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  • How to Figure Out a Niche for Your Startup? Jun 19, 2019 at 12:39 PM

    “If everybody’s doing it one way, there’s a good chance you can find your niche by going in exactly the opposite direction” – Sam Walton

    Whether you’re starting a new company or working out which direction to take your startup next, it’s crucial that you know exactly what it is that you do better than anyone else.

    In this article, we’ll guide you through 7 steps that will help you figure out a winning profitable niche market strategy for your business.

    Read on to learn more about:

    • Finding your expertise sweet spot
    • Identifying potential markets, customers and pain points
    • Focusing on problems you’re uniquely equipped to solve
    • Standing out against the competition
    Let’s get started.

    1. Start with the Sweet Spot Venn Diagram
    Here’s a really simple way to start brainstorming on a profitable niche market strategy ideas: draw a Venn diagram with four circles. Label them:
    • “What…
      • …I’m (or your company is) Really Good At”
      • …I love doing”
      • …the World Needs”
      • …Pays Well”
    Now start filling in the Venn diagram with your skills and expertise. Those that sit right at the heart of the overlapping circles of the diagram – in other words, the ones that fit into all four categories – represent your strongest, most compelling unique selling points. Therefore, use these as the basis for defining your niche.

    2. Identify Potential Customers
    Now that you have a clearer idea of what makes up your key assets, start listing the types of people, companies or organizations that would derive the most value from it. The more specific you can be, the better.

    3. Research their Major Pain Points
    From here, you need to really get into the mindsets of these customers. What are they trying to achieve? What challenges, frustrations and annoyances get in their way?

    4. Pick Problems You Can Solve
    Next, cross-reference the pain points you’ve identified with the skills and attributes you highlighted before. Which ones seem like a possible match? How could you use your expertise to make these customers’ lives easier or better?

    5. Take a Good Hard Look at the Competition
    Before you get wedded to a particular idea, conduct a thorough audit of all the other companies you find that target the same problem areas or types of customer. How do they approach the problem? How are you different from them? What problems can you see with their approach? Have any of them already tried your exact idea? What could you do differently?

    6. Figure Out Solutions and Approaches that Only YOU Could Do
    Now you can certainly tighten up your ideas and really define your niche. Looking back at the marketable specialisms you identified earlier, ask yourself ‘why am I the right person to solve this problem? What perspective would I bring to the challenge or the industry that no one else could?’

    The key is to work with your strengths and develop a business idea that draws on these heavily, rather than trying to squash yourself into the mould of a company that already exists out there.

    7. Work Out How to Make it Profitable
    A great idea isn’t the same thing as a great business idea. You still need to work out how you’d make enough money from it to succeed. So, think carefully about your target market. Even if they love the idea, would they have the budget to invest in it? What would your payment model be like?

    Final Thoughts
    Do a trial run with a small test version of your product or service before you scale up. Check out what messaging works, whether you get an interest from the kind of customers you expected and so on – and whether you need to adapt your niche market strategy. Keep working at it until you get it right.

    This article was originally published on 12 June by EmailOut and can be found here.

    Open your Unlimited Sends one-month free trial today – after your first month with us you can switch to our FreeForever account giving you 12,500 sends to 2,500 contacts each and every month for free, forever. Corporate email marketing? Contact us.
  • Digital Marketing News: What Caught Our Attention This Month Jun 18, 2019 at 4:47 PM

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

    In this digital marketing news roundup, we cover two very important acquisitions in the world of marketing and analytics as well as a WordPress plugin vulnerability exploited by hackers for malicious purposes.

    In this article, we’ll cover the following most recent digital marketing news:
    1. WordPress plugin vulnerability redirecting users to malicious websites;
    2. Tableau becoming part of the Salesforce family;
    3. Google Cloud’s acquisition of Looker.
    Let’s dig in.

    Hackers Actively Exploit a WordPress PlugIn
    According to our dear friends at Ars Technica, hackers have been “actively exploiting a recently patched vulnerability in some websites that causes the sites to redirect to malicious sites or display misleading pop-ups.”

    The WordPress plugin hackers have been exploiting is WP Live Chat Support, a plugin for WP content management system with over 50,000 active installations. Ars Technica states the vulnerability has been fixed two weeks before they’ve reported the hack. However, the persistent cross-site scripting vulnerability allows hackers to inject malicious JavaScript into sites that use the plugin. Why is this important? If you are using unpatched versions of the plugin the attackers will keep exploiting the vulnerability to redirect to malicious sites or to display unwanted pop-ups.

    So, if you’re seeing a suspicious amount of maliciously looking redirects than usual, now you know why.

    Salesforce To Acquire Tableau
    Salesforce announced it will be acquiring the popular analytics and data visualisation platform Tableau for $15.7 billion. This acquisition is yet another move by the CRM company that brings in new technology and tools that should bring better data. And, also, understanding of that data.
    [​IMG]
    The purchase is expected to close around October 1. The acquisition will also provide Salesforce with increased analytics capability and strengthen its Customer 360 offering.

    Overall, the combination of Tableau and Salesforce Einstein will provide clients with intuitive analytics; and, also, a visualisation platform for every department in a company.

    Another benefit, also, is that both companies communities will be combined. Salesforce has over 1.4 million Trailblazers, and the Tableau Community has more than 1 million data enthusiast.

    Google Is Strengthening Cloud Analytics
    Google announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Looker – a unified platform for business intelligence, data applications and embedded analytics – in a $2.6 billion all-cash transaction. Upon closure of this deal, Looker will join Google Cloud.

    [​IMG] According to Thomas Kurian (CEO of Google Cloud), “Google Cloud is being used by many of the leading organisations in the world for analytics and decision-making. The combination of Google Cloud and Looker will enable customers to harness data in new ways.

    The addition of Looker to the Google Cloud ecosystem could grants users the ability to strengthen their analytics. Which, in turn, would lead to better decision-making an improved digital execution.

    Also, it’s worth noting, the acquisition builds on an existing partnership between the two companies where they share more than 350 joint customers, including Buzzfeed, Hearst, Shopify, HSBC, WPP Essence, Cisco and Yahoo!.

    The acquisition is expected to be complete later this year and further details can be found here.

    Final Thoughts
    If you have any suggestions or ideas what digital marketing news topics 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 useful advice, tips and tricks. We will also keep you up-to-date with the most recent email news, social media news, search engine news as well as PPC & Ads news.

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

    Open your Unlimited Sends one-month free trial today – after your first month with us you can switch to our FreeForever account giving you 12,500 sends to 2,500 contacts each and every month for free, forever. Corporate email marketing? Contact us.
  • PPC & Ads News: What Caught Our Attention This Month Jun 17, 2019 at 1:02 PM

    Our PPC and Ads news roundup delivers the most essential updates and news straight to your inbox.

