Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Simply Irresistible Email Pre-Headers

So how many of you have been guilty of deleting an email that you thought was of no interest to you without even opening the entire message? This is where a pre-header is becoming one of the most important parts of the email composition. For those not sure what the header is, it is generally the text all the way on the top of the email usually residing above company logo.

When a user first receives a message, what will normally be displayed are the sender’s name, subject line and then one or two sentences known as email fold on ISPs. Since this is the first exposure to the content, we think a good call to action is needed. It is very important that the sentences explain the purpose of the email. Not only is it crucial for raising attention in users to open the email - it is also the only text seen when the email is open as images may be blocked until the user downloads the images (usually when you are not classified in the users safe list). It may even help to personalize pre-header or the subject line to engage your audience. Here at Kobemail we test all our campaigns on different ISPs and devices to better understand what users see when emails are sent to them and advice our clients accordingly.

Take under consideration as well that we are now in the mobile generation. Consumers continuously check their inbox while on the go. In a mobile device, for example a Blackberry, the header takes up about 1/3 of the screen. The header is one of the only chances to motivate your recipient to fully scroll down the rest of the email.

Overall pre-headers are a crucial part of any email deliverability campaign as it is where you can earn the attention of your recipient to motivate them to view the full message. It is always good to give recipients an idea of what the email is about in the pre-header of the email. Write your main selling point or the reason for your email.

Happy Mailing !!

Author: Adeline Zeledon
Editor: Yasifur Rahman

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Social Media Email Marketing - Tips

In case you missed it, check out Part 1 and 2 of this Social Media and Email Marketing blog:

Part 1: It Doesn’t Have to Be One or the Other
Part 2: Ways to Connect

Let’s finish this 3 Part segment off with some friendly tips and reminders to help you make the most out of your email marketing campaigns.

Have a Clear Goal

What do you plan on getting out of this? Is this synergy an attempt to gain membership? Drive more traffic to the company website? Encourage registration in a contest? It’s important to have a clear and consistent goal and mold you efforts around said goal.

For example, if you are currently holding a Facebook contest and trying to increase signups, be sure to make mention of the contest in the newsletter or try sending a “blast” to your list that centers on the contest with links that redirect straight to your Facebook page.

Foster Positive Conversation

Work to increase positive feedback while acknowledging and dealing with negative. The worst thing you can do is delete or ignore negative comments; users will feel like they’ve been tossed aside by the big bad business, and this kind of animosity is what leads to diminished reputation and poor company image.

Hire staff to answer posted questions, respond to tweets, and look for trends in feedback. If users are all posting the same question, then the information you’ve provided is not comprehensive enough - fix it. Utilize users as an extended marketing team and learn to consider their advice – after all, the customer is always right.

Keep the Cycle Going

Follow up – make an effort to confirm things have been fixed if there was an issue or that things are still going well if there wasn’t. To keep the conversation going invite users to discuss a topic further on your Facebook page or other social channel.
Show consumers you are really listening by featuring their comments in a newsletter or on your website. Send them an email thanking them for their feedback. Make sure they know their comments are not just being fed to a robot – there’s a person over there!

Promote Transparency

Here at Kobemail we work to promote transparency with our clients and encourage them to do the same with their recipients. Remember, social media blew up as a personal outlet and in order to mold it to business practices we must be in tune with how it works.

Is called “Social” media for a reason – Have a conversation with your users just like you’d have a conversation with a friend (while keeping the profanities and sarcasm to a minimum, of course). Nobody wants to talk to someone they think is being fake or insincere – so be real, and they’ll appreciate it.


Try out new techniques, the only failure is not taking advantage of a learning opportunity. Every business is different and because of this you won’t know what works best until you experiment! Trying different incorporation techniques (how links are used, where they’re used, what kind of incentive your offering, etc) can help lead you to a practiced marriage of social media and email marketing campaigns.

As always – Happy Mailing (and Social Media) from all of us here at KobeMail!

Author: Caitlin Durand
Editor: Rebecca Allas

Friday, August 19, 2011

Urban Email Deliverability Legends

“ Urban legend: is a form of modern folklore consisting of stories usually believed by their tellers to be true. As with all folklore and mythology, the designation suggests nothing about the story's veracity, but merely that it is in circulation, exhibits variation over time, and carries some significance that motivates the community in preserving and propagating it.”

Email marketing “urban legends” have been around for quite sometime now. One would think that as technology evolved and email marketing was used more, most of these urban myths would go away.

