Alert Solutions Blog

3 Steps Toward Better List Segmentation

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Jan 28, 2016 @ 11:01 AM

List segmentation is the process of separating your list into specific groups for the purpose of more marketing relevance.  The options can be limitless: geographic region, industry type, company size, number of previous interactions, and more!

It’s crucial to achieving maximum ROI – your relevant content has to be delivered to the right person at the right time.  The following three steps can get you on your way to better list segmentation:

Step 1: Capture the Data You Need

So many organizations are limited in their list segmentation abilities because they don’t possess the data they need.  Ask yourself, “How do I want to segment my marketing lists?”  Without this foresight, you won’t be able to capture the correct information for audience targeting.

Step 2: Establish Worthwhile List Segmentsaudsegementation.png

The purpose of list segmentation is not to send each subscriber their own personalized message.  There’s not enough time in a day!  Rather, establish list segments that are large enough to be worthwhile and act upon.  List segments should also be distinctly different than one another and be relatable to the products and services you’re promoting.

Step 3: Define the Best Way to Communicate

You may not be able to communicate with your entire audience in the same way.  Defining this information increases the chance that recipients will receive and be receptive to your message.  Communication preferences should be respected and adhered to; certain laws apply!

We have more list segmentation ideas available to you.  Download Our Targeted Marketing Guide Today!

 

Topics: list segmentation, audience targeting, marketing relevance, list segmentation best practices, marketing lists

Email Marketing Experts Share Their Biggest Email Deliverability Hurdles

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Jul 23, 2015 @ 12:07 PM

According to Return Path, one of the biggest challenges facing email marketers today is that they don’t understand their email deliverability problems.

To make matters worse, email marketers usually don’t have access to the decision data that causes emails to be blocked by email providers and spam filters in the first place.

This is why it’s increasingly important for email marketers to understand the root causes as to why their email marketing campaigns don’t make it to the inbox. A recent blog post from MarketingSherpa helps to makes sense of it all.

Here are some of the biggest email deliverability hurdles according to email marketing experts:emaildeliverabilityhurdles

Hurdle #1: Email List Quality
Return Path suggests companies should keep a close eye on their email lists to make sure they’re updated and relevant. Poor list hygiene can be responsible for poor sender reputations among email providers, which leads to reduced email deliverability. Before clicking ‘Send’, it’s also important to make sure your lists are segmented correctly to provide recipients with the most relevant content.
 
Hurdle #2: Email Content
What’s relevant to one recipient may not be relevant to the next. This is the lesson behind email content; there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ mentality anymore. In addition to content, the frequency of the email marketing campaigns you send is also preferential to many subscribers, so be sure to pay attention to it!
 
Hurdle #3: Technical Problems
Have you taken a technical approach to email deliverability? Email providers are relying more and more on email authentication technology such as SPF and SenderID to verify incoming messages. If your emails aren’t equipped, it may be contributing to your deliverability hurdle.
 
Don’t forget: Email message size can affect email deliverability, too! Check out our recent blog post.
 
For more information on improving your email marketing deliverability, download Alert Solutions’ Email Deliverability Guide!

Download Now!

Topics: email deliverability, marketing lists, email marketing, email marketing best practices

Keep Your Email Subscribers! Reduce Email Marketing Opt-Outs Proactively

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Mar 19, 2015 @ 11:03 AM

A robust email subscriber list doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, energy and brand awareness to grow into something really valuable. In fact, it’s likely one of your most important marketing assets. This makes it all the more painful to see recipients unsubscribe after each and every email marketing campaign.

But even though your email subscribers can legally opt-out at any time they choose, there ARE proactive steps you can take to prevent them from ever wanting to. Care to learn more? Keep reading!

>>Encourage “Opt-Down” instead of “Opt-Out”.
It’s challenging to predict exactly when each of your email subscribers would like to receive an email from you. So why not ask them? Some organizations are now offering ‘opt-down’ options for email subscribers who simply want more consistent or fewer email marketing campaigns rather than none at all. For example, allowing your email subscribers to choose a specific product line or email frequency rate could mean the difference between an opt-in and an opt-out.
 paperlessschools
>>Deploy Unsubscribe Surveys.
Let’s face it, some of your email marketing subscribers just can’t be saved. But to gain a better insight, deploy unsubscribe surveys. These are quick to complete and will allow you to capture the exact reason, or brief description, as to why your email subscriber does not want to receive emails any longer. You can then use this intelligence to mitigate future unsubscribes.
 
