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The first step to take to discover if you’re on the right path is knowing what your destination is.

There are three core aspects of the strategy behind the messages you will create:

  • The Output you can achieve
  • The Time you spend on it
  • The Resources at your disposal

Hitting the sweet spot for your company that strikes the balance will determine the ultimate level of quality of your strategy.

So before you send out your first campaign, ask yourself three questions to determine what the basis of your content will be:

  • What impact do you want the emails to have?
  • Why should your subscribers open the email?
  • Can you deliver on the promises you make?

What impact do you want the emails to have?


Generate return traffic to your website: To view an article, to download brochures or even to buy something.

Have your customers take a physical action: Visit your brick and mortar store, or come see you you at a trade show

Build Relationships: Share stories or your expertise; encourage dialogue and conversation.

Why should your subscribers open the email?


What is the value: Do they get a discount if they open the email? Do they get industry news? Expert advice?

Does it meet their expectations: If you promise a monthly newsletter, don’t over or under deliver. If they signed up for news about your webinars, don’t pitch them about a product they’ve never purchased.

Can you deliver on the promises you make?


Money: Discounts, promotions and special events are costly; do you have the money to offer them?

Time: Sending a daily tip about saving money might be very useful for your customers, but do you have the time to send one per day? Would one per week be enough?


Create realistic goals and be explicit about them everywhere that you have an online presence – your website, confirmation and welcome emails.

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Glossary of Terms

Bounce: A message that doesn’t get delivered promptly, for reasons such as the email address being incorrect or no longer exists, the recipient’s mailbox is full, the mail server is down, or the system detects spam or offensive content. Bounce rate (also return rate): Total number of bounces divided by the number of emails sent.

Call to action: Typically a button (image) or text that links to a specific action – visiting a page on a website (See landing page), downloading a document or filling out a survey. Alternatively, it can be a set of instructions given to customers in order to accomplish the desired outcome (Example: “Call for more information” ).

Campaign: A campaign is an email message sent to a group of people (a contact list). Types of campaign include: A/B split test, Auto-responder, Recurring campaigns and Regular Campaigns.

Click: Data collected about all links that were clicked. Results can be viewed as Excel and Heatmap reports. Click rate: Total number of clicks on email link(s) divided by the number of emails opened.

Content Marketing: Sharing of media or publishing content, such as ebooks, white papers, news, photos or anecdotes, in order to acquire customers.

Delivered rate: Number of emails sent minus the number of bounces and filtered messages, divided by the total number of emails sent.

Email client, Email Web client: The software or web-based interface recipients use to read email. Outlook Express or Apple Mail are examples of Email Clients; Gmail or Hotmail are examples of web-based clients..

Email Footer: Section of information found in the closing of an email. Footers should include contact information, such as your company name and address, and an unsubscribe link; the footer can also include product information, or brand message.

Engagement: The percentage of opens and clicks per campaign that gives an idea of the overall subscriber interaction within an account’s campaigns.

HTML message: Email message which contains any type of formatting other than text. This may include specific font, graphic images, logos and colors.

Groups (segments): The subdivisions of a list determined by various attributes, such as open history or email suffix.

Landing Page: The page (whether on your website, blog or a social media outlet) that people land on in order to get further information not covered in the email. Also called: Splash page, microsite, click page or bounce page.

List Hygiene: Control of an email marketing list whereby best practices are followed dilligently. It includes, but is not limited to, suppression of unsubscribed members, confirmed opted-in subscribers and management of duplicate emails.

Open: An HTML message where the recipient has rendered images of the received email. Implied Open: As opens do not include opened text emails, if the recipient clicks on a link within the email, it is “implied” that the recipient has opened (and read) the email message. Open rate: The sum of HTML message recipients who displayed opened the email (displayed the images) and those who clicked on a link within the email, divided by the total number of people in the list. Good open rates are between 15% – 40%.

Opt in, Subscribe: The process of joining a mailing list, either through an email command, by filling out a Web form, or offline by filling out a form or requesting to be added verbally. In the case of verbal additions, you should send a confirmation email to stand in as your proof that the customer opted-in to your list. See also: Confirmed opt-in, Double opt-in, Confirmation email and Welcome email.

Opt-out, Unsubscribe: A request to remove an email address from a specific list, or from all lists operated by a single owner, either via an emailed command to the list server or by filling in a Web form.

Role Accounts: Role accounts (admin@, support@, sales@) are email addresses that are not associated with a particular person, but rather with a company, department, position or group. They are not generally intended for personal use, as they typically include a distribution list of recipients.

