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  • 10 Email Personalization Techniques Your Recipients Will Appreciate Apr 7, 2021

    On average, people send & receive over 120 emails daily. Yet, not all of those emails will get opened, how can you ensure that your email does?

    Subscribers and consumers have come to expect – and demand – relevant, personalized emails. With competition for the Inbox at its highest, you need to do everything you can to stay ahead of the game. This is where email personalization comes into play.

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


    The best approach to effective email marketing is implementing all concepts, tools and processes at your disposal. Yet, the truth is, many marketers get stuck in a “comfortable” email routine and stick to it overlooking one of the best tools that will ensure conversions – email personalization.

    This article covers the following topics on email personalization:
    1. The importance of email personalization
    2. Personalization beyond the first name
    3. Email personalization techniques
    • Ask the right questions
    • Segment your email list(s)
    • Customize your sender details
    • Personalize your subject line
    • Give the email copy a personal touch
    • Utilise dynamic content
    • Take advantage of browsing and purchase history
    • Use behavioural-triggering
    • Utilise milestones
    • Craft customized landing pages
    4. Email personalization stats

    Ready to dive in?

    Email personalization is not a trend. It is a marketing tsunami.

    In a world where subscribers and consumers are overloaded with information and bombarded with countless emails from brands, knowing which email marketing techniques to use to cut through the clutter and reach your target audience is imperative.

    Isn’t email personalization a Herculean task? No, it is not. With the right email marketing software in your corner and the right data, personalizing your email marketing will be simple, easy and, most importantly, sophisticated. You will be able to make the connection with your target audience more personal, deliver relevant content (i.e. offers, promos, deals, etc.) and, subsequently, encourage more conversions.

    Now, please indulge me and carefully read through two scenarios

    Scenario 1: You’ve spent hours upon hours crafting an email campaign. You’ve added every possible offer or deal you can think of. The email copy is full of information that might be of interest. You unleash the campaign on your target audience. Recipients see it in their inbox and there is nothing to grab their attention. Their fingers are working overtime flagging the email as junk/spam without even thinking twice or opening it. You’ve got only 5.6 seconds to make an impact, make them count.

    Scenario 2: You’ve utilised all email marketing tools available to you and crafted a highly-targeted, beneficial and relevant email campaign. The recipient sees something of significance and, just like that, you’ve got his/her attention because you’ve taken the time to send them a personalized email they actually want.

    Which is the winning scenario? Hint: the one where email personalization came into play.

    Why Is Email Personalization Important

    In case it slipped your mind, email personalization is the email marketing process of leveraging subscribers’/consumers’ information (i.e. first/last name, location, occupation, company name, gender, last purchase, etc.) to create specifically tailored, highly-targeted email campaigns to make recipients more receptive to what you have to say and offer.

    The purpose of email personalization is to make your target audience (i.e. leads, prospects, subscribers and consumers) feel like VIPs and not like just another email address in your list.

    Why are personalized emails important you may ask?

    Let me give you 4 crucial reasons

    • Revenue growth: Consumers are willing to spend more money with brands who appreciate them and deliver relevant, engaging and beneficial content. Marketers have established highly-personalized, segmented email campaigns deliver an uplift of over 700% in email revenue.
    • Improved engagement: Everybody loves a little special treatment. Personalized emails will help you make your target audience feel more valuable and precious (channelled Sméagol for this one!) which, in turn, will increase their engagement with your content.
    • Increased open, click-through (CTR) and conversion rates: Personalization, particularly in the subject line, is an excellent tried-and-tested technique to increase email marketing KPIs. Yet, remember, email personalization goes beyond just the first/last name or subject line. According to stats, personalized subject lines have 26% higher open rates and personalized emails generate a 14% increase in CTR and 10% higher conversion rates.
    • Better consumer satisfaction: 54% of consumers expect to get a personalized email with discounts/special offers within 24 hours of sharing their email address with a brand. According to stats, sending personalized emails will increase consumer satisfaction by 56%.
    Interesting fact: highly-personalized emails make your target audience feel special precisely because of their tailored nature which, in turn, invokes a sense of consumer empowerment driving recipients towards the Holy Grail – a conversion.

    Email marketing and personalization fit together like Anthony & Cleopatra, Bonnie & Clyde and Batman & Robin. Without email personalization, marketers will end up with their back against a wall seeing dreary results that will make them cry a river.

    Email Personalization Beyond The First Name

    Did you know that 60% of B2B organizations plan to invest in personalization by 2022? Or that 77% of marketers believe personalization is the key ingredient to a successful marketing strategy? Yet, it appears 70% of brands completely fail at email personalization.

    Why? Businesses have no clue how to collect the right data to personalize their emails. Or, if they do, they have no idea how to use that data. Regardless, without the knowledge, the right data and the proper email personalization techniques, personalizing emails will deliver disappointing email marketing results.

    One of the most common email personalization techniques is using the recipient’s first name. However, contrary to popular belief, email personalization goes beyond and deeper than addressing a recipient on a first-name basis.

    For an email marketer, successfully sending personalized emails means you need to know everything you can about your target audience. Every little bit of information you can obtain for each subscriber/consumer be it age, gender, occupation, interests, email preferences, past purchases, browsing history, etc. is crucially important for email personalization.

    As marketing extraordinaire Seth Godin says: “People don’t want email. They want me-mail.

    In other words, getting a non-personalized email is about as exciting as receiving a “Dear Occupant” letter back in the snail mail era.

    What can be personalized beyond the first name?

    Addressing a recipient by their first name is an email personalization ‘must’. Yet, some brands’ efforts stop at that basic email personalization technique. The real magic, however, happens when email marketers and brands implement personalization to the following email campaign elements – The:
    • “From” name
    • Subject line
    • Email copy
    • Imagery
    • Offers, deals, special promotions, product/service recommendations, etc.
    So many elements (pretty much your entire email campaign!) to personalize and yet, many brands either struggle or fail to use email personalization to its full potential.

    Do you want to know a secret? There are easy, relatively simple but sophisticated email personalization techniques that go beyond the first-name basis marketers can utilise to supercharge their email marketing.

    Feeling the urge to get personal?

    Indispensable Email Personalization Techniques

    2020 saw over 306 billion emails sent daily worldwide with the number expected to reach over 376 billion by 2025. Impressive.

    But… how can you grab and hold recipients’ attention long enough to have them engage with your email campaigns?

    Hint: combining basic and advanced email personalization techniques.

    Ask The Right Questions

    Personalized emails require data. Not just any data though. The right data. Thus, make sure you collect the proper information about your leads/subscribers/consumers that will help you craft highly-personalized email campaigns which deliver benefits to both you (the email marketer) and the recipient.

    The best way to inquire about a person’s information is to ask them directly. The most common approach for collecting information is through a sign-up form.

    I’ve filled in a sign-up form or two and most of them had one thing in common: only the default first/last name and email address questions. Hence, I receive tons of emails with my first name in the greeting or potentially (but rarely) the subject line. Do I engage with all of them? Will you if there was nothing attention-worthy?

    A sign-up form (with the right questions) will help you create a customer persona which, subsequently, you will use in your segmentation to personalize your emails. Ask about the subscribers –
    • Date of birth
    • Gender
    • Occupation
    • Location
    • Reasons for –
      • signing up
      • purchasing
      • becoming a user
      • visiting your website
    • Interest
    • Email preferences
      • frequency
      • type of content
    [​IMG]

    You may think people will be infuriated by filling in a lengthy sign-up form. However, 91% of consumers are more likely to engage and purchase from brands that deliver personalized, relevant content (i.e. offers).

    How do you think you’d be able to personalize your emails if you don’t dig deeper and ask the right questions?

    Sign-up form disclaimer: By providing this information [company name] will be able to deliver the best experience and the most highly-personalized, relevant, beneficial and helpful email communications.

    Now everyone will know why you are asking so many questions.

    Segment Your Audience

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    In my humble opinion, segmentation is one of the most significant things to happen to email marketing since… well, its invention.

    Now, do you want to improve your email campaigns’ response and engagement rates?

    Segment your email list(s). With the help of the right email marketing software, you can group your leads/subscribers/consumers into segments based on similarities – i.e. gender, interests, occupation, location, link clicks, etc.

    By breaking down your email list(s) into different segments, you will be able to craft personalized, relevant, targeted and beneficial email campaigns which will significantly increase open, click-through and conversion rates, as well as decreasing unsubscribe rates.

    Have you ever opened a marketing email and thought “eh, why did they send me this?” Of course you have.

    I’m even willing to bet it made you less likely to open the next email that came through from that sender. On the other hand, if every email you receive from a brand feels like it has been specifically crafted for you, you’d be much more inclined to open and engage with every message. Well, that’s the power of email segmentation. It helps you target the right people at the right time with the right message.

    The “From” Name

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    Who is the email coming from? An actual person? A company? A pet pug?

    All of my research (which, believe me, was extensive), I’ve found enough evidence that people are more likely to place their trust and engage with an email that’s coming from an actual person rather than a brand. Hence, using YOUR first name in the “From” field will give your business a face and personality recipients can relate to.

    Ultimately, the “From” field is the first most prominent element of your email that recipients will notice when scrolling through their inbox. Ah, personalizing the “from” field will also prove invaluable in increasing open, click-through and conversion rates.

    Pro tip: On desktop and mobile clients, the “From” field has larger text and heavier font which helps recipients identify the sender before opening the email.

    “From” field rule-of-thumb –

    Newsletter = your brand’s name
    Sales email = an account manager’s name (or sales rep)
    Company news/performance = CEO or CMO (if recognisable)

    Different account managers for different clients? No problem, personalize the “From” field with the recipient’s account manager’s name and a ‘fall-back’ of your company’s name.

    The best part. With professional email marketing software (like EmailOut), you can personalize your email with a few clicks and voila – all done.

    The Subject Line

    Do you know the formula for the best email subject line? I do.

    Curiosity + Urgency + A Tempting Offer + Relevance + Novelty = The Perfect Subject Line

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

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    According to email marketing gurus, the recommended subject line length is no more than 50 characters. Obviously, with the length limitation, you will not be able to squeeze in all the elements in the formula. You shouldn’t even waste time trying. After all, you need to keep the subject line personalized, short and punchy.

    27 Short, Sharp, Inbox-Friendly Subject Lines >>>

    Your email’s subject line is the second most notable element of your email campaign. On most devices, the subject line is displayed in a darker, heavier text (similar to the “from” field) which makes it stand out amidst other details of your email campaign. Thus, use the recipient’s first name (see, it came in handy!) to further build trust and pique their interest.

    Ah, did you know that 69% of recipients report emails as SPAM solely based on the subject line? Moreover, 47% of recipients open emails based on the subject line alone. Additionally, personalized subject lines will inevitably boost open rates by 26%.

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    The Email Copy

    Your email copy is the conduit for conversations. You’ve heard of Catch-22, right? Famous novel/movie? Anyhow, take a look at this excerpt from the book –

    Dear Mrs, Mr, Miss, or Mr and Mrs Daneeka:

    Words cannot express the deep personal grief I experienced when your husband, son, father, or brother was killed, wounded, or reported missing in action.

    What stands out? Did you notice? No personalization of the copy.

    That’s why you’ve worked so hard to gather all those details about your audience from the get-go. To prevent impersonal, irrelevant, slightly (or hugely) frustrating email copy that will alienate your recipients.

    With custom fields (merge tags in EmailOut), all stored information about your leads/subscribers/customers (i.e. age, gender, shoe size, location, birthday, etc.) can be used to personalize your email copy.

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    Pointers to keep in mind when crafting your email copy –
    • be less formal – regardless of the industry you’re in, make your email copy friendly and personable but avoid jargon at all costs.
    • use humour – it’s an excellent ice-breaker and it will make your emails feel like they come from a friend.
    • be relevant – use the collected data to create content even the recipients didn’t know they needed. In short, deliver relevant info, offers, tips, etc.
    Pro tip: Be careful of the atmosphere you’re setting with your email copy. You don’t want to overwhelm your recipients or come across as too impersonal. Find a balance.

    Dynamic Content

    With the help of dynamic content, you will be able to make any changes to your email copy based on the leads/subscribers/customers information (i.e. preferences, age, gender, location, occupation, etc.) and personalize specific elements of your campaign such as the text, visuals and/or call-to-actions (CTAs).

    Images, GIFs, illustrations and cinemagraphs are all important visual elements of any email marketing campaign as they compliment the email copy. However, it goes beyond just dumping relevant images into your email campaign.

    Adding personalized imagery your target audience can relate to will add a personal touch to your campaign and increase your click-through rate by 29%.

    According to Neil Patel, “the call-to-action is the tipping point between conversions and bounces.” Personalized call-to-action (CTA) converts over 200% better compared to a basic CTA.

    For example, “[First Name] here’s your free trial” or “A free trial just for [First Name]” vs “Start YOUR free trial” will do wonders for your conversion rates.

    In short, dynamic content allows you to display different content for different recipients.

    Pro tip: Image alt text is crucial, especially for your top image, since it’s what email clients may use as a preheader – if you haven’t crafted one.

    Adidas’s Originals series email campaign is a perfect example of utilising dynamic content –

    [​IMG]

    The products promoted dynamically switch based on the subscriber’s gender ensuring each recipient will see the most relevant and appealing product that will entice them to convert.

    Browsing and Purchase History

    Assuming your website does not exist in some dark, forgotten corner of the internet, you are likely getting a fair, healthy amount of relevant daily traffic. The way visitors move through your website is essential data you can utilise to improve your email personalization efforts.

    Take cookies, for example. You can utilise them to collect browsing data and send custom-tailored emails based on the products/services visitors viewed on your website.

    A customer’s purchase history is another crucial insight you can use to create an impactful personalized email strategy. You can leverage customer’s behaviour (i.e. purchase history) to craft relevant, personalized, targeted email campaigns that will increase additional purchases via cross- or up-selling product/service recommendations promoted to each unique customer in your email list(s).

    Behavioural Triggering

    Did you know that automated behavioural-triggered emails generate 70% higher open rates and over 150% higher click-through rates compared to traditional emails precisely because they are hyper-personalized?

    Automated behavioural-triggered email (a.k.a email automation) is a mouthful and for some, it might even sound complicated and a bit frightening. Yet, it’s one of the most sophisticated methods for email personalization and not at all scary.

    It is all about setting up triggers to automatically “activate” email campaigns based on the recipients’ real-time reactions.

    For example, an email triggered by an abandoned cart, perhaps offering a discount or other perk for completing the purchase, brings people back into the customer journey.

    This email personalization technique speaks to the recipient on an individual level at a specific time. However, establishing this process depends entirely on your choice of email marketing software.

    Automated behavioural-triggered emails serve multiple purposes
    • welcoming new subscribers/customers
    • attracting new customers
    • re-engagement
    • cart abandonment emails
    • purchase confirmations
    • better targeting and personalization
    • boosting ROI
    • improve conversions
    • increase brand awareness
    • reduces the potential for mistakes
    When it comes to email personalization, a behavioural-triggered email is about as personal as it can get for brands and subscribers/customers.

    Netflix is the king of this particular email personalization technique with its automated suggestion emails based on your “watched” history –

    [​IMG]

    The Power Of Milestones

    Competition for the inbox is fierce. Cutting through the email clutter has become harder. But, a well-timed personalized email campaign can spark interest and engagement. This is where milestone emails come into play. After all, who doesn’t like to celebrate?

    From birthdays and anniversaries to holidays and special occasions, milestone emails will help you build even more personal relationships with your audience as they navigate from newbies, to seasoned and loyal subscribers/customers.

    By showing your audience you know more about who they are and what they like (beyond just their first name), you endear yourself to them. This will, undoubtedly, result in reciprocation in the form of higher open, click-through, engagement and conversion rates.

    Interesting fact: EmailOut’s CEO has two birthdays. I bet you’re wondering how that is possible. It’s quite a story. He was born in March in the 1970s which also coincided with Easter Day that year (you know, Christ’s rebirth!). Hence, he gets two birthdays and twice the opportunity to get milestone emails – if marketers are savvy enough to have noticed.

