Series Posts: Beyond

Inbox Placement Results from 2 Billion Email Messages

Inbox Placement Results from 2 Billion Email Messages

Beyond • October 18, 2018

Return Path announced this year’s annual benchmark report and it is very important to gain perspectives to boost our email deliverability. In this benchmark report more than 2 billion promotional email messages that send between July 2017 and June 2018, have analyzed. Thanks to this research we have now 12 month global, regional, and country inbox placement results, as well as inbox placement rates by industry and the top four mailbox providers. Before sharing the findings of this report, I want to start by describing the email path to the inbox. Email Delivery Through the internet, multiple servers help emails to reach their destination point. Through their journey, there occurs a decision process to determine them as they’re trustable or not. Unfortunately, a lot of emails blocked on the gateway and never reach the spam folder or inbox folder. Also, email open rates are very important. They are calculated by email service providers. ESPs consider the number of people who open the email and dividing it by the number of emails sent that failed to reach the reader. For example, if you sent out 100 emails, 20 bounced, and 10 were opened, you would have an open rate of 12.5%. After passing the gateway, spam filters consider the relevancy of the content, sender reputation, and user engagement to decide whether to send them in the spam folder or inbox. For detailed information about spam folders check out How to Increase Email Open Rates. Measuring the Inbox Placement In this report, Return Path used two different sets of data to calculate inbox placement; Seed Data Panel Data (Consumer Data) First of all, don’t forget that we’re talking about hundreds of mailbox providers around the world. So, numbers are huge! Let’s start by measuring the inbox placement. Well, seed data is used to see if seed addresses are delivered or went into the spam folder or inbox. It’s a good option to measure missing or blocked emails. Also, global or country-specific inbox placement rates are calculated by seed data. Panel data is used for email data and real-world information. The main purpose is to understand subscriber engagement. How about measuring engagement data? Well, the answer is, they have 2 million users in their system! So, mailbox provider and industry-specific inbox placement are calculated with panel data in this research. Global Inbox Placement Average global inbox placement increased by 5% points this year. In the second quarter of 2018, the most significant increase came in with 7% points over the same period last year. Inbox Placement in North America North America deliverability was driven largely by increased inbox placement in the United States. Mails sent to US subscribers reached the inbox an average of 83% of the time. An increase of 6% percentage points over the previous period. The average inbox placement rate to Canadian mailboxes of 89% exceeded the global average. Inbox Placement in Latin America Latin America region dropped 3% percentage points this period for an average of 78%. Only Mexico was able to achieve deliverability above the global average. Inbox Placement in Europe Deliverability to European mailboxes rose slightly to an average inbox placement rate of 86%. Greece, Portugal, and Norway have Europe’s highest inbox placement at 93%. Austrian mailboxes saw the lowest inbox placement of any European country (79%). In Ireland, email deliverability rate increased 15% points for a new average of 92% inbox placement. Denmark and the Czech Republic saw the largest decline in deliverability among European countries with 3% points below the previous period. Inbox Placement in Asia-Pacific In the previous reporting period, Asia-Pacific Region had 79% in inbox placement. This year they saw a slight decline in inbox placement with an average rate of  78%. Senders in mailing to Singapore and New Zealand consumers helped bring up the regional average with inbox placement rates of 90% in both countries. Chinese mailboxes fell far below the global average with an average inbox placement rate of just 57%. Before jumping up the findings I should remind you that this part is calculated using panel data. While reviewing these benchmarks, consider: This data shows accepted emails by the gateway. Blocked or blacklisted messages aren’t included. Panel data shows only the top four webmail providers: Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and AOL. Global Inbox Placement at the Top Four Mailbox Providers Marketers are successfully reaching mailboxes at AOL, Gmail, and Yahoo, seeing inbox placement rates above 90 every quarter. Outlook was a challenging mailbox for marketers to reach with a period average of just 75%. Inbox Placement By Industry Industry results are based on global panel data consisting of more than 17,000 commercial senders, 2 million consumer panelists, and 2 billion commercial email messages sent to Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and AOL users in the same time period. Across the board, every industry saw an increase in inbox placement compared to the previous period. Distribution & manufacturing and banking & finance had the highest inbox placement averages for the period at 96%. Education/nonprofit/government had the lowest inbox placement rate at 83%. The automotive industry saw the largest increase in inbox placement with %88 of email reaching subscribers’ inboxes—an increase of 11% points over the previous period. Well, we’ve covered the email deliverability benchmark 2018 in this article. I hope you find it useful for your email marketing benefits. I’d be glad if you share your comments or additional information.


