Displaying items by tag: Marketing
Tuesday, 15 October 2013 13:02

15 Rules to Writing Subject Lines

A typical subject line only allows you 50 characters, including spaces, and this is all that could be standing between you and your reader’s attention. So, how are you going to ensure that this little line is going to work for you and not against you?

A strong subject line will prevent your email being discarded to the junk file or even deleted. Make sure you read through our 15 golden rules to create your own sparkling line for your next email marketing campaign.

Rule 1: Look to your local newspaper

Grab a copy of your local newspaper and take a look at the headlines. You will see that an effective headline clearly states the most important facts about the story in only a few words, and this is exactly what your subject line should do. Tell them what they can expect from your email in a short, sharp and succinct line.

Rule 2: There is not one rule for all

What may work extremely well for one email campaign cannot be relied upon to do the same for every campaign you run. For example, a subject line which is about a discount offer is not going to work for an up-sell or a news update.

Rule 3: Test, test and test again

It is important that you test your subject lines as much as possible to try and determine any trends or patterns which may be occurring.  If possible try and pre-test your subject lines. Why not add an extra day to creating your email campaign in order to try and test the response to various subject lines?

Rule 4: Don’t repeat yourself in the ‘from’ line

Your ‘from’ line allows your recipient to know who has sent them the email and your subject line lets them know what it is about. If your company name is present in the ‘from’ line then there is no need for it to feature in your subject line. However, it is worth thinking about branding your subject line, for example, with the name of your email newsletter. This will enable it to catch your recipients’ attention when scanning their inbox.

Research has found that recipients take a look at the ‘from’ line first before, the subject line, when they choose to open an email.

Rule 5: Most important information first

A subject line will generally allow you a minimum of 50 characters including spaces, although some allow more, 50 is the minimum. Therefore, it is important to employ these first 50 for your most key facts.

Rule 6: Open rates are not 100% reliable for subject-line success

Take a look at all the subject which are associated with your highest conversion rates, these can be click through, sales, downloads etc. If you look deep enough you may find in your web analytics that some things do not add up. You might find that there is an email with a low open rate but received a high sales-per-order rate.

This may suggest that your subject line appealed to a small section of your target audience. It is important to remember that your end goal is no always high open rates but to have the people who do read your email to take the action you desire.

Rule 7: Personalisation

In order to personalize your subject line, base it upon your users’ product preferences, their interests or past purchases. However, it is important not to do this too heavily as they may have bought their last item as a gift for someone else. One technique is to make it easy for your recipients to modify their data and preferences so they receive information they want and will find interesting.

Rule 8: Set a deadline

Creating a sense of urgency in your emails will drive your recipients to act. Include lines such as ‘Order by midnight’ or ‘5 Days left’ to push your readers to purchase.

Rule 9: Beware of spam filters

Experienced email marketers will know that there is not much difference between a ‘catchy’ subject line and a ‘spammy’ subject line. It is important to run your subject line and the email of your content through a content checker. This will act to highlight any ‘spam-like’ words and phrases which you may have used. One thing which will set off the spam filters is using all capital letters in your subject lines and using more punctuation than necessary such as exclamation marks.

Rule 10: ‘Free’ should not totally be avoided

Although employing the word ‘free’ for the 1st word of your subject line will set off the spam filters, using it elsewhere is perfectly fine. It is also true that your recipients will respond well the ‘free’ so it is a shame not to make use of this response.

Rule 11: Always be honest

It is important not to lie to or mislead your recipients with your subject line regarding the content of your email. If you make false claims your recipients will begin to distrust you and either reach for the delete or the report-spam button when you send them messages.

Rule 12: Always plan ahead and test

Most of the time people do not realise the importance of the subject line and throw something together last minute. But this is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. A sharp, interesting, relevant and enticing subject line takes time to create and can have a huge impact regarding the success of your overall campaign.

It is also best practice to test your subject lines, however if you are struggling for time try and use an informal testing group such as your marketing team.

Rule 13: Review previous campaigns

Take a look at the success of your previous campaigns and which subject lines you used. What was your average click through rate? Which campaign led to the highest number of conversions? Look through your web analytics reports to discover which titles attracted the most attention etc.

This information should help you decide what kind of content to include in your future campaigns and which strategies are going to be the most effective.

