Email Marketing - Quick Guide


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Email Marketing - Overview

In this tutorial, we will be focusing on the world of "Email Marketing". There are many reasons why email marketing is a must-have in your digital marketing strategy. We will discuss how experts have used email marketing as a core tactic in their digital strategies.

Email Marketing

The very first question that arises in our mind is − What is Email Marketing? There are many reasons why email marketing plays such a critical role in overall digital marketing.

What is Email Marketing?

Promoting a business by sending emails and newsletters is what we call email marketing. Today’s marketers need to do more with less. They need to connect with their audience in a highly personalized way, while staying on budget. Marketers who are good at email marketing can connect with their customers in a highly targeted way. They will be successful in delivering ROI and revenue back to the business.

No marketing category has the longevity of email marketing. While some marketing trends come and go, email remains the most powerful channel available to the modern marketer.

Target Customer

Why Should We Do Email Marketing?

Email is a tool that nearly everyone uses today, and it continues to grow and be more prevalent in the lives of people around the world. There are three times more email accounts than there are Facebook & Twitter accounts combined. Many of the top marketers from some of the most successful companies across the world believe email is the #1 channel for growing your business.

As a marketer, you have many channels available to reach your audience, but with limited time and resources, you need to prioritize your efforts. Email Marketing is by far the most effective channel to attract, engage and connect with an audience to drive sales and revenue for your business.

How to Do Email Marketing?

In the subsequent chapters, we will be describing each stage of Email marketing in detail. After completing this tutorial, you will surely be able to start your Email Marketing Campaigns. Get your feet wet by setting up an email campaign. If you have a website, put a sign-up form on it. Collect some Emails through this sign-up form. So at the end, you can send some test emails to them.

Pro & Cons of Email Marketing

The following table lists down the pros and cons of Email Marketing −

Pros Cons
Emails direct traffic to your website. Too many e-mails from various marketers.
It is an easy way to reach mobile customers. Spam filters catch bulk marketing emails
It's an effective way to keep customers informed. Too much online marketing.
It's easy to customize and integrate into other marketing tactics. Email marketing is inexpensive. Unsubscribe buttons − anyone can press it easily.

Email Marketing - Mailing List

What is Mailing List?

A mailing list is simply a list of addresses to which the same information is being sent. If you were a magazine publisher, you would have a list of the mailing addresses of all the subscribers to the magazine. In the case of an electronic mailing list, we use a list of email addresses from people interested in hearing about or discussing a given topic.

There are two types of Email Mailing Lists −

Announcement Lists

These are used so that one person or group can send announcements to a group of people, much like a magazine publisher's mailing list is used to send out magazines. For example, a band may use a mailing list to let their fan base know about their upcoming concerts.

Announcement List

Discussion List

It is used to allow a group of people to discuss topics amongst themselves, with everyone able to send mail to the list and have it distributed to everyone in the group. This discussion may also be moderated, so only selected posts are sent on to the group as a whole, or only certain people are allowed to send to the group. For example, a group of model plane enthusiasts might use a mailing list to share tips about their model construction and flying.

Collection of Emails

The very first task for email Marketing is to collect email addresses of those who would like to listen from you. There are many ways of collecting data in detail, but for this tutorial, I will just give an overview of various ways.

Formula for Growing Email List

In analyzing the websites and techniques of some awesome email list builders, a certain formula started to emerge. If we could break down the process of building a massive email list to just its most basic parts, then it would look like this −

Email List

Can it really be that simple? I think so.

Basically, everything begins with content. People will find your site because of your amazing content. They will keep coming back for this amazing content. Your content will be the foundation of what you email to them, which will be the reason they stay subscribed (or not). It all starts with amazing content. If you have got amazing content, then start asking for emails. People who are interested would like to receive that content as often as you create, delivered straight to their inbox.

The CTA (Call-to-Action) is your final instruction to the reader.

Strategies to Grow Email List

Multiple CTAs − It seems like those who build lists design their web, blog best and calls-to-action. You cannot escape their calls to sign up. There might be a signup in a popover, a signup at the top of a blog post, another one at the bottom. Basically, the design assumes that people will view the site differently and that in order to maximize the chances that a potential subscriber sees a signup form you’d best put sign up forms everywhere.

Give & Take − Attaching something valuable to your email signup form is a surefire way to create interest in readers’ mind. Basically, give something away for free, for the price of an email address (which we all know is worth way more than free to the site that gets it). For example, you can attach E-books, Cheat sheets, Email series, Video, Private blog content, and Early access to new features.

Handy Opt in Links − Bear in mind that people can sign up to an email list in places other than an email capture form. You can get the link and share it in a huge number of different places like email signatures, social media messages, and guest blog bios. Depending on your email software, there is likely a landing page devoted to acquiring email signups. Once you have the link, keep it handy. You never know when you might have a chance to use it. How to get that Link? We will be discussing it shortly.

Disclose Your Social Strength

Would you be more apt to join an email list, if you knew 80,000 other people were already signed up? The concept of social proof says yes, which is why you see many sites advertise the size of their email list on their signup form.

Create Remarkable Email Content

Your content needs to be amazing, if you want people to stay subscribed and forward your emails to their friends, family, and colleagues that aren't already on your email list.

How the Best Sites Gain Signups?

Now that you’ve seen that there are many different ways to grow an email list, I’d love to show you how some of the top sites implement these ideas. Here is what my favorite sources for email collection are −

  • Here is the trick for gaining more email signups with this link. Reply to each mention on Twitter, often starting a conversation with folks who have shared your content. As a part of this conversation, you’ll drop in an offer to sign up for his email list, sending over the direct link to do so.

  • Encourage your current email subscribers to share and forward your emails by including social sharing buttons and an "Email to a Friend" button in your marketing emails. At the bottom of your emails, include a "Subscribe" CTA as a simple text-based link, so that those receiving the forwarded emails can easily opt-in, too.

Organizing Mailing List

It is very important to organize all the email addresses that you have gathered. All you have to do is to combine all the emails you collected in one single mass Email List, so that in the end, you have got all subscribers in one single file. I prefer to use MS-Excel for combining the list. After combining the list, you may need to export it in text or a CSCV file as required by your Mailing Client.

