If I gave you $1 to spend in your business, where would it go?
Your first instinct might be to invest in Facebook ads, or maybe to sock it away and save for the latest marketing software.
But the highest return on investment (ROI) might come from a surprising source: your email marketing.
The Data & Marketing Association said that in 2015, for each $1 spent on email marketing, companies made $38 in return.
That’s a 3,800% ROI!
If you want to achieve this result (and who wouldn’t?), you need to figure out if your emails and campaigns are ACTUALLY driving business-building results.
To do that, you need to pay attention to four email marketing metrics. Yes, just four.
These email metrics are UNIVERSAL and will help you measure the success of your emails so you can create effective email marketing campaigns no matter…
Today, I’m sharing…
Let’s get right to it!
So why only four metrics?
Each of these metrics corresponds with a specific, high-leverage part of your email.
If performance dips, reviewing which of these numbers changed can help you understand EXACTLY what happened and HOW to fix it.
The four metrics are…
Let’s dig into each of these and go over what they are and how you’ll use them in your own email marketing.
First off, we have Deliverability, also known as delivery rate, which is calculated by dividing Delivered Emails by Sent Emails.
Deliverability tells you what percentage of emails sent actually make it to the inbox. In other words, it clues you into how likely people are to GET your email.
In general, deliverability gives you a sense of how well your emails pass the “spam test” for Email Service Providers (ESPs) like Gmail and Yahoo.
If your emails don’t use flagged words and are well received by your audience, your deliverability should be quite high. A healthy deliverability percentage should be in the upper 90th percentile.
Be sure to pay attention to emails with low deliverability. This is a great way to identify language that ESPs don’t like, such as…
The next metric is one most people are familiar with…
Your email’s Open Rate tells you how likely people are to READ your email and is determined by dividing Unique Opens by Received Emails.
This measures the frequency with which your emails are opened, and thus read.
Open rate is one of the easiest metrics to affect, making it a well-known metric that is a frequent blog topic, including for us.
Open rate describes how well your subject line encourages your email list to actually take the time to read your email.
Since you’ve got roughly 30 characters to catch someone’s eye with a subject line, punchy copy can be the difference between 700 and 7,000 people reading your email.
You should use open rate as a barometer of how well your messaging resonates with your target audience.
The third metric is arguably the most crucial because it most closely correlates with sales…
Click-through Rate tells you how likely your audience is to ENGAGE with your email, which means it indicates the likelihood that someone will click on a link within your email.
The formula to calculate click-through rate is the number of Unique Clicks divided by the number of Unique Opens.
Click-through rate is so important because it measures whether or not people are actually taking the desired actions with your emails.
Clicks in an email are what drive…
A low click-through rate usually indicates that your email copy is falling flat and is a sign of a weak or unclear call-to-action (CTA).
An easy fix to improve click-through rate is to avoid over-selling your products or services through email and instead focus on getting people to click your link.
The email body’s only job is to sell the click.
Trying to sell your product in there as well means you’ll come up with subpar performance every time.
The last metric is one almost no one thinks about but may give you the most insight into how your email list feels about you and your email strategy.
Disengagement Rate tells you how likely people are to HATE your email.
This can be computed by adding Spam Complaints to Unsubscribes and dividing the sum by Unique Opens.
Your emails will always drive some people away – you can’t please everyone and trying to will leave your business stuck in neutral.
However, you do need to make sure that the vast majority of readers on your list like what you have to say.
That’s why you want to make sure you keep an eye on your disengagement.
With disengagement rate, you can pinpoint messaging that doesn’t work, and cut that out of your toolbox.
You absolutely must keep your average disengagement rate below 0.15% for your emails, or you’ll start to see your deliverability drop.
You’ve got your four metrics, as well as the basic uses for each of them! Now that you know what you should be tracking, let’s talk about how to actually make that happen.
Not all emails you send are the same – and the distinction is key when it comes to measuring our four metrics.
There are two different categories of email, but this distinction has nothing to do with the content of the emails. Instead, these categories describe how emails are delivered to customers.
The two categories are broadcast emails and automated emails.
Let’s start with…
Broadcast emails are manually set up, scheduled, and sent out of your email marketing software to many people at once.
These are mass communication emails, closer to a piece of mail you get from your favorite clothing store with a 20% off coupon, like this one from Old Navy with the subject line, “SNAGGED IT: $12 SHORTS”:
And from a metrics perspective, broadcast emails are easy to evaluate; since all the emails are sent at the same time, data about these emails is reported in aggregate.
Here’s an example of a broadcast email report we would get out of our email client, Maropost.
You can see three of our four metrics are automatically generated…
And while the platform doesn’t actively provide Disengagement rate, it can be easily calculated from the formula provided earlier.
Automated emails, on the other hand, act more like a personal letter.
They are customized to the individual recipient, usually containing more details about a customer and their interests.
These emails are sent out based on actions customers have taken – they can be triggered to send when customers do things like…
Here’s an example of an automated email from Paragon Apparel with the subject line, “Did you see something you liked?” after visiting one of their product pages:
While the higher personalization means these emails typically perform better than broadcasts, they are also more difficult to track and evaluate because data isn’t always automatically aggregated for these and reporting is provided at a contact level.
Here’s an example of what I mean:
This granular reporting makes it hard to see the big picture and evaluate performance because you have to compare hundreds or thousands of individual reports.
But you need to track BOTH of these kinds of emails if you want to level up your email marketing.
To level up your email marketing, you MUST track it…
We’ve covered why tracking broadcast emails is actually quite easy, meaning your only job with broadcasts is to put the metrics into your email marketing data warehouse (more on this later).
But tracking automated emails, or broadcast emails without proper reporting, is much trickier.
Since tracking isn’t happening within the platform, we have to look to other solutions to get our answers…
If you want fast and easy tracking and don’t mind spending a little money, there are two great solutions from which to choose.
Email on Acid is the more robust of the two options, with click tracking included in the service.
Unfortunately, neither piece of software reports on deliverability, but even so, these are the fastest and easiest way to get the bulk of your analysis up and running.
You can use event tracking in Google Analytics to report on email opens, meaning you’ll have your email performance data right there alongside your website information.
This great article from Dyn walks through how to set this tracking up step-by-step.
To track clicks, we’ll turn to Bitly, friend of social media managers everywhere because of its ability to shorten links.
Of course, email marketers can use it to track link clicks as well as shorten links.
Create a Bitly for every link you include in your email – the Bitly platform walks you through how to do this when you sign up for your free account.
By doing this, you’ll be able to compare total clicks, as tracked in Bitly, to total opens, as tracked in Google Analytics, giving you click-through rate.
