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Email, Social Couponing and Social Media Privacy: Adapting your communications and marketing practices to keep your private information safe

Knowledge is power and personal data is one's most valuable asset in this information age.

How then to go about protecting this vault of credit card numbers, spending habits, product/professional/recreational interests and brand preferences from the certain peril of data sniffers and eroding privacy barriers?

Emailbrain looks at recent developments in the privacy practices of major online vendors to help shed light on how the margin between information fair-game and the sacred ground of personal security is shrinking.

Recent developments in the email, social couponing and social media spheres have again punctuated the extent and impact of internet privacy issues. Social data vines and metric mining techniques for direct promotions are more or less part of all the online services that everyone makes use of today. No tweet, Facebook update, profile tidbit, transaction, tag, mobile or email message goes unlogged. All in the name of convenience, we leave a nearly unshakable trail of digital footprints with every click.

Whenever we use the Internet, the Internet is also using us - to paraphrase Voltaire. Here then is a round-up of some of the latest shifts in the information snooping landscape, and advice on how to deadbolt your most sensitive details: YAHOO!

•    Yahoo! has officially joined the ranks of prominent e-mail service providers which scan your content to deliver targeted text ads and other relevant information to online retailers. Yahoo! is urging its users to sign up to its new scanning technology service that would help block spam and eventually offer adverts. Though some say this is a blatant intrusion of privacy, Yahoo! claims that a box will appear asking for users' consent in order to look for keywords and links to further protect them from junk mail and to provide a 'faster, more social and safer experience'.

Keep your communications clean. Yahoo! is only one of many email clients taking a sniff at your personal content, so it pays to compartmentalize your marketing, e-commerce, social and other exchanges and stay true to how you profile yourself professionally on all your email and mobile transmissions.  

GROUPON

•    Group deals giant Groupon, too, will now start sharing data on consumer interests and habits with third-parties. Other information it shares includes contact information, relationship information, transaction information and mobile location information. The company provided extensive details on the way it collects, stores and shares data on its users recently, but these changes should invite greater inspection by privacy advocates to social and mobile couponing.

The modern commercial environment has made it true that “you are what you buy”.  Not unlike your credit record, one’s coupon history adds another layer to how your expenses can be scrutinized and should not be consigned as a meaningless source of personal profiling information. After all, looking at what someone is actively purchasing reveals a lot about who they are, what their income is and what kind of promotions they are the most susceptible to.

GOOGLE

•    In the public eye, Google Plus lets you choose how your profile will look to others on the web, even if the days of profile privacy have been numbered. The main substance to Google’s claim to enhanced privacy come from the fact that sharing within individual Circles is isolated and gives more activity-based privacy to the user – but reveal nothing on how Google will be monitoring, logging and utilizing information gained from these interactions. Google has also been aggressive about automatically creating circles of friends, which inadvertently revealed whom you’ve been corresponding with on Gmail.

Looking at the big picture however, it’s difficult to fathom why privacy watchdogs are feasting on the new Yahoo! email scanning practices when search, communication and now social giant Google is continuously on the Federal Trade Commission’s naughty list, facing endless subpoenas, investigations and antitrust probes. And not to forget Google Buzz, which has been at the heart of a privacy fiasco just like so many of their other products in the past.

Google Plus works by allowing us to group our contacts intuitively, therefore doing the work of aggregating groups of people with similar sets of interest for them – prime data for segmented direct marketing and social coupon and/or group deals. It is the virtual equivalent of sticking a big label on the forehead of everyone you know and has the potential to elevate Google’s paid marketing prowess to the next dimension.

FACEBOOK

•    Reported today, Facebook has now banned all ads from an American developer who ran an ad on their platform imploring readers to add him to Google+. Facebook then disabled his account entirely and concluded that none of his ads would be run on their site again under any circumstances, citing the Google+ call-out as having been in gross violation of their terms of use and advertising guidelines.

Not content with making it hard for people to export their Facebook contacts to Google+, now more than ever the iconic social network will be looking to smite any and all defectors. If you are already on the Google+ network, it’s not advisable to let the one hand know what the other is doing. But this is true of all information on all digital platforms – keeping one block of information separate from another is a necessary practice. Organizing our lives into jars of data is fine, however there is some potential for one circle contaminating another, so one needs to be vigilant and not mix business with pleasure or professional with private.  

