Author: Chris Donald

Chris sent his first email campaign in 1995. He’s worked directly with Fortune 500 companies, retail giants, nonprofits, SMBs and government agencies in all facets of their email marketing and marketing automation programs. He’s also a BIG baseball fan, loves a good steak, and is mildly obsessed with zombie movies.
Cart Abandonment emails

Is Your Cart Abandonment Program Failing? (Read This Now!)

The abandoned-cart reminder is one of the most successful emails you can send to your customers. But you need to set them up the right way to encourage more shoppers to act on them if you want to get the best results.

First: Why you should try to bring customers back

Consider these statistics:

Cart abandonment happens all the time, especially around holidays when traffic from both first-time shopping and loyal customers increases to your site. Cart abandonment rates range from 58% to 81% overall, although abandonment is higher in some sectors than others.

More than 8 in 10 carts are abandoned on finance, travel and nonprofit websites, while retail and ecommerce cart abandonment is holding steady at around 77%.

Cart-reminder emails can generate some of the best engagement of any triggered or broadcast email you send. Here’s how they stack up:

  • 45% average open rate
  • 21% average click-through rate
  • 7% average conversion rate

They help you recover sales. Some people leave items in carts on purpose and plan to come back later. But, one of the main reasons people abandon carts permanently is because they had problems at checkout. One company estimated that a large ecommerce site could see a 35.3% hike in recovered sales just by redesigning their checkout process.

They give you a competitive advantage. The 2018 Email Marketing Census from the UK Direct Marketing Association shows only 29% of all email marketers send abandonment emails. So, the field is still wide open for marketers who can take that extra step.

How cart reminders can fail

As these statistics show, the decision to send an abandoned-cart reminder is a no-brainer. But just sending an email by itself won’t guarantee that your customers will come back to finish checking out.

This is the point where many marketers shoot themselves in the foot with their reminder emails. How you structure your reminder email is just as important, if not more so, than the decision to set up an abandonment program.

And here’s another key point: You’ll probably need more than one set of rules governing your reminder email’s timing and content to accommodate the different reasons customers come to your site.

Different reminder models, different purposes. While it’s true that sending one reminder email shortly after your customer abandons the site is better than sending none at all, it’s also true that there’s no exact formula for how you should structure your reminders.

The conventional wisdom around reminder emails is that you generally need more than one, that you should send your first email soon after the customer abandons the site and that you should follow up with one or two more emails within 24 to 48 hours after the first reminder email goes out.

Take a look at the series of two cart abandonment emails by ASICS.

That format, which could take as long as three days to a week to deliver all your emails in the abandonment series, works fine in uncomplicated abandonment scenarios.

Now, suppose you’re running a one-day flash sale. That standard three-message email sequence isn’t going to work beyond the first email, assuming you send it out before the sale ends.

In fact, you’ll end up aggravating your customers because they won’t be able to buy their items at the sale price if they return after the sale is over. If you compound that error by including the flash-sale price in the email message instead of the price they’ll encounter when they return, you might as well kiss those customers goodbye forever.

Solution No. 1: Add more rules

Every successful cart-abandonment reminder program is driven by rules that govern when to launch reminder emails and what content to include in them. Here are several popular ones:

  • Send the first email immediately after abandonment. Then, time follow-up emails according to activity, or lack of it, on the first email.
  • Withhold an incentive to encourage returning to the cart until the last email of the series.
  • Vary the incentive according to customer value (higher value to first-time visitors or loyalty-club members).
  • No incentive or lower-value offer for customers who have used an abandoned-cart incentive in the last 30 to 90 days.

Adding rules to your email program can help you create a more flexible program that accounts for abnormalities or anomalies in the abandonment procedure.

Take that flash-sale scenario we mentioned earlier. Let’s say you want to clear out some excess inventory before you head into the fourth-quarter holiday season. Or, you want to get some incremental sales on what normally would be a slow sales day, like a Sunday, and you offer some eye-popping discounts to attract browsing.

Here’s an example by Huckberry in which they have offered a coupon code for free product shipping.

The trade-off for those big discounts is a short shopping window. So, to bring back your abandoners, change up your rules for that campaign to launch your abandonment email sooner, deliver your series in shorter intervals and schedule the last email to go out before the sale ends.

Solution No. 2: Extend redemption time with a post-cart-abandonment program

Use this to retain high-value customers (they buy more often and/or at full price) or customers who rack up higher-priced carts. You can create a rule to trigger this program based on cart value or customer data.

The effect is that you will extend the time your abandonment program runs, giving your customers more time to come back and check. This is especially handy for high-value carts because those customers might need more time to decide whether to go ahead.

Giving them a few extra days to check their finances, talk to a spouse or partner or wait for the next paycheck could mean the difference between a purchase and a lost cause. Your emails continue to arrive at carefully spaced intervals, giving you opportunities to answer questions or head off objections, but you aren’t pestering them constantly.

