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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What is the worth of an email address?

What is the worth of an email address?

The value of an email address is Zero. Why? Read on.

Email marketers often speculate the value of an email address. You might hear compelling numbers backed by sober theories. Good email marketers spend time and money on acquiring an email address, where as not so good email marketers purchase email addresses from spammers at probably one fourth the cost (of genuinely acquiring an email address).

In addition there is revenue, conversions, ROI that email marketer’s measure against their email marketing efforts, all this should amount to something right?

Well it does, the value or the worth lies in the relationship and not the email address. You have a relationship with the person who owns that email address and not with the mere email address itself.
Why I’m highlighting this is because you can’t have a relationship with someone you do not know. So if you only have an email address your like a blindfolded chap in a dark room trying to have a conversation with an imaginary person. A real conversion requires engagement. Engagement requires you to know your subscribers, ask questions, find their opinions etc. Most importantly, engagement requires “two way conversation”, which cannot be initiated with just an email address.

An engaged subscriber is a valued subscriber. No engagement means zero value.

Friday, May 25, 2012

In Email Marketing, Timing is everything!

Our friends in the Indian eCommerce space are Gung Ho about the current boom!  Never before have so many Indians – both in India and overseas filled up their shopping carts and proceeded to check out. Never have Call to Action buttons seen so much action.

Which brings us to one of the most important communication vehicles these propositions ride on..........Daily Mailers!

Digital direct marketing communication - your one on ones with potential buyers are not  as easy as ABC, but if you have been following our blog, you would’ve picked up the juiciest bits on email template best practices  and  set up a fantastic email template. You know the importance of deliverability and other success metrics and you are sure your recipients are definitely receiving your email campaigns….there’s just one more question you need to ask yourself…. are they reading them?

Some of the key considerations which email marketers must take into mind while creating a “read & respond”  campaign are:

  • Relevance:  making the content relevant to each recipient. If a recipient knows that when your brand arrives in their inbox, this email is definitely something they have expressed an interest in and want to read, they will act on that.
  • Segmentation: The best way to implement relevance is to effectively segment your database so you know what your customers are interested in and therefore what content will be the most relevant. You read a lot more on relevance on our blog soon!

You are now ready with that killer content, a solid Email Service Provider (ESP) behind you - btw choosing an ESP  can be quite a task , here’s hoping you’ve done it right , what next?

Ask Usain Bolt,  what the importance of timing is? No seriously, a great proposition, even with A/B split  tested subject lines and creatives  can turn horribly wrong if the timing is off . Common sense – nope .......experience !!  ( The school of hard knocks third semester )

A well timed campaign – other criteria remaining the same -  can work wonders on the open rates and further on the ROI of the campaign. Unfortunately, there is no formula or overall ‘ideal time slot’ which you can follow to achieve this elusive ‘golden hour’.  There are a number of factors that go in to your decision: what time is best to hit the send button? ( btw with a good ESP – it would be the Schedule button )

Timing – Day and hour depends on the answers to the following questions.

Who are your audience?

For a B2B audience, it doesn’t take an Einstein  to work out that Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are the optimum days. As we all know, Mondays are spent getting back in to the swing of work after the weekend and Friday sees offices winding down for the next weekend. Saturday and Sunday are redundant as offices are closed. Days before holidays are = Fridays and days after holidays are = Mondays irrespective of what days they fall on !

For B2C email marketing, timings are very different.  Very dependant on the demographic of your audience.  One can safely assume most prospects will mainly be checking their personal emails in the evenings, during lunchtimes and over the weekends. However it is best to test which brings us back to segmenting!  B2C sending can be a bit of a gamble without thorough testing of your specific target audience. Homework must be done and learnings interpreted. A great ESP will be able to deliver dynamic content with different propositions scheduled at different times of a day or even different days.

Is your campaign seasonal?

For the B2B sector, marketers must avoid sending their campaigns over school vacation season, long weekends  and of course  the many holidays that we have !