Rule 14: Don’t go quiet

If you send your emails more often than monthly or quarterly you will be able to build a conversation with your recipients. Viewing your reports will enable you to see just what they are interested in and so featuring this info, keywords etc in your emails and subject lines will enable you to capture their attention more easily.

Also, a higher email frequency enables you to create dialogue which can be continued across your campaign.

Rule 15:  Do your emails pass the must-open test?

It is very uncommon to meet someone nowadays who opens every email that arrives in their inbox, which means that you must appeal to their curiosity to make them open your message.

Referring back to rule 14, if you have been able to build a conversation with your recipients then a reference to the subject should entice them enough to open it up to read the next installment.

A great way to see if your subject line does pass this test is to run the following experiments:

1.The must-read test

This is when a subscriber does not open your email but feels like they have missed out on something special for not doing so and regret their decision.

2.The unbulk bulk-folder test

This is when, if your email ends up in the bulk folder, will the combination of your ‘from’ line and subject line create trust and curiosity to encourage the recipient to place it in their inbox?

Published in Delivery
Tuesday, 08 October 2013 12:37

Your email deliverability

Fundamental guidance to enable you to maximize your email deliverability rate
All successful marketers understand the importance of their messages reaching the intended targeted recipient containing the most interesting and relevant information and an efficient inventive execution.
Once you have these elements mastered your print adverts, inserts and mailing pieces will all be read and quickly responded to. However, although email marketers do not have to be concerned about their ads being in print or being delivered by the postman, they do need to be concerned about other unique elements.
An email marketer has to be able to understand their email deliverability as this cannot be taken for granted. If an email is not successful in reaching the intended inbox, it will not be read.
Emails which are sent to an inbox without obtaining prior consent are known as spam. Vast amounts of spam are sent out every day and often to addresses which have been ‘harvested’ and it is an accepted fact that between 85% and 95% of all the email traffic worldwide are unsolicited. This large number of unrequested email has a significant impact upon the email marketing industry.
Regarding capacity requirements, it costs the Internet Service Providers or ISPs, such as AOL and Hotmail, very large sums to process. Corporations are also confronted with the concealed costs of lost productivity when handling unwanted emails. Then it is the consumer who has to deal with the cost of being a victim to these fraudulent and illegal scams.
It is no surprise to see why the email industry has made it their number one priority to reduce and then finally eliminate the mammoth volume of unwanted email traffic.
How does this affect marketers?
Although it is all well and good for ISPs to try and eliminate spam emails it does cause a few issues for email marketers, such as their legitimate emails being blocked even though they have been requested and prior consent has been obtained, which means that email marketers may be paying for their messages to be created and sent without them actually being delivered.
Your email delivery rate can be hugely impacted by the extent to which your emails are blocked.
There are a few different methods a marketer needs to know in order to maximise their emails delivery rate. The first of these is obtaining the correct ROI or Return on Investment.
How do emails get blocked/filtered?
In order to be sure that you increase your delivery rate, it is important to have a basic understanding of how ISPs analyse and label emails as spam.
Major factors which affect your deliverability
There are two vital factors by which an ISP judges an email and the sender and decides whether or not it will permit your marketing information to be successfully received into the intended inbox.
The first is authentication, which refers to whether the email has actually been sent from who it appears to be from and the second is reputation, which looks at the standards of behavior of the email’s sender.
1. Authentication
ISPs employ 3 main protocols in order to validate the identity of the email sender regarding the email being sent. These are domain keys, sender ID and Sender Policy Framework (SPF). These tools enable an ISP to confirm an email has been sent from a server which is who they claim to be and that they are authorized to send it.
2. Reputation
A spammer does not take time to build relationships and reputations with ISPs, in fact they make all the effort they can to do the complete opposite and stay invisible from them and undercover. Therefore, email marketers who make an effort to be known to ISPs and build relationships with them and adhere to their rules are able to please filters, gain a white listed status and become fast tracked into the intended inboxes.
Although these two protocols are essential for high volumes of successfully sent emails, there are a few others we can mention such as feedback loops, Goodmail, white lists and black lists.
Feedback Loops
Use an ESP (Email Service Provider) which is signed up to receive ‘Feedback Loops’ on the major ISPs, which include Hotmail, AOL as well as Yahoo.
A ‘Feedback Loop’ is something which enables the ISP to send an unsubscribe email to your contact database when a receiver of your email clicks on the ‘Report spam’ button. It also enables your ESP to save the recipient who made the complaint from receiving any future messages, and therefore avoid any repeated complaints and as a result protecting your reputation.
RPC or return path certified enforce very strict standards and guidelines which they must abide by for their senders in order for them to receive accreditation. Email senders which are accredited are able to benefit from definite delivery into targeted inboxes, as well as functionality regarding enabled links and images.
Black Lists
Black lists, sometimes referred to as block lists, are basically databases of IP addresses, servers and domains which have all been reported at one time or another and therefore have been identifies as spam. Every ISP is able to check an email in real-time against these database and choose whether to reject or accept it.
Is the sender of the email judged on the content?
Some of the over-riding factors regarding the filtering and blocking of emails by ISPs is sender authentication and reputation. However, an ISP is also able to employ content filters for the emails which have been accepted. A content filter reviews the content of the email according to a set series of rules which then creates a ‘spam score’. Any email which gets a spam score over a certain number will then be delivered into the Junk Mail inbox.
Good ESPs are able to make sure that your email template and content will receive a low spam score.
Some of the vital factors to consider avoiding when designing your email and content are:

