How To Refresh Your Email Campaigns For Success

Email SequenceOne of the great things about an autoresponder is that it can be used as a set and forget mechanism. Unfortunately that also means your emailed messages can be left for so long that they can become stale and irrelevant to your list. If you suspect you’re not getting the results you used to from your list or that there is room for improvement here are eight steps you can take to update and improve your email marketing.

1. React To Your Metrics

Study the metrics from your email marketing and see how well it is working. Are there emails that are not opened as often as others in your campaign? Try different headlines. Are there links that are clicked infrequently? Look into the information or offer the link leads to and decide if it’s still relevant to your audience and whether you can offer something better. Are there some subscribers who are engaged and some who are not? See if you can segment your list to encourage better engagement. And so on.

2. Ensure your promotions are still viable

If you’re promoting the same products and services via affiliate links that you were promoting last year, it’s important to check these are still available. The vendor may have changed the offer or discontinued it. Even if it remains unchanged you should review its relevance to your list. Over the past year you may have gained new insights into their needs and pain points. Look for offers that can help your list even more and add them to your campaign or swap them with the ones that are least successful.

3. Improve Your CTAs

Having decided what you will promote to your list you can look at the Calls To Action you are using. Events and developments in your niche over the past year may mean you could try a different approach. What worked a year ago might be old news today. You can also take a look at your metrics again to look at the effect of the CTAs you have in place now. See if there is a type of CTA that works best with your list and try to improve upon them so that you’ll get even better results.

4. Review Technology

Each year software is released that claims to improve list conversion and retention. Take a look at what is new that could make your landing pages easier to setup, change or convert. If you don’t use a video on your landing page this is the time to consider it. You need to stay informed about new technology and methods for building your list so you can decide whether to change or not.

5. Be Responsive

Most emails are now read using mobile devices. If your email marketing isn’t responsively designed, you could be missing out on most of your potential market. Even if your email marketing is based on responsive sites you must check that is also true about the web pages you ask your list to click through to see. Are they on responsive, mobile-friendly sites? If not, they need to be. If the sites are your own the solution is obvious. If your links lead to sites belonging to others it may be worth asking if they have plans to ugrade to responsive sites, especially if your conversions at their site have dropped.

6. Consider Refreshing Designs

Updating your artwork or the layout of your emails can be a good way to encourage your audience to take notice. Changing your graphics, logo, or changing the look and feel of the emails you send out can act as a relaunch and breathe new life into your email marketing campaigns

7. Update Your Segmentation Strategy

Many people don’t start segmenting their list until after their email campaigns have been running for a while. Some never segment. Often the first segmentation put in place is between buyers and non-buyers, but there is more you can do. Again, look to your metrics to see if there is an opportunity to provide more targeted messages. You can segment by product interest, topic interest, how responsive people are to offers, and more. You can get a better return on investment the more you segment your list because it will enable you to deliver the best message to each part of your audience.

8. Make Greater Use Of Social Media

You may already use social media in your marketing campaigns, but do you use it within your emails so your subscribers can help you get more subscribers? You should also be inviting your subscribers to join you on social media. If your audience is reading your emails and interacting with you on social media, you’ve got the best of both worlds and more chance of conversions.

If you’ve set up an email campaign you need to keep it fresh and relevant to your list if you want to get the most from it. Schedule to review your email marketing at least once a year, just like you get your car checked for roadworthiness. In both cases you’ll get better results from a well maintained machine.

Useful Resources To Get Analytics For Your Emails

You are probably aware of the importance of measuring traffic to your website, but are you also measuring the effectiveness of your emails?

Your email marketing should have a goal. It may be to grow your subscriber base, generate more leads, or to convert your existing leads to customers. If you are not measuring your results you won’t know how to improve your chances of hitting your goal.

The email client you use may have some analytics features. Aweber and Getresponse offer some clear and useful analytics. However if the client you use is not giving the information you need you may want to use an alternative software or service. Here are three alternatives you might consider.

Litmus

This service lets you test and track your emails. You can preview pages for desktop and mobile, test your email to see if it will pass through every major spam filter, run page tests, know how your email looks to customers who turn their images off, and more.

Mailjet

This site uses an adaptable and intuitive interface to help you track email delivery and activity across devices. You will know whether your subscribers opened an email, clicked on a link, unsubscribed, or reported your email as spam. You can send up to 6,000 free emails a month or pay if you send more.

SpiderTrainers

An alternative approach is to outsource your email marketing analytics and data collection. SpiderTrainers will do it for you. They can figure out what data you need to know, and how to collect it, then send you analytics reports.

When you are planning an email campaign you should keep the goal in mind. Decide in advance what information you need to know, how you’ll gather it, and how you will use the results when you have gathered them.

