How do I love this Upworthy email? Let me count thy ways.

Upworthy

Click on the image to see the full Upworthy email

I love it because it starts with ‘Well, hello there! How do you feel? Because you look great!’ And really who wouldn’t love that.

I love it because the subject line is one of the coolest I’ve ever seen besides being the optimum word limit for subject lines, it is unique and attention grabbing which is the whole point. It says: Welcome To The Upworthiest. Turn On Your Images And Buckle Your Seatbelt!

I love it because the pre-header which besides being a best practice feature is very chatty and friendly and encourages replies and interaction:  Want to say hi back? Reply to this message!

I love it because the content of the email uses humour to set the expectations about what you can expect in future Upworthy emails, it points you to some of the best content on their website to immediately engage you on their site.

I love it because the call to action is big and bold and direct and potentially cheeky but effective and says ‘Want more? We got more. You’ll just have to keep opening our emails!’

I love it because the sign off says ‘Love from all of us at Upworthy’ in big bold letters – so it is both friendly and really obvious who it is.

I love it because of the awesome copy in the footer, which reminds people where and how they signed up for these emails, using visual cues to jog peoples memories, which is in the past, (Because people do forget) they then introduce the welcome email which they are reading, which is in the present, then get the subscriber looking forward to future emails, using humour and emotional appeals, which is in the future, (Because who doesn’t love getting stuff that makes them laugh and cry and share great content) and it ends brilliantly with an obscure question that really gets you thinking, and which got me imaging how much fun the copywriter and designer had making this email and writing the copy, because it is just so brilliant.

Uh oh, you just sent an email out with Hi {Name} as the salutation. Or even worse the names were there but they didn’t match up and Sally got an email that said ‘Hi Bob’.

personalization

This is one of the most common mistakes we see, yet one of the most avoidable, if only everyone took the time to thoroughly test their emails before they sent them out.

If it happens, it’s not the end of the world and you can do things to quickly rectify the mistake.

One example we found was this company who sent an email out with ‘Hi {SubscriberName}’ as the salutation. Oops. However they handled it really well – they quickly followed up with an email acknowledging the mistake, apologising that they forgot the subscribers name, and they started the follow-up email with this very apt subject line as follows:

Subject: Lyndsay, “To err is human, to forgive divine” – Alexander Pope

They then went on to pepper the subscribers name throughout the email, to drive the point home they do know your name and they know how to use it. Below is a screenshot of the intro of the follow-up email. Click on the below image to go through to the full email where you will see they went on to offer a big discount just to drive their apology home.

MAEmailFailSml

 

 

 

 

 

The thing is, these things happen, as emails are sent by humans not machines, so the best thing you can do is follow-up with an email acknowledging the mistake, apologise, perhaps add in a bit of humour or something light, throw in a discount or special offer, and most of the time your subscribers will forgive you.

If you would like more tips, check out this post for the top 5 tips for a great apology email here in our post on sending apology emails

inactivesubscribersShould you re-engage inactive subscribers or remove them?

There is much discussion around about re-engaging inactive subscribers, but I wonder should it be more about keeping your subscribers engaged in the first place? As I have been taught many times in the past, work to keep you current customers first and look after them instead of always hunting for new ones and forgetting about the old ones – that only creates churn and a huge list attrition rate.

In a world where everyone is always talking about list growth, it’s not a pleasant concept to have to think about removing people off your list. Most of the time marketers just leave old emails and unengaged subscribers on their list and keep emailing them even if they have never opened the last 63 emails they received or clicked any links.

After that amount of time I think it would be fair to say that they would be considered an ‘inactive subscriber’ don’t you. So what’s the best way to deal with these unengaged subscribers?

The thing is engaged subscribers mean higher engagement rates and better reputation and better deliverability.  But the flow on effect runs much deeper than just ensuring you are capturing everyone, as engagement is one of the factors that influence your reputation, and therefore your deliverability.

The ISP’s do watch engagement levels, however the effects vary depending on your list size and how often you email. If just a few subscribers aren’t engaging and you have a large list and send frequently it’s unlikely that would affect your reputation. However if you have a smaller list you will probably want to look a bit closer.

The best course of action is to analyse your reporting, identify the inactive subscribers, and send a re-engagement campaign – and we have some good advice on how to do that.

