Category Archives: Email lists

Email Subject Line Types that Work

As I’ve mentioned previously, email subject lines are often the most important quality in a successful email marketing campaign. The effectiveness of email marketing can be greatly diminished if your subject lines land you in your recipients’ spam folders. To maintain success in email marketing, see what works for your industry or product. You can track the effectiveness of different subject lines by using Google Analytics or a similar tool. In order to find which email lists work best for your mailing lists, test out the “urgent”, “informative” and “conversational” type subject lines explained below.
Oftentimes, using “urgent” words gives you the best chance at increasing your open rate. Try subject lines like “This is your last chance to get 20% off…” or “Final week of our annual promotion.” If your subscriber has any familiarity with your product or service, these types of email subjects can be all it takes for them to make a purchase they were thinking about already.
In addition to using urgent keywords, test informative subject lines too. Many email marketer find success with subject lines like “Have you heard about X?” or “Did you know that X?” These types of subject lines don’t generally imply the nature of the email (a marketing message) and can lead to the second glance you need for a sale.
A conversational tone is great to drum up interest for your product, especially for repeat customers. Many marketing campaigns leverage repeat business by “checking in” or providing updates on your business. Keeping at the front of the minds of your customers is an important step in running a successful campaign.  
By Alec Wilcox

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Using A/B Testing for Your Email Lists

A/B testing, or split testing, is the process of testing two different emails (or style of email) to see which will produce the best results on a mass-scale. Typically, the system for A/B testing consists of designing two marketing emails and sending each one to a small subset of your email list. The CTR (click-through-rate) can be tracked via Google Analytics, then the results are tallied and whichever campaign was more successful is used for the remainder of the email list. Google even includes an A/B testing tool in their GA suite.
Be sure to compose each email carefully before starting the test. If you decide you want to change something about one of the emails or need to correct a mistake, keep in mind that this will skew the results and will likely throw off your numbers and the data will not be as useful.
You can use A/B testing to evaluate different subject lines, test visual design, the use of images in emails, different promotions including sales vs. coupons or HTML vs. text emails. Just about any factor of a marketing email can be tweaked for better results by using A/B testing. Using A/B testing, you can even test different “from” email addresses to check about whether a particular persona or address results in a higher CTR.
As with all marketing, email marketing benefits from more testing data and a more precise marketing strategy. GIve A/B testing a shot and let me know about your results!

 

By Alec Wilcox

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How to Ask For Permission for Your Email Lists

When you are getting started with email marketing and an email marketing list, it is important to gauge customer interest in the product or service that you are selling. When you get permission from your subscribers to send them emails, your conversion rates will increase. If people are ok with receiving your message, then they won’t mark it as spam and they will be more apt to open them. In most cases, using a targeted email list will allow you to aim your marketing emails at a very select and specific person or industry. In many cases, it’s a good idea to verify that the recipient is interested in your product. The best way to do so is to include a link at the bottom of the email to your website where the user can:

1)      Respond directly to confirm or deny interest
2)      Go to your website and fill out a contact form to the same effect
3)      Fill out a survey to give your more information on why they are or are not interested in your marketing emails
 

Don’t forget that because of the CAN-SPAM act you must include an unsubscribe choice for anyone you send emails too, except transactional ones. Within the body of your email, you should make it clear that you will cease marketing emails upon request (an opt out or unsubscribe link at the bottom of your email is often the best way). It’s also a good idea to include instructions to “Whitelist” your email address to make sure that your marketing emails are being received as they should be and not caught in spam filters. It is always good to reaffirm permission at least once a year and don’t be afraid to include a specific message in periodic emails clarifying the method you choose to verify interest.
 
If you follow these steps you can be sure that your emails will only continue to be sent to those that are interested and in return you will see your sales and audience grow!

By Alec Wilcox

 
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How to Stay off Blacklists

In order to stay off of spam blacklists, there are a few guidelines that are important to follow. First, the ratio of emails sent to complaints received must be kept low. A good rule of thumb throughout the email marketing industry is one out of 1000 emails can be a reported as a spam complaint in order to remain compliant. Many sources recommend using opt-in/out links at the bottom of your emails to make sure that the recipients can choose whether or not to receive your marketing emails, but remember it’s also the law. As long as people have an easy option to opt out, you will be able to keep your spam complaints low. If email subscribers can’t opt out, then their complaint method goes straight to your ISP or hosting provider.

