Email Marketing is not dead - Common Sense Tip #2

Thanks to last week’s common sense Tip #1: Desktop or Mobile - Consider where your end user will be reading your message, you are now aware that the majority of professionals reading email do so on something other than their computer.  So it really does matter how you lay out what you want to tell them.

If you haven’t read last week’s post with Tip #1, do so now before diving into Tip #2.

However, you can have the most amazing deal to offer, laid out beautifully, but it’s a complete waste if you can’t get it into your target audience’s inbox.

2. Deliverability

Even the most legitimate email can be blocked or moved to the Junk folder by ISPs if you aren’t following some basic best practices.  I separate those best practices into two distinct groups:

  1. What you can control

  2. What you have professionals control for you

Common Sense Tip #2 - Be sure your note makes it into their inbox.

  1. What you can control - Does your email look spammy?

    Recognizing a spam email isn’t that difficult:  Subject line words are misspelled, Subject text is in ALL CAPS, the sender email is unknown, fonts in the Body text are GIANT and excessively bolded.  Use your head here - if you wouldn’t open it, neither will they.

  2. What you have professionals control for you - The technical action of delivery.

I assume that you don’t have your own mail server and are therefore utilizing a third-party email marketing service provider (EMSP), and the one that you choose to use matters.

When determining what EMSP is best for your company, be sure to look beyond the premade templates and user experience (though both are important), to what is offered on the backend.  For me, it comes down to what is my mail service doing on my behalf to increase deliverability.

The worst thing that can happen to your newsletter is for someone to mark it spam.  While you can’t control whether or not the readers feel your note is spammy, you can make it less accessible for them to mark it as such.

Here is a fast example from my own experience:

I sent an email out of InfusionSoft (now Keap) where after just 1 hour, the Spam rating was so high that they stopped sending and deactivated our account.  Why in the world did so many people mark the email as spam? I paid a third party to have my list cleaned before ever pushing send!  

Plan B: take the exact same email and the long list of contacts that never received the first email and try sending out of MailChimp.  Viola - all emails successfully made it into inboxes.

So what was the difference?

Mailchimp knows what their emails look like when they land in a users inbox and therefore, they frame user options in such a way that they help me avoid being labeled as spam.  Note: I did get a ton of unsubscribes but not a single spam label.  That’s because rather than asking my contact if they know me, they ask if they would like to continue getting my messages.  

Big difference.  HUGE.

Until I am proven otherwise through personal experience, I’ve found that CRMs manage contacts well and email marketing platforms send great emails, but neither is great at both.  So weigh your options - you don’t have to pick just one. Most awesome software solutions play well with others and if they don’t, that's probably a sign.

We agree that email marketing is here to stay and it is important for your business to use it to reach customers.  Hopefully, now you also agree Tip #1 and Tip #2 that I’ve shared were both common sense, but perhaps things you were not taking into consideration.  Lesson learned.

Now that you know how to get your email into your target audience’s inbox (Tip #2) and how to ensure it doesn’t look gross (Tip #1), the final key is to make sure people actually open the email.  I’ll share more on that next week when we wrap up the series with Tip #3.

(Guest post written by T. Nugent & Associates COO, Katie Cochrane)