Author: Liz Willits

5 Ways to Increase Your Deliverability by Boosting Email Engagement

email deliverability

This is a guest post written by Rozina Hussain, a Product Manager at BriteVerify. BriteVerify provides real-time email verification solutions that improve email data quality, inbox deliverability and email marketing ROI.

What’s the secret to better email deliverability? Beyond any technical tips and tricks is a fundamental truth: People are more likely to see your email if you create emails that people actually want to see.

However, there are technical reasons behind this. “If Gmail’s algorithm thinks a marketing email won’t be engaging enough to a user,” says deliverability expert Chris Arrendale, “it won’t deliver that email to the user’s inbox tab.”

Gmail – and all email providers – have a strong incentive to give users a good experience. If you opened up your inbox and saw nothing but spam, you might switch to another service. Since it’s in Gmail’s best interest to deliver engaging emails to the inbox, it’s in marketers’ best interest to be engaging.

Gmail measures engagement based on a variety of factors. Positive factors include opens, clicks, and replies. Negatives include ignoring the email or reporting it as spam.

Even beyond deliverability, making your emails engaging is just a good idea. After all, it’s not enough to deliver a message into a user’s inbox. The final, crucial step is to engage your reader so they remember your message. In other words, the recipient ultimately needs to open and read it.

Sending too many unengaging emails may hasten the dreaded “email fatigue.” Which is when users ignore you or unsubscribe when they think you’re sending them too many emails.

The key point is that emails earn their place in a user’s inbox by being engaging. Marketers must re-earn that right with every email they send.

Here are five ways to help you do that.

1. Get snappier copy

You’d never send an email without checking the spelling and grammar. But did you know that software can help you check your writing style, too? Making your prose crisp and concise can help make your message more readable and more actionable.

To make your copy snappier, try Hemingway, which describes itself as “a spellchecker, but for style.” Copy your text onto the site, and Hemingway will encourage you to keep your sentences simple, your words short and your voice active. It will also give you a readability grade score. If your score is too high, you need to simplify your prose.

2. Hear your words from another perspective

Another way to improve your copy is to experience it from a different point of view. Taking a break between writing and editing can help. Or, having a coworker look it over can give you a new perspective.

There’s also a software solution: Put your text into a service like Text To Speech Reader and choose a distinct voice to read it aloud to you. You’ll get out of your own head, catching typos and stylistic issues you’ve become blind to because you’re so close to the piece.

3. Find amazing photographs

An AWeber experiment found that “most subscribers interact only with the HTML versions of emails” rather than plain-text versions. So feel free to include compelling images in your content. But you might want to leave out the cheesy stock photo of a guy in a business suit shouting into a megaphone; you can do better than that in 2017!

If your stock photo selections are looking a little tired, check out the royalty-free images at Unsplash. You can browse other free stock photos at The Stocks.

4. Sign up to your own email list – and your competitors’

Sometimes, being focused on composing an email makes it easy to overlook what it’s like to be on the receiving end. The email you spent four hours perfecting may end up buried among dozens of messages recipients are trying to go through in just a few minutes.

Signing up to your own email list and joining the lists of your competitors can give you a better sense of what your message looks like in the context of an inbox. Is your subject line more enticing than your competitors’? How does it compare to the many unrelated messages in your inbox? Would a recipient be excited to get your next email – or will they start ignoring them?

Seeing your emails in this broader context is a good reminder that you’re not only competing with marketers like you at companies like yours. In the battle for attention and engagement, you’re up against everything in the inbox.

5. Test your assumptions

A/B testing is a great way to tweak your message to be as engaging as possible. Split-testing subject lines can lead to higher open rates. But you can also A/B test the content itself to see what copy and/or images better engage your audience

Just make sure to keep some consistency as well. Expert Chris Arrendale says that having the same sender name and from domain in your emails is good for deliverability.

6. BONUS: Clean up your list

A user can’t engage with your email if you’re sending to an invalid address.

BriteVerify’s email verification technology helps you ensure you’re sending emails to addresses that actually exist.  Not only will it help you scrub the addresses that would otherwise bounce, it will help you maintain your reputation as a sender. That way, you won’t have trouble reaching the addresses that legitimately want to hear from you.

