Email Marketing Key Takeaways from DGS3

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Watch a replay of the Email Marketing Panelists at Digital Growth Summit:

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Josh Ochs - MediaLeaders.com, Moderator; Sheena Graham - Online Training Academy; Anita Taylor - Southern California Edison; Zahra Bidar - CJ Affiliate

The best way to move from free to paid content is to create content that is valuable to your readers. @Graham_Sheena

Moving email subscribers to paid content

The best way to move from free to paid content is to use previous behavior to find out what your readers are interested in, then create content that is valuable to them. - Sheena Graham [su_spacer size="1"]


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Predictable email conversion rate tips

Conducting A/B testing is important, but I like to start with a well segmented list. @ZBidar1

Conversion is a tricky concept in email because different products and offerings by nature have different conversion rates. However, I do recommend testing formats, creative content, and even different offers, by splitting your email list in half and measuring the effectiveness of each email. - Anita Taylor

Segmenting your list, identifying loyal customers, and addressing them directly with highly customized messages is a very effective tactic. Addressing landing pages and conducting A/B testing are also important, but I like to start with a well segmented list. - Zahra Bidar


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Newsletter content tips

A simple definition of SPAM is sending anything your customer doesn’t want. @AnitaMTaylor

A simple definition of SPAM is sending anything your customer doesn’t want. Paying attention to your metrics over time help us know if our email is appreciated, or not. Declining metrics are an indication that you are sending too often, or sending uninteresting or unwanted content. I feel that it is a privilege to be in my customer’s inbox, so I bear in mind that if my emails only try to sell something to my clients, it is likely to be deleted. When your email helps advance your customer’s lives, it is much more likely to be read than one that is merely selling. You need a mix of content which helps your customer, versus selling product. - Anita Taylor

Transactional emails are the most opened type of emails. @Graham_Sheena

Transactional emails are the most opened type of emails. These may be a thank you for a purchase, delivery notification, a receipt for a purchase. Since these have a very high open rate, it is an excellent place to ask the client what kind of content that they are interested in. Also, when you are signing up a customer for a periodic email program, a newsletter, for instance, let them know at the start how often that you plan to send to them. Setting their expectation properly from the start helps down the road. Protect your client’s information, be their advocate. Send them what they want to hear, then you can do a small or soft call to action. - Sheena Graham


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How to clean your email newsletter list

The quality of your email list is more important than quantity. @AnitaMTaylor

ISPs, Google, Hotmail all grade you each time that you send an email. They look at bounce rate, they look at Spam Traps (mailboxes that are no longer active so not legitimate email is being sent there), as well as engagement statistics. So, your chances of getting into an inbox are much better if you have a clean, engaged list. The quality of your list is more important than quantity. For this reason, you should be doing periodic list cleaning. - Anita Taylor

Segmenting your lists by engagement metrics is very important to clear the way for future mailings. @ZBidar1

Segmenting your lists by engagement metrics is very important to clear the way for future mailings. - Zahra Bidar

Sending a breakup email to unengaged readers can be an opportunity to ask how your email program can better meet their needs. - Anita Taylor

One way to tell if you are on a blacklist for a certain domain is to look at your email metrics by domain, or email provider. If one provider has a much lower open rate than your average, you may have been blacklisted by that provider. - Anita Taylor


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MailChimp vs. other email providers

I recommend Hubspot inbound marketing strategies HubSpot, as well as MailChimp, as well as a new email automation system called Autopilot. - Sheena Graham

Mailchimp does the work on the back end to make sure that your email gets to the inbox. @AnitaMTaylor

I recommend Mailchimp for small businesses. Mailchimp is clean, cost effective and they do the work on the back end to make sure that your email gets to the inbox. - Anita Taylor

A couple of other platforms that I recommend in addition to the ones that have been mentioned for small business are Vertical Response and Campaigner. These are established platforms that have kept up well with technology and the needs of marketers. For mid size businesses Yesmail, Bronto, and Epsilon. - Zahra Bidar


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Segmenting email lists by provider

If you have one segment of your list that is more likely to have stale addresses on it, you can send to that list using a different IP address, rather than a different email provider to address that same issue. - Zahra Bidar

When you use a service like Constant Contact or MailChimp, you are on what’s called a shared server. @AnitaMTaylor

I have never personally done this, but in theory using different email providers could work. Another issue to be aware of is that when you use a service like Constant Contact or MailChimp, you are on what’s called a shared server. That means that your business is not the only one sending from a particular IP address. Depending on the relative condition of the lists that are being utilized by the other businesses on your server, this can help or hurt you in terms of the deliverability of your list. - Anita Taylor