    Landing Pages

    Have you ever wondered why some email marketing platforms offer landing pages as a feature?

    They go together like peanut butter and jelly, turkey and cranberry, beef and horseradish, vegans and pulses. You cannot have a highly successful and profitable marketing campaign without merging email marketing and landing pages.

    The beauty of combining email marketing and landing pages is that you ALREADY have the email addresses and know enough about your audience – where they signed up from, perhaps previous purchases, products/services they viewed, demographics, and the like. Thus, the email landing page can be tailored and personalized to that information AND your email copy.

    When clicking through your personalized email, the recipient will have a certain level of expectation. Thus, it is crucial to keep your audiences’ attention on the initial email message by aligning the landing page experience with those expectations.

    Furthermore, matching personalized emails with equally personalized landing pages will give the recipient a unified experience, making him/her more likely to convert.

    Email Personalization Stats

    From Netflix to Spotify and Amazon, subscribers and consumers are surrounded by email personalization. These inspiring stats will prove just how powerful email personalization is –
    • 70% of consumers get disappointed and frustrated with brands that send impersonal, irrelevant email campaigns
    • 91% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand that provides personalized, relevant offers and recommendation
    • 63% of consumers will stop buying from brands with poor personalization practice
    • personalized emails deliver 6 times higher transaction rates
    • 53% of marketers state email personalization results in moderate to significant revenue impact
    • 58% of all revenue is generated from segmented, highly-personalized, uber-targeted email campaigns
    • 88% of consumers state they are more likely to favourably respond to an email if it feels like it has been specifically tailored (personalized) for them
    • 62% of emails get opened because of personalized email subject lines
    • 62% of marketers state email personalization is the most effective marketing technique for customer acquisition and retention
    • personalized email marketing generates a median ROI of 122%
    Final Thoughts

    Email personalization is all about telling your Jacks from your Jills and sending relevant, beneficial, highly-targeted, personalized content your audience would want to both receive and expect. Without it, email marketers will bombard their subscribers/customers with impersonal, irrelevant, generic and, frankly, frustrating email campaigns that will leave a lasting negative impression. Don’t get me started on the dreadful email marketing metrics that will follow.

    If you don’t want this to be the future of your email marketing, utilising email personalization is the path to take. You do want people to convert, do you not?

    From your sender details and subject line to the email copy and imagery, make sure every element of your email campaign is specifically tailored for the recipient and goes beyond the mundane use of just their first name.

    Remember, it will take time to nail your email personalization strategy. Thus, always split test (A/B test) your campaigns to establish which email personalization tactics work best and have the biggest impact on your email marketing metrics.

    Are you ready to get personal?

    Highly recommended further reading –

    1)
    Writing Marketing Emails 101
    2) Email Automation: Busting Common Myths
    3) Subject Line Mistakes To Avoid
    4) 10 Types of Customer Engagement Emails
    5) Email Marketing Campaign Checklist (PDF version here)
  • 10 Types Of Customer Engagement Emails (30 Subject Lines Included) Apr 6, 2021

    The competition for customers’ inbox is fierce. To survive and thrive, businesses need to maintain brand awareness and show appreciation.

    Your emails are not just about promoting products/services or recovering abandoned carts, they are also about creating lasting impressions and establishing healthy, strong, long-term relationships with your customers by showing appreciation.

    “Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” – Voltaire


    We all want to feel appreciated and special. Your customers are no different. Hence, showing your gratitude or saying thank you shouldn’t happen only once a year, just around the holidays or only when they make a purchase. In fact, up to 60% of customers will stop doing business with a brand they feel is indifferent to them. Thus, a simple customer engagement email will help create a positive brand reception and customer experience.

    This article covers the following topics on customer engagement emails:
    1. The essence of customer engagement emails
    2. Why should you send customer engagement emails?
    3. 10 types of customer engagement email (+ subject line examples) –
    • Show Gratitude
    • Say Thank you
    • Special offers
    • Seasonal/holiday rewards
    • Milestone emails
    • Birthday gifts
    • Anniversary emails
    • Engagement emails
    • Customer reviews
    • Early access email
    Ready to dive in?

    Did you know that highly personalised customer engagement emails can have the same impact as showing gratitude in person? Moreover, sending thank you emails can also help increase customers’ lifetime value and humanise the relationship with your target audience.

    Customer Engagement Emails 101

    Customer engagement emails are a type of marketing email every marketer must send to express gratitude and reward all their customers (not just the loyal ones) for their continuous support. They also play an essential role in your onboarding email series.

    By expressing gratitude to your customers (or email subscribers), you will strengthen your relationship with them, boost engagement, drive more traffic to your website, increase conversions and, of course, generate more sales and deliver an outstanding customer experience securing your audiences’ loyalty and trust.

    Different circumstances require different ways of showing appreciation. Hence, you cannot craft customer engagement emails without a clear goal and purpose.

    The purpose of customer engagement emails can vary such as – Thanking:
    • people for being loyal customers
    • customers for choosing your products/services
    • subscribers/customers for referrals
    • customers for their feedback/reviews
    • people for their patience while working on their query
    • subscribers/customers for participating in a survey
    … and much more.

    The goal of customer engagement emails range from –
    • boosting customer confidence
    • converting first-time subscribers to customers
    • re-engaging inactive subscribers
    • winning back dormant customers
    • validating customers/subscribers decisions and/or choices
    • grounding customers’ concerns
    • thanking customers/subscribers for their support and loyalty
    • reinforcing your relationship with customers/subscribers
    • promoting relevant special offers and… more.
    The Importance Of Customer Engagement Emails

    If you walk into a mom-pop shop, there is a chance you will hear “thank you” from the staff at least once be it because you bought a product or simply for visiting the store. Such social exchange in person creates rapport and a sense of reassurance gaining the customers’ trust.

    Nonetheless, the pandemic changed everything for businesses, customers and marketers. More and more people have moved from physical (offline) shopping to online purchasing.

    Unlike offline shopping, however, purchasing products/services online can arouse a certain level of anxiety with customers. It’s harder for customers to remember actual human beings exist behind a brand’s online presence. You cannot make eye contact, flash a smile and shake a customer’s hand over the internet.

    Yet, you can still show your gratitude and appreciation. This is why customer engagement emails are important. They can be just as impactful as face-to-face declarations of thanks if, of course, they are executed correctly.

    If you are wondering when you should send customer engagement emails, the answer is quite simple – anytime. You don’t need to anchor these emails to a particular holiday or event. Yet, doing so could increase their effect and impact.

    These nine events can serve as guidelines to help you remember when you must send customer engagement emails –

    1) after a sign up/opt-in;
    2) post-purchase;
    3) after an event;
    4) on the subscriber’s/customer’s birthday;
    5) on traditional holidays;
    6) on an anniversary;
    7) after hitting a milestone;
    8) when customers/subscribers leave a review; and,
    9) on referral.

    Lastly, remember that customer engagement emails are user-action based. With the right email marketing software on your side, you will be able to set specific triggers and automate the whole process ensuring the right content reaches the right people at the right time.

    Express Gratitude

    Showing gratitude and appreciation to every new subscriber or customer is amongst the most effective methods of customer retention and the best way to strengthen your relationship with your target audience.

    Flatspot, for example, created a great layout with clear call-to-actions (CTAs), straightforward copy and a special perk – “10% off your next shop” – for their customer engagement email to welcome new subscribers and show its gratitude –

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    3 Subject Lines To Show Gratitude

    Did you know that 69% of recipients report emails as SPAM solely based on the subject line?

    Your customer engagement email’s subject line (as with any other type of email campaign) is the first thing recipients will see. It’s also the most powerful element of any email marketing campaign and the biggest factor as to whether your recipients will open and interact with your email. Thus, you need to make sure your gratitude will be seen from the get-go. Here are three subject lines examples for expressing gratitude –
    • “We are grateful you joined our newsletter! Have a special perk…”
    • “You picked us – Thank you!”
    • “[FirstName], Thank you! We’re happy to have you as a customer.”
    Say Thank You

    Welcome emails are among the most-read types of emails landing in the recipients’ inbox. They have 50% higher open rates, 5 times more clicks and generate 3 times more revenue per email compared to any other type of email campaign. You should seize the opportunity that such high performing emails present and show your appreciation to your subscribers/customers by also saying “Thank You!”.

    This customer engagement email from Bliss is the perfect example of a welcome-thank you email combination. From the inverted pyramid layout to the strategic placement and colour of the call-to-action, the brand has certainly ticked all the right boxes for an effective and impactful customer engagement email.

    The subject line – “Welcome To Bliss! Instant Offer Inside” – creates both curiosity and urgency that recipients will not be able to resist.

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    Aside from expressing gratitude to new subscribers, you should also thank customers (both new and old) for their purchase(s) just like Light In The Box is doing.

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    The email summarises all the key information a customer needs with relevant call-to-action (i.e. view the status, contact us) making the email body concise and to-the-point rather than text-heavy. Moreover, instead of just saying thank you and moving on, the brand offers an incentive (i.e. a surprise reward) for customers’ product review. It’s the perfect customer engagement email.

    3 Subject Lines To Say Thank You

    The top five ingredients that make the perfect subject line are curiosity, urgency, a tempting offer, relevance and novelty. Thus, your Thank You email subject line must incorporate all of them if you want your customer engagement email to stand out in recipients’ cluttered inbox. Here are three subject line examples to get you inspired –
    • “Thank you for your order! Find a surprise reward inside.”
    • “A great purchase. We have a special gift for you.”
    • “Thank you, [FirstName]! We are glad to have you as a customer.”
    Special Offers

    Gaining new subscribers/customers is a challenge on its own. Keeping them happy and satisfied is yet another challenge.

    A happy, appreciated customer is a repeat customer. Therefore, rather than simply saying thank you, use your customer engagement emails to offer your target audience a special offer to show them they are indeed appreciated and special to you.

    Benefit Cosmetics has done a brilliant job with its customer engagement email. From the subject line – “We ❤️ you… Here’s 20% off + FREE shipping” – where the brand utilises a heart emoji to emphasise their fondness of the recipient and make the subject line stand out with two compelling special offers to the stunning email layout that repeats the promise of the subject line, Benefit Cosmetics has been very clever and strategic in turning what might come across as a regular sales email into a beautiful, enticing special offer that evokes a sense of belonging (i.e. friends & family sale).

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    3 Subject Lines For Special Offers
    • “Share the love! Refer someone and get 30% off”
    • “A special offer to say Thank You – 25% off + FREE delivery”
    • “Only For You: A special offer + a surprise gift! Unwrap inside”
    Seasonal/Holiday Rewards

    I don’t really like gifts or rewards,” said no customer – ever.

    Unlike birthday campaigns which happen only once a year, seasonal/holiday emails allow you to reach out to your audience and show your gratitude by offering them something special on a special day.

    A marketing calendar is quite rich in various holidays like Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day and so forth. Each one presents an opportunity to reach out to your audience and make them feel appreciated and cherished.

    Email Monks, for example, took customer engagement emails to the next level with their St. Patrick’s Day campaign by utilising gamification.

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    With seasonal/holiday customer engagement emails, marketers can choose from a diversity of designs, subject lines, imagery and gamification elements to make their appreciation email stand out and strike a chord with the recipients to ensure retention and loyalty.

    Another brilliant example of showing appreciation through seasonal/holiday rewards in email campaigns is Terrain’s customer engagement Christmas campaign.

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    The business offers a special holiday reward to its customers to show its appreciation by giving them “a treat to say thank you for sharing a merry season with us” in the form of a 15% discount. Spectacular design layout, clear call-to-action, relevant imagery and prominent headlines – all components of a great customer engagement campaign.

    3 Subject Lines for Seasonal/Holiday Rewards
    • “Thank you for choosing [brand name]! Get your [holiday] reward”
    • “It’s [holiday] season and WE like to treat YOU with a special gift”
    • “Temperatures are rising, our prices are falling! | Get your seasonal reward”
    Milestone Emails

    Milestone engagement emails do not require marketers to wait for special occasions or holidays to engage their audience. Celebrating milestones can happen at any time. Whether it’s your brand’s anniversary or your customer’s anniversary, appreciation emails will help you share your gratitude and excitement as well as build an even more personal relationship with your target audience.

    Take a look at Ban.do’s milestone engagement email, for example.

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    The business celebrates its 11th anniversary with a fun, entertaining campaign that not only gives a face to the brand but also shows its gratitude to its customers. Despite it being the company’s milestone, the brand has put the customer in the middle of the celebration.

    Furthermore, to enunciate their gratitude, the brand offers a special milestone offer – “25% off everything – all week” + a special discount code.

    Another brilliant example of a well-written and superbly designed customer appreciation email celebrating a milestone comes from Allbirds

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    The campaign might not have a special reward or offer but it still achieves the set goal – thanking the customers for their support and continuous loyalty.

    3 Subject Lines To Celebrate A Milestone
    • “We’ve reached a new milestone. Thanks a million!”
    • “5 Years! Thank you for being a loyal customer!”
    • Trello: “Get Free Gold To Celebrate 10 Million Users!”
    Birthday Gifts

    Another way to show your gratitude and appreciation to your subscribers/customers is by reaching out to them on their special day – a.k.a their birthday – with a birthday gift.

    Nasty Gal, for example, sent its birthday girls the most visual-centric happy birthday email with the perfect relevant imagery of a model sporting a Nasty Gal outfit and plenty of balloons for ambience. The copywriting is superb and catering to the brand’s young demographic.

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    Another spectacular example of a perfect birthday email comes from Sephora.

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    The uber-personalisation, enticing offer (a FREE gift), relevant imagery and two clear prominent CTAs make this happy birthday email extremely attention-grabbing. Moreover, it makes it clear to the customers/subscribers their loyalty is highly appreciated as, unlike other brands, it does not offer a discount but a FREE gift.

    3 Subject Lines For Birthday Emails
    • “A GIFT for you! Happy Birthday, [FirstName]!”
    • “[FirstName], Happy B-day! Don’t let your 25% off discount expire”
    • “Happy Birthday from [your brand’s name]! We have a gift for you”
    Anniversary Emails

    Birthdays are about the person. Holidays are about the public. Anniversaries are far more momentous as they celebrate two parties coming together. It could be the first day someone subscribed to your mailing list or the first time they placed an order (or the 10th). Whichever the case, there is something worth celebrating and showing gratitude for.

    Celebrating anniversaries unique to your subscribers/customers will help you establish a stronger relationship with them and humanise your brand’s presence.

    Bonobos have done a brilliant job with its anniversary email campaign –

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    The brand is offering subscribers 20% off their next order simply for being on their mailing list for a year (hint: special discount code is oneyear). This way, Bonobos is not only showing its gratitude but also attempting to convert long-term subscribers (that have not yet purchased) into customers. Smart, concise, on-point, appreciative and enticing – a winning combination for a customer engagement email.

    3 Subject Lines For Anniversary Emails
    • “Our one-year gift to you!”
    • “Happy Anniversary, [FirstName]! Do you want to know what your gift is?”
    • “Congratulations, [FirstName]! You earned the One Year badge.”
    Engagement Emails

    A lot of brands chose to reactivate dormant subscribers/customers with discounts or special sales campaigns. Yet, only a few would take a different approach to engage their audience. This is where engagement emails come into play.

    Not all subscribers are ready to convert into customers. Beardbrand knows that and uses customer appreciation emails to engage their email list with content rather than going straight in for the kill – salesy copy.

    First, the reader meets all the known famous brand faces and reads their thank you message evoking a sense of belonging (you are part of their community) –

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    Then, rather than sending them to a product landing page, the brand invites the reader to its blog, gently guiding them through the sales funnel by offering informative, relevant, entertaining content –

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    It’s the perfect customer engagement email focused on the reader instead of hard-selling something the recipients are not yet ready to purchase.

