Author: Liz Willits

21 Creative Email Ideas for People Who Don’t Like to Write

You don’t need to write a 1,000-word blog post to have content for your next email newsletter or automated email series. In fact, you don’t need to write anything at all.

You can forget about writer’s block and try one of these 21 creative ideas instead. They’re simple, easy, and proven to work — the pros use them all the time!

1. Videos

Adding video to your emails can increase click rates by 300%, according to one study from MarTech Advisor. To put that in perspective, if you average 1,000 clicks each email, adding a video would increase to that 4,000.

If you create videos regularly, promote them in your emails. Fitness Expert Betty Rocker shares her new and popular workout videos with email marketing.

Related: Your Guide to Brainstorming Creative Video Ideas

2. Podcast episodes

Have a podcast? Add it to your next email newsletter to increase downloads. Notice how Productivity Expert Michael Hyatt uses a captivating story to introduce his latest podcast episode in the email below.

Did you know that subscribers can actually play and listen to your podcast episode directly from an email? With AWeber’s Curate app, you can simply add your new episode to a newsletter, and the app will automatically generate the code for you.

You can see this feature in action below with the Would You Rather Newsletter, a weekly message that presents “Would you rather… ?” scenarios.

Related: 4 Easy Ways Podcasters Can Use Email to Grow Their Audiences

3. Quotes

“The right quote can inspire people to change their ways,” said Zig Ziglar, author and motivational speaker.

People love inspiring or motivating quotes. We know, because we include a quote in many of our FWD: Thinking newsletters, and our readers love it. And many of the most successful newsletters mix quotes into their content as well, like financial newsletter Finimize with this quote from Pearl S. Buck.

Need quote inspiration? Check out BrainyQuote. It’s like an encyclopedia of quotes.

4. Webinars, tutorials, and workshops

What’s the #1 way to get people to register for your webinars? For us, it’s email. A single email can contribute hundreds, even thousands, of registrants.

Email is what other experts rely on too. Below, Joanna Wiebe, Founder of Copy Hackers, promotes her workshop with an email that explains the key takeaways subscribers will get.

Related: The Not-So-Secret Tactic to Growing Your Email Audience Really Quickly

5. Industry news or updates

You’re an expert in your industry, whether that’s fitness, writing, nutrition, travel, or business. Subscribers join your list to learn important information about your industry, like the latest news and updates.

For example, if you’re a fitness expert, this might be a brand-new meta-analysis or research study that further proves the science behind high intensity interval training.

Morning Brew, a newsletter that relays the latest news from Wall St. to Silicon Valley, adds stock market updates to the top of their emails to keep subscribers up-to-date on the market.

6. Instagram posts

Your Instagram posts don’t need to stay on Instagram. Repurpose them in your next email newsletter. Your post will get more exposure, and you won’t need to hope and pray that Instagram’s algorithm will display it in your followers’ feeds.

Take a look at how Marketing Expert Gary Vaynerchuk links off to one of his popular Instagram posts in the email below.

Pro tip: You can use AWeber’s Curate app to drag Instagram posts (or any content!) into your next newsletter in seconds.

7. Facebook live videos

If you create Facebook live videos, promote them in your email newsletters.

More people will watch the video. (Facebook loves that.) And you can save time by reusing your social content for your email newsletter. (You love that.)

Fitness and productivity expert Chalene Johnson gets thousands of people to watch her Facebook live videos. Her secret? She promotes her videos on social and in her email newsletters.

8. Tweets

The lifespan of a Tweet is 18 minutes. Which means your carefully-crafted Tweets gathers cobwebs after only 18 short minutes. What are the chances your followers will actually be on Twitter during that brief period? I wouldn’t bet your business on it.

Increase the lifespan of your great Twitter content by talking about it in your next email newsletter.

You can even include Tweets from other successful companies, like Brass Ring Daily — a newsletter for career, productivity, and writing advice — does below.

Related: 9 Ways to Grow Your Email List with Twitter

9. Social campaigns

Sharing social content isn’t the only way to use email to increase your social success. You can also encourage your subscribers to post about your brand on social. Ask them to share a testimonial on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Or, get them to post with a hashtag on a social platform, like travel company Topdeck does in this email.

10. Subscriber information

People love to see their name in lights. Mention subscribers in your newsletter if it’s their birthday or when they take a certain action.