The above is just a small example of the services and software available. If you’ve used any of the above please let me know what you thought of them or suggest any alternatives you may be aware of.

Content Ideas For Better Emails

Magnifying glassover lightbulb of idea related wordsIf you’re stuck for ideas when it comes to writing emails here are some content suggestions you may find useful.

Offer solutions

Before entering your niche you should have performed some initial research. You should have identified the problems and challenges faced by people in your niche. If you can provide solutions to problems you know your target audience has they will be more likely to appreciate hearing from you and continue opening your emails.

Tell a story

People love reading stories they can identify with. There’s a whole section of the magazine rack devoted to it. A story might focus on someone in a situation similar to theirs, it could be about how the products or services you offer have helped your customers, or it could be about someone who has already achieved what they aspire to. If you offer an opportunity for some interaction when you have told a compelling story you are likely to get a lot more responses from your audience. If you don’t have any relevant stories of your own, set up a contest for your readers. Let them tell their stories, select the best, award prizes, then share the winning stories with the rest of your audience.

Stimulate engagement

Every email you write should have a clear point and ideally include a call to action. If you don’t ask your audience to do something, whether it is click a link, respond, comment, or buy now, they are unlikely to do it. If you want your readers to do something after consuming your email put it in writing. Even if you don’t have a link for them to click you can ask for their feedback, opinions, or any experiences similar to those mentioned in your email.

Build relationships

People buy from those they know, like and trust. Engaging your audience in social media and on your blog can help build a relationship, and you can also do this via your emails. Don’t write as if you are a faceless, impersonal department in a huge corporation. Be human. Occasionally reveal something about yourself or your business that your readers can identify with. If you also cover some of the above suggestions in a series of emails your audience will feel more connected to you.

Each of your emails should inform, educate, and entertain. Often the best emails are ones that keep to the point. Give your reader too many things to think about or too many different links to click and you’re likely to lose them. Try to incorporate each of the above suggestions into your email sequence and your list is more likely to be an engaged and responsive one.

Email Marketing: The law and opting in

Laws regarding email marketing are designed to protect you and your subscriber. If you’re “promoting or advertising a commercial product or service through electronic communication,” then you should be familiar with the CAN-SPAM Act and any other legislation that applies in your country.

UK anti-spam law is mainly aimed at restricting the sending of unsolicited marketing emails (i.e. spam) to individual subscribers. There are rules for sending email to businesses, but I’m going to mainly address communicating with individuals here.

You are allowed to send direct marketing emails to individuals if they have “previously notify the sender” of their consent. That is, they have ‘opted in’ to being a subscriber and receiving emails from you. Opting in means the subscriber must have taken positive action. It doesn’t count if they don’t deselect an opt in box that is pre-ticked. The usually accepted positive actions are to tick an opt in box or provide their email address in a field on a webpage.

In UK law the opt-in is considered temporary, with the subscriber only giving their consent ‘for the time being’. You can however assume their consent is valid until there is good reason for you to believe otherwise.

Every marketing email you send must clearly identify you as the sender and must also give the person receiving the email the ability to opt out of (or ‘unsubscribe from’) further emails.

Once someone has purchased from you, you may add them to your email list. Emailing advertisements to customers is not considered unsolicited email, and in general nor is sending such emails to businesses rather than individuals. However the subject of your advertisements should be related to your business. For example, you should not be sending advertisements about cheap holidays if this type of business is not related to yours in any way.

If you are going to let a third party advertise in your emails you should obtain the consent of your subscribers first. If you don’t, your emails might be regarded as unsolicited direct marketing.

If you buy or rent an emailing list from a third party, ask the list provider if you have the right to use it for email marketing. You are allowed to use lists of individuals collected by a third party on your behalf, providing it was made clear to the subscriber that their details would be passed to businesses offering the type of products and/or services that you offer.

Sending your emails through a reputable autoresponder service should make it less likely that you will break the law. However you need to be aware of their terms of service as they would probably cancel your account if you break any of them, whether on purpose or as a result of ignorance.

You should also be aware of any email marketing rules set down by your ISP. They can quickly withdraw their service if they receive justified complaints regarding your email marketing.

If you hire another company to manage your email list, you will still be held responsible if the company breaks any of these rules. In the UK the Information Commissioner would start proceedings against you because you would be regarded as the ‘instigator’ of the offending communication.

The best course of action is to give all your subscribers the opportunity to opt in and clearly explain what they can expect after they have signed up. Provide good, useful content, respond to any complaints or unsubscibe requests and you should be fine.

