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  • Digital Marketing News: What Caught Our Attention This Month Dec 17, 2018 at 10:39 AM

    “Marketing’s job is never done. It’s about perpetual motion. We must continue to innovate every day.” – Beth Comstock

    Your businesses exist in a digitally-driven world. Hence, if you want to stay afloat, it’s imperative to keep up-to-date with the most recent and relevant updates in spam algorithms, PPC and advertising, digital marketing trends, social media and, of course, email marketing.

    We know it’s not easy to keep track of all the digital marketing news roaming around the Internet. Therefore, we decided to take on the burden and deliver you a news roundup which covers the most essential changes that can affect your businesses.

    In this article, we’ll cover the most recent digital marketing news on the following topics:
    1. Social Media
    2. Search Engines and SEO
    3. PPC and Advertising
    4. Email
    5. Other stuff we found interesting
    Let’s dig in into this month’s digital marketing news, shall we?

    “Put your energy into making things that are likeable, not some douchey social media strategy.” – Matthew Inman, AKA The Oatmeal

    The notoriously infamous social network we all love to hate – Facebook – will be changing its News Feed algorithm in order to demote content which comes close to violating their policies. According to them, the content demotion is only in effect in limited instances. However, the company will continue to repurpose its AI technology for proactively taking down content in violation of their policies.

    On another note, Facebook is testing a new element in its evolving eCommerce tools – Facebook Live mode. The feature will enable Pages to showcase products in a live stream, which viewers can then purchase easily via screenshots. The downside, it’s not yet available to everyone. Nonetheless, if you’re impatient, you can join the waitlist.

    Moving on to the second most used and favoured social media, Instagram. We heard they’ve become even more cliquey by adding a new feature called “close friends”. What it does, basically, is allowing you to post Stories limited to a selected group of your followers. What could possibly go wrong, right?

    You don’t think we’ve forgotten about LinkedIn, do you? If you are a business, a recruiter or, basically, anyone and you expect to be able to export the email addresses of your connections well, you’d be unpleasantly surprised. It seems the professional network quietly introduced a new privacy setting which defaults to blocking other users from exporting your email address.

    Last, but certainly not least, YouTube will be removing both annotations and video credits come January 2019. Annotations were retired in May 2017 but, existing annotations were shown to desktop viewers. Now they’ll be gone starting January 15, 2019. As for video credits, YouTube will be discontinuing them after January 31, 2019.

    “Your ultimate consumers are your users, not search engines.” – Google

    Google released an update to Google My Business API. The new version – 4.3 – brings the addition of Q&A APIs so you can retrieve questions, post answers and provide FAQs. However, that’s not all. It’ll also allow you to read reviews in bulk, report location issues, identify unclaimed locations and much more.

    We’ve also found out, Google has made two changes in Search Console. Firstly, and most significantly, the index coverage report now uses mobile-first indexing data (when available). Secondly, some of the old reports will be going away. No worries though; they will only be removing reports that have replacements in the new version of the Google Search Console.

    Furthermore, Google is changing the way they show some of the issues within Google Search Console for the AMP enhancement report. By the looks of it, they’ll be combining some over-specific issue types into fewer generalised ones – within the report – in order to simplify issue types into more manageable groups.

    “Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.” – Mark Twain

    Google announced that calls from Google Ads location extensions can now be counted as conversions. That is, once you’ve enabled account-level call reporting. By default, calls will be counted as a conversion after 60 seconds. Nevertheless, users have the option to change the default setting to any length of time, according to their business needs. Hence, in theory, a conversion should be counted as soon as the call is answered simply by changing the default value to one second.

    What’s more, Google is also rolling out a series of updates to responsive search ads which include more languages and new reporting tools.

    Ah, if you are a marketer using Bing Ads, we have some exciting news for you. Microsoft is strategically partnering up with Intent Lab to add a deeper AI-powered insight to search. The partnership is aimed at providing a better insight into what customers are thinking at each stage of their online journey. Sounds … insightful.


    “A bad email reputation is like a hangover: hard to get rid of and it makes everything else hurt.” – Christ Marriott

    In our recent digital marketing news roundup, we’ve covered topics such as malware, ISPs, TLDs, migration from G Suite to Office 365 and more. This month, we’ll talk about how to prevent ransomware emails, recent cyber attacks and the world’s worst spammers.

    Fake ransomware emails have been a worrying trend in recent weeks. The hoaxers are sending emails telling people all over the world they’ve been hacked and demanding a payment in order to release user’s private details. Our friends at UKFast take cybersecurity incredibly serious hence, they’ve pointed out what users can do to prevent being exploited by those tricksters.

    Troubling news we’ve heard through the grapevine concerns cyber attacks. It seems a hacker group – widely believed to be working for the Russian state – is using Brexit as a lure for cyber attacks. The hacking group Fancy Bear, also known as APT28, Sofacy and a variety of other names, is targeting government departments by sending an email with an attachment named Brexit 15.11.2018.docx. Our advice, be very careful of the emails you’re opening. You might not be a government department but that doesn’t mean you’re safe from attacks.

    Lastly, up to 80% of spam targeted at internet users across the globe is generated by a hard-core group of around 100 known persistent spam gangs. According to Spamhaus, stats are in (as of 11 December 2018) and the Top 5 Worst Spammers are Canadian Pharmacy (Ukraine), Blaze Media Solutions (United States), PredictLabs (United States), Guangzhou-Seoul Information Technology Co., Ltd. (China) and RR Media (United States). It appears the US has one too many spammers.

    “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement and success have no meaning.” – Benjamin Franklin

    As hard as Facebook tries, can they really be absolved from their recent sins? Considering we’ve learnt, they’ve been pondering around the idea of selling users data forgiveness is not something we are thinking about right now.

    On another note, Reuters reported that Russia has initiated a civil action against Google over the search engine’s failure to censor certain search results in the country. The potential penalty is trivial: 700,000 roubles (approximately $10,450). That penalty will bankrupt Google for sure.

    Ah, if you’ re a traveller – be it for business or leisure – you will definitely find the next piece of news … interesting. TechCrunch reported Marriott’s Starwood Hotels guest reservation database have been hacked, exposing the data on up to 500 million guests. The data breached includes details such as name, email address, postal address, phone number, passport number, Starwood Preferred Guest account info, DOB, gender, arrival and departure info, reservation date and communication preferences. We’ve only got one thing to say: Change your passwords NOW!

    Do you use WordPress? Have you seen the WordPress 5.0 release notification on your dashboard? If you have, be careful with the install. It seems that the community’s responses were not entirely positive. Especially considering the release date was in limbo for quite some time.

    Let us know what digital marketing news topics and areas you would like us to look out for in the future. Write your requests below, we’ll keep an eye out (or two) so you don’t have to – and all for FREE, of course.

    In the meantime, you can take a look at our blog for more digital marketing news, social media marketing, business growth tips and tricks plus, of course, all things email marketing.

    Open your free email marketing account now and we’ll give you 12,500 sends each and every month free, forever. For up to 2,500 email contacts you’ll never pay us a penny.
    If you have more than 2,500 contacts click here.
  • Ready to Expand? This is How to Build Your Dream Team Dec 10, 2018

    You were a couple of crazy kids with a big, ambitious dream…

    … and now you’re ready to take it to the next level and expand your business. For that, you’ll need an incredible team around you.

    The main challenge here isn’t finding people who are qualified enough to handle the tasks you need completing. It’s translating the small-team, startup magic into a company culture as you grow. Not only will you need a very special bunch of people around you to make that happen, but you also need to be smart with your recruitment strategies.

    In this article, we’ll cover the following topics of employee recruitment strategies:
    1. Where to find (the right) people
    2. What qualities to look for
    3. Sharing your vision
    4. Growing a contented team
    Let’s dig in into our 5 recruitment strategies for hiring the very best in your field.

    1. Be On the Lookout All the Time (Not Just When You’re Ready to Hire)
    Long before you start thinking about recruitment strategies or getting ready to take on new people, start thinking about who might be on that list. Whether at networking events, career fairs, conferences, shared projects or anything else, it’s smart to keep an eye out for people who impress you or have highly specialized skill sets (and to keep their contact details safe!). That way, when you really need someone to start soon, you’re already a few steps ahead.

    2. Use an Employee Referral Program
    The best teams are strong, cohesive communities in their own right. Invite your employees to recommend top candidates from their own network for the job and (provided they nail the trial period) reward them with a bonus for every awesome person you take on as a result. Not only does this widen your pool and give you reliable recommendations, but it also means your resulting team is more likely to get on with each other and share the same mindset!

