Mailjet has been one of the first ESPs (ok THE first) to get onboard with all GDPR requirements.
We know you missed us talking about GDPR, right? 😂
On a more serious note, our customers were very curious about GDPR compliance and are pretty concerned about security and data protection. You know, we are constantly working to make things easier for you. We gathered below all features related to contacts and GDPR available for all Mailjet’s customers.
Refresh your subscription form to add the new GDPR-compliant consent box
For optimal transparency and safety, we advise our users to implement Mailjet’s double opt-in subscription widget to build their contact lists.
Now, in addition to making sure that you have the consent of your recipients, you’ll be able download the proof of consent from each of your contacts. ✍🏽
How do we do this?
In widget creation, a small checkbox has been added. Tick the box.
Customize the text of the checkbox.
When a user subscribes to your newsletter, the consent information, including the widget name and consent checkbox text, will be added to their contact profile.
Here is an example of a GDPR-compliant checkbox:
You are all set!
Please note that if you already have our subscription widget on your website, you will need to re-install it to activate the GDPR checkbox, which will enable the proofs of consent to be stored.
This also means that you won’t be able to download a proof of consent for your old contacts.
No worries, though! If you’re using our widget from the beginning, we are here to cover you in case you encounter any issue with a recipient claiming she/he never consented to receive you information. We’ll be able to provide this information as it is registered in our system 😉.
Have your consent proofs stored and available for download when needed
Another great news is that you can now access and download this proof of consent directly from your Mailjet account, whenever you need it, without contacting our Support team.
Wondering how to download the consent proof of your contacts?
Search for a contact in your Contact lists.
Click on it and you’ll access all the details related to it (we did some re-design here by the way 🎨).
The proof of consent needed can then be downloaded right from here:
Delete a contact in one click
As you know, under and since GDPR, contacts are more aware about what informations they share, and it’s really common that they ask about being deleted from any list and any communication.
So besides unsubscribing, checking statuses and statistics, editing contact properties, removing a contact from a list, it’s now possible to delete a contact…from all your lists, in just one click, straight from the contact overview page:
Important note: statistics generated for all the emails sent to the removed contact will not be altered because of the deletion of the contact. But the contact and its informations will no longer be seen in the database, or available for future sendings.
We hope we helped you become (even more) GDPR-compliant.
Let us know what do you think once you set up the new widget on your website, and your opinion about these news in general!
Ecommerce is growing at an astronomical rate. In 2017, global Ecommerce was responsible for $2.3 trillion in sales, and this is expected to grow to $4.5 trillion in 2021. Alongside this growth, all signs point towards emailing as the preferred method of communication in Ecommerce over other channels, including social media. In fact, 72% of people, (including those elusive millennials and teenagers) still primarily prefer email as their primary mode of communication with brands.
This is not surprising.
Email marketing heavily depends on 4 pillars – content, design, data, and deliverability – all of which must be integrated into an overarching email marketing strategy. When they are not working together, you may well just be getting through your emails, but not optimizing at full capacity.
In this article, we will give you everything you need to get your Ecommerce email strategy up to par, including the different types of emails you’ll need in your customer journey, and essential tips to get content, design, data, and deliverability right.
Email marketing strategy: The essentials
Before you send a large number of emails to your customers, it’s important to define your email marketing objectives. After all, to build a house you need a solid foundation. Your objectives will be your foundation.
Writing emails without a solid strategy will run the risk of sending campaigns that aren’t relevant, and that can result in a low click rate or worse – skyrocketing unsubscribe rates. You don’t want this, do you? 🤔
The key question you should be asking yourself here as an Ecommerce company is: What do I want to achieve? Your objectives could include:
Converting new customers
Receiving reviews and feedback
Boosting customer loyalty and communication
Providing customers with information (about special offers, new products, etc.)
Introducing your company and your unique selling points
Of course, you don’t have to pick just one of these objectives, but it is beneficial to have just a few clearly defined objectives. Concentrate on those most important to you, your business, and where you want to grow. This will allow you to utilize your resources efficiently and also means you won’t waste unnecessary time creating email content that provides no added value.
Instead, ensure that your email campaign is perfectly tailored to your needs. Follow a clear objective that you can naturally adapt, modify, or realign over time.
Ecommerce email campaign ideas along the customer journey
As an online shop, there are many types of emails that you could send out. In order to make the most of all email marketing potential, we recommend integrating marketing and transactional emails along the customer lifecycle.
The benefit of focusing on the customer journey is that it allows you to deduce current customer needs and create personalized content.
Here are the seven different email campaigns you should use, depending on your objectives and customer journey:
1. The welcome email
No matter what, first impressions really count. When welcoming a new “member” to your email list, send them a welcome email containing valuable content that will inspire them to continue to engage with new articles. For instance, this is a great opportunity to:
Introduce your company and your products.
Make the subscriber aware of your social media channels.
Provide an overview of what type of emails you will be sending.
Send them a welcome gift to validate their decision to subscribe
Indicate important links.
Ultimately what you want is to convey a positive and trustworthy first impression, which will make your new subscriber look forward to receiving more.
2. The classic newsletter
Once you’ve won over new subscribers, you need to make sure they stay in your list by providing them with valuable content.
Naturally, the exact content depends on your business model and customers. As an Ecommerce company, you can offer the following newsletter content:
Promoting your own products
Guides for your products
A behind-the-scenes look at production
Compelling content and entertainment like videos
Customer interviews and testimonials
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your newsletter is only there to sell. Sending out newsletters that are too pushy will cause people to unsubscribe from your list, or put a bad taste in their mouth.
Instead this is an opportunity to take an engaged list of potential customers and make them love you. Ask yourself the following questions and create your newsletter accordingly:
What interests my readers?
What questions might they have?
What problems are they currently facing?
How, specifically, can I help them solving these problems?
3. Special occasion newsletters
In addition to your regular newsletter, you can create email campaigns for special events. These can be for holidays such as Christmas, Easter, and Mother’s Day, as well as seasonal events such as the World Cup, the Olympics, or Oktoberfest.
You could even, for example, showcase your expert knowledge in the form of useful tips and tricks, or make readers aware of special offers. Make sure, however, that it all ties back to your company and brand message.
4. Order and shipping confirmations
While you can send out marketing campaigns at any time, transactional emails are triggered by customer action. These include, for example, newsletter subscriptions, invoices, and purchase confirmations.
As an Ecommerce company, your main objective is obviously to promote sales in your online shop. Once a customer buys something, you should first send them an order confirmation and then an email receipt. Once the purchased product is sent for delivery, you can then send them a shipping confirmation.
Transactional emails tend to have higher open rates, as customers already expect to receive your communications and look forward to receiving their purchase.
Make sure you leverage these emails to make your customers aware of other products or special offers. This is the best time for you to upsell, when they are most engaged and you know they are opening the email. Don’t miss the chance. 😉This applies to all types of Ecommerce brands, from global brands to Shopify stores and dropshipping.
5. Customer surveys
Show your customer that their opinion is important to you by sending them customer surveys and other feedback emails. This could target individual products, the entire shop, the service, or all of the above.
Customer surveys are absolutely essential to you for the following reasons:
To check if your communication with customers is clear and coherent.
To obtain and guide the attention of your customers.
To strengthen customer loyalty.
To inspire you with new product ideas.
6. Shopping cart dropouts
Has your customer halted a transaction or left an item in their shopping cart? Remind them with a friendly email! This gives you an additional option to show them similar products and offers, or provide them with buying incentives through discounts.
Don’t give up on any customers! You can send a personalized email to inactive users. This allows you to find out if they are still interested in your services and remind them about your unique products.
If you succeed in winning the customer back, you can surprise them with a “Welcome back” email. You can make a good impression here with the aid of discounts or coupons.
If you don’t receive a reaction following several messages, then it may be best to part ways and remove the contact from your list. Yes, we know it’s always hard to let them go… 😔 but it’s best for everyone this way (more on this below…)
7. Personalized note to your customers
You can engage your customers in a more personal manner and develop a friendly relationship with personalized touches such as a birthday email with coupon.
Think about whether you would like to show appreciation to particular customers – after all, loyalty should be rewarded! For example, cheaper account upgrades are a possibility here.
While we’re on the topic of rewards, you may want to provide incentives for customers and subscribers who recommend you others. Make it easy to recommend your website and shop, and show your appreciation for each customer gained this way.
6 Tips For Successful Email Campaigns
Within each of these campaigns, you always need to keep in mind the 6 key elements of any email strategy: content, design, data, tactics, personalization, and deliverability. To get right to the point, we’ve outlined what you need to consider in each email and included some examples (as well as cautionary tales) to help you with your own campaigns.
1. Spend time on your email content and design
Working on your email content and design should be one of your main concerns in your email marketing strategy. An unengaging subject line won’t entice customers to click on your emails, while poor design reduces the chances that your customers will find the right product for them.
What you want is to first optimize your subject line and preview text. After all, they are the gateways the first things people see in deciding on whether they should open your email or not.
Let’s take a quick look at Etsy as an example. Etsy’s subject lines effectively create something called a curiosity gap. This painfully arises when you feel as if you’re missing “valuable” knowledge, and makes you want to click into that email to find out more. Which fabric is in-season? What are those fresh finds? This is very effective marketing tactic. However, each “preview” text is simply their URL, www.etsy.com which is a missed opportunity to engage the reader some more.
