2014 Email Marketing Holiday Calendar

Download the 2014 Email Marketing Holiday CalendarThe slow buildup of the holiday season has already begun and many marketers are busy blueprinting their plans for the critical months of November and December. We want to help!

Our 2014 Email Marketing Holiday Calendar contains a sleigh-full of information to help you plan, stay on trend, and ensure you’re sending the right holiday messaging at the right time. Month by month we discuss trends, give you planning advice, link to example campaigns, and share important stats.

>> Download the calendar

Put a Dollar in the #EmailSwearJar

Email Swear JarEvery other channel wishes they were email. It’s used by nearly everyone. People begin and end their days with it. They carry it with them wherever they go on their smartphones. It’s one-to-one. It can be automated. It’s fairly trackable. People overwhelming prefer to get commercial messages via email than any other channel. And it has the highest ROI of all marketing channels.

So it’s no surprise that over the past decade upstart channels like RSS, social media, and mobile have come along and tried to take a shot at email in order to make a statement. “Email is dead” has been their rallying cry.

You can’t really blame them for declaring themselves heir apparent and they succeeded in putting us on the defensive for a while. But this meme has become silly, hollow, and a transparent cry for attention (and shameless linkbaiting). Email usage is beyond healthy. The emergence of new digital channels has only strengthened email. And email service providers have recently been bought for billions of dollars by the titans of technology. Email continues to climb the evolutionary ladder.

Taking the bait and engaging in the “Email is dead” meme gives it a false feel of validity that is wholly undeserved. So I pledge not to mention this meme again and I hope you will do the same. Think of “Email is dead” as a bad word, and it’s not right to repeat bad words even when someone else said them first.

If you slip up, consider publicly acknowledging your mistake by simply tweeting or posting, “I just put a dollar in the #EmailSwearJar.” No need to confess with any specifics.

The #EmailSwearJar also works when you accidentally perpetuate other falsehoods, misconceptions, and evils about email marketing by saying things like “batch and blast,” “email blast,” “set it and forget it,” and anything related to “buying a list.”

And yes, ironic and sarcastic uses of these phrases count against you, because some people won’t understand that you’re joking and they will get the worst kinds of ideas about email.

If you’re in an office with lots of marketers, feel free to create a real Email Swear Jar. When it fills up, do something with the money that improves email marketing like attending a conference, signing up for a course, buying books for new employees, or supporting a worthy cause.

I hope you’ll join me in raising the level of discourse about our channel and our industry. Stand tall, email marketers!

The Common Thread

View all of Chad's MediaPost columnsThree of the most important trends in email marketing right now are personalization, triggered messaging, and rendering techniques. These were the trends that we led off with in our annual Best of the Email Swipe File report this year, and reader reaction has confirmed that we were on the right track.

Since releasing the report, the repins and likes on Pinterest of the emails we highlighted under Advanced Personalization, Triggered Sophistication, and Smart Rendering have significantly outpaced those for the emails highlighted in our other two categories, Unique Voice and Inspired Fundamentals.

However, when we looked at the individual selections that were the trending the most with readers, there was a clear pattern. See if you can figure out what the common thread is among our four most popular selections, each of which was in a different category…

>> Read my entire Email Insider column on MediaPost.com

Crowd Favorites from the Swipe FileWe pin tons of inspiring digital marketing examples to our Swipe File pinboards on Pinterest every month. And each month you tell which ones most inspired you by repinning and liking them.

Here are your favorite pins among the ones we uploaded last month:

The Email Swipe File’s crowd favorite was…

Mini USA >> a re-engagement campaign that oozes brand personality >> View the pin

>> Browse the Email Swipe File

The Social Swipe File’s crowd favorite was…

Mazda Canada >> 4-month-long Instagram campaign using grid view >> View the pin

>> Browse the Social Swipe File

The Mobile Swipe File’s crowd favorite was…

Major League Baseball >> Uses iBeacon to deliver discounts and alerts based on location in ballpark >> View the pin

>>Browse the Mobile Swipe File

The Audience Growth Swipe File’s crowd favorite was…

Wendy’s >> drive-thru sign used to drive social engagement >> View the pin

>> Browse the Audience Growth Swipe File

Help determine this month’s crowd favorites by repinning and liking the Swipe File pins that inspire you most.

