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Email Marketing Automation Bible – More Than Detailed Guide From Email SaaS Experts

After deploying 10 million emails, and building our own email marketing automation platform called Alpha Delivered, we as a team decided to share our insider expertise on the topic. In this 10 000 words long compendium we open up all our secrets to you, our potential partner.

Time is of the essence, but no matter how hard you try, your “to-do” list just keeps getting longer. Sometimes it seems that even adding two extra hours on a day’s length wouldn’t help, and growing an extra pair of hands is not an option. There is simply too much for you to do. While we can’t pause time, or make the day last 26 hours, we can help you save the precious minutes that you do have. We can give you some advice on how to create email marketing automation campaigns more efficiently, easily engage your recipients, and drive results. In the following article, you will find various email marketing tips and suggestions that will help you automate your email programming while keeping a touch of soul. We’ll also help you efficiently test your emails and ultimately grow your open rates, clicks, and profits.

Automate Your Email Program

Whether you are entirely new to email marketing automation, or still have reservations, you should know that automating your email promotions will make you money in the long run. Just follow our lead, and you will get your automation setup up and running in no time. We will provide you with the best tips to follow when you finally include automated emails into your efforts.

Email Marketing Automation - A Complete Guide From Clever Email Marketers

What Is Email Automation and What Benefits Does it Bring

An automated email is often referred to as triggered email or behavior-driven email. It is a message automatically sent from your email service provider (ESP) in direct response to an individual user’s specific actions made, or not made, on your website or web app. It allows you to send real-time, one-to-one personalized messages. These messages can bolster your customer’s engagement, retention, and increase sales.

You are probably familiar with transactional emails and marketing emails as a means to provide operational updates, such as receipts or password resets, or promotional materials, like newsletters, or coupons. Although transactional emails offer consumers with crucial information, they can’t contain or provide too much promotional content due to their nature. Traditional marketing emails, on the other hand, play a critical role in sending announcements to segments of your customer base but lack the one-on-one communication customers have come to expect.

Email automation provides benefits for both transactional and marketing emails. It bridges the gap between allowing you to follow up with individual customers automatically, like transactional emails, and allowing robust messaging opportunities like you get from a marketing email. You can now responsively send extremely user-specific messages. They give you the best of both worlds with words that boast high levels of:

Relevance – The message that each user receives is highly relevant to them because he, or she, has taken an action that has triggered the response. Of course, customers are much more likely to open and engage with this type of communication, than when being sent depersonalized and irrelevant emails. 

Engaging content – Automated email content is designed to increase user engagement with your site or app. This engagement could vary from teaching new customers how to use your product, to encouraging them to give feedback. For example, you can send an automated “how-to” email to those customers that have signed up for your services but have yet to start using them.

Brand building – Being a highly personal communication channel, automated messages can serve as an extension of your brand. By communicating with assistance, with leadership, or with information about new features your customers haven’t used yet, automated emails allow you to fortify your relationship with your customers.

In no time at all, you will see meaningful business results, such as:

Loyalty – Customers who have received timely and relevant help or guides to follow are more likely to recommend your brand to others. The easier you make using your product or service, the better they feel about its utility. 

Retention – When your customers receive personal assistance and real-time communication, they feel more valued. This leads to consistency and long-term commitment to your brand.

Revenue – If you message your customers with the right prompt(s) at the perfect time, they are more likely to finish their billing information, upgrade their account, or return as an active user.

Action – One of the main advantages of automated email is that they target people that have engaged with your website or app. This means that the recipients are already familiar with your brand, raising the likelihood that they’ll make a purchase. 

Despite all the values of automated email we’ve just talked about, many companies still haven’t started implementing it. With just a few simple steps, you can quickly get a smart and focused automated email campaign started to begin driving meaningful results. We are here to help you with every step of the process. Let’s start with some examples of automated email messages you could be sending:

  • Welcome series emails to help new customers begin using your product
  • Nurture series emails that guide customers to the next step in the sales funnel
  • Different kind of felicitation emails to help increase customer loyalty
  • User verification emails to make sure new users are legitimate

To get you even more familiar with the subject at hand, bringing you one step closer to the beginning of your email automation campaign, let’s propose an example of some welcome series messages.

A simple welcome series is a great place to begin your campaign. Start by greeting and acknowledging your new subscribers and introducing them to your offerings.

Your first email should be short and sweet, greeting your new subscribers with a call-to-action (CTA) to start shopping. We recommend you customize that email with your logo, brand colors, and different kinds of visuals.

In the second email, you should remind your recipients why it is beneficial to be a subscriber. This is an excellent opportunity to introduce your most popular products or to offer an incentive to your new subscribers. Use a drag & drop design editor to add different modules that rearrange or add value to the layout of the email. Remember, though, don’t overcrowd it – less is generally more when it comes to email length.

If you have a VIP program, you can introduce it in the third email, offering subscribers a chance to level-up their commitment to your brand. If you don’t, then you can introduce fan favorites, a mobile app, or a new offering that you’re excited about.

As your recipients become familiar with your company and edge closer to being your loyal returning customers, you can begin another automation stream focused on nurturing programs to engage with them on a more personal level. You can send a higher volume of promotional messages to your highly-engaged recipients and more value-orientated content to those who open your emails but don’t usually click to your CTAs (such as content assets, best practice guides, or case studies).

It’s of vital importance to keep an eye on the engagement of your emails. If you find that some recipients don’t engage with your emails by the end of the series, you should consider removing them from your list. Maybe they have subscribed unintentionally, or are no longer interested in the content. Before doing so, you can send them an automated re-engagement email campaign. Set up a trigger to message those who haven’t opened your email for two or three months. You can acknowledge their possible lack of interest and let them decide whether or not they would like to continue receiving your emails. You can also insert a link to your preference center so they can manually adjust how many emails they receive from your brand. This way, you are likely to salvage a few less interested subscribers. 

