I’m currently sitting in a local coffee shop doing some work while my daughter is having her ice skating lesson down the road. They’ve got WiFi at the rink, but it’s a bit on the cool side to work in there!
I’m in the front most corner of the restaurant, right next to the window. About eight feet ahead of me is what I believe management has deemed the “secondary entrance” to this shop. The main entrance is about thirty feet farther down the side walk.
The door closest to me is currently locked. Customers CAN’T GET IN! With the exception of about five people who parked almost directly in front of the main entrance, everyone else has attempted to use this door. Everyone gives it a second pull – just to be sure, there’s some sort of exasperated exhale, and then they spin on their heels to walk the additional thirty feet to get in. To spend their money. To continue to cultivate a relationship with this store and the larger brand.
What is preventing management from seeing this? From my physical vantage point, the answer is so easy! They literally cannot see this happening! It’s far enough away from where all the employees – and there are some lovely decorative panels that contribute to the obstructed view – so they don’t even know that this is going on.
How do you see the obstacles that have inadvertently found their way into your mailings over the years? How far away are you from where the action is?
Just spend some time looking at the awesome reports in Informz. There is an amazing array of information in those reports that can help you to unlock those doors. More mobile reads than you thought? Modify your template to work better. Nobody is really clicking on the bounty of hyperlinks stuffed in the mailing? Don’t put so many in there or change their placement. Your readers WANT YOUR STUFF! That’s why they’ve opted in. For goodness sake, don’t lock them out.
Think about your email marketing efforts as the doorways to your organization. You’ve got these long glass walls where your constituents can take a passing view inside, but ultimately it’s that email that you create, test, send, and analyze that gets them in the door.
Are all of your “email doors” unlocked and welcoming? If you look down the digital front of your organization’s presence, can you find, and remove, some interaction obstacles? Can you prevent just a few more recipients of your emails from being frustrated, perplexed, or even exasperated? If you can do it, then do it! (And then let your eMarketing Advisor know how awesome you are for doing this! Go ahead, toot your own horn – we love that!)
Every day there are numerous deliverability related tasks being addressed behind the scenes at Informz. We’re working to remove domain blocks, requesting removal of IPs from blacklists, responding to abuse complaints, testing filters, analyzing mailing content, reviewing reputations and more. One element that we quietly complete but rarely mention is the processing of challenge-response authentication that some receiving domains require.
Challenge-response authentication in email is a process that requires a sender to verify that they are sending from a valid address (one that hasn’t been faked or forged). This is done by sending a message back to the claimed sender, while placing the original email in a holding queue or quarantine, and asking the sender to perform some necessary action before the message will be released to the intended recipient. Spammers often send from non-existent or “borrowed” addresses, so they rarely receive the challenge-response requests for messages they have sent. Processing challenge-response messages can also be very time consuming if they come in significant volume, so spammers don’t usually want to spend time dealing with them.
Challenge-responses come in various forms. The two I see most frequently are the reply and link types. The reply type of challenge-response will ask the sender to simply reply to the challenge message without changing the subject line. The link type asks one to follow a link to a page hosted by the filtering organization, usually containing a captcha, where the sender must enter a string of characters displayed on the page as an image. Once either type of challenge-response requirement has been successfully fulfilled, the original message you’ve sent should be released from the holding queue and passed on to the recipient.
Most receiving domains that utilize a challenge-response process will send their challenge to the “envelope” or “bounce” address of a message. When you send a message through Informz, we insert an address in the headers for bounce processing and reporting. This address looks like a random set of numbers at one of our domains; “firstname.lastname@example.org” for example. Because these messages are routed to Informz, we process them on your behalf.
Any domain could use it, however we’ve seen school districts using it most, followed by bluebottle.com and delosmail.com, among others. One domain in particular has been returning an increasing number of challenge-responses recently; uol.com.br. This domain belongs to UOL, a Brazilian ISP. Without running some reports, I can only speculate that UOL reconfigured their system to challenge more messages (perhaps by making it a default setting), or that Informz clients have simply gained a noticeable new subscribers at this domain.
