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The Technical Side of Email Marketing & Other Ramblings

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“Hmmm…something doesn’t look right here.”

Anyone that has Outlook 2007 on their PC has definitely caught themselves saying “Hmmm…something doesn’t look right here.” Why, you ask? Well, it’s simple.

The Internet Explorer-based rendering engine that has always been used for viewing email, has been replaced by Microsoft Word. While Microsoft Word was used for composing email messages in Outlook, the end result of this switch was a major discrepancy between how an email looks in creation and how they appear once received in the Outlook inbox.

As an email service provider, we feel it’s our responsibility to discuss the limitations imposed by Outlook 2007 since many of our clients are using that platform.

Here is a detailed list of commonly used elements that are NOT supported by Outlook/Word 2007:

* Background Images (HTML or CSS)
* Forms of any type
* Flash or other plugins
* CSS floats
* Replacing bullets with images in unordered lists
* CSS positioning
* Animated GIFs

So what does all of this mean for you – the email marketer? It’s pretty much guaranteed that unless your emails are extremely simple, you will run into problems with Outlook 2007. One solution would be to reduce the complexity of your HTML design to accommodate Outlook’s limited display capabilities for the time being.

If all of this techie “mumbo-jumbo” is leaving you completely confused, keep these few things in mind.

1. Do NOT panic! Your entire contact base is not going to switch to Outlook 2007 overnight. You have plenty of time to strategize and revisit your email designs.

2. You will still be able to use your brand and “design” in your email design; you may just have to jump through a few hoops to get it right.

3. If possible, try to get a trial of Outlook 2007 installed where you can do some testing.

Designing emails for effective rendering across all of the widely-used email programs may require more time, resources and strategy but it will prove to be worth the while in the long run. Most ESP’s (including Gold Lasso) offer cost effective solutions to assist in rendering optimization and testing. For more information about these solutions or rendering optimization, please contact the Gold Lasso client support team at service@goldlasso.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Wham, Bam, Spam Button Slams Email Marketing – David A. Utter

The following article was published on the WebProNews website this morning:

Drop a non-relevant email into a recipient’s bin, and risk being shut out of inboxes throughout an email domain.

Legitimate email marketers risk ruining deliverability and effectiveness of their campaign, if they get careless or greedy with the power of email.

The Dot Email marketing community site said the ease of hitting a spam button to mark an unwanted message jeopardizes future campaigns.

“I believe that a lot of people still don’t grasp the power of the ‘This is SPAM’ button within the web based mail clients and how it can greatly effect clients list attrition as well as deliverability for future campaigns,” said Michael Weisel, CTO of Gold Lasso, Dot Email’s sponsor.

“The bottom line with all of this is that if you send relevant information, to people who want it, in the proper format, this will greatly limit your risk of destroying your lists or encouraging users to press that oh so powerful (and sometimes too easy to click) SPAM button,” he said.

AOL has been the most unfriendly to unwanted email, with 38.4 percent of marketers surveyed saying it had the lowest deliverability. Google’s Gmail scored very favorably, with only 7.1 percent having issues with deliverable email.

MSN/Hotmail tends to vanish emails marked as spam, meaning the message doesn’t bounce or fall into someone’s spam folder. Microsoft’s products vexed 21.4 percent of marketers. EarthLink and Yahoo did so at rates of 17 and 16.1 percent, respectively.

Delivering through AOL isn’t easy: Dot Email report

The following article was on the main page of DMNEWS this morning:

AOL is the toughest nut to crack for e-mail deliverability for marketers, while Google’s Gmail is the easiest, according to a recent survey by online community for e-mail marketers Dot Email.

The report found that e-mails that are not relevant to users are being marked as SPAM, which is affecting deliverability rates of future e-mail campaigns. According to the poll, 38.4 ercent of e-mail marketers think that AOL has the lowest deliverability and 7.1 percent of respondents think that Google’s Gmail had the lowest.

“The market penetration for Gmail is not the same for AOL or Hotmail,” said Elie Ashery, president of Gold Lasso. “There is more volume on AOL, as some people have had AOL since its inception. Gmail also recently bought Postini, the largest filtering company, so they probably have a better handle on the technology for spam filtering.”

