Emails should account for a significant portion of your online revenue, how much coming from the e commerce perspective, we usually shoot for 25 to 30 percent of our clients revenue coming from email. That and most of that is returned customers.
That’s Dan Reifenberger from Loyal Tribe. His literal job is to send emails on other businesses behalf in order to make them more money. In the age of Instagram and Amazon, you might be thinking to yourself his email really still worth it if you have email.
And surprisingly, more people still have email addresses than any other social platform.
You can actually, for the most part, on the relationship with the customer, you need three different types of email firing on all cylinders in order to make your business as profitable as possible. This video is the 80-20 of Everything email. All right. Let’s start off with your regular work email.
Now, it’s really important here that you choose a good provider or something like Gmail, Zoho or Rackspace, because there’s two different types of reputation.
There’s your domain reputation and then there’s the IP address. You’re sending your emails from reputation.
Let’s say you use a very cheap shared hosting plan and someone else on that hosting plan is sending out a lot of spam.
Well, that IP address is the second type of reputation that can start to ding you. So bottom line with your regular company, email, choose a good provider, don’t do cold outreach and only email people who want to be emailed. All right. Let’s change gears and talk about transactional emails. This is a type of email that you may not even be aware that your business is already sending. Transactional emails are simply any email that gets sent when a user takes an action on your website or in your app.
An example. This might be making a purchase. A receipt gets sent out. Someone fills out that little form because they forgot their password and email gets sent to them on how to reset that password. Those are transactional emails and it’s really important that those hit the inbox because they are a huge cause of customer service issues.
Transactional emails, especially we’ve been noticing around Black Friday. Cyber Monday is a huge thing for customer service. So you want to make sure those emails always get delivered. So something like Postmark is a service that has extraordinarily high IP reputation because they only deal with transactional emails that have like an average 98 percent open rate or something like that. So if you’re in e-commerce or it’s really important that your customers know that their, you know, their items are being shipped or that the transaction has gone through, definitely use a service like that.
But I have plenty of clients who don’t and they don’t really have much problem. But again, we’re being laser focused on making sure the reputation stays extraordinarily high.
So once again, for your transactional email provider, choose something that’s reputable, something like Amazon. Yes.
Miljan or postmark. All right. We’ve covered your company email that you use for interacting with your teammates and answering customer support.
We’ve talked about transactional emails that get sent out automatically. The last type of email that your business needs to be sending is, of course, marketing emails. These are the emails that have the clearest potential to drive profit for your business because they’re usually geared towards selling your actual products or services.
At a minimum, they’re going to raise awareness for your brand.
These could be drip sequences, you know, that are multiple emails sent out over a period of time designed to entice customers to make a purchase.
Or it could simply be a weekly newsletter that you write and send out every Sunday night.
Those are all marketing emails and they need their own provider. Some of my favorite email marketing providers are Convert Keit Active Campaign. And if you’re on the Shopify end of things, maybe look at Clearville. But there is an entirely different section of email out there and that is self hosted email marketing. This is becoming more and more popular because those other services that I just mentioned are very expensive.
Now they’re doing a lot of work on the back end for you to make sure that while you have features and things that you can use to drive revenue for your business, but they also do a lot of the work of keeping the deliverability high.
When you try to self host your own platform, it gets a little bit complicated because hitting that inbox is not always easy. Ask anyone who’s done email seriously. They know that hitting the inbox is the hardest part of sending emails. So is it a good idea to self host your email? Well, no, it’s not, except it is in some situations.
Let me explain.
So if you’re sending out your regular company work email, I probably would not self host for that because that’s going to mean you’re running an email server. But when it comes to email marketing, when you want to self host there, there are some options. You can run a server that’s using software such as Fluence CRM, which is a new WordPress plugin or model, which I’ve made several videos about on this channel. And you can use that in tandem with a transactional email provider.
Something like Amazon Access is one that I have mentioned several times on this channel, and there’s others out there.
In fact, there’s new ones springing up every day, Zoho just launched their new transactional email service, you can pair those services up so you have your self hosted software.
And then using the power of the transactional email sender, you can actually save a lot of money over a service like active campaign.
Now, you will have a little bit more maintenance and upkeep to do when you’re running your own self hosting platform. But that is a topic for another video. OK, great. So I’m going to assume that you’ve already got an email marketing solution set up something like MailChimp or Active Campaign and you’re sending out emails now.
How do you get better results? What are the numbers on the dashboard? Which one should you be paying attention to and what do they mean?
Well, I mean, from a sales perspective, you want to look at how much revenue did the email drive? But from a long term health of your email program perspective, you want to look at the engagement stats as well. So open rates click through rates and then, like I said, sales, conversion rates. And finally, some emails you actually want to ask people for replies. So what’s the reply rate when you put an email or a question in an email and people reply?
So Dan brings up some numbers you’ve probably heard of. If you’ve sent out an email, you’ll see an open rate or a click rate, things like that. But the real question is, what should those numbers be to be, quote unquote, successful?