And you can compare opens to emails sent, which should be easy to pull out of any email platform.
Deliverability and disengagement won’t be possible, but you’ll have WAY MORE insight than most with this information.
Now that you know how to track all the information, we need to discuss how you’re going to store all of it, and how this will help you avoid a mistake many marketers make…
(NOTE: Want a plan for truly effortless automated email marketing? Check out DigitalMarketer’s Email Marketing Mastery — on sale for 90% off! Generate at least 200% more sales and conversions from the list you already have… even if it’s tiny! Learn more now and take advantage of this sale!)
When your email platform provides all of the metrics for analysis in a neat package, it’s easy to conclude that all your work is done – just check individual email metrics and move on to the next thing.
This is a HUGE trap (that many people fall into) when it comes to email marketing because it feels efficient at the time.
To build a sustainable, long-term email strategy, you need to take any data you get in your business and hold it yourself.
There are two key reasons this is critical.
The first is that platforms come and go.
Your business will grow and its needs will change over time, meaning that a migration is almost assuredly in your future. Storing data externally makes it easy to be prepared when the time comes.
Take us for example…
Since 2011, DigitalMarketer has leveraged FOUR different email platforms.
If I wanted to compare a campaign we ran in 2011 or 2012 to one we ran today, or just see what the year-over-year trend in open rate was, I’d be out of luck without our platform-agnostic historical data.
Keeping all your information in one place, ideally one that lends itself to data modeling, helps you turn your data into a decision-making tool.
A simple chart looking at dates and deliverability can help you track how we’ll you’re maintaining compliance over time and whether or not you need to adjust your messaging.
The other important reason is that having a unified place where all this data lives makes it much easier to analyze and evaluate big chunks of data. You can track trends over time, by category or content of email.
Clearly, it’s important to have somewhere you can track these four metrics and the emails they represent that…
…but that doesn’t mean it has to be complicated, as we’ll talk about next.
The fancy term for this external storage is a “data warehouse,” but it can be as simple and low-tech as a spreadsheet.
Here’s what the data warehouse DigitalMarketer uses looks like:
You can grab a copy of the tracking sheet DigitalMarketer uses here.
Just visit that link, then click File > Make a Copy, and you’ll have one you can edit added to your Google Drive!
This sheet will make it EASY to track BOTH broadcast and automated emails and get you started with your very own data warehouse.
Tracking broadcast emails is self-explanatory – you just plug the performance for each individual email into each row.
For automated emails, you’ll want to add an update to the sheet every time you get 100 new clicks on each email. That way, you’ll have enough data to give you representative performance metrics.
Now that you know your metrics and your tracking and organizing them, there’s one step left.
Figuring out how your emails stack up can be very tricky.
The biggest question I get from people about their email marketing metrics is, “How do I know if my results are good or bad?” Followed by, “What kind of performance do you see at DigitalMarketer?”
Unfortunately, that’s not too useful.
…won’t help YOU decide how YOU’RE doing.
You need to look closer to home.
Thankfully, there are two great resources to help you define what success looks like.
The first resource is other people in your industry.
If you’re a law firm, knowing how email marketing generally performs for other businesses offering legal services will give you a great benchmark for what success should look like.
This data will be more FAR MORE useful than the law firm comparing itself to a clothing store.
The same goes for all industries – if you know the general habits of people in your audience, you can evaluate your results.
So, how do you go about this?
Luckily, Mailchimp has created the best resource ever for taking a peek into your peers’ email marketing metrics.
This resource provides averaged email performance data for 46 different industries, ranging from Arts and Artists all the way to Vitamin supplements.
And because Mailchimp sends over 10 billion emails a month, the information is extremely representative of behavior patterns.
Here’s a look at some of that data:
The other resource you should use to evaluate your performance is your own data…
Looking at past performance is one of the best ways to get a sense of where your email marketing program is at the moment.
To turn your historical data into something usable, you need to compile it.
This can be done pretty easily – generate averages for your four-metrics looking at the past…
…to see what direction performance is trending and to come up with benchmarks to compare current performance to.
Whether or not your email marketing is where you want it to be today, the only way to start improving it is to understand where you are at the moment.
Leveraging these two different sets of data will give you reasonable expectations and help you understand how your email marketing shapes up.
In addition to the details on how to improve individual metrics, making your audience more or less specific is the next best way to improve performance.
To beat your baseline, try experimenting with a smaller list, targeted by topics you know they’re interested in.
And experimenting with the email’s subject line and body copy is a great way to boost performance.
Focus on improving one metric at a time – that way you can figure out what’s causing the lift.
What’s next, you might ask?
Now that you’ve got the basics of tracking and using your email marketing metrics, you can take it one step further by leveraging your broadcast emails to improve your automated emails.
Once you have a good sense of what exceptional performance looks like, you can cherry-pick your best broadcast emails and turn them into automated emails.
That way, every time you send a broadcast, you’re also working in your email marketing laboratory – testing and improving your campaigns!
And by keeping a close eye on these four metrics, you can figure out how to create and maintain effective email marketing campaigns.
(NOTE: Want a plan for truly effortless automated email marketing? Check out DigitalMarketer’s Email Marketing Mastery — on sale for 90% off! Generate at least 200% more sales and conversions from the list you already have… even if it’s tiny! Learn more now and take advantage of this sale!)Read More
Did you know Gmail alone has more than one billion monthly active users?
That means roughly one in every seven humans on the planet has a Gmail account.
And that’s what I love so much about email marketing: the fact that it’s so universal and allows you to reach such a huge audience.
Just think about it. Not everyone uses Instagram. Not everyone uses Snapchat.
But almost everyone uses email.
I look at email as the great equalizer in marketing. It’s especially helpful if you need to reach an older demographic of baby boomers and beyond.
Of course, there’s a lot that goes into a well run email marketing campaign.
Not only must you get recipients to open your sales email, but you also need to drive conversions.
To accomplish this, you’ve got to cover all the bases.
Here are 39 things every sales email needs to have.
Before you do anything, you need to have a clear understanding of the specific purpose behind each and every email.
One may promote a new product; another may discuss a major update to your service…
This will dictate the direction you take, the content you feature, the CTA you include, and so on.
Make sure you always know the precise purpose of your message before getting in too deep.
It’s likely your brand has multiple audience personas.
Effective segmentation is critical for getting the right marketing material in front of each email subscriber.
I recommend creating at least a few different personas and sending out individualized emails based on each group’s needs and preferences.
Here’s a very basic example:
This should ensure no one receives irrelevant content, which should have a noticeable impact on your open rate and conversions.
In fact, “segmented email campaigns have an open rate that is 14.32% higher than [that of] non-segmented campaigns.”
