Category Archives: Marketing Email Deliverability

Email Marketing Process

Guide to Spam Proof Email Marketing: Part 2 – Start Your Email Marketing Process

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Welcome to Part 2 in our series, ‘Your Guide to Spam Proof Email Marketing.’  In this blog, we will cover everything you need to know to start your email marketing process.

Setup Your Email Marketing Process

The first thing you’ll want to do is build your email lists.  Keep in mind though that you need to have permission to email your customers and other prospects prior to adding them to your list.

And while you might be inclined towards buying email lists, it’s not something we ever recommended. There are just too many issues with purchasing an email list that end up outweighing any benefits you might gain. We also don’t recommend you simply adding emails from your prospect’s business cards that were collected at a conference or a networking event. Just don’t put anyone on your list until you have express permission from them to receive your newsletters or emails. Failing to do this means your emails are more likely to be marked as spam, which will only damage your business reputation online.

Remember that people who don’t opt-in to specifically get your emails are just not the people who will be buying from you. So sending them your offers and/or other deals will be a complete waste of time and money.

To get started with your email marketing campaigns the spam proof way, you should:

  1. Create an Email Opt-In Form
  2. Set-up an Account with an Email Marketing Service

Let’s talk about some of the leading email marketing service providers out there:

MailChimp

For all first time email marketers out there, we recommend that you try out MailChimp as your email marketing service.  It’s a great service with an easy to set-up and highly intuitive user interface.  Adding new subscribers to specific segments is as easy as it can get.

The best thing about MailChimp is that it offers a free plan for up to 2,000 subscribers – that’s more than enough for any new businesses.  However, if you are looking for auto-responders or any other powerful tools, then you will have to make a switch to a paid plan.  But not to worry, their paid plans are some of the lowest out there, starting from as little as just $10/month.

Constant Contact

Constant Contact is one of the biggest email marketing services.  We find them to be extremely easy to manage subscribers and create highly professional emails using customizable templates via their simple drag-and-drop editing tools.  They also allow you to send out automated emails to all of your new subscribers and track the performance.

Constant Contact offers a free, 60-days trial, after which you can start a plan from as low as $20/month or get further discounts for prepayments of 6 or 12 months.

AWeber

AWeber is another famous email marketing service with a wide range of tools, including auto-responders, email builder, segments and much more.  With a fantastic customer support team and features like highly targeted emails using opt-in forms, AWeber might just be the right service for you.

Their service prices start from as low as $19/month and offer a 30-day free trial for new subscribers.

ConvertKit

ConvertKit can be the perfect choice for you if you are a beginner who needs some advanced features to be used in the near future, including complex auto-responders.  You can think of it as a CRM minus the heavy price tag. ConvertKit is massively used by authors, professional bloggers as well as speakers.

Pricing starts at $29/month for up to 1,000 subscribers.

ActiveCampaign

Oriented more towards marketing automation, ActiveCampaign is a unique email marketing software. With ActiveCampaign, you can reveal more about the subscribers’ behavior, using tags on their profile.

Pricing starts at a meager $17/month.

InfusionSoft

InfusionSoft is an end-to-end CRM as well as marketing solution created with small and medium-size businesses in mind.  With extremely advanced features of list segmentation, marketing automation, and lead scoring, InfusionSoft is a powerhouse that is on top of its game.  You’ll either need to know a little HTML to be able to truly customize your emails or you can pay their team to do it for you.

Monthly package starts from a minimum of $99/month.

GetResponse

GetResponse is great for email marketers who wish to create responsive emails and have built-in auto-responders with A/B testing capabilities. The pricing starts at $15/month for 1,000 subscribers and can go all the way to $999/month for enterprise solutions.

Hubspot

HubSpot is an all-in-one marketing software that offers more than basic email marketing services.  Designed specifically to meet the needs of medium to large businesses, HubSpot will help you with strong SEO and a fantastic customer service.  They also offer free training to equip you with the inbound methodology in attracting, nurturing, converting and delighting your leads.

The basic plan starts at $200/month which features content creation tools, content optimization, email marketing, social media suite and a sublime marketing analytics dashboard.

How to Grow Your Email Marketing List

Once you have your Opt-In Forms and Email Marketing Services ready and in place, the next step is to start working on creating your email lists and make sales.

Let’s move on to Part 3 of our series: Guide to Spam Proof Email Marketing – Part 3 Grow Your Email Lists.

Email Blacklisting 101

By | Features and Updates, Marketing Email Deliverability, Services | No Comments

Email BlacklistingWe are living in an age where effective direct marketing has become a continually changing and growing challenge.  With so many brands looking to be heard and consumers become super savvy, marketers seek new ways to be heard above all the inbox noise.

In this competition and struggle to be noticed it’s not uncommon for email marketers to bite off more than they can chew, often delving off into efforts which ignore best practices for email marketing.  Such rogue adventures typing end up in your brand being blacklisting.