  • Large images or a high volume of graphics compared to the volume of English text.
  • A high number of different colours for text, fonts and links.
  • A high ratio of links to number of words.
  • Ambiguous subject lines.
Published in Delivery

Achieving a strong and healthy relationship with your subscriber is one if the most essential tools for online success.
This relationship is essential as it has the power to make all the difference between you making a sale, or losing it to a competitor. It is the same in the offline world as well. If you needed your car fixing and had a friend who quoted a price and a stranger who quoted exactly the same price, you would always choose the friend. This is because we would always rather give someone we know our businesses rather than someone we didn’t.
The world of email marketing can be extremely competitive and so when two marketers are promoting the same product or service, it can all come down to the relationship you have with your readers.
For example, during a significant online launch which saw high ticket items being sold, a large number of marketers will be sending out emails to their subscribers. The majority of the marketers will be offering additional bonuses in an attempt to ‘bribe’ their readers to purchase through their affiliate links. At times there will be 3 or more marketers pitching exactly the same offer with a comparable value. So, if you place yourself in the position of your subscribers, why should they buy from you in comparison to all the other marketers?
It all comes down to the relationship once again. If you have a strong relationship with your subscriber they will be on your side, so to speak, especially is you are trying to win a competition with your rivals.


How to achieve a strong connection with your database:

  1. Communicate with your emailing list frequently. Do not email your subscribers only when you are promoting a product. Send them information you think they would find interesting and updates about relevant material.
  2. Show them that you care. Employ tools such as questionnaires to find out about their needs and concerns. Find out what they would like you to provide for them to assist them with their own businesses.
  3. Send out gifts. This does not have to conform to the conventional idea of a present. Send out free reports, blog post templates or even graphics, something they will find useful and beneficial.
  4. Show your human side. Allow your subscribers to see your human side, let them know details about your personal life. People respond well to people and letting your subscribers know who you are will do wonders for your relationship as well will not only thinking of you as stale emails, promoting products.
  5. Teach them. Providing your subscribers with valuable and educational information will put you in the role of teacher and they will listen and trust you. This will come in extremely handy when you specifically want them to listen to you and buy exactly what you’re selling.
Published in Data
Tuesday, 11 October 2011 11:50

Increasing your Subscriber Database

Here are some of Lee's top tips on increasing your subscriber database...

Forwarding your emails to a friend
Every time you send an email you have the chance to grow your subscriber base. This is done when your recipients are encouraged to pass on your message to their friends, family and colleagues.

Useful hints and tips

1. Make sure you include a clear and eye-catching ‘forward to a friend’ link within all of your email campaigns. However, do not simply rely upon your recipients forwarding your email as this does not allow you to successfully and correctly track your open and click through rates.

2. Make sure that the forwarded form of the email has a ‘friendly from’ of the referring friend or else it could end up in their spam folder.

3. It is important that your forwarded email has a ‘referring message’, such as ‘Sarah thought you might enjoy this email’
4. Always send test emails. This way you can ensure the forwarded emails appear exactly as you want them too.

