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Happening every four years, the FIFA World Cup is an event unlike any other. Whether you’re a fan of this kind of football or not, it’s hard to deny the impact this tournament has on daily life around the globe. However, have you ever wondered what kind of effect events like the World Cup might have on your brand awareness via email marketing? While this might seem like an odd question to pose, a quick breakdown of the statistics surrounding marketing initiatives could radically change how you view the connection between sports and marketing in the context of making a splash via the inbox.

A History of Sports and Marketing

But wait, don’t the sporting and marketing worlds have a great history of working together? While the answer to this question is a definite yes, things aren’t always so cut and dry. Sure, plenty of campaigns have utilized sports icons and figures to deliver a powerful message, but that’s not the only overlap between these two platforms. In regard to email marketing, the truth of the matter is that mega sporting events aren’t always great to have going on in the background when you start firing off marketed messages.

Discovering a Digital Connection

While the average football friendly or exhibition game might not garner a noticeable bump in consumer interest, events like the World Cup can drastically warp the priorities and focus of your target audience. In a recent study covered by Amy Gesenhues of Marketing Land, the digital connection between these worlds generally isn’t very accommodating to the world of email marketing. In fact, special circumstances – like the World Cup, Super Bowl, and other major occurrences – can actually cause some serious harm to you open and conversion rates.

The main issue here is not that the sporting world hates promotional emails packed with value and substance. Instead, it’s simply that when the game is on, rabid fans don’t have eyes for anything else. Whether the match ends in a one-sided rout or goes to penalty kicks, expecting your audience to check their inbox or alerts is a recipe for unexpected disaster that can really sink your email marketing ship long before it sets sail.

A Look at the World Cup

The aforementioned study from Marketing Land and the World Cup focused on three countries; Mexico, Brazil, and the United States. In Brazil, click rates and email activity during football matches plummeted to 61 percent of the country’s standard activity. While that might not seem like much at first glance, imagine losing around 40 percent of your audience right after you hit send on your latest content. Mexico saw a similar drop, this time measured in raw percentage of clicks, going from the usual 9 percent of email clicks to just 5 percent.

The final country reviewed in this survey of the email marketing climate during the FIFA World Cup, the United States, showed a minimal dip in email activity during the game. However, the drop, measured between 1 and 2 percent total, still shows that in countries only recently experiencing the football or soccer craze, this event still had a negative impact on email activity during the match times.

Coming To a Conclusion

This one instance of reduced email activity underlies a major problem facing brands looking to make a move via marketing messages. Even though email marketing is one of the most powerful ways to connect with consumers, if your timing is off, you can’t expect much from this type of outreach. Naturally, you won’t always be facing down the World Cup, Olympics, or NHL Finals every day, but it’s still worth keeping these events in mind as you begin to roll out your last digital campaign that places a premium on what happens in the inbox.

Building a Smart Plan for Your Business

If you don’t want to watch your email marketing operations take a nosedive every time your favorite team scores the game winning goal, build a schedule that’s cognizant of what’s happening in the sporting world. This doesn’t mean keeping track of every preseason or regular season game. In fact, depending on your target audience’s location, it might mean taking out certain sports entirely from the equation. However, once you have your ideal consumer profile set up and certain sports highlighted as potential problems, you can start to build strategies with playoffs, championships, and other major events in mind. This way, you’ll never deliver great email content that goes unseen when the big game is on the line.

2014_World_Cup

 

After all your hard work creating and optimizing what you thought was the perfect promotional email, there’s nothing worse than checking in, only to see your open rates are deep in the tank. For many brands, this nightmare becomes a reality quickly, often for some of the most preventable reasons. If you’d like to skip the disappointment and keep your messages out of readers’ virtual trash cans, here are five easy mistakes you’ll need to avoid as you make your way toward a powerful, and successful, email marketing campaign.

Succumbing to Link Overload

Think of the last time you cleaned out your spam folder. Chances are the messages in this portion of your inbox ranged from the stereotypical – foreign royalty asking for a small donation in return for riches – to the downright odd. However, one of the common themes across most of these spam emails is an overabundance of links within the message body. With many spam filters honing in on link overload, if you want to stick around in the inbox, you’ll need to pick and choose your hyperlink battles. Try to keep your linking to a minimum if possible, focusing only on redirecting to landing and promotional pages. It might seem like a wasted opportunity to not link back to your page throughout the message, but based on the direction major email service providers are taking these platforms, it’s your best bet for dodging an unwarranted trip to the spam folder.

Unnecessarily Promotional Subject Lines

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that subject lines can make or break your chance at connecting with a customer in an instant. But what if your viewers never even get a chance to hear your promotion out because the subject line of your message makes it suitable only for the digital trash can? Unfortunately, overly promotional or overtly sales-focused headlines often earn a ticket straight to the spam folder. To put the brakes on this problem, tone down the numbers, capitalization, and forceful words – think “hurry now,” “open immediately,” etc. – so that your message doesn’t look like it belongs with the rest of the spam folder riff-raff. Instead, keep things simple in your subject line and focus on indentifying the valuable content held within your message. This way, you’ll avoid the wrong part of your audiences’ preferred email clients, in addition to giving them a great reason to keep reading on once they receive your email.

