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12 Days of Christmas all at Once

Many email marketers ran a Days Of Christmas campaign this year. This is when specific offers are only available on certain days. Below is an interesting email I saw from a company who was doing a Days Of Christmas email campaign. Now that the campaign is over they are offering the same deals on all days at once. This is a very interesting concept. Lets see if this catches on.

This type of campaign has some pros and cons.

The pros:
  • Customers can still get a deal they might have missed.
  • If the customer already purchased they can get the same deal again.
  • The end of the year revenue for this type of campaign is probably decent.
  • This is a great way to clear out overstocked and undersold items.
The cons:
  • I doubt the item will be shipped or received by Christmas.
  • This is another email to a subscriber list that has been hit pretty hard during the regular days of Christmas campaign.
Here is the email. It is all text. The subject line was Day 23: All Previous Deals Back for 1 Day Only!

Here is the landing page. All of the deals can be selected by day.

You Are Checking Your Email On What? Top ISPs.

Like the many flavors of ice-cream, consumers have a variety of ways to check email.  But which is the most popular? Does Hotmail trump Gmail?  Does anyone use AOL Mail anymore? What about Lotus Notes 6?

Below is some information to help address these questions.  Before I provide the information here are a couple points to keep in mind:
  •  This information was pulled as of December 2009.  So, in a few seconds, hours, days, weeks of years – the results could change.
  • This information is from a very email active and large B to C clothing retailer with both an online and brick-and-mortar presence.

ISP       % of Total      22%      16%      13%      9%      6%      3%      3%      2%   2%   2%

It's important to note, however, that someone could be using a protocol to read their web-based email messages inside Outlook or another desktop client.  This would increase the share of Outlook and not that of the web-based domain. Aggregating the top 50 ISPs for this companies email list amounts to about 85% of the total list.   It is safe to assume that at least 15% of the subscribers are receiving and/or reading their email through desktop email software such as Outlook. A study in June 2009 of over 300 million email opens showed the following breakdown of email client popularity:

Email Client     Popularity
Microsoft Outlook     39.63%
Yahoo! Mail     15.65%
Hotmail     15.35%
Apple Mail     8.25%
iPhone / iPod Touch     5.78%
Gmail     5.51%
AOL Mail     2.76%
Lotus Notes 6     1.72%
Thunderbird 2     1.12%
Others     4.23%

The study was conducted only in email clients that display images by default.

Will your privacy be compromised online?

The 2010 Census is nearly under way, but don't expect an e-mail from the U.S. Census Bureau asking you personal questions in its head count of America.

If you do get one, it's a scam.

"Like most large organizations, we have seen e-mail scams and phishing attacks that cite the U.S. Census Bureau," agency spokesman Neil Tillman wrote in an e-mail.

The Census Bureau stresses that it will not request personal information from you via e-mail, such as PIN codes, passwords, Social Security numbers, credit-card numbers or other financial account information.

A news-based phishing scheme like this one is one of several risks you face online. Cybercriminals have gotten craftier, often looking toward popular trends and events -- such as tax season, the mortgage meltdown and the growth of social media -- to scam people into giving them sensitive information.

To protect their privacy online, computer users need to stay informed about the criminals' methods and to learn basic principles of caution.

Online attackers have information on millions of consumers, said Ravi Sandhu, a professor of cyber security at the University of Texas at San Antonio. However, he added, the rate at which they can use that information is considerably lower.

"It's a bit like a lottery. To have identity theft actually occur against you, you need to have a little bad luck. There is some comfort in numbers," Sandhu said.

In addition to criminal scams, corporate data breaches can leave your privacy compromised.

As of September 22, there have been 379 data breaches reported by the Identity Theft Resource Center in 2009, affecting more than 13 million records. Companies with data breaches included financial institutions, travel companies, health care operations, and schools.

"It's not one or two companies that are acting irresponsibly with consumer data," said Andrea Matwyshyn, a law professor who teaches technology regulation at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. "It's a large-scale problem where industry norms of care are arguably not adequate to address the challenges of data security optimally."

Safeguard your Social Security number

Exercising caution before you submit sensitive information can save you a lot of aggravation down the line.
For instance, most businesses really won't need your Social Security number, the key number for identity theft, so think twice before you provide it online.

Social Security numbers are used "to establish new lines of credit or for tax purposes. How many things are you doing online that have to do with taxes?" said Linda Foley, co-founder of the Identity Theft Resource Center.

So before you share the information, be certain that you are on that Web site of a real company -- as opposed to an imposter conducting a phishing scheme. Also, ask yourself why a Web site would need your Social Security number, said Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance.

"I always encourage consumers to supply the minimum amount of information possible. A lot of times, you get these long forms and you get the little star that's required, but people are collecting other [data about you]," Kaiser said. "Don't fill it out if you don't want to."

Still, even visiting a legitimate Web site has its share of risks, because online attackers may inject malicious content onto them by hacking them or placing advertisements that deliver malware, Sandhu said.
If a criminal does obtain your Social Security number and creates a fraudulent identity, it can be a much bigger hassle than if he or she uses your credit card number.

Credit card companies often pick up the tab for fraudulent charges, and they send you a new card with a different number. It's more difficult to get a new Social Security number, and a stolen identity could affect your credit rating.

Where is your information going?

If you conduct an online transaction that requires you to reveal personal data, the online privacy policy will explain whether your information could be shared with third parties.

A company may tell you in that policy it will share your data with its "trusted partners" and however it deems appropriate in the course of business, said Matwyshyn, editor of the upcoming book "Harboring Data: Information Security, Law, and the Corporation." "That's a signal that your data is going to be licensed many times over, and it's going to be touched by a greater number of hands."

