Wizemail provides email marketing software solutions and e-shot HTML templates to a wide variety of clients - SMEs, Corporate and Digital Advertising Agencies alike – all with one common requirement, a dynamic, professional, digital marketing team on hand when required.

At least weekly, one of the Wizemail team will post a tip, trick or general email marketing advice here.

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  • Impressions From Your Email Campaign Jul 31, 2020

    I was once tested to be a presenter on TV. Nothing dramatic, just the occasional few seconds on local news giving brief bits of information to people who were not really interested. We were given a list of things to consider. They were not necessarily what you might think would concern a presenter.

    I did everything wrong initially. Despite having shaved in the morning, about 10 minutes before the test I went off and shaved again, even to the extent patting on a little bit of aftershave. Yes, I know, I hadn’t quite cracked the medium.

    I was told that I looked too pristine. Oddly enough, it was a look I was trying for; not only had I ironed a shirt specially for the presentation but had only put it on after I had shaved the second time. The very pleasant videographer said I looked scary. Viewers, it seemed, wanted somebody who was so confident in their ability that they did not have try too hard. Most remarkably, I was told I should not have overdressed as it was essential that the viewers could relate to me within the first few seconds.

    How can you put over the same feeling in a marketing email, especially as you have only a few words to do it with? One way is to be informal. I was told to smile and say Hi! You might think the smile is a bit beyond you, but it can be inferred from the nature of the copy and, if you pick them with care, the images. The whole tenor of the email, from colours and overall design, should be bright, cheery and give the impression of muted confidence.

    A casual and careless impression, whether you are appearing on video or an email, is something that takes study and practice. You surely belong to other email marketing lists, so read them carefully, identifying those which make you feel you might like the person at the other end. That’s the image we all should be aiming for.

    Don’t preach, don’t tell, don’t try and impose your feelings on your subscribers. Get them to relate to you.

    [​IMG]
  • Understanding Metrics And KPIs Post Lockdown Jul 30, 2020

    Your business circumstances have changed. The email marketing world post lockdown will ensure that, not only for you but for the subscribers to your email marketing lists as well. Carrying on as before is not an option. Your working practices will have to change to cope with the enforced new reality.

    Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and metrics depend a great deal on comparisons with those gone before. In a world where many companies will be chasing subscribers to email marketing lists, the cost per lead is likely to increase. By how much is anybody’s guess at the moment. You might feel that now is the time to make educated assumptions, so for a while all the metrics will show is whether or not your guesses were correct. For an indeterminate period, obtaining the returns will be all you can usefully do.

    Some will probably remain at the old levels. Traffic to lead ratio is probably one of those, as if someone visits your website, or clicks through to your landing page from a newsletter, the percentage you turn into conversions is likely to remain more or less the same. On the other hand, return on investment will probably take a hit in the short term.

    Returns from your email marketing software might well give indications as to the likely changes that you can look forward to. For instance, certain products might well be less popular than before. On the other hand, those items which still sell strongly, perhaps even increase, will give you a clear signpost as to where you can expect profits to come from initially. Do you concentrate on the positives or go after rebuilding the sales of those products not selling so well? It’s a difficult choice, and one that might be critical.

    To put it simply, for many KPIs and metrics it might well be a case of starting over. It’s possible that you will look back at your pre-lockdown unsubscribe rate as the good old days given the probable high unemployment levels.

    I don’t particularly like the term ‘new normal’, but it’s a pretty good basis on how to treat your old KPIs and metrics.

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  • Choose Your Images Wisely Jul 20, 2020

    Everybody loves a bit of unconscious irony. A company called Missguided, which sells clothing and accessories for women, ran a marketing campaign on London Underground and train platforms. This is always a risky step. Go a little too far with suggestiveness and complaints are almost a given, or rather received.

    There were two images which were subject of complaints. The first featured a model wearing a short wrap dress which displayed cleavage and legs from the mid-thigh. The complaints were not upheld, the ASA finding that the advert focused on the model in general and not on any specific part of the body, and was unlikely to be seen as objectifying the model or all women in general.

