Oops! How to Deal with Common Email Marketing Mistakes

This article was first published November 2015, updated May 2020.

As an email marketer, you’re probably aware of the myriad of mistakes you can make any time you create and send your campaign. Whether spelling mistakes, broken links, or inaccurate segments, things can go wrong for even the savviest of marketers.

This is probably why many marketers commiserate around that all-too-familiar, knee-knocking fear before pushing “send” on a campaign.

It’s inevitable that at some point a mistake will happen, so let’s take a look at some common reasons for sending ‘oops’ emails, see some real-life examples, and examine how to deal when you find yourself facing an unfortunate error.

The right template can send the right message—right when you need it.

Trying to fix a mistake is stressful. Our apology template can take the stress and time out of designing an oops email. Try out the apology template for free here.

Common email marketing mistakes

Addressing a specific mistake head on is often the best way to address these kinds of problems. See what you can do based on the type of mistake that’s made.

1. Incorrect links

It’s somewhat common to come across emails that contain broken or incorrect links. Although this may sound like a minor issue, it could cost you if the problem isn’t caught and rectified.

This is why sending a test email prior to sending out your campaign is vital. It provides you a chance to test all the elements in your email from the subject line to CTA buttons and of course, your links.

Make it a habit of clicking on every link in your test email to ensure your links go where you want them to.

Note: As a Campaign Monitor customer, if your campaign goes out with a broken link our Support team can fix it on the backend so people who haven’t opened or clicked won’t be affected.

CycleSurgery chose to send this email to subscribers who had already clicked on their email that had a broken link.

Technical difficulties on your website

Technical troubles seem to be one of the most common reasons for sending an ‘oops’ email, especially among ecommerce companies. This can often be an unforeseen problem, where a website goes down due to increased traffic, or technical issues.

In this case, it’s a good best practice to get back to your subscribers as soon as your website is back up and running with a small incentive to apologize.

This example from Reebok gets straight to the point with a short and snappy message and a 30% discount. Notice how they even use the word “Oops” as the promo code:

Park Seed ran into issues when they updated their website and rewarded their subscribers with a 20% discount as a consolation. Again, they use a clever promo code with “All is Good.”

Incorrect segment

Sending to the wrong segment or no segment at all has the potential to confuse your subscribers and harm your brand. Shutterfly sent an email to its entire database of subscribers, congratulating them on their newborn children.

Due to the sensitive nature of this topic, it was picked up by media and discussed at length on Twitter and Facebook:

Shutterfly email example

Shutterfly swiftly followed up on this mistake with a formal apology email from their chief marketing officer, who explained what happened and invited concerned subscribers to email the company.

Sending the incorrect version of an email

Brands often create two different versions of an email, with the intent of sending one version based on the result of a game, event, or vote. Unfortunately, it seems like every year we see an example of when the wrong version is fired off.

This can be a high profile and potentially damaging mistake to make, depending on what’s said in the email. If this happens to you, you’re usually best off sending an apology email with an explanation ASAP to those affected.

The Cal Bears Shop made this mistake when they prematurely sent an email celebrating a win and offering a discount on hats before the end of a game. Unfortunately, the other team came back to win 49 to 45.

Cal followed up with an apology and promise on Twitter that the discount was still valid.

Plan for mistakes.

Rather than reacting after a mistake happens, it’s best to have a plan in place, in case things go awry. This will ensure that you can act quickly and calmly if you run into trouble.

Email mistake response checklist:

To help you navigate your way back to safety after sending out an email with mistakes, here’s an easy checklist to follow. Recovering from a mistake requires a level head and taking the right steps. A checklist will help you with both.

1. Make a list of all potential issues.

Before you go ahead and try and salvage the situation, the first thing you’ll have to do is list all the potential issues in your botched email campaign. Doing so will help you get a handle the situation and tackle every mistake in an orderly and professional manner.Jot down each mistake, whether it’s typos in the subject line, broken links, incorrect pricing, slow website, wrong segment, broken HTML, etc.

2. Determine which potential issues require a response.

Marketers are human, and that means, once in a while, mistakes are bound to be found in a campaign. However, not every mistake warrants a response, as some can be fixed without any attention being drawn to them. Others, like spelling mistakes, don’t even need to be addressed (unless it’s a glaring typo).

Once you have noted the mistakes in your campaign, determine those that need a response. These are usually the errors that have the potential to hurt your brand or reduce your conversions. For example, sending a wrong email to a segment and forgetting to include a call to action should warrant action.

