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  • New Video Option From Facebook, Updates From Google And A Survey On Holiday Season Expectations Aug 6, 2020 at 9:26 AM

    Did you know you’ll be able to broadcast your FB Messenger Rooms via Facebook Live? How about Google’s recent support for image license metadata in GSC or Google Ads update to ad privacy or the survey on what to expect from the holiday season?

    “Marketing is not the art of finding clever ways to dispose of what you make. It the art of creating genuine customer value.” –
    Philip Kotler

    In this article, we’ll cover the following digital marketing news:
    1. Facebook adding a new video option to Messenger Rooms
    2. Support for image license metadata in Google Search Console
    3. Google Ads updates its ad privacy feature
    4. [Survey] Expectations for the holiday season amidst the COVID-19 pandemic
    Ready to dive in?

    Social Media News

    Facebook Allows Users To Broadcast Messenger Rooms Via Facebook Live

    Considering more and more people are looking to connect through video tools, Facebook has announced a new option which will allow Messenger Rooms users to also broadcast their Room via Facebook Live. This alone will expand the potential audience of the group discussion.

    According to Facebook, “turning your room into a Facebook Live broadcast makes it easy to go live with up to 50 people. As a room creator, you can broadcast your room to a Profile, Page or Group; and, invite people to tune in. By bringing Messenger Rooms and Facebook Live together, we’re unlocking new ways for people to connect and create content even while they’re apart.”

    The social network actually re-added its single live-stream guest option back in April; after initially removing it in December 2019 due to low usage. Well, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and all it entailed – lockdowns, travel restrictions, social distancing, etc., a live video connection is currently the closest thing people have to a real-life social interaction which results in higher usage rates. So no wonder the company decided to re-introduce this option.

    Search Engine and SEO News

    Google Search Console (GSC) Adds Support For Image License Structured Data
    Google announced it will be adding support for image license metadata for licensable images to both Google Search Console (GSC) reports and Rich Results test tool.

    upload_2020-8-6_9-32-48.png

    What is image license metadata? It’s metadata users can use to display licensing information about content appearing in Google Images. When a user specifies the license info for the images on their website, the image will be then displayed with a licensable badge on the thumbnails in Google Images. More info can be found on Google’s developers website.

    Furthermore, a new section for this additional functionality will be added to the Enhancement reports in GSC; as well as, support on the rich results test tool.

    PPC and Ads News

    Google Ads Improves Its Work On User Privacy In Digital Advertising
    Do you recall the long-featured “why this ad” feature which explains some of the reasons why a particular piece of ad content is given to the user?

    We learnt that Google will be releasing several tweaks to the functionality in the upcoming months. First, the feature will be renamed to “About this ad”. Secondly, two new explicit buttons will be introduced – “report this ad” and “block this ad”. The latter is pretty much a rebrand of the existing option to ‘mute’ ads. Thirdly, there will be an “about the advertiser” section which will provide further information about the party like name and location (country). This one follows Google’s earlier announcement this year about requiring all advertisers to verify their identity.

    According to the company, these tweaked features will be expanded to all Google surfaces in 2021.

    In addition to the above tweaks, Google will also be releasing a Chrome extension, to further improve transparency. According to the company, “the extension will provide people with detailed information about all the ads they see on the web.”

    Digital Marketing News
    Considering what’s been happening around the world with the COVID-19 pandemic, marketers have probably begun wondering what to expect from the coming holiday season. Well, thanks to the ongoing mayhem surrounding the pandemic, American customers are turning into quite the devoted ecommerce buyers, says a study by Criteo.

    Of over 1,300 U.S. customers who participated in the global survey, 88% are planning to continue shopping for gifts online and having them delivered directly to the recipients. Additionally, 64% of the participants state they miss visiting a store physically, with 65% saying they will be comfortable visiting malls and shopping centres by October (if they are open, of course).

    Criteo also found, in its tracking data from 14,000 retailers, that online retail sales have jumped 30% in the Americas and 17% worldwide in the period 15 to 28 June – compared to 2 to 14 February.

    The industry that was hit the hardest amidst the ongoing pandemic has been travel; and, looking at the state of the world now, it seems unlikely for things to change during the holiday season. If you are interested in finding out more about what to expect during the holiday season, you can download Criteo’s survey here.

    With so many people planning to do their holiday shopping online, email marketers should capitalise on the opportunity.

    Final Thoughts
    Do you have any suggestions or ideas about which digital marketing news topics you’d 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.

    EmailOut offers the most generous email marketing software freemium product for professional micro-businesses and SMEs across the globe coupled with the very best rates for large volume corporate senders. Take a look now.

    This article was originally published on 25 July and can be found here.

    Open your Unlimited Sends one-month free trial today – after your first month with us you can switch to our FreeForever account giving you 12,500 sends to 2,500 contacts each and every month for free, forever. Corporate email marketing? Contact us.
  • BIMI In Gmail And Subaddressing in Microsoft 365 Aug 5, 2020 at 1:00 PM

    Did you know that Google will launch support for BIMI in Gmail? How about Microsoft 365 adding support for subaddressing (a.k.a custom email addressing) to its email services?

    “The simple truth is that email is how modern business (and any other kind of business) is done. ” –
    Neil Patel

    In this article, we’ll cover the following email industry news:
    1. Google launches support for BIMI in Gmail
    2. Microsoft will support subaddressing in Microsoft 365 email services
    Let’s dive in.

    Big News From Gmail And BIMI
    Email marketers are on a constant search for that one trick that will give them better visibility in front of subscribers and get their messages open. The bad news: no such solution exists – despite what many vendors may tell you. The good news: the relatively new standard – Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) – will certainly help your brand stand out in the inbox. It will not only support your visibility, but it’s also designed to prevent fraudulent emails and aid deliverability.

    Currently, the list of companies who’ve implemented BIMI includes SendGrid, LinkedIn, Validity, Valimail, Verizon Media and – as of June 2019 – Google. However, considering Gmail is the most widely used email client, the company decided it’s time to fully launch the BIMI standard in Gmail.

    According to the company, the BIMI standard pilot will enable brands (who have authenticated their emails by utilising Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance – DMARC), to verify ownership of their brand logo(s) and securely pass them on to Google. The instance the authenticated emails pass all of Google’s additional anti-abuse checks, Gmail will begin displaying the brand’s logo in the designated avatar slot in Gmail’s user interface (UI). Furthermore, the company confirmed, “there will be two certification authorities that will validate logo ownership – Entrust Datacard and DigiCert”. Google is also encouraging businesses to start preparing for the post-launch of the standard by adopting DMARC.

    If everything goes smoothly with the pilot of the standard in Gmail, the company will make this functionality generally available in the upcoming months. In addition, adding this relatively new security standard to Gmail will go a long way to permanently removing the threat of billions of phishing emails.

    Microsoft 365 Adds A Subaddressing Standard To Its Email Services
    Microsoft will introduce support for custom email addressing to Microsoft 365 email services. According to the company’s roadmap, the feature is expected to be fully released in Q3 2020.

    For those of you unfamiliar with custom email addressing, this is a feature which can be provided by some email clients enabling users to extend their email address through the ‘+’ symbol or ‘tags’. According to the RFC 5233 internet standard, this is also known as subaddressing.

    For example, if your email address is [email protected] you can use the + addressing feature to extend your email address to [email protected]. If your email address supports subaddressing, every email sent to the latter email address will arrive in your main inbox – i.e. [email protected].

    The tags can be unique (+netflix, +amazon, +ebay, etc.) which will allow users to generate an infinite number of custom email addresses which can consequently be used for newsletter sign-ups, contact forms, other online forms, etc.

    However, despite all the benefits in helping a user track how their email got shared online, subaddressing is not widely supported across email providers. For example, Google has supported subaddressing pretty much since its beginning, yet Yahoo, AOL and most of the other email clients do not.

    Final Thoughts
    Do you have any suggestions or ideas about which email industry news topics you’d 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.

    EmailOut offers the most generous email marketing software freemium product for professional micro-businesses and SMEs across the globe coupled with the very best rates for large volume corporate senders. Take a look now.

    This article was originally published on 25 July and can be found here.

    Open your Unlimited Sends one-month free trial today – after your first month with us you can switch to our FreeForever account giving you 12,500 sends to 2,500 contacts each and every month for free, forever. Corporate email marketing? Contact us.
  • Subject Line Mistakes: Things Marketers Should Never Do Aug 4, 2020 at 9:58 AM

    Did you know that 69% of recipients report emails as SPAM based solely on the subject line? How about the fact that 47% of people OPEN emails based on the subject line alone?

    Subject lines are the most powerful element of your email marketing campaign. They are the first thing your recipients will see and the biggest factor in whether or not they will open your email. Overall, they are your make-it or break-it moment. However, there are certain subject line mistakes that all email marketers should avoid.

    “Subject lines are like newspaper headlines or a title on a book’s spine. They tell the recipient what it is all about and they should do so in sparkling style – seamlessly channelling your brand. ” – Win Goodbody


    As an email marketer, you are well aware of how incredibly powerful subject lines can be. After all, your email’s subject line is the recipients’ first interaction with your brand. As such you need to ensure you are striking the right balance between informative and engaging but also succinct and tempting. Unfortunately, your efforts can often be inconsistent leading to unsatisfactory results. The reason lies with some subject line mistakes you might’ve not even considered when crafting yours.

    In this article, we’ll cover the following topics on email subject line mistakes :
    1. What are the ingredients of a perfect subject line?
    2. Tried-and-tested email subject line templates
    3. Email subject line mistake to avoid at all costs
    Ready to dive in?

    Writing the best email subject line is an art and as an email marketer, you need to master it to achieve the desired results with your email marketing campaign. Yet, a lot of marketers and businesses do not give it enough attention which ends up harming your sender reputation and sending your emails straight to the spam folder.

    You certainly know that the more your emails are reported as spam, the less deliverable any of your future emails will be and this will have a dampening effect on your ROI. However, there’s no need to panic. As long as you know the most common email subject line mistakes and pitfalls, you’ll be able to prevent them.

    Some marketers believe in the incredible power of email subject lines so much so that they think that –

    a) a misleading email subject line is worth it to get the holy grail – an open;
    b) a perfectly crafted subject line can make up for the lack of permission;
    c) if your email does not get opened it is like it was never sent.

    As fantastic as these might sound, none of them are true. The goal of your email subject line is not only to generate opens but to generate openers which are likely to convert. Furthermore, your email’s subject line doesn’t only impact your open rate but all other email marketing KPIs. Lastly, your emails are not ads, they are a part of a permission-based relationship. Thus, it’s not only crucially important to have the subscribers permission but it’s also a legal requirement.

    Before we reveal the thing you must avoid in your subject lines and tell you how to fix any subject line mistakes, let’s take a brief look at the basics, shall we?

    Email Subject Lines: The Basics
    Let’s take a look at the common ingredients that will jump out at people when they are scrolling through their cluttered inbox. The biggest ones to consider are –

    a) Curiosity – Does it pique their interest and make them wonder what the rest of the email might say?
    b) Urgency – Why should they open this email right now? What’s the hurry?
    c) A tempting offer – What awesome rewards does your email hint at?
    d) Relevance – Are you giving the reader the impression you’re speaking directly to them / their tribe?
    e) Novelty – Are you telling them something surprising or unusual – a cool story or a shocking discovery, perhaps?

    You won’t be able to squeeze all these into your email subject line – nor should you try. After all, you need to keep it short, punchy and tempting. However, these ingredients can inspire you to craft subject lines your recipient will not be able to resist and will be forced to open your email.

    Email Subject Line Templates
    Have you ever had that sinking feeling of spending a whole day crafting the perfect email with the best email subject line and when checking the results your open rate was disappointingly low? Depressing, we know. But you are not alone. However, we have seven amazing tried-and-tested email subject line templates you can take advantage of.

    1) The FOMO
    No one likes to feel like they’re missing out, so a top way to create a sense of urgency and inspire action is to create the impression of scarcity or an offer about to end.

    2) The Self-Improvement
    A dependable classic. Promising people they can be a better version of themselves isn’t new, but boy does it work.

    3) The If-Then
    If
    you know your target audience well enough, then you’ll have a good idea of which characteristics they share (see what I did there?). Take something that feels specific but applies to the vast majority, if not all, of the people on the list and makes them think ‘Oh wait, that applies to me!’ Then link this to the solution you’re emailing them about.

    4) The Free Gift
    Giving your recipient the impression that something real and tangible is waiting for them is always a winner and a great way to cut right through the noise – especially if you personalise it.

    5) The Cliffhanger
    Humans are curious creatures. Create a little mystery or suspense and we can’t help but peek inside. Don’t believe me? Scroll to the bottom of this page to find out why.

    6) The Direct-Informal
    This is an increasingly popular method, with good reason. The idea is to mimic the way real people write subject lines to each other, be they friends or colleagues.

    7) The Conversational
    You need to exercise this with caution. Making an outlandish claim or questioning a popular belief is a great way to get clicks… just make sure you aren’t overdoing it, or you’ll lose people’s trust!

    There, you have it. You are all set to take your mailing list by storm. But, we did promise to reveal the most common subject line mistakes and how to fix them so here we go…

    Common Email Subject Line Mistakes (and How To Avoid Them)
    Good email marketing starts with the perfect subject line and good subject lines are quite easy to create if you follow our guidelines and have an understanding of what your recipients are interested in. Nonetheless, there are certain email subject line mistakes all marketers should stay away from if they want to boost open rates, have happier customers and increase their ROI.

    1) Shouting at recipients and excessive punctuation
    We all know that ALL CAPS signifies shouting. Thus, better steer clear of overusing it in your email subject lines.

    None of your recipients wants to see an email in their already cluttered inbox that appears to be screaming at them like “GET 30% OFF YOUR NEXT ORDER – NOW”. As awesome as your product/service is and as excited as you might be to share it with your subscribers, you don’t have to get their attention by screaming at them. If you do it will not only appear as rude but the chance of your email getting ignored, deleted or marked as spam are quite high thus hurting your open rate.

    The Fix
    If you want to emphasise the importance of your email use acronyms like IMP/IMPT or STAT to signify an immediate action/response is required; FYI for purely informative content without any further action required; or, ACT for email campaigns that need further action. Here are some examples –
    • FYI: Updated employees holiday calendar
    • ACT: Complete and return the attached survey by September 15, 2020
    • STAT: Production malfunction on line 5 requires immediate action
    The use of excessive punctuation is also a big ‘no-no’ – “GET 30% OFF YOUR NEXT ORDER – NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!”. Instead of scaring – and possibly annoying – your recipients with an overuse of exclamation marks, emphasise the importance of your email by using the aforementioned acronyms. They will just as easily drive the point home if the spam filters hadn’t already binned your email, of course.

