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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  • Write Copy For Subscribers Not The Product Jan 20, 2020

    Do you know what particular words and phrases your customers respond to best? More importantly, have you segmented your email marketing list to take this into account?

    How to ensure that the words and phrases you use in the body of the email relate to the specific subscriber might seem all but impossible, but we have evidence to show us a direction in which to go. If a particular Subject Line gives a great open rate for that particular segmented email marketing list, then it indicates what the subscribers relate to.

    If we take a Subject Line that was probably common to many marketing emails in the days before Christmas, ‘Last Minute Deals for your Christmas Shopping’, then we can make predictions as to the probability of who will open it.

    There’s the person who needs to buy a present for a forgotten relative, perhaps someone after a bit of a bargain by waiting until the last moment, or it could be a person for who the holiday booking time arrived as something of a surprise. One thing they have in common is urgency. They need to make a decision in short order.

    The wording of the email needs to work on the hurry aspect. Using words such as Now, Last Few, In Time for Christmas will increase the need to buy and buy now. You will make the point that ‘anything ordered before 7pm will be delivered in time for Christmas’, or better still, at least for me, is to have a count-down clock. As visual aids go, it works despite having a watch on my wrist.

    Consider other ways to encourage purchase immediately. If the item is likely to be a present, point out that there’s ‘Free Postage on Exchanged Items’ for a change in colour or size. Don’t make them look up relevant information. You want to induce in them a feeling of ‘what have I got to lose’, although don’t use that precise phrase in a marketing email.

    Placate them. You need to overcome their reluctance to commit. Point out that it is the best-selling, next best thing, this summer’s must have. You need to convince your subscribers that it will be welcomed by whomever they intend to receive it, even if it is only them.

    When they click through to the purchasing page, ensure that urgency is continued. Don’t let up for a moment. If there are choices, say of colour or size, then make it easy to choose. A two-click choice list works wonders. If there are just two or three, have the tick-boxes open by the ‘Buy Now’ button so there’s no drop-down list.

    There’s a lot to be said for a comment on the order acknowledgement to say that they have bought the item well before the deadline and they will receive it before Christmas. It not only reassures them, but might make them return to the marketing email.

    When creating the copy, keep wordage low, the words short, the theme, such as urgency, to the front of your mind. In other words, target each individual word.

  • Soft Selling In Your Marketing Campaigns Jan 14, 2020

    I was once on a course that had nothing to do with sales and email marketing. It was all about questioning techniques. The biggest problem for anyone engaged in interviews is trying to get to the truth and we were introduced to a number of methods of, they said, getting the person to open up.

    One chap who gave a talk used to be a salesman, his last product being caravans. His method - he had quite a number – was the soft approach. It can be summed up as getting the potential customer onside. Once that was cracked, the selling was easy.

    The basis of the technique was to avoid barriers to buying that potential customers would put up. He didn’t mention selling, buying, prices, availability or any such detail. He talked to them about sunny days on a campsite up in the hills, near the beach or as a method of touring, depending on whom he was talking to. All this without the benefit of email marketing data.

    His proposition, and one that was proven later, was that to get a person to respond to you, you need to put them at their ease. Make them feel as if they are in control by asking rather than telling. This must seem counter-intuitive, as we’ve all been told to instruct on a marketing email; bright and bold ‘Buy Now’ buttons being recommended.

    It is a method than can be exploited by us, especially with our greater knowledge of those whom we are marketing to. That’s not to suggest that directions, and ‘Limited Time Offer’ should not be used. But for big ticket items, ones where the subscriber might think carefully before getting out their credit card, it has a lot going for it.

    You should not hide the price of course, but placing the person in or on the product, showing how their lives will change, that particular problems are solved, of describing rather than telling, can work just as well. We have enough data on subscribers to our email marketing lists to produce the quiet, chatty, friendly pitch that will make them want to buy.

  • Hide Adverts And Click-Throughs In Full Sight Jan 13, 2020

    I’ve stored an advert to subscribe to an email marketing list for a little over nine months. It was in an enewsletter, with a hotlink to a landing page for ‘regular offers of products, often at a reduced price’. Whilst I didn’t expect to be offered anything I particularly wanted, I thought I’d give it a go. I felt a bit of pressure given how helpful the enewsletter had been.