3. Define how you plan to respond to each of the more serious mistakes.

It’s easy to get into panic mode when you discover a mistake in your email marketing. However, it’s wise to take a deep breath and calmly define how you’ll rectify each of the mistakes.Will you send a follow-up email, apologize on social media channels, send a physical apology letter, or do all of those things? Set appropriate response times with your marketing team and make sure that everyone knows the plan. Failure to do this will result in more mistakes, due to a lack of coordination.

4. Get agreement.

Formal sign-off from your boss and the marketing team on your response plan will ensure that everything goes a lot smoother when something does happen. This also helps verify that nothing slips through the cracks and gives you the opportunity to set reasonable response times.Working as a team (and having a checklist) is a great way to reduce the chances of falling victim to the most common email marketing mistakes—and the uncommon ones.

5. Outline the creative approach for each type of apology email.

Rectifying an email campaign gone wrong requires a lot of creativity—in fact, more creativity that was needed for the original email. The reason for this is that you now have to kill two birds with one stone:

  • Regain your audience’s confidence in you.
  • Achieve the results you wanted to in the original campaign.

So how will you recover from the mistake and keep your campaign on track? Will you simply change the subject line, insert some text in the pre-header, add some text above the primary content, or create an entirely new email?

Brainstorm the solution with your marketing team and come up with the best approach. A well-executed apology can actually help your campaign run as smoothly as if everything had gone normally from the beginning.

6. Prepare an “oops” email template.

Having an email template for such emergencies is wise. It’ll save you from scrambling around when you need to send out an “oops” email, particularly if it’s a time-sensitive campaign. Have a few “audible-ready” templates for different scenarios. You could have one for light-hearted errors with appropriate images and a discount code ready to go, and another, more formal template for serious mistakes.

Here's an example of a company responding to an email marketing mistake.

Source: Really Good Emails

Make sure you have an email template ready to go before anything hits the fan. Start out with our apology email template and drop your branding in to make it a perfect send every time. Try out the template here.

Wrap up

Planning for the eventuality of mistakes, as rare as they may be in your business, is still an important aspect of running a solid marketing campaign. It’s also important, once in a while, to run drills where you set up a mock situation to help keep you and your team ready for the real emergency.

While some marketing mistakes are common and easy to spot, others are not. In order to mistake-proof your campaigns, make sure to check out our article that highlights the top email marketing mistakes you should stop making.

The post Oops! How to Deal with Common Email Marketing Mistakes appeared first on Campaign Monitor.

Ghosts of Holidays Past: What to Watch out for This Year

Last week, I showed you the email marketing ghosts of holidays past, what to prepare for now and what could go wrong in the future. Like Scrooge learned in “A Christmas Carol”, it all depends on the actions you take today.

Last year, email volumes increased exponentially leading up to Black Friday and through Cyber Monday. Volumes declined from their highs but remained above average until just a few days before Christmas. This Christmas year should email volumes increasing again, but early data is showing that email volumes rose faster and earlier this year with more retailers forgoing Thanksgiving promotions this year for earlier Black Friday deals.

In Christmases past, subscribers complained more, read less and marketers saw more emails delivered to the spam folder. But in 2018, it seemed that not only did subscribers tolerate more emails, but they also liked receiving them as open rates, or read rates, didn’t see a decline. Likewise, subscribers complained less, or marked email as spam less, than they have in prior years. In 2019, no doubt some marketers will see challenges, but if they are sending email promotions their subscribers want, 2019 should be another banner year for the email marketing channel.

But what if your future holiday season sees ghosts of its own? Many of you wrote in with your questions of how to deal with unexpected holiday horrors.

1. Don’t add to the holiday stress.
Avoid making major changes such as adding a new IP address. While it may seem logical to add an IP address now to avoid dreaded “too busy, try again later” messages, unless you’ve already “warmed” the IP addresses to have a positive reputation, it’s too late at this point add an IP address and experience positive results. Wait until after the new year.

2. Skip the Black Friday lines.
If you’re receiving the above mentioned “try again later” bounce error when trying to send to certain ISPs and mailbox providers, check your connection and throughput settings and changing them if needed. If you’re still seeing this error, consider aligning and sending time-sensitive campaigns at non-peak sending times.

3. If you’re making a list, check it twice.
Email marketers see their subscriber and customer lists increase after the holiday season. But bad data can come back to haunt you next year if you’re not validating addresses and cleaning up invalid records. Also, resist the urge to send to lists you haven’t mailed to in a while, such as bounce lists, suppression lists, or inactive lists as it almost always results in mail being delivered to spam or blocked.

Want to know more about to handle some of the most common holiday email nightmares? Check our recent webinar The Email Marketer’s Holiday Survival Checklist.

