3 Tweaks to Increase Email Open Rates

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016

Improve Outlook Email Open Rates

How important is your Subject to getting your email opened and read? Research shows that 64% of people say that they open emails because of the subject line. In this post we look at 3 things you can do immediately to get your emails opened and responded to more often.

1. Use between 6 and 10 words in the Subject Line

A survey by Retention Science found that email subject lines kept at 6-10 words result in the best open rates.

retention

A major contributing factor for this is that up to 65% of emails now get opened on mobile devices.

Since mobile devices are only able to show five or six words of the subject, it makes sense to be as brief and concise as possible.

2. Make the Subject relevant to the content of your email

Even the most effective subject line in the world merely gets your email opened. Your job is to then address the issues that the recipient is interested in.

Don’t use subject lines that get opens and then have content that is unrelated!

Don’t try and trick the reader into opening your email!

You’ll only end up training the reader to avoid your emails in the future.

3. Personalise the Subject Line (it doesn’t have to be with their name)

Personalized subject lines increase open rates by 22%.

Including personal and relevant information in the Subject Line can have a major impact on both open and response rates.

How should you personalise the Subject line?

Again use information relevant to the content.

For example:

If you are a real estate agent who has sold property to someone in (say) Christchurch, the Subject could be “Important update for Christchurch home owners”

If your business sells cars, and you sold someone a Toyota Camry, the Subject could be “Safety features in the new Toyota Camry”

You could also just use the person’s first name in the Subject.

You can these 3 tweaks on individual emails or your sales/marketing mailouts to prospects and customers.

Tip! If you are sending out sales/marketing emails using Outlook, then we recommend using Email Merge for Outlook.

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Email Merge with personalised To and (related) CC/BCC fields in Outlook

By standss · Comments ( 3 ) Thursday, October 29th, 2015

Is it possible to do an email merge with a personalized email address in the To field and one or more RELATED email addresses in the CC or BCC fields. In this post we look at why and how you can achieve this with Microsoft Outlook?

Why?

This is very useful when you need to send a copy of the same email to two or more people in the same company.

For example:

  •  You may want to send reminders for a particular event to attendees but all CC their  assistants.
  •  You may send copies of statements to your clients and CC a copy to their accounts  manager.
  • If you are running a newsletter for a school, you want to send an email to one parent and CC the other parent on it too.

In all these examples the To and CC field are related to each other i.e. there could be a different CC email address for each person you are emailing.

Before I show you how to do this in Outlook, you may be wondering…

Why not just send each person a separate copy of the same email?

The main reasons for this is that you want all recipients to be aware that the others have also received the email. They can now also do Reply-to-All on the email your sent to start a conversation if they need to.

Setup Your List

The first thing you need to do is to setup a list which contains the email address you want to use in the To field and also the email address(es) for the CC field.

For this example, I am assuming that your list is in Microsoft Excel similar to the one that I have shown below:

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Note:

  • The To field (in this case the Customer Name) can only contain ONE email address.
  • The CC field can contain multiple email addresses separated by comas or semi-colons as shown for Jane Doe above.

Merge and Send the Emails

Now it’s time to send out the emails. While there is no built-in way in Outlook to do this, you can easily do this if you are using the Outlook add-in Email Merge Pro for Outlook.

Start Outlook

Click the Email Merge Wizard button. The Wizard will guide you to creating your email and to choosing the Excel file as your data source.

When you come to the following screen, click the Select field’s hyperlink.

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Click CC/BCC and then select the field that your CC email address is in.

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Click OK to return to the Wizard.

Follow the rests of the steps of the Wizard to send out the email.

Email Merge will create a separate email for each person, with the correct file attached to each one.

Our customers have used Email Merge to increase sales and to provide better support to their customers. Please share your own ideas in the comments below.

Related articles:

You can use this with our earlier article on setup your spreadsheet to email merge a different attachment to each person in Outlook.

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Email Merge a different file to each person in Outlook.

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Monday, October 12th, 2015

A reader asked… How can I do an email merge in Outlook and send each person a customized attachment (PDF)?

In this post I discuss why you may want to do this and the easiest way to get it done.

Why?

Existing Outlook users are using this feature to provide their customers a more personalized service in several ways.