Most email service providers have multiple IP addresses. @Graham_Sheena

Bear in mind that most ESP companies have multiple IP addresses as well. If your email seem to be bouncing more that is warranted by the freshness of you list, you can move to another IP address. Another strategy to improve deliverability of your email is to never buy an email list. In the end, buying a list can do more harm by landing you on blacklists and ESP spam servers. Better to develop your own high quality lists organically. - Sheena Graham


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Getting newsletter subscribers

The best way to get people to opt-in is to put invitations everywhere they do business with you. @AnitaMTaylor

The best way to get people to opt-in to your email marketing is to put invitations everywhere they really do business with you. That may be at the cash register, or elsewhere, but the invitation needs to be at the point of contact with you. Another way is to pay for a sponsor to send an email on your behalf and ensure that there is a clear opt-in option on that email. Also, you can input your IP address to SenderScore.org and they will provide you with information on how the major email providers are rating your ISP. - Anita Taylor

The power of free never hurts. Offering a discount is a great way to increase your sign-up rate. @ZBidar1

The power of free never hurts. Any time that you can offer a discount, that always increases the sign-up rate. Make sure that you call to action field is front and center on your landing page. A light box on the landing page that encourages a sign-up before navigating through the site is helpful as well. I like a tool called Crazy Egg for your landing pages that creates heatmaps of your pages so that you can visualize where people are clicking on your site. - Zahra Bidar


What is the best way to segment your email list?

There are several very effective ways to segment a list. One way is to look at who has not opened or clicked in a set period of time. That time may vary depending on your business and how big your list is. Some email providers are manual than others in terms of segmenting your list. Bear in mind that some people are engaged with you, but may not open your email (we call them “Lurkers”). “Opens” is not a reliable metric. - Anita Taylor

Star ratings are a great way to segment your list in MailChimp. If someone has a 1-star rating, the email is likely bouncing and those should be removed. A 2-star may be questionable or new to your list, and 3-, 4-, and 5-star ratings are valid email addresses to keep on your list. - Josh Ochs

You can also segment your list by purchase history. @Graham_Sheena

You can also segment your list by purchase history. The items that they have purchased and the date that they made the purchase may be ways to segment the list as well. Lead source is another way to segment. Perhaps they came in from a webinar, your website or a phone call. It is good to look at which lead source has the best conversion rate for your company. - Sheena Graham


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Email testing tips for images

If you are emailing B2B your readers are likely to be using Outlook and GIF will not work at all. @Graham_Sheena

If you are emailing B2B your readers are likely to be using Outlook and GIF will not work at all. Also, large images are sometimes challenging. Ensure that if you are using an image, that the accompanying message or call to action is in the text, rather than in the image so the email can still be valuable even if the image does not display. Litmus is an email testing service which will display your email as it will display in various email clients, such as Outlook, AppleMail or mobile devices. Some email providers list what client that your reader is using, also, you can scan the email list and determine what domains that your traffic is coming from. - Sheena Graham

GIFS and Video can be very effective in email. - Anita Taylor

Slicing image into several html files can also help with deliverability. @ZBidar1

Slicing image into several html files can also help with deliverability. - Zahra Bidar

Try to send text in email, over images. Especially with the rise of mobile devices, which do not always display images, you have a much better shot at getting your message across if you send email that is mainly text based. - Josh Ochs


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The Golden Rule of email marketing is to treat your readers the way that you would want to be treated. @AnitaMTaylor

Email tips that annoy customers

The Golden Rule of email marketing is to treat your readers the way that you would want to be treated. If you want your customers to view your email as something welcome, make sure that you provide value to them. - Anita Taylor

Ask yourself if your message is important to your readers.

Ask yourself if your message is important to your readers. @Graham_Sheena

Be careful of the frequency that you are sending and consider sending digest emails that may summarize your blog activity for the week or month, rather than sending an email each time your blog is updated. - Sheena Graham

Test your subject lines to make sure that they are powerful and inspire your readers to open your email. - Zahra Bidar

Test your subject lines to make sure that they are powerful and inspire your readers to open your email. @ZBidar1

The number 1 way people filter their email is by the from: line. People are more likely to open email from people or businesses that they know. While it may be hard to build up your reputation as a valuable emailer, it will pay off in the end. People are more likely to open email that comes from a person, than a business, so remember that when you are composing your from: line. - Anita Taylor


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Email benchmarking tips

Conversion = a purchase or action on the email. @ZBidar1

Conversion is usually defined as a purchase or action someone takes on the email. - Zahra Bidar

Silverpop has some great benchmarking statistics on the web for open rates, conversion rates, click through rates and it breaks these statistics out by industry sectors. However, the best benchmark is against yourself, which is why it is so important to understand your own historical metrics. - Anita Taylor

Another way to benchmark is to segment customers, or instance, versus prospects. A customer email may receive a 50% open rate, while a prospect email may get 10-13% open rate. By creating different content for each segmented group, you can raise your overall interaction rates. - Sheena Graham


Email marketing panelists DGS3