Good content does not rely just on being creative, and good design isn’t just about being beautiful. Good content is about personalization and timeliness. Good design is about inciting an action.
This is especially impactful for Ecommerce where a sale is just a click away, and good content paired with good design can effectively drive clicks.
This Black Friday email by Julep fulfills the basic rules of smart email marketing by (1) knowing how to sell what it wants to sell, (2) writing good, creative, holiday-oriented copy and (3) ensuring responsive design across all devices and inboxes.
The header immediately introduces the email content (hint: it’s Black Friday sales!); the multi-column design blends image and text into creating compelling copy that guides customer attention. The Call-to-Action (CTA) button (SHOP NOW) also is strategically placed above-the-fold alongside the content. Customers don’t have to scroll down to see these great deals ($19.99 instead of $82), inciting them to click on the CTA.
2. Know the difference between marketing email, automated email, and transactional email
Learning the different types of emails will not only allow you to target different audiences, but to also target the same audiences in a variety of ways. Sending identical promotional emails every single time with just slightly-altered copies can quickly lead to a smash of the unsubscribe button.
As with all marketing efforts, email-marketing should be diverse and creative. As an Ecommerce business, you will be sending 3 main categories of emails – transactional emails, marketing emails, and automated emails.
Transactional emails are the types of emails you send out to customers after they’ve done an action. These emails can be purchase confirmations, account verifications, or password resets.
This confirmation email by Harry’s does its intended job and more. In addition to ensuring that your order has, indeed, arrived, it’s also included some quick shaving tips for customers to read. Beyond just trying to drive sales, they’re trying to drive engagement, loyalty, and through education they are growing their connection to their audience.
On the other hand, marketing emails are bulk emails you send to your subscribed customers. This marketing email from New York & Company contains two types of promotions. The top section includes coupons encouraging customers to spend more to save more. The email’s main body introduces the arrival of their new collections by introducing a sale on their kimono sleeve sweater, for that perfect autumn aesthetic. Get creative and create value where customers had not seen. That’s showbiz marketing baby!
Finally, automated emails are triggered by milestones. They can be automated in many ways, depending on your analysis of customer data. Automated emails can include welcome emails, feedback emails, anniversary emails, and retention emails. For example, if a user purchased a product from your store, you can send an automated email one week later to how they are liking it, whether they would like to buy one for a friend, or perhaps write a review on your site.
Of course, when you’re new to sending these different types of email, you’re bound to make a couple mistakes, or miss out on some things. Before sending emails or committing a template, make sure to pull your teammates into the email builder to have them provide their comments, and be sure to A/B test your campaigns to identify which piece of content, design, subject line, or CTAs drive the most engagement.
One email not to send, however, is from a useless “no-reply” address. “No reply” emails are those annoying emails you get from businesses sometimes who are making it very clear they don’t want to hear from you. Not only is it a little rude, almost more importantly it can negatively impact your business as it is often flagged as spam.
3. Don’t ask for subscribers, incentivize subscription
One thing that you need to include is an unsubscribe button in your channels. Yes, adding this will mean your list may decrease in size, but more importantly it lets your audience do the different work of cleaning your contact lists for you. By removing customers who’d rather not see your emails, you are ensuring that only those most active engaged users are being sent an email, which in turn means you are (1) spending less money sending emails to people who won’t open them anyways, or worse would mark it as spam, and (2) increasing your domain and IP reputation with ISPs and inboxes.
One of Mailjet’s enterprise users, Videostream, knows the value of this all too well. With the help of a Customer Success Manager, Videostream cleaned their list from 1.2M contacts to 120K contacts. This 10x decrease in users actually resulted in a 5x more total opens, and an increase in ROI of 10x. This is because the more people receive unwanted emails from you, the less likely it is you will land in the inbox of those who do in fact like you. Here’s a full case study on how Videostream accomplished this.
4. Track and use your data
Data should serve as the bedrock of your email marketing campaigns. Considering different buyer personas and the customer lifecycle in your email marketing will allow you to send the right email to the right people. Whether it is creating promotional holiday emails, or segmenting people into different groups, data will help you send the relevant emails to the right people.
Useful email metrics to consider when using Mailjet’s platform include how many emails have been sent, delivered, opened and clicked. Sent is a way of saying that the recipients’ servers have received the emails, and delivered means that the recipients can now read them…somewhere (in their inbox? Spam? Mystery. Well, kinda.). The opened rate shows how many people have opened their emails, and the clicked rate shows how many times your customers have clicked on a link in your emails since receiving them.
Other types of data that you want to track, of course, are related to the types of customers you want to target. Getting actionable customer insights will help you send the right types of emails to the right segments, and create engaging, personalized emails.
Even the most successful email campaign can be improved. So you need to keep testing your performance.
Which email subject line has the best opening rate? Which links and call-to-action buttons generate the most clicks? Which email content was uninteresting for your subscribers? Ask yourself these questions and adjust your content accordingly.
You can use A/B testing to compare different types of content and then see which alternative was received most positively by your customers.
You can use a tracking function for a step-by-step breakdown of if and when an email has been opened, and which links and widgets were used. With this knowledge, you can improve and adjust your future campaigns.
Segmentation can also be carried out based on this evaluation. You can send personalized email content and build an optimized list of newsletter subscribers.
6. Deliver on your Deliverability
Improving your deliverability – the rate at which your email reaches your customers’ inboxes – is of utmost importance to ensure that your emails do not go not into the spam folder, where emails go to die.
Essentially, all of the previous tips lead up to getting a higher deliverability rate for your Ecommerce business. Creating compelling, data-driven email copies will increase the open rates and click rates, which improve your sender reputation. Your contact list should be constantly updated and adequately segmented so that the right people receive the right emails.
To get high delivery rates, have a good, reliable email service provider (we recommend Mailjet). There are many marketing platforms that can send your emails, and have become particularly good at providing both a CRM and an email system, however these tools are often good at a few things but are simply not as strong in email deliverability as an email service provider can be.
This is primarily because good deliverability requires three things that take time, resources, and a commitment to email: (1) strong and on-going relationships with inbox providers, (2) robust infrastructure and third party vetting tools like Mailjet’s partnership with 250ok, and (3) devoted deliverability experts to help maintain quality domain and IP addresses for senders like you.
On your side of the equation, you will need to enable your Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and Domain Keys Identified Mail Option (DKIM). These allow your ISPs to recognize the fact that your emails come from a reliable, authorized system, and prevent spammers from stealing the identity of legitimate identities. Mailjet provides an easy-to-follow guide to do this.
In summary, here are some digestible email tips for Ecommerce businesses: Tip 1: Marry good content with smart design to drive customers towards your products. Tip 2: Learning different kinds of email will really allow you to take advantage of email’s sweet ROI. And don’t do no-reply emails. It’s bad for business. Tip 3: Take multi-channel approaches to incentivize subscription. But make it also easy to unsubscribe to make sure that you’re not sending emails to people who will never read your emails. Tip 4: Tracking data on customers and email will help indicate what works and what doesn’t. Tip 5: Personalize and segment your email campaigns, putting in that little extra effort on each campaign and in data collection will go a long long way in standing out from the crowd. Tip 6: Make sure your emails don’t go in the spam folder by sending emails smartly and following the previous tips.
Now it’s your turn!
You are now ready to make the most of email marketing for your Ecommerce company. You know you need an effective email marketing strategy, how to create and manage email lists, and which types of emails are just waiting for you to use them.
Mailjet offers you all of the email functions and tools that online shops need for this purpose. Don’t miss any more opportunities for your Ecommerce business. Simply log into Mailjet or set up a free account:
Have you tried any of these email campaigns? How did it go? Share it with us on Twitter. And why not sign up to our newsletter? 😉
This blog post is contains parts from an old post “7 Emails for Small Online Shops”, published on the Mailjet blog on September 25th, 2018 by Jan Bernecke.
Getting ready for Halloween is fun but it can be hard work too. Hollowing out a pumpkin. Carefully applying fake blood. Trying to put together a costume to rival Chica the spider-dog’s. Like most prep, crafting a Halloween email campaign that gives your subscriber goosebumps (in a good way), takes preparation and creativity.
To help you out, we’ve handpicked some scarily good ideas to help you spice up your Halloween emails. Check out these tips and start brainstorming how to turn your campaigns from good to… devilishly good. 😏
Include a trick and a treat in your Halloween emails
Ensure your Halloween email marketing looks devilishly good
Halloween is the perfect opportunity to dress up your emails to give them an edge. Mango stays true to its personality with this elegant, yet rather cheeky, message. The title is eye-catching, set in sharp contrast against the white background, and the paragraph adds a twist, combining its spooky theme with some intrigue.
Mango’s Halloween email design is elegant and clean.
Create Halloween emails that build up the suspense
A mystery deal can be a great way to keep your subscriber hooked and get them to visit your website. Pull & Bear’s ‘Trick or Treat’ Halloween email campaign invites customers to play a virtual scratch game to win a discount.
Spicing up your emails with a sense of mystery will help your click-through rate, as your contacts are likely to be tempted to try their luck, which will translate into visits to your website.
