The NoReply Dilemma: Best Practices For Your Email Strategy

Let me tell you a short, sad story. This is my inbox:

NoReply Inbox

For months, I have tried to stop a brand from sending me these emails (we don’t do naming or shaming here). But every time I try to contact them, I get back an automated reply which says that my email failed to be delivered. You can imagine my frustration here… Now I understand how my mom would feel when she asked me to tidy up my room. It was like talking to a brick wall.

Post GDPR, it is more important than ever to take the time to evaluate whether you should use a no-reply address for your marketing campaigns. How can you expect your subscribers to contact you to claim their rights if you don’t allow them to do so?

Our friend Chris Arrendale, CEO and founder of Inbox Pros, explains why sending your marketing emails using a reply-to address is always the best idea.

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There is a misconception that sending from a noreply email address is the best way to go to avoid being flooded with email replies. If you’re not familiar, you’ve likely seen this type of sender address before – most of the time it looks like this: noreply@domain.com.

What is a noreply email address?

A noreply email is an email address that is not monitored and blocks customers from replying. However, it can confuse and frustrate customers if their replies go unanswered or worse – bounce.  Let’s explore why it’s never a good idea to use this type of account for email marketing and what you should use instead.

Why you shouldn’t use “noreply” and what to do instead

A noreply email address decreases deliverability and increases spam

Certain ISPs, network spam filters, and customers’ personal email security settings are set up to send noreply email to the junk folder. This will decrease overall deliverability rates and being inboxed less leads to lower possible conversions specially when sending blast emails.

Also looking at email trends from a broader sense, 53% of email is opened on mobile devices.  To accommodate for the smaller screen, inboxes on mobile devices show a preview of the sender and your email address as well.  As a consumer, would you open an email with a noreply email address? You’re more likely to feel like a company is unapproachable.

Swap out the noreply for a reply-to address

Most ISPs do not allow email recipients to add noreply emails to their address books. If a recipient can’t add you to their address book, you’re more likely to be flagged as spam and sent to the junk folder.  It is also much more likely for subscribers to hit the spam button if they can’t reply back requesting removal of their email address.  I’ve seen cases where customers unsubscribed from some of their favorite brands because noreply emails addresses were not being monitored.

Another interesting point to remember is that it shows credibility to ISPs when recipients engage with your email, replying to your email being one of those cases. Safe sender privileges include bypassing some of an ISPs mail filters and delivering straight to the inbox.

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Best practices to remember when sending email replies

As mentioned before, some people skip over the unsubscribe link and reply directly to your email asking to be removed.  These customers bypass the unsubscribe link because they’re afraid it will only flood their mailbox with more emails.  Make sure you honor these requests promptly and suppress the email addresses from your list.  The last thing you want is for these recipients to feel like they are being unheard and in frustration, mark your email as spam.

Also, monitor your reply email address is if you’re sending to a domain where the recipient never opted into your email program. The mail administrator (at the recipient’s domain) may try to contact you at your reply email address.  This is a crucial moment because if you don’t respond back, the email recipient may report you to a blacklist and/or try to contact the Email Service Provider or Data Center to complain about your email.

Building the best conversation

A reply-to email address is essential to any email marketing program.  It nurtures the conversation between you and your customers.

Many B2B senders will use a sales person’s email address as the reply-to to keep the conversation personal and on a more one-to-one level.  Where B2C senders may use a general reply-to address that may be monitored by multiple email marketing professionals.  Both scenarios build the confidence that when the recipient replies to the marketing email, the email will be received and followed up on.

To sum it up, the noreply email address should never be used to send from..  It tells your customers that you don’t really care what they have to say.  You’re also missing out on an important opportunity to collect feedback and learn how to improve your product and also it’s not the best way to grow your email list.

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Have you had a bad experience with stubborn no-reply email addresses? Share it with us on Twitter. :)

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This blog post was written by Chris Arrendale, the CEO and Founder of Inbox Pros. Chris has more than 13 years of experience in the technology and software industry and has worked directly with many different ISPs, webmail providers, spam filter providers, blacklists, and partners to resolve email deliverability and privacy issues. He works with many leading organizations and enterprises to ensure regulatory compliance and maximum deliverability across all systems.

MJML Gets Its Own Desktop App

GENESIS

Some time ago, we released MJML, the only framework that makes responsive emails easy.

The tool, that came with a command line interface, a Node.js library and a try-it-live page on its official website, received a lots of love from the email community on Reddit, Product Hunt and Github and still continues to grow up with new features in each release.

Because we want to make MJML easy to use for everyone, we decided to launch a local editor, so even non-developers can use MJML on their computer.

