Email Design Podcast 78 - The State of Email DeliverabilityIn this episode of The Email Design Podcast, I talk with host Kevin Mandeville about the findings of our 2017 State of Email Deliverability ebook, which is the latest in our State of Email Survey research series. The report addresses the email marketing behaviors that improve and harm deliverability.

During this 48-minute podcast, we discuss some of the major findings of the report, including:

  • The prevalence of being blocked and blacklisted
  • The effects of using various subscriber acquisition sources
  • The merits of single vs. double opt-in practices
  • The adoption of email authentication, list-unsubscribe, and encryption
  • The use of email address verification, bounce management, and spam filter testing
  • The adoption of re-engagement, win-back, and re-permission campaigns
  • The use of deliverability monitoring and supplemental analytics

Our discussion provides insights and context not provided in the ebook.

>> Listen to the podcast on the Litmus Blog

>> Listen on SoundCloud

The POGLE Media ModelEmail is the worst and most frustrating kind of owned media—because it’s not owned media at all. Email is like a pet dog. He doesn’t behave just because you “own” him.

If you think of email marketing as owned media, chances are that you struggle. Perhaps you rail against Outlook messing up your email designs. Perhaps you curse Gmail for not delivering your emails. Perhaps you get angry when people who opted in to get your emails then mark them as spam. Or perhaps you bristle at the thought of suppressing emails to subscribers who haven’t opened your emails in years. After all, they gave you permission. You own those email addresses.

It’s difficult to succeed with email marketing if you think of it like catalogs, direct mail, store signage, and other owned media. While brands create the content of their email messages and develop the audience that their emails are sent to, they don’t control the platform used to distribute that message. Inbox providers and email users control the platform.

That said, if you’ve always thought of email marketing as owned media, you can be forgiven. After all, if email isn’t owned media, then where does it fit into the paid-owned-earned (POE) media model? It’s not paid, because brands are not paying to reach an audience developed by a third-party. And it’s not earned, because the brand is creating the message, not consumers.

The problem is that the POE media model just can’t accommodate all modern marketing channels. While it did a good job of describing traditional media, it can’t account for most digital channels, which have generally been stuffed awkwardly into the owned media bucket

We need new language and a new framework to describe marketers’ various channel activities to bring greater clarity to the marketing mix. Say hello to the POGLE media model…

>> Read the full post on the Litmus blog

Being blocked and blacklisted should be far less common than they are today, when 34% of marketers have been blocked and nearly 15% have been blacklisted in the past 12 months, according to Litmus’ 2017 State of Email Deliverability report.

After examining the subscriber acquisition, permission, inactivity management, and other practices of more than 3,500 marketers, we’ve identified the root causes of poor inbox placement. We’ve also identified the half-measures marketers take to avoid addressing those root causes.

During this webinar, Research Director Chad White and deliverability expert and Litmus Product Manager Jay Brangiforte will discuss the various ways that marketers are trying to improve their deliverability and which ones work best.

The Root Causes of Poor Email Deliverability
Sept. 28, 2017
10:00am PT / 1:00pm ET / 5:00pm GMT

Can’t make it on Sept. 28? Don’t worry. Register and you’ll receive the recording of the webinar.

>> Register for the free webinar

Email Marketing’s Gender Pay Gap

The Size of the Gender Pay Gap in Email MarketingAt $68,000, the average salary for full-time workers involved in email marketing in the U.S. is comfortably above the median household income in America of $59,039 in 2016. Men and women don’t share equally in the good fortunes and strong health of the email marketing industry, according to Litmus’ State of Email Survey of more than 3,500 marketers.

Women earn just 89 cents for every dollar men earn in the email marketing industry ($65,000 for women vs. $73,000 for men).

