Category Archives: Email Automation

Election Day Emails

All across the US, citizens are casting their ballot for the next president. There’s a lot of hype around election season and particularly today. Although Election Day is not a holiday (but we wish it were!) some brands are treating it as such, sending patriotic or election day themed emails. Some retailers are offering promotions while others are providing a more “civic duty” approach with polling resources.

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Email tip – Email Deliverability 101

headshot-dancaro-smallWelcome Dan Caro, Whereoware’s  Senior Director of Marketing Operations. Dan specializes in behavior-based marketing automation strategy, e-commerce marketing, and conversion optimization. Send him a Tweet at @dcaro12Today, Dan’s going to simplify email deliverability for us.

In a nutshell, email deliverability is defined as “getting your email into recipients’ inboxes.”

Email Deliverability 101So what happens if you ignore “deliverability” altogether and just send emails?

Well, your email messages will likely land in junk mail or in a spam folder. It can get worse, depending on your email service provider (ESP).

If you have a poor email deliverability rating and send to Gmail, for example, it could take up to a day or more for your message to deliver.

We put a ton of effort into designing and coding compelling emails. What’s the point if no one ever sees them?

Today, we’ll walk through simple tips to improve email deliverability, so your emails land in recipients’ inbox in a timely manner.

1. Get Started: Identify How to Access Your DNS Settings

Think of Domain Name System (DNS) settings as the backend of your website’s domain name. This is where you change where your website points to and its mailing settings.

DNS settings matter because your domain needs authentication that it’s a safe sender, especially if you send out of an ESP. If you send emails from your own internal servers, you should be fine, but if you are sending from the ESP’s servers, you’ll need to authenticate them by updating your DNS settings.

2. Next, create a subdomain

First, start by creating a subdomain for email. This subdomain is your from address.

For example, Whereoware’s email address convention ends with @whereoware.com. Examples of Whereoware subdomains could be e.whereoware.com or email.whereoware.com. Just take a look in your inbox. You’ll notice lots of brands do this.

Create a subdomain

Creating a subdomain is a precaution, so you can change your organization’s DNS settings (on your main domain like @whereoware.com) without risking a nuclear meltdown. Just kidding, but if anything goes wrong when you’re updating your DNS settings, it can impact your ability to send and receive emails across your entire company.

3. I have a subdomain, what’s next?

Next, if you’re using an ESP, like Silverpop or Mailchimp, you’ll need them to provide you TXT records for DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) and Sender Policy Framework (SPF ). I know you are all “Wait, was that English?” Let us explain!

A DNS TXT record is text you add to your DNS settings. DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) is an authentication system for email to verify domain and sender integrity. Sender Policy Framework is an email validation system to avoid email spoofing and ensure the email is indeed coming from a verified domain.

Both DKIM and SPF are commonly accepted standards used by email receivers and ESPs to ensure the sender address is authentic and not a forgery. (Basically, when you send an email, these standards check that you are who you say you are.) You add these snippets of code to your DNS setting as TXT records. They look like this:

SPF:
e.whereoware.com. TXT “v=spf1 ip4:XXX.XX.XX.XX -all”

DKIM:

XXXXXXXX._domainkey.e.whereoware.com. IN TXT “k=rsa; p=XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX”

Below, you’ll see a behind the scenes graphic of our DNS settings, where you add the TXT/SPF record. (This is what you’ll see when you login to your domain’s (or subdomain’s) DNS records and where you make updates to your DNS TXT records.

Updating your DNS TXT records.

4. Where do I get these TXT records?

You’ll request the TXT records from your ESP.

5. I’ve added the TXT records. What now?

Your ESP needs to validate them by checking that you’re passing SPF and DKIM validation tests.

6. Tests passed. Now what? IP Warmup

You did it – now, you can send emails without worrying they’ll end up in the junk mail or spam folder.

Not so fast! If you are sending with a new ESP or server, you’ll need an Internet Protocol (IP) address warmup. An IP address is a numerical label assigned to your email sending server.

An IP warmup is a process of throttling your emails to send to a small amount of recipients and gradually to larger amounts, so you don’t alarm Internet Service Providers (ISPs). (Internet Service Providers provide services for companies and individuals to access and use the internet. Some popular ISPs include Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner.)

By “warming them up,” you establish a good sender reputation for your IP address. Start by sending at a low email volume – like 20 emails per hour – and build from there.

IP warmup is not an exact science, so it’s best to consult your ESP. They’ll know their email servers best and can instruct your best course of action. (If they don’t bring up IP warmup, you should ask about it.)

Is that it?

We’ve covered email deliverability basics, but there’s A LOT more to get into. Deliverability is half science, half art. If you’re sending millions or billions of emails, it can get complicated.