The MJML app comes with a list of templates ready to use in a single click and a customizable live editor for you to play around with and manage your transactional and marketing emails. It is free to download and available for OSX, Linux and Windows.

Picture1

FEATURES

With the MJML app, your email workflow will improve dramatically.

The app comes with a gallery of templates that you are free to use, or you can create new ones from scratch and save them for future uses. Once you’re happy with your template, you can also export it as a Github Gist. If you want to see what the email looks like in your inbox, you can send a test directly from the app, leveraging the Mailjet API.

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The editor is blazingly fast and mirrors your changes as you type, to automatically update the live preview on the right.

The icing on the cake is that, because it runs locally, the app even works when you’re offline!

Email coding has never been so easy and fun.

 

OPEN SOURCE

MJML App is also an open source project, and all contributions are welcomed! It is a great project for you to join the open source community.

If you want to add any new features, feel free to create a pull request. If it doesn’t break anything, it will be merged in most cases!

You can’t wait to try it, we know. Head over here and check it out, once you’ve tried the MJML app you won’t want to code anywhere else.

5 Core Principles of Receipt Email Growth Hacks

You go to an online store. You purchase something. You checkout. And voila. The transaction is successful.What’s the next thing you do? You check your email for the purchase receipt.

Turns out almost all the world does the same thing – we wait for the email receipt even if we’ve got a receipt at the checkout. Receipt emails (and all post-purchase emails) are part of what’s called the “transactional” email. There’s just one thing you need to know about them (as growth hackers / marketers) – they have the highest open rates amongst all email messages sent to people.

At its core, a transactional email, also known as a triggered email, is generated after a user takes some sort of action. Because of this, transactional emails have 8x the open rates compared to traditional emails. – Mailjet.

Which is why most startups focus on getting the best offers up on their transactional emails. These emails are a gateway to more revenue and increasing the customer lifetime value.

According to research, it’s seven times easier to sell to an existing audience than to someone who doesn’t know about you. – Crazyegg.

But why is it that only a handful of startups are able to get their receipt email growth hacks right?

I studied these emails and a pattern emerged. It’s not so much about email growth hacks as much as it is about behavior patterns. There are 5 core principles that dictate the success of your transactional email messages.Here’s a compilation of those 5 core principles:

  1. One Thing Only

People read transactional emails. They don’t just skim through it. Another interesting stat is people re-open transactional emails more than once.

That gives a false sense of hope; that we can push a lot of messages and people will read. They may read but they may not act if you have multiple things inside your transactional email. That’s why you should focus on getting just one thing done.

  • Share with a friend (to get 50% off).
  • Purchase again to get free shipping.
  • Add another product for a great discount.

There’s a ton of ideas that can get your new customer add more money to the purchase but you can’t give options. That leads to analysis paralysis.Have just one offer at the end of your transactional email – just one. The customer either takes it or leaves it.

Narrowing down to just one option prevents you from confusing the customer – and increases the chance of the action.

 

  1. Build Virality Right Into the Growth Hack

The story of how Hotmail became what it was (just before it sold out to Microsoft) has been told 8.5 million times. One of the most classic growth hacks the company employed was adding a line after the email signature (“PS. Get your free email at Hotmail”).

Virality is what gives companies the exponential boost they need to growth quickly. Your email growth hacks can’t be simple ones like “Get free shipping on your next purchase using this code”. They are not viral.

An example of a growth hack with virality built into it is this:

skillshare

“Invite a friend and both of you get a month free.” (Skillshare)

It’s obvious. This way, your current customer gets you one more user. And so on and so forth. It is important to come up with ways to make your offer viral. That means you have to tweak your offer (or design it) in a way that makes it compulsorily viral.

 

  1. Try Additive Incentives

Ogilvy once said that if an ad works, you shouldn’t try changing it. (That was his version of “if something ain’t broke, don’t fix it”).

The real lesson here is to re-use an idea if it works the first time.

Here’s examples:

  • Company X adds a “Get your next ride free if you refer a friend.” to its transactional emails as a growth hack.
  • This is a one-time offer. You can’t re-use this offer.
  • Company Y adds a “Get $10 off every time you add a new friend.” to its receipt email growth hack.
  • Here’s the nudge: this is not a one-time offer. You can re-use this as many times as you want.
  • While Company Y loses $10 per transaction, it more than makes up for it because it gets a new customer every time someone uses that offer.
  • In the long-run, Company Y has a bigger customer list that it can tap into. And that can mean a lot of growth.