    3. Try Out Awesome Freelancers
    One excellent way to figure out whether someone is great to work with is, of course, to work with them first. If you want to do that without ruffling feathers, consider trying out some different freelancers on set projects to get a feel for their working style and approach. If it goes really well, you can then consider offering them a full-time job.

    Okay, a lot of freelancers love freelancing and never want to work for someone else. A lot, though, would be super excited to work for a truly innovative company that gives them space, support and respect to grow and thrive. What’s more, these kind of people are usually entrepreneurial go-getters used to running their own show. In other words, you won’t have to watch over their shoulders and can rely on them to pull their weight.


    4. Focus On Flexibility and Growth
    Working for a startup can be chaotic. Therefore, you have to think on your feet, jump in to fix things that aren’t your job, adapt your role to unexpected challenges. It takes a certain type of person to do that.

    Focus on this element of the job during interviews. Explain where the company is headed, and ask the person how they see themselves growing and taking on new roles and pitching new ideas. Get them to talk about their flexibility, ability to cope with change and attitude to setbacks as much as their technical skills.

    5. Use Your Community as a Hiring Pool
    Remember that carefully built-up email list? It’s not just for sales. If you’re doing the hard work of developing a community of passionate users and testers around your product, that also means you have a whole group of people who love what you do and might want to be part of making it happen. Use that!

    Final Thoughts
    Most importantly of all, before you start implementing your recruitment strategies and hiring, make sure your current cohort is happy. If there are any little niggles and grievances there, these will only spread and expand as you take on new people. Interviewees and new recruits will be able to read an atmosphere of discontent the moment they walk into the room.

    Ask your team for feedback. What do they love about working here? Or, what frustrates them? What would they like you to do differently? Their insight will help you improve your hiring practices and ensure your next employee comes into a place they really want to work in!

    Ah, don’t forget to take a look at our 10 quick tips for better business productivity. Enjoy.

    Open your free email marketing account now and we’ll give you 12,500 sends each and every month free, forever. For up to 2,500 email contacts you’ll never pay us a penny.
    If you have more than 2,500 contacts click here.
  • 8 Ways To Attract More Customer Reviews Dec 7, 2018

    “Clear feedback is the cornerstone of improvement.” – Sir David Brailsford

    People buy from people – and on the advice of people, even if they don’t know them personally.

    That makes customer reviews one of the most important marketing tools you can hope for. Therefore, we’ll show you eight easy ways to get customer reviews rolling in.

    In this article, we’ll teach you the easiest ways on how to get customer reviews covering:
    1. How and when to ask for reviews
    2. Making it easy for customers
    3. Rewarding people for reviews
    4. Responding to reviews
    Let’s dig in.

    1. Make Them Your Calls to Action
    Struggling to get customer reviews? Well, have you asked people for them? And if so, have you made it nice and easy for them to oblige? A great way to do all of this is to include a button at the bottom of every product page, giving people the option to write a review. If they stumble across this next time they’re on your site, they’re more likely to review it if you make it simple.

    2. Follow Up On All Purchases with an Email Request
    Here’s an obvious but too often neglected approach: send all your customers a friendly email after their purchase, thanking them for buying from you and asking them to review the product. In addition to getting the review, it’s a good opportunity to nurture your relationships and encourage future purchases.

    3. Make it Easy for Them
    If you’ve noticed that people start the process of leaving a review but then abandon it, you may be overcomplicating the process. Keep this to one or two steps tops, avoid asking people to log in and make sure that you’ve optimized this for mobile. The less friction they encounter, the more likely customers are to complete their review.

    4. Time It Right
    This might surprise you, but the time and day of the week that you email people asking for reviews has a huge impact on your success rate. For example, people are dramatically more likely to complete a customer review while procrastinating at work on a Monday than they are during precious leisure time on a Saturday. Response rates also go up from 1-3pm during weekdays. It’s worth experimenting to see what works.


    5. Reward People
    If you really want to get customer reviews, consider offering something in return. For example, you could choose to thank or reward them for their time with a discount voucher, free delivery on their next purchase or any other perk you’re comfortable providing.

    6. Guide Their Answers
    One reason people are reluctant to leave reviews is that they simply don’t know what to say. Take the pressure off by asking specific questions, such as: why did you buy it? Did it serve your purpose? Did this make you want to buy from us again? Remember, too, that people are suggestible. If you start the ‘stars’ at 5 with the option to bring these down, you’d be surprised how many more 5-star reviews you get than if the ‘stars’ begin at zero, with the option to increase.

    7. Give Them Time to Use It
    There’s no point asking for a review the second someone has their order confirmed. How are they supposed to know if they like it yet? Instead, leave a sensible amount of time between them receiving the product and asking them what they think of it.

    8. Respond to all Reviews
    Whether their review is positive or negative, no one wants to feel they’re just shouting into the void. Take the time to thank positive reviewers and engage properly with the concerns of negative reviewers. Just make sure you are unfailingly polite and resist the urge to snap back at customers who seem unreasonable in their reviews – there’s no way to come out of that situation well!

    Finally, if you’re stretched thin, focus on getting reviews on the channels that bring you the most traffic and potential buyers. Whether that’s Google, Facebook, LinkedIn or another channel entirely, this the audience that needs to see your reviews the most. By tying this in with your email campaigns, you can also use this as an opportunity to build a rapport with your customers, helping to grow your business in the longer term.

    Open your free email marketing account now and we’ll give you 12,500 sends each and every month free, forever. For up to 2,500 email contacts you’ll never pay us a penny.
    If you have more than 2,500 contacts click here.
  • How To Video: 5 Steps to a Wildly Successful Product Launch Dec 5, 2018

    “Great companies are built on great products.” – Elon Musk

    Launching a new product? You only get one chance to make that vital first impression. Certainly, no pressure, huh?

    Even the biggest companies in the world get this very wrong, sometimes. Remember Google Glass? It sounds scary, but really it’s good news for you. An amazing and successful product launch isn’t about how much money you throw at it. It’s all about five crucial steps.

    5 Steps to a Wildly Successful Product Launch
    Launching a new product? No idea where to start? In this video, we’ll show you the five steps to a successful product launch. Enjoy!

    Step One: Development
    Obviously, you need a great product. You also need to be sure it’s ready before you think about going live. Unclear about what or whose problem it solves? Worried it won’t live up to the hype? Lock this down before you move on!

    Step Two: Planning
    You’ve nailed your product, you know exactly who to target, and how. Great! Now you can build your product launch A-Team. Everyone should be clear on their role, tasks, and deadlines. A project management app is a big help. Plan well ahead, and make sure you can cope if things take off. What happens if you get half a million orders in week one?

    Step Three: Pre-launch
    This is when you get all your ducks in a row. Build your email list, create content, write marketing emails, press releases and posts – everything you need for the hours and days after the product launch. Start building hype with teaser videos, countdown timers, and ‘coming soon’ posts, too.

    Step Four: The Big Reveal
    Timing is critical! Your product launch should feel like an event. You want a short, intense burst of marketing. Make an entrance!

    And lastly –

    Step Five: Aftermath
    The job’s not over yet! Right after the first push, break it down. What worked? What didn’t? Which messages didn’t land? The faster you spot problems, the faster you adapt and fix them. The plan is to reel back the customers who are slipping away before it’s too late.

    With these five steps for a successful product launch, you’re on the right track for a knockout launch. For more marketing tips, check out Ah, don’t forget to check out our perfect product launch guide, too.

    Open your free email marketing account now and we’ll give you 12,500 sends each and every month free, forever. For up to 2,500 email contacts you’ll never pay us a penny.
    If you have more than 2,500 contacts click here.
  • 25 Tips for Better Storytelling in Your Digital Marketing Dec 4, 2018

    Staring at an empty page wondering where on earth to start?

    Struggling to engage your audience through your videos? Trying to figure out how to write corporate content that won’t bore your readers to death? We’ve got you covered!

    The use of storytelling in digital marketing helps marketers not only engage with their audience better but also have enough of an impact on a brand’s online – and offline- presence. Ah, let’s not forget about the SEO aspect of a carefully crafted content, too.

    In this article, we’ll cover the following tips for storytelling in digital marketing:
    1. Improving your writing
    2. Creating Great Video
    3. Captivating Your Audience
    4. General Storytelling
    Let's dig it!

