Eye tracking study at Squidoo
I've seen my share of eye-tracking studies before. Usually, they're some kind of "heat map" that lets you see where people spend most of their time on a page. They're kinda neat, for the first minute or two.
But Seth Godin just posted this eye-tracking movie for his Squidoo website. This is actually fun to watch, because you can see the little blue dot dancing around on the screen all crazy---like the users were hopped up on caffeine.
I just wish that he posted whether or not the users were given some kind of goal, or if they were told to casually browse around the site.
I learned two things watching this: 1) People are just begging to be shown where to look and click (so make your links prominent, and make your buttons look like buttons!) and 2) Those guys need a mouse with a scrolly wheel. For God's sake, look how long they take to find the scroll bar and drag it up and down. Precious milli-seconds wasted!
Good stuff if you're designing lots of landing pages for your email campaigns to point to.
More eye-tracking links:
How overeager spam filters cost one man a $670,000 contract
Ouch. Here's a story of a contractor who sent in a bid to an RFP via email (as required), but spam filters trapped his messages, costing him the project. He says the project is worth $670k, and he could have saved the city $250k had he won. The IT group in the article mentioned the term "long distance" being the reason it was blocked.
I've never heard of "long distance" being considered spammy, but I wouldn't be surprised. This is probably the 5th time I've linked to this page, but it's worth re-visiting periodically: Spam Assassin Scoring Criteria.
It lists all the different phrases and "clues" that one of the most popular spam filters searches for within emails.
Email Postcard Templates & Tips
By the looks of our outgoing mail queue, the most popular email template people are using from our resources area seems to be the "postcard." It's a nice template for sending special, focused offers to your customers.
I was just recently sifting through my old email, and found an article from MarketingSherpa that I can't believe I missed: How to Design & Copywrite Email Postcards for Maximum Results: Tips for B-to-B and B-to-C Marketers Great tips, especially on using photos and copy together.
Top 12 Best Practices for Publishing an Email Newsletter
Quick read from Larry Chase's Web Digest for Marketers. He's been publishing his newsletter since 1995, and offers up some useful advice. Found this over at ReachCustomersOnline (a very bookmark-worthy resource)
What It Takes to Be a Good E-Mail Copywriter
Just came across an article at ClickZ by Karen Gedney called, "What It Takes To Be a Good E-mail Copywriter." Great tips there, including:
- Funnel your creativity into your subject line
- Know your template
- Activate the impulse to buy
- Divide and conquer (focus on a few key messages)
- E-mail assignments are like mini masterpieces
The main gist of the article is that e-mail campaigns ain't easy. You've got to take your time to plan things out. And it's not just your email. Spend a lot of time planning your subject line and landing pages, too.
MailChimp List Integration API
In MailChimp, you can totally customize the look and feel of all your signup forms and confirmation emails, because we give you complete control over your HTML.
But if you want even MORE seamless intgration, we just released an API (in beta) for developers who want to integrate their websites with their MailChimp managed lists. It's written for PHP developers, but if you're a .Net (or something else) kinda guy, you can probably translate it just fine. Here's a link to the API download page in our knowledge base.
Abandoned Shopping Cart Recovery Emails
Another nice study from the folks at MarketingExperiments.com
They experimented with different emails for recovering sales after people abandon website shopping carts. For instance, if someone backs out of a shopping cart transaction, they immediately send an email asking, "what happened" then another after a few days have passed.
Some of their efforts recovered 4,000 sales for one company, and $8,000 for another. Neat stuff. They also included some sample email templates that you can use, plus 10 best practices.
One key point they make with such campaigns is to focus on customer service. Don't send emails as "Mr. Pushy Salesguy." Send them as a customer service note, asking if there's anything you can do to help:
"We noticed that you did not complete your order and we wanted to do everything we can to help. We are concerned that you may have encountered an error while completing your order. How can we assist you?"
Washington State Spam Lawsuit Settled For $530,000
2 California companies recently got sued for spamming:
MD&I assembles desktop computers. AvTech Direct marketed those computers, by sending 1,500 unsolicited emails to members of a local Washington state school district.
AvTech Direct was fined a total of $520,000 (and one manager at the company was fined an additional $180,000, but it was waived).
MD&I, who did not send the emails, was fined $10,000.
- Don't break the CAN-SPAM laws, no matter how small your company or your campaign is. The FTC is just looking for examples to make right now. They're not just going after the hardcore spammers anymore (more examples), and you don't have to send millions of emails to get yourself in trouble.
- Don't hire companies to spam for you, because you'll both get punished. If you're letting marketers send emails on your behalf, make sure they're compliant with CAN-SPAM.
- Don't send commercial emails to people unless you have their permission. The best way to prove you have permission? Double opt-in (built into MailChimp).
- Harvesting email addresses from school websites (which is what they probably did) is not permission. No matter how much you think they'd love to hear from you.
- If you're going to spam, don't do it to school teachers. They tend to be a smart crowd that likes to teach lessons.
New Email Marketing Resource Center
We just revamped our email marketing resource center over at the MailChimp website. It's a collection of email marketing best practices, html email design and coding tips, free email templates, and email marketing articles and links we've found on the web. We're going to be constantly adding to this "library" so bookmark it and visit often. If you've got something you think should be added, please let us know.
Scientists Claim New Monkey Species Found
"As soon as I saw the monkey with its golden-yellow hair and the white tiara on its head, I knew it was a new species," Pontes said.