Thursday, November 29, 2012

Can Spam Act v. CASL

The Can Spam Act and the Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL) are two pieces of legislation that should be known by email marketers and are important to consider throughout all email marketing endeavors.

There are similarities and differences between these two acts.  The major difference between the two would be that the Can Spam Act states that the email needs to have an opt-out option where as the CASL not only needs to have an opt-out option but users need to have opted in exclusively to these emails.  In contrast, Can Spam Act allow email marketers to send to lists that have been purchased while regulating these emails in an attempt to build reputation and stay off the blacklist. [You can check out my previous blog on How to Stay off the Blacklist to get pointers on what to include in your email. (]

The CASL does not regulate bulk mailings in fact they prohibit commercial email altogether. Users must opt in exclusively to receive emails, otherwise they can not be emailed to by any marketer at any time.  This does not just apply to emails but to text and social media outlets as well.  

As you can see, CASL in general is stricter than the Can Spam Act. If you are going to send emails outside of the United States knowing the regulations and laws is vital to abide by the proper regulations to avoid any fines.

Author: Amarilys Rivera
Editor: Caitlin Durand

Blogging + Keywords

Typically search engines, like Google, Bing, and Yahoo can be responsible for generating more traffic to your blog. These tools rate key words on popularity and relevance to filter their search results and provide users with the most relevant data. That being said, you must consider keywords when firing up your blog to get the best search engine results. A useful tool that is easily available is Google AdWords which gives you an idea on what words to use.

The way Google AdWords works is that is filters a key word or phrase you type into it and gives you the amount of users searching this term or ones similar. With these results you are able to make more informative decisions on what words you will include within your article. Be sure that the words you are using are not of double meaning. This can throw off the entire user’s search. Also, remember that if you are using images within your blog name the “Alt” with key words that you are using.

Although key words are important, don’t compromise the creativity of your blog as this is what will engage the user. Find ways insert these key words you want to use but maintain a flow of engaging content. 

Author: Adeline Zeledon
Editor: Caitlin Durand

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Don't Forget About Your "On the Go" Users

The number of users viewing email on their smartphones and tablet devices is on the rise. Not only must we account for these users in regards to campaign rendering, we must also consider other content elements to determine how to increase click through rates and ultimate conversions.

According to recent statistics, conversions for tablet users tend to be much higher than on other devices. Why would this be? It seems that these users tend to have higher income (allowing them to purchase cutting edge technologies) and are therefore not as sensitive to pricing.  
Here are a few ways to better target these users:
·         Make sure emails render properly across all platforms
·         Format content so that there is a strong call to action present on the fist visible screen
·         Use small images that don’t take long to download
·         Do not use animation that may slow opening of a message or not render
·         Keep it short and sweet. Remember – a Tablet screen isn’t as large as your computer screen
·         Use contrasting colors that allow deals and important content to “pop”
·         Make redirects easy to find to help increase conversion rates.
Author: Amarilys Rivera
Editor: Caitlin Durand

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Few Things Cyber Monday Taught Us

The world of commerce is every changing – a statement made obvious by the fact that in the wake of Black Friday a new era has been dawned, and that era is: Cyber Monday. Think about it – it’s wonderful….No need to leave the house (or even get out of your pajamas),  you don’t have to rush out on your lunch break and fight over deals while work looms in the background, and best of all NO LINES!

It’s more than obvious why, with the progression of technology, customers have taken to the interwebs during the holiday season. As retailers & email marketers it’s important that we target these people the best we can to increase holiday sales. Here a few things cyber Monday, and internet retail altogether, have taught us in regards to email marketing:

1)   Announce your deals in advance – Building hype for your deals ahead of time is a great way to increase sales. It allows recipients to prepare for upcoming purchases and gets them excited for anticipatory savings.

2)   Make sure everything is working properly – I know what you’re thinking, “duh, isn’t that obvious?” and honestly, it still needs to be said. Emails made on a whim that haven’t been tested properly (esp. across mobile and tablet devices) can cause you to miss out on a ton of good business.

3)   Just because Monday is over doesn’t mean your deals have to be – Using the old “We’re extending out offer” trick can work wonders during the holiday season. Send a follow up email sometime in December announcing that the great deal can be redeemed for a limited time.