Again advice for the B2C sector is entirely opposite. If relevant, a seasonal approach can boost additional sales and therefore revenue. Most campaigns are timed to address seasonal offers!

So much for planned marketing communication…

However, there is another aspect to timing in direct digital communication.

Timing can never be as important as it is when the ‘Prospect ‘is on the verge of becoming a ‘Paying Customer’ ...many a sales person have rued their chances – having communicated a little later than they should have.

The optimum time for any recipient to receive your communication is when they have shown an interest in your brand or product. Using Automated mails  or  trigger campaigns, based on browsing behaviour or when they last clicked on or opened an email gives you a clear indication as to when to send the email and what content to include.

A typical scenario of such lost opportunities would be apparent in a colleague’s recent experience  on a  very popular  online store. As he described it  “ I was on my way to check out and proceed to pay when I saw this dangling banner in the right column : Sign up for our newsletter and  get 10% off. I paused, thought I could save this 10% by signing up and using the voucher code. So I smartly opened another browser, signed up and waited for the voucher. About an hour later, neither my inbox nor my  spam folder had  any sign of  an email from these guys . I gave up hope and eventually had lost all interest in buying that item at 10% higher than I could’ve”.

A simple Triggered email could have, rather, should have been used here  to enable interest being converted to action  at the point when the customer is most engaged.

Another cyclic practice is communication with non responders. Winning back non responders should be taken up as a part of your communication calendar and a definite cog in your wheel .

While still on timing, or should I say while there is time - it would be good to remind you to look for patterns in your open and click-through rates or other email metrics. Whether certain offers work better when sent at some time or another? Are there any influences that make your campaigns more successful, like salary days ( beginning of the month ) ? Are you responding to your customers at the optimum moment?

The only way for you to determine what works best for you is to, as always, test, test, test!

The “do not reply” Paradox in email communication

I like surveys, more than surveys I like to share my opinion.

The other day I came across an email asking me to fill in a questionnaire. As I read through the mail, I reached the footer that opened with “Please do not reply to this email”. This completely put me off.
Email marketers fight for a very competitive inbox space. Even with the most engaged email list; email marketer can hardly think of obtaining 100% subscribers attention all the time. In other words emails sent to even  engaged subscribers are often left unread.

When email marketing is referred to as Interactive digital marketing, It beats me why some email marketers would cut interactions with their subscribers with a do not reply message. If anything they should encourage people to reply. This is valuable feedback and the best part is; it comes for free!

Some people might counter this with arguments on scale of mails sent, lack of resources, etc. Email communication is not a one way mass communication. It is a direct digital communication that needs to be interactive in nature.  I don’t think there is any excuse valid enough for trying to ignore replies.

Incoming mails can be easily filtered and sorted by mail clients. Furthermore, ticketing systems can scan messages and even automatically respond to general queries or redirect people to a FAQ section. If it is a long reply and cannot be automatically responded to, may be it is worthwhile to have it read by a person! The interactivity could be made even simple by letting the subscribers answer to a set of choices, which makes the marketers job simple to find the trends of their subscribers.

A two way interaction / conversation ensures an on going dialogue and an on going dialogue ensures sustainable success of email marketing campaigns. 

Do not reply message and donotreply@ email addresses suggest you don’t really care about your subscribers and that your communication flows one way. Such marketers usually end up with unengaged subscribers, or worse subscribers put an end to their subscription.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Digital Media Marketing is Directly Measurable

Companies are increasingly turning to digital media marketing for marketing their brands as it is cost-effective and has maximum reach, since people spend a lot of time online. EFYTimes spoke exclusively to Manjunatha Kutarahalli, co-founder and CEO, Kenscio Digital Marketing Pvt Ltd about the scope and future of digital marketing.

What is the main difference between digital media marketing and social media marketing?