Additive incentives are often seen in a bad light because incubators often tell you that you should try to maximize your revenue. Also, no one wants to keep giving out discounts (unless it’s Wal-Mart). But there’s no way to find out if it works or not without trying it in your market.

Additive incentives work on two levels: it is a growth hack that can help your company grow and it is an incentive that brings people back to you (repeat purchases). And adding them to your transactional emails gives it a greater chance (because, re-open rates are high).

 

  1. Find the “Next Easiest Purchase”

When you design your receipt email growth hack offer, figure out what the next easiest purchase is for the customer who just purchased from you. As an example, the easiest purchase is often the most relevant too.

Dollar Shave Club uses the classic cross-sell:

dollar
In many ways, the “next easiest purchase” hack is really a cross-sell. But we’re extending this to include not just a purchase that adds to the current one but a purchase that the customer is likely to make the next time.

The next easiest purchase is not hard to find out. If you are Uber, the next easiest purchase is an upgrade or a ride back home!

What’s hard is to find out the most optimal, relevant “next easiest purchase” and add the other rules of the growth hack (virality, one thing only) etc. to it.

 

  1. It’s Not Always About “Revenue”

Sure, transactional emails enjoy a superior open-rate and are goldmines for increasing customer lifetime value. But do not let the statistics – and the need for growth – dictate the terms of how you delight your customers.

Sometimes, the simplest of growth hacks are not about getting more money out of the customer but just about delighting the customer in ways that she doesn’t expect. Like how FilterEasy does:

rev
Excited, delighted and happy customers are viral marketing channels themselves. Remember that low-budget movie that spread like wildfire just through word-of-mouth? That’s the kind of an effect people can have when you delight them with your product and service.

The next time you’re adding a growth hack to your receipt emails, don’t forget to apply these five principles.

 

This piece is contributed by Chandru V from around.io. Chandru writes on all things ecommerce and social. He works at Around.io, a feature-rich social media productivity tool for online sellers that you use to promote your shop (and build your brand) on social media.

Mailjet’s New JAVA and PHP Clients Make Integration Easy For All

We’re so excited to share that we recently launched a new version of our JAVA and PHP API clients. This new update allows developers to fetch data directly from the API with a lighter internal code-style. We wanted all users – experts and beginners to be able to easily pick up the wrapper internals and contribute or change the code to fit their needs.  

We’ve also integrated Travis in both wrappers for unit tests, It’s an automated test runner for our git repositories, so you can confidently make pull requests without breaking the existing implementation, stay up-to-date with wrapper states and also make sure you are working with a stable version of the API Client.

Why we decided to iterate on our first version

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Our original Java wrapper was a little complex for beginners to pick up. For example, getting a Campaign resource in Java was pretty lengthy:

Now, we’ve scaled this process down to only two lines of code, making it more accessible for all:  
Leveraging the Open Source community was also one of our goals. of this new update. We used the Google Http Client Library via a Java community project, and the well known Guzzle Http library for PHP. This will ensure our API client will be available on Google Cloud services, is maintained by the community, and focuses on simplicity.

For example, here’s how you would get a contact in Java:

And PHP:  
We love our developer community and encourage you guys to contribute as much as you want! We already go a lot of interest from the Github community and some amazing contributions on both wrappers, and we will be happy to review your work!

We also wanted to give beginners, students and Hackathon attendees a way to quickly send email without having to worry about anything else than their application rather than the email itself:

In Java, sending an email can be performed through the MJEasyClient class.

In PHP, it’s almost the same:  

 

What does this all mean?

On the internals, both PHP and Java now have a much simpler, more consistent code that’ll make it easier for you, our community to contribute and work together in. With this new update, our wrappers are now designed with the most popular guidelines in the industry. For example, we used namespaces, autoload and PSR style guide for PHP. It also means you’ll be able to get the clients and their dependencies with popular dependency managers such as Composer in PHP and Maven in Java. We can’t wait to see what you build with the updated clients!

To learn more about the new PHP and Java clients, hop over to our Github pages here and here.

How Do You Make Black Friday Emails That Really Stand Out?

We’re already in the heart of November. Which can only mean one thing: the sales season is approaching! Smart consumers love Black Friday and Cyber Monday because it’s a “great deals paradise”, where the discounts are deep. But I’m not sure if their wallets are as deep though – so while it can be an incredible business opportunity for retailers, this period has also become a very competitive fight for wallet share over the years, especially when it comes to the inbox. 

Don’t underestimate the power of email though. Email deals are still one of the top go-to destinations for customers during the Black Friday period. According to a survey, 35% of customers looked at retailers’ emails to track deals which is more than those searching online (27%) and those checking out TV commercials (20%).

