Few can doubt the power of email after a year like 2020. It went from being an essential communication tool to the primary channel brands used to send updates. Email was also the number one marketing tool that kept businesses afloat and brands top of mind.
How did these companies succeed at email? What are some of the things you could learn from them – and apply to your own business?
As the Chief Operating Officer of ZeroBounce, Brian Minick lives and breathes email. With his team of 36 people, he helps more than 125,000 customers around the world improve their email list quality and sales.
Here, he talks about email marketing best practices, what successful marketers have in common, and his favorite part of the job. Plus, he gives you three simple things you can do today to boost your email results.
How to make email marketing work in 2021 and beyond
Brian, let’s talk about the companies that have succeeded with email in the past year and a half – what do you think they knew that the others didn’t?
In the last year and a half, there have been so many changes in marketing and especially email. Lots of new players have joined the space as they were forced to shift marketing efforts more towards digital channels.
The companies that have succeeded are the ones that have followed best practices and are not taking shortcuts.
To sum up a few rules: double opt-in your contacts, verify the emails each quarter and only mail them content they’ve signed up for. It sounds easy but it’s also very easy to jump off course and do something wild.
If you’re the daredevil type, just make sure you test with small audiences first. Don’t test on your entire database.
In general, what would you say successful email senders have in common?
They’re putting out content that readers want. How do you increase your open rate? Give the reader content they signed up for, don’t try to fool them with one thing then deliver another. Sure, you will get sign-ups, but you will also get lots of spam complaints.
What’s the most common reason people reach out to ZeroBounce?
They are reaching out because they are having deliverability issues. They’re getting lots of bounces due to outdated data and they never really grasped the concept of removing bad contacts until it’s too late.
Many of our customers are reacting to an event. An event such as their email service provider has threatened to remove them from the platform due to too many bounces.
Why do so many emails land in spam – and what would you say are the first steps to improve deliverability?
One of the biggest reasons is that people are marking your emails as spam. We are in a world where decisions get made by computers based on behavior. So mail servers see lots of ‘marked as spam’ and then say, well, we should probably just put all of these in spam then.
Your reputation is the key to inboxing. Don’t jeopardize this with silly practices.
Not only do you help people to get their lists and emails in shape, but ZeroBounce also sends a newsletter. What type of emails seems to appeal to people the most?
The emails that perform best address common pain points or desires. For instance, everyone who sends emails wants higher click rates – this is a topic that always gets attention. We talk about it quite often by approaching it from different angles.
Also, anything relating to deliverability does well and it makes sense since this is our bread and butter. Then, people like content that comes from other trusted sources, such as well-known companies. We interview marketers and entrepreneurs on the blog and then share those interviews via our newsletters. You must sum up the best thing about your email in the subject line and preview text.
As for direct marketing emails, our Black Friday promos are the most successful. In fact, most promotional email series perform well. Everybody loves a good deal.
Please share three tips for those who feel like their email marketing isn’t working.
- Take a step back and really outline your plan. What are you trying to accomplish?
- Don’t force promotions down people’s inboxes time after time. Give them value of some sort, show them a trick that might help them. Your offers should coincide with the topic.
- Test to make sure you are landing in the inbox. This might seem simple but so many people overlook this step and just assume it’s ok. If you’re not performing, this is probably why. You need open rates that are in your favor. Without opens, the rest of the funnel will break. And you don’t get opens in the spam folder.
What’s your favorite part about what you get to do?
Helping so many companies in so many countries.
Some of the brands we work with are so large and well-known that it’s especially satisfying to see them come to us for help. These are the best of the best companies that I thought really knew marketing – and in fact, they do. The issue is they’ve been collecting and aggregating their data for so long that they never thought about a clean-up effort, or the concept of clean-up is broken in their eyes.
Email has so many nuances, things that people aren’t thinking of. It’s not a bad thing, we are just on the cutting edge of what’s out there.
Most people think that an email is either “good” or “bad.” Well, there’s so much more to it, and we love educating people on email and how to market better.