EmailOut is a free email marketing software that thinks outside of the inbox.

Our blog is your go-to resource not only for all things email marketing but digital tips & ticks, business growth, SEO, copywriting, email tips, inspiration, case studies and expert wisdom – wrapped up in digestible bite-sized posts.

So, what are you waiting for? Starting watching our blog and do something great with all that knowledge.
Color
Background color
Background image
Border Color
Font Type
Font Size
  • Crafting The Perfect Black Friday & Cyber Monday Email Campaigns Oct 21, 2020 at 10:46 AM

    The summer heat is fading. Stores are turning into magical lands filled with holiday decorations. Suddenly, you realise it’s that time of the year again… Thanksgiving, then right after it’s Black Friday followed by Cyber Monday. So, yeah now is the time to start planning your Black Friday and Cyber Monday email campaigns.

    I know it isn’t easy to craft the most outstanding email campaigns every single time. I also know the pressure is skyrocketing around this time of the year. Especially when people are being bombarded with a gazillion Black Friday and Cyber Monday email campaigns full of discounts, special offers, promotions and limited sales from every brand they have ever signed up to. Well, raise, Sir Email Marketer and get designing if you want to stand out.

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

    This year experts predict that the Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) mayhem will be the biggest one yet. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic changed quite a lot in people’s lives – from how businesses operate to how people shop. I can only imagine what online traffic will be like once BFCM 2020 commences. To capitalise on the BFCM demand, email marketers must start getting their Black Friday and Cyber Monday email campaigns ready – now!

    In this article, we’ll cover the following topics:
    1. Black Friday & Cyber Monday stats
    2. Black Friday email campaigns
    3. Cyber Monday email campaigns
    4. Black Friday & Cyber Monday checklist
    Let’s dive in.

    Are Black Friday and Cyber Monday really that important? Surely consumers shop on other days of the week too – like Wednesday.

    When is Black Friday? November 27th.

    When is Cyber Monday? November 30th.

    To help you understand the importance of BFCM 2020 and why you mustn’t neglect to send Black Friday and Cyber Monday emails campaigns, I’ve rounded up some top Black Friday & Cyber Monday stats.

    • in 2019, Back Friday in the U.S. generated over $7 billion in online sales
    • in 2018, Black Friday in the U.K. generated almost £1.5 billion in online sales
    • mobile shopping on Black Friday has risen from 61% in 2018 to 67% in 2019
    • in 2019, Cyber Monday total sales hit over $9 billion which up almost 18% compared to 2018
    • online sales through smartphones in 2019 grew 46% compared to 2018 accounting for 33% of all Cyber Monday sales in 2019
    With COVID-19 now being the new normal, consumer’s behaviour and purchase patterns have changed dramatically. According to stats, 48% of consumers have increased their online spending since the COVID-19 outbreak. Furthermore, 40% of consumers have increased their time on social media and their use of online messaging to obtain product and business recommendations. Lastly, 60% of consumers have increased their use of social media and online messaging to search for product information and engage with businesses.

    As an email marketer, it can be tricky to always come up with great email campaigns with eye-catching imagery and top-notch, actionable copy. But, here’s the deal, you don’t have to. Instead of banging your head in the wall, why not draw inspiration from what other successful marketers and businesses?

    Black Friday Email Campaigns
    I’m going to share three amazing Black Friday email campaigns you can not only learn from but also draw some inspiration. For each one, I will break down why it works and how you can implement the concept. Ready?

    1) A Simple Sales Announcement Email

    [​IMG]

    Subject line: Black Friday Sale – 40% Off Everything!

    Why does it work? It’s a simple, well-executed email that’s all business. It announces the store-wide Black Friday sale clearly with a simple, focused call-to-action (CTA). Sometimes you don’t need to go berserk on your design and copy to get recipients to engage.

    How can you implement it? If you want to keep it clean, simple and to the point, take the same approach when crafting your Black Friday email campaign. Set a clear subject line adding the sale of discount to it, add a focused CTA that will bring the recipient to your Black Friday sale landing page and always remember to test before you send.

    2) The Animated and Bold Email

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Subject line: Don’t wait! 50% Off Our Most Famous Creation

    Why does it work? Not a lot of marketers take the time to add entertaining and fun GIFs to their emails. That would be a mistake because the right GIF can make your email campaign stand out from the other Black Friday emails bombarding your recipients’ inbox. Additionally, all the relevant and important information is immediately clear – free shipping, the discount and the sale end-day.

    How can you implement it? Instead of adding boring, cliche imagery to your Black Friday email campaign, get creative – add a quirky GIF and/or a unique image. Make the message clear and always keep the most important information above the scroll (also referred to as above the fold – it’s the portion of the webpage that is visible without scrolling).

    3) The Fun Email

    [​IMG]

    Subject line: Sweats + Shorts = THE SCHWORTS

    Why does it work? This email looks quite different from other typical Black Friday sale emails. Nonetheless, Chubbies stays true and consistent with their brand and tone of voice and adds some lighthearted humour to promote their Black Friday sale.

    First and foremost, the subject line is awesome. Second, the image of a dude in “schworts” lounging on a sofa pouring food down his throat (right after Thanksgiving if you’re in the U.S.) is hilarious. Third, as much as there’s no actual copy in this email, it conveys the message quite effectively – you need their comfy schworts. Lastly, did you notice Chubbies only focused on one product in their Black Friday sale instead of a store-wide sale? It’s a far more effective method as giving customers way too many options can sometimes be overwhelming, and they can get indecisive.

    How can you implement it? Don’t be stiff with your email marketing. Be bold, funny and creative. You can do anything you like, the sky’s the limit – as long as you stay true to your brand, of course. Thus, start experimenting. From the subject line to the imagery, you can do whatever you want. There’s no need for tons of text to convey your message. Pictures speak louder than words – show your customers why your product is exactly what they need.

    Cyber Monday Email Campaigns
    I’m going to share three awesome Cyber Monday email campaigns you can draw inspiration from. For each one, I’ll give you a breakdown of why it works and how to implement it. Are you ready?

    1) The Witty Wordplay Email

    [​IMG]

    Subject line: Cybear Monday Sale! Save 58% on VPN

    Why does it work? Tunnel Bear decided to have some fun with their Cyber Monday email. They’ve created “Cybear Monday”. It’s a witty, fun and simple wordplay that fits the brand’s style 100%. Did I mention the cartoon bear is super cute, too? The simple play on words and the imagery does not take the customer’s attention away from the very clear message – you can save a lot of money by taking advantage of their Cybear Monday offer.

    How can you implement it? Cyber Monday email campaigns do not require marketers to keep in line with strict design rules because well… there aren’t any. You can be as creative as you want and create an email campaign which directly relates to your brand and will help you stand out from the competition. Plus, it’s a great way to build customer loyalty and recognition.

    2) The Command Prompt Hacker Humour Email

    [​IMG]

    Subject line: Cyber Monday Sale! 30% Off Everything & Free Shipping

    Why does it work? The Hill-Side decided to let their inner geeks out by creating a unique, old-school Cyber Monday email campaign with e tech-hacker-themed flair. This design approach works because it’s simple, mostly text-based and will look great on (mostly) any device. All the important information is clear and strongly emphasised by the bold font colour and style. Overall, the design perfectly fits the Cyber Monday vibe.

    How can you implement it? Creating a Cyber Monday email campaign is unlike any other special occasion emails – like Christmas, for example. There is no Santa Claus to incorporate, no default colour palettes that are easily recognisable and no special wording. As much as such lack of direction can be bothersome and stressful, it’s quite beneficial in terms of designing Cyber Monday emails. You are free to create whatever you like and be as original as you want. Case in point – The Hill-Side Cyber Monday email. So, embrace the cyber aspect of Cyber Monday and don’t be afraid of creating something completely different and new.

    3) The Extended Sale Email

    [​IMG]

    Subject line: Cyber Monday EXTENDED! 50% Off Everything

    Why does it work? It’s unrealistic to expect everyone to have the opportunity to check your Cyber Monday sale. Thus, extended it. You’ll then have a running sale just when most of your competitors already ended theirs. To top it off, you’ll give customers a chance to purchase from you. This approach is effective because it is unexpected.

    Still do your usual Cyber Monday email campaign but… instead of constantly alerting customers about the imminent end of your Cyber Monday sale, you will pleasantly shock them by springing a last-minute sale that’s more likely to stand out in their inbox.

    Lastly, the email is very well-designed. All important and relevant information like the length of the last-minute sale, the discount and the promo code – which are the three most important elements – are clear.

    How can you implement it? Think outside the box. Yeah, you’ll still send a Cyber Monday email campaign but instead of cyber-fighting with the competition be smarter. Extend your sale and surprise your customers. If, for example, your usual Cyber Monday sale was offering 40% and your customers were on the fence, give them a new discount for this extended sale – that’ll get them off the fence real quick.

    Black Friday & Cyber Monday Checklist
    There. You have it. Everything you need to know to prepare engaging Black Friday (November 27th) and Cyber Monday (November 30th) email campaigns that drive results. Remember, once you’ve achieved your BFCM 2020 goals, don’t forget all those relationships. Nurture them so they can become life-long friends – and customers.

    To make things even easier, I’ve put together an 11-point checklist every email marketer must have –

    1) Determine the length and timing of your Black Friday and Cyber Monday email campaigns
    2) Use urgency and relevant wording in your subject lines – e.x. %, discount, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, etc.
    3) Go beyond a simple sale or discount to make your offer stand out from the competition
    4) Ensure your Black Friday and Cyber Monday email campaigns are optimised for mobile
    5) Settle of a colour theme for your email campaign – e.x. all-black, just black accents, etc.
    6) Emphasise on the important information to draw the recipient’s attention – e.x. GIFs, imagery, etc.
    7) Add a countdown timer to create urgency
    8) Personalise your offers as much as possible
    9) Make sure you have cart abandonment campaigns ready in case you need them
    10) Email customers product recommendations once they finish a purchase
    11) Always test your email campaigns before you send them

    Final Thoughts
    Black Friday + Cyber Monday + email marketing = a match made in eCommerce Heaven!

    You already know all the basics of crafting an outstanding email marketing campaign. Thus, there’s no reason for me to repeat the same things over and over and over again. I’ll just sound like a broken record. Personalisation, ya-da, ya-da, segmentation, la-la-la, testing, testing, testing – you know this stuff.

    When crafting the perfect Black Friday and Cyber Monday email campaigns the only thing you need to remember is to be creative, original, witty and use all the tricks up your sleeve. Now that I’ve given you some inspiration, are you ready to make BFCM 2020 the best one yet?

    Happy emailing!

    Highly recommended further reading –
    1)
    Top Email Subject Line Examples
    2) Email Design Best Practice
    3) The Ultimate Email Checklist

    This article was originally published on 12 October 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.
  • Christmas Email Marketing Ideas: Santa Claus Approved Oct 20, 2020 at 9:49 AM

    “On the 12th day of Christmas, my inbox gave to me…
    Five thousand snow puns
    A heap of corporate greetings
    And an unrelated picture of a Christmas tree.”

    Ah, holidays – everyone loves them. Most of all businesses. They are not only the busiest times of the year but also, the most profitable. Since more and more people are doing their holiday shopping online and doing it earlier and earlier year-to-year, the sooner marketers start planning their Christmas email marketing ideas the better.

    “To stand out in the recipients’ inbox, your holiday email marketing campaign must be dynamic, relevant and personalised specifically for the user.” – EmailOut


    In 2019, holiday sales in the retail sector soared by 4.1% compared to 2018 amounting to around £578 billion in sales. Impressive, isn’t it? But, are you making plans now to take advantage of this opportunity or choose to wait until the last minute? Nowadays, there are numerous ways to impress customers, however, nothing can beat an awesome, carefully targeted and highly personalised Christmas email marketing campaign.

    In this article, we’ll cover the following topics:
    1. Do businesses need a holiday email marketing strategy?
    2. Holiday email marketing stats
    3. Christmas email marketing strategy checklist
    4. The three stages of a successful Christmas email marketing campaign
    5. Christmas email marketing campaign ideas
    6. The ultimate email campaign preflight checklist for every occasion
    Let’s dive in.

    The holiday season gives businesses the best opportunity to increase sales and maximise revenue. As such, marketers’ best course of action is to begin their holiday email marketing preparations as soon as possible. After all, with email marketing having an ROI of 42:1, reaching out to your targeted audience and potential leads through email is not only a profitable marketing strategy but also, it shows your recipients the value your business offers – especially during the holiday season.

    The retail sector might be the one seeing the most sales during the holidays, however, don’t worry if you operate in a different industry. All businesses can benefit from the holiday increase in sales.

    The Need For Holiday Email Marketing
    The holiday season is known to be the ‘make it or break it’ point for businesses in different industries. Especially for those in the retail, consumer packaged goods (CPG) and eCommerce industries. For example, in retail, over 20% of annual spend is driven by the holidays. As such, we advise marketers not to miss the opportunity of further building their brand, developing better customer relationships and driving better revenue through holiday email marketing campaigns.

    These stats prove why email marketing during the holidays is a ‘must’ –
    • in 2019, online sales grew by 14.6% YoY;
    • nearly 190 million U.S. customers shopped from Thanksgiving through to Cyber Monday in 2019 with a spending increase of 16% compared to 2018;
    • 65% of purchases during the holidays are influenced by sales and promotions;
    • email is the third-highest 2018 Cyber Monday revenue driver contributing 24.2% of sales;
    • 40% of customers started their holiday shopping by 1 November in 2019 with 12% starting before September;
    • 75% of email revenue is generated by triggered campaigns with 21% of it accounting to automated email campaigns;
    • 59% of customers state that marketing emails influence their purchase decision-making;
    Christmas Email Marketing Checklist
    It’s the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas music is already blasting from every store, shopping mall and cafe. People have already started decorating their storefronts, offices, houses and some even their cars. But, as an email marketer, have you prepared your Christmas email marketing checklist? Have you brainstormed any Christmas email marketing ideas? No. Well, I’m here to help.

    1) Outline your Christmas email marketing strategy
    You might have a general email strategy but does it apply to the holidays?

    First and foremost, you need to set your Christmas email marketing goals – for example, increasing revenue by 30%.

    Second, you need to do your research. For example, what did your competitors do in their last Christmas email marketing campaign? What did YOU do? How did your last Christmas email campaign perform?

    Third, define your email frequency for the holidays. Will you be sending one email per week starting a day after Thanksgiving? Or, will you increase the frequency and do it twice a week? When is the best time to send your Christmas email campaign – morning, midday or evening?

    Now, I know you are well aware that a Christmas email marketing campaign is not just one email you send on Christmas day. To reach the full potential of Christmas email marketing, you need to make sure you have a three-stage set of Christmas email campaigns ready –

    1) Pre-Christmas email campaign series – a 4-6 weeks before the Christmas period starts;
    2) Christmas email campaign series – starting a couple of weeks days before Christmas;
    3) Post-Christmas email campaign – 1-7 days after Christmas.

    With a defined strategy, you can take the next step and focus on your Christmas email campaign template.

    2) Prepare your Christmas email campaign template
    With the basics out of the way, it’s time to craft the perfect Christmas email campaign template.

    If you are using professional email marketing software you will be presented with two options –

    1) design your Christmas email template from scratch, or
    2) take advantage of the free template gallery and just tweak the design a little.

    If you are starting from scratch, make sure to follow email design best practice and don’t forget to sprinkle some Christmas cheer whilst doing it. ‘Tis the season after all. Consequently, you can utilise one of the amazing Christmas email campaign ideas from the template gallery. That way you’ll have more time to focus on the email copy.

    Moreover, if you have segmented your email lists (which, for better results, you should), you should consider that when creating a Christmas email campaign template. One size does not fit all, thus one email campaign design will not either. So, it is better to be prepared and have a few templates – for general sending and another tailored for your segmented audience(s).

    Furthermore, make sure your email will not only be mobile-responsive but also provide a smooth experience for your subscribers regardless of the device they are using to view your Christmas email campaign.

    Whichever way you chose to create your Christmas email campaign, always ensure the template will match the content. Let Santa spread some Christmas magic on your template but not too much that people won’t recognise who the email campaign is coming from.

    3) Brainstorm and define the perfect Christmas email subject line
    According to research I did recently, 47% of recipients decide whether or not to open an email purely based on the subject line. Thus, to rock that Christmas email campaign, email marketers must focus on creating subject lines that are curious, a bit urgent, highly relevant and delivering a tempting offer – and all within the recommended length of no more than 50 characters. Sounds impossible, doesn’t it?

    Don’t get your tinsels in a tangle though. Relax, have some eggnog and…

    …take a look at 7 methods you can utilise when crafting a Christmas subject line –

    1) The Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO).
    Do you like the feeling like you’re missing out on something? No? Well, neither do your subscribers. So, to trigger your subscribers’ innate fear of missing out, create a sense of urgency and inspire action by giving the impression of scarcity or an offer about to end.

    2) The Self-Improvement. People always want to be better, do better. So much so that by promising them they can evolve to a better version of themselves (with your help, of course), you are betting on a winning subject line.

    3) The If-Then. If you know your target audience well enough, then you’ll have a good idea of which characteristics they share. So, when you’re crafting a subject line think of something that feels specific but is applicable to the vast majority of your subscribers. Then, they’ll think ‘Oh wait, that applies to me!’

    4) The Free Gift. If your recipients get the impression that what’s waiting for them when they open your Christmas email campaign is something real and tangible, they will certainly have their interest peaked and will open and interact with your email.

    5) The Cliffhanger. Humans are curious by nature. If your subject line creates a little mystery or suspense, trust me they won’t be able to help themselves and will peek inside your Christmas email. You don’t believe me? Scroll to the bottom and you’ll find out why.

    6) The Direct-Informal. The concept behind this increasingly popular method is to mimic the way real people write and interact with one another – be it friends, family, classmates, etc.

    7) The Controversial. Making a bizarre claim or disputing a popular belief is a great way to get clicks… just make sure you aren’t overdoing it or it’ll cost you the recipient’s trust.

    4) Give subscribers the perfect email copy
    • Christmas email campaign goals – set.
    • Christmas email template – ready.
    • Christmas subject line – locked.
    • Christmas email copy – pending…
    Remember, people receive hundreds if not thousands of emails during the holiday season. Your usual email copy will not do well here. For your Christmas email copy, you need to do better – much better. Think of it as a Christmas tree, you want to decorate it perfectly but you don’t want to overdo it or it’ll tip over and fall. Same goes for your email copy.

    The most important thing to consider is that no one likes to feel like they are just a name on your email list. They want to feel special, cherished, cared for. Thus, start with personalisation. You should always use the subscribers’ first name when crafting the copy. Make them feel like they are your friend, not just another potential buyer that will fill your pockets with money. If you don’t, you might end up on Santa’s naughty list.

    Next step is to ditch the somewhat stiff, boring, general Christmas lines. Instead, be creative with your email copy. Demonstrate your good sense of humour and wit. From cheeky wordplay through referencing Christmas carols to a funny themed call-to-action (CTA) and entertaining holiday imagery, make sure your email will capture the holiday spirit and give recipients some much needed Christmas cheer in a new, untraditional, captivating and enticing way. But, remember, more isn’t always good so don’t overwhelm it.

    5) Holy Night or Silent Night? Did you test your Christmas campaign?
    Your Christmas email marketing campaign is ready to go BUT… are you sure that after hours upon hours of crafting it you haven’t made a mistake? Even a tiny one such as a typo? Or, the wrong CTA button colour? What about the links, do they go where they are supposed to?

    The best way to ensure your campaign is on-point and well… perfect is to test, test, test. It will help you discover what best resonates with your subscribers, which of your Christmas email marketing ideas work and which don’t, what can be improved to deliver better results and which specific element (subject line, copy, etc.) are the cause of higher engagement rates. But remember, always test one variable at a time.

