In some ways, there’s a myth surrounding email marketing. That if we build it, and keep emailing and emailing and emailing, we would be on the road to reaching our goals. Perhaps. Having a list is better than none. That is true. But blindly emailing people anything and everything can also be ineffective. In fact, it might do more harm than good. In the 9 years I’ve been doing email marketing, I’ve learned ways to build a bigger list. I learned to write better emails, create better opt-ins, ways to better connect with subscribers, and more. These are all important. One thing I never did well and frankly never given much thought to was what people DO. Part of this had to do with available technology. When I started, autoresponders were pretty awesome and they still are. Then, came the option to segment people. That was great. When the ability came to further segment people by what they clicked on the email and who opened the email. That was rather revolutionary. But now… you can make your autoresponder messages even more effective and then some. So let me back up a little and explain why I’ve been re-thinking our emails. I

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Subject line icons

Like you, I receive a lot of emails daily and some emails tend to get ignored. When an email with a subject line that get my attention comes through, you can be sure I’m paying attention. Most times, these will be forwarded to Evernote which is used to build a swipe file of great subject lines, emails and promos. This week, an interesting email landed in my inbox. Take a look. Isn’t that neat? I’m referring to the tiny steaming bowl icon at the beginning of the subject line. Actually, it looked like hot bread to me when I first saw it. Since the subject line also had the word hot in it, it totally jumped out at me. Icons in emails are not new but I’ve never seen it being used in the subject line. Only in the from name field. Here’s an example of what you would see now if you received a personal email from me. I’d seen people use this ツ smiley icon too. However in my tests, not all of them turn out. With your personal email like Gmail, more of them would work but if you’re using a newsletter email system like Aweber, only certain

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HTML Email

Designing HTML emails is not really that difficult. I’ve done it several times myself but it can sometimes feel like an impossible task if you want to make the email appear exactly the same on different email readers. If you think cross browser site design is challenging, wait till you try creating for emails. Why is it so difficult? For starters, email readers are not as sophisticated as browsers. Yes, even though some are web based like Yahoo and Gmail, they still modify your code to suit their interface. You cannot get fancy with CSS and there are a few things you should do for consistency like use good old fashioned tables for the layout and using HTML breaks and not paragraphs to create the illusion of paragraphs. The other reason, like browsers, each email client reads HTML differently and there are a lot more ways to read email than there are browsers. Windows Mail, Outlook, Mail (for Mac), Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail oh and don’t forget the numerous mobile devices from iPads to all sorts of smartphone brands. Third – your newsletter service provider. Lately, I’ve been working with 1ShoppingCart on this for a client and the bottom line, their

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Code HTML Emails The Right Way Every Time

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

In general, I’m not a huge fan of sending HTML emails. If you signed up to receive emails from me you might find that surprising – especially if you are pretty seasoned and know how to tell the difference between a pure text email and an HTML email made to look like pure text. It is true that almost every email that goes out is sent with an accompanying HTML one but I do not go fancy with it. Not like these: Must admit sometimes it is tempting to get creative like that. They look so nice. This week, I thought I’d buck the trend a little and send out a nicely formatted email. Before doing that though I decided to find out if I could use HTML5 in my emails. From experience, I know that email clients are still not as sophisticated as browsers when it comes to HTML display. There are some snazzy stuff that you can’t do, external stylesheets don’t work (as of time of writing) and positioning stuff  in your design is still best done using tables – yes, you read that right. Tables. In short, there is some art and science to coding HTML emails.