That becomes a problem, Matwyshyn said, because "you're only as good as the weakest link in the chain." That is, the "trusted partners" who can access the data may not have optimal security.

Storing sensitive data such as a credit card number on a business' Web site, though convenient, may also pose a risk, Matwyshyn said.

"The longer they store that credit card number in their systems, the longer the period of time that someone else can gain unauthorized access to that credit card number," she said.

Privacy at the mercy of others

Even if you practice a high level of caution with how much you reveal about yourself online, other people may inadvertently expose information about you.

For instance, a friend or relative may post a photo of you on a blog or social networking Web site that reveals your name, shows a street sign indicating your address and displays your car's license plate number, Kaiser said.

Kaiser recommends periodically looking up your name on one or two search engines to see the personal information about you on the Internet but adds that search probably won't tell you whether someone stole sensitive information, such as your credit card, address or Social Security number.

For that, monitor your credit report for suspicious activity, suggests the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act allows you to access a free credit report each year from each of the three credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

"Just like in health care, you should be the first one to notice when something goes wrong with you," Sandhu said.

"If you don't perceive a symptom and convey it to a physician, nobody's going to be able to help you," he said. "So here, also, consumers need to be vigilant and watch over their accounts and look out to see if anything strange is happening."

Defending yourself
•    Make sure your Web browser, operating system, virus protection and spyware protection are up to date.
•    Use a firewall.
•    Visit businesses' Web sites by typing the addresses into your browser, and check for typos.
•    Don't click on links or attachments in e-mails addressed to a large number of recipients.
•    Don't click on links from companies soliciting your business.
•    Consider why a person or business needs information about you before you provide it.
•    Include a site adviser on your Web browser to tell you whether a Web site is questionable.

Sources: Michael Kaiser, Ravi Sandhu, Linda Foley 

This article is from CNN.  Please click here to view the original article. 

Managing Email Subscriber Expectations During The Holidays

The holidays are a time of goodwill, cheer, and full email inboxes. During this time of year, many email marketers struggle to find the correct balance between sending too many emails during the holidays (and therefore experiencing high unsubscribe and abuse complaints) and not sending enough emails (and seeing stagnant sales as a result). I recently saw a campaign that does a great job at helping to solve this issue – they notified their email subscribers about what they can expect to see in their inbox from this holiday season.

This fresh yet simple email explains when will begin their increased holiday email schedule. It also explains on which days the subscriber should expect to receive emails, and then reminds the subscriber to keep in mind for their gift purchasing needs., however, does not seem to allow their subscribers to opt-out or opt-down from the holiday specific campaigns. This is a feature I would look at implementing in the near future to mitigate unsubscribes and abuse compaints. Other than that, this is a great idea for many businesses as it keeps the customer informed and treats their relationship with respect.

Nice job!

The subject line of this email was, “Get Ready! A Sneak Peek Of The Zappos Holiday Season Is Inside!” Here is the creative:

Love J.Crew? We love you too - Retailers Promoting Social Media

J. Crew provides a great  example of how a retailer is promoting their Facebook page!  I love how you can only view this intriguing offer if you check out their page. 

Also, the subject line is great:  Love J. Crew? We love you too


Southwest Airlines' Updated Email Program is a Winner

I have been a fan of Southwest Airlines for years. They seem to truly want to please their customers and are always making changes to the way they work to make processes better. Some recent changes that they have made for the better are assigning a boarding range instead of everyone in the boarding group crowding together, they take credit cards for in-flight services, you can check in online 24 hours prior to your flight, some pets are allowed in the cabin, and now their email program has improved when a flight has been booked.

One pet peeve I have had with Southwest in the past is that once I purchased a ticket for a flight online I would get an email confirmation at the point of purchase, but nothing else. My confirmation would then get buried deep in my email in box. When the time came for my flight and I needed my confirmation number, I would have to go deep in box fishing to find it. This confirmation could be buried under thousands of emails. Now this has changed.
  • Southwest sends the initial confirmation email at the point of purchase.
  • A reminder email, with the important confirmation numbers, is sent a few days prior to the flight. Now I have all the confirmation information I need without having to fish into my in box for the original confirmation email!
  • And then I was sent a survey after my flight asking how Southwest Airlines did. The survey was short, to the point and well done.
Here is the confirmation email I received at the point of sale. In this case I purchased the ticket a little less than a month before the flight.

Here is the email subject line: Ticketless Confirmation - LANE/JORDAN

Here is the reminder email I received four days prior to my scheduled flight.

Here is the email subject line: Jordan, your trip is right around the corner!‏

Here is the survey email I received the next morning after my flight. The survey email was delivered in Rich Text so it will be easy to read on mobile devices and for those who do not have images turned on.

Here is the email subject line: Survey: Your Most Recent Southwest Airlines Flight‏

The survey was short and fun!

Here is the survey Thank You!

Nice work Southwest Airlines! Do you have any email experiences with airlines? Do you have other examples of transactional campaigns done well?  Please share with us.

Put Some Pizzazz In Your Registration Page

Email Marketers live and die by their email lists. Having the right email registration page can make or break your program. Many email marketers try to be overly cleaver or overly stuffy with their registration pages - this turns off potential subscribers and customers.

I found an email registration form and process that is easy to understand, refreshing, comical, and honest. This is for the daily deal site ( is one of the four woot sites.,,, and Why not start building the relationship at the point of email capture? This is what does.

Here is how Woot does it.
  • One, the Registration location is easy to find on the homepage. "Hi, are you new? Start here." is welcoming and clear. If you are not new, you know where to Log in.
  • Two, the form itself is clear, funny, and not intimidating.

