The Last Word on August 2013

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

Must-read articles, posts & whitepapers

Deliverability Misconceptions: The Insider Break-down (Experian)

The Habits Of Highly Ineffective Email Marketers (MediaPost)

What’s an Email Hash, Anyway? (ClickZ)

Guest Expert: Alex Williams on 11 Things that Need to Die in Mobile Email (Silverpop)

Kagan: Court Hasn’t Really ‘Gotten To’ Email (Yahoo News)

Insightful & entertaining tweets

@marshallk: Knowing the moment that people open my emails feels like a super power. I need to learn to use it, like picking up buildings w/ bare hands.

@Advertising140: If your email still looks solid with images turned off…then you’ve done a good job. #emailmarketing

@markbrownlow: Test subject lines in admin emails, too. Produced >60% lift to confirmed subscriptions: http://t.co/JMwHJ6wmg1

@Jfalkenthal: A3: No one owns the community. A community can be facilitated & engaged with, but not owned. #etcafe

@JuntaeDeLane: I hear YouTube, Twitter &  Facebook are merging to form a super #SocialMedia site called YouTwitFace – Conan O’Brien

Great additions to the Email Swipe File pinboard

OfficeMax gift services footers from 2012 holiday season >> View the pin

Walmart welcome email from 2012 holiday season >> View the pin

Apple email sent on 11/20/12 >> View the pin

Home Depot email sent 2/7/11 >> View the pin

Noteworthy subject lines

Dunkin’ Donuts, 8/26 — School’s in session – recharge with a DD Card‏
Vera Bradley, 8/23 — Best-looking couples, class of 2014!
Hanna Andersson, 8/17 — Quick study in boys jeans: sturdy savings for one more week!
SkyMall, 8/1 — The 10 Things You Need for Back to School Success‏
ModCloth, 8/2 — Apt ‘apt.’ decor!
Coldwater Creek, 8/26 — Save on jeans + New Arrivals…Labor Day savings start NOW!
Sears, 8/26 — EXTRA 5-15% off online: Labor Day Kickoff savings‏
PersonalizationMall, 8/26 — 25% Off Grandparents Day Sale – This Week Only‏
Hanna Andersson, 8/28 — Halloween hannas are here!
Horchow, 8/21 — Autumn + Christmas: New finds, right now‏
Neiman Marcus, 8/17 — Men’s Fall Lookbook‏
Karmaloop, 8/23 — Fall Up! All New Jackets and Hoodies from HUF, Nixon, Crooks and Castles, Staple and more!
ModCloth, 8/29 — FLOTUS-worthy frocks.
Sephora, 8/30 — Too busy for the salon?
Michael’s, 8/24 — Rainbow Loom: As Seen on the Today Show‏
Pier 1 Imports, 8/24 — More ZZZs. Less $.
The Container Store, 8/23 — NEW! Q & A Feature‏
Etsy, 8/17 — E-I-E-I-O‏
The Container Store, 8/12 — ♫ Splish, Splash! ♫
Tiny Prints, 8/15 — 101 Reasons to Open this Email‏
Vera Bradley, 8/14 — Q. Best accessory? a) lanyards b) IDs c) wristlets …

Most popular posts on EmailMarketingRules.com last month

1. The Many Uses (and 2 Drawbacks) of Animated Gifs

2. Why You Shouldn’t Ask Your Gmail Subscribers to Re-Tab Your Emails

3. The One-Two Punch of Subject Lines and Preheaders

4. The Top 5 Passages from Email Marketing Rules

5. Things I Would and Would Not Apologize For

Download the Email Marketing Holiday Calendar InfographicDuring August, B2C brands sent each of their active subscribers 13.2 promotional emails on average, based on the anonymous tracking of more than 140 B2C brands, including retailers, restaurants, manufacturers, travel and hospitality, and nonprofits. That’s up 1% from the previous month.

Retailers sent each of their subscribers 16.2 promotional emails on average, down 2% from July. While it’s unusual for retail email frequency to dip in August, it’s not unheard of. That said, it is lower than I anticipated (see The Email Marketing Holiday Calendar).

National Retail Federation research indicated that back-to-school spending would be down this year, following a strong spending season last year, so it’s possible that retailers kept their email volume in check to match demand. It’s equally likely that retailers will shift some of their back-to-school messaging into September to capitalize on unforeseen needs—and peer-inspired needs—that arise during the early weeks of school.

For more on seasonal email marketing trends, check out Email Marketing Holiday Calendar 2013: September Preview & August Review.

Win a print copy of The Best of the Email Swipe FileExactTarget’s Email Swipe File on Pinterest now has more than 200 pins of inspiring emails and landing pages. To celebrate this milestone, we’re giving away 10 print editions of The Best of the Email Swipe File, which highlights the 20 examples from the pinboard that we most hope you’ll steal, test, and make your own.

Winning is easy. Just…

1) Visit the Email Swipe File on Pinterest and add a comment to the bottom of your favorite pin, explaining why you think it’s awesome.

2) Then let us know on Twitter with a tweet that includes a link to the pin and the hashtag #ETSwipe.

The first 10 people to tweet win!

