Series Posts: Practical Marketer

Why Are My Emails Going Into The Promotions Tab?

Why Are My Emails Going Into The Promotions Tab?

Practical Marketer • July 28, 2016

Since Gmail’s smart labels or smart filters were released to its users in 2013, a big question for email marketers has been, “what makes my email go into the promotions tab?” Google being as complex as they are, it’s an algorithm that determines where your emails are sent. There are a variety of factors that determine to which tab your emails are sent. Since Google does not publicly release this information, we can only make observations based on the emails sent and received with each tab. Focusing on the Promotions tab, the emails received there are surprisingly very accurate in terms of being promotional emails. Google’s algorithm is adjusted based on personal preferences and the email recipient’s actions. A subject line like, “$10 Off Your First Item,” is a dead giveaway. Why isn’t this in my spam folder though? I do have a membership to this website, which goes to show how extensive and complex the algorithm is. Your domain and sending reputation undoubtedly are a part of what Google looks at. Google, being one of the biggest online search indexes, might have some sense of who you are based on your domain online. Everyone knows who Amazon and Uber are, but just because your name is big does not mean you’ll get the coveted Primary tab. Amazon mainly sends transactional emails, so those go into my primary tab no problem. Unless I subscribe to their newsletters, those go to the Promotions tab. Uber sends me 50% deals (thank you), but those I’ll only see in my Promotions tab. There are some things we can change, others we can’t. A way to describe the algorithm is that it’s like a very shallow person that puts the emails it doesn’t like, promotional emails, into a special tab, so it can kinda get ignored. Although you can’t change Google’s algorithm, you probably don’t want to change your domain. So what can you do? Well, because the algorithm is complex we can try to influence Google to consider it as a primary email. Here are some tips: Personalization. Using the subscriber\'s name can prove to be influential. However, don’t make it sound too spammy! Images. Promotional emails usually have lots of pictures for their items. Try to reduce images and increase text. Hyperlinks. This is the same concept as images above. Lots of promotional emails have links leading to products. Reducing the number of hyperlinks going to websites can influence the algorithm.


Read More
How Many Emails Should I Send To My Subscribers?

How Many Emails Should I Send To My Subscribers?

