Posted by Dave McCue on December 4th, 2013
The challenge of delivering properly formatted emails to recipients on mobile devices has prompted a great deal of discussion and a few different strategies over the past couple of years. Some marketers created mobile-friendly HTML pages containing similar content as their emails, and simply offered a way for recipients to “click for mobile version” on the mobile-unfriendly email they received on their smartphones. Others went the way of responsive design, which certainly added complexity but also avoided the duplicate work mentioned previously, allowing for emails that adapted (as necessary) to the device being used by the recipient. Harland Clarke Digital has taken the responsive design approach with our own newsletter, which you can view by clicking here. (If you’re on a desktop/laptop, simply drag the corner of your browser window and you’ll see the template respond by shifting to a single column view when space becomes an issue).
Another approach is the idea of tracking recipients’ engagement history, and creating different versions of messages designed specifically for the device they use to view messages. For instance, your “iPad users” would receive a message you built specifically for the iPad. This wouldn’t be necessary for every available device (a daunting task), but could certainly be valuable if data indicates a large percentage of engaged recipients gravitate toward a specific device(s). Why not provide those recipients with an optimal experience, especially since they are clearly engaged?
On the surface, this approach certainly makes sense if you have the resources to produce such customized versions of each message, and the SubscriberMail® email platform from Harland Clarke Digital offers insight into mobile device use among recipients. However, there are drawbacks to this approach due to the growing number of recipients who engage with email in multiple ways.
Over a 12-month span, Harland Clarke Digital found that 12.4% of recipients (on average) were rendering emails using at least two of the three methods being analyzed: Desktop, Smartphone or Tablet. A large amount of recipients engaged exclusively via desktop (55%) or smartphone (25%), but with smartphone and tablet adoption rates continuing to climb, the percentage of multi-method engagement is likely to rise as well. It’s an important point to keep in mind before applying recipient filters that might identify a recipient as an “iPhone user” — it’s entirely possible that an alternate method will be used to view the next mailing.
Download the infographic Engagement Habits of Today’s Email Recipient from Harland Clarke Digital.
Posted by Nic Winters on December 2nd, 2013
Our clients often utilize data fields within the SubscriberMail system to store information related to sales team members, so that when campaigns are deployed they can include personalized contact details for a customer’s exact representative. These clients are simplifying the deployment process in that they only have to create one version of the email, utilizing our personalization features to pull in the appropriate information from each customer’s data fields (as opposed to having to deploy multiple copies of the message with each sales team member’s information contained in individual copies).
We have found that many system users who take this approach eventually have a change of sales team assignments, and thus need to update the data fields of all customers related to a particular representative, etc.
If you ever find yourself in a similar situation where you need to update a data field(s) for an entire subset of subscribers, please make sure that you check out the Update Data Fields feature within your SubscriberMail account as it can lead to some significant time savings!
With the Update Data Fields feature (within your Lists tab), a user can specify the list they would like to update and then indicate what the new value should be for various data fields shared across the entire list.
Contact the Harland Clarke Digital Client Support team at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information regarding how you can save time by utilizing the Update Data Fields feature within your SubscriberMail account.
Posted by Deanna Cruzan on November 26th, 2013
‘Tis the season to be jolly….and for holiday shopping. As many financial institutions are continuing their standard campaigns during the holiday season, there are some promotional campaigns that could help account holders afford all the items on their list.
Skip-A-Pay: Provide customers the ability to skip a payment during the holiday season. The customer typically pays a one-time fee and then adds a monthly payment to their current contract. This allows customers to clear up some money that they normally would spend on bills in order to purchase gifts. The financial institution receives additional revenue from the fees and additional interest from the loan being extended.
Lower interest rates on credit cards during the holiday season: Provide customers with the ability to spend more money by lowering their interest rate during the month of December. Customers will receive 6 months to pay off those purchases, otherwise they will revert back to their initial APR on those purchases. This is a win-win!
E-Gift Cards/Visa Gift Cards: Customers will love the convenience of not having to leave their homes to purchase gift cards for their loved ones. Offering online options will entice customers to purchase directly through their financial institution instead of their local grocery store.
Swipe and Win Debit Card Promotion: Everyone likes the opportunity to win money while shopping. Having a ‘swipe and win’ promotion encourages more purchases while bringing holiday cheer to the winners.