    Improving Your Writing:
    Use a conversational tone, as if you were speaking to the reader or viewer in person.
    2. Huge chunks of text scare people, so try to use shorter paragraphs broken up with headers, images and graphs.
    3. Try not to sound patronising, like you’re dumbing down ideas or like you’re talking down to someone – imagine you’re talking to a smart and curious friend.
    4. … At the same time, use clear, straightforward, unfussy language. Think of the Einstein quote: “Everything should be as simple as possible, but no simpler.”
    5. Avoid jargon and overly technical language. Seriously. Everyone hates jargon.
    6. Avoid long, winding sentences with lots of subclauses.

    Creating Great Video:
    For video scripts, remember to write for the ear, not for the eye. Read it out loud to make sure it flows!
    8. Keep videos short. Anything longer than three minutes and the drop-off rate will increase sharply.
    9. If you’re speaking to the camera, rehearse, rehearse, rehearse! The more you rehearse the more natural it will feel (we promise).
    10. Keep sentences short and simple, limiting your use of words with more than three syllables.
    11. Remember that good storytelling in digital marketing is much more important than high production values…
    12. … But audio quality does matter. People forgive shaky or grainy video, but if they’re struggling to hear they’ll switch off!


    Captivating Your Audience:
    Remember who you’re talking to. In other words, you need to adapt the type of stories you tell and the tone you use to the specific audience you’re talking to.
    14. Start with an intriguing or entertaining anecdote to draw your audience into the story and the point you’re making.
    15. Capture your audience’s attention by tapping into the seven fascination triggers: power, lust, mystique, alarm, prestige, vice and trust.
    16. Start your story in the middle of some kind of conflict or tension – at a crossroads, with a character at rock bottom, a crisis point for your business, a peak of an argument, etc.
    17. Make it clear why the stakes are so high that your audience is invested in the story and rooting for you (or your characters) to pull through.
    18. Leave people wanting more. Certainly, you don’t have to answer every question in this one piece of content (that’s what your CTA is for!), right?

    General Tips for Storytelling in Digital Marketing:
    Read lots of (good) fiction and make a note of what works and why you like it. Try to be as specific as possible.
    20. No one really cares about your corporate message, they care about how the story makes them feel or what it teaches them. Don’t forget that.
    21. Watch stand-up comedy, playing close attention to how the comedian drops the breadcrumbs of a story all the way to the punchline and uses comic timing to maximise the effects.
    22. Be honest and authentic. Overly embellishing or completely making up a story will sound false to your audience and undermine your credibility if it turns out to be false.
    23. People buy from people, so focus on showing your personality or developing your characters.
    24. Always draft a framework or structure for the story you’re telling before you start writing.
    25. Finally, and most importantly, know why you’re telling this story. What, specifically, do you want your audience to think, feel and do? Write this on a post-it note and stick it to your screen!

    Ah, whilst implementing our top tips for storytelling in digital marketing and ensuring a better audience engagement as well as avoiding boring your readers, why not take a look at our content marketing tips article.

    Open your free email marketing account now and we’ll give you 12,500 sends each and every month free, forever. For up to 2,500 email contacts you’ll never pay us a penny.
    If you have more than 2,500 contacts click here.
  • Email Marketing Strategies for Nonprofits Dec 3, 2018

    All startups have to get creative with their marketing to keep budgets lean…

    …but when you’re responsible for getting donations to deserving parties, you need to be a total bootstrapping machine.

    We’ll look at five email marketing strategies for nonprofits that will help reach new people, build a loyal donor base and encourage more donations without pushing up the budget.

    In this article, you’ll learn about the following email marketing strategies for nonprofits:
    1. Building and segmenting your email list
    2. Personalization
    3. Retention
    4. Keeping Up the Momentum
    5. Creating a Personal Rapport
    Let’s dig in.

    1. Collect as Much Detail as Possible
    Asking people to support or donate to a particular cause is a sensitive issue and the better you understand who you’re talking to, the more effectively you can handle that conversation.

    First of all, never buy email lists. Better to grow your list gradually over time using website signup forms, social media channels and so on.

    This means you know the people you’re speaking to actually care about the cause, but just as importantly, it means you can ask them for information on who they are, what they do for a living, what their donation preferences are, their motivations for giving – and segment your list accordingly. Integrating with a CRM like Salesforce will help you to further flesh out this data and keep it up to date.

    Having a complete picture of who each donor is means you can make a judgement call about how much money it’s appropriate to ask for and at what intervals, which campaigns are likely to speak to them the most, how to pitch your appeals, and so on.

    2. Personalize Your Messaging
    Research shows that personalising emails increases the chance of donating by 78% and your open rates by 29%. That’s huge.

    When developing your email marketing strategies for nonprofits, personalisation really is crucial in the nonprofit sector. You’re relying on people feeling moved, personally responsible and empowered enough to make a change that they will hand over money with no direct benefit to themselves. That means you need to show each person you contact that you are speaking to them.

    Using someone’s name in the email body and/or subject line is a good start, but the more details and precise you can be about thanking people individually and involving a donor in a campaign they’ve contributed to, the stronger those bonds of loyalty will be.

    Personalisation also means being super-smart about how you use the data you’ve carefully collected and segmented. Analyze people’s motivations for giving, and draw up campaigns accordingly.

    For example, are they inspired by a vision for social change? Are they moved by a moral obligation to give? Are they persuaded by the tax benefits of giving to charity? Understanding their motivations means you can send far more effective emails.


    3. Keep People Involved for the Whole Process
    Don’t just email your list when you need donations. When you’re implementing email marketing strategies for nonprofits, retention is so much more effective than constantly onboarding new supports; especially when, as we’ve seen, so many hinges on their personal affinity and loyalty to the cause.

    Send regular emails updating donors on how their money is being spent and thanking them for their support. Encourage them to trust you by finding smart ways to visualize the whole process of the project and the stage their money is at; it will show that you’re committed to transparency and financial responsibility.

    4. Focus on Momentum Rather than Despair
    Okay, there are times when an urgent appeal means you can’t find a positive spin, but generally speaking, it helps to frame your campaign as a way to continue awesome work rather than another wave of disaster.

    Sadly, feeling hopeless about the situation doesn’t often persuade people to give you more money. Hearing that they’ve already helped to make a difference and now you’re going to use that proven strategy to improve many more lives, or that you need a push to get to the next big milestone, on the other hand, gets people feeling optimistic and enthusiastic about their donation.

    Again, it helps if you’ve been smart about sending regular email updates to stay top of mind!

    5. Use Personal Stories
    When you’re looking at an overwhelming problem, it’s easy for people to forget the real, individual lives that are impacted as a result. By using case studies and individual accounts of those affected by the issue or supported by your work, you help donors to focus their empathy and feel personally connected to the campaign.

    Interviews and reports are great, but using plenty of images and videos in your email campaigns will really help engagement. Just make sure that your email marketing platform helps you to manage image sizes to avoid overloading inboxes. For tips on using video in your emails, click here.

    This might sound like a lot of extra work for your email campaign; but, if you’re smart, these email marketing strategies for nonprofits will save you time, money and stress while yielding better results. Just make sure you’re using an email marketing platform that gives you easy ways to build beautiful emails, incorporate personalization, and automate as much as possible.

    That way, you can focus on what really matters: crafting compelling stories that persuade people to support your vital cause.

    Open your free email marketing account now and we’ll give you 12,500 sends each and every month free, forever. For up to 2,500 email contacts you’ll never pay us a penny.
    If you have more than 2,500 contacts click here.
  • Digital Marketing News: News-In-Brief That Caught Our Attention This Month Nov 30, 2018

    “Good marketing makes the company look smart, great marketing makes the customer feel smart.” – Joe Chernov

    Change is inevitable. Businesses survival is dependant on it. And, it happens way too often to allow ourselves to miss it.

    Keeping up with the most recent social media, spam algorithms, PPC, email marketing tips and digital marketing news & trends is pretty time consuming so we’ve picked up the mantle to ensure our news roundup will deliver you the most recent and relevant news pieces, tips and tricks.

    In this article, we’ll cover the most recent digital marketing news on the following topics:
    1. Social Media
    2. Search Engines and SEO
    3. PPC and Advertising
    4. Email
    5. Other stuff we found interesting
    Let’s dig in into this month’s digital marketing news!