10 Inspiring Holiday Header Email Designs

10 Holiday HeadersIn the first of our four Holiday Retail Design Tips videos, I talk about using your email design to send a clear signal to subscribers that it’s time for them to start their holiday gift buying. A big part of that is creating a holiday header—that is, adding seasonal imagery, messaging and links to your header and navigation bar.

To spark some ideas around all the design possibilities, I’m sharing the holiday header designs that 10 retailers used last holiday season, as well as their pre-holiday headers so you can see just how they were changed. For instance…

>> Read the entire post on the ExactTarget Blog

Read the entire post on the ExactTarget Blog

In our new report, Retail Touchpoints Optimized, we found that 16% of retailers did not honor opt-ins and another 9% took more than two weeks to honor opt-ins that took place via their homepages. Consumers who sign up for email via your website are consistently your most valuable subscribers, so these breakdowns and delays are very costly.

To help quantify the opportunity cost of these problems, we are going to compare the average monthly volume among 106 top online retailers to the number of emails they sent during the first 30 days following signup by various groups…

>> Read the entire post on the ExactTarget Blog

 

I’m Now Sharing on SlideShare and Google+

I'm now on SlideShare and Google+I’ve jumped on the SlideShare bandwagon. I’ve uploaded several presentations and infographics, as well as an exclusive except from Email Marketing Rules. I’m only sharing content that I produced or made significant contributions to, so if you’d like access to all the cross-channel goodness that ExactTarget produces, check out ExactTarget on SlideShare.

I’ve also somewhat reluctantly joined Google+. It seemed like it was finally time. If you’re on Google+, circle me—and let me know what you like best about it. Perhaps I have been unfairly biased against G+.

Of course, you can also find me on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. I hope to connect with you there as well.

Download Retail Touchpoints OptimizedRetailers face distinctive challenges throughout the customer lifecycle, but with every challenge comes an opportunity. Start using your marketing challenges to your brand’s advantage and break through the noise and clutter.

In Retail Touchpoints Optimized, we’ve broken down the retail customer’s lifecycle into five touchpoints—acquisition, onboarding, promotion, abandonment, and post-purchase—and explained cross-channel strategies to implement during each touchpoint. This report also contains new research on the data collected on retailers’ email opt-in forms, the content of retailers’ welcome emails, the number of emails sent to subscribers during their first 30 days post-opt-in, and much more.

>> Download Retail Touchpoints Optimized

Holiday Retail Design Tips #Video

Holiday Retail Design Tips VideosHoliday email campaign planning is in underway. To help you with your email designs this holiday season, Andrea Smith, Design Lead for Content Marketing & Research, and I share tips in these four short videos:

Create Holiday Email Templates

Retail stores deck out their stores with festive displays to signal to shoppers that it’s time to start buying gifts. In this video, I discuss how you can send that same buying signal with a holiday makeover of your email template and share a couple of examples from retailers last year.

>> Watch the video on the ExactTarget Blog

Send Mobile-Friendly Campaigns

If you’re not already employing mobile-friendly email campaigns, the upcoming holidays are a smart time to invest in and test out a more optimized approach. In this video, Andrea talks about targeting key shopping days for mobile-optimized design and shares past statistics to prove that it’s critical.

>> Watch the video on the ExactTarget Blog

Communicate Customer & Gift Services

While many of your subscribers will be on the hunt for great holiday deals, some will use your emails to stay on top of order-by deadlines, store hours, gift wrapping, and other service-oriented information. In this video, I talk about how best to provide this information and share three examples from retailers last holiday season.

>> Watch the video on the ExactTarget Blog

Focus on Simplicity

This year, it’s especially critical to focus on simplicity in email design as digital channels overwhelm consumers. In this video, Andrea shares three key ideas for keeping your messages short and helpful.

>> Watch the video on the ExactTarget Blog

MediaPostIn a risky move, more and more marketers are asking their Gmail subscribers to relocate their emails from their Promotions tab to their Primary over the past couple of weeks. I say “risky” because the decision to make this request is based on inadequate information and false logic. Let me explain…

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

Buy >> Email Marketing RulesOne of the great things about Kindle Books is that Amazon tells you the passages in your book that have been highlighted by readers the most. I was fascinated—and very pleased—by the passages that readers are finding most important and wanted to share them here.

The 5 most highlighted passages of Email Marketing Rules:

5. “Relevance means sending subscribers emails they routinely find valuable or engaging.” (Tweet This)

4. “The key is to avoid a campaign-by-campaign mentality when looking at data, because that can cause you to misunderstand how subscribers are reacting to your overall messaging and to unintentionally make campaign-specific decisions that reduce the overall effectiveness of your email program.” (Tweet This)

3. “The control that consumers have over these new channels is increasing the expectation of control that they have when using email.” (Tweet This)

2. “Marketers earn access to inboxes through permission and maintain it by sending valuable emails.” (Tweet This)

1. “Best practices are those practices that generally produce the best results or minimize risk.” (Tweet This)

The three top passages are all from the introduction, which you can read on Amazon using their LOOK INSIDE feature by clicking on the book cover.

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