New Webinar: The Email Marketer’s Holiday Survival Checklist

We all know Murphy’s Law–anything that can go wrong, probably will–and we can apply that to email marketing during the holiday season as well. Clearly, Fate knows that you have no time to deal with any deliverability problems during the busiest time of the year, which means you’ll probably deal with deliverability problems. It’s also true that luck favors the prepared, so the best way to avoid deliverability issues or minimize their impact is to prepare for them.

So, join us on November 20th at noon EST (9AM PST) for our latest webinar, The Email Marketer’s Holiday Survival Checklist to help you prepare and experience a stress-free holiday season. We’ll see what the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future have in store for us and explore some of the most encountered deliverability issues and what you can do to resolve them.

Have a question or concern that you want us to address during the webinar? Let me know by submitting your questions anonymously using this form.

The Email Marketer’s Holiday Survival Checklist
Wednesday, November 20, 2019
12pm EST / 9am PST

Register here

Submit questions here

16 Tips for Writing An Email People Will Actually Read And Reply To

This is a guest post from Helga Zabalkanskaya at Newoldstamp.

Whatever awesome tactics and cutting-edge strategies you choose in digital marketing, there’s always a place for email.

Love it or hate it, email wins digital marketing with its simplicity and straightforwardness, not to mention its high-performing effectiveness.

But what should you be looking for when it comes to email? If you’re not sure, it can be healthy to research what your goals should be. According to original Campaign Monitor research, these are the average email benchmarks for all industries:

  • Average open rate: 17.92%
  • Average click-through rate: 2.69%
  • Average unsubscribe rate: 0.17%
  • Average click-to-open rate: 14.10%

Staying on top of your email marketing efforts might seem difficult, but even a basic email marketing strategy can improve your ROI—by as much as 4500%.

And, if you want even more return on your investment, learn how to write emails that will be opened, read, re-read, and replied to.

Read on to learn how.

1. Do your homework.

Automation and personalization shouldn’t overwhelm each other. While it’s tempting to send one generic email to all your lists, you should learn something about your recipients and personalize based on that info.

Personalization increases open rates by 26%. Personalization can help you write emails that get read.

If you want your email opened and replied to, personalize it a little: There are a number of ways to make your messaging feel more tailored.

Add the recipient’s name or help them learn something useful. The latter requires building buyer personas and creating thoughtful nurtures.

You can go even further by learning about your audience demographics and using data to customize dynamic content.

Not sure which demographics to target? Use surveys to determine your customer base and research the marketing that appeals to them. For instance, our guide discusses how Gen Z and millennials differ.

2. Work on your subject line.

The best way to improve your open rate is by improving your subject lines. The difficulty is in making it both interesting enough and not too pushy.

If you want your emails opened, tell the recipient that the content inside is interesting. Try to describe what’s inside in just a few words. According to Retention Science, subject lines containing around eight words are the best.

This email example uses lots of space and relevant content to keep people reading.

As engaging as your subject line should be, use less exclamation points and caps and more action words instead (e.g. visit, buy, get, follow).

For added personalization, use your recipient’s name in an email subject line. People are much more likely to open an email from someone who knows who they are.

Also, consider using emojis in your subject lines to make your emails stand out.

Long story short: it’s best for your subject line to be simple and to the point. You want to hook readers into opening, reading, and clicking through to your website.

3. Use the preview text.

Most email clients show a preview of your email body text. Being up to 60 characters long, it’s a huge opportunity to help people take a glance at your email.

Watch the video below to learn about preheader text: what it is and how to use it.

4. Make your first sentence engaging.

If your email is opened, people will spend about two seconds looking through its content to decide whether they want to keep reading, so the first sentence is very important.

Begin your email with some numbers like: “90% of marketers say this tool is awesome.” Something that encourages them to read more.

Your recipients might be interested in what it’s all about.

5. Be specific in your requests.

People hate ambiguity and uncertainty. With two seconds of the recipient’s attention, you have to be as specific as possible.

Understanding an email’s intent from the first glance is crucially important. If it’s not clear, subscribers are less likely to read or reply. And people are more likely to respond if you ask directly for advice or reactions.

Thus, if you want something from your recipient, ask right away. And, if you send an email for educational purposes only, don’t make any promises.

6. Keep your email as short as possible.

You may want to share a lot of information in your email, but recipients might not need all of it. The rule here is simple: Try making your message as short as possible.

Plain text email example

You shouldn’t cut important stuff: Just make the whole email concise and simple.

7. Skip the small talk in your email.

To make your email shorter, avoid small talk. Don’t include extraneous information unless it pertains to your email’s message and theme.

