Category Archives: recommendations

Get Your Emails Delivered (A Guide)

Mr. Email Marketer is hard at work at his desk, firing off emails. He’s doing a great job – he’s got link tracking set up and alt text in place – and he’s feeling kind of sassy.

He’s been pleased by a recent upsurge in clicks through to his site, but today as he keeps refreshing his QuickStats, the number of opens and clicks aren’t ticking up as highly as he’s expected.

In fact, he’s getting worried. They’re not moving much at all. In fact, I’m getting worried, too. Let’s find out what’s going on, shall we?

Across Town, in a Mammoth Brick Building…

The servers of an immense email client (we’ll call it HappyMail) hum and whirr. Inside the computers, complex algorithms detect emails coming into the HappyMail system, bound for its users’ inboxes. And they start sorting.

Deflecting that suspicious-looking message to the junk folder, sparring with skeevy subject lines, inspecting a heavily imaged message carefully before finally letting it pass – this filter is busy. The HappyMail inboxes are hip, happening spots to get into, and the filter is their bouncer.

This bouncer isn’t human, though – it’s more cyborg. Programmed by humans to evaluate each email based on spamming trends, user engagement and IP reputation, they still lack the common sense and judge individual message content.

While they do a kick-ass job fighting crimemail, a few times, their well-meaning nets entrap some innocent, though perhaps suspicious-looking, emails and refuse to release them.

Today, it looks like email marketer’s message got caught in those nets. It’s unfortunate, because he worked hard on it, but with million of messages pouring through the system every hour, his email is a drop swept away in a torrent.

Luckily, this doesn’t happen to Mr. Marketer’s messages often. His email service provider’s been working hard to establish a good reputation for all emails coming from their system, and Mr. Marketer’s been pretty careful, too. But he’s gotten a little careless lately, and there are some steps he knows he’ll need to take to have more success with his next emails.

Let’s Make Sure This Never Happens to You

With a little care, you can keep your own emails from dropping off the grid. While AWeber takes some significant measures to ensure our users deliverability, some steps fall into the sender’s (your) domain.

To make the steps easy for you, we’ve written a guide. Download it here, and happy delivery!

Check It Out

Gmail’s New Inbox Tabs: Marketers, You Can Relax

Gmail recently reorganized inboxes into several tabbed spaces.

Like Outlook’s Clean Sweep or Gmail’s already-existing Priority Inbox, it’s one more way to divide incoming emails into categories.

One of those tabs is “Promotions,” designated for offers and marketing newsletters. Another is “Updates,” for more transactional messages (receipts, bills and the like).

The bottom line?

Your Emails Are Tucked Behind Tabs – At First

Originally, they fall under Promotions – unless the autosorting system perceives them as Updates – instead of the Primary tab, which loads by default.



Those who buy from you and those considering purchases want what you have. They still want to see your emails.

They’ll come looking for you in the Promotions area. They may keep you there, or they may drag your email to the “Inbox” tab, where your future emails will land, right up front.



In Fact, The Promotions Tab Could Be Your Best Friend

Your emails will land among fewer contemporaries. This means less chance of mass-deletion. It also means a higher chance of grabbing attention.

Add to that the mindset of someone who clicks to the Promotions tab. I let my Promotions build up all day, since they’re not constantly peppering my inbox. When I’m in the mood to buy something frivolous, to scan travel deals or to read newsletters, I click to my Promotions.

I’ve chosen the time I “receive” the email myself. I’m in the mood to read them, and I’m in more of a mood to buy than I would have been otherwise.

I’ve chosen the time I “receive” the email myself. I’m in more of a mood to buy than I would have been otherwise.

Still, You Can Choose To Take Proactive Measures

To encourage the sorting system to get you into the main inbox, increase your readers’ engagement with your messages as much as possible.

Include links for them to click if you aren’t already. Even better, encourage people to reply to your emails by asking for their opinion on a topic or having them participate in a vote. (But be aware that even if the sorting system relocates you to the Inbox, readers can always switch you back, depending on their preferences.)

Finally, add a note to your thank-you page telling those who use Gmail that they’ll find your confirmation email in their “Updates” area.

If Sales Go Down, THEN Get Concerned

Common sense dictates that sales are the crucial stat to track. Sales are what bring in money.

Opens are great, but if they don’t lead to clicks and sales, their value is fairly low. If they DO lead to a drop in sales, let us know.

For now, we believe your opens will dip, your clicks will waver and your sales will stay steady – or, because of what we’ll call the “promotions mood factor,” perhaps even increase.

But as Silverpop’s Loren McDonald notes, “It will likely take 12 to 18 months before we can truly understand the impact.”

Advanced Email Marketing: Beyond The Basics

We know you’ve heard, but we’ll say it again – email marketing is the way to go when advertising your business.

A basic email marketing campaign is a really beneficial, not to mention easy, marketing strategy that you can utilize to increase your sales. The hard part is trying not to rush around cheering when you see your results.

But there’s even more to gain by refining your email list over time. You have plenty of options to prompt even better results from your messages. Here are a few of those options (and guides to help you with each):

Reactivation

Customers who remain inactive on your email lists (don’t open or click) aren’t doing you any good. There are many effective tactics that you can use to reach out to these subscribers with and bring them back to life.

Get the guide.

Segmentation

When you segment your subscribers, you divide them up into separate groups, which you can isolate and send targeted information. You can use this information in a variety of ways, such as offering special promotions to your most loyal subscribers.

Get the guide.

Analytics

These are the stats that allow you to monitor and see important statistics from your emails – things like click rates and how many sales have come from a certain subscriber. After all, the stats don’t lie.

Get the guide.

Optimization

Optimization is all about taking what you have and making it better – just like a successful email marketing campaign will do for your business.When it comes to email marketing, you want to have the most effective campaign possible.

