Most Recent Posts

Why Are My Emails Going To The Spam Folder?

Why Are My Emails Going To The Spam Folder?

• March 17, 2019

This is a question that has been asked for a very long time. I’m sure when asked, you’ll get the runaround or an answer that doesn’t feel satisfactory. This is because figuring out why an email went into a spam folder is like trying to solve a murder mystery with no smoking gun. First, we need to understand how an email is sent. When an email is created, it first needs to be copied for all the individual contacts you’re sending to. Then it travels through the internet until it finally reaches your subscriber, but there is a gate with a security guard in the way. That’s the spam filter and he’s making sure that only the qualified emails are getting through. What is considered a qualified email? Unfortunately, there are many different criteria for a qualified email. Yahoo has its own criteria and so does Gmail. This is not to be mistaken for Gmail’s smart labels (promotions and social tabs), that\'s a different story. There are also private domains, that will have their own criteria. They will usually have subscribed to services like Spamhaus to reject emails based on their own qualifications, and Spamhaus is a well-known spam fighting, non-profit organization. Spamhaus also publishes blacklists that will cause emails from senders on that list, to be automatically placed in spam. Blacklists are the worst case scenario, though, and when you use a service provider, they will give your warnings before you land on a blacklist. Now that we know how an email is sent, there are normally two reasons why an email lands in the spam folder: Email Content Sending Speed/Frequency Email content is important because how your email is coded, what words your use, and how it looks all matters when it comes to deliverability, or whether your email goes into the inbox or spam box. When creating your email, for each image you may want to add a couple lines of text. Balancing out images, hyperlinks and text so that there’s not too much of either one. Of course, avoid using symbols, all caps and words that might involve a Nigerian prince. This is not widely known, but how often your send and how fast you send also matter. If your email was meant to be sent monthly, send monthly! Don’t be sporadic with your sending because it makes you, in a sense, “unreliable” to your subscribers and can lower your sending reputation. Your sending reputation determines whether an email may be accepted or rejected altogether. For those who are in a grey area, they may be sent to spam. Sending speed surprisingly plays a role. By sending way too fast, your email can be rejected entirely. It will show as “deferred” in your bounce logs. There are some services that may accept the email still, but according to reports from support, it can also land in the spam folder. After an email gets past the filter, we don’t actually know whether it lands in the spam folder. However, we do receive reports from our users and their subscribers. We know how emails are judged and sent, we don’t have concrete evidence to say definitively why an email went to spam. With public domain users like Gmail, Yahoo, and AOL, we’ll probably never know why. They don’t have any obligations to report that information to the senders. I recall seeing Gmail may generally state why an email may be in the spam folder. For Private Domain users, your IT manager who manages your emails may be able to find out, if they log that information. It could all just be automated for some. So a lot of times when this question gets asked, it’s very difficult to answer because there is no smoking gun.


Read More
What Should I Do If My IP Gets Blacklisted?

What Should I Do If My IP Gets Blacklisted?

