Tag Archives: email marketing

Top 1% Influencer Marketing Campaigns

Kred LogoLinkedin launched one of it's most successful viral campaigns but it seems that Kred actually started the ball rolling 2 weeks earlier with their Top 1%, Top 5% and Top 10% of influencers on Kred. Linkedin's marketing campaign was far more successful with people generating Occupy movement parodies about being in the 99% that are not seen as important.It seems that unlike Linkedin's annual insights Kred is still announcing new members such as myself who just joined 4 days ago based on the email notification I got tonight. I think from a marketing perspective that this is might bring some game metrics into play to keep your elite status as just like Klout if you don't tweet or share for a while your Klout score starts to drop.The email is fairly simple and unlike Linkedin's message it doesn't disclose what number of accounts this data is based on but plays to narcissism as it gives you the ability to instantly share the news via Twitter or Facebook. It's important for the idea to work that people actually do share the news but I'm surprised how many people are actually sharing the news based on a Twitter search.kredI think they have done a much better effort of ensure the message can be easily spread but some transparency around what is their audience size that I lead as an influencer?So what does that mean?Well unlike Linkedin's simple metrics which was based on the top profiles viewed in 2012, it seems Kred's metrics are based on a much wider set of social signals.  I've included my "Kredentials" below but not sure what is the difference is there between me and the top 5% or top 10% as I don't think I have an amazing Kred score. It's also interesting that unlike Linkedin anyone can easily compare other peoples Kredentials to understand how much they need to improve their score.I have looked at the Tweets and made a rough calculation of what Global Kred score you need
  • Top 1% - Over 744
  • Top 5% - Over 669
  • Top 10% - Atleast 616
  • Other 90% - Below 616
KredentialsSo the question is do you think more platforms will be pushing the eliteness angle to ensure their members do the marketing for them? Which platform is the first to touch on the other side, so you are in the bottom 5% so please lift your game?

