Understanding Spam in Email Marketing

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email spam

This is a guest post with a backgrounder on Spam and eMail tactics.

email spam

Email spam, or junk mail, is sending and receiving unsolicited messages via email. While most spam messages are actually untargeted promotional emails, a percentage of junk emails also contain disguised links to familiar websites, but which are actually phishing attempts, or host malware meant to infect your computer system. Junk email can also contain scripts or executable file attachments which can then brick your computer, spy on you, or fill your browsers with adware.

Email spam has a long history, first appearing in the 90s, when botnets, which are practically networks of infected computers, began sending unsolicited emails to thousands of people present on their lists. Regardless that since the Internet became a reality, junk email was prohibited, it still represents a practice today. Email spam stands against the ethical principles of email marketing and can often be classified as unsolicited bulk email, which is mail sent in large quantities, or unsolicited commercial emails. Read more

Let’s Talk About Email – Why and How to Use Email Marketing

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email marketing

email marketingWith the rise of social media, many “traditional” online marketing tools have fallen out of the spotlight in the glamorous new world of Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. Marketers scramble to discuss the latest marketing campaigns which can be implemented with social media.

However, email marketing is one of the marketing tools that should be discussed in earnest. Email marketing is still useful and has its place in the modern B2B marketer’s repertoire.

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SharpSpring Review

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If you’re looking for a marketing automation platform that offers many of the same functionality as the more expensive options, give this SharpSpring review a look!  Sharpspring works primarily with agency partners (like Revenue Architects) and is well suited for mid-sized businesses and high end professional sales teams. As an agency, we work with Sharpspring along with other platforms including Eloqua, Hubspot, Pardot and Marketo. We find SharpSpring is an excellent fit for businesses that value inbound marketing. email marketing  and integrated CRM. Depending on the solution architecture in your organization, including the existing infrastructure of CRM and Office, SharpSpring may be a fit.

This post highlights features found in marketing automation platforms as well as a few lesser-known features found in SharpSpring.  Let’s begin with the most common functions of a marketing automation platform:

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Lead Scoring in Act-On

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By John Nielsen

Lead scoring is the process of evaluating and assigning points to prospects and leads using marketing automation tools. Points are distributed based on the attributes associated with a qualified lead.  It is important to understand whom you are marketing to when managing a campaign, sending irrelevant content to your followers is a quick way to lose.  To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, below are a few tips one can easily follow to update your contact lists and help identify priority focus using lead scoring.

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Successful Email Marketing – Crafting Your Message

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email marketing

Emails are one of the most often used communication methods used by businesses to reach clients and potential leads, and if used correctly email marketing can be among the most effective methods as well to grow your business. In a climate where communication is becoming increasingly digital, crafting effective email marketing messaging is vital for any financial advisor. Successful emails that clearly communicate their message enhance customer experience and generate business, while unsuccessful emails lead to may lead to confusion or lack of action. The following are a few simple steps that can be taken to maximize the effectiveness and clarity of your email marketing message while also optimizing the user experience of the email’s entire audience: the foundation of any successful email marketing campaign.

Like all good writing, email is most successful when the who, what, when, where, why, and how of the message is taken into consideration. For the purposes of user experience, the what, where, and how are the three most important of these categories.

“WHAT are you saying to me?”

  • First impressions matter- make the most of your subject line: Is it recognizable, trustworthy, and relevant? What is the relationship between the receiver and the sender (whether an individual or company)?
  • Use client friendly language
  • Make a clear point, and provide enough context for understanding. Avoid ambiguity and a lack of call to action
  • Make the email interesting and not too dense- use imagery, data, and personalization if possible
  • Create a hierarchy in content, message, and visual elements- prioritize the important information and eliminate extraneous details. Differentiate colors, fonts, and placements.

“HOW do you want me to take action?”

  • Take advantage of opportunities to engage your audience- linked imagery, video, buttons, charts, colored backgrounds, forward and share links
  • Make the call to action obvious- Use active language. This comes back to the clarity of the message and the hierarchy of the content, message, and visual elements.
  • Leave no question as to what the reader (your client) is being asked to do.

“WHERE am I reading your email?”

  • Bigger is better- Be aware of recommended minimum font sizes (body 14 px, header 22 px). Body copy of less than 13 px will often be re-sized.
  • Create touch targets- Include tappable touch targets and make them easy to activate with a 44 px x 44 px minimum. Try both text and image buttons.
  • Streamline- Simplify content and stay within a single column template. Confine content to a skinny 320 px X 540 px frame. Make sure to prioritize the “What” and “How” aspects of the email, with short, direct content and a clear call to action.
  • Ditch the automatically-created mobile version- it only represents an extra click for the reader. Instead, design with a “mobile first” mentality.

Customer relationships are so important and client experience should be the basis of the design of any email. Making sure the what, how, and where of the email from the audience’s perspective is analyzed and accounted for will help ensure that you compose a successful marketing message.

Please Don't "Set it and Forget it!"

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Trigger-based emails, rules-based emails, real-time emails, or auto-responder emails are great tools for today’s marketers. Regardless of what you call it, these are the emails we receive as customers after doing something or buying something. We get order confirmations, email reminders, survey invitations, e-newsletter subscriptions and product cross-sell promotions. As an online customers , my inbox is bombarded. Some of them are relevant and timely and catch my attention, others I ignore and then eventually unsubscribe.

A “promise” of trigger-based emails is that you can “set it and forget it.” However, there are several variables in email marketing that can always be tested and optimized. Some examples are the subject line, preheaders, design, layout, copy, calls to action, timing, message/offer, etc. Given this, how can a trigger-based campaign be truly set and forgotten about?

I think some companies have forgotten about me. At some point, ignoring emails leads to annoyance and opt-outs. We have advised clients to look at bounces, open rates, and click-through rates to develop rules to purge non-responders, or move them to a campaign with fewer communications. While trigger-based emails are automated, they require the human brain to set them up for success. The last thing businesses need, especially in B2B, is customer fatigue and  a shrinking opt-in email list they worked so hard to develop.