Archive for September, 2011

In part one we looked at the testing facilities in SmartMail PRO that allows you to thoroughly check your email campaign is 100% before you deploy it. Now in part two, we share some more things you should look for when testing:

Spell Check and Proof Reading 
This may seem obvious but it is amazing how many newsletters we receive with spelling errors and inconsistencies. Putting your document through a spell check is sometimes not enough. For example: spell check will not bring badly wrote grammar to your attention. It will only pick up spelling mistakes, not incorrect wording, and will sometimes pass over Australian, English and American variations of words. Proof read your email, and use the ABC spell check function in Smart Mail PRO, and better-yet, get someone else to proof read the email to get a second pair of eyes on it, and make sure they Email checkedlook out for: 

 

Spelling mistakes;
Incorrect use of grammar;
Coherent writing style;
Punctuation mistakes;
Lettering consistency (e.g. make sure I is not i);
Correct use of homophones (their, there and they’re)

Test Hyperlinks

Test all hyperlinks sure they are pointing to the correct page, email address or web page. Incorrect links can be detrimental to a campaign, particularly if you have a call to action that results in an online purchase or email inquiry. If the wrong page is displayed, a customer may have to click through a multitude of pages to get to where they want to go, or worse, give up and move on to your competitor’s site. Likewise, if a customer has to search for your email address, it might be easier for them to go somewhere else.

Design and Brand

Make sure that things like graphics, copy, colours, and layout are consistent with your brand and that they all work in the email template. For example, if images are too large they can break the template, and you can’t go wrong with a clean, simple layout.

checking from and to fields

From and To fields:
Check that your From Email, From Name, Reply address, and subject line are all correct, and represent your company accurately. As we learnt from our example, it’s no use sending out a great looking email with ‘Test Bulletin’ in the subject line.

 

 


Display across different Email Platforms
There is a multitude of email applications available on the market and many of them display the HTML code differently Test your emails to different applications to make sure that customers receive the email as you intended it. If most of your clients use Outlook™ make sure your emails can be received by this application, can be read and look good in this platform. Likewise, if a large proportion of your data use Gmail™, Hotmail™, Yahoo™ or another web-based email application, open one of these accounts to use for testing.

Litmus spam testSpam Filter Test
You’ve perfected your email, however, it won’t be much good if your message is filtered as spam. We highly recommend doing a spam filter test. There are many different ones available, however we use Litmus. What the spam filter test will do is pass your email through all major spam filters, and then show you the results. Not only do they show you your spam score from each spam filter, they also give indicators that help explain why you got that score and whether you passed or failed. For example, if you put lots of spammy words in like ‘Free’ and ‘$’ these would get filtered by spam filters, so the spam test can pick this up and will advise you which aspects of your email are considered spam. This advice helps you to adapt your email’s content to make sure it gets delivered.

Once you have performed all these test and checked all these different facets of your campaign, you are ready to deploy your healthy, happy, beautiful email!

We at Jericho subscribe to many different emails to stay in the loop with design and content and keep an eye on things. And lately we have received a few emails that have come into our inboxes that have clearly not been tested or checked and have obvious mistakes and faux pa’s in them.


In email marketing it is of upmost importance to test everything
.
A badly constructed or un-tested email can lead to poor brand representation, unreadable text, incorrect links, and broken graphics and in some cases, loss of revenue.

In the examples we have received lately, an email came through where they had doubled up their content which resulted in an extra-long email that repeated itself twice. In another case, the email came through with the subject line ‘Testing’. In another example, the email had one name in the pre header text, and another name as the salutation and was sent to the wrong person entirely, and the email gave links to confidential information.

Sending emails without testing is like a chef who doesn’t taste the food before serving it to patrons and then never listening to the patrons once they provide feedback about his food. One can assume that the restaurant won’t last too long if he keeps this up.

Following are some key steps in the testing process to help you make sure your email campaigns are 100% correct before you push the send button.

