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India ranks 3rd after China and US in Internet Population. 10% of the Indians Now have Internet Access

India Ranks 3rd after China and US with 121 million users according to a article in The Economics Times.  By the end of 2011, one in every 10 Indians will be an internet user, making the country with 1.2 billion population, the third largest internet market in the world after China and the United States.

India is adding internet users at the rate of 5 to 7 million users a month and at the current pace, will surpass the US, which has 245 million users in less than two years.

The profile of users is showing the internet is making deep inroads into small towns and among the less affluent.  There are now more internet users in towns with a population of less than 500,000 than in the top eight metros put together.

The internet explosion is rapidly opening up markets for online businesses, consumers and retailers.

Email is the top most activity of Urban internet users followed by Social Network and Education.  Music, etc. is the top most activity of Music Nets Rural Users, followed by Email and General info.

Here is an infographic of the Indian Internet users.

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Kenscio Digital is 2011 Red Herring Top 100 Asia Winner

Hong Kong 19 October 2011 Kenscio Digital Marketing announced today it has been selected as a Winner for Red Herring’s Top 100 Asia award, a prestigious award honoring the year’s most promising private technology ventures from the Asian business region.

 

The Red Herring editorial team selected the most innovative companies from a pool of hundreds from across Asia. The winners are evaluated on both quantitative and qualitative criteria, such as financial performance, technology innovation, quality of management, execution of strategy, and integration into their respective industries.

 

This unique assessment of potential is complemented by a review of the actual track record and standing of a company, which allows Red Herring to see past the “buzz” and make the winner list an valuable instrument for discovering and advocating the greatest business opportunities in the industry.

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Kenscio Digital is a Finalist for the 2011 Red Herring Top 100 Asia Award

Bangalore7 October 2011 Kenscio Digital Marketing announced today it has been selected as a Finalist for Red Herring’s Top 100 Asia award, a prestigious list honoring the year’s most promising private technology ventures from the Asian business region.

 

The Red Herring editorial team selected the most innovative companies from a pool of hundreds from across Asia. The nominees are evaluated on both quantitative and qualitative criteria, such as financial performance, technology innovation, quality of management, execution of strategy, and integration into their respective industries.

 

This unique assessment of potential is complemented by a review of the actual track record and standing of a company, which allows Red Herring to see past the “buzz” and make the list an valuable instrument for discovering and advocating the greatest business opportunities in the industry.

 

“This year was very rewarding,” said Alex Vieux, publisher and Chairman of Red Herring. “The global economic situation has abated and there are many great companies producing really innovative and amazing products. We had a very difficult time narrowing the pool and selecting the finalists. Kenscio Digital shows great promise therefore deserves to be among the Finalists. Now we’re faced with the difficult task of selecting the Top 100 winners of Red Herring Asia. We know that the 2011 crop will grow into some amazing companies that are sure to make an impact.”

 

Finalists for the 2011 edition of the Red Herring 100 Asia award are selected based upon their technological innovation, management strength, market size, investor record, customer acquisition, and financial health. During the several months leading up to the announcement, hundreds of companies in the telecommunications, security, Web 2.0, software, hardware, biotech, mobile and other industries completed their submissions to qualify for the award.

 

The Finalists are invited to present their winning strategies at the Red Herring Asia Forum in Hong Kong, October 17-19, 2011. The Top 100 winners will be announced at a special awards ceremony the evening of October 19 at the event.

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Timing is everything !

Our friends in the Indian eCommerce space are gung ho about the current boom !  Never before have so many Indians – both in India and overseas filled up their shopping carts and proceeded to check out. Never have Call to Action buttons seen so much action.

 

Which brings us to one of the most important communication vehicles these propositions ride on……….daily mailers!

 

Digital direct marketing communication – your one on ones with potential buyers are not  as easy as ABC, but if you have been following our blog, you would’ve picked up the juiciest bits on email template best practices  and  set up a fantastic email template. You know the importance of deliverability and other success metrics and you are sure your recipients are definitely receiving your email campaigns….there’s just one more question you need to ask yourself…. are they reading them?

 

Some of the key considerations which email marketers must take into mind while creating a “read & respond”  campaign are:

 

  • Relevance:  making the content relevant to each recipient. If a recipient knows that when your brand arrives in their inbox, this email is definitely something they have expressed an interest in and want to read, they will act on that.
  • Segmentation: The best way to implement relevance is to effectively segment your database so you know what your customers are interested in and therefore what content will be the most relevant. You read a lot more on relevance on our blog soon!

