Ross Kramer takes a look at what the Internet Retailer Top 1000 are sending

As an Internet Retailer data partner, we track and share statistics on the email marketing trends of the retailers who make the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide and Second 500 Guide. 

Lately CEO Ross Kramer has been taking a close look at what those leading retailers are doing as we enter the holiday season, and recently reported his insights for Internet Retailer

Client AddThis Shares Deliverability Success Story

The following blog post originally appeared on September 29 and comes to us from Listrak client AddThis. Stay tuned for more! 

How We Increased Our Email Deliverability from 50% to 99%

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Email is an essential part of how we, at AddThis, communicate value to our community. One of the most difficult challenges we were facing was that over half of our emails were not being delivered to our subscribers. Among many things we did, one of the most important steps we took was cleaning our list—a practice you should consider doing regularly.

Cleaning Our List is a Must

I knew list hygiene was important, but I didn’t know how important. In one sense, repeatedly sending emails to invalid addresses or (even worse) spamtraps can hurt your IP’s reputation, which can lead to a worsened reputation and deliverability lowering. In the end, your emails may not be reaching as many inboxes as you wish.

Deliverability is a big game, especially as your email list grows. The bigger your list gets, the more you have to pay attention to these details to keep your deliverability high. Not all the emails you send will necessarily arrive in the individual’s inbox.

Over a year ago, we had an approximate 50% deliverability rate—yep, that means about half of our emails weren’t making it to the inbox. And that sucked. What’s worse is if you’re using a third party (which most people do), you’re paying for the emails sent—not the ones being delivered. I’ll let you do the math on that one.

So I can’t stress enough how important it is to keep your list nice and tidy. To start, we hired an independent company to clean up our list, ridding it of any obvious invalid addresses and hard bounces, without having to experiment under our own IP.

We also knew that doing this every so often would be a nightmare, and not cost-effective, so it was important to have an email service provider that has the ability to keep lists clean as a basic feature for all customers. This means it automatically unsubscribes hard bounces, soft bounces (after a set amount of time), and those who manually unsubscribe from the list.

We’re not in the perfect state yet; we’re still learning how to best maximize our campaign sends and messaging. But as we learn interesting nuggets, we’ll be sharing them with you to help you in your own campaigns.

Are there any other tips you’ve learned in your own email campaigns?

Halloween hitting my inbox

Donna Fulmer

Last week it was reported that retailers will begin promoting the holidays even earlier this year, and judging by my inbox, that includes Halloween, too. It’s not even October, and this is what I’ve begun to see: 

On 9/19, with the (Halloween-less) subject line Smart HDTVs from $368 and more super savings,Walmart sneaked in its first mention by featuring this at the very bottom of the email below.

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One week later, on 9/26, Halloween made its way to the top of the email (with the same creative as above) and into the subject line Get spooky with it - from $2.50!

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Also on 9/26, Pick Your Plum sent this creative email with the subject line Get Your Spooky On! 

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And on the same day, this one, with the more curious subject line Bone Up - 69% off!

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Then on 9/28, I received this from Listrak client Naturopathica with the simple subject line Treat Yourself. To be honest, I’m not 100% sure that it’s a reference to Halloween, but I would not be surprised, as it is in line with the understated, elegant style that is this merchant’s trademark. 

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On the same day, I was a bit surprised to receive this from ideel with the unbelievably long subject line Holiday Preview, Cosabella Up to 70% Off, Kenneth Cole, Dresses Under $30, Structed Shoes & Accessories, Chelsea Crew, Jack Spade Tory Burch, and more

It seems that ideel, which previously dropped the “i” from the end of its name, may have decided to drop Halloween this year, too … 

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What are you seeing that’s interesting in your inbox? 

Key Takeaways from the webinar Season’s Best: Proven Email Strategies to Ensure a Profitable Holiday Season

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Today we presented another webinar in our holiday series featuring Listrak Customer Relationship Manager Kaye Peloquin and special guest Sucharita Mulpuru, vice president and principal analyst with Forrester Research.

Below are some key takeaways that were tweeted during the presentation. A link to the webinar on-demand will be posted shortly.  

Read more

Email Treats for Halloween

For retailers, Halloween might be called the unofficial first “holiday” of the holiday season. But what if you don’t sell costumes, candy or seasonal decor? With a little creativity you can still take part in the fun, delight your customers and bring in some revenue: 

No costumes? No worries! In this creative promotion, Aerie urges the shopper to be her “boo-tiful self” and sets the percentage off and timing of the sale to match the date.

