In uncertain times of digital marketing, email was always a beacon of hope. In case you started to gather emails of your leads and clients long time ago – good for you. But in case you still think that you do not need to do it, you should immediately start gathering the emails.
Allowing your visitor to leave your site without having a chance to give you his contact means that you lost him for good. Facebook may close you account, Instagram may ban you, Pinterest may change its policy and Google changes its algorithm nearly every month – but the emails that you get will stay with you.
It is a lifeline between you and your customers. No wonder that email marketing is gaining more and more popularity every year.
In this post we will go over several tips on how to make as much of your email marketing as possible. The goal of this post is not to convert visitors to subscribers (that would be whole another topic) but rather to give tips on some of the best practices on how to proceed when you get the email!
Your opt-in form worked, and you received an email from your visitor. Now you must ensure that your email is actually delivered, rather than inboxed into a spam folder.
Single vs Double Opt-in
This debate goes for as long as emailing exists. Single opt-in means that visitor enters his/hers email and no further confirmations are done.
Double opt-in means that after confirming email in the opt-in form, potential subscribers will receive a confirmation email.
With single opt-in, you will get more subscribers to your list. With double opt-ins you will get a smaller list but of higher quality.
In both cases it makes sense for you to incentivize the subscriber with something that will make him/her look into the inbox and search for your email – just in case it has fallen into spam.
In terms of deliverability, double opt-in is better but if you will communicate to your subscribers properly and have something that will make them search for your email and move it to inbox – single opt-in will also deliver good results.
If you are sending to the list of the same subscribers, 1 email in 1-2 days is the maximum that you should be doing. Anything more than 1 email a day will make your subscribers list go smaller, more of your emails will be marked as spam, therefore damaging your deliverability.
Ideal in my opinion is 1 email every 2-3 days. This seems to be a perfect balance between good email practices and sufficient flow of business.
In case you have a list of prospects or business partners that you need to email (and they are not your subscribers) set your emailer for a particular number of emails to be sent. Maximum of 1 email at once, with 10-20 minutes pauses with for example 50 email a day.
Change this setting based on your needs. But be careful not to overheat your emailing domain. If the domain is new, send 10-25 emails a day maximum. If the domain is older than 3-6 month with a lot of emails sent, you may increase the daily limit.
Increase the daily sending carefully and closely follow the feedback os both subscribers and your spam notifications. Some of the email providers may start blocking your address saying its “high probability of spam” and return you emails. So progress carefully.
Avoiding SPAM classification
How do email platforms check for spam? They read the email, and if they find a lot of red flags – they move it to SPAM.
One of those flags is the use (or over-use) of “spammy keywords”. Money, now, casino, lowest price, risk-free, guaranteed income etc – may trigger a SPAM flag. If possible avoid keywords that seem like it is coming from a mass spam campaign.
Links in email also serve as a potential trigger. One hyperlink in the text may already be problematic, 2 hyperlinks will definitely cause troubles with some email providers. Minimize the usage of links/hyperlinks in your emails.
Length of the email is also a topic. The longer the email the higher is the probability of SPAM flag. Make sure to separate paragraphs and make the email as short as possible (if you are using an autoresponder – make sure to include an unsubscribe link).
Sure, when you are exchanging a second / third email with a prospect or client, most of these rules will not apply. But when you are sending an introductory email, it is better to make sure that everything is in order.
In the previous chapter we had a look at how to increase the probability of being delivered into the inbox. Now we will have a look at how to make sure that the recipient opens the email.
The key to increasing the open rates is Personalization! No revolution here. The more directly will you speak to the recipient the higher probability of success. Let’s compare two approaches:
I am writing to you because I have a great product that I think you should promote. Here is the link, let me know if you like it.
I noticed that on your page 123.com/789 you are promoting XYZ, I have a similar product that you might want to have a look at – here is the link.
Let’s dig deeper.
Generic email subjects do not work that well, because they are…generic.
- “Introducing Myself”
Nobody really cares and will not open those. Remember on average people receive nearly 121 business emails a day. You must stand out somehow.
There are generic titles that work well, but you do not want to use them.
- “Quick question”
- “This will shock you”
- “Problem with your account”
They work, but it is bad business practice, spammy and unprofessional. You do not want to use those.
Make sure to use personalization wherever possible. Title included. You may use the name of the receive, company they work for, their website name. “Collaboration with 123.com” sounds much better than “Collaboration”
First sentences matter. Mostly because in your email you can actually see the first few words / sentences from the email. So the personalization should continue here.
Great way is of course to use the name of the recipient. People like to hear their name. If email will be saying “Hi Vlad” I will be much more compelled to see what it is about in comparison to some generic “Good afternoon”.
Everybody knows that for most of the mailing an automation software is used, so it is always better to stand out by doing such a small thing as putting the name in.
This leads as to the closing part of this post.
Mass Emailing or Individualized Emailing Approach?
Mass Emailing is when you have a list of people you are going to outreach to, so you take that whole list and start sending them generic emails.
Why generic? Because you have no chance of personalization or segmentation when you are sending 1000 emails. You will have some success but the conversion rates to your goal will be quite low. That will be substituted by the numbers that you will be emailing.
In individual approach you work much more closely with segmentation and personalization. You create separate campaigns for 10-100 emails to make sure that the title and the body of email are tailored to what they might be interested in. You will send less emails (as this takes much more time) but you will have a higher conversion rate.
On the first glance it may seem that both methods are comparable. Possibly even the same if we would be analyzing them from the standpoint of the final result.
There is a following problem. When you send mass emails, with most of them generic – you are much more likely to get blocked by various spam filters and if you go completely overboard with this, you IP / domain will get blacklisted and you can start from the beginning again.
After many tests, I would strongly suggest going for a smaller batch of campaigns but highly individualized. This will ensure higher deliverability, higher open rate and most importantly will not be damaging to your domain reputation.
There are also other ways to make sure that you reach your customers.
SMS/MMS marketing is one of the fields that is overlooked by many. While everyone is moving to social ads, and other targeted advertisements in apps that we have on the smartphones – many seem to forget that as SMS marketing became less popular it also means less competition. If you do not have the capacity to look at all the aspects of digital marketing yourself, you might want to consider hiring a digital marketing agency that would substitute your own marketing team.
Even if you choose to outsource a part of your marketing, make sure to do the emailing yourself. Email is a very rare direct connection to a customer that is an invaluable sales source for your business. Therefore it should be treated as such.
Vlad Falin is the founder and author at CostofIncome.com, a blog about online marketing, webinar software platforms digital business tools, and tips to promote your brand online.