In this podcast installment, Lon Safko talks about email deliverability, testing, and spam. If you’re struggling to get your messages through, this episode of Cracking the Code of Marketing Automation should make its way on to your playlist right away.
You can watch the video or follow the transcript below. And in case you’ve missed the previous parts, just use these links below to re-watch them in your spare time.
If you have any comments or questions for Lon or Michal, just reach out in the comments section below.
Transcript: cracking the code of marketing automation pt. 4
Michal Leszczynski: Coming back to the topic of starting out with marketing automation, are there any important aspects you believe people should keep in mind, rather than being brave and believing in themselves?
Lon Safko: Well you know, we kind of talked about a lot of them. If someone can just pause,
this is going to be on demand so replay it, and start making a list of the most important things: be succinct, you know, keep your ideas as tight as possible, don’t use multiple links, use images. By the way, scale down images, don’t put in a 2.5-3-megabyte image, that’s going to kill the server.
And, by the way, a lot of corporations, if they see that the content of an email is relatively large, they’ll block all the emails going into that server, so keep it down to 72 DPI, keep the images relatively small. But, images do aid in that conversion, so do that and just remember some of the rules that we talked about. You know, try not to sell, just get them to move from the email into a position where you can actually give them more time, like on a web page to learn more about the product and reasons why they should purchase it.
ML: I personally don’t like the fact that people put too much, too many heavy graphics into the emails, especially if maybe you’re traveling somewhere, you’re struggling with the internet connection on your mobile phone, and then, you know…
LS: Trying to view these on mobile phones are just a hassle. Especially when they’re large because they eat up your data and they don’t fit on the screen, it messes up the formatting of the email, and by the way, if there’s one thing that you have to be aware of, everybody listening, responsive templates for goodness sakes! There are 42 OS operating platforms, there’s 42 of them, but one responsive template will take care of all of that. Reformat your emails, people don’t even think about it, they think about the website being responsive but they forget that most email goes out in HTML format.
ML: Absolutely right, yet the biggest pain for myself, I think, is that even if the email does scale a little bit, but there’s a phone number in the message, and you cannot click on it, you cannot dial in straight away, I hate that. Especially if it’s something important, like it’s a message from a bank and you want to call them up and it doesn’t work, and you need to type it in manually, jumping between two different screens, that’s not ideal.
LS: See, and that’s only going to make your customers uncomfortable and possibly angry, so how do you think you’re going to start this relationship of trust where – that’s going to convert to revenue – if you’re going to build this relationship of trust, don’t start it by making them angry and inconveniencing them. And often that’s what our emails are doing, so test them yourself. We don’t do enough testing, either get everybody in your office and get all your friends and send it to them and see that it works on all the different platforms. iPhone might be big in the United States but it’s not big outside of the United States, Samsung is huge and there’s a lot of other manufacturers that are much bigger than the iPhone outside of the US.
ML: Sure and everyone who’s listening in, you’ve heard Lon speaking on the fact that you should be setting it [your newsletter] up at 10 a.m. on Tuesday morning, please don’t start preparing that email 10 minutes beforehand. Let’s do it the day before or even on Friday if it’s possible, so when you develop it, put equal an amount of effort into testing.
LS: Excellent advice, that’s right, don’t do 10 minutes before and then think about testing, because that’s not…
ML: I think that many people still do that. And if you know your audience well, the ones that will click through will probably be the ones that are angry and want to complain. They aren’t the ones that will buy from you straight away.
LS: Yeah and don’t forget that it’s very easy for each of them to just report spam. Google takes it very, very seriously and if you get several spam reports you’re done, you won’t go through Google. Amazon email servers are very, very strict, they’ll shut you down. And I’m sure GetResponse too because you guys are white hat, right? You want to tell everybody what white hat is?
ML: Well you know, we will tell you that you should be sending out only to emails that you’ve collected yourself, that they’ve told you they want to be on your list, and if they don’t want to be on your list, they’ll have to be able to do it through the unsubscribe link, which by the way is automatically added at GetResponse. But make it obvious when they’re signing up to your list – what will they be receiving in the future, so this is the sort of a project you should be taking on.
I think that deliverability isn’t getting enough attention, I know we’ve been trying to educate our audience about it but people think, well many marketers think, that it’s okay because people just unsubscribe. They will not unsubscribe but they will click “mark as spam” or just reporting you to one of the companies that fight against spam, so like Spamcop or Spamhouse. And once you’re fighting with them your messages aren’t going to go through. If your deliverability goes down by 50 percent, that’s half of your emails not going through and the rest will probably end up in the junk folder. So the deliverability and taking care of your audiences’ preferences are very important here.
LS: There are 99 blacklists, there are actually 99 lists out there that all of the email service providers check and if you’re on even a couple of the lists, then you’re just blacklisted, you’re just not going to go through and yeah, exactly what you said even at 50-percent you’re going through, you’re trying to maximize your conversion anyway so if you’re hitting 15-, 16-, 17-percent conversion, but 50 percent of your emails are going into the spam folders then you’re wasting your time.
The other thing is that a lot of these blacklists, when you get blocked, they don’t tell you that you’ve been blocked so you don’t even know if you think you’re doing a great job but you can’t understand why your conversion rate is so poor, so you have got to follow the rules. And you mentioned the unsubscribe link, the United States has had the Can-Spam Act since 2014 and Canada passed theirs, which is even stricter, excuse me 2004 in the US and 2014 in Canada, and in Canada, you can get fined up to 10 million dollars per message, per message! So if you send out 10,000 messages, that’s 10 million dollars times 10,000, now so that’s why you need an email service provider that provides that unsubscribe link.
ML: Yeah that’s what we provide, a link for our customers and we have the Deliverability Team that manages the reputation for us and for our customers. But of course we need to be in touch with the customers as well, to educate them about how they should be building their lists and messages and it’s not easy with that many people out there, with that many marketers, you can’t just get in touch with everyone and that’s why people should be sharing this information, that sender reputation is important not only because of the business side but because of treating your audience right
LS: Absolutely because if they don’t trust you they will not buy from you. It’s this building this relationship of trust which leads to revenue and I keep saying that to everybody because that’s really what we do as marketers – we build trust, trust converts the revenue, so you’re absolutely right. Email you can either build bad reputation or you can build a good one.
ML: And reputation these days, it’s not like in the past where a few people exchanged ideas that your brand is bad and that’s it, people forgot about it. These days on the internet nothing disappears. If they give you a bad review, you might as well rebrand, change the name and everything, because it will stay there, it will not disappear ever.
LS: Absolutely, during the late 1980s there was a study that said that if some customers had a good experience they will tell between five and seven people and customers that had a bad experience will tell between 15 and 17 people, and that’s absolutely no longer true. A customer that has a bad experience won’t tell 15 people they’ll tell 15,000 or 450,000, we’re talking about word of mouth at the speed of light
ML: Yeah Facebook, Twitter, all the social media channels, they’ll share all that information
LS: Before you ever hear about it you’re already…
ML: That’s true
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