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Do This! (Not That) For Better Email Delivery

By Crystal Gouldey

Email marketing tactics and food have a few things in common. There’s the good, the bad, and the people that try to make the bad look good for you.

The food industry has resources like the Eat This, Not That book to guide you, but what about email marketing? With all the different tactics out there, it’s hard to know what will help you and what will hurt you.

That will be changing today with AWeber’s “Do This, Not That” approach to Email Marketing.

We’ll kick it off with some of the worst list management mistakes that could be hurting your email deliverability, and what you should be doing instead.

Send Only to Those Who Requested Your Information

What this is: You cannot did NOT request YOUR information, and you don’t even know how their email addresses were originally obtained. You’d be spamming them.

Another danger is obtaining stale or invalid email addresses. Your message may be filtered because of this, reducing your deliverability rate.

Do this instead:

  • Build your list organically.
    You can put up a web form on your website so subscribers can sign up if they want to be on your mailing list. You can also include links to sign up on social media sites like Facebook. And don’t forget if you have a store to include a sign up sheet at the register!

Check out how we invite people to subscribe on Facebook:

Don’t Assume Permission- Ask For It!

What this is: Subscribers skip the confirmation message and just start getting your emails.

There are some worries that confirmed opt-in makes the sign up process harder for the subscriber. But if you don’t have confirmed opt in on, you run the risk of again getting bad email addresses on your list. You’ll also open yourself up to more spam complaints, and subscribers who aren’t as interested in your company.

Do this instead:

  • Send a customized confirmation message.
    Set up a customized confirmation that explains to subscribers what’s going on. You’ll have a list of subscribers who want your information and are much less likely to complain.

Here’s what a good confirmation message looks like:

Don’t Ignore Your Complaint Rate

What this is: A complaint is recorded when a subscriber marks one of your broadcast messages as spam.

A subscriber who complains will be automatically unsubscribed from your list in AWeber, which may lead to an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality. However, consistent complaints hurt your reputation and your deliverability rate will go down.

Occasional complaints may be inevitable, but that’s never an excuse to look into what you could be doing better.

Do this instead:

  • Make sure you are properly setting expectations.
    Does your web form clearly state what they are signing up for? Do you have a welcome message that details your email plans? You can lower your complaint rate by ensuring subscribers know what they will be getting from you and how often you will be sending them messages.

Here’s an example of a form that sets expectations:

Don’t Push Down the Unsubscribe Link

What this is: Using space or unnecessary text to push down the unsubscribe link. This makes the unsubscribe link hard to find.

If subscribers want to leave your list, you should let them! Otherwise you will run into spam complaints which can hurt your reputation and deliverability.

It will also mean your list contains subscribers who aren’t really interested in your emails. If they’re not interested, they won’t be interacting with your emails.

Don’t fall for the idea subscribers may “accidentally unsubscribe”. It’s not going to happen. The unsubscribe link takes subscribers to a new page where they will need to actually choose the unsubscribe option. Hiding the link is just not worth the risk.

Do this instead:

  • Put a link to unsubscribe at the TOP of your message.
    Including some text such as “If you no longer wish to receive these emails, please click here to unsubscribe” is a much better approach. Subscribers will appreciate that you respect their time and attention.

Here’s what it can look like:

Coming Up Next: The “Do This! (Not That)” Approach to Creating Emails

In the next part of the series, you’ll learn the worst mistakes you can make when creating and sending emails. Find out if you’re doing one of these mistakes, and what you can do to fix it!

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We’ll also periodically send you the other email marketing tips we publish here. The blog newsletter goes out twice per week.

Naturally, as a permission-based email marketing company, we respect your privacy.

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Subscriber Fatigue: 7 Steps To Kick It

By Amanda Gagnon

Subscribers Are OverloadedMr. Manyhats has much to do – and a cluttered inbox.

When he checks his email, he clears out all but the most pressing messages. Many of them don’t look particularly interesting or helpful anyway, and he can’t afford to waste his time.

Like a lot of people, he is suffering from a case of subscriber fatigue.

In the current economy, many companies are marketing especially aggressively. Some 247 billion emails are sent every day. In the melee, subscribers often choose one or two emails to open, and delete the rest.

Your goal? Get Mr. Manyhats to choose your email. But how?

Make ‘em Love You

Establish brand loyalty.

Your sender name is one of the first things subscribers see. If they already like you, you have a much better shot at that email being opened.

I Will Teach You To Be Rich author Ramit Sethi touts building relationships through personal response. Invite feedback and respond to it, promptly and specifically.

Check out more of Sethi’s thoughts on building an email community.

Command Their Attention

The subject line is where many subscribers make the decision to investigate further or toss out the case.

Go for something catchy but not cutesy; something surprising but not sensational. Try asking a question you know your demographic wants the answer to.

Hooking your audience is much easier with an appropriate subject.

Keep It Real

Reading plain English is more enjoyable than slogging through a formal missive or techno-garble.

Write friendly. Write real. Write effectively. Then send it to yourself. Do you want to open it?

Get Relevant

Make sure your emails are as relevant as possible to your subscribers’ interests.

According to The Social and Portable Inbox by Jupiter Research (2008), 50% of email users and 60% of frequent buyers (4+ purchases per year) said that if they did not find emails relevant, they would unsubscribe.

Try segmenting your subscriber list into categories. Alter your subjects and content to be most relevant to each category. If the subscriber is getting information they value, they’ll stick with you.

Balance the Scales

Promotions directly lead subscribers to buy or participate. Too many, though, may alienate subscribers.

Make sure you balance your content to provide enough helpful information that the subscriber experiences a true give-and-take. Try an 80:20 ratio of information versus promotions, and follow these tips for even better balance.

Dam the Floodwaters

The more emails you send, the more effective your marketing is, correct?

Actually, that’s dead wrong. Subscribers may feel like they are drowning in too many emails and choose to turn off the faucet altogether.

Pay attention to your frequency and how changing it affects your unsubscribes. Keep your subscribers swimming in your pond without sweeping them away.

Skip the Mourning Period

You are going to lose some readers in any case. People lose interest, they get busy and they move on.

Keep your subscriptions high by offering them everywhere you can. Keep enrolling new subscribers, and then do your best to create a positive experience for the demographic that is right for you.

Remember, though, that adding subscribers does no good if you don’t keep them. After all, a subscriber saved is a subscriber earned.

Why Do People Unsubscribe? An Audio Discussion

By Justin Premick

I’m fond of telling people attending our webinars that “nobody wakes up in the morning and decides, ‘hey, I’d like to sign up and get some more email today,'” my point being that they have to give visitors a compelling reason to subscribe.

Unsubscribing, of course, doesn’t work the same way. Sometimes subscribers have a compelling reason to opt out of your email list, and sometimes it seems you haven’t really done anything to drive them away.

So why do they unsubscribe from your list?

Unsubscribe Reasons: Listen to The Discussion

In this ~10 minute discussion, Marc and I highlight several reasons people unsubscribe from your list and talk about what you might do to minimize unsubscribes.

RSS Subscribers: listen to the audio here.

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Topics Mentioned In This Discussion

Mass Unsubscribes and Email Bankruptcy

Sometimes email users decide to unsubscribe from many lists at once, and/or declare email bankruptcy.

Learn more about how to keep your subscribers even when they declare email bankruptcy.

Learn From Your Unsubscribes

Taking stabs in the dark at why people might be unsubscribing doesn’t do us a lot of good. It’s better to have some data before we start drawing conclusions.

As we noted in our talk, you can and should ask your unsubscribes why they’re leaving. If you’re not, then naturally you’re not going to have any idea why they’re opting out.

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