The From Line

Sending, Managing & Monetizing Email

Creating Subject Lines that Capture Attention

Too many marketers forget one of the most important elements of their e-mail marketing campaign—the subject line. With spam filters furiously searching for reasons to dump your email in a junk email folder instead of the inbox, your choice of subject line is increasingly important. Consider these tips.

  • Strive for accuracy and don’t exaggerate the content just to attract readers.
  • Test the subject line with different segments of your group using eLoop’s A/B…Z Split option for campaigns.
  • Personalize your subject line and give readers a reason to open it.
  • Write the subject line like a headline and read newspapers for some ideas. 
  • Associate a deadline to increase a sense of urgency.
  • Use a spam filter to check the copy of the subject line too and avoid phrases that will tip them off.

 

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Tips for Re-Designing Your Email Template

Your e-mail template is another extension of your overall brand. It needs attention to stay fresh and functional.  Follow these tips to improve the visual impact of your email marketing template.

  • Avoid background images – images help break up text and direct readers to online resource if they’re used correctly so test the message first. Background images often don’t appear in all email clients. Be sure to host any images you use on a Web site. 
  • Image alt tags are your friend – use one or two words to describe what the image is for recipients that have email clients that block images. 
  • Use an HTML programmer – “What you see is what you get” programs add extra code that can disrupt your template.
  • Choose a horizontal layout over vertical – horizontal layout allows readers to scroll down and see more in a preview panel.
  • Honor your brand – your organization has a visual brand represented by your Web site and other promotional materials. Keep your template in line with your brand but remember the reader’s needs.
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Retail Email Subscription Benchmark Study

Gold Lasso recently sponsored the Retail Email Subscription Benchmark Study produced by the Email Experience Council and written and edited by Chad White.  There are a lot of exciting new things that online retailers are doing with their opt-in subscription process.  Below are some interesting findings in the study:

  • Only 3% of major online retailers use a double opt-in subscription process.
  • Only 92% of retailers have an email sign-up form or link on their homepage.
  • More than 43% of retailers allow customers to sign up for email with one click from their homepage.
  • The subscriber's name (31%) and zip code (18%) were the two most often required pieces of information.

Of these stats I find the first the most interesting and kind of disturbing.  Since savvy email marketers know that double opt-in ensures the cleanest list, which leads to a quality reputation and high deliverability, why do only 3% of the largest online retailers engage in the practice?  Has there been a study that proves consumers are too ignorant for a double opt-in process?  This isn't 1999 and I'm fairly confident that consumers can handle this process.

Get a copy of the full report from the EEC
The full 37-page study presents a range of best practices and emerging best practices for your consideration, as well as a formerly popular practice that appears to be falling out of favor. It also includes numerous examples of creatives to help illustrate each point.

Visit the Whitepaper Room to download the full report, which is free for EEC platinum members, available at a discount to EEC gold and silver members, and available for $179 for non-members. Not a member? Learn more about becoming a member of the Email Experience Council.

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Working Around the Image Blocker

Images can enhance a message and draw attention to its key components. But, when they are blocked and appear as a big, red X in the recipient’s preview pane (often with the instruction to “right click to download”) they can lose their effectiveness. The reason images are often blocked is to enable users to prohibit unwanted (or inappropriate) images from loading automatically.  Blocking images also protects readers from spammers who use them to verify the email address is real. 

The impact of blocking images comes in multiple forms (such as lower open rates and disabled banner ads which can hurt advertiser supported material), but they all lead to lower deliverability. Like other delivery issues, email marketers can institute practices to help minimize this issue. 

  • Get whitelisted and ask your readers to add your company to their “approved sender” or “safe list” to ensure email is allowed through with a minimum of filtering, image blocking included.
  • Add a link to view the email online.  The “view Web version” links back to a version of the email hosted on your server where images are easy-to-view.
  • Provide a prominent text link to the message at the very top of your message so recipients can always choose a text version.   
  • Before sending check the appearance of your message in the preview pane.  Is there enough information to entice the reader to open the message? Or, is the preview pane filled with images and graphics that won’t download.   
  • HTML is beneficial but don’t neglect the text version of your message. A strong, relevant text version ensures you still reach users, regardless of format preference.   
  • Don’t ignore text links.  If your email includes several key linked images, consider adding text-based links as a caption to the image or in the copy of the message.
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Building Lists Organically Part 2 of 3: eLoop Tools at your Fingertips

We all want to grow our distribution lists. The logic is simple. If more people see our messages then more people also have the opportunity to respond to them.  One of the most overlooked methods of increasing the number of recipients in a database is organic growth.