One great example of a client who is doing that is Muchmore, who send re-engagement emails to individuals who have been inactive for just three emails. For many of you it may be fair to say you analyse inactive subscribers once a month or perhaps every six months. Have you ever analysed the reports for inactive or unengaged subscribers after just 3 sends? Perhaps it’s time you started.

Want to take an even more proactive approach? Send such effective emails you keep your subscribers engaged before they start wandering down that inactive cul-de-sac in the first place.

It has been said that ‘email is the Swiss Army knife of marketing’ and is one of the most widely used digital channels in your marketing arsenal. For most marketers, email costs the least but gives the greatest returns. Here are the top few reasons why email is still king.

blogImg_emailWinning

Email is the workhorse of your digital marketing program
One of the greatest things about email is its versatility; that ability for it to reach your customers and drive traffic to your other channels such as your website and social network profiles. It really integrates your channels together. It also wins terms of increasing ROI by utilising it for triggered emails such as welcoming new customers, processing purchases, and all those other good things. I don’t know of any other channel that does that.

Email is like Madonna – it keeps reinventing itself
You can’t beat email for its ability to reinvent itself, to be a platform that can constantly be updated, upgraded, re-designed, re-coded, optimised, and inte­grate with other technologies and channels as they appear.  Look at how email is adapting to HTML and video in email for example, and how already people are seeing an increase in engagement and higher ROI as a result.

Email can actually prove it’s worth to you
For all those data and analysis nerds, you will appreciate one of the best things about the email channel is that you can easily see exactly how your emails are performing, and you can prove your email marketing ROI to management through all the reporting and analytics that are available. After all shiny new apps are neat but at the end of the day what will be appreciated by the keepers of the budget is what really provides returns and value.

Email is still leagues ahead of social media
The report by Custora sheds some light on what is really shaping e-Commerce and Digital Marketing. And the results are quite clear - email still has a massive lead beyond the other channels and is still providing the highest value.

There you have it. Email remains the most effective way to deliver your message, it’s the #1 activity on all smartphones and tablets, it drives the most conversions and consumer purchases more than any other marketing channel, and it’s the preferred communication stream for consumers.

Here at Jericho we really can’t stress enough how beneficial an effective email marketing program is to your business.

Want 11 more reasons why email is so great?

 

 

 

Sometimes at Jericho we get asked ‘where do you recommend we purchase lists from to increase our database?’ And we say ‘Contact George Adugadugwengo‘.

Seriously though purchasing lists is something we strongly recommend against doing, and here is some evidence why it’s a bad idea.

In accordance with the CAN SPAM act and regulations from the DIA, all subscribers on your database need to be subscribed via either express consent, inferred consent, or deemed consent, which all basically mean that they have explicitly asked to be added to your list or implied they would like to be added to your list. To read all about the types of consent, you can read about this here: http://www.dia.govt.nz/diawebsite.nsf/wpg_URL/Services-Anti-Spam-Business-Info?OpenDocument

Part of this act specifies businesses must not use electronic address harvesting software, or lists that have been generated using such software, for the purpose of sending unsolicited commercial electronic messages. Click here to read about this in more detail: http://www.dia.govt.nz/diawebsite.nsf/wpg_URL/Services-Anti-Spam-The-dangers-of-using-email-addresses-from-a-purchased-database

Once subscribers are on your list,  there are best practice guidelines to follow such as clearly displaying an unsubscribe link, a privacy policy, and display your business name and contact details, and telling your subscribers how often you will send emails, which is just being transparent and informing people and keeping in line with best practices. To read all about best practices, how to comply with this act, and avoid accidently spamming people, and read other FAQ’s you can read all about this here: http://www.dia.govt.nz/diawebsite.nsf/wpg_URL/Services-Anti-Spam-Questions-and-Answers
Also every now and then we blog about different SPAM case studies and best practice advise on our Jericho blog, so keep your eye out on there too, for a start you can read this post here about email law: http://blog.jericho.co.nz/breaking-email-law-is-easy-heres-a-quick-quality-control-guide-so-you-dont/

We can also provide a copy of the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act document and answer any questions and provide further advise – contact our expert team.

You know when you move out of home and suddenly the washing piles up and the dishes don’t get done and the rubbish hasn’t gone out in a while? And you wonder how it got done before?