    3 Subject Lines For Engagement Emails
    • “[FirstName] – 40% off your favourite products, right now!”
    • “Only 5 items left! Buy now & get 50% off”
    • “A special discount to welcome you back to the fold”
    Customer Reviews

    People trust other people’s recommendations. It’s just the way it is. Therefore, your prospects/leads will trust customer reviews more than they’d trust well… you. Thus, make sure you collect as many customer reviews as possible.

    Tradegecko’s appreciation email, for example, is quite simple. The brand shows its gratitude by thanking the customer for being a superstar then kindly asks for their feedback. Notice how the copy is kept sweet, concise and fun?

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    3 Subject Lines For Customer Reviews
    • “[FirstName], see what our superstar customers think!”
    • “Why are customers raving about our product [service]…”
    • “[FirstName], did we win your trust?”
    Early Access Email

    Another effective way of showing customer appreciation, aside from unique sales campaigns, is offering your target audience early access evoking a sense of exclusivity.

    Elf Cosmetics, for example, has done a stellar job with their early access email campaign –

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    The brand’s prominent headline – “jump the line” – offers the recipients early access to its upcoming sale “before anyone else.” The offer is extremely easy to claim – click a CTA and visit a landing page.

    3 Subject Lines For Early Access Emails
    • “Don’t miss your early access exclusive offer!”
    • “Subscriber/Customer Exclusive: You are on the nice list – 30% OFF for you!”
    • “Skip the line – Get your early access NOW”
    Final Thoughts

    You want to convert subscribers to customers? Re-engage inactive subscribers? Win back dormant customers with special offers? Promote a loyalty program?

    Your customers are your brand’s lifeline. Without them, your business is for nothing. Their loyalty deserves to be rewarded. Thus, customer appreciation emails are the perfect way to do all of the above and effectively nurture your connection to your audience as well as build strong, long-term relationships and, of course, draw them back when they have doubts.

    The opportunities to show your audience you appreciate their loyalty and to say thank you are countless. Yet, the most important thing to remember about customer engagement and customer appreciation emails is that they are about the customer (or subscriber), not about you – so don’t get too salesy or start bragging about how awesome you are.

    What type of customer engagement emails are you sending?

    Highly recommended further reading –

    1) Writing Marketing Emails 101
    2) Email Design Trends 2021
    3) Subject Line Mistakes To Avoid
    4) Email Marketing Campaign Checklist (PDF version here)
  • Types Of Email Campaigns: 10 ‘Must-send’ Marketing Emails Apr 1, 2021

    The first email marketing blast was sent 43 years ago. Since then, email marketers have come up with various types of email campaigns in attempts to reach the customers’ elusive inbox.

    As an email marketer, you certainly know the basics – personalisation, prominent call-to-action, email list segmentation, responsive design, optimization, etc. More often than not, we pay way more attention to the email campaign’s design rather than the types of email campaigns we must and should send our target audience.

    “The ‘From’ line is what recipients use to determine whether to delete an email. The subject line is what motivates them to open the email.” – Loren McDonald


    When I say “email marketing”, you are probably thinking about email campaigns that will only drive sales. Yet, your target audience will get bored – and annoyed – if you primarily bombard them with sales email campaigns. Thus, to keep your recipients interested and engaged, you need to implement different types of email campaigns in your marketing strategy that go beyond the sales email.

    This article covers the following types of email campaigns:
    1. Welcome email
    2. Lead nurturing email
    3. Newsletter
    4. Product/service announcement email
    5. Order confirmation email
    6. Confirmation email
    7. Cancellation email
    8. Abandoned cart email
    9. Re-engagement email
    10. Testimonial email
    Ready to dive in?

    You have an email list. Maybe you have hundreds of subscribers or maybe it’s hundreds of thousands. Regardless, there are three crucial questions you need to ask yourself –

    1) What types of email campaigns should I send my target audience?
    2) When should I send my email campaign(s)?
    3) How do I build a long-term relationship with them?

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    Just launching an email campaign on a whim is not a winning email marketing strategy. You need to know your target audience (i.e. their interests, needs, desires, occupation, etc.) and nurture them by delivering relevant email campaigns.

    With the fierce competition for the recipients’ inbox, sending just one or two types of email campaigns is not enough. You must send email campaigns that deliver an exceptional customer experience while simultaneously selling and provoking interest in your products and/or services. To achieve such a feat, you must leverage a number of different types of email campaigns.

    Welcome Emails

    Did you know that welcome emails have 50% higher open rates, 5 times more clicks and generate 3 times more revenue per email compared to any other type of email campaign?

    First impressions matter. Your welcome email will set the tone of your entire relationship with the recipient. After all, it is your newcomers’ gateway to your brand. Therefore, it’s your goal to benefit from the increased engagement and attention by introducing your brand and the awesome range of products/services you have to offer.

    There is no formula for the perfect welcome email. What elements you will include solely depends on the specifics of what your email campaign is offering. However, there are 4 important factors you need to remember when crafting welcome emails –

    1) showcase your brand – make key features and benefits clear
    2) keep it casual and concise – use a conversational tone and ensure the email is easy to read
    3) give recipients a perk – offer your newcomers (i.e. subscribers, customers) a welcome gift like a discount or a perk of some sort (a FREE email marketing campaign checklist)
    4) say ‘thank you’ – appreciated customers are repeat customers

    Take this welcome email from Casper, for example. Apart from welcoming newcomers, the company invites recipients to get to know them and their products whilst also clearly outlining the perk – 100-night trial. From the design and relevant imagery to the catchy, unique copy and prominent call-to-actions (CTAs), they’ve nailed the welcome wagon email.

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    Lead Nurturing Emails

    Did you know lead nurturing emails get 4 to 10 times more responses compared to standalone email marketing blasts?

    Lead nurturing emails are specifically designed to target “the undecided” customers. As the name implies, this type of email campaign is used to nurture leads through the marketing funnel and place them in a purchase-ready position. Your main goal with lead nurturing emails is to stay in touch with leads/subscribers and provoke them to purchase by showcasing all the benefits of your products/services.

    For your lead nurturing email to be successful, you need to put the subscribers’ needs, interests, desires and pain-points first. Then, and only then, will you be able to deliver relevant, valuable content and, subsequently, achieve maximum ROI. Moreover, 51% of email marketers state email list segmentation is the most effective approach to personalise lead nurturing. You do want the right person to get the right email at the right time, don’t you?

    When sending lead nurturing emails it’s important to clearly outline why recipients are receiving your email. For example: “We noticed your interest in email marketing tips & tricks and thought you might enjoy having an email marketing pre-flight checklist at hand to help you proof EVERY campaign.” Once you’ve addressed the why, you can proceed with formatting your lead nurturing email similarly to the way you’d craft general marketing emails.

    Take a look at Artifact Uprising’s lead nurturing email.

    The brand offers its recipients guides about creating captivating photo books, shares hacks about print display and excites them further with inspirational ideas emphasising the potential value they will gain from the brand. Nowhere in the email does Artifact Uprising mentions anything about making a purchase. Rather, they motivate the recipient to find out more about the brand’s products. From the concise copy complemented with relevant imagery to the minimalistic design and pastel colours, this lead nurturing email is eye candy.

    Email Newsletters

    Regularly sending email newsletters is a powerful and effective way to keep your target audience updated with the latest and most relevant news, promotions and events. Additionally, email newsletters help you drive your subscribers/customers back to engaging with your brand and maintain a thriving relationship with them.

    The main goal of email newsletters, in addition to promoting your products/services, is to keep regular contact with your target audience and increase traffic to your website/blog/etc. To achieve this, your newsletter must be interesting, beneficial, well-structured, personalised and relevant to the target audiences’ interests/needs.

    There are three essential tips to keep in mind –

    1) planning – a planned content calendar ready for your content to be plugged-in will make your job much easier.
    2) bite-sized info – recipients tend to scan and skim through their emails. Thus, make your newsletter copy “snackable” – bold headlines with a few sentences would be a great way to make it easier for readers to pinpoint the content relevant to them.
    3) mix it up – simply offering a list of news and/or updates won’t be enough to compel your target audience to take action. Offer them more – videos, images, guides, how-tos, ebooks, tutorials, etc.

    Email newsletters done the right way are not just sales pieces your target audience would likely get bored of with time. With careful, strategic planning this type of email will help you keep subscribers/customers in the loop with everything related to your brand – on top of educating and entertaining them.

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    Skillshare has done a brilliant job with its weekly digest newsletter. They’ve combined videos with prominent headlines and a brief summary to further spark the readers’ interest. The simple, clear and concise design of their email newsletter attracts the recipients through visuals rather than text-heavy emails.

    Product/Service Announcement Emails

    Product/service announcement emails can be tricky. Usually, people prefer not to receive this type of email often. They are not as interesting or engaging as newsletters or sales and welcome emails. However, they are equally as important as any other type of email campaigns you send out. It informs your target audience that you’ve released some new product or features and functionalities worth their time.

    For effective product/service announcement emails, you need to follow these guidelines –

    a) clearly state what the email is all about in the subject line;
    b) reiterate the point at the top of the announcement email;
    c) describe the benefits of the product/service announcement;
    d) make the call-to-action (CTA) crystal-clear and strategically placed; and
    e) carefully segment your target audience or you risk getting tons of unsubscribe requests.

    Figma’s announcement email, for example, encourages recipients to try some of the company’s new plugins. Figma targeted its current customers only since they are already familiar with the service and much more likely to find the email useful and try out the new plugins.

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    The sharp minimalistic design mimics Figma’s main website style which immediately creates familiarity. The brief email copy makes the new feature function description easily digestible and accentuates the important parts – the advantages.

    Order Confirmation Emails

    Did you know order confirmation emails have nearly 8 times higher open rates than regular emails?

    You’ve already persuaded a customer to make a purchase. Congratulations! However, once you have the customer’s money, you may think all that’s left is to ship the product (deliver the service) and that’s it – you won’t have to worry about email marketing. You’d be wrong. After a customer makes a purchase, you need to make sure they know everything is going smoothly. Cue, order confirmation emails.

    Apart from including the necessary order number, tracking ID, product/service detailed info, delivery date, etc., there is no need to confine yourself to designing these emails for purely practical purposes. Rather, have fun with the design and be smart. Use this type of email to reinforce your branding, impress the customer and provider further value with relevant product recommendations or discounts on future purchases.

    Check out ProFlowers’s order confirmation email. On top of all the “must-haves”, the email clarifies the next step with cute infographics, has an image of your order (bouquet), offers discounts and includes a reminder when the flowers will be delivered. A win-win design.

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    Confirmation Emails

    Has my subscription gone through? Did I make a typo when entering my email address? Do I need to confirm a subscription to receive emails?
    – questions people ask when signing up to your email list.

    Are my subscribers real people? Spam email addresses? Do they actually want to hear from me? – questions brands need to think about.

    Confirmation emails are automated emails sent seconds after a double opt-in. They are the second step in a signup process. The first being collecting peoples’ email address and/or first name via your signup form.

    This type of email is usually used as a method to eliminate incorrect/invalid email addresses or addresses entered by mistake. Sending subscription confirmation emails will not only ensure you maintain a clean email list and reduce spam complaints but it will also guarantee you will be dealing with engaged users only.

    Furthermore, sending subscription confirmation emails will improve email deliverability alongside your sender reputation.

    Lastly, your subscription confirmation emails must be concise with clean, short copy that will not distract the recipient from completing the signup confirmation process. You can use either a hyperlink or a CTA button or a unique code that has to be entered in the reader’s browser. Take a look at the wonderful job Republic has done with their email –

    [​IMG]

    Cancellation Emails

    I won’t sugar-coat it – saying goodbye sucks. Especially if you are saying farewell to paying customers you thought would be around for a long time.

    Yet, just because someone wants to part ways it doesn’t mean they will be gone for good. If you craft the perfect cancellation email, you will not only manage to find out why they want to leave but also encourage them to stay. If the latter doesn’t work don’t keep them hostage, alright?

    Remember, you don’t need Jedi mind tricks to get to the root of their cancellation request – just ask them.

    With cancellation emails, your goal is to gently persuade subscribers/customers to stay by offering an additional incentive – a different pricing plan or access to more features on their current one (for SaaS), special discounts on products/services, etc.

    This cancellation email example from WP Stagecoach perfectly encompassed what subscription cancellation emails are all about. It’s personal, directly asks for feedback and, unfortunately for the business, confirms the cancellation.

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    Abandoned Cart Emails

    Did you know that 75.6% of online customers abandon their carts?

    Don’t let your products/services be forgotten.

    Since I don’t like bearing bad news, here is the good news – you can recapture those “lost sales” with the help of abandoned cart emails. Trust me, they are crazy effective with a 50% average click-through rate and 50% of “clickers” finalising the purchase.

    Now, to utilise this type of email, you will need email marketing software to set up the necessary triggers, create your email and automate the process.

    The primary goal of abandoned cart emails is to prompt the customer to finalise the purchasing process. However, to be ultimately effective, you need to send such emails within 24 hours of the moment the abandonment happened. Otherwise, the customer will easily forget all about their order and move on.

    Best practice for abandoned cart emails include –

    a) send multiple emails the first within 24 hours;
    b) craft a killer subject line;
    c) list the goods abandoned;
    d) [if there’s more than one item] show the total and individual price;
    e) use an incentive – i.e. a discount; and
    f) use social proof to create trust and urgency.

    Dyson’s message is a great example of a winning abandoned cart email –

    [​IMG]

    Re-engagement Emails

    Did you know that email churn rate is around 25-30% per year? Or that 45% of recipients that receive a re-engagement email campaign from a brand will read further follow-up emails afterwards?

    Dormant email lists with little to no engagement can be harmful and bring no value to your business. People change emails, companies change names – it’s all a normal part of any industry. Yet, Beardbrand has found an original, creative and unique way to re-engage inactive subscribers and bring the brand to the top of the subscribers’ minds.

    [​IMG]

    With a subject line like “How fast can you grow?”, wouldn’t your interest be piqued? I know if I had a beard, I would’ve certainly opened such an email campaign. Moreover, instead of focusing on subscribers being inactive for two, three or four months, the brand built the entire re-engagement email on the fact that “human hair grows about 0.5 inches a month” and “your beard grew 1.5 inches since your last visit.”

    An uber-creative way of saying – “Where have you been?”. The re-engagement campaign then goes for gold with product recommendations and a FOMO CTA – “Check out what I’ve missed.

    Important: When sending re-engagement emails, segmentation is key. You wouldn’t want to bombard active, engaged subscribers/customers, would you?

    The two primary goals of re-engagement emails are to –

    a) re-engage (re-activate) dormant subscribers/customers; and
    b) establish if dormant subscribers/customers can be re-engaged.

    If you cannot re-engage inactive people on your email list – cleanse it. Inactive subscribers can have a potentially harmful effect on your reputation and, subsequently, your deliverability rate.

    Testimonial Emails

    More often than not, email marketers don’t give testimonials and social proof the attention they deserve. Sure, you will put reviews and testimonials on your website but how many of you consider the impact they can have when used in email marketing? This is where testimonial emails come into play.

    Right about now, you are probably raising eyebrows, scratching your head wondering why you would send such an email. But hear me out. I don’t mean you just slap a bunch of testimonials and/or reviews in an email and unleash it on your target audience.

    We all know testimonials are customer proclamations (unsolicited ones) certifying and endorsing the value of your products or services. According to stats, 95% of customers read reviews before making a purchase decision. Hence, testimonials have the power to influence hundreds or thousands of potential customers. Impressive, right?

    Testimonial emails will help you persuade recipients that your product/service is valuable, credible, beneficial and therefore, a “must-have” for them. However, keep in mind the goal is for your customers to learn the value of your product/service and what better way to do it than from other satisfied customers. It’s simple psychology. A product/service recommended by others is considered “better” than a product/service without social proof.

    Moreover, testimonial emails are way more fun and less informational than other types of email campaigns. Thus, you can let your creative juices flow and create unique, engaging emails with eye-popping images and an energetic tone you wouldn’t normally use.

