Dedicated vs IP Addresses Explained

 

In New York, as in most large cities, there are only a fortunate few that live alone. Rent keeps increasing by the day and spacious apartments are hard to come by, so we live with roommates. Sharing an apartment with someone means sharing less favorable habits; dishes left in the sink, waking up at dawn to do Pilates in the living room … but it also means a lower financial burden and responsibility of maintaining the place.

The same kind of consideration goes for IP addresses. You can either share an IP address or buy your own – neither is better than the other, there are pros and cons to both. This Flight School Friday, we’ll explore the two options and help you determine which one works best for your business.

What does this have to do with Email?

Similar to roommates, when it comes to sharing an IP address, you’re in it together. Each sender’s reputation on the IP address will affect the others. If you’re just starting off with sending email campaigns or you send a low volume of email, sharing an IP address is a great solution to quickly establish credibility with ISPs such as Google, AOL and Yahoo. At the risk of taking this metaphor too far: this is the same concept as using a guarantor for your apartment if your rent or credit history isn’t established enough.

ISPs will look for consistent sending volume and consistent implementation of email best practices to determine your sender reputation. If your business sends email on a seasonal basis or only needs to communicate occasionally, sharing an IP address is a good way to share the reputation of more established senders. It’s also typically the less expensive option, since you don’t have to pay additional set up fees for an individual IP address.

The downside here is that you’re sharing the reputation of other senders. If these senders forget to clean their contact lists, send an email that falls into a spam trap, use a sensational subject line or any of these black-hat practices, that damages your reputation as well.

Should I get a dedicated or shared IP?

As your business grows and you send larger volumes of email, you’ll likely want to consider moving onto an individual IP address. The reputation of this fresh IP address will be as good or as bad as your sending practices warrant. This means slightly more responsibility than a shared IP address, so you’ll want to make sure you’ve read up on your deliverability best practices and CAN-SPAM law, and of course GDPR.

Working off of your own IP address also makes it easier to track down and troubleshoot deliverability issues. You can even take your campaigns one step further by dedicating an IP address to marketing emails (newsletters, promotional messages) and transactional emails (triggered messages such as thank you emails, birthday emails and reactivation emails). Marketing emails, due to their promotional nature, are more likely to be marked as spam or generate unsubscribes and bounces. While transactional emails tend to be more used to generate responses like invoices, with password resets and tailored information in response to an action taken by a customer. Separating your traffic onto two separate IP addresses ensures that more crucial transactional emails such as invoices and account updates are not affected by the reputation of your marketing emails.

At the end of the day, there’s really no right or wrong answer here – it’s simply a matter of what your business goals are and how your customers prefer to communicate. We do encourage customers to use a dedicated IP address if they can, to have full reign over their deliverability needs and sender reputation. But most likely you’ll get a chance to use both shared and dedicated IP addresses during different stages of your business and for various types of email campaigns. The key takeaway is to do regular maintenance on your IP address, monitor your sender score and review your deliverability reports.

What do you currently use: a shared or dedicated IP address? What do you like/not like about your set up?

How Of a Kind grew their open rates by 23 percent by focusing on quality over quantity

With the rise of “growth hacking” in recent years, businesses – especially the tech world has been all about “doing more, faster”. You’ll see headlines like “How X Company raised $300,000 overnight” or “How Y Company grew a contact list of 25,000 in a week”. These success stories are great – in fact, it’s inspiring to see how much we can do with minimal resources and a small budget. It also motivates healthy competition with fellow industry leaders, causing others to get scrappy and think of more clever ways to achieve maximum growth in a minimal amount of time. When it comes to email though, balance is key. In 2015, e-commerce retailer Of A Kind built out their contact list with quality in mind and saw it pay off big time. Their open rates increased by 23%! Just what did they do? The Of A Kind team focused on two things:

  1. Putting their customers first

    Of A Kind is passionate about building products and creating content that their customers love. The same goes for their email strategy – they wanted to make sure they were speaking to the right customers with the right type of content. Did you know that when used the right way, email  acquires a significantly larger number of customers than social? Almost 40 times that of Facebook and Twitter combined.

     

  2. Cleaning their email lists regularly

    60 percent of the average contact list is inactive, which means that more than half of the people you think you’re speaking with might not even be listening! Of A Kind cut through that extra noise by regularly removing users who have not shown interest in receiving content anymore, segmenting out users who have not opened or clicked in the past three to six months. This allowed them to focus more efforts on listening to how engaged customers were interacting with content.

Head on over here to read more about how Of A Kind boosted engagement with their customers.

