 

"I apologize profusely to this group for all the Responsys my puns have created."

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Feb
25

Advice for Marketing Agencies: Constructing the Perfect Pitch for Your Audience

Advice for Marketing Agencies: Constructing the Perfect Pitch for Your Audience

The best pitch I’ve ever seen had no design to it, whatsoever.

The potential partnership was with an ad agency well known for amazing designs and creative. The room we walked into was pristine. As a team, they looked crisp, and as individuals they looked like ninjas dressed in black Armani.  The Account Director, their “big guy” for the meeting, introduced his team in specific roles, and in glowing terms. And with each introduction, that member introduced his or her self with a polite thank you, followed with a very strategic statement of why they were in the room, how they would operate in the partnership and their researched approach on how they saw the road ahead. More, they turned to their most likely counterpart on our team, creative to creative, technician to technician, account person to account person, and made sure our team knew their role and best contact. They recited common projects they’d worked on in common roles, by researching my team’s work history and references. They knew more than we did.

It was precision.

During this whole time, there were no slides projected. There were no brochures or other collateral, save for one piece of paper. The Director held it face down on the table and alluded to the importance of what was on the printed side. They had boiled this rather important partnership down to one piece of paper! At every opportunity he teased the room with what was on the printed side, and he patted it like it was his baby.  Frankly, it was.  

By the time the introductions in the room finished its rotation, it was his turn. And, by the time he slid the paper across the long desk for us to see, he knew he’d already won. And so he did.

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Nov
26

How I Created an Industry from my Garage

On this day before Thanksgiving, I am reminded just how thankful I am for the email marketing industry that has been the center of my life for the last 15 years. I was extremely fortunate to be involved early in the industry and I was able to play a significant role in the creation of the Email Intelligence Industry. And it all started in my garage. 

Back in 2003, my company at the time, Emerging Interest LLC, was a matchmaker between advertisers/agencies and the technology vendors who wanted to reach them. One day one of my clients asked me to find them a specific vendor. Someone who could provide competitive intelligence and monitor their competitors email marketing campaigns. After researching all the traditional competitive intelligence companies, I discovered no one was covering the email space. There were companies that could supply your competitors print campaigns, TV ads, Radio spots, direct mailings and even banner ads, but no one supplied emails. Why, I thought? 

And that is when I decided to do it myself. The problem, I decided, was that there was no easy way to automate the process of collecting the data. My big idea? Why not sign up for every email list out there. In fact, why not create a "virtual panel" of fake people, each with a specific demographic, and then sign up multiple times to the same list with different demographic information. And that is what I did. 

Soon I had another problem. How to organize and archive all these emails I was collecting. 

I decided to organize them by category and brand. Every night I would process all the days emails and every day I would be on the phones selling the tool. We relaunched the company as Email Data Source and I became the first company in the email intelligence space. 

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Nov
12

Meet the Influencers: Dela Quist

dela.quist

Dela Quist is the Founder of Alchemy Worx

1. How did you get started in Email Marketing?

Before becoming involved in the digital world my background was in publishing and advertising. In other words, using content to provide marketers with an opportunity to showcase their products and services to our readers. As I saw it the content on the pages of the magazine or newspaper acted as the interface between the readers and the advertisers. So when I first became aware of the internet I was immediately struck by the realization that, the main driver of success in the world of publishing both on and off line was and still is the size and quality of the readership or subscriber base and those are predominantly determined by the quality of the content – does that sound familiar? Added to that was the fact the interface between marketer and customer was interactive so I was tremendously excited by the possibilities of this new world.

Soon after that an opportunity came up to join Excite, heading up their sales efforts in Europe and I jumped at the chance. During my time there I began and was heavily involved with an initiative in collaboration with a UK Government agency to provide each UK school child with a free, web-based email address for life and the rest as they say is history.

2. Tell us about your current role and what a typical day is like.

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Nov
05

Meet the Influencers: Tim Watson

timwatson

Tim Watson is the Founder of Zettasphere.

