Marketing Chat about Email of the Future Marketing Chat with Chad WhiteAs part of’s Marketing Chat series, I spoke with Ned Nadima about the future of email marketing and a variety of other topics. Here’s a preview of the questions that he asked me:

  • How did you get into email marketing?
  • Many email marketing articles describe the email of the future as a data-driven email that appears in your inbox with the right message and at the right time. Why can’t we have that today?
  • With the rise of bots, messaging apps, and artificial intelligence, is email marketing dying?
  • Can you give us an email marketing 101 that everybody can use today to send better emails?
  • When it comes to email design, Litmus is in a league of its own. How are you guys able to pack so much information in one beautiful template? Is it a science or an art?
  • What are the top 3 things you learned about email marketing leading the research team at Litmus?
  • In a world where Litmus achieves its mission, how is email marketing better for designers, marketers, and customers?

For all of my answers…

>> Read the full interview on the Blog

The Dangers of Conversion Inflation

Read all of Chad's Marketing Land columnsWe’ve changed the rules of marketing a lot during the Internet Era—and it hasn’t all been in the scrappy upstart way. A huge part of that has been the metrics that we use to measure success.

For instance, we replaced readership in the world of magazine and newspaper ads with impressions in the world of display ads. And we replaced viewership in the world of television with views in the world of online video. In both of those cases, the false equivalency we created overwhelmingly favored the digital format over the traditional format to help in our battle for budget.

Beyond the apples-to-oranges comparisons, the digital formats have been suffered from click fraud, bot activity, and extremely low standards. Unfortunately, email marketing is not immune to this breed of grade inflation, and it’s most evident in how we’re defining conversions, which has led to conversion inflation.

Depending on who you talk to and what tools you’re using, you’ll see conversions defined as:

  • Opens
  • Clicks
  • Website browsing
  • Purchasing
  • Downloading a mobile app
  • Tweeting a hashtag
  • Video views
  • Getting an email opt-in
  • Registering for a webinar
  • And on and on

It’s such a wide range of behaviors that it begs the question: Is everything and anything a conversion?

Well, yes…and absolutely not. The waters are muddy here because…

>> Read my entire column on

What Is an Email ConversionConversions are a critical metric for most email programs. However, in part because email programs have a bunch of secondary goals that are unique from the business’s goals, the definition of a conversion has become more than a little hazy, creating misalignments at some brands.

To clarify the definition, we asked 5 experts to share their thoughts on the issue:

  • Alex Birkett, Growth Marketer at ConversionXL
  • Steve Linney, Founder of eMRKTNG
  • Erin King, Sr. Email Marketing Manager at Litmus
  • April Mullen, Sr. Marketing Strategist at Selligent
  • John Caldwell, President of Red Pill Email

To learn the difference between micro-conversions and macro-conversions, email conversions and website conversions, direct conversions and indirect conversions, and conversions and conversions to sale, then…

>> Read the entire post on the Litmus blog

The Last Word on June 2016

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

Must-read articles, posts & reports

Email Design Trends of 2016 (so far) (Really Good Emails)

Misconfigured email servers open the door to spoofed emails from top domains (Detectify)

., ? and ! – Does punctuation in the subject line help or hurt email performance? (Smart Insights)

Growing Your List with Giveaways (MailChimp)

Repermissioning Rules: What They Mean For Marketers (

Survey: Most Marketers Use 6+ Measurement Tools But Don’t Trust the Data (Convince & Convert)

Are Words (In Email Marketing Messages) So Last-Century? (MediaPost)

Mossberg: A smart new email app for the iPhone (The Verge)

Insightful & entertaining tweets

@Nivicious88: God, even the @GoogleDesign team doesn’t bother with mobile responsive email #emailgeeks #WTFguys

@EmailKarma: Is it extra funny when a company that tells you it can help get you to the inbox goes to your spam folder or just ironic? #EmailIsHard

@jainamistry: Cheeky subject line from @schuh. But it did make me double-take.

@alexcwilliams: Unsubscribe prompt before subject line in iOS 10 beta. Hitting the “x” removes it permanently from that sender.