    In this PPC and Ads news roundup, we cover the two bidding strategies Google Ads will remove, Google Ads campaign-level conversion action settings and LinkedIn’s acquisition of Drawbridge.

    In this article, we’ll cover the following most recent PPC and Ads news:

    1. Google Ads bids goodbye to Target Search Page Location and Target Outranking Share;
    2. More conversion actions for ads at the campaign level; and
    3. LinkedIn’s ongoing improvement of its ad tools.
    Let’s dig in.

    Google Ads Removing Two Bidding Strategies
    According to Google, “automated bidding helps marketers scale as consumer journeys become more complex. In fact, more than 70% of all advertisers use Google Ads automated bidding today.”​
    [​IMG]
    That being said, Google is planning to remove the Target Search Page Location (TSPL) and Target Outranking Share( TOS) bid strategies in late June. With the capabilities of Target Impression Share, introduced last November, it seems Google has decided to no longer offer the above-mentioned bid strategies.

    Existing campaigns still using TSPL and TOS will automatically be migrated to the Target Impression Share strategy based on previous target locations and historical impression share.

    Google’s Campaign-Level Conversion Settings
    As an online marketer, the most crucial element to the success of your ads are conversions.

    In May, at Google Marketing Live, the company announced campaign-level conversion settings and marketers were very excited about the idea of being able to set conversion actions at the campaign level.

    Well, I have some great news. As of June 6, this feature has been made available in all accounts for search and display campaigns. Why should you care? Until now, conversion action settings applied to an entire account. Sure, you had the availability to segment by conversion type at the campaign level, but all counted conversions were totalled up in the “Conversions” column. You couldn’t choose which conversion actions to optimise against – whether manually or with Smart Bidding – at the campaign level. Subsequently, this forced many businesses to set up separate accounts. Why? In order to apply budgets and optimise campaigns to separate conversion goals. However, that’s over now.

    Advertisers can now choose which conversion actions to include in the “Conversions” column at the campaign level. Hence, this will allow marketers to analyse performance and optimise campaigns based on the most relevant conversion action types.​
    [​IMG]
    To learn more about how to select conversion actions at the campaign level and create conversion sets, visit the Google Ads Help Center.

    LinkedIn Is Working On Improving Its Ad Tools – How?
    LinkedIn announced it’s acquiring data analytics company Drawbridge in order to utilise Drawbridge’s advanced personalisation AI and further refine its targeting capacity.

    With the addition of Drawbridge’s technology, LinkedIn is aiming to boost ad engagement and ROI for marketers. The technology will also benefit advertisers in two specific ways:
    • Improved reach via LinkedIn’s Matched Audience and Audience Network campaigns;
    • Better attribution, allowing advertisers to measure results they’re generating from LinkedIn campaigns across channels and devices.
    Currently, LinkedIn is not releasing any financial details regarding the acquisition. However, a spokesperson said the specific integration plans will be more clearly defined and announces once the deal actually closes.

    It also worth mentioning, LinkedIn announced a data partnership with Adobe earlier this year which will further boost the company’s targeting tools. More details can be found in this article.

    Final Thoughts
    If you have any suggestions or ideas what PPC and Ads news topics 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 useful advice, tips and tricks. We will also keep you up-to-date with the most recent email news, social media news, search engine news as well as other digital marketing news we found interesting.

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

    Open your Unlimited Sends one-month free trial today – after your first month with us you can switch to our FreeForever account giving you 12,500 sends to 2,500 contacts each and every month for free, forever. Corporate email marketing? Contact us.
  • Search Engine News: What Caught Our Attention This Month Jun 17, 2019 at 10:25 AM

    Our search engine news roundup delivers the most essential updates and news straight to your inbox.

    In this search engine news roundup, we cover Google’s update to search results, mobile-first indexing by default – but for whom, and how do you override geographic location via Chrome DevTools.

    In this article, we’ll cover the most recent search engine news:
    1. Google’s update to search results aims to show a more diverse set of results;
    2. Mobile-first indexing feature enabled by default – but for whom?
    3. How to override geo-location with Chrome DevTools?
    Let’s dig in.

    Another Google Search Update
    Google announced – via Twitter – they have updated the search results in order to show a more diverse set of well… search results. Meaning, Google will aim to show no more than two results from the same domain for a particular query in the top results.

    More diverse results. Searchers, along with SEOs, have complained – over the years – that sometimes Google is showing too many listing for the top results from one and the same domain. Hence, this update should pacify them – a bit. Google said that it does reserve the right to show more than two results from the same domain name if they think it’s appropriate. Translation: they’ll show you more than two results if their systems determine it’s especially relevant to your search query. This update impacts core results only, not the additional search features as top stories, video snippets, image carousels or other vertical search features listed among the other web results. Google also clarified that this search update is entirely unrelated to the June 2019 core update that has begun rolling out.

    Google Mobile-Indexing by Default – For Whom?
    All new websites that were previously unknown to Google Search will be indexed using the company’s mobile-first indexing method starting July 1, 2019. For new websites, this indexing feature will become enabled by default, so there are no plans for Google to notify webmasters. The company’s suggestion is for website owners to check for the indexing through the URL Inspection Tool in Search Console. This will provide information on how the content was crawled and indexed. As for older websites, those that are not indexed using the mobile-first indexing method will be moved when the websites are ready. Basically, nothing’s changed for old websites.

    Chrome DevTools Overriding GeoLocation
    Danny Sullivan drew our attention to an interesting (and very useful) SEO tool. Wondering what it is? Keep reading and you’ll find out.

    [​IMG]
    Why should you care? By overriding geo-location, you can test and see how your website is responding to different geographic locations. After all, if you are building a UI that changes depending on where the user is located, you’d probably want to ensure that the site behaves correctly in different places around the globe.

    How to do it? The way to do this is not intuitive. However, Google – being as helpful as always – published a developers page about overriding the geographic location via Chrome DevTools which outlines the whole process step-by-step. It’s pretty easy.

    Final Thoughts
    If you have any suggestions or ideas what search engine news topics 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 useful advice, tips and tricks. We will also keep you up-to-date with the most recent email news, social media news, PPC & Ads news as well as other digital marketing news we found interesting.

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

    Open your Unlimited Sends one-month free trial today – after your first month with us you can switch to our FreeForever account giving you 12,500 sends to 2,500 contacts each and every month for free, forever. Corporate email marketing? Contact us.
  • Social Media News: What Caught Our Attention This Month Jun 14, 2019 at 4:09 PM

    Our social media news roundup delivers the most essential updates and news straight to your inbox.

    In this social media news roundup, we cover Facebook’s attempt to dismiss the Cambridge Analytica lawsuit, eMarketer’s report on time spent on social networks, Snapchat’s spy allegations and Pinterest’s new app in Windows Store (for Win 10).