    Here is a great example of a testimonial email from Judy

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    Final Thoughts

    Email marketing is the best, most effective and proven approach to acquiring and retaining customers, developing long-term quality relationships with your subscribers & customers whilst boosting ROI.

    Whether email marketing will make or break your business depends on the types of email campaigns you send and, of course, your email marketing automation strategy. So, it’s imperative to remember that by sending out different types of email campaigns, you will keep subscribers/customers happy, interested and engaged.

    These are the crucial points you must remember –

    a) email marketing is the best path to marketing success;
    b) every marketer needs to send these 10 types of email campaigns; and
    c) [applies to all types of email campaign] segmentation and personalisation are the key to a successful email marketing strategy.

    Bottom line, your email campaigns must be visually appealing AND valuable AND perfectly timed depending on the stage the subscriber/customers are in the buyer journey. After all, what good is a crazy-awesome email campaign if it doesn’t deliver value to the recipient?

    Are you ready to start maximising your email marketing’s effectiveness?

    Highly recommended further reading –

    1) Writing Marketing Emails 101
    2) Email Design Trends 2021
    3) Email Marketing and Landing Pages
    4) Top 10 Email Campaign Examples That Convert
    5) Turn Your Emails Into Lead-Gen Machines
    6) Email Marketing Campaign Checklist (PDF version here)
  • The Great Email Heist and A Data Protection Report Mar 23, 2021

    Is the Microsoft Exchange hack about to be dubbed “The Greatest Email Heist”? What does the DPC have to say about EU data protection and e-privacy laws?

    “If you spend more on your coffee than on securing your email communications, you’ll be hacked.” – EmailOut


    In this article, we’ll cover the following email industry news:
    1. Microsoft Exchange server hacked
    2. Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) 2020 Annual Report
    Let’s dive in.

    Microsoft Hacked: The Great Email Robbery

    A Microsoft Exchange Server hack is not just another data breach.

    The email servers of tens of thousands of businesses and local governments are being pillaged due to four zero-day vulnerabilities in Microsoft Exchange Server putting us days away from potentially the “greatest email heist”. The impact of the Microsoft Exchange hack is expected to be even bigger than SolarWinds.

    At the beginning of March, investigative reporter Brian Krebs reported that –

    “At least 30,000 organisations across the United States – including a significant number of small businesses, towns, cities and local governments – have, over the past few days, been hacked by an unusually aggressive Chinese cyber-espionage unit (Hafnium) that’s focused on stealing email from victim organisations.”

    Microsoft Exchange Vulnerabilities

    The four zero-day critical vulnerabilities impacting Exchange 2013, 2016 and 2019 acknowledged by Microsoft are –

    1) a Server Side Request Forgery (SSRF) leading to crafted HTTP requests being sent by an unauthorised attacker (CVE-2021-26855)
    2) insecure deserialisation in the Exchange Unified Messaging Service allowing attackers to deploy arbitrary commands (CVE-2021-26857)
    3) a post-authentication arbitrary file write (CVE-2021-26858)
    4) a post-authentication arbitrary file write (CVE-2021-27065)

    According to Microsoft, cybercriminals have secured access to an Exchange Server either via the four 0-day vulnerabilities or through stolen credentials.

    Microsoft further comment on the Microsoft Exchange hack –

    The initial attack requires the ability to make an untrusted connection to Exchange server port 443. This can be protected against by restricting untrusted connections, or by setting up a VPN to separate the Exchange server from external access. Using this mitigation will only protect against the initial portion of the attack; other portions of the chain can be triggered if an attacker already has access or can convince an administrator to run a malicious file.

    Microsoft has released patches to tackle the severe vulnerabilities. Yet, at the time of the release, the company stated the bugs are being actively exploited in “limited, targeted attacks” all over the globe.

    Unfortunately, the patches aimed to fix the problem are not “the remedy” as they provide a guide to reproduce the exploit – genius.

    upload_2021-3-23_10-36-49.png

    According to the White House’s press secretary, the US government is expressing growing concerns about the far-reaching impact of the Exchange hack and has issued an emergency warning urging federal agencies to immediately patch their systems.

    Irish DPC: 4,660 GDPR-related complaints

    The Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) released its 2020 Annual Report detailing the comprehensive span of regulatory work the organisation has done in overseeing the application of EU data protection and e-privacy laws.

    The report outlines and discusses the large scale inquires the DPC has undertaken such as –
    • complaints;
    • received breach notifications;
    • special projects relating to children;
    • special projects relating to cookies;
    • the impact and challenges of Brexit; and,
    • the impact and challenges of COVID-19.
    Report Highlights

    The DPC Annual Report conclusions cover the period January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020.
    • DPC handled 10,151 total cases in 2020 (up 9% compared to 2019)
    • DPC received 4,660 complaints from individuals under the GDPR
    • the most frequent GDPR queries and complaints in 2020:
      • access requests,
      • fair-processing,
      • direct marketing, and
      • the right to be forgotten.
    • the organisation received 6,628 valid security data breach notifications (up 10% compared to 2019)
    • December 31, 2020: the DPC had 83 statutory inquiries (on-hand) of which 27 were cross-border ones
    • the DPC received 354 cross-border processing complaints via the GDPR’s One-Stop-Shop
    • December 2020: first fine in a cross-border case – Twitter International Company (€450,000)
    • among the complaints filed 144 concerned electronic direct marketing of which 66 complaints related to emails
    • DPC also reports a new phenomenon: both organisations and individuals are attempting to misuse the GDPR
    Ireland’s Data Protection Commission currently has 27 open privacy investigations against Apple, Google and other tech companies who’ve set up an EU hub in Ireland.

    Interesting fact: Facebook accounts for nine of these privacy probes with more pending into WhatsApp and Instagram.

    You can download the Irish Data Protection Commission 2020 Annual Report here.

    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.
  • How To Boost Trust In Email Marketing Mar 11, 2021

    Despite the growth of chat and messenger apps, email reigns supreme as consumers’ preferred communication channel and an integral part of their daily online life.

    A business is nothing without loyal, happy and satisfied customers. However, gaining those customers’ trust requires hard work and careful planning. So, how can you build trust in email marketing?

    “Building trust is a process that requires time. Trust results from consistent, reliable and predictable interaction over time.” – Barbara M. White


    Back in 2019, the number of email users worldwide amounted to almost 4 billion and is expected to grow to nearly 4.5 billion in 2024. Unfortunately, these billions of people are also receiving tons of spam. As a matter of fact, according to stats, spam accounts for over 28% of emails globally. Thus, it’s understandable that leads/subscribers/customers are very cautious when they get email communications. But, it’s your job to offer reassurance and build trust in your email marketing with every single one of your recipients.

    In this article, we’ll help you build trust in email marketing by discussing:
    1. The importance of building customer relationships through email marketing
    2. Top tactics to build trust in email marketing –
    a) Ask before shaking hands
    b) Welcome aboard
    c) The ‘From’ name & email address
    d) Make it personal
    e) Automation
    f) Social proof

    Ready to learn more?

    For successful and effective email marketing, building trust with your target audience is crucial. The more trustworthy your email marketing is, the more engaged your audience will be. With more trust and engagement, your email campaign – be it a promo offer, special holiday deal, advice or valuable content – will be that much more impactful and powerful. Subsequently, building trust in email marketing, will drive more open and click-through rates, signups and, of course, sales.

    Did you know that 84% of marketers believe that building trust will be the main goal brands focus their marketing efforts on in the future? Hence, one of the best course of action toward achieving this goal would be to bet on an easy-to-use, free for life email marketing platform that shows you who is engaged with your marketing campaign, and perhaps, more importantly, who is not.

    Email Marketing & Building Trust

    2020 caused mayhem with plenty of unique challenges for businesses all over the globe thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Everything email marketers thought they knew about their customers’ expectations, experiences and email marketing behaviour changed dramatically. Many brands had to adjust both their short and long-term email marketing strategies to ensure a successful, efficient and effective transition into a post-pandemic email marketing world.

    Building trust in email marketing became essential.

    Tell me this… If a stranger asks you to give them a lift to the nearby post office, would you? What if it was your friendly, lived-there-forever, shared an occasional pint with next-door neighbour? As you’ve guessed, the answer relies on who is asking. It’s the nature of the relationship that will define your response and subsequent action. The more familiar the relationship, the easier would be to take action. The same applies to email marketing.

    Over time, when your audience knows, likes and trusts you, you will find that you’ve built trustworthy relationships that lead to prospects/subscribers/customers saying “Yes!” to your offers effortlessly. Overall, building trust in email marketing means repeat purchases, referrals and, most importantly, long-term loyalty.

    Just to drive the point home, here are some email marketing stats –
    • consumers spend around 5+ hours a day checking emails (3+ hrs on work: 2+ hrs on personal);
    • 91% of consumers prefer email to any other marketing communication channel;
    • 59% of consumers’ purchase decision-making is influenced by marketing emails;
    • 59% of B2B marketers attest email is their most effective channel for revenue generation;
    • 64% of B2B marketers utilise email automation;
    • 80% of B2C marketers use email to nurture their audience;
    • marketing emails are 6 times more likely to get click-throughs compared to social media platforms; and
    • email marketing has an ROI of 42:1.
    It’s pretty obvious why email marketing is crucial to the success of your business. By utilising email marketing to build trust with your audience, you will not only improve your brand’s reputation and drive higher conversions but also sustain that success and reassure your subscribers/customers they’ve made the right choice by choosing your business.

    6 Tactics To Help You Build Trust In Email Marketing

    You know email marketing is crucial to any great marketing strategy. Yet, as online competition grows, so does competition for the customers’ inbox. Therefore, providing a great customer experience and building trust between your brand and the customers through email marketing is vital. The better the customers’ experience with your email marketing, the happier they’ll be, and the greater your conversions and revenue will become.

    Now, the key to a happy customer goes beyond just giving them a great product/service. It starts with establishing a relationship through building trust via extraordinary email marketing campaigns and results in… you guessed it, conversions. Your customers NEED to trust you to deliver the exceptional product/service you rave about in your highly-personalised email campaign on top of the instant support should they require anything (i.e. further details, advice, alternative approach, tutorials, onboarding meeting, etc.).

    Regardless of whether you are building or retaining consumer trust through email marketing, you need a game plan. Yours starts with these 6 tried-and-tested methods to build trust in email marketing

    1) Get Permission

    As an email marketer, I’m certain you’ve heard of permission-based email marketing (a.k.a opt-in email marketing) and know how it works and why it’s important.

    I have no clue why I’m receiving this email but I’m glad I did. I guess I’ll go make a purchase now.” – said pretty much no one, ever.

    Hence, the first rule of permission-based email marketing: Make sure the audience you are sending your awesome email campaign(s) to wants them and has given you explicit permission to send them email communications.
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    Contacting people who have not given their express permission is –
    • a bad email marketing practice,
    • will not help you build trust and, most importantly, and
    • It’s probably illegal as you will be breaking email marketing laws.
    Furthermore, not obtaining permission will harm your email marketing metrics such as engagement, conversion and unsubscribe rates.

    2) Welcome Aboard

    First impressions matter. Thus, after people reach out to you, it is imperative to make a memorable first impression.

    [​IMG]

    In email marketing, welcome emails (a.k.a onboarding emails) is where you provide further information and guidance to your audience. By clearly outlining what recipients can expect from your brand’s email communications, you will not only build trust in email marketing but also make them feel prepared for what’s to come and more open to engaging with your email campaigns in future.

    People are most engaged with brands within the first 48 hours of signing up. Yet, 41% of businesses don’t send onboarding emails to newcomers during this crucial trust-building window. Moreover, welcome emails are the most commonly used type of automated marketing emails utilised by 58% of B2C marketers.

    Remember, in your welcome email, it’s essential to state –
    • how often you’ll be emailing them
    • what content you’ll be sending, and
    • how they can get the most out of your brand.
    When you send subscribers/customers a welcome email minutes apart from their signup or first purchase, you are setting the stage to build trust in your brand and future email marketing communications.

    3) Consistent ‘From’ name & email address

    You’ve probably gone through hundreds upon hundreds of articles on improving email subject lines and dozens of split tests to ensure your email campaign will tick all the right boxes and entice recipients to open and interact with it. However, as important as subject lines are, what appears next to your subject line – the ‘From’ name – is just as important, if not slightly more.

    Are your ‘From’ name and email address recognisable? Your ‘From’ name is the perfect place to start building trust with your target audience. People are way more inclined to open emails that come from actual people rather than brands. However, if they signed up for your email marketing communications, your brand’s name showing up in their inbox will be both expected and welcome.

    Moreover, if you are consistently sending highly-relevant, uber-personalised and valuable emails with the same ‘From’ name and from the same email address, your audience will come to associate both with good things. Hence, strengthening your relationship with leads/subscribers/customers and further building trust in your email marketing.

    If you are wondering about the ‘From’ field, this rule-of-thumb will help –

    Newsletter = your company’s name
    Sales email(s) = an account manager or sales representative
    Company news/performance = the CMO or CEO (if recognisable)

    4) Personalisation is key

    Did you know you can make your email marketing even more powerful by simply knowing how to fine-tune your email campaigns? Yes? No? How?

    Personalisation is crucial when you look to build trust in email marketing and your target audience. Your leads/subscribers/customers don’t want to feel like just another name and email address on your email list. They want understanding and appreciation.

    Actually, according to research, one of the basic human desires is to feel unique. Thus, by showing your target audience you know them, understand their needs/desires/interests and appreciate their ‘uniqueness’ (I mean it in a good way!), they will be much more likely to trust and engage with your email marketing communications.

    Remember, personalisation goes beyond just the subject line and using the recipients’ first name. If you want to build trust in email marketing and nurture the relationship with your audience, make sure you’ve taken the necessary steps to get to know your leads/subscribers/customers and crafted relevant, personalised, valuable email copy they will most definitely enjoy.

    5) Email automation

    On top of making your target audience feel valued, appreciated and understood with highly-personalised email campaigns, your timing needs to be perfect.

    The reason people are coming to you is that you offer products/services or information they desperately need and want. When they give you their personal information, they expect you to reach out to them pretty much instantly. This is where email automation comes into play.

    From welcome and thank you emails to purchase confirmations and delivery updates, with the right email marketing software you will be able to automate pretty much every email message (i.e. autoresponders) and send it out once a specific trigger has been met. Moreover, with email automation, you will be able to save time and avoid turning into a stress-monkey.

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    The longer your email takes to hit the recipients’ inbox, the more nervous people get. With being unsure if their purchase went through or if they successfully signed up, people will ultimately question if they can trust your business and, subsequently, your email marketing.

    6) Social proof

    Some people might need a bit more time – and effort on your part – to trust your business. Human beings are more likely to trust others’ recommendations when making purchasing decisions. It’s just how we are wired. This is where using social proof will help you strengthen your reputation and build trust in email marketing.

    Testimonials, reviews, case studies, referrals, etc. are powerful forms of social proof you can add to your email campaigns to show your target audience that other people trust your business and have benefited from what you have to offer.

    Final Thoughts

    Like any relationship, building trust takes time. It will not happen overnight. Yet, without trust, you have nothing. Email marketing presents the perfect chance to build trust and nurture the relationship with your target audience. However, the crux is to know which method for building trust in email marketing to use and when to use it.

    To ensure you build trust in email marketing, remember these five important tips
    • always get permission to contact recipients
    • stay true to what you say in your emails
    • make people feel appreciated with every email
    • be reliable, consistent and reputable
    • always personalise your campaigns
    Are you ready to make your email marketing even more trustworthy?

    Highly recommended further reading –

    1) Writing Marketing Emails 101
    2) Email Design Trends 2021
    3) Top 10 Email Campaigns That Convert
    4) Email Marketing Campaign Checklist (PDF version here)
  • Email Marketing and Landing Pages: A Symbiotic Relationship Mar 9, 2021

    When sending emails to your target audience, you want them to take action. Newsletter signup. Register for a webinar. Shop on your website.

    How can you motivate more recipients to take action and supercharge your conversion rates? Email marketing and landing pages on their own are powerful tools. Yet, together they are an unstoppable marketing force.