It is also critical for financial institutions to thank account holders for their business. A holiday campaign, wishing account holders Happy Holidays, is an effective and inexpensive way to engage in a non-promotional manner.
At Harland Clarke Digital, we have several new templates for holiday emails that can be sent to customers. But time is running out, so don’t delay! Reach out to your representative today or call HCD at 630-303-5000 and get your holiday campaigns scheduled today!
Posted by Joel Keene on November 25th, 2013
There are several things I love about online marketing. I love sophistication. I love being super savvy. I love the next cool thing. I love the ever-evolving nature of nuances between this channel and that one. I love things like automation, integration, segmentation, etc.
The risk of loving sophistication and innovative optimizations is not remembering the basics. As I have spent multiple years now in online marketing and worked with clients large and small, I am always reminded of the critical value of having a solid foundation before getting too advanced.
Almost every vendor, agency or publisher will be happy to provide their advertisers with a list of generally accepted best practices for any given channel or online campaign. These practices run a wide gamut, but they exist for a reason, and I am always surprised at how many advertisers disregard these and choose not to follow them in some form.
Note that they are not called Good Practices, or Better Practices. They are called Best Practices, and they exist to help you establish a proven performance baseline that will enable you to more accurately measure the impact of more advanced optimizations down the road.
Are you and your management team in some stage of your annual planning process? If you are, now would be a great time to conduct a round of audits to see how many of your campaigns are currently adopting current industry best practices. If you have any that are not, I would strongly encourage you to make this a priority across the board with your marketing managers, technology vendors and agency partners.
You may have noticed that in my previous comment I made a note of “current” best practices. The dynamic nature of online marketing makes adhering to best practices even more important as they evolve in lock-step with the various online channels. As the Gen Y demographic expands and more fully adopts the mobile lifestyle, how much effort are you dedicating to ensuring that your marketing efforts (and your site itself) are mobile friendly and render correctly across every device? The best practices you integrated into your campaigns last year or the year before need to be revisited and updated appropriately.
To end I want to make a point that while I strongly believe in the value of best practices I also recognize the reality that not every practice is suitable or relevant for every advertiser. They are called Best for a reason because they have been proven over time, but they are also called Practices and not Rules. If you are not adhering to a specific best practice I trust it is because nobody knows your business better than you and you know the impact of not adhering to said practice because you’ve conducted tests to measure it’s effectiveness and not because you are focused on trying to build a castle on a shaky foundation.
To learn more about how Harland Clarke Digital can help you implement Best Practices into your campaigns visit www.hcdigital.com/resources
Posted by David McMurray on November 19th, 2013
One of the most unpleasant consultant activities for me is the coding of written comments, which requires hours of reading comment after comment and systematically assigning it to one or more topics. I also usually end up with a number of comments coded to “miscellaneous”, which requires that I go back over those comments a second time to see if a new topic should be created – thus reducing the number of “miscellaneous” comments.
I have often theorized that respondent self-coding would be a streamlined way of analyzing the written comments. After all, one would assume the author of the comment would be in the best position to assign the proper code. I thought that self-coding would channel the respondents’ thinking, and result in a more useable and enlightening comment. Most importantly it would off-load this very unpleasant task by the consultant.
Recently, I was given the opportunity to audit the self-coding of written comments on a customer survey. In this case, respondents were instructed to self-code their comment into one of five categories: Quality of Product, Level of Service, Value of Cost, Responsive Communication and Other.
The audit was done blind, meaning we simply read the comment and then assigned it to one of the five codes presented to the respondent – without looking at the self-coding. Next we compared the self coding to the audit coding.
Bottom line, I was surprised at how inaccurate the self coding was. There were two primary findings:
- Only about one half of the comments were properly coded as per the audit.
- Many respondents ignored the topic altogether – even after choosing one – and made a random comment unrelated to the topic. As an example, a respondent may have coded the comment to “Quality of Product” and then written “We love our rep…don’t change a thing.”
This experience essentially demonstrated that self-coding is not effective – at least not in this case. The recommendation to the customer was that it would be very misleading to accept ‘as is’ the self-coding as provided by the respondents. Only after a full audit can the client rely on the topical analysis of the written comments.
I don’t think I’ll soon introduce self coding into any of my upcoming surveys based on this experience (darn it all).