Series Posts: Practical Marketer

How To Interpret Your First Email Marketing Campaign

How To Interpret Your First Email Marketing Campaign

Practical Marketer • September 5, 2018

The use of an email marketing tool is not based solely on the sending of promotional campaigns, but the tool becomes an excellent instrument for achieving one or several goals. According to the latest report by Demand Metrics, the three principal reasons why users decide to do email marketing are: Communicate with customers Communicate with prospects Build brand awareness There are also other reasons like generating revenue or capturing data on subscribers, and just 3% of the users do not have any goal. Do you know your email marketing goal? Having a goal is crucial to building your whole email marketing strategy. How should you read your first email marketing report? When you are on the report page, you will find a summary of the outcome of the campaign: With numbers alone, it is difficult to see what happens. However, just below the numbers are changed to percentages from which we can get better insights: This chart is fantastic to get an idea about the campaign performance and to start planning the measures we need to take in our next campaign. In this case, and to best situate yourself, these results belong to an information campaign that was composed of a logo plus the text. It was sent to a database compiled since 2017 and updated every day. Let’s start to analyze the results: OPEN RATE: it is very good. We can determine that the campaign has been useful. It reached the 33%. We should work to reach the 35% next time. BOUNCE RATE: it is just within the limits. This rate should never be higher than 2%, and if possible, it should be lower than 1%. In this article, Want To Start List Hygiene, But You’re Afraid To Start? We give you the key steps you should follow to get a bounce rate of one percent or less. Then, we have: CLICKS INTERACTIONS measure the percentage and the number of subscribers that have clicked on your links. If we click on the number, we will be able to see the name, email address, and date of click. In this case, the campaign did not have any link to click, except the one in the logo, that’s why the click-through rate is too low. This click-through rate is calculated based on opens. It is difficult to know the click-through rate that can be considered as good because it depends on the goal of the campaign (informative o sales) and the design (if we use links, CTAs, etc.). If the goal is that the subscriber clicks, that percentage never should be lower than 1%. Otherwise, we should rethink the content or the design. This part also offers us the possibility to know on which links the user has clicked and how many times. Also, you have a CLICK MAP that shows you like a hot map where the subscriber has clicked: We also have the number and the percentage of the UNSUBSCRIBES, and if you click on the number, you will see the reasons: Knowing the reason is interesting, because in the case of a high number of unsubscribers sharing the same reason you may understand that there is something you\'re not doing well. It is usual that some people lose the interest in your product or information, but if you see that this percentage surpasses 1% on a regular basis, that can give you a signal that the content is no longer relevant for them or that maybe you should change the frequency of the sends. The ABUSE RATE is also important data to keep in mind because it measures the number of subscribers that have marked your campaign as spam. Again, if you click on the number, you will see the report: Even, if it is a double opt-in list, you may have a spam complaint, for example, when you have sent a campaign to that database, and a subscriber does not remember to have signed up for it. If you have more than one isolated complaint, you should review the process of obtaining your subscribers, because it indicates that they are not expecting to receive your emails. This report gives the contact data of the subscriber who has marked you as spam. In Benchmark, we always recommend to include these links... ...to allow the user to exercise his/her rights, and in particular, the link “Report Abuse” that gives the subscribers the chance to mark you as spam. Removing it from your campaigns is preventing yourself from getting valuable information. In this blog, How Do Abuse Complaints Affect Your Newsletter’s Deliverability? We tell you what you should do to avoid abuse complaints. And finally, the FORWARDS RATE tells you how many times your campaign has been forwarded to a user who was not on your list. This rate only counts when subscribers have used the “Forward Email” link in your campaigns, so if you don’t include it, the percentage will be 0. At the bottom of the report, you will find the HOURLY PERFORMANCE: This is a great chart to know the days and hours that work better to send your email marketing campaigns. For example, this campaign was sent on Friday, June 22nd  at 7.30 AM, so if we read the graphic, the subscribers are active on Saturday, 23th at 10.00 AM or Monday 25th at 7.00 AM which, we guess is when many of them login in their inbox for first time to start the working day. It is fantastic to have this information and sending the next campaigns based on the suscribers’ behavior guarantees you a higher engagement. If you shared your campaign on social media channel, you could see the interactions that the users have made on the channel with your post under FACEBOOK ENGAGEMENT. Also, you have an interactive map where you can see the OPENS BY GEOLOCATION: If you send to various countries, this report can be interesting for you, although you need to keep in mind that this information is an estimate and may not be as reliable due to the way ISPs distribute IP addresses. All this information can be downloaded as a PDF or Excel, and you can share the campaign with your sub-accounts, among other things: What results should you expect from your first email marketing campaign? Answering this question is a bit complicated because there are many factors that influence the outcome, such as: Old database Verified database Own database Recent database Design of the campaign Subject line Domain quality or use of public domain Set up of the SPF and CNAME records Use of a Dedicated IP And a few more… But set yourself the following numbers as initial objectives: Open rate: 15% Bounce rate: 0.5% Unsubscribe rate: 0.75% Abuse complaints: 0.05% If you can not reach these metrics, you can always count on the help of our Email Marketing Specialists, who will guide you with their best tips to reach them. Now it\'s your turn to start your campaigns! Would you mind to share your results with us?


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Sync 2,000 Contacts with your Benchmark Account for Free

