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Mike May

Member since January 2005 Contact Mike

Articles by Mike All articles by Mike

  • Making Email Delightful in Email Insider on 06/26/2013

    I was going to write an article about having a good time at the DMV, but decided to tackle a more challenging topic instead: How to make email delightful. Before I tackle the how, however, it may be necessary to spend some time on the why. Delightfulness is not currently recorded in most email ROI analyses and is a seldom-addressed objective, so why even bother?

  • Is Your Email Attribution Model To Blame For Eroding User Experience?  in Email Insider on 05/29/2013

    Email drives sales. We know this already. How much sales it drives, however, is very often measured with a last-touch attribution model that has outlived its usefulness. If you're relying on a last-touch model to measure your email's effectiveness, you may be overstating its role in transactions. Equally as important, you may be understating the impact that some more aggressive email practices have on suppressing transactions, despite their high last-touch ROI.

  • The Truths Your Email Metrics Don't Reveal in Email Insider on 05/01/2013

    When you read the latest email statistic as it comes through your news feed each day, it conjures up an image of the consumer behavior the data point depicts. For example, when you read that 70% of big brands' opens in March occurred on mobile devices, is it not inevitable that your mind creates an image of a person (dressed exactly the way you picture your ideal customer) peering intently at a mobile phone with the very expression that your last message was crafted to elicit? Also, he's standing. My imaginary mobile consumers are always standing.

  • The Prisoner's Dilemma That Is Email Marketing in Email Insider on 04/03/2013

    As consumers, we all get too much email. That means as marketers, at least collectively, we are sending too much. Now I know it's easy for any brand to point at its own ROI metrics and insist that email is still working very well. Yet you only need to look at the proliferation of inbox management tools to see a universe of email users struggling under the deluge. Our metrics tell us one thing, but studying user behavior provides some contradictory insights on subscribers' appetites for just one more message.

  • Email's Role In The User Experience in Email Insider on 03/06/2013

    Why is it OK for brands with graphically modern, visually arresting, personality-forward sites to confirm an email subscription using a simple text email with robotic copy? How often are visitors to thoughtfully merchandised online stores invited back with altogether ham-fisted promotions in their inboxes? In how many meetings have marketers waved off email as pass and turned the group's collective attention to a brand new social site they read about on Mashable last week?

  • How Email Marketing Will Change In A Post-Recession Economy in Email Insider on 02/06/2013

    Now I'm no economist, but my wife -- who hates spending money and doesn't even play Xbox - just bought us a 55" LCD TV. If that isn't a harbinger of improved economic conditions, I don't know what is. It isn't just consumer spending that has changed, however. Several studies recently have pointed out how marketers are planning to increase budgets in 2013, with lifts in digital leading the way. So now that marketers have a little financial breathing room of their own, I believe they will approach email differently than they have over the past few lean years. Here are some of the ways I envision email marketing changing in the post-recession economy:

  • Are Email Marketers Outrunning The Bear? in Email Insider on 01/09/2013

    There is a joke I frequently tell clients and use in presentations as an analogy for email marketing. Like everyone else I've told it to, you've probably heard it before. Please indulge me anyway:

  • Trends That Should Disrupt Your 2013 Email Program in Email Insider on 12/12/2012

    Now is the customary time to make predictions about the trends that will have the greatest impact on the email industry in the coming year. Only this year I'd like to focus not just on the trends, but also on how they should affect what we do as email marketers. Knowing what is going on is only useful if we adjust our tactics because of it (kind of like email metrics themselves).

  • The Rise Of 0-to-1 Email Communications in Email Insider on 11/14/2012

    My inbox is losing its voice. Or rather, most of the messages in there have lost theirs. It wasn't long ago that almost every marketing email I received was copywritten expressly for the email channel, allowing me to hear the voices of all the brands I subscribed to. But now most of the messages in my inbox have no such voice, and were instead authored by machines.

  • Facebook Timeline And Email's Brand Narrative in Email Insider on 10/17/2012

    Facebook's Timeline is remarkable for brands because it allows consumers to follow a brand's narrative almost at a glance. Every piece of content a brand contributes to its Timeline constitutes a chapter, and seeing them all aggregated chronologically and graphically allows them to be read quickly as a whole story. A similar aggregation of brand content is taking place in email right now. It's more subtle and is occurring on a number of platforms and with a range of methods that make it increasingly likely consumers will have the whole picture of a brand's email program through aggregated content.