    Each November/December I go through my desktop and laptops to rid them of the junk that sort of piles up without me doing anything. I recommend it. It’s hard work the first time, but it gets easier each year. Before you move anything from your download folder to somewhere to save it permanently, the thought goes through your mind that it will be causing your extra work in a few months.

    I’ve particular folders for various enewsletters I subscribe to. I had signed up for the particular one I mentioned when I’d bought new video editing software. It promised useful hints and advice, including various tricks and shortcuts. More to the point, it delivered. While some content is often bland, or meant for beginners, I’ve kept 18 of the weekly publications, now precisely filed and so easily found.

    The point of enewsletters is that a subscriber should find something useful, interesting, funny or relatable in most. The fact that I’ve kept 18 out of nearly 10 months of subscription, so a little under 50%, shows that they’ve cracked it as far as content goes.

    They are brief. The one I reread had about 4000 words in three articles. After the first, which explained a particular sub routine, there was the advert for subscribing to the email marketing list. It was just a hotlinked box. It doesn’t seem designed to leap out at you. Rather, it was a sort of apologetic cough. ‘Sorry to bother you, but . . .’

    The content of the newsletters is meant to be saved. There was a series of four which explained the process of picture-in-picture, and the way to induce subtle movement. It was the lead article in the first, the second in the second, and then the fourth in the remaining two. To get to all but the first article, I had to pass these little calls to action.

    If such a system will fit your business model and products, then it is most effective. What would you give to have 18 adverts on the computers of those who have already shown an interest in your products? There are mentions of various items, some of which were on offer if the reader wished to ‘click through below’.

    As I pointed out earlier, I’ve subscribed to the email marketing list. Not only that, I’ve also bought a rather nifty bit of audio editing software which has lots of facilities. I expect I’ll be saving a fair few enewsletters in the coming months, each with its call to action. I’ll probably continue forwarding them to friends keen on video editing.

  • What are the advantages of autoresponders for email marketing? Dec 24, 2019

    There’s something deliciously subversive about autoresponders. Once set up, you can sit back and relax, at least until the returns come in. You will have time to concentrate on other aspects of email marketing. What could be wrong with that?

    In short, nothing. It’s difficult finding dependable detailed statistics for autoresponders other than they repay many times over the little bit of effort it takes to set them up. If you like high returns on investment, then invest a little time in setting up an autoresponder.

    The main purpose of an autoresponder is to nurture leads and turn them into customers. They do this by automatically sending emails at specific times in the life cycle of a subscriber, or following a particular key incident.

    Instances where autoresponders shine include when a customer has not opened an email for a number of campaigns. Another, the classic situation, is when a cart is abandoned. Here’s someone who liked the look of a product enough to go to the completion page, only to back out at the last minute. A little bit of encouragement via an autoresponder and you can convince them to buy that product, or else a similar one.

    Let’s look at one of the simpler instances; when you gain a new subscriber to an email marketing list or an enewsletter. They will have a mix of emotions after giving their personal details to a complete stranger. They will be unsure whether they will be pestered by emails that don’t concern them. Then again, they will be excited by the bargains they will expect.

    The first autoresponder email should thank them for their trust and promise not to betray it. You will point out that they can unsubscribe at any time by clicking on the button at the bottom of every email you will send, ‘including this one.’ You might ask them how frequently they would like to receive offers, although point out that some will be time limited. If they’ve subscribed to a daily enewsletter, offer the alternative of a digest every Friday.

    You might dangle in front of them something free that you think would assist them, such as an online course or ebook. We need to reassure them they’ve nothing to fear and everything to anticipate. Over three emails, tell them how you will solve their problems. For their first marketing email, offer them something special. It could be a price reduction, or a reduction in them going premium.

    Plan the sequence carefully. Have a limit. It’s no good chasing a subscriber who does not respond. If they don’t open or respond to, say, five emails, then the best thing to do is remove them from your email marketing lists.

    Work out what you want from them. If it is to complete when they’ve abandoned a basket, the emails will differ from those where they’ve not opened a marketing email for some days. An autoresponder can do this without any direct input from you. Set it up well, and all you have to do is review it on occasion.

