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Where O’ Where Did My Email Go? I hit the send button!

Where O’ Where Did My Email Go? I hit the send button!

I Clicked the Send Button, Now What?

Email Marketer’s, do you wonder how your email actually finds its way to the right customer’s inbox?   Once you hit the Send Button the flow of your email is out of your control.

Of course, email delivery and deliverability is the end goal for email marketers.  Both email delivery and email deliverability go hand in hand,  and at the same time, they are entirely different.  Many marketers know the ins and outs of email deliverability, so this blog is about both email processes.

gmail inbox

Email Delivery Steps

  1. Message CreationEmail marketing messages normally start with design.  The basic steps: 1. Content is added.  2. The message is tested.  3. Once you are satisfied with the message in its creative form hit the send button. it will take a path that leads it directly to an email server.  However, before that happens the message is properly formatted for internet transmission with a standard protocol called  SMTP  (“Simple Mail Transfer Protocol:)

2. Next, the sender’s server,  technically called the “Mail Transfer Agent” or MTA, searches the @domain.com portion of the recipients’ email address to determine the destination mail server called the MX server (“Mail Exchanger”); it delivers the message.

3. The recipient’s email retrieves (downloads the message) using POP,  “Post Office Protocol”,

Email Deliverability

After message creation, in step one above, an email message goes through other routes which can determine its deliverability. The hosting provider’s software should validate the sender as someone who has permission to mail out from the list. If the senders’ email address is confirmed as an approved sender, the email moves to the next step. If the email address is found to be blocked, then the journey of your email ends here.

Once the server has confirmed that you are an approved sender, the recipient’s server then checks the sender’s settings for DKIM, DMARC, SPF, and MX. This “conversation” between the servers (sender and recipient) allows the servers to determine if the email is coming from a trusted source.  When the server’s settings are misconfigured or the senders IP has been blacklisted due to complaints, your email will be stuck here and will not reach its destination.

Using Dundee Internet’s mailing list services –mailmanIf you find your IP has become blacklisted don’t panic just fill out a support ticket and our qualified support team will contact global blacklists (SpamHaus, SpamCop) to whitelist your IP. If this is something you prefer to avoid entirely you may want to consider using a dedicated IP.  Not using Dundee Internet Mailing List Services, but another ESP like MailChimp or Aurea, check with them if your list is blacklisted.

 If the recipient’s server determines it is safe to accept your email it is then inspected by the email provider for content, scored and then sorted. There are three places your emails can end up the inbox, spam box, or quarantine. If your emails spam score is found to be high, it will end up in quarantine where the server’s administrator will monitor and usually delete. If your spam score is moderate it will end up in your recipient’s spam box. If your spam score is low or sent from a trusted email address it will land in the all-important inbox.

If you find that your emails are not reaching their target destination there are many steps during email delivery where emails can become blocked.  Just follow the ” mail with your ESP “steps to determine what is keeping your email from delivery and you can troubleshoot deliverability issues!

Do you see what I see? Tips for Nonprofits to Increase Email Marketing Success.

Do you see what I see? Tips for Nonprofits to Increase Email Marketing Success.

Nonprofit organizations depend on supporters and volunteers to be successful.  Most of us have the desire to help in some way, but volunteering takes time; a more valuable commodity than money.  Since time is valuable to consider this –email marketing, is the best, quickest and most direct way to reach those potential supporters and volunteers without taking up too much of their time – but how do you connect to them?

Visual Aids!  Don’t just tell people what’s so great about your organization show them.

There a plethora of common visual aids available on the Internet, they can be added to your nonprofits’ mailings to emphasize your message and capture your reader’s attention.

Common Visual Aids for email include:

dog with kissesUsing Images

The adage “A picture’s worth a thousand words” still rings true in today’s high tech world.  Images not only catch the reader’s attention, they also humanize your organizations’ mission statement.

Keep in mind you can use your image in conjunction with a catchy Subject Line or a call to action to increase its impact.

Using Videos

What better way to introduce people to your nonprofit then showing them what it is you do? Videos are an excellent addition, they make your reader feel included in your organization before you even meet. Unlike images that can be interpreted in many ways, the use of video can inform the watcher of the current needs and goals specific to your latest project.

The types of videos you can add are endless, from current projects to a specific need.  Want to adopt out that adorable pup, showcase him in your latest email and add a video of his daily life.

