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Email Marketing is About Connecting

As social media grew in popularity, many marketers started to question the future value of email marketing. Those thoughts, however, quickly waned as marketers saw the return on investment (ROI) of email continue to be the best among all marketing channels.

So far I’ve received more than two emails — from products and services I signed up for. They didn’t annoy me, but they certainly didn’t serve any purpose, if there was one. Especially for B2B companies, email marketing can be very powerful if done right, but many companies don’t get the basics.

I’d like to take this opportunity to share some thoughts on email marketing in general 

What Is Email Marketing and the Benefits of Using It?

Email marketing is a type of direct marketing that involves businesses sending promotional messages via electronic mail to a group of prospects and customers. It’s widely used as an efficient and cost-effective method for new customer acquisition, building brand awareness, and increasing product sales, as well as fostering trust and loyalty with a company’s customer base.

  • Compared to other digital marketing channels, email is top-rated by marketers, with 53.6% of respondents rating it as excellent or good. Social media marketing and search engine optimization are rated second and third by marketers, respectively, with excellent or good ratings of 50.9% and 45%.
  • More than half (58%) of the companies surveyed said that they are planning to increase their email marketing budget, whereas only 7.5% are planning to decrease their budgets.
  • 23% said generating more leads
  • 19% said improved sales
  • 17% said improved conversion rates
  • 13% said reduced marketing costs
  • 12% said identifying better-quality leads
  • 9% said integrating with other media to boost response
  • 3% said shorter sales cycles.

Advantages of Email Marketing

Email marketing allows you to reach millions of customers with a click of a button. Like any marketing medium, it has its advantages and disadvantages. Use it correctly, and you’ll make more money, but use it incorrectly and you could lose your business. Weigh these pros and cons before you start an email campaign

Cost:

Compared to other forms of marketing, the cost of an email marketing campaign is quite low. You do not have to pay printing or mailing costs. Most likely, you’ll have to pay for a company to send your mailings, which protects your business against spam complaints, but this is a small, monthly charge. You may also have to pay for a copywriter to write compelling sales copy for the email message

Spam

“Spam” is an unsolicited email. If you want to email your customer base, you need to receive permission from them. Even though you may have this permission, some people still consider any commercial email spam. If you send too many emails — and “too many” varies by person — you can give the customer a negative view of your company.

Increased Sales

Because you can contact so many former customers via email, you’ll be able to increase interest in your product, which often results in increased sales. While there’s no way to tell exactly how much you’ll be able to increase profits, it’s safe to say that your mailing will generate at least some more sales

Tracking

Email marketing allows you to easily track the effectiveness of your campaigns. When you send out a direct mailing through the post office, for example, you have no way to know how many recipients opened your mail. An email message, though, shows you how many people received it, how many opened it and how many clicked through to your links and made a purchase.

Deliverability Issues

Your email may not reach its intended audience. For one thing, certain terms, such as “free” or “money” could trigger the spam filter, where your recipient may never see it. Other times, your email headline may not be enticing enough for the customer to open the email

Shutting Down Your Site

When several customers report your emails as spam, the email provider may report you and your company to your Web host. If the host agrees that you may be spamming people, it could shut down your website.

How to Effectively Increase Your Gmail Delivery Rates

With over 300 million active users worldwide, Gmail is the most popular email client. So, it’s safe to say that a large portion of your subscribers is Gmail users. This is why as an email marketer, you have to make every effort to optimize your Gmail delivery rates.

Following its layout redesign, Gmail now has a tabbed interface so people can see what’s new at a glance. There are 5 main tabs: primary, promotions, social, forums, and updates. The first 3 are enabled by default. Users can choose which ones to keep, as well as disable them all.

Why is this important?

Before, there were two places your emails could end up – inbox or junk. Now, they are further sub-classified into the above tabs.

Where your emails land (primary or promotional tab) affects your engagement rate. Of course, ending up in the promotional tab is not as bad as the junk folder. But it reduces the chances of people seeing your emails.

