Wizemail provides email marketing software solutions and e-shot HTML templates to a wide variety of clients - SMEs, Corporate and Digital Advertising Agencies alike – all with one common requirement, a dynamic, professional, digital marketing team on hand when required.

At least weekly, one of the Wizemail team will post a tip, trick or general email marketing advice here.

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  • Advice In The Post Transition Period Jan 5, 2021

    Whatever the results of the negotiations for the end of the transition period, we will have to manage the fallout. One problem for those giving advice is that the situation varies from company to company, product to product and from domestic to international. SMEs are probably going to be the hardest hit. Many depend on email marketing and there is little specific to our circumstances available.

    That’s the good news over; now we come to what we have to do in the ensuing months. The ICO produced a webinar on the end of the transition period, which is available here: https://ico.org.uk/about-the-ico/news-and-events/events-and-webinars/keep-data-flowing-at-the-end-of-the-uks-transition-out-of-the-eu/

    It’s quite useful, especially the Q&A session at the end, covering problems that are concerning the managers of SMEs so it should be helpful to most. In essence, it didn’t provide specific answers so much as a range of possibilities. It’s up to us to work out what will happen in our own situations and to come up with plans suitable for our particular needs.

    You will be concerned as to the data on your email marketing lists, and the video goes some way to reassure. However, that’s only part of the problem. We need practical advice regarding supply, probable delays in delivery and likely changes in legislation. The answer is to keep checking the ICO website for updates, and I’d suggest subscribing to their newsletter.

    You will have to discover your own sources of advice and news regarding your specific products and how they will be affected by whatever the new deal is. My suggestion is to stick with what you know. In other words, treat the situation in exactly the same way as you have dealt with other problems in the past. Don’t try to out-guess anyone.

    Most of your competitors will be in the same situation as you will be, so being honest in email marketing campaigns about your inability to be specific as to delivery date could be enough to give you and edge. Be straight with your subscribers. Or, to be more precise, the best way of dealing with a new situation is the way you’ve dealt with others before.

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  • Covid-19 Caught Us All Out Dec 23, 2020

    It’s normally a self-flagellation exercise to look back 12 months to see which of your predictions for the year have proved correct. In mitigation, I’d point out that everyone else was way off on what they saw for the future this time last year. Covid-19 caught us all out. Mind you, merely being part of the herd isn’t that much compensation.

    For us sages, the main problem has been that the pandemic affected all areas: from employment to entertainment, from the high street to online sales, from sourcing products to delivery. Email marketing has been a bit of a curate’s egg. There has been a significant, and one has to say predictable in the circumstances, move towards online sales but many of these have been new customers and the figures seem to suggest that the major beneficiaries have been the major companies. That said, we should have got our share.

    There is an equally significant downside. A recent survey suggests that many online customers have experienced shipping delays, the biggest area of complaint, whereas around one in five have lost out financially due to missing deliveries to their home. As can be imagined, a substantial proportion suggest they have lost confidence in online shopping. It is probable in the current situation, and for the foreseeable future, which isn’t all that far, these people will continue to shop online, and via email marketing, given the problems the high street is experiencing and, according to recent reports, will continue to experience.

    Have the subscribers to your email marketing lists had their expectations realised? If your complaints have risen, not only in numbers which might be explained away by increases in sales figures, but by a marked percentage, then the next question you should be asking yourself should be what you are going to do about it. According to reports, there’s been an overall increase of 4.7% for online sales month on month. You need to stay on the crest of this wave.

    It is probable that a number on your email marketing list are recent additions, grabbed from those visiting your webpage or buying via an online advert. They might well have had different expectations for the level of service you will provide, which can be shown by complaints focusing on what you might call normal procedures. Did you promise more than you could deliver? Did you assume that they must know what to expect?

    If you fail to make it clear what your customers can expect, they will make assumptions based on previous experiences, which will include walking into a shop, pointing to something, it being wrapped, and then taking it home the same day. If you cannot give a precise delivery time, say so. Their expectations might well be unreasonable, but of course, that’s what people without experience will do.

