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  • Best Practices for Your Email List Management Apr 23, 2019 at 10:48 AM

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

    A high-performing email list isn’t just about the numbers.

    In fact, for successful email list management, it’s vastly more important to nurture, manage and monitor your subscriber list carefully to make sure that everyone wants to be there and is 100% engaged with what you’re doing.

    In this article, we’ll run through 8 essential tips to improve your email list management. We’ll look at:
    • Nurturing and weeding your list
    • Getting people engaged at different stages of their relationship with you
    • Balancing creativity and consistency
    • Letting subscribers have their say
    Excited? Let’s get started.

    1. Keep Growing Your Email List
    Your brand is no doubt evolving and your subscriber base will, too. Recent sign-ups tend to be the most engaged, so keep that list fresh with people who are excited to have just discovered you.

    2. … But Keep Pruning it, Too
    It’s not about pushing up the numbers, though. It’s about pushing up the number of people who love what you do. Make sure you’re constantly removing dead addresses to keep up your delivery rates and pay close attention to subscribers who stop opening your emails.

    Learn more about improving email deliverability rates here >>

    3. Warmly Welcome Newbies
    How you handle the sign-up process will shape your whole relationship with a subscriber. Make it easy, personalised and highly engaging. Send a welcome email that guides them towards valuable or interesting content immediately. Consider surprising them with an extra discount or freebie that they weren’t expecting, just to say thank you. Little touches make a big difference here.

    Figure out how to personalise your emails here >>

    4. Give Subscribers Plenty of Control
    Email frequency plays a major role in a person’s decision to unsubscribe. So does getting emails that don’t seem relevant to them. The best way to avoid this issue is to simply ask them what they want at the point of sign-up. This helps you to segment your list properly, improving engagement and click-throughs, while ensuring you’re communicating with each person in a way that works for them.

    Need advice on segmenting your list? Click here >>

    5. Work Hard to Re-Engage People
    Getting someone signed up is only the first step of a long journey. People lose interest over time. They stop opening your emails as often.

    You need to make a concerted effort with these subscribers to show that you still care about keeping their interest and attention, so make sure you craft email campaigns that target those who haven’t opened or clicked through for a while, checking in to see what more you can do, asking for feedback, or offering them a compelling new reason to re-engage.

    Oh, but if they want to leave, don’t make it difficult. It should be easy to unsubscribe.

    6. Don’t Buy Lists
    From rock-bottom engagement to potential legal action to blacklisting by major email providers, this is an absolutely terrible idea.

    7. Review What Works
    Track the success of your campaigns and investigate closely to see which ones went down best with which subscribers and demographics. The more data you collect and analyse, the more you can hone your segmentation and targeting, putting your list to better and better use.

    Unsure which metrics to track? Check out our quick guide here >>

    8. Only Send Good Stuff
    It sounds obvious, but it’s vital that you never send out an email that you aren’t convinced offers real value to the recipient. When you’re under pressure to keep to a campaign’s schedule it can be tempting to cobble something together, but it’s often better to delay than risk disappointing your subscribers. They might not open the next one if you do.

    To avoid this, always plan out a detailed content calendar and corresponding email campaign, so you can be sure there will be no duds on the horizon.

    Unsure how to get started with a content calendar? Learn more about designing the perfect content marketing strategy here >>

    Final Thoughts
    Remember that all of these email list management best practices are much easier when you have the right technology supporting you. Make sure that your email marketing platform is set up to help you test, tweak and monitor results as painlessly as possible.

    Ready to get started?

    This article was originally published on 16 April by EmailOut and can be found here.

    Open your free email marketing account now and we’ll give you 12,500 sends each and every month free, forever. For up to 2,500 email contacts you’ll never pay us a penny. If you have more than 2,500 contacts check out our professional email marketing pricing.
  • Digital Marketing News: What Caught Our Attention This Month Apr 18, 2019 at 11:27 AM

    “The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.” – Tom Fishburne

    Our digital marketing news roundup delivers the most essential updates and news straight to your inbox.

    In this digital marketing news roundup, we cover the reason merchants are dropping MailChimp, which ESP bought Shopify’s competitor LemonStand, a new feature for Gmail’s 15-year anniversary, Microsoft compromising user’s email accounts, leading UK banks failing on email fraud protection, the reason Facebook has been keeping users locked out and did the EU actually win one over Facebook, again.

    Also, did you hear about Google’s de-indexing issue? And what about Google Ads newest upgrade? In addition, should Amazon Web Services be scared of Google and its ‘new’ solution for retail?

    In this article, we’ll cover the most recent digital marketing news on the following topics:
    1. Email: merchants dropping MailChimp, Gmail’s new feature for Smart Compose and UK’s leading banks failing to implement vital email security protocols.
    2. Social Media: Facebook’s SMS 2FA failure and Instagram jacking a poor sap’s account and giving it to British royalty.
    3. Search Engines: Google dropping out pages from the Search Index and what new report was added to Google Search Console.
    4. PPC and Ads: an upgrade to Keyword Planner, a new extension for Bing Ads and Facebook’s new brand safety controls for advertisers.
    5. Other stuff: an ongoing DNS hijacking attack and what is Google Cloud for Retail.
    Let’s dig in.

    EMAIL
    “Email is 20-30 times more effective in generating a purchase than any other tool.” – Josh Kaufman

    MailChimp
    Last month, we’ve told you all about Shopify killing its integration with MailChimp due to data security concerns. However, as the news rolled out, many merchants forced to make a decision about email service providers (ESPs) are dropping MailChimp for different ESPs.

    We’ve also heard that even before Shopify and MailChimp parted ways, the latter quietly acqui-hired Shopify’s fellow competitor LemonStand. The whole drama seems deliberately initiated. Don’t you think? To learn more about what this acquisition-hire means for MailChimp click here.

    Gmail
    To celebrate Gmail’s 15-year anniversary, Google has added new Smart Compose features, email scheduling and languages to its free email service; which, as of October last year, had reached 1.5 billion users. If you are curious about what’s included in the Gmail update click here.

    Since Google is a bit of an overachiever, we’re not surprised they announced one more new Gmail Smart Compose capability. And just about a week after the 15th-anniversary update. Wondering what it is? Smart Compose will now begin suggesting subject lines based on the content of an email. Pretty handy, eh? More info about the Gmail Smart Compose personalisation can also be found here.

    Microsoft
    Microsoft has confirmed to TechCrunch that a certain ‘limited’ number of people who use web email services managed by Microsoft – covering services like @msn.com and @hotmail.com – had their accounts compromised. A spokesperson at Microsoft said, “we addressed this scheme, which affected a limited subset of consumer accounts, by disabling the compromised credentials and blocking the perpetrators’ access.” The breach occurred between January 1 and March 28. Our best advice – regardless of being affected or not – would be to log in and change your password, now.

    Outlook & Slack
    Slack – a cloud-based team collaboration tool – is integrating Microsoft’s Office 365 services. Apps like OneDrive and Azure Active Directory have previously been available on Slack. Now, the messaging service will have even deeper integration with Microsoft including a new Outlook mail app and calendar, an updated OneDrive app, and the ability to preview Office file directly in Slack.

    The newly introduced Outlook mail integration will bring emails straight into Slack channels. In the past, users needed a third-party solution to enable this. No more. And, considering a similar function already exists for Gmail, it was about time Slack caught up. Also, according to our friends at The Verge, Slack’s Office 365 integration was created using public APIs and with no special help from Microsoft. You can read more details about the integration here.

    Cybersecurity
    A study by cybersecurity firm Red Sift reveals that one-third of leading UK challenger banks have failed to implement a vital email protocol that protects consumers from email fraud. The study also shows that 8% of traditional banking institutions have neglected this defence system as well.

    In terms of email security, DMARC – domain-based message authentication, reporting and conformance – protocol is the only sure-fire way of preventing email spoofing. Red Sift believes that implementing DMARC is a strong indicator of an organisation’s willingness to adopt adequate cybersecurity measures to protect its customers.

    Although 67% of traditional banks have implemented DMARC and configured it to reject all spoof emails, the study found that 25% have implemented the government-endorsed tool but haven’t configured it for full protection. And whilst two-thirds of challenger banks have implemented DMARC, only 25% have configured it to reject all spoof email. More details can be found here.

    SOCIAL MEDIA
    “90% trust peers on social networks (even strangers); only 15-18% trust brands.” – Danny Brown

    Facebook Security
    Facebook’s SMS 2FA authentication has been keeping a significant number of users locked out of their accounts. The problem? Users have not been receiving text messages from Facebook which they need in order to verify ownership of their account.

    One of the many users who’ve been locked out – for over 15 days – has been documenting the process and, also, the attempts he’s made to regain access to his account. Unfortunately, even his attempts to contact Facebook about the issue have gone unnoticed as he has not received any help. Additionally, a quick search for “Facebook SMS” on Twitter, will show there are more users having the same issue.

    Since Facebook didn’t respond to Joe Youngblood’s support query, he decided to raise awareness of the problem by creating the Twitter account @FacebookSMS2FA which contains a growing collection of retweets from users who’ve been locked out of their accounts.

    Facebook Privacy
    As Facebook’s executives are trying to rebrand the social media giant as a privacy company, it seems like the infamous social network is still, apparently, struggling to instil a privacy culture internally and with third-party developers.

    The Daily Beast reported that some new Facebook users are being asked to provide both their email address and their email password in order to register accounts. Naughty, naughty.

    Research from the cloud-security firm UpGuard reported that they had discovered two publicly accessible caches of Facebook user data created by third-party applications that connected to the Facebook platform. Amazon Web Service’s Simple Storage Service (S3) is hosting both caches in the AWS public cloud.

    Facebook & the EU
    The way Facebook user data has been used, or should we say misused (abused?), by various groups had caused quite a few scandals. And, judging by the increasing amount of pressure coming from the European Commission, Facebook had no other choice but to agree to amend its terms and conditions. As well as provide a better outline on exactly how the company uses the user data.

    The new terms will make it very clear that “free access to Facebook services is contingent on users’ data being used to profile them to target with ads.” While this regulation is specifically focused on Europe – and complicity with European laws – Facebook said that the amended terms and conditions will be applied globally as part of the company’s broader efforts on transparency. Shouldn’t that have been the case all along?

    Instagram
    The BBC reported that Instagram jacked a poor sap’s handle and gave it to none other than British royalty. Kevin Keiley had used @sussexroyal for over three years. Why? Because he supports Reading FC – nicknamed the Royals – and lives in West Sussex. Unlike the many stories of accounts being stolen by malicious hackers, the bad actor, in this case, was Instagram itself.

    Keiley told the BBC’s Radio 1 Newsbeat that “no one at the social media company contacted him about handing over the handle and that he’s a bit ‘annoyed’ about the entire thing.”

    Notably, Instagram confirmed to the BBC that it snatched the account because it was inactive and thus ripe for the picking. Just what exactly does inactive mean? Could an infrequently used account suddenly become ‘inactive’ in the eyes of Instagram the moment a famous person wants it?

