Email Marketing Best Practices

White Paper: Email Throttling and Strategies to Combat it

email-throttling

Whenever it comes to Email Marketing, marketers face a whole bunch of difficulties in terms of deliverability, list hygiene problems, monitoring glitches and many more. A seamless email marketing strategy is difficult to achieve unless these problems are properly addressed. ‘Email Deferral’-a critical case of Email deliverability, arises when some ISPs limit the amount of Emails sent out by a particular sender during a specified period of time. This happens due to a pre-defined threshold in the number of sendouts inflicted by the ISPs.

In most of the time, this is a 400 class error. Due to bouncebacks of the excessive number of emails, the email campaigns face significant drawbacks in terms of deliverability and performance. This can also lead to diminution of email reputation of the senders and can possess a bigger threat furthermore.

This white paper interprets the technical aspects of this issue and how email marketers can avoid the problem of Email Throttling. Although, Email Throttling seems to be too intriguing for Email Marketers to avoid, appropriate strategies can help marketers get rid of this problem.

Read more about it by downloading the White Paper from the link: www.kenscio.com/resources

The White Paper is authored by Mr. Ziaul Hussain, Client Success Manager, Kenscio.

 

 

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Subject Lines in Email Marketing

How important are subject lines to your email campaign? How much time do you spend on deciding an appropriate subject line for your email campaign? How do we go about analysing how effective subject lines are?

email-subject-lines

You may regard your email content for your campaign as the one that matters and the most important, however, if your subject line is not effective then there’s a chance that your email won’t be even read. In today’s fast paced world where people receive hundreds of emails, it is imperative to have an attention grabbing subject line so as to get the users to make that all important decision to open the email. A good subject line is essential for Email Marketing. So what makes a good subject line?

Short and clear- Studies show that the best performing subject lines tell people what they want to know in few words. The ones attracting the most opens and clicks are generally less than 50 characters.

Uniqueness- Having subject lines with a unique hook will persuade users to open the email. Subject lines with common words or clichés will most likely get no attention from recipients. On the other hand subject lines which poses a question or which has a humorous content to it, will entice recipients to learn more by opening the email.

Value Proposition- A good subject line will offer value to the recipient. You need to let them know that by opening your email, they will be able to find out matter that interests them.

Personalization- Personalizing subject lines with recipient’s first or last name will help improve open rates.

Credibility– Spelling and grammar mistakes in your email subject line will harm your credibility. Such mistakes could result your email to end up in the trash bin before it is even read.

There is lot of time spent on creating dynamic email content for marketing your emails, so don’t let an ineffective subject line ruin your chances of getting them read. An innovative subject line will go a long way in increasing your open and click through rates.

Defining success of a subject line is another key question. Many marketers consider open rate as the most important metric to consider while rating a subject line, however focusing only on open rates for subject line tests would be a mistake. The overall objective of the campaign needs to be considered before making decisions based on the metric. The following metrics can be leveraged to define success of a subject line:

  • Open Rate: This metric is considered when the intention of campaigns is to raise awareness. Open rates is an ideal metric for maximising subscriber impressions. Unique opens indicates the overall reach of a campaign whereas total opens gives perspective on whether recipients are opening the email more than once.
  • Click Rate: Focus on click rate when the goal of the campaign is to drive traffic to the destination pages. Unique clicks indicates the recipient’s exposure to the website and landing pages whereas total clicks gives a good indication of how engaged the subscriber is.
  • Click to Open Rate: This metric determines whether the traffic coming into the email was qualified and engaged. High rates indicate that well qualified subscribers are engaged.
  • Conversion Rate: A high conversion rate for a subject line indicates driving high quality traffic to the website. Testing for conversion rate ensures the right subscribers are engaging with the email.

The Goal of all subject lines is to drive subscriber engagement, but one needs to also review metrics that indicates subscriber dissatisfaction. For example subject lines which drive more opens but also contribute in having a high number of unsubscribes may strain relations with both the subscribers and ISPs. These problems should be carefully reviewed to avoid long lasting and detrimental effects for email campaigns.

