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EMSA 2011 Panel Homework!

At the Email Marketing Summit Australia (EMSA) this year the day ended with a panel session where delegates could ask any questions they had about email marketing.

After the panel ended I made it my mission to do some homework on a couple of items that I promised to follow up.

EMSA panel

Forward to a friend links

A delegate asked about the legality of ‘forward to a friend’ links. The panel answered this from the simple standpoint stating there really was no legal issue with forwarding emails to friends, whether that be using a forward to a friend link or simply hitting the forward button.

However after sleeping on it I believe the question may have been alluding to what you can do with the friends’ email addresses collected as a result of a send to friend campaign. In that case, if your organisation is saving the friends’ email addresses and contacting them later without first getting their permission, then this would be considered spam (Also storing all those friends’ emails would need to be handled carefully from a privacy perspective).   

Here are some ways you can leverage your send to friend promotions:

  • Email the person immediately after a “send to friend” to introduce your company, and the fact they were referred by a “friend” to decrease any friction.
  • Get permission at that point in time, don’t wait.
  • Ditch the email address if there is no response.  Don’t be tempted to try again.

Remember there is no relationship and you need to promptly establish clear permission if you want to communicate with these people.

Impact of the priority inbox 

The second question I looked into further was along the lines of “what is the impact of Gmail’s priority inbox on email marketing?”

Here is a bit of background for those not aware of priority Inbox. The priority inbox automatically organises your incoming mail into three buckets: 1) Important and unread, 2) Starred and 3) Everything else.  I came across this blog post from econsultancy which was very helpful.

Gmail’s Priority Inbox uses certain features to decide what emails are important to the recipient. The features themselves include social, content, thread and label. Below are some hints on how to try and increase customer engagement within the confines of Gmail’s priority inbox.

  • Social Features – Degree of interaction between sender and recipient. Gmail looks at the amount of emails the recipient has received and compares this with how many are opened or clicked.

    What marketers can do?
    Segment your database and identify people who rarely read your emails and reduce the mailing frequency to these people. 

  • Content Features  Gmail looks at what the email contains measured against how the recipient has responded to similar content in the past.

    What marketers can do? Have relevant and enticing content. If you are a good email marketer, and get high response rates from your campaigns, your content features will be more positive than negative.

  • Thread features – This looks at an email thread (who was it started by, did the recipient reply). A marketing message will not generally be replied to. This could be used by Gmail to differentiate what a personal email looks like as opposed to a commercial one.

    What marketers can do? This one is a little more difficult. You could start by not having a ‘donotreply’ as your from address.

  • Label features  –  These are the labels the recipient places on the messages, and are by far the most powerful of all the features.

    What marketers can do? Have relevant content to increase your chance of being labelled by a user. 

If you have any other questions that you didn’t get a chance to ask at EMSA or even if you just have a burning question about email marketing let us know. 

Posted by:
Belinda Walsh
Marketing Manager
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