Key Testing Facilities in SmartMail Pro:
SmartMail PRO provides testing facilities in the email editing window. Below is an introduction into these tests, and what to look for when you run through each test.

Quick Test Send1. Quick Test Send
We recommend you do a quick test send to yourself and a colleague. This allows you to receive a version of your email directly into your email inbox. Make sure you are a subscriber in your list, and use this test to check every component of the email, such as the unsubscribe and view online links, all the to/from fields, the subject line, the copy and the images, and check that it all looks good and that all the links work.

 

Merge Field Test
2. Merge Fields Test
SmartMail PRO gives you the ability to test complex campaigns with merge fields via the on screen merge test. Using this tool, you can ensure that your dynamic content, merge fields and data are pulling through correctly into your email campaign.

 

 

 Live Test Send

3. Live Test Send
Once you have done these two tests, you can generate Live Tests. Do this once you have finalised and uploaded your data for the campaign, as the live test allows you to select a portion of your data and send actual copies of the emails that your recipients will receive, directly into your email inbox so that you can review them before sending.

As live tests send you a copy of the actual email the recipients will receive, it is a great opportunity to check that everything works and everything looks how it is meant to, and primarily that the merge fields and dynamic content and pre header text are pulling through the correct information based on your data.

In live tests it is important to check that the email address of the recipient matches the email in the pre header text, and that it matches the first name field in the email if you have one. Also check any other merge fields or dynamic content blocks where necessary.

TIP: Have your data open in excel while you review the live tests, so you can cross check the persons email address with their name and any other information that may be included in the email so you can be sure the email is pulling through the right information for the right people.

Tomorrow we will share more critial testing steps, and more advice to ensure your campaign is at 100%…

long email‘If you can’t write your idea on the back of my calling card, you don’t have a clear idea.’
~David Belasco

How long is too long for an email campaign? Well the short answer definitely is ’It depends’. Some campaigns are really long but they and work well and win awards for it. Some campaigns are short and sweet and they work well and win awards for it. The key is to have an interesting, relevant, engaging, well designed email. If you include too much content that is not relevant or interesting you are likely to lose people,or overwhelm people unless you have a really gripping campaign with good design, good copy and is relevant to the audience.

Here are some reasons why long emails may not work:
If it’s not interesting you will lose people’s attention and they will delete it
If you take too long to get to the point, people will delete it before you get there
If it takes too much time to read you will lose people and they will delete it
If there is too much information that isn’t relevant to your recipients they will delete it

How do you know if your email makes the grade?  Check out this blog post

Here are some pointers to keep in mind:
Make it clear what the email is about – make your point clearly and make it early
Make it clear what you want people to do – have an obvious call to action
Keep it relevant – Consider sending different emails to segments of your database, with each email targeted towards a specific audience
Keep it timely – keep the amount of articles or bits of information to 7 at the most. Even better, 4 or 5 is short and punchy yet informative.

TIP: If you have lots of information to share, it is sometimes better to send more frequently and include less content – that way you remain fresh in people’s minds and you don’t bombard them with too much information in one go.

Click here to read an article on email best practice guidelines and examples.

Here are some key things to focus on for your next campaign:

1) The right content – make sure your design, coding and content all follow good practice guidelines
2) At the right time – don’t underestimate having a timely content and call to action
3) The right audience – target your email and the content to a specific audience so that it’s relevant to them

TIP: Ask yourself these three questions about your email campaign:
1) Who is it from?
2) What’s in it for me
3) What do I do now?

If you can’t answer these questions yourself by looking at your email, you can bet that your recipients won’t be able to either. So for your next campaign, remember to keep it relevant to the audience, have a good balance of  images to capture attention with gripping copy that makes people read on…

Would you like Jericho to review your email design? Talk to us now

According to stuff.co.nz, the Department of Internal Affairs have added a third statement of claim in the High Court against Brendan Paul Battles and his company, Image Marketing Group. This third claim brings the total possible fines up to $2.1m! Read the article here.