Jose Stevenson

Business Analyst

Kenscio Digital

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Email List Hygiene: Email the people who truly want your messages

Good email list hygiene is the best practice for any email marketing program. Active email addresses are necessary for maintaining your relationship with your users and retaining their loyalty. There are always chances to get invalid, non-responsive and duplicate email addresses. I would like to share a few reasons on benefits of a clean email list. With a clean email list, you’ll have fewer bounces, better deliverability, and increased conversions.

Kenscio - Targeted Email Marketing

Reducing Bounce Rates

Determine an appropriate bounce suppression strategy for your email list. Cleaning your email list at frequent intervals will keep SPAM and invalid emails from building up on your list of subscribers and possibly to more conversions. The higher the bounce back, the more risk you run that your campaign could be blacklisted. Kenscio’s Email List Cleanr can clean up to 80% of bad email addresses based on multitude of intuitive checks and significantly helps bring down bounces

Better Deliverability

Regular cleaning of inactive addresses, which have not responded within a year period will help to prevent deliverability issues caused by emotionally unsubscribed recipients. When you shape up your list to valid emails then you will get better deliverability on your mailing activity. Compare each campaign to your past history of delivery percentage to see whether you have a problem and then act on it.

Increasing Conversions

If your list is loaded with bad, duplicate and invalid email ids, your email marketing efforts will be negatively affected because subscribers will not receive your email communication. After all, if your subscribers don’t receive your messages, how will you expect them to convert? The more people that get your email the more people should open and the more opportunity for conversion. Email marketers estimate most of the email revenue derives from targeting to specific segments. If your list contains only active email accounts that can convert into better quality emails being sent out with each campaign that you release. Kenscio’s Email List Cleanr also helps improve ROI, since bad and unyielding email addresses never make it to the final mailing list.

So next time before you deploy your Email Campaigns do ensure that the emails are getting into appropriate inboxes.

Jubin Thomas

Senior Project Manager

Kenscio Digital

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6 Steps to Expand your Reach with Email Marketing

The Hidden Value of Email Marketing

With so many digital marketing channels available today, some marketers fear direct marketing is losing its effectiveness. Although there are many digital marketing channels available, email marketing has proven that it is still effective and tops the list for direct marketing channel return on investment (ROI).

Email designs play a unique role. Your audience like “new” and new is co-pilot of “interesting”. Coming up with new and fresh designs can mean both smaller and larger changes. In between big redesigns, you should always be exploring small changes. Small Tweaks = Big Results. Changing around your emails to be fresh is a great email marketing strategy for engagement.

Follow these simple steps and expand your reach.

STEP 1: Following the “F” format

Emails should be designed in a particular way to maximise performance and optimise your email campaign as much as possible.

Emails should follow an “F” format. By this, I mean the text should be in the shape of an F with the most important information along the top and down the left hand side.

Why is this?

Typically, recipients follow this sort of pattern when reading, first horizontally all the way across the top of the email, then horizontally again on the secondary section of the email, following vertically down the left hand side as they scan the rest of the content.

Also, in most email providers, the preview box just shows the top left hand side unless the email is opened fully. You want to entice recipients to view the full email by making the most important and interesting information at the top on the left hand side. So, include the most important information at the top, for example impressive statistics and/or a catchy headline, and the recipient will be more likely to open it and read more.

Calls to Action (CTA)

Calls to Action or CTA’s should be included with the important text information to encourage recipients to click through. Even if they just read the headline, there should be a CTA at the top, so that, they can click through and get to the landing page.

The F pattern doesn’t just apply to emails. Eye tracking studies have found that people also read webpages in the same way.

STEP 2: Structuring email text content

Recipients often only read the top part of an email so the most important information should be placed at the top. It’s recommended having a clear and catchy headline and a sub heading to draw the recipients’ attention.

Small manageable chunks of information

The text throughout the whole email should be kept in small manageable chunks rather than long paragraphs of text, so, recipients can skim the information and pick out the most important parts. Bullet points are also useful to list the key benefits to the recipient.

Calls to Action (CTA)

At the top of the email, with the most important information, you should also include a call to action (CTA). This can be in the form of a button with commanding text e.g. “Click Here” “Buy Now” to encourage recipients to click through.

Consistency between email copy and landing page

The email should summarize the main information with call to action (CTA) for the recipient to click through to a landing page and find out more. Basically, the email is used just to draw their attention and if this does interest them, then, they can read more about it. Therefore, the message in the email should be consistent with what’s on the landing page.