Digital media marketing is marketing using a broad set of digital media, which also includes social media. Digital Media marketing encompasses all digital media like websites, search engine optimisation (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), video advertising, viral marketing, e-mail marketing and social media marketing.

How much have businesses started considering the seriousness and importance of social/ digital media marketing?

Businesses have understood the consumer behaviour for a long time and are using those channels where consumers are spending time, whether at home, or out of home or the places they are in or the newspapers, magazine they read, etc. As Consumer behavior and time is being spent more and more online, businesses are soon realising this and using the digital mediums (website visits, searches, e-mail, social, etc.) to reach, influence and engage with them. While in the West most of the people are online, businesses are spending more of their marketing budgets online, Indian business trend will soon follow the footsteps of Western businesses as Indian consumers are going online.

How and when was Kenscio Digital Pvt Ltd rolled out? Why the name Kenscio?

Kenscio started its roots as Sprinklr India in mid of 2009 and got its present name as Kenscio in mid of 2010, when it became a full-fledged company focusing on marketing solutions and services using digital direct mediums. It was founded by enterprising hard core experienced global digital media experts from e-mail and social background.

Ken means an expert or a guide and Scio is for social and e-mails or the social graph of consumers on internet. Hence, Kenscio was formed to assist marketers in reaching out to the social graph of the customers through digital direct mediums of e-mail and social with the expert knowledge and solutions from Kenscio.

Everyone is online these days. How do you filter the right target audience? What is the most challenging task in your business?

People are getting online and spending much of the time online. Hence, businesses are trying to utilise the online medium in reaching out to them. Kenscio is focused on serving emerging high growth Internet based companies and large enterprises, which have successful digital marketing channels. The most challenging campaign for us is to get the marketers to send their campaigns to the right customer segments and measure the success by analytics beyond opens and clicks.

What is the importance of digital media marketing for SMBs? How can they leverage its benefits without spending too much?

Digital Marketing offers the most cost effective medium for SMBs, who don’t have big marketing budgets. Moreover, the digital media is directly measurable. From building a website, optimising it for Search engines, collecting the footprints of the visitors, communicating with the visitors, branding on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN, YouTube and articles, case studies on blogs etc are very cost effective.

Platforms like Facebook, Twitter allow companies to set up their own marketing pages. Do you see it as diluting the effects of the medium or is it viewed as an emerging trend for the industry?

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN and YouTube have more than several hundred online audiences and people spend considerable time on these mediums. Hence, companies are setting up their marketing pages on these social networking sites to get the audience that are hooked to these networks and build brand engagement, recall and sales. Facebook commerce is already happening now and now companies may not need a website as they can do everything on the Facebook itself from building a microsite, getting visitors and selling stuff. This makes the SMBs to get to market quickly without spending too much.

Can you share your clients and popular campaigns that received overwhelming response?

All of our client campaigns are receiving better responses through our expert advises and better targeting. One campaign can perform better than the other campaign of the same client, as the offer is better or timelier. Hence, it is very difficult to classify in general. One of our clients, Rupeemail recently launched the first newsletter which received an overwhelming response, with a CTR (Click-through rate, a measure of clicks to opens as a percentage) in excess of 200 per cent which is phenomenal for any campaign.

Original article at

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The importance of keeping your email marketing lists clean

Email marketers have quite something to look forward to this year, as some of their prayers will be answered.

If email marketing were the Garden of Eden, it would certainly have its share of snakes. There are dangers lurking at every corner. Spam traps, bounces, zombie addresses, costs, etc are some of the perils that top the list.

Particularly this is very important for a country like India where most of the marketers have either no permission based email lists or just single opt-in database lists.  This is going to create havoc to their bulk mail campaigns as the email ids are not verified before blasting mails.

Kenscio ListCleanr is a solution that has been under development at Kenscio labs, to tackle this very challenge. Kenscio identified that a great deal of email marketers in India, get caught up with fixing reputation & deliverability issues, dodging spam traps, and they put quite a good bit of their time and resources struggling to get past spam filters. All of this can hinder a marketer’s ability to concentrate on factors such as engagement, subscriber loyalty, ROI etc.