    Your 2021 targets should include keeping new subscribers to your email marketing list. Your emails and website should be clear, precise and not fanciful. One thing I can promise you about next year is that it will be tough and competitive.

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  • Continue Investing In Market Research Dec 9, 2020

    Market research budgets are, according to research, being restricted year-on-year and the Covid-19 pandemic has significantly increased this trend. For us it might be good news. If other companies, particularly competitors of yours, are changing their targets for investment, it almost always means that a gap will be opening for others to exploit. And it is one that is vulnerable to email marketing.

    We obviously do our own research. Every split test, every change of subject line and every time you peruse your completions, you are into market research. While each individual action is minor, given the number of times you split test, the cumulative information is significant. We thrive on data. Other companies need it, so cutting back on research is going to harm them.

    One research document showed that there has been a steady reduction in investment in marketing over the last eight years, although, predictably, the second and third quarters of 2020 showed a remarkable dip. Some of the companies which have been cutting back will have been sourcing their data from social media and, without considerable investment in time, it can be undependable. We, on the other hand, have believable statistics.

    2021 will be difficult for all of us and sitting back with a smug smile on your face knowing that you have excellent data from marketing emails is going to mean you drop back. You’ve got work to do. As always. However, things have changed slightly as to what we need to get from our data.

    One of the most difficult aspects of the post pandemic, and post Brexit business environment will be distinguishing between a blip and a trend. Again, it’s always been a problem. Now, though, it becomes something of a trap as if you invest too much into what turns out to be a blip in the market, you will fall behind.

    Split testing needs to be targeted on gaining information that can be used to make vital decisions. The marketplace will be shifting rapidly in the days to come. We need facts to enable us to pick the best way to go.

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  • How To Use Fake Reviews To Your Benefit Dec 8, 2020

    Everyone reads the reviews and the star-ratings when deciding whether to buy one product over another, despite what they might tell you to the contrary. Yet we know many are suspect. We note the average ratings and then wander through the two- and one-star reports to see the reasons for the low scores. Should we publish them in our marketing emails?

    There’s an illogical dichotomy in the action. Why do we take note of something untrustworthy? You can’t open a consumer magazine without being told it’s a scandal that the big online sales companies, making a killing during lockdown, know that many of the reviews they publish are fake, yet do little to combat them. If you’ve any sense, your marketing emails will, no doubt, mention the high scores and many positive reviews. But we must earn our subscribers’ trust.

    Just accepting what customers say is not enough if you want people to believe them. Some online sales companies frequently include ‘verified purchase’ in the review in the hope that this will generate belief in them, but they also include those where there is no evidence of purchase, and, one assumes, included their star rating. More to the point, what do you do?

    There’s a lot online on how an intending purchaser can check a review, and particularly reviewer, to verify them as far as possible. This takes time, and we deal with email marketing where time is at a premium. We can’t expect our subscribers to check through each individual review for correct spelling and grammar, one of the pointers to a false reviewer we are told, when we are keeping words, and therefore reading time, to a minimum. And in any case, how many genuine reviewers reread their post to check everything’s correct?

    After a lot of research, I have decided on a particular MO when researching a big purchase. I will check the reviewer’s history. If they regularly give five stars to similar products – once the reviewer supposedly bought two other products from the same company that provided an all but identical function – I will discount their comments. It’s a lot to ask for customers to do for a marketing email.

    The way to ensure your subscribers’ trust is maintained is to do the work yourself. You know about fake reviews, as does everyone in the business, and you know ways to tell the fakes from the genuine. So do so.

    The important aspect of this, some might say vital, is to tell your customers what you are doing, why you are doing it, and your reasons for doing so. Initially, some will be sceptical, so be upfront about it. Refer to reports on how trustworthy reviews are and ensure that whatever you are doing can be justified by the conclusions.

    Highlight the reviews of your customers on a landing page, under the title of ‘feedback given to us by our customers’. Try one nice move I’ve seen. Highlight a four-star review. Oddly, it seemed to be so trustworthy that it would have been impolite not to believe it.

