Embedded v’s Referenced

Are your images being seen? Embedded v’s referenced.

Some email marketing providers handle images in ways that can harm the appearance of your email. When such tools are used, some recipients never see the full impact of your email marketing campaigns. Luckily, this can be easily prevented…

Why would I use images in my email?

Email signatures that include images have far greater impact than ones that consist only of text.  The impact is even greater with an added email banner to reinforce brand consistency, whilst upselling latest products or services, using a compelling call to action to drive traffic to your website.  For the reputation of your brand, its key these images display correctly to look professional.  So here’s the juicy part…

How are these images delivered and displayed?

Images can either be referenced or embedded.

Embedded images display with the email body, as soon as the email is opened; the images are visible without the need to click ‘download to view images’.  As simple as that.  Alternately, images can be referenced, which means the email message will contain links to images that are hosted on a webpage.   Referenced images are not immediately visible whilst reading an email; they must be downloaded separately, which isn’t ideal.

Many email marketing providers only apply referenced images.  This enables them to detect when an email has been opened by the receiver, by knowing the image was downloaded.

The downside to referenced images

By default, most email programs, such as Outlook or Gmail do not display referenced images. Depending on the recipient’s email settings, a blank space or a small red X may appear in your logo, image or photo. Signatures look disrupted and email banners may disappear entirely.

A recommendation from the experts…

Our email marketing experts recommend having more control over your image display and delivery, by embedding images. By default, Rocketseed embed all images within your everyday email.

Our email branding tool can supply a read alert, if you would like to know when the message has been opened.  We use a single referenced image to detect when your mail was opened; all other images remain embedded, so no harm to the visibility of your email branding.

Ask your Account Manager for more information on how we can protect and enhance your brand.

mitch

Mitchell Talisman | VP Engineering

Connect with Mitchell on LinkedIn here

Technical Questions I’m Asked Daily…

Difficulties our clients have in using everyday email for branding and signatures and how Rocketseed helps them

We pride ourselves on the service that we give to our customers and we aim to grow our product offering off the back of customer feedback. In the essence of listening to our customers, we thought we would bring a 3 part mini-series to our blog, helping readers understand some technical and security questions that we face daily.

Queries range from implementation through to the most minute detail you can imagine! However, as always our customers’ needs vary, across email branding, signatures or newsletters….we accommodate the best we can. If you have questions of your own, feel free to contact us!

Q1. Can Rocketseed help me with everyday email branding and is it safe?

There are two parts to this question, and the first is a nice and simple YES! We eat breath and sleep email branding and this is the crux of our product offering.

Our company motto is “Our world is email”, therefore it is in our best interests to ensure that emails are delivered quickly, efficiently and consistently branded, otherwise we would be out of business!

In summary:

  • Monitoring & penetration testing tools (such as Zabbix & BURP) ensure that all emails that pass through our relays to the correct destination in the shortest possible time ensuring server health and scanning.
  • We only allow authenticated clients to access our systems and can quickly feedback any digital health issues that our clients are having, sometimes they aren’t even aware!
  • From the IT department’s perspective, Rocketseed is helpful as we constantly check that emails are being processed and delivered efficiently, one less thing for them to worry about!

Q2. Is Rocketseed affected by spam barriers? And how does the technical aspect help me?

We love this question! No. Our email branding improves the legitimacy of such messages when it comes to recipient spam filters and so we help to eliminate false positives.

‘Email branding’ when applied along with other techniques, ensures that messages are always delivered into the recipients Inbox as intended. A huge help for businesses.

Q3. Should I worry about hosting? What are the implications of cloud versus hosted and security?

A3. We try to apply as much flexibility for our clients as possible, by hosting within our own private cloud and also behind our clients firewalls, we have a hosting mechanism to suit all needs.

Our existing clients periodically run penetration tests against us for assurance purposes and best practice, reinforcing the security and integrity we demonstrate. We always welcome and encourage such tests.