In a growing market such as India, it is important for email marketers to be able to scale up at the opportune time. However, it is equally important to ensure that they do not end up being classified as spammers by ISPs, and never see the light of an inbox. So rather than being just another SAAS; Kenscio ListCleanr is a catalyst for email marketers in India.

Kenscio ListCleanr leaves almost no room for guess work. Probably this is why our clients have been able to consistently scale up and save upto 40% of their email marketing cost, while they benefit from an impeccable sender reputation.

To learn what ListCleanr can do for you, visit

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

HTML Form based mailer Format

Most of the Marketers are inclined to send HTML Form based mailers for lead generation, as this would enable the recipients to enter the information directly into the email without going to a landing page. Following are the tips for a better HTML Form based mailer.

  1. Form tags needs to be defined for the section that has the form details/elements to be captured.
  2. Specify relevant names for the data capture elements.
  3. All the data validations should be done on the server side at the client's end.
  4. Specify the form Method as GET.
  5. Define appropriate action for the form. The action should ideally take them to the page which captures and validates data on the server side at the client's end.
  6. There should be no Javascript code present in the email html.

Once data is validated then appropriate action needs to be taken, the process should be as follows:

  • Data should be captured from the GET parameters.
  • Once the data is captured, validate the data.
  • If everything is fine, then it should take the user to a Thank You page hosted by the client.
  • Else, it should redirect to the same or similar form page which will be hosted by the client, where all the errors should be highlighted and data should be pre-populated if needed

Here is a sample HTML code snippet for a form based mailer.

Name :
Email :

Monday, May 21, 2012

Email Marketing - Using Forms in HTML Emails

We generally discourage the use of forms in email to prevent delivery or usability problems. However, at times you might still need to use a form in an email instead of directing readers to your Website. Consider these factors before you use a form in your next email message.

Those recipients of your email who use Hotmail or those who use Outlook will not be able to use the form because:

  • Hotmail displays the form but strips all values from your
    tag and removes the name values of all form elements, rendering the form useless.
  • Hotmail recipients can complete the form, but nothing will happen when they hit the submit button so they will not know it has not been received .
  • Outlook has limitations when viewing forms in the mail client. Outlook can not see data in a "form tag", when a form is passed via email and viewed in Outlook as outlook strips out form elements.

You can refer to these articles:

Some email clients do not support forms that use “POST” method, which allows form data to appear within the message body. Instead you will need to replace it with the “GET” method, which will write all form content to the query string of the page to which the form is posted.

For example:

Most email clients that provide a preview pane don’t allow you to tab between form elements. This means that when a recipient completes the first field in your form and clicks the TAB key, the focus is automatically shifted to another part of the software. This hinders usability and can confuse your recipient.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Email Marketing - Validate HTML Content for compliance to W3C standards and Avoid Using Scripts

The vast majority of HTML emails do not comply with World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) HTML standards. This can cause rendering and delivery issues, particularly at AOL, MSN and Hotmail. AOL, for example, has a that is an HTML validator, which scans incoming messages for HTML syntax and formatting errors. If it detects invalid HTML, it will reject the message.

If you use HTML in your messages, make sure your code is error-free and follows W3C HTML standards. Popular HTML-editing software such as Homesite or Macromedia Dreamweaver already offer effective validation tools and will highlight any errors as you create your message. For a complete reference specification of HTML formatting, visit the World Wide Web Consortium documentation pages. Also, you can use the HTML validator in your email application or a third-party validator such as W3C Markup Validation Service.

Also, avoid scripting. Scripting languages, which can be imbedded within HTML, are often used to add dynamic functionality to a Web page. However, security risks due to script vulnerabilities in email browsers have increased over the years. The result is most scripts, such as JavaScript and VBScript, get stripped out of messages. Some email systems reject messages outright if they detect scripting. For greatest compatibility, avoid using scripts in messages. Instead, drive your readers to your Website, where dynamic components are easily rendered.

