Email list scrubbing

Jumpstart Your Email Marketing Strategy the Right Way

Successful small business owners — whether they’re new or just niche entrepreneurs — are usually hands-on kinds of people; when they see some task that needs to be completed to operate or grow their company, they tend to roll up their sleeves and get it done. That does not, importantly, mean they do it all themselves; knowing when you can handle something yourself and when you need to call in a professional is a critical part of successful time management.

Many of these “do it myself or hire it out” kinds of decisions are easy; we’re not all master plumbers, for example. But while it’s tempting to believe there’s nothing more to an email marketing campaign than downloading a template you found online somewhere, filling in the details of your doubtless irresistible upcoming sale, buying an inexpensive list of email addresses, and hitting “send,” the reality is quite different. By jumping head first into the deep end of this particularly sensitive marketing pool, you may set yourself up to cause more damage than the money saved could hope to offset. Email marketing can be a powerful tool to capture customers, drive sales, and increase your reach — but it’s not for the weekend dabbler, either.

Email marketing campaigns that work well all share several qualities, but perhaps the most important is they are well-targeted, and carefully tailored. One size rarely fits all, and this is no exception. The people at the other end must be receiving a message that makes sense for them to be reading — either demographically, geographically, or simply by virtue of knowing their interests and needs ahead of time. Professional email marketing partners build email lists not just by volume, but by quality — and the ability to segment their lists to create useful subsets of differentiated groups that can help a particular campaign be successful.

The importance of the quality of these lists cannot be overstated; in email marketing, the oldest of clichés is absolutely true: you never, ever get a second chance to make a first impression. If the message you’ve sent goes to the wrong place, you’ve labeled yourself and your company as spammers. And once you’ve found your way into someone’s spam folder, there’s a lot of work to be done to dig yourself out of it. Using a high-quality list of email addresses — with recipients that are reliably interested in the sort of things your business has to offer in the first place — is much easier and less expensive in the long run.

And these lists aren’t static; interests change, addresses change, trends change. Professionals know that building a list is the first tiny step toward having a list. It needs to be curated, updated, and maintained; the email addresses need to be scrubbed and cleaned regularly, with an eye to keeping a group of addresses together that will give the biggest ROI. There’s more to email address deliverability than simply whether it exists, and professional email marketers use multiple methods to ensure your message will always get through to the people who need to see it.

Finally, successful targeting and tailoring means keeping your messages fresh and relevant to whichever part of the market you’re gunning for. And while you might be up on the latest in your field, successful online marketing trends emerge, shift and fall into irrelevance faster than you might believe possible. What worked to reach and build customer groups last month is almost certainly less effective this month; email marketing professionals are already laying ground work for the campaigns of tomorrow.

Back in the 1800s, Charles Darwin, an English naturalist, extensive traveler and avid beard enthusiast, coined the term “natural selection.” Science has since accepted it as one of the mechanisms of evolution whereby nature kills off the dumbest of critters while the smartest (Galapagos finches who invest in all-natural beak enhancements, perhaps) survive.

But unlike animals, who just do what animals do and let the evolutionary chips fall where they may, people do a lot of stupid stuff. Thanks to the glory of the Internet, there are even websites where you can read and watch it all. Take for example the Darwin Awards. Spend a few minutes there and you may think twice before riding without a helmet, spray-painting your face gold, or spot welding a gas tanker. However, these imprudent tales will not deter you from royally screwing up your marketing.

Consider the following mistakes we’ve deemed the stupidest—and learn how to avoid them.

1. Believing “More” is Always “Better”

If you have more money than Carlos Slim, who is the richest man in the world, then by all means spend your marketing dollars on high-priced television, radio and print media ads. Why not, you have plenty of cash to burn. You’ll feel cool. Your Call of Duty buddies will think you’re cool. But the rest of us will think your not that cool because your wasting your money. In the majority of cases, success is not about spending more—it’s about spending smarter.

Whether you’re running a mom and pop shop or a Fortune 500 company, you can best access today’s diverse audiences through highly targeted digital marketing campaigns. From web-based ads to email marketing campaigns, these tools are effective, affordable and Darwin approved.

2. Pulling the Lever

Marketing is not like playing a slot machine in Vegas. There’s a lot more to it than dropping in quarters and pulling a lever. If you think you can invest a few bucks, send one email or place one ad, and then sit back with your proverbial bucket ready for a deluge of winnings, you’re not the sharpest tool in Darwin’s shed.