1. How did you get started in email marketing?

My first experience of email marketing was a little unorthodox. Little did I know it was the first step into many years of email. And it’s a secret I've never shared until now.

Back in the early 2000's I developed a specialised software utility for translators, plus a website to market and sell the utility. This was before the days of eCommerce in a box; hand coded PHP and integration of one of the early online payment gateways.

Then came the biggest issue in any business, how to get people to know about the new software utility? I applied the early SEO techniques, on page and off page - this was in the time of running link exchanges to get a good listing.

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Nov
04

Is it the end of the independent ESP and Agency?

Featured in the Discussion:

Bill McCloskey (founder, Only Influencers),

Ray Silk (Email Deliverability & Social Media Specialist, Real Magnet),

Dave Hendricks, (President, LiveIntent),

Jaffer Ali, (Founder, Pulse Direct, Inc),  

Chris Marriott, (Vice President of Services & Principal Consultant, The Relevancy Group),

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Oct
22

2014 Only Influencers Email Marketing Salary Guide Results

I have just completed compiling the data for the 2014 Only Influencers Salary Guide for 2014. Below are some of the highlights and OI Members can download the full 25 page report HERE.

This year I decided to break out the findings by sex, in order to see if there was a discrepancy between what Female email marketers make versus their Male counterparts, and boy, what a discrepancy it is, almost completely across the board. 

This blog post will be available to the general public for a few weeks and then taken down. OI Members can download the full report at any time. 

First, the top line results: 

We had a 103 respondents to the survey, 61% Male and 39% Female. The salary ranges for all respondents was $32,900 to $290,000. The Median Salary was $95,000. And the Average Number of years in the business was approximately 8.5 years.

Email Marketing Salaries Broken Down by Title

Email Marketing Manager/Director: 

Salary Range $35,000 to $240,000 

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Oct
15

Meet the Influencers: Tink Taylor

tinktaylorTink Taylor is Founder and COO of dotDigital Group PLC.

How did you get started in Email Marketing?

 Via being a windsurfing instructor! I’ll explain… I started my career as a computer programmer working for an organisation in the UK called Sequent Computer systems that were later acquired by IBM.

 During my time at Sequent I worked in team who experimented with new technologies. As the company was growing fast our brief was to look at emerging technologies and how they could improve internal commutations. One of the first projects I was involved with was to understand how the concept of a new entity call the ‘World Wide Web’ could possibly help! I am showing true my age here! A big part of the work we carried out was focused on electronic messaging, we built and rolled out numerous intranets globally that were powered by some of the first Content Management systems to be built. We of course looked at email and other forms of communication.

Having left Sequent I worked for a few web companies at the back end of the first dotcom crash. I was interested to see that many of projects carried huge price tickets for what I thought was relatively clunky and difficult to use systems. So before long I had with a group of friends set up my a web agency called Ellipsis Media with the intention of building quality easy to use software with a much lower entry price point. Or as we coined it ‘We will build Nasa technology with Fisher Price interfaces’ and make the difficult things easy.

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Oct
08

Meet the Influencers: Gretchen Scheiman

gretchenScheimanHow did you get started in Email Marketing?
I was working for American Express and I had been eyeing the digital side of the business for a few years, but it was still really tiny. Finally, in early 2000 they started to grow the digital team and I jumped at the chance to work on email marketing. It was a great place to start: American Express had all the rigor and experience of direct marketing to apply to the new channel, and in my role I was constantly challenged to figure out how to drive the best results out of a channel that no one really knew how to use. In a way, it was my first consulting gig. I still believe that the best way to get into email marketing is through a strong direct marketing program.

Tell us about your current role and what a typical day is like.
I run my own marketing consulting firm, L5 Direct Consulting Inc., where I focus on overall marketing strategy and direct marketing - which of course means a lot of email marketing. In a given day I might be talking to current clients about their business challenges, educating them on what the email channel can help them achieve, identifying the right next step or program to help move their business forward, pricing out what that program will cost to put in place, building analyses and case studies to prove a point, or even pitching a new client who I've been referred to. This is the second company I've started, and although the first was 20 years ago and completely unrelated (film production is as unlike email marketing as you can possibly get), a lot of the same principles apply. Consulting is a referral business, so it's still about who you know, how you present yourself, and how well you helped your client on your last gig. I don't meet as many famous movie stars as I used to, but the working conditions and hours are much better!