    “People who smiled while they’re alone used to be called insane until smartphones and social media were invented.” – Mokokoma Mokhonoana

    A rush of issues was reported a few days ago when both Facebook and Instagram were hit by major outages and users were unable even to load the page at all. Twitter blew up with Facebook users tweeting #FacebookDown like crazy. A bit ironic, right? Nonetheless, such outages as rare as they are, result in an immediate and significant impact on businesses.

    Ah, we’ve also heard Facebook is making changes to the subscription messaging permissions which will affect chatbots. From what we’ve learnt, permission to send messages will have to be granted at page-level instead of app-level which was the case previously.

    With the Christmas holidays just around the corner, Instagram launched three new features which will help retailers gain more exposure for their products. Users will have the opportunity to find products via a business profile or video and save it to a shopping collection. Pretty handy.

    Instagram made the announcement that they are testing a few variations of the profile formats for both regular and business users. Instead of testing with a small group before the big launch, the company is A/B testing the variations in the live environment. Judging by the different variations it’s hard to say what the impact will be.

    We haven’t forgotten about LinkedIn. The news around the block is they are revamping Company Pages with a few fresh features – a content suggestion tool for Page Admins, tools that will help business engage better with employees and more advanced analytics. Unfortunately, folks in the U.K might have to wait for it a bit as it’s currently rolling out in the U.S. only; patience darlings, the UK will get it!

    “Everyone knows what search engines are. But relatively few know how to use them effectively.” – Marc Ostrofsky

    We heard Google has added a new set of filters around event markup in the search appearance filters in Search Console. When users use the event markup on an event landing page, event listings and details will show up in Google search results. Users will be able to see impressions, clicks, position data and URL of the provider shown in both ‘views’ – List and Details. The full detailed explanation of the new set of metrics can be found in the help documents.

    Whilst, on the topic of Google we also found out that the lead search engine has begun hiding the full set of search results under certain conditions. If your search query involves time, calculations and unit conversions then instead of getting the full search result, Google will give you a direct answer and hide the rest. It looks like Google is trying to speed things up for users looking for specific answers. Good job, Google!

    Earlier this month, Google announced that PageSpeed Insights (PSI) will be using Lighthouse as its analysis engine. This will allow developers to get the same performance audits and recommendations from everywhere; on the web, from the command line and in Chrome DevTools. PSI will also incorporate field data which will be provided by Chrome User Experience Report (CrUX).

    “Advertising nourishes the consuming power of men.” – Winston Churchill

    As you know, Google Ads already support a third headline and second description for your PPC adverting; Bings Ads is still not giving up on the attempt to keep up with the search engine Goliath. Hence, they now also support the third headline and second description in text ads. You can either import your longer Google Ads or create new ones with Bing. Keep up the good work, Bing.

    Ah, and if you’re looking to maximise reach for your paid search campaigns, Google Ads just released a new Smart Bidding strategy called target impression share. It’s designed to, well, maximise your share of search ad impressions against the competition. Earlier this month, Google introduced four new search ads position metrics and this new release is their attempt to focus less on average position and more on reach and awareness.

    On another note, Amazon – the dominating e-commerce website – is starting to pose as a threat to established digital advertising platforms like Google and Facebook with its booming search advertising business. In fact, it’s on track to generate more than $10 billion (how many zeros are in a billion again?) in advertising revenues. Wow.


    “How to write a good email: 1) write your email; 2) delete most of it and 3) send.” – Dan Munz

    In our recent digital marketing news, we’ve covered different spam topics like top-level domain (TLD) registries, the most abused TLDs and the top phishing lures of 2018. This month, we decided to switch it up a bit. No worries, we will still include malware, spam and threats in the reported news.

    Be very careful which emails you open as we’ve heard through the grapevine that a new tRat malware is being spread using several email campaigns.

    Some will appear to be coming from well-known companies like TripAdvisor or Norton; others pretend to be invoices. All of the attachments in those emails are either a Microsoft Word or Publisher file. Once you click on the file, it opens a window asking you to allow macros; once enabled, the macros will download the tRat malware and infect your computer. Be very, very careful guys!

    If you are a G Suite user wanting to switch to Office 365 we’ve got news for you – Microsoft is working on a migration toolset which will help customers, well, migrate. You can see it is lined up in their Office 365 roadmap. Google already has an Exchange migration tool which allows admins to migrate IMAP mailboxes, but it doesn’t allow them to migrate contacts or calendar items in an automated way.

    On another note, a week or so ago, users of Azure and Office 365 were reaching for torches and pitchforks as they were locked out of their Office 365 accounts and Azure was down. Microsoft blamed it on the MFA (multi-factor authentication) and said they’re working on fixes, but … how can confirming your identity result in you being locked out of your account?

    “We’re all learning. The best listeners will end up the smartest.” – Josh Bernoff

    B2B software company – Salesforce – was awarded a patent for blockchain application which is aimed specifically at spam emails. The blockchain platform will filter spam emails more effectively than the existing spam filters; it’ll match up sent and received messages to records stored on the distributed ledger.

    In other news, we’ve heard Dutch investigators have put Microsoft on alert over regulatory action after ruling its data collection methods posed a risk to user privacy. It seems that Microsoft Office and Windows 10 Enterprise are using a telemetry data collection mechanism that breaches the EU’s GDPR. What do you reckon the sanctions would be?

    Earlier this month, a ‘test email’ sent to over 1.2 million NHS employees caused the entire system to crash. NHS staff used Twitter to publicly denounce an email that ‘inadvertently’ included everyone on the mailing list of the NHS-mail system; but … the damage was done.

    Let us know what digital marketing news topics and areas you would like us to look out for in the future. Write your requests below, we’ll keep an eye out (or two) so you don’t have to; and all for FREE, of course.

    In the meantime, you can take a look at our blog for more digital marketing news, social media marketing, business growth tips and tricks plus, of course, all things email marketing.

    Open your free email marketing account now and we’ll give you 12,500 sends each and every month free, forever. For up to 2,500 email contacts you’ll never pay us a penny.
    If you have more than 2,500 contacts click here.
  • Startup Got Off to a Flying Start? Here’s How To Keep Up The Momentum Nov 26, 2018

    So, things took off faster than expected at your startup?

    You’ve already hit some of your big, ambitious goals, pulled in some amazing clients, attracted a ton of orders?

    You may be feeling like top dog… but you may also be terrified of breaking whatever it is that’s working, or racking your brain over what happens next. You’re not alone. Take a deep breath, and follow these 8 steps in order to learn how to maintain startup momentum.

    In this article we’ll talk about the following tips on how to maintain startup momentum:
    1. Getting the balance right
    2. Trimming the fat from your processes
    3. Fostering new ideas
    4. Investing in your team
    5. Nailing your messaging
    6. Celebrating success
    7. Keeping your key clients on board
    8. Focusing on what matters
    Let’s dig in into our startup momentum steps, shall we?

    1. Get a Healthy Balance
    In the early days of your startup, everyone in your team inevitably works every hour god sends, bootstrapping and grafting to get things off the ground. This is admirable, but not sustainable! Now that you’re through the worst of it, it’s crucial that you figure out how to manage the workload so that your team doesn’t burn out but still maintain startup momentum. Take on new staff, outsource stuff, or do whatever else you need to do to make it work.

    2. Prioritise Efficiency
    Now is also a good time to take a good hard look at the processes you use internally and figure out what you can do faster and more effectively. We’ve talked before about using automation in smart ways to free up time and make it easier for your business to expand – it will also help you to avoid getting bogged down and give your team time to think creatively. Which brings us to…

    3. Encourage New Ideas
    Okay, so you got off to a great start. Now you need to maintain startup momentum by innovating and improving to make sure your competitors don’t steal your thunder! Make an effort to talk to customers about what they like about your product as well as what features, tools, products or services they’d like to see next. Take the time with your team to brainstorm fixes and improvements, and make it clear that their ideas and suggestions are always welcome.

    4. Invest In Your Team
    Your team are (probably) feeling a well-deserved buzz of pride that business is booming so soon. Seize on that enthusiasm and make it clear how much you value them by offering to upskill them with training sessions and relevant courses. Just make sure you consult with individual team members first to figure out what kind of professional development they are interested in, so they don’t feel strong-armed into extra-curricular work!


    5. Review Your Branding
    In the early days, you’ll likely pick up many of your clients or customers through word of mouth. If that’s the case, you might have neglected your branding and marketing efforts – and now is the time to address this, so that you can start to target new people, markets, regions and so on.