In summary, systems security is a large topic in itself and one that we hold as an absolute priority. We monitor all the relevant security announcements and have several server hardening techniques that form part of our standard build process for our customers. For additional measure, we maintain our own software repository to ensure that all systems are patched with the same versions of each software package to guarantee resilience.

Oliver Howe DMA Judge

Oliver Howe  |  IT Director

Connect with Oliver on LinkedIn here

Damian takes New York

Rocketseed’s CEO, Damian Hamp-Adams, recently went stateside for a whirlwind week of New York networking, Chicago schmoozing and transatlantic ‘tech-ambassadoring’ with the Mayor of London’s Go To Grow international business programme.

Read his diary of one adrenalin-packed day (‘American Psycho Monday’) spent brainstorming with the brightest and best of the Big Apple’s tech sector, featuring in Fortune, and braving the bulls, bears and billions of the NYSE.

From the caffeine kick-start to the closing bell, Damian’s drama-filled day shows that, when it comes to transatlantic tech, #LondonIsOpen for business.

Read the full post here.

Rocketseed is off to the States with the London Mayor

We’re all very excited at Rocketseed HQ as CEO, Damian Hamp Adams is off on a trade mission to New York and Chicago with the London Mayor, Sadiq Khan! Earlier this year we were chosen as one of 52 London scale-ups to join the second cohort of The Mayor’s International Business Programme. It’s a 12-month programme that supports high-growth businesses reach their ambitions. As part of the programme, we’ve been invited to take part in this trade mission.

It’s led by the Mayor’s International Business Programme and London & Partners and will help Rocketseed identify partnerships and to explore business opportunities in the US. Damian is going to be across the pond for a week and will be meeting with senior tech executives at established brands, go to roundtables to discuss topics around business and tech, as well going to networking events and investor pitching events in both New York and Chicago.

Talking about the trip, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said, “London’s is one of the most vibrant and diverse places in the world to start and grow a technology business. These high growth companies have the potential to become the next global tech giants and I am delighted that they will join me in showing the world that London is open to talent, business and collaborations.”

It’s a great opportunity for Rocketseed as we continue to grow and expand into the States. We’re delighted that we can be part of it and can’t wait to hear all about it on Damians return. In the meantime keep update updated by searching #LondonIsOpen

How Can We Make Email Fashionable Again?

“Ooh look! My sexy new email campaign,” said no-one, ever. We might not be talking about it but we are doing it. According to the DMA* 92% of us still use email as ‘the bedrock’ of our marketing programmes. But somehow it’s lost its pizazz in favour of the new kids on the shiny social media block. How can we make email fashionable again?

Great results are always in style and email campaigns still generate higher responses than their trendier social sisters. By chasing better response rates, content quality and relevance are falling as some companies abandon email best practise. A recent article in Marketing Week suggests that people opt in to marketing communications from 80% of the brands they interact with regularly but only read 20% of the emails they receive.

With its low price tag, bulk personalisation ability and easy transition to mobile, email marketing has long been the new black. However, over-frequency has fatigued our audiences and bulk email blindness has set in. Customers begin not to ‘see’ messages coming in, hence lower open and click through rates. We’ve persevered, tried to find ways to cut through the competition and given our marketing emails a coat of many colours. But what about our everyday email? Frankly, our daily business communication remains positively naked!

Nude is rude as far as some top UK brands are concerned. The Ritz, Leyton Orient FC and the British Red Cross are dressing up their everyday business email and are getting better results by displaying perfectly branded, interactive messages with every communication. And let’s face it, building brand awareness never goes out of fashion. With the right resources it’s an area where Social Media is made-to-measure, though another finding from the DMA report suggests that email budgets are a bit more ready-to-wear. Whether you’ve got deep pockets or not, the opportunities to clothe your naked, everyday business emails are too good to miss. Email branding is the new way to improve brand awareness and get heads turning.

Click here for more information on how to have the best dressed emails in business!

Direct Marketing Association Study

Do You Trust your Vendor’s Email Click Rates?