Create a sense of urgency

Adding offers and deadlines encourages recipients to interact with your email much more quickly. An offer adds an incentive while a deadline increases urgency, and, hopefully these two factors will increase the amount of conversions you receive as a direct result of the email campaign.

Overall, the text should be short and to the point. Include bullet points to list the key benefits to the recipient and encourage them to click through to the landing page for more information.

STEP 3: What are calls to action and how do you use them?

Calls to action or CTA’s are used to encourage recipients to do a particular action, hence the name. They are often used in emails to promote a specific action such as “Click Here” or “Buy Now”.

CTA’s are usually in a button format. Following a button format for the CTA’s will make the button look clickable, therefore, encouraging recipients to interact. CTA button format, is usually a rounded rectangle with different 3D effect and color. A flat text link can act as a CTA, but, it should be highlighted in some way so that recipients know it’s clickable.

Use at least 3 times in an email creative

Generally, try to use CTA’s at least 3 times within an email creative. One right at the top, so even if recipients only read the headline, they can click through and get to the landing page, one just after the main information and one at the bottom.

More CTA’s can be used if it’s a longer email or if it’s a hard sell with the sole aim to get conversions. Less CTA’s can be used for short emails or if it’s an email solely for information, however it’s recommended using a CTA button at least 3 times regardless of the message.

Use commands

CTA buttons work best when the text is a command such as “Click Here”, “Buy Now”, “Find Out More” etc. Not only is it quick and catchy, it tells the recipient exactly what they need to do and encourages them to carry out that action.

STEP 4: Advantages of using alternate text (ALT text) in email marketing

Many of the largest email clients will block images by default, making it increasingly difficult to successfully market the product or service. The big hitters include Gmail, Yahoo and AOL, so the sheer volume of blocked images is huge.

These email clients will show alternate text (ALT text) as opposed to images in the email. The ALT text will serve the same purpose as the image, conveying the same message that the image would deliver. For maximum effect, ALT text should be kept short and precise and avoid elongated and unnecessary sentences.

ALT text also is also very handy if recipient is reading emails on a slower internet connection, the ALT text will be visible before the images have finished downloading. This means potential recipient won’t have to wait for the email content to become clear.

Setting ALT text for images in an HTML email is simple, you just include the text in the image tag. Be sure to include the height and width values as this determines where the ALT text will be displayed if images are disabled. There is no need to include “image of” or “graphic of” to explain the ALT text, as the reader will invariably understand there should be an image in the space.

STEP 5: How to write a great subject line

One of the key things that make recipient open your emails is the subject line. If it interests the recipient, then, it will encourage them to open the email to read more. This doesn’t mean that you write something completely unrelated to the content just because it’s funny or exciting. For example, as people will open the email, but, they might not read the unrelated content. Make sure the subject line is relevant to the content. If the subject line is related to the content, then, recipient will be opening the email, because, they are genuinely interested and want to know more.

Keep it short

The best subject lines are a maximum of around 50 characters long. This means that the full subject line will show in most inboxes. Keep to around 30 characters for the full subject line to show in mobile phone inboxes. It’s best to keep subject line to the point and simple that summarises the content of the email.

Place the most important words or brand names at the start

Even if you can keep within 50 characters, it’s a good idea to include any important words or impressive brand names at the start of the subject line, as this will catch the recipients eye and encourage them to open the email.

Include deadlines in the subject line

If there is a specific deadline on the email or the offer, include it in the subject line, as it will encourage recipients to interact with the email quicker. If there’s no urgency, then, often emails can be forgotten or a recipient might come back to open it later and will notice that the offer is now out of date.

Test your subject lines

The best way to see what subject lines work for your audience is to test them. For example, use a different subject line for each email campaign you send or split test an email campaign with 2 or 3 subject line, and then, monitor the response. Make sure all factors remain the same (e.g. send volume) and then, gather the statistics from each subject line to assess what works best. Use these findings in further campaigns to improve your open rates.

STEP 6: Best practice for designing and coding an email

Design emails so that they are 600px wide and around 900px in length. However, the length is much more flexible and can vary. An email that is 600px in width will display within the standard email viewport without the recipient having to scroll left and right to see it all.

