Building the list – offline tactics

August 20th, 2012

In a previous article we detailed the ways to collect subscribers online, but there are also offline methods to collect addresses. Email marketing is an efficient channel for the people that interact

1. Events

The events that you are attending are a good opportunity to raise email addresses. You can collect business cards or badges.

2. Prints

Put your subscription URL on your printed promotional materials (flyers, brochures, catalogues, etc). The URL must be short and easy to remember. You can also add a little description to say why people should subscribe to your newsletter.

3. In store

One of the most convenient methods to collect subscribers is at the « point of purchase » (shops, restaurants, hotels, etc). To obtain them easily, we suggest that it would be better to have some incentive or promotion at the subscription. For this method to be efficient is very important the behavior of the employee that makes contact with the client.

4. QR codes

With the qr codes you can make the subscription to your newsletter more accessible. When you create the subscription form you can put the QR code leading to it on the tags of your products, on the flyers, or other printed materials. Users will be able to scan it with their phone and subscribe. For further details on how you can create a QR code for your form with WomSend read this article.

Why should you send welcome emails?

July 25th, 2012

After a consumer started a relationship with you and he gave you the permission to make him part of your email marketing campaigns, you need to have a reaction to his action, to answer somehow. When someone subscribes to your newsletter is important to have an autoresponder campaign set so you can confirm the registration and welcome him properly. If you are using the double opt-in subscription method you should use the confirmation email to thank the user.

With welcome emails you will get good results because the user just subscribed, so he is waiting information from you, he is waiting for a confirmation that he will receive something. That is the moment when the consumer is interested in your products/services and you can easily get his attention.

Welcome email content

  • A link to confirm the subscription to the newsletter;
  • A thank you message for the subscriber;
  • A request to add you to his Address Book;
  • Possibility to set preferences.

Advantages of welcome emails

  1. High open rates: welcome emails get high open rates because they are sent when the user just subscribed, so he is interested in your brand.
  2. Easy to do: they don’t require big investments in time or money. You have to create a template for his emails, and set autoresponse campaign at each subscription.
  1. Build the relationship: with welcome emails you thank your subscribers for giving you the permission to email them.
  2. You set expectations: you can use this email to give subscribers the opportunity to choose what information they want to get by using the Preference center.
  3. Improve delivery rate: welcome email is a great pretext to ask them to add you to their Address Book to make sure they will receive all the emails in their inbox.
  4. Offer a reward: in the welcome email you can offer a voucher or a discount for the order/action.

Create efficient content for email newsletters

July 22nd, 2012

After having established the segmentation criteria for your list and the frequency, you need to work on the content you are offering to your subscribers in order to get high indicators.

Having the permission and staying relevant are the essential elements in email marketing that can help you build a relationship. The second step is to find out what information your subscribers what to receive. A survey can be very helpfull with this. Also, ideas for content can come from carefully observing the indicators of the previous sent newsletters or the traffic ones on your website or blog. See what your users read and develop those subjects.

Generally, the subscribers will not be very happy with receiving only sales newsletters, you need content that will convince them about your products benefits.

Personalization helps

Your can personalizate your content so you can reach your target better. For example, using thelast name of the subscriber in the header of your message. „Hi, Andrew!” instead of just „Hi” can help you win his attention for the lines below.

Placing the important information

The important information needs to stand on the top of the newsletter in order to gain the reader before he abandons the email.

If you are using Womsend you will be able to analyze the click rate on every link according to it’s location. This way you can optimize the positioning of the information and other design elements in the newsletter.

The subject line- the key to high open rates

The subject is the first contact that your subscriber has with the email. It’s the only chance you have to convince him to open and read the information. A good subject line should be concise and based on facts, without metaphors.

Segmenting the list according to subscribers’ activity

April 29th, 2012

Your list includes subscribers that have never opened your email, but also subscribers that entered your website and made a purchase. To increase the efficiency of your newsletters it would be better to send targeted messages. You can segment your list according to subscriber’s actions in your past newsletters. Based on that data you can categorize them into: loyal, active, inactive etc.

In order to use this segmentation you need to have a way of finding out which are your subscriber’s actions.  Usually you have this kind of information from your ESP. Also, if the numbers are not enough, you can find out insights about subscribers using surveys.

 Activity segments

1. Loyal subscribers

If someone made an action after you send him a newsletter (a purchase or filling a form) don’t let this be his last interaction with your brand. Take care of the loyal subscribers because they can bring you important benefits, if they are satisfied by your products/services.

2. Active subscribers

These are the ones that interact with your emails, they enter the site, but the conversions are low. If there is a big difference between the clickthrough rate and the conversion rate there might be a problem. First you need to check the landing page, and then think about the offer itself, it may not be very attractive for the subscribers or you are not stating the benefits very efficiently.

