Dec 18, 2015

This Is Why UGC Might Be Dangerous

This is a digest email from a blog platform with fun stories:

Such fails with user generated content in email campaigns may be easily prevented by adding premoderation of automatically selected UGC prior to sending.

Another thing to mention regarding this campaign - I wasn't using this product since 2008 (sic!) when it was a geolocation based social network (innovative idea back then). So it's a mystery why they still try to reach me.

Nov 5, 2015

When Info In An Email From Your Bank Is Wrong

Yesterday I've got a text message from my bank saying that my password is going to expire. So I got onto the website and changed the password.

But today I've got an email saying that the password has finally expired...

This is a mistake very similar to what I was blogging about yesterday.

What might be the cause? Is it data from CRM not being passed into ESP on a timely manner? Is it an ESP having troubles with email delivery on time? I don't know, but as an end user I'm totally confused.

Nov 4, 2015

Orange Spain Isn't Investing Much in Building Correctly Working Email Chains

I'm traveling in Europe right now. And one week ago I've got an Orange SIM card in order to have affordable 3G internet on my tablet. And here's the list of emails I've got during the first week:

Are you exited by poor execution as much as I am?

Let's list the flaws:

  1. Duplicated welcome email.
  2. Confirmation email coming on 7th day after initial welcome email.
  3. Broken or ignored preheader area.
  4. Spanish language, despite they know I'm on a tourist plan and I was speaking English in their office. They don't even give me an option to switch to English.
And when I've tried clicking in confirmation email I've got this, which looks like an error:

But a few minutes later a lousy looking email arrived saying it worked fine. So did it work out or not?!

The design of the welcome email isn't really bad, but isn't great too:

Overall it feels like the email part of work has been neglected in Orange.

Nov 3, 2015

Google Inbox Is Going To Suggest Quick Replies For You

Google is really changing the world, especially email one.

I get a lot of email, and I often peek at it on the go with my phone. But replying to email on mobile is a real pain, even for short replies. What if there were a system that could automatically determine if an email was answerable with a short reply, and compose a few suitable responses that I could edit or send with just a tap? 

They say they will release this feature later this week. It's gonna be fun!

Oct 25, 2015

Anaheim Ducks Email Program

I've been on Anaheim Ducks match only once in March '13. But I still get their newsletter and its schedule and overall approach doesn't really work for me.

It's enough to mention it took them 7 months since my initial game visit to sent me the first email:

And what's wrong with their pre-header? What's the problem to invest some devs time into putting something at least readable here?

Another weak point of their email program is focusing only on tickets. Guys, most likely there's much more people interesting in the team than people who're gonna visit Honda Center, isn't it? Why not to try to tell me about team-related content and news so I can consume them on your website rather than Youtube etc?

Oct 23, 2015

Why Do You Expect ESPs to Provide You With Any Reasonable Service Level?

When speaking at the MailCon conference last week I was talking about the fact that ESPs mostly don't have an idea how much time it takes them to deliver an average email of their customer. And of course they don't want to share that lack of knowledge with their customers - that's why you never see a graph on delivery time in their beautiful interfaces.

Today I was signing up with an ESP, and it was funny to see "Our email will arrive within 5 minutes" during their sign up process.  My first thought was - "Oh, why to be so cautious?". But then an email arrived with a few minutes pause.

If ESPs can't guarantee their own delivery time for transactional email on one of top 3 mailbox providers - why do you expect them to provide you with any reasonable service level?
Received: from ( [])        by with ESMTPS id q13si4359319wiv.18.2015.        for <>        (version=TLSv1.2 cipher=ECDHE-RSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256 bits=128/128);        Fri, 23 Oct 2015 04:05:42 -0700 (PDT)...Date: Fri, 23 Oct 2015 11:03:02 +0000

Oct 22, 2015

When Personalization is Totally Possible But Ignored

I'm pretty sure most of the worlds largest railroad companies don't use any data on their customers for email campaigns. At least I've seen French SNCF  and Russian RZD sending me only non-relevant campaigns only.

How does their average email look like? Here're the deals on routes I'm not interested in. Here's a new train to be introduced on the other part of a country. Etc...

But these companies are of the ones that know most about my travel habits, cities I'm visiting, my seasonal behavior and so on - all of this because I was buying tickets from them for years!

What do they know?

  • where I'm likely to be at this point of time (based on my latest trip)
  • what are my regular routes and destinations
  • what kind of fare I usually use - economy, business, first class
I'm not even going to mention my age, gender and other personal data I shared with them when buying tickets...

All of that gives a great opportunity to provide me with a really personalized and therefore successful offers which will make me wish to use railroad instead of other means of transportation.

Not Convenient Email Confirmation Flow

Last week I has been setting up an account with my cell phone service provider. I was kinda amazed when after filling in a sign up form I has been asked to provide a code from an email in order to confirm my email address.

Is it really 2015?