Emails with Too Much Text

While spam filters probably won’t screen your messages based solely on the length of content within, that won’t stop readers from marking incoming emails from your brand as spam after opening something that’s better suited for a library shelf. Essentially, readers only spend about 15 to 20 seconds on each message, so if you go overboard with the length of your message, it’s hard to expect a favorable response from your audience. Unfortunately, there’s no defined ideal message length, so the answer to this dilemma is a bit murky. A good rule of thumb to stand by if you’re unsure about the appropriateness of your email length is to ask yourself a simple question – if this message found its way to your inbox, would you take the time to read it? If the answer is closer to trashing it and blocking the sender than it is to an emphatic yes, it’s time to do a little trimming with your content.

Attachments Only Cause Problems

At first glance, this section probably sounds like it belongs on a dating advice site and not a post about keeping your emails from being caught up in a spam filter. However, if you really want to keep your marketed emails in the clear, skipping attachments is your best bet. Sure, it might seem like a great idea to attach that infographic or eBook you’ve worked so hard on to every email, but this is a major red flag for plenty of email service providers. Instead, after taking a little time in the message to explain the value of these offerings, let your selective links lead back to this content via landing pages. This way, you’ll skip the spam folder and boost site visits at the same time.

Know When Enough is Enough

Tenacity is often a key part in any marketing operation. However, when it comes to your email initiatives, constantly targeting and messaging people who have bounced repeatedly is a recipe for disaster. Not only are you building ill-will with someone who’s simply not interested right this moment, your brand could also face a spot on Gmail, Yahoo, or another email giant’s blacklist – something far worse than ending up in the spam folder. Thankfully, if you can toe this line, while also keeping up with everything else you’ve learned from this post, there’s nothing that can stop your next campaign from being a smash hit with interested audience members around the globe.

Inbox vs. Spam Folder

 

Do you ever get the feeling that some of your contacts are sitting by their computer eagerly waiting for your email while some other contacts might take a glance at it if there’s nothing better to do?

All of us in email marketing would like to think that each one of the contacts on our mailing list is super incredibly engaged with our content, but we know that’s not the case.

Engagement is a key driver of success when it comes to email marketing, but how can you demystify who is highly engaged and who is not?

Elite Email has a handy report in the Report Wizard that makes this pretty easy. It’s also highly flexible so you can determine exactly what would define a highly engaged contact, a moderately engaged content, etc, etc.

Within the Report Wizard in the OPENS section you will find a report named “Opened X Amount of Times”. This same report exists in the CLICKS section and is named “Clicked X Amount of Times”.

Depending on how you wish to measure engagement, you can select the opens or clicks report…. or both!

Opened X Amount of Times
Once you have selected the report, you will see a drop-down menu beside the text “Only show contacts who opened the email this many number of times:”.

Here you can select a specific number of opens (or clicks) or choose one of the ‘greater than’ options (such as “>3″) to cover a larger range.

Opened X Amount of Times - Settings

After making your selection, the report will regenerate and only show you the contacts who meet your criteria. So, if you only want to see people who opened your email more than three times, select “>3″.

You can then use all the features in the Report Toolbox to segment all these highly engaged contacts.

For example, you can create a new interest group named “Most Engaged” and add all these people into the new group. This way you can send these specific contacts special emails that only go to them, as opposed to your whole mailing list.

This type of fine-grade targeting that separates out engaged contacts from non-engaged contacts is just another way you can use reports to further expand on your email marketing efforts.

 

About a month ago we fully released our brand new reports & analytics section. Since then we have received countless emails, calls and live chats from people saying just how much they love all these new features. (Needless to say, this has permanently put smiles on all our faces since we worked very hard on this!)

But, the celebration did not last long because we know that our work on Elite Email is never done. There’s always more new and exciting features we can build to help our customers enhance their email marketing.

And, as always, our best source of ideas and guidance for what we should do next is our customers!

We have been listening closely to the requests coming in since we released the new reports section and noticed that many people wanted to have a report that would show them everyone who did _not_ open their email.

They wanted an easy way to see at a glance which contacts were not engaging with their email. This way they can send a targeted follow-up, optimize their mailing list based on engagement, etc, etc. There are many reasons this report could be useful. But, internally we only needed one reason to build the report; our customers wanted it!

So, I am happy to say that we have released a new “Did Not Open” report that you can access from the Report Wizard starting today for all customers.

Report Wizard: Did Not Open

You can now see exactly who did not open your email. Using the report toolbox, you can save these contacts as a new group (which makes it even easier to send a follow-up), export the data, print the report and more.

Keep in mind, if you want to really drill down into your opens, you can couple this new report with the “Opened X Amount of Times” and see exactly who is opening your email and how often.

 

One of the new features that we unveiled in the current ‘beta’ release of Reports is the Contact Activity Report.

This exciting new feature allows for detailed precise tracking of a specific contact’s activity for one of your emails.