 3. Inactive subscribers

In this category are the subscribers that didn’t open an email you sent in the last 3 – 6 months. It’s very probable that they forgot about you. For these subscribers the best solution is to group them into a segment and think about reactivation solutions.

Womsend lets you know which are the active ones

Using Womsend you can very easily create segments based on subscriber activity. Our system calculates a quality score for every subscriber according to their activity. More details on this feature and how could you use it, you will find here.

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How to optimize the newsletter with A/B testing

March 13th, 2012

Which are the subjects that make users open the emails, which is the best hour to start sending your newsletter or the best day to do it? The answers to these questions is to experiment more alternatives. A/B testing can be used succesfully to raise the indicators of your campaigns by determining what elements don’t work in your newsletter.

What is A/B testing

You make two versions of the email newsletter and send them to two segments in your list. This way you will test the two messages to see which one works best, and then you will send that one to your entire list. A/B testing has many advantages: they are easy to implement, you have the results in a short time and they are easy to understand. The aim of A/B testing is to give you the optimal version of your email newsletter.

What can you test

To start testing you need to define what you have to find out. To be sure you get to the right conclusions is better to make the two versions you are testing are not that different, because if you are changing to many elements you won’t be able to know which one was working and which one wasn’t. This is why is recommended to change only a few elements at once.

1. Subject line
The subject is the factor that influences the most the opening rate of a newsletter. To establish the efficiency of a subject line you can test what difference it makes a specific subject or a general one, also you can test a subject where you tell your subscriber a benefit or that the offer expires soon (You have only two days left to…). Personalization is also another good way to go. You can test to see how it works on your list: you can send a version with your subscriber’s name in the subject and one version without.

2. “From” field
The “From” field is very important for the subscribers to identify you easily in their inbox when they receive a newsletter from you. Also this is a very important element for the opening rate. You can optimize the best version to tell your subscribers who you are. You can put only your company name, or you can try “Newsletter Company Name” or you can put there the name of a representative of your company, if he is known by your subscribers.

3. Hour and sending day
Will you get better results if you send the newsletter in the morning or in the afternoon and which are the best days to start sending? Testing you can find out the answers to these questions.
To test the hour or the best day to send your newsletter you need to send the same version at different hours. These tests will give you information about the behaviour of your subscribers, and when are they more likely to open the newsletters.

4. The layout
You can test two version of layout to see how they work. You can make a test with a more complex layout, a dynamic one and a simpler one, with a very clear structure. A/B testing will help you decide which one you should send.

5. Links and call-to-action
Call-to-action messages determine the value of the conversion rate. When you are testing you can try different texts, colors or font sizes for these messages. Also you can test if it works better to have call-to-action links or buttons.

A/B testing helps you improve your campaign’s indicators and build a stronger relationship with your subscribers. Most times the hardest part is to decide what to test, but you need to choose a few elements and see if they are according to your subscribers expectations. A/B testing can bring you the best optimizing solutions for your newsletter.

Email newsletter subscription with Facebook

February 14th, 2012

Womsend has a new feature: the subscription forms are now integrated with Facebook.

When someone that is already authenticated on Facebook visits your website, he will have the possibility to subscribe to your newsletter without having to fill in their name and email address. The users that are not authenticated on Facebook will see your forms as they usually look.

See below how will your subscription form look like. You need to be authenticated on Facebook to see how it will look for your users that will be connected with their Facebook accounts:

What are the advantages of having a Facebook integrated subscription form?

  • Easier the subscription – the users logged on Facebook will be able to subscribe with only a click, without being necessary to fill in any information.
  • Real data and better delivery – Because users don’t have to write their email address, there will be no mistakes and you will have fewer invalid addresses in your list. And also their email address is already confirmed since they made their Facebook account and most probably is active. All these reasons can help you to have a better delivery rate of your newsletters and a greater interaction with your subscribers.
  • Higher Facebook awareness – Now you can find out if your subscribers are active on Facebook and you can create special campaigns that will encourage interactivity and Facebook message awareness will be higher.

How to use it

If you want to activate the Facebook integration of a subscription form go to the section Configuration -> Forms, select a form and you will find a checkbox “Facebook integration”, activate it, then save and use the generated code to post the form on your website. When a user subscribes to your newsletter, Facebook will send the name and email address of the subscriber, but if you want the complete name of the users you need have in your account a range with “Name”.

How to avoid spam filters

February 7th, 2012

1. The importance of the html code
When you send an email newsletter don’t send only an image with text on it. The email has to be in html code. If the percent image/text is too low your email can get to the junk folder.
The message editor of Womsend verifies your number of characters and warns you if you have less than 200.

