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

Defensive design consists of design techniques that allow an email to communicate its message effectively when images are blocked.

The most common defensive design tactics include:

  1. HTML text, as opposed to graphical text that embedded in images
  2. ALT text, which is text that appears in the place of your images when they are blocked
  3. Styled ALT text, where you change the default size, color, style, and other attributes of your ALT text
  4. Background colors that you apply to table cells
  5. Mosaic pixel art, where you use background colors on elaborate table cell structures to create 8-bit art style images

This slide deck shares real-world examples of how to use these tactics to improve the email experience for those whose email clients block the images in their emails and those who choose to disable the images in the emails they receive.

The Last Word on July 2017

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

Must-read articles, posts & reports

Why no one has ‘re-invented’ email yet (Mashable)

Thou Shalt Not Rent Email Lists: An Interview with Adestra’s Ryan Phelan (MediaPost)

Amazon sent nearly 700 million promotion emails on Prime Day (Digital Commerce 360)

US shoppers are OK sharing data so retailers can improve personalization, but they have limits (Digital Commerce 360)

Why CMOs Never Last (Harvard Business Review)

Nearly Half of Consumers Feel They Receive Too Many Marketing Emails (Inc.)

Insightful & entertaining tweets

Noteworthy subject lines

Sony Electronics, 7/11 — Big Sony Savings this Amazon Prime Day | The Clock is Ticking
MAC Cosmetics, 7/11 — PRIME Your Makeup With These Essentials. Plus Free 2-Day Shipping!
Clinique, 7/11 — Prime picks: 4 FREE with purchase.
Jos. A. Bank, 7/11 — Super Tuesday: $199 Summer Suits & 2/$79 Traveler Dress Shirts
GapKids, 7/1 — Now open: The Uniform Shop
Neiman Marcus, 7/30 — Back-to-school prep starts now
RH, 7/2 — The Salvaged Wood Collection. Watch the Film Featuring Timothy Oulton.
Banana Republic, 7/ 26 — Introducing the new Rapid Movement Chino
Lands’ End, 7/20 — Our sunscreen won’t wash off + 40% off
Barney New York, 7/6 — 8 Essentials For Summer Skin
Nike, 7/29 — 5 Sandals for Summer
ToysRUs & BabiesRUs, 7/13 — Don’t Forget: July 15 is Geoffrey’s Day!
Hasbro, 7/26 — Join the FANmily at Hascon
Cold Stone Creamery, 7/1 — Hungry for Shark Week?
Wayfair, 7/15 — Looking at a lackluster space? This email is for you
The Container Store, 7/16 — Which Side Will You Choose?
ASPCA, 7/21 — Is Breaking the Window Breaking the Law?
Drs. Foster and Smith, 7/17 — Free Shipping No Minimum – Today Only! Use Code JULYFREE
JCPenney, 7/30 — Night owls, unite! Extra 30% off until 2 a.m.
Victoria’s Secret, 7/9 — How Josephine does the gym thing
Feeding America, 7/13 — A “lunch-shaming roll call”
NFLshop, 7/21 — Legendary Career = Legendary Gear
Woot, 7/26 — Our legal team said it was ok to send this…
Tiny Prints, 7/11 — Come Explore Our New Home!
Threadless, 7/11 — Your ideas need an online store.
Carnival Cruise Line, 7/22 — Your Vacation Snapshot: #EnsenadaMexico
Banana Republic, 7/17 — We love how YOU style this shirt
Ann Taylor, 7/17 — !!!!!!! YES !!!!!!!

New posts on

Sending Remarkable Email: A SendGrid Interview with Chad White

How to Nurture Email Marketing Innovation

Infographic: 2017 Shopping Cart Abandonment Email Trends

Report: 2017 State of Email Deliverability

I’m a Who in Phrasee’s ‘Who to Follow’ Series

Many Marketers Feel Under-Supported and Disrespected

The 5 Most Problematic Subscriber Acquisition Sources

The Marketing Book Podcast: “Email Marketing Rules” by Chad S. White

Webinar Recording + Q&A: Building Successful Email Workflows

How to Get Buy-In for Email Marketing Projects

The Last Word on June 2017

Read the SendGrid interviewThe great folks at SendGrid have been longtime supporters of my books, so I was extra thrilled to sit down and chat with SendGrid CMO Scott Heimes about the 3rd Edition of “Email Marketing Rules.” During our chat, we discussed:

  • Our mutual background in journalism
  • What inspired me to write the 1st Edition of “Email Marketing Rules”
  • What has changed from the 1st to the 3rd Edition
  • How marketers can fulfill the Hierarchy of Subscriber Needs
  • How brands can create remarkable email experiences

For all of the details,…

>> Read the interview on the SendGrid blog

How to Nurture Email Marketing Innovation

5 Tactics for Nuturing Email InnovationIt’s not enough just to find and retain talented email marketers. To create successful email marketing programs, brands also need to create an environment that fosters email marketing innovation, so you can avoid falling behind.

Brands can do that through a variety of methods. Litmus spoke to email veterans at Adobe, Barkley, RAPP, Shaw + Scott, and Yes Lifecycle Marketing about this issue. They had some great advice for structural and operational changes that support email marketing innovation, including:

  1. Making data-driven decisions
  2. Having a culture of testing
  3. Rewarding performance increases
  4. Fostering accountability and ownership
  5. Encouraging inter-departmental collaboration

For all the details on each of these tactics,…

>> Read the full post on the Litmus blog


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