Archive for the ‘MessageSender’ Category

Non-Opener email sends

Time is precious and sometimes the people who receive your email campaigns might not have time to open and read them. There is an incredibly simple method to help you increase your email engagement.

It is unlikely that an email campaign will be 100% open rates, so it’s good practise to have a second send set up for a couple of days after your initial send. The second email is to be sent to all the non-openers of the original email in order to give them a second chance of seeing your email.

This non-opener should have a new subjectline and if needs be, the copy updated slightly.

June 19th, 2012 by Daniel Ashcroft |

Emails for mobile

We’ve talked about mobile optimised websites before but now companies are realising that more and more of their customers are viewing their emails on their mobile phones. As a result of this we are seeing more mobile optimised email campaigns.

Mobile optimised emails are not new, British Airways experienced great success with a campaign over a year ago, but recent figures show that, on average, 17% of emails are now opened on phones and that percentage increases to 24% when you only count emails that are opened within 24hours. 28% of mobile users say that they check emails on their phones and 70% of those check their emails everyday.

So, in other words, 1 in 5 people use their phones to view emails everyday.

On average the iOS platform wields the highest engagement for mobile optimised emails, making up 60% of all mobile click through. Android and Blackberry are 2nd and 3rd with 21% and 14% respectively.

The research also discovered that mobile optimised versions of an email out performed the non-optimised versions. mobile optimised emails received 6.5% more clicks and 6.7% fewer unsubscribes. By tracking goal completions (for example bought a product or downloaded a document), mobile optimised emails generated 7.7% more than standard emails.

If you would like to learn more about mobile optimised emails or is interested in using mobile optimised emails with MessageSender then please get in touch.

Source: comScore

April 30th, 2012 by Daniel Ashcroft |

How social media links help Email Marketing

You see sharing buttons everywhere on the web but not so much on emails. If you’re not including Facebook, Twitter and Linked in share buttons on your emails then you could be missing out.

Research done by GetResponse found that only 20% of email marketers include social sharing links in their emails. The research also showed that by including the sharing links the click through rate can double with Facebook and Twitter buttons but more importantly those that used LinkedIn’s button saw their CTR quadruple.

Below is an infographic that displays all the research findings:

Social Media and Email Marketing Infographic

March 27th, 2012 by Daniel Ashcroft |

New email functionality for PressRoom

The automatic creation and send of press release emails to Press Contacts has always been an update we’ve wanted to do and now we are very excited to say that it is now available.

We know that although you publish your news it doesn’t always get found by who you want and so a press release email is sent to your press contacts to help exposure. The process of creating a press release in PressRoom and then again as an email is now an unnecessary hassle. Now when you create a press release within PressRoom it automatically creates an email version of it that you can then send on to your chosen press contacts, all from within the PressRoom system, thanks to some integration with Ackura MessageSender.

With PressRoom you can now input your press contacts, build press mailing lists and create a publishing schedule with the ability to place embargoes on releases or send out for immediate release. In addition to this you are also able to send a release to an individual without actually publishing the story. This is useful if you would like another member of staff to see the release before it is sent out.

If you are currently using PressRoom then you will find the press information in the contact section and arrange the send of release from the Journalist tab in the press release editor.

Journalist Tab in PressRoom

Basic PressRoom users can add up to 15 press contacts to a single mailing list, whereas premium users can upload up to 200 contacts and create 20 different mailing lists.

If you would like to discuss the new email functionality then please get in touch.

March 13th, 2012 by Daniel Ashcroft |

The “Graymail” email. It’s not spam but is still unwanted

All major email clients have junk mail folders and spam filters to help their users keep their emails categorized and clear of annoying spam emails. The spam filters in these email clients provide the users with the option to flag an email as spam, which then means future emails similar to this is put in the junk folder.

These “flags” are also logged by the spam filter in general to help out other users meaning that if your email is flagged as spam by one user it could affect other recipients inboxes.

This is good for the end user because it keeps their inbox clear of spam but research done by Windows Hotmail discovered that 75% of email reported as spam were actually legitimate emails that the user no longer wanted. These consisted of newsletters, notifications and offers that the user was no longer interested in. Hotmail now call these emails “Graymail”.

The average inbox

Hotmail’s research found that 50% of the average inbox was filled with newsletters and offers, with social updates and people to people emails representing 17% and 14% respectively. Below is a breakdown of the whole inbox.

