Archive for the ‘PromoSender’ 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 |

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 |

Email Subject Lines

The success of an email campaign can come down to something as small as the subject line. Why? Because many recipients use the email subject line to decide whether to open or delete an email. In addition to this, spam filters are set up to identify certain trigger words that are common in spam emails and stop them reaching the inbox. Having these trigger words in the subject line can mean your email might never get to its recipients.

In this blog we will cover 10 tips to help increase the effectiveness of your subject lines and your email campaigns on a whole.

1. Subject line length

People receive many emails a day and most of the time they don’t have time to read through each email and so rely in the subject line to decipher whether the email is of importance or interest to them. For this reason it is recommended to keep the subject line less the 50 characters (including spaces) so that the line doesn’t extended beyond the email client’s (Outlook, Hotmail, etc )viewing plane.

It is sometimes argued that having a long subject line reduces the number of opens but may increase the number of click through rates because the recipients know exactly what the email is about and by opening is interested rather than just curious.

2. Get the Key Information in early

As mentioned in point 1, the subject line should be kept short to help increase the chances of the recipient opening the email but also that having a long subject line is not always detrimental. Whether you chose to have a short or long subject line this rule applies to both.

With an email subject line you should always try and get the key point in early so that it attracts those recipients who skim the subject lines and email clients don’t have a set number of characters before it’s cut off. So it’s vital to main the key points at the beginning if the line before it is potentially cut off.

For example:

“Ten tips for improving your email marketing” can be re-arranged and shortened to “Email Marketing: Top 10 tips”

3. Provide an immediate benefit

If you include an immediate benefit or some sort of urgency tag in your subject line then the recipient feels the need to act quickly for the fear of miss out. This is of course dependant on the content of the email and sometimes a time scale or deadline would apply to it. Examples of this are:

  • 10 best places to play golf this week
  • Order now for Christmas day delivery
  • 24 hours left before our sale closes

4. Be truthful

There is nothing people dislike more than someone they deam as untrustworthy. Don’t stretch the truth in the subject line or promise more than the email can deliver, or make grand claims that readers will find hard to comply with in order to get a special offer or benefit. Readers will distrust you (and reach for the report-spam button) if your subject line doesn’t reflect the email content and will most likely automatically delete future emails without a glance.

5. Think about the Spam Filters

It is a thin line between “Catchy” and “Spam” and trying to get this correct is one of the hardest parts of Email Marketing. There are certain words that trigger the Spam filters and if these are used to often in the subject and email body then the email will be automatically put in the Junk Mail. It is always best to run your emails through spam checkers before sending them out to your mailing lists.

6. Support the “From” Field

It is a common mistake to include the company name or organisation in the subject line in the belief that it will increase brand association and forget about the “From” section. If your company name appears in this field then it is unnecessary for it to also be included in the subject line.

7. Personalise

Personalise email subject lines based on users’ previous history of engagement with your emails. If you know what products or content preferences, interests, past purchases, Web visits or links they have clicked then you have an amazing insight into what works for them in email copy. Be careful when personalising on past purchases, however, because the purchase could have been a gift for someone else and might not relate to your reader’s real interests, but it can still provide a vital insight. Always make it easy for readers to find and update their data and email preferences, through an “Update my preferences” link. Avoid using the recipient’s name in the subject line unless you are sure your database is up to date. There is nothing worse then sending out emails with incorrect names in the subject lines.

8. Write the Subject Line early

It is common that the subject line is forgotten about and left till last when building an email but it should be one of the first parts of the email you should think about. As you plan a email marketing campaign, start thinking about what will go into the subject line. That will help you sharpen your campaign’s focus and may even change or tweak the offer or article focus.

9. Look back at previous Emails

The best analytics you have are from previous emails you have sent to be sure to always refer to what you have done previously when writing new subject lines. See which email subject lines delivered the action you wanted – the most conversions, the highest average sale per order, the highest click-through rate, etc.

10. Test, Test, Test.

Test continually to determine trends and styles that appear to work. Pre-test if you can. Add a day to your campaign-creation schedule to give you enough time to try out different email subject lines. Opinions and attitudes changes so don’t assume what works now will work 6 months later.
I repeat – Test, Test, Test

Writing subject lines are too important to ignore or to write at the last moment. Take your time, try out various possibilities, follow the advice of the experts, and you may see your open rates go up.