    Think carefully about the kind of brand identity you want to project and the kind of voice you should use to communicate with your target market. At the same time, work hard at building up an email list of qualified leads, with a fine-tuned email marketing strategy. This will give you an audience for your branding and marketing efforts that you can test ideas and messages on, including using split testing to compare what works and what doesn’t.

    6. Celebrate Your Successes
    It’s easy to get blasé about your achievements, but the best way to maintain startup momentum is to keep reminding yourself (and your team!) how well you’re all doing. Take time to celebrate each new milestone or awesome new client and consider sending out an email newsletter, either internally or externally, rounding up your top projects and activities each month.

    7. Check in With Key Clients
    Whatever you do, don’t take your first (or biggest) clients and customers for granted. Reward their loyalty with top-notch service as well as priority booking, special deals, discounts or however else you feel appropriate. Client retention is one of the most important ways to sustain your business in the long run; so don’t lose sight of that!

    8. Keep Sight of Why You’re Doing This
    What are your values as a company? How about what excites you? What problems are you trying to fix? What kind of experience are you creating for people? Once you get past the initial rush of launching a successful startup, these questions get more and more important. Revisit them whenever you start to feel stuck in a rut and use your answers to get inspired all over again. It’ll certainly help you maintain startup momentum.

    Lastly, remember to be realistic. If your business was lucky enough to experience immediate, impressive success, that is awesome; but, it might not be possible to maintain startup momentum at quite that rate forever. Be ambitious, yes, but don’t get disheartened if that runaway growth calms down after a while!

    Open your free email marketing account now and we’ll give you 12,500 sends each and every month free, forever. For up to 2,500 email contacts you’ll never pay us a penny.
    If you have more than 2,500 contacts click here.
  • The Beginner’s Guide to Psychographics (and How To Use Them In Digital Marketing) Nov 20, 2018

    What on earth is psychographics and why is everyone going nuts about them?

    We’ll explain what digital marketing’s newest obsession is all about – and how you can use it to drastically improve your own campaigns.

    Are psychographics the ‘dark art’ of marketing, or, are they just a standard modus operandi for the most cunning advertisers? By the time you finish this article, you’ll know how to use them to become even more effective with your marketing strategy.

    In our Beginner’s Guide to Psychographics, we’ll tell you all about:
    1. What Psychographics Are
    2. Why They’re Used
    3. How to Collect Psychographic Data
    4. How To Apply Psychographics to Your Own Digital Marketing
    Let’s get started!

    What Are Psychographics?
    Psychographics are essentially the demographics of personality. Rather than classifying people entirely by the basic facts of who they are – age, gender, race, income level, etc – psychographics classifies them by how they think.

    In practical terms, this means studying consumers through the lens of their AIOs: activities, interests and opinions. As you get deeper and deeper into this, you start to see trends in people’s values, attitudes, emotions, motivations and so on.

    How Does This Help Marketers?
    Understanding what really drives people’s decision-making is incredibly important to marketers.

    It’s all very well for you to identify that your typical customers tend to be, say, teenage boys; or female professionals in their 30s or retirees in rural areas or anything else; but, that’s only part of the story.

    If you don’t know how they think or why they are buying your stuff, you’ll be wasting a huge amount of advertising spend – either scatter-gunning people in that bracket who would never buy your stuff in a zillion years, or missing the mark entirely with your target audience because you misinterpret the reasons for their interest.

    People don’t always fit neatly into a stereotype. Not all 50-year-old Australian women view the world in the same way. Not all 21-year-old college kids think the same. It’s far more powerful to be able to say, for example, “This marketing campaign speaks to fiercely independent women at the start of their careers who admire confidence and ambition but need reassurance to get over their imposter syndrome,” than it is to say, “We’re targeting this product at female university students and graduates aged 19-26”.

    Think of it as a way of building detailed, highly specific buyer personas that reach well beyond the surface, to the psychology behind the purchase decision.

    How Can You Gather Psychographic Data?
    There are three key ways to collect this kind of data for your marketing campaigns:
    1. Set up focus groups to interview people from your target market about their ideas, values, beliefs, aspirations and so on (depending on your budget, of course!).
    2. Send out questionnaires and surveys to people on your email list with carefully chosen questions, which you can then collate to get a complete picture of how they think in their own words.
    3. Conduct detailed social media analysis, whereby you sift through your target audience’s Facebook and Twitter pages, groups, likes, shares and so on to build up a picture of interests, viewpoints, ideological leanings and so on that you might never have thought to ask about. This is particularly useful when it comes to applying your findings, as we’ll see in a moment.
    Using a combination of methods will help you build up a complete picture of your target market.


    How Can You Use Psychographics In Your Digital Marketing?
    These insights can be used in a number of exciting ways to enhance and refine your messaging; and, help you use your marketing spend as efficiently and effectively as possible.

    Firstly, this helps you to figure out in a general sense how to talk to your audience; what topics to write new content about; what tone and language to use; which celebrities to refer to, what quotes to use, and so on.

    Secondly, one of the most important things you’ll discover is the underlying feelings that drive your customers to make a purchase – be that excitement, curiosity, hope, amusement, fear of missing out, or anything else. This means you can start to tailor the emotional triggers of your email subject lines and ad campaigns more effectively.

    For example, let’s imagine you’re marketing an event to accountants. Rather than passion or excitement or any other emotional driver, you’ve found that the main emotional driver for your target audience is fear that their way of doing things is becoming obsolete. An effective headline might be: “Don’t Get Left Behind! Brush Up Your Skills for 2019 at the Upskilling for Accountants Conference.”

    This can also come in handy when split-testing your emails. For example, if you’re unsure which motivation is stronger, you could test two headlines with different emotional triggers. This helps you really get into the heart of why people are engaging with a specific product or campaign.

    When it comes to digital advertising, knowing what makes people tick, and specifically how this manifests in the kinds of things people like and engage with online, means you can be super-targeted in your campaign. Facebook, for example, lets you tailor a campaign not just by demographics but by interests, habits and so on. This ensures your digital marketing dollars are spent in the best possible way.

    Final Thoughts
    Psychographics is taking the marketing world by storm – and for a very good reason. It works. A word of warning, though: don’t get too literal with it.

    For example, it’s not necessarily helpful to declare that your product sells well with 30-somethings who “like” the Spice Girls on Facebook and share 90s TV memes on Twitter. You need to figure out what this says about them, psychologically (why are they so nostalgic, for example? Is it because they’re comfortable with where they are in life, or because they’re not?).

    Remember that the point is to build a picture of how people think, feel, believe, choose their allegiances, and so on. You will need to do a fair amount of work on interpreting their responses and interests to find useful patterns. It’s not a walk in the park, but it is an absolute gold mine for marketers.

    Open your free email marketing account now and we’ll give you 12,500 sends each and every month free, forever. For up to 2,500 email contacts you’ll never pay us a penny.
    If you have more than 2,500 contacts click here.
  • Digital Marketing News: What’s New In the Digital Marketing World This Month? Nov 19, 2018

    “News is like Texas weather. If you don’t like it, wait a minute.” – Jessica Savitch

    Digital marketing is constantly evolving. As a professional, you must always be up-to-date with the recent innovations, practices, trends and news. That is if you want to be a successful business. If not, just sit back and change… nothing.

    We know that keeping track of all the recent digital marketing news, social media updates, spam algorithms, email marketing tips, PPC strategies and marketing trends is not an easy task. Therefore, our news roundups are focused on delivering the most recent and, of course, relevant news-in-brief. So, make a cup of tea, relax and enjoy.

    In this article, we’ll cover the most recent digital marketing news on the following topics:
    1. Social Media
    2. Search Engines and SEO
    3. PPC and Advertising
    4. Email
    5. Other stuff we found interesting
    Let’s dig in!

    “Put your energy into making things that are likeable, not some douchey social media strategy.” – Matthew Inman

    The social media network with 879 photos uploaded per second – Instagram – rolled out a new hashtag search API that will allow businesses to search for up to 30 hashtags within a 7 day period. Beware, the older feature will no longer be available after December 11, 2018.

    Ah, have you heard the most recent digital marketing news about Pinterest? They rolled out a new ad format introducing Promoted Carousel ads allowing brands to display up to five images in a single ad. The best part – each image can be linked to a separate landing page. It sounds very familiar with Facebook’s Carousel ads though, doesn’t it?

    A little birdy told us, Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s CEO, is thinking about building an edit button for tweets. He also added that Twitter will ideally prevent unlimited editing, of course. If you are wondering why, here’s Dorsey’s answer: “if the editing is unlimited then anyone can abuse the feature to alter their controversial or damning statements”. People have been asking for an edit button for a while. Even Kim Kardashian got behind the cause; if she’s involved then you know it’s a big deal.