    The other image had the same model wearing sheer tights, high heels, and an unbuttoned jacket with nothing on underneath. There is more detail on the ASA’s report https://www.asa.org.uk/rulings/missguided-ltd-cas-590439-h2c7q4.html. It was decided that the model would be seen as being in a state of undress and the focus was on specific body parts, details in the link.

    Missguided’s defence was in two main parts: female empowerment, they suggested, was extremely important and both outfits would allow a woman to stand out in a crowd, and be bold and brave. Such a defence depends on subjective opinion. One might have felt that on the second part they were on firmer ground in that the advert had complied with, to use their own adjective, the stringent approval process of the Committee of Advertising Practice Copy Advice team, and that the adverts under scrutiny were similar to industry norms.

    The decision of the ASA in upholding the complaint against the second image raises the important point that they are not bound by the decisions of the CAP. In other words, it’s down to us.

    It’s a very fine line they’ve drawn between the two adverts and, as always in such cases, their decisions might be open to argument and dispute. However, what it does show is how careful we must be in choosing images of similar subjects. Female empowerment is not a get out of jail free card.

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  • Solving The Problems Of Your Subscribers Jul 20, 2020

    You’ve got your own problems. Haven’t we all? You, no doubt, want to concentrate on finding your own solutions rather than getting bogged down with someone else’s concerns. And who could criticise you?

    Well I will. Your function, whatever it is that you sell or produce, should go some way to solving the problems of those on your email marketing lists. Solutions sell. If a potential customer is in difficulties because they don’t know how to respond to, for instance, the limitations imposed by a strict budget, then if you can offer them something at a price they can afford. you’ve probably made a sale.

    There’s only one problem with this answer to all your problems and that’s that you don’t know what your customer’s current challenges are. The solution is, of course, to discover what’s bugging them. There are three main ways of going about this: asking them directly, deducing from the data on your email marketing lists, or setting up a click through which will indicate where they feel their needs are.

    Asking someone what their problems are does not give dependable results. They are likely to lie. To say you have been unable to cope with a particular challenge is to say, clearly and precisely, that you have in some way failed. People don’t like doing that. I bet you don’t either.

    We have oodles of data on our subscribers that can, and normally does, define that person sufficiently to target them for an email marketing campaign. It not only gives personal data, such as age, but also shows their likes, dislikes, and preferences. It’s marketing gold of course. However, the recent changes in working and living conditions due to the lockdown and its fallout mean that our data is no longer as accurate as it was. We need to update it, and rapidly.

    The most accurate way of discovering what’s bothering a particular person, or indeed group of people, is to have a simple click through on a marketing email or enewsletter. If someone chooses that landing page, they’re interested.

    Most commentators will suggest that normally you concentrate an email marketing campaign solely on completions as anything that dilutes this target is likely to mean fewer sales. Come to think of it, I’ve said that. But the critical point is the word normally as it means that you can go outside those limitations if there is a need to. The changes brought on by the Coronavirus response, I’d suggest, comes within that criterion.

    The two extremes in the ways to discover what problems they are experiencing is to be subtle or overt. I am all for overt. If you want to know whether, for instance, photocopying costs are something particular subscribers are struggling with then a brief article in an enewsletter, headed ‘Hidden Office Costs’, with a click through to ‘Ways to cut photo copying costs’ will give you clear and precise indicators as to what might be useful to offer in your next email marketing campaign. Try it, and do it now.
  • Re-evaluate Your Email Marketing Data Jul 20, 2020

    The value of the data that you obtain from your email marketing campaigns, and that of your subscribers’ reaction to newsletters and browsing, is that it allows you to predict to a very high level of probability. This means you can segment your email marketing lists into groups which will act similarly. It is the one thing that allows you to dominate in a market where unpredictability means lower returns.

    As with so much in business life, it’s not that straightforward. We are all aware that behaviours have changed considerably during lockdown and that many suggest this will continue in the short/medium term, which will render a lot of your data inaccurate. That’s not to suggest it will be useless. You need to work out what still applies and where you need to change.