Try including a game, like Pull & Bear does in its Halloween email campaign.
Customize your Halloween email marketing
Subscribers are mostly engaged by helpful, relevant email. This can be anything from including on-trend topics, customizing email to their preferences, or catering for their Halloween needs.
This NOT ON THE HIGH STREET.com campaign includes useful content for the time-strapped shopper, with links to everything one might need for the perfect Halloween party, from sweet treats to fancy dresses.
Let the reader know that you have a cure for all their pain points, that you have what they are looking for, and that they won’t need to look anywhere else. They won’t need to do any tiring Halloween costume hunting after work or spend endless evenings crafting decorations. Their Halloween party can be sorted in just a few magical clicks!
NOT ON THE HIGH STREET’s email includes everything you need to enjoy this Halloween.
Free all kinds of creative monsters in your Halloween emails
Make your Halloween email stand out by being bold and using fresh, innovative content. Lands End does this cleverly, by bringing its products to life with the use of an animation, an element that will most definitely attract the reader’s attention. They also give their email a different twist, opting for ‘Black Magic’ as their title, rather than the usual ‘Trick or Treat’ They even top it off with a short Halloween themed poem.
Be creative, innovative and original and you’ll see how your effort pays off.
Want to see the animation in Lands End’s Halloween email? Check it out here
Bonus: Adapt your Halloween email marketing to your industry
While for some industries Halloween-ifying their email content can be quite straight-forward , others might have a bit of brainstorming to do. If you’re not feeling your most creative self today, here are a few ideas on how to give your holiday metrics some oomph:
E-commerce Halloween emails
Bring your products to life in Halloween style. List the essential ingredients for the perfect party, and let the reader know that you have everything they need for it.
Software Halloween emails
Add a spooky twist to your product, perhaps include an invite to an exclusive Halloween event, or unlock some scarily remarkable feature or content.
Travel & Experiences Halloween emails
Draw together some Halloween events or experience days local to your subscriber, or use this opportunity to promote some inspiring destinations. Many places have their own local traditions around Halloween (like Día de los Muertos), it could be a great opportunity to promote them!
Food & Spirits Halloween emails
Give your contacts Halloween recipes so good your readers will want to stay up cooking all night. Focus on classic ingredients (pumpkin!) and on spooky-looking dishes. Want to make it even better? Run a contest and ask your subscribers to share photos of their creations with you. User generated content will be your new best friend!
Beauty & Well-being email Halloween emails
Let your subscribers know that whether they want the perfect make-up for their costume or they actually want to look a bit less like a monster, your products can do the magic.
These marketers know that it takes work to turn a great idea into great copy and design. Draw inspiration from these campaigns and make sure your email wins best-dressed in the Halloween inbox. As for your own winning costume, you might need to look elsewhere. Happy Halloween!
Do you have any great ideas or advice for a Halloween campaign? Feel free to share them with us on Twitter!
This blog post is an updated version of the post “Fright School Friday: Email That Wins The Holiday Inbox“, published on the Mailjet blog on October 30th, 2015 by Sasha Seddon.
You already know we’re working on a series of tutorials to show you how to create and send awesome transactional emails step by step, using MJML, our open-source email framework, and Mailjet’s templating language. Each tutorial covers a very common use-case, providing a large set of examples, code snippets, and nice visuals.
A templating language for your transactional emails
You already know that flexibility and personalization are a must-have in the email industry. Transactional emails imply more and more complex business logic, and one can often struggle to try to juggle a lot of different templates, when they could just have one personalized email that adapts to several use cases.
Having a separate template for men and another one for women, or creating specific campaigns to recommend different things based on your customer’s previous purchases is not viable. It is in this kind of situations that a templating language comes in handy.
Even if you could potentially write your own, to be able to implement a tokenizer and a grammar, you’d need to have a good knowledge in the field and might end up reinventing the wheel when you could have been focusing on your core business instead…
You could instead use nice libraries such as Handlebars, Jinja or Twig, but then you’ll still need to write or host a dedicated service to handle the templating processing.
So, let’s recap: MJML for producing responsive HTML emails without effort, plus a templating language to bring them to life with conditional blocks and variables.
This combo can change your life as a developer. But, enough words, you’ll definitely want some action. That’s why we’ve decided to show you how to create and send awesome transactional emails, step by step.
The “How to code” tutorial: what you need to know
We’re rolling out a series of tutorials, all of which will explore a very common use-case, providing numerous examples, code snippets and nice visuals. We’ve even created an easy-to-execute tool, written with NodeJS, to test emails under actual conditions. To use it, you’ll just need valid credentials for both MJML API and Mailjet Transactional Send API, but don’t worry if you’re a newcomer: applying for the MJML API beta and creating a Mailjet account are totally free.
Our “How To Code” series has four parts. Check them out now:
We know you are an email veteran, and the double opt-in has no more secrets for you. So, during the signup process, you asked your user to confirm their email address. This verification step is now over. You can open yet another bottle of champagne, you have one true new user interested in your product. Congratulations.
But then you start to wonder. It could be that users browse your website right now, or come back later. And you know people. Chances are, they’ll have other things to do, they’ll forget and never come back. So you need to grab their attention again. Why not use the valid email address they offered you willingly?
Welcome emails are indeed a powerful way to communicate because users are expecting them. When you enter a store as a consumer, you expect friendly greetings, useful information or good advice. While this behavior is common for most customers, that doesn’t imply they’re all the same. It is important to take your user’s tastes or habits into account, in order to create relevant messages. We can see you starting to panic: how many templates would you have to write?
Don’t freak out! Leveraging the power of our templating language, we will show you how to create a customized welcome series, using only a single template. In this tutorial, we will show you how to:
Create blocks that display different elements according to your user data (location, gender… think segmentation!).
Set a templating language variable and leverage it to display personalized data.
Use templating language functions to transform text.
How to code a welcome email template: Over to Github!
Looking for some extra help in coding your welcome emails? You’re in the right place. We’ll tackle all the points above, and more, in our dedicated Github tutorial for coding welcome email templates with MJML.
Our Github tutorial includes:
Code samples you can use while working on your welcome emails.
Examples of a welcome emails and its different parts.
Ready to start writing an awesome welcome email template?
Everyone these days needs to be able to leverage email as an easy, low-cost way to market to the largest possible audience.
Email is advantageous because it allows businesses to distribute their content anywhere, regardless of location, and especially for organizations that reply on print materials can erases printing and mailing costs. The only limit to email marketing is your imagination.
One industry that relies heavily on a clear communication strategy is nonprofits and charities who rely on engagement and donations for their survival? We thought it would be helpful to learn from nonprofits to help improve your own campaigns engagement.
The four most important emails in the nonprofit sector are event invitations, newsletters, donation campaigns, and thank-you emails.
We at Donately, a platform for online donations, collected some of our favorite nonprofit marketing techniques and looked at how they applied to other industries and organizations. Here are our top 5:
Remember the end goal of your email marketing campaign.
Build your readership effectively.
Optimize your subject lines.
Convince people to read your emails.
Keep your ask until the end.
You can make the most of your email campaign by borrowing some tactics from how nonprofits. Let’s dive into it.
1. Remember the end goal of your email marketing campaign
A nonprofit’s end goal for almost any email campaign is to convince a supporter to give a contribution, attend an event, or support a cause. To accomplish this end goal, just like any for-profit business, first requires getting your audience to click through to your website.
The click-through rate is the percentage of readers who click a link included in the email out of all the readers who open the email. A business wants their emails to increase the click-through rate to their website, to drive traffic and potential customers.
So how do nonprofits increase the click-through rates to their donation pages? Here are some strategies for maximizing your CTR:
Decrease the length of your copy: there’s a correlation between copy length and CTR
Decreasing the length of your copy makes your emails more attractive: no one wants to slog through an endless scroll of plain text to get to the point.
Adding a sense of urgency to your links, like adding a countdown or deadline-related words to your call-to-action buttons can also increase click-through rates.
2. Build your readership effectively
Something that nonprofits excel at that other businesses could definitely learn from is their ability to build an email list. Nonprofits have to be capable network-growers, because they rely so heavily on their social networks for building awareness and ongoing financial support.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that your emails will be most effective when they are targeted at people who actually want to be receiving them. Nothing will send your email to the trash bin (or worse, the spam folder) quicker than sending someone a newsletter without their consent.
So how do nonprofits grow their lists?
They add ways to opt in all over their website.
They include opportunities to sign up on their social media.
They pass around sign-up sheets at events.
Then, once you’ve successfully added a fair number of people to your email list, segment those emails in order to target your marketing campaigns more effectively.
If you’ve never segmented an email list, never fear: it just means splitting up your larger list of subscribers into smaller lists based on commonalities. These splits could be based on their preferred method of communication, their age range, or their marital status.
Anything that allows you to better tailor your marketing strategies to your audience is a good strategy. Nonprofits use donor database software to measure how their donors engage with their nonprofit, but your business probably uses a different CRM.
See what data that software contains! You never know what information you might find.
3. Optimize your subject lines
Everyone is familiar with the importance of making good first impressions, but this is especially important with your email marketing campaign.
