Tags: 2015

Inbox Placement Rates 2015: Detailed Analysis

Inbox Placement Rates 2015: Detailed Analysis

Beyond • December 31, 2015

A common point of failure for most of the marketers is why their campaigns didn’t succeed. Lack of awareness often costs email marketers in the form of lower open rates and reduced ROI. Every year Return Path does the analysis of inbox placement rate. Inbox placement rate measures the percentage of emails landing in your subscribers’ inbox and not in spam folders or otherwise undelivered. According to “Deliverability Benchmark Report 2015” published by Return Path, one of the five messages sent failed to reach the inbox. Email volume has gone up by 7% from last year, but only 79% of commercial emails lands in the inbox. Moreover, the global inbox placement rate has gone down by 4% compared to 2014. In other words, there are more and more emails but fewer of them reaches the inbox. Inbox placement rate by country The largest drop in deliverability is for the U.S., where inbox placement rate has gone down to 76% compared to 87% in 2014. Not reaching the inbox means one in four emails either go to spam or blocked by mailbox provider. Brazil has shown significant improvement as their inbox placement rate is up by 74% compared to 60% in 2014. Among European countries, only Italy has shown 2% increase from last year. Significant downfall in inbox placement rate was seen for Germany, France and the UK. However, for Spain rate remains unchanged. Australian marketers enjoyed higher inbox placement rate of 88% in 2015. Inbox Placement rate by industry  The report also provided stats by industry and most industries show declined or flat inbox placement rates. However, relationship-based industries such as health & apparel, food and beverage as well as insurance have maintained good inbox placement rates of about 90%. While manufacturing, software and the internet industry have also gained some improvement. Based on mailbox provider Interestingly, the report also revealed that deliverability is particularly worse with Yahoo Mail. Inbox placement rates have dropped by 13% this year and marketers find it tough to reach their subscribers. Gmail has maintained the same rate as emails were routed to the promotion tab. Campaigns that tried to bypass the promotion tab in order to reach the primary tab have often landed to spam folder. Marketers should stop this approach as open rates for the promotion tab have increased up to 20% this year. Why marketers are not making into the inbox? Analysis has shown that most marketers are not aware of the new metrics being considered by mailbox providers. For better inbox placement rates, they must consider these new deliverability rules. Low read rate by the mailbox receiver (26% of campaigns affected) – ISPs have indicated that their filtering decision depends on the percentage of mailboxes reading your email. Sending to subscribers that don’t engage can cause delivery issues. Spam Complaints (21%) – This is the oldest metric used for years and still hasn’t changed. A complaint is recorded every time a user marks an email as spam. In particular, mailbox providers look at complaints from live mailboxes and some feedback methods like Microsoft’s sender reputation data (SRD). Mailing to abandoned inboxes – According to the report, about 19% of campaign face this problem. If you mail to inactive accounts it gives a negative signal to the mailbox providers and tends to fall under into their spam filtering algorithms. Inbox placement rates fell in 2015 from 2014. Possibly because marketers have overlooked the recent evolution. The first step in conducting any analysis of campaign performance is to know how many emails never reach the inbox. By monitoring your inbox placement rate, you get a better understanding of your email campaigns and it gives a reliable platform to optimize your email program.


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Heart of Business Round Table: A Look Back & A Look Ahead

Heart of Business Round Table: A Look Back & A Look Ahead

Beyond • December 22, 2015

We sat down with Benchmark Email CEO Curt Keller, VP of Marketing & Sales Jose Hernandez and Director of Design TJ Taylor to talk about the advancements in email marketing that we saw in 2015. We also took a look ahead at 2016 and made some predictions for what we expect. It was a good wrap moment to end the year as we took stock of how far email marketing has come in twelve months and we left excited for the year to come. Listen and enjoy.