>>Provide Alternative Communication Methods.
Inbox competition is fierce these days. An email subscriber whose inbox goes unchecked could become overwhelming after just a few days. And if your email marketing campaigns do fall victim to an unsubscribe rampage, this may not necessarily mean that the recipient wants to sever all ties. That’s why it’s important to offer alternative communication methods. With options such as social media, text messaging and blogs, your brand stays top-of-mind.
 
Alert Solutions allows you to keep your subscribers beyond just email! Schedule a demo today to learn how our WebLaunch™ platform can help you communicate with subscribers using multiple channels.

Topics: multi-channel messaging, marketing lists, email marketing, email marketing best practices

Email Marketing Campaign Subscribers: Building Versus Buying

Posted by Cassie Breen on Thu, Apr 04, 2013 @ 15:04 PM

Email marketing is one of the most popular business communication tools used today.  However, the only way an email marketing campaign can be successful is if there are people to receive the message.  Subscribers are sought after in a variety of ways, but it is important to understand the difference between building your email marketing campaign subscriber list, and trying to buy them.

Not only is buying an email marketing list considered an unethical business practice, but it is also not very effective.  Taking this route may give you a large list of email addresses to start with, but blasting strangers with an email marketing campaign will not accomplish anything other than frustrating the recipients. 

There are two significant business risks associated with purchased list campaigns:

  1. Purchased lists are naturally higher in hard bounces and spam reports causing a great deal of damage to your sender score.  If your sender score drops significantly, it severely affects the deliverability of future messages.

  2. Purchased lists can contain spam traps or invalid email addresses, landing you on an email blacklist.  B2B companies are especially prone to this when using a purchased email marketing list since many corporate domains will use spam reporting senders to identify and block emails from blacklisted senders.

Rather than purchasing email marketing lists, a more effective way to gain email subscribers is through inbound marketing.  In order to do this, your email marketing campaign must provide value and be relevant.  Subscribers will then opt-in to receive your emails because they are interested in what you have to offer.

buildvsbuy resized 600You can gain interested email subscribers through other communication channels such as blogging or social media, by having good content and a clear call-to-action.  Also, giving subscribers options, such as what type of content they would like to receive or the frequency in which they would like to receive emails can greatly improve subscriber engagement.

Subscribers need to find value in your email marketing campaigns in order for it to be effective and have greater email deliverability.  Although purchasing an email list may give you a larger quantity of emails to start, it is more likely these recipients will be disengaged, causing your message to end up unread or on a blacklist.

For more email deliverability tips and tricks, download Alert Solutions’ Email Deliverability Best Practice Kit today!

Topics: marketing lists, email marketing, email marketing best practices

Creating a Solid Email Marketing List – The Do’s and Don’ts

Posted by Nina Russo on Mon, Jul 30, 2012 @ 10:07 AM

We can all agree that an organization’s customers are its most important asset. However, many argue that an email marketing list is in fact the most important asset

According to direct marketing statistics, the marketing list contributes approximately 50 percent to the success of an email marketing campaign – but maintaining marketing lists can sometimes be difficult and time-consuming task.

With that said, in order to create a successful email marketing campaign, there are dos and don’ts you should keep in mind when you’re building and maintaining an email marketing list. Below are just a few:

Do's

Do Use Double Opt-In
Requiring your subscribers to “double opt-in” is a great way to ensure your recipientsEmail Marketing List actually want to receive your email marketing campaigns. Email marketers that require double opt-in almost never experience hard bounces either, as the validity of the email addresses are always verified. 

Do Scrub Your Email Marketing List
According to Marketing Sherpa, the average email marketing list depreciates by about 25% every year. List scrubbing decreases the likelihood of trying to send to unsubscribes, increases content relevancy and improves email deliverability and sender reputation. After all, a clean list not only saves time, it also saves money.

Don'ts

Don’t Rent or Buy Email Marketing Lists
The idea of a good email campaign is to reach out to people who will buy your products or sign up for your services. Bought and rented email marketing lists often give you a bunch of prospects who will probably never open your email. Worse still, your domain may end up being blacklisted by email and internet service providers. 

Don’t’ Forget to Let People Subscribe Everywhere
Increasing the size of your email marketing list organically is certainly not easy, but the effort pays off.  By sending your email marketing campaigns to a more targeted and qualified audience, generate a higher level of interest among your recipients. Make sure your web forms are highly visible all around the website. Add an opt-in form on your blog and spread the word via social media websites like Facebook and Twitter.

