"To Open or NOT to open ... THAT is the question"!
by Colin G. Moses
If you're a beginner in online marketing you're probably starting to hear that email advertising is one of THE most effective ways to get your business or products exposed. If you're an experienced marketer... you already KNOW this to be true!
However as with anything else, email marketing has had to evolve ... Gone are the days when people opened ALL of their email or even a large percentage of it REGARDLESS of who it was from. Why? Well, consider the following two factors that have caused this.
1. The first thing that a prospect sees when looking at your email BEFORE it's opened.
2. The MASSIVE increase in SPAM (or junk mail) that's seems to come along with most ANY email account!
The things that your prospect sees when they receive an email is "who" it's from (the from: field) and then the subject of the email. Many, many articles and even books about email marketing have talked about the importance of your headline or subject "header" of your email ... in terms of getting your prospects to open it.
However did you know that according to DoubleClick's 2002 Consumer Email Study, the MOST important factor that prospects or consumers consider when deciding whether or not to even open the email is ... the FROM: field? A whopping 60% actually! 35% also said the subject header.
So now in addition to having a catchy or effective headline, who it's "from" matters even more! The name should be recognizable or at least seemingly credible.
For example ... if you receive an email from an address like firstname.lastname@example.org you would probably delete it without much thought.
Johnsmith@something.com has a better chance of being opened even though you might not even know a John Smith! Which brings us to the second point: The massive increase in junk email. Who are the culprits? Your friendly neighborhood "spammer" or "junk" mail sender!
Did you know that studies show that overall email volume has risen 60% over last year with the average person getting 254 emails on a weekly basis as opposed to 159 a week in the previous year? Unfortunately a large part of that increase is due to an even disproportionately larger increase in spam emails!
Because of this huge increase in emails, the average person now has 2.63 email addresses. At least half or 50% of these people use an email feature to sort their junk mail messages into a bulk folder. 76% "never or rarely" read the emails in their bulk folders.
I know ... you're probably thinking ...
Well, if your email ad, newsletter, or ezine was NOT spam in the first place then why would your prospect treat it as spam? It wouldn't be sorted into the junk mail folder in the first place! Ahhh ... if only it were that simple!
This brings us to the other challenge that your friendly neighborhood spammer, has indirectly caused us legitimate marketers to deal with. More and more ISPS (Internet Service Providers) are now installing anti spam filters to try to stem the flow of junk email BEFORE it even gets to you!
This is a great concept but the downside is that a lot of legitimate newsletter and ezine publishers (who're the driving force behind a huge proportion of e-commerce) are finding their publications being "filtered" or labeled spam ... by these oversensitive filters.
This has caused a situation whereby many subscribers are not receiving the very newsletters or ezines that they have specifically subscribed to.
So how are we to combat this situation?
Well, you have to "OPTIMIZE" your email correspondence. Whether it be your newsletters, autoresponder messages, e-cources, ezines, advertisements etc. Make sure that they don't have certain words that "trigger" the filters.
These words can be in your "from field", your "subject header" AND the "body" of your email ... it doesn't matter. They can all trigger the filters. (You can check out these "trigger" words below this article.)
1. If you have to use words that can trigger those filters, substitute a symbol like ^ for one of the letters in the word. You'll notice that I've done so throughout this article.
2. You can post your newsletter to your website and send a "notification" email to your subscr^bers giving them that url or website address.
3. If your newsletter contains ads ... make sure that they too do not have trigger words. If they do, notify your advertiser that you'll be making the necessary cosmetic changes to make it more "ISP friendly".
4. Run a test on your emails, newsletters and ezines and even SOLO ads before you send them out. You can use a fr^e tool called sp^mcheck to do so. Here's how it works ...
Copy-and-paste your subject, into the subject line of your email message, but start your subject with the word "TEST" (without the quotes, in UPPER CASE) so that sp^mcheck knows this is a test email. (If the subject does NOT start with TEST, it will assume it's REAL sp^m email and delete it).
Here's a sample subject...
TESTFlower-Lovers Ezine #007: Peonies for the Yukon
Note that there is NO space between TEST and the start of the subject above.
Copy-and-paste the rest of your ezine, newsletter, autoresponder message etc, into the body of your email message and simply send it, exactly the way you would send it to your recipient, to ...
It will then rate or score your email (0 to 5=no problems. 12-16= over the limit for most ISPs) and you'll get a report back (in seconds, perhaps a few minutes if volume is heavy) telling you how good or bad your email is, from a sp^m-detector's point of view. (By the way THIS article scored a "2.7"! :o)
It'll also tell you of all corrections that you should make to your email, in order to stay out of the junk folders. It does NOT, of course, actually comment on WHAT you write -- first, it's not that smart. And second, the actual content is YOUR business!
So save the address - email@example.com in your email program and start checking your ezines, free reports and ecourses prior to distributing them.
Even though as you've learned above, using email marketing as a tool has become more challenging, email remains an extremely POWERFUL sales tool. Here are two stats to back that up.
- 19% of consumers with an email account made a purchase online two years ago and that has increased to a WHOPPING 25% last year.
- An incredible 78% of those people made those purchases as a result of receiving an email. So when used effectively, email remains an incredibly powerful sales tool.
The key is to not only make sure that you have an effective headline, but also to make sure that your mail actually gets to your prospect's mailbox in the first place!
To your success!
Written by Colin G. Moses.
(c) Copyright 2003 by Aqua Enterprises.
These are some of the more common words that trigger some ISP and personal email client filters. They can cause your emails, newsletters, e-courses, advertisements and basically anything you send by email to be blocked, discarded, diverted or deleted.
Basically treated as SPAM!
So here we go:
To contains: "friend@"
To contains: "public@"
To contains: "success@"
From contains: "sales@"
From contains: "success."
From contains: "success@"
From contains: "mail@"
From contains: "@public"
From contains: "@savvy"
From contains: "profits@"
From contains: "hello@"
First 8 characters of From are digits
Subject contains "advertisement"
Subject contains: "!" AND Subject contains: "$"
Subject contains:"!" AND Subject contains"free"
Subject contains: "$$"
Subject contains: "#"
Body contains: "money back "
Body contains: "cards accepted"
Body contains: "removal instructions"
Body contains: "extra income"
Body contains: ",000" AND Body contains "!!" AND Body contains "$"
Body contains: "Dear friend"
Body contains: "for free?"
Body contains: "for free!"
Body contains: "Guarantee" AND (Body contains: "satisfaction" OR Body contains: "absolute")
Body contains: "more info " AND Body contains: "visit " AND Body contains: "$"
Body contains: "SPECIAL PROMOTION"
Body contains: "one-time mail"
Body contains: "$$$"
Body contains: "order today"
Body contains: "order now!"
Body contains: "money-back guarantee"
Body contains: "100% satisfied"
Body contains: "mlm"
Body contains: "@mlm"
Body contains: "///////////////"
Body contains: "check or money order"
Body contains: 'remove', 'unsubscribe' or 'click
The following can be ANYWHERE to trigger the filters!
2. cancel at any time
4. e-mail marketing
5. for only ($)
6. free (including toll-free)
7. great offer
9. increase sales
10. promise you
11. risk free
12. special promotion
13. this is not spam