Successful marketing requires planning and development, careful implementation, consistency, repetition and constant change. A well crafted strategy is essential. And that strategy can’t be managed like a bad case of diarrhea. If it sounds like too much to handle, use the brains your mama gave you and outsource your campaign to a managed email marketing service company.

3. Failing to Measure

Every man has measured how tall he is at one time or another—even though most women will tell you that size is not important. It has nothing to do with your height and little to do with attraction. If genetics provided you with an average or even less than average height, natural selection will not lead to the eventual extinction of your family line.

However, failing to measure the results of your marketing efforts could damage your business. Make sure you have a plan in place to track the number of responses and actual sales any advertisement generates. Compare approaches and you can avoid wasting marketing dollars on duds.

4. Cutting the Budget

The experts keep telling us that the economy is improving. Unemployment is holding steady. Home prices are increasing, and men are buying new underwear. However, we understand that many small businesses are still feeling the pinch of the recessions slow recovery. Unfortunately, when executives tighten their belts, they often slash marketing budgets.

In reality, marketing is the last place any business should cut back—unless they want to go the way of the dodo. When cash flow is slow, you need to reach out to new prospects and retain current customers more than ever. Remember, digital marketing, such as an email campaign, allows you to spend even the tiniest budget more intelligently.

5. Falling for the Con

The floundering economy has given birth to more than the Octomom, Kate Gosselin and Michelle Duggar combined—though rather than babies, it has squeezed thousands of kicking and screaming consultants out of its clown car. You can now find these “professionals” everywhere, proclaiming their sales and marketing prowess with all the finesse of a “Buy Here-Pay Here” used car salesman.

Sure, you might find that some may actually know what they are doing, but fall for the con of one who doesn’t and you’ll have no one to blame but yourself. Always lay out clear expectations regarding costs, timelines and results. Check references and ask about the quality and reliability of delivered work. When in doubt, choose a full service marketing company with a proven track record.

Darwin published his theory of evolution in the 1859 book, On the Origin of Species. Recognized as a preeminent scientist and one of history’s most influential men, England gave him a nobleman’s funeral in 1882 and buried him near Isaac Newton in Westminster Abbey. Today, his name lives on in conjunction with acts of the utmost stupidity in the Darwin Awards. Don’t let your marketing become an award nominee or winner.

Do you ever wonder why when sending an email marketing campaign, or receiving an email from another company, some emails end up in the inbox while others find their way directly to the junk or spam folder?

The most important factor in determining whether your email is marked as spam, and ends up in the junk folder, or goes to your subscriber’s inbox is directly related to your sender and IP reputation. While there are other factors, your IP reputation is inevitably the most important. Sender reputation is directly associated with the IP address of the email server you are using to send your email campaigns. ISP’s (Internet Service Provider) score a sender’s IP address or reputation by assigning a value or score, weighing various factors related to email marketing activity. They then use their own algorithm or scoring metrics to determine your reputation and if your emails will be destined for the inbox, junk folder or simply rejected. In essence, your sender or IP reputation indicates to an ISP the trustworthiness of the source of the email that is being delivered. What constitutes a trustworthy sender will vary from ISP to ISP, so in order to build a strong sender or IP reputation you’ll need to understand all of the factors that ISP’s look at when determining a score and how or if to deliver your email marketing messages at all.

A sender or IP reputation is built over time. Simply setting up a new IP address and sending your emails from it won’t guarantee that your emails will make it to the inbox. Oftentimes clients don’t understand why emails being sent from a brand new IP address would land in the spam or junk folder. Their rational is usually, “This is a brand new IP. The IP reputation can’t be bad. Why would they send all of our emails to the junk folder?”  A brand new IP with no history of email activity is normally regarded as suspicious by the ISP, because they do not know anything about the IP address that is being used to send the emails. You can think about it the same way banks use credit scores. If you have no credit, payment history or credit score, a bank is less likely to give you credit or loan you money. While if you have a good credit history of paying your bills on time and being diligent about your finances, banks are more likely to lend you money or extend you the credit you’re asking for.

What factors are used in determining your sender and IP reputation?