Make the inbox a better place

Years ago, the process of checking email was a novelty. Today, checking email can often feel like a chore. The good news is that, as a marketer, you’re empowered to make the experience a little more engaging. And as a result, you’ll get better deliverability – and your readers will get a better inbox experience.

The post 5 Ways to Increase Your Deliverability by Boosting Email Engagement appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

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

Am I sending too many emails? Or too few?

Why is no one opening my emails?!

Will my subscriber buy the new product I’m going to create?

What do my customers think of my service? Are they happy?

If you’ve asked yourself any of these questions recently, there’s one email that can answer all of them: the survey email.

With a solid survey email, you can decrease unsubscribes, increase engagement and get validation for your next big project before you start working on it.

Ready to find answers? Read this post to learn about three types of survey emails you can send to your audience. Plus, you’ll learn how to write these emails in a way that gets subscribers to complete them.

The new subscriber survey email

You don’t have to wait a year or more to begin gathering information about your subscribers. One of the most valuable surveys emails you can send should go to to people shortly after they sign up to your list.

Here at AWeber, we send a survey to almost every new subscriber in our welcome automation campaigns. By doing so, we can ask every new subscriber questions that’ll help us send more valuable content and better offers.

We’ve used survey responses from new subscribers to revamp entire campaigns, increase open and click-through rates, decrease unsubscribes and rewrite content.

For our What to Write in Your Emails course, we send subscribers a survey email after they finish the course:

In the survey, we ask them what they thought of the course, how we can improve it and more. We received answers from hundreds of subscribers, which we used to totally revise the course. (You can access the revised course for free here!).

New subscriber emails are a great opportunity to discover your audience’s preferences, like how often and when they’d like to receive emails from you.

Here are a just a few questions you might want to ask in this survey email:

  • What did you think of the incentive/freebie that you received when you joined this list?
  • What kind of content would you like to receive from me?
  • What are your biggest challenges?
  • How often would you like to receive emails from me?
  • When is the best time to send you emails?
  • What questions do you have for me?
  • How can I help you?

Pro tip: To encourage more subscribers to complete your survey, keep the survey short. One to five minutes is a good range. Then in your email, explain that it’ll only take a few minutes to complete the survey.

The pre-launch survey email

Launching a new product or service is a lot of work. Of course, once you do launch it, the payoff can be great.

However, there’s always a risk that your audience may not like or buy your new thing. If this happens, you might end up wasting hours of time and perhaps hundreds or thousands of dollars.

To avoid this scenario, send a pre-launch survey email that asks subscribers if they’d like your new product, service, etc. before you actually create it. This email can give you valuable feedback to tweak, optimize or even abandon your New Thing before you spend time creating it.

This can help you avoid the issue of investing copious resources into something no one wants. And it can help you make a better final product.

For example, this survey email from The Path aims to learn about what their audience wants. With the responses they receive, The Path can launch new products that their audience will love.

In your pre-launch survey email, you can ask subscribers questions like:

  • What are your interests or hobbies?
  • What do you think of this product idea? (Or tell us your product or service idea)
  • What is your interest level in this topic or idea?
  • How often do you use a certain product or service?
  • How interested are you in a specific product or idea?
  • Would you purchase a specific product or idea?

Pro tip: In your survey email content, explain how you’ll be using the feedback you receive from subscribers. This can get more people to complete your survey.

The post-purchase email

Another perfect opportunity to send a survey to your subscribers is after a purchase.

In a post-purchase survey email, ask subscribers what they think of your product or service.

You can also find customers who may be willing to give you a positive review or a testimonial. Be sure to collect their email address in the survey as well – if someone shares positive feedback, you’ll be able to reach out to them to get a testimonial or review.

In this email below, Old Navy thanks subscribers for purchasing and asks them to complete a 5-minute survey to share their feedback. In exchange, they offer them a 10 percent discount on their next purchase.