Almost 75% of people don’t open emails.
A big reason for that is lackluster subject lines.
They’re not inspiring enough to motivate subscribers to open the email.
This is why you need to understand the psychology behind a killer subject line.
As a huge proponent of email marketing, I’ve done a considerable amount of experimenting with this process.
Check out this post I wrote on NeilPatel.com to learn the fundamentals of creating better email subject lines.
Research from Aberdeen found that “personalized email messages improve click-through rates by an average of 14% and conversions by 10%.”
Other studies have seen a similar trend:
So it’s really important you personalize each email.
Ideally, use each recipient’s first and last name.
I love long-form content.
Aferall, it’s long-form content that tends to rank the highest in SERPs.
But a sales email isn’t the place for it.
Keep it short, sweet, and to the point for maximum impact.
I would wager that the majority of email subscribers don’t want to be addressed in some hyper-corporate, formal fashion.
Instead, most prefer to be spoken to like an actual person.
Use a conversational tone, and approach it as if you’re speaking to your blog readers.
Studies in psychology have shown that people respond better to some words than others.
Utilizing power words is a simple way to connect with readers and pique their interest.
Check out this list from SmartBlogger for examples of power words.
At the end of the day, we all want to know what’s in it for us.
If you want someone to read through your email in its entirety, you’d better darn sure appeal to them on a personal basis.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to use “you” when addressing your readers.
“You” is one of the most persuasive words in the English language and should help you connect with your readers.
I find asking questions to be a great way to mimic the feel of a face-to-face conversation.
There’s no need to go overboard, but asking a few key questions is an effective way to create rapport and get readers interested.
People are interested in buying a product or service for a reason.
They have a problem or pain point they’re seeking a solution for.
Make it clear you understand their struggles and that your goal is to help them find a resolution.
Any semblance of sketchiness is a recipe of disaster.
Be diligent about establishing your brand as a trusted source.
I find that simply thanking readers for their time and consideration to buy my product is a perfect way to humanize my emails.
Here’s a great quote from The Harvard Business Review:
Saying “thank you” is a great way to close and shows you genuinely appreciate the fact that someone took the time out of their day to read your email.
Keeping with the theme of personalization, I suggest including a personalized product recommendation whenever it makes sense.
Take into consideration the needs, wants, and overall pain points of each targeted demographic.
Then include a link to a particular product they would be interested in.
One of the quickest ways to kill your subscriber’s vibe is to blast them with super salesy content.
Of course, you want to be actively promoting your brand, but it shouldn’t come across as obnoxious.
I suggest focusing on the two E’s:
Educating and Entertaining your audience.
Use these as guides for creating your email, and the rest should follow.
Platforms, such as MailChimp and Aweber, offer a boatload of design features to make your emails pop.
Take advantage of these features, and place an emphasis on aesthetics.
This is extremely important for getting readers to browse through your emails and ultimately work their way to your CTA.
Speaking of visuals, I can’t stress enough how important it is to create your own branded template.
Achieving consistency through this medium is vital for establishing and reinforcing your brand identity.
Once again, most platforms, like MailChimp and Aweber, offer everything you need to create a branded template.
Be sure you’re incorporating your company’s colors, logos, style, etc. so that it sticks with readers and helps them distinguish you from competitors.
One mistake I see email marketers make is getting too cute with their designs.
More specifically, they get a little crazy with their fonts, making the content difficult to read.
Keep it simple, and stick with tried and true fonts, like Arial and Calibri.
These are easy on readers’ eyes and encourage them to read through the entire email.
I also suggest sticking with one font.
Make sure you’re not switching from font to font throughout the body of your email.
This disrupts the flow of your message and can kill conversions.
To me (and most readers), it’s a beautiful thing.
One of the easiest ways to maximize the digestibility of your emails is to use short paragraphs.
I recommend shooting for an absolute maximum of four sentences per paragraph.
One to two sentences is even better.
What’s the other key element of digestible content?
Sub-headers to provide breaks and highlight main points.
Never include a large mass of text without breaking it down into individual sections, using sub-headers.
More specifically, it’s smart to use a variety of H1s, H2s, H3s, etc. to prioritize content.
Here’s a good example of how to do this effectively:
Let’s not forget about bullet lists.
They’re ideal for breaking down longer lists into concise and succinct points.
It’s no secret most people respond overwhelmingly well to visuals.
In 2017, “37% of marketers said visual marketing was the most important form of content for their business, second only to blogging (38%).”
I suggest using at least one image per email to give it some pizzazz and fulfill your reader’s inherent desire for visuals.
Here’s a really nice example of an email from United By Blue:
It’s actually the same image they use on their opt-in page, but it works perfectly.
In the event an image isn’t properly displayed, you need to have an alt tag for that image.
The alt tag will describe exactly what the image is so there’s no confusion for readers.
Okay, you may not necessarily want to use a video in every single email you send.
But they’re definitely an effective way to increase your open rate and click-through rate.
According to Pardot, “Using the word ‘video’ in an email subject line boosts open rates by 19% and click-through rates by 65%.”
This proves people respond favorably to video, and it is something at least worth experimenting with.
This should go without saying.
Always be sure to look over each email and eliminate any clutter or unnecessary info that’s not genuinely contributing to its value.
I like to strive for a minimalist feel.
Not only should your offer be relevant to the specific person receiving an email, it should be genuinely enticing.
Ask yourself whether it truly scratches an itch.
If not, tweak it until it hits its mark.
Also be sure to mention the key benefits.
Let readers know exactly how their lives will improve.
For most humans, “the fear of loss trumps the desire to gain.”
In other words, we’re risk averse by nature.
Briefly touching on the things someone will miss out on by not buying your product or service can provide the extra incentive needed to convert.
Here’s an example:
The CTA is hands down one of the most critical elements of a sales email.
Not only should it be crystal clear which action you want readers to perform, it should be visible.
Netflix crushes it with this email where the readers’ eyeballs instantly gravitate to the red CTA button in the middle of the page:
This one, from Cards Against Humanity, also pulls it off well, incorporating the brand’s signature humor style:
You’ve probably heard me talk about the importance of social proof in other areas of marketing.
It’s also quite effective in sales emails as well.
Whenever you’re directly promoting a product or service, include a quick little something-something that backs up its legitimacy.
Here’s a great example:
You’re obviously going to include a CTA.
But you shouldn’t stop there.
I recommend adding at least one link to your website, but three or four is completely fine.
This is a simple way to increase direct traffic and help people learn more about your brand.
While you’re at it, why not go ahead and link to your blog as well?
It’s an easy way to increase your blog readership and create more buzz around recent posts.