  1. Spam Complaints – How many users click the spam or junk button when receiving your emails? What percentage of recipients complain about the emails they receive from you and your ever so important IP address?
  2. Clean Email Address – Having a list of email addresses that are valid and deliverable are also a key factor in scoring your IP reputation. A quality email list, will in most cases, allow you to deliver your emails to the user’s inbox. Email List Cleaning is extremely important because it stops you from sending to invalid and unwanted emails. Having a high percentage of hard bounces (bad or undeliverable email addresses) is a sure way to let the ISP’s know your list is either old, scrapped, purchased, not optin or simply not maintained. While validating your email list is extremely important, cleaning your email list is equally critical. Sending to spamtraps is a sure way to ensure, even if you did before, you’ll no longer be able to deliver your emails to the users inbox.
  3. Volume of Email being sent – If you normally send to a list of 3,000 emails twice weekly and then decide to buy a list and start sending to 300,000, you’ll normally find out pretty quickly that your emails are being rejected or being sent to the spam folder.
  4. IP Blacklists – Most ISP’s will use some type of external blacklist to see if your IP address is negatively listed for either sending to spam seeds or complaining recipients.
  5. Valid DNS – Ensuring that the DNS is correctly setup for your sending domain and the IP address is validated to allow you to send from it is critical in delivering your emails without any problems. The main DNS records that need to be correctly configured are: A, MX, SPF, Domain Keys (DKIM), and Reverse DNS
  6. Email Content – While the content or keywords in your email is important, most industry experts will agree that it only accounts for approximately 20% of the score determining if an ISP will accept and deliver your email to the inbox or spam folder or outright reject the email being sent.

Conclusion – Delivering your Email Marketing to the Inbox

If you have your domain and IP configured properly in DNS, clean and validate your email lists regularly, send to only optin email addresses of your customers or people who have signed up to receive emails from you and don’t send spammy looking emails that will entice a recipient to click the spam button, you should be OK. Following these basic rules is the framework of any responsible email marketer.

Introduction:

Email marketing is a powerful tool for businesses to connect with their audience, build brand awareness, and drive conversions. However, maintaining a healthy and engaged email marketing list is crucial for achieving success in this digital marketing strategy. One of the key challenges marketers face is the presence of spam seeds, complainers, and dead emails on their lists. In this article, we’ll explore the importance of cleaning your email marketing list and provide actionable tips on how to remove these unwanted elements.

The Consequences of Neglect:

Allowing spam seeds, complainers, and dead emails to linger on your marketing list can have detrimental effects on your email campaigns. Here’s a breakdown of the potential consequences:

  1. Deliverability Issues: Spam seeds, also known as seed emails, are typically used by ISPs (Internet Service Providers) and spam filters to monitor the deliverability of emails. If your list contains spam seeds, it could trigger spam filters, causing your legitimate emails to be flagged as spam and reducing overall deliverability.
  2. Reputation Damage: Complainers, or subscribers who mark your emails as spam, can harm your sender reputation. A poor sender reputation makes it more likely that your future emails will be marked as spam or, in extreme cases, completely blocked by ISPs.
  3. Wasted Resources: Dead emails, or inactive subscribers, are essentially dead weight on your email list. Continuously sending emails to inactive subscribers not only wastes your resources but also negatively impacts your engagement metrics, as these subscribers are unlikely to open or interact with your emails.

Identifying and Removing Spam Seeds:

Spam seeds are often used by email marketers to monitor the delivery and appearance of their emails. However, if they end up on your subscriber list, they can skew your analytics and trigger spam filters. Here’s how you can identify and remove spam seeds:

  1. Regularly Audit Your List: Conduct regular audits of your email marketing list to identify any suspicious or unfamiliar email addresses. Spam seeds often have distinct patterns in their email addresses, such as specific domains or formats.
  2. Use Email Verification Services: Employ email verification services to check the validity of email addresses on your list. These services can identify and flag spam seeds, ensuring that you maintain a clean and accurate list.
  3. Monitor Engagement Metrics: Track engagement metrics, such as open rates and click-through rates, for unusual patterns. Spam seeds often behave differently from genuine subscribers, so monitoring these metrics can help you spot and remove them from your list.

Dealing with Complainers:

Complainers pose a significant threat to your sender reputation, but addressing their concerns promptly can mitigate the damage. Here’s how you can handle complainers effectively:

  1. Segment Your List: Segment your email list to identify complainers and isolate them from your main subscriber base. This allows you to tailor your communication strategy for this segment.
  2. Implement Preference Centers: Provide subscribers with the option to customize their email preferences through a preference center. This enables complainers to choose the type and frequency of emails they receive, reducing the likelihood of them marking your messages as spam.
  3. Send Re-engagement Campaigns: Before removing emails from your list, attempt to re-engage them through targeted campaigns. Offer incentives, exclusive content, or discounts to entice subscribers back into active engagement.

