Top 8 Questions from Email Marketing Webinar

May 4th, 2012 Comments off

Stamps.com recently held a webinar on email marketing for small business owners that was presented by email marketing leader Silverpop.  If you missed the webinar, watch the recording below:

During the webinar, we had many questions regarding how business owners can start an email marketing program as well as questions on building lists, dealing with CAN-SPAM laws and other great topics.  We’ve answered some of the top questions below:

Question from Mendoza: Does your email tracking system use the “Show Pictures” in order to determine if the email was read?
Answer: Yes, the loading of images inside an email is the default method that all email service providers use to determine if the email was opened.  We also look at clicks on links inside the email (it’s possible to have clicks on an email that did not have the images load).

Question from Mikhail: Can I buy email data from a third party to add to my existing email list?
Answer: Using email best practices, we would highly encourage all businesses NOT to purchase email lists from any third party sources.  Buying data from other vendors could be in violation of CAN-SPAM laws if the vendor’s privacy policy did not alert the customer their data was going to be shared and/or sold.  Also, you’ll have no idea if the purchased email addresses are good, quality data.  If the list contains a lot of bad email addresses that bounce (known as a “hard bounce”), the data could cause massive deliverability and reputation problems for your entire email program.  Overall, you are much better to build your own email list up organically.

Question from Edward: If I change email service providers, would my email addresses that are on my current provider’s list come with me?  Or must I start over again with another firm to grow my email addresses?
Answer: For most email service providers, your email lists and mailing templates are your property and should only be used by your company.  You should be able to easily export your list and then bring it to any email service provider you use.

As an email best practice and to comply with CAN-SPAM laws, you should always record the time and date (called timestamp) each customer signed up for your list, the method of which they signed up (contest, newsletter, etc.) and the IP address they signed up from.

When switching ESPs, most likely the new vendor will ask you some questions regarding how the emails were obtained, if they were opt-in as well as other questions regarding the data.

Question from Scott: Is there anyway I could get a print out of your slides that were shown today?
Answer: Yes, Dave has published the slides on the Silverpop SlideShare page.   Also, you can watch the webinar video at the Stamps.com YouTube page.

Question from Rex: Can you elaborate on how to generate a new email list for small business owners who are just starting?  Is that part of your services at Silverpop?
Answer: There are many different ways for you to start building your email list.  The process can take some time, so don’t get worried if your list is smaller when you first start out.  The goal is to have a targeted list that is very interested in the product or services you sell. And that can take some time to build.

Some ideas to help build a list are:

  • Providing a white paper or guide on an industry topic
  • Offering a newsletter with special deals
  • Making a purchase on your site (using an opt-in box for permission)
  • Offering a contest or prize
  • Offering tips and tricks to be more efficient in your industry

Silverpop also has a ton of educational materials listed in the “Resource” section of their site to help give you ideas on how to create and manage an automated email program.

Question from Daniel: We see the benefits for retail sales. However, we are a law firm. Can you elaborate how Silverpop and email marketing in general will help attorneys reach out to new prospective clients?
Answer: Lead generation and lead nurturing are concepts many service industries are using with great success. Whether it is offering a white paper on a specific legal topic or providing expert legal advice on a hot subject, each contact you have with a potential customer is a method for you to prove you are an expert in the field.  You can read much more on these topics in our Resources section at Silverpop.com.  Air New Zealand is a great example of a service company having great success using Silverpop for their email campaigns.

Question from Brian: We sell products that people only need to buy once (CD’s and DVD’s) so it’s been difficult to come up with ideas to regularly contact our customers and convert them to repeat buyers. Besides New Releases of music or movies, we don’t have a lot to talk about. We want to use email marketing but we are concerned that our emails will be the same “10% Off that CD you already bought” – not  a good pitch!
Answer: Your best strategy might be to recommend new content based on what someone has previously purchased. This would require a little bit of database work and some categorization of content (you often see these examples when checking out on an Amazon purchase). For the music lovers, you might be able to include local concert dates, blog posts or other information on the artist.