Using GIFs

GIFs are relatively new to the scene, but they’re taking off rapidly:  what is it exactly? GIFs are animated images that repeat on a loop, every few seconds.  Be cautious using GIFs as they are subject to copyright laws.

Why not make your own organization-specific GIF. There are free tools you can use to make a GIF with the most common being GIPHY. Your only limitations are your own creativity.  Be funny, serious, or cheesy, whatever fits your nonprofits personality.

via GIPHY

Images (both static images and the more popular animated gif), as well as videos, capture your reader’s attention. No matter which media you intend to add to your mailings the goal is the same, to invoke an emotional response in the reader to either donate their money or better yet their time to your organization.  Demo our services today!

5 Easy Ways To Make Email List Segments

5 Easy Ways To Make Email List Segments

Benefits of creating email list segments – Its a fact, general email campaigns, sent to your entire subscriber base, will not always be as successful as you want them to be. Subscribers prefer a unique tailored email that speaks directly to them.

Research shows taking the time to personalize your email messages, not only increase open rates, but also clickthroughs which ultimately results in higher ROI.

Personalize and sending the right message at the right time starts with segmenting your email list.

5 easy ways to segment your mailing list, so your email finds the proper inbox.

1. Demographics:

puzzle pieces

Puzzle Pieces

With Lyris ListManager there are hundreds of ways to use demographics to segment your list.

New to using demographics? – we recommend you start slowly, with some of the more common demographics such as age, gender, location and birth date. Collect this information about each subscriber on their profile form by simply adding the demographic field you want to collect to your subscribe form. Once the information is collected you can use it as needed to choose the targeted audience for your email campaigns.

2. Location, Location, Location:

They say home is where the heart is. Knowing where your subscribers call home can give you a clear advantage with an email campaign. Using their location, you can tailor your subject line to include local information or include information for your nearest local store instead of a corporate office. Knowing the location of your subscriber is as easy as adding a ZIP code line onto your subscription form!

3. Previously Purchased Items:

If you know where someone has been, it may just help you figure out where they are going next. Shopping is the same premise, if you know what they bought in the past, send offers that correspond to their interest. Personalizing the sale experience for your subscribers will keep them coming back for more.

4. Subscriber Engagement:

It’s important to keep track of your subscriber’s interest on your mailing list. It takes time and effort to generate an email marketing campaign, and you want to get the most for your time. Therefore, sending a mailing to your whole list may seem like you are getting a big bang for your buck, however, if you look closer you may notice that some subscribers haven’t been interacting with your emails for days, weeks or even months.

If this is the case, you can target these individuals with a re-engagement campaign. Let them know what they’re missing. Offer them an incentive to come back. When running a re-engagement campaign, it is often effective to ask for feedback as to why they are no longer interacting with your emails. For

example, maybe they feel overwhelmed with daily emails and would prefer to be contacted once a week instead. Bringing your unengaged subscriber back into the fold by making them feel appreciated, is as simple as listening to their needs and acting on them.

5. Asked and Answered:

Personalized emails require personal information, but you don’t want to scare away potential subscribers with an opt-in form a mile long. Instead, send out a survey to your new subscribers asking them about their interests and opinions. Extending an incentive for their answers will help to gather the information you need. For example, each submission may enter them into a drawing for a coveted item. With a survey, you must give a little to get a lot.

As a final point, always test your messages before you send them out.

How to be an Effective Email Marketer with call-to-action

How to be an Effective Email Marketer with call-to-action

The success of a call-to-action email campaign depends on your subscriber following through with that action.

When they click on that link where will it take them?

To your homepage?

Linking subscribers to your homepage may not be as effective as you would like: once there, the subscriber is faced with choices that may distract him from your main goal.  You may want him to click on the “Sales” link, but he clicks the “About” link instead: as there are so many more menu items to choose from.

The goal of your email: create a subscriber who is attentive on the one task that brought them there from your email. You want their focused attention.

How do you get a subscriber’s undivided attention?  –   Use a Landing Page.

To decide between a webpage or a landing page consider the difference between the two. Web pages are often large with many pages, links, with many call-to-actions; conversely, landing pages are normally one page and may have one call-to-action.

Landing pages are often clear, brief with a defined call-to-action.  These pages often show up on a google search.  When designing for a google option a typical Google search layout is shown here:

  1. This section is for paid search advertisements: such as Google adwords

2. This is also a paid search result: These are shopping advertisement

3. Featured Google Pages

4. Organic Search Pages

Because a landing page ranks high on google search they are often one of the first items that the google search engine will display. By the way, studies have shown that landing pages with as few as one link increases the conversion rate with paid advertisements.

