Deliverability: it doesn’t have to be the Pandora’s Box of email marketing

Email marketers should not be scared of Deliverability – it’s an essential part of email marketing that needs to be understood in order to drive best-of-breed sending practices.

What is Deliverability?

Deliverability is quite literally the ability for your email campaign to reach the inbox of the recipient. It is crucial not to confuse “Deliverability” with “Delivery”. According to Return Path, Delivery measures emails that have not received a hard or soft bounce – i.e. that haven not been rejected – but it does not measure where the email has landed. Deliverability on the other hand refers to the placement of your emails, be that in the inbox, the spam folder or a black hole in some galaxy far, far away.

How can I – as an e-marketer – maximise the deliverability of my email campaigns? Here are my top 5 tips:

  1. Get permission!

Make sure that the contacts you are emailing have given permission to receive emails from you and are expecting what you send. Getting consent from your contacts and setting the right expectations from the beginning helps build a strong sending reputation.

  1. Listen to your contacts

Target your engaged contacts; this helps you to maintain a healthy sender reputation which helps maximise your delivery to the email client (i.e. Hotmail) and placement in the inbox. The contacts that are continually engaging are showing you that they want to hear from you. Be strategic when emailing your un-engaged contacts; it is recommended not to email subscribers that have not historically engaged with your brand. This depends on your recipients – when does it make sense to remove them? Different product/service/email lifecycles will dictate different engagement strategies. As said in tip #1, this is a conversation. If the recipient isn’t interested in continuing, it’s time to change what you are saying to them. At this point, create a strategy that will target unengaged recipients with the purpose of wining them back. If they don’t respond to your “win-back” strategy, stop emailing them. Continually emailing unengaged subscribers weakens your sender reputation, causing lower inbox placement and response rates.

  1. Maintain your list hygiene

This will help you with targeting content to specific subscribers. Ensure that you are utilising the folder system within your account in order to manage address books. This will help you identify contacts and organise them in a way that best fits your sending strategy.

  1. Segment based on suitability and email behaviour

Look at contact interactions such as opens, clicks and conversions. Remember, a conversion does not necessarily mean a purchase, but rather a positive action in response to a call-to-action. This will give you more visibility of your contacts, helping you to target and engage with them further.

  1. Use in-built deliverability tools

Use the dotmailer-provided tools to help you maintain a strong reputation. Run your contacts against the Global Suppression list: this will help remove any hard bouncers/known unknown users (recipients that don’t exist). This tool is in place to help maintain your sender reputation.

As a last note, it is worth mentioning that the Email Marketing Industry – in terms of regulation – is becoming very focused on anti-abuse. With the GDPR coming in to effect in 2018, it is essential that email marketers enforce best sending practices. Conforming to these practices doesn’t just help with compliance, but it also protects your business interests. From a deliverability perspective, reaching your customers’ inboxes is a pre-requisite of driving ROI through the email channel.

Get a free copy of our deliverability myths guide, written by our Chief Privacy Officer.

The post Deliverability: it doesn’t have to be the Pandora’s Box of email marketing appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 2 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

The Votes Have Been Counted and the Winner is…

It would be hubris to think that these results are solely down to the email programs of the different parties but email surely played its part.

At the end of the day, political parties sell personalities. They talk about policies but those only matter if the voters have faith in the politicians who turn those policies into law. In other words, it is all about relationships. As we all know, email is the best channel for building relationships and the channel through which consumers want to build and maintain relationships with brands.

Both Labour and the Liberal Democrats did a better job of building these relationships. First, they sent more emails. It is always a fine balance of sending enough and sending too many but clearly the three or four emails sent by the Conservatives did not do the job. Similarly, the emails from Labour and the Liberal Democrats were a good mix of putting forth their policies and partisan campaigning with messages designed to motivate their supporters to get out and vote on the day.

Where all of the parties fell down was in nurturing undecided voters. They all assumed that people signing up to receive their emails were die-hard supporters. There was no attempt made to identify where we were on our journey to supporting their party. This caused issues right from the start. In many cases, we thought we were signing up to receive emails and we found ourselves on pages that talked about “membership,” “accounts” and “public profiles”. Instead, they should have asked to get to know us better with questions like:

  • What is your relationship with the party?
  • What issues interest you?
  • Are you planning to vote?