 

You are now ready with that killer content, a solid Email Service Provider (ESP) behind you – btw choosing an ESP  can be quite a task , here’s hoping you’ve done it right , what next?

 

Ask Usain Bolt,  what the importance of timing is? No seriously, a great proposition, even with A/B split  tested subject lines and creatives  can turn horribly wrong if the timing is off . Common sense – nope …….experience !!  ( The school of hard knocks third semester )

 

A well timed campaign – other criteria remaining the same –  can work wonders on the open rates and further on the ROI of the campaign. Unfortunately, there is no formula or overall ‘ideal time slot’ which you can follow to achieve this elusive ‘golden hour’.  There are a number of factors that go in to your decision: what time is best to hit the send button? ( btw with a good ESP – it would be the Schedule button )

 

Timing – Day and hour depends on the answers to the following questions.

 

Who are your audience?

 

For a B2B audience, it doesn’t take an Einstein  to work out that Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are the optimum days. As we all know, Mondays are spent getting back in to the swing of work after the weekend and Friday sees offices winding down for the next weekend. Saturday and Sunday are redundant as offices are closed. Days before holidays are = Fridays and days after holidays are = Mondays irrespective of what days they fall on !

 

For B2C email marketing, timings are very different.  Very dependant on the demographic of your audience.  One can safely assume most prospects will mainly be checking their personal emails in the evenings, during lunchtimes and over the weekends. However it is best to test which brings us back to segmenting!  B2C sending can be a bit of a gamble without thorough testing of your specific target audience. Homework must be done and learnings interpreted. A great ESP will be able to deliver dynamic content with different propositions scheduled at different times of a day or even different days.

 

Is your campaign seasonal?

 

For the B2B sector, marketers must avoid sending their campaigns over school vacation season, long weekends  and of course  the many holidays that we have !

 

Again advice for the B2C sector is entirely opposite. If relevant, a seasonal approach can boost additional sales and therefore revenue. Most campaigns are timed to address seasonal offers!

 

So much for planned marketing communication…

 

However, there is another aspect to timing in direct digital communication.

 

Timing can never be as important as it is when the ‘Prospect ‘is on the verge of becoming a ‘Paying Customer’ …many a sales person have rued their chances – having communicated a little later than they should have.

 

The optimum time for any recipient to receive your communication is when they have shown an interest in your brand or product. Using Automated mails  or  trigger campaigns, based on browsing behaviour or when they last clicked on or opened an email gives you a clear indication as to when to send the email and what content to include.

 

A typical scenario of such lost opportunities would be apparent in a colleague’s recent experience  on a  very popular  online store. As he described it  “ I was on my way to check out and proceed to pay when I saw this dangling banner in the right column : Sign up for our newsletter and  get 10% off. I paused, thought I could save this 10% by signing up and using the voucher code. So I smartly opened another browser, signed up and waited for the voucher. About an hour later, neither my inbox nor my  spam folder had  any sign of  an email from these guys . I gave up hope and eventually had lost all interest in buying that item at 10% higher than I could’ve”.

 

A simple Triggered email could have, rather, should have been used here  to enable interest being converted to action  at the point when the customer is most engaged.

 

Another cyclic practice is communication with non responders. Winning back non responders should be taken up as a part of your communication calendar and a definite cog in your wheel .

While still on timing, or should I say while there is time – it would be good to remind you to look for patterns in your open and click-through rates or other email metrics. Whether certain offers work better when sent at some time or another? Are there any influences that make your campaigns more successful, like salary days ( beginning of the month ) ? Are you responding to your customers at the optimum moment?

The only way for you to determine what works best for you is to, as always, test, test, test!

 

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Win back non responders

The One-Way Conversation

Building active, long-term relationships with your customers should  be one of the prime objective of email marketers. At the core of doing email marketing well is remembering that building a relationship requires conversation.

 So what do marketers do when email recipients aren’t interested in conversing? We found that, as a whole,  marketers showed a lack of conversational skills in dealing width the apparently uninterested subscriber. The idea of email as a dialogue is missing. By pushing out email without regard for consumer interests or preferences, marketers are putting their email reputation at risk. A poor sender reputation, in turn, creates deliverability problems for their entire email program. By moving from a “one-way conversation” to a true dialogue, marketers can re-engage inactive recipients.

Preference Based Subscription

We recommend that email marketers ask subscribers about their preferences for email frequency and email subject matter when they subscribe or make their initial purchase.

