Are your Emails Landing in Junk/Spam

Are your normal emails landing in Junk/Spam Email Folders? Here are some ways how you can minimise that:

Set up SPF records (Sender Policy Framework):

SPF is a email-origin-validation system. You setup SPF on your domain to authorise other IP addresses to send emails on your behalf. SPF is  designed to detect email spoofing by providing a mechanism to allow receiving mail exchangers to check that incoming mail from a domain comes from a host authorized by that domain’s administrators.

DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM):

DKIM works similarly to SPF and allows the receiving mail server to check that the mail’s origin is authorized by the domain’s administrators and the email and its attachments haven’t been modified during the transfer.

Domain Blacklist:

Sometimes your domain is blacklisted by SPAM servers for sending spam. Most email servers rely on information from these spam checks to white-list their emails. So its a good idea to check your domain/IP address has been blacklisted by SPAM servers.

Spammy Content:

Sometimes it’s just a matter of spammy content in your emails that cause your emails to land in junk/spam folders.  Here are some example words to avoid. Used once they will not be mostly categorised as spam but if you use multiples then there is a big chance that their overallscore will go beyond the spam threshold.

  • FREE
  • 100% FREE
  • ACT NOW
  • Bargain
  • Best Price
  • Dear Friend
  • Too many punctuations ( f.r.e.e)
  • Eliminate Debt
  • Extra Income
  • Work form Home
  • Financial Freedom
  • !!!
  • $$
  • $$$
  • Online Pharmacy
  • Erectile Disfunction
  • USING ALL CAPITALS IN YOUR EMAIL

How to Setup SPF and DKIM records?

Please reach out to your email provider for this, usually they will know how to.

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Things to check before sending out your email marketing

Before you send out any bulk email, you should always test it to make sure it is correct, accurate and works. Once you send your bulk emails, there is no recalling the email, so you need to make sure the email is 100% before it goes out. Here is a handy list of things to check before you send out your emails.

Check how the email looks in different clients

Email Clients (such as Outlook, Apple mail) are not as developed as the browsers . Unlike websites, there is also no supported coding standard for emails. So all the email clients use their own technology to show the emails and also pick and choose what code they want to support. This means that how you see your email might be totally different to how someone else sees your email. Usually an email coding company will test all these different email clients for you and let you know if your email will not look as great in any client (such as Lotus Notes which has always been an issue for email marketing). So if you  use different clients to view your email, please test it for all of them.

Check how the emails looks in mobiles

Majority of emails are now opened in mobiles. Also mobiles have their own email clients and there is no standard across them. While mobile clients are a lot more advanced that desktop clients, it is a good idea to view and test emails on mobiles before sending it out.

Proof read your Content for Spelling/Grammar

Make sure you check your content so that there are no spelling mistakes or grammatical mistakes.

Check all the links

Just because there is a link in an email doesn’t mean that it is the correct link and it is working. Always click on all the links on a test email to make sure

  • that the link is correct
  • that the link loads properly
  • that the link is not an internal link that only you or your company can access

Check all the images

Make sure that you can see all the images in your email and

  • if the image has a link, the link works
  • the image is not stretched or distorted
  • the image is not bad quality

Fonts and formatting

Email clients are notoriously bad with fonts and will often just display your text in Times New Roman if not coded properly. Please have a look at the the font and make sure it is how you like your font.

Sender, Reply To and Subject Line (Envelope details)

Please make sure that the email is coming from the right sender, the reply to (if needed) is setup properly and the Subject line is exactly what you want it to be.

Personalisation

If you are using personalisation in your emails (e.g. using firstnames in greetings Dear firstname), please make sure that it is working properly and displaying substituted firstnames in tests.

Unsubscribe links

Please make sure that there is a unsubscribe link in the email and it works.

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Gmail new promotions grid view – Email Marketing

Last time we touched base on how Gmail and Google apps have enabled images as default on all emails and how that affects Email Marketing. Fresh off that change Gmail and Google apps are now testing a new promotions grid view for all email newsletters.

Here is a preview of how things are supposed to look:

gmail-new-grid

Previously this is how the promotions tab looked like

gmail-new-promotions-panel-list-view

Here is how the grid view looks like. 

Its similar to the Pinterest grid layout.

gmail-new-promotions-panel

Obviously as Marketers get their act together with this view, this will start to improve. With the last two emails, there are still some gaps with no images coming up.