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RailEasy fails at marketing

Rail Easy LogoOne of the biggest complaints is the requirement for most online booking and travel services to require you to include an email address, which is used to obviously email you the itinerary but its also being used for ongoing marketing. The problem is that with any failure in the marketing cycle it leads you to sometimes closely examine other aspects to see how many other places does a company fall down by not having an effective digital strategy or a sometimes any idea at all....
There is a number of failures noticed the first is the lack of campaign or tracking code for the link for information about the annual Worthing Birdman event.  The email talks about sending your own photos/videos from the Worthing Birdman event and the best one will win a £100 of Rail Travel but doesn't include any address or details of where to send the photos/videos. The image below just shows a single link to Worthing Birdman festival but the rest you will have to visit their site directly and search for the information.
Rail Easy Email
The other aspect of promoting Twitter and Facebook is great, but usually I would suggest promoting your actual fan page and account not just the service in general.  Most people have heard of Twitter & Facebook so they don't need that much extra promotion and links do make it easier for people to find your Fanpage or Twitter account.  The email fails to deliver even the basic strategies of marketing, if you talk about something like your social media properties, link to it don't just talk about it!
Email Marketing Failure (SPAM)
The common problem is when running email marketing is when companies use email lists and fail to disclose who they are actually sending the email to, the first problem is that its often flagged as spam by most email filters.
Easy Rail Email Header
The continuing issue that that Rail Easy does not actually disclose any of the information most countries require to ensure the privacy of its citizens is not being infringed upon.  There is no contact details of who is sending the email, no details on what email was targeted or user has been subscribed to this email newsletter this would lead to classification as SPAM under a number of laws in countries around the world. The email is not compliant with any US citizens/residents on their email marketing list under the CAN-SPAM Act because it does not:
  • Does not contain all the header information and email routing information to accurately identify who the email was sent to
  • The message does not include a valid physical address of your business
  • The opt out of receiving future email from you is not easy and does not include a return email address
  • Both Kiwiana and Easy Rail can be held legally responsible for not monitoring what others are doing on their behalf
Again within the UK it appears that under the UK's eCommerce Regulations, Rail Easy has failed to include the regulatory information in their email footers and are in breach of the Companies ACT and they are a UK based firm with a target audience of UK residents.
  • The name, geographic address and email address of the service provider. The name of the organisation with which the customer is contracting must be given.
  • It is not sufficient to include a 'contact us' form without also providing an email address and geographic address somewhere easily accessible on the site
  • If a company, the company's registration number should be given and, under the Companies Act, the place of registration should be stated
  • If the business is a member of a trade or professional association, membership details, including any registration number, should be provided.
  • If the business has a VAT number, it should be stated – even if the website is not being used for e-commerce transactions.
  • Prices on the website must be clear and unambiguous. Also, state whether prices are inclusive of tax and delivery costs.
It is also breaking more laws under the Australian spam laws under the Spam Act 2003, and would also likely be breaking a EU directive or two around email marketing and consumer privacy, the very basic email footer is shown below and clearly fails to satisfy more than one of the requirements for email marketing under US/UK/AU laws. Rail Easy is not just failing email marketing, they are in conjunction with Kiwiana are spamming everyone on their email marketing list.
Email Footer
Hard to unsubscribe from list
The second issue is not masking the domain the email platform is built on displaying useless and confusing numbers to those wishing to unsubscribe, the other problem is that you can see that I'm part of group 53 but what email address did I subscribe with originally? This can be a problem when you are multiple email addresses or have email forwarding from another account to your primary account.
email urlThe issue of what email was actually receiving the email becomes an issue when I have to manually enter the email address that was used, but I don't have that information contained in the email, so I assume that I can just guess until I get it right?
Kiwiana Unsubscribe
The problem with the Kiwiana email marketing platform is that you can actually place any email address in the system, even if it has never been part of the list and it will advise that it has been now removed from the mailing list. The false sense of security that this status message provides is enough to send chills down my spine, its a placebo message that doesn't appear to do anything and no confirmation message is sent to confirm you have been successfully unsubscribed.  It brings back memories of an earlier article I wrote on how "Diesel Fails Email Marketing" they had a similar problem where the unsubscribe function did nothing.
The problem with cutting corners with packages is that you expose the platform that is used to power their email marketing and this doesn't match with the client's brand or image, if you attempt to visit the site hosting the unsubscribe tool you are greeted with a very useless notification message from Kiwiana, that could be more proactive such as if you are having problems unsubscribe to our clients emails please complete the form and we will seek to resolve the issue. Since Kiwiana is technically legally liable for Rail Easy's spammy email marketing process they should do something more proactive about it!
Kiwiana Email Newsletter Systems
Online Bookings via Email
There is several travel offers listed with a book now and save button, that doesn't actually allow for booking any of the offers listed.  If the reader decides that they want to book one of the trips they should be able to click the location and be taken deeper into the purchase funnel "timetable" section where they can select which trip is suitable.  Making the process more time-consuming and manual for the user will lead to a large decrease in conversion rates and less sales for your email marketing campaigns.
Rail Easy Booking
The booking button takes you to the generic homepage, which requires the visitors to remember what was the destinations and dates that had the special offers listed above.  You are failing to make it easy for your subscribers to book the promotional offers you are sending to them.  Sending email subscribers who have purchased previously to your home page does not offer a great user experience and in the next email they are likely to ignore the offers so you have potentially lost any advantage by being lazy.  If you CMS doesn't allow for static links or deals change or update your CMS to allow for better marketing campaigns and high conversion rates.
Rail Easy Homepage
If you do a test on one of their offers listed you will actually save 64% which is actually more than the email's promise of 44% savings for booking online. The problem with this is that differences in pricing between what is advertised may lead consumers to look and search for more deals instead of buying with the advertised 44% discount offer in the email.  You maybe potentially delaying the purchase by not having a consistent pricing structure for your online bookings.
London Train Travel
Facebook Fanpage
The RailEasy Facebook fanpage could almost be said to be dead in the water, it contains 3 updates from 17th April 2009 and only 19 people claim to like this.  I understand that if Raileasy is not promoting their Fanpage or making the effort to add any content you can understand why it's not gathering any momentum.  If you are going to be that lazy as to not update your Fanpage more than once every 1-2 years maybe its best not to try social media...
Rail Easy Facebook
Twitter Account
The Rail Easy twitter account is fairly active but with only 67 followers it's not likely to make an impact on bookings anytime soon.  Another point of failure is that they are also following more people than are following them back which would show a slight disconnect with their audience.  They should also look at taking the time to create a custom background this is extra advertising/promotional space that is not being used, and the BIO is more of a novel than something you can easily scan over, it's almost like old school keyword stuffing and doesn't look professional.
Raileasy Twitter
Overall it seems that Rail Easy is 3-4 different chefs all trying to make a different recipe and all with no idea as to what is going on, as they say too many cooks spoil a good broth.... well in this case too much inconsistency leads to failure and a poor customer experience.  Rail Easy has stumbled and failed to do online marketing but it's not too late to fix it and just a few basic changes will have a massive impact on their bottom line!