Email is the best marketing tool for building relationships and relationships are built on two-way communications. The political parties that actually bothered to send emails made little to no effort to build relationships with their email programs. Labour and the Liberal Democrats were both in the little effort camp and that effort paid off on polling day.

The post The Votes Have Been Counted and the Winner is… appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 2 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

What do the 5 senses and email marketing have in common?

In reality, best practice can be as logical as common sense, and aligning to the five senses is exactly what marketers should be doing to get the best from the email channel.

This blog aims to give you a checklist on how to approach best practice, putting your customers at the heart of everything you do.

Hear…

…what your readers want!

Everyone loves a good listener and, as a brand, listening will help you establish and build trust with your customers. From asking them upfront to self-select preferences to inviting and listening to regular feedback, showing that you hear and adapt to what they are saying to and about you will boost engagement and long-term customer loyalty.

Speak…

to them like you would to your friends or associates. Your customers are people first and foremost and they’re going to prefer spending time with people they like (hopefully you!), rather than brands who see them purely as a sales opportunity. Your tone of voice and messaging is your opportunity to inform, engage and sell, so use your words wisely!

See…

…what they’re doing. Opens, clicks and heat maps are a great way to see what’s catching your customers’ eyes. For example, run a test to see what creatives and formats work for your consumers.

Don’t just stop there either: if you’re able to, see what their path to purchase is. Where are they going next? How long are they on site? Use this to build up a portfolio of your segments and target them with content to match.

(Keep in) touch…

… at the right frequency. Too many emails and your customers might feel bombarded, your core brand message is lost, and customers stop paying attention. Too few, and your customers will forget who you are and you risk them going to your competitors. Listening to your customers, and seeing what they’re doing, will guide you towards getting the touchpoints right.

Taste…

… and learn (or rather: test and learn!) Big brand strategies can be realized through incremental test and learn strategies. Improving your customer communications little by little will not only produce more engaging emails, but you’ll get a taste for your different customer groups and how they move through the lifecycle. This way can be proactive in anticipating their needs, rather than reacting when it’s too late.

Ultimately, keep it simple and let your customers guide you to what the best practice is for you. We’ve tons of free resources to get your email marketing best-practice ready.

The post What do the 5 senses and email marketing have in common? appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 6 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

As a local business, you have to own your own back yard

The grass may seem greener in neighboring markets, but columnist Greg Gifford explains that in order to compete there via local SEO, you need to have your own yard in order first.

The post As a local business, you have to own your own back yard appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 8 months ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

Darryl, the man behind dotmailer’s Custom Technical Solutions team

Why did you decide to come to dotmailer?

I first got to know dotmailer when the company was just a bunch of young enthusiastic web developers called Ellipsis Media back in 1999. I was introduced by one of my suppliers and we decided to bring them on board to build a recruitment website for one of our clients. That client was Amnesty International and the job role was Secretary General. Not bad for a Croydon company whose biggest client before that was Scobles the plumber’s merchants. So, I was probably dotmailer’s first ever corporate client! After that, I used dotmailer at each company I worked for and then one day they approached a colleague and me and asked us if we wanted to work for them. That was 2013.  We grabbed the opportunity with both hands and haven’t looked back since.

Tell us a bit about your role

I’m the Global Head of Technical Solutions which actually gives me responsibility for 2 teams. First, Custom Technical Solutions (CTS), who build bespoke applications and tools for customers that allow them to integrate more closely with dotmailer and make life easier. Second, Technical Pre-sales, which spans our 3 territories (EMEA, US and APAC) and works with prospective and existing clients to figure out the best solution and fit within dotmailer.

What accomplishments are you most proud of from your dotmailer time so far?

I would say so far it has to be helping to turn the CTS team from just 2 people into a group of 7 highly skilled and dedicated men and women who have become an intrinsic and valued part of the dotmailer organization. Also I really enjoy being part of the Senior Technical Management team. Here we have the ability to influence the direction and structure of the platform on a daily basis.