The DIA’s Anti-spam Compliance unit had already filed two claims in the High Court earlier this year, accusing IMG and Battles of sending nearly 520,000 spam emails and 45,000 spam text messages back in 2009. Now, our anti-spam laws came into effect back in September 2007 and it clearly prohibits any unsolicited commercial electronic messages with a New Zealand link from being sent from, to, or in New Zealand. Read more on the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007.

So what should you take from this? Make sure you have the confirmed consent of the recipient before you even consider sending them any messages – I don’t think you’d want to end up in Brendan’s shoes!

If you’ve ever wondered where your subscribers are opening your email, well you’re in luck! Litmus have recently released a report that outlines how email viewing habits have changed in the last year – and what’s most exciting about this is the increase in mobile use! Read the article here.

The increase we’re seeing in Smartphone penetration within the NZ market (see Roanne’s post from earlier this week) goes hand-in-hand with the email rendering results we see in the report – over 150% increase in mobile opens in the last 6 months alone! Web-based email providers have taken a bit of a cut in their numbers, but desktop use still remains number one for how users are rendering emails. Justine (@meladorri) from Litmus made a good point when she mentioned that we’re not likely to see a decrease in desktop numbers seeing as though we rely on them so much in our day-to-day work lives; and that the increase in mobile activity isn’t replacing the desktop environment, its supporting it instead.

While these results are likely to focus on larger markets such as the US, Europe and Australia, we’re seeing similar results so far from the information that we’ve collected here at Jericho. Our development team have been tracking results to show how Kiwis are rendering emails and we’re pleased to let you know we’ll be able to present this information to you sometime soon!

UPDATE January 2013

New stats on mobile internet use and market share facts on New Zealand and Australia smartphone use have been posted in a new article on this blog, click to read the newest information here.

UPDATE 22 August 2012

More grist for the mill.  Some hard cold facts spotted on Twitter this morning for the split between iPhone and Android market share in New Zealand.  Both seeing roughly 1 android for every 4 iPhone, and say android is gaining.

RealEstate.co.nz as at today App downloads:  iPhone 85,500 and Android 20,300

TradeMe.co.nz as at today App downloads: 450K iPhone, 120K Android; and they also announced they are seeing 1000 mobile initiated listings/day.

Note I found it easy to find the link to app on RealEstate but couldn’t find it at all on TradeMe’s site.

UPDATE 16 May 2012:

We’ve found some great stats for Australian Smartphone penetration, and Google have just released a new report on New Zealand Smartphone penetration so we thought it time for another update to the last two posts (keep reading for those).

Here, our best informed guess was that 30% of people are using Smartphones in New Zealand.  That’s way up since we first talked about this subject in September (see below) when fewer than 18% of kiwis were on smartphones.   BUT Google’s Our Mobile Planet report of May 2012 says  44% of New Zealanders have access to a smartphone.  Download the full report here.  You can even download the entire data set.

The best comment I have had to date on this came from Andrew Malcolm, one of the smart young things behind ‘Applacarte’.  Andrew pointed out the obvious:

“The actual % of NZ penetration is irrelevant. The important figure is what percentage of our target markets are significantly driven by smartphone decisions. 18-50 yr olds with above average income in metropolitan areas is probably in the 60+% range.”

True that!

Secondly, according to the same Google study conducted with IPSOS Media CT, Australia has one of the highest rates of smartphone adoption in the world. Australia’s smartphone penetration is now 52%, a significant increase from last year’s figure of 37%.  Read the whole article here.

 

UPDATE 27 January 2012:

We’ve had an update on the below including carrier and market-share s0 we thought we’d share the new statistics, as they are very relevant and part of a substantial New Zealand Internet Use study – AUT: World Internet Project December 2011

The Study announces that usage of smartphones and other handheld wireless devices has grown apace, from 7% of Internet users in the 2007 sample, to 18% in 2009 and 27% in 2011.