In your post-purchase email, you can ask subscribers questions like:

  • What did you think of my product or service?
  • How was our customer service?
  • How would you rate your customer experience on a scale of 1-10?
  • How likely are you to recommend us to a friend?

And much more! If you have questions for new customers or recent purchasers, this is the place to ask them.

Pro tip: Incentivize subscribers to complete your survey by offering a discount on your product or service in exchange for completing it.

The data survey email

Want to collect data that you can use to create a report, guide or infographic? A survey email is a great way to collect that information from subscribers.

Here at AWeber, for example, we support women entrepreneurs. And to help us better support them, we decided we wanted to learn more about them by gathering information and creating a report.

To accomplish this, we sent a 15-minute survey email to entrepreneurs and offered a $200 Amazon gift card to a randomly-selected winner who completed the survey. We received more than 1,000 responses to this survey!

Pro tip: If you need to send a longer survey, be sure to give your subscribers a compelling reason to complete it. Offering a large prize to a randomly-selected winner or smaller prizes to everyone who completes the survey are great incentives!

Ask questions. Get answers.

Survey emails are great for gathering useful information about your subscribers that can help you increase email engagement and market your business.

Want an easy way to create surveys in minutes? We’ve included fill-in-the-blank survey email copy templates that you can use today! Get them now in our free “What to Write in Your Emails” guide.

what to write

The post The 4 Survey Emails That’ll Give You Answers to Your Most Pressing Questions appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

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Don’t Crash and Burn! Here Are 3 Ways to Test Your Emails before Hitting ‘Send’

Remember that cringe-worthy moment when Steve Harvey read the wrong name for the winner of Miss Universe?



Don’t be like Steve. Avoid mistakes in front of a large audience by doing a test run.

Before mailing a message to your list, “test” it by following the tips below. They’ll help you dodge unnecessary mistakes, which can make you look unprofessional and sloppy. After all, one bad experience may be enough to turn a subscriber away for good.

(And if you do accidentally pull a Steve Harvey and mess up? Here’s how to send an apology email.)

Two types of mistakes

There are two types of mistakes we see in emails.

  1. Human errors:  missing words, typos, wrong dates, broken links, or outdated info 
  2. Display errors: differences in message appearance across email clients

Luckily, both types can be avoided.

How to avoid human errors

Let’s say you send an email promoting your new product.

The open rate is amazing: More than 60% of your subscribers opened the email!

The click-through rate is far above what you expected: More than 30% of people who opened the link clicked through to see your product!

You start celebrating . . . until replies from your subscribers start rolling in. 

“The link doesn’t work.”

“Bad link.”

“You included the wrong link.”

“I can’t find the landing page!”

“I wanted to buy it, but when I clicked, it showed an error message.”

You forgot to update your email with the new product link. 

You quickly send out another email with the correct link. By now, though, you’ve probably lost a large portion of subscribers who clicked through on your first email. Once the link didn’t work, they moved on, taking their potential sale with them.

Chances are, they may not come back.

We wish this was a fake scenario, but we see it happen all the time. In fact, here are a handful we’ve received over the past few weeks.

wrong link subject line

j crew mistake email

west elm mistake subject line

That’s why we have a pre-flight checklist at AWeber. Make sure you run through it before you hit send. It’s an additional step, but the payoff is huge to avoid mistakes like these. 

(Sign up for a FREE 30-day trial with AWeber. You can test out our easy-to-use drag-and-drop message editor and first-class deliverability.)

You pre-flight checklist

  • Are there any typos or missing words?