Practical Marketer • January 4, 2017

Email marketing has come a long way over the past few years. Many would associate you with spammers at just the mere mention of email marketing not long ago. Email marketing’s reputation has been won in part by the impressive Return On Investment that it offers. The other part is that marketers have gotten smarter. They’ve learned best practices and put them to use. Marketers have begun to learn and accept that it’s the quality, and not the size, of your list that counts. List health is imperative to succeeding with email marketing. Aside from sending only to the individuals who want to hear from you, there are other dangers to keeping an old, outdated or inactive list. Aside from raising bounce rates from unengaged subscribers, you can suffer a much worse fate in being blacklisted. Blacklisting A blacklist is a virtual list of email senders that have been deemed and labeled as spammers. Creators of these lists are organizations that are committed to fighting spam on the internet. Organizations such as Spamhaus are widely regarded as leaders in fighting spam. Service providers also have their own blacklist, but service providers can also subscribe to Spamhaus to block even more spammers. The most common way to get onto a blacklist is by not cleaning your list, removing unsubscribes or constantly getting spam complaints. This starts a battle that is complicated to win. If you find yourself blacklisted, you are likely to receive a very strict call from your ESP requiring you to take action and resolve the issue. Steps to Follow if You’re Blacklisted You first have to find out which blacklist you are on. Spamhaus publishes a widely used list, but there are others as well. You can check which blacklist your IP address resides in, using tools such as MXtoolbox or MultiRBL. These tools will check the blacklists they support and inform you which lists that you are in. Once you have identified the list you are on, you can now request for delisting. You will need to visit the organization’s website (if they have one) and find where they take delisting requests. Sometimes the organization just ask for an IP address. Others may ask for more information such as company name and the reason for requesting. Additional information to include might be the URLs where your subscribers can opt-in and possibly even some examples of the types of emails you send. Next is nobody’s favorite: the waiting game. The organization will review your request and take actions they think is appropriate. If you have properly collected the emails in your list and are practicing proper email etiquette, you should be fine and will be delisted. If your Domain-Name or IP Address is blacklisted at any ISP, you need to send them a request them to be removed from their blacklist (de-listed). Here are the basic steps that you should follow for the whitelisting/de-listing procedure at the ISP in question: You should follow the URL links & apply for whitelisting/de-listing using their online form. And/or: You should send an email to the mentioned email address. List of ISP\'s: Comcast: Follow this URL: www.comcastsupport.com/rbl Fill out the online form & submit. Cox: Follow this URL: https://postmaster.cox.net/confluence/display/postmaster/Error+Codes On the page, search the listed error codes to match the one you received when you were blacklisted. Click the URL suggested to get to the appropriate online form. Then submit. EarthLink: Send an email to: blockedbyearthlink@abuse.earthlink.net Use the subject line <Blocked \'insert your email server\'s IP\'> (example: Blocked 255.255.255.2555) More details are given on these pages: https://earthlink.net/block http://support.earthlink.net/articles/email/email-blocked-by-earthlink.php Gmail: Read Gmail\'s Bulk Senders Guidelines here: https://www.google.com/mail/help/bulk_mail.html Then follow this URL for the Bulk Sender Contact Form: https://mail.google.com/support/bin/request.py?contact_type=bulk_send&hl=en Fill out & submit. Hotmail: Follow this URL: https://support.msn.com/eform.aspx?productKey=edfsmsbl&ct=eformts Fill out the online form & submit. AT&T/SBC Global/Bellsouth: Follow this URL: https://rbl.att.net/cgi-bin/rbl/block_admin.cgi Fill out the online form & submit. For questions related to a request, please contact them at: abuse@rbl@abuse-att.net Juno/NetZero/Bluelight (United Online): Follow this URL: https://www.unitedonline.net/postmaster/blocked.html Fill out the online form & submit. Roadrunner/Adelphia: Follow this URL: https://security.rr.com/mail_blocks.htm Follow this URL to find whether your IP is blacklisted: https://security.rr.com/cgi-bin/block-lookup USA.NET: Follow this URL to find whether your IP is blacklisted: https://postmaster.usa.net/html/error.html Verizon: Follow this URL: https://www2.verizon.net/micro/whitelist/request_form.asp?id=isp Fill out the online form & submit. Yahoo: Follow this URL: https://help.yahoo.com/l/us/yahoo/mail/postmaster/bulkv2.html Fill out the online form & submit. Mail.ru: Follow this URL for the Google page translator tool: https://translate.google.com Check \"Translate from Russian\" and \"Translate to English\" Enter this link in the form: mail.ru/notspam/ Then and hit Enter or Return. Read and follow the directions on the newly translated page. AOL.com: If you have been blacklisted, visit AOL Postmaster You will need to open a Postmaster Support Request to put yourself on AOL\'s whitelist (*The AOL whitelist is meant for permission-based bulk senders. Bear in mind that if you are on their blacklist, you may have done something to violate their technical guidelines or best practices) You can also apply for Whitelist Status immediately. List of Blacklist\'s [RBL/DNSBL]: Lashback: Follow this URL to find whether your IP is blacklisted: https://www.lashback.com/support/UBLQuery.aspx Fill out the online box and follow the links. BarracudaCentral: Follow this URL to find whether your IP is blacklisted: https://www.barracudacentral.org/lookups Then follow this URL: https://www.barracudacentral.org/rbl/removal-request Fill out the online form & submit Spamhaus: Follow this URL to find whether your IP is blacklisted: https://www.spamhaus.org/lookup.lasso Fill out the online form, submit and follow appropriate links. Surbl: Follow this URL to find whether your IP is blacklisted: https://george.surbl.org/lookup.html Fill out the online form & submit. Invaluement.com: Follow this URL to find whether your IP is blacklisted: https://dnsbl.invaluement.com/lookup/ Fill out the online form & submit. DNSBL Manitu: Follow this URL to find whether your IP is blacklisted: https://www.dnsbl.manitu.net/ Fill out the online form & submit. You can also send an email to the link provided. Uribl: Follow this URL to find whether your IP is blacklisted: https://lookup.uribl.com/ Hostkarma blacklist: https://ipadmin.junkemailfilter.com/remove.php Fill out the online form & submit. Spamcop: For network and server administers: https://www.spamcop.net/fom-serve/cache/298.html For bounce message recipients and end-users: https://www.spamcop.net/fom-serve/cache/405.html Blacklist IP look-up: https://www.spamcop.net/bl.shtml It’s Better to Avoid Being Blacklisted There are things that can prevent a nightmare and possibly days without email. Keep your list(s) clean, honor unsubscribe requests and use double opt-in. You can even use list verification to help weed out the bad our outdated addresses in your list(s). It’s best to find a list hygiene routine that makes sense for you. It could be once per quarter, monthly or even before every campaign you send. Pay close attention to who is and who isn’t opening your email addresses. Remove the ones who consistently do not. This will help to keep you from hitting spam traps or other missteps that will land you on a blacklist.