  • Three, if I make a mistake the error message is lighthearted and clear. There is no question what I need to do to make the form right.

Once I hit "woot me", there is not a Thank You for filling out the form, but I was redirected back to the home page where I can start shopping.

The next morning I received a Rich Text Welcome. This welcome was lighthearted and informative. It explained how the various sites work and what I can expect when placing an order, tracking and order, and what to do if I have questions.

Woot! Woot!

Google and Microsoft: The Battle Over College E-Mail

College students used to complain about dining-hall mystery meat. Their new gripe? Puny e-mail inboxes.

Students have been howling that school e-mail accounts are too small to handle their daily deluge of mail and attachments. To address that problem, a growing number of colleges and universities are outsourcing their e-mail. The companies swooping in to manage student accounts for free? Google and Microsoft. Like search, software and operating systems, campuses are a burgeoning battleground for the tech titans. (See pictures of the college dorm's evolution.)

Google now manages e-mail for more than 2,000 colleges and universities, enabling students to transform accounts capped at 100 mb into Google-managed inboxes that allow for 70 times as much mail. Microsoft also provides free Web-based mail for thousands of schools, including colleges in 86 countries. Once colleges switch systems, students keep their .edu e-mail address while upgrading from stodgy campus access pages to speedier, sleeker Google (or Microsoft) log-ins.

Kirk Gregersen, senior director for Microsoft's Live@Edu program, says many schools that already rely on Microsoft software and services are comfortable expanding the relationship by letting Microsoft manage Web-based student e-mail.

Early adopters of Google, such as Northwestern, are lately being joined by Cornell, Georgetown and Temple, to name a few. Google's Apps for Education program has gained significant momentum as student tech demands mount and budgetary pressures strain campus IT departments. Handing the e-mail keys over to Google helps schools avoid costly server upgrades while capitalizing on Web-based e-mail's popularity among students. Eric Weil, managing partner for Student Monitor, a national college-focused market research firm, says the average college student has two or three personal e-mail addresses, and Gmail's popularity among students has doubled over the past two years. (Read "Google's Chrome: Taking Aim at Microsoft — and the iPhone.")

In the 2008 national Campus Computing Project (CCP) survey, 42% of schools reported that they had already migrated or were about to migrate to an outsourced student e-mail service. Another 28% said they were considering switching. CCP founding director Kenneth Green says many of today's first-year students like to use the Web-based e-mail they grew accustomed to in high school, just as many stick to an existing cell phone number rather than get a new dorm number.

Brown University is among the legion of schools now testing Google-managed messaging. Brown Junior Sarah Bolling says she hopes her school Googlifies permanently because she gets about 300 e-mails a week and misses important class messages when her tiny 250-mb school inbox overflows. She's not alone. More than 60% of Brown students have already been forwarding their messages to Gmail accounts, says Donald Tom, Brown's IT support director. He says the switch could help reduce a planned multimillion-dollar expenditure to upgrade Brown's tech infrastructure.

Of schools in the 2008 CCP survey that reported having outsourced e-mail already, 57% said they had opted for Google, while 38% had partnered with Microsoft. In addition to e-mail, Google's free Apps for Education offering includes voice- and video-chatting capabilities as well as collaborative word processing, spreadsheet, presentation and website-creation software. Google Apps shed its beta, or trial, label in July, reassuring decision makers. Microsoft, which is refining its own Web-based Office software, grants every student 25 gb of free online storage space.

When Notre Dame hired out their e-mail to Google last year, the school saved $1.5 million in storage and other tech costs, says Katie Rose, Notre Dame's program manager for enterprise initiatives. Student e-mail satisfaction ratings rose 36% after the switch. Arizona State estimated that its savings with Google were $400,000 per year. Washington State University, meanwhile, expects to save about $100,000 by working with Microsoft. (See the top 10 Microsoft moments.)

What's in it for Google and Microsoft? Not revenue. Neither company charges for outsourced e-mail. In its contracts with schools, Google forgoes the $50 annual fee per user that it charges companies and promises not to impose ads on students or faculty. Microsoft makes a similar pledge. (Read "Can Microsoft's Bing Take a Bite out of Google?")

Even if it doesn't boost short-term profits, Google hopes serving schools for free will help broaden acceptance for Web-based e-mail and software services, says Jeff Keltner, who heads Google's Apps for Education team. Keltner says administrators appreciate not just cost savings but security benefits. "They walk away saying my data is probably safer in Google's data center than anywhere I would house it myself," he says. "And they appreciate the advantages to having data in the cloud, rather than residing on phones or laptops, which are devices that tend to get lost."

Timothy Chester, chief information officer for Pepperdine University, which recently partnered with Google, says his staff is 20% smaller than it was three years ago. Taking advantage of Google's economies of scale means that his smaller team can focus more on improving the way computers are used for learning on campus. "We want our staff working more with students and faculty and less on the nuts and bolts of delivering technology."

This article first appeared on Click here to view the original article.


Every so often it is prudent to take a refresher on fundamental email marketing topics and best practices. CAN-SPAM, officially known as the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicitedcan spam, can spam facts, CAN-SPAM, CAN-Spam quiz, spam, spammy email, what is can spam? Pornography And Marketing Act of 2003, is one of the most important online marketing topics. To follow is a CAN-SPAM QUIZ. Test your knowledge to make sure your emails are compliant.

You can also check out my other CAN-SPAM related blog post, CAN-SPAM: Just The Facts, by clicking here.

This quiz is from You can see the original quiz by clicking here.

