Archive for the ‘Email Marketing’ Category

Implications of the new Privacy Act on Email and SMS Marketing

February 13th, 2017 by Heather Maloney

privacy act changes and email and sms marketing Okay … this may seem a little dry, but hang in there; we will get to the nitty gritty as quickly as possible.

Email and SMS marketing in Australia is not only impacted by the Australian Spam Act 2003, but also the Privacy Act 1988 (as amended by the Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Act 2012). The Privacy Amendment Act came into force on the 12 March, 2014 and created a single set of Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) applying to both Australian Government agencies and the private sector, with some special situations for the medical profession. Whilst the Privacy Act does not apply to small businesses (those with an annual revenue of less than $3,000,000), it is best practice to adhere to the legislation regardless of your size.

As I see it, the most important change in the Privacy Act was more stringent disclosure about where your data can be stored, and ensuring that government agencies do not store their data offshore except in some very specific situations. NB: if you do provide your data to offshore organisations, you are responsible for ensuring that they do not breach the Australian privacy principles.

When undertaking email and SMS marketing, in order to comply with the Privacy legislation we recommend that you:

  • Use eNudge, because your data is stored on Australian servers, not off-shore and because eNudge makes it easy for people to un-subscribe (this requirement is now included in both the Privacy legislation as well as the Australian Spam Act).
  • Only store in eNudge the information that you absolutely require in order to be able to personalise your messages and analyse your campaign results.
  • Do not store or personalise on government identifiers e.g. tax file numbers and the like.
  • Document and follow your privacy policy, and have it easily accessible via your website.
  • Include a link to your privacy policy within your email message – your email footer is the best place for this.

What should be in your privacy policy?

  1. The kinds of personal information your collect & keep.
  2. How you hold it e.g. with eNudge you might say that your information is stored in a secure online database, within Australian servers, and only accessible by appropriate employees.
  3. For what purpose you collect, store, use and disclose the personal information, and most importantly, identifying where the disclosure may take place overseas including identifying the country.
  4. How a person can view & request correction of the personal information you are storing about them.
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Online Technologies to consider for your business

May 30th, 2012 by Heather Maloney

The following online technologies have broad application across many industries, to help you increase awareness of your brand, products and services, strengthen relationships with existing customers, build community around your brand, position you as a thought leader in your industry or area of expertise, increase sales, and generate more leads.

Do a mental stocktake on how many of these technologies you are successfully employing:

  1. website - there are some businesses that still don’t have a website, or have a site that presents their organisation in a poor light, so I can’t leave that off the list. Your website may have more than one objective – make sure that it’s achieving your goal/s, whether that’s to generate leads, automate distribution of valuable information, build your credibility, facilitate sales…
  2. email marketing – despite the scourge of spam, and how long this medium has been used, it’s still the greatest tool of many of our clients for generating sales and enquiry, increasing customer retention and providing better service. You should encourage visitors to your website to register for your regular emails, but also promote this through offline channels (think business cards, brochures, invoices…).
  3. SMS marketing – a well executed SMS campaign can generate an immediate response. Of course, as per email marketing, you’re going to be obeying the Australian Spam Act to the letter, so an SMS won’t be a surprise to your customers.
  4. blog - pointing your readers to your website’s blog will drive traffic to your site (where hopefully they will explore more than your blog, or read related posts and add their comments), and allow them to interact with you and others on your chosen topic. It has the added advantage of being great for your rank in the search engines, especially if you choose your topic heading well and utilise social media and SEO friendly URLs.
  5. social media – dubbed “the personalisation of business”, the astute use of social media can help your organisation connect on deeper levels with your customers, understand your customers better, build community around your brand, and establish you as a thought leader within your industry or area of expertise. And it doesn’t have to take up vast amounts of your precious time.
  6. pay per click online advertisements – for the right category, a well written online ad linking through to a strategically written landing page, can be very productive for generating sales and enquiries. Social media and the proliferation of rich information about the website visitor’s preferences and behaviours, now provides the opportunity for very targeted ads.
  7. video – a powerful medium for connecting with a wider audience. Video allows you to convey your message much more richly than text and imagery.
  8. mobile applications – the use of mobile devices to browse the web and carry out web based activites has increased exponentially over the past few years. Every B2C website should strongly consider having at least a mobile friendly version of their website. Apps provide a unique opportunity to deliver market leading tools, build loyalty, and increase customer retention.
  9. online surveys – don’t groan! These used a strategic points in the delivery of customer service, or customer enquiry, can allow you to deliver the right clients to your sales team, and gather rich information about your customer’s desires.
  10. QR codes – a smart phone readable bar code allowing you to quickly take a customer to your web page after they scan the code you’ve placed in your email, on your printed poster, on a billboard…

When employing these technologies, you should endeavour to link them together to gain cost effectiveness, richer engagement and provide a consistent message across all fronts. They should also reflect your offline marketing.

