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Archive | April, 2017

Mistakes Made In Email Opt-In Usability

The reader needs motivation in order to subscribe for emails from a company. This is the very first step towards increasing the email opt-in rate. The website should have display the benefits of subscribing. Simple, nondescript boxes inhabit the homepage which say ‘Subscribe to the company’s newsletter’ and nothing more than that. There is lack of reason why the user should sign up unless they already find the content of the website interesting. It is agreed upon by many that the content should be kept basic. But how basic is the question. Lonely sign up boxes are a big no-no. There should at least be a brief promotional line which gives a specific and concrete benefit that would get the reader motivated to fill the box with his email address and click on the sign up button. The promotional matter should answer questions such as ‘Why should the reader sign up for the newsletter?’, ‘What are the solutions being offered by the newsletter?’, and ‘Is the newsletter focused and specific, concentrating on the needs of the reader?’

The same technique is to be used with the type of words and language being used in the promotional copy or more better, on the complete website. The links should be clear and shouldn’t have any empty, vague or generic matter. The content should be able to solve the problem which the reader is looking forward to be solved. The readers must be offered with back issues and sample to give them a good idea about what they can expect from future newsletters they will be receiving.

After the reader signs up, many of them receive a big nothing. They get big blackness and dead silence. The subscriber wants something to happen in his inbox immediately. Therefore, it is a good idea to send a welcome email right away which can include the latest newsletter or sample of the best newsletters. Try to include some email-special offer. At the end of the message tell them they will be expecting such great offers and newsletter in a short while. The new subscriber should feel that he has joined the club and has already received some benefit. He should feel the signing up process worth the effort. The welcome email also does the job of confirming email, which checks for the validity of the email address.

On one hand there are people who have barely any motivating information on their website and on the other there are people who have too much information on their website. The information is not organized and the users are overwhelmed with innumerable choices. If the company has too many things to offer, it should narrow them down by grouping them into categories. On the basis of these categories, the newsletters too must be sent out. The newsletters should have specific content and any new material posted on the website should be posted in just a link and not more than that.

The last thing which puts off the subscriber is asking too many questions. In the sign-up page they are asked for their email address only. Next they are linked to the preference page, followed by twenty more pages. This is a really blown opportunity. Initially, it is good to keep it sweet and short by asking information like first name, last name, and email address. Then send them a confirmation email where they can click the link for making choices. Marketers should know where to draw the line. A box asking just for the email address is a great way of not getting any subscriptions.

How Deliverability is damaged?

How many times professionals have said that senders should adopt better practices to enhance their programs but, marketers ignores it every time and commit same old blunder. They end up getting nothing but terrible outcomes and they blame them on ISPs for their tough spam filtering policies.

One of the reasons why emails are undeliverable is due to failed authentication checks. This is a key reason why marketers should keep good records of the authentications to make it easy for the ISPs to identify authentic senders and make use of the reputation data to make decisions related to delivery. More damaging is an incorrect or broken record which can be even more devastating than not having any record at all. For instance consider the case where the IP address and sender is identified by authentication and when this authentication check fails it sends out a message that the “email was not sent by me” and thus do not deliver the message.

One of the other things that damages chances of deliverability of marketing emails is using an unrecognizable sender address. It’s a general practice among the recipients to decide what should be done about the email after reading the sender address otherwise the email is most likely going to be reported as spam or deleted right away. So, the more you try to hide your identity the more damaging would be the results.

One of the ways to self destroy a good email marketing effort is to use subject lines which look like spam or spam themselves. The subject line is the next most important thing after sender line for an email marketing campaign to be successful.

Another important point that most marketers ignore when they send marketing emails is check the list for bad or invalid email addresses. A list full of incorrect or invalid address creates a bad reputation on ISP thus increasing the chances of messages being blocked. Taking invalid addresses off of your list regularly improves the situation. Processing requests to unsubscribe and taking care of spam complaints instantly also helps a great deal.

