Gmail’s New Inbox: It’s Kind of a Big Deal!

Google announced it’s re-re envisioning of the inbox today. Why do you care? Well, you probably shouldn’t unless you’re an email marketer or inbox neat freak in which case I suggest you read on. Attention Email Marketers For many of us reaching the inbox consistently can be quite a struggle. With Gmail’s newest addition to the inbox getting your material in front of readers is going to be even more difficult – just skipping the spam folder simply wont cut it anymore. This means that we need to write email that has more value or connection. Give your people a reason to wait eagerly at their home screen for your e-letters. Selling is great – and you should never be scared of selling your products or services if they have value – however it’s important to pepper in some free, actionable value in your messages. Whether it be as simple as showing your subscribers a nifty subject line character using miscellaneous symbols to increase conversions ★ or just telling a story to put a smile on their face give them something to look forward to in your emails. Take a moment to think about who you’re mailing and what would be useful to you if you were in there shoes (maybe some tips on how to get better affiliates or a strategy you use in your business). By doing so you’ll see: Better open/click rates. Higher placement in the inbox/folders. Engaged customers and more referrals. We’ve known it for awhile – but engagement is going

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The (Now) Complete Guide to Modern Email Marketing Stats

Here’s the second and final installment of my one-stop-shop of noteworthy email marketing stats, L-M. Here’s Part 1. Lists The most common ways of capturing email addresses on websites (excluding checkout) are on a dedicated email page (58%) and on the home page (56%), followed by the header (15%), footer (38%) and pop-up windows (22%). – Experian Email Market Study: Email acquisition and engagement tactics In 2013, list growth continues to see slow but steady growth.  In a survey of more than 1,00 businesses around the globe, list growth for the previous 12 months was: 17% – Very positive, our list is rapidly growing; 50% – Somewhat positive, our list is slowly growing; 26% – Neutral, the gains balance out the losses; 6% – Somewhat negative, our list is slowly shrinking; 1% – Very negative, our list is rapidly shrinking. – Marketing Sherpa 2013 Email Marketing Benchmark Report Mobile 43% of consumers say they read emails most often on a smartphone (36.4%) or tablet (6.9%) as opposed to a desktop or laptop computer. – BlueHornet Consumer Views of Email Marketing 2013 News News-related terms in subject lines outperformed discount-related terms. “News” (16.2%), “update” (4.9%), “breaking” (33.5%), “alert” (25.9%) and “bulletin” (12.5%) all saw better than average click-to-open rates (as well as clicks and opens). – Adestra Subject Line Analysis Report Open rates Email open rates increased 7.8% in the third quarter of 2012 compared with the year-earlier period, with average volume increasing 14.9% – Epsilon/DMA Q2 2012 North America Email Trends

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It’s Like They Want Me to Unsubscribe

It’s no secret that the major ISPs are getting more and more interested in list engagement. While elements like content and domain reputation are still pivotal to your deliverability, subscriber interaction seems to have leap-frogged those standards. And that goes for both good interactions and bad interactions. Raking in those opens and clicks is key for inbox placement. Conversely, having your emails just sit in the inbox until the recipient eventually decides to de-clutter through deletion – well, that’s basically the Kiss of Death. And yet, in spite of this knowledge, it seems companies are doing everything in their power to get me to unsubscribe from their emails. Here are the three most common offenses. The Deluge Tactic As much as it sounds like a good idea, sending me an email every single day with an eerily similar offer is not the way to get me make a purchase. And those deal-of-the-day sites could use a lesson in moderation, too. If I’m not opening an email every day, maybe you should move me to your once-a-week list. The Not-So-Monthly Newsletter I think it’s great that you have a newsletter. But if it’s “monthly” or even “weekly,” stick to it. Don’t call it monthly and send me one twice a month. Don’t say it’s a weekly update only to have me go weeks without getting one. William Shakespeare once asked, “What’s in a name?” Expectations, Billy Shakes, that’s what. The Too-Friendly From Name There are a handful of warm-and-fuzzy companies out