What do you see as the future of email marketing?
Email marketing is becoming more and more integrated with other channels, which means the strategy and process for email marketing will change as it becomes the driving force behind fully integrated marketing efforts. That is going to drive subtle but significant upheaval in programs as marketers adapt, but fortunately it's going to happen over time. In the short term, there is already some change happening on the creative side, as the line between desktop and mobile client blurs a bit more and people's habits - how they interact with email across all their devices - settle down a bit and are reflected in email design.

Why should anyone choose email marketing as a career?
Email marketing is a great choice for someone who wants to build their career on mastery of a craft. Choosing email marketing allows you to focus on expertise and skills that are the cornerstone of CRM and direct marketing efforts, skills that are always in demand. And because email marketing drives measurable results, you can learn a lot about how to look at numbers, which will be a huge help no matter where you decide to take your career.

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Sep
30

Meet the Influencers: Andrew Kordek

AndrewKordek

(Andrew Kordek is the Co-Founder and COO of Trendline Interactive)

How did you get started in email marketing?

It started by accident in 1999 when I was in software sales and looking for ways to increase my production.  One day, I stumbled upon the power of mail merge in outlook and my obsession with email began.  Every night I would take thousands of email address' (yes they were somewhat opt'd in) and merge them to send out over the course of the night.  They had expressed interest in the past with the software, so I figured it was a great way to cross sell them on a similar product.  Over the course of weeks and months, I did this every night and every morning I had the highest downloads and leads resulting in becoming the number one salesperson in the group. Other salespeople found out what I was doing and wanted to be trained on the content I wrote as well as how to send out email to their own patches.  Eventually, the marketing department caught wind to what I was doing and asked if could help promote a local seminar.  When the email went out, the seminar became oversold and they received record attendance and closed a ton of business.  This success led me to do other emails for other cities and then email marketing was born.  I quickly moved into a marketing role and within a year, I owned email marketing across the globe for this $500+ million company. We ran an instance of Lyris on premise and I quickly cut my teeth on segmentation given the breadth and depth of the product line.

Tell us about your role and what a typical day is like.

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Sep
24

Meet the Influencer: Bob Frady

bobfrady

1. How did you get started in Email Marketing. I was working for IndyMac Bank running a huge direct mail operation when I saw the handwriting on the wall and got out of mortgages. In 2007 I ended up getting hired by Live Nation to be their VP of Direct Marketing, even though I had little experience with email marketing - because they wanted someone with a strong direct marketing background. I jumped at it because (a) it was a relatively new channel and (b) it was in the concert industry…which really is as cool as you think it is.

2. Tell us about your current role and what a typical day is like. My current role at Zeeto is as the VP of Technology. I am responsible for the email program, our business intelligence team, our optimization team, our coders and our dev ops team. My job is relatively straightforward in that I spend most of my days either helping my teams solve problems or creating new problems for my teams to solve. In a typical day I might talk about redesigning a site, eCPM results from the dozens of test we run every month, helping my team negotiate a deal with a vendor, doing a deep dive on email delivery issues, educating myself on what’s new and interesting in the tech marketplace, revisiting our project management processes to make sure our projects are all on track and/or writing a blog post on Only Influencers that manages to tick at least a few people off. It’s really a bit of a hybrid role that continually presents me with new and interesting challenges. Or, in the words of the esteemed Vanilla Ice “You got a problem, yo I’ll solve it”…we even have an in-house DJ who can “revolve it.”

3. What do you see as the future of email marketing. I think the future of email marketing is brighter than ever for two reasons – (1) the (begrudging) recognition of email’s power by finally understanding the “non-linear” nature of the medium and (2) the fact that email marketers have come to accept that more frequent communication is not the road to eternal damnation. However, I don’t see a massive amount of change in emails themselves due to restrictions at the ISP level. The most interesting question will be around how the massive sizes of new phones change how we present emails to consumers.

