Archive for the ‘Email Marketing’ Category

DKIM, DMARC and email delivery

April 16th, 2019 by Heather Maloney

The methods to secure email delivery have improved significantly over the last few years in order to combat the growing impact of email scams. It is now very important that your email security methods are up to date to ensure the highest delivery into your customer’s inboxes.
DKIM and DMARC for email deliverability

DKIM stands for DomainKeys Identified Mail. It is aimed at ensuring that only authorised senders and unmodified emails are delivered to email inboxes, by digitally signing your emails with a private key to which only authorised senders have access. Then upon receiving the message, the email gateway of the recipient checks the key by looking up the domain record, and ensuring that the signed email content hasn’t been altered. ‘DomainKeys’ refers to a pair of cryptographic keys – a public key which works together with a private key only known by authorised senders. You can read more about DKIM here: dkim.org

DKIM works hand in hand with DMARC. DMARC stands for Domain Message Authentication Reporting & Conformance, and comprises a record on your domain which works alongside your digitally signed emails to give email gateways a method of informing you when problematic emails, with your domain as the sender, have arrived at their email gateway. The DMARC record gives you the ability to not only be informed when there is something phishy going out allegedly from your email address, but also to tell email gateways to drop (delete) the email without sending it on. You can read much more about DMARC here: dmarc.org

Implementing DKIM and DMARC involves the following steps:

  1. Generate a DKIM key pair – this can be performed using a service such as DKIMcore.org
  2. Generate a DMARC record – this can be performed using a generator such as those promoted on the dmarc.org website. Initially you should configure your DMARC record such that all emails are passed through, no matter whether they are from an authorised sender… more about this in a moment. One of the DMARC settings is an email address to which all reports about the sending activity of your domain are sent. You will likely receive lots of emails to this email address, so choose this wisely.
  3. Add a TXT record for your DKIM Public Key to the DNS of your domain. You may need to ask your web host for help to add the record.
  4. Add a TXT record for your DMARC to the DNS of your domain. You may need to ask your web host for help to add the record.
  5. Ensure that all mail gateways, email services providers (such as Enudge) and SaaS platforms that send out email on your behalf are configured with your private key, to be used to digitally sign your emails as they are sent out.
  6. Test that all emails sent out by you and other parties pass the DKIM and DMARC tests. You can test your emails using a service such as www.mail-tester.com
  7. Monitor the emails coming to you in relation the DMARC, in order to ensure that all valid emails are being digitally signed. You will want to monitor for some weeks / months to give it enough time to check all the services sending on your behalf. Ultimately you will want to quarantine, and then drop, unsigned emails, but only once you are sure that all authorised emails are correctly signed.

If you would like our assistance to arrange DKIM certificates, and setup your web server and other senders to use DKIM, please don’t hesitate to get in contact.

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The Latest Email Campaign Design trends

January 18th, 2019 by Heather Maloney

Design trends are a favourite topic for discussion at the start of each year. However, what is possible in the design of an email campaign is significantly constrained by email programs used by the recipient (or at least, the lowest common denominator of email clients). Email design must also ensure a great experience for those reading on a mobile phone, as well as a desktop computer; as of June 2018, 46% of all emails are opened on a mobile phone(1).

Emails from major brands continue to be highly designed, and consist predominantly of all images. It seems that the major brands expect that their customers will open and download the images so that they can actually see the email, without any further encouragement. Less popular brands and professional organisations, however, would be well advised to intermingle images with text and colour blocks that appear without image download, to entice the recipient to read with more than just the sender’s name and subject line.

One of the most popular design trends in emails is including animated gifs to entice curiosity and therefore click through to the organisation’s website. Animated gifs can also be used to better explain concepts inside an email; a picture tells a thousand words. Because you want the animation to surprise and delight, using them in every email you send runs the risk of becoming predictable, so mix it up.

It is also important to note some difficulties with animated gifs inside emails:

  • Unfortunately Outlook 2007, 2010 and 2013 do not support animated gifs, and will show the static version of the animation by presenting the first frame of the animation. That means you need to include all the important information in the first frame, to cater for the high percentage of users still using these versions of Outlook (approximately 8% of the global population).
  • Many frames and complex animations will cause your images to get very large, very quickly. So you should stick to very simple animations.
  • It takes more design skills to create great looking animated gifs, compared to a single static image.
  • Accessibility for the visually impaired can also be an issue. Consider slowing down rapid frame rates, depending on the image.