Your subject line is the only chance you get to pique someone’s interest. If they’re not engaged by your subject line, they won’t open your email and it won’t matter how well-designed your email was.
Write the subject so that the entire line is readable in an any inbox (mobile, desktop, Gmail, Outlook, etc.)
Don’t make your reader commit to doing anything in the subject.
The last one, about making your readers do things for you, may seem strange at first. If you want your readers to do something for you, shouldn’t you be upfront about it?
You should, but only in the body of your email. If your email’s subject line declares that, “YOU (READER) MUST STOP HUMAN TRAFFICKING”, your reader is going to be put off by the demand. In fact, write your subjects like you would write to friends. Conversation, lower cased, subject lines have increased open rates by up to 5x.
Instead, think of ways to intrigue your readers. What about your business will interest them? What can your business do for them that they want to know about?
Don’t forget to make your email start with a bang as well — some email providers like Mailjet offer pre-header text, which is the first line or two of an email. If your reader is already bored after the pre-header text, they’re not going to read the email.
4. Convince people to read your emails
So your subject line and preheader text has convinced your readership to open your email. But now what?
You need to make them want to read what your email has to say. So how can you make your email attractive enough at first glance to engage your readers?
First, your email should tell a cohesive story. Instead of just providing a broad overview of whatever your business does, tell a specific story to engage your readers.
Humans are hardwired to be drawn in by storytelling, so use that to your advantage while writing your copy.
Nonprofits use personal testimonies for every type of marketing from email to peer-to-peer fundraising pages, so take a page from their book and provide some personal stories to add a human interest element to your emails.
To make your emails more visually attractive, after you’ve decided on what story you want to tell, include some of the following:
High-quality images of people involved with your business
Nonprofits, due to the nature of their business model, are the best at making asks, no matter what the ask is.
While your for-profit business wouldn’t be asking for donations, you do still want your email marketing campaign to inspire your readers to complete an action.
So how do nonprofits do it?
They only ask once
They ask for more than money
They use an attractive Call-to-Action
First, no one wants to be repeatedly badgered for something, especially not in the same email. Save your big ask for the end, after your reader has been thoroughly entranced by your gorgeous photos and cohesive storytelling.
Second, nonprofits excel at giving their supporters options, so take a page from their book.
One of these options is encouraging their supporters to leverage their employer’s corporate philanthropy policies to help the nonprofit, and then distributing a list of volunteer grant companies.
Offer your readers other ways to support your business, like distributing a coupon to their friends through shares on social media or by using your preferred hashtag.
Make sure your call-to-action links and buttons are attractive and branded to your business.
Finally, consider whether or not any of your other software products are able to be integrated into your emails, like your online storefront or a sign-up page.
Nonprofits are pros at using easily embeddable software, and some of it overlaps with for-profit software! Check out this list of third-party integrations from Donately to see if any of your software products are compatible with theirs.
Nonprofits and for-profit businesses aren’t so different, after all. Both business models can benefit from email marketing best practices to increase reader engagement.
Once you’ve integrated these tips and tricks into your email marketing strategy, don’t forget to track key metrics and adapt your techniques accordingly. With some tweaks and by listening to your readership, you’re sure to turn your email subscribers into paying customers.
Remember that weird feeling when Google Docs first launched, and you could see your colleague editing your words right in front of you? If you’re like me, your first reaction was “Seriously, you think YOUR phrase is better than mine? OK… yeah, it kinda is.”
Or the moment you realized you would never have to add a suffix like “v1_Final_ForRealThisTime_2” to any of your files again?
It was likely a mix of thrill and novelty. Maybe prior to this the only ‘live collaboration’ you ever experienced was your IT guy remotely taking control of your desktop and installing that malware you needed. But perhaps most exciting was knowing that it was a new era of work, one that transitioned from an era of iterations and isolation to an era of instant results and collaboration.
The Three Waves of Collaboration
There have been a few defining waves of collaboration in the workplace in recent memory that have led to today’s ubiquity of tools that make teams of all sizes work faster together.
The first wave was the digitization of everything from documents to phone calls.
Second, the accomodation of global workforces and work-from-anywhere cultures.
Third, and most recently, the need for real-time results and instant gratification.
Not too long ago I was sending printed out paper documents to my colleagues, awaiting their notes and comments, incorporating them back into my first iteration, and repeating the process until both sides were satisfied. Today, I receive a link to a Google Doc in Slack and then jump right in with my team, hammer out the perfect message, and then move on in a matter of minutes.
Today’s workplace tools bridge gaps (geographic or otherwise) to get projects done. It turns slow moving teams into efficient ones. Geographically dispersed teams into neighbors. Outsourced teams (like agencies and freelancers) into integrated ones.
These tools can be broken down into three distinct categories:
Communication: Instant messaging and group messaging has finally landed in the office, and even though the category leader Slack was founded less than a decade ago, it’s almost unheard of not to have some sort of IM capabilities in your company. The same is true of video chat tools like Zoom and Google Meet. Communication is instant and it’s team based.
Project Management: Some of us might still have a paper to-do list, or the endless post-it notes that seem to always spread over onto our neighbors desk (sorry Ayhan), but tools like Asana and Trello have forever changed how teams collaborate on projects. Instant updates, notifications, comments, and timelines have made the task of planning and monitoring projects a team-based activity.
Creation: Finally, all tools devoted to creation, whether that’s coding, writing, designing, or emailing, is shifting towards collaboration. Just as Google Docs and Dropbox has changed how teams work on documents, Github has changed how dev teams code and debug, and Figma has changed how teams design apps and websites. At Mailjet, we’re focused on changing how teams create and send emails.
So, am I just a guy passionate about teamwork? OK, I’ll admit I’m a stickler for efficiency, but it’s more about the fact that I now work in email which seems to be the last industry to get the memo that times are changing.
The thing is (warning: rant about to start) that email is inherently a team-based activity. Even medium sized companies can have as many as eight different people involved in an email template from designers to copy writers to developers to CRM managers. Beyond that, companies often have different types of emails like transactional, automation, and marketing and different teams devoted to each.
And while these teams are communicating on Slack or Yammer, managing projects in Asana or Trello, and creating content in Google Docs or Dropbox – they are sending email in a static environment not build for collaboration. They build in isolation, not synchronization.
Mailjet is a Collaboration Tool
We’ve heard this story over and over again from customers – as workplaces come to expect real-time and instant results from communications, projects, and content creation, they are stuck dealing with iterations and slow feedback in email creation. We felt this pain ourselves sending our weekly newsletters with our Mailjet marketing team spread across five countries and 4 time zones.
That’s why we focused 2018 on making emails faster for teams.
Think of all the features you love about Google Docs, packed into email (plus way way more). To give you an idea of just a few of the features, we’ll show you how we put together this week’s newsletter to keep our audience informed on our latest blogs, videos, and product releases.
On any other ESP (or on Mailjet a couple of months ago) to build this newsletter we would have had to take turns going into the email builder to do our separate parts, close the app, and inform our colleagues that the email is ready for editing. It was tedious, redundant, and not at all how a modern businesses should work. Today – the entire edit occured in one place.
Bea (in London, UK) added some comments in the app so that I could jump right into an edit when he got back from my amazing lunch in Toronto, Canada.
Aline, the designer, locked different sections so that no one messed with her beautiful images.
Michyl, our Head of Marketing Communication, was assigned the final approval role so that no email could be sent without her permission.
We don’t want email teams to feel stuck in the pre-collaboration era ever again, and we expect this is just the beginning of how email will move towards team-based creation. On top of live collaboration, comments, and permissions, we have also released Role Management capabilities to assign the ideal roles to each team member, and the ability to track changes to templates.
As mentioned above, the third and most recent wave of collaboration has brought on the need for real-time results and instant gratification. It’s no longer about just working together, or even working together across borders and timezones, it’s about getting to the needed result immediately. As email continues to be a key channel for marketing teams to engage their audience, it’s more important than ever to help email marketers get their desired results immediately. To us, this means easier live collaboration, ability to comment and communicate right in the interface, to make templates as easily accessible and recoverable as possible.
As the workplace changes, so too does how we work. Mailjet is about to change how emailers work.
Let us know how your team emails, what pain points still persist for your team, in what way does email still feel trapped in 2010?
Have you ever experienced the bitter sensation of spending hours preparing an email campaign, only to see some ungrateful contact unsubscribe as soon as it arrives in their inbox? A disappointment like this can only be compared with doing the best exam of your life at school for the teacher then to lose the exam papers.
Yet, although the loss of a valued contact may be painful, you shouldn’t let this does affect your confidence. You will have heard people say a thousand times: “you can’t please everyone”, “it’s not you, it’s him”, “it’s best if you part ways”… And it’s true!
What are the key points for a healthy email list
Despite what you may think at first, the unsubscribe rate is actually quite reasonable (between 0.2% and 0.5%, depending on the industry) and it doesn’t mean that your last email was of poor quality. It’s just the traditional “life cycle” of an email list.
Far from being set in stone, an email list is continually evolving. This is to make sure that our contact list is healthy and, as well as unsubscribes, we need to attract new subscribers who enrich our contact list and, at least, make up for those leaving the list. It goes without saying, that the ideal scenario would be for our contact list to be growing.
