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.

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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How startups can propel sales with emails

Startups are all about confidently launching a company and witnessing your dreams getting transformed into a commercialized product, service, or business. Thinking big and acting bigger are the keys to advance past competitors and empower themselves to tie their visions to reality.

With Internet taking over everything, direct mail marketing has become digital marketing. Emails, which were once used for personal communications, are now used to send marketing messages and discount offers. As a startup, it is imperative to have an infallible marketing strategy that includes sending great emails.

That said, we shall delve deeper into how startups can propel sales through email marketing.

1. Carry out micro-segmentation

Once you have organically built your list, you should segment it based on basic parameters like age, sex, and geographical location. If your startup has acquired a few customers, you should start segmenting them according to their past purchases, total purchase value, and types of products browsed for. Service-based startups should consider the resources downloaded and pages visited for better segmentation.

2. Personalize the emails

Email personalization is the key to enhanced subscriber engagement. Create buyer personas so that you can send relevant emails that would deliver more value to the reader. Hyper-personalize your emails by applying the principles of artificial intelligence just like brands like Netflix do.

Your buyer’s journey can be divided into three different stages, namely awareness, consideration, and decision. You should draft valuable emails that would be relevant for the subscribers in the respective stages.

For example: If you are a service-based startup and a subscriber has downloaded your pricing information in addition to several resources from your website, you can send out emails that offer a limited-time discount or incentive on purchase. Such emails will encourage the email recipient to take a decision and complete the purchase.

3. Write engaging copy

Rather than bombarding the recipient with mass emails and sales pitches, write an interesting email copy that would help the reader overcome the challenges that he or she could be facing. Brevity works the best if you want to enhance your subscriber engagement.

4. Include interesting visuals

Visual email marketing has got extremely popular in the recent times. Add rich media like images, GIFs, cinemagraphs, and videos in emails. Try your hand at interactive elements like menus, accordions, sliders, etc. to make your emails visually attractive and more informative as well.

5. Entice the reader with exciting offers

Being a startup, you should endeavor to bring in more and more customers through exciting offers. Promote discount coupon codes to tempt the customers to purchase from you. You can incentivize the customers for referrals and leverage on referral email marketing. However, you should keep in mind that you do not attract discount shoppers when you implement such strategies.

6. Optimize your CTA design

Your CTA design greatly influences the click-through rates for your email campaigns. The color of your CTA button should be in contrast with the email design. First person narrative in CTA copy brings better results for marketers. Accordingly, “Download my copy now” would work better than “Download your copy”. Carry out A/B testing to figure out what works better for your email subscribers.

7. Add social media buttons

Email marketing yields higher conversions when combined with social media marketing. Add social media buttons in the footer of your emails so that your subscribers can interact with you on other platforms too. This will encourage the subscribers to make a conversation with you and build a stronger rapport.

8. Test your emails without fail

Before hitting the ‘Send’ button, test your emails and check for grammatical errors or rendering issues. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

Final Thoughts

If you are a startup owner who is confused about how to drive sales through email marketing, these tips would surely help you in building an effective strategy that helps you in conversions.

Have we missed out on any email marketing tips that could propel sales for a startup?

Do let us know in the comments below.

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optimizing-emails-mobile

Optimizing Your Emails for Mobile Devices

More emails are read on mobile devices and therefore, it has become imperative to optimize your emails for smaller screens. According to Adestra’s report of “Top 10 email clients”, 59% of email opens took place on mobile, 15% on desktop, and 28% in a webmail client. Moreover, 3 in 5 consumers check their emails on the go (mobile) and 75% of them say that they use their smartphones to check emails.

That’s quite a good number of statistics and you certainly cannot overlook them. If you want to optimize your emails for mobile devices, here are some ideas to help you out.

1. Have smaller file size of the images

Content with images work better than content without images. However, when it comes to designing emails for mobile, select high-resolution light-weight images way that they do not hamper the loading speed of the emails. Resize the images by the proportion of the screen by using the code below:

<img style=”max-width: 75%; max-height: auto;” class=”ia_Center shadow” src=”imagesource.jpg”/>

The width property should be modified according to the screen size. You can use tools like FastStone Photo Resizer and JPEGmini to reduce the file size by 80% without spoiling the image quality. The key is to design simple emails without any unnecessary elements that would take forever to load on slow Internet connections.

2. Avoid writing long paragraphs

Make sure your email copy is succinct and relevant and does not have too many links put together. Include the most important information in the beginning of the email. As your subscribers are accessing the emails on the mobile phone, do not beat around the bush to prevent any distractions.

3. Make the links and CTA buttons easily visible

Precision becomes a task for subscribers using devices with small screens. Therefore, you should add taller and wider text links and CTA buttons. Also, add enough spacing to your links so that your subscriber does not end up clicking on any other link accidentally.