Eliminating Dead Emails:

Inactive subscribers can drag down your email marketing performance, but with a strategic approach, you can re-engage or remove them from your list:

  1. Set Inactivity Thresholds: Establish specific criteria for identifying inactive subscribers, such as a lack of engagement over a defined period. Once you’ve set thresholds, regularly review and segment your list based on these criteria.
  2. Send Re-engagement Campaigns: Similar to dealing with non-responders, launch re-engagement campaigns to win back inactive subscribers. Craft compelling messages and offers that encourage them to re-engage with your content.
  3. Implement a Sunset Policy: Consider implementing a sunset policy, where subscribers who remain inactive for an extended period are automatically removed from your list. This ensures that your list is consistently populated with engaged and interested subscribers.

Conclusion:

Maintaining a clean and engaged email marketing list is essential for the success of your campaigns. By actively addressing spam seeds, complainers, and dead emails, you can improve deliverability, protect your sender reputation, and maximize the impact of your email marketing efforts. Regularly audit your list, utilize email verification services, and implement targeted re-engagement strategies to keep your list healthy and your email marketing campaigns thriving.

Scrubbed clean emails

Introduction:

In the ever-evolving landscape of digital marketing, businesses are constantly seeking effective strategies to reach and engage their target audience. Among the myriad tools available, email marketing remains a stalwart, providing a direct and personalized channel for communication. However, the success of any email marketing campaign hinges on a seemingly simple yet crucial factor—clean and valid email addresses. In this article, we explore the significance of valid email addresses in marketing and why they serve as the foundation for a successful and impactful outreach strategy.

  1. List building Trust and Credibility:

The first step towards a successful marketing campaign is establishing trust and credibility with your audience. Scrubbed email addresses ensure that your messages reach the intended recipients, fostering a sense of reliability. When customers receive communications in their inbox consistently, it builds trust in the brand and establishes a positive relationship. On the contrary, invalid email addresses can lead to bounced emails and a perception of incompetence, potentially damaging your brand’s credibility.

  1. Enhancing Deliverability Rates:

Cleaned and valid email addresses play a pivotal role in ensuring high deliverability rates. Email service providers (ESPs) use complex algorithms to assess the sender’s reputation. Frequent bounces due to invalid addresses can trigger spam filters, leading to a decline in deliverability. Maintaining a clean and validated email list is essential for optimizing deliverability rates, ensuring that your messages land in the primary inbox rather than being relegated to the dreaded spam folder.

  1. Maximizing Open and Click-Through Rates:

A clean and valid email address not only improves deliverability but also contributes to higher open and click-through rates. When your emails consistently reach engaged and interested recipients, they are more likely to open and interact with your content. Invalid email addresses contribute to a decline in engagement metrics, impacting the overall effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns. By focusing on a validated and responsive email list, you can maximize the impact of your messages and drive desired actions from your audience.

  1. Cost-Efficiency and Resource Optimization:

Maintaining an accurate and updated email list is not only about performance but also about resource optimization. Invalid email addresses contribute to wasted resources, both in terms of time and money spent on crafting and sending messages that never reach their intended recipients. Regularly cleaning and validating your email list can help trim unnecessary costs and ensure that your marketing budget is allocated efficiently.

  1. Compliance with Regulations:

In an era of increasing concern for data privacy and stringent regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the CAN-SPAM Act, ensuring the validity of email addresses is imperative. Sending emails to invalid or outdated addresses not only violates these regulations but also exposes your business to potential legal repercussions. Validating and cleaning email addresses helps ensure compliance with data protection laws, protecting your brand from legal issues and maintaining a positive reputation.

  1. Personalization and Targeted Campaigns:

Personalization is a cornerstone of effective marketing, and clean and valid email addresses play a crucial role in achieving this goal. A clean and accurate email list enables businesses to segment their audience effectively and deliver targeted, personalized content. By understanding your audience’s preferences and behaviors, you can tailor your messages to resonate with specific segments, increasing the likelihood of engagement and conversion.