4. Why should anyone choose email marketing as a career. If you’ve got any level of scientist in you, email is a fantastic career choice for one simple reason – you get to replace “I think” with “I know.” You’re able to strip away the fluff and get to what’s really happening…which I think is tremendously cool. Even if you’re not terribly analytical, email will force you to look at things more pragmatically. Which can be a tremendous boost to your career.

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Sep
17

Meet the Influencer: Andy Thorpe

captashAndy, aka Captain Inbox, is the Email Oracle at Pure360.

1. How Did you Get Started in Email Marketing

Even though the education system and I didn’t get on, I picked-up programming pretty quickly during a job fixing and building (then new) Pentium4 PCs at a local business equipment company, so I made the late choice to go to university at the age of 22 to see where that took me. When I left university in 2006 with a Higher National Diploma in Web Programming and a Bachelor of Science (degree) in Business Software Development I needed a job that I could do fairly easily whilst I looked for the right job. I didn’t want a sales job, done too many of those and found it too morally challenging over time; I wasn’t ready for a programming job, I needed something more social for a little bit to get my head back in the real world.

A software startup (something called an ESP) named “))) Pure” were hiring new sales people beginning with three months of account management as training, sounded perfect. I’d do my 3 months and quit before I had to go into sales; I should have got myself together by then and be ready for a proper job.

3 Months in, I went to hand in my notice, I was given a pay rise and made the first dedicated Account manager; I went on to build a team of account managers and then took on deliverability and invented @Captaininbox, before recently settling into marketing services, in a company of now nearly 200 of which I’m employee number 14 and now it’s called Pure360.

2. Tell Us a bit about your Current Role and what a typical Day is Like

I’m currently on something like my 6th job title in 8 years having just recently been promoted in my latest role as the company’s first Senior Managed Services Consultant. It’s a role I thoroughly enjoy. Everyday I get to use my experience and knowledge of email, account management, design, marketing, a bit of programming and our Pure360 software; I get pushed and motivated to stay on top.

The job is about delivering services sold to customers whether they are new customers or existing; some are one offs like training sessions handed to me by project managers on how to get the best out of the software, small projects like a full service campaign, data intelligence, creative fixes etc. and some are on going where I manage the project and do some or all of the email marketing for a brand.

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Sep
11

Reprint of my 2001 Tuesday Stroll Columns for September 11th.

(Editors Note: I posted this on the OI lists back in 2012. I'm reposting for everyone else today).

It has become a bit of a tradition here at OI to once a year reflect on September 11th, 2001. At the time I was writing a weekly column called The Tuesday Stroll. This year, in commemoration of 9/11 I though I would reprint my September 11th and September 18th from 2001 columns which directly addressed the horror of that day. Each Tuesday I would visit a series of companies and write about my visit. On 9/11/2001 I was to meet BuzzMetrics for their first interview with the media. They were directly opposite the World Trade Center. Needless to say, that meeting never happened.

Below are the two columns I wrote. You might find them interesting as they mention companies that are no longer around and people who have since moved on to other challenges. I hope you find it interesting.

Bill's Tuesday Stroll September 11th, 2001:    

Bill's Tuesday Stroll:

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Jul
02

Only Influencers Explained (along with some history of email marketing)

After two jam packed issues of the Only Influencers Newsletter, Email Acquisition Special Edition Part 1, and Email Acquisition Special Editioin Part 2, I've decided to give the Influencers a break this week to discuss a little bit about Only Influencers itself: its history, its purpose, its resources, and the Only Influencers Community as a whole. You also might learn a bit about the history and growth of the email marketing industry! I hope you will take the time to read this to the end. It is a long one.

This article is prompted by Jeanne Jennings extremely generous article in Clickz: 2 Industry Organizations Every Email Marketer Should Join. As a result of that article, we gained a lot of new subscribers to the OI newsletter, so it seems appropriate to give new readers a bit of background into what they are getting each week.