Sync 2,000 Contacts with your Benchmark Account for Free

Practical Marketer • September 4, 2018

Should I be doing email marketing or [insert latest marketing channel here]? I’m sure you’ve heard, or asked, some variation of that question dozens of times. Our answer to every version of that question is the same: email marketing is never an either/or situation. You should combine email with all your marketing channels and business tools to maximize the power of each channel or tool. When all are working together, in the same direction, to further the narrative of your brand, your email marketing (and everything else) will be the most powerful. That’s why you should be integrating your email marketing account with everything else your business is using to help your business thrive. Well, folks. We have some good news. Sync 2,000 Contacts with your Benchmark Account for Free Our new partnership with PieSync will allow you to connect your email marketing account with 100+ business tools and apps … totally free! This is a special offer for Benchmark Email users that will allow you to sync up to 2,000 contacts with your email marketing account at no extra cost. That means if you’re collecting email address in your other business tools and apps, you can sync up to 2,000 of them with your email marketing account. Using PieSync with a different ESP, it would cost you $19/month to do. If your list is growing rapidly and you want to exceed the 2,000 contact limit, that’s a good problem to have! PieSync will automatically upgrade your account, so you don’t suffer a workflow interruption. Save Time and Do More Powerful Email Marketing Your time is valuable. Don’t spend it needlessly exporting and importing lists to and from your Benchmark Email account. PieSync helps you to maintain one, unified database across all platforms. This allows you to focus on the tasks that matter, knowing that this is going to happen automatically. By connecting your CRM, eCommerce, administrative apps and beyond, you can make sure all of your business tools and apps are working together to boost your business. With these connections, you can create automated follow-ups based on each tool and make it relevant to those customers. These automations can be triggered when someone is added to a list or by different behaviors and interactions with your email campaigns, website or other business tools and touch points. For example, if you’re using a CRM, you can add new leads and prospects to a specific list. When they’re added, it can trigger an automation to send aimed at converting them to customers. Or, if you’re using a tool for customer support, you can trigger automations to say after you’ve closed a ticket. You can request a review of the support agent’s performance or a customer testimonial if they’re pleased with your service. It works both ways too! If you have a signup form on various parts of your website, you can feed those contacts from your Benchmark Email account into your CRM to make sure they’re getting the appropriate follow-up. What is PieSync? It’s an integration with your Benchmark Email account that allows you to connect all the tools you use to help your business thrive. PieSync enables a 2-way, real-time data sync between your cloud-based tools and apps and Benchmark Email. Since a lot of contact information will be moving back and forth, you can rest easy as PieSync is GDPR compliant. How does it work? After you create the connection between your Benchmark Email account and another business tool or app, PieSync will automatically check to make sure your lists are up-to-date. You can set which of your lists is the master database, and you can choose between 1-way and 2-way directional syncing. For details on how to integrate your Benchmark Email account with PieSync, we’ve created a helpful FAQ. What’s Required to Take Advantage of This Special PieSync Partnership? It’s pretty simple and straightforward! Well, you’ll need to have at least one verified email address in your Benchmark Email account settings. If you’re already sending emails, you’ve already done this step. You’ll also be required to have at least one contact list in your Benchmark Email account. After all, what would you be syncing your contacts to without a list in your email marketing account? This one might seem obvious, but the contact data you’re trying to sync must include an email address. This special partnership is amazing, but it’s not going to scrawl drawings on a cave or send smoke signals for your contacts without email addresses. Wrapping Up So, you’ll know the answer next time someone asks you if you should be doing email marketing or anything else. Don’t just laugh at them. That’d be rude. We’re all clueless email marketers at one time or another. No. Tell them about how much more powerful email marketing and every other business tool are when you connect them to work together. If they ask for more information, tell them all about Benchmark Email’s amazing partnership with PieSync that lets you sync up to 2,000 contacts at no cost to your business. Have you been successful with integrating other business tools and apps with your email marketing account? Share your stories, tips and more in the comments below!  


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The Beginner’s Guide to Ecommerce Email Marketing Automation

The Beginner’s Guide to Ecommerce Email Marketing Automation

Practical Marketer • August 9, 2018

Email marketing automation is a well-covered subject because there are plenty of benefits which could be derived from proper automation. We know it can be a daunting task for owners of eCommerce websites, but this guide will make your foundation of knowledge rock-solid. In this article, I\'ll discuss the basics of everything from building an email list to the different types of emails that you should be automating. So, grab your notebook, because things are about to get factual. Your Main Email List I’ve observed that a lot of people still don’t know how to build up their email list correctly and this short primer should help you out. Getting People to Give You Their Emails In fact, there are many ways to get customers to give you their email addresses. If they have already made a purchase with you, then this should be a no-brainer. But, what if they happen to be browsing your site and suddenly decide to leave without making a purchase? This now becomes a problem. Fear not, because there are many solutions. You can give them a special offer via an internal ad on your website; this could be in the form of a discount or initial buyer offer. You could utilize some sort of lead magnet tactic where you give something away. If you have an eCommerce store that deals with specialty services or products, you can even have gated content that can only be accessed by giving away an email address. There are free plugins which help you do this, and you can integrate these with the eCommerce platform your store is running on. Segmentation and Varied Campaigns If there is one lesson that we have learned from account-based marketing (ABM), it’s the fact that customized emails work. Your current list or the list you are building also has to be segmented by demographics, buying power, buying propensity, geographical local and so on. This will help with the other automated emails that we will be talking about in the latter part of this article. Remember that people like personalization and custom campaigns. In fact, more than 70 percent of people prefer personalized ads that have been tailor-made for them. Email List Hygiene Practice good email hygiene; there are tools available that can help you with this. Check if the emails that you have are still working and are not just bouncing. This affects the integrity and the reputation of your email address. If it’s terrible, it hurts deliverability. Remember that email addresses are primed. Ensure that the email address of your eCommerce store is primed too and ready to send emails. Double Opt-Ins This is one way of ensuring that the email address that they gave you is valid. It will require the recipient of your email to confirm their email addresses. This way, you don’t send emails to fake addresses. Don’t Forget About the Quality of Your Content This is one thing that a lot of people frequently forget about. Make sure you have at least 500 characters in your email, so you do not get flagged for spam. However, you also need to make sure that your content is not too “wordy” for your ready or you will lose their attention. The trick is to utilize the other characters in your copyright notice or your fine print. Make sure you have enough pictures and graphics to keep the user on your page and make the email read worth their while. Types of Automated Emails Your E-commerce Store Needs to Send Automated emails allow you to properly engage with your customers and increase conversion and CTR sans the hassle. The beauty of automation is it creates a sales system that is automatic and is all-inclusive to make sure that every potential lead is maximized. Here is where the real fun begins. I recommend you use an application to automate the different campaigns that you will be engaging in. Benchmark is a great application that automates different marketing tasks. With software like this, it becomes more comfortable for you to start crafting systems on how to treat different kinds of user behavior towards specific email actions. For example, we see what happens when a user views or ignores an offer message that was previously sent to their inbox. After a particular amount of time, you can automatically send an email depending on the user’s behavior, i.e., if they opened it or not. You just have to set the system up, and you’re pretty much good to go. Systems like this make customer interaction and engagement an easier puzzle to solve. And, those are not the only good things you can do with automation. Here’s the good news. You can customize how much time passes before each action of the automated “email flowchart,” and you can even add a variable number of user actions. It’s a way for you to fully automate the messages that you send out to your customers based on their interactions. What you see is just a simple example of what you can do to automate your email response systems. This can vary per product or service that you have, and in some cases, you can even create flowcharts under your flowcharts. These flowcharts can then be further broken into the different market segments that you might have in your email list. In turn, it makes everything you do for your customers – even the automated emails that they receive – fully personalized. Personalization is the new game in digital marketing, and that is why this is so important. To further emphasize on this, I would even advise that every email that is received from the end of your e-commerce store, is automatically replied to, with an acknowledgment that’s apt to the matter being discussed. Abandoned Carts Just because a customer has left a cart doesn’t mean it’s over. Here’s how you can help them find their way back to you. Send an automated email an hour after they have abandoned their cart. If there has been no response, send an email 24 hours later. You can even include an offer in this email – only in particular cases.   Upsells Here’s an excellent way for you to get additional revenue after a sale has been made. Send an automated email of an upsell offer containing products that are relevant to the purchase that your customer made. If you draw on previous data, you can include items that have been purchased along with the previously purchased item from other customers. Follow Up – Post Purchase Sending an email after the first purchase is an excellent way for you to show your customers that you care about them. Include information about the product that they bought Thank them for their purchase Again, you can include a special discount for the next purchase to increase purchase velocity Follow Up – Engagement If you have customers that have not been engaging with your business for a long time, then you can set your application to send emails to dormant customers. You can include a return offer or the sort. Check out how Pinkberry does it. Something like this and personal always does the trick. VIP Customers Your VIP customers are customers that have had a history of many purchases and are always ready to engage with your business. You have to keep them on a separate list after they have been qualified to give them better promotions for their loyalty. Sending out an email to them now and then helps keep the relationship alive, and is also great for revenue. The welcome series is the essential automated email series that you should send to your customers. It’s the first time that you’ll be sending them an email and naturally, it should be automated. You need to send this as soon as someone subscribes. Remember our tips above? There’s a lot that you can do here. CTAs for social media should be included A special offer for the current season Offer them something to subscribe to your content Value Content This is syndicated content from your blog or team. It aims to inform rather than to sell. Aim to segment who your value content goes to depending on the demographics of the subscriber. Some content will be appealing to another group. You are aiming for brand recognition here. Harness the Feedback At the end of the day, you also want to collect information about the success of your automated email campaigns. It isn’t also wise to start using one campaign with everything, i.e., imagine a sort of response system for the demographics that you cater to. You should still be conducting split tests to determine effective campaigns. This means a couple of things. You will still be looking at your email CTR, your open rates and the overall engagement. So, there you have it- your beginner’s guide to automation. Now that you have the tools to get emails, know what emails to send and have examples of how to go about it, there is no stopping your eCommerce email campaigns.


