Series Posts: Practical Marketer

How Can I Avoid Harming My Brand With My Email Marketing?

How Can I Avoid Harming My Brand With My Email Marketing?

Practical Marketer • July 5, 2016

To avoid harming your brand, you need to avoid consistently sending unwanted emails. Not just once or twice, but consistently sending time after time will be the factor in harming your brand. It’s like a bully at school knocking your books down every time an email is sent. A little extreme, but you get the picture. What you should avoid doing, before you harm your brand: Using A Public Domain Irregular Sending Sending Grey Mail Using A Public Domain Using a public domain such as Gmail, Yahoo, or AOL can harm your brand when sending emails. The reason being is that anybody can sign up for these services and create an email. That doesn’t make your brand any different than the 6 billion individuals in the world. What makes you different? Having a private domain for your email address will not only improve your branding, but also your deliverability. Irregular Sending Sending irregularly is a problem as well. It’s hard to determine when to send a campaign to your subscribers. Should it be daily? Weekly? Monthly? Quarterly? Yearly? The answer is any of the above! Pay attention to your reports to know the frequency with which your subscribers want you to send. You can also employ different strategies for a daily email campaign and then a monthly email campaign as well. This could be a type of segment! The point is to make sure you have enough content and enough time to stay on a regular schedule. If a person is expecting an email from you subscription at 1pm every week, keep that schedule! You’ll lose interest and subscribers if your schedule bounces around everywhere during the year. Grey Mail Grey Mail is a term not widely known or used in email marketing. Grey Mail is the email that subscribers receive, but do not open. They don’t open the email often because the subscriber knows what the email is about. It could be a transactional email, notification email or even a promotional email that they don’t care to open. It’s not a usually bad thing to send to these contacts, but nowadays there is so much Grey Mail that it’s starting to look like spam from the 90s and early millennium. What should you do with Grey Mail? It’s the same question as, “what can I do to improve my deliverability?” The answer is keeping up with your list hygiene. Cleaning your list of bounces and unopens regularly can improve your deliverability, brand and ultimately your ROI. Cleaning your list doesn’t mean deleting your contacts or subscribers, but maybe setting them aside for a different strategy. Allow them a chance to unsubscribe. You don’t want to be emailing anyone that doesn’t want it! That will only hurt your brand.


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Top 10 sales email subject lines to increase open rates