This is because the user has to consciously open the promotions tab to view your email. If it manages to stand out from the myriad of other promotional emails, that is.

When it comes to email classification, Gmail relies heavily on user feedback. For instance, when people mark or unmark your emails as spam or move them between tabs. Gmail learns from this behavior and uses it to better match user preferences in the future.

User engagement and deliverability

In the past, email content was the primary determinant of inbox placement. Spam filters were set to search for specific words (free, winner, guarantee, etc). The more such elements an email had, the higher the spam score and the lower the chances of delivery.  

As hackers got more creative, ISPs responded with more complex criteria for inbox placement. User engagement elements have become a key factor in deliverability. Here are the main parameters Gmail uses to measure user engagement and inbox worthiness.

  • Open rates, replies, and forwards. These are all indicators that people like your emails and engage with them. So, Gmail is less likely to consider them junk, increasing their chances of delivery.
  • Clicks on the “not junk” button – suggesting your emails are relevant and desired.
  • People organizing your emails into folders. This action shows Gmail people value your content and want to keep receiving it.
  • As positive signals go, the best one is when people add your address to their list of contacts.
  • On the other hand, people can also label your emails as spam or delete them without opening. This sends a strong negative signal that your content is not wanted.

User engagement and your reputation as a sender

Your reputation reflects your legitimacy as a sender according to Gmail standards. Keep in mind that Gmail uses past subscriber engagement to determine your inbox worthiness. So, you have to follow the best sending practices for all of your marketing campaigns.

Individual user engagement is important. People that always engage with your content send a signal to Gmail that your content is welcome.

Group user engagement also matters. It determines how Gmail sees you as a sender. If the majority of recipients fail to engage or label you as spam, it will affect your reputation. If your reputation is too low, even the subscribers that love your content may not be able to see it.

What are the main factors influencing the inbox placement in Gmail?

Gmail implements unique tools and a complex algorithm to determine email placement. As a result, it can be a bit difficult to figure out how to get your newsletters into the primary tab.

There are multiple factors to consider. This includes content, sender address, replies, whitelisting, spam complaints, hard bounces, open rates, etc. The good news is, most of them are under your control.

When it comes to inbox placement, remember that you and Gmail are on the same team. Gmail’s intention is not to send your email to the spam folder. It’s to make sure only legitimate emails get through. This way, you and other marketers will have less “spammy competition” to worry about.

Here’s what you can do to ensure your emails get delivered to Gmail:

Don’t send your campaigns from a no-reply address. This raises a major red flag with Gmail.

It’s also impersonal, unwelcoming, and a fast way to earn unsubscribes and spam complaints. Use a real address, such as [email protected], [email protected], or a recognizable name that encourages a response. It’s important for people to be able to reply to the address you’re sending your campaigns from. It opens up a line of two-way communication. It also shows that you welcome their questions and feedback.

To protect users from spam, Gmail uses open and reply rates to determine inbox placement. User replies are a positive signal to Gmail. It shows your emails are important and helps improve your sender reputation.

Another rule of thumb is to match you’re from address to the address on your website that you collected the subscriber info from. This is a huge point here folks. I see this quite often. Having the same from address as the address on the website helps with inboxing. Why? Well when you decide to use another domain for sending emails to Gmail accounts, Gmail sees this as an unknown. That means there is no history tied to that subscriber from that domain. This gives you a leg down on delivery. Do yourself a favor and use the domain you used for collecting the email address. For those of you renting lists or purchasing lists, this will be a deal-breaker for you. Google is very smart if you didn’t know it by now. What worked before will not work anymore. Collect your own data and mail to it from your own domain. 

Grow a healthy mailing list

Your collection practices affect your inbox placement and reputation. We’ve said it often enough – steer clear of purchased or rented lists. They often contain abandoned addresses that ISPs use as spam traps to catch spammers. And we all know how irritating it can be to receive unsolicited emails. Emailing random people that have no interest in your product will probably get you marked as spam.