    It would appear that as the number of people working from home has increased, most suggest substantially, so has online behaviour. WhatsApp keeps telling me that both my two daughters are online at the moment, which is quite unusual given their normal reticence in replying immediately. Does it apply to your subscribers?

    Those on your email marketing lists might be more susceptible to adverts on social media. Some websites are showing a substantial increase in visitors and online completions while others have shown just the opposite; which applies in your case?

    You may well see factors which attract your subscribers to a greater extent than before. This will be shown in your returns of course, but this change will be hidden to an extent by the overwhelming returns of the pre-lockdown email marketing campaigns. It needs to be acted upon now rather than waiting until the evidence becomes overwhelming.

    Separate the pre-lockdown results and data with that which is currently coming in. Data, as always, shows the way but it must be interpreted rather than just accepted at face value. In essence, nothing has changed for us in any way as we monitor behaviour of our subscribers but we need to take into account any change by monitoring and interpreting the evidence.

    Anything else would not be email marketing.

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  • What To Include In End Of Lockdown Email Jun 30, 2020

    If you have an inbox, it will come as no shock when I tell you that mine is creaking under the weight of Covid-19 related emails. I don’t want or need to be asked ‘How are you?’ any more. I can understand that companies want to appear as if they are concerned, or doing their bit to help, but I’m not interested in repeated messages, nor bland questions. Just convey the information.

    Now things are, possibly, changing in the near future, you will have to decide whether and when to send an information email to let your customers know what your plans are. Here are some ideas.

    Send emails only when you have something positive or informative to say that will interest your subscribers. Just telling them that lockdown’s ended is not enough. They’ve read that themselves and now they will be wondering how it will affect them.

    If you are aware of how your customers and subscribers to email marketing lists have suffered during the lockdown, and you have plans which will help them, then they might well be grateful for your help. Promote your company.

    Many of us have closed our counters, or had restricted hours and access. If you are now opening up, even if only to a greater extent, they will probably want to know, and you will want to tell them. Do so in a bright and positive tone.

    If the raising of lockdown will mean that some of your systems, processes or product ranges will be changing, then that’s a message they should hear, and probably before it happens. If it could cause them problems, apologise, and provide a solution. Don’t prostrate yourself at their feet; just say briefly that you, like most other companies, have been forced to do so.

    Don’t send useless information. I’ve had lots of examples of this, but my favourite has to be being told that the company will continue to have its staff work from home. Its purpose remains unfathomable. It could be that they intended to irritate me, and if so, they succeeded.

    Tell them from the off, possibly in the Subject Line, that the email is for information only. ‘Important information about changes in billing’, that sort of thing. If it’s not important, don’t send the email.

    Be personal, just as you would in an email marketing campaign, by using their preferred name, and by making the tone and subject just right to gain their interest. It would be a mistake not to segment the email marketing list just because you are not selling anything.

    And as you are not selling, ensure that readers can take in the content quickly and easily, with bold headings so that a paragraph can be ignored if they feel it isn’t relevant. It should be easy to read and easier to skim.

    Don’t prattle on. Please.

    Get them on board by asking them for ideas on what changes you can implement to help them when lockdown finally ends. They are unlikely to reply, but you never know.

    [​IMG]
  • Working From Home Post Lockdown Jun 30, 2020

    A recent survey suggested that most people are of the opinion that once lockdown is lifted, the ‘new normal’ will be substantially different to the normal it replaced. There might be an element of wishful thinking. If your staff has worked from home, something email marketing lends itself to, then they might not want the benefits to be taken from them. This can work in our favour.

    There are downsides to homeworking. The one most often quoted is difficulties concentrating when the children are at home, although this, presumably, will go when lockdown’s lifted. It’s one I sympathise with after one summer spent revising for a vital exam.

    On the other hand, upsides are numerous. Many work for us, such as commuting distances not being such a factor. Where your potential and actual staff live has been limited by infrastructure. If you opt for working from home three or four days a week, the pool of recruits is expanded enormously. On top of that, you can choose between better staff or pay less as the lower costs of commuting will not be a factor. Why didn’t you think of it before?