The daily newsletter theSkimm has millions of subscribers. Yet, in every newsletter, they still call out their subscribers’ birthdays and highlight people who are doing great things.

11. Pictures

Have beautiful or funny photos and an audience who would love to see them? Put them in your next newsletter.

Buzzfeed has a weekly newsletter about cats (Sorry, dog people. There’s not a dog newsletter . . . yet.). Readers send Buzzfeed pictures of their cats, and Buzzfeed adds them to the newsletter with a brief description.

Related: How to Create Amazing Photos for Your Emails on Zero Budget

12.  Book recommendations

If you like to read, this tip is for you! Recommend the good books you’re reading to your subscribers. If the books are relevant to them, they’ll appreciate it. Plus, it’s an easy newsletter content idea for you.

The Brain Food Weekly Digest is a newsletter dedicated to helping you become a better version of yourself by sharing educational content. Shane Parrish, the creator of the newsletter, often shares what he’s currently reading.

13. Questions and answers

Do your subscribers ask you certain questions again and again? Answer one of those common questions in your next newsletter. This will increase engagement by making your newsletter interactive.

See how financial newsletter Finimize adds a question and answer to their email below.

14. Special offers or deals

If you have a limited-time or can’t-miss deal, add it your newsletter so subscribers don’t miss out.

Liberty Travel always includes vacation deals in their popular email newsletter.

15. Events

Events, whether they’re virtual or at a physical location, take a lot of preparation and effort. Make the most of all that work and fill more seats by promoting your next event in an email newsletter.

Nomadic Matt, a successful travel blogger, promotes all of his Travel Meet-ups with email.

16. Stories

Calling all authors! This idea is for you. Your subscribers love to read. Share short stories, poems, or chapters from your book in your email newsletter. It’s the perfect content for your bookworm audience, and can help increase your book sales or downloads.

Publisher Penguin Random House sends a newsletter with one section from a short story inside. You have to read the next email to continue the story, which keeps subscribers coming back for more.

17. Tools

Great newsletters solve their audience’s problems and answer their questions. That’s why subscribers continue to open and read them.

While educational content is an excellent way to teach your audience, it doesn’t help them actually do the work to resolve their problems. Tools, on the other hand, make it easier for them to accomplish tasks.

For example, we created a tool called Email Libs to help our audience write their email content in a few minutes. They just answer a few simple questions about their business, and the tool generates email content.

If you know of a tool that could save your subscribers’ time, whether you created it or someone else did, link off to it in your newsletter.

In a recent TotalAnnarchy newsletter, MarketingProf’s Chief Content Officer Ann Handley dedicates an entire section to useful tools she used that week.

 

Related: 12 Free Tools to Create Jaw-Dropping Email Images

18. Plans or steps

If your subscribers would like to accomplish something and they’re not sure how to do it, add a plan or detailed steps to your newsletter to show them how.

Every week, Food blogger and founder of Skinnytaste Gina Homolka sends her subscribers a meal plan filled with healthy recipes. It makes her subscribers’ lives easier. Instead of spending hours planning their weekly meals, they can use Gina’s simple plan.

19. Trivia questions or riddles

Asking questions in your newsletter is a great way to increase engagement. Instead of simply reading your newsletter, your subscribers will interact with it.

Morning Brew often includes a trivia question in their newsletters. They give the answer at the bottom of the email so subscribers have to keep reading to see it.

20. Courses

The global market for online education reached $255 billion in 2017, and it’s not slowing down (according to World Economic Forum). Millions of people buy online courses in order to upgrade their knowledge and skills.

Dreaming of creating your own free course for email subscribers? You don’t need a course platform to do it. Just use email.

Build an automated email series with 1 or 2 days between emails. Then, each email in your series can be 1 lesson of your course. The entire lesson could be within the email or you could link off to a video or landing page that hosts the lesson.

Talia, conversion expert and Founder of GetUplift, promotes her email course as a lead magnet (a.k.a freebie) on her email sign up form. Once people sign up, she deliver the course lessons through a daily message.

4 How to Create Your First Email Course or Email Challenge

21. Blog posts or articles

“Wait a minute … At the beginning, you said I didn’t need to write a blog post!”

You don’t. Include great blog posts and articles created by other companies in your next newsletter. This is called curation, and it saves people time from finding great content for themselves.

