All You Really Need to Know About Meeting Subscriber Expectations You Learned in Middle School

Remember in school when your English teacher taught you to write a paper by following this simple formula? Tell them what you’re going to say (intro). Say it (body). Tell them what you said (conclusion). Something similar works for email marketing too, not for email content though, but as a guide for meeting your subscriber’s expectations. Why subscriber expectations matter I suspect there are more than five reasons to meet your subscriber’s expectations, but I think these are the most important: They trusted you with something of value: their email address. Right from the start, you will either validate their decision to trust you or not, based on how well you follow through on what you promised when they subscribed. You’re setting the stage for the rest of what you hope will be a long and fruitful relationship. Don’t blow it. You worked hard to get that subscriber in the first place. Now you must work hard to keep them. Not meeting expectations will damage your brand… …and your deliverability. Applying the English lesson to email marketing Now let’s go back to our English lessons from middle school and apply them to email marketing in a little more depth: Tell them what you’re going to say, a.k.a. Set the expectations at sign up and in your welcome email. This means the signup page on your website spells out the reasons why they should subscribe. That’s where you are setting the stage for everything that follows. Be accurate. Indicate how often

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Work That Welcome Email

Many brands send welcome emails and—while some do a better job at it than others—this is smart email marketing. Well-done welcome emails get the consumer/brand relationship off to a good start by reminding subscribers why they signed up in the first place, reiterating the promises made at signup, and getting consumers into the habit of seeing emails from you in their inboxes. And these welcome emails work. Almost 75% of consumers expect a welcome email when they subscribe, and these kinds of emails tend to have higher than average open rates as a result—some say as high as 50%. Welcome emails work, but are you working your welcome? If welcome emails are anticipated by three-quarters of the population and welcome emails have up to 4 times the open rate of other marketing emails, shouldn’t we be working those welcomes, asking ever more of them? That’s why I’m offering up three ways to work your welcomes and get even better long-term results from them: Improve your deliverability: Your first welcome email is a great time to ask to be added to their address books to ensure your emails make it into their inboxes. All you need to do is include a little text to that effect, reminding them they won’t get your great content if they don’t see your emails. Ask for (or glean) more info: At signup is not the time to ask for more than the basics of name and email address, right? Studies show that the more information

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Email Marketing: Master Basics Before Bodacious, Please!

Okay, bodacious is a dated word but I’m old and it’s a good fit for my point: Marketers should be striving to master the basics before chasing the latest and greatest email trends that will make them bold, audacious, bodacious. Yet the industry articles that show up in my inbox and feeds indicate otherwise, telling marketers they are behind the times if they don’t have or do or measure that latest whizbang thing. I’m starting to cringe every time I see an article about extremely sophisticated email marketing technology and trends when I know for a fact that most businesses haven’t even mastered the basics of email marketing yet. I see firsthand how these organizations lag behind in even the simplest best practices, and the last thing they need is distraction in the form of some sexy new trend some expert says they “should” be following. Chad White recently summed up some of my concerns about what marketers are not yet doing in a post titled Is Email Cheap or Does It Have a High ROI? For example, he says: One in eight major retailers still doesn’t send welcome emails. Less than a third of these retailers send a welcome series. The use of triggered emails is low and slow-growing. About half of major B2C brands still use desktop-centric email design. Many brands still struggle with permission and engagement. Let’s see, which best practices are missing here… Only welcome emails, automated emails, permission-based lists, mobile-friendly emails, and finally engagement at

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You’re not a Spammer. Stop making excuses.

Guilt by association. Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe that’s why so many marketers question their right to show up in customers’ inboxes, feeling like they are somehow, in some way, intrusive and annoying and (gasp) spam. Well, you’re likely not based on new research. If MarketingSherpa’s new study is indicative of the rest of the world, and 91% of Americans want to receive promotional emails, then theoretically only 9% of Americans don’t want to. And that means, my dear friend, that no, you’re not a spammer. Maybe instead of being worried about annoying people we should instead focus on making our emails better and more profitable. What if your time and energy was invested in segmentation and automation? What if you were tracking more customer interactions for more relevant emails? What if your team sat around the table talking about increasing awesomeness rather than decreasing frequency? About the Author: Scott Hardigree is the Founder of Email Industries, the folks behind Indiemark , BlackBox and this fine blog.

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Why You Need to Get Some Purple Cows into Those Inboxes

Quick: How many of the emails currently sitting in your inbox were you excited to see? How many were you anticipating and looking forward to reading? I just took a quick look at my inbox before I typed that question and my answer is zero. Not that I don’t have plenty of emails in my inbox, I do…hundreds. But not a one to pique my interest and perk up my day. Email—still—is boring. Where are my purple emails? Seth Godin’s book “Purple Cow” was published in 2003. In that book, Godin pointed out that seeing cows was nothing new, boring in fact, but you’d notice a purple cow. His book encouraged marketers to think purple and be willing to stand out. Yet, 12 years later, I still don’t see a lot of purple cows in my inbox. I don’t even see marketers working at being purple. Instead I see them worrying about things that maybe they shouldn’t. What marketers worry about Marketers worry about many things, and rightly so, but maybe not always in the right order of importance. High on the worry list of many marketers is frequency. In an effort to push hard to make sales, marketers have a tendency to over mail their prospects, leading to an annoying frequency that in turn leads to spam complaints and unsubscribes. When that happens, marketers often turn down the frequency and email less. But is that really the problem—and solution? Chances are, the frequency isn’t the problem. The content is.