Here's the list of the step a person should take to confirm his email:

  1. Understand that he has not to click as usual but to follow a different flow.
  2. Find a code in a very long text of the confirmation email. It isn't even highlighted with bold or something!
  3. Copy the code in the clipboard.
  4. Find a tab in a browser with the page of the cell phone service provider. It isn't that easy as many people keep dozens of tabs opened.
  5. Paste the code into the input field.
  6. Press 'Submit' button.

As a result we have 6 actions needed instead of 1. But why? Because you really have to do it so the service provider just doesn't really care about your convenience.

P.S. At this time I'm speaking with this exact cell phone provider regarding guiding their email efforts. Hopefully I will be able to improve their email marketing soon :)

Oct 14, 2015

Linked Has Broken its translation system for emails

Seems like something has gone wrong with emails translation system at LinkedIn:

Oct 7, 2015

Email Address Bounced Back? Here's an Alternative Way to Deal With That

In a great blog post at Word to the Wise blog we're seeing a not so frequent approach to processing email bounces. As a shop customer the blogger has received a sticker on her delivery bag asking for an email update because it has bounced. What an example of not so common friendly email marketing! :)

Oct 6, 2015

Double Opt-In? Never Heard Of!

Duolingo language learning website has asked me for an email address and sent me a welcome email soon after. Despite the fact I've never clicked on this welcome email I've got another one later. I'm pretty sure it will result in deliverability issues later when (if?) this project will grow.

Oct 3, 2015

Gmail Has Been Erroneously Assigning Emails to Wrong Gmail Accounts

I've got 2 Gmail accounts I'm logged in at the same browser - a personal one and a work one. So these are 2 different accounts and I have to switch between them in order to see appropriate emails.

But few minutes ago I've mentioned in my work account an email intended to arrive into my personal account!

What does make me think it's a Gmail fault but not something else?
1. Technical headers of the emails show no link with my work account. The headers are saying it was intended and delivered to my personal account.
2. There's no active forwarding or mail fetching rules that might result in this on both personal and work accounts.
3. I'm seeing more that one erroneously delivered email.
4. Those problematic emails are available from different devices.

As a result it makes me think there was a bug in Gmail, and it lasted at least for a few hours.

P.S. I've seen the same failure again on 15/Oct. So probably the problem lasts.

Oct 1, 2015

Yes, Uber Really Need an Email Marketing Manager

Today I've applied to an email marketing manager vacancy at Uber. Their jobs website was extremely slow and almost non-responsive.

Anyway the most important thing about the process was a confirmation email I've got soon after the application. It's really funny to see how it looks like taking into account key requirement for the job - make sure everything works fine both on desktop and web environments.

What are the flaws?
1. Too small to read comfortably.
2. Friendly From doesn't exist, as a result I're getting an email from "no-reply".
3. Too big useless indents.

That's clear that's not one of the most important Uber emails, but why don't you try to deliver your best at every email?

P.S. You could check my previous posts and a good <LINK> and not so good <LINK> examples of Uber emails.

Sep 25, 2015

Example of a Non-Relevant Email

Yesterday I've signed up for an another online language learning product. Soon after I've downloaded their iOS app and signed in in it using the same credentials.

Anyway I did get an email promoting their native apps next morning.

Why did it happen? Here're possible reasons:

  1. The product manager expected me to set up their app on another devices. But I don't really think that was the case.
  2. The info about apps installations happened after sign up isn't being passed into their ESP.
  3. Their email marketing manager just didn't really think about this use case and forgot to exclude users already having an app.

Sep 15, 2015

Gmail couldn't verify that this message was sent by

What does it mean to have this marker on emails for a bank? This will have a negative reputation impact and probably decrease customers' trust. The reputation and trust are the key values for banking business, aren't they?

Why did it happen? Probably because they set up a new SMTP server and forgot to update SPF and DKIM configuration appropriately:

Authentication-Results:;       spf=neutral ( <ip> is neither permitted nor denied by best guess record for domain of <from email>) smtp.mailfrom=<from email>

Sep 8, 2015

How to Get More Spam Complaints

I'm subscribed to a geeky blog platform which sends me a weekly digest. At some point I've understood I don't really read it, so I decided to disable the digest using a link from the email footer.

While the web page has been loading I guessed if it will require me to remember my login and password - that's a common mistake here in email world.

Everything went fine and I've seen a notification settings page with... digest option already disabled! Seems like I've tried to disable it last week too, but the setting just isn't taken into account.

Ok, you're getting another spam complaint, guys!

Aug 30, 2015

That's What You Have Been Looking For!

I've got an email with such a subject lately. Initially I understood it as "We're reading your mind" and it really impressed me as the email was showing different portable batteries for smartphones I was willing to buy last week.

Only a few minutes later I remembered the fact I was visiting their website for those products earlier this week, and the fact I've bought from them a year or two go. So what has happened here? The website has seen their already existing customer browsing for some specific products. He remembered that fact and followed up the customer with an email about those products hours later.

In fact that's a very similar email to abandoned cart follow up, but based on product pages views instead of things put into cart. And it's pretty effective in the era when many of our purchased are based on price but not seller reputation and sometimes customers don't remember their brand at all.

