Delta SkyMiles: Subscribe---or else!
Interesting tactic from Delta. You WILL subscribe to our email marketing, or else...
Your rewards go from 5 miles per dollar to 1 mile per dollar, unless you subscribe to their emails to earn "Engaged Member" status.
Kroger's Secret Marketing Weapon
It also explains why I'm getting so many coupons for twinkies in the mail.
This isn't directly related to email marketing, but it might inspire you to think about ways you can segment your customer email lists, then run experiments on them...
"At its core, the dunnhumby approach assigns a score to products on Kroger's shelves based on attributes like price, quality, freshness, and the size of the package. (Organic Swiss chard would have a much different score than, say, Twinkies.) Dunnhumby's computers then search for customers whose shopping carts have similar scores, and groups those shoppers together into segments. Kroger right now has seven segments, such as budget shoppers, those "watching the waistline," and so-called "family-focused." Each segment gets customized mailings, and can be further broken down if need be."
Read the full article at CNN Money: Kroger's Secret Weapon
If this kinda marketing stuff gets you excited, and if you're a MailChimp user, you can do this kinda stuff with your email offers too. Here are the tools you'll need:
- MailChimp's API - Sync your customer dB and purchase info with your email marketing efforts
- MailChimp AIM Reports - Track individual user-specific email open-click behavior
- MailChimp List Segmentation - Send campaigns to targeted subgroups based on their purchase behavior
- MailChimp A/B Testing - Test different offers, subject lines, and send times to optimize your results
- MailChimp's Inbox Inspector - Preview your campaign in different email apps and check them in spam filters before you send
- MailChimp Experts - Need help getting all this done? Hire a MailChimp expert. Many of them specialize in databases.
Before You Hit Send, Consult Your Email Checklist
Karen Gedney's got some good advice here about using an email checklist before you hit the "send" button. You know, to prevent those embarrassing mistakes (like sending 5,000 "Happy Thanksgiving" emails on Christmas---not that I've ever done that before).
Some things Karen recommends for your checklist:
- Test your subject line for readability in multiple email programs
- Do the first 15 characters contain the main hook?
- Did you remember a call-to-action in the content?
- Does the link point to the correct landing page?
- Check how your email appears in different email programs (ahem, very easy to do with MailChimp's Inbox Inspector)
And many more really good points. Be sure to check out the full article here:
MailChimp's Pre-Delivery Checklist
If you're like me, you probably get a little nervous when it's time to click that send button. It's kinda scary sending something to thousands of people.
That's why in MailChimp, we've got the Pre-Delivery Checklist. It's a screen where we stop the flow, and give you a chance to review what you've done before hitting that send button:
Here are some of the things
I've screwed up with my campaigns I recommend you check before you send:
- Are you sending it to the correct list? Particularly important if you're an agency sending on behalf of multiple clients. Or, if you just want to send to your test list, make sure that it's selected here (and not your "real" list).
- Is tracking on? By default, MailChimp has it on, but for some reason, people like to turn it off while they're sending themselves tests (I have no idea why). Make sure you turn tracking back on if you want it.
- Are you using the correct email template for the campaign?
- Did you remember a plain-text version of the email?
If we had our way, the little chimp's arm would poke out the Pre-delivery Checklist screen and give you a gentle slap on the face. Just to get your attention.
One last tip (from our customer service guru, Dan): Don't click the "Send Now" button. If you're a nervous nellie like me, always use the "Schedule for later" button. Even if you're ready to send the campaign now, schedule it for 30 minutes in the future. That's because as soon as you hit "Send" you WILL suddenly remember all those things you forgot to do (on Karen's checklist). Now you've got 30 minutes to "go back in time" and fix things.
Return Path Launches First Email Rendering Solution For Mobile Devices
They say people are addicted to their crackberries, and are checking their email while on the toilet and while driving. I am happy to say I am not one of these crazy people. I just use my laptop to post to our blog while I'm on the toilet.
We just learned that ReturnPath (they provide the rendering engine that powers our Inbox Inspector campaign previews and spamchecker) is adding mobile devices to their offering. Which is pretty friggin' awesome, BTW.
This means that soon, MailChimp customers can preview their campaigns on Windows Mobile and Blackberry devices (in addition to the 30-something other campaign previews).
