Tag: email marketing 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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Immortal Emails for long-lasting customer Engagement

How to make Emails Immortal?

Have you even wondered if it is possible to make a promotional mailer informative enough to such an extent that the subscribers can simply check the Email/Inbox to check a latest hourly deal/offer rather than visiting the website? Being contextual to subscribers for a long duration (if not forever) is no more an impossibility.

And most of the email marketers send emails every day with different content without knowing whether the subscribers are really reading the emails. By the time the subscribers open the email, most of the emails are outdated and become irrelevant and obsolete. Most of the time content doesn’t provide any meaningful information to them. Sometimes, thereafter, it’s just a matter of a single click to stop further communication (unsubscribe).

the-contextual-inbox

How a brand delivers a seamless experience to subscribers through real-time updated email communications is a matter of great importance to email marketers. While Social Media, Web and Mobile based technologies have innovatively developed real-time content delivery and integration features, email communication often fall flat as far as contextual communication is concerned. Putting it simply, for an example, is it possible to send an email to your subscribers containing real-time Foreign Exchange rates/currency rates that represent actual value based on the time a subscriber opens the email?

The answer is ‘Yes’. Interestingly, it can be done in the email forever. If the email is opened exactly on this date of the year 2017, the value will be the exact rate prevailing in this time of the year 2017. Such emails are Immortal.

Kenscio developed this innovative email marketing solution based on the years of experience and wisdom garnered from servicing of 100 (+) clients across the globe. Some of their clients like Axis Securities, have taken their mortal campaigns to almost being immortal.

If you look at their emails, you will find the mailers providing real-time tips on how to invest in the volatile stock market that keeps changing every second in a day. Axis Direct emailers are immortal for the subscribers providing the content that are most relevant, Sensex indices, up-to-date market news, which stocks to watch, what are the new stock gainers/losers etc. Thus, the investors always have the latest information in the inbox. Even if you open the emailers sent one-month back today, the content will be valid at this point of time.

The dynamic email marketing solution pulls in information various sources like website, back-end CRM, ERP platforms, social streaming, RSS Feed, News Feed etc. and you can compute a lot of stuffs and show it through emails making them dynamic. As the complete process it automated, one needn’t invest too much time on creating the mailer, testing it, putting the right content, proofing, sending it across etc. and saving tons of a time. Marketers can now more focus on how to get the right stuffs in front of customers and help them better strategizing and helping the customers in getting what they need and not just about content gathering, building and communicating.

Such innovative solutions for marketers put them in a different league compared to the marketers sending mortal emails which dry up every day. Give the subscribers an opportunity to see what is in this dynamic world by directly reaching out to them with real-time information content, fresh messaged for every open.  Give them an opportunity whereas they can see an email in real-time and provide engagement elements that are as fresh as these are the social media and websites.

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6 Steps to Expand your Reach with Email Marketing

The Hidden Value of Email Marketing

With so many digital marketing channels available today, some marketers fear direct marketing is losing its effectiveness. Although there are many digital marketing channels available, email marketing has proven that it is still effective and tops the list for direct marketing channel return on investment (ROI).

Email designs play a unique role. Your audience like “new” and new is co-pilot of “interesting”. Coming up with new and fresh designs can mean both smaller and larger changes. In between big redesigns, you should always be exploring small changes. Small Tweaks = Big Results. Changing around your emails to be fresh is a great email marketing strategy for engagement.

Follow these simple steps and expand your reach.

STEP 1: Following the “F” format

Emails should be designed in a particular way to maximise performance and optimise your email campaign as much as possible.

Emails should follow an “F” format. By this, I mean the text should be in the shape of an F with the most important information along the top and down the left hand side.

Why is this?

Typically, recipients follow this sort of pattern when reading, first horizontally all the way across the top of the email, then horizontally again on the secondary section of the email, following vertically down the left hand side as they scan the rest of the content.

Also, in most email providers, the preview box just shows the top left hand side unless the email is opened fully. You want to entice recipients to view the full email by making the most important and interesting information at the top on the left hand side. So, include the most important information at the top, for example impressive statistics and/or a catchy headline, and the recipient will be more likely to open it and read more.

Calls to Action (CTA)

Calls to Action or CTA’s should be included with the important text information to encourage recipients to click through. Even if they just read the headline, there should be a CTA at the top, so that, they can click through and get to the landing page.