Read More
How Can I Overcome Email Marketing Horrors?

How Can I Overcome Email Marketing Horrors?

Practical Marketer • October 31, 2016

You won’t hear it as much, but there are days in email marketing where it may seem like a Final Destination and everywhere you turn, there is some hair-raising event that might be the end of you. Things like sending an email in error or sending to the wrong list, large numbers of spam and unsubscribe complaints, or disappearing emails or lists. You might be thinking, “that will never happen to me,”  the characters in Final Destination didn’t either! After spending some time in support, taking calls and helping email marketing software users handling tough situations, receiving a call that a sender had sent an email in error, or that the email has errors is quite common. We’re all human so we make mistakes, but this can be a nightmare if people notice the problem, especially if it\'s big like missing an entire section. So what can you do to avoid accidentally sending an email? There are a couple of ways to prevent this nightmare. Don’t link or associate your list to the email when you create the email. This will prevent you from accidentally sending to the wrong people. Some services may require you to select a list before continuing creating the campaign, if that is the case, create a test list with your colleagues so if you accidentally send the email, it is to someone you know. Some services may be able to stop an email from sending but it is not recommended. Regardless of the infrastructure that the email is sent with, one an email is sent and received in the subscriber’s inbox, there is no way to reach in there to take it back. All the service may be able to do then is stop the remaining subscribers from receiving the incorrect email. Then when you are done and the email is good to go, then associate the campaign with your list. Now you’re sending your email to your subscribers, but murphy’s law applies. The next horrific ordeal you’ll have to go through is a bunch of people unsubscribing and clicking spam. Unfortunately, the damage is done. You can recover by cleaning your list and definitely getting rid of those unsubscribes and complainants. You can also prevent this ordeal from happening by using a tactic called Double Opt-in. Double opt-in is that email a subscriber receives after signing up to a list. It’s a little annoying, but it plays an important part. This double opt-in email will filter the contacts who just want a little nibble of what you got, from the ones who want to be your subscriber and not cause you problems. Without it, who knows what kind of people will sign up to your list. Another common panic-inducing nightmare that does happen, are lists and email drafts disappearing. It happens to the best of us, but that feeling of panic that sets in when you see, or rather, don’t see that item where it’s supposed to be. Hopefully, you have a backup of the email or the of the list, right? It’s a good idea to have a backup but what can you do when you’re just not that lucky. There is a silver lining just like any horror movie and it although it doesn’t apply to every situation, it’s a chance of survival. It’s ideal to have a separate backup of your list in another system, or as it’s own backup file. If your list is missing, you wouldn’t have to start over, but you may not be able to get back all missing contacts by going back to your previous email reports. If your system allows, you might be able to view your contacts and restore them that way. For email drafts that have gone missing, it might be trickier. Much like recovering your missing list, it won’t be perfect and it might be a version that was being worked on, better than starting all over. If you have sent yourself a test email or a sample email to a colleague for review, that is your backup. Without getting too technical, the HTML code of that email is what you want to get and use, essential as a template. Sometimes there is a message at the bottom saying the email is a sample, that can still be removed in the HTML code.


