How to make a mailing? The timeless guide to preparing your email campaign
Before talking about how to make a mailing, we have to see a difference between what it would be: Email marketing vs mass email.
We are going to start with a small exercise, typical of talks and webinars:
How many times a day do you check your email?
It is almost certain that more than one.
And when you check your mail. How many useful emails do you find? Surely few or none.
So the mentality we have when it comes to checking our mail is something like: I’m going to see if I clean the tray.
In other words, the perception is that we are going to find a lot of emails that are not going to be of any use to us, and our objective is going to be to eliminate them without further ado.
Overall, in an environment where billions of emails are already sent a day, where the average user receives hundreds of emails every day, we want to add our grain of sand with our mailings and add more emails to the pile.
The difference between mass email, misunderstood, or bulk email and email marketing is the contribution of value.
When we do email marketing we seek to add value to our subscribers, beyond the sale.
Before preparing your mailing, what is email marketing or email marketing?
Email marketing is a form of online marketing that uses email as a means of communication between a sending party ( the sender ) and 2 or more receivers ( the subscribers ). The email is used to send a message to the recipients, which can be:
Promotional or sales
In other words, we can use an email campaign as a means of direct communication between us, our company, and a list of subscribers, clients, or contacts, who will receive our message ( email ).
In short, it is a communication tool that will allow us to get our message, of whatever type, to our target audience.
This is a simplified and simple definition, but I think it serves as a basis for understanding the usefulness and benefits that we will discuss now.
¿Ventas vs Marketing?
These classic marketing concepts make a difference in the approach of our company.
When the orientation is to sales, the only thing that matters to us is to sell.
Of course, this is vital for all companies.
However, it is one thing to sell as many products as possible without thinking about customer needs.
And another thing is to sell thinking about the needs of the client.
Translated to sending mailings, it would be something like sending a lot of emails that sell a tent, work clothes, shoes, etc .:Without any segmentation, it is not necessary or worries about the real needs of the client.
If they sell something, fine, and if they don’t sell, then they put more emails on the list. Ultimately it is an inefficient technique.
When the orientation is to marketing, we first think about the customer’s need, and then we try to sell just what they need or want.
Typically, these email campaigns are smaller, in terms of email volume, but are better segmented and more targeted to customer needs.
► Examples of mailing of this type?
Amazon has segmented based on customer preferences, based on previous purchases, and shows similar products in this email marketing campaign. This mailing surely is not sent by Amazon to all the customers it has in the world, can you imagine it would?
It is segmented by:
- Language (Amazon store Spain)
- Product type (book)
- Category (children’s book)
- Related (books from the same publisher bought or with a similar theme)
This segmentation makes an email relevant to the person who receives it.
Let’s look at yet another example.
In this case, the value is not provided through related products of interest to the subscriber, but through content.
Thanks to the segmentation that we have of the subscribers, we can know those who may be interested in cooking recipes, such as the cocktails offered in this email. We do not contact just to sell, but we offer useful content based on customer preferences
And in this our strategy is going to differentiate, we are going to try to create a relationship with the client, not just a sale at all costs.
We will try to offer usefulness, with an adequate frequency, without saturating with emails of little interest to achieve interaction with the client.
We will also look for them to respond to our emails, to open them, to click on the links. And of course, that our emails stand out above the other hundreds of emails that we discussed before.
This interaction, or engagement, will be key to the results of our email marketing campaigns.
Do you know why?
Engagement and shipping reputation in email marketing
Engagement or interaction is neither more nor less than the extent to which subscribers react with the mailings we send them:
- If they open our emails
- They click on the links we include in the emails
- They respond to the emails we send them
- They move them to a folder
- If they receive it in the ” junk mail ” folder and mark them as ” junk mail “
- How long do they read it
These things, among others, and how many times they do them.
Will we have all this information in our email marketing tool?
Not all. In our tool, and other mass email tools, the usual information is related to opens and clicks, and perhaps forwards.
So who has the rest of the commented information?
Mainly ISPs, such as:
- Hotmail / Outlook.com
You have to think that for these companies the subscribers you have are: their clients.
For you, it is one more subscriber, but for them they are clients.
Customers who use your email program, customers who see your advertising ( which is where they get money from ), etc.
They want their customers to have a good user experience.
