In this month’s Beyond the Inbox, we offer up some simple practices that can help boost the deliverability and performance of your email campaigns as well as improve the overall reputation of your brand. That way, more attention can be focused on the marketing strategy and how to increase conversions rather than deliverability and how to get more messages into the inbox.
Only Send Mail to People Who Want It. One best practice that’s consistent across the bulk sender guidelines for every major ISP is to only mail users who have specifically requested to receive your emails. While there are several different methods of email collection that are acceptable under CAN-SPAM legislation, to ensure a positive reputation and consistent inbox placement, every sender should employ an opt-in or confirmed opt-in registration process.
Make the Opt-In and Opt-Out Process Clear and Simple. It’s important to be upfront during the registration process as to the type and frequency of communications a new member can expect to receive when joining your list. This will help keep complaints low and make the user more likely to open your emails. In addition, simplifying the opt-out process will also help deter those who no longer wish to receive your emails from hitting the “spam” button. If possible, create a preference center that provides subscribers with the option to opt-down rather than opt-out.
Send a Well Branded Welcome Email. This first communication can be considered the most important because it helps lay the foundation for a relationship with the user. The welcome email should be sent to a new user immediately after registration (or as close as possible) and should set an expectation for the communications they will receive after joining your list. The welcome email should also include an option to unsubscribe from your mailing list in case the registration was by mistake.
Send Lower Volume Mailings, Targeted to Your Customer’s Interests. ISPs are working hard to monitor and police the incoming mail to their servers. Sending fewer messages at any given time will help bypass many of the email rate limits that ISPs place on connecting IP addresses. Also, the more targeted the content of your message is to the recipients’ interests, the more likely they are to convert and less likely they are to complain. Even if the amount of data collected during registration is limited, tracking member activity in your campaigns can help you build email segments for future targeting.
Make Sure the Content is Fresh and Relevant. Users are much more likely to unsubscribe from your mailing list or even worse, mark the messages as spam, if they see the same offers and promotions in their inbox every week. Making sure you always have new and exciting promotions will help maintain your reputation and increase the life cycle of your members.
By no means are these tips the “end all - be all” of email deliverability. They are simple improvements that can go a long way to building and maintaining a positive reputation as a sender. If you would like to implement some of these recommendations into your email program or learn about other ways to build a good reputation, please contact your PulseConnect Deliverability Consultant.
Best of luck on your email programs in 2014!
Senior Deliverability Consultant and Strategist
PulsePoint will be attending the Email Evolution Conference hosted by DMA and EEC from January 22 – 24. If you are going to be there, we would love the opportunity to meet with you and discuss email automation opportunities. Our Director of Integration will be in attendance this year and can help answer any questions you may have regarding automation including:
- Triggered Messaging Based on Customer Behavior or Events
- Personalized Alert Messaging via Email and SMS
- Waterfall Automation to Nurture Prospects to a Next Activity
If you would like to schedule a meeting, please email Victoria D’Anna at email@example.com
Tis the season for sharing and love, so the Email Elves of PulseConnect would like to share some of their favorite email marketing tips for 2014, as well as some of their favorite holiday tips. We wish everyone a very happy New Year!
Email Elf Tip:
Automated email campaigns can lead to a 40% growth in revenue year-over-year. So try implementing an automated lead nurture series with our waterfall campaigns and see an incremental boost in sales in the New Year!
Holiday Elf Tip:
It doesn't matter if the glass is half empty or half full. There is clearly room for more hot cocoa!
Email Elf Tip:
Set aside time monthly to click through your recurring and triggered emails. Nobody wants to discover broken links have been going out for months!
Holiday Elf Tip:
Stretchy pants. That is all.
Email Elf Tip:
Take a look at your audience data to see how many of your readers are opening on mobile devices. With email opens on mobile devices nearing 50%, it’s possible that responsive design might be right for your email messages.
Holiday Elf Tip:
Avoid fruitcake at all costs!
