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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  • Subject lines that guarantee things Sep 8, 2015

    There is no guarantee of anything in email marketing except, perhaps, that being dishonest in a Subject Line will lose subscribers. Is there anything you can do to increase your open rates?

    One way of looking at a Subject Line is as a newspaper headline. They have, in essence, the same function: to get people to read on. Different editors prefer different types and it is almost axiomatic that you can tell which paper your are reading by the headline.

    The variations are deliberate as they are meant to appeal to different sections of the public. Horses and courses. Read more >>
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  • Jumping off roofs Sep 8, 2015

    A professor of Colorado State University suggests, in one of the TedTalk series, that changing behaviour is much easier than changing attitudes. See:

    Her conclusions can be useful when planning an email marketing campaign as well as other advertising mediums.

    In an attempt to reduce carbon emissions, an advertisement pointed out that houses were responsible for 40% of energy consumption. It was shown that gaps in windows, etc, were a major cause of heat loss. Of those that read the evidence, just 20% followed the advice. Once it was pointed out that the various holes totalled the cross section of a basketball, 60% tried to eliminate the gaps. Read more >>
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  • 7 Design tricks for email marketing campaigns Sep 7, 2015

    The most useful lesson I learned at art college was that I lacked talent. I was in the same lectures as those with real ability, one or two of whom went on to be quite famous in graphic design. You'd think I'd stand no chance but I completed my course with distinction despite my potential being journeyman at best.

    My trick was to listen to my tutor, a chap who was moderately successful without setting anything alight other than his pipe. He gave me pointers, and I had the good sense to follow them. Here are those which are useful for email marketing design. Read more >>
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  • Balancing your sign up forms Sep 7, 2015

    On the one hand you know you should keep sign up forms for those subscribing to your email marketing list as short possible, and on the other you want to know everything about the person as quickly as possible. So you are in a bit of a quandary.

    It is easy enough to find extremes. Many companies limit the demand to just two boxes: name and email address. Others run to a dozen and even more. The question is, naturally, which is best for you.
    Read more >>
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  • Video revolution in email marketing Sep 3, 2015

    The promised flood of video in all things email has been a long time coming and has not yet arrived, much to the frustration of the pundits who promised it would. There are the first glimmerings though.

    The reason for the current take-up is probably the suggestion that video gives a significant increase in click-throughs and completions. The norm would appear to be around 20%, although some suggest considerably higher figures. It has not got to the stage where subscribers expect, at the very least, an animated gif but it would seem that sooner rather than later, a marketing email sans movement will be seen as old school. Read more >>
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  • Ready for a viral email marketing campaign? Sep 3, 2015

    You are almost certainly aware of Protein World’s Are You Beach Body Ready? advertising campaign. It is the most talked about and controversial, the two often going together, poster of the year.

    Unlike the country at large, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) were already familiar with the company, having considered and upheld at least nine complaints against them prior to this campaign, mostly claims as to the efficacy of their product and its health advantages. One might have expected them to be more circumspect. >Read More

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  • Precision Email Marketing - What’s it all about? Dec 7, 2010

    Fifteen years ago I used an approximation in an answer and my boss came back with: “About is not what we are about.”

    As he was about to retire, I felt an obvious cringe was not too risky but perhaps I was a little harsh as the phrase has stuck with me ever since. I’ve not been brave enough to use it in company but the need for precision is worth the sacrifice of a poor pun.

    Despite email marketing being generally considered the cheapest marketing method this is no reason to ignore sensible budgeting. The only real difference between it and any other type of campaign is the items that one should consider on each side of the account.

    To discover whether an email campaign was a profitable one needs to know not only the net profit, as discussed last time, but the full cost as well, i.e. when the latter is taken from the former. For the figure to be of any use both must be precise and one needs to beware of being overcome by the heady absence of the printing, stuffing and postage costs that one avoids in email campaigns.

    There are three main sources of costs: those that are preset, those that will vary according to how many emails are sent and finally, those that depend on the number and type of responses.