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The (Almost) Complete Guide to Modern Email Marketing Stats

We’re a society obsessed with statistics. We want to know the slugger’s RBI, our kid’s GPA, our own BMI, our car’s MPG, the cost of living index, etc. Email marketing is no exception. And so (drum roll, please)… I present to you a one-stop shop, the A to Z of modern email stats. With so many stats to share, I’m presenting this in a two-part post, beginning with A-K. Ladies and gentlemen, start your number crunching now. A/B testing 74% of email marketers report having an “excellent” or “good” ROI, compared to just 37% who do not test. – Econsultancy/Adestra Email Marketing Industry Census 2013 (based on a survey of more than 1,300 digital marketers) Automation 47% of survey respondents said that automatically sending an email based on a trigger is somewhat effective with 43% responding it was very effective. – DMA Email Evolution Conference B2B For B2B companies, subject lines that contain “Money,” “revenue,” and “profit” perform the highest. – Adestra B2B buyers are most likely to share useful vendor content via email (79%), followed by LinkedIn (53%), Twitter (39%) and Facebook (18%). – Earnest Agency (UK) The average email metrics for associations include a 98.15% delivery rate, 32.36% open rate, 21.08% click rate, and a .051% unsubscribe rate. – Informz 2013 Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report Email’s conversion rate was 81% higher than the average (2.89% vs. 1.6%) and 42% higher than the next-best performer, referrals (2.04%). – Optify’s B2BMarketing Benchmark Report 56% of businesses say they plan to increase

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A Case for Outsourcing Email Design and Coding

Thanks to the “Outsourced” movie and TV series, outsourcing has got a bad rap. With the economy still struggling, many Americans resent companies that outsource jobs to other countries. So why would you want to outsource your email design and coding work? First of all, I’m not talking about outsourcing this work to another continent. You’ll find plenty of excellent email designer right here on our shores. You know your business better than anyone. By outsourcing email design and HTML coding, you free yourself and your team up to focus on the big picture or their expertise. Handing off these tasks to others means you can spend more time on your marketing promotions and less time struggling with creative and technical details. Leave that to the experts. You’ll not only save time but money too if you outsource email design and coding. By contracting with a dedicated email marketing agency or an experienced freelancer, you don’t have all the costs associated with hiring a full-time employee. “Contracting” is the key word here; make sure both parties sign a contract to avoid any problems down the road. Email Design Just because you outsource your email design, that doesn’t mean you relinquish creative control. A good email designer will take your creative direction and apply it to each project. However, you’ve got to have a keen sense of your brand’s tone/voice so that you can share it with your designer. One perk of outsourcing design instead of hiring in-house staff is that an outside designer

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Doing Something Different with Seasonal Emails

As an email marketer, you know how difficult it is each year to come up with different ideas for you various festive campaigns. That said, major holidays are an opportunity to market to your subscribers when they may be most receptive to offers. Following are a few examples of holiday email campaigns that illustrate how ordinary can easily become extraordinary. St. Patrick’s Day Emails Even if you’re not Irish, chances are you know that St. Patrick’s Day is March 17. I applaud Busch Gardens for not overstating the obvious. Its email subject line is simply: “Opening day is March 17.” The email reinforces the holiday theme with a green background behind the headline and subhead, and a green lead-in to the copy. And the copy also ties into the theme: “It must be a lucky day because March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day….” OK, so the subject line is a bit cheesy: Want the luck of the EYE-rish? But when it comes to tongue-in-blushed-cheek emails, I’ve got to give them the benefit of the doubt. The dialogue balloon captures the spirit o’ the holiday (and the tone of the brand): Kiss me I’m… Oh, just kiss me! Easter Emails Walmart cleverly uses “peeps” in this Easter-themed subject line: Smart peeps are saving on Easter – shop your local ad now. It sure beats (pun intended) “Egg-citing Easter values” that showed up in my inbox from another online retailer. (note: screen capture missing. I must have misplaced it, but you get the idea.)

