Email marketing

10 things I’ve learnt the second time round

Read and forget this list at your own peril. I have spent a serious amount of time learning these insights and I strongly suggest you take them on board. Here are the 10 things I learnt when launching my new business HiveEmpire.com.

  1. There are still big $’s to be made in Australia – niche markets are great to start in but if you want to make big $’s in Australia you have to own a major category eg cars, finance, jobs, real estate and hotels. You might think that there are already too many competitors in your market. What I have learnt in Australia is that realistically, most businesses in Australia aren’t that great. No one writes about Australian companies in the major blogs and tech sites. They don’t break the mould, they don’t innovate that well and they tend to just sit and let their market share crumble. Most big Australian companies got big because they were the only option. You can still make big money in Australia if you are willing the persist and fight. How did Virgin steal so much market share from Qantas. If you have ever worked with Qantas you will know why. They are SLOW, OLD and have so many dead wood people NOT-working in their business! I’d prefer to compete with Qantas rather than a quick and nimble company. Make your business nimble and give the customer another option. There are always rebels in every customer base!
  2. If you loved your first biz, you will marry your second! – All of your ideas are clearer and the path to growth is easier the second time round. I learnt fast from my first business and made the mistakes quickly! I learnt what worked and just replicated a lot more of that. If you are thinking of starting a business, just do it. Start small and make $1, its damn addictive. I challenge myself always with any new niche we enter to make the first $1. After that it’s easier to know what is required next –> make $2. 😉
  3. Staff are everything – If you want to create a very profitable business you need profitable employees. The easiest way to get this is to hire motivated employees that can manage themselves to achieve results. This has been my most important fundamental focus second time around. Developing a process for this and knowing who you want to hire have been 2 of my best upgrades to my second business. The 3 key suggestions I have here are:
    1. Don’t hire average staff, or you will end up with an average company – Wait and slow down, before hiring. It’s better to just wait that much longer rather than hiring the wrong person. You don’t actually need to hire a person if you are smart and just optimise the systems you are using at present.
    2. Ask more questions not less. The impact of who you hire impacts your other top performers in your company. Hire poor quality people and you say something to them. Hire high quality people and you breed greatness into your organisation.
    3. You can’t motivate people – You can only hire motivated people. Don’t bother with motivational programs, just hire a motivated person. Do some personality profiling to figure out if a person is motivated or not and you will save yourself a lot of time from creating motivational programs and talking to staff members to motivate them. If someone slips through your process. Talk through it, perhaps they aren’t suited to your company and would be better working in a big organisation where they want slow moving and predictable employees. They will like it there more and you will have helped them out. Stop trying to motivate the average staff member in your company and just replace them instead.
  4. Read More – If you are an achiever you will probably have a small, old and outdated television and a large library of books which you have read and used. I always look at the size of someone’s television and the size of their library in their house. It always gives me a good signal. I read a lot, but try and speed through boring parts in the books these days. I find that reading slow in key areas and implementing ideas is crucial but speeding past stuff that is boring and non relevant. I don’t read fiction, only non-fiction and there is usually a book about any area of business that you are operating in. Read it. My suggested Readings:
    1. HR = Top Grading – learn a rigorous hiring process. I read this book on my Babymoon, greatest book on HR I have ever read.
    2. Business Management = Rework – By the guys who made 37signals. A great book which has helped me a lot.
    3. Motivation = 4 hour work week – Read this fast as it won’t all apply to yourself. I use it more as a motivational tool.
    4. HR and Business Strategy = Good to Great – Bit of an essay, but if you want to build a business bigger than in 4 hour work week, this will help you make a great one.
  5. Outsource everything you can – time is the currency. I have literally put my entire life on the internet and pretty much outsource everything. I havent been into a supermarket in 4 years. Supermarkets are time hell, pay the $7.50 and get it delivered instead of spending 3 hours in a supermarket. Key insights to outsourcing a business process:
    1. Test first with a contract or hourly model then lock in good suppliers with retainers.
    2. Start small – just outsource 1 part of a process, then add to it. Either with the same person or with different people so that you keep core business secrets with yourself.
    3. Document it or they will f**k it up – Assume zero intelligence. Prefer that they don’t think as opposed to wishing the outsourced person would think. You want a reliable simple thing done, over and over again. You don’t want a business strategy for taking over the internet.