Use the time to vary your content

That brings up another point about successful emails. It’s not just how you time your messages but what you put in your messages that can bring customers back.

People abandon carts for many reasons, and not just because they wandered away or objected to your shipping fees. Here’s a sample of reasons:

  • They got interrupted and had to break off their sessions.
  • They ran into problems in your checkout process.
  • They need time to think or are shopping your competitors.
  • They’re using their carts like wish lists and will return later to sort through items.

Your email copy should reflect these potential scenarios, too. Adopting a helpful, service-oriented tone and adding links to customer service, FAQs, buying guides or other relevant destinations on your website can overcome objections and add trust.

But you can also use devices like countdown timers to gently prod your customers into acting, especially if their merchandise is part of a flash or limited-time sale. We have used this device in many client abandoned-cart emails, and we always see a measurable uptick in conversions, often when tested against a standard message with no timer.

FARFETCH sends a nice cart abandonment email with a countdown timer that evokes the fear of missing out and entices the user to complete the purchase.

Don’t forget to test!

This is vital, no matter which format you choose to create for your abandonment models. Test everything to see what works for you and your customers! Here’s a quick list:

  • Subject line
  • Number of emails
  • Timing (first email and intervals between emails for a multi-email process)
  • Incentives (what kind of incentive, like a percentage discount, cash discount, free shipping, upgraded shipping and at what point in your series to introduce it)
  • Personalization (name, product info, link to cart, etc.) versus one-size-fits-all

Call on us to help you set up a great program

Whether you want to investigate launching your own abandoned-cart program or need to get better results from your present program, our strategy experts are eager to show you what’s possible.

We’re happy to offer you a free 30-minute consultation call to see whether we’re a good fit to help you recover more sales and revenue by testing the solutions we’ve offered here or whether you might try other tested tactics in our arsenal.

Just call us at 800-ARMY-253 (800-276-9253) or leave a message on our website. We’ve seen the results that well-thought-out abandonment programs can produce, and we’d love to share them with you!

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Batch and blast emails

Avoiding Batch and Blast Emailing to Save Marketing Expense

Email marketing is a critical aspect of any marketing strategy. It doesn’t only help a business establish long term communication with the customers but, also facilitates the collection of essential data while increasing the overall marketing ROI. In fact, 65% of marketers who use email marketing witness a good or excellent ROI in their business. Therefore, if you want to have the edge over competitors and be successful in the long run of business, it’s high time you incorporate email marketing techniques within your marketing campaign. However, a good email marketing campaign should be such that establishes a close connection with the audience by sending them the relevant message that best suits their need and preferences.  In short, it’s all about looking for the right strategy at the right time.

So, don’t go with redundant approaches, especially the one like batch and blast email marketing. This trend died long back. If you are not aware of what exactly batch and blast marketing is, it is an email that is sent throughout your customer base irrespective of their buying history or browsing habits. In short, it’s like a shout on the void which usually falls on deaf ears. Such irrelevant marketing emails might annoy your customers to such an extent that they would end up either deleting your email, unsubscribe it or even worse, mark it as spam. Well, there is a reason 55% of the total email messages across the globe are marked as spam by the customers.


Hence, if you don’t want your email marketing campaign to be the one amidst the spam list, avoid batch and blast emails at any cost. Here’s a closer and more detailed look at why such emails are harmful to your brand in the long run.

1.   Brand ignorance

Frequent non-personalized emails might trigger your customer base to ignore your emails. Remember, sending multiple emails in a day is not a bad thing but, only when it is personalized and is somewhat relevant to customers based on proper segmentation and buying behavior habits. However, the same is not the case when you send them irrelevant messages. It’s like annoying them on purpose and asking for getting ignored. It is undoubtedly going to damage your brand reputation sooner or later.

2. Loss of opportunity cost

Since batch and blast emails accelerate unsubscribes, the chances of losing on opportunity cost become higher. Further, it wouldn’t only reduce your open and click-through rates but, also slump your revenue per campaign by making you lose a good chunk of loyal subscribers.

3. Lack of personalization

Batch and blast, as the name itself suggests are sending the same email to everyone, all the time. In the era, when the competition is fierce, and personalization is one of the focus areas of 30% of the global marketers, sending non-personalized emails are just like digging your grave yourself. Moreover, with 77% of marketers already opting for personalization in email marketing, going the batch and blast way is no less than a path that would only lead to a dead end of your business.

4. No performance evaluation

Email marketing gives you a plethora of options to know how your campaign is performing. From click-through rate to open and conversion rates, you can understand it all. However, the scenario is different from batch and blast email marketing. With such bulk emails sent to the customers, it is almost impossible to keep a check on what aspect of the campaign worked and what didn’t, thereby leaving you with no chance of progress or improvement of your email campaign.