Like Rocketseed, many of our competitors can report each time a recipient clicks on the hyperlinks added to email messages. Depending on how this is done, the actual click-through rates might not be as impressive as those reported by the email marketing tool. Read on to find out why…

One of the most powerful features of email marketing software is the ability to add graphical banners to each outbound email sent by your employees. These banners can contain hyperlinks that take visitors to landing pages on your web site that promote products, notify about upcoming events or otherwise strengthen your brand. Banner campaigns can be tailored to individuals, groups and entire companies.

The added marketing content can be configured to generate alerts whenever a receiver of a branded email clicks on a tracked hyperlink. The sender of the email, your sales team, or others can be notified in real time whenever this happens. In addition, reports are available to show which banners and campaigns are receiving the most responses.

The problem is caused by automated mail scanner software. In recent years a number of products have been launched to protect customers’ inboxes from malicious emails. These tools visit every hyperlink within each inbound email to make sure the links are safe to click. This is sometimes offered in addition to the basic antivirus practice of scanning each email attachment for malware. As more individuals employ such tools this can affect your email marketing results.

Most tools fail to distinguish the automated clicks generated by robotic scanners from real clicks by actual human readers of your email. The result is inflated click-through rates. Every mail sent to users of these scanners will appear to have had each link visited, even though the recipient never saw the linked content. In some cases, as many as one half of all reported clicks on email marketing material are generated by robots rather than by humans.

Rocketseed actively detects this behaviour and eliminates it from real-time click alerts and reporting data. As new sources of robotic clicks are detected we update our software to filter out the fakes. Does your email marketing vendor do the same?

If you are looking for the most accurate and reliable insights into your customers’ behaviour be sure to use a tool that provides meaningful, believable results. To truly determine which campaigns are having the most impact use a tool that filters out the noise. Contact your local Rocketseed sales representative to learn more

7 Reasons Why You Need A Dedicated Account Manager

Every business should be branding its everyday email.

Why? Because branded interactive banners and signatures on every email your business sends immediately give you a new marketing channel – one that ticks all the brand-building ‘boxes’.

Couple these with an open rate of 99% (a rate bulk emailers can only dream of!) and a click-through rate of over 15% and you are looking at a targeted and trackable marketing tool. Which, in the right hands can be used strategically to deliver your key marketing objectives, from driving web traffic to generating new leads.

But whose hands are the right hands? That’s where an experienced specialist can deliver the full potential of your brand through your everyday email.

You need an Email Account Manager

1: To advise you what works and what doesn’t

Whilst superficially simple, everyday email presents its own specific opportunities and challenges as a marketing channel, so specialist experience of email branding is invaluable. In reviewing your campaign brief, your account manager gives you all the objectivity of an experienced ‘outsider’ with all commitment of an ‘insider’ to achieving your goals.

2: To make your campaign concept compelling

Whether adapting your existing brand creative or creating a new concept, your account manager is completely focused on you and your customers, developing email branding banner campaigns that are eye-catching, with a clear and clickable ‘call to action’.

3: To talk tech (so you don’t have to)

Confident with coding and talking ‘tech’, your account manager briefs the techies who make it all happen, never losing sight of your objectives and ensuring that you can focus on the campaign’s commercial effectiveness with no need for coding concerns.

4: To ensure campaign relevance

From the precision segmenting and targeting that email branding allows, you can automate campaigns based on a recipient’s previous engagement, to target the next banner campaign based on the topic of interest, or dynamically featuring the latest content from your blog or social media feeds.

5: To professionally promote and protect your brand

This goes way beyond the good customer service of being ‘on call’ or ensuring that your brand identity is always applied consistently. Your email account manager is effectively an extra member of your marketing team who makes it their business to understand your business inside-out – your objectives, customers, challenges and competition.

6: To measure results, make recommendations

By drilling down into your branding analytics, your account manager can report revealing customer insights, keeping you fully up-to date with how your email branding campaign is performing and can make objective recommendations based on the results.

7: To keep your email branding ahead of the curve

As with every marketing channel, email branding is constantly changing with new functional and integrative capabilities, creative possibilities and customer engagement opportunities. The email account manager’s expertise will ensure that your email branding campaign is at the front of your customer’s mind, ahead of the competition, and ahead of the curve!

