Adventures in Email Marketing

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Transactional In-App Email

Saturday, 19. November 2011 by Anna Billstrom

Just had a great conversation with SendGrid – we’re already using their API for sending in-app messanging transactionally, at work. The API is easy to use, and you have great reporting on email deliverability through the web interface. Just chatted with two representatives at Women2.0′s Startup Weekend event- they’re sponsoring some prizes.

I’m also a fan of MailChimp- and have setup various clients on them. The Flash/UI interface is really great, and the reporting on the various email campaigns is also easy. They, like SendGrid, have a very communicative and readily available customer service – for engineering and design.

The Momentus Blog

Monday, 14. February 2011 by Anna Billstrom

Hello dear readers, sorry for the long absence. I have to admit I’ve been cheating on you with another mistress- the Momentus Media Blog! It’s a viral app development consultancy, I’ve been working with, at Momentus Blog

Guess which one was the most read (and had a running lead on the top read blog post on this site for a while…) The Oauth one, ha.

I’m also writing a lot about iOS, food & feminism on the main blog, If I have nuggets about email I’ll post them here, viral/FB stuff on Momentus. Gavin may write here occassionally as well.



Odd Ideas That May Make Sense… From Email Campaign Monitor

Thursday, 14. October 2010 by Anna Billstrom

I’m a bit late to this article written in April, but it’s a goodie: Four odd email ideas that (maybe) make sense, by Mark Brownlow. What strikes me about this post, is that we really have to question common ideas and “best practices,” as sometimes they may be a way to get through the chatter and present our message to the right audience, at the right time, with the right content.

One addendum I’d like to add, to the mobile discussion on his post: this is yet another reason to include some meaty text-only content in your email. Mobile readers doing triage will be able to tell quickly what it is about, so they can read it at more leisure on their desktop or laptop. But if you have an image-only message, and no alt-text or copy, they’re going to hit the trash button before the image even finishes loading.

iPhone App Marketing- Measures and Metrics

Saturday, 09. October 2010 by Anna Billstrom

I’m a huge fan of metrics, probably from 7 years doing email marketing and countless meetings staring up at an Excel spreadsheet, seeing lift in unexpected places, testing, and getting great results. I’ve seen it work- I drink the Kool-Aid.

In the iPhone world, we’re hamstrung by metrics that are limited and unserviceable. The iTunesConnect app gives us sales information, but as all marketers know, that’s the end game, not the funnel.

I’m going to implement a few test suites and write them up on this blog- this is more an announcement of an effort than any real juice (sorry readers). The test suites:

- MixPanel
- Flurry

iPhone App Marketing: Getting Visible

Friday, 08. October 2010 by Anna Billstrom

In the space of the last 24 hours, two different friends of mine asked, with hints of horror and mystery, “How do poeple *find* your iPhone app?” To the uninitiated, it seems like a big black box. In reality, it’s not too different from other internet marketing efforts.

The issue with iPhone apps is – obviously – the iTunes store. It’s a strength and a weakness. Strength, because consumers go 1 place to get the product. Weakness, because we, as developers and marketers, are at the whim of single, isolated metrics.

Three major areas- number of downloads, number and nature of reviews, average rating, and keywords- are the backbone to the iTunes store formula. But then there’s other more nebulous and vague areas, that are familiar to the seasoned marketer.

- Word of mouth
- Niche*
- Blogs/Social Networks (Twitter/Facebook)
- Name recognition
- Journalism, reviews, editor’s picks, etc.

The goals of the efforts above:
1) the iPhone app name recognition
2) Access and actionable clicks to the download page
3) Written reviews including ratings.

*Niche: friend’s soccer stats app came out when there were no soccer stats app in the store, and World Cup was just beginning. Also, he had translation efforts and a quick release. The competitive space in the iTunes store is arguably smaller than other markets and so it’d be irresponsible to notice that marketing is a non-issue with niche apps.

Viral vs. Social – What Is The Difference?