Social networking companies, social deals sites and major email clients use troves of user information to serve up personalized business offerings and advertisements, particularly through location-based services.  From the beginnings of computing, enterprise IT has ultimately been about the data. Having your information on display is not a bad thing and can be helpful as it does help email filters recognize spam and often allow the products or services that you are looking for to find you - but keeping information confined to certain online activities or certain networks can be a challenge and one should avoid working with any ESP or SAAS that does not act in your best interest to insulate your information.  

Emailbrain follows generally accepted industry standards to protect the personal information submitted to us, both during transmission and once we receive it. Emailbrain has also been awarded TRUSTe's Privacy Seal signifying that this privacy policy and practices have been reviewed by TRUSTe for compliance with TRUSTe including transparency, accountability and choice regarding the collection and use of your personal information.

Furthermore, our segmentation tools allow you to subdivide your data per interest, age group, gender and so on. We maintain a very transparent use of data collection: Send out a mobile campaign poll or let readers subscribe to the newsletter of their interest right from the start. We also have automated emails (trigger-mail) that allow one to send more segmented info based on clicks in a newsletter.

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How social media rivalry is impeding email deliverability

Recently, both Google and Facebook have — within 24 hours of each other — initiated major maneuvers to become the unequivocal masters of the inbox. With the social media migration deadlock still hanging in the balance after the launch of Google+, the email arena has been primed as the next battlefield between the information superpowers.

In the blue corner: Facebook is now gunning to consolidate its users’ social and email activities all under one roof, re-inventing itself as a major email service provider (ESP) by adding a few frills to its own in-house email service and promoting its use more aggressively.

In the red corner: Google is jostling to catalyse users of minority ESPs to leapfrog to their service and divert sign-ups away from Facebook via its clever “email Intervention” campaign. Centred on the classic friend intervention model, Google is betting on peer pressure to get those “behind-the-times” and “misguided” email users to make the switch, thereby creating a default entry point into its Google+ social network.

Strangely, however, there has been little in-depth reporting done on either development. While some might think that a little, unpronounced fistfight over inbox dominance pales in comparison to the tussle for social media hegemony, both Facebook and Google have products which span the scope of eCommerce and email marketers cannot afford to meet changes in their own backyard with benign neglect.

Email and social are different channels offering different benefits. Twitter and Facebook are great for offering casual connections to brands. For brands that you really want to hear from through opt-in campaigns, email is the right tool for the job. Now that social and email are meshing, however, marketers will need to evolve their techniques to make communications viable for either channel while addressing new adversities.

Google made the first move. They have created emailintervention.com, which is a simple site where Gmail users can send intervention letters to convince their friends to convert. Additionally, a “switch friends to Gmail” tab has been placed next to the settings field inside the inbox zone, channeling users to the same site.

Conversely, challenging major ESPs for their slice of email marketing revenue, Facebook has fully integrated its very own email inbox service into its existing direct messaging platform.

  Since May 2011, users have had their own This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. email address available, to which emails and newsletters can be sent. Facebook is now rolling the product out in full steam and it is ceaselessly prompting users to activate their new Facebook-hosted email box as part of wider FB integrations, which include direct mobile messaging and video chat.

Just over a month after Google+ was first unveiled, it had signed up well north of 10-million users. Phase one of Google+ was clearly a success, but now comes the challenge of keeping those users around and engaged, and pushing past its current sign-up slump to uplift those treasured metrics and prove that they can stand toe-to-toe with Facebook’s social prowess. To address this gap, Google knows that it will have to pick off long-time users of competing email services to fuel its own growth. Facebook, in turn, hopes to stifle any increase in Gmail’s user numbers while skimming off the top of other major ESPs, with its shiny new mailbox.

Behind the scenes, an unprecedented paradigm shift is happening: Email is no longer a means used to support and punt social media. We are, instead, seeing an equalization of these channels.

Gmail already provides an excellent environment for email marketing in terms of accurate frame-working for faithful newsletter display and image rendering, as well as enforcing spam protection by utilizing reputation and content filtering. Facebook still needs to prove that it can offer users the same level of support and functionality as an ESP.