How To Get The Best Results With Email Automation

By now, you have already set up your workflow and are ready to start sending automated emails. If so, it’s a good idea to take note of these best practices before you start massaging your customers:

Timing – This has to be based on the triggering event and the content that you provide. If you are sending a series, it’s imperative to space your emails out in a manner that will help your customers, and not overwhelm them.

Volume – While it is excellent to send relevant messages to your customers, keep in mind that more isn’t always better. It is much more beneficial to focus on the opportunities that are most meaningful to your customers and your business than to send a high number of messages that can eventually turn them away.

Testing – Once you have your automated email stream all set up, be sure to test and optimize your messaging. Test subject lines, content, CTAs, timing, and all custom metrics that reflect the goal of your message.

Allow opt-outs – Your brand should provide elegant and easy unsubscribe options. This seemingly simple act of goodwill will show that you’re focusing your efforts on bettering the experience of your engaged users.

CAN-SPAM and CASL – The primary purpose of most automated emails is to drive recipients back to your app, or website. As such, they are considered a form of marketing communications. This is why you will have to make sure all automated emails follow CAN-SPAM and CASL laws.

Since the world has stepped into an ever-increasing process of digitalization, online engagement is becoming more personalized every step of the way. Email automation follows this trend, enabling you to provide a more tailored email experience for your recipients without demanding more time for manual email communications. Using automated emails in your campaign helps increase the engagement of your customers, making your job as an email marketer infinitely easier.

 

The Best Practice Tips for Personalized Email Marketing

Achieving a personal connection with your recipients throughout each campaign may seem like a challenging task, but with our help, you are bound to master the skills you need in no time. Personalization, also known as 1 to 1 marketing, or marketing to the individual, is a very popular tactic with marketers who want an effective way to connect with prospects and customers. There are a couple of essential steps you should take when starting your campaign. Follow our lead.

Gather relevant information

To deliver relevant content, you need to find out more about your customers. This way, you will be able to find the most effective way to serve them. Intuitively, the best way to get said information is to ask. While you don’t want to overwhelm your recipients with too many questions right from the start, you can choose a few specific ones like their name, their company’s name, their role in the company, or how they initially plan to use your product. We urge you to brainstorm around the questions, which will give you the most useful answers for your specific business. 

Segment your lists

After you have gathered your data, divide your contacts into categories. You can use a variety of criteria to separate your contacts, including demographics, customer type, and location. For example, many retail stores have found that it makes sense to segment their contacts by gender. This way, their recipients receive more personalized and engaging content and are more likely to click on photos of items they could see themselves wearing.

Focus on quality over quantity

Keep an eye on the number of segments your recipients are included in at one time. This is important since you don’t want your customers to be barraged with emails. You also don’t want to burden yourself with too many segments to manage. Test and focus on those segments that your recipients respond to the best. This way, you will avoid overloading their inbox with dozens of emails.

Give your recipients some space to breathe

Give your recipients some time and space between viewing the item and receiving another email. Don’t make them feel like their privacy is being invaded by sending them a message right after they click on something. With that being said, also avoid subject lines like “We saw you looking…” or “We noticed you clicked on…”. These are sure to install a bit of unnecessary paranoia, conjuring thoughts of Orwell’s ominous works. 

Don’t stop at the name

When we talk about email personalization, your first association is probably including the name of your recipient in the greeting. While this is a great start, it is only one element of many that you can use to connect with your customers. Many companies use this tactic in their emails, so if you want to stand out in the crowd, you will need more than your recipients’ names to get their attention. 

Keep an eye on customer behavior

One of the best tactics in email personalization is focusing on customers’ behavior. Set up automated nurtures for recipients who are heavily engaged, partially engaged, or not engaged at all. This is a very helpful way of organizing your campaigns and reaching those who are interested in what you have to offer.

Personalizing your emails helps you establish relationships with your customers. As you get to know them better, you can send them content that they find interesting and will continue to engage with. Just remember to mix it up every once in a while. Just like in every other relationship, you don’t want your exchanges going stale.

Email Marketing Automation - A Complete Guide From Clever Email Marketers

The Most Common Email Marketing Automation Mistakes

Email marketing automation makes planning and executing your campaigns more efficient by simplifying much of your job as a marketer. Despite this, it is wise to be aware of some of the risks involved, so your efforts won’t be in vain. Although some mistakes are inevitable, when it comes to email automation, we can help you avoid most of them.

Too many messages too soon

It is easy to get caught up in the moment and let your ambitions run wild when starting a new program. One of the main risks of email automation is placing your recipients on too many new automated flows at once. While this can be entirely unintentional on your part, it is very likely to have a negative effect on your engagements. Even with more target-based content, they may become irritated with the increased frequency and end up unsubscribing or marking you as spam. 

To avoid this, start your automation program simply by only employing a few email flows. The important thing is to map out visually, or whiteboard your automated email workflows (also known as recipes), so you can easily notice where there might be too much overlap. As we’ve repeated throughout this guide, less can sometimes be more, so having fewer automation flows doesn’t make your program less effective. Once your campaign has started, keep a close eye on your engagement. Your most telling engagement metrics are open and click-through rates. If they start to decline, depending on your list size and baseline metrics, this might mean that you have crossed the threshold of efficacy.

Losing the personal touch

As you send more emails, there is a risk that your content will start to lose the personal touch. The last thing you want is to start sounding like a robot to your audience. If you’re going to stand out in your recipients’ inboxes and get their attention, your voice and content are of utmost importance. 

