Email Marketing to Cats

Your customers aren’t always who you think they are. And they don’t automatically love you and approve of everything you do. In fact, they are much more like cats than dogs in the way they regard you…and me. I wrote on this some time ago in the ClickMail blog, and it was such a hit, I thought it worth reiterating here. Whether you’re a dog person or a cat person, you know the difference between these species and the way they regard humans. As the saying goes, “Dogs have owners; cats have staff.” Dogs love you no matter what. Dogs never hold a grudge. They forgive everything you do, even when you forget to feed them or let them out. Whether you’re gone for an hour or a week, they are miserable when you leave and ecstatic when you return. Dogs believe their owners can walk on water and control the heavens. A dog believes its human to be the greatest creature to ever live. Oh, not so cats! Cats could not care less about you. They not only ignore you, they disdain you. They don’t care when you leave. They don’t care when you return. They don’t care. Period. Every business wants their customers to adore them the way a dog adores its owner. We want all those people who get our email marketing messages to think we’re amazing. We want them waiting for our emails the way a dog waits for its owner’s return. We want to be

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Fatherly Wisdom for Email Marketers

With Father’s day almost upon us, here’s 13 ways you can apply traditional “dad advice” to improve your email marketing practices. Always introduce yourself with a firm handshake – send out a ‘Welcome Email’ to all new subscribers fully introducing the concept, product, company or campaign. First impressions are important – Most unsubscribes happen after the first email, so make sure you’re putting your best self forward. Always Be Polite – Address your subscriber with a personal greeting at the beginning of each email Never tell a lie; it will come back to bite you – Avoid using misleading subject lines; even though they may get the email opened, you won’t like the repercussions. Think before you act – Proofread, proofread, proofread. Once the email is sent, you can’t take it back. Treat others as you would want to be treated – Avoid blasting irrelevant content/too many messages. Don’t be a pest (or don’t overstay your welcome) – provide a visible opt-out function. In order to get, you first need to give – Present offers of value to your subscribers if you want them to reciprocate with purchases down the road. Respect others’ wishes – Don’t reject people just because they want to communicate differently (i.e. via Facebook, Twitter or other social channels) instead of just email. Instead, find a way to work with them and accommodate their communication preferences. Don’t be afraid to admit your mistakes – If you make a mistake in an email (e.g. wrong sales price

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3 Email Marketing Secrets I Discovered from Studying SPAM

Spammers suck. They’re awful at what they do (the last stat I saw of their conversion rates was in the neighborhood of 1 in 12,000,000) so what in the world can we learn from them? TONS. Even though I’m a professional email marketer – someone who should know better –  I still find myself compelled to open a spam email once in a while. Wouldn’t you want to harness the spammer’s (very occasional) brilliance and have your list completely helpless when staring at your email in their inbox. . . totally. . . compelled . . . to click? YESSSS. Here are the 3 secrets I’ve discovered from studying spam messages:   1.) Make me feel guilty! I feel a little bad deleting an email from “Maria Sanders” even if I know it’s a spam email. . .because there is a slight chance that a real person, Maria, actually took time out of her life to write to me. Why do I feel guilty for deleting an obvious spam email from “Maria” and feel nothing at all for deleting a legitimate email from Adobe or Microsoft? Companies are faceless entities, it’s no problem (and even FUN!) to ignore them and foil their marketing efforts. A personal name is so different though, it’s rude to ignore a real person. I wouldn’t want to be ignored, so I try not to ignore others (do unto others, and all that). The from name matters, I won’t open an email from XYZ Co. but

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Using Intrigue in Email Marketing

Back in the day when I used to go to the mall for fun (it was called growing up in the 80s and 90s before online shopping), Brookstone was one of my favorite stores. Not because I bought anything—in fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever actually purchased something from Brookstone—but rather because they had 5 or 6 massage chairs out at all times for “testing”. That sort of intrigue led me to sign up for Brookstone’s email marketing program a while back. A few weeks ago, they sent me the message below (with images on): With images on, this message is pretty cool. Here’s what I like about it: Subject Line: Everyone likes a good mystery. And the subject line sells the mystery, plus provides the incentive to open the message by having “INSIDE” as the first word out of the gate. Design and Content: The design here is simple. The offer is front and center, with no real competition. Content is clear and decisive. The limitations of the offer are explicit. Well done. Call-to-Action: The call-to-action is easy to find. I will admit it could use to be a bit larger, maybe at least matching the text size of the “3 Days Only” line. Just one man’s opinion there. Surrounding Links: Brookstone has always known they are a unique gift store, and the links in their emails point to that understanding. I particularly like the two menu categories at the bottom of the message that allow their price shoppers