In summary Landing Pages:

  1. Maintain continuity between your email message and the response your list member will take from your call-to-action by:
  2. Connect the message to the page, both in colors, style, and offer.
  3. Make it simple to read and understand, uncrowded by graphics and verbiage
  4. Allow you to expound on the offer and encourage visitor action with a free demo (for example)
  5. Keep them focused on one point, one action.

Email and specialized campaign landing pages go hand in hand.  If you need assistance with your landing page and ListManager.  Just drop us a note and we’ll be happy to assist.

Always Use These 5 Emails For a New List Subscriber

Always Use These 5 Emails For a New List Subscriber

The hardest part is over. You have a new list subscriber. Now what?

A new list subscriber should feel their membership is important to you and worthwhile for them.  It’s essential to keep this person engaged with your emails: Targeted emails sent on a regular basis does just that.  Besides all the future emails your new member will enjoy, there are at least 5 email types that your list member may receive from you, one time or another, essential emails that keep list members engaged. They are the:

1. The Welcome Letter: Once a new member is added to your mailing list it is important to greet them and to show gratitude for taking the effort to follow your content. The content sent,  should be personalized for the new subscriber, i.e. address them by their name. The welcome letter sets their expectations; what information can they expect from their subscription, how often will you be mailing, and so forth.  AND always include an unsubscribe link or create a “no response to this email will remove you from this list” option, in case they were added by mistake. Make sure you ask your new subscribers to whitelist your email address with their ISP so future mailings won’t end up as marked as SPAM.  Keep a warm and sincere tone, as with any interaction with people you may never get another chance to make a good first impression and loyal list member.

2. Birthday Emails: These emails are self-explanatory. With Dundee Email, you can enter your list members birth date into the system for future automatic mailings.  The Birthday Greeting you create will arrive in their inbox at the right date on the time you designate.  This is a perfect way to make them feel special, and don’t forget to add a sale coupon just for them.

3. Re-engagement Letter: Have you noticed that your open rates are suffering? Your subscriber rate might be up, but are they interacting with your content and generating sales? Maybe it’s time to ramp up user enthusiasm. An emailed discount for products/ services may not be enough. When designing a reengagement email, think outside the box.  Make eye-catching subject lines and unusual proposals to bring your users back into the fold.  Consider including a brief survey, to find out what they are thinking.  Ask when they want to hear from you, what really interests them.  Note their likes and dislikes and use this information to tailor future email campaigns – deliver the content they want at the time they want it.

4. Reminders: We all get busy and use reminders to make sure all our tasks get completed. Personally, I find myself making lists and using a ridiculous amount of post-its to stay on track of things I need or should do, your customers are no different. Everyone has a list of some sort to remind them to pick up their dry cleaning or buy milk at the grocery store.  However when shopping, most likely they wouldn’t leave their shopping cart sitting in the middle of the store and walk out, but when they shop online, it’s easy to leave that cart.  This brings me to the 4th letter,  the  Shopping cart abandonment email reminder.

Email list members are just like us; Fill up a virtual shopping cart,  pretend to check out, just to view the shipping costs. Or they select that blue scarf, then buy it at different VS (virtual store).   They didn’t finish the transaction because they simply do not want to give out all that personal information – OR-  they are worried about site security.

In all shopping cart abandonment situations,  a reminder email about their unfinished purchase maybe the nudge they need to close that sale.

A reminder email for shopping carts has three general components, an eye-catching subject line, the abandoned items and a call to action. The subject line should entice the recipient to open your email one that evokes an emotional response.  Once the email is opened, showcase the items they left behind and highlight any special features they may have missed, like a 30-day return policy.  Design the email for a one-click purchase: automatically take them to their account to pick up where they left off.

5. Goodbye letter: Sometimes no matter what you do your member still unsubscribe. Goodbyes are the hardest in real life and goodbyes to a list member, well not as hard to write.  Goodbye emails are not widely used; Most people do not want to pester their newly unsubscribed members. However, it is important to send a final email to your previous subscriber thanking them for their loyalty, and,  trying to once again make them an offer to stay. Some of the most successful goodbyes are simple,  to the point with little or no images.  The goal of your letter is to get them to stay, then allow them to alter their email preferences – too much mail turns readers off too.  Remember use tools, a survey, profile page or both.