You can convert an Excel worksheet to a text file by using the Save As command. Click the Microsoft Office Button Click Save As. In the save as type box, choose the text file format for the worksheet. For example, click Text (Tab delimited) or CSV (Comma delimited). Don’t forget to do some sorting to avoid any invalid emails.

Formatting Emails

This is the main part to clean your list from bad, dead email addresses. There might be many wrongly typed email addresses in your list. Some typo errors, syntax errors and possible some bouncing email addresses, if you are dealing with your old email List. On an average, about 22.5% email addresses get deactivated, banned or deleted per year, so that must be the bad news, if you are one of the victim dealing with an old email list.

Validation

While reading this book you must be thinking that every part is not must to read. But sincerely this part is important enough to avoid being marked as a spammer or being blacklisted. If you are paying to top Email Marketing Clients like Mail Chimp, Aweber etc. then this part is not necessary. But believe me, if you have got millions of Email addresses or you are running some other Bulk Email Clients that are hosted on your server then you probably need these steps done before launching any email campaign. These I will be discussing in detail later in chapter “Service Providers”

Opt-in

An opt-in policy requires a potential customer to self-select the services they wish to subscribe to, and how any information they provide may be used. It is also referred as permission-based marketing.

As discussed in the previous chapter, there are formal ways to gather email addresses using a CTA. Cash rewards, coupons, and convenience appeal to many consumers, but often these benefits come at the cost of an undisclosed contract for use of personal information. Individuals may choose to share their data, but they should be afforded transparency over how their data will be used and with whom it will be shared.

Sign Up

Opt-out

An opt-out policy through which a customer can unsubscribe through the link attached in the email.

Opt-Out

Should you email people that never signed up nor have done business with you and tell them they can unsubscribe if they don’t want to hear from you? The answer is NO.

As I personally don’t recommend you to start building an e-relationship by force-feeding recipients you’re messaging and telling them they can opt out or unsubscribe. By doing it the right way, your brand will be protected.

Email Marketing - HTML & Text Emails

Having an HTML email does not hurt your deliverability as long as you have two things − a properly coded HTML email and a plain-text version.

The results confirmed what we assumed: HTML emails decreased open rates. What was interesting, however, was that not only were HTML emails receiving lower open rates than their plain-text counterparts, the more HTML-rich an email was, the lower its open rate.

HTML Email

If there are some broken tags in your HTML, the email provider and users can mark it as spam. That'll hurt deliverability − not just for that email, but also for any other emails coming from that particular email address in the future.

The emails with fewer HTML elements won with statistical significance.

HTML Email

Plain Text Email

Most email marketing tools will let you easily create plain-text versions within their email editor, so take those five extra minutes to create and optimize the plain-text version of your email. Otherwise, email providers such as Gmail or Outlook might think your email is dodgy. After experiencing different tests; it is found that the Plain Text version has got as much as 25% more open rates when compared to the HTML. Not only the open rates, it has also got 21% more clicks through rates as compared to the HTML emails.

Plain Text Email

Email Marketing - Newsletters

Newsletters are a shortened form of newspaper and informational letter. Generally used to describe a periodic publication distributed by e-mail to an opt-in list of subscribers. Newsletters are normally used by organizations or owners of a Website to communicate with their readers.

Some companies may sell targeted ads within their newsletters. Bear in mind, if you are going to send a Newsletter to subscribers then balance your newsletter content to be 90% educational and 10% promotional.

Newsletters

Regardless of the possibility that your supporters agree to your messages, there's no assurance that they will open your messages, once they get them in their inbox. Numerous advertisers have a go at it, so as to expand the recognition with their supporters by keeping the headline same every day, week, or month that they send it.

Be that as it may, let's be honest; headlines get old for endorsers − and quick. Why? Since there's no motivation from the headline to tap on that particular email right now. A superior methodology would be to attempt to have an alternate, inventive, drawing in the title for every Newsletter you send.

Promotional Newsletters

Be cautious with uncommon offer messages. This is the sort of stuff that is almost ensured to wind up in the "Promotional tab" in Gmail. When you send an exceptional offer, make sure you segment your lists first. You would prefer not to send a discount code to somebody who simply paid the maximum yesterday.

At this point, I need to share a promotional email from CrashPlan.

Promotional Newsletter

The copy in this email is all about giving, not getting. Special offers are often seasonal and CrashPlan did something interesting with this holiday email. If you give CrashPlan to someone else, you get two free months for yourself.

Email Marketing - Announcements

Email is a fantastic way to announce a new product or service your business is offering. The key to getting your audience excited about your latest business offering is by answering these four questions in your next product announcement email.

  • What is it?
  • Why should I care?
  • What’s included?
  • How do I get it?

What is it?

Let your audience know exactly why you’re emailing them, and the product or service you have available.

For example: “ABC Institute is happy to announce a new Math class” or “Our latest collection is now available at the XYZ Clothing Store.”

Be simple and direct in letting your audience know what is new. Use your brief, short and direct statement as your email headline or even in your subject line. Within your email, you should also include an image of the new product or a picture that represents your new service. Yes, it’s really true that a picture is worth a thousand words, and that’s one thousand less words you need to write to help sell your new product!

Why should they care?

In your email, tell your audience why they should spend time caring about your message. Tell them the benefits of your new product or service that would directly impact them. In our Institute example, you could say something such as, “Our new Math class is perfect for students looking for a Job as an Accountant.” Clearly articulating the benefits of your new product or service can pique the interest of your customers.

What’s included?

The goal of a product announcement email is to get your readers interested enough to click on your call to action. You don’t need to include a laundry list of every single item that’s included in your new product. However, you should include the main features that would be of interest to the consumers.

In our clothing store example, you could say something like, “Our latest collection is inspired by the early ‘70s and includes Jane bags, jumpsuits, suede skirts and more. All of our clothing is made with the promise of quality.”

A simple list of the key features of a new product or service will help keep your email focused. If you’re offering a special discount or promotion to introduce the product, that should also be very prominent in your email. For example: “For a limited time only, save 15% off any item in our new collection.”

How do I get it?