Thursday, 07. October 2010 by Anna Billstrom

Viral: when a marketing campaign takes on a life of its own.
Social: using social networking applications in your multi-channel (email/site/direct mail) campaign.

Viral example: almost anything that use a trope or motif that is embraced and reproduced by others, at no cost or expense by the company involved, such as, BlendTec

Social example: A marketing campaign that uses new social applications and existing social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. to further its goals. Example: Zappos.

I can’t tell you the number of times I have attended a conference seminar or read an article that was completely misnamed- not viral at all- and thus has been mis-used and abused in all of the time that has passed since it’s introduction. It’s not it’s fault, but the definition has been muddied.

Because I consider very specific social marketing being the use of social networks and social network tools- Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare, etc. Viral has actually been around for a while, back to Guerrilla Marketing days, back to the “pay someone’s toll and add your business card.” Social marketing could be very un-viral, hiring interns to tap away twitter messages all day. Viral marketing could avoid all uses of social network tools- see example of business card at the toll booth.

Well, the distinction is muddied because most, if not all, social marketing campaigns aspire to viral. We all want to be the BlendTec of [insert your industry here].

Key Metrics in iPhone App Marketing

Wednesday, 06. October 2010 by Anna Billstrom

I’ve been using the email and internet marketing methods towards a new arena: iPhone marketing. These metrics have been useful:

1. Rank in the iTunes Store
This is the number of times it’s been downloaded. I do it according to to the top search terms for my app: “learning French,” for example. Since marketing the app for a few weeks, we’ve risen from the last page to the second, of five pages. A small success, but nice to know it’s measurable.

2. Number of units sold.
Yes, this is more an operational number, but it’s still a good metric to view over time.

3. Hits to the landing page.
The iTunes store lets you post a landing page for more information about your product. This is also an interesting gage of interest.

4. Ratio of paid-to-free downloads
If you have a free version, the ratio of paid-to-free version can be interesting to track, over time.

5. General name stickiness.
I do a Google search- also how many times the keyword was used in retrieving pages on your site. Both are good ways to tell if the app is getting traction.

6. Twitter name follow count.
The number of follows on your twitter account (of same name as app).

Version Testing- in Apps

Tuesday, 05. October 2010 by Anna Billstrom

Any good email marketer knows- A/B version testing isn’t just a great way to determine what your customer responds to, but it’s a given and measurable way of using email to its nth abilities.

New entrepreneurs and app developers have the same issues- testing to find out which is the most effective UI, price, button, pitch, etc. I’ve built out a few of these sites with version testing, not thinking much of it. For a talk I gave Saturday, I built a more scaled down version as an example. It also includes some specific button or item testing. The code is open source and available to use, reuse, etc. Enjoy! Feel free to branch, fork, etc. and add on some other tests- just this morning an entrepreneur with Women2.0 Labs added on randomization. Great!
More prototyping resources

Welcome Gavin!

Thursday, 26. August 2010 by Anna Billstrom

Just want to welcome Gavin Handley, my former colleague and prize

-winning email marketer. I had the delight to work with him for approximately 3 years at my client, his employer, Kodak Gallery. Gavin’s got a keen awareness of client needs and great creative flair. We were talking yesterday about activity in the email space, and we both realized that it’d be great to open up the discussion on this blog. So I am really excited that he’s able, and interested, to contribute!

Gavin’s started off with his first post, “Engaging Newsletters.” Check it out!

Adventures in Email Marketing in European Business Review

Monday, 23. August 2010 by Anna Billstrom

The good news, is that one of our posts: Obama Campaign – Stephen Geer Dir. of Email was used in the European Business Review, in an article on the Obama campaign and social media. The bad news is that one of their links back to here didn’t work. One did! One didn’t. I also didn’t check comments on here for a while, so the fault lies in both courts.

The article – Obama and the Power of Social Media Technology by Jennifer Aacker and Victoria Chang. The Review has also disable the right button, so that I can’t copy and paste a snippet here. Still, glad we got the mention. And yes, the devil’s in the details.

It’s a great article, too!

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