Friday, May 18, 2012

24 Dos and 8 Don'ts for a better HTML based Email Newsletters

Ever wondered if you had a quick guide of Dos and Don'ts for an HTML based email newsletter. Here we have compiled one that serves as a ready reckoner.

HTML Coding Do’s
  1. Code HTML emails as a single Web page with the basic <HTML>, <HEAD>, <TITLE>, and <BODY> tags.
  2. Code emails by hand where possible, as WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editors typically add extra code that creates havoc with certain email clients. If you must use an editor, use Dreamweaver or Homesite, which do not add extra code to the design process.
  3. Use HTML tables for the design layout.
  4. Keep emails at a fixed width of between 500-620 pixels wide.
  5. Instead of defining percentage widths use fixed widths. While this is not optimal, because people can and do resize their email windows when reading, sometimes using a fixed width is the only way for a layout to display properly in multiple email software.
  6. Use only the ASCII character set. More advanced word-processing software often inserts odd characters, such as the trailing dot characters or smart quotes (curly instead of straight), which can hamper display or create delivery problems in some email software.
  7. If you use CSS, include inline styles. Do not link to an external style sheet nor use embedded styles, as this code is often stripped out by email clients, creating display problems.
  8. Make sure all tags have supporting closing tags. The most common HTML errors come from not having a closing </FONT> tag or having open <TD> or <TR> tags in the HTML. While your HTML might render properly in a browser, these errors can cause problems with many email clients.
  9. Use the HTML table attributes within the TABLE and TD tags.
  10. For example: to set the table border=0, valign=top, align=left (or center, if that is the design), cellpadding=0, cellspacing=0, and so on. This primarily helps older email readers to display the html email in a minimally-acceptable way.
  11. Put general font style information in the table TD or DIV or P tags closest to the content. This can mean repetitive style declarations in multiple TD cells or DIV’s or P tag. Put font style definitions into heading (e.g. H1, H2), P, or A tags only when necessary.
  12. Use DIVs sparingly to float small boxes of content and links to the right or left inside a table TD cell. Google Mail appears to ignore the CSS Float property but Yahoo! and Hotmail work fine. Outlook 2007 ignores floats.
  13. Sometimes it is better to code a more complex table layout than rely on the Float property. Since email is easy to clutter, ask that the design put the floated content in the narrow side column. Floats are the one part of an email design that might require the design be reworked.
  14. Animated GIF files are acceptable, but use them sparingly.
  15. Use of images maps is acceptable.
  16. If there is a spacing issue with the columns in the email design, first tweak the cellpadding and cellspacing attributes of the HTML tables. If that does not work, use CSS margin and padding attributes. HTML spacing works better with older email software than spacing with CSS.
  17. If an image is cut up and spread across several HTML table cells, test the email with many test accounts. Sometimes it looks great in Outlook but shifts by 1 pixel or more in Hotmail and other services. Also consider putting the image as a background image on a new html table that encases all the table rows and columns that would display parts of your background image. sometimes this achieves the same effect as cutting an image up but with less code and better results.
Note that Outlook 2007 does not display background images. Be sure to test your email code with your target email client software.
  1. If you use background images, use the HTML table attribute background= instead of CSS. It works more consistently across email software except Outlook. Define appropriate bgcolor for the TD’s so that the color is displayed when the images are blocked.
  2. Be sure all your images use the alt tags, height, and width parameters. This helps with Google Mail as well as when a reader has their images turned off. However, Outlook 2007 does not recognize the alt= parameter.
  3. Use the target=”_blank” attribute for the HTML A tags so that people reading with a webmail service don’t have the requested page appear within their webmail interface.
  4. Avoid a big image above the fold in the email. This is another classic spammer practice and can increase the likelihood an email will be tagged as spam.
  5. Make sure your email content displays fine without images.
For example: if you use a background image to provide a background color with white font color over it, make sure the default background color for that part of the HTML table is dark, not white. Also be sure your alt=, height=, and width= parameters are set for images so they can help readers understand your content without images. Turning off your images will help you catch these issues and ensure the HTML email will display effectively if people see your email with images off.
  1. Test your HTML code. Make sure your code conforms to World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) HTML standards
  2. When sending a multi-part message, remember to create the text version. Most email clients send HTML as a multi-part alternative by default. Failing to include the text part of the message can cause some filters to treat your email as spam.
HTML Coding don’ts
  1. HTML should not contain any JavaScript or any other script embedded in it. Some email clients do not support JavaScript, and others view it as a security risk.
  2. Avoid using CSS for positioning. The support is very limited and will, more than likely, result in a broken layout for most of your recipients.
  3. Avoid nested tables if possible. Some email clients, especially Lotus Notes and Netscape Messenger, might not render them correctly.
  4. Do not use canvas background images. Most email clients do not display canvas background images. Background images for individual table cells are generally acceptable but might not appear in some clients such as Lotus Notes.
  5. Do not apply attributes to the <BODY> tag. Attributes placed in the <BODY> tag are often flagged by spam filters and increase the likelihood of your message getting bulked or blocked.
  6. With multiple embedded images, which also might cause the email to be blocked
  7. Do not use EMBED tags.
  8. Avoid embedding forms, such as surveys, into emails. Some email clients such as Hotmail might not pass the data through to the collection point. Instead, link to a Web form through which the recipient can complete the survey.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Better Layout for a HTML Email Newsletter

