Find the Best Email Marketing Software for Your Business.
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Email Marketing is a must for any business to keep in touch with and market to their leads and clients.
Find the Best Email Marketing Software for Your Business.
Have a question? Here are the most frequently asked questions gathered by our users.
What Email Marketing Plan is Right For Me?
We all have our own needs and requirements when it comes to sending out email marketing campaigns.The good thing about the service providers, is that they base their prices on list levels. So straight away you will get an idea of which pricing level is going to meet your needs.
Just be aware that if you are starting out, the first plan may accommodate you now, but ask yourself the questions on how big you think your lists will grow to and how fast they may grow.
Should I Buy or Rent an Email Marketing List?
It’s always best to start an email list yourself and to grow the list organically rather than buying or renting a list. Buying or renting a list may seem like an easy get out clause, and a way of bypassing a lot of effort in building a list but you need to remember a few key things. The first is that people arent going to be opted-in to receive emails from you or your company, so already you are going to be sending unsolicited emails.
Secondly, there will be a high proportion of unsubscribes because of this, and you will see far fewer email opens and clicks in your report. Therefore, you are going to end up messing up your reporting, so you won’t be able to effectively improve your email marketing.
Always build your own lists so you know the content in your email campaigns is tailored for your opted-in audience.
How Often Should I Send Emails?
This really comes down to how often you want to send emails, but just take into account a few things. Don’t just send an email for the sake of it, make sure that it’s going to be received well. If you do one blog post a week and send one email marketing campaign a week, people are going to start switching off and unsubscribing.
The first thing to do is to see how much content you are already delivering which will then give you an idea of how many emails you can create from that content.
How Can I Keep Emails Out of Junk Folders?
Make sure that the content is tailored to the list you are sending the email out to, but primarily make sure that those people in your list have all opted-in to receiving communication from you. Aside from that you need to regularly cleanse your email lists, make sure unsubscribing is easy for the recipient if they feel the need to, and don’t bombard people with a constant flurry of activity.
What is Hard and Soft Bounces?
A bounce occurs when the email hasn’t got through to the recipient for one reason or another, it could be that the email address is incorrect or the mail quota for that inbox has been exceeded.
A hard bounce could mean that the email address is incorrect or the email address if even fake, a permanent issue. Where a soft bounce is a temporary issue where the inbox could be full, the mail quota size of the inbox has been reached, or the service is temporarily unavailable at the recipient’s side.
Keeping an eye on these bounces is fundamental, so always cleanse your list and remove hard bounces.
How Can Reports Help My Campaigns?
Reports come as part of most email marketing tools, whether they are basic reporting features or advanced reporting features. Monitoring opens, clicks, and bounces can help you recognise what content is working the best, further helping you improve email campaigns.
Reports can also identify all those that have unsubscribed, and in most cases why they have unsubscribed which can help you fix problems in future efforts.
Do I Need to Know Coding Languages?
Absolutely not, the future of self-editable templates is here and you don’t need to know the ins-and-outs of languages such as HTML to get by. Sure, it can help with some templates where you can really get down to the coding levels, but most templates are beautifully designed and easy to edit using drag-and-drop features.
Can I Stop People Unsubscribing?
The short answer is no. If you remove the options for a recipient to unsubscribe you are breaking the rules of email marketing and could land yourself in hot water. Not only could you damage your brand identity, but you are going to mess up your reports as well as you won’t know what content is working the best.
The best way to combat this is to monitor unsubscribes and find out what content isn’t working or what is making them unsubscribe. It may be that your content isn’t appealing, or that you are sending out to many emails.
How Do I Improve My Email Marketing & Glossary of Terms
In this article we wanted to address two things, because they pretty much relate to each other. Firstly, we wanted to offer you some suggestions on the best ways to improve your email marketing campaigns, and we secondly we wanted to go through a few terms and there meanings.
