Email Marketing

The first 50 people reading this will learn how to drive readers to your website with tips for a better B2B email newsletter

The first 50 people reading this will learn how to drive readers to your website with tips for a better B2B email newsletter

And here you are, one of the first 50 people looking for tips for a better B2B newsletter.  To start, do you know this type of subject line, the one for this blog, is considered a key element in lead generation: The Offer

The offer is an essential part of the content for a better B2B newsletter.  It is essential for lead generation, as it builds prospects, customer relationships, and thought leadership:  All goals that require the better B2B newsletter to continuously offer valuable and interesting information for the reader.

Consider that most B2B newsletter subscribers are looking for specific content such as tips, trends, news and maybe a viewpoint. They are not necessarily expecting to be besieged with marketing and sales messages.  Therefore, the intention of your B2B newsletter should be the means to establish or improve a connection with your readers through trusted content.  You need to offer content that motivates readers to visit your website and take a desired action: i.e., register for a demo, leave a message, download a white paper, an action that will move the reader to the next level in your relationship.

How do you create a better B2B newsletter that delivers value, consider the following tips:

Subscribers:  Manage your subscriber’s expectations from the beginning.  Tell them what they can expect from your newsletter and the value it will provide.  You might consider giving the new subscriber a link to back issues too.  

Content:  Identify the core focus of your newsletter and establish a journalistic style and stick to it.

Formatting: Use a template, with recurring columns and topic features (or something similar).  Your subscribers will know what to expect, and a template allows you to plan and focus the content to the expectation of your recipients.

Table of Contents:  When you have a few articles add a section, i.e. “In This Issue”, on the top of the newsletters so the readers know what to expect.

Teaser Articles:  When you have a long article, blog or information that is too wordy for one newsletter, incorporate a blurb for a short introduction to grab the attention of the reader.  Motivate them to click through to the entire article that you have posted on your website,

Sidebars:  Use small boxes to promote and offer supporting information that is not the focus of your newsletter.  Include images and links to new product information, resources, events, brochures, whitepapers, etc.  

Personality: Use someone (real or not) to be the face of your newsletter.  Use this character to remark on the articles, and on occasion insert humous comments.

Best Practices:  B2B readers (according to research) like tips that make their life easier. Regardless of the profession, workers are always interested in practical ideas and best practices.  Include a “Quick Tip” feature to focus on your articles that feature actional tips.

Statistics:  B2B’s are clearly interested in how they are doing compared to their competition.  Consider publishing benchmark information and industry statistics which will keep readers coming back.

Expert: Include a “Q & A” section to generate reader interest and feedback.

Case Studies:  Show the value of your company with case studies.  These typically provide practical examples of success stories and helpful strategies.

Monitor:  Review your website logs to find out which articles, newsletters, and information motived readers to visit your website.  Use this information when composing your future messages.

Survey: Once or twice a year conduct a survey.  Include questions about specific topics, articles, and other sections you use.  Surveys can help you uncover any changes you may need to make.

Ask:  Other employees may have ideas for the newsletter you haven’t thought about.  Customer service, sales, and support personal may be a great reference for ideas as they deal with customers and prospects on a daily basis.

Competitor:  Subscribe to your competitor’s newsletters.  You never know where the next idea for a great article will come from.

Subject Lines:  Generate the most opens by tying your subject line to specific content.  Be creative, interesting, an on point.

Self-Promotion:  In your message, always find a way to subtly reference your company’s product or service.  i.e.  “This article helps you create a better B2B newsletter, here at Dundee.net we see many B2B newsletters take off when they use our suggestions”.

Feedback: Always have a link or email address specifically for feedback. 

Customer/Vendor input:  Solicit articles from your customers and vendors.   You never know what will turn up.

B2B newsletters are an extremely effective vehicle for building relationships with customers and prospects.  Achieving these goals, requires that these newsletters contain valuable content for the readers. Using the above suggestions may help you send a better B2B email newsletter that will drive people to your website.