    [​IMG]
    SEARCH ENGINES
    “Google only loves you when everyone else loves you first.” – Wendy Piersall


    Google Search Index
    Barry Schwartz reported Google’s been dropping pages out of the Search Index. According to him, there have been widespread reports from SEOs and webmasters complaining that their URLs and web pages are being removed from the Google Index. A lot of people are noticing a substantial percentage of their web sites are no longer coming up for a site command. Also, Google Search Console is not showing them as being indexed.

    A thread in WebmasterWorld has a ton of complaints regarding this issue as well as numerous threads in the official Google Search Console forums. The de-indexing issue has been covered by Search Engine Land and Search Engine Roundtable, too.

    Google Search Console
    Do you have an Android app associated with your website? Wondering why we’re asking. You’ll find out soon enough.

    Google announced they’ll be adding Android app filters to performance report in Google Search Console (GSC). What does it mean? Users will be able to see their app’s clicks, impressions, CTR, and position with a separate search appearance in the Performance report. You can satisfy your curiosity for more details here.

    Furthermore, we’ve also heard Google is adding a new report to GSC. It will track a site’s traffic and impressions from Discover. It’s important to note, GSC’s new Discover report is only shown to websites that have accumulated “meaningful visibility” – whatever that is – in Discover.

    Google My Business
    Google released an update to GMB profiles which will show Product Catalogs in desktop and mobile search results. Businesses can add products to a catalog by uploading a form in the ‘Products’ tab. The name of the tool is Product Editor. You can read more about Product Editor and Product Catalogs here.

    Previously, product catalogs only appeared in mobile search results. However, now we can definitely confirm this hasn’t been a mobile-only feature. And, what makes the feature even more valuable to retailers is that it’s free to use.

    PPC AND ADVERTISING
    “Advertising is the ability to sense, interpret… to put the very heart throbs of a business into type, paper and ink.” – Leo Burnett

    Google Ads
    Google Ads decided to upgrade its Keyword Planner tool by rolling out a bunch of new key features. The upgrade includes:
    • Up to 10-speed keywords when searching for new keyword ideas;
    • Keyword trends can be viewed or downloaded for individual keyword ideas;
    • Adding all or some keywords in a group idea to an existing or a new ad group;
    • Save new keywords to an existing campaign;
    • Based on the maximum CPC bid and forecasted costing you can get suggested daily budgets;
    • Get a detailed competition value column that shows ranking across keyword ideas.
    If you want to dig deeper and get more details about the new features click here.

    Bing Ads
    Bing Ads has taken the wrapper off a brand new extension – Action Extensions. It was released globally and it allows advertisers to highlight a clear call-to-action (CTA) on text ads in order to entice customers to immediately click and drive them to the user’s website. According to Bing, the advertisers who take part in the beta have seen an average click-through-rate (CTR) increase of 20% when they served Action Extensions in their ads. And the best part, the new extension is available on both PC and mobile devices. More information has also been provided by PPC Hero.

    Facebook Advertising
    Facebook introduced new brand safety controls for advertisers. The company’s Community Standards tell users how they detect and take down bad content from their platform. With the new brand safety controls, Facebook is also introducing an inventory filter which will make it easier for advertisers to control their brand safety profile across different forms of media. The filter will apply to ads delivered within Instant Articles, Audience Network and Facebook in-stream video.

    Advertisers will also be able to choose from three inventory options:
    • Limited inventory: It offers maximum protection which is similar to the opt-in category exclusions;
    • Standard inventory: It provides moderate protection and is the default choice when placing ads;
    • Full inventory: It selects minimum protection and ads may be delivered to all eligible content.
    For more information on Facebook’s brand safety efforts and the new inventory filter, you can visit their Help Center.

    OTHER DIGITAL MARKETING NEWS WE FOUND INTERESTING
    “Marketers need to build digital relationships and reputation before closing a sale.” – Chris Brogan

    E-Commerce
    One of the best-known e-commerce corporations – eBay notified its merchants and publisher that it’ll be closing its third-party network – eBay Commerce Network (ECN) – as of May 1. Why? eBay states that after ECN being operational for over five years, the corporation is now shifting its attention to advertising solutions for the core marketplace. But, what does that mean exactly? According to the company, “for the health of the core marketplace, eBay is making a concerted effort to shift its reliance from third-party advertising to first-party advertising.”

    In lieu of ECN ads, merchants on eBay are also encouraged to consider promoted listings, ads that appear at the top of search and product pages. And, also, other premium ad formats on the eBay marketplace. And, an alternative for publishers is the eBay Partner Network – an affiliate proposition in which content creators share links to eBay listings and get paid when they generate sales.

    Hijacking Attacks
    A security researcher at Ixia informed Ars Technica about an ongoing domain name system (DNS) hijackings happening through vulnerabilities in four models of D-Link routers: D-Link DSL-2640B, D-Link DSL-2740R, D-Link DSL-2780B and D-Link DSL-526B. The attack targeted the following domains: Gmail.com, PayPal.com, Netflix.com, Uber.com, caix.gov.br, itau.com.br, bb.com.br, bancobrasil.com.br, sandander.com.br, pagseguro.uol.com.br, sandandernet.com.br, cetelem.com.br; and, possibly other sites. People trying to reach one of these domains from an infected router will be connected to a server that serves phishing pages over plain HTTP. For more details click here.

    How to protect yourself? Always make sure your routers are running the latest firmware. All four of the D-Link vulnerabilities were fixed years ago. However, many people just never got through the hassle of manually installing the patches.

    Google
    Google announced the launch of Google Cloud for Retail with a host of new, awesome solutions designed for the retailer vertical. The aim of the new solutions is to help retailers deliver personalised recommendations; unifying customer experiences across online and offline environments and more.

    What exactly does it offer? Google Cloud for Retail includes solutions for inventory management, personalisation, customer service and predictive analytics. E-commerce hosting is designed to flex with seasonal traffic increases and spikes on high-volume shopping days – like Black Friday or Cyber Monday – so sites don’t get incapacitated and start losing revenue due to traffic surges. Google also offers something called customer reliability engineering (CRE) services – a service that will prepare you for peak volume events. Lookout Amazon Web Services. Google Cloud for Retail’s analytics and AI solutions are coming to get you. You can read more about the full package of solutions offered at Google Cloud Next here.

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

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

    This article was originally posted on 15 April by EmailOut and can be found here.

    Open your free email marketing account now and we’ll give you 12,500 sends each and every month free, forever. For up to 2,500 email contacts you’ll never pay us a penny.
    If you have more than 2,500 contacts check out our professional email marketing pricing.
  • Here’s Why the Right Comment System Can Work Wonders for Your Website Apr 16, 2019

    “Blogging is not a business by itself. It’s only a promotional platform.” – David Risley

    Unsure how best to handle or moderate comments on articles, or on the blog section of your website?

    Wondering what the differences are between the different comment systems for websites and the various comment plugins? All is revealed below.

    In this post we’ll talk about:
    • The top comment systems and when to use them
    • Encouraging conversation and engagement
    • Tips for moderating comments
    Read on to learn how to choose a great comment system and how to manage comments effectively on your blog.

    Why Encourage Comments?
    Engagement is key for any content creator and allowing comments is a great way to get people talking and debating ideas, elicit feedback and build relationships with your audience.

    That said, it can be tricky to get it right. If you’re going to allow comments, you also need to commit to managing and replying to them.

    Realistically, people comment for one of four reasons: they love what you’ve written and strongly agree, they take issue with something you’ve said, they have their own agenda they want to get across, or they just like to make their opinions known, whether or not these are necessarily relevant or helpful.

    This can sometimes make dealing with comments feel quite disheartening. At times you’ll be bewildered by the vitriol levelled content you considered entirely inoffensive. At times you’ll tear your hair out at readers posting stuff that doesn’t connect to what you’ve written, or that is clearly designed to peddle their own products.

    Persevere, though. Remove spam, make sure you’re polite and diplomatic with even the most hostile commenters, and focus on nurturing conversations with people who have interesting, positive or insightful contributions to make.

    These are the people most likely to take on a ‘brand ambassador’ role by sharing your content or talking about your brand to others, making them potentially very valuable indeed.

    Which Comment System For Websites (and blogs) Should You Use?
    A top comment system balances ease of use with robust spam filters. Here are six options each taking a very different approach and each with its own set of pros and cons.

    1. Base System
    Some popular platforms such as WordPress do come with a pretty good built-in comment system. WordPress, in particular, is super easy to use. You can choose whether to allow people to post anonymously or with their name and (hidden) email address, and you can install additional plugins like Akismet to keep control of spam.

    Beyond this, though, you can’t really customize the experience or integrate with social, which many people find too limiting. It also doesn’t send notifications when people get replies.

    2. Facebook Comments
    Facebook is enormously popular all over the world and the chances are that anyone posting comments will already be signed into their account. To some extent, they are also verified as a human – or at least, their comments are linked to their public, online presence. This tends to lead to a sharp decline in spam. What’s more, people are more likely to share the article, and even if they don’t, their comments show up on Facebook, widening your reach.

    Bear in mind, though, that Facebook comments are really tricky to set up on your site, so you’ll need plenty of technical understanding. You also can’t really customize it once it’s there.

    3. Disqus
    Disqus is one of the better-looking comments section systems out there and it’s very easy to use. People can post photos and videos in comments and can follow each other, which helps to build communities. Commenters also get sent notifications, comments are very easy to moderate, and people can sign in using their social accounts.

    The only real downside is that you do have to sign in, though, which takes a bit of time and puts a lot of people off.

    4. Livefyre
    This is another excellent option that is rapidly growing in popularity. It comes with many of the same benefits as Disqus, with the added plus that users can chat in real time. This gets the conversations flowing extremely effectively. Mashable, for example, saw engagement in the comments section multiply by 40 after switching to Livefyre.

    5. CommentLuv
    CommentLuv incorporates an element of bribery into their system, by giving people a chance to promote themselves through their comments. If the commenter fills in the ‘website’ section, they can display a link to their last blog post on their comment. This has a huge, positive impact on getting people to comment, but be aware that you’ll have to deal with a lot of shameless plugs as a result.

    Final Thoughts: Everything in Moderation
    No matter which of the comment systems for websites you choose, be aware that your work is just beginning. You need to moderate closely to remove spam or offensive content, and to engage with commenters. Even then, you won’t be able to control what happens in this space and removing comments that criticize you will only make things worse. Think carefully about whether you want to open up comments and have a strategy for dealing with them from the outset!

    This article was originally posted on 9 April 2019 by EmailOut and can be found here.

    Open your free email marketing account now and we’ll give you 12,500 sends each and every month free, forever. For up to 2,500 email contacts you’ll never pay us a penny. If you have more than 2,500 contacts check out our professional email marketing pricing.
  • 5 Mistakes You Might be Making With Your Email Design Apr 9, 2019

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

    You’ve spent months accumulating email subscribers, you’ve put together a perfect marketing strategy and now it’s time to send a knockout email your list will love.