That they receive only the emails they want, that they do not find annoying spam in their inbox, but also that they do not lose any email that is of interest to them.
Keep in mind that the way ISPs know the preferences of subscribers is based on their actions.
Thus, the actions that we have seen above would be positive things, which would demonstrate the subscriber’s interest in the emails we send them.
But if instead, we did the following:
- They delete emails without opening them
- They mark them as spam
- Or worse, like phishing
It would penalize us seriously.ImportantMore and more ISPs try to manage this “engagement” with the mailings that you send in a unitary way for each subscriber.
That is, to contemplate the preferences of each person.
For example: in Gmail, if every time you receive an email from “Persianas Paco” you just delete it, the first time nothing will happen, the second time either, but if you delete it 10 or 15 times it is most likely that in the end, you receive those emails in the spam folder.
The reason this happens is that Gmail clearly sees that you are not interested, over time understands your preferences, and puts those emails in spam so they do not bother you.
But if someone else does open and interact with them, they will continue to receive them as spam.
► But we have to be careful
Although ISPs calculate this interaction on an individual basis, it does account for the domain’s overall forwarding reputation.NoteThe domain’s sending reputation is a history that assesses what has been sent from your domain and is one of the determining factors when your emails reach the inbox or spam.
That is if a person does not open your emails, nothing happens.
But if you send a mailing to a hundred people and only one opens it, there is a problem.
This will penalize your sending reputation, because subscribers are not interested in what you send.
Worse would be if several subscribers mark your emails as Spam, nothing would happen for one, but if several do, the reputation of sending will suffer.
And you would pay it in your next email campaigns.ISPs will understand that you send spam and when in doubt will not deliver your emails to the inbox.
Quite a difficult situation to solve.
► What other things affect the result of a mailing or email campaign?
There are many factors that we must take into account:
- The reputation of the links ⇒ that is, if you insert a link in your email, to a website, the reputation of the linked website. If you link to a low reputation website, this will penalize the delivery of the email. So be careful with the links you include in your email (it is not advisable to use URL shorteners either)
- The reputation of the content ⇒ if the content of the email is about viagra, the chances of it reaching the inbox are less than if you talk about recipes.
- The reputation of the domain ⇒ based on the shipping history that we discussed earlier.
- The quality of the database ⇒ if it includes many bad accounts, if it includes spam traps, if it includes many bounced emails, etc.
- The correct setting ⇒ SPF for example.
- Individual preferences ⇒ has the subscriber opened your emails in the past? Have you deleted them? Have you marked them as spam?
- The email design
- The reputation of the sending IP ⇒ this depends on the email marketing tool you use.
Look how curious, from all the previous points if you realize:
- Only one depends on the subscriber ⇒ their preferences and past actions
- Only one depends on the tool used ⇒ the reputation of the IP
The rest of the factors depend on you and how you do things. Special care after sending, the email marketing tool will inform you of the emails delivered. But you don’t have information about the tray they end up on. We don’t know if they go to the inbox, or to spam.
But going back a bit in what has been explained throughout this post, let’s go to the next question.
If we have never sent a mailing before, we will have a good reputation, right?
The answer is no. If you have never sent a mailing, you have neither a good nor a bad reputation.
Normally that means that you must be very careful with the first shipments. Something that we will see in detail in the next topic, let’s go!
· How to start working with an existing database?
In the previous point, we have talked about the importance of adding value to our emails.
Of how fundamental is the ” engagement ” with the subscribers, the interaction.
Of all the aspects that influence the delivery of our emails.
Now, with all that knowledge, we are ready to start our email marketing campaign.
At this point, I assume that you already have a list of subscribers, either former clients, contacts you have made at a fair, etc.
In another moment we will talk about recruitment, but now we have to talk about starting when you already have a list.
► Why work with an existing email list?
Because starting with a list is much more likely to cause problems than the other way around.
It seems that it would be easier to do email campaigns if we already have contacts.
But this is not always the case.
There are difficult problems to solve and that is why it is important that we make it clear how to work with an existing email list. Let’s be clear: the problem is quantity.
Remember we talked about the domain’s historic shipping reputation at the beginning?
If we have never sent an email marketing campaign using our domain before, and suddenly we send a mailing of 5 or 10 emails, most likely nothing will happen.
But, if from not sending anything, we go on to send 10,000 emails, here if something can happen.