Sent emails: Number of email names transmitted in a single mailing. Does not reflect how many were delivered or viewed by recipients.

Sign Up Form: A customizable form you can add to your website to get people to subscribe to your list.

Spam: The popular name for unsolicited commercial email. Spam filter: A program that evaluates information within incoming email messages to determine the probability that it is spam.

Suppression list: A list of email addresses you want removed from your regular mailing lists, either because they have opted out of your lists or because they have notified other mailers that they do not want to receive mailings from your company.

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Ensuring your emails arrive…and at the right time

Everyone hates spam.

Moreover, inboxes are becoming increasingly sophisticated in determining if something is important, junk or spam.

Some checks evaluate the content – or lack thereof – of an email for signs of spam, but the the sender’s reputation of the email’s source typically plays a greater role in the analysis from an Internet Service Provider’s perspective.

Reputation is a reason permission is so important:

  • Use a double opt-in system: Only interested parties sign up to receive your email campaigns
  • Keep the emails relevant: Be clear about what you will be sending when people sign up and stick to it.

Keep in mind that valid email addresses can:

  • Be automatically suppressed: For example, if you try to add a role based account; it will not be uploaded to your list.
  • Go bad: For example, if the recipient closes their email accoun; these, emails are “returned to sender” as permanently undeliverable and the address should be removed from the contact list.

Professional email marketing services and tools remove such undeliverable addresses automatically. They also take care of technical requirements that can affect sender reputation.

Getting emails delivered is obviously important, but so is knowing when to actually send them out.

Unfortunately, there is no universal recommendation. A good question to ask is when are your readers most likely to open and act on the email? Most marketers combine an understanding of their particular audience and email content with testing to find the answer that works best for their situation.

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Do you mind?

Can you imagine what it would be like if someone sent you an email about something that no longer interests you? Or worse, something you never signed up for?

You might ask nicely to be removed the first time. By email, if there was no unsubscribe link.

You might mark the emails as spam after the second, or if you’re generous, the third time.

If it continues, you probably won’t even bother opening the email.

But if it happens too often, you might get seriously angry. And you might retaliate by dealing with that company as little as possible.

And as a sender, you don’t want that to happen to you.

So before you start writing the copy for your first email, ask them for their permission to send them emails and newsletters. If you do, you won’t be spamming them:

You’re providing them a service they asked for.

Permission isn’t hard to get. Make sure you have a signup form on your website or provide a link on your social media pages. You can even ask people to send you an email with a subject that says : “Sign me up.”

You can also make the most out of natural wait times, like when people pay at the counter. Have a paper form or an iPad where people can sign up quickly. Send them a confirmation email, and you’re set!

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Can I interest you in signing up?

Can I interest you in signing up?

People don’t actively seek out email lists to join. They need to be presented with an opportunity and a reason to sign-up.

Where you can ask people to sign up


Opportunity arises each time someone interacts with your business. The most obvious example is when they’re visiting your website. The best results come when you place a form like this (or a link to it) prominently on every page of your site.

Other occasions include:

  • Your social media pages
    • Hint about the next topic in your newsletter
    • Post links to your signup form
  • Webinars
    • When they register
    • At the end of the webinar to be made aware of future similar events
  • Contests
  • Your blog

You should also consider natural wait times as optimal places for getting people to sign up:

  • Have a paper form or iPad ready at reception, tradeshows or checkout to collect addresses.
  • At registration if you’re hosting an event
  • Tradeshow booths
  • Ask if people would like to join during customer service calls.
  • Include the link to the form on invoices and receipts and in the signatures appended to staff emails

The Benefits


So what’s the value for people to sign up? While giving people the opportunity to subscribe is important, so is selling the benefits of doing so.

Reasons to sign up for a newsletter can include:

  • Hints about the next topic in your newsletter on your website of social media pages
  • Incentives
    • Content, like an ebook
    • A Promotion or coupon code
    • Information about an exclusive event
  • A clear list name. Most people won’t sign-up just for “our email newsletter”, but they will sign-up for “Exclusive offers and discounts”, or “Hairstyling tips and tricks.

Regardless what you do to get people on your list, always be explicit and honest. Doing so will ensure a lasting relationship both by email and in person.

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And… action!

You spent less time skimming through the last email you opened than watching a television advertisement.

In fact, you probably were able to read two emails in the time it took for that one television ad to go by.

That’s why successful emails make it easy to find and understand the information (or the promotional offer) they contain.