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5 Hot Tips for a Clean Email List

5 Hot Tips for a Clean Email List

Practical Marketer • August 6, 2018

Ever thought about deleting your entire email list? No? Well, that’s exactly what pub chain JD Wetherspoon did in response to a data breach in relation to one of their email campaigns. As an email marketer you’re probably frightened at the thought of deliberately deleting your entire list, but at the same time, massive penalties for breaching email marketing laws are just as terrifying. While most of us won’t be deleting our lists anytime soon, we do have to educate ourselves about best email marketing practices - or face the consequences. By taking action now, you’ll dramatically reduce the risk that when tough data laws are passed, you’re streets ahead of the unprepared marketer.  Not only does a clean list ensure that your data is compliant with strict data laws in the US and abroad, but it ensures that your message is reaching the people who are interested in hearing it.   1. Build Trust From the Get-Go Before you even start on the fancy list-cleanliness side of email marketing, you’ve got to make sure your fundamental email marketing building blocks are solid. It might seem like a basic thing, but you need to have a professional email address to send your emails from. Afterall 75% of customer believe that building trust starts with this basic building block  “...a professional email address is the first step to prove you’re not a scam,” writes Jeremy Marsan, a business analyst from Fit Small Business. By establishing trust, you’ll be able to get and keep, the much coveted opted-in subscriber. If you want to avoid breaking laws such as GDPR, you have to make sure you’ve got the permission from your subscribers that they want to be subscribed to your list. This means ensuring that you’re subscribers have ticked an opt-in box that states they want to receive your emails. Double opt-ins are the best way to go for this. By having this in place, are you not only on the right side of the law, but you gain the trust of those on your list because they know you won’t be sending them unrelated emails, or selling their information on. 2. Integrate Your Apps Many businesses are using more than just an email marketing app, like Benchmark, to run their business. Your sales team probably has a CRM, marketing has another marketing automation tool, and customer care has a ticketing app. All of these apps contain prospect and customer data. But how can your email marketing list be up to date (and compliant) if say for example a customer emails customer care to unsubscribe, and customer care logs this but the data stays in their app? You could manually import/export this data, but that’s loads of manual work, and your lists are never really up to date. This is one reason to integrate your existing cloud business apps using a third-party platform such as PieSync, so that customer and prospect data are up to date and consistent across all business apps that you’re using. 3. Remove Duplicates Duplicates are truly a blight on any customer database. They deflate your email open rate and skew lead conversion metrics. Now, with new strict laws you need to be able to keep track of every record of your customers, but if you have “Robert Brown” in your email marketing registered as “Bobby Brown” in your CRM, you’re dealing with duplicate data, that’s difficult to detect. The best course of action is to dedupe your customer database. After you’ve finished integrating your apps together, it’s a good idea to take advantage of native deduping software. Most CRMs can detect duplicates, and Benchmark Email also has this feature. 4. Keep Data Fresh The days of keeping your legacy customer database to use for reactivation marketing campaigns forever and ever are over. Spring clean your customer database and remove old contacts. This will improve email deliverability, open rates, and reduce spam complaints. There are four types of customer emails you should prune from your email marketing list so that’ll it will stay healthy: confirmed bounces, soft bounces, hard bounces and contacts who have stopped opening your emails. Luckily Benchmark email has features in place that can help you easily cut these contacts out, so you can work with a clean email list. 5. Email List Verification You can use a service, such as Kickbox or BriteVerify, to send your list through list verification. While there may be an initial cost to doing this, you\'ll save in the long run. It will help you to reduce bounce rates and remove bad email addresses. It may also help you stay on a list plan longer without having to upgrade to the next level ... even while your list grows!


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Want To Start List Hygiene, But You’re Afraid To Start?

Want To Start List Hygiene, But You’re Afraid To Start?