    “Your landing pages are not Wikipedia. Don’t add unnecessary links.” – Oli Gardner


    A well-thought-out and designed landing page can significantly increase conversions for your email marketing campaigns. Rather than having a content-heavy email campaign or directing readers to your general website (where they might get distracted), make the experience easier by directing them to specifically-designed email landing pages that will steer them precisely in the direction you want them to go.

    In this article, we’ll cover the following email marketing and landing pages topics:
    1. What is a landing page?
    2. Email post-click landing page – what is it?
    3. What can a landing page do for your email marketing?
    Ready to find out?

    To confidently make a conversion (i.e. sale), you first need to build a relationship with your target audience. Keep in mind, relationships are built at different stages.

    Transforming your audience from “I recognise that brand… they seem okay” to “I can’t recall life before finding this brand!” might seem like a Herculean task. Yet, all it takes are only a few strategic tweaks. Therefore, one of the best places to start building a relationship with your leads and customers is through email marketing and landing pages.

    Why does establishing a relationship matter? Can’t I just make the sale as quick as possible?

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    The simple truth is that people function on connections and a sense of belonging. They want to feel nurtured and looked after. Especially during the sales process.

    If you want to build a more lasting impression and create a personal connection with your audience, start caring more about the people and their experience with your brand (i.e. email campaigns, landing pages, general website, etc.) rather than competition and revenue. The latter will come once the people know, like and trust you.

    The Essence Of A Landing Page

    A landing page is a follow-up to any offer, deal or promise you’ve made in your email campaign’s copy. It’s essentially the next step you take towards converting a visitor to a lead and then, the Holy Grail, a customer.

    Just as any other part of your digital marketing arsenal, landing pages require specific clear goals. Without them, you won’t be able to craft an effective landing page. The second crucial element is the specific expectations. From previous experience and anecdotal evidence to simple wishful thinking, it’s helpful to have numbers to compare your results to (i.e. total number of previous conversions or visitors from a specific landing page).

    There are many different types of landing pages

    a) Lead capture page

    Lead-capture landing pages are post-click landing pages where an optimised lead-capture form is hosted for the sole purpose of collecting information about leads such as email address, name, job title, industry, etc. The captured information is later used to build a relationship with your leads and nurture them down the marketing funnel to reach a conversion.

    b) ‘Get Started’ page

    ‘Get Started’ landing pages seek to persuade the visitor to take action by highlighting the benefits of getting started with a service. EmailOut’s Home page is a perfect example of landing page brilliance. It leads with a clear headline – “Think Outside The Inbox”. Then, it follows through by detailing all the benefits of using the email marketing platform. Hooked already? All this excellence is then wrapped up by prompting the visitor to get started with a prominent call-to-action – “Get My Free Account”.

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    c) ‘Unsubscribe’ page

    No marketer enjoys building a landing page for people abandoning ship. Nevertheless, it’s crucial not to ignore that having an ‘unsubscribe’ page is a must. It should tell people they’ve successfully unsubscribed, give them the option to update their preferences and present you with another opportunity to entice those leavers to stay. Look at Bonobos

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    d) 404 page

    Ideally, you do not want users to see a 404 page – at all. Crafting one probably isn’t even in your top 10 landing page to-dos. However, to ensure the superiority of your brand (even with a 404 crisis) and maintain your audience’s interest, you need one. Turn a negative into a positive. Entertain the visitor. Marvel, for example, has done an outstanding job with their 404 landing page –

    [​IMG]

    e) ‘Thank You’ page

    More often than not, ‘Thank You’ landing pages serve no real purpose aside from keeping it professional, showing gratitude and indicating the finalisation of the conversion process. It tells the visitor what they already know. However, you can showcase your awesomeness by offering the visitor something extra. Take a look at Optimizely

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    f) Email Post-Click Landing Page

    You’ve certainly heard of post-click landing pages. Well, email post-click landing pages are pretty much the same. They are standalone pages utilising persuasive elements (i.e. testimonials, signup or contact forms, benefit-oriented copy, etc.) to entice visitors to convert. As the name implies, prospects/leads reach those pages after clicking on a link in your email.

    Simply put, email post-click landing pages are a virtual elevator switch. A one-page summary of your offer (or whatever your email campaign is focusing on) offering further beneficial information to the visitors to seduce them to take the desired action.

    Think about it. With email generating the highest ROI compared to any other marketing channel, combining it with landing pages will make you a force to be reckoned with.

    Email Marketing and Landing Pages: How Do They Work Together?

    Have you ever wondered why email marketing platforms offer landing pages as a feature?

    They go together like Batman and Robin. Anthony and Cleopatra. Richart Burton and Liz Taylor. You cannot have a highly successful and profitable marketing campaign without combining email marketing and landing pages. Yes, you will achieve some good results with only an email campaign. But, why settle for good when you can have great.

    Before you dig in into why email marketing and landing pages are a dynamic duo you need, here’s a refresher of how the email marketing funnel works –

    [​IMG]

    Noticed something? Hint: Landing pages are included in the very first stage.

    With 91% of consumers preferring email to any other communication channel, followed by 61% favouring websites, it is imperative to design email campaigns that resonate with your target audience AND landing pages that further prompt recipients to take the action you want.

    Yes, open and click-through rates are important email marketing KPIs. But, what good is an email campaign if it does not entice readers to convert? Once it does make them click-through then what? What happens after your audience clicks on the call-to-action (CTA)? They go to a specifically tailored landing page and then what?

    The landing page your leads or customers end up on after the click is as important as your email campaign message. Therefore, each email campaign should come with its own landing page (if possible or required). One explicitly designed for the segmented target audience.

    What makes a great email landing page?

    The elements of a normal landing page are –

    a) a robust and prominent call-to-action (CTA),
    b) an enticing offer,
    c) compelling copy; and,
    d) an irresistible headline.

    Yet, unlike normal landing pages with multiple CTAs and many things to focus on, email landing pages have one specific CTA allowing the visitor to concentrate on one task and one task alone. This way, the likelihood of leads/subscribers/customers following through with the action increases exponentially. Moreover, the stronger your email landing page, the more confident you’ll be directing newcomers to it and achieving a conversion.

    What if you don’t have a specific email post-click landing page? In all probability, the recipient will be directed to your homepage – or product/service page – and they have to figure out how to follow through on the CTA they clicked in your email.

    When combining email marketing and landing pages, it’s imperative to follow best practice
    • Craft compelling and catchy headlines that are easy to read and understand
    • Stick to one clear, prominent and compelling CTA to reduce the risk of confusion
    • Make it visually engaging with relevant images or videos
    • Utilise SEO best practice with keyword-rich landing pages for better SEM results*
    • Use a FOMO approach to prompt visitors to take immediate action
    • Avoid typical website navigation to ensure visitors won’t escape the landing page by clicking away on other links
    • Always keep your email and landing page coordinated by maintaining the same design (i.e. font, colour, logo, etc.)
    • Highlight your Privacy Policy to build trust with your prospects and leads
    • Each email campaign should have a dedicated landing page
    • Test, test and test again to check what works best and drive conversions effortlessly
    *A bonus: Your email post-click landing page could be indexed by search engines. Hence, your ranking will improve when people do a keyword search. So, carefully think-through the SEO element of your landing page.

    Email Marketing + Landing Pages = Marketing’s Dynamic Duo

    The beauty of combining email marketing and landing pages is that you ALREADY have the email addresses and know something about the recipient – where they signed up from, perhaps previous purchases and the like. Thus, the email landing page can be tailored to that information and, in turn, lead to a conversion. Additionally, you will be able to –
    • Welcome new subscribers/customers and make an awesome first impression
    • Onboard customers with highly personalised email campaigns based on their needs
    • Nurture quality leads and focus their attention on taking a specific action
    • Send tailored recommendations based on email list segmentation
    • Rekindle inactive users with further assistance, offers, deals, etc.
    Whether you are launching a new product/service or assessing interest in new campaign content – Black Friday, Cyber Monday or Christmas special offers, you can craft specific landing pages that will seamlessly connect to your email marketing ensuring higher conversions and ROI.

    Keep in mind, it won’t happen overnight. You will have to evaluate, improve and test over and over. But, at least with all this information at your fingertips, you’ll start (if you haven’t already) with a strong foundation.

    How To Create A Signup Form With EmailOut

    When advertising a new product launch or a service, you’ll need to collect data. Therefore, your landing page will require a signup form. You can create one with EmailOut in 3 easy steps.

    1) Choose your signup form’s title
    2) Select the data
    3) Copy the code


    Once you’ve collected the data you require, this can, in turn, trigger an autoresponder series –

    a) Thank You & Welcome
    b) Promote the new product in the original advert
    c) Offer % discount on additional purchase
    d) Abandon cart


    N.B. EmailOut’s sign up form allows drag and drop functionality. Thus, you can rearrange the data fields to change their order.

    [​IMG]

    Final Thoughts

    Designing email campaigns and landing pages is an art. It requires high attention to detail, “outside the (in)box” thinking, uniqueness and a dash of creativity. However, by considering these 6 important factors, the whole process will be fairly easy.

    1) match the message – email marketing campaigns and landing pages must be coordinated.
    2) match the look & feel – use the same design, colour palette, font, etc.
    3) make it simple – DON’T overcomplicate your landing page with tons of copy and images.
    4) one prominent compelling CTA – the entire point of email landing pages is to keep the focus on ONE task. Don’t introduce more opportunities to divert – or confuse – the reader.
    5) fortify the decision – if you’re encouraging the reader to open a FREE email marketing account, explain why it’s a good idea and what the benefits are.
    6) always A/B test – just like you would test email campaigns before unleashing them to your target audience, it’s best practice to test your landing pages.

    Remember, your email post-click landing pages must be error-free, easy to read and reinforce the email campaign’s call-to-action focusing visitors’ attention on one clear task.

    Are you ready to put the dynamic duo to work and reach your marketing goals faster?

    Highly recommended further reading –

    1) Writing Marketing Emails 101
    2) Email Design Trends 2021
    3) How To Collect Emails For Email Marketing?
    4) The Ultimate Email Marketing Campaign Checklist
  • Digital Marketing News: Facebook vs Australia, Google Search & Ads and Visual UGC For The Purchasing Win Mar 8, 2021

    What happened with Australia and Facebook’s face-off? Where did Google Search Features Snippets go? Google Display Ads in Attribution reports? Can visual UGC influence consumers’ shopping journey?

    “Mediocre marketers think in terms of campaigns. Great marketers think in terms of growth frameworks. ” – Neil Patel


    In this article, we’ll cover the following digital marketing news:
    1. Facebook unfriended Australia
    2. Google Search & Featured snippets recession
    3. Google Display Ads open beta
    4. [Report] A picture’s worth a thousand words: How visual and social content increase online sales
    Ready to dive in?

    Social Media

    A Face-Off: Australia vs Facebook


    The social media conglomerate unfriended Australia after the government planned to pass a new law that will require tech companies to pay Australian news publishers for news content used/shared in search results and news feeds.

    Australia’s Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg stated the new code will “ensure that news media businesses are fairly remunerated for the content they generate.” This will potentially set the stage for other countries to follow suit with similar actions and showing people we are entering a new era of technology regulation.

    Facebook’s Managing Director for AU & NZ region William Easton covered the matter in a blog post with a “…that hurts YOU more than us” attitude specifying the restrictions Facebook will put in place plus the consequences publishers and platform users will face if they break the rules.

    Easton stated that “people and news organisations in Australia are now restricted from posting news links and sharing or viewing Australian and international news content on Facebook. Globally, posting and sharing news links from Australian publishers is also restricted.

    The conflict is on its way to being resolved. However, Facebook continues to vigorously defend its opposition towards similar far-reaching measures.

    Interesting news: Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp Australia Executive Chairman M. Miller announced that due to the face-off, referral traffic from Facebook disappeared on February 18 whilst direct traffic to their website has gone up in double-digits.

    Search Engine and SEO News

    Google Search Showing Fewer Featured Snippets

    Last year, Ahrefs described Google’s intense rollout of Featured Snippets as a “featured-snippet-geddon”. In fact, a 2020 Ahrefs study stated that approximately 14M out of 112M keywords in its US database had Features Snippets in their SERPs.

    However, all that seems to be changing.

    According to Barry Schwartz, starting February 18, SEO experts and tool providers began noticing a significant drop in the number of Featured Snippets showing in Google Search results.

    MOZ

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    RankRanger

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    SEMRush

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    Despite all these SEO tools tracking different keywords, all of them are experiencing a decrease in the number of Featured Snippets in SERPs. Currently, the reason for this drop is uncertain. It might be a Google bug in which case things will bounce back. Or, it might be an intentional change at Google’s end.

    If the majority of your website traffic comes from Featured Snippets, this issue can potentially impact your website traffic. Thus, make sure you are monitoring your analytics. If Google is not showing any Featured Snippets but you are still ranking okay – you’ve got nothing serious to worry about. However, according to Schwartz, “if you are ranking low, you’d want to ensure the appropriate structured data is added for Google to richen up your results.”

    PC and Ads News

    Google Display Ads In Attribution Reports (Open Beta)

    In 2020, Google Ads simplified its attribution reporting (previously called Search attribution) and added YouTube ads – in beta – as well. Now, the company has included Display Ads (as an open beta) to Google Ads Attribution reports allowing advertisers to have a more holistic view of their Google media.

    Marketers eligible for Display Ads can opt-in within the Measurement > Attribution section in Google Ads. Once opted-in, advertisers will see Display Ads analytics in all attribution reports together with Search Ads and, if they’ve also opted-in, YouTube Ads too.

    Attribution reports include analytics such as Top Paths, Path metrics, Assisted Conversions and Model Comparison reports.

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    The metrics shown in the Attribution report will help advertisers identify the most common paths customers take to complete a conversion based on the ads they have interacted with; and, subsequently, make tweaks (if necessary). Moreover, Display Ads with attribution reporting can help advertisers monitor how ad campaigns across different channels complement each other and ‘push’ customers along their journey.

    Digital Marketing News

    User-Generated Visual Content Influences Purchases

    A report by Bazaarvoice in collaboration with Savanta shows that, aside from consumer reviews as a key aspect in purchase decisions, user-generated visual content is becoming crucial to influencing consumers’ purchasing journey.

    Nearly ⅔rds (62%) of consumers from the US, UK, Canada, Germany, France and Australia state they are more likely to purchase a product if they could see consumer photos or videos. Additionally, 24% of consumers state that extra information can highlight something about the product that was not obvious before; with 21% saying they’d like to see a product ‘in action’ before ultimately deciding to buy it.

    Moreover, user-generated content (UGC) appears to be an important factor strongly affecting consumers’ purchasing decisions. According to the report, visual UGC affects consumers across social media platforms differently –

    For purchase | For influencing

    a) Facebook – 4% | 25.3%
    b) Instagram – 4% | 17.3%
    c) YouTube – 8% | 20.6%
    d) Pinterest – 3% | 5%
    e) TikTok – 5% | 4.1%
    f) Snapchat – 5% | 2%
    g) Twitter –9% | 2.4%

    Businesses should definitely take note of this. Why would you spend more time and money on large-scale production when you can utilise influencers and user-generated content as a cheap, easy and quick option to influence consumers’ purchasing decisions?

    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.
  • Email Industry News: Spy Pixels In Emails & MailChimp Bullying Its Engineers Mar 4, 2021

    Do you need to be freaked out about your privacy by spy pixels in emails? Is MailChimp harassing, discriminating and underpaying its engineers?

    “I want to do business with a company that treats emailing me as a privilege, not a transaction.” – Andrea Mignolo

    In this article, we’ll cover the following email industry news:
    1. ‘Spy pixels’ in email
    2. MailChimp accused of sexism and bullying towards employees
    Let’s dive in.

    The Fuss Around ‘Spy Pixels’ In Email

    Every image on the Internet is stored on a server which is then automatically downloaded by your PC whilst you surf the Net. Your PC’s image requests can let those servers track your activity across the web. In terms of email, those images allow senders to track when and if a recipient has opened their email by adding an itty-bitty image called a tracking pixel.

