Deliverability insights: avoiding spam traps and other revenue risks during the festive period

Deliverability risk alert: We get it – the c-level execs are clamoring for bigger databases and more potential customers to squeeze some revenue from. The temptation to send a quick, cheeky email to that list from 2016 you found in a long-lost folder on a colleague’s shared drive is strong. After all, who wouldn’t want to hear about your awesome company with its amazing products and services and fantastic seasonal discount discounts?

Merrily you go, on your way, importing this list full of hope and promise into your Engagement Cloud. But wait, something’s wrong: your data has been quarantined by the dotdigital data WatchDog. The important has been blocked. “Why!?”, you scream internally as your frantically raise a ticket with our support team.

High-risk data is a deliverability risk and can jeopardize revenue

There are certain addresses which are never going to give consent to receive marketing communications. For example, we keep an eye out for role alias addresses (generic/shared inboxes used for a sales team, support team, abuse reporting, etc.), as these almost never actively sign up to receive emails. Uploading a list which contains these kind of non-consenting addresses is an indicator that the process for ensuring consent wasn’t reliable at the point when the data was collected. Even if your permission game is strong now, it might not have been in 2016 – or even in early 2018, before the GDPR came into effect.

Sending to recipients that have not given explicit consent to receive marketing emails from your company can have disastrous results for your business.

Reduced engagement, increased complaints

The best-case scenario, in this instance, is that recipients ignore your emails. If they do this, mailbox providers like Hotmail and Gmail will notice the lack of engagement and decide your emails are unwanted. Your future sends, even to previously engaged and fully consented contacts, are more likely to end up in the spam folder or the junk box.

It gets worse though…

Some recipients might see your emails and, having not recently given permission for you to contact them, actively mark the emails as junk or spam. These are recognized by mailbox providers as complaints and are given much more weighting as an indicator that you are sending unwanted email. Your marketing ending up in junk or spam will become even more likely.

Plus, if you’re on a dedicated IP then it’s possible that receiving mail servers will start throttling your IP, slowing down how quickly they’ll accept emails from you. This can be incredibly tough when you’re against the clock, with time-sensitive content and flash sales going out the door.

Deliverability alert: inactive inboxes

Do you still use the same email address today that you were using last year? How about in 2016? How about in 2011? (Showing my age here, but I’d just graduated from university and set up my first professional-looking tamara.bond inbox and ditched the old g0thg1rl4lyf alias…) Maybe you had your own website or blog and signed up using that domain has long since defunct – who has time for personal blogging these days? Sending to lots of addresses which don’t exist anymore is another sign to the mailbox provider that your strategy is targeting people who haven’t opted in, and is likely to land you in the spam folder. They might have even turned the unused inbox or domain into a spam trap.

Spam traps: the real nightmare before Christmas

Hitting a spam trap is the worst-case scenario. Traps are addresses that are operated by mailbox providers and anti-abuse networks to identify senders who are not following data collection and management best practice. There are different types of spam trap that indicate sending to old data or email or recipients who haven’t verified their email addresses, collecting contacts using a form that’s opened to abuse, and more. Increasingly, information collected about mail sent to traps is used in machine learning. You really don’t want your emails to be used as examples to train an AI bot how to identify spam, as it’s likely to negatively impact your inbox placement for a very long time.

Hitting one or more spam traps can result in a mailbox provider directly blocking your emails. Hitting one or more spam traps operated by an anti-abuse network can result in them blacklisting your sending domain, your IP, or (in the really bad cases) all 255 IPs in the range that your sending IP belongs to. Mailbox providers can query these blacklists and block your emails if they find you or your IP on the list.

Reputation and revenue

If your recipients can’t see your emails because they’re not in the inbox or promotions tab, they’re less likely to engage with your brand and make purchases. During the busy period, they’re receiving so many emails (including from your competitors) that they’re unlikely to have time to go through their spam folder and retrieve your messages. There’s a potential for a lot of revenue loss. However, hitting a spam trap or being blacklisted and not being able to deliver any emails at all… well, that’s a nightmare before Christmas, male to mistake.