    In this article, we’ll cover the following most recent social media news:
    1. Facebook is trying to get the Cambridge Analytica lawsuit dismissed in D.C.
    2. User’s time spend on Instagram grows while Facebook and Snapchat usage flattens
    3. Snapchat employees accused of allegedly abusing their access to user’s private data
    4. Pinterest’s new app for Windows 10 – getting Pinterest on your PC
    Let’s dig in.

    Facebook’s Motion to Dismiss Cambridge Analytica lawsuit
    At the beginning of June, Facebook filed a motion, in Washington D.C., for the Cambridge Analytica lawsuit to be dismissed. The motion was denied on the basis that the social media giant harmed city residents. How did it harm them? By failing to protect their data.

    Judge Fern Flanagan Saddler decided the case could proceed. She also rejected arguments from Facebook that D.C. does not have proper jurisdiction over the California-based social media behemoth that operates around the world.

    Saddler also rejected Facebook’s request to stay the proceedings pending another class-action case against Facebook in California over similar issues.

    The request came shortly after another judge in Delaware ordered Facebook to turn over emails and records related to the Cambridge Analytica scandal to shareholders suing the company.

    I must say, the social media giant is having a pretty awful couple of years. And, to be honest, things are not looking too bright for them – even now. But hey, people are still using it – data breaches or not. Just keep changing your password, every other day.

    Instagram’s Usage Grows, Facebook & Snapchat Usage Hits a Plateau
    According to eMarketer, time spent on Instagram is expected to grow this year, while Facebook will not recover from last year’s drop in engagement.
    [​IMG]
    The prediction for Instagram is that users will spend an average of 27-minutes per day on the app, which is a minute more than last year. This number will keep growing a minute per year through 2021, says the research firm. However, even with that growth, the average amount of time on Instagram will still lag at least 8-minutes behind the average time users are expected to spend on Facebook two years from now.

    After dropping from 41-minutes per day in 2017 to 38-minutes per day in 2018, the average amount of time spent on Facebook seems to have flattened – for now. The average amount of time spent on Snapchat has also plateaued, according to eMarketer’s forecasts, with adult users projected to spend 26-minutes per day on the app through 2021.

    Why should you care? The less time users spend on social platforms, the fewer chances marketers get to reach that network’s users. Time will tell if Facebook and Snapchat will make any changes to address the fact that people are spending less time on their networks.

    Snapchat’s Spying Allegations
    Multiple Snapchat employees with access to user’s private data have been allegedly abusing it for quite some time.

    According to two former employees, Snapchat has dedicated tools which can access consumer data. The accused employees have been said to have abused these exact tools. Also, it was said employees could view user location information, saved Snaps, phone numbers and email addresses via these tools.
    [​IMG]
    SnapLion is one of the internal tools that could be used for spying on users. It was originally utilised to gather information on users if law enforcement requests it. However, it seems access to the tool has expanded across multiple departments. Allegedly, a department called “Customer Ops” and security staff are said to have had access to SnapLion.

    It remains unconfirmed if this access to user data was abused, however, it has been pointed out that the alleged spying took place years ago.

    Snapchat responded to these allegations by stating they are “wholly inaccurate”. Hmm. More information about this topic can be found here.

    Pinterest’s New Windows 10 App
    Have you ever browsed through Pinterest on your desktop?

    According to Statcounter, 13.61% of people worldwide are using the Pinterest app on either desktop, mobile, tablet or console which ranks it as the second most used social media after Facebook – 69.52%.

    If you’re wondering why I’m giving these stats, don’t. I’ll just tell you. Whilst the vast majority of Pinterest’s usage comes via mobile devices, the company is seeking to maximise its options by launching an integrated Windows 10 app, which adds Pinterest to your Start menu and facilitates more seamless browsing on PCs. I’ve already downloaded the app to my PC and have been enjoying it tremendously – especially on quick (lunch) breaks. For more details, you can also take a look at Social Media Today’s article here.

    Final Thoughts
    If you have any suggestions or ideas what social media news topics 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 useful advice, tips and tricks. We will also keep you up-to-date with the most recent email news, search engine news, PPC & Ads news as well as other digital marketing news we found interesting.

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

    Open your Unlimited Sends one-month free trial today – after your first month with us you can switch to our FreeForever account giving you 12,500 sends to 2,500 contacts each and every month for free, forever. Corporate email marketing? Contact us.
  • Email Industry News: What Caught Our Attention This Month Jun 14, 2019 at 11:24 AM

    Our email industry news roundup delivers the most essential updates and news straight to your inbox.

    In this email industry news roundup, we cover a register of 100 known spam senders and spam services, the ongoing GDPR saga and the fines within the first year and a new Gmail confidential mode feature for G Suite users.

    In this article, we’ll cover the following most recent email industry news:
    1. Spamhaus’s ROKSO database – 100 known spam operations to be aware of;
    2. GDPR – fines and business’s awareness; and
    3. A confidentiality feature for Gmail.
    Let’s dig in.

    Gmail’s Confidential Mode
    In March, Google announced the launch of Gmail confidential mode – in Beta. G Suite even sent an emailout about it to its users. Yay.

    Two months later, we heard that the feature will become generally available (GA) from June 25, 2019 and will be set to ON by default for all domains with Gmail enabled.

    What is Confidential Mode? It is a powerful tool which comes handy at work if you are sending emails with sensitive information. It lets you set an expiration date for your message, which cuts off access when the set date arrives. Simply, it helps protect from unauthorised access and the recipients do not have the option to forward, copy, print or download the content or attachments.​
    [​IMG]
    Gmail users with personal accounts have been able to use this feature since Gmail’s mid-2018 redesign. How? Simply by clicking on the locked clock icon on the right side of the ‘Send’ button. The icon will be located in the same place for business domains once confidential mode launches. How would users know it’s active? Your message window will have a blue header and a warning near the bottom of the compose window letting you know the content will be protected.​

    Ah, if you don’t take action before June 25, don’t’ worry. As we mentioned, the feature will be automatically turned ON for all users. To read more about Gmail’s Confidential Mode visit G Suite Updates blog or read G Suite Admin Help article.

    The GDPR Saga
    It’s only been a few days into its second year and GDPR is continuing to produce headlines – and some cash.

    Most of the GDPR fine, during the first year, have been small. However, 9to5 Mac reports that fines totalled €56 million, with more than 200,000 investigations, 64,000 of which were upheld. Out of those €56 million, €50 million was a single fine against Google. The penalty was imposed by the French Data Protection Commission for Google’s alleged lack of transparency about its use of data to serve personalised advertising.