Well, it’s going to vary from industry to industry. And I would say a good guideline is just to try to improve over where you already are.
Keep an eye on the numbers, make sure they’re going the right direction. But I know that’s not good enough for you. Quite frankly, it’s not good enough for me.
So here are the benchmarks I could squeeze out of Dan. I would want to see somewhere around 16 to 20 percent at a minimum for your open rate. I’d want a really good click through. Rates are about three to four percent. But I think anything over one point five, depending on the context of the email, is really good. And then for sales conversion, anywhere from point five to one percent would probably be good in an e-commerce perspective. All right.
So let’s say open, right? Let’s say you can’t quite hit that 20 percent open rate that Dan is shooting for. What can you do to get that number higher?
If you’ve sent emails over a period of time? I would create segments and only send to the people who have engaged in the last 30 to 60 days and see if that improves your open rates. And if it does, you can then go to say so you start with 30 and you get a 30 percent open rate. Then we can go engage in the last 60 days and then it goes maybe twenty five. Then you go to the last 90 days and then you kind of hit that sweet spot of 20 percent.
That’s what you’d want to do to fix that issue. That’s right.
Sending out fewer emails to more people who actually open and engage with your emails. It ends up being more profitable in the long run. Trust me, any time you have to tell a client that you want to remove 40 percent of their email list, they definitely start to have questions. But the proof is in the pudding.
And when the financial results back up your claims, you’ll look pretty good right now. What about content?
What should you be saying in your email? Or more importantly, what should you avoid saying to stay out of the promotions tab and the spam box?
Anything like a multilevel marketer or really scamming Internet sales person would say or put in their email probably is going to get you flagged. So if you say stuff like work from home, like mesothelioma or just anything you would see on TV or anything, that that is immediately obvious as an advertisement. Those are usually the type of words that will get you caught up.
Also, if you’re going to use images, Dan says, to do so sparingly.
If you were to look at an email, you would if it had a bunch of images in it, you would almost immediately assume that it’s a marketing email. But if you looked at an email and it was all plain text, it would probably most likely be from a person. That’s generally how the spam filters work as well. So if you have a bunch of images and no text, it’s probably going to put that at least in promotion’s, if not spam.
And the other thing people will do is they’ll send a text based email, but they’ll send it as an image. So then the stuff that recognizes text and bad words could get tricked. So they’ll just throw it in spam instead. If it’s just a image that looks like text, basically just be as white hat as possible. And the best thing you can do is send an email as if you were sending it to a friend. All plain text.
But wait a minute here. What about those emails we all receive from e commerce websites? I know I get them all the time from Costco.
It’s got about two dozen different images in the email and it really just looks like they’ve replicated their site onto the email. How do they still hit the inbox?
When you get to the level of Costco, they’re playing a completely different game as far as how they’re getting their emails through and things like that. So for one, you know, everybody’s paying for a Costco membership and if they’re on the Costco email, they’re likely going to open those and engage with those where you probably don’t have someone paying you a membership fee to get your emails. So there’s a little bit different thing with Costco. What I would say is you always want a market based on the size of your business.
So if your business is just starting out like plaintext or very simple, emails would be great. And then you. Still definitely use images because let’s say you’re a fashion business, a photo of someone wearing a dress is going to be way better than 10000 words of describing what the dress looks like. So if it’s if text is the better medium, I would do a lot more text. If image is a better medium, do images, but then also have supporting text and the rule of thumb that I don’t think necessarily applies anymore.
But it’s still good, which is the actual physical space of your email. You want about 30 percent images, 70 percent text.
All right. So some images are OK, but just like your website, we want to be smart about it. We want to optimize the images to give a good user experience for our users. That means using images that are the right size and that are compressed to make the file size as small as possible with images.
The biggest mistake people make there is they’ll take like their 25 megabyte DLR photo and just drag it into MailChimp. And then that’s like a 25 megabyte image that someone’s mobile device has to open. So sizing the image to 600 pixels wide because that’s what an email standard with is and then running it through something like short pixel dotcom to reduce the size as much as possible. All right.
Let’s assume for a moment that content isn’t your problem. Maybe there’s something technical going on behind the scenes.
So there’s something set up incorrectly in your DNS that’s causing inboxes to either throw your emails and spam or the promotion’s box instead of the inbox. So what I would do to go through that is I’ll just throw in some acronyms for you, but make sure your d’Yquem DMARC and SPF records are correct. Well, pause there.
I’m not going to leave you hanging with those acronyms. Let me explain what Dan is talking about. So SPF Dekay. I am. And DMARC, what this is really about is verifying your email, not verifying that the email you’re sending to is good, but verifying to the other email providers that you’re sending legitimate email, that you are who you say you are. If you think about it, if we didn’t have any systems in place, you could send email as anybody on the planet and email would be pretty much useless.
I could email you as your ex-girlfriend and say, I want to get back together with you even though I’m me, not your ex girlfriend.