Here are a few tips to make the most of your holiday season emails.

Choose your own timing and content by listening to your customers

Because of the volume of offers customers will receive during these hectic days, it’s important that you target your core customers. Research figures will tell you that:

  • The sales season really starts on Thanksgiving day and lasts until after Cyber Monday. Last year, Cyber Monday was the day that drove the most sales, followed by Turkey day and Black Friday rounding off in third place.
  • The top item categories shoppers will want to see deals for this year are Electronics (more than 40%), Apparel (26%) and Toys (17%).

These are great figures to use as a comparison, but you should really rely on your own metrics to craft your timing and content.

How to execute:

Ask yourself these questions: what did you do last year that really worked or even didn’t work so well? What did your competitors do? Do you want to drive your customers to your store or focus on online sales? Which items were most popular in the past few weeks? How can you segment your audience to send them more of the right kind of content?

Once you have these answers in mind, you can consider adjusting your promotions accordingly. Consider creating flash sales or hourly deals. Focus on just one sale day (like Black Friday instead of Cyber Monday) to not dilute the message, or create different campaigns for your various lines of products.

One tip that’s guaranteed to work for all retailers: provide information to your customers in advance. Shoppers are tech savvy and know how to prepare their sales season way ahead of time – 81% of consumers now do online research before purchasing n. You have to give them all the information they need to make their purchasing decision at least a week before they start their shopping.

Create a sense of urgency with images and words

Now this can seem like Marketing 101 for those experts among you readers, but it’s a time-tested marketing psychology tactic. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are all about time-sensitive deals. Both words and images that drive a sense of urgency can help encourage sales  and improve your wallet share.

How to execute:

Focus your wording on deadlines and scarcity, for instance:

  • “Time is running out”, “Ends tomorrow”, “Right now”, “Moving fast”
  • “Last chance”, “Only N days left”, “Almost sold out”
  • “Get it before it’s gone,” “Only N spots left,” or “While supplies last.”

Choose graphics that appeal to the same feelings of urgency and scarcity: ticking clocks, hourglasses, badges.

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And don’t forget to use all the magic marketing words and graphics that we’ve found to be successful:

  • “Great deal”, “Special offers”, “Prime offers”,
  • “Off”, “Reduction”, “Only”, “Savings”
    Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 12.21.45 PM

Focus on your own brand identity to make your customers feel at home

Because the sales season is so crowded with deals and offers, establishing a strong emotional connection can be a powerful way to  stand out from the crowd. Remind your customers of how they feel when they connect with your brand. And there’s one channel that lets you use all your creativity to speak to your customers in your very own way: that’s email!

Whether your specific touch is humor or emotion, use your own DNA to write and illustrate your emails.

How to execute:
  • Brainstorm with your marketing team on a specific product or idea to promote in an original way – like Chubbies did with their “Turkey pants” promo email.
  • Ask your copywriting magicians to come up with marketing messages that both reflect your brand and use marketing psychology tricks.
  • Use graphics, illustrations and colors that reflect your brand identity.

Reward your email audience with exclusive deals

You’re probably going to spread your marketing efforts across several channels: TV ads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest,Snapchat, you name it. But since they can be picky with email, why not reward them for being such a faithful audience?

How to execute:
  • Create deals that are exclusive to your email database – don’t forget to mention that in the email subject line for a better open rate!
  • Offer a giveaway in addition to the Black Friday deals
    encourage referrals in the body of the email to take this opportunity to grow your contact lists.

Here you go – time for you to prepare those email campaigns! To sum up:

  • Spend some time analyzing your customers’ behavior before choosing your campaign timing and content
  • Wisely select your copywriting and graphics to suggest urgency and scarcity: Black Friday is just one day indeed!
  • Brand your campaigns to closely reflect your brand identity
  • Consider creating exclusive email deal for your customers, knowing email is still their number one source of catching deals.

One last piece of advice: you can use Mailjet’s Passport campaign builder for a variety of pre-built email templates or to craft your own simply by dragging-and-dropping. You can also incorporate illustrio’s customizable graphics to search and download all the visuals you need in a matter of a few seconds.

Happy shopping!

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

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This blog post was written by Rachel Vanier. Rachel writes content at illustrio, a startup that provides thousands of customizable graphics, easily editable online.

The Seth Godin Guide to Building an Engaged Contact List

16 years ago, Seth Godin wrote the book on email marketing.

Although the word ‘email’ can’t be found anywhere on the cover, Permission Marketing speaks to heart of what email marketing is ultimately about:

“Permission marketing is the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them.” — Seth Godin

At the time, this kind of thinking was almost heretical.

