Tag: best practices

White Paper: Email Throttling and Strategies to Combat it

email-throttling

Whenever it comes to Email Marketing, marketers face a whole bunch of difficulties in terms of deliverability, list hygiene problems, monitoring glitches and many more. A seamless email marketing strategy is difficult to achieve unless these problems are properly addressed. ‘Email Deferral’-a critical case of Email deliverability, arises when some ISPs limit the amount of Emails sent out by a particular sender during a specified period of time. This happens due to a pre-defined threshold in the number of sendouts inflicted by the ISPs.

In most of the time, this is a 400 class error. Due to bouncebacks of the excessive number of emails, the email campaigns face significant drawbacks in terms of deliverability and performance. This can also lead to diminution of email reputation of the senders and can possess a bigger threat furthermore.

This white paper interprets the technical aspects of this issue and how email marketers can avoid the problem of Email Throttling. Although, Email Throttling seems to be too intriguing for Email Marketers to avoid, appropriate strategies can help marketers get rid of this problem.

Read more about it by downloading the White Paper from the link: www.kenscio.com/resources

The White Paper is authored by Mr. Ziaul Hussain, Client Success Manager, Kenscio.

 

 

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The Curious Case of Digital Queues!!

The Curious Case of Digital Queues!!

The Curious Case of Digital Queues!!

 

It was the day of 5 August 1960, a movie called “Mughal e Azam” hit the screens.

It was released and became the reason for widespread frenzy across India. The day before bookings for the film opened, a reported crowd of 1,00,000 gathered outside the Maratha Mandir to buy tickets. Most expensive tickets at that time, were sold for ₹ 100 compared to the usual price of ₹ 1.5 per ticket. Bookings experienced major chaos, to the extent that police intervention was required. It was reported that people would wait in queues for four to five days, and would be supplied food from home through family members. Eventually, Maratha Mandir closed the bookings for three weeks.

We have seen the similar craze for various legends starting from comedian Charlie Chaplin internationally to Indian movie stars like Showman Raj Kapoor to Amitabh Bachchan of 70s when people use to keep standing in queues for catching their shows. Recently DDLJ has completed 1000 weeks in Marathi Kala Mandir.

Gone are the days of such rare blockbusters.

Now the term “blockbuster” itself has been commoditized by media not just in India but across the globe. Every comic-superhero movie with its huge budgets of marketing is termed as a blockbuster. Different analysts are utilizing different criteria to conclude this feat.

The lifestyle of this multinational generation is very dynamic. People are always in motion and don’t have time to spend three four days waiting for a movie. Poor species have only weekends to take their loved ones for the entertainment and leisure.

Even this multiplex going Gen X has many reasons to throng the theaters to catch the movie shows. The rules of the game have been changed since the last decade or so. The first week of the movie is enough to decide the fate of the movie. So there has been a transition from physical queues to the digital queues these days.

The maxim “No second chance for the first impression” holds true to describe the cinema of today

And movie critics’ columns and Internet discussion of movie buffs are agile enough to create the spoiler alerts for your weekend hangouts in every nook and corner of your digital touchpoints – Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, and News columns.

So we see the same Houseful frenzy nowadays in the initial days of movie screenings. And the E-commerce boom and e-ticketing players like BookMyShow.com has made the task of movie buffs a bit easier to handle these digital queues conveniently.

But still due to the extreme dynamism of the people, the void is there in information dissemination to the customer through direct marketing channels. People are not able to pick their favorite events and movie shows as they tend to forget the dates and timings.

Quite recently, BookMyShow.com employed quite an innovation in their digital direct marketing- RealTime Personalisation in Email. They had a series of Email campaign reminders send-outs to their registered active cinema-goers for their Wednesday cinema offer live countdown timer & PeeKay Movie campaign where they showed live seats availability for the suitable show timings within the E-mail based on user’s favourite cinema halls and past purchase history.

