If you’ve been watching your email open rates spiral down, down, down and you are ready to jump ship to a new email service provider because you think it’s their fault, stop, hold on. I’ve got three things to try today before you jump ship on your email service provider. Also, if you wait until the end of the show, I’ve got information about a new tool you can download for free to increase the engagement of your email list.
Recently, I had somebody contact me because they wanted me to help move them to a new email service provider. As I started to dig deeper on why they wanted to move to this new email service provider, the truth came was that they weren’t happy with their open rates and they were blaming in this case Constant Contact for their lower and lower open rates. I’m not a huge fan of Constant Contact, but I don’t think it’s Constant Contact’s fault. I suggested a few things that they should do before they jump ship. They really didn’t even want to leave Constant Contact. They were happy with it. They liked it. But like I said, they were watching their email open rates go down, down, down, and they were no longer happy with the results they were getting.
Now I so happen to be on this person’s list and so I see the emails that come out. I knew pretty much instantly that this was not a Constant Contact issue. I have three things you can try if you’re in the same position where you are watching your open rates dwindle and you’re blaming your email service provider. First of all, let’s just say that the email service provider nowadays accounts for less and less of your delivery and open rates than you do. In the old days, it was all about the quality of the server and whether or not they could get that message through to your subscribers.
Today, pretty much everybody has the same delivery. If you look at all the major players in the email service provider space, they can all get your email delivered, but it’s the content of the email that is really going to determine whether or not it makes it through spam filters, makes and gets opened. It’s not so much up to your email service provider. There are technical things and there are things that they control, but usually, if there’s an issue, they will fess up and say, “Hey, we had a problem. We had a blacklisted server for a day or two days and we got it taken care of.” My experience, they’re always pretty quick to say, “Hey, it’s our fault and we’re working on it, we’re fixing it.”
Most of them will help you fix the issues with your emails, even if it’s not their fault, because they’re so used to people saying it is their fault. They’re willing to jump in and defend themselves by helping you get better delivery and open rates. All that said, deliver and open rates, it’s in your hands. You control it more than anyone else, so here’s three things you can do to up your open rates and your delivery.
Number one: scrub your list. What does that mean? What does it mean to scrub your list? Well, there are services out there that you can send your email list to. You download all of the email address into a CSV file and you upload those to a service and they run it through their database and they check every email address against their database. They ping the email address to see if it really exists. They look to see if it’s on known bot lists, so spam traps and such. They will check it against their known lists of bad email addresses that you don’t want to mail to. For instance, I had one client. Once I ran their lists through a service, came back with 25 known spam traps. Well, hey, as soon as we got rid of those spam traps, delivery went up.
When you send out an email and you’ve got 25 known spam traps on your list, that just signals to the internet service providers out there that your list is not highly engaged, that your list is not clean, that you’re not … Maybe these people didn’t want to be on there, that you’re a spammer. Let’s be honest. That’s what they’re trying to keep out of the inboxes of all their customers are the spammers. If you get labeled as a spammer, that’s a big sign. I’m mailing to a bunch of old, dead email addresses. I’m a spammer.
How do you get spam traps on your email list? Well, probably the number one way is age. You have an old list. That email address was deleted long ago. They ever on Yahoo, Gmail, and they deleted that email address, but Gmail and Yahoo, they kept that email address open and then later turned it into a spam trap. They would say, “Hey, is somebody still emailing to this person even though this is two years old, three years old?” Or they will seed it out there so that they put it in places where they know people who are scraping and taking email addresses unethically are going to grab that email address and start emailing to it. That’s a big red flag. We know that that is a … You scrape that from some list on a website somewhere, so they obviously didn’t opt in.
If that’s the case, If you have one of those on your list, and you might have one of those because it used to be old and then they turned it into something and now it’s on there. The other way you can get it is just somebody mistypes their email address when they put it in. They are off by a digit, they were just off, and they typed in a bad address, which happens to be a spam trap. You can get these things on your list even if you’re careful. Definitely if it’s an old list, you need to be checking that list. You can send your list to a service and they will send it back and say, “Hey, these are all the good, valid email addresses. These are the spam traps. These are the iffy ones. I’m not sure we would mail to these.” They have all different categories of status of whether or not you should email to them, these different services.
One service out there that’s pretty popular is BriteVerify, costs about a penny an email to send a list through them. I also have my own service that I use that’s again about a penny a list to send through them. It’s not expensive to take your list and make sure that it’s valid. You want to do that … For my customers, I’m doing it monthly, but for … That’s something you probably want to do at least once a quarter, if you’re adding a lot of things. Definitely once a year, you don’t want to let it go that long. You want to be checking to make sure that you still have good email addresses. Just a hard bounce does not say whether or not that is a bad address to be mailing to. There’s so many more categories than just a hard bounce. These services will tell you hard bounce too, but probably your email service provider is as well.