Read More
Why Is A Re-engagement Campaign Not A Monster To Be Afraid Of?

Why Is A Re-engagement Campaign Not A Monster To Be Afraid Of?

Practical Marketer • October 24, 2016

There is a monster that grows when you have subscribers just sitting there in a list not doing anything. It’s also there when you have a large number of subscribers, not opening your emails. This monster grows until there comes a time where you’ll have to come face to face with a Frankenstein-like monster. That monster is the re-engagement email you may be considering to send, but it’s frightening what might happen when you send that type of email. When a person subscribes to your emails, this signifies that they are interested in your company, and would like to stay up to date with you. However, time is a monster itself, and over time people can lose interest for any reason and stop opening emails, or their life cycle can end and are just sitting there. Many fear to even think about sending a re-engagement email because it may lead to a lot of unsubscribes as if it’s like releasing a monster onto a village. Much like some stories of Frankenstein though, it’s wrongfully feared. With these conditions, it is the perfect time to at least try to re-engage your contacts. The reason subscribers put their name on the list is because they were excited about your company and your services, so it’s time to get them excited again. So how do you re-engage your contacts? It is as simple as sending an email, but it’s what is in the email is what matters, especially when re-engaging contacts. A question to ask yourself before you send the email is why this person or group of people subscribed to your list in the first place. This would be easy to ascertain if the list has been segmented. It can be harder if you haven’t and that’s okay, it’s definitely not too late to start now. Yes, even un-engaged and inactive contacts you’ll need to split into teams, because it’s usually good to split into teams to tackle a monster, just maybe not in scary movies. Now what you put into the email really depends on your segments and why you want to re-engage these contacts. For example, if you know that your contacts have subscribed because of the Halloween costumes, what you’ll want is to send an email with new Halloween costumes. In this scenario, you’re re-engaging contacts with the goal of having a lot of them remain to keep opening your emails. Otherwise, the other tactic is to clean your list Cleaning your list is a best practice in the email marketing industry. Yes, this does mean getting rid of some contacts and possibly shortening your list, but that’s a good thing! You never want contacts who are disinterested in your emails and do nothing. They only cause problems, especially with deliverability in the end. You always want to send to contacts that you believe will open your email. Hopefully, now that the monster has come to light that now you see it as a gentle giant. Re-engaging your contacts is something not to be afraid of, rather a tactic to be used to either regain contacts or to clean your list.


Read More
My Last Campaign Had A Scary Bounce Rate? What Should I Do?

My Last Campaign Had A Scary Bounce Rate? What Should I Do?