Use inline CSS

Not all email clients support style sheets, so, inline CSS is good to use in order to make your email creative display correctly in all possible email clients. Inline CSS labels each and every cell with the style information and this will ensure 100% that every cell is styled correctly.

Make sure you use text instead of images as much as possible

Text should be used instead of images in every instance possible. For example, when using calls to action (CTA) buttons, the text should stay as text and the background should be a colour or an image. Images are blocked by default until the recipient unblocks them, whereas, text appears immediately. Therefore, text should be used to display the information as much as possible. Where images are used, they should include ALT text.

Use web safe fonts

The text that is used in emails should be a web safe font, for example Arial, Georgia, Tahoma etc. Just because there’s a font on your computer, it doesn’t mean that everyone else will also have that font. If a specific non-web safe font needs to be used, then, it would have to be an image. However, it’s advisable that you use text as much as possible.

Here’s the list of web safe fonts you should consider.

Arial, Georgia, Tahoma, Book Antiqua, Times New Roman, Courier New, Comic Sans, Helvetica, Palatino and Geneva.

Style images with “display:block; border-style:none; margin:0px;”

Ensure images are styled with “display: block; border-style: none; margin: 0px;” to guarantee that there will be no problems with how image cells are displayed. This bit of code should go within the <img style> tag.

I hope you have enjoyed this email design best practice series and also hope that it will help you create fully functional, great looking, optimised emails for your campaigns.

Your thoughts…

Tell us in the comments! We’d be happy to hear from you.

(Contributed by: Ambili K Pillai, Group Manager – Client Success, Managed Services, Kenscio Digital)

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Gmail says – Get Engaged or get BLOCKED!!

Yesterday Gmail took a BOLD new step asking email marketers to get engaged and dead serious about:

(a) their recipient’s preferences, stated and implied, and

( b) Relevance of their communication.

In a blog post, Sri Harsha Somanchi, Product Manager @ Gmail has empowered it’s users to  “Never see messages from this person again”.

What happens once you do that?

You can now block specific email addresses in Gmail—starting today on the web, and over the next week on Android. Future mail will go to the spam folder (and you can always unblock in Settings).

Gmail Screenshot

Further, the blog post described how it would help Unsubscribers.

On Android,  you’ll be able to opt out of eligible mailing lists directly from the Gmail app. It’s perfect for those newsletters you subscribed to a while back but don’t read any more.

image(1)

More Power to subscribers, more care from marketers, more control to Gmail !!

Should Gmail users say Yahoo! < No Pun Intended >

(with direct quotes & images from Gmail Blog http://gmailblog.blogspot.in/2015/09/stay-in-control-with-block-and.html )

(Contributed by: Mr. Amit Sarna, Vice President-Client Success & Partnerships, Kenscio Digital)

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Unlocking the Potential of Effective Email Marketing

Unlocking the Potential of Effective Email Marketing

Email connects you to people. Whether you’re sending an email newsletter, a special offer or an invitation, email marketing deliver your message and help get your business humming! It communicates and build relationships with prospects, gather important data, and help boost marketing ROI.

To build, execute, and maintain effective email marketing, you must pay close attention to your audience, the message, and avoid the common trap of simply sending out self-promotional messages.

Email marketing succeeds massively in its business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) strategies, however approaching the two strategies are vastly different. How B2B is different from B2C email marketing, is a question discussed in most seminars, white papers and blogs.

Nobody ever signed a business deal or bought a car after reading one email. In simple terms, email is a way to promote all the benefits of your product or service so that buyers are well informed and comfortable with everything you have to offer.

B2B email marketing primarily informs, and builds interest, not sells directly. The key use of B2B email marketing is to generate suspects into prospects into sales. While, B2C email marketing need to deliver a message that encourages the customer to be quick to click. B2C email marketing are much shorter in duration and need to capture the customer’s interests very quickly.

In B2B emails, provide content that the recipient can use to influence group decisions. What’s the solution to their problem? Is your product, service, solution or offering right for them? Provide readiness and suitability assessments, bench strength demonstration, customer testimonials, some case studies, and relevant trends. Unlike B2B, B2C emails are more direct and focused. Although the relationship building aspect is just as important, the mindset is more immediate. Your audience already knows you’re out for a sell, so it’s up to you to not blow it. Employ strategies and tactics such as targeted offers and coupons, limited time deals, discounts, and/or vouchers to mobilize your target audience to buy, both online and offline (in store). They can however also be informative, especially to build the brand and enhance customer loyalty. Combine merchandising and education to keep customers coming back, by recognizing the importance of customer loyalty.