  6. Make a simple business – if it’s simple you spend less time producing and more time marketing and improving your product. If you can’t explain your business to someone else in less than 60 seconds, it’s too complex. Simplify it. Do less, specialise and earn more. My business is so simple, we compare credit cards, home loans or savings accounts. That’s it. We just spend all of our time marketing it and improving the product. My previous business was a very smart business, it needed smart people. But, I think I prefer the simple business these days. How do you make a simple business in your niche? Just do the core, really, really well.
  7. Meetings, Emails and telephones, instant messenger and Facebook are trying to kill your business – If you want to be part of the crowd, using the aforementioned tools is a surefire way to make that happen. I have taken active steps to kill these distractions in the business. Four practical tips to dealing with these items of distraction:
    1. Meetings kill productivity – Avoid meetings at all costs. Meet if you are going to make a decision. Meetings sap away time which you could use to be productive and make money. I personally only have 2 meetings per week and they are a maximum of 20 minutes each. Set your meeting times for unusual time increments and start them at unusual hours like 10:17am to ensure you finish your meeting quickly.
    2. Emails and telephones are poison – Only open your emails twice per day. If anyone in your organisation has responded to an email faster than 1 hour, they are spending too much time reading and waiting for the next email. That is just communicating, its not actually getting work done. Read your emails twice per day, preferably on your iPhone while you are commuting. Emails are time poison. At Hive Empire, we don’t have telephones. There is no need. We don’t even have business cards. Email us to communicate and we will reply in a timely manner. Nothing is really that urgent.
    3. Instant messenger – This is the perfect tool to collaborate with when you are working with people overseas. We have several overseas team members. But most of the time there aren’t many things that couldn’t be done over email. Email helps you think out your ideas and formulate them into a productive communication. Instant messenger is a distraction and kills peoples ability to focus and deliver productive work. When you get distracted from your work you essentially lose money. Kill the instant messenger and you will see an increase in profits.
    4. Facebook and Twitter are productivity hell – The walled garden of Facebook is the ultimate time killer. Ever noticed how often someone updates their Facebook or Twitter status? This number of updates is inversely proportionate to their profitability. Kill your Facebook account and only read the twitter updates from your business colleagues when you are waiting for someone or something to happen. In actual fact, if you want to be even more ruthless with your time management, kill your twitter aswell. No piece of information is really that important that you won’t eventually find out.
  8. Great things come to great businesses – you can tell how great your business is going to be by how relevant the current business headlines are to you. If you have nothing to do with it, you’re in the wrong market. If the news is relevant, you are going to be a great business because your market is newsworthy and there is growth potential. I prefer big markets as opposed to small ones in Australia. The small ones aren’t big enough to sustain many businesses, unlike in American where niche markets are really big. I used to work in niche markets with small customer bases, there was little scale and little profit. If you are a niche best of breed biz in Australia you have to go global to expand. Be courageous and challenge a big market in Australia. You will be surprised as to what happens. We started our homeloanfinder.com.au site during a credit crisis, mortgage broker  meltdown and credit licensing. It didnt bother us because we know its a long haul and its a big market, so all we need is a slice to be profitable.
  9. Say no – this time around I’ve learnt to say no to things I don’t want and not grin and bare it. It comes with confidence and experience. Play it slow when you are unsure and wait for a better option. How to say no without actually saying no:
    1. Price – Put the price up so high that you would be ok to do it if you were paid that obscene amount of money.
    2. Refer – Give the work to someone else. You would be amazed as to how referring things come back to you in spades.
    3. Say nothing – Don’t respond to someone who is opening a dialogue with you that you don’t want to engage with because you know they are going to ask you to do something you don’t want to do. Ignoring people is rude, but not opening a dialogue to a broadcast request is different.
  10. Be persistent – In my previous business my Joker card was that I was persistant. I literally just stuck it out and kept picking up the phone. This time I’m the same and I know it’s what makes me win. The most important times to be persistent:
    1. A customer turns you down – If a customer won’t do business with you, wait, they will leave and you can do business with the new person.
    2. You don’t have enough business – Keep marketing and selling. Someone will buy eventually if you have something worthwhile to sell. Pick up the phone and dial your most important prospect.
    3. You don’t have any good staff – Fire someone and hire someone else. Why wait, just do it. It’s not really that bad, stop putting it off and start realising your business potential.
    4. Too much office politics – Fire the politician, no matter how good they are.
    5. You don’t make enough profit in your business – Stop doing unprofitable things and do more profitable ones. Isolate the profitable things and transition to just doing that, and that only.
    6. You don’t have enough time – Stop doing things which take up a lot of time and deliver little output. If you only had 1 hour in a day to do all of your work, what would you do and what would you not do. Outsource the things which are mindless and repetitive and just do really profitable things all day.