(image courtesy of Review Australia email)

Including live content in the body of your email – think live results from a poll, count down to the end of a sale or ticket availability, latest content shared by other customers, current weather, something happening close to the location of the opener. Live content is information that is updated when the recipient opens your email. This tactic, if used to provide richer, more relevant experiences for your reader (not just used as a gimmick) will significantly increase the engagement of your audience and possibly aid in community building, and will cause an increase in the number of times that an individual opens the same email. Live content is being seen increasingly in social platforms e.g. Facebook Live where users are streaming video from an event. Live content is also a tactic that you will want to make careful use of, as it can backfire if the live content rarely changes, is of poor quality, or is uninteresting.

The use of live content is likely part of a cross-channel marketing campaign. For example, a physical event, involving sharing of content online, with online ads pointing to the website, and an email campaign promoting the event before, during or after. This trend of co-ordinated marketing across multiple channels has been a goal for marketers over many years, but made difficult by disparate systems. As technology integrations proliferate some of these difficulties are being removed, and the end consumer is seeing the same message in more places, with great effect. Delivering a co-ordinated marketing campaign across multiple platforms – ads, website, emails, offline marketing – requires a lot more design effort and co-ordination across multiple teams in larger organisations, but will produce significantly better results than a message only distributed in one channel.

If you would like help to use any of the above trends in your email marketing, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

(1) https://litmus.com/blog/email-client-market-share-trends-first-half-of-2018

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The Evolution of the Tech Behind Digital Marketing

October 2nd, 2018 by Dave O'Dwyer

Google recently celebrated its 20th birthday. Over it’s short lifetime it has become an indispensable tool that millions of people rely on everyday. Can you imagine life without Google?

Digital marketing has also developed in capability over the past 20 years. Once it was enough to simply have website, and perhaps a well-placed banner ad. However technology and consumer expectation has evolved, and there are a multitude of new ways to reach consumers.

Targeting.
You might think of Google as a search engine, but at its core, Google is the world’s most effective advertising platform.

Have you ever wondered how Google (or Facebook etc) manage to show you ads that are startlingly relevant to your needs? They use thousands of data points on every single one of us to help target the best audience for advertisements. Just like your Facebook stream is personalised to you, so are the ads you are shown on Google, based on your search and browsing history.

For advertisers it can be quite cost effective to advertise on these platforms, as your ad is only being shown to the audience you’ve selected, and that the platform calculates is most likely to respond to your ad. With Pay Per Click advertising (PPC) you only pay when a user responds to your ad, minimising wasted budget on uninterested people.

People use Google when they are hunting for a solution to a need. They are often ready to act, so ensuring your product or service is displayed is critical to marketing your business these days. Underneath the paid ads are the organic search results – the best ranked matches for a search. This is why Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is crucial for most businesses online. You need to be there when the consumer is ready to act, and SEO is the craft of optimising a website to rank as top answers to valuable consumer questions.

Personalisation.
Do you have a mailing list signup on your website? Perhaps you send an email every month or so, keeping your customers up to date with your business.

No longer is it enough to send out a general email newsletter to all your subscribers. Consumers expect advertising and messaging to be relevant to their needs and interests. Have you ever bought clothes online? You’ve no doubt received follow up email campaigns that showcase other items you may like to purchase, based on what you have browsed and purchased before.

Their digital marketing platform tracks not only what you purchase, but also what you’ve looked at and added to your cart, and uses that data to build a profile on you in order to send an individual email – just for you. This is dynamic personalisation and email marketing automation, and it’s a core part of modern digital marketing.

However it doesn’t end there. You may go back to the website, and the homepage banner is also relevant for you, and other users who are part of your segment.

A segment is a collection of people that fall under a certain category – gender, age, time since last purchase – there are endless ways we can use data to make offers and messaging more relevant. In fact, segmenting your data is the best way to help keep a positive return on investment for a digital marketing campaign. Your aim is to send the right offer, to the right person, at the right time, at the right price.

Retargeting.
Perhaps you’ve looked at a product in a website but didn’t purchase. Sometimes, ads for that product seem to follow you around the internet – on other websites and social media, or you might receive an email reminding you to complete your purchase. This is called retargeting.

Retargeting is a very effective way to help persuade consumers who have shown interest, but haven’t yet purchased, or taken action. Because the re-targeting is only advertising to visitors that have already shown some interest, it keeps the costs down and the conversion rate up, leading to excellent return on investment for these campaigns.

The always on generation.
That phone in your pocket is more than just a device for phone calls. It’s your 24 hour portal to the internet. As this has become the standard, consumers also expect businesses to cater for them at all times of the day.