    The remainder was made up of small fines, many of which in the low thousands. Though, there was one exception – €600,000 fine imposed on Uber by the Netherlands for failure to report data breaches within the required 72 hours.

    Shred-it announced that 72% of the UK’s SMEs claim to have a positive understanding of GDPR. However, 60% say the new data privacy regulation has had either a slight impact on their business or none at all. And 8%, have no clue – at all.

    The Register of Known Spam Operations (ROKSO)
    Spam has been a huge issue for most Internet users since the beginning of time. Despite the evolution of anti-spam software, such as spam filters and spam blockers, the negative effects of spam are still being felt by individuals and businesses alike.
    [​IMG]
    What is ROKSO? A register of spam senders and spam services that have been thrown off Internet Service Providers three times or more in connection with spamming and providing spam services and are, therefore, repeat offenders. Spamhaus believes that the known determined professional spam operations on the ROKSO database are responsible for approximately 80% of spam on the Internet.

    The spam received by Internet users can be traced via aliases, addresses, redirects, locations of servers, domains and DNS setups. According to the ROKSO list, as of 10 June 2019, there are 100 known spam operations, most of which located in the United States and the Russian Federation. The UK is also on that list with only two known spam operations – Communicado Ltd. and The UK Data Company. To access the full ROKSO database click here.

    Final Thoughts
    If you have any suggestions or ideas what email industry news topics 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 useful email advice, tips and tricks. We will also keep you up-to-date with the most recent social media news, search engine news, PPC & Ads news as well as other digital marketing news we found interesting.

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

    Open your Unlimited Sends one-month free trial today – after your first month with us you can switch to our FreeForever account giving you 12,500 sends to 2,500 contacts each and every month for free, forever. Corporate email marketing? Contact us.
  • How Automation Can Help You Turn Newbies into Your Biggest Customers Jun 10, 2019

    “Automation is good, so long as you know exactly where to put the machine.” – Eliyahu Goldratt

    They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

    Make sure you get off on the right foot with new customers with these engagement-boosting email marketing automation techniques.

    In this article, we’ll talk about:

    • Making it personal
    • Welcome emails
    • Clever list segmentation
    • Getting the tone right
    • Seducing newbies with top content
    • The power of FREE
    Okay, let’s dive in.

    Before we start, let’s address the elephant in the room (hey Dumbo, what are doing in here?) – automation isn’t always a good thing. Or, at least, if you go about it the wrong way it can do more harm than good, by making customers feel alienated from or frustrated by your brand.

    Spare a thought, for example, for the millions of Scots out there, desperately struggling to get Siri or Alexa to understand them:

    … and don’t even get us started on automated voice menus.

    When you’re bringing new subscribers to your email marketing list, the last thing you want to do is to leave them cold or disconnected. This is your chance to make them feel genuinely welcomed into the fold, and excited about what you offer or what you stand for.

    New customers and subscribers tend to be the most engaged on your list because they’re intrigued by the novelty, so whatever you do, don’t waste the opportunity to encourage that enthusiasm.

    First of all, think carefully about how you use personalisation.
    It’s not just about using someone’s name in your emails, although you should obviously do that, too. It’s about getting to know what makes that person tick, what they’ll be most interested in and when – and using that information to tailor the kind of content and offers you provide them from the outset.

    The easiest way to do that is to create a smart segmentation strategy.
    When people sign up to your list, ask them a few multiple-choice questions about why they’re signing up. What kind of products, services, advice, experiences or goals they have in mind. How often they’d like to be contacted. What their situation in life is.

    You’re not doing this to be nosy. You’re asking so that you can cut them out of the irrelevant stuff and send them the message “we get you” right from the first communication.

    That starts with your welcome email.
    Don’t just send a boring “thanks for signing up” type thing. Take the opportunity to nurture your relationship with this newbie. Craft a warm, interesting email that tells them what they can expect from your emails in the future, with choice links to really awesome content and/or offers to get them started. Make them feel like they’ve joined a community as much as you possibly can.

    A lot of that comes down to getting your tone right.
    It’s so important that you do your research to really get into the heads of your best customers, creating buyer personas, figuring out what matters most to them, what problems they’re keenest to solve, and what kind of language they use. Your very first emails and the content you offer them needs to reflect all this.

    Last but not least, be generous.
    Everyone likes to get something for nothing. Without any prompting, send newbies something for free. That might be a value-packed eBook, access to a behind-the-scenes video series, a free shipping voucher or discount code… anything you like.

    The important thing is that you make them feel immediately glad that they took the plunge and subscribed – and as if you’re doing them a favour by converting them into customers, not the other way around.

    Final Thoughts: Automation in Disguise
    Everything we’ve covered in this article can be achieved with email marketing automation and behaviour-triggered emails, but the reason they work is that they’re designed to make the recipient feel special.

    If you do it right, your new subscribers get that warm, fuzzy feeling of being treated like highly valued customers – even though you know, secretly, that the methods you use actually reduce the amount of work your human team has to do along the way.

    Ready to start with your email marketing automation?

    This article was originally published on 5 June by EmailOut and can be found here.

    Open your Unlimited Sends one-month free trial today – after your first month with us you can switch to our FreeForever account giving you 12,500 sends to 2,500 contacts each and every month for free, forever. Corporate email marketing? Contact us.
  • 6 Ways to Create an Amazing Customer Experience on a Budget Jun 7, 2019

    “Just having satisfied customers isn’t good enough anymore. If you really want a booming business, you have to create raving fans.” – Ken Blanchard

    Great customer experience doesn’t mean splashing $1000s on corporate entertaining (thank goodness).

    Truly capturing their loyalty isn’t about breaking the bank, it’s about showing that you really understand their needs and go the extra mile to create an amazing experience. But while the good news is that your customer experience strategy can be budget-friendly, you also need to be creative and dedicated enough to beat the competition.

    In this article, we’ll help you create an amazing customer experience strategy by teaching you why you should:
    • Give away free stuff
    • Follow up on complaints
    • Automate where possible
    • Use consistent branding
    • Audit your site
    • Create awesome content
    Let’s get started.

    1. Give away free stuff for no reason. Emailing out a surprise like that now and again to your loyal subscribers genuinely delights even the grumpiest customers.

    2. Follow up on every complaint (and apologise). If possible, give people a call to talk through the problem. Most people’s anger dissipates pretty fast when they speak to a *real* person who sounds like they genuinely care.

    3. Use AI and automation where possible. Anything that helps people get answers and support quickly out-of-hours is a massive help.

    4. Be consistent across all channels. Make sure your branding, tone and style are the same wherever people choose to interact with you.

    5. Audit your site. Regularly navigate through your online presence to check it’s easy to find information fast, make frictionless payments, contact support, revive lost orders and so on. You want as few frustrations and hurdles as possible.