In a nutshell, the B2B buyer will make a decision based on how the product or service can increase profits and enhance productivity. Your marketing should involve activities that will help them realize the value of your products and services and how they will benefit their company.

A B2C buyer will make a decision based more on emotion, status, quality and comfort. Your marketing should focus on pricing, providing a fast, comfortable purchasing experience and building awareness about your products and services via repetition and consistency.

In both cases, knowing your audience is the ultimate key. Whether targeting a single prospect or a whole industry, working knowledge of their marketing preferences is essential, and comes with the added benefits of a focused message, fewer complaints and better overall results.

Your thoughts…

Tell us in the comments! We’d be happy to hear from you.

(Contributed by: Ambili K Pillai, Group Manager – Client Success, Managed Services, Kenscio Digital)

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Infographics- Email Marketing: The Journey so far…

Infographics- Email Marketing: The Journey so far

 

Reference:

EmailMonday   MarketingProfs   Econsultancy

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Email Marketing: Gold that does not glitter

The Hidden Value of Email Marketing

The Hidden Value of Email Marketing

One of my friends called me up last evening to check about some offers running by one popular E-commerce sites. He came to know about the offer through a promotional email sent by the E-commerce merchandiser. I googled the same thing and discovered the same offer and it was quite an exciting, unmissable deal. Eventually, I bought a few things and shared the information in a WhatsApp group. I am sure a few of them in the group would have bought some items too. I am Happy that I saved some rupees with the deal.

But somewhere down the line, something had lost its value; yes, it is the particular promotional Email that actually made me aware of the deal. It failed to get its due recognition from the increased conversions. These conversions were completely out of record. It’s not the inefficiency of the campaign, rather the exclusiveness of the tracking process that led to this information gap; customer behavior not being considered while measuring the impact of the campaign.

Unlike Western customers, Indians are more collectivistic in nature and the contribution of mutual social interaction towards increased conversion is not negligible. With a fast growing Internet population in India, a section of people use emails for communication but they may not be comfortable to transact online in an e-Commerce site.

Let us assume that an email is sent when a company releases a new product. There are chances that a customer orders the product using a link embedded in the email HTML. But we cannot rule out the probability that the person does not buy it by clicking on the mail but visits the website, or he may walk up to a store to buy the same product (Offline Purchase). It can happen to any type of campaigns, it looks like it’s a very small or negligible number of audience/recipients, but it is not insignificant.

Moreover, we do not limit our campaigns only to sell/promote our products, but it is also used for brand building, strengthening customer relationship, increasing the brand visibility and credibility etc.

Things to remember when planning an email campaign.

  • Email reaches more audience than what the numbers in the report actually says
  • A beautiful email creative can fetch you new subscribers
  • Word of mouth advertisement is still significant in India
  • Do not limit the measuring of ROI to the conversions in the Email tracking report. There is a need to see beyond the graphs in the final report. The obvious question is ‘How’. Multi-channel Business Intelligence Solutions might rescue marketers from such a dilemma to a significant extent.

They say “All that glitters is not gold” but this is the gold tha may not glitter if we are blind to it. In this case, Email Marketing is a golden opportunity offering more than what we see.

(Contributed by: Mr. Abdul Razak,Project Manager, Kenscio Digital)

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Animated GIFs in Email

It’s Show Time!

GIFs ‘Graphics Interchange Format’ are becoming the favorite image format for most of the Marketers who want to tag a tad bit of fun to their message. It isn’t a  surprise if we have to believe that GIFs have witnessed increased clickthroughs and customer engagement like Anna Yeaman at Style Campaign demonstrated how an animated video preview that has lifted her campaign’s click-rate by 26%.

This hasn’t stopped the Marketers to take no time in realizing its effectiveness as they carry delight to the campaign and resolutely add elements of fun, surprise; enticing the customers without deviating them from the objective or call to actions.