    There’s evidence that absenteeism is higher amongst those who commute long distances, and those with domestic limitations are likewise less dependable. Two subtle positives. A more significant one is that organising a germ-free office is easier and cheaper.

    Working from home for employees in email marketing was increasing, albeit slowly, in the pre-pandemic world. It seems likely that many such trends will speed up. There are other factors to consider, such as smaller premises, lower heating costs, no longer having to have your premises near transport links; i.e. in the most expensive locations.

    There has been a significant increase in the sale of laptops, you know, the type you might think are best for dispersed email marketing. There’s no immediate need to rush. However, there is an urgent need for an outline plan at least.

    Expectations of staff might well have changed. Middle management, the bastion of conservatism with working practices, has come over to the idea of working from home being of benefit. It’s something to consider. Now!

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  • Subscriber List Building Post Coronavirus Jun 30, 2020

    Oscar Wilde once said that most of us suggest we adhere to our morals and ethics, but when tempted, we struggle, and fail, to conform. The Liar’s Paradox. He said it more succinctly, in six words, but that’s like him; he was too clever by half.

    You might wonder what one of the greatest playwrights in the English language has to do with email marketing, and the answer is very little practically, but his ‘I can resist anything but temptation’ is apposite for us. Post Coronavirus, things are going to be tough. It will be tempting to cut corners, to speed up acquisition and concentrate solely on numbers of subscribers.

    The total of your email marketing list is an easy measure of progress. How reassuring would it be to double the monthly take-up just when others are struggling? However, now is not the time to turn rogue.

    You have, probably, built your own list organically. You’ve honed your methods over the months and years, and know when you’ve done well because the dependable figures bear this out. You should feel proud of your achievements. Risking your funds by buying risky email marketing lists is as much a waste as before, probably more so now because money is tight.

    You might go through your systems to see if there’s any fat you can trim. You know you should have done it sooner, but you didn’t have the time. Not something you can use as an excuse now. When checking the sign-up process you will see the double opt-in which you know means that some who go through the first part fail to do so in the second. You even know the exact number of failures.

    Don’t change it. It’s there for a good reason. It’s spring, time to clean your lists, getting rid of bounces, unsubscribes, those you could not reactivate and the few who’ve given you grief re complaints. And don’t hide the unsubscribe button.

    Our systems have proved themselves over time. Trading conditions post-Coronavirus are going to make these processes essential and not an option. It’s not a paradox; it’s patently true.

    [​IMG]
  • Don’t Abandon Trusted Methods Jun 30, 2020

    That there are testing times ahead for everyone in email marketing is probably an understatement. ‘Probably’ is even a little doubtful as there’s no doubt we are all going to have to be at our sharpest in the weeks to come. At least it’ll be exciting. What we must not do is to abandon trusted methods in a frantic rush to increase returns. The situation doesn’t affect the trustworthiness of data.

    The first hurdle to clear is email deliverability. If changes are started in a rush, there’s the risk of making matters worse. Go through the normal checklist of methods and content. The old truths remain, and the first requirement is to have a unified approach with a consistent presence throughout your business, whether online or not.

    There might be a temptation to modify messages. For instance, should you be reassuring and exude confidence on your website, as, indeed, most companies seem to believe? You might not even mention Coronavirus. I’m fed up with it, and popups and banners with reassurances of everything going back to normal are all but invisible. Make your dependability clear in subtler ways.

    There’s the idea of putting some urgency in a marketing email by ramping up fear of missing out. After all, the emergency will cause shortages, right? Even if it is possible, don’t give into the temptation. Your customers will doubt you if it’s contrary to what most are saying.

    Coronavirus is of concern to many people, perhaps the majority, but using it merely as a meme to encourage those on your email marketing list to open an email betrays their trust. The Subject Line must relate to content. It’s about as true a truism as they get, and for a good reason.

