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Showing posts from August, 2013

The Best Mailing List Ever

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Do you have subscribers who jump on every email you send? Do they open and read immediately, eagerly anticipating interesting and useful information?

The best kind of mailing list is full of responsive subscribers. These are people who have:
asked for your newsletterreplied with positive feedbackclicked on links in your newslettershared your newsletter via email and social media How many of those people do you have on your mailing list? The answer should always be: not as many as I want to have.

Once you have the basics in place, you can work to build your list into the best list. Concentrate on those areas of interaction listed above and think about tactics that will improve on your current performance in each. Take little steps and work steadily at improvement. A blitz approach will be surprising, and perhaps unnerving, to your regular readers.

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Spam is coming off the Menu in Canada

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Did you hear the one about the guy who protested the new Canadian anti-spam regulations? He started an email campaign and spammed thousands. No word of lie - you can read all about it here.

Spamhaus responded via their Block Listing for the fellow’s IP address:
IP is sending spam to scraped email addresses or purchased list. Spam asks recipient to sign petition against Canadian antispam law FISA. Is OK to protest law--even law we at Spamhaus think is good law. Is not OK to spam to protest law, or for any other reason.Spamhaus is an international non-profit that tracks the Internet's spam sources, provides real time anti-spam protection for Internet networks, works with Law Enforcement Agencies to identify and pursue spam and malware gangs, and lobbies governments for effective anti-spam legislation.

Those of us who are doing legitimate business by email in Canada have no need to be concerned at all about the new regulations. If you have been following email marketing best practices…

Here's How to Get Inspired

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I often say, “Write when you’re inspired... and take the time to get inspired.” This week I’m taking my own medicine because inspiration has been lacking. Thinking about getting inspired, with my newsletter deadline looming, led me to create this list of things that I sometimes do when I'm stumped. I can even do most of them without leaving my desk!
Read other people’s articles. I may learn something new that I can share. I may agree or disagree with the author. Either way, I've got something to write about.Call a friend or client. You may want to prepare a couple of questions in advance, such as “What puzzles you most about what I do?” or “What’s the biggest benefit you get from working with us?” Or you might just wing it.Think about processes. Write step-by-step instructions that are simple and easy to follow. Use screenshots or images if it makes sense.Review old blog posts and articles. I often find ideas that I can expand on or tangents I haven’t explored.Recall recent ex…

Elements of eNewsletter Success [Infographic]

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How to Send an Error-Free Newsletter

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If you want to publish a superior newsletter, you need a quality control process. There are so many ways in which a newsletter can have errors so it’s difficult to create an issue with no mistakes at all. That’s why it’s so important to check everything and assume nothing.

Below is a checklist similar to our own quality control process. I’m sure it will also work for you if you are using a bulk email service provider. If you aren't, you should seriously consider getting one.

Once you've finished assembling your newsletter, save it and make a copy to proof and edit.

Run the spell checker. Edit appropriately, noting if the software uses an American or Canadian dictionary.

Run the spam checker. Again, edit if necessary.

Send a test message to yourself.

When you receive that test email:
Scan the formatting and overall look. Is text spaced from borders and images? Are fonts used consistently throughout? Are the colours, images, borders and fills congruent with your brand?Click on every…

Test your Process

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Do you know what happens when someone signs up for your newsletter? When they click that little SUBMIT button, where do they go? If you don't know, now is a good time to find out.

Your sign-up process is a critical piece of your newsletter strategy. Plan it from your potential subscriber's perspective. Of course, you need a prominent, simple form and a clear call to action with an explanation of what they'll get by subscribing. But what happens once that button is pushed? Test it yourself, start to finish.

Likewise, your unsubscribe process is something you should understand as well. Do your subscribers have an option to be on some lists but not all? Is your unsubscribe process simple or does it require entering information? Is it a 2-click process?

Caution: Don't unsubscribe yourself from your own newsletter to test this process. Use an alternate email address.

These processes will vary greatly depending on the bulk email service provider (ESP) you use. Here is a scree…