    Now, when it comes to spelling mistakes, typos, links, etc., the best way to proofread and ensure everything is perfect is to send a test email to yourself and why not a small group of your colleagues. Both you and they can go through each element carefully testing each link and CTA, proofreading the copy and checking if the imagery has its alt text.

    Christmas Email Campaign Ideas

    1) Gift-giving: Give Recipients What They Want

    We’ve all been there – the last-minute present-shopping panic. You know what I’m referring to, right? The moment where you realise you haven’t bought anything for your difficult sister-in-law or worse, your mother-in-law, you’ve run out of time and now you’ll have to buy something boring and a bit bland you don’t really want to pay for and the recipient of it doesn’t really want, just so you don’t show up empty-handed at Christmas.

    Unfortunately, 90% of holiday marketing campaigns are just like that – uninspired, sent out of obligation and not really bringing benefit to anyone. Don’t let your Christmas email marketing campaign be the same. Focus on what the recipient actually wants and then just give it to them.

    The minute the Christmas period begins peoples’ inbox overflows with incoming Christmas emails. On the other hand, they also turn into stress-monkeys regarding things like travel logistics (if they are not on lockdown – thank you COVID-19), getting presents delivered on time, sorting out work tasks before they sign off for the holidays, etc.

    Your Christmas email marketing ideas should be focused on what you can do to solve your recipient’s specific problems and make their lives a little bit easier at this joyful but hectic time of year. For example, this email from American Eagle Outfitters provides email copy that makes readers shake their head and chuckle whilst being relevant and offering value –

    [​IMG]
    2) Make People Laugh But Keep In On-Point
    Corporate Christmas email marketing’s biggest problem is that it so often sounds stiff and somewhat boring. If you lack the personal connection with the person you’re emailing, a bland “Merry Christmas” message can ring hollow. Especially if your goal is to convince them to purchase something.

    The best way to avoid this is to use humour. Make the recipient laugh and they’ll have no other option but to interact with your Christmas email campaign.

    Take a look at this fun and witty campaign from Parts Town for example –

    [​IMG]
    It gets the tone just right and makes a reference to Christmas without any cliches and trite puns. But, at the same time, it gets the message across that they’re open on Christmas Eve.​

    3) Your Recipients Are Relevant So Don’t Give Them Irrelevant Content
    Think carefully. What’s the reason you’re sending this exact email right now? Is it relevant to Christmas? Or are you just putting some Christmas glitter and tinsel on an email campaign you were planning to send either way and simply calling it festive?

    People have pretty sophisticated ‘nonsense’ detectors, so don’t try to trick or deceive them. Instead, carefully think about how to make your email campaign holiday-relevant and give them beneficial offers truly relevant to their needs/wants/interests. If you can come up with original, witty and relevant incentives showcasing that you really do know what they want, you’ll not only catch the recipients’ attention but win them over easily.

    For example, take a look at this Christmas-themed email from Puma. It’s festive, covers all the stress-points people are concerned about during the holiday season (shipping, costs, gifts, etc.) and actually provides value for the recipient.

    [​IMG]
    4) Come On Let Me Entertain You…
    Yes, I did just quote a Robbie Williams song.

    In the run-up to Christmas in a lot of offices (particularly in the UK and Europe), work slows down as people themselves slow down and slip into the joyful holiday mindset. Even your bosses seem to be a lot more easy-going about the good-humoured and festive slacking. (Did I just see my CEO munching on a gingerbread cookie with a smile?)

    That’s the perfect time for you to send out some lighthearted games, quizzes, animations and other bits of fun to make people smile, entertain them and keep them in the Christmas spirit. The more interactive, the better… remember how ElfYourself went viral? That’s a perfect example.

    This really cool, fun and entertaining example of an interactive Christmas email comes from UK-based digital agency 1973 (click here for the live version) –

    [​IMG]

    They wanted to create a Christmas email with an engaging story to tell. So, they came up with the idea of an interactive present which when the recipient clicks on uncovers a snowglobe that features members of 1973’s team. They even took it a step further with the addition of an interactive element allowing the recipient to turn on Christmas lights and make it snow.

    Final Thoughts
    Christmas time can be exhausting not only for shoppers but for us, the email marketers, too. Nonetheless, we are experts and as such, we already know all the essentials of creating a successful email marketing campaign. The only difference here is that we need to implement all our knowledge into crafting the perfect Christmas email marketing campaign.

    Don’t forget, brainstorming for Christmas email marketing ideas and designing Christmas emails can be fun just as much as visiting a Winter Wonderland. A little cheer in your subject line, a few witty Christmas puns and funny imagery and voila, you have an awesome email campaign. Armed with our Christmas email marketing checklist and a few Christmas email campaign ideas, you are ready; so get the gingerbread cookies, pour some eggnog, put a Christmas tune on and get your creative juices flowing.

    Oh, deer, I almost forgot to tell you how you can prevent making mistakes with your email marketing campaigns be it Christmas, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, weekly newsletter or other. How rude-olf of me. All you need is an email campaign preflight checklist and you’re set.

    Merry Email Marketing Season!

    Highly recommended further reading –
    1)
    Email Segmentation Secrets
    2) Responsive Email Design: The Skinny
    3) Email CTA Examples
    4) How To Avoid Messing Up Your Email A/B Testing

    You scrolled to the bottom of the page, didn’t you? See, we can’t help ourselves! Our curiosity always gets the better of us. (The Cliffhanger)

    This article was originally published on 11 October 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: Twitter, Google, Amazon & Microsoft Oct 19, 2020 at 9:44 AM

    Will users be able to crop images in Twitter posts? Has Google resolved its indexing issues? What new customisation feature is Amazon Sponsored Display Ads launching? What is Microsoft Digital Marketing Center?

    “Consumers are savvy. The digital marketing landscape is constantly changing. To stay ahead, you need to ensure your marketing is a natural conversation, not an intrusion.” – EmailOut


    In this article, we’ll cover the following digital marketing news:
    1. Twitter’s images preview and upcoming changes
    2. Google’s canonicalisation and mobile-indexing issues
    3. Amazon’s new customisation feature for Sponsored Display Ads
    4. What is Microsoft Digital Marketing Center?
    Let’s dive in.

    Social Media

    Twitter Contenplaiting Changes To Crop Image Algorithm After Bias Scrutiny

    You want to boost your tweet by adding a cool image but… Twitter crops it whichever way they want. It’s irritating and it can affect the overall impact of your post. There’s a solution coming your way.

    After serious criticism regarding the image cropping algorithm and how biased it is, Twitter has finally decided to shed some light and make some changes when it comes to users cropping their image previews.

    upload_2020-10-19_9-50-54.png

    Currently, the way an image is previewed in the tweet composer is not how it’ll appear on users’ feed. Nonetheless, the company confirmed they are “prioritising work to decrease our reliance on ML-based image cropping by giving people more visibility and control over what their images will look like in a Tweet. Going forward, we are committed to following the “what you see is what you get” principles of design. Meaning quite simply: the photo you see in the Tweet composer is what it will look like in the Tweet.”

    Why should you care? Adding powerful imagery to your tweets can boost your tweet’s performance and convey your message better. A poorly cropped image can send the wrong message or fail to portray the importance of your tweet resulting in a negative impression harming your brand and costing you followers.

    Search Engine and SEO News

    Ongoing Google Indexing Issues
    At the beginning of October, Google had cases of indexing issues (both canonicalisation and mobile-indexing) that impacted some URLs causing them to drop out of the Google index.

    upload_2020-10-19_9-50-34.png

    Regarding the mobile-indexing issues, Google reported that “if a previously indexed page has gone it might be due to the mobile-indexing issue, where we are failing to select any page at all to index.” According to the company, the mobile-indexing issue impacted about 0.2% of Google’s index. This issue originally occurred in September with spikes toward the end of September and it kept going. Nonetheless, on October 5th, Google re-processed around 50% of the affected URLs. A few days later, 99% of the URLs have been restored.

    As for the canonicalisation issues, the company stated it might not index pages “if the canonical issue is involved the URL Inspector may show the URL as a duplicate and the Google-selected canonical will differ from it.” Overall, Google was either displaying a completely wrong URL or not showing that page in the Google index at all. This issue is reported to have impacted 0.02% of Google’s index. However, the company stated they’ve managed to restore 55% of the URLs impacted by the canonical bug.

    If you’ve noticed indexing issues in the past weeks, you are not the only one. Google is well aware of the indexing bug’s effect on website traffic and rankings. Hence, they have been actively working on resolving these issues. Also, you should keep this in mind when reviewing your reporting since if you were affected, your metrics will have been negatively impacted.

    PPC and Ads News

    Amazon Launches New Customisation For Sponsored Display Ads
    Amazon has rolled out a new customisation feature for Sponsored Display Ads which will allow eligible advertisers to customise their Sponsored Display Ads by adding their brand logo and creating a custom headline.

    These customisation features will be available on a global scale and can run on product information pages, consumer reviews, shopping result pages and, of course, under featured offers. It’s important to keep in mind that Sponsored Display Ads can target by views, product or interest. Yet, when a logo and a custom headline is used only product targeting will be available.

    Considering these customisation features rolled out just days before Amazon Prime Day (October 13 – October 14), the company recommends utilising them to boost page views for either new products or under-exposed ones – or both. Furthermore, these personalisation features will help brands build awareness; as well as, a bigger remarketing audience while conveying their brand’s message.

    Digital Marketing News
    For quite some time Microsoft has been working on a tool to help small and medium-sized businesses better manage their digital marketing across multiple social media platforms and networks from only one interface.

    It seems that the company has finally achieved its goal and is releasing the Microsoft Digital Marketing Center in open beta in the U.S. This platform will enable SMBs to manage organic social media and paid search as well as social media campaigns across Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter platforms.

    Microsoft also added a few new features –
    • Customer action tracking – this feature will help measure performance and tell you if users are completing the conversion actions you’re tracking on your website – e.x. purchases, lead form submission, etc.
    [​IMG]

    • Search term control – the powerful AI will determine which search terms will trigger advertisers on Google and the Microsoft Advertising Network (Bing, AOL, Yahoo).
    [​IMG]

    • Ad reviews – advertisers will be able to input their own text ads, however, the Digital Marketing Center will also auto-generate text ads based on the website and business categories. The new top ads reporting will not only display top performing automated text ads; but also, allow advertisers to modify them.
    [​IMG]

    Why should you care about this? Microsoft Digital Marketing Center is the perfect place for SMBs to manage their online presence and marketing activities efficiently across paid search advertising, paid social advertising; and, organic social media management. The best part: it’s free. You pay for search and social ads, obviously, but all the management bits come at no cost at all.

    Final Thoughts
    Do you have any suggestions or ideas about which digital marketing news topics you’d like us to look out for in the future? Write your requests below. We’ll keep an eye out (or two) so you don’t have to – and all for FREE, of course.

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

    This article was originally published on 10 October 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: An Email Report & Top Spam Stats Oct 16, 2020 at 9:22 AM

    Do you know how to organise your email program efficiently? Which are the world’s worst spam countries and spam support ISPs?

    “How to write a good email: 1. Write your email. 2. Delete most of it. 3. Send.” – Dan Munz


    In this article, we’ll cover the following email industry news:
    1. [Report] How To Scale Your Email Program
    2. Top 2020 Spam Statistics
    Let’s dive in.


    [Report] How To Scale Your Email Program (Without Additional Personnel)
    The craziest time of year for both consumers and marketers is nearly upon us. Yes, I am referring to Black Friday (November 27), Cyber Monday (November 30) and, of course, Christmas (you know the date). During this time, marketers need to send more emails than ever but… how can they do it if they don’t have the headcount, they are strapped for time and they’re on a shoestring budget? Having more people on your email team will certainly help to continue your growth and innovate your email program but if hiring new staff is not on the cards then what else can you do?

    Scaling your email program does not necessarily involve bringing in new people. You could consider other options such as part-time staff, freelancers but better yet, the right strategies, processes and tools.

    Last month, I received the latest State of Email report. Now, with the findings from that report, Litmus has released an ebook aimed at helping marketers and businesses understand how email teams are resourced and help them scale their email program better and more efficiently.

    With the help of the new report, marketers will be able to see (and understand) –

    • if their email program is resourced for success
    • they way suitable resourcing and email program effectiveness compare and interact
    • how resourcing your team for success means more than adding new headcount
    • how different tools can help scale your email program without adding new full-time staff
    To download your copy of Litmus’s How To Scale Your Email Program Without New Headcount report, click here.

    Top Spam Statistics 2020
    Spam has been a problem of global proportions as well as a massive threat for both users and businesses. Unfortunately, there are countries and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that take little to no action in preventing such malicious schemes being run by spammers.

    According to Spamhaus, these are the top 5 of the world’s worst spam countries as of October 12, 2020 –

    1) China – 2,810 live spam issues
    2) The U.S. – 2,647 live spam issues
    3) Russia – 748 live spam issues
    4) the United Kingdom – 515 live spam issues, and
    5) Japan – 430 live spam issues.

    As for the ISPs with the highest number of ongoing spam issue, here are the top 5 of the world’s worst spam support ISPs

    1) ghlc.biz – 287 reported phishing spam complaints
    2) google.com – 259 reported phishing spam complaints
    3) chinanet-js – 237 reported phishing spam complaints
    4) microsoft.com – 232 reported phishing spam complaints, and
    5) kornet.net – 202 reported phishing spam complaints.

    As a bonus, one of the worst ISPs responsible for spam is – cloudflare.com (a company offering CDN, DNS, DDoS protection and security) which has 174 ongoing live spam issues. A bit ironic considering their line of business, no?

    Final Thoughts
    Do you have any suggestions or ideas about which email industry news topics you’d like us to look out for in the future? Write your requests below. We’ll keep an eye out (or two) so you don’t have to – and all for FREE, of course.

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

    This article was originally published on 10 October 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.
  • 11 Common Email Marketing Mistakes (and How To Prevent Them) Oct 14, 2020

    Email marketing is a vitally important factor in keeping your brand at the top of the subscribers’ mind, successful customer acquisition and customer retention. Yet, due to the numerous variables that have to be taken into account, it can be quite complex. With so many elements to consider when creating and sending an email campaign, it’s inevitable to occasionally make a mistake.

    Email marketing mistakes fall on a scope that stretches from “oops” to absolutely disastrous. Even the most proficient email marketers are not impervious to making a mistake now and again. However, what matters the most is how you can prevent an email marketing mistake from happening again.

    “Your subject line is just like a movie trailer. It gives just enough of a preview to the recipients so they know what to expect.” – EmailOut

    Have you ever had the profoundly awful realisation that you’ve made a mistake in your email milliseconds after sending it? Whether it is a grammar error, typo, broken link, broken image or incorrectly selected segment, things can take a wrong turn even for the most experienced email marketers. Poorly crafted email campaigns can harm not only your reputation but also send your email straight to the dreaded spam folder. But, don’t despair. There are ways to prevent making email marketing mistakes.

    In this article, we’ll cover the following topics:
    1. 11 Common email marketing mistakes to avoid
    2. A checklist to prevent email marketing mistakes
    Let’s dive in.


    With an ROI of 42:1, email marketing has proven to be one of the most successful weapons an email marketer can have in their marketing arsenal. However, what can you do when your open and click-through rates are not what you expected them to be? Do you start wondering if your recipients received your email campaign but didn’t open it? Do you think they opened it but didn’t like the content? Or, maybe they are not engaging and unsubscribing causing damage to your email marketing KPIs because there was an unforgivable email marketing mistake.

    Email marketers are merely human. Hence, email marketing mistakes are inevitable at one point or another. Instead of focusing on the petrifying feeling that you’ve made a mistake, make sure you address it head-on and do everything possible to prevent this from happening again.

    11 Common Email Marketing Mistakes

    To help you avoid the email marketing embarrassment of sending campaigns with email marketing mistakes in them, I’ve compiled a list of the most common email marketing mistakes to avoid.

    Are you ready to take your email marketing strategy to the next level?

    1) Neglecting to welcome your subscribers
    A new subscriber just joined your email list. That’s amazing news. Since they took the time to read through your website, understand the benefits they’ll get by subscribing and fill out your signup form, the least you can do is welcome them into the fold.

    If you were not planning to do so then you are making a big mistake. Why? Because first impressions matter and you don’t want yours to be that of an uninterested business, do you? As an email marketer, you get one shot at making a great first impression. So, don’t waste it. After all, your first point of contact will set the expectations for the entire relationship. Thus, how you go about it is of crucial importance. The secret: creating an impactful onboarding email series. Moreover, welcome emails generate four times more opens, five times more clicks, three times more transactions and revenue per email as well as boost open rates with 50%; with the bonus of increasing revenue by 51% by sending just a single welcome email.

    Don’t make the mistake of ignoring the power of a welcome email or you risk losing customers and missing the opportunity to boost your ROI.

    2) Sending emails without personalisation
    You already know how important email marketing is for your business’s success. But, can you make it even more powerful? The answer is ‘Yes!’ All you need is to fine-tune your email campaigns and here’s where email personalisation comes into play.

    The best audience is an engaged audience. Your subscribers probably receive tons of emails daily. Thus, to stand out amongst all the email clutter, make sure that everything from your subject line through your email copy to the call-to-action (CTA) is carefully crafted and properly personalised to fit the recipients’ persona.

    1) Subject line
    It often takes us milliseconds to glance at a subject line and decide whether or not to open or delete an email. With 47% of recipients opening emails purely based on the subject line, you need to make sure your email makes the cut. To do that you need to craft subject lines that compel the recipient to take action. They have to –

    a) provide value instead of misleading the recipient;
    b) be short, clear and straightforward – the recommended length for a subject line is no more than 50 characters;
    c) be focused on the topic and avoid any fluff or filler words;
    d) sound professional;
    e) be personalised; and
    f) avoid YELLING at the recipient.

    2) Email content
    To take your email personalisation beyond just the subscribers’ first name, you need to utilise all the data you’ve gathered from your subscribers. You can personalise the content based on two main types of customer data – demographics and psychographics. (I’ll talk more about the distinction between the two and how they can be used in creating a customer persona as well as crafting perfect content shortly.)

    When your subscribers first opted-in they’ve probably provided demographic data such as date of birth (DOB), gender, location, job occupation, age, annual income, etc. Hence, engage them based on those demographics and make sure you utilise them correctly when personalising the content – it’ll help increase your chances of having them interact with your brand further.

    N.B. What you ask for in the signup form is what you’ll get. So make sure you’re not asking for too much info, or you’ll risk losing the new subscriber midway. Ask for just enough to ensure personalisation will be on-point.

    Overall, to plan and create the perfect email copy you need to know at least the basic demographics about your subscribers. Though the more you know, the better your personalisation will be and the greater the results.

    3) Call-to-action (CTA)
    Probably the most important thing after having your email campaign send is getting the recipients to take action. Cue, call-to-action (CTA).

    First and foremost, remember that an effective CTA is one that focuses on the customers’ needs/interests, not on the product or service. If there’s no CTA what’s the recipient expected to do with your email?

    Don’t forget to include a call-to-action in your email campaigns. Make sure all of your emails have a clear purpose, bring value and include at least one clear call-to-action (CTA). Don’t overwhelm your readers with tons of CTAs. You risk having none of them clicked on.

    Secondly, your email copy should gently lead and prepare the recipient for the call-to-action. For example, if you are hosting a webinar, your CTA should be about singing up.

    Lastly, if you are asking your recipients to take too many actions – buy multiple products, sign up to another email list, re-post your latest Instagram photo, take part in a webinar and a few other things, you risk not only confusing them (which is the least of “oops” mistakes) but also for them to completely ignore your email and either delete it or worse, report it as spam.