Dave Pell writes NextDraft, a successful newsletter with thousands of subscribers. He fills each email with educational blog posts and articles.

The surprising part? The majority of the articles aren’t written by Pell. They’re written by other people. But they’re still valuable to his subscribers, which is why they keep reading.

Related: 4 Email Newsletter Ideas for Bloggers

Put these ideas to the test.

These 21 ideas prove that you can add any kind of content to your next newsletter, as long as it’s valuable to your subscribers.

Now that your creative juices are flowing, it’s time to try these ideas out! Create a free AWeber account today and get started.

The post 21 Creative Email Ideas for People Who Don’t Like to Write appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

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The 6-Step Plan to Escape the Spam Folder

You’re not a spammer — but your emails can still land in the spam folder.

And once they’re stuck there, it’s difficult to reach the inbox again.

That’s why we asked AWeber’s Director of Deliverability Karen Balle to explain how you can escape the spam folder.

Multi-million dollar companies seek Balle’s advice on reaching the inbox. This is the same 6-step plan she lays out for them. And now, you can use it too.

Step 1: Make sure you have permission.

It’s illegal to send emails to people who haven’t subscribed to your list. It’s also a great way to go to the spam folder.

So, if your emails are going to spam, review your email lists to make sure all of your subscribers opted in to receive content from you.

If you purchased one of your lists or all of your lists, delete those subscribers from your email marketing platform. They’re just hurting you. Plus, they didn’t give you permission to send them emails anyway, so they are much more likely to mark your emails as spam or not open them at all.

If you’re not sure whether your lists are purchased, review subscribers to see how they joined. (You can see these details under Subscriber Management in AWeber.) Look for large lists of imported subscribers. Make sure you have a record of how you acquired these subscribers.

Related: The Ugly Truth about Buying Email Lists

Balle also recommends using confirmed opt-in (COI) emails for every new subscriber. A confirmed opt-in email is a message that’s automatically sent to people who fill out your sign up form. It asks them to confirm they want to join your list by clicking a link or button in the message.

Internet service providers, like Gmail and Yahoo!, are more likely to deliver your emails to the inbox when you use COI emails. And on top of that, COI messages keep spam robots off your email list. Spam robots are automated computer programs designed to find sign up form code on your website and submit fake information to join your list.  (Nobody wants a robot on their list. It’s difficult to tell them apart from real subscribers. And they decrease your open and click-through rates.)

Related: Writing Confirmation and Welcome Emails People Love

Step 2: Find the type of content your audience loves.

Often, your email reputation is damaged because your subscribers aren’t engaging with your emails. If your open rates are below 15% and your click-through rates are below 5%, you’re in the danger zone, says Balle.

To rebuild your email reputation, you need to boost your open and click-through rates. There’s a simple way to accomplish this: Send content your audience can’t wait to open and read.

Take a look at the emails you’ve sent in the past, says Balle. Are there certain messages that earned more opens and clicks? If so, you should send more content like this! Jot down a list of related (but new) content ideas for future emails.

Related: 8 Top Brainstorming Techniques to Help You Write Killer Emails

You can also ask your subscribers what kind of content they’d like to get from you. Simply send them a brief email asking what questions they have.

Once you know what kind of content interests your audience, draft a few emails around those topics. We’ll use these messages in step 4!

Related: 18 Tried-And-True Ways to Improve Your Email Content

Step 3: Build a segment of your most-engaged subscribers.

Using your email marketing platform, build a segment of subscribers who have clicked a link in one of your emails in the last 3 months.

This is your most engaged group of subscribers. They are more likely to open and click future emails.

You’ll use this segment of people to begin rebuilding your email reputation with internet service providers. With a good email reputation, more of your emails will reach the inbox!

Related: How to Create a Segment in AWeber

Step 4: Send value-packed emails to your segmented audience.

For the next 2 weeks, focus on sending high-value emails to the audience you identified in step 3. Aim to send 1 to 2 emails each week. Use the messages you drafted in step 2!

Make sure that your audience likes the content you’re  sending. High open and click-through rates and low spam complaints are a good indicator that they do.

But fair warning: You won’t see high rates right away.

When recovering from spam folder placement, your open and click-through rates will start low, according to Balle.

