Email Radio: Luke Glasner’s five favourite email marketing metrics

[tweetmeme source= “getintheinbox” only_single=false]Luke Stat-Walker Glasner (now a qualified Jedi Master of Stats) properly annihilated Email Radio a week or so ago with his awesome metrics action. I know I often do a write up but I’ve listened to it 3 times now and I can’t do it the justice that Luke himself has.

I do intend to really get to grips with it and make a detailed account of how I will use it. Also I had my guys at Pure360 listen to it to help them get more budget.

Basically on the back of Mark Brownlow’s statement that email is not sexy enough to get the budget from the big boys, they don’t need to hear about open rates and clicks, they want to know if it is profitable.

Luke picks it right up where it left off and tells us how to connect with the bosses and get the internal recognition we need to get budget. We prove profit and we get budget..

Everyone who does email marketing should read this post.

Tuesday we had the pleasure of welcoming email marketing metrics Jedi Luke Glasner of Glasner Consulting to eMail Radio. It was a fantastic show which has gotten raves from those lucky enough to catch it live! If you missed it, you can check the podcast out here! We asked Luke about his five favourite metrics and he’s obliged with this post.

There are many metrics worth tracking in email from average revenues to spam complaints, but which are the ones you need to track for your programs?  Here are five metrics that I track for my program’s success that you can use in yours.


Listen to this podcast again

If you target well you get to make your emails Shexzy

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This month I had the usual chats with people about getting better engagement from their emails. The place I tend to start is the creative, mainly because it is the easiest thing for someone, not as advanced with email as I, to interact and empathise with. Subsequently they are “more inclined to fix an email than ‘faff’ about building a targeted list” as one of them told me recently.

So normally it begins with the pre-header and building for Outlook’s imageless preview pane: keeping the images smaller in the top third, getting more text in etc. etc. the stuff we all say everyday.

However, in the hope of motivating people to want to segment better, there is the opinion that for certain, special emails, that would go to already very engaged subscribers, the image blocking would not be a problem.
This would be because the recipients know that brand already so you only have to worry about the subject line to make them prioritise it. Many recipients will already have safe listed the sender and the others probably just load the images without thinking anymore.

At that point, you have the freedom to be creative, as long as you satisfy various filters’ image to text ratios.

The kinds of email I am talking about are normally things like:

  • Invites to special events with a very targeted audience.
  • People who go to the same thing every year.
  • People who always interact with the emails.
  • Special offers on products that people have on their wish lists.
  • There are also niche lists for scarce things like Pure360’s Scally Rally list for instance.

When there is scarcity and people will be more engaged, you have more freedom to be creative…
…as long as you make the experience good and avoid the junk filters.

In some ways, that can even be a goal for marketers…

Luke ‘Stat-Walker’ Glasner (Jedi of Metrics), tells us to look at the money because that is what the bosses see.
If you can prove profit each time and then make it better, you’re all talking the same language, showing good results and everyone’s a winner.

Too often we only look at the open rates and click throughs, with only one list all getting the same email.
If you target correctly and aim to get more engagement, then send the engaged a prettier email next time, in the knowledge that they will see it all, your life is easier and you should get better conversions.
I’m sure there was a shorter way of saying that?

Then tie that in with Luke’s approach: you are onto a winner and your emails are shexzy!

Can Email Marketing give you Google Juice

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If part of the reason that email is forgotten over Social is because links from social media provides google juice where links from emails apparently do nothing, is there anything I can do about it?

I haven’t really got a clue about SEO and trying to Google-it gets me hundreds of pages selling it to me but rarely anything useful. I asked a couple of SEO people who said that because traffic from inboxes aren’t from real web-sites so it can’t help rankings.

I’m not so sure. If the traffic was actually from an inbox I could see it. However, traffic from a marketing email goes to the ESP who hosts the tracked link. It’s the ESP who then reports on the click and redirects to the website. swaps links and counts the clicks before redirecting to the website and that still gets you Google Juice.

So my first question (of many) is: Why don’t redirects from ESP servers get Google juice when links do? or do they?
According to Google anything that does a 301 is followed then Google Juiced but that could only be when the famed Google Bot parses the tweet on-line and not when someone clicks it and gets to your site?