All in all, batch and blast email campaign are not a good practice. It wouldn’t only make your customer reach a saturation point but, also make them unresponsive towards your brand. This, in turn, might lead to you losing a good number of your loyal subscribers. Moreover, as s marketer, you must know that the cost of retention is always higher than the cost of acquisition. Therefore, if you can’t retain your customers, you are bound to trigger reduced revenue and lower ROI.

Now, having known all of its disadvantages, the next big question is how to avoid the batch and blast email marketing? The answer lies in the tips as mentioned below Take a look.

●      List segmentation

Avoid batch and blast approach by segmenting your customer base based on their buying behavior, purchasing history, demography, purchasing power etc. Besides, you must also keep a close look at metrics such as the number of customer visits on your website and its frequency to know precisely how and when to approach your customer with the relevant marketing email.

●      Opt for targeted content

You must know as a marketer that each of your customers has a unique taste and is in different position of sales funnel. To put it in other words, their needs and wants are different from each other. So, to engage with them, you need to send them relevant emails which targets their preferences and requirements on a personal level.

●      Impeccable subject line

Email subject line plays a significant role in the success of your email campaign. Therefore, if you want your email to grab the customer’s attention quickly, make sure you work on your subject line seriously. From short and crisp subject line to personalizing it with the customer’s first name, there is a lot you can do to make your subject line top notch, thereby giving your email marketing campaign the much-needed boost. See how Butlin’s does it like a pro.

●      Analyze your results

It is critical to get a clear view of where you are standing as an email marketer. In short, you must know how your email campaign is performing. So, make sure you keep am an eye on statistics like email delivery rates, open and click through rates. This would help you understand your email campaign better while letting you take corrective measures as and when needed.

Wrap up

In conclusion, email marketing is an art and science both where a marketer needs to visualize the bigger picture in a way that ultimately enhances the sales and revenue. The points mentioned above have made it quite clear how batch and blast marketing is a thing of past and how going for the apt strategy can give you excellent results in no time while helping you curb unnecessary expenses.

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Gmail Promotions

How to Bypass Gmail’s Promotions Tab for your Emails?

Have you been observing a decline in the open rates for your emails, specifically with Gmail users? Gmail launched the tabbed inbox, which allowed them to segregate the emails into three tabs- primary, social and promotions. Very often than not, the emails that you send to your subscriber lands in the promotions tab, which is not very frequently visited. As a result, your brand’s visibility and open rates have declined in case of email marketing.

While the promotions tab has made life easy for the Gmail user, it has not gone down well with the email marketers. The reason being, your email that offers value to the customer, will be filtered by Gmail and sent into the promotions tab, and your subscriber is most likely to miss out the offer.

19.9% of the Gmail users never check emails that are filtered into the promotions tab. If you want to increase the user engagement for your emails, you may need to find a way to bypass the Gmail promotions tab.

Here are a few tips and ways that should help you achieve it. Ready to begin?

Avoid using promotional phrases

What do you think is the significant difference that you see between mailing your friend and mailing your subscribers? The use of promotional phrases. When emailing your friend, you don’t use words such as free, discount, sale time etc. You are pretty much to the point, not only with the email content but also the subject line. You need to write content that you would send to someone you know. It should be personal, i.e. it should be written keeping the subscriber in your mind. If you write a more personal content and subject line, it will not only bypass the promotional tab but also enjoy a good open rate.

Too many images spoil the email

We do want to showcase as many images as possible while drafting the email. However, too many emails can put off the subscriber and can put your email in the spam category. When you write a regular email that is not considered spam, the email does not contain too many images. In fact, there are times when the email includes no photo at all. When working on the email for your subscriber, make sure you take into account the image: text ratio necessary for the email. Don’t include any more than 2 images per image. Avoid adding mastheads or pictures in the signature while drafting the email. Google immediately filters the emails with too many images into the promotional tab.

Add necessary links only

Linking requires a lot of thought from your end. Linking to just about anything and everything in your email can catch unwanted attention, and promote your email to the promotions tab. Make sure you don’t add social media links or links that don’t make sense to your email. A sales pitch containing too many links is not relevant or personal in any way. It is a sales pitch, and Google can determine the difference quickly.

If you want to add links to the emails, make sure you don’t add more than 4 links. Obviously, adding only one or two essential links will actually help get your email into the inbox, and increase the engagement rate for the email.

A reply-to address matters

If your email contains a from address marked as “no-reply”, there are high chances of it being transferred to the promotional tab. Gmail does not recognize the “from” email address and considers it to be spam.

Instead of using “no-reply”, try using a person’s name or admin as your email address. The email address with a company’s name as the domain for the email is recognized inbox-worthy. When you have a reply field where the users can reply, and the email address seems valid, Gmail considers it to be a personal email that the subscriber would be interested in. The email is then sent into the inbox. Make sure, before sending the email, you have added a proper email address in the sender field.

Don’t format your email too much

What do you do when you are sending business or personal emails? You just write the text, edit it a bit and then send it across. However, when you are sending it to a subscriber, you tend to format it carefully and modify every aspect of the email.