    The whole process is remarkably simple. When a recipient opens an email, the image is automatically downloaded; and, the image request subsequently notifies the server that the email has been opened.

    Email marketers have been using tracking pixels since 1900-and-frozen-to-death. They help marketers measure engagement rates, evaluate email campaigns’ success; and, possibly, send more personalised follow-up messages. They are also considered best practice and commonplace marketing practice. Suddenly, the BBC asks HEY – a messaging service – to analyse its traffic and what do you know, roughly ⅔ of emails sent to its users’ private email accounts contain a ‘spy pixel’ and the co-founder of the company condemn them as an endemic privacy concern and a “grotesque invasion of privacy”.

    A bit of background

    To shed some light, spy pixels (a.k.a tracking pixels) are tiny invisible images (PNG or GIFs) added to the email body to track open rates. Often, they are as small as 1×1 pixels making them invisible to the naked eye.

    These tracking pixels are used to determine the impact of email campaigns such as –
    • if and when the message was opened
    • how many times it was opened
    • the device(s) involved
    • the recipients’ IP address.
    Keep in mind similar pixels are also widely used on web domains to track visitors (Facebook, Google, Chat-bots etc). So, should you stop browsing the Internet for fear of your privacy violation?

    Massive businesses like British Airways, TalkTalk, Vodafone, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, HSBC, Marks & Spencer, ASOS and Unilever are among the ones HEY detected to be using tracking pixels. Do you believe they are invading your privacy? Or, are they ensuring there’s a way for them to send more relevant and beneficial content to improve your experience?

    The BBC asked two of the above companies about their use of tracking pixels and this is what they said –

    British Airways: “We take customer data extremely seriously, and use a cross-industry standard approach that allows us to understand how effective our customer communications are.”

    TalkTalk: “As is common across our industry and others, we track the performance of different types of communications to understand what our customers prefer. We do not share this data externally.

    The thing about tracking pixels is quite simple. If people have given you explicit consent to contact them via email and you’ve clearly stated in your Privacy Policy you may track their activity, you’ve done nothing wrong. On the contrary, you are working towards providing a better service and experience for your target audience.

    MailChimp: A Sexist, Discriminating and Underpaying Employer

    Kelly Ellis, a principal software engineer at MailChimp, resigned accusing the email marketing company of bullying, gender discrimination and underpaying.

    upload_2021-3-4_10-15-7.png

    Kelly has quite the follower-base on Twitter and is frequently seen posting about gender and racial discrimination. Back in 2017, she and other female engineers sued Google (Kelly worked there for 4+ years) on the basis the conglomerate was paying women less than men. A court is currently deciding whether or not to grant the lawsuit class-action status.

    Following her actions, MailChimp’s Chief People & Culture Officer Robin White emailed employees stating “we’ve thoroughly and independently investigated the allegations that were raised and found them to be unsubstantiated.” If that was the case, why would Ellis submit her resignation?

    Furthermore, White said, “we know that many of you are looking for more transparency around employee pay and we are committed to that and already have a plan for increased transparency this year.” Well, if Ellis’ claim was unsubstantiated, why the need for more transparency?

    Even MailChimp’s CEO, Ben Chestnut, sent an email to employees stating he and his fellow executives will be meeting soon to resolve the issue. Staff input will be welcomed via email – anonymously. Let’s hope they don’t put a tracking pixel in the ‘anonymous email. If the CEO got involved then the situation must be more serious than White portrayed in his email. Seems like a lot of board-room activity for ‘unsubstantiated’ allegations?

    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.
  • The Best Email Marketing Campaign Checklist Mar 3, 2021

    Unleashing your email campaign to your target audience can be one of the most nerve-racking experiences for any email marketer. Do you get “The FEAR” before you hit send?

    Is my ‘From’ email address recognisable? Is the subject line personalised and spell-checked? How about the email copy? Have I considered the pre-header? Are all the links working? Is the call-to-action clear, compelling and linked? Have I missed any typos or misspelt any words? More often than not, you spend so much time staring at your email campaign, you may miss the small details.

    “There is no formula for the perfect email. Authentic, concise and honest messaging always works.” – EmailOut


    In this article, we’ll cover the following email marketing campaign checklist sections – The:
    1. From Field
    2. Subject Line
    3. Preheader
    4. Body
    5. Footer
    6. Data
    7. Tech
    8. Test(s)
    9. Buy-In
    10. Timing
    11. Analysis
    Ready to dive in?

    Every email marketer knows an email campaign – or newsletter – should be double, even triple checked before letting it fly out to the subscribers’ inbox. As embarrassing as the occasional dodgy email can be when sent to just one person, it is nothing compared to the immeasurable anguish you will feel when you send an email campaign full of errors to your entire email list. The good news is there is a way for you to alleviate any fear of sending disastrous email campaigns as well as avoid making any mistakes. All you need is an email marketing campaign checklist.

    If you’ve made a spelling mistake in your blog post? Don’t fuss, it’s easily fixable – just update it.

    There is a broken link or a typo in your Tweet or Facebook post? No worries. Delete it and post a new one.

    But make a mistake in your email campaign? Oh, no. There’s no way to fix it.

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    You are only human. Humans err. Some mistakes are easier to fix without them hurting your brand. With others, you may have no such luck. Email doesn’t have an ‘unsend’ button. Any mistakes made in your email campaign will be permanent. Since email has the highest ROI among digital channels, mistakes can be very, very costly.

    While every business has its process of proofing their email campaigns before sending, sometimes little things slip through the cracks. With this email marketing campaign checklist, you will have EVERYTHING you need to ensure you nail every campaign, every time.

    The From Field

    Who is the email coming from? Your company? Yourself? Your pet porcupine?

    Usually, people are more inclined to open emails coming from an actual person rather than a brand. Yet, since they’ve signed up for your email correspondence, your brand name popping in their inbox should be both expected and welcomed.

    If you are wondering about the ’From Field’, this rule-of-thumb will help –

    Newsletter = your company’s name
    Sales email = their account manager’s name (or a sales rep)
    Company performance/news = the CMO or CEO (if recognised)

    Pro tip 1: It makes the most sense to choose the person – or entity – your subscribers are expecting to receive content from. It’ll maximise your open, engagement and click-through rates. Different account managers for different clients? No problem, personalise the From Field with the recipient’s account managers name and a ‘fall-back’ of your company’s name.

    The Subject Line

    Writing an irresistible subject line makes all the difference between a successful email campaign and a mediocre one. Luckily, there’s a science behind what works, and if you need some inspiration, these 7 brilliant subject line examples will do the trick.

    Before we get into the nitty-gritty of subject lines, did you know that 69% of recipients report emails as SPAM solely based on the subject line? Moreover, 47% of recipients open emails based on the subject line alone.

    Now, is your subject line personalised? Emails with personalised subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened. So, boost your open rates with something personal for each recipient starting from their name, company or last order in the subject line.

    Is the key information within the first 50 characters (recommended length) of your subject line? If not, you might want to re-think it or risk recipients just skipping right past your email. These 27 short, sharp, inbox-friendly ideas can help. Lastly, did you spell check your email subject line? You don’t want to embarrass yourself – and your brand – as Café Rouge did, do you?

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    Or Victoria’s Secret…

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    As funny as some recipients might find such subject line mistakes, you wouldn’t want to come across as unprofessional, flaky or inappropriate?

    The Preheader

    An email preheader (a.k.a preview text, snippet or Johnson Box – don’t ask why) is the line of text that shows under your email campaign’s subject line when displaying emails in different clients. Gmail and Yahoo!, for example, will place the preheader next to your subject line. Thus, you should consider your subject line and preheader joint at the hip.

    Now, ask yourself, do they make sense when put together? Are they repetitive?

    To be honest, repeating your subject line in the preheader is seriously ineffective and, quite frankly, lazy. Don’t waste valuable space by just rehashing your subject line, your target audience can already see it. Rather, your preheader should build on the subject line, not parrot it. Yet, at the same time, you also need to be consistent. If the preheader goes off in a completely different direction to the subject line, recipients will get confused and far, far less likely to open your email campaign.

    On the other hand, there is also the option of not using a preheader. In those instances, some email clients will take the alt text of the first image in your email campaign and use it instead. Therefore, if you have images (which you should to compliment your copy), make sure you’ve created relevant, descriptive alt text for each one. Otherwise, things could get weird.

    Lastly, always spell check – everything.

    The Body

    1) Brand Voice
    Let’s say you decided not to use your logo in an email campaign. Can your audience easily identify your brand as soon as they open the email?

    Defining your brand voice is crucial to set yourself as unique, memorable and authentically ‘you’ in the eyes of your subscribers. Yet, don’t go overboard. Make sure to use a brand voice they would want to listen to.

    2) Personalisation
    With the brand voice box ticked, your next step is to ensure you’ve used personalisation as much as possible. It’s not just about the subscribers first name, you know.

    Write your content as if you’re talking to a buddy. It’ll transform your email campaign into an engaging marketing piece confirming the email actually came from you – and not some automated bot – and create a conversation. It’s a two-way street. You cannot expect the subscribers to engage if you’re talking at them instead of to them.

    3) Data field fallbacks
    Next on your email marketing campaign checklist is to check the personalisation data field fallback. All that subscriber’s information you’ve been collecting for months, years, decades(?) is the key to successful personalisation. But, if you have missing subscriber data, do you have a fallback in place?

    For example, [FirstName]/”there” = Hi Dave/Hi there

    or

    [Company]/”your company” = We hope NewCo is benefiting from…/We hope your company is benefiting from… You get the picture.

    4) Email copy
    Moving on to nailing your email copy. Have you proofread it? No. Do it – again and again, and again. Are there any typos or grammar errors? Does it flow effortlessly? If you’ve been “at it” for too long, get a second pair of eyes on it. Sometimes spotting your own mistakes can be tricky. Remember, always test for spelling, grammar, punctuation and overall readability.

    Pro tip 2: Short, punchy and to-the-point sentences work best. You pretty much have about 5 to 8 seconds to engage your target audience, so hit’em hard and fast!

    5) Headlines
    Your next step on the email marketing campaign checklist is ensuring your headlines are consistent when it comes to their colour, font, size and, especially, linking them appropriately to the relevant landing pages.

    6) Call-to-action (CTA)
    Next is the call-to-action (CTA). Every single campaign you email out serves a purpose.

    Without a prominent call-to-action, your target audience will have nothing to act on. Consequently, your email campaign will be reduced to nothing more than a piece of information. Of course, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Yet, no call-to-action means not achieving the results and ROI you are aiming for.

    Therefore, every email campaign must have at least one hyperlinked call-to-action or a clickable CTA button.

    The questions you need to ask yourself when completing this part of your email campaign pre-flight check are –

    • Is your call-to-action clear?
    • Is it compelling?
    • Have you chosen the optimal CTA placement?
    • Does the call-to-action create a sense of urgency?
    • Are you giving the reader a reason to click NOW?
    • Is it offering benefits to the reader?
    • Is the CTA button colour appropriate?
    • The font – is it legible?
    • Is the CTA button linked?
    Pro tip 3: If your call-to-action takes more than 6 seconds to read, it’s too long.

    Pro tip 4: Personalisation does not only apply to the email copy and subject line. It also goes a long way with your call-to-action.

    Pro tip 5: The average CTA button size is 36 pt. However, if you choose to go with bigger, make sure it will not overwhelm your copy and test the campaign to see how it’ll render on different devices (i.e. desktop, smartphone, tablet).

    12 Call-To-Action Examples That Convert >>>

    7) Imagery
    Images
    , GIFs, illustrations and cinemagraphs are all important visual elements of any email marketing campaign as they compliment the email copy. However, it goes beyond just dumping relevant images in your email campaign. These are the key questions you need to ask yourself when carrying out an email pre-flight check –
    • Does EVERY image have the appropriate alt text relevant to the email campaign? Important: Remember, image alt text is crucial, especially for your top image, since it’s what email clients will use as a preheader – if you haven’t crafted one.
    • Are ALL images linked to the corresponding squeeze page, offer or blog post?
    • How is the load time? Is it acceptable at the recipients’ end? Or, do you need to optimise your imagery?
    • For GIFs: Adding motion to your email campaign is a brilliant idea. However, have you tested how GIFs will look in different email clients?
    • What about your background image? Do you have a background colour fallback in place in case the recipients’ email client doesn’t accept background images?
    8) Can’t Read Link?
    If your email campaign is image-heavy (which you should avoid unless it’s vital) or you are worried about display/rendering issues in different email clients or you simply want to give your recipients the option to view your email in a web browser rather than the inbox, you most definitely need a “Can’t read link?” (a.k.a View In Browser).

    Just don’t hide it at the bottom of your email campaign. Instead, give it a prominent place at the top of the email – preferably the top-right corner. Ah, and make sure it works.

    9) Want New Subscribers?
    Well, who doesn’t?

    Why don’t you add a way for people who were forwarded your awesome email campaign to join your troops too – i.e. sign up for your email list(s)? For example –

    Was this email forwarded to you? Do you want to get our valuable tips and tricks dropped straight to your inbox weekly/fortnightly/monthly? Our newsletter is just a click away.

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    Important: Make sure your CTA button is linked to your newsletter opt-in form and that the link is working.

    The Footer

    Your email campaign’s footer is one of the most crucial elements of your email despite some email marketers overlooking it as unimportant. It serves three purposes

    1) indicates the end of your message;
    2) offers yet another place to reiterate your call-to-action; and,
    3) keeps you compliant with email marketing legislation as it includes your company’s legal name, registered address and number. It’s a legal requirement in the UK, EU and several other countries.

    Next step on your email marketing campaign checklist is the unsubscribe link. Do you have one in the footer? No. Are you trying to keep your recipients hostage? It’s mandatory to allow people to opt-out from your marketing correspondence.

    Do make sure YOU do not unsubscribe yourself from your test emails though.

    Truth: I might’ve done it once or twice. Okay, it was more than that so I know what I’m talking about.

    Moving on to your social sharing icons. Do they look pretty? Are they going where they are supposed to? Click them all to make sure.

    Lastly, for this section at least, add some permission text reminding your recipient why you’re emailing them. For example –

    [FirstName], you requested our monthly newsletter on 09/02/2021 when you opened a FREE account. Thank you for joining the EmailOut Troops!

    With professional email marketing software in your corner, you can easily add the permission text via a personalisation data field or dynamic content to ensure it is unique for every recipient.

    Interesting fact: Hotmail’s “P.S. I love youfooter which linked to their homepage was exactly what transformed the company from a nobody to a million-dollar business in just 18 months. So, don’t underestimate the power of the email footer.

    The Data

    To create highly-personalised, relevant and compelling email campaigns, you need to know your subscribers. Moreover, you need to ensure your email list is regularly updated and cleaned.

    With that in mind, have you uploaded the latest copy of your database including personalisation data fields – updating all existing fields? Regardless of how long it took you to build your email list, maintaining a healthy database with relevant subscriber information is key to successful personalisation.

    EmailOut’s recommendation is to carry out a spring clean of your email list every 6 months – at bare minimum.

    Next on the email marketing campaign checklist is consent. Do you have a qualified opt-in from ALL of your subscribers which is compliant with email marketing laws? If you are unsure, don’t taint your email list without obtaining a person’s explicit consent. This is crucial if you want to stay on the right side of email marketing laws and not be slammed with fines with many zeros. You don’t want to spam prospects, do you?

    Furthermore, think about any extra sources of recipients that should be suppressed (i.e. sales/support teams’ suppression data) and make sure you keep your suppression list updated.

    After you’ve checked your database ensuring you have all the recent, up-to-date information on your subscribers, it’s time to make sure you are sending the right email campaign to the right people. Thus, make sure you have properly segmented your email list.

