I was speaking with a couple of salespeople I know a few months ago and one of them used the word “idiot” to describe a C-level executive at a company he was hoping to close as a client.

I have a lot of thoughts about this particular situation. The C-level executive is someone I know and like and I strongly dislike use of the term “idiot.” I shared my thoughts at the time, but I’ve had trouble letting go of the experience.

I’ve been thinking about the bigger picture implications of disparaging your prospects. Does it negatively impact your ability to convert them into customers? Read More →

Note from Jeanne: Happy Throwback Thursday! I continue to work with clients to make their marketing more personalized — without crossing into the creepy zone. A discussion I had last week in a meeting reminded me of this article from June of last year (it was originally published as part of my ClickZ Email Marketing Column) — read on for some tips on using personalization in a way that won’t upset your customers.  

Last week I had the pleasure of speaking at the Specialized Information Publishers Association’s (SIPA, a division of SIIA) Annual Conference. My presentation focused on data, technology and testing in digital marketing and a particularly interesting discussion arose around browse reminders.

Were they good marketing tools or creepy?

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Note from Jeanne: Happy Throwback Thursday! A client recently asked me what type of information I’d like to see in a creative brief and I thought of this article! After reading it everything here still applies (and that’s saying something, since I wrote this article for ClickZ back in November 2003!). A strong creative brief is the first step toward better bottom line performance, but many brands miss some key things that should be in their creative briefs (and many brands still don’t do them at all!). So take a few minutes to read my thoughts on creative briefs and then try to make at least enhancement to the next one you draft. Enjoy!

I’ve been doing a lot of work with creative briefs lately. In some cases, clients provide them to my creative team before we begin work; other times, I put them together for my team based on what I know of my client’s product and business goals. Either way, a strong creative brief, combined with good feedback, can make or break an email campaign. Here are a few tips on effectively writing and using creative briefs.

Creative Briefs

Creative briefs (as I’m sure you’re aware) aren’t unique to the online world. They’ve been used for years in offline marketing because they’re a great way to focus a creative team and increase the chances of creating a first draft that meets business goals. That said, it’s surprising to me they aren’t yet standard operating procedure for online marketing. Online product managers and others will benefit from writing creative briefs for every campaign. There are some down-and-dirty shortcuts you can use whether you’re writing a brief for one of your products or one of your client’s. Read More →

Note from Jeanne: Happy Throwback Thursday! I worked with a client recently that was dabbling in cart reminder emails. When we analyzed the results we found an average conversion rate of 2.07% with $16.79 in revenue generated for every email sent — the best performing of all the initiatives we looked at. Needless to say, they will be expanding and automating this very successful program. It all made me think of this presentation from last year, which I thought I would share — enjoy! 

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Note from Jeanne: Happy Throwback Thursday! Smart data is the key to success in email marketing — as I laid out roughly a year ago in this column originally published by ClickZ. Enjoy!

“Big data” is often seen as the boogeyman of marketing – and in truth, I’m not a big fan of big data.

But I am a fan of smart data. Smart data is about determining in advance what information you will use for segmentation, targeting, personalization, and customization – and then using this list as your guideline for collection. Don’t collect anything that you don’t have a solid plan to use in the next six months.

Through my work with clients I’ve seen the benefits smart data provides to both marketers and the people they market to. Here’s a primer on four ways to collect and develop smart data that will improve the performance of your marketing efforts. Read More →

Note from Jeanne: Happy Throwback Thursday! This was one of the most popular columns that ClickZ published last year. Although it was written in February 2015 the facts and opinions expressed here are still 100% on target. Enjoy!

It’s been a long time since the phrase “double opt-in” has crossed my lips, but it came up in not just one but two different conversations in the past few weeks. Both were friends that work in the digital marketing and product development world and they’re really good at what they do. But email isn’t their primary wheelhouse, like it is mine.

So it was interesting that both considered double opt-in the way that email marketing acquisition should be done. One reminded me that, back when we worked together in 2000, I was a very strong proponent of double opt-in. That’s true; but I’ve changed my stance. While I’m not anti-double-opt-in (full disclosure: my email newsletter is and always has been double opt-in, read on to learn why), there are times when it makes sense to go double opt-in and other times when single opt-in is just fine.

So why did my stance change and how do I determine whether to recommend single or double opt-in to a client?

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Editors note: Happy Throwback Thursday! Here’s part 2 of my series on how to define and work toward your perfect future state marketing state program. This was first published back in March 2016 as part of my email marketing column for ClickZ.com. 

Welcome back! Hopefully you read my last column, “Creating the Perfect Email/Digital Marketing Program for Your Organization.”

If so, you should have a wish list of things you would like to do for your email marketing program – or for your marketing program in general. Even better if you collaborated with your internal team; then you should have a really long list of ideas!

If you didn’t read my last column, it’s not too late. Take a quick read now and then write down a few things to start your list (you can go back and add to it later).

As I mentioned, I’m going through this process with a client. Here are few items which are representative of the things on their list: Read More →

Editor’s note: Happy Throwback Thursday! This is the first of two articles providing a framework to define your ‘perfect state’ future marketing program — and taking the first steps to get there. This was originally published as part of my email marketing column for ClickZ back in March 2015. I’ll publish the second part next week. Enjoy! 

Today I’m issuing a challenge to you – yes, you! And everyone else who reads this column.

I’ll tell you what it is in a bit. First, I have a question to pose to you:

If you could wave a magic wand and instantly create the email marketing program of your dreams for your organization, what would it look like? Read More →

Editor’s note: Happy Throwback Thursday! If you’re not leveraging the power of strategic email resends, now is the time! Here’s a primer on how to do it well. This was first published as part of my email marketing column on ClickZ.com back in March 2015. 

One of my favorite sayings is “Work Smarter, Not Harder.”

I was reminded of this recently in a meeting with a client. The organization (a large not-for-profit) engaged our firm for a digital transformation (DT), a large multi-year project. This meeting was outside the scope of that; I was asked to review the email marketing plan promoting their 2015 conference.

Overall, I was very impressed. They’ve put together a very comprehensive, well-thought-out, content-marketing-focused campaign. The conference is in May and the frequency is two email messages a week (it started sometime around the first of the year) until the opening keynote. But here’s what gave me pause: every single email is unique.

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Earlier this month I re-published an article from last year about a great opt-in campaign executed by T.j.Maxx to entice email subscribers to sign-up for an additional email publication. I loved it because they went for the opt-in — they didn’t just assume that all their current subscribers would want additional content.

I was reminded just how unusual this is last weekend, when I received an email from another brand offering me additional content and more email messages from them. But this one is a negative option opt-out, rather than an opt-in. When you do a negative option opt-out, you assume that silence (no response) equals permission.

Here’s the email message: Read More →