 
Keep an eye on spam complaints against your ISP or hosting provider. If you wind up with the same IP address as a known spammer, the problem can compound and wind up with your marketing addresses on a blacklist. If you are using an ISP or host that is known for spam complaints, consider switching. Sometimes you may not even know if your IP has been spoofed or piggy-backed. By keeping a close eye on any issues, you can quickly resolve them by getting a new IP address or moving to a new server on your host.
 
Make sure that your email service is not vulnerable to malware. If you send an email to a recipient with an infected device, it’s possible that a return email could result in spreading this malware to other recipients. Make sure your email server or service is locked down tight! Also, keep an eye on the comment section of your blog or website. This is a prime location for spam and malicious links, so make sure that comments are not emailed to your marketing account or server. This is a good way to spread malware.
 
If you do wind up on a blacklist, for example SpamCop or SpamHaus, you may be able to get yourself removed by a simple phone call. In many cases, a spammer would just create a new email address or use a different proxy to get around these lists. By proving that you’re a real person, you are adding legitimacy to your marketing addresses.
 
Keep your email lists clean and your messages genuine and you will see good results from email marketing.

By Alec Wilcox

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Top 10 Worst Email Subject Lines

Since subject lines are the first (and in many cases only) aspect of your marketing emails that many possible leads will see, it’s impossible to oversell the importance of a good subject line. In many cases the “right” subject is very specific to you and your industry, but you will only know what truly works after lots of testing. But this isn’t about the best subject lines, it’s about the ones that don’t perform for business emails. Here are some examples of what not to do:

1. “Join us for a Free Event on June 7th!” – This subject line is vague. Nobody knows what event you are promoting, and in most cases, they might not even know what your company does. Try to be more specific.
2.  “Post-Seminar Follow-Up Meeting: Are You Making the Right Decision for Your Business’s Toner Needs?” – This is just an example, but far, far too long. Get to the point, if your potential customer’s mail client is truncating the subject lines, it’s too long!

3. “Last Minute Gift? Come See Us!” – Once again, too vague. Repetitive emails without too much content are going to get sent straight to the spam bin after the first or second time. Are you promoting something specific? Now would be a good time to send a marketing email.
4. “St. Paddy’s Day Sale: Shop Early and Save!” – Vague, vague, vague. Beware of promoting holiday sales: everybody else does it. You want your email to stand out!
5. “Gift Certificates: 10% Off With Coupon!” –  This type of email has historically low open rates unless paired with some verbiage to get the reader’s attention.
6. Now Offering (x) Services!” – What were you offering before? Why does this person care? Try to convey why x service is even more value.
7. “Win an iPad! Guaranteed!” – Like Viagra and iPods before it, mentioning free or cheap electronics (like iPads) is a good way to get sent to the spam folder. If this is the gist of your marketing, consider changing the focus if you want to see results.”
8. “Psst, (x company) is Offering Huge Savings!” – This smells like a used-car commercial. You should be respectful of your readership and be cognizant that people historically don’t respond to this type of marketing. It reads as very patronizing.
9. “Beautiful Lakefront Property” – Try to be broader. This may exclude the portion of your readership that doesn’t live near a lake. Why would an email having to do with lakefront property come to them?
10. “(your company) Announces New Business Partnership With (another company)” – Who cares? What does this mean for the customer or prospective customer?


As for subject lines from spam emails, I’m partial to these:

1. Buy Rolex Designer Watches Now
2. NEWSFLASH: Order your meds online

3. From the desk of barrister hollingsworth
4. Claim your $20m prize now!
5. Swell your P*^@%! (thanks @twopens2)
6. Open this now!
7. Improve Your Credit Score for Cheap
8. 5 Forbidden Foods to Tighten Your Belly
9. Buy Cialis Now
and one that I just got today:
10. Deal
That’s my list. What’s yours? Tweet me or message me with the best of your worst!

By Alec Wilcox

 
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What’s the Best Day and Time to Send Your Emails?

Email marketing can be a fickle undertaking: many different factors can affect the success rate and expectations. One of the primary factors in keeping your marketing strategy successful is to optimize the timing of your emails. Of course, you have already optimized the content, the wording, and the links, so it follows that you should make sure that your emails are reaching your potential clients at the moment they are ready to click and purchase your product.

So how do you know when the time is right? First of all, you want to optimize your emails to go out around the time you are starting a promotion or around the time of the event for which you are raising awareness. The common misconception is that possible leads won’t see your emails the day they are sent, most people open these types of emails right away. The best email marketers expect about 85-90% of total opens to happen within 24 hours. This means: time your emails near or on the day of promotions, but also test the send times with multiples emails spread throughout the campaign.