    Personalisation is not a trend, it’s a marketing staple. It plays a key role in delivering relevant, beneficial and valuable content to your subscribers. So ask yourself, have you uploaded the correct data fields for personalisation? Do you have a suitable fallback option in case a subscriber’s info is not available – for example, “Hi [FirstName]/Dave/there”?

    The Tech

    Is your email campaign struggling to get through?

    There are two important checks for you to carry on –

    1) What is your sender score (0-100)? In the high 90’s? If that’s the case, congrats – that’s acceptable. If you want to check your sender score, this tool will help.

    Pro tip 6: You can get your IP from the headers of your delivered test campaigns. However, keep in mind your ESP may send test emails from a different IP compared to LIVE sends – so make sure to test both.

    2) Do a blacklist check. Additionally, check both your live sending IP address and the domain of your sending email address. You might get some surprising results.

    Remember, not all blacklists are born equal, being on ‘Bob’s Back-bedroom Blacklist’ is somewhat different to a SpamHaus listing.

    Any sender score below 90 or any blacklisting whatsoever and you should NOT send; don’t try to fix it yourself, call your ESP Support Team and they’ll get it sorted – if they don’t, get in touch with us and we will.

    The Test(s)

    Your email campaign is almost ready to be unleashed on your target audience. But, before you dazzle your subscribers with your awesome campaign, check a few more things and run some tests. For example –
    • Is your email campaign optimised for mobile? With EmailOut, it always will be.
    • Did you run a design test? To make sure you are delivering a perfect experience to your subscribers, you need to ensure your campaign’s design is not only top-notch but also rendering correctly across different email clients and devices. EmailOut’s Design Test feature allows you to preview your email campaign in 70+ different email clients and mobile devices in seconds – and it’s free.
    • With your design now flawless, run a spam test. EmailOut offers this feature for free. With a simple mouse click, you will test your email campaign against 23 of the most valuable spam filters.
    • You have two slightly different versions of your email campaign copy and design, you need to test which one will perform best – cue, split testing (a.k.a A/B testing). Ah, don’t forget to test one variable at a time (i.e. subject line, different imagery or CTA design, etc. – do not test more than one thing at a time).
    • Are you done testing? Perfect, now all you need to do is create the plain text version. Don’t panic, you won’t have to go through the entire creation process, it should be a simple 1-click operation. However, do review the copy after its generated and optimise any formatting if required.
    The Buy-In

    Does your email campaign need to be signed off internally before sending? If approval is required, now that it’s been spam and design tested, now is the time to go get the manager’s stamp of approval.

    Does your Sales Team know you’ve offered a 10% discount on product Y and that they may receive orders/enquiries? No? Make sure you’ve kept all the relevant teams in the loop before sending your email campaign.

    The Timing

    Timing is everything. Therefore, always send your newsletter or email campaign on the same day and at the same time if that’s when your subscribers are expecting to hear from you, don’t disappoint them.

    If you don’t want to follow a certain sending schedule, check your reports and analytics to establish when you get the highest
    • Open rates – day/time?
    • Click-through rates (CTR) – day/time?
    • Orders – day/time?
    Once you have the above data at hand, you can schedule your campaign to hit the highest of the most appropriate metric(s) which work for your audience.

    Lastly, have you made sure your colleagues aren’t hitting the same recipients with another campaign at the same time? You don’t want to bombard them. Rather, play the subtle game.

    The Analysis

    Lastly, the final section on your email marketing campaign checklist – the email marketing KPIs.

    Now that you’ve sent your email campaign to your target audience, make sure to check the metrics after the first 10 mins to ensure your campaign is sending successfully. You’ll want to make sure it is after all the hard work you’ve put into crafting and proofing it.

    Afterwards, periodically check and review the results to establish what resonates best with your subscribers so that you can deliver more of what they want and less of what they don’t. Test. Tweak. Optimise.

    Lastly, make yourself a cup of coffee/tea or a refreshing G&T whilst basking in the high praise coming from your colleagues regarding your email marketing mastery.

    You’ve nailed it!

    Final Thoughts

    You’ve now run out of excuses for campaign underperformance – periodically re-read this campaign checklist so that you’ll not miss even the smallest of details.

    Continually optimise, tweak, test and personalise – watch your future campaigns skyrocket, your open rates explode and your quarterly bonus balloon!

    Are you ready to make sure every email campaign will be perfect?

    Highly recommended further reading –

    1) Writing Marketing Emails 101
    2) Email Design Trends 2021
    3) How To Collect Emails For Email Marketing?
    4) How To Improve Your Email Sender Reputation?
  • Email Campaign Design: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Feb 23, 2021

    Beautiful email campaigns are nice. What you really need though are knockout email campaigns that convert. Good news is – you can achieve both. But, to do so, you must ensure your email campaign design is on point.

    As email marketers, we are thinking of, worrying about and juggling tons of different tasks. From branding and attention-grabbing copywriting through to crafting compelling call-to-actions (CTAs), proofreading, testing and, at the same time, staying within the confines of email marketing laws, we are pretty much an equivalent to jugglers – email jugglers.

    “Do you intend to treat your customers like a human or a cash machine? Build trust through good email campaign design and good intent.” –
    Andrea Mignolo

    The COVID-19 pandemic has been wreaking havoc since March 2020 and with that competition for the consumers’ inbox has become vicious. In 2020, over 306 billion emails were sent/received daily. This figure is expected to increase exponentially reaching more than 361 billion in 2024. Among all these billions of people are subscribers and customers from your target audience as well as leads you can convert. To make sure your emails will stand out and immediately grab their attention, your email campaign design must be top-notch.

    In this article, we’ll cover the following email campaign design topics:
    1. The Good: Awe-inspiring email campaign design examples
    2. The Bad: Poor email campaign design examples
    3. The Ugly: Horrific email campaign design examples
    Ready to start designing?

    Now and again, regardless of being an email marketing rockstar or a total newbie, we all need a bit of inspiration to nail our email campaign design. Yet, who should we derive inspiration from? Some brands are brilliant with their email campaign design and then, some simply go through the motions just to “get the job done” and subscribers end up with horrendous email campaigns reflecting poorly on the brand itself.

    You’ve spent months – or years – accumulating email subscribers and acquiring customers. You have THE perfect email marketing strategy in place. Now, all you have to do is design a killer email campaign that your target audience will love. Yet, before you unleash it, make sure you are not shooting yourself in the foot by making email design mistakes. With design being a critical factor in your success, even one error (i.e. wrong font colour or size, bad imagery, confusing layout, broken links, etc.) will cost you.

    The Good: Brilliant Email Campaign Designs
    For an email marketer, there’s nothing better than a knockout email marketing campaign that boosts open and conversion rates and increases revenue while also keeping the recipient happy and engaged. Take a look at three examples from brands that have nailed their email campaign design.

    1) Designmodo: The Right Rules Of Attraction

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    Designmodo’s Black Friday email campaign design showcases brilliantly organised campaign content that takes the reader on a journey, swiftly leading them towards the perfectly prominent and well-placed call-to-actions (CTAs) while also including bold typography and an attention-grabbing 3D graphic. The brand’s strategic and effective use of background white space also prevents the recipients from being overwhelmed while, at the same time, delivering a lot of information in a very clear, concise, ordered and attractive manner.

    2) Starbucks: A Welcome Win

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    The first impression matters – always. As an email marketer, you get only one chance to make a great first impression – don’t waste it. For a new subscriber or customer, the email campaign design of your onboarding email is crucial to how the relationship will progress.

    Starbucks’s welcome email is truly on point and sets the tone of the experience the brand’s customers can expect in the future. The old, trivial “Welcome to Starbucks” opening has been replaced with a “we’re glad you’re here” copy which shows appreciation for the subscriber’s time from the get-go. With relevant imagery, succinctly described Starbucks account features and tidy, well-organised layout, the brand has achieved a well-balanced, invigorating and inviting email campaign design. To top it off, the “Welcome” on the cup recreates – digitally – the iconic Starbucks in-shop experience.

    3) Uber: Playing For Keeps

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    There are numerous taxi apps but none of them has Uber’s no-nonsense, to-the-point, clever approach to customer experience in their app. The brand recreates that same approach in its email campaign design.

    Uber’s email campaign design has always been consistent with their branding which creates a familiarity as it’s always the same across the app, website and social media photos – bright colours and geometric patterns. Combining brand consistency with clever, no-fluff copywriting and simple layout has been – and will continue to be – a winning strategy for Uber.

    The beauty of Uber’s email campaign is in its simplicity. Brief clever copy paired with a prominent call-to-action is exactly what overly busy recipients are looking for since most of the time recipients just quickly skim the emails hitting their inbox.

    The Bad: Dreadful Email Campaign Designs

    Any email campaign design idea can sound great when brainstorming. But, when the idea is implemented, it may look quite different from what you’ve envisioned. In some instances, the outcome can be quite absurd, poorly-designed and overall, awful. These three email campaign design examples illustrate perfectly what email marketers should never do.

    1) Tumblr: The Dark Side of Email Design

    [​IMG]

    Being recognised and nominated for an award is an awesome feeling businesses/brands should be proud of and share with their target audience. However, when using email marketing to share your excitement, make sure you’ve invested enough time and tested every aspect of your email campaign.

    Tumblr’s email campaign design announcing their Webby nomination, for example, is barely readable. Yes, it does highlight the key points – nomination and voting – but all the rest of the copy is so poorly formatted (i.e. dark background with black font) the recipients will have to squint to make out what the text says. Such an effort will immediately cause readers to lose interest and simply delete the email and move on. For example, rather than going “full-dark”, they should’ve kept the dark background and just made the font brighter.

    2) Wildlife Conservation Film Festival (WCFF): The No Optimisation Inferno

    [​IMG]

    When most subscribers/customers receive an email, they usually scan for key information before deciding if reading the full message is worth their time. An email campaign design that has not been carefully planned and tested can have disastrous outcomes.

    WCFF’s email campaign design not only has too much copy but none of the imagery sizes has been optimised and the text-overlay on the images is barely readable. I know we are all juggling numerous email marketing tasks (on top of others!) but even at our busiest we should always review and test your email campaigns. Instead of just going through the motions, carefully examine your email campaign. Test everything. Test it again. With professional email marketing software, you can preview your email campaign in tons of different email clients to ensure the layout is perfect.

    3) Michael Page: Bore Me to Sleep

    [​IMG]

    An email campaign’s purpose is to deliver valuable, beneficial content to a target audience, pique the readers’ curiosity and make them ‘hungry’ for more information. From the layout and imagery through to the copy, your email campaign should entice the subscribers/customers at every step.

    Yet, Michael Page’s marketing team might’ve missed a lesson or two in visual marketing. The overall layout is, indeed, clean and concise but the copywriting is quite bland. If you are promoting tips on “How to write a CV?”, make it entertaining and engaging – not boring the readers to tears. Rather than generic imagery, add some motion to your email to make it fun and unique. Why not even add some prominent font colour to emphasise the key points instead of just sticking to the default blue hyperlinks. But, be subtle when using colours and images. You’ll see why further down the article.

    The Ugly: Atrocious Email Campaign Designs

    Would you believe me if I tell you there is something scarier than the Boogeyman, the Loch Ness monster, a Banshee and Baba Yaga? This is NOT for the faint of heart. This… is what happens when email campaign design goes terrifyingly wrong.

    1) Foodtown: Nightmare On Design Street

    [​IMG]

    Visuals in an email campaign design will give it a needed edge and emphasise your message by making your campaign attractive. However, when you become deranged and overcrowd your email campaign with a gazillion images, you are horrifyingly spoiling not only your email campaign design but also the recipient’s experience forcing them to either unsubscribe. Or, worst-case scenario, report your email as spam.

    Foodtown’s email campaign design is a terrifyingly accurate example of what horrendous emails can look like. The grocery store completely forgoes all email design best practice stuffing so much imagery into a single space that recipients were probably, scratch that, have certainly had to blink and rub their eyes a million times just to manage to see just one product. I know discounts and promotions are welcomed and attractive but come on… This email campaign design throws everything at the recipients in the hope of what – at least one product might catch their eye? A neater, better structured and organised email campaign design would’ve achieved higher engagement and better conversions.

    2) Neighbourlytics: The Evil Text

    [​IMG]

    You want your recipients to have ALL the information? While your emails need to deliver value to the subscribers, adding too much text will make it very, very difficult to keep them engaged and reading. Not to mention, opening a text-heavy email on a mobile device will be a nightmare to scroll-through; and trust me, recipients will simply ignore the email.

    Neighbourlytics’s email campaign design is so overwhelming and bland that any recipient, even those interested in the topic, will not waste time to read it. Not to mention, the subject line – “It’s 2020. Our newsletter begins, and we wish it was under better circumstances” – goes beyond the recommended 50 characters and is not only gloomy but as bland as the email copy. Rather than going “all text”, try breaking the copy with relevant imagery; and/or, brief text paired with a prominent call-to-action redirecting the reader to a landing page to learn more about the matter.

    3) Levenes Solicitors: A Cacophony Of Colours

    [​IMG]

    As a somewhat fashion-conscious person, I know which colour palettes and combos to avoid. This same “rule” also applies to email campaign design. You don’t want to have colour ranging from one end of the palette to the other. I already covered the science behind bold colours for your email copy and colours for CTAs, however, when it comes to email campaign design bold colours are NOT a winning move. Rather bet on a more subtle and refined colour palette to grab the reader’s attention.

    Levenes Solicitors email campaign design for Amigo Month has so many colours it’s quite difficult and impossible for the readers to know where their focus should be. The excruciatingly bright red background distracts from the main content, which is where the most important part of the email is, causing the reader to quickly lose interest.

    Final Thoughts

    Email personalisation, list segmentation, email campaign design best practice, A/B testing – they all serve a purpose. To ensure the right person gets the right message at the right time. By meticulously proofreading and testing your email campaign – from top to bottom, you can make sure none of these dreadful email campaign design examples will come to pass on your watch.

    Your subscribers/customers/leads want to receive email treats, not tricks in their inbox. Make them happy by ensuring your email campaign design is top-notch and delivers an email marketing experience that your competition cannot achieve.

    Are you ready to Wow your target audience?

    Highly recommended further reading –
    1)
    Writing Marketing Emails 101
    2) Email Design Trends 2021
    3) Email Design Hacks
    4) The Ultimate Email Preflight Checklist


    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: Facebook, Google Search, Ads & GMB Feb 22, 2021

    Which new social app is Facebook cloning this time? Are we about to see dark mode in Google Search? How to become a master digital advertiser like Google? What new label did Google My Business release?

    “The best place to hide a dead body is the second page of Google Search. ” – EmailOut


    In this article, we’ll cover the following digital marketing news:
    1. Facebook developing its own audio connection platform
    2. Google Search testing ‘dark mode’ on desktop
    3. [Guide] How to master digital advertising with Google Ads?
    4. Google My Business sneaky release of a new label
    Ready to dive in?

    Social Media

    Facebook Developing A Clone Of Clubhouse

    Just to make sure we are on the same page, Clubhouse is an invite-only audio social platform that went from 600K active users in December 2020, to 2 million just a month later. This provoked Twitter to forge ahead with a similar audio feature called “Spaces”.

    Now, it appears Facebook is also joining the action. As reported by the NYT –

    “Facebook executives have ordered employees to create a similar product, said the people not authorized to speak publicly. The product is in its earliest stages of development.”

    The social network already has its video feature – Rooms – as well as similar meet-up tools. Yet, it does not offer the same functionality. However, with the Clubhouse’ approach generating so much interest, it’s only logical for Facebook to use its already established infrastructure and deliver a similar tool to Facebook users.

    Not shocking considering Facebook has a long-running habit of breaking new tech by replicating functionalities from every single rising social app.

    Last year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted during a Congressional hearing in the U.S., his company has “adapted features” (nice way to rephrase stealing, right?) from competitors as a means to maintain its position.

    Given all the scrutiny Facebook has gone through over the years, cloning yet another competitor’s successful app doesn’t seem like a good idea. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what’s next for both Twitter’s Spaces and Facebook’s new effort – whatever they may call it.

