Posted on May 14, 2021
I was pleased to join Doug Dennison, CEO at MailNinja and owner of Chimp Essentials, on his new podcast to talk about how to become a niche expert. On the show, I share my own personal journey, during which I’ve written three books and more than 3,000 posts and articles about email marketing and was named the Email Experience Council’s 2018 Email Marketer Thought Leader of the Year. But with hindsight being 20-20, I try to dissect the moves that led me to my current position in the industry and how others can plot their own unique course.
For example, starting the Retail Email Blog back in 2006 turned out to be a commitment for me to not only analyze and review hundreds of thousands of emails, but to share what I learned. I think it’s that commitment to learning and teaching others that is the rocket fuel for becoming an expert.
For our full conversion…
Posted on May 12, 2021
We’re experiencing a myriad of crises all at once—ranging from the pandemic health crisis to social unrest and insurrection to financial crises. These have led to profound changes in consumers’ buying habits and housing choices, and an acceleration of ecommerce, digital entertainment, and work from home trends. With COVID-19 still spreading quickly in some parts of the world, it’s clear that the pandemic and its effects will likely persist for years to come to some degree.
In our Email Evolution Conference keynote about the State of Email Marketing, Wildbit’s Justine Jordan and I argued that the ripple effects of the pandemic will drive email marketers to continue to focus on three areas:
- The need for nimbleness in their email production process
- Empathy and customer-centricity in their email messaging
- Maximizing customer retention through content and targeting
Let’s talk about each of those areas in turn…
Posted on May 11, 2021
Must-read articles, posts & reports
21 Email Marketing Thought Leaders: Our Top Picks (Email on Acid)
Insightful & entertaining tweets
When 1m people read your newsletter, you learn what works and what doesn’t.
I’ve been involved in several @thehustle newsletter redesigns.
Here’s my framework for newsletter design 👇
— Kolby Hatch (@HatchKolby) April 29, 2021
A1: Year 2187
Probably sending email marketing communications to the customers who settled on another planet!#MarketingChats
— Manish Thaduri (@sfdcFanBoy) April 7, 2021
Quite possibly the best email I’ve ever received 🎉 pic.twitter.com/msay5pYeow
— Lauren Meyer (@LaurenEmailGeek) April 20, 2021
No brief, no talk! Always insist on having a completed brief that is agreed upon. You’ll save yourself a lot of trouble in future and can manage expectations. #emailgeeks #digitalmarketing pic.twitter.com/DcqiwyZk7V
— Najmah ‘Two Sheds’ Salam (@najmetender) April 22, 2021
Marketing is an investment, not an expense.
If you want short term results, invest in sales.
If you want long term results, invest in marketing.
Stop cutting your long term strategy because money is tight in the short term.#marketingtwitter
— Jason Vana (@jasonvana) April 21, 2021
Noteworthy subject lines
Starbucks, 4/1 – Starbucks® Earth Month Game is here 🍃
IKEA, 4/21 – BIG things are happening with the IKEA tiny home!
Hobby Lobby, 4/4 – Hobby Lobby Easter 2021 Message
Victoria’s Secret, 4/27 – What Mom Really Wants: Cozy Everything
Saks Fifth Avenue, 4/13 – Make it personal: Mother’s Day gifts from Shutterfly & more
Saks Fifth Avenue, 4/27 – Saks Chief Merchant Tracy Margolies’ shares her top Mother’s Day gifts
Zales, 4/28 – 🦸♀ It’s National Superhero Day! Celebrate Your Superhero, MOM
Williams Sonoma, 4/8 – How we make coffee shop drinks at home
Banana Republic, 4/13 – Discover Luxe Athleisure
West Elm, 4/8 – Invitation for living room relaxation
Kohl’s, 4/16 – Create your at-home oasis inside or out.
Target, 4/20 – Patio season has arrived☀️
Target, 4/29 – It’s fire pit time 🔥
Express, 4/29 – Who’s ready for comfy girl summer?
Big Lots, 4/8 – Garden party-ready? You better beLEAF.
Eddie Bauer, 4/13 – Get In The Car, We’re Going CAMPING! 🚘⛺
Nordstrom, 4/13 – Trending sandals: built-up soles, slides, jellies and more
Lane Bryant, 4/8 – Color Crush: Mellow Yellow 🍋🌻💛🌼
Uncommon Goods, 4/2 – ⚾ Happy Opening Day! Diamonds are EVERYONE’s best friend.
ModCloth, 4/20 – Marriage is what brings us together today.
IKEA, 4/1 – Psst…we’ve improved Click & Collect.
Macy’s, 4/7 – New! Shop at your local Macy’s & pay later with Klarna 🤩
Fandango, 4/20 – Your Favorite Theaters Are Open
IKEA, 4/8 – Chad, get a FREE DAY of child care at KinderCare!