When you live at home you tend to take for granted that these things magically get done when you were not looking (Spoiler alert – your mother does it) and when you move out of home you realise that you now need to take responsibility and do all these things yourself, and by taking charge of these tasks you can improve the health and cleanliness of your environment. (Wow!)

Well I guess it’s safe to say most of you have learnt that one, however I’ve got something else to break to you; YOU control your sender reputation of your email marketing – not your ESP or mailbox providers. (What!?)  That’s right – your mother doesn’t work in your deliverability department. To improve your deliverability and reputation, you need to take some control.

There are five key factors that drive deliverability that you can control:
- Authentication
- List cleansing
- Relevant and valuable content
- Active engagement
- Continuous testing

Now I know deliverability can seem like a very complex system of things that need to be optimised and monitored and analysed and that can seem a bit overwhelming. However there really are a range of simple things you can do to improve your sender reputation, and your deliverability.

spam

What can you do right now?

- Honour unsubscribe requests
- Use a ‘friendly’ recognisable from name
- Send relevant content
- Set expectations

A poor reputation drives poor inbox delivery, however as you control your reputation, the sooner you recognise that the sooner you can improve it.

What exactly can affect your sender reputation?
- Spam complaints
- List quality
- Content
- Engagement
- IP Permanence

Recipients can complain because the email may not be of interest or relevance to them, perhaps wasn’t what they expected, perhaps they didn’t recognise the sender, or perhaps they are just receiving too much email or couldn’t find the unsubscribe button. Which is why having a recognisable from name, relevant content and a clearly visible unsubscribe link are SO important.

Firstly, spam complaints can be the #1 reason for decline in your reputation, and is the biggest indicator to ESP’s that your subscribers don’t want your email and this can result in your email being filtered or blocked.

inactivesubscribers

So what can you do to reduce complaints?
- Set expectations
- Honour unsubscribe requests
- Use a recognisable from name
- Send relevant and valuable content
- Enrol in feedback loops

One of the best things you can actively do to increase your reputation is provide valuable and relevant content that your subscribers want to read, the flow on effect being they will look forward to your email in their inbox and they will open, read, and clickthrough, increasing your engagement and over time that helps increase your reputation.

How important is relevance? 25% of subscribers said they have unsubscribed because the email wasn’t relevant. Well I think it’s worth listening to quarter of your entire database don’t you?

The implications of not being relevant are declining ROI and reputation and eventual increase in unsubscribes and/or complaints.

How can you increase relevance?
- Segment your data based on active/inactive subscribers, demographic, location, etc
- Implement a preference centre so the subscribers are in charge of what they receive and how often
- Send a survey asking your subscribers what they want – but be sure to deliver it
- Use dynamic content to change out content based on subscribers preferences
- Use personalisation throughout the email such as name, account number, points balance, purchase activity, etc

Now it’s no use having an email people want to read if people don’t receive it, so ensure you make it a priority to manage your list hygiene, and make that list as clean and shiny as possible. A clean list means you will be sending to actual humans – not spam traps or old inactive email addresses. It also means higher accepted rates, lower bouncebacks, and therefore better deliverability.

relevantemail
How can you improve your list hygiene?
- Review bouncebacks and correct invalid addresses
- Remove inactive subscribers
- Review your data collection process and ensure accuracy
- Grow your list organically – never purchase!
- Implement a double opt-in process
Then once you have implemented these strategies TEST, TEST, and TEST some more. Be continually analysing and testing a range of variables to find out what works, what doesn’t and what can be changed to suit your audience.

What are some things you can test?
- Email frequency
- Subject lines
- Email cadence
- Send day and time
- Personalisation in content

It’s important to get the frequency right because 54% of consumers say they unsubscribe when emails from a particular sender arrive too frequently….  How do you find the balance between too much and not enough? This is where asking your subscribers how often they want to hear from you can be the perfect solution.

Want some further advice? We have deliverability experts, design experts and experienced account managers at Jericho who can answer your questions – email us!

Did you know, a whopping 65 percent of email recipients engage with promotional email in the afternoons and evenings.

conversion-time-of-day-retention-2013
Yet according to a recent report by Retention Science, marketers tend to send emails in the morning.  Well that seems a bit crazy doesn’t it. Why are marketers mostly sending their promotional emails in the morning, when customers are in a buying mood in the afternoon? This means all your beautiful promotional marketing emails are arriving when the consumers are not in the right mind set and have other things on their mind …. This is a seriously big gap between when marketers are sending emails and when they are read, so I think this is is in dire need of a rethink.