Get the guide.

An Email Marketing Library

We actually have a library of guides that explain all of these processes, and many more!

Whether you are new to email marketing or a seasoned veteran, feel free to check out all the useful information in our guides. I’m willing to bet that you’ll learn something new.

If You Aren’t Emailing Yet

If everything looks interesting so far, but you’re still not sure about what exactly an email marketing service provider will do for you, I have great news:

You can play around with AWeber for an entire month for only one dollar!

We invite you to dip in your toes; if you like how it feels than you are more than welcome to stay with us, and should the water be too cold for you, you have a money-back guarantee – just call us, no hassles and no questions asked.

We are also available to talk to you personally about anything you might want to know. And please don’t hesitate to leave your questions in the comments below.

Timing Is Everything: When You Should Publish Your Content

Nick Randazzo is a research-savvy intern here at AWeber, and this is his first post on our (and your) blog. He dug up some interesting stats for us, and here they are!

Whether or not you’ve considered when you should publish blog posts or post something on social media, time of day can really matter to get the best results.

People see your content in different places based on what time of day it is. To get the most views on your content, you should pay attention to the time of day that you post it. If you’re not too sure when to post, don’t worry- we – with graphs from Hubspot’s Dan Zarella – are about to break it all down for you.

Morning: Blog Posts, Then Facebook

Most people view articles and blogs during the morning. This is when people catch up on the news and search for the day’s ideas. This graph visualizes this.



Because blog views peak in the morning, take advantage of publishing your posts early. The earlier you publish, the more people will read your post.

Facebook posts get the most shares between 8:30 and 10:00 am.



You should make your most important posts in the mid-morning. They’ll get more shares this way.

OK, so the most important information should get out via Facebook and blogs in the morning, but what about the rest of the day?

Afternoon And Evening: Twitter

Twitter has the most activity in the later afternoon.



The important line to notice is the “ReTweet” curve. Random Tweets are the content you put out originally, but ReTweets are shared beyond your current followers, so they introduce new people to your content.

The rate of ReTweets increases as the afternoon goes on, so if you want to advertise your content through twitter efficiently, late afternoon is the best time to do it.

A recap: Most people check Facebook on waking and then turn to Twitter later in the day.

What About Blog Posts And Facebook Later In The Day?

The graph above shows that a respectable number of people still read blogs all throughout the day.

While it is still most effective to get them out early, sending them out later is not the end of the world.

Facebook sharing spikes again in the evening.

You can best use Twitter to close the gap between Facebook’s morning peak and evening spike.

How Do Emails Fit In?

Something like an email is different.

There is no universal best time to send emails. It changes based on what you’re advertising and who your audience is.

If you’ve already created a consistent experience with your readers (such as sending Tuesdays at lunchtime or Sunday evenings), it’s likely they’re comfortable with the pattern and might not want it to vary.

Otherwise, the only way to find out the best time to send to your subscribers is to test!

Send out your emails at different times and see how your results vary: a lot of people open their emails in the morning, some open in the afternoon, and many others don’t even have the option to view their emails during the day.

You have to just keep on experimenting until you find the best time for you!

And speaking of timing, I’d love to hear about what kind of timing works for you guys and your posts. Does the information in this post match up with what you’ve found? Feel free to share your answers in the comments below!

Bad Practice: “Are You Sure You Want To Leave Before Reading This Post?”

It’s the last-minute sales pitch: “Wait! Don’t go! Don’t leave without signing up!”

And it often shows up on sign up forms – that pop up in a new window when you try to leave a website.

If you’ve encountered the needy exit pop up, you already know how annoying it is. Here’s why you shouldn’t use this tactic on your own list, and what you can do instead.

Exit Popups = Bad Last Impression

Nothing heats up a discussion like pop ups – marketers love them, consumers hate them and they’re known to convert amazingly well when used appropriately.

But an exit pop up that blocks a visitor from leaving your page leaves a bad impression of your business.

Think about it – you’ve browsed a website and decided that a product just isn’t for you. You click your browser’s “back” button – BUT WAIT! Are you sure you want to leave without signing up for our newsletter?

Yes, you’re very sure. If you’re not interested in their product, why would you want their newsletter? Can they please let you go and check Facebook now?

That’s the problem with exit pop ups. People leaving your site have already made up their minds – either they bought something from you and decided they want your emails, or they decided they’re not interested. And a pop up asking them to reconsider before they leave won’t change their minds.

Even if they give in and surrender an email address to leave your site, people who sign up from a pop up form tend to be less engaged with your emails.

But Aren’t Popups Effective?

They can be, when used appropriately. Even back in 2003, Inc observed that consumers didn’t mind pop ups in the right context.

Some of our own customers have seen explosive list growth by using pop ups on their sites.

Here’s the right way to try a popup form:

Use A Delay

Don’t display a popup right away. Let people get to know your site first. When they’ve warmed up to your content, they’ll be less bothered by your popup interruption.

How To Set Delays On Your Pop Up Form

Watch Your Wording

There’s a fine line between inviting and badgering. Don’t harass people with a hard sell for your newsletter. Explain the benefits with a gentler approach and test your wording to see what people respond to best.

Do Your Words Scare People Away?

Don’t Be Annoying

You don’t need a pop up on every page to grow your list effectively. You don’t even need to display your pop up every time someone visits your page.

Nikki McGonigal, an Etsy crafter, uses a pop up that only displays once every 60 days to people who visit her site. When a visitor closes the pop up instead of signing up, they won’t see it again until 60 days later. And judging from our case study on her, it’s been pretty effective.

How do you feel about pop ups? Are you guilty of any pop up mistakes – like the exit form – yourself? Share your story in the comments!