Emails are built to encourage people to open, scan, click through, and (hopefully) convert.

Writing a wordy email won’t encourage subscribers to read more: It will discourage them from clicking on your emails in the future.

8. Make sure you highlight the most important parts.

You can use HTML email formatting to add headings to structure your content and highlight important data and CTAs throughout the email.

Also, try to add some white space between logical blocks or CTAs. It helps readers identify the most important content subconsciously and remember it more easily.

This is a plain text email example.

9. Make your links friendly.

If you want to add links to your emails, make sure these links look attractive and friendly. This means they’re not ambiguous and it’s easy to find.

Use anchor texts for links that make you want to check it out. For example, write some interesting facts and follow them with a link to the source.

Pro-tip: CTA buttons get more clicks than hyperlinks.

10. Use bullets to make your email easy to scan.

Bullet points highlight and separate important information. What’s more, they leave more white space between sentences, so it’s easier for recipients to find what they’re looking for.

Additionally, bullet points are useful for listing your software features or adding arguments to support a point.

11. Use the word “you.”

The word “you” makes emails even more personal. Plus, by speaking directly to your readers, you’re positioning yourself as a thought leader. You’re guiding them on next steps through authoritative language.

Plus, saying, “you” in your copy is a simple way to create a message that feels authentic—like it’s coming from a friend or colleague.

12. Use the same language that your readers do.

You want people to speak to you the way you want to be spoken to: This means respectful, thoughtful language. (And it also means the write language and dialect!)

Localization, paired with inclusive language, is a professional way to appeal to subscribers and customers. Not only are you breaking down language barriers, but you are respecting the culture and UX of your subscribers.

Have questions about email localization? Read all about it in our guide.

13. Add facts.

Instead of making assumptions, add facts and data to your emails. Make sure your subscribers get value from your content—with facts and interesting copy.

Some statistical data, research-based information, and case studies are always valuable and interesting. Support your facts with corresponding links and mentions to ensure credibility.

14. Add an email signature.

Any emails you send should be as personalized as possible, and this includes a custom email signature.

Give your subscribers an idea of who is sending the email: the face behind the name or the personality behind the brand.

Want to write emails that will be read? Create a custom email signature like this example.


Plus, you can add important content to your email signature. HTML techniques allow adding pretty much anything to an email footer:

  • Your name and contact information conveniently displayed in a logical order.
  • Your personal photo or company logo to increase personalization and credibility of an email or boost brand awareness.
  • Social media icons with links to your business profiles to increase engagement and followers number.
  • CTAs with links or even CTA buttons.
  • Promo banners linked to any kind of content, like your recent blog posts, calendar appointment scheduling, meeting invitations, etc.

You can use email signature generators like MySignature.io or Newoldstamp. These allow you to build a signature in a convenient online editor. You can customize all the elements and choose the appearance with galleries of templates and banners.

What’s more, online email signature generators allow organizing multiple signatures in departments and sending those to different users. It’s great for corporate customers, as assigning similar signatures to all employees is a powerful move for a brand.

15. Consider using images.

You can use images in your email. However, make sure they’re no larger than 50 kB.

Also, people expect an image to be linked, so use hyperlinks and alt tags that describe what’s on it. The latter is useful in case your images don’t load.

Learn more about using images in email by reading our marketer’s guide.

16. Double-check attachment names.

If you’re writing a 1:1 email and you attach a document, name it correctly. Something like “https://www.campaignmonitor.com/assets/uploads/document.pdf” looks weird and you can’t really tell what’s in it. Use more specific words, like “https://www.campaignmonitor.com/assets/uploads/winter-sales-report.pdf.”

Also, make sure you mention all the attachments in the email body. Let people know how they can use them.

Wrap up

An interesting and engaging email will always get positive attention. When writing one, think about what emails you personally like to read and will reply to. Also, keep these tips in mind:

  • Learn who your recipients are.
  • Use a descriptive subject line with no more than 10 words.
  • Make an email interesting from the first sentence.
  • Avoid ambiguity and be specific.
  • Skip small talk and add useful information only.
  • Highlight the most important parts with headings, CTA links, or buttons.
  • Use bullet points.
  • Refer to your readers with the word “you.”
  • Try writing in the recipient’s language/tone.
  • Use an email signature to stay professional, make emails more personalized, and promote your content.
  • Avoid uploading images that are too large.
  • Double-check the names of all attachments.

This list isn’t at all difficult to follow. Although it might seem restricting at first, once you start crafting your emails accordingly, you’ll see the number of reads and replies grow exponentially.

