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  • February 4, 2010

Takeaways from the Email Evolution Conference 2010

This week the EEC’s Email Evolution Conference was held in Miami. Here are just a few of the great insights and learnings from the event:

Email Address Acquisition:
>>Souplantation/Sweet Tomatoes acquires about half of their email address in their stores. However, they use paper sign-up forms, which have a 20% error rate on addresses. Next quarter they’ll be moving to SMS sign-ups for email in-store, which has an error rate of only 2%-3%, according to Pilar Bower of Red Door Interactive, the restaurant chain’s agency.

Personalized & Targeted Content:
>>Kayak is using behavior data to select the deals that they pitch to subscribers. “If I can personalize your experience, then click rates will go up, retention rates will go up,” says Brian Harniman of Kayak.
>>Kayak’s “Fare Alert” emails have a 47% open rate.
>>The lifecycle emails (welcome, birthday, anniversary, etc.) sent by Souplantation/Sweet Tomatoes get about 50% open rates.
>>Souplantation/Sweet Tomatoes sent a Mother’s Day email that pitched gift cards to subscribers who had clicked on the “Gift Cards” link in their emails in the past and saw a 64% open rate.

Relevancy:
>>Kayak sends sponsored emails to their list, but turns away one out of every two sponsorship offers because the deal isn’t unique enough. While they’re leaving revenue on the table, they’re maintaining a higher level of relevancy for their subscribers, which pays off more long term.
>>“Whether you like it or not, [every company is] a content provider,” says Juan Silvera of Bank of America.

Email Design:
>>“View with images” is a much better wording than “Having trouble viewing this email? Click here,” says Lisa Harmon of Smith-Harmon. Having the word “trouble” appear first thing in an email doesn’t set the best tone, she says.
>>While you can hide snipped text in the alt text of a tracking pixel at the top of your email, that trick doesn’t work in all email clients. For instance, according to email marketers from Apple at the show, to include hidden snippet so that it displays in an iPhone, you include text that’s 1 pixel high and the same color as the background and turn off the text auto-adjust so that the iPhone doesn’t automatically resize the text to 12 point.

Social Media:
>>“Nothing is more effective than allowing tribes to pass along information and share among themselves,” says Silvera, discussing the value of share with your network (SWYN) functionality.
>>“There’s no wrong way to measure social, so long as you’re measuring it consistently,” says Andy Goldman of Rapp North America.
>>When determining how to measure social media success, Dan Rubin of Publicis Modem asks, “What are the high-value tasks that contribute to ROI” and move a customer down the purchase funnel? Retail Email Takeaway: Just like list size probably shouldn’t be a key performance indicator for most email marketers, the number of followers/fan shouldn’t for social media. Increasing actions and conversions is the ultimate goal.

Unsubscribe:
>>Groupon included a second unsubscribe link at the top of their emails about two weeks ago. During that time spam complaints have dropped 30%. “If you don’t want to be on my list, then I want you off,” says Andrew Kordek of Groupon. Retail Email Takeaway: If you do include an opt-out link at the top of your emails, be sure to retain the one at the bottom as well, since we’ve trained subscribers to look for it there.

Testing:
>>When Kayak does creative email tests, they ask team members to guess the order in which the creatives will perform, giving the winner a $50 gift card.

For more insights, impressions and happenings from the conference, check out my Twitter stream or see what all Twitterers were saying by checking out the #EEC10 hashtag.
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