CAN-SPAM is only applicable in the United States and overrides any state level spam laws.
- True
- False

Updates to CAN-SPAM are managed and produced by the FCC.
- True
- False

Which of the following is not acceptable under CAN-SPAM?
- A physical street address in the content of the sender
- A PO box address in the content of the sender

- Having an opt-out link

- Sending marketing email to anyone regardless of whether they’ve actually opted-out

What’s the maximum number of pages a user is allowed to land on or be redirected to after clicking on the unsubscribe link in an email?
- One page
- Two pages
- Three pages
- Four Pages

How quickly after a user unsubscribes must you remove them from your marketing lists?
-Five days
-Ten days
-One week
-One month

How long must the unsubscribe link in an email remain active for a user to click on it?
-Five days
-Ten days
-One week
-One month

Transactional email is defined as that which you think the recipient would most likely convert on.

Transactional email is exempt from CAN-SPAM.

Which of the following headers must accurately reflect the sender?
- The friendly from
- From address
- Subject

- All of the Above

You must send to at least the following amount for CAN-SPAM to be in force?
- Any Volume
- 100
- 1,000
- 10,000

Violation of CAN-SPAM can result in monetary fines and possible jail time.

Keep on reading to view the answers.

Question 1
The answer is “True.”
CAN-SPAM was written into law in 2003 as a federal measure to ensure that all email adequately identifies its origin, allows a user to remove themselves from future mailings and provides the government and ISPs a right to action against anyone not following CAN-SPAM requirements.

Question 2
The answer is “False”.
While the FCC contributes to CAN-SPAM via email sent to cell devices, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) owns and updates the core requirements of CAN-SPAM. The FTC is also the governing body in legal prosecutions.

Question 3
The Answer is “Sending marketing email to anyone regardless of whether they’ve actually opted-out.” CAN-SPAM is very clear that once a recipient has opted out of receiving your email, you may not contact them again for further marketing opportunities. With an unsubscribe, this is akin to a Do-Not-Call list with telephone numbers.

Question 4
The Answer is “One page.”
To avoid senders having overly complicated or confusing opt out mechanisms to keep list attrition at a minimum, a sender is allowed to have the recipient take one action after landing on the unsubscribe page from an opt-out clickthrough. At that point, they can click on a confirm button, check a box, etc., but a sender cannot require them to sign into an account and perform other actions to be removed from the list or require a fee.

Question 5
The Answer is “Ten days.”
You must remove a recipient from mailing lists or suppress sending to them within 10 days of receipt of their opt-out request as mandated by law.

Question 6
The Answer is “One Month.”
To ensure that recipients have enough time to actually click on an unsubscribe link in an email, you must support the unsubscribe link and the resulting landing page for at least 30 days.

Question 7
The Answer is “False.”
CAN-SPAM clearly defines transactional email as one which “facilitates an agreed-upon transaction or updates a customer in an existing business relationship.” This definition prohibits marketing messages from being labeled as transactional although it does allow for marketing content in a transactional email.

Question 8
The Correct Answer is “True.”
Since transactional email falls under strict definition by the FTC, it is exempt from the commercial email restrictions. But, it is advised that a sender get input from someone who’s an expert in email law to certify that the content does apply to the transactional definition.

Question 9
The Answer is “All of the Above.”
All of these must accurately reflect the originator of the email message. Failure to do so is considered fraudulent and in direct conflict of the transparency spirit of the law.

Question 10
The Answer is “Any Volume.”
Any amount of email sent, regardless even if it’s just to a single recipient, is covered by CAN-SPAM. There are no volume thresholds.

Question 11
The Answer is “True.”
Violation of CAN-SPAM can result in monetary fines and jail time depending on the number of offenses and intent of the sender. Over the years, many people have received either or both as they’ve been found guilty of breaking CAN-SPAM regulations. Also, a sender in violation can face civil damages from private ISPs attempting to recoup damages lost by sending mail to their recipients.

Holiday 2009 - Your Plan For Success!

As all  email and online marketers know, Holiday 2009 is just around the corner.  This is the time of the year that can make or break not only a quarter or year, but a company. Do everything in your power to ensure 2009 finishes with a bang!  EmailMoxie is here to help you succeed!

Here are two great sources for you.

The first is The 2009 holiday marketer: Benchmark and trend report.  This comes to us from

Experian Marketing Services.   The 2009 holiday marketer: Benchmark and trend report has some interesting points well worth your consideration, especially for all of you email marketers out there looking to gain an edge on the competition this winter.

Taking a look at the data from the report, there are a number of relevant tidbits that merit a quick shout-out:

  • Email’s “eco-friendly” reputation may not hold as much sway with environmentally-conscious customers as you thought, so don’t cancel the print catalogs just yet.
  • “Surprising to many, Behavioral Greens, which are the group of consumers that are most green aware according to Experian Simmons, account for nearly half of all catalog purchases.”
  • Shorter really is sweeter when it comes to email subject lines during the holidays.  Take a look at the EmailMoxie post on this subject by clicking here.
  • “All industries with the exception of consumer products and services experienced the highest open rates when using subject lines of 25 characters or less last year.”
This report is based on data tracked from more than 4,700 emails from top 100 online retailers during the fourth quarter of last year. This guide includes benchmarks and advice on when to begin your campaigns, how much to increase your email volume, which days to send on, and how to stand out in the in box during the busy holiday season. 

Last year nearly 90% of major online retailers increased their email volume during the holiday season, with retailers boosting their send frequency by 43% on average compared to the pre-holiday period.  WOW!