An accounting firm generates PDFs of customized tax reminders for their clients and then uses Email Merge to distribute the correct report to each customer

  1. Another professional services firm creates personalized invoices in PDF format and then uses Email Merge to send them out.
  2. An investment company sends out recommendations to their clients using this technique.

I am sure that you can come up with your own ways to use this to better serve your own customers.

Setup your list

The first thing you need to do is setup a list which contains the email addresses of the people you wish to contact, and the names of the file that will be sent to them. In this example I am assuming that you will do this using Excel.

Simply add a field (column) to the excel sheet which has the full name (with path) of the file that you wish to send as shown below.

test 3

(You can use Excel formulas to make up the file name if they follow some kind of rule)

Merge and Send the Emails

Now it’s time to send out the emails. While there is no built-in way in Outlook to do this, you can easily do this if you are using the Outlook add-in Email Merge Pro for Outlook.

Start Outlook

Click the Email Merge Wizard button. The Wizard will guide you to creating your email and to choosing the Excel file as your data source.

When you come to the following screen, click the Select field’s hyperlink.

test 2

Click Attachments and tick the name of the field that contains the file name.

test 1

Click OK to return to the Wizard.

Follow the rests of the steps of the Wizard to send out the email.

Email Merge will create a separate email for each person, with the correct file attached to each one.

Our customers have used Email Merge to increase sales and to provide better support to their customers. Please share your own ideas in the comments below.

Not a user of Email Merge PRO for Outlook yet?

Download a fully-functional version today

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Are your prospects DELETING your sales emails during the morning purge!

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

You greatly increase the chances that your sales email will be deleted (without being read) if you send it in time for the morning purge. In this post we explain what the morning purge is… and what you can do to avoid it.

What is the morning purge?

Recent statistics show that the first thing that people do when they wake up is check their smart phones (after the alarm on the same smart phone wakes them up). Some jump straight to Facebook but many people that you are writing to take the first few minutes to prioritize their emails.

Does this sound familiar?

You wake up. You look at the big list of emails that has landed in your Inbox while you were sleeping.

You’re not awake enough to start working on the big stuff yet but you can get organized for when you get into the office.

So you skim through your emails and delete out the stuff that is not too important. You want a more manageable workload when you get into the office.

You DELETE! You PURGE! … and you’re not alone.

Millions of people do the exact same thing every morning.

Is your email really important enough to survive the morning purge?

If you’re responding to something that someone specifically asked for then your email is probably going to survive but…

If you’re sending out more cold-calling like sales and marketing emails while people are sleeping (or after they have left work) then chances are they’re being deleted without being read.

What you need to do to get your sales and marketing emails past the morning purge?

If sales and marketing is part of your job description then you NEED to get those cold-call-like emails opened and read.

The secret to surviving the morning purge is simple.

Make sure that your email gets delivered to your customers and prospects AFTER the morning purge.

This means that the best time to send your emails are after they have left home and some time while they are in the office.

But be careful… because there is another purge session that emails go through immediately after lunch… so don’t send your emails during lunch time either.

Want to know more tips like this?

How to Improve Responses to your emails with clear calls to action?

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

Are you happy with the response rates to your sales and marketing emails? You can greatly improve the number of responses if you stop giving your readers too many choices.

What are response rates?

The response rate you get is the percentage of people who actually respond to your emails. Obviously the higher your response rate, the more people are actually reading your emails and doing what you want.

What is a Call to Action?

It must be very clear to recipients what they need to do after they read your email.

Why are you sending out your email? What do you want recipients to do? Do you want them to call you? Do you want them to email you? Do you want them to click on a link? Do you want them to reply?

If possible, only ask readers to do one thing… or at least have the one main thing you want them to do extremely obvious.

Why a SINGLE call to action is better?

Research shows that when people have to choose between several options (that may all be better than doing nothing), they very often still do nothing.

We all fool ourselves by deferring action… saying that we will make a decision once we have more time. The problem however is that your unresponded email soon sinks down the Inbox and may never get responded to.

In summary…

Try and have ONE VERY CLEAR CALL TO ACTION in your emails.

What are some other things you can do to improve response rates

1. Send each person a separate personally addressed email instead of stuffing many email addresses in the To, CC or BCC fields. Research shows that personally addressed emails are more like to get past SPAM folders and into Inboxes.