(Please see the BookMyShow.com –Live seats availability #Peekay campaign video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6b8sQaWltrQ )

The Real-time Personalisation actually enabled the dynamic content within the email based on time, device & past user-data of user at the time of open. With a use of real-time countdown timer for the said event, there is a sense of urgency which helps user in their decision making.

This has never been done on the Indian soil before, or the whole of Asia for that matter. Now the E-commerce and Online ticketing industry is quickly paying attention to this new trend. Anyways, customers and movie-goers are finally getting much-awaited value in their online ticketing experience.

So what you’re planning to do this weekend? Don’t worry real-time info is at your disposal to help you get pass the digital queue !!

(Contributed by: Mr. Gaurav Tyagi, Senior Manager- Business Development, Kenscio Digital)

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Winners of iPad Mini- Kenscio Motto 2014

A big thanks to all who made Kenscio Motto2014 a splendid success. The compelling reason to drive this campaign was to get an idea on what digital marketing folks have in their mind for this calendar year.

As you all know, that because of a soaring number of entries we have received, we have added another layer to the contest before announcing the final crown (iPAD Mini). In the first round of selection we had 37 winners who have been given a writing instruments as a token of appreciation for taking out their time.

Here are the two winners:

Mr. Boniface Noronha from HDFC Life &

Mr. Inaam Hussain from Interactive Avenues

Kenscio Congratulates to both of you for being part of the contest. We wish you all the luck for your assignments and appreciate your significant contribution and far-reaching vision.

Since a lot of advertisers have burnt their hands in new acquisition (Investing a hefty amount with no sign of CLV and Engagement), now is the time they sincerely feel that retention is the way ahead. We have had some great findings on the basis of the feedback given by all the participants.

On Retention here is the stats how marketers (Who have participated in the contest) have had their road-maps in place for this calendar year.

“Converting Non-Buyers into Buyers” is the focus area for 27% of marketing folks.

–        Out of these 15% want the delivery of relevant and real time content.

–        43% has a vision of doing direct marketing in a highly personalized 1:1 communication.

–        & 42% believe that they should understand the consumer’s behavior, demographics and psychographics in a better way to achieve their marketing objective.

24% marketers feel that “Converting one-time buyers into repeat purchasers” is the first and foremost KRA for them.

–        Out of which 17% has the priority of delivering the relevant and real time content.

–        However, 62% wanted to do the highly personalized and contextual communication.

–         & 21% believe that understanding of Consumer segmentation would be the high intensity objective.

35% Marketing people shown their firm belief in “Increasing the brand loyalty

–        Where 1:1 communication was the priority for 36% of universe.

–        Understanding the consumer segmentation as a whole was the transcendence for 38% of participated contestants.

–        26% of people believe in delivering relevant real time content.

9% of people think that they are more focused towards having the “Repeat buyers with increasing CLV”.

5% want to “Reduce the customer churn rates”.

Let us notify you that the aforementioned retention plan’s stats have been fetched from 12 different and significant industries(Ecommerce, Healthcare, telecom, Banking & Insurance, Travel & Tours, Jobs & Recruitments, IT- hardware, Digital advertising agencies, Retailers, B2B marketplace, Real estate, Education).

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Cricket Fever with Kenscio’s Thermometer

Zillions of crazy Indian cricket fans were winding up their work in a Jiffy to cheer up their heroes, while we @ Kenscio were busy in developing a count-down timer in an e-mail communication to be sent by Star Sports (We call it Intimate Communication) which gives them a goose-bump with a ticking clock asking them to go home early.

With this they did not require their wife, husband, friends & families to give them a reminder. Along with Star Sports, Kenscio have done this task for them like one of their close acquaintances. We understand the urgency and we make it fine-tuned too.

With  an engaging content, Star Sports wanted their real heroes (Their consumers) to be well and advanced informed. Here is how Kenscio did the fulfillment:

Real Time Personalised Email

Real Time Personalised Email

 

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Mobile Optimization Best Practices

Mobile devices have been increasingly becoming popular for both email and web consumption. In India, Mobile devices represent 62% of web consumption this month; an increase of 15% since the beginning of this year (Source: StatCounter).