It can be really difficult and take a very long time to repair reputation damage, get unblocked or de-listed, and make a come back to the inbox or promotions tab. Our deliverability experts are here to help you with this, but we’d rather not see it happen at all. That’s why we created the WatchDog – to protect your reputation as a sender, as well as protect other customers using the platform.

Don’t give me problems, give me solutions

When an import is quarantined, customers often ask us to tell them which addresses are the ‘bad’ ones so that they can remove them and continue uploading their data. The catch 22 is that there’s no real way to tell which contact is going to be your deliverability Achilles’ heal. Sure, you could go through and remove all the role alias addresses, but those are simply indicators of the health of the list as a whole. The rest of that import is still a revenue-ruining minefield riddled with complainers and spam traps and people who aren’t interested in what you’ve got to stay.

List validation and data cleansing

We often ask about using a third party email validation tool to ‘clean’ the list. These can check for and remove things like misspelled addresses or those with no active mail server to receive emails. Depending on the service, they may be able to identify some spam traps or known unused inboxes. However, they aren’t perfect. In particular, spam trap addresses are closely-held secrets and new ones are constantly being created, so no validation tool can guarantee removal of all traps from a list.

More importantly, list validation can’t confirm that the recipients actually want to receive your emails. ‘Spam’ doesn’t mean illegal; it means unwanted. And if you’re sending unwanted emails, sooner or later there will be consequences for your deliverability that impact your revenue.

Analyze how your data was acquired

You should be checking:

  • whether data was given explicitly for your brand
  • whether there was an incentive such as a voucher or WiFi access that could have tempted people to put in false details
  • whether the email addresses submitted were confirmed to be correct and active using doubt opt-in
  • whether the submission for had CAPTCHA or other preventative measures against bot submissions

You could also analyze other sources of information, such as your website or CRM data, to see if any email addresses are associated with people who have recently purchased your products or services.

In our experience, we never see any success from emailing an old list; instead, we’re picking up the pieces and walking customers through the arduous process of rebuilding their reputation after succumbing to temptation. If Winston the WatchDog has quarantined your import, it’s best to heed his advice: ditch the risk to your revenue and instead focus on your existing engaged, valued, and loyal customers


If you’re looking for more actionable deliverability best practice, check out our free 101 guide here.

The post Deliverability insights: avoiding spam traps and other revenue risks during the festive period appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 4 days ago from blog.dotdigital.com

Segment your audience using loyalty insights

In today’s highly competitive, online
marketplace, it’s no longer enough to differentiate on price and logistics.
Stores need to do more to build better customer relationships. Why? Because the
one-on-one relationship common to brick-and-mortar stores is lost online. Yet,
unsurprisingly, customers still crave the person-to-person interaction.

With 91% of customers checking their inboxes daily, email offers the
perfect opportunity for the direct person-to-brand relationship customers
crave. On top of this, emails paired with your loyalty program perform 14 times better than regular marketing emails.

That’s why we’re excited to announce
that you can now harness the LoyaltyLion and Engagement Cloud integration to
segment your email list based on your customers’ loyalty behaviors. By
identifying your customers based on three categories – loyal, at-risk and in
need of winning back – you can serve up super-relevant content to secure
loyalty and re-engage customers that would otherwise churn.

So, what are the three key loyalty
segments to consider and how can you queue up the right emails to send those
particular customer groups?

Engage your most
loyal customers

On average, loyal customers spend 67% more than new ones. With carefully crafted and segmented loyalty emails, you can target these customers with the right message, so they’re encouraged to spend with you again – and sooner. Send emails that keep these customers updated about their points balance, the rewards they’ve gained and the new offers that are available to them. This way, they’ll be reminded of the benefits of shopping with you and will be more likely to return. You could also send prompts showing that they can earn points in ways they may not know about yet – such as writing product reviews or referring friends.