    Not so fast. Before you hit ‘send’, let’s make sure you’re not shooting yourself in the foot with one of these easily avoidable email design mistakes.

    Read on to learn more about…
    • Making sure your emails are easy to read
    • Making sure your emails display properly on any device
    • Guiding your readers to where you want them
    Here are five common email design mistakes to avoid in your email campaigns…

    1. Using a Hard-to-Read Font
    Don’t make things difficult for your readers. Choose fonts that scan easily, even if you’re reading them on a small screen. One thing to remember is that, while they look great in print, Serif fonts are harder to read on a screen. Make sure you go for a Sans Serif font for your emails.

    2. Not Making it Mobile-Responsive
    It’s highly likely that your recipients will read your email on a mobile device, whether that’s their phone or a tablet. You can’t afford to design emails that only look great on a computer screen. Make sure your emails are set up to be responsive, meaning that they adjust automatically to display in the best possible way for whatever kind of device they’re read on. The best email marketing platforms and email design templates will let you do this automatically.

    Psst! EmailOut offer a huge range of FREE mobile-responsive design templates. Learn more here >>

    3. Forgetting Your Own Branding
    You need to adapt for email, but your design still needs to be consistent with your company’s branding elsewhere. If it’s too different, people will start to wonder if the email is actually fake. Be careful to customize any templates to incorporate your logo, match your company colours and use a similar tone and style in wording and images.

    4. Overloading with Content or Offers
    People don’t have all day to figure out what your email is about. They want to be able to scroll through in a few seconds and decide if this is useful to them.

    Keep things minimalist. You don’t need long chunks of text or a bazillion images. You certainly don’t need more than a couple of offers or deals. People quickly get overwhelmed by choice, so if you ask them to consider too many things at once they’ll disengage.

    5. Making the Email a Dead End
    This brings us to our final point. The design of your email has to lead the reader naturally to whatever you want them to do next. Be very clear on what your call-to-action is before you start designing. What link do you want them to click, or what other actions do you want them to take right now? Is the eye drawn to this point? Is it clear and defined? Have you used persuasive language to guide them there?

    Final Thoughts
    The key is to remember that your email is a stepping stone to wherever you want the customer to go next in their journey. You’re not trying to give them all the information they could ever need about your company or product in this one email. Keep things simple, clean and easy to scan, with persuasive language and a clear CTA.

    Ready to get started?

    The original article was posted on 3 April 2019 by EmailOut and can be found here.

    Open your free email marketing account now and we’ll give you 12,500 sends each and every month free, forever. For up to 2,500 email contacts you’ll never pay us a penny. If you have more than 2,500 contacts check out our professional email marketing pricing.
  • Digital Marketing News: What Caught Our Attention This Month Apr 8, 2019

    “The right email marketing vendor can make the difference between success and frustration.” – Jordie van Rijn

    Our digital marketing news roundup delivers the most essential updates and news straight to your inbox.

    In this digital marketing news roundup, we cover a well-known e-commerce company cutting ties with MailChimp over data security concerns, AMP for Gmail, what is the one-click unsubscribe standard, Facebook’s failure to ensure security and privacy, Instagram and Twitter introducing new features, what’s new with GSC, new browser and search engine options for Android, welcoming Google Ads Editor v 1.0 and LinkedIn’s three new targeting features.

    Who’s urging people to delete Facebook and why?

    In this article, we’ll cover the most recent digital marketing news on the following topics:
    • Email: Shopify killing its integration with MailChimp and which email clients support one-click unsubscribe.
    • Social Media: Facebook storing hundreds of millions of passwords in plain text and Instagram’s new in-app checkout feature.
    • Search Engines: Google Search Console (GSC) retiring another set of reports and a new search engine on the horizon.
    • PPC and Ads: changes to Google Ads Editor and improvements to Bing Ads Editor.
    • Other stuff: IFTTT dropping support for Gmail and WhatsApp’s founder urging people to delete Facebook.
    Let’s dig in into this month’s digital marketing news, shall we?

    EMAIL
    “Email has an ability many channels don’t: creating valuable, personal touches – at scale.” – David Newman


    MailChimp
    Shopify has killed its integration with MailChimp over concerns regarding data security. The company has asked Shopify to leave the integration in place for existing connected users through May 12, “when the data sharing provisions of Shopify’s new terms take effect.” However, it seems the two firms are going back and forth blaming each other.

    MailChimp states they’ve been trying for months to work with Shopify on terms that would be equitable for both businesses and refuse to agree to Shopify’s terms that could potentially jeopardise MailChimp’s user’s privacy. Shopify counters that “over the past 18 months they’ve had growing concerns about MailChimp’s app due to the poor merchant experience and MailChimp refusal to respect Shopify’s Partner Program Agreement.” It’s been a “she said, he said” battle over and over, but the only clear thing in this spat is that customer data is the key asset. Though, which company is trying more fiercely to protect it? Remember the multiple MailChimp breaches earlier this year?

    Google
    One year after Google announced it would begin supporting AMP (accelerated mobile pages) in Gmail, the company is now raising the stakes and releasing a beta to the general G Suite audience.

    AMP for Gmail is designed to make emails feel more like an interactive webpage without punting users to a browser. Users can now browse image carousels, RSVP to an event or fill out a form without leaving their inbox. Google calls these ‘dynamic emails’. Initially, support will be available only on the web, but the company has also stated it plans to offer it on mobile as well. You can read more on the topic here.

    One-Click Unsubscribe
    Verizon Media announced that Yahoo! Mail, AOL and Verizon now support one-click unsubscribe, also known as RFC8058. The one-click unsubscribe standard was previously available only in AOL Mail, but it’s now supported by all email clients part of the Verizon Media brand umbrella. According to RFC8058, one-click unsubscribe is an integration of the link-based list-unsubscribe. Why another standard though? You can find out here.

    SOCIAL MEDIA
    “Social networks aren’t about websites. They’re about experiences.” – Mike DiLorenzo


    Facebook
    After all the scandals surrounding the social media giant, one might think they’ll lay low for a bit and try to avoid the spotlight. No such luck.

    According to Mashable, hundreds of millions of Facebook users’ passwords were stored in plain text completely searchable by 20,000 (!!!) Facebook employees for years. Some users had their passwords stored in plain text from 2012, according to a senior Facebook source who had a chat with KrebsOnSecurity. The anonymous source states that somewhere between 200 million and 600 million users were affected; and, more than 20,000 employees would have had access to said plain text passwords – 4m4zing.

    Moreover, shortly after KrebsOnSecurity published the story, Facebook published its own statement trying to cover its mistakes. Facebook’s VP of Engineering, Security and Privacy – Pedro Canahuati – stated that the company first discovered the issue during “a routine security review in January”. Eh, with all the data breaches and scandals, one might wonder why Facebook isn’t doing these routine security checks more often – 7 years to find a security flaw that may net the ICO 4% of FB’s global turnover.

    Instagram
    Instagram is rolling out an in-app checkout feature – for a limited number of brands – which will make it possible for users to purchase products without having to leave the app. The limited launch has been extended to 23 brands, but the company also mentioned it’ll be making the feature available to more brands over the coming months.

    With the launch of this feature, Instagram is closing the loop on its e-commerce ambitions in making shopping in-app more friendly and also making it possible for advertisers to dramatically shorten the user’s shopping journey.

    Twitter
    Jane Manchun Wong has discovered, or should we say uncovered, a feature Twitter’s been working on which will allow users to follow specific threads without having to engage with a conversation directly. Wondering what the feature is? It’s a ‘subscribe to conversation’ button.

    Twitter’s Comms Team was quick to get ahead of the news by confirming that the feature is part of their attempts to make Twitter more conversational. The feature is on its way, but no timeframe was given regarding the eventual launch.

    Do you remember, way back in February, when Twitter revoked access for a range of third-party tweet management programs? Well, it seems changes are afoot. The platform announced a new review of its API usage regulations, which could see another raft of Twitter tools lose functionality. To find out what’s going to change and, potentially, how much it might cost you click here.

    Google+
    If you are one of the few people who used Google+, we’ve got some news for you.

    As we’ve been told, Google+ will be shut down in a matter of weeks. However, its archive of public posts may live on indefinitely. How? Internet Archive recently announced their plans to save public Google+ content at the Wayback Machine. Actually, the archiving has already begun. So, if you’re feeling sad to see Google+ go at least there’s a small consolation in knowing that most of its history will be saved.

    SEARCH ENGINES
    “SEM and SEO are critically important to online businesses. You can spend every penny you have on a website, but it’ll be for nothing if nobody knows your site is there.” – Marc Ostrofsky


    Google Search Console
    Google announced they’ve pushed an update to GSC’s Sitemaps report and it will support the following new actions:
    • Opening the sitemap content in a new tab;
    • Deleting sitemaps;
    • Reviewing granular details for sitemaps with errors; and
    • Presenting RSS and Atom feed sitemaps.
    Why does it matter? Google’s proving that it’s continuing to port old features from the old GSC to the new one. And, with this, SEOs, webmasters, developers and site owners will have more control over their XML Sitemap files.

    Also, it seems Google is retiring yet another set of reports from the old GSC. There was no mention of which reports specifically were about to be dropped; but, more information about the new Search Console can be found here.

    Google
    According to our friends at Mashable, Google announced that Android users in the EU will soon be offered a choice of browsers and alternative search engines on their devices. Is this a benevolent gesture though?

    We think not. The announcement in itself is unsurprising, given the fact the European Commission (EC) slapped Google with a record €4.34 billion fine in July 2018 for breaching EU antitrust rules by stifling browser and search engine competition in the EU.

    In a blog post, Google’s SVP of Global Affairs said the company will do “more to ensure that Android phone owners know about the wide choice of browser and search engines available to download to their phones.” Specifically, owners of both existing and new Android devices will be asked which browser and search apps they’d like (or want) to use.

    Ahrefs
    Ahrefs CEO Dmitry Gerasimenko announced the company’s plan of creating a search engine that supports content creators, protects users privacy and… competes with Google. Is this even possible?

    This announcement gives voices to many long-simmering complaints about Google. However, whether this search engine lifts off remains to be seen. No release date has been given as the scale of this project is huge. It’s almost the online equivalent of going to the Moon. If you are interested in learning more about it click here.

    PPC AND ADVERTISING
    “A good advertisement is one which sells the product without drawing attention to itself.” – David Ogilvy


    Google Ads
    After renaming and redesigning AdWords – know as Google Ads – the company decided it’s time to do the same with the Editor. The desktop tool for managing and drafting campaign changes now has a new look, new layout, new features, new capabilities and, also, a new name. Goodbye, AdWords Editor. Hello, Google Ads Editor. You can find out more about Google Ads Editor v 1.0 here.