If email links can help search rankings we should really tell someone!

Anyway, I’m fairly sure that direct links count especially internal links from one page in your web-site to other pages within your web-site…I’ll come back to that.

Now when someone uses the social share or SWYN in your emails, the link that is shortened and shared is actually the view in a browser link from the email but with the optout link disabled and extra tracking so the ESP knows it’s from SWYN and usually which social site etc. That way it can track who shared, where and how many clicks it got form which network.

So basically it’s the same as a send to a friend and counts each link click in the email by the people who got there from the social site but like Google Analytics it just gives the numbers not the individual tracking.

  • Is there SEO there? Dunno! It’s a publicly accessible webpage but with an obscure url.
  • It maybe hosted on a delegated subdomain of the sending brand’s home domain, does that make a difference? Dunno!
  • The links will essentially be from a sub-domain of the main web domain so would they then count as internal links? Dunno!
  • For Google to even know about it would the external view of the email need the GA tacking JavaScript in it? Dunno!
  • Or is it all rubbish and as long as you have the Google tracking codes in you get something? Dunno!

What if you actually take the code from your email and paste it into a page on your website and them make the SWYN links in your email link to that page, probably shortened, then all social traffic could count the same as any other social traffic to your blog posts etc. Also, as the content of your email will be full of links to other pages within the same site it will be full of internal links, more Google Juice.

So really the question left is about the subdomain, if traffic from the subdomain carries the same weight as traffic from the domain, which ever way the subdomain is delegated, it’s easy. As any brand aware marekting is far more likely to tie in an sub-domain than plug in a brand new domain – if their hosting packages allows them to delegate it.
If not you will have to chose between the Google Juice from the self hosted email content and losing out on the deep tracking, or keep the deep tracking from the ESP hosted view in a delegated subdomain and not get as good Google Juice from the internal links

Or am I talking absolute gibberish?

EmailRadio: Shexzy Email Marketing

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Arguably the best EmailRadio yet, the chat room was very active and the guests were consistently relevant & interesting. At some points I really struggled to keep up with both of them!

Before I elaborate on the gravy, there was a small technical hitch at the start where we lost Bill and I think Jeff for a bit. Of course both Jim and Jeff, the consummate professionals that they are handled it admirably while the chat room took the piss:

remybergsma: allright, which shark is gnawing on those transatlantic lines?

jordievanrijn: Well, lets change seat rows here on the titanic

MarkatEMR: radio’s dead -email killed radio!

On the show was ‘Mr Influential’ Bill McCloskey: as well as the good stuff on his clickz profile Bill is all about the Monitoring and has the largest email archive in the world collected over the last 7 emails, which is then mined for information and trends. He’s been in the biz for a long time and in fact was one of the first people to coin the phrase “rich media”.

Also on the show was “Dr.” Mark Brownlow of Email-Marketing-Reports: who as well as consistently telling us everything we need to know about email lectures on specialist communication and a bit of email etiquette.

On the show:
Online Copy Writing, Segmentation, Email is not dead – it’s MIA, Upward Management, Shexzy Email, List Exclusivity

On-line Copy Writing

Mark began with a run through of the key mentality to adopt when writing on-line content: Online copy is not like the essays we had to write an university. You need to keep it in short, punchy easily digestible pieces. Also you can start sentences with an ‘and’ and a ‘but’ if it helps break the paragraph up – “you don’t need to go back to grammar school”.

In my opinion Mark is bang on the money, one thing that the success of micro-blogging has shown us is the tiny attention span of the masses. Too much ‘blurb’ and people will switch off.

Of course you still have those who want elaboration and detail – this is where you have the email teaser and the click through to the elaboration, then the web copy while it still needs to have that punch must fit in the detail.

So you end up with each piece having three parts:

  1. a subject line – to grab the attention to help the reader decide it’s relevance;
  2. an intro paragraph or two – this is the punchy bit where you can deliver the juicy bits and hold the attention but keep the time to read down;
  3. then you can elaborate in the final section.  It can also help, depending on how much copy you have, to break the elaboration down into sections with mini versions of a header/subject, into paragraph and details.


