Category Archives: Tips and Resources

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.

 

 

 

Email Blacklist

Not Everyone Looks Good in Black — Especially Your Email Campaigns

By | Email Delivery Tracking, Marketing Email Deliverability, Tips and Resources | No Comments

Black is a classic fashion look that pretty much everyone looks good in.  However, as a marketer, black, as in being blacklisted, isn’t a color you want to find your emails dressed in.

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.  Let’s take a few minutes to dive into what blacklists are, what to do if you ever find yourself on one, and how to avoid them in the first place.

Blacklist: The Blackhole Syndrom for Emails

An email blacklist is a real-time review of emails by ISPs to determine if an email that is coming through could be considered as spam.  The goal is to minimize the number of spam emails that reach their email users.  Each ISP manages their own list, so you may find yourself on one or multiple at any time.

People, countries, companies and other entities that are deemed to be untrustworthy could find themselves on a blacklist without warning.  ISPs are focused on preventing fraud and protecting their users, so if an email displays any suspicious signs or characteristics, that sender will be added to the ISPs blacklist and all emails from that sender will be dropped immediately.

As with most things, there is an opposite to blacklists and that, not surprisingly, is known as a whitelist.  This is the list you want to stay one as all senders on this list will have their email delivered to their targeted end users.

From Blacklist to Whitelist

Should the worst case scenario occur and you find yourself blacklisted, don’t despair…it will take some effort, but you can rectify the situation.  Typically you’ll receive notification that you have been blacklisted with specific instructions.  However, that’s not always the case.  Since one of the top reasons companies get blacklisted is due to being marked as ‘spam’ by end users, it’s not a bad idea to add an email delivery audit to your end of month reporting processes.

Here is a list of the top six to check:

  1. Spamhaus –The Spamhaus project is one of the most reputable blacklisting companies providing real-time anti-spam protection for internet networks worldwide.
  2. SURBL –SURBL is a second tier filter that works in conjunction with Spamhaus to identify some of the most difficult unsolicited messages to track.
  3. Barracuda Reputation Block List –BRBL is a free DNSBL of IP addresses known to send spam.
  4. Invalument –The Invalument anti-spam DNSBL is a subscription-based service that specializes in blocking elusive types of spam where the sender is sending 100% unsolicited bulk email and escaping traditional detection methods.
  5. Spamcop –The SpamCop Blocking List (SCBL) lists IP addresses that had mail reported as spam by SpamCop users.
  6. MultiRBL –This free multiple DNS Blacklist service that cross-references other blacklists by IPV4, IPV6, or domain.

Reputation Monitoring is Key

Reputation monitoring is a critical component to ensuring that your email deliverability rate stays as high as possible.  By managing your complaint rates and watching for delivery dips in your campaign metrics, you’ll be able to see trends and stop issues before they start.

Working with companies such as MailMonitor that offer a suite of services to help you better manage your reputation will make it easier for you to stay on top of things.  With features such as Inbox Monitoring, Reputation Tracking, and Spam Filter Testing you’ll be able to maximize your deliverability rate and minimize you propensity for landing on the dreaded blacklist.

 

 

Email Re-engagement

Email Re-engagement: Show Love to Sleeping Users

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

As an email marketer, it’s easy to create engaging content for your active users, but how do you connect with your inactive or sleepy users?  Too many marketers just write this group off, which is a huge mistake!

Typically, these users still want to connect with you, but they’ve just been busy.  This is why a well-developed email re-engagement strategy needs to be part of your overall email marketing plan.

Email Re-engagement: Identify the Sleepers

The first thing you’ll want to do is identify these sleepy, non-engaged users on your email lists.  Then create a separate list for just them.  Once they are back into the swing of things you can move them back to their appropriate list.

The users you are looking for are those who haven’t opened or clicked on an email in a while.  Depending on how often you send emails, ‘a while’ could be for 30 to 60 days or more like within the past year if you only send out emails once per month.

Email Re-engagement: Create a Plan

When designing your campaigns, develop them for the long run and don’t go into it with a ‘one and done’ mentality.  You don’t want to force the issue, but rather nurture the user back into your relationship, reminding them of everything they love about your brand.

