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Q&A: The Future of E-Mail Marketing

  |  March 12, 2009   |  Comments

E-mail marketing ClickZ Experts columnist Jeanniey Mullen responds to questions from Webinar participants.

More than 60 people wrote in questions during ClickZ's "Future of E-Mail Marketing" Webinar, featuring a presentation by Zinio CMO Jeanniey Mullen, today. Here are unedited questions from the Webinar transcript and Jeanniey's follow-up written answers.


I would like to email everyone who sends me one. If I have an unsuvscibe in each one before I get them to opt-in, can I get in trouble for spamming?

It sounds like you are speaking about sending one-to-one emails in a prospecting enviroment. If someone emails you, or meets you at a trade show and gives you their card, that is generally considered consent enough for you to email them company inforomation as long as you have an opt-out message at the bottom

is it 12B or 5B by 2012?

Sorry this was a typo -- it is 5B

What is a kindle?

A Kindle is a small device which allows you to read books electronically, and take them with you wherever you go. You can learn more about the Kindle here: http://www.amazon.com/Kindle-Amazons-Wireless-Reading-Device/dp/B000FI73MA

Can you explain the rationale behind individuals having more than one digital device? I think people want ONE device, not several.

There will be different devices in the home. It is expected that the home phone will be replaced by a mobile phone and that you will have a letter size digital reader (like this one: http://www.plasticlogic.com/product.html ) instead of bulky papers. That's at least two. Different devices for different purposes.

how can you say that by going after the people who report you as spammer is a good thing when they are already annoyed by you?

Good question. This is because more than 50 percent of those who click "this is spam" don't do it because they are annoyed by your company. The message they received, at that time, just wasn't interesting to them. What research has shown, is that many times different messages from the same company are of higher interest and the person will re-opt in.

How do you identify the "social influencers" in your list?

This is a tough question because it varies signficantly based on what type of list you have. Posting simple questions on Facebook and Wwitter asking who is also on the email list is a simple way to start

What about when you get a negative response to an email blast through twitter etc?

That is a really great opportunity for you! It gives you a chance to hear exactly what you could have done better and post to twitter the steps you will take to correct the situation. In those cases, the follow-up emails usually get a very high response rate because everyone is curious to se if you will follow through

How can you measure social influencers?

There are a tremendous number of companies out there, who are very cost effective, who can help you with this. Send a Twitter to Brian Ellefritz from Cisco, who can give you the best advice!

how to do you track this type of activity - on a one-to-one basis - e.g. THIS email definitely influenced THIS blog, twitter, etc.

Checkout http://www.tweetdeck.com -- where you can search all of the twitter posts. That will give you a great starting point

What is the best most efficient way to identity what segments your list falls under?

The first step in doing this (if you can) is to pull some data and break your list into: those who have not opened three of your last six emails and sort it by revenue they have brought into your company, through any channel over the past 12 months. That should help you gain som immediate insight on who on your list is your best customer, unsubs, and non responder. It gets a bit tricker from there, but that is a good start)

how do you identify the people who are wanna-bes?

Wanna-bes are people who have opened at least one email out of the last three and contributed some sort of revenue to your company within the past six months

How do you know if someone has sent messages forward if they have not clicked on anythinhg?

there is tracking software out there that allows you to watch that, however following twitter and facebook posts @ your company is a better way to get a broad view

The industry that I am in does not use social marketing as a means of communicating - they use specific chat rooms and blogs. How can I make sure that potential customers are reached effectively?

You can work with a number of companies, who are very inexpensive (as in a few hundred dollars) to monitor the buzz in chat rooms and blogs about your company, this usually helps you get an idea if there is any conversation happening at all

How do you know their long term value isn't great? Doesn't this assume that your best customers are not technologically savvy?

The point about best customers long term value comes down to math: If a best customer spend $1K per month with you over three years, they are worth 36K to your company. If a social infuencer spend $3K with you that entire time, but gets 10 more best customers to start shopping with you, the difference is very large. I am not suggesting that best customers are not also sharing thier good stories socially. However, in large presentations, you often have to put explanations of groups into buckets to get your point across.

wanna be's, forget response - please advise?

Wanna bes know they like your company for some reason, but they would buy more from you if you showed them how to interact with your brand. For example: check our "hot tips" blog every Tuesday to early invitation on to the latest sales.

What were the results of the Six Flags email? Did they have 'buy tickets online' or other offer where they could put an ROI or sales results from the campaign???