We hope these simple steps will get you started, so your emails arrive in the inbox. Reach out to us if you need help or have any questions!

2016 Litmus Email Design Conference San Francisco Recap

Digital Graphic Designer Breanne BradyToday, we welcome a guest post from our Digital Graphic Designer Breanne Brady. Bre designs beautiful, effective emails and landing pages, and specializes in responsive design.

Today, she’s following the lead of team members who shared their takeaways from TEDC Boston, and filling us in on what we missed in San Francisco. 

Last week, The Litmus Email Design Conference (TEDC) tour made its final stop in San Francisco.

I jumped into the scene as a #TEDC newbie. I was excited to surround myself with fellow #emailgeeks (and the promise of Litmus socks!).

I was welcomed by an overwhelming love for email.

Takeaways from The Litmus Email Design Conference San Francisco:

1. Email is a privilege, not a right.

Andrea Mignolo explained how an email’s impact can be personal and valuable when it’s designed with intention. Email can also have the opposite impact, and make customers feel like just another transaction.

2. Why should your email audience care?

Alex Williams shared 10 years of email design experience in “Tricks, Traps, and Truths.”

Every email needs a point of view: the what, why, and how. Williams says, “if the email doesn’t have a point, you probably shouldn’t be sending it.”

3. Every email recipient matters.

Your email doesn’t have to look the same on every browser, but every user matters.

Eric Leptit shared his journey creating and deploying interactive emails for Nest. He talked about the challenges of dealing with different email clients’ constraints. These constraints may be annoying, but they’re also motivation to innovate.

TEDC is worth your time

The advice and support gained from The Litmus Email Design Conference San Francisco sent me back to Whereoware with a headful of ideas (and a new Litmus wardrobe!).

I had an awesome two days, learning and collaborating with my fellow email geeks. Thanks for an unforgettable experience, TEDC!

Email tip – Gmail announces support of media queries and CSS

Welcome Dan Caro, Whereoware’s Director of Marketing Operations. Dan specializes in behavior-based marketing automation strategy, e-commerce marketing, and conversion optimization. He’s psyched to share today’s news…

Welcome to the 21st century, Gmail!

In case you missed it, Gmail announced the support of  <style>  tags and media queries. Start celebrating #emailgeeks!

leo

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Media Race 2016 – Political Digital Marketing in The Upcoming Election

This week, we welcome a guest post from our Digital Marketing Associate Leslie McCrea. Leslie is responsible for behavior-driven email marketing campaigns and strategy for B2B and B2C clients.

A history-making moment

Leslie McCrea Whereware's Digital Marketing AssociateWe are in the midst of one of the most digital media-based elections in history. There’s unparalleled opportunity for candidates to connect with the general public, but also more real-time scrutiny. This ongoing case study of political digital marketing and transformative technology is driven by more than just a desire to win; it’s the result of a media-craving society.

Three out of four American voters have both a smartphone and a Facebook account. The use of technology, media interactivity, and mobile channels built an entirely new data-driven canvas for political campaigning. It’s prominence grew since the 2012 election, but more notably, since Obama first ran and took office in 2008.

Since 2008, Facebook grew up, email databases became the norm, and multimedia content was introduced. With a stack of interchangeable parts in motion – web design, email content, social media, and user content, to name a few – the remaining two months of this historical presidential race are bound to be interesting. Politics, technology, marketing, and social ethics are at a new crossroads.

Trump and Clinton – Pushing Boundaries in Political Digital Marketing

This year, the role of direct-to-consumer media jumped the ladder to become an influential avenue for political conversation. The 2016 election has not only challenged the candidates, but also the public, to make this whole experience just a bit more casual. Let’s take a look at how Trump and Clinton communicate.

Trump – The Celebrity Marketer

Many tactics in Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign mimic those of an A-list celebrity. The campaign centers around two main fundamentals playing off of each other:
Continue reading Media Race 2016 – Political Digital Marketing in The Upcoming Election

2016 B2B + B2C Holiday E‑commerce Toolkits

2016 Holiday ToolkitsThe moment you’ve all been waiting for… the 2016 B2B + B2C Holiday E-commerce Toolkits are here!

What’s in your toolkit?