Question from Gene: We want to market to our customers who have paid for items with Paypal. Can those email addresses be added to our email list?
Answer: This would all depend on if PayPal included an opt-in box to receive other “marketing emails” on their form.  As far as I can remember, a PayPal purchase would be a transactional email and you would not have the necessary opt-in permission to email them.  (Note:  Transactional emails have different rules when it comes to CAN-SPAM laws – get advice from an attorney that specializes in email marketing before sending any email.)   If your company is aggressive, you might send an email (called a “permission pass” to that audience asking for a one-time opt-in to receive marketing messages from your brand.  But certainly best practices would suggest you do not add them to your list without first getting the customer to opt-in to your list.

Question from Hector: Do you have any case studies from Insurance Agencies (home, auto and life) to increase or drive more sales?
Answer: Click here to see case studies from many different companies and categories in the Silverpop Case Study library.

Categories: Small Business Marketing, Webinars Tags:

Free Webinar: Email Marketing for Small Business Owners

April 19th, 2012 Comments off

Instant ROI: Using Email Marketing to Stay in Touch and Drive More Business

Join Stamps.com and email technology leader Silverpop for a webinar on how using email can improve your business results. We’re not talking personal messages from your own Outlook or Gmail, but using an Email Service Provider like Silverpop to help manage all kinds of customer communications – from monthly newsletters to behavior-driven messages like signup confirmations. blog_silverpop-logo

What: Free Webinar – Email Marketing for Small Business

When: Wednesday, April 25 at 11:00 a.m. PT/2:00 p.m. ET

Where: Register for FREE at https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/290490266

Topics Covered:

– Why Use an Email Service Provider
– Email Strategy
– Email Creative
– Driving More Email Newsletter Subscriptions
– Adding More Customers to Your Email List

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Dave Walters, Product Evangelist, Silverpop

About the presenter:
Dave Walters is a 20-year digital marketing veteran with a career split almost equally among Fortune 50 corporations, Top 5 interactive agencies and, most recently, the technology start-up world. As the final businessperson before IT, he typically sits at the intersection of business need and technical build—most often with a marketing-driven view of the world. As a product evangelist, Dave works hands-on with Silverpop customers to sharpen their marketing strategies and architect technology solutions that solve business problems. He most often works with cross-functional stakeholders to bridge the organizational gaps between marketing, IT, operations and executive management.

Top 25 Questions About the 2012 USPS Postage Rate Increase

January 19th, 2012 Comments off

Stamps.com recently presented a webinar on the 2012 USPS Postage Rate Increase that goes into effect on Sunday, January 22, 2012.  If you missed the webinar, watch the recording below:

During the webinar, we had over 200 questions regarding how the new USPS postage rate increase will be affecting mailing and shipping costs.   We’ve answered some of the top questions below:

Question from AJ:  Are all Regional Rate Boxes good from coast to coast, it was my understanding they were good for certain areas only – Example: Box A= up to 150 miles, Box B=300 miles
Answer:  Don’t let the “regional” name fool you — Priority Mail Regional Rate Boxes can be used for destinations throughout the U.S.  In fact, Regional Rate Box A is the cheapest method to use Priority Mail (lower cost than Priority Mail Flat Rate and regular Priority Mail) for packages traveling across the U.S. and weighing between 2 and 15 pounds.

The only restrictions that Regional Rate Boxes have are for weight.   Box A holds up to 15 pounds, Box B holds up to 20 pounds and then new Regional Rate Box C holds up to 25 pounds


Question from Anita:
Did you say Regional Rate Boxes cost more if you pay for them at the post office?
Answer:  Yes, starting on January 22, 2012, postage for Priority Mail Regional Rate Boxes will be available at the Post Office.  However, you will need to pay a $0.75 fee per package on top of the online postage cost — so you can save a lot of money by printing your Regional Rate postage using Stamps.com


Question from Tammy:
  Am I understanding this correctly? If we ship First Class Mail large envelopes and normally get Delivery Confirmation that we will no longer be charged for the Delivery Confirmation?
Answer:  No, free Delivery Confirmation is not available currently for First Class Mail large envelopes.  In fact, the USPS does not allow customers to purchase Delivery Confirmation for First Class Mail letters or large envelopes.  The new feature that the USPS is introducing for 2012 is free Delivery Confirmation for First Class Package Service (formerly known as First Class Mail Parcels).  So if you ship packages using First Class Package Service, you will now be able to save $0.19 when you use the free Delivery Confirmation.


