Tag Archive | "Emails"

When to Send Article Pitches (and Other Important Emails)

It feels good when you’ve done your research before pitching an article idea to an editor: You know the publication’s…

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Email Marketing: Why phishing emails (unfortunately) work … and what marketers can learn from them

Phishing emails are just plain thievery. While phishing emails don’t ultimately deliver value, they do communicate value. Not to everyone, but to a specific audience. And that is why some people act on them.
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Ask MarketingSherpa: Should I use geo-targeting for event emails?

I’m trying to find the average decrease in conversion when we send an event email to a 30-mile radius around the event, versus something larger like 70 miles. It’s caused some heated disagreements between field and HQ staff. Do you have any research on something like this?
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Ask MarketingSherpa: How do I write emails that sell?

At MarketingSherpa, we get a lot of questions from readers. When one reader asked about how to write more effective emails, we saw it as a good opportunity to discuss stepping back and considering what really makes an effective marketing email.
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When to Send Article Pitches (and Other Important Emails)

"Forcing a project to completion, you ruin what was almost ripe." – Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

It feels good when you’ve done your research before pitching an article idea to an editor:

  • You know the publication’s audience
  • You know your topic offers value in unique ways
  • You know the editor’s content preferences and pet peeves

But you’re not done yet.

Although hitting the “send” button on your email seems like an inconsequential step in your article pitching process, I recommend pausing before you take that action.

That moment of excited impatience could spoil all the important research you’ve just performed.

Caution: avoid these days of the week

Have you ever suggested a fun activity to a friend, significant other, or family member when they’re in a bad mood, and they immediately decline?

Although they would normally love your idea, you’ve asked them at a time when they don’t want to be bothered.

I compare that experience to submitting an article pitch to an editor on a Friday or Monday.

Friday is a day to wrap up the workweek before the weekend and organize upcoming tasks.

Monday is a day to catch up from the weekend and start juggling pressing priorities.

When you reach out to someone you don’t know, your email might get lost in the hustle and bustle of those busy days. If you’ve worked with the editor before, it still might not be a priority to review your article pitch promptly.

Another warning

My theory about Fridays and Mondays is absolutely not a strict rule. After all, an editor may have requested that you submit a pitch to them on a Friday or Monday.

It’s simply a way to think about reaching out to someone when they might be more receptive to hearing your idea.

Keeping that guideline in mind, I’ve had a high success rate of getting responses from editors over the years.

Short-term and long-term to-do lists

We all have to prioritize our work, and there are two common types of to-do lists.

  • Short-term to-do lists: work that must get done that day … or that week
  • Long-term to-do lists: work that is not a top priority but needs to get done eventually

If you send an article pitch on a Friday or Monday, the editor might want to respond. But as they prioritize their work, your email could end up on their long-term to-do list (or even their I-keep-forgetting-about-that list).

Instead, if you send an important email on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, replying to your email might be viewed as a short-term to-do list item. It’s often a lot easier to tackle work as it comes in once the week is rolling along.

I used the phrase “an important email” above because this advice can also be applied to optimize your chances of reaching anyone (coworkers, managers, dental hygienists, etc.) at a favorable time.

People are people

You’re not sending a message to a continually enthusiastic robot that reviews all of the emails they receive with perfect objectivity and care.

You’re emailing another person … a human being.

Ask yourself:

How important is the content of this email for the recipient? Is it helpful to have this information right now? Or, is it just important to me because of the time and effort I’ve spent crafting it?

If it’s mainly important to you, is there a better time to send the email?

There may not be.

But pausing here gives you a chance to think about whether or not the person may prefer to receive it at another time.

What do you know about their current schedule? Do they have more free time the following week? If it’s an article pitch, would waiting to submit your idea until later in the year be beneficial?

Unless an email is urgent, I’ll wait a few days and then decide if it makes sense to send it or continue to wait.

What if you don’t hear back from the editor?

Of course, there is no guarantee you’ll get a quick reply — or any reply — even if you carefully choose when to send an email.

I like the Two-Week Rule when following up with an editor. One week can go by quickly, but after two weeks, it’s reasonable to check in to see if the editor is considering your topic.

And if you do get a response, it might not be the “Yes” you want to hear.

Pitches that are poorly researched or have grammar errors and typos will likely get marked as spam.

