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Campaign Deliverability Event

We attended last night's (very awesome) AiMA event about deliverability. The panelists were from Jupiter Research, ReturnPath, and CipherTrust. They shared lots of great information that we'll post here (along with our own thoughts):

  • According to a Jupiter study, 13% of recipients just click the "This is spam" button instead of the "Unsubscribe Link" for email that they opted in for.

Better keep your emails relevant and interesting. Also, use confirmed opt-in (aka double opt-in, or verified opt-in) at all times, in case an ISP or anti-spammer attempts to take action on you based on a "this is spam" report. They offered the suggestion to make your opt-out link really big and prominent, to prevent this kind of thing from happening. We think we might experiment with placing the opt-out link up high, instead of in the footer.

  • Jupiter reports that when marketers take some time to actually segment their lists, click through rates rise dramatically. They didn't provide specific tactics.

Try some experimenting with your lists. Seperate at-home vs. at-work, and try different offers (and send times). Segment by the old tried-and-true demographics/geographics or "preferred customers." MailChimp MERGE filters can be used for such testing.

  • 65% of marketers don't bother to do any testing of their email campaigns.

It's tempting to just load up one email campaign, load your customer list, and click "send." But email marketing provides so much more opportunity for tracking your results (and almost instantly). Break that list up and run A/B splits. Experiment! MailChimp makes this super easy and cost efficient, too.

  • Handle transactional emails (registration information, email receipts, etc) in-house, from your own corporate web server, but outsource your marketing email. That way, your company's IP address is not blacklisted if your marketing campaign gets reported as spam by a lot of recipients

Good advice, but we think you should still treat the outsourced server's IP address like it was your own---because it's your brand (and reputation) on the line with your marketing. Also, don't be tempted to insert sales material into transactional emails. Be strong. Keep them seperated.

Thanks to the AiMA folks for holding the event. If you're in the Atlanta area, be sure to check out their next event on campaign analytics.

March 31, 2005 in Emarketing, Business | Permalink

What's New in MailChimp V2?

Here are the most notable new features and improvements in v2...

  1. Trackers are free - We don't charge double the credits anymore for tracking.
  2. Campaign scheduling - Set a time and date for later delivery of campaigns. Be sure to set your default time zone in "My Defaults"
  3. Save as Draft - Get a campaign started, save it as a "draft" and work on it later.
  4. My Defaults - If you send very frequent newsletters, you can save your default from-name, reply-to, and subject line so you don't have to keep re-entering it with every new campaign.
  5. Campaign Folders - Organize campaigns on your Admin screen into folders. Create as many folders as you want, such as for drafts, templates, clients, and special promos.
  6. New interface - The interface is sleek, fluid, and easy on the eyes. But we kept the chimp's "personality" and ease of use.
  7. Better engine - We upgraded MailChimp's delivery engine, as well. He's even more powerful and efficient than before.
  8. 1-click trackers - You don't have to insert tracking code anymore. Just check the "track clicks" and "track opens" boxes, and MailChimp handles the rest. You can still insert single trackers on each link, if you want.
  9. Unique tracking - In addition to aggregate tracking, we provide unique measurements (99 people opened 125 times).
  10. Saves full bounce messages - We now save full bounced messages, so you can read their headers and determine exactly why they bounced.
  11. More price plans - We expanded the price plan offerings for both light and heavy users
  12. Saves past invoices - Stores all your receipts.
  13. Online Help Center - We've centralized all the help files and links into one central location for easy access. Click the "Help" link in the top navigation bar.
  14. Customize your To: field - Use MERGE filters to address each email to the recipient's name, instead of their email address.

There are lots of interface enhancements, too. Our favorite comment so far was when a user told us, "It's great---you made it more powerful, but you kept the chimp's personality!" That's exactly what we were shooting for.

It's worth noting that we couldn't cram everything into 2.0, so we're already working on additions for 2.1. Then, there's a big list of enhancements for 2.2 right after that. With the new platform we developed, enhancements will be way easier than before.

March 20, 2005 in MailChimp News | Permalink

Note to our Beta testers

Update: Thanks so much for all your help, guys! We finally did it. MailChimp V2 is live!!! All your testing and feedback was extremely helpful. Thanks for helping us make MailChimp a better monkey.

Just a quick thank you to our beta testers for helping us evaluate the new and improved MailChimp. So far, so good. We've uncovered some minor issues with the interface, (along with some Microsoft Excel quirks) and we've even come up with a few new ideas for v2.1! We've been testing since early January, with no major issues (knock on wood). We're planning to go live sometime in early April, barring any major issues. Interested in beta testing? Let us know.

March 18, 2005 in MailChimp News | Permalink

Microsoft's Junk Email filters

I recently ran across some of the old, basic filters from Microsoft Outlook 2000's Junk Filter rules. It's almost laughable how simple this list is, especially compared to some of the criteria from SpamAssassin. Still, it's worth a look. How many of these keywords have you accidentally used in your email campaigns?

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/assistance/HA010450051033.aspx

March 18, 2005 in Spam Topics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Splitting lists into "home" vs. "work" addresses

We've learned over the years to send our clients' email campaigns at different times, on different days, based on their audience.

For example, we send real estate emails on weekends, because that's when people are off work and ready to go house hunting. B2B emails obviously go out on weekdays. Emails for events, restaurants, and nightclubs go out on Tuesdays and Wednesdays around 2pm so that recipients have time to plan their weekends.

MarketingSherpa just published a case study along those same lines. A company reveals how they discovered that by splitting their list into "home" vs "work" email addresses, and then sending on different days, they could double their response rate.

http://www.marketingsherpa.com/sample.cfm?contentID=2945

They included their list of domain names for home addresses. We have a much more thorough list of "home, free, and anonymous" email domains that we use at MailChimp. Let us know if you'd like a copy.

March 18, 2005 in Emarketing, Business | Permalink

8 Reasons Businesses Will Waste Precious Sales Dollars this Year

From Fresh Tilled Ideas: "The 8 Reasons Businesses Will Waste Precious Sales Dollars This Year (Again)." This one, of course, caught my eye:

#8: Overlooking Inexpensive Technology and Tools:
Contact management software and e-mail marketing are just two options that can streamline your marketing efforts and improve your productivity...

Reasons 1-7 are great, too. If you run a business (like most of our MailChimp users), take a look at the list, and see if you're guilty of any of them.

March 9, 2005 in Emarketing, Business | Permalink | Comments (0)

Ads in Plain-Text Email

Over at MarketingSherpa, they've got a new article with tips on maximizing email newsletter ad clicks. Most interesting was their finding that plain-text ads in plain-text emails perform the best.

March 1, 2005 in Emarketing, Business | Permalink

 
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