Practical Marketer • July 22, 2016

Anytime I do a workshop or seminar, this is probably one of the number one questions I get. “How often should I send emails?” Well, it depends. How often do your subscribers want to hear from you? It is very important to send as often as your subscribers want to hear from you and not as often as you want to talk to them. Think of it as the person who follows you around in the clothing store asking 10 times within 5 min, “Do you need help?” You don’t want to be that person in email form. I signed up to an email list the other day and before I could take my phone out of my pocket, I had already received 5 emails from them! Here are the 5 emails I received: Opt-in Confirmation Email Welcome Email Re-confirm Opt-in Confirmation Email First Steps Intro Personal Account Manager I can totally picture their marketing team talking about the drip campaign for their first-time customers and for these 5 emails making sense, in theory… “An opt-in email to confirm their subscription is a no-brainer!” “We need an introduction email that talks about us and why they need us” “Oh! Lets also send a re-confirmation email, in case the subscriber doesn’t get the first one!” “The subscriber needs to know where to start! Let\'s also send a first steps intro!” “Lets WOW the new signup with a personal account manager as well!” As you can see, it’s easy to get excited with emails. They are quick, easy and show results immediately. So fast that I got a call right after I unsubscribed. Automation is great and can do wonders if it’s used properly. Many times, I see companies create long drip campaigns without really testing them. In theory, the campaign could make sense and even look good! Then when you actually go through the process, you realize you are just burying your subscribers with emails and scaring your customers away! I say this all the time, Email Marketing is not a numbers game. It is important to include a strategy and truly test your paths. For the case mentioned above, they could have given me the same amount of information in fewer emails and spread it out over more time. The idea is to create a constant flow and to make it effortless to the subscriber. If you send me too much at once, I probably won’t read half of it, therefore, missing valuable information and wasting your efforts overall. Make smart drip campaigns. If you don’t already know this, try to understand your customers\' behavior. How they navigate on your site or how they use your product or service. This isn’t rocket science. It can be as easy as just observing and asking your customers key questions or as complex as analyzing piles of data. Either way, your subscribers and customers are what keep your business moving, so it’s important you get to know them and their habits. Let’s take an example of well-timed email marketing. My friend was at a pet store buying some food for his dog and as he paid at the cash register, they asked for his email address. He hesitated for a second because he doesn’t like receiving a lot of emails but this time, he did it for his dog! The person at the cash register promised great deals and that they don’t annoy their subscribers (Yeah right, they all say that!). But here is what happened next: nothing! Or at least it seemed like nothing was happening. Funny enough, right when his gorgeous Husky was almost out of food my friend received an email from the pet shop. The email included a 10% off his next purchase of dog food. This company understood timing with email. I will guarantee this wasn\'t the first bag of food they sold and they know well about how long the bag will last. As my friend gave his email at the point of sale, they can easily time the next email to be sent with an offer to entice my friend to come back. Did it work? Of course, it did! It is extremely important to properly segment your lists and send emails that make sense! Often times companies try to send emails just to be in front of their subscribers. Although this can be great for branding, make sure the email is relevant first! If it isn’t, it’s probably going to waste your time and your subscribers. With Benchmark, we offer integrations with eCommerce platforms that allow you to create this type of automation. With our new Automations by engagement triggers, that allow you to send emails based on previous opens and clicks of other emails, you can push this to the next level! If that 10% didn’t work, the next email can be a “bring a friend” type email and so forth. You can continue this path until the right email lands in your subscribers inbox to get them back in your store. What are the takeaways from this? Be creative, test and get to know your subscribers. Always, Always! Test your own drip campaigns first. Go to your inbox, see what it looks like from the inbox view, read the emails in detail and try to read your own story. What is the story and path you are trying to take your customers down? What are the questions your customers may have and when? If you get bored reading your own emails or they seem too long, if you aren’t answering questions that interest your subscriber you’re probably losing their attention.


Read More
How much time should I spend on my email marketing campaigns?

How much time should I spend on my email marketing campaigns?

Practical Marketer • July 20, 2016

When you first signup for Benchmark Email, the header on the form says you can send your first email in 30 minutes. That’s true. However, that’s not necessarily how much time you can spend on every campaign. True to form with most marketing questions, the real answer is that it depends. It can range from 30 minutes to several hours and maybe more. Let’s look at what factors play into it. If you did want to fire off a quick campaign, it’s perfectly acceptable to select a pre-made template, drop in some quick text and an image or two and send it on its way. This is an incredibly simple thing to do that works great if you don’t have much design expertise or want to send a campaign from a live event. Adding your logo and using a From Name which your subscribers will recognize will go a long way for branding, even with a ready-made template. Creating your first campaign and your own custom template would obviously take a bit longer. However, with a drag-and-drop editor, it shouldn’t be too time-consuming. As you get more experience, the time will shorten too. However, that first time it could take you a few hours to get it just right. Be sure to send a few test emails to make sure it’s what you expected and get opinions from a friend or coworker … or both. Once you’ve created a custom template just to your liking, you can copy it for future campaigns and just replace the copy and images. This may get you back into that 30-minute range, but likely will be about an hour or so. You don’t want to rush it, plus you’ll want time to review previous campaign reports to see what worked and didn’t and how you can improve. If you want to send a design-heavy email campaign, perhaps one that includes an infographic, GIF or something else fun, it could take a day or two to collect all the design elements needed. You’ll want to do some extra testing for these types of campaigns too so that you can be sure all the graphics display properly. So, how much time should you spend on your email marketing campaigns? Say it with me everybody… IT DEPENDS! How much time do you typically spend on your email campaigns? Let us know in the comments!