Cause of Graymail and the solution

The main cause of legitimate emails being flagged/marked as spam is that the user is no longer interested in the content of the emails and is unable to easily unsubscribe, resulting in them clicking on the “Flag as spam” button because it is the easiest option to them. Hotmail is taking steps to help their users clear up their inbox but thanks to MessageSender there are some easy ways to stop your emails becoming spam rather than graymail. The fact is the people receiving your emails might not want to receive them anymore and so you need to make to unsubscribe process as easily as possible to avoid becoming spam.

MessageSender has two unsubscribe options available. The first is the “one-click” unsubscribe that will allow the user to remove themselves from your mailing list directly from a link in the email. This method is the easiest and quickest for the recipient but not necessarily the best option for the sender. The second option is the “Manage Subscriptions” method which allows the recipient to choose what information they receive by allow them to opt in and out of multiple mailing lists.

To discuss your email marketing and the benefits MessageSender can provide you please contact us.

November 22nd, 2011 by Daniel Ashcroft |

The Auto-reply: Don’t dismiss the potential

If you’re managing your email campaign effectively, you should have a concise list of people who your about to send your email to that should, hopefully, be interested in the content. As you click on send you look forward to seeing the open and click-through rates to appear in your reports.

More than likely though, the first thing you receive is an auto-response announcing that someone on your list has left the company, is on maternity leave or just on holiday for a week. Depending on the size of your email list you could be getting hundreds of these auto-responses and it would be easy for you to do a mass delete and focus on those who have interacted with with your email, but there are 2 reasons why you should not do this.

1. Email verification

An increasing number of companies are using email verification, that is similar to Captcha, which requests the sender to click on a link in order to prove that they are human and not an automated system. The system blocks the sent email and instead returns an auto-response requesting verification that the sender is real before the server then passes it onto the recipient. These emails come as auto-responses so they can easily be missed if you don’t check through your returned emails. Thankfully once you have verified that you are indeed human the server should not request you to perform the process again.

Until this is done your emails will never reach the person or anyone else within the company asking for verification, so it’s worth looking out for these emails to get the most out of your contact lists.

2. Replacements/Covering employees

Although many of your out-of-office auto-responses will just be stating that the recipient is on holiday sometimes they contain information on who to contact in their absence or in the case of someone leaving the company information on who is now the main contact. Use this information to update your database because it will avoid the need of trying to discover who best to speak to at the company at a later date.

It might not be vital to sort through your auto-responses for each email send but we recommend looking through them every 3 months to be sure your getting the most out of your data base and keep it up-to-date.

November 8th, 2011 by Daniel Ashcroft |

5 Tips for creating great landing pages

Sending out an email and getting great open and click through rates are all well and good but the number you should really care about are the conversion. The email lays down the ground work but it’s then up to your landing page to complete your goal. The same goes to landing pages for adverts and other links.

Here are 5 tips to help you create an effective landing page:

1. Highlight the Call to Action

The call to action is generally the goal of an email campaign/ad campaign, if it’s a product sales email the call to action might be a purchase/order button, or the goal might be for someone to fill out a form in which case it would be the form itself and a submit button. Whatever the goal the call to action should always be the most noticeable feature and correspond with the copy/link people arrived arrived at the landing page from. If the landing page has a large amount of copy them we recommend having a Call to Action at the top and the bottom of the page so that the user is not required to scroll up or down to it, make it easily accessible.

2. Think about layout and design

Any eye-tracking study will show you that you that there are patterns in users behaviours when looking a content on web pages. Web users are first drawn to the top left of the page and follow a diagonal line to the bottom right. For this reason it is important to place your logo and the call to actions in these important locations.
The design on your landing page should match that of your website in case the user would navigate away from the landing page to somewhere else on your site, for example your contact page, it should feel like a natural progression. Emails are being viewed on mobile devices more and more, so it would be worth making your landing page compatible with the size of mobile screens.

3. Consider search when writing copy

Good copy is always important for everything and landing pages are no exception. Good copy gives the user/reader a positive experience and if the copy is keyword rich then the Google (and other search engine) algorithm will rank it highly. The copy should also match the copy used in the email or advert so that the transition between the email/ad to the landing page is as smooth as possible. For example if you make a claim or an offer in the email/ad then the landing page copy must back it up.