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  • SMEs Can Compete With Online Multinationals Dec 8, 2020

    There was a recent article in a consumer magazine on the performance of big multinationals which sell online. Certain differences were highlighted. They included, but was not specific to, email marketing. It might seem, as you have just a few thousand subscribers, they have nothing to fear from you, and you have nothing to learn from them. You are probably wrong on both counts.

    You’ve no doubt seen the figures that the likes of Amazon have published regarding their increase in sales figures so far this year, courtesy in the main of the various lockdowns. Perhaps you have enjoyed an increase as well. What is remarkable in the report is that a few of these companies have been able to maintain high levels of service with regards to complaints and questions, despite the equally remarkable increase in customers.

    Some companies, it seems, have got their businesses in order. This has given rise to high levels of satisfaction with many of the customers of some of the biggest companies out there. Some have suffered, but apparently from self-inflicted wounds. The company that has, very publicly, automated many of its processes would, one might think, have had the highest scores in many of the factors, but again, you would be wrong.

    It is probable that your email marketing company is unlikely to be able to compete on volume of sales, but that’s not the only aspect you could concentrate on to ensure you limit customer churn, and increase returns. Do what you do well, but a bit better.

    Service to customers, particularly in dealing with complaints, is seen as a bit of a downer by many consumers. It includes me. Fail to deal expeditiously with a valid complaint and I won’t return, not even if you are one of the two biggest in the country for online sales. On the other hand, I was not in the least surprised as which company came out top. I am on their email marketing list, not an honour I award lightly.

    Compete with the big ones at a level you can. Good service beats a few pence cheaper every time.

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  • Convey Emotion To Your Subscribers Dec 2, 2020

    I had a revealing Zoom meeting with my elder daughter on Sunday. She was telling me about her recently single best friend whom she had been helping most of Saturday to pick a likely man from an internet dating site. It’s not my normal source of email marketing research, but it was revealing. She said that after the first 15 minutes they decided to ignore any picture where the chap was carrying a snowboard. She said this reduced the number of possibles to a manageable figure quite quickly.

    She asked, “What is it with men that they think women are looking for someone covered in snow, in a hideous insulated jacket and baggy trousers, standing somewhere totally inhospitable.” I think I was able to answer her question, despite not frequenting dating sites. Honest. It gives a pointer to what often goes wrong in the way items are presented in email marketing campaigns.

    You are, hopefully, rather excited by your latest product and you want to convey your emotions to your subscribers. If you are thrilled, surely they must be as well. This ignores the fact that it is probable that they are not quite so immersed in whatever it is you are selling as you are, and it is probable they want something different to you from the product. By all means tell them how hard it was to get the supply at the right price. That is if you want to bore them. What you need to do is to get them to want the product as it relates to them given your description and the image. We’re back to online dating.

    The chaps my daughter’s friend was looking at were unsuspecting, approaching middle age and the most exciting aspect of their lives is the thrill they get going on the side of a mountain at speed on a plank of wood. Who wouldn’t be thrilled? It turns out that many women aren’t, or at least that includes my daughter and her friend. What all these possibles covered in frozen water were not doing was putting themselves in the place of the people they were trying to attract and describing why they were the men of their dreams.

    You probably worked out in your mind the type of man my daughter’s friend was looking for, at least in her mind. It’s easy enough. Ask yourself if you always do the same when creating copy for any email marketing campaign. It’s even easier. You have all the data on specific groups that you need, certainly enough to work out what would excite them, as that’s what’s email marketing software is for.

    The next time you’re wondering what type of image you need for your latest email marketing campaign, think of what your subscribers are looking for rather than what you would pick as its main selling point. You need to catch the eye. You need to excite in a second. Picking an image that your competitors would use, for whatever reason, is probably not the way to go.

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  • Data protection at the end of the transition period for SMEs Nov 27, 2020

    Guidance and resources to help businesses and organisations better prepare for data protection compliance if we leave without an adequacy decision.

    The UK left the EU on 31 January 2020. There is now a transition period until 31 December 2020 while the UK and EU negotiate additional arrangements. The current rules will continue to apply during the transition period. The GDPR will be retained in domestic law at the end of the transition period, but the UK will have the independence to keep the framework under review.