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5 Responsive Email Design Best Practices to Start Off Your Day

Those who are running email campaigns understand the importance of sending out a well-composed email. Every element of the email message from headline to the content to the design must be optimized in order to increase the chances of recipients to perform the desired action. One of the biggest developments in email marketing over the last years is responsive email design. This refers to how the sent message of an email campaign interacts with the screen resolution of devices in which the email is viewed. Given that people can access their email inboxes using desktop, smartphones,and tablets – all of which have different screen resolutions of their own –  email marketers need their messages to adapt and survive the screen size of the device. In fact, over half of emails are read using a mobile device and that figure will probably still increase in the coming years. While most email marketing platform accommodate responsive email design into their campaigns, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the email will be optimized and observe the best practices of responsive design. A study by GetResponse on responsive email design showed that 42% of subscribers intend to delete emails that don’t display correctly on their smartphones. For those who are getting their feet wet with email marketing, whether it’s to increase subscribers or get your list to purchase something from you, here are tips on how you can improve the responsive design of your emails. Mobile first: Start with the small screen in mind Normally,

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5 Reasons Why No One Opens Your Marketing Emails

In an ideal world, you’d send X emails and get X opens, not Y, right? I mean, hey, a 94% deliverability rate is great and something you obviously worked hard for, but when that only gets you a 13% open rate, well, that isn’t so great. I have never ever heard of anyone getting a 100% open rate, or even anything close to that. I don’t even open every email I get from my mom. But most businesses aren’t even in the 40% range. Why is that? Lots of reasons. But the five biggest fails that lead to emails delivered and deleted (i.e. not opened) are these: Reason 1: Failing with the From name and Reply-to Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? Let’s start with your From name. After all, that’s the first thing people are going to see at your inbox. (Unless they’re using Google Inbox, which puts the subject line first, but that’s another story.) Is your From name user friendly? Is it a real person’s name? Do they know that person? Or is it something like your company name? Is your reply-to email a donotreply@ or sales@? Your From name might seem like a little thing, but it’s the first thing they see. So get it right. Reason 2: Sucky subject line Next on this list is your subject line. Or should I say the poor neglected subject line? Although this is the second thing a recipient sees when deciding to open your email (or not), it’s usually

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CASL, Canada’s Anti-Spam Law, 6 Months Later

Now that Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL) has been in effect for six months, I thought it might be a good time to check in on its impact. To do so, I turned to my friend Matthew Vernhout. Matthew is the Chief Privacy Officer and Manager, Deliverability at Inbox Marketer Corp. and a Certified International Privacy Professional (Canada) with more than 14 years of experience in email marketing. He is intimately familiar with CASL because he ensures that Inbox Marketer’s clients are compliant with all relevant industry regulations, including CASL. Matthew kindly agreed to answer a barrage of questions regarding the Canadian law. Q: Why does CASL matter and for whom does it matter? A: CASL matters to any marketer or individuals sending commercial electronic messages (CEMs) to Canadians, regardless of where they are sending email from. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) and the Competition Bureau (CB) have all agreed to work with their intentional counterparts to investigate and enforce the appropriate portions of the legislation that are being violated. CASL also covers more than just CEMs. It also addresses the unwanted installation of computer programs and the interception or modification of data in transit. Q: What are the implications of CASL short term? Long term? A: CASL was implemented in July 2014, so the short-term implications are already passed and many people are waiting the results of the initial rounds of investigations from the enforcement agencies covering section 7 of

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Start Seeing Beyond the Holidays

How was your inbox on Thanksgiving? How about on Black Friday? A little more crowded than usual? Now how many of those emails were from brands that you rarely hear from? Okay, hold that thought. One estimate predicted 25.6 million people would be out shopping for deals on Thanksgiving and another 95.5 million people would shop on Black Friday in the U.S. Given that the population of the U.S. is about 320 million, that’s a significant percentage. But if such a huge percentage of people are willing to shop on these two days, wouldn’t it make sense to convert some of these annual shoppers into perennial ones? What if you could turn a holiday email success into a year round one? Think long term, like the holidays are not the only time you can market to people, and maybe what you could do is to work hard to engage them so they want to keep hearing from you beyond the holidays. With that in mind, here are three ways you might tweak your holiday email marketing, to try and extend that email program beyond a deluge in December to a drip that’s welcome all year round: Give them a reason to buy in January: When they buy during the holidays, send a confirmation email with a coupon that can be redeemed in January, post holiday. Then in January, send a reminder email that they have a coupon yet to use. I am less likely to be buying for me during

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12 Tips for an Email Newsletter Template That Will Carry You Through 2015

Has your email newsletter template stayed current, despite the sweeping changes in email technology and user behavior in recent years? If not, 2015 might be a good time to not only get that template up-to-date, but ensure it stays that way for some time to come. Despite their relative age, email newsletters continue to be popular with both B2C and B2B audiences. One study says consumers prefer email newsletters by 90% vs. the 10% who prefer Facebook. This continued popularity means the workhorse known as a newsletter should stay in your stable as part of your marketing. However, designing an email newsletter template is no longer as straightforward as it used to be, because you can’t know for certain which device will be used to read your newsletter: Will it be a PC or a Mac? A laptop or a tablet? An iPhone or an Android? That makes the backbone of your newsletter every bit as important as the content of it. With that in mind, I queried our Director of Creative Services, Jared LaRock, to get his expert advice on putting together an email newsletter template that will work for 2015 and beyond. Of course you expect to change your content with each new issue of your newsletter. But you want your template to be something that will work no matter develops in our industry. Below are Jared’s 12 tips for creating an effective email newsletter template that will work hard for you now…and in the year to come.

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