Topics: marketing lists, email marketing

List Scrubbing – Top 5 Email Addresses to Delete From Your List Today

Posted by Nina Russo on Thu, Mar 01, 2012 @ 16:03 PM

According to Marketing Sherpa, the average email marketing list depreciates by about 25% every year. By managing lists correctly, you’ll have more success in your email marketing efforts and have maximized your time and investments.

This includes regularly scrubbing your email marketing list. List scrubbing decreases the likelihood of trying to send to unsubscribes, increases content relevancy and improves overall email deliverability and sender reputation.

We know maintaining marketing lists can sometimes be difficult and time-consuming task. To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 email addresses you should remove from your email marketing list ASAP.

1. Duplicate and Invalid Email Addresses
Every email address should be checked to confirm that it is a real, working email address. Also, it is best to ensure you remove duplicate email addresses before sending any email marketing campaign. To help, some email marketing platforms, like Alert Solutions' WebLaunch™ solution, will automatically remove duplicate email addresses before launching any campaign.

2. UnsubscribesList Scrubbing
If someone unsubscribes, they must come off your email list. According to CAN SPAM compliance, companies have up to 10 business days to remove unsubscribed contacts from your list. To avoid any negative affects to your email deliverability or sender reputation, remove them immediately.

3. Audience Members Who Are Not Opted In
Anyone who is on your email marketing list because of list buying, list scraping, or any other “illegal” email address collection method should be removed. Scrubbing these email addresses of your marketing list will help improve your sender reputation, email deliverability, open and click through rates.

To learn more about how to build your email marketing list organically, click here.

4. Hard Bounces
There are two types of bounces to consider when scrubbing your marketing list: hard bounces and soft bounces. A hard bounce is an email message that has been returned to the sender and is permanently undeliverable. Hard bounces should be removed from your marketing lists immediately as they can negatively affect email deliverability.

A soft bounce is an email message that gets as far as the recipient's mail server (it recognizes the address) but is bounced back undelivered before it gets to the intended recipient. Soft bounces do not have to be removed immediately, but should be monitored. If these email addresses continue to bounce, they should be removed from your marketing list as the address is most likely inactive.

5. Disengaged Email Recipients
If someone has stopped opening or clicking through your email marketing campaigns, they shouldn't be scrubbed from your list immediately. Try to reengage them one last time before deeming their information no longer valid.

If after your re-engagement attempts some recipients still do not respond, it's to your benefit to proactively remove them from your list before they cause damage to your sender reputation.

Topics: marketing lists, email marketing best practices

Email Marketing Best Practices: A Lesson in Email Frequency

Posted by Nina Russo on Tue, Jan 17, 2012 @ 13:01 PM

How often does your organization send out email marketing campaigns?  Unsurprisingly, the frequency at which you send has a direct effect on the perception of your company, the engagement of your subscriber list, and ultimately, the success of your email marketing campaigns.  But how can you find the right email frequency for your audience?

Unfortunately, there is no right or wrong answer.  Your idealEmail Frequency email frequency can vary depending upon a variety of different factors, ranging from the product or service being promoted to the rate at which your recipients check their inboxes. 

However, the most important thing to remember is that your own ideal email frequency CAN be determined with some careful consideration.  Research shows the three major consequences of sending too many email marketing campaigns to your audience are:

1.       Indifference to Content Being Sent
2.       Increase in Unsubscribes
3.       Spam Complaints

But by Monitoring Your Performance Statistics, you can remain cognizant of issues indicative of an email frequency problem.  For example, declining open rates could signify an increase of indifference towards your brand, possibly caused by over-mailing.

List Fatigue is another consideration and is a common result sending too many email marketing campaigns.  It can be alleviated with common list segmentation techniques. Increase marketing relevance by learning individual interests and preferences.   

Ultimately, you need to Respect Your Subscribers.  Everyone has their own tipping point and over-mailing can occur whenever the recipient believes so. 

Preference Centers are highly effective in allowing the recipient to voice their opinions on email frequency.  

Matching an effective email frequency to your email marketing list is almost an experiment. You need to try different techniques to determine which your audience best responds to.

Topics: list segmentation, marketing relevance, marketing lists, email marketing, email marketing best practices

5 Places to Promote Your Email Marketing Efforts During the Holidays

Posted by Nina Russo on Thu, Dec 01, 2011 @ 15:12 PM

Holidays provide excellent opportunities to nurture business relationships. Email marketing can be a very effective means of increasing sales, especially during the holiday and post-holiday season.

