Years ago I was obsessed with preheaders, aka snippets or autopreview, and wrote about them in my ClickZ column. Back then I did a lot of testing of preheader copy and generated some great results for clients.

Fast-forward to today. I still consider preheader text when I’m helping clients optimize their email efforts, but am no longer obsessed. But maybe I should be…

A recent test generated a 96% increase in revenue-per-email — nearly double the control — and all we did was change the copy in the preheader. It was an A/B split test — everything else about the creative was exactly the same; we randomly split the list in two and sent the messages at the same day and time.  Read More →

From time to time I’ll pull a message from my inbox and do a walk-through of its pros and cons. These gentle critiques are intended to educate; I hope that the companies mentioned as well as readers will keep that top of mind. 

I received this email on January 3 from a long-time industry acquaintance we’ll call “Fred.” Fred is one of those people you see once or twice a year at conferences. You know what I mean, someone you’re friendly with but you’re not necessarily friends. The first thing about this email that struck me is that I haven’t received anything from him in a long time. I opened the email to find out it’s been at least FIVE YEARS…

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Hard to believe that Thanksgiving is this week! It sure seems like it snuck up on us with all of the warm weather we have been having. If you are like most, you are probably still trying to finalize your email plans for holiday. Not to worry, we have scoured the internet to find the BEST 2016 Holiday Guides to help you with your last-minute planning.

Here they are — did we miss one that you found useful? Email me with the name of the guide, the URL where we can find it, what you liked about it and your name, title and company. If we agree, we’ll add your find to the list and give you credit for the recommendation!

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From time to time I’ll pull a message from my inbox and do a walk-through of its pros and cons. These gentle critiques are intended to educate; I hope that the companies mentioned as well as readers will keep that top of mind. 

I always try to be gentle with these critiques but this time… it’s Microsoft, for heaven’s sake!

Microsoft, which so many people have a love-hate relationship with.

True story: in the mid-1990s I had a boss who refused to let our marketing department become a 100% Microsoft shop. His last stand: we used Lotus 123 instead of Excel. Every other department in the company used Excel. During budget period we were constantly having to translate spreadsheets back and forth between the two programs. and just about every time you did it something was lost. It was a bit of a mess.

Microsoft, maker of my Surface Pro, which I love. But also Microsoft, which still causes me heartburn as an email marketer because its Outlook email client blocks images by default, making it more difficult for my clients’ email messages to make a good first impression.

So why, oh why, does the Microsoft Rewards Team send emails which are more than 90% images – and which look like nothing when images are blocked? Case in point…

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Last year about this time I presented at ClickZ Chicago. I love this presentation because it really gets back to basics but it uses case studies and data to support the standards and best practices that will help you make your email marketing program more effective and more profitable. Enjoy!

The Direct Marketing Association projects that email marketing returns $28.50 for each dollar spent – the highest return-on-investment (ROI) of any other direct response channel. Join Jeanne Jennings, Vice President of Global Strategic Services for Alchemy Worx, to learn how organizations are optimizing their email marketing efforts to improve opens, clicks, conversions and ROI.

This fast-paced session will provide real-world examples of inexpensive strategies and tactics you can implement with your own email program. We’ll cover: Read More →

Note: Happy Throwback Thursday! Most of what I do with clients is strategy, but I do often roll-up my sleeves and dive into creative direction and that’s what this post focuses on. It’s from last year (published by ClickZ in October 2014) and it was a very popular article back then, I think because there’s something here just about everyone can test to see if it will improve performance.

I never did hear back from this restaurant even thought I sent the critique to them with a friendly note. But I hope they are still in business — and I hope their email marketing is generating revenue for them (whether or not they ended up taking any of my advice). Enjoy!

I love email marketing. It makes me really sad when I see a small business trying to leverage the power of the channel making small mistakes which could be the difference between success and failure.

Case in point: an email I received earlier this month. It appears below; I’ve redacted the details to protect the organization. To set the scene: I attended a business networking event at this restaurant and dropped my business card in a bowl to win a gift certificate. This is the first communication I received from them.

Take a quick look with your best email marketing eye and make a note of what you’d suggest they change in their next go round. My thoughts on 11 things they could have done better follow. Read More →

Note: Happy Throwback Thursday! This is the second in my trifecta on snippets — and it’s my #1 client case study showcasing the power of this often overlooked tactic. Although this was first published by ClickZ in January 2008, the tips here are still relevant today. Enjoy!

An old direct marketing trick can help e-mail marketing campaigns today.

A Johnson Box is a box commonly found at the top of direct mail letters, containing the key message of the letter. The purpose of it is to draw the reader’s attention to this key message first, and hopefully grab their attention, enticing them to read the rest of the letter…It has also been adapted to the email format, having the additional benefit of allowing the most important message in the email to be visible in the preview pane of an email reader. Wikipedia, January 2008 Read More →

Note: Happy Throwback Thursday! I’ve been having a lot of discussions lately about snippets with a friend who is wanting to leverage them to improve the performance of his email newsletter. It occurred to me that there are still email marketers out there who aren’t leveraging this extra piece of copy to drive better results. So here is a trifecta (this is the first of three, watch this space for the other two) of ‘oldie-but-goodie’ articles to get you up to speed on the hows and whys of leveraging snippets.

This article, which I wrote, was first published by ClickZ in October 2006, but the facts remain the same. Enjoy!

Do you optimize for snippets? Do you even know what snippets are?

I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t think much about snippets, or even know their official name, until a client brought them to my attention. With regard to snippets, the Unofficial Gmail FAQ says: “Gmail snippets will show the first part of the message right in the title bar, similar to how Google shows snippets of web pages in their result pages.” Read More →

Happy Throwback Thursday! This article first appeared in my ClickZ column in January of 2013 — but it’s still a relevant topic for anyone trying to determine what their key success metrics are. Enjoy!

Sometimes it’s difficult to figure out what to test to improve performance. But sometimes the hard part comes after the test, in determining the winner.

Case in point: a recent subject line test I undertook for a client.

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Discover How to Take the Pain Out or PR... and We'll Send You a $50 Barnes and Noble Gift Card. Dear Christy,

Last week Chad White published a fabulous infographic all about Snippets on the Salesforce Marketing Cloud Blog — not only does it talk about why snippets matter (and then do!) but also about how to control what content appears as a snippet. One data point really jumped out at me — 54% of the email messages he reviewed had a poorly or not at all optimized snippet. That’s more than half!

It reminded me of a case study that I published on ClickZ back in 2008. The full text of the original article appears here; as a companion piece, see optimizing for snippets, which I published back in 2006.

These are truly Throw-back Thursday pieces, I realize. They are from a long time ago, yes, but the tips they provide to leverage snippet copy are still relevant today. At least for the 54% of email messages which don’t have optimized snippets. And I’ve included a bonus that didn’t appear in the original article, which is…

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