Infographic: Mobile-Friendly Disconnects

When it comes to making their emails more mobile-friendly, marketers have been making considerable progress. I’ve been tracking nearly 160 B2C brands and the percentage of them sending mobile-friendly emails rose to 41% as of early June, up from just 22% in October of last year.

However, faster progress is needed—and I’ve been rather surprised at how uneven the progress has been at times. For instance, in June, for the first time I looked at the landing pages that were used for the primary call-to-action in brands’ emails and found some serious gaps, opportunities, and disconnects. We highlight these in this infographic slide deck.

ETMC-ESFwebinar-Social-350x265Join me and Andrea Smith, ExactTarget’s Design Lead of Content Marketing & Research, on July 24 at 2:00 p.m. (EDT) as we discuss the five critical email design and strategy trends that guided our selection of the 20 emails in the 2014 Best of the Email Swipe File.

We’ll share research and discuss how savvy marketers are tapping into the power of these five trends, which are: (1) a growing need to personalize content, (2) a greater sophistication for triggered messages, (3) rendering that’s optimized for the platform, situation, person, and time of open, (4) a unique voice that’s more helpful than promotional, and (5) a continued evolution of the fundamentals.

>> Register for this free webinar

The Last Word on June 2014

The Last WordA roundup of email marketing articles, posts, tweets and examples you might have missed last month…

Must-read articles, posts & whitepapers

CASL’s Impact on Email Marketers (ClickZ)

Blacklists: The Ultimate Guide (Return Path)

All Senders Get Blacklisted, But Smart Ones Manage Risk (MediaPost)

Email Marketing: Browse abandonment campaign drives more than $300,000 in additional sales for menswear site (MarketingSherpa)

Insightful & entertaining tweets

@industrycanada: Fact: If you have consent, you can keep sending #emailmarketing messages after July 1. Details: http://t.co/qMUzNzwJ7J #CASL

@jeremywaite: “Permission Marketing = Measuring how many people would complain if they didn’t receive your message”. Seth Godin http://t.co/EEae2noqv5

@mparkerbyrd: Oh lord. May the odds be ever in our favor. “Fire OS features a robust Outlook e-mail experience.” #emailmarketing

@becskr: It only takes one bad email in financial services to destroy trust.