 

Ask An Email Marketer: How do I leverage this busy season to build up my contact list?

 

From now through the end of 2015, we’ll be collecting your most burning email questions on strategy, deliverability, design and more through our Holiday Email Toolkit. Each week, we’ll draw one question to feature here on the blog. Want your question answered in our next Ask An Email Marketer? Head on over to submit it on our Holiday Email Toolkit.

Another great point to be thinking about during the holidays – contact list growth. As you ramp up your content and outreach efforts, you have many more touch points to collect new email sign ups. Here are a few ways to hack your list growth.

Building opt-in forms into existing content

To start, make sure you’ve got an opt-in widget embedded on all relevant landing pages, case studies and blog posts. Mailjet has a handy widget tool that can be customized through a drag-and-drop editor with little-to-no-coding. It also lets you automatically sync your new sign ups to your existing contact list(s). You can also build an opt-in form into an exit-intent pop-up through a service like Optimonk, to capture emails right before customers leave so you can keep in touch.

Linking email and social

This one’s always fun to experiment with. Consider running social media contests with a checkbox that allows entrants to stay up-to-date through email. Another handy tool is Twitter’s Lead Gen Card, which looks like a regular tweet but with a simple opt-in form right beneath. We love it because it’s short and sweet and not disrupting to the day-to-day user experience. Learn more about integrating email and social by hopping over to this previous blog post we wrote.

IRL (in real life)

Last but certainly not least, don’t discount offline interactions! Whether it’s at the point-of-sale (POS) in your brick-and-mortar location, or at a holiday conference, connecting offline can sometimes be a powerful way to win trust and collect email addresses. Just be sure to collect explicit consent and to follow the best practice of sending a double opt-in email to ensure the addresses you’re collecting are correct.

Which of these strategies have you tested out before? Which are you most excited to use this holiday season? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Want to define your email strategy to win customers over this holiday season? Check out Mailjet’s Ultimate Guide To Holiday Emailing.

Holiday Emailing Guide

 

Ask An Email Marketer: What’s one common mistake I should look out for this season?

From now through the end of 2015, we’ll be collecting your most burning email questions on strategy, deliverability, design and more through our Holiday Email Toolkit. Each week, we’ll draw one question to feature here on the blog. Want your question answered in our next Ask An Email Marketer? Head on over to submit it on our Holiday Email Toolkit.

We received a great question this week through our Holiday Toolkit. The next few weeks are crucial for sales – many companies are testing out new call-to-actions, design, and promotions to capture the most engagement possible. Amidst all of that fresh content is a lot of trial-and-error – how do you avoid making blunders that might cost your email strategy?

If we had to highlight one mistake to look out for, it would be inconsistency. Remember to be consistent. ISPs (Gmail, AOL, Yahoo) recognize you by your sending patterns, such as sending frequency and email template. We touched on why this is important in a previous Ask An Email Marketer.

Since we’re just about getting to the heart of the holiday season now, we’d recommend pulling back on the temptation to switch things up too much. Instead, focus on what your customers are asking for more of instead of the instinct to just be louder for the sake of standing out. Perhaps your customers are simply looking for warmer colors as opposed to cooler colors or landscape photos instead of portrait shots – incorporating these points will be much more effective than switching out the entire email template.

 

Want to define your email strategy to win customers over this holiday season? Check out Mailjet’s Ultimate Guide To Holiday Emailing.

Holiday Emailing Guide

 

Holiday Email Design Toolkit

Like building a house, you need the proper tools to establish a strong foundation to decorate on. This holiday season, with the help of some of our designer friends at illustrio and 500px, we’ve rounded up a handy toolbox for you to build stunning, responsive campaigns.

For more holiday tips, tricks and hacks, check out our Holiday Email Toolkit and subscribe to our weekly holiday newsletter.

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Flight School Friday: Building The Perfect Drip Campaign

Drip campaigns are the ice breakers of the email world – only way less cheesy. The process of getting to know someone can be unnatural sometimes, both in the real world and online, so it can be a huge relief to have a pre-scripted intro.

Like the trust fall or two truths and a lie, the drip campaign is meant to warm up conversation and build trust. These automated email series are scheduled to be triggered as a prospect or customer takes a certain set of actions. It could be used to move a prospect through the sales cycle or to onboard a new customer. According to DemandGen, nurtured leads (prospects that went through a drip campaign) drove an average 20% increase in sales.

Needless to say, it’s a very effective way to build up long lasting relationships. But just how do you get started with the meet-and-greet? This Flight School Friday, we’ve put together our top four tips for a perfect drip campaign.