“You want to make sure that those metrics are increasing. Many companies give up too early during this step. It will be around two weeks when you really start to see a difference,” she says.

Once your open rates are above 15% and your click-through rates are above 5% with your engaged segment, start gradually increasing your segment size. Add people to your segment who clicked an email in the last 4 months.

As you send emails to this larger segment, watch your open rates and your click-through rates for about a week. If they hold steady, then add people who clicked an email in the last 5 months. Watch your open rates and click-through rates again. Keep going until you’re sending to people who clicked your emails in the last 12 months.

One of the biggest mistakes Balle sees is adding people to your segment too quickly. Each time you add more people to your segment, make sure you don’t increase your segment by more than 50%. For example, let’s say you have a list of 10,000 engaged subscribers. When you increase your segment size, add 5,000 subscribers or less. Send for about a week. Then, add the next segment.

And if you add a new segment and you can’t increase your open and click-through rates, stop adding new segments. Move on to step 5.

Related: The 7 Questions Everyone Has about Email List Segmentation

Step 5: Create a re-engagement campaign for unengaged subscribers.

Now, it’s time to try to re-engage subscribers who aren’t opening and clicking your emails with a re-engagement campaign. A re-engagement campaign is a group of emails that asks people to confirm they actually want to be on your email list.

For your re-engagement campaign, build a segment of people who haven’t clicked on a link in your email for the last 12 months or at the point where you could no longer increase your opens and clicks.

The segment size for this re-engagement campaign should be no more than 10% the size of your newly engaged list. If it’s larger, it could sabotage the work you’ve done so far with your engaged segment. So if you have a list of 10,000 subscribers who have recently clicked a link in one of your emails, your engagement campaign should only include 1,000 people.  You may need to send multiple engagement campaigns to cover all of your less-engaged customers.

Once you build your segment, send a re-engagement campaign to them. Send one email. Wait 7 days. Then, send one more. Don’t send a third. According to Balle, a third re-engagement email often ends up in the spam folder.

Related: How to Win Back Subscribers with a Re-Engagement Campaign

If you have subscribers who haven’t opened or clicked an email in more than a year, you might want to consider excluding them from your re-engagement campaign. They are less likely to re-engage, and they may sabotage your re-engagement campaign by decreasing subscriber engagement.

Step 6: Delete subscribers who don’t re-engage.

If a subscriber doesn’t re-engage or hasn’t opened an email in years, it’s time to delete them. They’re just hurting your email deliverability and your bottom line.

Related: How to Delete Unengaged Subscribers

Stick to the plan. Reach the inbox.

Improving your email reputation takes time and patience. But by following this plan, you can increase your chances of reaching the inbox and build a healthy email list of people who want your emails!

Want to use an email marketing platform that helps more people reach the inbox? Create a free account with AWeber.

The post The 6-Step Plan to Escape the Spam Folder appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

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2019 Email Marketing Statistics: We Analyzed 1,000 Emails from Today’s Top Experts

Nearly every business with an email marketing strategy wonders how to write the perfect email. They question the length of their emails. (Short or long?) They wonder how they can get more people to open their emails. (Should I capitalize my subject lines or not?) And they debate even the little things. (Emojis or no emojis?)

And there isn’t a simple answer to these questions — until now.

With the help of AWeber’s data scientist, we analyzed 1,000 emails from 100 of today’s top marketers. Our goal? Gather email marketing statistics that will answer these questions.

The 100 experts we analyzed are the best of the best. Their email strategies engage thousands and drive millions in revenue. Many of them see unheard of results (like 80% open rates and 30% click-through rates).

In this post, we answer 4 important questions:

And more!

Want to skip to a specific section? Click on one of the questions above.

Email marketing statistics: Words in an email

The average email length

Of the 1,000 emails we analyzed, we found that emails have 434.48 words on average. 434 words takes approximately 3.3 minutes to read.

Email marketing statistics: Words in an email

 

Why some pros go with shorter emails

However, more than 50% of the emails we analyzed contained 300 words or less (a 2.3 minute read time). With people receiving more emails than ever before, it makes sense that experts are sending shorter emails. Email marketers need to stand out to captivate their readers. Short emails might be a good strategy for doing so.

Henneke Duistermaat is the founder of Enchanting Marketing and one of the 100 top marketers whose emails we analyzed. She often sends emails with less than 300 words.