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Email Design Best Practices in 2013 (Infographic)

Ravi from Email Monks sends their updated email design best practices infographic, which comprises useful information on how well one could and should design an email or newsletter templates in 2013. The main topics covered within this email design best practices infographic include current mobile rendering considerations as other important factors to consider, such as the pre-header, body content and footer.    

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Newsjacking for Email Marketers

David Meerman Scott, author of The New Rules of Marketing and PR, coined the term “newsjacking.” He defines it as “the process by which you inject your ideas or angles into breaking news, in real-time, in order to generate media coverage for yourself or your business.” For email marketers, newsjacking is really about tying in your email campaigns to current events. When you do so, you’re relating to your subscribers by connecting with what’s top of mind for them at any given time. Following are a few examples – and a few caveats – about using newsjacking for email campaigns. What’s interesting about the examples below is that while they all target a female audience, not all of the events they tie into are strictly for women. In fact, March Madness skews toward a male audience. One of my recent favorites, from Benefit cosmetics, tied in to the presidential inauguration. The subject line (perfect for this company with its cheeky tone of voice) was “Hail to the Cheek!” and the headline paid it off with “Take the Oath of Beauty to the Office!” The beauty of this campaign (pun intended) is that it stays clear of any political affiliations but perfectly ties in the event with its product offerings. Presidential elections are also a great time to capitalize on American pride. Companies with products made in America can use the opportunity to promote that fact in their emails and other marketing materials. If you’re a high-end fashion retailer in New

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How to Over-mail and Have Your Subscribers Thank You For It

Most of us subscribe to dozens of emails on a regular basis. However, only a few of those emails are eagerly anticipated day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. Recently, we discussed the opportunity most businesses have to email more frequently. The catch with this strategy is making subscribers happy with the increase. You want your email recipients to be like a love-struck teenage girl, eager to receive a call from that special someone. You want them to click on your emails – and click with you as a brand. So how do you make your emails among those that are the first clicked – and last deleted? Be emotional Emotional appeals are those that tug at the heartstrings. In this example from FabOverFifty, a four-word subject line and compelling graphic make the reader want to find out more: Be entertaining Not all emails require the recipient to click through. A daily comic, for example, provides instant gratification upon opening the email. Depending on your brand’s tone, you could incorporate a comic or a little humor into your emails. Be educational/informational Just because people subscribe to your emails, that doesn’t mean they read every email in its entirety. They might look forward to a particular aspect of your emails. The weekly Blainesworld email newsletter isn’t fancy (and neither is its subject line), but it includes hyperlinks at the top so you can skip right to the areas that interest you. It also has hyperlinks to take you back to

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How to Manage an Increase in Email Frequency

In today’s society, many of us suffer from too much of a good thing. We’ve got supersized foods, information overload and overstuffed email inboxes. What’s an email marketer to do? The good news is that, while you might think you’re inundating your customers and prospects with emails, you may actually be under-emailing them. When it comes to email marketing, less is not always more. If you’re playing it conservatively, you could be missing out on great marketing opportunities by sending too few emails to your customers and prospects. Take a lesson from the holiday season, when many online (and offline) retailers bombard their lists with email offers. For some retailers, it’s daily or (gasp) even more often. The point is, they know their what their customers are looking for and they deliver. Don’t be afraid to communicate on a regular basis. Truth is, we usually only hear from recipients who want to receive fewer emails. How often have you received requests to send more emails? How do you determine the right frequency for your list? Set the stage Simply sending a vanilla “welcome” message doesn’t cut it anymore. Use the subscription box (or lead capture form) to first sell the value of your emails and follow through with a welcome series which proves the value and sets their expectations. Start with best practices but get creative and be clear when opting in subscribers to your email list. When you do, your recipients truly want to receive email communications from your company. Monitor opt-out rates If

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