   A better layout of a HTML Email creative provides a clear positioning of your content and a structured easy reading for the recipient.

Here are few good tips for well thought out HTML Email Creative.

Determining the layout design:

  1. Single column and two-column layouts work best for emails because they control the natural chaos that results when a lot of content is pushed into such a small space as email. Use a consistent HTML template.
  2. Add in a header that contains logo, view online links if the email is not rendered properly on recipient email client, instructions to add sender email id to recipients address book (improved deliverability), etc
  3. Body or the main section that contains the main content of the mailer.
  4. Footer should contain unsubscribe, contact us and forward to friend links and sender’s general terms and policies.

We analysed one of the best email from a top retailer in USA, Target Corporation.

You can notice the email layout in the images below. The header has all relevant detail of add to address book for inbox delivery, view online version, brand logo, etc.

The body of the mailer has a consistent look with a single column view, with a clear offer and an actionable main link. You can also notice actionable links to other categories of products on the retailer website. You would also notice more offers, clearance sales, and other attractive discounts at the bottom of the main offer.

You would notice multi-channel contact points for engagement on other digital channels and fine print of offer details, etc.

You would notice in the footer below, all relevant details on why you are receiving this email, to opt-out from further communications, company policies, etc.

Hope you find these HTML Newsletter design tips helpful.  And make your subscribers hooked to read your content and further actions.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Guide to a Better HTML Email Design

Email marketing is one of the most powerful and effective forms of marketing today. It is quick to deploy, offers immediate and highly-measurable results, enables advanced segmentation and personalization, and delivers a high return on investment.

However, achieving maximum results from your HTML email requires experience and expertise. Simple mistakes in the implementation of HTML emails can seriously affect delivery or usability and cripple your ROI.

To help marketers optimize results from their email marketing efforts, Kenscio has created this complete guide to create effective HTML email. These technical and design best practices give marketers the ability to improve their own email marketing campaigns. This guide is best shared amongst email marketers and the HTML coding staff that supports your email development efforts.