2. IP configuration
It is necessary to make sure that the IP-s you send from are correctly configurated. In the following situation the spam filter could give you a higher spam score:
a. There are registrations named Reverse DNS (PTR) at the IP provider (hosting). These registrations are in fact domain names associated with the IP. For example, if we interrogate the DNS system to find out the IP name (registration PTR) 74.53.68.211 we will find out that the name is dsb.womsend.com, and if we interrogate the DNS system to find out the IP of the domain dsb.womsend.com (registration type A) we will find it is 74.53.68.211. This configuration is correct, the two are matching.
A mistake that you have to be careful about is filling in numbers in the name of the IP. This may raise your spam score because spam filters could consider the IP dynamic.
b. There are SPF and SenderID registrations for the want to send email newsletters. These registrations are used by the receiving servers to verify if your IP is authorized to send newsletters from that domain.

3. Signing the messages with DomainKeys and/or DKIM
Domain Keys Identified Mail was conceived to eradicate phising and it is used to identify the senders and help build a reputation for a domain. The system uses a digital signature in the emails sent and matches it with a key of the sender published on the server.

4. Exclusive access to an IP
If you have a website hosted on a shared server (the hosting company has there the site of other clients) you have to make sure that only you can send from an IP.
Require this from your hosting company. If it’s not possible, rent a VPS (Virtual Private Server) or a dedicated server. If not, sending messages and not having a dedicated server, along with others that might be spamming, will affect your reputation too.

5. System security
This aspect is very important. Weak password, software is not updated and with security problems can allow unauthorized access to spammers that will use your system to send unsolicited messages.

6. Blacklist monitoring
It’s good to make a blacklist monitoring. Even the ones that send emails based on permission can get to the blacklist. It’s good to keep an eye on these lists to see if your domain or IP is on one of them in order to take the needed measures to be taken off them.

7. Monitoring through test email addresses
You can do this monitoring by having an email address on the most used email clients by the users on your list. You send your messages to those addresses to see where your messages are delivered. This way you will see if you email get to spam and you can take the required measures to get to the inbox.

How to stay in the inbox of your subscribers

If your emails are delivered in the Inbox, you still need to take the right measures to stay there.

1. Constant system monitoring
This one is necessary to prevent and repair any technical or security problem mentioned before.

2. Avoid spam reporting
In order to have a low spam rate you have to keep into account the most important rule in email marketing: be relevant. Send to your subscribers messages that you said you would on your subscription form, also you have to include in your messages the unsubscribe link, to stop users from using the Report spam button when they want to stop receiving your emails. More details about how to avoid reports you find here.

3. Automatic processing of unsubscribe requests
This is an aspect that you should not neglect. Also is important the cleaning of the database for expired or not valid email addresses and registering in feedback loop to know who is reporting your email as spam.

These are the most important recommendations to keep the spam rate at lower values. For a higher efficiency of the sent newsletters it’s important to keep them into account.
Womsend system has implemented solutions for all of the problems above to assure you a high delivery rate and a low spam rate.
For further information you can contact us.

How to prepare your newsletters for Christmas campaigns

December 9th, 2011

On Christmas everybody shops and the shopping season is about to start and the email is one of the most efficient ways to reach the prospects. The closer to the holidays we get, all inboxes are filling up with promotional offers so the most important thing to do is to differentiate and personalize the message. Everybody is busy and everybody wants to shop, providers are many and the offers as well.

Shopping is going online

Every year online store gain more clients during the holiday season. The value of online purchasing is bigger every year, especially on holidays. For example, in 2010 online sales have tripled compared to the ones in  2010. That’s why is very important to attract the online public to your offers. Consumers start to abandon crowded offline shopping to shop online with the effort of only a few clicks.

Test the email and the landing page

If you have a message and a design suitable for your subscribers and your are about to send the newsletters, do not neglect the technical aspects. Test the email for the most used email clients: Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, Thunderbird, Hotmail etc. Also check on the display of your online version on the most used internet browsers.

Also keep in mind that you need to optimize your landing page in order to get conversions. If you managed to convince the subscribers with your email newsletters you need to convince them once again when  you got them to visit your landing page. So, too many steps required to make purchase or if the users are not able to find the purchase button, these may be reasons for them to leave your site.

Ideas for holiday newsletters

1. Themed design
In December send emails that say something about the upcoming holidays through their design. A design template or just a header with that reminds people about gifts and holidays is better than the regular one. It will help you stand out, a different design and a holiday themed message will help you break the monotony.

2. Recommended gifts
The email newsletter sent during this period is not really necessary to contain only promotional offers. You can include in you emails recommendations of your products for gifts. Use the reviews of other consumers or the lists of the best selling products to make this recommendations.

3. Last minute offers
One type of subscribers you should not forget about about the people that don’t have any time or they leave Christmas shopping for the last minute. You can make some “last minute” offers and it is recommended to contain digital product that will not require any delivery.

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