    This guidance is designed to help small to medium-sized UK businesses and organisations keep personal data flowing with Europe (the EEA) at the end of the transition period. (The EEA is the EU plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein.)

    If the transition period ends before the EU Commission makes an adequacy decision about the UK, most of the data protection rules affecting small to medium-sized businesses and organisations will stay the same.

    The UK is committed to maintaining the high standards of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and the government plans to incorporate it into UK law at the end of the transition period.

    If you are a UK business or organisation that already complies with the GDPR and has no contacts or customers in the EEA, you do not need to do much more to prepare for data protection compliance at the end of the transition period.

    If you are a UK business or organisation that receives personal data from contacts in the EEA, you need to take extra steps to ensure that the data can continue to flow at the end of the transition period.

    If you are a UK business or organisation with an office, branch or other established presence in the EEA, or if you have customers in the EEA, you will need to comply with both UK and EU data protection regulations at the end of the transition period. You may need to designate a representative in the EEA.

    Use this guidance document to understand whether you will be affected and to find out how you need to prepare. It also links to additional guidance about how to improve your data protection knowledge and compliance.
    We will continue to update our guidance and develop other tools to assist you.

    UK businesses and organisations who have no contacts or customers in Europe

    If you are a UK business or organisation that already complies with the GDPR and you have no contacts in the EEA who send you data, and no customers in the EEA, you do not need to do much to prepare for data protection at the end of the transition period.

    • Your best preparation for data protection once the transition period ends is to comply with the GDPR now.
    • The UK is committed to maintaining the high standards of the GDPR and the government plans to incorporate it into UK law alongside the Data Protection Act 2018 when the transition period ends.
    • Make sure you review your privacy information and documentation to identify any minor changes that need to be made by the end of the transition period.
    UK businesses and organisations who send or receive data to or from Europe

    If you are a UK business or organisation that receives data from contacts in the EEA, you need to take extra steps to ensure that the data can continue to flow at the end of the transition period.

    • Your best preparation for data protection at the end of the transition period is to comply with the GDPR now.
    • UK is committed to maintaining the high standards of the GDPR and the government plans to incorporate it into UK law alongside the Data Protection Act 2018 at the end of the transition period. UK businesses will be covered by the UK data protection regime.
    • The UK government has stated that transfers to the EEA will not be restricted. So if you send data from the UK to the EEA you will still be able to do so and you don’t need to take any additional steps.
    • If a business or organisation in the EEA is sending you personal data, then it will still need to comply with EU data protection laws. You will need to take action with them so the data can continue to flow.
    • For most businesses and organisations, SCCs (Standard Contractual Clauses) are the best way to keep data flowing to the UK. Use our SCC Interactive Guidance tool to help you.
    • Make sure you review your privacy information and documentation to identify any minor changes that need to be made at the end of the transition period.
    • Keep up to date with the latest information and guidance.
    UK businesses and organisations with a European presence or European customers

    If your organisation operates in the EEA, you will need to comply with both UK and EU data protection regulations at the end of the transition period. You may also need to appoint a representative in the EEA.

    • Your best preparation for data protection at the end of the transition period is to comply with the GDPR now.
    • The UK is committed to maintaining the high standards of the GDPR and the government plans to incorporate it into UK law alongside the Data Protection Act 2018 at the end of the transition period.
    • You will need to comply with the UK data protection regime for your activities in the UK.
    • If you have offices, branches or other establishments in the EEA, your European activities will be covered by EU law, even at the end of the transition period You can check which European data protection regulator will be your ‘lead supervisory authority’.
    • If you are only based in the UK but you offer goods or services to individuals in the EEA, or monitor the behaviour of individuals in the EEA, you will still need to comply with the EU data protection regime in relation to these activities. In most cases you will also need to appoint a suitable representative in the EEA. This person will act as your local representative with individuals and data protection authorities in the EEA. You need to find a provider in the EEA who offers services as a GDPR representative. If you have a data protection officer (DPO), this cannot be the same person or one of your processors. Read more in our guidance to European representatives.
    • Make sure you review your privacy information and documentation to identify any minor changes that need to be made at the end of the transition period.
    • Keep up to date with the latest information and guidance.
    UK businesses and organisations who send or receive data to or from countries outside Europe

    Rules for sharing data with countries outside the EEA will remain similar. At this stage, you don’t need to take any extra steps.