    Remember, it is always best to have 100 people taking the same action than 100 people taking 10 different actions.

    3) Ignoring your targeted audience’s interests
    Creating valuable and engaging content that’s relevant to the subscribers on your email lists can sometimes be a Herculean task. You can’t ask them what they want to read all the time, you’ll come across as somewhat irritating and it might result in losing the subscribers’ attention.

    Instead of pestering your subscribers constantly, focus on creating customer personas (a fictional representation of your target customers). I’m sure you have a pretty good idea who your subscribers are, what they want/need and how to craft content based on that. However, by using demographics and psychographics you will be able to gain more insight into what your subscribers need and how they think.

    [​IMG]

    Demographics such as DOB, location, occupation, annual income, marital status, age, gender, etc. will allow you to focus your email copy on who the subscriber is.

    Psychographics (which are essentially the demographics of personality) like values, thoughts, interests, concerns, opinions, attitudes, lifestyle, etc. will help you create content focused on how they think.

    Understanding what drives people’s decision-making is incredibly important to marketers. If you don’t know how they think or why they are buying your stuff, you’ll be wasting a huge amount resources either scatter-gunning people in that bracket who would never buy your stuff in a billion years, or missing the mark entirely with your target audience because you misinterpret the reasons for their interest.

    4) Disregarding segmentation
    Now that you have created customer personas to help you establish what your subscribers (and customers) want and think, it’s time to finally give it to them. But remember, just as you have to go to different shops to purchase what you want, various customers and subscribers have different reasons for coming to you and signing up to your email lists. Thus, sending all of them the same email that will only relate to some, will ultimately end up costing you the subscribers’ interest in your business.

    To avoid such an email marketing mistake, take advantage of email segmentation. Based on both the demographic and psychographic data you’ve gathered, you can ensure that the right people are getting the right message at the right time.

    If, for whatever reason, you only have the basic demographic data about your subscribers, don’t panic. The best way to go about segmenting your email lists from the get-go is by asking for the subscribers’ preferences right on the signup page. Alternatively, to improve your segmentation efforts for existing subscribers, you should add a link in your email campaign redirecting them to your preference centre. Give them the freedom to choose what they want to receive and how often they want to receive it.

    5) Not allowing recipients to reply
    Are you sending from a [email protected] or [email protected] address? Well, trust me when I say this, no one is looking forward to receiving emails from their ‘good friend’ Do Not Reply.

    Using such a sender email address is not only uninviting but it also appears very unwelcoming. Don’t be surprised if your open rate suffers if you use such sender addresses. In fact, 64% of recipients open an email based entirely on the sender’s name.

    So, to avoid a rapid decrease in open rates, make sure to always send emails from an email address your subscribers are familiar with and to which they can reply if needed. If your email fails to allow the recipient to reply or ask questions then there’s the possibility they’ll look for a more personalised experience where brands are interested in hearing back from their customers.

    Overall, always allow recipients to get in touch. In case you become too overwhelmed with replies, why not add a ‘Contact Us’ link in your email which leads readers to a landing page where they can send their inquiries or ask for further information?

    6) Dismissing mobile optimisation
    Is your email campaign optimised for small screens?

    Stats point out that 42% of all email opens happen on a mobile device. Furthermore, nearly 43% of recipients delete emails if they are not optimised for mobile devices. Now, I can only assume you are using a desktop to craft those awesome email campaigns since well… the screen is bigger. But, as much as everything might look great on the desktop, the same does not apply for mobile screens. So, before you hit ‘send’, make sure that you’ve not neglected to optimise your email for mobile devices.

    Professional email marketing software – like EmailOut – often have a free design test tool which allows email marketers to preview their email campaigns in 70+ different email clients and mobile devices in seconds. Another great way to check how your email will look is to send a ‘preview test’ to yourself. Then, you’ll not only be able to see how the campaign looks in your email client/browser or on your mobile device but also double-check for potential email marketing mistakes such as spelling errors, typos, broken links, broken imagery, formatting errors, etc.

    7) Not paying attention to your sender reputation
    Your sender reputation portrays your authenticity and credibility as a sender. If you are unaware of what it is, there is a high possibility it’s affecting your email marketing KPIs more than you know.

    Your sender reputation is a score awarded by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to determine if the emails you are sending are genuine or spam.

    Your sender reputation can be determined by multiple factors but the main four are –

    a) Email bounce rate. As you know, there are two types of bounces – soft (temporary issues like a full inbox) and hard (permanent issues such as a closed email account). To prevent this from affecting your email marketing efforts, review and clean up your email lists regularly. This will not only reduce bounce rates but also ensure your email lists consist of only active subscribers.

    b) Daily email volume. Spammers just love emailing to huge lists all at once since their aim is maximum reach. If you are following a similar practice, sending numerous irrelevant emails to massive email lists, this will most certainly affect your sender reputation negatively. If ISPs see that emails are coming in bulk from a new IP address they’ll start to investigate. But, if you are using a professional email marketing service (which you should), they have IPs ‘warmed up’ and ready to go.

    c) Unsubscribe rate. People unsubscribing from your emails en masse is another red flag for you and ESPs. They can and will do so for numerous reasons – too many emails, irrelevant content, hard to understand copy, no clear benefits, etc. To avoid spikes in unsubscribe rates, make sure you use a double opt-in signup form. It’s an extra measure that will help prevent low-quality sign-ups, keep you on the right side of the law and, most of all, ensure that the people interested in what you can do for them (or have to say) are successfully subscribed to the correct email list. Remember, including an unsubscribe link is a legal requirement under anti-spam laws.

    d) Complaint rate. This metric is also known as abuse or spam complaint and it is a representation of subscribers’ response to your emails. Complaints usually happen when recipients click on the This Is Spam (TiS) button in their email client. Now, there’s no such thing as a ‘good’ complaint rate, however, anything below 0.1% is considered as acceptable as an industry standard. Anything above 0.1% is considered high and will affect your email deliverability.

    8) Failure to utilise email marketing analytics
    To understand how your email campaigns are performing and what your subscribers are most interested in, you need to make sure you are monitoring your email marketing KPIs such as open rate, engagement rate, click-through rate, deliverability rate, conversion rate, etc.

    Once you have a better insight, you’ll be able to pinpoint what content resonated best with the subscribers to inspire them to take action. Moreover, by fully evaluating your email campaigns effectiveness you will be able to accurately target those subscribers most likely to take action and proceed to interact with your emails.

    Bottom line, without email marketing analytics it would be extremely difficult for email marketers to develop and improve their email marketing strategy. So make sure you measure your results and then start tweaking your email strategy accordingly to achieve the success you want.

    9) Using purchased, borrowed or rented email lists
    As much as purchasing, borrowing or renting email lists might seem like the perfect idea and the best shortcut to achieving a boost in your subscriber numbers, don’t be fooled. It will do your business more harm than good. After all, isn’t it preferable to have no subscribers than unengaged ones?

    The top five reasons why using purchased or rented email lists is a massive No-No are –

    1) unreliable quality of the email list;
    2) reputable ESPs do not allow their users to send to such lists;
    3) people on those lists have absolutely no idea who you are;
    4) you will be flagged as a spammer; and
    5) you are violating anti-spam laws.

    Using purchased, borrowed or rented email lists is a poor alternative to building and growing your email list organically. It is also damaging to your brand, harmful to email deliverability, has a high potential of flagging you as a spammer and will lead to poor results.

    10) Disappearing from the face of the Earth
    Unfortunately, many marketers can make the email marketing mistake of sending unwanted emails or, worse, neglecting their subscribers completely after the welcome email and one more successful email campaign.

    People subscribe to your email list for a reason. Thus, as much as they show their appreciation in one of the few email campaigns you’ve sent, if you let too much time pass by between emails there’s a high possibility subscribers will forget about you and next time you email them either delete your message, unsubscribe or, worst-case scenario, report it as spam.

    The best way to avoid all of this is to set the email frequency expectations and stick to them. Additionally, let subscribers tell you how often they would like to hear from you. For example, if you’ve promised to send them a monthly email newsletter, just send it once a month – not weekly. With a professional email marketing platform at your side, you can easily create an automated series of emails that will be sent at set intervals – it will avoid any communication gaps and keep your subscribers happy.

    11) Ignoring GDPR, CAN-SPAM, CCPA, CASL and other anti-spam laws
    With anti-spam laws like GDPR, CCPA, LGPC, CASL, PDPA and the CAN-SPAM Act, email marketers have a lot to comply with to be on the right side of the law. They have to prove subscribers have given their explicit consent to be contacted, there must be a valid physical address included in their emails, an unsubscribe link must be added and so much more other requirements in order for email marketers to make sure that their emails will not only be delivered to the recipients’ inbox (instead of being marked as spam) but also to avoid being hit with hefty fines for violating all those anti-spam laws.

    Bottom line, by avoiding email marketing mistakes and following legal guidelines, email marketers will put their business in a position that allows them to reap the benefits of all those long hours devoted to crafting and improving their email marketing campaigns.

    How To Avoid Email Marketing Mistakes: A Preflight Checklist

    Mistakes happen all the time. Rather than panicking and apologising (which you should if the mistake is obvious), the best preventive measure you can take is to have a plan in place. That way you’ll be able to go through and check all possible worst-case scenarios and ensure you will not be sending an email with mistakes.

    There are 6 essential elements email marketers must consider before releasing their emails into the world –

    1) Personalisation
    Personalisation works. In fact, according to stats, personalisation improves open rates by 14% and increases conversions by 10% – and all you have to do is use the subscribers’ first name. Pretty good return on something so simple, right?

    2) Timing
    Do you send emails regularly? Are you using the same template each time, or perhaps the previous email as a template for the next one? Is your previous email referring to a month, date, day or some other time that has now passed? Always make sure to double-check or you risk looking super sloppy!

    3) Links
    This one is so easy to overlook, but such a pain when you slip up. Go through your email and double, even triple-check that every link you’ve added goes to the right place. This also applies to your call-to-action. Leave no link unclicked.

    4) Subject Line
    Your email’s subject line is the first thing people see, the biggest factor in whether they click through and pretty much your make-it or break-it moment. Therefore, make sure it’s really good. To get some inspiration and write irresistible subject lines take a look at these seven amazing subject line examples.

    5) Proofread
    Okay, so you can’t wait to unleash that awesome email you spent countless hours crafting and perfecting onto your list. But, that’s no excuse to lower your standards. Read over everything you’ve written, carefully, to make extra certain you haven’t done something daft.

    6) Testing
    It’s hard to spot email marketing mistakes when you’ve been staring at the same screen for hours. Hence, send yourself a test email and check that over instead. While you are at it, why not recruit a few of your colleagues to be your little helpers and get a fresh pair of eyes to check your email, too. This will also allow you to check how the formatting looks on different screens and that your subject lines, names, etc. are displaying properly before you send.

    I know what you might be thinking – “Is that it? Six points?” The answer is “No. There’s more, much, much more – like 38 points more.”

    The Ultimate 44-Point Email Checklist >>>

    Final Thoughts

    At best, making email marketing mistakes and sending your campaigns to hundreds or thousands of recipients will be somewhat embarrassing – all depending on the mistake of course. At worst, it will possibly cause irreparable damage to your brand, costing you not only customers (and subscribers) but also getting a bad sender reputation.

    However, sometimes a mistake can be a good thing. Right now you are probably thinking I am crazy saying this but bear with me and think about it. Okay yes, you did send a campaign or two with some minor mistakes to your mailing list but… the hardest part was discovering the mistake and you’ve done it. From here on, you can create a game plan (because you have an idea what can go wrong) and follow it religiously to avoid making any more email marketing mistakes in future.

    It’s inevitable, and to an extent acceptable, to make mistakes and as long as you are willing to correct them your subscribers will forgive you. But, before earning forgiveness, you first need to make sure you’ve apologised. Yes, that’s right. Create a short, sweet and straightforward apology email template explaining to your recipients what has happened and offer them an ‘apology discount’ or something else beneficial. As long as you treat them right and with respect, and don’t make a big deal out of the mistake, they’ll understand and appreciate your consideration.

    Highly recommended further reading –
    1)
    Subject Line Mistakes To Avoid
    2) How To Write Marketing Emails 101
    3) Email Segmentation Top Secrets
    4) Responsive Email Design
    5) Why Using Purchased Email Lists Is A Very Bad Idea

    This article was originally published on 1 October 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.
  • The Spam Folder: Why Is My Email Going To Spam Oct 13, 2020

    As an email marketer, getting your email campaign to the recipients’ inbox is the most essential part of what you do. Unfortunately, it’s quite common to see legitimate email senders asking – “Why is my email going to spam?”

    How are your open rates? What can you do to avoid your emails going to spam? In 2018, the global inbox placement rate (IPR), which is the number of emails that arrive in the inbox out of the total emails sent, was 85%. In 2019, IPR suffered a 2% drop leaving it at 83%. Pretty impressive and yet, it also means that approximately one out of five emails you send is either getting flagged as spam by the recipients’ email client or not delivered at all. What can you do to prevent your emails from ending up in the dreaded spam folder?

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

    As an email marketer, getting your email campaigns to reach the subscribers’ inbox is a number one priority. After all, regardless of the type of email you send, it cannot be successful if it never arrives. Even the best email marketing experts run into the occasional inbox placement issues. Determining how and why your email ending in the spam folder is key to successful email deliverability.

    In this article, we’ll cover the following topics:
    1. Why is my email going to spam?
    2. 11 common reasons why emails go to spam
    3. How to avoid the spam folder – best practice
    Ready to dive in?

    Your subscribers’ inboxes are full of competitors vying for the customers’ attention. Between newsletters, special offers, booking confirmations, purchases receipts, lead nurturing campaigns, promotional and marketing emails, customers’ inboxes are full of more emails that they can read. Still, there is the issue all email marketers must deal with and that’s having their emails fall into the dreaded black hole known as the spam folder. We can ask ourselves “Why is my email going to spam?” daily but to prevent it, we first must understand why it is happening and, most importantly, how to fix it.

    Spam is an issue concerning not only content but consent too. Sending unsolicited emails (spamming) has been a problem of global proportions and a huge threat to both users and businesses alike.

    According to my recent research, the world’s Top 5 Spam Countries are –
    1) China
    – 2,927 live spam issues;
    2) The U.S. – 2,529 live spam issues;
    3) Russia – 856 live spam issues;
    4) Ukraine – 621 live spam issues; and
    5) The U.K. – 533 live spam issues.

    Further research shows that the world’s Top 6 Worst Spam Support ISPs are –
    1) ghlc.biz
    – 300 reported spam complaints;
    2) google.com – 291 reported spam complaints;
    3) chinanet-js – 263 reported spam complaints;
    4) microsoft.com – 159 reported spam complaints;
    5) chinanet-zj – 157 reported spam complaints; and
    6) sendgrid.com – 140 reported spam complaints (this is certainly affecting their clients’ email deliverability).

    Let’s be honest, if your email ends up in the spam folder, you should pretty much consider it a goner. I mean, how many of you take the time to sift through your spam/junk folder? My guess, 0 to 1%. The truth is, there is a lot involved in sending an email campaign successfully. From managing servers through ensuring you implement best practice to knowing the reason why your email is going to spam, sending emails can get very complicated, pretty fast.

    Why Is My Email Going To Spam?
    “I never got your email” is pretty much today’s modern version of “the dog ate my homework.” Yet, if recipients check their spam folder, they are bound to find not only your email (if it landed there) but also a few other marketing emails they would’ve gladly opened.

    However, as spam filters become more and more sophisticated, the possibility of your email campaign ending in the spam folder is considerably high. If you think about it, spam filters are pretty similar to a sales funnel –

    [​IMG]

    As you can see from the image, there is a certain process every email client – Gmail, Outlook, you name it – follows to establish where an email belongs – inbox or spam folder.

    No email service provider (ESP) or email marketing expert can guarantee 100% email deliverability. ESPs will deliver your email to the digital equivalent of a post office but they can’t guarantee the mailman (the recipients’ email server) will place the message in the inbox. Of course, there’s the matter of your email campaign ending in the inbox but then, you can’t force the recipients to open it if they think it’s spam now. Worse, they can flag it as such and that would harm your sender reputation and consequently if you are using a professional email marketing service (which you should), potentially other users’ deliverability.

    There is no one answer to the question “Why is my email going to spam?”. There is no one-size-fits-all solution either. Every sender’s situation is different, unique. From the misleading subject line and overuse of spam trigger words through bad sender reputation and poor email design to lack of permission, there can be many reasons as to why your email is ending up in the spam/junk folder. But, as an email marketer, you in collaboration with professional email marketing software will play an important role in ensuring email deliverability.

    11 Common Reasons Why Emails Go To Spam
    Many elements must be taken into consideration regarding whether or not your email will get delivered to the recipients’ inbox. If you try to figure them all out on your own, you’ll probably get a few right but… why waste time when we have the 11 most common ones right here? But, before we dive into the reason why emails go to spam, I’d like to outline the most important thing an email marketer should remember, compliance with anti-spam laws.

    First and foremost, it’s crucially important for any email marketer to remember that as the email sender they must comply with anti-spam laws such as the CAN-SPAM Act, CASL, DPA 2018, GDPR, CCPA, PDPA, LGPD, etc. If you don’t, well… the fines are quite hefty, so I advise you to ensure your compliance.

    Under all the anti-spam laws, email senders must comply with a series of rules and regulations concerning email content such as –

    a) no misleading or false information in email headers;
    b) not using deceptive subject lines;
    c) clearly outline advertising messaging;
    d) conspicuously identify your business’s physical location;
    e) provide a clear opt-out/unsubscribe link;
    f) be respectful of unsubscribe requests and process them quickly;
    g) be aware of third parties (or others) actions on your business’s behalf and more.

    Complying with these rules and regulations is, of course, a legal obligation but also considered best practice. Sending email campaigns with clear intent, truthful content and defined call-to-action will help you improve not only your sender reputation but your recipients’ experience, too. All of which leads to a higher inbox placement rate and consequently, boost in opens and engagement.

    Now, let’s focus on the 11 most common reasons why your email is going to spam.

    1) You were not given permission to email
    In the real world, breaking into someone’s house is illegal, we all know that. The same rule applies in the email marketing world. Thus, blasting emails to users’ inboxes, especially without permission, is a very bad idea – and poor practice, too. However, there is a way to ensure you are on the right side of anti-spam laws. Cue, permission-based email marketing.

    To clarify, permission is a verifiable consent from a subscriber which must be obtained before sending email marketing messages. It expresses a person’s explicit agreement to be contacted via email. Normally, permissions are classified into two types – implied and express.

    According to CASL, implied permissions expire for a) purchase – it’s valid for 2 years; b) an enquiry about a product/service – it’s valid for 6 months. As for express permissions, according to CASL, they do not expire.

    Now, to obtain permission you will need an opt-in form (also known as a sign-up form) placed on your website with a clear message to your visitors that they are subscribing to your email list and, potentially, what email correspondence they should expect.

    If you lack explicit permission, you risk your emails not only going to spam but also damaging your sender reputation and even worse, getting a hefty fine for breaching anti-spam laws.

    What is NOT considered explicit permission –
    a)
    a person signing up for a one-time email but then added to other email lists;
    b) borrowing or using shared email lists from businesses within your industry;
    c) utilising a pre-checked newsletter consent box in your web form, and
    d) buying, downloading or renting email lists from potentially perceived ‘reputable websites’.

    If you are doing any of the things listed above, you should stop immediately. It is a poor practice and, as mentioned, a serious violation of anti-spam laws.

