Most successful emails hang on the skeleton of workhorse email templates that meet a few key criteria. These elements give a message its structure, and like a skeleton, it features a head, body, and feet. This infographic explains the vital pieces that give you the structure for communicating and that make it easy for your recipient to engage with your message.
Commercial Emails and Transactional Emails: Differentiators and Best Practices
Whether you’re sending commercial or transactional emails, making sure your message gets where it’s going, gets read and makes an impression is of the highest priority. What’s the difference? Transactional emails are sent to a person as a result of a specific action taken by the user. Commercial emails are promotional emails sent to a user in order to drive awareness, encourage engagement, or make a sale.
By following a few simple best practices you can ensure both your commercial and transactional emails hit their targets and stay out of the spam folder.
2013 has been an eventful year for the email marketing industry, filled with ups and downs, and many heated discussions. Yea, we know, because we’ve documented all the changes and upheaval, both good and bad through our weekly Message Exchange blog posts. We all have our personal favorites of course, but which topics and posts did you, dear reader, like? Well, we’ve got the list as indicated by none other than you, and we’re going to be counting down with the top 10 best email marketing blog posts !
DKIM email authentication makes the list at number 10! Our Director of Product Policy, Kate Nowrouzi, expounds upon the importance of not only implementing DKIM, but rotating your DKIM keys once every three months. Don’t leave your email security to chance… when was the last time you rotated your DKIM keys?
It’s hard not to come into contact with our email software if you’re a regular user of social media platforms and other online services – after all, our digital messaging software, Momentum powers 20% of the world’s legitimate email! We’re glad you enjoyed our infographic illustrating the different ways in which Momentum powers your online communication in your daily life.
Groupon provides us with a great example of how to stand out in the inbox with a unique email subject line. Talk about a successful email marketing strategy for an effective email marketing campaign… we’re honored to be chosen by Groupon to power their daily deals!
Email deliverability has, and always will be, an issue for email marketers. Here’s a quick guide to how some of the major Internet Service Providers, and email gatekeepers, determine whether your sending reputation is good enough for their customers’ inboxes.
And once again DKIM proves to be popular among our readers, or was it just the awesome Grandma graphics? Whatever the reason, the How to Explain DKIM To Your Grandmother infographic certainly went viral on social media!
And that’s it for the posts that our readers have ranked in positions 10 to 6! Watch this space next week for our top five best email marketing blog posts! In the meantime, how about enjoying a free read about DMARC on us with the Don’t Deprioritize DMARC webinar? Enjoy!
Weekly Email Marketing News Digest
We’re looking at ways to increase an email’s open rate this week! From welcome emails, to subject lines & design elements, here are some tips for better performing emails.
The average open rate for welcome emails is 50%, which is 86% more effective than the newsletter. Welcome emails are also 9x more effective than other transactional email in generating sales so here are a few tips to get started:
From colours to images, email design has a huge impact on your brand reputation. Here are some things to consider:
- Building brand awareness through design elements
- Ensure your most important message appears in the preview pane
- Pictures have impact but remember the alt tag
- Colour has an impact on different viewers
- Have a prominent call-to-action
Besides the welcome email, subject lines are a great way of getting your audience to sit up and take notice of your brand. The 15 email subject line formulas listed in this article revolve around the topics of:
- Announcement / Invitation
- Company Newsletter
- Content Localization
- Call To Action
- Helpful Content
While you can use the examples in the article straight away to increase opens, it’d be great to mix it up a little, A / B test some subject lines and find out what works best for your business!
Subject lines aside, it seems like timing is everything, so make sure you send those emails at an opportune time when it is convenient for your subscribers to open. A study from MailerMailer shows that email opens peak at 11.1% – one hour after the email is delivered. At six hours after delivery, 51.8% of an email’s opens have occurred.
If you’re using open source software to run your email campaigns, you may be paying too much. Download our eBook on The High Cost of Free Software to find out why!
Weekly Email Marketing News Digest
We learnt about how social and email both played a unique role in the sales funnel last week. This week, it’s all about the email inbox, from email metrics, to email deliverability and how to get into the inbox, to Google’s new tabbed inbox.