    Bing Ads
    As part of a continuous effort to make importing campaigns from Google Ads easier and more effective for advertisers, Bing Ads has made the following improvements in the Bing Ads Editor:
    • Better mapping of campaigns with Google Ads to make imports more reliable;
    • Same import and scheduling options as Bing Ads online;
    • Direct import of campaigns to the Bing Ads server to save time so advertisers don’t have to review everything locally.
    These time-saving measure will make it easier for advertisers to get campaigns up, running and updated on Bing Ads.

    LinkedIn
    According to LinkedIn, one of the hardest parts of advertising is reaching the right people. Hence, the company is introducing three new ways to help advertisers easily target more of the right audiences from LinkedIn’s network of 610 million professionals. The three new updates are: 1) a lookalike audiences targeting feature; 2) interest targeting that leverages Bing search data; and 3) more than 20 B2B audience templates.

    The company states it’s been testing these new features over the last few months and that they’ll be available to all advertisers over the next few weeks.

    OTHER DIGITAL MARKETING NEWS WE FOUND INTERESTING
    “Business has only two functions – marketing and innovation.” – Milan Kundera


    Gmail
    IFTTT
    (If This Then That), a popular automation service, is dropping some of its support for Gmail. Why? According to 9to5Google, certain third-party apps will no longer be able to connect to your email account for automation purposes. The decision comes as a response to security concerns and it’s purportedly aimed at protecting user data.

    End of support means that users will no longer have the ability to leverage IFTTT in Gmail to automatically manage calendars, auto-save attachments or create reminders. More specifically, IFTTT is removing all Gmail triggers and the ‘create a draft’ ability. Actions for ‘send an email’ and ‘send yourself an email’ will remain in place.

    Google
    Google has been hit with a new antitrust fine from the European Union totalling £1.28 billion.

    Why? EU Antitrust Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said that the tech giant has “abused its dominant position by forcing customers of its AdSense business to sign contracts stating they would not accept advertising from rival search engines.” This fine is the third major penalty the EU has levied against the tech giant in as many years and closes its last open probe of the firm.

    Different websites have also reported on this including Search Engine Land, Business Insider and The Verge.

    Facebook
    In 2014, Facebook acquired WhatsApp from Brian Acton for the small amount of $19 billion; and in 2017, Acton left over disagreements concerning Facebook’s way of running promotional ads. Since then, Acton has been openly expressing his dislike of Facebook following the Cambridge Analytics scandal and even reaching as far as promoting #deletefacebook.

    ‘Till this day, Acton stands firmly behind his decisions and opinions. Why are we so certain? Simple. He appeared as a speaker at a class at Stanford University where he shed light on his decision to sell, why he left and he didn’t neglect to criticise the drive to prioritise monetisation over user privacy. He even reached as far as urging students to delete Facebook. And this is also not the first time he’s done so. According to our friends at The Verge, he said the same thing last year after the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

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

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

    This article was originally published on 3 April 2019 by EmailOut and can be found here.

    Open your free email marketing account now and we’ll give you 12,500 sends each and every month free, forever. For up to 2,500 email contacts you’ll never pay us a penny. If you have more than 2,500 contacts check out our professional email marketing pricing.
  • Top B2B Subject Lines To Use Right Now Apr 2, 2019

    “If you aren’t split testing your subject line, start now. But, if you are, follow this cardinal rule: Be creative but don’t be crazy.” – Parry Malm

    Many marketers find B2B subject lines the hardest of all to write. How to strike the right balance between informative and succinct? Between engaging and professional? Between standing out and sounding serious?

    Let’s take a look at some top strategies and examples of B2B subject lines that are killing it right now.

    Read on to learn more about:
    • Sounding professional
    • How long to make your subject lines
    • Nailing the tone
    • Segmentation
    • Words and phrases to focus on (and avoid)
    Let’s dig in.

    1. Sounding Professional But Not Snobbish
    Before we get started on the practical stuff, let’s just clear one thing up: professional does not equal boring. Just because you’re offering something serious, doesn’t mean you need to transform into some sort of robot. Trust us, that doesn’t help.

    Of course, that doesn’t mean you should start overcompensating with frivolity. The answer is not to shoehorn in clunky, irrelevant pop culture references when you’re trying to sell business insurance or whatever (although they can work sometimes!).

    The key is to remember that you are a human talking to other humans. No matter what you’re selling, you need to sound natural and engaging. Sure, you also need to be persuasive and professional and all the rest of it, but you never want to stop sounding like a human.

    A rule of thumb is this: if your subject line reads like it was written by a spambot, Google Translate, a legal contract or a dictionary in a washing machine, rip it up and start again.

    Okay, with that in mind, let’s get into the practical stuff.

    2. How long should you make your subject line?
    First of all, keep your subject lines short. People’s work emails are crammed with junk and other things they don’t want to read, so do them a favour and make this easy for them. Plus, you want to make sure they show up properly on mobile devices – and that means keeping your subject lines under 50 characters if possible.

    3. Be sure your email subject line will add value
    Next, focus on value. How will opening the email fix a particular problem? Save them money? Make the best use of their time?

    Remember that people are busy and stressed and so the last of these – time – is key. Whatever you’re selling or promoting, make it clear that this won’t add to their workload while they get their head around it.

    For example, try using subject lines like:
    • Fix your hiring strategy in 5 minutes
    • The Super Speedy Guide to Saving Money with VOIP
    • 10 Easy Ways To Cut Office Electricity Costs
    • 3 Steps to Perfect Project Management
    We’ve talked about this before, but be very careful about using hyperbolic language. This can make you look dodgy and often triggers spam filters. Words and phrases like “guaranteed”, “#1” and “Join millions…” are known offenders.

    4. Nail the tone
    Bear in mind, too, that when you’re talking about B2B emails, “value” means two things: the value your product, service or email content brings to the company and the value it brings to the person who is receiving the email. This is super important.

    You may be thinking, but aren’t they the same thing? Well, sort of – but not quite. Different people within the same company have different priorities depending on their job role, department, position… even how keen they are to impress their boss. You can use this to your advantage when crafting B2B subject lines.

    For example, if you’re emailing a middle manager or the head of a department, something that specifically addresses their pain points works well. Consider something along the lines of: “Free up time and budget with this awesome new tool”, “5 Steps to a No-Headache Payroll”, or “How to Get 25% better ROI on Your Facebook Ads”.

    Alternatively, you could focus on how this makes them more valuable to the company, e.g. “Impress your Finance Director – Save $1000”.

    5. Segmentation is Key
    This brings us neatly onto the next point: you really do need to segment your emails carefully for this to work. Unless you get a clear idea during sign-up of where someone fits into their company structure, you could end up sending CEOs irrelevant emails saying things like “Your promotion is in the bag with XXX”.

    Or, at the end of the scale, emails with subject lines like “Streamline your business and save with XXXX” to people who are worried about losing their jobs to automation. You can see how sending the wrong messages to the wrong people can do more harm than good.

    Final Thoughts
    Lastly, if you want some general tips about the kinds of email subject lines that grab attention, check out these 27 Ideas for Irresistible Subject Lines. Just remember to adapt the general concepts for your B2B audience. Split testing will help you perfect your tone!

    Ready to create your amazing, perfectly segmented B2B email campaign?

    This article was originally posted on 27 March 2019 by EmailOut and could be found here.

    Open your free email marketing account now and we’ll give you 12,500 sends each and every month free, forever. For up to 2,500 email contacts you’ll never pay us a penny.
    If you have more than 2,500 contacts check out our professional email marketing pricing.
  • 21 Ways to Make Your Blog Posts Super SEO-Friendly Apr 1, 2019

    “No website can stand without a strong backbone. And that backbone is technical SEO.” – Neil Patel

    Digital marketing fads come and go, but one thing that doesn’t change is the value of inbound marketing.

    That means keeping on top of the best and latest ways to nail the SEO of every blog post. To get you started, let’s run through 21 simple SEO tips for blog posts you can use today to achieve exactly that!

    These SEO optimisations tips cover common issues like:
    • Incorporating keywords
    • Using Headings
    • Getting the length and structure right
    • Readability
    • Sharing
    • Headers, meta tags and meta descriptions
    • Images and GIFS
    Here we go! 21 seriously snackable SEO tips for blog posts…

    Keywords
    1.
    Start with detailed keyword research to figure out what words longtail phrases your audience is searching for.
    2. At the same time, don’t stuff your post with keywords. It needs to flow naturally and engagingly.
    3. Include some of these keywords in your headings and subheadings.

    Length & Structure
    4.
    Make sure your posts are at least 300 words, as Google tends to snub the super-short ones.
    5. Do plenty of internal linking to other content on your site.
    6. Include a brief, enticing introduction that makes it clear what readers can expect from the article. This makes them less likely to bounce straight off it when they open it.

    Readability & Headings
    7.
    For the same reason, short paragraphs, easy-to-read sentences and things like headers and images to break up the text keep people engaged and improve your SEO ranking in the long run.
    8. Make sure there is only one H1 tag on the page.
    9. Set up the rest of your headers so that they follow a clear H2 -> H3 hierarchy. This helps search engines to crawl the page (and real people to scan it for information).

    Images & GIFs
    10.
    When incorporating images and GIFs, use descriptive file names and alt text that reflects what these depict.
    11. Hand-craft your URL to keep it short while reflecting what the post is about.
    12. Don’t include the date the article was posted in your URL slug!

    Headers, meta tags & meta description
    13.
    Include the main keyword in your meta title – but make sure it reads naturally!
    14. Keep your meta title under 60 characters so that it displays properly on all devices.
    15. Write an interesting (and accurate) meta description of 50-300 characters in length.
    16. Don’t forget to organize posts with meaningful categories and tags.

    General SEO tips for blog posts
    17.
    Read and reply to all the comments you get on the post.
    18. Check that your blog posts are mobile-friendly. If you’re not sure, use this tool: Google Mobile-Friendly Test.
    19. Add new content to your site regularly. Don’t let it stagnate!
    20. Freshen up great evergreen blog posts by updating the content and keywords.
    21. Help to create the first flow of people to the blog post by sharing it on social media and getting it out to your email list!

    Final Thoughts
    Last but by no means least, remember that the best way to win over search engines is to win over your readers first. That means producing amazing content and distributing it to people who will genuinely value it.

    Ah, if you want to be the best when it comes to SEO optimisation, why not take a look at our in-depth article about SEO tips for beginners.

    This article was originally posted on 26 March 2019 by EmailOut and can be found here.

    Open your free email marketing account now and we’ll give you 12,500 sends each and every month free, forever. For up to 2,500 email contacts you’ll never pay us a penny.
    If you have more than 2,500 contacts check out our professional email marketing pricing.
  • 10 Ways To Personalise Your Marketing Emails Mar 25, 2019

    “Personalisation is not a trend, it’s a marketing tsunami.” – Avi Dan

    Nowadays buyers live in a world of information overload. Every single day, they see countless brand emails from numerous companies trying to win them over. As a marketer, it’s imperative you know how to cut through the noise and reach your target audience.