Practical Marketer • August 5, 2018

In our daily work, we send email campaigns on a regular basis. However, we tend to not take any action once the campaign has been sent. We’re talking about list hygiene. Do you know that the various ISPs (Hotmail, Gmail, etc.) know if you’re sending to an invalid email address and they can tank your deliverability? Yes, they can. For example, if after checking reports no action is taken in regards to bounces or email addresses that have not opened your last 30 campaigns, ISPs can start to block your campaigns with their filters. They will consider your emails to be from a sender that doesn’t take any action to improve results. That said, do you know what you need to remove? When we are referring to list hygiene, we’re talking about removing the hard bounces and email addresses which aren’t opening your campaigns. If you don\'t already know, there are three different types of bounces: Confirmed bounces. The email addresses that no longer exist and the sending server has tried to contact them three times, but the campaign has been able to be delivered. Hard bounces. These are email addresses that no longer exist. When they bounce three times, they turn into confirmed bounces. This could be due to a mistyped address, the domain no longer existing or the person who belongs to the email address no longer works there, and the address is no longer valid. Soft bounces. They are email addresses that temporally are inactivate. It has not yet been possible to deliver the campaign, but only temporally. Consequently, they are valid email addresses which should not be removed. What might the temporary issue be? It could be that the inbox is full of messages and the person cannot receive more emails until they free up space for it. Perhaps you sent a campaign outside working hours and got an autoresponder, or maybe the server has been down temporarily. These email addresses are not available for a period but when those issues are solved, they back to being activate. It might feel like you can’t see the importance of list hygiene, but we’ve made it easy for you to check the health of your list in your account in the reputation panel. This section will indicate a number between 1 and 8 which evaluates the status of your reputation. Do you know what reputation means? Reputation is a measure used for monitoring the behavior of your campaigns in regards to the spam filters and subscribers’ campaign interactions. It is precisely this interaction which will be improved with list hygiene. This is because you’re sending your campaigns to an email address that really exists and can actually open and click to your links. Similarly, if you remove the email addresses that have not opened your campaigns for a long time, you’ll be increasing the interaction for the rest of your list that remains. Furthermore, you can opt for a smaller plan and only pay for the subscribers that are opening your campaigns and through which you have chances to deliver your message. Please note that this won’t necessarily work with a new list as you likely won’t have enough data or bounces to make any major changes to the hygiene of your list. List verification may be more helpful to you in this instance, to remove things like mistyped email addresses. This is also solved by using double opt-in signup forms. In this blog, One Simple Way To Rescue Your Email Marketing Strategy we shared some ideas on how to increase your database. However, if the database is not current, or if you have never sent email marketing campaigns to it, your campaign’s reports will likely show a high bounce rate (in other words, more than 2%). Do you know what bounce rates you have? An email marketing account should have on average a 2% of bounces as the maximum. Additionally, list hygiene can be necessary if your list lands you in a spam trap. A spam trap is a trap used by ISPs to know which users are sending to a non-permission database or have a very old database. How can list hygiene be done with Benchmark? If you do not have a good control system in place to handle your contacts that you have removed, it’s possible they can be uploaded again into the tool. To solve this, the list hygiene would be: Login in your account Click on “Clean list” Select: confirmed + hard bounces Click on “Create New List” Once it has been created, you need to access the list and click on the three points. Select the option “Copy List” Copy to an “Existing List” and select “Master Unsubscribe List” In this way, we are blocking those contacts that are unuseful to be uploaded again to the tool. Keep in mind that this action is irreversible. If you have a good control system to handle your contacts to avoid your removed addresses being sent to, then the list hygiene would be from the points 1.1 to 1.3, and then click on “Remove from list” If a specific campaign you sent had a high number of bounces, and in that campaign, you selected multiple lists, following the steps above can be tricky. In that case, we recommend you to do the following: Go to Reports and click on the campaign Click on “Bounces” Select “Hard Bounces” Click on the three points and then “Export to File” Download the file and upload it to the “Master Unsubscribe List” If you have spam traps in your account, you should follow the previous steps and include the subscribers who have not opened your last 30 campaigns. The spam traps are in this group because they won’t be opening your emails. These are the four ways that we propose you keep your account clean of bounces to earn a high reputation. Now, you just need to choose the option that fits best with your needs and start doing it. If you need help with this process, you can contact your Email Marketing Specialist, or if you observe an anomaly in your bounce rate, such as a sudden growth in it, feel free to contact us before proceeding with list hygiene. We want to know what list hygiene practices have impacted your email marketing. Share your tips or results in the comments below!


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How to Harness the Power of Emails at Every Stage of Your Buyers’ Journey

How to Harness the Power of Emails at Every Stage of Your Buyers’ Journey

Practical Marketer • July 30, 2018

Understanding the buyers’ journey allows you to get the database sorted based on their lifecycle stages namely Awareness, Research, Comparison, Purchase, Relationship Building, Retention and Advocacy. You can move your leads down into the sales funnel by nurturing them and convincing them to convert. The most commonly used lead nurturing tool is EMAIL - as it is scalable and cost-effective. However, if you want your email marketing strategy to work, you should understand that every campaign should be tailor-made to match the buyer’s journey. Let’s understand how you can utilize the power of email marketing at every stage of the buyer’s journey. 1. Awareness The first step of any prospect is Awareness. As the name suggests, this is when people get to know about your brand and your offerings. You can help your subscribers evaluate the product in the awareness stage. Send out emails that let them know about the benefits of your product and explain to them how your product would troubleshoot their problems. It is important to understand that customers purchase the solutions to their problems and not just a product. Make sure you entice your subscribers right in the awareness stage so that it is easier to take them further in the sales. After all, well begun is half done. See the welcome email sent by Heyo and how they have included the various tutorials of their solution to help the new subscriber with the contest creation. 2. Research Your subscribers are trying to figure out which solution is the best to resolve their problem during the research stage. It’s in this phase where you can leverage content marketing to educate the subscribers and build credibility for your brand. Examples of emails to be sent in the research stage: Various types of content resources You can have your content published in various formats, namely webinars, white papers, instructional videos, ebooks, slide decks, etc. As your subscribers might have distinct tastes when it comes to consuming information online, you can even ask your subscribers to choose the format preferences for receiving information. Content sharing the challenges faced by the subscriber You can share relevant case studies to explain to the subscriber about the similar challenges faced by fellow customers and how your solution helped to address their concerns. Content sharing actionable tips Your subscribers look forward to getting some valuable advice and actionable tips through the email. If your emails cannot deliver value to them, the brutal truth is that they would not want to hear from you. Content that convinces the subscribers that you offer the best solution A subscriber who is almost at the end of the research stage would want to know why he or she should choose your solution over your competitors. Convey your brand promise in such a way that they are eager to know more about you and are keen on buying from you. The email by Tinder cleverly informs the subscriber about how to use the App and entices them to try it at least once. No wonder, it is so popular among the youngsters nowadays… 3. Comparison After the research stage, comes the comparison stage. Leads who are in the comparison stage demand a special treatment and exclusive emails tailor-made for them. This is the stage where you should send out customer-focused marketing emails. Talk about your USPs and how you STAND OUT from your competitors. You can involve your sales team and schedule a personalized demo or meeting with the prospect. Here are some email examples to be sent in the comparison stage: Wanna schedule a demo? Need help? Have a look at the buyer’s guide. 5 reasons why our solution is the best match for you. It is not always necessary to send a visually attractive email. There are occasions when a plain text email can work better than an HTML email. Check out the below example. That’s plain text emailing done right! 4. Purchase The entire sales process is very much like proposing someone. If you goof up, you are likely to lose the sale. Make sure you do not disappoint your interested subscriber and offer them the resources that would warrant a pleasant shopping experience. Take a look at the type of emails to be sent during the purchase stage: Address the probable objection of the customer proactively. Guide the customers to use the product correctly. Once they make the purchase, send out a follow-up email to tackle the issues, if any. Check out how Code Camp has included a subscriber’s feedback, to encourage the recipient to do the same. (Applauds for the idea!) 5. Relationship Building and Retention The stages of relationship building and retention go hand in hand. After a customer completes the purchase, you should consider building a long-lasting rapport by using an emotional appeal in your emails. Doing so can help you retain the customers and enhance your customer lifetime value and loyalty. A regular email newsletter talking about new products, updates in your services, promotional offers and discounts goes a long way in retaining the customers by keeping your brand at the top of the customer’s mind. Chewy sends out an engaging feedback email to make sure that they can retain the recent buyer. 6. Advocacy Advocacy is the stage where a prospect turns into an evangelist. This implies that your customer becomes the brand ambassador of your business and helps you drive more sales. Word-of-mouth marketing works wonders for any business. In fact, it brings the best ROI and maximizes conversions. Consider sending rewards to ‘patrons’ in your elite list of customers to encourage them to purchase again. You can even leverage referral email marketing, which works towards retention of existing customers as well as the acquisition of new ones. Saying “Thank you” without any marketing or sales pitch also helps in getting evangelists for your brand. Check out the type of emails you can send in the advocacy stage: Refer us and earn a referral bonus. Allow us to serve you better by providing feedback. Mind referring us to your friends and family? Here’s 50% ‘elite customer’ discount for you. Thank you for choosing us. Lyft offers rewards to their top customers in their email with a catchy CTA that would prompt the user to take action and ride with them. Wrapping Up According to the 2018 report by Econsultancy, email has once again maintained its position as the most effective channel for marketers, with 74% rating its ROI yield as either ‘excellent’ or ‘good’… And to use this channel to its full potential, email marketers ought to respect the stages of the buyer’s journey. There’s no other way out.