4. Write short subject lines with related pre-header text

It is an email marketing best practice to craft short and sweet subject lines that are informative and interesting enough to get more open-rates even on mobile phones. Your pre-header text should provide value to the subject line so that the recipients get curious to open your email. Preheader text should be short and easy to consume because the pre-header text displayed for every device would be different.

5. Responsive layouts are a must

Many marketers use predesigned templates from their email service provider. They should use responsive templates that automatically fit the screen on which the subscribers view the emails. When using a responsive template, you do not have to bother about any rendering issue or broken email layout.

Final Thoughts

Besides mobile-friendly emails, it is of utmost importance to have a mobile-friendly landing page too. Nothing can turn off your mobile subscribers more than the fact that the information they are seeking is not correctly visible on their phone.

These tips would surely help you create emails that will appeal to all your subscribers regardless of the device they are using.

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Implications of GDPR for Email List Building Strategy

It has been half a year to the implementation of GDPR and it has surely transformed the world of marketing and how companies communicated with prospective clients and customers. This privacy law has left many marketers in a fix. 41% of marketers have confessed that they do not understand the best practice and the law around the usage of personal data provided by the consumers.

Personal data is at the heart of marketing and email marketing is not an exception. With the execution of GDPR, growing your email list will become challenging for the marketers.

It is quite possible that you have lost a number of subscribers after May 25th. There could be several reasons for this, as enlisted below.

  1. Running a re-permissioning campaign to EU-specific email addresses or the entire list
  2. Removing the subscribers who had opted in inv oluntarily through prechecked opt-in forms, transactional emails, website or event registrations, or downloads
  3. Pruning your email list by removing the email addresses that were collected by suspicious permission methods

Having said that, here’s what you should remember for your email list building strategy in a post-GDPR world.

  1. Delete all the prechecked forms

Whether it is website-based forms or popups, you should remove all the prechecked forms that are used to collect email addresses. Every transactional email, registration forms, new-account forms, information requests, and download registrations should be verified. GDPR and all other privacy laws allow sending emails as a part of business transaction or information request. However, it is an implied permission and you should not send any marketing emails to these subscribers.

  1. Maintain transparency about collection and use of the personal information

The gist of GDPR lies in the fact that it is not a ‘email-regulation’ law. It governs the privacy of the subscriber’s information. Whenever a user signs up for your emails, send out a welcome email that shares all the information about how the data will be used, the updated privacy policy and other data protection facts.

  1. Highlight the benefits of your emails

Make sure you provide value with your emails and eliminate any sense of apprehension that the subscriber might be having. Do not just promote your products through your email campaigns. Follow the 80-20 rule which means that you should talk about the customer in 80% of the emails and promote your products in 20% of the campaigns.

  1. Inspire the consumers to decide

Rather than forcing consent, let your consumers choose from YES or NO. That will encourage the consumers to make up their mind whether they want to hear from you not, and help you build a quality list.

Wrapping Up

Email marketing is here to stay, and a list is of utmost importance to make it effective. Take a customer-centric approach and you will definitely ace the list building game despite the law of GDPR.

 

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How Does Acquisition Email Marketing Work

How to Make Acquisition Email Marketing Work?

Acquisition email marketing is the stepping stone to wooing new customers. According to Email Marketing Industry Census, 2018, email is the most highly-rated marketing channel as far as ROI is concerned. Also, it is interesting to know that the average proportion of marketing budget accounted for by email has remained at 15%, the same percentage as 2017 and 2016. However, you need to think of a competent strategy to make sure that you are using it to the maximum potential.

Every business puts attracting new customers as the top priority which makes it all the more important to create acquisition email campaigns. Let’s delve deeper into how to make it work.

1. Build Your Audience Strategically

The first step to create a winning email marketing campaign is to discern who your target audience is. Writing the copy, designing the email, and working on the subject lines come next. As important as it is to create an interesting email, it is equally crucial to determine the recipients of the email.

Acquisition email campaigns are mostly about building a strong rapport with the prospective clients who resemble your buyer’s persona. A clean email list comes into picture here. You ought to maintain your list hygiene by pruning your email list regularly so that your emails land in the subscriber’s inbox and your deliverability is not hampered. Building a strong list will not happen overnight but it is surely worth the time and effort. Stronger the email list foundation, better will be the establishment of your email strategy.

Pro-tip: Use double opt-in method to acquire quality subscribers. Here is an example by Medium.

medium email

2. Utilize the power of social media marketing

Although email is king, and it tops the list when it comes to ROI generation, integrating social media marketing makes it even more effective. If a subscriber has clicked on your email, you can arouse more interest with a targeted display ad on the social media channel. Alternatively, you can send an email to anyone who clicks on the display ad to encourage the user to make the purchase. This helps to create a robust marketing strategy that helps to enhance conversions by increasing the brand recall. Ecommerce websites like Amazon make extensive use of this trick in their marketing strategy.