History

11 years ago, back in 2003, I founded a company called eDataSource, the world's first email intelligence company. As a result of the data eDS was collecting, I was able to clearly demonstrate, for the first time, the power of email to drive large spikes in traffic, across the board, and from an independent, 3rd party perspective. To say my jaw dropped open is an understatement.

At the time, no one was talking about email. There were no columns, no conferences, no trade organizations dedicated to email marketing. I set out to change that.

The first thing I did was approach Mediapost, for whom I had been writing for years on Rich Media Advertising topics, about doing a dedicated weekly column on email. I came up with the name the Email Insider, because the data I was receiving was unknown at the time. Mediapost went on to use the name "insider" for other marketing verticles as well, based on the success of my Email Insider column.

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Jun
04

Automated Marketing: Drip vs. Nurture

According to a recent report by Gleanster, 84% of top-performing companies are using — or plan to start using — marketing automation by 2015. What’s interesting to me about this statistic is how few of these companies can tell me specifically whether they have deployed, or plan to deploy, a drip or nurture campaign — or both. When polling our clients and potential clients, most companies do not differentiate between these two campaign styles and I find this incongruent with the overall benefit they wish to attain using automation.

Let’s start with some understanding:

Drip marketing describes a series of predesigned emails sent on a predetermined schedule geared toward education, branding, positioning, or selling of your product. Drip marketing emails are distributed to a broad audience; lead-nurturing emails are distributed to a specific segment. Think of the drip irrigation system: drip, drip, drip. There is no consideration for state of the plant; the water continues to drip at a regular interval, whether or not the plant is parched or overwatered.

Though the campaign is not interaction based, broadly defined, there are three drip-marketing triggers for the launch of your automated program:

  • Anchor date. Deploy events on days before and after a specific date, such as product-launch dates.
  • Calendar. Deploy events to launch on specific dates, such as holidays.
  • Duration. Deploy events to launch based upon when the prospect entered the campaign

 

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May
20

Attribution and ROI

The classic ROI (Return on Investment)  model was developed to measure the effectiveness of the use of capital. For example, a company wants to build a new plant and it is relatively straight forward calculation to calculate the return on this investment: the revenue generated by the plant-the cost of the plant which is then divided by the cost of the plant to get a percentage. In the interest of completeness it should be noted that the calculation has to be adjusted as the revenues and costs are spread over a number of years.

 

Return on marketing investment is not as straight forward. First in the example above, the money used to build a plant is a capital expense and therefore does not immediately impact the P&L whereas all marketing spend is an operating expense and therefore hits the P&L. Second, measuring the output of a plant and therefor the resulting revenue is easy to measure. The revenue generated from your marketing on the other hand, is substantially harder to measure because it is difficult to attribute specific revenue to specific marketing spend.

 

eConsultancy recently published a blog on marketers’ views of marketing attribution in multi-channel marketing. The general view is that it is a massively convoluted issue with no good solution. Similarly, Google’s Avinash Kaushik goes into the challenges of attribution and using ROI as a metric of email effectiveness at great length in his recent blog , discussing the pros and (mostly) cons of each attribution model – I highly recommend that you read both of these articles.

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May
13

Mother's Day Email Promotion Round Up

U.S. online consumers will spend an average of $162.94 on Mother’s Day gifts this year, down 3.6% from $168.94 last year, according to a survey from the National Retail Federation. The survey said 29% of consumers plan to shop online. 

As email marketers, it's our job to get a slice of that Mother's Day pie. Let's take a look at how online retailers are promoting the holiday.

I'll start with a few emails I saved from last year's swipe file. The first is from JC Penney, reflecting its epic (or epic fail?) rebranding effort. I give JCP credit here, with its clever "mother's may" and bold graphics and colors.

darcymay1

Next is one from Rachel Roy, with a subject line that grabs one's attention: Happy MILS Day! 20% Off. The headline, too, may cause you to do a double-take.