Author bio:  Helga Zabalkanskaya is the Head of Marketing at Newoldstamp, a 500Startups-backed startup that helps marketers to promote their services through brand consistent email signatures with banner campaigns.

The post 16 Tips for Writing An Email People Will Actually Read And Reply To appeared first on Campaign Monitor.

Improve Customer Quality With Effective Email Lead Scoring

Are your email campaigns sluggish lately?

Does your marketing toolbox need a powerful tool to improve click rates and conversions? Have you considered email lead scoring but need a little primer on the best way to use it?

Email lead scoring is a unique way to rank your subscribers based on the information you know about them and their behaviors. But how do you do it the right way?

Where can you get more information about using lead scoring to your advantage, and where do you even begin?

Read on to discover ways you can use email lead scoring to improve conversions, how to set up your strategy, and best practices for using this effective marketing tool.

How to set up an email lead scoring system

Email lead scoring is a powerful way to improve your click rates and conversions. Once you do the research and set up a scoring system, email campaigns work for themselves.

You can make an email lead scoring system as complex or simple as you want—it doesn’t have to be some complicated algorithm. It can be as simple as assigning arbitrary numbers to actions and attributes about your customers.

Here’s an example of a simple email lead scoring system:

  • Takes an action on your email—2 points
  • Multiple visits to email or website—2 points
  • Takes an action on your website—5 points
  • Downloads an eBook or guide—5 points
  • Takes an action in your shop—10 points
  • Abandons cart at checkout—20 points

You can set up automated emails that trigger when someone reaches a certain lead score. For example, let’s say someone downloads an ebook from your website and adds your newest course to their cart, but then abandons checkout.

This person scores 40 points—you can send an email when they hit 30 points that invites them back to your shop with a discount code or free shipping offer. This is just one of many ways lead scoring can help improve your conversion rates.

Get cart abandoners back with Campaign Monitor Commerce.

If your organization has too many leads for a simple system, you can put together something more comprehensive that has weighted attributes.

An example of a weighted attribute would be weighting the scores of people who take actions on your website versus people who take actions on your emails.

5 ways you can use email lead scoring to improve conversions

We’ve told you how to set up an email lead scoring system and how it improves conversions, but how exactly do you use your email data to set up a lead scoring system?

Let’s look at some of the ways you can score your data:

1. Scoring by email engagement

How a subscriber engages with your emails is an indicator of their interest in your company (and your products or services). This is valuable data to use in email lead scoring, and valuable data to predict your conversions accurately. In fact, it might be some of your most valuable data.

You can score based on opens, click-throughs, and conversions, or even score on where someone clicks on your email. Did they click your CTA or some other link in your email? What was their next action?

2. Scoring by website engagement

It’s one thing for subscribers of your email campaigns to read your emails, but it’s a different thing entirely for them to interact with your website. If your emails are working, your subscribers should find something in your email to guide them to your website.

Score websites differently than emails where it makes sense. You may want higher scores for different levels of website engagement, like abandoned carts or eBook downloads, for example.

Jack Wills sends an abandoned cart transactional email to a potential customer.

Source: Really Good Emails

3. Scoring by demographics

Demographics—age, gender, orientation, location, ethnicity, etc.—can be an effective attribute to score on, if you know your target audience well. Take a look at the demographics of your usual buyer, then score your leads based on the demographics that spend the most on your products and services.

Learn how millennials and Gen Z compare in our guide.

Using demographics is a great way to improve your targeted email campaigns, in general. Location-based email marketing is effective for companies that have local appeal, and it happens to be one of the more commonly used targeting methods.

 Airbnb targets a person’s intended location by using their travel plans to make suggestions.

Source: Really Good Emails

4. Scoring by channel

Did your customers get on your email list from a download you offered? Did you get their email address when they started an abandoned checkout process? Maybe they got to your list from Facebook? All of these can be indicators of where a person is in the buying process—thus, they’re prime attributes for scoring.

The more a subscriber interacts with your website, the more likely they are to convert. Scoring based on how they interact is a great way to amplify your scoring system’s value. Someone that got to your website from a shopping cart should have a higher score than someone who got there through social media.

5. Scoring by industry

B2B email marketing can benefit from email lead scoring too. Does your company have an industry that routinely spends more than others?

Is there an industry your company wants to get into, but you aren’t quite there yet? Weight their industry higher than others to trigger targeted emails for their industry.

Scoring by industry allows you to rank the most lucrative industries higher than industries that may not spend as much with your organization. You can then send emails targeted at that particular industry, highlighting your industry expertise.

Campaign Monitor sends out an email to their list with a focal point on the nonprofit industry.

Source: Really Good Emails

Email lead scoring best practices

Now here’s the fun part: taking all of that data and putting it into practice.