Practical Marketer • October 5, 2016

Having a high bounce rate in your email campaign is very scary. It’s an indication that there is something seriously wrong with that last campaign and many people aren’t getting their timely emails. It’s like that scene in the movie where a person suddenly disappears and nobody knows why. The fear comes from not knowing exactly what happened to cause the issue. In this case, a high bounce rate. Like all scary movies, what we should do is investigate and find out what happened. It might turn out scarier than you think. Check Your Contacts The first thing to do is to look at all the bounces to see if there is a pattern to the email addresses that didn’t receive the email. Is it all from one domain? Is it all hard bounces? Hard bounces are email addresses that a sender has tried to mail to the recipient, but the inbox is not there anymore. The other type, soft bounce, is the opposite and that the inbox exists and is there, however, either the inbox is full or some type of technical reason that it was undeliverable. If there is a pattern then it will point us in the right direction to look. Sometimes there is no pattern but it doesn’t hurt to check, at least not yet. Bounce Logs With every email that is sent to an email address, there is a log that is generated and sent back to the sender. Known as a bounce log, or SMTP log, it tells the sender if the email was successfully sent or if it had bounced. It won’t tell us if it is a hard bounce or a soft bounce. Instead, it gives us a code. From that code, we determine if it is either. If checking your contacts for a pattern is a clue, then bounce logs are in a way evidence. Evidence can be conclusive and actionable, or we may need more supporting evidence to get a clearer picture of what is happening. Check Blacklists Searching for your own name is these lists that are meant for spammers is unnerving. Web sites like MXtoolbox.com or MultiRBL, search through an index of domains and IP addresses to search for yours. If you are on any of these lists, you may not be able to get your email to people who use those lists. The silver lining is that most blacklists are not forever. Normally there is a form or some type of procedure that will allow you to request to be removed. If you get removed from the list, it’s like turning on the lights in a dark and scary room. Slow Down! Often times, email marketers may think that sending as fast as you can is the best thing you can do. Well, speeding in a car going 120 mph isn’t exactly safe, it’s scary in a different sense. Well, sending to as many people as you can, as fast as you can, could be a problem. Service providers like Gmail and Yahoo, have a threshold on how many emails they’ll accept in a certain amount of time. By sending too much, your emails will get deferred. Remember those bounce logs I was talking about? This status is so special it doesn’t even have a code, the log would simply tell us deferred. It means that you are sending too fast and it was no longer accepting emails at that time. Here comes the anti-hero to save the day, throttling. Throttling your emails may be the best way of reducing your bounces and getting into the inbox. Yes, it slows down your email but that’s not a bad thing. Hopefully, you won’t find yourself in a situation like this. All you have to do is follow the best path road and don’t take any shortcuts. Taking the shortcut could land you in a nightmare that will be hard to get out of, but not impossible. If you do find yourself in a nightmarish situation with high bounce rates, these tips should help you survive and send an email another day.


Read More
How Can I Use Email Marketing To Promote My Webinars?

How Can I Use Email Marketing To Promote My Webinars?

Practical Marketer • September 30, 2016

When a person registers for one of your webinars, it’s important to keep them engaged and interested so that the day in question is something that they look forward to. In other words, how you promote your webinar is very important. People tend to sign up for the webinar weeks in advance, but forget when the time comes around. Reminder emails are excellent because it is versatile and best of all, the most cost effective. It’s common to start promoting your webinar two weeks prior to to the event. So it would make sense to also send a reminder email one week prior, then three days prior. What we’ve done here at Benchmark, is we sometimes send our reminders on the day of and that has shown to increase our attendance rate overall. What is important is that you keep your registrants in the know about the webinar. Sending them updates or even information about that cool special guest that will be attending. Something to include in those emails that you send is a button to add this event to their personal electronic calendar. Google’s Gmail can sometimes pick up the event from within the email and automatically place it in their Google Calendar. But not everyone uses Google; others like to use Microsoft or Mac calendars. Adding this button allows them to set reminders with just a click. Others may be less inclined to add it to their calendars manually. Now we’re not done yet. After the webinar, it’s best to thank your registrants, and also provide them with a recording of the webinar to save and reference. Discussions and interactions that occur during webinars are invaluable pieces of information and by providing a souvenir gives great valuable to your future webinars as long as you keep this standard. Now we’ve gone through, basically from beginning to end, what an email marketing promotion should look like for a webinar. Remember that you want to engage your audience and ensure that have the capability to save the date and to keep them looking forward to the event. Nobody wants to host a webinar for an empty room.


Read More
How Can I Use Videos Effectively In My Emails?

How Can I Use Videos Effectively In My Emails?