So how do you handle this expectation? A recent trend has been the introduction of helper chat popups on websites that can answer consumer questions at any time of the day. These popups can provide customer service using pre-populated answers, or alert you if a potential customer has a query. They are cost effective and can help convert visitors to customers by enabling excellent, on demand customer service.

As technology advances, so does the way we do business online. Above are just a few of the recent trends in Digital Marketing. If it’s been a few years since you have had your site built, or tried a digital marketing campaign, call us today on 03 8525 2082 to arrange a free consultation in order to assess your business needs, and determine cost effective digital marketing strategies that can make your business stand out online.

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Implications of the new Privacy Act on Email and SMS Marketing

February 13th, 2017 by Heather Maloney

privacy act changes and email and sms marketing Okay … this may seem a little dry, but hang in there; we will get to the nitty gritty as quickly as possible.

Email and SMS marketing in Australia is not only impacted by the Australian Spam Act 2003, but also the Privacy Act 1988 (as amended by the Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Act 2012). The Privacy Amendment Act came into force on the 12 March, 2014 and created a single set of Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) applying to both Australian Government agencies and the private sector, with some special situations for the medical profession. Whilst the Privacy Act does not apply to small businesses (those with an annual revenue of less than $3,000,000), it is best practice to adhere to the legislation regardless of your size.

As I see it, the most important change in the Privacy Act was more stringent disclosure about where your data can be stored, and ensuring that government agencies do not store their data offshore except in some very specific situations. NB: if you do provide your data to offshore organisations, you are responsible for ensuring that they do not breach the Australian privacy principles.

When undertaking email and SMS marketing, in order to comply with the Privacy legislation we recommend that you:

  • Use eNudge, because your data is stored on Australian servers, not off-shore and because eNudge makes it easy for people to un-subscribe (this requirement is now included in both the Privacy legislation as well as the Australian Spam Act).
  • Only store in eNudge the information that you absolutely require in order to be able to personalise your messages and analyse your campaign results.
  • Do not store or personalise on government identifiers e.g. tax file numbers and the like.
  • Document and follow your privacy policy, and have it easily accessible via your website.
  • Include a link to your privacy policy within your email message – your email footer is the best place for this.

What should be in your privacy policy?

  1. The kinds of personal information your collect & keep.
  2. How you hold it e.g. with eNudge you might say that your information is stored in a secure online database, within Australian servers, and only accessible by appropriate employees.
  3. For what purpose you collect, store, use and disclose the personal information, and most importantly, identifying where the disclosure may take place overseas including identifying the country.
  4. How a person can view & request correction of the personal information you are storing about them.
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Online Technologies to consider for your business

May 30th, 2012 by Heather Maloney

The following online technologies have broad application across many industries, to help you increase awareness of your brand, products and services, strengthen relationships with existing customers, build community around your brand, position you as a thought leader in your industry or area of expertise, increase sales, and generate more leads.

Do a mental stocktake on how many of these technologies you are successfully employing:

  1. website – there are some businesses that still don’t have a website, or have a site that presents their organisation in a poor light, so I can’t leave that off the list. Your website may have more than one objective – make sure that it’s achieving your goal/s, whether that’s to generate leads, automate distribution of valuable information, build your credibility, facilitate sales…
  2. email marketing – despite the scourge of spam, and how long this medium has been used, it’s still the greatest tool of many of our clients for generating sales and enquiry, increasing customer retention and providing better service. You should encourage visitors to your website to register for your regular emails, but also promote this through offline channels (think business cards, brochures, invoices…).
  3. SMS marketing – a well executed SMS campaign can generate an immediate response. Of course, as per email marketing, you’re going to be obeying the Australian Spam Act to the letter, so an SMS won’t be a surprise to your customers.
  4. blog – pointing your readers to your website’s blog will drive traffic to your site (where hopefully they will explore more than your blog, or read related posts and add their comments), and allow them to interact with you and others on your chosen topic. It has the added advantage of being great for your rank in the search engines, especially if you choose your topic heading well and utilise social media and SEO friendly URLs.
  5. social media – dubbed “the personalisation of business”, the astute use of social media can help your organisation connect on deeper levels with your customers, understand your customers better, build community around your brand, and establish you as a thought leader within your industry or area of expertise. And it doesn’t have to take up vast amounts of your precious time.
  6. pay per click online advertisements – for the right category, a well written online ad linking through to a strategically written landing page, can be very productive for generating sales and enquiries. Social media and the proliferation of rich information about the website visitor’s preferences and behaviours, now provides the opportunity for very targeted ads.
  7. video – a powerful medium for connecting with a wider audience. Video allows you to convey your message much more richly than text and imagery.
  8. mobile applications – the use of mobile devices to browse the web and carry out web based activites has increased exponentially over the past few years. Every B2C website should strongly consider having at least a mobile friendly version of their website. Apps provide a unique opportunity to deliver market leading tools, build loyalty, and increase customer retention.
  9. online surveys – don’t groan! These used a strategic points in the delivery of customer service, or customer enquiry, can allow you to deliver the right clients to your sales team, and gather rich information about your customer’s desires.
  10. QR codes – a smart phone readable bar code allowing you to quickly take a customer to your web page after they scan the code you’ve placed in your email, on your printed poster, on a billboard…