The solution is to spend as much time as you can on content creation. Your focus should always be on writing to your audience and creating visuals tailored explicitly for them. Examine your email segments often and make sure that they are accurate and up to date. The more granular they are, the more relevant your content can be. Recipient behavior is a beneficial segment to have on your list. If you find it useful, you can divide your segments even further. For example, you can have one segment focus on recipients that are more interested in promotions, and another for those, who seem to engage more with content marketing pieces.

Not updating your preference center

Most of your recipients are probably going to notice an increase in your emails once you start automating your program. To avoid a disconnect between your audience and your email content, you will need to regularly update your preference center to keep up with your campaign.

Your preference center needs to be crystal clear. It shouldn’t require any extra steps. Your customers should be able to update their preferences and modify the number of emails they wish to receive with ease. Although each preference center will look different and provide different options, make sure you have accounted for new flows and whether they require new types of email campaigns.

Email marketing automation is an exciting technology. It can save countless hours and provide much relief to marketers, no matter the industry or how big or small your email programs are. Having fun with your campaign is the best way to draw more people in. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes and let your creative juices flow.

How to Test Your Email Before Pressing “Send”

Making sure your email looks good across inboxes and devices will give you a great deal of confidence when you’re ready to send it. Here are some of the steps that you should include in your pre-send routine to get the most out of your email marketing campaign:

  • Check the likelihood of your message landing in your recipients’ spam folder
  • Check whether or not the links within your email are broken
  • Test how your emails will render across various browsers and devices

How to stay out of the spam folder

All the hard work and time that you have put in composing your email will be wasted if it lands in your recipient’s spam folder. Unfortunately, there is no universal rule that defines what spam is. Although emailing has come a long way since it’s beginnings, even now, 45% of all emails sent are labeled as spam. This is why you must test your emails to see if they will be filtered into the spam folder. Although there is no simple rule to follow that will keep your emails out of the junk bin, we will share some of the tips that we’ve found to yield the highest chances.

  • Make sure that your email list is made of people who opted in to receive your emails
  • Regularly filter your email list from inactive users
  • Provide valuable content that your recipients regularly engage with

Many ESPs provide delivery metrics that show how much of your email stream went to spam. How can you foretell the fate of your email before sending it out? There are many spam tests like Mail-Tester, or Glock Apps Spam Tester, that you can run your email through to scan for spammy keywords, content, unbalanced text to image ratio, poor domain reputation and so on.

Check your links

Once you have tested your emails and resolved any possible issues, it is time to move onto testing specific items from the content within the body of your email. While you’ll likely remember to do a proofread of your email, you also need to ensure that all the links within your email lead to the right place and aren’t broken. There can be many reasons for broken links. A page may be improperly redirected, taken down, or migrated to another URL. The reason itself doesn’t matter. What matters is that you find these links in your emails and replace or remove them.

Email rendering across devices

Rendering is one of the trickiest aspects of email testing. Achieving 100% rendering across all browsers and devices is almost impossible to do. By fixing rendering on one browser, or device, you run the risk of breaking it in another. The best thing you can do is to prioritize a list of browsers and devices based on your audience and make the decision about the results of your render testing. You can use some of the testing tools available, like Email on Acid and Litmus, to ensure that your emails render consistently for all of your recipients. 

Composing a consistent pre-send checklist that incorporates spam, link, and inbox render testing will position you for a successful email campaign and give you a great deal of confidence to press that send button. After finishing these tests, you can look for other ways to fine-tune your emails and see if any mistakes have escaped your eagle eye.

Write your content before you mock up the email. Google Docs is an excellent tool for this since it gives you the ability to share your content with colleagues who can assist in copy editing.

Mock-up your email and double-check your copy. Look at the dates, times, capitalization, italicization, check if your hyperlinks work. Also, check your “from” and “reply-to” address. Pay extra attention to your subject line!

Double-check your preheader text. This can make all the difference as far as your open rates are concerned. Make sure that this is the copy you want your recipients to read when deciding whether or not to open your email.

Look for any design flaws. Every email tool provides a preview option that should display any apparent errors in your template’s code. Tools like Litmus or Email on Acid will show you how your email looks in major desktop and mobile mailbox providers.

Send a test copy to a colleague. Sometimes you need a different perspective to find those mistakes that would otherwise elude you. This is why you should never be hesitant to ask for a second opinion.

Look at the final version and see if it makes sense to you. If everything is exactly as you want it to be, press send.

 

Time Saving Tips for Marketers

Despite your best efforts, you often get the feeling that the day is not long enough for you to stay up on all the latest marketing trends, to write a new copy for each email you send, or to attend to each request that comes your way. Time simply won’t let you have it all. There are, however, some ways for you to cut a few corners and focus on the priorities.

Prioritize relentlessly

It is sometimes challenging to prioritize the needs of different customers. This is why we recommend keeping a calendar of campaigns. This organizational tactic will help you manage a multitude of projects and help you determine what needs to go out when and to whom. Having a predetermined hierarchy for marketing content also helps. Your subscriber should always come first, and any material that is not in the subscriber’s best interest should not take priority. For all the last-minute requests, check your calendar and content hierarchy. If you can’t find the room in the calendar for another campaign, or if the content doesn’t benefit your subscribers, you should kindly push the request to a later date.

Set expectations

All parties involved need to set expectations for how long something is going to take before the project is finished. Just as you can’t know how long it takes someone to code an email template or fix a bug on a website, you can’t expect your colleagues to know how long it takes you to create an email campaign, or write a best practice guide. Still, some estimates will be much better than having no timeline at all. By providing an expected period to completion, you can set timelines better and keep your team informed.

