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Email

Email News Updates

Email News Updates being sent out just using the ‘copy’ function on your standard email.  
I was amazed to hear the news on Wednesday about the NHS London HIV clinic who had emailed 780 of its patients who had been tested positive and had disclosed all the other recipients on the email, not once, but twice when an apology for the first email was sent out pretty much straight away and again to all recipients in the cc instead of the bcc.  Ok so they have apologised for “human error”, but was it just that, I wonder?  Whilst I don’t know the facts, here’s some thoughts:

  • Did the Trust fall short in their training, and was the task given to a team member who simply didn’t know the importance of cc v bcc?  Didn’t they realise the importance of sending out newsletters and understanding data protection?
  • Why is any serious company sending out news updates to a list of 780 just using their email system?  Not professional, not sensible, and as seen, not safe;
  • When emailing this way, you cannot check as to how many people are reading the newsletter or clicking on the links.  There’s no test and measure.

The Clinic now finds itself in a serious data breach and will be subject to investigation and potential fines; not to mention the trust issue they now face with their clients who will have serious misgivings about receiving further communication from them and will want assurances that ‘this will never happen again’.
Using Mail Chimp (often free depending on circulation) or Constant Contact, or perhaps a mailing service through your CRM system, will allow you safely to send emails and to see and understand the results.
For my customers I keep the stats so we can see which emails are more popular than others, which links more popular etc. Test and measure is crucial in marketing. Not an option. 
If you need help crafting your news updates and identifying the best way to send them out, call or email me.  .  I am just updating my ‘paper’ on sending out newsletters; happy to help if I can.

Categories
Copywriting Email Uncategorized

10 top tips on how to write effective subject lines

10 top tips on how to write effective subject lines

Another great post from Andy Owen of Copycat, with tips on getting the best from the subject lines you choose in your email marketing.
Lots of pitfalls to avoid of course, and Andy’s slightly acerbic wit creates some great imagery in his article.
A few key pointers from his article to mention:

  • Getting your emails opened is now one of the most difficult challenges in contemporary communication.   In the UK, for example, average opening rates for emails is now under 10% for the first time – and these numbers are still dropping……. That’s nine out of ten emails don’t even get opened, let alone read. Staggering, isn’t it?
  • What makes us open one email over another?  We look at the sender’s name and the subject line – if the subject line is interesting and relevant, that also will give the email a stay of execution.
  • Keep your subject line to 50 characters or less, including spaces.
  • Avoid the words ‘Help’, ‘Percent off’, and ‘Reminder’ – and interesting example of ‘Free’ in a test/measure situation.
  • Do not use CAPITAL letters or exclamation marks.
  • Benefits to the reader, curiosity and fear are also important to consider.  We know that fear of loss is always more powerful than the promise of gain, so using this proven technique can also be very effective. Something
    like this:  ‘Only 17 tickets left to see XXXX ’.

Read Andy’s article here

Categories
Customer Journey Email

Sending Email Newsletters – points to consider…

Sending Email Newsletters – points to consider…

How many emails do you get pinging into your inbox each week?   

Which do you read, and which do you zap away?  

What makes you decide?    

Think about that for a minute if you will…  If you are sending email news letters, have you identified why, and what ‘success’ will look like for you?  

Here’s a few pointers…

 What are your objectives from sending your newsletter?

  •          to maintain communication with your clients and prospects?
  •          to generate sales?
  •          to help build your brand?
  •          to promote special offers?
  •          to generate feedback?

Maybe it’s all of the above? 

Ask yourself 3 key questions

  •          what am I selling?
  •          to whom and why now?
  •          what do I want my reader to do – what’s my call to action?

It’s all about permission  You need to have permission to add someone to your data base to receive your newsletter.  Meeting them over breakfast and having a chat doesn’t count!  I normally follow up people I’ve met individually by email, forwarding my latest newsletter, and asking if I may include them on my marketing info emails which are normally fortnightly. I then invite those I want to keep in contact with to connect on LinkedIn.  Don’t be too prescriptive of exactly when your email will be sent, or you may find you need to be seeking additional permission if you want to vary this.   Your email must also have an unsubscribe option and you MUST adhere to requests to opt out.   