When employing these technologies, you should endeavour to link them together to gain cost effectiveness, richer engagement and provide a consistent message across all fronts. They should also reflect your offline marketing.

If you would like to discuss the appropriateness of any of the above technologies for your business, and exactly how it could be used for your benefit, feel free to get in touch.

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How CNET setout to refresh their list

February 7th, 2012 by Heather Maloney

It got my attention, so I thought I’d share with you the recently distributed “database refresh” message sent out by CNET to try and get their audience to read their messages or re-engage.

The subject of the newsletter below was the first thing to get my attention. It read: “Is this goodbye? CNET will miss you.” I couldn’t help wonder what it was all about, as I skimmed that subject line (I skim due to the volume of email I receive on a daily basis). In an instant, they had piqued my curiosity and I found myself opening their email!

CNET list refresh email

Next, I saw the big CNET logo, and then I read their first paragraph, where they explained that they “loved it when I would click “open” on their emails” and that they wanted me back. Cute. The rest of the email was very simple, and set out to show me why I should be opening and reading their emails based on the value they provide. So, now that their brand is firmly back in my mind, I may well open more of their emails in future. 🙂

What do you think of this strategy? Have you used a different “list refresh” strategy or had someone use a successful one on you?

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Landing Page Design Trends for 2012 – Website Magazine – Website Magazine

January 17th, 2012 by Heather Maloney

Following the key points described in the article below will benefit the design of your home page, landing page, or email marketing campaign.

Landing Page Design Trends for 2012 – Website Magazine – Website Magazine.

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What does the EOFY and the ski season have in common?

July 4th, 2011 by Heather Maloney

What does the EOFY and the ski season have in common?

Answer: an opportunity for a seasonal promotion!

How many end of financial year sale emails did you receive?  How about special offers for the start of the ski season.  Do you have your end of ski season campaign planned?

Significant dates in the calendar are increasingly used as an opportunity to run a special offer in order to get some mind share and perhaps market share of your audience.  My view is that there should be a link between the actual date and your offer, but perhaps something unrelated can be give a quirky twist and get your audience's attention that way.  What do you think?  Share with us on our blog if you took up an EOFY sale!

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Social Media doesn’t kill email; it becomes an amplifier for the message

May 29th, 2011 by Heather Maloney

Social media amplifies your email messageI read the above statement in an article on Business 2 Business Community on the topic of 2011 PR Trends: Email and Social Engagement. The author was saying that the ability to engage with your audience through email isn’t diminished by the advent of social media and sites such as Twitter and Facebook, but instead the engagement can be augmented by making it easy to share your email message via social media as well.

A couple of years ago, we added Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter icons to images available in eNudge and suggested that you should use these to point people to your organisation’s presence on these social sites (review our June 2009 newsletter). Sharing your email content in this way requires you to hyperlink the icons to a version of your email message that you have placed on your website. However, to make this less work for you, we’re considering adding the ability to insert automated links to “tweet this” and “share this on Facebook” to your eNudge email messages. That will allow your contacts to share an online version of your email message (of course without the personalised content) which will be hosted on the eNudge server; a bit like the functionality to “View this email in a browser”. So that we can gauge interest, please let us know by commenting on our blog if you would like the social sharing functionality added!

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Having a One on One Conversation

August 10th, 2010 by Heather Maloney

Personalising your email or SMS messages in a useful way will help your contacts to feel like you are having a one to one conversation with them, and will help them feel like a valued client, not just one of the masses.

So what do I mean by a “useful way”? It’s pretty easy to add the firstname to your message – people expect that level of personalisation even in what is obviously a bulk email send now. What is useful for your clients / customers is going to be different from another organisation, but here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

  • expiry date of your customer’s account / subscription
  • number of loyalty points they currently hold
  • address and contact details that you currently store on file for your contact (ask them to update you if the details have changed)
  • last item that the customer purchased online (so that you can ask them what their experience has been like with that product, or you can ask them to rate your customer service during the transaction).
  • We’d love to hear what other ways you can imagine personalising your messages – reply to this post below.

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