Adventures in Mobile Marketing


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!

Oh No the Sky is Falling, or, the Demise of Email… to Search?

Tuesday, 02. December 2008 by Anna Billstrom

Interesting thread on FaceBook between a few folks, namely Sarah Brown of Guru of New & my social marketing talk partner, Janet Fouts of TatuDigital. The launch of the thread was a report on eMarketer generally showing a lack of responses over email and an uptick in paid search, which these gals likened to social marketing’s final glory day as the top marketing channel.

“Consumers Opening Fewer E-Mails…Fewer consumers worldwide are opening marketing e-mails, according to a November 2008 study by MailerMailer.”

“Online retailers worldwide surveyed in July and August 2008 by E-Consultancy and R.O.EYE said that e-mail was second only to paid search when it came to driving high volume. “

Paid search! Ow, that’s gotta hurt. (smile to all of my SEO pals). A couple of things about this report:

1. Image suppression is the elephant in the middle of the room. It dramatically affects metrics, and namely, open rates. With more and more people using webmail email accounts, this increases, and the effects increase. I know I’m a broken record on this, but until analysts figure out a new method of measurement, I’m going to suspect any report on open rates.

2 This study was done prior to the holiday season. The recent onset of holiday surge emailing has nothing to do with it.

3. But the main gist, for me, is not that consumers aren’t opening emails (if that is indeed what is happening, which we can’t tell for sure because of my point #1), but that retailers are sending to them. Retailers are still not filtering out inactive subscribers. And, that’s going to come back and bite them, not just by diminished returns and low ROI, but by missing the boat completely on lifecycle emails. Retailers are using a perfectly good medium- email- and using it to have a boring conversation. “Wanna buy this? Wanna buy this? Wanna buy this? Wanna buy this?” You see my point.

Folks on our thread were talking about how they “don’t open emails” anymore, and how useless newsletters are, for their own PR. To me it’s not the demise of email, but the profusion of poor marketing- retail treating email as a cheap 4-color printing shop- instead of what many companies are doing, which is sophisticated, tailored email messages to individuals, not mass bulk mailings. When I say “tailored,” I’m not biasing this to mom & pop’s versus corporations. The size of the company has very little to do with how they address communicating to their customer, I’ve found. An example of lifecycle emails: what to send your subscriber when they haven’t opened an email in ages. Don’t keep sending them an email every week (or day!), but in a few months, send them a “do you still want to be subscribed?” email. Examples, here.

As for trends in marketing channels- I’ve seen slide after slide showing social marketing trending upwards at astronomical rates. I haven’t quite seen the ROI meet email’s- and in a broader vertical than online retail. That, I think, remains to be seen as social marketing matures.

My sources: the presentation by a Julie Katz of Forrester last year at a StrongMail seminar. Also, MarketingSherpa analysts on the future of email, from their presentation at the Summit last February. I can’t reproduce here as they were all-rights, etc.

Manipulating Email Text to Leverage SEO

Friday, 04. January 2008 by Anna Billstrom

I’ve been getting renewed traffic to my article on Barack Obama’s text-only fundraising plea after his win in the Iowa Caucus. This morning, while reading Mark Brownlow’s update on the Email Standards Project today, Mark notes that even though we’ve got some ground with the ESP, images are still an issue.

One of the key elements of that fund-raising email was not that images weren’t there- it’s the extra dimensionality they chose to use with text. That email used SEO methodology. SEO is Search Engine Methodology. It’s understanding that your email will be seen in a web browser, probably by a mail provided by one of the major search engines that leverage keywords. So if your email says “Hilary this” and “Hilary that” you will get ads for Hilary Clinton on the right hand bar of your email. Instead, focus on a few key messages and reiterate them in different word choices- of course make your email as readable and succinct as possible- all of the usual good email marketing tips. But keep an attention to the fact that your text (not images) can be also re-purposed as search keyword criteria.

Images Off: Case Study, Macy’s

Tuesday, 13. November 2007 by Anna Billstrom

macys.jpg
macys_adwords.JPG
The issues here are:
- It’s not a good idea to repeat the same alt-tag for each image. The user can see each of these repetitions, so it looks clumsy and ill-planned. Each image should be a different message and incentive to motivate the user to load images, as well as basically describe the image.
- Because of the messaging in the alt-text, which is essentially the subject line, they didn’t take this opportunity to leverage adwords, thus the SEO is off the mark. When loaded in Gmail, the ads are largely irrelevant. (See ads to the right here) Macy’s loses the extra acreage they could have controlled.
- This message is 100% image. I know retailers like to do heavy image emails, but I’m wondering if they know how this effects deliverability? Including more text messages and integrating that into the entire design of the email increases the chances of deliverability, as well as making the email more coherent to users that have images suppressed.

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