Email Elf Tip:
Remember to double check how your mailing renders across multiple platforms and browsers by using a tool like Litmus or Pivotal Veracity. It might look great in Outlook but be broken in Yahoo!
Holiday Elf Tip:
There is no such thing as too much tinsel
Email Elf Tip:
When is the last time you went through your own website registration process? Set aside 5 minutes of your day and give it a try. You might be surprised that your process needs updating.
Holiday Elf Tip:
Mistletoe is always a good idea!
If you are interested in speaking to one of our email marketing professionals, click the button below to get in touch.
A recent change regarding Google’s Gmail service has raised some concerns from our clients. We wanted to take a moment to address those concerns and provide information about the steps we have taken to minimize any negative impact this change may have on our clients’ email marketing efforts. As of late last week, image URLs within the content of an email delivered to Gmail are now being replaced, after an initial download by the subscriber, with URLs at Google’s content caching service, googleusercontent.com. Many marketers are concerned about this change as it could prevent the ability to register repeat opens by a Gmail subscriber, which would in turn impact their engagement analysis.
To address this concern, the PulseConnect development team has recently published an enhancement to the image URL used for open tracking that should prevent it from being cached by the Google content service. This enhancement will allow repeat opens by Gmail subscribers to continue being tracked as expected in the PulseConnect reports. If you have any questions about the change, please contact your PulseConnect Account Executive.
All this being said, we would like to point out that there is a silver lining to this change. It was reported by Google that this new process of caching images is actually the first step towards loading images automatically in the webmail, iOS, and Android version of Gmail. With the removal of the requirement for end users to “Display images below”, marketers can rest assured that Gmail subscribers who open their emails will view the content as intended, and senders will have a much clearer sense of how many Gmail subscribers are actually opening their emails. Again, please feel free to contact your Account Executive or PulseConnect Support should you have any questions.
Many email marketers believe that people who unsubscribe from their email programs are their worst enemy. True, no one wants a high unsubscribe rate. However, what you need to be even more aware of is your inactive rate. Your unsubscribe rates may be lower than industry standard, but where are your inactive rates? And how can you get these subscribers active and engaged again?
How should I pursue reaching out to my inactive email addresses safely?
If you have not done so yet, create an email program that’s specifically designed to engage with your inactive email subscribers. Ideally, this should be an automated program and require a low level of ongoing effort and maintenance. This is how it should work: using the recurring and targeting features in PulseConnect, establish a business rule that executes an email on a daily basis to subscribers that have not opened or clicked on your emails in X number of days. Each subscriber will only receive one email. If the subscriber opens or clicks, they are considered active, or engaged again. However, if the subscriber does not open or click, they are still considered inactive or un-engaged and should not be mailed to.
What makes a subscriber open or click after several months of inactivity?
Give them reasons to want to once again become engaged. State any upcoming deals or specials you may be having. You can also include a discount or offer to entice them to re-engage with you immediately. If your brand has anything you can give away in the form of a raffle or sweepstakes, leverage those as well. For publishers, consider asking for updates to your subscriber’s profile or ask the subscriber to participate in a survey.
What are the dangers of sending emails to inactive subscribers or my entire list?
Each ISP uses different filtering technology to determine a message’s inbox eligibility, and while they do not provide specific details about their technology, we do know that ISPs monitor how often their users are engaging with your brand’s emails. When a user has not opened or clicked your brand’s emails for an extended period of time, you run the risk of your emails being directed to bulk folders or marked as spam.
In addition, all major ISPs will monitor whether or not their users are logging in to check their email. When a user has not logged into their account for a designated period of time, it is assumed the email address is no longer active. ISPS will often deactivate these dormant accounts and repurpose the email address as a spam trap. Sending to these spam traps ultimately damages your reputation at the ISP and hurts your inbox eligibility.
We recommend that you consider reaching out to your inactive subscribers year round and not just as a “clean up” effort. Leverage features in PulseConnect to create automated programs that will nurture your inactive subscribers throughout the year. This is a great way to continuously clean your database, and depending on your offers, it can be used to create an additional revenue stream for your business.