Done well, email account management can prove invaluable in achieving outstanding commercial results for clients through the power of everyday business email.

To put this power into your email and to see our clients’ results, talk to the Email Account Managers at Rocketseed.

I Want That “Fuzzy Marketing” Feeling …

I am not a dataset. I‘m not just a customer. I don’t want to be targeted. I want to be understood and treated like a nuanced, unpredictable, imprecise human being. And I love creative, relevant and engaging marketing messages (especially on Rocketseed-branded emails) if they treat me that way. So, in a world of ever-more precise targeting and data overload, I want a more “Fuzzy Marketing” feeling.

Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking at the lively ‘Fuzzy Marketing’ panel discussion at the Direct Marketing Association’s recent Customer Engagement event and here’s my personal 10-point take on ‘Fuzzy Marketing’

1 – What makes it ‘fuzzy’?

‘Fuzzy’ marketing seems to mean different things to different people. To me ‘fuzzy marketing’ is about applying the principles of fuzzy logic to marketing decisions. Not necessarily in a detailed statistical way, but in a way that enables us to look beyond data-overload and precision-targeting and to re-engage with the marketing opportunities presented by more subtly segmenting customers and never losing sight of marketing’s nuanced human context.

2 – So there’s ‘Fuzzy Logic’ behind it

I’m no logician or statistician, but rather than classical logic’s binary absolutes – yes/no, true/false, 1/0 – fuzzy logic finds a coefficient somewhere on the scale – shades of grey, not black or white. It sounds less precise, but are we, as customers, really precise, predefined and predictable?

3 – So, in marketing terms…

As a customer, I want to be treated like a real person rather than being wholly identified with a certain market segment and defined by my signal data. Just because I bought something last weekend doesn’t mean I might want to buy it again next weekend. Fuzzy marketing should take into account ‘to what degree’ I belong in certain different segments and target me with messages that engage me emotionally, not simply defining my lifestyle by the ‘yes and no’s’ of my past behaviour.

4 – Distorted by Data overload

Whilst data-driven marketing was designed to simplify the complexities of the real world in so doing it distorts that reality and in this digitally-distorted reality there’s a danger that not only are signal data-driven messages often inappropriate but also that all kinds of ‘human’ marketing opportunities are being missed.

5 – Keep It Creative

If we focus too much on purely what we can measure, we may not do the things that truly drive results. Data overload can stifle creativity, both in marketing strategy formulation and in the marketing communications themselves – the very creativity that piques our interest, that gets us enthused and ultimately engaged, even if we can’t explain why.

6 – It’s All About Engagement

Engagement itself might sound ‘fuzzy’ but – as we know at Rocketseed – it’s the key measure of online marketing success, however you chose to measure it – from website and social traffic to sales leads and service ratings. Engaging, relevant content is key and whilst my past behaviour as a customer can direct that, I don’t want it to define it. Engage me emotionally because that’s how I often make buying decisions.

7 – Don’t Deprive Me of Discovery

As a customer, I know I’ll often repeat past behaviour but I’m not always predictable. I want to try new things, go out of my comfort zone and be impulsive. “Fuzzy Marketing” realises this and knows I can be engaged occasionally by marketing messages that give me a sense of discovery.

8 – Keep focused on the customer

It’s tempting to be technology-driven – to crunch all the data simply because you can – and ‘Fuzzy Marketing’ doesn’t mean any less focus on the customer. In fact it means being more customer-centric because, in addition to all the data, it needs to factor in the ‘human factor’ and treat the customer as a real person.

9 – Good Fuzzy vs. Bad Fuzzy

‘Fuzzy’ isn’t an excuse to be vague and ill-defined in your marketing – that type of ‘fuzzy’ is bad for decision-making. Good ‘Fuzzy’ simply means being sensitive to reality, to marketing’s human context and how these shape decisions.

10 – The “Fuzzy Marketing” Challenge

Making “Fuzzy Marketing” happen in a meaningful way – well, that’s a real challenge.

