Posted on December 4, 2019
When faced with a problem, it’s easy to get sidetracked into focusing on superficial metrics or jump to conclusions, especially when it involves what appears to be a quick fix. Instead, marketers need to look beyond the obvious and easy, and ask deeper questions about email performance like:
- What’s the core driver of the issue?
- Are there multiple issues at work here?
- What levers can I pull to mitigate or accelerate what’s happening?
- What’s the best way to test my theories to come to a clear course of action?
In this post by Clint Kaiser, Head of Strategic Services for Oracle Marketing Cloud Consulting, he breaks down some common email performance problems where it’s easy to misidentify the symptoms as the core problem rather than asking more questions and properly identifying the root cause. For instance, he discusses how to diagnose problems like…
- “My open rates are bad and getting worse.”
- “My click rates are bad and getting worse.”
- “Inbox providers keep blocking or bulking my emails.”
- “I have a lot of never-actives.”
For Clint’s recommendations on how to approach these email performance problems…
Posted on November 26, 2019
Everyone wants more subscribers who are regularly converting. While going out and attracting new, high-value subscribers is one path that every brand should explore, it’s also the most expensive. Thankfully, there are many other paths open to marketers to achieve their goals when they take a step-by-step approach to maximizing their email audience potential.
One of those approaches is to leverage the email addresses you have on file and try to get more of those folks to opt in for marketing emails. With an email address serving as a means of customer identification across much of the digital landscape, when you already know a person’s email address, it’s much easier to reach them than someone who hasn’t shared their email address with you yet. Mining your “un-reachable” email subscriber list can reveal several opportunities to engage these people and grow your business, both via the email channel and other channels.
In this post, Oracle Consulting’s Kaiti Gary explains how to evaluate your email addresses on file so you can identify the people who are the most promising candidates to approach. She then explains some of the direct and indirect ways you can reach these subscribers and try to get them to opt-in to receive your marketing emails.
For all the details on who to grow your email list by mining your non-opted-in addresses…
Posted on November 20, 2019
Video is a steadily growing part of all marketing—especially short-form video. Make the most of this content by promoting it to your email subscribers. Along with seven other digital marketing experts, I recently shared my No. 1 tip for using video as part of an email marketing strategy with video production company Lemonlight.
My advice was to be sure to use a play button overlay and to explore animation, saying:
“Among Oracle Marketing Cloud Consulting’s clients, we see them promoting video content in their emails through static images with play button overlays and–increasingly–through animated gifs and CSS animation. While animation files can get heavy, the thoughtful selection of frames plus some file compression can create great video promos.”
As Gareth Bull of Bulldog Digital Media and Jordie van Rijn point out that embedding video content inside an email still has limited support and isn’t ready for prime time. While I agree, I still hold out hope that this technical challenge will be overcome. After all, there’s considerable incentive for inbox providers to keep their users in the inbox, plus doing so reduces barriers to viewing videos, which helps senders. So it’s a win-win for inbox providers and marketers.
For everyone’s advice on using video in email campaigns…
Posted on November 19, 2019
Everyone wants more subscribers who are regularly converting. While there are many paths open to marketers to achieve this goal, one of the most important is having email signup forms and processes that are as friction-free as possible, says Oracle Marketing Cloud Consulting’s Kaiti Gary.
In this post, she breaks down all the major elements that go into creating high-performing, low-friction email signup forms, including…
- Casting a wide net, so you have email signup forms in all the places where high-quality subscribers gather
- Communicating the benefits of signing up, because no one is excited to “Sign up for email” or “Join our email list.”
- Making it easy, because even people who are interested are in a hurry and can get distracted or deterred by forms that are confusing or any longer than they need to be
In addition to exploring each of those issues in detail, Kaiti doesn’t lose sign of the need to make email signup forms compliant and safe. She talks about ensuring that you’re following laws, like Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL), the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2020. She also discusses how to ensure you’re protecting your sender reputation.
For all the details on how to optimize your email signup forms…
Posted on November 12, 2019
Because it gives you a way to determine whether your marketing audience prefers version A of something or version B, A/B testing is powerful. And increasingly it’s easy to do. Sometimes it seems so easy that we don’t even realize that we’ve completely wasted our time, missed out on golden opportunities, or—worst of all—confidently come to the wrong conclusions. The truth is that A/B testing is only powerful if you do it right and avoid the many pitfalls that can undermine your testing.