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Diesel fails email marketing

It is always a major annoyance when a large retailer or company cannot get the basics of online marketing right and turns a loyal customer into well an angry consumer! One of the retail brands that I used to admire and respect because it was smart edgy but recently I have been trying to cut down the number of newsletters and marketing collateral that fills my inbox each day.
I had subscribed from the Diesel store newsletter several months ago, but it's recently that the email newsletters have started up again, almost on a weekly basis which is really quite annoying but I was to discover it is not always easy to escape from a list.
Step 1 take action unsubscribe from Diesel email list
Deciding to take action at the start of this process began on the 19th January 2010, when I received the diesel online store newsletter I clicked the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email and was advised that I was successfully unsubscribed by website image shown to the right.  The reason that I have even got a screenshot because at the time I appreciate the cool factor and how they try once more to get you back onto the list with one last beg..."click here"
Step 2 freedom from Diesel email spam?
I had at that time thought that it was the end of it and I could go back on with my life with one less email newsletter clogging up my email account each week, it was sad because some of the invitations, offers and deals were still quite relevant. I had thought that in the future if I bought anything from their online stores or entered any competitions I would be automatically subscribed again, but it was too early to think they had let me free.
Diesel won't let you unsubscribe from their lists!
But wait there is more emails.... on the 9th February 2010 I received yet another diesel store email newsletter, so I tried the unsubscribe feature again thinking maybe it didn't process for some reason last time, and I also sent an email request to the sender to not receive any more email in the future. The email was sent to diesel_cult-reply@immiscible.diesel.com which is usually the best way to get quickly removed from any legitimate lists.  I was interested to find out what email marketing package they were using, so I decided to check the subdomain the emails were being sent from, I soon discovered that the sub domain was operated by eCircle's. I now that eCircle is their provider of their email marketing solutions just by doing a simple reverse IP lookup on the subdomain with the detailed information shown below.
Diesel shows they don't care about your privacy
I had hoped that my two unsubscribe requests and followup email had removed me from their email marketing list, but today I received a new email newsletter from Diesel.  It seem that it is more than just laziness this is a total disregard for their consumers and I have lost complete trust in the brand and all that I respected them for in the beginning. So by running an ineffective email campaign they have turned a consumer evangelists into a toxic consumer and we all understand the power of word of mouth, and I seem to be unable to leave their list....
What about EU Spam Laws?
It is likely that this continued campaign is violation of several EU spam laws but without the time and understanding of their judicial system it is hard to determine are they in violation of European laws and also state laws of Germany where Diesel's email marketing provider eCircle is based and in Italy where Diesel is based.  Some of the many EU directives that relate to electronic privacy, contact and data protection that are likely in violation are listed below:
They are an EU based company and email marketing provider, and the email was originally subscribed to while I was a resident within the EU, so they should have to answer to EU privacy and data protection directives and let their subscribers leave their email lists.Who is to blame for failure?So the question is who is really responsible for the email failure is it Diesel for not picking an email solution that allows consumers to leave when they request to do so? Or was the Diesel email marketing failure dependent on eCircle's email software solution for failing to accept and process several of my unsubscribe requests and ignore my personal email which many other solutions would have flagged.  So how can companies expect consumers to trust them with their details and address privacy concerns when they can't even do the basics?It is unreasonable that a consumer should have to goto such efforts to be removed from a marketing list that I originally opted into, I was a legitimate Diesel customer who really was interested in finding out more about their products. This process doesn't look like it is over yet, so it is likely myself and Diesel won't leave on amiable terms and may turn nasty in this breakup with a brand.

