Nicolas Straut from Fundera mentions, “To create a compelling newsletter, it’s important to maintain a regular template, colors, subject line structure, and send schedule to provide readers with a sense of regularity. The best newsletters allow readers to know what to expect and look forward to while providing interesting content that they engage with”.
Know your spam rules. A lot of innocent people send spam because they didn't know any better. Read up on the CAN-SPAM act to avoid any trouble. Put simply, you're allowed to send bulk email only to people who specifically asked to be on your mailing list. If you collected email addresses for a lunch giveaway or an event invitation, then you don't have permission to send marketing emails unless you made that clear at signup. Include an obvious unsubscribe link in every email, and don't forget to remind subscribers how they got on your list in the first place.
If subscribers haven’t responded to our first email sequence, introduce a meaningful discount paired with a compelling message to make a return visit. How big of an offer can you make that won’t tank sales? It could be a discount, free gift with purchase or even product bundle. Keep your margins in mind, but if there’s a time to offer a steeper discount than usual, that time is now.
Carl: Yeah, absolutely. And then on the drip side, often times, when you create a drip, you want to, before you even map what the drip is going to look like, have a goal in mind. So what is your goal? In the example we shared with MailChimp, their goal was to get new customers onboarded and to get them to know about the different features that they offer.
When I look back at my first batch of emails, I cringe; they were terrible. Accept that yours will be, too. A link will be broken, you’ll have a typo or typos (and everybody will email to point out your idiotic spelling mistake) or you will reread what you’ve written later and feel differently. The list of growing pain blunders goes on. It’s best to experience and move through some of those stresses and mistakes at the beginning when you don't have a huge audience yet. At first, you’ll be mortified. But it’s also not as bad as you think because the stakes are still low.
Personalized, tailored content – if your email tool allows this, you can send content based on the reader’s interests and preferences (think of Amazon’s ‘Products we recommend’ newsletters, based on readers’ purchases). It’s a strategy that actually works – research has found that personalization improves click-through rates by 14% and conversions by 10%.
Given the robust features at the planning and execution phases of email campaigns, we had high hopes for MailChimp’s analysis and reporting — and we weren’t disappointed. Reports include all the standard performance indicators, but it also includes analysis pulled from the millions of emails sent through MailChimp. This enables you to see how your campaign stacks up against the industry average, a level of detail that’s rare among free services. Add to that an integration with Google Analytics and an interactive map that shows where in the world your emails are being opened, and you’ve got a service that seems impossibly comprehensive for a free plan.
The requirements of the Act are fairly straightforward, yet easily overlooked. For example, did you know that if you fail to include your postal address on a commercial email, then the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) could fine you? In fact, each separate email that violates the CAN-SPAM Act is subject to penalties of up to $16,000. There are no exceptions for business-to-business email. All email – even messages to former customers announcing a new product line – must comply with the law.
The National Small Business Ombudsman and 10 Regional Fairness Boards collect comments from small businesses about federal compliance and enforcement activities. Each year, the Ombudsman evaluates the conduct of these activities and rates each agency’s responsiveness to small businesses. Small businesses can comment to the Ombudsman without fear of reprisal. To comment, call toll-free 1-888-REGFAIR (1-888-734-3247) or go to www.sba.gov/ombudsman.
A. It’s common for email sent by businesses to mix commercial content and transactional or relationship content. When an email contains both kinds of content, the primary purpose of the message is the deciding factor. Here’s how to make that determination: If a recipient reasonably interpreting the subject line would likely conclude that the message contains an advertisement or promotion for a commercial product or service or if the message’s transactional or relationship content does not appear mainly at the beginning of the message, the primary purpose of the message is commercial. So, when a message contains both kinds of content – commercial and transactional or relationship – if the subject line would lead the recipient to think it’s a commercial message, it’s a commercial message for CAN-SPAM purposes. Similarly, if the bulk of the transactional or relationship part of the message doesn’t appear at the beginning, it’s a commercial message under the CAN-SPAM Act.
I’ve always been a mailchimp user myself, and I have to say I really like their UI but I’m always open to new options. I’ve dabbled in a couple of the other email marketing providers like Pure360 – but find them so clunky and annoying to use (despite them looking really pretty and having great templates) that I always end up going back to good old mailchimp. I haven’t used GetResponse yet, I’ll give their free trial a shot :)
With the addition of automation, MailChimp’s Forever Free capabilities now surpass the service offerings from some of the industry’s top paid contenders. Automation is a huge plus and enables you to send emails for a variety of actions (like welcoming new subscribers or wishing old ones a happy birthday) without doing anything yourself. More than half of the email marketing experts we interviewed said that automation was one of the key features to look for in an email marketing service, and its absence was one of our biggest knocks against MailChimp before.