In this guide we will cover:

    Email Layout
    HTML coding do’s and don’ts
    Validate HTML content and avoid using scripts
    Using forms in HTML emails
    Font and font size
    Background colors
    Font colors
    Buttons, charts & other supporting images
    Style sheets
    Image alt tags
    Creating a Web version of your email newsletter
    Preview panes and blocked images
    Number of hyperlinks
    Phishing and HTML Links
    Message file size
    Length of email messages
    Navigation of email messages
    Search capability in email
    Email format/Versions
    Add to Address Book
    Forward-to-a-friend functionality
    Rich Media/Flash
    Video email
    Tips Email Deliverability to Inbox
    Five common flaws that you can avoid in Email Marketing Campaigns

Everyday we will cover the above topics in details.

Your feedback and comments are most welcome!

Happy Reading!

@Kenscio Email Design Team

Copy rights to articles on Kenscio blog reserved. Any article from Kenscio blog can be reproduced by providing credits to Kenscio or providing a link back to Kenscio blog.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What is a DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) Signature? Why it is required for your mailing server infrastructure?

DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) is a possibility to make an email sender more easily identifiable for the email service providers (ESPs) who receive and filter email. The message is identified by the domain it is sent from, that is, the part of the address after the @.

If the delivery address differs from that that has been registered with the DNS server (Domain Name Server), there is an increased likelihood that the email will be classified as Spam by the email service provider.

DKIM signatures are created, in consultation with you, when your Kenscio mailing system is first set up. The DKIM signatures may differ from the actual domains of your Kenscio mailing system.


The domain of your Kenscio mailing system is:

You send email messages using the domains:

The sender domains and must be registered with the DNS server. The registered domains should be the domains used for sendout.

This means that, if possible, all domains that will be used for email sendout should receive DKIM signatures.

The part of the address before the @ can be freely set (eg., This part of the address is not a part of the DKIM signature.

If you would like to add a DKIM signature to more sendout domains, or if you need information about which of your domains already have the DKIM signature, please contact your Kenscio representative.

The sendout process with a DKIM signature (simplified):

The sender (that is, the domains) are registered with the DNS server. A special encrypted signature is created that makes these domains clearly identifiable.

During email sendout, the signature and sender information are embedded in the email header.

When an email provider receives an email that contains a DKIM signature, it obtains the key to decipher the signature from the DNS server.

If the sender is correctly identified by the DKIM signature, this increases the chances of delivery in the inbox.

If the DKIM signature does not match the sender identity, the email is probably marked as Spam.


The primary advantage for e-mail recipients is it allows the signing domain to reliably identify a stream of legitimate email, thereby allowing domain-based blacklists and whitelists to be more effective. This is also likely to make some kinds of phishing attacks easier to detect.
Use with spam filtering

DKIM is a method of labeling a message, and it does not itself filter or identify spam. However, widespread use of DKIM can prevent spammers from forging the source address of their messages, a technique they commonly employ today. If spammers are forced to show a correct source domain, other filtering techniques can work more effectively. In particular, the source domain can feed into a reputation system to better identify spam. Conversely, DKIM can make it easier to identify mail that is known not to be spam and need not be filtered. If a receiving system has a whitelist of known good sending domains, either locally maintained or from third party certifiers, it can skip the filtering on signed mail from those domains, and perhaps filter the remaining mail more aggressively.

DKIM can be useful as an anti-phishing technology. Mailers in heavily phished domains can sign their mail to show that it is genuine. Recipients can take the absence of a valid signature on mail from those domains to be an indication that the mail is probably forged. The best way to determine the set of domains that merit this degree of scrutiny remains an open question; DKIM will likely have an optional feature called ADSP that lets authors that sign all their mail self-identify, but the effectiveness of this approach remains to be tested.

Working with eBay and PayPal, Google has effectively utilized DKIM in GMail in such a way that any e-mail that claims to be coming from or will not be accepted at all if they cannot be verified successfully with DKIM. Such messages won’t even appear in the Spam folder.
Feedback Loops (FBLs)

Most of the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like gmail, yahoo, hotmail and etc. now demand the Email Service Providers (ESPs) to set up DKIM for the sending mailing infrastructure in order that they receive a copy of a message that one of their subscribers has reported as spam — usually by hitting a “report spam” button in that ISP’s mail interface. Feedback Loop recipients are generally expected to remove any subscriber from their mailing lists to prevent similar “spam complaints” — but the core requirement is simply that they fix whichever problems within their network caused the complaints.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Does your email marketing campaigns surprise you?