As a result, Gmail believes that the email is not being sent by a person, but by the company. Too much formatting can actually spoil your marketing efforts. Avoid the HTML formatting, and use plain text when drafting an email. You might need to change the template that you are using to send the emails, in case your email template requires you to format it every time before you send the email across.

Content should be short & personal

While this is still being debated, there is a school of thought that believes the content plays an important role when you are trying to avoid the promotions tab. For instance, the longer the content, the more chances you have of being considered as spam. You can use short paragraphs to make the content flow distinctly visible to the subscribers. Secondly, you need to personalize the content, so that the subscribers feel it is being written to them.

If you don’t believe that the content is responsible for the email being transferred to the promotions tab, then you can conduct an A/B testing. However, it is important that you address your subscriber by their first name, and add other personalization elements to be recognized as authentic by Gmail.

Don’t send emails without testing

Testing of the emails on the various ESPs is important before you can send the email to the subscribers. You ought to test the email for personalization, use of promotional words, length of the email, the sender address and other details. Also, test the email by sending it to your own Gmail Id to know whether it enters the inbox or the promotions tab. Check all permutations and combinations when testing your email.

Wrap up

The emails that you send should be from a reputed and authenticated domain so that they are received well by Google. If you are offering value to the customers, and making your email sound more personal than promotional, you have higher chances of being in the inbox tab. The idea is to follow all the tips, and then test your emails as much as you need to, before sending it to your customers. If you want to talk promotions, then add the promotional content to your email, instead of being spammed by sending it via emails.  

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Delineating spamming from valuable email marketing

Imagine drafting the perfect content, working through an interactive layout and testing the email several times, only to realize that the subscriber will never get to open it. Isn’t that the worst fate for the email campaign?

Most often, owing to several reasons, your email enters the spam folder instead of the inbox of the subscriber. This means you did not think about all aspects of the email design. You certainly did not consider spamming, before sending out the emails.

You need to create a spam-proof email, if you want to maximize the outcome of your email campaign, and achieve your goals.

We are here with some tips that would help you define what spamming is for your email campaign and how best to avoid it when planning the individual emails.

Spamming in Emails

When your subscriber starts receiving inappropriate emails owing to the bulk blasts you have made very recently, it is defined as email spamming. It may be sent by scammers or by reputed companies. The bottom line is that spam emails are sent without the permission of the receiver, which is why they do not get acknowledged. Your emails are wasted, and your campaign suffers a loss.

There are many ways in which the filters as well as the anti-spam software, check for spam emails and do not allow them into the inbox. The popular email companies such as Yahoo! and Gmail tend to have several filters in place that send the spam emails into the spam folder directly.

One of the many things that it checks for is the sender address. If not proper, it is directly considered as a spam email.

There are many spamming signs, and you need to avoid that when drafting the email for your business.

Spamming Signs and Solutions

Here we will discuss all the signs that give away your email is spam, and how to overcome these issues.

 “No Reply” Addresses

You may have experienced that when you receive an email, in many cases, the sender’s address is mentioned as “no reply”. This is one of the primary filters that the spamming software look for. When you are sending emails to your subscribers, make sure you send them from an authentic and genuine email id. Subscribers generally overlook emails that contain sender IDs as no reply and admin. The idea is to encourage the people to reply to the emails they have received. In case of queries, they should have an email id that they can send messages to.

To avoid being reported as SPAM, make sure you use genuine email addresses. Send emails from your company domain to command better trust.

The Subject Line

Bad subject line is another aspect of email that gets you into the spam folder. If you consistently send emails with click-bait subject lines, your subscribers might enlist you as spam. They will stop trusting your emails, and even when you decide to send some good content, you will not be considered genuine. The best way to avoid this situation is to work on the subject line and use something that connects with the subscriber. Make sure they are clickable and trustworthy.

Avoid Spammy Words

Certain words are considered spam by the filters and the spam software. You need to make sure you don’t use these words when designing the email.

Few words such as discount, cheap, free order, trial etc. can lead you to a spam folder. Try avoiding these words when deciding the subject line or the email copy.

When sending the email to the subscriber list, make sure you don’t include any suspicious links or attachments. When you post links or attachments, the anti-spam software tends to consider it as a fraud, and immediately places it into the spam folder.

Don’t forget to include an unsubscribe link, when you are sending bulk emails to the subscriber.

Create a Subscriber List

It is crucial that you have a subscriber list of the people who have opted-in to receive your emails. Make sure you send the emails to that list only.

If your email goes to people who are not leads or, people who have opted-in, those people might ban you from sending them emails and report you as spam. This might affect your sender reputation. If you continue sending emails without consent, then your ESP will block you from sending emails in the future.

To build a good subscriber list, make sure you have a double opt-in for all the email contacts. This way you can be sure of who all want to be a part of your mailing list. Send an email asking them to confirm if they’re going to join your mailing list, before sending in the emails you have designed for the different purposes.

