London—When it comes to e-mail marketing, all bounces, or returned e-mails, are not created equal, says consultant Amy Africa, director of EightByEight. In her Nov. 23 session, “E-mail Marketing: Keeping One Step Ahead,” Africa explained to the European Catalogue and Mail Order Days (ECMOD) audience that soft bounces are temporarily undeliverable, such as when a customer is on vacation or his mailbox is full, while hard bounces are permanently undeliverable.
Addresses that result in hard bounces should be suppressed. But don’t give up on soft bounces, Africa said: A full e-mail box typically means a customer is getting lots of offers and is therefore more likely to respond. “Put [soft bounces] in a queue to mail until they are deliverable,” Africa said. You should deploy mailings to bounces at about 6 p.m., she added, since consumers seem to respond to them just after work.
Africa’s session was packed with plenty of e-mail tips, including these 10 things worth testing: time of day; day of week; subject line; “from” address (only on new users); format; animation; offers; deadline; length (most e-mails should be one to one and a half pages printed out); and landing page.
The advice attendees were most likely to take? Africa told the audience to visit the Websites of the e-mail marketing masters—such as Amazon.com’s U.S. site—and steal their ideas. “Plagiarize like crazy,” Africa said. “There’s no need to reinvent the wheel.”