Prevent at-risk
customers

Customers who are classified as
“at-risk” are those who have not returned to purchase from you within a
particular time frame. As it costs five times more to acquire new customers
than it does to retain your existing ones, customers who are showing signs of
shopping elsewhere represent lost time and money.

By putting these customers into a
segment and targeting them with emails that surprise and delight them, you can
encourage them back to your site if their interest starts to fade.

Remind them why they chose to shop with you in the first place by showing personalized offers. These could be double points on products they’ve previously shown interest in or a free gift on their birthday. You could even use emails to notify them that you’ve moved them up a loyalty tier. This way, they’ll be attracted to return to your store to make the most of the new benefits they’ve unlocked.

Win customers back

Unfortunately, you can do all the hard
work to get your customers through the door but with an array of choices out
there, they can easily turn to shop with your competitors. You can now use your
loyalty segments and email strategy to identify and win back these lost
customers.

Send them emails that remind them that
your loyalty program exists. They might not know that they earned points when
they shopped with you the first time, or be aware of how they could be
redeeming them. To encourage re-engagement, showcase products they showed
interest in before and remind them why they trusted you to begin with.

You could even change the content of these emails, so your lost customers feel like they’re discovering you for the first time. Show them what’s trending on your site since they last shopped with you and the new behaviors you’ve added to your loyalty program since. Put phrases like “We missed you!” and “Here’s a welcome back offer” into your subject lines so these emails stand out in the inbox and appeal on a personal level.

Take notice and
you’ll reap the rewards

By altering your email content to match the loyalty behaviors of your customers, you’ll automatically see your customer engagement improve. Your emails will be highly relevant and appeal to the right customers on a more personal level. And, in the long run, this attention to detail will increase your customers’ lifetime value and reduce your risk of customer churn.


About LoyaltyLion

LoyaltyLion is a data-driven loyalty and engagement platform trusted by
thousands of ecommerce brands worldwide. Merchants use LoyaltyLion when they
want a fully customized loyalty program that is proven to increase customer
engagement, retention and spend. Stores using LoyaltyLion typically generate at
least $15 for every $1 they spend on the platform.

The post Segment your audience using loyalty insights appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 9 months ago from blog.dotdigital.com

The State of Local SEO: Industry Insights for a Successful 2019

Posted by MiriamEllis

A thousand thanks to the 1,411 respondents who gave of their time and knowledge in contributing to this major survey! You’ve created a vivid image of what real-life, everyday local search marketers and local business owners are observing on a day-to-day basis, what strategies are working for them right now, and where some frankly stunning opportunities for improvement reside. Now, we’re ready to share your insights into:

  • Google Updates
  • Citations
  • Reviews
  • Company infrastructure
  • Tool usage
  • And a great deal more…

This survey pooled the observations of everyone from people working to market a single small business, to agency marketers with large local business clients:

Respondents who self-selected as not marketing a local business were filtered from further survey results.

Thanks to you, this free report is a window into the industry. Bring these statistics to teammates and clients to earn the buy-in you need to effectively reach local consumers in 2019.

Get the full report

There are so many stories here worthy of your time

Let’s pick just one, to give a sense of the industry intelligence you’ll access in this report. Likely you’ve now seen the Local Search Ranking Factors 2018 Survey, undertaken by Whitespark in conjunction with Moz. In that poll of experts, we saw Google My Business signals being cited as the most influential local ranking component. But what was #2? Link building.

You might come away from that excellent survey believing that, since link building is so important, all local businesses must be doing it. But not so. The State of the Local SEO Industry Report reveals that:

When asked what’s working best for them as a method for earning links, 35% of local businesses and their marketers admitted to having no link building strategy in place at all:

And that, Moz friends, is what opportunity looks like. Get your meaningful local link building strategy in place in the new year, and prepare to leave ⅓ of your competitors behind, wondering how you surpassed them in the local and organic results.