1) Introduce yourself

The first handshake with your contact should be pretty straightforward. Be sure to clearly re-introduce yourself, remind them how they landed on your list and what value your emails will bring.

Headspace does a great job of this in their welcome email. They thank their customer and explain exactly what to expect in the coming weeks. We love that they suggest and offer 10 x 10-minute sessions of expert-guided meditation.

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2) Timing is everything

Dig into your historical data to find the best cadence for your drip campaign. Check out how many interactions customers or users have before converting. Look out for the most common drop off points in engagement and help them through those pain points.

Unbounce got creative with one of their emails by having their Campaign Strategist personally check in and survey customers on why they weren’t upgrading their account. It’s short and to-the-point, the subject line draws you in with a hint of mystery and the fact that the email looks personally written, makes the customer more likely to reply with their feedback.

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3) Keep it organized

You can (almost) never have too many lists. Segment your customers by acquisition channel, previous shopping habits, or if you want to get really technical – the number of previous touchpoints with your content.

Like in all email marketing, segmentation is at the heart of a well delivered drip email. These lists can help you accurately pinpoint what call-to-action to deliver and how frequently to deliver. Where prospects might be more interested in case studies and guides, new customers might want to see tutorials or a free trial.

4) Present the ultimate call-to-action

Last but certainly not least, think about the overall goal of your drip series. Is it to drive conversion? What does conversion mean? Are you using a drip campaign for sales – to nurture leads?

Each email send should tease and build up to this master call-to-action, but also think about how to strategically place the last and final send. Here are some possible ideas:

  • Onboarding: Point them to the right support channels and forums so that they can continue to get the help they need and to share their experience about using your product.
  • Sales lead: Scheduling a call or sending a promotion for the customer to try your product.
  • Re-engagement: For those who still haven’t responded, make it known that this is the last message you’ll be sending, or give them an option to change their subscription or unsubscribe.

Wrapping things up

By the end of the drip campaigns, the ice will have been broken and your customer should feel comfortable finding their way around your content and product themselves. Easily set up your first drip campaign by using Zapier and Mailjet. Learn more about the integration here.

Have you tested out any of the drip campaigns we’ve mentioned? How have they worked for you? Let us know in the comments below!

Ask An Email Marketer: What are some tactics that all great holiday emails use?

From now through the end of 2015, we’ll be collecting your most burning email questions on strategy, deliverability, design and more through our Holiday Email Toolkit. Each week, we’ll draw one question to feature here on the blog. Want your question answered in our next Ask An Email Marketer? Head on over to submit it on our Holiday Email Toolkit.

We’ve come across some great emails over the past holiday seasons and always have so much fun sharing what each of these companies did to stand out in the inbox. We’ve found that the campaigns that tend to drive most engagement typically use: urgency, scarcity, exclusivity or transparency.

Here are some of our favorite examples:

1) Everlane puts their profits to a good cause.

Keeping in line with their culture of “radical transparency”, they go a different route from the deeply marked down sales of Black Friday and use the day to raise money to improve their factory conditions in Hangzhou, China.

 

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2) Starbucks spreads the holiday cheer.

They tap into the gift giving spirit by holding a buy-one-get-one-free “Share Event”. Starbucks turns their consumers into brand ambassadors by getting them to either share via the social share buttons on the email or by bringing a friend along to a brick-and-mortar location with them.

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3) Ann Taylor drives urgency.

Using the tagline “because style never sleeps” and call-to-action “tick tock”, Ann Taylor drives up sales during a short few hour time ramp. From 2009 to 2011 visits to flash sales grew by a whopping 368%. Science explains this phenomenon, showing that this competition to find the best deal triggers the “autonomic nervous system arousal which clouds thinking.”

 

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Want to define your email strategy to win customers over this holiday season? Check out Mailjet’s Ultimate Guide To Holiday Emailing.

Holiday Emailing Guide

 

Content Brainstorm Worksheet

Our Content Marketing team pulled together tricks from our own email planning process build a worksheet to help get your creative juices flowing. Crafting fresh, compelling content is a marathon, avoid burnout by starting early and planning ahead. We’ll guide you through crafting subject lines and call-to-actions that make you stand out in the holiday inbox.

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Dissecting The Success Of Your First Holiday Email Send

Hurray! You’ve sent your first holiday email. Now what? You might be tempted to head off and celebrate this momentous step, but before you do – be sure to carve out some time to learn from this first send. Reviewing your KPIs will help you understand your customer’s mentality this season and set the stage for the coming months. Here are a few things to keep in mind when determining the success of your first campaign (and the many to come).

