All About Email - The Last Word in Email Publishing

Sunday, September 30, 2007

What gets you noticed?

In the noisy and crowded place that is our inbox nowadays, many people receive so much email that all they do is scan visually for ones they recognise then delete the rest.

Traditional email analysis says that readers look first at Sender ID and second at subject line.

I am no longer sure that is the case. I believe, based on talking to a broad range of people, that subject line might be the first point of recognition - especially as so many sender IDs have been highjacked by Trojans.

It seems that people are starting to scan just the subject line - as they feel it gives them a truer indication of whether the email is of interest or not, and generally disregarding sender ID.

If this is true, then the whole issue of subject lines must be re-examined and greater importance placed on those few words!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

You have to laugh

An article in the UK Daily Telegraph caught my attention today, and made me laugh - in a bitter and cynical sort of way.

Broadband too slow, it proclaimed.

It seems that the UK rate of 20 megabits per second is holding them back, when countries like France and Korea offer 5 times faster.

Yes, well, us Kiwis can understand why that would be a problem; after all, our typical premium broadband rate of 500 megabits is; what? Oh, that's 500ks? you mean about a 40th of the UK rate?; a 200th of the Korean rate?

Do you think that might be holding us back as well?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

And still - mounting frustration

3 weeks into our new anti spam laws, has anything changed yet?
Well, yes it has. I am receiving a lot less email from newsletters I have previously subscribed to.
One thing that remains the same is the volume of spam – still very high.
But it does appear that certain amount of legitimate email has been discouraged – so well done the Government – another piece of brilliantly thought out and well executed legislation.
At least we can take heart in the high volume of prosecutions that have resulted – well, none in fact, demonstrating that this toothless legislation missed the point – there are no spammers in NZ and the solution to ending, or at least limiting spam is no nearer.
A recent conversation with the Marketing Association revealed that for some time they have been in discussion with major NZ ISPs about a national whitelist.
Those discussions must be pretty arcane, because no-one seems to know anything about it – how far the issue has been progressed, when it might come into force etc.
A national whitelist, combined with authentication, would make a major difference to the volume of spam, and the ability of legitimate emailers to reach the desktop, so it is a great idea.
It is not hard to set up, and needs to be implemented sooner rather than later to ensure we in NZ do not lose faith in email as a medium of communications.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

It's still coming

So 10 days into our much vaunted anti Spam act, what has happened?

Well, 2 things; the first is that I am still getting the same volume of spam as before - no surprises there.

The second is that I have also received, many well after due date, a raft of messages asking me to opt back in. One even told me that my previous opt in was irrelevant - if I did not opt in a second time they had to unsubscribe me.

Given the significance of email as a communications tool for both personal and business reasons, you would think that a relatively simple piece of legislation such as this would be a little clearer for people. But it is not, and one result is that many businesses have shed up to 50% of their marketing databases unnecessarily.

Another has been our bombardment (mostly quite without need) of these opt in emails. We want value when we receive a marketing email, not chores.

So, so far, the anti spam act has been a failure - my inbox is more clogged than ever, and we are no nearer to a solution that we were six months ago.

There is, supposedly, in the pipeline, a solution - a national whitelist. You might have thought that there would be an urge to announce it as work in progress, and a desire to prioritise it, but apparently not.

I'll believe it when I see it. In the meantime, work on your email - deliverability is only in your own hands right now.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Boring auto replies are boring

I am going away for a week. On holiday. The first one for three years. I expect to get a normal volume of email while I am out of office, so what should I do?

To me email demands urgency - it is quick to send, and people expect / appreciate a quick response.

So rather than just ignore my messages for 7 days, I need an out-of-office auto reply.

Many people forget the significance of these. I have thought about a few ideas:

1. Do not use the usual boring out-of-office subject line. Say something engaging - how about: Responding from the beach.

2. Remember that this is an opportunity to communicate with existing and potential business contacts. Rather than saying I am away for a few days, embellish your message. - I am out of town for a week and when I return I look forward to talking more with you about business, especially our new strategy for XYZ

3. Share you trip with them - it will be a great icebreaker when you return - I am going to be trekking through the jungles of South Chicago for 2 weeks.

So always think carefully about your message - it is a marketing / engagement opportunity.

Of course, I won't really be out of touch - my trusty blackberry will be with me, so I can take a sneak at who is emailing me - any who knows, I might even reply to the lucky ones!