    You don’t think we’ve forgotten about Facebook, do you? It seems there haven’t been any scandals regarding data breaches or hacking this month – phew! Or least, none as far as they’ve told us.

    However, there is news worth reporting. Facebook is rolling out advanced analytics which gives page admins the ability to measure performance beyond post level. The rolling out is planned over the next several months. Page admins will get an email and a notification in the Facebook Analytics dashboard when the beta features are available in the account.

    “Successful SEO is not about tricking Google. It’s about partnering with it to provide the best search results for Google’s users.” – Phil Frost

    The leader in search engines – Google – is testing a way for users to easily add all data for a site’s subdomains, subpaths and protocols to Search Console. To accomplish this, Google has created a new type of web property called Domain property. Beware, domain properties are still experimental and by invitation only.

    On another note, the Google algorithm update that happened on Halloween night seems to still be going. Based on Google Webmaster Help forums thread, it seems a lot of site owners are complaining, too.

    The search engine with the third largest market shareBing, announced Local Business Search Public Preview as the latest addition to their portfolio of Search APIs on the Cognitive Service platform. It will help users search for local businesses in a given area of interest. You can have a quick look here.


    “Never let ads write checks [cheques – tut Ed.] your website can’t cash.” – Avinash Kaushik

    We heard through the grapevine Google Ads is rolling out new metrics which will give advertisers a better insight into where their ads appear on the search results page. Google explains the metrics currently available are not as clear as they could be, but … this is Google guys; they’ll definitely make it clearer soon enough.

    Ah, let’s not forget that Google Ads also created a new workflow that informs advertisers of the best campaign types for their specific business goals. Basically, once you’ve opened the workflow and selected your goal, GoogleAds will display the matching campaign types. Cool and easy, right?

    Moving on to Bing Ads. As part of their goal to continuously evolve the performance reporting experience with AI technologies, Bing Ads is delivering the power to you with their new feature Performance Targets. It will give advertisers the ability to set specific targets and track their performance on the selected metrics. High five, Bing!

    On another note, LinkedIn is certainly making sure advertising on the platform is easier for users. They’ve announced a public beta release of Objective-Based Advertising in Campaign Manager. It’s a complete overhaul of the campaign creation process. Are you as excited about it as we are?

    “If you’re not seeing the email channel as a money making machine, you have the wrong strategy.” – Hans Smellinckx

    In our recent digital marketing news roundup, we’ve covered different spam topics such as spam ISPs, worst spam-bot countries and so forth. We will stick with this pattern for a while as spam still is very much an issue plaguing the internet.

    This month, we will focus on Top Level Domain (TLD) registries which allow registrars to sell high volumes of domains to professional spammers and malware operators.

    According to Spamhaus’s – Top 5 Most Abused TLDsstats are in, as of November 12, 2018, and the TLDs with the worst reputation for spam operations are .gq (no, not the magazine!) with a badness index (BI) of 10.46 followed by .tk and .cf both with BI of 10. Forth and fifth place are held by .ml and .ga with BI of 9.78.

    Phishing is considered the number one security threat that businesses are facing. It’s a tried and tested social engineering technique most cybercriminals favour for one very simple reason – it’s extremely effective.

    According to SpamTitan’s – Top Phishing Lures of 2018stats are in and they’ll make you more vigilant on which emails to open and which to mark as spam and/or delete – immediately.

    “Holding back technology to preserve broken business models is like allowing blacksmiths to veto the internal combustion engine in order to protect their horseshoes.” – Don Tapscott

    There’s no rest for the wicked, it seems. SEJ reported that the popular WP GDPR Compliance plugin has a serious vulnerability which hacking bots are actively targeting. Any version that’s less than 1.4.3 is vulnerable hence, it’s highly recommended to update – now.

    All the iOS users will be happy to hear Twitter has rolled out a redesign of its iOS app making it more convenient to users who hold their devices one-handed.

    If you’re excited about the possibility of getting yourself a foldable smartphone, we suggest you start saving. Or dip in your kid’s college funds. According to the Verge, Samsung announced such a wonder would be unveiled in March 2019 bearing the name Galaxy F. The exclusive device will have a price as high as $ 1,770. We heard Chinese company Royale unveiled its own version of a foldable phone. Huawei is also expected to launch a similar device next year.

    Let us know what digital marketing news topics and areas you would like us to look out for in the future. Write your requests below, we’ll keep an eye out (or two) so you don’t have to – and all for FREE, of course.

    In the meantime, you can take a look at our blog for more digital marketing news, social media marketing, business growth tips and tricks plus, of course, all things email marketing.

    Open your free email marketing account now and we’ll give you 12,500 sends each and every month free, forever. For up to 2,500 email contacts you’ll never pay us a penny.
    If you have more than 2,500 contacts click here.
  • Emails Not Getting Through? 4 Ways to Fix It! Nov 13, 2018

    “Spam is a waste of the receivers’ time, and, a waste of the sender’s optimism.” – Mokokoma Mokhonoana

    Are your open rates falling? Is there something you can do to prevent your e-mails being labelled as spam?

    Are your emails not getting through? Fear not, we’ve got you covered. By the end of our video tutorial, you’ll be able to diagnose exactly why your marketing e-mails are being mistaken for spam and how to fix it.

    Emails Not Getting Through? 4 Ways to Fix It!
    Are your marketing e-mails mistaken for spam? So frustrating! In this video, we’ll show you where you’re going wrong and what you can do to fix it.

    Number One: Only email people that want you to
    Don’t buy email lists, don’t sign people up without permission, and do let people unsubscribe if they want. If people don’t know who you are, they’re likely to delete your e-mails without opening them. Filters label you as spam, and then you’re really in trouble!

    Number Two: Segment your lists
    When people sign up, ask questions about who they are and what they’re interested in. Then you know which emails to send to which people. Your subscribers only get relevant stuff, open rates go up, and, by all means, you stop getting flagged as spam.

    Number Three: Spring clean your email list
    If some people never open your emails, take them off your list! Low open rates put a black mark against your name in the spam filter hive mind.

    Number Four: Let people reply
    One thing spam filters look out for is the number of replies you get to an email. If you don’t get any, that suggests you’re spam. Instead of a do-not-reply email address, use something like [email protected]. Make it clear people can reach you that way to encourage replies. Easy!

    With this advice on why are your emails not getting through, you’ll see your spam score improve dramatically. For more great email marketing tips, check out Ah, don’t forget to check out our article on avoiding spam filters, too.

    Open your free email marketing account now and we’ll give you 12,500 sends each and every month free, forever. For up to 2,500 email contacts you’ll never pay us a penny.
    If you have more than 2,500 contacts click here.
  • Open Rates and Click-Throughs Explained Nov 12, 2018

    “That which is measured improves.” – Karl Pearson

    What’s more important, open rate vs CTR vs CTOR? How do you know if your percentages are good? And what on earth is CTOR?

    We will answer all these questions and tell you all about the difference between open rates vs CTR vs CTOR. We’ll help you move beyond the numbers and figure out exactly what’s working – and what’s not – in your email marketing campaign.

    In this article, we’ll help you learn about open rates vs CTR vs CTOR:
    1. Open Rates, CTRs and CTORs
    2. How to calculate these (and why your method really matters!)
    3. What counts as a ‘good’ rate
    4. How to use these numbers to hone your email marketing campaign
    Let’s begin!

    Open Rate vs CTR vs CTOR: What’s The Difference?
    Before we get into how to use these figures, let’s quickly clarify what they all mean.

    1. Open Rate is the percentage of people who opened your email in the first place.
    2. Click-Through Rate (CTR) is the percentage of people who clicked a link in your email.
    3. Click-to-Open Rate (CTOR) also measures how many people clicked on a link; however, it only takes into account people who got as far as opening your email. It doesn’t include everyone on your email list or all the emails that were delivered.
    It’s really important that you understand exactly how you’re getting to these numbers because the way you calculate these rates will tell you something very different about the effectiveness of your email campaign – as we’ll explain in a moment.

    What Do These Numbers Tell You?
    Let’s start with open rates. This is pretty straightforward: you divide the number of people who opened your email by either the total number of emails you sent out or the number of emails that were delivered. You can see already, though, that each choice tells you something slightly different.