Meet Darryl Clark – the cheese and peanut butter sandwich lover

Can you speak a bit about your background and that of your team? What experience and expertise is required to join this team?

My background is quite diverse from a stint in the Army, through design college, web development, business analysis to heading up my current teams. I would say the most valuable skill that I have is being highly analytical. I love nothing more than listening to a client’s requirements and digging deep to work out how we can answer these if not exceed them.

As a team, we love nothing more than brainstorming our ideas. Every member has a valid input and we listen. Everyone has the opportunity to influence what we do and our motto is “there is no such thing as a stupid question.”

To work in my teams you have to be analytical but open minded to the fact that other people may have a better answer than you. Embrace other people’s input and use it to give our clients the best possible solution. We are hugely detail conscious, but have to be acutely aware that we need to tailor what we say to our audience so being able to talk to anyone at any level is hugely valuable.

How much of the dotmailer platform is easily customizable and when does it cross over into something that requires your team’s expertise? How much time is spent on these custom solutions one-time or ongoing?

I’ll let you in on a little secret here. We don’t actually do anything that our customers can’t do with dotmailer given the right knowledge and resources. This is because we build all of our solutions using the dotmailer public API. The API has hundreds of methods in both SOAP and REST versions, which allows you to do a huge amount with the dotmailer platform. We do have a vast amount of experience and knowledge in the team so we may well be able to build a solution quicker than our customers. We are more than happy to help them and their development teams build a solution using us on a consultancy basis to lessen the steepness of the learning curve.

Our aim when building a solution for a customer is that it runs silently in the background and does what it should without any fuss.

What are your plans for the Custom Tech Solutions team going forward?

The great thing about Custom Technical Solutions is you never know what is around the corner as our customers have very diverse needs. What we are concentrating on at the moment is refining our processes to ensure that they are as streamlined as possible and allow us to give as much information to the customer as we can. We are also always looking at the technology and coding approaches that we use to make sure that we build the most innovative and robust solutions.

We are also looking at our external marketing and sharing our knowledge through blogs so keep an eye on the website for our insights.

What are the most common questions that you get when speaking to a prospective customer?

Most questions seem to revolve around reassurance such as “Have you done this before?”, “How safe is my data?”, “What about security?”, “Can you talk to my developers?”, “Do I need to do anything?”.  In most instances, we are the ones asking the questions as we need to find out information as soon as possible so that we can analyse it to ensure that we have the right detail to provide the right solution.

Can you tell us about the dotmailer differentiators you highlight when speaking to prospective customers that seem to really resonate?

We talk a lot about working with best of breed so for example a customer can use our Channel Extensions in automation programs to fire out an SMS to a contact using their existing provider. We don’t force customers down one route, we like to let them decide for themselves.

Also, I really like to emphasize the fact that there is always more than one way to do something within the dotmailer platform. This means we can usually find a way to do something that works for a client within the platform. If not, then we call in CTS to work out if there is a way that we can build something that will — whether this is automating uploads for a small client or mass sending from thousands of child accounts for an enterprise level one.

What do you see as the future of marketing automation technology?  Will one size ever fit all? Or more customization going forward?

The 64 million dollar question. One size will never fit all. Companies and their systems are too organic for that. There isn’t one car that suits every driver or one racquet that suits every sport. Working with a top drawer partner network and building our system to be as open as possible from an integration perspective means that our customers can make dotmailer mold to their business and not the other way round…and adding to that the fact that we are building lots of features in the platform that will blow your socks off.

Tell us a bit about yourself – favorite sports team, favorite food, guilty pleasure, favorite band, favorite vacation spot?

I’m a dyed in the wool Gooner (aka Arsenal Football Club fan) thanks to my Grandfather leading me down the right path as a child. If you are still reading this after that bombshell, then food-wise I pretty much like everything apart from coriander which as far as I’m concerned is the Devils own spawn. I don’t really have a favorite band, but am partial to a bit of Level 42 and Kings of Leon and you will also find me listening to 90s drum and bass and proper old school hip hop. My favorite holiday destination is any decent villa that I can relax in and spend time with my family and I went to Paris recently and loved that. Guilty pleasure – well that probably has to be confessing to liking Coldplay or the fact that my favorite sandwich is peanut butter, cheese and salad cream. Go on try it, you’ll love it.