Top 10 sales email subject lines to increase open rates

Practical Marketer • May 20, 2016

You invest time drafting a perfect sales email pitch, inserting the perfect links and crafting the perfect CTA (call-to-action) for your emails. Is your time well spent? All this is a waste if nobody even bothers to open your email. This is where the importance of a subject line becomes the topic of discussion. Email marketing is still among one of the best method of communication with prospects, leads and customers. In the era of the crowded email inbox, before your prospects, leads or customers reads your email ... it has to be opened first. That’s why the subject line of a sales email plays a vital role. The more people that open your emails, the increased probability for sales. Hundreds of billions of sales emails are sent every day to grab the attention of the customer. How many unread emails are there in your inbox? 200? 500? Probably 1,000 if you have subscribed to countless mailing lists. People today get many emails daily and most of them go unopened. People are flooded with more information than ever before and have less time to soak it all in. Most of the emails are simply ignored ... unless they have a rocking subject line. According to a study on email statistics, 35% of recipients open emails based on the subject lines alone and 69% of the recipients report an email as SPAM based on the subject line of the email alone. There isn’t a silver-bullet subject line for a given subject, because what works for one business might not work effectively for another. Just think about this: will you open an email that has a subject line “Open Me” or “Hi” or “URGENT” or “Register to win FREE iPhone 6S+” or something similar? All such emails directly land in your SPAM folder. A bad subject line will get 5x less customers that open and read your emails. The best sales email subject lines should be creative, igniting the interest in the customers. They should have a curiosity seeking subject that is relevant to them, all while also being informative. Looking for some interesting and provoking subject lines for your sales emails that scream out “Open Me Now?” Then here are best sales email subject lines that will boost the open rates of your emails: “Need My Help?” or “Hoping to Help” The best sales people today are the ones who can help their customers solve problems. If your email lands in the inbox with an open-ended subject line like “Tell Me What You Have Been Struggling With” or “Tell Me Everything That You Have Tried and How Can I Help You” or something like “Hoping to Help” there is an increased chance for your emails being opened. Prospects get an idea on your willingness to be of service to the customers. “[Name of the Prospect], do you have 15 minutes for a conversation?” These kind of subject lines distinguish your emails from other marketers, because you’re asking a question directly in the subject line which addresses the person with his or her name. Personalized subject lines with a question in the subject help increase open rates. “We found you through [Name of the Referral]” or “[Name of the Referral] suggested that we connect” If someone referred you to a prospect, make sure to use their name in the subject rather than saving it for the body of the email. Using the name of the referral in subject line grabs a prospect’s attention right away and also gives automatic credibility to the sender for leveraging an existing connection of the prospect. A Subject Line With A Reply “Re” Many marketers use a “Re:” or “FW” in their email subject lines with an eye towards increasing their open and conversion rates. This is a clever tactic, as it exhibits a personal relationship with the prospect that you know them. However, once a prospect open the email and gets to know that they have been tricked and have not had any prior conversations with you this kind of an email subject line will not impress them. If you have actually spoken with them before and this is a factual reply then you can try removing the subject line as a whole and just including “Re” to increase the response rate of your sales emails. Email Subject Lines That Convey An Idea The Prospect Cares About If you are a blogger, an email with a subject “Idea for increasing unique visitors to your [blog name]” may intrigue you enough to click through the email and read it. Nobody wants to miss out on a free idea and the probability that prospects will open an email is greatly increased. Listicle Subject Line With Tips Or Ideas Listicle subject lines in sales emails are an effective and simple way to attract the attention of prospects.  If you are an email marketer, a subject line with “10 Best Email Subject Lines to Increase Your Open Rates by 80%” will attract you more than a subject like “Email Subject Lines To Increase Open Rates.” Using numbers in the subject line makes a prospects aware of what they are going to read. Personalized Email Subject Lines with a Question: “Hi [Name of the Prospect], [Question the prospect is looking to solve]?” If James is a content writer, then an email with a subject line something like “Hi James, Do you know how to write compelling content that boosts traffic?” will surely motivate James to open the email as it addresses his problem. Subject lines with a question are a great way to compel people to open your emails, as prospects are promised that the email content is intended to guide them and help achieve a goal. “Don’t Open This Email” Human Psychology works just the opposite way. If someone refrains you from doing something, you always are keener on doing it. This subject line is the most simple and effective means to create curiosity among the prospects to open your emails. Email Subject Lines That Benefit the Prospect= “A [Benefit] for [Prospects_CompanyName]” If a company, “ABC Inc.,” has recently launched a blog and is looking to increase its subscriber base, then a sales email subject line like “Get your first 2000 subscribers to the ABC Inc. Blog” will invoke the self-interest in opening the email to find out what’s in store to increase the number of subscribers for the blog and help it grow. That level of personalization in the subject line is likely to catch the eyes of the prospect. Email Without A Subject Line / A Blank Subject Line Email Yes, you read it right. If you cannot think of any subject line and have been scratching your head for quite some time, then just type in your email body and hit SEND. According to a study by Sidekick, emails with an empty subject line are opened 8% more often than the emails that contain a subject line. Remember getting your sales email subject lines right or wrong can actually be the difference between your emails being opened and converting to customer or lying dead in the spam folder. The ultimate goal is to make your sales email subject line stand out. These are just some of the convincing sales email subject lines that will increase your email response rates. How you customize these subject lines based on your niche in order  to increase your open rates and click-through rates is up to you. What are your favorite sales email subject lines that have stood out for your email marketing campaigns? Chime in your thoughts in the comments below!


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5 Reasons Why Your Email Campaign is Hitting The “Junk” Folder