Practical Marketer • September 21, 2016

Using videos in email marketing is not as simple as embedding a video. Unfortunately, some of the big names in email software, like Gmail and Outlook, do not support video playback within the email. However, there are some tips and tricks to not circumvent the video playback inability, but at the very least get attention to your videos and make them effective in your strategies. Call to Action Every email you send out needs a Call To Action (CTA). Something that compels reader to reader to click on something in your email. A video itself can be a CTA, but since it can’t be played in the email, it will need to go somewhere else. Depending on the content you would send the readers to: HTML version of the email if the users should continue reading the rest of the email like a newsletter Web page with the video embedded to direct readers to content on your website Video source because the video may be monetized and that is the focus of your email You would take a still of your video and place a play button over it to simulate that it can play, but then send them to any location you need them to end up in. Otherwise, it can be difficult to get them back to the email Use an animated .GIFs Using .GIFs in emails is also difficult because not all inboxes support them either. Using them in conjunction with videos can provide an amazing reading experience for your subscribers. Because videos can\'t be played, in place you could use an animated .GIF to draw attention to the video. The animated picture should provide a preview of the video and entice them to view more of it. What about the inboxes that don’t support animated .GIFs?  Well, fortunately, the behavior in that situation is predictable. The .GIF will display the first frame of the image and will use that to display a still image. Take advantage of that and use a still for those who won’t be able to see the cool animation. Create videos specifically for your subscribers People love exclusivity and your subscribers are no different. What\'s even better is that you can segment your list based on the information you collect. It is good email marketing practice to segment your list. Based on those segments, you should also create videos specifically for them whether it is showcasing or demonstrating products and services, or customer testimonials from local people of that region. So even though you can’t play the video in the email itself, videos still can be a powerful tool to use and to garnish attention. It also makes reading more enjoyable to your subscribers. Remember to keep in mind where you want your readers to watch the video to keep their attention and to avoid distractions.


Read More
How Can I Improve My Email Delivery?

How Can I Improve My Email Delivery?

Practical Marketer • September 2, 2016

When signing up to an email marketing service, you eliminate a lot of the technical side of sending your emails to your subscribers. No matter what service you sign up to, they cannot guarantee 100% email delivery. Because so many variables exist both on the technical and sender sides, 100% delivery is almost impossible. So a big question that is asked almost all the time is, how can I improve my email delivery? Email delivery is a difficult process and takes a lot of checking and testing on the sender’s end. When you sign up to a service like Benchmark Email, or similar services, the service themselves take care of some of the technical aspects of sending. Things like sender score, authentication, feedback loops and more. There are many things on the sender’s end that can help improve email delivery. Checking your sending score is important. I know I mentioned earlier that services check this for you and that remains true. Basic services will provide you with IP addresses that may be shared with other users of the same level of service, and the score is managed by the service. That can vary in different ways from service to service. Dedicated IP addresses, or senders using their own technology, should check this regularly. You can check your sender score with Return Path who measure the scores by your email history. How well your email performs is crucial to your sending score and that leads us to our next topic, which is your list. Your contact list is the most important resource in email marketing. It’s not just the amount of contacts you have, but it’s also the engagement of your contacts that really matter. We know that your sender score depends on your emails performing well, so it makes sense to start with your subscribers. Having contacts that constantly bounce and just plain not open your emails is like cancer to your list. They bring your sender score down until you get rid of them, or at the very least stop sending regularly to them. Once you clean those out those contacts, you’ll then want to start filtering incoming contacts that just end up sitting there. Double opt-in methods for signup forms are highly recommended as it weeds out those contacts who are just in it for the contest or prize. You should then also send regularly to your contacts, never more, never less. So segmenting your contacts by daily, weekly or monthly subscribers is important. Speaking of segmenting, you should also segment by whatever information you have on your contacts. For those power users that l have a good idea of what they are doing and purchase dedicated IP addresses, or even use their own in-house technology to send their emails, this tip is for you. That is when you buy a new IP address or start off new, it is important to warm up your IP address and slowly ramp up sending. This is an important step because new IP addresses do not have a reputation. Just like racing, you’ll need to have some practice sessions before the real lap. Throttle your emails and slowly send to your contacts to build your reputation. Once you’ve built your reputation you can then try sending at full speed. If you start getting bounces that are “deferred,” you may want to slow down as servers are rejecting your emails because they are too fast. This can be seen in bounce logs. Last, but not least, is utilizing the Sender Policy Framework, or also phrased as publishing an SPF Record. Simply put, what an SPF Record does states that this email server or IP address is going to be sending emails for this domain. This is very helpful if you are using a service to send your emails. For some services, they may not mention it and some services they may require it. It’s difficult to complete because it does involve your website and the DNS server. By doing this, it authorizes your service’s email servers, to send on behalf of your domain, or whatever domain your from email address is. If you have difficulty on how to publish an SPF record, talk to your webmaster or your website hosting service like GoDaddy.


Read More
How Can a Nonprofit Raise Funds with Email Marketing?

How Can a Nonprofit Raise Funds with Email Marketing?