In the case of Six Flags they did measure success of those who bought online. The campaign was very successful. I can't share any more detail than that in a public forum. Sorry

How can an e-newsletter be designed for such small displays, as seen by a mobile device?

E-newsletters need to change for the small screen to mainly headlines and teasers that lead you to full pages of content. Check out http://www.emailexperience.org for free whitepapers on the topic

Is it good to embed video into your email message and are there tech limitations?

It depends on what type of message you are sending. It can be VERY powerful. B2B companies see up to an 800 percent increase in response when they do this. There are some technical limitations. Check with your ESP for advice

any data on how far we are from being able to display video within emails?

This can be done today. I did a video campaign two years ago in fact. Check with your ESP for advice on what technologies you can use

Don't ISPs block things like video?

No. Sometimes they will strip out flash - it depends on how the video is encoded

When you have these types of creative - how do you counter B2B firewalls? Thands

Most B2B firewalls will not stop an email because it has video. That said, your ESP should be the best person to help you with this. It is difficuly for me to answer without more detail

Isnt the issue surrounding dynamic content via Email based on size restrictions on the message. How do you overcome that?

No- dynamic content does not add any size to the message itself. Sounds like you may have been given mis-information. Email me with specifics and I can try to answer in more detail.

what is the best way to monitize transactional emails? We are looking at doing co-branding, what are your opinions?

This is a really great opportunity if it is done correctly. Soft sell, text links are the best approach to begin with. In transactional emails, your soft sell needs to look like a service oriented message to get the best response.

what is an example of an Inmail App?

An email sent to a group from facebook or linkedin

How do you see social media integrating in the future as applications?

Oooo. This is a great question that is way to long for me to answer here. I will be writing more about this so keep following my clickz columns and the eec (http://www.emailexperience.org)

Serious consumers of big ticket items e.g. $100,000 + consulting projects will still look for text intensive e-mails with attachments (white papers). Agreed?

In the interest, awareness and consideration phase- yes. But that is not all they want

How much is too much (often)? Now and in the future?

This is a question that can only be answered by your audience.

can you talk about the key factors -- creative, list management, timing, platform, etc. - in putting together a campaign that is e-commerce specific?

I can -- but not in this little window -- I will write about this in a future column on ClickZ for you.

Can you address B2B? When you're trying to market to someone in their professional capacity, how do you know what social media they're using and how do you capture their "address" and such? Retail always seems more straight forward.

There are a few companies out there: Rapleaf is one of them that can help you with this very quickly and easily

How effective do you see image intensive emails? As opposed to simple text.

This is totally dependent on the purpose of the message.

I am in the online hotel reservations industry in Orlando,Florida.We have been using email since 1996.Is there any evidense that email offers with pictures perform better then text only offers?Especially in light of SPAM filters.

This is totally dependent on the purpose of the message, but in your industry --absolutely

I work in a graduate admissions office. Our "enrolled" students don't read email these days. As prospective graduate students, they also don't wish to give us their cell phone numbers (they don't want us in their world). How do we get into their world?

Twitter

How do you design emails to be maximized for handheld devices for the use and who they share it with?

Check out smith-harmon.com for some great insights on this

What company does analysis of email addresses and where they are showing up in social media? I thought I heard that mentioned...thanks!

Rapleaf is one -- there are a bunch out there

Do mobile platforms provide a challenge to programming and layout?

Yes for sure. Each mobile device platform is different, making it is challenge for us all

Where do you see the use of Testimonials from experts in your email Plan.

This is a great way to drive people from the awareness phase into consideration

Do you have anything geared towards B2B than B2C?

Yes! I spent over five years on B2B work. Email me offline

My niche market is mostly 40-50 year old women does this apply to them as well? I doubt most of my demographics are using twitter and using iphones to check the emails?

absolutely! You have one of the best and most fun audiences to message to. Your audience is absolutely all over Twitter and iPhones -- Get a Twitter account or Facebook and you will see

What are effective strategies for small companies

Tough question to answer in small space. Email me offline and let me know what you are looking for

Do you think we'll be able to distinguish between mobile and non-mobile emails - either as the sender or the user? That is, I'll have a unique email addy for my phone vs. my laptop -

You most likely already do have a unqiue address. The easiest way to do this right now is to change the "view this as a webpage" messaqge on the top of your email to "view this on a mobile device"

a comment on video in email. if you want to engage across platforms then you really shouldn't put video in your email. send the subscriber to youtube or your webpage to watch!