    Search Engine and SEO News

    Google Search On Desktop Is Getting “Dark Mode”

    After Google rolled out Gmail dark mode for iOS and Android back in 2020, it seems the company decided it’s time to let dark mode spread to Search on desktop.

    Google first started testing dark mode (or dark theme) for its Search interface back in December 2020, however, over the past few days more and more people have noticed the dark theme showing up in Google Search on desktop – and mobile.

    As always, with Google feature rollouts, Google Search dark mode seems to be a part of an A/B test and as such is not available to all searchers just yet. Nonetheless, many users on Windows 10 and macOS are getting a notification inviting them to try the “new dark theme”.

    [​IMG]

    The downside of Google Search Dark mode, however, concerns ads. As a Twitter user with a very colourful handle showed ads will be quite tricky to distinguish when dark mode is enabled.

    upload_2021-2-22_11-30-13.png

    At this stage, unless Google fixes the difficulty of differentiating ads from organic results, marketers using Google Ads may see their ads click-through rate impacted by Google Search dark mode.​

    In 2020, we’ve witnessed a lot of Google’s products gaining a native dark mode like Google Play app, Google Translate, Google Docs, Google Chrome on desktop and many others. Time will only tell how searchers will react and be affected by the global release of the Search dark mode.

    PC and Ads News

    [Guide] Google Marketing: Mastering Digital Advertising

    Improving engagement and maximising ROI – two of the main objectives for marketers.

    To help marketing professionals successfully build campaigns to achieve their goals, Google – for the first time ever – put together a high-level strategy guide detailing its team digital advertising practices and sharing Google’s methodology publicly.

    The guide covers two main areas of concern to marketers –

    1) how to make digital advertising successful; and
    2) Google Ads products best suited for you and your goals.

    To help digital advertisers, Google shared its three key steps methodology

    1) using data to set clear goals
    • What do you want to achieve with an ad campaign?
    • What metrics (i.e. cost-per-acquisition – CPA and/or return on ad spend – ROAS) need improvement to fulfil your marketing objective? (Google’s key performance indicator – KPI.)
    • What values does your KPI have to hit to be successful?
    2) using conversion tracking to unlock automation
    • Conversion tracking is critical as it shows how effective your ad campaign is, allows you to calculate ROAS or CPA and save time & improve efficiency by unlocking automated bid strategies
    3) waterfall media planning
    • allocating budgets to different channels based on efficiency
    [​IMG]

    To find out more about Google’s team global learning regarding its B2C & B2B advertising campaigns across YouTube, Play, Chrome, Google Ads, Cloud and more, you can access the full Inside Google Marketing guide here.

    Digital Marketing News

    Google My Business “Years In Business” Label

    After months of testing, Google My Business has quietly launched the new “years in businesslabel. It does exactly what it says – shows searchers how long has your business been operational.

    [​IMG]
    To have this label appear on your listing, you first need to set an opening date in your GMB profile. Google‘s made it even easier by explaining how here.

    Initially, the company started testing this back in September 2020, followed by a more broad roll out in November 2020 and now, in February 2021, google finally decided it’s time to remove the training wheels and officially announce the “Years In Business” feature release.

    The reason you should care. Since the feature allows searches to see how long you’ve been in business, it will also help potential clients trust your business and click-through subsequently leading to conversions – i.e. sales/subscriptions/etc.

    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.

    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: The Most-Used Channel By B2B Brands & Spinach Sending Emails Feb 19, 2021

    Social media? SEO? Email marketing? Which is the top source of leads and most-used marketing tool by B2B brands? Can spinach really send emails?

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


    In this article, we’ll cover the following email industry news:
    1. Email Marketing: B2B brands’ most-used marketing tool
    2. Sending emails through spinach (the plant)
    Let’s dive in.

    The Email Channel: B2B’s Most Implemented Marketing Tactic

    Back in November 2020, research by the CMO Council established 91% of consumers rate emails as the top communication channel they simply can’t go without.

    Yet, it’s not only consumers who value email. According to the 2021 B2B Marketing Mix Report, email is also the most implemented and used marketing tactic by B2B brands as well as the top source of leads. Here is an overview of B2B brands’ most implemented marketing tactics
    • Email marketing – 84%
    • Social media & social media advertising – 75%
    • Blogging and content marketing – 69%
    • SEO – 60%
    • Tradeshows & events – 54%
    • SEM – 46%
    However, despite email being the most-used marketing tactics, B2B brands’ priorities differ when it comes to increasing their marketing spends. These are the top areas of marketing spend, according to the study –
    • Website development – 51%
    • Digital marketing – 44%
    • Content marketing – 33%
    • Branding – 27%
    • Social media – 33%
    • Marketing & Sales Collateral – 21%
    • Marketing Automation & CRM software – 21%
    • Advertising (e.g. Google) – 16%
    • Email marketing – 16%
    • Tradeshows & events – 11%
    Is it possible that B2B brands are not investing more in email marketing because they already have an email system that works in place? After all, the study shows that the top sources of sales and marketing leads are –
    • Referrals – 65%
    • Email marketing – 38%
    • SEO – 33%
    • Social media – 33%
    • Tradeshows & events – 30%
    • Inbound & Content marketing – 30%
    • SEM – 21%
    Furthermore, according to the report, the top 4 B2B objectives for 2021 are –

    1) increasing sales leads;
    2) converting leads to customers;
    3) increasing brand awareness; and
    4) producing thought leadership.

    To find out more marketing tactic stats, top areas of marketing spend and further details, download the report here.

    Emails Sent Through… Spinach

    This is not a fantasy science fiction movie title. Scientists at SMART (Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology) have managed to engineer spinach plants sending emails.

    Through nanotechnology, SMART’s engineers transformed spinach into sensors able to detect explosive materials and then wirelessly transmit this information back to them. Impossible? Crazy? Futuristic?

    How does it work? “When the spinach’s roots detect the presence of nitroaromatics (a compound found in explosives – i.e. landmines), carbon nanotubes within the spinach’s leaves emit a signal which is then read by an infrared camera sending an email alert to the engineers,” state one of the scientists.

    This visionary experiment – referred to as “plant nanobionics” – is a part of a much bigger research project involving the engineering of electronic components and systems into plants giving them new skills.

    As much as the experiment’s purpose was to detect explosives, imagine the endless possibilities such technology offers – for example, monitoring pollution and ecological changes. Moreover, imagine if the spinach emails went to SPAM when detecting a landmine, that would be a real blow .

    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.

    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.
  • 16 Bite-size Hacks to Improve Your Email Open Rates Feb 17, 2021

    Hit writer’s block with your subject line?

    Struggling to figure out why one of your email open rates was outstanding while another languished in inboxes forever? Sometimes you need answers, of course – or a little inspiration – fast.

    In this article, we’ll give you 16 speedy fixes to get you back on the right track in seconds and, in addition, ensure you’ll improve your email open rates.

    The hacks will help you answer these questions:
    1. How often do you need to refresh your contact list(s)?
    2. Why should you segment your contact list(s)?
    3. Should I buy email lists?
    4. Do I use A/B Testing?
    5. What words/phrases you SHOULD use?
    6. What words/phrases you SHOULDN’T use?
    Keep reading to find the answers and more, equally important, information …

    1. Refresh your subscriber list by removing inactive subscribers every 6 months.

    2. Make it easy for people to opt out if they want to… surely there’s no point in forcing them to stay on your list if they’re just dragging down your open rate!

    3. Segment your email list by interests/job role/demographic/whatever works for you, so you aren’t sending irrelevant emails to people who won’t open them.

    4. Never, ever buy email lists. Your email open rates will be rubbish unless people chose to subscribe.

    5. Personalise the emails using Merge Tags, to make sure they are addressed to the subscriber, rather than looking generic.

    6. Ask people to add you to their address books in order to avoid ending up in spam folders.

    7. Make use of any spam testing tools in your email management software – after all, a small change could make a big difference in keeping you out of junk folders!

    8. Use A/B Testing to keep your options open while you figure out what works.

    9. Try sending emails on a different day/time of day / tailored to a different timezone. You’d be amazed what a difference timing makes.

    10. Use numbers in your subject lines. People, surprisingly, loooove numbers.

    11. Avoid words such as “cash”, “discount” and “clearance” as these tend to trigger spam filters.

    12. Use friendly and conversational language.

    13. Don’t beg. “Please open!” “Please don’t ignore!”… these kind of phrases are annoying, and make it all about your needs rather than adding any value for the customer!

    14. Create urgency by using phrases like “urgent”, “last chance”, “breaking”, “alert”, “important”, “don’t miss out”, “expires tonight”, etc.

    15. Don’t WRITE IN ALL CAPS or use loads of punctuation!!!!!! See, it’s horrible. No one specifically wants to feel like you’re shouting at them.

    16. Keep subject lines short (under 30 characters) so that they can be read easily on mobile devices.


    Overall, if none of these hacks helps you improve your email open rates, you can always take a look at our article about the best subject lines that, certainly, will poke recipient’s interest to open your emails. It’s definitely worth a read.

    Oh, and by all means, if you’re looking for a platform that will help you send out emails everyone wants to read, look no more. Just sign up for your free email marketing account, today, and start spreading awesomeness.
  • Video Marketing: How to Add Video To Your Email? Feb 15, 2021

    Video has been one of the biggest, fastest-growing trends in digital marketing for several years now – and it shows no signs of slowing down.

    Given that some email clients (Outlook, for instance) can’t handle embedded videos, though, this poses a challenge to email marketers.

    How do you make the most of email video marketing without putting video directly into your emails?

    In this article, we’ll look at:
    1. Just How Big a Deal is Email Video Marketing?
    2. What Kinds of Video Can You Insert into Email?
    3. Using Play Buttons
    4. Merging GIFs and Images
    Let’s get to it, shall we?

    1. Just How Big a Deal is Email Video Marketing?
    Including video content in your marketing emails increases your click-through rate by up to 50% and, furthermore, your email open rate by around 19%. Those are some pretty impressive numbers.

    Not only that, but it gives you a great basis for click-through links and compelling CTAs in the first place. Additionally, as we’ll show you in a moment if you’re smart about it, including hyperlinked video is a very effective way to direct people to a landing page or your social media channels.

    Basically, it’s one of the very best tools you can use to boost engagement with your marketing emails.

    2. What Kinds of Video Can You Insert into Email?
    While it *is* possible to embed a video directly into an email with HTML5; you can’t be sure that all your recipients will be able to view it. A lot of email clients can’t handle embedded video files; it can be really fiddly trying to get this to work at your end anyway.

    A more reliable way to control how your content will look like is to use animated GIFs or cinemagraphs. These are super easy to make, too – here’s a free tool.

    Not sure of the difference between the two? Well, GIFs look like this:

    [​IMG]
    Or, if you’re making a snazzy marketing one, like this:

    [​IMG]

    They’re basically a series of looping PNG files, so any email marketing platform or email clients should be able to handle them, on any device.

    Cinemagraphs are a type of GIF that works in pretty much the same way, except that only part of the image changes from frame to frame, like this:

    [​IMG]

    These can breathe life into your emails, and also, add visual interest or a hint of cool that really draws the reader in. Basically, it’s video without the hassle.

    3. Using Play Buttons
    If you want people to watch a specific video (as opposed to a GIF) but don’t want to risk trying to embed it, a popular and effective alternative is just to take a still or cover image from your video, whack a play button on it, and hyperlink it.

    That way, people will naturally click on the play button as they would with any other video, but instead of playing inside the email, this takes them to the original video or to a landing page with the video on it.

    Incidentally, this is also a great way to encourage click-throughs and user/readers onto your site.

    4. Merging GIFs and Images
    Here’s an awesome trend that’s sprung up recently: mixing together GIFs / cinemagraphs with the play button/click-through approach to create an animated play button or video preview that people can’t resist clicking.

    For example, check out this marketing email that was sent out by Harley Davidson. While the end video has since been taken down (it was for a time-limited campaign), you can see how attractive that play button looks when you mix it with the clever GIF.

    Why not experiment with using video and GIFs in your video marketing emails today?
    And, whilst you’re at it, why not take a look at our 8 Online Marketing Tools article; it’ll certainly give you some pointers on how to grow your business faster.

    Oh, and don’t forget to sign up for your free email marketing account today and test your ideas, for free.
  • 8 Online Marketing Tools That Will Make Your Small Business Grow FASTER Feb 11, 2021

    Frodo Baggins. Harry Potter. Erin Brockovich. Everyone loves a plucky underdog that’s unafraid to take on the big guys and win. Thing is, being that underdog that gets to the top takes hard graft, a bit of luck, and the right tools at your disposal. After all, David didn’t defeat Goliath on his own; he had a slingshot.

    When it comes to digital marketing, there are a ton of online marketing tools out there claiming to be the thing that will catapult you to success. To help you cut through the noise, here’s our rundown of the ones you can’t afford to be without.

    In this article, we’ll introduce you to these awesome online marketing tools…
    1. Hubspot
    2. Google Analytics
    3. Trello
    4. BuzzSumo
    5. FollowerWonk
    6. Ahrefs
    7. Facebook Ads
    8. EmailOut
    Okay, let’s dive in.

    1. Hubspot
    Hubspot is a huuuuge, powerful platform that offers CRM and sales functions as well as marketing. When it comes to the latter, you have a ton of tools at your disposal to handle just about every part of your marketing strategy, including SEO, blogging, social media posts, website and landing page optimization, blog content, lead management, automation, and creating calls-to-action. You’ll wonder how you ever lived without it!

    2. Google Analytics
    Take a few minutes to embed this awesome free tool into your website and you’ll get immediate insight into exactly where all your website traffic is coming from. In a flash, you go from guesswork to knowing which keywords lead people to your site, and which email or social media campaigns are funnelling the most people.

    Most importantly, you can use all this data and analysis to figure out exactly which step to take next, ensuring your strategy gets better and better all the time.

    3. Trello
    Trello is an excellent little helper when it comes to improving collaboration within your team. By funnelling all your new content and social media posts through here before it goes live, the whole team can dip in to take a look, make edits and leave comments, meaning you get everyone’s input quickly and seamlessly before you hit publish.

    4. BuzzSumo
    Imagine if, instead of spending hours trawling through competitors’ content and trying to work out what worked for them (and what didn’t), you could view in seconds how much traction they are really getting?

    Well, that’s what BuzzSumo is for. You simply search for keywords in your niche, or for your competitors, and the tool will tell you how well particular pieces of content was shared through each social media platform. If you’re figuring out what topics, areas, or types of content to create, this kind of research is invaluable.

    5. FollowerWonk
    Who should you REALLY be targeting on Twitter? This awesome tool lets you compare and analyze accounts to figure out the real social (media) standing and level of influence of each person/ company/account you’re looking at. This lets you do two things: emulate what they are doing to become more successful on Twitter or focus your energy on engaging with the right people, in order to bring your products or services to their hard-won following.

    6. Ahrefs
    This might just be THE best SEO tool out there. It allows you to analyze your competitors’ websites, working out which keywords perform the best, where their traffic is coming from, how many backlinks they have and where those backlinks are coming from. Then, you poach the good ideas, scrap what isn’t working, and make sure that your site is even better!

    7. Facebook Ads
    If you use Facebook for marketing, you can’t avoid using Facebook Ads. The only realistic way to get any of your content seen on the platform these days is to pay for it, and while you might be reluctant to give in and hand over the cash, there is an upside: Facebook’s targeting tools are second-to-none. You can be incredibly granular about exactly who you want to target, allowing you to focus your precious marketing budget with laser-precision.

    8. EmailOut
    No marketing campaign is complete – no, let’s reword that, no marketing campaign has even begun – without an email marketing strategy. To manage that marketing strategy, to create compelling emails, and to track the results of everything you do, you also need one of the most incredible online marketing tools that do all these things with minimal fuss and maximum impact.

    That’s where EmailOut comes in. It does all these things, and it does them really well. What’s more, it’s completely free to use all its features, forever. Not a bad deal for a business just starting out!

    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.
    Richard Ben likes this.