Wednesday, 26 January 2011, 4:14 PM

How to Put the “I Want to Come to Sweden” in Gary Vaynerchuk

Three words can account for the sleepiness on planet I-Love-Email: Nordic eCommerce Summit. This may not come as a surprise, but it’s a hefty task to organize this annual event, and a whole lot of fun.

Brace yourself, I have some fantastic news: Gary Vaynerchuk is visiting us this May for the Nordic eCommerce Summit! Gary decided to take a break from traveling some time ago, so this isn’t something to take for granted. Gary is absolutely phenomenal with customer contact. He takes pride in responding to every single email that lands in his inbox.  What happened when we emailed him? He answered.

With a popular guy like Gary V., I know that being brief and concise is important. Thats’s why I wrote this in the subject line:”Please, come to Sweden and help the Nordic e-retailers.

Literally, the first sentence said that we want him to come to Stockholm on May 4-5, 2011, and what we want him to talk about. The second sentence contained cliff notes for Nordic e-commerce and why I believe Gary could inspire our audience in a large way. In the third sentence, I explained how we want to change Nordic e-commerce, to focus it around the customer rather than the technology. This is when I attached a link showing earlier events and presentations of other lecturers.

The last sentence was part plea, part question: ‘Is there anything at all we can do to make you consider visiting us?’

9 hours later, Gary Vaynerchuk was in my inbox! You know, there’s a six hour time difference. I must admit, that’s impressive.

The lesson: The subject line and text should be as precise and clear as humanly possible.

Oh, one more thing…We’re having a pretty awesome wine tasting May 4th, Gary Vayner style.

Sarah@@@@@

Monday, 24 January 2011, 6:45 PM

Alt-Text to the Rescue!

I’m sure this outlined box below is not a foreign sight to you, whether on a website or in an email, you’ve seen it. It probably looks something like this:

This is a small picture from TED’s newsletter, and the picture that went MIA is actually a small video link. Thanks to alt-text, it’s made obvious.

This is what we call an alternative text; a text that replaces a picture when it’s blocked or for some reason could not be loaded.

Why do we use them? And why use them in emails?

Alt-texts are not really meant for email, they’re mainly used on the web. The idea is that these texts should explain the picture missing or in question, rather than tell what the picture represents. So let’s say that the picture that is missing is a button, the alt-text should describe what the button means, rather than saying that it’s a button.

An example:

Alt-texts are excellent for visually impaired people; if your computer is configured to read web sites and text aloud, it will read the alt-text as well. This is one reason why decorative lines and graphic details should not have alt-texts: it just doesn’t work. There are more reasons why we don’t use alt-texts on the web today, but I won’t go into detail today.

What I’m really saying is that alt-texts in HTML emails do not always perform the same function; apart from visually impaired people. Here we use them almost exclusively because blocked pictures are so common.

If clicks are your goal, and if you want your recipients to load the blocked pictures, you need to think about how you phrase the alt-texts.

I’m not going to decide what’s wrong or right here, that will be up to you and your newsletter content. Try to be creative, think outside the bun. Remember that this is an email, not on the web; you can stretch the rules a bit.

An example:

Kjell & Company uses alt-text in their newsletter. I have to say, they do a great job of adding intrigue to blocked pictures. They have a lot of pictures at the top, but note how they resume the picture content with the preheader at the top.

They have also put the buttons in the newsletter as text on a background color instead of as pictures. The buttons will show even when the pictures are blocked. (Look at the lower right corner.)

The same goes for the big orange-colored price tags: they are also placed as stand-alone text.

If you typically send or work with HTML newsletters and do not use alt-text, give this a shot. It’s worth a try.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011, 1:16 PM

Create Rush Hour Traffic with an SEO Newsletter Archive

I started working with email marketing four years ago, and here I am, working with a web agency with none other than, email marketing. However, I also work with design, web development, and search marketing. It’s fun when you combine these and watch how one compliments the other.

Sarah and I are about to give you a head start. This is something Sarah came up with. Here’s to all of you working with email marketing!