Conclusion:

In the dynamic world of marketing, where customer engagement is paramount, the importance of valid email addresses cannot be overstated. From building trust and credibility to maximizing deliverability rates and optimizing resources, a clean and validated email list forms the bedrock of a successful email marketing strategy. As businesses navigate the complexities of the digital landscape, prioritizing the accuracy and validity of email addresses is not just a best practice; it is an essential element for unlocking the full potential of marketing campaigns. By investing in the maintenance and validation of email lists, businesses can forge lasting connections with their audience, drive meaningful engagement, and ultimately, achieve marketing success in the digital age.

On my way into work this morning I decided to stop and pick up bagels for the office and a cup of coffee for myself. As I pulled up to the bagel store, I noticed that I was 5 minutes early, because they hadn’t opened yet. So, I parked and got online behind the 3 people standing at the front door waiting for the store to open. I only waited about 10 minutes, but by the time they opened the doors, there must have been 20 people waiting in line behind me. Since there were only 2 people behind the counter, it seemed to be moving pretty slowly.

When it was my turn to order, the guy in line directly behind me leaned over my shoulder and asked the girl who was getting ready to help me if he could try the cinnamon raisin bagel. They had samples of each of the bagels cut up for customer to ‘try before they buy’ behind the counter. The counter girl politely asked the customer to wait his turn and asked me what I needed. Before I could give her my order, the guy behind me quickly interrupted me again and said he simply wanted to try a piece of the cinnamon raisin bagel. The girl behind the counter said she would be with him as soon as she finished with me. I attempted to try and give her my order again and once again, this annoying guy interrupted me and said, “Just give me a piece of that bagel to try”. At this point, I turned to him and explained that I was next and as soon as I get my order he could try as many different bagels as he would like. He looked at me with a blank, somewhat dumbfounded look on his face and went silent. While I thought that was it and began to place my order, you guessed it, he interrupted me again and in a pissed off tone said he wanted to just try a piece of that cinnamon raisin bagel.

As you can imagine, by this point I was getting twisted and somewhat aggravated at this clown, for his continual interruptions and I figured I better put an end to his ongoing obstruction in my attempt to get my bagels and the cup of coffee I came for, so I could make it to work without a pit stop at the police station for assault. Without taking another breath, I asked the girl behind the counter how much it would cost for all of the bagels they had. After a few seconds of her comprehending my question, she turned around, looked at the rack of bagels, turned back around and said, “I’m not sure…. Maybe $400”. I then said, “OK, I’ll take them all. Give me a black cup of coffee and bag up 2 dozen bagels for me. Then give everyone else in line, except this guy standing behind me, all of the bagels they want for free – my treat.”

As the ear-to-ear smile slowly appeared on the counter girls face and the guy behind me started bitching and saying “you can’t do that”, I simply turned to him and said, “Yes I can – and – I just did”. After I finally got my cup of coffee and bagels and walked out of the store, a few people in line behind me thanked me and the ‘cinnamon raisin, impatient, bagel taster guy’ stormed out bitching about something and mumbling under his breath.

Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting. Besides the moral of the story being, “Don’t be an interrupting asshole and wait your turn”, I started thinking about people being over-aggressive, not being patient and waiting their turn. Since I am involved in the email marketing space, this brought me to think about why companies are over-aggressive and send their email campaigns non-stop and how their overzealous campaign strategy can alienate their customers, piss people off and lead to unsubscribes. Calculating the correct number of deployments per month takes time to figure out.

Don’t Annoy your Customer with your Email Marketing Strategy

Most people think the more they send to their email list, the better chances they have of converting a new lead or sale. In actuality, the more you send, the more your engagement per campaign goes down. If you over send to your email list, besides the reduction in engagement, you’ll also have to consider that your subscribers might think you’re spamming them, and exit your list very quickly. There is no magic number when it comes to the frequency of email campaigns or newsletters you send to your customers on a weekly or monthly basis. Be sure to send them relevant information and don’t simply send, just to send. Keep your subscribers loyal and don’t give them a reason to opt-out. Make your message relevant and to the point. Find what feels to be a comfortable middle ground and send relevant information and tweak the frequency based on campaign engagement.

We find that sending to our customers and newsletter recipients twice per month is the sweet spot for us, although this is not set in stone. If we have more to share, we’ll send more often and if we have less to share… well, you get the idea.

Update:
So, for Shawn (last name omitted on purpose) from Newsweek and the 2 other emails I received questioning the validity of the events in the bagel store, I’ve posted the receipt below.