    2) Lack of a warmed-up reputable IP address and poor sender score
    As you know, an IP address is a sequence of numbers listed in the domain name system (DNS) that is used to send email correspondence on behalf of your domain name. Email marketers can utilise dedicated (a specific sender) or shared (used by multiple senders) IP addresses to send emails. You can easily check your IP reputation using this very useful tool.

    It’s very important to keep in mind that if your IP address has been used for spam purposes, your emails are most certainly going to be flagged as spam. But rather than try and use a brand new fresh IP, which will also create major delivery issues, you should consider a professional email service provider like EmailOut as they’ll work with you to reach the recipients’ inbox with IPs that have already been warmed-up with reputable senders.

    Remember to check the SenderScore of any IPs that your ESP sends from as in most cases you’ll be on a shared IP range meaning that your reputation can be affected by others poor (or good) sending behaviour.

    If you find your SenderScore goes beneath 85% you should have a chat with your ESP, if they do not have a plan in place to enhance your delivery, it’s time to move on.

    There are a bunch of reasons that an email sender could get labelled with a poor sender score. Common causes include –

    a) high complaint rate;
    b) emailing too many unknown or inactive users;
    c) getting spoofed or hacked; and
    d) getting blacklisted.

    The good news is that your sender score is not carved in stone. Hence, you can improve it gradually over time.

    3) The mailbox usage and engagement rate are low
    One of the most common reasons for low inbox placement is low mailbox usage. Email service providers’ (like Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo!, etc.) spam filtering algorithms review the ratio of active and inactive email addresses on your email list to determine if an email should be flagged as spam. For example, if you are sending email campaigns to a large email list but some of the email addresses are nearing abandonment (in other words rarely or never used email accounts), that will be a huge red flag for spam filters. You can prevent this from happening with a simple, quick periodical email list clean-up. Some of the professional email service providers have such a feature which automatically purges email lists of email addresses that are inactive or have bounced due to other reasons.

    As for the low engagement rate, here’s what I know. Top email service providers (Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo!,etc.) have stated numerous times that two of the main things factoring in email spam filtering are the number of emails opened and the number of emails deleted without being opened. Thus, if you are witnessing a decrease in open or engagement rates then your emails are at a higher risk of being marked/flagged as spam.

    To prevent your emails being marked as spam and increase your open rate, ensure you’re sending your emails at the right time with the perfect, engaging subject line and to the right audience. The best way to achieve this is by using engaging language, keeping your email lists fresh and, last but certainly not least, segmenting your email lists to those that have recently engaged with your campaigns regularly.

    4) Misleading subject line
    As per the CAN-SPAM Act, it is against the law to intentionally mislead people with your subject line to lure them into engaging with your email. You are required by law to use clear, truthful subject lines. But, truthful and clear language is only the beginning. Since your subject line is your first and unfortunately only chance to make a good first impression, you must ensure you’ve carefully thought it through.

    Why? Well, all my research shows that 47% of recipients open emails based on the subject line alone. Furthermore, 69% of recipients report emails as SPAM based solely on the subject line. Crafting the perfect, effective subject line is an art. The best email subject lines will grab the recipients’ attention, give them a brief preview of the content and make promises the sender must immediately deliver upon within the message. So, your subject line must be –

    a) short, sweet and clear;
    b) bare of any clickbait – spammy language, for example; and
    c) relevant and piquing the recipients’ curiosity.

    Unfortunately, some marketers believe so strongly in the incredible power of email subject lines that they consider –

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

    The goal of your email subject line is not only to generate opens but to generate openers which are likely to convert. Thus, none of the above is beneficial to your end goal. Quite the contrary, they are harmful to your email’s overall performance and your sender reputation.

    5) Inaccurate or misleading sender information
    If you are not providing the accurate and correct sender information ( “From”, “To”, “Reply-to” and routing info), you will not only raise a red flag with your recipients but also violate anti-spam laws.

    For example, if you make your email appear like it’s coming from Donald Trump or Boris Johnson that would be illegal not to mention unethical. I know, it’s quite the extreme example but you get my point. My sender information, for instance, would be “Adi from EmailOut” which makes it very clear who I am and who the company is.

    Whichever way you choose to identify who you are, always make sure it’s memorable and consistent. Otherwise, you’re risking the recipient will ignore your email despite being subscribed to your email list and potentially reporting it as spam.

    6) No physical address
    Businesses and marketers must provide transparency and traceability. Thus, you are legally obligated to include a valid physical address in your emails regardless of the size of your business. It could be your current street address, a P.O. box or a private mailbox registered with a commercial mail receiving agency. For small business owners who operate from home and have no desire to broadcast their private address, for example, a private P.O. is an adequate solution and within the legal regulations, if not a little off-putting for recipient trust.

    7) No unsubscribe link
    Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve subscribed to an email list (for whatever reason) but then found yourself disinterested in the content and yet there was no option to unsubscribe? I have and it’s extremely irritating, not to mention that including an unsubscribe link is a legal requirement under anti-spam laws and if businesses do not have a way for subscribers to opt-out they face serious legal repercussions.

    Regardless of how valuable and relevant you perceive your email content to be, you are obliged to give your subscribers a way out. If you don’t, at best you’ll get spam complaints. Worst case scenario, you’ll be slapped with hefty fines. Either way, it’s a lose-lose situation for you.

    So, it is not only crucially important to have an opt-out/unsubscribe link in your emails but it is also, as I mentioned, a legal requirement. Remember, when a subscriber requests removal from your email list, you must process the request within 10 business days. You can’t charge them removal fees nor should you force them for any further personal information to process their opt-out request. If you want to gather more details on why they want to unsubscribe, you can place a survey on the page confirming they’ve been removed and perhaps instructions on how to start receiving email communication from you again in future, if they change their mind. Most importantly, never, never, never sell, transfer or distribute the email addresses of the unsubscribers to either another email list or third-party.

    8) Spam trigger words
    Let’s say you have a reputable IP, near-perfect sender score, on-point subject line and both a physical address and unsubscribe link, why then is your email campaign still ending up in the spam folder? Spam trigger words.

    Most (if not all) email service providers (Gmail, Yahoo!, Outlook, etc.) have spam filtering algorithms which are triggered when certain spam words either in the subject line or the email copy are detected. Therefore, it’s vital to know which specific words/phrases you should avoid to prevent your emails ending in the spam folder.

    Some of the most commonly used spam trigger words/phrases (per category) are –
    a) financial (business)
    – credit card offers, no investment, no credit check, no hidden costs, a full refund, explode your business, etc.;

    b) general – chance, here, leave, amazing, cancel at any time, click here, congratulations, for only ($) (£), free, guaranteed, great offer, etc.;

    c) marketing – click, click to remove, email harvest, increase sales, month trial offer, not spam, click below, direct email, removal instructions, increase traffic, mass email, opt-in, sale, this isn’t junk, we hate spam, visit our website, etc.;

    d) numbers – 4U, billion dollars (or pounds), 50% off, join millions, one hundred percent guaranteed, etc.;

    e) offers – financial freedom, important information regarding, mail in order form, no claim forms, no obligation, no gimmick, confidentiality on all orders, giving away, no catch, etc.;

    f) call-to-action – get, print out and tax, give it away, see for yourself, sign up free today, etc.;

    g) free – pretty much any phrase containing the word ‘free’; and

    h) sense of urgency – call free, do it today, apply online, don’t hesitate, great offer, order now, now only, offer expires, new customers only, get started now, call now, order today, special promotion, time-limited, urgent, take action now, etc.

    You can use this free tool to check if your email is likely to trigger spam filters.

    9) Poor email design
    Designing the perfect email is not a small task. You have to think – and worry – about things such as branding, memorable copy, proofreading, call-to-action, responsive design, impactful imagery, avoiding spam filters and so much more. Therefore, you must follow a few guidelines to achieve optimal results.

    1) ensure your email is optimised not only for desktop but for small screens as well (i.e. smartphones, tablets, etc.);
    2) make sure the formatting corresponds to your brand – colours, fonts, images, tone, etc.;
    3) do not overwhelm your email campaign with images – it’s important to have a good image to text ratio;
    4) avoid any (and all) spam trigger words in the subject line, header and email copy;
    5) make sure you are compliant with all anti-spam laws by including both a physical address and an unsubscribe link to your email campaign;
    6) ensure you are using easily understandable language; and
    7) always test, test, test.

    Before you even start crafting your email, you need to define what type of email you are sending and what goals it will fulfil. For example, welcome email, newsletter, sale/promotional email, order receipts, re-engagement campaigns or cart abandonment. Once you have a clear plan, you can begin the designing process.

    I am certain your emails are good just as they are, however, why not make them great by implementing some email design best practice.

    10) Using purchased or rented email lists
    With things like building the sales funnel, boosting brand awareness, propelling engagement and crafting valuable content, as an email marketer you already have enough on your plate. Besides, if email marketing is part of your marketing strategy (which, with an ROI of 42:1, of course, it is), you’ve probably been approached by businesses offering you an email list to buy.

    As much as buying or renting an email list might sound like a dream come true and the perfect accelerated shortcut for growing your business, don’t be fooled. It is certainly NOT. Trust me, having unengaged subscribers is way worse than having no subscribers at all. It’s not only a huge waste of money but it will most certainly damage your reputation and cost you more than it’s worth. Most importantly, the email addresses on those purchased/rented email lists have never given explicit consent to be contacted via email and using them will violate all known anti-spam laws costing you thousands of pounds in fines.

    The only way to be sure your emails will reach the recipients’ inboxes and be read is by having an opted-in email list that has been built (and grown) the right way.

    11) Missing Email Authentication
    There is no way to ensure 100% email deliverability. However, by implementing email authentication you will not only decrease the chances of your emails ending up in the spam folder but also prevent them from being spoofed.

    Email providers like Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo!, etc. are always watching email senders like hawks to ensure the emails they deliver to their users’ inbox are not only relevant but secure as well. Keep in mind that if your email does not pass the required authentication process, it’s highly likely for your email campaign(s) to experience deliverability issues like ending in the spam folder or not get delivered at all.

    Now, to prevent any of this from happening and avoid spam filters, as an email marketer you need to make sure you’ve followed four basic email deliverability guidelines –

    1) only ever email people you’ve given you their explicit consent;
    2) make sure your email content is always relevant, well-designed, engaging and bare of any (and all) spam trigger words/phrases;
    3) never send email campaigns with difficult-to-read or unexpected content; and
    4) avoid bombarding your subscribers with gazillion emails per week/month or to send too infrequently – in the latter case, you risk being forgotten.

    Aside from a lack of email authentication, these five factors can also impact your email deliverability –

    a) spam complaints;
    b) bounces (soft or hard);
    c) spam traps;
    d) IP address reputation; and
    e) domain reputation.

    There are four main email authentication methods Internet Service Providers (ISPs) use beyond simply looking at the sender’s email address. All of which I highly recommend for all email marketers to implement (if they haven’t already).

    Email Authentication Methods
    1) Sender Policy Framework (SPF).
    SPF is an email authentication method with the main purpose of detecting falsification of the sender address (return-path header) during the delivery of the email.

    2) DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM). DKIM is an email authentication standard focused on detecting fake/fraudulent sender addresses in emails (email spoofing).

    3) Domain Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance (DMARC). DMARC is an email authentication method focused on handling the continuous problem of email spoofing by protecting both the sender and the recipient.

    4) Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI). BIMI is an open standard allowing businesses to verify their identity and be easily recognised in recipients’ inboxes.

    You can gain further insight into all four email authentication methods as well as how to set up email authentication with EmailOut here.

    How To Avoid The Spam Folder: Best Practice
    “Why is my email going to spam?” – a question most of us ask quite often and rarely get a definitive answer. Yet, now that I’ve unveiled the 11 most common reasons why emails go to spam, you can easily establish what the problem is (if there is one, of course) and resolve it with ease by implementing best practice and avoiding the spam filters of all the top email providers such as Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo!, etc.

    1) Build up your email sending volume step-by-step
    Avoid being cutthroat and sending bazillion emails per day or week to gazillion people. Instead, make sure you focus on the more engaged subscribers and scale up your sending volume gradually to avoid damaging open rates.

    2) Be consistent
    Making a commitment to your subscribers to send them a weekly (or monthly) newsletter means that you are obliged to do exactly that. Don’t send them an email one week and then bombard them with 20 the next. You’ll risk them getting irritated and either unsubscribing or worse, flagging your emails as spam.

    3) Honesty is the best policy
    Only ever use a person’s email address for the purpose you stated when they signed up for your email list(s).

    4) Play the Internet Service Providers’s (ISPs) rules
    You need to get permission from everyone on your list. No exceptions or excuses. Ah, and remember, never buy email lists.

    5) Always give your subscribers a way out
    If people want to opt-out/unsubscribe, don’t try to prevent them from doing so. You can’t keep them hostage. It’ll harm your sender reputation because they’ll be annoyed and label your emails as spam.

    6) Email list segmentation is key
    The more relevant each email is to the recipient, the better your engagement, and consequently, your sender reputation and email marketing KPIs.

    7) Email list clean-up
    Remove dead, inactive and unresponsive emails periodically so they don’t drag down your email campaigns’ performance.

    8) Authenticate your domain through the SPF, DKIM, DMARC and BIMI
    This helps prove that you’re ‘real’ and also makes it harder for others to spoof your email address. All these email authentication methods also provide an additional layer of security for your emails.

    9) Personalisation goes beyond just the first name
    By personalising your email campaigns, you will establish familiarity, build a good relationship with subscribers and, also, encourage them to interact with your email (which will show in your open and click-through rates).

    10) Ask subscribers to whitelist your emails
    Whitelisting is a way for email providers (like Gmail) to allot special privileges to certain trusted senders or domains. Essentially, it allows emails from certain sources – like EmailOut – to be allowed into your inbox.

    Final Thoughts
    You certainly are not a Nigerian prince looking for someone to share your immeasurable wealth with in exchange for a ‘minuscule’ nominal fee, are you? No, you are a highly-principled, honest email marketer doing your absolute best to connect with leads and nurture your existing subscribers to achieve better results and higher ROI.

    Yet, spam filters are not aware of this. With them, first looks are what your email will be judged on (meaning the subject line and content) and since most people have little patience to deal with any email that even remotely resembles spam, you need to make sure you’re doing everything you know of to avoid those dreadful spam filters and get your email placed in the inbox.

    Maybe avoiding spam filters is not at the top of your list when creating an email campaign, however, it can – and will – have a huge impact on your email campaign’s results and your email deliverability if you neglect planning for it.

    So, be a good sender. Be on the lookout for the reasons behind low deliverability rates. Implement all the best practice in this article and enjoy seeing how your email deliverability grows. Furthermore, by utilising all you’ve learned in this article, you will also send ‘positive signals’ to email providers which will ensure all your future email campaigns will end up exactly as intended – The Inbox.

    Now, when you ask “why is my email going to spam?”, you’ll have the best resource available to answer that question. So, are you ready to start improving your email deliverability?

    Highly recommended further reading –
    1)
    How to Improve Email Deliverability
    2) Email Engagement: Paramount For Email Deliverability
    3) How to Improve Your Email Sender Reputation
    4) Why You Shouldn’t Use Purchased or Rented Email Lists?
    5) How To: Email Personalisation
    6) How To: Email Segmentation Examples
    7) Email Whitelisting: Why Is It Important?

    This article was originally published on 30 September 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: Facebook, Google & a Consumer Report Oct 9, 2020

    Did you hear about Facebook’s new interface and its goal to help businesses during COVID-19? Do you speak HTTP/2 like Googlebot? What is happening with Google Ads API? How are consumers around the world adapting to the ongoing pandemic?

    “Innovation needs to be part of your culture. Customers are transforming faster than we are, and if we don’t catch up, we’re in trouble.” – Ian Schafer

    In this article, we’ll cover the following digital marketing news:
    1. What is Facebook Business Suite?
    2. Googlebot is learning a new HTTP dialect
    3. Google Ads API moved to “general availability”
    4. [Report] Digital Tools In Crisis and Recovery: Consumer Report
    Let’s dive in.


    Social Media

    Facebook Business Suite – new cross-app management tool for SMBs
    The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic challenged businesses in numerous ways. However, Facebook keeps finding ways to help businesses – big or small – to reach and sell their products/services to customers. The social network’s free tools and personalised ads are a lifeline for many small and medium-sized businesses.

    In their attempt to bring simplicity and centralised control to content management on both Facebook and Instagram, the company has launched (and globally released) a new mobile app and desktop interface to help businesses save time and stay up-to-date by managing their pages or profiles across all apps. It bears the name – drumroll – Facebook Business Suite.

    The new interface brings together Facebook and Instagram publishing, messaging and analytics into a single dashboard allowing marketers to manage content across the two platforms with simplicity and ease.

    The benefits offered by the new interface include –

    a) post management on both Facebook and Instagram from the same interface;
    b) a shared inbox for both messages and notifications from both platforms; and
    c) analytics, insights and advertising capabilities for both platforms in the same place.

    According to Facebook VP of Small Business Rich Rao, “the new app was developed after feedback from SMBs who wanted simpler tools that centralised and consolidated content, messaging, ads (boosted posts) and analytics in a single location. The value of simplicity is even higher than we thought.”

    The reason you should care. The COVID-19 pandemic and global recession are existential threats to hundred and thousands if not millions of small and medium-sized businesses. The opportunity to have more accessible, simple and easily manageable digital marketing tools offered to marketers is critical for the future success of every business regardless of its size.

    Search Engine and SEO News

    Googlebot Will Soon Support Crawling Over HTTP/2
    Google announced that the Googlebot will start supporting crawling over HTTP/2 for some websites starting November 2020. No idea what this means?

    What is HTTP/2? Well, the simplest explanation is that it’s the next generation of HTTP. But that doesn’t mean much to those who don’t speak the language. HTTP is an application layer protocol for distributed, collaborative, hypermedia information systems. Simply put, it’s what the Internet essentially uses for transferring data. Now, HTTP/2 is a major revision of the HTTP protocol which, according to Google “is much more robust, efficient, and faster than its predecessor, due to its architecture and the features it implements for clients (for example, your browser) and servers.”

    Three of the most prominent benefits of HTTP/2 are –

    a) multiplexing and concurrency – fewer Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) connections open means fewer resources sent;
    b) header compression – drastically reduced HTTP header sizes will save resources;
    c) server push – this feature may be beneficial for rendering, however, at this stage, it’s not yet enabled.

    According to Google, “when a site becomes eligible for crawling over h2, the owners of that site registered in Search Console will get a message saying that some of the crawling traffic may be over h2 going forward.”

    The reason you should care. For larger websites, when it comes to hosting budgets making crawling more efficient can be helpful. Furthermore, it’s also quite important to keep up-to-date with how Googlebot is improving and adapting over time.

    PPC and Ads News

    Google Ads API Finally Out Of Beta And Available To All
    Google announced that Google Ads API has finally moved past Beta and is now generally available for advertisers and developers.


    According to search engine marketing guru Barry Schwartz, after the Google Ads API launch last year, there may have been some serious issues when the company tried to replace the old Google AdWords API. Hence, forcing Google to move the release of the new Google Ads API back to Beta.

    The company stated that “the Google AdWords API is still available for use at this time. However, new features will no longer be added. For all new integrations, we recommend using the Google Ads API.”

    The reason you should care. With the Google Ads API finally available to all, advertisers and developers will be able to have access and view faster rollouts of new features and compatibility updates for tools such as recommendations, local campaigns, etc. Existing features such as the Keyword Planner, change history and billing will also see improvements. Overall, the new (and improved) Google Ads API will make advertisers’ life easier by allowing them to swiftly manage ad campaigns and boost overall productivity.