    The more personal the connection you build with your audience, the easier you’ll find it to develop your customer relationships and, of course, encourage conversions. Here are 10 tried-and-tested ways to personalise marketing emails that see great results.

    In this article, we’ll talk about different ways to personalise marketing emails and help you learn more about:
    • Segmentation and customer personas
    • What to personalise
    • Using their name (and yours!)
    • Automation and behaviour triggers
    • Responsive Design
    Let’s dig in, shall we?

    1. Use Their Name… More than Once!
    Addressing someone by name is the first, simple step to personalise marketing emails. Don’t just use it in the greeting, though – people are numb to that. Dropping it in a few times in the body of the email cements the idea that you’re talking directly to them.

    2. Create Customer Personas
    You don’t talk to every potential customer in exactly the same way, so why wouldn’t you adapt the language in your emails? Create clear personas and figure out where each person on your list fits in. This will help you clarify exactly who you’re talking to.

    3. Segment Using Smart Questions
    Customer personas are meaningless without proper segmentation. During sign-up, think very carefully about which details will be most useful to know about this person in order to devise the perfect email for them later.

    4. Use Carefully Chosen Individualized Details
    It’s not just a person’s name that signals this email is targeted specifically to them. Making reference to pertinent details you gathered from segmentation, from their buying or browsing choices on your site, or from direct conversations and questionnaires, grabs their interests. It announces that this is not a scattergun approach – you’ve thought about it.

    5. Adopt Behaviour-Triggered Emails
    Certain emails will land better with people at particular moments. Creating automated campaigns triggered by a particular action is very effective. 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.

    [​IMG]
    6. Split Test to Perfect Your Timing
    Timing is everything! The time of day you send an email can make a big difference. Play around with A/B testing until you figure out which combinations work best for which segments of your list.

    Learn more about split testing here > >

    7. Give People Plenty of Control
    Let people on your list decide how often you contact them, through what channels and, also, about which topics. Make it easy for them to change their mind later, too!

    8. Use Responsive Email Design
    Personalisation is also about adapting to the recipient’s device. Make sure you have a powerful, responsive design that maximizes readability and engagement on any size of screen.

    9. Find Something in Common
    Commenting on a shared interest, background or a person you know in common is a great way to build a rapport with your recipient. You can (probably) only use that level of personal detail with a few select, high-value clients, but it’s well worth the extra effort.

    10. Personalise at Your End, Too
    People buy from people. The more human you make yourself, the easier it is to build trust. Try signing off marketing emails from your own name rather than the company and see what happens!

    Final Thoughts
    Email personalisation can be hard work without the right tools. Make sure your email marketing platform makes it as easy as possible to segment your lists, set up multiple campaigns, A/B test, turn on responsive design with a few clicks and automate where possible. It will make your task far more effective – and manageable!

    Open your free email marketing account now and we’ll give you 12,500 sends each and every month free, forever. For up to 2,500 email contacts you’ll never pay us a penny.
    If you have more than 2,500 contacts check out our professional email marketing pricing.
  • Digital Marketing News: What Caught Our Attention This Month Mar 19, 2019

    “Email marketing is the most ordinary way of marketing as well as the ideal method for marketing a business.” – Get Found Online

    Our digital marketing news roundup will deliver the most essential updates and news straight to your inbox.

    In this digital marketing news roundup, we cover a huge service disruption at one of the biggest email providers, advice on how to protect your network from hijacking, a hosting and data security whitepaper, who lost 15 million users, which social media went kaput and a new social media publisher insights tool.

    Who has updated their search algorithm? – the biggest in years – oh, and let’s not forget about the approval of a new authentication standard you need to know about.

    In this article, we’ll cover the most recent digital marketing news on the following topics:
    1. Email: Gmail’s smart compose; what is BIMI and how to protect your business’ data.
    2. Social Media: why did Facebook file a lawsuit, Instagram’s new ad format and a new feature from Twitter.
    3. Search Engines: which feature from the old Google Search Console is about to be removed and Google’s biggest search algorithm update in years.
    4. PPC and Ads: Bing Ads Maximise Clicks and Facebook removing the Single Relevance Score.
    5. Other stuff: Chrome’s zero-day vulnerability and a new authentication standard.
    Let’s dig in!

    EMAIL
    “An email without clarity is like an annoying meme: Just say what you want or get out of the way!” – Jordie van Rijn


    Gmail
    Gmail’s feature smart compose has been available on desktop since its announcement at Google’s I/O conference in May 2018. However, the availability of this feature on mobile devices was limited to Google Pixel 3 series, only. Well, that’s no longer the case. We’ve learnt, the feature has now been rolled out to all Android users. By default, the feature is auto-enabled; however, if you find it more annoying than helpful, you can simply turn it off in the Gmail settings.

    MediaPost reported a Gmail service disruption which began 11 March and was still going the next day. The service was most heavily disrupted in the Northeastern U.S. and Japan, with lesser outages in Georgia, the UK and parts of the Asia-Pacific region. And, by the look of it, Google Drive has also been affected to a degree. According to DownDetector, users are still having issues several days later.

    What is BIMI?
    Email marketers have been searching for a way to have better visibility in front of their subscribers and get their messages opened since forever. Well, there might not be a solution but, there is a new standard – BIMI, or Brand Indicators for Message Identification – that can help brands stand out in the inbox.

    According to our friends at Litmus, the purpose of this new standard is to make it easier for marketers to get their logo displayed next to their message in the inbox. It’ll not only help with visibility, but BIMI is also designed to prevent fraudulent emailed and aide deliverability, too.

    BIMI is a new way of verifying information about your brand. Like DMARC, DKIM, and SPF – BIMI is a text record that lives on your servers. In fact, it works alongside SPF, DMARC and DKIM to signal email clients that you’re you. Sounds good, huh?

    Spamhaus
    A couple of months after publishing their article about network hijacking, Spamhaus has taken a proactive approach and followed up with an article on how to protect your network.

    Here are a few simple ways:
    • Protect your assets: Yes, your IP addresses are your assets. Hence, you need to make sure they are protected in events such as companies being bought, sold or merged.
    • Maintain up-to-date contact info with your Regional Internet Registry (RIR): This is important not only to enable the RIR to be able to get in touch for any day-to-day matters but, also to alert you should a third party attempts to tamper with your registration.
    • Renew domains: Any domains used for email addresses of contacts within your registration must be renewed.
    • Announce your IP ranges: Despite the fact, not all of your IP ranges are being actively used, make sure that you announce them.
    Hosting & Data Security
    One of the most valuable resources a business has is data. Imagine what will happen if it gets into the wrong hands? The consequences will be extremely damaging. According to the Cyber Security Breach Survey 2018, 43% of businesses and 19% of charities experienced a cybersecurity breach or attack in 2018.

    After the implementation of GDPR and considering 2018 had been the biggest year, as of yet, for the number of refined cybersecurity breaches, it’s imperative – now more than ever – for businesses to secure their data. Most businesses might not know what to do or how to secure their data. However, even if that’s the case, they needn’t worry. Our friends at UKFast have published a Hosting and Data security whitepaper which will help businesses understand not only data security but their hosting options; the value of outsourced hosting; and, the role of hosting in data security.

    SOCIAL MEDIA
    “Privacy is dead, and social media hold the smoking gun.” – Pete Cashmore


    Facebook
    13 March – Doomsday. Why? Facebook went down. The company stated only some of their apps were inaccessible and the issue was not related to a DDoS attack. What was the reason then? According to Facebook, it was all related to a server configuration change. Yeah, right? By the way, if it’s all been resolved, why are some people still having troubles accessing their accounts, huh?

    Facebook filed a lawsuit in US federal court against four companies and three people based in the People’s Republic of China. The reason? They were promoting the sale of fake accounts, likes and followers. To find out more about it and which other online services this was done to click here.

    A new study by Edison Research – “The Infinite Dial 2019” – claims Facebook is bleeding users by the million in the U.S. According to the study, Facebook now has about 15 million users less in the U.S. than it did in 2017.

    Instagram
    Instagram announced that it’s working on a new ad format which will better enable brands and influencers to partner-up in a more financially beneficial and transparent way. According to AdAge, the new format is called branded content ad and it’s part of a larger strategy allowing brands and creators to build formal partnerships.

    At the moment, brands can sponsor popular Insta-users and the sponsored posts will appear with the tag “Paid partnership with [brand name]”. There’s a limitation on the current way – the posts only reach the followers of the influencers.

    The company is introducing a new way of showcasing local businesses with in-app profile pages and the ability to claim them and update profile details. Tech Exec, Raj Nijjer alerted SEJ about this new feature.

    Twitter
    Twitter has launched a new publisher insights tool called Timing Is Everything which uses historical data to highlight when users are most often watching and engaging with videos on the platform. The tool offers an aggregated look at when Twitter users are generally watching videos on the platform. It does not offer publisher-specific insights on when their own organic followers watch. The tool can be found within the Twitter Media Studio under the Analytics drop-down menu.

    Social media code hacker Jane Manchun Wong discovered Twitter is working on a new feature that will allow users to hide any reply – of their choosing – on their tweets, while also providing an option to view hidden replies. Facebook already has a similar ‘Hide comments’ option for Pages; however, Twitter’s variation – if they go ahead with it – will allow more transparency with view hidden replies.

    Pinterest
    Ahead of a potential IPO later in the year, Pinterest is enhancing its shopping experience with more ways for businesses to promote products. The company is ramping up its eCommerce tools through the addition of new product catalogs and personalised shopping recommendations. Here’s a quick overview of the new updates:
    • Shop a brand: a new dedicated section from retailers is starting to roll out underneath Product Pins.
    • Personalised shopping recommendations: alongside style, home, etc. boards, users will see in-stock ideas related to what they’ve been saving.
    • Catalogs: brands will be able to upload their full catalog and easily turn their products into dynamic Product Pins; meaning more shoppable Pins across the platform.
    • Shopping ads: the company is making their Shopping ads available to all businesses through their self-serve tool Ads Manager.
    • Shopping search: when searching for a product, shopping results will now appear at the top of the home feed.
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    SEARCH ENGINES
    “SEO is a marketing function for sure, but it needs to be baked into a product, not slapped on like icing after the cake is baked.” – Duane Forrester


    Google Search Algorithm
    Danny Sullivan has confirmed a broad core algorithm update, a big one. Its name is Update Florida 2 and it’s said to be one of the biggest updates in years.

    A broad core update means that Google is not targeting any niche or particular signals, like quality. In a broad core algorithm update, Google is not targeting anything. Danny Sullivan also reminded users that “as with any update, some sites may note drops or gains. There’s nothing wrong with pages that may now perform less well. Instead, it’s that changes to our systems are benefiting pages that were previously under-rewarded.”

    More on the topic can be found on WebmasterWorld Forum here or Google Search Liason Twitter thread.