    • Read the text in reverse — from end to beginning — to catch typos. It won’t make any sense, but that’s the point! It forces you to concentrate on every word instead of skimming through the sentences.
    • Walk away from your email for an hour or two. When you come back, you will see your content with “fresh eyes.”
    • Don’t have time to walk away for an hour or more? Read it aloud.
    • Print it out! It’s easier to catch mistakes when the words are physically in front of you as opposed to on a screen.
  • Is your grammar and punctuation correct?
    • Use a free tool — like Grammarly — to check your syntax.
    • Check every single period, comma, or punctuation mark.
    • Read each sentence slowly and carefully on its own. It’s simple: Turn the text into individual sentences by pressing the return key after every period. (If you’re working on a printout, put another piece of paper over the following sentence.) Then, read the sentence all by itself — looking for errors.
  • Do all the links work and take subscribers to the correct page?
    • Click every single link.
    • Double check tracking codes are in place if you want to track engagement through your links.
  • Did you include alt-text for your images?
    • Alternative text appears in the place of an image. Many email services will disable images in messages, and some users turn them off all together. Alt-text allows the user to understand what was meant to be there. It’s also helpful for any of your subscribers that may be visually impaired.
  • Is the content clear and easily understood?
    • Send a test email to a couple people you trust and who aren’t afraid to give you an honest critique. They offer a fresh pair of eyes that may catch something you didn’t.
    • Does something need to be explained in layman’s terms?
    • Make sure there is one clear call-to-action that the reader should take (whether it takes them to a purchasing page, a blog post, a registration page, etc).

Not even sure what to write in your emails? No problem. This is one of the most common problems we come across among email marketers. That’s why we put together this FREE What to Write Course. Sign up, and get 45+ downloadable content templates to get you started.

How to avoid display errors

In a perfect world, all email services would display emails the same way. There would be no default setting to block images, or funky changes to the color of your text. You wouldn’t have to worry about your email content getting clipped (we’re looking at you, Hotmail and Gmail).

But email services don’t display all emails the same way. ☹️

As a result, we must make sure our emails display correctly for all of our subscribers — regardless of where they choose to host their inbox.

The best way to do so? By testing them first.

Test your emails before sending

Previewing your emails before sending them to your list allows you to view your email from your subscriber’s perspective: in an inbox similar to theirs from your desktop or mobile device.

However, simply sending a test version of an email to yourself and viewing it in your favorite email account won’t cut it.

Why’s that? Because different email clients render (a.k.a. display) emails differently. Which means if you only view your email in one email client before sending, you don’t know how that email will display for subscribers that open it in a different email client.

For example, if you view an email on your iPhone with Yahoo Mail app and view it again on your Mac with Apple Mail, you’ll probably notice some rendering differences. If an email hasn’t been tested before being sent, those rendering differences may translate to a cut-off image, misplaced text or worse. And that’s a big turnoff for your subscribers.

How can you avoid rendering issues? Here are two email testing methods I recommend:

1. Create different email addresses and send emails to yourself.

Managing a variety of email addresses may not sound appealing, but it’s a good (and free!) way to check how your subscribers will see your emails in their inbox.

When using this method to test your emails, it’s important to view your emails in a variety of email clients. Because as I mentioned before, emails render differently depending on where they’re opened — whether that’s with Gmail or Yahoo, on an iPhone or Android, or in a web browser or desktop application.

There are an overwhelming number of email testing scenarios. An email viewed on an iPhone with the Yahoo app. An email viewed on a PC with Outlook. Viewed in a web browser with Gmail. And on and on it goes.

Managing all those accounts and apps will become unwieldy fast. And who has time for that?

To avoid this time-consuming issue, you might want to focus your testing on the most-used email clients. Although you won’t be previewing your emails for every possible email viewing scenario, you’ll (most likely) test for the majority while avoiding killing your time with testing.

Which email clients are most popular? Here are the top 10 as of March 2018:

  1. Apple iPhone (28%)
  2. Gmail (22%)
  3. Apple iPad (10%)
  4. Apple Mail (8%)
  5. Outlook (7%)
  6. Samsung Mail (4%)
  7. (4%)
  8. Yahoo! Mail (3%)
  9. Google Android (3%)
  10. Windows Live Mail (1%)


Takeaway: Create an email address/account for the top email clients listed above.

Fair warning: These stats aren’t necessarily true for your unique email audience. Which means you might be testing for what you think is the majority while it’s actually the minority. You may want to survey your audience to find out what email service they use.

2. Use a third-party tool to test and preview your emails across different clients.

While a great start, the first testing method — creating email addresses for the top email clients — can be inaccurate if you send a ton of email. And although it saves you a bit of time, it’s still extra work for you.