    Digital Marketing News
    The COVID-19 pandemic changed quite a lot in people’s lives – from travel through the way we shop to how businesses operate. To combat the challenges presented by the pandemic, many governments have imposed lockdown measures which forced businesses to suspend physical operations and consumers had to stay at home. Nonetheless, in the presence of these social distancing restrictions, consumers are adapting as best as they can during the crisis using digital tools to remain connected with businesses and form new digital habits.

    To gain a better understanding of how consumers are changing, Facebook commissioned a study conducted by Deloitte that examines the impact of COVID-19 on consumer’s behaviour, purchasing patterns and the way people use digital tools to search for and interact with businesses across 13* markets.

    Some key findings from the study show that –
    a) 48% of consumers
    reported an increase in online spending since the COVID-19 outbreak;
    b) 40% of respondents had increased their use of social media and online messaging to obtain product and business recommendations;
    c) 31% of participants are planning to increase their spending with small, local businesses when the COVID-19 pandemic is over;
    d) consumers appear willing to continue using digital tools in their interactions with businesses going forward and in the post-COVID-19 era which may lead to a permanent structural shift; and
    e) 60% of consumers had increased their use of social media and online messaging to search for information and engage with businesses.

    To discover more insight into how consumers across countries have adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic, take a look at Deloitte’s Digital Tools In Crisis and Recovery Consumer report.

    *The 13 markets include Australia, Brazil, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, the Philippines, Spain, Sri Lanka, United Kingdom and the U.S.

    Final Thoughts

    Do you have any suggestions or ideas about which digital marketing news topics you’d like us to look out for in the future? Write your requests below. We’ll keep an eye out (or two) so you don’t have to – and all for FREE, of course.

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

    This article was originally published on 29 September 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: The Future Of Email Marketing Oct 8, 2020

    What is agile marketing and how does it apply to email? The answers: a report and an ebook every email marketer must have, and read.

    “If social media is the cocktail party, then email marketing is the ‘meet up for coffee’. The original 1 to 1 channel.” –
    Erik Harbison

    In this article, we’ll cover the following email industry news:
    1. 2020 State Of Email – Fall edition [report]
    2. The New Email Workflow [eBook]
    Let’s dive in.

    [Report] 2020 State Of Email, Fall Edition
    With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 has certainly been a year bringing a lot of change and adjustment. However, one thing remains constant – the way businesses use email to build (and maintain) relationships with customers, as well as drive and increase sales.

    The use of email globally continues to grow at a steady pace with stats predicting an increase in global email users from 3.9 billion in 2019 to 4.48 billion in 2024. After all, email provides businesses with the best way to connect, give value and stay connected with their prospects and customers.

    Our dear friends at Litmus have released multiple reports about the state of email throughout the years. Yet, with COVID-19 being our new reality, the company has asked over 2,000 marketers to participate in their NEW 2020 State of Email Report (Fall/Autumn edition) to reveal what’s driving their email marketing strategies and what the future of email looks like.

    By getting your copy of the report, you’ll learn –

    a) how companies are cutting through the email noise by utilising personalisation;
    b) strategies to overcome the common barriers to email ROI measurement and getting a leg up on the competition;
    c) the ways COVID-19 impacted email in all aspects;
    d) the most common obstacles in the approval process;
    e) how email usage is increasing;
    f) the reason behind the success of email in a COVID-19-ridden 2020… and more.

    To compare how your email program and team stack up as well as how to improve your current email marketing strategy, download the 2020 State of Email Report (Fall edition) and get full access to all the insights and hands-on advice from email and digital marketing leaders.

    [eBook] Agile Email Marketing: The New Email Workflow
    In today’s constantly changing and evolving environment, the speed at which businesses market their products/services has become more important than ever. Yet, the entirety of the email process can feel not only overwhelming but painfully slow as well. No matter how much you want to make it more efficient, you simply might not have the time to add – and deal – with yet another thing on your email marketing plate. Cue agile email marketing and the micro-efficiencies that will help you – the email marketer – send better emails faster.

    Essentially, agile marketing is about processes, not perfection. As such, it’s about running multiple small, customer-focused campaigns to quickly learn, adapt and grow speedily without sacrificing quality. The key: keeping it simple.

    Usually, 53% of brands take two or more weeks to produce a single email, according to Litmus’s 2019 State of Email Workflow. However, with the current changes and challenges brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic, this cannot fly anymore. As hard and as painful a change can be, it is a slow process that requires patience and, above all, a well thought out strategy.

    By downloading Litmus’s newly released Going Agile: The New Email Workflow ebook, you will learn –

    a) what is agile marketing;
    b) how does agile marketing apply to email;
    c) new agile email workflow charts;
    d) why there might be resistance to adopt such a strategy;
    e) small, but irresistible, ways to be agile… and more.

    You can stick to your linear email marketing process, there’s nothing wrong with that. However, if you want to be more efficient and strategic about your next email and maintain a continuous cycle of optimisation, as well as pivot quickly in today’s constantly changing email environment, we recommend downloading Litmus’s Going Agile: The New Email Workflow ebook – now.

    Final Thoughts
    Do you have any suggestions or ideas about which email industry news topics you’d like us to look out for in the future? Write your requests below. We’ll keep an eye out (or two) so you don’t have to – and all for FREE, of course.

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

    This article was originally published 29 September 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.
  • B2C Email Marketing Examples: How To Improve Your B2C Email Marketing Sep 22, 2020

    77% of B2C customers prefer email to any other marketing channel. Moreover, B2C marketers that take advantage of marketing automation witness conversion rates as high as 50%. Ah, and 80% of B2C marketers use email to nurture their audiences.

    B2C email marketing is an indispensable strategy every email marketer must have in their marketing arsenal. It helps nurture leads from prospects to paying customers. However, achieving high results and a better ROI requires an effective B2C email marketing strategy.


    “Whether it’s B2B or B2C email marketing, we passionately believe that good email marketing fundamentals are the same. We are all emotional beings looking for relevance, context and connection.” –
    EmailOut

    Email drives results. The proof: email marketing has an impressive ROI of 42:1. However, do you know what email campaign to send to whom and when? The answer to this question is essential to achieve a successful B2C email marketing strategy. If you deliver highly personalised email campaigns (ones that educate, give something of value and convert) to your subscribers, you’ll make them feel like they matter to you and you know who they are, what they want and when they want it. In return, they will not only convert into paying customers but also, recommend your products/services to others consequently increasing your revenue.

    In this article, we’ll cover the following topics on B2C email marketing:
    1. What is B2C email marketing?
    2. Key differences between B2C and B2B email marketing
    3. B2C email marketing best practice
    4. B2C email marketing examples
    Ready to dive in?

    To deliver efficient B2C email marketing campaigns, you need to understand what B2C email marketing is all about, how it is different from B2B email marketing, what best practice to use and the perfect B2C email marketing examples.

    The Nature of B2C Email Marketing
    Business-to-consumer or B2C marketing refers to any marketing concept, tactic or strategy where a company promotes its products/services directly to individual consumers. While B2C email marketing focuses on the emotion-driven purchase decision process, B2B email marketing focuses on logical process-driven purchase decisions.

    B2C email marketing targets the needs, interests and requirements of people whose purchase decisions are directly made by the consumers themselves. Unlike B2B email marketing where the purchase is made on behalf of or for a business.

    B2C email marketing is considerably different from B2B as the products/services promoted, and consequently the email content, vastly differ depending on the targeted audience. Yet, both email marketing strategies have similar conversion-focused goals.

    [​IMG]

    Here’s what the B2C email marketing stats are saying –
    a) 59% of consumers state marketing emails influence their purchase decision-making;
    b) 80% of B2C customers utilise email marketing campaigns to nurture their audiences;
    c) B2C marketers adopting marketing automation witness conversion rates as high as 50%;
    d) 39% of B2C businesses distribute personalised product/service recommendations to their subscribers via email;
    e) consumers check personal emails for an average of 5 hours each weekday;
    f) the most commonly used type of automated marketing emails is the ‘welcome’ email, used by 58% of B2C marketers;
    g) the other types of marketing emails used by B2C marketers are event emails (55%), promotional emails (52%) and newsletters (48%);
    h) the perfect days of the week to send B2C emails are Tuesday and Thursday;
    i) Saturdays have the highest conversion rate for B2C emails;
    j) Fridays have the highest open rate than any other weekday, including the weekend; and
    k) email has an ROI of 42:1.

    The Difference Between B2C and B2B Email Marketing
    B2C and B2B email marketing may have the same goals – communicating with customers, promoting products/services and effectively guiding prospects through the buying cycle. However, there are a few key differences between B2C and B2B email campaigns email marketers must keep in mind to maximise their email marketing ROI.

    B2C email marketing presents both different opportunities and challenges than its counterpart B2B email marketing. Hence, a B2C email marketing strategy must be approached in a completely different way in all areas – from email design and content through target audience to delivery.

    [​IMG]

    B2C email marketing’s main goal is to convince people to purchase products/services for their personal use. However, when purchasing goods/services for themselves rather than a business, the purchasing decision process is based on different criteria such as –

    a) perceived value and evoked emotion – rather than considering the price, B2C consumers focus on how valuable a purchase would be and how it makes them feel;

    b) brand loyalty – with B2C consumers brand loyalty plays a major role, unlike B2B where brands matter less. After all, certain brands offer values such as comfort, exclusivity, success, etc. all of which are feelings B2C consumers want to identify with; and

    c) emotions instead of features – contradictory to B2B clients, B2C ones do not base their purchase motivations on logic, financial incentives or calculated decisions. They base it on emotions – how a purchase will make the buyer feel (or look) instead of the features of the product/service.

    Maximising your email marketing ROI is often a time-consuming and Herculean job. However, if you know the four key differences between B2B and B2C email marketing, achieving your strategic goals will feel like a walk in the park.

    1) The Buying Cycle
    B2B
    : the buying cycle usually takes longer to convert prospects into leads and consequently into customers since you have to impress and convince a diverse range of people before a purchase decision is reached. Such a lengthy buying cycle where the result – a purchase – is accomplished can only be achieved by strategically dripping content over an extended time period.

    B2C: the buying cycle is shorter since your B2C email marketing campaigns are directly addressing a targeted audience and focusing on the consumers’ more emotional and impulsive nature. The B2C decision-making process does not involve outside opinions as the consumer is making the purchase decision himself/herself. The B2C sales funnel targets a specific audience and involve only four steps –

    1) opening the email,
    2) clicking on the call-to-action (CTA),
    3) being redirected to a landing page, and
    4) completing a purchase.

    2) The Tone
    B2B
    : with B2B email campaigns the tone of voice tends to be more professional, objective, results-oriented and factual. In these email campaigns, marketers emphasise on the financial benefits of a product/service and letting the recipients know precisely what value they are getting for their money. The use of a more technical, industry-specific wording is often more appropriate rather than the casual, friendly tone in B2C emails.

    B2C: with B2C email campaigns the tone of voice is more personal, casual even, and the wording is relatable and easy to comprehend. Often, B2C emails create urgency which targets the recipients’ emotional triggers.

    3) The Content
    B2B
    : the consumers’ response rate to B2B email marketing campaigns isn’t quite as quick and immediate as with B2C emails since the buying cycle with B2B is longer. In addition to designing a campaign with a non-promotional, educational content (like whitepapers or case studies), email marketers should also focus their email’s content on the industry’s pain points and place the sender (you) as the go-to source for solutions.

    B2C: consumers’ responses to B2C email marketing campaigns are usually immediate and based on emotions. Thus, it’s imperative for your B2C email to communicate the value of your product/service quickly and definitively, as well as, to ensure your call-to-action (CTA) is optimised efficiently. Make sure your B2C email content creates a sense of urgency that prompts an immediate response. However, to do that, you first need to know your audience – what are their needs and interests, what motivates them, how can your content help them improve their skills, etc. If your B2C email content is not hitting all the right spots with its amazing value to the recipients, they will not come even close to responding to the call-to-action.

    4) The Timing
    B2B
    : Normal people, a.k.a 9-to-5 office workers, usually don’t check B2B emails at home. Thus, if your targeted audience is made up of such recipients, then the optimal time to send would be within business hours and advisably mid-week. Though, if your email list consists primarily of entrepreneurs and ‘workaholics’ (both tend to check their emails all day, every day), the weekend might also be an option to reach them.

    B2C: Consumers, a.k.a people who don’t compulsively check their emails and sit in front of Gmail all day Monday through Friday, typically check B2C emails post-work. According to research, over 25% of marketing emails are opened in the post-work peak (from 5 to 7 p.m.) time, with other stats pointing out that consumers check personal emails for an average of 2.5 hours each weekday. Furthermore, various studies point out that the best days of the week for sending B2C email blasts are Tuesday and Thursday. However, people receive the most amount of emails mid-week. Therefore, if you want to have less competition in the consumers’ inbox, consider sending your B2C email campaign on other days of the week.

    Even though these sending times and days are quite a useful starting point, testing is the most effective method of determining the optimal email sending times for your particular business and industry sector. Also, reports and analytics from a professional email marketing platform will be particularly useful for identifying the perfect time and the most optimal day to send your B2C email campaigns. Why? Because a sophisticated reporting system will give you a time and date stamp making sending your B2C email marketing blast at the right time on the right day extremely easy in future.

    B2C Email Marketing Best Practice
    Do you know how to provide value to your subscribers? As email marketers, you already have a B2C email marketing strategy in place. However, with some tweaks and the use of top B2C email marketing best practice, you can ensure your B2C email campaign delivers value to your subscribers. Hence, before revealing the top B2C email marketing examples, here are the top five best practices for you to implement.

    1) Data and Segmentation
    By regularly monitoring the ongoing behaviour of your recipients, you will gain the market intelligence to make decisions and changes to your strategy based on the recipients’ likes, dislikes, engagement and, most importantly, buyer behaviour. This process will help you build highly-targeted B2C email marketing campaigns which are based on your subscribers’ activity.

    Secondly, since your consumers are at different stages of the buying cycle, email list segmentation is essential. Your B2C email campaigns should approach them with different targeted messages depending on the stage they are at.

    Last, but certainly not least, if you cannot collect the above data from the get-go, make sure to gather at least the basic info such as email address and first name for the minimum of personalisation. Landing page data is also useful for future segmentation as it would help you get a better idea of your subscribers’ interests and needs so you have an indication of the product or service they are interested in.

    For example, if a client clicked on product X on landing page X then you can use that data to tailor a B2C email based on that specific buyer behaviour. For instance, Jane was looking for anniversary gifts and visited that specific gift section on your website resulting in her making a purchase.

    Once you have the basics, you can plan a strategy about collecting additional data that will help your specific business in its goals – competitions and surveys are good ways for gathering further data with the promise of a time-limited percentage discount coupon encouraging subscribers to participate. This will also give you trigger points to communicate with subscribers about their specific requirements in future.

    2) Personalisation
    Personalising your emails is an essential part of any (and all) email marketing campaigns. It is also the best way to ensure conversions. Personalised emails get 6 times higher transaction rates, boost open rates by 26% and revenue is almost 18 times higher. Once you’ve segmented your email lists, you will be able to create and deliver even more highly-personalised B2C email campaigns based on your subscribers’ interests, preferences, location, age, gender, buying cycle stage, occupation, etc.

    The three main elements of a highly-personalised B2C email campaign are –

    a) relevant content – creating buyer personas will help you nail this one,

    b) perfect timing – should you send daily, weekly or monthly, and

    c) personalisation – are you going to buy a Prada bag from John Doe or from Prada Italy which you recently signed up for? B2C clients’ expectation (at minimum) is for brands to address them by their name. However, a successful B2C email campaign goes beyond the subscribers’ first name. You need to ensure the content you deliver is specifically tailored to the subscribers’ interest, likes, needs and preferences. Take Amazon for example. Their product recommendations based on consumers “shopping trends and browsing history” are commonplace. Netflix is yet another example of offering highly-personalised content to customers with their “top picks for [Customer Name]” or “because you watched [movie name]”. Remember, B2C clients buy from brands.

    Ah, and don’t forget, your content must – without a doubt – appeal to the consumers’ emotion. After all, their purchase decision is motivated by what they feel.

    3) Design and Mobile optimisation
    While B2B customers are accustomed to text-heavy, minimalistic designed email campaigns, B2C consumers are completely different. The latter, prefer simplistic, easy to navigate, text-light emails with one clear call-to-action. Thus, use design to your advantage. From relevant imagery and educational videos to bold text and font colour, make sure your B2C email campaign is eye-catching, creates a sense of urgency, delivers value, appeals to the consumers’ emotions and, most of all, that it is easy to navigate (I know I said it already but it bears repeating).

    Lastly, don’t forget to optimise your B2C email campaigns for the small screen. All of the stats I’ve come across show that B2C emails get 47.8% more opens on mobile than B2B emails. Hence, your B2C emails must be optimised for the small screen. If they are not, you risk lower conversion rates and consequently, a substantial decrease in revenue.

    4) Subject lines and call-to-action (CTA)
    The few words in your subject line are the first thing recipients see. It’s the make-it or break-it moment for your B2C email campaign. According to stats, 47% of recipients open emails based on the subject line alone. Therefore, make sure you’ve crafted the perfect short, compelling and personalised subject line that’ll leave the recipients with no other option but to open your B2C email since they are dying with curiosity to find out what the email content will reveal. Also, remember that the optimal length for a subject line is 43 characters; with a maximum length of 60 characters.

    Now, let’s turn our attention to the call-to-action (CTA). I know you want to make sure the recipients take action when interacting with your email. However, remember that overwhelming them with tons of different CTAs will do more harm than good. In the end, they’ll probably ignore the entire email and do absolutely nothing at all. Instead, focus on crafting one clear, prominent and perfectly placed CTA allowing your targeted audience to focus on your email’s content and consequently on one action.

    5) Preferences
    76% of brands send B2C emails according to a frequency determined by the business itself. Yet, only 24% of consumers state they agree, and prefer, for a business to predetermine how often the brand communicates with them. However, 49% of consumers strongly prefer to sign up for brands’ email lists where they can choose what emails to receive and when.

    As much as a business’s ego can be bruised by a consumer unsubscribing, it does happen. Don’t keep your subscribers hostage if they want to leave. Instead, include both an unsubscribe link (which is a legal requirement) and a preference centre link in your B2C emails. Give consumers the option to make a choice be it unsubscribing, changing the frequency of your brand’s emails or the type of email they receive from you (i.e. special offers, newsletter, events, webinars, blog updates, etc.).

    B2C Email Marketing Examples
    If you’re wondering what sort of B2C emails to send, here are seven B2C email marketing examples that, if implemented correctly, will help you engage, convert and provide value for your consumers.

    1) Welcome emails
    These introductory messages are email marketers’ first chance to make a great impression on new subscribers by introducing their company and how their products/services can deliver value. You’ve heard the phrase ‘love at first sight’, right? Well, by crafting an effective onboarding email series, you’ll ensure that “the love” will happen even at second sight; and why not at third sight, too.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    2) Purchase confirmation emails
    Transactional emails such as these present email marketers with an opportunity to seize the momentum of a recent purchase. Thus, give the consumer information about their purchase/order; and, use the opportunity to engage them further by either offering similar products/services or asking for their feedback on related products/services. Utilising this type of email is proven to generate 8 times more opens and click-throughs and 6 times more revenue.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    3) Shipping/order confirmation emails
    How often do you ‘track’ a purchase once you’ve received the confirmation email? With these emails, brands can keep consumers in the loop regarding their order’s delivery and any other related updates. By including a couple of key elements and adding a bit of creativity, these transactional emails will help you build customer loyalty, improve on your brand’s post-purchase customer experience and make your brand easily distinguishable.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    4) Cart abandonment emails
    Email marketers utilise this type of email to ‘inspire’ consumers who didn’t complete their buying process to do so. Why not encourage them by offering a one-time discount on their first-time purchase? According to stats, 81% of purchases made online are the result of targeted B2C email campaigns. Considering 75% of online shoppers leave websites without completing a purchase, these emails are a perfect opportunity to tip the scales in your favour.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    5) Reminder emails
    Businesses use these emails to reconnect with consumers at meaningful times of the buying cycle and remind them of the value their products/services can bring.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    6) Birthdays and Anniversary emails
    With these milestone emails, brands can leverage personalisation and ensure each consumer feels special by awarding them a tailor-made offer.