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Dynamic Email Subject Lines In Aweber

Monday, April 18th, 2011

After so many years managing email lists, we have quite a few lists in our account. Many of these lists are of a related topic. Which means at times, a particular broadcast to one list will also be relevant to many other lists. The great thing about many mailing lists (we use Aweber) is the ability to include other lists in your broadcast. We love that feature and use it regularly. There is a down side. You see, we have a habit of pre-pending our subject lines with the list or site name. Example: [TechBased] For us at least, we get fewer spam complaints that way. It’s not fool proof and may not be true for everyone. Just something we noticed in the history of our opens, click-throughs and spam reports. As you can imagine, we usually use different branding for different lists. When we do that for multiple lists – this sometimes triggers spam complaints because some people are so used to seeing emails a certain way. After some brain storming, here’s the solution we came up with. Use Global Text Snippets Global text snippets are like merge codes.  You set the text snippet and can change them any

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Puzzle Piece

Since I use Aweber for my emailing needs, forgive me if this is very Aweber-centric. If you use another mailing list service provider that offers this feature , you might be able to solve it using this method as well. What in the world is she talking about? Bear with me in order to give a complete picture, I need to back up a little bit. What is the Confirmation Success Page? This is a page you can send people to after they confirm subscription to your mailing list. This is extremely useful for freebie delivery. Without this option, you will have to deliver your freebie via email as the first autoresponder message. The down side, this email can easily get lost/buried/spam-boxed. Using this page, people won’t have to check their email again, making the overall freebie delivery process smoother. What is the Already Subscribed Page? This is a page you can send subscribers to if they are already on the list. When delivering a freebie via the confirmation success page, you also want to make it easy on the off chance, people who are already on that list, forgetting that they are on it (People do it all the

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Reduce Email Hijacking With Email Authentication

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Have you ever received bounced emails that you never sent? I bet the answer is yes. In case you don’t already know. The most likely reason you are getting these bounced email is because someone hijacked or spoofed your email address. What does it mean? Well, you know how you can enter the “From” email address when you set up your email account? You entered the right address – your own but spammers enter your address. Because the default behavior for emails is to return undelivered to the “from” address, that’s why you are receiving the bounces even though you didn’t send it. It’s a lot like sending someone a letter via snail mail and using someone else’s address instead of your own as the return address. Isn’t there a way to tell if this is in fact a hijacking and not something you’re doing wrong on your end? Yes. It involves checking the email headers. Email headers tell a lot. They have information on who – or rather which computer initiated the email. So it is a simple matter to prove you are not the one sending the email. But by then, the damage is often done :-(. How

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Quick, what’s the first thing you think of when someone says “email personalization“? If it is about using a subscriber’s name or pet’s name in the subject or greeting – then you need to upgrade your thinking. This list of 10 new, tech-powered methods of email personalization is bound to make your heart skip a little faster and totally excited about personalizing your emails again. Send specially crafted emails to only those who clicked a link or opened your last email. Send reminders or follow ups to those who didn’t click or open your last email. Send to those who clicked on the link but didn’t take action e.g. download the freebie or order your product. Send a special email to those who subscribed through a specific page. Let those who opened your last email be automatically entered into a contest/drawing. Send a special offer to those who clicked on a specific link. Followup with those who have not opened or clicked your messages in a while Reward those who are long time subscribers e.g. 6 months to over a year for being a loyal reader Email only those prospects who are referred by affiliates and help out your affiliates

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How To Segment Your List In Aweber

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009
Aweber Custom Fields

Many of you know that I have been using Aweber for a long time – about 4 years. One of the cool features that Aweber has is the ability to segment your list. Why would you want to do that when you could create multiple lists? There are pros and cons to that definitely. For one, when you create multiple lists, you end up with a lot of them and it just *seems* like your list is much smaller when you break them up like that.  Second, when you want to send one message so everyone regardless of segmentation, you can do it easily without duplicated with the ‘include list’ option but you also lose a few features like the custom signature. It’s really a matter of preference and organization. Segmenting a list makes is easier to keep different people with like interests in one list. Here’s how you do it. You will first need to create a new custom field in your list. This is achieved by going to the list >> My Lists >> Custom Fields. Add a field there, name it something that is easy for you to remember what it is. For example in the screen

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