    • The UK government has confirmed that there will be transitional provisions to recognise existing EU adequacy decisions and EU-approved transfers safeguards.
    • Your best preparation for data protection at the end of the transition period is to comply with the GDPR now.
    • The UK is committed to maintaining the high standards of the GDPR and the government plans to incorporate it into UK law alongside the Data Protection Act 2018 at the end of the transition period.
    • Make sure you review your privacy information and documentation to identify any minor changes that need to be made at the end of the transition period.
    • Keep everyone up to date with the latest information and guidance.
    • For more information, see our detailed guidance on data protection at the end of the transition period.
    EEA The European Economic Area. It is made up of the EU member states plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein.

    https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/data-protection-at-the-end-of-the-transition-period/data-protection-at-the-end-of-the-transition-period-for-small-businesses/data-protection-at-the-end-of-the-transition-period-for-small-businesses-and-organisations/

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  • Are You Prepared For The Transition Period? Nov 24, 2020

    Many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), whether engaged in email marketing or not, will be wondering whether they will be affected by the end of the transition period, and, if so, what they will need to do in order to prepare themselves. If they aren’t, they need to be. While there is a certain lack of detailed information as to what our relationship with the EU will be from January 1st, there is one thing certain: we need to change processes.

    For those SMEs with no contacts or customers in the EEA (countries in the EU, plus Iceland, Lichtenstein, and Norway), there is little they need to do as long as they comply with the current GDPR, which will be incorporated in UK law. All little means in this context is little more than being ready to implement any minor changes that might be required.

    For other SMEs, different processes will be required depending on which of three broad categories the business falls into. These are:

    1/ UK businesses and organisations which send or receive data to or from Europe;

    2/ UK businesses and organisations with a European presence or European customers;

    3/ UK businesses and organisations which send or receive data to or from countries outside Europe.

    What specific SMEs are required to do in each case is generally incremental, and there is one fundamental requirement in all categories; your best preparation for data protection is to comply with the GDPR now. If you have an email marketing list, then you should be doing this in any case, but it could be a good idea to check compliance. You never know.

    To our aid comes the ICO. In their website they have a whole series of articles specific to what SMEs must do in order to prepare for the end of the transition period on 31 December. Go to: https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/data-protection-at-the-end-of-the-transition-period/data-protection-at-the-end-of-the-transition-period-for-small-businesses/data-protection-at-the-end-of-the-transition-period-for-small-businesses-and-organisations/ The whole series of articles are written in accessible English and if you have a specific need, there is an FAQ page.

    Email marketing can go on with little disruption from January next year, as long as we prepare.

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  • Inform Your Subscribers During Lockdown Nov 23, 2020

    Over the last couple of days, I’ve received a number of marketing emails offering advice and suggestions for help during the lockdown in England. Some appeared hurried and most were generic. I can see the, rather obvious, intent of such offers as helpfulness brings its own reward. By being constructive and offering good advice they are placing a certain obligation on subscribers to look favourably on the company’s desire to help.

    I wouldn’t criticise their motives as the logical alternative is to be nasty to subscribers. However, some went a little too far, and the motive of enlightened self-interest was only too apparent in the way they used solicitousness. While I realise that the assumption that everyone is a bit like me is dangerous, here are my thoughts on what to say. But make your own choices which to follow.

    1/ Be brief

    I am not looking for a diatribe against something I have no control over. Lockdown is difficult. I get that. Do not belabour the point. If you have something to offer me, tell you what it is in a simple, straightforward, easy to understand manner.

    2/ Don’t mention your own problems

    I mean no offence, but I don’t care if you have difficulties. Empathy is good. Tell me that you know what my problems are, but don’t go on about those you are experiencing, especially if they are nothing like mine.

    3/ Avoid faux sympathy

    I don’t want you to hold my hands; don’t put your arm around my shoulders; don’t tell me you feel sorry for me. I’ve clicked on a banner that suggests you have answers. I want to hear them.