@ppk: “This is email. We don’t get the luxuries you web developers have.” @M_J_Robbins at #cssday

@lassediercks: “Email-clients have no beta version, no docs, no release notes” – @M_J_Robbins #cssday

@Bluecore: #INFOGRAPHIC: The #Emojis of #EmailMarketing by @rachklausner

@chupchap: Funny how Slack users went from “No more inbox clutter” to “How to deal with Slack Notification clutter”

@iamelliot: interesting mobile approach ? #emaildesign

@EmailKarma: We’re rapidly moving toward a world where all email is authenticated… #DMARC #email via @StopEmailFraud

@WomenOfEmail: Join us on, or search for our Facebook group to connect with us. We’re a community for women who work in email!

Noteworthy subject lines

Lenovo, 6/14 — Yaaasss, this tablet is cray on fleek. LOL! – Dad.
Gilt, 6/9 — 201 Last Minute Gift for Dad, Plus Free Shipping
AutoAnything, 6/15 — Become Dad’s Favorite OVERNIGHT!‏
Home Depot, 6/18 — Father’s Day Gifts So Good, He’ll Think You Planned Ahead
Clinique, 6/15 — 5 reasons to love summer, all free with purchase.‏
Banana Republic, 6/15 — Pro basketball player Kevin Love scores our suits‏
American Red Cross, 6/9 — Record flooding in Texas
Costco Wholesale, 6/20 — Visa is now the only major credit card accepted at Costco warehouses.
Autism Speaks, 6/20 — Autism Friendly Performance – Blue Man Group Boston
Brooks Brothers, 6/9 — Starts at 1:00 a.m.: Semi-Annual Sale is (almost) here!
ModCloth, 6/8 — This top + these shorts = flawless.
Home Depot, 6/30 — C E L E B R A T E + S A V E
Kate Spade, 6/9 — what’s new? this iphone crossbody.
Lenovo, 6/30 — Now Available – First Lenovo OLED 2-in-1 Ever
Michaels, 6/28 — Something Special for Harry Potter Fans
Threadless, 6/27 — A Star Trek collection? Logical.
ASPCA, 6/26 — Will you be a leader for animals?
Hillary Clinton, 6/30 — Chad vs. Donald Trump
No Labels, 6/7 — 124
Pier 1 Imports, 6/30 — Rubber duckies welcome.
Olive Garden, 6/24 — Can we show off our mussels?
The Swiss Colony, 6/14 — Summer Snacking, Had Me a Blast
ModCloth, 6/28 — Aahh. Push it. Push it ‘GRILL’ good!
Vera Bradley, 6/29 — We heard your cheers: 50+ schools added!
ASPCA, 6/8 — Vote for the ASPCA Calendar Cover Pet!
LifeWay, 6/8 — Father’s Day Catalog Is Here!
Lego, 6/10 — Subscribe to LEGO Club and WIN!
Walmart, 6/11 — Shopping is better on our App
American Apparel, 6/22 — Now Trending
Gap, 6/19 — gap and old navy walk into your inbox…

New posts on

The Verdict on Single Opt-In vs. Double Opt-In

How Microsoft Could Leverage LinkedIn’s Business

4 Fears Email Marketers Need to Conquer

5 Ways Microsoft’s Acquisition of LinkedIn Could Impact Email Users and Email Marketers

Single Opt-in vs. Double Opt-in: The Court of Public Opinion

The Last Word on May 2016

Single Opt-In vs Double Opt-In - The Verdict on Email PermissionWe’ve heard the case for single opt-in (SOI) and the case for double opt-in (DOI). And we have also heard public opinion on the matter, which is nearly evenly split.

After weighing all the evidence, we’ve come to the following three opinions:

  1. Single opt-in just isn’t an option for everyone.
  2. Boiling permission down to single opt-in vs. double opt-in is a gross oversimplification as that puts all the focus on confirmation, which is only one component of an opt-in.
  3. Single opt-in and double opt-in both have a place in many organizations.

>> Read the full post on the Litmus blog

Read the article on CIODive.comI spoke with CIO Dive about the Microsoft-LinkedIn deal and what the synergies are. Here are the three key questions they asked along with my responses:

What is Microsoft going to do with LinkedIn user data?
Beyond the synergies around Microsoft’s Dynamics CRM and Bing ad targeting, LinkedIn user data could be used to augment Microsoft Outlook’s email address book functionality. Contact information can get stale quickly. But LinkedIn data could be used to keep this information current—as well as to suggest alternative potential contacts by using company names and titles when the contact a user has is no longer relevant. A live, auto-updating address book would be a powerful addition to Outlook.