Mobile Vs Desktop - Content Consumption 2013 graph

In one of our own recent studies, we explored the market share for various devices when it comes to checking emails. Based on sample data, we discovered mobile devices to contribute to 43% of email opens in India.

Hence, it’s a no brainer to optimize (or start optimizing) email for mobile devices. While the task may seem daunting to some, we assure you that the rewards in form of better customer engagement will make it worth your efforts.

We have compiled Best Practice Tips that are sure to set you going in the right direction:

Identify how your customer’s read emails

This should be the first step that will define your mobile optimization strategy. Find out:

– What is the preferred consumption device? Is it mobile, desktop, or both?

– What is the time when customers read emails: in the morning when they get up, before sleep, or any other time during the day?

– What are the preferred mobile platforms used by your customers? (Android, Apple, Blackberry, windows etc.)

Top Mobile Operating Systems - August To October 2013 graph

Keep it Simple

Fancy and image heavy email messages might look pretty but they might not be preferred by customers on conservative data plans. Furthermore, since the standards in mobile email are still evolving; it’ll be beneficial to stick to simple styling that can work across platforms.

Value the mobile Real Estate

 Majority of mobile devices have small screen sizes (at least smaller than a traditional desktop), so each line, heck every pixel is precious real estate. So instead of beating around the bush; make it a point to get your message across as quickly (and simply) as possible. Keep your sentences and paragraphs short and crisp.

Include Identifiable and Actionable Call to Action(s)

Traditional CTA text or buttons might not be equally successful with mobile devices. Your email message should preferably avoid clutter; if you cannot help it for various branding reasons make sure your CTA stands out from the clutter. Give it room to breathe so that it’s easily identifiable and click-able.

Keep larger fonts

Keep the font large so that it’s easy to read on small screens, however not so large that it ends up taking all the valuable space. For headlines you may use between 20 – 22 points and for copy use 12 – 14 points. It is recommended to use web safe fonts so that your content is displayed as you intended across devices.

Don’t forget the landing page

When optimizing the email user experience for mobile, think about the entire process from Subject Line, Template, Content, Call to Action, and even the landing page. It would be a bummer to have a neatly optimized campaign for email, but have a landing page designed for desktops. A poorly designed landing page can put off your mobile readers resulting in a drop in conversion rates.

The only way to find what works is by Testing it!

It is highly unlikely that your customers use the same device, running on the same platform. Even if you discover that a majority of your customers use Android; Google’s cherished OS comes in several versions and allows Mobile manufacturers to add whatever customization they desire. The implication of this is that unless you test your content, you wouldn’t find how each platform displays and reacts to your email message.

Some interesting Mobile Facts:

Most Popular Activities on Smartphones

Most Popular Activities on Smartphones

Email is the most popular activity on Smart Phones according to IDC & Facebook, Always connected, 2013

How did you receive the message that led to the purchase?

How did you receive the message that led to the purchase?

More than one-half (56%) of US consumers who have made at least one purchase using their smartphone have done so in response to a marketing message delivered via mobile email –  ExactTarget “Mobile Dependence”.

Most Preferred Mobile Email Message

Most Preferred Mobile Email Message

Special offers (27%), vouchers (21%) and realtime tracking (21%) are most preferred email content according to a study by Edialog (“The future of mobile messaging”). Newsletters are the fifth most preferred type with 12% of respondents saying they like to view that email type on their mobile the most.

To find insights specific to your audience / industry or to find out how you can optimize your email marketing for mobile, give us a shout!

 

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What is the worth of an email address?

What is the worth of an email address?

The value of an email address is Zero. Why? Read on.

Email marketers often speculate the value of an email address. You might hear compelling numbers backed by sober theories. Good email marketers spend time and money on acquiring an email address, where as not so good email marketers purchase email addresses from spammers at probably one fourth the cost (of genuinely acquiring an email address).