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Email Marketing in Holiday Season: How to Get the Most Out of it?

Email Marketing in Holiday Season: How to Get the Most Out of it?

Beyond • October 9, 2018

Small businesses have a lot of competition around the holiday season and a lot of pressure to make sure that the customers are ready to purchase even when they are reluctant to do so. ‘Big guys’ can afford to wait until the end of November and then spend huge chunks of their marketing budget on TV commercials, billboard advertising, radio jingles, newspaper advertisement, digital marketing channels and sponsorships. However, small businesses may not have multi-million dollar budgets but they do have the power of social media and email marketing! According to a Forbes survey, 82% of the consumers said they’re likely to buy online as compared to 77% people who prefer in-store shopping. Let’s take a look at the 2017 online shopping trends during the holiday season: Desktop beats mobile in terms of purchasing behavior. Amazon’s 72% of sales in December 2017 were made through desktop devices. Amazon is still the king in US eCommerce scenario but other competitors are making huge gains. About two-thirds of total purchases made during the holiday season were made on Amazon. However, Macy’s improved its desktop conversion rates by 7-8 times. It is no longer about a specific day during the holiday season but over an extensive period of time. November 2017 generated $33bn in sales which is 17% more than the previous year according to Adobe. When it comes to marketing, one of the most important things to be aware of is the demographics of your Target Audience. According to a report by Business Insider Intelligence earlier this year, millennials remain the key age demographic for online commerce, spending more money online in a given year than any other age group. Millennial consumers–especially those between ages 18 and 29–are also interested in adopting alternative ways of gift-giving, such as loyalty points/rewards, gift cards, etc. Therefore, as an eCommerce business owner, you must make sure to come up with email marketing strategies that cater to this segment i.e. the infamous millennials! Before we get into the tips and tricks on how to get most of the holiday season, let’s take a look at some of the most important dates in the Holiday season: Nov. 23: Thanksgiving Nov. 24: Black Friday Nov. 25: Small Business Saturday Nov. 27: Cyber Monday Nov. 28: Giving Tuesday Dec. 11: Green Monday Dec. 12: Start of Hanukkah Dec. 15: Free Shipping Day Dec. 24: Christmas Eve Dec. 25: Christmas Day Dec. 26: Start of Kwanzaa Dec. 31: New Year’s Eve Jan. 1: New Year’s Day Now that you’ve memorized the above-mentioned dates, here are a few tips and tricks to use to make sure that you stand out from the ‘big guys’ during the holiday season. 1. Start Early and Maintain Momentum For many customers, the holiday season begins before Black Friday or Cyber Monday and they’re lining up their purchases before that. Most of the customer purchases are now well-researched as customers make the purchases after comparing several offers and products. Making an email marketing strategy and sending out a holiday teaser email is a great way to get the attention of your customers. Sending out an early email makes sure that your email arrives before the major inflow of the marketing emails from other brands and gives you the edge. Teaser emails also build excitement and momentum among the customers for the business. Fulcrum Tech, for example, sent out teaser holiday season emails in 2016 and witnessed a whopping 238% increase in revenue from over the previous year on the Cyber Monday deals. 2. Leverage Urgency Using urgency is a great way to boost your revenues. A limited offer in an email that is sent out to your customers would prompt them to take action now instead of later. Nobody likes to miss out! We’ve all had to deal with heartbreaks where we liked something and when we came back to buy it, it was sold out! You can leverage urgency in the following ways: Promotion of early bird discounts for some of your products and services. Including the cut-off time and dates for the products to ship so that your customers know that they will have to make a purchase before that Displaying countdown timer on your email driving urgency among the customer to buy the product. Sending out emails with a limited product quantity or creating flash sales. Below is a good example of Optinmonster executing the idea of leveraging urgency without a cluttered design: 3. Personalize Your Holiday Email Campaigns A vast usage of predictive analytics can help your business personalize the content of the emails that you are sending out. Customer engagement can be generated through the recommendation of the products similar to the ones that they recently purchased