Actually, the best practice is post the video on youtube and put a teaser to it in the email

I have seen email come through from electrolux, and all of the images were displayed even with my "do not display" turned on. Is there a new technique for doing this?

it is possible if they are certified by goodmail

Are there any companies - such as Constant Contact - who provide a 'new' e-mail service?

Not sure what you are asking here -- can you please clarify?

Udeme: What is the best strategy to involve video marketing to more email marketers to keep CAN-SPAM compliance?

Video marketing has nothing to do with CAN SPAM -- it is simply s technical limitation in some cases. Check with your ESP for guidance

what tactics does zinio use to increase the newsletter subscriber list?

We use everything we can! We are always testing sources to look for highly qualified and engaged digital readers

How can we balance the new trents, such as catering to the mobile device users, etc. when you also have to reach out to a largely rural audience that is not technically-savy?

Good question. The best thing to do is to tailor messages for your audience. If they are not ready for bells and whistles - stick with what works

what can you do to better integrate social hooks into your emails?

Try adding "share this" into your emails and see what happens

What are the usage stats for email (and social media) for the aging boomers and the current oler set of 68 & older?

Email David Daniels and Jupiter- he has the best stats on this

What suggestions do you have for practically getting feedback from unsubscribers to see what alternate ways they might be open to communications?

Posting on linkedin, twitter or facebook and simply asking

anyone have the silver bullet in regards to email rendering across multiple handheld platforms?

Check with Pivotal Veracity or ReturnPath for this

Most of my clients use Outlook 2007 AND blackberries. Outlook 2007 have posed enormous problems for us and have limited the creativity that we've been able to implement. HOw can we find out what the standards and limits are for mobile devices and email clients?

Check out free whitepapers at http://emailexperience.org

FYI I heard about this presentation through one of my friends on Twitter. Wow this presentation is dead on.

Everyone should read this guys message: He heard about this presentation on Twitter! See... I'm not lying :-p)

Should you do email marketing regardless of how many subscribers you have? Or do you feel you need a minimum number before you start.

If people are expecting to hear from you via emai, you should email them, even if it is a small number. It keeps your company top of mind.

where can i buy a targeted email list

There are many reputable companies out there. Post a question on the "unoffically eec group" on facebook for the best results

wat's ur recommendation for inactive wanna-b's?

An invitation to a user feedback session in return for some time of value based compensation

How about seniors 60-75? are they as mobile as younger people?

Yes, almost as much. There is a good bit of research out there than can help you with speaking to this audience technically

How does the future of email marketing differ in a B2B environment?

Very silimar believe it or not. B2B is actually a bit ahead of the curve

My takeaway from this is that marketers must return to creative thinking -- ideas like the Sea World, Trip Advisor examples -- to maximize this "medium." E-mail and Social present unlimited opportunities -- much more than print or broadcast -- for creatively engaging prospects and customers. ESPs need to offer more in the way of content consulting and creative strategies to help drive effective use.

You said it!

What is a resource for purchasing email lists for businesses?

There are many reputable companies out there. Post a question on the "unoffically eec group" on facebook for the best results

All marketing in the future will be niche-marketing, increasingly, going forward. How do you see that combining with long overdue changes in American consumption patterns

It's a perfect match - we will consume what we feel is valuable to us at the time we want it

what is jeanniey's twitter url?

empg

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeanniey Mullen

Jeanniey Mullen, a recognized women-in-business and tech, is known for her entrepreneurial style and her ability to build, shape, and grow brands into well-known dominant, successful entities. Jeanniey is a pioneer in email, mobile, and digital marketing; publishing; and brand-building. She now leads her own agency, YellowBean LLC, focused on assisting companies of all sizes with driving innovation and growth. Most recently, Jeanniey was the Global EVP, CMO, and subsequently Chief Growth Officer for Zinio, where she worked to define and implement strategies creating explosive growth through strategic partnerships with publishers, technology companies, brands, and consumers during her five-year tenure. Jeanniey has authored and contributed to multiple books, blogs, and magazine articles. She is a regular columnist for ClickZ, a blogger for Huffington Post, and a frequent keynote speaker. A serial networker, in 2005 Jeanniey founded the Email Experience Council, which was sold to the Direct Marketing Association in 2008. She sits on the Advisory Board for IndieFlix, and on the International Executive Council of the Internet Marketing Association. Jeanniey is recognized as both a Top CMO and Top Author on Twitter, and was most recently featured as Mover and Shaker by the Professional Woman's Magazine, and a featured Woman in Technology by The Legacy Series Magazine.

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