    [​IMG][​IMG] [​IMG]

    7) Re-engagement emails (or win-back emails)
    If the subscribers on your email lists aren’t as active and engaged as they should or could be, don’t just dismiss them. Instead, try to re-engage inactive subscribers by giving them an email-exclusive offer, providing valuable advice or asking for their feedback/opinion. Moreover, stats point out that 45% of recipients who receive re-engagement emails will read subsequent emails from that brand.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Final Thoughts
    Businesses that prioritise email marketing not only achieve more success but also, better customer engagement and retention; as well as, brand awareness. B2C email marketing is not only the perfect way to communicate with your consumers. It is also a powerful approach to drive more revenue.

    There are numerous differences between B2B and B2C email marketing. But the main one is your targeted audience. For a successful B2C email marketing strategy, you need to know your consumers – what they like, what they are interested in and what they’re looking for in their buyer journey. Make sure you are carefully evaluating what resonates with your audience; and, design your B2C email campaigns so that they cater to your consumers’ needs. Show that you respect them and provide them with email preference options. Utilise the data you’ve gathered to design highly-personalised B2C email campaigns that convert.

    The three essential things to keep in mind before you even start crafting your B2C email campaigns is to have a strategy to collect the right data from them, design your B2C email campaign so it plays on the recipients’ emotions and not their logical side, and always optimise your email campaigns for the small screen.

    Now that you know the difference between B2B and B2C email marketing, what B2C email marketing best practice is and has seen powerful B2C email marketing examples, you can implement all you’ve learnt into your next B2C email campaign. Are you ready to begin?

    Highly recommended further reading –
    1) Email Marketing Automation
    2) Email Marketing and Content Marketing
    3) Email Personalisation
    4) Email Design Best Practices
    5) Optimise Your Email For The Small Screen
    6) Email Marketing Automation

    *The B2C email marketing examples used in this article have been sourced from Really Good Emails.

    This article was originally published on 15 September 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: Email Authentication – SPF, DKIM, DMARC and BIMI Sep 21, 2020

    Do you know how to prevent your emails from being spoofed, improve your email deliverability and ensure that people who signed up to your email lists continue to receive your marketing emails?

    If you are using your domain name to send emails then email authentication is crucial to your email deliverability. It’s like the digital signature for your domain designed to protect your brand’s identity, content and reputation.

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

    Email authentication is an unnerving subject. More often than not, as an email marketer, you’ll come across an alphabet soup of different abbreviations and acronyms that will make your head spin. With the increasing number of spam and phishing emails, implementing email authentication has become essential. As daunting as the topic might be, the basic concepts are not as complex as one might think. Do you know which are the top email authentication methods that will help you ensure the security of your email marketing messages?

    In this article, we’ll cover the following topics on email authentication:
    1. What is email authentication?
    2. How does it work?
    3. Email authentication methods
    4. How to set up your email authentication in EmailOut?
    Ready to dive in?

    The foundation of successful email marketing is for email campaigns to reach the subscribers’ inbox. You can devote hours upon hours on crafting the most highly-personalised, perfectly designed email campaign but… how will your subscribers see it if it ends up in the spam folder?

    Most email providers (like Gmail, Yahoo!, Outlook, etc.) are always on the lookout for ways to make sure the emails they deliver to the users’ inbox are relevant and secure. However, with the increased distribution of unsolicited and harmful phishing emails, email servers have placed numerous security protocols to help verify the authenticity of an email message, and it’s sender, before it reaches the intended recipient. If the email does not pass the required email authentication process, it’s highly likely your email campaign will experience deliverability issues like ending in the spam folder or not being delivered at all.

    To prevent your marketing emails from going to spam, you need to follow four essential email deliverability best practice –

    1) only email people who’ve asked you to;
    2) ensure your content is relevant, well-designed, engaging and avoid spam words/phrases (for example, free, best, download now, etc.);
    3) never send emails with hard-to-read or unexpected content; and
    4) don’t bombard your subscribers with tons of email campaigns or send so infrequently that they forget about you.

    Five factors can have an impact on your email deliverability (aside from not having email authentication) –
    a) spam complaints – when a recipient marks your email as ‘spam’;
    b) bounces – when an email address is invalid or doesn’t even exist;
    c) spam traps – email addresses created for the sole purpose of catching fraudulent emails;
    d) IP address reputation – it measures the reputation of your IP address based on the quality and type of the emails you’re sending; and
    e) domain reputation – it measures the reputation of your email address based on the quality and type of emails you’re sending.

    With these factors and best practice covered, you need to move your focus on how to improve your emails’ performance. Cue, implementing email authentication. But, before I give you details on the four main email authentication methods, let’s first find out what email authentication is and how it works.

    The Nature Of Email Authentication
    In technical terms, email authentication is a process that helps identify the sending source (for example, sending domain or IP) of an email so that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can route the email accordingly.

    Simply put, email authentication is a process set to help you, the sender, prove you are who you say you are (not that [email protected] D0e from M1cr0s0ft urgently requesting users to update credit card details) and that the email you’re sending is not forged/spoofed. In other words, email authentication allows email marketing tools to send emails on your behalf AND as your domain.

    Every email you send to a recipient gets processed by the recipient’s email client incoming server. It gets analysed and based on your email authentication method, it either passes or fails the authentication process. Once the email server has this information, it will determine if your email should be delivered to the recipient’s inbox (pass), flagged as spam (fail) or completely disregarded from the server (fail-filtered). If you have no email authentication in place, the chances of your email being considered as spam and rejected are very high which will subsequently lead to decreased email deliverability.

    The Way Email Authentication Works
    Email marketers can approach email authentication in several different ways. However, as much as the implementation of each approach comes with its specific technicalities, this is how the general email authentication process works –

    1) the sender establishes a policy defining the rules by which emails from their domain name can be authenticated;
    2) the sender configures its email servers to implement and publish the rules;
    3) the email server receiving the email authenticates the message by verifying the details of the incoming email against the rules defined by the domain owner;
    and
    4) the receiving email server takes action based on the results from the authentication process to either deliver, flag as spam or disregard the email.

    When the receiving email server gets your message it looks for specific information in your email and the Domain Name System (DNS) records of your domain to determine the legitimacy and security of your message and whether it is safe for the recipient to receive, and, consequently, if the email came from an authorised source.

    It is important to note that even if you’ve set up one or more email authentication methods but they failed the authentication process, your email can still end up being flagged as spam or rejected by the mail servers. Hence, rather than quickly setting up only one email authentication method, ensure you have multiple email authentication methods in place and regularly monitor the effect they have on your emails and your deliverability.

    Email Authentication Methods
    To set up an email authentication method, you have to create a few DNS records (or upload a file) to your domain hosting provider using the information rendered by your email marketing platform.

    Beyond just looking at the sender’s email address, there are four email authentication methods (or standards) ISPs use that email marketers can take advantage of to ensure their emails will not end up in the spam folder or be rejected by the mail servers.

    Sender Policy Framework (SPF)
    Sender Policy Framework or SPF is an email authentication method whose purpose is to detect falsification of the sender address (return-path header) during the delivery of the email. It’s a DNS record that specifies which IP addresses and/or servers are allowed to send email communications from that particular domain.

    [​IMG]

    When implementing SPF, always keep in mind that each domain can have a maximum of only one SPF record.

    When an SPF record is checked, there are five possible results –

    a) None – no SPF record exists;
    b) Neutral – an SPF record was found. Yet, neither a positive nor negative assertion was made about the sender;
    c) Pass – the sender is authorised to send email communications on behalf of the domain;
    d) Fail – the sender is not authorised and the mail server may disregard the email;
    e) Soft fail – the sender is not authorised but the mail server may not disregard the email only based on this.

    The disadvantage of SPF email authentication is that this method alone cannot authenticate the original author of the email. Instead, it authenticates only the source of it (return-path). The best course of action to prevent email spoofing is to combine SPF with DMARC and DKIM.

    DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM)
    DomainKeys Identified Mail or DKIM is an email authentication method focused on detecting fake/fraudulent sender addresses in emails (email spoofing). Just like an SPF record, DKIM is a TXT record added to a domain’s DNS. It allows the email’s recipient to check if the email message has been indeed authorised by the owner of the domain.

    [​IMG]

    This email authentication method is done by adding a digital signature linked to a specific domain name to each outgoing email and affixed to the email as a header. By checking the sender’s public key published in the DNS, the email can be verified.

    Unlike SPF, DKIM uses an encryption algorithm to create a pair of electronic keys – public and private. The public key is placed in the DNS record, whilst the private key remains on the servers it was created on (i.e. your mail server).

    To implement DKIM, you are required to update your DNS – just like with SPF. However, it’s a bit more involved than setting up SPF since you’ll need to –

    1) choose a DKIM selector – it can be anything – word, number or a combination of both (see an example below, the selector is highlighted);

    DKIM-Signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha256; d=example.net; s=brisbane;
    c=relaxed/simple; q=dns/txt; t=1117574938; x=1118006938;
    h=from:to:subject:date:keywords:keywords;
    bh=MTIzNDU2Nzg5MDEyMzQ1Njc4OTAxMjM0NTY3ODkwMTI=;
    b=dzdVyOfAKCdLXdJOc9G2q8LoXSlEniSbav+yuU4zGeeruD00lszZ
    VoG4ZHRNiYzR


    2) generate both public and private keys;
    3) publish your selector and public key; and
    4) attach the token to each one of your outgoing emails.

    This tool can be particularly useful for generating a DKIM public and private key.

    Domain Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance (DMARC)
    Domain Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance or DMARC is an email authentication method focused on handling the problem of email spoofing by protecting both the sender and the recipient. Your DMARC record instructs the receiving server not to accept an email if it fails DKIM and SPF checks.

    [​IMG]

    Is DMARC enough for email authentication? On its own – no. DMARC needs SPF to work.

    What is DMARC authentication and how does it work? >>>

    Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI)
    Brand Indicators for Message Identification or BIMI is an open standard allowing businesses to verify their identity and be easily recognised in recipients’ inboxes. Similar to SPF, DKIM and DMARC, BIMI is a text record which lives on your servers. It works alongside all the other three authentication methods to show email clients you are you. Some even call this email authentication method DMARC 2.0.

    [​IMG]

    What differentiates BIMI from the other three methods is that it allows businesses to display their logo in supported inboxes.

    For more information about the BIMI standard click here.

    Email Authentication Methods Review
    1) SPF – to authenticate the sender’s identity this standard performs a check similar to verifying a return address. Simply put, the sender can define which IP addresses are allowed to send an email for a particular domain;

    2) DKIM – this standard is also used to authenticate the sender’s identity, however, it looks beyond just the sender’s email address to ensure the content of the email is not altered by utilising an encryption key and digital signature which verify the email is authentic and not spoofed;

    3) DMARC – think of this standard as a courier. It ensures emails meet SPF and DKIM requirements before they are even delivered; and

    4) BIMI – this standard focuses on improving the sender’s credibility and legitimacy by displaying the sender’s logo in the inbox next to the email. If a brand has set up a BIMI record, once the receiving email servers receive the email it’ll run the usual DNS checks for the sender domain and if a BIMI record is found, it’ll ‘fetch it’ and show it.

    Setting Up Email Authentication In EmailOut
    By updating your Domain Name System (DNS) settings, you will benefit from DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM), Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and Domain Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance (DMARC) authentication.

    Before you even begin with EmailOut’s DNS settings set up, make sure the email address you plan to send from is set up correctly. (N.B. EmailOut allows users to add as many ‘alternative email addresses’ as they’d like.)

    Your next step is to access the dedicated DNS tool. There you will see three CNAME records that you’ll need to update your DNS settings –

    [​IMG]

    With these CNAME records at hand, head to your hosting service provider and search for a feature called ‘Manage DNS’ (or something similar), select your domain, then ‘Add New’ record and set the ‘Type’ to CNAME and ‘TTL’ to default. Afterwards, enter one record at a time like the example below:

    [​IMG]

    If the DNS set up is successful, EmailOut’s DNS tool will have three green status ticks –

    [​IMG]

    How long will the DNS set up take? The TTL (Time-To-Live) determines the time the records will take to propagate. This will vary for each domain hosting provider and may display as ‘1 Hour’ or ‘3600 seconds’ for example. Most providers will tell you it can take up to 48 hours but it’s usually a lot faster than this. The average time is 2 hours.

    Final Thoughts
    Email authentication is like a digital ID. It protects your brand’s integrity, identity and reputation. Implementing the proper email authentications methods like SPF, DKIM, DMARC and BIMI, will help you improve your email deliverability, email engagement and also, reassure your subscribers that you are who you say you are. Thus, creating a trusting relationship between you and the recipient.

    To ensure everything with your email authentication is going smoothly, I recommend keeping an eye on email security metrics such as bounce and deliverability rates. If you notice a spike in bounces and a decrease in email deliverability, there might be something wrong with your email authentication. Ah, and remember, it’s always better to have more than one email authentication method in place.

    Highly recommended further reading –
    1) How to Improve Email Deliverability
    2) Email Engagement: Paramount For Email Deliverability
    3) How to Improve Your Email Sender Reputation

    Changing DNS settings in common Domain Hosting Providers
    GoDaddy: How to add a CNAME record
    AWS: Supported DNS record types
    123Reg: Creating a CNAME record
    FreeParking: Managing DNS Resource Records
    NameCheap: Creating a CNAME record for your domain
    G Suite (Google): Add a CNAME record to your domains DNS records

    This article was originally published on 14 September 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.
  • The State Of Email Security 2020 & An Update From Gmail On Android Sep 17, 2020

    Can Gmail for Android users add recipients directly from the email body? How did the COVID-19 pandemic change the landscape of email security and what can businesses do to enforce better email security measures?

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


    In this article, we’ll cover the following email industry news:
    1. New Gmail for Android feature
    2. [Report] The State of Email Security 2020
    Ready to dive in?

    Gmail for Android Introduces a Nifty New Feature
    After finally rolling out its integrated workspace to all G Suite users on both Android and the web, Google is adding a useful new feature to Gmail for Android which will allow users to quickly add recipients directly from the email body.

    [​IMG]

    Often when crafting a message, email senders focus on the body first and then add recipients (using the + or @ shortcut) or a subject line. When using this nifty shortcut, which has been long featured in Gmail on the web, Gmail for Android users will see a drop-down menu where the recipients’ names, addresses and avatars will be visible for them to choose.

    It’s an excellent feature to have as it takes care of long names and also makes adding contacts less disruptive. Especially, if a sender is in the middle of crafting a message. Ah, if you delete the + or @ shortcut, it will remove the person as a recipient of your email, as well as, erase them from the email body (if you ‘tagged’ one or more contacts in your message).

    The State Of Email Security 2020 [Report]
    With an ROI of 42:1, the most profitable communication channel vital to any business is email. However, this communication thread continues to be the most popular target for cybercriminals. As such, businesses must enforce better email security measures and keep improving their cyber resilience strategy. But, how?

    The 2020 State of Email Security (SOES) Report will provide organisations with helpful insights on how email attacks impact businesses at every level. The report will also share insights on how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the email security landscape in 2020. Let’s take a look some key stats –

    a) 58% of businesses have witnessed a spike in phishing attacks;
    b) 85% of organisations believe their business’s volume of web and email spoofing will either remain the same or increase in the coming year;
    c) 51% of businesses have been impacted by ransomware in the past 12 months;
    d) 60% of companies believe it’s inevitable or highly likely they’ll suffer from an email-borne attack in the coming year;
    e) 77% of participants in the report state they have or are actively implementing a cyber resilience strategy;
    f) there was a 30% increase in impersonation fraud in the first 100 days of COVID-19; and
    g) 40% of businesses do not have a monitoring and protection system in place to fend off email-borne attacks.

    For a more in-depth look at how phishing, business email compromise (BEC), ransomware and internal email threats impact businesses, as well as, cyber threat actors’ latest strategies, click here for the full report.

    Final Thoughts
    Do you have any suggestions or ideas about which email industry news topics you’d like us to look out for in the future? Write your requests below. We’ll keep an eye out (or two) so you don’t have to – and all for FREE, of course.

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

    This article was originally published on 13 September 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.
  • B2B Email Marketing: Stats and Examples Sep 3, 2020

    Did you know that 87% of B2B companies use email marketing to generate leads? How about that 81% of B2B marketers use email newsletters as a tactic to distribute their content? Or, that 85% of B2B companies use email marketing to assist with content marketing?

    Effective email marketing isn’t as easily achievable as one might think. From creative demands through budget limitation to channel decisions, there’s a lot for email marketers to take into consideration while developing their marketing strategy. Not to mention the whole email campaign design process and testing. The biggest one of all, though, is your audience. Are you targeting individual customers or businesses?


    “The best path to a consistently growing B2B email marketing strategy is to be better than your competitors. –
    EmailOut

    Email still remains the most preferred channel of communication for B2B companies (stats don’t lie). It not only allows marketers to have a direct, conversational type of communication with their customers but also, email delivers an ROI of 42:1 which is higher than any other channel. To achieve an effective B2B email marketing channel, you – as an email marketer – must focus on properly targeting your audience with the right content. If you don’t, your email campaigns will be falling on deaf ears.

    In this article, we’ll cover the following topics on B2B email marketing:

    1. What is B2B email marketing?
    2. The difference between B2B and B2C email marketing
    3. B2B email marketing stats
    4. B2B email marketing best practices
    5. B2B email marketing examples
    Let’s dive in.

    There is a big difference between marketing to businesses and marketing to individual consumers. That’s the reason why there are two different email marketing methods – B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-consumer).

    We’ll take you on a journey that will explain the difference between the two email marketing approaches, why EVERY company should have a B2B email marketing strategy and how YOU can start implementing such a strategy with your email marketing. Are you ready to learn more?

    B2B Email Marketing: The Difference Between B2B And B2C Marketing
    Business-to-business or B2B marketing refers to any marketing concept, strategy or content involving the exchange of products, services, ideas or information between two (or more) businesses or organisations. Any entity selling products/services/etc. to other businesses (vs. consumers) typically uses a B2B marketing strategy.

    On the other hand, business-to-consumer or B2C marketing refers to any marketing concept, tactic or strategy where a company promotes its products/services/etc. to individual consumers. While B2C marketing focuses on the emotion-driven purchase decision process, B2B marketing focuses on logical process-driven purchase decisions.

    How does a B2B marketing strategy translate to your email marketing, though? Unlike B2C, where your job as an email marketer is to tap into the consumers’ emotions to convince them to buy your products/services, B2B is based on logic. Why? Because when working with another business or organisation (vs. a consumer) it’s essential to understand the logic and reasoning behind a purchase decision.

    What do B2B customers want? If your customer is asking what the problem is they want you to educate them in which case you can share information such as trends, benchmarks, 101 education, how-to guides, etc. If your customer is wondering how to solve a problem, what they want from you is to give them a solution in which case tell them how to fix their issue, give them solution comparisons, etc. Lastly, if your customer is simply wondering if what you are offering is right for them, they want you to provide some credentials and support so they can make an informed decision – for example, tell them what your pricing is, offer them case studies, ROI analysis, SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis, etc.

    B2B vs B2C Marketing
    The difference between B2B and B2C marketing lies not only in how they are applied to your overall marketing strategy but also, in the audiences they target and how you communicate with them.