or the ones that they browsed through your website. Businesses can also leverage other demographics such as age and gender to design and send out their email marketing campaigns. This makes the emails more personalized and the customers feel connected to your brand, developing a stronger brand loyalty with it. 4. Pay Attention to What Your Users Want This Year/Season If I ask people what they want for the holiday season in the context of shopping, they are most likely to say nice warm clothes and discounts. Their needs and wants change with every season, and you, as an eCommerce store owner, have to keep a keen eye on their changing needs and wants. If you check Google Trends for the topic of sweaters, you will see: Upon analyzing the graph Google has generated for us, we understand that the trends for Sweaters in the USA in 2017 rose between the colder months (which also include the holiday season) i.e. September to January. Again, in August 2018, the graph has begun to rise. As an eCommerce store, you need to prepare for the rising trends by starting early. When I typed women’s knitwear USA on Google, the first organic link to appear was Boohoo’s, an online fashion store based in the US. This shows that they know exactly what the customers will be wanting and hence searching for around this time and in the upcoming months, and have prepared their eCommerce website accordingly. Also, they have made 7 categories for knitwear to make it easy for the customer to navigate and find exactly the kind of knitwear they are looking for. Upon visiting the website, I am taken directly to the sale section in women’s knitwear, which again shows they are catering to both the things their customers currently want: warm clothes and hot sales. Paying attention to your customer base’s needs can be very helpful. A business needs to deliver content that the customer cares about. The question is, “shouldn’t I always deliver content that my customer cares about?” The answer to this is ‘YES!’ but since the customers are bombarded with content over the holiday season, the best way to get a response from them would be by providing them the content that they really want to see. You can use customer feedback collection forms to get a fair idea of what your customers want and then build your eCommerce website around these insights. The survey would help you in following: Improving the content that you’re sending out in your emails Targeting your messages through segmentation of the email lists. Creating and defining offers/discounts for the holiday season While segmenting the email lists, please take into account the open and click through rate factors. Also the purchase behaviors of the customers and their preferences when they chose to sign up for your email list. 5. Growing the Email List Through Pop-Ups Did you know that a recent Listrak study found that pop-ups help achieve an average email list growth of 20%? In addition to this finding, Listrak also reported that the revenue of the welcome/sign-up email is 23% higher for the new subscribers who join your email lists through pop-ups on your website. Pop-ups are an excellent way to gather email data of the users. An excellent strategy would be to offer a discount on sign-up for the website. Sophie and Trey use pop-ups on the home page of their website and offer 10% off on the next purchase. The cost of acquisition of the customer is 10% of the order but in the long run, it can translate into more sales and remarketing opportunities. Once the user is within your email list, you can reach out to them with the latest products, promotions and offers. 6. Exclusive Content The people in your email list signed up for exclusive content. They became the readers/receivers of your emails in order to get exclusive content. Offer them something extra. Treating the people on your email list the same way as the ones on your social media accounts is not going to help them feel exclusive. Tell your readers about the upcoming holiday deals in advance. Offer them extra discounts or free shipping. Give them early bird deals. Another way of reaching out to them is by making sure that they are the first ones to know when the holiday deals are live. Exclusivity can be a great tool for generating brand loyalty. Providing customers with content that can be helpful for them in the shopping seasons like tips for the busy holiday season or family traditions can help you make a personal connection with your customers. Wrapping Up Remember, improving your sales by improving your website is one of the best things you can do for your brand. With October (hint: Halloween!) and November just around the corner, we’re sure you can make use of some of the tips mentioned above and make your holiday email marketing campaigns a great success. Let me know what techniques you use during holidays in the comments below!