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How to Compose Marketing Emails to Get Replies

How to Compose Marketing Emails to Get Replies

Practical Marketer • July 26, 2018

Sending a sales email is one of the most common ways marketers use to promote any product or service. Using emails for sales is very versatile: you can play with the form and content to make it more attractive and appealing, include some polls or surveys to study public opinion on how to improve a product or a certain service you’re offering. Here’s the thing: there’s a growing tendency of people not replying to such emails. There are various reasons for not replying to marketing emails: people are either not interested in the product, or may consider such emails spam, or simply don’t care about it at all. It might sometimes seem rude and offensive, but for marketers, this has become a usual thing. They say that not replying to an email also sends a message that calls for further improvement of an email template, changes in content or makes you rethink the whole idea. After all, you don’t want to irritate your potential customers with loads of information about product or service you’re providing. This might cost you your whole business! But wait a minute: if emailing potential customers is still one of the most effective marketing strategies, but people often get irritated because of them, how can you do it in a more effective way? Let’s take a look at major dos and don’ts of writing marketing emails: 1. Do Personalize For sure, personalization in marketing is very important. With the focus on the content these days, it has become very hard to impress potential customers, it seems that they’ve seen it all. Personalization in advertising and marketing creates an atmosphere of exclusiveness for each person receiving a marketing email. In the age of globalization and total accessibility, people have started feeling that they’ve lost a sense of identity, that is why personalizing your content and adjusting it to the interests and needs of each particular person can make your marketing emails more successful. Here’s a good example of personalization. An online healthy food shop offers to complete a questionnaire to define what the user needs to know to improve their health. 2. Don’t Over-Personalize Don’t go overboard, however. While working on personalizing the content of the marketing emails, make sure that it matches the desired outcomes. Sometimes, personalizing a marketing email involves simple steps, something like: Asking the right questions: a wedding specialist website called Paper Style had a problem with people ignoring their emails. So, to increase sales, they’ve turned to personalization, and namely, asking the right questions (a method of customer behavior analysis). They’ve simply asked their customers what they were planning for: their wedding or their friend’s wedding. People answered, and then received an email containing offers and services they needed for the occasion they were preparing for. As a result, the website has got 244% increase in open rate, 161% increase in click-through and 330% increase revenue per mailing. The lesson is, ask questions that match both your interests and the interests of your target audience. Paying attention to location and time: Bustedtees, a company that sales customized T-shirts has made the common mistake by sending emails to all their potential and existing customers regardless of time and location. The location and time they used as default was Los Angeles, and the email suited only their American audience. The company soon recognized that this wasn’t working, as their customers from other parts of the world received their email late at night and missed it, thus resulting in low rates of email feedback. Segmenting their subscribers and dividing them into different locations and time zones helped Bustedtees increase email revenue by 8%. They’ve set the timer for sending an email according to each particular time zone so that their customers could get an email at an appropriate time. Using behavioral triggered emails: when you get an email from Facebook that you haven’t got any activity or haven’t logged on to your account for a week, that’s a perfect example of a triggered email marketing. What they did is analyzing your “behavior” of not being active on Facebook for a week and notifying you about it, thus reminding you of their service. Triggered emails are a perfect example of a balanced personalization, as they appeal to a particular person but don’t overload with unnecessary, redundant information. Such emails are very effective as they result in at least 71% increase in open rates and nearly 102% increase in click-through rates. By analyzing the behavior of your customers, you get a better idea of what they need. 3. Do Use Your Personal Templates There are millions of websites with marketing email templates, but the only good purpose they serve is being an example of an effective or a not-so-effective email marketing campaigns. Besides, they don’t always work. According to Upwork’s experience, email templates work better when you need to advertise a physical product. In this case, you can use a fancy headline and graphics. Regarding replies, personally written emails work better, as in this case your customers feel your attention fully paid to each of them. To write effective personal emails that will be replied, you can use some of the following tips: Greet your customers: seems like an obvious thing, but somehow people forget about it. This is just a polite way to turn your customer’s attention to your email. Address your customers by name: one of the reasons people pay more attention to emails that have their name in it is because a name is a unique identifier of each person, and using it immediately shows respect to this person. Also, using a person’s name in an email immediately turns it into a personal conversation, thus showing that you pay your full attention to this particular person. Personally, thank each of your customers: at the end of an email, you should thank each of your customers for their attention. It might seem difficult, as you might need to send emails to hundreds of people, but it’s not. “I think all businesses dread the process of sending personalized emails, as it seems to be a very time-consuming job,” says David Jones, a marketing specialist at A-writer, “There are so many mailing programs that can be adjusted to your needs and can turn your emails into more personalized messages.” 4. Don’t Overwhelm Your Customers As it has been mentioned before, one of the reasons you don’t get replies to your emails is because people mark it as spam. A website called TechnologyAdvice conducted a survey, during which they contacted over 1300 adult from the U.S. asking why they don’t reply to marketing emails, and results are pretty definitive: Over 40% of subscribers mark emails as spam because they were emailed too often. It gets even more overwhelming when emails contain the same or similar content, which gets customers even more bored and makes them smash that “Unsubscribe” button. How can you fix it? Try to make it as brief and logically structured as possible. The average number of emails you can send to your subscribers is about 6 to 8 emails per month. But to figure it out specifically for your company, let your subscribers decide how often they want to get marketing emails from you. This will help you figure out the needs of each of your subscribers. 5. Do Work on Original Content We live in the world where it has become very hard to create original content. Plagiarism is everywhere, and plagiarism in marketing is no exception. Companies steal images to use in their marketing campaigns without even crediting their authors, and which such services as Tumblr and Instagram where people share their personal images, stealing content has become easier. The thing is that today customers can easily differentiate original content from stolen content. There’s nothing in this world that any modern customer hasn’t seen, and people are well aware of how plagiarism works. If you state that all your products and services are original, then plagiarizing something in your marketing emails will contradict everything you say and undermine your reputation. If you plagiarize because you doubt the success of your marketing emails, you’re making a huge mistake. Remember that what your business offers is a very specific thing, which needs to be advertised in its way. So if you fail one time, next time you’ll learn from your mistakes. Wrapping Up To summarize what we’ve been talking about a little bit earlier, it is necessary to point out some more don’ts you need to take into account when composing a marketing email: Avoid using Caps throughout your email. This just makes your email look messy. Avoid using too many exclamation points. Avoid using Flash or Video content in your emails. This will only make them harder to upload. Avoid attachments for the same reason as Flash and Video content. For sure, it will take time for you to figure out how to compose marketing emails to get replies, as each product or service requires a customized approach. If you follow the tips mentioned above on what to do and what not to do when it comes to composing marketing emails, you’ll increase your chances to get more replies. If you’ve already incorporated some of these tips into your practice, let us know in the comments about your own experience!


