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The Art & Necessity of E-mail Marketing

2017 is the year of email marketing. 1 in every 3 people globally use email, far exceeding those who use social media. The greatest benefit of it all, its free, if you can master the art.

2005, 2013 and 2015.

Traditional (Roman Catholic Church) meets Modern (Mobile Technology Devices). The image on the right depicts the cross over in one caption in a similar setting.

Email marketing is common place in business marketing operations. Companies such as HubSpot and Slack have developed in this space in recent years. Despite the growth of social media platforms and integration into business practice, traditional methods of digital marketing remain. Where we see the growth of digital overrun popularity in print media, TV content and retail, email has remained as consistent a platform today as it did back in the 1970’s. Why? quite simply, email marketing is the purest form of communications in the modern era. Email marketing is the ABC’s of the modern era. Think of the last time you picked up a pen and wrote a letter? No, you wrote an email or a text message.

Do’s & Don’t of Email Marketing

But how is all this applied in practice? Email marketing has formed the backbone of my work placement. MailChimp was the platform of choice, however it is not without its flaws. We found that when sending out email campaigns to 600+ recipients that emails were landing in the ‘Promotions’ tab of our recipients email, resulting in roughly 60 opened emails. Thus, we missed 90% of our target audience. Could MailChimp be nothing more than a platform to test if an email address bounces or not? After all, what value does the tool provide when its intended use is falling well short of expectations.

The first stop shop for all companies seeking to establish a email marketing strategy is to check their web reputation, which can be done so instantly on SenderBase. A neutral web reputation is the optimal result here.

Listed are some of the guidelines we followed when seeking to overcome the issues presented:

Personalisation:

The key here is to make the spam filter believe you are acquainted with the person receiving your email. To achieve this, ensure your email blasts are sent through verified domains and/or send from a personal email address instead of a generic one (first.last@company.com over marketing@company.com), as seen below. A handy little trick also is to ask recipients to add your contact to their address book.

personalise

IP Address:

Spam filters will flag your IP address if you have sent spam through this IP previously. In the case of one of the most popular email management and delivery services, MailChimp, emails are delivered through MailChimp servers. Therefore, other users’ actions may affect your companies ability to deliver emails. An IP address issue can be overcome, however it is best practice a company should seek, and not a short term solution to a long term problem. Having run our email marketing campaigns through a Spam Checker, we identified that our IP address is on three blacklists.

Content & Formatting:

The importance of this heading cannot be underestimated. Content within the email such as images and PDF’s usually send warning signals, ultimately resulting in spam. Design needs to be clear and concise. An email consisting of external links can further raise the spam alarms. Area’s to be cautious of also include don’t use all caps, exclamation points, use video flash or Javascript, embed forms in your emails or include attachments. Finally, trigger words like ‘free’, ‘guarantee’, ‘no obligation’ and ‘reminder’.

The ability to opt out of a email blast is a legal requirement. Furthermore, emails should have a List-Unsubscriber header, which if it does not can be flagged for Spam.

Finally, emails should always include the physical address of the company.

signature

Sign-Up:

A method of opt-in often helps prevent against spam. The double barrel of opt-in is best practice in the industry – that of collecting the users data through their voluntary input with a follow up email to confirm the content that recipient will receive. It is now a requirement for all users whom use the MailChimp platform to state to the recipient how they provided their email address to the company.

Spam Checkers:

Finally, before sending any email blast, run the email through a spam checker, being wary of the 60:40 rule of text to images. Free services of use include Mail-Tester and Is-Not-Spam. Having run our email address through free Spam checkers, we identified that the email campaigns we pushed out contained 16% text, significantly less than the 60% recommended.

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