    Dividing by the total number of emails sent (including bounced emails) gives you an idea of how healthy your list is overall and whether it needs a good spring clean, whereas dividing by delivered emails means you’re focussing more on whether or not your subject line/segmentation is successful.

    Things get a bit more complicated when you start looking at CTR. Again, this can be calculated in a bunch of different ways. For starters, you have to decide to divide total clicks by the total number of emails sent or by the total number of emails delivered.

    You also need to choose between measuring Individual CTR and Holistic CTR. Individual CTR measures how many people clicked through, whereas holistic CTR tells you how many clicks took place.

    For example, let’s say you send an email to 100 people, 10 people click through, but all of those 10 people click two links each (20 clicks in total). Your Individual CTR would be 10% because 10% of people clicked through. Your Holistic CTR would be 20%, because that 10% doubled their value by clicking two links.


    Again, when you come to analyze how well your campaign is working, both of these numbers are useful in different ways. In the example above, you might conclude that when you send the right content to the right people; they love it – but you need to be more discerning about who you email with this content in the first place.

    Then, you need to make a decision about whether to look at CTR vs CTOR. As we’ve seen, the former measures how many people in total clicked through, from the whole campaign.

    So, if you send out 100 emails, 20 people open them, and ultimately you get 5 clicks, that’s a CTR of 5%. CTOR, on the other hand, only takes into account the number of people that opened the email; so in this case, your CTOR would be 25%, because a quarter of people who actually opened the email then clicked through.

    Again, these help you to diagnose different problems at different points along the chain. A low CTR but a high CTOR could mean your emails are well crafted but you’re wasting a lot of effort sending emails to people who don’t want them. A low CTOR, on the other hand, suggests that your emails are falling flat once people open them.

    What’s a Good Open Rate / CTR / CTOR?
    Ooh, that’s a big question. Across the board, open rates for email marketing campaigns hover around 25%, and average CTRs are around 4%. For special interest groups, hobbies and so on, you probably want to aim a bit higher. A good CTOR is around 20-30%.

    How to Use These Numbers
    As we’ve seen, your open rate, CTR and CTOR (and your method of calculating these) each tell you different things. By comparing these numbers, you start to build up a complete story of how your email campaign performs at every stage.

    In order to keep growing and improving, It’s incredibly important to get complete and accurate numbers for every step.

    Make sure you’re using an email marketing platform that collates this information about open rates vs CTR vs CTOR for you and presents it in a way that’s clear and easy to understand. That way, you can forget about the math and focus on honing your strategy.

    Open your free email marketing account now and we’ll give you 12,500 sends each and every month free, forever. For up to 2,500 email contacts you’ll never pay us a penny.
    If you have more than 2,500 contacts click here.
  • How To Get Your Startup Ready To Scale Nov 6, 2018

    “Don’t worry about failure; you only have to be right once.” – Drew Houston

    Everyone dreams of growing their business into something great, but three-quarters of startups fail because they try to expand too quickly.

    So, if you are wondering how to scale a business the right way and make sure your company is ready for the big push our tips for scaling a business are exactly what you’ve been looking for.

    In this article, we’ll talk about how to scale a business by:
    1. Not going broke
    2. Cutting costs
    3. Automation
    4. Targeting your sales
    5. Building the right team
    6. Taking yourself out of the picture
    Feeling excited? Let’s get started!

    1. Set Aside Enough Cash
    Do you have enough money to fund your grand expansion? Remember that your business won’t be profitable for the six months or a year or however long you expect to focus on scaling up. Do you have enough money in the bank to cover costs, pay salaries, etc? If not, you will need to seek out another source of funding to tide you over.

    2. Be Ruthless With Your Outgoings
    When you’re tiny, an extra $10 here or there is negligible. It doesn’t matter too much if you overspend on a Facebook ad campaign by a few dollars, or if a supplier isn’t giving you quite the best deal. As you grow, this multiplies. Suddenly, taking a small hit on each Instagram marketing campaign can mean an overall loss of $10,000.

    That means you need to get a handle on these outgoings before you scale. Take the time to manage budgets and ensure that you’re being smart with your money. Where possible, use free tools to run marketing campaigns (including emails!), project management and so on.

    3. Automate Wherever You Can
    It’s not just your investments of money that grow exponentially as you scale – it’s investments of time, too. Right now, it might not bother you that it takes 25 minutes to manually put together an invoice, an hour to organize payroll, a few minutes here and there to dig out a document and send it to a colleague. As you grow, however, this isn’t sustainable.

    Take the time before you scale to streamline all your processes. Set up simple, cloud-hosted systems for bill payment, invoicing and accounting, online storage and collaboration on documents… even simple training and onboarding processes for new hires. Doing it properly now, once, will save you the equivalent of months of work down the line. You can start saving time by using these online tools for growing businesses.

    4. Focus On Core Users
    Do you have a clear idea of who buys your products or services, and why? In the early days, you’re probably just grateful that someone’s giving you money, but as you prepare to scale, you really need to know who to target your marketing and sales drives.

    Misdirecting your energy will prove very expensive and potentially disastrous, so make sure you’ve analyzed your current customer base extensively, and use this to shape your marketing campaigns as you grow.


    5. Hire People With the Right Mindset
    Flourishing in a growing startup takes a certain type of personality. You can be amazing at the core tasks of your job and yet be miserable or unsuccessful in that kind of environment.

    As you hire, make sure the people you choose are a good fit. For example, you’re going to need people who like being in a small team where they’re constantly taking on roles outside of their normal comfort zone and, well, winging it. For certain people, this controlled chaos is exciting and rewarding. For others, they’ll be on the brink of a nervous breakdown the whole time or will need constant hand-holding to get them through.

    There’s no point in forcing a square peg into a round hole here. Respect that people are built differently and hire accordingly.

    6. Make Yourself Redundant (Sort Of)
    Would your company struggle to survive without you? Do your customers see you and the business as the same entity? Would things implode if you disappeared for a month?

    If the answer to these questions is ‘yes’, you may not be ready for serious expansion. After all, you can scale up a department or a budget, but you can’t scale yourself. While it’s incredibly hard to loosen your grip on the helm, if you’re serious about scaling, you’ll need to restructure things so that the whole thing could still function if you were replaced tomorrow. Until then, it just won’t work.

    Final Thoughts
    Silicon Valley-style mega growth isn’t for everyone. Yes, you want your venture to be a success, but consider carefully whether you’re the kind of person who wants to build a strong business they’re emotionally invested in, carefully and over time, or the kind of person who wants their startup to explode into mega-stardom in a matter of months, but could burn out just as quickly.

    Yes, you’ll probably want to scale up your business at some stage, but whether you do that in a way that’s fast and volatile with potentially huge returns or slowly and reliably with more gradual returns is completely up to you, your appetite for risk, and the kind of person you are. Either way, make sure you know how to scale a business the smart way before you focus on growing it!

    Open your free email marketing account now and we’ll give you 12,500 sends each and every month free, forever. For up to 2,500 email contacts you’ll never pay us a penny.
    If you have more than 2,500 contacts click here.
  • Digital Marketing News: What Happened In the Digital Marketing World This Month? Nov 5, 2018

    “Digital marketing is not an art of selling a product. It’s an art of making people buy the product you sell.” – Hecate Strategy

    Know your purpose. As business owners (or just employees) we must be absolutely confident about the business’s positioning and the goals we want to achieve.

    Your digital marketing strategy should not focus only on developing a marketing plan to target the right audience. It must entail building buyer personas; choosing the right digital marketing tools (*cough**cough*); analysing your competitor’s strategy and reviewing your own past objectives; last, but certainly not least, being up-to-date with the most recent digital marketing news, tips and trends.

    In this article, we’ll cover the most recent digital marketing news on the following topics:
    1. Social Media
    2. Search Engines and SEO
    3. PPC and Advertising
    4. Email
    5. Other stuff we found interesting
    Let’s dig in!

    “Social media creates a kinship between companies and customers, and kinship equals purchase intent.” – Jay Baer

    This month Facebook hasn’t been hacked (as far as we know). After the massive data exploit in September, the company decided to ‘play nice’ and provide an update on the ongoing investigation. They said they’re working with the FBI to establish who the perpetrator(s) is(are) but have been asked: “not to discuss.” Whoever they are, let’s just hope an incident of this magnitude won’t occur again anytime soon – or ever.

    Furthermore, we heard through the grapevine that a group of Facebook advertiser filed a new lawsuit in California Federal Court which alleges that Facebook engaged in unfair business conduct by disseminating inaccurate video metrics that significantly overestimated the number of times users were spending on watching ads. Naughty!