This Is Not Spam Rate could be the shiny new metric for email marketers and provides great insight into deliverability. A brand with a deliverability rate of 88 – 97% of emails had an average TINS rate of 0.15%. Brands with 97 – 99% deliverability had a TINS of 0.44%.
13-18% of emails that are read have a 0.34 TINS rate while emails with a rate of 22% and higher had a 0.97 TINS rate.
Few people take the time to go into their spam folder and fish out emails that are not spam unless they are transactional emails from financial institutions that people are actually looking for. If your brand’s emails are being removed from the spam folder by subscribers, it’s a clear indicator of engagement.
Customers are wising up to the offers that retailers are providing to get them to convert. Here are two considerations:
1. Ask yourself if you should send an abandoned cart message. The answer should hinge on these concerns:
- Has this customer received an abandoned cart message in the past XX number of days?
- Does the cart value exceed a certain amount?
- Is this a first time purchase?
2. Is it necessary to include an offer in the abandoned cart message? Sometimes a product review might work just as well as a discount.
The new Gmail tabs that sort your emails into Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates and Forums have been widely proclaimed as the death of email marketing. Not so, says our good friend and technology marketer, Chris Penn. To find out if the new tabs are actually hurting your email metrics, Chris recommends pulling the following statistics:
- How many Gmail addresses you sent to that campaign?
- How many of those Gmail addresses opened the email?
The answer might surprise you, but don’t buy into the panic before pulling those statistics.
Salesforce has a list of 25 email marketing stats that you can use to convince anyone of the power of email. Here’s one of them:
“64% of people say they open an email because of the subject line.”
Now you have all the ammo you need to convince your team to invest in email.
Here’s a checklist for email campaign delivery:
Find out more about how to get your emails into the inbox when you watch The Keys to Deliverability Success webinar!
So you’re at dinner with Grandma enjoying some homemade apple pie when she pops the question. No, not when are you getting married, or when you are having kids, or when you are having grandkids, but what do you do at work? You panic. How do you explain something as complex as DKIM and email authentication to Grandma?
Never fear though. We at Message Systems have got your back! We have pre-empted this socially awkward situation with a great infographic on How To Explain DKIM To Your Grandmother. Heave a sigh of relief and read on!
Now that you are an expert at DKIM, it’s time to learn about the email authentication standard, DMARC. Watch the Don’t Deprioritize DMARC webinar to find out why DMARC is so essential to businesses in preventing online fraud!
Weekly Email Marketing News Digest
Numerous studies have cited the important role email plays in driving conversions, and Monetate’s Ecommerce report is the latest piece in the trail of evidence. How do you define success though? We cover that and tips to succeed in email marketing in our latest email marketing news digest!
When it comes to ecommerce, Monetate’s Ecommerce report shows that email is the biggest driver of conversions, as well as the top referrer for the most average page views.
Monetate’s VP of Marketing, Blair Lyon explains email’s success:
“Email is all about segmentation and personalized messaging. We need to continue to focus on delivering relevant messaging that is appropriate to the individual person, their behavior and time. Matching the email to the context and stage of that customer in their buying process is crucial. It really is all about the right content to the right customer at the right time.”
If you’re new to the world of email marketing, here’s your cheat sheet: a list of email marketing metrics to measure your success.
Classic Engagement Metrics
- Total Opens
- Total open rate
- Unique Opens
- Unique Open Rate
- Total Clicks
- Total Clickthrough rate
- Unique Clicks
- Unique Clickthrough Rate
- Click-to-Open Rate
- Email Conversions
- Email Conversion Rate
- Email Revenue
For detailed definitions, do read the full article!
Email’s not only great for e-commerce, it’s great for financial advisers. Here are 7 Tips for financial advisers.
- Past relationships with the recipients of your email matters a lot
- Content is essential for the success of email campaigns
- Provide subscribers with special treatment
- Insert an image next to the signature
- Be careful about timing
- Use a clear call to action
- Do not send repeat emails
I’m going to add another tip to this list: Tip 8 – All these tips work for professionals in other industries as well!
Mike Veilleux from Dyn talks about the 5 Hottest Trends in Email Marketing that will help marketers reach the full potential of their email campaign.