Another reason I love email marketing is because it enables you to kill multiple birds with one stone.
Throw in social share buttons to popular networks to increase your following with virtually no extra effort.
Let’s say a reader loves one of your emails and they want to share it with someone they know.
You can save them time and streamline the process by including a forward link so they can share it with a single click.
This is also a great way to quickly grow the size of your subscriber base without putting in a lot of extra work.
Don’t forget the signature!
This is another way to reinforce your brand identity, and it can drive traffic to other resources you’re trying to promote (e.g., your website).
People get tons of emails.
Some may literally receive hundreds on any given day.
Be sure to include key business info in the footer (e.g., address, phone number, other contact information) so people know exactly who is sending it and how to contact you if necessary.
It also makes it look more professional and legit in my opinion.
Here’s the scenario.
You mistakenly signed up to a newsletter you have zero interest in.
All of a sudden, you’re bombarded with emails and no easy way to stop it.
It’s incredibly annoying and can create feelings of resentment and even hostility toward the brand.
Make sure you’re not doing this to your subscribers.
Give them a clear way to unsubscribe, ideally with only one click.
Say that someone does decide to unsubscribe.
It’s important you know exactly why they decided to do so.
Here’s a good example of the types of questions you can ask to figure this out:
This will provide you with valuable intel so that you can improve your emails moving forward and prevent making the same mistake.
These days, over half (53%) of emails are opened on mobile devices.
Just look at how much email opens on mobile grew between 2010 and 2015:
If your emails aren’t fully optimized for mobile, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.
A mobile-friendly UX is critical, so you should do everything you can to optimize this.
I recommend reading this post from Copyblogger for advice on this topic.
The potential is huge for brands that use email marketing effectively.
Just keep in mind that the average ROI is $44 for every $1 spent.
But to get the most out of your campaign, your sales emails need to hit all the right notes.
By ensuring they have all the elements I covered in this post, you can boost both your open rate and your click-through rate for epic conversions.
What do you think the most important elements of a well-crafted sales email are?
Author: Ellen Gomes
Email marketing remains a force to be reckoned with and there is no shortage of statistics to reinforce the point:
Email’s long-standing success, however, means that everyone is using it and inboxes are packed. Standing out from the crowd means innovating, testing, and creating the best email marketing campaigns your audience sees.
There are lots of “how to” resources out there, and lists of tips for email marketing—and many are great resources. But sometimes a little bit of organic inspiration is what you really need to get the creativity flowing. Here are seven of the best email marketing campaigns we saw in 2016.
Grammarly pulled a genius move when they paired a fan’s tweet with a relevant upgrade offer.
For this email marketing campaign, Grammarly deferred to the social proof of a third-party endorsement—in this case, an embedded tweet. While leveraging a user’s cute Grammarly love letter, they also took the opportunity to offer a special, limited-time discount. Who says you can’t kill two birds with one email send?
Social proof is just the latest iteration of word-of-mouth advertising. In fact, 88% of people trust online reviews written by other consumers as much as they trust personal recommendations. Combined with a scarcity message, this email send is a huge win.
Craft starts by designing an email you actually WANT to look at. Though Invision has a well-defined audience of professional designers, every email marketer needs to give attention some to design—regardless of their industries.
That said, there’s no need to commission the next Mona Lisa, and good design is not necessarily complicated. Craft’s email is beautiful in its simplicity and hyper-focused on one call-to-action (CTA). Maybe because a single CTA increases clicks by 371%, and sales by 1617%!
Since, unfortunately, sometimes the most beautiful images on email campaigns get blocked by an ISP, make sure to use an ALT tag for each one on your campaign.
It’s hard to think of anything more compelling than an email send with dancing tortilla chips. Postmates sends periodic emails attempting to activate or reactivate subscribers. They do this by offering free food giveaways in partnership with big brands (Panera, Starbucks, etc.), as well as limited-time delivery specials.
For this particular email send, they captured the reader’s attention with an enticing animated GIF of a Chipotle burrito bowl.
True to their brand, instead of getting straight to the point, they take the opportunity to present a deal in an endearing way. The whole campaign is fun and mouthwatering—it would be hard to say no to if you were hungry at the office!
The takeaways here are numerous:
It’s true, though, that this kind of light, conversational communication might not be the best approach for every audience at every stage of the funnel, but don’t assume it’s not just because you’ve never done it before!
Before you create a list of best practices for your company, test your audience. Send a few of each type of email, and keep your eyes glued on open and click-through rates to see what type of email marketing message converts best. There’s no right answer—it all comes down to testing.
This email marketing campaign from Canva encourages engagement by presenting four options for the first step of a new project. The design is very minimal—keeping the reader focused on the task at hand. This almost confrontational approach helps the reader make a decision and get started, rather than putting that idea or task on the backburner—AGAIN!
All of that white space strategically increases comprehension by 20%. Canva has a strategic focus and they are not letting up.
An email send like Canva’s could be an excellent email reactivation campaign to win subscribers back after a period of time with no engagement. Is there something you could send by email that represents a pain-free reactivation possibility for customers? Think specifically about your audience’s first step toward reactivation, and incorporate that into an easy email decision-making model.
Harpoon Brewery is one of many restaurants that uses a subscriber’s birthday as a reason to get in touch. But instead of taking the opportunity to offer a specific discount, they use this email campaign to show their human side.
Personalized subject lines alone are 26% more likely to be opened. But personalization doesn’t just have to be limited to a person’s name. The takeaway here? Not every email is about selling. But every email should be about connecting and building a relationship with the subscriber in some way.
This particular email campaign invites the recipient to a live software demo with an expert. It makes a personal connection by showing LinkedIn’s human face, with an email signature featuring an actual employee (including a picture). If someone was curious about this particular offering, it would be hard to turn down a walkthrough with an expert who could answer any questions live.
This email repeats the call to action twice, ensuring that it’s impossible to ignore. Furthermore, 80% of marketers’ rate “live demo’s with sales reps” as the most effective way to generate high-quality leads. Whether you’re using a live demo, webinar, or useful content asset—there are multiple ways to leverage the power of this type of email marketing campaign. Don’t forget to add a human element to the email signature, even if it’s a mass email send!
Freshbooks has created a reputation as the champion of the small business owner. They consistently publish high-quality content on their blog for this target audience. On a weekly basis, they share an email send with a roundup of their latest articles.
But Freshbooks knows that their content isn’t the be-all and end-all as far as resources for their audience. So at the end of each weekly email, they include a roundup of curated content from around the web:
Curation is an excellent way to add value, without a company needing to devote additional resources to creating content. By presenting your brand’s content as a complete resource (not just your voice, but many), your audience is more likely to come back to you for industry intel, time and time again.