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VirginBlue fails Marketing with Velocity Gold Upgrade

velocity-rewards-logoEveryone loves a free lunch so on at 5:01pm on a Friday afternoon it was great to receive a personalised thank you email from VirginBlue's Velocity Membership program.
Virgin is known for smart and effective marketing campaigns so this did not appear to be too much of a stretch to be true. The email promised a free upgrade to "gold" membership for one year FREE!
Checking all the details, the membership number was correct as was my details and the email address it was sent too.  I have been travelling a bit more lately so it appeared possible that it might be real.
While the email seemed almost too good to be true, clicking on the link too me too the correct website pages and everything seemed legit.  It wasn't until I watch a tweet from BenGrubb which I later discovered was correct.  His quick post on the issue outlined that VirginBlue had blamed an IT error for the gold upgrade.
Watching some of the initial reactions from Twitter before and after they sent the apology email did not seem to quell the dissatisfaction felt by the Velocity member's who received the email. Some of the reactions were understanding but many brought up issues of anger and dissatisfaction with Virgin's response to the issue.  Some of the later tweets discussed the issue of members being spammed as they have previously un-subscribed from Velocity email marketing lists.
@jameswilliams90 - @virginblue take personal responsibility and stop blaming the date Fri 13th for your bulk email gold upgrade debacle! #fail
@dannyrod - #virginblue are terrible, sent me a gold status for my velocity rewards and then withdrew it! I was so excited to fly them again but no haha
@zoomzoom83 - I don't envy #virginblue tech support right now. Or the guy that fucked the email up.
@TheAviator1992 - @VirginBlue That was a really nasty trick...
@silverstackers - @VirginBlue - #oops? I want my Gold status!
@raejada - Friday 13th sucks! I would have been able to use that upgrade this year 🙁 So...what scale of a mistake is it exactly??? #virginblue
@le_sloth - damnit I thought it was too good to be true getting my #virginblue gold upgrade
@yarrcat - @VirginBlue offers me gold membership, then withdraws it. http://bit.ly/3B0X9s http://bit.ly/4DIubi  Not the only one. Friday night #fail
@jamesmcc - @DamianEdwards @jodiem I got the same email from @VirginBlue I was quite excited and said wow thats great customer service, guess not
@yarrcat - @Tuna Dang, seems like a lot of people got the @virginblue rug pulled out from under them. Sigh.
@johnsee - Dear @virginblue. Thanks for getting my hopes up for nothing...
@sportsthought - @VirginBlue wtf? Tell us we have upgrades then send lame email apology! - that's poor customer service
@shimmmergirl - I doubt @VirginBlue email was a mistake...was it just a way to promote the 'gold status? If so, acute social media mistake!
@RugbyRiddler - Getting rolled by both Qantas and VirginBlue on the same day - marvellous!
@shimmmergirl - think @VirginBlue may have class action on its hands sending out 'gold status' upgrade emails, then calling it Fri 13 mistake. Dodgy!
@lukasmarshall - Seriously uncool @VirginBlue. Seriously uncool. How many people got the email? Would it really be that much of a stretch to honor it?
@CarFullOfBogans - @VirginBlue you pieces of shit. You sent this out pricks
@I_enigma - RT @jodiem: So it looks like Virgin Blue may have breached the spam act also by sending to people who opted out already. #virginblue
@reebostyler - @VirginBlue worst mistake ever! I was about to purchase confirmed seats due to the (not so) awesome email!
@stormgc - @VirginBlue Come on guys I want my free Gold upgrade!
@nic_leah - seems like @virginblue had a huge email stuff up today. disappointed gold for a year sounded awesome
just got the retraction email from @VirginBlue... no longer Gold... that was short...think I'll stick with Qantas...
Hey #virginblue - you can't take away the gold upgrade you just gave me! Not fair!
@Dannyrod mate, I'm starting a #virginblue boycott. From now on it's #tigerairways for me!!!
Most of these tweets appear to get progressively worse for the brand and the PR for the company, so what is the companies initial response?
VirginBlue Response
So its often important to see how quickly a company responds, with Virgin they managed to send out a followup email 3 hours after the initial mistake.  While this is a short term solution based on the tweets many of their Velocity members do not feel it is satisfactory for such a failure.
The initial members that flooded the website causing it to crash and also the customer service phone calls did not see this update unless they visited the website some time after they received the initial email.
The delay in sending out a followup email of up to 3 hours does not show a full understanding of the greater issue and the importance of a quick response.  It would have not been a massive issue for VirginBlue to offer to honor the deal or at least offer a discount off a future VirginBlue flights.
The official tweet from the VirginBlue account did not seem to go beyond a general generic response.  Using social media platforms such as twitter allow one-to-one communication but they failed to do this....
Friday the 13th strikes! Some members have been advised of an upgrade that they are ineligible for. We regret any inconvenience caused.
Failure learnings?
So what can be learned from this situation, first point is that if you stuff up, monitor the social media traffic to see what the key issue is and what are the angry/outspoken members looking for as a possible resolution.  In this case there appeared to be a consistent feeling that honoring the deal would have resolved the situation and been a great PR exercise for the Velocity program.
Did the initial offer match the velocity program? Yes, to make the issue more of a sore spot, read the footer below included on the email sent to members. So it is a fair point that people could have believed that the email was realistic, believable and likely to be true....