    Ah, and in case you haven’t heard this digital marketing news, Pinterest is not a social network or so said it’s CEO Ben Silbermann. According to the stats though, its social media worldwide market share comes in second place – 12.81% – after Facebook (66.29%). Anyhow, social network or not, the platform has gradually rolled out more and more tools that align with its mission to become a product discovery and eCommerce engine. In mid-October, they announced adding new shopping options to boost the eCommerce potential. And here I was, using Pinterest for DIY projects and knitting lessons!

    The professional social network LinkedIn is “no longer an online resume. It’s your digital reputation” (source: Jill Rowley). We’ve recently learnt, the company is releasing a relatively small, but very helpful update – all users will have the option to display a “Follow” button as their main CTA on their profile page instead of the current “Connect” prompt. Let’s see how it goes.

    The only slightly significant digital marketing news on Instagram this month is that they’ve launched a Snapchat-style QR called Nametags. Its purpose is to easily connect with people you meet in-person.

    “My guess is it will be about 300 years until computers are as good as, say, your local reference library in search.” – Craig Silverstein

    We all know Google is dominating as a search engine but, we shouldn’t underestimate the underdog – Bing. According to the stats, Bing is still being used … It’s in third place with a 7.70% market share worldwide. With that being said, the company is working on improving the efficiency of their web crawler – BingBot – so it doesn’t miss new content and at the same time overload your web servers. We must congratulate them on the ongoing efforts but … they’ll never become better than Google.

    A search engine worth mentioning is DuckDuckGo (DDG). We’ve learnt that the privacy-focused search engine has reached a new milestone of 30 million direct searches a day; that represents a 50% increase from last year’s daily direct record of nearly 20 million searches. The growth comes in the wake of a series of privacy scandals – from Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica breach to Google’s ever-tracking location history.

    Have you heard of Yandex? The Russians are upping their game when it comes to search engines. Reuters reported that Russia’s biggest internet search engine has registered its fastest growth in six years. According to the stats, Yandex ranks fifth with 1.01% market share right after Google (72.37%), Baidu (13.94%), Bing (7.70%) and Yahoo! (4.06%). Seems like the Russians would like to be known for something other than internet scandals.

    A Twitter user has reported seeing double featured snippets in Google search results. This feature snippet with a second one just beneath it effectively shows information from two websites and advertising in the space which normally shows ten websites.


    “In advertising, not to be different is a virtual suicide.” – Thornton Wilder

    We heard through the grapevine that Google Ads has rolled out new features to the Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool. The features are designed to give advertisers a better insight into who’s seeing their ads and help them take immediate actions to fix issues with ads not being shown. Thumbs up, Google!

    Let’s not forget Google is not the only virtual place you can advertise on. Bing has introduced a series of enhancements to product ads and shopping campaigns; and, it’s happening just in time for the holiday season. Ah, we also learnt Bing is plotting a brand new feature that will allow advertisers to add weekly flyers as an extension to text ads. Well done, Bing.

    Moving on to LinkedIn. The professional network announced a new integration with Google Campaign Manager which will allow marketers to better compare and manage their LinkedIn ad performance in comparison to other ad efforts; and all within a single dashboard. Hip Hip Hooray!

    “Your email inbox is a bit like a Las Vegas roulette machine. You know, you just check it and check it, and every once in a while there’s some juicy little tidbit of reward, like the three quarters that pop down on a one-armed bandit. And that keeps you coming back for more.” – Douglas Rushkoff

    In our recent digital marketing news roundup, we’ve covered topics such as spam and cybersecurity. We plan on keeping the same pattern; hence, today we’ll tell all about the world’s worst spam support internet service providers (ISPs).

    Spam continues to plague the internet but the more you know about it the more prepared you’ll be.

    According to Spamhaus’s – Top 5 Worst Spam Support ISPsstats are in, as of 30 October 2018, and the ISPs that knowingly sell service to professional spammers for profit are with 236 known spam issues followed by with 140 and with 109. Hence, fourth and fifth place are occupied by with 99 known spam issues and with 84. Ah, and because we’re cool we will even tell you which is the sixth worst spam support ISP. Are you ready? Here it is … with 68 known spam issues. You weren’t expecting that, were you?

    “Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t want plastered on a billboard with your logo (or face) on it.” – Erin Bury

    Digital marketing news, SEO tips, email advice and so much more are flooding the internet; therefore, it makes it difficult to go through them all on your own. That’s why we’ve decided to step in and help you by rounding up news we label as “important to know”.

    It seems like hackers are getting bolder by the minute. Forbes reported that Iranian cybercriminals tried to hack into U.K. universities offering government-certified cybersecurity courses.

    Facebook took down 30 pages, 33 accounts, 3 Facebook groups and 16 Instagram accounts which were said to be tied to an influence campaign by a group of Iranian actors. The company said the accounts and pages were not taken down because of their content but rather because of “inauthentic behaviour”. Social network with the biggest market share worldwide say what now?

    One of the world’s leading organisations developing AI software today – Google – is launching a global competition to develop AI that’s beneficial for humanity. The company will be pledging up to $25 million to groups that want to use AI to solve big problems.

    Last, but certainly not least, Twitter will be ripping its heart out. Ha! We got you there for a sec, didn’t we? We heard Twitter is thinking about killing the Like button (heart). The company’s CEO Jack Dorsey even said he “wasn’t a fan of the heart-shaped button” and “ would be getting rid of it soon”. Any suggestion on what they’ll replace it with?

    Let us know what digital marketing news topics and areas you would like us to look out for; in the future. Write your requests below; we’ll keep an eye out (or two) so you don’t have to – and all for FREE, of course.

    In the meantime, you can take a look at our blog for more digital marketing news, social media marketing, business growth tips and tricks plus, of course, all things email marketing.

    Open your free email marketing account now and we’ll give you 12,500 sends each and every month free, forever. For up to 2,500 email contacts you’ll never pay us a penny.
    If you have more than 2,500 contacts click here.
  • 21 Quick Tips To Turn Your Emails Into Lead-Gen Machines Oct 30, 2018

    “Make a customer, not a sale.” – Katherine Barchetti

    So you’ve got someone’s email address. Now what?

    Lead generation requires creativity, attention to detail, self-motivation and nurturing. Our lead generation tips will help you to make the most of those precious contact details and to turn early-stage subscribers into promising leads.

    In this article, you’ll find lead generation tips that will help you…
    1. Improve the quality of the emails you send
    2. Get people to click through and buy more frequently
    3. Collect more useful, detailed information on subscribers
    4. Nurture your leads in the long-term
    Let’s dig in into our 21 quick lead generation tips!

    Lead Generation Tips

    End every email with a targeted call-to-action.
    2. Be clear and to the point about what you’re offering and what you want people to do.
    3. Segment emails carefully to make sure you only send emails to relevant people.
    4. Think carefully about whether an offer is really relevant to this particular audience.
    5. Focus on the value to the reader, not the value to you.
    6. Include buttons and links to make it easy for people to forward or share your email with their network.
    7. Offer rewards and incentives to subscribers who help you to sign up new people.
    8. Include links to your social media pages in all emails, to give people more ways to hear from you.
    9. Include video and other compelling links that bring people back to your landing pages.
    10. Highlight contact information and links to call you in a single click from a mobile.
    11. Send emails from an email address that people can reply to.
    12. Always ask permission for every new use of someone’s email address to avoid any confusion or nasty surprises.
    13. … And use an opt-in system to collect emails in the first place. Don’t buy lists!!
    14. Ask people to take part in surveys and feedback forms to get to know them and their needs better (and keep them in the loop with how you use their replies).
    15. Keep people hooked on your emails with valuable content, tips and advice.
    16. Be regular and consistent with your emails so that subscribers know what to expect.
    17. Use a personal, conversational tone to build a rapport with readers.
    18. Make all your emails mobile-friendly. People should be able to browse them from anywhere.
    19. Make sure your CTAs always match the titles on any landing pages or forms they click through to.
    20. Track and analyse data on open rates, click-throughs etc. to constantly improve the success of your email campaigns.
    21. Protect people’s personal data, including their email addresses, with your life. Never share them without permission, or they’ll go from promising leads to angry ex-subscribers very, very quickly.

    Open your free email marketing account now and we’ll give you 12,500 sends each and every month free, forever. For up to 2,500 email contacts you’ll never pay us a penny. If you have more than 2,500 contacts click here.