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Illustrating the Career of His Dreams with Armando Veve

Illustrating the Career of His Dreams with Armando Veve

Beyond • October 5, 2018

You don\'t wind up on Forbes 30 Under 30 list by accident. It takes hard work, determination and talent. All three of which Armando Veve has in spades. Armando is a Philadelphia-based artist and illustrator. His work has been featured in the New York Times, The New Yorker, Wired and many more publications. He\'s also been awarded two gold medals from the Society of Illustrators, which is extra special given that it\'s voted on by his peers. It involves a lot of storytelling. It\'s kind of like I\'m writing. I\'m a writer, but I do it through pictures. We discussed how Armando got his start as an Illustrator, some projects he\'s had along the way and advice he has for wannabe illustrators. We also talked about the opportunities he has for his work to come off the page and into art galleries, which creates a new experience for the viewer. Lastly, Aramando clues us in as to what his future might hold. 2:37 - On what it means to be an illustrator 5:16 - Talking about beginning his career as an illustrator 13:24 - The purpose that print publications still serve 21:30 - When he knew his passion was a viable career option and advice for others looking to do it 27:10 - The New York Times cover story he said no to


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15 Phrases You Should Never Use in Email Marketing

15 Phrases You Should Never Use in Email Marketing

Beyond • October 1, 2018

Email marketing can be complex business. To understand it and effectively leverage it, you should consistently practice and learn from the results. There are a lot of email practices that can boost your performance and a lot of disempowering techniques that will only damage your business. Hannah Digweed, CEO at edugeeksclub.com, had to say: The importance of the wording you use throughout your emails is high, simply because an email is simply a bridge of communication between your brand and your customers. When you send an email, you’ll have to be extremely careful about adding relevant information. On the other hand, you should also pay a great deal of attention to how your message could influence the perception or behavior of your subscribers. Nevertheless, some words should never be pronounced in email marketing. Some words can turn a loyal subscriber into a stranger, while some words can diminish your brand’s reputation. Well, in today’s post, I’ve collected a list of 15 phrases that you should never include in your email marketing campaigns. The reason is obvious: you’re risking decreasing your reputation and trust, making your prospects and customers less interested in what you’ll have to offer next. You can avoid that by simply avoiding these unprofessional phrases. “Hi, [Subscriber name]” Personalizing your subscribers’ experience is one thing and using an outdated strategy that is no longer effective is another. Customizing your user’s experience is now more than adding a “Hi/Hello/Hey/Yo”, followed by a personalization token (their first name), and perhaps, followed by a generic headline. Instead of using “Hi, subscriber name”, you should focus on keywords that actually reflect your subscriber’s intent. This way, you’ll build rapport instantaneously and you’ll build more trust than by simply calling your prospect’s name, letting him know that you’re aware of his existence. Most people have already got it – they understand that what email marketers are doing is automated, and for those that do understand, this email headline or email start will be a turnoff. “Free” Your subscribers probably understand that nothing in this world comes for free. The more you push the word “free” through your email headlines or through the email content, the less trustworthy you’ll look. A lot of spammy emails contain the word “free”, “consultation”, “opportunity”, “promotion”, and so on. Be different and keep this cheap wording away from your email subscribers. Try to find better ways to preserve their attention! “Act Now” Using “Act now” as an email headline is probably a big mistake, especially for those of you who haven’t had enough time or opportunities to strengthen the relationship with your customers. “Act now” is a strong call-to-action, and it should always be used very carefully. It sounds a little pushy, and a little scammy too. Check your spam emails – can you detect it? I tried, and it’s present in 5 different spam emails. “Don’t Delete” Asking your email subscribers (the ones who agreed to follow your emails) not to delete your email is nonsense. First of all, I get why you’d get an impulse to use this phrase. It attracts attention. However, if you think about it, this is a desperate phrase that most of the low-level marketers use to push mediocre offers. The phrase it’s used mostly when an audience is highly skeptical about something, so you should never give your email subscribers the chance to even contemplate on this aspect. Simply avoid it! “Hey there…” “Hey there” could be useful if your relationship with your customers is super tight. They should be your customers, you should have already met in person, and you should share some things in common before using this phrase. Otherwise, even if you