 

What are Blacklists?

To put it simply, blacklists are lists of bad marketers.  These generally include spammers; however, legitimate mailers can also easily end up blacklisted just by not adhering to the best emailing practices.  While most blacklists are usually IP based, they can also be URL or domain based.  Typically blacklists are run by independent operators, hosting companies, corporate email managers or organizations who cater to ISPs.

 

What Makes You Get Blacklisted?

Blacklist operators are always actively using networks of spam traps to track and catch spammers and bad, unethical marketers.  If you’re emailing to spam trap addresses, then that becomes a clear indicator that you are not following the best practices in list acquisition and list management, since these addresses are phony and don’t belong to a real user.  This can cause you to be flagged as a spammer or even worse, get yourself blacklisted.

 

What Happens When You are Blacklisted?

Blacklists are commonly used by email receivers like ISPs and hosting companies to clock all unwanted “spammy” emails from suspicious mailers.  Another thing to note is that the number of your emails blocked also depends on the blacklist that you have ended up in.  One of the most widely known blacklists is Spamhaus and it is used by the majority of mailbox providers. If you end up on their list then you have a big problem for your business on emails.

 

How Can You Resolve a Blacklisting?

Keep in mind that each blacklist has its own process for removal.  Once blacklisted, the most important thing to understand is how you got there in the first place.  Once you have that figured out, you can reach out to the blacklist operator and formally request them to remove you from their list.

The best rule of thumb though is to stay off the lists entirely.  Some of the ways to ensure that you stay off of blacklists include:

  • Send out emails to users who have engaged with you in the last 90 days.  This can vary from campaign to campaign, but keeping within this range will ensure you don’t get flagged.
  • Remove users who haven’t engaged with you in over a year.  If you don’t, you might end up in recycled spam traps and get flagged for unethical email practices.
  • Employ double opt-in methods to avoid emailing repeatedly to spam trap addresses because they will not be able to click the confirmation links.
  • We also advise that you always follow the best practices for email list acquisition.

Preview and Rate Marketing Emails Before Sending

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marketing emailsLet’s be honest here – how many times have you discovered, after sending out marketing emails to your subscribers, an embarrassing typo or that you completely missed out on inserting a link to a button? Happens to the best of email marketers out there!

What might seem like a harmless little mistake can cost you a customer, and even worse, can land you in the spam folder. Your efforts and hard work will go to waste as a meaningless, amateur email when landing your potential customer’s inbox.

To avoid this heartache, we at Mail Monitor strongly recommend that you always preview and rate marketing emails before sending them out.

 

Marketing Emails: What Does An Inbox Preview Do?

Most of the leading email marketing services out, such as MailChimp and HubSpot, will allow you to have a complete preview of your email campaigns, giving you the final preview that your subscribers will see. This allows you to preview all your email campaigns before sending them out and gives you the opportunity to check them to see if they look professional and are readable and up to your quality mark.

Reviewing and optimizing your messages before sending them out will:

  • Ensure that your emails look accurate and are aesthetically correct for all devices and screen types; and
  • Will guarantee that your emails don’t get blocked by any spam filters based on an unforced error on your part

Performing this final check will also enhance your chances of increasing your response rate and minimize your unsubscribes.

 

Marketing Emails: What If You Don’t Do Inbox Previews?

Inbox Previews are essential marketing tools to quickly identify any issues before deploying a campaign. Failing to do this can lead to:

  1. High Spam Requests/Unsubscribes – You increase your subscriber’s likelihood to mark you as spam or simply unsubscribe from your mailing lists altogether. Imperfect emails are a real turn off for anyone and it looks extremely unprofessional and suspicious.
  2. Email Your Reputation – You need to make sure that your messages look perfect on all kind of devices. Failing to do so will definitely reduce your business’s reputation online.
  3. Increase in Block Rates – All renowned organizations rely heavily on email marketing to send the message across. Sending out faulty emails that might contain missing texts or images, broken links or invalid landing pages will increase the risk of being blocked, killing off the entire object of the marketing teams.

 

Rating Your Marketing Emails

Below are some of the things that you should always check when previewing your emails:

  • No words are misspelled – First and foremost, make sure your content has no typos or even worse, any grammatical errors. Make proofreading your best friend and maybe also involve another team member in the process.
  • The images are all working fine – Always double check to see that your images are being uploaded properly and/or are hosted on your public server, free from any password protection.
  • Links are working perfectly – Ensure that all of the links in your email are leading to the right place. Check each and every link and certify that none of your links used are blacklisted – something that you should consider critically.
  • Email layout is proper – Check the spacing of all elements and the overall layout of your emails for various devices, including the padding, margin changes, color, and fonts.
  • Looks good on all inboxes – You will have to make sure that your emails look good across all inboxes and not just a few. Check how they look on test accounts across all inbox services.
  • Headlines and subject lines looking good – Your emails should have a good headline as well a subject line that is relevant to the content of your email.