Archive for May, 2012

We say it with only a slight tongue in cheek – 100% of the emails you send that are not delivered will never sell anything.   So, since email-in-inbox is the start of everything – here they are – the top 5 deliverability myths de-mystified!

1. Thinking that sending legally compliant messages will protect you.
Not true! Legislation like the NZ UEM Act, and the USA’s CAN-SPAM is just the bare minimum threshold that you should adhere too.  We always say that if you are trying to hide behind fine print you are doing something wrong. Treat your database with respect by doing what you say you will do, increasing the relevance of your content to your subscribers, and working on all of your deliverability best practices to improve your reputation over time.

2. You think confirmed opt-ins wouldn’t click the ‘mark as spam’ or ‘add to junk folder’  button.
Not true! This action is viewed as a complaint by ISP’s and is taken really seriously by them.  If you have more than 1 in a 1000 of these ‘complaints’ you could see an impact on your email delivery.  Why do they do it?  It can be a quick way for subscribers to remove the email even if they have subscribed. A significant % of recipients do this rather than unsubscribing – one reason is they may not know the difference between the ‘spam’ and the ‘unsubscribe’ functions and not realise the effect it has on reputation.  We’ve seen reports that subscribers don’t want to ‘hurt your feelings’ by unsubscribing so they just sweep you out of the inbox.  For others hitting ‘spam’ is simply quicker than finding the unsubscribe button and going through that process.

3. You think if you make it difficult to unsubscribe that you will stop people unsubscribing.
Not true! It only makes people flag your email as spam (as in 2. above) if they don’t want your email, rather than searching for your unsubscribe link. Best practice is to have a clearly visible and simple unsubscribe link in all your emails, and allow subscribers to simply and easily opt out and don’t give them any reason to complain.  We recommend they are in the top and the bottom of most email campaigns, and prefer a one click instant unsubscribe method on our own clients emails.

4. ‘Free’ ‘Deal’ and ‘CAPITAL’ words instantly flag your email as spam.
Not true! Certain words aren’t great for sure, but they won’t do this if they are relevant and effective in the context of your campaign. Deliverability is measured on many factors, and these combined determine the reputation. So words such as ‘deal’! and ‘free’! used well in the right context will do no harm.  These days, most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) filter based on reputation, so content plays a much smaller role in that filtering decision. If you have a good reputation, it will usually override any content filter being used, and your mail will be delivered appropriately. However, that doesn’t mean that your content is never a factor in determining inbox delivery.

5. Compelling content is the best way to create engagement and retain long term subscribers.
Not true! Sending good emails and good content will make your emails welcomed and useful to your audience.  However if you send just one  email too many, or any email at all if you’re ignoring other deliverability best practices, this will affect your reputation despite having the greatest content in the world.  Also on content -  balancing ‘image to text’ by having as much of your email as possible in text, while leaving images in a supporting role, is important both to the eye and to the deliverability of your email too.

Yes there are many more things you can do to enhance your reputation and optimise your deliverability, these are just the top 5 things that you should be aware of and take into consideration.   If there is one thing we can be sure of – there’s no sure thing.

If you’d like more detail on deliverability or if you’d like to discuss concerns or ideas, give us a call any time on +64 9 360 6463.


There is a new trend in town – there are is a variety of new services designed specifically for one purpose – to let your email subscribers let you go as quickly and easily as possible.

These days there is information overload, and now people are taking control of what content they receive and when – look at TV on demand, user collated news feeds and websites, and now people can cancel their email subscriptions at the click of a button.

For a start there is, and, and more services like this are popping up daily. Each removes unwanted email from recipients inbox’s and gets subscribers off your email lists.

Take a look at how easy it is for someone to not only unsubscribe from your messages, but also delete everything you’ve ever sent them:


It is also interesting to note that in the service as shown in the service above, what is shown in the last email you sent the subscriber and who it’s from. Which means that in addition to sending email that’s relevant, timely, targeted, and valuable, you now have to have subject lines and from names that are consistent, clear, and memorable so that subscribers don’t mistake you for someone else in these mass unsubscribe services – or not recognise you at all and delete you!

And on that note, another thing that’s important is email frequency. Services like this make it so easy to unsubscribe that if a subscriber doesn’t remember you, they will likely just unsubscribe. So as well as having a consistent from name and memorable subject line, consider sending email more frequently so that people instantly recognise you and that you are ‘on their minds’ If you mail monthly, as we do, perhaps look to increase that to weekly for example. You really just want to be recent and memorable – even better if you can be ‘in the inner circle’ of the subscribers inbox.

And besides all of the above points, be valuable. This may seem obvious, but if you want to keep your subscribers, and even better if you want to keep your list going and growing, then spend as much time on your email campaigns as you do social media, advertising, and other avenues for marketing. And make sure you are providing valuable content. Give your subscribers a reason why they want to get your email. What do you give them that no-one else does? Your subscribers are all looking for a reason to leave and clear their inboxes, and more and more are using services like Unsubscribr to do so – so give your subscribers a reason to stay.

We have written about unsubscribing many times on this GetSmart blog – here is one, and links to others for you to look, learn and share!   Thanks so much!



I recently signed up for this new start-up called Thumb. Thumb is a site where you can vote on user submitted questions and images with a thumbs up or a thumbs down. (It’s very addictive if you like giving your opinion on things!)

So, I signed up, and immediately after signing up I receive this welcome email,  and I liked it so much I wanted to share it with you.

Why is this email so outstanding, above and beyond all the other emails/sign up/welcome/confirmation emails I receive?

  • Because it is simple in its design and it makes good use of white space.
  • It is easy for me to read and digest quickly. As I read a lot of my emails on my iPhone (And so do a lot of you I imagine) I appreciated the simplicity. I have received some welcome emails with too much information and I can’t digest it as easily.
  • Copy wise, it is not too wordy, yet it still manages to give me the vital information I need to get started. This is important for the user – tell them who you are, how you can help them, what they do now, and tell them how to do it. Simply.
  • Design wise, it is on brand with a look that matches their website and app. But I would expect no less from a modern start-up. Take a page out of this book and make sure your branding is the same across the board, so for new users, they recognise you when you arrive in their inbox, and not think ‘who is this’ and accidently delete you. We don’t want that.
  • It gives me some tips about how to contribute to the site. It’s nice to give people some guidelines straight up if there are any ethics or codes they should be aware of.
  • It gives me a link to to get started, which I appreciated as an easy way to get to the site quickly. This increases engagement and for me, I think it gets people onto the site sooner than if I had just gotten a welcome note, thought great, and delete it, and forget to visit the site.

This example to me is a good all rounder, and shows me a welcome email can be both short and sweet, and effective. We look at Welcome email examples regularly on the GetSmart blog so here is a past article that’s one of the most popular we’ve ever posted.

Do you have some welcome email examples you want to share? Got your own questions about welcome emails? Give us a bell! 

Soul Bar’s emails are always well designed; however this one was particularly great so I wanted to share this one with you.

I am not sure what appealed to me more – the color palette or the lure of wine and Tahiti?

Besides the exclusive luxurious competition offer that immediately appeals, the design is clean and simple, and the copy is brief. Both are standard for a promotional email such as this – so remember these elements when you design your next promo email.

I have just suggestion for improvement. The main image could have served well as a call to action. I actually clicked on it a couple of times however nothing happened and it took me a few seconds to find the tiny ‘book now’ in the bottom right hand corner.

Why does this matter? We generally recommend clients link from images as well, as we find that images are generally links and people know this, and they tend to click on images – so use this fact and take advantage of all possible call to actions you can.

Besides this one thing, this is a fantastic example of a great promotional email.