The question the AUT: World Internet Project December 2011 asked:  ‘Do you use the Internet through wireless hand-held devices, such as a mobile phone or iPad?’
And, if yes, ‘How many hours a week do you use the Internet through wireless hand-held devices?’

More than a quarter (27%) of users access the Internet from a hand-held mobile device such as a smartphone or an iPad.
12% of Internet users, over 10% of the NZ population as a whole, spend 5 hours or more a week online from a wireless hand-held device.
And, the proportion of users accessing the Internet from a handheld mobile device for 10 hours a week or more has increased from almost none in 2007, to 8% of users in 2011.

16% of internet users say they download applications on a smartphone, which we will take to assume that this is number of Android and iPhone handsets in the NZ market, as these are by far the most common to have ‘apps’.

New Zealand Telco Mobile Market Share statistics:

TOTAL NZ MOBILE CONNECTIONS (Source NBR)

Vodafone: 2,434,000*
Telecom:  2,079,000**
2degrees: 875,656***
MVNOs: 50,000****

 

ORIGINAL POST: 12 September 2011:

Looking for recent smartphone stats for New Zealand and Australia?

You’ve found them! Unofficial’ but… the most accurate we’ve come across this year:

Mitch from The Hyperfactory shared the following New Zealand mobile phone market share statistics at the September 2011 Brainy Breakfast (a Marketing Association event sponsored by Jericho).

Total handsets in the NZ market:

Over 100% penetration of mobile handsets of all types in market in New Zealand

Mobile carrier market share:

The mobile carriers market is roughly split -
45% on Telecom,
45% on Vodafone, and
10% with 2 degrees.

Smartphone penetration:

Of the over 4.5 m phones in market, it’s estimated:
800,000 are smartphones

250,000 are iPhone/iPad
150,000 are Android

Leaving 400,000 or so as Blackberry, Windows and Symbian (Nokia N series etc).  Clearly this will continue to switch as phones are upgraded and new models launch clouding things further – such as Nokia’s new Windows phone.

In summary we are looking at smartphone penetration in NZ in the range of 14-18% and growing.  Compares to smartphone penetration in Europe and USA in the 30-50% range.

In Feb 2011 Telecom shared that smartphone sales were driving growth with ’16%’ quoted – here is the article at PC World.

Meanwhile, in Australia smartphone use is second highest in the world according to this study on behalf of Google.  Read article here on Australian smart phone penetration.

What do you think?  Do these match up with your experience/best guess/hard data?  Note that smartphone use (the Australian data) and smartphone penetration (the NZ data) aren’t the same thing.  We’ll continue to add to this post as we get updated info.

Do you love stats?  The you might also be interested to read these other posts from our blog:

Nearly 2 million Kiwis Use Social Media ( this is fast out of date so a weekly stat update via Catalyst90 is here )

Nearly half of all adult NZers are now shopping online

What % of shopping online is done on NZ websites vs NZer’s shopping on overseas websites?


Feel free to read, and add your comments below.

 

With the rise in smartphones, QR codes have suddenly become very prevalent in marketing.  Are you already using QR codes in your email campaigns? Or maybe you’re asking, what’s a QR code?… (n.b. be sure to keep reading to see the two ‘best QR codes ever’ at the bottom of the post!)

A QR code (short for Quick Response) is a specific matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code), readable by dedicated QR barcode readers and camera phones. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded can be text, URL or other data”

QR Code Symbol
QR code (Quick Response code) technology was invented back in 1994 by Toyota’s daughter company, Denso-Wave, to track parts in vehicle manufacturing. They offered a much higher data capacity than the bar- or UPC codes in use at the time, and was designed to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed. And while it was a big improvement over barcodes, its use was limited to consumer products at the time. Remember, smartphones were not common then, and had no scanning or camera capabilities, so there was no market for mobile QR applications.