GIF was first developed by Steve Wilhite of CompuServe in 1987. The popular animated GIFs initially were the waving flags and flames. But what really took them on board is the Web 2.0 evolution that is when people started using animated GIFs in different ways at different places across the internet. In fact GIFs and CSS animations are the only way to add moving images, given the poor video support across the most popular email clients.

Animated GIFs enjoy support in all major email clients, with the exception being Windows Phone 7 and newer versions of Outlook (2007+).The following chart provides a comparison of animated GIF and CSS3 animation.

FireShot Screen Capture #098 - 'Email Client Support for Animated GIFs' - _C__Users_Admin_Downloads_GIF_htmlBid farewell to those conventional static emails and increase the effectiveness of your email campaign with animated GIFs and CSS3 Animation.

To know more, visit www.kenscio.com

(Contributed by: Mr. Monikandan. R, Senior Project Manager, Kenscio Digital)

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The Curious Case of Digital Queues!!

The Curious Case of Digital Queues!!

The Curious Case of Digital Queues!!

 

It was the day of 5 August 1960, a movie called “Mughal e Azam” hit the screens.

It was released and became the reason for widespread frenzy across India. The day before bookings for the film opened, a reported crowd of 1,00,000 gathered outside the Maratha Mandir to buy tickets. Most expensive tickets at that time, were sold for ₹ 100 compared to the usual price of ₹ 1.5 per ticket. Bookings experienced major chaos, to the extent that police intervention was required. It was reported that people would wait in queues for four to five days, and would be supplied food from home through family members. Eventually, Maratha Mandir closed the bookings for three weeks.

We have seen the similar craze for various legends starting from comedian Charlie Chaplin internationally to Indian movie stars like Showman Raj Kapoor to Amitabh Bachchan of 70s when people use to keep standing in queues for catching their shows. Recently DDLJ has completed 1000 weeks in Marathi Kala Mandir.

Gone are the days of such rare blockbusters.

Now the term “blockbuster” itself has been commoditized by media not just in India but across the globe. Every comic-superhero movie with its huge budgets of marketing is termed as a blockbuster. Different analysts are utilizing different criteria to conclude this feat.

The lifestyle of this multinational generation is very dynamic. People are always in motion and don’t have time to spend three four days waiting for a movie. Poor species have only weekends to take their loved ones for the entertainment and leisure.

Even this multiplex going Gen X has many reasons to throng the theaters to catch the movie shows. The rules of the game have been changed since the last decade or so. The first week of the movie is enough to decide the fate of the movie. So there has been a transition from physical queues to the digital queues these days.

The maxim “No second chance for the first impression” holds true to describe the cinema of today

And movie critics’ columns and Internet discussion of movie buffs are agile enough to create the spoiler alerts for your weekend hangouts in every nook and corner of your digital touchpoints – Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, and News columns.

So we see the same Houseful frenzy nowadays in the initial days of movie screenings. And the E-commerce boom and e-ticketing players like BookMyShow.com has made the task of movie buffs a bit easier to handle these digital queues conveniently.

But still due to the extreme dynamism of the people, the void is there in information dissemination to the customer through direct marketing channels. People are not able to pick their favorite events and movie shows as they tend to forget the dates and timings.

Quite recently, BookMyShow.com employed quite an innovation in their digital direct marketing- RealTime Personalisation in Email. They had a series of Email campaign reminders send-outs to their registered active cinema-goers for their Wednesday cinema offer live countdown timer & PeeKay Movie campaign where they showed live seats availability for the suitable show timings within the E-mail based on user’s favourite cinema halls and past purchase history.

(Please see the BookMyShow.com –Live seats availability #Peekay campaign video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6b8sQaWltrQ )

The Real-time Personalisation actually enabled the dynamic content within the email based on time, device & past user-data of user at the time of open. With a use of real-time countdown timer for the said event, there is a sense of urgency which helps user in their decision making.

This has never been done on the Indian soil before, or the whole of Asia for that matter. Now the E-commerce and Online ticketing industry is quickly paying attention to this new trend. Anyways, customers and movie-goers are finally getting much-awaited value in their online ticketing experience.

So what you’re planning to do this weekend? Don’t worry real-time info is at your disposal to help you get pass the digital queue !!

(Contributed by: Mr. Gaurav Tyagi, Senior Manager- Business Development, Kenscio Digital)

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