Let me know what you think?

Here is a presentation I did about this post.

Email marketing

Email Marketing tools who do you use?

If you have read my email list building post I am sure you are wondering what tools we use. When it comes to professional email marketing using outlook or some dodgy mailer is not the key. It gets easily blocked by spam guards and there is no reporting. When you are getting serious I recommend using a professional mailing program. Freestyle Media have used a lot of different providers over the time although we have settled with Campaign Master for our corporate clients. They are a little bit more expensive as compared to the others (1 or 2 cents per email) although they are well worth it when it comes to reliably delvering mail to your customers.

Here are the 4 things to look for when choosing your email marketing provider:

  1. Deliverability – Campaign master have a team of whitelist experts brokering deals for your emails with ISP’s to ensure that they don’t get blocked by SPAM guards. A lot of email marketing providers have a certain deliverability rate but don’t have a team of people who ensure that the ISP’s accept your emails. This is the main reason why I choose Campaign Master
  2. Ease of use – If the program isn’t easy to use don’t bother. I have heard of some of our clients spending over 4 hours on a mailout because the system was so cumbersome.
  3. Reporting – I like graphs and click through numbers. I know you can do lots of fancy analysis but I just prefer getting an indication of whats happening not so much a definitive answer. I just don’t think you can expect a single emailout to tell you everything there is to know about your customers. It takes time you need to learn from each activity 1 small thing and slowly build the knowledge up until, like Michael Kiely says, you can walk into a crowd of people and you can walk up and talk to the people who are your customer.
  4. Cost – When it comes to cost I think about what and how many I am delivering and choose a provider to match. If you are just sending a text email go the cheapest you can get, but if you are sending an HTML (multipart – text and HTML wrapped together which “degrades gracefully” depending on the email viewing software the user has) I would use a more sophisticated program like Campaign Master.

Let me know what is important to you with your email marketing?

Conversion

Online Marketing Strategy – Email List Creation #2

Welcome to the second instalment of Creating an Email List. To recap: you have a little website and some channels pointing to it, sending you web traffic. Converting website visitors into database signups is the key now.

First let me flag 1 thing: although I have written about acquisition channels it is advisable to setup your conversion pages before you start sending traffic to your website. Traffic is expensive and although the internet is still the wild, wild west right now, it is going to get more expensive. In the good old days late night TV advertising spots were FREE. But not now. It is currently the big gun. One day the web will be too. And then it will cost you. So let’s get our practice in while we can..

What is Conversion?

Website Conversion is getting your website visitors to give you their email address and allowing you to contact them. In these days of heavy spamming, that sounds like a pretty tall order but if you give people the content they want, they’ll be begging you for more.

