Posted on October 20, 2021
As part of their Ask the Experts series of video interviews, Webbula asked: “Where do you see email going in the next 5-10 years?”
I was happy to be among eight email experts selected to answer. For my part, I see see AI and machine learning playing a big role in marketers trying to send the right message to the right person at the right time via the right channel. I explain in more detail in a 2-minute video that’s in the Webbula post.
To watch my video response, as well as the answers from Chris Marriott, Tom Wozniak, and the other experts…
Posted on October 15, 2021
Marketing technology stacks are very complicated. Like credit-card-fine-print complicated or teen-brain complicated. With very few exceptions, the marketers I speak with are eager for greater simplification, says Clint Kaiser, Head of Analytic & Strategic Services at Oracle Marketing Consulting.
They want to accomplish their marketing goals without having to navigate a spaghetti-works of tools that don’t always play together as well as advertised. Unfortunately, many are finding that they devote more and more time to sorting out the solutions rather than taking advantage of the benefits the tools are there to provide.
So how can marketers simplify things? We’ll help you answer that question by reviewing the pros and cons of the three approaches to building a martech stack:
- Option 1: Best-of-breed
- Option 2: The single provider
- Option 3: Best-of-suite
For a full discussion of each approach…
Posted on October 13, 2021
Email deliverability can feel out of your control. This is perhaps especially true of B2B brands, which have traditionally struggled with the mercurial spam filtering behaviors of corporate email servers and the IT overlords that control them. However, with Google Workspace and Outlook 365 making serious inroads into the corporate email market, B2B email deliverability is behaving more and more like deliverability for B2C brands.
That means that inbox placement is increasingly unifying around 7 core email deliverability factors:
- Infrastructure: The servers, setup, and controls used by a company’s email service provider (ESP) are important, as is authentication (SPF, DKIM, and DMARC).
- Volume: The higher your email volume and the more erratic your sending patterns, the more scrutiny you can expect from mailbox providers.
- Email Content: Instead of worrying about word choices, punctuation, and the balance of images and text in your emails, today you need to ensure your email code is safe and clean, and that you’re not linking to websites with poor reputations.
- Bounces & Spam Traps: Brands want to keep their hard bounce rates at 2% or under, and want to avoid adding spam traps to their lists.
- Spam Complaints: If more than 0.1% of a brand’s subscribers report their emails as spam, they may experience blocking or junking.
- Engagement: More than anything else, mailbox providers want to see senders’ subscribers opening, clicking, and otherwise engaging with their emails.
- Reputation: Each mailbox provider uses their own unique and secret weighting of the other six factors and their subfactors to create a reputation for each sender, which they attach to the IP addresses as well as the website domains used by the sender.
Given those factors, let’s talk about the unique behaviors of B2B brands that are the most likely to cause their emails to be junked or blocked, which can be expensive in terms of both opportunities lost and email deliverability remediation costs.
Posted on October 12, 2021
The big question on the minds of retailers and other B2C companies is: Will this holiday season look like 2020’s or will it resemble pre-pandemic 2019’s? Unfortunately, it’s looking increasingly like retailers will be facing a holiday season with some of the same challenges as last year, which will impact email marketing decisions.
In this blog post, Clint Kaiser, Head of Analytics & Strategic Services for Oracle Marketing Consulting, talks about how the holiday season will be impacted by:
- Continued supply chain struggles
- The balance between in-store and online shopping
- High inflation
We also discuss how all of those issues are likely to affect B2C companies when making decisions about email marketing strategies this holiday season. In an accompanying infographic, we share notable email trends and benchmarks from the past two holiday seasons that can help inform your choices this year.
Posted on October 7, 2021
A roundup of email marketing articles, posts, and tweets you might have missed last month…
Must-read articles, posts & reports
Email for All report (Action Rocket and Beyond the Envelope)
Insightful & entertaining tweets
Copywriting is like a joke: if you have to explain it, it’s probably not good.
— Robert Davidson 💌♻️ (@dobertravidson) September 23, 2021
See something new every day pic.twitter.com/Rnlh5RK9Un
— 𝔸𝕃𝔼𝕏 (@alexcwilliams) September 24, 2021
The holidays are for gift-giving. It’s time to rethink your personalisation strategy.
➡️ don’t only personalise based previous shopping or browse data
➡️ also recommend products outside the typical range
➡️ send gift-giving inspiration
— Kate Barrett eFocus (@eFocus_marketin) September 28, 2021
Noteworthy subject lines
Really Good Emails, 9/9 – Do you want to be our CEO?
Burlington, 9/8 – Our Nationwide Hiring Event starts soon! Apply today.
Big Lots, 9/12 – We’re hiring! Check out the perks!
Petco, 9/2 – 20% off your local pickup! Includes dog and cat food!
Hobby Lobby, 9/7 – NEW Christmas Arrivals! 40% Off 🎄
Big Lots, 9/10 – Crazy for Christmas? Sneak a peek inside!
Williams Sonoma, 9/17 – First look: our one-stop shop for Halloween, Thanksgiving & Christmas is HERE
Office Depot, 9/2 – 🔔 Save up to 55% today, on our best-selling school supplies…
DICK’S Sporting Goods, 9/9 – Your DICK’S Sporting Goods email: time to think about school styles?
ModCloth, 9/6 – Bat news: final hours for 30% off Halloween! 🦇
The Home Depot, 9/2 – Doing Season Is Kicking Off 🏈
Wegmans Meals 2GO – We’ve Got Game Day Covered!
