From the 1st of March 2011, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) will be able to wield its powers over any online content ‘directly connected with the supply or transfer of goods or services.’ In other words... pretty much everything. Interestingly, the ASA judge all complaints on a case by case basis, there is no blanket rule. With March 2011 bringing the first of these cases, there will be no prior history for it to base its compliance issues on, so how will you know if your message falls within their acceptable messages?
The truth is that most of what is sent is already compliant; those online companies already adhering to the Committee of Advertising Practice’s (CAP) code, will have nothing to worry about. It will be interesting, however, to see how the first cases of 2011 will be dealt with. Apparently the main question that will decide if the piece of offending material will fall within the ASA’s remit will be whether or not it is trying to sell goods or services i.e. a clothing retailer, listing prices on the advert. If the answer is yes, the offender is far more likely to be investigated.
An impossible task?
I feel very sorry for the people responsible for policing social media and social network sites (which will also fall into the regulations). I say this for a number of reasons, not least the ease at which a falsehood can be spread from peer to peer. The main problem that I foresee is the current method of reporting a violation. The user has to screen grab the offending material and forward it to the ASA but it would be far easier and cheaper to simply remove the content than suffer the consequences of a followed up complaint.
No need to panic
Don’t be scared, you are far more likely to have to listen to a quiet word in your ear first and it is only the persistent offenders that will have need to panic. Also, for those of you that are worried that you are not currently compliant, the ASA and CAP will be broadcasting details in January and February next year.
As always, I would recommend keeping your email marketing messages user specific, with content that they are interested in, from an email address that they recognise and don't forget your company registration details in the footer.
It comes as no surprise that there is a wealth of information on the internet about email marketing, but quite often these blogs are all about number crunching, sales jargon and stat counting.
Here are our top sites for anyone who is working with html based email, it doesn't matter whether you are a market research analyst, campaign advisor, coder, or designer there is something here for everyone.
Over the past few years I have carried out many email marketing training courses, both public and in-house at companies. What I have often found among delegates is that their focus has usually been on getting their email strategy, design or technology right prior to point at which the visitor ultimately lands on a particular web page - otherwise known as a landing page.
Given that the landing page is the last point in the user journey prior to conversion, it is crucial that your landing page performs super efficiently for you.
Let's take a step back to define landing pages...
Think about it. There’s only ONE reason you’re sending out your email and that’s to get a response.
Here are 5 sure-fire ways to ensure people start clicking on those emails – all of which are so easy, a child could do it!
Email marketing can be a difficult medium to master, but following a few guidelines can improve your results enormously just by helping you avoid bad practice.
Probably the best advice is to put yourself in your recipient’s position. Go to your email inbox and look at which messages you read, which ones you don’t even open because they make you think ‘spam’ and which ones go straight into your junk folder - then use that information to help you design your campaigns.
When creating any form of advertising it's vital to get the right balance between text and imagery.
Too much text and the viewer will lose interest, too little and they'll be left bewildered as to what it is they are looking at.
Applying this to email design adds a few extra considerations: spam rating, legibility, cross platform bugs and more. In this best practice guide we are going to look a little more in depth into these areas and their implication for HTML email design. By the end you should be confident in how to correctly render images in emails along with keeping the right balance between text and graphics. As you'll see, when it comes to email, design matters.
I'm no fan of buzz speak but right now there's one phrase floating around the internet ether that I'd recommend paying attention to - 'multi-channel marketing'. Or in other words, taking an integrated approach to all your online promotional activities.
It's easy to think of email campaigns as being quite self-contained. But developing an awareness of the way all your different online activities feed off and complement each other is essential.
Even if you're already combining your email promotion with a wider internet marketing strategy, the chances are you could be missing a trick or two.
In past issues we've learned how to put together amazing articles for email marketing newsletters, so I'm not going to go over old ground. I'm assuming you already have a strong array of article ideas along with photos.
Now you just need to write it up in an engaging format to suit your email marketing. Here are my top ten tips for writing awesome articles.
SEO copywriting simply means including the words (keywords) people use to find you and the service or product you’re offering through search engines. It can help improve your website rankings big time.
What does SEO copywriting have to do with email marketing?
In my experience as an SEO copywriter, it makes sense to include important keywords in all brochures, press releases, articles, blogs and even email newsletters so you can add them to your site and help boost your rankings. If you’re not optimising all your content, you could be missing a trick.
One of the most difficult hurdles to overcome in email creation for a designer is its regressive nature. Whilst the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and browser developers improve and enhance at an almost inhuman rate html mail delivery has kept its front foot firmly in the past.
The restrictiveness of its HTML4.01 foundations can cause many a headache, unavoidable use of tables for structure, forced ‘web-safe' colour schemes and so many essential present day CSS attributes unavailable. A beautifully crafted design in Photoshop can soon become a blocky unyielding behemoth, far from the designer's original concept.
So what preparation tasks can be taken onboard before working on that all important eshot or newsletter?