1. 2016 E-commerce calendar for 2016 chock full of holiday campaign ideas

2. Holiday Email Inspiration

3. Stats from last year’s sales season, so you can benchmark your performance

4. A bunch of other marketing resources, like email templates, how-to’s, and mobile tips.

5. A recording from our Holiday Readiness webinar, in case you missed it.





Email Tip – Holiday Email Inspiration 2016

Each year, we aim to mix up our holiday email campaigns to capture inbox attention and convert busy holiday shoppers. To help you steal the show, we’ve created a Holiday Email Inspiration Gallery for you to pull ideas for your 2016 campaigns. Check it  out:

The Email Design Conference (TEDC) 2016 Takeaways

Last week, three of Whereoware’s email marketers headed to Boston to attend the Litmus Email Design Conference. Today, they share key takeaways from one of the smartest email communities in the world. In case you missed it:

headshot-dancaro-smallDan Caro, Whereoware’s Director of Marketing Operations. (@dcaro12) Takeaways:

The Email Design Conference continues to be the premier event for email marketers. Speakers only get 30 minutes to present, so there’s no time for the fluff you get at other email conferences. They even replace Q&A with email speed dating sessions with some of the best minds in the email community, so every attendee gets actionable advice.

One of the conference themes was building modules into emails. Modules are time-savers to save you time on coding and testing. This allows email marketers to spend more time on strategy and less time on code.

Another theme was user experience. Treat your customers like humans, not cash machines. Your emails design and copy should center around getting the customer to interact first with your email and then on your website. If an element doesn’t line up with the intended experience, it shouldn’t be in the design.

Litmus also announced a partnership with Microsoft. The goal is to improve the Outlook product for users and email developers. Even though there is not an instant solution, everyone agrees it was a step in the right direction. Let’s hope there is a partnership with Gmail coming soon. 🙂

I had a great time spending the week with my fellow #emailgeeks. They’re a fun and quirky bunch. Who knew a pillow could be so valuable?

shaunaShauna Plesmid, Whereoware’s Online Marketing Manager. (@shshauna) Takeaways:

The most prominent theme to me was there’s no one right way to do anything. Whether we’re talking about a production process for emails or other projects, a modular template design, or call-to-action buttons, it’s up to the marketer to test, research, and conclude what works best for their audience.

As with all marketing, there’s no silver bullet. However, hearing people from very different industries and backgrounds divulge their email marketing tactics gave insights into how to best connect with your audience. Many presentations had a psychological and sociological component to them. They touched on how to be persuasive and elicit emotion, as well as why people opt in to your campaigns (and why they opt out).

Another major theme was the importance of establishing a recurring, repeatable process for all projects. Not only does a clear process avoid surprises (and mistakes), but it creates a transparent and sturdy foundation for communication between the client and yourself (whether that’s an agency/client relationship, or an internal stakeholder/employee relationship). A few components of a stable process:

1. Create naming conventions or generate project/job ID numbers for files
2. Establish a project timeline document
3. Enforce strict deadlines (and impose penalties, if necessary)
4. Communicate outside of emails (pick up the phone or set up a video call).

Taking the time to identify a process for your organization is crucial to its success and directly relates to the outcome of your projects.

joyJoy Piirto, Whereoware’s Online Marketing Manager. (@joyp26) Takeaways:

When planning a marketing campaign, start with your customer and work backwards. Just because your campaign makes sense to you doesn’t mean it will work for your customer.

If you can think like your customer, you can create a campaign that is user friendly that they’ll like or find useful. In addition, taking a moment to define the intention of the campaign is crucial to success and drives the design.

Website + Email Optimization Checklists

Thank you to everyone who joined us for our workshop: Quick Wins for Website + Email Success today in the DC Metro Area! As promised, both the website + email checklists are available for download below.

Website Checklist:
Our Website Checklist highlights the most important aspects your website needs to be a lead generation machine. From set up to trust building to relevant and fresh content, our checklist sets you up for success. See the Website Quick Wins slides.



Email Checklist:
Our Email Optimization checklist walks through tried and true techniques for crafting and sending emails that capture inbox attention, convince your audience of your message, and close the sale, conversion, etc. Follow along with our checklist to feel confident every time you hit send. See the Email Quick Wins slides.


Marketing tip – Simplifying the IBM Marketing Cloud Roadmap



We had a great turnout for our June 22nd webinar: Simplifying the IBM Marketing Cloud Roadmap. (See the recorded presentation below.)

Our intention was to make the IBM Marketing Cloud (IMC) simple by walking through use cases for each tool. Sounds like a no-brainer, right? The thing is, IBM has been developing the IMC for some time now – adding new tools, revamping existing products, and integrating them together in awesome ways. All the moving parts are tricky to track.

Once you get the names straight, the powerful capabilities of the IMC are hard to beat. Together, they offer big and small-picture insights into customers’ activity and behavior across channels, so marketers can reach out at the right moment, via the right channel, and with a compelling message customers can’t resist.

Today, we’ll give you a quick recap of how each tool is used by busy marketers to supercharge their campaigns. Download our handout, above, to see estimates of the cost, availability, and level of effort to install each tool.

Continue reading Marketing tip – Simplifying the IBM Marketing Cloud Roadmap