The Only Influencers Email Marketing Blog

The top thought leaders in email marketing share their insights and thoughts.
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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Aug
01

Friday Pitch Winner: dotmailer

Friday Pitch Winner: dotmailer

For Pitch Friday, I'd like to let you know about the awesome new scripting capability we've added to dotmailer. Not for general release until next Wednesday (August 5th) but as you lot are so lovely… here’s preview of what’s to come.

We’ve, for some time now, allowed users to store information about purchase history, web viewing history, social profiles… against contact records in dotmailer; that’s been great for segmentation – but now we’ve got that into the email / landing page content… and then some.

This is all now possible because we’ve built the Liquid markup language (developed by the lovely team at Shopify) into our HTML and drag-&-drop editors.

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Jul
28

Unboxing Email on Acid

Unboxing Email on Acid

Today we are going to unbox the email technology company that, without a doubt, has the coolest name: Email On Acid.

Founded by web programmer John Thies and designer Michelle Klann in 2009, Email On Acid (based in Denver) is primarlily an email visualation tool but also has analytics capability and provides tools to increase inbox delivery and help blocked images render properly in the email client. 

The first step is to go to the Email on Acid website and create an account:  

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Jul
21

How to Become the CMO

How to Become the CMO

Email marketing programs – and the people who run them – are often among the single most profitable programs (and people) in an organization. The efforts they make to increase the stickiness of client relationships can add millions of dollars of marginal revenue to an organization.

Yet, when I find out that a new CMO or SVP of marketing has been added to a company, there is usually one glaring connection between nearly all of them…

They’re not email marketers.

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© Copyright 2015, Only Influencers, LLC

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Jul
14

Unboxing: Touchstone from AlchemyWorx

Unboxing: Touchstone from AlchemyWorx

Welcome to a new series from Only Influencers called "Unboxing: Email". Each "Unboxing" article will examine the latest Email Innovations, and walk you through each tool from login to results. 

We kick off the series this week with a deep dive into AlchemyWorx's Touchstone product which is subtitled "Subject Line Gold". Touchstone, as the subtitle suggests, is an A/B Subject Line Testing tool.

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Jul
08

Calculating the Optimal Emotional Language for Email Success

Calculating the Optimal Emotional Language for Email Success

By David Atlas, CMO/Persado, and Julia Spano, Director, Marketing/Persado

Joy: I’m Joy, this is Sadness, that’s Anger, this is Disgust

Disgust: Ugh…

Joy: And that’s Fear

Fear: Ahhh! Look out!

Like all of us, Riley, in Pixar’s new film, Inside Out, is guided through her daily life by her emotions. As we communicate with those around us the emotions that we evoke in others cause a reaction. That reaction triggers a response, which, in turn, drives a behavior in those with whom we communicate.

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Jul
08

Contextual Email Marketing: The future of your email program

After a consumer opts into receiving your emails, I assume they’ll be somewhat active. During the initial weeks they’ll open, click, browse your website, and maybe even convert. However, it probably won’t take long for them to lose interest. They’ll delete without pause or filter into a subfolder for a rainy day. They may come back briefly when a compelling event motivates them to find your most recent offer or a reactivation campaign lures them in once again, but the pattern will repeat itself. They’ll get bored and disengage all over again.  

Email marketers owe it to their subscribers to do better

In a world full of distractions and other priorities, your customer took the time to sign up, opt in (hopefully), and graciously did not click the spam button after the first few weeks of batch and blasts. They haven’t opted out, yet, so they’re still interested in your brand, but they’re no longer interested in your emails. Now, I’m sure you’re thinking “but my company personalizes our content, we provide engaging experiences, and our customer’s love receiving our emails!”

You could be optimistic or you may actually be right; but the reality is a majority of brands do not attempt basic personalization, let alone add any sort of relevant content to emails. I definitely give credit to the brands that are trying, but most personalization attempts I see are fairly shallow. They [insert name here] to introduce the same content they’re sending to everyone. Those emails never quite feel personalized and sometimes can even be annoying. 

Occasionally, I receive a cart abandonment email, and once a year, I get a whole bunch of birthday offers. These types of emails are definitely a move in the right direction. They’re dynamic and leverage personal events or recent interactions to fuel content. Yet, the brands sending these types of emails seem to do so inconsistently. Again, I stay engaged briefly but as they revert back to their regularly scheduled programming, I find myself losing interest.   

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Jun
24

What is your Legacy?

What is your Legacy?