Comments by Mike All comments by Mike

  • Go Ahead -- Send More Emails by Loren McDonald (Email Insider on 05/03/2013)

    Janet, thanks for the example. I agree that in the current landscape, brands that are really smart about data integration and triggered messages can lift frequency without any real threat to the customer relationship. Play it forward though and what happens in a future where every brand does the same thing - increases their technological and operational capability to send multiple targeted messages per day based on various customer contact? It's easy to pay attention to 4 emails per day from a brand that you a) have an affinity towards and b) uses email better than 98% of your inbox. But if it's 5 brands you like, or 10, or 20 that all do it, suddenly that's 20 or 40 or 80 messages a day that are "targeted and relevant." Instead of 2% of the 100 messages in your inbox, it's 50% of the 200 messages in your inbox. If everyone follows that best practice, the channel collapses. Email is different from other media because people can't control how much advertising they see. If you're sick of TV ads, turn off the box, and stop hanging out on FB if the sponsored posts annoy you. But with email, we need to dig through the chaff to get to the wheat. Email marketers are quick to tout ROI, but I believe the consumer ROI of dealing with message overload - whether the time invested to manage a swollen inbox is worth it - is playing a larger part in the landscape than people think.

  • Game-Changers In Email Marketing Best Practices by Wacarra Yeomans (Email Insider on 11/20/2012)

    Great article Warren and thanks for the props. Your point on the need to place critical items above the fold is something I definitely agree with. I'm seeing plenty of messages generate the most clicks on links as deep as 5 paragraphs in. Part of it is attributable to larger screens and higher resolution that makes entire messages easier to scan. But part also is a reflection of solid engagement - hooked readers will make it all the way through a message. I think necessity has mothered invention and marketers have done a better job pre-qualifying subscribers and focusing on maintaining engagement.

  • The Rise Of 0-to-1 Email Communications by Mike May (Email Insider on 11/14/2012)

    Agreed, Jordan. Marketers will test and find the applications where actual copy works, though I think a lot of that copy will still be repurposed from other channels. Once everyone starts to see the value of triggered messages the challenge will be to load enough raw materials into the hopper in order to generate them. "Your mother has just sent you an email; click here to read it." S'funny, Pete, and not too far from what some inbox management tools do already.

  • On The Subject Of Subject Lines by Jim Ducharme (Email Insider on 08/06/2012)

    Agreed, and I even think in some cases it makes sense to wag the dog with email. Instead of starting with the message and then backing into a subject line that telegraphs content accurately and has a good chance of grabbing attention, start instead with a subject line you know will drive opens, and then write the message (that still fulfills your business needs) around it. It's a tactic borrowed from bloggers, and it really works.

  • Achieving Your Optimal Email Frequency by Mike May (Email Insider on 07/25/2012)

    I agree, Paula. Too much is way too much. But I'm seeing more and more evidence that some marketers are not sending enough email. If all you do is ask, it's hard to ratchet up the frequency. But finding ways to add value and engagement can happen in the inbox as easily as on Facebook. Jen, that was the big AHA moment in the webinar - getting past that horror at the thought of sending more. Once the other marketers in the audience realized it was possible, they warmed pretty quickly to the concept. Not all "best practices" are worth continuing.

  • Cycling Shows Strength Of Sports Content by David Goetzl (TVBlog on 06/26/2012)

    I wouldn't be too sure about a low ceiling of cycling viewership. Even though the Lance bubble has burst, the activity of cycling - if not yet the competitive sport - is growing. And Americans who are genuinely interested in the sport have as much reason as ever to tune in. American teams and American riders on foreign teams are playing as big a part in the professional scene as ever. Also, I didn't see the terms for the deal, but I expect cycling rights are not nearly as expensive as other sports. So even if the audience and ad revenues pale compared to the Olympics or golf's majors, the ROI could still be pretty strong.

  • Five Email Screw-Ups, And What To Do About Them by Liz Ryan (Email Insider on 01/10/2012)

    Very refreshing perspective. Thanks for writing, Liz. I particularly appreciate your last paragraph, about monitoring the social channels to determine how egregious your mistake may have been. That in itself is a reason to build out social channels - to see what you've done that might by rubbing your customers the wrong way.

  • Would You Read This Column If It Were About Super Bowl Ads? by Mike May (Email Insider on 02/09/2011)

    <p>Thanks Rita. Congrats on your son's (and yours!) big event.</p> <p>33&quot; tires, Warren? Doesn't that put your &quot;jeep&quot; squarely into the monster truck category? (Not that monster trucks are any more romantic than jeeps.)</p>

  • Raise Your Hand If You Want To Be Talked At by Gretchen Scheiman (Email Insider on 01/24/2011)

    <p>What a refreshing perspective, and a great article. Thanks Gretchen.</p>

  • The Fiscal Responsibility Of Business Ethics In The Privacy Debate by Mike May (Email Insider on 07/28/2010)

    <p>Thanks for all the comments on the article. Policy and self-regulation always spark a debate.</p> <p>@Ben, I ought to clarify the context of my statement about the rat's whiskers. My point is not that we should ignore pending or current privacy legislation, but that legislation that protects consumers' privacy rights shouldn't change the way most email marketers do business. We should already be operating in a manner that obviates the need for government intervention. As an email marketer, if faced with the decision to fight a universal opt-out, or focus my energy on initiatives that will prevent my subscribers from wanting to opt-out of my messages in the first place, I'll choose the latter every time.</p>

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