Ask for guidance

Many times you will find yourself in a position where you are requested to write an email on a topic you are unfamiliar with. Since you don’t have the power to read someone else’s mind, you should kindly ask the person to write it or outline it before sending it to you for editing and formatting. This eliminates the back and forth, and the person sending the request tends to be happier with the result as the email will capture what they originally envisioned.

Reuse content

Although we are not advising you to send the same email more than once, it is a good idea to reuse content across the campaign. If you have a blog post from a product launch, including that copy in the campaign’s email, or social media posts will not only save you time but also make the messaging consistent across the board.

Get familiar with code

Having a basic working knowledge of HTML can save you time and enhance your email marketing campaigns. While you don’t have to know how to code an email from scratch, having a basic knowledge of HTML allows you to make quick changes in email templates where you would otherwise need the developer’s help. Keeping a snippet library can help you stay organized and make simple changes to your emails.  You could have a Google doc of code snippets that you use for different parts of your templates if memory’s not your best asset. 

Consult your pre-send checklist

While working under the pressure of having to send an email to your thousands of contacts, having a pre-send checklist goes a long way. Go through it to make sure that your email looks just as you want it to look. Also, check for spelling mistakes and design errors.  If you don’t have a copyeditor on your team, we suggest using tools like Grammarly to give you the confidence you need to press send.

Leverage your team

If a task seems like more than you can handle, ask around to see if there is an easier way to tackle it. There is a good chance that you have done an enormous amount of work at one time or another, only to realize there was a quick fix that would have cut hours from your workload. That should serve as a reminder that we all need to cultivate a working relationship with our entire team to achieve the best results. Sometimes the remedy to our ailments is standing a quick call away. 

Participate in knowledge sharing

Sharing knowledge amongst team members, whether it’s about industry trends or just a well-written piece of content, will help your team stay in sync. By spending the few minutes it takes to update content libraries, calendars, or campaign ideas, you will save time in the long run. Past projects can give you valuable insight into your recipients’ affinities and conjure new ideas when planning your next approach.

Quantify your impact

Being able to quantify your impact in regards to revenue will make a huge difference for you and your team in the long run. You will be able to position your marketing campaigns and projects in a way that clearly shows the efficacy of your tactics.  If you don’t have access to revenue-orientated metrics, engagement metrics are a good way to start. They can help you dial in the tools and personnel you need to accomplish your campaigns more efficiently.


Exciting Ways to Elevate Your Campaigns in 2020

As new projects and campaigns come, you have the best intentions to start fresh and get creative. Many marketers’ plans revolve around embracing interactivity, personalizing their copy, finding new ways to test their strategies, and being more data-driven. So, to help with your email program’s copy, engagement, and advocacy, we will share a couple of exciting ideas to elevate your email marketing campaigns.

Read your email copy out loud

Whether you are writing one campaign a month, or a couple a week, you are always in danger of falling into a routine and saying the same thing over and over. If your emails become repetitive and impersonal, you are most likely to see poor engagement. A simple strategy you can use to avoid this is reading your emails out loud or having someone else read your copy to you. Take note and highlight the areas where your reader runs into stop words, takes a pause, or concentrates more. You can then edit your copy accordingly following this simple recipe:

  • Delete, or rewrite everything that falls flat, or doesn’t flow, then test it again
  • Remove everything that you have heard, or read before
  • Keep everything that flows, is easy to remember, or manifests positive emotions

By making these small adjustments, you can make an important impact on your final copy and add some discipline in your writing process along the way.

Review your email campaigns

Auditing your email program is one of the best things you can do. You can start by evaluating your campaigns by their age and engagement.

Email age. To ensure that your email copies and offers don’t get stale, you can sort them by “last edited date.” Review every text and evaluate how relevant it currently is to your recipients and how accurately it represents the present state of your products or services. You should shelve everything older than six months and prioritize it for a refresh, or opt to retire it altogether. The job at hand may seem overwhelming at first, but you will quickly see that most of the edits and updates are small and don’t take much time.

Email engagement. You should make it a common practice to evaluate your campaigns by their recipients’ engagement. Categorize your campaigns by those that are incredibly effective, moderately effective, and not effective at all. You can consider a campaign to be effective if it surpasses your average open and clicks rate benchmark. Identify similarities between emails within each category, replicate the top-performing similarities, and eliminate those with dissatisfactory performance. Once you implement this discipline regularly, you will notice that auditing your email program will have a positive effect on your recipients’ engagement.

Segment your list for VIPs

Email segmentation is one of the essential strategies to implement as a campaign manager. It is highly advisable to identify a segment of recipients who regularly engage with your emails and create dedicated campaigns that recognize their loyalty and attentiveness. Simple acknowledgment can go a long way with keeping your subscribers engaged, so consider sending your VIPs a personal email with an introductory offer, or a thank you note, You can also include additional resources, reports, or extra discounts. Your VIPs are likely to be the most honest with you since they are the ones that engage with your content the most. It’s a good idea to ask them for advice on how you can improve. Humility and asking for feedback are a great way to build added thrust with your subscribers, but you must be prepared to honor their feedback if it is consistent.

We all experience a lot of excitement and have a good deal of work to do as we start a new campaign. Still, you shouldn’t put too much pressure on yourself. Identify a few adjustments you can make to your program now and some you can implement later to elevate your campaign further.

The Technical Knowledge Marketers Need for Email and More

In this day and age, it is becoming increasingly hard to be an effective marketer without possessing specific sets of technical skills and abilities. That doesn’t mean that you should be building websites all of a sudden, but having some technical knowledge allows you to be more independent, persuasive, and strategic in your everyday work. Having some basic understanding of data-generation, Excel pivot tables, and financial metrics can make your job a lot easier.

