Monday, March 28, 2011

Self Built Lists

We’ve said it before – having a strong email list is more than half of the battle with email marketing. Even if you have the most captivating and creative content, having a reliable recipient list is what is going to lead to higher open and click-through rates.

The question for all email marketers remains: is it worth buying a purchased list? Purchased lists are a physical copy of email addresses. There is no maximum amount of times that you are allowed to mail to the same list. It seems like this is a smart idea, but after years of research, here are some issues that you may face from working with a purchased list.

1. Exhaustion. The value of a self built list is that people have to subscribe to your newsletter which obviously means they want to read what you’re sending. Using a self-built list will allow you to gain quality and active readers. Sending too much commercial email to a purchased list will lead to people unsubscribing, which is obviously something all email marketers want to avoid.

2. Poor quality. No right-minded company would willingly sell their personal email lists, which take years of patience to build and perfect. The different lists that are available for purchase are probably not as strong as advertised. Usually there is no guarantee that the email addresses are relevant to the associated names, or vice versa.

3. Flagging. Sure, a one-of email sent to a large list of purchased addresses might have its benefits, but the more those users flag you for spam, the more trouble you are going to find yourself in. These addresses have not given you formal permission to mail to them, therefore probably won’t be too happy if they feel they’re overwhelmed with emails from unknown sources.

If your end goal is to have a successful long-term email marketing campaign, you should focus on building your own lists. A strong list won’t come fast or easy, so you will need to refer back to some of our suggestions from the KobeMail blog on how to do so. Patience is key.

Happy mailing!

Author: Courtney Dillsworth

Editor: Peter Schirripa

Monday, March 21, 2011

Test! Test! Test Again!

There are so many variables that affect the success of an email marketing campaign. If you rely on an ESP, like KobeMail, you can be assured that your emails will be tested thoroughly before they are deployed. However, for those of you out there who are using your own in-house mailing system, it is imperative that you spend more than enough time testing your emails.

Optimizing your email efforts relies solely on testing. First, you must make sure the HTML email renders well across all ISP’s. You should have a test account set up for all of the major ISP’s, including, but not limited to: Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail. If the HTML email does not render properly, there is little to no chance that it will be effective.

Using a third party application like Litmusapp will help test your emails if you are not using a trusted ESP. Another important aspect you should test is the ‘from name.’ Make sure the name is recognizable to the recipient. Also, make sure to check the subject line. Is it relevant? Is it personalized to the recipient list? Test, track results, then make appropriate changes.

We encourage everyone who handles email marketing to test and optimize frequently, small changes can make a big impact in your campaigns if implemented correctly.

Happy Mailing!

Author: Courtney Dillsworth

Editor: Peter Schirripa

Monday, March 14, 2011

Gmail Unveils ‘Smart Labels’

As noted from our previous blog about Gmail’s Priority Inbox, Gmail has been aggressively coming up with ways to fight email overload for its users. Since its implementation, Priority Inbox has led to a 15% reduction in the amount of time people spend staring at their inboxes.

Gmail has launched a new feature to battle the email overload: Smart Labels. The new feature automatically tags inbound messages as “bulk”, “notifications”, or “forums” then handles them accordingly.

Notifications include any updates from social networking sites, shipping confirmations, and other messages that may not be from someone you know but include important information. Forums include messages from any online message board that you take part in. Bulk includes any messages that appear to be sent as part of a mass mail list.

By default any “bulk” messages will skip the inbox, while messages landing in either the forums folder or the notifications folder will be kept in your inbox.

You can personally tweak the settings to route the messages how you want them to be. To enable the new feature, you’ll have to go to Gmail’s Labs section, where it’s listed as ‘SmartLabels’. Unlike Priority Inbox, which Gmail prompted everyone to try out, Smart Labels will be tucked away under Labs for the time being.

Happy Mailing!

Author: Courtney Dillsworth

Editor: Peter Schirripa

Monday, March 7, 2011

Horizontal Emails – The new thing?

Creativity and innovation are the leading tools to a successful email marketing campaign. Supplying your readers with new and fun material is bound to lead to a high level of retention.

Strong, relevant content paired with a unique design leads to an effective campaign. A new design concept that has been getting a lot of praise in the email marketing world is the horizontal email.

Due to this concept being fairly new, there is limited statistical research behind it. Most of the designs resemble a wide postcard, where products are listed left to right giving the viewer the ability to scroll side to side.

As one designer put it, “With traditional vertical emails, you must concentrate on the 420 pixel ‘above the fold’ area. But for horizontals, you stress the total viewable width of 720 pixels.”

A sample of what a horizontal email may look like is listed below:

Here at KobeMail we are always looking for ways to stay ahead of the curve. We do our best to supply you with information regarding new trends in email marketing. If there is something that interests you that you would like us to look into further, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us via email or the comment box below.

Happy mailing!

Author: Courtney Dillsworth

Editor: Peter Schirripa

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Email; Not Dead!’s report, “2010 U.S. Digital Year in Review,” showed a decline in time spent with web-based email among all US internet users under 55 years old.

However, this trend should not be too much of a surprise. According to research from Merkel, “87% of internet users checked personal email daily in 2010, a number that has changed little since 2007. Among those with a separate email account for commercial email, 60% checked daily, down just one percentage point from 2008.”

Contrary to popular belief, social media usage is not taking away from email usage. Social media users are actually more likely than other internet users to check their email four or more times a day. Please review the chart below for more details.

The report also indicates that mobile access is encouraging email users to check more often. More than half of those surveyed who had an internet-enabled phone checked their personal email using the phone.

Be sure to read the report from comScore above, and continue to read the KobeMail blog, in order to keep up with email marketing trends.

Author: Courtney Dillsworth

Editor: Peter Schirripa