    Preset costs can be reduced by sensible management but do not depend on the number of emails sent in the campaign. These include the creative costs for the email and the microsite, that’s the page a customer lands on when clicking through. The Wizemail system of email templates is simple and straightforward but still requires a finite time for creation and this must be included in the calculation.

    The microsite costs would include the design and programming of this most important aspect of any campaign. Further, the site will need to capture the customer profile of those who do click through so the costs of database integration needs to be incorporated in the final figure.

    The other main fixed cost is associated with email lists. Some are obvious, those for list building, database management and testing, but others are more obscure. There is the cost of software and with that comes the irritation of specialised recruitment or skills training. Each email address has its own value and you would have already calculated how much each one costs to acquire and maintain.

    The costs of an email campaign will vary directly with the number of addresses used. The more addresses used then the higher the price. As each address has a value, each email ‘lost’ from the list during the campaign by opting out is of value. If using a bought-in list then each address has to be costed.

    Whilst in any email campaign success can be measured in the number of responses, each one requires servicing and therefore is an increase in the cost of the campaign. Whilst there is likely to be profit in each response it is essential to consider the expense of dealing with each of them.

    If you included a sweetener, a gift for responding, such as a percentage off their next purchase or a memory stick, it must be remembered that it is only free to the recipient.

    It should be clear that in order to assess the value of an email campaign, the whole of the outlay must be taken from the profit.

    Whilst the costs of each email marketing campaign is small compared to, for instance, one run on a postal system, the rewards are likely to be higher but it is essential to make a considered assessment of its worth.

    It is tempting to conclude this article as it was started, with a rather awful pun, but I will limit myself to suggesting that assessing the value of an email marketing campaign is all about precision.

    Wizemail - Professional Email Marketing
    t. 020 3086 9696
    w. www.wizemail.co.uk
    Free Email Marketing Trial (instant access)
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  • Email Marketing ROI :: is it all negative? Dec 7, 2010

    It is easy to get carried away with the cheapness of direct email marketing campaigns as compared to any other kind. It is even easier to get carried away with the cost vs response ratio. Any rational assessment seems like a list of negatives:

    • no insertion fees
    • no printing costs
    • no postage
    • no handling
    • no people

    It appears too good to be true. But it is not. It appears free. But it is not. What it is, is cheap but this does not mean the email campaign need not be costed.

    The way to judge any campaign is by the return on investment. This is not a simple case of income over expenditure as the intent of a campaign might well be more than just selling items for more than they have cost you.

    A simple way of assessing one’s ROI is to work out cost per objective. If the aim of the email campaign is to sell items then it is a case of working out how much the campaign costs and taking this from the sales profit.

    However, most campaigns will have more than one objective, and indeed probably should have. Whilst this might seem to complicate matters, if it is broken down into categories, things are simplified.

    One straightforward method of assessing the effectiveness of an email campaign is to divide the total cost by the number of responses. On its own this is not much use so there is a need to refine the data by sub categorising the responses.


    Examples could well be:
    1. the number of visitors to your site
    2. the number of responses generating a further enquiry from you
    3. the number of direct enquiries from potential customers
    4. those opting-in to your email list
    5. finally that Holy Grail of responses, sales
    There is no simple sales value one can place on most of these objectives so research is required to establish an evidenced value. If this isn’t completed then any conclusion as to the worth of your campaign is nothing more than a guess.

    You need to be able to estimate the value of each visitor to your site. How much this might be depends to an extent on the type of site you are running. If it is purely sales, then anyone visiting should be viewed as someone physically entering a real shop. If they leave without buying something then your site is not working effectively. If sales are ancillary to the main purpose of the site, for instance an educational resource, then returns can be expected to be lower.

    With regard to a sale, it needs to be established which was as a result of the email campaign and which was due to the effectiveness of the site. A customer on the email list buying the item specified in the email is a confirmed hit but it would also include any other items bought as a result of the visit to the microsite, or indeed, a similar item to the one which is the subject of the campaign.