  • The Blessing Of Autoresponders Dec 24, 2019

    The blessing of autoresponders is that, once they are set up, all the work is done for you, apart from reviewing it periodically to ensure everything is going well. Whether it will be a success or not will depend on the way you’ve planned it. It need not take long, but it will take application.

    There are a number of factors that need to be taken into account. For instance, the targets will be subscribers to your email marketing lists, so you will not want to overwhelm them with masses of emails, not when the unsubscribe button is there for them to express their irritation.

    When to start will depend on individual circumstances of course. If you are chasing an abandoned cart, the first email needs to be sent promptly, just after they’ve closed the page, in order to stop them buying elsewhere. If that email is opened and there is no further action on their behalf, then a follow-up with an offer of slightly higher quality or lower price should follow.

    Frequency is a consideration. If two or three emails in short time, perhaps a week, is abnormal for your type of product, then you might want to end it there. However, if your offer is time-limited, one, two or more with shorter gaps between them might instil a sense of urgency in making up their minds.

    How many is too many needs to be calculated in accordance with the number of normal marketing emails you will be sending. There is no limit to how many can be in your plan. It is not unusual for them to continue for months, with the gaps varying with time.

    If the content is information rather than sales, then you can carry on. This can encourage the recipient to open all emails with your From Line. It can be best to ensure that the subject line makes the purpose of the email plain.

    Autoresponders work from those who have not completed for a time, to those who might need consumables. Its main function is to allow you time to plan rather than waste it on repetitious tasks.

  • Images: Pretty But Not Stunning Dec 20, 2019

    I’ve just been to see the annual prize-winning images at a local photographic club. It was a treat, with some quite remarkable, and affecting, pictures that you might consider putting in your living room. They caught the attention with their composition, use of colour and subject matter. None, of course would be any use for an email marketing campaign.

    The last thing you want is for a subscriber’s attention to be focused on the images when it is the text you want them to read. Call to action buttons would be ignored. The lasting memory they would take away from the email would be the image.

    The function of an image in a marketing email is to get the receiver to click through to a landing page. Completions are everything. To this end we need to ensure that the subscriber follows a route that takes them to a call to action. Any delays, any side turnings, could mean loss of control.

    Every word of your text should encourage a click through. ‘Click through now’ is not only simple, it works. People like nothing better than to be told what to do. It is not so easy with images, but it is simple.

    Here are some pointers – there are no rules in email marketing – to consider.

    1/ Don’t make the image the main feature of the email. You don’t want them to focus on the image. Get them to move on.

    2/ Make the image forgettable. No one remembers the layout or words. If they do, you’ve done something wrong. The same goes for the pictures. Ensure the image is as memorable as a road sign.

    3/ Pretty is good. You want to grab a subscriber’s attention with an image, but not to concentrate on it. Pretty will make them look, stunning will make them stay.

    4/ Direct the reader’s attention. The most difficult function of the image is to ensure the reader moves onto the section of the marketing email you want them to look at next. Whilst I would not suggest you stick a dirty great arrow in the image, if it can be made part of the scene, then go ahead. Here are two simple techniques that can control where a person looks.

    a/ You can ‘unbalance’ an image. If you want the reader’s attention to move to the left, then, if you have a person in the picture, put them to the left of the centre line and have them looking left. It takes a really obstinate person to continue looking at the picture.

    b/ An image can direct the eye around it by, perhaps, having a foreground, a middle distance and then further away. It’s easiest done with curves. Have the text or call to action you want them to see next as the following stage of the curve.

    A good image for email marketing is one that makes the subscribers do what you want them to do, to go where you want. It won’t be one you want to put on a wall.

  • Perfect Stock Image For Your Email Campaign Dec 19, 2019

    The cheapest method of sourcing images for email marketing campaigns is to take them yourself or have your staff do so, for suitable reward one hopes. You’ll eventually have quite a few to choose from, although, of course, they’ll lack that bit of professionalism you want to encourage.

    If you’ve got the budget, you might consider stock images. You’ll have a vast range to select from; thousands being the norm. This can be a problem in itself. How can you choose from so many? Don’t worry though. The ability to skim through dozens of images in a few seconds soon develops. It has to, I suppose.