In this post, 10 of Oracle Marketing Cloud Consulting’s experts share their insights and experiences on avoiding A/B testing’s many potential pitfalls
Here’s detailed advice on how to best accomplish all of that and avoid A/B testing’s many potential pitfalls by…
- Focusing on the most impactful elements
- Not just testing the easy things
- Not forgetting about your target audience when testing
- Understanding whether you’re testing to learn or testing to win
- Understanding whether you’re testing to find a new local maximum or a new global maximum
- Having a clear hypothesis
- Being clear about what a victory will mean
- Getting buy-in to make changes based on the results of your A/B tests
- Testing one element at a time
- Using test audience segments of similar subscribers
- Using test audience segments of active subscribers
- Using a large enough audience to reach statistical significance
- Using holdout groups, when appropriate
- Choosing a victory metric that’s aligned with the goal of your email
- Not ignoring negative performance indicators
- Not dismissing inconclusive tests
- Verifying the winner of the test
- Recording your A/B testing results
- Creating an A/B testing calendar
For a detailed discussion of each of these pitfalls…
Posted on November 7, 2019
Must-read articles, posts & reports
How not to get people to open your emails (Email Geeks Slack)
Pay: 0% to 100% in Gmail? Yes, It Happened, and Here’s How! (OnlyInfluencers)
Insightful & entertaining tweets
— Kait Creamer (@KaitCreamer) October 16, 2019
— ryan – 🍁🏳️🌈💌 (@kokuou) October 16, 2019
— SparkPost (@SparkPost) October 30, 2019
Noteworthy subject lines
Zales, 10/15 – Make It Meaningful: Design the Perfect Gift 🎁
Home Depot, 10/24 – Special Values Inside | Vote: How do you do the holidays?
Macy’s, 10/30 – Holiday gift ideas so good, we had to share now
Banana Republic, 10/29 — ✨ Introducing Holiday 2019 ✨
Zales, 10/17 – It’s Poptober! Are You Ready to Pop the Question?
Michaels, 10/30 – Not Ready for Fright Night!? 👻 Get Easy Last-Minute Costumes & More!
Petco, 10/24 — 🕷️ Nothing ScArIeR than pests…
Quiksilver, 10/11 – Congrats Jeremy Flores – Winner Of The 2019 Quiksilver Pro France
Dick’s Sporting Goods, 10/15 – Washington Is Going to the WORLD SERIES!
Saks Fifth Avenue, 10/9 – What to wear to all your fall activities
Nordstrom, 10/24 – It’s sweater season
Banana Republic, 10/2 – Fall in love with new turtlenecks
Express, 10/2 – Blazer + turtleneck + utility pants = 💯
Express, 10/9 – COLOR CRUSH: 😍 💎 Jewel tones
Williams Sonoma, 10/8 — 🥐 Made by Hand, Shipped for Free
Lane Bryant, 10/24 — 👖 👖 👖 FINAL HOURS! 👖 👖 👖
Kohl’s, 10/15 – Hello, new shoes! (It’s the Semi-Annual Shoe Event) 👟👢👞 👠
Foot Locker, 10/15 – Fleece of mind 🧘
Marshalls, 10/15 – It’s coat season!
Nordstrom, 10/15 – The 3 shoe trends to wear right now
Target, 10/2 – Revive a room during our home SALE.
Petco, 10/15 – 30% off to stay while we fetch
Olive Garden, 10/3 — $1 Kids Meal = Family night out for less!
VS PINK, 10/15 – FREE BEANIE & SCARF + 25% off with your STUDENT ID!
Victoria’s Secret, 10/15 – A bra so Incredible, it sold out in a week!
Foot Locker, 10/23 – Nike Kyrie 5 🍍 launches on 10.24
Gap, 10/13 – Hint: codes GAPFALL & WARMUP are inside
Saks Fifth Avenue, 10/28 – On the download: enjoy 15% off when you shop on our app
Express, 10/2 – This unlikely combo will turn you into a print-mix master
Michaels, 10/9 – Maker Spotlight! Learn How the Makers You Love #MakeItWithMichaels
Victoria’s Secret, 10/2 – The best things come in pairs…
New posts on EmailMarketingRules.com
Posted on November 6, 2019
Your email from name or sender name is like the logo on your storefront. You’d never lightly change your brand name. You want to be instantly recognizable, whether it’s from the curb or in the inbox. You also want to fully leverage all the investments you’ve made in your brand—which your brand name and logo represent—via advertising, marketing, store environments, and customer experiences.