My article on networking may be of interest to you…

 Why should anyone sign up to receive your newsletter – what’s in it for them?

People love exclusivity, be the first to see something (several of the stores invite their data base to be the first to see their newest advert) have special status, be able to visit certain parts of your website for information, have special discounts etc. And you need to remind your readers every time you mail them that they are your exclusive readers etc, lest they should forget.

Planning: Have you completed your marketing calendar for the remainder of the year?   I’ve got a ‘template’ here for you if it helps. Mark in important national days, important days for your industry, important days for your specific business and important days for you personally.  Build content and timing around these dates.  

Content:  If you’re B2B get your team involved – give examples of great expert advice, events and case studies. And of course industry news. Remember you want to be the ‘ology’, but make it human as well.  People ‘buy’ people and will read emails from those they know and trust. 

– give some information about your business and offers; – some about industry news updates; – and some about you/family/something random and/or fun.    Don’t just send a “broadcasting newsletter” about your business and its offerings…People will switch off and zap you away!
Use lots of links back to your website.  Research shows that the more links the lower the unsubscribe rate and the higher the click through rate (CTR).  Also a lot of people use their inbox as their archive box and it would be good if your email were so valued that it was kept. What can you do to make it so?  Include reference and data info that people will want to keep and refer back to. 

Style: Keep it friendly and professional

· review and cut unnecessary words

· write in the second person, ie you. Write as though you’re talking to your client/prospect and read it out aloud when proofing it

· vary sentence length and keep paragraphs short

· use ‘keep reading” words and phrases, such as “and, but, consider, however, for example, listen, it’s a fact, what’s more, “

· put your most important points at the beginning of paragraphs and lists

· can your copy answer the two questions “What’s in it for me” and “So What”? Have you highlighted the benefits over the features?

· list your examples in ‘threes’ – it gives a good movement

· less rather than more is a good maxim for copy length!

What order are emails read?    Well, research shows: · From · Subject Line · Email header and Sub header · Linked Text · Bold Text · Bullets · The PS at the end 

Which font to use? Sans-serif fonts such as Arial, Verdana and Helvetica are easier to read on line than serif.  This email is in Verdana 10 point

Create a check list: Send your email to yourself before sending out and ask trusted colleagues to proof read for you; it’s so easy to miss something. Apart from typos, check also that all links are working.  You want lots of links going back to your website.

Sending through your own email system or using an email provider? Personally I don’t see it makes a lot of sense to spend the time and effort in sending a newsletter if you don’t have a clue how many are opening it, who is reading it, which articles are being clicked through to, etc. etc.  Why would you want to ‘broadcast’ to an unknown data base in the hope that someone somewhere will find something of interest?  Really easy to use email providers.  Ask me for a recommendation (and we both get a discount off next newsletter!)  

Part 2, covering when to send, subject words to avoid, how often to send,  open stats, what makes an email show as ‘read’ and lots more in the next edition…    

Research is from several sources including a Hubspot webinar which used data from Mailchimp and focus groups. 

Categories
Armstrong Beech Marketing Email

List Building for Success

Good email marketing starts with a quality list

by Alec Stern,  Constant Contact Vice President, Strategic Market Development

You might put together the best looking and most compelling email campaigns ever, but without a permission-based list of people to receive them, your messages will go unseen. Fortunately, there are a number of simple ways to build and maintain your contact list so you can reach the people your business or organization covets the most: Your loyal customers and members.

Ask in person

When your customers or members come into your place of business or attend one of your events, are you asking for their email address? Letting them walk out the door without asking is equivalent to losing a valuable asset. Why not ask?

You’ll be surprised that customers will give you their address more often than not. You just have to ask for it.

There are multiple ways to do so. One way is to give your team an incentive to ask. I recommend making it a contest to see how many email address one can collect over a given shift or time period. Everyone likes to win, so make a game of collecting email addresses. 
  