Think about the kind of content that you would like when you signup for emails. I already do this. I am a big fan of internet marketing and so I signup to some really niche specialists: some on blogging, some on affiliate and some on adsense. These emails keep me enthused. They keep me passionate and help me to keep learning. I challenge myself and subscribe to the theory of always learning and these emails are my tool to do that. So, when I visit others’ websites and see that I can signup to their email list I do it. Because I know it will help me to develop.

Now I also like other things – like music – and I signup to this cool Music Review website which sends me a newsletter all the time and keeps me up to date with the latest music. I subscribed to a lot of others but The Elevenmagazine crowd just have this raw energy about them that just keeps me reading each week.

Lets have a closer look at this website:

ElevenMagazine.com uses calls to action to entice users to subscribe to their database.

2 calls to action are on the ElevenMagazine homepage which entice users in. The basic “Subscribe here” call to action on the right hand side is the ever present call to action to get the user to subscribe. The second call to action is the current promotion that is running in the header where you can win a CD just for subscribing. So not only do you get great content but also a chance to win. These are 2 great ways to get subscribers in and not just let them click off from your website.

Get them in before they leave

The key idea here is: that when users visit your website they are looking for something. The worst thing you can have them do is click on and click off – what I call, “go to the moon” (the little blue moon in the previous diagram.) I always suggest putting things in place that convert these users into signups. The more compelling and enticing your offers, the better you will convert.

Next post I will give you some tips on that conversion page and what increases and decreases conversion.

If you enjoyed this content and want to be reminded of more just signup below. I will also throw in a reminder of my up coming in-person seminar I am holding in Sydney.

Online Marketing Sydney Email Reminder

Don’t miss this chance to improve your online marketing. For a limited time I’m offering you:
* FREE online marketing tactics. Free is always good isn’t it? 😉
* Early bird ticket offers to my seminars to save you money
* Email reminders of online marketing strategies so you’re the most up to date

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Email:

Your privacy is 100% secure. I personally hate SPAM and will never spam you.

Fred Schebesta
15 Barr Street, Balmain, NSW, 2041. Call me anytime 02 9818 7300

P.S. If you have any problems or want to discuss something just post a comment and myself and the other readers will help out.

Previous Post
Online Marketing Strategy – Email Listing Building #1

Conversion

Online Marketing Strategy – Email List Creation #1

The following post is all about building an email list. I am going to do a few posts on this topic and give you examples of how to build a list up.

Laying the Online Marketing Platform

The Online Marketing Strategy for this email list building needs a solid platform to start with. Key elements of this include:

1. Website – You need a website to online market. Its really tough to get list signups without a website. Key things here are a reliable hosting platform to server your websites content and a content management system to enable you to manage your content. Or better you have a great Agency on retainer and you just get them to do all the work! 😉

2. Database (eCRM) – A database can be as simple as a signup form or a little more complex like an eCRM to capture customer details. We use a simple system for our clients that can capture any detail from any type of form and store it in a database. It also allows you to easily export the list out of the eCRM into Excel. I love playing around with data in Excel because it makes it really easy to see whats going on. Complex online database queiries leave me personally confused and I much prefer the good old Excel.

3. Email Sending platform – When it comes to sending bulk emails I cringe at Outlook BCC’ng. Any professional marketer needs a decent piece of software. We use quite a few different platforms and it all depends on what you are looking for. You get variation in: Deliverability, reporting, cost of send, ease of use and Technical support. To some degree each of these elements comes at a different cost, I personally go for the low cost solution because I know what I am doing and I just need a bulk mailer.

The Online Marketing Strategy

At first this diagram seems a little bit too simple. But on closer inspection and throughout the next few blog entries I will go into a lot more detail about each box. For now I am going to talk through the whole strategy and discuss the flows.