The concept of organic growth means that your list grows from within. In other words, current recipients might opt-in to receive additional communications or emails from you or they might refer other members to your list. Another, equally as important, way to look at organic growth is limiting list attrition. You want to keep the recipients that you have.

eLoop has two features that can help you grow your list organically and limit attrition. If you are not already incorporating them into your messages, start now. First is the opt-in form, which allows your readers to subscribe to your emails (thus complying with CAN SPAM requirements) and customize their preferences. For example, they can choose which of your email campaigns are most valuable to them as well as select the delivery form (i.e. HTML or text messages).

eLoop users can create opt-in forms in the Data Collection section of the platform. The forms can be customized in several different ways but the most popular are:

  • Data points – you can add several different data points or information fields to your form so you gather the information most relevant to your needs. Most users use the first name, last name, and email address fields. But, you can ask other questions to help populate your database with information that will help personalize and target your campaigns.
  • Communication categories – if you have different types of emails going out to your database you can set up your opt-in form to allow users to select what type of emails they receive. For example, they might choose to receive your monthly electronic newsletter, but not other announcements about events.
  • Whitelists – readers don’t always understand the idea of the whitelist or how to add your organization to their “approved sender” list so your emails end up in their inbox and not their junk folder (or blocked entirely). Adding simple instructions to the bottom of your opt-in form increases the chance your emails are delivered and read.

The best way to use the opt-in form once it is created is to place it in a prominent section of your Web site where readers, and potential recipients, can easily see it and subscribe. eLoop makes it easy to create the form and copy the HTML source code directly into your Web management tool. How to Create an Opt-in Form in eLoop

Before you can create an Opt-In form a few things must be completed in eLoop.

  1. Communication categories need to be established.  Please see Communication Category info below.
  2. If you decide to link to the Opt-In page in eLoop instead of incorporating it into your website you will need to create an Opt-in page template.
  3. eLoop is a double opt-in system so you will need to create a verification message in the message section of the Out-bound Messaging module.
  4. If you would like to incorporate questions into your opt-in page such as “When is your birthday?” you will need to have them setup in the Q&A Section of the Data Collection module.

Creating an opt-in form for your Web site in eLoop is easy following the directions below.

  1. Mouse over Data Collection
  2. Select Opt-in Forms
  3. Click the new icon (select the category from the tree first. If this is the first opt-in form you have created or you want it in the general folder, select “Top Level)
  4. eLoop will lead you the eight steps to set up your form. You can access more detailed information from the HELP section.

You should also add Communication Categories to your account. Communication categories are just what they sound like—a categorization of the communications that you send out to your database.  For example, your e-newsletter (we’ll call it XYZ E-News) that goes out monthly could be classified as one category. Maybe you also have a weekly news blast called the XYZ E-Update that fits into another category.

Besides keeping your account organized, communication categories are beneficial because they give recipients an alternative to opting out of your list completely (i.e. attrition).  Instead, they can opt-out of receiving one category of communication. Here is an example using the two publications above.

John Smith finds value in XYZ E-Update because it gives him a quick snapshot of industry news. But, he doesn’t have time to read longer features in XYZ E-News and doesn’t want to receive it. He decides to opt out of all XYZ’s email because he sees no other option to keeping his inbox volume under control. When he gets to the opt-out form, he finds that he actually does have another option.  He can select to only receive the weekly E-Update.  So, instead of opting out of ALL of XYZ’s email, he chooses only to receive the email he finds valuable.

How to Set up Communication Categories

Setting up communication categories in eLoop is easy following the directions below. 

  1. Mouse over Account Settings
  2. Select Communication Categories
  3. If you are creating a new Category select Top Level
  4. Click on the New icon
  5. Name the Category and provide a description
  6. Select the folder to save the Category (if this is a new category select Top Level)
  7. Click Save

Don’t forget to incorporate these two easy steps into your campaigns to reduce your list attrition and increase your organic growth.

 

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

Please publish modules in offcanvas position.

Email Monetization Playbook
69 Must Scan Pages For Publishers!