Sustained efforts from Google and Facebook to redirect all inbox traffic to themselves could spur the largest email client exodus of the decade.

 

Facebook’s hasty mailbox implementation could see tried and trusted email checks and balances sacrificed in a bid to lure in subscribers faster. Playing footloose and fancy free with deliverability fundamentals might see the majority of email newsletter campaigns sent through their service flounder.

With Google siphoning off as many email users as possible, there should be a noticeable increase in the amount of undelivered (or “bounced”) email sends as time goes on, since a large number of addresses used at other webmail clients could then become defunct.

Given the prevalence of both Facebook and Google, any extensive success in goading email subscribers can upset the proverbial apple-cart for email campaigns, as address lists become slowly invalid and loopholes open up for spammers.

The world of email is all about deliverability since it has a direct impact on your bottom line. Improving email deliverability is a highly specialized and ongoing process. It’s a balancing act involving business, technical practices and management of the greater email organism, inside and outside of your organization.

According to this deliverability white paper, 17.8 percent of legitimate marketing emails failed to reach subscriber inboxes in Europe and 19.9 percent failed to do so in the USA and Canada last year.

Facebook and Google have both given birth to communications channels that provide services which are breaking down the distinctions between social and email, playing gambits that could alter the chemistry of email marketing and botch deliverability, unless you are intimately familiar with its precepts and intuitively adapting your send stratagems to compensate for social-email advancements.

What taunts ESPs into action is always going to be the subject of who has the most names signed up to their service. Whatever features or platforms you introduce, once show and tell is over; inflating user headcount is the priority. It remains to be seen if the communications heavyweights care more about magnetizing new users to their service than how reliably your emails are getting through to intended recipients and how well spam is being fended off. 

Blog#1

How social media rivalry is impeding email deliverability

Recently, both Google and Facebook have — within 24 hours of each other — initiated major maneuvers to become the unequivocal masters of the inbox. With the social media migration deadlock still hanging in the balance after the launch of Google+, the email arena has been primed as the next battlefield between the information superpowers.

In the blue corner: Facebook is now gunning to consolidate its users’ social and email activities all under one roof, re-inventing itself as a major email service provider (ESP) by adding a few frills to its own in-house email service and promoting its use more aggressively.

In the red corner: Google is jostling to catalyse users of minority ESPs to leapfrog to their service and divert sign-ups away from Facebook via its clever “email Intervention” campaign. Centred on the classic friend intervention model, Google is betting on peer pressure to get those “behind-the-times” and “misguided” email users to make the switch, thereby creating a default entry point into its Google+ social network.

Strangely, however, there has been little in-depth reporting done on either development. While some might think that a little, unpronounced fistfight over inbox dominance pales in comparison to the tussle for social media hegemony, both Facebook and Google have products which span the scope of eCommerce and email marketers cannot afford to meet changes in their own backyard with benign neglect.

Email and social are different channels offering different benefits. Twitter and Facebook are great for offering casual connections to brands. For brands that you really want to hear from through opt-in campaigns, email is the right tool for the job. Now that social and email are meshing, however, marketers will need to evolve their techniques to make communications viable for either channel while addressing new adversities.

Google made the first move. They have created emailintervention.com, which is a simple site where Gmail users can send intervention letters to convince their friends to convert. Additionally, a “switch friends to Gmail” tab has been placed next to the settings field inside the inbox zone, channeling users to the same site.

Conversely, challenging major ESPs for their slice of email marketing revenue, Facebook has fully integrated its very own email inbox service into its existing direct messaging platform.

Since May 2011, users have had their own This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. email address available, to which emails and newsletters can be sent. Facebook is now rolling the product out in full steam and it is ceaselessly prompting users to activate their new Facebook-hosted email box as part of wider FB integrations, which include direct mobile messaging and video chat.

Just over a month after Google+ was first unveiled, it had signed up well north of 10-million users. Phase one of Google+ was clearly a success, but now comes the challenge of keeping those users around and engaged, and pushing past its current sign-up slump to uplift those treasured metrics and prove that they can stand toe-to-toe with Facebook’s social prowess. To address this gap, Google knows that it will have to pick off long-time users of competing email services to fuel its own growth. Facebook, in turn, hopes to stifle any increase in Gmail’s user numbers while skimming off the top of other major ESPs, with its shiny new mailbox.

