I read an interesting case study today about how a company called CloudEndure achieved 58% open rate and high quality leads by sending personalized emails to prospective leads. I would recommend that you read this article as it is a perfect example of How to generate quality leads and why personalized email marketing works.
The way that we gather insight about our leads may vary from business too business but in today’s post, we will look at a simple solution that will allow you to send out personalized emails to improve your open rates and conversions.
But first let’s understand why sending personalized emails is better?
Emails sent the wrong way are MUCH more likely to be blocked by the many levels of junk email filters that we all have (even if we don’t always know they’re there).
Junk/SPAM Mail Filters have different levels of sophistication but they all follow a few basic rules including:
- An email with a lot of recipients is more likely to be spam than an email addressed to only my valid email address and…
- An email that is NOT addressed to me directly is more likely to be SPAM than one that is addressed to my email address.
Many Outlook users don’t realize the multiple levels of junk email filters stopping both junk and often real emails from getting to our Inboxes.
- Level 1 – Internet Service Provider: Most ISPs now have Junk Mail Filters setup on their servers. These filters do their work even before the email gets to our computers i.e. they remove the email to a Junk Folder that can only be accessed via the Internet.
- Level 2 – Anti Spam Software: Many users have additional anti-spam software on their computers that automatically remove and quarantine suspected spam emails.
- Level 3 – Outlook’s built-in Junk Email Filter: Finally Outlook has its own Junk Mail filter which moves suspected junk emails to Outlook’s own Junk E-mail folder.
If you’re still sending out your Sales and Marketing Emails from Outlook by putting them all in the To, CC and BCC fields of one email then guess what… your email is most likely lost in a Junk Email Folder somewhere… it is NOT reaching the Reader.
Very few users bother checking the various Junk Mail folders… if your email is getting blocked then chances are it’s going to stay blocked.
Email Merge! You can use Outlook to create and send out personalized copies of the same email to many people.
Outlook has some basic mail merge functionality built into it (it uses Word to do the merge) but this does have some limitations including:
- being harder to use
- not being able to customize the Subject line and
- not being able to send out your emails in smaller lots (which again impacts deliverability).
The easiest way to do this is using our own EmailMerge for Outlook addin. Our addin installs inside Microsoft Outlook and then provides a step-by-step Wizard that will guide you through your first email merge.
Hope you find this tip useful with your own email marketing campaigns.
Do you know of other ways to improve open rates and conversion?
Share it with our readers our leaving a comment below.
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
Adding images to your sales and marketing emails can make your emails look attractive and engaging but ONLY if the images and your well-crafted HTML email appears the same in the recipient’s inbox as you intend it too…
Using images in your marketing emails incorrectly can cause a reduction in response rates. Here’s why:
- Plain text emails get through spam filters more easily (ultimately it depends on content so your plain text emails will still get caught if you are sending out obvious spam).
- Email clients like Outlook do not display graphics in emails by default because spammers use them for tracking purposes etc. Therefore if you have your main message only in an image (without repeating it in plain text), then your readers may never actually see it.
- Many email users are now using the preview pane to scan through emails before deciding which emails deserve their attention. If you have a graphic at the top that is not meaningful then your emails may be skipped.
- Not all your readers are using the same version of Outlook as you are… in fact many may not be using Outlook at all (think Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail etc). In our experience images often cause HTML emails to display differently in different browsers which can spoil the look you want to achieve with your emails.
This is one of the main reasons that most of the professionally designed templates in our Email Merge for Outlook addin have little or no images in them. Instead we have used HTML to create a professional look that displays properly and looks great in all the email programs that your readers will be using.
I hope you find this tip useful with your email marketing campaigns this holiday season and improving your response rates.
Let us know if you have other techniques to improve the email response rate by leaving a comment below.
Do you use Outlook to reach out to prospects and customers? Here are 3 email marketing tips that will help you manage your email lists, stay clear of SPAM filter, get better responses and increase conversions.
Tip 1: Creating and Managing Email List in Outlook
If you send marketing emails, newsletters or family greetings to the same group of people, it is a good idea to create an email list.
This saves you a lot of time when sending merge email blast as you are not required to individually type in email addresses… just select the group and Outlook sends a copy of the same email to all contacts.
Tip 2: Write NON-SPAM emails that get opened and read
No one likes to receive SPAM so you really can’t blame the customers if your emails end up in their SPAM folder. Although you might feel you have written a clean legitimate email, you might want to cross check your email for some key spam avoiding points.