Once preferences are known, they should be honored. While this best practice may not be realistic for all businesses, marketers should, at a minimum, make sure that expectations for mailing frequency are appropriately set.

Where customers are not offered the opportunity to express their frequency preferences, they should be offered the option of reduced frequency once a pattern of inactivity is seen.

Message Frequency

While there are some circumstances where an increase in message frequency is appropriate (e.g. before a holiday, to match recent subscriber activity or in response to a purchase), it doesn’t make sense to consistently increase message frequency on a monthly basis to inactive subscribers. If a subscriber does not respond when receiving an email message every day, they are not likely to respond when receiving more than one—and in either case, they are likely to be extremely annoyed. That increases the risk that the subscriber will click the spam button, contributing to deliverability problems for your company’s entire mailing list.

To maintain optimal frequency, monitor subscriber response—opens, click-throughs and conversions – over time. Note the points at which each metric shows a drop-off in response, and put business rules in place to manage your mailing strategy accordingly. For example, you could specify that you will only mail once a month to any subscriber who has no opens, clicks, or response for six continuous months. A re-permissioning policy (discussed below, page 4) should be a part of the overall email marketing strategy.
Deliverability at Risk

The longer marketers continue to mail to large numbers of inactive subscribers, the greater the chances that their entire program will suffer as the result of reputation problems. Lack of response indicates that a subscriber is not interested in the messages. Eventually that lack of interest will lead to spam complaints by subscribers who have reached their saturation point. Spam complaints directly and negatively affect a marketer’s sending reputation, adversely affecting deliverability  to all subscribers.

This risk is compounded when companies fail to include clear permissioning for promotional emails during the initial checkout (sign-up) process. Without clear permissioning, “subscribers” never really subscribed, and they have no expectation of what will arrive in their inboxes. These recipients are naturally less engaged and more likely to complain due to lack of disclosure.

In addition, some ISPs are increasingly paying attention to whether or not their users respond to commercial mail. If a marketer is mailing at a high frequency and receives a disproportionately low response or no response at all over a consistent period of time, their sender reputation could be negatively impacted. This could lead to having all of the company’s email end up in the spam folder or, worse, having it blocked outright.

Missed Opportunities

Marketers are missing the opportunity to increase sales by re-engaging subscribers in the conversation. In addition, they may be interfering with their ability to optimize email content for their entire email list. This occurs because totally uninterested recipients dilute email response patterns, skewing email metrics and making optimization hard to achieve.

Recommendation:

Don’t experiment—ask! Implement a strategy to get subscribers to renew their permission with your email program, ideally in combination with a preference center, to find out what subscribers want to receive, if anything, and when. Testing does have a place in refining your approach to re-permissioning and finding out what approaches are most effective in generating expressions of continued and future interest.

Recommendations

Include win-back messages in your strategy for re-engaging non-responsive subscribers. Use a methodical analytic approach to determining what offers and creative are most effective, as well as identifying the most effective message timing. Consider basing your offer on the subscriber’s previous purchase. The strategy should specify how many win-back messages will be sent, at what intervals, and at what point in the sequence you will send a re-permissioning message.

Former purchasers represent “low hanging fruit” in email marketing, as it is always less costly to reach out to former customers than it is to acquire new ones. By focusing on developing and maintaining a dialogue with subscribers—a dialogue in which the subscriber sets the terms—email marketers can re-engage subscribers who have been nonresponsive, and reap the benefits of increased sales.

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Why a Fully Managed Email Service Provider (ESP) work best for sending bulk email communication?

Why Email Marketing?
Email is consistently rated as the world’s most popular and most widely used application on the internet and is now by far the leading means of business communication. It is second only to search in online marketing budgets with 97% of consumers and 94% of marketers using, piloting or planning email marketing programmes with 88% of people anticipating the effectiveness of email to increase in the next 3 years. In short, promoting your organization and its services via email is one of the most powerful, flexible and cost-efficient means of direct marketing and therefore it’s imperative that when choosing an Email Service Provider (ESP) that you select the right one who will
match your needs perfectly.

