A is for Auto responders
An auto response trigger is the criteria that is used to send an automated email. One example could be sending an email on a recipient’s birthday, or sending an email when a survey has been completed. You can also use these as follow up messages to send reminders, or post event surveys, and more!
B is for Bouncebacks
A Bounceback is an email that has not been able to make it to your recipient’s inbox due to an error. There are two types of bouncebacks. A hard bounce occurs when there is a permanent failure, and a soft bounce occurs when there is a temporary failure. This is where data cleansing becomes very important.
C is for Call to Action
Make sure you have a call to action. You need to make it clear to people what the email is for, and what you want them to do. Also consider all the people readying the emails on their smartphone and how to make the call to action stand out for them– make it big, bold and easy to click. It’s harder to click something with your thumb than a cursor.
D is for Design
This is a very important part of your message, but often overlooked. When designing your emails, choose your images carefully, layout your message in an easy-to-read way, keep your design consistent, and make good use of white space throughout all your messages.
E is for Engagement
If subscribers stay engaged and respond to your messages, they’ll remain on your list longer. To keep subscribers interested in your company, try some of these ideas.
F is for Frequency
Make people aware of how often they should expect to receive your email campaigns – either specify it on your website or subscription form. People are more comfortable receiving your emails when they know what to expect and how often they will arrive. You may want to allow your subscribers to choose the frequency at which they receive your emails – for example, a daily digest, a weekly bulletin or a monthly summary, to give them control of what they receive and when.
G is for Growth
In order to grow your database, you need to bring in new subscribers and retain the ones you already have. Incorporating a subscription form into your email campaigns, that clearly explains the benefits of joining your mailing list, will encourage new people to subscribe. For existing subscribers, using the SmartMail Pro preference center allows current subscribers to update their information to ensure their details are current and accurate.
H is for Help
Help your subscribers out – they need to know how to interact with your messages. You should clearly explain how to subscribe, unsubscribe and contact you. For example, help your subscribers understand what they’ve subscribed to by explaining it the preheader text. And help your subscribers to unsubscribe – you don’t want them marking your emails as spam!
I is for Images
Images can make or break a campaign, and a good balance between images and text is ideal. Spammers have a tendency to hide all their spammy text by using images only. An interesting and well balanced campaign includes good images and good copy. Don’t forget to include the ‘alt text’ on your images to entice subscribers to download the images, giving them the full experience of your email.
J is for Junk
The junk folder is the last place you want your emails to end up. There are a number of reasons that determine if your email ends up here – the sender’s reputation, spam filters, or recipients marking emails as junk. Look out for more information about this in future posts.
K is for Key Words
It’s pays to avoid using words that are often associated with spam. We’ve got a great document that gives you a series of key words to stay away from right here.
L is for Life Cycle
Email attrition (Otherwise known as email life cycle) is where a proportion of a list is no longer usable due to the subscriber addresses being invalid. Addresses can become invalid for a number of reasons such as the subscriber changes jobs, or when a webmail address has been inactive for a long time. The attrition rates we see vary from list to list. We would expect the attrition on average to be about 15% per annum, but can be higher. For example we’d expect to see a higher bounce rate for first time deployment to a list that had no confirm or double opt in email.
M is for Manage
A well-managed list that is clean and up to date will have better deliverability rates. If you are sending relevant engaging emails to subscribers that want to receive it, your open rates will be higher as well. Remember to keep track of your reports after each send to optimize your campaigns.
N is for Never
There are a few things you need to avoid. For instance, never send unsolicited emails, never purchase lists or use a no-reply address. And never send your email without testing it!
O is for Optimize
With the increase in smartphone uptake in both business and consumer markets, now is the perfect time to optimize your emails for smartphone users. We wrote a post about Smartphone penetration recently – read it here. To optimize your campaign for mobile, you can make some simple changes like using bigger calls to action, single column designed emails, and make links isolated and clearly marked so that when people are scrolling they don’t accidently click on links.
P is for Permission
Asking subscribers to confirm their subscription ensures they’re aware they joined your mailing list. It also reduces complaints and helps improve your overall deliverability. For more of the legalities surrounding email opt ins, click here to read the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007.
Q is for Questions
Email should be a two way street; give your subscribers the ability to provide feedback and ask questions by incorporating surveys, polls, questionnaires, forms in your email campaigns.
R is for Reporting
With the silly season almost upon us, now is a good chance to review the years email campaigns. Use your clickthrough rates to see what people were interested in, and your open rates to identify the best time to send your email campaigns. You can also use the comparison report feature in SmartMail Pro to compare a selection of your emails against one another.
S is for SmartShare
If you are looking for ways to increase the reach of your emails, the SmartShare tool in SmartMail Pro is a definitive must have for your email campaigns. Give your subscribers the ability to share your content with all of their friends across all their social networks.
T is for Test
Testing is the single most important step of email marketing!
It’s important to test across a variety of popular email platforms, particularly to Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo to make sure the email displays and functions correctly. Other things to keep an eye on are hyperlinks, merge fields, bookmarks, design, fonts… You can refer to our post on testing here or even download our email campaign testing checklist to help ensure you have everything covered off come deployment time.
U is for Unsubscribes
By not including an active unsubscribe function, not only will you get in trouble with the DIA, but you can also damage your brand. With so many people using social media these days, you don’t want to have to always be dealing with negative comments or unhappy subscribers – you want them to be happy with you and their experience with your communications; so make it easy for them to unsubscribe. Go here to make sure you comply with the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007.
V is for Valid
Ensure you always have a valid from and reply email address that is manned by someone. This helps to give your brand a human voice and gives your subscribers an opportunity to engage directly with you.
W is for Weight Loss
Put your emails on a diet, and keep them short and sweet! No-one wants to, or has time to read a novel of an email – people read them on the go – keep it relevant, simple and succinct. How long is too long? Find out here
X is for Xmas
Before the Christmas carols start playing in all the stores, have your Christmas campaign strategy planned out well in advance. Give your brand a creative edge to help it stand out in the inbox; a funky fresh design, a punchy subject line, and that extra something that keeps your subscribers wanting more – we will give you the low down in upcoming blog posts.
Y is for Yawn
How often do you receive emails with such unappealing subject lines that you don’t bother to read them? If you are anything like us, this is probably a lot. And we, as much as you do, don’t want your emails to be a yawn.
The aim is for your campaign to be exciting, grabbing, punchy and engaging. A good subject line that grabs people is a great entree, and to follow, a main course of good content is ideal. For some examples of things to aim for, or avoid, check out our hall of shame and fame!
Z is for Zoom
Zoom might be a non-technical word to describe the speed of our servers, but they go pretty fast! So before you deploy your email, make sure you check it and test it thoroughly. You may also want to consider scheduling your email campaign to send at a later time to help prevent those ‘Oh no’! moments where you see something wrong once the email has been sent.
Are You Following the ABCs?
Review your email campaigns and make sure you are following the ABC’s!