Tip 3: Should you use images in Outlook sales and marketing emails?
It is very easy to get carried away when adding images to your special sale or promotion emails, you want to ensure that it catches the reader’s attention… but what if he/she is not able to see it in the first place? All they see is a red X wherever you had put images…
Your creative promotional email could all of a sudden appear as SPAM to the recipient and end up in the deleted items folder… the last thing you would have expected.
Here are some tips on using Images in your sales and marketing emails.
BONUS Tip: 5 Email Marketing Tips from Real Salespeople
Finally for all the salespeople and “accidental salespeople”, here are 5 bonus email marketing tips from Real Salespeople which we learnt about in a recent interview. This tips have worked for them so we thought to share it so you can rip the best results from your sales and marketing campaigns this year.
I hope you find this tips useful
Feel free to share this tips with your friends, families or colleagues if you think it will be useful to them.
Till next time… have a better Outlook
Do you use Outlook to send out sales and marketing emails to your customers? Here’s a few tips to help your emails reach customers and not get blocked as SPAM
1. Send SEPERATE INDIVIDUALLY ADDRESSED to each person
Don’t send one email with a big list of recipients… or worse to undisclosed recipients. That’s a red flag to junk mail filter software.
Instead send separate emails so that each recipient should only see their own name in the To field of the email that they receive.
Creating separate emails for each person can take time. If you have a big list of prospects or customers you can use an Outlook addin like Email Merge PRO which will create and send separate emails to each customer.
2. Don’t use words that Spammers use.
This means avoid words like free, discount, guarantee, special offer, best price, bargain etc.
But… how can you sell something without using those word… use them… but use them once or twice only where it makes sense.
Don’t make your whole email a sales promotion. Spam filters look at how often these trigger words are used so make sure you also have other (relevant) content.
3. Send emails from your own email account.
If you’re using Outlook, you probably don’t need to worry about this one. This applies to people who try and use unknown servers or web services to send out emails.
If the recipient’s ISP detects that your email is coming from an unreliable server or if the email is coming from a different domain then your email will be blocked.
Even when your email has gotten through to the user’s Inboxes, your job is still not done. You still need to get past the main Junk Mail filter… the person reading this email.
1. Make sure that the email is individually addressed (in the To field) only to him (or her).
When I see a big list of recipients from someone who is not a personal friend (I still get some joke emails etc from friends), I assume that someone is trying to sell me something.
2. Personalise the email at the start (something like Dear Sanjay) but don’t get carried away and personalise it too many places.
3. Send the email only to people who are actually interested in what you are writing about selling etc. If you have a big list of people, you may want to segment it into smaller lists. Not everyone is interested in everything you have to offer.
(If you are using Email Merge PRO, you can group your lists into smaller segments directly from the Wizard)
4. Make the Subject line interesting enough that the user wants to open the email.
I hope that these tips help your emails deliver better results for your business.
You may also want to look at Email Merge for Outlook which has an easy-to-use Wizard that helps you send out personalized individually addressed emails. It works from inside Outlook (your recipient list can be inside Outlook or Excel…) and also has advanced features to help you segment your list etc.
Here are few simple things you can do to greatly increase the chances of getting a response to your email that are useful and on time.
1. Make sure that your email has a meaningful Subject.
Before anyone responds to your email, they have to read it… and they need to actually open your email before they can read it.
We all get too many emails these days and the email with the most important/relevant/interesting Subject gets our attention first. Everything else can wait till we have time.
If you need a response from the reader of the email, make sure that the Subject spells out the topic quickly.
A Common Mistake
One common practise that results in many many emails with the wrong Subject:
You want to write to Mr X whose email you don’t have immediately available… so you find an older email from them… and click Reply. You delete out the contents of the email and write what you want to write… but leave the old Subject.
Remember to change the Subject… or use something like Send Guard for Outlook which automatically prompts you if you try and Reply to an email that is too old (you get to decide what is too old)
2. If your email has a deadline then put the actual date/time in the Subject too.
e.g. XYZ Meeting. Please confirm if attending by 3 PM 14-Feb.
This way there is an immediate indicator to the reader if action is required quickly.
Personally I find an actual date/time in the Subject to be much more effective than putting words like URGENT. Too many spammers use those words to try and get action now.
Put in an actual date/time so it is super-obvious exactly when a response is required by.
3. Try not to ask for too many different unrelated things on one email
If it is going to take too much effort (like looking for information not immediately available) to respond to your email then the reader will probably leave it in their Inbox for later… for when they have more time.