Bill then elaborated from the targeting side saying that segmentation definitely works in a big way and everyone should do it.

Even though we have read a lot on segmentation, not enough people do it. I think it’s mainly because people haven’t got enough data to segment with.

  • Initially you don’t collect anything more than the first name and email address from the sign-up form to minimise barriers to entry on the list.
  • You then only have email behaviour to go on: opening times, frequency or infrequency of interaction which is where ESPs come in. I know it is something that we at Pure360 have very high on our dev list to roll out on top of our data-mining FastStats integration
  • Of course you can do little surveys with one or two questions just to help you profile them. You could even stick it at the bottom of a monthly newsletter to allow you to write more relevant content.
  • One thing you may have, is the difference between customers and non-customers. It’s definitely worth give those two their own content.

Worth considering either way!

Email is not dead – it’s MIA

Bill briefly reflected on some of the press stating that email is dead with: “Email is not dead – it’s MIA”. Bill went on to state that this is because it is clearly not being measured properly. No-one is tracking traffic from email properly, some people were even logging email traffic to the web-site as miscellaneous! This kind of attitude is what is holding email back for many brands.

Mark then supported the point by explaining that email is a victim of it’s own success. An easy and cheap channel and that image has lost the industry’s respect. Because you don’t need to invest too much to get a good return, people don’t invest at all!

While we, in the industry try to turn it around – we need to get it to the upper management and get their buy in and let us get it right for them.

Additionally Mark said that a few year ago there was only ppc and email to drive traffic nut now there are so many ways people can be over whelmed with too many options and never achieve any quality – like multi-tasking.

In my experience Email Measurement gets left out because it is not viewed as new business but just an up-sell. Most marketing KPIs revolve around getting new business so that’s PPC and social.

Upward Management

Bill rightly added that it is the upper management’s disconnection from the process that is probably the problem: the chaps upstairs see something fairly cheap and straight forward making them consistent money so they just want to do it more, so that’s what they say and then deliverability becomes a problem.

Bill illustrated this with an example about one store that  was targeted with collecting addresses, but could not hit the target so made them up and then had to stop sending because they had such bad data!

Jim than asked them both what we should be doing to better spread the word: Bill suggested that it is the main stream press that needs to voice it. Many of the upper management bods who make these decisions will read the main stream press and read about Google and Facebook and Twitter because they are latest thing. They won’t read, let a lone search for, email marketing specific content.

Mark continued by explaining that the people deeply into email, like our selves, are probably not sending the right message to upper management. They don’t care about open rates, they just see the money. We need to talk the right talk upwards.

Shexzy Email Marketing (sounds best in a Dutch accent)

Bill also suggested that the trade organisations them selves would be a good voice to bring it back, however they will need motivation to do so, what can we do.

Mark answered by suggesting that the problem could be the lack of sexy factor – email’s been around too long and it’s not sexy and dynamic like Social Media. Also ROI may not be the best metric to use. Email is most used and mentioned and there is so much data about it but not shouted about in the right places – because it is not sexy. When Jim asked Mark how we could make it more sexy Mark said that he might to be too much use, we British don’t really talk about that kind of thing J! Jim suggested that maybe he could take a lead from Benny Hill!

At that point, Bill came forward with the suggestion that the Ipad could be helping due to the improved experience of reading emails.

Mark agreed that if people were able to spend more time on elements other than rendering issues but more on how and what to say.

Bill then went to state that the old beautiful high graphic emails vanished due to images getting blocked due to spammers and virus protection targeted at windows – this apparently “ripped the guts out of email”. Now we have the ipad and iphone in the main stream, there is less of a worry and people are auto-loading these images. This could open the door for better graphics again.

Mark also warned that while bells and whistles can get attention, if there is no relevance once people get there, they won’t hang around!

Mean while in the chat room:

AndyT: Q: can HTML5 help with ‘shexy emails’ (dutch accent)

remybergsma: if supported, HTML5 would give email just the edge it so desperately needs

MHillyer: In what way Remy?