What the Dallas Cowboys & Chef Boyardee Both Prove About Loyalty Marketing

I read a quote the other day posted by Seth Godin that really opened my eyes to the true meaning of loyalty:

“Loyalty is what we call it when someone refuses a momentarily better option”  – Seth Godin

We equate this type of loyalty to our own personal relationships, sports teams, television shows, or even our personal favorite brand of canned ravioli.

When you acknowledge what you’re loyal to in your daily life, I bet you’ll realize (deep down) that there’s always something better out there. For instance, are you a football fan? I personally know a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan who acknowledges that they certainly aren’t the best team in the NFL today. But because he grew up in Dallas during their glory days, the Cowboys remain his team of choice regardless of the fact that 1) he’s now moved out of Texas and 2) he truly despises Tony Romo.

Let me throw a personal example out there for kicks to really drive this point home. As a child, I grew up on Chef Boyardee Canned Ravioli, as it was a staple in my household and the “go-to” meal of choice when my parents were too lazy or too rushed to supply a more nutritious alternative. As the story goes, it has become somewhat of a comfort food as I’ve gotten older and a brand that I associate that “warm, fuzzy feeling” with. The truth is, I know there are probably hundreds of other brands of canned ravioli out on the market that are perhaps cheaper or healthier, but to be frank, I could care less. Chef Boyardee will always be #1 in my eyes (and stomach).

I can go on and on with countless examples of how loyalty plays a role in our personal lives, but we all already understand this type of loyalty. It just makes sense to us. Why is it then, that the minute we walk into our office and close the door to the outside world, our perception of loyalty seemingly changes? As business executives, have we distorted the meaning of loyalty marketing when we try to put a dollar sign on its value? Where have we gone wrong?

Manufacturing Loyalty through Quantitative Metrics

Businesses are often misguided into thinking they can “manufacture” loyalty through the creation of loyalty programs that are analyzed solely on quantitative metrics. We spend countless hours devising incentivized reward offers and crunching numbers that we are quickly losing sight of the big picture. As a result, there are too many cookie-cutter solutions that the market has become immune to. Let’s be honest here – who really keeps track of how many bonus points he or she has accrued? Who has time to read through the intricate details and legal disclaimers that accompany each loyalty program? Don’t get me wrong – these programs do in fact play an important role, but they are only a piece of the pie.

Let’s take “program” out of the equation for a minute and set our focus primarily on the word “loyalty.” Rather than perceiving it as something you should measure, it should be perceived as something you earn through constant relationship building and follow-up. Simply put, the only way you will reap the benefits of loyalty marketing is to redirect your focus from cost cutting and reward points to customer engagement and results. People are not loyal to special cards, cash discounts, or points. They are loyal to brands.

Think about it. Do you want customers who are looking to nickel and dime you and turn to you only when you’re the best deal around? Or do you want customers who value you for you, and will shop with you regardless of what other hot deal comes around?

So stop discounting your products and services to such a degree that you discredit your brand and spoil its reputation. Rather, focus your energy on communicating with users. Invest more time into delivering a good product or service with exceptional service to repeat customers and referrals that drive the majority of your sales. 

Loyalty is based on customer experience. Customers who choose you because they are happy with your services are 100 times more valuable than customers who choose you because you are the least expensive option at the present moment. Who do you think is coming back?

Once you’ve got your customers hooked and you continue delivering beyond their expectations, they’re in it for the long haul. Reward these individuals with your utmost respect to ensure that they stand by you regardless of wavering market conditions. This might mean picking up the phone a little more often than you’re used to, or sending a periodic personalized email thanking them for their continued business.

Read More: Your Customers Called…They’re Lonely

There are certainly going to be those lone stragglers that have seemingly fallen off the face of the earth. They used to be your biggest fan, but for some odd reason or another, they’ve become apathetic. The question is, how do you treat these disengaged users? Consider launching a re-engagement email marketing campaign to revitalize those who have been inactive and strive to re-connect with them using interesting, relevant and personalized content. This process begins with a custom-designed email creative that re-instates your consumer-centric focus and your goal of continually delivering on the needs of your loyal customer base.

Before I continue on the topic of a large-scale re-engagement email campaign, it is important to first address the benefits of cleaning your email list prior to launch. Because a large segment of your customer database may consist of dead, invalid, or abandoned email addresses, you risk generating a high bounce rate from your deployment and subsequently damaging your sender reputation.

The benefits of a re-engagement campaign are twofold:

1) You will convert previously inactive users to loyal, engaged customers

2) You will identify and purge uninterested users who have become indifferent to your service offerings and unsubscribe them from your list.

