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Archive for the ‘Email Industry News’ Category

Email is still singingI sit on the IAB Email Council so am always really interested in the studies and research documents they produce.  The IAB are the trade association for digital marketing and they – in conjunction with iCD Research – recently carried out a survey of attitudes towards email marketing, levels of usage and preferred layout.

The results revealed that we should apparently be looking towards Amazon, Tesco and Marks and Spencer for inspiration when planning our email campaigns.  Around a quarter of consumers cited one or more of the three big brands as those they’d ‘most like to hear from’ via email, citing easy navigation and simplicity as the biggest draw in emails from marketers.  And here’s the good news for all of us in this industry we all know and love:  Email still resonates with consumers with a third of people having become interested in a brand or product they weren’t previously aware of as a result of an email.

Here are the key results the IAB and iCD Research recorded:

•    85% still see email as a vital communication tool
•    88% use their personal email accounts on a daily basis
•    66% like to hear from brands because they have good offers
•    60% used email to receive information from their favourite brands

In terms of what emails were the most popular, the survey revealed that simple, straightforward and useful emails with images and teaser texts were the most likely to be read. In short, the study proved that email is still very much a key player in our marketing strategy, but that we need to provide value, relevancy and a simple strong promotion to get the best outcome.  To view the research for yourself simply click here.

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Any email marketer will tell you how effective the email channel can be and you’d think that the three main UK political parties would be using the channel to entice voters ahead of this week’s general election in a big way.  From my experience, however this doesn’t seem to be the case.

Being in the email marketing industry I was curious to find out how easy the sign up process would be and what messages I’d receive from each party once signed up.

So how did the UK parties score on collecting email addresses and supporter information at sign up?

Labour –  On Labour’s official site they have a clear option to ‘Sign up for campaign news’.  On my laptop this is slightly below the fold so this could be moved up to make sure it’s seen by all.  You simply fill in your email and then are taken you through to a landing page where they cleverly capture more data – first name, last name and postcode. A short privacy statement is given so I know what will happen to my address.  All in all they seem to have got the sign up process sewn up but they should include an option to capture an email address on every page – it’s missing on their ‘Our policies’ page.

Liberal Democrats – The Lib Dems have included a ‘Sign up for Email News’ option on every page of their website. On some pages however it’s above the fold and others it’s shown below the fold. Perhaps they tested different locations to find a place that worked best on each page to attract the most sign ups? It can sometimes differ page to page so you should always test this. At sign up they also capture more data but not too much to put you off. The thank you page which is displayed after is well designed and encourages users to go back to the site.

Conservatives – On the Conservative’s website you are given the option to ‘Sign up for David’s weekly email’.  Using his name provides more of a personal touch and by stating the email frequency helps to control expectations . Subscribers need to know if you will send daily, weekly or quarterly. In addition to collecting – email, first name, last name and postcode they also asked for a mobile number. The Lib Dems did this too but the Conservatives win on this occasion by telling the subscriber what their mobile number will be used for with an incentive that the texts will be free – ‘We will send you free text alerts if you provide your number’.

Ok, so that’s the sign up process but how good are their email marketing messages?

Well, I only received an immediate welcome email from the Labour Party thanking me for signing up. Seven days later… i finally got a welcome email from the Lib Dems – too little too late in my opinion but at least they sent me something, unlike the Conservatives who promised me a ‘weekly email’. Nothing so far..

You’d think after the success Barack Obama had using digital methods as a means of engaging with voters that the UK’s parties would have learnt a lesson.  All the parties do seem to have embraced social media each having their own Twitter and Facebook sites however collecting supporter information and communicating directly via email doesn’t seem to rank that highly in my experience anyway!  But will the email marketing results be reflected in Thursday’s poll? Let’s just wait and see…

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DMA Email Marketing CouncilWe’re delighted to report that after a year working as a co-opted member of the DMA Email Marketing Council on the Best Practice, Data and Legal Hub, eCircle’s Managing Director Simon Bowker was elected yesterday as a full member of the council, joining friends and colleages in the industry to work together on helping the channel achieve its full potential.  The Email Marketing Council plays an essential role in championing email as a vital part of the marketing mix and produces best practice guidelines, research studies, data-driven reports and organising digital events for DMA members.

Other council members include:

  • Chair – Chris Combemale (The Email Academy)
  • Vice Chair – Skip Fidura (Dot Agency Ltd)
  • Simone Barratt (eDialog)
  • James Bunting (Communicator Corp)
  • Denise Cox (Newsweaver)
  • Guy Hanson (Database Group)
  • Kath Pay (Ezemail UK Ltd)
  • Matt Simons (Acxiom Ltd)
  • Sara Watts (Data Media & Research)
  • Jonathan Burston (CACI Ltd)
  • Richard Gibson (Return Path)
  • Rupert Harrison (News International Ltd)
  • Dela Quist (Alchemy Worx Ltd)
  • Tink Taylor (dotMailer)

Many thanks to those of you who voted for Simon and we’re looking forward to help promote email marketing best practice.

For more information on the council and its work, visit the DMA Website or subscribe to the DMA Email Marketing Council Blog.

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Etailer of the YearWe always keep up to date with the latest news from the ecommerce and online marketing field so were thrilled when we received the news that the Oracle World Retail Awards had announced their shortlist and that four of the six retailers were from the UK. And we were even more chuffed that two of the four UK front-runners, Argos and eSpares are eCircle clients.  The other shortlisted companies include Marks and Spencers and Ocado from the UK and Walmart and HSN.com from the USA.

Apparently this year’s awards have attracted a record number of entries from the biggest ever range of countries, reinforcing the level of creativity and innovation across retailers large and small across the globe.  How fantastic that UK etailers are really leading the way!

Last year’s winner was Zappos.com from a shortlist which included mydeco.com, Topman, New Look, Tesco and Italy’s Yoox.com (source: Internet Retailing)

We’re keeping everything crossed for Argos and eSpares and are sending all our good wishes for them for when the results are revealed at the World Retail Congress in Berlin on April 22nd.

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