Email newsletters have become such an integral part of the marketing strategy so we wanted to dedicate this week’s blog to discuss some of the options you, as a business, have to reach your audiences via email.
Do you have an email strategy? Is it for customer retention? To up-sell or cross-sell? To convert prospects into paying customers? Whatever your email marketing goals are it’s important that you are working with an effective and user-friendly platform.
Today we share some common questions that we have gathered from clients, and discuss how to establish a process for the continuous improvement of your email marketing strategy.
What platform can you recommend?
Our recommended platforms are MailChimp, Campaign Monitor and ActiveCampaign, in no particular order. All integrate beautifully with WordPress and many other CMS platforms. They are all equipped with analytics, list management tools and a simple drag and drop email builder that allows you to create attractive EDMs from scratch, or take advantage of professionally designed email templates.
Each platform is popular and powerful in its own way, with similar pricing yet varying levels of scalability. Cost-effectiveness depends on the size of your recipient list and the frequency of your campaigns. MailChimp and Campaign Monitor are more suited towards small to medium businesses, while ActiveCampaign is ready for growth and beyond. ActiveCampaign combines email marketing automation with CRM and sales, as well as incorporating SMS message capabilities into marketing campaigns.
Get inspired with featured newsletter examples and success stories for each platform:
- Explore what you can do with MailChimp – (https://inspiration.mailchimp.com/#all)
- Campaign Monitor introducing their Top 100 email marketing campaigns – (https://www.campaignmonitor.com/best-email-marketing-campaigns/)
- ActiveCampaign Success Stories & Usages (https://www.activecampaign.com/usages/)
What is behavioural email marketing?
Behavioural email marketing is one of the most valuable email strategies an inbound business can adopt. It requires sending targeted and personalised messaging triggered by customer actions and behaviours (e.g. clicking on links, making a purchase), providing immediate value. Behavioural email marketing is customer-centric; customers dictate what emails they receive through their actions as opposed to traditional campaigns. ActiveCampaign is the best platform for such automation.
How can we avoid ending up in spam?
There are three key factors an email service provider decides when flagging your email as spam:
- Content – If the email contains inappropriate images or text.
- Frequency – If emails are sent out too frequently.
- Sender Address – If the sender email address is seen to be commercial or fake.
When an email ends up in spam it has usually been blacklisted by one of the email service providers. Once you are on a blacklist be ready to spend a considerable amount of time to come off. This process requires contact with the service provider team and a series of forms and reviews. Prevention is key.
One advanced technique is to create a sender domain and address solely dedicated to your email marketing, this will protect the company’s personal email. Keep up the good sender and domain reputation and you can get on a whitelist, which will improve your deliverability dramatically. If using the WordPress platform we also recommend using a SMTP plugin that can help with email reputation.
We got caught out with an “Opt Out” malfunction. What next?
In Australia, Spam Act 2003 determines rules for commercial electronic messages. This gives recipients the right to stop business emails and outlines the penalties incurred for those who violate this law. You can get a fine for every single email that violates the Spam Act, so if you’re caught being non-compliant for a list of 10,000 that could result in a very large fine.
Every email requires a clear unsubscribe link that is accessible in every email message.
What is causing a high bounce rate?
When an email message cannot be delivered to an email address it’s called a bounce. There are hard and soft bounces: hard bounces occur if the email failed for a permanent reason, like an invalid or blocked email address; a soft bounce occurs because of a temporary issue, usually due to a full mailbox or an unavailable service.
Invalid, blocked email addresses are common for Australian businesses because we have a culture of high staff turnover and businesses are bought out for rapid economic growth. To keep your list healthy, actively remove all hard bounces and keep an eye on the soft bounce addresses.