If you would like to discuss the appropriateness of any of the above technologies for your business, and exactly how it could be used for your benefit, feel free to get in touch.

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How CNET setout to refresh their list

February 7th, 2012 by Heather Maloney

It got my attention, so I thought I’d share with you the recently distributed “database refresh” message sent out by CNET to try and get their audience to read their messages or re-engage.

The subject of the newsletter below was the first thing to get my attention. It read: “Is this goodbye? CNET will miss you.” I couldn’t help wonder what it was all about, as I skimmed that subject line (I skim due to the volume of email I receive on a daily basis). In an instant, they had piqued my curiosity and I found myself opening their email!

CNET list refresh email

Next, I saw the big CNET logo, and then I read their first paragraph, where they explained that they “loved it when I would click “open” on their emails” and that they wanted me back. Cute. The rest of the email was very simple, and set out to show me why I should be opening and reading their emails based on the value they provide. So, now that their brand is firmly back in my mind, I may well open more of their emails in future. :-)

What do you think of this strategy? Have you used a different “list refresh” strategy or had someone use a successful one on you?

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Landing Page Design Trends for 2012 – Website Magazine – Website Magazine

January 17th, 2012 by Heather Maloney

Following the key points described in the article below will benefit the design of your home page, landing page, or email marketing campaign.

Landing Page Design Trends for 2012 – Website Magazine – Website Magazine.

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What does the EOFY and the ski season have in common?

July 4th, 2011 by Heather Maloney

What does the EOFY and the ski season have in common?

Answer: an opportunity for a seasonal promotion!

How many end of financial year sale emails did you receive?  How about special offers for the start of the ski season.  Do you have your end of ski season campaign planned?

Significant dates in the calendar are increasingly used as an opportunity to run a special offer in order to get some mind share and perhaps market share of your audience.  My view is that there should be a link between the actual date and your offer, but perhaps something unrelated can be give a quirky twist and get your audience's attention that way.  What do you think?  Share with us on our blog if you took up an EOFY sale!

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Social Media doesn’t kill email; it becomes an amplifier for the message

May 29th, 2011 by Heather Maloney

Social media amplifies your email messageI read the above statement in an article on Business 2 Business Community on the topic of 2011 PR Trends: Email and Social Engagement. The author was saying that the ability to engage with your audience through email isn’t diminished by the advent of social media and sites such as Twitter and Facebook, but instead the engagement can be augmented by making it easy to share your email message via social media as well.

A couple of years ago, we added Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter icons to images available in eNudge and suggested that you should use these to point people to your organisation’s presence on these social sites (review our June 2009 newsletter). Sharing your email content in this way requires you to hyperlink the icons to a version of your email message that you have placed on your website. However, to make this less work for you, we’re considering adding the ability to insert automated links to “tweet this” and “share this on Facebook” to your eNudge email messages. That will allow your contacts to share an online version of your email message (of course without the personalised content) which will be hosted on the eNudge server; a bit like the functionality to “View this email in a browser”. So that we can gauge interest, please let us know by commenting on our blog if you would like the social sharing functionality added!

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Having a One on One Conversation

August 10th, 2010 by Heather Maloney

Personalising your email or SMS messages in a useful way will help your contacts to feel like you are having a one to one conversation with them, and will help them feel like a valued client, not just one of the masses.

So what do I mean by a “useful way”? It’s pretty easy to add the firstname to your message – people expect that level of personalisation even in what is obviously a bulk email send now. What is useful for your clients / customers is going to be different from another organisation, but here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

  • expiry date of your customer’s account / subscription
  • number of loyalty points they currently hold
  • address and contact details that you currently store on file for your contact (ask them to update you if the details have changed)
  • last item that the customer purchased online (so that you can ask them what their experience has been like with that product, or you can ask them to rate your customer service during the transaction).
  • We’d love to hear what other ways you can imagine personalising your messages – reply to this post below.

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Timing your Email Campaigns to Co-incide with Major News

June 5th, 2010 by Heather Maloney

On Friday a week ago, Apple launched the iPad in a number of countries outside of the USA, including America. That same day I know of at least two organisations – Borders and Domain – who sent emails out to their contacts on that exact day telling people about tools that they now have available for the iPad.

