Category Archives: eMail marketing

Spam filters look for this stuff, don’t you know


Arh, dearly beloved reader,

Why do perfectly good email campaigns get blocked and not delivered (spam filtered)?
 
Now, unless you are sending anything a bit, err, lets say, close to the mark, why oh why should your perfectly good email get filtered out?

It all boils down to automated SPAM filters and what they ‘think’ is not worthy of their readers.  So be careful what you put in your email subject header (and main content area).
 
They score each email you send (and probably build up a score if you send a lot).  Then, once you hit a score, your email is barred.
 
That’s it.
 
No warning it will happen.
 
No warning it happened.
…Other than open and click rates falling off a cliff
 
And no advice on how to stop it happening.

Obviously don’t put words in the subject line or text like ‘sex’, ‘under 18’ (e.g an email I sent about the ‘sex discrimination act’ flagged my on SPAM filters nicely) stuff in CAPITALS

And this will shock you…. I heard on the grapevine that  “Dear”, “click here”, and “unsubscribe” all score the same points on SPAM filters as FREE in the email body

 

SPAM filters don’t particularly like pictures either.

 

Yep

Pictures!

That’s logos and images to your in-house branding police.

Yep – I heard you swear! 
 
yes really !

The worst offense is of course not clearing out your bounces.  SPAM filters don’;t like that more than anything.

After all,  how else can emails with FREE
 
Don’t whatever you do have “under 18”, “sex” “viagra” etc etc and even “specialist” .. why, because cialis are the makers of Viagra and those letters make up specialist

See, I’m not as stupid as I look.
(thanks Granny)

 

Hope you found this CRM tip useful.

All the best,

Simon

 

Simon McNidder

 

PS:  I also write a regular email CRM tips, tricks and a few secrets.  Get them here  http://www.databasefirstaid.com/crm_hints_tips_help.html

PPS:  On LinkedIn?  Like this blog?  Then you’ll like this group: “CRM databases in professional services”: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/?gid=2051556

 

 

CRM Blog tags: CRM databases, CRM advice, CRM news, eMail, Direct Mail, Mailshots, eMarketing, Digital Marketing, CRM data, marketing data strategies

 

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eMail look and feel: Pictures or text


In one of my email CRM hints, I mentioned that the first thing a reader of your email communications needs to see.
 
And it isn’t going to be a white box with a red square in it.
 
That’ll just put them off.
 
And are your emails like this?
 
Do they have a lovely logo or image at the top of the email when you send them out?
 
Did you know they don’t always arrive like that?
 
Image your logo or picture as a white box.
 
Then design your email style around that horrific thought.
 
i.e. the first thing a reader needs to see is something interesting, and that may even be telling them what to do.
 
It’s not a blank white box, that’s for sure.

Hope you found this CRM tip useful.

 

All the best,

Simon

Simon McNidder

 

PS:  I also write a regular email CRM tips, tricks and a few secrets.  Get them here  http://www.databasefirstaid.com/crm_hints_tips_help.html

PPS:  On LinkedIn?  Like this blog?  Then you’ll like this group: “CRM databases in professional services”: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/?gid=2051556

 

 

CRM Blog tags: CRM databases, CRM advice, CRM news, eMail, Direct Mail, Mailshots, eMarketing, Digital Marketing, CRM data, marketing data strategies

 

An answer to the old CRM Q – What’s the point?


A friend recently asked me to help his firm do something about their CRM. As he liked my answer, I though it an idea blog entry. Enjoy.

QUESTION:
Mate, I have a favour to ask. I’m trying to pitch some BD ideas to the powers that be here and wanted to get a short set of bullets / synopsis on the lead generation stuff you were doing when I was still at [x firm], especially the stuff you did with [x Partner] principles behind it…..you know what I mean!! Imagine where [x firm] was 10 years ago (that is where we are now) so I’m trying to educate with ideas that may lead to revenue or at least revenue / follow up opportunities.

ANSWER:
Improve your data quality – not just if their name is right, but their interests. It helps everything you do. But is so unsexy, nobody wants to focus any effort on it or can’t see why they’d bother. We’ve had cases of increasing event bookings by just over 300% when we improved the data (I forget the exact figure). It was the first eMail we did after we verified and enhanced the marketing data after the first external and internal ‘Spring Clean’ of the data. We were able to closely target the right people (based on who they knew internally, plus their externally verified interests). There were so many responses to the [x department] seminar that is was an utter admin mess. The event team had to split delegates into two sessions on one day and run other additional days.

What a problem to have though.

On another occasion, I think the second or third email we sent after getting the contacts to tell us what they were interested in, we received an immediate response (sent to a group of people indicating an interest in a topic) for £10,000 piece of work. You just can’t get this kind of easy win without spending a large amount of effort on your data integrity.