I’ve admired many people in this industry for many years, some with more public backgrounds and contributions than others. But you always wonder what drives these people to be so vocal, what is it that they want to leave an imprint on for our industry and what big things not necessarily tied to the industry that they aspire to do to improve our world. 

I believe it’s more than professional success, or recognition or being on stage.  So, I thought I’d ask some of my favorite insiders; What is your legacy?  What is your Oprah Moment? and Why are you so vocal in the industry?

Here’s a transcript from those conversations with some well known people with far different backgrounds:  Jeanne Jennings, Derek Harding, Bob Frady, Jaffer Ali, Loren McDonald, and Ryan Phelan.

Jeanne Jennings:

Quick Bio

I’m Managing Director of Digital Marketing for Digital Prism Advisors and a recognized thought leader on email marketing strategy. I began my career in the late 1980s with CompuServe, moved into the publishing industry with the advent of the World Wide Web and spent 12 years as an independent consultant serving clients that included Hasbro, the National Education Association (NEA), Scholastic, Verizon and Weight Watchers International.

Why are you so vocal in the industry?

I feel so blessed that I am invited to speak and write about my work. It’s not about my ego. Don’t we all want and need to feel that we have something of value to contribute? My email marketing knowledge is one of the things I have. It’s nothing near curing cancer (I started college pre-med but graduated with degrees in economics and political science) but it’s something. 

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Jun
17

Five Things to Do When You’re Stuck on the Promotion Treadmill

Five Things to Do When You’re Stuck on the Promotion Treadmill

If your company is in a very price-competitive industry segment, you are probably stuck on the promotion treadmill. On the promotion treadmill, every day is another set of promotions, you are forced to send emails more and more often to help make sales goals, and every email screams a discount. You're probably tired of hearing all the best-practice advocates telling you to jump off the treadmill and send lifecycle emails for engagement. Even if you think they have a point, that's not your decision to make. Your job is to move the needle on sales while still sending out the constant hail of promotions.

 Here are five things to try when you have no choice about sending whole-house promotions, and you need to improve your results:

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Jun
17

The Nitty Gritty of Email Segmentation

The Nitty Gritty of Email Segmentation

Email Strategy: How Much Segmentation is Too Much or Not Enough?

You probably know by now that segmentation improves email marketing performance significantly, so if you’re still operating primarily in “batch and blast” mode it’s time to start slicing and dicing your subscriber file. Marketers that practice list segmentation see better open and click-through rates, fewer unsubscribes and better deliverability. The reasons are obvious: segmentation creates discreet audiences we can laser-target with offers, creative, and information crafted specifically for them, at just the right time. This in turn improves relevancy and response, while decreasing complaints or blocking. Who among us doesn’t want to see more of this kind of email in our inbox: messages that speak to us as if we’re the center of attention, and show up at the perfect moment (or not at all?)

So let me begin by addressing the easy part of the above question: how much email list segmentation is not enough? Zero segmentation for one – so get on with it already! I’d also suggest if you’re not segmenting by at least these key attributes, you’re leaving opportunity on the table:

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Jun
07

The State Of Email Marketing in India

The State Of Email Marketing in India

With almost 122,500,453,020 emails sent every hour in India, email is alive and here to stay for long. While marketers across the globe are embracing advanced personalization in email, India is leaving no stone unturned to win the email game.

A decade back, when internet penetration was low and e-commerce wasn’t so fierce, things were different. However, things have changed drastically over the years.

Internet Penetration is booming

Internet penetration in India is as low as 19%, but given the large population; even 19% amounts to a huge user base that can’t be neglected. In 2001, there were about seven million Internet users in India. That number is estimated to cross 550 million in 2018!. Mobile internet is really the game changer in India. One of the recent reports by the Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IMRB International expects mobile internet to cross 350 million by June 2015.

Talking about email, 33% India Marketers think that over 50% of emails are viewed on mobile devices, seeing a YoY growth of 25%. BFSI (Banking and Financial Services) sector is on the forefront with 39% BFSI Marketers’ reporting the same.

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May
26

Why I Love Batch and Blast

Why I Love Batch and Blast

Batch and Blast – the process of sending out email with little to no segmentation – has become the Tom Cruise of the email industry. Once white-hot popular, yet now almost comically reviled. You can’t pick up an entertainment magazine without a little Cruise-hate. You can’t pick up a marketing publication that doesn’t attempt to eviscerate BB and basically tell you that you’re a moron if you use it.

Guess what. I like BB. In fact, I don’t just like it. I LOVE it.

I love BB so much that I’m convinced that if you’re not using it, you’re taking money…out of your own pocket.