Make it very clear what your email recipient needs to do to get your new product or service. If you’re selling the product or service online, a clear “Shop Now” button works. If you want to drive people to the website to get more details, try “Learn More.” If you want to drive users towards a call or a visit, make your phone number or your physical address stand out in the email. We have a handy call to action button generator for your emails.

Email Marketing - Event Invitation

Events and emails go hand in hand. Whether you host an open house, charity gala, webinar or a customer appreciation day, the best way to promote your event and invite guests is through email invitation. It is similar to what you have been doing for all your other emails. The following image shows a sample template of an email invitation.

Event Name
  • Subject − You need an engaging and interesting subject line to pull your readers in.

  • Logo/Company Name − Using a masthead (Banner), as you would in a newsletter, works well.

  • Reason − Let the readers know what’s in it for them. Will they learn something new? Will they get to make and take something home? Will they get to network with 500 people in their industry?

  • Event Details − You obviously can’t have an event without a date, time and place. Include whatever is required like the venue, demo, webinar, or a new service and include a full log-in or signup details. Also include a link back to your website, and contact info like a phone number or email address for your business, so someone can call with questions if need be.

  • Call to Action − Once again every email needs a call to action. Don’t forget the formula I had told for successful Email Marketing. Use a button maker to help with this task, and direct people to either your signup form, your website, to a landing page, blog post, or even a Facebook events page that has a lot more details.

Now here comes the reason why I PREFACED

I just need to share these bonus tips that are essential for Email Marketing. Whatever you have read above like the Subject Line, Logo, Reason, Event Details, CTA. You can find them on the internet. What I want to share is the collection of tips that can make an EVENT successful.

  • Send more than one email − An event email isn’t a one-and-done deal. You should send at least three emails about your event. Be sure to send reminders to those who haven’t opened or clicked your email. The day before the event, send one last email to recap important information like where to park and directions.

  • Invite guests via Social Media − In addition to inviting your contacts via email, you can also invite guests via Facebook by creating an event. It’s not only another way to promote your event, but you can invite people that you don’t have email addresses for.

  • Email past participants first, and offer them a discount − If this is a recurring event, reward past participants by emailing them first and/or offering them a discount.

  • Offer early bird and regular pricing − If your event comes with a cost, offer two pricing options: Early bird and regular. Reward people who jump on the opportunity early.

With these tips, your next event email should be a shining success.

Take a look at the following event invitation. It shows how you can use all the elements discussed above to attract the attention of your customers −

San Francisco

Email Marketing - Content

Email Copywriting

Email marketing involves a unique form of copywriting that a lot of people, especially when just starting out, have some difficulty planning and executing. There are many similarities with other forms of copywriting, but there are also some unique opportunities and pitfalls as well. These articles will examine some of the elements of writing for email marketing and walk you through the basic steps of crafting your message.

How to Write Subject Lines?

The subject line of your email is the hook that draws your subscriber to open your email. Whatever extraordinary performance you have done while writing your email, that all will go waste if you do not choose the apt subject line for the email. Write a line that is catchy as well as personalized. Remember not to exceed more than 10 words. See the research below.

Subject Line

The Importance of the “From” Address

The “From” address is vital for email marketing to succeed as a form of communication. Most people will not open an email unless they recognize the “from address”. If you are sending email to the people, who know you by name send them with your personal email rather than sending from "no-reply, info, and newsletter" etc.

Making Email Content Relevant

Consider the success of blogs, forums and social networks. Those interactive channels are effective because users feel involved and engaged. Build off that premise with email copywriting by keeping the subscribers engaged and making them a part of the content.

You can consider including the following −

  • Reader polls
  • Reader case studies
  • Q&As with customers
  • User-generated content

Writing a Call to Action in Your Email

Your subscriber needs to know why you are sending them an email. This reason should lead them to a clear call to action. This CTA defines the action your subscriber is to take after they open up your email. With too many CTA’s, email marketers run the risk of confusing or overwhelming subscribers. When customers are presented too many options, they may be less likely to purchase. Instead, focus your calls to action and limit the effort it takes to act.

You can consider these quick tips −

  • Rely on size and placement position to emphasize the call to action.
  • Write call to action copy that tells subscribers exactly what they can expect.
  • Use copy that reinforces to subscribers that taking action will be quick and easy.
Action in Email

Personalized Emails

So what are Personalized Emails? Have any Idea... No?

Alright give me a chance to characterize you in a short story.

Have you ever walked into your favorite store or restaurant and a member of the staff immediately recognized you? Imagine they said something like “Hey Sofia, we just got in a great hat that will go with the coat you bought last month!”

It would be a pretty surprising feeling, right?

We’re used to wandering anonymously through the world. However, if we’re offered useful information based on our likes, well that would be pretty handy. A study says that personalized emails had 29% higher open rates and 41% higher click rates than emails without any personalization. Sending a highly targeted, well-personalized email can increase your opens and clicks, drive conversion rates higher, and deliver some serious value to your users. As far as my experience is concerned, I usually get much more response, open rate, click rate with personalized message. Here are some examples to show you personalization in email marketing.

Personalized Email

Personalizing Subject Line − As I discussed in the previous topic “Email Copywriting” that a catchy and personalized subject is all you have to write for a successful Email. You might have opened those unknown emails that include your name in subject line. Haven’t you? For a personalized email, write the name of subscriber or anything that catches attention.

Formula of KISS-Keep it Simple, Stupid

It is an important reminder for you not to confuse your clients and prospects with complicated features in your products and services. Remember, you are not selling a scientific theory to Professors, lawyers, or doctors. Even for them, they expect something simple and easy from you. Do not talk to your prospects as if you are presenting your PHD thesis to a group of Harvard professors.

Always remember, your prospects are normal people. Marketing simply means to let people know how you can solve their problems by using your product and services. Do not over-use words and grammars. You don’t have to let the others know that you know the longest words in the world, or you use correct grammar such as proverb, past continuous etc.

Simple Word Hello

Effective Email Signature

Your email signature is often one of the final points of communication, a consumer has with your service/brand. A good email signature is simple, informative, professional, and puts the information in the forefront. But, this doesn’t mean your signature has to look dull or boring. There are many ways to get the most out of your email signature, so let’s run over 12 easy tips and look at some beautiful examples.