- Focus on user engagement
- Transactional email is a possible revenue source
- Security and brand protection are essential
- Email is often filtered; hence treat recipients the way you want to be treated
- Real-time information is providing a basis for focused, unique email
Landing pages running %500 giveaway contests generate 700% more email subscribers than those that don’t.
Want to learn more about high volume sending for conversions? Watch the Six Secrets of Successful Sending webinar to find out how to make your email work better for you.
Weekly Email Marketing News Digest
On this week’s edition of the email marketing news digest we’re looking at what the experts have to say on the do’s and don’ts of email segmentation. We present the views, so you can do your own testing to see what works best for your business! And for the email segmentation experts out there, we’ve kept it diversified with tips from mobile marketing and study results on the industry performance of email marketing.
Targeting increases relevance, which in turn boosts customer engagement leading to increased email clicks and open rates. Targeting is achieved through segmentation and here are 7 ways to segment an email list:
- Automated triggers
- Purchase data
- Customer Preferences
While the previous article gives a good overview of basic email segmentation practices, Jordie van Rijn provides examples where it’s okay to make an exception, or to go one step further in ensuring your email is both relevant and targeted.
- Early segmentation – Sometimes it’s best to put off collecting customer preferences to make email sign-up less painful. Instead, go for a customer preference center.
- Age & behavior – Don’t make assumptions about age group. For example, just because you are targeting baby boomers doesn’t mean you don’t need an email that is optimized for mobile.
- Gender segmentation – Remember that during the season of giving, people might purchase something on your site for the opposite gender as a gift.
- Geographic location – Rethink the way you present content to a national audience if you segment by geography. Be creative!
Couple of weeks back we featured an article on how you can improve email deliverability through SEO tactics. Now we’re letting mobile marketing teach us a few new tricks. Get users to opt in to receiving email through text by:
- Asking them
- Offering incentives
- Opt-ins within mobile apps
- Customer review
- Captive audiences
- Short codes
- QR codes
We’re all about multi-channel these days so we might as well apply that to our marketing tactics as well!
Our client Eloqua has gathered data revealing that personalized subject lines are key to open rates. Email subject lines that contain the name and one other personal detail perform the best.
Here are 5 other tips to boost your open rates.
- Segment your list separately by social data
- Craft templates that enable you to trigger personalized emails
- Exclamation points don’t necessarily drive opens
- Test and track the effectiveness of calls to action (CTAs)
- Align your email and social language for consistent communication
Think you’re good at email marketing? Here’s an infographic to give you some insight on how you compare in the industry (or in UK at least).
Looking for a digital messaging software with built-in functionality to segment lists for behavioral marketing? Read more about Momentum.
[UPDATE: We’ve had a lot of interest in the on-premise vs outsource debate so we’re updating this post with more information to provide some context on the pros and cons of both camps.]
Whether or not a business decides to go with on-premise infrastructure or outsource to email service providers for managing email streams is a critical long-term choice, and one to which there is no singular answer. That choice depends on a number of factors, including the size of the business, the volume and frequency of sending, the need for data integration, data privacy, and the need for scalability. While you’ll hear voices on both sides advocate for one solution or another, the reality is that different solutions fit different requirements, and the choice comes down to balancing potential upside with cost and risk.
When looking at the upside comparisons, one might take a look at the findings of a survey published by David Daniels, CEO of The Relevancy Group and former VP / Principal Analyst of Forrester in September 2012. The survey explores the impact of technology deployment on marketing effectiveness.
While results of the survey favor the on-premise camp, there are some instances where outsourcing might work for your business.
The Argument For Outsourcing
Most businesses really begin enjoying significant cost savings with on-prem when they send 10 million messages a month or more. The 10 million mark isn’t a sharp line, but a decent ballpark figure. If you’re a start-up that is still growing a fledgling database of subscribers with a small email list, then chances are you’ll be pretty far off from the ten million messages a month benchmark. With a small team that is focused on the development of a core business product, start-ups or smaller enterprises might not have the technical resources in-house to really focus, fine-tune and reap the benefits of the on-premise marketing juggernaut of an email infrastructure. When you move into high-value messaging, transactional messaging, or have complex data integration or stringent delivery SLA requirements, this guideline may well come down.