You can use the single or the double opt-in approach to grow your lists. With the single opt-in, people are required to fill out a signup form and submit it. This adds their address to your mailing list and they start receiving content right away.

The double opt-in process includes an additional confirmation step. Following the signup, new subscribers receive an email containing a confirmation link. Clicking on this link reconfirms they own the address and really want to receive content from you.

What is Email subscriber

A lot of marketers will tell you that building an email list is one of the best tactics you can use for online success. It makes sense because an email sent to a list that you’ve built allows you to communicate directly with people who have requested information from you.

In fact, on Black Friday, email marketing services are known to be one of the biggest lead magnets and drivers of sales, contributing 25.1% to the bottom line of businesses, on that day alone.

Additionally, people who buy products marketed through email, spend 138% more than people who do not receive promotional emails.

So, you know that building an email subscriber list is worth the time and effort.

But, when it comes to building your list of email subscribers… Where do you begin?

If you’re new to the world of online marketing, building an email subscriber list can seem daunting. If it’s something you struggle with, this post is going to help make email marketing services all seem a lot less intimidating.

Why are email subscribers important?

They form an engaged audience. In email marketing, a subscription narrows the audience and extends the opportunities for dealing with committed people. They willingly share their email addresses in exchange for something they find worth subscribing like exclusive offers and discounts, helpful materials and news, assistance in making a choice, etc.
They are your potential customers and brand advocates. Companies gather subscribers to put their product or service in front of people. If the quality is high and the prices are reasonable, subscribers naturally become customers, and with the right strategy and customer retention, some of them may buy more than once, turning into zealous brand advocates.
They provide you with lots of insightful information. During the subscription, you can ask for more than an email address: person’s name, country, gender, age, and phone number to send SMS alongside emails. On this basis, you can create personalized and segmented email promotions, birthday marketing campaigns, newsletters, etc.
You should know that a free-will subscription is not a question of the choice for companies. The anti-spam laws oblige them to opt-in users, meaning that sending emails to those who never subscribed is illegal and may cause penalties and harm the sender’s reputation.

How to get email subscribers

Create a subscription form. When users like the website, they might consider subscribing to your content and updates and having a subscription form always at hand can make it easier for them. You need to place a subscription form which is visible and resonates with your brand’s style.

Motivate to subscribe. It is almost the same as a subscription form but supplied with a rewarding reason to subscribe. It could be a free e-book or guide, a month free trial, or whatever your future subscribers may find curious and worth subscribing Add a strong call to action and support it with an image that illustrates the benefit.

Set up double opt-in. Using a double opt-in method ensures your audience consists of people who are genuinely interested in hearing from you. It takes two steps: firstly, you ask for an email address, and secondly, you send a confirmation email at this email address to check if you communicate with a real person.
Smooth out the subscription process. Let users subscribe in a couple of clicks and make sure it is easy to type in the email address. Don’t use CAPTCHA, because the users don’t have time for that. Double opt-in is enough.
Set the right expectations. Tell your subscribers what to expect: a newsletter twice a month or daily promotions and offers? You can go further and give people control over their subscription, enabling them to change the frequency of the emails and decide upon the content they like to get to the inbox.

What is an Email List?

An email list is a special list of names and email addresses of people who gave you permission to send them updates and promotions from your business.

You can build your email list inside a marketing software and send bulk email notifications to everyone regarding your blog updates, online store, or other business services.

Why Building an Email List is Important?

According to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing on average sees a 4300 percent return on investment (ROI) for businesses.

Because email subscribers joined your email list from your website and verified their identity by clicking on a link (double-option), they are extremely interested in what you have to offer. This is why they are more likely to convert into paying customers.

In our business,the email list gets 10 times higher conversions than social media campaigns.

This makes sense if you think about the reasons that make email an incredibly powerful communication channel:

1. Email is Personal

Email allows you to land into a user’s inbox. There is no ranking system limiting your reach. It is very direct and personal.