You should also advertise the availability of your newsletter throughout your establishment or event venue. Put placards on tables, a signup book by the register, and signs on the walls. At your event, ask people when they check-in or register if they would like to be added to your email list. (Constant Contact offers an easy way to order signup books, display placards, and signup cards for your business or organization. Find out more here.)

Ask online

Asking online might be a little easier for some, since it removes the human fear of rejection. And there are multiple touch points where you can solicit your customers for their email address on the Web.

Add a Join My Mailing List (JMML) box: Make the Join My Mailing List tab a key feature in your website’s template so that it appears prominently on just about every page. Through search engine queries, you never know where people will land on your site. Adding the JMML box to every page ensures that no matter how a visitor finds you, he or she will have an opportunity to join your list.

And for those who have a Constant Contact account and a Facebook account, there’s an application available to put a Join My Mailing List tab on your Fan Page.

Link to your signup page: Going beyond your website, email marketers should put links to their newsletter signup page in their emails, both those sent through an email service provider such as Constant Contact and the signature of their personal email accounts. This way, every message a customer or member gets from you will have a subtle reminder to join your email list if they haven’t done so already. Also, add a join my mailing list link to your newsletter to help capture those folks that get your email forwarded to them from a friend, associate or other trusted source.

Promote upcoming issues of your newsletters via social media: Another way to get people to sign up for your mailing list is to provide a teaser for an upcoming mailing on your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts. A quick “Want to know more about Topic X? Sign up for our newsletter” with a link to your signup page will lure people in.

Partner up

A neighboring or complimentary businesses can be a great resource for list building. You can advertise other people’s list to your own and recommend that people sign up for them, while your partners can make the same offer to their subscriber base about signing up for your list. It’s a great way to cross-promote like-minded businesses and organizations to a wider audience. Doing so also shows that you’re a part of a greater community and not just your own business or organization’s bottom line.

(Note that outright swapping of lists with a partner and other complimentary businesses is a no-no and will be flagged by Constant Contact. It’s problematic because the recipient will question how you got their email address, so having your partner send a message on your behalf is the best approach.)

Set expectations

Whether you’re soliciting an email address face to face or online, it’s important to set expectations for the person signing up. Give people a visual so they can see what they’re signing up to receive. An easy way to accomplish this is to show customers a recent email, either with a color printout of your newsletter displayed next to your signup book or through links to your email newsletter archive.

When asking someone to join your list in person, phrase the question like this: “Would you like to sign up for our monthly newsletter about events and other promotions?” This sets the expectation that those signing up will receive something from you on a monthly basis that contains upcoming event information.

A similar effort should be made online to set expectations appropriately. Tell people when they’re signing up what exactly they will be getting and how often. This way, subscribers are not unpleasantly surprised when your first email arrives.

I also recommend that when you send a confirmation email to new subscribers that it thanks them for joining your list. The message should reiterate what the recipient has signed up for and can be used to provide a coupon or another “thank you” for being such a loyal customer.

Contacts are a valuable asset

Your list is not going to grow magically without any prodding. Make sure you engage your customers and members whenever or wherever you come in contact with them — be it in your establishment, at an event, on your website, or even on your Facebook Fan Page. At every turn, you, your staff, and your electronic presence should be politely directing customers to your email mailing list. 

 

Categories
Armstrong Beech Marketing Email

Your Email Signature

Your Email Signature
One of my bête noirs is to receive an email from someone without all their contact details. The usual suspects are of course mandatory –