Other topics covered in the guide include:
  • Cyber Monday 2008, may not have been "the biggest online shopping day of the year" as billed. But it was the most popular day of the year to send retail emails, with 70% of retailers sending at least one email on that day. Helping you make your scheduling decisions, the guide also details other days among the 20 most popular days to send retail email last year
  • You will also see examples of the "18 Phases of Christmas." This is the 18 strategies that retailers use at different points in the holiday season.
  • Tactics for standing out in the inbox, such as using video, which is an up-and-coming tactic, and animated gifs, which were used by 22% of major online retailers in at least one email during November and December last year.
  • Strategies to employ during the final days before Christmas, including promoting e-gift cards, which were mentioned in more than 20% of retail emails during the three days before Christmas last year.
  • Numerous examples of subject lines used last year during the various phases of the holiday season to help you devise your subject lines for the crucial November and December months.
  • Holiday header launch dates: percentage of retailers that introduced a holiday header, beginning on 10/20/09.
Hopefully this will help you to have a great 2009 holiday season. Remember, that the quality of email sent can be much more important than the quantity.  Be sure your emails are honest, timely, relevant, follow best practices, and done right!  Let us know how can help you make Holiday 2009 your best season yet!

Jordan Lane's Post Featured in September 2009 Cheetah Spots!

Jordan Lane's post, Is Share-With-Your-Network Killing Forward-To-A-Friend?, is featured in Experian-CheetahMail's September 2009 Newsletter, Cheetah Spots!

Click here to read the Is Share-With-Your-Network Killing Forward-To-A-Friend? post on

Click here to view the September 2009 Cheetah Spots.

Here is an excerpt from the first paragraph of the post.
"Share-with-your-network (SWYN) is a relatively new phenomenon in the email marketing space. SWYN includes social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Digg etc. Some email pundits believe that SWYN is slowly but surely putting an end to forward-to-a-friend (FTAF) functionality in email. I don't believe this is the case."
Click here to read the entire post Is Share-With-Your-Network Killing Forward-To-A-Friend? on

No Payments, Budget Watching And Other Email Trends

This holiday season, as the economy tries to make a comeback and people will be watching their wallets closely, many shoppers will be looking for deals or delayed payment options. The good news is that many retailers will be offering a variety of deals.  We are already seeing this in email.

Here is an example of a header image used in a recent Spiegel email.  This offers no payments until January 2010.

Sephora does something for the shrewd shopper who does not want to spend a mint but still wants a quality product.  Sephora bundles products together and offers a reasonable price.  This is something that we will be seeing more and more of as the holiday season approaches.

The Subject Line for this email is: Value-packed kits for $40 - or less
I like the creative  RoadRunnerSports has below.  The subscriber is asked to only pick one prize.  This also ties in with International Talk Like A Pirate Day.  From what I can tell, all three "prizes" linked to the same page.  This is a fun creative that is memorable.

The Subject Line for this email is:  You Have 24 Hours to Claim Yer Pirate Treasure Inside!

What trends do you see in email right now? How do you think Holiday 2009 will do for retailers? want to know your opinion!

Are You An Email Addict?

According to a 2008 AOL survey of 4,000 e-mail users in the United States, 46% were "hooked" on e-mail. Nearly 60% of everyone surveyed checked e-mail in the bathroom, 15% checked it in church, and 11% had hidden the fact that they were checking it from a spouse or other family member.

You can view the study Death by Information Overload, Harvard Business Review, September 2009, by clicking here.

Now if I can only find a twelve step program I can participate in online...

Are you an email addict?  Share your story.

Short Subject Lines Are Hot This Holiday Season

A new trend that will be used more and more this holiday season is short subject lines.  A recent study found that in all verticals, except Consumer Products and Services, saw the highest open rated with subject lines less than 25 characters.  We are already seeing this trend.  One though on short subject lines is that the more white space to the right of the subject line, the more attention is drawn to the email and the more likely that it will be opened.  The jury is still out to see if this is true

Which subject lines stand out the most in this in box snapshot?

Here are some short subject lines I saw this week:

Sender –

Subject Line – Kingston Blowout
Sender –

Subject Line – Seriously – Save $10 today
Sender – Office Depot

Subject Line – HALF-OFF SALE
Sender –

Subject Line – These Boots
Sender –

Subject Line – See what's new in Sale!
Sender – Sephora

Subject Line – 4 HR BARGAIN BLITZ
Sender –

Subject Line – Get ripped!
Sender – Abercrombie & Fitch

What do you think about short subject lines?  Do you have any examples?  Have you seen this trend? Let us know your thoughts by posting a comment.

Doing What Is Right Actually Pays Off

"Wisdom is knowing what to do next; virtue is doing it."
~ David Starr Jordan, The Philosophy of Despair

Any reasonably responsible email marketer knows that he or she should, at the bare minimum, follow CAN-SPAM regulations when sending email marketing messages. But, as it turns out, following this and other best practices does pay off in the long run. MarketingSherpa recently published a report called "Email Performance Since 2001," tracing the relationship between email marketing best practices and email success. In one form or another, MarketingSherpa has asked the basic question about how well email marketing has performed since their first survey in 2001.

This chart highlights performance trends when following Best Practices and when Deviating From Best Practices. The Y Axis shows the efficiency of the email marketing endeavor. The X Axis displays the year.

Doing What Is Right Actually Pays Off in Email Marketing
What it all means:

  • In 2001, it was easier to get opt-ins than it is now. “Relevance” wasn’t our ad nauseum catchword yet, and simply throwing up an email capture form on a website would yield names.
  • Over time, we see that as email matured, inboxes filled up and other media worked their way into business and personal life. Given the competition for attention, email has held up remarkably well, especially given its yearly obituary at the hands of the latest, greatest marketing tactic.
  • In 2004 we see where deviating from best practices really began to negatively affect the bottom line. At this point, it was no longer a walk in the park to acquire and retain subscribers; marketers found that they had to provide value, think about relevance and pay careful attention to their email programs to see continued success.
  • Every year since 2004 the success gap has grown between those who follow best practices and those who don’t. Those who fit MarketingSherpa’s ‘best practices’ model (a definition which evolved over the years based on tracked metrics) report stable or improving impact for email, while those still batching and blasting are seeing diminishing returns.
There are numerous best practices in email. This report underscores the value in maintaining these best practices and keeping up with the latest trends in email marketing.