If you submit an article to a publication that doesn’t review unsolicited pitches, you likely won’t get a response no matter how compelling your topic is.

For example, Copyblogger does not currently review unsolicited guest post pitches.

There are also many factors out of your control, so be patient and don’t take any response personally.

Trust the editor’s judgment.

A different publication may be an even better fit for your idea … and a rejection from one editor creates an opportunity to explore other options.

Over to you …

What are your tips for sending article pitches to editors? Are there any days of the week or traps you avoid?

Let us know in the comments below.

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How to Supercharge Your Prospecting Emails

I ran across a YouTube video by sales guru Marc Wayshak offering key tips for writing effective prospecting emails that decision makers want to open, read and respond to. The problem is most prospecting emails fail to engage the recipient because they are never opened.

How to Get Your Recipient to Open Your Email

The first key to successful engagement is to get the target to open the email and this starts with the subject line. Wayshak suggest using non-promotional subject lines. “Most people are actually checking their emails using their phones, so think about what’s actually showing up on that phone,” he says. “Who’s it from, the subject line and then the first couple of words in the email body.”

He says to use non-salesy language, personalize the company name and to keep it short. In my experience, if a prospect feels it is simply a cut-n-paste, they will ignore, delete or click spam. Think of the subject line and first few words in an email as you knocking on their door. The recipient is looking through the email key hole and assessing whether you’re worth listening to.

Personalization is Key

When anyone receives an email the first thing they assess is whether the email is bulk or personal. This is a key theme of Wayshak’s in all of his tips for increasing email engagement.

“If a prospect thinks that what you have just sent out is a copy and pasted email that’s going to really everyone, it’s going to be deleted immediately,” says Wayshak. “It’s time to make those emails hyper specific to their exact world. We want to show that we’ve done our homework, that we know about the organization and that we know about them and maybe some of the challenges that they could be facing.”

Keep Prospecting Emails Short

The goal is to get the recipient to respond, not tell them every benefit or feature of your service or product. Wayshak believes that keeping it short is imperative to obtaining engagement. “We have at the most 20 seconds for the entire email before prospect is going to delete even the most engaging email,” he says. “So that means 3-5 sentences and then we’re done.”

Also keep in mind that keeping it too short can in itself seem promotional and not truly personal. It’s key to keep it personalized to the potential customers needs with the words in your prospecting emails similar to a short elevator pitch that feels real and solution focused for their specific business. With every prospect email, you should be trying to light a fire of interest that compels the reader to want more information.

Offer a Value Propositon

The only way to make a potential customer become a customer is to convince them that your product solves a problem. Knowing the company is key to correctly making this pitch. What are their problems and how does your product or service solve them? Wayshak suggests giving them specific feedback on their company.

“I have a client who helps companies improve their YouTube channel,” noted Wayshak. “What he did recently is he went through some of his top prospects YouTube page and gave them specific feedback on different areas that they could improve on their YouTube channel. Immediately, he got lots of responses from people saying I want to meet with you.”

He says that most salespeople are looking to take when they are writing emails, so instead give value. “That’s going to help you stand out from your competitors.”

Don’t Forget the Hook!

Your email is personalized, not too long and boring, is clearly written with an understanding of the prospects business and their problem and offers your product as the solution, but it’s still often not read. That’s because your forgot to add the hook!

“Conclude those emails with a question that’s going to engage them,” says Wayshak. “The problem is that most emails end with something that sounds like this. Let me know if I can ever be helpful. That is a total waste of time and you are not going to get responses.”

“Instead, engage like this. Do any of these challenges ring true to you? Or, where can I send that book to? Something that is specific and easy to answer that is likely to engage them in a very quick conversation.”

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SearchCap: Google Search Console emails, EU antitrust expanded & more

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

The post SearchCap: Google Search Console emails, EU antitrust expanded & more appeared first on Search Engine Land.



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


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An Introduction to Schema.org Markup for Emails

Posted by kristihines

If you are a Gmail user, you have likely received some emails that stand out from the rest with a call to action button within the subject line.

If you’ve booked a flight recently, your airline may have sent you an email that includes an interactive way to view your travel plans.

Similarly, Google Inbox app users might have seen emails that look like this.

These calls to action are courtesy of Schema.org markup for email. Just like Schema.org markup for web pages helps web pages stand out in search results, Schema.org markup for emails helps certain emails stand out from the rest in your inbox.