  • Don’t Include Too Much Information.
  • Keep Your Color Palette Small.
  • Keep Your Font Palette Even Smaller.
  • Give your email signature format some style.
  • Add your company logo/photo to your email signature.
  • Always use the ALT tag, when adding an image to your signature.
  • Make it Mobile friendly.
  • Make sure contact details are up to date.
  • Use Social Media Icons to Drive Traffic.
  • Use a different email signature for your replies and forwards.
  • Give your email signature format as much thought as a marketing campaign.
  • Add your latest marketing content to your email signature.

What do you think about the signature below, does it look appealing?

Effective Email Signature

Email Marketing - Landing Pages

Email marketing is a powerful tool in itself, but it would be adding to the elegance with the use of landing pages. These pages are the ones which you put on your website that customers can link to from your email. Landing pages are an extensively detailed image of your email campaign with more info, more images, and even a purchase option, so recipients can buy what you're selling.

Why Use Landing Pages?

A landing page is a detailed page with multiple links. It performs the following roles −

  • Adds more explanation beyond your email copy.
  • Showcases your products.
  • Gives your recipients tip lists.
  • Draws the recipients to your Website.
  • Tracks Campaign traffic towards the landing page.
  • Analyzes the success of a campaign.
Landing Pages

The Ideal Landing Page

The very first thing to keep in mind is that “First impression is the Last impression”. As you have got 3-5 seconds to convince a visitor, whether to stay on a page or abandon it.

  • Your landing Page needs to load quickly.

  • Convey your message in seconds. With answers on How to do it?

  • Around 35% of visitors scroll down, rest of them bounce back. Make your Page Visually Compelling.

  • Make it appealing − even your existing customer can’t scroll down if a page is not appealing.

  • Avoid using multiple call to actions − Be more precise use only one CTA.

  • The more information that you ask the visitor, the less likely they stay. Keep your form short and simple.

  • Email needs to pass the SPAM filters, you can’t write a Compelling CTA but try to use those CTA in your Landing Pages like “Buy now”, Free Download”.

  • Don’t overwhelm your page with images.

  • Avoid using Auto play videos as many visitors surf from their work and they have to click away from the page.

  • You have 600 pixels height to be above-the-fold in most web browser resolutions, so value the CTA position and visually engage the users in 600px

  • Use Easy-to-read, Easy-to-spot Bold Buttons.

  • Make sure you link other pages on your main website.

  • Don’t confuse users with different landing pages and different website templates. Your landing page design is to make it look as the rest of your website.

Finally, the most important practice for landing pages is to test them. Google Website Optimizer is a free tool to set up A/B tests of landing pages, so that you can see graphics, calls-to-action, background colors and headlines work the best for converting users.

Remember that the best email landing pages keep their design and their user requirements incredibly simple!

Email Marketing - Spam Compliance

What is CAN-SPAM?

In this chapter, we will give you the history of what CAN-SPAM is and tell you what you need to do in order to achieve CAN-SPAM compliance.

In 2003, as inboxes were being flooded with unwanted email spam, the United States federal government took action with the passing of the CAN-SPAM law. CAN-SPAM stands for Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003. Essentially, the law set forth a number of requirements that need to be met in order to send commercial email to customers.

Is Your Email Spam Compliance

Once you get past all the government language, CAN-SPAM Compliance isn't that complicated. If you just follow 7 simple steps, you'll be completely safe.

Be Who You Say You Are!

You can't profess to be another site or organization just to get a client to open an email (or to dodge messages going to spam). This is a famous trap which offshore spammers use to overcome spam channels and yes it is illegal.

Spam

Don't Lie in the Subject Line

This one is easy. If your email subject line says that opening the email will give the user a daily quote of the day, then that's what needs to be in the email. Tell them that your email is an advertisement. You can do this in numerous ways, including mentioning in a little print at the base of the email. Notwithstanding, some place in your email, you have to make it clear that the email is an advertisement.

Tell recipients where you’re Located

This one is also simple. Somewhere in your email you must provide a physical postal address (street or postal box), where you can receive communications via mail.

You Have to Let People Know How to Opt-Out

You cannot (and should not) send a marketing email without letting the users know how to stop you from sending future emails to them. This is called allowing email Opt−Out off your email list. This is typically done at the bottom of the email. The only actual CAN−SPAM Compliance requirement is that it be easy for any ordinary person to recognize and read this information. Also important is the "universal unsubscribe rule".

Honor Opt-Out Requests Promptly.

When somebody requests an opt-out or unsubscribe from your email list or lists, you have up to 10 business days to remove them. When you send an email, the information or link to unsubscribe from that email must be valid for 30 days.

Monitor what others are doing on your behalf

Also make sure that you know what your affiliates are doing! Make sure that you know what anybody who sends an email on your behalf is doing! You are legally responsible for the actions of anybody you hire or authorize to send a marketing email on your behalf.

There you go... Take after these straightforward seven stages, and you will be CAN-SPAM compliant. Most outsider email stage suppliers will really ensure that any of these criteria that can be robotized, (for example, physical location, unsubscribe interfaces and uprooting unsubscribed individuals) are computerized. Then again, it's in your best interest to always review your marketing emails before they go out to make sure that they meet every criterion on the checklist!

Email Marketing - How to Avoid Spamming?

Following are the rules that must be followed to avoid being marked as SPAM −

  • Using phrases like “Click here!” or “Once in a lifetime opportunity!”

  • Excessive use of exclamation points!!!!!!!!!

  • USING ALL CAPS, WHICH IS LIKE SCREAMING AT THE TOP OF YOUR LUNGS VIA EMAIL (especially in the subject line).

  • Using bright red or green colored fonts.

  • Using bad content. This one’s broad, but important.

  • Coding sloppy HTML, usually from converting a Microsoft Word file to HTML.

  • Creating an HTML email that’s nothing but one big image, with little or no text. Spam filters can’t read images, so they assume you’re a spammer trying to trick them.

  • Using the word “test” in the subject line. Agencies can run into this issue when sending drafts to clients for approval.

  • Sending a test to multiple recipients within the same company. That company’s email firewall often assumes it’s a spam attack.