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Selling Your Sign-up Isn’t Enough

Let’s talk about growing your list. Let’s talk about selling your sign-up. In an earlier post, Marco Marini stated that it isn’t enough to just offer the possibility to sign up, you have to do something more. I completely agree. But he also stated that a sign-up box doesn’t help you grow your house-list by that much. I totally do not agree. Lets see why. From that article I quote: An email signup box on your home page won’t grow your in-house list. At least not by much. That’s not accurate. How would you know? Some companies actually measure their traffic-to-signup ratio. If you are a strong brand or have good content you can have a big chunk of sign-ups just by putting a simple opt-in sign-up box on every page. You might get more sign-ups from a well executed sign-up box then you would from a separate sign-up page.  Our friend sign-up box has helped email marketers all over the world to achieve a steady flow of new subscriptions derived from the (natural) traffic on company websites. Selling the subscribe Quote number two: The first mistake we must eliminate is relying on a signup box alone. Even if that box appears on every page of your 30-page website, it’s not selling. It’s just a box. No pitch, no reasons to enter an email address, no reasons to pay any attention to it whatsoever. To get past that common mistake is simple. Add a page to your website that tells

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Engaging Content Helps Email Deliverability

Your email marketing program exists to in some way add to your organization’s bottom line. That might be through sales, brand awareness, relationship building or fundraising if yours is a non-profit. Generating email marketing ROI is your ultimate goal. That might mean a tendency to emphasize selling in your email marketing messages…and that might work against your email deliverability, which in turn will work against that ROI. How? Unhappy subscribers report emails as spam, which hurts your reputation and therefore your deliverability. Remember, anything that hurts your sending reputation hurts your email deliverability. People do want special deals, exclusive offers and limited time promotions. These types of offers belong in your email marketing mix. Offer them more, however, in the form of better content, and you’ll have happier subscribers. You’ll decrease your unsubscribes and the spam complaints that work against your sending reputation, and therefore deliverability. I used to get frequent emails from a local restaurant chain. And I quickly tired of them. I have seen enough coupons for two-for-one dinners and free cups of chowder to last me a lifetime. When I first signed up, I liked getting the special offers, and I’d dutifully print them out, arrange a meal out with a friend, and use the coupons. But it got old. When I realized that was the only type of email I would receive from this chain, I unsubscribed. Someone who doesn’t work in the email field would like report the emails as spam to stop getting them.

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“Why Should I?” How to Sell Your Signups

An email signup box on your home page won’t grow your in-house list. At least not by much. But many companies rely solely on that one box on that one page and then wonder why their list grows so slowly. Getting someone to subscribe to your newsletter or sign up for your emails is akin to selling them something. People must be sold on signing up for your emails just like they need to be sold on your products or services. The first mistake we must eliminate is relying on a signup box alone. Even if that box appears on every page of your 30-page website, it’s not selling. It’s just a box. No pitch, no reasons to enter an email address, no reasons to pay any attention to it whatsoever. To get past that common mistake is simple. Add a page to your website that tells people why they should sign up to get emails from you. An email address is an item of value. It will only be surrendered over to you if the giver receives something of equal or greater value in return. This page sells your email program to a prospect so they will be willing to part with their email address in exchange for what you are offering. But wait. Let’s back up a step. Before you add that page, think long and hard about why someone would want to subscribe. What will you offer them in exchange for their email address? What do you

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Say “No!” to Wimpy Calls to Action

It’s called a call to action. Not a hint to action. Not a suggestion. A call. So why is the world full of wimpy ones? You know, the wishy washy hints and suggestions that are definitely not calls to act. Maybe as a society, we are simply too polite. When I’m a customer in a restaurant, I say “please” and “thank you” for the smallest service, when I’m ordering or having my water glass refilled or the bread basket restocked…any little service gets good manners. I’m polite. If I were more direct and less polite, I wouldn’t order with please and thank you. I’d just say something like “bring me the rib eye steak with mashed potatoes.” I’d be direct. I’d be using a strong call to action. And I’d be considered a bossy jerk by the employees…and probably my wife too, if she were dining with me. But maybe being a bossy jerk is the way we need to be if we want our calls to action to bring about an action. Or at least we need to be more specific. Wimpy calls to action are vaguely worded like: Click here Read more Click here to… Get started Strong calls to action are more direct and clearly stated like: Start improving your response rates Start saving money now Download now Be the first of your friends to … Give me my free … Companies will see an improved click through rate when they change things like the design or

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