Everlane, 4/1 – A Chino For Jeans People—And Vice Versa
Crate & Barrel, 4/13 – Which upholstery is right for your sofa?
Williams Sonoma, 4/24 – Strawberry is all we want + 3 desserts to try…
Gap, 4/6 – ? M ? Y ? S ? T ? E ? R ? Y ?
New posts on EmailMarketingRules.com
Posted on April 29, 2021
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA), and other laws forced companies to make their stores, marketing campaigns, and other aspects of their business more accessible to people with disabilities. However, many brands began to realize that huge portions of their customer base benefit from such accommodations.
The understanding that people with permanent, temporary, and situational challenges all benefit from design changes has fueled a transition from accessibility, where post-production accommodations are made based on the exception, to an embrace of inclusive design, a pre-planned intention to be more user-friendly based on inclusion.
To engage a broader audience, Oracle Marketing Consulting’s Lauren Castady recommends incorporating these 13 inclusive design changes into your digital marketing campaign planning…
Posted on April 15, 2021
Despite having lots of tools to optimize contact frequencies based on changing subscriber behaviors, the reliance of most companies on last-click attribution strategies and a focus on short-term campaign-centric goals has created a strong bias toward ever-increasing frequencies across all channels. Inevitably, this will leave many of your customers feeling overmessaged and overwhelmed.
The clearest measure of this frustration can be seen in your active and passive list churn. Your active list churn includes those who opt out by unsubscribing or reporting your messages as spam, while your passive list churn includes those who opt out by ignoring your messages, eventually becoming long-term inactive subscribers.
Having a preference center can be a powerful tool in reducing both of those kinds of churn, giving customers an opportunity to openly and clearly express their current communication desires—not only for contact frequency, but for a range of preferences. In most cases, your preference center replaces your unsubscribe page, making it the last touchpoint you’ll have with many of your subscribers.
For a deep dive on the preference center options to consider…
Posted on April 9, 2021
A double opt-in confirmation process is a valuable tool for protecting your sender reputation and email deliverability, especially when used for offline sign-ups, open sign-up forms, highly incentivized sign-ups, co-registrations, and other instances that tend to generate high bounce and complaint rates. However, many brands hesitate to use it because they feel requiring people to confirm their subscription by clicking a link in their sign-up confirmation request email causes fewer people to complete the subscription process.
Of course, that’s absolutely true. After all, the primary purpose of a double opt-in process is to screen out risky sign-ups, so you’d expect some addresses to go unconfirmed. In an ideal world, all email addresses that aren’t confirmed would be spam traps, email bots, malicious sign-ups, and people who aren’t really interested in receiving your emails and will likely unsubscribe or report your emails as spam.
However, we know that some truly interested people never confirm their subscription for a variety of reasons. To minimize that as much as possible, follow these four best practices:
Posted on April 8, 2021
Oracle’s Holiday Marketing Quarterly gives B2C brands a quarter-by-quarter checklist for how to achieve more during the critical holiday season with their email marketing and other digital marketing channels. Along with guidance on planning, strategy, and prioritization, you’ll get advice and tips from some of Oracle Marketing Consulting’s more than 500 digital marketing experts.
Our second quarter checklist is focused on finishing your review of the 2020 holiday season and then making a range of improvements to everything from subscriber acquisition to performance reporting to campaign production. In this Holiday Marketing Quarterly, we’ll cover:
- Holiday Messaging Competitive Intelligence
- Subscriber Acquisition Source Optimization
- Unsubscribe Process Optimization
- Improved Analytics & Reporting
- Experimentation & Testing
- Accelerate Campaign Build Processes
For details on each of those areas…
Posted on April 2, 2021
Must-read articles, posts & reports
Is Your C-Suite Equipped to Lead a Digital Transformation? (Harvard Business Review)
What Do Website Visitors Want? It’s Not What B2B Brands Are Giving Them (Orbit Media Studios)
Introducing the Dark Storefront: A New Way Of Shopping Online (Independent Retailer)
Insightful & entertaining tweets
This is also why your email opt-in CTA should never be “subscribe.” https://t.co/sKcqFw4w4z
— Brian Clark (@brianclark) March 10, 2021
I’m just an email designer
sitting on the other side of your inbox
asking you to love her emails#emailgeeks
— Megan Boshuyzen (@megbosh) March 23, 2021
— Jen Capstraw (@jencapstraw) March 24, 2021
— Anne Tomlin (@pompeii79) March 26, 2021
Noteworthy subject lines
Williams Sonoma, 3/1 – Three easy Easter baking projects
Crate & Barrel, 3/4 – Take a peep at our Easter meal prep guide
Nordstrom, 3/20 – Instant Outfit: Easter Sunday
Michaels, 3/1 – Get inspired by these talented women making beautiful things.