    However, if your email answers relevant pressing matters of interest to the recipient, feel free to craft your email subject line as a question. The use of a question mark (?), in this case, has proven to boost open rates because human beings are curious by nature. For example, if your subject line says “Do you know what percent of email opens happen on mobile?”, the recipients won’t be able to calm their urgent curiosity resulting in them opening your email. See what we did there? It’s a cliffhanger subject line creating both curiosity and urgency.

    2) Special characters, symbols and emojis
    Special characters and symbols like $, %, &, @, and # are viewed by both the recipients and the email clients’ spam filters as well… spammy. Using them in your subject lines can end up sending your carefully crafted email into the not-so-special spam folder – and that’s not something you want, is it?

    Additionally, as much as emojis boost open rates (according to stats, 56% of brands have seen some sort of a boost), they have limited application and you should be vigilant about using them in your subject lines. Don’t forget, not all email clients render emojis. You might end up sending out a campaign with quite a lot of boxed symbols (☐) in the subject line.

    The Fix
    If you feel it’s necessary and relevant to your content, do yourself and your recipients a favour, and use special characters and symbols – as well as emojis – in the email body instead of the subject line. But do so sparingly. They have been known to trigger spam filters. Craft your email subject line to be punchy, clever, curious and urgent without using cheap tricks.

    3) Spelling and grammar mistakes
    Nothing says sloppy and unprofessional like an email subject line with spelling and/or grammatical errors or misplaced punctuation. Would you even open an email with a subject line like “Decorate your hoe this Christmas” or “We need your contamination please…”? As funny as such subject line mistakes might be, they only showcase your lack of attention to detail and if you can be bothered to ensure such mistakes are non-existent, why should the recipient bother with your email in the first place?

    The Fix
    Your subject line is your chance to make a good first impression, establish – and solidify – a relationship with your customers and build trust. Instead of rushing through it just to meet a deadline or pacify your management’s urgency to send, take the time to spell check not only your subject line but your email’s copy as well. It’ll not only ensure your email looks professional but also boost your open rates.

    4) Spammy words/phrases
    Email subject lines are like gatekeepers. If you want your email to get opened, you need to make sure it will avoid the spam filters or it’ll never reach your targeted audience resulting in damaging your sender reputation. Furthermore, we all know that a bad sender reputation results in poor email deliverability leading to decreasing ROI.

    The Fix
    To keep your emails out of the awful spam folder make sure to avoid the use of spammy words and phrases such as act now, order now, affordable, free, money, win, sign up, now!, bonus, one-time offer, guaranteed, increase sales, limited-time offer, no investment, no obligations and hundreds more.

    There might be tons of recommendations of what to and not to use in your email subject lines. What works for one industry might not necessarily work for another. Thus, make sure to always, always test your email subject line before sending your campaign.

    5) One word or extremely long subject lines
    Depending on the screen your recipients are viewing your email, subject lines can appear differently as the real estate for it is limited.

    On desktop inbox, you can see 60 characters (sometimes even more) of an email’s subject line, while mobile devices will reveal 25 to 30 characters. With such limited space, as an email marketer, you must ensure that your email subject line is neither too short (one word) or too lengthy. Otherwise, you risk changing the message in ways that are either distracting and confusing or embarrassing and, sometimes, even funny.

    One word subject lines like “Important” or “Survey” or just “Hi” can not only miss the mark on what your email is all about leading to lack of it being opened but also it can be viewed as spammy. In either case, despite your desire to make it efficient, you will lose the recipients’ attention and they’ll simply ignore/delete your message.

    Additionally, overly long subject lines are not a good idea either. Keep in mind people lead quite busy lives driving them to quickly scroll through their inbox instead of examining it thoroughly. Here are a few examples of quite lengthy subject lines –

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The Fix
    According to our uber-smart friends at Litmus, the best/recommended length for a subject line is no more than 50 characters. Thus, you need to make sure your subject line will get your message across quickly creating urgency and forcing the recipients to open your email. Avoid writing subject lines that are too short, too. No one will open an email that simply says “Survey!”. It’s neither considered helpful nor relevant to your subscribers. Of course, professional ESP(s) – like EmailOut – give their users a free inbox tool where they can see what their subject line will look like in over 70+ email clients as well as on mobile devices.

    6) Misleading or vague subject lines
    Your recipients’ inbox is overloaded with all sorts of emails – from informative to sales ones. Don’t try to get them to open yours by misleading them and using deceptive or vague subject lines to do so. That will only get your email reported as spam and then deleted.

    For example, if your subject line says “Get an exclusive discount off all of our services” and when the recipient opens it and it pitches them to sign up for your newsletter or a free webinar, trust me, they will get annoyed and the consequences will be damaging not only to your sender reputation (they will report the email as spam – for sure) but also to your brand’s reputation and image. It’s a dishonest and deceitful tactic that will backfire 100%.

    The Fix
    Write a subject line that aligns with your email’s content. Don’t trick recipients. Instead, be honest and clear about the intentions of your message. It’ll not only build a trustworthy relationship with your subscribers but also improve your credibility and sky-rocket your open rates. Just deliver on the promise you outlined in your subject line. Ah, and remember, cheap tricks like including “RE:” or “FW:” to your subject line to fool the recipient into thinking your email is a part of previous communication is a serious ‘no-no’. Did we also mention that misleading and vague subject lines will bring you perilously close to violating CAN-SPAM laws?

    7) Ignoring the preheader
    Your email preheader, also called the preview text or snippet, is the line of text that appears under the email subject line when emails are displayed in your inbox. If you’ve designated a particular line of text as a subheader, it will appear just below the subject line. Otherwise, the recipient will see the first line of text from the email body itself.

    Many marketers either don’t have a clue of what it is or don’t bother to pay enough attention to it. The latter being a huge mistake as the preheader will help your subject line drive the point home giving you one more chance to persuade the recipient of the importance of your email.

    The Fix
    Most professional ESP(s) allow marketers to choose the preheader of their email campaign instead of just pulling it from the first sentence, an image alt text or default browser instruction. Instead of leaving it to chance (because you didn’t even think about it), make sure you’ve crafted your preheader as carefully as you did your subject line. After all, as we said already, it’s your second chance of driving the point home. Don’t miss it.

    Final Thoughts
    Your email subject line is like a movie trailer – it should give your recipients enough information but leave them wanting more. It should grab their attention, create a sense of urgency and convey the importance of what you are offering them, be it a discount, limited-offer, special access to features, tutorials, webinars, etc.

    However, everything is not always hunky-dory. Ultimately, we are all bound to make a mistake or two. But, when you know what to be on the lookout for and how to fix it, nothing can stop you from reaching success. So, instead of panicking and pacing your office space nervously (show mercy to your shoes), make sure you learn all the email subject line mistakes we told you about – and, of course, how to fix them.

    Highly recommended further reading –
    1)
    Top B2B Subject Lines
    2) Email Subject Lines That Deceive
    3) Permission-Based Email Marketing
    4) Why Do You Need To A/B Test?
    5) Top Split Testing Tips
    6) The Ultimate Email Preflight Checklist
    7) Email Preheader Mistakes To Avoid

    *Did you scroll to the end to find out why? See! We just can’t help ourselves!

    This article was originally published on 31 July and can be found here.

    Open your Unlimited Sends one-month free trial today – after your first month with us you can switch to our FreeForever account giving you 12,500 sends to 2,500 contacts each and every month for free, forever. Corporate email marketing? Contact us.
  • Email Accessibility: Everything You Need To Know Aug 3, 2020 at 1:04 PM

    Is your email campaign’s content easy to access, understand and interact with? Are your emails accessible to subscribers who are visually impaired or have difficulty hearing or are using assistive technology (AT)?

    Does email accessibility matter in email marketing? From improving the quality of your email’s content through delivering the perfect email experience to your subscribers to increasing your ROI, there are plenty of reasons as to why employing email accessibility is important.

    “As email developers, we spend hours getting an email to look just right in a client with less than 1% market share but very few of us will spend a few minutes making the email accessible.” –
    Mark Robbins

    When you first designed your email you presumably thought everyone who receives it would be looking and experiencing it the same way, right? Well, we are sorry to say that this would not be the case. With all the time you devoted to ensuring your email campaign is pixel-perfect both in the inbox and on the small screen, you’ve probably neglected to consider how accessible your email would be.

    In this article, we’ll cover the following topics about email accessibility:
    1. What is email accessibility?
    2. Stats on visual impairment and disabilities
    3. What are the most essential email accessibility requirements?
    4. The law and email accessibility
    Let’s dive in.

    Accessibility is a term thrown around quite often when referring to web design. It serves as a founding pillar of not only design but user experience as well. However, when used in the context of email marketing, accessibility refers to the process of ensuring all the recipients on your mailing list will receive and understand your email message perfectly. Regardless of any possible visual impairments, disabilities or use of assistive technology (AT). Overall, accessible content is much more readable, logical and usable by everyone, not only people with disabilities. Not to mention that good email accessibility means good usability which leads to better conversions and consequently, greater ROI.

    According to stats, 77% of marketers state that email accessibility is a priority for their brand. However, only 8% thoroughly adhere to accessibility best practice. The reason for the latter lies in the misconception that optimising emails for accessibility is a Herculean task. As an email marketer, you might not be 100% sure where to start. But the truth is, if you have a list of email accessibility best practices at your disposal, the whole process would be as easy as ABC.

    Let’s take a look at some statistics on visual impairment and disabilities.
    According to the UK’s NHS, one in ten people in the UK has dyslexia creating an obstacle for them when it comes to reading, writing and spelling. Visual impairment (loss of vision or colour blindness) is another disability to take into account. The NHS states that almost 2 million people in the UK live with sight loss, with 360,000 people registered as either blind or partially sighted.

    Additionally, according to the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), the rough estimate of people with sight-threatening conditions has reached 6 million. So, if your mailing list is primarily UK-based, at least 10% of it is people who have some form of visual impairment.

    The global outlook is not looking good either. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), around 2.2 billion people suffer from visual impairment or blindness, with one billion of them (which is 12.82% of the global population) living with moderate or severe vision impairment. Furthermore, the WHO estimates that more than a billion people globally live with a form of disability.

    Further stats show that across Europe an estimate of over 30 million people are either blind or partially sighted and an average of 1 in 30 Europeans experience sight loss. In addition, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that around 1.3 million Americans are legally blind, with about 4.2 million being visually impaired.

    As you can deduce from these stats, the email accessibility of your marketing campaigns will be valuable for billions of people globally. Ah, let’s not forget it’s also good for business.

    Many visually impaired or disabled people use assistive technology (AT) to have better access to the internet and their emails. Such assistive devices include –
    a) screen readers
    – they render text and image content as speech or Braille output. They are essential for people with visual impairments and learning disabilities;
    b) magnifiers – an assistive technology (AT) which interfaces with a device’s graphical output to display an enlarged screen;
    c) joysticks – an alternative to mouse-based navigation;
    d) eye-tracking – it allows people to control computer interfaces with eye movements enabling people with physical and cognitive disabilities to navigate easily; and
    e) sip-and-puff (SNP) – an AT used to send signals to a device using air pressure by ‘sipping’ (inhaling) or ‘puffing’ (exhaling) on a straw, tube or “wand”.

    According to the WHO, one billion people require assistive technology products today, with more than 2 billion people worldwide expected to need at least one assistive technology product by 2030.

    In addition to all the adaptive tools available, as an email marketer, you can improve engagement and effectiveness of your email campaigns by making them more accessible to those billions of people just by implementing a few simple code and design improvements. It’s a market you probably never thought to explore, however, it’s there for the taking.

    Essential Email Accessibility Requirements
    You probably thought your email campaigns have been performing awesomely. However, did you consider how accessible they are to both your current and potential audience?

    Before moving forward with your email marketing campaigns, we highly recommend evaluating your efforts so far. The easiest and the most visual way to do so is for you to pick one of your most recently send emails, print it (or open it on a separate screen), outline the goals you want to achieve, write down your notes and start designing. But, way before you do that, as an expert email marketer, you need to know what constitutes an accessible email; and, what are the main requirements you need to meet.

    Every email campaign must

    1) maintain a logical reading order
    In contrast to web pages, HTML emails and templates are usually coded using tables. Why? Because this is the most reliable way of creating layouts that work across different desktops, mobile, webmail and email clients. If you have not planned and thought this thoroughly, you risk recipients you rely on keyboard-only access not to receive your content in the order intended. For example, screen readers read tabular content from left to right and from top to bottom. Here is an example of how a two-column two-row tabular email template would be read –
    [​IMG]

    Now, think about how easy it is for such an email to be read. We are not saying it’s hard. But, why wouldn’t you want to simplify – and preserve the logical reading order – by designing (or selecting) an email template with a better layout. For example, the below one-row, two-column template guarantees much better email accessibility.

    [​IMG]

    If you are wondering why this requirement might be of particular importance we have only one thing to say – responsive email layouts. With the advancement in technology and the ever-evolving email trends, it’s crucially important to ensure your email campaigns are easily accessible not only for a selected few (being it 5K or 50K) on your mailing list; but also, to all subscribers – current and potential. Therefore, creating a logical reading order which gives your subscribers a comfortable reading experience.

    2) include HTML heading elements
    To ensure the hierarchy of your email is conveyed properly to screen reader subscribers, it’s very important to utilise header tags such as header <H1> or <H2>, table <table>, paragraph <p>, etc. These tags help your subscribers differentiate important parts of your email’s content on screen readers; as well as, give your readers a more pleasant reading experience by allowing them to navigate a perfectly hierarchical structured email.

    3) consider colour contrast
    How much of your attention is focused on the colours used in your email campaigns? Have you ever considered some of your subscribers can have moderately low-vision or are colourblind?

    According to the stats listed at the beginning, the chance of having visually impaired subscribers is quite high. Thus, the contrast ratio of your email is essential for its accessibility. For example, would say white text on a yellow background (or vice-versa) is easy to read? The answer is ‘No, it is not.’

    According to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, to meet AA level standards your email’s design should have a minimum contrast ratio (CR) of 4.5:1. If the text in your email is larger than 23px or if it’s bold text larger than 18px then the CR should be 3:1. To gain some context as to what we are waffling on about, keep in mind that the same colour ratio (white on white, for example) has a contrast ratio of 1:1; whilst white on black has a ratio of 21:1. Here are some more contrast ratio example for reference –

    [​IMG]

    Overall, ensuring there is a sufficient contrast (according to standards, of course) between your email’s content and background colours is crucially important to its accessibility – not only for people with visual impairments but also, for all of the subscribers on your mailing list.

    4) include alt text to all images
    Subscribers on your mailing list might be using screen readers or they might have images blocked in their email client. If that’s the case, overloading your email campaign with images – no matter how relevant they might be – is not only pointless but also, unnecessary. Instead, make sure the critical content is outlined in the body of your email.