Why do I love BB? Here’s a few reasons…

1. It works

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May
20

The Mighty Millennials: Digital Marketing’s Game-Changing Demographic

The Mighty Millennials: Digital Marketing’s Game-Changing Demographic

Last week, organic grocery giant Whole Foods announced its plans to open a low-cost grocery chain targeted at the millennial market. The concept, according to CEO Walter Robb, will be “unlike anything that currently exists in the marketplace,” boasting “a modern, streamlined design, innovative technology and a curated section.” In the same week, McDonald’s—in an attempt to boost its falling popularity with the twenty-something set, revived its Hamburglar mascot complete with a head-to-toe hipster makeover. With two major players joining the race to capture (and retain) their share of the millennial market, media outlets and marketing professionals alike have called into question the efficacy of their tactics. Why the skepticism? All too often companies miss the mark when it comes to millennial marketing, due in large part to the mass confusion surrounding how to engage this elusive yet highly influential group.

How do you speak to “the selfie generation?” Well, for starters, don’t call them “the selfie generation.” Millennials comprise about 25% of the U.S. population, making them the largest demographic in the country. The sheer size of this cohort means they have big buying power and even bigger marketing potential. However, millennials present a unique challenge from a marketing perspective because they are more diverse, demanding and discerning than generations past. Millennials are the first digital natives; oversaturated with marketing messages since birth, they don’t trust easily. They have mastered the art of sifting through the daily onslaught of competing promotions—processing, analyzing, critiquing, and rejecting. According to the McCarthy Group, an astounding 84% of Gen-Yers don’t trust traditional advertising, speaking to the need for innovation when comes to millennial marketing.

If millennials are so distrustful of traditional advertising, how do they inform their purchase decisions? Tap into the millennial mind with these 4 digital marketing tips guaranteed to drive brand loyalty:

1. Email is not dead. While it’s true that Millennials are checking their email accounts less often, the 2015 Salesforce State of Marketing report reveals that your young subscribers still want to hear from you in their inbox.  In fact, most millennials have an email account solely dedicated to promotional content, with 95% of them subscribing to an email list after “liking” a company on Facebook.  Since millennials admit to checking their social media accounts far less often than their email inboxes, it’s all about the quality of your messaging and putting the right content in the right channel. Use email and social media in tandem to target your millennial shoppers, or better yet--combine the two for powerful results. Thanks to real-time behavioural marketing technology available today, marketers can now incorporate live social feeds and dynamic product suggestions into their email campaigns. The beauty of such features is that your social and product feeds are delivered in real time from the second your millennial subscribers open your email.

While Millennials may claim to place less importance on email communications, a recent article published by Marketing Land reveals that Generation Y is seeking ”downstream, one-to-one contact with companies, whether for transactions, updates, customer service or other dialogues.” According to the article, when given the option between communicating with a brand through email, in personal, postal mail, social media, phone, online chat or text message, “respondents overwhelmingly  chose email straight across the board.” Social media is a great platform for what AWeber calls “fun communication,” a role that can be fulfilled with the help of brand ambassadors (more on that later), but email has proven to be most effective for more serious, personalized messaging.

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May
20

Lessons Learned After The First 12 Months as an Email Marketer

Lessons Learned After The First 12 Months as an Email Marketer

It’s your first week as an email marketer.

Then you blink and a whole year has flown by. It happened to me, and it’s probably going to happen to you. After a year of email marketing, you certainly haven’t learned everything there is to know, but you do discover some pretty eye-opening lessons.

Many of the ah-ha moments come from the areas you have to tackle your first week on the job. After 12 months doing email marketing, you’ll have a whole new perspective about those areas, plus additional epiphanies changing the way you do things. Here’s what to expect when year two rolls around (hint: you’re still breathing into a paper bag when you hit the send button).

Read consistently, but be choosy.

Whereas reading everything and anything you can about email marketing is essential for the noob, it’s not practical or helpful for the more experienced marketer.

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May
05

Self-Sender: What To Know Before You Ditch Your ESP

Self-Sender: What To Know Before You Ditch Your ESP

"It is almost ridiculous how much money you can save by being a self-sender. At Zeeto, our ROI has doubled since we went down the path of self-sending – even though we have experienced each and every one of the cons outlined"

All right, email marketers. Who of you out there hasn’t said (while usually shaking your fist at the sky) “I’m spending HOW much money and putting up with WHAT from my ESP?! I’m going to do it myself!!!”