In order to compare apples to apples, we examine the factors that shrink and exacerbate the gender pay gap, including:

  • Employee age
  • Employee experience
  • Company industry (e.g., B2C, B2B, etc.)
  • Company size
  • Company location

For the full results of our research,…

>> Read the full post on the Litmus blog

How to Fix CAN-SPAM So It Doesn’t Further Harm US BusinessesCAN-SPAM is woefully out of step with subscribers’ current behaviors, email service providers’ current capabilities, inbox providers’ current demands, and the laws of other countries. In truth, if a brand only clears the low bar set by CAN-SPAM, they are pretty much guaranteed to be blacklisted and blocked by inbox providers. While on the surface, lax regulations look like an advantage to American brands, it’s really setting them up for failure.

The Federal Trade Commission is currently reviewing CAN-SPAM. Here are seven improvements to CAN-SPAM that are most urgently needed to put U.S. businesses on the path to email marketing success and make all inboxes safer…

  1. Make it clear that opt-outs should be honored “as soon as possible” and narrow the deadline for honoring opt-out requests to 3 business days.
  2. Dictate unsubscribe practices more clearly.
  3. Expand the definition of transactional emails to include non-promotional post-purchase emails.
  4. Require CAPTCHA on all open email signup forms.
  5. Mandate authentication and in-transit encryption.
  6. Require consent or an existing business relationship.
  7. Stipulate that prolonged non-response is the legal equivalent of opting out.

>> Read the entire post on the Litmus blog

The Last Word on August 2017

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

Must-read articles, posts & reports

2017 A-Z of Email Marketing Guide (SendGrid)

Interactive Email: The Guide to Earth-Shattering Inbox Experiences (Delivra)

3 step guide to email-friendly MEGA-GIFs (Email Design Review)

Rapportive founder’s new startup Superhuman is what Gmail would be if built today (TechCrunch)

Insightful & entertaining tweets

Noteworthy subject lines

NFLshop, 8/31 — We Are All #HoustonStrong
Tiny Prints, 8/17 — 2017 Holiday Collection Sneak Peek
Pier 1 Imports, 8/17 — Great pumpkins!, 8/31 — How do you celebrate Labor Day? With these new stickers, I guess | Fall Sale up to 40% Off
Victoria’s Secret PINK, 8/1 — Be bold: NEW Back-To-Campus Collection
ToysRUs, 8/6 — Time’s Running Out On Our BIGGEST Back-to-School Deals!
eBags, 8/13 — Raise your hand if you still need a backpack!
Michaels, 8/14 — PLANNER SALE (Just In Time for Class)
Threadless, 8/17 — Resist!
The North Face, 8/16 — Walls Are Meant For Climbing
P&G everyday, 8/17 —Always: Keep Going #LikeAGirl
MAC Cosmetics, 8/26 — M•A•C Celebrates Women’s Equality Day
ModCloth, 8/26 — To all you AMAZING ladies out there…
Neiman Marcus, 8/31 — Sneak peek: Coach x Selena Gomez
Jos. A. Bank, 8/22 — Finally, a Dress Shirt You Can Flex In
Clinique, 8/13 — Quick: Try this for tired eyes.
Clinique, 8/26 — The 2-minute glow-boosting makeup technique anyone can do.
Jetsetter, 8/13 — The Ultimate Travel Bucket List: 10 Trips You Have to Take
P&G everyday, 8/16 — Make the final checks on your summer bucket list
AutoAnything, 8/1 —5 Easy Enhancements For Your Next Road Trip
Levi’s, 8/21 — We’re all about the bandana. Here’s how we wear it.
REI, 8/11 — How Does Alaska’s Backcountry Look to a Mountain Pilot?
The North Face, 8/6 — Crush your commute, not your gear
Threadless, 8/16 — Give your ideas an online store.
Sony Electronics, 8/18 — Electrify Your Music | Listen to it with EXTRA BASS
Petco, 8/1 — Keep calm and pet-parent on.
ThinkGeek, 8/21 — Cry havoc and let loose the pranks of office warfare!
ModCloth, 8/22 — Something stylish this way comes…
UncommonGoods, 8/21 — Rocket Ships & Cats in Shoes
MAC Cosmetics, 8/3 — Get the Basic Bitch Look! Available In-Store & Online
Subway Restaurants, 8/1 — Foootloooong.
Wayfair, 8/26 — FACT: 100% of these rooms have $0 shipping over $49
Lands’ End, 8/22 — Three quarter sleeves, 100% style and 40% off
Olive Garden, 8/18 — 1 of 4: Meet our Shrimp Scampi
Nike, 8/15 — Our 5 Favorite Bags for Any Sport or Style
J.Crew, 8/6 — Our travel expert’s 12 favorite new arrivals
Saks Fifth Avenue, 8/13 — Loeffler Randall’s designer shares her fall favorites
Garnet Hill, 8/6 — “So in love with these sheets!”