    One would expect that conversion of enquiries into sales would vary depending on whether it is you or the customer initiating the contact. If it is the latter then the rate of conversion should be higher.

    Whilst the value for each opt-in to your email marketing list is a rather blunt costing tool, further analysis can refine it.

    The cheapness of bulk email marketing in comparison to other forms does not mean that costing and value should not be carefully assessed.

    Wizemail - Professional Email Marketing
    t. 020 3086 9696
    w. www.wizemail.co.uk
    Free Email Marketing Trial (instant access)
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  • Email Marketing :: are you a campaign manager? Dec 7, 2010

    It can be all too easy to get carried away with direct email marketing. It is so cheap to run that the temptation is to think that even if most of the effort gets no return then the outlay will be covered and a healthy ROI achieved. But the real cost of a poorly run email campaign is what the returns could have been.

    To ensure no regrets you must plan.

    Even the simplest of email campaigns will have a number of targets: open rate, click-through rate to the microsite, conversion rate to sales and click-through to the main site. Each of these can be precisely measured with Wizemail’s email marketing software. In addition secondary targets might well include opt-in rates to other segmented lists.

    With precise measurement comes the ability to improve and modify performance. If the open rate is lower than previous email campaigns the assumption will probably be that the subject line wasn’t sufficient to excite the recipient’s interest. This is not a total loss as one can split test the subject line of future email campaigns and re-send the original with the newly tested ‘winning’ subject line to those who did not open the first.

    Or, perhaps, the email campaign was sent at the wrong time or the wrong day. A manager trying to cope with a budget at the end of the month might well be more receptive on the first of the month. If the rate is higher than would be normally expected, discover what you are doing differently as it would appear to be just right.

    If the email is opened then you can assume that they want to know more and this need should be satisfied by the email copy. A disappointing click through rate to the microsite or main site shows the email campaign needs some form of modification.

    If your recipients click through to the microsite then a less than overwhelming conversion rate to sales has got to be viewed with some concern. It is virtually the same as them facing you across a sales counter. But all is not lost. If they’ve shown that much interest then what put them off a purchase might well be something minor. Was the product not quite right? If you have other similar, but not identical, items then a follow-up email showing that you have got just what they want could well be enough for them to put their hand in their pocket.

    Conversely, if everyone wants one, you’ve probably underpriced the unit.

    Opt-ins are the stuff of dreams but don’t just balance them against opt-out / unsubscribe rates. If your campaign has made some disaffected they try and discover why.

    The above targets are simple, straightforward, capable of being precisely measured and returns are all but instant. Everything statistics on targets should be. Didn’t we say it was easy to get carried away with direct email marketing?
    But there is more.

    Your email marketing analytics are unarguable. The recipients either open the email or they do not. They either visit the microsite or they do not. The benefit is that by modifying the email or microsite the effectiveness of changes to your email marketing template can be tested, a poor one can be binned and a template that gives a positive result, worked on and improved.

    Wizemail - Professional Email Marketing
    t. 020 3086 9696
    w. www.wizemail.co.uk
    Free Email Marketing Trial (instant access)
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  • Email Marketing :: The only thing to do with good advice Dec 7, 2010

    My mother told me never to scratch an insect bite. It is excellent advice but about as useful as telling someone whose parachute has failed to open not to hit the ground.

    However, the advice to plan carefully for business-to-business (B2B) email marketing is not only good but achievable.

    It is also a good idea to put yourself in your customers’ shoes in order to find out what they really want.

    As with all other email marketing, research is important. Find out what the person or company your email goes to needs and, better still, wants. Most importantly, you need to identify those who are the decision makers and not necessarily the head of a particular department.

    A problem with personal data is that it can become out of date. A manager whom you target because he or she was open-minded and willing to consider a proposal might well be moved onwards and upwards quite quickly. If such people spend too long in one position they are being failed by their managers.