Williams Sonoma, 9/10 – Cozy up to autumn with our favorite meatball recipes for any occasion
Neiman Marcus, 9/6 – Sweater weather is on the way
GapCash, 9/17 – You’re getting warmer…
Nordstrom, 9/6 – The five styles to get this fall
Williams Sonoma, 9/18 – Hello, autumn hues 💛❤️🧡
GapCash, 9/18 – Sweatshirt Dress + Tie-Dye = 🧡❤️💚💙
Eddie Bauer, 9/22 – Fall = Down Puffy Weather!
Nordstrom, 9/18 – New season = new shoes
Saks Fifth Avenue, 9/10 – It’s all about pearls, sequins and quilting
Zales, 9/15 – Get the Look: Serena Williams at the 2021 Met Gala
Gap, 9/2 – 90s vibes, teen-ified
Neiman Marcus, 9/2 – New & emerging denim brands
Spotify, 9/27 – Listen to women at full volume
Patagonia, 9/6 – Old clothes, new tricks
Quiksilver, 9/12 – High impact in the water, low impact on the environment.
Patagonia, 9/17 – How are your clothes grown?
AutoZone, 9/27 – See FREE battery services near you 📍
IKEA, 9/16 – LIVE NOW: Open your doors to the IKEA Festival!
Burlington, 9/15 – It’s National Hispanic Heritage Month!
Kohl’s, 9/23 – Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month in style.
Neiman Marcus, 9/24 – Spotlight on diversity
Express, 9/8 – The group chat is 😍 over these wedding outfits
Petco Love, 9/8 — $1M in lifesaving funds: share your 🐶 🐱 🐰 story
New posts on EmailMarketingRules.com
Posted on October 6, 2021
Similar to how you can’t see the content below the fold of a newspaper without opening it, the email fold is that point on a screen where a subscriber can’t see any more content without scrolling. There’s been a long-simmering debate in the industry about how important this line is to email design.
Let’s break down the arguments…
Posted on September 28, 2021
Imagine if CASL was passed without first having a public comment period so businesses and other organizations could have their voices heard? Imagine if GDPR went into effect 3 months after it was passed instead of after a 2-year transition period? Imagine if CCPA applied to people all over the world and not just people in California?
All of that isn’t far off from what the email industry just experienced with the rollout of Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection (MPP), as SparkPost’s April Mullen and I explain in this guest post for the ANA. We also share a vision for how email marketers can work with Big Tech companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft—which now wield just as much power as public entities when it comes to changing privacy rules and other fundamental aspects of the email channel.
Posted on September 27, 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.
The fourth quarter is focused on wrapping up your final prep and then taking action during the holiday season to maximize results and minimize problems. In this Holiday Marketing Quarterly, we’ll cover:
- Engaging Seasonal Buyers
- Automated Campaign Adjustments
- Leveraging New Capabilities
- Cross-Channel Coordination
- Incremental A/B Testing
- Finalizing Your Plans
For details on each of those areas…
Posted on September 24, 2021
Email marketing is a great way to build long-term relationships, but marketers have always wrestled with accepting low-value email addresses from would-be subscribers. B2C brands wonder if a subscriber has provided their primary email account or a secondary address they check far less frequently. And B2B marketers debate accepting freemail addresses or only corporate email addresses, which make lead scoring easier. While businesses can make a “something is better than nothing” argument for accepting secondary email addresses and freemail addresses, it’s harder to say the same when it comes to disposable or temporary email addresses.
That’s because you can’t build a relationship with someone who uses an email address that’s typically designed to expire within hours. Beyond cluttering up your CRM database with dead end contact data (the biggest risk), there’s also a small risk your sender reputation will be impacted since any email sent to a disposable email address after it expires hard bounces. When accepting a temporary email address, you’re banking entirely on the value of being able to deliver what’s generally a one-time transactional email, signup incentive, or content download to that person.
The impact of temporary email addresses is now more pressing because of newly released updates to Hide My Email, a privacy feature Apple is promoting alongside Mail Privacy Protection.
Posted on September 9, 2021
Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection will have a broad range of effects on email marketers, impacting email analytics, design, deliverability, personalization, and optimization efforts. Sadly, subscribers who enable MPP will receive less relevant emails and more emails than they would have otherwise gotten if marketers could better measure their engagement through opens.
I also fear that Apple’s changes will cause marketers to change their messaging and design strategy to drive clicks more insistently, since opens will be unreliable for a substantial portion of their audience. This move would be understandable. With Apple generating false opens for the users of their Mail app that enable MPP, opens will become a meaningless sign for many subscribers. Marketers will want to compensate for the loss of their highest frequency engagement signal by boosting their second highest frequency engagement signal, clicks, which are currently about one-eighth as frequent as opens.
The adjustments that will be required for reengagement campaigns illustrate what may happen more broadly. For example, before MPP, the goal of a reengagement campaign was to simply get the subscriber to open the email, which would be a signal that the email address was still valid and that a live person was receiving the email. For people who enable MPP, that will be wholly inadequate, since Apple will be generating false opens for every email they receive. That means that marketers will need a stronger signal—a click—in order to be sure that the email address is safe to continue mailing to.
This need for more clicks more often could cause marketers to redesign many other emails, too. For example, companies may move valuable content from the body of their emails to landing pages in order to coax more clicks out of subscribers. This would reverse years of email design philosophy and send us backsliding toward a time when emails were postcard-style teasers to get people to visit website landing pages.
This would be bad for subscribers and marketers for three interrelated reasons…