AndyT: pitty outlook is in the way remy

remybergsma: Andy – most definitely 😦

remybergsma: I’d kill off Outlook with a big red button if I could

remybergsma: especially 2007 and 2010

List Exclusivity

Finally Bill mentioned something that was also mentioned last week by Jeff. There is no longer any exclusivity on the list because the content is spread everywhere for maximum exposure. We see people doing twitter only offers but not for email anymore.

While last week I may have been critical about making a list exclusive, I can’t argue with the potential benefits of it and also I may not have been in the game long enough to really appreciate it. Pre-Facebook email marketers may be the key to bringing the exclusivity back to the list. All you have to do is decide if you care.

I like the idea that Bill suggested where and brand – I think it was Harley Davidson? – offered 6 emails in a row, one per day from the sign up.

The complication is while you want the email to be special you still need it on the web-site to click through to – or do you.

To make it exclusive would you put more content in the email and take the click through for the content out of the call to action. Instead, have email only content bringing more than one bit of content together and finish with linking through to each section for further elaboration?

Gmail Priority Inbox encourages Digital Rapport in Email Marketing

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I’m pretty proud of this one. Especially the fact that it seems so clear to me that everything that we will need to do as a result of this is not new to best practice, it’s the stuff we’ve all been rambling on about for the last few years. What Gmail has done is make it more important and actually implemented a consequence to not doing it. We’ll have to see how it all goes!

Anyone who clicked through in this post’s first few seconds of it’s life, sorry – I’d amplified it and it look pony, as you can see it’s all fixed now.

What is Priority Inbox?
We’ve been talking  about things like preference centres being rapport building because it gives control to the recipient, well now Gmail has announced the beta launch of ‘Priority Inbox’ a new feature which gives more control within the inbox itself.

Using Google’s industry leading algorithms for user and content tracking, the Gmail inbox is capable of prioritising your emails for you based on your interaction history with each sender.

It also associates those metrics with content in other emails to mark similar emails you like as more important.

Priority Inbox has three priority levels, which essentially gives users three inboxes:
‘Priority’, ‘Starred’ & ‘Everything Else’.

To add to that, in the same way as your spam filters learns what to send to junk every time you hit the spam button, Inbox Priority will adapt its own rules every time you open an email, click a link, reply to an email, add your safe list and of course archive without opening  and mark as spam.

In addition you also get your own inbox controls where you can change the priority of each individual email in the inbox to correct any incorrect assumptions, and of course Inbox Priority will learn from these actions too.

Finally, the cherry on top is the advanced filtering option, which allows you to nominate priorities when creating manual filters as well.

If you haven’t got it yet, don’t worry, Google will be rolling Priority Inbox out to everyone over the coming week.
How can it help me?…read on at Pure360…

The rest of the article is on Pure360’s resources pages.

Funny Call Centre Conversations

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My mum emailed this to me – some are old classics.. for your reading pleasure…


Call center conversations!

Customer:     “I’ve been calling 700-1000 for two days and can’t get through; can you help?”
Operator:     “Where did you get that number, sir?”
Customer:     “It’s on the door of your business.”
Operator:     “Sir, those are the hours that we are open.”
Samsung Electronics
Caller:          “Can you give me the telephone number for Jack?”
Operator:     “I’m sorry, sir, I don’t understand who you are talking about.”
Caller:          “On page 1, section 5, of the user guide it clearly states that I need to unplug the fax machine from the AC wall socket and telephone Jack before cleaning. Now, can you give me the number for Jack?”
Operator:      “I think it means the telephone plug on the wall.”
RAC Motoring Services
Caller:          “Does your European Breakdown Policy cover me when I am traveling in Australia ?”
Operator:     “Does the product name give you a clue?”
Caller (enquiring about legal requirements while traveling in Europe )
“If I register my car in France , and then take it to England , do I have to change the steering wheel to the other side of the car?”
Directory Enquiries
Caller:  “I’d like the number of the Argo Fish Bar, please”
Operator: “I’m sorry, there’s no listing. Are you sure that the spelling is correct?”
Caller: “Well, it used to be called the Bargo Fish Bar but the ‘B’ fell off.”
Then there was the caller who asked for a knitwear company in Woven.
Operator:        “Woven? Are you sure?”
Caller:             “Yes. That’s what it says on the label — Woven in Scotland .”
On another occasion, a man making heavy breathing sounds from a phonebox told a worried operator:
“I haven’t got a pen, so I’m steaming up the window to write the number on.”
Tech Support:      “I need you to right-click on the Open Desktop.”
Customer:             “OK.”
Tech Support:      “Did you get a pop-up menu?”
Customer:             “No.”
Tech Support:      “OK. Right-Click again. Do you see a pop-up menu?”
Customer:             “No.”
Tech Support:      “OK, sir. Can you tell me what you have done up until this point?”
Customer:            “Sure. You told me to write ‘click’ and I wrote ‘click’.”
Tech Support:          “OK. At the bottom left hand side of your screen, can you see the ‘OK’ button displayed?”
Customer:                 “Wow! How can you see my screen from there?”
Caller:  “I deleted a file from my PC last week and I just realized that I need it. So, if I turn my system clock back two weeks will I get my file back again?”
This has to be one of the funniest things in a long time. I think this guy should have been promoted, not fired. This is  a true story from theWordPerfect Helpline, which was transcribed from a recording monitoring the customer care department. Needless to say the Help Desk employee was fired; however, he/she is currently suing the WordPerfect organization for “Termination without Cause.”