    However, you are not designing emails only for visually impaired recipients. You are designing them for all recipients. As such, using proper alt text (the brief description to each image) is a definite ‘must’. Just keep in mind that there are two forms of images – decorative and informative. The first type does not require an alt text – just leave the attribute empty (alt=””). The latter, however, requires you to give in a descriptive and short alt attribute to highlight the relevance of the image. Here is an example –

    [​IMG]

    5) ensure links have meaningful, descriptive text
    We all use links in our email campaigns. However, it’s crucially important to remember that when your subscriber reads the link(s) it should convey the purpose of it. The link text reveals to the recipient what will be displayed if they click on the link. Ah, and let’s not forget that link text is also used by screen reader devices for document navigation purposes.

    As a general rule, it’s advisable to avoid generic link text like “click here” or “further details”. Instead, add more context to the link text to make sure the recipient understands what it is about. For example, “Writing Marketing Emails 101”.

    6) include a plain-text version
    Different subscribers will have different preferences. Some might want to receive HTML emails, others might prefer a plain-text version. The debate regarding which format is better has been ongoing for quite some time. However, there’s no reason for you to worry about this because we have some great news.

    When sending emails via professional ESP(s) – like EmailOut – a plain-text version of your campaign is simultaneously generated with your HTML one for those of your subscribers who might prefer this format. Ah, with EmailOut, you can even edit the plain-text version yourself.

    7) have a ‘one-of-a-kind’ descriptive subject line
    The first thing that will grab your subscribers attention is the subject line. As such, you must ensure that no matter if they read it themselves or if it’s read to them by a screen reader, the subject line will be meaningful, concise and descriptive enough to grab their attention; and, make them open and interact with your email. Keep in mind that visually impaired people rely heavily on subject lines to determine if an email is relevant to their needs and worth their time.

    8) test, test, test
    To make sure the email campaigns you are sending out are accessible, your best course of action is following the requirements we have mentioned and test, test, test. An extensive email accessibility process contains two important steps: 1) utilising accessibility testing tools* and 2) live test sends.

    There are 6 elements that must be tested to evaluate email accessibility –

    a) keyboard access and visual focus – this test’s purpose is to check the possibility of reaching all email content using only a keyboard;

    b) image alt text – the purpose of this test it to check and ensure al the informative images used in your email campaign have an alt attribute;

    c) headings – the goal of this test is to check and make sure that headings are marked-up accordingly and following a proper hierarchy;

    d) reading order – this test’s goal is to check that screen readers can read the email’s content in a logical order;

    e) zoom – it tests if your email (viewed in a browser) can be zoomed to at least 200% without losing any content or functionality; and

    f) mobile device – considering how popular the use of smartphones and tablets is, it’s essential to check how accessible your email is on different mobile devices. Since most operating systems have built-in screen readers such as VoiceOver for iOS, TalkBack for Android and Narrator for Windows, make sure to test extensively before hitting ‘send’.

    Email Accessibility And The Law
    Ensuring the accessibility of your email campaign is a legal requirement in a lot of countries. There is disability rights legislation all over the world that’s intended to make sure people with disabilities are not unfairly disadvantaged in daily activities.

    An aspect of accessibility is ensuring your website and communications are compliant with your country’s legislation. You can do so by following the W3C’s web content accessibility guidelines (WCAG). Why are we mentioning this? Since your email campaigns can be viewed on the web as well, everything you do to comply with WCAG will also improve your email accessibility. Furthermore, according to WCAG, your content must be POUR

    a) Perceivable – available by sight, hearing and even touch;
    b) Operable – easy and able to navigate;
    c) Understandable – easy to comprehend which applies to both content and design; and
    d) Robust – usable by multiple agents including assistive technology.

    Failure to comply with such legislation opens the door to possible legal ramifications and no one wants that.

    Final Thoughts
    Now that you know the basic email accessibility requirements, you can take steps towards creating more accessible email campaigns. It’ll help you not only expand your reach by including more people (do you recall the stats?) to your audience; but also, to ensure a more user-friendly experience for your subscribers and leads who have varying visual impairments or other disabilities.

    Email accessibility is about more than just improving your subscriber experience for a handful of people. It’s about creating the perfect experience for everyone and having a more inclusive email marketing strategy. Not to mention it’s also a legal requirement.

    Highly recommended further reading –
    1)
    Plain Text vs HTML Emails
    2) Irresistible Email Subject Lines
    3) Email Design Best Practices

    *Email Accessibility Test Tools

    1) Google’s Accessibility Developer Tools
    2) Wuhcag’s WCAG 2.0 Checklist
    3) W3C’s Detailed Accessibility Checklist
    4) A11Y Project’s Checklist

    This article was originally published on 27 July and can be found here.

    Open your Unlimited Sends one-month free trial today – after your first month with us you can switch to our FreeForever account giving you 12,500 sends to 2,500 contacts each and every month for free, forever. Corporate email marketing? Contact us.
  • Email Rendering: Lifting The Veil On Email Render Issues Jul 30, 2020

    You spent hours crafting the perfect email campaign. But… just as you’re about to send it, you notice the test send that just arrived in your inbox looks a bit off.

    Maybe there is a misaligned image or the layout’s broken or links which are not supposed to be underlined are or something extra ‘magically’ appeared in your footer making it look awful. Well, welcome to the universe of email rendering.

    “Every email is a customer survey of your target market, by testing, they vote on what resonates best with them.” –
    Kath Pay

    As an email marketer, you’d probably assume that after nearly 50 years since the first email was sent there’d be a solution to email rendering issues. Well, you would be wrong.

    In this article, we’ll cover the following topics about email rendering:
    1. What are the most common email rendering issues?
    2. How to fix email rendering problems?
    Ready to dive in?

    In contrast to other marketing channels, the complication with emails comes from the different systems’ interpretation of an email’s code.

    If we put together webmail clients with browsers, we’ll get five main factors determining how emails render –

    1) Email Service Providers (ESPs)
    Were you aware that ESPs will often change your email’s code just as you send the email out? They do it in order to add tracking pixels, remove code which can get your email stuck in spam filters (resulting in deliverability issues) or to rewrite links. However, an unchecked change such as this – as much as it typically can be a good thing – can also be bad for how your email renders.

    2) Operating Systems (OS)
    Your subscribers’ smartphone, tablet or computer’s OS can either limit or enhance the capabilities of the email client installed. Even though only a handful of OSs dominates the market, many subscribers use different versions of them such as Windows 10, 8 or 7 – all with a considerable market share.

    3) App and web-based email clients
    At the heart of email rendering technology are email clients such as Gmail, Hotmail and Outlook who run on mobile, desktop and web environments. However, web-based email clients have an additional layer of complexity since they render differently on different browsers. For instance, Gmail will function a little differently depending on the subscribers’ chosen browser – Chrome, Safari, Firefox, IE or even Microsoft Edge. Here are the most popular webmail, desktop and mobile email clients as of June 2020, according to Litmus –

    [​IMG]

    4) Screen Sizes
    Designing for the small screen comes with specific rules that improve readability while guiding people towards the key call-to-action. As such, the size of your subscribers’ screen plays a vital role and has a big impact on email rendering. For example, interacting with an email on a 21-inch screen is quite different than doing so on a 4-inch mobile screen, isn’t it?

    5) Images
    In many email clients, images can either be enabled or blocked. This can generally create two very different renderings of a single email. Moreover, if you’ve devoted the time to personalise your email campaign – including the images which are based on the users’ preferences – and then your email doesn’t render properly, you risk not only losing the initial impact your email can make but also having your campaign appear broken. Here’s an example –

    [​IMG]

    Fortunately, when designing email campaigns via professional ESPs – like EmailOut! – you can preview how your email will render not only on desktop but on mobile as well.

    Furthermore, EmailOut’s awesome design test tool (which is free for all users) allows you to review your campaign in over 70+ different email clients and mobile devices. EmailOut’s free email design test tool ensures you avoid email rendering issues every time, anyone can use it for free, forever – create an account.

    Most Common Email Rendering Issues (Per Email Client)
    When it comes to email rendering, email clients play by their own rules. Hence why, emails render differently in email clients such as Gmail, Apple Mail, Yahoo!, Outlook, etc.

    Let’s take a quick look at some basics. You certainly know the difference between plain text and HTML emails, moreover, the fact that pretty much every email sent is an HTML one. However, it all depends on the amount of HTML used, the more elements and/or features your email has (text, images, columns, background images, colours, links, etc.), the more HTML will be included in the email. Don’t worry though, as luck would have it, you don’t need to be a coding guru to create an HTML email campaign because professional ESP(s) have template galleries with a variety of free responsive email templates to choose from.

    We’ve already listed the five main elements that come into play when determining how your email renders, remember them? Now we’d like to draw your attention to some common email rendering issues occurring amongst the most popular email clients.

    Gmail
    a) Gmail for Desktop

    • images are enabled by default, however, displaying images also depends on the settings recipients have selected (see image below). Therefore, you must ensure you’ve included alt text to ensure the subscribers know what the nature of the image is even if they’ve opted to turn off external images from loading;
      [​IMG]
    • emails above 102kB will be ‘clipped’ showing a ‘view entire messages’ text (not including hosted images);
      [​IMG]
    • CSS in <style> block is removed if it exceeds 8142 characters or includes errors;
    • embedded styles (<style>) are only supported in the head of your HTML email;
    • CSS styles that are not inlined are stripped away;
    • emails with the same subject line will be merged – not that you’ll risk sending two campaigns with the same one; however, even if you are only testing, our recommendation is to slightly change the subject lines to avoid having them stacked in Gmail.
    b) Gmail for Mobile
    • all the above rendering problems apply here as well plus one more – the Gmail app on iPhone automatically turns phone numbers and dates to blue.
    Apple iPhone
    Since Apple iPhone supports interactive elements such as GIFs, cinemagraphs, videos, countdowns, retina images, sliders, etc., the subscribers’ email experience is pretty much flawless. However, there are a few email rendering issues to be considered –
    • Screen size – newer models come out with bigger and bigger screens. As such, in order to overcome this, and ensure your email renders the same across all iPhone’s, you must update any (and all) of your media queries. Media queries are a feature of CSS that enables content to adapt to different screen sizes and resolutions and are an essential element of responsive design.
      [​IMG]
    • Text size – small/tiny text automatically will get resized, therefore, make sure to keep the minimum font size as 16.5pt for headers and 10.5pt for body copy; with 12pt for mobile. Keep in mind these are the minimum suggested font sizes and you’re advised not to go below.
    • Auto-scaling – in iOS 10 and 11, responsive emails will be auto-scaled leading to emails appearing off-centre or zoomed out. A solution to this would be adding “padding:0” to the <body> tag.
    Outlook
    Depending on the Outlook version your subscribers are using as well as the device (desktop, mobile or tablet), these are the commonly faced email rendering issues –

    a) Outlook 2000-2003 – those versions use Internet Explorer (IE) as a rendering engine.
    • images are automatically blocked in Outlook’s early version, thus the inclusion of Alt text is a must;
    • forms will be displayed but not functional so it’s preferable to link to a form/survey on a landing page rather than embedding a form;
    • HTML5 video might be supported in those versions but it won’t play, instead, it’ll display the fallback content/image hence you must ensure there is one; and
    • symbols in subject lines are not supported therefore you should avoid using them otherwise you risk having a ? or a box (☐) displaying instead of the symbol.
    b) Outlook 2007/2010/2013 – those versions use Microsoft Word (2007,2010 and 2013) to render emails which results in limited support of HTML and CSS codes.
    • lack of support for background images;
    • no support for text-shadow;
    • no support for forms – the text will be displayed; but, the interactive elements such as checkboxes, radio-buttons or form fields will not;
    • poor support for margins and padding; and
    • no support for animated GIFs or HTML5 video – as with previous versions, instead of displaying the GIF or video, the subscriber will only see the first frame as an image.
    c) Outlook 2011 (a.k.a Outlook for Mac) – it runs on OS X which is Apple’s proprietary OS for Mac computers and uses WebKit for email rendering.
    • images in this version, similar to the others, are blocked by default, however, they will be displayed for trusted senders.
    As web-browsers have rendering engines to convert HTML, CSS and JavaScript into something not only viewable but also usable, so do (most) email clients and the rendering engine’s job is the same but for HTML emails.

    We’ll get quite geeky for a second by listing the four rendering engines used by email clients –

    1) Gecko
    – Mozilla Thunderbird;
    2) WebKit – Apple Mail (incl. iPhone OS and iOS4 mail apps on iPhone, iPod and iPad;
    3) Trident – Outlook until Outlook 2007; and
    4) MS Word – Outlook 2007 and 2010.

    If you are using a professional ESP then you have a free design test tool at the tip of your… mouse cursor which, with a single click, will show you previews of how your email campaign will render in over 70 different email clients.

    How To Fix Email Rendering Issues?
    Do you want your emails’ design to look awesome, convert like crazy and render perfectly? Then these tried-and-tested tips on avoiding email rendering issues are exactly what you need.

    1) Always, always use a professional ESP.
    You will not only get an abundance of perfectly designed responsive email templates (without the need to be a coding guru) but also, an email builder which will automatically optimise the size of both the images and the email’s width, lets you use a fallback font and background colour (just in case your images don’t render). Ah, and let’s not forget you’ll have access to a reporting system shedding light on the strengths and weaknesses of your email campaign.

    2) Under 100kB size.
    In order to avoid the content of your email from being hidden, we advise you to keep your emails HTML size under 100kB. You’ll not only avoid getting the message clipped but also, your email will pass through more spam filters.

    3) Fonts are crucial.
    A lot of email clients might either support Google Fonts or not. If you are using a Google Font which ends up not being supported by the recipient’s email client that will be an issue. Thus, you should always have a fallback font in place. Here is a list of fonts supported universally –

    • Arial
    • Arial Black
    • Comic Sans MS
    • Courier New
    • Georgia
    • Impact
    • Times New Roman
    • Trebuchet MS
    • Verdana
    • Σψμβολ2 (symbol)
    • Webdings (symbol)
    4) Familiarise yourself with email clients’ image display rules.
    Email clients play by their own rules, as such, image display options are different from one email client to another. However, the table below can be your guide –

    [​IMG]

    Since many email clients will block images by default or have the ability to have blocking turned on by the user, we HIGHLY recommend that you never send image-only emails and that all images in your campaigns have ALT text.

    5) Never forget the unsubscribe link and always test, test, test.
    You don’t want to keep uninterested people hostage, do you? Then simply make it easy for them to opt-out from your emails. Don’t forget and don’t hide your unsubscribe link. Ah, there’s also the matter of it being a legal requirement. Lastly, make sure you’re not sending broken emails to your subscribers by testing your email campaign. Send a preview to yourself and a couple of other colleagues and proofread every single point before releasing your campaign into the world. Our Ultimate Pre-Flight Checklist will guide you through the whole process without missing any steps.

    NB Never test the unsubscribe function sent to your own email address, sounds obvious as you can guess the consequences, but it is a very common occurrence – instead, if you want to view the unsubscriber process or feel uneasy about your ESPs ability to suppress recipients, set up a Gmail address for this unsubscribe test purpose so that you do not suppress your own email address. Also, do not use the ‘Spam’ button in any email client you are testing into as this will reduce the reputation of your domain, IPs and sending infrastructure.

