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All posts by Wikus Engelbrecht

Wikus Engelbrecht
Wikus Engelbrecht is a writer, journalist and digital poet. His professional career in language and media has spanned the film, print advertising, magazine publishing, food theatre and online content industries since 2003.
  • Is there a solution to Groupon’s SA woes?

    There’s been a recent surge in complaints about the South African iteration of Groupon, with many customers getting vocal about undelivered products, not receiving refunds as promised and even about difficulties in opting out of their mailing list. Complaints are flooding in on consumer websites such as HelloPeter, most of which typically relate to users not receiving goods paid for, refunds that never get processed, poor after-sales service and spamming by the group-buying giant. Read more on Ventureburn.com var vglnk={key:"cc324b6567a9637aa0ff15bc9564b2a5"};!function(e,a){var t=e.createElement(a);t.type="text/javascript",t.async=!0,t.src="//cdn.viglink.com/api/vglnk.js";var n=e.getElementsByTagName(a);n.parentNode.insertBefore(t,n)}(document,"script");

  • Does Google Auto-Translate spell trouble for your email campaign?

    Last week Google launched its auto-translate feature for Gmail, in theory making email a lot simpler for people who don't speak the same language. The automatic message translation (AMT) tool, which started as an experiment in Gmail Labs during 2009, has finally graduated to full inbox operating status. AMT works by providing you with an automatically prompted translate button for any message that Google recognises to be in your non-default language. So, if your default is set to Russian, Gmail will assume that's what you want everything to be translated to. However, you can still switch it to any other...

  • How one court decision could change email forever

    A few weeks ago, the Californian court made a new ruling about email sender identification that now has people everywhere scratching their heads on how to modify their campaigns to stay out of the legal fire. This new law is all about discouraging the sending of promotional emails that contain false or misrepresenting header information. It mainly demands that commercial email advertisements (in other words, email sent specifically to sell a product or advertise a service) must include a domain name which is registered to the sender in the ‘from’ line of the email, or the name of the sender...

  • Where spam is going in 2012 and what to do about it

    Over the years Spam has evolved from consisting of annoying but otherwise harmless advertisements, to becoming a carrier of viruses and malware that can damage your computer and make you vulnerable to identity theft (a.k.a. “phishing”). Despite major developments in the area of anti-spam software and measures such as filters, blocks and blacklists for dubious senders, the negative effects of spam are still being felt by individuals and businesses alike. How spam affects you Spam is more than just a minor rash. According to a study by the Radicati Research Group, spam costs businesses US$20.5-billion annually in decreased productivity as well as...

  • Email or automated software: Which is best for getting your business out there?

    For Joe Public, trying to determine the best service to successfully promote his small business, taking a highly detailed look at the different capabilities of specialised marketing software applications and choosing between them can be difficult. So what is he to do? There are two main roads to take: either one opts for email marketing software or marketing automation software, though many people mistakenly think that these terms are interchangeable or are just...

  • 4 Hot tips for making sure your email gets to where it needs to

    Email delivery is a highly important consideration; after all, nobody can click on a link in an email they never see. Unfortunately though, there are a number of obstacles each email must overcome before reaching its intended destination, ideally avoiding the spam folder of course. According to Return Path's Global Email Deliverability Benchmark Report for 2011, only 81% of global email reaches the inbox. Email deliverability in the Unites States is the highest with about 86% of emails making it to the intended recipient, but marketers can still move the needle a lot higher by understanding the process and...

  • 4 Hot tips for sending out a kick-ass Valentine’s email campaign

    Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and whether you personally view the season of hearts as the most romantic time of the year, filled with love and affection, or an annual catastrophe of tacky décor and extravagant gifts; there’s no question that it can have a positive effect on business. In America, Valentine's Day is the second largest retailing event of the year and has, quite reasonably, been criticised as just an excuse for...