The ISPs (remember Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo…) have historical data, and this enormous sudden growth will seem “suspicious” to them.
Some of the questions these ISPs might ask are the following:
- How do you explain this huge increase?
- Will it be a purchased list or emails obtained in unlawful ways?
- What do the contacts do when they receive the emails? Do you open them? Mark them as spam?
- The list itself, does it give problems? Wrong emails? Bounced? With what volume?
In these things, the more failures the worse, it is not the same as 24 of the 10,000 rebounds, that only 1,000 do.
► But what is this of the rebounds that we do not stop commenting?
A bounce indicates that the message could not be delivered to the email indicated as the destination. It can occur for various reasons.
We have two possible types of rebound:
- Soft bounces ⇒ which would indicate a temporary error, and possibly on a later attempt the message can be delivered
- Hard bounces ⇒ indicating a definite error, thus not worth retrying the send
And some of the errors that we can get would be:
- Bad-configuration ⇒ there is an error in the configuration of the destination server, which prevents the message from being delivered
- Bad-connection ⇒ there are connection problems that prevent delivery of the message to the destination email
- Bad-domain ⇒ destination domain is wrong and message cannot be delivered
- Bad-mailbox ⇒ in this case the domain is correct, but the address of the recipient is not correct, or does not exist. For example firstname.lastname@example.org hotmail.com is correct, but “does not exist” may be incorrect.
- Content-related ⇒ the message has not been delivered due to content-related topics (looks like spam)
There are many more possibilities to consider, if you are curious about the subject, you can find much more information in the following post .
However, the ones that should concern us the most in the case we are commenting on would be those of “bad-domain” and “bad-mailbox”.
When working with an existing email list, to which we have not sent email marketing campaigns before, it is possible that some addresses are wrong for some of the following reasons:
- Because they scored badly in their day
- Because the containers no longer exist
- The domain has expired
► There is a particularly dangerous case for your email campaigns: Spamtraps
Spamtraps or spam traps are email addresses that should not receive emails from anyone:“Spamtraps are email addresses created and maintained by third-party ISPs and blacklist companies for the sole purpose of detecting spammers. The use of this type of address in an email can damage your reputation and cause you to be blacklisted. “(Microsoft source)
In summary, if we send an email to a spam trap we will suffer penalties.
Although spam traps are created by ISPs (Gmail, Hotmail, …) sometimes it also happens that a “normal” email becomes a spam trap.
How does this happen?
It can happen when a normal email is no longer used by the user.
Over time ISPs begin to bounce back when sent to this email, indicating that no more messages can be delivered to it.
When a reasonable amount of time has passed, they turn this disused email into a spam trap.
The reasonable time is used so that those who send emails to this recipient, receive the bounces and stop sending.
After a reasonable time, and as it is assumed that the mail is no longer used by a person, it is understood that it has not been possible to subscribe to any mailing list.
And therefore what you receive will be spam mail. You may also like what are spam traps?
What should be clear to us from all this?
That our existing contact base, if nothing has ever been sent to you in an email campaign, or nothing has been sent to you in a long time, can present problems in the form of:
- Wrong emails
Don’t worry, now we will see the ways in which we will have to deal with these problems. What you should never depend on a first mailing thinking that this will detect incorrect emails and “clean” the database. What we’re actually doing is spoiling our shipping reputation. The higher the volume, the more problems.
· First steps to follow to work with your existing email list
As we have seen that there are a series of possible errors and problems that can arise, so, to the best of our ability, we must check our subscriber list before sending email campaigns, to see:
- If there are duplicate or incorrect emails
- See if it includes suspicious emails (do not email@example.com , firstname.lastname@example.org )
- Check the number of bounces when importing (if the tool offers us this information)
- Check the dates in which we receive the emails
The better we review this, the fewer problems we will have later.
If when importing the list into the tool we see that the volume of bounces is very high, be careful!
High volume of bounces when importing = potential problems
► What can be an effective solution?
Segmentation of our list, or in other words, divide the list into smaller lists.
So instead of sending the first email campaign to the entire list, let’s send it to only a small percentage.
And if we have checked the date before, we will try to send first to the emails that we have obtained most recently, since it is more likely that they are correct (and that the person remembers us of course)
► How much should we segment? How big should we make the lists?
We should make our lists as small as possible within what is manageable.