For mailing lists, the goals are always the same. We want an active, engaged subscriber, it’s not just enough to have many subscribers we want them to open their emails, forward them to friends and become customers of our products or services. The key to reaching your goal is to keep the lines of communication open with our members by interacting with them at all stages whether they are new, haven’t opened an email in a month, or are unsubscribing.

Who Really Engages With Your Email Messages?

Who Really Engages With Your Email Messages?

Who Really Engages With Your Email Messages?

You want your customers to engage with your email messages, increasing your ROI. What could stop them?  Email automation, (or in this case the program your list subscribers use to block out that unwanted email – the SPAM FiLTER), is only as smart as the programmer. – And limited by the instructions that come with it.  That and the fact that successful email campaigns have a time limit and a lifecycle, you might wonder which is a bigger menace to your ROI, email automation or over-emailing?       penguin

In an ideal world, all your subscribers will engage with your messages,  SPAM filters are perfect and there is no such thing as over-emailing. This is not a perfect world. Over-email, you lose subscribers.  if you continue to over-email you might be considered a SPAMMER, your messages are just deleted or filtered into oblivion.   Over-emailing can lead to lower engagement, lower conversion rates, and definitely lower ROI.

Lower ROI is not the goal.

You want members to engage with your messages, therefore view email as the best marketing tool since the traveling salesman; same personal one on one communication delivered right to the door. (or inbox in the case)  However, unlike the salesman, email is easy to exploit and squander. Email does not give you the opportunity to overcome objections or dazzle them with your personality and charm. And it does not engage your subscriber in an ongoing conversation.   In most cases, you’ll never need to see or talk to your list member: the impression you leave with your subscriber is limited to the email you send to them.  It then becomes important to understand the type of person who engages with your messages.

How do you determine who your subscriber really is  – collect the general demographics, age, and gender and expand the data to include the type of content your subscriber engages with, the links they click on, the day and time they read your email to the hat they purchased and the friend they referred.   Use this knowledge to send triggered, targeted email – if you know, for example, a customer purchases an oversized shirt and funny shoes every October, you expect they will be purchasing this October. Be proactive; leading up to October send them an image of oversized shirts and offer a discount on another purchase if they refer a friend.

Use your collected demographics to target people who live in NYC in the dead of winter, by offering wool gloves and warm hat combinations while in warmer climates, the offer is changed to straw hats and cotton gloves.  It’s so easy to personalize each message as you’re targeting a specific group at a specific time.  Segmenting your list with essential personal content will yield higher ROI as deliverability improves with list engagement.  How do you know it’s working, measure your success!

Just how do you measure success?

Measure any metric you deem important, such as how did the customer engage with your message, what time was it, where are they, did they click on all links or just open the email and delete it.  Did they forward your message to a friend or save it for themselves to open later?

Barring the subject line, which you have tested with segment emailing, is your only measurement, email opens and website visitors – is that really enough?   What other factors can you measure to let you know your email campaigns are more or could be more successful than you think?

  1. Confirmation email, did they confirm? If they did not confirm, should you rewrite the synopsis of the signup URL, or should you rethink your offer in exchange for their email address?
  2. Have you lost subscribers after your initial Welcome letter? The most important email you’ll ever send hasn’t changed, it’s still the Welcome Letter.  Whether you are offering a service, selling retail or running a nonprofit organization, the goals are all the same.  Increase the customer, client or member base and keep them happy and interested.
  3. Format: you changed the number of images and people unsubscribe. Are the images optimized for mobile and PC?  How many people did not like that change?  Test any changes first.
  4. Do you track your customers from the day they joined your list, to their first purchase to the time it took for their first purchase to the number of emails to get their next purchase? When did they lose interest in your messages, what did you change?
  5. Do you know what device they use to read your messages? Is your email readable and configured correctly for the mobile crowd, the IPad user and laptop?  Does it render well in all browsers for all devices, if not, people may leave?
  6. What time of day are your messages read and just where are your list members? Are your emails being neglected because you are in the grass seed business, emailing people who live in downtown Chicago? Do you send Monday Emails to people who work at night?  A profile page and some analyzing may reveal a better time to send out that weekly newsletter and correct the mailing to target homeowners instead of city dwellers
  7. Are you sending a book instead of a newsletter? Is there an ideal limit on content, longer or shorter? When you run tests, which one has better results?
  8. What is unique about your company, do you capitalize on your customer service, fast delivery, speedy checkout and money back guarantee? All these are measurable, and if you don’t know the answers, send them a survey.