Who’d have thought sending communications about topics to people who are interested in those topics would get such results 😉

Then, to go further, once you have what contacts say they are interested in, you can track what they are really interested in i.e. what emails they click on. And then add what the fee-earner thinks. Add those three things together and you’ll be flying. For instance, if you are able to segment in your CRM system for a seminar invite on TUPE, for instance, look for: contacts known by TUPE fee earners, contacts indicating an interest in TUPE in your ‘spring clean’, contacts attending TUPE past events, contacts with TUPE in their activity / meeting notes text… etc etc. And if you can – contacts already buying TUPE advice from you at one time or another. Mail to that bunch and you’ll get fab click through and response levels. But before that – look at the resulting profile and find similar people to expand the possibles a bit further. And you can go another step further after a years’ worth of emailings…. and remove from your mailshots anyone who has never clicked on anything and our click rates will rocket, you won’t reduce the amount of leads and you’ll have less data to manage. That or try and find other route / messages to interact with those who are not talking to you / clicking in your emails. See – all dead easy 😉

Hope you found this CRM tip useful.

All the best,
Simon

Simon McNidder

PS:
I also write a regular email CRM tips, tricks and a few secrets.
Get them here http://www.databasefirstaid.com/crm_hints_tips_help.html

PPS:
On LinkedIn? Like this blog? Then you’ll like this group: “CRM databases in professional services”:
http://www.linkedin.com/groups/?gid=2051556

CRM Blog tags: CRM databases, CRM advice, CRM news, eMail, Direct Mail, Mailshots, eMarketing, Digital Marketing, CRM data, marketing data strategies

Mailing lists:The end is nigh?


 …Was looking through my files at the weekend, saw I had this article published a while ago – but it’s still relevant, as CRM still hasn’t fully caught up.  Thought you might find it useful as the Journal that puts a eCopy of the one it published, makes you be a member and to sign into their website to read it.

Publish date: Nov 2009, Journal: PM (www.pmforum.co.uk)

Mailing lists:The end is nigh?
 

Do you want to know how your CRM database could do much of your marketing admin for you, as well as automatically ensure you target the right people with the right information at the right time and in the right way? If yes, then read on.

Lets take a look at one contact in your CRM database. James is a good contact – he’s in a position to instruct your firm, so he’s someone you communicate with regularly.

Image then, when James finishes work. He pops into his local supermarket to get the family shopping. He’s had some ‘money off ‘ vouchers sent to him – roughly for what he usually buys, plus some complementary stuff that sounds tempting enough to try.

After dinner, James sits down to watch TV – it’s so important to him that he pays extra for the feature that automatically records all the programmes he likes. So he scrolls through his favourite shows and picks one.

James is never going to swap his favourite supermarket or TV supplier. Don’t professional service firms also aim for this status?

So why then do most professional service firms still undertake old fashioned, labour intensive marketing which tells your prospects what they should hear?

Take the average professional service firm. Most simply bombard their clients and prospects with one bit of news (or a seminar invite) at a time, when they hear about it – or when they have time to fit in a ‘bit of marketing’. This means that some contacts can get hundreds of marketing communications a year from the same firm. And some contacts are missed off the radar completely.

But why? I hear it often… “It’s because we know what is best for them / what they want / don’t want”.

Then why are ‘open rates’, ‘click rates’,’response rates’ and ‘conversion to a work instruction rates’ so low? Humans. If we take the scenario above, it’s not that James’ supermarket and TV supplier don’t have any. It’s just that their marketing databases don’t let humans interfere. Their technology automatically processes the customer’s purchasing behaviour and then tailors the services to the customer’s needs. Once you let a human get involved, all sorts of illogical behaviour gets in the way. It’s only natural.

Letting the individual and your CRM database take control is a very brave step. But well worth it. Imagine if your database knew what James bought from you (taken from your billing system). Imagine if it knew what he was interested in (taken from your marketing systems – visited website pages, events attended, email links clicked on) And imagine it knew who knows him and meets him (taken from your email and calendar systems). It could then tailor your marketing communications to his needs. Just like James’ supermarket. All without any admin burden to your feeearners or business development staff.

But think about it – how many hours do fee-earners spend going through mailing lists, finalising them and then getting the mailings sent. I’ll bet it takes hours of work, plus days of lead time (if not weeks), just to get ONE mailing out the door.

Think what could be done with all the extra fee-earner hours.

And because you can now do more marketing, how many more work leads would be generated?