With billions of emails sent each day, it’s hard to focus on just seven of the best email marketing campaigns. But these email share elements that can be applied to any campaign, such as:
Have you recently received an email that made you act, or resonated with you in a unique way? Share your takeaways in the comments below.
7 of the Best Email Marketing Campaigns of 2016 was posted at Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership. | http://blog.marketo.com
The post 7 of the Best Email Marketing Campaigns of 2016 appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.
Author: Cassidy Milder
It’s been an interesting past few years for email marketing. From those who (loudly) declared email dead, to those who were ready to defend it with their dying breath, email has certainly opened up divisions between marketers. Still, the vast majority of us probably take a more reasoned position toward email campaigns: email isn’t dead, it’s just going to have to get smarter. Well-positioned emails still show high performance compared to other channels in the marketer’s tool belt. In particular, marketers (marketing in a traditional demand generation model) who want to drive sales through emails now have the double challenge of casting an ever-wider net while understanding the intricate workings of their audience—seeing both the forest and the trees.
I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that people get a lot of emails every day, but seeing the numbers broken down really shows how much noise is out there. For instance, Internet Live Stats counts about 2.5 billion emails sent every second. This means that if you want to stand out, you’re going to need more than a well-crafted message. First, you’ll need to find the widest reach possible with a well-built database. Second, you’ll need to get to get to know your database—and everything that makes this particular audience tick. Lastly, don’t be afraid to take advantage of engagement! Once you learn these three key steps, you’ll be able to send emails that sweep recipients off their feet—or at least get them to read past the subject line.
A lot of percentages go into email communication: the percentage of opens, click-throughs, and—most importantly—what percent converts. Naturally, those numbers get smaller and smaller as you get closer to achieving ROI, so you need to make sure you’re sending to a large enough database that by the time you get to final conversion, you’re still seeing the results you want. And that means growing your email list to get those coveted percentages.
There are a lot of ways to build up your audience—it’s just a matter of determining the best methods for your business. You can use social media to ask for email subscribers, use a blog or other content to capture email addresses or use any of a plethora of lead capture platforms that integrate with your engagement platform, such as SumoMe or Justuno. The important thing is that you’re finding subscribers who are interested in your business and opt-in to receiving emails from you. In fact, if your list has gone stale, an opt-in campaign—together with clever messaging—can act like a fine-toothed comb for your database. Having an audience that chooses to opt-in means higher percentages across the board—with fewer unsubscribes and spam complaints!
We tend to hear about the one or two stories where marketers were able to capture lightning in a bottle, but most marketing campaigns rely on careful testing and thoughtful adjustments. There’s even ample evidence that data science and progressive profiling will heavily play into email campaigns over the next few years, especially as home automation devices like Echo and Google Home start to capture more and more behavioral data.
Testing with different samples and subsets of your subscribers should become more important than ever, which means you’ll need to be patient and nurture your database in order to see the results you want. It also means that you’ll need to take care not to rely too heavily on hunches or assumptions if they’re not backed by A/B testing. For instance, just because someone’s purchases or their browsing history correlates to home buying doesn’t mean that they’re getting ready to sell. You can only truly learn the intricacies of this audience through your own communication with them.
This is your time to test the waters and see what types of content and calls-to-action (CTAs) work with your new audience. It’s often helpful to warm up your audience with content and bonus offers before asking for your conversion. Your audience should feel like they’re gaining value from your emails. If you can capture their attention with top-of-the-funnel material, you’ll gain their trust (and boost open and click-through percentages!).
Every concert audience comes to a show armed with different expectations: from the avid fan who has all of the albums to the significant other who just got dragged along with their partner. Your database is no different: some members are just more into your content than others. But in order for your emails to accrue value, you must be able to identify and empathize with the needs of your email VIPs. Who’s opening your messages, downloading your content, or even contacting you directly?
Drilling down into these kinds of details offers a more well-formed definition of your ideal client, and it lets you target them with stronger CTAs. Once you’ve gotten them to subscribe and earned their trust with top-of-the-funnel content, they’ll finally be ready to convert—and you can watch this all unfold right from your engagement platform. When you see someone fall into this sweet spot, you can start segmenting them for more direct asks, which all translates to ROI for your company. That will certainly breathe life into your marketing campaigns!
Is email still performing for you? How are you ensuring that email keeps pace with your audience expectations? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
3 Steps for Successful Email Marketing Campaigns in a “Post-Email” World was posted at Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership. | http://blog.marketo.com
Many of the world’s leading organizations rely on agencies or freelance creative teams to help inspire bold ideas that set them apart from the pack. Outside perspectives and fresh ideas are always beneficial for any marketing campaign. Yet, we all know the creative process and workflow can be laborious — and even more so when it involves external parties.
Email marketing continues to be the channel that delivers, and beautiful, compelling emails are paramount to a brand’s success, which is why it’s so important that we help designers easily execute on their email designs. To address this, Adobe is integrating two solutions to enable designers and, ultimately, brands to create exquisite, engaging, and best-in-class emails. Together, Adobe Dreamweaver and Adobe Campaign promise a seamless process and relationship between creatives and brands.
Integrating Adobe Dreamweaver With Adobe Campaign Benefits Agencies.
Creative agencies and marketers alike are wasting precious time with the many steps required to bring an email from conception to execution. The time-consuming process of moving back and forth from design software to an email-marketing solution demands transformation. We recently announced the beta program for integrating Adobe Dreamweaver with Adobe Campaign, enabling email designers to not only create emails in Adobe Dreamweaver that automatically sync with Adobe Campaign, but also send personalized, contextual emails more quickly. This integration is in beta for Adobe Campaign Standard customers and will be showcased onstage at Adobe Summit 2017.
The integration of Adobe Dreamweaver and Adobe Campaign benefits agencies by empowering them to:
1. Accelerate Delivery to Clients: Designers can design and create emails in Adobe Dreamweaver that automatically sync every edit with Adobe Campaign. The result is stunning emails that look great on every screen and are created much faster and more efficiently than ever before.
2. Alleviate the Back-and-Forth With Clients: Gone are the days of managing multiple HTML files or manually transferring and uploading images saved locally. When designers make edits from clients in Adobe Dreamweaver, they are automatically synced with Adobe Campaign.
3. Personalize With Ease: Data is vital when it comes to designing personalized content. Access to an Adobe Campaign toolbar in Adobe Dreamweaver enables designers to pull personalization fields directly from Adobe Campaign.
Integrating With the Creative Software-Development Kit (SDK) Offers Further Benefits.