And don’t forget to continue to use the same metrics you always have: Delivery rates, bounce rates, click-throughs and open rates.  They are all important measurements to be successful.

Email Delivery Explained!

Email Delivery Explained!

Sending and receiving email is similar to traditional mail.

mailboxTo send a letter through the mail it requires a “to” and “from” address. The “to” address directs the letter to its destination, and the “from” address can be used in case the mail is returned. In the digital world, a mail exchanger (MX) server can be used to send and receive email.

The MX server has specialized software for distributing mail. To determine the destination of the email, the mail delivery agent (MDA) reads the header and determines if the email should remain on its own server or send over the internet to a remote server. The MDA takes the place of the postal worker, in this case, it looks at the “to” and “from” addresses and determines if it can be delivered locally or placed on a truck and sent across state lines

To accomplish this, the MDA uses two specifications, the address record (A Record) and the mail exchange record (MX) record. The A record takes the domain of the host and translates it into an IP address that an email can be sent to. The mail exchange record includes the hostname for the domain as well as a code that prioritizes the email. The lower the code number the higher the priority. Incoming emails are routed through the IP address as assigned in the A record.

An example of these records is below.

A Record:                                                                            MX Record:

Domain: Dundee.net

Host Name: Mail

IP: 11.11.11.222

 

Domain: Dundee.net

Mail exchange: mail.dundee.net

Priority:10

 

 

So, how do these internal records affect your emails being sent? Let’s look at a specific example, you are mailing your welcome letter to your new member, his email address is Freeman@dundee.net. The mail delivery agent looks at the domain, in this case, it is Dundee.net and compares it to the A record. The A record converts the domain into an IP address where the email will be sent. Next, the MX record is used to redirect the email to the mail host and tells the host what priority the email is. The email is then sent using these guidelines and reaches its destination where it is opened.

It’s as simple as that and requires no stamp.

For more information on how email travels check out our blog:

From goal setting to trip planning how does your email list travel?

Key Information For Email Marketers

Key Information For Email Marketers

As 2017 comes to an end, are you happy with how well your company performed? Are you concerned about 2018, and what will it bring to the table?

Your monthly profit analysis may project the overall health of your business at year end. It really doesn’t tell you what you are doing right or doing wrong.

The best way to find out about your company’s successes and failures:  turn to those who use your product or service, your customers.  Don’t rely on Social Media, some people may love your product, but their mother doesn’t, so they give you a negative review to keep the peace.  Does that really happen – you never know.  Send email surveys, the perfect way to allow your customers to give the feedback you need.  Allow them to remain anonymous and post their answers online to a specific URL or let them tell you who they are when they submit their answers by email.  Either way here’s the top 5 reasons you should include a survey in your email marketing program.

Unlock success to email marketing with the right tools for the right results. praying cat

  1. Customer/member feedback: Looking for overall satisfaction, or why your customers visited your site only to abandon their shopping carts. A survey will allow you to ask those burning questions you really want to know.
  2. Measure Morale: Is your audience satisfied with the direction your company is moving? Or are they frustrated with your customer service? Use surveys as a tool, not just to find out the good, but also what your company can do to boost your consumer’s morale. Happy customers will pay off in REPEAT business.
  3. Surveys as Testimonials: When using a survey, it is important to leave a comment section. This section can be used to elaborate on an ongoing issue or to praise your company for its strengths. In turn, you can use these comments as a testimonial for prospective clients.  It may be just what you need to convert a prospective client into an active one.
  4. Fine-tune Pricing: There are many nuances on how to determine your pricing. However, this is the perfect venue to ask your customer what range of prices they may be willing to pay for your services. This may help your business stay competitively priced, may even help your future sales campaigns.
  5. Become Proactive: Once the data has been collected you can use this information to make changes within your company and to set goals for the upcoming year. For example, if your survey reflects that the customer wait times on support calls are too long, then a reasonable goal for the next year might be to hire more customer support to decrease wait times.

Adding a survey to your email campaigns can provide you with key information that can be used to make your customers happy, and in return result in repeat business. Just a little bit of effort to add a survey to your marketing can yield large returns.

Dundee Internet Mailing List hosting: Surveys are part of the package!