The F pattern doesn’t just apply to emails. Eye tracking studies have found that people also read webpages in the same way.

STEP 2: Structuring email text content

Recipients often only read the top part of an email so the most important information should be placed at the top. It’s recommended having a clear and catchy headline and a sub heading to draw the recipients’ attention.

Small manageable chunks of information

The text throughout the whole email should be kept in small manageable chunks rather than long paragraphs of text, so, recipients can skim the information and pick out the most important parts. Bullet points are also useful to list the key benefits to the recipient.

Calls to Action (CTA)

At the top of the email, with the most important information, you should also include a call to action (CTA). This can be in the form of a button with commanding text e.g. “Click Here” “Buy Now” to encourage recipients to click through.

Consistency between email copy and landing page

The email should summarize the main information with call to action (CTA) for the recipient to click through to a landing page and find out more. Basically, the email is used just to draw their attention and if this does interest them, then, they can read more about it. Therefore, the message in the email should be consistent with what’s on the landing page.

Create a sense of urgency

Adding offers and deadlines encourages recipients to interact with your email much more quickly. An offer adds an incentive while a deadline increases urgency, and, hopefully these two factors will increase the amount of conversions you receive as a direct result of the email campaign.

Overall, the text should be short and to the point. Include bullet points to list the key benefits to the recipient and encourage them to click through to the landing page for more information.

STEP 3: What are calls to action and how do you use them?

Calls to action or CTA’s are used to encourage recipients to do a particular action, hence the name. They are often used in emails to promote a specific action such as “Click Here” or “Buy Now”.

CTA’s are usually in a button format. Following a button format for the CTA’s will make the button look clickable, therefore, encouraging recipients to interact. CTA button format, is usually a rounded rectangle with different 3D effect and color. A flat text link can act as a CTA, but, it should be highlighted in some way so that recipients know it’s clickable.

Use at least 3 times in an email creative

Generally, try to use CTA’s at least 3 times within an email creative. One right at the top, so even if recipients only read the headline, they can click through and get to the landing page, one just after the main information and one at the bottom.

More CTA’s can be used if it’s a longer email or if it’s a hard sell with the sole aim to get conversions. Less CTA’s can be used for short emails or if it’s an email solely for information, however it’s recommended using a CTA button at least 3 times regardless of the message.

Use commands

CTA buttons work best when the text is a command such as “Click Here”, “Buy Now”, “Find Out More” etc. Not only is it quick and catchy, it tells the recipient exactly what they need to do and encourages them to carry out that action.

STEP 4: Advantages of using alternate text (ALT text) in email marketing

Many of the largest email clients will block images by default, making it increasingly difficult to successfully market the product or service. The big hitters include Gmail, Yahoo and AOL, so the sheer volume of blocked images is huge.

These email clients will show alternate text (ALT text) as opposed to images in the email. The ALT text will serve the same purpose as the image, conveying the same message that the image would deliver. For maximum effect, ALT text should be kept short and precise and avoid elongated and unnecessary sentences.

ALT text also is also very handy if recipient is reading emails on a slower internet connection, the ALT text will be visible before the images have finished downloading. This means potential recipient won’t have to wait for the email content to become clear.

Setting ALT text for images in an HTML email is simple, you just include the text in the image tag. Be sure to include the height and width values as this determines where the ALT text will be displayed if images are disabled. There is no need to include “image of” or “graphic of” to explain the ALT text, as the reader will invariably understand there should be an image in the space.

STEP 5: How to write a great subject line

One of the key things that make recipient open your emails is the subject line. If it interests the recipient, then, it will encourage them to open the email to read more. This doesn’t mean that you write something completely unrelated to the content just because it’s funny or exciting. For example, as people will open the email, but, they might not read the unrelated content. Make sure the subject line is relevant to the content. If the subject line is related to the content, then, recipient will be opening the email, because, they are genuinely interested and want to know more.

Keep it short

The best subject lines are a maximum of around 50 characters long. This means that the full subject line will show in most inboxes. Keep to around 30 characters for the full subject line to show in mobile phone inboxes. It’s best to keep subject line to the point and simple that summarises the content of the email.