5. It is vital to include a ‘sign up’ link in your email to allow the friends of your initial recipients to complete a form which can then be added to your contacts database

6. To grow your recipients base quickly and successfully your email campaign and message needs to be interesting and relevant.

7. Ensure that your message has been designed with the recipients in mind and is something they will enjoy sharing with people they know.

8. Utilizing social networking sites is a must. Use these links to witness an extremely effective and efficient way of spreading your virtual message and making new contacts.

For more ideas on how to increase your database why not call one of the team on 08451770508 and see how we can help you!

Published in Data
Wednesday, 05 October 2011 07:49

How to avoid the spam folder

How to avoid the spam folder

Spam filters can be a real nightmare when you are engaging in an email marketing campaign. However if you follow the 4 key tips below you should find your campaigns have a better success rate.

Overuse of graphics
It is important that you do not ram your email full of images. Ensure that the bulk of your core message is communicated to your audience in readable text.

Colours and fonts
The saying ‘less is more’ is true when it comes to avoiding spam. Stick to simple and attractive fonts, text colours and links.

Suspicious subject
Make sure your message is clear. Email filters are not fans of suspicious subject titles, especially those which include danger words such as ‘free’ and ‘special offer’ and therefore should be avoided at all costs. Exclamation marks are also something to give a wide berth.

Selecting links
Do not use links which are not necessary. Keep the number of links you use relative to the word count in your email and also guarantee that they work before sending it out. 

If you have any questions or require more information please do get in touch with one of the team here at Mail Magic on 0845 1770508 or email me personally at Lee@mail0magic.co.uk

Published in Spam
Wednesday, 24 August 2011 20:12

Top tips for constructing your HTML emails

Top tips for constructing your HTML emails part 1

- Make it snappy!

When we read emails we have a very short attention span. To get your point made do not ramble on and ensure that you have easy and clear links to all of the calls to action. Recent stats indicate that people are most likely to click on a link which is used in the opening paragraph – so make sure this is done successfully.


- Avoid stylesheets


A lot of the emails applications you encounter, like Yahoo, Outlook, Gmail and Hotmail, make poor use of stylesheets (CSS) or do not use them at all. Ignore any recommendation which suggests that using stylesheets to construct your HTML emails as this only applies to designing web pages. It is important to ensure that your designers implement traditional HTML coding, using <table> and <font> tags.


- Images for web use


It is important that you optimize all if the images used in your HTML email for web use, which means both their file size and image resolution, but not essentially the physical size of the image. A large file size will result in the user waiting a long while for the graphics to appear on the screen. It is fairly simple to optimize your graphics using most standard graphic package.


- Careful image selection


Make sure you do not go over the top when choosing your images. The spam filters in email accounts work by rating the content of an email against certain criteria, one of which is the over-reliance on graphics. A good HTML email is created with a carefully considered and complimentary selection of images and content.


- The use of ALT tags


An ALT tag is a textual description of each image used. Email clients, like Outlook, switch off images automatically and therefore users need an alternative way of being able to know, quickly, what the graphic is. By labeling images with ALT tags allows a user to be more likely to enable to images and then read the email. Additionally, employing a mixture of graphics and web text can help with this problem. Using HTML colour backgrounds can add to the visual appeal of your email even when the images have been turned off.


- Host images on serversHosting your graphics on servers can be quick and cost effective. If a template is being uploaded, it is important that images are saved within the same directory as the HTML. It will enable you to select all of them in one go and upload straight away.


- Avoid the use of ‘danger’ words


‘Danger’ words are those which will automatically get your HTML email sent to the spam folder, and include words such as ‘Free’ and ‘Special offer!!!’


- Avoid selecting ‘danger’ designs


When designing your email avoid over-using bold text, large font sizes, a vast selection of fonts and stuffing it full to the brim with links – all of which are common features used by spammers. Avoid this look and your HTML email should not be banished to the spam folder. - The limits of Outlook 2007Outlook 2007 comes with an array of limitations such as not supporting background images. It is therefore suggested that, when sending out your HTML emails, send a test email to ensure that the content comes across as intended.


- Mail Magic editor


When designing your HTML content for Mail Magic it is important to remember that the editor makes use of the HTML font size tag. It is therefore important to bear this in mind as some users who go on to edit the template are limited with the option to set sizes between 1 and 7.

Published in Delivery