March Madness is in full swing for all those college basketball fans out there. I know this because I think my husband may be the biggest Indiana Hoosiers fan I have ever known (and according to him, they are going to slaughter Syracuse). Of course I've spent many a night with ESPN and their bracketology assessments running in the background -- and have heard more Charles Barkley-isms than a girl can handle. So what do I do to cope? I turn it into email marketing fodder. So friends, welcome to Email Testing Brackets!
Back in November of 2010, I wrote an Email Insider column titled "'Best Practices' Are Dead," in which I argued that the term "best practices" has been much abused and was too broad to cover what I called the never-break "ethical imperatives" and the okay-but-unwise-to-break "recommended practices." I didn't know it at the time, but that column would be the genesis of my new book, "Email Marketing Rules: How to Wear a White Hat, Shoot Straight, and Win Hearts," which discusses 108 email marketing best practices.
Having observed the email marketing industry the last 15 years, I've come to the conclusion that our beloved channel is entering its next phase: adulthood. Although I foresee no really revolutionary changes that would immediately disrupt email marketing, several shifts are happening now that require your attention and action. These shifts are helping to create a new email-marketing paradigm with six essential buckets of ideas:
If you ask the email marketing industry's founding fathers about video in email, they'll hark back to a time in the late '90s when sending email with embedded video was no problem. There may not have been too many marketers producing video at the time, but if they did, and wanted to deliver it via email, they had nothing to worry about. By the early 2000s, everything had changed. The rapid rise of email-borne security threats like spam, phishing, and malicious code got ISPs nervous about allowing images to be displayed in email -- let alone more complex content like …
When working with a creative team to get your marketing messages across, it's essential to get your brief spot-on. And yet this often doesn't happen. Creative teams find themselves struggling to interpret a brand's vision, and marketing decision-makers find themselves unsatisfied with the creative execution. Based on my experience, it's crucial to spend the time to take a few steps back and look at the bigger picture before diving into creative brief-making.
Innovation is not just new technology or new ways to do things. True innovation must be marketed, or adoption will lag and scale in your operation will never have a chance.
So it may be a little clichd, but with March and shorts weather finally upon us, it is definitely time to hit the gym and a diet (for me, at least, it's my annual routine). This led me to spend some time last night re-familiarizing myself with the Weight Watchers PointsPlus system. I figured that by counting points for every ounce of ice cream (uhhhh, fruits and veggies) I put in my mouth, this act should somehow curb my bad behavior. If counting points works for modifying bad eating behavior, what could it do for email? In order to find …
Message prioritization and foldering is becoming the typical email experience, as big mailbox providers and independent developers introduce ways to organize and unclutter mailboxes. Many take different approaches to reach a similar solution: essentially an inbox within the inbox. (The primary example of this is Gmail's Priority Inbox.) Does that mean commercial senders who've worked to maintain deliverability can now find their messages shut out of subscribers' email sanctum sanctorum? In some cases, yes, but smart marketers already have the knowledge they need to succeed in the automated inbox.
It's no secret among email marketers that good help is hard to find. My clients ask me to help them fill positions; my friends in the biz ask me for references; and on more than one occasion, I've received emails from strangers asking for introductions or suggestions. Recently, I received such an email from someone offering her services should my company need an extra freelance resource. I was able to refer her to another friend looking to hire; the fit was good, and everyone was happy. But those stories are few and far between. More often than not there are …
Email marketers love to argue -- or rather, to discuss and share their opinions. From pre-checked boxes to the value of open rates, everyone has an opinion.Still, inside your organization, opinions and misunderstandings often contribute to projects being derailed, never getting off the ground, or being focused on the wrong result.