Actual dialogue of a former WordPerfect Customer Support employee.
(Now I  know why they record these conversations!):

Operator:         “Ridge Hall, computer assistance; may I help you?”
Caller:              “Yes, well, I’m having trouble with WordPerfect.”
Operator:         “What sort of trouble??”
Caller:              “Well, I was just typing along, and all of a sudden the words went away.”
Operator:         “Went away?”
Caller:              “They disappeared.”
Operator:         “Hmm. So what does your screen look like now?”
Caller:              “Nothing.”
Operator:         “Nothing??”
Caller:              “It’s blank; it won’t accept anything when I type.”
Operator:         “Are you still in WordPerfect, or did you get out??”
Caller:              “How do I tell?”
Operator:         “Can you see the ‘C: prompt’ on the screen??”
Caller:              “What’s a sea-prompt?”
Operator:         “Never mind, can you move your cursor around the screen?”
Caller:              “There isn’t any cursor; I told you, it won’t accept anything I type.”
Operator:         “Does your monitor have a power indicator??”
Caller:              “What’s a monitor?”
Operator:         “It’s the thing with the screen on it that looks like a TV. Does it have a little light that tells you when it’s on??”
Caller:               “I don’t know.”
Operator:          “Well, then look on the back of the monitor and find where the power cord goes into it. Can you see that??”
Caller:              “Yes, I think so.”
Operator:         “Great. Follow the cord to the plug, and tell me if it’s plugged into the wall.
Caller:              “Yes, it is.”
Operator:         “When you were behind the monitor, did you notice that there were two cables plugged into the back of it, not just one??”
Caller:               “No.”
Operator:          “Well, there are. I need you to look back there again and find the other cable.”
Caller:               “Okay, here it is.”
Operator:          “Follow it for me, and tell me if it’s plugged securely into the back of your computer.”
Caller:               “I can’t reach.”
Operator:          “OK. Well, can you see if it is??”
Caller:               “No.”
Operator:          “Even if you maybe put your knee on something and lean way over??”
Caller:               “Well, it’s not because I don’t have the right angle — it’s because it’s dark.”
Operator:          “Dark??”
Caller:               “Yes – the office light is off, and the only light I have is coming in from the window.”
Operator:           “Well, turn on the office light then.”
Caller:               “I can’t.”
Operator:          “No? Why not??”
Caller:               “Because there’s a power failure.”
Operator:           “A power …. A power failure? Aha. Okay, we’ve got it licked now. Do you still have the boxes and manuals and packing stuff that your computer came in??”
Caller:               “Well, yes, I keep them in the closet.”
Operator:           “Good. Go get them, and unplug your system and pack it up just like it was when you got it. Then take it back to the store you bought it from.”
Caller:                “Really? Is it that bad?”
Operator:           “Yes, I’m afraid it is.”
Caller:                “Well, all right then, I suppose. What do I tell them??”
Operator:           “Tell them you’re too stupid to own a computer!!!”