4. Intelligent use of media

The use of images and video should complement your call to action rather than distract from it. Be strategic with chosing imagery, don’t clutter up your landing page with unnecessary pictures. Images and videos are important for landing pages for products in order to display it to the best of your ability but if you feel that they don’t encourage users to complete your call to action then don’t use them just for the sake of it.

5 .Test to see what works

As with all your other marketing it is important to test to see what works with your audience. Use tools like Google Analytics to see how many conversions you achieved and how long users spent on the page before either completing your goal or navigating away. On page analytics can provide you with a great insight into what users clicked on once they arrived on your page.

October 25th, 2011 by Daniel Ashcroft |

Marketing techniques that keep Emails alive

It seems that each week there is someone arguing that email marketing is dead or that it doesn’t have long before it is. Although email engagement has been in the decline over the past few years, mostly due to the rapid rise of social media, it can still be an effective tool when used correctly and isn’t social media built upon email with each site requesting you to provide an email and then send you notifications?

There are a few simple marketing techniques that can improve your email marketing and so increase customer engagement.

Optimize your emails for smartphones

The number one activity on smartphones is checking personal and work emails. With the percentage of people owning smartphones increasing at an amazing rate it makes sense to accommodate this method of reading emails by making sure that your emails look as good as they do with phone based email clients as they do with desk top. With phones there is no preview plane to help attract viewers to read your email, instead the first line is used and you don’t want your recipients to read “If you are having trouble reading this email click here”. Along with your subject line, a lot of thought is needed for the first line of your email in order to hook people into reading your content.

Segment your database

There is nothing more annoying then receiving an email which has no relevance to you resulting in people immediately flagging it as spam. For this reason it is vital to segment your database into groups so that emails can be sent to some people and not others in order to avoid being thought of as spam and only reach out to those who might potentially perform an action you intend, such as buy a product or click through to read an article.

Take advantage of current event

Email recipients react well to current events.
For this you need to be flexible and quick to react to breaking news or be organised enough to identify potential events/results that you could capitalise upon. For future events that you identify as an opportunity be sure to create multiple different emails depending on the outcome. An example of this could be building an email referring to the winner of the English FA cup final, create an email for each finalist and then send out the one which is relevant as soon as the final result is known.
Some events, such as weather, can’t be forward planned accurately but it is worth creating emails covering potential events. An example of this is Manchester Airport creating snow storm notification emails to send out just in case one occurs.

Complement email marketing with your social media activity

Just before an email is about to be sent out it is becoming a popularity technique of announcing it over various social media channels along with a link to where people are able to sign up to receive it.
An example of this is to send out a Tweet or publishing a Facebook message “Our monthly newsletter full of special offers is about to be sent out, to avoid missing out sign up here…” followed by a shortened url.

Provide exclusive incentives/offers for email receivers

People need to feel rewarded for receiving your emails, from the sender’s point of view the reward is being provided with the information they are sending but this is often not the case for the recipient. By simply offering people chances to win prizes or money off vouchers exclusively through email and making it known that they are receiving it because they are special. An example of this could be a special offer sent to individuals on their birthday.

Email marketing is far from dead, instead it’s down to the marketeers not using it to its full potential. If email does die it will be because it’s used incorrectly and is seen as a nuisance by recipients rather than a great means to find out information.

April 26th, 2011 by Daniel Ashcroft |

Email Analytics – How they are Important

Analytics is a vital part of any email campaign. Creating and building an effective email can be time consuming and difficult but it’s the analytics that can help you create more effective campaigns in the future. By looking at your analytics you can see what works and what doesn’t, and then amend subject lines and copy to get the most out of your emails.

How It Works

Email tracking analysis is done by adding a short piece of code that produces a single pixel image in the HTML email that the recipient downloads from the email system server. Each time your HTML email is opened the single pixel image is downloaded it registers the email as opened by that individual. These single pixel images only work in HTML, not text only emails because you obviously cannot add images to them. You can still track clicks from plain text emails but you will have no idea of the total number of emails opened.

Open Rates

The open rates will generally be the first number you look at during an email campaign. The open rate can show you how effective your subject line is because if if the subject line was interesting or intrigued the recipient then they are likely to open the email. For a whole campaign the open rate is not vital but it is well worth noting so that you can assess how different subject lines have performed.