    B2B marketing targets the needs, interests and requirements of people who are making purchases on behalf of or for a business rather than themselves. This makes the business the customer. For example –

    a) purchasing a social media management tool;
    b) buying lead-gen software;
    c) purchasing a professional email marketing software subscription; or
    d) buying an accounting software subscription/licence.

    B2C marketing targets are the same, however, the purchase decision is made by the individual themself making them the consumer. For example –

    a) buying stationery and office supplies if you are self-employed;
    b) purchasing a Spotify subscription for personal use;
    c) buying clothing or getting gym membership; or
    d) purchasing phone apps for personal use.

    You can gain more in-depth knowledge about the differences between B2B and B2C customers with the help of this comparison chart.

    [​IMG]

    B2B Email Marketing Stats
    The internet is full of step-by-step guides, tutorials and helpful articles on how to improve your B2B email marketing strategy. But, how do you separate facts from well… fiction? By looking at the numbers. After all, they do speak louder than words, especially B2B email marketing stats.

    Sceptics might question the power of email marketing and yet, stats point out it’s stronger than ever –

    a) active email accounts are expected to reach48 billion by 2024;

    b) 47% of recipients open emails based on the subject line alone;

    c) email engagement is the top metric B2B marketers track to measure content performance in the last 12 months;

    d) 59% of B2B marketers state email is their most effective channel for revenue generation;

    e) 64% of B2B marketers use email automation techniques;

    f) 87% of B2B marketers state email is one of their top free organic distribution channels;

    g) B2B marketing emails see a 23% higher click-to-open rate (CTOR) than B2C emails;

    h) the prime time for sending B2B emails is Tuesday @ 10 a.m., 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. (EST, USA),

    i) the optimal time of day for sending B2B email campaigns is between 8 a.m. – 10 a.m (GMT, UK),

    j) the best days of the week to send B2B email blasts are Tuesday and Thursday; and

    k) email has an ROI of 42:1.

    B2C Email Marketing Stats (for comparison)
    a) 59% of customers state that marketing emails influence their purchase decision-making;
    b) cart abandonment emails sent within an hour of a client leaving your website will boost conversions by 33%;
    c) 54% of SMBs send out cart abandonment emails;
    d) 80% of B2C marketers use email to nurture their audiences; and
    e) B2C marketers who take advantage of marketing automation can witness conversion rates as high as 50%.

    Having a B2B email marketing strategy in your marketing arsenal is a powerful weapon. Furthermore, by integrating such a strategy with your main marketing one will help you target the right audience at the right time with the right message and get higher results and an even better ROI.

    B2B Email Marketing Best Practices
    Did you know 93% of B2B marketers use email? Email marketing is the best tried-and-tested approach to reaching individual consumers as well as business ones.

    Since B2B customers, unlike B2C ones, look for logic and positive ROI, the one question they ask themselves is: “How can YOUR business help THEIR business?” The answer: you must ensure your email marketing is constantly resonating with your business customers and your email campaigns’ primary focus is on what matters to them most – time, money and resources.

    However, with B2B customers’ inboxes being constantly bombarded with hundreds (if not thousands) of promotional emails and sales pitches, how are you supposed to create a distinctive B2B email marketing campaign that will drive results? By taking advantage of the best practice.

    1) Write the perfect B2B subject line
    Your subject line is like a movie trailer. If you can’t hook your targeted audience with a few dozen characters, don’t expect them to open and engage with your email. Spend just as much time on crafting the perfect subject line as you do on designing the perfect B2B email marketing campaign. You’ll see the ‘pay off’ in the email marketing KPIs. Ah, and keep in mind the optimal subject line length – according to stats – is around 43 characters; with a maximum length of 60 characters.

    2) Limit the number of call-to-action (CTA) buttons
    You think the number of emails you get is a lot? Take a look at the amount of call-to-action (CTA) in those emails. Some have two, four and sometimes even more than 10 different CTAs. Don’t fall into this trap by making your B2B customers’ heads spin wondering which one they should click first and ultimately decide to click on nothing at all.

    Instead, make sure you have one clear CTA per email allowing your targeted audience to focus on your email’s content and consequently on one action. Such a B2B email campaign will be received quite favourably by your audience resulting in better conversion rates and ultimately, higher ROI.

    3) Segmentation is key to reaching the most relevant audience
    Not every B2B email you send is appropriate for all the people on your email list(s). Each one of your subscribers might be at a different stage of their buyer’s journey or seeking a different solution. Cue, email list segmentation. By segmenting your email lists you will not only be able to relate with your audience better but also, give your subscribers that personal touch they are looking for. This approach will make them feel like you are listening to them and you know what they want and what their needs are. When it comes to emails, customers prefer quality over quantity. Thus, make sure you are giving them exactly what they are asking for.

    4) The Skinny: optimise your emails for the small screen
    Around 60% of email opens happen on a mobile device (depending on the industry); 75% of Gmail users are accessing emails on their mobile device; and, around 42% of customers will delete an email if it is not optimised for mobile devices.

    Don’t allow your email to be amongst those deleted. Make sure you optimise it for the small screen with mobile-friendly email layouts, appropriate font types and sizes as well as fine-tuning the links, CTAs, image size and other design elements.

    5) Email automation: use it wherever possible
    If you are using professional email marketing software, there are certain automation rules (triggers) you can set up to create a drip B2B email campaign which would send follow-up emails based on the recipients’ activity – for example, a link click, a subscription, a purchase, etc.

    Your drip campaign is a triggered sequence of automated emails sent to a targeted, segmented email list aimed at achieving specific results. An effective email drip campaign will allow you to nurture your leads, communicate more accurately with consumers based on their specific actions, increase sales and re-engage inactive customers in a scalable manner.

    6) Test, test, test
    As an email marketer, testing your campaign before you send it out to your targeted audience is an important ‘must’. We all scrutinise our work, but in the end, we may have missed things like a typo, wrong link, missing or broken image, etc. Therefore, always get another pair of eyes to go through your B2B email marketing campaign.

    Your next step is to split test (a.k.a A/B testing) your campaign to enhance its performance via open rates by slightly amending your subject line or increase click-throughs with a change of the email copy and CTA placement. But remember, the best way to test is to always pick one variable at a time (for example, the subject line). It’ll allow you better insight into what works and what can be improved.

    B2B Email Marketing Examples
    Let’s take a look at 5 B2B email marketing examples that – if implemented – will help you increase open rates, engagement, conversions and ultimately ROI.

    1) The Welcome! And Thank you! Email
    First impressions always count – a lot. Thus, no matter what your subscribers signed up for, make sure to always be respectful by first thanking them and then welcoming them to the fold. If you do nothing, you create the wrong impression and that will end up harming your businesses.

    Image 1: Welcome Email

    [​IMG]

    Image 2: Thank you Email

    [​IMG]

    How to implement it? Regardless of you using an ESP with automated triggered campaigns or manually sending emails, saying ‘welcome’ and ‘thank you’ will take you a long way to building a long-term, strong relationship with your customers. Make sure your welcome email is an introduction to who you are and what your business can offer to the customer, provide helpful links to useful content and why not add links to your company’s social media profile, and don’t forget to use personalisation unlike the two examples above, too.

    When should you send it? Every time you get a new subscriber -for welcome emails; and, every time a recipient completes a significant action – for thank you emails.

    2) The Inactive Subscribers Email
    According to stats, approx. 40% of the subscribers on your email lists are inactive. Each time you send an email out to your email list(s) about half of the recipients have probably already lost interest in your product/service. However, this presents the perfect opportunity for you to reach out to such inactive subscribers/users and re-engage them.

    [​IMG]
    How to implement it? By segmenting your email lists, you will have a clear idea of who the inactive subscribers are (those who haven’t opened or interacted with your email in the last 6 or 12 months). You can then send them an email that tells them who you are and what you do, remind them why they signed up initially and either ask them a question or send them an invitation to a webinar to spark their interest and start up a conversation.

    When should you send it? Two or three times per year depending on how fast your email lists are growing and what the results from your segmentation are.

    3) The Product/Service Promo Email
    For your promo product email to make an impact, you don’t always have to write long content with tons of CTAs and imagery. Keep it neat, short and sweet with a few sentences on how your product/service can help their business, a relevant image or graphics and one CTA.

    [​IMG]
    How to implement it? Your product/service will evolve in time. Each time you add a feature or release a new and improved product, it could be THE THING that will convert leads to customers. However, for conversions to occur you have to let the people on your email list(s) know about the upcoming changes. So, keep them up-to-date. But remember, use simple language instead of long, confusing phrasing is the best way to gain attention.

    When should you send it? Every time you add a new feature or release a new, improved product.

    4) The Case Study Email
    As we are moving further down the marketing funnel, the value of a case study to B2B buyers increases. Why? A case study is a perfect way to showcase how useful and helpful your product/service can be for them in terms of business improvement be it sales, productivity or customer support.

    [​IMG]
    How to implement it? Regardless of you having a ready case study or emailing clients to participate in one, the latter taking more time to wrap up, you are offering people something of value to their business. In both cases, you can use the case studies findings (the results part is where the true value lies) for several months, even years.

    When should you send it? Depending on what you have you can either send such emails bi-monthly or quarterly. The frequency can be adjusted as required based on the number of case studies at your disposal.

    5) The Unsubscribe Email
    People unsubscribing from your emails happen. It could be because their interests have shifted or they are no longer interested in the topic they initially signed up for. Whatever the reason, you are legally obliged to honour their request to leave or you risk a hefty fine for breaching privacy laws such as the GDPR, CCPA and other U.S. privacy regulations.

    [​IMG]
    How to implement it? Quite a lot of businesses neglect to acknowledge some of their subscribers’ requests. Especially, if a subscriber wants to opt-out from their marketing communications. Sending unsubscribe emails acts as a confirmation. Your goal is to inform them you heard them loud and clear, not to sell them on staying connected. Most professional email marketing software includes an unsubscribe link as standard.

    When should you send it? Every time a subscriber wishes to opt-out from your email marketing communications.

    Other examples of B2B email marketing emails are –

    a) when a user’s trial period is about to expire;
    b) reminders for taking further actions – for example, cart abandonment emails;
    c) re-engagement campaigns;
    d) sign up for a free trial campaign;
    e) campaigns offering discounts on products/services for a limited time;
    f) newsletters with curated content;
    g) offering whitepapers and more.

    Final Thoughts
    There are numerous ways of how email marketing can be used as a communication channel for B2B customers. It all depends on your business’s marketing goals. But, one of the greatest things about email marketing when it comes to engaging B2B customers is the ease with which email marketers can customise their email marketing campaigns to fit their customers’ specific needs/interests/goals.

    Don’t make the same mistake other businesses make when they assume their existing B2B email marketing strategy is ‘the bomb’. No matter how good your open rates, conversion rates and ROI are at the moment, there will come a time when these results will diminish. Instead of waiting for this to happen do something to prevent it. Review your B2B email marketing strategy often, make sure any necessary updates/changes are implemented and take advantage of B2B email marketing best practice.

    The most important thing to remember before sending any marketing emails (B2B or B2C) is to get the recipients’ explicit consent. If a recipient hasn’t opted-in for receiving marketing communication from your business, you risk being fined under GDPR.

    Highly recommended further reading –
    1) Top B2B Subject Lines To Use Right Now
    2) Email Marketing and Content Marketing
    3) Email Personalisation
    4) Email Design Best Practices
    5) Optimise Your Email For The Small Screen
    6) Email Marketing Automation

    This article was originally published on 29 August 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 Personalisation: Is It Only About The First Name? Aug 14, 2020

    How many emails do you receive per day? Give me an average guesstimate. Now tell me, how many of them do you actually open and interact with? I personally open emails that are useful to me. But, how can you, as an email marketer, make sure you’re creating such emails for your subscribers?

    You’re already aware of how important email marketing is for your business’s success. But, do you know it can be even more powerful if you know how to fine-tune your email campaigns? I won’t keep you in suspense any longer. The answer to all of these questions is simple – email personalisation.

    “Instead of one-way interruption, personalised email marketing is about delivering value at just the right moment that a user needs it.” – David Meerman Scott

    Some of you may think “Well yeah, of course, I know all about email personalisation”, but think about it carefully – is that really true? All of my research shows that email is 40 times more effective in acquiring new customers than any other marketing channel. But, do you think that using the simplest personalisation technique – adding the subscriber’s first name – in either the subject line or the email copy is what actually gets people to convert? I believe it’s a rather old, overused, tired and quite predictable trick. But hey, you’ve heard the saying “old but gold!” So, keep reading to find out about the most common email personalisation mistakes (how to fix them) and what are the benefits of using personalisation.

    In this article, we’ll cover the following topics on email personalisation:
    1. What is email personalisation?
    2. The benefits of using personalisation in email marketing
    3. The most common email personalisation mistakes
    4. Email personalisation examples
    Ready to dive in?

    Email marketing and personalisation are a perfect fit, just like Beavis and Butt-Head, peanut butter and jelly, and fish & chips. Without email personalisation, you’ll end up with your back to the wall and lacklustre results that will make you weep.

    Personalising your emails is an essential part of any (and all) email marketing campaigns. It is also the best way to ensure conversions. In fact, all the research I’ve done points out that personalised emails get 6 times higher transaction rates, boost open rates by 26% and revenue is almost 18 times higher.

    Ah, did you know that 60% of B2B organisations are planning to invest in personalisation by 2022? How about the fact that 77% of marketers believe that personalisation is the key ingredient of a successful marketing strategy? But yet it seems that 70% of brands completely fail to personalise their emails. The reason: companies have no clue how to collect the right data in order to personalise their messages or they do, but have no idea how to use it. Either way, without the correct knowledge, the proper data and the right actions, email personalisation (beyond the basic use of the subscriber’s first name) would deliver quite disappointing results.

    Some email marketers may think that the perfect (or only) way to get people to convert is by using their first name in their emails and in some cases, it’ll work. But trust me, using only this personalisation technique is not the best way to win the personalisation game. Think beyond the first name.

    Email Personalisation: Definition, How To Do It & The Benefits
    Email personalisation
    is a technique that you, the email marketer, use to make sure every aspect of your email marketing campaigns – from the subject line to the email content – feels like it’s been tailor-made specifically for your subscribers. Personalisation is proven to boost your open rates and bring higher revenue rates because it helps you give your subscribers more individualised and relevant content.

    How To Personalise Your Emails?
    I already mentioned that the most commonly applied personalisation technique is the use of the subscriber’s first name. Yet, in email marketing, personalisation goes way beyond the first name. So, if there’s more to personalisation than only the first name, how exactly are you supposed to well… personalise your emails? I’m glad you asked.

    Personalised emails consist of three main elements –

    a) Relevance
    It’s natural for people to be drawn to their name. When someone calls it, you immediately turn around – at least I do. So, yes, you should use it to personalise your emails. But don’t overdo it. Your subscribers’ inboxes are cluttered enough with all kinds of marketing emails and often, most of them have their first name in the subject line. As attention-grabbing as the technique might be, there’s a catch. If you are first-naming your subscribers too much they will catch on and may even think it’s a bit weird leading to your email being either deleted or reported as spam.

    Furthermore, there is nothing special about it. I have tons of emails in my inbox with my name slapped across the subject lines. But do I read them all? Will you? Take your email personalisation to the next level by offering your subscribers useful, relevant content. Though, you have to know them first and creating buyer personas is the way to do it. Start collecting the right kind of subscribers’ data with the help of your signup forms. Ask about the readers’ location, DOB, occupation, etc. and make sure the whole process is short and sweet. Once you have this detailed information, you’ll be able to highly segment and personalise your emails as well as take a step back from mass-messaging. You’ll make the subscribers feel like VIPs with such highly personalised, relevant content that matches their interests and needs.

    Ah, don’t forget to create a subscriber’s preference centre and include the link in your campaigns. It’ll further aid your efforts in getting to know what your subscribers want to see. As well as give them a sense of control over the inbox.

    b) Timeliness
    Another cornerstone of personalised emails is that they have to be timely. Now that you know enough about your subscribers, you know what kind of content they are interested in, when you should send them emails (daily, weekly or monthly) and also, at what stage of their customer journey they’re at.

    Let’s say one of your subscribers is searching for a particular product or service or just an article on your website. Whichever it is, you will gain further insight into their needs and interests at this exact point in time and consequently, craft and shoot them a timely email.

    c) Personalisation
    I know, I know – this entire article is about email personalisation. But in this case, what I am referring to is your email’s “From Name” field. Throughout all of my research (and it was extensive), I’ve seen enough proof that people are more likely to place their trust and relate to an email that’s coming from an actual person instead of a brand. Thus, using YOUR first name in the “From Name” field and putting a face rather than a business logo in your email will prove invaluable in boosting your open, click-through and conversion rates.

    Ah, do you want to know the best part? With EmailOut you can personalise your email with just a few clicks and voila – all done.

    Email Personalisation Benefits
    Personalisation is the foundation of consistently achieving higher email marketing KPIs. Just look at the stats I’ve already given you. But, there’s more. According to a very interesting study I came across, 80% of subscribers who have received personalised emails are inclined to make a purchase.

    Furthermore, with highly personalised email campaigns your unsubscribe rates will be significantly reduced. Yes, we would all like for this particular email metric to be close to zero but unsubscribes are inevitable. Did I mention that personalised emails also do not create any operational costs? We’ve all gone through the time-consuming process of figuring out the right time, the right tone and the right words to use in our email campaigns. Not to mention preparing (or editing) individual email campaigns for various occasions. It is all exhausting and the amount of manual labour is somewhat frightening. But, there is a very simple solution – automated behavioural triggered email campaigns. With 75% of marketers considering email marketing automation as one of the top three processes that can be safely automated without reducing overall effectiveness or audience connection I think the lure is quite clear.

    All of the stats I’ve given you so far prove how essential and beneficial email personalisation is for your business. It gives your subscribers a better experience with your emails, improves your relationship with them and causes your email marketing metrics to shoot through the roof.

    Common Email Personalisation Mistakes
    The easiest and most effective approach to acquiring new and paying customers is utilising email personalisation. However, there are three common email personalisation mistakes marketers need to avoid at all costs.

    1) The “First Name” Mistake
    In real life, we’ve all been in a situation where someone greets us by our first name and we sit stunned trying to remember what their’s was – or we use the wrong one. It’s horrible and, to be honest, a bit embarrassing. However, when such a thing happens in an email it can be a disaster of major proportions. You will not only create a huge gap between yourself and the subscribers but also, risk losing them altogether. So, make sure you never use the wrong first name or forget to add a fallback option or use the wrong information.

    Why is this mistake happening? When you are gathering subscribers’ data from more than one source, it is highly possible for the data to get mixed up or be completely missing or the import to have an empty space where the ‘first name’ tag should be. Don’t lose your marbles though. There’s quite a simple fix.

    The Fix. If you are using a professional ESP, you can avoid this tragic mistake from happening by simply setting up a fallback option. With EmailOut, this process can be done in four simple steps. The marketer needs to go to Contacts > Data Fields > Select the “FirstName” field and then simply set up the default value – e.g. “there”, “traveller”, “friend” or anything else matching your brand’s voice accurately.

    [​IMG]

    Once the default value of the data field has been set up, whenever the “First Name” tag is missing, the subscriber will see the fallback option – e.g. “Hi Traveller” instead of “Hi _BLANKETY-BLANK_”.

    2) The Incorrect Personalisation Gaffe
    Do you recall the time when Pinterest accidentally sent single women a blast congratulating them on their marriage? It created quite the social media storm.

    [​IMG]

    How about the time Shutterfly was congratulating women on babies they did not have?

    [​IMG]

    Why are such mistakes happening? If you neglect to use your subscribers’ data correctly or simply can’t be bothered with getting personalisation right, you are risking burning a potentially prosperous bridge and alienating your subscribers.