Marketers were still stuck in the era of ‘interruption marketing’, sending unanticipated and impersonal messages to people who didn’t want them.

The doctrine of permission marketing established new ground rules for how marketing was to be done in the digital era — where everyone is a direct marketer, attention is scarce, and consumers refuse to be interrupted.

screenshot-docs.google.com 2015-11-11 15-50-29

The 3 Rules of Permission for Email Marketers

Fast forward 16 years and the principles behind permission marketing are more relevant now than ever, especially for email marketers.

To build an engaged and profitable contact list, here are three rules of permission you should never forget:

Rule #1 – Permission is earned, not bought.

“In order to get permission, you make a promise. You say, ‘I will do x, y and z, I hope you will give me permission by listening.’ And then, this is the hard part, that’s all you do.” — Seth Godin

Promises are the currency of permission. You’ll only get people onto your email list by making a promise. And they’ll only stick around if you fulfill that promise.

But many novice marketers still make the mistake of buying contact lists. It’s a practice that hasn’t yet died from the era of interruption marketing.

Buying lists is the modern equivalent the door-to-door salesman who used to make a living interrupting housewives in the middle of the day trying to sell encyclopedias. You might get lucky and make a few sales, but it’s definitely not the way to build long term value with customers.

Here’s what does work:

  • Acquire contacts organically. Commit to never buying a list or tricking people into getting on your list. When contacts engage with you on their own terms, they’re far more likely to stay engaged and become customers.
  • Make a compelling promise. A great promise is what will get people on your list and position your new relationship with them. The more relevant and personal the promise is to your prospect’s life, the stronger the relationship and the better your chances of converting them into customers.
  • Put your promise in the right place. Go where your prospects are. If you have an active blog, place opt-in offers there. If there are popular websites in your niche, guest blog on those sites and point readers back to an opt-in offer. Advertising on social media is another excellent way to get your offers in front of people.  

Rule #2 – Permission is a journey, not an event.

“The goal of the Permission Marketer is to move consumers up the permission ladder, moving them from strangers to friends to customers. And from customers to loyal customers. At every step up the ladder, trust grows, responsibility grows, and profits grow.” — Seth Godin

When a contact opts in, you’ve earned the lowest level of permission.

It’s what Seth Godin calls ‘situational permission’, because you earned it by making the right offer at the right time. It’s not unconditional and it can be revoked easily.

The highest level of permission is what’s called ‘intravenous permission’,  where you make buying decisions on behalf of the consumer because you’ve built up enough trust that they’ll effectively buy whatever you recommend. This is the holy grail.

Ultimately, the goal is to continue escalating the relationship to higher and higher levels of permission until, eventually, customers will buy whatever you tell them to buy.

Here’s are a few tips to help get started:

  • Build your permission ladder. What are the levels of permission on your list? How can you escalate relationships from opt-in to sale? Most email marketers haven’t clearly defined the steps they want subscribers to take between opt-in and conversion. This is an important place to start.
  • Segment your list by journey. Your subscribers are not all identical. Different customers are on different journeys and their motivations for engagement will vary. Define the different pathways to becoming a customer and segment your list accordingly to make sure your content is always anticipated, personal, and relevant.
  • Automate permission-building. The real power of email marketing lies in automation. Once you’ve built your permission ladder and segmented your list, make good use of autoresponders and other automation tools to put the process of escalating permission on auto pilot.  

Rule #3 – Permission is temporary, not permanent.

“The promise is the promise until both sides agree to change it. You don’t assume that just because you’re running for President or coming to the end of the quarter or launching a new product that you have the right to break the deal. You don’t.” — Seth Godin

The idea of losing permission is a scary thought. It’s the marketing equivalent of a breakup.

But the great thing about email marketing, as opposed to relationships, is that you’re able to see the warning signs long before you lose permission for good.  

Just pay attention to these three numbers:

  1. Open rates measure how much subscribers anticipate receiving your emails. If your open rates start to drop, it’s a good sign that you’re not consistently delivering on your promise or the topic itself isn’t as interesting to your subscriber as it used to be.
  2. Click rates measure how effective your content is at inspiring action. It’s nice when people read your email, but if they’re not taking the intended action, that’s a sign that you’re losing permission.
  3. Unsubscribe rates track when you’ve finally lost permission for good. When someone unsubscribes from your list, it means they’ve gotten to the point where they’d like to formally revoke permission and never hear from you again. 