The full report contains 30+ findings like this one. Rivet the attention of decision-makers at your agency, quote persuasive statistics to hesitant clients, and share this report with teammates who need to be brought up to industry speed. When read in tandem with the Local Search Ranking Factors survey, this report will help your business or agency understand both what experts are saying and what practitioners are experiencing.

Sometimes, local search marketing can be a lonely road to travel. You may find yourself wondering, “Does anyone understand what I do? Is anyone else struggling with this task? How do I benchmark myself?” You’ll find both confirmation and affirmation today, and Moz’s best hope is that you’ll come away a better, bolder, more effective local marketer. Let’s begin!

Download the report

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

Reblogged 11 months ago from tracking.feedpress.it

Darryl, the man behind dotmailer’s Custom Technical Solutions team

Why did you decide to come to dotmailer?

I first got to know dotmailer when the company was just a bunch of young enthusiastic web developers called Ellipsis Media back in 1999. I was introduced by one of my suppliers and we decided to bring them on board to build a recruitment website for one of our clients. That client was Amnesty International and the job role was Secretary General. Not bad for a Croydon company whose biggest client before that was Scobles the plumber’s merchants. So, I was probably dotmailer’s first ever corporate client! After that, I used dotmailer at each company I worked for and then one day they approached a colleague and me and asked us if we wanted to work for them. That was 2013.  We grabbed the opportunity with both hands and haven’t looked back since.

Tell us a bit about your role

I’m the Global Head of Technical Solutions which actually gives me responsibility for 2 teams. First, Custom Technical Solutions (CTS), who build bespoke applications and tools for customers that allow them to integrate more closely with dotmailer and make life easier. Second, Technical Pre-sales, which spans our 3 territories (EMEA, US and APAC) and works with prospective and existing clients to figure out the best solution and fit within dotmailer.

What accomplishments are you most proud of from your dotmailer time so far?

I would say so far it has to be helping to turn the CTS team from just 2 people into a group of 7 highly skilled and dedicated men and women who have become an intrinsic and valued part of the dotmailer organization. Also I really enjoy being part of the Senior Technical Management team. Here we have the ability to influence the direction and structure of the platform on a daily basis.

Meet Darryl Clark – the cheese and peanut butter sandwich lover

Can you speak a bit about your background and that of your team? What experience and expertise is required to join this team?

My background is quite diverse from a stint in the Army, through design college, web development, business analysis to heading up my current teams. I would say the most valuable skill that I have is being highly analytical. I love nothing more than listening to a client’s requirements and digging deep to work out how we can answer these if not exceed them.

As a team, we love nothing more than brainstorming our ideas. Every member has a valid input and we listen. Everyone has the opportunity to influence what we do and our motto is “there is no such thing as a stupid question.”

To work in my teams you have to be analytical but open minded to the fact that other people may have a better answer than you. Embrace other people’s input and use it to give our clients the best possible solution. We are hugely detail conscious, but have to be acutely aware that we need to tailor what we say to our audience so being able to talk to anyone at any level is hugely valuable.

How much of the dotmailer platform is easily customizable and when does it cross over into something that requires your team’s expertise? How much time is spent on these custom solutions one-time or ongoing?

I’ll let you in on a little secret here. We don’t actually do anything that our customers can’t do with dotmailer given the right knowledge and resources. This is because we build all of our solutions using the dotmailer public API. The API has hundreds of methods in both SOAP and REST versions, which allows you to do a huge amount with the dotmailer platform. We do have a vast amount of experience and knowledge in the team so we may well be able to build a solution quicker than our customers. We are more than happy to help them and their development teams build a solution using us on a consultancy basis to lessen the steepness of the learning curve.

Our aim when building a solution for a customer is that it runs silently in the background and does what it should without any fuss.

What are your plans for the Custom Tech Solutions team going forward?

The great thing about Custom Technical Solutions is you never know what is around the corner as our customers have very diverse needs. What we are concentrating on at the moment is refining our processes to ensure that they are as streamlined as possible and allow us to give as much information to the customer as we can. We are also always looking at the technology and coding approaches that we use to make sure that we build the most innovative and robust solutions.