Want to meet more of the dotmailer team? Say hi to Darren Hockley, Global Head of Support, and Dan Morris, EVP for North America.

Reblogged 11 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Google updates local reviews schema guidelines

Now only reviews “directly produced by your site” can have local reviews markup, according to Google.

The post Google updates local reviews schema guidelines appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 11 months ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

Meet Dan Morris, Executive Vice President, North America

  1. Why did you decide to come to dotmailer?

The top three reasons were People, Product and Opportunity. I met the people who make up our business and heard their stories from the past 18 years, learned about the platform and market leading status they had built in the UK, and saw that I could add value with my U.S. high growth business experience. I’ve been working with marketers, entrepreneurs and business owners for years across a series of different roles, and saw that I could apply what I’d learned from that and the start-up space to dotmailer’s U.S. operation. dotmailer has had clients in the U.S. for 12 years and we’re positioned to grow the user base of our powerful and easy-to-use platform significantly. I knew I could make a difference here, and what closed the deal for me was the people.  Every single person I’ve met is deeply committed to the business, to the success of our customers and to making our solution simple and efficient.  We’re a great group of passionate people and I’m proud to have joined the dotfamily.

Dan Morris, dotmailer’s EVP for North America in the new NYC office

      1. Tell us a bit about your new role

dotmailer has been in business and in this space for more than 18 years. We were a web agency, then a Systems Integrator, and we got into the email business that way, ultimately building the dotmailer platform thousands of people use daily. This means we know this space better than anyone and we have the perfect solutions to align closely with our customers and the solutions flexible enough to grow with them.  My role is to take all that experience and the platform and grow our U.S. presence. My early focus has been on identifying the right team to execute our growth plans. We want to be the market leader in the U.S. in the next three years – just like we’ve done in the UK –  so getting the right people in the right spots was critical.  We quickly assessed the skills of the U.S. team and made changes that were necessary in order to provide the right focus on customer success. Next, we set out to completely rebuild dotmailer’s commercial approach in the U.S.  We simplified our offers to three bundles, so that pricing and what’s included in those bundles is transparent to our customers.  We’ve heard great things about this already from clients and partners. We’re also increasing our resources on customer success and support.  We’re intensely focused on ease of on-boarding, ease of use and speed of use.  We consistently hear how easy and smooth a process it is to use dotmailer’s tools.  That’s key for us – when you buy a dotmailer solution, we want to onboard you quickly and make sure you have all of your questions answered right away so that you can move right into using it.  Customers are raving about this, so we know it’s working well.

  1. What early accomplishments are you most proud of from your dotmailer time so far?

I’ve been at dotmailer for eight months now and I’m really proud of all we’ve accomplished together.  We spent a lot of time assessing where we needed to restructure and where we needed to invest.  We made the changes we needed, invested in our partner program, localized tech support, customer on-boarding and added customer success team members.  We have the right people in the right roles and it’s making a difference.  We have a commercial approach that is clear with the complete transparency that we wanted to provide our customers.  We’ve got a more customer-focused approach and we’re on-boarding customers quickly so they’re up and running faster.  We have happier customers than ever before and that’s the key to everything we do.

  1. You’ve moved the U.S. team to a new office. Can you tell us why and a bit about the new space?

I thought it was very important to create a NY office space that was tied to branding and other offices around the world, and also had its own NY energy and culture for our team here – to foster collaboration and to have some fun.  It was also important for us that we had a flexible space where we could welcome customers, partners and resellers, and also hold classes and dotUniversity training sessions. I’m really grateful to the team who worked on the space because it really reflects our team and what we care about.   At any given time, you’ll see a training session happening, the team collaborating, a customer dropping in to ask a few questions or a partner dropping in to work from here.  We love our new, NYC space.

We had a spectacular reception this week to celebrate the opening of this office with customers, partners and the dotmailer leadership team in attendance. Please take a look at the photos from our event on Facebook.

