Tags: list

Which Pricing Option is Best for You?

Beyond • January 14, 2010

Benchmark Email offers two pricing models. Here’s how you can decide which one gives you the best value. Emails-Sent Pricing This is our standard and most popular pricing model. Pricing is based on the number of emails you send. You can upload multiple lists of any size. You select a monthly plan based on the total number of emails you expect to send each month. Plans start at only $9.95 for 600 emails a month. List-Size Pricing Pricing is based on the number of contacts in your list. You select a monthly plan based on the size of your list. The list-size pricing model allows you to email to your list multiple times in a given month for a flat fee. If you need to send each week, this could be a good option for you. (We do limit the number of times you can send to that list to 7x.) Plans start at $18.95 for lists with up to 1,000 contacts.


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Using List Segments to Target your Audience

Using List Segments to Target your Audience

Beyond • December 22, 2009

Benchmark Email\'s List Segments is a powerful, easy to use feature that lets you zero in and directly connect with your desired audience. Segmenting your lists allows you to:   Extract a group of contacts based on any field in your Contact list (sign-up date, zip code, customer type, etc.). Improve response rates with relevant messages and offers. Styles: automotive, fashion, architectural Test offers, subject lines and messages to see which gets the best results before sending to your entire list. Mail smarter! You can decide how detailed (or not) you want to get. Let’s take a look at how it works: Under the Lists tab, click on Segments and Create New Segment. Then choose for which Contact List you want to create a Segment. (Your original list will remain unchanged.) You have two filter options to segment your list. Date Added You can filter contacts based on the date when a contact joins or is added to your list. Just select the condition from the drop down box and then enter the date range. Subscriber Field Any subscriber information from your Contact List (e.g. zip code, email, state or customer type) can be the basis for a segment. If you want to be super specific, you can identify up to 10 filters for a segment. There is no limit to the number of segments you can have. This powerful feature will help you be a better, smarter email marketer. And it’s already in included in your account. So Segment away!


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The Convergence Of Email With Social Marketing

The Convergence Of Email With Social Marketing

Beyond • December 15, 2009

The hot topic a few years ago was \"convergence\" of interactive mediums like the internet and passive audience mediums like television. Well, it seems that convergence has come and gone, and now online marketers have to face yet another convergence: this time one between conventional email marketing and social networking promotion. Email = Formal, Social Networking = Casual Social networking\'s growth may be considered inverse to that of email, as the 140 character twit gradually replaces many users\' formal inbox. However, the two paradigms will generally continue to co-exist and settle into more sustainable forms. Social networking will gravitate towards the more casual, sound-bite type of applications while email remains the formal long-form, comprehensive vector. Social Networking Adds Value To Email Marketing The primary reasons why a marketer should aspire to have their email converge with social networking is to take advantage of the value that the networks can bring to the success of your program. Personal endorsement: When your customers display your message in their own spaces, it constitutes a personal endorsement to their social circle. This is the 21st century equivalent of word of mouth, the perennially successful marketing process. Reader involvement: By encouraging interest in your brand within a social context, your message will be seen to be relevant and thus will be anticipated when it shows up in the inbox, making it far more likely to be acted upon. List Building: Attracting new participants to your email marketing program increases your email list by gradual accretion. Beating the SWYN Automaton Odds Much has been written about how SWYN (Share With Your Network) is replacing the far less successful FTAF (Forward To A Friend), yet it is not sufficient to simply toss in a few social network links at the bottom of an email. Your customers are not automatons who can be relied on pushing a SWYN button the statistical average of 1.75% of times received. The reader has to find the information compelling and relevant enough to be motivated to share it. What does the message contain that is shareable, not overall but to that specific individual and their social circle? Is a sportscar group going to be more interested in a special discount on a GPS system or on a dishwasher? Your message has to have exceptional merit to be deemed worthy of sharing. A daily barrage of $5 off this hard drive today replacing yesterday\'s sale of $5 off its stablemate will only desensitize the reader. In order to get excited enough to share an offer, your customer has to be wowed by it. Successful SWYN emails contain truly exclusive \"insider-only\" content and are measured in a frequency of months, not hours. Logic & Relevance Are The SWYN Keys The networks listed in a SWYN feature need also be made relevant. If your message regards a special discount on maternity wear, does it need to have a link to Digg, a site that deals in primarily technology and political news? The placement of the SWYN is important as well. Why line them all up like neglected little soldiers at the bottom of the email when they can be integrated in a logical and relevant fashion within the message itself? More than ever before, marketers have to walk a mile in their customers\' moccasins and embrace their individual motivations. Successful marketing historically began as a conversation, then became a \"one-to-everybody\" spot on Ed Sullivan or the SuperBowl, and now is back to being a conversation.