How to get more email opens with 11 great Subject Line suggestions  

How to get more email opens with 11 great Subject Line suggestions 

  1. Segment and Personalize:  Each list segment should have appropriate and different subject lines.  Segments that contain the same version of your email should also have a subject line tailored to the recipient’s interest.   
    You do not want to use someone’s first and/or last name in the subject line and consider it personalized email.  In other words, avoid using a subject line like “Rountree, This Is Your May Newsletter” followed by generic content.
  2. Brand Your Subject Line: (another great Subject Line suggestion.)  Use a consistent FROM address. Consider including the name of your company, usually in the beginning with enclosed brackets, so it become familiar to the recipient. 
  3. Use a Consistent Style: Subject lines need to change with every mailing, however, once you find the style that works best, continue to use it.  Ask someone else to write, edit or review it.  You can also use a tool like check my subject line https://www.subjectline.com/  to see how its ranking and see if you’re hitting all the right areas.
  4. Send Subject Lines to yourself:  Compare it to the other messages in your inbox.  Is your email subject line  compelling, interesting, or boring?  If you are the recipient would you open it or delete it? 
  5. Monitor your inbox for ideas: Figure out which email subject lines intrigued you to open it immediately.  Which ones move you to delete it? 
  6. Check your open stats.  Analyze the type of subject lines that produce the best open and click-through rates.  Open rates indicate the most obvious measure of the success of a subject line.  Are there more opens with information, a coupon, or a sale?
  7. Consider Context: Use the information you know.  What events are coming up, what is happening in the world, what are people talking about?  
  8. Realize what might get filtered:  Use a subject line analyzer: as tripping a spam filter is undesirable.  Send test messages to your free accounts: Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail and Gmail to make sure your email message doesn’t trigger a filter.
  9. Test the length: Data suggests email with subject lines less than 50 characters have higher open rates
  10. Write Early: Some marketers seem to wait until the last minute to write subject lines.  As you pull together your email content, draft up potential subject lines.
  11.  Push the envelope:  Take charge, be aggressive, creative, or specific.  Try different styles, and test for the best results.  You may find one segment of people (men for example) like the gentle subject line approach while another segment may readily open aggressive subject line email.
    Subject Line Arrow

Test, Test, and Test Again

Subject lines are the easiest component of email marketing to test.  Split your list in half, fourths or eights, and test a different subject line in each split.   

 Remember subject lines are one of the most important components of a successful promotional or newsletter email.  They should reflect your goals and help direct recipients to take the desired action you want them to take.  It’s not rocket science but close to it.

The cause of inactive subscribers or is it the content?

The cause of inactive subscribers or is it the content?

Based on our in-house calculations an average- sized email list, with less than 5,000 recipients may contain as many as 27 to 36 percent of inactive subscribers.  Furthermore, an older email list will typically have more unengaged or inactive list members.  AND that number will be larger with bigger member lists, reaching in some cases as much as 40% inactive list members.

In this context, we identify inactive subscribers as those who reportedly have not clicked or opened a single email in a certain time frame over the number of emails received.

Excluding bounces, what would cause a list member subscriber to become an inactive subscriber?

How do you figure out who really is an inactive subscriber?

As with most digital marketing stats, there are no real rules when it comes to list members. Therefore, here are some of our rules to determine inactivity

Email Assessment ReportSelect a time period that is long enough to gather information to work with.  For example, use a baseline of a minimum of 10 sent messages over 6 months.

Run your most active report for the period you selected, in this case, the past 6 months starting with the most recent mailing.  Download this information to a spreadsheet such as Excel.  Sort your list by the number of messages sent to each recipient.

Delete recipients who received fewer than 10 messages (or the number of messages sent you want to use)

Sort your list in descending order by unique opens and clickthrough’s

Remove every recipient that has opened an email and clicked on a link.