So, firstly we look at some ways to improve you email marketing starting with the reporting features that are available on all email marketing programs, whether basic or advanced.
Most plans will give you some insight into how well your last email marketing campaign did, and its then up to you to analyse this data in order to make improvements.
The 5 Stages of Improvement
- Click Through Rate
These five reporting metrics will help you go a long way in the email marketing world and it’s important to look closely at them.
If you have already sent a few email campaigns this is where you can check how well they have done compared to each other, helping you to identify what’s working and what’s not, so your next campaign can be better.
This metric will tell you how many times your email has been opened, in some programs you can also see which users have opened the email, and even how many times that user has opened the email.
So how can we improve based on this?
Let’s say your first email campaign has 20 opens, but your second one had 50. The first thing you need to look at is your title. Is it compelling enough, does it entice the user to open your email or trash it?
Compare your two titles and you should get an idea of what could be wrong.
The clicks metric looks at clickable links in your email, so at this stage people have opened the email and they now need to be met with good content. This will show you what link has been clicked, and how many times it has been clicked.
Straight away you will be able to see what section of your email is working, and which stories or segments just aren’t getting the clicks.
This is the time to find patterns in your campaigns with those stories that don’t get clicks, and replace them with similar topics to the ones that do.
Bounces come in two flavours, soft and hard bounces and it’s important to deal with these in order to keep your lists up-to-date and your results at an optimum level.
Soft bounce means that the email address you have sent to is a valid email address but there is an issue somewhere. Perhaps the recipient’s mailbox has exceeded its limit, or the server is down. You don’t necessarily have to do anything with these to begin with but you will need to keep an eye out.
Hard bounces are the other type of bounce and these are usually emails that have been returned undelivered because the email address doesn’t exist. This is common so don’t panic, but you will want to cleanse your lists and remove these as they will skew your reports.
Every email you send should give the recipient a chance to unsubscribe, and not just out of courtesy either, its law. CAN-SPAM law in fact. Abuse this and tough penalties could await you.
Unsubscribes, even though we don’t like them can provide useful information. For example, with every opt-out you can include a reason for the recipient. Maybe they are receiving too many emails, or maybe they aren’t interested in the content. Soon enough with each unsubscribe you should be able to find a pattern and if you are getting a lot of unsubscribes because of email frequency the think about reducing the amount you send or the periods between you sending them.
Click Through Rate
Finally we can touch on CTR, which simply put is the amount of readers who go on to click the link from the email to the destination (usually a landing page on your website). With this data we can measure the effectiveness of our email campaigns to work on improving future ones.
Generally the CTR of a campaign can be affected by many things, from the content, the time the email was sent, and also the email list you are sending to. Usually Sundays are one of the highest CTR days, so you may want to think about scheduling a campaign for a Sunday on the calendar and measure its success.
What Email Marketing Plan is Right For Me?
One of the biggest questions we get from people is this, and usually its Startups and newcomers that ask it. What email marketing plan is right for me?
We know that coming into the email marketing world for the first time can be confusing and tricky. Let’s face it, you are met with so many service providers all offering different things, all with different plans, pricing, features and capabilities. It can leave you with a headache, and can put you off even stepping foot into the arena.
That’s where we come in, and whilst we can’t answer that generic questions, because different plans will suit different business setups, we can provide some supportive information that can help you come to a better decision.
Firstly, we can dwindle down what kind of plan will suit you by looking into the budget you have available. If you are on a shoe-string budget then you are most likely looking to test the market, or you are a start-up looking to get a head-start. Therefore, you may want to look at services that offer a 30-day free trial, or free for life plans (until you start to outgrow them).
These plans will offer you an insight into the email marketing world, allowing you to become more accustomed to the features, tools, reporting capabilities and integration options available to you.
The next thing you want to look at is your contact database. If you have a list of about 10 people you could fall into some of the free for life plans, or you could look at some of the more basic paid for plans if you expect rapid growth. For databases of 2,000+ then you need to think about the plan that is going to fit your needs.