Emails and Thoughts From The Past Week : Ralph Lauren, Banana Republic, Minnesota Vikings, plus more - September 8th to September 14th, 2009

Below are some NOTEWORTHY EMAILS from my inbox this past week. Enjoy!

Home Shopping Network, like many retailers, is sending NFL football related emails with specific messaging and products related to the Minnesota Vikings. Jumping on the Brett Favre bandwagon, while he is still hot and in the news, is a great idea to move some Favre and Vikings related product. Hopefully Favre will stay on the team and all of this product will not go to waste. We would hate to see something similar to the Matt "Vick" Leinart doll...

brett favre, vikings, email newspapers, international credit cards, matt vick leinart doll,  people of walmart, 09/09/09, hsn emailBanana Republic does a nice job with a 09/09/09 related email. Using this unique date to create a unique email is a great idea. They had a 9 hour only sale that ended at 9 PM. In the email version they sent the date displayed using an animated.gif. NICE!

brett favre, vikings, email newspapers, international credit cards, matt vick leinart doll,  people of walmart, 09/09/09, hsn emailRalph Lauren does something unique in the image below thier main image. They promote the payment methods they excpet including what International Credit Cards.
brett favre, vikings, email newspapers, international credit cards, matt vick leinart doll,  people of walmart, 09/09/09, hsn emailClicking the image links you to the Frequently Asked Questions, Payment Methods page Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 . You are then able to view all the Countries who credit cards they accept. This is a great touch for those traveling internatianly and would like to visit a Ralph Lauren store, or for those from another country who would like to purchase in the U.S. Sometimes it is little things that this that can make a big difference.
brett favre, vikings, email newspapers, international credit cards, matt vick leinart doll,  people of walmart, 09/09/09, hsn emailThis is the second week in a row that I have seen a retailer use a faux newspaer image in an email. Last week R0adrunner Sports did this. This week we see this from Tiger Direct. It is engaging and interesting.

The subject line for this email is:
Just Arrived: New Intel Core i5 and Core i7 CPUs & First Ever Core i5 PC Kit...Full Story Inside

brett favre, vikings, email newspapers, international credit cards, matt vick leinart doll,  people of walmart, 09/09/09, hsn email

UPDATE: Here Is The Latest On The New Maine Law That Bans Sending Email Marketing Messages To Anyone Under 18 Without Parental Consent

Please click here to view the original post, New Maine Law Bans Sending Email Marketing Messages To Anyone Under 18 Without Parental Consent, on this topic.

Maine Attorney General Janet Mills has asked a federal court to dismiss a lawsuit by media groups and Web companies challenging a controversial new privacy law.

Mills argues that the court should not get involved because she has no plans to prosecute companies for violating the measure. "The attorney general has publicly stated, and hereby confirms, that she will not enforce this law, to which the governor concurs," her office wrote in papers filed Thursday with the federal district court in Maine. "It is well-established that a federal court has no jurisdiction over a challenge to a state statute when there is no credible risk of enforcement."

The new law, slated to take effect Sept. 12, would bar companies from collecting personal information or health-related information from minors under 18 without their parents' consent. The measure also prohibits companies from selling or transferring health information about minors that identifies them, regardless of how the data was collected.

A coalition of media organizations including the Maine Press Association, and Web companies including AOL, Yahoo and eBay, recently asked the court to issue an injunction against the measure.

They contend that the law would violate their First Amendment right to publish newsworthy information about teens, as well as restricting teens' right to receive information. The Web companies also say the measure would require them to block teens from their sites.

The measure, signed by Maine Governor John Baldacci in June, sailed through the state legislature with no opposition -- apparently because watchdogs lost sight of the bill.

Although Mills has no plans to carry out the law, opponents say they are seeking an injunction because the measure also allows private parties to sue for $250 damages per violation. But Mills says the case should nonetheless be dismissed. "Essentially, the courts do not require state officials to defend against theoretical lawsuits that might be brought by private parties against private parties," her office argues.

You can learn more by clicking here.


Yesterday I received an email marked urgent from a trusted business associate. The subject line was FW: VERY IMPORTANT. This person hardly ever used the High Importance exclamation point in emails and if something was marked as important – it was life threatening. I was a bit nervous as I opened the email.

Once I opened the email I had to smile. It was a doom and gloom message about a horrible computer virus that was on its way. The virus “burns the whole hard disc C of your computer…and destroys the Zero Sector of the Hard Disc, where the vital information is kept.” After a quick internet search I found oodles of postings about this message and how it was, in fact, a hoax.

As email marketers we need to be weary and aware of these types of illegitimate, viral messages. The claims of a horrible virus might not be true, but the fear email recipients feel is real. Messages like this can compromise legitimate email messages. Also, many of these hoax messages single out a specific company. The company named is not involved with this message. They are, in fact, a victim.

One takeaway we can gleam from this fraudulent message is that email marketers need to be sensitive and aware of recipients email fears. There are bad people out there sending bad email messages.

- What would you do if your company was named in a hoax email?
- What actions, if any, should y
ou take with your subscribers?

Just because we know this message is not legit, does not mean we can assume others who received it also know it is false.

Here is the email I received:

Emails and Thoughts From The Past Week : All, Banana Republic, Rachel Ray, plus more - September 1st to September 7th, 2009

Below are some NOTEWORTHY EMAILS from my inbox this past week. Enjoy!