@alexcwilliams: Not a recommended subject line approach. http://t.co/gt1lPXeXAb

@idiot: In case you were wondering what Big Data is: http://t.co/16BRxYJlEK

Great additions to the Swipe File pinboards

Piperlime mobile-friendly “top 10” email sent 3/4/14 >> View the pin

Mini USA re-engagement email sent 5/2014 >> View the pin

Vera Bradley email series tied to blog content sent 4/24–5/7 >> View the pin

American Apparel animated gif email sent on 10/3/12 >> View the pin

Noteworthy subject lines

FansEdge, 6/26 — USA Advances! Refresh Your Gear Now!
JCPenney, 6/26 — USA advances! Celebrate with extra savings
Lenovo, 6/25 — Bringing the heat like Portugal. Too soon?
Peet’s Coffee & Tea, 6/9 — Kick Off the World Cup with Brazil Yellow Bourbon + Father’s Day Gifts: Las Day FREE Shipping to California
Pier 1 Imports, 6/20 — Find everything you need to celebrate America’s birthday in style.
Walmart, 6/20 — Tablets from $69 + more budget-boosting tech for college.
Kate Spade, 6/4 — hey daddio! the jack spade father’s day gift guide is here
Under Armour, 6/8 — We’re Making Father’s Day Easy For You
Furniture.com, 6/8 — Our Top 6 Picks for Father’s Day
Nikon Store, 6/4 — 3 Great Deals for 1 Great Dad
Carnival Cruise Lines, 6/9 — The Gift Dad Deserves… Special Offer Inside!
J.Crew, 6/2 — Open this or we’ll tell your father
Horchow, 6/2 —FREE $500 gift card? Open NOW — you only have 2 days!
LegoShop, 6/3 — FREE Exclusive Balloon Cart with your purchase!
Clinique, 6/8 — Special preview for our best customers.
Michaels, 6/9 — Get Your Photos Out of Your Phone & Into Our Frames
Ann Taylor, 6/2 — 3 Ways To Wear Our Flirty Skirt…
Adidas, 6/8 — Bring Your Individualism. Break the Rules. Be Originals.
Monterey Bay Aquarium, 6/26 — #CephalopodWeek: Join in the Fun!
Express, 6/9 — Want to see the party dress everyone’s wearing?
J.Crew, 6/6 — 17 things for your beach bag
Lands’ End, 6/10 — Beach Living + up to 40% off = Paradise
Pier 1 Imports, 6/16 — Splash some color on the table for a summer pool party.
Victoria’s Secret, 6/3 — Because your closet asked (sale: up to 50% off!)
Lululemon, 6/2 — spiders, grilling, and driving lessons…
Threadless, 6/9 — A is for AC/DC, B is for Bob Marley, and C is for…

New posts on EmailMarketingRules.com

A DEFCON Guide to Responding to Email Marketing Mistakes

4th Swipe File Pinboard Launched: The Mobile Swipe File

COI or COIL: Every Opt-In Should Be Confirmed

Join Me for an #ETcafe about the 2014 Best of the Email Swipe File

Crowd Favorites from the Swipe File: May 2014

The Last Word on May 2014

DEFCONConsidering how fast-moving, high-volume, and high-reach the email channel is, mistakes should kind of be expected. While I hope your luck holds out, it’s best to have disaster planning in place—just in case—so you can react quickly in the event of an error.

It’s best to start by defining possible mistakes and then laying out the appropriate response, recognizing that every mistake doesn’t warrant a response—and that sending an apology email is just one of many possible responses.

I’ve matched up a variety of email misfortunes with defense readiness condition (DEFCON) alert states to kick start your disaster planning:

DEFCON 5: Shake It Off
DEFCON 4: Triage on the Backend
DEFCON 3: Targeted Resend
DEFCON 2: Email Apology
DEFCON 1: Full-Spectrum Apology

For all the details on how to best react to certain kinds of mistakes…

>> Read the entire post on the ExactTarget Blog

Explore the Mobile Swipe FileWe’re proud to announce the launch of the Mobile Swipe File, which will share inspiring, novel, and interesting mobile marketing campaigns—whether it’s SMS, MMS, push, or a mobile app. The new pinboard already has 31 examples of great mobile marketing.

>> Explore the Mobile Swipe File

The Mobile Swipe File joins our other three Swipe File pinboards, which collectively are home to nearly 500 awesome examples of digital marketing:

>> The Email Swipe File

>> The Social Swipe File

>> The Audience Growth Swipe File

We hope these examples inspire you to explore new ideas, test new executions, and find effective new ways to express your brand’s voice.

View all of Chad's MediaPost columnsNo, this is not a rant in favor of universal usage of double or confirmed opt-in (COI), although it certainly has its place. I’ve been a long-time supporter of single opt-in as “good enough” for most permissioning scenarios—especially when there’s active consent—and nothing has changed my view on that.

However, risks around opt-ins are rising. Typo spam traps and typos in general pose serious deliverability risks, especially to brands that capture email addresses offline through verbal or handwriting transcription. Several brands have been stung by Spamhaus in recent years because of typo spam traps getting on their email lists through poorly executed in-store email capture.

Marketers’ use of passive consent doesn’t help either, particularly when that consent is buried in the fine print of sweepstakes rules or terms and conditions statements. It’s well established that consumers don’t read these and that including opt-in consents in there provides brands with no protection from spam complaints.

Because of these risks, it seems reasonable to…

>> Read my entire Email Insider column on MediaPost.com


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