“Have you ever heard someone complaining they’re not getting enough email?” Duistermaat said. “Everyone’s inbox is overflowing. We’re all time-starved. So, we love succinct messages that help us make a quick decision: whether to reply or not, whether to click through or not.”

Why some pros send long-form emails

Yet, 24.1% of the emails we analyzed contained 601 words or more. And 11.4% of them had more than 901 words, a read time of approximately 6.9 minutes.

These experts stand out by sending long emails packed with valuable content, like Ann Handley. Handley is the Chief Content Officer at Marketing Profs, a marketing education company, and one of the top 100 marketers we included in our research. She sends her newsletter TotalAnnarchy via AWeber every other Sunday. On average, her newsletters contain 1,838.5 words, which takes roughly 14 minutes to read.

Handley said, “It’s not that long-form emails are effective. Rather, what’s effective is emails that have value for the people on your list. I don’t set out every other Sunday with a goal of writing the longest email I possibly can. But I do have a goal of writing an authentic, valuable, fun letter to each and every subscriber on my list. I put my heart and soul into it, and that’s why people respond.”

Matt Kepnes, author and founder of travel blog Nomadic Matt, is also on our list of top marketers. He sends long-form emails as well. On average, they contain 802 words. Instead of linking off to posts on his blog, he includes entire articles within his emails. These messages see high open and click-through rates. “People will read longer emails if the topic is important enough,” Kepnes says.

How to choose your email length

So how do you decide whether to send short or long emails? It depends on your unique business goals, according to Andy Crestodina, a top email marketer and the founder of website consulting company Orbit Media. “If your goal is simply awareness, long or short is less important. If subscribers see it, like it, and smile, you met the goal! If your goal is traffic, then give the recipient the minimum amount of information needed to decide to click. The CTR (click-through rate) is everything and more text just means more noise in their inbox.”

Email marketing statistics: Characters in a subject line

The average character count of a subject line

Email subject lines play a huge role in whether your messages get opened. In fact, 47% of email recipients open email based on the subject line alone, according to research done by Business2Community.

After researching 1,000 subject lines, we found that email subject lines have 43.85 characters on average.

Email marketing statistics: Characters in a subject line

 

82% of experts send subject lines with 60 characters or less. Which makes sense considering most desktop email clients, such as Gmail and Yahoo!, only display approximately 60 characters before a subject line gets cut off.

Why you should consider using short subject lines

46% of emails are opened on mobile devices, according to research conducted by email testing service Litmus. So it’s important to consider how mobile devices affect the ideal subject line character length.

Most email clients stop displaying an email subject line on mobile devices once it reaches between 33 and 43 characters. The exact number varies from one email client to another.

Since they don’t get cut off in the inbox, shorter subject lines may outperform longer ones. And because only 10.9% of subject lines contain 20 characters or less, it may also be an opportunity to stand out.

Brian Dean, founder of SEO company Backlinko and one of the 100 top marketers whose emails we analyzed, sends subject lines with an average of 15.1 characters. “After lots of testing I’ve found that short subject lines get much higher open rates,” Dean said. He believes these results are due to two factors:

  1. Short subject lines reach the inbox more frequently.
  2. Short subject lines are more mysterious.

“I used to try to outline the entire message in my subject lines. And it gave people no reason to actually open my email,” Dean says.

Email marketing statistics: Emojis in subject lines

The percentage of emails with emojis

Only 6.9% of the 1,000 email subject lines we analyzed incorporated emojis. That leaves a whopping 93.1% of subject lines without them.

Email marketing statistics: Emojis in subject lines

 

Why only 6.9% of emails contain emojis

Experts might see emojis as a risk, since they can display differently, and sometimes incorrectly, in email clients.

In fact, subscribers opening emails on old computer operating systems may not see emojis at all. “Windows 7, which holds a major market share of 48.4%, offers very limited support for emojis, displaying in black and white or not at all,” email testing company Litmus says in its research on emoji support in email.

[Image source: Litmus]

Why you should consider using emojis in your subject lines

While only 6.9% of subject lines included emojis, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. In fact, this may mean you should test them with your own audience. It could be a huge opportunity to be unique.