Read More
What’s the Best Time & Day To Send a Newsletter v. Promo Email?

What’s the Best Time & Day To Send a Newsletter v. Promo Email?

Practical Marketer • July 18, 2016

This question, just like pretty much any question about marketing, has a very simple answer: it depends. It’s the honest answer to everything in marketing. Why? Because there are so many variables that come into play with any marketing campaign. There may be best practices to go off of or even some more methods that seem to be tried and true, but you still won’t know the answers you seek until you answer the next question: what does it depend on? To get those definitive answers, the only way is to test and pay close attention to the data in your reports. However, you have to start somewhere. To start off on the right foot, there are two factors to consider when beginning an email campaign. Those two factors will help you discover the best day and time to send a newsletter campaign or a promo email … and help you with several other things when it comes to email marketing. Here’s what you need to consider: Understand your goals You must know what you hope to accomplish with each and every email you send out. For newsletters, it’s often providing company updates, sharing some choice posts from your blog or giving your subscribers a slice of life for your company and its employees. For promotion emails, it’s to inspire customers and leads to purchase. Sometimes, the best time and day to accomplish this are one and the same. However, a newsletter that is helpful for a subscriber to read at their desk at work may not be the time that the same subscriber would want to be online shopping. So, know what you want to accomplish is the first step. Step two is what will help you decide the best time to schedule that next newsletter or promotional email. Understand your audience Knowing who the individuals are that comprise your audience is imperative to successful email marketing. As is reaching them at the time that is most convenient to them. Like I mentioned above, sometimes it will be the employee opening up your email at their desk. The old standard of Tuesday through Thursday at 9:00AM would still work for them. However, a work-from-home parent may have different priorities for when emails are read. For them, it could be after the kiddos have gone to school or headed off to bed. Perhaps a business selling vacation packages would want to hit their subscribers\' inboxes on the weekends when they’d be more likely to be planning such a trip. Gaining an understanding of your audience and creating a persona for their email consumption behaviors will go a long way in answering the question of when is the best time to send a newsletter or promotional email. So, I’m sorry I can’t tell you to send newsletters on X day at Y time, or promotional emails on A day at B time, but I’ve given you the steps to take to fill in those blanks for you and your business. Why? Because it depends.


Read More
What’s the Expected Click-Through Rate for Email Campaigns?

What’s the Expected Click-Through Rate for Email Campaigns?

Practical Marketer • July 15, 2016

Click-through rates are not the same as open rates, and it can mean different things to different businesses. For example, retail businesses promoting products via email, a good click-through rate can mean purchases or conversions. But what is a good click-through rate? According to Hubspot, by sending 16-30 campaigns a month, they were able to achieve a maximum of 6.5%, with an excellent open rate of 32.4%. Their strategy was at what frequency of email sending, can they get the best open and click rates. How does this relate to me? Well, the study also shows that the size of your company, the frequency of your email sent to your contacts should reflect the same: Smaller businesses with 1 - 10 employees benefit by sending steadily, 16-30 campaigns a month yielding a click rate of 6.3% Medium businesses with 11 - 25 employees benefit by sending frequently, 31+ campaigns a month with a result of 6.7% Large businesses, however, benefit by sending steadily. This means 6-15 campaigns a month with a click rate of 7.0% From this, we can definitely say that bigger doesn\'t always mean more. It just means that you’ll need to send smarter. Smarter means segmenting your list to make sure that you’re sending the appropriate content to your subscribers. To increase your click through rate, you may want to consider these tips: Test your emails. Performing A/B tests with your emails to see which graphic, button, or any email element will perform better. Segment your list. True with open rates as well, segmenting your list and targeting your subscribers with specific content is always best. Send consistently. Make sure you send on a schedule so that your subscribers can expect your emails at the same time and date so they can regularly open your email.


Read More
1 22 23 24 25 26