Happy Holidays from the Kobemail Team!

Author & Editor: Caitlin Durand

Monday, November 26, 2012

3 Ways to Improve the Impact of Your Emails

Hello readers! Hope everyone had a relaxing holiday weekend! I’ve got a short one for you today – the below are a few simple ways to help enhance your email campaigns. Sometimes the oldies are the goodies….

Make Sentences Brief – Recipients don’t want to sift through tons and tons of content to locate the “what’s in it for me” part of your email. Keep sentences brief and simplistic to appeal to your entire target audience. Make calls to action obvious and actionable so that the user can do the least amount of work with the best return.

Use Simple HTML Coding – to ensure that your mailings render properly across multiple ISP’s and various viewing devices use the most simplistic coding and format possible. Avoid extraneous tables, images, etc and keep it clean. Avoiding overuse of styles and keeping the formats simple is the best practice to ensure proper viewing by recipients.

Test, Test, Test – I know we say it again and again, but until you conduct intensive testing on your email marketing campaigns you’ll never know what works and what doesn’t. Try subject line testing to determine what helps you get a lift in opens, send at different times of the day and on different days of the week, and even play around with the offer within your mailings. Analysis of the data post send can bring up patterns that will help you optimize campaigns in the future.

Happy Mailing!

Author & Editor: Caitlin Durand

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Outsourcing Your Email Marketing

When you make the choice to include email as part of your marketing strategy, you’ve got a big decision to make. Do you take on the responsibilities in house – or do you outsource to a reputable email marketing firm? There are pros and cons for either option but you have to figure out with best fit your needs. Below are some benefits to consider for each:

CostThe cost of your emails can be cut since you are no longer being charge for the amount of emails that you are sending. You may also be saving if you decide to send emails yourself without the help of another employee.

Control You are the only one managing your list, scheduling and email design.  This gives you the flexibility in making any changes you feel are need instead of submitting it for someone else to handle on their schedule.  
Security there is no longer a fear of sharing user information that is sensitive. With a proper security system you can be protected from potential hackers.

ExpertiseThe individuals employed by a company that is in the business of sending emails with have backgrounds and expertise across multiple aspects of sending emails. They are there to assist you in deliverability, rendering, scheduling, list management, email CAN-Spam laws and even creative layout.
Time - Effective email strategies take time to plan, test and deploy. Having an outsourced team can help shorten the time it would take to send out a campaign.
ReportingBeing able to see the results and compare what tactics worked best can be the biggest assets that outsourcing can provide.  Your providers can also be helpful in providing recommendations based on what they have seen other work for other clients.
All and all choosing to send emails in house or outsource of email depends on a number of factors and is simply determined by your company’s individual needs. If you are considering using an outside source we are here to help  - visit us at
Author: Adeline Zeledon
Editor: Caitlin Durand

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Videos Within Email Campaigns

Videos are can be a great way to draw users in and better communicate a service or product in a short period of time. The problem with putting videos directly into your creative’s is that HTML5 videos are not supported by all web browsers, and thus some users will either not be able to play or even worse the campaign with not render properly across different platforms.

Instead of embedding the videos directly into the email, images linked directly to webpages where the video is hosted have been proven to help to increase overall clickthrough rates by two to three times. This not only helps to increase clicks in an email but also drives more traffic to the website where users are more inclined to ultimately convert.
Author: Amarilys Rivera
Editor: Caitlin Durand

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Few More RAF Recommendations...

Adding a “Tell a Friend” or “Refer a Friend” to an email is a very useful tool in generating new leads. These are emails that are recommended by someone personal, so the probability of generating engagement is high. Have you thought about what this email should contain?

·        Include logo on the top of this email. This is a great opportunity to drive more customers, so branding should be very prominent.

·        Add an easy signup process within the email. Now the offer or information that a person is sharing may or may not interest the referee, but this doesn’t mean they may not sign up for further email

·        Display a personalized message within the subject line. This message should state that their close friend, family member or spouse wants to share this offer or information with them.

