Cyber Monday and Black Friday are Closing In

October 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Marketing Strategies

Wanted to post a quick note here to remind any store owners that want to take advantage of Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving) that it is quickly approaching. If you want to take advantage of it make sure you got your “best promo” ready to run for the day and begin promoting that “sale” ahead of time to prep your customers.

For more information on Cyber Monday you can read a few older posts of mine called :

Thanksgiving Signals Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday Marketing Ideas for 2007

5 Reasons to Consider Third Party Email Services

October 28, 2009 by  
Filed under Email Marketing

In one of my recent articles I talked about the 4 main elements that are present in all effective emails. In that post I went into detail on the things you should consider in writing an email that generates action.

However, having a good email is not always enough especially if it doesn’t reach its destination and get delivered. So, in this post I wanted to point out 5 reasons you should consider using a third party professional email service to handle the delivery and management of your email campaigns.

1) Deliverability
No matter how good an email is it doesn’t have a chance if it doesn’t get delivered. If you are using your own email server and are not using a professional service like Constant Contact, Aweber, iContact, etc… you’re likely missing out on higher delivery rates.

Professional services such as these mentioned above (and there are more) have relationships with various ISPs (Internet Service Providers) and also provide strict guidelines for those who use their service to avoid being labeled as a server that delivers spam. As such, they work hard to keep their servers on Internet white lists.

You can check to see if your mail server is on an Internet blacklist by using one of these handy resources:

When using any of the above black list checks be sure you enter the IP Address of your MAIL server (or website if it is the same as is with most shared hosting services). Do not just click “enter” for the default IP Address that shows because this is your computer IP address (the one you are reading this on now) and not the email server that is actually sending your email.

If you find your email server is on any blacklists, you likely are seeing lower delivery rates than could be if you switched to a professional delivery service.

2) CAN SPAM Laws
Professional email services help you abide by any CAN SPAM laws by providing you with the right information required to meet guidelines. Things like “unsubscribe links”, “do not mail” lists, etc… Trying to do this on your own could be very time consuming, and if done wrong, could land you in legal trouble.

3) Bounce Management
Professional email services often provide automatic bounce management and even disclose the reason (segmenting the bounces into various groups) why an email bounced. Some even keep your list clean by enabling the automatic removal of addresses that bounce more than a certain number of times.

If you’re trying to manage bounces on your own this can be extremely difficult.

4) Reporting
The reporting you get from professional email services is outstanding and gets better all the time. From open rates, to the exact email addresses who opened, to what they did after opening, to how many sales were generated from the email, to hourly opens, and more. You can’t beat the reporting that a professional service provides.

Reporting is a key ingredient to running a successful campaign. Without it you have little chance at true success.

5) List Segmentation and Automation
Many professional email services enable you to setup automation rules and segment lists into various groups. These automation rules may be something like “move an email address to list 2 from list 1 if the person clicks a link in the email”. This is very important because you can setup various list groups that fill with targeted users using automatic rules. You can then further and more precisely send targeted emails to those in the individual groups based on their exact wants and needs.

List segmentation and automation is something that can’t be matched in most non-professional email services.

Conclusion

These are just 5 reasons why you should consider using a professional service and third party email server rather than relying on your own personal system. I’ve tried both routes and given the choice between using a professional service and my own mail server I would choose the professional route every time.

Have you come across any other email services that are nice? Let me know about them by posting a comment below.

Promoting Social Media Elements in Your E-Mails

October 13, 2009 by  
Filed under Email Marketing, Social Media

According to a recent EMarketer report, nearly 79% of Internet Retailers had a Facebook profile, followed by 69% on Twitter and 59% using both.

The report goes on to add that fewer than half of these retailers promoted their involvement in the social media sites in their e-newsletters and only 30% mentioned it on their websites?

What’s going on here?

I’m going to take a guess and say that online retailers are extremely nervous that they’ll be taken seriously if their profiles or fan pages are mixed in with some of the trash we all inevitably find on Facebook. Perhaps another reason has to do with being nervous to promote a low follower count?

Repeat after me: It’s Okay. You won’t know unless you try.

I think most e-commerce retailers are nervous that they’ll be met with unfavorable results if they put themselves out there. Need I remind you that you probably had the same doubts when you launched your site?

There are more people using Facebook and Twitter these days than we know what to do with. Social Media can be viral — in a good way &mmdash; you just need to promote it.

If you’re not sure how to promote your Facebook or Twitter presence all you need at first is a link in your electronic mailings. You can graduate up to widgets and graphics if you feel comfortable. The trick is to get yourself out there!