You now have your list of inactive subscribers.  With that information create an “inactive” field in your demographic table.  Upload your list.  You now have the ability to segment your campaigns with specific messages and frequency to these particular list members

With this list you can re-engage your inactive subscribers, using:

  • Special Offers
  • Interest Surveys
  • Incentives to update their profile page 

And if you do not get the response you hope for:

  • subject lines matterReview demographics, to send relevant, personalized messages
  • Try sending different days and times
  • Modify the frequency of your mailings
  • Create different content
  • Experiment with a different format – send text email instead of HTML
  • Test different Subject Lines
  • Send a physical postcard with an incentive to remain a subscriber

Also review:
The 10 top reasons why your list subscribers are inactive

Email and Engagement is your email engaged

Hitting the Email Industry Benchmark

Today’s digital email marketer has great tools to create a win-back email marketing campaign. The key to making this work, identify those inactive subscribers before they leave altogether and become a churn statistic.  If you have a list of inactive members before you hit that delete button, learn how to do a re-engagement campaign, give us a call (734-529-5331)  and we’ll show you how!

What can cause constant email campaign failure?

What can cause constant email campaign failure?

What can cause constant email campaign failure, or did I sign up with the wrong ESP?

From the email marketer of a major corporation to the one-man shop marketer, they all try their best to get out a timely email newsletter – with zero expectation of a total email campaign failure.  When a failed campaign is discovered, they might not know what went wrong.  They may say “did I sign up with the wrong ESP?”

An ESP or Email Service Provider is a company that offers “different ways to manage and send bulk email to individual email addresses for delivery.”  One may believe their ESP failed to perform this service when the delivery analytics disclose their email campaign messages weren’t delivered as expected: theoretically an email campaign failure.

A campaign failure doesn’t indicate it’s the wrong ESP.  Nevertheless, some marketers conclude it is the Email Service Provider’s responsibility to successfully deliver their email campaigns.  Therefore, they may believe their email campaign failure is strictly caused because of the ESP they have chosen. 

Typically, users put the ownness of this type of failure on the ESP and expect them to fix it.  However, the ESP can only react to delivery problems as they are not responsible to prevent delivery problems.  In reality most delivery issues are caused by the sender; usually from the lack of understanding on how deliverability actually works.

Deliverability to the ESP includes maintaining the email platform, keeping the system free from viruses, malware, and attacks. They monitor user performance in reference to best practices, GDPR guidelines, and encourage users to follow the Can-Spam Act.  It is their responsibility to remove bad senders which may place a shared IP address on a blacklist, resulting in a negative reputation for all senders on that IP.

ESP’s supply the tools for list users to manage their subscriber base and assist with content format by offering email templates and html editors.  They may also offer A/B testing scripts, segment wizards, and survey capability.

Email Service Providers monitor IP reputation, and complaints.  They present explanations for issues that arise such as bounces, malformed headers, scripting problems, and other email campaign failure.  They may also give the user mailing stats, deliverability reports, and graphics on the overall performance of a campaign,

unsubscribeBut the actual campaign success or failure comes down to the sender.  It is their responsibility to use a list that is:

  • Opti-in
  • Clean from unsubscribes

While content should be:

  • Thought out and planned
  • Written with proper diction, punctuation and spelling

And the message is:

  • Personalized
  • Sent from the same FROM address
  • Relevant to the recipient

email subject lineBefore sending:

  • A/B test for the best Subject Line, Call to Action, and image use
  • Verify all links are working
  • Check on all devices for formatting

But the crux of deliverability lies with Email Authentication; the process of by which an ISP can verify the identity of the sender.  Before an email is considered deliverable to the inbox it’s scrutinized, authenticated, and examined right along with the sender and their sender reputation.

When both the ESP and customer work together, delivery improves. Authentication protocols, DMARC, DKIM, SPF, and BIMI are tools that help with that authentication process:

  • DMARC: set up on your domain, configured for you by your ESP
  • DKIM: set up for you by your ESP
  • SPF protocol: given to you by your ESP and set up on your domain
  • BIMI: all three protocols (above) must be in place: this is set up on your DNS (instructions here)

The question of what can cause constant email campaign failure, or did I sign up with the wrong ESP can now be answered.  The sender is responsible for their reputations and deliverability, and the ESP also plays a role.  Using the ESPs tools, knowledge and assistance deliverability can improve.   If you find you need assistance, check out mailinglistservices.com OR if you prefer emailprofessors.com can play the part of both sender and ESP for your company or organization.