Personalize the Emails

Personalization is the norm of the hour. You cannot send emails that are not relevant to the subscriber list. Make sure you not only send relevant messages for the subscriber, but also add the name of the subscriber on the email. This makes it more personal to them, and they will click-through the email. You can even personalize the subject line to get a better open rate. There are various techniques to personalize an email. Make sure you follow one or more of these techniques to improve the email quality and its open rate.

Summing up

It is important you follow all the anti-spam laws in place before sending the email for better conversions and to give away yourself as authentic. Welcome your subscribers, as soon as they opt-in for your emails to help them build their expectations with your business.

It is important that you avoid spam words and create emails that pass through the anti-spam filters and land into the inbox of the subscriber. Let us know how many of these techniques you have used to define spamming for your email marketing campaign and help get to the subscriber’s inbox.

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How to design aesthetically attractive emails?

Emails happen to be the most effective medium of communication with your customers. Whether you want them to know about your new venture or, want to update them with your new services, sending an email always works.

Imagine receiving an email from your favourite e-commerce store, declaring a Winter sale. Wouldn’t that make you want to click and check out the products? The emails give away a whole load of details on the sale, the type of products you will get to buy and even the discounts you can enjoy during that period. It is short yet complete in its own way.

However, the tough task is to design emails that grab the attention and win conversions. Here we will take you through the various things that you need to keep in mind when planning visually appealing emails.

Go responsive with your designs

Your audience could open the email anywhere at any point in time. For instance, they could be using their mobile phones and responding to the email. Better still, they could be on their tablets, working on an important presentation, when your email pops-up.

You need to factor in the various devices the audience uses for the email, and design your emails accordingly. The email should look similar across the devices, and the audience should get a one-brand feeling after seeing these emails.

Make sure you use different font sizes when designing for the different screen sizes. You should also consider sending HTML and text-only versions to the audience, so that they can open the text-only, in case their device prevents them from opening the HTML emails.

Determine the email layout

The layout plays a vital role in making the emails look visually appealing. Before you begin the design itself, start placing the things on a piece of paper or using the prototype designing tool. You need to define the placements of the content, the images and other materials that will go into the design of your email. Realize the distractions in the emails, and how to get rid of them when planning the layout.

You ought to be clear about the goals to come up with a promising layout. The size of the fonts, the image sizes and even the colour choices are dependent on the design. Make sure you go through several marketing campaigns before coming up with the ideal layout for your email campaign.

Draft legible content

The content plays a vital role in making your emails aesthetic and readable. The material should meet the layout defined earlier. You don’t need to venture into elaborate content to make a point.

You need to remember that not everyone will open the HTML emails. That means you need to work on the content for the text-only emails as well. Make sure you drop in a line break after every 60 words so that the content is readable. Make sure you don’t use long paragraphs or sentences. Short sentences or a two-lined paragraph should be enough to communicate.

Include the essential white space

White space is the best friend for every email that you design. It makes the email design look appealing to the eyes. The whitespace allows the readers to skim through the email, grasp the material in it and even interpret it correctly. Basically, the white space gives enough space to the brain to break down the material and digest the facts.

It also gives your design some room to breathe and conquer the world of email marketing. The use of white space is essential if you want to get some click rates and don’t want your email campaign to be a waste.

Too much or too little of the white space can ruin the design of the emails. You need to use white space wherever you want to emphasize the content.

Determine the visual strategy

The flow of the elements in the email is important from skimming perspective. At a glance, you should be able to communicate the vital message that your email wants to send out. This is why visual strategy is essential.

The shape, size, colours and contrast of the various elements along with their placement is determined in this strategy. You will also specify the colours and the fonts you will use when defining the visual plan.

Use of headers, pre-headers and footers

An email remains incomplete without the proper placement of headers and footers. You should ideally have the space defined for headers and footers. The headers help you grab attention, as they give out as much detail as they can about the email without using too many words.

Apart from the header, the pre-header also plays an important role. It helps give an insight into what the email is about, especially when you open in Gmail, Outlook or the iOS app. It is a 100 character version of the email, which allows you to decide whether you want to open the email or not. This sneak preview plus an identifiable header gets you better chances at achieving your email campaign goals.

Footers help the users know more about you, as that is where you will place all your social channel icons.

Use of proper colors and fonts

The colors are important when you are designing an email for your audience. It should be a direct translation of the theme of your campaign and should let out the mood you have set for the campaign. The messages should relate to the color choices you have made. For instance, black is all about luxury while, blue is tranquillity and integrity.

Apart from colors, you need to pay particular attention to the fonts that you will be using in the email design. The fonts also communicate whether the email is formal, informal, funny, serious etc. The emotion and the gravity of the message are best known for the use of the fonts. You should ideally use 22 pixels for the headline and 14 pixels when working on the body content.

