Email Marketing Starter Kit

My Book on Amazon.jpg

Two years ago, I published my first book. It was titled, The Fundamentals of Email Marketing: 7 Things You Need to Know to Achieve Success. And you can still purchase a copy here.

At the end of the book, I included a link to some free bonus information on my website. And it’s about time I made that bonus information available to all of my readers. So without further ado, here it is:

Email Marketing Software (some with free intro offers)

Additional Resources: - filterable, searchable database of millions of real life marketing emails - cost effective marketing lists for purchase - email marketing lists available for purchase

The Keys to the Inbox

Below are my top 10 fundamental tips for email marketers looking to avoid the spam folder, the "keys to the inbox" as I call them.

1. Avoid the word "Free" in the subject line. Spammers are always guaranteeing something for free, and email providers are looking for that term when determining whether or not to add your email to the user's inbox.

2. Limit the use of the word "Free" in the body of your email. Just like the subject line, the more times the word "Free" shows up in your content, the more likely that an email provider will assume you're spamming their users.

3. Avoid the use of dollar signs ($) in the subject line. Again, though it may seem like a great way to call attention to a deal or a discount, it's one of the first thing that email providers are looking for from spammers. Instead use a percentage discount, which can have the same impact without getting sucked into the spam trap.

4. Keep a clean list. This may seem simple, but it's important to make sure you don't continue to send to bad email addresses, or people who have unsubscribed. The more email addresses you send to who accept your emails, the higher your sender reputation.

5. Include a plain text version of your message. If you're sending out an HTML email, make sure that there is a plain text version as well, for those users who cannot see HTML on the device they are using to read email. Most email marketing services allow you to create one by copying the text from your HTML email.

6. Make sure there is a simple, and obvious opt-out or unsubscribe option. This makes it less likely that users will choose to mark your email as spam, and it's one of the things that email providers are looking for in your content.

7. Thoroughly proofread your email. Typos are a sure sign of a mass market spammer.

8. Check all of the links in each email that you send. Testing the links allows you to ensure that all links are correct and working. Broken links will frustrate users and will make it likely you'll get marked as a spammer.

9. Warn people that the emails are coming. Allow users to opt-in so that they know to expect emails and are more likely to accept them. You can also tell them the address that the emails are coming from so that they can add that email address to their contacts ahead of time.

10. It may sound overly simple, but make the emails worthy of reading. The more users on your list who are actually interested in your offer - or the content of your email - the more likely they will open it and click through it. This improves your reputation as a sender and sends a message to email providers that you deserve placement in the inbox.

How to Read Your Email Marketing Report

Are you new to email marketing? Would you like help evaluating your email marketing efforts?

That’s why I’m here. You can hire me to work on your email marketing campaign, but I know that doesn’t work for everyone. So everyone else can continue to read this blog and this post specifically for help.

Below is a piece of an iContact report I copied to help explain the individual pieces of an email report:

This shows the most important stats that you want to look at on all your emails. Let’s walk through each one:

  • Open Rate – “Opened” above refers to people who opened your email. They saw the subject, and clicked it to read the full email. They may or may not have read the full text, but it was at least exposed to them. In this case, 13% of total recipients opened the email. A good subject line can increase the open rate, and subject line tests should always use the open rate as the barometer for measuring a winner.

  • Bounce Rate – “Bounced” above refers to an email address that was not able to be delivered, either because of the email address does not exist, was not correct, or some other error. A simple way to think about it is like an undeliverable address for postal mail. Keeping this low is important for your sender reputation. You can do this by cleaning your lists before uploading and sending, and never buying a list from a third-party. In the sample above, 1.7% of the email addresses on that list were not deliverable.

  • No Info – Easy, this is the number of people who have not taken any action on the email. They email got to them (maybe in their spam folder) but they haven’t opened it.

  • Click-thru Rate – “Clicked” above refers to those recipients who not only read the email, but clicked on at least one of the links in your email. In the sample above, 139 people clicked at least one link. And combined, those people clicked 182 times/links. If there is more than one link in an email, I might click them all. Hence the difference in numbers. You want to drive this number up. 1% is okay, but it can be much better.

  • Unsubscribed – This is the number of people on the list who clicked unsubscribe on this email. Obviously here we’re looking to keep the numbers as low as possible.

  • Forwarded – Just what it sounds like, this is the number of people who received your email and forwarded it to someone else.

  • Complained – Not only were these people upset enough to unsubscribe, they reported your email as spam. A high complaint rate is the fastest way to get yourself “blacklisted” as an email sender. If you get blacklisted, you will have a lot of trouble sending emails to customers. At all costs, avoid this. Keep an eye on this number and if it starts to tick up, you’ll need to change something about the email content, frequency, or how you get the names on your list.

I hope that was helpful!

Remember, if you ever have a question about email marketing, you can ask me here.