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General Motors fails using only email marketing

gm-logoGM is looking for new ways to market online but are they still stuck in the past and ignoring growing areas such as social media? GM marketing chief Mark LaNeve recently outlined a plan to utilise sophisticated electronic marketing techniques to target Pontiac owners such as targeted email promotions.  These types of marketing campaigns were not utilised to retain Oldsmobile buyers after GM killed that brand in 2004, but is this the only solution, do they even have all the owners email contact details and have they examined the issue of if they actually have permission to market to them?While email marketing is a great tool to for business it is not a silver bullet that will save a brand when used alone, so what other options could GM be utilising?  Mashable listed Ford utilising Social Media PR as one of the 10 smartest big brands in the social media space, but GM was not. While email marketing can be an important technique to target Pontiac owners, GM needs to understand that it is not a single solution to target Pontiac owners as a whole group.It would be possible to split the demographics and target email marketing to part of this group, supported by direct mail, and telem200px-Transam-wikiarketing campaigns.  Social media is perfect to compliment email marketing since Pontiac Firebird is a brand that has such heritage with strong fans suitable for Facebook, and thousands of images and videos suitable for YouTube/Flickr. Email marketing alone would miss this entire audience and GM would loose the potential to retain these customers to market their other brands.Ford's community manager Scott Monty is often quick to find out potential public relation disasters and respond. Ford understands that social media can be used to provide real-time feedback on how a company/corporation is reacting.   Email marketing is great for retaining customers and regular touch points, but doesn't offer the engagement of social media. Social media is great for generating buzz about your product and engaging with your target audience.  A recent analysis posted on Mashable comparing Ford, GM & Chrysler shows that the Ford Fiesta campaign is winning in the online based on customer engagement and activity.The number of twitter followers @ScottMonty (26,588) @GMBlogs (8761) @Chrysler (1881)The number of videos on YouTube Ford (250,000) GM (13,000) Chrysler (25,000)The number of photos on Flickr Ford (690,000) GM (16,900) Chrysler (107,500)These figures show a significant lead by Ford in the social media field, so will a few emails sent by GM hope to capture this same buzz? In april ford2009 Ford gave 100 web addicts a chance to test a Ford Fiesta for 6 months and post honest feedback using social media.  The platforms Ford has requested to be used for feedback are: Twitter, Facebook, Flickr & YouTube.  This campaign looks to be successful initially based on the activity analysis shown above.  Ford are also successful in social media as they don't try and build a new platform they connect with existing platforms such as Twitter, YouTube, Facebook & Flickr.The "Fiesta Movement" is working with social media to change the perception of Ford in the key 20-something demographic.  What makes this interesting is that these 100 were chosen from 4,000 applicants to do a 6 month auto beta test, this signup campaign alone generated millions in free press.Dell has shown that they can make around $5617 revenue per tweet, so what is the potential value for Ford? The critics seem to agree that this can potentially sell cars as the 100 web addicts will become advocates or mavens for Ford. This 20-something audience typically has a high level of skepticism with large brands but this is a very public test of its products and will be interesting to see how it reflects in the content produced during the 6 months.ford-fiestaFord understand their market better than most car companies and now more than 80% of Ford vehicles sold in North America are now fitted with SYNC, and typically sell twice as fast as those without.  Ford is using SYNC powered by Microsoft Auto Software to offer fully integrated, voice-activated, in-car communications and entertainment systems.  This is using technology to deliver better vehicles that people value and want to drive rather than purely competing on price/finance and Ford receive direct feedback from their social media channels they pass onto their engineers and design teams.Fresh networks outlines the 4 core themes that the early pioneers in customer engagement Ford & Southwest  follow for social media. 1) Its about people not firms 2) Make things public 3) Connect with people where they are already 4) Provide a place for people to go

So GM working to save a brand by running email marketing in a silo, without the support of a social media campaign, seems to be a campaign that is doomed to fail....

*Update it seems that GM is now trying to kill Chevy as a brand.

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