We recognize that not all businesses utilize agencies. In many small- and medium-sized businesses, creative designers also handle the email-marketing functions. This audience tends to have more organizational flexibility when it comes to email design and lacks the approval process that agencies must undergo with brands. Last-minute design and image modifications are needed before they hit ‘send’ on emails.
To address this, we’re announcing plans today to integrate the Creative Cloud’s Creative SDK. Email marketers will now be able to leverage the Creative SDK’s ability to edit and manipulate images within an email, making it easier and faster for designers to create and send emails.
Standout email-marketing campaigns are core to delivering memorable and meaningful experiences to customers. By combining the power of Adobe Creative Cloud with that of Adobe Campaign, we’re bringing creative magic to email marketing today — with even more in store for the future.
The post Designing for Email: Empowering Designers to Deliver for Brands appeared first on Digital Marketing Blog by Adobe.Read More
This is an excerpt from my book, Invisible Selling Machine. I wanted to share it here on the DigitalMarketer blog because I think EVERYONE needs to hear this rant.
Want a copy of this rant for yourself? Swipe the PDF here.
According to Fortune Magazine, the average person receives 147 emails per day.
Remember the early days of email? People logged into their AOL accounts and smiled with excitement when they heard that familiar voice say:
“You’ve got mail!”
Today, we’re drowning in email with billions of messages hurdling through cyberspace on a daily basis. And it won’t be letting up anytime soon. According to a survey published by email service provider, iContact, 56% of businesses plan to increase their email marketing activity next year.
There’s a reason for the massive volume of emails businesses send each day: Email marketing works.
In fact, when you apply a solid process to it, email marketing works like a virtual salesman — driving sales day after day on autopilot. And, if you really do it right, it can become an Invisible Selling Machine.
So, why isn’t everyone doing it?
Most business owners I meet are paralyzed by the “small list” myth. They think they need an enormous list of subscribers to make email marketing work for their business.
Okay, I’ll admit it…
All other things being equal — a bigger list is better.
But list size is certainly not the primary driver of email marketing success. I know lots of marketers with great big lists that don’t make a dime because, at the end of the day, it’s not the size of the list that matters… it’s how you use it.
And the simple truth is that most companies don’t know how to use their list. They don’t have a process or a system, and that’s the primary reason business owners declare that email marketing doesn’t work.
The fact is, if you do it wrong, email marketing doesn’t work. That’s why we teach you how to do it right.
But there’s something else we should talk about…
(NOTE: Want to get my full guide to crafting an automated, evergreen email campaign that literally makes sales while you sleep? For a limited time, it’s FREE when you pay for shipping! Yep, my 5 steps to email marketing success are up for grabs for free—this week only. Claim your copy now.)
We’ve all heard this before…
“The money is IN the list.”
Don’t fall for it. This is a myth perpetuated by so-called experts peddling lead generation and list building services.
Make no mistake — simply having a list does not guarantee sales. There’s only money to be made from a list if you have a “machine” in place to monetize the list once you have it.
We’ve acquired big businesses with big email lists that were utterly worthless. They had no process to extract money from that list.
This is what most marketers get wrong. They focus all their efforts on building email lists and almost no effort on how they’re going to make money from that list once they have it. So, as backwards as it may seem, your first priority needs to be HOW you will make money from a prospect or lead. You must first have your process down, and then you can focus on how you will get more leads.
This is why you might think list building is difficult. This is why you might feel stuck. It’s not your fault and you’re certainly not alone, you’ve simply been taught to do things backwards.
Building an email list becomes simple when you understand the system I outline in this book. The Invisible Selling Machine will give you an unfair advantage over 98% of your competition by deploying a simple, copy-and-paste “method” I discovered after hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars in trial and error of selling my own products and services.
These aren’t sneaky, under-handed “black-hat” tricks and hacks, and you won’t be labeled a spammer. In fact, with this method, you’ll actually mail your list less frequently while making MORE money.
When most marketers get a lead, they make one of two catastrophic errors.
The first big mistake is that they fail to follow-up.
It sounds crazy, but most of the business owners I know (even some of the really good ones) don’t have a single follow-up campaign in place. They send emails to their list when they “feel like it.”
Again, it sounds crazy, because what’s the point of lead generation if you’re not going to follow-up? The problem is most business owners simply don’t know what to mail or how often they should mail.
Or they’re scared. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard business owners say, “If I email my list, people will unsubscribe.” But if you’re not going to send them emails, what’s the point of building the list in the first place? It’s flawed logic.
The second big mistake marketers make is sending the exact same email to everyone on their list.
The fact is, not every subscriber on your list is created equal. Some are very interested in what you’re selling. Others are somewhat interested and, still, others aren’t interested in what you’re selling at all. At least, not yet.
So should all these subscribers receive the exact same emails at the exact same time? Should they even receive the same number of emails?
Of course not!
Wouldn’t you agree that if a subscriber shows interest in a particular product, service, or topic that they should receive more emails than a less engaged subscriber? And wouldn’t you think if you segmented your subscribers this way that your engaged subscribers would buy more?
And, if you laid off your less engaged subscribers, don’t you think they’d stay on your list longer and maybe even buy something from you at a later date when they’re ready to buy?
And that’s exactly what a “Machine” does and it does it on 100% autopilot.
If you want to learn to build your “Machine” — no matter the size of your email list — watch this set of (free) training videos…
Don’t forget… this was Chapter 3 of Invisible Selling Machine. You can get the rest of my 5-step guide to crafting an automated, evergreen email campaign that literally makes sales while you sleep for FREE (plus shipping) this week only! Learn more now.
The post One Problem, Two Mistakes, and One Big, Fat LIE About Email Marketing appeared first on DigitalMarketer.Read More
If you’re looking for more conversions, revenue, and customer engagement then it all starts with your email deliverability.
For the last fifteen years of my professional career, and as the Senior Director of Deliverability at Maropost, I’ve specialized and concerned myself with one thing: email deliverability.
While email deliverability has changed a lot in fifteen years, it’ll always remain relevant and of primary significance for email marketing.
Which is why I created a deliverability checklist to guarantee the success of our deliverability… and I’m sharing it with you today.
This 8-step checklist is the first thing we look at with all new accounts when onboarding them with Maropost.
It compiles the most fundamental and most essential steps for email deliverability success and provides invaluable insight on the health of the client, their campaigns, and their data.
On average, after running through these eight steps, accounts see an immediate 15–20% increase in inbox placement and a long-term increase of up to 50% for all engagement and conversion metrics.
Use this as the ultimate tool to ensure that your deliverability is on the right track.
Here’s an excerpt of the checklist…
You can download the complete checklist here.