Here you are going to use your current, future, and other newsletters.

Newsletter SEO

“Search engine optimization” (also dubbed SEO) for a website is optimizing the text content and the HTML code behind it to increase the traffic to your website, but it can be a dirty business with dirty tricks to go with it. For example: some people spam search engines by placing links to their home page from other home pages that are not relevant to their own website or business – this means that the search engine bumps the rating on their home page.

Don’t worry, there are ways around this. If you’re honest – and if you choose to look ahead – you’ll want to start with creating relevant links with relevant content.

Your newsletter enters the equation…now.

The honest way to accomplish this is to gather your newsletters, new and old, and create a newsletter archive on your homepage. In this newsletter archive, every letter must have an HTML page of its own; in other words, a duplicate of each individual email newsletter for viewing in your web browser. These must also be optimized for search engines. This will explode your traffic, especially in the long run. When the world is out there Googling, they’ll find your website through the newsletter archive you’ve set up, assuming your newsletters are relevant.

An SEO newsletter archive is good and honest search marketing. The content is yours, it’s posted on your website, and it’s relevant to what you do. Think about the work you’ve put into your newsletters, that content is helping you generate traffic and business long after it’s sent.

What’s effort worth? How do you send your letters?

Sarah recently wrote a funny post about a company sending their newsletters with Outlook. They sell water heaters and tires. When people would search for their products, they would land on our blog, only a few hours after she posted it. There we are, iloveemail.org, the first to pop up on Google, even though we sell neither tires or water heaters, though I’m sure it’s a lucrative business. The point is, this happened because our website is optimized.

If this water heater selling, Outlook abusing company had built their newsletters in HTML, archived them on their website, and then optimized for search engines, they would have churned in some serious traffic.

Thanks again for the idea, Sarah!

Monday, 10 January 2011, 12:58 PM

I Now Pronounce You: Email And Social Media

I’m tired of talking about whether or not email is still king, that is to say, king of all other channels. Will Twitter completely take over the world? Or will Facebook rule as Caesar and be the only thing you should bother investing any time in?

Does a carpenter love and cherish solely his hammer? Is it the only useful tool he has in his little toolbox? No. It’s the same for all the email and social media advocates. We have to put some energy into trying to understand how email combined with social media and other channels can climb new mountains.

So you know that I’m not lying, I’ll illustrate what I’m trying to say. Look at the cool figures below. Nilsson E-Handel pointed this out a while ago through a survey from eMarketer.

The fact is – and this is indeed a fact – whether email suppliers want to deny it or not, very soon other social networks, other than email, will become as popular as email when it comes to sharing stuff with your friends. If you ask me, I’d say that Twitter and Facebook will probably pass emailing in the very near future. To share with Twitter or Facebook is now just a click away. One single click, and you tip off as many people as you have friends.

Interestingly, there are more people ”listening” to tips and posts via Twitter and Facebook than there are to email. What I mean is that, more people click on the links with social media than they do via an email. Which makes sense though, Facebook and Twitter are public, exposed to however many friends you have. Quite logical.

Nilsson also points out figures showing that email is still an extremely effective channel by saying: “Investigations show that users that entered through an email had a higher completion ratio and they spent more time on the target site than those who entered via social media. So good ol’ email is still the best when it comes to sharing.”

Any great carpenter knows when, where and how to use his tools. So, you email social media marketing carpenters out there need to learn how, when and where to use all of the channels. To reach the majority of our customers, we need to behave like our carpenter, knowing when and how to use all of the channels in the right moment and place. Email in itself is not the best, but marrying it with Facebook, Twitter etc., you create a powerful monster.

Sarah@@@@@

Wednesday, 5 January 2011, 10:46 AM

We’re Back with Articles, Articles, Articles

After a short holiday break, we’re back. And to start our backness off right, we’ve added a new article. It just so happens that it’s an extremely interesting one. With all its intuition and insight, I promise you will find some new thoughts in there. Imagine, promoting a newsletter in your own company. Bet you didn’t think of that, did you?

This is the article for the lazy. It resides in the “Articles” section.

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