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10 Ways to Build an Opt-In Email List

Beyond • November 14, 2009

As an email marketer, your first job is to build an opt-in email list. Without this list there is no way to send out your email newsletters. If you are building an opt-in list for the first time, don’t worry. Take a look at some great tips to help you compile a fantastic opt-in list! 1. Create a website Creating a website is a pretty simple thing to do. It can even be done for free. Once you create your website you can request visitors to register with you and thus get them to sign up. 2. Prominent Opt-ins Place prominent opt-in forms where ever you think potentials may see it. People do not have to time to hunt for your sign in forms. Place these forms in easy to see locations. 3. Write an E-book or E-report An E-book or E-report is a great way to get potential customers to visit your website. In this way they will be motivated to sign up for your newsletter. 4. Guest-write blogs A lot of blogs permit guest writers to place articles on their blogs along with a link leading to their website. This technique is excellent for gaining publicity. 5. Use ezine directories Get yourself listed in ezine directories. The best part is, this option requires no subscribers and is usually a free service! So make the most of it and get listed now! 6. Give out freebies Give out free stuff to your potential clients. Give away free screensavers, games, ebooks and more on your website. Place a sign up box on your website so that people checking out your freebies know they can register for your newsletters. 7. Submit your writing Make use of online magazines that accept your writing and if possible place a link leading to more information. You can also publish an online newsletter. There are lots of services that help you do this. 8. Provide quality information Your newsletters should contain interesting and well written quality content. Good content is the best motivator for getting people to sign up. 9. Provide quick opt-out Provide a simple and quick process for opting out. This encourages people to take a chance on signing up. 10. Find a partner It could be beneficial if you found a partner with similar interests to build an opt-in list with. This could lead to shared expenses, sharing of the list and better profits. Can you think of any more tips to build an opt-in email list? Tell us about them!


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8 email deliverability tips

8 email deliverability tips

Beyond • September 23, 2009

Spam filters play a huge role in affecting the deliverability of emails that subscribers have opted-in for. These filters sometimes prevent mails which are not spam from reaching the inbox of subscribers. This can adversely affect your open and click through response rates by as much as 20-30%. To ensure your requested emails get delivered, take a look at some great tips: Tip 1: Use a trustworthy ESP Using a well known Email Service Provider (ESP) would greatly improve your email deliverability. ESP’s such as benchmarkemail.com allow you to benefit from their reputation, white listings, references, and goodwill with ISPs. It takes years of hard work and dedication along with huge amounts of authentic email marketing for ESPs to build such reputations. A reputable ESP therefore plays a huge rule in ensuring that your emails get delivered. Tip 2: Select ESPs that use Feedback Loops Select an ESP that is registered with ‘Feedback Loops’ on big ISPs like Yahoo, Hotmail and AOL. Every time a recipient reports your email as spam, the feedback loop lets the ISP deliver an unsubscribe mail to your database. This makes it possible for you to prevent the recipient from receiving further mails, thus avoiding multiple complaints. In this way your reputation is also safe guarded. Tip 3: Get Permission Permission is a huge factor in the case of email deliverability. It is vital that you check that the recipients of your email have actually subscribed to your emails. This requires using a confirmed opt-in or verified opt-in process which sends all attempted subscribers a unique link at the time that they ask for information. Such subscribers must click on that unique link before they can be added to your list. By clicking on that link, the prospective subscriber confirms that the email address is his and that he has asked to receive your emails. Tip 4: Maintain your List Maintain your list by immediately removing addresses that cause your emails to bounce. An email address that causes your mail to bounce with a permanent error 2 or 3 times a month must be taken off your list. Remember that ISPs keep an eye on the number of emails that bounce; constantly sending emails to undeliverable inboxes will result in your ISPs blocking your mails. Tip 5: Keep the same \'From\' information Always use the same information in your ‘from’ field. The means you must keep the same name and address for all your emails. When you change the details in your ‘from’ field, your subscribers will have to add these new details in their address book. If they fail to do so, your emails may not reach their inbox. Most importantly, keeping the same ‘from’ details goes a long way towards helping your subscribers develop awareness of your brand name. Tip 6: Get rid of bounces Ensure that you get rid of every bounce that does not get delivered, on a priority basis. Consistently sending emails that bounce back will make ISPs take action against you and your emails. Tip 7: Stick to a frequency Sending emails at a fixed frequency, i.e., at the same day and time is a great way to get into the good books of your ISPs. It gives the impression that you are a dependable email marketer. It also prevents ISPs from thinking you are a spammer as spam mail is sent at any day and time with no fixed intervals. Tip 8: Send relevant content Always send your subscribers content that is relevant and satisfies their needs. Sending them unrelated information or sales pitches that have nothing to do with the content that they subscribed for, is a sure way to get spam complaints. Email deliverability is of great importance to every email marketer. So before you begin your campaign take a look at these email deliverability tips. They are sure to improve your deliverability results!      