Ways to increase your email list
If you see that your list is not growing or, even worse, that it’s decreasing, it’s probably time for you to review your contact acquisition strategy. This is vital for an effective email marketing strategy, and is a bit like a marathon, where it is not the fastest who wins but the one who shows most persistence.
How to transform your visitors into subscribers
Do all visitors to your website subscribe to your newsletter? Unfortunately, I’m quite sure this is not the case… The real question is: can your visitors subscribe to your marketing emails easily? If they visit your website, it means that they already have an interest in your company and in what it has to offer… although they might not be ready to buy yet.
Make the most of this interest and encourage them to join your mailing list, which will allow you to create a relationship with this “cold” prospect and will ensure that they remember you when they are ready to buy. Here are some ideas for you to try:
1. Include subscription forms on your main pages
I’m sure you have seen this on lots of websites. Adding subscription forms to strategic pages is an essential part of the contact acquisition strategy. Some email providers, like Mailjet, let you design subscription widgets to add to your websites and, thus, increase your email database.
Although every website has its own special features, the pages on which subscription forms traditionally work best are the homepage, the navigation bar and blog articles.
2. Use pop-ups to capture your users earlier
At the same time, you can also use tools dedicated to gathering email addresses. For example, SumoMe is a free tool that allows you to incorporate a pop-up window, which includes a subscription form to your newsletter, when the visitor is about to leave your site. Integrated into Mailjet, this type of tool could increase your daily subscriptions by 20%. Sounds good, heh?
The key to get the best results is to try various locations, designs and text, to determine the best place to position it. Fundamentally, you want to find the place with best conversion potential, without compromising user experience.
3. Remind your readers about the value of your newsletter in the blog
If you use your newsletter to share content from your blog, don’t miss the chance to remind your users of the added value of your weekly bulletins. Take the opportunity to include banners within your content and explicit references to articles or advice shared via the newsletter.
4. Create and share specific subscription pages (landing pages)
As well as subscription forms on main pages, design specific landing pages to subscribe to the newsletter.
These can be optimized to attract more traffic and encourage conversion and may be linked from different parts of your website or on external pages. For example, you could include a link on one of your publications on social networks, or at the end of a guest post for an external blog, encouraging readers to subscribe to your newsletter.
Don’t forget to include the link to this form in your transactional emails and in the email signatures of your employees, so that every non-marketing email you send also becomes an opportunity to increase your contact list.
How to maximize your use of social networks
“Making the most of your audience to enrich your contact list is good. Recruiting followers who aren’t yet familiar with you is better”.
Make sure that you include direct links to your newsletter on your social network pages, either with CTAs like those offered by Facebook (Sign up), or through pinned posts or links in the About section. You can also schedule posts every so often, including an example of your newsletter to get people to subscribe, or relaunch particularly successful publications, adding an invitation to join the newsletter not to miss out on the “latest post like this”.
7. Launch a competition among your followers
You could also encourage your social media followers to join your email list by launching a competition.
For example, you could announce that you will be holding a draw for a special gift among all of your email subscribers at the end of each month or between subscribers who have signed up within a certain period.
Capitalize on your valuable content
Another effective way to convert your visitors into subscribers is to offer high quality content via email or on your website. These resources should provide sufficient added value for users to encourage them to sign up for your newsletter, to complete a form to access your content or to share it with their contacts. We will now take a look at the different ways to capitalize on your content to make more contacts.
8. Offer promotions and exclusive discounts
This seems the most obvious option, especially for ecommerce businesses. Highlight the added value that those who subscribe to your email list will get and try to make sure that this is something exclusive that attracts the attention of your potential clients. Take advantage of every possible opportunity to highlight this added value offered by your mailing list and ensure that it never stops growing.
Offering discounts and unique offers by email will encourage lots of people to join your list. Some companies choose to launch this type of campaign on a seasonal basis, during the Christmas period or during sales, while others spread them out over the year. Overall, a more scattered strategy would be preferable to avoid users leaving your list once the season in question has come to an end.
9. Make the most of your Premium resources
These Premium resources may take many forms: an official document, a webinar, a case study.
This focus, which is used more and more frequently, is relevant if, and only if, your Premium resources are easy to find for your potential audience. At the end of the day, what’s the point of creating content if no one is going to see it? To do this, you could create a “Resources” section on your website’s navigation menu;, a sort of online library that refers to all of your Premium resources on a single page.
Another good idea could be to include banners and “calls to action” in content related to your Premium resource, whether it is a blog article or a strategic page of your website. As you will see, we lead by example and we have included a banner for our Building Contact Lists That Convert Customers For Life at the end of this post.
You could also use these Premium resources to reach an audience that is as yet unfamiliar with you, promoting them on social networks, in guest articles, adverts… The more you invest in your promotion, the better the quality if the contacts you will obtain.
So, remember, focus and don’t rush. The fact that someone has downloaded your Premium resource does not give you the right to include them in your newsletter or email campaign list, unless they have given their express consent to register ticking the opt-in box in your download form.
As you can see from this image, at Mailjet we ask users if they want to join our newsletter in the download forms for our guides.
10. Try email blogging or exclusive content
Offering exclusive content only via email, is a way of giving your emails unique value and ensuring greater visibility on your contact list. This practice is known as email blogging and consists of sending publications, articles or advice via email only.
Essentially, it involves creating an exclusive club of readers and encouraging people to join by taking advantage of this feeling of exclusivity.
“If there are two things that I recommend for email blogging, they are consistency and persistence.
Always write with the same frequency and, if possible, always send on the same day and at the same time. If your subscribers know that, whether it rains or shines, your email will arrive at the same time on the same day of the week… they will go and look for it in the spam folder if it hasn’t arrived.
Don’t expect overwhelming success overnight. We’re not talking about visits, but about subscribers and ensuring that 200 or 300 people receive your emails and, above all, read them – it’s a major achievement. Reaching 2000 or 3000 people is something that is only achieved with time, patience and effort to generate quality content. But the payoff is huge.”
David Bonilla, founder of Manfred, organizer of the Tarugoconf and founder of Bonillaware.
11. Create newsletters with the potential to go viral
Another way to put your contact list in front of a new audience is to make use of content with the potential to go viral. Yes, we know, finding the key to viral content isn’t that simple… but, at least, make sure that your email is easy to share!
If you manage to find the key to content that really does have the potential to go viral, or if you normally include little unique details in your email campaigns, you could encourage your users to share, either by forwarding the email or by adding buttons on the email itself to share on social networks (either at the end or between the different sections).
Buzzfeed goes a step further in its super cute A-Dog-A-Day and This Week In Cats newsletters, where it includes an invitation to share the subscription link at the end of the email.
How to collect contacts offline
Although digital opportunities are abundant, don’t underestimate the options offered by the presence of your business offline, in other words, in the real world. You may have a shop, you may attend events or trade fairs, or you may have a customer service number on which your users can contact you… Any of these is a good opportunity to enrich your email contact database.
12. Promote your contact list in your physical shop
A physical shop is the perfect place to ask your clients to subscribe to your contact list, either through a traditional visitors’ book or having the landing page with your subscription form open on a smartphone, tablet or computer. Remember that it is important that your clients give their express consent and that you have a record to verify this consent.
For example, when a client buys a pair of jeans in a clothes shop, you could offer them the option of signing up to your mailing list to receive exclusive discounts and the latest catalogues.
13. Collect email addresses at events
You could do something similar if you have a stand at a trade fair or event. When someone shows an interest in your products or services, highlight the value offered by your email campaigns and encourage visitors to join to keep up-to-date.
You could also organize a competition to encourage people to join, although raffles and prizes always involve the risk that people may cancel their subscription shortly afterwards, if they have no real interest in receiving our emails.
14. Increase your list over the phone and via support channels
Another option that many companies forget to leverage on is promoting their email list via their Support channels. In other words, customer service telephone numbers, chats or designated emails.
Of course, you are not going to suggest to any angry user to sign up to your newsletter, but it could be useful to suggest this to clients who contact you to ask about services, the latest updates, etc.
For example, if someone phones or emails to ask if one of your products will be coming back into stock, you could reply and also encourage them to sign up to your email database to be the first one to see the new catalogue or learn about the next season’s products or services. You could also add a step at the end of contract renewal or sales calls where your agents tell the caller about the value of your email communications.
To sum up, to increase your email list, one-off actions are not enough, you need to develop a long-term strategy that responds to the different needs of your list.
These are the ideas that we have gone over:
Include subscription forms on your key pages
Use pop-ups to capture your users earlier
Remind your readers of the value of your newsletter in the blog
Create and share landing pages containing your subscription form
Take advantage of adverts on social networks
Add subscription links to your social platforms
Launch a competition between your followers
Offer promotions and exclusive discounts
Take advantage of downloadable Premium resources
Try email blogging or exclusive content
Create newsletters with the potential to go viral
Promote your list in your physical shop
Collect addresses at events
Increase your list via your support channels
If you would like to learn more, download our guide ‘Building Contact Lists That Convert Customers For Life ’, where you will find advice on building and growing your list, why you should never buy email lists and how to keep them healthy to give you the best ROI.
Have you already tried some of these strategies? Would you like to share other ideas with us to include in our posts? Tell us about them on Twitter. :-)
To start growing your email list, topic research is the first and most crucial step. Why, you ask?