That’s thing number one you want to do if you’re having delivery issues, open rates, you’re watching them decline, is scrub your list. Number two that you want to do: content. Take a look at the content of your emails. If you were receiving that email, would you want to open it? Would you care? If you are just sending out over and over and over again buy my stuff, buy my stuff, buy my stuff, buy my stuff, and they don’t want to buy your stuff, you’re just training them not to open your emails anymore. They see that from and they just say, “I don’t need that. I know what’s in that one: buy my stuff.” If there’s no value in that email, sure, we have to sell, right? That’s the whole point of having email and sending out emails is we want to sell stuff, but we need to mix that in with some value and whether it’s value in the email that says buy my stuff or it’s value, value, value and then buy my stuff, you have to mix it up.
The content, make sure it’s something that people would want to have as well as just mix it up once in a while. If it’s always predictable, if it’s always the same things, whether it’s value or buy my stuff, if you don’t mix it up once in a while, again, people get bored and then they start looking at that from address and say, “I don’t … Yup, him again, her again. I don’t need that.” They just they tune you out. Content, that’s probably the number one thing you can do is if your stuff is interesting, they are going to open it.
Number three: segment your list. The one I was telling you about, that called me that wanted me to move them to a new email service provider, ironically the day before they contacted me, I received five emails from them in one day, five emails. Most of them were buy my stuff. I shouldn’t have gotten all five of those emails. Not everyone on your list should get every single email you send out. People have different interests. Some of those things, of the five emails they sent out, some of them I might have been interested in, not all five. Clearly, some of them did not pertain to me. Things that I would never be interested in just because of my demographic or my interests or the business I’m in. I never would have been interested in all five of those things. I’m sure 90% of their list was not interested in all five of those things.
Just the sheer volume of sending out five emails in a day, sometimes there’s a purpose for that. If you’ve got a webinar or you got an event you’re trying to remind them of, or you’re doing a launch and we’re coming down to the wire and you want to make sure they know that the cart is closing, there’s a times to have five emails in a day. But just a general, run of the mill day to send out five emails to the same person, kind of gets overwhelming. I’m surprised a lot of people aren’t unsubscribing from their list. Definitely they’re not opening, obviously, because they’ve got fatigue. They’re tired of seeing that from address.
We can prevent that by segmenting the list, taking the people that would be interested in subject and only sending them the email about subject A. We don’t send it to the whole list. If I’ve got a product that only applies to women, I don’t need to send it to men. They’re not going to buy it and they don’t want to see it. I’m just going to bore them if I send them stuff that doesn’t pertain to them. Now that’s a pretty black and white obviously example, but there’s so many examples like that that you can use in your business. If you’ve had somebody that’s already bought the product, you don’t need to send them an email again to say, “Hey, buy the product.” They’re going to tune you out, because they’ve already got it and if you just keep asking them and showing them the same thing, they’re not going to be interested in that because they already own it. There’s another obviously one that you can segment out. Let’s segment out buyers from non-buyers. We talked about this back in episode two, I believe it was, with Tyler Garns, so if you back and find the episode with Tyler Garns, we talked a lot about segmenting. Segmenting is a great way to increase your open rates and your engagement because you’re talking to people that want to hear about that subject.
This solo cast episode today, keeping it pretty brief, but that’s the three points that I wanted to make of things you should try before you jump ship on your email service provider and blame them for seeing lower and lower open rates. Again, that was scrub your list, review the content, are you sending value, and three, segment the list. Those are the big three you should try before you jump ship.
At the beginning of the episode, I told you about a free tool you could download to increase your engagement rates, and right now, my friend, Jean Cote, over at maddestman.com, he has come up with a dynamic image generator. In other words, you can take an image and you can modify it to each individual person on your email list. It could have their name on the email list. It could have the date they joined your membership on photo on the image. I could have an image that said like a free gift for you and with a name tag and it would have their name on the tag. Jean is experimenting with this. You may have seen these occasionally in some emails, if you’re on some big internet marketing gurus list, you’ll see these occasionally.
Jean came up with the free tool and he’s been testing it out on his own, but he’s looking for more people to give this thing a try. If you head on over to maddestman.com/splat S-P-L-A-T, maddestman.com/splat, you can download free tool to create dynamic images that you can embed in your emails and send out to your list and hopefully increase engagement. The few little test Jean has done so far, he has seen an increase in click through rate on those emails. He’s looking for more people to try it out, so if you head on over there, you can download it and give it a whirl. Then Jean and I are going to do a episode about this in the future, and so anybody that tries it out and gives him some positive results, we might use as an example on a future episode of the podcast.
Now, if you’re new to email and marketing automation and that whole dynamic image generator thing just blows your mind and seems way too advanced for you, you haven’t even figured out what email platform to start with yet, head on over to beyondtheoptin.com/quiz where you can take the quiz, tell me what you’re doing with email currently, what you want to do with email, and I will share with you the recommended email platform for you to get started on so that you can get into this whole marketing automation thing. That’s http://beyondtheoptin.com/quiz.
That’s it for today’s episode. I’ll see you next week.