    6. Create content around every product or service. Whether it’s videos, blog posts, online guides, Q&As or eBooks, provide plenty of resources that teach people how to tackle pain points, solve their problems or achieve their goals using your stuff. Get people excited about the whole experience rather than treating it as a purely transactional relationship.

    Final Thoughts
    Unsure what improvements to focus on next? Ask your customers. Checking in for feedback and suggestions is much more effective than guesswork. It shows your customers that you care and it gives you a chance to develop conversations and relationships. It’s an all-around winning situation for everyone.

    This article was originally published on 29 May by EmailOut and can be found here.

    Open your Unlimited Sends one-month free trial today – after your first month with us you can switch to our FreeForever account giving you 12,500 sends to 2,500 contacts each and every month for free, forever. Corporate email marketing? Contact us.
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  • Digital Marketing News: What Caught Our Attention This Month Jun 6, 2019

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

    In this digital marketing news roundup, we cover an acquisition which will bring a leading commerce platform to Adobe Experience Cloud, a new data protection law and 2019 Cloud Trends.

    In this article, we’ll cover the following most recent digital marketing news:
    1. Adobe adds new features for Commerce Cloud.
    2. What’s LGPD and why should email marketers care?
    3. UKFast’s Cloud Trends 2019 whitepaper – top predictions for cloud technology.
    Let’s dig in.

    What do Adobe, Magento, Google, Amazon and PayPal have in common?
    After Adobe’s acquisition of Magento Commerce last May, for $1.68 billion, the company decided to build on it by introducing a slew of new features for Commerce Cloud, including integrations with Google, Amazon and PayPal. Adobe made the announcement at the Imagine 2019 conference.

    The software giant said the latest batch of updates focuses on SMBs and mid-market retailers. In addition, it should also close the gap between customers, sales channels and experiences. The key new features include:
    [​IMG]
    • the launch of a Google Ads Shopping Channel for Magento Commerce and Magento Open source 2.2.4 and later. The channel directly integrates with Google Merchant Centre and Google Ads. This allows Magento merchants to manage advertising campaigns as well as reporting across the Google network right from the Magento admin.
    • rolling out an Amazon Sales Channel which aims to help merchants expand their footprint to the Amazon marketplace. Similar to the Google integration, the Amazon Sales Channel allows merchants to integrate their catalogue and manage listings directly from the Magento dashboard. The integration also establishes a bi-directional data flow to bolster inventory management.
    • integrating Adobe’s Progressive Web Applications (PWA) Studio with PayPal’s Braintree. The PWA aims to help retailers build online stores that perform with an app-like experience and ultimately boost conversion rates. With the Braintree integration, merchants and developers can bring processing debit and credit transactions to a trusted and established gateway. More details can be found here.
    Lei Geral de Proteção de Dados (LGPD) – a new data protection law
    On August 14, 2018, Brazil’s new data protection law LGPD was unanimously approved by their National Congress and sanctioned by the President. However, it’ll come into effect on August 2020. Why? It was originally 18 months and counting from when it was published but it was altered on December 27, 2018, in order to give companies a bit more time to prepare.

    The LGPD creates a new legal framework for the use of personal data in Brazil, both online and offline, in the private and public sectors. It’s important to note that the country already has more than 40 legal norms at the federal level (all in Portuguese) that directly and indirectly deal with the protection of privacy and personal data in a sector-based system. However, the LGPD is replacing and(or) extending this sectoral regulatory framework which was, at times, conflictive and without legal certainty which made the country less competitive in an increasingly data-driven world.

    Why should this matter to you? The LGPD will impact everyone sending email marketing messages or making use of any Brazillian personal data. The new law makes a bold statement: the data belongs to the individuals. Thus, the data that your company holds about people will need to have a legal basis.

    Our good friends at ReturnPath covered this new Brazilian law in-depth and their article can be found here.

    Cloud Trends 2019
    [​IMG]

    Has your organisation adopted cloud technology yet? With cloud computing increasingly accelerated business growth, if you haven’t chosen to adopt it you’ll be left behind – fast. By 2020, 90% of organisations are predicted to have a part of their infrastructure in the cloud. So, ask yourselves, how can your business use the cloud to digitally transform your operations and services?

    Better yet, is your business even prepared for the cloud trends set to hit mainstream business in 2019? So, if you don’t know what to do, take a deep breath and delve into UKFast’s 2019 Cloud Trends whitepaper.

    Final Thoughts
    If you have any suggestions or ideas what digital marketing news topics 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 useful advice, tips and tricks. We will also keep you up-to-date with the most recent email news, social media news, search engine news as well as PPC & Ads news.

    This article was originally published on 28 May by EmailOut and can be found here.

    Open your Unlimited Sends one-month free trial today – after your first month with us you can switch to our FreeForever account giving you 12,500 sends to 2,500 contacts each and every month for free, forever. Corporate email marketing? Contact us.
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  • PPC & Ads News: What Caught Our Attention This Month Jun 5, 2019

    Our PPC and Ads news roundup delivers the most essential updates and news straight to your inbox.

    In this PPC and Ads news roundup, we cover Google Ads new Performance Planner, negative keywords in Amazon’s Sponsored Brand ads and Twitter’s new carousel ads format.

    In this article, we’ll cover the following most recent PPC and Ads news:
    1. Google Ads and the Performance Planner will help advertisers with planning ad spend.
    2. Amazon introduces negative keywords in Sponsored Brand Ads
    3. After several variations of carousel ads did Twitter finally strike gold with the latest format.
    Let’s dig in.

    New Performance Planner for Google Ads
    Google is introducing a new tool to Google Ads in the form of a Performance Planner which will help advertisers with planning ad spends. According to Google, on average, Performance Planner can help advertisers drive up to 43% more conversions.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]Performance Planner – Average CPA in the image is for illustrative purposes only (Course: Google Ads Help)
    The tool focused on driving incremental conversions by identifying the best spend amounts for your campaigns. The planner can also make projections based on other adjustments such as different spend levels and CPAs.

    It’s important to note this tool is a planner at its core and changes made within the performance planner are not automatically implemented. Thus, to implement them, advertisers will have to download a file and utilize the Google Ads Manager.

    Amazon and Negative Keywords in Ads
    Our dear friends at PPC Hero reported that Amazon has quietly added negative keywords to Sponsored Brand ads for both Seller Central advertisers and Amazon Advertising advertisers.

    For those of you who may need a reminder, Sponsored Brand ads are the ones most regularly shown at the top of the search results in the headline position.

    To sum up, if there are similar searches you don’t want your ads showing up for, negative keywords can help in avoiding being shown for those searches. If you are interested in more info about sponsored product ads, PPC Hero has you covered – just click here.

