Archive for the ‘Web Applications’ Category

Email Marketer, Do You Know Your Email Newsletters are Flagged as SPAM?

Date Saturday, 11 July 2009  Posted in Category Web Applications  Tags   Comment No Comments »

Email marketer needs to know what are subscribers receiving

If you are in-charge of email marketing, please check whether your newsletters are flagged as spam in recipient’s mail box. It is a negative impact to your company image or brand if subscribers receiving email newsletters with ‘***SPAM***’ in the subject.

Many large size firms may not aware they are actually spamming, for example:

Email messages flagged as spam

Email messages flagged as spam

Email newsletters flagged as spam could be avoided if using a reliable Email Marketing solution, for example:

Email messages would not flagged as spam if sender using a reliable email marketing tool/solution

Email messages would not flagged as spam if sender using a reliable email marketing tool/solution

Effective Email Marketing

Date Thursday, 9 July 2009  Posted in Category Web Applications  Tags   Comment No Comments »

Everyone can do email marketing: Insert promotion details and a few images into an email, then Bcc (blind carbon copy) to the mailing list (group of recipients).

This practice will be fine if sender is a small-size firm, there are many Malaysian companies actually using this method for email marketing, because it needs no cost, easy to use and no technical knowledge required.

Question is, how does sender measure the effectiveness of email marketing that has been made? Blindly sending email to recipients is not a good idea or solution for email marketing, it might bring negative impact to the company image (recipient flagged/categorized sender’s email as unwanted email, junk mail, spam).

spamspamspamspam

Understand Recipients’ Response

To conduct an effective email marketing campaign, sender need to know recipient’s response, behaviors and the market trend. For example, timing (day and time), target market (age group, gender, industry, region), valid email addresses, process flow (email bounce, read, unread, block by firewall/ISP and etc), open rate, click-through rate (promo link/image in the email), email forwarded within an organization (track by reader IP) and etc. Compare these information to the sale report, sender can measure how effective the email marketing has been conducted and what’s good strategy for next. One of the well-known company in Malaysia has been using this method for years is AirAsia.

The Technology Behind – Open Rate and Click Through Rate

Open Rate and Click Through RateA transparent 1 pixel height and width image ‘hidding’ within the email, this image’s URL contains an unique code for tracking purpose, it can only be successfully initiated when reader open the email with “download the image”. Once reader downloads the images (including the tracking image), the image’s URL server record the details such as date, time and email address that open the email. Because image’s URL is a script run on the server, readers don’t know they are actually being tracked. Moreover, sender server even can track how many times an email has been forwarded to different recipient (regardless recipient open email and download its images). With all these data, sender knows the email Open Rate.

This is how the tracking code looks like, the ‘<IMG…’ is an image tag in HTML:
<IMG SRC=http://www.domainname.com/cgi-bin3/flosensing?y=BvBA1UGAc26sSe4BI3>

Some people call this 1×1 pixel hidden image as ‘web bug’. Because it is not necessary but purposely.

Every promotion link/banner/image in an email has an unique code, when reader click through to access the web, it has actually recorded by the server.  This is how sender measures each promotion result in the email by Click Through Rate statistic.

Effective Email Marketing Solutions

Applying this email tracking technology on your own server is not easy, it needs a lot of resources and good relationship with ISPs. Many companies out there offering such services, why not out source to experts and focus on the email marketing plan or seat back to relax?

There are 4 email marketing services that I have been used, they are:

Double Click

DoubleClick (http://www.doubleclick.com/) – DART for Advertisers (it used to be called DartMail). DoubleClick is one of Google Group company.

iContact
iContact (http://www.icontact.com/)

Constant Contact
Constant Contact (http://www.constantcontact.com/)

Vertical Response
Vertical Response (http://www.verticalresponse.com/)

By the way, all the above Email Marketing Services are fee based service, the pricing is either on monthly or yearly plan. Individual service has different price based on the volume of email addresses.

My Comment

So which one is AirAsia using? Answer: DoubleClick. Well, I will not recommend it if you have tied budget constraints, because DoubleClick’s pricing is the highest among others above. However, it has the strongest portfolio in the industry and back by Google. If you are looking for a complete Online Marketing Services (online advertisement, email marketing, website traffic and etc), DoubleClick will do.

iContact: iContact’s pricing is reasonable. Malaysia company PYOtravel (subsidiary of Reliance Group) is currently using this service for their email marketing.

Constant Contact: They have good relationship with the ISPs in US, however the pricing not as good as iContact. I used this service when I worked with a cruise line 5 years ago.

Vertical Response: It used to be my preference for email marketing services but I have changed to iContact because of pricing.

Email Marketing Services Comparison

There are many other email marketing services available on the market, to compare their features and read the review, you can visit this page:

http://email-marketing-service-review.toptenreviews.com/

Free and Useful Web Applications – Web Wikis

Date Saturday, 27 June 2009  Posted in Category Web Applications  Tags , , ,   Comment No Comments »

Main Post: Free and Useful Web Applications

Web Wikis:

mediawiki
MediaWiki
MediaWiki is a free software wiki package originally written for Wikipedia. It is now used by several other projects of the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation and by many other wikis.
Free: Yes
Platform: Linux
Review Rating: 4 stars
Homepage: http://www.mediawiki.org/

pmwiki
PmWiki
PmWiki is a system for collaborative creation and maintenance of websites. Pages created with pmWiki look and act like normal web pages, except they have a link that makes it easy to modify existing pages and add new pages into the website.
Free: Yes
Platform: Linux
Review Rating: 3 stars
Homepage: http://www.pmwiki.org/

twiki
TWiki
TWiki is a flexible, powerful, and easy to use enterprise wiki, enterprise collaboration platform and knowledge management system. It is a Structured Wiki, typically used to run a project development space, a document management system, a knowledge base, or any other groupware tool, on an intranet or on the internet. Web content can be created collaboratively by using just a browser. Users without programming skills can create web applications. Developers can extend the functionality of TWiki with Plugins.
Free: Yes
Platform: Linux
Review Rating: 3 stars
Homepage: http://www.twiki.org/