    Google Search Console
    A few months ago, we’ve mentioned Google will be deprecating some or all of the old Search Console features. One of the features set to be removed is Property sets. The reason? Low usability. We knew this was coming, but we didn’t have a specific date. Well, now we do. On March 28, Google will close Property sets; which has now officially been replaced by Google’s Domain properties.

    If you take a look at your old property set in the old Search Console, you’ll see the notification at the top of your dashboard. So, what should you do now? Easy. Make sure you’ve downloaded your data and set up the new Domain properties to replace them. You can see more comments and discussions here.

    Google My Business
    Google announced it has changed the way offers show up in a Google local listings by giving offers a dedicated spot on the local panel. What does that mean? Well, offers will show up more prominently when the business is searched for, letting users quickly discover what promotions are currently running. How does it work? Easy. Log in to your Google My Business account and go to the Posts section. Once you’ve created the new post, you have to choose the post category – event, offer or product – and then just publish it. Businesses can surface up to 10 unique offers; they will be displayed as a carousel.

    DuckDuckGo
    Oh, boy, do we have some news, DDG is now an option that users can select as their default search provider in Google Chrome. With the release of Chrome 73, DDG has been added to the list of default search engine choices in over 60 markets.

    Not that we’re surprised though. After all, the search engine hit a company record of 1 billion searches per month this past January.

    PPC AND ADVERTISING
    “What really decides consumers to-buy-or-not-to-buy is the content of your advertising, not its form.” – David Ogilvy


    Google Ads API
    Google Ads API finally graduated from beta and the production-ready v1 is now available and ready to use. Why should you care? Well, considering v0 is sunsetting on 30 April, users are advised to update their client libraries to use the v1 endpoint simply because beta version API requests will fail after April cut-over date. If you want to know more about it click here.

    Google Ads Campaigns
    Google is rolling out a new Budget Planner tool to help advertisers analyse their current Google Ads campaigns budgets. The way it works is that you can create a budget plan based on either clicks or conversions as a key metric. The tools won’t exactly tell you how much budget you’d start off with, but, it will certainly provide some directional insight. Want to know more and actually see what we’re talking about? Just click here.

    Bing Ads
    Bing Ads rolled out their automated bidding strategy – Maximize Clicks – to all accounts worldwide. It’s pretty easy to use as it’s, well, automated. However, it’s important to note that if you’re using a third-party bid management solution, you’ll likely not be able to use Maximize Clicks. You can read more on the matter here.

    Facebook Ads
    Facebook’s Single Relevance Score, which was initially launched in 2015, will be retiring pretty soon. According to the company, it’ll be replaced with three new relevance metrics. The reason? A more granular ad relevance diagnostic measures which will help improve performance as well as offer more actionable business insights. Also, the removal of the previous relevance score metrics will begin on 30 April. If you want to know more about the new metrics, you can find more information here.

    Amazon
    Do you want to gain a better understanding of your audience and who is actually buying your stuff on Amazon? We bet you do; and, with the company launching four new metrics for brands advertising, you will. Why this is so great though? Simple, it’ll help advertisers learn how much it costs to reach new users with their campaigns and products. In order to see a breakdown of the new metrics and get some ideas on how they can influence your advertising strategy click here.

    OTHER DIGITAL MARKETING NEWS WE FOUND INTERESTING
    “By listening, marketing will re-learn how to talk.” – Doc Searls & David Weinberger


    W3C
    The Verge reported that the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) approved WebAuthn; a new authentication standard aimed to replace the password as a way of securing your online accounts. Web Authn was first announced last year and is already supported by most browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Edge and Safari. Now that the standard has been approved, the next step for websites is to integrate it.

    Twitter
    After calling for applicants to try out the beta testing app back in January, Twitter has finally released its new “Twttr” test app. In short, it includes a completely new layout for tweet replies; and, of course, that immediately triggered mixed responses from users. Most testers seemed pretty positive about the change; whilst others are criticising the ‘chunky blocks’. If you want to stay up to date on this, just search for the #LetsHaveAConvo tag.

    Google Chrome
    Google revealed that a patch for its Chrome web browser was actually a fix for a zero-day that was under multiple active attacks. According to ZDNet, the attacks exploited CVE-2019-5786, a security flaw and the only patch included in the Chrome 72.0.3626.121 version, released at the beginning of March.

    Google described the error as a memory management error in Google Chrome’s FileReader – a web API included in all major browsers that lets web apps read the contents of files stored on the user’s computer.

    As a result, Chrome users are advised to use the browser’s built-in update tool – if they haven’t already – in order to trigger an update to 72.0.3626.121 version.

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

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

    The article was originally published on 15 March 2019 by EmailOut and can be found here.

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  • 7 Dangerous Myths About Startup Success Mar 18, 2019

    “The way to get started is to quit talking and start doing.” – Walt Disney

    Maybe she’s born with it… or maybe it’s the product of hard work, a great business model and formidable resilience.

    Here are some of the most pervasive startup myths and flat out lies you’ll hear again and again about launching a successful startup – and why they’re so far off the mark.

    In this article, we’ll talk about top startup myths like:
    • A good idea is all you need
    • You’re born with the entrepreneur gene (and you’ll know exactly what you’re doing)
    • Successful startup founders get rich quick
    Read on to find out the top startup myths you can definitely afford to ignore.

    1. All You Need Is A Great Idea
    Ever seen someone make a fortune out of an amazing idea you could have sworn you dreamed up ages ago and thought, “Damn, they beat me to it”? Well, before you get too carried away, the likelihood is that plenty of other people thought of something similar, too. They just didn’t get there first.

    Obviously, a great idea is pretty high up the list of important factors in getting a winning startup off the ground. It’s far from the only factor, though. You can’t just think of a cool concept – you have to do the hard graft in making it a reality, developing a rock-solid business plan, marketing it right… you know, all the difficult bits.

    2. Entrepreneurship Is Innate
    This is one of the most annoying startup myths out there about launching a successful startup. Sure, some people might find certain elements of running a business or pitching an idea easier than others, but no one wakes up in the morning to find that they’re a fully-fledged business genius.

    Successful entrepreneurship takes effort, sustained hard work and a continual willingness (and desire) to learn, adapt and improve.

    3. You Need a Lot of Money to Start a New Business
    A lot of people assume that you can’t launch a startup without a massive stack of cash or willing investors lining up to fund your company.

    Money helps, of course it does. Money makes it easier to grow faster. Being in a position where you don’t have to take any money out to pay yourself for the first year is great. But if these options aren’t available, that’s no excuse not to launch.

    The average startup gets going with $25,000. Plenty of people start a successful business in a spare bedroom with no resources and no money at all.

    4. You Have to Be a Big Risk Taker
    Aargh! This is one of those misconceptions that cause serious damage. You do not have to imperil your business and your investment to prove somehow that you have the “guts” to pursue great things.

    The best founders make a carefully considered, well-informed call over whether a particular gambit makes sense and whether it fits their risk appetite. They don’t just gamble for the hell of it.

    [​IMG]
    5. Startup Founders Have to Be Bullish
    Along the same lines, there is no “right” personality type to run a company. In fact, you don’t need to be aggressive and domineering to feel you’re showing the right amount of confidence to lead.

    In fact, this is almost certainly counterproductive. Arrogance means you’re not listening – which means you probably aren’t listening to reasoned criticism either. You want to have a clear vision and courage in your convictions, but refusal to engage with other perspectives is a recipe for disaster.

    6. You Just Need One Big Customer
    When you’re first starting out, every client feels like a big win – and it is. But one or two major clients is not enough to declare your startup a resounding success, at least not yet. What happens if you lose them?

    A useful rule of thumb is that no one client should represent more than 20% of your business. Until you’ve brought in enough clients or work to establish that ratio, you can’t afford to rest on your laurels.

    7. Success Means Raking In the Big Bucks – Fast
    Every entrepreneur wants to make money, but the most effective ones rarely focus on making a quick buck for themselves. Instead, they’re obsessed with growing their business, making it awesome, reinvesting profits into doing bigger and better things. If anything, for your startup to be a true success, you need to be prepared to pay yourself last!

    Final Thoughts
    There is no secret formula to making your business take off. Ambition is important, but expecting too much too soon can hamstring you. Be patient, be persistent, and be prepared to work hard.

    Now that you know which are the top startup myths and why they’re so far off their mark, why not take a look at our article on how to deliver a pitch investors can’t turn down.

    The original article was posted on 13 March 2019 by EmailOut and can be found here.

    Open your free email marketing account now and we’ll give you 12,500 sends each and every month free, forever. For up to 2,500 email contacts you’ll never pay us a penny.
    If you have more than 2,500 contacts check out our professional email marketing pricing.
  • Hard Bounces vs Soft Bounces – What’s The Difference? Mar 11, 2019

    “An email bounce is the technological equivalent to getting a letter marked ‘return to sender’.” – Litmus

    We don’t need to tell you that deliverability is crucial in any email marketing campaign. You know that – and you certainly don’t want your emails to bounce.

    What you might be less sure about is precisely why they are bouncing and what that means. To help you figure it out, let’s take a look at two important terms – hard vs soft bounces.

    In this article, we’ll answer the following questions about hard vs soft bounces:
    • What do we mean by hard vs soft bounces?
    • Why it’s important to know the difference between hard vs soft bounces?
    • What to do with your bounce data?
    Let’s begin, shall we?

    What is a Hard Bounce?
    Emails “bounce” when they can’t be delivered. If it’s a hard bounce, that means they permanently can’t be delivered.

    There are a whole bunch of reasons behind this. For example, it could have been a work email address that no longer exists because the person has moved on. It could have been a fake email address. Or, it could simply be that there’s a spelling mistake somewhere in it.

    The point is, that email is never going to work, no matter how many times you try it.

    What to Do About Hard Bounces?
    Since there’s nothing you can do to make this email address work, you might as well take it off your list. Scratch that – you need to take it off your list before it starts impacting on your trust ratings or skewing your campaign performance data.

    What Is a Soft Bounce?
    An email that “soft” bounces also can’t be delivered – but it’s only a temporary issue.

    The email address exists, so the problem is elsewhere. Either it’s an issue with the inbox, which may be too full or having technical problems. Or there’s an issue with the email itself – it’s too large, for example.

    What to Do About Soft Bounces?
    The good news is that many email providers don’t give up at the first hurdle. They’ll keep trying to deliver your email over the next couple of days. You don’t necessarily need to do anything.

    That said, it’s well worth keeping a close eye on these email addresses. If they consistently soft bounce, it may be worth removing them anyway. The email account may not be in constant use, in which case your email is unlikely to be opened anyway. What’s the point in emailing someone who won’t see, open or derive any value from your email anyway?

    Final Thoughts
    Tracking your bounce rates isn’t just about deciding whether or not to remove an email from your list. It also gives you important clues as to whether you’re making self-defeating mistakes during your sign-up and list-building activities.