You can use an addin like Email Merge for Outlook to automate this instead of typing each email manually.

This makes your email look less like SPAM and more like an email from a real person.

2. Add a P.S. after your signature.

Restate the benefits of what you are selling and the call to action. Readers often scroll to the end of the email instead of reading the whole thing.

What are some other things that you do to increase response rates? Please share your ideas with other readers by leaving a comment below.

Contact Segmentation: Increasing response rates to your sales and marketing emails in Outlook

By standss · Comments ( 2 ) Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

Many email marketers who use Microsoft Outlook rarely focus on the one thing that that almost always results in increased responses: contact list segmentation. In this post I am going to show you how you can use Outlook categories to segment your contacts.

What is segmentation and why does it work?

Segmentation basically means dividing your email list into smaller groups (or segments). Each contact can be part of one or more segments.

So why does segmentation work? It allows you to give your contacts more personalized attention.

You are now able to send out more specific emails targeted to people who are interested in that particular topic. This always results in higher open rates, click rates and response rates.

It also means less annoyed customers received emails on topics that they are not interested in.

How to you segment your list?

We will use Categories (a feature built into Outlook) to segment our contacts.

1.       Make a list of the Segments (Categories) that you will use

What are the key elements to distinguish your customers? It could be product, company size, region… whatever makes sense to your business.

Make a list of these segments. For example, we have a range of products at Standss that are reasonably different. We could therefore segment our list based on products.

  • Email Merge PRO for Outlook
  • Quick File for Outlook
  • Send Guard for Outlook
  • Email Tags for Outlook
  • eeminders for Outlook
  • Email Notes for Outlook

I also like to keep a separate segment of our Volume License Customers since they have further requirements for deployment, control and support.

Volume License Customers

2.       Add the Categories to Outlook’s Master List (of Categories)

Go to your Contacts folder in Outlook.

Right-click over a contact and click Categorize and then click All Categories.

Click New and enter the Name of your category. You can also choose a color if you want but I generally select None. Click OK.

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Hint: You will see that I have named my category ml_EmailMerge instead of just EmailMerge. I use the ml_ in front of all my segment names to indicate that they are my mailing list categories. The master category list appears in all parts of Outlook (emails, appointments, tasks etc). By putting the ml_ in front of my mailing list categories, I can get them to appear together in the list when they are displayed alphabetically.

3.       Assign your contacts to the relevant segments.

Go to your Contacts folder in Outlook.

Right-click over a contact and click Categorize.

You can click the category from the list or you can click All Categories and then select multiple categories for a contact if you want.

Repeat for all relevant contacts.

Viewing Your Various Segments

Once you have your contacts segmented, you will need Outlook to show you the contacts by segment so that you can use them easily.

Go to your Contacts Folders.

Click on the View Tab and Click on Categories (which will be in the Arrangement group)

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Your contacts will now be displayed grouped by Categories. Contacts will be displayed more than once if they are in more than one category.

Or….

You can simply type the name of the Category in the Outlook Search box and only matching contacts will be shown

How to use your Categories/Segments in Sales and Marketing Emails

The next time you need to send out an email that is relevant only to a particular segment, display the list of contacts in the segment as explain above.

Then create your email and send it out only to the people in that segment.

I guarantee that you will get much better responses rates… and you will also get less emails from annoyed contacts asking to be removed from your list (since you will only be contacting people who are genuinely interested in your email).

Fine-Tuning Outlook emails to segments (Better Responses in Less Time)

If you want to get even better response rates, you should send out personally addressed emails to your contacts.

This means that each email should only have one contact’s name in the To field. You may even want to personalise the email with the contact’s name and other details.

This can be time-consuming to do if you try and do it by hand.

We recommend Email Merge Pro for Outlook. Email Merge Pro installs inside Outlook and uses a step-by-step Wizard to quickly create and send out personalized emails to selected contacts.

Best of all, the emails will still be sent out from Outlook instead of looking like emails from a mailing service. This is extremely important, particularly if you are dealing with larger customers.

Email Merge Pro has full support for Categories so that you can easily send out emails to segments when you need to.

Learn more and download a trial version of Email Merge Pro for Outlook addon.