    The Fix. Before you start personalising your emails make sure the data you’ve gathered is correct and you’ve crossed-referenced the information from all the data sources – e.g. company profile, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, sign-ups, purchasing history, etc. This is the best way to verify the legitimacy of the subscribers’ information. However, sending an incorrect email to the wrong mailing list can happen. Rarely, but as Pinterest and Shutterfly prove, it can. The best way to fix this is by owning up to your mistake, apologising and doing everything in your power to make things right. For example, offer them a product discount or a free month to use your services. As long as you recognise your mistake, you will prove to your subscribers that you are sincere. It also provides an opportunity to re-engage them.

    3) The Missed Opportunity Sin
    Do you know that with all that subscribers’ data you’ve gathered you are sitting on a treasure chest? All the information is just lying there waiting for you to take advantage of and send relevant, timely and highly personalised email campaigns to your subscribers.

    People are begging for personalised information making them much more willing to share their data in return. Actually, stats point out that 63% of millennials and 58% of Generation X customers are more than willing to provide their personal information in return for discounts and personalised offers. But, some marketers are missing on the opportunity to target subscribers and give them relevant content.

    The Fix. Knowing more than just the subscribers’ first name gives you the best advantage of all. You can use the additional information to craft excellently targeted, highly-personalised, extremely relevant email campaigns. So, without wasting any more time, make sure you have implemented data gathering techniques (or tools) throughout both your website and email campaigns. After all, knowledge is power or so the saying goes. I personally believe that knowledge on its own is nothing, however, how you apply that knowledge, now that is powerful.

    Email Personalisation Examples
    Now that you know what email personalisation is, how to do it like a pro and what are the most common mistakes to avoid at all costs, let’s take a look at some examples from different brands that have nailed email personalisation to a T.

    1) Making subscribers feel like VIPs
    Sephora absolutely nailed the email personalisation game. They use personalisation not only in the subject line but took it a step further by also adding personalisation in their campaign’s email copy. They simply went the extra mile and showed their subscribers they care about them and their preferences.

    [​IMG]

    Personalising their email copy is not the only thing the brand proves to be excellent at. They’ve also set up rules and triggers allowing them to send personalised offers to their most loyal subscribers. For instance, they take advantage of a subscriber’s VIP status to send them highly-targeted emails with offers or discounts.

    2) Nailing the email list segmentation game
    Adidas is yet another brand brilliant at catering to its subscribers’ interests and needs. As you probably know, the company’s two primary markets for their sport’s ware – men and women. With that in mind, instead of Adidas sending generic mass-messaging campaigns to its entire database, the brand segments their email lists based on gender.

    [​IMG]

    It’s pretty cool when your favourite brand isn’t bombarding you with promotions that you have no interest in and cluttering your inbox.

    3) Personalising follow-up emails
    How does being each of your subscribers both a personal shopper and a salesperson sound? Pretty neat right? Well, with email marketing automation, you can.

    Take a look at Asics, for example. They track customers’ purchasing history and then use automation to send them personalised follow-up emails.

    [​IMG]

    You’re probably wondering why I’m using ASICS email as an example since they haven’t used name personalisation, aren’t you? Well, their email was sent to a woman who placed an order in the shopping cart for training shoes but didn’t proceed to buy it – this is the perfect example of a highly personalised email even without using the customer’s first name. This is exactly the type of email personalisation that will save your business tons of money in lost revenue.

    Final Thoughts
    Email personalisation is a massive player in the marketing game. Without it, marketers will be bombarding subscribers with impersonal, irrelevant and quite frankly, irritating email campaigns leaving a lasting negative impression. Not to mention dreadful open, click-through and conversion rates.

    Don’t be like those marketers. Implement personalisation in your emails – from the subject line and email copy to the imagery itself – and keep them relevant and useful. After all, you do want people to convert, don’t you? Then take the right approach and go beyond the mundane use of only their first name. Use sign-up forms to gather the right data, personalise your subject lines to increase your open rates, create content relevant to the subscribers’ interests and needs, set up automated behavioural triggered emails and last, but not least, avoid any email personalisation mistakes – they’ll be the death of your email marketing strategy.

    Let’s make things easier with a summarised list of email personalisation DOs and DON’Ts.

    DOs
    • collect the right data
    • use the subscriber’s first name sparingly
    • personalise your subject lines
    • add personalisation to your email copy
    • implement segmentation
    • make sure your emails are relevant
    • personalise the “from name” field
    • leverage email marketing automation
    • avoid any (and all) email personalisation mistakes
    DON’Ts
    • ignore the subscribers’ data you’ve collected
    • overuse your subscribers’ first name
    • send irrelevant mass-emails
    • assume all your subscribers are the same
    • bombard subscribers with too many emails
    • forget to target the right audience
    • be generic
    • ignore what your email marketing KPIs are telling you
    Highly recommended further reading –
    1)
    Email Personalisation Tips
    2) Writing Marketing Emails 101
    3) Email Conversion Issues
    4) Email Design Best Practices
    5) Email Marketing and Content Marketing

    This article was originally published on 10 August 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 Conversion Issues: How To Prevent Them From Killing ROI Aug 13, 2020

    With an ROI of 42:1, email marketing is not only the king of all marketing strategies but also marketers’ top priority. Yet, many email marketers find themselves wondering why their open and click-through rates skyrocket whilst their conversion rates plummet.

    There are tons of posts outlining different ways to improve your email conversion rates and increase the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns. However, what are the email conversion issues marketers should avoid at all costs?

    “Customers need to trust you because without trust it would be nearly impossible to make meaningful conversions.”EmailOut

    Email marketing is not only about crafting the perfect email campaign and sending it to your subscribers’ inbox. It’s about reeling people in by creating both urgency and curiosity from the get-go. Yes, we mean your subject line and from address. Those are the two things subscribers will notice first. But, how do you know if your email marketing efforts are working? Is what you’re currently doing good enough? If yes, then is there something you can do to get better results? If no, then what are you doing wrong?

    In this article, we’ll cover the following topics on email conversion issues:

    What is an email conversion rate?
    What kinds of conversions are there?
    Common email conversion issues and how to avoid them

    Let’s dive in.

    High open and click-through rates might be nice but how can you convert subscribers if they ignore your email’s offer and decide they are not interested? After all, your business’s success depends on whether people buy what you sell. Do you know what that’s called in marketing terms? A conversion. The email conversion rate is a critical metric for marketers to keep track of. Yet, if your email is not driving enough conversions, don’t blame it. Certain email conversion issues might be causing those lacklustre results.

    Email Conversion Rate: Definition & Formula
    Email marketing conversion rate
    is a metric which represents what per cent of your subscribers have completed a goal action (signup, purchase, etc.). Of course, that action is entirely dependent on your specific conversion goal.

    For example, on many occasions, the conversion goal could be entirely purchase-related (turning people into customers), while in other instances it could simply be turning people into leads. No matter the goal, this email metric is essential for marketers to be aware of as it indicates the return-on-investment.

    How to determine your email conversion rate? The formula is quite simple – divide the total number of people who completed a goal action by the total number of successfully delivered emails and then multiply the result by 100.

    [​IMG]

    Example: 400 completed actions / 8,000 emails delivered x 100 = 5%​

    Ah, and if you are wondering what a good conversion rate in email marketing is there’s, unfortunately, no definitive answer – the higher, the better. You can achieve this by taking a closer look at your email marketing KPIs, determining what can be improved and then optimising your email campaign.

    Types Of Conversions
    Have you ever wondered how an email conversion rate is different from other channels’ conversions? What and how many different types of conversions are there? What’s the distinction between one type of conversion and another?

    Here are the most common conversion types –

    a) micro and macro conversions
    The first relates to opens, click-throughs (CTR), delivery rate, etc. in other words, navigation, interaction and engagement-based conversions. The latter covers revenue-based, lead acquisition and enquiry conversions such as sign-ups, sales, etc. Often micro-conversions precede macro-conversions.

    b) email and website conversions
    Conversions take place on your website (or dedicated landing page) and not within the email. However, your email is the bridge. Therefore, make sure all parts of your email marketing funnel are aligned with your end-goal (i.e. the subject line, email copy, from address, preheader, footer, etc.)

    c) direct and indirect conversions
    Some marketers often have difficulty determining the value of a conversion if it is not tied to a sale. It leads marketers to think that if the email campaign is not making money directly, then it is a failure. Nevertheless, it’s essential to remember that conversions don’t always happen immediately and they don’t always follow a straight line. Some emails lead to direct conversions (you promote a product/service, the subscriber buys it). Others, lead to indirect conversions where your email campaigns inspire the subscribers to take other actions on your website or landing page or at another time.

    Let’s say you are sending your subscriber an email promoting top email marketing trends for 2020. Yet, when your recipients open the email they do… nothing. But, the email itself reminds them that your blog has additional content that would be beneficial to them. They visit your website, read a few articles and then come across your newsletter signup and decide to go for it. This is a clear example of an indirect conversion. A direct one would be if your email promotes a webinar, the recipient clicks-through to the registration page and then completes the attendance form.

    d) conversions and conversions-to-sale
    For some, conversions aren’t always money-exchanging transactions. They can be a simple act of filling in a form or downloading a survey/report/whitepaper. In other words, anything that results in the subscribers taking the desired action without money changing hands. Still, for most businesses, conversions always mean sales. And those are known as conversions-to-sale.

    Regardless of conversions involving immediate sales, it’s essential to keep track of this metric on either a monthly or quarterly basis. Conversion-to-sale formula: establish the number of sales resulting from the period’s conversions and then divide the number of sales by the number of conversions.

    It’s important to keep in mind that conversions associated with your emails can differ depending on the email marketing funnel stage, be it at the top or bottom. More often than not, businesses and marketers care about the conversions primarily located at the bottom of the email marketing funnel.

    Common Email Conversion Issues (And How To Avoid Them)
    You’ve crafted the most amazing email campaign with the perfect subject line and send it out to your mailing list(s). Then, you look at your email analytics and discover your message’s email conversion rate is plummeting and nowhere near satisfactory. Your email may not be to blame. Take a look at these seven email conversion issues that may have never crossed your mind but they are the ones causing disappointing results and decreasing the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns.

    1) Tracking conversions: Are you doing it the wrong way?
    To be a masterful email marketer, there’s one very important thing to keep in mind – it takes time. You might have read, seen and heard all you think there is to know about email marketing but… if you do not map-out your business goals at the outset having an understanding of common email conversion problems, and how to avoid them, you will be setting yourself up for failure from the start.

    In terms of online marketing optimisation, it’s essential not to spread yourself too thinly by focusing and tracking too many email marketing metrics at once. Email marketing KPIs such as opens and click-throughs can give you enough insight into whether something resonates with your subscribers or not. They will also help you establish if there are changes that you might need to make to your subject line, call-to-action (CTA), email copy or another element of your campaign. However, as helpful as these metrics are, your ultimate goal is conversions and you need to make sure you’re tracking them the right way.

    The best way to successfully measure this very important email metric is by integrating your ESP as well as your web analytics (like Google Analytics) and by creating a unique tracking URL for each link in your marketing emails. It’s important to keep in mind that your CTAs are directly linked to your conversions. As such, they must be linked directly to the end-goal of your email campaigns (If you’re using EmailOut you do not need to worry about this as we do it for you automatically).

    2) Email frequency: Why email once when a series would be more appropriate?
    It’s quite unfortunate that there are businesses that haven’t considered the power of a good email series. Most of them are worried about overwhelming subscribers with one too many emails. However, as a legitimate concern, establishing a trustworthy relationship with leads and customers through relevant and helpful email series is a huge plus to your email marketing strategy’s end goal – conversions.

    Imagine this: a recipient takes an action in the form of signing up for your product/service, however, you send them only one single welcome email and then – nothing. What do you think the outcome will be? The answer: you’ll be missing out on the opportunity to convert them into a customer. Another example is sending cart abandonment emails – if you’re not sending them you are missing out on a huge amount of sales.

    There are a lot of variables to consider as to why people might miss your emails. They might be more interested in playing Candy Crush on their way to work or they just scroll through emails from co-workers and clients or they’re simply rushing to a meeting. Regardless of the reasons, this does not necessarily mean they are not interested in your email. Thus, instead of focusing all your efforts into landing a conversion through one single email, consider sending an email series of three – or more – emails spread over a specific time period – i.e. one email in the week and a follow-up one during the weekend.

    By implementing such a simple email marketing tactic, you will not only increase your chances of people becoming engaged and interacting with your emails but also, ultimately, reach the holy grail – conversions.

    3) Lack of segmentation: Do you know your subscribers at all?
    With customers becoming more comfortable about sharing personal information online, capturing their data has become fairly easy. So much so, as an email marketer, you shouldn’t have any obstacles preventing you from doing basic data segmentation before releasing your email campaign out into the world. All research I’ve seen says the more emails a company sends, the more engagement they get.

    Now, you can’t possibly make your competitors send fewer emails, but, what you CAN do is ensure your emails are reaching the right crowd and deliver them relevant content that speaks to their interests and needs. One way to do this is not only structuring your content but taking into consideration the uniqueness of your subscribers. This is where segmentation comes into play.

    Don’t treat your subscribers as just one big mailing list without segmenting them based on their unique characteristics and behaviour (i.e. demographics, gender, links clicked, purchase history, etc.). If you DO NOT segment your data you risk not only sending the wrong message to the wrong people but also dramatically decreasing your open and click-through rates as well as increasing your unsubscribes, spam reports and ISP complaints – bad. It wouldn’t matter if you’ve done everything else right (e.g. awesome email design, perfectly crafted CTA and attention-grabbing content), without segmentation your subscribers will feel alienated and they will not convert.

    Overall, by better understanding your subscribers, you will be able to fine-tune your email campaign with more relevant content fitting the recipients’ needs and interests which will lead to a boost of your email conversion rate.

    4) An excessive number of CTAs: How many call-to-actions does your email have?
    According to science, a well-designed call-to-action (CTA) can have a massive impact on your conversion rate. However, there’s nothing as damaging to your conversion rate as an endless amount of call-to-actions.

    For example, you’ve rolled out the perfectly designed email campaign with outstanding copy getting you higher open rates. But, in the end, your campaign failed to convert. What do you think could be the reason? Was it the overwhelming amount of call-to-actions? Or, was it the fact your CTA led to a weak landing page discouraging the recipients from taking further action?

    Instead of having multiple call-to-actions, why don’t you draw the readers’ attention to one or two – at the most. It’s important to remember your subscribers are smart. So, don’t be generic when designing your call-to-action. Instead of saying ‘read more’ or ‘call now’, why not substitute those with a more actionable and intriguing alternative such as ‘find out more’ or ‘see proof’’?

    These pro tips will help you boost the success rate of your CTA –
    a) CTA button colours
    – having a big CTA button in green or blue, for example, will draw the subscribers attention much more than a hyperlink that’s fused within your email copy. Our advice is to think carefully about both the design and colour choice of your emails’ call-to-action. After all, they are the bridge to having successful conversions.

    b) repetition – we know we said multiple call-to-actions can kill click-throughs and conversions. But, including a couple of CTA (g. one as a button and one in your email’s footer or signature) offers you a greater opportunity to reiterate the action you initially asked your subscribers to take.

    5) Test, test, test: Did you proofread and double-check your campaign?
    If you enjoy improving your knowledge and reading email marketing blogs like ours, then you’re perfectly aware of how important things like copywriting, segmentation, email design and CTA design are. But tell us: When was the last time you split tested your email campaign?

    You may think your email campaign’s design is very good, but your subscribers may have a problem with your copy. Or, both your design and email copy may be perfect but the call-to-action somehow gets lost because there’s not enough emphasis on it. If you fix the issue then conversions will increase. But, how would you pinpoint what the problem is? Should you ask your subscribers? Should you flip a coin?

    The answer is test, test, test. If your conversion rates are nowhere near what you want them to be, or expected, the best solution is A/B testing. It will allow you to create two versions of the same email and test which one will drive higher conversions.

    It’s very important to test one variable at a time – subject line OR call-to-action OR preheader OR email copy, etc. – to get conclusive results. Otherwise, you won’t be able to establish which improvements did the trick and boosted the email conversion rate. Now, don’t go into full panic mode. Ultimately, you’d be able to establish a routine with split testing by creating a list of rules to follow and you’ll end up as a master of conversions in no time.

    6) Landing pages: Do your CTAs have dedicated landing pages?
    One of the most crucially important elements of a successful, high-converting email marketing campaign is directing your subscribers to a beautifully crafted landing page. Hence the importance of a carefully designed call-to-action – they are the bridge. It doesn’t matter if you are building a subscriber list or offering a limited promotion on your products/services, make sure each landing page is focused on the core offer.

    For example, if you are promising your subscribers a free whitepaper, you will be more likely to get higher conversions if the CTA takes them directly to the landing page they can get it instead of creating more navigation elements or unnecessary form-filling processes.

    These pro tips will help you create a landing page that converts –
    a) carefully crafted headlines
    – the headline is the first thing that will draw the subscribers attention. If you fail to design a good one then chances are you’ve already lost a conversion. To prevent this from happening think through your headline(s) carefully, don’t exceed a maximum of 20 words and make sure you are making an offer the subscribers cannot refuse.

    b) persuasion through subheadings – while headlines are the first thing subscribers see, subheadings are where you drive the point home. The thing to keep in mind when designing your subheading(s) is to give the subscribers enough detail on your products/services that they are intrigued and then clarify further down the page.

    c) proper use of visuals – visuals are the third most important element of your landing page. But, how are you to pick the right ones? Where are you to place them? The answers are quite simple. Your visuals should be large enough to draw attention and emphasise on the core offer, highly relevant to what you are offering and lastly, of high quality.

    d) clarification about your products/services – you’ve already hooked the subscribers. Now’s the time to drive the point home and convert them. Explain how and why your products/services are beneficial to the subscriber but do your best to be concise. Ah, and remember, talk to your subscribers, not at them.

    Final Thoughts
    Boring chunks of text in emails don’t work. Neither do heavily designed, CTA ‘infested’, irrelevant campaigns. Email marketing may be the perfect way to connect to leads and subscribers, but a high-converting email campaign does not create itself. To get those conversions you first need to understand how it all works and what email conversion issues you must avoid at all costs.

    All it takes to make sure you are staying away from those dreadful email conversion issues is a bit of patience whilst you pinpoint where the problem lies and then a bit of time to improve on the few mistakes you might’ve made.

    You can start by making your email campaigns more interesting with the help of a carefully crafted subject line and preheader. Then, make sure to apply basic segmentation and finally, split test your emails to see what works best and what doesn’t. And keep in mind, resolving email conversion issues and boosting your email conversion rates is not rocket science.

    Highly recommended further reading –
    1)
    How To Increase Your Conversion Rates
    2) Subject Line Mistakes: Things Marketers Should Never Do
    3) Ideas for Irresistible Email Subject Lines
    4) How To Develop An Impactful Onboarding Email Series?
    5) Email Segmentation Secrets
    6) How and Why You Need to Split Test Your Emails?
    7) How to Pick the Best CTA Button Colour for Emails

    This article was originally published on 5 August 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.
  • New Video Option From Facebook, Updates From Google And A Survey On Holiday Season Expectations Aug 6, 2020

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

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

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

    Social Media News

    Facebook Allows Users To Broadcast Messenger Rooms Via Facebook Live

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

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

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

    Search Engine and SEO News

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

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

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

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

    PPC and Ads News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Final Thoughts
    Do you have any suggestions or ideas about which digital marketing news topics you’d like us to look out for in the future? Write your requests below. We’ll keep an eye out (or two) so you don’t have to – and all for FREE, of course.

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

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

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