    Twitter and Carousel Ads (again)
    Twitter is once more testing carousel ads, this time – however – with a new format which would provide those running app install campaigns with the opportunity to add multiple images for context.

    Over the years, Twitter tried several different variations of carousel ads. However, since they are, yet again, testing a new format, it seems none of the old ones really worked. You can read more about it here.

    Final Thoughts
    If you have any suggestions or ideas what PPC and Ads news topics 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 useful advice, tips and tricks. We will also keep you up-to-date with the most recent email news, social media news, search engine news as well as other digital marketing news we found interesting.

    This article was originally published on 28 May by EmailOut and can be found here.

    Open your Unlimited Sends one-month free trial today – after your first month with us you can switch to our FreeForever account giving you 12,500 sends to 2,500 contacts each and every month for free, forever. Corporate email marketing? Contact us.
  • Search Engine News: What Caught Our Attention This Month Jun 5, 2019

    Our search engine news roundup delivers the most essential updates and news straight to your inbox.

    In this search engine news roundup, we cover a comparison report between GMB and commercial websites, Google updating its Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines and an ongoing indexing issue causing a disturbance.

    In this article, we’ll cover the following most recent search engine news:
    1. Consumers trust details from commercial websites more than GMB or online directories.
    2. Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines – what is it and why did Google update them?
    3. Google suffering an ongoing indexing issue with an unknown cause.
    Let’s dig in.

    Google My Business vs Commercial Websites
    A comparison report by BrightLocal, shows consumers trust 3rd party website reviews more than Google My Business (GMB). The study examines how consumers use GMB listings, local business websites and business directories to find information.

    When asked which source is expected to have the most accurate and up-to-date contact information, consumers responded:
    • 56% expect local businesses’ website to be the most accurate;
    • 32% believe GMB has the most accurate info; and
    • 12% trust directories.
    Moreover, when asked which features of GMB consumers have used, the top answers were:
    [​IMG]
    • Checking opening hours;
    • Finding directions;
    • Reading reviews;
    • Visiting the business’s website;
    • Looking at photos of the business;
    • Using the ‘Call’ button to contact a business; and
    • Leaving a review.
    The data in the comparison report is based on the responses from an independent panel of 500 US-based consumers.

    Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines Updated
    [​IMG]
    For the first time since July 2018, Google updated its Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines. The refreshed guidelines add more detailed directions regarding interstitial pages and content creator expertise, and buckets “E-A-T” (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) within “Page Quality” in certain sections.

    Why should you care? The guidelines are what human quality raters use to evaluate websites and SERPs. They do not directly affect ranking, however, their judgments are used in order to improve Google’s search algorithm.

    The revisions don’t exceedingly alter the majority of guidelines that dictate how quality raters evaluate websites. Though since Google updated the document they must be meaningful enough. Hence, content creators, marketers and advertisers should be aware of them as well.

    Google’s Ongoing Indexing Issue
    Last week, Google Webmasters tweeted that Google is suffering an indexing issue which was stated to be completely separate from the previous indexing problem.

    We're looking into a new indexing issue that started escalating 6 hours ago. The issue is unrelated to yesterday's outage and we're working hard to resolve it. We'll update this thread when we can provide more information.

    Once again, Google did not provide details of what’s going on. People have been speculating as to what caused the outages starting from infrastructure update which rolled out incorrectly and leading to credible rumours that the initial series of outages were due to human error.

    However, according to Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Roundtable, Google told him the indexing issues were unrelated to algorithmic or infrastructure updates. Well then, what were they related to? Why the secrecy?

    The issue was fixed two days later, according to Google Webmasters. But still, it would’ve been great to know the reasons behind the outage.

    Final Thoughts
    If you have any suggestions or ideas what search engine news topics 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 useful advice, tips and tricks. We will also keep you up-to-date with the most recent email news, social media news, PPC & Ads news as well as other digital marketing news we found interesting.

    This article was originally published on 28 May by EmailOut and can be found here.

    Open your Unlimited Sends one-month free trial today – after your first month with us you can switch to our FreeForever account giving you 12,500 sends to 2,500 contacts each and every month for free, forever. Corporate email marketing? Contact us.
  • Social Media News: What Caught Our Attention This Month Jun 4, 2019

    Our social media news roundup delivers the most essential updates and news straight to your inbox.

    In this social media news roundup, we cover Facebook agreeing to a 20-year pact on privacy oversight (again), a new ‘like’ option for Instagram, WhatsApp getting hacked and YouTube’s new ad tool.

    In this article, we’ll cover the following most recent social media news:
    1. Facebook and the 20-year pact on privacy oversight
    2. Instagram’s separation by new and old likes
    3. A worrying WhatsApp security flaw
    4. Bumper Machine – YouTube’s tool for shortening long ads
    Let’s dig in.

    Facebook and the US Federal Trade Commission
    Facebook’s upcoming agreement with the FTC over its privacy policies and practices would put the social media giant under 20 years of oversight. The agreement should – supposedly – resolve a probe of whether the company violated a similar consent pact reached in 2011.
    [​IMG]
    There had been expectations a deal was imminent after Facebook set aside $3 billion to pay what it was expected to be a $3 to $5 billion penalty.

    Several U.S. lawmakers have criticized aspects of a settlement between Facebook and the FTC. This is not surprising considering the 2011 settlement also required the social media to report to the government agency about its privacy practices for 20 years; and yet, judging by this ‘newly’ proposed agreement, it failed. You can find more details on the Reuters website.

    Instagram – Is a new option for separating new and old post ‘likes’ coming?
    Reverse engineering expert Jane Machun Wong found out Instagram is trying out a new option which is aimed at separating new and old likes on posts, helping users more easily see the latest activity, as well as take actions on it.​
    [​IMG]

    The screenshot above shows the likes have been separated into ‘new’ and ‘earlier’ sections. Hence, helping users distinguish the latest activity. The functionality has reportedly been in testing on Android for the last few months, but it would be new for iOS if Instagram rolls it out. More details here.

    A security hole in WhatsApp
    A security flaw – which was fixed by WhatsApp’s latest update – is a huge blow to a company which, above all, prides itself on providing secure communications to its 1.5 billion users, using end-to-end encryption.
    [​IMG]
    The details: The vulnerability allowed an attacker to read messages on the target’s device. It used WhatsApp’s voice calling feature to call someone, anyone; and then installed surveillance software. Moreover, it did so even if the call wasn’t picked up. Conveniently, the call would often disappear from the device’s call log. Besides, it seems the spyware was developed by an Israeli security company NSO Group and was targeting specific users.

    What do you need to do? Make sure you are using the latest version of WhatsApp. Although your device might’ve auto-updated the app, it’s worth checking. More details about the spyware can be found here.