    Final Thoughts
    You are now more familiar with some of the most common email rendering issues across many of the most popular email clients. As such, you know what to look out for; and, how to design your HTML email in order to dodge the email rendering bullet.

    You might’ve ‘extracted’ your email’s HTML thinking “Well, I’ll just import it directly into Gmail (or Outlook) and it’ll be all groovy-doovy”, however, you’d be wrong. Without the proper ESP, what you are trying to achieve will not be possible. So don’t waste your time – you’ll just ruin the code.

    Follow our best practice list (and don’t forget to check out the additional reading) and you will have a brilliantly designed responsive email campaign that will not only sky-rocket your open and conversion rate but also, render perfectly across all different email clients.

    EmailOut’s marketing leading drag and drop email creation tool automatically generates code which is responsive on desktops, tablets and mobile devices allowing you to preview in-app without the need to send a test for speedier editing. Combined with our FreeForever design test tool (70+ screenshots of your email campaigns in differing email client/device combinations in seconds) and you can be confident you’ll never make an email rendering mistake again – open an account now, it’s free, forever.

    Highly recommended further reading –
    1) Optimising Your Emails for Small Screens
    2) Using Background Images In Your Email Campaigns
    3) Email Personalisation Tips
    4) Email Design Best Practices
    5) Web Fonts In Email Marketing


    This article was originally published on 18 July and can be found here.

    Open your Unlimited Sends one-month free trial today – after your first month with us you can switch to our FreeForever account giving you 12,500 sends to 2,500 contacts each and every month for free, forever. Corporate email marketing? Contact us.
  • Twitter Hacked, Google Discard Twitter’s Carousel, SERP’s Impact On CTR, New Google Ads Features and A GMB Update Jul 24, 2020

    Did you hear about the enormous cyberattack against Twitter? Why did Google remove Twitter’s carousel from the search results page? How does SERP impact click-through rates? What are the new features Google introduced to RSA? Will an email be GMB users only notification about their listing’s suspension?

    “Good marketing makes the company look good. Great marketing makes the customer feel smart.” –
    Joe Chernov

    In this article, we’ll cover the following digital marketing news:
    1. Twitter suffered a huge cyberattack
    2. Twitter’s carousel was removed from Google’s search result page
    3. [Study] Google SERP’s impact on click-through rates
    4. Google adds new features for RSA
    5. Email notifications by GMB about listing suspension
    Ready to dive in?

    Social Media News

    A Massive Hacker Attack Hits Twitter

    Numerous high-profile Twitter accounts have been hacked by attackers spreading a cryptocurrency scam. According to Twitter, approximately 130 users have been targeted as part of the cyberattack.

    upload_2020-7-24_10-14-22.png

    Some of the high-profile users whose accounts were hacked include former US president Barack Obama, former US vice-president Joe Biden, numerous billionaires like Elon Musk, Warren Buffett and Jeff Bezos, celebrities like Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West as well as world-famous companies such as Apple and Uber.

    While we are all still holding our breath to learn more specifics around the attack, we heard through the grapevine that the hacker behind the attack used Twitter’s own Admin tool to spread the cryptocurrency scam which was later confirmed by the company itself.

    upload_2020-7-24_10-14-40.png

    As much as such types of scam are pretty common, the scope of the attack is unprecedented on the social network. It’s also unclear how much control over the compromised accounts the hacker had. However, according to Twitter, there were no evidence passwords were compromised, therefore, the company advised password reset is unnecessary.

    However, the company has not provided the same certainty when it comes to other personal/private information; including, the contents of direct messages. Will there be a future leak on how Elon Musk and Grimes came up with their recent child’s name – X Æ A-Xii?

    23 July 2020 UPDATE: Nearly a week after the major cyberattack on Twitter, the company revealed that the hackers behind the bitcoin scam indeed had viewed private direct messages (DMs) from 36 accounts that were involved in the hack. Additionally, it is believed that the victims of the scam have sent about £93,600 in bitcoin to the hackers. The amount could’ve potentially been higher if a crypto-current exchange had not blocked any further transfers. We may expect more details revealed about the hack once the company posts its financial results by end of today – Thursday, 23rd.

    Search Engine and SEO News

    Google Search Removes Twitter’s Carousel
    After Twitter’s massive cyberattack, Google has removed Twitter’s carousel from the search result pages.

    upload_2020-7-24_10-15-2.png

    It appears that the carousel box has not only been removed for the affected Twitter accounts but for all. According to Google’s spokesperson, this is a temporary measure following the cyberattack on Twitter; and, the reinstating of the functionality will happen after a careful review.

    [Study] How Google SERP Impacts CTR
    A study conducted by Sistrix concluded that the average CTR for first position organic search results in Google is 28.5%.

    The study also found that after the first position search result the percentage decreases rapidly with the average CTR for the second position being 15.7% and for third only 11%. As for the tenth position, the average CTR is just 2.5%.

    [​IMG]

    Furthermore, searches for which sitelinks (hyperlinks to website subpages that appear under certain Google listings in order to help users navigate the site) are considered to have a much more satisfying CTR than organic SERPs – 46.9% to 34.2%.

    [​IMG]

    In general, the study confirms keyword search volume is not the only thing factoring when estimating potential clicks.

    If you’d like to read the full report click here.

    PPC and Ads News

    Google Ads Introduces New Features For Responsive Search Ads (RSA)
    Google announced that it’ll introduce five new features to their Responsive Search Ads (RSA) –

    1) location insertion – advertisers will be able to add where their product/service is offered and once set up, it’ll automatically include city, state or country based on the locations of potential customers;

    2) countdown customiser – it will help advertisers promote sales and events in responsive search ads (RSA). For example, if you are a mobile phone reseller and you’ve got a limited sales offer for Samsung S10+, this feature will allow you to automatically show how much time there is left on the deal;

    3) copy asset suggestions – this functionality has been improved, giving advertisers the option to create more informative RSA by providing suggestions when an advertiser writes a headline or a description;

    4) cross-campaign asset reporting – this feature will allow advertisers to examine more assets at once, recognising what resonates with the customers better and faster; and

    5) new recommendations – it will help advertisers improve RSA when their strength is lower ‘good’. When advertisers are checking the optimisation score, they can take a look at the recommendations. They will help identify opportunities for improvement of responsive search ads.

    Digital Marketing News
    As a result of a new EU law that was recently introduced, Google will now begin notifying Google My Business (GMB) account owners of local listings suspensions by email. However, as shown in the example below, there are no explanatory details behind the reason for the listing’s suspension.

    [​IMG]

    In the past, for a business to find out if their GMB listing was suspended, they had to sign in into their GMB account. Another way to notice was decreased call volume, web traffic and conversions.

    According to our friend and GMB specialist Ben Fisher, hard suspensions (where the listing is removed completely from Google Search and Maps) are “the most common type”. While soft suspensions (the listing is left online but the owner can’t manage it) are the least common type of suspensions.

    Why should you care? GMB not only allows your listing to appear in Maps but also for people to leave reviews (which earns trust), message you directly and increase traffic and sales but most of all, it’s also cost-effective. Suspensions are and have been, the source of a substantial amount of frustration for quite a lot of businesses. So much so, users must make sure their GMB listing is compliant and within the guidelines. However, if you receive such email notification, go through the guidelines again; make any necessary changes; and, request for your listing to be reinstated.

    Final Thoughts
    Do you have any suggestions or ideas about which digital marketing news topics you’d 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.

    EmailOut offers the most generous email marketing software freemium product for professional micro-businesses and SMEs across the globe coupled with the very best rates for large volume corporate senders. Take a look now.

    This article was originally published on 17 July and can be found here.

    Open your Unlimited Sends one-month free trial today – after your first month with us you can switch to our FreeForever account giving you 12,500 sends to 2,500 contacts each and every month for free, forever. Corporate email marketing? Contact us.
  • Email Industry News: 1 Million Businesses Use DMARC and Gmail’s Upcoming Massive Upgrade Jul 22, 2020

    How many businesses do actually use DMARC records? What’s all the fuss about Gmail’s upcoming upgrade? What would it entail? Would all users have access to it or just G suite ones?

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

    In this article, we’ll cover the following email industry news:

    1. A study about the utilisation of DMARC
    2. Google’s attempt to take down Microsoft and Slack with Gmail’s coming upgrade
    Let’s dive in.

    [Study] The Number Of Businesses Using DMARC Exceeds 1 Million
    A study by Valimail – a cybersecurity firm – has been tracking the use of DMARC across millions of domains since 2017 and now, it has recorded that the number for domains with DMARC records has exceeded 1 million – up from close to zero four years ago.

    As much as the company states this is a “significant milestone”, the overall enforcement effectiveness rate is only 13.9% which means that 86.1% of businesses are vulnerable to spoofing.

    The study also shows that among Fortune 500 DMARC records, the enforcement rate has jumped to 30%. However, 79% of Fortune 500 domains can still be spoofed since they either have no DMARC record or are using DMARC just for monitoring – ‘monitor mode’.

    Unlike most of the US government domains who are protected from spoofing by DMARC (thanks to Homeland Security who mandate it), almost no businesses are actually achieving such high results. Most actually deserve a ‘C’, best case scenario a ‘D’ when it comes to using DMARC. Take a look at the enforcement rates by sector –

    1) billion-dollar public companies – 14%;
    2) global banks and financial services – 21%;
    3) Fortune 500 – 21%;
    4) global media companies – 10%;
    5) global technology – 19%;
    6) US federal government – 73%;
    7) US health care – 11%; and
    8) US utilities – 8%.

    Wondering why the rates are so low? According to the study, “too many organisations find it difficult to reach DMARC enforcement due to the complexity of their email ecosystems and the fear of accidentally blocking good senders when moving to a more restrictive policy.”

    If you are interested (which you should be!) in reading the full study, you can download it here.

    Gmail Has A Huge Upgrade Coming Up
    A major Gmail for G Suite upgrade is coming our way. According to a recent announcement, Google has finally revealed its vision of turning Gmail into the best ‘home for work’.

    The company’s move to integrate its core tools such as video, chat, email, files and tasks aims not only to rival Microsoft and Slack but also, to provide a better environment for users to work from – considering the current COVID-19 pandemonium – as well as to have everything easily accessible within one place – Gmail.

    The apps that will be coming to Gmail are Meet, Chat, Drive, Docs/Sheets/Slides and Tasks with individual functionality remaining unchanged except for Rooms which will be elevated into a proper competitor for Slack. The company is planning on making Rooms “an even better solution for long-term projects” with simultaneous access to all the other apps. To top it off, users won’t even have to exit Gmail’s web app in order to edit a document, they’ll be able to do it directly within Gmail.

    Currently, this awesome ‘integrated workspace’ will only be available to G Suite customers, however, admins can sign up for early access to NextGen Gmail. A wider enterprise availability is expected to be introduced this year, as well.

    Final Thoughts
    Do you have any suggestions or ideas about which email industry news topics you’d 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.

    EmailOut offers the most generous email marketing software freemium product for professional micro-businesses and SMEs across the globe coupled with the very best rates for large volume corporate senders. Take a look now.

    This article was originally published on 17 July and can be found here.

    Open your Unlimited Sends one-month free trial today – after your first month with us you can switch to our FreeForever account giving you 12,500 sends to 2,500 contacts each and every month for free, forever. Corporate email marketing? Contact us.
  • An Update To Facebook’s Newsfeed Algorithm And Intriguing Updates From Google Jul 14, 2020

    Why did Facebook change its newsfeed algorithm? What is Google Search Console Insights? Is Google really making Shopping Ads free to display? Would users actually be able to send businesses messages via Google Maps and Search?

    “Google only loves you when everyone else loves you first.” –
    Wendy Piersall

    In this article, we’ll cover the following digital marketing news:
    1. An update to Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm
    2. A new feature in Google Search Console
    3. Google Shopping Ads free to display
    4. Business messaging via Google Maps and Search
    Let’s dive in.

    Social Media News

    Facebook’s Updated Newsfeed Algorithm
    At the end of June, Facebook has changed the ranking algorithm of news stories in its main feed.

    The new updated algorithm will prioritise the ranking of original news reporting as well as demote news articles lacking “transparent authorship”. In other words, in order to recognise original news articles, the social media platform will look at different groups of articles on similar topics to determine which one was most frequently linked as the original source of information. If more stories on the same subject have been shared by multiple different publishers, the platform will boost in users’ feeds the one that’s most original.

    Additionally, articles that do not have transparent information about the publishers’ editorial staff will be demoted on the basis that the lack of transparency is a sign of poor credibility. News articles published will be reviewed for bylines or a staff page on the publisher’s website that contains info about the person reporting the news. So far, there doesn’t appear to be any additional criteria for what’s considered “transparent authorship” other than listing the reporter’s first and last name. However, the more info the publisher provides, the better.

    Why would this matter? With this change on the scene, original news and reporting might see a rise in distribution. However, as a publisher, it’s important for you to remember that your articles are still subject to Facebook’s existing variety of ranking signals.

    Ah, we almost forgot to mention Facebook’s update to its interface with a new type of notification which is highly likely to hurt the traffic to older pages. Simply put, this new update is similar to what Twitter did with their new prompt on retweets. Basically, Facebook will notify users when they are about to share an article which is over 90-days old.

    Search Engine and SEO News

    A Possible Integration Between Google Search Console (GSC) And Google Analytics
    Google is working on a way to combine users’ data from Google Search Console and Google Analytics together in one reporting system accessible from either service.

    upload_2020-7-14_10-31-13.png

    This new feature is called Google Search Console Insights and it’ll give users deeper reporting regarding the performance of their website and all its pages. That includes –

    a) overall page views;
    b) pages views for individual pages;
    c) overall average time spent on the website;
    d) average time spent on individual pages;
    e) traffic to your website from organic search vs social vs direct traffic;
    f) top referring links from other websites;
    g) newest referring links;
    h) social media traffic broken-down by platform; and more.

    As much as users have been able to see their Search Console data since 2011, they have not yet been able to see any of the Google Analytics data within GSC. This new feature will change all that bringing Google Analytics data directly into the GSC reports. However, keep in mind, the feature has not been officially announced and is still in the testing stage.

    Why does it matter? GSC reports tell you all about what visitors see on your website from Google Search. However, to see what happens once a visitor hits your site you have to navigate to Google Analytics. Thus, this whole new integration between the Search Console and Google Analytics is super helpful, as well as time-saving, for all users and it’ll also provide all your analytics in one place and see your data in new ways.

    PPC and Ads News

    Google Shopping Ads Free To Display In Search Results
    In April, Google announced that product results on the Shopping tab in the US will consist primarily of free listings. This particular change has already witnessed a significant increase in user engagement.