Behind the scenes, an unprecedented paradigm shift is happening: Email is no longer a means used to support and punt social media. We are, instead, seeing an equalization of these channels.

Gmail already provides an excellent environment for email marketing in terms of accurate frame-working for faithful newsletter display and image rendering, as well as enforcing spam protection by utilizing reputation and content filtering. Facebook still needs to prove that it can offer users the same level of support and functionality as an ESP.

Sustained efforts from Google and Facebook to redirect all inbox traffic to themselves could spur the largest email client exodus of the decade.

 

Facebook’s hasty mailbox implementation could see tried and trusted email checks and balances sacrificed in a bid to lure in subscribers faster. Playing footloose and fancy free with deliverability fundamentals might see the majority of email newsletter campaigns sent through their service flounder.

With Google siphoning off as many email users as possible, there should be a noticeable increase in the amount of undelivered (or “bounced”) email sends as time goes on, since a large number of addresses used at other webmail clients could then become defunct.

Given the prevalence of both Facebook and Google, any extensive success in goading email subscribers can upset the proverbial apple-cart for email campaigns, as address lists become slowly invalid and loopholes open up for spammers.

The world of email is all about deliverability since it has a direct impact on your bottom line. Improving email deliverability is a highly specialized and ongoing process. It’s a balancing act involving business, technical practices and management of the greater email organism, inside and outside of your organization.

According to this deliverability white paper, 17.8 percent of legitimate marketing emails failed to reach subscriber inboxes in Europe and 19.9 percent failed to do so in the USA and Canada last year.

Facebook and Google have both given birth to communications channels that provide services which are breaking down the distinctions between social and email, playing gambits that could alter the chemistry of email marketing and botch deliverability, unless you are intimately familiar with its precepts and intuitively adapting your send stratagems to compensate for social-email advancements.

What taunts ESPs into action is always going to be the subject of who has the most names signed up to their service. Whatever features or platforms you introduce, once show and tell is over; inflating user headcount is the priority. It remains to be seen if the communications heavyweights care more about magnetizing new users to their service than how reliably your emails are getting through to intended recipients and how well spam is being fended off.

Read more...

Grow your mailing list through social networks

Now days social networks allow you to grow your mailing list.  Subscribers have become more susceptible to the information they want to receive in their inbox.  For those two reasons you must take advantage of the tools provide it by social networks; to show readers how good your  newsletters are and encourage them to subscribe to receive them.

So it is best that aside from the subscription form you have on your website, you should also include it in your Facebook page.  For example, you may have some users that visit your  Facebook page and would never enter your web page, so if you have your subscription form available in your fan page your customers will be able to subscribe to receive your newsletters. So putting the format of the subscription form in your Facebook page will not only help you grow your list but it will also keep your list  ICANN compliance  since all emails will be opt in.

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Email Marketing Tips during Christmas time

Dear Blog Readers,

Emailbrain wants to wish you a very happy Halloween.

Please enjoy our Pumpkin Brain, if you have not seen it before :)

pumpkin

We advise you to follow the next 5 steps:

 Step#1 – Analyze your last years’ campaign

First of all, take a look at your last Christmas, and ask yourself the following questions.

What was your plan last Christmas? Did your plan work? Did the subject line impact your open rate? How did clients react to the quantity of emails you sent during Christmas time?

Watch your client’s behavior and you’re your competitors

What did they do, that you should have done? Collect analysis from your team on what products sold the most, which did not, which ones gave the best profit.

Get a conclusion, based on all previously mentioned, what approach should you take this year? What should you advertise with more emphasis? What type of offers would you like to make?

 Step#2 Notification Emails

Do not lose any opportunity during Christmas time, make sure to add promotions to invoices or notification emails, anything could be a sale for you.

 Step#3 Segment your list

Make sure to send emails to recipients who truly want to receive the content you are sending them, because in Christmas time is the time of the year when recipients receive more emails, and if its not in their interest, they will not even look at your email.

 Step#4 Do not forget your social network-

Make sure that your promotions and email campaigns can be exposed in all your Social Network, that way the amount of leads can increase!

Step#5 Send an email to wish all your clients a happy holidays.

 Do not include any offer or promotion; simply make your client feel important.