    You will want to tell the subscribers to your email marketing list that you are able to weather the storm. You’re taking their money. However, don’t waffle on in lots of words. You will have tested your image/copy ratio and found the optimum one. Stick with it.

    The same goes for frequency, an easy subject to ignore when it comes to email deliverability. This might be because it is open to variation. If you have a campaign that lends itself to such tactics, you can up the rate for a short time, but that would be for specific purposes only. Got a backlog of stock that’s cluttering your shelves? It would be better to increase choice, either in the marketing email or as a click-through. Upping the frequency for no other reason than you want to sell is a risk.

    Frightened of an upsurge of unsubscribes? You probably are. However, the way to counter this is not to hide the unsubscribe button in small type in a coloured box in the bottom corner. You must continue to play fair. It’s brought you success so far.

    You not only have sales to secure, but your reputation as well. Don’t abandon your principles. They have served you well over the years and now is, if anything, a time to reinforce them.

    [​IMG]
  • Don’t Abandon Trusted Methods Jun 30, 2020

    That there are testing times ahead for everyone in email marketing is probably an understatement. ‘Probably’ is even a little doubtful as there’s no doubt we are all going to have to be at our sharpest in the weeks to come. At least it’ll be exciting. What we must not do is to abandon trusted methods in a frantic rush to increase returns. The situation doesn’t affect the trustworthiness of data.

    The first hurdle to clear is email deliverability. If changes are started in a rush, there’s the risk of making matters worse. Go through the normal checklist of methods and content. The old truths remain, and the first requirement is to have a unified approach with a consistent presence throughout your business, whether online or not.

    There might be a temptation to modify messages. For instance, should you be reassuring and exude confidence on your website, as, indeed, most companies seem to believe? You might not even mention Coronavirus. I’m fed up with it, and popups and banners with reassurances of everything going back to normal are all but invisible. Make your dependability clear in subtler ways.

    There’s the idea of putting some urgency in a marketing email by ramping up fear of missing out. After all, the emergency will cause shortages, right? Even if it is possible, don’t give into the temptation. Your customers will doubt you if it’s contrary to what most are saying.

    Coronavirus is of concern to many people, perhaps the majority, but using it merely as a meme to encourage those on your email marketing list to open an email betrays their trust. The Subject Line must relate to content. It’s about as true a truism as they get, and for a good reason.

    You will want to tell the subscribers to your email marketing list that you are able to weather the storm. You’re taking their money. However, don’t waffle on in lots of words. You will have tested your image/copy ratio and found the optimum one. Stick with it.

    The same goes for frequency, an easy subject to ignore when it comes to email deliverability. This might be because it is open to variation. If you have a campaign that lends itself to such tactics, you can up the rate for a short time, but that would be for specific purposes only. Got a backlog of stock that’s cluttering your shelves? It would be better to increase choice, either in the marketing email or as a click-through. Upping the frequency for no other reason than you want to sell is a risk.

    Frightened of an upsurge of unsubscribes? You probably are. However, the way to counter this is not to hide the unsubscribe button in small type in a coloured box in the bottom corner. You must continue to play fair. It’s brought you success so far.

    You not only have sales to secure, but your reputation as well. Don’t abandon your principles. They have served you well over the years and now is, if anything, a time to reinforce them.

    [​IMG]
  • There’s A New Normal For Email Marketing Jun 30, 2020

    Something rather unusual has happened to neighbours of mine, probably unique in a 50-mile radius. They’ve had a new car delivered. “One of the last before lockdown,” I was told, from a distance of some four metres. It’s one of only 871 private vehicles registered in April according to The Society of Motor Manufacturers, their figures showing a 97.3% fall in sales. It’s a near 30-year low.

    These stats triggered a thought in my mind. I’m not too sure what the definition of a buyer’s market is, but this has got to come close. Come September, I might look around for a bargain as I’ve got some money sort of saved from my aborted holiday, burning a hole in my current account. The same might go for those on your email marketing list.

    People have stopped buying certain products, those they feel they can do without in the short term, and then there are luxury products, left alone because ‘one never knows’. It’s what we’re are all moaning about. Those working from home are, by definition, working and, presumably, earning as well, and that’s good news.