When sending to recipients that use challenge-response authentication, opens and clicks may be delayed delayed due to the need for human intervention before delivery. If recipients indicate that you are a trusted sender (by adding the sending domain to their contacts or whitelisting your Informz IP address), the challenge-response authentication process can be avoided. If not, we’ll continue to send those replies and complete those captchas for you!
I recently moved into the eMarketing Strategist role, but prior to that worked with clients as an eMarketing Advisor. As a strategist I have the opportunity to help clients increase their metrics, manage their campaigns and strengthen their overall strategy.
Developing relationships with clients is definitely the highlight. Not only do I learn about their email marketing, but how many times their kids have watched Star Wars, their favorite NIN cover band, and the hobbies and extracurriculars that keep them busy outside of the 9 to 5. It’s a bonus when my suggestions improve their subscriber engagement.
Batman. He gets to drive cool cars and motorcycles and has the ultimate tool belt.
So far the best vacation would have to be Italy. My boyfriend and I visited last Christmas and I ate SO. MUCH. FOOD. I’m not sure I can ever look at American prosciutto the same way again.
I have TV show ADD. Right now I’m in love with Top Gear UK, Duck Dynasty, Rehab Addict and Bob’s Burgers. But, my favorite show of all time would probably be Roseanne.
We’ve been talking about this year’s vacation for months and I keep pushing for Turkey. I think I finally managed to convince my boyfriend when a good friend of ours moved back to Istanbul last month.
I have a ridiculous amount of hobbies. We’re currently in the midst of renovating the kitchen ourselves, that includes cabinets, counter, sink and floors. I’m a big diy-er and love having the excuse to buy more power tools. I also have a habit of buying too much furniture off of Craigslist to refinish and redecorate. When not ripping things apart, I love serving on the boards of the American Marketing Association and Albany Ad Club, riding my motorcycle, eating, and seeing foreign places.
In today’s email marketing world, HTML email is the way to go for producing graphical content for your customers or recipients. But unfortunately, email clients haven’t kept pace with the browser advancements, and therefore a large technological gap exists between a webpage and an HTML email.
The good news is, the email client world is progressing too. Design tools such as Dreamweaver, Visual Web Developer, and FrontPage are great, but unfortunately they aren’t designed with email in mind. This means you have to precisely follow the standards of the email industry to make your creativity look good in popular email clients like Outlook.
It is true that an HTML email is a different context than a webpage, and needs to be treated differently, but this does not mean that an HTML email would not leave an enduring impression as does a regular webpage. By following the best practices and strategies for optimally designing an email, you can design your email to be just as effective as a web page and still stand out and be inspiring. Keeping it short and simple is a key factor as well.
We know that an email inbox is a place where too much goes on at once. With tons of messages, folders, calendars, ads, buttons and other distractions, your best approach for designing an email is to make the best use of screen space, choosing the right width, graphics, colors, and formatting for success. Also, keeping the visual connection to your brand is extremely important; this helps subscribers make the connection in their mind between the email and the company sending it. Your approach should be all about knowing your topic and your audience.
Unlike a webpage, an email message has a lot to compete with for attention, because there are all the other messages in the inbox — spam messages, personal messages and work-related messages, and then there are those draft messages that are in the process of being written. The point to consider here is that reading your email might be a small part of most people’s jobs! So start with the most valuable information and get to the point quickly. Your readers will glance at the top of the email, so consider starting with an enticing title or summary or with a very attractive banner image or a graphic.
Even though it sounds like a few extra hours to design an optimal email, from my perspective its worth doing it. Just think about whose attention you would gain and who may become your potential customers, strengthen relationships with your members, boost your sales and increase your website traffic!
Informz is committed to helping our environment. Our offices are 100% wind powered and we pledge to plant 10 trees for every new client!