“Missing the Mark” – 10 ‘exemplary’ SPAM emails

When people talk about email, and instantly think of “spam”, it really bugs me. Email marketing is not spam; email marketing is an art form. It needs to be perfected. We want a Picasso or Rembrandt landing in the inbox, not the scribbles of an amateur.

However, there are some instances of email marketing malpractice that can all too easily result in brand messages being treated like spam content. Missing the mark with your subject lines, email creative and copy can see your reputation damaged and your deliverability rates plummet.

346.04 billion spam emails every day.

Consider the history of spam, and the impact it has on the email marketing industry; ReturnPath defines spam as unsolicited bulk email (UBE) or messages sent to many recipients without permission. They also state that “spam is in the eye of the beholder” and I wholeheartedly concur. How an email is defined really depends upon both the interpretation of the recipient and the intention of the sender. If your brand sends out mass batch-and-blast messages that contain little of value or relevance to a particular customer, then you could quickly be considered a ‘spammy’ sender.

There are so many things we – as email marketers – need to think about when sending out an email campaign. If you want to find out more about best practice tips to avoid the spam folder, check out our infographic.

In the interest of  exploring what not to do when trying to appeal to customers in the inbox (and for a little light-hearted entertainment), I’ve collected some prime examples of spam from my inbox –  which are, by definition, awful examples of email marketing. I’ve titled them with the email subject line:

  1. Tired of cleaning up cat pee?

This is my favourite. Am I tired of cleaning up cat pee? No. Do I even have a cat? No. This is a classic spam email; there is no template, the message is not relevant, I have not given consent to receive the email.

  1. Compression Panties Shape & Hide Excess Fat?

Huh?

  1. Home based woodworking business

Apparently, I can make 90,000 USD per annum by buying Jim’s “Wood Profit” guide. Only 8 slots left for that free bonus so I better click right away! Quintessentially spam. It’s also not great if there are on-going spelling errors in the content, such as in this email.

  1. Why eye surgery is unnecessary for eye floaters

I mean, why would I listen to a qualified professional such as my doctor? Of course I’m going to take the advice of an erroneous and unsolicited message that reminds me of conspiracy nutters on social media.

  1. No Guns, No Knives. What do you carry?

Apparently, a lot of people carry pepper spray to defend themselves (do they?). This email invites me to check out the “Stinger Tactical Pen” – supposedly I risk everything by not carrying it. Hmmm. Delete. Delete. Delete.

  1. How to get the blood flowing to your boner

According to a verified source (I’m undoubtedly convinced of its authenticity), a controversial pill saved this poor man’s marriage. His wife noticed he was “longer and thicker immediately” – excellent! The husband – evidently elated and overjoyed – carried on for hours that night. The next morning, he was “ready, willing and able” to go for round two and three. That’s super impressive I’d say – sign me up! Not.

  1. The closest thing to flying a REAL plane!

If you have ever dreamed of being a pilot, VirtualPilot3D will fulfil that dream. I actually have a fear of flying and have an irrational dislike for virtual games. I predict that 99.9% of recipients would rather be travelling somewhere exotic in first class than receiving this email they didn’t ask for.

  1. The definitive guide to removing nail fungus

Pass.

  1. Download 518 boat plans inside

I’m a twenty-something millennial living and working in London. Funnily enough, access to over 518 step-by-step boat plans videos and boat building guides, does not interest me. I can barely put IKEA furniture together.

  1. Mediate Like A Zen Monk…In Just 7 Minutes

I’ve done Yoga a couple of times and I absolutely love it. It’s a great way to unwind from the hectic bustle that is working life. Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but attempting to meditate [like a monk?] in 7 minutes not only sounds hypocritical, but stressful. I also highly doubt it will defeat any life problems I – or anyone else – may be facing. [Uproar amongst all the legitimate yoga teachers and/or monks].

I hope you’ve all laughed as much reading this blog as I have writing it. If you want to avoid the mistakes of these spammers and achieve 10/10 for your creative, content and data use, check out our 2017 Hitting the Mark benchmark report. 100 brands, +100 emails, and more insight than you can shake a stick at.

 

 

The post “Missing the Mark” – 10 ‘exemplary’ SPAM emails appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 1 week ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Australian retailers double the number of emails sent on Click Frenzy day

In fact, we saw the same amount of emails sent on Click Frenzy day as we did during 2015’s Cyber Monday!

If you’re new to Click Frenzy, it’s a 24-hour online shopping mega-sale that captures national attention in Australia. The electricals and tech-themed shopping day is the equivalent of Cyber Monday and takes place on the third Tuesday of November every year.

The original event is hosted on the members-only Click Frenzy site, however many Australian vendors are now jumping on the trend and holding sales on their own sites.

Some of the deals featured in year’s frenzy included Beats By Dre Studio Wireless headphones for $299, down from $479. And BONDS, the Australian clothing and underwear store, offered 40% off everything on its site.

Naturally, this time of the year is extremely busy for retailers and us here at dotmailer. Our sending volumes go through the roof, as you can imagine, so we’ve taken every step to ensure our customers’ emails make it to their own customers’ inboxes.