Are there conditions to become a dynamic, great email marketer?

Are there conditions to become a dynamic, great email marketer?​

The internet is filled with advice on how to be a great email marketer.  An email marketer can find information on anything email.  This can include articles and advice on content, formatting, images, and sending schedules, to the use of fonts, videos and personalization.  

And it doesn’t stop there.

report dashboardSubjects like triggers, transactional emails, and reengagement are presented online in blogs by the 100’s.  There’s guidance on how to write an email campaign, who should write it and what department should handle it.

Moreover, as a marketer, you can find help on how to read your campaign statistics, what they should be, and how to improve those statistics with your next mailing.

So much advice offered to be a great email marketer.  And so little time to know it all.

However, there is one thing all marketers know without research; to get results you have to continue to email and aim to get your message in the in-box and get it read.

If you follow online recommendations, you will find a variety of suggestions on how to get this done.  But email marketing is basically a moving target.  Marketers find that some things work well in some situations, while other things do not.  Those things that do not work well, may just need some marketer creativity to be successful.

Become a great email marketer by being creative and successful with dynamic content, also known as conditional content.  This type of content is considered active in that it presents information to the reader based on their responses (e.g., a survey), their interests (you know from their member profile page they filled out) and needs (e.g., they only want your emails when there’s a coupon).

Using dynamic content is easy, but there are steps that need to be followed, such as collecting demographic data from each list member.  You can set up profile pages and ask each member, (by email of course) any personal data you feel they will answer. Our service offers unlimited data fields; therefore, our customers collect as much information as they need. 

A great example using dynamic content:

One of our customers mailed to expected moms.  Their collected data fields contained elements useful to their newsletter: the age of the mom, number of children, the expected due date of their new baby.  Based on that information, we calculated the time left from the date they joined the list to their expected due date. Our email program then automatically sent to the list subscriber personalized newsletters, relevant to the trimesters they were in. 

After the baby was born, they continued to receive timely newsletters with development milestones for their new baby. (e.g., what to expect at one month)  

This worked well for our customer, in fact she had close to one million moms enjoying her list in a very short period of time.  She is an example of a great email marketer using dynamic (conditional) content. 

To be a great email marketer using dynamic or conditional content you must:

  1. Know your audience. Collect the right demographic information.  Selling pet food for example, ask if they have a dog or cat, the age, the name of the animal, dry or wet food preference and brand.   
  2. Try different images, time and subject lines.  A/B split testing is great for this. And using our system you can run unlimited tests on various aspects of your email.
  3. Create customs scripts to insert in complex dynamic content, as with the newsletter for new moms. Simple to do and we support unlimited scripts. 

The advice email marketers can find on the internet is never ending. You will find, that using personalization with dynamic content is the best advice to date.

With dynamic content you can:

  1. Send individuals different content on the same list, tailored to the exact needs and interests of your recipients without having to write more than one message.
  2. Target emails based on any data field you have from your members.
  3. Dramatically improve your email opens. 

Try it yourself with Dundee’s mailinglistservices. We can set you up today for a no obligation trial run.  

Is it the sender or the message causing bad email deliverability?

When you think of email deliverability, email delivered to the inbox should come to mind.  

In an ideal world; as the email sender, your message is not blocked by spam filters, blacklists, appliances, new protocols, the receiving ISP, or by the recipient’s email client’s configuration.  The mail is simply delivered to the inbox, it’s read, the call-to-action processed, and the user forwards the email to a friend.

But that’s in an ideal world.  In the real world, even though there is much value in email as a source of communication, there are aspects of email that some consider intrusive, namely SPAM.  Therefore, before the email is considered deliverable to the inbox, it is scrutinized, authenticated, and examined, along with its sender and their reputation.

Email delivery issues can be caused by the sender, the email message, or both.  Email Envelopes

As a sender you should be cognizant of your sending reputation or sender score, as your overall email sender reputation follows you. It is evaluated by receiving ISP’s who use it along with other measures to decide to deliver your email or not.

