Be careful when pre-scheduling your email marketing

Using an email service provider such as Mailchimp or Campaign Monitor is the only way to do your email marketing properly. A useful feature is the ability to prepare your e-shots in advance and schedule them to send on a particular day.

This can be useful if you’re going to be out of the office on the day of send, or if you want to optimise your workflow by preparing content in advance.

However, there is one potential downside to pre-scheduling. By the time your content is sent, it could have become be embarrassing, or at worst insensitive.

Here’s an example from TomTom which proclaims:

Spring has finally sprung! It’s time to head outside and make the most of the warmer weather.
It’s complemented by a nice picture of a car driving past a spring meadow!

The only problem is it was sent on Friday 22nd March 2013, a weekend which saw snow and freezing temperatures across the UK. My guess is it was prepared some time in advance and pre-scheduled.

TomTom email example

The red highlighting is mine, for emphasis.

 

Now, I’m a fan of TomTom’s email marketing, and I’m sure this weather faux pas won’t have done their reputation too much harm!

However, I recommend:

If you are going to pre-schedule your e-shots, check whether there is any content which could potentially cause a problem for you. If so, then it’s worth making a diary note to double check the day before the scheduled send.
Here are some examples:
  1. Weather related content, like the TomTom example above.
  2. Topical content. For example, something relating to the economy where the situation might have changed by the time the email goes out.
  3. Natural disasters or political unrest. For example, a travel company promoting a destination where an earthquake or an uprising has just taken place.

 

 

Email marketing: Why your From Name will affect your open rate

Choose your “from” name carefully and you could improve your open rate

A quick survey. Which of these emails are you more likely to open?

Set A

Set B

The correct answer (according to me!) is Set B.

inbox screenI receive a lot of e-shots and email newsletters these days with only a person’s name in the “from” section of the email like Set A  above.

The problem with this is, if you have a large list many of the recipients might not know who the sender is.  This increases the risk of them deleting the email without reading it.

Another big issue is these days spammers are using real names in their spam messages, to try and make the email look like a personal communication. This means spam savvy email recipients are even less likely to open your e-newsletter, unless they know you personally.

My tip: Unless you’re so well known that your name alone will suffice (eg. Richard Branson, Alan Sugar) , always include the company name. You could just use the company name on its own, or if you want to add a personal touch, add the sender’s name as well. The examples in Set 2 above use both these approaches.

Bonus tip:  Use a real “from” email address not a “no reply” address.

I often see larger companies using a “no reply” email address meaning the address cannot receive replies.

The problem with this is, what happens if a recipient replies with a question or complaint? Their email just gets ignored!

I recommend always using an address which can receive replies.

Yes, it means you’ll also receive all the out of office replies but you can easily sort all the emails by subject line and delete these, leaving genuine replies to be dealt with.

How to avoid losing e-newsletter subscribers

There’s one sure fire way to lose subscribers.

Frustrated newsletter subscriberTo achieve this, do not enable them to amend their email address!

I’ve recently been streamlining some of my email addresses, and I receive several newsletters on an email address which I’m discontinuing.  Many of these newsletters had no link to enable me to change my details.

My only option was to unsubscribe and then look for the subscribe form on their website. In some cases, it was too much hassle so they lost me as a subscriber.

If you don’t make it easy for people to change their details many will just unsubscribe

My tips

1. Add a “change your email address” link in your newsletter. If you use an email service provider such as Mailchimp or Campaign Monitor this is very easy to do. If you’re not sure how to do this please ask me.

2. Make the link prominent and don’t hide it in the small print.

3. Be specific on what the link is for. For example: “We’d hate to lose touch! Changed your email address? Tell us here”.

Why I like this Mother’s Day email from Apple

I’ve always been a big fan of Apple’s email marketing and a Mother’s Day email I received today is no exception.

Let’s take a look at why it’s so good.

1. Firstly the from name and subject line.

The from name is blissfully clear. Simply “Apple”. Not “Apple Newsletter” or “Apple Europe”.

The subject line is succinct and evocative and uses the word “Mum” rather than the more generic “Mother’s Day”.

Apple subject line

2. Secondly the email itself.

 The images below are an extract from the full email. Not actual size.

Apple Mother's Day email

< The branding is subtle. No need for a massive masthead.

< Short and succinct headlline.

< Clear how to buy information.

 

< The design has plenty of white space making it much easier to read.

< The call to action”Buy iPad” is succinct. Far better than “Click here to visit our online store”.

 

 

Email marketing – why you should make it easy to unsubscribe

But why? Surely you want to prevent people from unsubscribing?

No. We say make it easy to unsubscribe. Here’s why.

Making it easy to unsubscribe…

1. Cleans your list ensuring you’re not wasting money emailing people unnecessarily.

2. Ensures you’re only communicating with people who want to hear from you.

3. Means people are less likely to report as spam. Too many spam complaints will affect your sender reputation and you could even end up on a spam blacklist. Google, Hotmail and AOL have a “report spam” button which people will click if they can’t easily find the unsubscribe link.

4. Provides a much better user experience and leads to less frustration. Every subscriber interaction with your business should be as positive as possible.

Our top tips for easy unsubscribe

  1. Include an unsubscribe link in the header of your e-newsletter along with a permission reminder of why they are receiving it.
  2. Include a second unsubscribe link at the end of the e-newsletter. Make it part of the main body of the email, don’t hide it in the small print footer. And do make it legible.

Below are two recent examples of poor unsubscribe positioning.

In both cases the unsubscribe link is buried in the lengthy small print text at the foot of the newsletters and are very difficult to find.

Example 1: 

Unsubscribe example
Example 2

Unsubscribe example