Add impressive images

The design of your emails is incomplete if you have not added some impressive and incredible images, which relate to the message you are communicating. If you want to talk about a product that you have just launched, make sure the picture of the product takes centre stage. You should ideally use approximately 30% of the space available on the email for your images. When adding images to the emails, you should ideally add alt text to help explain the text version of the image, in case the email service provider fails to display images.

Incorporate an actionable CTA

To make the design more compelling, you should add a call-to-action, which helps with your goals and makes the user take action. The content, the font, as well as the size of the button, should be such that it makes the user want to click on it. Align your CTA to the email content to make it more relevant.

Final Thoughts

Email marketing is not just useful, but also one of the best mediums of communication for your business. The plus side of email marketing is that you are in complete control of all aspects of marketing. Proper research, comprehensive understanding of your audience, and designing the email keeping in mind all these points will help you get a good conversion rate for the emails. Make sure you don’t let your users down and send them relevant and informative content only! Any click baits and you are sure to lose your brand image forever.


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A Comprehensive Guide to Effective Email Marketing for Entrepreneurs

The effectiveness of your marketing efforts comes into the light when the customer recalls your brand when they are looking for the solution to their problem, even if it was pitched months ago. Such recallability is only possible when they had a good user experience from your brand and having a personalized conversation with them is one of the best ways to make them feel close.

Most of marketers tend to mistake personalization with addressing their customers by their ‘First name’. Personalized communication, in its true meaning, means having a conversation with your customers based on the journey across the sales funnel and their interactions with your brand. No matter how many new marketing channels ‘mushroom’, the level of personalization possible with emails is still unmatched. Yet, just sending a single email doesn’t turn your prospects into a loyal customer; it takes a series of emails to do so.  This applies to all the entrepreneurs out there, too, who are trying to build a successful business.

So here is a comprehensive guide to effective email marketing for entrepreneurs.

Structure of an email marketing campaign

An email campaign is made up of five basic elements:

  • Campaign Strategy
  • Email List
  • Email Template
  • Landing Page
  • Value addition such as knowledge, rewards, incentive that keeps the subscribers subscribed

Absence of any of the above and you are flushing money down the drain.

In addition, you also need certain tools in order to successfully execute your email campaigns:

  1. Email Service Program – to send the emails to a list
  2. CRM – to process the data collected from prospects
  3. Lead Capture tools – to collect the email address and name of subscriber/prospects

Once you have set up everything, it is time to start your email marketing.

Step 1: Onboarding your subscribers and asking for permission

As we stated earlier that an email list is crucial to send an email, so preliminary step towards your email marketing is building your list by having people subscribe to your brand’s email newsletters. Whether you follow the inbound or outbound methodology, people demand value addition in exchange for their email address. When they subscribe, they are classified as leads who have expressed interest in knowing about your brand.

Some of the most common ways to generate leads are:

  • Industry updates and knowledge sharing via email newsletter
  • Free downloadable resources such as eBook, whitepapers
  • Free trial
  • Sample products

Once they have subscribed, it is time to introduce them to your brands and get to know them better. Always send a welcome email that manages the following tasks:

  • Welcomes them to your brand family
  • Asks them to whitelist you or double opt-in
  • Sets an expectation about your sending frequency (if you send newsletters)
  • Link to complete their online profile
  • Connect on social media

In the below email by Craftsman, the email welcomes the subscribers and offers the option to visit the website, find a nearby store or choose what kind of product information would they wish to receive in future. They end the email with links to their social media accounts for the subscribers to connect.

Step 2: Identify their pain points and educate them on your solutions

Now that your subscribers are somewhat aware about your brand, it is time to connect their problems to the solutions you provide via products / services. Now based on basic demographics such as age, gender, locations, etc. and why they subscribed, you can create custom mailing list and send them lead nurturing emails that periodically provides knowledge based on the pain point they are suffering from.

While you can manually send emails if your customer base is <10 people, it is advisable to make use of email automation to send an email campaign to a particular email list based on your choice. Moreover, thanks to the innovation in terms of merge tags and dynamic content blocks, a specific email template can be pre-populated with details of individual subscriber so that each receives a personalized email content.

Step 3: Sending custom emails at different stages to convert

Additionally, automation brings the option to set up a schedule for your email series to be sent to the subscribers at specific time or user behavior. Depending upon the open and click rates, you can analyze the performance of the email campaigns. Based on the criteria set by you, you can activate different set of email automation based on how the subscriber has progressed to the different stages of the customer journey.