The message to the end consumer is very clear:

  • we’re up to date
  • we’re providing you with useful tools

I think you will agree that the above a very powerful messages to provide to your customers.

Timing your messages to co-incide with major news events, particularly when you are supplying useful tools to help people around that event, is a great strategy and should be something that you factor into your Communication Plan.

You’re could be thinking: “that’s easy for large company with big budgets”, or “but how do you know what the major news is going to be?”, or “co-inciding my emails with the news will take too much preparation time”. Yes… it does take effort to co-incide your campaigns with major news; and that’s why it gives such a powerful message to the message recipients.

So don’t discount this strategy as too hard! Factor this into your next Communication Plan brain storming session, or tweak your Communication Plan when you become aware of big news coming up. Share your thoughts by adding your comment below.

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Can I email people to ask permission to email them?

February 16th, 2010 by Heather Maloney

I get asked this question quite a lot, or worse, I talk to clients who just presume that it’s okay to send a commercial email without consent on the basis that “If they don’t want to receive my emails, they will un-subscribe”.

The bottom line is that it is illegal accordingly to the Australian Spam Act 2003 to send even one commercial email to one email address where you don’t have the prior consent of the recipient to receive commercial emails from you.

Part of the confusion over this stems from the fact that the anti-spam legislation most commonly discussed on the internet is the American legislation (usually referred to as CAN Spam). The Amercian legislation allows organisations to send unsolicited commercial emails as long as they adhere to 3 basic types of compliance in the areas of: unsubscribe, content and sending behavior.

So, just to be very clear, the Australian Spam Act legislation, which applies to emails of a commercial nature, sent to anyone in Australia or emanating from Australia, does require you to have consent of the recipient prior to the email being sent. There is a concept of ‘inferred’ consent in Australian Spam Act legislation, and there is also a concept of ‘conspicuously published’ email addresses that don’t carry the same requirements for prior consent. If you wish to rely on anything but express consent, it is worth careful investigation to ensure you aren’t breaking the law: further reading on the topic of consent.

A final point is worth making: the onus of proof of having consent is on the sender.

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Reducing the Likelihood of Un-subscribes at this busy time of year

November 24th, 2009 by Heather Maloney

I have noticed an increase in the rate of un-subscribes over the last few weeks. I believe that is at least in part due to the increased work levels across the board as people try to achieve as much as possible before Christmas and the end of year.

So, what can you do to reduce the likelihood that your contacts with un-subscribe at this time?

Value is king – providing value in your emails is always the most persuasive reason people have to stay on your email list. The question for you is what do my contacts perceive as value. It might be any of the things listed below, or something entirely different, the important thing is to know what your contacts value:

  • special offers, especially when they are only available to people who receive the messages
  • free shipping of products – this is especially appreciated by Christmas shoppers short of time, but not wanting to spend more on shipping. We’ve added a new Free Shipping image into eNudge to help you communicate this to your contacts.
  • information that helps your contacts achieve more with less, or save time
  • information that gives your contacts an edge
  • information that enables your contacts to solve a problem they have e.g. don’t know what to buy someone for Christmas!

Make Skimming Easy – including a table of contents at the top of your email helps your contacts to consume your message, finding the items more important to them, more easily. Using topic headings also helps to make it easy to find information. If you make it easy to read, people are less likely to un-subscribe.

Keep it short – if you have a lot to say, put that information into a web page, and include just a teaser to it in your email. This also contributes to making it easier for people to skim through your email.

Make it Personal – if your contacts feel like you are having a 1 on 1 conversation with them, they are also less likely to un-subscribe. You can do that through personalisation e.g. including their name and company in your email. If you have a bit more time, you can also include a personalised paragraph in your message. It’s not hard to do with eNudge.

Target your Emails more Carefully – that is, if you have different types of people in your contact database, go to the trouble of creating different emails to send to these different groups. A very obvious example is a Christmas message to your customers will be very different to a Christmas message to your suppliers. This consideration is also related to the first point above – adding value. What is valuable to one segment of your target audience, may not be valuable to other segments.

Add Humour – if you give your contacts something to laugh at, even if they don’t feel that a particular email is of value to them, they will be less likely to un-subscribe.

Ensuring People Know they Have Joined Your List – this applies to any time of the year, but especially at this time. Make sure that you not only get consent before sending messages to your contacts, but make sure each person knows they have given you consent – don’t hide it in fine print, and don’t assume.

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