The temptation to dump your ESP and take things into your own hands can be strong. So strong, in fact, that we took our ESP-led system and – in a fit of rage, hubris and adventure – took our 40 million email per month program and became our very own self-sender.

For those of you who are considering the move, I thought I’d put together a list of pros (there are some awesome ones) and cons (there are some awesome ones.) There’s really not a ton of literature on the subject…mostly because your ESP friends will abandon you (“You just want to be a SPAMMER!!!”) and the send engines are not, frankly, a fountain of great advice (first CON!)

The first piece of advice is a word of warning…becoming a self-sender is NOT for the faint of heart. If YOU are not technical – or have a solid team of developers who are – you should stop reading right now. Which brings us to our first CON (actually, the second…) of the evening.

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Apr
29

How to Build an Email-based Community

There is an old saying that Email was the first Social Network. But for all the discussions about building community, increasing Facebook Likes, driving people to your online “forum”, and building your Twitter following, nothing is said about one of the oldest technologies on the web, the simple Listserv. For the last 12 years, I have built a vibrant community using just this simple tool. And in that 12 years, I am constantly amazed at how powerful the email channel is for building strong, engaged communities. 

So what is a Listserv? 

A listserv, like the old Mailman software, used to be the main way that communities were built at the dawn of the Internet era. You would “subscribe” to the list and you would post your comments to an email address. Once sent, the email goes out to everyone who is also subscribed, and any responses are also sent out to everyone on the list. It is the ultimate “push” channel with discussions going on in “real-time” and landing in your inbox as they happen. This gives a sense of urgency and immediacy to the posts that is missing when members are required to go to a website to view the latest discussions. 

So how do you begin to build your Email Community. In this article, I will outline exactly how I built Only Influencers into one of the top communities for email marketers using only a simple Listserv to do it. 

Step One: Take advantage of dissatisfaction and crank up the exclusivity. 

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Apr
22

Google's New Audience Targeting Tool: Get on the Data-Driven Bandwagon or Get Left Behind

Google's New Audience Targeting Tool: Get on the Data-Driven Bandwagon or Get Left Behind
"To not have an email address is the digital equivalent of being homeless. Without an email address, you cannot shop online, bank online or engage with social media."

Last week, Google announced a new service that will enable advertisers to target ads based on the email address. In the wake of this innovation, we spoke to leaders in the email marketing space to learn how the move will potentially impact email practitioners. After all, there are a number of similar tools, such as Facebook’s Custom Audiences and Twitter’s Tailored Audiences, already in market. But it’s the almighty Google that’s drawing attention to this non-cookie based marketing technology. With so many players in the space, is Google too late?

How would Google’s targeting work? A brand would upload segments of their subscribers into Google (just like you can with Facebook, Twitter, and others) and when those subscribers log in to Google to search, whether on Maps, Earth, YouTube, Waze, etc., the brand would bid on the their customers in real time and show an ad based on rules they’ve set. The uncertainty of targeting the right person has plagued the marketer since the dawn of digital. This ability to target a logged-in user is the future of the industry and that is what Google is going after. Will marketers be pleased?

As Bob Frady, vice president of monetization at Zeeto Media told us in conversation, “I am thrilled that our substantial email database can be re-leveraged. CRM retargeting is a nice, complimentary piece to a marketer's tool kit.”

Marketers have been reaching users for years based on cookie matching. The majority of modern marketing is basically built on this premise, similar to the way email marketing is based on sending email. Oracle Bluekai, eXelate, Datalogix, and so many others are built on matching cookie segments.

The more devices and browsers that each person uses, the less effective cookie matching becomes. Hence, the industry is moving to identity matching. The email address is the best identity solution because people use it to log in to everything…Facebook, Twitter, Gilt, Chase, Pinterest, Amazon, iTunes, Groupon…everything.

As Dela Quist, CEO of AlchemyWorx recently wrote, “To not have an email address is the digital equivalent of being homeless. Without an email address, you cannot shop online, bank online or engage with social media. Furthermore, iOS and Android devices now require an email address to set up and it will surely not be long before this a requirement on all Internet-connected devices.”
 
Now more than ever, email addresses are an important piece of data. The email address is not only for sending email, it’s also for reaching consumers wherever they are paying attention. Jordan Cohen, CMO of Fluent has said “CRM retargeting works so well because it targets existing brand loyalists (people who are already on a marketer's email list) and also, critically, lookalikes of those brand loyalists, which enables marketers to bring new prospective customers into their funnels more effectively and profitably.”
 
