Posts Tagged ‘spam’

3 Steps to Conquering CASL: An interview from Email Summit 2015

February 19th, 2016

As we’re in the final days before MarketingSherpa Summit 2016, we thought it would be fitting to share the last Media Center interview from last year, covering a timely topic marketers were concerned about — Canada’s Anti-Spam Law.

With fines of up to $10 million per violation, Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL) is among the world’s strictest anti-spam legislation and, naturally, it got attention. As a result, it’s too easy for marketers to feel overwhelmed by the new regulations, Shaun Brown, Partner, nNovation (an Ottawa-based law firm), said.


He discussed CASL with Courtney Eckerle, Managing Editor, MarketingSherpa, at Email Summit 2015.

“There are potentially huge penalties under the legislation. Every law firm is publishing information. You have bloggers, email marketers … everybody is talking about CASL. But not everything out there is necessarily factually correct,” he said. “And even then, we can’t always claim to know exactly how the law is going to apply in every circumstance.”

Consequently, some marketers have embraced CASL compliance. Others, not so much.

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Email Marketing: Avoid the pitfalls of a direct-mail mindset

February 7th, 2012

New technology is always bewildering. We get a newfangled tool. We play with it. We relate it to other stuff. We try to understand it.

The problem is that new technology is new. You can relate it to older stuff at first, but you have to move on. Thinking about it in old ways can hold you back.

Take email marketing, for example. Companies used it as a digital form of direct mail for years. We now know email is not direct mail, but some companies continue reliving the past. Here are a few examples:

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Social Spam: Why you should clean out your LinkedIn and Facebook communities

December 16th, 2011

The landing tab for the MarketingSherpa group on LinkedIn is called “Discussions.” Except, it was pretty much false advertising because there wasn’t a lot of discussion happening. It was mostly social spam … blatant self-promotion.

And this self-promotion went far beyond pushing products or special offers, it was promotion of blog posts, webinars, articles, etc … not quite as bad as promotional offers or the SEO phishing we get from comments here on the MarketingSherpa blog.

But still, it prevented conversation. So, Bethany Caudell, Customer Service, MECLABS, and I sat down to discuss the right approach forward. Beth manages the MarketingSherpa LinkedIn group, along with the MarketingExperiments Optimization group on LinkedIn.


Social media shades of gray

When it comes to managing social media communities, there are always shades of gray as to what, exactly, is appropriate. Then, once you set ground rules, the social media platform changes on you (ah, innovation).

For example, the challenge I’m talking about here only arose because LinkedIn did away with the “News” tab in its groups, leaving members with no dedicated place to post links they thought were newsworthy. So on the one hand, I did feel for them.

On the other hand, again, all of this “news” was killing the true point of the tab – discussions.

So at the end of the day we bit the bullet, sent out a warning letter about the new change, and Beth whipped out her virtual machete and started cleaning the groups of all that social spam. I expected some negative kickback, but I was extremely surprised when the feedback was overwhelming positive (in case you have to clean house yourself one day, you can see copy for the letter I sent using that link as well).

So the question arises … how do you combat social spam? How far should marketers go as policemen and women for their LinkedIn Groups, Facebook fan pages, and the like? These social media pages, originally meant for discussion, can be easily filled with junk thanks to a self-promoting audience … or simply inappropriate content.

Below you’ll find a very basic six-step process to help with your own efforts.

  Read more…

Email Deliverability: Riddles answered on spam complaints, feedback loops, and dedicated IPs

May 3rd, 2011

Delivering your emails can be like crossing the Bridge of Death in Monty Python’s “The Holy Grail.” You have to answer several riddles to get past the gatekeepers and avoid the Pit of Lost Emails.

The gatekeepers, of course, are the ISPs and webmail providers. To help get your emails across, MarketingSherpa and ReturnPath recently capped a webinar on deliverability with data, case studies, and best practices. Naturally, we old bridgereceived many questions.

There were so many questions, in fact, that co-presenter Tom Sather, Director of Professional Services at ReturnPath, answered some of the audience’s deliverability questions in a recent blog post. Today, I am doing the same with three questions below.

Question #1: Could you share tips about how to forestall people using Spam button to unsubscribe?