What are the Different Types of ESP’s?
If you’re new to email marketing then embarking on your research can seem extremely daunting as initially there appears to be lots of organizations to choose from. One of the fundamental decisions you need to make is whether to outsource your email marketing or keep it in-house, and making this decision could have far-reaching consequences. There are a number of ESP’s on the market who provide a wide range of products, services and functionalities, so it’s imperative to understand the different types of ESP’s and their different areas of focus. To make things easier for you, we have analyzed the market and segmented it into four key categories as the following diagram shows:

 

 

Whilst each option has its merits, for the majority of organizations, an outsourced solution – whether a fully managed or ASP (Application Service Provider) solution – can be the most sensible option. ASP solutions are always up to date concerning any email
marketing legalities and you automatically benefit from any system upgrades and new versions. Outsourcing will allow you to concentrate on your marketing strategy, letting your ESP take away some of the workload from you.

 

Solutions and Services Offered by ESP’s
Now you have seen a snapshot of the four different segments of the email market (Managed, ASP, Software License and In-House as seen in picture) you are now in a better position to take a look at the different solutions and services that each sector and ESP offer. These vary considerably from supplier to supplier so as always you need to make a hotlist of the most important services and solutions you are looking for. To point you in the right direction, take a look at the following guidelines, taking note of the solutions and services mentioned below which you feel are relevant to your organization:

  • Types of solution offered: Look at whether the ESP offers one product or a range of services such as end-to-end services, a technology, media campaigns, lead generation campaigns and market research.
  • Types of services offered: What types of services does the ESP offer. These can vary massively and can include some of the following: List provision; data management; data cleansing; best practice consultancy; broadcast, personalization and segmentation; real-time reporting; full campaign management; creative design and copywriting services; dynamic content solutions; hosting services; event triggered messaging and sequence messaging; integration with web analytics; if multicountry/ language campaigns can ESP support this – and so on!!
  • Email Deliverability: Does the ESP have an ongoing commitment to deliverability? How do they ensure that they don’t appear on blacklists and do they have a relationship with all the major ISP’s for white listing? Do they have a dedicated deliverability team?
  • Product Features: What features are important to you? E.g. rich media content capability, videomail, audio, integration, multi-channel capabilities, split testing, digital signatures to avoid phishing emails, management structure within the system, email receipts on online transactions etc. Build a list of all ESP’s who have these features as part of their solutions to aid your decision-making process.
  • Product Flexibility: Can the ESP be your partner today and in the future providing you with advice on market trends and new product capabilities?
  • Functionality: How comprehensive is the ESP’s functionality for planning, designing, executing and measuring email campaigns, compliance functionality.
  • Technology Platform: How easy to use is the technology? Can someone with no HTML training or know-how use the technology easily?
  • Email Data Security: Has your ESP taken all measures to secure your customer’s email data? Is the technology infrastructure of your ESP has been hosted in a tier 4 data center? and policies are put in place for data security? and being audited by third parties? Is your ESP certified for Data security like DMA’s Data Seal?
  • Reporting Capabilities: Does the ESP provide you with reports in your desired format allowing you to measure the success of the campaign? Whether you’re opting for an ASP or in-house solution you should be able to get comprehensive reports including open rates, click rates and bounces as well as advanced functionalities such as complex real time reports and the ability to link revenues generated from a specific campaign to individual email addresses etc.
  • Integration with Other Applications: Does the ESP easily integrate with your other applications like Web Analytics, CRM, E-Commerce, ERP and databases?
  • Training: Will the ESP provide you with full training and support on their product or service which you will be adopting?

What Now?
Now you have had the chance to do some research into the different types of ESP’s on the market and the solutions and services they offer, you are now in the position where you can make an informed selection.

 

 

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Guide to a Better HTML Email Design – Part 20

19. Five common flaws that you can avoid in Email Marketing Campaigns

 

Messages stopped as spam:

Kenscio identifies this as the key error in email marketing and the easiest to fix. Subject line headings such as “WIN A GREAT PRIZE” will not get past spam filters.

All image, but no text:

Companies often send mails that are purely image-based but contain no text, Kenscio says. Many ISPs don’t automatically download images so recipients are left with blank boxes. This makes it hard to track response rates. The company recommends this is considered in the email design and that marketers use a tool that demonstrates different ISPs or send a test email first.

Missing information:

Some campaign emails go out with fundamental information missing, such as a name. “There is nothing worse than Dear____ because the first name field is not completed. Even writing ‘Dear customer’ is preferable. Getting basics like this right is a must and a simple fix to avoid looking unprofessional,” Kenscio advises.

 

Invalid Sender Address:

ISPs validate the Sender Address in the email message and see if it has been sent from a valid inbox. Spammers and phishing mails don’t provide a valid sender address or a reply address. If you are a genuine email sender, there should be no hesitation to provide a valid sender address which the recipient can recognize and respond to.