How can they use LinkedIn to promote products?
Microsoft will certainly be able to use LinkedIn to directly promote their products through ads and other content on the network. But the greater opportunity is to use the platform to demonstrate how useful Microsoft tools are rather than just telling LinkedIn users that they’re useful.

For instance, Microsoft could replace LinkedIn messaging with Outlook 365, reserving some advanced functionality for Premium LinkedIn users. The ability to compose rich messages using Word and schedule meetings using Outlook’s calendar from within LinkedIn would be very attractive. Plus, Microsoft could integrate Skype into LinkedIn so the meetings themselves could happen within the social network. Integrating Cortana into LinkedIn, especially into their mobile app, could also prove powerful.

How does this fit in with Office 365?
In addition to replacing LinkedIn messaging with Outlook 365 and using LinkedIn connections to create a live, auto-updating address book, Microsoft could also add interactive functionality to create more powerful email experiences. For instance, Google allows you to approve Google Plus connection requests inside emails in Gmail without clicking through to Google Plus, and Gmail supports embedded video content from YouTube. Microsoft should follow Google’s lead and strengthen the ecosystem around Outlook 365 by integrating it with LinkedIn and SlideShare so that emails from LinkedIn are interactive and supporting SlideShare embeds.

>> Read the full story on

4 Fears Email Marketers Need to Conquer

Read all of Chad's Marketing Land columnsWhen Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers came out in 2008, everyone was really taken by the “10,000 Hour Rule,” which said that it took roughly 10,000 hours to become an expert at something. At the time, I worked at the email marketing agency Smith-Harmon and we liked the concept so much that we created our own corollary: the “10,000 Email Rule.” That’s where you are considered an email expert once you’d created, analyzed, or reviewed 10,000 emails. Needless to say, that can take a lot less than 10,000 hours.

I remember the agency’s co-founder, Lisa Harmon, telling the team that email marketing was a relatively quick medium to master because:

  • It’s high-volume
  • It’s highly measurable
  • It’s quickly measurable
  • It has high returns
  • It’s easily A/B tested
  • Mistakes aren’t seen by all your subscribers and only haunt you until your next send, which…oh my god…you have to get ready for!

Essentially, email marketing is the epitome of a “fail fast” medium, because you can quickly and relatively painlessly experiment and learn from your tests and mistakes to achieve greater success. Or at least it should be.

>> Read my entire column on

5 Ways Microsoft’s Acquisition of LinkedIn Could Impact Email Users and Email MarketersMicrosoft’s announced $26 billion acquisition of LinkedIn today will not only net the tech giant the top business-oriented social network, but the move could have several ramifications for email users and email marketers. Here are five possible scenarios to watch for:

  1. LinkedIn messaging replaced by Outlook 365
  2. LinkedIn contacts integrated into Outlook address book
  3. LinkedIn and SlideShare interactivity within Outlook email inboxes
  4. Better spam protection on LinkedIn.
  5. Skype and Calendar integration into LinkedIn

For all the details…

>> Read the full post on the Litmus blog

Public option on SOI vs. DOIThe case has been made for single opt-in and the case has been made for double opt-in. This contest is clearly one of great public interest, judging by the number of people who have testified by commenting and by the reactions of people on Twitter and elsewhere.

These comments deserve consideration and the public’s opinion will be heard, but first let’s again be clear on who the two parties are in this dispute:

  • Single opt-in (SOI) is a subscription process where a new email address is added to your mailing list without requiring the owner of that email address to confirm definitively that they knowingly and willingly opted in
  • Double opt-in (DOI), also known as confirmed opt-in (COI), is a subscription process where a new email address is only added to your mailing address after the email address owner clicks a confirmation link in a subscription activation or opt-in confirmation request email that’s sent to them after they opt in via a form or checkbox

With those formalities out of the way, let the voice of the people be heard!

>> Read the entire post on the Litmus blog

The Last Word on May 2016

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

Must-read articles, posts & reports

How do mobile responsive emails impact on open and click rates? (Smart Insights)

Complexity of email blog series – Part 5: Sending emails (Striata)

Instant Apps delivers Android software to your phone’s browser, one slice at a time (CNET)

Required reading for email marketers: a case study in how not to collect and use e-mail addresses (Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada)

Insightful & entertaining tweets

@EmailDaniels: Overstock views their email list as a $3 billion asset #EIS16

@jvanrijn: From now on, I will use CTA as Call to Awesome #emailgeeks

@joeciarallo: .@theskimm funny story on raising VC: “investors would tell us email is dead. But they would email that to us.” #irony #CNX16

@meladorri: Get slides + resources from the Innovations in Email Design sessions w/ @iamelliot @M_J_Robbins @johnethies >>>

@iamelliot: Marketing Automation. The future.