MSN/Hotmail were a close second with 21.4 percent of the e-mail marketers saying that this ISP had the lowest deliverability rates. Seventeen percent thought Earthlink had bad delivery and 16 percent thought it was Yahoo according to the poll. “For AOL and Hotmail, marketers have to push harder for recipients to put them on the friends or save sender list in the opt-in process,” Ashery added. “This will help to use the dynamic content feature so marketers can send them instructions on how to get on the save sender list. The better the opt-in methodology, the better the deliverability you will have. Having double opt-in keeps down suppression; making sure that the list is clean is another major factor.”

New Informal Poll Shows ISP “Spam Button” Powerful Tool With Top Providers, Affecting Future of Deliverability

GAITHERSBURG, MD–(Marketwire – October 4, 2007) – A recent informal poll sponsored by Dot Email, a free online community for email marketers, shows that emails that are not relevant to users are quickly and easily being marked as SPAM, which is effecting deliverability rates of future email campaigns. According to the poll, AOL scored the lowest with 38.4% of email marketers saying it has the lowest deliverability and 7.1% of respondents stating Google’s gmail (7.1%) had the highest deliverability rate.

“I believe that a lot of people still don’t grasp the power of the ‘This is SPAM’ button within the web-based mail clients and how it can greatly affect clients’ list attrition as well as deliverability for future campaigns,” says Michael Weisel, CTO of Gold Lasso. Gold Lasso is the sponsor of Dot Email. “The bottom line with all of this is that if you send relevant information, to people who want it, in the proper format, this will greatly limit your risk of destroying your lists or encouraging users to press that oh so powerful (and sometimes too easy to click) SPAM button,” he says.

MSN/Hotmail were a close second with 21.4% of the votes. “From what we are hearing, MSN gives the initial impression of letting more questionable messages through. These messages appear to be delivered by most mail servers, but are actually marked as spam before getting to the users’ mail folders.” says Elie Ashery, founder and editor of Dot Email. “This causes the email to be labeled as ‘missing.’ It may not show up as a bounce or even make it to a recipient’s junk folder.”
Earthlink (17%) and Yahoo (16.1%) fared almost equally in deliverability rates according to the poll.

“With the SPAM filters really acting as living organisms, I believe that if you were to conduct this same poll three to six months from now, these percentages will most likely change based on who does what next with regards to tweaking their anti-SPAM technology,” says Weisel.

ABOUT DOTEMAIL.COM
Dot Email, sponsored by Gold Lasso, is a community built specifically for email marketers as a forum to share their ideas, keep up with news, learn tricks of the trade, and just to comment or complain about some of the fun or vexing issues that serve to continually motivate them. Features on the forum include: detailed resource links, message boards, links to industry news, blog commentaries, file sharing, job and marketplace sections, and much more.

Gold Lasso Announces Move to New Corporate Headquarters

Gold Lasso Announces Move to New Corporate Headquarters
Unprecedented Growth Spurs Relocation to Revitalized Historical Space

GAITHERSBURG, MD–(Marketwire – September 5, 2007) – Gold Lasso, LLC (www.goldlasso.com), a leading provider of on-demand email marketing software and services, announced today the relocation of its corporate headquarters to a larger facility in Olde Towne Gaithersburg, Maryland. The facility will accommodate the Company’s exceptional growth over the past year. Gold Lasso’s corporate move will be completed the first week of September.

In addition to quadrupling the space available to the company, the new location offers a fully renovated facility and upgraded amenities. All departments of the company will be located at the new headquarters.

Gold Lasso has experienced tremendous growth over the past year. We have been able to offer the best product for the best price and service in the industry, and it has served us well,” commented Elie Ashery, President and CEO. “We are excited to be a part of a revitalized area and work in a district with such an extensive history.”