We are also looking at our external marketing and sharing our knowledge through blogs so keep an eye on the website for our insights.

What are the most common questions that you get when speaking to a prospective customer?

Most questions seem to revolve around reassurance such as “Have you done this before?”, “How safe is my data?”, “What about security?”, “Can you talk to my developers?”, “Do I need to do anything?”.  In most instances, we are the ones asking the questions as we need to find out information as soon as possible so that we can analyse it to ensure that we have the right detail to provide the right solution.

Can you tell us about the dotmailer differentiators you highlight when speaking to prospective customers that seem to really resonate?

We talk a lot about working with best of breed so for example a customer can use our Channel Extensions in automation programs to fire out an SMS to a contact using their existing provider. We don’t force customers down one route, we like to let them decide for themselves.

Also, I really like to emphasize the fact that there is always more than one way to do something within the dotmailer platform. This means we can usually find a way to do something that works for a client within the platform. If not, then we call in CTS to work out if there is a way that we can build something that will — whether this is automating uploads for a small client or mass sending from thousands of child accounts for an enterprise level one.

What do you see as the future of marketing automation technology?  Will one size ever fit all? Or more customization going forward?

The 64 million dollar question. One size will never fit all. Companies and their systems are too organic for that. There isn’t one car that suits every driver or one racquet that suits every sport. Working with a top drawer partner network and building our system to be as open as possible from an integration perspective means that our customers can make dotmailer mold to their business and not the other way round…and adding to that the fact that we are building lots of features in the platform that will blow your socks off.

Tell us a bit about yourself – favorite sports team, favorite food, guilty pleasure, favorite band, favorite vacation spot?

I’m a dyed in the wool Gooner (aka Arsenal Football Club fan) thanks to my Grandfather leading me down the right path as a child. If you are still reading this after that bombshell, then food-wise I pretty much like everything apart from coriander which as far as I’m concerned is the Devils own spawn. I don’t really have a favorite band, but am partial to a bit of Level 42 and Kings of Leon and you will also find me listening to 90s drum and bass and proper old school hip hop. My favorite holiday destination is any decent villa that I can relax in and spend time with my family and I went to Paris recently and loved that. Guilty pleasure – well that probably has to be confessing to liking Coldplay or the fact that my favorite sandwich is peanut butter, cheese and salad cream. Go on try it, you’ll love it.

Want to meet more of the dotmailer team? Say hi to Darren Hockley, Global Head of Support, and Dan Morris, EVP for North America.

Reblogged 3 years ago from blog.dotmailer.com

78% Of SEOs Believe That 2016 Is Going To Be A “Great” Year For Business

What does this year have in store for local search engine optimization professionals? Columnist Myles Anderson shares results from BrightLocal’s Local SEO Industry Survey, which may provide some insights.

The post 78% Of SEOs Believe That 2016 Is Going To Be A “Great” Year For Business…

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 3 years ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

​The 2015 Online Marketing Industry Survey

Posted by Dr-Pete

It’s been another wild year in search marketing. Mobilegeddon crushed our Twitter streams, but not our dreams, and Matt Cutts stepped out of the spotlight to make way for an uncertain Google future. Pandas and Penguins continue to torment us, but most days, like anyone else, we were just trying to get the job done and earn a living.

This year, over 3,600 brave souls, each one more intelligent and good-looking than the last, completed our survey. While the last survey was technically “2014”, we collected data for it in late 2013, so the 2015 survey reflects about 18 months of industry changes.

A few highlights

Let’s dig in. Almost half (49%) of our 2015 respondents involved in search marketing were in-house marketers. In-house teams still tend to be small – 71% of our in-house marketers reported only 1-3 people in their company being involved in search marketing at least quarter-time. These teams do have substantial influence, though, with 86% reporting that they were involved in purchasing decisions.