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Innovation in Thought Leadership a Coveted 2015 Business Goal

Innovation in Thought Leadership a Coveted 2015 Business Goal

Beyond • January 29, 2015

If innovation is the ability to think and create differently, then the 2015 business challenge is to push it out of business practices and into the realm of business campaigns. In the New Year, it’s not just good enough to be innovative in your day-to-day business – nor is it enough to innovate internally with business practices in either creativity or productivity. The new frontier of innovation is thought leadership. It’s about pushing outside of your business to see how you can be creative and think differently as a thought leader. Enter Frances Mazur, owner of Mazur Group, a Los Angeles-based executive recruiting firm for the beauty industry. Recently featured in the February 2015 issue of Success. Mazur created a conference called Beauty Biz Roundtable that not only gives her access to a wider pool of recruits, but it also created “added value for clients in the form of speaking opportunities [and] elevated industry presences.” For Mazur, thought leadership is about creating an industry rather than just being in it – which is what her conference does. It’s an anchor and a direct line that not only cultivates the Mazur Group as a leader, but which also serves a practical business purpose. But Mazur isn’t the only one getting a jump start in innovative thought leadership. Castlewood Treatment Center, which treats eating disorders, already pushed the thought leadership envelope in late 2014. They started by breakthrough campaign called #NoFilter, the idea behind it being to encourage social shares of your true authentic filter-free self. Even though neither the campaign nor the hashtag is specifically eating disorder related, the association is a powerful one that has spearheaded Castlewood as a thought leader in eating disorder awareness, alongside the social factors that trigger or cause relapse – such as societal obsession with “perfection” and impossible standards. With #NoFilter, Castlewood dominates conversation in a real setting with real people, getting both social shares and dialogue on a subject they’re passionate about raising awareness for. The campaign wins because it’s not self-promotional; rather, it promotes social knowledge and acceptance effortlessly through being present on the social media channels that people already flock to. On the subject of going to where people are rather than trying to get them to come to you - which by the way is why email marketing works - another innovative thought leadership success story is found in Greenpeace USA. As featured in the winter issue of Fast Company, Greenpeace’s new executive director Annie Leonard, confesses to arriving at a similar realization. In an article titled “Sustainable Storytelling,” Ariel Schwartz writes how “nearly a decade ago, Leonard was giving a presentation at the Rockwood Leadership Institute” that really drove the point home when it comes to effective communication. Leonard continues the story, “I used my most data-filled, technical, sophisticated jargon…at the end, one guy – who was really smart – said, ‘I have no idea what just said.’ I realized you have to talk to people where they’re at, not where you’re at.” Enter sustainable storytelling. Leonard took the innovative trend of storytelling and used it to drive a point home with her audience and get a major world-renown company to stop doing business with another major world-renowned company….and without ever having to petition for it. Leonard got Lego to “end its relationship with Shell after a Greenpeace-produced video of toy polar bears drowning in oil went viral.” No arms were twisted and no polar bears were hurt in the making of that video – but it still got a juggernaut corporation to pay attention and act favorably. And that’s really what innovative thought leadership is about. It’s not just a question of whether you have the podium and the attention of the audience – it’s about what you do with that attention.


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In 2015, the Challenge is Increasing Productivity without Losing Your Soul

In 2015, the Challenge is Increasing Productivity without Losing Your Soul

Beyond • January 28, 2015

We’ve all heard the tired workplace phrases like “optimize your time” and “prioritize your tasks,” and you’ve especially heard this if you’re in a bustling start up with a mountain of work teetering toward an avalanche. The challenge we’re faced with is to perform the impossible, to prioritize our time and optimize tasks when there just aren’t enough work hours in the day. If you factor in meetings, fielding questions, answering email and so on, the fact remains that you have a pretty limited bandwidth in which to actually work. And with productivity being a relentless buzzword in 2015 as it was in 2014, the question I predict that is going to run the gauntlet this year is: how do you increase productivity without losing your soul? “Losing your soul” is an important risk to mention. We can all increase productivity. We can show up to work earlier, stay later, eat lunch at our desk, web surf a little less, socialize with our peers less...and have a little less soul at the end of the day. The fact is you shouldn’t have to consistently and unreasonably come in earlier each day or stay later. This is important time you need to yourself, to pursue your passions or spend time with your family to unplug and recharge. You shouldn’t have to eat lunch at your desk. It’s important to get out of the office, get some fresh air, and be in a different physical space for a while – which is also why I’m suspect of any company that offers free lunch when we all really need that time away. Moving on, web surfing is an important task breaker that gives micro mental escapes from a series of tasks. It’s a privilege, that when treated with respect, shouldn’t be an issue for productivity. The 10 or 15 minutes you might save in a day when not web browsing isn’t worth what you’re losing out on – which is a chance to introduce a new thought or idea to your mind in the form of small creative interruptions that actually trigger productivity. It’s the same as getting up from your desk to walk around the building for a while – it’s something your mind needs … which brings us to socializing. Socializing with your peers is important for team building and creating rapport. Again, when done within reason, it shouldn’t take away that much time for your day. So we’re back at the question of how do you ‘optimize’ your day without sacrificing these small treasures that are part of creating a positive workplace environment. The dilemma for any company facing this problem is in finding a way to increase individual productivity without turning your workplace into a machine in which each person is little more than a cog. Across the good handful of companies I’ve worked with on consulted for, by far the most successful, effective and relaxed environments were those that offered limited task interruption. The ideal combination was an open work space (an open floor concept that encourages collaboration and synergy, but one in which there were set times for interruptions). This means that questions for team members were saved for meetings and project discussions were also saved for either email communication or meetings. The approach is successful for one key reason and that’s the limited level of interruption such an arrangement is able to ensure. You can read those emails at your leisure when you’re done with a task and meetings are something that can be planned for. Conversely, when each time a team member had to stop and address an outside question or task, they were set behind on their ongoing task by anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes, which doesn’t include the time it takes to mentally “get back into” what you were doing before. If productivity is the name of the game in 2015, find out what interruptions your employees are facing on daily basis and put an end to it. And if your team suffers from group think – something I discussed in an earlier blog post this week – then opt for an anonymous online survey by Survey Monkey. This way you’ll get real answers (and possibly even suggestions for solutions) without anyone being put on the spot or throwing others under the bus.