And emojis might actually increase open rates — as long as you use the right emoji, according to Mark Asquith, marketing expert and founder of Rebel Base Media. (Asquith is one of the 100 top marketers whose emails we included in our research.) He frequently uses the icons in his own subject lines. “A well-placed smiley, timer, or contextual emoji used alongside a well-thought-out subject line will really make your message stand out within someone’s already very busy inbox,” he said.

Try a/b split testing two email subject lines — one with an emoji and one without. The results from your split test can help determine if emojis boost open rates with your own audience.

Related: How to Split Test Your Emails

Email marketing statistics: Subject line capitalization

The 3 capitalization formulas for email subject lines

To find out how top marketers use capitalization in their email subject lines, we examined the subject lines from our 100 experts to see if they relied on a particular capitalization formula.

We found 3 common formulas: sentence-case capitalization (the first letter of the first word is capitalized), title-case capitalization (the first letter of every word is capitalized, except for articles like “the” and “an”), and all lowercase capitalization (every letter is lowercase).

As an example, here is the same subject line with these 3 different formulas applied to it:

  1. Sentence-case: This is an email subject line
  2. Title-case: This Is an Email Subject Line
  3. All lowercase: this is an email subject line

How experts capitalize their subject lines

60% of email subject lines use sentence-case capitalization, 34% use title-case capitalization, and only 6% use all lowercase email subject lines.

Email marketing statistics: Subject line capitalization

 

Are lowercase subject lines an underused secret?

The majority of the experts we analyzed use sentence-case capitalization. But a few experts consistently send emails with entirely lowercase subject lines, like email marketing expert Val Geisler. Geisler is a freelance consultant and writer who specializes in email marketing, and we analyzed her emails for our research.

Geisler points out that people are more likely to open an email if it’s from a personal connection or friend. “If you’re writing an email to a friend, are you going to title-case the subject line? Probably not. You likely won’t even use sentence-case capitalization,” she said.“I write my emails like I’m writing to a friend so my subject lines follow the same principles. Does it work? I’ll let my ~80% open rates and ~30% click rates speak for themselves.”

How should you use these email marketing statistics?

Use these findings as a guide the next time you’re writing an email.

Want to stand out? Try a strategy that most people aren’t using — like emojis in subject lines or lowercase subject lines.

Want to follow a proven strategy used time and again by the experts? Use the findings in this report to follow time-tested email copy strategies used by the majority of experts.

To receive more research like this, as well as free email marketing advice and strategy, subscribe to our weekly email newsletter FWD: Thinking.

About the data from this research

We analyzed 1,000 marketing emails from 100 successful businesses and entrepreneurs. While we didn’t randomly select these businesses, we chose experts across multiple industries and from numerous countries.

See the complete list of the 100 businesses we included in our research (and follow them!) here.

The post 2019 Email Marketing Statistics: We Analyzed 1,000 Emails from Today’s Top Experts appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

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The 7-Day Challenge to Jump-Start Your Email Marketing in 2019

Every year, 80% of new year’s resolutions fail by the time February rolls around. Launching your email marketing strategy shouldn’t be one of them.

That’s why we created a simple, 7-day challenge to help you dominate email marketing in 2019.

By the end of it, you’ll have launched the most important parts of a successful email marketing strategy. And the best part? You only need 30 minutes or less each day to complete this challenge.

(Don’t have an email marketing platform? You’ll need one. Set up a FREE email marketing account in AWeber.)

Day 1: Choose your email template and brand it. (30 minutes)

This step is often overlooked. Many people use different email templates every time they send an email. Or, they never fully customize a template to match their brand.

But branding an email template and using it consistently are important. Your brand sets you apart from your competitors. It allows you to be unique and develop a personality for your business. It builds credibility and trust between you and your subscribers. Your subscribers can see your content and immediately tie it back to you.

Step 1: Choose your email template. Find an email template that works with your brand and your message. A plain template is often better than one already filled with colors and background images, because it’s easier to make it your own. Then, add your logo to the top or bottom of the email. (Inside AWeber, there are 8 NEW email templates you can easily customize to fit your branding. Choose the template format you’d like. Then drag and drop to add your images and build the layout you want.)

Step 2: Add your brand colors to your template. Don’t overdo it! Too many colors can be distracting. Try adding your brand colors in just a few places, like your call-to-action buttons, header image, or headlines.

