Why You Should Monitor Inbox Placement and Not Just Email Deliverability

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For years we’ve been told that monitoring email deliverability is critical to managing a successful email campaign.  While it is important, it’s actually only half of the picture.

To truly understand your overall campaign performance, optimize your campaign ROI, and prevent your company from landing on the blacklist, you want to monitor inbox placement as well.

Sowing the Seeds of Email: The Hows and Whys Around Email Seed Lists

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For marketers, creating and sending emails comes with two goals:

  1. Get the email to land in your target audience’s inbox, and
  2. Get your target audience to act on your email (preferably in a positive manner and not ‘unsubscribe’)

In the beginning, the process was pretty straightforward:  create an email, spell-check the email, send the email, and watch the results.  Over the years as browser and ISP offerings have evolved, so has the process of email marketing automation.

There are tons of variables new you want to test and track now before you even send out your emails to your target audiences, such as spam scoring and multi-browser/ISP display.  This is where incorporating seed emails and email marketing tools such as spam filtering testing and email previewing become requirements for any successful email marketing arsenal.

What Are Seed Emails and Seed Email Lists?

In a nutshell, an email seed list is a list of email addresses that you will send an email to before you send the email out to your intended target audience.  This list allows you to test across various browsers, ISPs, and even device types.  Basically, you’ll be able to see how your email will appear and interact with each of these before you make it live.

Traditionally, companies created email seed lists that were full of employee personal emails.  As this practice has grown, it has expanded to test accounts which have been opened for the sole purpose of email marketing testing.  While some companies opt to take on this task themselves, many chose instead to work with outside vendors that specialize in this field and handle the ongoing tasks of managing and maintaining the lists on their behalf (which is typically the more practical and economic course for most companies to follow).

What are the Benefits of Seed Emails?

The main benefits are that you’ll be able to fix any display and engagement issues before sending out your email or email campaign.  You never want to send an email to potential or current customers that won’t display or that has broken links appearing.  This is clearly just bad form.  Too many emails like that and people will simply delete without opening or unsubscribe from your marketing emails entirely.

You’ll also be able to ensure what you’re sending will have little to no impact on your overall email reputation (lowering your chances of being marked as spam or ending up in spam folders instead of targeted inboxes).  After you’ve put all that time and hard work into an email campaign, the last thing you want to discover is that your emails aren’t reaching the target audience because you’ve been blacklisted.

Get your 2018 Email Marketing Strategy kicked off with a bang!  Check out our six-part series on email marketing,  “Your Guide to Spam Proof Email Marketing.”  As your partners in email deliverability, we want to help you maximize your marketing dollars, grow your bottom line and strengthen your brand’s reputation in the coming year.


Take Your Email Marketing Strategy Out of the Gate Like a Boss in 2018

By | Marketing Email Deliverability, Product Features, Tips and Resources | No Comments

A new year means a new chance to tell your story and make a splash with your email marketing strategy!  In order to come out of the gate strong and end up in the Winner’s Circle in 2018, it’s time to reflect on your wins and loses of 2017, take stock of what tools you have at your disposal, define where you want to be at the end of next year, and create your plan for success now.

You’ve reviewed 2017 and laid out your goals for 2018…now it’s time to figure out how you’ll get there.  Here are few strategies to consider incorporating into your winning plan of attack:

Go Big or Go Home

There are some things in life where bigger can not only mean better but can also mean stronger.  Your email list is one such animal.  A large, well vetted, email list provides the power to drive more opens, clicks, and conversions.  In order to keep your list working in your favor, you have two components to stay on top of continually:

  1. Develop an email list maintenance strategy, that includes regular email list audits, and stick to it!  Remove old emails for inactive users and ensure that you’re only contacting users who opted in (and don’t grow your email list by buying addresses — that is simply a recipe for disaster).
  2. Run quarterly re-engagement campaigns.  Users that do not interact with these campaigns or that opt-out due to them, should be removed from your list.  This will help your list stay fresh and will give the occasional nudge to sleeping users, reminding them why it’s great to do business with your company.

Don’t Just Reports…Read Them!

If you use service like MailMonitor and Google Analytics, they have features and tools that will monitor and create reports one your emails, reputation, user engagement and website performance.  Both provide you such rich information that when combined, you’ll be able to see a complete picture of the health of your brand’s online reputation and marketing efforts.

Take the time to read the reports, reflect upon the data, and revamp your campaigns, keywords, tagging, and messaging based on what you discover.  While daily might be a bit much to ask of anyone, weekly monitoring and reporting on findings should be doable for most; plus, it will allow you to keep your finger of the pulse your email marketing efforts and course adjust quickly if necessary.

Knowledge is Power

Don’t settle for the way things have always been done before.  Technology changes constantly and new innovations in email marketing are introduced almost weekly.  Sign-up for email marketing industry blogs and newsletters and follow well known innovative thought leaders.

Carve out 30 minutes to an hour daily to catch up on what’s new in your industry and in the world of email marketing.  Check out trends and new technology before it goes mainstream and share your knowledge and findings with others on social media.  Not only you create a following for your brand, you’ll also establish your brand as thought leaders and give your email marketing strategy an upper hand.