Question from Cynthia:
  Can Package Intercept service be requested for any type of mail delivery service/package?
Answer:  The new Package Intercept service is currently only available for Priority Mail right now.  Hopefully, the USPS will add other mail classes in the future.


Question from Dorothy:
 Can we still use the old rate supplies?  Or do you recommend getting the new supplies?
Answer:
  Yes, all USPS Boxes can still be used.  The only thing that is changing on January 22, 2012 is the postage rates.  All supplies and boxes will still be good.


Question from Debra:
  Did you say that we will need to download a new version of the software for Stamps.com before 1/22?
Answer:  All versions of Stamps.com will be updated with the new 2012 rates starting on Sunday, January 22, 2012.  Stamps.com customers will not need to do anything — the new rates will automatically appear.

However, if you would like to use the new services the USPS is introducing such as the Express Mail Flat Rate Box, Regional Rate Box C or receive free Delivery Confirmation with First Class Package Service, you will need to download the new version of Stamps.com (Version 9.5).  You can download Version 9.5 immediately at www.stamps.com/download/


Question from Phil:
Do the Regional Rate shipping methods have guaranteed delivery?
Answer:  Regional Rate Boxes are part of the Priority Mail program, so delivery time is not guaranteed.   But Priority Mail is usually delivered within 2 days to most addresses in the continental U.S. 


Question from Lourdes:
Is there an increase in the postage amount for a Postcard?
Answer: Yes, postage for postcards is increasing by 3 cents to $0.32 on January 22, 2012.


Question from Karen:
  Does Stamps.com have the Regional Rate pricing in their program?
Answer:  YES!  Stamps.com has all the Regional Rate Boxes!  They are listed as a separate under the “Mailpiece” drop down menu.


Question from Kieran:
  Why can’t we order Regional Rate Box C or the new Express Flat Rate Boxes to be ready for Jan 22?
Answer:  USPS.com should have the new Regional Rate Box C and Express Mail Flat Rate Box available to order starting Thursday, January 19.


Question from Shannon:
  Will Certified Mail and Return Receipt rates go up as well?
Answer:  Yes, many USPS special services are increasing on January 22, 2012.   Certified Mail is increasing by $0.10 to $2.95.  Return Receipt (at time of mailing) is increasing by $0.05 to $2.35 at the Post Office, but if you purchase Return Receipt through Stamps.com it will remain $1.15.


Question from Maria:
  For the Flat Rate Express Mail box, is it guaranteed overnight delivery? if so, do you get a refund if it is not delivered overnight?
Answer:  Express Mail offers overnight delivery to most U.S. locations.  But in order for you to receive the money-back guarantee, it will depend on the drop-off time for your package (either when the USPS received the package or when you drop it off at the Post Office) and the destination of your package. To get more info, please check the Express Mail Service Commitment web page at:  http://webapps.usps.com/expressmailcommitments/landing.jsp 


Question from Vanessa:
  For the new Package Intercept redirect service, you mentioned the $10.95 service fee, is that a one-time fee or is that a monthly price for that service
Answer:  The new Package Intercept service has a $10.95 fee for each package — this is in addition to your Priority Mail postage.  Package Intercept is available to all Commercial Mailers which is defined as someone who buys postage online. 

The service will allow you to change the destination of your package to a new address.  The package can be returned to sender, held for pick up at a Post Office, or redirected to an alternate address. Intercepted packages are shipped using Priority Mail.  The Package Intercept process will be managed via the USPS Business Customer Gateway.  Get more info at: https://gateway.usps.com/bcg/login.htm


Question from Laura:
  Is there a report where I can see how much I spent in Priority Mail to see if I qualify for Commercial Plus Pricing?
Answer:  Yes!  You can use the Stamps.com Reporting tool (click on “Reports” on the left navigation).  The reporting tool will show you how much postage is being printed on your account by mail class within a specific time period that you choose.  You can also see breakdowns on other costs such as supplies, insurance and subscription fees.   Get more info at:  https://stamps.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/1136/kw/reports


Question from Roger:
  Q: When will there be Stamps.com for Mac?
Answer:  Stamps.com Online recently has been introduced that allows Mac customers to use Stamps.com.  Customers can print stamps and shipping labels directly from your web browser, no software download needed!