Because everyone’s Ultimate Goal is to get content ranked on top of the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), right?
To do that, we need to find a topic that can give us a good starting point. And spark interest in the reader.
Here are the steps you should undertake to be successful at this:
#1 Head over to the Topic Research platform of your choice
We use KWfinder because it’s user friendly and accurate.
This tool can help you find topics that haven’t been covered in-depth — but might have a huge potential.
First you need to search for something simple like “marketing” – one-word keywords are perfect.
Pick the location and language.
Select Find Keywords.
And here’s where you will see GOLD!
You’ll find all kinds of topics related to marketing:
Obviously ranking content on the keyword “marketing” will be tough – Keyword Difficulty is very high.
However, by clicking on KD – you can sort all the queries from the easiest to rank on Google.
This will highlight some very interesting keywords for you to use, like:
Online marketing service
Internet marketing secrets
The next step is to click on “Search Related Keyword” – and you’ll see the magic. 😲
Keep going through all related keywords until you see the one that makes most sense for your business. Remember, every topic you write about must help you sell your product.
#2 Find Topics
The Goal is to find the keyword with a Keyword Difficulty score of 40 or less.
If your site already has a high Domain Authority (more than 40), you will easily be able to rank articles with a Keyword Difficulty of 0-50.
In our example , writing an article about “internet marketing secrets” might be a superb idea.
Once you start clicking on “Search Related Keyword” you should be able to find queries that could get you plenty of organic traffic and at the same time has a low difficulty ranking on Google.
So to recap, after only five minutes of researching on KWfinder we found a topic that no one has covered in great depth and also has a huge potential to sell our services.
Once you’ve found a keyword that suits the requirements, you can feel confident that to reach the first page on Google will be possible with 1-5 backlinks!
Now let’s look at how you can transform this knowledge into action.
Creating the Best Content
After we have identified what we will write about, we need an in-depth understanding of the topic.
#1 Research the Competition
Find out who has already written something on the topic. You’ll want to collect the current top five articles about it. Be sure to read the posts carefully:
What do they all have in common?
How are they different?
How can we combine the best parts of each into one article?
#2 Create the Article
No grand advice here. Just sit down and write the content.
You may prefer to outsource it to a freelancer who writes well if you don’t have time to do it or if writing is not your forte.
To make sure the article ranks well on Google it must be optimized according to SEO guidelines.
One rule is to place your focus keyword (and repeat it) where necessary in your post. Otherwise, you’ve thrown your work out the window.
Here’s the 10-step procedure we use to rank any content on Google:
The H1 headline must start with and/or include the focus keyword (headline also has to be less than 70 characters).
Create your SEO title. It can be either the same or similar to your H1 headline. It must also include the focus keyword.
Use a clickbait keyword in the Headline – best, epic, awesome, deal of the year/month, etc.
Include an image in your post with the focus keyword as the alt-tag.
Drop your focus keyword in the first paragraph of the post.
Add 3-4 related keywords in the content. Try to find synonyms and terms related to the main keyword.
Make sure your focus keyword appears from 0.5% to 1% from the total content.
Make sure your focus keyword appears from 0.5% to 1% from the total content.
Also add a meta-description that includes your focus keyword.
Finally, use sub-headings that include your focus keyword.
Once you follow these rules and create a quality article (at least 1,500-2,000 words), your content will be ready to be published and to get backlinks.
#3 Get Backlinks
You need to secure backlinks to boost the rank of your content.
Essentially, Google views backlinks as votes. The more “votes” your content receives, the more important it is and thus it will rank higher on SERPs.
To make this happen, there are two killer link-building strategies that works 100% of the time.
Yes, these strategies are really that good.
Your goal will be to find pages that already link to posts that are not as good as yours. Then you need to email the site’s owner and ask if he or she would consider adding your content as an additional resource.
#4 Spy on Competitors and get their Backlinks
If your competition is a spot higher on the SERPs than you, they are probably doing something right with their link-building strategy (or something sketchy🤔).
You can use Linkody to find all your competitor’s backlinks. All you need to know is their website’s URL and Linkody will do the rest. This is how to proceed:
Find the URLs on Google.
Add them to Linkody.
Linkody will find all your competitor’s backlinks.
Reach out to the site saying that your tool would be a great addition to their resources.
Make sure you filter out the links that are from blogs (1), that your page doesn’t have (2), and are do-follow backlinks (3).
Then you can go through all the remaining websites (4) and reach out to them.
If you have managed to write an awesome post on the topic with keyword difficulty under 40 – all you need is 3-5 backlinks with Domain Authority above 30.
And your content will be on Google’s first page.
Next, you’re ready to work on using your content to produce leads you can use for email marketing, re-targeting or re-marketing. You choose. 😉
Leads & More Leads
Getting contact information from people who are interested in your service is costly and time-consuming.
But it doesn’t have to be like this anymore.
This process is now automated.
Once you have published an article and secured a couple backlinks, your post will be climbing the SERPs.
To launch your lead capturing machine, you’ll need to add a Lead Magnet. Most often this is a freebie in the form of eBook, consultation, etc.
This works by requiring people to provide their email to receive something valuable in return.
Before you design the the lead magnet, put yourself in the customer’s shoes:
The person has a problem or a need –Of course, they will use Google to seek out a solution.
They should then come across your article, which provides a solution to their problem/need.
For example, if your article is a list of “99 internet marketing secrets” – how do you create enough interest for the lead to leave you their contact information?
Offer an eBook with 150 internet marketing secrets
Or offer the chance for people to schedule a call with a professional to discuss these marketing secrets.
Find out what people experience at different stages according to the marketing funnel so that you know what could come next.
If you build your process around this and offer the site’s visitor a Lead Magnet they can’t refuse – they won’t hesitate to give you their email address.
Call to Action
A call to action is a small banner that appears in the selected location and handles this “email-for-a-freebie” transaction automatically.
You can choose many types of CTAs to generate leads. Here are few options you can incorporate depending on your specific business niche:
This CTA comes in handy when you want to isolate a user’s attention on one site’s section. If you have something valuable to offer, it can be effective.
Once the site’s visitor has decided to leave the page, there is almost nothing that could keep the person from leaving. However, if you have a high bounce rate on your lead capture page – consider an exit intent CTA to try one last time.
If your page is incredibly engaging and readers spend lots of time scrolling through the post, embedding the CTA is a natural option.
On the other hand, if you know that your readers usually get distracted quickly and spend little time on what they should be doing, you can consider a welcome mat CTA.
Note: There’s no silver-bullet CTA, so you should test them all, and hopefully, you will find one that works the best for your audience. Also, the top performers will change over time – so the secret here is to keep testing.
But don’t overthink it. 😉
In most cases, less is more, and 3 different CTAs is not a good idea, unless you want to annoy your site’s visitors…
How to Add Call to Action
There are ready-made services with easy integration, amazing tracking, and several segmenting features.
On WordPress and the biggest e-commerce platforms, you can use Mailmunch.
No matter which plugin you use, the integration usually is pretty fast and intuitive.
And when it’s done, you will have the ability to collect potential customers’ contact information without spending a penny.
Moreover, once you implement the CTA, you will have the final piece in place to ensure a steady flow of new leads month over month.
Pretty neat, huh?
Not to forget: Email Marketing Regulations
One important thing to add, is that GDPR requires you to clearly explain how you’ll use the person’s email and to obtain explicit consent to add them to your contact list.
Since you won’t be able to edit the call to action in some cases, a double opt-in is a recommended alternative. This way, you can confirm the person’s email and explain the type of communication for which their email will be used.
Now It’s Your Turn
Now you know the basics. Use this new knowledge wisely and offer something valuable to your potential customers.
Quickly, let’s recap:
Topic research is step number one – find a focus keyword with keyword difficulty score from 0 to 40.
Next, distribute the focus keyword and related keywords according to the 10-step guide mentioned in this post.
Then, seek out a few backlinks by reaching out to websites that mentioned inferior posts.
Finally, add a lead-magnet with a clear consent message and a CTA with an opt-in checkbox to collect addresses and grow your email list.
It is a never-ending game, but you are now ready to start playing. Go forth and conquer!
So you’re sick and tired of hearing about your beautiful emails landing in spam? We’re glad you checked in. If you’re responsible for your organization’s email campaigns, you’re probably constantly thinking about how to avoid spam filters, spam words, and always landing in the inbox.
It can be a stressful and tedious job, but once you take a step back you’ll see that there is a clear and easy way to stop email from going to the junk folder.
We get it – there’s nothing we hate more than seeing great email go to waste.
Almost 25% of email marketers now cite deliverability as one of their main barriers to effective marketing – an increase of 5% in two years, and yet only 6% of marketers are focusing on solving this issue.
There’s no point spending time crafting great content if your messages are never seen.
In this article, we’ll help you start off on the right foot and land your email to its intended destination. We’ll first help you understand what email spam is, what tactics you can employ to avoid the spam folder, what words and phrases to avoid, and finally how to run spam filter tests.
What is Email Spam and Junk Email?
Spam, or junk email, refers to malicious, unrequested email sent by “spammers” who want something from you, want to do something to you (e.g. attack your computer with a virus).