VS PINK, 3/8 – Happy International Women’s Day! 💪 👩
IKEA, 3/8 – Watch Zara Larsson live in concert on International Women’s Day!
Williams Sonoma, 3/8 – Women-made products to celebrate International Women’s Day
Express, 3/8 – Who runs these brands? GIRLS❤️
Gap, 3/8 – We’re honoring International Women’s Day with real stories
Nintendo, 3/10 – Save now with the MAR10 Day sale!
Express, 3/10 – Losing an hour of 💤? Here’s 30% off UpWest Sleep & Lounge
Nordstrom, 3/12 – New to Nordstrom: EveVen by Venus Williams
Everlane, 3/4 – New: The ThermoStat™ Tee
Quiksilver, 3/31 – We recycled plastic bottles to create these shorts
VS PINK Swim, 3/4 – NEW Swim that is kinder to the planet 🌎🌊
Target, 3/4 – Patio sets perfect for every outdoor space☀️
The Home Depot, 3/20 –☀️It’s The First Day of Spring☀️
West Elm, 3/21 – It’s spring! Bring on the PLANTERS 💐
Eddie Bauer, 3/19 – Every Body Belongs Outside 🌳 🌲 🌳
Kohl’s, 3/25 – Must-haves for those sunny days ahead. 😎
ModCloth, 3/9 – Shop these picnic-me-ups 🧺
DICK’S Sporting Goods, 3/13 – Up to 30% Off Select Outdoor Gear to Get Outside!
Victoria’s Secret, 3/2 – All the Out of Office Vibes
Good Sam TravelAssist, 3/1 – Travel looks a little different these days… Be prepared for the unexpected.
Camping World RV, 3/31 – Shake Off That Zoom Gloom In A New RV!
Office Depot, 3/1 – You deserve a clean slate and fresh start
MoMA Design Store, 3/2 – A New Way to Fall Asleep
Panera Bread, 3/2 – Still sleepy, Chad? Leave breakfast to us.
West Elm, 3/4 – The rug equivalent of a cozy sweater
Express, 3/19 – 40% OFF DRESSES + TOPS | Wear this from 🧘 to 👩💻 to 🍷
SUBWAY Restaurants, 3/11 – Buy 1 Footlong, get 1 50% off on Grubhub
Petco, 3/13 – Need it today? We can deliver on that!
Lowe’s Home Improvement, 3/2 – Say hello to our newest small business partners.
Saks Fifth Avenue, 3/1 – Fashion Month Insider Spotlight: Bettina Looney shares her styling secrets
IKEA, 3/4 – ATTENTION: Huge, augmented reality related news inside.
IKEA, 3/12 – Introducing: The first ever IKEA Audio Catalog.
New posts on EmailMarketingRules.com
Posted on March 29, 2021
Email marketing is a complex channel that routinely isn’t appreciated by outsiders—and particularly by executives. That became all the more clear when I recently fired off this tweet:
Things people say that make me think they don’t really understand #emailmarketing:
“Sending an email is easy.”
“Email marketing is cheap.”
“There are no rules.”
“Email hasn’t changed in 20 years.”
#EmailGeeks, what are your verbal red flags?
That tweet uncorked a torrent of pent up frustrations. And some themes became clear rather quickly. Here are the big ones, along with just some of the tweets from the #EmailGeeks community on Twitter…
Posted on March 19, 2021
The extraordinary events of the past year heavily influenced email marketing investments last year and are shaping the trends that will dominate 2021. We can see those shifts in the results of our second annual Email Marketing Trends Survey, where we surveyed Oracle Marketing Consulting’s more than 500 digital marketing experts. We asked them to rate 26 email marketing tactics and technologies, both in terms of their perceived adoption right now and their anticipated impact in 2021.
We then organized them into adoption-impact quadrants. Our consultants’ ratings placed three trends in our low adoption–low impact quadrant of Unproven Opportunities; 12 trends in our low adoption–high impact quadrant of Competitive Differentiators; 11 trends in our high adoption–high impact quadrant of Proven Essentials; and none in our high adoption–low impact quadrant of Established Commodities.
While you can learn more about each of those trends via the links above, in this 26-minute on-demand webinar we focus on how email marketers’ priorities have shifted in response to the pandemic. In addition to listing the quadrant groupings of all 26 email trends, we share:
- The 1 trend that had the biggest decrease in adoption
- The 2 trends that had the biggest decrease in impact
- The 3 trends that had the biggest increases in adoption
- The 3 trends that had the biggest increases in impact
- The 5 trends that changed quadrants
- The 5 trends that have the highest impact overall
There are clear patterns in these changes that paint a bigger picture of what marketers are focused on. We hope that this webinar, as well as our other posts on Email Marketing Trends for 2021, help inform your priorities for this year.