    Now, two months later, the company announced it will allow retailers to run free shopping ads in search results. Altogether, these two updates combined provide a lot of free promotion just at the fingertips of retailers, don’t they?
    [​IMG]

    Why does it matter? Being able to publish free ads in the Shopping tab have resulted in significant growth in engagement between customers and merchants. With these free listings in Google Search, the company is democratising access to digital ecommerce which will benefit both shoppers and merchants offering more choices across the board.

    Digital Marketing News
    Since people develop loyalty towards businesses that make the purchase process as well as contacting customer support easier to do, Google has decided to further help brands achieve this goal by adding the option to send, as well as reply to, business messages through Google Maps and Google Search via Google My Business (GMB).

    This business messaging feature was initially introduced in GMB back in 2017 and then extended to Maps in 2018. However, just this past year, the feature seemed to gain momentum. According to Google, “twice as many businesses” are using this messaging option now compared to 2019.

    [​IMG]

    This is what the company says on the matter –

    “As brands connect with their customers via Business Messages, we’re experimenting with more ways for them to highlight this communications tool on Search. Business Messages will also be available on mobile websites so that a business can add the ability for customers to quickly “Message” right from their site and offer the same smart automated replies, paired with live agent connection.”

    Final Thoughts
    Do you have any suggestions or ideas about which digital marketing news topics you’d 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.

    EmailOut offers the most generous email marketing software freemium product for professional micro-businesses and SMEs across the globe coupled with the very best rates for large volume corporate senders. Take a look now.

    This article was originally published on 29 June and can be found here.

    Open your Unlimited Sends one-month free trial today – after your first month with us you can switch to our FreeForever account giving you 12,500 sends to 2,500 contacts each and every month for free, forever. Corporate email marketing? Contact us.
  • Email Industry News: COVID-19’s Effect On Marketing Budgets, The Road To The Inbox & Email Marketing In Europe Jul 13, 2020

    How much did the COVID-19 outbreak affect your marketing budget? What are the current challenges and opportunities for email marketers? What’s the most important advice about email marketing in Europe?

    “Focus on growing your list all of the time as newer subscribers are more engaged, adding to healthier open rates and ROI.” – Karl Murray

    In this article, we’ll cover the following email industry news:
    1. The effect of COVID-19 on marketing
    2. [Study] A journey to the inbox 2020
    3. Email marketing in Europe – privacy regulations
    Ready to dive in?

    [Study] COVID-19’s Effect On Marketing
    Amidst the ongoing COVID-19 mayhem, businesses are spending more on marketing with driving not only innovation but also shifts in marketing channels with a strong focus on the customer.

    According to a study from our friends at Merkle, when it comes to increasing the budget for marketing, email is in the top three channels chosen by marketers with 51% of businesses saying they’ve boosted their email spend. The first two being site/mobile chats (56%) and mobile app functionality (55%).

    The stats show that only 16% of businesses are decreasing their email budget with 33% of them leaving the budgets unchanged. Overall, 52% of companies have increased their spending on marketing since the pandemic outbreak. However, according to the study, “investments in chat and mobile are more temporary, while current investments in email platforms are more permanent.”

    Additionally, 30% of businesses who took part in the survey, state replacing their email technology in the next two year is highly likely, with 34% somewhat likely to do the same.

    Further innovations introduced are –

    a) trying out new marketing technologies and features – 50%;
    b) becoming more consumer-focused in marketing messaging – 45%;
    c) adding a new marketing channel – 39%; and,
    d) identifying a new audience – 33%.

    Despite the fact that innovations are here to stay, it’s not easy and businesses can come across disruptions such as –

    a) a very long marketing decision process – 46%;
    b) too many places holding data which might render it unuseful – 43%;
    c) not leveraging the data a company has – 38%;
    d) lack of coordinated channels – 36%;
    e) inefficient organisational structure – 34%;
    f) inability to share content and images across channels – 33%;
    g) relying too much on agencies – 30%.

    [Study] A Journey To The Inbox 2020
    Email data accuracy in 2020 has improved significantly with only 13.7% of businesses fretting about high levels of inaccurate data compared to 15.7% in 2019, according to a recent study by our friends at Validity.

    According to the stats, 87% of business using email consider email deliverability vital, with 17% stating it’s the top factor in their email campaigns, 38% only saying it’s important and 31% indicating it’s of average importance.

    The study points out that 45% of businesses think data quality has a significant impact, with 48% citing it has somewhat of an impact on their email deliverability. The second factor – email content – is considered by 44% of companies to have a major effect on deliverability with 49% claiming it has just some effect.

    These two top email deliverability elements that have a major effect on email deliverability are followed by –

    a) sender’s reputation – 42%;
    b) engagement – 40%;
    c) technology – 35%; and,
    d) authentication – 35%.

    The most curious thing we found out in the study is that 70% of businesses use purchased email list – 13% using them always, 34% often and 23% only sometimes. However, using purchased or rented email lists is a huge ‘no-no’.

    Furthermore, over 90% of participants in the study claim that poor email deliverability has some financial impact on their business, with 8% citing it’s severe, 36% claiming it’s moderate and 47% saying it’s limited. According to the study, marketers who “spend 1% more of their current digital marketing budget on email will see a 4.1% increase in online traffic. This might not seem like a significant increase but the same amount spent on paid search delivers a 0.6% increase, versus 0.4% for social, and 0.2% for display.

    Email Marketing In Europe
    The one and only thing to remember about email marketing in Europe is – “Don’t even bother unless you have the recipients’ explicit consent.

    Under the GDPR and UK’s Privacy Communication Regulations, businesses can only send email campaigns to people who have explicitly agreed to them doing so. Being it ticking a box saying “click here to subscribe” or registering for an event and providing personal information when doing so with verbal agreement to receive content.

    However, it appears the EU thinks U.S. businesses require some ‘further education’ given the loose privacy regulations that exist under their CAN-SPAM law. In theory, under that law, businesses must only provide the option for recipients to opt-out from their emails.

    There is a major exception to both EU and U.S. privacy rules though. You can email existing subscribers without specific consent if –

    a) they’ve given you the contact information by showing interest in your products/services; and,
    b) you’ve given them the option to opt-out from your marketing emails in every other message after you’ve collected their data.

    Overall, for successful email marketing – all over the world – the recipients’ explicit consent is the holy grail businesses must-have.

    Final Thoughts
    Do you have any suggestions or ideas about which email industry news topics you’d 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.

    EmailOut offers the most generous email marketing software freemium product for professional micro-businesses and SMEs across the globe coupled with the very best rates for large volume corporate senders. Take a look now.

    This article was originally published on 29 June and can be found here.

    Open your Unlimited Sends one-month free trial today – after your first month with us you can switch to our FreeForever account giving you 12,500 sends to 2,500 contacts each and every month for free, forever. Corporate email marketing? Contact us.
  • Email Marketing Growth Hacks Jul 10, 2020

    Every now and again, you might hear – or read – email marketing is dead. Well, with an ROI of 42:1, we just busted that myth.

    Email remains not only the best but also the perfect way to connect with both prospects and customers. Why? It’s quite easy to personalise and it allows more traceability than any other communication channel. But, is your email marketing effective?

    “A small email list that wants exactly what you’re offering is better than a bigger one that is not committed.” – Ramsay Leimenstoll


    You’ve probably read hundreds, if not thousands, of email marketing stats (these ones are worth a read!) – as well as countless case studies – supporting the fact that businesses can experience an enormous growth through email marketing. However, have you actually ‘tasted’ that success yourself? Every email marketer makes mistakes and some, like losing a customer or a sale, can cut deeper than others. But, there is a way to prevent such disasters from happening. Instead of marketers going through a ‘trial-and-error’ strategy, why not use some tried-and-tested email marketing growth hacks?

    In this article, we’ll cover the following topics:
    1. Growth hacking – what is it and why do marketers need it?
    2. 14 email marketing growth hacks
    Let’s dive in.

    We are firm believers that in order to apply a concept – any concept – in your marketing strategy, one must first understand it. As such, we will ‘dissect’ each word in the concept of growth hacking.

    Growth is well… growth, bigger, better, harder, faster, more – like your sales graphs. Hacking (no, we’re not talking about the malicious practice of invading one’s digital device) is a marketer’s dedication to constantly searching for knowledge and strategies beyond the ordinary concepts. With these two parts analysed, we can now form the full definition of growth hacking – low-cost, creative techniques used by marketers to help their business acquire and retain customers.

    Why is growth hacking needed? Email marketing is the best communication strategy for both B2B and B2C organisation (do you remember its ROI?) and when it meets growth hacking’s best prerequisite – low-cost, it creates an outstandingly effective symbiotic relationship focused solely on growing a business – from the email list through the market positioning to the holy grail – increasing sales.

    Ah, did you know that Hotmail is acknowledged as the first growth hacker? The Hotmail team devised a strategy of sending emails to potential customers as an approach to accelerate their growth which had an intriguing line in it – “PS: I love you. Get your free email at Hotmail”. This piece of content served as an invitation for people to sign up for an account and the personal touch in it led to Hotmail’s growth from nothing to a company worth $400 million. It was quite the clever email marketing growth hack, wasn’t it?

    Email Marketing Growth Hacks Every Marketer Needs
    From higher conversion and open rates and healthier email lists through better reach and more email ending up in the recipients’ inbox instead of the spam folder to improving the effectiveness of our email campaigns, as email marketers, we are all constantly trying to reach new heights. But, how can we achieve all this on a small budget?

    Well, by taking advantage of our list of tried-and-tested email marketing growth hacks designed for businesses on a low-cost budget, of course.

    1) Everywhere: that’s the place to collect email addresses
    Building an email list can feel like a Herculean task. Not to mention that attracting new customers costs five times more than nurturing existing ones. However, with the proper tried-and-tested list building techniques, email marketers can achieve this task with ease.

    When it comes to growing your email lists, why limit yourself only to signup forms on your website or blog? In today’s marketing world, there are all types of creative ways where marketers can utilise pop up forms and ask people to subscribe to their mailing list(s).

    Your social media profiles – all of them – can be used to share your sign up form to attract new subscribers. Twitter’s Lead Gen Card, for example, is a pretty cool tool for better engaging with your audience and converting followers into customers/subscribers – for free.

    Another way of collecting email addresses is at business meetings, seminars, exhibitions or any other business-related events. Just make sure when you’re exchanging business cards, people are giving you explicit consent to be on your mailing list.

    2) Share relevant content even if – occasionally – it’s someone else’s
    With recipients’ spending an average of 20 seconds on an email, your content must be relevant and encourage them to read your email through to the end, as well as, take action. However, as much as you might be giving them things for free or offering seductive discounts, would it be enough? Is there something else you could be doing to get them to cross that figurative finish line?

    As much as marketers might be vigilant of, and a bit reluctant to, share someone else’s content, this marketing tactic will provide a much better chance of being effective and demonstrate a business’s genuine care for its subscribers/customers. Here are a few reasons why –

    a) the subscribers on your list want relevant, useful content and by sharing someone else’s you are giving that to them;
    b) your goal is to show your subscribers’ needs are your top priority and this is the perfect way to prove it;
    c) writing relevant, great content is not always easy and businesses might not always have the time; and,
    d) sharing someone else’s content is a perfect way to build a harmonious relationship with them.

    3) Use forwarding and referrals
    Referral programs are basically using what you have (existing subscribers) in order to get more of what you want (new subscribers).

    Simply put, you are ‘bribing’ people so they refer friends, family and colleagues to your website where you ‘seduce’ them to sign up for your mailing list. Don’t worry though, you are not actually bribing them in the real sense of the word. It’s more of an exchange program.

    People refer others to your website and as a show of gratitude, you give the referrer a discount, a free ebook or an extended trial of your service. However, there is a free approach where you don’t have to ‘bribe’ anybody: a forwarding option in your welcome email or newsletter. A referral program can do wonders for attracting new subscribers and turning them into paying customers later. Furthermore, segmenting these subscribers will help you narrow down where they came from, as well as, which marketing funnel they should be following – for either manual or triggered campaigns – based on where they were sourced and their subsequent behaviour.

    4) Incorporate social proof in your email campaigns
    How do you convert leads to customers – paying customers? Simple. You motivate them by providing social proof.

    Social proof is the concept that people will follow the actions of others under the assumption – and belief – that those actions are reflective of the correct behaviour. Simply put, if many people take the same action and behave the same way, then it must be the correct behaviour.

    There are various ways email marketers can apply this email marketing growth hack into their strategy. For example, including press mentions, product/service reviews, testimonials and, why not, the number of people subscribed to your mailing list(s) into your email campaigns.

    By utilising social proof, marketers can show how valuable their products/services are to others and that they are worth purchasing. It also encourages even the most reluctant prospects to take action.

    5) Receipts can be a game-changer
    Are you a bit confused by this email marketing growth hack? Trust us, you are not the only one. So few businesses actually devote time to turning these messages into powerful marketing vehicles but… customers do love transactional emails. Even Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey called receipts “the next publishing medium”.

    With that in mind, instead of having the same old boring, dull receipts, why not –

    a) make them look not only awesome but functional as well – with most of them looking bland it’ll certainly help you stand out;
    b) incorporate a referral program encouraging customers to share their experience and, of course, give them something in return; and,
    c) show them products/services related to their purchase.

    Trust us, email receipts are the easiest way to the recipients’ inbox and yet, a lot of marketers underutilise this valuable form of email marketing. Don’t be like them and miss this huge opportunity.

    6) Email retargeting is your golden ticket
    The ever-evolving and improving digital marketing technology offers businesses numerous methods that they can use in order to approach potential clients who’ve already had an interaction with their brand. So, instead of trying to guess what customers want, why not take a look at the information you already have?

    A lot of marketers utilise retargeting only via ads, however, your presence in the inbox is much more powerful than a few ads across other platforms.

    Each time a customer comes in contact with your product/service, you are presented with the opportunity to make a sale. Even if the person doesn’t initially make a purchase you are still in the game. Thus, don’t perceive them as a lost cause and simply move on. After all, according to stats, almost 60% of people’s purchase decision-making process is influenced by marketing emails; and, 80% of marketers say that email marketing increases customer retention.

    We know ads can be powerful. But, behavioural emails are the thing that will differentiate you from the competition. Such emails are –

    a) opened but didn’t click – change future content to spark their interest beyond just opening your email campaign;
    b) clicked but didn’t make a purchase – trigger discount follow up; or,
    c) clicked but only read one article of a series – offer the second article in the series – ex. ‘[FirstName] you might be interested in…’.

    7) Use powerful call-to-actions
    In every email marketing strategy, call-to-actions (CTAs) are what delivers the actual results as it takes the recipients beyond just your email campaign and leads them further along the conversion path – being it a purchase, a subscription to your newsletter or simply further reading.

    The design of a CTA – from placement to colour and text – might seem like a minor consideration, but according to… well, science, designing the perfect email CTA buttons can have a huge impact on your conversion rates.