August 25th, 2010 by Daniel Ashcroft |

Why B2B Email Marketing

B2B email marketing services have been designed so that a central office can create and manage email marketing campaigns that its subsidiaries, branch offices or retail outlets can personalise, so that the overall message is communicated to their audience embracing both centralised brand and localised messages.

Two Tiered Marketing

To best describe B2B email marketing, let’s take as an example a car manufacturer with a nationwide network of dealerships:

For the brand there is a message and ethos that the central office (Parent) wants to protect and communicate through their marketing to branches (Child), but they also need to embrace local variations to messages depending on the location of each branch.

Using PromoSender, the Parent maintains brand control of main design whilst the Child adds localised messages to suit the local audience.

Eg. In the United States the messages used to sell a car in New York could be very different to the messages used in California. Ie. The Californian message maybe localised to emphasise the importance of fuel economy, whereas the NY message might focus more of driving style and comfort.

Email Marketing for Two Tiered Campaigns

A second key requirement is that “child” accounts maintain their own separate and secure opt-in / opt-out recipient databases.

A two tiered B2B email campaign is, therefore, the most cost effective method of marketing a brand that is looking to share a message with an audience that is not located in a single area: The Parent creates the main strategy and message that is then sent to its branches or resellers who then send on with localised messages to their individual mailing lists.

With B2B email marketing services such as PromoSender, the Parent creates promotions and is able to control the extent to which these promotions can be customised by the Child organisations before being sent to the customers, making it easy to centrally manage approved messages used by subsidiary users.

The diagram below shows how the PromoSender two tiered email marketing service is structured:

As with any marketing campaign, analytics is very important, and keeping informed of distributed email marketing campaigns run through Child organisations could be nigh on impossible without centralised analytics.

By having multiple branches or resellers all using a B2B email marketing service such as PromoSender, centralised reporting is a snap with each Child collecting and sharing their own analytics with their Parent organisation.

August 18th, 2010 by Daniel Ashcroft |

Things to remember when creating HTML emails

There are a number of things to remember when creating templates for HTML emails, and I’m going to try and go through a few of them with you, the things we’ll cover are:

  1. Remember not everyone uses Outlook
  2. Remember the reading pane and preview
  3. Send a text only to gain greater audience reach

Ok so let’s run through these in some more detail.

1. Not everyone uses Outlook

An important thing to remember when creating your HTML email is that there is a large number of email clients that you will need to test on to make sure that everyone can read the information in order to get your message across. Some of the more popular email clients are Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, Outlook (& Outlook express), AOL, Mac Mail, Thunderbird, Entourage and Eudora. Because of the various rendering differences in these clients you are unlikely to get your email looking exactly the same in all of them. It can also be a time consuming job to test in all these email clients but the payoff is worth the hard work considering that the person receiving the email could be your next client.

2. Remember the reading pane

When you are reading your emails, be it in Outlook, Hotmail, Yahoo etc do you open the email full screen? More than likely you are reading it through the preview pane. This means that when the user clicks on your email it’s likely that only the top 500 pixels of the email can be seen. It is therefore important to use this valuable real estate to get your message across.

If possible it is better to avoid using images in the head of the email as they won’t be automatically downloaded unless the sender is on your safe list. Using images means that the impact made by those first 500 pixels will be limited because it relies on a user action (downloading the images) before it can be seen.

3. Send text only to get greater reach

With the advent of the web being viewed on mobile devices we mustn’t forget that users are likely to read their emails on the move. An easy way to cater for several types of viewers is to send a multipart message whereby there is a HTML version sent as well as a text only so that covers all. The content can me exactly the same but you will just have to remember that any images that have a call to action will need to be changed into text links in that version.

The other advantage of sending a text only version is that it becomes more accessible to users that only use screen readers for example, there is much less information for the screen reader to get through in a text only version.

We’ll be following this post up with some more detailed information about creating HTML emails in the coming weeks but if you need any more information please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

February 9th, 2009 by Richard |