Five tactics are particularly useful here: strong headlines, concise bullet points, formatting, and short paragraphs and a clear call to action.

Strong headlines


Why: They attract attention and raise interest. They also give the content a clear structure.

Tips: KISS! Keep it simple and succint.

Bullet points


Why: They break up blocks of text, making the email easy and quick to read.

Tips:

  • Mention key features
  • List benefits
  • Bring up points of information
Use a 3×4 rule: either 3 points at four words each, or 4 points at 3 words each

Formatting


Why: Words highlighted using bold or italics provide anchor points for the reader and draw their eye to the most important information.

Tip: Avoid underlining, as that’s usually associated with links.

Short paragraphs


Why: Breaks up information into bite-size chunks.

Tips: Use short summaries, teasers and question and answer formats in the email to whet your readers’ appetite.

Clear call to action


Why: Links to more detailed information that can be found on your website, your Facebook page, a Slideshare presentation or video.

Tips:

  • Keep the call to actions next to relevant text and images, so people can see them easily.
  • Give people a reason to take the desired action. Words like Shop now or Discover the answer normally work better than just Click here, Read more or Link.
  • Test out alternative CTAs. Different words, colors, link button shapes, sizes and positions can all impact the response from readers.
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A Beautiful Image

Sending an email with only one big, beautiful, image is like sending a love letter in a spreadsheet – it’s just not appropriate.

An email is not a magazine page.

But a picture is worth a 1000 words… isn’t it?


Here is the impression you will make with anyone who uses an email client that disables images by default:

If you’re lucky enough to reach the inbox, that is: a big image with no text is a spammer favourite. If a big image is all you send, you might be flagged as such, causing ISPs to block you or having your email fall in the junk folder of your subscriber.

What’s to be done


You have precious few seconds to make an impression. You’re lucky enough for people to have opened the email, make sure your contacts get something worth opening:

  • Use a 60-40 text to image ratio. Always have text, and it should be more than the Unsubscribe link. Your email should be interesting even without any images.
  • Your images should be no larger than 600 px.
  • Your images should be clickable.
  • Not all your images should be touching.
  • Use clear “Alt” tags. Nothing is worse than a big blank square… except a big blank square with a tiny “Picture 1” alternate text. Give a hint as to what people are missing out on, and encourage them on the top of the email to display images to have a better experience.
  • Add text links. This will give subscribers who have not displayed the images a resource for information and may generate interest for your email.

What’s an “opened email” anyways?


Opens are calculated based on images displayed and links clicked.

By having people display the images or click on the links, you’ll have a better idea of the real impact your campaigns have.

 

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Welcome to your new email marketing account!

Here are our recommendations to get started:

1. Build your contact list


Import your existing list or start from scratch using our forms for websites and social media pages.

2. Preparing your first email


Setting up your email, the way it looks and what you want it to say.

3. Before you send: Checklist of things to verify


Triple check everything before you send your email to your customers.

4. Tracking your success


See what the graphs on the dashboard mean.

5. Your next email


You’ve wowed your subscribers once – do it again with great content.

6. Put your Stamp on it


Show your personality off in the confirmation and welcome emails.

7. Make it Personal


Target your message for best impact.

Glossary of Terms


List of key concepts about email marketing in general, and CakeMail specifically.

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Campaign Reporting Details

To help you understand the details of your report, here are the specifics of your reporting details:

  • Open – The campaign was viewed by the recipient. What counts as an open?
  • Unopened – The campaign was delivered but not opened by the recipient.
  • Bounce – The campaign was not delivered successfully. Various reasons may affect the delivery of a campaign, and most bounce messages are returned with information on the error.
  • Unsubscribed – Who unsubscribed from your campaign.
  • Spam – The campaign was marked as spam by the recipient – available by provider.
  • Forward – The campaign was forwarded by the recipient to a friend. This is done via the [FORWARD] action tag.
  • Sent (sometimes appears as in_queue) – Means the email was delivered successfully.
  • Clicks – Who clicked on what link.
  • Social – Number of times your campaign was shared on Twitter/Facebook.
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Can I send to multiple lists at a time?

No, you cannot send to multiple lists at once.

Moreover, in order to ensure your lists’ hygiene and diminish risks (such as spam complaints or repeatedly bounced emails), you should only use one master list, divided by groups.

Multiple languages


Each list can only have one language If you have a multilingual customer base, you will need to create one list per language you do business in.

Note: If you change the language of the list, you need to edit the confirmation and welcome Emails manually.

Please remember that confirmation and welcome emails cannot be edited within a trial account.

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