Categories
Advertising and Design Email

How to get the best results when sending Email Newsletters

Glance through these bulleted headers and think about whether these points are being discussed in your business. If you have a team who prepares your company’s emails for you, are you receiving regular statistics to show the comparative open rate, click through rate, bounce rate and opt out rate? If not, why not? It’s so easy when using an email house. And it’s great value for money.I’d be happy to recommend the company I’m using. Just email me here.
What are your objectives from sending your newsletter?
It’s all about permission You need to have permission to add someone to your data base to receive your newsletter. Meeting them over breakfast and having a chat doesn’t count! My article on networking may be of interest to you…
Why should anyone sign up to receive your newsletter – what’s in it for them?
Planning: Have you completed your marketing calendar for the remainder of the year? I’ve got a ‘template’ here for you if it helps.
Design/Content/Style/which font to use?
What order are emails read?
Create a check list:
Sending through your own email system or using an email provider?
How often to send and when
Mobile email reading:
Headline & whose email should it come from?
Integration:
Who is reading your emails?
What are good open rates for emails?
Does it matter if your email is actually read?
Unsubscribes
Test and Measure.
If I can be of any help do get in touch, or you might like to consider my Email Half Day programme. More information on my website.

Categories
Armstrong Beech Marketing Email

3 Ways to Maintain Your Growing Email List

All lists need a little upkeep to stay healthy and keep communications relevant

by Pamela Adams2,  Constant Contact Regional Development Director, Georgia

How is a permission-based email list like a Philodendron plant3? You want both to grow in size and expand their reach. And, like a Philodendron, a growing email list4 needs some care and maintenance along the way to ensure healthy growth continues. Giving a little TLC to your list also helps reinforce that you’re continuing to send relevant information to each of your subscribers.

Here are three surefire ways for maintaining a healthy email list:

1. Segment your list

When you have a larger list and send everything to everyone, you’re basically doing what my friend calls “spraying and praying.” You’re playing the numbers game and hoping that more people will open your messages. In reality creating smaller, targeted lists gets your better results. Letting subscribers choose which list they want to be on allows them to tell you what they want to hear, and it means you can send more relevant emails to those who want to receive them. A few examples of how business or organizations could segment their lists:

  • Nonprofits could have separate lists targeting members, donors, volunteers, and board of directors.
  • A clothing retailer could offer mailings targeting those interested in men’s, women’s, or children’s apparel.
  • Restaurants that offer live music on the weekend could segment their lists by those interested in only dinner specials and those interested in the musical acts.
  • A travel agent could offer an email on tropical vacations, ski packages, or vacations with kids.

You can choose which lists are available for subscribers on your Join My Mailing List and email preference page (e.g., a nonprofit wouldn’t want to have the board of directors list open to the public). Other options include segmenting your list by anniversary or birthday month, or by how often subscribers want to hear from you (e.g., weekly, monthly, quarterly).

If you’ve already got a big list (good for you!) that you want to segment, you can let subscribers know about the new options in upcoming campaigns and ask them to click the Update Profile/Email Address link at the bottom of your message to see and select which available lists they’d like to be added to. You can also put a copy of the Update Profile link in the body of your email5 to make it a more obvious call to action.

2. Prune the bounces

Every time you mail a message, there are going to be a few that get bounced back because the email address is no longer valid, has a typo in it, the recipient’s inbox could be full, or the person has an out-of-office responder activated. Take a look at your bounce report6 to see why the message is being returned. For the vacationers, you can ignore the report. But for hard bounces such as a non-existent addresses, you should:

  • Verify the address is correct. If it is and you think the report is a false positive7, you can always follow-up with the subscriber individually to see if she is actually receiving your message.
  • For those that are truly non-existent, move them to your Do Not Mail list. Doing so will eliminate the subscriber from future mailings, help lower your bounce rate, and improve your open rate. You may also save a few dollars since you won’t be paying for a contact that isn’t getting your emails in the first place.

3. Trim those who don’t engage

There are two schools of thought on trimming your list. Some say if a subscriber hasn’t opened your email in over a year, delete them from your list8 and watch as your open rates rise.

However, I am a believer that if people don’t ask to be taken off your list, you leave them where they are as you never know when someone is going to re-engage and potentially become a customer or donor. You can also conduct a specific re-engagement campaign9 to encourage those quiet subscribers to become active again. The decision to trim or not to trim is yours.

The goals of pruning, segmenting, and trimming are to keep your list clean and to enable you to keep sending relevant content to those subscribers who are interested in specific categories or types of information. No matter which routes you take, delivering winning content to your subscribers will keep them on your list and engaged with your messages longer.

 

March 2011