Learn how a web browser works

As a marketer, you are probably spending most of your working time using a web browser. That is exactly where all the data you use to optimize all parts of customer acquisition, including impressions, clicks, page reviews, and conversions are generated. Understanding what is happening with the data mentioned above gives you the ability to analyze and troubleshoot the data you use. Also, you may be able to detect the presence of bugs on webpages, blog posts, or email templates.

The web consists of several layers working together to generate what you see on your screen when engaging through one of the following actions: fetch, process, display, and store. When you click on a link or a button on a page, you are requesting a server. The server then needs to recognize the request you made and fetch the appropriate piece of information from a backend server. There is much more going on between these steps, but each function is commanded by applying commands via a programming language. We suggest having some basic knowledge of the programming languages that represent each level of the stack.

  • HTML and CSS represent the UI and styling on pages. By knowing this primary language, you will be able to modify structure and style on the page.
  • Javascript is a scripting language that controls how elements function and enables interaction with any aspects on the page (as well as web tracking tools like Google Analytics and Hotjar).
  • Scripted languages like Python and PHP, or the query language MySQL control and represent the back-end of the web stack.

Excel

Your email is probably packed with offers on tools useful for solving your business and marketing needs. Most technical marketers, however, have said that Excel is still the most helpful tool they use. The majority of marketing tools have some sort of CSV export function. Mastering Excel pivot tables will help you with summarizing and filtering large data sets. The best thing is that they never change the spreadsheets. They just provide a view of the data that you need at the moment.

Finance acumen

Although finance and programming seem like they’re worlds apart, having some knowledge of the finance side of the industry is a valuable skill that marketers find helpful when making strategic program decisions. Here are some of the metrics that you should get familiar with:

  • Gross revenue – total revenue before deductions
  • Margins (and what influences them) – the percentage difference between the cost to produce and the sale price
  • Velocity/turnover – how fast you can sell a product or service
  • Monthly recurring revenue (MRR) – a standard metric used at SaaS companies to model potential future revenue

These, of course, are some of the metrics that your company is probably using. Knowing how to work with them will help you with prioritizing the marketing budget and activities.

Becoming a more technical marketer can undoubtedly feel overwhelming if you are just starting to think about picking up new skills. Although at times it is probably going to take longer than you expect it to, don’t get discouraged – there is no end to what you can learn, so every bit helps immensely. 

How to Grow Your Email Marketing Lists – A Detailed Guide

When looking to increase the contacts on your marketing list, it is often tempting to take shortcuts and buy or rent lists. Most marketers admit to doing so at one time or another, most often because their boss holds them to a quota for their recipient list size. Building an engaged subscriber list is one of the most important aspects of email marketing, and taking the time to grow your records the right way will bring you long-term benefits. In this article, we will share our experiences and show you the best strategies to build and maintain an engaged email marketing list.

Create Multiple Opportunities for Email Sign-Up

For prospects and customers to sign up for your list, you need to make it as visible as possible. Use all the resources available to promote your email sign-up and explain to your customers what value they benefit from when signing up with you. Here are some great ways to promote to your email marketing list:

Thank you page

Make sure a visitor receives a “thank you” message every time they complete a form on your website. This is a great opportunity to include a call to action that will encourage a user to sign up for your email list. It is very important to include information about the list and all the benefits gained from joining it.

Blog

This is another excellent place to include a call to action, since it may be one of the most visited areas of your site. Make sure that the opportunity to sign up is visible by placing it on the sidebar, or in the top navigation field.

Website

You should include sign-up calls to action on the homepage and subpages of your website. Again, you can put them in your top navigation, sidebars, footer, or use pop-ups to place it front and center.

Landing page

Include the opt-in field in your landing page forms. This will provide extra value to customers who have already engaged with your product. Just make sure not to pre-check the box. Instead, allow potential subscribers to choose whether or not to opt-in.

Lead nurturing emails

Lead nurturing is an excellent way to stay in contact and convert potential users over time. You can encourage your recipients to sign up for a relevant newsletter and your SMS alerts, or you can provide them with a link to another offering they may find useful.

Collect in person

It is a good idea to bring an iPad to events and ask people to sign up for your email lists in person.

Optimize your Opt-In Pages

After capturing your users’ attention, the next step should be to sign them up. This is where your opt-in pages need to shine.

Make your opt-in form visible

If you want new users to sign up, you need to make your form as visible as possible. Besides including it in your navigation, you should design a standalone sign-up page where you will promote the benefits of joining your email marketing list. Just make sure that content and calls to action are limited on this page, so there are no competing messages.

Don’t ask too many questions

Depending on what people are signing up for, make sure to ask only for the most relevant information. For example, if you want them to sign up for a newsletter, a name and email address may be enough. However, you may need some additional information if you are offering a free trial. You can always ask for more details later using your email preference center.

Provide incentives

People are often ready to provide an email address to get something they need. If you wish to get more subscribers, consider offering something of value like a research report, or a coupon upon signing up.

Provide your credentials

If you want a long-term relationship with your customers, it is important to have a healthy start. Be sure to include your privacy policy and permission reminders in each of your emails, so your subscribers can know how they signed up and how you will use their email address.

Different Types of Email List Opt-In

Single opt-in

This is the option of signing in with a single step, like entering an email address into a collection field or selecting a checkbox. It is better to avoid this practice because nothing is preventing typos and forged email addresses from being added to your subscriber lists. You also risk your email delivery and reputation due to both a high number of bounced addresses and blacklistings due to abundant spam traps.