What could be the next damaging factor to a good email marketing campaign? It is generating excessive complaints. If you accumulate lot of complaints from the receivers this affects your reputation again on ISP and they use this as a foremost factor to stop your emails. To help reduce this, immediately remove the addresses that are associated with any spam complaints you get. Not only that, take one extra step in finding out how those addresses got into your list and what commonalities they share in order to better your programs and cut complaints down.

Sending unsolicited emails is not just anyone’s liberty. Nobody would like to see any unsolicited email in his/her inbox without any reason. The ISPs judge a sender’s reputation by knowing how sender acquired the email address of the receiver like whether they solicited their permission or simply got it by spamming.

It is a tendency by the marketers to overload their emails with irrelevant text and images which the receivers may not want to see. Always ask for subscriber’s choice in selecting the kind of content they want to receive and go one extra mile in asking any other thing that they can do to satisfy their requirements.

Few points discussed above are some of the many measures that email marketers can take to prevent the deliverability of their emails from getting damaged.

Understanding List Fatigue and List Churn

Email list dies a slow but steady death if action isn’t taken from time to time. For most of the companies, fifty percent of their subscribers leave them every year. Everyone uses their click, conversion and open rates in order to measure their email program’s success. But they fail to measure the size of their and quality of their email list. Email list hurdle rate is the new metric to be considered, along with the other old ones, in order to keep the list growing.

The email list hurdle rate determines the loss rate from the email list which needs to be overcome for the list to grow. It gives the exact number of new subscribers to be attracted in order to replace the old ones which have either left the list. The other stumbling blocks to be tackled are list churn and list fatigue.

List churn is the percentage of subscribers who have left the list during a certain time period. This is measured either monthly or annually. Out of this only three percent constitute of people who have unsubscribed from the list. Other thirty percent constitute of email addresses which have been lost to hard bounces every year. The subscribers can either enter their email address incorrectly when signing up or the emails addresses might no longer be valid, causing the emails to bounce. The rest of the percentage constitute of people who have reported spam complaints. Even the biggest legitimate permission marketers get spam complaints.

The list churn rate can be calculated monthly by looking at the email performance reports. The yearly lost subscribers can be calculated by adding up number of unsubscribed, hard bounces, and spam complaints. The total should then be divided by the current size of the list to find out the list hurdle rate. Calculation of the list hurdle rate is very important for the annual planning process and for forecasting the revenues. If this metric isn’t considered a lot of explanation is due to your boss if you fail to achieve the required list growth goal. The list churn rate can be improved by reducing the number of spam complaints and bounces.

List fatigue deals with the subscribers on the email list which have hibernated and have become inactive for quite a while. These people haven’t unsubscribed, but have stopped reading the emails and interaction. Therefore the un-subscription rate cannot give a clear picture about how the readers feel about the company’s emails. The most common cause of list fatigue is irrelevant offers, over mailing and newsletter content which dose not deal with the interest of the reader.

The percentage of the inactive subscribers should be calculated to figure out the list fatigue. People who haven’t clicked or opened not even a single email over a certain period of time should be counted. Usually thirty to fifty percent of an email list becomes inactive annually. There can be a variety of reasons cause of which these people are receiving your emails but aren’t unsubscribing. Major reason is because your mail can be going directly to their bulk folder or because your un-subscription link isn’t working. So there can be a possibility that out of the fifty percent, forty percent are inactive and the rest ten percent are busy, on vacation, or just not motivated enough by the subject line or email content. Small surveys can be conducted to understand the changing needs of the subscribers.

These sleeper subscribers need to be activated from time to time by giving them spicy stuff like special offer, different newsletter outlook, interactive tools, etc. On one had the old subscribers must be re-energized and new subscribers must be added from time to time. Otherwise the list gets shorter and shorter. Resources must be obtained and plans must be established in order to get the targeted list growth rates. The ratio of inactive subscribers must also be reduced and slowed down.

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