  • 5 New Year’s resolutions you should make for your email campaigns

    New Year’s resolutions are always easy to make, but notoriously hard to keep. 2011 is firmly in our rearview mirrors. It's more than two weeks into 2012, and all those well-intended resolutions which seemed so reasonable at the end of last year may have already fallen by the wayside. Whether you set out to tame the bulge, kick smoking or learn to Tango; you may not yet have had the resolve to follow through on those changes, instead relegating them to your 2013 to-do list. While your master plan to put the fit in fitness may have encountered some...

  • 5 Tips to jingle all the way with Christmas emailing

    For some of us, the joy of Christmas comes in the form of greatly increased interest in retail offers and seasonal content, which makes it the most profitable time of year for businesses. With only a few days to go, the festive season spending frenzy is well underway, but even as we begin to count down the hours there’s still a lot of shopping left before Santa jumps on his sleigh. With that said, it’s getting a little late for planning any major holiday campaigns. After all, there are often a lot of people in the email production chain, however, it’s...

  • Five mobile trends to look out for in 2012

    The mobile landscape of 2012 is ripe with possibility. Globally, it’s estimated that 5.3-billion people have mobile phones. This means that there are more people picking up a mobile phone every morning than lifting a newspaper. Increasingly, it's not only to make calls and send texts either -- mobile data traffic is trebling every year. Mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones became the highest-selling consumer electronic device category in 2011, amounting to 115-million units in Q3 alone -- according to one report, beating out PC, laptop, and netbook figures combined. With the growing popularity of smartphones and the...

  • Three 2011 developments that changed your inbox forever

    I've never been comfortable with so-called predictions, and would rather stick to analysing concrete developments to pave the way for the future. Nobody ever said that email was an easy game. Keeping up with new trends in this very dynamic field can be tough and 2011 certainly delivered its own share of challenges that might well re-define the act of emailing, even for the everyday non-commercial sender. 1. The rise of the Priority...

  • How did your email do in 2011?

    It’s that time of year when we give our email stats a gander to see how well our campaigns have performed over the past 12 months; gauging successes and failures, and gaining insights into emerging trends and challenges. So how have your 2011 email campaign efforts measured up against other people’s worldwide? Enter email marketing benchmarks by various industries: Benchmark email marketing statistics offer a glimpse into the broad performance of various industries and industry sectors. These studies usually go beyond traditional metrics reports to provide top-level observations which enable companies to gain a better view of where they stand. The metrics on...

  • Google+ Pages and its place in the social inbox

    Google has finally unveiled Pages for Google+, allowing organisations and brands to join the social network and let their followers engage with them. When the internet giant first launched Google+, brands immediately jumped at the opportunity to gain additional exposure, but unfortunately, Google prevented these companies from creating profiles for business use. Offering an advertorial-free zone to mingle online may have seemed like reasonable strategy at the time for G+ to help differentiate itself. This initial decision to champion an ecommerce-sterile platform, however, quickly became controversial enough to force Google's hand in accepting and accelerating plans for business pages. In the...

  • 10 rules for getting the most out of your holiday emails

    It's that time of year once again. Those in the online sector are gearing up for late nights at the office and planning for big returns from the increased growth in holiday ecommerce. The end-of-year holiday period certainly helps companies generate a lot of buzz and many serious discussions revolve around holiday campaign planning and how to best market seasonal deals to the general public. Email marketing is becoming increasingly vital to the holiday success of any business. Just days after Halloween, many retail emails have already begun including some references to the holiday season, and within a few weeks, our...

  • Five tricks for making your Halloween email campaign a treat

    Halloween is here and little children will surely be marching up and down your block dressed as ghouls and vampire movie characters in just a matter of hours. The holidays always show the unique strategies that companies come up with for their promotions. Scarily enough, no one ever complains that Halloween has become commercialised to the point where its meaning has become obscured. In fact, if there ever was a holiday that is just howling to become more sales-oriented, it's Halloween. Halloween is hot as any savvy marketing person will tell you. Halloween is a marketing scream which has grown to...