Here is how Gmail announced the feature:

“Promotional mail has a lot of images, from pictures of snazzy new shoes to photos of that rock-climbing gym you’ve been wanting to try. But right now, those images are buried inside your messages—and with only subject lines to go on, it can be a challenge to quickly pick out the deals and offers that interest you most. To help you find what you’re looking for faster, you can now sign up for a new field trial for Gmail that lets you view the Promotions tab in a more visual way.”

How does this affect consumers

For consumers, this creates a very good option to quickly discard any emails that are not relevant to them.  While previously you would either decide on the combination of provider + subject lines, you are more likely to decide based on sender+image now. As a consumer you will now at least get to see all the relevant promotional emails and make a quick decision.

How does this affect Email Marketers

There is no doubt that Gmail with the addition of Google Apps, plus Android penetration means it is one of the biggest email systems out there. (17% in total from Feb 2014 stats) and has doubled from end of last year. Any email list is bound to have a large number of users viewing emails in Gmail.

For marketers, now this provides a clear opportunity to start using images as their main attraction rather than the subject line. The more visual your email is, the higher chances of you generating engagement and conversion.  Here are some tips on how to make use of this technology for your benefit:

Sign up for  the field trial:

If you don’t have a Gmail account, sign one up and join the field trial by clicking on the link below.

https://mail.google.com/intl/en/mail/help/fieldtrial.html

Segment your lists into Gmail users

Segment your list based on Gmail users and what device they are using to access their emails.

Setup a Google Plus Page

Your main company image is pulled from you Google plus page so set this up and put a logo on your Google Plus page

Test your emails in the new view

Test all your email in the new grid view. Send out your existing or last email to your Gmail address and see how they look in the new grid view.

Set up new Templates

Set up new templates for the Gmail view. Here are the formatting requirements:

  • Featured image  (580px by 400 px)
  • Company logo pulled from the Verified Google+ Page
  • Sender name: 20 characters or less
  • Subject: 75 characters or less

Separate Reporting

Set up separate reporting on Gmail to ensure that your opens and click are level or going up.

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Infographic: Top modern marketer’s agenda are email and speed

Email still sits as the most important communication and marketing channel for Marketers. According to the following infographic by Oracle and Eloqua, email still sits as the most important digital marketing activity for most Modern Marketers at 58%. How can we leverage email more? Rich content strategies such as white papers and webcasts, marketing automation, speed and relevance are the key factors in using your email marketing channel more successfully. From a skills perspective, creative skills and knowledge of marketing technology are of the greatest importance.

 

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Gmail now shows images by default and how this affects your email marketing

Straight off the Gmail Blog, Gmail now shows images by default. While previously all images were hidden by default and you would have had to click on View Pictures to see the image, now all images are displayed by default.

This is great news for email marketing and lead tracking emails which had a high inaccuracy rate.

Why block images in Email

About 10 years ago, when spam exploded, images were being used to track user activity and also pass malicious code into the users computer or mobile device. Based on this, every email client (desktop) and online started blocking all images on emails by default. Only if you added a sender to the safe list, the images will be displayed by default.

How do Email Opens get tracked

Emails are tracked by putting a 1×1 pixel image in the email. This image keeps individual user information for each email mostly a combination of user ID and the email ID.  When the image gets requested from the server,

Results of blocking images on Email Marketing

Blocking images by default created a wave of change on email marketing –

  • marketers started putting text on the preview pane before the main image,
  • using ALT tags on images
  • and asking users to add them to the safe list to automatically showed images.

This also generated a high inaccuracy level in email marketing reports. Overall if you were looking at open rates for a campaign, you’d assume that the open rates were higher than what was being reported as some users would have read the email without enabling the images.

Results of blocking images on Lead Tracking and Marketing Automation

Blocking images also created a huge issue for B2B sales teams because it was hard to tell if lead emails got opened by the target user. If you were sending out an email to a lead with a proposal and following up on the phone call, your reports would most likely only be 50% accurate, which puts you at a very unsure position.

The new way Gmail is handling images

There is however a small caveat, the images are not pulled from the default server, it is now cached in Google’s servers where it is checked before getting displayed.

Here is a little blurb from the blog

Have you ever wondered why Gmail asks you before showing images in emails? We did this to protect you from unknown senders who might try to use images to compromise the security of your computer or mobile device.