The goal of email markup is to allow people to take action on emails as quickly and simply as possible. For marketers, there are both pros and cons of this feature. In this post, we’re going to look at the email markup options currently available, who can use it, and if it’s worth it.

Should you use email markup?

Email markup is currently available for Gmail email recipients only. The number of Gmail users was over 350 million in 2012. To determine whether you should use it, you shouldn’t go off a three-year-old statistic, but rather a survey of your own email list or customer database.

Most email service providers (like GetResponse, shown in the example below) allow you to search your subscriber list for specific criteria. Search yours for emails containing Gmail to determine the number of Gmail addresses your emails reach.

Of course, this isn’t the whole picture. There are likely more people that use Gmail for business with their own domains. So although their emails do not say Gmail, they open their emails in the Gmail web browser or app.

Another consideration for using email markup is tracking. If you rely heavily on the ability to track email opens and clicks to trigger autoresponders and other marketing automation actions, you may not want to give your subscribers the option to bypass opening your email and clicking on your link.

Once you’ve determined the approximate number of Gmail users you reach and whether you need the ability to track email actions, your next job is to see if you qualify to use email markup.

Register for email markup with Google

Before you can use email markup, you must register with Google. Google will check to make sure you meet email sender quality guidelines, bulk sender guidelines, and action / schema quality guidelines.

Here are some of the key guidelines you need to know. Emails must be authenticated via DKIM or SPF. The domain of your from email must match the signed-by or mailed-by header.

You must send a minimum of a hundred emails per day to Gmail users for a few weeks before applying. Google will want to see that you have a very, very low rate of spam complaints from Gmail recipients.

Bulk email guidelines include using the same IP address to send bulk mail, using the same from email address, only adding subscribers to your list that have opted in (preferably with a double opt-in or confirmation), and allowing list members to unsubscribe easily. These guidelines will not only help you get approved for use of email markup, but will also help your emails get delivered to more Gmail users without being marked as spam.

Action / schema guidelines boil down to making sure you use the appropriate action markup when possible. When an action markup is not available, or the process is more complex than can be handled inside Gmail, a go-to action should be used. Go-to actions should link directly to a page where the email recipient can complete the action as labeled on the call to action button.

An introduction to email markup actions

Actions created by email markup allow email recipients to interact with your business, product, or service within Gmail. There are currently four types of actions to choose from using email markup.

One-click actions

One-click actions are those where a task can be completed with one click within Gmail or Inbox. For example, when someone signs up for an email list, they need to confirm their subscription.

One-click actions are broken into two categories: confirm actions and save actions. The above example is a confirm action. Save actions can include adding an item to a queue or saving a coupon. Both confirm and save actions can only be interacted with once.

RSVP actions

RSVP actions allow email recipients to confirm whether they will attend an event using an invite from Google Calendar. Your email will include the event card you usually see in emails from meeting invites.

Having people confirm their attendance to your event will help ensure that they don’t forget by getting it on their calendar.

Review actions

Review actions allow email recipients to add a star and comment review for your business, products, and services right from the subject line of their email in Gmail.

You can see an end-to-end example of the scripting necessary to create a review action for a restaurant to get reviews from a Gmail user’s inbox to the Datastore using Python.

Go-to actions

Actions that do not fall under the above types are considered go-to actions. These are used when you need to take an email recipient to your website to complete an action that is too complex to be handled within the recipient’s Gmail or Inbox app.

All of the following are examples of go-to actions that take email recipients to do things on another website.

The call to action on these can be customized, so you are not limited to just viewing orders, tracking packages, and opening discussions. You can tailor them for specific uses, such as resetting a password, reviewing questionable transactions on your credit cards, and updating payment information.

An introduction to email markup Highlights

Another use for email markup is Highlights. Highlights summarize key information from specific types of email for users of the Inbox app. For example, Highlights are used for these order confirmations to show the products ordered.

Another example is this flight reservation using Highlights to show the round-trip flights purchased.