    YouTube’s ‘Bumper Machine’
    YouTube’s ‘Bumper Machine’ is a tool that can cut down long ads into 6-second ones.
    [​IMG]
    This is all done automatically using machine learning. The Bumper Machine takes a 30 or 90-second ad and subsequently creates a 6-second bumper ad. According to TechCrunch, the tool is currently in alpha testing which should, supposedly, move to beta test and ultimately, a worldwide rollout.

    How does it work? Bumper Machine (BM) searches for key elements in an ad, which could be voiceovers, a focus on specific people, products or company logo. The last 2 to 3 seconds of an ad will always have a call-to-action (CTA). Furthermore, BM will create four variations of an ad for the user to choose from. For example, a user can choose one or simply keep them all.

    Final Thoughts
    If you have any suggestions or ideas what social media news topics 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 useful advice, tips and tricks. We will also keep you up-to-date with the most recent email news, search engine news, PPC & Ads news as well as other digital marketing news we found interesting.

    This article was originally posted on 28 May by EmailOut and can be found here.

    Open your Unlimited Sends one-month free trial today – after your first month with us you can switch to our FreeForever account giving you 12,500 sends to 2,500 contacts each and every month for free, forever. Corporate email marketing? Contact us.
  • Email News: What Caught Our Attention This Month May 31, 2019

    Our email industry news roundup delivers the most essential updates and news straight to your inbox.

    In this email industry news roundup, we cover Litmus’s update to State of Email Report, MailChimp’s sneaky pricing policy change, last weeks’ Gmail security alert email blast and Google tracking your purchases through Gmail.

    In this article, we’ll cover the following most recent email industry news:
    1. 2019 State of Email Report [Updated]
    2. MailChimp’s sneaky new way of charging its users
    3. Gmail’s “new device signed in” alerts
    4. Google is tracking your online purchases with the help of Gmail inbox
    Let’s dig in.

    2019 State of Email
    Way back when in February, we told you about our friends at Litmus publishing their 2019 State of Email report which purpose was and still is, to aid businesses to get a comprehensive look at the must-know data, trends, and innovations which will shape the email industry in 2019; as well as help them with building a successful email program.

    [​IMG]
    2019 State Of Email Report (Source: Litmus)

    A few months later, Litmus updated the report with up-to-date insights on AMP for email, GIF support in Outlook and email industry news from the first few months of 2019. The updated report gives businesses full access to the data, resources, and actionable advice that will keep them at the forefront of email innovation. You can find the full updated report here.

    MailChimp – Forever Free?

    [​IMG]
    Email Experts suggest users should find a better alternative to MailChimp due to the pricing policy change (Source: MailChimp)

    The old MailChimp rose to popularity due to its inexpensive and effective ways which small and medium enterprises could use to achieve their email marketing objectives. However, it seems the service provider has found itself in a frenzy over its new pricing structure.

    With its new update, the supposedly free tool will begin to charge its users in a different – and rather sneaky – way. According to an email blast sent by the company, they will no longer determine the monthly charges of a user based on subscriber counts (a common standard among email services). Instead, contrary to standard industry practice, MailChimp will now charge for email unsubscribers as well as subscribers. For more details, you can check MediaPost and Z6 Mag.

    This change does raise some questions though. For one, are SMBs which want to focus on email going to be forced into scaling up into full omnichannel marketing? Second, will it raise privacy issues? By deleting unsubscribes you can avoid paying for them, but that might get you into trouble under GDPR.

    I suspect we haven’t heard the last of this.

    Gmail Freaks Out Its Users
    Have you ever gotten a ‘new device signed in’ notification? Of course, you have, if you’ve used one to sign in yourself. But what about a notification when you haven’t used a new device to actually sign in? It’s a pretty freaky message to get, right?

    Last week (Monday, 20 May to be precise), Gmail mistakenly sent a security alert to multiple users notifying them that an unknown device had signed into their account.

    The number of users affected was unknown. Though, according to a G Suite admin who chose to remain anonymous, the issue has spread wide enough for Google to issue a notification about it.

    [​IMG]
    Gmail’s initial security alert message (Source: Rachel Kraus/MASHABLE)

    So, we have good news and bad news. The good news is if you received the security alert message you can breathe easy-ish simply because the alert doesn’t necessarily mean that someone has accessed your account. Phew. The bad news, Google is describing these messages as a ‘service issue’ which means a kind of an internal error. More details can be found here.

    Resolved or not? I would advise you – with or without such a security alert – to change your password right away. And, Google seems to be of the same opinion and advice as me.

    Google Is Using Gmail To Track Your Purchases

    [​IMG]
    Google tracks your purchases through Gmail (Source: CNET)

    It seems Google is keeping track of your online purchases thanks to the confirmation emails which are sent to your Gmail account. Every time a store sends a confirmation email, Google adds it to your list of purchases.

    CNBC discovered that Gmail users can click to see a list of their purchases which seems to go back five years and evidently, it’s all stored in a Google Account page no one knew about.

    Google said the purpose of this is to help its users keep track of everything they’ve bought in one place. Yet, people are seeing this as an invasion of privacy. How do you feel about it?

    Final Thoughts
    If you have any suggestions or ideas what email industry news topics 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 useful email advice, tips and tricks. We will also keep you up-to-date with the most recent social media news, search engine news, PPC & Ads news as well as other digital marketing news we found interesting.

    This article was originally posted on 28 May by EmailOut and can be found here.

    Open your Unlimited Sends one-month free trial today – after your first month with us you can switch to our FreeForever account giving you 12,500 sends to 2,500 contacts each and every month for free, forever. Corporate email marketing? Contact us.
  • How to Improve Your Email Sender Reputation? May 30, 2019

    “You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.” – Jeff Bezos

    Are your emails struggling to get through?


    It could be that your domain or email sender reputation has taken a turn for the worse. In this article, we’ll show you how to find out – and what you can do about it.

    Read on to learn about:
    • Why a bad email sender reputation is a problem?
    • What causes a poor sender reputation?
    • How to find out?
    • What to do about it?
    Let’s get started.

    People Always Talk About… Reputation
    You don’t pour your heart into crafting a brilliant, compelling, well-thought out email campaign just so it can plop into the depths of a spam folder or boomerang back to you. Yet that’s exactly what will happen if you don’t take care with your sender reputation.

    Research by Return Path found that one in 5 emails is returned, and 83% of the time that’s because of poor sender reputation. This stuff really matters to your success and engagement – and if your reputation has suffered for any reason, you need to take steps to fix it.

    What Damages Your Reputation?
    There are a bunch of reasons that an email sender could get labelled with a poor sender score. Common causes include your emails getting a lot of spam complaints, emailing to too many unknown or inactive users, getting spoofed or hacked, and also getting blacklisted by the industry.