    The biggest block on stock images is price. You will have a strict budget for an email marketing campaign and some of the charges on the more professional sites are eye-watering. Photographers have to make a living, much as this might irritate, and expertise comes at a cost.

    There is a compromise though. The images on the up-market sites are stunning. The problem with them is not so much that they grab the attention but they retain it. You don’t want a work of art; you’re after something that provides an identical function to your text. In other words, the image needs to ensure that the reader clicks through. It’s not there to inspire or entertain.

    The purpose of text and images is to direct. Anything that deflects from this should be eliminated. You know those on your email marketing lists and should be able to work out what will grab their attention without them becoming fascinated by it. You don’t need brilliant photographers for this.

    The cheaper images are often more generic. They should be of high digital quality without any of the self-indulgence of the professional. Find one that is simple, directs the readers’ attention to the Click Here button, and is instantly forgettable.

    We all like beautiful pictures, but that’s not what email marketing is about. We want something that grabs the attention for a second or two, and then points the reader to where we want them to go. It’s a bonus that they can be cheaper as well.

    Nityen Prakash likes this.
  • Subject Lines For Christmas Campaigns Dec 17, 2019

    You are probably as fed up with Black Friday and Cyber Monday email marketing campaigns as are the subscribers to your email marketing lists. They’ve probably been more stressed than you as they will have seen their preview pane a mess of Black, Cyber, Friday, Monday and Weeks.

    How did you do? Were you as successful as you expected? Perhaps you were as good as you hoped. Some hope. However, regardless of how well your campaigns turned out to be, you will have got some vital data for your Christmas campaigns.

    The problem with Black Friday and Cyber Monday is that everyone else will be using the same titles. It is what subscribers are looking for. It is the biggest week, possibly month, for many of us in email marketing. Go your own way and you might struggle to make an impression.

    The last few weeks of the year are often vital. They will be the same for your competitors. If one particular marketing email campaign had a higher open rate than the average, then you have something to work on. If more than one, you are in clover.

    See how the Subject Line differed from your others. It might seem that Black Monday, etc, might be special, but it is only so because of the limitations placed on you wanting to be noticed whilst still mentioning what all your competitors also mention.

    You might have put Black at the back. You might have worked on the selfishness of your subscribers by suggesting they treat themselves. Works on me. I was struck by one email with a heart in the Subject Line. I may well be shallow. So might your subscribers.

    If you subscribe to the email marketing lists of your competitors, and if not, why not - all those ideas going to waste – then what stood out for you? What made you look twice? More importantly, what made the others look unimaginative?

    There will be a mass of marketing emails going out to the masses this Christmas. Some of them will be your customers. Make sure your Subject Line stands out. Copy your successes and other people’s.

  • 7 Things Not To Do For Black Friday Campaigns Dec 17, 2019

    I have an email address that I use for subscribing to email marketing lists in order to discover the latest trends and see what works and what doesn’t. Over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday (hereinafter Black Friday) weekend, I discovered, with little surprise, that I had 17 emails which included the heading Black Friday. What chance for one to stand out?

    I’ve had emails for Black Friday Week and, I bet, I’ve missed one for Black Friday Month. The problem is that your subscribers expect offers over this period and to fail to provide them might make them feel you’ve failed them. What to do?

    Let’s come in from the other direction; often a good way in email marketing. What should you not do?

    1/ Make your Subject Line like everyone else’s

    Remember, the subject line will be what they will see when they open their email list. Check with your competition. What are they saying? You can change your Subject Line quickly. If it has been replicated, choose something else.

    And talking of different, I had one email where, in the preview window, the Subject Line’s final word was Black. The rest described the offer. It stood out. I know not everyone subscribes to the number of email marketing lists I do, but there will probably be more than one. If not, then whatever you do will be good.

    2/ Offer your product at the same price as a previous campaign

    I was offered 30% off a product that I was offered 30% off in September. Not everyone keeps their marketing emails as long as I do, but subscribers have long memories.

    3/ Fail to prepare the ground

    I’ve had a couple of emails in the weeks previous to Black Friday exciting me with promises of what’s to come. That’s not normally a tactic I’d recommend, but in this case, it gives an edge.

    4/ Send too frequently or repeatedly

    Sending me a marketing email on Friday with an offer, another on Saturday telling me it’s still available, then another on Monday is not a good idea.