Confirmed opt-in

In this case, a subscriber receives a “welcome” confirmation email once they have opted-in. This will confirm that they did not unknowingly sign up, or that they haven’t changed their mind.  This form of consent also helps prevent typos and spam traps, verifying to you that your subscribers’email address exists. It also decreases the chance of anyone being on an email marketing list long-term who doesn’t want to be.

Pre-selected opt-in

This is the option where a subscription checkbox is pre-selected for receiving promotional emails during a purchase process. By leaving the checked box intact, users consent to receive email from you. This also brings some hazards to your sending reputation and your company, as some users may not realize they have given their consent and could be more likely to report your email as spam.

Pre-selected opt-in with confirmation

The difference between this and the previous option is that users receive a confirmation email if they left the pre-selected opt-in checkbox intact, decreasing the possibility of unintentional subscribers, therefore reducing the potential for spam complaints.

Co-registration

This practice provides users with emails from third parties, on top of the ones from your brand or business. It is considered to be risky because it can be confusing to recipients that don’t remember leaving boxes checked and accidentally signed up for emails they did not want. This can lead to spam reports and other email deliverability issues.

Double opt-in

This is the best form of consent since it requires a secondary action from the email address owner to confirm the subscription. This typically comes in the form of a confirmation link, call to action, a URL to post in a browser, etc. This is the ideal method of expanding your email marketing lists because you demonstrate a genuine desire to make sure your subscriber wants your content. It sets an effective foundation for your send-receive relationship moving forward.

Send a Perfect Welcome Email

You only have one chance to make a first impression, so once you have a new subscriber, you need to welcome them in the best way possible. Make sure you focus your message on validating their decision to subscribe to your emails. Implement a thoughtful welcome series that introduces them and interests them in your product or service. Keep them engaged by sharing helpful tips and offers. You should know that your welcome email sets the tone for every email delivered to your subscribers’ inbox after that, so keep it well branded, friendly, and helpful.

Develop Valuable Content

Keeping your subscribers is just as important as getting them on your list in the first place. All your efforts to opt them in will be in vain if you don’t provide compelling content to keep them engaged. An inbox is a crowded place, and the only way to stand out is with persuasive copy, offers, and subject matter full of expertise.

Write alluring subject lines

Create subject lines that your subscribers can’t resist opening. After all, the primary purpose of a subject line is to encourage an open. It should be closely related to the content in your email, but not too wordy.

Get to the point

Your content needs to be short and straightforward. No need to write lengthy introductions, emails should be just a few short paragraphs with a call to action. If you intend to add images, your text to image ratio should be 60:40 or 70:30. Always use alt tags for images in case they don’t render correctly.

Create an appealing design

The appearance of your email also bears great importance. Some may argue that it is even more important than what it says. A well-designed email will be more appealing to your subscribers. Make sure that it is responsive across all devices, and don’t forget to have a text version in addition to HTML.

Personalize your messaging

The content of your messages should be relevant to your subscribers’ needs. Segment your email list by location, demographics, and past purchase behavior to give them the most personalized experience possible.

Cultivate brand ambassadors

Every email you send needs to provide value to your recipients. This is why the best practice is to hold back from telling them how great you are and make your email messages all about them. If your brand helps them accomplish something, they will turn into ambassadors for you without even realizing it. 

Provide an Email Preference Center

The preference center allows your subscribers to choose what content and how much of it they will receive from you. This is one of the best tools you can implement in your marketing program since it has a positive impact on both your deliverability and engagement. It will reduce subscription cancelations, complaints, and spam reports. It can also help with your email list segmentation strategies.

Reducing email unsubscribers

There are many reasons why a customer may decide to unsubscribe, but some of them might be under your control. When people want to remove themselves from your list, they can unsubscribe, report you as spam, or manage their preference. The third option is the one that suits you most, of course. By asking them how often they would like to hear from you about content,  you’ll likely keep a lot of your customers.

Helping with the segmentation

Asking your subscribers about their interests and preferences is the best way to deliver customized campaigns that are sure to encourage better engagement. It is a good idea to ask your subscribers to set their preferences right from the start. You could do this in your welcome email, or one of your other initial interactions with them. Asking your subscribers how they would like to be communicated with is the best way to build initial trust.

Focus on Deliverability

Once you get subscribers to sign up for your list, you have to make sure that your messages arrive in their inbox. Focusing on design, content, and engagement is very important, but none of that makes sense if you can’t get your email in front of people, and landing in the inbox is often harder than it sounds. This is where your email infrastructure and sender reputation play a crucial role. Different studies show that as much as 21% of email goes undelivered. Here are some of the best practices you should follow to achieve high deliverability.

Use strong permission practices

Don’t rely on shortcuts in growing your email list, such as purchasing or renting. Send your emails only to those who have specifically opted into your email program.

Eliminate inactive subscribers

You should remove any subscribers who have been non-responsive in the past six months. Make sure that you are only mailing to active and engaged subscribers.

Focus on your VIPs

Identify your highest value customers and tailor your communications accordingly. Find those who are the most engaged, who purchased the most often, and who display the highest order value.

Test your emails before sending

Before sending your emails to the entire list, it is a good idea to test your campaign with a small group of subscribers. This way, you will notice any delivery problems in time and ensure maximum response from your users.

Monitor your engagement rates

Create segments based on your engagement data. This kind of information will help you better tailor your email campaigns to keep your subscribers happy and active.