New posts on

Outstanding Email Marketing Examples of Subject Lines

Burnt Hand Deliverability Practices

4 Tips on How to Avoid These 8 Embarrassing Preview Text Mistakes

Outstanding Email Marketing Examples of Defensive Design

The Last Word on July 2017

Hierarchy of Subscriber NeedsCreating relevance is the key to boosting email marketing performance, return on investment, and deliverability. However, it can be confusing and daunting to craft a plan that increases the relevance of your email messages.

We have a four-part framework that will set you on the right path. It’s called the Hierarchy of Subscriber Needs, and it lays out the requirements to create email experiences that are:

  1. Respectful
  2. Functional
  3. Valuable
  4. Remarkable

Each need builds upon the next, with each successive need being more difficult to fulfill. After all, you can’t hope to create remarkable or even valuable email experiences if your emails don’t function correctly and you’re not securing permission.

Let’s take a look at each layer of the Hierarchy of Subscriber Needs in turn.

>> Read the full post on the Litmus blog

The goal of subject lines is often misunderstood; its influence underestimated; and its relationship with preview text ignored. But even when you understand that the goal of a subject line is to generate openers who are likely to convert, that subject lines can drive offline action, and that preview text is important, there’s no secret formula for subject line and preview text success.

However, there is a list of ingredients that are easily remembered as the CUE-DIVE Method. As I discuss in the 3rd Edition of Email Marketing Rules, CUE-DIVE classifies subject line and preview text content as being:

  • Contextual
  • Urgent
  • Emotional
  • Detailed
  • Intriguing
  • Visual
  • Earned

Find the mix your subscribers respond to. To help inspire you, this slide deck shares real-world examples of how brands use these subject line elements to engage subscribers.

Burnt Hand Deliverability Practices

Burnt Hand Deliverability PracticesBrands tend not to spend much time thinking about their deliverability until it’s on fire and many or all of their emails are being blocked. Faced with huge losses of revenue and engagement, brands then rush to try to do the right things to get back in the good graces of inbox providers and blacklist operators.

Don’t wait until you have deliverability problems to do the right things. Instead, learn from your peers who neglected their email list and infrastructure and watched it go up in flames.

In the course of doing our 2017 State of Email Deliverability research, we noticed an interesting pattern: Many of the technologies and behaviors that are known to improve deliverability are actually used at higher rates by brands that have been blacklisted in the past 12 months than by brands that haven’t been.

For the list of practices and full details…

>> Read the entire post on the Litmus blog

Preview text is the third leg of the inbox stool, and a great many brands are delivering some rickety, off-balance inbox experiences because they’re not paying enough attention to their preview text.

In this SlideShare deck, we highlight eight preview text mistakes that are undermining customer experiences in the inbox, sharing real-world examples of each one:

  1. Having Unoptimized ALT Text Pulled into Your Preview Text
  2. Having Your Code Show
  3. Forgetting to Replace Preheader Placeholder Text
  4. Using Unsupported Characters
  5. Having Broken Personalization
  6. Having Your Preview Text Get Truncated Awkwardly
  7. Having Jarringly Poor Subject Line-Preview Text Alignment
  8. Not Even Trying to Optimize Your Preview Text

We also share a 4-point action list that can help you ensure that your brand always makes a great impression in the inbox and delivers a clear, distraction-free message.

>> Read the post and view the slides on the Litmus blog


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