You’ve set up a scoring system and your team decided score subscribers based on their email and website engagements, plus the channel through which they got to your site. Now what?

Here’s how you can use that data to maximize conversion rates:

  • Set up a proprietary scoring system: You can start with our example but create an email lead scoring system based on your audience. What are the key attributes of your subscribers? How do they typically interact with your emails, and what behavior are you trying to drive with them?
  • Use list segmentation to further drill down into your audience: List segmentation, which you should already be using, is an equally powerful tool for email marketing. Have lists that routinely outperform others? Rank those people higher in your scoring system.
  • Work with an agency that knows lead scoring: Feeling a little overwhelmed by the prospect of putting together your own scoring system? Use an email marketing platform that understands the ins and outs of lead scoring. All you do is provide the data and parameters, then reap the rewards.
  • A/B testing can help solidify your scoring system: It’s highly unlikely that you’ll knock it out of the park on your first round of email lead scoring. Don’t worry—use A/B testing to monitor the results of your efforts and see how people with different scores respond to your emails.
  • Combine lead scoring with other email best practices: Don’t sleep on other email best practices like testing your subject lines, creating stunning email design, and crafting language that’s engaging. These email best practices serve to amplify the efforts of your email lead scoring system.

A comprehensive email marketing system is critical to higher ROI. These best practices will guide you toward an email lead scoring system that works for your company.

Wrap up

Don’t let all of this information overwhelm you; setting up an email lead scoring system isn’t hard. It just takes some diligence and patience. Log your results in a testing log, so you can track your changes and improvements.

Here are three important things to keep in mind after reading this guide:

  • Create an email lead scoring system based on your audience—you know your audience better than anyone, so use what you know about them to start building your scoring system.
  • Real rewards don’t happen overnight—between building your system and sending A/B testing emails, seeing benefits from lead scoring will take some time.
  • Use email best practices to exponentially increase the value of your scoring system—best practices are a cornerstone to effective email campaigns.

We’re positive you can put together a practical lead scoring system using these best practices and tips for building one.

Want to know more about how list segmentation can drive your email lead scoring system? Contact Campaign Monitor to learn more about their list segmentation features.

The post Improve Customer Quality With Effective Email Lead Scoring appeared first on Campaign Monitor.

Remember the Little Things this Holiday Season

Fall is my favorite time of year. The changing colors, the crisp air, football, and the anticipation of gathering with friends and family for the holidays. It is often a time for reflection, to think of days past, accomplishments, failures, and the promise of tomorrow.

For marketers, Fall is less a time for reflection, and more a time for action. It is a very important time of year as the revenue gained from upcoming holiday sales may determine if your business is profitable for the year. The pressure to achieve results is stronger than ever.

In an effort to achieve better results, many marketers look for new technologies such as Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI), and Artificial Intelligence. The hope is that implementing these technologies can help improve the customer experience, introduce your brand to a larger audience, and lead to an increase in email revenue. In my experience, the new technologies get a lot of attention from marketers and rightly so. The competition for the inbox is fierce, and if you are not innovating and striving to improve, then you risk losing your customer to a competitor.

With an increased focus on new technologies and the increased holiday workload, what happens with many marketers this time of year is that the little things in your email program get overlooked and fall to the bottom of your priority list. It is understandable, but it is important to realize that all of the little things you do as a sender actually do matter.

While these little things by themselves may not have a large and direct impact on your inbox placement (some have bigger impact than others), having bad sending practices or metrics in addition to ignoring these little things can make reaching the inbox a bigger challenge.

1. Data quality: The quality of your data directly impacts deliverability. Syntax errors such as a misspelled domain name, a misplaced period, a missing username, and a missing @ sign are missed opportunities. Keeping your data clean improves your chances of reaching the inbox and making the sale.

2. Design errors: Misaligned columns, bad text and background color combinations, missing graphics, and misspelled words may cause your email to be perceived as spam.

3. WHOIS record: Ensure you have updated contact information and do not use a domain privacy service. Spammers use domain privacy services so be transparent about who you are and how you can be contacted.

4. Role Accounts: Ensure you have the abuse@ and postmaster@ role accounts configured to receive email and monitor them daily for communications from subscribers or mailbox providers. 5. Abuse.net: Add your abuse@ and postmaster@ role accounts to abuse.net. Mailbox providers may look up your information there to try and contact you.

6. Personal whitelisting requests: The major mailbox providers and spam filter companies all recommend asking subscribers to add your sending address to their address book or contact list. In most cases, your sending address in their address book or contact list causes your email to bypass the spam filter and land in the inbox.