Important Note:  Stamps.com web-based version does not work for PowerPC’s or Mac OS 10.4 or earlier. If you need to use Stamps.com Software, Mac customers can use a Windows emulator software to run the Stamps.com software.


Question from Felicia:
  I notice that 1 oz letter will increase to 45 cents but if you would please explain on the additional oz 20 cents
Answer:  The USPS will now charge $0.45 for a 1 ounce letter.  But if your letter ways over 1 ounce the USPS will charge an additional 20 cents for each additional ounce. 

Example #1  = 2 ounces, First Class Mail letter will cost $0.45 + $0.20 = $0.65.  
Example #2  = 3 ounces, First Class Mail letter will cost $0.45 + $0.20 + $0.20 = $0.85


Question from Bob:
  I use the online version of Stamps.com.  The last two updates would not download when checking update availability from the Help menu.    I received a message “”no updates available.”  Is there a trick to get the download?
Answer:  I would suggest going to www.stamps.com/download/    This will allow you to get the latest version of Stamps.com (Version 9.5).  If you have any questions, please call our Customer Support team at 1-888-434-0055 (open Mon-Fri, 6am to 6pm PT).


Question from Nicole:
  Is the online Stamps.com postage discount supposed to be available using the Stamps.com software or only on the website?
Answer:  Stamps.com receives Commercial Base pricing from the USPS for Express Mail, Priority Mail and First Class Package Service.  These discounted postage rates are applied automatically when you use the “Packages” or “Batch” tab.   Also, the discounted rates are automatically included in both our Stamps.com software and our Stamps.com Online website.

Commercial Base (Online Postage) discounted rates are:
– Up to 62% off Express Mail (up from 21% in 2011)
– Up to 15% off Priority Mail
– Up to 15% off First Class Package Service (up from 8% in 2011)
– Up to 8% off Express Mail International
– Up to 5% off Priority Mail International


Question from Cheri:
  What if we’ve already printed postage ($0.44) stamps — do we have to add postage for all mailings after Jan 22?
Answer:  Great question!  For any letters that are mailed after January 22, 2012, you will need to affix an additional $0.01 stamp on your letters.  Stamps.com allows you to easily print $0.01 stamps from the “Stamps” section in the navigation.


Question from Stephanie:
  What is the definition of Media Mail?
Answer:  Media Mail is a great option to send media specific items such as books, printed music, manuscripts, educational items and many other items.  Some of the drawbacks are that Media Mail cannot contain any form of advertising in the package and that your package could be opened by the USPS to make sure the contents do not qualify for the Media Mail rate.  You can find the USPS definition of Media Mail at: http://pe.usps.com/text/dmm300/173.htm#1113509


Question from Edward:
  Why doesn’t Stamps.com offer “Forever Stamps” like the Post Office does?
Answer:  Unfortunately, the USPS does not allow postage stamps printed online to be classified as a “Forever Stamp.”  Postage stamps printed from Stamps.com (and all online postage vendors) contain the denomination value on each stamp, whereas “Forever Stamps” from the USPS do not contain any denomination.

One drawback that “Forever Stamps” have is that they are limited to the one ounce First Class Mail rate.  So if you have a letter that ways over 1 ounce, additional postage will need to be affixed.  Stamps.com provides you the convenience of printing stamps for any denomination on demand. 


Question from Kathy:
  Will the USPS still honor the “Forever Stamp” for First Class Mail letters?
Answer:  Yes, the 2012 Postage Rate Increase will not change how Forever Stamps are used.  All “Forever Stamps” will still be good to use on your First Class Mail letters in 2012. 


Question from Kathy:
  Another question, if I print labels with the 2011 rate (say on 01/21/11) and ship them when the new rates are in effect will the package be delivered or returned for insufficient postage?
Answer:  Great Question!  If you print postage on Saturday, January 21, 2012, as long as that mailpiece is postmarked on January 21 you will be able to use the old rates. But for any mailpiece that is postmarked from Sunday, January 22, 2012 and later, you will need to pay the new 2012 postage rates.