You can enter your contact’s email address and see exactly how they interacted with your email. It will show you when they opened it, clicked on a link, forwarded it to their friend, unsubscribed, and more.

Contact Activity Report: SearchAlthough most Elite Email customers tend to look at overall reports to measure the engagement with their email, sometimes it is useful to roll up your sleeves and dig down deep into the nitty-gritty details of what a specific person did.

This is also useful if you have specific “VIP Customers” or other mailing list subscribers that you are particularly interested in. You no longer have to search through the overall reports to see if that important person is listed. You can simply type in their email address and get a full report presented cleanly on your screen (… and it’s updated in real-time!).

Contact Activity Report: Results

In addition, when you are viewing overall reports within the Report Wizard, you will see a “View Activity” link beside each contact’s email address. Clicking on this link will allow you to jump to the contact activity report for that person.

So, if you’re looking at an opens report, see a contact listed and think “HMMM… I wonder if this contact also clicked a link or forwarded it to their friend…” you can now easily find out!

Contact Activity Report: Links in Overall Reports

 

We have been working hard for many months and our new (and much improved) Reports section is almost done.

One of our goals with the new Reports section was to give our customers every bit of information possible. For the past 12 months we have been cataloging requests from our customers who have called or emailed us asking something about their email results. We wanted to make sure that whatever information they wanted, was no more than a few clicks away.

The “Report Wizard” is the solution to that goal.

We dug down deep and found every conceivable way we could process report data to give our customers cutting edge insight not only to evaluate their past emails, but also to improve their future emails.

For example, you might be wondering if you should send your email at 9:00am or 2:00pm. Well, just check out the “Opens By Hour” report to see which hour of the day produces the most engagement for your emails.

The “Report Wizard” is divided into different sections for opens, clicks, forwards and unsubscribes. This makes it easy to drill-down to the details you are most interested in.

Today we’ll focus on the “Opens” section.

The whole process starts by launching the report wizard:

Launch Report Wizard

Once the Report Wizard is activated you are presented with a wide variety of reports to choose from.

Report Wizard: Opens

The following reports are available:

  • Total Opens
  • Unique Opens
  • Only Opened Once
  • Opened More Than Once
  • Total Opens By Domain
  • Unique Opens By Domain
  • Total Opens By Day of The Week
  • Unique Opens By Day Of The Week
  • Total Opens By Hour
  • Unique Opens By Hour
  • Opened X Amount of Times
  • Total Opens By Interest Group
  • Unique Opens By Interest Group
  • Total Opens 14 Day Trend
  • Unique Opens 14 Day Trend
  • Total Opens By Country
  • Unique Opens By Country
  • Total Opens By State (USA)
  • Unique Opens By State (USA)
  • Total Opens By Province (Canada)
  • Unique Opens By Province (Canada)

Elite Email Report Wizard: Total Opens Report

Elite Email Report Wizard: Opens By Hour
When you click on a report name, it opens the report…. and, with our new super high powered servers, it loads them FAST!

For most reports you will see a Report Toolbox that lets you perform various actions, a chart for visual representation, and an interactive table of core report data. Each of these items will be discussed more in future blog posts.

We are very excited about these new enhancements and hope to have them available in everyone’s account in beta (just so you can try them out) very soon.

 

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could see where in the world people are located when they are interacting with your emails? We think so!

The Elite Email development team has been working hard for many months on an entirely revamped Reports section.

The Reports section has so many new features that it’s almost impossible to list them all!

We hope to have this released in ‘beta’ for people to begin exploring within about a week.

But, for now, I wanted to give you a sneak peak of one of the coolest new features (in my opinion)…

I am proud to announce that the new Elite Email Reports section will features detailed and comprehensive Geo Reports.

Using the IP address information we collect when your contacts interact with an email (whether it’s open, click, forward, unsubscribe, etc, etc), combined with state-of-the-art geographic pin-pointing information, we can now determine where that person is located.

We have powerful servers in multiple data centers chugging through all this data so that when you login to your account you can see various maps that answer the question of where people are located. You can then use this information in a variety of ways.

Best of all, the information is presented using heat-maps so at a quick glance, based on the intensity of the color, you can see where most of your contacts are located. And, it doesn’t stop there because you can also drill-down to more detailed maps. So, if you click on United States, the map will reload and show you a detailed “state” view complete with heat-map functionality.

This is only the beginning as adding a layer of location information opens up some new and exciting opportunities.

Here are some top secret screenshots:

Elite Email Reports: World Map > Opens

View a world heat-map that shows where people are located when they open your email. This report will be available for clicks, forwards, and unsubscribes, too!

Elite Email Reports: USA Map > Opens

Clicking on the United States from the world map will load a detailed state-view of the USA. Now you can see which state people are located in when they open, click, forward or unsubscribe.

Elite Email Reports: Canada Map > Opens w/ Details

Within the Reports Wizard you can load a detailed map of Canada and see a province-by-province report of who opened, clicked, forwarded or unsubscribed from your email.

© 2013 Elite Email Inc. Blog Admin