Pro-tip: Acquisition data and customer relationship management system can be integrated to get a better idea on the campaign’s progress and metrics.

3. Always keep in mind the purpose and objective of the email campaign

Without a purpose, your email marketing strategy is like a punctured tyre. It will not get you anywhere. Think beyond open rates and click-through rates. Your ultimate purpose should be conversions and revenue. Acquisition email campaigns help you get new customers and increase the likelihood of retaining them, thereby increasing the average LTV of your customers.

Final thoughts

The key to an effective acquisition email campaign is to build credibility and long-lasting relationship with the subscribers. That will go a long way in driving more conversions for your business and also increasing the reach to your prospective clients.

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Email Marketing: Increase Your Holiday Conversions with These Tips

The holidays are fast approaching! It’s that time of year when nearly everyone is scrambling to find the perfect gift for their loved ones, which means it’s likely also that time of year when your business sees its heaviest online traffic and profits.

In fact, the National Retail Foundation estimates holiday sales represent 30% of a business’s annual sales. So, how can you capitalize on the season of spending? Increasing your web conversions even just slightly can have a tremendously positive effect on your bottom line. Let’s take a look at how you can take your holiday sales from so-so to so GREAT with these tips for upping your conversions!

Segmentation/Targeting

Your usual segmentation/targeting of email campaigns and automations most likely needs to be reviewed for the holidays. Since we tend to segment/target based on buying habits, those historical buying habits will go out the window when it comes to holiday shopping: Most people are shopping for others this time of year, so everything is on the table. To solve for this, employ a broader segmentation strategy that accounts for gift buying situations where the customer is purchasing products they usually wouldn’t. You can avail our proficient email marketing services in case you are stuck anywhere.

Consider creating segments based on buyers from last year’s holiday season—chances are, many of them will be buying for the same people. Send messages to these new segments that remind customers of their purchases. If those gifts made their friends and family happy, you’ll have a better chance of additional purchases this year. Send out a “Thanks for buying from us last year!” message and offer a special discount to repeat customers.

Don’t Forget Your Inactive (Holiday-Only) Buyers

As you pour over your historical data, you just might find that some people only shop with you during the holidays. As an example, you may shop at “XYZ Retailer” during the holidays but rarely during other times of the year. This means you’re likely considered “inactive” on “XYZ Retailer’s” mailing list, since you haven’t purchased in nearly a year. And if you’re inactive, you won’t receive any marketing messages from the company—especially those promotional emails geared specifically toward holiday shoppers. As a retailer, strategize differently for your holiday sends and bring your inactives back into the fold. If you’re concerned about bounces or bad email addresses since you haven’t mailed to these folks in so long, consider running your list through a list-cleaning service (see resources below) before sending out any messages.

Cart Abandonment

All online retailers should have cart abandonment messages set up, but how can you take advantage of this automation during the holidays? If you’re using the standard 3-message set up (with email 1 deploying one hour after abandonment, email 2 deploying 24 hours after abandonment, and email 3 deploying 48 hours after abandonment), it likely won’t be as effective during this busy shopping season.

Why’s that? Around Black Friday and Cyber Monday, retailers tend to run a lot of 24-hour sales, with many including countdown timers within their messages to create a sense of urgency. So, you might see the problem with a standard cart-abandonment program: a 3-message stream over 48 hours doesn’t work for a 24-hour sale, and it can even backfire when users realize their items are no longer available at the 24-hour sale price.

Consider setting up a second or even third cart-abandonment program that you can toggle between during the holidays, one with a 24-hour timeline and another with a 48-hour timeline. Consider rules based on timing during the sale to allow for at least 2 abandoned-cart messages to be delivered, and think about incorporating the same countdown timer you have in your sale messages in your Cart Abandon messaging; this will create a sense of urgency and should increase conversions at a higher rate.  We’ve seen really good results with this tactic.

Test, Test, and Test Again

As with any email-marketing advice you receive, always be sure to test, test, test!  See what works for your business and refine it as needed. Good luck this holiday season, and may your revenues reach new heights!

Final Thoughts

Holiday season is the most profitable time of the year. These tips will guide you to create better emails that will woo more customers for you and bring greater revenue during the holiday.

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Implementing Live Twitter and Instagram Feed in Your Email Campaigns

Even though businesses might have a robust email marketing plan to drive conversions, the importance of social media marketing cannot be disregarded. Email and social media both are equally important for the effective implementation of omnichannel marketing.

At the outset of ‘email marketing’, it was pretty unimaginable to integrate social media into emails.

