• Everything I Tell You Is Wrong
    Well, not everything. But many of the tips shared here are "wrong" in the sense that my advice or recommendations might or might not be the right approach for your company, resources or situation. As overworked and under-resourced marketers, we constantly search for the definitive answer. What is the optimum number of fields in a form? What color should the "submit" button be? What is the best day of the week to send?Ah, if only it were so easy. As I, and others, have said before, the "right" answer is almost always, "It depends." Nearly every email-marketing issue has many …
  • How to Squeeze More Value From Your ESP In Tough Economic Times
    In case you haven't kept up with the email marketing industry over the past few months, it has been star of glimmering hope for marketers enduring economic turmoil. In fact, the industry has been faring so well that many email service providers (ESPs) have announced record growth for 2008 and expect to do equally as well in 2009. Even though demand for ESP services is high and clients are spending more, there is still a lot of competition. Now is the time to try to squeeze more value from your ESP, while many are fat and happy.
  • Welcome Email Practices Improving, But Many Opportunities Remain
    Today Smith-Harmon is releasing its Retail Welcome Email Benchmark Study, which we did in partnership with Responsys. In it we examined the welcome email practices of 112 of the largest online retailers. The top-line number is that only 76% of them sent out welcome emails. While that's up from 72% in 2007 and 66% in 2006, it's disheartening that more companies aren't seizing this key marketing moment.
  • Email's 6 Deadly Sins
    For generations before Brad Pitt and the movie "Seven," people have used the seven deadly sins as a way of describing the failures of society, morals and values. For my sermon today, I am using the deadly sins as a framework to point up our shortcomings as email marketers, and to illustrate the flip side-the best practices that would erase our offenses. (I intentionally left out the fourth sin, for obvious reasons.)
  • While We Wait For Spring, Deal With Your Data!
    Speaking for those of us crazy enough to settle in the Midwest, I am ready for the Spring! Between the cold, snow, freezing rain, gloomy economic news and the fact that the Indiana Hoosiers will most likely miss the NCAA tourney, I say let's just skip March and move right to April. But alas, I have yet to find anyone with the power to control time. That said, I have recently been involved with some organizations that have figured out how to control customer data, and that seems to be as big a challenge as time travel for many in …
  • 'Emailers, You Don't Know How Good You Are!'
    Last month at the Email Evolution Conference in Scottsdale, Ariz., Engauge Chairman Stan Rapp gave a keynote that got a lot of people in the crowd pumped up -- myself included. His punch line: "Email is the tightest link ever forged between buyer and seller. Email is the heartbeat of the Internet. Emailers, you don't know how good you are!"
  • Outliers: Email Practice Makes Genius
    Malcolm Gladwell's intriguing book "Outliers: The Story of Success," argues that peoples' success is driven by more complicated factors than our conventional understanding of "genius." Drawing on studies of success from areas ranging from athletics to technology, Gladwell makes the compelling case that our success levels correlate more strongly with lucky circumstances -- strong family upbringings, the events of our time periods, even our birthdates -- and to the hours we spend at hard work and practice, than with our natural talents and IQs.
  • What Do Your Subscribers Think About Your Email Program?
    I regularly ask my clients a few questions about their subscribers' perceptions of the emails they receive. They are something to the effect of: What do your email subscribers think about your program? Why did they subscribe in the first place? Are they getting what they expected when they signed up for your emails? The answers I get are almost invariably based on the usual email metrics and benchmarks ("We have 30% open and click rates, so we must be doing okay") or conjecture ("They subscribe because we're a retailer and they want discounts and info on new products"). Very …
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