Collect Leads With SMS

No other kind of message can match the open and engagement rates of SMS. Using SMS to collect leads will give you a whole new way of communicating with your customers. Now that 90% of all text messages are opened and read within three seconds of being sent, it is vital to stay competitive while using them. The best way to expand your email list through SMS is to ask your customers to reply to your message with their email address. It is essential to include a clear call-to-action and incentive for your customers to subscribe. This can be something like an exclusive discount or promotion. Once they reply, your SMS platform can capture the email addresses and add them to your database. To conclude, send them a return SMS confirmation message, or an email confirmation.

Growing your email list takes time, but by optimizing your opt-in pages, creating multiple opportunities for sign-up and providing content that will engage your users for years to come, will guarantee a steady, positive growth. Just remember always to put your subscribers first and respond to their engagement metrics. Make sure that you deliver on your promises, and you will retain and grow a healthy list.

Email Marketing Automation - A Complete Guide From Clever Email Marketers

The Best Strategies For Email Segmentation

An accurately segmented email list is the key to personalization and providing valuable email content. Sending the same email to your entire file may do more damage than good, both to your engagement and your sender reputation. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) evaluate the interaction that your recipients have with your emails and decide where your mail should be placed. If your engagement is low, ISPs will probably deliver your mail to the spam folder. Segmenting emails is a tactic that produces relevant and valuable messages that your recipients are more likely to read and respond to. If you wish to take your segmentation strategy a step further, you can add SMS to your email program and reach your customers on their preferred channels. This will add another layer of segmentation to your overall marketing strategy. For starters, we advise segmenting your list based on more significant differentiating factors, such as:

  • Demographics – This shows who your recipients are and how they are different.
  • Customer information/insight – What service plan/level they are on, how much they are spending, and when they joined.
  • Email types – What types of emails are you sending – transactional or marketing?
  • Engagement – Those who are opening all, some, or hardly any of your messages.
  • Activity – This shows how often your recipients are logging in, buying, or using your product or service.

Demographics

Location

To make your messages more relevant, it is important to know if your customers live in different countries or different areas of a state. 

For example, you shouldn’t send a Fourth of July promotional email to a segment of Canadian recipients.

Time

Track when your recipients are opening and interacting with your emails and schedule your messages to arrive just at the right time.

Gender and age

Depending on the product, or service they receive an email about, men and women may interpret communication differently. Segmenting by gender is a simple and impactful way to deliver personalized content. You may, however, need to request that the recipient responds to a survey where they would indicate their gender. Depending on your product and service, you may also find it useful to ask new users for their age or age range as well. If you are reluctant to ask about age and gender, you can consider performing an A/B test with a select group of recipients to gauge how they respond.

Occupation and industry

Segmenting by occupation helps improve your message relevance and assists in crafting a creative messaging stream. By knowing the occupation of each recipient, you can cater to the messages around how they will most likely be using your product or service. 

Type of User

New user or buyer

Focus your messages on subjects and actions that have the potential to extend relationships with your new users or first-time buyers. Sending a personalized welcome email is a great way to start.

Frequent user or buyer

Create a frequent user segment, composed of those email recipients who are actively using your site, or purchasing your products. These users should be your VIP recipients. Send them special offers and discounts and survey them to get a better understanding of how to improve your program.

Free trial subscribers

Some companies offer free trial periods driving their subscribers to convert to a paid version in the process. Their communication with this kind of user is focused around getting them started with their product and making the most of their paid product’s features and benefits. If you have free, or low paying users, you may want to nurture them into upgrading.

Non-converters

Not all free trial users turn into paying customers, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t gain value from them. You can learn about ways to improve by reaching out with a feedback survey.

Average order value

As a company, you are most likely to see two distinct groups of customers – Those who are spending high amounts on your product, and those with lower spending habits. These two groups should be approached differently. Lead a specialized nurture campaign with your more moderate spending users by showing them all the benefits they currently enjoy or could be enjoying by upgrading. It also offers more incentives to long-standing customers to retain their business.

Type of Email

Target openers

Create a segment of your most engaged recipients and send any new email communications to them first. This way, you will be able to learn more about the effectiveness of your content, and it will help you maintain a solid sending reputation.

Interest level

Check your recipients’ engagement and segment those who are just opening your emails and those who are opening them and responding to your CTA. Include those who took action in your target openers segment.

Inactive users

Create a separate segment of those users who were once involved with your brand, but have stopped interacting, or responding to your emails in the meantime. Send them re-engagement campaigns and if they don’t open, or click on your links in a few months, remove them from your list. Users who remain inactive can ultimately do more damage than good, so it is better to give up on them than risk being labeled as spam.

Let your users respond

Consider allowing your users to respond to your email. Making communication a two-way street can provide excellent feedback about the emails you are sending, while also helping you build a stronger customer-brand relationship. 

Recent Activities

Last purchase and recent web activity

If you have insight into your users’ purchase history, you may want to segment your list based on this information. You can then include complementary products and services in their next email. Depending on the other tracking services you use, you can send messages about specific products based on the clicks and the time each user spent on different pages of your website.

SMS Segmentation

Text messaging is a powerful communication channel with open rates as high as 98%. Compared to just 20% of all emails that get opened, they can take your segmentation strategy to the next level. SMS messages drive customer engagement and initiate two-way conversations, giving you the ability to achieve higher response rates and develop a personal relationship with your customers. Just like email, they can be segmented by:

  • Geography
  • Demographics
  • Type of customer
  • Recent activity

With the increase in mobile phone usage, marketers have quickly adopted SMS as a way to communicate with their customers effectively. 

Geography

Geography is a highly effective way to segment your SMS messages. Thanks to mobile geolocation, you can send offers to recipients living in the area of the promotion that you’re advertising. Targeting by location ensures that you deliver relevant notifications to your customers.

Demographics

Whether you segment your SMS by gender, age, background, or lifestyle, demographic segmentation is an effective way to provide your customers with offers that are tailored to their needs.