The telephone numbers, fax number and email addresses will remain the same. Gold Lasso’s new location is:

25 B Chestnut Street
Gaithersburg, MD 20877
301-990-9857
ABOUT GOLD LASSO

Gold Lasso, LLC, located in Gaithersburg, MD, is an interactive technology marketing firm that started operations in 2001. The company primarily services the association, publishing, retail, education and hospitality industries. For more information, visit the Gold Lasso Web site at http://www.goldlasso.com or call 301-990-9857

Email marketer harnesses the power of Gentoo

Linux.com

Everything Linux and Open Source

Email marketer harnesses the power of Gentoo

August 31, 2007 (9:00:00 PM)

By: Tina Gasperson

Gold Lasso uses an open source infrastructure to power its email marketing business. Cofounders Elie
Ashery
and Michael Weisel say open source is the only way to keep prices down and “truly compete in the
current marketplace.” And, they say, Gentoo Linux is the only way to keep their system truly secure. But
finding employees who can manage a system built on Gentoo has been a challenge.

Gold Lasso markets data collection and management tools and provides outbound messaging services.
Ashery had cofounded another email service provider called Newsletters.com, and “pioneered a lot of email
marketing
techniques” there, which inspired him to expand on those techniques in launching Gold Lasso.
He called up his friend Weisel to help, and together the two bootstrapped the company.

“We were selling things on eBay to make enough money,” Weisel says.

In order to keep costs down and to build the company on a more reliable base, Weisel and Ashery decided
to build on a Linux infrastructure. “Before we laid out any of our own money, we looked at what we’d used
in the past and tried not to make the same mistakes we made before,” Weisel says. “My background was
mostly Microsoft, but I looked at all the issues I’d had with Microsoft servers, stepped back, and said, ‘What
can we do to avoid that?’ I saw open source as the biggest jump toward this. We knew we could keep the
cost down with Linux, too.”

“We didn’t want to dilute ourselves,” Ashery says, “And open source source afforded us the possibility of
not raising venture money. Now, if we’d had to go down the Oracle or Microsoft route, we would have
needed VC for licensing, for development, for all that, but open source allowed us to avoid that. There’s no
way we could have gotten where we are today without open source.”

They tried a few different flavors of Linux before settling on Gentoo. “One of our previous employees was
into Gentoo, and made us believe that it is one of the most secure distributions out there,” Weisel says.
“Yeah, it’s hard to install and manage sometimes, but it has definitely given us an advantage. Back when
we started moving toward Gentoo, our lead developer and I were sitting in my townhouse with an old
server trying to get it loaded. It took two days to get it up and running — but after we learned how it
works, now he can put in a Gentoo server without even looking at it. We found other people, so now we
have an arsenal of people who know the system. We knew the initial investment of time to get it
configured properly and running was going to pay off in the future. It’s very secure and stable.”

For Ashery and Weisel, finding the right people to administer Gold Lasso’s infrastructure has been
elemental to building a successful company. “With the technology we use, sometimes it’s very difficult to
find people that know it,” Weisel says. “It’s easy to find people that want to learn it, but hard to find people
who know it.” Weisel recommends that others looking to launch businesses with open source technology
make a special effort to find the right people. “If you don’t know the technology, or you can’t figure it out
yourself, make sure you get the right person to do it. People that come from a Microsoft environment have
a very hard time moving into a Linux environment. Now, people in Linux have no problem going into
Microsoft. It’s kind of interesting. But I would definitely look at universities. That’s probably our best
resource for people who will know open source technology.”

Ashery says trust is a key element. “Make sure the person you’re trusting is good. Really talk with them. If
you have somebody at your disposal, someone you know that knows the operating system very well, have
them sit in on the interview. One mistake we definitely made was choosing the wrong person. They knew
Linux, but they didn’t know Gentoo. That can create a mess.”

Starting with the “right technology” from the beginning is something Ashery and Weisel wish they’d done.
“Some of the technology we chose in the beginning is not the technology we’re moving to now,” Weisel
says. “Some of that could have been avoided if we’d thought it out harder in the beginning. The mistakes
we made, I wouldn’t say they cost a lot, other than in terms of time. We would have been a little further
ahead if we’d gone with the right stuff from the start.”

“Now we have a good five years under our belt,” says Ashery. “It’s full steam ahead.”