How soon will this be available? Depends on demand from our customers. If demand is high, we'll add it to our Inbox Inspector. If demand isn't there, meh---we'll add it anyway, but later down the road. Nobody likes developing stuff that won't get used. Life's too short.
So if you're a MailChimp customer, please take our mobile device survey and tell us how badly you want this nifty new stuff. Log in and click the "survey" link in the News section of the MailChimp Dashboard. Thanks!
Psst...Speaking of email campaigns on mobile devices, here's how HTML email renders on Apple's iPhone
Online Retailers Plan More Perks
Here's an interesting article in the WSJ by Mylene Mangalindan:
According to Ms. Mangalindan, online retailers are anticipating a soft sales season this year, what with all the mortgage craziness and rising gas prices going on here in the states. So they're going to work extra special hard to get you to buy. Some tactics (maybe you can use for your online business too) include:
- Start early
- Refer-a-friend discounts
- Free shipping
- Recommendation engines
- More email marketing
More details, plus a breakdown of what each specific retailer is planning, at the WSJ blog.
Do From-Names Matter More Than Subject Lines Now?
I've seen a few articles recently about how subject lines aren't as influential on open rates as we all thought they were.
Like this one from Silverpop. Bill Nussey is saying that it's the "From-Name" that matters. Basically, people need to recognize who the email is coming from before they'll consider opening it. In fact, Silverpop was actually doing a study on subject lines and open rates, but they canceled the whole thing, because the results pointed to "from-name" as the most important factor.
I think there's more to it.
When I'm at work, I get hundreds of emails a day from customers, prospects, and the media. Their from-names mean nothing to me. I've never heard of any of them. So it's all about the subject line for me.
But I'll admit, when I'm at home checking my personal email, I do tend to look only at from-names. That's because only a handful of friends and family have my personal email address (and about 5 billion spammers, but they don't count).
So I look at from-names for friends and family, plus I look for brand names from stores I'm subscribed to. Like GAP, Old Navy, Kodak Gallery, etc. And those types of customers seem to be the types that Silverpop caters to, so it makes sense (and it helps that those mega-stores can afford email certification).
So my theory is that if you're a mega-brand, yeah. From-name is probably all you need to worry about to get opens. People will recognize your brand, and trust the email. But if you're a small business owner, you may have to focus more time on your subject line (here are some tips for writing effective subject lines).
But this is all theory. The only way to know for sure if to do some testing. And it just so happens we recently made A/B split testing your email campaigns extremely easy with the MailChimp Email Optimizer. With just the click of a button, you can test 2 different subject lines, or two different from-names. No rocket scientists or mega-marketing budgets required.
Dell's token of appreciation:"have some spam."
Seth Godin's got a nice riff on spam here. The Dell spam is funny, but the BBB story hits close to home. I've received similar voicemails from the BBB. Their messages are a little scary, as if there's been a complaint registered about our company. When you return their call, you get a sales pitch (which is sad, because we're already BBB members). Not nice. Legal maybe, but not nice.
When PR agencies spam
Found this link over at Al Iverson's SpamResource.com. An editor at Wired is posting email addresses of all the public relations agencies that send him unsolicited press releases via email.
If you run a PR agency, and you send unsolicited emails in bulk, yes---that's spam.
Send them one at a time, then technically it's not spam. But you'll still piss people off:
Email Coupons Make People Spend More
If you ever wanted scientific evidence that sending email coupons can be a good thing, here's an interesting report from Harvard. Basically, they found that people create mini "mental accounting models" in their own heads, in order to stick to short term budgeting goals.
A surprise gift certificate or coupon (the professors call them, "unanticipated small windfalls") will give people that little push to go buy stuff they wouldn't normally buy otherwise. And they usually end up spending slightly more than normal.
So this holiday season send your customers some "unanticipated small windfalls" via email. MailChimp can help. You can setup a Postcard Template for Thanksgiving and Christmas, for instance. Use the "splashy graphic" slot for your coupon.
And with our new segmentation feature, you can actually send campaigns to targeted groups within your list of "people who are interested in e-coupons, AND who clicked on the coupon in my previous campaign" (here's an example).
Nagging For Dollars
Here's a fun little story over at Fortune Small Business about how Marla Cilley, aka FlyLady, nags her 400,000 email list subscribers every day and makes $4 million a year for it.