CURVE your subject lines the Trendline way

[tweetmeme source=”getintheinbox” only_single=false]As you know, subject lines get the opens and if you want to do well you test subject lines. You have between 2 and 5 that you’d like to test. Any ESP worth any salt will allow you to add multiple subject lines to¬† a message and automatically perform live A/B testing during the delivery.

Some ESPs will ask you to send the test to small segment of your list and some ESPs will have features to choose the best subject line during the main delivery and send it to the bulk of the list after a period of live testing in the same delivery.

Either way, we all spend time trying to think about which subject would and should work best and during this process we find our selves categorising what we think a good subject line should have.

A very clever bloke called Alex Williams from a particularly experienced and talented agency called Trendline Interactive has really hit the nail on the head by defining the elements that have worked for him over the years and calls it CURVE:

  • Curiosity
  • Urgency
  • Relevance
  • Value
  • Emotion

In his blog “Do your Email Subject Lines have C.U.R.V.E.?” Alex illustrates each point in great detail, it’s well worth a look…read on

At Pure360, one of things we recommend to clients when choosing subject lines, early on, is to ask people in other parts of the business for suggestions. It is not always their suggestions of subject lines that help but the process of trying to quickly & clearly explain what the email is about, what they want people to do and why anyone should open it in the first place. Then getting feedback and follow questions as well as the subject line suggestions.

Not only do many marketers often find out that their perception, being directly from the other side of the email, is not always right but recipients CURVEs are not always the same a marketers’. On many occasions they find that the subject lines they have from asking the office are more successful – and on some occasions they are miles off ūüôā

However you decide on your subject lines now, give the CURVE test a go and try to work it into your process where you can, and make sure you test, test, test.

Also don’t forget that the top line or two from your HTML version often appears under or next to the subject line in some inboxes and Outlook takes it from the plain text version if you have the auto-preview turned on.

Email UX – recipient experience top 5

[tweetmeme source=”getintheinbox” only_single=false]You may have read me banging on about the recipient experience, whether it was about deliverability, engagement or ROI (they are all the same by the way) and when ever I read a good piece from someone else about it I cannot help but shout about it (eg: Scott Cohen’s Conversation Starter).

Well, I’ve found another one:

Email Insight less is more” by the legend of Remy¬†Bergsma on his (April 11th, 2011) really got to the core of it.

It’s a great length of post too, not too long that you decide to save it for later and never get round to it,
but has all the points too: it has a nice contextual image and a simple 5 point list, what more can you ask for:

  1. Purpose
  2. Audience
  3. Time
  4. Followup
  5. Tone of voice

If you want to find out what this means for your email success…read on

If not, you really should do, so…read on

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There is not enough about the really core touchy feely, how to delight people consistently in email marketing. There is so much pressure on numbers and money, the recipient experience is fading. Senders either through lack of inclination or pressure are still thinking the word ‘blast’ (uurgggh) and forgetting that every recipient is an individual.

Each person is different and can look at your brand differently, based on their exposure to you, the way they found out who you are, their life long experiences of your brand and the amount of time since you last entered their thoughts or even line of sight.

Your call to action might not be achievable for every person on your list for any reason and you might end up losing people who would will spend later if you treat them right. So normalise it with some top level categories like their age, their last purchase, their last interaction, how long they’ve been with you etc.

Split the list for prospects and customers, split those lists for hot & cold leads and customers & fans¬†and make sure what you want them to do is achievable. Help them achieve it and those who aren’t ready purchase now will be next time and you’ll know about it!

And don’t forget that with social media it is even easier for people to say things about you and people are more inclined to shout about a bad thing than a good thing – because a good thing is just the norm – so aim for delighted and if you under achieve all is well and everything else is gravy!