For example, if you have 100,000 contacts, perhaps making 4 groups of 25,000 is not enough.
But if you have 5,000 contacts, you could easily make groups of 500, and even a first and second of 250.
Once we have these divisions/groups, we will prepare the first shipment.
► The first shipment is essential
Before sending the first email marketing campaign, lower the sending speed of the mailing platform so that the emails are sent little by little.
Thus, the potential errors that occur will be more widely spaced in time. It is not the same that 500 bounces are generated in 1 minute than in 5 hours.
Do it always, not only in the first campaign, we must send the mailings as slow as possible.
If it is a specific offer, with a fixed duration, we will not be able to exceed the date, but in other cases we can send more slowly.
Do not use a newly registered domain. Sending mailings with newly registered domains is a common practice for spammers!
If we are not in a hurry, what we can do is start sending our internal corporate emails and wait the recommended time to avoid the penalty. This time will be at least 15 days for the penalty lists that we have commented on previously, and in the case of the internal filters of the ISPs, we would recommend 3 previous months of activity. You may also like why we should not use newly registered domains as senders
Correctly configure the SPF record regardless of the email marketing provider that we use, this configuration is key, so we are going to see it in a little more detail.
You can learn more about how to create an SPF record for Mailrelay here.
· What is the SPF record and why is it so important to your email marketing strategy?
It is a record that we configure in the DNS of the domain from which we want to send our mailings.
This is then used, so that the server that receives the mail compares the sender’s domain with the list of computers that are authorized to send messages from said domain and, based on the SPF, makes the pertinent decisions to let the mail pass, block it, or let it pass under certain conditions. For example, when we send a message from an email marketing tool, it goes out or is sent, from the tool’s servers. So in our domain, we have to indicate that we “allow” emails to be sent from there, on our behalf.
That is exactly what we do, indicating that we give permission to send emails on behalf of our domain, and if we do not, there are many more chances that they will end up in spam.
Activating the SPF protocol is not complicated, you simply have to access the DNS server and there indicate that you want to use it, as well as define a series of modifying parameters.
For example, this line would serve as SPF for Mailrelay:
In any case, it is an essential configuration that must be reviewed well before launching your first shipment. You may also like how to create an SPF record for Mailrelay
Your domain provider can also help you with these settings.
And of course also the support team of the email marketing tool that you are going to use.
► How can we check that the SPF is properly configured?
It is very easy, there are several ways, but we will see how to do it simply by sending an email to Gmail.
In Gmail, we have to display the menu at the top right of the email, and choose the option ” Show original “.
That will show us a screen where we can see the headers of the email.
And so we can check if it indicates:
In that case, we have the correct configuration.
Okay, let’s recap, so far:
- We have reviewed the database, looking for emails that may be incorrect
- We have divided the database into small groups
- We have made the settings recommended by our email marketing provider
Now the time has come to send us some proof
· How to do a proof of shipment correctly?
Before sending the email campaign, it is worth sending some tests of the email design to our emails, to check that everything is going well.
Ideally, we have several emails in various ISPs, in Gmail, in Hotmail, in Yahoo, in our own domain, as many as possible so that we can test well.
As for the test, it should be made as realistic as possible.
That is, let’s not send something like this:
- Subject: to see if it arrives
- Text: afasafasfsaf
Let’s send an email with the content as similar as possible to the one we are going to send to our subscribers, to really check how it arrives. And also in case, the submission tool offers a spam assessment tool.
With this utility, the tool gives us information about the content of the email we want to send. So that we can make corrections before shipping.
That is why it is important that the design is the one we are going to use later.
We also have external tools to be able to check the mail we want to send:
With these tools and our own emails, we can do a good series of tests that give us an idea of the results we can expect.
In the next chapter, we will see more about the content that we will send with the first email.
Go for it!
· Preparing the contents of the first submission submission
We already have the database ready, and the configuration as well. We have talked about the importance of testing the content that we are going to send in our mailing.
The design of the email.
But what content do we send?
We are working on the assumption that we already have a subscriber list.
Before we have already talked about the possibility that some of the emails we have no longer exist or are incorrect. But even if they are correct, the contacts we may have:
- Are no longer customers
- Don’t remember our company
- Yes they are clients but do not want to receive emails from us regularly
- Be contacts who at the time gave their email but are no longer interested
The more time that has passed, the more likely it is that contacts will not remember that they gave us their email, and we do not want to bother them or give them a bad first impression.