    5/ Waffle

    Keep everything short, sharp and to the point. Don’t explain what Black Friday is. We know only too well.

    You are fighting against a whole lot of other email marketing companies. This is the time to hit subscribers hard, right from the off. Tell them what the offer is. Explain any time limits. Show them an image. Don’t hide additional costs.

    6/ Stick to the same old

    Black Friday emails appear to come in batches. Everyone picked the same general time to send to me. It’s obviously the optimum for open rates. However, this weekend is different. It’s peak time for many companies. Split test by sending at a different time. It might work. I don’t know, and if you don’t, find out.

    7/ Forget what happened

    Black Friday is probably different to all other email marketing campaigns. Include it with all other data but also use only the returns from the weekend to plan for next year.

    Now for Cyber Monday.

  • The inherent danger of using simple targets in email marketing Dec 11, 2019

    There’s a lot to be said for targets. With a clear goal, a team will have a focus they can concentrate on. There’s little doubt that having targets gives good results. After all, if your target is to increase open rates by 15% and you hit it, or even go slightly above it, you’ve made a success of that particular email marketing campaign. Most importantly, you can prove how effective you are.

    Targets can have a strong upside. With everyone pulling in the same direction, a supportive team spirit can result, and that alone is a positive by anyone’s calculation. Given that the target is hit, then everyone can feel they’ve done well and they are ready for the next challenge. There is, however, a distinct downside.

    One of the most frequently asked questions in email marketing is what particular percentage is good for a particular metric. If someone new to the craft has an open rate of 10% they could well be confused as to whether this is an acceptable rate or not. Or, to put it another way, can they relax or do they need to work on it?

    First of all, let’s make it abundantly clear that you can never relax. Secondly, you should be competing with yourself. Everyone else’s returns are of no interest. The purpose of split testing is to show what the way forward is by measuring against your own performance.

    Let’s take one factor where, you might think, there can be few, if any, downsides to setting a target figure; open rates. After all, if a marketing email is not opened, there can be no completion, and that’s the ultimate goal. Increase the open rates and click-throughs will increase by the same percentage, and the same will go for completions. It stands to reason.

    The downside alluded to earlier can be demonstrated by taking an extreme example to make the point clear; at least let’s hope it’s extreme. Your next email marketing campaign is intended to get sign-ups for your webinar covering advertising on social media. The last time you tried this, your open rate was just 6% and you lost money due to insufficient sign-ups.

    You set up a little team with the target of increasing open rates by 10%. The main problem will be that your team will do everything they can to improve the Subject Line. You might think that this is what you want. Consider, though, how they will go about this. Will they hype the product? ‘Brilliant New Way of Using Social Media Ads’ will, no doubt, increase open rates, but then what.

    There’s no mention of webinar. Perhaps they considered that this was what was giving rise to a low open rate. What will happen when your subscribers read on and find they are duped?

    If your normal open rate for an email marketing campaign hovers around 12% then there’s a reason the previous webinar one was low. The best way to improve your figures is to discover why with split testing.

  • There’s an inherent problem with targets in email marketing Dec 11, 2019

    Have you ever worked under one of those bosses who was personable, convincing, enthusiastic, and, given a target, would chase it? A 20% increase in an email marketing list? Off they’d go, like a rat on a rocket down a drain, everything ignored except that figure.

    Their management tactics would have begun with setting targets. Then came the ‘getting everyone on board’, with the implied threat of terrible things if you were not a team player. Challenge a decision or, worse still, point out that it conflicted with another department’s remit, and you’d be levered aside. You had to avoid submitting a well-researched initiative at all costs.

    Management by objectives is a repeating fashion. Its main attractions are that it is easy to set up, easy to measure, and if you fail to achieve the target, you will have the same target again but have to work harder at it.

    It comes with baggage. Teams become focused on the target and ignore everything else. In email marketing especially, by focusing on individual metrics, such as click-through rates, others tend to be ignored and there are knock-on effects. If the unsubscribe rate goes up, then that’s someone else’s problem. Importantly for us, it’s a short-term solution, with problems to come later.