Part of your plan should probably also include some of the features found in the MailMonitor application:

  • spam filter testing
  • a display preview in various browsers and ISPs before sending

These extra steps increase your chances making it to the user’s inbox and will also ensure that they are able to see the beautiful images and content you’ve created.  Think about it, if you’re trying to re-engage with someone, you don’t want to send them an email with broken images or links.  An email like that looks sloppy and sends the message that you don’t care.

Another key component to your plan is to set up some kind of automation to catch sleepy users.  You’ll set up your marketing automation system to trigger a series of “re-engagement emails” to users who display the behavior of a  sleeper.  The goal here is to identify them and re-engage with them before you lose them.

Email Re-engagement: Redeveloping Brand Relationships

Yes, we do mean ‘relationship.’  (Those of you with relationship-phobias, just stay with us on this one.)

Your connection with your audience develops into an ongoing relationship, so, just as with any other real-world personal relationship, you need to foster and grow that relationship over time.  You never want your users to feel like you’ve moved on to something better or that you just don’t appreciate them any longer.

In your re-engagement emails, consider using dating terminology.  A recent study found that users react to this type of language better than the standard business language.  We aren’t saying be schmoopy, but rather, consider incorporating phrases like ‘Miss You’, ‘How long since we last talked’, ‘Are you still interested?’ or ‘We Want You Back!’  Test out a couple and see what resonates best with your audience.

Need a little inspiration?  Check out this Pinterest board!  It has over 71 of the best re-engagement email design and content ideas.  Just remember to keep things more relaxed and friendly….just have some fun with it!

 

Automate Email Marketing

Guide to Spam Proof Email Marketing: Part 6 – Automate Your Email Marketing

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

You’ve made it to the last blog in our series, ‘Your Guide to Spam Proof Email Marketing‘!  Now let’s wrap things up with the final steps and tips you need to know to create amazing, spam-proof email marketing campaigns.

It’s time to automate your email marketing process and convert your email marketing campaigns into a money making success stories.

Auto-responders can be considered an email marketer’s most influential tool for converting leads to sales.  They are essential when it comes to engaging your email lists, building strong value, developing relationships with your audience and converting them into buyers.

The coolest thing about auto-responders is that once you create them, they’re on their own and you really don’t have much after that.

Automate Email Marketing with Auto-responders

An auto-responder can be defined as a series of emails that are automatically sent to specific segments of people in your email list, triggered entirely by specific events taken by them, like joining your list, browsing your website, abandoning the cart, downloading a lead magnet or buying a product.

You will be creating the content of these auto-responder emails in advance and setting the emails up to be sent out at the appropriate times with the help of whichever email marketing service you choose (for a full list, see part two of our series).

Auto-responders are important for two major reasons:

  1. They help in nurturing your leads by giving them valuable information and insights while at the same time, teaching them how to have a better buying experience with you.
  2. They directly help in converting prospects into customers by building good communication and trust with your leads without ever looking too desperate or out of touch.

Choose a Goal for the Auto-responder

Let’s start with the first step in creating effective auto-responder series – setting up your goals.  There will always be one or a combination of these goals for your auto-responder series:

  • A welcome sequence for new subscribers – This will be a message that you’ll send to your new subscriber right after they give you the permission.  This will commonly contain a link to a lead magnet for easy downloading followed by a thank you message and a call-to-action to check out your other similar offerings. This is your chance to make a lasting impact on your new subscribers.
  • A lead magnet/link to a freebie – Auto-responders can also be effectively used as a lead magnet to attract the new subscribers.  You can send out a free mini-course or other freebies with a promise of a series of emails containing more such deals.
  • Bringing sales on autopilot – These days, all leading e-commerce businesses are creating sales funnels out of email auto-responder sequences.  This can include a series of linked, educational videos and resources, followed by other follow-up emails to sell your products.  It can also include promos and deals on your products to attract the right subscribers who have just viewed these products on your website.
  • Up-sell and cross-sell your products – Auto-responders can be equally effective for existing customers who have already purchased your products or services.  You can use them to up-sell and even cross-sell relevant products and services that you deem that particular segmentation of customers would find attractive. For example, if your customer just bought a course on PPC marketing, you might be able to sell a course on SEO strategies at a discounted price tag.