    The latter often happens when you buy up lists rather than growing yours organically. “Spam Trap” email addresses are embedded in the list and if you email them, this alerts some email servers and providers that you’ve been getting hold of emails without the user’s permission. That’s bad news for your email sender reputation.

    How Do You Know if You Have a Poor Email Sender Reputation?
    If you’re experiencing a drop in delivery and open rates, or you’re getting a lot of bounces, there’s a good chance your sender score/reputation is in trouble. You can check your score instantaneously at one of these websites:
    How Can You Fix It?
    The good news is that your sender score isn’t set in stone. You can improve it gradually over time. Here are some tips to get you started.
    • Build up the volume of emails you send. Don’t jump straight in sending loads a day to a bazillion people. Focus on more engaged subscribers and scale up gradually so you don’t drag down your open rate.
    • Be consistent. If you’ve committed to a weekly newsletter, send a weekly newsletter. Don’t send one email one month and then 40 the next.
    • Check your classification. When you registered your domain, you also stated what industry you operate in. If you send unrelated emails, some ISPs will guess that’s spam. For example, if you say your domain is about fashion but then you send emails advertising financial products, this can negatively affect your reputation.
    • Be honest. Only ever use a person’s email address for the purpose you stated when you asked for it.
    • Only email people who opted in. You need to get permission from everyone on your list. No exceptions or excuses. And, also, never buy lists.
    • Have an easy opt-out. If people want to unsubscribe, don’t try to stop them. They’ll only label your emails as spam, which is bad for your reputation.
    • Segment your list. The more relevant each email is to the recipient, the better your engagement, and thus your reputation will be. Get some segmentation inspiration here.
    • Clean up your list. Remove dead, inactive and unresponsive emails from time to time so they don’t drag down your campaign performance.
    • Authenticate your domain through the Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and Domain Keys Identified Email (DKIM). This helps prove that you’re ‘real’ and also makes it harder for others to spoof your email address.
    • Personalise your emails. This helps you to establish familiarity, build a good relationship with subscribers and, also, encourages them to open and click through. Learn more about personalisation here.
    • Make it easy for people to reply directly to the email. Replies indicate to email providers and spam filters that there’s a genuine relationship between you and the subscriber.
    Final Thoughts
    Ultimately, your email sender reputation will be based on the behaviour of your recipients. If they leave emails in their inbox rather than sending them to spam, if they open them and click through to your site, if they reply to you directly or forward emails to others, all these things will send out a loud clear message that you’re legit.

    … and your reputation will steadily improve.

    You can’t control these reactions. Therefore, you can only give people a very good reason to want to behave that way. That means sending high-value, interesting, informative content and amazing deals to your subscribers. It means doing the hard thing well.

    Looking for a top email marketing platform to help you nail your campaigns?

    This article was originally published on 28 May by EmailOut and can be found here.

    Open your Unlimited Sends one-month free trial today – after your first month with us you can switch to our FreeForever account giving you 12,500 sends to 2,500 contacts each and every month for free, forever. Corporate email marketing? Contact us.
  • What is BIMI and why should email marketers care? May 29, 2019

    Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) ready for takeoff

    BIMI is the new open standard to visualise your brand in the recipient’s mailbox with an image.

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

    In this article, we’ll talk about:
    • Why BIMI?
    • What are the requirements for BIMI?
    • Who is supporting BIMI?
    • Will BIMI takeoff?
    Sounds good, huh? Let’s dig in and find out how it works.

    Why BIMI?
    The new standard makes use of DMARC, leading some to call BIMI “DMARC 2.0”. Like DMARC, DKIM and SPF – three methods for verifying sender information – BIMI is a text record which lives on your server. In fact, it works alongside SPF, DKIM and DMARC to signal to email clients that you are, well, you. While almost all previous authentication and identification methods work in the background, BIMI is the first one that really tries to visualise and strengthen your brand right at the front-end. The mailbox provider will show your branded image within the user interface.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Without BIMI (Source: Brand Indicators) With BIMI (Source: Brand Indicators)

    What are the requirements for BIMI?
    In order to enable BIMI, you have to make sure the following requirements are in place:
    • Having a DMARC record with a ‘quarantine’ or ‘reject’ policy.
    • Be recognised as a bulk sender and have a good sender reputation.
    • You need another DNS record, the so-called BIMI Assertion Record. This record will contain the link to the image (SVG format) that is going to be used.
    This TXT record needs to be placed as (for example) default._bimi in the DNS of the sending domain. Usually, this would be the From header. The value of the record looks like:

    v=BIMI1; l=https://www.example.com/images/logo.svg


    More information on how to publish a BIMI Assertion Record in DNS can be found here.

    This should be enough for now. But it the future you may need to certificate the image. Otherwise, anyone could publish someone else’s logo on their domain. The providers require the certificate to prove ownership of the domain name. The proof is held and secured (cryptographically) by third parties referred to as Mark-Verifying Authorities.

    Who is supporting BIMI?
    BIMI is currently only supported by OATH (Yahoo & AOL, they will identify domain brands automatically) and Verizon. But we recently heard at the CSA in Cologne, that Gmail has joined the working group. It is not yet clear whether they will actually support BIMI in their client. A report of all sessions at CSA Summit 2019 can be found here.

    Microsoft seems to be going in another direction and will not use the BIMI standard. Instead, they are going to use so-called business profiles, see business.microsoft.com. It’s in beta testing at the moment and is publicly available for any consumer-facing business in the US.

    Will BIMI take off?
    Since Gmail is not supporting BIMI (yet) and Microsoft is following a different strategy the impact will be limited for the time being. Nevertheless, we think that is good to start with BIMI tech-preparations and testing.

    More info?
    We will be testing BIMI support with a few brands. Stay tuned for the results. And if you have any questions, just contact us.

    If you really want to dig deep, you can check out the official working group’s Brand Indicators for Message Identification working draft. It goes into exceptional detail regarding the way BIMI works for both senders and recipient mail transfer agents.

    Final Thoughts: Successful Email Marketing Is Built On Trust
    Wondering what the initial value of BIMI is for email marketers? Isn’t it obvious? You get your logo to display next to your messages – in supported inboxes. However, the real value is in establishing trust with your brand’s emails.

    If you are still not convinced you should take advantage of Brand Indicators for Message Identification, we can change your mind. How? The fundamental goal of BIMI is to make it easy for subscribers to identify trustworthy message senders and, therefore, trust the content in their inbox. You do want your subscribers to trust you, don’t you?

    And lastly, we already told you BIMI will also aide your deliverability. Since so much of it is based on authentication and reputation, BIMI will provide yet another mechanism to improve your odds at making it to the inbox.

    This article was reproduced with permission from our valued partners, Postmastery, originally published on 23 May and can be found here.

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