Rocketseed’s email branding campaigns of banners and signatures allow ultra-precise targeting and tracking, yet because we brand clients’ everyday business email, there is always a human element to every email, something that is lacking from bulk marketing email.

Perhaps ‘fuzzy marketing’ is a good way of making us stop and think about what, as marketers, we’ve gained but also what we’re in danger of overlooking. We’ve gained the ability to know so much about individual customers that we can target ever-more precisely but maybe we need to be more aware of the importance of marketing’s real human context, customers ‘human’ nuances and the importance of creativity and emotional engagement.

As a customer, perhaps ‘fuzzy marketing’ can make me feel human again – and that’s engaging in itself!

Damian Hamp-Adams

Damian Hamp-Adams | CEO

7 Email Branding Tips To Drive Customer Engagement

Did you know…the average employee sends up to 105 emails per day!

With ‘email branding’ – using interactive banners and signatures on everyday email NOT bulk marketing email – every one of those emails can tick the ‘boxes’ that build your brand, namely creativity, consistency and control, giving your brand  not just profile but promotion and protection.

But how can everyday ‘email branding’ deliver real engagement? Here’s how…

1 – Always open to creative ideas

Unlike hard-sell bulk email, everyday business emails are always opened – well, 99% of them –an open rate that bulk emailers can only dream of! And with creative and engaging branding achieving click-through rates of over 15%, you’ve engaged a big audience already.

2 – Right on Message, Right on Target, Right on Time

Email banners, on every email can become part of a campaign – Keep messages relevant and apply automated behavioural targeting to recipients based on their previous engagement.

3 – Keeping Customers…and Keeping Them Happy

Ask your customers to rate your service in a single click on an email banner and automatically trigger appropriate follow-up.  Excellent ratings can be directed to customer feedback sites such as Trip Advisor to boost positive reviews whilst any negatives can immediately alerted to action a speedy follow up.

4 – Always on the Alert for Sales

Recipient interaction with your email branding can be integrated directly with contacts in your Salesforce CRM. Engagement can also generate real-time alerts notifying your sales team of potential leads for follow up.

5 – Live RSS for the latest content (Include your Twitter feed)

If it’s your blog or social media feed that you want to promote, insert the latest content dynamically into a banner or signature – it’s as simple as it sounds.

6 – The Links Effect

You don’t have to link your email branding to a url – get creative with links to a pre-populated email response, brochure download, pod casts and most popular…video content!

7 – Get the measure

Reporting helps you learn more about your audience and who you are emailing as a business. Check out who within your team communicates with your top accounts to target future campaigns for upsell/cross sell.

So, there we are, real brand engagement from everyday email that you already send! To make it happen, contact Rocketseed to organise a demo.

Does Max Kantelia Know How To Break Into Asia?

One of the most valuable benefits of being part of the London Mayor’s Go To Grow International Business Programme is the opportunity to hear world-class business leaders share their experiences, expertise and advice, and the bar was set high at my second ‘Meet the Mentor’ breakfast by Max Kantelia, Chairman of Aeriendi, whose presentation focused on ambitious scale-ups’ expansion into Asia.

With a current portfolio of investments including businesses based in Singapore, Oxford and New York, Max has 25 years’ experience of building professional services and technology firms in Europe, the US and Asia and, now based in Singapore, sees himself as a “Global Londoner” – a description that those of us in Rocketseed’s London office would like to identify with!

At Rocketseed we are always looking for clients and partners in new international markets and Max’s advice on expansion into Asia was truly eye-opening; debunking commonly-held misconceptions (“Asia is NOT the United States of Asia”) and highlighting the need to understand fully (“Never skimp on market research”) the political, regulatory and business environments of each individual country, as well as offering some cautionary tales of the pitfalls to avoid.

From the strategic decisions of initial office location and critical market share targets to the cultural nuances of patiently-nurtured relationships (“People do business in Asia with people they trust”) Max’s advice has really got me thinking.

Click here to read Max’s key advice in full and I’ll be posting more of my ‘Go To Grow experiences here over the next few months.

Damian Hamp-Adams

Damian Hamp-Adams | CEO