It’s Ten O’Clock. Do You Know Where Your Email List Has Been?

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shutterstock_96258512-2Freewill. Opt-in. CAN-SPAM compliance. We all know these expressions; we all, in fact, work with these expressions in the backs of our minds most of the time.

But how sure are you, really, that the email lists you acquire are sanitized? That whomever you obtained them from understands “freewill opt-in” the same way that you do? In other words… do you really know where your email list has been?

Just getting your kids in by curfew isn’t all there is to being a parent, and just getting lists that are “probably good enough” isn’t all there is to being an internet retailer. Yet how can you make sure that your list has been cleaned, cleared, sanitized? How do you know where it’s been before you send it on to where you want it to go?

Because not knowing entails risk: risk to your company name, to your brand name, and to your deliverability.

The first step is elementary: do not ever simply buy a list and send to it. Even the most honest of list brokers make mistakes, and it’s your company name that’s going to be viewed as the sender. The reality is that many—if not most—lists are compiled from a variety of places, and what that can end up leaving you with is, quite simply, multi-sourced junk.

red emailLists are often amalgamated from various sources in order to give them bulk, or bought as whole chunks and cut up into pieces and sold. What this means is that there’s no recency: you may be getting addresses that were collected years ago. Someone may have filled out a postcard at a retail store in 2010 in order to receive some sale and coupon information from that retailer… and then, suddenly, that consumer may suddenly be getting offers on peanut butter or vacation rentals.

There’s no identification as to where these offers came from, no tracing them back to that fateful day in the mall when the unwitting consumer filled out a postcard. There’s often even little relevancy to the information that the consumer was originally requesting.

In addition, these are typically the emails that subsist on click fraud, where there can be a 17% open rate… and no sales.

So be a good email list “parent.” Know where your list has been, and exactly who it’s going to. After all, it’s a scary world out there: give your customers every reason in the world to trust you… no matter what time it is!

 

4 Tips for Better Customer-Acquisition Spending

shutterstock_134128511Email marketers are in 2014 increasingly turning their emphasis and priorities to customer acquisition. The internet has opened up seemingly endless avenues and choices for digital marketers to acquire new customers—so many choices, in fact, that it’s increasingly easy to spend budget haphazardly. But you can spend your customer-acquisition budget wisely and effectively if you follow four simple steps:

1)   Measure to ROI. Most marketers get caught up in the nonessentials of customer acquisition: clicks, impressions, even opens are less important than the money that you are making—or not making—from that prospect. You are investing dollars in your customer-acquisition program, so you need to measure its effectiveness in dollars too.

2)   Move quickly. Amassing lists of prospects won’t help you if you are not prepared to move quickly to convert them into customers. This is what will distance you from the competition. Remember that lost time always equates to lost money in lead generation. Launch, optimize … and do it quickly.

3)   Toss garbage data. No marketer likes to throw anything away, but there are email addresses in your database that will never make a purchase. You are looking for opportunities that will move you forward, not useless data that will hold you back. Nate Silver says that “the signal is the truth. The noise is what distracts us from the truth.” In this case, you can equate the “signal” to your best prospects, while the “noise” is the tracked behavior of the other 90% that you’re holding onto.

blog-image-11-18-13-0024)   Follow up. Studies have shown a 45% improvement in lead-generation ROI for companies that nurture leads. With that in mind, make sure that your followup uses the best segmentation available so that you can zero in on your prospects. Remember that personalized emails deliver six times higher revenue per email than non-personalized emails, so segmenting your followup is just as important than the segmentation you’ll be doing once these prospects become customers.

In addition, automating this process is the fastest and most reliable way to spend acquisition budgets efficiently. The B2C ecosystem of customer acquisition is complex, so make sure that the leads you pay for are the ones that will bring you the best possible ROI.

 

Want Better ROI? Reengage Your Website!

shopping cart 1While shopping cart abandonment is well documented as a powerful driver of revenue for online companies, 95% of email subscribers visiting your website never get to the shopping cart. That is the very definition of leaving a lot of money on the table.

Working with over 50 companies who reengage subscribers who visit their website using email, whether or not these subscribers ever visit the shopping cart, we have seen significant results.

Here’s the thing: Website abandonment emails typically make up less than two percent of the total volume of email each of these companies send in a month, and yet these emails deliver over 25% of the total revenue driven in direct response from email.

Two percent of the volume of email sent, 25% of revenue. Do the math: that’s fewer emails and more money. Fewer emails, fewer inbox delivery challenges, more money. It’s not rocket science.

How does it work?

Marketers identify their email subscribers as soon as they show up at their website; they keep track of the pages they visit. They also track when these customers leave the website without making a purchase.