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Opportunities For Improvements in Marketing Automation

Opportunities For Improvements in Marketing Automation

Practical Marketer • July 5, 2018

Nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes. We also strive for continuous improvement. It’s a universal truth. And sure, part of the allure of marketing automation is its “set it and forget it” nature. However, letting an automation run without looking for opportunities to improve is a mistake. So, what should you be looking out for? Here are three places where you can strive for the continuous improvement of marketing automation: Fix Mistakes It’s a horrible feeling when you’ve sent out an email campaign only to notice a typo in it later. You quickly fly through the five stages of grief when it happens: Denial. Rubbing your eyes and hoping you’re not seeing what you’re seeing. Anger. You beat yourself up. Tell yourself you should have proofread it one more time. Blame a coworker you sent a test email to. Bargaining. Sitting there wishing a feature existed to unsend an email. Depression. We’ve all been there. Hiding in our office or cubicle. Deciding it’s the worst thing we could have done. Acceptance. It is what it is. You can’t change it. You’ll be better next time. That’s all in the past with marketing automation. Thankfully, you can update any email in your sequence, without interrupting the customer experience. You won’t be able to change the ones who have already hit the inbox. We’ll pour one out for those fallen homies. However, you don’t have to create a whole new automation or risk losing the customers who are already further into the sequence of emails. With Benchmark Email\'s Automation Pro, you can create a duplicate version of an email with any necessary updates to fix typos, broken links or other errors and do your marketing automation with confidence. Get Better Open Rates It’s important to track the success of your marketing automation. If you look at your reports and see that the open rate isn’t what you’d hoped it would be, you’ve found yourself another opportunity for improvement. Adjusting your subject line can help you see better open rates for the emails in your automation. Here’s what makes up a great subject line: It feels urgent. It won’t work if you do it with every subject line, but making your subscribers feel like they have to act now is a helpful tactic to get your emails opened. It makes you want to know more. Craft the perfect teaser that leaves your subscriber wanting to know more. The allure will get them to open the email. It delivers value. Make an offer in your subject line that cannot be refused by your subscribers. If they see the benefit right in their inbox, then they’ll surely open the email. It’s personal. Feeling like you’re being marketed to is not a pleasant experience for anyone. If you can make your subscriber feel like you’ve reached out to just them, rather than sending something that feels like a blast to a large number of people, they’ll be far more likely to engage. It tells a story. We’re all told stories from an early age. It’s wired into us. If you begin your “once upon a time” in the subject line, your subscribers will open your email to discover the happy ending. It’s one thing to know what is considered a good subject line. It’s another to be able to write one. Here are some tips on crafting great subject lines: Quick and to the point. You only get 50-60 characters in a mobile device. Make the most of it. Tell them what to expect. Let them know what they’ll find when they open your email. Use action-oriented verbs. After all, a subject line really is just a Call To Action (CTA) to open your email. Inspire your subscribers to take action by using the right action verbs. Use flattery. Make your subscribers feel special by offering a “private invite” to an exclusive event or an “offer just for you.” Numbers help. If it’s a list of resources for them or tips for success, tell your subscriber how many tips there are. It helps to set expectations. Questions work. Ask something that your subscribers will want to seek out the answer to. It goes back to leave them wanting to know more. Don’t use ALL CAPS or too much punctuation. Your subscribers don’t want to feel like you’re yelling at them. A subject line in all caps and with a whole bunch of exclamation points will do just that. Don’t do it. If you’re still looking for a bit of help with your subject lines, you can try great resources like Kopywriting Kourse’s Subject Line Generator or CoSchedule’s Subject Line Tester. Aside from improving your subject line to increase your open rate, you may also want to consider your From Name. It’s important to have a From Name that is familiar and recognizable to your subscribers. If there is a sales team or support member they’ve been working with the entire time, it might help to have “Their Name from Your Business” as the From Name. Improve Your Click-Through Rate (CTR) Say you’ve solved the issue with your open rates, but your subscribers aren’t clicking on the links in your emails. That’s your next opportunity to improve. After all, you’re not selling anything directly in your emails. You need them to click-through to your site. There are a few factors that may come into play: Content Is what you’re sending relevant to your subscribers? If they’re not clicking-through to your website, the answer to that question is very likely a resounding “no.” They’re simply not going to engage with an email that is of no interest to them. How can you know what they want? The links that are being clicked on are one clue. However, you don’t need to play a guessing game to determine the rest. Create a survey and send it to your subscribers. Let them tell you what they want to hear about from you. Is your customer support team receiving the same questions over and over again? Use that to inspire your email content. If you’re more proactive about answering customer questions, you’ll both be providing relevant content and maybe even relieving your support team a bit. Design Even if the content of your email campaigns is high quality, it’s possible the design is what’s keeping your subscribers from clicking. Here are a few things you can do to optimize the design of your email campaigns to help improve CTR: Consider your image to text ratio. Your emails should contain 80% text and 20% images. Image heavy emails that don’t go to the spam folder will be slow to load or turned off. That won’t bode well for creating engagement with your emails. Include captions with your images. Some subscribers may have images turned off. A caption will help them get the gist of the email even without seeing the image. Add a clear CTA. Don’t make it hard for your subscribers to click-through to your site. Your design should not distract from the CTA. Some email marketers see success with both having a text link and a button. That way, you increase your chances of getting a click and cover your bases with how subscribers interact with your emails. Also, make sure any buttons or links you use are mobile friendly and easily clicked on from any device. The design of your email when it comes to CTAs is important. It’s not the only part of creating effective CTAs. CTAs The ability to write a great CTA is just as important as the design of it. The way to do it is very similar to crafting a subject line. After all, I did tell you your subject line acts as a CTA to open your email. So, I’ll reiterate some points and add some new ones: Begin with a command verb. Words like “buy,” “shop” or “order.” It can also be “download” or “subscribe. Elicit emotion. If you can make your subscribers feel something, they’re far more likely to engage. Include your value proposition. Tell them why taking action will be worth their time. Something like “Schedule a time for your free demo” tells a subscriber what action you want them to take and why. The FOMO is real. Create a sense of urgency where your subscribers will fear missing out if they don’t act. Now that you know where you look for opportunities to improve your marketing automation and how to improve them, I want to take a moment to discuss how you can do this with Benchmark Email. Update An Active Automation in Automation Pro If you’re already a Benchmark Email user and you’re ready to improve automation, you can log in and get started. Any thoughts or suggestions on opportunities for improvement in marketing automation? Please share them in the comments below!


