In that mindset, we must start optimizing email marketing for smaller devices. There’s a lot to do, so here are some insights to help you jumpstart your development for email on-the-go.
Last Thursday, some CakeMail users received an email from me.
First of all, I would like to thank all of you who didn’t opt-out (or worse, brand me as SPAM) as a result of the erroneous send. By the same token, I’d like to reassure you all: it won’t happen again.
When creating my groups, I used rules that looked like this:
When I should’ve use rules that looked like this:
And so some of you got different emails on the same day.
What I’m doing to make sure it never happens again:
Continue reading “Dynamic Content at CakeMail” »
Across the North American hemisphere, a warmer wind is blowing. The snow is melting and there’s mud everywhere.
No more bulky coats, thick boots and layer upon layer of drab-coloured sweaters! Bring on the colour and the broderie anglaise blouses.
As I’m going through my lovely clothes, it struck me: while the “flavour of the season” colours are the exciting, albeit short-lived, items in my closet, I rely on my basics to get me by year round. My white and black camis; the charcoal trousers and quintessential jeans.
Kind of like your website, and the role that email plays in your overall marketing mix.
Even the new Pope, if he did email marketing would see himself asking this question from time to time (granted he might phrase it a little differently). This is hardly the first post I have done on the subject, but it’s always worth revisiting because it remains one of the biggest problems faced by email marketers today. I’m proud to say we are above this, but the latest data from Return Path shows 1 in 5 emails (on average) never sees the Inbox* .. and to take a quote from Hotmail’s whitepaper on Improving E-mail Deliverability into Windows Live Hotmail:
“Even a sender with impeccable practices, authentication, relevant content, and the expected frequency may see fluctuations in deliverability..”
Return Path has an upcoming webinar on this exact subject so I encourage anyone listening to sign up. These guys are experts when it comes to this and even the most seasoned email marketers will stand to learn something, it’s free advice!
If the majority of the email you send hits the Inbox, chances are your reputation is good. There are many factors that can send your carefully crafted email campaign to the junk box and here’s a few of them:
Is your From domain authenticated with SPF/DKIM? Don’t even ask why your email is not in the Inbox if you answered “No” to this question. ISPs have been using email authentication to validate senders for years and it’s time you did the same – with our built-in Validation Tool, there is no excuse if your From domain is not setup properly.
List Hygiene is paramount in today’s world of email delivery. Engagement is key and if you are not averaging a decent Open rate (above 20%) or your Bounce (<5.0%), Complaint (<0.1%), Unsubscribe (<1.0%) rates are above what ISPs deem acceptable, your delivery is going to suffer. Just like you would change the oil in your car, you need to keep your lists clean of people that do not open/click regularly. This ‘dead-weight’ is seen as a mark against you and even though you have permission to email these people, if they are not engaged with what you’re sending them – it’s time to win them back, if that doesn’t work – cut em loose!
Content is still a big player in the fight against Spam and you should not take this for granted. An email full of pretty pictures is not going to look very nice if they have to go and fish it out of the Junk box. Keep a steady, balanced Image-to-text ratio of at least 60% text / 40% images.
Encourage your recipients to whitelist your From address by adding it to their Contact or “Safe” list. This will not only help prevent emails going to Junk, it will help improve your overall Sender Reputation! It should be mentioned in your first Welcome email and at the top of every campaign you send (especially for those folks who don’t open).
Test, test, test.. check your content frequently for common spelling mistakes, make sure none of the URLs in your creative are blacklisted. If you don’t have access to an Inbox monitoring tool like Return Path, Litmus or Mailmonitor, this means setting up and testing with recipient accounts using various clients and major e-mail service providers to ensure that communications are being received in a desired fashion.
Bye for now,
Is it ok to change my from address? I get this question from time to time and it’s a good one. I’m always happy to answer it because the truth is… there’s a lot of folks out there that never ask. Most of them just go ahead and change it without even thinking of the consequences. Hopefully, this post reaches some of those people.
I’ve talked about making sure you’re using the right From address before, but I never really got into if it’s ok to change it. The short answer is yes … but you’ve got to do it a certain way or you could run into problems.
In the ever jubilant, colorful, frustrating land of Email Delivery, your From address should be thought of as your identity. It’s a lot like your telephone number or personal email address. If you changed either of these you’d probably tell your friends and family about it right? Well, maybe not allll your family .. but it’s important most of them know, right? Same goes with email marketing and here’s why…
When people receive your emails, they will often add your From address to their Contact or “Safe list” (whether knowing or not). Even if they click “enable images for this sender” it can give future emails you send them preferential treatment. Most ISPs will “whitelist” emails you send that person (from that address) from then on, unless the sender tells them otherwise. This does a few things: it will prevent future emails getting sent to the Junk folder, it will enable images and links by default and help improve your reputation. In short, the more people you have adding your From address to their Address book, the better. If you change your From address, guess what? All that disappears. Changing the part before the “@” sign is not as bad as changing the domain, but any change could have a negative impact on your deliverability. That doesn’t mean you are stuck with the same From address for all eternity, but you should expect a slight drop in delivery if you do change it (especially if you break the SPF/DKIM authentication) and there are a few things to do before making the change to help minimize that.