    Targets for a particular metric misses the point of them. They are there for comparison purposes; not against your competitor, but in comparison to an initiative. Management by objective is about control, but you should be encouraging creative thought. Someone suggests ‘A’ might improve matters. If you try it in a split test, you will know.

    Email marketing is all about experiment, coming up with possibilities, even off the wall ones: Management by objectives is limitation. All the control you need is exercised by the returns to a split test. If an initiative doesn’t work then try something else. Try something different.

    Allow your staff the ability to be wrong. Limit them, and you limit your returns. Encourage them to be inventive and creative. It might seem risky, but you are merely doing what the creator of the last brilliant email marketing revolution did.

  • The Most Effective Way To Use Split Testing Dec 10, 2019

    You will have been told that you should test everything you do, and then test again. An email marketing campaign that doesn’t include a split test somewhere in it is a waste. You’ll never get that opportunity again.

    Split testing is a simple system of problem solving. You identify something that is of concern, for example, your open rate. It might have been increasing at a steady rate for some months but now appears to have plateaued.

    There are any number of possible causes, such as Subject Line. Subscribers might be getting a little fed up with the same style all the time. Or it might be timing. You don’t know. Split testing will identify a cause.

    As with all things email marketing, guidelines are just that; guides. You can ignore them if you wish. However, the one rule is to have a good reason for doing so.

    1/ Test only one thing at a time

    Split testing, otherwise known as A/B testing, is used to show whether a single alteration works. It returns dependable data although some interpretation might be required. Testing more than one feature is known as multivariate email testing and has different guidelines which you can also ignore, although at your peril.

    2/ Test something that is likely to increase your RoI

    Don’t test for testing’s sake, although every metric can be improved. It’s more a case of prioritising. Pick the aspect of performance that is likely to improve your RoI the most.

    3/ Split your list randomly

    Let’s accept that there’s no such thing as random. However, you can do it in a manner that makes the results statistically dependable. If you want to test 10% of the list, then every tenth person is about as random as it gets. Do not pick a factor, such as age, that is personal to subscribers.

    4/ Know the limitations

    If you test on a free offer, the result might not be applicable to a campaign to sign up to a seminar. Results can be specific.

    5/ Keep the numbers up

    There is no fixed percentage of split to give a dependable result. If you have a small email marketing list, then 50:50 might be an essential. If you glory in a big one, then 5% might be more than enough.

    6/ Give it time

    Run the test for a sufficient time. The smaller your email marketing list, the longer you need to run it to obtain dependable data.

    7/ Remember where you started

    Just comparing one side of the test is not enough. Check your data before testing and see if there’s been any overall improvement.

    8/ Believe your data

    It should not need saying but instigate changes on the results from the test, otherwise there’s no point in split testing. If the difference is minor, and you are not certain it is significant, then test again, perhaps on another email marketing list.

    Split testing is a skill that must be mastered to get the best out of email marketing. It should also be continuous.

  • Can You Trust The Returns From A Split Test? Nov 29, 2019

    Split testing is just about as dependable a tool as we have for validating a change in an email marketing campaign. We have an original, the control, and we compare it to one, the variant, that has a single feature that is different from the control. It stands to reason that if the variant gives statistically better returns than the control, it is the way to go. QED and probably other initials.

    It’s not quite that straightforward though. You should, must in reality, believe the returns. If you ignore them, then you’ve wasted all the time and effort of the split test, but worse, you’re reducing your RoI. However, as with most returns, they need to be interpreted.

    If you split tested an email marketing campaign where the purpose was to obtain sign-ups for a conference, and the factor you changed was to include pictures of happy previous attendees, then it does not necessarily follow that pictures of exultant office staff will have the same benefit for an email marketing campaign for printer toner. You need to test again for such different products.

    You will probably have split your email marketing lists and offered a certain product to one list, and then to those picked on slightly different criteria. If the alteration enthused one group, the others, by definition, are different, with different triggers. Say you split the lists on age grounds. Nostalgia might work wonderfully on one, but be incomprehensible to the other

    What, then can you believe?

    Firstly, the returns are impeccable. They cannot lie. If they prove the change of colour of the CTA button gave a 4% increase in click-throughs, then go with it.