People who want to unsubscribe from your emails are more likely to harm to your program than to help it — so let them go. Make it as easy as possible them to stop receiving your emails.

You should always link to a simple (one-click) unsubscribe process. Most companies put this link in the footer, but you can go a step further by putting the link in the header.

Here’s an example:

Unsubscribe link in email header

As Tom Sather described in his recent post, you can also create a coded email header that some ISPs and webmail providers use to generate an unsubscribe link in their interfaces.

Also, take steps to help prevent subscribers from wanting to unsubscribe in the first place. Strive to increase the relevance of your emails’ content and timing. Make sure your signup forms and welcome emails are setting subscribers’ expectations accurately.

If you clearly set expectations and only deliver emails within those guidelines, then subscribers should not mark your emails as spam. They should be receiving exactly what they requested. However, if subscribers do mark a message as spam, be sure to immediately drop them from your list.

Question #2: How do I know if someone marks my emails as spam or junk?

When a subscriber marks your email as “spam” or “junk,” it hurts your sender reputation. Monitoring campaigns for these types of complaints is a good start to preventing them from happening.

Some email marketing platforms offer complaint rates in their reports. You can also sign up for complaint feedback loops with some ISPs and webmail providers.

Feedback loops send you a copy of each complaint made against your emails. Such a complaint could be someone marking your email as spam or forwarding it to a postmaster. Here is more information on signing up for feedback loops from popular providers:
MSN / Hotmail

Question #3: If you’re using a third-party solution to produce and send your email, is that considered a dedicated IP address?

ISPs and webmail providers typically track senders’ reputations by IP address. Depending on the platform you use to send email, you might have a shared IP address that is also used by other senders. This would mean you’re also sharing your reputation with other senders.

A dedicated IP address is only used by your company. This gives you the ability to manage your sender reputation without having to worry about other companies who might be also using it.

To answer your question, email marketing platforms can offer you a dedicated IP address, but using one does not guarantee you a dedicated IP.

For example, a platform vendor can have some clients who send from shared IPs and other clients who send from dedicated IPs. Getting a dedicated IP will likely require an additional charge.

As we noted in the webinar, 65% of email marketers report that using a dedicated IP address is a “very effective” deliverability tactic, the highest of any reported in our 2011 Email Marketing Benchmark Report. However, as Tom Sather noted on our blog last year, a shared IP address can be beneficial if you meet these two criteria:

  • Mailing volume is less than 20,000 subscribers
  • Your database consists mostly of addresses at the top four consumer providers (Hotmail, Yahoo!, Gmail and AOL)

If you’re not sure which type of IP you send from, reach out to your email marketing platform vendor and ask. You should get a very straight-forward answer. It’s not like you’re asking a riddle.

Useful links related to this article

Webinar Replay — Improve Email Deliverability: Tactics for handling complaints and boosting reputation

ReturnPath’s Blog Post — A follow-up on MarketingSherpa’s webinar, “Improve Email Deliverability”

Email Marketing: Your deliverability questions answered

Email List Hygiene: Remove four kinds of bad addresses to improve deliverability

Email Deliverability: Always test emails that link to third-party sites

Members Library — Webinar Replay: Top Tactics to Improve Relevancy and Deliverability

Members Library — Email Marketing: FedEx increases deliverability and clickthrough rate with preference centers

Photo: pietroizzo

Consumers More Careful with Email

March 6th, 2009

The database marketing agency Merkle released their 2009 ‘View from the Inbox’ email marketing report last week. The survey, conducted on behalf of Merkle by Harris Interactive, surveyed 2,505 U.S. adults who check or send email at least once a week.

Judging from the report’s highlights, it looks like consumers are more skeptical and demanding of messages hitting the in-box. However, they’re willing to receive email from a slightly greater number of companies. The report is free if you share your email address.

Here are a few findings:

Read more…

Empower Brand Advocates to Speak for You

October 1st, 2008

Most nonprofit organizations I’ve talked to have two core marketing missions: to solicit donations and get out the message. They need the funds to continue operating, and they need to get out the message to have an impact.

I’ve also noticed that many nonprofits have less-than-stellar marketing. This is not a slight to nonprofit marketers. I think they just lack time and resources, not ability. We have written case studies about nonprofit marketers doing very interesting things and finding success.

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