    Wondering what the qualities of a perfect CTA are? Well…

    1) compelling text – don’t’ say the same thing as everyone else. Create unique, enticing text for your CTA that will make the user take the action you want them to; and,

    2) standing out – barely visible CTAs or ones with long text aren’t really useful to your end goal. Instead, use bold formats and colours that will create a sense of urgency driving the recipient to actual action.

    8) Take advantage of email automation
    Wouldn’t it be awesome if every new customer/subscriber gets a personal email from the CEO or an account manager or a customer service rep instead of a generalised message lacking the personal touch most people appreciate?

    Let’s say you are a small business owner working on a limited budget and doing a lot of tasks yourself. How can you ensure the growth of your business when you’re being pulled in so many directions? Easy – email automation.

    This is the one email marketing growth hack that will deliver the biggest results. There are many different advantages of adopting an email automation process (if you haven’t already).

    First and foremost, this marketing technique allows organisations to improve the customer experience since it sends behaviour-triggered emails and ensures you are creating a personalised experience for your customers – every single time. A few other advantages are saving money on staff by reducing the need for employees to go through repetitive tasks, recovering lost revenue, predicting and shaping customer behaviour as well as increasing customer lifetime value.

    With email automation, companies will be able to maintain and scale their business profitably and successfully at very little cost. Just remember that not all marketing strategies are created equally. Therefore, email automation is just one piece of a greater puzzle which needs constant care in order to flourish.

    9) Allow recipients to ‘reply’ – ask them for a response
    Even after reading your email and being almost convinced to take action, some people might require a tiny bit of further information before they become a customer/subscriber. Thus, you need to not only make sure that recipients can respond to your emails by also having a real inbox where replies are gathered and, most of all, monitored. You don’t want to be a business that lets people assume you don’t care about them by not replying to their feedback, do you? Nothing says I love you more than a [email protected] email address, don’t be impersonal.

    This is a simple but quite overlooked email marketing hack. Why is it important? Because by gathering feedback from subscribers/customers you can provide further social proof of the value your business can bring to them. So, move away from embedding forms in your emails (which a lot of email clients don’t support fully – or at all) and encourage replies. It’s a much easier process and it shows the subscribers their opinion matters and someone is listening.

    10) Reduce your email lists dead weight
    Riddle us this – would you rather have 30,000 subscribers on your email list with only 10,000 of them engaged or would you rather have 10,000 and all of them engaged?

    We know you want to build an email list as big as possible and how important email lists are to your business. But, if most of the people on your mailing lists are inactive and your attempts to re-engage them have failed, there is no reason for you to keep that ‘dead weight’. No matter how hard you worked to gather those subscribers, email list decay is a natural occurrence.

    With this in mind, if you see that your subscribers haven’t opened or engaged with your email campaigns in a while be considerate and notify them – with one last email – that you do not want to clutter their inbox and will opt them out from your email list within a specific timeframe – for example, 2 days. However, don’t write them off completely. Offer them the option to stay or customise their email preferences.

    This email marketing hack is really effective as it’ll not only increase the long-term value of your active subscribers but also, reduce the risk of your emails ending up in the spam folder because recipient servers will see a huge uplift in your engagement rates as a percentage of those sent, trust us, this is really important for great delivery.

    11) Optimise for the small screen
    Even before fully opening their eyes with a coffee mug in hand, most recipients will notice a badly-formatted email with no optimisation for the small screen. Stats point out that 42.3% of recipients delete emails if they are not optimised for mobile devices with 32.2% reading the email on their desktop later and only 11.3% will read it despite the lack of mobile-optimisation.

    With most people checking their emails on a mobile device, optimising your emails for the small screen is a ‘must-do’. The best way to implement this imperative email marketing approach is by creating a responsive, stackable content which is as easily viewed on mobile devices as it is on the desktop. The best professional ESPs – like EmailOut – support responsive email design so the only thing marketers need to worry about is which design they’d like best (EmailOut has a variety of free templates) and what content to include, our app will do the rest.

    12) Your subject line is like a movie trailer – think it through carefully
    Since your subject line is the first element your email recipients see, as well as THE KPI of your open rate, crafting the perfect email subject line is crucial.

    Let’s say you’ve crafted the perfect email campaign but you’re conflicted between two subject lines that fit the content perfectly – what do you do? You A/B test (a.k.a. split test) them, of course. For example, you might have read that email subject lines with emojis get 29% more opens than those that don’t and you want to test if that’s true for your campaigns. This gives you a clear variable to measure in your split testing. It means you can interpret the results and use your findings to improve future emails.

    Despite what people say, they do judge emails by their subject line. In fact, 47% of marketers state they test different email subject lines in order to optimise their emails’ performance. At the end of the day, if your emails aren’t getting opened, they’re definitely not getting seen. Hence, if you’ve got great content to share you’ve got to prove it in your email subject line.

    13) The power of the email footer
    As an email marketer, have you ever thought about the potential power of your email campaigns’ footer? We believe that no copy should be wasted copy. As such, why would most marketers neglect the opportunity presented by such a simple thing as a footer? It’s a perfect place to reiterate your call-to-action.

    So, instead of hiding your campaign’s footer in a tiny font, make it distinctive. Include links to your website to generate free traffic, add further contact information so recipients can reach out more easily or include social media buttons to boost your follower-base. This email marketing growth hack might seem like a waste of time but you’d be wrong to waste it. Remember we told you Hotmail was considered the first growth hacker? Well, their “P.S. I love you” footer (with a link to their homepage) was exactly what transformed the company from a nobody to a million-dollar business in just 18 months. Impressive, isn’t it?

    14) Test once, twice, thrice and keep going
    In order to figure out which two versions of your email campaign will work better – without having to commit to either of them – you should use split testing, also known as A/B testing.

    A small portion of the total email list will receive the two set up versions of your email campaign. Half of these initial recipients will see Version A, and half will see Version B.

    The email marketing technology you’re using to run your split test then swiftly tracks important performance indicators like open rates and click-throughs from this initial batch, and figures out whether Version A or Version B is seeing the most success. The rest of your email lists will then receive the winner of the two based on the results.

    The awesome thing about this wonderful email marketing growth hack is that with trying out both versions simultaneously marketers can take out all the risk of getting it wrong. It means you can try a completely new and experimental idea alongside a tried-and-tested one. All without the creeping terror that it’s all going to blow up in your face and get you fired.

    Final Thoughts
    Email marketing trends are constantly changing. The landscape is constantly evolving. However, one thing that remains absolute is how powerful email marketing is when done properly.

    Thus, to avoid missing out on the advantage of being ahead of the competition, these tried-and-tested email marketing growth hacks are exactly what you need to keep your business ahead of the game.

    The most vital of email marketing growth hacks is to never back down – never quit. In order to gain trust and prove your value to customers, you need to be in the game for the long haul – and then you’ll find your troops will buy and recommend and review over and over again. It’s not easy and it takes a fair while to establish your place in the industry. But once you’ve done it – with the help of your awesome email marketing growth hacks of course – you’ll be that much closer to the finish line and start seeing the impact of optimising your processes and closing in the gaps in your email marketing strategy.

    Highly recommended further reading –
    1)
    Email Retargeting vs Email Remarketing
    2) Design The Best CTAs For Your Emails
    3) Permission-Based Email Marketing
    4) How To Develop An Impactful Onboarding Sequence?
    5) Email Segmentation Secrets
    6) Email Design Best Practices
    7) Inactive Email Subscribers
    8) Avoid Messing Up Your Email A/B Testing

    This article was originally published on 2 July and can be found here.

    Open your Unlimited Sends one-month free trial today – after your first month with us you can switch to our FreeForever account giving you 12,500 sends to 2,500 contacts each and every month for free, forever. Corporate email marketing? Contact us.
  • Email Marketing and Content Marketing: The Perfect Relationship Jul 6, 2020

    You have the most amazing product/service but… what’s the best way to promote it? Pay-per-click ads? Social media marketing? Or maybe, search engine marketing?

    Generating a quick ROI highly depends on the choice of promotional strategy. If you have both limited time as well as resources, making the right choice can be the difference between absolute success and total annihilation for your business. Cue, email marketing and content marketing.

    “Quality over quantity. Emails may be cost-efficient but it’s no excuse to not produce quality content to give to a targeted audience.” – Benjamin Murray


    In 2018 the average return on email spend was $38 for every $1 invested in the channel. By 2019, that number has increased to $42 to $1. Essentially, just when marketers thought the average email return on investment is high, it went higher. Now here are some content marketing stats, 93% of B2B marketers use content marketing with 76% of them using organic traffic as a measure of content success and 42% state they are effective at content marketing. But, we know stats aren’t always enough to convince people of the effectiveness of these two channels. So, let’s take a deeper look at both email marketing and content marketing.

    In this article, we’ll cover the following topics:
    1. Email marketing: The Basics
    2. Content marketing: The Basics
    Ready to dive in?

    Before going to the end, we first must focus on the beginning. So, prior to diving into the relationship between email marketing and content marketing, we’d like to share some definitions and outline the basics of each marketing approach.

    Email marketing is a direct marketing technique focused on sending commercial messages – usually to a group of people (a.k.a an email list) – via one of the most reliable and effective communication channels – email. It’s a method used to improve the relationship between a company and its current, previous or future (those are known as leads) customers, as well as, inspire loyalty, customer acquisition and retention.

    Content marketing is a form of marketing concentrated on the creation, publishing and distribution of content for targeted audiences online. Its primary focus is to help businesses create continuous brand loyalty by building trust with their audience through sharing relevant, valuable – and often free – content instead of directly going for the sale.

    Email marketing is a “push” marketing method – directly contacting customers to generate repeated sales. Content marketing, on the other hand, is a “pull” method – attracting new customers to increase first-time sales.

    Email Marketing: The Basics
    Email marketing campaigns are the perfect method of converting people into customers since they already have an existing relationship with your business (they gave you permission to contact them after all) and to top it off, they already know what it is that your business is offering.

    Marketers always aim at expanding their customer base in order to achieve higher revenue. However, it’s imperative that you are vigilant about how you are growing your email lists – buying/renting them is a huge ‘no-no’. Some marketers might be tempted by this ‘seductive’ shortcut, however, such things always come with a price and in this case, the price is your marketing emails being flagged as spam and, even worse, violating privacy laws and ending up with hefty fines.

    With email marketing, the added benefit comes in the form of repeat business. Furthermore, according to stats, 61% of small businesses state that more than half of their revenue comes from repeat customers instead of new ones. Additionally, it costs five times more to obtain a new subscriber than it does to retain and nurture an existing one. Marketers need to decide if the effort they’ll put in now is worth the possible reward afterwards.

    List decay is a normal occurrence. Subscribers switching from active to inactive is too. However, you can always give it another shot by trying to re-engage them with valuable and relevant content matching their interests and needs. They did subscribe to your email list for a reason, remind them. But, if your re-engaging efforts don’t bring the desired results don’t hold on to the ‘dead weight’. It could be not only costly but also harmful to your email marketing strategy and your business as a whole.

    How To Reach Your Audience With Email Marketing?
    Have you heard about “The Identity of Indiscernibles”? How about “Leibniz’s Law”? Well, they’re both actually referring to one and the same principle – “no two objects have exactly the same properties”.

    Wondering why we’re telling you this? Because the same principle applies when it comes to customers – not all of them are created the same with the same interests and needs. As such, and in order to achieve maximum ROI from your email marketing, you need to also focus your efforts not only on designing the perfect email marketing campaign but also on segmenting your email lists based on specific factors such as location, age, purchase frequency and history, types of products/services subscribers have shown interest in, types of customers (in-store or online), etc.

    You don’t want to be the annoying brand who sends irrelevant emails to its subscribers, do you?

    Important Email Marketing KPIs
    When compared to other communication channels, email has a gargantuan advantage – it’s fully trackable in every aspect.

    As email marketers, you are perfectly aware of email marketing metrics like open, click-through and unsubscribe rates. But, are these email marketing KPIs enough when it comes to determining the success of your email campaign?

    The standard email metrics to analyse closely are –

    a) bounce rate
    b) open rate
    c) click-through rate (CTR) and conversion rate
    d) share/forward rate

    However, we’d like to emphasise on the fact that solely focusing on just one or two email marketing KPIs will not give you the full picture of how your email campaign performed. So, look at a wider range of email metrics like click-to-open rate (CTOR), unsubscribe/complaint rate and deliverability. They’ll help you further understand what’s working and what needs improvement.

    Content Marketing: The Basics
    With email marketing, marketers focus their campaigns primarily on targeted offers to generate sales. Content marketing, on the other hand, is built around the concept of attracting and expanding your customer base – organically – based on the value of the content businesses provide. From focusing on a wider audience to targeting a specific niche, this marketing strategy offers great versatility.

    Let’s say, for example, you are selling mobile phones. You can craft an email campaign offering your existing customers a discount on their next purchase. However, with content marketing, you’d be able to show your expertise and prove yourself as a leader when it comes to mobile phones. Thus, instead of focusing solely on your own products/services, establish yourself as the ‘go-to’ source for all things mobile phones with the help of content marketing – how are phones made, which manufacturer is proven to be best, what differentiates Android from iOS or how to utilise your mobile phone as the perfect business device.

    The difference between email marketing and content marketing comes from the fact that the first is used to make highly targeted personalised sales pitches, while the latter is utilised to deliver relevant content such as best practice and even answers to questions readers haven’t even asked – but will convince them to buy once they’ve read them. Let’s face it, nothing can be as off-putting as an email which is supposed to offer valuable information but quickly turns into a sales pitch. Then again, if your business proves to be a good source of content, people are more likely to come back to your website and take the action outlined in your emails.

    How To Build An Effective Content Marketing Strategy?
    The effectiveness of your content marketing strategy primarily depends on appealing to the types of customers that will purchase your products/services – buyer personas.

    Email marketing’s advantage is that it deals with existing customers who already have an established relationship with your business. However, by creating buyer personas, marketers will provide an even greater return on investment as it allows them to target their content more specifically.

    Similar to the email list segmentation approach, buyer personas are divided into categories –

    a) location;
    b) price;
    c) customer needs; and,
    d) factors influencing a purchase – for example, education, income, age and gender.

    Important Content Marketing Metrics
    While email marketing allows marketers to track a lot more metrics to measure the success of their efforts, content marketing lacks that advantage. However, this in no way means there isn’t a way to track important KPIs such as –

    a) page traffic – you might have written the perfect content but if no one sees it you will have no actual ROI;

    b) number of visitors – you might have some visitors on your page but riddle us this: How long do they actually stay on it? How did they even find it? Or, how many of them are new or repeat traffic?;

    c) number of shares – the number of times your visitors share your content on their social profiles is a clear indicator of the value they found in it;

    d) number of comments – valuable, engaging content makes people willing to share their thoughts. But, when they do – make sure you are not only collecting comments but also responding to them; and,

    e) engagement – visitors clicking from one page to another (for example, from your blog to your products/services page) is a clear indication that the content you’ve provided delivers tangible results.