  • Sending to inactive lists. These are lists which have not engaged in the campaigns through opens and clicks. Because subscriber engagement is a huge part of getting emails into the inbox, when an ISP sees low engagement rates they will often begin to bulk the campaigns to the spam folder. Then they will block the domain and IP addresses used to deliver those campaigns.

  • Sending to stale lists. Permission generally goes stale within about 6 months, so if your subscribers haven’t heard from you within that timeframe, you’ll need to reconfirm.

  • Include a Text version of your email if you are sending html emails.

  • Use Spam checkers before sending your emails.

  • Maintain a Good Text to Image Ratio.

  • Make Sure Your DKIM, SPF, Sender-ID, and Domain Keys are set up properly.

  • Avoid large attachments and certain attachment types.

Spamming

Spam Testing

Before sending emails out to your entire list, it’s worth the time to utilize a spam checking service. Websites like MailingCheck.com offers a free downloadable tool for Windows that uses a Spam Assassin to check the email.

If you prefer to avoid downloading any software, you can send the email to the IsNotSpam.com service and they will also check a few other items important regarding the email deliverability. Alternatively, Mail-tester.com uses a form-based solution to test your emails.

Email Marketing - Avoid Being Blacklisted

In this chapter, we will discuss a few points that will help you to avoid being blacklisted −

Single Opt-in − Make the consumer opt-in for your service. Do not waste your time gate crashing, be sure you are invited. Whenever, customer visits your site provide them with the option of 'opt-in' for receiving your promotional newsletter.

Double Opt-in − It serves your purpose much better than a SINGLE OPT-In. Send a confirmation email and make yourself double sure that the customer you are going to lure is a genuine one and they are truly interested in your service. It also sets aside fear of mischief. In case your IP has been blacklisted, double opt-in’ is the most straightforward way to prove that an individual’s spam report was erroneous. If the customer confirms, he/she is your right target, you are sure about your welcome and your promotional newsletter or content will be read. But, if they do not confirm, follow the thumb rule, ‘never send an email’, delete the customer from your database. If you are stubborn and insist on sending emails, there is a high risk of being blacklisted.

Avoiding Blacklisting Example

Opt-out − Always provide the option of opt-out at the footer of every promotional matter you send. It helps customer unsubscribes from your service, if they are no longer interested in your email promotions. Follow the thumb rule, 'never send an email again'. Delete the opted out customer from your database; they no longer exist for you. With the confirmation in your pocket, now concentrate on your email planning. The other areas to concentrate are − Subject line, sender's address, content are all important elements of a promotional email.

Subject Line − Make sure your subject line is accurate and looks trustworthy. Subject line should not have bad hellos. It should scream for attention, but at the same time, not make the recipient suspicious of the email.

Sender's Address − If possible, use your company @ address or stick to your personal name with @ address of known email service providers like yahoo, hotmail, AOL etc.

Content − Do not disappoint your valuable customers with your promotional content. Tailor your content according to the expectations of the customers and provide them something substantial in those words.

Accurate Send Path − Do not bluff to the customer on the source of your email. Spammers often play the trick of email spoofing, that is forging an email-header to make it appear that it came from a different source than the actual source.

Don’t Bluff Spam Filters − Play it safe, do not try developing a strategy to break spam filters and sneak in. Spammers have more end-run spam filters knowledge than you, whatever strategy you develop you will always be behind. If you try your strategy, you will be straight away blocked and blacklisted. The strategy is already considered as spamming.

Check if You are Blacklisted?

Blacklists contain lists of IPs or domains that pose a threat to consumer inboxes. Your email service provider may automatically alert you, if you’re added to one, but it’s good to check for yourself. If you are on a blacklist, act quickly. Just a few spam complaints can add a legitimate sender to a blacklist.

Blacklisted

Blacklist Resources

There are a lot of blacklists, but a good starting point is checking to see, if your IPs or domains are on any of these popular lists −

  • Barracuda Reputation Block List − BRBL is a free DNS blacklist (DNSBL) of IP addresses known to send spam.

  • Invaluement − The Invaluement anti−spam DNSBL blocks elusive type of spam, where the sender is sending unsolicited bulk email and escaping traditional detection methods.

  • MXToolBox − MXToolbox shows you whether or not your domain or IP address is blacklisted and can perform checks on your DNS to see how it is configured.

  • MultiRBL − This free multiple DNS blacklist service cross-references other blacklists by IPV4, IPV6, or by a domain.

  • Spamcop − The SpamCop Blocking List (SCBL) lists IP addresses that had mail reported as spam by SpamCop users.

  • Spamhaus − The Spamhaus Project maintains a number of DNSBLs as part of their effort to identify and track spam sources, and provide anti-spam protection. To be removed from this list, visit their Blocklist Removal Center.

  • SURBL − Unlike most lists, SURBLs are not lists of message senders. SURBLs are lists of websites that have appeared in unsolicited messages.

What to Do if Blacklisted?

If your IP address has been blacklisted and you want to investigate, you'll need to visit the blacklist's website and do a lookup on your IP address. Most blacklist databases will provide general listing reasons, but don't list specific email addresses tied to blacklisted IP addresses. If you want to be removed from any blacklists because databases often share IP addresses that have been listed. If you think you've fixed things on your end, go back to the blacklist's site and follow their instructions for the IP address removal process.

Here's what you're likely to come across −

Self-Service Removal

There are a few blacklists with a self-service removal feature that lets you take your IP address off the list without much trouble. However, you'll want to make sure you've resolved any issues before doing this. If you don't and your IP address gets listed again, it won't be easy to get it removed that next time.

Time-Based Removal

Most blacklists have a built-in, automatic process that removes lower-level listings (IP addresses that are light offenders) within a week or two. But if the IP address had sent spam more than once or did a high volume, the time period will be longer.

Keep this in mind −

  • Their priority is to reduce the spam on their email platform for their customers −their goal isn't to prevent you from sending emails.

  • Spam is a serious problem. They don't blacklist lightly. It's their way of trying to identify and prevent real problems.

  • Blacklists are legal because they are designed to prevent fraud or other activity that disrupts normal business. We all need to accept that fact.

  • If you made a mistake and were blacklisted, don't make the same mistake again. Most likely you won't be forgiven a second time.