For more tips and tricks for creating a large, healthy email list and marketing strategy for 2018, check out our Guide to Spam Proof Email Marketing series.


3 Email Marketing Trends to Watch in 2018

By | Marketing Email Deliverability, Tips and Resources | One Comment

As 2017 is rapidly coming to a close, it’s time to turn our heads and start preparing our email marketing strategies for the coming year.  It is estimated that as of January 2017, more than 3.7 billion people around the globe use email.  That is a lot of potential prospects!

Competition is high and developing new ways to stand out in a prospect’s inbox and garner their attention is no easy task.  Here is a quick rundown of three trends that made an appearance in 2017 and that we believe will become trends to not only watch but to incorporate into your email marketing strategy, in 2018:

Interactive Emails

It’s no surprise that user attention spans are declining and user lifestyles are getting busier and busier.  To make sure you catch the attention of your target audience and make reading your email worth their while, create a fun, engaging email experience. Bring in games, polls, surveys, videos, quizzes, search bars, sliders and other fun activities into your emails.

One of the hottest new elements of email marketing engagement that recently hit the scene is mailable microsites.  A mailable microsite is an interactive email that allows users to engage with the companies interface within the user’s inbox.  Features include menu options and navigation bars, rotating banners, gifs and videos, countdowns and social sharing.

Not only will these engagement opportunities foster engagement, it is also more linking to spur your audience to share your message with others; thus, increasing the overall reach of your message.

Artificial Intelligence Email Marketing

There is no denying that the popularity of artificial intelligence (AI) has increased by leaps and bounds over the course of the past year.  This momentum is expected to pick up the pace in 2018 and engulf other media streams such as email marketing.

In the future, we expect that machine learning will aid email marketers by suggesting ways to segment email lists, integrate product recommendations and in creating more personalized, engaging emails based on a user’s past behaviors and engagement activities.

Responsive Design and Plain Text Emails

We live in a mobile-friendly society where content being consumed on the go more and more.  As desktops are waning in popularity and mobile and tablets are increasing, it’s time to start designing for the majority.

We know mobile-optimized sites create better user engagement, but what many fail to realize is that the same is true for email.   Slow loading emails that aren’t optimized will run the risk of low engagement and clickthrough rates.  Taking the same responsive approach to emails as we’ve taken with our websites, will ensure that your emails are accessible and inviting to all users, regardless of what platform they are using to consume information, mobile, tablet or desktop.




Optimize Your Email Strategy for Cyber Monday

By | Email Delivery Tracking, Features and Updates, Marketing Email Deliverability | No Comments

Cyber MondayIt’s that time of the year again.  Time for family friends to come together, eat, visit….oh yes, and SHOP!

While Black Friday is still a staple of the Holiday Shopping Season, Cyber Monday has made its mark as a true contender as well.  Now is the time to get your game plan ready and prepare your business for the big day.

Here are four steps that will help you get your business ready for the crazy shopping frenzy of November 27th…Cyber Monday.

Design Your Strategy

What is it you want to accomplish on Cyber Monday?  Are you wanting to promote a specific service or product or are you simply trying to promote your brand and build your email list?  Whatever your goal, you need to establish it and design your email marketing strategy around that goal.

You might consider including additional content on your website as well, something like a survey or special offer that users who land there, instead of your landing pages, are able to take advantage of on Monday.  Don’t forget to ask for their email and name before giving them the offer or showing them the survey.  With the opportunity to drive so much additional, new traffic to your site, you don’t want to miss the opportunity to grow your email list.

Create Specialized Email Lists

You also have a couple of decisions to make around your email lists.  Are you going to reach out to everyone in your approved email database or a specific subset?  Since you are creating a special strategy for the event, it makes sense to create a specific email list to go along as well.

This list can include new users as well as those dormant customers who you haven’t heard from in the past six months.  Cyber Monday specials are a great opportunity to promote in order to get them back in the game.

Develop Landing Pages

As this is a once a year special event, it calls for specially designed landing pages.  If you typically have more low-key,  formal-sounding pages, this is your opportunity to cut loose!  You want to use bold colors and dynamic calls-to-action that emote a sense of ‘act now’ and ‘amazing pricing for today only’ in order to excite your target audience.

And don’t forget about SEO.  Make sure your landing pages incorporate keywords, have meta descriptions and tagged images.  Also, you’ll want these to link back to your main website as this influx of additional traffic could help your overall search rankings increase as well.

Develop Your Email Campaigns and Marketing Follow-up

As you all know, a successful campaign is more than social media ads and landing pages.  You need a strong email strategy.  The first email series is to get them into the game.  Creating an email campaign that builds excitement up to Cyber Monday.  Also, include emails with ‘special offers’ for your long-term customers.

Many marketers forget the follow-up series, but even though the event is one day, it’s the start of a long shopping season, so create a follow-up campaign that can guide and prompt users to purchase from you all the way up to Christmas.

Ans since this is such a critically short window of opportunity, test your emails before you send them to ensure you don’t land in user spam folders or get flagged for spamming and blacklisted by ISPs.  Run your entire campaign through the MailMonitor Spam Filter testing system.  This way you can identify possible issues and resolve them before ever pushing the ‘go’ on your Cyber Monday email marketing campaign.