In your email marketing campaigns, each message you send should come with a facility allowing readers to unsubscribe from receiving any future emails. Even if you don’t add an unsubscribe link yourself (which is a bad idea), one will automatically be added.
However, have you ever wondered just how exactly that link works? And more importantly, what happens to people who have unsubscribed, and is there a way to get them back? If you have multiple lists, how do you ensure that they only get unsubscribed from a particular list and not every list in your account?
Enform’s Automailer naturally comes with this functionality (an unsubscribe tag) whether it’s in the HTML page, template, or plain text version. Upon sending your campaign to your subscribers, each reader receives a copy of your email, with the tag automatically replaced with a unique link for each subscriber.
Each link is unique to each person and each email marketing campaign, so it’s not just a matter of copying an old unsubscribe and pasting it into your next email.
A Look at What Happens When a Subscriber Clicks on the Unsubscribe Link
Upon clicking the unsubscribe link, the user is directed to our Automailer system, which records the click and automatically recognises the subscriber and his/her corresponding email list and campaign.
Enform’s Automailer instantly unsubscribes users from your email list, with no need for you to manually change any settings on the program. Your campaign report will now show that user as having unsubscribed from receiving future emails.
The Suppression List – Ways to Manage Multiple Lists and Not Lose Subscribers
The default unsubscribe setting on our Automailer automatically removes an address from all listings in the same account. This means that if the unsubscribed address were in your ‘customers’ list and ‘newsletter’ list, it would be removed from both. We’ve also made steps to ensure that you don’t accidentally import an unsubscribed email address back into your account. Addresses that have unsubscribed from your campaign are immediately added to your suppression list.
However a unique feature of Automailer allows you to change your unsubscribe setting for your lists; this is extremely useful if you want the unsubscribe link to only remove users from the specific list their emails came from but leave them on other lists in your account. A great feature that ensures you don’t lose subscribers by a blanket suppression across all lists.
Once Unsubscribed, is a User Blocked Forever?
Former subscribers can re-subscribe at any time through your subscribe forms; only you are prevented from reimporting an address once it’s in the suppression list.
How do you Keep Users from Unsubscribing from your Lists?
There’s no foolproof way of keeping your database of subscribers 100% intact, but what you can do is make a compelling case for subscribers to stay, right at the unsubscribe page.
Take for instance, the unsubscribe page of Lazada.com, a major e-commerce player in Asia. Upon clicking the unsubscribe link, you’re presented with different options to better control the mail you receive.
The options above are particularly useful for several subscribers annoyed with the flood of emails they’re getting, so giving them some kind of control over their messages increases the likelihood of them staying.
Vision impairment and blindness are far more serious problems than you might think. It’s estimated that there are about 285 million people all over the world who suffering from blindness and visual impairment. In Australia, about 357,000 people report problems seeing even with eyeglasses and/or contact lenses. This is a topical issue with the current lawsuit against Coles.
As far as emails and web usage are concerned, these issues impede the efficacy of getting your message across. Fortunately, you can enhance the accessibility of your campaigns sent via Enform’s Automailer with a number of practices designed for the vision-impaired and users relying on screen reading devices, and audio prompts.
Below are some of the basic requirements for email messages to be considered accessible.
Use Descriptive Subject Line
Sounds easy enough, but you’ll be surprised to know how many campaigns out there have subject lines that aren’t descriptive enough. The subject line is what draws readers to open the email, so it should descriptive and concise.
This is even more important to people with vision impairments, who rely on subject lines to see whether emails are worth opening up or not.
Consistent Logical Reading Order
HTML email newsletters are typically coded with tables, the most reliable method of building layouts compatible across desktop, webmail, and mobile email platforms. However, these tables have to be planned and built carefully, taking into account users relying on keyboard-only access, who might not read the content in the order intended. For example, screen readers go through tabular content from either left to right or top to bottom.
Use Code to Indicate Headings
HTMLT heading tags <table>, <body>, <h1> and the like are critical to ensuring screen readers understand content hierarchy in email messages. Simply styling text by changing the font and increasing font size won’t work with assistive devices. These visual cues have to be coded into the text for screen readers to understand them.
Provide Obvious Contrast Between Text and Background Colours
Users with vision problems or colour blindness are less sensitive to colour contrasts and luminosity when reading images and text on emails, so it’s important to differentiate text, images, and background with the right colours and contrast. Colours should be chosen not just for aesthetic reasons, but for accessibility too.