Disclosure − The author has made considerable efforts to present accurate and reliable information in this book. However, the author does not take any legal responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of the information herein.

This Tutorial may refer to businesses. Referrals to such entities are provided solely for informational and educational purposes and as a convenience to the user. A referral to a product or service on this website should not be considered an endorsement or recommendation of that product or service.”

Email Marketing - Service Providers

Where Email Marketing Industry is Standing?

Have you ever stopped to think about what happens to your email message after you press "Send"? If you're just sending your own personal emails through Gmail or your email app, your emails likely get routed through your email service's ‘Simple Mail Transfer Protocol’ (SMTP) service to your email recipient's email service's SMTP service.

It typically just works, and so most of us just ignore it. But, if you're sending thousands of emails a day through your app, or are delivering your company's newsletter to millions of people, suddenly you need to think a lot more about how your emails get sent. You'll very likely need a transactional email service, a dedicated email sending service that'll make sure your emails get delivered no matter how many you need to send.

Apart from a dedicated email sending service, have you ever wondered how many emails can you send in one single day? Are there any limitations?

The answer is probably YES.

Everything has got its limit. Same goes with email marketing. You cannot send 500 emails per day from your Gmail, Yahoo & more than 100 from a Hotmail Account. Is it possible to do Email Marketing from these email services? “Not possible”. So you have to find any better Email Marketing Service. I will be telling you the most common Email marketing services providers. I will also be disclosing, which service I use for myself.

Email Marketing Service

Service Provider Pricing

First of all, you have to decide what kind of company you are in. Going through different Email Marketing Service providers you will find their pricing model is divided in two categories.

Subscription Based

If you are running a well-established company and have fixed clients, subscribers those who want to hear from you as soon as a new product launches, Newsletters, Promotional Emails, then this Subscription Based model is very good. Keep in mind that you have to pay them monthly fees either if you are sending many emails per month or not even a single email to any of your clients.

Mailing Based

This is the second model; if you are a start-up company or want to generate leads, you have got the list of email addresses. You want to send them an email once a month or want to send Bulk Emails. Because in Bulk Email marketing you have Millions of email addresses in a list, so for going with a Monthly plan, it will cost you a lot and work out to be expensive. Therefore, a Mailing based plan is used in such a scenario.

I use a Mailing based plan in both cases, if you have a list of subscribers or I have got Millions of email addresses. I also suggest others whatever their business plan is? Mailing Based plan is always better and cheaper, because sometimes you have to send a single email or not at all.

Comparison of Service Provider

Once you have decided on a payment type − subscriber-based or mailing-based, you should think about what size of a list you have and hope to have. I hope that the links and prices on these charts are helpful for helping you decide upon a hosted bulk email service.

Comparison of Subscriber Based (Monthly) Providers

The chart below shows some top email sending platforms monthly plan based on the list of subscribers, there are some limitations you may find updated price on their website also their terms & conditions. Like how many emails can you send to 1 person in a month that could be unlimited or could be limited to 4 emails.

Monthly Provider

Comparison of Mailing Based Providers

Again you can see the chart comparing top email service provider with mailing based payment model. In short you don’t have to worry about paying each month. This one is a fair plan you have to pay whatever you have sent to your clients.

Mailing Based Provider

Email Validation Service

Now that I have given you some fundamental know-how in the earlier chapter on Email Validation. Now, we will discuss why it is essential for you and who is offering this service? Suppose you are running your own Bulk Email Marketing service. You have to send Emails to a set of Real Estate Agents and you have got the list. But you don’t know if those emails addresses are active or even exist. How old is that email list? Many emails have got deleted, banned and are not anymore in this “Hello World”.

Therefore sending Bulk email to this list without cleaning it from dead, deleted, banned, bounced email addresses will cause higher bounce back rate and you may get banned for sending SPAM. As a result of just avoiding this email validation step, your emails will always hit junk box. There are fewer chances of these emails hitting the inbox of the remaining addresses in the active email list next time.

Following are the names of a few online email validators, which might be of help −

  • Email Gang − Simple payment plans with accurate results, Cost effective, high efficiency, detailed report, list review & don’t charge for unknown emails.

  • Email Validator − They offer pay-as-you-go pricing as well as subscription plans. If you are from EU countries, you have to give 19% VAT and your Vat ID.

  • Brite Verify − Just drag & drop your email list into the window. They will scan the list to show you your total records and cost and validate it. But they are slightly expensive when compared to others in the market.

  • Verify Emails − Offering services with monthly validation limits and yearly subscription, seems disappointing.

  • Kick Box − Quickly validate and verify your email lists. Just drop your contacts directly into the Kick box interface. They will sort out the good, the bad, and the ugly. Not much details of email addresses.

  • Verifalia − They have certain limitations and are offering complex pricing plans. Visit their website to analyze the cost and then you can decide.

  • Never Bounce − Like Email Gang, they are offering free list review, that will tell you, if your list needs cleaning or not. But their pricing is higher when compared to Email Gang.

  • Data Validation − Payment terms are one-time, but at the same time their other packages like tune up+ and monthly assurance, will cost expensive. Their major plus point is that their results are quite accurate.

Email Validation Pricing Comparison

Now you have got the idea of why it is essential to do email validation. Then the next step will be to discuss various service providers and their pricing. Here is a chart with their pricing, but please do verify and contact them directly for your needs.

Email Validation

What I use, and Why?

Everyone is always in search of a service, which is hassle free, cheapest with higher quality. As you can see that in all payment plans Email Gang is cheaper as compared to others. I have suggested them in many reviews. I have also used expensive services before using Email Gang. I find it no more different with the expensive ones, while comparing features, but I have found some more features in Email Gang. These are listed below −

  • They have a reporting tool with advance tracking.

  • Statistics Opened, Bounced, Blacklisted, Marked Spam, Un Sub etc.

  • The PLUS feature is Email Validation Service. No one is offering Email Validation Service in all the service providers listed above expect for Email Gang.

  • You can use it to clean the Email List from invalid, bouncing emails.

  • This feature is also integrated with their email sending platform. So you don’t have to pay for those emails, which are invalid.

  • Apart from this, I have also searched many email validation services those are too much expensive as compared to the Email Gang.

