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  • December 11, 2008

Takeaways from the Email Insider Summit, Winter 2008

Just got back from the Email Insider Summit in Park City, Utah. Here are just a few of the great insights and learnings from the event:

Unsubscribe Process:
>>LifeScript introduced a hassle-free unsubscribe link and button in the upper right-hand corner of every email. They can get off the list with one click, says Jack Hogan of LifeScript. We saw your unsubscribes go up and complaints go down—almost at 1-to-1, he says. Subscribers may be less likely to hit the “report spam” button if they see the unsubscribe link at the top, and they may be less likely to unsubscribe in the first place because they know they can unsubscribe at any time. Retail Email Takeaway: This is probably more of a leap than most retailers are willing to take, unfortunately. As alternatives, (1) try including an “Update your email preferences” link to the top of your emails, as Overstock does (see Aug. 19 AM Inbox), and (2) try including an unsub link at the top of emails to subscribers that you signed up through co-registration, sweepstakes and other lower quality acquisition sources.

Inactives:
>>“We trim inactives as tight as 30 days of inactivity,” says Jack Hogan of LifeScript.

Metrics:
>>Jim Sterne of the Web Analytics Association says that there are five ways that you can attribute the value of a conversion to the media channels that were involved: (1) spread credit evenly, (2) the last click is king, (3) the first click is king, (4) weighted by timing, or (5) weighted by budget. Retail Email Takeaway: Email should get credit for more than just the last click. Email often drives consumers to other channels for conversion and it’s often hard or impossible to track that influence back to email. But don’t let tracking problems keep you siloed.
>>“Email marketers are focused on metrics that mean something to us, but nothing to senior management,” says Bob Frady, VP of digital marketing for Live Nation.
>>“It’s a really easy channel if you look at it on the campaign level,” but email marketing is bigger than that, says Jack Hogan of LifeScript.

Social Networks:
>>General Mills has stopped allocating real estate to forward to a friend. Instead, they’re now using share with your network (SWYN) links, according to Karla Venell, General Mills’ manager of database and email marketing. They started experimenting with SWYN links in October via Silverpop’s share-to-social technology.
>>It’s not only finding your social influencers, but rewarding them, says Jay Stevens, who’s in charge of international online marketing for MySpace.

Mobile:
>>“Mobile’s the beast of 2010. We need 2009 to figure it out,” says Bob Frady, VP of digital marketing for Live Nation.
>>Many of Northwest Airlines’ loyalty program subscribers read email on mobile devices, but only 8% of them convert on mobile, says Brad Sclief of Northwest. Because of the high read rates but low conversions, they’re not sure how to change their email design in response to this behavior.
>>Chip House of ExactTarget recommended trying inbound SMS for email acquisition—that is, ask folks to text their email address to you to opt into your email program.
>>“Don’t text my phone unless I text you first,” says Donna, one of the participants on a panel of women put together by Ball State University.

Landing Pages:
>>If you’re in email and your responsibility ends at the clickthrough, then your company is woefully incompetent, says Jim Sterne of the Web Analytics Association.

Multichannel:
>>“You should be giving your customers as many ways as possible to consume your content,” says Mike Foley of the New York Times when explaining that they offer RSS feeds even though they haven’t really figured out how to monetize them yet.
>>Use email as a leading indicator of what messaging will work in slower, more expensive channels, says Jim Sterne of the Web Analytics Association. Retail Email Takeaway: Email can be a great way to test messaging and product popularity for catalogs as well.

Segmentation:
>>“Consumers are very intolerant of the generic [email] message,” says Sal Tripi of Publishers Clearing House.
>>Live Nation segments their subscriber base by artist interested based on whether (1) they previous bought tickets to see that artist, (2) they’ve indicated an interest in that artist in their preference center, and (3) they entered a contest to win tickets to one of that artist’s concerts.

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