But thanks to new improvements in how Gmail handles images, you’ll soon see all images displayed in your messages automatically across desktop, iOS and Android. Instead of serving images directly from their original external host servers, Gmail will now serve all images through Google’s own secure proxy servers.

This affects a number of technologies and being used in the B2B and B2C space specially email marketing and lead tracking which we will go in depth in a second.

How this affects Email Marketing and Marketing Automation

Gmail being the most popular online email client, this is very welcome news to Marketers. This means

  • more accurate unique open reporting
  • better email designs (more flexibility on text/image placement)
  • Ability to send out fully image based emails
  • less accurate most active/opens reporting (because the images are cached)

B2B is probably a bigger winner as it means very accurate lead email tracking on gmail, google apps emails.

Finally, Should you change your email designs/processes

  • yes if most of your users are on gmail and you are getting proper device reporting that most of it is getting opened in androids
  • no if your list is a mix of all different clients and emails

Our recommendation is to break down your emails into gmail and non-gmail lists and segment and send emails accordingly.  Need some email marketing tools, please view information on  NetON Email for B2C and Sello for B2B Lead Tracking.

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NetMail Email Marketing – Now supporting inbuilt video in emails

Videos in Emails

Videos have never been fully supported in emails. Email design in general is about 5 years behind any web technology so it has always been impossible to use videos that pay itself in the email client.

Explosion of videos in recent years

In recent years, video views have skyrocketed. With higher broadband speeds, availability of cheap cameras and video focused sites such as YouTube, Vimeo and Hulu, Videos are taking over as the main content generator for many companies. However even with these technologies Video in emails has still been more of a fantasy rather than a reality.

Workarounds for using Videos on Emails

Currently Marketers were left with no choices for embedding videos on emails. We have advised all our clients in creating a thumbnail with a play button on top of the thumbnail, which when clicked will open the browser and show the video in a new window. The other solution will be to use animated gifs (which again can’t be used by versions of Outlook).

New HTML5 Solution for adding videos on Apple Mail, Entourage and Iphone

With HTML5 now we have a solution for adding embedded videos on Apple Mail, Entourage and Iphone. For all other clients, it will display the fallback image which will open the video when clicked on.

Usage Code

To use the video, please use this code. The code should make sense if you have used HTML in the past. If not please leave a comment below and we can explain it for you.

<video width=”xxx” height=”yyy” poster=”images/videothumbnail.jpg” controls=”controls” autoplay=”autoplay”>
<source src=”http://mysite.com/videoname.mp4″ type=”video/mp4″ />
<a href=”http://youtube.com/”><img src=”images/videothumbnail.jpg” width=”xxx” height=”yyy” /></a>
</video>

Client Support

Currently the video will play embedded in Apple Mail, Entourage 2008+, iPhone and MobileMe and the videothumbnail.jpg image is displayed in all other browsers so you are able to use this without any issues.

Existing Email Templates with Video Embedded

For existing clients, we also have existing templates which have the code already in the template, please reach out to us to add this to your NetMail platform.

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Adding Like and Tweet Buttons to your email campaigns

Are you using netON Email Platform or DzineClub’s Email Marketing Platform?
Here is how to add like and tweet buttons to your email campaign.

  1. Open a campaign you are working with.
  2. If you are not already in the editor, click on edit to go into the editor
  3. Put your cursor where you want the like/tweet button to appearStep 1: Facebook Like and Tweet Buttons for Emails
  4. Click on Insert > Social Sharing > Like
  5. Step 2 - Facebook Like and Tweet Buttons for Emails
  6. You can then choose which url will be liked when the user clicks on it, you can either link it to the email or to the page you are linking the content to or even your website Smile
  7. Step 3 - Facebook Like and Tweet Buttons for Emails
  8. Then you can press space so that there is a gap between the like and tweet buttons
  9. Step 4 - Facebook Like and Tweet Buttons for Emails - Adding LIke Button
  10. And finally the tweet button
  11. Step 5 - Facebook Like and Tweet Buttons for Emails - Adding Tweet Button
  12. Click on Save Changes to make changes to the block and please click on Preview to preview the changes.
  13. As always, please make sure you test, test, test before you send out your campaign
  14. Once your campaign is out, you can click on Social Sharing report to see how many likes and tweets this has generated
    Social Sharing Report
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