    4/ Work out what you want to say

    If you are offering an extension on time to pay, or a way of putting off critical dates, then be clear on what you are offering. By that I mean extending credit is not, of itself, a solution. It’s a temporary fix. Giving subscribers the impression that you are solving their problems without pain is dishonest and that will bring its own penalty, and to both parties.

    5/ Don’t waffle

    There is no need to say that your complying with the law as that is an assumption most of us have already made, and not to do so is a secure way of increasing unsubscribes. I don’t want to be told things will return to normal ‘soon’. Neither of us knows if or when. I want information in a succinct and easily understood form where my options are clearly spelt out.

    I don’t think those points are all that difficult to comply with. You’re obviously not going to include all that on a marketing email, and most companies put banners across the top, or in strategic places in the email, with click-throughs to a landing page, a couple with very clear FAQ lists. Most, if not all, offered a signup form to subscribe to newsletters. This was not exploitation, although there were benefits to the company. I’ve subscribed to two. That’s clever email marketing.
  • How Altruism Can Gain New Subscribers Nov 23, 2020

    The ICO has been very strict with regards to profiteering from Covid-19 response and lockdowns. Tell a lie in a marketing email and you are in the crosshairs. That should not stop you from experimenting with ways of gaining an advantage because of lockdown and people’s wish for more dependable information.

    Google is a ready source of rumour and speculation regarding what is happening to various businesses, most predictions being based on little more than their own guesses. Yet we all want information. More to the point for us, many companies and individuals want well-sourced information specific to our concerns. There is a need; it’s just asking to be fulfilled.

    You know what the subscribers to your email marketing lists would like to know. You probably have sources of accurate information. You can probably see how relieved and grateful those of the same demographic as your subscribers would be to find a source of such information.

    An FAQ page, regularly updated, containing the information that both subscribers and those you are targeting are looking for, with questions they would only be too willing to ask themselves, is going to generate hits from just such people. It’s fair to say it will take work. It’s fair to say that the investment required to sort through the cascading data available online will be lower than most ways of gaining leads and subscribers.

    You will need to be circumspect with regards to dependability. Include source, references, counterclaims, your own views on its veracity and whether others believe the information. Make it clear that you are leaving it to your readers to come to their own conclusions. As and when more information arrives, it should be updated. As long as it is specific, those pages will gain readers if you have sharing buttons on them for social media.

    If you include signing up forms for your email marketing list then, as you are attracting the same demographic as those who have already subscribed, you are likely to gain leads. Further, you are being helpful and altruistic. Who wouldn’t wish to sign up to such a considerate company?

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  • Have Your KPIs Changed Since The Lockdown? Nov 23, 2020

    I have heard it said that the biggest problem with email marketing is the fact that everything can be measured. It probably seems counter intuitive. Yet it was the same with desktop publishing when all of a sudden a multitude of typefaces and fonts were available and publishers seemed to want to use them all at once. Sometimes more can be too much.

    Email marketing software can give us big data analytics, enough to show a multitude of indicators: what we do well and, conversely, what we do poorly. We can’t react to them all. We have what appears, at first sight, an impossible decision to make; which results to ignore and which to use to base our plans on. The bad news that the most important KPIs have probably changed since Covid-19 is balanced by the fact the basis on how to decide which to focus on is exactly the same.

    We are in email marketing to make money. Profit minus costs, ROI in words, is a simplistic definition and it is tempting just to look at balance sheets, but there is more to it than that. Our greatest assets are our marketing lists and if we are not exploiting them to the full we are losing potential profit no matter what the annual spreadsheets say.

    It’s hardly controversial to suggest that the size of our email marketing lists is no way to judge their value. The fact that the average subscriber is worth £n to us does not mean it’s a simple matter of working out whether the money we invest in obtaining more subscribers is well spent. We need to identify and keep those subscribers who provide us with the most profit. We want the ones who complete and are high-value.

    We have available all necessary information, such as the average order value for a certain set period as well as the average customer retention time. Once we’ve worked that out we can make other decisions. For instance, is it worthwhile investing in a loyalty program by offering reduced price products to customers who, the data suggests, might need a little boost in order to stop them unsubscribing?