A. Yes, and the FTC has issued a rule under the CAN-SPAM Act that governs these messages. Messages with sexually oriented material must include the warning “SEXUALLY-EXPLICIT:” at the beginning of the subject line. In addition, the rule requires the electronic equivalent of a “brown paper wrapper” in the body of the message. When a recipient opens the message, the only things that may be viewable on the recipient’s screen are:
Whether you already have a list of subscribers or are starting from scratch, email marketing services can help. All of the services we cover let you add contacts manually using copy and paste or by uploading CSV or Microsoft Excel files. Some integrate with third-party software enabling you to import Gmail and other webmail contacts, Salesforce.com and other customer relationship management (CRM) data, or other software where you might have contacts stored. Depending on the size and location of your list, third-party integration could be key. Verify whether you can export contacts as well (and how easy it is to do so) should you leave the service. Managing users who unsubscribe should also be easy so you're not accidentally contacting anyone who has opted out of your newsletters.
And that leads us right into understanding service pricing and packaging. The email marketing services we reviewed range from about $5 per month to as much as $20 per month for a range of features. Many email marketing plans include unlimited email sends each month and bill you based on the number of subscribers. If you have a small list, then look for a company that offers a free plan, a low-cost plan for several hundred subscribers, or even a pay-as-you-go plan. On the flip side, many of these services also offer high-volume plans with up to 100,000 or more contacts. Sometimes this requires a custom plan that has to be arranged directly with a sales rep. If you're willing to commit, then look for the companies that offer discounts if you pay yearly rather than monthly. A few offer also money-back guarantees.
While open rates are an important metric to monitor (how else will subscribers read the message you’ve so painstakingly composed?), click-through rates provide a much better reference point for email success. This data allows you to see the extent of your subscribers’ engagement beyond whether or not they opened your email, since we’re all familiar with opening emails just for the sake of marking them as ‘read.’
One of the best ways to get these reviews is to use a service like Yotpo that allows buyers to submit their ratings from within their inboxes (as illustrated above). If you’d prefer a less automated approach, a simple text-based email that encourages customers to return to your site and leave a review after they’ve received their products may do the trick.
No matter what your opinion of mass emails is, I guarantee there are at least a few you actually enjoy receiving and do get real value from. The only emails that are annoying are ones that don’t pertain to you or your situation and needs. And as someone who sends them myself, I can assure you that we absolutely want you to unsubscribe if that’s the case. Nobody wants to annoy you with their business emails!
With EmailOctopus, you'll connect your Amazon SES account first to send your emails with Amazon's transactional service. Then design your email newsletters in EmailOctopus' rich editor, and add contacts to your lists. It'll send the email, track stats, and help you grow your list just like any other email tool. Only this time, it's using another service to send the emails and passing the savings on to you.
Carl: So this is one example of a newsletter. Another example of a newsletter will be this email here from Uniqlo that they sent to, again, most likely to their entire list during the holidays or during winter. And here, we have this great content or this beautiful image about this orange jacket followed by some pricing information and some holiday discounts, along with a few other items that they were promoting.
The subject line is the first impression and will ultimately determine whether your emails are opened or not. Brainstorm several subject lines for every email you send and test two to three subject lines for every email. Over time, you’ll see what works and what doesn’t, and you can apply those learnings to increase the effectiveness of your email automation campaigns. Here are some best practices:
Only send email if you have something to say. This one seems obvious, but too many companies start email newsletters with no plan and nothing to say. Email is simply a way to publish content—the content itself has to come first. Before starting a newsletter, make sure it's a sustainable commitment that will help you achieve your business goals. Otherwise, you'll be wasting your subscribers' time and your own time. Ask yourself: What's the goal for this kind of communication? What do we have to say? How will we measure success? Send thoughtful newsletters, and keep the focus on your company's message.
Our targeted email advertising system will safely and automatically advertise your website to thousands of new double opt-in leads every week. You choose the targeting of your email ads, we collect the targeted opt-in leads, and then we do all the mailing! We offer the best solo ads in the industry. Our email ad service is 100% opt-in and spam free.
It’s common to see small businesses dealing with multiple products, catering to different kinds of people. So segmenting your email list based on actual interests is a great way to boost the response you receive. Now, how you understand their interests is what sets you apart from the rest. Usually, how your prospects and customers interact with your brand shows what kind of product or service they might be interested.
You can add more detail to your emails with GetResponse, as well. It can import images from Flickr, Facebook, and iStock, sell products in emails with PayPal buttons, and even reuse text from previous emails with its snippets feature. Then, you can schedule your emails in advance by dragging them to the correct date on a calendar. And if you're promoting your products online, GetResponse has you covered with tools to import contacts from Facebook forms and Twitter ads.