Read in the original layout at: http://www.linux.com/feature/118799

Dot Email (www.dotemail.com), Open Online Community for Email Marketers, Offers Free Advertising to Industry Providers

GAITHERSBURG, MD — (MARKET WIRE) –04/10/2007 — As a pioneer in creating an open source community for professional email marketers, Dot Email has launched a new program to provide free
advertising on the site for industry providers. It is another way the site’s creators are committed to promoting email marketing best practices and the industry vendors that support them and their hilosophies, ultimately creating a win-win situation for everyone.

BUT I THOUGHT NOTHING IN LIFE WAS FREE…

“This is a call to action. By providing Dot Email with an ad, a company shows their support for this open source community concept,” says Elie Ashery, President and CEO of Gold Lasso, LLC and creator of Dot Email. “I wanted a platform that was conducive to an uninhibited free flow of ideas and opinions. I think this is a key element to growing the industry and helping people become efficient, savvier marketers.”

To date, no other email marketing website is providing a free advertising service. Payment is in the form of a commitment to creating the best possible open platform for email marketing professionals with relevant content and useful information.

THE RULES

The offer will commence on April 9, 2007, and industry providers are responsible for the advertising creative. Advertisements will run for six months, and are limited to the first ten vendors to sign-up. The estimated value of this promotion is approximately $1,000. Those interested can visit www.dotemail.com and click on the “Advertise” section.
BENEFITS

This online community was built specifically for email marketers as a forum to share their successful ideas, keep up with news, learn tricks of the trade, and just to comment or complain about some of the fun or vexing issues that serve to continually motivate them.

Dotemail.com features:

— Detailed resource links

— Message boards

— Links to industry news

— Blog commentaries

— File sharing

— Job and marketplace sections, and much more

ABOUT THE SPONSOR OF DOT EMAIL: GOLD LASSO, LLC

Gold Lasso, LLC, located in Gaithersburg, MD, is an interactive technology marketing firm that started operations in 2001. The company primarily services the association, publishing, retail, education and
hospitality industries. For more information, visit the Gold Lasso Web site at http://www.goldlasso.com or call 301-990-9857.

E-mail marketer launches dotemail.com

Story Featured in the Baltimore Examiner 01-22-2007

GAITHERSBURG, Md. – Imagine a world where one person’s spam is another person’s specialty.

Gold Lasso, an e-mail marketing company with headquarters in Gaithersburg, recently launched a new Web site, www.dotemail.com, a free online community for sales and marketing professionals to discuss the ins and outs of the e-mail marketing world.

“The reason why we put this together for everyone to see is to show exactly what’s going on in [e-mail marketing],” said Elie Ashery, Gold Lasso’s president. “People can trade information and talk about what works and what doesn’t.”

Ashery said that his idea to create the Web site came when he grew tired of explaining to people that his type of marketing is not spam mail.

“The general public needs to understand how the market is collected, how they get their names on various lists, what the difference is between spam and not spam,” Ashery said. “I just don’t believe there is enough information out there.”

The Web site has detailed resource links, message boards, links to industry news, blog commentaries, file sharing and job and marketplace sections. Gold Lasso is currently getting the word out about the site through blogs and the media.

“This is an easy way of creating an open forum,” Ashery said. “It will really help companies lower marketing costs and will help to lower cost of goods and services.”

“Marketing is such a dynamic field, it’s always changing,” said Cynthia Allen, president of SeaCrest, a consulting company in North Carolina. “Dotemail is a good place to post questions, look at other people’s ideas and more. It’s just like a little online consultant person.”

Online Community for E-Marketers Is Open and Welcoming Visitors

Dotemail.com Offers Unlimited Resources and Tools for Both Novice Marketers and Sophisticated Email Experts
GAITHERSBURG, MD — (MARKET WIRE) — 01/10/2007 — Gold Lasso, LLC, a leading provider of on-demand email marketing software and services, announced that it has launched Dot Email (www.dotemail.com), a new, free online community for email marketers. The website was built to serve the professional needs of today’s e-marketers, and in keeping with Gold Lasso’s open source roots, Dot Email was created entirely with open source software such as Joomla and related components. Dot Email features detailed resource links, message boards, links to industry news, blog commentaries, file sharing and job and marketplace sections.