Engaging the engaged to engage IP addresses

[tweetmeme source=”getintheinbox” only_single=false]
On the 18th of Feb, Tom Sather wrote “Warming Up IP Addresses: 5 Steps for Faster Inbox Placement” for Return Path. This adds weight nicely to my “Dedicated IPs are Good” post a little while ago. It does of course finish with the usual sales pitch but on this occasion it is well earned.

The main points which need attention are 3 & 4: Segment and mail your active subscribers & Monitor.

This is something that I find marketers are not remotely inclined to do unless their ESP has “a button for it”. ¬†Even if the benefits are obvious, and the logic that the people who are engaged are so more likely to spend money than people who are ignoring them. Without actually trying it, it’s hard to get buy-in and people don’t want to risk their results.¬†The size of the list is still perceived as more important than the existing ROI being achieved.

This could be because if their results go down they are out of job and they are only protected by achieving as much or more than their predecessors. They will of course never over achieve because the existing method is flawed and in a downward spiral of failure. Also the fact that many people in charge at the top only see the money and cannot perceive or care about consequences or risk losing the zombies off the list to help connect with the engaged. That could be where the battle is!

Hopefully with Return Path being a well respected authority on this kind of thing, some significant weight will be added to the cause.

Although there is always the possibility that even with a consequence and brand that does not care would just move between ESPs flashing the cash and starting over.

Maybe once IP V6 is out more will be done to pin a sender down. Maybe there will be away of forcing senders to register the DKIM of their home domain to their sending domains, so they carry their reputation with them everywhere. Like a web-reputation linked to the company registration.¬†However I have no idea how that could be implemented, it’ll probably cost too much money.

To read the full article on Return Path…read on

There is of course some hope!

Kelly Lorenz of Bronto wrote a fantastic¬†piece¬†Making the Case for Permission which gives me hope and even more tools to add to my on going ¬†‘pressure for permission mission’.

What to Like and Where to Share in your Email Marketing

It has become quite the thing to get social share links into emails. Often called SWYN an abbreviation of ‚Äúshare with your network‚ÄĚ.

The idea is to provide as many viral options as possible for recipients to spread the word. ReTweet to tweet a link to everyone who follows you and Facebook Like are the two most popular and now have buttons you can easily put onto your pages and emails where the browser view link is shared and the opt-out link is disabled.

This means that the same content is shareable on more the one ‚Äėpage‚Äô. That got me thinking about if one is better than the other and if so why?…read on

CNN: What your e-mail address says about you

The tekkiness of a person has been long been categorised  by the domain in your email address: out of the big 4 AOL is least tekkie because their software was about making it easy and Gmail is the most tekkie because their users evolved through invites from Google through universities, now Facebook Messaging is on the way we have to re-analyse  this. I have already touched on it and Doug Gross for CNN (November 16, 2010) get into more detail:

Here’s the harsh truth: Whether you know it or not, some people judge you the moment they see what comes after the “@” in your messages.

At the risk of flirting with internet snobbery, here is a look at the place where ISPs and personalities meet. (It’s worth noting, we’re not the first to do so. We’re particularly fond of this fun graphic from The Oatmeal, a humor blog.)

These are stereotypes gathered in the name of fun and, like all stereotypes, there are exceptions. That said, let the stereotyping begin!

Here’s a breakdown of what e-mail addresses may signify about their users…read on

8 Step guide to reactivation

Cracking post from JP (November 23 2010) with a cheeky 8 steps for reaction campaigns in Reactivating and Engaging Inactive Email Recipients in 8 Steps.

It can be hard to let go of addresses until you’ve suffereded the consequences once but then it’s even hard to come back from.¬†As I said in Dangerous Reconnections getting it wrong can really get you in trouble and this post can really save you from yourself.

One strength of this scenario is that we presume that the list has been emailed regularly and the hard bounces handled efficiently thus removing the possibility of any old addresses turning into spam traps after hard bouncing for a while, if you want to follow this make sure you are in the position. If you are not talk to your ESP, consultant (or me)…read on