Your business can benefit from QR codes because they enable customers to interact with your company and brand in real time, anytime. The QR Code experience is compact, takes place in seconds, and requires little more than a scan or a click by the target consumer. It’s virtually free to implement, except for a few minutes of labor required to create and code the data or links. And it’s 100% multichannel – from hard copy print to mobile, social media, email marketing, and the Internet.

QR code in envelope
Here’s an example of how this can work in email marketing: if you paste a QR code into an email, recipients can scan it with their smartphone, and they will instantly be able to perform the actions you intended using the encoded information, e.g. sign up, donate, share, “like”, etc. Depending on the coding, they would also be able to contact you (or your source page/site) in real time with their camera phone without having to type numbers or text messages in those tiny screens.

And you don’t need a “magic ring” to “unlock” the data. Many smartphones come with QR readers today. If you don’t already have one, you can download one of several that are available on the online app store. So anyone with a camera phone equipped with a QR code reader app can scan them!

QR codes are a great way to build your subscriber list from sources other than your website and email campaigns. The benefit is that customers can respond immediately and conveniently to your request − without having to type, change screens, scroll, or try to remember your website or landing page address. That improves your response rate. It is also a form of lead generation!

QR codes in email marketing
Here are some powerful ways for email marketers to use QR codes:

1) Offer QR Code sign up via email. What you do is encode an email message with the address of your campaign and an appropriate subject. When the user scans the code, their mobile email client will open in their smartphone and, once they accept to send the message, they will automatically be added to your campaign. It combines the best of the old and new to make it easy for any skill level.

2) Use it in follow up campaigns. Such a campaign could be a dedicated follow-up/auto responder series available only to those who sign up via a QR code and offering, for example, additional educational content. This could constitute part of a multichannel engagement strategy, and offer another incentive to new subscribers to become customers.

3) Link QR codes to exclusive content. Such as case studies, white papers, or product demos to help drive response rates and sales. Increase the value by segmenting your subscribers by interest, demographics, and purchasing history, for example:
“Segment a list of “high-value” subscribers who make larger dollar purchases or buy more often, and reward them with a “secret” QR code offering an e-book, exclusive sale, or 2-for-1 discount on their favorite items”

QR codes and how to use them
QR code can make it easier for subscribers, customers and prospects to contact your company, for a variety of reasons, some of which may be urgent are a few simple, but keep in mind there are some essential rules to follow in your QR code strategy to keep it relevant, useful and valuable:

  • Good ad copy is essential. If you’re not a great writer, consider hiring one.
  • Know why you want to use the code and where you want to take the user.Don’t make them do anything that will be perceived as useless. Lots of campaigns and companies are creating QR codes that simply link to their website.
  • Instead, make sure you do something that gives the client something exciting, interactive, or exclusive.
  • Give something that makes sense on the phone – and that can be delivered instantly.
  • Tell people what they are going to get and how to use the QR codes to get it.
  • Be sure the pages you lead people to are mobile-ready – load quickly, scale nicely, and are easy to navigate.

And finally, whatever you do, don’t waste the users’ time. Use this mini-course as your guide, then experiment, test, and only implement when you’re sure it’s going to work.

Tip: “It’s smart to link the QR code to a specific landing page to make it easier to track the links and identify the exact response provided by each mobile device. Furthermore, if you assign a reference number to a web form that is promoted by a QR code, you’ll be able to track the number of sign ups captured. You can then compare it to other ways of directing traffic to web forms (e.g. PPC campaigns, social media, surveys, etc.) and analyze the conversion rates”

When done right, QR codes can be a valuable tool for lead generation, and interaction with customers, however inneffective use will render it overkill or useless without a specific purpose or intent in mind.

Lastly, if you are not sure about using QR Codes in your email, you can try them in chocolate.  Yes, chocolate QR codes.

Update: As if chocolate QR codes aren’t cool enough, MediaPost has found a QR code made from Oreo Cookies – yes, Oreo Cookie QR Codes!