Twenty minutes or so after leaving the website, the customer receives an email postcard. The postcard lists current sales and offers. If there is a current discount code, it’s included. If there is a current coupon, it’s included. If there is free shipping, the customer is told of that offer.

shutterstock_107844167 2And it all links back to the website to make a purchase. It’s as simple as that.

These emails include current offers, coupons, and/or discounts. They “never” offer elevated promotions which might simply train buyers to leave the website to get the company’s best offers.

The opportunity is enormous. Tracking over 50 companies with website abandonment email programs in place, the results are impressive:

  • consistently over 50% open rates
  • click-to-open rates over 30 percent
  • conversion rates (sales) of anywhere from six to 70 times those of the companies’ regular promotional email campaigns, no matter how well they are targeted
  • revenue generated is 25% or more of the total revenue the company drives from all its email campaigns

This is truly low-hanging fruit. Website abandonment email reminders to use a discount code or a coupon or to take advantage of free shipping before the offer expires, delivered to customers at exactly the right moment, while they are still online and thinking about your company, adds a new dimension to customer convenience that is appreciated and drives sales.

Website reengagement is an opportunity to reach out to customers from every page of your website, and to send tailored messages based on specific pages the customer visited on the site. A carefully devised and implemented website abandonment strategy immediately isolates undecided customers, gives them the opportunity to return and make a purchase, and improves the marketer’s ability to gain additional return on investment from regular customers.

Want better ROI? Forget the shopping cart and optimize your whole website for reengagement!

 

Building a Great List: Back to Basics

shutterstock_107177447We talk here a lot about customer acquisition, and for good reason: every marketer needs to have a constant steady stream of new subscribers, new prospects, and new customers in order to stay in business. It really is that simple.

Speaking of simplicity, we’re all always going after the next Holy Grail of email marketing. And that’s necessary: new technologies are constantly becoming available that make our jobs easier and more productive. But it’s also worth taking a step back and reminding ourselves of some of the basics involved in building a great email list.

Those basics include the pseudo-”new” field of content marketing (which has actually been with us all along): you’ll attract more prospects if you consistently offer quality content that they can use. It’s a great way to interact with them as well, and you’ll gain valuable insights when you see which parts of your content are being shared.

What content should you be sharing if you’re interesting in building an email list?

  1. Website. Make sure that your website is easily and intuitively navigable, and then add in content that your customers and prospects will love. Depending on your product or service, this can include some how-to guides and videos, reports, pamphlets, and so on. Make sure that you’re always adding something fresh and new to your website content.
  2. Blog. You should have a dedicated blog that is updated regularly (if you let it go for a while, people will lose interest). This will attract both prospects and search engines as long as the content you place in your blog is useful and non-commercial. The blog should be accessible from every page of the website.
  3. Social media. Once you have a blog post, market it on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and anywhere else your customers might be hanging out (you do know where they hang out, right?). This offers a social introduction to your brand.
  4. Giveaways. Don’t ever ask for people to sign on without offering them a thank-you gift for doing so. It can be simple and wast (and should be simple and easy!), but it should make the new signup feel appreciated.
  5. Opt-In. Be careful not to ask for too much information upfront—some people won’t sign on if the form is too long.
  6. Use an enterprise-level ESP for your email lists. Everything is automated, freeing you to do what you do best!

Getting back to basics will grow your list and increase your ROI, so what are you waiting for?

Email Marketing Must-Haves

shutterstock_107479076Okay. Here are three quick must-haves for midweek. Check your email marketing strategy and practice to make sure you have them all:

  1. Listen to your subscribers: What do your subscribers care about? Live data—what we call “now” data—allows marketers to respond to customers and subscribers in near-real time.
  2. Don’t check out: If you want your subscribers and customers to do more business with you, then you need to earn their trust and respect over time with ongoing messaging.
  3. Make it personal: An email recipient should be able to recognize that a message is useful and vital specifically to them within seconds of glancing at a subject line. And that means great—not just good—copywriting.

Take a moment today to check back with your email marketing strategy, and make sure you’re hitting these three high notes. Good email marketing isn’t rocket science: sometimes it’s just about going back to basics.

Want An Insanely Successful Company? Start Here!

shutterstock_117742582How do you run a successful company? Follow these principles:

1) Make a promise/keep a promise

  • At eWayDirect, we continue to believe, and continue to see results that confirm, that the answer to inbox deliverability is clarity. We call it “make a promise, keep a promise.” Be totally clear to all people signing up for your communications that “if you do this, here is exactly what you can expect.” And be as explicit as possible. “If you sign up, we will send you an email every day with special offers and news about our company. The email will arrive in your inbox with the my company from line.”
  • In addition, include with each email you send a confirmation that you are living up to your part of the bargain. “When you signed up, we told you we would send you daily great offers, and here is Tuesday’s offer. Thanks for continuing to be a part of our email list!”
  • Make a promise, keep a promise gets your mail sent directly to the inbox.