More information about CAN–SPAM compliance can be found here:
https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/can-spam-act-compliance-guide-business

More information on UK email marketing can be found here:
https://www.gov.uk/marketing-advertising-law/direct-marketing
http://www.lawdonut.co.uk/law/sales-and-marketing/marketing-and-advertising/your-email-marketing-and-anti-spam-law

7 Email Elements for Success

Figure pushing large email at signLike everything else online email has changed as technology has improved. Here I list some elements that contribute to an effective email. Some are basics that are simply best practice, others are an opportunity to make the most of advances online.

1. The subject line

This is the very first part of the email your readers will see. It’s sole job is to get a prospective reader to open your email. Therefore they should find it relevant and intriguing. It must also reflect the content they are about to read. People soon learn not to act on promises that are not delivered.

2. Writing Style

Write your email as if it was a letter to a friend. Let your personality show through in your writing. You’re trying to make a connection with your reader, not present an impersonal article in a magazine. Get this right and your readers will look forward to your next email and be eager to see what’s inside.

3. Responsive Design

Your readers are using all types of devices these days. They could be sitting at a desktop, relaxing with a tablet, or on the move with a smartphone. Present your email in a way that means they have to pinch and zoom or that has poor layout and they’ll be less inclined to read what you have to say. Use responsive design that displays your messages correctly no matter which device they are using.

4. Visual Elements

Faster technology and greater capacity means you can include images and video, making your email that much more interactive and interesting. You may already have received an email with a countdown timer that is acually counting down within the email. Think about how that engages the reader more than a piece of text telling them there’s just a couple of hours to go before an offer ends.

5. Personalise and brand

Most emails you receive are based on a template provided by an autoresponder company. Think about how you can personalise and brand your messages to stand out from the crowd. It could be a unique signature, a tag line you use in every email, a logo, or something else that makes your emails instantly recognisable.

6. Segmentation

If you segment your list correctly your readers will be receiving messages that appear designed to address their needs and problems. People receive too many emails in a day to be bothered with someone who emails them daily but only sends something relevant to them once a month. Design your early email sequence to help isolate what your reader really wants to read about, and then send them the messages relevant to that interest.

7. Respond to metrics

Change the content and layout of your emails to see how your readers view them. Position clickable links near the top and bottom of your email and see which ones perform best. You may find most of your readers click on the top link, which could imply most of them use a preview pane to read their emails. Over time you will be able to design your messages based on how people view and interact with your emails.

Get the above email elements right and you’ll increase your chances of success with your email campaigns.

There are a couple of other areas that could be improved, though they are not directly related to your email content. One is how well your list building process gets your target audience to subscribe, including the ‘ethical bribe’ and landing page you use, and the other is the resources you link them to via your emails. Both will have an effect on the success of your emails.

Are You Optimising Traffic From This Email Message?

Email messageEmails offer a great opportunity to generate traffic to your website. The most common method is to include a link within the body of the message you are sending out, but there are other opportunities too.

The most obvious is to include links to your blog, Facebook, and Twitter accounts after your signature at the bottom of the email. You can also include ads. Just write text ones for those who don’t receive your HTML emails. But I’ve recently spotted one opportunity that is often missed.

I get too many emails. It’s my own fault because I like to keep my finger on the pulse and see what’s happening in the internet marketing world. The good thing about this is I have plenty of information to look at. Yet only recently did it occur to me that it’s been a while since I analysed the emails themselves rather than just read the content. That’s when I spotted the confirmation emails.

If you’ve ever made a purchase online or subscribed to a newsletter you will almost certainly have received a confirmation email. These tend to follow a template, probably because the most popular autoresponder services provide one. The template usually includes an opportunity to enter your name, address and website URL, but I’ve yet to see a confirmation email that includes the links you usually find in the follow up emails – your blog, Facebook account, etc.

Surely this is a lost opportunity. Of all the emails you send the confirmation email is one of the most likely to be opened. The recipient has only just finished purchasing or subscribing. They’re bound to be enthusiastic about reading your communications.

If you use an autoresponder take a look at the confirmation emails you send out. Could you encourage further reader interaction without distracting them from subscribing? If you sell online are you making the most of your first communication with your new customers?

Part of generating traffic is giving people plenty of opportunities to visit your site. Make sure your emails are optimised to be part of that process.

Email Metrics: What Should You Measure?

Email metricsI have been working on my email sequences to run alongside the two products I hope to launch later this year. It’s something I have to keep leaving and returning to.

I think the problem is I’m feeling intimidated, which is strange as it’s not the first time I have put an email sequence together. It keeps occurring to me that each email has to keep the reader engaged otherwise they will unsubscribe and I will lose a customer or prospect.

Now I know this is the wrong way to approach this topic, but I can’t seem to shake the thought that every sentence I write is crucial. What I should be doing is just writing the best content that I can, send it out and see how my readers react. To do this last part I’m going to have to measure how well my emails perform. So, as a means of distracting myself from this self imposed pressure I’ve been looking into the metrics I’ll have to measure.