Guests and the team at dotmailer's new NYC office warming party

Guests and the team at dotmailer’s new NYC office warming party

  1. What did you learn from your days in the start-up space that you’re applying at dotmailer?

The start-up space is a great place to learn. You have to know where every dollar is going and coming from, so every choice you make needs to be backed up with a business case for that investment.  You try lots of different things to see if they’ll work and you’re ready to turn those tactics up or down quickly based on an assessment of the results. You also learn things don’t have to stay the way they are, and can change if you make them change. You always listen and learn – to customers, partners, industry veterans, advisors, etc. to better understand what’s working and not working.  dotmailer has been in business for 18 years now, and so there are so many great contributors across the business who know how things have worked and yet are always keen to keep improving.  I am constantly in listening and learning mode so that I can understand all of the unique perspectives our team brings and what we need to act on.

  1. What are your plans for the U.S. and the sales function there?

On our path to being the market leader in the U.S., I’m focused on three things going forward: 1 – I want our customers to be truly happy.  It’s already a big focus in the dotmailer organization – and we’re working hard to understand their challenges and goals so we can take product and service to the next level. 2 – Creating an even more robust program around partners, resellers and further building out our channel partners to continuously improve sales and customer service programs. We recently launched a certification program to ensure partners have all the training and resources they need to support our mutual customers.  3 – We have an aggressive growth plan for the U.S. and I’m very focused on making sure our team is well trained, and that we remain thoughtful and measured as we take the steps to grow.  We want to always keep an eye on what we’re known for – tools that are powerful and simple to use – and make sure everything else we offer remains accessible and valuable as we execute our growth plans.

  1. What are the most common questions that you get when speaking to a prospective customer?

The questions we usually get are around price, service level and flexibility.  How much does dotmailer cost?  How well are you going to look after my business?  How will you integrate into my existing stack and then my plans for future growth? We now have three transparent bundle options with specifics around what’s included published right on our website.  We have introduced a customer success team that’s focused only on taking great care of our customers and we’re hearing stories every day that tells me this is working.  And we have all of the tools to support our customers as they grow and to also integrate into their existing stacks – often integrating so well that you can use dotmailer from within Magento, Salesforce or Dynamics, for example.

  1. Can you tell us about the dotmailer differentiators you highlight when speaking to prospective customers that seem to really resonate?

In addition to the ones above – ease of use, speed of use and the ability to scale with you. With dotmailer’s tiered program, you can start with a lighter level of functionality and grow into more advanced functionality as you need it. The platform itself is so easy to use that most marketers are able to build campaigns in minutes that would have taken hours on other platforms. Our customer success team is also with you all the way if ever you want or need help.  We’ve built a very powerful platform and we have a fantastic team to help you with personalized service as an extended part of your team and we’re ready to grow with you.

  1. How much time is your team on the road vs. in the office? Any road warrior tips to share?

I’ve spent a lot of time on the road, one year I attended 22 tradeshows! Top tip when flying is to be willing to give up your seat for families or groups once you’re at the airport gate, as you’ll often be rewarded with a better seat for helping the airline make the family or group happy. Win win! Since joining dotmailer, I’m focused on being in office and present for the team and customers as much as possible. I can usually be found in our new, NYC office where I spend a lot of time with our team, in customer meetings, in trainings and other hosted events, sales conversations or marketing meetings. I’m here to help the team, clients and partners to succeed, and will always do my best to say yes! Once our prospective customers see how quickly and efficiently they can execute tasks with dotmailer solutions vs. their existing solutions, it’s a no-brainer for them.  I love seeing and hearing their reactions.

  1. Tell us a bit about yourself – favorite sports team, favorite food, guilty pleasure, favorite band, favorite vacation spot?

I’m originally from Yorkshire in England, and grew up just outside York. I moved to the U.S. about seven years ago to join a very fast growing startup, we took it from 5 to well over 300 people which was a fantastic experience. I moved to NYC almost two years ago, and I love exploring this great city.  There’s so much to see and do.  Outside of dotmailer, my passion is cars, and I also enjoy skeet shooting, almost all types of music, and I love to travel – my goal is to get to India, Thailand, Australia and Japan in the near future.

Want to find out more about the dotfamily? Check out our recent post about Darren Hockley, Global Head of Support.

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.dotmailer.com