Email-Conversion-Rates-Day-of-Week-300x263

So now we know, best time of day to send promotional emails is the afternoon. What about the best days for conversions?  Retention Science advises that emails sent on Tuesdays and Fridays get the most conversions, with 28% on Tuesdays, and 26% on Fridays. Surprisingly Saturday is the lowest performing day of the week with just 3% conversions, Sunday isn’t much better with just 6%.

Hmmm… time for a review of your weekly email marketing activity? Email us!

 

http://www.marketingprofs.com/charts/2013/11894/the-best-days-and-times-for-promotional-email-conversions?adref=nl102313

Dear {Generic Subscriber}

Thank you for taking the time to read our long email all about our company even though you have 573 emails to read and you are very busy.

All the information contained in this email is generic and fairly bland although very informative. We are sending the same information out to everyone, so don’t worry we haven’t taken much time looking at creepy data analysing your particular preferences or interests. Why spend time doing that when all 15,679 of our subscribers will enjoy reading the same generic news ins our batch and blast email this week, next week, and every week. In saying that, we may get busy and  just send one really long email with out dated news once a month, which we are sure you will want to read because it’s all about us.

Also it is not mobile optimised as we haven’t prioritised mobile optimisation yet but that’s OK, you still read your emails on a desktop computer right? The email also won’t contain any dynamic content or personalisation which would make the email more about you and your preferences, because as we mentioned we haven’t got the time or budget for that.

We didn’t spend too much time thinking about the subject line, so as you can see that says ‘September Newsletter’ which is exactly what this is. Also we don’t tend to put much emphasis on testing  so there might be a broken link in there somewhere. Just email our esp if you find it.

Also we probably won’t notice how many of you clicked on anything or who is engaged or not engaged because we don’t tend to do any reporting or analysis on our campaigns. And we we will be sending the email at 5pm on a Friday as we don’t really prioritise our email marketing or think about what the best send time is, just as long as we get to send our news out to everyone before we leave for the weekend.

We hope you enjoyed reading our generic email (that you care about even less than we do).

Insincerely and apathetically yours,
Batch and Blast Inc.

BrandsTalk
Sadly the above story is not so far from the truth for many companies. If the whole area of personalisation, engagement and analysis seems like a lot to get your head around, take a moment to read these posts that are bulging with best practice advice on everything from how to really your subscribers, how personalisation can make a huge difference to your readers and how engagement has a flow on effect to your reputation and deliverability.

Do much more than just batch and blast

To personalise or not to personalise

- Here’s how to really show your subscribers some email love

- How and why you should treat your subscribers like friends

- Why engagement is important and how to do it

EmailLove

See, that wasn’t so hard. All it takes is for you to implement a few simple best practice initiatives into your email marketing and you can be seeing a remarkable improvement.

 

I received an email from Taptastic the other day with the cutest subject line I’ve ever seen to date…

I had many unread emails in my inbox yet this one stood out like a sore thumb… in a good way… and I wanted to share it with you.

Behold, the subject line in all it’s cute attention getting glory:

There has been much talk about using symbols in subject lines - and we even blog about it - what are some of the best examples you have seen? Share them with us!

 

Experian Marketing Services, a global provider of integrated consumer insight, targeting and cross channel marketing, reveals that if the time spent on the Internet for personal computers was distilled into an hour then 27 percent of it would be spent on social networking and forums across US, UK and Australia, and 23 percent of total US mobile internet time is spent reading and writing emails.

Online Browsing
In the US, 16 minutes out of every hour online is spent on social networking, nine minutes on entertainment sites, five minutes shopping and three minutes on email. For comparison, in the UK 13 minutes out of every hour online is spent on social networking, nine minutes on entertainment sites, and six minutes shopping.  Australian Internet users spend 14 minutes on social sites, nine on entertainment and four minutes shopping online.

Click on image to see full size graph

 

Mobile Browsing
If we analyse US browsing data for mobile devices, email accounts for the largest time spent on average –  specifically speaking, email makes up 23 percent of time spent on mobile devices, followed by social networking at 15 percent. Entertainment had the third highest time spent with 13 percent, then shopping with 11 percent.

 


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