Or I could pretend to be a leader of another nation and start a war or a financial crisis, you get the point that email needs to be verified so that we can actually take it seriously. So we’ve got a few frameworks here that we can work with.
Now, these are basically going to be DNS settings that will add or GoDaddy, your name, cheap, wherever you signed up for your domain name. SPF was the first one that Dan mentioned. This stands for Ascender Policy Framework.
You don’t need to know that. It’s just I thought I should tell you what it means. The point is here that you’re basically telling other email providers what IP addresses are allowed to send using your domain name.
Now you only get one SPF record on your account.
So if you’re using multiple services like we’ve already talked about, maybe you have active campaign Amazon. Yes. And Google Suites.
To be able to send out your company emails, you’ll need to have an SPF record that includes all three of those giving them all permission to send using your domain name.
There are a lot of really good and free SPF generators out there that’ll help you get the settings right that you can then copy and paste over into your domain name settings. I’ll put one of my favorites in the links below. All right.
Now we’re going to talk about another authentication method. This time it’s DKA. I am ptomaine keys identified ML. Same drill here. You do not need to remember what that stands for, but the idea here is very similar, except this time it’s about authenticating that the email is legitimate. Basically, the email gets signed using a form of encryption and then the receiver checks to see if it’s legitimate. The idea is to verify that the email has not been forged or altered along the way.
The way you’re going to set this up is once again with a DNS setting over on GoDaddy, your name cheaper wherever you buy your domain or wherever you’re doing your domain name server. And it’s pretty easy to set up. Usually when you sign up for email service, they’ll have a little generator that gives you the key. You can just copy and paste it in. Once again, you’re going to need this for every single service that is sending email on your behalf.
All right. The last acronym that Dan mentioned was DMARC. Once again, this is a very complex definition. It stands for domain based message, authentication, reporting and conformance.
This one is actually a little bit different because this is the instructions for the recipient of the email.
What Demarked will do is it will tell the receiver, should I use Spaeth, should I use DKA or should I use both to verify this email demarked also gives instructions on what to do if the email fails authorization.
The options that you’ll have when you set up your demarked settings are to deliver quarantine or reject the emails.
It’s important to note here that. We’re talking about a lot of ways of sending emails, not a lot of ways of receiving emails. The only service that’s going to be receiving emails on your behalf is going to be your regular company email that will be your suite or your Zoho.
For that, you’ll set up what’s called an Amex record. None of the other services need Amex records, Amex records.
I think a lot of people think of them as the mail records.
And so when they set up something like postmarked, they’ll think I need some X records.
But you really don’t, because postmark is just sending emails on your behalf. The delivery that comes back will go to your regular email if you set it up to use the same email address and domain. All right.
Now that we’ve covered all of the boring technical DNS stuff and we’ve been able to verify that you are who you say you are when you send out an email, the next thing you want to think about is how can you be sure that the people on your email list are who they say they are?
Now, think about it.
Have you ever filled out a form online and just used a junk email address or really anything other than your best email, the one that you actually check?
I’m sure you have. I know that I have.
And so do people who fill out your forms and opt into your email list, verify that all the emails you’re actually sending to are valid emails so you can use a tool like bulk email checker BRAIT Verify or the one I’ve been using because there was a great deal on it, which was the checkered orzio. Those will all make sure that the emails are valid.
Now, if you still can’t get in the inbox and you’re sending a good clean content, not too many images to a market that’s trying to open your emails. And you’ve checked all of the technical stuff to make sure that it’s all in line and you still can’t get in the inbox. You might want to check out Gloc apps. I got Dan to go through an extended explanation of exactly how he uses Gloc apps to do a process of elimination to find out what is causing his emails to not hit the inbox is what we do to try and beat that as we use Gloc apps a lot.
So if we’re having trouble deliverability on an email, we’ll send it to Glocke apps, see where it’s getting tripped up, and then we’ll go through that list of everything else we’ve talked about, which is, you know, all the images, the right size. And have they been reduced in size? Are there any spammy words? And then if that doesn’t work, then we start testing different aspects of the email. So the first thing I look at is what’s the name?
What’s the actual send email address? Like, who is it from? Like sometimes just changing the name or changing the email that the email is coming from can actually get you outside of that problem. Also the subject line, the preview text. And then finally, if none of those things fix your problem when testing with lockout’s, the last thing I would do is cut off half of the body, text of your email and then run it again. And if you notice that it gets through, that means that something in the portion that you removed is causing the problem.
So then you can keep, you know, chopping the piece. That’s a problem until you can narrow down what is actually the issue. So it’s a huge pain in the butt. And you might have to send through Gloc apps like 20 times. And we’ve done that. But once we figure out what that offending problem is, we just make sure not to put it in any emails.
Again, when it’s all said and done, email, much like SSL, does not need to be complicated.
What it comes down to is, you know, don’t be a jerk on the Internet. If you’re trying to if you’re trying to do anything outside of the intended purpose of what it is you’re doing, that’s probably going to cause you problems.