Running a tight ship and your marketing department is small? You might want to outsource to an email service provider that offers creative services: a one-stop shop for all your needs. Consolidating all production rather than relying on disparate contractors to first design, then code email is a time-saver and definitely a value-add that email service providers can deliver. With email service providers, a core value is not only the technological capability, but the array of creative services that comes in the packaged deal such as consultancy and production.
Greater control and insight into the email process through on-prem can provide a boost in terms of deliverability, but perhaps that is not a core concern of your business. There could be a number of reasons why this is the case. Messaging your customer might not be business critical to your revenue stream. You might not have complex data integration needs for crafting your campaigns. Your sending volumes are manageable.
It all boils down to the issue of your business model. If you are heavily dependent on significant volumes of email to keep your business in the black, you should take another careful look at the on-prem option. However, if the upside potential from managing your own messaging in terms of the factors identified in the Daniel’s research does not justify the investment in building a center of excellence, then that is the clearest indicator that an outsource provider is right for you.
The Argument for On-Prem
The scalability, greater control and better deliverability that on-prem provides are critical factors for businesses that send huge volumes of emails, such as a daily deals site or e-retailers, where service offerings are presented to customers primarily through online channels such as emails. When email becomes a major source of revenue for a business and increasing deliverability just slightly can result in significant financial gains to the company, then it’s time to look at an on-premise infrastructure.
The argument for on-prem hedges mainly on:
- The pure cost savings that sending in high volumes can present.
- The control that it provides over data, which you would not be able to obtain immediately, and with ease through an outsource provider.
- The factors outlined in David Daniels study. The question each business must ask here is if these factors are important enough to justify that spend on messaging infrastructure.
While outsourcing may be a quick-fix to resolving your issues with email in a start-up, when an organization grows to a certain size and begins pumping out email campaigns at high volume, costs, when working with an email service provider, can quickly escalate. In many businesses, a critical part of the workflow includes event-based mails and transactional notifications that ramp up the messaging volume, and corresponding prices too. In the process of evaluating whether on-prem is right for your business, there is simple math you can do to evaluate whether moving from a CPM-driven model to an owned-infrastructure model has a lower TCO (total cost of ownership). Making the switch to on-prem could lead to significant cost savings in the long run.
Control, Visibility & Integration
The story of on-prem is closely tied to that of the greater control it affords users. If your marketing department is large enough that you have in-house designers and in-house web developers, you’re probably comfortable with producing your own branded look and feel of an email. In fact, you probably want that flexibility to make your own tweaks to the template to better customize and personalize it for recipients. Access to such creative resources in-house severely diminishes a critical part of the value that many ESPs bring to the table.
When weighing your options from a cost perspective, it’s easy to say that on-prem is the way to go, if you flat out have a lower TCO when sending significant volumes. Visibility and integration aspects however, are more subtle, and may add value that makes sense to switch to on-prem, even if it is not a direct cost saving. If you are sending in high volumes, and deliverability is critical to the success of your organization as a whole, you will want immediate visibility into sending data that can help to optimize your campaigns. Additionally, visibility into recipient data will allow you to better understand the value of your customers, and help you improve the targeting and relevance of campaigns to increase the revenue gained per customer. From a technological perspective, it also facilitates the integration into other disparate systems.
It’s not that ESPs can’t provide visibility into your email stream and data – they can. But with an on-prem solution you’re going to have greater control over your email data, and you’ll have immediate access to it. Moreover, the Relevancy Group study we reference in our infographic shows clearly that on-premise marketers are able to leverage and integrate more disparate data than marketers using out-sourced email infrastructure. In other words, they are better able to use information such as customer purchase/transaction histories, web behavior and mobile marketing data to shape and optimize their email programs.
And the answer is…
Each business has differing needs when it comes to email. A general categorization is for businesses to look for an email service provider when sending in smaller volumes or seeking one-stop creative services, and to look towards on-premise when they need more sophisticated features to address the gaps in terms of deliverability and visibility.
If you are interested in finding more about on-premise and whether it is right for your business, we’re happy to do a thorough evaluation and address any questions you might have.
And for those that may not have the luxury of time to drill down to the nitty gritty details of David Daniels white paper, we’ve distilled the salient points into an infographic that summarizes the study results. Just remember that the benefits outlined are mostly experienced once a sender crosses a certain threshold in volume. Enjoy!