Winning over ISPs vs. users

The key to tackling the crowded holiday inbox is high deliverability and original content. Don’t forget that this means pleasing two audiences – ISPs (Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, etc.) and your users. Let’s take a look at how numbers can tell us all about how strong these relationships are:

Bounce Rate

This is the percentage of contacts who didn’t receive the email. There are a number of reasons why this happens, but to break it down easily there are two types of bounces – hard and soft. A hard bounce is an email address that is permanently undeliverable. It could be that it was entered incorrectly during opt-in (thank goodness for double opt-ins that help prevent this), or that the domain doesn’t exist. While a soft bounce is an address that is temporarily unable to receive incoming mail, because the inbox is full or the server is unavailable. The lower this rate, the better.

Keep an eye out for any unusual spikes in bounce rate. If you’re sending to an old list, a high bounce rate is a reminder to give your contacts a clean.

Unsubscribe Rate

This is your best indicator of engagement levels. The lower this number, the better. The unsubscribe rate is the number of contacts who opt-out of receiving email from you. As you ramp up sending frequency and/or test other types of content over the holidays, you’ll want to keep an eye on the unsubscribe rate to make sure it stays low. A high unsubscribe rate will not only hurt your reputation with the ISPs, it’s also a sign that users are asking for a different email marketing approach.

Remember, you can also use the unsubscribe page as an opportunity to recapture customers or learn where things might have gone wrong.

Spam Rate

The percentage of contacts marking your message as spam. As with bounce rate and unsubscribe rate, a successful campaign means a lower spam rate.  

A report done by ReturnPath showed that last holiday season, more consumers wanted email and positively responded to it than not – meaning lower spam rates. This is good news for senders from particularly competitive spaces who might be worried about consumers being fed up with too much email.

Read up on Mailjet’s Sending Policy here to give yourself a benchmark of rates to look out for.

Conversion Rate

Conversion means something slightly different for each business and industry. But essentially it’s the end goal when it comes to email marketing. it’s when a recipient clicks through an email and performs an action you’d like them to take. For an e-commerce company, this could be a purchase, for a SaaS company this could be downloading a content piece. You’ve likely set company-wide conversion goals and marketing specific goals this past year. Perhaps you’ve even set holiday-specific conversion goals. A high conversion rate means you have a strong, compelling call-to-action and your contacts are engaged with your product.

To calculate conversion rate, simply divide the total number of users who performed the intended action by the total number of users who received the email. So let’s say you’re tracking subscriptions and your last email drove 100 subscribers. Dividing that by your total list of 10,000 contacts would give you a conversion rate of 1%.

The best way to track conversion rate is to use tracking links to set up goal funnels through Google Analytics and measure these metrics alongside your Mailjet dashboard.

Share Count

We can’t let social have all the fun, can we? The email equivalent to a “like”, “favorite” or “retweet” is a share. Email can be forwarded through a “Send To A Friend” button or social share buttons that can be easily set up through Passport.

While the numbers may not grow staggeringly viral at the rate social shares do, greater email shares can build up social proof and lead to more brand recognition. Use apps such as Mention and Buffer to follow up on any conversations that continue onto other social channels. Use these opportunities to build leads or educate more on your product.

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There you have it – only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what you can and should be doing after your first email goes out. Track everything, and as the weeks go on you might find other interesting metrics to include that can help paint a fuller picture of performance.

Have you sent your first email campaign yet? How have you seen or measured success?

 

Want to define your email strategy to win customers over this holiday season? Check out Mailjet’s Ultimate Guide To Holiday Emailing.

Holiday Emailing Guide

 

Ask An Email Marketer: How Much Is Too Much Email?

From now through the end of 2015, we’ll be collecting your most burning email questions on strategy, deliverability design and more through our Holiday Email Toolkit. Every week, we’ll draw one question to feature here on the blog. Want your question answered in our next Ask An Email Marketer? Head on over to submit it on our Holiday Email Toolkit.

It’s all about finding that email frequency sweet spot when sending in a crowded space like the holiday inbox. Too little and your content might go forgotten. Too much and you risk frustrating customers. So how much is too much email?

It’s a tough question to answer since it really varies depending on your business and audience. But, a good place to start is looking at it from a deliverability perspective. ISPs (Gmail, Yahoo, AOL etc.) track your sending characteristics, one of them being frequency. If you’re looking to increase your sending you’ll want to slowly ramp up, otherwise you’re at risk of being considered a spammer. The higher frequency you send, the more likely certain email servers will think your IP address is sending SPAM.

We found this Return Path report really helpful – retailers who sent an average of three emails a week saw the best results, with a 98% inbox placement rate.