You might realize that you won’t always have the most attractive or cost-efficient solution to fulfill your customers needs. What you might not realize is that your devoted customers know this. However, their loyalty to your brand will dissuade them from chasing that “momentarily better option” and choose you time and time again.

If your dog has the balls (no pun intended) to sit back and lick his ‘family jewels’ while you’re watching, what do you think he’s up to when he’s home alone?

Have you ever left your dog home alone, unsupervised for an extended period of time? When you’ve done so, did you walk into a house in immaculate condition? Or were the natural instincts of your canine friend unleashed as if a tornado stormed through the hallways, leaving shredded tissue paper scattered through all corners of the house and bite marks on your newly painted baseboards?

Before you ask yourself how one dirty sock traveled all the way from your laundry basket to the inside drawer of your entertainment center, consider who truly may be at fault in this situation. Did you forget about Murphy’s Law – what has seemingly become the governing law of the land? I’m not trying to be cynical here in expecting the worst in any situation, but I am simply advocating the need to be prepared when nature takes it’s course and your loving fur ball leaves a welcome home present on your throw blanket – one that doesn’t smell like roses.

Unless you’ve got your dog locked up in a cage and under 24 hour surveillance, how do you really know what your dog is up to when he’s home alone?

How does your dog’s (private activities) relate to email marketing?

Take this a step further and question your email marketing evaluation strategy. Once you’ve designed your email creative, set up your landing page to effectively capture leads or sales, uploaded your verified email list, and hit the send button, do you pat yourself on the back with a job well done and call it a day? In the hustle and bustle that accompanies the implementation of an email marketing campaign, the evaluation process is often the most overlooked, yet most important piece of the puzzle. How do you truly know if your email marketing campaign is performing at its full potential without monitoring delivery, open rate, interactions with the email creative, click through rate, or return on investment? You don’t. This is where the dog comparison comes into play. Just as you don’t know what your dog is up to when you’re not at home, you can’t have any idea how your email marketing campaign is working if you don’t review the stats, tracking and details of everything else that makes up your results. If you don’t invest the time and resources into properly reviewing all of your stats, you’re setting yourself up for a series of costly mistakes that could take a toll on your bottom line. Of course, you’re not expected to hit a home run your first time at bat, but that’s why we often like to say that Mistakes & Failures are the Key to Success. Taking the information you learn from your stats will enable you to make the proper changes and tweak each new campaign you send to result in better deliverability, increased open rates and interaction and generate the best possible ROI.

RelatedDon’t Be Fooled Into Thinking Email Validation Guarantees 100% Deliverability

What is the only way to know the true percentage of emails that have been delivered to the inbox and opened, without images being blocked? The answer lies in real-time tracking. Access to the live tracking link enables you to monitor the performance of your email campaign. This reporting tool tracks the number of emails sent, the number of emails opened, and the number of unique clicks on each link embedded in your email creative.

If, for instance, we launch a single deployment to 100,000 business decision makers and/or consumers online and only 20,000 recipients open the email, we have fulfilled 25% of your contract for 80,000 Guaranteed Opens. This means that you have the opportunity to streamline your offer and continue to deploy until 80,000 people open your email and review your advertisement. A thorough analysis of all of the performance variables detailed in the live tracking report of your first deployment will give insight into what can be done, tweaked or changed to improve the next deployment. Perhaps it’s using a different email creative, or perhaps it’s just a matter of tweaking the subject line to further relate to your audience or peak their interest to help entice them to open and read the email you have sent.

Whatever it is, we are here every step of the way to offer our expertise and a professional opinion. With 15+ years in the industry, we have seen our fair share of dogs gone wild and have witnessed Murphy’s Law in full effect. Don’t make the mistake of leaving your marketing to chance, because your dog can take care of himself. You can’t stop your dog from buffing the family jewels, but you can monitor the stats of your email marketing efforts to make a positive difference.

“We learn from failure, not from success!”
― Bram Stoker

If you are considering investing in email marketing to promote your services and drive traffic to your website, email deliverability should be your primary and utmost concern. Realistically, how could you expect a bull run of sales leads when your emails are being blocked and are not even being delivered to your prospective consumers? And, if I tell you that there are companies out there that guarantee 100% deliverability if you subscribe to the services they offer, does that surprise you? I sure hope not.