While you’d surely hesitate to change your brand name, most companies wouldn’t hesitate to hang signs in their windows or big banners on their store facade to communicate what’s happening in their store right now. This is essentially the opportunity that brands have with email from name extensions.
This opportunity exists because most brands’ names don’t take up all of the characters available to them in the friendly from field in the inbox. For example, Gmail displays approximately 20 characters of the from name, and the iPhone’s native email client displays 20-25 characters of a from name, depending on the day of the week that the email was delivered and when the recipient reads the envelope content. So if your brand name is, say, 10 characters long, then you have a solid 10 characters left that you can use to say something else.
Not sure what to use those extra characters to say? We have some suggestions based on what we’ve seen brands do and what we’ve done with our clients…
Posted on October 29, 2019
Have you ever taken a step back and looked at your own shopping habits and tried to understand how they impact the way you evaluate digital marketing performance at your company? I know I’ve developed a tendency to stop at checkout—no matter what website I am on—and search the internet for any available coupons, says Peter Briggs, Director of Strategic Services at Oracle Marketing Cloud Consulting.
From what he has seen with some of our clients, this is a common behavior among online shoppers. If you’re not careful, it’s also a behavior that can wreak havoc on your channel attribution, hurt your profitability, foster price-sensitivity, and undermine the integrity of your customer data, he explains.
Consider This Scenario…
Your email marketing team sends a perfect email with highly relevant and engaging content. The subscriber clicks through and puts one of the email’s featured items in their cart and starts the checkout process. Then they see a ‘COUPON’ field and realize their email didn’t have an offer code, so they decide to search online for one. They leave their cart and find a coupon code on an affiliate network like RetailMeNot, CouponCabin, or DealCatcher. They then click through from that link and apply the coupon and complete the checkout…
Posted on October 22, 2019
“Let’s be good at what we do, but let’s be good, too,” said Lisa Harmon Stephens, Oracle Marketing Cloud Consulting’s Head of Creative Services, to conclude her locknote presentation at Litmus Live Boston earlier this month. Her presentation was about Servant Marketing, which is marketing that puts customers’ needs first, rather than the needs of your business.
One way to gauge whether you’re practicing Servant Marketing is to look at the calls-to-action and themes of your most recent 20 marketing emails. In what percentage of them is the primary CTA “Buy Now” or some variation? How many of them lead with product content? On the other hand, how many of them lead with or contain educational content, value-based content, community content, or any other content that’s not explicitly selling?
Another way to measure how you’re doing is to see how many times you refer to your company or say “I” or “we” compared to how many times you refer to your customer and say “you.” Do you just talk about yourself and your products, or do you put yourself in your customers’ shoes and talk about their needs, challenges, and opportunities?
The endless drumbeat of a “me, me, me” marketing strategy is endemic among traditional-minded product companies, whereas service-oriented companies tend to have a lot less trouble seeing things from their customer’s point of view. Whatever you’re selling, you need to adopt a service mindset, says Stephens.
Stephens may have closed out Litmus Live Boston talking about Servant Marketing, but many of the other presenters also touched on the need for brands to focus more on serving and on customer-centricity. It was the biggest theme of the conference by far and it was woven into presentations that covered a wide range of topics…
Posted on October 15, 2019
Email deliverability is constantly changing, as inbox providers adjust their filtering algorithms, blacklists tweak their listing criteria, and consumers evolve their definition of spam. That’s why even the best email marketing programs suffer deliverability problems sometimes.
To help you avoid trouble, the email deliverability practice at Oracle Marketing Cloud (OMC) Consulting shares the latest news and tips for what to watch out for in our latest Email Deliverability Quarterly.
In this post, Clea Moore and Brian Sullivan explain how the following news and events will impact marketers’ email deliverability:
- £183m GDPR Fine Levied against British Airways
- Google Commits to BIMI Pilot
- Microsoft Evaluating AMP for Email in Outlook.com
- Gmail Enables Image Blocking to Thwart Tracking
- Cox Not Allowing New Email Addresses
For the full discussion of each of these issues…