  • If you have a list, you can send them for review they will update you free of cost whether your list needs cleaning or not.

  • Can be a good alternative to increase domain outgoing emails.

Disclosure − Author has no affiliation or partnership with any of these service providers. The comparisons and crystal clear reviews are for your convenience. A referral to a product or service on this website should not be considered an endorsement or recommendation of that product or service.”

Email Marketing - Automation

Scheduling

A better feature you would find in most of the service providers. It is very useful, if you are going to make a massive blast of discount on a Black Friday or on Happy New Year and so on. This feature will automatically send your email at the specified date and time.

Checklist before sending an email

Be sure you have completed the steps mentioned below −

  • Choose a catchy, nice Subject line for a better open rate.
  • From-address is the first in all impressions on an ISP, so always choose wisely.
  • Personalize your subject line and email content.
  • A good, decent signature is always the impression, which forbids the receiver to unsubscribe.
  • Must follow all the 7 steps for Spam Compliance.
  • Avoid using spam words.
  • Do some tests to avoid being marked as a spammer.
  • Your email must have a Text version also, if you are sending the HTML version.
  • Be sure to clean your list with any of the service providers.
  • Send your email through a reputed service provider.

Tracking

Tracking has made possible to track the result of your email campaign. It tells us the statistics of our email campaign. After sending emails to the list, tracking shows us the result of our campaign.

  • How many customers opened our email?
  • How many have clicked on any link or clicked to any “Call to Action” button?
  • How many of them marked our email as Spam?
  • Who unsubscribed from our mailing list?
  • How many bouncing emails are still there?

Here is an image of the tracking report shown as an illustration.

Email Gang

This tracking report would also contain all the emails addresses of the recipients under each section. Like if you want to delete those emails addresses that “Marked your email as Spam”, you can export a CSV format of the email list through tracking.

Email Marketing - Metrics

Segmentation

Segmentation is the art of splitting your list into different groups. These segments consist of people with similar characteristics. Segments can then be emailed reflecting the content and timing appropriate to them. Segmenting your lists helps you get better response rates (open & click). By sending messages to targeted groups within your lists, your recipients will find your campaigns more relevant, hence these appropriate campaigns get better results.

Why do you need Email Segmentation?

Your customers aren’t all the same. They don’t necessarily −

  • Have the same interests.

  • Come from the same sources (such as social sites, contests or in person).
  • Live in the same geographic location.
  • Belong in the same stage of your sales cycle.

So, don’t treat the same, with a single email blast. In these days of social networking, your customers want to know that you know them. Fortunately, it’s not all that difficult to create highly-segmented email campaigns.

There are four ways to segment your list with very small examples

  • Geographical Location (Your business wants to offer Hi-Tea in your locality).
  • Age (you want to target a specific age group for marketing).
  • Gender (Promoting Hair care products to Women).
  • Interest (Send emails to those who are Web Designers).

Analytics & Tracking

Having sent an Email Campaign, then comes the stage of Analytics. Make sure you have setup Analytics in your Email Campaign. Many companies provide Analytics. One should have a strong eye on analytics as they define whether your email list wants to hear from you or not. There are many factors that are mentioned, when you see your analytics report.

Analitics and Tracking

They have been described in brief below for further understanding −

  • Open Rate − The number of people, who opened your email as well as the total no of times your email got open. If you have a low open rate, then you have to make your email subject and content more appealing and try sending the email in different schedules.

  • Click Rate − The number of people, who clicked a link in your email as well as the total number of times these links were clicked in your email. The goal of your email is to get the reader to take action. If this metric is low, maybe the quality of your content is not where it needs to be or not that compelling. Make sure your links and “Calls-to-Actions” are visible.

  • Bounces − The number of people who did not get your email, e.g. their email account could not be reached. To avoid bounces, make sure your email list is clean from bouncing addresses. This list should prominently have those email addresses, which have been collected from a signup on your website, or having them opt-in to receiving special offers from you, once they make a purchase.

  • Unsubscribe − The number of people who removed their email from your list by a link posted at the bottom of the email.

  • Forward − The number of people who forward the email using “Forward to Friend” at the bottom of the email. The email platforms can (should) not capture data of people clicking the actual forward link in their email client.

  • Complaints − The number of times a contact reports your message as spam in their email client. Similar to unsubscribe, to avoid complaints, and make sure you are not spamming your customers, don’t send multiple emails in a day.

Email Marketing - Follow UPS

Strengthen Relationships with Email Marketing

Here are the keys for building and maintaining strong customer relationships and strategic steps to keeping customers engaged and invested in your business. Email marketing strategies can make or break your relationship with customers, which is why it’s vital to ensure, you’re sending the right messages in a timely manner.

Take these six steps to effectively strengthen your customer relationship −

Keep lines of communication with the customer’s open

The most effective communications incorporate soft selling rather than hard-hitting sales language. The newsletters, emails, tweets, and Facebook status updates (social media in general) are easy-to-use and appropriate ways for staying connected and incorporating soft sells. Product quality reports and annual company reports can also keep customers apprised.

Know the stages of customer loyalty

When you know who your loyal customers are, reward their behavior. Implement something like a points system that offers discounts or complimentary services for a certain amount of interaction with your social media profiles or website. You can also reward clients for providing you with referrals, sales lead or encouraging other business to check you out.

Provide customer support

Marketing specialists are equipped to provide businesses the type of customer support that also builds customer relationships. This can be done via blog posts, newsletters, Facebook, Twitter, and an all-encompassing social media marketplace blitz, marketers can provide information, insight, news, advice, and even technical assistance to customers. Those acts establish the company's interest in its customers, making them feel valued and needed by the company.

Ask for customers' feedback

In addition to monitoring customers’ replies and interactions with you, ask them periodically for their feedback on the products and/or services you offer, so you can customize the promotions and content you offer them. This will inevitably increase the customer engagement.

Personalize your emails

Make your emails personalized by including the customer name in an email’s call to action. Also, consider sending emails from an address that includes a first and last name, rather than a generic “sales@” e.g. sara.joe@company.com.

Send greeting cards

Occasionally send cards to your customers to express how grateful you are for them and their business. That one simple act will make your customers feel respected, valued, and, best of all, appreciated. Taking a few breaks from selling your company to do an unselfish act will make your customers feel good.