·        Include a deal. Aside from the offer that is being shared, give some incentive for this user to sign up for your email.
Although sharing email and recommendation is only a small percentage of generating new subscribers, this doesn’t mean you should drop all efforts. All opportunities should be taken advantage of.
Author: Adeline Zeledon
Editor: Caitlin Durand

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Influence of Social Media

I’m sure you’ve seen some version of this video before but it’s just too good to not talk about again and again. Understanding the enormity of the effects social media is having on the marketplace is beyond difficult. The online arena is constantly transforming, new channels to reach consumers are invented each day, and all this technology is presented to the user instantly with a simple click. How do we ever keep up? Maybe that’s why most of us got into the Marketing industry in the first place – it certainly is never a dull moment. Check out the video below and be prepared to be in awe that these facts are actually true.

Here’s just a glimpse:
·          Each day 20% of Google searches have never been searched before
·         Social Media has become the #1 activity on the web
·         92% of children under the age of 2 have a digital shadow
·         Every 2 seconds a new member joins likedin
Author & Editor: Caitlin Durand

Friday, November 16, 2012

First Impressions are Everything

In email marketing you have just few seconds to grab reader’s attention and make them interested in the products or services you are offering them. Studies have shown that convenience and clarity at first glance play an essential role in having users sign up and remain on your email lists. There are few easy steps you can follow to have a successful welcome/signup programs:

·         Location of the signup box is very important. As I had mentioned above convenience is important to every user. If the signup box can be located easily users are less likely to abandon the signup process.
·         Don’t ask for too much all at once. Do not expect users give you their entire history when are only signing up for a simple informational newsletter. It is advisable to gather just the necessary information in accordance to your future segmentation plans.
·         Double-optins can help you gain some trust and it can also help you capture clean data (fake data is likely to be excluded by using this option).
·         Send out special and exclusive offers and encourage users to invite their friends by and easy refer-a-friend click.
The above points will help you to build a strong email database and maintain great relationships with email recipients. Moving forward – make sure to keep the interactions going and stay relevant in the consumers mind. Send out a simple and sweet email to just thank them for doing business with your company every once and awhile can go a big way.
Author: Roopal Rawani
Editor: Caitlin Durand

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Digital Media & the Ultimate Customer Experience

I recently came across this great Infographic by Monetate that helps to visually explain the consumer experience in regards to the evolution of digital media. The article discusses the customer experience and corresponding customer loyalty in relation to a company’s online presence. A few interesting facts:
·         97% of users feel that the online experience influences whether or not a purchase is made from that particular brand
·         73% of users would consider a repeat purchase based on a superior online experience
·         58% of users are more likely to recommend a company to a friend if the purchase experience was enjoyed.
These stats are overwhelming proof that adapting to the ever changing digital marketplace is important in maintaining and expanding your client base and ultimately increasing your bottom line.
The 5 steps to providing clients with a more relevant online consumer experience are cited as follows:
·         Continue the conversation
·         Talk to your customers like you know them
·         Help customers find what they are looking for
·         Listen to what customers’ actions tell you
·         Surprise and delight
As the marketplace continues to shift more and more online, and numerous digital outlets become easily accessible to the user, you must be prepared to make yourself stand out above the competition. Being “there” simply isn’t enough anymore - what you need is the best, and most adaptable online presence to see viable results.
Check out the infographic here or take a look at our website to get more information on how we help our clients gain measurable online presence with each mailing!
Author & Editor: Caitlin Durand

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

GIF Animations

GIF animations have been around for years, but we have seen more and more companies implementing this cool new feature into their emails more recently. For those who are not familiar with the term, GIF animation is a set of images that changes after a few seconds, allowing advertisers to target recipients with multiple images in one mailing location.

In the past, animations came through Flash, which is not compatible with many ISPs, causing issues with rendering across different platforms. Now GIF is supported by all major ISPs which the exception of Outlook 2007 and Apple Mail 3.0, where only the first frame shows. To achieve a better visual across all ISPs, be sure to have the first frame as an image that is not blank, otherwise users may not see anything depending what desktop application they are using.
I have read across blogs on how using GIF animations have generated better results in engagement, and this may just be your ticket to helping you stand out from competitors.  If you have Photoshop and would like to try GIF animation out you can view a tutorial here and test the theory for yourself.