5 Reasons Why Your Email Campaign is Hitting The “Junk” Folder

Practical Marketer • September 4, 2015

You can have something amazing to say in every weekly email update. You can have the greatest content team producing stunning email marketing content. You can have the best target list of email subscribers. Yet, there’s one major glitch you might not even be aware of: spam triggers. Recently, I spoke with a few companies that didn’t understand why their email campaigns to a list of opted-in subscribers had such marginally low click-open rates. As it turns out, each campaign was going into the spam folder. Here’s why that happens. Failed Subject Lines Your subject line is the first impression you give an email server of the type of content you’re sending out. However, if you’re subject line is too “animated” with the use excessive exclamation marks, then it’s going to trigger the spam. Same goes for subject lines that include symbols, the word “free” and/or the letter “X.” Each of those trigger junk mail filters for spam or inappropriate content. Frustrating Navigation No matter how great your email campaign is, someone people are just going to want to unsubscribe. However, if you don’t have a clear and easy way to guide them to an unsubscribe link – or if you don’t even include a link – frustrated readers will just mark you as spam. You’re better off having someone unsubscribe than having them mark your email as spam. Faulty Email Servers Certain email servers have more sensitive spam triggers than others, which means that they’re more inclined to toss your campaign into a slush pile. How an email server treats email content will depend on the server. There’s another more challenging face to this problem: you ultimately have zero control of other people’s email servers. Trapped by Large Visuals The trend in email campaigns is to have visually rich content that sprinkles in language selectively and has redirect links. To do this, you need to use a template. Some novice email marketers will design on large image and have that embedded as the email marketing content. This doesn’t work. The reason why is because spam filters are specifically looking out for this type of email content because it’s usually where suspect content is hidden. So if you’re sending visuals – great, you’re onto something there. But take the time to format a proper template to guide your design so you can escape the junk mail filters. Email Flood Another problem you could be facing is that you’re just sending out too many emails in one go, which also triggers a spam alert. This problem is particularly relevant if you’re not using an email marketing software that can help organize your campaign distributions. Despite the challenges faced in meeting your email marketing click-open goals, there are steps you can take the rescue your email campaign from the “junk” folder. Talk to your email campaign provider to see why they feel you’re having this problem. Depending on the campaign platform, it could either that you’re sending mass emails or that your dealing with a new domain. When you’re getting to the bottom of the problem, realize that you’re dealing with a bit of a Rubik cute and you’re going to need to play around with a few variables before you figure it out. However, getting to the bottom of the problem is crucial if you plan on creating effective campaigns that engage and convert your audience.


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Presence for Non-Profits: 3 Elements of Successful Annual Appeals

Presence for Non-Profits: 3 Elements of Successful Annual Appeals

Practical Marketer • September 22, 2012

In my experience, most annual fund appeals consist either of a letter or a brochure/flyer with a short note seeking your support. Whether you are at a large organization or a small operation, asking donors to make charitable contributions is one of the most important things on your annual to-do list. While there are a myriad of variables to consider in regard to your annual fundraising strategy, I have boiled them down to three key elements of successful annual appeals: 1) A Message that Clearly & Concisely Explains Your Organization’s Mission Don’t underestimate the power – and importance – of a clear and simple message. Whether asking loyalty donors to renew or prospective donors to make a first-time gift, they need to understand what their gift will be supporting. The aforementioned loyalty donors may not need the same depth in the case of support as a prospective donor, who does not have the same knowledge of your organization, but this is something that you can modulate as needed and depending upon your target audience. (N.B. – One assumption that I am making here is that your organization is actively engaged in effective donor stewardship practices, which are showing your donors the impact of their past financial support.) 2) The Perspective of Someone Your Recipients Will Relate To One of the well-worn maxims of non-profit fundraising is that to be successful you must ask for the right amount, at the right time and have the right person asking. Though this is usually applied to face-to-face fundraising, I think it is even more important for direct mail fundraising efforts. For example, here at International House, after kicking off a multi-million-dollar challenge grant a few years ago, our fall appeal went out from the challenge donor, one of our oldest and most generous alumni. The recipients were not just hearing from the president or a board member about this new opportunity, they were hearing directly from the donor about what inspired the gift and how donor dollars would make this a reality. 3) An Understanding of How Your Donors Normally Respond Without identifying the trends in response rate over the course of a few years and a good sample of appeals, you can spend each year starting from scratch. Only in the last year have I been more intentional in using hard data to inform our annual fundraising strategy in my current role. The basic information that I compiled was: who authored the appeal (trustee, alumnus/alumna, resident), when it went out, the response rate, total amount raised and the theme. While I know that many fundraisers do not think that they have the time for this kind of analysis, the resulting information can clearly indicate what themes and perspectives have yielded the best and worst results from your donor base. With this knowledge, you can then use more of the successful approaches to raise more money from your donors (of course, while not asking too often). Do these elements ring true for your annual fundraising efforts? Did I leave out something that has been critical to your past success? Let me know in the comments below. a Rafflecopter giveaway


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