Email marketers who can adapt to these new solutions are going to be very successful.  However, those who think the only purpose of the email address is for sending mail will soon be at a disadvantage. The best future practitioners will embrace “email as identity.” Those who do not will still have a place, but ultimately may be marginalized as email becomes one channel amongst many competing for users' attention.
 

Google’s latest launch is going to be huge and transformative for the email industry. “The fact that the largest online advertising company on the planet is now on board is a signal that email-based display advertising, as opposed to cookie-based, is the future,” states Cohen. Get on the bandwagon or get left behind.

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Apr
22

Cart Abandonment Emails: Big brother marketing or an essential part of your mix?

Cart Abandonment Emails: Big brother marketing or an essential part of your mix?
58% of people said they abandon because shipping costs increased the price too much. 57% said they wanted to get an idea of the price including shipping. 55% said they weren’t ready to purchase and wanted to save the basket for later! 50% said their order didn’t qualify for free shipping and 37% complained shipping costs were shown too late in the process.

I have lost count of the number of times I have spoken to email marketing managers who  have said something along the lines of…”I’m not sure we should be sending basket abandonment emails, it feels a bit Big Brother to me” and the look of terror when I suggest that, not only should they be sending basket abandonment emails, but, where possible, sending browse abandonment emails as well. If you are a bricks and mortar retailer and someone walks into one of your outlets, picks up and looks at the same item say three or four times then you would expect your sales staff to engage them in a conversation about the product and attempt to sell it to them. Well, the truth is, your website is your online shop so why would you treat your customers differently online than you do offline?

So let’s take a look at basket abandonment first. In their June 2014 report on “Abandoning shopping cart” BI Intelligence discovered 58% of people said they abandon because shipping costs increased the price too much. 57% said they wanted to get an idea of the price including shipping. 55% said they weren’t ready to purchase and wanted to save the basket for later! 50% said their order didn’t qualify for free shipping and 37% complained shipping costs were shown too late in the process.

MikeParryImage1April15

*source www.businessinsider.com

It’s clear that a well timed basket abandonment email with a free shipping offer is likely to have a dramatic impact on conversions and bottom line revenues and basket abandonment emails make sense, rather than be “Big Brotherish” after all.

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Apr
22

Attention CMOs: Get Technical or Die

Attention CMOs: Get Technical or Die
70% of email marketers don’t have time to think of subject lines, and only 5% use advanced analysis techniques"

Lately there’s been a lot of talk about the power struggles between the teams traditionally responsible for information technology and those responsible for marketing. Heidrick & Struggles sums up the collision of these two functions very well:

“Yesterday, CMOs and CIOs had little in common except places at the executive leadership table. Today, they are being driven together by the proliferation of technology platforms, the torrent of big data, and the almost limitless choices and power customers now enjoy. Tomorrow, the two roles could converge in a single position.”

CMOs are grounded in a rich strategic understanding of market dynamics, the positioning and role of a brand, and leveraging engagement across all customer touchpoints — and this offers a big advantage over the CIO. On a related note, in 2012 Gartner predicted that by 2017 the CMO will spend more on IT than the CIO. But to really get there, CMOs must meet the CIO head-on, by becoming more data-driven and knowledgeable about data science and enabling technologies.

As a CMO myself, I don’t believe that we must become data scientists. However, we need to know the potential of and how to use data-driven technologies to succeed. Predictive analytics, machine learning, and automated personalization and optimization are found in all of the most exciting marketing technologies of 2015.

In fact, these are also what’s making email marketing sexy again — and not only for companies with lots of money to procure advanced email marketing platforms and the big teams to keep them running. The advent of “plug-n-play” add-ons for the most common email platforms is bringing technologies based on data science to mainstream email marketers — with minimal need for involvement from their technical colleagues.

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Apr
21

UK Data Protection Update for Digital Marketers: Irritated Brits are a Force to be Reckoned With.

UK Data Protection Update for Digital Marketers: Irritated Brits are a Force to be Reckoned With.

Despite all the talk over here about the EU Data Protection Reform, with its unknown content and unknown timescales, we’ve been relatively calm and relaxed about the whole thing. After all, who has time to worry about something “12-24” months away when you have things which matter now?

Well in the last few weeks that has all changed and it’s going to catch a lot of people off guard.

We have had:

1. Third-party data industry exposé, with allegations of big name UK brands illegally selling consumer data

2. The ICO and the courts both being given more powers to issue fines for DPA and PECR breaches; with the ICO already starting to flex its muscles and begin proactive searching for non-compliant companies

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Insights from Todays Leading Email Marketing Experts and Thoughtleaders