Imagine a scenario where there are no ‘mailing lists’ to maintain at all. One where your firm produces an update, or seminar invite, and you simply put it into your CRM database. That’s all you had to do. Your CRM database then simply sends the ‘mailshot’ to a selection of your contacts who fit a profile that matches the piece of news you wanted to promote, in the way each individual likes it. So for instance, some contacts may want to be told about it right away – via a ‘breaking news’ email, SMS alert, letter or ‘tweet’. Some would prefer a weekly eNewsletter summarising the content that’s relevant to them (or hard copy personalised newsletter). Even ‘snail mail’ can be sent without a human intervening these days.

Some may also want a ‘bleep bleep’ on their phone, RSS feed update, or simply access their personalised homepage in your website – or their intranet. If you were promoting a seminar, your contacts would simply book on via that email – straight into your system without any burden for your event organiser.

This isn’t rocket science. The technology is here. You don’t need deep pockets either.

Putting the client in control of their marketing communications simply involves a few tweaks to your CRM database… and a way to process the extra work leads.

To conclude, technology should be doing 90% of your email and postal marketing administration.

Business development managers, secretaries and feeearners are far better utilised converting the work leads into work instructions, managing client relationships, cross-selling services and doing billable hours than looking through a mailing list.

Hope you found this CRM tip useful, and all the best,

* * * * * * * * * * * *

101 more CRM hints directly into your inbox (all free) right here: http://eepurl.com/lKoVL

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Simon
Simon McNidder

Get 101 CRM Database hints, tips & help here: www.DatabaseFirstAid.com or www.CRMdatabaseHELP.com

CRM Blog tags: CRM databases, CRM advice, CRM news, eMail, Direct Mail, Mailshots, eMarketing, Digital Marketing, CRM data, marketing data strategies

Letters and envelopes. Old but not Out…


Just had this article published – thought you might find it useful as the Journal that puts a eCopy of the one it published, makes you sign into their website to read it.

Publish date: Nov 2012, Journal: PM (www.pmforum.co.uk)

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Title: Letters and envelopes.  Old but not Out.

Abstract: Sending a letter may seem dreadfully old fashioned in this modern digital world, but it can help in drumming up responses far more than you’d think.  This trip down memory lane may be just what the doctor ordered.

A quick question to start you off….

Which is the most expensive way to send your direct marketing?

a) eMail
b) SMS text message
c) Letter
d) RSS feed

It’s probably safe to bet, dearly beloved reader, that 99.9% of you said c, by letter.

And you probably added an expletive to your answer for such a stupidly easy question and for even wasting your time in making you read it.

But did you include responses, leads, or standing out from the competitive noise, and ultimately that instruction in your assumptions?  And did you include the purchase and development costs of the SMS, RSS or eMail software?

Fear not, I’m not saying, move back to post.  I couldn’t think of anything more stupid.

There are perfectly good reasons why digital marketing replaced stuffing envelopes and licking a stamp.  For instance, sending a letter doesn’t give you open, click, bounce and follow-through metrics, automated triggered responses and alerts, or split testing of subject lines or email content.  And if you are doing email, but aren’t doing auto triggers or split testing, you really aren’t exploiting eMail’s huge benefits.  But that’s another article.

So, why are letters still valid?

They get your message noticed, that’s why.

Well, an extreme example for you.

I was away for precisely 11 working days during the summer – on holiday with the better half and the two knee highs.  Everyone knows people go on holiday then.  But still, I came back to an inbox with 2,300 emails in it.  But sitting ON my desk were TWO envelopes.  Just two.  One got binned, the other read.  I’m not making it up that 50% of my post got read.  I have no idea when during my two weeks they arrived – there was certainly no inbox placement issues.  And I read those first as well.  Before you read on any further, just have a stab at guessing how much of my email inbox got read?

And these are the emails I usually read.  Most I subscribe to.

But, I sorted by sender, whizzed through them, and mass deleted.  Hardly anything got read properly.  Nothing really stood out and shouted ‘READ ME’.  I even unsubscribed from a few.  Do you want that to happen to your communications?  eMail makes hitting ‘delete’ or ‘unsubscribe’ very easy, especially when you’re in a bit of a hurry. But I still recall what was in that letter.

Still laughing at letters?

Have a think why you still choose to get the printed version of pm, when you could simply get the stories by email or on the website?

To add to this, a reminisce for you… If you are over 40 that is.

 * * * * * *

Do you recall the ‘gilt edged printed seminar invitations’ from about 15 years ago?  Just imagine how much they’d stand out from today’s bland communications.  Isn’t that the whole point of your marcomms?  To get your message to stand out from all the other noise?

* * * * * *

Close targeting of a segment of your CRM database is still the best way of getting the best results though.