1. The first metric that can be measured is the bounce rate. This is the percentage of the emails sent that cannot be delivered to an inbox. There are two types of bounces. A soft bounce occurs when there is a temporary problem with an email address. This could be a full inbox or a problem with the recipient’s server. Depending on how it’s set up the server might hold emails until a problem is cleared up, but in case it is not it might be worth resending any emails that suffer soft bounces.

A hard bounce occurs when an email is sent to a non-existent email address. If you identify any hard bounces it’s important to remove the email address from your list, because ISPs (Internet service providers) use bounce rates to help them decide if a person sending emails is a spammer.

2. Probably the most well-known metric is the clickthrough rate (CTR). This is the number of people who click on the links within your email and is a measure of how interested your readers are in your content or your offer.

3. Another metric to watch is the overall list growth rate. Even the most popular email lists lose a percentage of subscribers over time. Therefore it is important to keep an eye on how quickly your email list is growing and to be sure that it won’t decline due to natural wastage.

4. Return on investment. If you are spending to acquire subscribers you’ll need to know the ROI of each individual campaign. Without this information you won’t know whether a campaign is making a profit and consequently whether to increase spending or perhaps divert it elsewhere.

There are other metrics that can be tracked but the above are the main ones.

Tracking some metrics can even give you the wrong impression. For example many subscribers may rarely read your emails, yet they won’t unsubscribe; and I’ve read that some open rate counters require both text and images be received if they are to be counted, so anyone blocking images with their email client will seem to never open the emails.

Writing an effective email sequence

Recently I have been working on the start of three autoresponder sequences in readiness for my product launch. One for the clients who buy my main product, one for those who buy the downsell and another for those who get the free ebook. I will also need another for those who buy the upsell, but that will be tied into the content of the upsell and should be easier to put together.

Before you start writing any emails it’s important to be clear about the specific purpose of the sequence. Usually it is to move prospects further into your sales funnel while establishing yourself as a helpful expert.

You can do this by providing case studies, testimonials, reliable advice, trust building anecdotes, etc. Decide on a period of time and allocate one of these topics plus others for each week. For example in week one you may introduce a benefit you offer, the next week mention results some of your customers are getting, the following week provide some useful information, and so on. If you don’t yet have customers or testimonials you’ll have to use the other options at the start of the sequence until you do have this type of material. You can also use some emails to send your readers to previous posts on your blog.

If there are evergreen products in your niche that you want to promote you can build them into the sequence. The ratio of promotions to useful content that you post is likely to be related to what your niche will tolerate, but some marketers insist that it’s a matter of managing your list’s expectations. However it is usually advised that you deliver more content than sales pitches.

Once you have identified the purpose of your autoresponder sequence combine this with your knowledge of your type of customer and start thinking about the ‘voice’ you are going to use in your emails. For example how you write emails aimed at a business man is going to be different from one’s aimed at retired people or parents.

Emails at the start of the sequence should be sent more frequently than those later on. For example you might send an email every couple of days and then spread them to one a week. There are essentially two reasons for this. When they have first signed up they are more likely to be interested in any promotions you send out. If you don’t communicate with them for a week or so at the start they may have forgotten who you are and why they joined your list and will be less likely to interact with you and more likely to unsubscribe.

Usually the start of a sequence is sent immediately and is a quick greeting, checking they have accessed the ethical bribe that you offered them at opt-in and telling them briefly what to expect next. You could mention how they can white list your emails so they don’t miss the content you’re about to send them and also help them by pointing out that a certain word or phrase will always be in your future email subject lines.

Once you have set up your sequence with this first email you can start planning the follow up messages.

One way you can plan these is to think about the journey they are going to share with you over the coming months. The way you enticed them to join your list should be an indication of their level of expertise. Think about how you can help them build on this. What should they be taught next? What should you show them in the next step, and so on? With this as a framework you should be able to start writing your email sequence.

Whatever the content, you need your emails to be read. Here are 3 tips for making this more likely.

1. Use attention-grabbing subject lines.

It’s likely your readers will be receiving a lot of emails each day. To help yours stand out try to come up with subject lines that engage your reader’s curiosity. Including a constant phrase in the subject line can help.

2. Use short paragraphs.

If your email appears to be dense with words your readers may decide it will take too long to read and move on to other emails.

Keep paragraphs short.

They can even be a single sentence!

3. Use numbers or bullets.

This is another way of condensing the content. Numbers and bullets can highlight where the main content of your message starts so it helps your reader if they are hoping to deal with their emails quickly.

Writing an effective email sequence is not always as easy as you might think. Hopefully the above has been of some help.