Marketers tend to focus on unsubscribe rates as the ultimate measure of when permission is lost. But the truth is, you probably lost permission far before your subscriber reached for that unsubscribe button.

Here are a few tips to help you hold onto permission, and get it back when it’s slipping away:

  • Decide what you will NOT do. You made a promise to get people onto your list. It’s important to understand what you need to do to fulfill that promise. But it’s just as important to know what you will NOT do to jeopardize the relationship and the trust you’ve built. For example, if you run an email newsletter that features knitting tutorials for the elderly, trying to sell them dentures might not be well received (even if they need them).  
  • Build a re-engagement sequence. Just because someone is not that into you at the moment, doesn’t mean they’re gone forever. If you notice some subscribers have stopped opening your emails or taking action on them, build a follow up sequence to re-engage them. Again, automation is your friend here.

Email is the Holy Grail of Permission Marketing

“Real permission is different from presumed or legalistic permission. Just because you somehow get my email address doesn’t mean you have permission. Just because I don’t complain doesn’t mean you have permission. Just because it’s in the fine print of your privacy policy doesn’t mean it’s permission either.” — Seth Godin

The inbox is a sacred space. It’s guarded more closely than any other medium because it’s where real work gets done.

For that reason, it’s also the most cut throat. If you make your way into the inbox and blow it, you’re just one click away from getting the boot.  

But if you succeed at building permission at every step of the relationship, by fulfilling promises and living up to the responsibility of being in the inbox, you’ll have the opportunity to earn loyal customers for life.

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This blog post was written by Ahmad Munawar, a marketer and copywriter who helps brands craft email campaigns that boost engagement and drive revenue. He’s also a Certified Content Marketer with Copyblogger Media. Join his once-a-month newsletter for email marketers at hitsend.co — and say hello on Twitter @aamunawar.

4 Ways to Craft an Irresistible Opt-in Offer

Aren’t you tired of getting hit over the head with opt-in offers?

You used to be able to just ignore those opt-in boxes in the sidebar or at the bottom of a blog post. But now, marketers are literally throwing opt-in offers in your face and forcing you to make a decision.

The sheer volume of opt-in offers that consumers are faced with makes it necessary to tune most of them out. But if everyone’s ignoring your offers, how can you get more people onto your list?

Here are five proven ways to cut through the clutter and make your offer one of the few that stand out:

#1 – Make an important promise.

What gets your attention when you’re surfing the web?

If you’re honest, not much. Most opt-in offers, even if they seem valuable, are ignored for practical purposes. You just don’t have enough time and attention to go around.

That said, if you stumble across an offer that speaks directly to a problem or desire that’s been on your mind, something you’ve really been thinking hard about, it’s difficult to ignore.

If you want to cut through the noise, you need to align your promise with what’s really on your audience’s mind. Anything short of that will be ignored.

Example: Double Your Freelancing

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 4.45.53 PM
 

Brendan Dunn presents new visitors to Double Your Freelancing with an offer to learn how to ‘Charge What You’re Worth’. For freelancers who make a living charging for their time, this gets immediate attention because getting the best return on their time is always top of mind.

#2 – Be really specific.

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 4.46.00 PM
 

Which of these two pay-per-click ads do you think performed better?

This was a real test run by a B2B software company. They found that the second ad increased clicks by 20.9%.

The more precise your offer is, the more believable it becomes. Your audience isn’t looking for generic solutions to generic problems — they’re looking for a very specific solution to their specific problem.

#3 – Offer immediate value.

There’s a delicate balance between delivering on your promise and giving your audience something they can actually consume.

You can give away a 700-page ebook filled with all your best advice (I’ve actually seen something like this), but it won’t create much value if it doesn’t get read.

The smaller and more digestible your offer, the more likely people will take you up on it.

Example: VideoFruit

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 4.46.05 PM
 

I was scrolling through Bryan Harris’ blog over at VideoFruit when I stumbled across this offer for a ‘List Building Checklist’. Bryan talks a lot about list building on his blog, so it’s safe to assume his readers are interested in the topic. This is the perfect example of an offer that provides immediate value and is easy to consume.  

#4 – Time it right.

The other day I was thinking about buying a mountain bike. I may have also done a casual search on mountain bikes to get a feel for what’s out there.

Then, later that day, I saw a Facebook ad about a mountain bike sale at a local sporting goods store. $400 later, it’s sitting in my garage.

That’s the power of timing.

Social media advertising presents a powerful opportunity to present your audience with a perfectly timed opt-in offer based on their online behavior.

But it’s not just social media. Every piece of content you publish is an opportunity to make an opt-in offer. If someone makes it to the end of your blog post, they’re obviously interested in that topic. Why not give them an opportunity to learn more?