Specifically, there are six Highlights that businesses can use. They are as follows:

  • Flight reservations – Includes options for displaying basic flight confirmation information, boarding pass, check-in, update a flight, cancel a flight, and additional options. This Highlight is also supported in Google Now.
  • Orders – Includes options for displaying basic order information, view order action, and order with billing details.
  • Parcel deliveries – Includes options for displaying basic parcel delivery information and detailed shipping information.
  • Hotel reservations – Includes options for displaying basic hotel reservation information, updating a reservation, and canceling a reservation. This Highlight is also supported in Google Now.
  • Restaurant reservations – Includes options for displaying basic restaurant reservation information, updating a reservation, and canceling a reservation. This Highlight is also supported in Google Now.
  • Event reservation – Includes options for basic event reminders without a ticket, event with ticket & no reserved seating, sports or music event with ticket, event with ticket & reserved seating, multiple tickets, updating an event, and canceling an event. This Highlight is also supported in Google Now.

Note that while Highlights are a great feature, they only work for Gmail Inbox users. If Google continues to push Gmail users to using Inbox, this user base will grow exponentially.

Test email markup before sending

While you are waiting to be registered with Google, or prior to sending out emails with Schema.org markup, you should run some initial tests to ensure that your markup is correct. You can start by copying and pasting your code into the Email Markup Tester to check for basic errors.

You can also add email markup to emails you send from and to yourself on Gmail. It’s important to test as one of the action / schema guidelines is a low failure rate and fast response for action handling. You can learn how to send test emails to yourself in this tutorial using script.google.com.

The tutorial gives you some simple code you can copy and paste as directed.

When you save and run the project as directed, you will immediately get the following result:

You can then begin to experiment with the code for the email markup you want to use.

Run your script again and again to produce new emails.

Any approved business can use the go-to actions to link the subject line of their email to any portion of their website. As you continue to experiment, think of new ways to engage your audience with email markup.

Final questions to answer

Here are some final questions you need to answer before you invest in email markup are the following.

  1. Will you get more of your desired results by adding Schema.org actions to your emails? For example, if you use the review action, will you actually get more reviews for your business?
  2. How much time will it take to revise your emails if / when Google standardizes email markup with Schema.org? It might pay to wait until email markup has been standardized and make the time and coding investment all at once.
  3. Will email actions be supported by other email platforms in the future? Schema.org is a collaboration between Google, Bing, Microsoft, Yandex, and Yahoo. So while not guaranteed, it can be assumed that all of the major email platforms on the web could embrace email markup in the future.

If, after answering these questions, you can see a real need for email markup, then find out if you meet the guidelines set by Google to use it and register.

If your business uses email markup, be sure to share your experiences and results in the comments!

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10 Essential Tips for Creating Mobile-Friendly Emails

three people, each holding and looking down at a different mobile device

Each time you send an email, you should be aware that a huge portion of your subscribers are going to open your message on their phones or tablets — not on their desktop computers or laptops.

It seems that every other week a new study cites an overwhelming number of people who read emails on their mobile devices — 51 percent according to Litmus66 percent according to Movable Ink.

The numbers vary, but the savvy content marketer knows that overlooking mobile-friendly emails is a big mistake.

Your job is to not only get your emails opened and read, but also to make your customers’ experiences just as strong as if the messages were opened on laptops or desktops.

Do you know how to make that happen?

A mobile responsive website design displays your content properly no matter how someone views your website, and you can ensure that the emails you send look great as well, whether or not you have a mobile-responsive email template.

Here are 10 essential tips for transforming your message into a mobile-friendly email.

1. Compose short subject lines

The amount of space mobile devices provide for displaying subject lines can make even the most succinct writer cry herself to sleep.

Even though some email clients will display your entire subject line text, many do not.

And since your subject line in an email is akin to your headline, you don’t want to cut it off and miss an opportunity to connect with your reader.

The solution is to either keep your subject line short — 40 characters or less is a good rule of thumb — or position the most important phrase of your subject line in the first 40 characters to maximize your chances of readers seeing it.

2. Use a single-column template

On a mobile-device screen, multiple columns typically appear condensed and confusing to navigate.

A single column makes your email cross-device compatible and straightforward even when it’s viewed with different email clients.

Single columns can also simplify your design and spotlight your important content.

3. Keep your email under 600 pixels wide

While most modern mobile devices can handle responsive designs, there are exceptions.

When your email width is 600 pixels or less, users won’t have problems viewing emails that were formatted for large computer screens.

Set a width attribute in your email template’s table tag to 600 pixels or use the CSS width property to make this adjustment.

4. Use a large font size

Since a 10-pixel font is difficult to read on a desktop computer screen, and small screens make small fonts even smaller, most people will delete your email before they’ll squint and strain their eyes in order to read your tiny text.