7. List Unsubscribe: Most major mailbox providers use the list-unsubscribe header. It provides recipients an option to unsubscribe rather than complain, leading to a better sending reputation.

8. Reply-To address: Mailbox providers find you more trustworthy when people reply to your emails. Encourage this behavior and be responsive when contacted. Be sure not to use ‘do not reply’ as a username as it sends the wrong message. a. Use a Reply-To header if you need replies to go to a different address than your sending address. By default, replies are sent to your sending address.

9. Monitor Out-Of-Office messages: Congratulations! Spam traps don’t send messages when they go on vacation; you have reached a real person.

10. Bad links: Make sure that all links go to a legitimate landing page and that there are no page errors. Be sure to check the links in your pre-header and footer as these areas are often ignored.

11. The email footer: Be sure to link to your preference center and promote other important aspects of your business like: About Us, FAQ, Contact Us, Unsubscribe or Privacy Policy.

12. Privacy Policy: Ensure the privacy policy link is located near the submit button and update the language to provide clear (non-legalese) language about how the email address is used and how to unsubscribe.

13. Personalization: Be sure to address your subscriber by their first name or title (e.g. Hi Jane, Hello Mr. Smith). Be sure that the message personalization is working and not inserting the database field name or just a person’s last name (e.g. Hi <first_name>, or Hello Smith).

14. Alternative Text with Images: Display actionable and engaging text that appears with a disabled image. Most email clients disable images by default, so alternative text can help describe your message or offer in the preview pane.

In most cases, these little things require a small number of resources to implement or fix and they contribute to mailbox providers seeing you as a more trustworthy sender. So be sure and take a few minutes each day to focus on the little things in your email program. Looking for more insight on what can block you from the inbox? Join our upcoming webinar—The Fact and Fiction of Email Filtering—on Wednesday, October 23rd.

Halloween Email Marketing Campaigns: 6 Tricks to Treat Your Subscribers

Looking for ideas to touch your customers for the upcoming holiday season? Want fresh inspiration for Halloween email marketing campaigns? Need a little guidance in setting up your holiday email schedule?

With Halloween just around the corner, it’s time to start gearing up for the holiday season. Holiday email campaigns are the perfect opportunity to casually touch base with your subscribers. They’re also the perfect opportunity to create conversions.

Use the holiday season to your advantage. Send out industry emails with a spooky spin or offer a promotional discount in seasonal numbers, like “13” or “31.” Does Halloween seem a little silly for your business? Have a fall sale or send an autumn discount code instead.

Creating a powerful holiday campaign is as simple as following a few best practices. Read on to discover how to make the process more efficient as well as a few examples to fuel your imagination and get into the spirit.

Your guide to sending Halloween email campaigns

Holiday emails are trendy and capitalize on specific times of the year. You can send them in addition to your email newsletters or other email campaigns, or you can work them into your regular email schedule.

Because they’re different from your standard emails, people may be more inclined to open them, and more opens mean more conversions.

Here are some key stats on email campaigns and why you want to get on board with this trend:

  • Twenty-one percent of email marketing revenue comes from automated emails, and over 75% of revenue comes from triggered campaigns.
  • Click-through rates improve by 14% with personalized email messages. Conversions improve by 10% with the same personalization.
  • When it comes to marketing, email results in more conversions than other marketing channels, like search and social media.

Let the data guide you. Email marketing is the most effective form of marketing available; it results in more conversions and it has an incredibly high ROI.

Halloween email marketing campaign best practices

It can be tempting to whip up a quick Halloween email and send it off to your entire list, but don’t rush it. You have a golden opportunity here, so use this email campaign to convert people, not just have a little fun for the holiday.

Keep these best practices in mind to help you send an engaging holiday email campaign:

  • Automate your workflow: Automation not only makes sending emails a breeze, but it results in higher open and click-through rates. Set up an automated email newsletter and work in your holiday email campaigns to be part of your workflow.
  • Personalize your emails: Email personalization increases clicks and conversions, so don’t sleep on this critical marketing tool. Use all the data you have about your subscribers to create segmented lists for personalization.
  • Test a few subject lines: We all know that your subject line is the most important email component. Just because you’re sending a fun email doesn’t mean you want to drop the ball on this. Test a couple of subject lines for maximum impact.
  • Check your timing and frequency: Timing and frequency are especially critical with holiday emails. Sending them too soon or too late can be a miss, and sending them too often can be annoying. Send your Halloween emails after fall starts, and don’t send more than one or two a week.
  • A/B test your campaigns: This is something you want to do with all of your email campaigns, but A/B testing is a useful tool for hammering down important details in your emails. A/B test Halloween emails the same way you’d test standard emails.