To put it into perspective, we’ve increased our bandwidth by a whopping 500% and doubled the number of mail servers we have, to cater for these kinds of sending peaks.

What’s more, our team have also been working hard to optimize the code that personalizes and sends our emails, which is improving performance by 40%.

That means we’re all set for this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday in just over a week’s time!

The post Australian retailers double the number of emails sent on Click Frenzy day appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 9 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

How abandoned cart emails will save your business

A good abandoned cart strategy includes emails that are sent to customers who begin shopping by adding items to their online shopping cart and then leave before the site finishes the order. These emails act as reminders to the customer of the value of your product (why they had placed these items in their cart to begin with), and encourage them to complete the transaction.

Reasons for shopping cart abandonment: The customer

  • The browser or tab accidentally crashes or closes
  • Loss of internet connection
  • The site timed out
  • The customer may have to unexpectedly leave the computer
  • The final price was unexpected after shipping and taxes were added
  • The customer decides he or she isn’t ready to purchase the product
  • Concerns about website security
  • The customer plans on purchasing the product later on
  • The customer is no longer interested

Reasons for shopping cart abandonment: The retailer

  • No guest check-out
  • Complicated, complex, or confusing web forms
  • Payment options are limited
  • Limited shipping methods
  • Technical issue with the webpage itself

How can abandoned cart emails help?

There is little a retailer can do to fix the problems that originate from the consumer’s end, making abandoned cart emails the most effective way to regain control. These emails will encourage your customers to try again, and by tracking conversion metrics, you will be able to pinpoint obstacles and trouble spots on your website over time. According to research, almost half of all abandoned cart emails are opened, and more than one third of those clicks leading to a purchase on the site. There’s just no doubt that abandoned cart emails have a high opening and conversion rate, so it’s in your company’s best interest to utilize them.

Getting started

The earlier your site collects the customer’s email address, the better. This way you will be able to reach out to your customers no matter how deep they’ve fallen into the ordering “funnel.” Some websites ask customers for a contact number, but most consumers find this practice intrusive coming from an online retailer.

Add a customer service number to the bottom of your email to make it easier for your customers to get in touch. The email should also include a link that redirects the customer back to their shopping cart.

Timing

The further a customer is in the ordering process, the sooner you should send an abandoned cart email. If the customer abandoned their cart relatively early, wait a few days before sending them a reminder. If you can, send more than one email. Try a tiered approach and send a series of automated emails – one within the first hour of cart abandonment, a second within 24 hours, and a final email at the 72-hour mark.

What to include

It’s important to open the email with a statement that lets the customer know why they’re receiving it. Keep it short, sweet, and to the point: Simply notify the customer that their transaction was not completed, then offer guidance back to their cart. Be sure to include contact information at the end of the email in case the customer has any unanswered questions.

Great copy is key

The abandoned cart email is sort of like a bonus marketing opportunity, which is why your marketing materials should be compelling and inviting. A well-constructed abandoned cart email will have an attention-grabbing subject line, errorless and engaging content, and a few high quality images.

A common reason for cart abandonment is due to an unexpected total once all of their items are in the cart. Oftentimes, customers forget to think about taxes and shipping costs. Encourage your customers to continue shopping by offering a discount. Just generate a discount code and pop it into the abandoned cart email.

An abandoned cart email has a higher chance of being opened and getting a customer to complete their transaction than any other marketing emails you send. Don’t give up on them at this crucial stage in the sale process, because more often than not their reason for not completing the purchase doesn’t actually indicate a lack of interest. All it takes is an effective abandoned cart strategy to get them back on track and becoming a loyal customer.

The post How abandoned cart emails will save your business appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 9 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Why Good Unique Content Needs to Die – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

We all know by now that not just any old content is going to help us rank in competitive SERPs. We often hear people talking about how it takes “good, unique content.” That’s the wrong bar. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand talks about where we should be aiming, and how to get there.

For reference, here’s a still of this week’s whiteboard. Click on it to open a high resolution image in a new tab!

Video transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re going to chat about something that I really have a problem with in the SEO world, and that is the phrase “good, unique content.” I’ll tell you why this troubles me so much. It’s because I get so many emails, I hear so many times at conferences and events with people I meet, with folks I talk to in the industry saying, “Hey, we created some good, unique content, but we don’t seem to be performing well in search.” My answer back to that is always that is not the bar for entry into SEO. That is not the bar for ranking.

The content quality scale

So I made this content quality scale to help illustrate what I’m talking about here. You can see that it starts all the way up at 10x, and down here I’ve got Panda Invasion. So quality, like Google Panda is coming for your site, it’s going to knock you out of the rankings. It’s going to penalize you, like your content is thin and largely useless.

Then you go up a little bit, and it’s like, well four out of five searchers find it pretty bad. They clicked the Back button. Maybe one out of five is thinking, “Well, this is all right. This solves my most basic problems.”

Then you get one level higher than that, and you have good, unique content, which I think many folks think of as where they need to get to. It’s essentially, hey, it’s useful enough. It answers the searcher’s query. It’s unique from any other content on the Web. If you read it, you wouldn’t vomit. It’s good enough, right? Good, unique content.