Then what do we do?
I think a good option is to introduce ourselves. Example of first mailing«Good morning [name]
I am writing to you on behalf of (company name), a while ago we asked for your email when you hired us for (contracted service, category, product).
Although we have not sent you anything since then, we are going to launch our newsletter (monthly, weekly, etc.) where we will deal with many interesting topics:
⇒ List of topics
⇒ More themes
If you are interested in these topics you do not have to do anything, we will send you the emails every (month, week, etc.).
If, on the other hand, you do not want to receive more emails, you can unsubscribe now (link to the unsubscribe).
Any other questions you have, do not hesitate to respond to this email or call us on the phone (include). I take this opportunity to greet you and welcome you to our newsletter. »
The truth is that we do not need to complicate it much more because it is an introductory email. In addition to the text, we can include the company logo and some other details.
But don’t overload it, if it looks too commercial the receiver is much more likely to just erase it.
With this first mailing we achieved several objectives:
- Tell the subscriber who we are and what we know him about, why we have his contact.
- What content are we going to send you and how often
- Give the subscriber the option to unsubscribe if they are not interested
► Why is the unsubscribe link so important in our mailings?
We may think that it is counterproductive to give them the ability to unsubscribe too easily, but it is not.
If we do not offer a clear option to unsubscribe, it is very possible that our emails will be marked as spam, and we will be penalized.
As you can see in the previous image, the button that Gmail offers to mark an email as spam is very visible. It is very accessible, so if we do not offer an option for the subscriber to unsubscribe, this will be the option they use.
An option that will affect our shipping reputation, and that can prevent our subsequent emails from reaching their destination. Not even to people who do want to receive them.
Also, remember everything we have talked about engagement and its importance.
Therefore, we do not want to have subscribers who are not interested in receiving our emails, so we offer them the possibility to unsubscribe.
► Do we have a chance to do even better?
Well, the truth is that yes, we have an even better option to stay only with subscribers who are going to be really interested.
The option would be, in this case, to send the first email with a link that leads to a page where we can sign up for the list.
This way we can be sure that the subscribers who click on the link and register will really be interested in receiving the emails that we are going to send them.
They will be less, but we will have better results with our campaigns. Remember that in email marketing quality is more important than quantity.
And from this first shipment, how often are we going to ship?
We have to think about a frequency of sending the email campaigns that allow us to:
- That the subscriber does not forget about us
- And don’t overwhelm him with excessive emails.
As a general rule, it is best to avoid extremes or send an email every 6 months or one every day. My recommendation is the best thing is to start with a reasonable frequency, 1 mailing weekly or every 15 days, and from there, look at the statistics, doing tests.
Of course, remember that it does not serve us to send.
Each shipment we make must have an objective, or be framed within a strategy.
- Sell a product or service
- Share content from our blog, framed in a content marketing strategy
- Show a new product or service
- Or simply seek the opinion of the contacts
Avoid self-aggrandizement in your mailings whenever possible.
Do you remember those newsletters full of news from the company that sent them? Nobody reads that to him, it’s boring.
We have to think about the interests of the subscribers, to give the subscribers what they need, and to keep them interested until the time comes when we try to sell to them again.
· What do we do if we don’t have a list?
In the event that we start with 0 subscribers, we will be avoiding some problems. It is clear that we will have others, such as the low initial impact of our actions.
What is clear is that we have to maximize our ability to capture emails, so that the traffic we bring is registered.
But before we start, there is something that we must have well configured: the SPF record that we indicated before.
This is going to be very necessary, even if we start without a list, it is necessary for sending emails from the email marketing tool of your choice.
If you didn’t make this setup in the previous chapter, do it now.
Ways to attract subscribers, types of opt-in
► What is the simple opt-in? ⇒ in this case the visitor comes to our site, writes his data in the form (name, email, etc.), and registers.
The email is directly registered in the list and the user does not have to do anything else. In some cases, the subscriber may receive an email informing him of the subscription, but it will be a merely informative email.
► What is double opt-in? ⇒ on the contrary, in this case, the user comes to our website and registers in the form.
To validate the email and for it to be activated in our subscriber list and database, the user must first confirm the subscription by clicking on a link that will be sent to them in an email. That is, you receive an email informing you of the subscription, which also includes a link, which you must click to validate the subscription.