For example, in the welcome email of AWeber’s FWD: Thinking newsletter, we incorporate our brand colors by using a header image with AWeber’s green and blue gradient and a call-to-action button with our brand’s shade of blue.

Homework: Watch this video on How to Design an Awesome Welcome Email.

To do: Choose an email template and add your logo and brand colors to it.

Day 2: Customize your confirmation message. (15 minutes)

A confirmed opt-in message is an email you send people immediately after they fill out your sign up form. It asks them to verify they want to subscribe to your emails by clicking a link or button in the message.

Confirmation messages are optional but strongly recommended. They serve as proof that your subscribers definitely want to be on your list. So internet service providers (like Gmail and Yahoo!) may deliver more of your messages to the inbox when you use confirmation messages. Plus, it prevents subscribers from signing up using fake email addresses.

To make your subscribers more likely to confirm their subscription, you can follow these common best practices for confirmed opt-in emails:

  1. Keep your content short.
  2. Explain the value your subscribers will receive by subscribing to your list.
  3. Tell them what they need to do to confirm.

Homework: Read Writing Confirmation and Welcome Emails People Love.

To do: Set up and customize the subject line and content of your confirmed opt-in email. (If you’re an AWeber customer, you can follow these directions to complete this step.)

Day 3: Create a sign up form. (30 minutes)

Sign up forms allow your subscribers to easily join your email list. You can promote your form by adding it to your website and sharing a hosted sign up form with your audience. Hosted sign up forms allow you to share your form anywhere, even if you don’t have a website.

Homework: Read 9 Inspiring Sign Up Form Ideas to Grow Your Email List.

To do: Write your sign up form copy and build your form using ideas from the homework post you just read.

Day 4: Write your welcome email (30 minutes)

A welcome email is the first message subscribers receive after joining your list and confirming their subscription. And it gets a lot of attention — on average, open rates are 4 times higher and click-through rates are 5 times higher than other emails, according to marketing research company Experian. You can take advantage of this above average engagement by crafting an excellent welcome email.

Your welcome email should:

  • Welcome subscribers to your email list.
  • Deliver the lead magnet you promised on your sign up form.
  • Explain what kind of content you’ll send subscribers, how often you’ll send it, and what they’ll learn.
  • Introduce yourself or your business.
  • Ask subscribers to add you to their address book. (This is called whitelisting and it can help more of your emails bypass the spam folder.)

Once you draft your welcome email, take some time to personalize it! Personalization makes your subscribers feel you’re writing a message specifically to them. Something as simple as including your subscriber’s first name in the subject line or body of your welcome email can boost opens and clicks.

Homework: Read The One Email You Should Always Send and How Personalization Can Help You Connect with Subscribers.

To do: Write and build a welcome message for your subscribers using AWeber’s Drag and Drop Email Builder.

Day 5: Automate your welcome email. (10 minutes)

You wrote your welcome email. Your next step? Automate it. That way, your subscribers will receive it immediately after they sign up for your list.

Simply create an automated series for new subscribers in your email marketing platform. Here’s how:

  1. Build a new automation series in your email marketing platform. Make sure it’s set up to send to every new subscriber.
  2. Paste your welcome email content into the template you chose on day 1.
  3. Add your welcome email to the series.
  4. Activate your series.

Your email marketing system does the rest!

Homework: Read Email Automation 101: How to Use Automation.

To do: Create a welcome series using AWeber’s automation platform Campaigns and add in your welcome email. (Here are step-by-step instructions for setting up your own welcome series in AWeber.)

Day 6: Publish your form on your Social Media channels. (20 minutes)

Your list is set up and your confirmation and welcome messages are ready to go. Now it’s time to put your hard work to the test and start to grow your list!

An easy first step is turning you social media followers into email subscribers. People who follow your brand on social media have already shown they want to hear from you. And there’s no better way for them to stay up to date on your latest content and sales than joining your email list.

Post a link to your hosted sign up form on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and ask your social followers to subscribe for exclusive updates.

Homework: Read 7 Expert Tricks to Grow Your Email List with Social Media.

To do: Add your sign up form to your Facebook profile and tweet out the hosted URL to your form.

Day 7: Share your sign up form with your connections. (20 minutes)

Reach out to the people you already know, like colleagues, friends, or family members. Ask them if they want to sign up for your email list.

Let them know what content you are offering and explain the benefits they would receive if they sign up.