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How to Overcome Email List Fatigue

Beyond • September 12, 2009

Email list fatigue has become a real topic of debate among email marketers. Some customers may not receive your emails because of spam filters. Some do receive your emails but do not open them because their mail account is inactive. But what about those people who don’t read your emails anymore because they are no longer interested? Such customers do not wish to break all ties with you; however there is a definite drop in their interest level. This phenomenon is called ‘email list fatigue.’ Though it is not possible to avoid this issue, there are ways to counter its impact. So, how does one deal with email list fatigue? For a start, try to identify your inactive customers within a certain time period, a year for instance. This period is sufficient to gauge the amount of interest your clients have shown in your emails. The number of emails sent during this period depends on your emailing frequency. Let’s assume you send one email in a month; this means you would have sent out a total of 12 emails in a year. Now, take a look at your customer data. Consider those addresses which have received all 12 emails. From these addresses, find the number of users who have opened your emails and clicked on links. The customers who haven’t received or opened your emails are inactive customers. The point of identifying such customers is not to remove them from your list but to try and reactivate them. Take a look at some techniques that you can employ to reactivate inactive customers and counter email list fatigue. 1. Supply them with fresh content Fresh and high quality content is a must when you seek to rekindle interest among disinterested customers. Put yourself in their shoes and come up with ways to evoke interest among them once again. 2. Limit the number of sales pitches It is acceptable to make subtle sales pitches with great content, once in a while. However, avoid making sales pitches on a frequent basis. An overdose of sales pitches will result in killing your customers’ interest in your emails. 3. Follow a frequency schedule If you send more than one email per month, there is a possibility that your customers may feel overwhelmed. The best thing to do is send emails when you have something worth communicating. Make sure you send a newsletter at least once every month. If you fail to do so, your clients may forget that they had subscribed to your emails. 4. Use the same name and address in the \'from\' field: Your clients will look the name and address in the ‘from’ field and decide if they want to read your email or even open it. They will not open the email, if they do not know the sender. So, avoid changing the details in the ‘from’ field. If you must change it, then inform your clients accordingly. 5. Make the subject line creative Your subject line is the deciding factor when it comes to the opening or deletion of your emails. For this reason you need to create a subject line that will capture the imagination of your customers. If you can’t come up with a creative line, consider hiring a professional to create it for you. 6. Let customers unsubscribe if they want to Let customers unsubscribe from your campaign, whenever they want to. For this reason, you should provide an unsubscribe link in all your emails. There’s no point in keeping disinterested customers on your list. 7. Give customers special offers from time to time Give your customers new and special offers at regular intervals. You may offer them a discount on products and services or even a free trial. For instance, if you have a book store, you can give your customers a discount on the latest releases or bestsellers. 8. Keep taking new subscriptions Regardless of how active your list is, don’t stop the inflow of new subscriptions. This is because peoples’ interests change very swiftly. New subscriptions will ensure that your list doesn’t become dysfunctional due to a lack of interest on the part of your subscribers. 9. Change the day and time of sending If you haven’t had much luck by sending emails on a particular day and time, change both of them. It may or may not work but it’s worth a shot. 10. Change the format You can also alter the format of your emails. If you have been sending your emails in HTML format, and they don’t seem to be doing the trick, you can consider using the text format for a change. Of course, the content and links you provide need to be a lot more specialized. 11. Keep track of the emails Create a separate list for the most important domains. Keep a track of how your emails have been faring in all those domains. If they are unable to make it past spam filters, try to develop other versions, which will get past spam filters. 12. Send your clients postcards You can request clients to revise what they want in the emails. In return, you can send your clients postcards offering them something valuable. 13. Understand the needs of your subscribers It is possible that all inactive clients may have something in common. They could all be women or senior citizens. If that’s the case, try and identify their needs or preferences. For instance, if you publish a newsletter on fitness for males, you could include content for females and categorize it into different age groups so that none of your subscribers feel left out. 14. Form joint ventures cautiously Form joint ventures only with those companies whose clients are interested in what you offer. If you form joint ventures with companies whose clients have no interest in your offerings you will just end up with a new batch of inactive customers. It’s not possible to completely avoid the issue of email list fatigue but the techniques listed above should help you deal with its effects. Once your customers start responding to your emails, add their addresses to the list of active customers. In doing so, you will know for sure how many of them are yet to become active again. So, give these tips a try to combat email list fatigue! Good luck!