With these best practices, you can get started on crafting the perfect holiday email campaign.

6 Halloween email tricks to treat your subscribers

Are you ready for maximum Halloween inspiration? Check out these six emails and our takeaways on what makes them powerful and engaging.

1. Forget the candy—this deal is the sweetest one yet!

Source: Really Good Emails

Blue Apron digs into the holiday with its subject line, images, and text. The cemetery reference is perfect for Halloween, and the mention of being haunted by missing out on their offer is in the spirit of the season.

Takeaway: Notice the $40 off promotional code—discounts and savings are the perfect opportunity to convert people with your Halloween emails. Send a preliminary email letting people know to watch out for Halloween savings, then hit them with the savings when it makes sense on your marketing calendar. Don’t forget to automate your workflow to include “thank you” emails for your customers.

2. Pumpkin spice and all things (not) nice

WeTransfer uses clever language and trendy phrases to entice its readers.

Source: Really Good Emails

Playing on one of the season’s biggest trends—pumpkin spice—We Transfer uses clever language to get people excited for the holiday. With references to “gloominess” and “utter darkness,” this email’s language, combined with a dark gradient graphic, is all it takes to get into the spirit.

Takeaway: You don’t have to go full-on Halloween to thrill your subscribers. Simple language combined with clean graphics can make all the difference in an ordinary email newsletter. Use your subject line to set the tone, then dive in with your chilling content. Don’t forget a compelling call to action. You’re still trying to convert your subscribers.

3. A little treat to go with all the tricks this weekend!

Taylor Stitch takes a minimalist approach to their Halloween email campaign.

Source: Really Good Emails

This minimalist design exudes elegance while offering a reason for subscribers to click through to the website. Taylor Stitch uses a simple jack-o-lantern graphic and a quick “Happy Halloween”—they don’t go overboard with graphics or use any spectacular language—plus a small discount.

Takeaway: Try something minimalistic and elegant to take advantage of the holiday. Use every opportunity to pique your customers’ interests. Halloween is a national tradition in the U.S., so take the time to touch your customers on this holiday. It is the unofficial start of the holiday season.

4. Don’t let Halloween sneak up on you!

Modcloth uses puns and the age-old Halloween costume to spice up their holiday email.

Source: Really Good Emails

A sense of urgency combined with a sense of humor make for a great Halloween email. Modcloth uses the Halloween spirit to capitalize on their “thrilling prints” and “spooktacular accessories.” As a clothing retailer, they use an image of someone dressed in their clothing for Halloween.

Takeaway: Envision ways your products or services can tie into Halloween and work that into your emails. Use humor based on your audience—different demographics will respond to different things favorably. Modcloth knows their audience well. They used a casual, witty header to get their subscribers’ attention.

5. 👾 🎃 👻 Happy Halloween! Get 30% off Designmodo Shop and Market

Source: Really Good Emails

Designmodo gets straight to the point in their subject line—30% off their shop. That’s enough to get people interested, then they find out it’s for 3 days only. This is a great tactic for getting opens and conversions.

Takeaway: Use your subject line to tell people why they want to open the email. Use your con

tent to tell people why they want to sign up for your services or buy your products. Notice that this email isn’t even in traditional Halloween colors—think outside of the box. You don’t have to stick with tradition. Work Halloween into your brand.

6. So delicious it’s scary… | Shop Halloween Treats 💀

Fortnum & Mason entice their readers the “nice” way—with treats.

Source: Really Good Emails

Fortnum & Mason turn to an image of a monster and Halloween puns. They start with a compelling subject line (Doesn’t everyone want to shop for Halloween treats?) and move into humorous plays on words.

Takeaway: You don’t need to offer a promo code or discount to take advantage of Halloween email marketing campaigns. An email with a targeted subject line, content with a sense of humor, and a simple CTA is all you need to capitalize on this holiday. Create a CTA that pops and let your imagination run wild.

Wrap up

Halloween is the start of a busy holiday season—Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s aren’t too far behind. Start the holiday season off right with a solid email campaign.

Three important takeaways you need to remember are:

  • Use promotional codes and discounts sparingly—they’re a great way to get clicks and conversions.
  • Halloween-centric language is popular, but you know your audience. Adjust appropriately.
  • Personalization is a key attribute to good email campaigns, and Halloween is the perfect personalization opportunity.

Using these email best practices and Halloween email examples, you should be able to craft the perfect Halloween email for your audience.

Need help preparing for the holiday season? Campaign Monitor has a drag-and-drop editor that can help you craft the perfect Halloween email campaign.

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