If they say no, maybe the content you’re offering just isn’t for them. But maybe they know someone it would be perfect for. You never know until you ask!

Homework: Read How To Get Your First 50 Email Subscribers in Less Than 30 Days. Use the fill-in-the-blank copy template in this post to easily reach out to people.

To do: Contact 5 people you know. Send them the hosted URL to your sign up form and ask if they’d like to join your email list or share it with someone they know.

Ready, set, go!

Congrats! If you completed this 7-day challenge, you’re well on your way to launching a successful email marketing strategy.

Want more content like this? Subscribe to our FREE weekly email newsletter FWD: Thinking for email marketing tips from the pros.

Bonus challenge

Ready for your next challenge? Then try this: Create a lead magnet, a freebie you give subscribers when they sign up for your list. Lead magnets can increase the conversion rate of your sign up form.

For example, author and productivity expert Paula Rizzo offers a free List Making Starter Kit in return for signing up for her email newsletter, which she sends via AWeber.

Homework: Read How to Create a Lead Magnet in Less Than a Day.

To do: Build a lead magnet, add a link to it in your welcome email, and mention it on your sign up form.

The post The 7-Day Challenge to Jump-Start Your Email Marketing in 2019 appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

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“How Do I Avoid the Spam Filter?”

Every week in our newsletter FWD: Thinking, we give subscribers the opportunity to ask our team of email experts a question. Recently, we’ve heard a few questions about the spam filter, like the below submission:

“Our emails are getting lost in people’s spam filters. How do we combat that?” – Heather, FWD: Thinking subscriber

So we asked our Director of Deliverability Karen Balle to share her advice. Balle is an expert on the science of how internet service providers (like Gmail and Yahoo!) choose which emails go to spam and which emails reach the inbox.

Her advice isn’t to avoid certain words in your subject line. Or to use plain-text emails. It’s much more straightforward.

How to avoid the spam filter: Send content your subscribers want.

Buying your email list or sending your subscribers unwanted content is a great way to go directly to email marketing jail, a.k.a. the spam folder.

Instead, send emails your subscribers will open and click and not mark as spam. “The path to good deliverability is sending wanted content to people who have asked for that content to be sent via email,” Balle said.

How do you send content your subscribers can’t wait to get? Use this proven, 4-point checklist.

Step 1: Email people who opted in to receive messages from you.

Ignore this and your emails will likely take a one-way trip to the spam folder, including messages for subscribers who actually did opt in.

This means that buying your email list or manually adding people to your list without their permission is off limits. These tactics will tank your email reputation, which means that internet service providers will be less likely to deliver your emails. (Plus, it’s illegal.)

Step 2: Set expectations on your sign up form.

Your subscribers shouldn’t be surprised by the emails they get from you. If they are, they might mark them as spam.

To avoid surprises, clearly explain on your sign up form what type of content you include in your emails and how often you send messages.

For example, Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer at Marketing Profs, describes the type of content she sends and how frequently she emails her audience on the landing page for her newsletter TotalAnnarchy.

Related: 9 Inspiring Sign Up Form Ideas to Grow Your Email List

Step 3. Send valuable emails.

One of the biggest factors in whether or not your emails reach the inbox is positive subscriber engagement. “Good deliverability relies on high subscriber interaction, low complaints, and low bounces,” Balle says.

To get your subscribers to consistently engage (open, read, and click!), your email content must be valuable to them. You can add value to your emails by including educational content in them, like blog posts or videos, or even showing subscribers how your product or service will improve their life. If your emails solve subscribers’ problems and pain points, they’ll open them every time!

Related: How to Find Your Customers’ Pain Points

Step 4. Ask your subscribers for ideas.

Not sure what your subscribers will find valuable? Simply ask them! Send a survey in your welcome email or ask them to reply to your welcome email and share what they’d like to learn.

You can use these ideas to craft valuable content your subscribers will love to receive. And that can increase your email engagement and your chances of reaching the inbox.

Related: The 4 Survey Emails That’ll Give You Answers to Your Most Pressing Questions

Have a question for our team?

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter FWD: Thinking to ask it! Each week, you’ll receive an email packed with the latest educational content on email marketing. And, you’ll get access to a form where you can submit questions for the AWeber team.

The post “How Do I Avoid the Spam Filter?” appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

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