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Email Marketing: Avoid Sending to an Old Email List

Email Marketing: Avoid Sending to an Old Email List

Beyond • August 28, 2009

It is very common for companies to slowly and steadily gather email addresses on their websites from the very first day. The problem here is they are so busy collecting these addresses that they fail to use them. The reasons for not contacting those email addresses immediately could range from companies not knowing how to send marketing messages to not having the time to contact their addresses. Whatever the reason, these companies tend to hold on to their collection and do nothing - till one fine day, a year or more later. At some point in the future these companies suddenly wake up and decide to inaugurate their massive collection of addresses, compiled lovingly through the years. Unfortunately, when they start emailing their list they do not get back very loving replies. Why? Because the email addresses, and the permission that was given with them, has an expiry period. After holding on to addresses for more than 12 months and doing nothing, you no longer have the right to send these addresses your campaign newsletters. If you do suddenly blast them with newsletters – you are heading for some serious trouble. Take a look at some of the trouble you are headed for: You will get accused of sending spam Your customers visited your store, bought something and left. Some of them signed up to your email list. Now 12 months later you set up a brilliant email marketing system and send them sudden and frequent newsletters. Will they be happy to receive your numerous newsletters? Would they remember ever visiting your store? The answer to both is No. The recipients of your newsletters would in all likelihood wonder who you are and how you got their email address, and then complain that you are sending them spam. This is also the right path to getting blacklisted. Your mails will rapidly bounce back When you send newsletters to email addresses that are more than 12 months old you will notice that a lot of your mails come bouncing back. There are a lot of reasons for this: The email address may no longer exist: When this happens you should remove the address from your list. Unfortunately, if too many messages bounce you may not have the time to rectify your list as your Internet service provider may think you are sending spam and take action. To remain above the blacklist radar you need to ensure that you do not exceed a bounce rate of 10%. The address has been redirected: This could happen when a person switches jobs, or when an account is cancelled. In either case, there is a good chance that someone new will receive your newsletter. This new person has no idea that the person the newsletter was intended for had subscribed to it; this person will therefore complain that the newsletter is spam. The address has become a spam trap: Addresses that are very old are sometimes turned into spam traps. These are dangerous as sending marketing mails to these addresses have a huge adverse affect on deliverability and result in making your email service provider quite irritated. You may get blacklisted After being accused of sending spam and having your emails bounce back you now discover that you have been blacklisted by all the big Internet service providers (ISPs). This is due to a combination of people forgetting that they had signed up for your newsletter, people changing their email addresses and you walking into spam traps. Most of these issues may not be your fault, but the end result is that your mails have been bouncing and people have been making spam complaints. To your ISPs, you are using a list that is old, dirty or has been bought. This leads to your ISPs blocking you which in turn leads to your email service provider shutting down your account. So the basic fact is, if you want to save yourself the head ache of going through all these issues, make sure you clean your list regularly and remove all old and outdated email addresses. If you must use email addresses that are older than 12 months, make sure you re-introduce yourself and remind the recipient how you got their email address. You can also ask them to either sign up again, or you can ask them to use the unsubscribe link in your very first mail, if they are no longer interested. This helps getting rid of those addresses that can cause you problems later on.