believe that it might help you “bond” with your customers, using this phrase might get you a different result. Some readers might see it as “too informal,” so they won’t even bother reading it. “In my opinion” If your prospects have agreed to become your email subscribers, it means that they’re looking for an authoritative figure to teach them how to improve their lives. By constantly using “In my opinion”, you’re showing that your content is not carefully documented, and therefore it won’t be considered trustworthy. Instead of “In my opinion”, you should cite the references or the studies that prove your statements. “To be honest” Your readers are already expecting you to be honest, so why would you remind them that you’re being honest with them? This phrase is truly unnecessary and should be avoided. Sometimes, we keep using this phrase without realizing it. In real life, it might be useful for capturing someone’s attention. In emails? Useless! “Increase sales now” If you wonder why this phrase gets blocked by email providers, here’s the simple answer: it is used too many times, by too many people, in too many niches. Therefore, it is often counted as “spam”, so your email campaign’s performance will suffer consequences. Instead of using “Increase sales” or “Increase sales now” in your headline, try adding it throughout your email copy without overusing it. “Online biz opportunity” First of all, by shortening words in your emails you are proving that you lack self-awareness. Of course, shortening words might get your work done faster and in a more convenient way, but have you stopped a moment to reflect on how these half-words will be perceived by your audience? “Online biz opp” is a highly controversial phrase that screams “scam” to every Internet user who has been around for more than five years. You can bet that no millennial or Gen X or Z user will click on that headline, nor they will follow you again after noticing your “spam” attempt. “While you sleep” Most fake marketers are promising a goldmine opportunity: make money “while you sleep”, lose fat “while you sleep”, become famous “while you sleep”. You can see how absurd this promise looks like, right? It’s one of the phrases that “looks too good to be true”. However, marketers never seem to stop using it, even though it often backfires. My suggestion? Leave it out of your email campaigns and encourage your people to work more and do more to achieve their goals instead of delivering illusions. “Call now” or “Quick call?” Email is a channel of communication that allows businesses to interact with customers. More often than not, these customers have no understanding or knowledge about the businesses they follow, so they’re likely to keep their “shields’ ready. If you encourage your email subscribers to “Call now” or if you ask them whether they’re up for a “Quick call”, you’re stepping some boundaries that your customers surely don’t appreciate. I would always avoid this phrase, especially if you haven’t earned your customers’ full trust already. Misspelled Words Misspelled words are huge turn off, especially when they’re being spotted in emails. Your subscribers have chosen your email campaign because they’re looking for value. Some of these people could lack patience, could be critical, or could be harsh. When they detect misspelled words and poor phrases, their confidence and trust in your business will quickly decline. I’d suggest you always double check your email content using your own eyes, your editor’s skills, and perhaps you should use the help of some grammar and spellchecking digital tools. “Re:” Using “Re:” in a subject line is a cheap tactic that many marketers use to induce their subscribers into error. The strategy’s purpose is to make the subscriber believe that they’ve already had a discussion with the email sender. If the email subscriber falls for it, he’ll pay more attention to the next email. However, if the subscriber doesn’t fall for it, the “unsubscribe” button will often be pushed. “Great Deal” Unless you’re super familiar with your customers (and they’ve already bought many products from you), avoid this phrase by all means. Instead of getting into a real discussion, what you’re clogging your subscribers’ minds with money, equations, possibilities, opportunities, and so on. They’ll keep wanting you to get to the point, which is the “deal” that you’ve promised. Instead of that, focus on providing quality and valuable content and leave the promotional part at the end. “Urgent” or “Buy Now” Encouraging your customers to buy something right now is an action that can backfire and lead to negative consequences. If you choose to use “Urgent”, “Buy now”, “Deal is off tomorrow”, or anything else that creates scarcity and fear of missing out, ensure that your customers trust you with their hearts. Else, you’ll risk being seen as an intrusive marketer who’s there “for the money”. Takeaways Never use these phrases in your email marketing sequence and you should stay out of these unfortunate troubles. You can’t always control what people think about you and your brand. What you can do is ensure that you’re staying updated with the most common “rejected” phrases while keeping your emails clean, relevant, and professional.


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Top Integrations to Grow Your List