Your sender reputation is a compilation of the IP address(es) and domain(s) you are sending from.  IP addresses normally identify the location the sender originates from (but not always).  In addition, unless you have a dedicated IP address, most likely you are sharing an IP address with other email senders.

Sending email campaigns on a shared IP can tarnish your reputation if someone on that address does something to get it blacklisted.  It may be best to invest in a private IP address, one to use just for your email sends.

However, a private IP doesn’t mean you can load up your email list and start sending:  A brand new sending IP address also sends a message to ISP’s that you’re a new sender without a reputation.  Consequently, it is advised that you take time to warm up that IP address before you go whole hog on it.

The whole hog cartoon pig

The process of warming up an IP address helps establish your legitimacy among ISPs as a reputable email sender.

Sending on a good IP address is not enough to be a successful sender you need to show that you have control over the domain you’re sending from.  This is done with DMARC.

Along with DMARC is the use of DKIM, SPF and BIMI.  When these authentication protocols are set up properly, the email receiver servers will consider you as a legitimate sender.  

But wait there’s more: The Email Message

The message should be relevant, personalized, and follow best practices. 

  • Use confirmed opted-in with new subscribers Keep your list clean by removing inactive recipients from your list. Create a sub list for a re engagement campaign of recipients who have not opened or clicked your emails in a few months.
  • Avoid buying or renting email addresses to inflate your subscriber base.
  • Be consistent when you mail, weekly, biweekly, and monthly.  Don’t mix it up.
  • Strive to use the same FROM address for all your email campaigns.
  • Take care of complaints.
  • Keep your list clean, remove unsubscribes for example.
  • Monitor blacklists and if you land on one, follow the recommendation (usually available within the ESP delivery report) to remove your IP address from the blacklist or call your ESP for assistance. 
  • Optimize your emails for all connected devices, honor unsubscribes, segment your email for better engagement, and test before you send.

Because this is the real world and not the ideal world, it is getting harder for senders to get those messages in the inbox.  In the real world, some of your emails may not make it to the recipient, being unfairly blocked for any number of reasons.  Strive for a good sender reputation and follow best email practices for best results.

Find out what you know on this subject- we invite you to take our quiz just for fun https://mailinglistservices.com/quiz/email-marketing-quiz/

How to turn those email campaign inbox lows into inbox highs

How to turn those email campaign inbox lows into inbox highs

The goal of every email marketer starts at the inbox.  The intended recipient receives your email message, they open it, follow the Call-for-Action cues and then, forwards the message to a friend.  When it’s perfect, it’s an inbox high: when the message doesn’t even reach the first step, it’s an inbox low.

Email highs and lows are expected in this industry, and obviously the more inbox highs the better.

To get an inbox high, your email marketing message must be delivered to the recipient as intended.  At times that can be a challenge, especially if you’re sending email campaigns from your own client such as Outlook.  Therefore, the first recommendation: send your campaigns through an ESPs (Email Service Providers) as they embrace the specific email  protocols so customers email campaigns can overcome inbox lows. 

These protocols identify the email sender, to the computer receiving the email, that distributes the message to the recipient.

These protocols include: 

  • Sender Policy Framework – SPF is an older protocol to authenticate email, designed to stop forged emails, but not designed to stop SPAM. It’s all about stopping a potential forger from sending emails on your behalf. It identifies a domain (the last part of an email address, like gmail.com) as a legitimate mail source from the sender and blocks unauthorized domains from getting through.
  • inboxDomain Keys (DKIM).   DKIM is another email authentication process, that can reveal a forged sender’s email address. Essentially is verifies the sender’s domain.
  • DMARC is another email authentication method designed to protect ones domain from unauthorized use.
  • Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI), new on the scene is also a way to authenticate email using logos or brand indicators  in email.

The protocols listed above, contribute to email authentication.  When in place they prevent forged emails and play a part in reducing the amount of SPAM received. When you add them to your sending reputation. and the use of good content the probability of an inbox high increases.

Keep those inbox highs by:

Sending relevant content akin to the welcome letter sent to your recipients when they joined your list and

AND don’t forget to ask your ESP for help, we love it when you get in box highs.

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Sam, Maritime Advocate