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Common Email Marketing Mistakes

Common Email Marketing Mistakes

Beyond • August 22, 2009

Email marketing, if carried out in the right way, is extremely economical and can provide you with some spectacular results. Best email marketing results require a moral, and extensively detailed plan to be in place. Setting this plan in place usually takes up a substantial amount of thought and energy; this is something a lot of email marketers fail to give consideration to. To avoid making typical beginner mistakes, take a look at our list of common email marketing mistakes. 1. Marketing without permission Sending emails without the explicit permission of your recipients makes you a spam sender. This is illegal and is an excellent way to destroy your reputation. There are a lot of email marketers out there who take the easy and wrong way out; they purchase email lists, or create lists unethically by compiling them from the Internet. The first step for you as an email marketer is to gather permission from your customers. This step should be carried out before you start pumping in money and effort in your marketing endeavour. Getting permission is not all that difficult and goes a long way in reducing your spam complaints and legal issues, increasing deliverability and vastly improving your open and click through rates. For tips on increasing your list, click here. 2. Ineffective List Creation Your email list is critical for successfully managing your email campaign. In fact, your list is so important that it is what determines the success or failure of your campaign. True, it is not always the easiest thing to choose the perfect list. However, there are a number of tried and tested techniques that should work well for you. At the same time, there are certain common mistakes that are made frequently by email marketers and should be avoided at all costs. For instance, using outdated email lists that have been collecting dust for over a year will provide you with nothing but inactive emails. Similarly, renting shady lists will simply result in you illegally sending out spam mails; this could lead to you getting caught as a spammer and you would then have to pay the consequences. Another common mistake is bringing back to life inactive house lists; this is another sure fire way to be labelled a spammer. Avoid these mistakes at all costs. 3. Bad subject lines As an email marketer, your goal is to get your recipients to not only open your email but also to read its content. Your subject line plays a huge role in making this goal a reality. Unfortunately, many email marketers fail to see the correlation between an effective subject line and a great response rate. Many times the subject line is a last minute effort and at times it is even left as an empty field. It is not a question of filling in the subject line; your heading must be relevant, effective and something that grabs the attention of the recipient. Your subject line must give the recipient a feel for the content of your email. Keep your heading simple and honest; avoid trying to hard sell your email with subjects such as “Huge Discount”. 4. Going for one time sales rather than relationships The mistake here is that email marketers tend to use email explosions to carry out their campaigns. Launching emails at unknown recipients is a complete waste of effort. What must be understood is that a successful email campaign is one that is targeted at the right people and slowly but surely builds a long term relationship. Sending out emails to random people is about as subtle as throwing a bomb; all you will be left with is a destruction zone. You need to work on those people who have given you the green flag in terms of permission; these people want to read what you send them, are interested in providing you feedback and are a good investment in terms of time and effort as they have the potential to become long lasting relationships. So don’t bomb your recipients; build them up. 5. Failing to test your campaign Unfortunately a lot of email marketers realise too late that their marketing strategy could have been vastly improved upon before launching it full scale. This is because they tend to launch their campaigns without any prior testing. The result? Absolutely no response. This is a shame especially since email newsletters are such a prime method of testing different options. Try out different subjects; change your content around, experiment with images and pictures and test them all out on a sample group. Once you see what combination gets the best result, that’s when you should start sending your emails out to your entire email list.


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