Letters need not be as expensive as you’d think either.  Even with the recent raise in stamp costs. For instance; franking, 3rd class post / mailsort, and hybrid mail will all reduce your costs (targeting rather than scattergun marketing will help as well). I’ll explain hybrid mail a bit further – as it’s the only one your postroom may not know about.  And if you are spending hours and hours printing and sending letters via your postroom, prepare to kick yourself in about 30 seconds (I nearly screamed when I found this out).

Hybrid mail means you don’t need a stamp, an envelope, printer toner, or even letterhead.  You have ‘the ease of email, with the impact of a letter’ as one of the supplier straplines puts it.  You simply create your letter.  One or more pages, black & white or full colour, single or double sided – all your choice still. And then press print (not to your printer though – to the hybrid mail company’s printer icon).  That’s it !!!!  It’ll be delivered to your mailing list in the next few days.  At a huge great discount to you. I’ve just done a 20 second web search and found you can send a one page letter for 38p.  That’s your total cost. Just Google ‘hybrid mail’ or ‘send post from your pc’ if you don’t believe me or fancy halving your posted direct mail costs. Just to push that cost saving home a bit further, a 2nd class stamp is 50p (I admit franked post is cheaper than that).  But how much on top of that is your letterhead, envelope and printer toner cartridge.  And then you’ve got to stuff those envelopes (and find someone to do it).  You could estimate nearly £1 per letter if you also allocate your Marketing administrator’s salary into the cost of your mailshot.

Letters have a big advantage over email. They are less likely to get lost in the internet somewhere on delivery (it happens), stopped for no good reason by SPAM filters, ‘deleted’ without even being opened by your recipient, or lost at the bottom of the inbox pile.  And in letters, you can also use CAPITAL LETTERS, images, different textures (even smell), and words like FREE and not get caught in SPAM filters.  You can also use as many images as you want to back up what you are saying – and they won’t display as a white box with a red square on half your recipient’s PCs, or a whopping great big long URL.

So, if direct mail is a lost art at your place, and you are now thinking about adding letters back into your marketing promotional mix, here are a few goods tips:

1) Personally address and signoff your letter – in blue ink (do you still have a fountain pen?). Can you recall when personalised was really personalised (e.g. Dear James, or best wishes from Simon, putting in that hand written PS, or sticking on a post-it note
2) Use quality paper, with cream letter and envelope – to make it really stand out on the recipient’s desk (and in the palm of their hand
3) Include a clear call to action – and make it easy to repl
4) Include a PS (and include the call to action again) – they really do get rea
5) Follow it up

As for the techniques for writing letter text, it’s all fairly similar to email:

1) Don’t let images get in the way of what you are saying
2) Make it clear and easy to respond
3) Sell the benefits, not the features

Of course, there will be some readers that haven’t moved FROM letters to email yet.  Cor.  They will be losing out more.

I hope this has at least reminded you that letters can contribute to your lead generation activities. 

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Hope you found this CRM tip useful, and all the best,

* * * * * * * * * * * *

101 more CRM hints directly into your inbox (all free) right here: http://eepurl.com/lKoVL

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Simon

Simon McNidder

Get 101 CRM Database hints here: http://eepurl.com/lKoVL 

CRM Blog tags: CRM databases, CRM advice, CRM news, eMail, Direct Mail, Mailshots, eMarketing, Digital Marketing, CRM data, marketing data strategies

21 ways to avoid SPAM filters….


Saw this and thought of you lot!

http://www.emailtools.co.uk/tips/avoidfilters.htm

 

There will be plenty of  other ways as well…

And you need to remember that ‘tricks’ aren;t really tricks – just good data management

 

Hope you found this CRM tip useful, and all the best,

Simon

Simon McNidder  (CRM chap with 18 years hindsight to share at www.DatabaseFirstAid.com)

 

 

 

To get your own CRM Database hints delivered via email, go here: http://eepurl.com/lKoVL 

For more eMarketing, data and CRM (client, customer or contact relationship management) database information, go here:  www.databasefirstaid.com

Blog tags: CRM databases, CRM advice, CRM news, eMail, Direct Mail, Mailshots, eMarketing, Digital Marketing, CRM data, marketing data strategies

Don’t plan your seminars on…..


Don’t plan events during conflicting events, or down time.

But this bunch might be able to help you plan your event around national events:

http://www.yearahead.co.uk/

(There are other suppliers)

Hope you found this CRM tip useful, and all the best,

Simon

 

Simon McNidder  (CRM chap with 18 years hindsight to share at www.DatabaseFirstAid.com)

 

To get your own CRM Database hints delivered via email, go here: http://eepurl.com/lKoVL  

For more eMarketing, data and CRM (client, customer or contact relationship management) database information, go here:  www.databasefirstaid.com

Blog tags: CRM databases, CRM advice, CRM news, eMail, Direct Mail, Mailshots, eMarketing, Digital Marketing, CRM data, marketing data strategies