You can choose from a number of applications to test emails for contrast and help integrate non-colour based cues for everyone to understand your messages.
For Images, Be Sure to Offer Text Alternatives
Again, screen readers rely on code to relay content to vision impaired users, so images that serve an aesthetic purpose (i.e. preserving layout) should contain null alt attributes (alt=””) to signal they should be ignored.
However, images that should inform screen readers, like company logos, should have alt text to notify their meaning to screen readers. Example below.
<img src=”enformlogo.png” alt=”Enform Automailer” />
Incorporating these steps into your campaigns isn’t difficult at all, and simply means taking an extra step to expand the reach of your email messages. Give them a try and your campaigns may just reach more people.
For many years, Restaurant.com enjoyed growing revenues bolstered by the ‘Batch-and-blast’ email strategy. Readership remained until 2011, when subscriber engagement fell down by as much as 35 percent. Even with the appeal of “certificates”—essentially digital versions of coupons—that can be exchanged for discounts across the restaurants under their system, the company’s generic emails failed in engaging customers.
Time for a Change
Restaurant.com shifted gears with its email campaign, overhauling its program in just 1 year. Instead of going with a “firing and forgetting” strategy, the company employed a sophisticated system that combines both automated and targeted emails.
The new strategy can be broken down into a 6-step process:
- Building internal support – First starting with home, Restaurant.com took measures to gain support from its investors, IT department, and creative team.
- Laying a Foundation – Restaurant.com had to change its database infrastructure to address new goals of their email campaign. Matching customer behaviour and interactions from the channels they came from, for instance, initially proved impossible, calling for a new system to be put in place. Likewise, a new eDM analytics system was set up because of this very reason.
- Rethinking the Marketing Strategy – One of the first things Restaurant.com did was to reduce the frequency of its emails, cutting the previous monthly volume of 22 emails in half. The focus should be on quality, not quantity. For example, A/B testing is a tool that tests the essential factors of email marketing significantly eliminating ‘trial and error’ resulting in emails that are both interactive and effective.
- Lifecycle-based Automated Emails – Restaurant.com. launched a new system of automated emails or “auto-responders” that reach out to customers they predicted were mostly likely make a purchase of certificates—these are subscribers with data showing they already made a purchase.
- Behaviour-specific Emails – Restaurant.com also formulated emails that perform specific actions, such as reminding subscribers of items abandoned in the shopping cart, encouraging them to participate in social media promotions, and more.
- Quality Control – Restaurant.com also made it a point to test every aspect of the campaign thoroughly before launching it. Different campaigns were tested, and each aspect scrutinised before making a database-wide change.
Implementing these solutions provided a higher ROI than using the batch and blast strategy that was previously used. Despite having attractive coupons on their eDM, their method lacked strategy.
Using an A/B testing tool, the user is able to target specific groups and identifies what engages their intended audience more effectively. Changes made by Restaurant.com to its email strategy have been nothing short of stellar. The conversion rate of the new emails over the old generic ones rose by 150 percent. Likewise, the company saw a 900 percent revenue increase for every 1000 emails sent (that’s $200). And both figures are for the automated emails alone.
The benefits when utilizing this type of testing system is the accuracy it is able to deliver making email campaigns more purposeful and less clumsy, eliminating the ‘firing and forgetting’ strategy.
Fortunately Enform Automailer has most of the elements talked about as standard features allowing for targeted, strategic eDM campaigns with effective ROI. Essentially, the main purpose of creating an eDM is to engage and interact which in turn generates results. So why waste the effort?
One of the most compelling reasons to engage in email marketing is the ability to measure almost everything about the online marketing method. From click-throughs, impressions, to redirects to your site, Automailer lets you test these factors in some way or another, significantly eliminating the problem of guesswork.
Automailer A/B testing is one of the relatively newer tools available to measure email marketing campaigns. And while it hasn’t quite picked up in popularity just yet, its capabilities increase your click-through rates by enhancing your email content.
Tested, Streamlined Content
A/B testing essentially allows marketers to find out which types or versions of emails get the most clicks from subscribers—think of it as using a focus group.
The benefits can prove invaluable if, for instance, you were to compare two types of content (say a video or image) and determine which version gets the most clicks. You could create two subject line tests and send them both to 50 percent of your email subscribers, with the winning email going to the remaining half of your list.