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6 Tips for Writing Your Own Copy in 2015

6 Tips for Writing Your Own Copy in 2015

Beyond • January 7, 2015

It’s easy to write content for your blog or website, but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy to do it well. Sure, anyone can sit down and pound out a blog post on how to unclog a drain or the dos and don’ts of making pastry dough, but the ability to simply do something is never any guarantee of quality. The unfortunate reality of a world focused on disciplines like engineering, technology, and medicine, is that developing writing skills seem to have taken a backseat to “more employable” and “more lucrative” pursuits (not that we have anything against engineers, tech innovators, or doctors). The good news is that there is, and always will be, a need for clear, clever, and engaging writers. You don’t have to have a degree in English to be a good writer (though it certainly does help), so we’ve put together a few tips to get you started writing your own copy. Too Much Branding No one wants to read a blog that only publishes overtly promotional posts. Describing what your new product can do is great, but it can be boring and probably won’t bring in visitors that aren’t already looking for your product. Follow the 80/20 rule – 80% of your content should be unbranded but related to your product offering, while the remaining 20% can be promotional. The trick is to figure out what your target audience is talking about and what they want to read, and then creating content that is actually useful. If you sell hardwood floors, don’t write a post about how great your floors are – try writing a post about how to choose the right wood color for your décor. Remember Your Audience Always keep your audience in mind when writing copy. Use keyword research and social monitoring to find out what they’re talking about and the language they’re using, then join the conversation. Don’t write an article for a homeowner looking to choose their own floors if your target audience is interior designers. Stay On Topic One of the first things any English major will learn is to be concise. High school teachers seem to love flowery, extravagant language, but most people prefer it if you get straight to the point. Make your point clearly – it leaves less room for interpretation and argument, and clearly sends the message you want to send. Choose one topic for each webpage or blog post. If you’re writing an article on how to choose the right floor color, don’t digress and talk about how to choose matching draperies. Save that topic for another post – that way, you end up with more content, and it’s usually better quality. Keyword Optimization Your copy should be optimized for your target keywords, but it shouldn’t be overly repetitive. Don’t force your keywords into your copy – let them flow naturally and your audience will thank you for it. No Personality The hardest part about writing your own copy, especially blog copy, is developing a personality. I find the best way to do this is to just start writing. Write how you would talk, get a first draft done, and then as you edit and proofread you can clean up the language. If you have a funny comment to make, make it! Always keep your writing politically correct. If you’re not sure whether someone will be offended by a particular opinion or joke, it’s best not to express it. The Biggest Mistake… The worst mistake a novice copywriter can make is to not proofread and edit their writing. There will always be a typo, inappropriate word, run-on sentence, or improper comma to fix, so always proofread your work. Edit it two or three times, and try reading it out loud before you publish it. That way, you can tell if your sentences flow together, if your point actually makes sense, and catch any wayward typos or grammar errors in the process. If you’re not confident with your writing skills, hire a professional copywriter. High-quality copywriting signals a high-quality product or service offering. Professional copywriters can help you craft creative copy that will attract new audiences and keep your current readers engaged and ready for more.


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