2) Use the hierarchy of yes

  • The Hierarchy of Yes starts—and ends—with the understanding that only a team leader (CEO, president, divisional president or senior VP) has the authority to say no to a customer. All other employees are charged with finding ways, within the corporate mission and guidelines, to say yes to customer requests. In cases where employees cannot produce a positive outcome, they escalate the request up the line until, if necessary, it lands on the desk of the singular person in their group empowered to say no.
  • The Hierarchy of Yes applies for both internal and external corporate customers.
  • No employee wants to be put in a position where he or she has to tell their boss they can’t handle a challenge. By limiting the options employees have, in terms of what the end result must look like (yes), creates full transparency in the organization, in terms of showing management exactly what issues get in the way of saying yes to every customer, every day.
  • No manager wants to spend their time dealing with customer problems, so they use H.O.Y. to understand the current impediments to successful customer outcomes, and train their employees to meet customer needs and exceed customer goals every time.
  • It is about the three Ts:
    • Transparency becomes a way of life
    • Training becomes a mission
    • Teamwork becomes a priority

 

Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation

The following information should not be considered legal advice.  Please consult with your legal counsel for specific guidance about compliance regarding the new legislation.
canadian-flag002

Summary

Canada has adopted a new regulation entitled the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) that will go into effect on July 1, 2014. The two organizations that will be enforcing this are Industry Canada and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).

A few key differences between the previous and new regulations are:

BEFORE AFTER
Implied consent acceptable Express consent is required
Opt-out is acceptable Opt-in is required
No ability for private individuals to file suit Private right of action takes effect July 1, 2017

Highlights

The highlights of CASL are described below. Details may be found in the references listed at the end of this post.

  • After July 1, 2014, commercial electronic messages (CEM) to and from Canada may only be sent to subscribers who have given consent as defined by the new law, unless the message is exempt.
  • There are exemptions for:
    • Existing business relationships
    • Responses to an information request received within the past six months.
    • Messages sent to an employee, representative, consultant, or franchisee of an organization, or of another organization if the organizations have a relationship, and the message concerns the activities of the organization.
    • Existing non-business (family or personal) relationships
    • Messages sent to satisfy a legal or judiciary obligation
    • Messages sent by a charity or on their behalf, in order to raise funds
    • Messages sent by a political party or a candidate for public office or on their behalf in order to solicit contributions
  • If you are sending a message that is not exempt from CASL then consent is required. Consent may be implied or express.
  • You may consider consent to be implied if:
    • There is an existing business relationship such as the recipient making a purchase in the past 2 years or making an inquiry in the past 6 months.
    • There is an existing non-business relationship
    • The recipient has conspicuously published their email address or provided it directly to the sender and has not stated that they do not wish to receive unsolicited email and the email is related to the recipient’s business or official role.
  • If the message is not exempt and consent is not implied, you must obtain express consent before sending a CEM by:
    • Clearly describing the purpose for obtaining express consent
    • Providing the name of the person seeking consent or identifying the name of the person seeking consent if different.
    • Providing contact information for either of these persons, including a mailing address and either a telephone number, email address or web address.
    • Indicating that the recipient can unsubscribe.
    • NOTE:  A pre-checked box cannot be used to obtain express consent according to the CRTC.
  • Senders must include certain items in each commercial electronic message including:
    • Providing the name of the person sending the message or identifying the name of the person sending the message if different.
    • Providing contact information for either of these persons, including a mailing address and either a telephone number, email address or web address.
    • A mechanism allowing the recipient to easily unsubscribe at no cost.
  • The CRTC may impose financial penalties for violations of the regulations.
  • The last phase of CASL begins on July 1, 2017 with the private right of action, allowing individuals to file suit.

Next Steps

The new law makes explicit opt-in a requirement when sending to and from Canada.  It is time to review sign up pages to make sure they ask for an opt-in without a pre-checked box and that consent information is being recorded.  Existing lists with Canadian addresses without express consent will need to be reviewed and decisions made on obtaining consent or deactivating appropriate subscribers.

eWayDirect, Inc. recommends that you consult with proper legal council regarding the new laws and to inform yourself by reading the details:

 

- posted by Gene Gusman, Director of Compliance, eWayDirect