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How & Why To Use Emojis In Your Subject Lines

How & Why To Use Emojis In Your Subject Lines

Practical Marketer • June 18, 2018

It can be hard to express ourselves when words limit us. Sometimes a feeling we’re experiencing just doesn’t seem fit for the box a given word puts it in. Sometimes, an emoji communicates what we can’t put into words. Using emojis is also an opportunity to deliver a little bit of joy and delight. As of June 2018, there are 2,823 emojis in the Unicode Standard. In case you’re wondering what we’re all trying to express with emojis, these were the most popular emojis in 2017: 🤷 Person Shrugging 😂 Face With Tears of Joy ❤️ Red Heart 😍 Smiling Face With Heart-Eyes 🤔 Thinking Face 🔥 Fire 😊 Smiling Face With Smiling Eyes 😘 Face Blowing a Kiss 👍 Thumbs Up Emoji usage is growing in our everyday lives. By the middle of 2015, 50% of all Instagram comments featured an emoji. It was inevitable that emojis would find their way into the world of email marketing. Email Marketing and Emojis are Fast Friends The inbox of the average consumer is a crowded one. Brands need to find a way to stand out. Using an emoji in your email’s subject line can be a great way to make your email campaigns stand apart from the crowd. In fact, 56% of brands including emojis in their subject lines had a higher open rate, according to a report by Experian. Businesses are taking note of the success of emojis in subject lines. From 2015 to 2016, emoji use in email increased 7100%. A small business app developer, Swiftpage, conducted tests on emoji use in subject lines. The emails with subject lines that included emojis saw impressive results: 29% increase in unique opens 28% increase in unique Click-Through Rate (CTR) 93% overall increase in CTR Certainly, the individuals that make up your audience will factor into the success of your emoji use. However, there are other factors that may come into play in regards to why emoji use is effective. Why Emojis Are Effective The numbers support the fact that emojis work. Let’s look at a few reasons why that’s the case: Emojis Help with Brevity Depending on the inbox client, there are only so many characters displayed from the subject line. You can say more in less space by using an emoji. The cliche of “a picture is worth 1,000 words” rings very true in this case. Emojis Convey Emotion As I mentioned before, sometimes it’s hard to put emotions into words. Emojis do that for you. However, they can also trigger an emotional response from your subscribers. When they see your subject line smiling at them, chances are they’re going to smile right back. Emojis Are Easy-To-Use In today’s mobile-first world, emojis are supported on practically every device and in every inbox client. Adding an emoji to your subject line could be as easy as copy and pasting. However, Benchmark Email just made it ever easier… Introducing the Benchmark Email Emoji Picker Our product team has just rolled out an emoji picker directly in the email creation process. Now, as you’re writing your subject line in Step 1: Details, you can easily pick out an emoji to include. This feature is available to you in our Drag & Drop Editor, HTML Code Editor and Plain Text Editor as well and can be used in the creation of regular emails, RSS emails and a simple automation via Automation Lite. Various devices will display the same emoji differently. Our emoji picker will display the emojis the way your native device defaults. However, the way your subscriber experiences the emoji will be dependant on their own device, operating system or inbox client and how they display emojis. If you’re curious to find out how emojis may display in various elements, you can check out Emojipedia to see how they’ll look on different devices or operating systems. We’re currently offering Emoji 1.0 from the Unicode Standard. They’re currently on 5.0. This is to ensure that the most possible emojis display properly for the most amount of people. However, if you have your heart set on using a newer emoji, you can always copy and paste one into your subject line. Examples of Using Emoji in Subject Lines If you’re ever not sure where to get started with a new strategy in email marketing, it can always help to see what others have done. This will let you take gain some inspiration and help you to consider what you liked and think you can improve upon. Email Marketing Tipps put together a long list of examples of emoji in subject lines from reputable businesses across the globe. Here are some favorites: A New Twist on M♥M’s Day Gifts + More Great Savings In Stores & Online ☀ sun’s out, sale’s on! ❄ A Winter Advisory you NEED to check out → ✈ Fabulous Flight-Inclusive Offers from £269! | Your Sunshine & Golf Await…✈ Score Pizza With A FREE Kick! Factors To Consider When Using Emoji In a perfect world, we could all use emoji in our subject lines willy-nilly. That’s not the case. There are some things to take into consideration when using emoji in your subject lines. Much like with fonts, there are better emoji to use than others. Some may not yet be compatible on certain devices. One example of that is skin tone variations. Also like fonts, emoji display differently based on the device they’re on. Don’t forget to send test emails or use Inbox Checker to see how they’ll appear. Just as you want to be careful about using excessive punctuation, you shouldn’t overdo emoji use either. You still have to keep character limits in consideration. Those aren’t the only reasons to be careful with your emoji use. You might be very excited to tell your subscribers about the new Farmer’s Market you’ll be peddling your wares out, but as 93% of emoji users aren’t using 🍑 to represent a fruit...but rather as a posterior. Share Your Tips Have you successfully employed emoji in your subject lines? Share examples or some tips on what has or hasn’t worked for your business. We’d love to hear your feedback in the comments!


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5 Issues That Hurt Your Email Deliverability and How To Correct Them