Acquisition Channels

The first thing that is required is to acquire traffic through to your website. The channels I have flagged here are very low cost and effective for trialing any online marketing. Lets look at each one:

Email – Email here refers to email lists that you have already compiled, Other peoples email lists and purchased email lists.

WOM – Word of mouth is always a key element of any marketing and happens naturally when after you get enough buzz around something. A great way to spread WOM is through email as it travels really fast. I also bundle Website blogs, forum posts and articles written about you in this category as someone else is spreading the word of mouth through the online medium.

PR – Public Relations is all about getting into the press and building your profile. You need to get your articles into the media and ensure you have a link in the articles pointing through to your website. Article PR is a great way of doing this and I will go into more detail about this in a later post.

SEM – Search Engine Marketing (I have bundled SEO and SEM together here) is the bread and butter of any online marketing. If you want to drive targetted traffic to your website start with the search engines and work from there.

The key here is to drive these traffic acquisition channels into a website and get the user to take an action. The best actions are ones that result in that person signing up to the database.

Next post I will go into more detail about the website and converting that user into a database member.

Next Post about Website Conversion into Database

Did you find this useful? I am putting on an in-person seminar soon. You can signup below for early bird offers and updates to the online marketing tactics:

Online Marketing Sydney Email Reminder

Don’t miss chances to improve your online marketing. For a limited time I’m offering you:
* FREE online marketing tactics. Free is always good isn’t it? 😉
* Early bird ticket offers to my seminars to save you money
* Email reminders of online marketing strategies so you’re the most up to date

Name:

Email:

span style=”font-size:85%;”>Your privacy is 100% secure. I personally hate SPAM and will never spam you.

Fred Schebesta
15 Barr Street, Balmain, NSW, 2041. Call me anytime 02 9818 7300


Related Articles

How to Build an Email List Part 2

Conversion

101 ways to convert more traffic into database signups

Here is a list of over 101 ideas that you can use:

1. Free eBook
2. Free Ezine
3. Free chapters
4. Free Print Newsletter
5. Free mini-course (7 part e-course)
6. Free articles
7. Free software
8. Free a list of directories
9. Free downloadable interview
10. Free (recorded presentation)
11. Free update on market trend info (stocks… etc)
12. Free tip sheet
14. Free analysis
15. Free phone consultations
16. Free email consultation
17. Free graphics
18. Free website templates
19. Free graphic buttons
20. Free banner ads
21. Free trail to membership site
22. Free tips
23. Free e-certificate to get discount on products
24. Free advertising space
25. Free CD-Rom
26. Free recipes
27. Free tests
28. Free game
29. Free business cards
30. Free coupons
31. Free catalogs
32. Free magazines
33. Free T-shirts
34. Free toothbrush
35. Free screensavers
36. Free photos
37. Free e-greeting cards
38. Free website backgrounds
39. Free clipart images
40. Free email accounts
41. Free dvds
42. Free ring tones
43. Free cell phones
44. Free video tutorials
45. Free wallpapers
46. Free hosting
47. Free fonts
48. Free desktop themes
49. Free animated graphics
50. Free cartoons
51. Free jokes
52. Free quotes
53. Free beauty samples
54. Free stickers
55. Free computers
56. Free Java scripts
57. Free internet access
58. Free music
59. Free songs
60. Free date reminder service
61. Free digital calendar
62. Free digital calculator
63. Free e-dictionary
64. Free I-pod
65. Free address labels
66. Free Horoscopes
67. Free razors
68. Free scholarships
69. Free poker cards
70. Free job search
71. Free poll
72. Free chat services
73. Free virus protection software
74. Free counters
75. Free trackers
76. Free CGI scripts
77. Free guestbook services
78. Free site monitoring services
79. Free web space
80. Free domain names
81. Free message boards
82. Free URL re-direction service
83. Free Blogging software
84. Free food sample
85. Free vitamins
86. Free tea or coffee or chocolate sample
87. Free recipes
88. Free pizza gift certificate
89. Free travel guides
90. Free Bible passage, daily prayer, daily affirmation
91. Free dating services
92. Free homework help
93. Free translation services
94. Free resume samples
95. Free dial up services
96. Free logos
97. Free tax filing
98. Free legal documents
99. Free messaging services
100. Free business referrals
101. Free weather, water reports, or travel reports

Got anymore ideas? Comments?