Example: Hubspot

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I love this example from HubSpot’s sales blog because it proves that straightforward offers, when timed right, can work really well. After reading a great sales article on HubSpot’s blog, I’m likely to respond positively to an offer to receive more content like this.

Which opt-in offer is right for your list?

The short answer: all of them.

Each of these strategies can be employed simultaneously with the same list. The most prolific list builders don’t just have one or two pathways onto their list — they keep adding more and more, regularly testing which ones perform best.

Have you had any success with these list building strategies? Are there any other ‘irresistible offers’ you’ve seen around the web that work really well? Let us know in the comments below.

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This blog post was written by Ahmad Munawar, a marketer and copywriter who helps brands craft email campaigns that boost engagement and drive revenue. He’s also a Certified Content Marketer with Copyblogger Media. Join his once-a-month newsletter for email marketers at hitsend.co — and say hello on Twitter @aamunawar.

Mailjet For Pythonistas

Check out our new Python wrapper here.

Python is a programming language made for makers. It’s verbose –  arguably similar to English, in the sense that you can perform complex tasks with just a few lines and focus on your solutions without taking care of the actual implementation. Python is designed for building and executing ideas, taking them beyond the brainstorming stage.

Today we are proud to unveil a brand new Python wrapper that we’ll be adding to our collection. The wrapper focuses on simplicity – you can use a single line of code to perform almost any action you need. Nothing more, nothing less.

Considering Python is THE most popular introductory language – it has arguably the largest community of developers of all skill sets and skill levels – the possibilities for collaboration and innovation are great. Not to mention – it’s fast, one of the most important things for your email.

 

“Python is fast enough for our site and allows us to produce maintainable features in record times, with a minimum of developers” — Cuong Do, Software Architect, YouTube.com


Listing your first 150 contacts:

You can access any resource from Mailjet, followed by either ‘get’, ‘create’, ‘update’ or ‘delete’

Filtering the query is made easy by simply passing a dictionary as a parameter.

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Viewing a specific contact:

Listing your contacts will return your entire list, or the first “x” number of contacts as specified, so what happens when you want to retrieve information for one individual contact? You’ll need to call your contact’s ID. Here’s what it looks like.

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Above and beyond sending email:

We know that email isn’t just about delivery – it’s so much more. It’s about building strong relationships with your contacts, which includes testing content, tracking their engagement through key metrics, and even removing them from your list when they are no longer engaged.

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Try it out and let us know what you think! Let us know below what you planning on building first with the new Python wrapper .

Go, Go Mailjet

Back in 2009, Google released a language called Go, often referred to as “Golang”. Go was introduced as a robust server-side programming language. Since then, it has never failed to fulfill its promises with low-level programming patterns and powerful data structures.

“Go is replacing the JVM and .Net as the de-facto enterprise language of choice” — Ian Eyberg

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Today, we are releasing a new wrapper that will bring Go to your email campaigns. This wrapper will take your asynchronous email operations – like uploading contact lists or sending transactional emails, to a whole new level.

Like the rest of our wrapper library, this new addition packs the power of all Mailjet features inside your Go code. You’ll be able to manage your contacts, campaigns, send marketing or transactional emails through the API and receive your email, effortlessly and seamlessly.

“We want to expose Go to and educate people of different experience levels and backgrounds in order to generate fresh perspectives and ideas. This will enable Go to live outside of Google”. — Nicolas Garnier


With this new Go wrapper, 
all Mailjet endpoints are accessible in your projects. It’s also “timeless” – when and as our APIs continue to grow, the wrapper will adapt with all future updates. For those who are new to Mailjet, the wrapper also comes with a full documentation so that you can hit the ground running and be ready to send from day one.

Go in action

The wrapper is designed to be idiomatic, which means it’s written using Go’s standard style-guides. As an example, here’s a function that can be used to “List” your contacts:

 Adding an ID or an email will result in a View request:      

 

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Sending email

Email is a powerful tool for developers, entrepreneurs and businesses of all shapes and sizes. As always, our dream is to see email integrated just about anywhere. We built this wrapper in mind, as an easy and intuitive tool to leverage the power of Mailjet within your Golang applications.

Hop on over here and get started today. We can’t wait to see what you build with the Golang wrapper! We’re currently working on a project ourselves – stay tuned for more.

What do you think we’re building with the Go wrapper? What would you build first? Let us know in the comments below!
Pssst: we also launched our Developers focused Twitter account. Join us!