    Be careful when directing mail towards head office staff. Whilst these might well be easy to identify there is a very real chance you are selling to protective secretaries and in all probability their bosses are not the ones who make the purchasing decisions. Find out who the middle or junior managers are if they are the ones who either put their hand in their firm’s pockets or submit proposals.

    In your email, consider what the reader will be looking for. He or she might well have to justify a change in systems or purchasing habits. A rejected proposal might well be felt to be more dangerous in these times than none at all so show those statistics or circumstances that they can use in their report: a significant decrease in costs, a substantial increase in enquiries, published research supporting your product. Whilst you can’t do their job for them, you can make it easier for them to decide it is worth further investigation.

    Work out what might put them off. A suggestion for a superb customer relationship management system might struggle if you sent two identical emails to the same address. If they click on a link, make sure that they don’t have to click again to get to where they want to go. And don’t patronise. These are professionals you are dealing with and will expect to be treated as such.

    It is vital that your company appears efficient. Systems for prompt response to enquiries should have been established before the emails went out. Remember that one of the strengths of email marketing is that it is all but instant. If your product is as good as your email says it is, the addressee might well want to get in early. If you included a phone number then make certain that those who might take the call know what to do with it. What does it say of your company if the person who answers says: ‘Hold the line, I’ll just check.’? Ensure email responses are dealt with promptly and effectively.

    Whilst you might expect your normal rate of return, be able to respond if orders flood in. If you have targeted new customers then you should have staff available who know how to complete credit checks. And you should have plans to cope with the increase in demands for your stock.



    Whilst no one expected you to refrain from pulling your sister’s hair, the instructions on B2B marketing are not that exacting. The possible rewards make the effort worth while.
    • Put yourself in your B2B customers shoes
    • Research your market – what do they want?
    • Identify the decision makers & influencers
    • Keep your data clean and up-to-date
    • Pitch salient points of product / service
    • Direct recipients to further (contact) info
    • Ensure your staff know that a specific offer is being sent
    Wizemail - Professional Email Marketing
    t. 020 3086 9696
    w. www.wizemail.co.uk
    Free Email Marketing Trial (instant access)
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  • Email Marketing :: Take Aim – Hitting the Mark? Oct 27, 2010

    Do not think that once you have got a customer to tick the box and subscribe to your email list the work is over as the real effort has only just started. The legislation makes it only too easy for someone to remove themselves from your email marketing list so you should target your efforts at encouraging them not to do so.

    The fundamental principles of customer retention are simple enough. If the promise was to deliver between 09.00 and 13.00 on a specific day, then the previous afternoon is as much a failure as a day late. The product must be the one ordered, as described and at the agreed price.

    All fairly basic procedures that you ignore at your cost. For email marketing there are additional requirements, such as an acceptable and accessible privacy policy.

    But a major advantage of direct email marketing is that an effective infrastructure enables precise targeting. Intelligent, data-led classifying of customers means that you do not bother those who would not be interested in a specific product while still being able to identify those whose interest might be grabbed by a well produced marketing email offering something they would not normally buy from you. But be aware that there is a limit to how many times a customer will open an email that probably has no relevance to them.

    Whilst individually targeted emails might well give good responses, they are impractical for all but the smallest companies. So some form of classification and segmentation is essential to ensure that different customers are handled according to their history, potential and needs.

    A database or email list should be flexible enough to pinpoint different targets. For instance for Business to Business you would want to know business size, products, their general client demographics, the specific responsibilities of the person you address your emails to and, especially in these days, if they are expanding or contracting. For the public, you would want to know age, gender, education, occupation, location and interests. The more comprehensive the information the more targeted the email.

    A rough general classification could be those who buy the most; those whom you feel could be encouraged to increase their quotas; those who are regulars and don’t forget or dismiss those who might be about to tick the unsubscribe box.

    The kind that should be kept at almost all costs are your biggest customers.

    These should be made to feel as if they are important to you as that is what they should be. Make them special offers as a ‘thank-you’, allow them first options on goods and ensure that they never pay more than your other customers. Keep a close watch on their performance, especially for indicators that point to the possibility of them going elsewhere. This should generate action on your behalf to get them back into the fold. Also any interest in new products must be followed up to ensure that they come on board with you for all their needs that you can supply.