  • In the lead nurturing stage, you set up a drip nurturing email newsletter that periodically imparts knowledge.
  • In the purchase, you set a promotional discount coupon email series to lure the subscriber to make a sale under the pretext of availing a discount or cart abandonment email, if the subscriber abandons your products before checkout at the order page.
  • In the post-purchase stage, you set a series that sends the customer the order receipt, shipping notification, and order delivery notification as soon as they make a purchase. Few days later, the same email series sends a product review email and re-order reminder email for subscription-based products.
  • For the dormant subscribers, you can set up an automation for reviving them and making them active again.
  • Customer delight, wherein you send them birthday or anniversary wishes or build loyalty by sending triggered emails on specific dates

Step 4: Analyzing your campaign performance and making necessary changes

Without feedback, there is no room for improvement and email marketing is an ever-changing scenario where the most converting email of today may not be working flawlessly after a time. So, it is always important to analyze the metrics provided by your ESP to understand what worked and what didn’t. The most common metrics that every email marketer should check are:

  • Open Rate: Highlights on the effectiveness of the subject line. Higher subject line means that your subject line resonated with what your subscribers were looking for.
  • Click Rate: Highlights the effectiveness of the email copy in quenching the thirst of your subscribers. Higher click rates indicate that the email copy and images are satiating the curiosity developed by the subject line.
  • Bounce rate: Incorrect email addresses and filled inbox storage of your subscribers draws this flag. A bounced email is an indicator of wrong address, domain or even SPAM content blocked by the ISP. High bounce is a negative factor for your brand reputation.
  • Unsubscribes and SPAM: People change and preferences change. If your emails no longer match the expectations of the subscribers or they are no longer interested in being subscribed, they can opt out of your mailing list. This is denoted by an unsubscribe. Checking this metric after every email send can help you analyze the relevancy of your email to the need of subscribers.

Meanwhile, SPAM complaints are the worst thing for your brand reputation and signifies that your emails either follow bad practices, attempt to ‘Phish’ or communicates the wrong message. Ideally, the unsubscribes and SPAM complaints should be as low as possible.

One of the best ways to utilize the metrics is by A/B testing different elements of your emails and understand what works for your audience. Moreover, by periodically conducting an email campaign audit can greatly help you optimize your existing email campaigns.

Basic auditing of email campaign involves many stages such as:

  • Email template design optimization
  • Email list hygiene (How well your email list is cleaned from incorrect email addresses and unsubscribes)
  • Sending Timing and Frequency
  • Email deliverability score and sender reputation
  • List segmentation criteria

Email Marketing Best Practices

While email marketing in general, is very easy to set-up and manage, in order to fully utilize the potential of your email campaigns, it is important to follow certain good practices.

  • Have a recognizable FROM name and Sender address
  • Have a CAN-SPAM compliant footer
  • Your subject line and pre-header text should act as a hook, building the suspense about the contents of your email
  • Have an actionable CTA copy that completes following sentence “I wish to ___”
  • Stick to a sending calendar
  • Be open to experiment
  • Periodically ask your subscribers’ feedback

Wrapping Up

Email marketing does promise greater ROI but it involves careful planning and execution. Always look out for industry benchmarks and aim to match them. Other than that, the sky and better engagement are the limits to your email marketing campaigns.

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Boost your Content Marketing and SEO Using Email Marketing

Boost your Content Marketing and SEO Using Email Marketing

For any marketer worth their salt, emails are a boon to build meaningful relations with their prospects & subscribers and eventually convert them in to loyal customers. The core advantage that email marketing has over other marketing channels is the reach and the level of personalization that is possible.

  1. Reach: As long as the email reaches the inbox of your subscriber, the message shall be conveyed to them when they open the email. Although the effectiveness of an email decreases with time, thanks to the reach of the email, once the email lands the inbox, the subscriber can read it anytime.
  2. Personalization: The amount of personalization you can include using merge tags and dynamic content blocks in your emails is advanced to the extent that the same email sent to everyone in a mailing list will get a custom email copy.

Yet, emails are not the only marketing channel in a marketer’s toolbox and instead of each channel competing, they should be working together in helping each other. This article shall focus on the impact of email marketing on SEO and content marketing strategy.

How email marketing improves SEO?

While email marketing doesn’t directly impact your SEO rankings, it does influence the ranking factors. The task of an email is to raise the interest of the subscribers enough to redirect them to a relevant page. When people spend more time on the specific page, they tend to click, comment, and share your posts which in turn improves your SEO score. As your SEO score increases, the visibility of the page increases and ropes in more visitors. Visitors impressed by your content will subscribe to your newsletter and help you craft better content based on their online behavior.

How to use email marketing to improve SEO

1. Drive quality audience to your website

An email is sent to everyone in your emailing list but as we stated earlier, the goal of the email is to redirect those subscribers whose interests align with what you have to offer. This way you separate the qualified prospects from others. These qualified subscribers have a better chance of spending more time to explore all what you have to offer, take up the trial offer or share your article with others.

This is beneficial from content marketing point of view, as you are successful in driving your subscribers to content that matches their interests. This increases the SEO score for that specific page and the page rank for the keywords that connect to the page.