2. Email is Purposeful

To get updates from you, a user fills out a form to signup for your email list and confirm their email address. Someone doing this much work is obviously interested in hearing from you, and they are much more receptive to your message.

3. Email is Targeted

As we mentioned earlier, the user has already shown interest in your product or content. Since you already know what they like, you can deliver them highly relevant offers to get better results. This is called segmentation, and we will cover that later in the article.

4. You Own Your Email List

You do not own Facebook, Twitter, or Google. Your social media campaigns and SEO efforts can go to waste when these platforms change their policies. On the other hand, you own your email list, and it is not influenced by the decisions of other businesses.

5. Email is One-on-One

People read emails in the privacy of their inbox. The message is not on a public timeline or newsfeed. They can ask you questions directly in private with confidence. This helps build trust and connection.

6. More People Use Email Several Times a Day

You may have heard that Facebook has 1.4 billion and Twitter has 100 million daily active users. What you have may not have heard, is the number of people using Email every day.

Every internet user has at least one email account. recent research conducted by Radicati found out that there 3.8 billion active email accounts. That’s half the population of Earth. This is precisely why every smart business in the world has an email list.

4 Steps to Promoting Your Blog With Email Marketing

Typically the blog promotion process looks something like this: blogger writes and publishes a blog on the company website, posts are shared in social channels, and if there is space, certain posts are featured in newsletters. Blogger waits for Google to index blog, and hopes for a favorable position on the search results page. And you can often squeak by with this strategy. But taking a proactive and more strategic approach by marketing your blog with email marketing or a blog digest can help increase your pageviews, improve your organic search results, and enhance reader engagement. The following post covers the steps required for creating and sending out a blog digest (based on my personal experience!) so that you can promote your blog and build a blog digest into your content marketing and email program.

Step 1: Choose a tool

You will first need to decide what tool you will use to send your blog digest. We use SendGrid’s Marketing Campaigns (can you blame us for being biased?) so that we can custom build a weekly email that provides a more visually appealing email that reinforces our brand. If you’re looking for help with design and templates, check out SendGrid’s free email marketing templates so you can jump in right away and start building your campaigns.

Step 2: Decide on a sending cadence (and test it)

After you’ve decided how you will send your blog emails, determine how often you will send the digest emails. Some options include: After each new blog is published – not recommended if you post more than a couple of times a week, in order to avoid email overload. Weekly – for example, every Wednesday at 10 am EST. This option is great if you publish more than once a week. Monthly/bi-monthly – this would be a good option for content programs that publish one or fewer blogs each week. Once you develop a cadence and build muscle memory with your blog digest emails, the process will start to feel like second nature. For more on finding your perfect email cadence, check out, Fighting Email Fatigue: When is Your Email marketing Frequency Too High?

Step 3: Create curated content experiences for your blog audience

Now it’s time to craft your content! This will include a personalized subject line, preheader text, headline, body copy, and CTA copy. Keep in mind that depending on your email marketing program, your email marketing list and blog subscriber list may consist of different audiences. Generally, if somebody signs up for your blog digest, they are more interested in educational content over promotions and emails that include coupons, upsells, and generally more sales content. Blog subscribers are certainly a lead, but they may be a lot further off from converting than somebody who has requested to talk to your sales team. So your content should reflect that distinction. Some tips to keep in mind while writing your email copy for your blog digest: Be conversational – the blog subscriber list is your community and those who value your content, so keep it conversational to keep them engaged. Shorter is usually better – quality always wins out over lots of copy. You don’t need to present every last detail in your emails. Save some content for your landing page (or wherever your CTA is directing them to).

Step 4: Measure engagement

Once you’ve started sending blog digest emails, you can start to tally your engagement metrics such as opens and clicks and make appropriate changes based on how your recipients respond to your content. And once you get comfortable with tracking baseline metrics, you can start to look at additional metrics such as your click to open rate (also known as your relevancy metric). These engagement metrics allow for additional validation of our content and whether it’s valuable and resonating.