    The subscribers who have remained profitable on our email marketing list during the lockdown are the ones we need to exploit to their fullest. This does not mean pumping out more offers to them in the hope that they will complete, but using them for other purposes as well, such as providing an incentive for them to share our content with their friends and colleagues, many of whom might well come within the same split email marketing list. A simple ‘refer a friend’ programme might well be the best option.

    With suitable incentives, we will have someone working for us who is obviously pleased with our offers and general performance, otherwise they would not have stayed with us. Any offer referred by them will obviously come fully endorsed. In other words, one of the most significant KPIs we should be monitoring is how our email marketing campaigns are shared. It’s more important now than ever.

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  • Encourage New Customers To Subscribe Nov 23, 2020

    It would appear that most companies have seen an increase in online sales since the Covid-19 pandemic started. While there does seem to be some variation in the actual figure, it seems clear that many people have tried online purchasing for the first time as a means of overcoming lockdown. How many new online customers have you had?

    Ask yourself why these people hadn’t bought online previously. It varies with products of course, but if you can work out work out their reasons you have an obvious basis for your planning not only to keep them on board but to ensure they become subscribers. An end to lockdown seems a long way away. However, we need to ensure they don’t come up with some other way where they can obtain their products.

    You should be encouraging these newcomers to sign up to your email marketing lists via every contact you have with them, including customers visiting your website to those receiving your invoices. Gentle hints regarding the benefits will be beneficial for you. There might have been many reasons they did not purchase online before: nervousness, unfamiliarity with the systems or not being aware of how slick and easy it is. You need to reassure them on every point.

    Show them what they are missing. If an item they had just purchased was offered at a lower price on a recent email marketing campaign, tell them so. Such a method evidently works. I’m being told all the time how much I could have saved if I’d taken out a credit card. That said, it’s beginning to irritate me.

    Use different methods to encourage subscribers and compare success rates, you know just like normal email marketing. You could consider keeping these new subscribers on a different email marketing list for a period as you want to ensure they stay with you long term. You need to show them the benefits of online sales and email marketing to ensure they continue buying from you after lockdown. The main word to remember is keep. Keep them happy. Keep them purchasing. Keep them on your lists.

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  • Productive Words To Use In A Subject Line Nov 23, 2020

    The Subject Line has more than one function. It needs to catch the attention of our subscribers to our email marketing lists without putting them off with sensationalism. It has to intrigue, excite and encourage. The marketing email that is not opened is a waste of effort, so much depends on the Subject Line.

    Some years ago, when I first started in email marketing, I read an authoritative book on the subject which gave lists of words to be used in the Subject Line, together with likely percentage improvements in open rates. The authors had remarkable CVs. Like anyone new to the craft, especially as I had paid nearly £24 for the book, I took everything as verbatim and it seemed to be logical and reasonable in its suggestions. I’ve since come to realise that logical and reasonable are empty words.

    A specific word on its own will not increase open rates. We have to go further and consider why these words have an effect on our subscribers as it is the reason behind the open rates that will allow us to increase them and let us know what to write. It is all down to the emotive response.

    One of the highest scoring words in the list was the subscriber’s name. It’s probably what you would expect if you’ve been in email marketing for any length of time as it is classic personalisation. In other words, it’s not the name but rather the feeling that the email is especially for them.

    Another word on the list was introducing. It obviously implies that the product is new, probably to the subscriber or maybe you are expanding into a thrilling new line. It should generate excitement and anticipation. But then, what’s the problem with new? It’s the same with invitation. The hope is that it will bring out the emotion that the subscribers experience when invited to a party, wedding. It’s a winner for a marketing email.

    You might think that some such words would be more or less essential because lots of other companies use them on their marketing emails but, if anything, frequent use should be a reason to avoid them. They won’t produce an emotive response if the words clutter their inboxes. Where’s the punch?

    You see the same sort of response with words such as Sale, even if it is followed by an exclamation mark. In other words, there are no magic words that produce excitement, anticipation, envy or any other one you want. You have to be subtle.