Many email clients, such as Outlook and Hotmail, now block images automatically and put placeholders in their place until the recipient chooses to download the images. This means that if the recipient doesn’t download the images the tracking pixel will also not be downloaded and it will not register as an open unless they then click on a link.

Bounces

Bounces are undelivered email that were not able to make it to their recipients. This is mostly due to the email no longer existing because the person you are trying to react have left the company or the company itself has changed. Bounces are a good indication of how up to date your database is and it is recommended to follow up bounced emails, where possible, to obtain who the emails should be sent to in the future.

Click Through Rates

More often then not you will you provided with the “Total number of Clicks”, but you must have the functionality to views these clicks individually. The total number of click obviously included all the linked that were clicked on and this includes the “view online” and unsubscribe links. Although your reports might tell you there were 250 clicks, if 200 of those were to unsubscribe then your perceived success would be inaccurate.

In an email you might have more than one calls to action (links to your main goal/website) and you want to track each one individually so that you know which links have been popular. If you have multiple links that take the recipient to the same website then looking at which link received the most clicks helps you understand which locations for the link are the most effective.

Conversion

When it comes to email campaigns it’s all good and well having great open and click through rates but the most important analysis it the conversion. An email campaign should always have an end goal of achievement, this could be anything from a sale of a product to an article read/downloaded. For this reason is it vital to also have some sort of web analytics attached to your website so that you can track user activity on you site.

To track your conversions all the links in your email need to be tagged with the relevant code so that people arriving to your site from email will be registered as doing so. Once you have your goals set up in your website analytics you with then be able see how many of your achieved goals came from your email campaigns.

Unsubscribes

Although it’s a result you don’t want you need to provide your recipient’s with the option to unsubscribe from your emails. Just as if you were looking at open and clicks to see if your emails are effective the same should be done with your unsubscribes. If you have a lot of unsubscribes from one particular email it indicates that something you did with that email might be wrong and people see it as potential spam.

Your Analytics History

Once an email campaign is complete the result are used to assess the success of it but then forgotten. The analytics of your previous email campaigns contain some of the best market research you can have on your audience.

Analytics from your previous email campaigns should always influence your future campaigns. Use them to gauge what was successful and what wasn’t, then use that when writing new emails to make sure you get the best results. Previous email analytics also allow you to create more personalised emails and target individuals that have shown interest in certain products or articles.

November 4th, 2010 by Daniel Ashcroft |

Personalised Emails

As with every email campaign you want to increase open rates, click through and conversions. The best possible way to do this is to added personal factors into your email subject lines and body.

The most obvious way to add a personal touch is to add the recipient’s name in the copy, which can be easily done by many email marketing tools with a simple {placeholder} tag. By having a name in the subject line the recipient automatically feels a greater sense of familiarity and is happier to open an email.

Although some personalisation in the subject line might increase the open rate, if the content of the email is of no interest to the recipient then the click-through and eventual conversion rates will not hugely improve.

It’s more than just a Subject Line

Where personalised emails  really starts to improve your email campaign is when your email’s content is tailored to include what the recipient is interested in or what their previous activity with your previous email campaigns. By reviewing analytics of your email campaigns you’re able to segment your contacts into fields that they are interested in by looking at what links they have previously clicked on.

If you send out a promotional email that is selling products or a newsletter email with a number of articles the personalisation aspect comes in when you change the order of the products or articles so that the recipient’s main interest is at the top for them and grabs their attention straight away. If you are able to interest the reader’s attention early on then they are more likely to read what else is included in the email or view more products you have to offer. This is also applied when writing the subject line, for example, if you have an email selling accessories for iPads, phones and laptops the subject line should be influenced by the recipient’s history. If the recipient had repeatedly clicked on iPad links then it should feature in the subject line and the product is at the top of the email.

So, personalised email marketing moves far beyond just entering the recipient’s name at the beginning of the email but actually involves creating many different versions of the same email with the content arranged in a way that will be the best possible format for different people.

Although it can be time consuming, personalised emails can produce much greater results than that of a single generic email send. The main issue with this technique is that your database must be kept up to date because recipients will not appreciate emails being sent to them with either the wrong name or incorrect information.

So, take your time, understand your audience and what they like, and always test to see what works.

September 15th, 2010 by Daniel Ashcroft |