    Almost as important to you are those whom you can develop. It might be a large company that is only using you for a low percentage of their online purchases. An offer which undercuts their main supplier might well arrive at the buyer’s inbox at the same time as one from his boss demanding cuts. Your previous excellent service might well tip the balance.

    Identify the little and often regulars. A twice monthly order of just £200 is probably worth more to you than twice yearly ones of £2500. Further, an email which encourages a slight increase in the fortnightly order needs to be assessed with a multiplier of 26.

    Any sudden or persistent decrease in orders needs to be picked up at an early stage. Is there a specific item that customers are no longer ordering and is this a common trend? If so then your product needs to be modified in some way to make it more attractive. A competitor might well be undercutting you or supplying a better product at the same price. Direct email marketing allows these trends to be identified much earlier than other forms but this is only of use if such information is acted upon immediately.

    Take advantage of the real time near instant reporting of the best email marketing software.

    Targeting and segmentation of email lists limits that most pernicious bad practice of sending offers which have no relevance to the recipient. Of all things most likely to generate an unsubscribe is an inbox full of irrelevant emails with the same From address.

    Consider what those who bought a specific item might be looking for and when. On the assumption that you did not short-change the customer with the original cartridge, it is of limited use to send an email offering reduced prices of cartridges a week after they have taken delivery of a laser printer. But if previous customers generally lasted three months before buying them then get your emails out after ten weeks, perhaps with a ‘regular customer bonus’.

    Similarly those who bought a specific software programme in the past might well have opted for a plug-in within weeks of their purchase.

    Emails that are not targeted can be wasteful in two specific areas: of resources and of customers. Concentrate on defining the latter to ensure your aim is spot on.

    By using Wizemail you’ll ensure you continue hitting the mark.

    Wizemail - Professional Email Marketing
    t. 020 3086 9696
    w. www.wizemail.co.uk
    Free Email Marketing Trial (instant access)
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  • Email Marketing : Down-turn? What down-turn? Oct 27, 2010

    Well, not this one actually.

    With a doubling of the expected increase in GDP this week to a whopping 0.8%, although obviously mindful of the past years recession and downturn, both consumers and businesses alike are dusting off their hidden pound coins and spending them with a little less caution than last year.

    There is lots of research to suggest that those companies which continued to advertise through the downturn in the economy are the ones which were best placed to see their way through it.

    This is not earth-shattering and it has to be accepted that secure and profitable companies are the ones most likely to have sufficient cash flow to continue supporting a strong advertising budget. But there can be little argument that if you wish to be successful you need to continue to place your wares on display. Maintaining a steady marketing strategy tends to suggest to customers and other businesses you deal with that your company is sound and dependable.

    But telling a company to up their advertising just after a down-turn is all well and good until you get to the conversation with the FD whom looks like he’s still in the recovery position gently swaying back and forth from the shock of surviving the past couple of years without selling a child or an organ.

    Luckily, email marketing is very cost effective when compared to other marketing methods. Once your system is set up, the need for further investment is limited.
    Indeed, with an email marketing system such as Wizemail, design costs are nil; copy can be generated in-house as and when needed. Transmission of the emails is virtually instant compared to other methods and the time of return on your investment is that much shorter. The costs of direct marketing via email are dramatically lower than that of the old fashioned mailshot, there being no requirement for printing and postage, making the profit per pound coin invested all the greater.

    The advantages of speed as compared with other marketing methods should not be underestimated. With news of public sector redundancies and falling house prices fighting for space with those of meltdown of the UKs ‘triple A’ rating and few new entrepreneurial firms starting up, the economic situation changes from week to week so rapidly the accurate and near instant feedback from your prospects and customers is an essential for you to keep your finger on the sales pulse.