But before we can dive into the details of each step and really understand how to optimize them, first we need to understand exactly what email deliverability is and how it’s determined…
Deliverability is the FIRST step in the email process.
Before opens and clicks, before landing pages and conversions, before drip campaigns and upsells, you must be sure your customers are even receiving your marketing campaigns. And that’s deliverability in a nutshell: getting your emails to your customer’s inboxes.
Because there are a lot of barriers.
Internet service providers (ISPs), inbox providers, email service providers (ESPs), and third-party companies all want to protect recipients from spam. In fact, 1 in 5 of all commercial emails don’t land in the inbox.
Contrary to common opinion, deliverability is not measured by the “delivered rate.” The delivered rate simply measures the number of emails that don’t receive a hard or soft bounce.
Deliverability is all about landing in the inbox.
So, if you had a high delivered rate and a high spam rate, then your inbox placement and deliverability is actually very poor.
Poor deliverability means you’re not reaching your customer’s inboxes. The fewer delivered emails in the inbox, the fewer key performance indicators (KPIs) across the board, and that’s going to negatively affect your bottom line.
The more delivered emails to the inbox? The more engagements, conversions, and revenue. That’s the Maropost deliverability funnel to revenue…
Broadly speaking, deliverability can be measured in two ways and from two perspectives.
Inbox providers pay attention to how recipients interact with your emails and whether that interaction is positive or negative.
Positive actions, such as opening an email or adding the sender to the address book, indicates that the email is relevant and will improve your deliverability.
Positive actions include:
Negative actions, such as marking the email as spam, will adversely affect your deliverability. They include:
You should already be aiming for the positive actions in pursuit of your KPIs – and now you know they’re doubly important because they affect deliverability, too!
The good email marketer knows how to think like their audience.
So, always be asking yourself: How can I get my recipients to engage positively with my emails?
As the sender of the email, it’s up to you to ensure that you have the best deliverability practices executed and running.
There are three areas that you need to concern yourself with:
This is the foundation for your emails and deliverability strategy, and it’s key that it’s set up correctly.
To do this, ask yourself the following questions:
These are the recurring activities that you need to maintain.
You should already be following email acquisition and list cleansing best practices; we’ll explore how these specifically affect deliverability further in this post.
Are your email marketing processes designed with deliverability in mind? You can ensure they are by answering these three questions:
This is the actual email that gets sent to recipients.
There’s the structure of the email, which you’ll need to set up once per template, and there’s the content of the email, which you’ll need to set up per every email blast:
Infrastructure, processes, and email will be the main focus of the checklist.
We’ll go over all three areas in more detail and tell you exactly what steps you need to take to master each one, so you can be sure you’re your deliverability and inbox placement is the best it can be.
Ready? Let’s get started!
Infrastructure is the foundation of your email and deliverability strategy. This is what you need to set up (or ensure that it’s been set up correctly).
An IP, or internet protocol, address is a unique string of numbers that identifies your computer or network.
IP addresses have an associated deliverability reputation metric that inbox providers look at.
There are two types of IP addresses:
A dedicated IP address is used by a single sender or company.
No other marketers can use it.
The reputation is wholly determined by the emails of that single sender or company.
A shared IP address is used by multiple senders or companies.
The overall reputation for a shared IP is based on all the senders – so the reputation cannot be managed by an individual sender or company.
So, which type of IP is right for you? Generally speaking, email marketers should use a dedicated IP to exercise maximum control.
However, shared IPs are acceptable under two scenarios:
In these two scenarios, a shared IP is preferable as it’ll give you a more consistent email send and volume, which matters a lot.
On the other hand, if you are a high-volume sender, one dedicated IP might not be enough.
Consider segmenting critical emails to a different IP from standard or promotional emails.
This will ensure your critical emails have the highest deliverability rate and will not be diluted by other streams with poorer deliverability scores.
Authentication allows the inbox provider, third parties, and the recipient to verify the identity of the sender, and it is normally set up by your ESP.
Authentication creates a portable and specific reputation specific to your brand.
If you run your own mail server, you will need to edit your Domain Name System (DNS) records and mail server settings to comply.
Here are the four types of authentication you need to confirm have been set up:
SPF verifies the sender address.
It cross-checks the domain in the “Mail From” line of an email against the published record that the sender has registered in the DNS.
DKIM authenticates that an email was sent from a legitimate and authorized source.
It requires the sender’s computer to generate public/private key pairs and then publish the public keys to their DNS records.
TLS encrypts and delivers mail securely, ensuring that no-one else is intercepting or tampering with your emails.
TLS is the email equivalent of HTTPS.
DMARC is a standardized method of authenticating via SPF and DKIM. DMARC is optional but it will ensure that your authentication results are consistent across ISPs and inbox providers.
Having one of your emails marked as spam is obviously a negative action and will have a tremendous adverse effect on your deliverability.
However, senders and ESPs aren’t able to see or measure an “email marked as spam” rate.
To overcome this limitation, most inbox providers offer a service called feedback loop processing.
Feedback loop processing means the inbox provider will email the sender directly when a recipient has marked one of their emails as spam.
This tells you which recipients have marked your emails as spam, when they did it, and to what email.
It’s absolutely crucial that you set up feedback loops!
You need to know when a recipient thinks your email is spam, so you can take the necessary steps thereafter. Whether that’s:
You’ll need to set up feedback loops separately for each inbox provider.
Take a look at your mailing list and see which inbox providers you send to the most and set those up first.
We’ve included links to resources that will help you begin the feedback loop process with the four biggest inbox providers:
(NOTE: Need Email Marketing training? See DigitalMarketer’s Email Marketing Specialist training and certification program by clicking here.)
Processes are the recurring activities that you need to maintain.
Of those processes, we’ll focus on email acquisition and list cleansing – both of which are staples in email marketing.
We’ll continue with Step 4 and explain what spam traps are, so you can avoid them.
Spam traps are email addresses that are specifically used to identify poor email acquisition or list cleansing. There are two types of spam traps:
Recycled spam traps are email addresses that once belonged to a real person.
However, these email addresses have since been abandoned and appropriated by spam trap operators.
If you send emails to a recycled spam trap, that indicates that you have poor list cleansing and data sanitation practices, and this will NEGATIVELY affect your deliverability.
(Don’t worry though – we go over best practices for list cleansing in Step 6, so keep reading!)
Pristine spam traps are email addresses that have been created for the specific purpose of catching spammers and senders with poor email acquisition practices.
Spam trap operators will often hide their spam trap email addresses on websites, so they are only visible to email harvesting spiders. When spammers harvest email addresses from websites, they will also gather the honeypots.