So how can one marketer be more educated and evolved?

Keeping up with the latest digital marketing news would help drastically. Here at Kobemail, we make it a priority to keep pace with the ever so fast evolving digital marketing world.

Now on to some legends…

  1. “I have to have a perfect deliverability rate at all time” – Great IP reputation only comes with a healthy list. In reality, perfect deliverability rate of 100% is simply unattainable. Consider using a process called “confirmed opt-in or verified opt-in to send a unique link to the attempted subscriber when they request initial information. This way, before adding the person to your list, they must click that unique link to verify that it is their real email account. This can dramatically increase your deliverability rate to 20-30%.

  2. “I am mailing from a large corporation, I will be in the junk box” - ISP’s do not care if you are mailing from a large to mid size corporation or a small independent company. Everyone is equal in the eyes of the ISP world. To avoid spam filters in general, try optimizing your creative and focus on subject lines. I would suggest trouble shooting your mailings once a month to monitor which creatives go to inbox and which gets spammed.

  3. “A bigger list is always better”- In this case, it’s more quality over quantity. The size of your list only matters if everyone on your user list wants to be on it. Try to re-examine your mailing frequency and check your bounces. Bounce rates could be telling you the effectiveness of your sending frequency. Another thing you might want to look out for is the non-engaged users. Cleaning up your audience means following up with non-opens as well. This will help you concentrate on the users that are engaged and help segment that non responsive users for a different call-to-action campaign.

  4. “Persistence is a virtue” – At times it is, not in email marketing. Continuing to mail them is counterproductive. What do I mean by this? Consider changing your content around and try to focus on what engages your users. Also, try to find out who your loyal customers are. One example is setting up a free “Pro Account” and invite users to join this exclusive email account adding bonuses for being a “Pro member”. Require an opt-in process and start a whole new mailing campaign to these loyal users. This is a great way to find your most loyal customers, who in the future will open more, click more, forward more, and complain less.

Email Deliverability urban legends are prominent is this age of modern technology. As with all legends, there is often a grain of truth, but it’s up to you to consider the source and do your homework.

Happy Messaging!

Author: Rebecca Allas
Editor: Caitlin Durand

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Social Media and Email Marketing- Ways to Connect

Last week we discussed the importance of uniting the old-school and the new-age marketing giants – email promotion and social media, to create dialogue, drive content, and give insight into future campaigns.

Below are some really simple ways to incorporate social media into your email marketing campaigns that can help in maximizing reach and enhancing your brand personality:

  1. Provide incentive for joining multiple outlets – If you’ve just got involved in social media, or aren’t happy with the results you’ve seen thus far encourage sign up by featuring a reward for “becoming a fan” or “tweeting” about your company – You could offer a coupon or even just a little personal recognition which go a long way in building brand loyalty.

  2. Drive traffic just like you would to your website – These social media outlets are an extension of your online presence, just like you use “read more” on emails to drive traffic to your website, “share” or “like” buttons drive traffic to your social networking sites (and help to increase click through rates).

  3. Use your email header or footer to house widgets that link to social media outlets – these little gizmos catch the eye of users, and simple to find, easy to use, and a great way to consistently promote your social media throughout your email campaigns.

  4. Use social media outlets to hype up and build anticipation for upcoming mailings- Tweet or post about something interesting that can only be found in the newsletter (a new contest, an exclusive article, etc) and make sure to give the option to sign up if the individual isn’t already an email recipient.

  5. Develop a cool video and provide a link in your mailing - Whether it’s a help video or a funny anecdote, your customers will appreciate you feeding them information in an interactive way. Don’t be afraid to have a personality or try something new – be a pioneer.

  6. Encourage post-purchase activity- Engage in conversation by prompting users to share their experience via social media after a purchase, interaction with an employee, or simply after reading of an article – of course, a high level of quality content and professionalism need to be present for comments to be positive and subsequently this to be beneficial.

  7. Feature customer quotes or even give them a feature - Show customers that they can be heard through the social media outlets – Give them a voice and they will be more inclined to join. By featuring consumer quotes you promote transparency and generate positive conversation.

…and as always don’t forget to produce quality content. You can utilize all the social media tools you want but if customers don’t trust your company, these outlets can defiantly backfire. Giving consumers a voice is a double edged sword – so make sure to master processes and identity internally before you promote externally.