First things first – tell everybody.
Keep your recipients informed (as you would with your friends & family) before you do it. Send them an email warning a few weeks in advance telling them it’s going to change and encourage them to add your new From address to their Contact list as soon as possible (preferably before you send your first email!).
The next thing you should do is include a warning at the top of email campaigns leading up to (and beyond) the date you change over. Update all your templates, Web-forms, Welcome emails, etc.. You want to make sure as many people know about it as possible, the last thing you want is for them to receive a strange email from some address they don’t recognize (or trust!).
Ideally, the From domain should use the same URL they went to sign up. For example, if they signed up at http://www.abc.com your e-mail should come from something like ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ or ‘email@example.com’ or if it is sent from different departments within the same company: ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’, ’email@example.com’, etc..
Here are some general rules for the domain itself:
- It should resolve (or redirect) to a valid website
- Should not be a free webmail account (@hotmail, @yahoo, @gmail, etc..)
- DNS should be setup to authenticate using SPF/DKIM
- Have working postmaster@ abuse@ addresses
- Public (non-private) WHOIS information
- Should not be more than 30 characters in length
- Be registered for a minimum of 30 days (new domains look suspicious and could get blacklisted on Day Old Bread or Spam Eating Monkey)
- Should not contain unnecessary “-“ dashes or dots “.” (ie: firstname.lastname@example.org)
For other Tips & Tricks like this one, please read our Guide to Understanding Deliverability.
Bye for now,
In 2012, we had 52 release notes (In January alone, we had ten…) Yet, in 2013, not a peep, nor a sound: no new features, no bug fixes.
In 2013 we’ll be launching the fourth major version of CakeMail.
What does this mean?
Work on “CakeMail 4” started last October, with a focus on speed, responsiveness and simplicity. The user interface is getting a makeover, with a rethought structure and more straightforward flows.
But that’s another blog post altogether.
We’re also working on the back-end to improve the speed and access to CakeMail so that the app can load as quickly in Alberta as in Australia.
That means major changes to the infrastructure, from new server deployments to control of the DNS. Most of the infrastructure changes will greatly impact CakeMail in general, and CakeMail 4 in particular.
We can’t wait to show all this work to you in a near future and I hope you will be as excited as we are.
Thanks for being a CakeMailer.
The best communicators have something remarkable in common: an innate ability to understand their audience. Listening to your customers is the first step; and your customer’s silence can speak volumes.
We’re doing something special this year for our
Facebook friends & Twitter followers!
Tags for Mailing Addresses Make CASL Compliance Easier
In August, we discussed why you need to include a mailing address in your emails. The latest Compliance and Enforcement Information Bulletin (CRTC 2012-548) points out that:
“… a [Consumer Electronic Mail] must set out, among other things, the mailing address of the person sending the message or, if different, the mailing address of the person on whose behalf the message is sent …”
CakeMail wants to keep things simple for you. That is why, even before the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) comes into force, addresses will automatically be added to the footer of all emails sent with CakeMail using the official Tags. If the tags cannot be found within the email, they will automatically be inserted in the email footer.
What this means for you: Continue reading “Mailing address in emails” »
The CRTC recently published two information bulletins to help businesses better understand Bill C-28, Canada’s anti-spam legislation.
Are you in the US? Yes this applies to you… keep reading.
To help businesses understand the law and the CRTC regulations, the information bulletins set out examples of acceptable practices. These two bulletins are the first of a series from the CRTC to facilitate compliance with Canada’s anti-spam law.
For links to the information bulletins, please visit the websites:
The major points worth noting are with their definition of “Express Consent”. For those of you out there that still have that check box “pre-checked”, this will NOT be considered express consent:
They make a point of mentioning that a request for consent must be separate from general Terms and Conditions. In other words, you cannot opt-in someone just because they have agreed to your Terms and Conditions; it must be a separate act in order to comply.
For consent obtained in writing, the CRTC considers the following forms of evidence to be acceptable: ”…checking a box on a web page to indicate consent where a record of the date, time, purpose, and manner of that consent is stored in a database; and, filling out a consent form at a point of purchase.”
(Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission, 2012)
For consent obtained orally, the CRTC requires the following:
- where oral consent can be verified by an independent third party; or
- where a complete and unedited audio recording of the consent is retained by the person seeking consent or a client of the person seeking consent.
The most important thing to remember here is that all senders (persons or companies who allege that they have consent) have the onus of proving it. If you do not have the required proof consent for 100% of your lists, NOW is the time to get it.
Bill C-28 is scheduled to go in to force sometime in Spring 2013. If you want to learn more, feel free to check out http://fightspam.gc.ca – their spiffy new website!
- Learn Fast Facts about the law.
- Find links to the Law and Regulations.
- Get information on Oversight and Management
- Enforcement, including who will enforce the law
- Check out the Frequently Asked Questions
Bill C-28 is not restricted to residents or companies in Canada, it applies to all marketers sending email To: and From: Canada. The CRTC will work with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the US, and other regulatory commissions to enforce this new law.
Director of Deliverability – CakeMail Inc.