    E-mail is custom made for testing responses to a new idea. From the decision to go, you can be getting dependable returns before a mailshot would have left the printer, and at considerably lower cost. The returns statistics might make uncomfortable reading but they are precise and accurate. If no one takes up your most recent offer then you know something has to change.

    Email marketing is near instant. If a competitor’s offer comes through the post, or falls out of a magazine, with its 5% reduction, by mid-morning your offer of 10% off could be falling into inboxes with the resultant sales happening minutes later.

    With established and presumably sound companies disappearing on a daily basis over the past few years, you do not want your customers, be they businesses or individuals, wondering if you still exist. Your properly constructed newsletter and marketing emails will reassure them that you are going strong.

    At the board meeting by proposing a move to greater reliance on direct email marketing you could be offering not only a reduction in costs, an increase in coverage but also ensure your FD doesn’t need a trip to the Priory.

    The dangerous option at times of economic down-turn is to do little other than withdraw. But what if you were looking for a new company to do business with, would you opt for the unknown runt of the litter? Or would you go for the one with a positive sales and marketing outlook?

    The case for email marketing was very strong before the economic downturn.

    Now it is overwhelming.

    Wizemail - Professional Email Marketing
    t. 020 3086 9696
    w. www.wizemail.co.uk
    Email Marketing Free Trial (instant access)
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  • Email Marketing :: A sensible law PECR Jul 13, 2010

    It is not often that one can accuse lawmakers of coming up with a bit of legislation that seems to attack a perceived problem without causing too much collateral damage but every now and again comes a law that confounds.

    Mind you, the title is not too reassuring: The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations, 2003, which is normally, and understandably, shortened to The PECR. Paragraphs 22 and 23 are the ones which those involved in direct marketing need to get a grip on.

    Section 22(1) uses the phrase ‘individual subscribers’ which is notable not so much for what it includes as what it might not. It means customers, tending to indicate that business-to-business (B2B) marketing is not included. However, it is suggested that it is not quite the free-for-all that it might appear on first reading. Sole traders and limited liability partnerships are included in customers so distinguishing between what is and is not a customer will be extremely difficult. Some might consider it best to take a more all encompassing interpretation of the definition of customers.

    The intent of the law is to reduce the all-pervading irritation of spam, it being directed specifically at ‘unsolicited communications’ which includes SMS texts as well as emails. To fall outside the definition the recipient must have opted in to direct marketing or, as 22(2) says it: ‘previously notified the sender that he consents’. This is generally known as the hard opt-in.

    There is the requirement to include a route for the person to unsubscribe, the opt-out procedure, in all communications. There is a qualification that the method must be a ‘simple means of refusing’. This has been generously interpreted by some household names in the on-line community to include a rather protracted, albeit simple, procedure.

    In one instance whilst it is limited to two clicks, the actual button is entitled Confirm changes, suggesting that there are alternatives to a straight opt-out, such as remaining on the newsletter list.

    But in a change from restrictions, Section 22(3) comes up with what is generally known as the ‘soft opt-in’ by excluding existing customers when marketing similar products and services. No definition is given for ‘similar’ and one wonders if a loan for a small business would prohibit an email on product liability insurance. Time will, of course, tell.

    There is one condition though. At the time of the initial contact the customer must have been given a ‘simple means of refusing’ these further contacts and ‘at the time of each subsequent communication’.

    Section 23 of The PECR then drops back into directive mode and requires that a full contact address must be provided to allow the recipient to contact the sender. So there must be a name, address and/or phone number on each email. It also states that the originator’s identity must not be disguised nor concealed.

    Interestingly though, the headings for both Section 22 and 23 restricts the application to ‘Use of electronic mail for direct marketing purposes’. One must assume that this wording is not an oversight and that the legislators did not intend it to be applied to other email contacts, such as invoices, statements etc. Care should be exercised and it would not do to give cause for an additional, and very restrictive additional section to be added at a later date.

    The PECR strikes a very fair balance between the needs of the responsible business and that of the public’s right to control over their inbox.