It’s a straightforward system that adds a huge level of safety and accuracy to your email marketing strategy, making the tool perfect for small businesses looking to run for cost effective campaigns.
It takes only a couple of minutes to set up an A/B content test. Our test client had no problems during the first run, and that’s without reading any documentation!
Our test client used 2 different subject lines to create the A/B test difference.
Results showed that Version B generated a massive 279% increase in open rate, in comparison to Version A. Clearly one subject line was more effective in prompting a reaction from the targeted audience. This also resulted in a higher click-through for a win-win.
Needless to say, our client was thrilled with the 279% improvement in open rate results, which were available to him via his Automailer Campaign Snapshot page, live. (Image shown below)
One problem with most A/B testing systems on the market today is that many of them are cumbersome programs with unnecessary features targeted towards corporate users, alienating other segments of the market in the process. Enform, however, offers the A/B testing feature on our Automailer that’s easy to use, even by amateurs.
Have you always wanted to optimise your landing pages for your email campaigns through A/B testing but never got around to doing so due to time, skills and energy constraints?
Enform now has a web app we’ve specifically designed for the purpose of testing, creating and publishing email landing pages as part of our Automailer package. Moreover, we’ve built our program with the ability to provide you with comprehensive reports, giving you relevant information about your test campaign. And if you don’t have the skill to create code and set up the analytics protocols yourself, don’t worry. Enform has seen to it that you get this as part of the package. All you have to do is set an objective, such as collecting email subscribers, and you’re good to go.
Grow your Email Subscriber List
Perhaps the biggest advantage of having optimised pages geared towards your email lists is its ability to make your list grow. A/B testing allows you to determine whether your email subscription pages are working the way you want them to. An optimised landing page allows you to streamline your email marketing campaign, helping produce a higher conversion rate. Moreover, our web app allows you to automatically export email addresses into our main Automailer features.
Create Landing Pages
Enform’s new Automailer web app not only allows you to gain more subscribers, it also helps you create and host landing pages for your email marketing campaigns, whatever your promotion may be. Whether it’s a special, limited-time offer or new service, the choice of how to proceed with your optimised landing pages is up to you.
If you have questions about our new Automailer feature, don’t hesitate to contact the Enform team.
One of the goals of implementing an effective email marketing campaign is to be noticed, but how do you do that when emails don’t even make their way to the receiver? This is a question tackled by a blog post by Being Smarter.
These days, it’s no longer enough to just think about ways to get emails past the watchful eyes of people wary of SPAM. People are no longer the biggest problem, as software and SPAM protection tools have taken their place. One such piece of software that’s indiscriminate in blocking emails with the slightest hint of SPAM is the Outlook Junk filter, the bane of every email marketer.
To help marketers get past this overzealous gatekeeper, Being Smarter highlighted a few rules to take note of in order to get emails to the intended receivers. The rules are based on a discovery by MAPILab, a company that reversed engineered Outlook’s SPAM filter from its 2003 version and beyond. MAPILab points out the steps Outlook takes when determining whether email is SPAM or not.
Some of the rules are:
For subjects and email details
- Messages sent on weekends are more likely to be identified as SPAM than messages sent on weekdays.
- Messages with a subject composed primarily of uppercase characters are more likely to be connected with junk email
- Subjects with multiple duplicate characters are more likely to be labelled as SPAM, particularly when duplicate characters resemble the meaningless sequence of numbers, symbols and letters found in SPAM messages.
For email addresses
- Outlook’s SPAM filter is programmed to detect and make a correlation with email addresses that contain numbers in their first 8 characters.
- Email addresses with the words, “Sales,” “Profit,” “Success,” ”Enhance,” and”Mail,” are more likely to be recognised as SPAM.
For message body
- A message body that contains keywords such as “advertisement,” “extra income,” money back guarantee,” “credit cards accepted” and more are likely to be labelled as SPAM.
- A message that starts with “Dear friend” will set off some red flags on Outlook’s junk filter
- Messages that contain symbols such as “000,” “$$,” and “!!” are likely to be marked as SPAM.
The good news is that Automailer automatically tests for a lot of these when running design and anti-SPAM tests however you need to be mindful of some finer points that relate to different industries and product types.
We’re also happy to review your other EDM programs or channels to make sure your message gets through and gets read.