    We should tailor our Subject Lines to a particular product, subscriber, and way in which it is marketed. If your email marketing campaign is based on the excitement of a particular holiday, don’t look for a magic bullet, instead try a simple phrase that will show to subscribers you are thrilled just by the opportunity of being able to market it.

    Once you transfer your enthusiasm for your product to your subscribers, your work is done, at least for that campaign. Emotion, not words, is everything.

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  • How A New Company Can Navigate Spam Filters Nov 23, 2020

    Spam filters are your friends. It probably seems difficult for anyone involved in email marketing to believe, but it’s been said before by many commentators, and will be said again. Email marketing would be impossible without spam filters. Inboxes would be overflowing. It stands to reason therefore that you should work with spam filters rather than against them, making their life easier so to speak. They won’t be grateful. That’s too much to ask, but they will be cooperative.

    It’s not so long ago that the advice would be to avoid all capital letters, exclamation marks, hyperbole and anything that could be construed as offensive in all content. Things have changed. In many ways it is now easier to understand and, probably, easier to predict as the triggers have much less to do with content. But there’s bad news.

    In essence, the methods are based on previous engagement. In other words, if an email from the same address was not classed as spam the last time it was sent, it is unlikely it will be classed as spam subsequently. Further, even if an email was dropped into a spam folder previously, if the addressee subsequently marked it as not spam, and sent it to their inbox, it is seen by spam filters as a positive, and a strong one at that.

    This isn’t much comfort for those starting out in email marketing; an understatement I know. For those established companies it means more flexibility with regards to Subject Lines. Sale! is no longer forbidden, but only for those who’ve had their marketing emails accepted before.

    Using an email marketing company that is well respected, such as Wizemail, lends a high degree of credence. It is still a good decision for beginners to conform to the old guidelines. Only use email addresses of subscribers. Take care with your Subject Lines. Encourage your subscribers to reply to the From Address as this is very much a positive.

    Don’t take risks, at least at first.

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  • Will The New Lockdowns Impact Email Marketing Nov 23, 2020

    I'm telling you nothing you didn't already know when I say that the Prime Minister's latest press conference is worrying for anyone engaged in email marketing, not to mention the rest of the business community. I always try to see the bright side at such times but I, probably like you, am struggling to do so at the moment.

    Now is the time for us to take critical decisions.

    We must look at the problem from our subscribers' point of view, not necessarily out of altruism but from a need to know how they will respond. Let's make a few guesses. You know your subscribers; you have lots of data on them so should be able to predict with some accuracy.

    Some will be worried that their income will suffer. Others will be concerned about their job security. These fears, and those you can predict from your knowledge of your customers, should be what guides us over the next few months. The questions we need to be asking is how we should be approaching the planning of our next email marketing campaigns in order to cope with these concerns.

    In essence, your subscribers’ actions will not change fundamentally and they’ll behave in exactly the same manner as they would have done pre-lockdown. Their needs will be the same and their hopes as well, but there is likely to be a certain reticence to commit to big spends, and we need to encourage them.

    You may well feel your subscribers need reassurance; I could do with a bit myself. We need to be careful though. The last thing they'll forgive is false optimism and promises of bonuses around the corner as if it all goes wrong they will blame us, probably quite rightly. I know I would.

    Reassurance is much more than just saying things will be nicer later on. However, if we provide them with what they need in these straightened conditions, and show them how it will not limit their plans and ambitions, empty predictions won't be needed.

    It's normally best to be up-front with customers and if you are offering them a slightly different product, it could be a good idea to let them know why. Concentrates on the positives. If it's cheaper then say so without mentioning you believe their income has suffered of late. If it is something that will help them with remote working, to cover their problems with security of personal information, then the last thing we need to mention is possible penalties. Tell them it's a safe system; they'll work the rest out themselves.

    Make your tone in the marketing email cheerful, bright and positive. The graphics should reflect this as well. Change the landing pages, CTAs, your website in general and any communication medium to reflect positivity.

    History of previous recessions show us that the first companies that go to the wall of those which are badly set up and have not effectively planned. Ensure this is not you. Monitor your market, see what is right for your subscribers and then go for it.

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