Banner marketing

Make the Most of your Marketing Budget with Internet…

Given today’s media consumption habits, it is essential to allocate a portion of your marketing budget to online. But are you getting the most from your investment?
Working with an online marketing expert ensures you use the right mix of tactics for each campaign. These could include:

  • Banner advertising
  • Pay-per-click advertising
  • Blog marketing
  • Article marketing
  • Email marketing
  • Viral marketing
  • promotional websites and
  • Search engine marketing/optimisation (SEM/SEO)

Banner advertising

The original online marketing tool and still used widely, these days banner ads can include page takeovers, large format sizes and with new technologies, be updated with real-time content on-the-fly, to maximise an effective message or tie-in with a current event.

Pay per Click advertising

This strategic and highly targeted approach offers best value for money, as you only pay for ads or links that are clicked on. However, using this niche approach you may miss a potentially wider market. There is also the risk of losing your targets if the message doesn’t resonate. Some fine-tuning may be required to get the results you expect.

Article Marketing

As well as paid online advertorials, many businesses create libraries of resource articles which both explain, as well as subtly sell, their wares. These can be published on their own site/s, and also provide content to others. On top of using the information to engage and convert potential buyers, highly ranked articles can also boost a site’s search engine ranking, if many others sites link to it.

Email Marketing

A well established form of communicating with existing or prospective customer, an eNewsletter can inform, sell and entertain, with the most effective doing all three in a succinct format. With today’s spamming laws it is mandatory to maintain an up-to-date database which respects a recipients’ contact preferences.

Viral Marketing

Spawned and supported by email, viral marketing success depends on creating an entertaining or interactive piece that people wish to forward to friends and colleagues. This type of activity is created everyday in the form of puns and jokes, and can be used a guerrilla tactic by brands to engage or inform.

Blog marketing

Evolving the community aspect of online a step further, blog marketing uses a tribal environment to create a culture of inclusion. In this way blogs also become a useful tool for mining opinions and behaviours of key targets. It is imperative than any corporate voices driving the blog are pitched to suit the participants.

Promotional sites

In one form or another all websites provide an aspect of marketing support. Promotional sites however have been built specifically as a campaign element to support a promotion, as an entry mechanic and/or a loyalty builder. They are the perfect avenue to run sampling and can provide additional tie-ins that cost very little to deliver such as screensavers, cursors etc.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) & Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

The ultimate requirement in web marketing success, SEM and SEO drive traffic to your site. Smart copy and build will ensure your site is easy for search spiders to mark. To rate on the most popular engines you will need to submit and sometimes pay for the privilege. Other sites linking to yours will improve rankings. You can also buy search engine listings to ensure a higher placement.

Use an online marketing expert

More than any channel, the web enables marketers to track consumer actions and closely monitor ROI. If you are not getting high value for money from your web marketing dollars, you may need to revisit your strategy. Talk to me about how we can help you.

Email marketing

eNewsletters – stuff frequency, it’s all about relevance

Reading through recent articles and company eNewsletters, it has become apparent that people still think an eNewsletter is just an opportunity to blab about how great their company/product is.

The problem with this aberration is that while you may get-off on hearing about how wonderful your goods are, how many awards you’ve won and all the neato features your product/service offer – your users don’t.

As part of this mindset people also still seem caught up with the question “How frequently should I send my eNewsletter?”

What they fail to realise is that it’s not really their choice, it’s their users and the answer is: As frequently as your readership will tolerate.

That’s it. No science behind it, because at the end of the day if you over-hit someone’s inbox, they’ll hate you for it. It doesn’t take testing or user studies to tell you that – it’s fact.