    Final Thoughts
    Email marketing and content marketing are the ultimate perfect relationship – just like Han Solo and Chewbacca or Batman and Robin.

    Since nobody likes to be talked at, content marketing is the perfect way to talk to your targeted audience. With this approach, people will feel less like they’re being pitched to generate a sale; and, more like you are giving them something valuable and worth their while.

    Once you absolutely nail your content marketing and build relationships with your targeted audience, make your marketing strategy even better – and way more effective – by integrating content marketing into your email campaigns. After all, emails cannot really exist without content, can they?

    When both marketing strategies are used correctly – and in conjunction – email marketing and content marketing can supercharge your digital marketing efforts and provide a higher ROI.

    Highly recommended further reading –

    1) Email List Building Techniques
    2) Inactive Email Subscribers
    3) Email Marketing Stats 2020
    4) Email Design Best Practices
    5) Email Marketing KPIs
    6) Personalise Your Marketing Emails

    This article was originally published on 30 June and can be found here.

    Open your Unlimited Sends one-month free trial today – after your first month with us you can switch to our FreeForever account giving you 12,500 sends to 2,500 contacts each and every month for free, forever. Corporate email marketing? Contact us.
  • Digital Marketing News: A New Prompt On Retweets, Reporting Counterfeit Goods In Google Search Results, Google Ads Policy Updates & A Report On B2B Digital Experience Jun 30, 2020

    Twitter’s new approach to reading content before retweeting, Google’s new reporting option for counterfeit goods in search results, the continuous updates to Google Ads’ policies and a report on B2B digital experience in 2020.

    “Marketers need to build digital relationships and reputation before closing a sale.” – Chris Brogan

    In this article, we’ll cover the following digital marketing news:
    1. Twitter’s new retweet prompt
    2. Reporting counterfeit goods within Google search results
    3. Google Ads’ policy updates keep rolling
    4. [Report] B2B Digital Experiences 2020
    Let’s dive in.

    Social Media News

    Twitter’s New Prompt On Retweets


    One of the most commonly faced – and biggest – challenges in the news era is actually getting people to read posts. So much so that people only get to read the headlines of posts and that seems to be enough to spark a social media discussion. However, how can you debate on issue if you haven’t familiarised yourself with the topic?

    Well, Twitter is looking at a new approach which is aimed at ensuring a person reads the content before they share it. Not to mention, the new feature will also prevent – hopefully – the large spread of misinformation.


    As per Twitter’s Product Chief – Kayvon Beykpour“It’s easy for links/articles to go viral on Twitter. This can be powerful but sometimes dangerous, especially if people haven’t read the content they’re spreading. This feature (on Android for now) encourages people to read a linked article prior to Retweeting it.”

    This new prompt is a smart way of also encouraging further engagement with the full content of a post.

    We’ve witnessed on more than one occasion people commenting on posts and asking questions that have already been answered in the full article. Without actually understanding what users are retweeting, the chances of false reports and misleading information are increasing dangerously.

    The new feature also raised suspicion that the company was actually tracking users’ click. It is a reasonable concern. However, Twitter’s goal is to promote and encourage informed discussions; and, click-bait headlines getting widely promoted without further ‘investigation’ of the content can end up doing more harm than good.

    Search Engine and SEO News

    Removing Counterfeit Goods From Google Search Results

    Google has updated its reporting systems and now allows users to ‘report for removal’ of counterfeit goods within the organic/free Google search results. This process is quite similar to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) one where users can request the removal of copyright-infringing material from search results.

    Google describes counterfeit goods as those that “contain a trademark or logo that is identical to or substantially indistinguishable from the trademark of another. They mimic the brand features of the product in an attempt to pass themselves off as a genuine product of the brand owner.”

    Users can submit reports for removal of counterfeit goods by using the legal form where any logged reports will be reviewed and consequently the content is taken down – or not.

    According to a Google spokesperson, the process is entirely manual at this time as well as non-algorithmic. However, over time, the company will utilise these submissions in order to develop ranking algorithms; and, systems aimed to help Google limit the visibility of websites found to consistently sell counterfeit products.

    Why should you care? Well, for one, website owners selling legitimate goods will have one less thing to worry about. Additionally, this new option will also help level the playing field in organic search.

    PPC and Ads News

    Google Ads’ Policy Updates Continue

    Google has been quite the busy-bee in the last few months. Especially when it comes to its ad policy updates and changes.

    While there’s no indication of lawsuits or any formal statements on the landscape pointing out to all Google Ads’ policy updates, there have been a couple we simply cannot go without mentioning –

    a) Business Identity Verification
    b) Shortening the verification process

    This month, Google Ads introduced two more policy updates – account pausing due to violation and a misrepresentation policy.

    Google’s announcement regarding the pause policy is a bit vague, to say the least, and intertwined with its identity verification one. This is what the announcement states –

    “Google Ads accounts will be paused if they fail to complete advertiser identity verification when notified. In addition, we may temporarily pause accounts to conduct investigations if we identify potentially harmful advertiser behaviour. Paused accounts cannot run any ads.”

    Regarding the misrepresentation policy, the company’s announcement states –

    “In July 2020, Google will update the Misrepresentation policy to introduce the ‘Clickbait Ads’ policy. This policy covers advertisement which uses sensationalist or clickbait text or imagery which intend to drive traffic to the Ad through pressurizing the viewer to take immediate action in order to understand the full context of the Ad.”

    You can find the full list of the upcoming and recent policy updates in Google Ads’ policy updates page.

    Digital Marketing News
    According to a report by our friends at Episerver, 71% of B2B brands confess the presence of a “customer-centricity gap”. A gap happens when the (digital) experience offered by a business meets neither the needs nor the expectations of customers.

    The report includes B2B trends in six industries –

    a) healthcare
    b) financial services
    c) commercial services and supplies
    d) manufacturing
    e) distribution
    f) high-tech

    The “customer-centricity gap” in the healthcare industry, for example, rises to 93% while in the financial services sector it’s 85% with the high-tech field being the least likely to have such a gap.

    The stats point out that 82% of B2B companies have gone through a digital transformation with 37% stating their digital experience is the thing that differentiates them as a company. Furthermore, the respondent’s email channel came out first for push communication to reach customers most effectively; with only paid search and their own websites more effective at general communication. Which creates a tie for the third place with paid search with paid social (18%) in first place followed by websites (14%) in second.

    In addition, 30% of marketers quote paid social as an effective marketing channel with 16% stating the same about paid search.

    Concurrently, 60% of B2B organisations are planning on investing in personalisation by 2022 followed by investments in web content management system and an ecommerce platform.

    The report also outlined that 61% of B2B marketers fear being replaced by AI within the next 5 years with 82% feeling AI will make them better and excel at their job. In addition, despite 91% of marketers taking precautionary measures to maintain security and compliance, 41% state they have experienced a data breach.

    You can download the full The 2020 B2B Digital Experience Report here.

    Final Thoughts
    Do you have any suggestions or ideas on what digital marketing news topics you’d 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.

    EmailOut offers the most generous email marketing software freemium product for professional micro-businesses and SMEs across the globe coupled with the very best rates for large volume corporate senders. Take a look now.

    This article was originally published on 22 June and can be found here.

    Open your Unlimited Sends one-month free trial today – after your first month with us you can switch to our FreeForever account giving you 12,500 sends to 2,500 contacts each and every month for free, forever. Corporate email marketing? Contact us.
  • Email Industry News: Gmail On Mobile’s Integration With Meet and A Bug Rendering Outlook Inoperable Jun 29, 2020

    Google is integrating Meet with Gmail’s mobile app to create an easier way for users to join video meetings and a debilitating bug in Microsoft 365’s Outlook causing the app to malfunction.

    “Email has an ability many channels don’t: to create valuable personal touches – at scale” – David Newman

    In this article, we’ll cover the following email industry news:
    1. Google Meet: A new way for users to join video meetings directly from Gmail’s mobile app
    2. Outlook rendered ‘inoperable’ after a Windows update
    Ready to dive in?

    Gmail On Mobile Adds A Google Meet Tab
    With the ongoing pandemic and most businesses’ work-from-home policies, video conferencing has been on the rise. So much so, Google’s pushing its product Meet across all its products.

    The company announced that in early July 2020, it will “launch a dedicated Meet tab in Gmail for iOS and Android that will be available to all G Suite users”. The best part of this integration is that users will be able to join secure video meetings straight from Gmail without the need to open another app.

    The goal. To ease the process of joining video meetings straight from your inbox. In Gmail on the web, users can see a sidebar, however, in the mobile app users will see a new tab at the bottom of the screen.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    When users click on the new Meet tab in Gmail’s mobile app, they will see a ‘My Meetings’ list showing all the upcoming scheduled video meetings.

    The launch of this new integration for mobile has the usual functionality plus a few new options. For example, when a user clicks on a Meet link – meet.google.com – from their mobile device, they’ll be directed to the Gmail app in order to join a meeting.

    Since some users might not like a tab taking up the bottom of their screen, Google also allows the feature to be disabled and for them to continue using Gmail as usual.

    [​IMG]

    Why should you care? With the COVID-19 mayhem still tormenting the world, an easy process of joining work – or personal – video meetings directly from the Gmail mobile app saves time and, to top it off, it doesn’t require a lot of technical acrobatics to do so.

    Outlook Bug Due To A Windows Update
    A bug in a combination of Windows 365 updates caused Outlook to reject its PST files making it inoperable.

    According to Microsoft 365’s official announcement, “after updating to Version 2005 Build 12827.20268 or higher and starting Outlook you may see the following error prompt:

    [​IMG]


    Once a user gets this message and follows the process – repair and reboot – ta-da, a new error message pops up. Then you do it again and end up wasting most of your morning as nothing gets fixed. On the other hand, at least Outlook only rejected the PST file and not corrupted it – the file is fine.

    The company offered a workaround solution since they are still looking into the issue and apparently can’t be certain where the fix will come from – Outlook or Windows.

    Here is the workaround –

    1) Right-click the Windows Start button and then choose Run;
    2) Type regedit and then click OK;
    3) In the left pane, expand Computer and then expand HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Outlook\PST
    4)
    Under the PST key delete the registry keys below and then restart Outlook:

    “LastCorruptStore”=”C:\\Users\\user.REDMOND\\AppData\\Local\\Microsoft\\Outlook\\*** Email address is removed for privacy ***”

    “PromptRepair”=dword:00000001

    [​IMG]

    Now that you’ve ‘graduated’ from Windows Tech School for fixing errors and gained knowledge you’ll probably never need again, riddle us this – “Who tests these updates?”

    Final Thoughts
    Do you have any suggestions or ideas about which email industry news topics you’d 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.

    EmailOut offers the most generous email marketing software freemium product for professional micro-businesses and SMEs across the globe coupled with the very best rates for large volume corporate senders. Take a look now.

    This article was originally published on 23 June and can be found here.

    Open your Unlimited Sends one-month free trial today – after your first month with us you can switch to our FreeForever account giving you 12,500 sends to 2,500 contacts each and every month for free, forever. Corporate email marketing? Contact us.
  • Email Marketing vs Social Media: Should You Choose Or Use Them Both? Jun 19, 2020

    As marketers have you ever wondered which digital marketing channel – email vs social media – fits your marketing strategy better? They both have their pros and cons, however, is your success defined by the use of just one or would it be best to utilise both to grow your business?

    “If social media is the cocktail party, email marketing is the ‘meet up for coffee’. The original one to one channel.” – Erik Harbison

    You’ve heard the phrase: “One size fits all.” Well, in this case – it doesn’t. We’ve said it over and over again, but it bears repeating – marketing is ever-evolving. Different marketers have more than one channel at their disposal to appeal to customers. From email through social media to paid ads on different platforms, all are potential techniques for growing customer engagement. However, when it comes to email marketing vs social media, marketers have to develop a carefully thought-through strategy to reach the desired business goals.

    In this article, we’ll answer the following email marketing vs social media questions:
    1. Where’s your targeted audience at?
    2. Which marketing channel do customers prefer?
    3. Which channel brings in the money?
    Ready to dive in?

    As a professional ESP, we have our own point of view when it comes to email marketing vs social media – can you guess? However, personal opinion aside, we’ve decided to take a dive into the pros, cons and opportunities of both marketing strategies from a non-prejudiced perspective.

    Background Stories

    Social media
    As of April 2020, almost 4.6 billion of the global community are active internet users, which equates to 59% of the global population, 3.81 billion are active social media users with 3.76 billion being active mobile social media ones.

    With these stats in mind, blasting your social media audience and getting marvellous organic reach seems like a nice walk in the park. However, back in 2019, for users to set their eyes on your awesomely-crafted social pages and posts, you had to invest money. Without doing so, there wouldn’t be any reach (or at least not one that is satisfying) and with no reach, there would be no engagement.

    We are definitely not saying that organic social media posts have no place in your marketing strategy. But, since social media platforms became a pay-to-play world, they are not as effective as they were in the past. Not to mention, social media platforms’ policies of prioritising content supported by… you guessed it – money.

    Furthermore, your followers on social media are not owned by you. They are owned by social media giants like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Additionally, marketers can’t simply export and then import their followers from one social media platform to another – though it would’ve been nice. And the worst part, social media giants can decide to delete your account – without even a warning – costing you those hard-earned hundreds or thousands of followers. However, don’t annihilate the importance of social media in your marketing strategy.

    Email marketing
    Lately, a ton of EmailOut’s friends and employees have done a “digital detox”. They’ve dropped their Facebook addiction, stopped checking Twitter obsessively and went Insta-cold turkey. Do you know what wasn’t part of that detox? Their email. Why? Because they might actually miss something important.

    With approximately 3.9 billion global email users in 2019 and a prediction for this statistic to grow to around 4.5 billion in 2024, marketers have solid proof that people don’t just quit email. This marketing channel is here to stay. Oh, should we also remind you that social media relies on email, anyway? While social media is an important part of any online marketing mix, the original email address a person uses to open all those social media accounts is always going to be the holy grail.

    Ah, let’s not forget social media platforms’ infuriating habit of changing their algorithms without notice, or making things pay-to-play without warning, or restricting your ability to connect with an audience you’ve spent years painstakingly building.

    That can’t happen when you have a legitimate, never-bought email list. There are no middlemen or gatekeepers here, preventing you from getting in touch with leads, or with people who have expressly stated that they want to hear from you. If you’re using the best ESP, you’ll never have to pay simply to speak to people you’ve already done the hard work enlisting.

    In short, your email list is yours. If an ESP closes, you can easily export your email list and move to a different provider. However, with email, there’s one crucially important element marketers must be vigilant about – deliverability. Don’t panic. All you need to do to ensure your email will reach the subscribers’ inbox is periodically cleaning your email list and maintaining a positive sender reputation.

    The Marketing Channel Preferred By Users Is…
    Setting aside our point of view on the matter, which channel do you think is the preferred communication path businesses take – email or social media?