Email marketing tools such as Mailrelay work only with double opt-in due to the following advantages it offers:
- Avoid inclusion in the list of incorrect emails, which can affect the reputation of sending (bounces)
- Avoid malicious actions, such as registering other people without being verified
- Avoid logs originated by internet bots
In general, double opt-in helps us to generate lists of subscribers with fewer errors and with subscribers who are really interested in being subscribed.
· How are we going to attract subscribers to our list?
For this, we have infinite options to grow our list of subscribers, from offline options, such as attracting contacts at fairs, to the different online promotions that we can generate.
In the online world, the usual thing is to use some type of subscription form. It can be the typical subscription bar or form, which is almost hidden somewhere on the web.
If we raise the subscription bar like this, we have several problems:
- It is not excessively visible, going something unnoticed
- It does not present a particularly interesting offer
But in any case, this is always better than not having any subscription method on our website.
Anyway, it can be easily improved, for example: offering trend tips in exchange for the subscription.
As in this other case, where in exchange for the subscription they offer us the cooking recipes.
► What would be more effective to capture the visitor’s email?
Offer something as tangible as possible to the subscriber, such as a discount on the first purchase.
This is one of the most effective ways to get the subscription because the user receives something tangible in exchange for giving his email.
Then we also have to take into account that we can capture emails without more, or capture them segmented, see the following example.
Here the visitor is shown a specific popup of the section they have accessed. So, if you subscribe, we will have your preferences in addition to your email.
Creating different subscription forms for each section of the web may involve more work, but it will also make our email campaigns more effective.
Some tricks to make your popups more effective
A) Judgment shortcuts
Normally, people tend to take shortcuts in our reasoning, for example, we tend to think that the most expensive products are better, or that what the majority makes or uses is the best for us too.
These judgment shortcuts allow us to make quick decisions, and in our day-to-day life, they are very useful to avoid having to stop and think about every little decision we make.
We can use this feature to our advantage in the popups we make, taking advantage, for example, of the reasoning that what is good for the majority will also be good for us. For example, you can show the volume of customers or subscribers you have in your popup. If it is a high number, it will increase social proof
B) Return the favors
Another very human characteristic is to return the favors that they do us. It is something necessary because to live in society it is often necessary to help each other.
And who does not return favors may be excluded from society. That is why when someone does us a favor we are compelled to return it.
And this is something that we can take advantage of in our popups.
On the one hand, we can program the popup so that it is not instantaneous, but that it appears a little while later, so that the visitor has already found what they were looking for on our website (information, tips, a tutorial, etc.), and when we already We have “offered you something” and we ask you for your email in return.
If we also give you something else like an ebook or a course related to what you have been looking for, all the better.
C) Rejection and withdrawal
This is a trick that is based on the previous one, reciprocity, complements it and that works very well with the discounts that we can offer.
The popups that we will use to take advantage of this strategy will be programmed to appear when the user is about to leave the web, directing the mouse pointer to the top of it.
The tactic is based on the fact that we make an offer, which would be the usual prices of our products, or our services, which the user ” rejects ” when trying to leave the web.
Then we execute the ” withdrawal ” offering a lower price, a discount, or some extra, just at the moment when the user is going to leave our website.
If we have done things well, and the user was interested in what we offer, they will be much more likely to give us their email.
D) Shortage of products or services
This is a very common resource and that surely on more than one occasion you have seen it used, in online stores, emails, popups, everywhere.
Basically, it is used a lot because it works and gives good results.
Even online stores that are impossible to have stock problems, such as Amazon, use this technique.
In our subscription popups, we can use this resource indicating that the offer will only be available for a limited time, only a number of units or spaces available in the case of online training. You may also like I want to add a pop-up to attract subscribers!
But not all are popups!
We can also have landing pages to capture emails:
- For an event that we are going to carry out
- A webinar
- Offer an ebook
- A contest
It would be a page whose objective is that the visitor can subscribe, like the one you can see in the following image.
ImportantThe maxim is that, if we are generating traffic to our website, we have to be able to obtain the emails of the people who visit the website. Otherwise, we would be wasting the investment we are making.
What do we do with inactive subscribers?
Over time, as we work with our email campaigns, and send mailings, it is very likely that some subscribers will lose interest.