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Social share: Integrate your social and email marketing

I’m sure you’re up to speed on the dramatic way in which our online communications and marketing are evolving, it should be pretty clear that as online “word of mouth” social media is a must-have marketing, branding and networking tool. 

Being an email marketer, you’re probably aware that email has long been the top performing direct and online marketing channel – now I don’t know about you, but something tells me that combining these two channels (email and social media) should have quite a powerful effect…

Which is why, as promised, we’ve release a brand new way of complementing your email campaigns with your social media presence:

Social share

 This tool enables you to publish your email newsletter straight to your Twitter account (Please note that this tool was disabled, but it is available in your Emailbrain Account again).  The newsletter title with a link to your full newsletter will then automatically appear as a tweet – without you having to log into your account to manually tweet about your newsletter.  Our developers have even adding an additional gadget: GMtiny, our very own URL abbreviator.  As Twitter limits you to 140 characters per tweet, GMtiny will automatically shorten the link to your newsletter, cutting down that lengthy, unsightly URL to only a few characters.  Handy, isn’t it?

And this is only the beginning – we have extended this feature to enable you to publish across more social networks, like only on Facebook and Twitter, but also on Google, My Space, Yahoo and LinkedIn!.  Make sure to try them all, they will really help you in your email marketing campaign.

Enhance your brand presence online, increase your audience and subscribers and boost your sales by engaging more fully with potential clients – all with our new social share tool.

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Extend your email marketing reach - with more social share options!

We promised you more social share options, didn't we? They’re finally here!

 We’ve extended our social share tool to enable you to share your newsletters, not only on Facebook and Twitter, but also on Google, My Space, Yahoo and LinkedIn!

Not sure what social share is?  Don’t worry, I sometimes struggle to keep up with all our new features myself. Social share is a tool that enables you to share your newsletters with your friends and followers on all the social networks I just mentioned.  Basically, you’re able to publish your newsletter to your social network profile on Facebook, Twitter, etc.  It will show up as a brief description of your newsletter along with a link to the full newsletter. 

 The handy thing is that you can now do it all from within your Emailbrain account, without having to log in and post updates on all your social accounts (and you probably have quite a few) manually.  We also have an URL shortener, that will automatically shorten the link to your newsletter for you.  It looks more appealing that way and it’s especially useful on Twitter where you’re limited to 140 characters.

 We realize how important it is in today’s marketing environment to integrate and automate your various marketing channels.  It’s the only way to stop on top of it all – email, social, mobile…  So we’re trying to make it a little easier. 

Please note: We recently announced that we were temporarily suspending the Twitter social share option due to technical difficulties.  Twitter social share is once again available along with the launch of these new social share options.

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New social networking icons in the Emailbrain Footer

We are already in October! Three more months and this year is over!  We are also in the month of the witches, Halloween Month! So it is a month to feel like a kid again and have a great time!!!

Again, thinking of you we have included a new feature to your footer. Now we are offering social networking icons such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, MySpace, De.licio.us, Digg and you can include them in your footer. When you send your newsletter, subscribers can simply click on the icon of your social network and can share your newsletter with all their friends. When they click on the desired network, they will be taken to the homepage of the network and will have to put their username and the URL of the newsletter will automatically be included in the status of the individual.

So now you know, keep on creating well-designed newsletters, with good information and continue to innovate, because it is more likely that if you include this option in your footer, I can assure you that more than one of your subscribers will share your newsletter on their network. What a great way to advertise their products and their customers will also recommend them to their acquaintances.

You might be wondering how can I set it up in my footer? It is very easy, here I explain how:

In your Emailbrain account, go to Settings & Options> Header / Footer.

 image1   There, you will see two options basic or advanced configuration settings. If you are in basic, please select Advanced and click save. If you are in Advanced you are where you need to be.

 Then scroll down to where it says settings email footer and press where the + is.

image2

    There you will see several options, select the box that says " Add social media links on all emails" and size it the way that you want the icons to be seen.

Then scroll down and click Save Changes and ready, and icons will be in your footer.

 image3   Finally, you can see how many of your subscribers have shared your newsletter on social networks. Just go to reports and statistics, select by send, the newsletter, and there you will see where it says social share, you can click there and get the information. How wonderful it is, isn’t it?

image4

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