Second, make sure that your emails aren’t sent between 8 and 9 AM (EST). Studies have shown that this window of time has the lowest open rate of received email all day long. Nobody is ready for marketing at this point in his or her day. Common wisdom recommends shooting for the Eastern Time zone, typically late in the day or right around lunch.

Additionally, what day of the week is best for email marketing? Once again, the common “best practices” has an opinion: the worst day of the week is Monday; with people recovering from their weekends, many don’t have the energy or interest in marketing this early in the week. Most people delete things that seem like junk (even if they aren’t) on Monday to clear their inboxes for the rest of the week. On the weekend, emails are largely ignored (just like work). Marketing best practices say: midweek emails are optimal. People are far more receptive when they are in the middle of things, especially to pertinent marketing (things that they might be dealing with at that very moment).
 

The most cardinal rule of timing your email marketing, however, is that all rules can be bent or broken depending. Experiment with your marketing timing and other procedures. Find what works best for your industry. This is the best way to ensure that you are seeing the best results for you.  

By Alec Wilcox

 
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Using Google Analytics to Track Your Email List Performance

A lot of people don’t know that of the many useful capabilities of Google Analytics, one can also use these tools to track email marketing performance. Many marketers are not aware that Google Analytics can be used to track marketing emails “beyond the click,” this is to say, track the behavior of users once they have reached your website.


Email marketing can use specially formatted links to engage Google Analytics. When these links are clicked from within a marketing email, the Analytics account will acknowledge this fact and report it. Several bloggers recommend using “advanced segments,” a Google Analytics rule, to isolate people who are clicking through your emails. This way,  you can separate those that were referred by direct marketing efforts and those that came upon your site or products organically (by referrals, Google results, or some other means).

Google Analytics works by “link tagging,” or using parameters within a dynamic URL to convey a message to the Analytics software. Google has a URL creator tool that you can use to custom-tailor URLs (the link is here: http://goo.gl/3bJVl ). Once these parameters have been put into place, you should be able to go to your Google Analytics account and begin to form a trend or behavior pattern for those that have clicked through.

Once you have this data, it should become easier to start making adjustments to the campaign. You can change the frequency, tone, or timing of your emails. Does it have a negative or positive effect? How about if you change the wording? More data on the subject is always going to help you form a plan of attack for your specific marketing situation. Experiment with different strategies and see what works through Google Analytics.

By Alec Wilcox

 
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How to Increase Sales with Your House Email Lists

The conventional wisdom in online marketing these days (including marketing via email lists) is to streamline, streamline, streamline. Research says that the fewer products you have, assuming they are quality products, the greater the likelihood of conversion. Obviously the law of diminishing returns is at work here, so it is important to have robust as well as streamlined offerings, but specifically with email marketing, it is imperative that the customer arrive at your site and know where and what to buy quickly. Simple, direct marketing emails are a great way to draw the customer’s attention to a particular product or promotion.


When you have streamlined your offerings to your best products and services, you can begin trying to simplify the process from start to finish. If a marketing email is the first way that a customer is going to hear about your business, make sure that that email says what needs to be said quickly and in a concise fashion. Most users will barely glance at an unsolicited email, so it is important to stand out in the right way. Simple subject lines and promotions are the way to go. Studies have shown that businesses with a clear line between offer, link and purchase have the best chance at turning leads or possible customers into sales.

The purpose of mailing lists, like any marketing strategy is not just to create awareness of your

product or business, but to create results. In most cases, “results” means sales, plain and simple. There really is no magical way to take a mailing list and leverage it for guaranteed sales, but through a few “best practices,” you can begin to see a greater click-through rate (CTR) which is the first step toward increased sales. Simply put, the best way to leverage email lists for sales is to put sales to the back of your mind as a goal. Make your goal visibility first, and sales will follow. Maybe your customers won’t be interested in the offer you are sending this month, but it is a possibility that they will be interested in the one you send six months from now. Make sure to keep your marketing relevant, current and always test your messages. If a customer follows your links, he is exponentially more likely to follow through toward a purchase at some point. The best way to turn faceless email addresses into sales, is to first turn them into pageviews.


By Alec Wilcox

 
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You Have an Email List, Now What? 10 Tips to Start Email Marketing

When you are starting out with email marketing it can be difficult to quickly build your internal email database. Although growing your list organically is the best option, buying email lists is a practical way to jumpstart your marketing efforts. Just find a list that fits your target – looking for new dental patients? By a dental email list. Stick with reputable companies and you will be good to go!