It is something normal, but it can negatively affect the development and results of our shipments.
Nobody stays interested forever!
This is more common, perhaps, when we work B2C (business to client, business to client), because normally, the industrial client, tends to remain loyal longer.
► What types of inactive subscribers can we find?
In my opinion, there are at least two types of inactive subscribers:
- The subscriber who never opens the emails and simply deletes them. He points to a group of emails and deletes them all at once.
- The subscriber who goes from mail to mail deleting them with hardly any attention.
Surely you have ever done one thing or the other. It is normal, we receive many emails and we cannot pay attention to everything, but from our perspective as managers of the email campaigns of a company we have to be careful with these subscribers.
The first case would be worse for our email campaigns because it does not even open the emails that we are sending. And this is something very negative for engagement.
But in the second case, although they open the emails, they do not show too much interest in what we are sending them, or in our products or services. Well, they don’t click on the links we include.
Not to be confused with active subscribers who don’t buy
Sometimes we will have subscribers who do not buy, for the moment! But in the meantime, they open our emails, share our articles, comment, and are generally active.
These subscribers are very helpful:
- Because they share our content, increasing the brand reach
- They can become prescribers, recommending our products
Returning to the two previous cases, what we will perceive will be a lack of clicks.
And it is with this that we will have to be careful, and use the functionalities that our email marketing tool gives us to keep our list in good health, and above all effective.
The first may be to understand the process a subscriber goes through.
Common phases a subscriber goes through
Without wanting to be exhaustive, the general phases that a subscriber would go through would be:
1) Discovery / uptake
It is at this stage that the subscriber is captured, either at a fair or event, either through our website or a landing page.
If we have done things well, the usual thing is that in this phase the subscriber is very active.
During this stage the subscriber will behave like a normal subscriber, opening emails, replying, commenting. In this case, the evolution would be to the customer.
In this phase, the subscriber has already purchased our products or services and has become a customer.
It is also common for a recent client to open our emails regularly.
After becoming a client, we will have to make an effort to maintain the interest of the client, adding value, or otherwise, they will lose interest in our products or services.
As soon as they no longer have any interest in our mailings, the subscriber will unsubscribe. important we do not allow unsubscribe, including unsubscribe links in our design, we will keep an uninterested subscriber on our list, whose lack of engagement will affect our results.
Nothing happens for one, but as the volume grows, it does affect.
► And what about subscribers who, being able to unsubscribe, do not?
This is also very frequent, and they are subscribers who behave as we have seen, deleting emails.
But they do not unsubscribe from our contact list.
In this case, we will have to use the functionality of our email marketing tool, which allows us to “detect” these subscribers.
For example, Mailrelay has a star filter that scores subscribers’ engagement and allows us to filter those who do not react much to our mailings:
In this way we can segment the inactive subscribers and separate them, moving them to other groups.
► And once this is done, what do we do?
The most important thing, in this case, would be not to keep sending them the same things. Although it is not necessary that we delete them directly. We can separate them into another group as we were commenting before.
And in that case, we will have more options to work with these subscribers in our email marketing campaigns:
- Sending them different mailings, perhaps with a promotion, or less common content .
- Leave them separated to contact them only in specific cases, such as the launch of a new product or functionality, or in the case of a great offer.
- Send them a mailing to confirm if they are still interested in our emails, and if not, unsubscribe.
We can use any strategy we want, but the important thing is not to continue doing the same, because in that case, we would be ignoring a problem that is not going to solve itself.
► How often should we check inactive subscribers?
This is variable, but at least every month would not be bad so that too many do not accumulate.
► How long does a subscriber have to be inactive for us to consider them as such and unsubscribe them from our mailings?
Here are many opinions about it, there are those who consider three months, another six, or even a year.
For me, three months is enough, if in three months you have not been interested in anything we send you, it is not likely that things will change suddenly. Always bearing in mind that there may be vacation periods in between, etc.
Functionalities like Mailrelay automate this process, but it can be done by hand with different filters.
As you have been able to read throughout the post, the process to make a good mailing involves a whole series of steps, requirements, and actions to be taken that are necessary for a decisive way to be key to the success or failure of your campaigns.
Following the advice I have given you and using tools such as Mailrelay, the entire process is made much easier and, above all, we have a better chance of obtaining better results.