In addition there is revenue, conversions, ROI that email marketer’s measure against their email marketing efforts, all this should amount to something right?

Well it does, the value or the worth lies in the relationship and not the email address. You have a relationship with the person who owns that email address and not with the mere email address itself.

Why I’m highlighting this is because you can’t have a relationship with someone you do not know. So if you only have an email address your like a blindfolded chap in a dark room trying to have a conversation with an imaginary person. A real conversion requires engagement. Engagement requires you to know your subscribers, ask questions, find their opinions etc. Most importantly, engagement requires “two way conversation”, which cannot be initiated with just an email address.

An engaged subscriber is a valued subscriber. No engagement means zero value.

 

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Found a Crystal Ball yet?

If you are an email marketer you might have started to believe in destiny. With ISPs headstrong to tighten their policies for bulk senders, rubbing the good ol crystal ball and hoping for the best might seem like a good option. We don’t know much about crystal balls but can sure share some good practices that can help you control the destiny of your email communication.

Gmail has listed a set of guidelines and best practices for Email Marketers, when followed should yield favorable results.

Guidelines for Email Marketers

“The way Gmail classifies spam depends heavily on reports from our users. Gmail users can mark and unmark any message as spam, at any time. To increase the inbox delivery rate of your messages, make sure that all recipients on your distribution lists actually want to receive the mail.” – GMAIL

Presuming you do everything by the book i.e. ensure users opt-in to receive your messages, honor un-subscription, follow the best practices for HTML design, monitor bounces, and ensure your subscribers engage with you and so on; you should not need a crystal ball (or Aladdin’s lamp for that matter). That being said, you can request your faithful subscribers to white-list you!

Being white-listed by subscribers ensures:

1. Your mails almost always lands in their in-boxes.

2. Your reputation with ISPs is significantly improved, so consequently your deliverability improves even for the subscribers who have not white-listed you.

We have listed a set of step by step instructions that you can email to your subscribers and request them to white-list you:

White-Listing Instructions

To ensure the success of this exercise you may consider offering incentives!

 

To learn more feel free to get in touch.

Geetika@kenscio.com

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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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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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Guide to a Better HTML Email Design – Part 15

14. Phishing and HTML Links

 

Many email clients are being updated to detect phishing attempts. “Phishing” is the industry nickname for the effort to collect sensitive personal and financial information by sending forged emails that look as if they come from an authorized agency, such as a bank, financial service, ecommerce provider or government agency.
Both Mozilla Thunderbird and AOL 9.0 feature phishing scam detection that will affect how your email is treated. To determine whether an email could be a phishing scam, the client looks for a link in your HTML campaign where the display text is a URL.

If the displayed link is different from the actual URL, the client alerts the user.

Most email service providers encode your URLs for tracking, and change the URL within the <HREF> tag.

<a href=”http://www.yoursite.com”>http://www.yoursite.com</a>

The change might look like this:

<a href=”http://ESP.com/c.html?rtr=on&s=3d2,l8xr,pt,37e5,6bav”>http://www.yoursite.com</a>

To avoid having your emails erroneously tagged as phishing attempts, don’t use a URL as the display text for a link in any HTML emails. Instead, use a word or phrase which describes the link itself.

<a href=”http://www.yoursite.com”>Visit us here</a>

Most of the email clients also mark the mails with Phishing tag, if the email message contains any hardcoded IP addresses in links, instead of domain name.

Hence it is advised to use only domain names in all links.

Now a days more and more ISPs are recommending the email senders to implement DKIM for authentication of the sending domains that actually send the mails, to restrict senders to use the sender address to the email sending domain or DKIM to be setup for each sender address. ISPs give higher preference for such senders for inbox deliverability and provide spam complaint feedback loops.

Hence Marketers are advised to get the DKIM setup for their email infrastructure through their service providers.

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

 

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