You can also try a paid email testing service. With a testing service, you can see at a glance how your email will render across numerous email clients and devices all at once.

At AWeber, we use Litmus to test our emails. In the below screenshot, you can see how Litmus helps us preview our emails on multiple clients in minutes. (In this instance, we were previewing an email for our customers to promote our new app, Curate.)


Although Litmus is a good fit for us, you might like another service better like Email on Acid and Previewmyemail.

Want an email service provider that can help you send awesome emails? Try a free 30-day trial with AWeber today. Our drag-and-drop message editor is easy-to-use and our deliverability is the best in the industry. (That means your emails make it into your subscribers’ inbox, not their spam folders.)


The post Don’t Crash and Burn! Here Are 3 Ways to Test Your Emails before Hitting ‘Send’ appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

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6 Email Split Tests You Can Set Up in 1 Minute

Split tests take the guesswork out of email marketing. With the data from split tests, you can easily find out what content your subscribers prefer and send messages that get more opens, clicks, and sales.

Too often, people focus almost exclusively on subject line split testing. They optimize their subject lines and boost open rates. However, they rarely split test the content inside their emails.

This is a big mistake. After all, a high open rate doesn’t matter if subscribers don’t read the content inside your email and take action.

There are simple email content split tests that can have a big impact, like these 6 easy split tests.

1. Headline vs. no headline

Does having a bold and colorful headline at the top of your email content grab your subscribers’ attention and keep them reading?

To find out,  send two emails — one with a eye-catching headline and one without a headline.

For example, let’s say you’re a fitness blogger, and you’re sending an email about the five stretches you recommend before a workout. You could run a split test with one email variant that has no headline and one email variant with a headline at the top of the email content that says, “5 pre-workout stretches to prevent injuries.”

Pro tip: Like the email template from the example above? It’s called Wane Light and you can find it in your AWeber account. (Don’t have AWeber? Try it out free for 30 days.)

2. Personal salutation vs. no salutation

Do your subscribers like to feel that your emails were written specifically for them? Run a split test to find out!

Try using their first name in the salutation of your email (for example, “Dear John,” “Hi John,” “How’s it going, John,” etc.) and see if you get a higher click-through rate. You can also incorporate someone’s name at the end of a sentence or in another natural (yet unexpected!) place in your email.

Pro tip: If you have an AWeber account, you can easily add a first name to your email subject line or content to personalize your messages.

3. Images vs. no images

Are your subscribers visual people that like images in their emails? Or, do images distract them from your content and call-to-action?

Create a split test where one email variant has an image and the other does not. Compare the results of your test and find out which your audience prefers.

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

4. Long content vs. short content

Perhaps your subscribers like short emails that get straight to the point. Or, maybe they need more information before they’re ready to make a decision.

Find out with a split test that compares two email copy variants:

  1. a lengthy email that describes all the details of your offer
  2. a short and easily digestible email that summarizes the same information

5. P.S. vs. no P.S.

Since subscribers often skim emails, including a  P.S. at the end of your emails can be an effective way to boost your click-through rates. A subscriber might glance over your content, but carefully read the P.S.

To see if this is true of your subscribers, send your first email variant without a P.S. and your second email variant with a P.S. at the bottom of your content.

6. Call-to-action button vs. hyperlinked text

Are your subscribers more likely to click on a button or hyperlinked text? If you don’t know, a split test is a great way to find out! After all, if your call to action (CTA) isn’t optimized, you’re missing out on valuable clicks.

Try two variations of an email — one with a button as a CTA and the other with hyperlinked text as a CTA. Just make sure to use identical text for both calls to action.

Related: Why You Need to Split Test Your Emails (and 4 Best Practices to Get Started!)

Start split testing

Now that you have a few tests to start with, you can begin improving your emails and your bottom line.

Ready to discover even more tests you can use to optimize your email marketing strategy?

Check out our free Minimalist Marketer’s Guide to Split Testing to learn everything you need to know to become a split testing master.

Minimalist Marketer's Guide to Split Testing

The post 6 Email Split Tests You Can Set Up in 1 Minute appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

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