Best of luck with your email marketing programs! Contact us if you have any future questions.
Shelly Alvarez and Todd Coffey
The PulsePoint Strategy Team
Spend an informative half hour with Digioh CEO Rishi Shah and PulseConnect's very own Senior Account Strategist Todd Coffey, as they discuss key tactics to successfully grow your email lists and how you can begin capturing flybys on your website today. Enjoy!
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PulseConnect Partners With Digioh to Increase Opt-In Rates and Capture New Subscribers
Partnership with Digioh gives PulseConnect customers the ability to create an effective, easy to use, completely customized Lightbox form to increase opt-in rates and capture new email subscribers.
PulseConnect, an award-winning technology platform that helps brands manage the customer lifecycle through the delivery of personalized and timely messaging across email, mobile and social, today announced a partnership with Digioh, the leader in email marketing add-ons for the biggest brands in the world. The new technology partnership addresses a common problem that marketers face every day in missing the opportunity to turn casual website visitors into active email subscribers. Successfully converting site visitors into email subscribers can generate significant incremental revenue and dramatically increase overall marketing ROI. Simply put, it’s a savvy and extremely efficient investment in any business.
Digioh's solution for PulseConnect provides joint clients with the ability to easily create Lightbox forms to increase opt-in rates and capture new email subscribers. Digioh's Lightbox can be completely customized to match the look and feel of a client's website. Digioh's powerful Marketing Analytics allow clients to track web visitor behavior at the page-level and also captures all referring website information so clients know their top source providers. In addition, the analytics reports are integrated with Google Adwords so clients can measure how much each subscriber costs. All new email leads are collected and automatically added to the clients PulseConnect list - no manual data entry is required.
Digioh Lightbox Design for Fashion Focused Blog
Mutual clients can leverage the following Digioh Lightbox features in order to grow their email lists:
Fast and Easy. Creating a Lightbox with Digioh does not require any special skills. Their solution does all the heavy lifting.
Beautiful Design, Complete Customization. Each Lightbox can be customized to match content, look, and feel of a client's website by leveraging Digioh's team of designers as needed.
Increase Opt-Ins. Clients can determine the right time to pop up a Lightbox to potential subscribers to maximize conversions on sign-ups. Clients can offer incentives like a free PDF or MP3 to make signing up attractive. Work with Digioh conversion experts to optimize sign ups with A/B split testing.
Don’t Annoy Existing Subscribers. Digioh detects if a web visitor is already a subscriber of the client, and their technology will automatically hide Lightbox subscription forms for existing subscribers.
Seamless PulseConnect Integration. A full integration with PulseConnect means any data captured in the process can be pushed to PulseConnect in real time for future email campaigns.
Auto-Location detection. Digioh can figure out what your web visitor’s zip, state, and country. This allows you to automatically capture data without asking for it. Less form fields, mean more conversions.
Mutual clients can leverage the following Digioh Marketing Analytics features:
Easy Installation. Digioh's analytics technology is easy to install, works just like Google Analytics and won’t slow down your website.
Optimize. With Digioh’s easy to understand reports, it’s obvious which marketing campaigns are working and which ones are not. Learn exactly which marketing channels generate the most email subscribers and revenue.
Google AdWords Integration. Understand what it costs to acquire a new email subscriber and how much revenue is generated. Gain insight into how profitable advertising campaigns are.
Scalable. Instantly ready to handle millions of website visitors. Digioh's solutions are built using Amazon’s proven cloud-based technology to handle sudden bursts, and large volumes, of web traffic.
Example of a Digioh Subscriber Analytics Report
"PulseConnect is a perfect email partner for our technology, " said Rishi Shah, CEO of Digioh. "They are zeroed in on the opportunity their clients have in capturing website traffic that has expressed interest and are open to receiving direct communications. This is valuable as it helps their clients grow their email list while ensuring the users website experience is not ruined.”