5 Issues That Hurt Your Email Deliverability and How To Correct Them

Practical Marketer • June 6, 2018

Email deliverability has been a challenge that even the most seasoned marketers combat on a regular basis. There’s probably nothing more painful than realizing that the email you had carefully written and designed never reached the subscriber’s inbox - it was likely pushed into the Junk or Spam folder where it won’t be ever read. Email deliverability - the ability to place emails into your subscribers\' inbox as intended - is the key metrics that marketers try to get right. If your email is not placed where it can be read, everything else is useless. The Spam Filter Despite everything you do from your end to get an email placed in the inbox of the recipient, it’s the mailbox provider that takes the final decision on where your email should be placed: the Inbox or the Junk folder. That means if you’re focusing on improving email deliverability, you should understand emails from the point of view of the mailbox provider. All mailbox providers have a spam filter - a mechanism that blocks incoming spam. Every single inbound email has got to pass through the spam filter of the mailbox provider, so avoiding the spam filter, by whatever means, is impossible. However, by following email marketing best practices, you can convince the spam filter that the email it has received from you is not spam. Factors Impacting Email Deliverability A ReturnPath study suggests an average of 13.5 percent of all incoming email is placed in the Spam folder. You don’t want your email to be one of them. Different spam filters use different standards to keep unwanted emails from reaching the inbox of the recipients. However, there are some common practices that all spam filters follow. Below is the list of issues that impact email deliverability and ways by which you can work on each to significantly increase your deliverability rates. IP address reputation Sender Reputation Email subject line and contents Email Service Provider - your automation partner Email list quality IP Address Reputation An IP address is a numerical label unique to each device that’s connected to any computer network using the Internet Protocol (IP) to communicate over a network. IP address reputation is the extent to which the IP address (actually the sender using the IP address) has acted responsibly while sending emails. Spam filters judge incoming emails on the basis of, among other characteristics, the IP address reputation of the sender. While sending email campaigns, you can either use a shared IP or a dedicated IP. A shared IP is where multiple senders use the same IP address as you do, to send their emails from. The reputation of a shared IP address is the aggregate of the reputation of all those who’ve used the IP before you do. So sharing an IP also means sharing the reputation of everyone else using the same IP. Poor practices of any of the previous sender will negatively influence your email deliverability. A dedicated IP, on the other hand, is one where you are the only user of the IP address. Hence the reputation of a dedicated IP is influenced only by your own practices, since you are the only user of that IP. That gives you absolute control over the IP reputation. How You Can Get Your IP Address Reputation Right If your volumes are small, using shared IPs helps you control costs. But as your sending volume grows, you’ll need to move to dedicated IPs. When you begin using a dedicated IP it has no previous history. So it has no reputation, good or bad. Your task will be to build the IP reputation by following email marketing best practices. You can’t immediately send a large number of emails the moment you get a dedicated IP; you’ll have to gradually increase the number of emails you send (a practice called throttling), as mailboxes slowly start recognizing you as a responsible sender. Begin by sending to your most engaged subscribers. That way, you get a much better open rates and a zero bounce rate. This sends positive signals to the mailbox provider regarding your reputation. 2. Sender Reputation Sender reputation is a composite result of the IP address you send emails from, your domain reputation, SPF (Sender Policy Framework) authentication, the bounce rate of your campaigns till date, subscriber complaints, engagement, whether (and how many) spam traps sit on your subscriber list and other factors. Email engagement - what subscribers do when they receive your email - is key. Subscriber actions that suggest they are willing to interact further with you, like opening the email, reading the email, clicking on a link, following a call to action, forwarding the email and so on is considered ‘good engagement’. Actions like not opening the email or deleting the email without reading it is considered ‘poor engagement’. How You Can Improve Your Sender Reputation Keep new subscribers in a separate list. Add them to the regular list only after new subscribers respond to your double opt-in. Or add them to the regular list only if the welcome email doesn’t show a hard bounce. Maintain the right frequency of emailing to subscribers. Long gaps between emails raise the chances of valid email addresses being converted into spam traps. If you email to your subscribers at irregular intervals, they might forget you and are more likely to mark your incoming email as Spam. Have a plan of action to handle inactive subscribers. Give it your best shot to win them back. But once their inactivity crosses a certain threshold, stop sending them emails. Finally, never use purchased lists. 3. Email Subject Line and Content Nearly 60% of the email traffic worldwide is spam. That suggests spammers are getting aggressive, so spam filters need to stay a step ahead. One way spam filters identify spam is the email content. Poor grammar and high-risk words like “Free” and “Easily make $$$ online” are some of the first things that make your email look suspicious. Other content that looks suspicious to spam filters includes weight reduction, body enhancement and related pharmacy products. An all-caps subject-line is almost a guarantee your email won’t get past the spam filter. Moreover, subject-lines with too many exclamation marks is another indicator the mail is spam. Earlier, emails with shortened URLs in the content were commonly red-flagged; today instances of a shortened URL being red-flagged are a lot less frequent, thanks to its heavy use in social media platforms like Twitter. Messages that contain only a link or only an image are widely treated as spam. How You Can Get This Right Run your email draft through the Spam Check feature Benchmark provides. It gives you an excellent feedback on whether you need to improve your content. Build a compelling Subject Line. If the subscriber doesn’t like the Subject Line, she’ll likely delete your email without opening it. Mailbox providers, especially Gmail, believe that when recipients delete your emails without opening them, recipients are not interested in your email - a sign you’re sending spam! Over time, your subsequent emails to the same recipient may be pushed into the Spam folder. It’s best to use clickable keywords in place of lengthy URLs. Make sure the Unsubscribe link is clearly visible. This may sound a bit counter-intuitive but it works. When recipients can’t find the unsubscribe option easily, they tend to mark the email as Spam! 4. Email Service Provider (ESP) - Your Automation Partner Select your ESP on the basis of their experience and technical competence, and not some tall claims. For instance, claims by ESPs about overnight improvement in your deliverability rates when you switch to their service from elsewhere are mostly too good to be true. Actually, something opposite is equally likely to happen! Remember, when you switch ESPs, you are also switching IP addresses. So when the recipient mailbox providers notice you’re suddenly sending from a new range of IPs, they will, rightfully, turn cautious and may place fewer emails in the inbox than they did with the older IP address. If your new ESP doesn’t understand the importance of throttling, the recipient email box provider might actually push more of your emails into the Spam folder. How the Right ESP Matters Choosing the right email marketing partner is more than half the job done. The right partner will have most things figured out for you. To begin with, they have the right technology in place that can handle hundreds of thousands of emails. They can, for instance, help you maintain segmented email addresses lists, based on the engagement patterns or interests of the subscribers. You can also set a variety of subscription options. For instance, instead of losing your subscriber entirely, you can let her choose the frequency of her subscription: a weekly newsletter, a fortnightly compilation or may be a monthly digest. Finally, a good ESP will have strong measures in place that will have you covered. For example, even if you’ve opted for shared IPs, you can be sure the IP reputation has been maintained at optimum levels by your ESP. 5. Email List Quality One of the factors influencing the deliverability rates of your emails is also the one you can swiftly act upon: bad email addresses. Maybe there was a typo when the subscriber keyed in the email address while signing up, maybe the subscriber knowingly entered a wrong address, maybe the subscriber is using a disposable address…Reasons like this lead to your list containing a number of email addresses that are not safe to send emails to. Sending campaigns to these addresses lead to bounces, poor or no engagement (if the address is role-based or disposable), or complaints. For instance, BenchMark notes sending emails to role-based addresses results in high complaints. Poor list hygiene, therefore, influences email deliverability. How You Can Deal with Bad Email Addresses Consider double opt-in. After the subscriber signs up, send them a confirmation email, asking them to click upon a link to activate their subscription. Subscribers who do not follow this action do not receive further emails. Next, improve your list-building practices. When collecting email addresses manually, e.g. when your team is writing down addresses, spelling errors are most likely to creep in. While collecting email addresses online, use an email verification API service to validate the email address at the entry point, such as signup forms or applications, before the address gets added into your subscriber list. Use an email verification service to verify email addresses of all your subscribers. It is strongly advised that you validate email addresses at least once a year. These, by no means, are the only steps you can take to improve email deliverability, but these are some of the most significant ones. Wish you great success in your email marketing!


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