Map Out Your Sequences

The next thing you’ll want to be doing is mapping out the entire sequence of your auto-responder.  For this, you will need to figure out the length of the sequence, including the number of days and the number of emails.

Keep in mind that there is no universal rule to how many emails you need to have in an auto-responder sequence. You just need to make sure that your sequences are long enough to accomplish the goals that you have established.

You will also need to structure the gap that you would like to keep between your emails going out.  While it might be okay to send out an email once every two days for a start, keeping this as a habit, in the long run, might simply annoy your good subscribers.  Try and maintain a healthy balance here and you will be fine.

Most importantly, as we mentioned in our previous blog post, the quality of your emails and the level of value they are adding for your subscribers is critical to your success.  As a standard, you can follow an 80/20 rule, in which 80% of your emails will be around giving value and only 20% around making a sale.

Next up, you can create outlines for all of your sequences, from start to finish, underlining the topics each email will be covering and the call-to-action that you will have in place.

Create a Series that Converts

It might be a difficult task to actually write the emails for your auto-responder series. If so, we recommend that you outsource this task to a professional copywriter.  If you’re confident in your own abilities, then keep the following points in mind while crafting your series:

  • Keep your Focus on the Reader – Remember to always write out emails to address the genuine needs of your subscribers instead of your sales goals.  As the marketers say: “People don’t buy products, they buy solutions”.  Try and offer a solution rather than bombard them with your offers.  Understand the major pain points of your subscribers and address them in your emails.
  • Personalization is the Key – The more you personalize the content in your emails, the better. Personalized emails will definitely look more valuable and relevant to the subscribers.  And by this, we don’t mean simply adding the name of your subscriber.  You will have to put forth the time and effort to actually tailor the content of your emails.  Give them true value and be a true friend to their needs.
  • Keep Nailing the Subject Lines – As marketers, it’s all about the headlines.  As email marketers, it’s all about the subject lines (well, most of it!).  So think like a subscriber and don’t accept any subject line that will not really move you enough to click on an email.  Make sure you concentrate on the personalization here as well to make the subscriber curious about the highly relevant content that might be lying there in their inbox.

Control & Improve

While auto-responders, as the name says, are mostly a hands-off task after being successfully set, we still recommend that you loosely monitor the progress and performance of these emails.  It’s this close monitoring that might be all the difference in the end.  You will want to identify all areas that are not performing and might be improved.  Try A/B testing of little things to see if there are any improvements (always make sure you test little things and don’t perform drastic changes).

Pay attention to the following when analyzing your auto-responder campaigns:

  • Open Rates – If the open rates are less than ideal, then revisit the steps in part five of our series to see if the auto-responder is relevant to your subscriber lists and/or if the subject lines are appealing enough.  You might also want to check the timings of your auto-responder emails.
  • Click Through Rates (CTR) – Once your subscriber opens your emails, are they actually taking any action on them?  Having a low CTR might be signaling a weak body copy.  You might want to check the relevancy of your email copy with the subject line and if the content actually offered value to the subscribers.  You should also check to ensure that the CTR is clear enough and that the links or buttons are easy to find.
  • Unsubscribes – Remember that unsubscribes will always happen.  Having said that, a high or unusual unsubscribe rate should not be taken casually.  If this happens, you should check to ensure you’re delivering the promise that you initially made to get subscribes to join your mailing lists.  You will have to check the relevancy of the content of your auto-responder and also see the ratio of your email content that is sales-oriented and maybe cut down on that and work on adding more value.

Well, that’s the end of our series.  You now have enough knowledge to go out, set-up, experiment, and master the art of spam-proof email marketing.

As always, Mail Monitor is here to support you in your journey and helping you transform your email marketing campaigns into sales machines.  Contact us with any questions you might have about our tools and offerings and check out some of our other blog posts for more tips and tricks on being successful with your business emails.