2. Target improved content

The chances of conversion are high only for those with interests aligned to your brand. The best way to identify their interests is based on the emails they interacted with. Right from the subject lines to the body copy to the call-to-action copy, each and every content piece can be tested for relevancy. Add in the factor of personalization and you have a plethora of data-backed content that you can use to engage with your visitors on your website. Based on what content your audience responds to, you can make necessary iterations to the website and SEO.

3. Repurpose existing content

A good content piece is timeless but if it is not promoted periodically, it will soon collect dust. Repurpose existing content that would be relevant to your subscribers by either sending a snippet of the article in your newsletter email or featuring it in a weekly digest. The goal would be to create a content hook and invite those curious to read the complete article on your website, thereby increasing the visits.

In the below email by Simple, each section has a photo, relevant copy of the article along with a link to read the content in detail.

4. Turn high converting email into webpage

An 180o approach compared to above stated example, you can also convert your highly converting emails into dedicated webpages. This is a great way to start building your audience as you curate content to be featured in your emails. Gradually as you progress ahead, you can get a clear picture about what kind of content your subscribers are interested to read about. Voila! You take an inspiration and create your own content around the topic. Everyone looks for value addition and if you manage to provide it in your content, you can watch your page rank up in no time.

In the email below by, the daily newsletter features 5 links around the central theme of design yet each article addresses a finer topic and based on the interaction you can analyze what topics to feature more.

5. Increased social media shares to increase visibility

Social shares don’t contribute to your SEO… at least not directly. Yet, sending an email, with content that is shared frequently across social media, you end up improving your SEO page rank. By motivating the subscribers to share your email or the content across social media, you gain following advantages:

      • Find opportunities to increase visibility.
      • Increase positive brand mentions.
      • Gain more visits to your website.

In fact, Hootsuite conducted an experiment with 90 articles, where 30 articles were not shared on any social platform, 30 were only shared organically and 30 were heavily promoted with $100 budget each.

The socially promoted articles saw a 23% increase in the search visibility and the ones shared organically also observed 12% increase.

So, send emails that are shared over social media and observe a considerable increase in the SEO ranking.

Key Best practices

Even if you are not targeting to improve SEO predominantly, it is a good practice to remember these practices while planning your campaigns:

    • Check existing content on your website and update it with latest information and trending keywords to remain relevant.
    • Send digest emails containing most popular content to the subscribers.
    • Track the website metrics post email sending and observe the changes.
    • Build content authority by spending time on creating relevant and useful content for your website and email alike.
    • Promote social sharing or ask your subscribers to forward your emails to their social circle.
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Points to Keep in Mind for Error-free Email Automation

“To err is human”

We come across blunders in emails so often. Most of these emails are set as an email automation program. It can get quite frustrating for the marketer when an email subscriber receives such an email and puts it out on social media for everyone to see.

To prevent this awkwardness, here are some points you should remember for an error-free email automation.

  1. Improper planning

Planning an email automation is not a cakewalk. You need to give it enough time and effort with a clear objective in the mind. For every action that the subscriber takes, you need to carefully consider the condition that will trigger the email, and the responder emails on subscriber interaction. You should set the timeframe for the automation and at the same time, keep a close eye on the email marketing metrics. If a subscriber is not opening your emails and not engaging with it, it is time you modify the workflow to send them re-engagement emails rather than the salesy emails.

  1. Wrong name tag

Personalization is the trick that can make or break your email strategy. When done right, it can give a significant boost to the subscriber engagement. On the other hand, if you end up writing the wrong name tag and send an email with “Hi first name”, it is going to disappoint the subscribers pretty bad, and they might end up deleting your email or marking you as spam.

  1. Too many emails

The number of emails you send is an important point to consider whenever you set an automation workflow. If you are sending too many emails with the baseless assumption that it might increase your conversions, you are doing it wrong. Include only necessary emails in your automated campaigns so that the subscriber does not get annoyed with frequent emails.

  1. Irrelevant content

In the quest of automating your marketing strategy and reducing your time and efforts, you should not forget to send relevant content that matches the buyer’s persona and stage of the buyer’s journey. If a subscriber has subscribed to your monthly newsletters and not to your weekly updates, send them emails according to their preferences. Also, remove the unsubscribes from your list so that you do not end up sending emails to someone who is no longer subscribed to your email list. Doing so would hamper your email deliverability and the sender reputation as well. Keep iterating your email automation workflows based on the results you get and do not forget the workflows you have already set.

  1. Incorrect segmentation

Whenever you are setting up email automation workflow, carry out right segmentation so that the emails can be valuable for the reader. Many marketers set email automation workflows without segmenting the lists. Keep in mind that every country observes different Holidays and therefore, you should send only pertinent offers to the subscribers. For example: Mother’s Day is observed on different days at US and UK. Consider all such similar scenarios before setting the automation workflows.

Final Thoughts

Ease of implementation and time-effectiveness are at the cynosure of email automation. Use it to the maximum potential by avoiding these inane mistakes and yield great results from your email campaigns.

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