The #1 Obstacle to Building a Profitable Email List

Have you ever walked into a used car dealership?

It’s kind of an awkward place. There’s a parking lot filled with a bunch of random cars, none of which look all that appealing, and a small office that smells like some combination of cheap cologne and cigarettes.

But the hallmark of the used car lot experience is the salesman himself — usually a guy with a name like Chuck sporting a cheap sports jacket and a moustache (not the cool kind).

The used car salesman is notorious for using the sleaziest sales tactics to try sell you a car on right there on the spot. There’s always a blowout sale. And every car is ‘one-of-a-kind’.

But in fairness, he doesn’t really have a choice.

Chuck gets a commission for every car he sells. He has a sales quota. He has kids to feed. It’s in his best interest to sell you a car, any car — as fast as possible.

Are you treating your email list like a used car lot?

 

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When the used car salesman sees you walking around the lot — all he sees is a commission. If he doesn’t get you into a conversation about ‘numbers’ by the time you leave, you’re probably not coming back.

And that makes sense for a used car salesman. He has to resort to high pressure sales tactics and gimmicky promotions because used car buyers are fickle bargain hunters with no loyalties.

He doesn’t have the luxury of taking his time to build trust.  

You’re not a used car salesman.

As an email marketer, you have the opportunity to build relationships with your buyers over time and win their trust. You don’t have to force the sale by trying to convert subscribers into customers as fast as possible.

But what are you doing with that opportunity? Are you building lasting relationships with customers that only get stronger and more valuable over time? Or are you cashing in on those relationships as fast as possible — trading long term growth for a few quick bucks?

How to Build Lasting Customer Relationships — One Email at a Time

Getting someone onto your list is only the beginning. Once they’re there, it’s up to you to build the trust required to convert that subscriber into a customer for life.

Here are 3 tips to maximize the lifetime value of every subscriber:

#1 – Make a compelling promise.

First impressions count. The way you position your new relationship is a good predictor of how valuable the relationship will ultimately become.  

Why are they on your list? How are you going to help them? How will their lives change for the better through this new relationship with you?

Remember, giving up an email address is no longer an insignificant gesture. It’s a transaction. And your subscribers are expecting something valuable in return.

Case Study: Boost Blog Traffic

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Jon Morrow’s opt-in offer for Boost Blog Traffic is proof that your promise doesn’t have to be complicated. His popular ebook, 52 Headline Hacks, gives subscribers an overwhelming amount of value just seconds after they subscribe.

#2 – Give them a warm welcome.

When a new subscriber joins your list, you’ve earned the permission to build a relationship with them — but there’s still no relationship until you build it.

In the early days, it’s critical that you validate their decision to join your list and set expectations for what they can expect from you going forward.

Remember, subscribers can get off your list just as fast as they got on. They gave you the benefit of the doubt when they joined — but they won’t stick around unless you prove they made the right decision early on.

Case Study: Copyblogger

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Copyblogger’s flagship course, Internet Marketing for Smart People, is a 20-part welcome series that delivers a comprehensive crash course on internet marketing. Twenty value-packed emails delivered over the course of a few weeks cements Copyblogger’s authority and gives subscribers little reason to leave.

#3 – Make every communication count.

Believe it or not, not everyone reads your emails.

In most industries, open rates average between 15% and 25% — which means most of your emails are unread by most of your subscribers.

Every time a subscriber opens an email, what they find inside will either positively or negatively impact the probability that they’ll open the next one. And if they’re only reading a small percentage of them to begin with, each email becomes that much more important.

Case Study: Firepole Marketing

Danny Iny and the folks at Firepole Marketing send a LOT of email. In fact, they send on a daily basis. Some people love it, while others just don’t have the time to read that frequently. For the busier folks, Firepole Marketing includes this simple message at the bottom of every email:

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Why offer the option of a weekly summary? Because giving subscribers the option to choose when and how they’d like to engage improves the chances that they will.

Relationships build trust. Trust increases sales.

If your email list is a revolving door of prospects who join and quickly unsubscribe — it’s not much of a list.

Email marketing is ultimately a relationship medium. The more you invest in building trust with your subscribers, the more sales you’ll make.

But that’s easier said than done. Relationship building is hard work that often comes at the expense of short term gains. Most people just don’t have the stomach for it.

That’s why it’s so valuable when you do it.

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This blog post was written by Ahmad Munawar, a marketer and copywriter who helps brands craft email campaigns that boost engagement and drive revenue. He’s also a Certified Content Marketer with Copyblogger Media. Join his once-a-month newsletter for email marketers at hitsend.co — and say hello on Twitter @aamunawar.