    It’s an unreported circumstance, but at the end of the Second World War those having been called up were released, demobbed in the parlance, with a lump sum. Given that, for some, it was after six years of enforced military life, it wasn’t particularly substantial, but most of them would have lived a parsimonious life through the depression of the 30s. Suddenly there was a shortage of luxury items. For instance, the price of radiograms (look it up) increased overnight.

    With money saved from fares and casual purchases in malls, people will have bulging pockets, or at least full ones. After months of enforced economy, what are they likely to do? The general mood seems to be one of expectation of the lockdown being lifted, so people are in a positive frame of mind, and maybe even in the mood for something to reward themselves with.

    There is an opportunity there, one that would be a shame to miss. Start planning now. There might be a radiogram revival you need to plan for.

    [​IMG]
  • How To Plan For Email Marketing Post Lockdown May 29, 2020

    First the good news: none of your competitors know what’s going to happen to email marketing post lockdown. They are as in the dark as anyone. The government refuse to predict and most of their pronouncements are historical; interesting but not really what we want to hear.

    A post lockdown marketing plan is probably under consideration by most companies and it would seem that those who get the answer right will have a distinct advantage. Is it just a matter of pot luck? The answer is probably – that word again – not, as we have plenty to go on for pointers as to how circumstances will change.

    You’d think that for many, after being cooped up in their house for weeks, the first thing most will do is spend a few hours wandering the galleries of the local mall. Yet there seems to be an assumption than on-line trading will continue at a high level for some time post lockdown. The logic is persuasive. Coronavirus is unlikely to cease to be a threat for some months and crowded areas will continue to give a risk of infection.

    If you think it probable that, for your particular sector of the market, current consumer behaviour is unlikely to change significantly in the short to medium term, there are some preparations you can make now. Have your customers experienced delivery problems? Don’t forget, they may well have accepted late or mistimed delivery as just one of those things one has to endure, rather like you have done. If so, now is the time to discover cause and, at the very least, put plans in place for a solution.

    One thing I’ve noticed is that some SMEs are experiencing what, I’m told, is ‘technological shortfall’. Their computer systems can’t cope. If you’ve had this problem, it’s time to accept that it won’t go away magically once lockdown is lifted. Sort them.

    It’s going to be difficult to work out a plan given that so many of the variables are interdependent; change one slightly and another has to be modified and so on. I’m telling you what you already know. I’ll go out on a robust limb here and suggest that nothing will return to the old normal in the medium term.

    Some companies seem to be opting for inspiring messages across their digital platforms. It’s better than blaming what’s affecting us all, I suppose. I’m a supporter of consistency, but there’s a limit to how energised I can be before my morning coffee. Reality is underrated; so be honest.

    Most of us like clarity. Five minutes spent trying to work out what the writer meant is five minutes wasted. Use simple language, ensure your message is identical across all platforms – we’ve recently seen sufficient evidence of the problems caused when it is not – and be positive.

    All your plans should be based on the truism that we need to be flexible. This doesn’t only mean having alternatives, but also having tweaks to change for unpredicted circumstance. We’ll come back to this matter in the future. It’s in our plans.

    [​IMG]
  • How To Plan For Email Marketing Post Lockdown May 29, 2020

    First the good news: none of your competitors know what’s going to happen to email marketing post lockdown. They are as in the dark as anyone. The government refuse to predict and most of their pronouncements are historical; interesting but not really what we want to hear.

    A post lockdown marketing plan is probably under consideration by most companies and it would seem that those who get the answer right will have a distinct advantage. Is it just a matter of pot luck? The answer is probably – that word again – not, as we have plenty to go on for pointers as to how circumstances will change.

    You’d think that for many, after being cooped up in their house for weeks, the first thing most will do is spend a few hours wandering the galleries of the local mall. Yet there seems to be an assumption than on-line trading will continue at a high level for some time post lockdown. The logic is persuasive. Coronavirus is unlikely to cease to be a threat for some months and crowded areas will continue to give a risk of infection.