Surprises are over rated, more often than not they back fire. Getting a surprise birthday party or winning the lottery can be fun, but they happen rarely.

When it comes to your business, the less the surprises, the better. It’s quite like driving a race car. You’d want to be sure that: you know the track, the tires are correctly inflated, the engine won’t explode if you rev it on the red line, the breaks work, etc.

Similarly, when you execute an email marketing campaign, you ensure that the content is relevant, it has a strong value proposition and your subscribers know why they have received the email. The last thing you would want is that your email campaign did not perform as you had expected.

Although, the success of an email marketing campaign depends on a lot of factors, content surely plays a very important role. As strange as it may sound, relevance is not all that you need to worry about when it comes to content.

Email marketers operate in the realms of ISPs who scrutinize email content not just in terms of relevance but also in terms of quality.

What is quality? Quality here is the degree or the grade that helps differentiate a genuine email from spam.

Who defines this quality? ISPs do. They guard the interest of their users and have complex set of rules that automatically filter incoming emails.

What can you do about quality? To begin with, you should follow the best practices defined by ISPs. These are standard set of guidelines that establish a broad framework for genuine email marketers. Can anything else be done?

Kenscio Labs has been secretly working on a powerful tool that will analyse and score the quality of email content. Our geeks are working hard because like you, they dislike nasty surprises. They know what its like to see a well planned and executed campaign crumble, simply because it couldn’t meet the stringent quality standards defined by the ISPs.

In simple words, this secret tool will let you test the quality of your email campaign, before you execute it.

More Control, less surprises, smarter strategies, better performance.

Stay tuned on the blog!

Why Add-to-Address book instruction is very important in your email communication?

You might have seen in the email newsletters you receive that there is a message at the top asking you  “please add our sender address to your address book”. Do you know the importance of this message?

It is known that ISPs like yahoo, gmail, hotmail, and etc. have spam filters which will filter mails from reaching your inbox.  These junk or spam filters as often called run a variety of algorithms to check if the mail is needed by you and hence should be put in inbox. If not, they should be placed in junk or spam folder thereby saving your time and botheration.

These spam or junk filters work on message content, sender's reputation, and your own actions on such messages in the past based on who sent it, subject line of the message, or whether the sender id of the message is in your address book etc.These filters sometime give higher priority to your actions than their generic rules.

Moreover some ISPs like Yahoo and AOL display images in the messages automatically if the sender address is in your address book. Spam email killer Services like Boxbee which works with several ISPs automatically deliver emails to inbox, if the message sender address is in your address book, else the mail will end up either in junk or spam folder.

Gmail spam filter work on how do you interact with the sender message in the past from opening, clicking, responding to the message and seeing the sender address in your address book or contact list to prioritize the message delivery to inbox vis-a-vis to junk or spam folder.

Understanding these issues, most of the smart marketers today have a strong call to action to advice their customers to add their sender address to their address books, so that their messages will be seen more in inbox.  The customers can then take subsequent actions of opening and clicking.

However there is a bigger challenge in educating the customers on how to add the sender address to their address books or contact lists. Each of the ISPs has their own ways to adding the sender address to the address book or contact list.

Kenscio Digital has come with an exhaustive guide to assist customers to add the sender address to the address book or contact list.  Click the link below to find the detailed instructions.  Marketers can insert this link in the message to advice their customers on how to add their sender address to their address book or contact list.

Also, if you find email from in your spam or junk folder, please take that opportunity to tell your mail program that it is not spam by hitting the "not spam", "not junk" or similar button, as that will train your program to whitelist it.

Happy inboxing!