Sending emails to pristine spam traps indicates that you have poor email acquisition practices, and this will negatively affect your deliverability.
Deliverability shares the same golden principle as email marketing when it comes to email acquisition: You want relevant and interested recipients who will actually open and engage with the emails you send.
These next points will guarantee that you’re only collecting the most relevant emails and that you’re processing them in the optimal way for deliverability.
Quality, not quantity, is what matters to deliverability.
You want recipients who are interested in receiving and engaging with your emails.
Third-party lists such as appends, rentals, and purchased lists have low opens, clicks, and engagements – all negative actions which have an adverse effect on deliverability.
Third-party lists are also much more likely to have spam traps, which can result in your IP being completely blacklisted by inbox providers.
If your landing pages don’t have basic validation, you’ll need to validate your email lists after the fact.
To do this, remove role accounts (e.g. email@example.com), fake addresses (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org), and errors (e.g. email@example.com).
Also known as closed-loop confirmation, double opt-in is the gold standard to get emails and confirm relevant interest.
Double opt-in requires recipients to confirm their subscription after providing their email addresses.
This will guarantee that they are real people who are interested in receiving your emails.
Double opt-in confirmation is also a great time to get additional information and the contact preferences of the recipient.
If you’re sticking with single opt-in, be sure to secure your landing page with CAPTCHA. This will prevent robots from registering with illegitimate addresses.
Quarantine new recipients until you can send them a welcome message and you can confirm that there is not a hard bounce.
This prevents you from adding bad email addresses to your list.
If you find yourself with a backlog or a high-volume of new recipients, you’ll want to ration out your welcome emails.
Inbox providers are always wary of huge email blasts to new addresses as this is indicative of spam. You also risk a higher chance of negative actions when sending to new emails for the first time.
Instead, you should limit and mix your welcome email volume with your regular email blasts.
A good rule of thumb is 10% welcome emails and 90% regular emails. This way, regardless of the welcome emails’ engagement, the overall positive recipient actions will still be high and your deliverability won’t be penalized.
It’s important to clearly set expectations with your welcome email. This will tell your subscribers what to expect and set the tone for future engagement.
It’s not enough simply to optimize your email acquisition.
You need to ensure that email addresses in your email lists remain active and relevant – or else you need to remove them.
Inactive subscribers are either recipients who have lost interest in your email campaigns or are spam traps who were never interested in the first place.
Either way, inactive subscribers means your emails won’t be opened or clicked (or worse still, they’ll mark your email as spam!) – all of which are negative actions that will adversely affect your deliverability.
You should already be using campaign performance data to analyze email engagement, but it’s important to drill down to the individual recipients for list cleansing.
The general context and frequency of your campaigns and blasts matter when deciding how to define “inactive.”
If you’re sending weekly emails to a recipient, and they haven’t engaged in two months, then it’s clearly time to take a look at your journeys and funnels to see how you can get them to re-engage again.
(Find out how to Win Back Inactive Subscribers with a Reactivation Email Campaign.)
A good rule of thumb we follow is six months – that’s the maximum amount of time a recipient can stay without engaging.
Otherwise, it’s been too long and it’s best to remove them; they’re clearly not interested.
Worse, they could be honeypots that are hurting your deliverability every time you hit send.
It’s a good idea to routinely audit the sources of inactive emails.
Export any inactive emails and do a count based off the domain.
Are there any behavioral relationships to the source?
If so, you might want to add a validation rule excluding these email sources from your landing page or list acquisition.
Finally, there’s the actual email that gets sent to recipients.
Inbox providers and filters look at each individual email that is sent.
Keep the positive and negative actions in mind!
Remember, an email that drives position actions (such as opens, clicks, and forwards) will improve deliverability while an email with negative actions (such as being marked as spam) will hurt deliverability.
You have to optimize the actual structure of the email. You’ll need to set this up every time you create a new template.
You do this by:
It should be EASY for recipients to unsubscribe.
There’s no point retaining recipients who have no interest in your emails – they’ll only drag your deliverability down.
A preference center allows recipients to select the frequency and topics that best suits them.
Having a preference center allows you to tailor to the individual subscriber and this will boost engagement and deliverability.
Bonus Tip: Inserting the recipient’s preferences into the header or the footer of the email is a great way to let them know you value their subscription.
Most email editors will flag any HTML errors – but they’re not always perfect. Especially if you’re building an email template, you should always review your code and ensure it is correct and bug-free.
And this isn’t isolated to the back-end code.
Test, test, and test to make sure your email is rendering correctly on the front-end across all platforms!
Most ESPs have a display functionality that will show you it renders across different clients and devices.
If you don’t have that luxury, it’s a good idea to see what the most popular inbox providers your subscribers are using, set up test accounts for those inboxes, and send to those accounts to test manually.
HTML is the standard when it comes to emails.
But not all recipients and platforms enable HTML. It’s important to have a plaintext and web version of the email, too.
Having a plaintext version of your email is looked upon favorably by inbox providers while the web version allows you to provide a functional, offsite version of the email.
The truth is, email content doesn’t matter too much anymore when it comes to deliverability.
When email was just starting out in the 90s, content was the primary factor when it came to deliverability.
Today, reputation far outweighs content—but it’s still a good idea to follow my rules below and optimize your email content.
These rules also impact the general readability of emails, so they will improve your deliverability via position actions (such as clicks), too.
Good design is universal.
That means a balance of text and imagery.
Whatever you do, don’t create email messages with a single image – this will almost certainly get you flagged as spam.
Instead, you should use a good balance between text and images.
The focus should be on communication and readability (i.e. text) with a complementary design (i.e. images).
Keep in mind that images don’t always render.
Certain recipients and platforms will turn images off. That’s why it’s important to have alt text (alternative text) for your images and to ensure that your email still makes sense if the images are missing.
Email filters will analyze all the links in your email to see if they are reputable. Every link has a domain which has an associated domain deliverability reputation.
If you’re linking to third-party sites, you should ensure they’re legitimate websites.
In a similar vein, you shouldn’t advertise your website pages through spammers. If your website is found in “spammy” emails, it can affect your deliverability.
If you don’t know what base64 is, you’re probably not using it.
If you are using it – STOP.
Spammers use base64 to hide email content from filters.
Emails with a base64 encoded body or subject line are much more likely to be flagged as spam.
And those are the eight steps we go through to increase inbox placement by 15-20%.
Every aspect of email marketing influences, and is in turn influenced, by deliverability.
It’s important to adopt the deliverability mindset and truly integrate it into your email and marketing strategy, which the checklist will help you do.
(NOTE: Need Email Marketing training? See DigitalMarketer’s Email Marketing Specialist training and certification program by clicking here.)