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Rather than relying on “scare-city,” Lands’ End gets shoppers’ attention with a big BOO! and then treats them to a promotion that continues for days after jack-o-lantern candles have gone out.

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In another great example of “No costumes? No worries!” AEO merchandises outfits that eerily resemble some well-known spooky characters.

Although they likely don’t have caramel apples or candy corn on the menu, On the Border still finds a way to get in on the Halloween action with this genius promotion. 

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We love how Little Caesars uses reverse psychology to “frighten” visitors into subscribing. Just think how many busy parents are looking for a quick and convenient dinner to serve before their little goblins hit the streets. 

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And finally, AC Moore simply uses the occasion as a reason to reach out to subscribers with nothing more than well wishes, which is sometimes just the perfect treat. 

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For some additional tricks, check out this post from SEO PowerSuite. 

Ross Kramer explores The Beauty of Browse Data in an article for Multichannel Merchant

Today, Multichannel Merchant published an article penned by Listrak CEO Ross Kramer that explores a few of the many uses for browse data.The opportunities he outlines include:

- Triggered remarketing campaigns

- Marketing emails

-  Back in stock alerts 

- List segmentation

You can read the article here and find out even more details in Listrak’s latest whitepaper, Bringing Browsers Back: How to use Browse Data to Create Personalized Recommendations.  

Webinar: Season’s Best - Proven Email Strategies to Ensure a Profitable Holiday Season

Have you signed up for the next in our series of holiday webinars? There’s still time! 

On September 23, join Listrak and our special guest, Sucharita Mulpuru of Forrester Research, for the webinar Season’s Best - Proven Email Strategies to Ensure a Profitable Holiday Season. 

In 2013, 16% of all holiday eCommerce sales were generated through the email channel, and that number is trending upwards. In this hour-long presentation, Sucharita, Forrester VP, Principal Analyst, will provide an overview of the current state and importance of email marketing as we enter the holiday season. Following, Listrak will present an overview of the best of the best ideas for maximizing holiday email strategies, including: 

- acquisition

- remarketing

- winback

- data-driven personaliziation

Register today. 

What’s in my inbox?

Travis Buck, Creative Director

Recently I received this clever email from Ann Taylor. It’s a simple short sale promotion but the design and use of animation really made it stand out. The design is very simple but the idea of an input field really enticed me to click, almost expecting that I’ll be able to type something and click “GO”. That’s the simple beauty of it. There’s no need for a “shop now” call to action.

Another creative email I received was this re-engagement message from Urban Outfitters. The text message theme is very clever and the overall design fits right in with their usual off the wall style. I like how the two calls to action are integrated into the text conversation. One of them is actually an unsubscribe link. It may seem counter-intuitive to reduce your list size. However, sending emails to subscribers that want to receive your emails will produce higher click-through rates and increase your ROI.

How to Optimize Your Email Marketing Strategy with Data

This blog post from Listrak Channel and Customer Marketing Manager Kate Lowry was co-authored with Emma Tzeng, Content Marketing Manager at Gigya. Gigya helps businesses acquire and know their customers by registering users across devices, consolidating data into a single customer view, and integrating into marketing applications.

The volume of email hitting subscribers’ inboxes is on the rise and is at its peak during the holiday season. Last year, nearly 30% of all US email volume occurred during the holiday season, which was an increase of nearly 13% over the previous year, and even more is predicted for this year.

No wonder consumers feel overwhelmed. In fact, 45% report email overload as a reason for not opening an email.

So how do you get your message across to the overwhelmed, indifferent masses?  The answer lies in first party consumer data and email personalization.

Read more

What Makes me Click: 4 Tips for Creating Scrolling Emails

By Jerica Reddig, Listrak Marketing Intern 

Today we present this season’s last blog post from Marketing Intern Extraordinaire Jerica. We have enjoyed her lending us her fresh perspective on the consumer’s take on what’s in her inbox and hope you have, too! Join us in wishing her the best for this coming school year. We hope to see her back in our offices - and on our blog - again soon! 

“Above the fold” is a phrase that originated in the newspaper industry and refers to the space that is above the crease in a newspaper. The principle - to put all important content “above the fold” because that’s what consumers will scan to see if it’s worth buying - has been used for years. Yet with social media, like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, users are forced to scroll down for more content, which means it’s okay – and sometimes preferable – to send scrolling emails. Well, as long as you follow these four guidelines:

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