Problem is almost everyone can get here. They really can. It’s not a high bar, a high barrier to entry to say you need good, unique content. In fact, it can scale. So what I see lots of folks doing is they look at a search result or a set of search results in their industry. Say you’re in travel and vacations, and you look at these different countries and you’re going to look at the hotels or recommendations in those countries and then see all the articles there. You go, “Yeah, you know what, I think we could do something as good as what’s up there or almost.” Well, okay, that puts you in the range. That’s good, unique content.

But in my opinion, the minimum bar today for modern SEO is a step higher, and that is as good as the best in the search results on the search results page. If you can’t consistently say, “We’re the best result that a searcher could find in the search results,” well then, guess what? You’re not going to have an opportunity to rank. It’s much, much harder to get into those top 10 positions, page 1, page 2 positions than it was in the past because there are so many ranking signals that so many of these websites have already built up over the last 5, 10, 15 years that you need to go above and beyond.

Really, where I want folks to go and where I always expect content from Moz to go is here, and that is 10x, 10 times better than anything I can find in the search results today. If I don’t think I can do that, then I’m not going to try and rank for those keywords. I’m just not going to pursue it. I’m going to pursue content in areas where I believe I can create something 10 times better than the best result out there.

What changed?

Why is this? What changed? Well, a bunch of things actually.

  • User experience became a much bigger element in the ranking algorithms, and that’s direct influences, things that we’ve talked about here on Whiteboard Friday before like pogo-sticking, and lots of indirect ones like the links that you earn based on the user experience that you provide and Google rendering pages, Google caring about load speed and device rendering, mobile friendliness, all these kinds of things.
  • Earning links overtook link building. It used to be you put out a page and you built a bunch of links to it. Now that doesn’t so much work anymore because Google is very picky about the links that it’s going to consider. If you can’t earn links naturally, not only can you not get links fast enough and not get good ones, but you also are probably earning links that Google doesn’t even want to count or may even penalize you for. It’s nearly impossible to earn links with just good, unique content. If there’s something better out there on page one of the search results, why would they even bother to link to you? Someone’s going to do a search, and they’re going to find something else to link to, something better.
  • Third, the rise of content marketing over the last five, six years has meant that there’s just a lot more competition. This field is a lot more crowded than it used to be, with many people trying to get to a higher and higher quality bar.
  • Finally, as a result of many of these things, user expectations have gone crazy. Users expect pages to load insanely fast, even on mobile devices, even when their connection’s slow. They expect it to look great. They expect to be provided with an answer almost instantaneously. The quality of results that Google has delivered and the quality of experience that sites like Facebook, which everyone is familiar with, are delivering means that our brains have rewired themselves to expect very fast, very high quality results consistently.

How do we create “10x” content?

So, because of all these changes, we need a process. We need a process to choose, to figure out how we can get to 10x content, not good, unique content, 10x content. A process that I often like to use — this probably is not the only one, but you’re welcome to use it if you find it valuable — is to go, “All right, you know what? I’m going to perform some of these search queries.”

By the way, I would probably perform the search query in two places. One is in Google and their search results, and the other is actually in BuzzSumo, which I think is a great tool for this, where I can see the content that has been most shared. So if you haven’t already, check out BuzzSumo.com.

I might search for something like Costa Rica ecolodges, which I might be considering a Costa Rica vacation at some point in the future. I look at these top ranking results, probably the whole top 10 as well as the most shared content on social media.

Then I’m going to ask myself these questions;

  • What questions are being asked and answered by these search results?
  • What sort of user experience is provided? I look at this in terms of speed, in terms of mobile friendliness, in terms of rendering, in terms of layout and design quality, in terms of what’s required from the user to be able to get the information? Is it all right there, or do I need to click? Am I having trouble finding things?
  • What’s the detail and thoroughness of the information that’s actually provided? Is it lacking? Is it great?
  • What about use of visuals? Visual content can often take best in class all the way up to 10x if it’s done right. So I might check out the use of visuals.
  • The quality of the writing.
  • I’m going to look at information and data elements. Where are they pulling from? What are their sources? What’s the quality of that stuff? What types of information is there? What types of information is missing?

In fact, I like to ask, “What’s missing?” a lot.

From this, I can determine like, hey, here are the strengths and weaknesses of who’s getting all of the social shares and who’s ranking well, and here’s the delta between me and them today. This is the way that I can be 10 times better than the best results in there.

If you use this process or a process like this and you do this type of content auditing and you achieve this level of content quality, you have a real shot at rankings. One of the secret reasons for that is that the effort axis that I have here, like I go to Fiverr, I get Panda invasion. I make the intern write it. This is going to take a weekend to build versus there’s no way to scale this content.

This is a super power. When your competitors or other folks in the field look and say, “Hey, there’s no way that we can scale content quality like this. It’s just too much effort. We can’t keep producing it at this level,” well, now you have a competitive advantage. You have something that puts you in a category by yourself and that’s very hard for competitors to catch up to. It’s a huge advantage in search, in social, on the Web as a whole.

All right everyone, hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of Whiteboard Friday, and we’ll see you again next week. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Reblogged 2 years ago from tracking.feedpress.it