@emailmonday: This is not what was meant with “keep your CTA recognisable as a CTA”… #emailmarketing

Noteworthy subject lines

JCPenney, 5/5 — ¡Celebre! Extra 30% off today online only
Chipotle, 5/2 — Cinco Your Teeth into $50 off Chipotle Catering
Aeropostale, 5/5 — Cinco De Mayo $5 & under steals, today only!
Carnival Cruise Line, 5/5 — Make MOMents To Remember
Cold Stone Creamery, 5/7 — Chad, Mother’s Day is TOMORROW – Shall we save you a cake?
Victoria’s Secret, 5/8 — Need a last-minute gift for Mother’s Day?
Levi’s, 5/8 — Meet our moms.
Clinique, 5/15 — Grads, face the future with your best skin ever. FREE 4-piece kit with purchase.
Vera Bradley, 5/12 — Gifts for grads and dreamers (+free gift) …
Barneys New York, 5/12 — What to Wear for Graduation Day
Walmart, 5/19 — Create a man cave for DAD!
ThinkGeek, 5/12 — ThinkGeek helps you achieve favorite child status
NFLshop, 5/25 — #1 Dad? We Have Gear For That…PLUS Free Shipping on ALL Orders!
Brooks Brothers, 5/31 — This one goes out to all the dads
ModCloth, 5/25 — Turns out, Dad love ModCloth too.
Hasbro, 5/26 — Mother’s Day isn’t the only time to celebrate mom
Petco, 5/13 — Here’s FREE Shipping to put a little good luck in your Friday the 13th!
J.Jill, 5/13 — Your new go-to pants for warmer weather + 25% off select Spring Favorites., 5/26 — New Balance: Outrun the summer heat
Zulily, 5/26 — SmartWool for summer
Vera Bradley, 5/26 — Buy one Beach Towel, get one 50% off
Honda, 5/12 — Meet Our Most Innovative Alternative-Fuel Vehicles
The North Face, 5/15 — Welcome to your weekend base camp…
Express, 5/26 — Starts at MIDNIGHT: 40% off!
Moosejaw, 5/26 — 20% off Your Favs + Keep It Slazy, 5/31 — ICYMI –> 40% OFF Sitewide!
Express, 5/19 — Bride Squad: Assemble!
ModCloth, 5/17 — I now pronounce you chic & merry.
Neiman Marcus, 5/25 — Shop by heel height: Flats to stilettos from Valentino + more
Chico’s, 5/5 — 1 Pant + 3 Ways = Styling Made Simple, 5/18 — Q: Best discount? a) 30% off b) Free Shipping c) $15 off
Michaels, 5/25 — Coupon Bonanza + Make-A-Thon = !!!
West Elm, 5/26 — EVERYTHING is on SALE! *Runs out the door*
GNC, 5/5 — Sweet Dreams Are Made of ZZZs
Kate Spade, 5/11 — about me: will go shopping with you.
Subway, 5/17 — Set your alarm for FREE.
Restoration Hardware, 5/18 — Where Less Is More and Minimal Is Magnified. RH Modern.
Threadless, 5/13 — Take a pitcher, it’s last longer.
ThinkGeek, 5/31 — Garden gnome? Pssshh. We have the Droid you’re looking for.
Barneys New York, 5/18 — A Vacation For Your Feet in Ancient Greek Sandals
J.Crew, 5/25 — It’s a thing: eyelet
Feeding America, 5/12 — I bet this stat will surprise you
Make-A-Wish, 5/26 — Only a few days left to reach our goal
Lands’ End, 5/13 — We’ll donate $1 for every sun savvy moment you share
Etsy, 5/7 — Let’s Take a #Deskie
Earth Day Network, 5/9 — #EarthDay2016: A New High Watermark

New posts on

Infographic: 2016 State of Email Agencies

Single Opt-In vs. Double Opt-In: The Case for SOI

How to Identify Companies that Value Email Marketing

How Brands Use Email to Engage Customers at Every Stage of the Life Cycle

Inbox Box Providers Add Bad Design to List of No-Nos

Report: 2016 State of Email Salaries & Jobs in the US

The Last Word on April 2016


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