As the world’s largest and most experienced digital marketing agency network, WSI knows a thing or two about email marketing. In this blog post, we answer the most frequently asked questions by business owners about email marketing. Let’s get started!
How do I ensure my email marketing subscription list is legal?
Before charging head-first into the effective tactic of email marketing, make sure that you comply with the relevant anti-spam and protection of privacy regulations:
What does opt-in and opt-out refer to?
Opt-in is a positive action giving user consent.
Opt-out lets a user refuse or withdraw consent.
It is best practice and email protocol that people have to opt-in, you can’t automatically opt them in and ask them to opt-out.
Is an unsubscribe message necessary?
Linking to an unsubscribe page that confirms whether the user really wants to opt out from your mailing list can also be used to convince the subscriber that they should be on your mailing list.
Opinions are divided on the necessity of this page. But, done correctly, an unsubscribe message offers insight into why readers are unsubscribing while encouraging them to re-engage.
If someone gives me their business card, is that enough to add them to an email list?
There is an option of a “soft opt-in” within the law of some areas if:
- You obtained the email address “in the course of the sale or negotiations for the sale of a product or service”,
- You only market “similar products and services”, and
- The individual is given the chance to refuse or opt out of the marketing, when you first collect the details and in every message after that.
To maintain the integrity of your list, include an opt-in box or unsubscribe link. If you’re unsure whether you can use soft opt-in, contact your WSI Consultant for more advice.
Can I buy a mailing list from a reputable email scraping source?
Email scraping uses harvesting bots to obtain lists of email addresses that are then used for bulk email or spam. While it may seem like a fast way to build your subscriber list, it’s not recommended.
Not only is it illegal in some countries, but it is a risky practice that could do tremendous harm to the reputation of your business.
As a reseller, can I treat leads from vendors as opted-in? Is it okay to pull contacts from ZoomInfo? Would you recommend creating an email list from an existing pool of active customers?
Because the requirements on collecting opt-in vary by country and region, it is best to connect with your WSI Consultant to verify this with you.
How do I integrate social media and email marketing campaigns?
Joining social media and email marketing results in a formidable marketing mix. Because they each serve different sections of your target audience, they build on each other and provide a personalized buyer’s journey for your customers:
- Have social links in each of your newsletters urging your email subscribers to follow your social media pages; encourage your social media followers to sign up for your emails.
- Promote giveaways, competitions, and other events on social media by emailing your subscribers.
- Stipulate that entry to the social media giveaway, competition, or event requires email opt-in.
- Develop trust by including social proof from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, in your emails.
How do I use social media to grow my email subscriber list?
Attracting a fan base is easy with social media. However, social media is a tricky environment, and should trends change or you are put in Facebook jail, you risk losing your followers. Rather, use social media to grow your email list:
- Steer social media followers to your opt-in page:
- Use social media to promote your premium, gated content such as eBooks, templates, online workshops, video tutorials. Link to a landing page that reveals a taster of the content – the full offering is accessible only after entering an email address.
- Host a Twitter chat that brings together like-minded individuals to discuss specific topics.
- Hold social media competitions or giveaways. Tempt followers with a high-quality image of the prizes, include a catchy hashtag, and link to a landing page where participants submit their email address to enter.
- Invite your social media followers to your live-streaming videos and webinars in exchange for their email address.
- Invest in social media advertising to quickly generate email leads. Run paid campaigns on Facebook Ads, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn where you proffer beneficial content for free in return for an email address.
- Capture leads using SlideShare’s built-in lead generation tool.
How do I re-engage an old email list?
Fact: the quality of your email list trumps its quantity. But just because a subscriber has disengaged doesn’t mean that they are a dead end. Instead, 63% of marketers said re-engagement emails were “very effective”:
- Segment your inactive subscribers.
- Determine the reason users stopped engaging:
- Not enough value for them?
- Boring or repetitive content?
- Too many emails?
- Entice disengaged contacts to return with something of value:
- Surveys or polls that make them feel heard.
- Promo codes or freebies.
- Online contests or events.
- Personalized product recommendations based on previous purchases.
Is there an automated way to allocate individuals who opt-out an inactive status?
If you’re using an EMS provider (like HubSpot, Sharpspring, VBOUT), then these platforms automatically track opt-outs and remove them from your list.
Connect with your WSI Digital Consultant if you’d like to discuss that further for your business.
How do I clean up and verify my email address list?
To maintain your reputation, improve deliverability, and increase conversions, you want an email list that targets only people who want to receive your emails.
Email scrubbing should be done every six months:
- Segment your list to identify inactive subscribers.
- Determine why they disengaged.
- Reach out to re-engage inactive subscribers.
- Delete inactive subscribers.
How do I get maximum engagement from my email marketing, e.g., high level technical people, premium clients, B2B?
- Produce dynamic content that is rich with relevant storytelling, tips, customer success stories. Most importantly, match your content to your target audience.
- Create strong subject lines – short, descriptive, intriguing.
- Segment your lists to personalize your emails for targeted connection with your subscribers.
- Schedule emails to boost your opening rate.
Do you recommend sending attachments?
Because attachments have been used to transfer viruses and malware, many spam filters block their delivery. The large file size can bounce and/or slow down mass email sends.
What about adding a video to an email?
Videos are an engaging and entertaining method of communicating with your audience. Emails including a video can:
- Increase email click-through rate by up to 300%
- Reduce unsubscribe rate by 75%
- Have a 96% higher click-through rate than those without.
What are good practices for A/B testing?
A/B testing compares different versions of a single email to measure the impact of small changes.
- Avoid results skewed by time-based factors by testing simultaneously.
- The larger the sample, the more accurate the results.
- Remove emotions and respond according to the results.
- Test early and test often for the best results.
- The most accurate results come from testing only one variable at a time.
How does viewing an email in the preview pane affect analytics?
A marketing email viewed in the preview pane will skew your analytics – but not necessarily always in the same way. It depends on the EMS, preview settings, and email platform.
Overcome the issue by maximizing the impact of the content in the preview pane:
- Strategically arrange text and design elements at the top of your emails.
- Captivate readers in by hinting at the rest of the content.
- Keep your email within a width of 600 pixels.
- Insert a table of contents.
What do I need to know about drip campaigns?
Email drip campaigns fall under marketing automation. By automatically sending emails that engage and nudge customers in response to their behavior or according to a schedule, the messages are personal and relevant.
To design a drip campaign, establish:
- Triggers are the criteria that a user needs to meet to enter the drip campaign.
- Conditions that initiate sending the next in the series, e.g., a number of days, a specific action. This is determined by the context of your drip campaign, e.g., webinar, gated content.
- Actions refer to the emails, e.g., birthday wishes, cart abandonment.
There are many marketing automation platforms from which to choose from. Your WSI Consultant can guide you according to the features and pricing structures that work for you.
Do you recommend an email software solution?
We work with a few different EMS providers (HubSpot, Sharpspring, VBOUT) but your WSI Consultant can suggest a more tailored recommendation for your business.
Can I use my own domain in the email marketing software?
If you own your own email domain, then you can link that to a service like HubSpot, Sharpspring, or VBOUT and send emails using your domain.
What CRM is recommended for small businesses?
The CRM systems we leverage with our clients are SharpSpring and HubSpot.
You have a vision. We can help make it happen. Contact your knowledgeable WSI Consultant for the best advice about email marketing and other digital marketing strategies.
About the Author – Cecilia Decima
Cecilia is a member of the Marketing & Communications team at WSI Home Office. In addition to working closely with our certified agencies, franchisees, and suppliers, Cecilia also heads up WSI’s Google Alliance Group which focuses on paid search trends and best practices.