Top Integrations to Grow Your List

Beyond • September 24, 2018

“The money is in the list. Email is the most valuable channel when it comes to marketing.” - Neil Patel As Neil Patel rightly points out, your contact list is the lifeblood of your email marketing efforts. Growing your list is an important part of that, even though it’s not the size of your list that matters. It’s quality over quantity. Certainly, you’ve seen signup forms on every website homepage, blog page or even eCommerce store you’ve visited across the Web. However, that’s not the only way to grow your list. Each tool or app you’re using for your business can be a new opportunity to grow your list thanks to integration. Growing Your Email List Doesn’t Begin or End with Email After all, email likely isn’t the only touch point or interaction you have with your customers. You need to make sure that all your tools and apps work together to create one positive user experience across all platforms, tools and apps. Email is simply the tool that you can send to large segments of a list to communicate your messages. It can also be used when an automation is triggered based on customer actions. Besides, even before you began email marketing, you likely began amassing a list of contacts through one, or many, of your other business tools and apps. You’d be silly not to take advantage of the work you’ve already done! Use Integrations to Grow Your List If you’re using a CRM tool or any other cloud-based SaaS product to manage your list, you can easily import your contacts to your Benchmark Email account. This has been made easier than ever before with Benchmark Email’s partnership with PieSync thanks to the ability to sync up to 2,000 contacts for free. Let’s take a look at some of the tip integrations to grow your list: Contact Repository Integrations Perhaps you’ve previously been keeping a list of contacts somewhere like iCloud or Google Contacts. You can easily integrate those tools with your Benchmark Email account and import those contacts. Taking these steps will help you do things as simple as seeing who opened your emails and what links they clicked on, among many of the other advantages offered by email marketing. Here are the contact repository integrations currently available with PieSync: Contactlab Marketing Cloud iCloud Office 365 Outlook.com FullContact Microsoft Exchange Google Contacts Nimble eCommerce Integrations We’ve already discussed how email marketing is a very good friend of your eCommerce store. Integrating the two will help you create loyal customers and repeat business. There are all sorts of opportunities for marketing automation when you integrate your email marketing and eCommerce. You can trigger purchase confirmations, review requests, cart abandonment emails and more based on the subscriber’s engagements with your email campaigns and website. Here are the eCommerce integrations currently available with PieSync: Shopify Contactlab Marketing Cloud BigCommerce Helpdesk Integrations Your customer support is another touch point that can help you grow your email list. After all, your interactions with your customers shouldn’t solely exist when they’re encountering an issue or have a question. With a helpful integration and the use of marketing automation, you can follow-up with customers to make sure their issues were solved, to request a review of your customer support or offer additional resources. These are the Helpdesk integrations you can put to use thanks to PieSync: Clarabridge CX Social Crisp Desk Freshdesk Front Groove Help Scout Intercom Kustomer Mojo Helpdesk Teamwork Desk Zendesk CRM Integrations Your CRM should be the ultimate tool for growing your email marketing list. It’s the hub of all the data you collect on your customers and opportunities. Use email marketing to help turn those leads into customers and the ones who do convert to make a purchase into return business. Plus, all the data in your CRM can help you easily segment your contacts for targeted marketing campaigns that will deliver sales. Here are all of the CRM tools available for integration thanks to PieSync: 1CRM Cloud Act! 365 Act! Premium Cloud AllClients amoCRM Apptivo Base CRM Batchbook bexio BigContacts Bitrix24 CRM Bpm’online Capsule CompanyHub ConnectWise Manage Contactlab Marketing Cloud Contactually Copper Drip Efficy CRM EspoCRM Follow Up Boss Freshsales Highrise HubSpot Insightly LeadMaster Less Annoying CRM Livespace CRM Membrain Microsoft Dynamics 365 Nimble Nutshell Odoo Online OnePageCRM Pipedrive Pipelinedeals Pipeliner Podio Propeller CRM Salesflare Salesforce Salesforceiq Salesmate SalesSeek Sellf SugarCRM Teamleader Vtiger CRM Weclapp Workbooks Zoho CRM Other Common Business Tools That Can Help Grow Your List There are numerous tools available to you to help build your email list. If you’re getting an email address as a part of the process with any business tool or app, you can be using that to grow your email list. And you should be doing that. Why waste the efforts you’re making in those apps? You’ve already done the work to get the contact. Put it to use! Here are a few other types of tools you may want to consider integrating with for email marketing: Payment Gateways Document signing Website chat More! Wrapping Up Simply put, if you’re not integrating your email marketing account with as many other business tools and apps as possible, you’re missing opportunities to grow your list. Why leave something on the table? Don’t forget, you can sync up to 2,000 contacts for free thanks to our partnership with PieSync. You can learn more about how to integrate your Benchmark Email account with PieSync, in this helpful FAQ. If you’ve put integration to use for the betterment of your email marketing efforts, we want to hear about it! Share your tips and tricks in the comments below.


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