Email marketing has become a billion dollar business, and those marketing professionals that count on email as a valuable part of their marketing toolkits are able to apply innovative strategies and best practices to their work,” said Elie Ashery, CEO and co-founder of Gold Lasso and the creator of dotemail.com. “This online community was built specifically for email marketers as a forum to share their successful ideas, keep up with news, learn tricks of the trade, and just to comment or complain about some of the fun or vexing issues that serve to continually motivate them.”

A sample of the issues already being discussed at Dot Email includes the potential impact of Internet video on marketers in 2007. A recent study by the media research firm Horowitz Associates reveals that Internet video content is grabbing more mobile device users all the time, with eight percent of all Internet users reporting they watch video content on a handheld device at least once a month. How will this growing trend impact email marketers in 2007? Early users of Dot Email are already sharing opinions on the most successful methods for packaging an email that is linked to video content in order to boost viewers.

Michael Weisel, Chief Technology Office of Gold Lasso, commented, “It is obvious that email is helping to drive the growth of Internet videos and video podcasts, and in most instances, my team has found that by posting links to video in emails, you will get far more viewers than if you send video clips embedded in the email.”

Other issues that will surely impact the way marketers use email in 2007 are email deliverability and the continued growth of online ad spending.

“Not every marketing or sales professional has the time or resources to attend an expensive conference just to network and keep up with the latest electronic marketing trends,” Ashery said. “But anyone can find the time to visit Dot Email each week in order to make new contacts, learn new marketing strategies and keep up with the latest industry news. This free website represents our effort to give back to the marketing community, but like anything communal, you will get out of it what you put into it.”

ABOUT GOLD LASSO, LLC

Gold Lasso, LLC, located in Gaithersburg, MD, is an interactive technology marketing firm that started operations in 2001. The company primarily services the association, publishing, retail, education and hospitality industries. For more information, visit the Gold Lasso Web site at http://www.goldlasso.com or call 301-990-9857.

Ouch! Branding Really Hurts

No, this isn’t a PETA blog, but if your ESP (Email Service Provider) enjoys putting THEIR logo and information at the bottom of YOUR correspondences, YOU have been branded. Are you forced to have your ESP’s annoying logo (which maybe you didn’t know but most likely has a link back to their website coded in) at the bottom of every email transmission that you send out through their system? Most of the ESP’s out there today don’t give their clients any choice in the matter, until now. When eLoop 4.0 became available back in early September, Gold Lasso, LLC did away with email branding for all of their clients. Some ESP’s will allow their “higher paying, VIP” clients to remove the branding, but not the little guys. Gold Lasso doesn’t discriminate. If you are sending 5 emails or 5 million emails a month, the story is the same, NO BRANDING.

Why should you as the client be forced to market your ESP’s services? Just think about it, if you send out a million emails in a month, you have actively marketed a million times for your ESP. You as the client are actually paying them to market their product, how ironic.

The more you make your correspondences look as though they are coming from your organization, the better chance you have of your email being delivered and the recipient actually reading it. With SPAM rates going up and an industry wide 75% deliverability rate, it’s important to legitimize your messages as much as possible to better your chances of not just getting them delivered but more importantly getting them read. The whole idea is to make the communication look and feel like it is coming from your organization and with your ESP’s logo plastered at the bottom, it’s kind of hard. I have personally received emails with so much branding at the bottom that I forgot who sent it to me and was almost mesmerized in to going to the ESP’s website.

The bottom line to this branding issue, is not necessarily the brand itself, it’s all about having a choice. If the ESP’s aren’t giving their clients a choice, that’s bad. Some people, who partner with them, may want to have the branding at the bottom, who knows. Maybe it’s like flaunting the fact that you drive a Bentley and you want people to know, “Hey I’m with Joe Schmo ESP and I’m darn proud of it” but my guess is that there are more organizations out there that just want to send out an email without advertising for the ESP. If you’re unhappy with the branding, you’re probably not alone. In fact, the industry says that 40% of you will be frustrated enough this year to switch ESP’s, so if you are shopping around, make sure you have your Tylenol ready, because branding can really hurt your bottom. Line that is, bottom line.