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Apr
23

How I Became Columnist/Technical Editor for a National Magazine by Responding to a Magazine Subscription Notice

Nothing happens unless you make it happen.

I know you’ve heard that a thousand times before. But it bears repeating: NOTHING HAPPENS unless YOU MAKE IT HAPPEN!

Here is a case in point:

One day, back in the mid 90’s,  I went to the mailbox and there was a notice asking if I'd like to subscribe to a new magazine that was starting up. A Miller Freeman publication called 3D Design Magazine. Miller Freeman was and is a huge publisher who specialized in niche technical  journals. Their big seller was “Pulp and Paper”. And they were getting into 3D Animation.

3dDesign

I had been working as a demo jock for a high end French 3D animation software company called TDI (I’ll save my “Never Work for a French Company when your big trade show is in August” rant for another day).  One day I noticed that one of the TDI sales guys had an article published in the big trade magazine in our industry,  Computer Graphics World.

“Hey, how did you do that?”  I asked.


“I just submitted something, “ was his answer.

What? Could it really be that simple?

I called up Computer Graphics World and gave them my background. Sure, they would love for me to write something for them on spec.

So I punched out a perennial favorite in any industry: “How to get your best deal, “ in this case your best deal in buying high end 3D animation software and hardware. (The secret ?  Buy at the end of the quarter). 

They liked it, and said it was evergreen. Meaning they would run it when they had space to fill. Nothing urgent about it. People are still writing the same article 20 years later. (In fact, our own Jason Simon wrote a similar article right here on the OI blog: See "Buying on the Quarter: How to get your Best Deal From Any Vendor.)

So now I had this subscription notice for this new and unknown competitor to Computer Graphics World in my hand. Their office was in San Francisco, so I called them up.

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Mar
26

What’s next? Why Inbox data will fuel the next wave of email innovation

In the last few years we've seen lots of innovation in the email world. We now have transactional email APIsdynamic ads within email, and completely customized experiences at email open time. And more. But what's next? Where are the big opportunities for email innovation over the next several years? My bet is on the Inbox. After all, the Inbox is the source of truth for our online life. What we buy, who we really know, who we communicate most often with - it's all there. It's no surprise then that when the Inbox is opened up for access via APIs and applications, you can make a whole range of new use cases come alive for your customers. However, given limited space (and attention spans), I'll be covering just three today.

1. Smarter Shares

'Click to Tweet' isn't cutting it

In a recent study on social sharing within marketing emails, Silverpop saw that 35% of the emails studied generated zero sharing clicks and 49% had social CTR less than 0.1%. Instead of sharing that great eCommerce offer with 1000 of your closest friends on Twitter, why not click a 'Share with my close friends' link that would grab 5 or 10 relevant contacts from your Inbox based on relevant keywords in the offer? Here's a sample app we wrote (tagline for the app: 'pass the word to your friends who might actually care') to show you how smarter sharing via email could work in practice.

2. Smarter Invites

Small is beautiful

One startup I talked to this week used to do what every other company does as part of their invite flow - ask for users to import their huge honkin' address book. Then the startup tested what would happen if users were simply asked to manually input a few email addresses of people to invite instead. The result? A higher conversion rate on signups - high enough to to compel them to kill off the address book workflow. Using Inbox data to power an invite workflow could be equally effective - by suggesting the best few individuals for a user to invite to the service.

3. 'Have It Your Way'

Customers should be able to consume your email marketing content on whatever platform or app they choose, not just from their email client. Remember, you're a publisher whether you like it or not! So give them the ability to automatically ship to other apps or share your content from the Inbox (via services like Zapier and IFTTT). However, don't just hope that they'll use one of these services on their own. Bring the functionality to them directly to help them engage more deeply and frequently with your content. And get out of the Inbox!

With great power comes great responsibility

Although we can build exciting applications off of Inbox data, we need to be transparent about what we are doing with that data. We need to be clear with customers about how access to that data benefits them. And most importantly, we need to ensure that we are using this data to create great customer experiences - experiences that couldn't be built without Inbox data.

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