Author: Adeline Zeledon
Editor: Caitlin Durand

Move Away from "Click Here" Prompts

The term ‘click here’ has historically been used as a call-to-action in email marketing quite often, but as spam filters become more and more stringent the term “click here” could be dangerous to your email marketing campaigns. At KobeMail we suggest you move away from using the term ‘click here’ in your sends and find alternatives that may be more beneficial.  

There is a short span of time that you have as a marketer to get the attention of the users through an email because a large number of recipients are known to scan before making the commitment to follow through or take action.  Click here has been used as a way to grab the users eye quickly – its to the point and commonly known. The problem is that its becoming overused and associated with harmful or “spammy” content.
Instead, try linking entire lines or portions of lines within the sentences. This will not only make certain areas of the content you’d like to highlight “pop” but it will also eliminate the need for the “click here” jargon.
In regards to “buttons” or areas that do not contain text content that you’d like to highlight try using links such as “visit here” or “find out more” as replacements. These are less harmful in regards to spam filters and have the same ultimate effect of “click here”
Taking the few extra minutes to transform you cal to action could help to improve campaign deliverability and increase click throughs in emails. Try it out – and let us know what you think!
Author: Amarilys Rivera
Editor: Caitlin Durand

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Authenticating Your Domain

Email authentication is a process by which senders are easily associated with their corresponding domains. By registering and authenticating a domain you are afforded the right to send emails safely and properly across multiple ISP’s via this channel. Below are brief explanations of the authentication processes we deem most important here at Kobemail.

DomainKeys – A digital “signature” located within the header of your mail designed to allow recipients to verify the DNS domain of an e-mail sender and the message integrity. DomainKeys was issued as a "historical" protocol (2007) and DKIM was issued as its standards-track replacement.

DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) - Allows a person, role, or organization to claim some responsibility for the message through a digital signature which can be validated by recipients.

The primary advantage of this system for e-mail recipients is it allows the signing domain to reliably identify a stream of legitimate email, thereby allowing domain-based blacklists and whitelists to be more effective. This is also likely to make some kinds of phishing attacks easier to detect.

Sender Policy Framework (SPF) - is an email validation system designed to prevent email spam by detecting email spoofing, a common vulnerability, by verifying sender IP addresses. SPF allows administrators to specify which hosts are allowed to send mail from a given domain by creating a specific SPF record (or TXT record) in the Domain Name System (DNS).

Hope this gives you a basic understanding of the authentication process. Without first authenticating your domain email deliverability will be impossible as you will be seen by a threat and spam filters will not allow your emails to pass through to recipient inboxes.

Author & Editor: Caitlin Durand

Monday, November 12, 2012

Are you on the Blacklist?

Blacklist can apply to links, IPs or domains that are viewed with suspicion or disapproval. Disapproval comes from the amount of complaint users have reported. If your email headers or links within your content are blacklisted, you may encounter difficulties in delivering your message to your recipients. There are many websites in which you can check your status. Below are a few:

1.       Return Path -
2.       Spamhaus -
3.       SURBL -
4.       MXToolBox -

Manage your delivering practices to reduce your complaints. You can do this by giving a clear description about what your email will be containing and included an opt-in process to ensure that users want to receive your email. Once you are sending, do not send materials that are unrelated to what the subscriber requested to receive and mange your unsubscribed users request within 24hours and remove hard bounces frequently. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Sender Score, whats that?

There are various aspects that need to be executed properly to have a successful email marketing campaign. These include developing a healthy mailing list, creating witty captivating content and using subject lines and deals users can’t resist. But what happens when you do all this hard work and you notice that you opens were really low? One question to ask yourself is - Did you check your sender score?

Sender score is the reputation rating that your IP address has raging from 0-100, which can be found for free on This Return Path service aggregates data from 60 million mailboxes at a variety of ISPs, spam filtering and security companies. The tool provides a comprehensive view of the direct measures of a sender's behavior and the impact those behaviors have on sender's brand and email deliverability.  Return Path states that 83% of the time, sender reputation is the case of ISP filtering and not content.
Now typically a sender score of 74% or less will have issues reaching a users inbox. Your sender score can be negatively affected by spam complaints, high volume and frequency of mailings.  Monitor all these points by cleansing your list regularly, keeping a consistent send pace and checking your external reputation often.
Adeline Zeledon
Client Services

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Rule Your Sales This Holiday Season

Did you make your holiday gift list yet? What are you waiting for? Snow has already arrived bringing the feeling of the holiday season. If you are in advertising did you start promoting the best products you have available for your targeted customers?