Of course there’s a difference between spam and spam folders, which is the repository of all things that email clients and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) consider spam. Not everything in the spam folder is malicious, and in fact a lot of it isn’t. That’s why it’s important to adhere to best practices to avoid being marked as spam yourself.
Malicious content has been all but removed by ISPs, who have strengthened their filters in the past few years. In the early 2000s, you were probably still dealing with nonsense in your inbox and it probably made you hate your inbox a little bit. Today though it’s unlikely that a true spam email will ever make it through to the inbox.
That said, it’s easier than ever for consumers to mark emails as spam through one-click buttons on clients like Gmail which will then store future email from this sender in the junk folder.
Email Deliverability Definitions
Spam filter definition
There are a lot of checks that happen when an email goes through the server. ISPs (such as Gmail, Yahoo, AOL) have put filters in place to protect spam or malicious email from landing in a recipients’ inbox.
One thing to keep in mind is that deliverability is different from delivery. The two sound very similar, but shouldn’t be confused.
Deliverability rate is calculated as how many emails are inboxed out of the total sent. Delivery rate actually includes all email accepted by the ISP, which includes email that lands in the spam folder.
You can have a 100% delivery rate, but if your deliverability rate is only 45%, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to communicate with your customers.
Soft bounce definition
A soft bounce is when an email is sent back to the sender, but only for temporary delivery issues. This can be because the user’s inbox is full, the server is down or the message is too big for the recipient’s inbox. GIFs are a great way of increasing engagement in your emails, but make sure they’re not too big!
Hard bounce definition
A hard bounce is when an email is sent back to the sender because it couldn’t be delivered for permanent reasons. It could be that the email address was typed incorrectly, or a fake one was entered because the subscriber was more interested in receiving the perk or offer for signing up than receiving your email.
This is why it’s always helpful to set up double opt-in.
How to get my emails delivered to the inbox instead of the spam folder
How to stop emails from going to the spam folder
There are several best practices and tips that you can follow to improve your reputation and deliverability. We created a free white paper that lists 34 factors that can impact your deliverability, but also highlighted the top tips to follow and adopt here:
✓ Use a custom domain email address that is linked to your website. You will then be able to setup DKIM & SPF, which will allow for email authentication by the recipient servers.
✓ Ensure your website is active and running. Sending email from an address that is linked to an inactive or blank website will make ISPs suspicious.
✗ Do not purchase, borrow or copy any third party contact lists. Not only do these types of lists typically contain many spam traps and poor quality email addresses, it is against our sending policy. Note: A spam trap is an email address that is not used for communication and it should never receive emails; if it does receive email, then it is automatically considered to be spam
✓ Develop good quality contact lists by collecting email addresses via an opt-in from your website. A double opt-in process is recommended to eliminate mis-typed or fake email addresses.
✓ Regularly update and clean your contact lists. Monitor your mailing results, and remove older non-engaging or blocked email addresses. Focus on the people who are most interested in your newsletters.
✗ Do not use ALL CAPITALIZED WORDS in your subject line or body.
✗ Avoid using spammy type words (‘Free’, ‘Sale’, ‘Cash’, ‘Limited Time Offer’, etc). (more on words to avoid below)
✓ Keep your subject line between 35 to 50 characters long. The longer your subject line, the more likely it will be flagged as spam.
✓ Send content that your subscribers have signed up for and are expecting. If you send non-relevant content, your subscribers may mark you as a spammer. And the more people that open your newsletters, the better your reputation
✓ Send your newsletters consistently.
Advice on how to send bulk email without spamming
Sending bulk email that consistently lands in the inbox unfortunately can be a pretty frustrating process, especially if you’re not staying on top of your lists, campaigns, and sending processes.
That’s what Mailjet is here for, to not only optimize our platform for world class deliverability, but also to arm our customers with the latest tips and best practices to ensure deliverability.
Monitor Your Contact Lists
We’ll begin where we often begin when it comes to email: your contact lists. The first place we look when a customer is having deliverability issues is their contact lists to determine (1) where these contacts came from, (2) if and how they are engaging with the content, and (3) whether the lists are being cleaned frequently.
If it hasn’t been stated enough – avoid buying lists or scraping the web for emails…at all costs. Not only will your deliverability suffer reducing the reach of your emails to legitimate audiences but in a world increasingly concerned about data privacy, and in fact governments that are cracking down on this heavily, the only best practice here is to build your list organically.
Next, pay attention to how your users are engaging with your content. What are their open rates, bounce rates, and blocks. Without consistent oversight, it’s easy to let the these numbers drift upwards and consequently see your deliverability drift downwards.
While some users who no longer want or need to receive your messages will unsubscribe, more often than not your subscribers will start ignoring your email, maybe even marking them as spam, or the inbox provider like Gmail and Outlook will start to filter out your messages on their users’ behalf.
As a result, the onus is on you to clean your lists and keep those open rates and deliverability rates moving up and to the right.
To do this, you can use Mailjet’s Segmentation feature to identify those users who haven’t opened your emails in a few months, or those who are marking it as spam.
Brands that keep their lists clean can actually see an increase in not only open rates but also total opens as a result of better deliverability.
Email Authentication with SPF, DKIM, DMARC
Trust and permission is at the center of a successful email marketing strategy which makes it one of the most powerful marketing channels.
As a result, to avoid the spam folder, you need to prove to inbox providers like Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook – the gatekeepers to your audience – that you are, in fact….you. Think of inbox providers as bouncers at a bar, they only care about two things: (1) do you have identification, and (2) are you worthy of connecting with crowd inside.
In order to get passed the bouncer, you don’t need to slip a fake ID and a $20 bill, it’s a little more complex than that. Here are a few things to consider to authenticate your email, prove who you are, and get past the spam filters:
Sender Policy Framework (SPF) – is an email validation protocol designed to detect and block email spoofing by providing a mechanism to allow receiving mail exchangers to verify that incoming mail from a domain comes from an IP Address authorized by that domain’s administrators.
Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM) – an email authentication method designed to detect email spoofing. It is a way to sign and verify email messages at the message transfer agent (MTA) level using public and private keys. The public keys are published in DNS TXT records. DKIM authenticates the source and its contents.
Domain-Based Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance (DMARC) – an email-validation system designed to detect and prevent email spoofing. It is intended to combat certain techniques often used in phishing and email spam, such as emails with forged sender addresses that appear to originate from legitimate organizations.
To setup your SPF & DKIM records, you will need to copy the SPF & DKIM values from your Mailjet account to your DNS records for the domain you want to authenticate.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen ISPs become a bit smarter and have started to move away from more traditional spam alarms.
Today, ISPs learn from how we interact with the messages that arrive in our inbox, which helps them determine whether emails should go to the Spam folder or land safely in our inbox.
So what does this means for words you should (and should not) be including in subject lines, then? Well, words tend to be misleading, thus resulting in higher-than-normal user complaint rates. These complaints, along with poor interaction from recipients have a negative effect on the sender reputation and, ultimately, impact the deliverability of future messages.
Just imagine how many times you have received a subject line that includes the word “Free”. How many times has there actually been something that’s truly free in the email? Probably very few, which explains why now, when you read the word “Free” in your inbox, you generally just roll your eyes at a not-so-subtle attempt to get you to open a deceiving email.
And if people do open the email and then find that there’s actually nothing really free there, senders can expect a high rate of user complaints like spam reports and unsubscribes that will impact their future inbox placement.
If you are looking to avoid those words that will trigger spam filters, we’ve got you covered. Below are some common spam lingo to help protect you from using them yourself and being mistaken for a spammer, or worse, a phisher.
The word “invoice” is a phisher’s favorite – if you see this word in a subject line, there’s a chance they’re trying to bait you in. Make sure to check the sender address to verify the email’s validity. firstname.lastname@example.org is not the same as email@example.com. Scammers try to profit out of our carelessness.
PayPal, Visa/MasterCard or any bank name
Again a case where a legitimate name can be used for phishing.
Scammers often try to impersonate financial institutions by sending emails with the same color scheme and layout, redirecting to a mirrored site made to look almost exactly like the one it is spoofing.
As a consumer, follow the same steps above, verifying the sender address and domain name. As a marketer, use authentication tools DKIM and SPF to prevent spoofers from hurting your reputation.
Lottery, Free Gift, Prize
This is one you always see in your spam folder. Hundreds of thousands of emails are sent to people with a subject line claiming that they’ve just won a big prize or that they’ve been selected for a sweepstakes you’ve never entered before. You have to be very gullible to fall for that one, yet scammers still send these by the millions since they are quick and easy to send. If it’s too good to be true, then it is. When you craft your emails, don’t give your customers a chance to ask themselves this question and certainly don’t let the ISP ask this question.
Urgent, Desperate, Please Help
Variations of this “damsel in distress” scheme have made appearances over the years, where phishers pretend to be an affluent person from a far away country, who, being chased by wrongdoers, is forced to flee to a safe haven. For some reason they have chosen you as the sole trustee of all their money and they promise great rewards for helping them open an account with a specific bank so that they can transfer their funds. These spammers are the butt of many jokes, avoid these words to avoid being on the wrong end of the joke.
Casino/Free Spins/Deposit Bonus
Gambling spammers often send out campaigns that promise high return, free entry or double deposits. If it’s not a website you recognize, then straight to the spam folder it goes.