Most retailers gear up for the holidays with a plan to maximize revenue during the busiest shopping season of the year. But the savviest marketers also look at the longer term goals of their marketing strategies which include: expanding their email marketing list, receiving testimonials and gaining repeat purchases.

Step one in that process is building your email marketing list. With more visitors to your website and social media pages during the holidays, this is an ideal time to turn those visitors into subscribers of your email marketing program.

Here are 5 places to promote your email marketing program during the holidays:

WebsiteEmail Marketing Holiday Shopping
Your email campaigns likely have the highest ROI of any activity in your marketing program, so it deserves a prime piece of real estate. You should have a sign-up on every page on the site, since many visitors may be arriving to different areas of your site.

Triggered Marketing
You’ll likely be sending thousands of triggered email campaigns during the holidays, so don’t miss this opportunity to invite customers to opt in to your email marketing program.

Twitter
During the holidays, as you’re tweeting about all of your promotions and events, make sure to tease your email marketing program into your Twitter stream.

Call Center
During the holidays, call volumes increase as shoppers place orders and seek out assistance. If applicable, instruct your call center employees to ask customers if they’d like to subscribe to your email marketing program.

Direct Mail
If print is part of your holiday messaging strategy, make sure to include a teaser to your email marketing program on your print pieces.

Topics: trigger campaigns, marketing lists, social media marketing, email marketing

Reengaging with Your Email Marketing List – 5 Helpful Tips

Posted by Nina Russo on Tue, Sep 27, 2011 @ 16:09 PM

No matter how successful an email marketing campaign is, Reengage with your Email Marketing Listover time, all email campaigns will have audience members who will no longer want to interact with your brand.

Research suggests up to 60 percent of an email marketing list can become inactive after 6 months.According to Marketing Sherpa, the main reason for this high churn rate is due to lack of relevance and high frequency.

What do you do? Do you stop sending to the truly disengaged.  The answer is no. Here are 5 helpful tips to create a successful reengagement email marketing campaign:

1. The first issue to deal with is who to actually reactivate. Complete a recency-frequency analysis to view a clear drop in opens and clicks to better understand which groups have disengaged vs. groups that have never engaged.

2. Stop sending regular email marketing campaigns to the reactivation segment you have selected. In this way it will be clear that if these audience members do start to respond it is due to re-engagement activity.

3. Unfortunately there are no concrete rules for getting a particular population to re-engage. This will require you to test various techniques to see what works for you. Promotions, giveaways and surveys are all useful email marketing campaigns.

4. Keep your goals in mind regarding your email marketing campaigns. Typically, 5 percent reactivation is a good result.

5. Email marketing lists need some time off. For example, segment a group of audience members that have not clicked on an email campaign in 1 month and don’t send them anything for 2 weeks.

Email addresses are a very valuable asset to your business. You spent a lot of time and money collecting, opting in, building engagement and creating relevance.

Putting in the extra effort of creating and implementing a reengagement email marketing campaign is worth it for your business and your audience.

Topics: marketing lists, email marketing

5 Tips to Help Build Your Email Marketing List Organically

Posted by Nina Russo on Fri, Aug 12, 2011 @ 12:08 PM

Increasing the size of your email marketing list organically is certainly not easy,  but the effort pays off.  By sending your email marketing campaigns to a more targeted and qualified audience, generate a higher level of interest among your recipients. 

Who knows, you might even experience higher conversion rates and return on investment than ‘spraying and praying’ to those that may not be interested in what you have to offer.

Because building your email marketing list naturally is time consuming, we’ve cumulated several tips to help get you started:

1. Make sure your web form is highly visible.  Put web forms all around your website.  Your potential subscribers will never opt-in if they don’t know how or where.

2. Put an opt-in form on your blog.  Have your colleagues repurpose your blog content for maximum exposure to clients, prospects and business partners alike.

3. Spread your world on social media.  Promote your business thru Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn with links to sign up forms.

4. Offer something of value.  Generate a thought-leading white paper.  Offer a special discount for new customers.  Recipients are more likely to release their email in exchange for something.

5. Employ forward-to-friend links.  Who knows, some of your current recipients may pass you along to their friends.

Evaluate your current email marketing objectives; are you getting the results that you want? Building your email marketing list naturally can help increase the benefits of a more qualified audience without having to spend a large amount of money and purchase a marketing list

Topics: marketing lists, email marketing, email marketing best practices

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