So now that you’ve purchased your email address database (from a reputable company, right?), now what?

There are many ways to utilize a curated address database, but the most common is direct email marketing. Here are ten tips to keep in mind while you plan out your email marketing campaign.

1)      The structure of your emails is important. Subject lines should be concise and links should be evident and direct.

2)      Make sure your emails are coming from a reputable account. Oftentimes it’s a bad idea to use marketing@yourcompany.com or something of the like. Try using a person’s name, whether he or she is a real person or you create a persona is up to you. It is less likely that your emails will be confused with spam if you are using a pseudonym instead of a “black-hole” address.

3)      Keep images to a minimum. Many times email providers will see a large file size email (or one with several images/attachments) and assume the worst. This is a good way to accidently get branded as spam.
4)      Along the same lines, it’s important to have your message front and center. You don’t want your potential client reading through a mess of images and text trying to figure out what you are trying to say. Less is more.
5)      It is important to have multiple “calls to action” in your email, but it is also important not to use things like, “CLICK HERE,” “BUY NOW,” etc. Sometimes overselling is a good way to dilute your message and make it hard to read.
6)      Timing is everything. Make sure that your marketing emails are coordinated and timed properly. Reminding your customers that you exist is OK, but it is best to time your marketing emails with promotions and campaigns to maximize conversion.
7)      Quality is always better than quantity. Fewer emails with real content and promotions are always a better choice than many, many emails with the same content.
8)      Spelling matters. This seems simple, but many email marketers throw together their emails quickly and sometimes let mistakes fall through the cracks. This is a good way to devalue your brand and is easy to fix: always proofread.
9)      Choose a consistent format. If possible, try and match the layout and coloring of your marketing emails with your website. Brand consistency goes a long way toward legitimacy in the eyes of a potential lead.
10)   Optimize your emails for mobile! Oftentimes, this is the one factor that will make a difference. Many of your potential leads will see these emails in passing on their phones or tablets. Make sure that they can follow up easily and efficiently.

By keeping these steps in mind, you will be able to begin start your first email marketing campaign on the right foot. Good luck!

By Alec Wilcox

 
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How to Use Email Lists to Increase Conversion Rate

In Internet marketing, conversion rate is defined as the amount of clicks or sales divided by the amount of visitors to your site. Getting your company name or product out there is only one part of the email marketing process. You also need to turn leads into clicks or sales. There are many ways to improve this statistic, but targeted email marketing using an email database is a great way to bolster the rate of conversion.

 
The first step in online lead generation is to make sure your company or product website has a landing page setup and ready to capture all of your new leads that will be coming in. A landing page is a specialize page on your website that is targeted to a specific campaign. If you are sending a special promotion  out to your email lists, then when someone clicks on the email you want them to go to a landing page that tells them all about the sale. If you just send the people from your email list to your homepage, they may be confused or frustrated that they can’t see any information about the sale and quickly leave.  Once you have a landing page setup, then you are ready to start sending traffic to your website using targeted email marketing.

Email marketing, especially if you’re using a specialized email database for your target market or industry, is a great way to drive traffic and convert leads and sales. A well-structured marketing email to promote a sale or event can do wonders to increase conversion.

If the email best practices below are are followed when using email marketing you should see a nice increase in conversion rates:

  • Use a reputable looking email address so as not to be accidentally labeled as a spammer (ajohnson@yourcompany.com is better than sales@yourcompany.com).
  • Make your offer front and center in the marketing email and easy to follow. This will increase the amount of leads visiting your site specifically to take advantage of the offer.
  • Experiment with different subject lines for each email list and keep track of conversions through Google Analytics to see what techniques work specifically for your customers.
  • Less is more. Welcome emails and repetitive offers are bound to decrease the amount of interest.
  • Emphasize offers or benefits rather than just features. Your customer knows why he’s coming to your site, it’s important to tell him what is special and why now is the time to buy.
  • Most importantly, use a “call to action” every time. A strong call to action is often the piece of the puzzle that can turn a marketing email from a good idea into a “must buy”.
 

Experiment with some of these tricks while monitoring conversion rate through Google Analytics.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for email marketing, but it is possible to take this data and cater
your technique to your audience. As in all marketing, continue testing and you should have no
problem increasing conversion rate.

By Alec Wilcox


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