Place the most important words or brand names at the start

Even if you can keep within 50 characters, it’s a good idea to include any important words or impressive brand names at the start of the subject line, as this will catch the recipients eye and encourage them to open the email.

Include deadlines in the subject line

If there is a specific deadline on the email or the offer, include it in the subject line, as it will encourage recipients to interact with the email quicker. If there’s no urgency, then, often emails can be forgotten or a recipient might come back to open it later and will notice that the offer is now out of date.

Test your subject lines

The best way to see what subject lines work for your audience is to test them. For example, use a different subject line for each email campaign you send or split test an email campaign with 2 or 3 subject line, and then, monitor the response. Make sure all factors remain the same (e.g. send volume) and then, gather the statistics from each subject line to assess what works best. Use these findings in further campaigns to improve your open rates.

STEP 6: Best practice for designing and coding an email

Design emails so that they are 600px wide and around 900px in length. However, the length is much more flexible and can vary. An email that is 600px in width will display within the standard email viewport without the recipient having to scroll left and right to see it all.

Use inline CSS

Not all email clients support style sheets, so, inline CSS is good to use in order to make your email creative display correctly in all possible email clients. Inline CSS labels each and every cell with the style information and this will ensure 100% that every cell is styled correctly.

Make sure you use text instead of images as much as possible

Text should be used instead of images in every instance possible. For example, when using calls to action (CTA) buttons, the text should stay as text and the background should be a colour or an image. Images are blocked by default until the recipient unblocks them, whereas, text appears immediately. Therefore, text should be used to display the information as much as possible. Where images are used, they should include ALT text.

Use web safe fonts

The text that is used in emails should be a web safe font, for example Arial, Georgia, Tahoma etc. Just because there’s a font on your computer, it doesn’t mean that everyone else will also have that font. If a specific non-web safe font needs to be used, then, it would have to be an image. However, it’s advisable that you use text as much as possible.

Here’s the list of web safe fonts you should consider.

Arial, Georgia, Tahoma, Book Antiqua, Times New Roman, Courier New, Comic Sans, Helvetica, Palatino and Geneva.

Style images with “display:block; border-style:none; margin:0px;”

Ensure images are styled with “display: block; border-style: none; margin: 0px;” to guarantee that there will be no problems with how image cells are displayed. This bit of code should go within the <img style> tag.

I hope you have enjoyed this email design best practice series and also hope that it will help you create fully functional, great looking, optimised emails for your campaigns.

Your thoughts…

Tell us in the comments! We’d be happy to hear from you.

(Contributed by: Ambili K Pillai, Group Manager – Client Success, Managed Services, Kenscio Digital)

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RTP has built several APIs to make it truly platform independent

Hurray! Now RTP has built several APIs to make it truly platform independent.

These are the first of its kind APIs which will help our clients consume the power of Real Time Personalisation without any limitations. You can use any Email Editor, any Email Service Provider, any Email Gateway and still integrate with RTP seamlessly, within seconds.

These APIs will help you get data from any Recommender system you use and show respective recommendations live inside an email. This can be extended to any data available outside the RTP system. The APIs can also be used to extract live data from RTP system.

Some of the APIs can also be used to use the RTP widgets like Timers, Progress Bars, Twitter Feeds, etc. Even without logging into RTP platform. You can make these widgets on the fly & integrate it with any system you use..

Come, make use of these powerful APIs now.

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How optimizing your acquisition through E-Mail with CLV can multiply your revenue?

I will not be getting into the Do’s and Don’ts of acquiring customer through E-Mail and gaining momentum with CLV through various touch points and blah blah blah..

It is so stodgy that it hits my central nervous system badly, reminding me of a forced training and a manual guide of making things work in a way it is written!

Let’s dive into our circadian life, with some very interesting affairs! Everyday (More likely) we go to our nearest departmental store for our daily needs. It could be rice, soap or salt, regardless of the fact that how much square feet of a surface that store has occupied till the time it fulfills my need- Does this statement tie some business knots? Yes! It does. This affirms that we as an end user can go to any of the vendor/advertiser if he supplies/fulfills my requirement. Questionably I may not buy but I will go.

What Next?