All has a busy, but captivating creative. I especially like the Fun Facts. This is a great way to entice a subscriber to click. They might learn something and purchase something. Win-Win!

animated gif, email marketing, newspaper in email,All Posters also uses a cool animated gif.

animated gif, email marketing, newspaper in email,Here is an interesting email I saw from Banana Republic. I am sure this will drive store traffic.

I am curious to know how they generated the unique bar codes. I assume they are unique. But they could have only sent a few select winners a unique code and everyone else is the same code.
animated gif, email marketing, newspaper in email, rachel ray
The next two emails are good examples of featuring one product for the entire email. and Williams-Sonoma both did this this week. This strategy is useful if you need to move a certain product, would like to announce a new product, or would like to change up your creative to stand out a bit.

animated gif, email marketing, newspaper in email, rachel rayanimated gif, email marketing, newspaper in email, rachel rayRoadrunner Sports does something different by running a letter in their email. This looks kind of cheesey with with Extra! Extra! tab, but I think this is the point. I like it!

animated gif, email marketing, newspaper in email, rachel ray

Subject Line Testing in Email: Just Do It!

An important key to email marketing success is testing. One of the most important components of a campaign to test is the subject line. The subject line is the teaser copy that entices the recipient to open your Email.
Keep in mind:
- Best-in-breed email programs consistently test their subject lines.
- It is important to verify your past findings and current theories about subject lines instead of making assumptions.
-If you can increase your open rates even slightly by optimizing your subject lines, the potential to increase click and transaction rates increases.

Here are some Subject Line Do’s and Don’ts.

  • Be clear and direct.
  • Be short – keep subject lines to 50 characters or less.
  • Do tell subscribers what’s new.
  • Remind subscribers when sales/events are ending.
  • Try wistful and fun subject lines. (But test on sale emails)
  • Test personalization, symbols (%, $) and capital letters. Also, I have seen pipes used successfully.
  • set your subscribers' expectations during the opt-in process about what kinds of emails they'll be receiving.
  • Be deceptive.
  • Be too long.
  • Deviate from your brand voice too much.
  • Scream (use words in all CAPITAL LETTERS).
  • Test once and then make long term decisions.
  • Be afraid to have fun!
  • Don't confuse newsletters with promotions. If your email is a newsletter, put the name and issue of the newsletter in your subject line. If your email is a special promotion, tell the subscriber what's inside. Either way, don't write your subject lines like advertisements.
Here are some Subject Line Testing – Test Scenarios
-Short versus Long.
-Mention a product type (shoes, shorts, cars, candy).
-Mention of Brand or style type advertised (Nike, Cargo Pants, Lexus, Jolly Ranchers).
-Use and placement of Free Shipping, % or $ Offer.
-Use of language indicating urgency (limited time sale, 3 days only, etc.).
-Use of language evoking curiosity or inspiration.
-Use First name personalization
-Include the company name.
-Use capitalization appropriately.

Here is a sample Subject Line test scena
A 10-10-80 split was used in this test.
  1. - 10% of the subscriber list received Subject Line 1.
  2. - 10% of the subscriber list received Subject Line 2.
  3. - 80% of the subscriber list received the winning Subject Line. In this case the winner was Subject Line 2.
Subject Line 1 - Free Shipping this Easter - Offer Code Inside (13% open rate)
Subject Line 2 - Free Shipping - Happy Easter (16.6% open rate)

The website and email marketing provider MailChimp looked at some of its clients highest performing and lowest performing subject lines.

MailChimp said that people who are new to email marketing often ask them, "How should I write my subject lines so that more recipients will open my emails?"

In order to answer that question, MailChimp recently analyzed over 40 million emails sent from customers through MailChimp. They found the subject lines with the highest open rates and the ones with the lowest open rates. Then they pulled 20 from each pile and put their subject lines in a side-by-side comparison. The wining or highest open rates were in the range of 60%-87%, while the losing or lowest performers fell in the dismal 1%-14% range.

Here are the results:

Do you see a pattern in the results?

On the winning side, you'll notice the subject lines are pretty straightforward. They're not very salesy or pushy. On the losing side however, notice how the subject lines read like headlines from advertisements you would see in the Sunday paper. They might look more creative but their open rates are horrible. It's as if those email marketers assumed that subject lines have to jump off the screen and GRAB THE READER'S ATTENTION! Unfortunately, most people get so much junk mail in their inbox, anything that even hints of spam gets removed immediately.

In this test case it looks like the best subject lines simply described the content of the email. It is that simple.

If you are having a difficult time deciding what subject lines to create look at the content of the email. Also, use your websites web analytic data. You might be able to use keywords searched on your site and keywords used to send visitors to your site.

When it comes to email marketing, the best subject lines tell what's inside, and the worst subject lines sell what's inside. But don’t take my word for it – You need to Test, Test, Test this for yourself.

Emails and Thoughts From The Past Week - August 25th to 31st, 2009

Below are some NOTEWORTHY EMAILS from my inbox this past week. Enjoy!

Here are three subject lines that I thought were good.

Step On It! SHOE SALE - Now Up To 70% Off
this is from Blue Fly

Not Your Daughter's Jeans: Colorful Cords & Exclusive Denim this is from Nordstrom

She stole my plaid! this is from Abercrombie & Fitch

Many retailers struggle with gender specific emails when they are not certain about the gender of their subscriber. Retailers do not want to mis-market by sending a male and female specific email or vice versa. Saks Fifth Avenue and Ralph Lauren both do a good job here. The message is the same - Ugg boots and tennis gear - both genders and a children are given similar billing in the creative.

email marketing

Making sure all holidays, and not just the major ones, are a part of your email campaign is important. Eddie Bauer does a good job with this Labor Day email. It has some good offers and the creative is captivating.