Aug 21, 2015

How Do I Hire a Good Email Marketing Manager?

Frequently I'm seeing businesses facing issues not with setting up email marketing process, but with finding a person who's going to set it up. Sometimes they have to try few email marketing managers before they find the one who can really do the work.

And that's pretty understandable - it isn't easy for a CMO to find a person who's really experienced with email marketing, as the CMO most likely doesn't have that good email marketing understanding.

Here's the list of branches every good email marketer should be an expert in:
- marketing / product part of work;
- email deliverability;
- infrastructure;
- running AB tests, data-driven email development, understanding of business goals (sales or retention but not CTR).

But how could a person who's not an email guru himself distinguish if a candidate really understands all the listed things or just uses the words he has seen across all those email marketing blogs across the web?

I see no way for doing that. The only way is to hire a person and very likely to find out he isn't a good fit months later.

Or... you can ask some email marketing effort to assess knowledge and experience of a candidate. Feel free to ask me to help you with it if you feel the need.

Aug 17, 2015

Email List Acquisition Via Merger

Seems like my internet service provide has been bought by a larger one.

How did I know that? Not in a straightforward way. I've received an email with the info on my internet account balance from an unknown domain. It included my full personal information. At the same time it had a wrong account ID which made me think the email database has been stolen and now some kind of a fraud is happening.

But after checking things for a couple of minutes I discovered the fact it's a message from my new ISP.

How would I deal with email subscribers of a bought business?
1.I'd let the acquired subscribers know about the change by sending an email and a text using a previous name of the provider.
2. At the same time it's a good point to update the expectation of customers on types and frequency of notifications we're going to send them.
3. And of course, I would use a good friendly from but not which was the case for the email I've got from my ISP.

Jul 14, 2015

Gmail Postmaster Interface Finally Arrived

Hurrah! The Gmail postmaster interface is finally available!

Obviously it was launched recently as the data is available only for the last few days.

What I do like in the interface:
- DKIM / SPF / DMARC related data
- domain and IP reputation info available
- a lot of smaller data points

The only weak thing is DNS-only confirmation flow for domain. Small or non-IT companies might end up not getting that access or waiting for a few day which isn't ok in case of an email deliverability crisis.

Here goes a screenshot:

Jun 1, 2015

Lazada - Unsubscription Won't Work Even on Desktop

At this point I *have* to mark your emails as Spam as there's no other way for me to easily stop seeing your emails.

I can understand why your unsubscription process is broken on mobile, but I'm seeing the same on my desktop:

May 28, 2015

How to Write Emails Saying 'Sorry' to Your Customers

Earlier I was writing about an epic fail in an unsubscription process of a Japanese hotel booking service.

But now those guys did something incredibly not intelligent. They decided to write me an email about 3 days long downtime of their whole service despite the fact I've unsubscribed from all their email earlier!

Their fault #2 is not trying to filter their subscribers list for this campaign. It's obvious the email had to be sent only to those customers who were likely to be affected by the issue. Let's take a look at my profile info:
- I'm unsubscribed from their emails
- my last activity dates back to January (and I was only unsubscribing but not booking!)
- I never booked anything on their website

So the chances I was affected by their epic downtime is almost non-existent. You shouldn't been mailing me!

Ok, let's say you've selected a simplest way and are mailing all the customers who were online during last 6 month - try at least not to promote your failure but ask a subscriber to come back, re-engage him. Isn't it the correct goal for such kind of a campaign?

A Really Good Example of an Airline Tickets Aggregator Campaign

Finally I've seen an interesting email coming from one of widely known airline tickets aggregators.

The email had a lot of interesting information for casual flyers:
- airport lifehacks
- tips on how to spend couple free hours around most popular airports

Of course it won't be new to a frequent flyers e.g. business travelers, but for me as a casual traveler that was a bunch of useful and never known before tricks. Fabulous!

But even that great email had a flaw. I've tried to unsubscribe from their digest just to check their unsubscription flow. Everything went fine except the fact I didn't find a way to re-subscribe. It means you're likely to not see some new great emails from them.

May 20, 2015

Unsubscription, Unsubscription, Unsubscription

At some point almost every email senders becomes useless for a receiver. Even if you're an email marketing professional and you have subscribed to research others' email campaigns. And unsubscription time comes.

Today I want to say 'Hey, that's bad, it doesn't work!' to Lazada, which is an eBay clone aimed to Asian customers:

Apr 16, 2015

One More Email Segmentation Fail Example

Back in 2013 I've rented a parking slot for 2 days in Paris via a website.  They've sent me two emails back than - a welcome one and a payment confirmation.

But now I've got one more regarding their new deals for a long-term parking:

Might this be interesting for me? No. Why? Because I used your service only once, it was a short-time rental, and it was year and a half ago!

What kind of a customer this email had to be sent to? For a long-term customer who has been buying during last couple years. For a mid-term customer who has been buying recently.