Look out next week for “Social Media & Emails Marketing Part 3: Tips” the final segment in this blog thread. Good luck & happy emailing from your friends at KobeMail!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Smartphone E-mail Usage Climbing

There is no doubt that new generation is wired in and the Gen X as well as the babyboomers are following suite. Grandad and grandmas are now using their phones to send and receive pictures of their 10 year old grand children. I, personally have two email accounts set up and receive and send emails throughout the day. Having my email makes me feel connected and in the know whether it be coupons from my favorite store or an email from a friend about a weekend party. The smartphone virus has infected all of us and in a very very good way. :)

It is obvious with the increase in the users using phones as their primary source of email, desktop usage has fallen. A study from ComScore* stated that mobile email usage has had a jump of 36% in a three month period that ended in November 2010 citing that there was a 6% decrease in the number of users checking their emails through their desktops or laptops.

It’s important to consider the effects this can have on the email marketing world. As an email marketer your job is no longer only testing the rendering of your creative’s on computer screens but also considering how that creative will appear on a mobile device. Of course some changes will have to be made to allow your message to get through to your mobile email users.

Here at KobeMail, our dedicated account managers (which includes me yay!!) make sure that the mobile email users will be able to access the email being sent. These emails undergo testing to ensure that the communication renders correctly – while being consistent with the formatting with client requests, and the look and feel represents the quality our clients expect.

I try to provide my clients a text version to their campaigns so that it is sent as a multipart to avoid rendering issues on a mobile device. The result – the message is delivered in the proper rendering format whether it’s viewed on desktop or a phone.

While desktop, laptop and web-based email usage is not a thing of the past mobile email usage is certainly on a rise. Keeping this in mind will allow you to get your message across to all users no matter what type of device they chose to use.


Author: Amarilys Rivera
Editor: Yasifur Rahman

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Relationship vs. Engage to Marry your customer to your brand

Email marketing is NOT a one way street: Have a conversation!

Let’s talk about a marketing myth I heard in college:

Email marketing is ineffective since so many people receive truckloads of junk mail to their inbox on a daily basis.

To deny some truth to this myth would be absurd. While it might be true to some extent however, on the flip side email marketing can be very effective when you use it consistently, correctly, and as a part of your overall customer relationship management strategy.

So how do you avoid the divorce and work towards a relationship based marketing experience?

One of the reasons email communications tend to be ineffective is because it is too impersonal and constantly a selfish tone from the business side. On top of that, adding a touch of bulk emailing software, misspelled titles and altered subject lines that looks suspicious and unprofessional are just a few things that spam filters are physically attracted to. Who wouldn’t delete at first sight. The odds of a second date are pretty much slim to none.

On the other hand, if you receive a more personalized email designed specifically to you, wouldn’t you be more open to that experience? Imagine receiving a personal email from a trusted source on a consistent basis, catering and adding value to you and not constantly asking you to give give give. You won’t be able to help but develop a relationship with the sender.

Here are a few tips to a successful email courtship:

  • Take a quick look at Email Service Providers – Do your research, understand what an email service provider is (ESP). Many can send but only a handful can strategize. Here at KobeMail we focus on your goals and strategy.

  • Get Inside your Customer’s head – Understand what they want and need, get to know them. Personalization needs to be felt by your recipient and at the same time showing them the ways your product will benefit them.

  • Personalize the Subject line but keep the From name consistent for branding- The subject line is the first thing your recipient sees when they open their Inbox. Once you are familiar with the needs and wants of your customer you can write subject lines that appeal to their expectations and that serve as a reminder you are focused on their needs. A consistent “From Name” makes your IP a reputable source and will decrease bounce. Not only that, the customer will recognize your brand because of consistency.

  • Offer value at the right time - Messaging customers at the right time is another key way to add value to communications. No matter what your industry, there are messages that can be automated, particularly around a conversion. Ex: Flight updates and alerts, in-stock notifications.

  • It’s a 2 way conversation – Listen to your customers, it’s a conversation. Use social media to offer your customers a voice. Ex: Provide an ability to share stories, send reviews, “like us” on Facebook.

  • Give a little – A little goes a long way! Just like any relationship anything given is always appreciated (or so I hope). Consider running promotions or giveaways. A sweepstakes of some sort can increase response rates and user engagement.

Adding a touch of personalization will help get to a customer’s heart. Maintain a relationship by paying attention to their likes and dislikes. Also keep in mind to keep space at times. Just like any relationship, too many email messages will eventually make them immune and they will eventually tune you out.

Happy Messaging!

Author: Rebecca Allas
Editor: Roopal Rawani