    Psst! Get top tips for building your email list here >

    For example, if you’re getting a lot of hard bounces, take a good hard look at these to figure out whether they’ve simply expired, whether they’re fake, or whether there might be a typo in there somewhere.

    For example, fake emails show that people don’t want to receive marketing emails from you. Either you didn’t convince them that this would be valuable to them or you got their email addresses through sneaky means (like buying them)… which you should never do!

    If you have tons of emails with mistakes in, what’s going wrong in your sign-up or data entry process? Is the form fiddly, difficult to use or displaying weirdly? Are you taking email addresses by hand and manually entering them into the system later? A few simple tweaks could make a big difference!

    Remember that, ideally, you should keep your overall bounce rate under 2%. Pruning lists, analyzing why email addresses fail and second-guessing what’s underpinning a high bounce rate will take up far more of your time than adopting sensible approaches in the first place. It all comes down to one thing: making sure that everyone on your list wants to be there in the first place!

    The original article was posted on 6 March 2019 by EmailOut and can be found here.

    Open your free email marketing account now and we’ll give you 12,500 sends each and every month free, forever. For up to 2,500 email contacts you’ll never pay us a penny.
    If you have more than 2,500 contacts check out our professional email marketing pricing.
  • Digital Marketing News: News-In-Brief That Caught Our Attention This Month Mar 7, 2019

    “Not viewing your email marketing as content is a mistake.” – Chris Baggott

    Our digital marketing news roundup will deliver the most essential updates and changes straight to your inbox.

    In this digital marketing news roundup, we’ll cover MailChimp’s data breach; Symantec’s new offering to reduce the risk of BEC attacks; a new phishing attack which bypasses Microsoft Office 365 malicious file filters; a replica of Facebook’s single sign-on login screen which snaps users’ passwords; GSC’s alerts for traffic drops and big ranking; a trick web developers are exploiting to detect if users are visiting websites in Chrome’s Incognito Mode; Google opening up .dev domain name registry to everyone; a popular WordPress plugin that leaked access tokens capable of hijacking Twitter accounts; and, a 14-year-old vulnerability in WinRar.

    In this article, we’ll cover the most recent digital marketing news on the following topics:
    1. Email: MailChimp’s data breach and, a free guide to protecting O365 emails.
    2. Social Media: Facebook’s new security feature and YouTube’s update on “strikes”.
    3. Search Engines and SEO: Google’s white-paper on “fake news”.
    4. PPC and Advertising: New features for responsive display ads.
    5. Other stuff we found interesting: Hijacked Twitter accounts and a 14-year-old vulnerability in WinRar.
    Let’s dig in!

    EMAIL
    “Existing customers’ email experience should be just as good as prospective customers’ experience. ” – Martin McKenna


    MailChimp
    Earlier this month we reported that MailChimp’s Mandrill app went bang and now, just a few weeks later, online retailer Master of Malt has been spotted warning some of its customers of a potential breach to their MailChimp account. The managing director Tim McGuinness reassured “no other personal data of any sort has been compromised”; as if, gaining access to customers’ names and email addresses is a small breach. Nonetheless, McGuinness confirmed the company suspended its access to MailChimp as soon as it noticed the potential breach. Later on, based on the retailer’s discoveries, it was established that two types of spam have been sent; one posing as emails from MailChimp requesting billing details to be updated, and another purporting to be from the UK government regarding tax refunds.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    At the beginning of February, the ICO was informed of yet another personal data breach involving MailChimp. As far as warnings go, customers have been advised not to click on any links in the emails they’ve received; but, we think – with so many breaches and issues – it might be time for MailChimp users to consider an alternative email marketing company, one that offers better value too. Wouldn’t you agree?

    [​IMG]

    Symantec
    Symantec – a cybersecurity software company – is looking into reducing the risk of business email compromise (BEC) attacks with a new offering – Email Fraud Protection; the offering will make it easier to implement and manage Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC) for email authenticity. If you are using Symantec products you should know the new offering works together with other services already available in the product portfolio. If you are not, maybe you should start.

    Microsoft Office 365
    Cybersecurity firm – Avanan – have identified a new phishing attack which is able to bypass Microsoft Office 365 malicious file filters. The attack, dubbed NoRelationship, uses a link parsing weakness in email scanning products to hide malicious links. NoRelationship is able to bypass Microsoft’s Exchange Online Protection (EOP) URL filters, which scan Office documents including .docx, .xlsx and .pptx to warn users when malicious content is detected. The phishing attack includes a .docx attachment containing a malicious link; the link leads to credential harvesting login pages. This, once more, proves we should be careful when clicking on links or downloading files. After all, this is a very common technique used by scammers.

    TitanHQ’s Free Guide
    Furthermore, as more businesses adopt Microsoft Office 365 cloud-based subscription service the more it turns the service into a profitable prey for persistent hackers; especially those familiar with how O365 works. Hence, TitanHQ decided to take proactive steps and help businesses “hack-proof” their Office 365 environments. How? By publishing a free 2019 Guide to Protecting Office 365 Email from Malicious Malware Attacks. A few of the things the guide examines are targeted attacks on O365; how to strengthen your O365 security against Spam and Malware; advanced phishing protection; O365 offered email protection; data leak prevention; and, increasing profit margins for MSPs.

    SOCIAL MEDIA
    “If you get bored with social media, it’s because you are trying to get more value than you create.” – Fast Company


    It’s been a tough time for Facebook; especially after UK lawmakers compared Mark Zuckerberg and other execs to “digital gangsters”. Conveniently, days after the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee damning report dropped, Facebook released a new security feature. Now, Android users will have more granular control over location data collection. Apple already offers iPhone users three options to choose from; refusing to share location info, always sharing it and only sharing it when the app is in use. However, Android sadly doesn’t give its users those options. They’re either sharing all of the time or not sharing at all. Well, now they don’t have to worry, do they?

    Moreover, as if Facebook hasn’t suffered enough drama, it seems phishers are deploying what appears to be a clever new trick to snap people’s Facebook password. How? By presenting convincing replicas of single sign-on login windows on malicious sites. The forgery is so convincing it can dupe even the most vigilant of users. Our advice, always use multi-factor authentication. It might make you look paranoid but better safe than sorry, right?

    YouTube is updating the way they give strikes to users who violate their Community Guidelines. Strikes could result in penalties or even removal of accounts. But first, YouTube will give users a one-time warning before handing out further strikes. There’s no penalty involved with receiving a warning; aside from the content which triggered the warning being removed.

    SEARCH ENGINES AND SEO
    “Good SEO work only gets better over time. It’s only search engine tricks that need to keep changing when the ranking algorithms change.” – Jill Whalen


    Google Search Console
    It seems like Google is now sending alerts and notifications from Google Search Console (GSC) when it detects big ranking and traffic drops. It appears Google is comparing your site clicks and query clicks as reported in the GSC’s performance report. If it notices huge fluctuation, Google may send the notification to those that have verified access to that property in Search Console. Why should you care? Simple. These alerts and notifications help you find issues – sooner rather than later – and address them before they significantly impact your business. Seems like a pretty good reason to care, right?

    Google Chrome
    Google is about to close a loophole which many companies used to track how people were browsing their website in Chrome. According to 9to5Google, the company is aware of a trick web developers have been exploiting that enables them to detect if a user is visiting a website in Chrome’s Incognito mode. The loophole, allows websites to block visitors from accessing the site’s content, forcing them to switch out of Incognito mode if they want to view the page. By the looks of it, the workaround seems fairly simple. Chrome disables the File System API – which stores application files – when Incognito mode is being used. So, websites looking to block private browsing in Chrome can simply check for this API when a browser loads the page. According to The Verge, the company is set to close this loophole via an opt-in feature with Chrome 74; expected to arrive in April.

    Google and “Fake News”
    We’ve all heard about “fake news”, right? Nevertheless, everyone has a different perspective on what is considered disinformation or “fake news”. Moreover, providing useful and trusted information at the scale that the Internet has reached is enormously complex and an important responsibility. Hence, Google decided to publish a 30-page white paper which gives more details on how the company will tackle the international spread of disinformation across Google Search, Google News, YouTube and their advertising systems.

    [​IMG]
    PPC AND ADVERTISING
    “When writing PPC ads, first ask yourself – why should anyone click it?” – Dana DiTomaso


    Oh boy, do we have some exciting news for you. We heard Google is rolling out three new features for responsive display ads which are designed to improve functionality and reporting capabilities. Wondering what those features are? No need. We’re here to tell you.

    First comes the video assets which allow advertisers to expand their reach to new inventory and improve performance with sight, sound and motion all while scaling ad creation, testing and optimisation.

    Secondly, we have the combinations report which provides insight into the performance of different creative asset combinations. This new report shows the top performing asset combinations that are being generated in your responsive display ads. Also, there are separate sections dedicated to combinations based on images, text, dynamic feeds and videos.

    Thirdly, Google introduces the new ad strength scorecard which will help advertisers measure how well their responsive display ads are set up before they go live. Google Ads will check for the optimal number of unique headlines, images and descriptions.

    Furthermore, Google is upgrading call-only ads adding the option to add up to two 30-character headlines and more text in the description.

    Last, but certainly not least, Google Ads has changed the way it calculates mobile speed score on the Landing Pages tab. After all, slow mobile pages can slow down your business and, according to Google, 53% of visits to a mobile site are abandoned if it takes more than three seconds to load. Hence, the company updated the mobile speed score algorithm to require fewer ad clicks in order to calculate a score.

    OTHER DIGITAL MARKETING NEWS WE FOUND INTERESTING
    “Marketing’s job is never done. It’s about perpetual motion. We must continue to innovate every day.” – Beth Comstock


    Have you ever tried to register your chosen/preferred domain name, only to find out it’s not available? For the first time ever, Google Registry is letting anyone register a domain using the .dev extension, a brand new top-level domain (TLD) dedicated to developers and technology. Google has owned the .dev gTLD since 2015 and when they acquired it, it was intended to be private and reserved for Google’s use only.

    A popular WordPress plugin – installed on thousands of websites to help users share content on social media platforms – left linked Twitter accounts exposed to compromise. The plugin, Social Network Tabs, was storing account access tokens in the source code of the WordPress website. Hence, anyone who viewed the source code could see the linked Twitter handle and the access token. According to TechCrunch, among the vulnerable accounts, there were a couple of verified Twitter users, several accounts with tens of thousands of followers, a Florida sheriff’s office, a casino in Oklahoma and more. So, if you’re using the plugin, our advice is – remove it immediately, change your Twitter password and ensure that the app is removed from Twitter’s connected apps to invalidate the token.

    If you’re one of the 500 million WinRAR users, we’ve got some disturbing news for you. It appears that the Windows file compression program has just recently fixed more than a 14-year-old code-execution bug which made it possible for attackers to execute malicious code when targets opened a booby-trapped file. According to ArsTechnica, the vulnerability was the result of an absolute path traversal flaw that resided in UNACEV2.DLL; a third-party code library that hasn’t been updated since 2005.