Here is another Saks example. This stood out to me because it is not specifically about Saks products. It is promoting an MTV Award Nominee video. Interesting. By the way the subject line for this one is Marc & Chairlift Video Event + A Gift

email marketingI like the way Ann Taylor features the brands new designer - Perfect Pieces. This email is classy, catchy and is able to feature the designer products and offers a quote from Lisa, who is apparently the Head of Design, at Ann Taylor.

email marketing

New Maine Law Bans Sending Email Marketing Messages To Anyone Under 18 Without Parental Consent

UPDATE: Click here to view an update of this Law!

On June 2, 2009, the Governor of Maine signed into law an Act To Prevent Predatory Marketing Practices against Minors, codified at Maine Rev. Stat. Ann., tit. 10, ch. 1055, § 9551, et seq. Although its titNew Maine Law Bans Sending Email Marketing Messages To Anyone Under 18 Without Parental Consentle would seem to apply to "predatory" practices, and earlier versions focused only on health-related information, the enacted bill effectively extends COPPA protection to those younger than 18 (the age of majority in Maine) rather than just those younger than 13.

Under the new law, which is effective 90 days after the date of enactment, it is unlawful to collect individually identifiable information about "minors" without verifiable parental consent, if the information is going to be used for marketing purposes. The new law comes with a private right of action that allows for damages up to $250 per violation. (It is not clear how “per violation” will be defined, and whether a person can bring the action for violations involving only his or her own personal information. At the very least, the possibility of a class of consumers seeking recovery of up to $250 per violation is present.) The plaintiff also is entitled to attorneys’ fees and costs, and the amount of the damages can be trebled if the violation was willful.

The new law also creates a civil penalty, which appears to be available only in the case of an action brought by a state regulator, of "no less than" $10,000 per violation. The penalty goes up to $20,000 for subsequent violations of the law.

What This Means
Although regulations could be developed that temper the possible effect of this new Maine law, on its face, it essentially extends the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) to cover teenagers. What is missing, however, is any reference to the exceptions in COPPA that permit marketers to offer children the ability to provide their online contact information in order to participate in a one-time request for a service, like entering a sweepstakes. Thus, a marketer is faced with the prospect of having to obtain COPPA-style verifiable parental consent from a teenager (under 18) in order to include a minor from Maine in his promotion, or voiding the promotion in Maine (at least for those under the age of majority).

Long story short you need to be extra careful when sending email or other marketing messages to folks in Maine. Various marketing organizations, including email marketing organization, are trying to fight against this law. Stay tuned...

The majority of this information is from an article that can be viewed by clicking here.

Emails and Thoughts From The Past Week - August 18th to 24th, 2009

Below are some NOTEWORTHY EMAILS from my inbox this past week. Enjoy!

- Animated Emails. This week there are a couple examples of Animated GIFs used in email. These come to us from Saks Fifth Avenue and

An animated GIF file is a graphic image that moves. This could be a flashing or spinning icon, or letters that magically get larger, for example. Technically, an animated GIF is a single file that is created to display various images in a specific order. Animated GIFs are most frequently used in web ad banners, but there has also been a recent surge in the use of animated GIFs in email. One interesting use, beyond flashing letters or moving icons, is creating what looks like a video embedded in the email content. These “videos” present a visually unique and impressive message, and when used effectively, create visually engaging emails that deliver a “wow” factor that stagnant images cannot. To really catch the attention of email openers, be sure to place the most interesting animated GIFs above-the-fold.

The Saks example provides some eye candy of different styles on different models. - email marketing -  email week in review
The example displays various educational prints dynamically. - email marketing -  email week in reviewHere is the dynamic image in action. - email marketing -  email week in review
Both of these dynamic examples are classy and draw attention to the email. Sweet!

- does something interesting in order to get the click. They have a $10 Off Coupon for a mystery product. The only way to see the product is to click the image. Also, the subject line for this email was Shhh! It's a Secret Sale. This subject line is reinforced in the email and on the landing page once the coupon is clicked. - email marketing -  email week in review...and here is the product! This is a great way to get subscribers interested and engaged with the email. - email marketing -  email week in review

- Walgreens has a prominent banner at the bottom of the main image asking the subscriber to update his or her preferences to receive more email. This type of overt request to signup for various types of newsletters is not something all email marketers are comfortable doing. Some marketers feel that this is overly aggressive. However, in this case Walgreens does a good job. It states that hey, if you enjoy this email you will probably enjoy some of our other emails. - email marketing -  email week in reviewHere is a larger view of the call to action image. Walgreens also asks if the subscriber would also like to update or add a preferred store. - email marketing -  email week in review
Here is the landing page once the image is clicked. The four email types can be selected. This landing page/preference center is simple and clear. - email marketing -  email week in review

- does something cool. They give a preview to what the topic of the next email will be. This makes me want to check my in box for the next Sephora email. I am not necessarily interested in the email content, but I would like to find out if they actually deliver what they are promising in their next email. This is a great idea to boost open rates and hopefully clicks and conversions.

As an added plus, if I really cared about who the Sephora top brand founders were I am more likely to get exited about their email and might tell my friends and family about the upcoming mailing. - email marketing -  email week in review
- does something that I have not seen in email for a long while. They have actual banner adds in the HTML mailing. This is a throwback idea when email marketing was in its infancy. I am curious to the reason why they are doing this. Is it to increase revenue through an affiliate program? Do they think this will help their email program? Did they run out of content and figured might as well place an advertisement? I'm not sure... - email marketing -  email week in review