Remember, don’t just think about your list now, think about how fast you expect that to grow and how far you expect it to grow. This will determine where you will sit on many email marketing suppliers pricing plans. Plus, you won’t get a nasty pricing shock when in 30 days your list goes from 10 people to 5,000 people.
Another aspect of what makes people choose a company is to the extent of integration options they have. Whether it can help the, generate new leads, or offer a new avenue to be able to import customer data (such as Salesforce). If you require some sort of integration then you want to look at companies who have an app store or have some API access.
If you are a small business or a business that is starting from scratch then this may not be so important to you.
Features and Tools
The final decision maker would be the kind of tools and features that you want to see in your plan. Have you any specific things that are a must? Do you need a plan that has stock photography features, or do you need a plan that has advanced reporting metrics so you can really zone in on what your recipients are doing with your emails?
Again, this comes down to your business and your goals. They will be different to the business next to you so you will need to decide on what you need from a features and tools standpoint.
Our advice will offer you some guidance here but every business has its own set of criteria for selecting a service. Some may just go for the most popular names that they have heard through marketing campaigns, others may look for the best free plans, whilst other business may weigh up their option dependant on the budget and requirements they need from an email marketing perspective.
What we do know, is that our reviews offer a comprehensive place for you to make an informed decision.
The 5 Steps to The Perfect Email Marketing Campaign
At first, signing up to a new (or your first) email marketing software can be exciting and you will want to send out email after email in the hope of chasing down a few leads or getting in a few orders.
Have you ever heard the expression that Rome wasn’t built in a day?
Well, with email marketing it’s a process of constantly refining and improving on your campaigns, so don’t expect results straight away. There are a few fundamental things to take into account so you can get the best out of the email you send.
Step 1 – Building Your List
Firstly, there is no point in having a lovely looking email if you have no one to send it to. So firstly you will need to look at where you can pull in some contacts from. Perhaps you already have a database from another provider, perhaps you have an ecommerce store with emails from people who have purchased your products, or perhaps you have been creating a database for this very moment.
If you have nowhere to pull in contacts from, then you will need to start collecting some details. A few simple ways are as follows:
- Create something for free that people can download from your site, but put it behind a capture form.
- Place a newsletter widget on your site to collect sign ups.
- Use social media to get people signing up
- Tell people to look out for a competition as part of your first email campaign
Step 2 – Content is King!
So now you have a list to send to, so it’s time to decide what you are going to send them. Remember, don’t just put things into the email for the sake of it. Especially with you first campaign as you will only loose subscribers. If you don’t have enough newsworthy things to put in, then just wait. Trust us, it will be worth it in the long-run.
Try and get in 4-5 pieces and mix them up a bit. For example, try having the following format:
- The lead story
- An event
- A Resource you can offer
- Another topical story
- A quiz
- A competition
Play around with some of these suggestions to see if you can create the perfect email.
Step 3 – Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder
Now you have a list ready to send to, you have your content, so what’s missing? You guessed it, the design aspect of your email. You won’t want to just send out a plain email, most people will open it and delete it.
This is where the drag-and-drop functionality of email marketing solutions really comes in and plays a major part. For most people they may not have the skills or ability to be able to create spectacular showcases and graphics, or they may not have a clue about HTML. The drag-and-drop will simply help you drag objects into your email template, from forms, content blocks, images and social sharing units. You name it!
Play around with styles and choices to your happy with a fit.
Step 4 – Preview and Test
Before you go ahead and press the big red button always be sure to send a test email to yourself and view the email in both desktop and mobile versions. You want to make sure the email looks right in different devices and you want to avoid silly mistakes like missing images.
Step 5 – Send
Now you have checked off all the basics. You have a list to email, you have the content to put into your email, you have images and a customised template to go with it, and now you have previewed and tested your email. All that’s left now is to click send and watch the reporting tool do its job.