Reasons why you should avoid using BCC for emails + Alternative Solution

By standss · Comments ( 6 ) Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Outlook users BCC emails for two main reasons… sending sales/marketing emails or sending someone a copy of the email without letting the other recipients know. We strongly recommend that you DON’T use the BCC field for either purpose. Why?

  • Your sales/marketing emails will probably get caught in SPAM filters: Stuffing the TO/CC/BCC field with email addresses makes your email look like spam and it might be caught by the SPAM filters, which means your recipients might never receive your email about an important announcement/sale/event etc.
  • Your sales/marketing email might not get read even if it gets past the spam filter (because it looks too much like a sales email to the recipient)
  • If you used BCC to keep a recipient hidden from others, imagine what would happen if the hidden recipient did a reply-to-all! Suddenly the other recipients would be aware that you had been using BCC and depending on the nature of the email conversation, this may be viewed as dishonest or sneaky.

What to do instead of using the BCC field?

Send Personalized Individual emails (Marketing or Sales emails)

Your emails have a better chance of reaching the recipients inbox if it is personalized and addressed to that person.

You can either send the same email to the recipients one at a time (compose a new email and copy paste the content) which would be time consuming… or

You can use an easy mail merge tool like Email Merge for Outlook to send out personalized individual copies of the email to each recipient. Each recipient will get a personalized copy of the email which is addressed only to him/her.

Forward Emails (when you need to hide a recipient from the others)

If you need to send someone a copy of an email without others knowing about it, don’t BCC them on it. Instead send the email out to the “disclosed” list of recipients. Then forward a copy of the Sent email to the “hidden” recipient. Now if the hidden recipient reply’s to the email, the reply will only come to you.

Avoid accidental Reply-To-Alls yourself

If you or others in your organization are dealing with confidential information that you are BCCed on, you might want to also look at Send Guard for Outlook to avoid doing an accident Reply-to-all yourself!

Send Guard has special filters that check emails as you respond to them and as they are sent out.

A special prompt will warn you and ask for confirmation if you reply to an email on which you have been BCCed.

This can avoid the accidental disclosure to other recipients that we referred to earlier.

I hope you find this tip useful.

If you know of other email abuses or ways to avoid email abuses, share it with us by leaving a comment below

Related Posts:

How to create NON-SPAM emails that get opened and read

When to BCC Emails in Outlook

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Mail Merge from Outlook to Microsoft Access

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Monday, July 14th, 2014

Do you have lists in Microsoft Access that you need to send sales or marketing emails to? You can now email merge directly from Outlook using data stored in Microsoft Access.

Mail Merge is the process of taking one letter (or email) and then personalizing and sending it out to many people. Each person gets a separate copy of the email with only their own name on the To field. The email subject and body can also be personalized with their details.

Thousands of users have been using our best selling addin Email Merge PRO for Outlook to send out sales and marketing emails from Outlook using Outlook data or lists saved in Excel spreadsheets.

We have now updated Email Merge PRO so that you can also use data from Microsoft Access databases.

Email Merge gives you an easy step-by-step Wizard that results in individual personalized emails.

email_merge_access

If you’re an existing user of Email Merge PRO, you can download the update for free.

If you haven’t tried it yet, download a functional trial of Email Merge PRO from our website.

Send Holiday Season Invites, Greeting and Newsletters via Email/Fax/Traditional Post

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Friday, November 29th, 2013

Holiday season is here starting with Thanksgiving and Black Friday this week.

This is the time of the year when businesses and individuals need to send out holiday season invites for parties/events… greetings to families, friends, colleagues and clients.

Most companies also send out newsletters during the year end to update their clients/members of the achievement for the year, plans for the New Year, and special offers for the holiday seasons etc.

Depending on your contact list, the best way to send out your invites, greetings or newsletters this year may be using email, fax or post/hand delivery.

Most of these mailing can be considered “mass mailing” i.e. we want to send copies of the same mail to everyone… possibly customized with their name and address at most.

Microsoft Outlook and Word have some built-in features that automate this process for you. In addition we have built our own tools to further speed up and simplify the process for you.

In this post I’ll discuss both, the built in free way as well as our own addins.

Send Personalized email Invites, Greetings and Newsletters directly from Outlook.