Right to reply:

Provide a convenient reply to email address for your recipients to send feedback on the mails receive. ISPs now have a greater emphasis on replies and show such messages in priority inbox or regular inbox of the recipients.  Hence soliciting replies and acknowledging them is a greater benefit for the marketers.

Trying too hard:

Designing an email as if it was a website is the fifth most common error in email marketing, Kenscio says. “Heavy use of flash or java script often doesn’t render properly in the finished email and can be complicated to design. It’s better to keep it clean and simple, allowing the reader to click through to a website,” the company recommends.

“In today’s economy, return on investment has never been more important as marketing spend is now analysed and questioned by senior stakeholders, Companies can’t afford to be making such simple mistakes and missing potential sales.

The fundamental aims of any campaign should be high deliverability, targeted mailing, maximum click-through rates and basic personalisation – don’t let the email be the reason customers go elsewhere.”

Read earlier blogs on the subject “Guide to a Better HTML Email Design” on Kenscio Blog.

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Guide to a Better HTML Email Design – Part 19

18. Most Essential things in an email communication

After you have gotten your design right, you must still verify that your message includes these items:

  1. A working unsubscribe mechanism. You want to make it as easy as possible for your recipient to stop hearing from you. Not only is it a CAN-SPAM requirement, but a properly-designed and well-promoted unsubscribe process builds trust with recipients and reduces the likelihood they will report your message as spam.
  2. Your company name and street address (no PO Box allowed) — a requirement of the CAN-SPAM law.

Kenscio recommends marketers to combine this information with other best practices into a custom footer . By combining the above information with a few other useful pieces of information, you can keep all of the housekeeping items bundled together into one neat package. While not all marketers put this information in a footer, most email recipients now expect to find this information at the end of the email. This location obviously makes people scroll to the end of their emails, but having a standard location across all emails is ultimately better for the entire industry.

The footer should include these items:

  1. A quick explanation of how you got the recipient’s email address (e.g., opted in on your site or a partner’s Website, purchased a product from you, etc.).
  2. Your recipient’s email address.
  3. Link to your privacy policy or email policy. You can also put your terms of service link here if appropriate.
  4. A request to be added to the recipient’s address book to ensure delivery, which also helps to ensure images will be turned on.
  5. Update-profile link where the recipient can change the format, frequency or email address.
  6. Your feedback and contact information: phone number and email address
  7. Forward-to-a-friend link.
  8. Subscription link to help people who received your email from a friend and wish to subscribe.

Read earlier blogs on the subject “Guide to a Better HTML Email Design” on Kenscio Blog.

 

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Guide to a Better HTML Email Design – Part 18

17. Rich Media/Flash in Email Message

The consensus on using rich media in emails is: Just don’t do it. Most email clients do not support Flash or other types of rich media. If JavaScript is needed to launch the rich media, it is often stripped out due to security concerns. If you must use animation, use an animated GIF, but watch the file size. If you’ve developed a really cool rich media application you want to showcase, include a link to a Web-hosted version, which gives you more control and broader browser acceptance.

The animated gif’s will not be displayed on outlook, When you receive an e-mail message that contains animated graphics, such as animated .gif files, only a static image appears on outlook.

You can also look at converting your flash files to animated gif images and then link to the flash website through the link click, so that users can visit the web page for a good streaming experience.

Read earlier blogs on the subject “Guide to a Better HTML Email Design” on Kenscio Blog.

 

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Guide to a Better HTML Email Design – Part 17

16. Navigation and Search in Email Message

 

Your email is basically an extension of your Website so, where appropriate, make the navigation of your email message consistent with your Website — but also highlight key areas of your Website that are likely to get customers to take action. If you have Bargain Basement, Closeouts, Featured Products and other areas on your site — use them in your email.

If your Email Service Provider provides the feature of visually providing the user attention through the links clicks, You can analyze which sections of your email message are generating more clicks and optimize the offer placements to areas where the users are more likely to click.

You can also use multi-variate testing to test the email content and subject lines that provide the highest open and click through rates, before sending the email message to the entire audience.

If you have a search capability on your Website, add it to your email. Your customers can type in their search phrase, hit submit, and it will take them to your Website’s search-results page. You now have those people on your Website, where you have the potential to convert them to customers.

Allow your landing pages to be searchable by the search engines and look for user search phrases. This can provide what users are looking for on the web and this will provide very useful information on the subject lines for your email message.

Read earlier blogs on the subject “Guide to a Better HTML Email Design” on Kenscio Blog.

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