 

Question from Lisa:  You said the stamps.com postage is discounted – is this automatically?  is this for all postage or just certain kinds?
Answer:  Yes, the online postage discounts (called Commercial Based pricing by the USPS) is automatically included inside Stamps.com.  To receive the discounted rates, just print postage from the “Packages” tab and you will receive the discounted rate.


Question from Lisa:
  How do you apply for Commercial Plus pricing? Is there an amount you have to mail daily to qualify?
Answer:  If you think you qualify for Commercial Plus pricing, you should contact Stamps.com Customer Support who will put you in contact with a High Volume Shipping Specialist.  They will be able to review your account and coordinate the sign-up process so Commercial Plus rates are added to your Stamps.com account.  The package amounts to qualify for Commercial Plus pricing are:
– Express Mail = 5,000 mailpieces
– Priority Mail (letters, flats & Critical Mail) = 5,000 mailpieces
– Priority Mail (packages & Padded Flat Rate Envelope) = 75,000 mailpieces
– Priority Mail (Cubic) = 150,000 mailpieces

Free Webinar: Understanding the 2012 Postage Rate Increase

January 13th, 2012 Comments off
2012_RateCalendar

The USPS postage rate increase goes into effect on January 22, 2012.

Stamps.com is hosting a free webinar for small business owners and e-commerce sellers to discuss how the USPS postage rate increase will affect mailing and shipping costs in 2012. 

What: Free webinar on 2012 USPS Postage Rate Increase

When: Wednesday, January 18 at 11:00 a.m. PT/2:00 p.m. ET

Where: Register at https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/514968362

Topics Covered:
— Information on all USPS mail class rate increases
— Compare the new USPS rates to private carriers
— Learn about the new USPS products for 2012 including the Priority Mail Regional Rate Box C and Express Mail Flat Rate Box
— Find out how to get free delivery confirmation using the new Intelligent Mail Package Barcode
— Learn how you can lower costs using exclusive online postage discounts

Free Webinar: Boost Holiday Sales with International Shipping

November 7th, 2011 Comments off

Update:  Here is the recording from the Nov 9 International Shipping webinar with Frank Cebello of the USPS.

 

blog-webinar_intl-shipping

Stamps.com is offering a free webinar for e-commerce sellers featuring the best practices in international shipping through the eyes of an expert.

In this installment, the guest speaker is Frank Cebello, Executive Director of Global Business Management for the U.S. Postal Service®. Mr. Cebello is an industry expert and will discuss the impact of 2011 holiday mailing dates, the rising potential of international sales, and the competitive global solutions offered by the USPS. Additionally, the webinar will cover proven best practices including adhering to the shipping regulations and restrictions imposed by different countries, implementing online postage software, utilizing the low-cost international services of the USPS, and opening up your shipping program to international buyers — all of which can increase global sales during the holiday season.

What: Free webinar on international shipping best practices

When: Wednesday, November 9, 2011, at 11:00 a.m. PT / 2:00 p.m. ET

Where: Register at https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/630635250

Topics Covered:

  • USPS international shipping deadlines for 2011
  • International market potential
  • Understanding Customs Forms
  • Details on USPS Global Alliances
  • International shipping best practices

frank-cebello

Frank Cebello, Executive Director, Global Business Management, USPS

About the Presenter – Frank Cebello
Mr. Cebello joined the Postal Service in January of 2007. During his tenure, he has developed the Global Business Sales organization into a specialized and highly successful team that has had great success in growing international Commercial revenues. Prior to joining the Postal Service, Mr. Cebello had a long career with DHL Express where he was the District Sales Manager. Previous executive sales experience at DHL includes several years as an Area Sales Manager and District Sales Manager where he built and led several successful sales teams and negotiated global service agreements for several large clients. Prior to DHL, Mr. Cebello worked for TNT Express Worldwide where he also held several executive sales positions. Mr. Cebello holds a B.A. in Managerial Studies from Rice University.

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