    If you think it probable that, for your particular sector of the market, current consumer behaviour is unlikely to change significantly in the short to medium term, there are some preparations you can make now. Have your customers experienced delivery problems? Don’t forget, they may well have accepted late or mistimed delivery as just one of those things one has to endure, rather like you have done. If so, now is the time to discover cause and, at the very least, put plans in place for a solution.

    One thing I’ve noticed is that some SMEs are experiencing what, I’m told, is ‘technological shortfall’. Their computer systems can’t cope. If you’ve had this problem, it’s time to accept that it won’t go away magically once lockdown is lifted. Sort them.

    It’s going to be difficult to work out a plan given that so many of the variables are interdependent; change one slightly and another has to be modified and so on. I’m telling you what you already know. I’ll go out on a robust limb here and suggest that nothing will return to the old normal in the medium term.

    Some companies seem to be opting for inspiring messages across their digital platforms. It’s better than blaming what’s affecting us all, I suppose. I’m a supporter of consistency, but there’s a limit to how energised I can be before my morning coffee. Reality is underrated; so be honest.

    Most of us like clarity. Five minutes spent trying to work out what the writer meant is five minutes wasted. Use simple language, ensure your message is identical across all platforms – we’ve recently seen sufficient evidence of the problems caused when it is not – and be positive.

    All your plans should be based on the truism that we need to be flexible. This doesn’t only mean having alternatives, but also having tweaks to change for unpredicted circumstance. We’ll come back to this matter in the future. It’s in our plans.

    [​IMG]
  • How To Plan For Email Marketing Post Lockdown May 29, 2020

    First the good news: none of your competitors know what’s going to happen to email marketing post lockdown. They are as in the dark as anyone. The government refuse to predict and most of their pronouncements are historical; interesting but not really what we want to hear.

    A post lockdown marketing plan is probably under consideration by most companies and it would seem that those who get the answer right will have a distinct advantage. Is it just a matter of pot luck? The answer is probably – that word again – not, as we have plenty to go on for pointers as to how circumstances will change.

    You’d think that for many, after being cooped up in their house for weeks, the first thing most will do is spend a few hours wandering the galleries of the local mall. Yet there seems to be an assumption than on-line trading will continue at a high level for some time post lockdown. The logic is persuasive. Coronavirus is unlikely to cease to be a threat for some months and crowded areas will continue to give a risk of infection.

    If you think it probable that, for your particular sector of the market, current consumer behaviour is unlikely to change significantly in the short to medium term, there are some preparations you can make now. Have your customers experienced delivery problems? Don’t forget, they may well have accepted late or mistimed delivery as just one of those things one has to endure, rather like you have done. If so, now is the time to discover cause and, at the very least, put plans in place for a solution.

    One thing I’ve noticed is that some SMEs are experiencing what, I’m told, is ‘technological shortfall’. Their computer systems can’t cope. If you’ve had this problem, it’s time to accept that it won’t go away magically once lockdown is lifted. Sort them.

    It’s going to be difficult to work out a plan given that so many of the variables are interdependent; change one slightly and another has to be modified and so on. I’m telling you what you already know. I’ll go out on a robust limb here and suggest that nothing will return to the old normal in the medium term.

    Some companies seem to be opting for inspiring messages across their digital platforms. It’s better than blaming what’s affecting us all, I suppose. I’m a supporter of consistency, but there’s a limit to how energised I can be before my morning coffee. Reality is underrated; so be honest.

    Most of us like clarity. Five minutes spent trying to work out what the writer meant is five minutes wasted. Use simple language, ensure your message is identical across all platforms – we’ve recently seen sufficient evidence of the problems caused when it is not – and be positive.

    All your plans should be based on the truism that we need to be flexible. This doesn’t only mean having alternatives, but also having tweaks to change for unpredicted circumstance. We’ll come back to this matter in the future. It’s in our plans.