A font size of 13 or 14 pixels makes your email substantially more readable on a small screen.

But don’t be afraid to go even larger than that. Large fonts make your emails easier to read on both desktops and mobile devices.

5. Display small images

Smaller images reduce load times and bandwidth. Many mobile users still use 3G or slower, connections, so the speed at which images load is vital.

If you have technical chops, or know someone who can help you, use responsive-coding techniques to load smaller images on mobile devices and larger ones on other devices.

Another option is to shrink an image by 50 percent and compress it at a slightly higher compression rate than normal to both load your images faster and conserve your user’s bandwidth.

6. Provide a distinct call to action

A call to action should prompt your email recipient to do something. Generally, that “something” is tapping (or clicking) a button that further leads him down the path you want him to take.

Your call to action needs to be large enough for him to easily and effectively do this on a mobile-device screen.

Fingers are not nearly as exact as mouse pointers, and while mobile manufacturers have created devices that accurately respond to your actions, they’re not perfect.

If your reader has to tap more than once to continue interacting with your content, then there’s a chance he won’t bother.

Display a compelling call to action that is at least a 40 pixels square — and preferably larger than that — to keep the reader engaged with your email.

7. Don’t make your call to action an image

Some email clients only display images from verified sending addresses. So if you use an image for your call to action and your recipient’s email client doesn’t have images enabled for your sending address, she will not see it.

After all the work you put into crafting your emails, it’s a bummer to miss an opportunity to get your reader to take action.

But the trouble is that when recipients do view images, they often improve click-through rates.

If you decide to use an image for your call to action, make sure the image has a descriptive ALT tag that matches the text that appears in the image, such as “click here.”

That way, even if the image isn’t shown, the message in your ALT text will still appear.

8. Avoid menu bars

As I mentioned above, since fingers are not precision instruments, tiny menu and navigation bars are frustrating to use.

I recommend avoiding them completely. It’s an email, not a website, so you don’t need a traditional menu or navigation bar.

With emails, stick to the basic building blocks of the web: links and images.

9. Don’t stack links

Stacked links cause the same problems as other tiny forms of navigation. Here’s an example of stacked links:

Google

Yahoo

Bing

If you imagine stacked links within a paragraph, you can see how easy it would be to accidentally click the wrong link.

Also, when two words are right on top of each other, you may mistakenly link the two words to the same destination rather than assigning a distinct link to each word.

Including multiple links in an email is fine, but be sure to look at a preview of the email and separate links with other text, images, or whitespace as needed.

10. Test on multiple devices

Don’t worry; you don’t need to buy a dozen mobile phones to properly test your emails. 

Litmus has a paid service that runs comprehensive tests on more than 30 email clients. They offer a free seven-day trial to get you started.

To run a test, you simply provide your email message’s HTML. Litmus then opens your email message in multiple clients, snaps screenshots of each, and sends you an email with the results. The test usually takes just a few minutes.

A quick scan through the results will alert you to any visual problems that may occur on different devices.

The reader’s experience is your first priority

Think about your own experience when you encounter an email that doesn’t display properly on your mobile device.

Even if it’s from a source that interests you, you may not want to spend extra time deciphering the message.

And if you can’t see the action the sender wants you to take, you certainly won’t take it.

Instead of putting your reader in this undesirable scenario, you can easily create mobile-friendly emails that display properly on any device.

What special steps do you take to produce an optimal mobile-viewing experience for your email readers?

Let us know over on LinkedIn

Editor’s note: If you found this post useful, we suggest you also read 37 Tips for Writing Emails That Get Opened, Read, and Clicked by Henneke Duistermaat.

Flickr Creative Commons Image via Karen.

About the Author: Rob Walling is the founder of the lightweight email and marketing automation software Drip. You can keep up with his startup exploits on Twitter at @robwalling.

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An Internet Marketing Education in 16 Ebooks and 20 Emails. No Charge.

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Want to discover the smartest ways to mix social media, content marketing, and SEO for lead generation?

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These 16 high-impact ebooks plus our 20-installment email course deliver the techniques and strategies you need to know to become a much smarter marketer online.

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About the author

Brian Clark

Brian Clark is founder and CEO of Copyblogger, and uncompromising evangelist for the Rainmaker Platform. Get more from Brian on .

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