    The caveat, isn’t there always one, is that interpretation is required. There are variables and they might have affected the returns. That specific split email marketing list had specific metrics that probably won’t apply to others. You don’t have to guess though. If you run other split tests on other lists, then you will know what to believe.

    Split testing is ongoing. One good result does not mean you’ve cracked it.

  • Why are so many of your marketing emails going to spam? Nov 22, 2019

    It’s what we all have done, are doing or will do; worrying about the proportion of marketing emails being classed as spam. Internet service providers have various ways of defining spam and the reason your latest email marketing campaign has fallen foul of so many is, to put it kindly, because it deserved it. There is no other interpretation, but there are reasons. Do yours fall into any of the categories below?

    1/ Your emails are spam

    You probably think this is not you. Your company is established, honest and provides value for money. You are merely using email marketing to get to a larger clientele. Yet many such companies collect email addresses from people they have interacted with on other matters, for instance from subscribers to newsletters. If enough recipients mark the emails as spam, you will become marked.

    The same can go for bought-in lists. If you must buy, then choose a reputable source, and even then, many suggest sending a reconfirmation email. If there’s any doubt that permission has been granted, then check by asking them or else run the risk of being classed as spam, as well as being fined.

    Look upon email list hygiene not as a chore but as a tool to ensure it is, if not pristine, then as high a quality as you can make it. Don’t just clear bounces, but those where you have no proof of permission. Ensure there is no seepage between your email marketing list and any other email lists you use.

    2/ You have been underhand

    Trickery might work once, maybe twice, but then it’s the naughty folder.

    Instances include not being clear what the person was subscribing to. They should not be expecting a newsletter or other information. Make it clear they are subscribing to your email marketing list, and don’t blur boundaries.

    It can be tempting to exaggerate in the Subject Line. ‘From £100’ might get you open rates but if the cheapest, when all on-costs are calculated, is well above that, you will generate anger and resentment. It’ll hurt your RoI.

    Worst still is trying to confuse by including Re: or Fwd: Open rates are empty if there’s no completion. Remember how much each subscriber to your email marketing list costs and then look to the conveniently placed unsubscribe button.

    Well, let’s hope it is conveniently placed and it is not obscured or missing altogether. If a subscriber wants to unsubscribe then the best thing you can do is make it convenient. If you don’t, subsequent emails will be classed as spam. Further, if a subscriber does unsubscribe, then you have an opportunity of sending a confirmatory email in which you will allow them the ability to opt for modified times of send, or frequency. You might even remind them of the bargains they have bought.

    The main reason you have a high unsubscribe rate is down to something you are doing wrong: playing dirty or sending spam. The cost of being blacklisted far outweighs any gains. Play fair, play clean.

  • How to overcome the problem with image heavy marketing emails Nov 21, 2019

    You probably think that if you pack your next email marketing campaign with images and little copy, it might well go to the spam folder, or even be bounced. To an extent you are correct. ISPs tend to bin image heavy marketing emails but there are simple, cheap and easy ways around the problem.

    Quite reasonably, you might think, ISPs will compare your alt text to the HTML version. If they don’t correspond, they’ll class it as spam. However, another reason for the rejection of image heavy emails is that ISPs want to process emails quickly, and one packed with images slows its processes. It makes things easier to block them.

    Your text to image ratio will also be a factor, which pleases me as a copywriter. If you have little or no text accompanying the image, and this doesn’t include any text in the image itself, then it is risky. Spammers tend to rely on images to get around filters as banned keywords are not picked up.

    If, for instance, you, like many others, have discovered that you get a higher completion rate with email marketing campaigns which contain a lot of images, then all is not lost. There is no need, of course, to opt for text only. You need to focus on the balance between image and text.

    One simple method is to add text. It’s obvious really. Describe the product at the top of the email, just under the header. A sentence or two might be enough, depending on the proportion of image. You will probably have a footer image that contains the unsubscribe button, preceded by the ‘manage your subscription one, and gives the other details required by the regulations.

    Replace this with text. There’s no disadvantage and it tends to look more friendly. If you’ve included a fair bit of copy in the image, then consider splitting the image and putting the copy into text.

    According to research, images sell. There seems to be no reasonable argument against it. However, too much can cause problems with ISP filters. A little forethought can mitigate the threat without compromising the design.