Integration of social media into emails started with including social media icons at the email footer and encouraging subscriber interaction on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Have a look at the screenshot below to understand the traditional social sharing buttons:

social media links in emails

However, with the advent of technological advancements in email marketing services, different tools and software programs have made it simpler to have social media feeds from Twitter and Instagram right in the email.

Let’s understand how to embed live Twitter feed in the email.

After numerous trials-and-errors, our expert email development team finally succeeded in adding a live Twitter feed in the emails.

Check out the email below.

Twitter feed in emails

As shown in the image, implementing live Twitter feed in the email allows you to fetch the latest tweet of the respective Twitter handle.

It gets updated automatically whenever the user tweets. It means if the email was sent on Monday, it will fetch the latest tweet that was posted on Monday. Now, if the subscriber opens the same email on Thursday, they will be able to see the latest tweet(done on Thursday) in their email.

On clicking the feed, the subscriber will be redirected to that particular Twitter account.

It is a helpful asset to drive more organic followers and engagement on your Twitter handle.

That’s all about Twitter.

If you wish to try live Twitter feed in your email, get in touch with InboxArmy.

Similarly, you can have live Instagram feed in your email to garner more fans on your Instagram profile.

Here’s our example:

Live Instagram feed in emails

Instagram Live Feed Solution allows you to include live Instagram feed in your email and enhance the visibility of your account.

It gets automatically updated whenever the subscriber opens the email.

You have an option to include 9 posts in a 3×3 grid or 16 posts in a 4×4 grid, according to your preferences.

As Instagram is getting more and more popular among all the social media platforms, we would strongly recommend you try it out in your email marketing strategy.

Contact us NOW.

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How to Write Engaging Emails for Vacationing Subscribers

It’s summer already, which means that most of the people on your email list are on a vacation to rejuvenate themselves. While the subscribers are enjoying the summer break with their family, email marketers are still on their toes to create email campaigns that would bring them the desired results.

So, the pressing question is how to engage those subscribers who are in the relaxation mode? How to entice them to open the emails and get them to convert? Here are some expert ideas to capture the attention of vacationing subscribers with interesting examples.

1. Write Attractive Subject Lines

It is a proven fact that the subject line determines whether a subscriber will open your email or not. Create an interesting visual with your subject line that portrays a summer fantasy in the subscriber’s mind. When your subscribers are wading through their flooded inboxes, your subject line along with the preheader text should resonate with them even while they are on a vacation.

Here’s an example:

Ritual-vacation-email

Subject line – Need a copilot?

Ritual sends out a unique email with the perfect vacation theme of a postcard. See the prominently placed CTA that matches the color of summer and exudes a warm feeling to the reader.

2. Match the vacation mood with an innovative email copy

Your subscribers should be able to attain a sense of repose with your emails. Rather than a sales pitch, write a creative copy with a dash of humor and emotion. Even if your subscriber is back from a vacation, it is quite likely that they are planning the next year’s trip. Make sure your email promotes suitable products according to the vacation season and helps the subscribers packing the right stuff.

See the email sent by Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams.

jeni's - email

Subject line: Ready for takeoff: The Jeni’s Traveler Bag

The hero image displaying the traveler’s bag is a great idea to appeal to a subscriber who is going to a vacation. The entire email is planned in such a way that every element, including the headline, copy, CTA and colors, reflects leisure time.

3. Include Interactivity

Interactive elements like GIFs create a lighter mood and enhance the subscriber engagement. They drive more click-through rates as the subscriber is tempted to know more about the offer. It is a creative way to increase sales and generate better business growth. You can even consider adding cinemagraphs, sliders and video to your email to make it more appealing for your target audience.

Have a look at the email by UncommonGoods.

uncommon goods

Subject line: Destination: Creative Designs

Images and GIFs have been brilliantly used in the email.

4. Create a sense of urgency

Tap on the ‘Fear of Missing Out’ by including countdown in the email and promoting limited time offers. Incentivize the customers with an attractive summer discount that evoke a temptation to make the purchase.

J.Crew has promoted the last day of the offer with an attractive hero image.

jcrew email

Subject Line: Last day for 30% off your purchase

The CTA — ‘SHOP IT WHILE IT’S HOT’ is aptly put to radiate summer vibes.

5. Use Cultural References

Numerous songs, movies, and books are about summer breaks. Remember Summer of 69 – the famous song by Bryan Adams? So many people out there love such metaphoric songs that take them back to their memories. You can create something like Summer of 2018 in your email that would surely add more sensitivity to your content and make it more than just a marketing campaign. It is a fact that using instances and references from popular culture always works more effectively to engage people.

Final Thoughts

Summer break is synonymous to fun, refreshment and relaxation. Build the summer email campaigns that suit your business and type of subscribers you have, while keeping the ‘vacay’ mood alive.

Happy Emailin’!

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