Two examples to be cited:

A.)    I visit my nearest store for the very first time and enquire about the product that I need, may be a soap. While glaring at the stacks for my soap, the shop owner scans my eyes concurrently and finds me unacquainted and puzzled. Post that he asks some questions to explore my need. He then suggests the soap, which I like, or which fits my LSM score (Point to be noted, he just made a guess, might be a wild one). Conversation does not end here. He continues with some more questions like where do I live? He has not seen me before. What do I do? Who all are in my family and all! At times the gentleman who is also the custodian of the cash-counter may end the sales with a chocolate, as a freebie with a smile– Is there any core business fundamental you are able to see? You are right- He identified me as prospect, other than the transactions; he explored the future business by asking all relevant questions to me. Taking out time in knowing me, he tried to ensure my future visit. The freebie was an absolute relationship strengthening exercise.

B.)    Have you ever scrutinized your own action during the evaluation of a nearby departmental store on how economic he is! The first thing you do is you tend to ask the rates for products like Sugar, Rice, Flour etc., because, you border on the rates for the mentioned stuffs and then you see the quality.

During my first visit to the nearby grocery store to purchase my monthly household goods, I throw him a list of edibles starting from Rice to Roasted peas and sauce to salt. You know what! He will quote or charge me a very competitive price which I may not get even from the big retail chains for my much needed consumables which are rice, sugar, pulse etc. For rest of the rations, you will be charged a rupee up or down!  – Any business Logic? You guessed it right- just by reducing or being aggressive on my “must” consumable items; he suddenly gained my trust and faith. I have an inclination now. I started believing that he is genuine, competitive and affable. It means, he has calculated the revenue generated with the current purchase and approximated or predicted the future cash flows from me. In marketing, this is what you called “customer’s lifetime value

Regardless to say, on the various touch-points he bundles the product for me, offers something of great value, gives me credit and stuff like that- again, a marketing tactic or a strategy which has been created for me, which is relevant to me and that has been delivered to me in a way I liked it to be.

Relatively, that is the fundamental of every business, it is happening in our everyday life, which goes un-noticed from the core of marketing perspective.

This is being effectuated by a local small grocery store, which would not be catering to more than 250 households (roughly) in metros. Don’t you think it is doable, attainable and can be executed by big entities like yours too?

Why through e-mail is simply because, out of the total Internet population which is 243million as of June’ 2014 (IAMAI & IMRB, 2014), 80% use Internet to access emails.

That’s not all! The benefits of acquiring customer through emails are many. To list down a few: –

  • E-Mail is the most cost effective marketing tool.
  • During a survey done by Forrester Research, Marketers said that they enjoy the ROI by two to three times greater with email marketing than any other direct marketing channel.
  • An immediate attention with multiple links and CTAs are viable
  • The superlative degree of segmentation is possible.
  • Highly measurable which ultimately drives and boost your sales by up sells and cross sells.

 

So what have to be the action points?

  • Find out the right partner who does not require spoon-feeding, who are best in class, who embraces innovation, spends in developing employee’s skill-sets, and treats you as a partner.
  • Create/Source/Rent out the valuable and qualitative e-mail list of prospects. Deliver them the right content.
  • Feed curiosity. Remember you are now dealing with “Generation Z”
  • Get ready with your creative for every dimension.
  • Do multivariate or AB testing (Whatever suits). It’s imperative. Early monitoring is like tasting the food like a chef.
  • Be innovative & reasonable in bringing your customers on board.
  • Create various touch-points.
  • Do research and segmentation. Reduce the manpower dependency. Espouse technology. Remember- your consumer is everywhere and doing the best use of the technology.
  • Convey or communicate what your consumers want to listen to and accelerate their interest.
  • Be relevant and rewarding.
  • Drive engagement.
  • Try to recover the lost opportunities, which might be accountable for as big as 40%
  • Seek their advocacy or evangelize your communications and offerings.

Remember the theory, which has been cited in the aforementioned example, is a proven one. So, do not romance with it, execute it.

Call your mind for that grocery store owner, who, how effectively identified the prospect, probed, suggested, sold, been aggressive on pricing, secured the future business, created multiple touch-points, gave value adds and had thereby owned a customer for a life-time which essentially would be doing his advocacy.

The striking part for you is- Maximize & Multiply your revenue :)

What else? Isn’t it a good food for thought and a lesson to think through?

“Execute nicely or be executed nastily”

(Contributed by: Mr. Kumar Awanish, AVP- Strategy & Innovation, Kenscio Digital)

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