Unless it is something that is critical for the reader (as opposed to being important to you), there’s a good chance you won’t get a response… at least not quickly.
I hope you find these tips helpful in getting better responses to your emails. If you have your own tips for getting faster and better responses, please let us know by leaving a comment on the blog.
I think Outlook’s Junk Email Folder does a fantastic job of keeping spam out of my Inbox but … occasionally real emails end up there. Here’s a quick tip to reduce the number of emails that get incorrectly moved to the Junk Email folder.
Outlook has a Safe Sender’s list. Outlook knows that anyone who is on your Safe Sender’s list is authorised to send you email.
It makes sense (most of the time) that anyone you actually write to should automatically be put on your safe sender’s list.
The ability to do this is built into Outlook but is turned off by default. To turn it on…
- Go to your Inbox.
- If you are using Outlook 2010, (on the ribbon) click File–Junk–Junk E-mail Options
For other versions of Outlook, (on the menu) click Actions – Junk Email – Junk Email Options
- Click the Safe Senders tab.
- Tick the checkbox “Automatically add people I e-mail to the Safe Senders List”.
- Click OK.
Over the last few days I have received several emails in my Outlook Inbox from LinkedIn… turns out that the emails were not from LinkedIn at all. This is the latest trick that spammers are using to get you to click on links that send you to their websites. Luckily… it is easy for Outlook users find out if a link is safe to click.
But first… What are the dangers of clicking on a spammers link?
One or more of several bad things can happen when you click on a trick link:
- You end up going to a website selling stuff you have no interest in.
- You end up telling the spammer that the email they sent you was sent to a valid email address… so they send you even more spam… and maybe sell your email address to other spammers.
- The website you end up at infects your computer with a virus or worm.
So you need to make sure that the link is real before clicking on it!
How to check to see if the link is valid?
Simply move your mouse over the link (but do not click on it).
Outlook will display the URL that the link is pointing to as shown below.
In this case, it is obvious that the link is NOT going to LinkedIn… so don’t click on it… don’t click on ANY of the links in the email… and delete the email too!
I thought I’d start this week’s blog posts on a short post on one of the most important part of emails… the Subject line. This is particularly important if you are using a tool like EmailMerge for Outlook to send out sales/marketing emails. Using inaccurate (or worse misleading) Subject lines in your emails can have positive or negative consequences.
The right Subject line can help you get a better response rate
How do you decide which emails in your Inbox need to be read now and which ones can wait till later (possibly forever as they slide further down your Inbox)?
Most people take a quick look at the sender and the Subject line. If you are a VIP to them, chances are they will open your email. Otherwise… Your Subject Line must relate to an important matter or at least an interesting matter… it must get your reader’s attention
And remember… interesting does not have to mean important… everyone looks for distractions during the day when we take breaks…. get the reader’s attention with your Subject line!
But before you try and make your Subject lines too interesting…
Misleading Subject Lines are against the CAN-SPAM Act
Your subject line, while needing to be interesting enough to get the reader’s attention, must accurately reflect the content of your message. Otherwise you could be getting yourself into some legal trouble… or at least banned to people’s junk mail folders.
I check my emails using Outlook and my IPhone but once a week I still NEED TO USE THE WEBMAIL CLIENT PROVIDED BY MY ISP! The reason is that my ISP is NOT passing all my emails to Outlook. Here’s why and what you can do about it.
Most ISPs now provide some level of SPAM Filtering. This means that many emails are moved by your ISP to an online Junk Emails folder and never make it to your Outlook.
The Good News: In my experience the majority of those emails are SPAM that you did not want to see anyway.
Bad News #1: Your ISP’s filters may stop some work related (non-spam) emails from ever getting into your Outlook.
Bad News #2: Depending on the settings at your ISP, the spam emails may keep piling up in their Junk Emails folder until it reaches the maximum quota allocated to you for your emails… at which point emails sent to you will start bouncing back.
So… you need to login to your email using the web client (URL) provided by your ISP and:
- Check the Junk Emails folder for non-spam emails.
- Clear out the Junk Emails folder so that it does not fill up.
NOTE: Another alternative is to simply turn off spam-filtering at the ISP end (generally easy to do using your ISP’s web mail client). This means that all the spam emails will come to your computer where Outlook (or other anti-spam software that you have) can filter it out.
The only reason I turned on spam filtering at my ISP is that I was getting too much rubbish on my Iphone which does not have any anti-spam software.
If you have any thoughts on this, please leave a comment on the blog.