I am going to start with what I consider to be the easiest, fastest and most powerful way of doing this… our own EmailMerge PRO for Outlook.

Seeing is believing so check out this short video on how to send out Invites, Greetings and Newsletters using EmailMerge Pro.

Send unlimited emails to unlimited number of contacts directly from Outlook. EmailMerge supports HTML emails so don’t hold back in creating beautiful and colourful emails this Christmas season 🙂

We also have built-in email templates for invites, greetings and newsletters. You can easily customize this emails to suit your style and personalize it yourself. You don’t have been be an expert at HTML, you can customize this templates using the standard word formatting options in Outlook.

“I have found emailmerge pro the most useful tool in my marketing armoury! It is simple to use, has some great options for sending emails and is of great value to any businesses wanting a mass email facility.”
– Lori Hope, Spraytanz Ltd
“Emailmerge Pro is a fantastic tool to personalize emails for large or small groups of people. The ability to mail merge gives you unlimited abilities to create very personalized emails. I use it to improve communication to groups ranging from 8 – 1000+.”
– Jack Fiscus, first Baptist Orlando

 

How to Fax out Invites, Greetings and Newsletters.

Despite what many people will have you believe, Faxing is not dead.

In fact in terms of deliverability, it can beat email – there is almost no chance that your fax won’t get delivered because of an over-zealous spam filter.

You can use Microsoft Word and the free fax printer that comes with Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7 to send out personalized faxes to your customers this year.

The Bad News: Windows Fax and MS Word don’t talk easily to each other out of the box.

The Good News: Fax4Word allows you to fax merge straight from Word to the Windows Fax printer.

View more information on Fax for Word

How to Print Letters and Envelopes for Posting and Hand Delivery

Even if you will be sending paper based mail this year, technology can help you.

Here are step-by-step instructions to:

Use mail-merge in Word with Outlook data to create and print personalized letters

Use mail-merge in Word with Outlook data to print mailing labels and envelopes

I hope you find the above information helpful in staying in touch with friends, families and clients this year.

Happy Thanksgiving and Black Friday to all our readers.

Enjoy your Holidays but keep an eye on your inbox next week Monday for some great offers on our outlook addins to celebrate this holiday season.

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Improving Sales Conversion Rate for Emails using Outlook Categories

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

A recent email marketing case study by Marketing Sherpa showed a 208% higher conversion rate for targeted mailing (instead of batch-and-blast). Here’s why and how you can use categories in Outlook to do this yourself.

What do we mean by targeted email marketing

Do you send out email newsletters to your contacts? The case study shows that  you can get much higher conversion rates and revenue if you create emails for particular segments of your list.

How did they do this?

  1. They targeted a high value segment. We’ll show you how to segment your list using categories.
  2. They created a message that met the specific needs of the segment instead of a more general message. Your recipients are more likely to be interested in something specific to them.
  3. They used a more personal tone in the email.
  4. They made the customers feel special by personalizing the email’s subject and greeting with the person’s first name. (You can do this from inside Outlook using an addon such as Email Merge)

Using Categories to Segment Your Contacts

Outlook has a feature called categories that you can use to group contacts into segments. Each contact can have as many segments as you want.

If you are using Email Merge PRO for Outlook software, the Email Merge Wizard lets you assign categories, create individual addressed emails, personalize them and send them out in one step.

If you are NOT using Email Merge PRO for Outlook…. You can use the following steps to put your contacts into a particular category.

  • Go to your Contacts folder.
  • Select the contacts that you want to put in the same category.
  • Right click on a contact and click Categorize.
  • Select the category that you want (or click All Categories to use the resulting screen to add and assign a new category).
  • Repeat the above steps for each contact

Send emails to a category of Contacts

Unfortunately there is no easy way built into Outlook to do the type of personalized segmented email blast described in the case study.

If you want to do it the hard way, you could create a separate email for each contact in your category and then send it out manually.

The significantly easier solution is to use a tool like Email Merge for Outlook that will let you create personalized individually addressed emails for each person in your Outlook category.

Email Merge will let you choose your contacts, write your email, create your category and send out your emails… all from an easy-to-use Wizard… inside Outlook.

emailmerge categories

Check out the short demo video on our website or test drive Email Merge Pro by downloading the 30 day trial today.

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