Sara Steinnagel serves as Community Manager at Gold Lasso. Follow her on twitter at @Sara_C_Stein

Back to Basics: Email Composition “No-Brainers”


Business email in the corporate setting is generally formal, where million dollar words are common and industry jargon is a must. Marketing messages however, are most effective when they are kept simple. To avoid alienating your audience with useless “fluff”, follow these tips.

1. Get Rid of the Big Words
You’re composing a marketing message, not playing a game of scrabble. Longer, more obscure words will not win you extra points. Avoid using words that are more than two syllables. This rule of thumb helps ground the writer to basic speaking rules and establishes a smooth cadence. The goal is to compose a message that is effortless for the recipient to read and understand. Certainly the recipient is capable of understanding bigger words, but simplifying the message makes it both universally accessible and faster to digest.

2. Omit Technical Terms and Jargon
Read the email after it is written. Are there industry specific terms? Drill them down to more generalized terms. Consider the recipient and their knowledge base. A great amount of time will be saved if industry terms and jargon are avoided. The recipient will understand the message and valuable marketing dollars will not have been wasted on a missed meaning.

3. Get a Second Set of Eyes
Is there someone in the office who does not know as much about the industry jargon as the author? Perhaps there is an intern or someone from a different department who can read the email. The idea is for the author to step away from the document before it is sent and to have an unbiased reader give it a once over. The author is invested in the words and will likely skip over terms that are possibly confusing. A separate set of eyes can point out terms that need clarification and can give input and suggestions to make the message as inviting and easy to understand as possible. An unfarmiliar reader will bring a fresh interpretation that can predict how the message will be received by subscribers.

The idea isn't to "dumb down" the email, but rather to compose a message that is readable by a person who does not understand all the jargon of the industry. The email needs to be written for an intelligent audience who is interested in being educated about the industry. Keep it simple but don't talk down to your recipient.

 

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Marketers: Cut Yourselves A Break! Automate.

It’s widely accepted that in order for a company’s marketing efforts to be effective, they must be diverse. Accomplishing this however can cause marketers to spread themselves too thin. Automating processes of repetitive functions or tasks can help combat this and in turn increase marketers’ efficiency. 

There are numerous software platforms available today that can automate and simplify any of your business's repetitive marketing operations. Such platforms come as a web-based or hosted solution, and often involve hardly any installation. Automation platforms can be a true asset to any company as they may be used in a variety of ways to complete a wide range of tasks, from executing and creating campaigns, to measuring and managing programs online. 

What’s in it for me?
This type of software brings together sales and marketing so they can work together to provide the proper kind of follow up to prospects and potential customers. Depending on the potential customers’ interest areas, these solutions can analyze and provide responses to them that are triggered automatically. Once a customer begins to show interest, the marketer can then utilize automation to help narrow and organize this customer into the lead nurturing phase and down the funnel to lead scoring and eventually lead winning. 

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Three Key Considerations for Email Rendering

Recently, our blog discussed email deliverability, and how to ensure your email reaches the customers’ inbox. Today, we extend that discussion by examining three of the most important considerations for email rendering, or how an email displays when it is opened.

Email Clients
An html template can display differently across email clients like Yahoo Mail, Gmail, or Outlook. It's imperative that you review how the email will render in each client. In addition, each of these email clients uses a slightly different approach to display a snippet of the email's text, and some of them use a preview pane. Carefully designing your e-mail to ensure the strongest message from each of these avenues will help increase your email opens.

Mobile Customers
These days, there’s a good chance that your customers will be checking their email on a mobile device. To master a mobile message, remember that a mobile display is half that of a computer screen and that a single column orientation will display best. Other design considerations include the use of a finger for clicks vs. a mouse pointer, as well as font size and readability. Customers will likely interact more with a display that is easy to read and accommodates for finger size, eliminating the need for zooming in. Simple, elegant, straight-forward design continues to work best on mobile devices.

Images
Finally, remember that many email clients do not automatically display graphics. Image heavy messages may display as blank boxes. It is important to include alt text. This not only allows search engines to read images on your web site, but also maintains consistency if the images are blocked or not rendering correctly.
We would be happy to discuss email rendering with you in more detail, so that you can best optimize your email marketing campaign. For more information, contact us.
 

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What Does Email Deliverability Mean to You?

Email deliverability is the most crucial part of your marketing plan. You can have the world's most talented copywriters and the most eye catching graphic designs, but if your email ends up in the spam folder, or perpetually floating around cyberspace, your hard work is all for nothing. But how do you know that your emails are reaching their destination? Most importantly, what do you do when you find out they aren't?

According to the Global Email Deliverability Benchmark Report by Return Path, “only 81% of all permission based email makes it to the world’s inboxes. Globally, one out of every five emails lands either in a spam or junk folder (7%) or simply goes missing—blocked by ISP level filtering (12%)”. Though an 81% deliverability rate is certainly respectable, over time, that 19% difference can make a big impact on your bottom line.

Consider this: if you send out 1,000 emails, that is 190 customers who will never hear your message. 190 missed opportunities to make a connection with a person who might be looking for exactly what you are selling. If you snowball this as your email lists continue to grow, you could soon be looking at thousands of lost clients.

To combat this, monitor your email deliverability closely by analyzing bounce back errors, and act to rectify the problems as they arise. If the subscriber’s mailbox doesn't exist, you can remove it from your list. However, if it is a temporary issue, the email address can continue to be monitored and sent mailings periodically. List cleansing and email verification services like LeadSpend exist to aide marketers in this.

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Bounce Codes: Understanding Why Email Bounces Back

All email list administrators know what they look like, but what do they mean? Some bounces seem to have a clear meaning, but others are cryptic enough to make any normal person tear their hair out. The way bounce codes look when they show up is not even consistent!

Sometimes they'll look like this:

Remote-MTA: dns; smtp.myemail.com [192.0.2.3]

Diagnostic-Code: smtp; 550 No such user here

Other times you'll see something like this:


while talking to smtp.store.example [192.0.2.3]

>>> RCPT TO:<This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

<<< 550 No such user here

Okay. Take a step back, a deep breath and relax.

You can safely ignore most of what you see in both messages. The important part of the message is the 3 digit numerical code, 550 and the short description that follows immediately.

What do those three digit bounce codes mean? Well here's a list of the codes that matter to a mailing list manager and what they are supposed to mean:


  • 550 - The requested command failed because the user’s mailbox was unavailable (such as not found)
  • 551 - The recipient is not local to the server.
  • 552 - The action was aborted due to exceeded storage allocation.
  • 553 - The command was aborted because the mailbox name is invalid.
  • 554 - The transaction failed for some unstated reason.

The code to worry about for email marketers is code 550. Usually this means that there is no mailbox for that address. At this point you would want to cull the address from your list to avoid wasting resources on mailings, but even a code 552 which means that the user has exceeded their storage allocation is important. If the mailbox is full for several mailings it might be best to remove the address from the list.

Bounce codes are a great tool for refining lists gor maximum efficiency. If you have any questions about bounce codes or about how we can help you manage your email marketing please contact us.
 

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The Email Monetization Playbook
Email Monetization Playbook
69 Must Scan Pages For Publishers!

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Email Monetization Playbook
69 Must Scan Pages For Publishers!