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Inbox Changes – Here We Go Again...

Before I dig into what is a very dynamic topic for email marketing, I want to talk about mailboxes. In 1775, when Benjamin Franklin became the first postmaster general of the U.S., mailboxes looked something like this:

Old Mailbox

And believe it or not, in the 230+ years since the mailbox has been around, not much has changed. It's a box with a door on it.So, if I was a direct mail marketer, it's nice to know that inbox changes just aren't a thing.

So, if you were going to do the same little before and after pictures for email inboxes...Here's what your first email inbox may have looked like:

Old AOL Inbox

And here's what it may look like now:

Gmail Mobile Inbox

I'll spare you a detailed analysis of all the differences between an AOL Desktop Inbox and what Gmail looks like on a phone, but I think you get the idea.

Since email inboxes have been changing, there have been a few notable changes that have wreaked havoc on email marketing:

Spam Filters – The email service provider used to let all the emails sent to an address come through, but now they take the liberty of filtering our emails they deem as inappropriate.

Junk Email Accounts – Email service providers used to charge by the email address, discouraging users from having more than a single email address. Now that email accounts are mostly free, it's not uncommon for people to have two or more accounts, one they check regularly and all the others.

Mobile Friendly Designs – Email inboxes now automatically compress emails to be better experienced on a phone rather than a big screen.

Conversation Threading – Used to be that every single email was its own unique entity, not tied to any of the previous emails sent to your inbox. Now, conversations are actually linked together based on the subject line making it easier to access and entire line of communciation.

Social, Promotions, and Update Tabs – Perhaps the most recent big one, rather than all the emails delivered to a single main inbox, emails are distributed across 4 different tabs at the email service provider's discretion.

These are just five changes. The list could be at least ten times as long.The point is, inboxes change drastically all the time and as a sender of email, you have to be ahead of the changes.

I'll give you an extra example. Recently, Google announced that they are considering releasing an even more drastic change called Google Inbox. Check it out here. Here's what it may look like:

Google Inbox Preview

Who knows what kind of effects it will have on the way that people read emails, but you can bet that it certainly will.

Are you ready?

January is Definitely “Open a Franchise” Month

As the calendar turns to 2015, everyone around the world is working on their new years’ resolutions. Some of the more popular ones for personal lives are always about sending more time with your family, eating healthier, or going to the gym more frequently.

What’s the deal with this “Social, Local, Mobile” thing? And what should franchises do about it?

In 2014, the internet marketing community is all abuzz with the phrase “Social, Local, Mobile” There isn’t a week that goes by that you don’t hear someone espousing the merits of these three words. As with all buzzwords, there’s likely more glitz than substance, but let’s do our best to try and make sense of what’s going on here on three levels:

How franchise lead generation is NOT like the lottery – And why you think it is

Franchise lead generation is sometimes (incorrectly) compared to a lottery: A franchisor is paying a relatively small sum of money to purchase an individual lead (“buying a ticket”) in the hopes that this lead will ultimately turn out to be their next franchisee (“a lottery ticket that pays out”). Based on this simple comparison of a lottery & franchise lead generation, it's easy to see why a franchise could consider lead generation as a lottery.