Wait no longer, it’s ideal to start sending holiday emails about month or a month and a half before the holiday arrives - This is when lot of early shoppers starts looking for gifts. We have talked about holiday sending in previous blog posts, but today here I just want to refresh your memory by highlighting few major points that increase effectiveness. We are in the era where online shopping has become a norm, the percentage of online shoppers have increased to more than double in last few years.

To target the desired consumer base successfully you should keep these three important points in mind when setting up an email marketing campaign:

·         Offering FREE shipping to your customers can definitely increase your chances to receive online orders. Who does not love hassle free returns and exchanges, but if you add an initial free shipping offer, it makes for an even better deal.

·         As the holiday gets closer, along with the free shipping add an option for expedited shipping that will cater very well to the last minute shoppers.

·         Make all the emails smartphone friendly – people who are always on the go will love it. It is important to have a limited and to the point message that is not image heavy, so the consumers can easily access the emails on their phones.
Hopefully this holiday season brings more sales to your business.
Happy Holiday mailings J
- Roopal Rawani

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

More 'Tweet' Tips

I recently wrote about some simple tips for using Twitter to boost email productivity. Here are a few more “tweet tips” that may come in handy in relation to your email marketing strategy:

Send Retweets and Thank Yous
Its always nice to thank people and Retweet (RT) their messages plus it helps you gain exposure to various outlets through their Twitter database. Cultivating relationships is an important part of utilizing Twitter – people will notice if you send appreciation their way and will be more likely to return the favor in the future.

Add a Twitter button to your newsletter
Sometimes the simplest tips are the best. Make sure to incorporate a Twitter button in email newsletters to encourage others to share your content. Everyone wants to be the information maven – adding this sort of button lets them tell their friends about cutting edge products, offers, or information quickly and easily.

Tweet About Past Newsletters
Sometimes the oldies really are the goodies. Just because you sent an informational email months ago doesn’t mean the content isn’t relevant today. Hosting newsletter information on landing pages or featuring this content on your website and then tweeting about it later on is a simple way to increase engagement. Think about it – you don’t have to create new content, just a short and sweet tweet redirecting to past info…it couldn’t be much easier than that.

Caitlin Durand
Account Manager, Client Services

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Create Relevant Mailings

Emails must be seen as valuable messages to your users. To help with making your emails valauable check out the few points below that will help you increase relevancy within your email marketing campaigns:

Short Burst Communications
-          Avoid content overload. You need to capture the users’ attention quickly before they decide to move onto the next message
-          Make the call to action accessible 

Present information that revolves around your purpose
-          Define your end goal
-          Mention key information in the beginning (as mentioned above capture your users’s attention quickly)

Review your Data
-          Understand and analyze– become familiar with the trends
-          Utilize surveys – ask your users what is it that they would like to receive from you
-          Use behavioral based campaigns
Utilizing the few points above may help boost the relevancy in your emails. Remember to focus on the end goal of the email and this should help create a clearer message. Happy Mailing!
Amarilys Rivera
Account Manager, Client Svc's

Monday, November 5, 2012

Tick Tock - What Time Should I Email?

There is a time and place for everything, and a frequent question we get from our clients continues to be: “what time it is best to send my email campaigns?” According to MarketingSherpa there are a few slots in the day that have been recorded to get the most opens and other to get the most clicks.

Open rates tend to trickle down every hour from the moment it reaches the inbox. So your best chance in getting a user to open your email is within the first hour. With that being said, most open rates occur when people are done with their day which is 6pm-12am midnight. If you are going to send during the day, the best times for open rates are 8-9am and for higher clicks are 3-4pm.

It is important to take into consideration that each user within your list may live in a different state, so when acquiring prospects make sure to record their location so you can mail to them at their appropriate peak hours. Don’t have your emails neglected for sending at the wrong time - To locate full article from MarketingSherpa, visit here.

Adeline Zeledon
Account Manager, Client Services