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  • September 9, 2008

Takeaways from Listrak's Email Marketing Days 2008

Listrak’s Email Marketing Days conference concluded today. Here are just a few of the great insights and learnings from the event:

Deliverability and Authentication:
>>“If your mail is not authenticated, it will go through more filtering,” said Ken Takahashi of Return Path. “If you want less filtering criteria, get authenticated.”
>>“We’re going to get to the point very soon where ISPs will just dump the mail if it’s not authenticated,” said David Daniels of JupiterResearch. He added, “Deliverability is usually the marketer’s fault. It’s your own list.” When choosing an ESP, marketers should put more emphasis on the ESP’s sender reputation than their deliverability.
>>Email marketers should key code their [email address acquisition] data sources and invest in those that perform, said Takahashi. “Grade your partners on the quality of data they give you, not just the volume.”
>>“A clean IP starts with a negative reputation,” said Matt Elliott of Listrak. So you’re better off rehabilitating your reputation.

Content filtering:
>>“The era of content [filtering] being king is over,” said Takahashi. “ISPs are looking at reputation.” For the more progressive ISPS, how much mail you send doesn’t matter—which is to say that throttling back doesn’t improve your deliverability.
>>ISPs are also looking at the reputation of the links in your emails, he said. ISPs look at the links in the emails that get complaints and look for those links in other emails. AOL and Hotmail, in particular, look at URL reputation.

Forward to a friend:
>>20% of people forward opt-in emails, with about 5% using FTAF functionality to do that, said Daniels.
>>If you don’t want to have to worry about making your FTAF emails CAN-SPAM compliant, then don’t incentivize forwards, said Justin Weiss of the Digital Policy Group and associate counsel to the ESPC. If you do incentivize forwards, tie the incentives to use of your FTAF link so you can scrub those forwards against your suppression list.

Whitelisting:
>>40% of people add addresses to their address book when prompted, said Daniels.
Retail Email Takeaway: Make sure that you’re asking subscribers to whitelist you on your sign-up confirmation page and in your welcome emails.

Product reviews:
>>77% of people find product reviews to be more useful than emails, said Daniels. So shouldn’t we be engaging product reviews differently via email, he said. Only 2% of email marketers segment by contribution to product reviews.
Retail Email Takeaway: For more on product reviews and email, check out 6 Tips for Tapping the Synergies between Product Reviews and Email.

Unsubscribe links:
>>During my presentation on rendering and preheaders, one attendee said that he adds an unsubscribe link to the top of his emails when sending to addresses gained through e-append services to decrease the likelihood of recipients will hit the “report spam” button.
Retail Email Takeaway: Adding a prominent opt-out link can be a valuable tactic in any situation when there’s a greater than average chance that a particular segment will complain, whether that’s a particular acquisition segment or an inactive segment.

Social networking and other digital engagement channels:
>>Mention your Facebook group on your sign-up page, said Daniels. Becoming a fan of your Facebook page “is the new opt-in.”
Retail Email Takeaway: Turn your email subscription center into a unified subscription center where you list all the different ways that your customers can interact with you and stay up to date, whether it’s via email, SMS, RSS, Facebook or another digital channel.
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