Email Marketing - Tips

How to Manage a Mailing List?

This part requires you to get yourself ready for doing some technical work. Until now, you have got all concepts; now it’s time to start doing some practice. Before starting your very first email campaign, you have to gather all emails addresses into a Text file or in an Excel sheet. A lot of major email marketing providers support these two formats. If you have a database of MS-Access, which consists of names, DOB, emails and zip code.

It is better to start by copying the column of Email Address to an Excel File/Text file. Once you have this information in an Excel File, then copy the Emails column into another Excel File /Text file. The main point is to only extract Email Addresses from this Database. At this point, you only have a list of email addresses. If you are using Excel, save this file in a (CSV) format, rather than XLS, XLSX, etc. If you have a Text file, save it with the (TXT) format, which is a common format of text files.

I cannot write all the steps of how could you clear the list with messy data or email formats. There might be some RAW data into your email columns like – someone has entered “Numbers, NIL, Special Characters” in the email field. So to avoid any garbage you have to implement Email Syntax Verification at the point of sign-up form or the way you collect Emails. Concerning the program, you can google it and would find a very easy JavaScript validation code to avoid any garbage submitted by the user. If you have garbage in the Excel list, you could find it with some Easy Formulas and Sorting method.

“I actually don’t perform Garbage removal and Duplicate Removal Process, My Email validation service provider actually takes no cost and removes the duplicates and garbage, while validating the emails. So I save a lot time .”

But for your learning purpose I will define below the ways −

Verify if the Column has a valid Email

Select a cell in your worksheet in Excel.
Choose Data > Validation from the menu
In the field called Allow select “Custom” option
In the Formula field type in the following code:
= SEARCH(".",A1,(SEARCH("@",A1,1))+2)

And what does this formula do? It looks for an “@” symbol first and if it finds it, it continues with the search and looks for a dot symbol. It returns the position of the dot symbol.

Duplicate Email Removal

Having got a pure clean list, now you may have some duplicate entries. There are numerous ways to find duplicates and remove them.

Select a column in your worksheet in Excel
Choose Data > Remove Duplicates
In field called Allow select “Custom” option

Once you have clicked on it, a small dialog box will appear. You will notice that the first row has automatically been deselected. The reason for this is that the “My data has headers” box is ticked. Double check the list with some other duplicate finding ways to find out if there are some leftover duplicates. If you are going to send a recipient the same email twice or more, the possible outcome is the “Unsubscribe” or ban from the ISP. You may find some detailed duplicates removing ways in this link (use it at your own discretion) − Host and Soft

How to Validate Emails

There are many software’s and online services, you may Google them. As far as my opinion is concerned, I have tried several software’s, but I have a static IP. Due to this, Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail blocks the queries in bulk from the same IP. So you may have a False Positive Results. Therefore, I switched to the hosted Email validation. In the above chapters, I have posted a list of service providers, so be sure to find the one, who fits perfectly to your needs. I was in search of the cheapest and most accurate Email Validation Provider and I found Email Gang as the Cheapest one among all of them. So I decided to go with them.

Now the thing that needs to be discussed here is how you could validate the list. The scenario is same for all providers, first you have to upload the Email List File either in “.txt” Format or “.csv” Format. At this point you may have the list cleaned from garbage and duplicate email addresses. So there is no point in waiting for a better time for email validation. Just upload the file to their server through their UI, they will verify your file and return to you the Valid, Bad, Dead, Bouncy etc. emails.

Software that I Use

I don’t prefer to use too many Software tools. Simpler is better. I actually use OpenRefine (formerly Google Refine), which is a powerful tool for working with messy data, cleaning it, transforming it from one format into another, and then extending it with web services and external data. You may find short tutorials on how to work with openrefine.org.

Email Marketing - Certifications

Many students ask what are the benefit of certification exams and becoming certified. Is it really worth the time and money? Certification is not a requirement for every field, and many fields do not have a nationally certifying body that offers certification. For those industries that do have a certification available, is it really necessary?

To answer that question, I recommend that to look at the job opportunities in their areas. When you look at the available job posts, do they list certification requirements? The answer is likely to be, Yes! Why wouldn’t they? Certification is a way to demonstrate the skills that you have learned in a standardized and measurable way. Sure, you may have years of experience doing the tasks, but every job experience is not created equal.

Certifications are earned from a professional society, university, a certification body, or from a private certifier, for some specific certifications (e.g., Microsoft, Cisco, etc.). Some certifications must be renewed periodically, or may be valid for a specific period of time (e.g., the lifetime of the product upon which the individual is certified). As a part of a complete renewal of an individual's certification, it is common for the individual to show evidence of continued learning. Well, you will find many Certification Institutes for “Email Marketing”. But I am going to list only two of them. These two are reputable institutes & are very respected in this line of work.

Salesforce

Email Specialist (USD 200)

Salesforce

The Salesforce Marketing Cloud Email Specialist Certification exam is for individuals, who want to demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and experience in the following areas: email marketing best practices, message design, subscriber and data management, inbox delivery, email automation, tracking and reporting metrics, and external integrations with the Marketing Cloud Email application. Here are a few examples of the concepts you should understand to pass this exam −

Salesforce Certified
  • Know email marketing terminology and the best practices.
  • Build relational data models.
  • Send emails via Email application sending methods.
  • Build complex email automations.
  • Run reports of email tracking data.
  • Troubleshoot and solve basic platform issues.

University of San Francisco

Advanced Email Marketing (USD 1,495)

Internet Marketing Advanced Specialized Certificates

Email marketing offers the opportunity to reach millions of people at a relatively low cost, and delivers the highest ROI (return on investment) of all the direct marketing channels. In fact, for every $1 spent, $44.25 is the average return on email marketing investment*.

USF

Discover how to develop highly effective email campaigns that breakthrough the clutter and drive results with Advanced Email Marketing. The University of San Francisco's expert instructors reveal how to increase deliverability, improve response rates and enhance your sender reputation, while avoiding legal pitfalls. In just eight weeks, this 100% online, advanced specialized certificate course will equip you with practical skills and a valuable credential that validates your expertise in advanced email tactics and strategies.



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