    Statutory Instrument 2003 No. 2426
    The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003
    Use of electronic mail for direct marketing purposes
    22. - (1) This regulation applies to the transmission of unsolicited communications by means of electronic mail to individual subscribers.
    (2) Except in the circumstances referred to in paragraph (3), a person shall neither transmit, nor instigate the transmission of, unsolicited communications for the purposes of direct marketing by means of electronic mail unless the recipient of the electronic mail has previously notified the sender that he consents for the time being to such communications being sent by, or at the instigation of, the sender.
    (3) A person may send or instigate the sending of electronic mail for the purposes of direct marketing where -
    (a) that person has obtained the contact details of the recipient of that electronic mail in the course of the sale or negotiations for the sale of a product or service to that recipient;
    (b) the direct marketing is in respect of that person's similar products and services only; and
    (c) the recipient has been given a simple means of refusing (free of charge except for the costs of the transmission of the refusal) the use of his contact details for the purposes of such direct marketing, at the time that the details were initially collected, and, where he did not initially refuse the use of the details, at the time of each subsequent communication.
    (4) A subscriber shall not permit his line to be used in contravention of paragraph (2).

    Use of electronic mail for direct marketing purposes where the identity or address of the sender is concealed
    23. A person shall neither transmit, nor instigate the transmission of, a communication for the purposes of direct marketing by means of electronic mail -
    (a) where the identity of the person on whose behalf the communication has been sent has been disguised or concealed; or
    (b) where a valid address to which the recipient of the communication may send a request that such communications cease has not been provided.

    Copyright HMSO. Full text available at: http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2003/20032426.htm

    Wizemail - Professional Email Marketing. t. 020 3086 9696
    w. www.wizemail.co.uk
    Email Marketing Free Trial (instant access)
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  • What’s in a name? Viral Marketing Jun 9, 2010

    They could have picked a better one than viral marketing. It’s enough to put anyone off.

    They are not that easy to describe so the best way to understand them is to examine a rather clever example.

    Go to www.reliefracer.com, although doing so when the boss is about to come in is not the best timing. It is a simple and straightforward online computer game, one that is enjoyable by all skills levels. And it advertises Clearasil in a cheap, readily accessible way. It might hurt those who play it to be regarded as the group most likely to be plagued by pimples, but then that is what truth does.

    The thing to note is the bit at the bottom which encourages players to ‘send to a friend’. Its usefulness as a marketing tool is probably becoming a bit clearer now.

    Virals, as they are known, spread like, well, viruses but not the kind blocked by McAfee. They are passed by putting your friends’ email addresses in the box, directly by email and even at the bar down your local, although as this often includes an inspired interpretation of the URL it needs to be easily retrievable via search engines.

    One wonders the average number of tries per successful hit for one of the more popular ones, www.subservientchicken.com.

    The content need not be as sophisticated as a programme. Who is there with an ISP who has not been sent a collection of aphorisms?

    All it has to be is something that will generate the desire to pass it on.

    There is probably a thesis waiting to be written on why people send on virals but whilst awaiting its publication, ask yourself why you might. Is it as a gift, albeit a rather cheap one? Is it to be seen as one for the boys or girls? Is it to emphasise your prowess as a snowboarder?

    It might be the association: if the item is clever, witty, intriguing or a combination of some or all these, does it show that you too are some or all these things?

    You can appreciate that the content must be geared towards the perceived motivation to pass it on without missing the commercial aspect. The most prolific viral is no use if it does not provide some benefit to your company.

    After working out what will encourage passing it on, one must consider the barriers. If the route to the item is confusing, protracted or requires too many clicks, and this can be surprisingly few, it will limit the circulation, as will an overtly commercial purpose.

    A message box can be helpful to enable a sort of covering explanation to be included, thereby increasing the likelihood of it being read.

    There are a number of different ‘types’ of viral but one that can be of dramatic use in direct marketing is one where a reward is offered for the supply of an email address of a friend or acquaintance but care must be taken in the matter. Consider what you offer. And extra chance in a lottery for each address costs you nothing, just the reduction of the odds for each chance, but it is best to avoid promising, for instance, a free mobile phone. Do you remember vacuum cleaners and Air Miles?