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

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

    The original article was posted on 4 March 2019 by EmailOut and can be found here.

    Open your free email marketing account now and we’ll give you 12,500 sends each and every month free, forever. For up to 2,500 email contacts you’ll never pay us a penny.
    If you have more than 2,500 contacts check out our professional email marketing pricing.
  • 26 Knockout Pitching Techniques for Startups Mar 5, 2019

    “Chase the vision, not the money; the money will end up following you.” – Tony Hsieh

    You only get one chance to make a first impression, and potential investors have to be some of the trickiest people in the world to impress!

    That said, the difference between sounding like a savvy pro and a nervous rookie is sometimes just a few simple techniques. In this article, we’ll look at 26 quick knockout pitching techniques for startups that will help you break through investors’ cynicism and show that you mean business.

    Read on to learn more about the following aspects of pitching strategies for startups…
    • What to include in your pitch
    • Anticipating questions
    • Ideal length and pacing
    • Conquering nerves
    • Winning them over
    Let’s begin, shall we?

    Here are 26 pitching strategies for startups to use in your next pitch:
    1.
    Keep it under 10 minutes. Don’t give them time to get bored!
    2. Leave plenty of time for questions.
    3. Also, try to anticipate what questions they’ll ask and prepare convincing answers. It helps to practise delivering your pitch to someone you trust and getting them to ask the questions that spring to mind!
    4. Don’t stay on any one slide for more than 3 minutes.
    5. Don’t put too much information in each slide. You want them to be listening to you, not distracted with extra info on the screen.
    6. Use clear, precise, everyday language – never jargon or overly technical terminology.
    7. It’s a good idea to have a script, but if you do, make sure it’s written for the ear, not for the eye. That means accessible wording and short, punchy sentences.
    8. Incorporate a brief product demo or video to bring what you’re selling to life.
    9. Focus on telling a story – the story behind the brand, what your product does for users, or both.
    10. Don’t waste time stating the obvious. You have 10 minutes, so use it to tell them what they don’t know, not what they do.
    11. Explain exactly what your product/service does, using action words. Don’t just describe it.
    12. Explain why your product/service is unique.
    13. Talk about market gaps and explain what you do that your competitors don’t – but be respectful and professional.
    14. Be very clear about who your target market is.
    15. Walk them through how you will reach and acquire customers.
    16. Wow them with a deeply-considered plan for targeted online marketing.
    17. Outline your revenue model (and why you’re using it).
    18. Talk about your exit strategy – and set this at five years or so. That shows that you believe you can make good money in that time.
    19. Focus on the value your product brings to customers and how this gives you an edge.
    20. Don’t make wild promises, but give investors a clear idea of how soon they can expect to see a return on investment.
    21. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse! You need the pitch to be slick. Be confident with your material and ensure it’s paced correctly and sounds right out loud.
    22. Show your passion. If you’re not incredibly enthusiastic about this, you can hardly expect them to be.
    23. Smile and make eye contact. A confident demeanour will go a long way.
    24. Dress impeccably. If in doubt, go suited and booted!
    25. If you get nervous before your pitch, run your wrists under cold water to cool down quickly, breathing slow (four breaths per minute) to reduce your heart rate.
    26. Get your pitch tied down several days in advance to give you plenty of time to practice – and to get a good night’s sleep before pitch day.

    And Finally…
    Remember that people buy from people. You need these investors to have faith in you as a person as much as your company, so when using pitching techniques for startups ensure you’ll highlight your reliability, expertise, experience and your commitment. They need to believe that you are the right person to drive this venture if they’re going to trust you with their money!

    Ah, once you’ve convinced the investors – and your startup is taking off – it’s important to maintain startup momentum. In order to do so, we’ve got a few tips which will be extremely useful. Also, don’t forget that one of the many reasons startups fail is because of financial shortcomings. So, in order to prevent such faith befalling your startup, take a look at our article on finance tips for startups.

    The original article was posted on 28 February 2019 by EmailOut and can be found here.

    Open your free email marketing account now and we’ll give you 12,500 sends each and every month free, forever. For up to 2,500 email contacts you’ll never pay us a penny.
    If you have more than 2,500 contacts check out our professional email marketing pricing.
  • How to Improve Your Email Deliverability Mar 4, 2019

    “Thinks outside the Inbox.” – EmailOut.com

    There’s nothing more frustrating than slaving over your email list, impeccably planning a content calendar, creating amazing content, agonizing over what goes into your emails… only to have them bounce back or head straight to spam.

    So, how can you make sure your emails get delivered? Well, we’ll run you through some tried-and-tested strategies that will help you improve email deliverability rates, today!

    In this article, we’ll talk about the following ways to improve email deliverability:
    • Cleaning up your list
    • Authenticating your domain
    • Avoiding common spam triggers
    • Improving your opt-in, preferences and opt-out process
    Let’s dig in!

    1. Clean Up Your List
    Do you have unengaged readers on your list? They might help inflate the numbers, but they’re doing no one any good. Scrub your list regularly to make sure you aren’t damaging deliverability and, at the same time, by doing this you’ll also improve email deliverability rates!

    2. Authenticate Your Domain
    It’s a bit fiddly, but it’s well worth your time to authenticate your email domain by enabling Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and Domain Keys Identified Email (DKIM). These build trust that you are who you are and make it much harder to spoof your email address, which could be causing you problems without you knowing about it.

    3. Think About Your Subject Lines
    Some words or use of punctuation in your subject lines just get spam-detectors spidey-senses tingling.

    $-signs are one. Cries of “FREE!!”, claims that something is “risk-free” and references to debt, credit, quotes and winning competitions are all major offenders. Others you might not expect. Words as innocuous as bargain, amazing, buy, problem and open can all cause trouble, purely because spam filter algorithms see them crop up a lot in dodgy emails.

    Pay very close attention to emails that don’t get delivered. The clue is probably in the name.

    If you don’t feel the inspiration juices flowing yet, take a look at our 27 ideas for irresistible subject lines here. These ideas will ensure you will improve email deliverability and get you another step closer to better deliverability rates.

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    4. Improve Your Opt-In
    Make sure that people genuinely want to be on your email list. Don’t try to trick people into handing over their details. Ensure they understand what you’re planning to send them.

    A double opt-in process, where they get an email confirmation to click, ensures that it really was them that signed up – which sound like a strange concern, but if you’re lazy about it, your competitors could feed you spam trap emails (more on that in a moment!) and then you’re really in trouble!

    5. Sort Out Preferences and Opt-Out
    Don’t try to stop people from reducing the number of emails they receive or from unsubscribing altogether. In fact, make this easy for them by setting up a preferences page with a link from your emails, so that they can change their interests or email frequency, or cancel if they so please. Much better than having them move your emails to junk!

    6. Never Buy Email Addresses!
    For the love of all that is holy, don’t fall into this trap. Often it is literally a trap – people add ‘spam trap’ email addresses to certain lists, and these trigger spam filters, which then put you on a blacklist! Once you’re on, it’s very tricky to get off again – so really, don’t risk it. Forcing people to get your emails is a bad enough strategy without this extra risk!

    Final Thoughts
    Remember that there is simply no substitute for sending stuff to people that they actually want to read! Strategies like these will improve the process, but no amount of tricks and tools can force your audience to be interested in things that they don’t care about.

    Make sure that you’re conducting proper research into what your audience wants to hear about, that you’re giving subscribers plenty of chances to tell them for yourself – and that you’re listening. You won’t get far without this!

    The original article was posted on 27 February 2019 by EmailOut and can be found here.

    Open your free email marketing account now and we’ll give you 12,500 sends each and every month free, forever. For up to 2,500 email contacts you’ll never pay us a penny.
    If you have more than 2,500 contacts check out our professional email marketing pricing.
  • A Beginner’s Guide to Email Marketing Feb 26, 2019

    “Email is a 40-year-old technology that’s not going away for very good reasons – it’s the cockroach of the Internet.” – Jason Hirschhorn

    Is email marketing dead?


    Email marketing is one of the most dependable and effective methods for developing a great relationship with potential customers and building a buzz around your brand, product or idea. But where on Earth do you start? Well… with our Beginner’s Guide To Email Marketing, of course!

    In our Beginner’s Guide To Email Marketing, we’ll cover:
    1. Asking Permission
    2. Segmenting Your List
    3. Scheduling Emails
    4. What to Send
    5. Analytics
    Ready to embark on your journey to email marketing mastery? Then let’s begin!

    Step One: Ask Permission
    We know, we know: you’re excited about building your email list. But you can’t cut corners here: you must only email people who have expressly agreed or asked for you to do so. You can do that with forms on gated content, with pop-ups on your website, with sponsored posts on Facebook or Instagram… however you like. The important thing is that you get permission.

    Step Two: Segment Your List
    While you’re collecting data to email people, ask some smart questions that help you build a picture of that subscriber. Depending on what your business does, that could be their job title or sector, their age or gender, or their areas of interest. Now’s also a good time to ask how often they’d like to hear from you and what kinds of emails they’d like to receive from you.

    Learn more about segmenting your emails here >>

    Step Three: Draw Up a Schedule
    Next, figure out how often you’re going to contact people and what kind of things to include. While you may want to send ad-hoc emails now and again, for example, to announce a flash sale or limited offer, overall it’s much better to keep to a regular pattern that people come to expect and anticipate. Once you’ve established a pattern, stick to it!

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    Step Four: Send Great Content
    Now you’re ready to start sending people amazing stuff to brighten up their day! The exact nature of this depends, of course, on your other marketing, content creation and sales strategy efforts.

    For example, you might build your emails around weekly blog posts, your latest published videos, ebooks and whitepapers, top deals of the week, product lines updated monthly, or anything else.

    Whatever the purpose of the email is, the important thing is that you’re always thinking about how this benefits the customer. What makes them excited to open this? What makes them want to click through? Look at it through their eyes – don’t just focus on what you want out of the exchange!

    Step Five: Analyze and Refine
    Unless you run complete, cohesive analytics on all your email campaigns, you’re kind of firing into the void. Opt for an email marketing platform that allows you to collect and analyze data easily. Track results carefully all along the chain to figure out what’s working and where you might be slipping up – and keep adapting, refining and trying out new ideas until you nail it!

    Unsure which metrics to focus on? Learn more here >>

    Final Thoughts: Having the Right Attitude
    The key to a great email marketing campaign is remembering that your subscribers are being generous by allowing you to email them. They’ve kindly agreed to let you deposit emails in their inboxes – and it’s your job to be polite and respectful about that.

    That means emailing them when you say you’re going to. It means being considerate about what they might find useful – not just pushing sales on them, or wasting their time with stuff that’s of little value. It means keeping their details safe and respecting the contact preferences they set.

    Once you start to think about the process from their perspective, the rest will begin to fall into place!

    The original article was posted on February 20, 2019 by EmailOut and can be found here.

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