Practical Marketer • August 24, 2016

Almost every nonprofit knows the pangs of obtaining funds in order to operate or continue operating a nonprofit organization. Money or having funds allows an organization to operate and to operate a scale they would like to choose. The problem comes when trying to obtain those funds, it can be difficult to solicit or to convince someone to invest in something that doesn’t make money. By no means should email be counted out when considering marketing channels. How can I utilize email marketing to raise funds or get donations? Well, it’s not much different than any other company using email marketing. With email best practices, nonprofit programs can be very successful. It’s not much different but there are special considerations when we solicit, like do not always solicit with every single email. Let’s first start with subscribers. As a non-profit program, every single person in your list counts, maybe more because nonprofits rely heavily on networking and donations. It is also important to distinguish your subscribers. From the donors, volunteers, and staff members, to the board member and the curious person. You’d want to segment your list especially as a nonprofit, to target these specific segments with the information they care to see. The content of the email is very important because it’s never easy to ask for money. Well, it may be easy to ask, but you also need to convince the other person to give it to you with a small string attached, and that is to work towards the organization\'s mission. The reason why people donate to nonprofit programs is because they believe in what you are doing . Timing is also important. Keeping a schedule and having different schedules for your different segments is crucial when asking for funds or support. Donors who have already donated hard earned cash may want a quarterly update to see how their money benefitted the company. Whereas volunteers may want to see weekly or monthly updates on the program for a morale boost. In all of the emails you could have a small button that asks for a donation, it is really important not to be in their face about it. It’s important that you keep your readers, followers, or subscribers believing in the program. So when it comes time for fundraising or a benefit Gala where it is an appropriate time to ask, “Would you like to donate to our worthy cause?”  they’ll be more likely to cough up the dough, because of the emails you send them.


Read More
What Tests Are Good To Run On My Campaigns Before I Hit Send?

What Tests Are Good To Run On My Campaigns Before I Hit Send?

Practical Marketer • August 18, 2016

Tests like A/B testing can be invaluable to email marketers. However, A/B test is an umbrella term for when you are testing different elements within your email to compare and see which works better. But there are many things that you can test for in an email. Here are some good tests to perform before sending your email campaign: Subject Lines Time of Day Inbox Tests Subject Lines Subject lines are very important. Not only do filters look at subject lines for possible spam, but it describes what the email is about and entices the subscriber to open the email. So coming up with that perfect sounding subject line can be difficult. By performing an A/B test to test the different subject lines you come up with, the winning subject line will be sent to the majority of your list for an optimum open rate. So what would you open, a subject line like, “Benchmark Email Monthly Updates” or would you open, “Benchmark Email New Feature and Patch Notes?” Time of Day A common question we\'re often asked is when to send your email? Well, this largely depends on your contacts and their preference, useful information may be their occupation and their company location. Depending on the content of your email, you may want to send an email early in the morning as people are checking their work/business related emails. Or you may want to send catalogs during lunch or afternoon for a quick look at deals and some quick shopping. Since finding that good time largely depends on the type of email and content, again testing sending different times of the day, or even different days of the week. However, it’s very important to note before we start testing wildly. Best practice dictates that if you promise to send daily, weekly, or annual, you should always stick to that regimen. Trying to find a good time of day or week should not impede that promise. Inbox Tests This is a common test being done today but I thought I should bring it up because there are many ways to go about doing so. Some of us are aware that all the different browsers and software used to view emails can alter the email so that it can be displayed nicely on their end. However this sometimes causes problems, especially in the case of Microsoft Outlook, which uses the Word processing engine to render the email. It’s very important to invest time to testing what your emails would look like in at the very least the most common services like: Gmail Yahoo AOL Hotmail Outlook These 5 are the most commonly used public email services. By having an account for each of these services, you’ll be able to cover at the very least public domains. Another method to testing how emails would look is by using Benchmark Email’s Inbox Checker tool. This tool will allow the user to test the email on any computer operating system, browser, and service. Users can also test the email in a pass or fail type of test. The underlying theme to these tests how can we as the sender, better engage or get better visibility with the client. Subject lines are to catch the attention of the subscriber. Then there’s time of day so that we at least know they are awake when they receive the email!. Lastly, we need to make sure that the email looks good for that person, for whatever inbox they are using. It’s impossible to test and guarantee all emails, we definitely try our best.


Read More
1 2