    According to our friends at Smart Insights, emails see 50 to 100 times the click-through rate than Facebook and Twitter combined. Furthermore, email marketing is about ten times cheaper than Facebook ads – especially with EmailOut. Not to mention that –

    a) 59% of B2B marketers state that email is their most effective tool for revenue generation;
    b) 74% of people prefer email for B2C interactions and to top it off; and,
    c) email marketing has an ROI of 42:1.

    If the latter three alone is not proof enough of the power of email marketing then you, our dear marketer friends, are probably doing marketing (slightly) wrong.

    Ah, we almost forgot to mention one of the biggest cons of email marketing – having your email marked as spam. Your recipients are probably already overwhelmed by numerous marketing emails bombarding their inbox. Don’t let yours be one of them. The easiest ways to do so is by –

    a) establishing an emailing frequency;
    b) ensuring your emails meet the recipients’ objectives; and
    c) delivering helpful, relevant content.

    Since we promised a non-biased opinion on the matter of email marketing vs social media, it’s only fair to give you some social media stats –

    a)
    active social media users divided into three categories – millennials (90.4%), Gen X (77.5%) and Baby Boomers (48.2%);
    b) 73% of marketers state that social media marketing has been ‘somewhat effective’ for their business;
    c) 71% of customers having a positive experience with a brand on social media are likely to recommend it to their friends and family; and,
    d) 9% of users prefer brands to contact them via social media.

    As you can see, both email marketing and social media have pros and cons. However, what they actually offer marketers is an opportunity. With 60% of consumers preferring to receive promo campaigns via email, compared to 20% via social media, don’t focus your marketing efforts on only one channel, combine them. Allow them to complement each other. The end result will surely transcend your initial assessment.

    The Channel Bringing In The Money Is…
    The stats we already presented are proof enough your email program is more valuable than most of the other digital marketing channels out there. With an ROI of 42:1, can you really find an argument strong enough to ignore email?

    With that said, can you measure social media’s ROI? Can you even guess what it is? No one can and no one knows. It’s a difficult task considering different businesses measure and track ROI differently, which makes it even trickier to associate revenue.

    Sure, over 50% of consumers say social media influences their purchasing decisions. However, that only happens after they got an email from a brand about a revolutionary new product or a time-efficient innovative service. Once they’ve opened and clicked-through through from the email, then and only then, do they check the brand’s social media profile(s). Thus, negating the power of social media is not the way to go. It might not lead to direct sales like email marketing does, however, it does have an important role in the overall online marketing mix.

    Which marketing channel to choose depends entirely on your business’s goals. Social media is the preferred channel when your goal is bigger reach and the occasional higher engagement, while email marketing is your best option for driving sales.

    So, we won’t tell you which marketing channel is the best or the most effective or the most profitable. Why? Because no matter how many stats we throw your way or how persuasive we can be, you can only judge the quality of something by trying it yourself.

    As the saying goes: “The proof of the pudding is in the eating.” Unless you try it, you’ll never know.

    Final Thoughts
    We can never predict where social media platforms will be in the next few years. Remember MySpace, Google+, Friendster or Twitter’s Vine? How about all those privacy scandals surrounding Facebook?

    To some, email might seem like the old-times internet dial-up connection – outdated. However, this marketing channel has an advantage that social media couldn’t possibly offer – longevity.

    There is a time and place for every marketing channel. Thus, instead of relying heavily on just one, utilise as many as you can (just think your strategy through) and allow them to support each other.

    Email marketing vs social media might feel like two strategies on opposing teams, however, combining them will undeniably bring benefits to your overall marketing strategy. After all, they are two of the most powerful and effective digital marketing channels. Used together they are an unstoppable marketing force.

    Highly recommended further reading –
    1)
    Deliver real returns with an effective social media strategy
    2) Useful social media marketing hacks
    3) 2020 Email list building techniques
    4) Email engagement and deliverability
    5) Improving your sender reputation
    6) Email marketing stats 2020

    This article was originally published on 15 June and can be found here.

    Open your Unlimited Sends one-month free trial today – after your first month with us you can switch to our FreeForever account giving you 12,500 sends to 2,500 contacts each and every month for free, forever. Corporate email marketing? Contact us.
  • Writing Marketing Emails 101: The Guide Every Email Marketer Needs Jun 17, 2020

    Writing regular emails is easy. Writing marketing emails requires a carefully crafted process because you’re not simply sharing information, you are trying to give the recipients highly-targeted, personalised and relevant content which is beneficial to them and your business in the form of higher open, click-through, engagement and conversion rates.

    “Personalisation is not about first or last name. It’s about relevant content.” – Dan Jak

    From the subject line, email copy through to the call-to-action, email marketers must ensure their marketing emails not only look great but are also relevant to the recipients. Otherwise, you risk both a decrease in open and engagement rates as well as losing subscribers – forever. With that in mind, we’d like to draw your focus to a few techniques that will make writing marketing emails not just easy but fun too.

    In this article, we’ll cover the following topics:
    1. The secret to writing marketing emails
    2. The ultimate preflight email checklist
    Let’s dive in.

    The average human’s attention span is… oh look, a butterfly!

    Since the age of smartphones, people are left with such a small attention span that even a goldfish can hold a thought for longer. Furthermore, email marketing stats point out that 42% of all email opens happen on mobile devices. With both these facts in mind, the importance of writing impactful marketing emails has increased considerably.

    There is no easy way or a shortcut to ensure the success of your email marketing campaign. However, there is a list of variables that email marketers can take advantage of to design an email campaign that can surpass their expectations.

    Writing Marketing Emails 101
    There are tons of different sources regarding the type of marketing emails that work and those that don’t. Thus, email marketing has become an art form infused with science.

    From marketers to copywriters, such mountains of information present a useful rulebook for writing marketing emails. But, aren’t you tired of skimming through hundreds if not thousands of different articles on the topic of writing a marketing email?

    Instead of wasting time gathering information around the web, we decided to put all our knowledge and best practice into one concise beneficial piece. Not to brag, but you should consider the information we are about to divulge as your ‘Email Bible’. Especially when it comes down to writing marketing emails that would get opened and convert.

    1) The ‘From’ Name
    This is one of the most notably displayed elements of your marketing email campaign. It is also known as sender name.

    Depending on the type of device (desktop or mobile) your subscribers are viewing your marketing email, the ‘from’ name might be displayed in larger bold font. This helps recipients identify who the email is from faster.

    [​IMG]

    Let’s say you’ve signed up to receive marketing emails from Tesla. Would you expect an email from Tesla or Elon Musk? Considering you’ve subscribed to receive Tesla’s emails, we reckon it’s the former. Thus, as email marketers, we need to ensure we’ve optimised this critical element of our marketing emails by making sure we match the ‘from’ name with the subscribers’ expectations. Otherwise, why would they open or click-through an email they ‘think’ they didn’t sign up to?

    2) The Subject Line
    The second most essential element of writing marketing emails is nailing the subject line. As such, we advise you to treat it like a movie trailer – give your subscribers a preview of what awaits them once they open your email. After all, not a lot of people will get to read your outstanding email copy if nothing is interesting enough to grab their attention and make them open your message.

    The web is full of plenty of tips on writing the perfect email subject line. At EmailOut, we’ve divided subject lines into three categories –

    a) deceptive
    b) top B2B
    c) irresistible

    If you have a highly segmented email campaign ready to be unleashed on the world, you can ensure higher performance stats (open rate, click-through rate, conversion rate, etc.) by using personalisation. The more personal the connection you build with your audience, the easier you’ll find it to develop your customer relationships.

    However, keep in mind that as fancy and personal as using a subscribers’ first name might be, recipients don’t seem so impressed by it as they were in the past. Now, they want the personalisation to come in the email copy – where you give them personalised content based on their interests and motivations. But, to personalise the content, you need to know the subscriber first. Cue, buyer personas.

    The most important tip when it comes to subject lines is this – be clear, concise and accurate. Your subscribers should get the idea of what’s to come simply by reading your email’s subject line. Also, make sure that your subject line always aligns with your email copy. Otherwise, you’ll look like a fish out of water.

    3) The Preheader
    Let’s say that for some reason your subject line failed to entice the recipient to open your marketing email. What should you do then? Well, the preheader (a.k.a as preview text or snippet) is your backup plan. It’s a brief summary just below the subject line which can further solidify the subscribers’ decision to interact with your email.

    [​IMG]

    If you’ve designated a particular line of text as a preheader, it will appear here. Otherwise, the recipient will see the first line of text from the email body itself (or sometimes the ALT text if an image is at the top of your content). It’s very easy to do if you’re using a professional email marketing platform, and it can also do wonders for your open rates… if you get it right. However, occasionally, email marketers can make mistakes with preheaders. They are still only human after all. But, there are ways to avoid preheader mistakes for the sake of having another shot at hooking the recipients’ attention.

    4) The Copy
    After you’ve crafted the perfect attention-grabbing subject line, as well as preheader, and hooked your subscribers which led to them opening your email, it’s time to craft the ideal email copy that will get the recipients clicking. But, how do you do it?

    a) Clear focus
    First and foremost, you must ensure your marketing email is clear-focused and the design promotes a single action to be taken by the subscribers. Do not overwhelm the recipients with ‘shouty’ CTAs or tons of irrelevant content. That will only irritate them. Keep your email copy clear, concise and relevant.

    b) Standing out
    Secondly, make sure your marketing emails stand out from all the rest your recipients are getting. You can do that by utilising tried-and-tested email marketing keywords (a.k.a power words). This particular practice for writing marketing emails is very useful as it allows email marketers to strategically use words which will get subscribers to not only open their emails but also engage with them. To solidify your uniqueness in the subscribers’ inbox, we also recommend adding subtle, relevant imagery (or perhaps GIFs) to your email copy. It will give it that extra flavour and help boost engagement.

    c) Emphasis on benefits, not features
    Thirdly, talk about the benefits your subscribers will get from what you’re offering. You are well aware of the value of your marketing email – you’ve crafted it. But, do your subscribers? It’s your duty to explain it. After all, the benefits they’ll get from buying your product or using your services are what will drive them to take action, not the chunks of adequately listed features. By presenting a genuine and authentic picture of your products/services, you’re giving your recipients valuable content which will respectively go a long way towards what they should expect. Be clear and make it easy for them to take the desired actions. Cue, CTA – call-to-action.

    d) Be brief and to-the-point
    Fourthly, be brief. We’ve seen a lot of email copywriters make the mistake of writing marketing emails longer than Tolstoy’s “War and Peace”. Think about it. Do you actually read every single word in every single email you receive? Doubtful. Most recipients will just scan the email looking for the important points to decide to take any action or not. Thus, make it short and to the point. Do not write hundreds of words but actually say nothing. Summarise the information you are giving the subscribers and then let them decide if they want to read more by adding links which will lead them to a page on your website.

    e) Use second-person pronouns
    Why is it important to use second-person pronouns in your marketing emails? Because it shows your email is oriented towards the subscriber, not your brand. Pronouns such as “you”, “your” and “yours” will keep the focus on the recipient and make them feel like you are talking directly to them which then consequently makes it easier for them to connect with your content. On the other hand, pronouns like “ours” and “we” are brand-focused. As much as you want recipients to familiarise themselves with your brand – don’t overdo it.

    f) The CTA
    You might think this step is a minor consideration compared to all the rest, however, according to… well, science, designing the perfect email CTA buttons can have a huge impact on your conversion rates and it’s the second most important part of your email, after the subject line.

    Optimising CTA buttons is the final element in the process of writing marketing emails. It’s the last step towards getting recipients to click-through and take action. But, what text should you use to make sure the CTA button gets clicked on?

    The key technique is to ensure your call-to-action emphasises on the benefits you’ve outlined to the subscriber throughout the rest of your email copy. So, don’t use generic, boring CTAs. Highlight the exclusivity of what you’re offering and stay away from words such as “download”, “order”, “apply” or “submit”. After all, the subscribers want the end benefit you told them about, not downloading or ordering things.

    5) The Spam Filters
    We’ve described all the important steps of writing marketing emails, however, all your efforts could be for nothing if your email gets flagged as spam. Your recipients’ email client will simply take all your hard creative work and file it away, never to be seen by the recipient.

    Don’t get discouraged though. As frustrating as spam filters can be, there are ways to avoid them. One practical approach is to refrain from using spammy language. Another is to politely ask your email subscribers to add you to their contact list – known as whitelisting.

    If you use a professional email marketing platform – like EmailOut – ensuring your marketing email does not end up in the spam folder is as easy as riding a bike. It’s even easier. All you’ll need to do is click on a single button – e.g. “Request Spam Test” – and you’ll get a full report within seconds.

    6) Test, Test, Test
    Testing is probably the most crucially important step in the whole process of writing marketing emails. However, before you split test your email campaign, you have to establish what you’ll be testing –

    a) how the subject line resonates with recipients?
    b) are there any typos you might’ve missed?
    c) is the positioning and colour of your CTAs working?

    You can pretty much A/B test any element of your marketing email – from the length of the subject line through the preheader text to the overall layout. The important thing to remember though is to select one variable at a time for any given test. Do not test in bulk, otherwise, you won’t know which changes made a difference and the final stats will be pointless.

    The Ultimate Preflight Email Checklist
    Perhaps you’ve spotted a glaring spelling error. Or you forgot to attach the attachment. Maybe, you’ve accidentally hit ‘reply all’ when your snarky remarks were 100% intended for the eyes of one colleague only.

    But embarrassing as a dodgy email is when sent to one person, it’s nothing compared to the all-consuming despair you get when you unleash your mistake-ridden missive on your entire email list.

    To help you avert this disastrous fate, we’ve put together this super-handy preflight email checklist. It’s a rundown on EVERYTHING you need to check/mull over/watch out for before shooting your emails off to those recipients.

    That’s only if you want to maximise open rates, engagement, click-through rates, sales, profits and family holidays. Which you do … don’t you?

    Final Thoughts
    One of the most important things to remember when writing marketing emails is to ensure all elements align. From your subject line through your preheader to your email copy, everything must tell the reader who you are, why are you emailing them and persuade them to open your email and then click-through and make a purchase.

    However, don’t forget to ensure your email is optimised for plain text as well. Why? Because no matter how elegant and awesome your HTML email is, some email clients won’t render the imagery, for example. On the other hand, not all recipients will pick to display said images either. You should have both – a plain text email and an HTML one. Better safe than sorry, right?

    With our comprehensive step-by-step guide on writing marketing emails, there will be no obstacles for crafting awesome, high-performing email campaigns that will get opened, clicked and increase sales for your business.

    Now that you know the path to a smashingly successful email campaign, are you ready to get creative?

    Highly recommended further reading –
    1)
    Subject lines –
    a) deceptive
    b) top B2B
    c) irresistible
    2) A/B testing
    3) Avoiding spam filters
    4) Plain text vs HTML
    5) Email preheader mistakes
    6) Email personalisation tips
    7) Email CTA buttons
    8) Email marketing keywords

    This article was originally published on 11 June and can be found here.

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