Here are some examples of specific words you want to be cautious of using:
How to prevent email from going to spam: Use spam checkers or spam filters testing
What is a Spam Checker or a Spam Filter Test?
Even if you follow all of the above best practices, inevitably you may have missed something, or even more likely is that there might be something going on that you could have never caught with the naked eye. In fact, 70% of emails show at least one spam-related issue that could impact deliverability.
That’s why it’s so important to run spam tests to check the potential of your email being delivered to both the ISP and the ultimate inbox.
Unlike your naked eye, or even your picky colleagues’ eye, a spam test reviews your email to determine whether different spam filters will flag it and keep it out of inboxes.The test looks at everything from the content of your email, subject lines, where you are sending it from, and your domains reputation. To use our bouncer analogy from before, it’s like showing up hours before the evening gets started to have your bouncer pre-approve you for access. It might not always work but it certainly gives you some assurances you didn’t have before.
How Do I Run A Spam Test?
If you’re using an Email Service Provider like Mailjet to send emails, then your best bet is something called a seed list. A seed list is a list of internal emails you can send a test email to, such as co-workers, family members or friends.
Ideally, you’ll want the email address to cover a range of email clients and devices, so you can check if it makes it through the different email spam filters.
Using Mailjet, before you send your email to the masses, you can send a test email that not only tests for spam filters (like Gmail spam filters) but also is a great way to test for email responsiveness in different clients. To best use seed lists though, there are many services designed just for this purpose such as Litmus, Email on Acid, and many more.
Each of these tools will provide you with a seed list of email addresses that you can cut and paste into your test email and send out to identify any issues with landing in the inbox. Spam testers will test for the following flags:
Email Server Reputation
Sender Email Address
Sender IP address
Email Server Configuration
Email Content and Subject Line
As examples, both Email on Acid and Litmus are email optimization tools which include a spam filter test. Using any spam tester, alongside Mailjet, you can test your emails using the following easy step-by-step process:
Create your email and of course first check for any red flags in the content, subject line, and contact list
Once you think you’re ready to send, click on Send a Test Email
In your Spam Testing tool, select Start a New Spam Test or Start Spam Test
Copy and Paste all of the seed contacts that Litmus generates into Mailjet
Send your test email
Go back to your Spam Test Tool to identify any spam warnings and understand how you can continue to optimize your campaign to ensure maximum deliverability.
These services will send your emails through all the major spam filters before sending to make sure that they pass the first test.
Then it will check your sender reputation by looking at your IP addresses and any domain names used in your email.
There are many known blacklists and if your reputation is at all compromised or flagged, you’ll get a notification before sending.Next it will verify that your email authentication, such as DKIM, DomainKeys, SenderID, and Sender Policy Framework, is set up properly.
Finally, some services even provide you with a spam score, so you can compare your campaigns against past campaigns and your colleagues campaigns. The root of all happiness? Quantifiable competition.
Avoid the Spam Folder with Mailjet
Mailjet is constantly looking for ways to optimize and improve the deliverability of our customers’ emails. We manage the reputation of each sender and provide authentication tools (SPF, DKIM, etc.) to help implement all of the above best practices. We also optimize sending frequencies (i.e. throttling) and HTML code.
Ultimately, Mailjet is designed to simplify the whole process of sending emails and ensuring deliverability, so that our customers can focus on sending great newsletters, transactional emails, or whatever other content you want your audience to engage with. But what does Mailjet actually do? Let dig into 5 key points:
1. Management and monitoring of the reputation to avoid the spam folder.
Mailjet allows you to watch and protect the global reputation you have as a sender. This is defined by the reputation of the URLs, the domains and the IP addresses that are used. The content of the messages can impact each of these elements.
A lot of indicators are provided on the Mailjet Dashboard, and you will have access to the reputation of your IPs and to the scoring SpamAssassin, which validates the major formats and filters.
We have also partnered with BriteVerify and 250ok to help manage deliverability and reputation stats – the more you know about what practices aren’t working, the more you can start to solve them.
2. Avoid the spam folder – Access to authentication tools: SPF, DKIM & Domain Keys
Authentication systems have a set of standards for most of the ISPs. These protocols guarantee and protect the identity of the senders as well as fight against phishing.
Therefore, it is often necessary to publish these certificates. If this is not done, the ISPs can consider the non-authenticated emails as suspicious and place them in the spam folder.
Mailjet implements and optimizes all major email authentication protocols that senders need including DKIM (DomainKey Identified Mail), SPF (Sender Protection Framework) and DomainKeys by default. This can also be personalized for free. If you require assistance in this process, please contact our support team.
3. Optimization of the sending pace (I.e. throttling)
ISPs use ‘throttling’ mechanisms to control the volume of data traveling over their networks. Some impose temporary or permanent volume restrictions.
The threshold is based on the number of connections between the sending server and the receiving server, the number of messages per connection, and the volume of messages over time.
If you attempt to open too many SMTP connections at the same time or send too many email messages within a short time, you are very likely to get errors such as:
‘server has exceeded the rate limit allowed’, or
‘too many connections from your IP’.
If this happens, the reputation of the IP addresses used can have a major effect on these limits. In order to guarantee optimization of the reputation, Mailjet will slow down and adapt the sending pace when needed.
By respecting this imposed variations, the messages are accepted, they do not bounce and get to the inboxes of the intended recipients.
4. Optimization of the HTML structure of the email
Mailjet’s drag-and-drop email builder, Passport, gives anyone the ability to get 100% optimized code from the header to the footer of the email. All HTML elements abide by standardized rules and guarantee an improved deliverability.
Note that when using this feature, no technical knowledge is required. Always remember that an incorrectly coded email can trigger some spam filters.
5. Statistics, Feedback Loops and the Relationship with the ISPs
Mailjet maintains highly accurate, real-time data to track every piece of feedback from audiences – including those who mark messages as spam, and emails that are blocked or bounce. Every complaint is traced and taken into account.
This is best illustrated when someone clicks on the button “report as spam” on any inbox client. Mailjet gets this information and stops sending to this email address.
The bounces and unsubscriptions are also automatically managed. This helps maintain high quality lists. Anyone who is persistent in sending undesired emails could get blacklisted at any moment.
With productivity at the core of these changes, Gmail now offers more confidentiality and an increased security, as well as a range of functions that will help users manage their inboxes in a more effective way. Features such as Smart Reply, nudges or the snoozing options will allow us to navigate our crazy inboxes and make our email experience a bit nicer.
But while we all tend to get quite excited and a bit carried away by all the cool stuff Google usually introduces on its products, there’s one particular update that might make marketers start to sweat and panic.
‘Oh, no! What is it?’ I hear you ask. We’re talking about their new and improved “Easy Unsubscribe” feature, of course.
What is the smart unsubscribe feature on Gmail?
Two years ago, we talked to you about List-Unsubscribe and how Gmail was already adding some sophistication to this header option that allows users to easily cancel their subscription to marketing emailing lists. While the ability to unsubscribe from a contact list on Gmail has been available for some time, it had always been up to the users to determine which ones they wanted to be removed from.
Only very few email clients have a smart unsubscribe function, but Google is known for setting trends. The suggestions are based on how many emails users receive and open from a specific sender, and it means that, with just one click, the newsletter subscriptions is will be terminated, making it even easier for recipients to stop receiving all of those unwanted emails.
It seems that, for now, this option is only be available in the Inbox by Gmail app on Android or via Inbox by Gmail webmail, although it will be available on iOS at a later date, which has not been disclosed.
What does this mean for email marketers?
Quite frankly, it means that your recipients will have an easier way to cancel their email subscription. So if your newsletters are boring or irrelevant, and the reader has not opened it in a while, they’ll be prompted to unsubscribe.
Don’t panic, though. The the automatic unsubscribe function doesn’t have to be seen as an enemy. In fact, it can be seen as a way to help you clean your contact lists, which in turn improves your deliverability rate.
On top of that, if you ran a requalification campaign in preparation for GDPR to re-obtain consent from your newsletter subscribers, you have up-to-date confirmation that your contacts are interested in receiving your communications and your content. And we are sure you did, didn’t you? 😉
So if you have strategically planned and professionally implemented your newsletter campaigns, you don’t have to worry about this new feature.
How can Mailjet help?
At Mailjet, we think the strongest email campaign is the one your contacts really want to receive. The best solution to avoid unsubscribes is to create targeted and relevant emails, and to only send them to those that actually interact with your communications.
To help you maintain an engaged subscription base, here are some top tips:
Segment your contact lists: Don’t send the same email to all your contacts. Use segmentation to send content that is tailored to your contacts based on different data, such us behaviour, location, age, gender… Combine it with personalization to make it even more human. The more relevant your email is, the more engagement it will generate among your subscribers.
Use our Exclusion List to avoid sending emails to inactive contacts: If you don’t want to remove your zombie contacts from your list forever, you can add them to your Exclusion List. This way, contacts will stay in your database, but won’t receive your emails.
At Mailjet, we want you to get the most value out of your email strategy. That’s why we constantly share our tips and best practices on our blog and through our newsletter, to ensure our readers are the first to implement and adapt to the constantly-evolving email world.
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