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  • There’s A New Normal For Email Marketing May 29, 2020

    Something rather unusual has happened to neighbours of mine, probably unique in a 50-mile radius. They’ve had a new car delivered. “One of the last before lockdown,” I was told, from a distance of some four metres. It’s one of only 871 private vehicles registered in April according to The Society of Motor Manufacturers, their figures showing a 97.3% fall in sales. It’s a near 30-year low.

    These stats triggered a thought in my mind. I’m not too sure what the definition of a buyer’s market is, but this has got to come close. Come September, I might look around for a bargain as I’ve got some money sort of saved from my aborted holiday, burning a hole in my current account. The same might go for those on your email marketing list.

    People have stopped buying certain products, those they feel they can do without in the short term, and then there are luxury products, left alone because ‘one never knows’. It’s what we’re are all moaning about. Those working from home are, by definition, working and, presumably, earning as well, and that’s good news.

    It’s an unreported circumstance, but at the end of the Second World War those having been called up were released, demobbed in the parlance, with a lump sum. Given that, for some, it was after six years of enforced military life, it wasn’t particularly substantial, but most of them would have lived a parsimonious life through the depression of the 30s. Suddenly there was a shortage of luxury items. For instance, the price of radiograms (look it up) increased overnight.

    With money saved from fares and casual purchases in malls, people will have bulging pockets, or at least full ones. After months of enforced economy, what are they likely to do? The general mood seems to be one of expectation of the lockdown being lifted, so people are in a positive frame of mind, and maybe even in the mood for something to reward themselves with.

    There is an opportunity there, one that would be a shame to miss. Start planning now. There might be a radiogram revival you need to plan for.

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  • How To Comply With ICO Working From Home May 27, 2020

    It might be fair to say that many email marketing companies view the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) with a degree of trepidation. They take pleasure in listing the latest penalties they have imposed on their website. It’s enough to make anyone nervous. However, they normally also list the criteria they will use to judge you, with the implication that if you comply, then any penalty is likely to be light.

    Any company with lots of personal data, such as email marketing lists, that has been forced to use remote working due to the current crisis, will be concerned as to a fine should the worst happen. That’s not to mention the harm to the company name. To their aid comes an ICO checklist. https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/working-from-home/working-from-home-security-checklists-for-employers/

    This has two main purposes important to us:

    1/ It provides an easily understood framework for companies to limit the risk of loss of data if a number of staff are workings from home, and

    2/ It gives clear indicators of what the ICO will check if they are considering a prosecution for a breach of regulations.

    It gives general principles: you need clear policies and procedures, current processes, informing staff of the requirement for unique and complex passwords, and have multi-factor authentication in place. One thing not mentioned is the requirement for records of having complied.

    It’s fairly straightforward and is only stating what we all should be doing. If not, you need to keep up. It follows a number of specific subjects, and these are dealt with in some detail.

    Bring your own device (BOYD) is covered, although mainly by saying there are different approaches for you to consider. If provides a handy comparison of systems; https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/working-from-home/bring-your-own-device-what-should-we-consider/ Pick which you think is best, with recorded reasons.

    Most will be a little concerned about cloud storage. There are, however, distinct advantages to having central remote storage for data so limiting the amount staff using their own devices will need to store. The ICO also provides detailed downloadable pdf guidance for cloud storage https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/1540/cloud_computing_guidance_for_organisations.pdf

    The vulnerabilities of remote desktop are explained together with ways of negating them, such as disabling accounts after a number of failed attempts to log in. It’s all fairly basic. There are just three matters listed for you to cover.

    Remote applications, which give staff working from home access to corporate applications they require, are the matter of the final heading. One of the concerns is staff using their own applications to process personal data and sensitive communications. Again, there are just three matters for you to cover.

    The final subject matter of concern is, rather ironically for us in email marketing, is the expected increase in email as a method of communication both internally and externally. There’s a link to the National Cyber Security Centre’s advice on defending against phishing attacks; see https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/phishing

    Despite the raising of a few of the imposed restrictions, some form of working from home will probably be on going for those companies engaged in email marketing. Not only that, you might find the new systems advantageous. Take on board the ICO’s advice.

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