We are all guilty at one point or another of believing what we read, hear, and see, especially if it puts a few extra bucks in our pockets. It’s often tempting to take shortcuts in life and pay less for services that promise 100% when in actuality, companies are telling you what you want to hear in order to rake in your business. When salespeople have you on the phone, sometimes that little devil on their left shoulder overrides the angel on their right. All of the sudden, the word “commission” takes priority over your business goals and objectives and common sense goes out the window.

Email deliverability is not as black and white as it may seem. There is no formula or algorithm that spells out exactly what you need to do to ensure that every single email you send will reach the inbox of your target market. Sure, there are certain services that may help improve deliverability, but there are no guarantees.

Email list cleaning is a service that will definitely help in maximizing deliverability. However, if you stumble upon a company that promises that a small investment in email verification services is the only component involved in ensuring 100% deliverability, I suggest you run for the hills. The truth is, if you have the best data, but a terrible IP reputation, you can kiss the money you spent on your email marketing campaign goodbye.

The answer lies in finding the right Email Service Provider (ESP) that has experience in managing the reputation of your IP addresses and in guiding you through the industry “best practices.” Among other things, a good ESP will configure your mail server and DNS correctly to enable you to deliver email in bulk, will provide free technical support, will clean and validate your email database, and will give you advice on sending out successful email campaigns.

Disregard the little voice in your head that says you can do this entirely by yourself without a hitch. Swallow your pride. I can assure you that, as a beginner to email marketing, you will drive yourself into the ground with the unnecessary hassle.

Contact the experienced email marketing professionals at Email Answers, and let us become your partners in success.

Email marketing performance

If there’s a truism in marketing, it’d be the same as the disclaimer from the old investment firm commercials: past performance is no guarantee of future results. What might have worked yesterday isn’t going to work forever. Even in the days of print-only, marketing campaigns were out-of-date almost as soon as the ink dried; today, we focus on adaptive marketing that can turn on a dime. It’s been a matter of survival for digital marketers from the beginning that they be able to change on the fly – and companies that are still around today are here because they saw how email marketing was changing right as it was happening.

For a little historical context, consider this: the internet itself is only about 25 years old. In the early years, no one outside of universities and research facilities even had an email address. In truth it wasn’t until the late 1990s that email had spread widely enough for marketers to even consider using it as a platform – and the early “wild west” efforts of some of them almost ruined it for everyone.

Once upon a time, it never occurred to anyone that a message in their email inbox wasn’t worth reading; it took years of spam and unqualified “junk” to get to where we are today. Marketers who had once relied upon print mailings — and their associated up-front costs in printing and postage — went a little giddy at the thought of a nearly free vehicle to deliver their messages. But with more enthusiasm than foresight, they went a little overboard.

Physical junk mail already existed, after all; but with the cost of postage and printing out the window, junk email could stack up faster and taller than anyone could’ve imagined. The reason was obvious: it was easier, after all, to just send an email to anyone who had an address, rather than try to weed out people who might not be interested. At first it might’ve seemed like a great strategy that showed results; but as the numbers grew, the predictable result was a lot of people getting really, really annoyed. Eventually the junk email became enough of an inconvenience (and, in the nascent days of dial-up, enough of a measurable slow-down) that developers created the first spam filters. And the rest, as far as email marketing goes, is history.

Modern email marketing has to contend with its own legacy, and is always looking to find ways to transcend the spam filters. Initial efforts went toward trying to “fool” the algorithms, but the result was nothing more than an “arms race” between marketers and anti-spam programmers. Worse still, experts in the newly-emerging field of brand management quickly realized that more damage was being done to a company’s reputation than could ever be overcome by the resulting sales tracked back to an email campaign. So a few of us looked a little harder at the problem.

The “solution” sounded simple enough: only send email marketing to people who were receptive to it. In practice, accomplishing this turns out to be incredibly complicated, and as a strategy it’s necessarily multi-faceted. In addition to crafting messages that satisfy spam filters on servers and individual machines, email marketing today needs to be immediately understood by its audience to be relevant and valuable; when social media is considered, there truly is such a thing as bad publicity.

So what should today’s email marketers take away from an understanding of this history? In a nutshell, it’s this: the importance of reaching the right inbox can’t be overstated. No matter how big or small your campaign, no matter what the message is, if it’s not successfully targeted, it’s as doomed as anything produced by the spammers of the 1990s.

See related article: Do Not Be Fooled Into Thinking That Email Validation Guarantees 100 Percent Deliverability