Agency search marketers reported larger teams and more diverse responsibilities. More than one-third (36%) of agency marketers in our survey reported working with more than 20 clients in the previous year. Agencies covered a wide range of services, with the top 5 being:

More than four-fifths (81%) of agency respondents reported providing both SEO and SEM services for clients. Please note that respondents could select more than one service/tool/etc., so the charts in this post will not add up to 100%.

The vast majority of respondents (85%) reported being directly involved with content marketing, which was on par with 2014. Nearly two-thirds (66%) of agency content marketers reported “Content for SEO purposes” as their top activity, although “Building Content Strategy” came in a solid second at 44% of respondents.

Top tools

Where do we get such wonderful toys? We marketers love our tools, so let’s take a look at the Top 10 tools across a range of categories. Please note that this survey was conducted here on Moz, and our audience certainly has a pro-Moz slant.

Up first, here are the Top 10 SEO tools in our survey:

Just like last time, Google Webmaster Tools (now “Search Console”) leads the way. Moz Pro and Majestic slipped a little bit, and Firebug fell out of the Top 10. The core players remained fairly stable.

Here are the Top 10 Content tools in our survey:

Even with its uncertain future, Google Alerts continues to be widely used. There are a lot of newcomers to the content tools world, so year-over-year comparisons are tricky. Expect even more players in this market in the coming year.

Following are our respondents’ Top 10 analytics tools:

For an industry that complains about Google so much, we sure do seem to love their stuff. Google Analytics dominates, crushing the enterprise players, at least in the mid-market. KISSmetrics gained solid ground (from the #10 spot last time), while home-brewed tools slipped a bit. CrazyEgg and WordPress Stats remain very popular since our last survey.

Finally, here are the Top 10 social tools used by our respondents:

Facebook Insights and Hootsuite retained the top spots from last year, but newcomer Twitter Analytics rocketed into the #3 position. LinkedIn Insights emerged as a strong contender, too. Overall usage of all social tools increased. Tweetdeck held the #6 spot in 2014, with 19% usage, but dropped to #10 this year, even bumping up slightly to 20%.

Of course, digging into social tools naturally begs the question of which social networks are at the top of our lists.

The Top 6 are unchanged since our last survey, and it’s clear that the barriers to entry to compete with the big social networks are only getting higher. Instagram doubled its usage (from 11% of respondents last time), but this still wasn’t enough to overtake Pinterest. Reddit and Quora saw steady growth, and StumbleUpon slipped out of the Top 10.

Top activities

So, what exactly do we do with these tools and all of our time? Across all online marketers in our survey, the Top 5 activities were:

For in-house marketers, “Site Audits” dropped to the #6 position and “Brand Strategy” jumped up to the #3 spot. Naturally, in-house marketers have more resources to focus on strategy.

For agencies and consultants, “Site Audits” bumped up to #2, and “Managing People” pushed down social media to take the #5 position. Larger agency teams require more traditional people wrangling.

Here’s a much more detailed breakdown of how we spend our time in 2015:

In terms of overall demand for services, the Top 5 winners (calculated by % reporting increase – % reporting decrease were):

Demand for CRO is growing at a steady clip, but analytics still leads the way. Both “Content Creation” (#2) and “Content Curation” (#6) showed solid demand increases.

Some categories reported both gains and losses – 30% of respondents reported increased demand for “Link Building”, while 20% reported decreased demand. Similarly, 20% reported increased demand for “Link Removal”, while almost as many (17%) reported decreased demand. This may be a result of overall demand shifts, or it may represent more specialization by agencies and consultants.

What’s in store for 2016?

It’s clear that our job as online marketers is becoming more diverse, more challenging, and more strategic. We have to have a command of a wide array of tools and tactics, and that’s not going to slow down any time soon. On the bright side, companies are more aware of what we do, and they’re more willing to spend the money to have it done. Our evolution has barely begun as an industry, and you can expect more changes and growth in the coming year.

Raw data download

If you’d like to take a look through the raw results from this year’s survey (we’ve removed identifying information like email addresses from all responses), we’ve got that for you here:

Download the raw results

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

Reblogged 4 years ago from tracking.feedpress.it