Now the issue with this is that your readership will only tolerate an eNewsletter if it’s perceived by THEM to be relevant. That’s right, they rate relevance over frequency.

The main reason for this is that when companies decide to do an eNewsletter they often end up creating content for the sake of getting the eNewsletter out to a schedule and that’s when you get your company back-slapping and ego-inflating content.

So, stop thinking frequency and start thinking RELEVANCE.

Stop asking the question “How frequently should I send my eNewsletter?” and start asking “Is this piece of content really (really really really) relevant and valuable in the readers mind?”.

Now, because this is important I’ll say it again just to make sure it sinks in – it’s not about frequency, it’s about relevance.

Relevance is about ensuring your CONTENT and message in your eNewsletter actually makes a difference to the reader. Corporate propaganda and marketing hype really doesn’t make that much of a difference to a reader. So, what does?

Value-added information is what matters, and the less overtly related to your product/company, the better.

Shock, horror – but what about getting our brand/key messages/value propositions/specials in front of them? What about the fact that eNewletters are a great way to get all of our long winded guff and back slapping praise in front of our prospects and brainwash them into buying our product? – you ask.

Stuff it (well most of it anyway).

Your eNewsletter (and by association you) will be valued more highly if you’re actually helping the reader or giving them information they don’t already know, or may know but need from another source explicitly to help them win a case for buying just such a product/service as you happen to offer (that case could be in their own head may I add).

So, rather than getting wound-up about the frequency and including bland information such as your latest media release about the newly appointed GM of Widgets, or the fact you won the latest “We paid lots of money to win this” award, think about a few common problems your audience may be facing or information needs they may have and write about those.

Even better, find third party information that validates your offering, include an overview and link in your eNewsletter to this information (I don’t mean someone praising your product, either).

Then you’re providing REAL information and not just you-centred information. This will be of greater interest and will be more relevant to the reader. In doing so they’ll feel more loyal to your eNewsletter and your brand or product by association.

Now, I’m not saying get rid of all of the overt propaganda, but try to balance it with stuff that actually adds value to the readers life, otherwise you’re just bugging them and it doesn’t take much to swipe you outta their inbox permanently.

Email marketing

What are some good methods for avoiding spam filters?

We often get asked about any simple steps that can be taken to reduce the likelihood of your campaign being flagged as spam by your recipient’s ISP, or your recipients themselves. Even when you’re sending an email campaign to subscribers who opted-in, your email can still be flagged as spam by overzealous spam filters. Simply using the word “free” in an email message can often land you in the spam heap.
Listed below are a number of simple tips and techniques you should consider when writing and designing your campaigns:

  1. Keep sender addresses as short as possible.
  2. Avoid continuous sending of messages to full or invalid mailboxes. You can do this by tweaking your bounce handling settings for each subscriber list.
  3. Minimize the use of these words and phrases in the subject line, message body, sender address, and reply-to address:
    Use of the word Free (although “free” tends to have more leeway than most other trigger words), $$, XXX, sex or !!! (any excessive punctuation)
    Subject contains “Double Your”, “?”, “For Only” or “Free Instant”.
    TOO MANY CAPS IN THE SUBJECT LINE
    Email contains at least 70 percent blank lines
    The from field appears to not contain a real name, ends in numbers or contains the word friend.
    The reply-to field is empty
    The email claims not to be spam
    The email contains excessive images without much text
  4. Monitor new subscribers in your lists. Set suspicious “spamflag” addresses such as “abuse@” or “marketerspam@” as Inactive subscribers.

Most of the popular and more advanced spam filters out there use these and a whole bunch of other criteria to score your campaign. For example, check out the range of filtering rules for SpamAssassin, one of the most popular spam filters on the web.
Ultimately, the most important thing you can do is adhere to best practices for email marketing. Gain permission, compose relevant content, and deliver messages according to the customer’s needs, wants, and preferences.

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