    Consider also the way you use any email address you gather. Such an address cannot be used for direct marketing at once, although once is the number of times you can use it. However, you cannot take advantage of even this single chance the address has previously been on your list but the owner has elected to have it removed.

    Tell the recipient how you came by the email giving the source address as support.

    Tell them that their email has not been entered onto your email marketing list. Then offer them the opportunity to receive offers just by ‘ticking the box below’.

    Viral marketing is short on legal control at the moment. This might well be an oversight although the difficulty of wording, allied to a lack of complaints, might be the main motivation. But do not kill the goose. It is best not to be the instigator of restrictions.

    A properly constructed viral email can be especially useful as part of a campaign but care must be taken with content. If it is likely to offend those you wish to get on board then it should be changed, regardless of how often you believe it will be passed on.

    Before you opt for the type that made you laugh, but not in company, remember that it is your name that will go with it.

    Wizemail email marketing
    Tel: 020 3086 9696
    Open an email marketing free trial today (instant access)
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  • Building Email Lists: More Hanks than Python Jun 8, 2010

    The holy grail of direct marketing is an email list populated with people you can, to a certain extent, define. To this end the vast majority of your effort and planning must go towards three targets:

    • getting people to opt in
    • retaining those who have opted in
    • gaining as much useful data on them as you require.

    The first of these can be the most difficult so this brief article will be restricted to that particular point and the others will be covered in a later one.

    It can be helpful when planning your strategy to look at it from the point of view of those you are targeting. The curse of spam makes anyone with an inbox a miser when it comes to whom they will entrust with their email address.

    To get them to part with it you must offer something in return. Lots of things in fact.

    The first, and most important, though is security. This makes good business sense as you do not want to be profligate with your greatest asset. So reassure them with a reassuring privacy policy (Digital Marketing and your Privacy Policy). And, even more importantly, abide by it. Nothing breeds distrust more than being untrustworthy.

    All contacts between you and your customers should be seen as opportunities to obtain their email address and their consent to direct marketing emails.

    Those who log onto your website should be presented with incentives to opt in. Show them what they are missing: the prize draws, the percentage reductions, the free postage.

    Whilst alerts and newsletters are an excellent vehicle in themselves they should be seen also as a route into full-on direct marketing. By sticking to what you promised them when they signed up for the specific contact, you are demonstrating that you can be trusted and by ticking the box that you included in the alert might well be of benefit to them.

    What have they got to lose? Take them to a microsite, a specific page on your website that details all the offers and benefits others receive.

    Show that you pay special attention to those on your email marketing newsletter list. Restrict part of your website for those on your list with facilities unique to them and dangle a little of it for those on the outside to make them want to join. Make sure that every invoice, bill, receipt and acknowledgement contains a link to your microsite and a method to opt in.

    Just because emails are electronic, do not forget that face to face meetings with customers provide an opportunity to get them to sign on. Conferences, trade shows, point of sale, those phoning in as well as your trade counter are all openings that well motivated staff can use to get customers to opt in.

    On a practical note: those who write down customers’ email addresses should be trained to recognise one which is obviously incorrect and, most importantly, to write it out in capital letters. Your forms should have a big, wide window. If the box is small the majority of staff will try to fit the email address into it.

    If you provide some incentive for your staff to collect email addresses, errors are likely to be fewer. However, with the offer of such bonuses staff might be tempted to tick the box regardless of the customers’ wishes so it is a good idea to send a confirmatory email before adding them to your list.

    Tom Hanks, Monty Python and Indiana Jones pursued their holy grail, with varying degrees of success. With a bit of planning and some hard work you will be able to avoid killer rabbits, albino monks and Nazis.

    Wizemail email marketing software includes advanced list building tools as standard.

    Tel: 020 3086 9696
    Open an email marketing free trial today (instant access)
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