“Digioh's unique technology fits nicely with our clients’ desires to grow their email lists with engaged users while maintaining email opt-in best practices,” said Tai Morshed, Director of Business Development & Partnerships for PulseConnect. “Digioh is an example of the importance of identifying partner solutions that can quickly satisfy the anticipated tools that our customers need to stay ahead of the curve. Digioh's ability to capture users and provide analytics on how those users perform against revenue spent will ensure clients further success in growing their email marketing campaigns."
If you are interested in learning more about PulseConnect, Digioh, or the new partnered solution, please feel free to contact us via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 877-607-2489
PulseConnect is an award-winning email, mobile and social marketing platform designed to help brands better communicate with their customers. Chosen by leading global companies, (Sony, NBC, Dell, Zynga, Intuit, and many others) the PulseConnect platform empowers brands with the tools they need to intuitively create, manage and automate complex customer lifecycle communications that drive greater engagement and increased revenue. PulseConnect is part of PulsePoint, a global digital technology company.
Visit us at www.pulsepoint.com/connect
Digioh builds email marketing add-ons for the biggest brands in the world, notable clients include Holiday Inn, Bombardier, and Cannon. Digioh’s tools helps companies grow their email list with powerful optimization and conversion tools. Digioh is headquartered in San Francisco, CA.
Digioh offers a free 1-on-1 conversion consultation, sign up here to schedule an appointment.
One of the most frequently asked questions we hear at PulsePoint is “how do I grow my email list?” To answer this question, we start by examining the process by which emails are being captured. As much as email marketers hate to admit it, they do not often make it easy for people to register for their emails. This is where a splash page can provide immediate help with growing your email list.
What is a splash page?
In order to capture an email address, most companies will have a small area on their website dedicated to capture email registrations. The instructions will be something along the lines of “Register to receive offers and newsletters”. While we agree this is a best practice, we also recommend adding a splash page to capture email addresses. A splash page is small pop up box or page that will appear after a new user has landed on your website. It will include the same language as your website email registration “Register to receive offers and newsletters” and will include an easy way for your customers to close out the splash page if they choose not to register.
What are the benefits of splash page?
We see two huge benefits of a splash page. First, our customers repeatedly report that splash pages assist in growing their email list. Often email registration areas can be hard for a customer to find. They are buried at the bottom of the website or surrounded by ads which can make the registration area hard to find. This in turn, can affect overall registration numbers and make it hard to grow your email list. A splash page eliminates the need for your customer to search for the registration area and makes it easy and convenient to register to receive your emails.
Secondly, we typically find that email marketers struggle with obtaining prime real estate for their email subscription area. One of the best places to place the email registration area is in the upper right hand corner of your website where a customer would typically look for it. However, we know that this space is often sought out by many other departments as well. Brand teams want the space, ecommerce teams want the space and of course social marketing teams want the coveted space as well. A splash page eliminates this struggle and gives your email marketing program that prime space that no one else is vying for.
What sort of increase will I see in my email registration?
While we cannot guarantee an exact percentage increase in the growth of your email list, we can say that none of our customers who have implemented them have been displeased and none of them have discontinued leveraging them. They are usually very cost efficient to implement and worth your time to test. The PulseConnect team can give you advice on how to best track the performance of the website email registration area vs. the splash page email registration. If your current web team does not have the resources to implement the test, PulsePoint has partners that can create and host the splash page for you.
As always, best of luck with your email marketing programs. If you have any questions regarding getting started with a splash page, please contact a PulseConnect Account Executive.
Director of Client Services
Spend an informative half hour with Cinegif CEO Graham McFarland and PulseConnect's very own Creative Director Corey Duncan, as they speak to the resurgence of GIFs, GIFs in email and industry stats on GIFs. Learn how to use Cinegif to create a GIF, and best practices on using GIFs in email.
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Learn About Responsive Email in 60 seconds! In this week's video, we share best practices and insights regarding the use of Responsive Design in Email.