Type of customer

Segmenting SMS messages to customers who are at different stages of interaction with your brand is an excellent way to encourage loyalty. Send your new customers an introductory letter to welcome them into your subscriber list and offer different kinds of rewards and discounts to your returning customers to reward their loyalty.

Recent activity

Targeting a customer by their recent activity is also a great way to inspire a purchase. If a user is visiting your website frequently, that means that they are showing interest in your brand. Sending an SMS to them might be just the thing you need to push them in the right direction. On the other hand, if your customer engagement is low, consider starting a re-engagement campaign to spark an interest and influence purchasing behavior.

Segmenting SMS messages will provide your customers with timely, personalized offers and information. This will not only help you increase customer engagement with your brand but also give your audience customized offers tailored to their needs while you maintain a strong sender reputation. It’s as close to a win-win situation as it gets. 

Email Marketing Automation - A Complete Guide From Clever Email Marketers

How to Market your Business With Email

Email is a crucial marketing channel and the best tool to cultivate relationships with your prospects and grow your brand or business. Whether you are at the beginning of your journey or wanting to expand your business, this article will provide tactics used by our digital marketing agency and best practice tips that will help you execute a successful email marketing strategy.

Grow an engaged email list

Generating new contacts is the most important thing in any business. When it comes to marketing, this implies acquiring email addresses from recipients who engage with your website or brand and who are likely to become paying customers in the future. To get the best results, you need to promote your email in highly-visible areas on your website and social networks, such as the navigation bar, footer, sidebar, and profile pages. 

When writing promotional messages, focus on the value that your content brings and how it can help your users. Make sure to use a double opt-in method to avoid any unintentional sign-ups, since they carry the risk of your email being labeled as spam. Allow your recipients to choose what kind of messages they want to receive by providing a preference center on your email sign-up form. Some of them may want only sales or promotional emails and don’t wish to be overwhelmed with your messages, while others may enjoy your brand so much that they want to get all your communication. 

It is never a good practice to buy or rent an email list. These kinds of lists are usually made of recipients who have not pre opted-in and can do more harm than good. It is better to have a smaller but engaged email list than a larger one that consists of uninterested recipients. An engaged list brings high delivery rates, while a list of recipients that don’t want to be on it turns your emails into spam.

Design with modular email templates

Before you start your campaign, spend some time on your email designs. If you don’t have an email designer, or developer to hard code your emails, you can use a modular email template design to build different email campaigns. They consist of pre-coded design blocks that can easily be edited, or swapped out, depending on how much content you would like to include. Your email designs should always reflect the brand’s image found on your website so your users can have a consistent experience.

Develop a consistent brand voice

Just like your designs need to stay consistent with your brand’s image, your copy and brand voice need to be reflected through your emails to provide a valuable and seamless experience for your subscribers. If you are a B2C brand, your voice and personality can be more casual. However, B2B companies should try to maintain a warm but professional tone so that recipients view your brand as an expert on the subject it’s focused on. 

Provide welcome email

Shortly after someone signs up for your email list, they should receive a welcome email. The more time that passes between the signup and the first email, the more likely a recipient is to forget or lose interest, and your emails are more likely to be ignored or marked as spam. Also, don’t forget to thank your recipients for signing up. Showing appreciation is a great way to start your relationship on the right foot. You should also consider providing a discount or complimentary service once someone signs up. This can come in the form of a coupon, or discount for your B2C contacts, or a free download of a whitepaper, e-book, or educational piece that provides value or information to your B2B clients. Most recipients will require you to nurture an email relationship before purchasing your product.

Send promotional emails

Once you iron out all the details and tactics mentioned above, you can start sending promotional emails. Your promotional emails can consist of:

  • Sales or discounts
  • Special events
  • Social media promotional campaign
  • A customer feature that showcases the value of your brand
  • Product news

The types of your promotional emails may vary according to your business goals and the resources available. You should try to add education and value to your emails whenever possible. If you stick to only promoting your business or brand, your recipients may start to lose interest, and your engagement might begin its descent pretty quickly. 

Decide if a newsletter is right for your program

Although newsletters can be a powerful way to market your business, they might not always fit your content. For example, if you don’t publish educational content regularly, it might be better to send separate emails when you create a best practice guide or a data-rich blog post. If you decide that a newsletter is a way to go, strategize the timing and process, and keep the newsletters educational.

Send re-engagement campaigns

Monitor your metrics and engagement levels to get a more in-depth insight into your email program. No matter how well you compose your content, some recipients just won’t engage with your emails. Some may have forgotten they signed up, some may not feel persuaded by your subject line, and some just won’t prioritize your emails. Whatever the reason, before you remove unengaged users from your list, send them a win-back or re-engagement email. Be honest with them. Tell them that you have noticed they haven’t engaged in a while and ask them if they wish to continue receiving your emails, or be removed from your list. Keeping your emails warm and having a sense of humor when appropriate will give your brand a friendly voice, making it more likely to resonate with your recipients.

Strategize your email frequency with testing

One of the main reasons for email marketing to be one of the most successful marketing channels is that you can measure and test to no end. If you are just beginning to market your business through email, don’t be afraid to experiment. Since most elements of your email program can be measured and tested, you can always make adjustments to improve. The more data you compile, the more success you may find in determining the optimal number and frequency of emails you should send each month. Ultimately, it will help your mission’s success, making you feel accomplished and validated for your marketing efforts.

Brian Djordjevic
About The Author

Brian Dordevic

Bojan is Marketing Strategic Planner with a passion for all things digital. Feel free to follow him on Twitter or schedule a consultation call with him.

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