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29
Apr

If you’ve been in business for 5-10 years, you have a hidden business asset that you may not be utilizing at all: the email list of your existing clients. If you’ve been smart to collect their email addresses then it’s time to start using the marketing channel with the highest return on investment: email marketing.

One of the things you have to keep an eye on before you start sending email marketing campaigns to your existing contacts is to find a suitable Email Service Provider, because not all ESPs will accept old client lists.

Once you’ve found an ESP (also know as web based email marketing systems), make sure you don’t upload all of your contacts into one big list, but rather, segment your contacts into:

  • current clients
  • old clients
  • trade show contacts
  • requests for quote
  • friends

Also, remove all email addresses that begin with info@ sales@ admin@ as these may be flagged by your email marketing service as “suspicious.”

When sending to a list that’s never been used, you will have a lot of expired email addresses that will bounce, so try sending your first promotion only to current clients, then a few days later, go through the lists in the order I listed them above.

What is Optin Email Marketing?

When uploading the list to your online email marketing service, you will have the option of sending your contacts a so-called confirmation email message. A confirmation message contains a link your subscribers will have to click in order to be added to your list. If you choose this option, you will only be able to send further messages and email marketing campaigns only to those contacts that have clicked the confirmation link. By sending your contacts a confirmation email you’ll be building a highly-responsive permission-based email marketing list. Be advised, though, that your list may end up being only 1/10th the original size, but that’s OK, because your will have a solid foundation on which to build your future email subscriber base.

Category : Email Delivery Best Practices | Email List Management | Email Service Providers | Blog
14
Mar

Have you noticed in Gmail that some URLs are clickable and some are not?

Recently, email marketers, and other people who are using this powerful marketing channel, started noticing that some URLs are working and some are not! What’s the mystery?

I sent a few test emails to my own Gmail account and here’s what one looks like in this screen shot:
Gmail ruins some text URLs

As you can see, links which contain a mix of upper- and lower-case letters, and no “www” are not functional links.

I don’t know if this is a deliberate “feature” or a bug in the Gmail web client, but as email marketers we need to be aware of this quirk, and find a workaround, which is actually simple: if you like to use some caps in your URLs for emphasis, all you need to do is add “www.” and they will work just fine.

Alternatively, you can use ALLCAPS.COM or onlylowercase.com and they should work as well.

This is only a problem in plain text emails, which email marketers usually use in auto-responders. If you’re using HTML to format your e-newsletter or other email marketing messages, all your links will work fine in Gmail.

Thanks to Denise Wakeman for alerting me to this problem.

Category : Email Delivery Best Practices | Email Design | Email Marketing | Email Service Providers | Managing Email | Tracking and Split Testing | Blog
11
Feb

One of two Email Service Providers that I use and recommend is MadMimi. Apart from having the best customer service I’ve ever had the pleasure dealing with, they have the most elegant, easy-to-use and powerfully simple email editor on the market.

Ever since the initial release of their service the creative crew at MadMimi have been steadily adding new features and improving this already great product.

The latest addition is the ability to add a set of icons that link to your favourite social networking sites. This simple feature will encourage your readers to connect with you on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other networks. Just add your social media sites URLs and Mad Mimi will place specially designed icons to the bottom of your emails — no additional coding necessary!

Here’s a set of sites that are currently supported:add social links in MadMimi

MadMimi is still free to use for lists of up to 100 contacts, and prices start at only $8/month for unlimited emails to up to 500 contacts. Test drive MadMimi today!

Check out also these related articles:
Cool New Tool for MadMimi
MadMimi Brings the Fun Back to Sending Email “Blasts”

Category : E-newsletter Publishing | Email Design | Email Marketing | Email Service Providers | Social Media Marketing | Blog
27
Oct

I am so grateful for all that Boris has done for my business. He has such an extensive knowledge in the field of web marketing and design, that I can rely on him for all my web-related needs. I have received countless comments on how good my web site looks and how functional it is. Thank you Boris!!

Jeanette Bugler
Cake Designer and Entrepreneur, Burlington, Ontario, Canada

Note: This testimonial was originally published as a recommendation on Linkedin

Please leave your own comment – Thanks!

Category : Testimonials | Blog
27
Aug

images onSome statistics say that as many as half of your email recipients have image display turned off. Are you sure your email campaigns still present useful information even if your ezine subscribers don’t see the images?

images OFFWhen designing HTML email campaigns with images it’s imperative to test your emails in different email clients, such as Apple Mail, Entourage, Eudora, Thunderbird, and online email services, such as Yahoo!, Google Mail and Hotmail, to make sure they look good with images turned off.

Sending and email composed of just images may lower the deliverability of your campaigns. Some ISPs still employ email spam filters which flag any emails with high image-to-text ratios. So talk to your designers to make sure they design your email campaigns in such a way that the message still gets across, even if the images are not displayed.

Here’s a sample from my email production portfolio: A client of mine sends me a TIFF image of their promotion, as designed by their graphic designer. I then slice and dice the image to compose a well-behaved HTML email. This second image shows you how this same email looks without images. As you can see it still shows most of the information, as well as links.

Here are some tips on how to design a good HTML email:

  • use text whenever possible, instead of “text as image”
  • if the background is a solid colour, code is as such without using an image background
  • when you have to use an image, in places where there’s lots of text, make sure you also put all of that text into the ALT tag of the image used.
  • pay attention to how you name the files used in your email campaign, e.g. ezine_masthead.gif is much better than image1.gif
  • when using tables for layout try to do without spanning columns and especially spanning rows
  • sometimes it’s impossible to “translate” what the designer has envisioned into a working HTML email, go ahead and use an image instead, but make sure you use the ALT tag to describe the image.

If you can use most of these tips, you should be OK. Final tip: test, test and test again, and don’t forget your best friend: your email service provider!. Some ESPs may have tools to assist you in testing your emails, so be sure to check them out.

Here’s a related articleEmail Design: 3 Easy Steps to Perfect Email Display

Category : Email Delivery Best Practices | Email Design | Email Marketing | Email Service Providers | Blog
24
Aug

Grace AttardI can’t say enough about how much lighter I feel knowing that Boris has my back for my website and my ezine updates. His constant thirst for self learning makes me count on him on a continuous basis because he always has something new to teach me. I have recommended Boris to many of my clients and will confidently and happily do so in the future without hesitation.

Boris’ Top qualities: Great Results, Good Value, High Integrity

Grace Attard
Business Coach and Founder of the e-Spot™

Note: This testimonial was originally published as a recommendation on Linkedin

Please leave your own comment – Thanks!

Category : E-newsletter Publishing | Email List Management | Testimonials | Web Site Development | Blog
30
Jul

When looking for a suitable Email Service Provider to provide you with the online system to manage your email marketing campaigns ask yourself these two questions:

  1. Do I need to handle multiple opt-in lists?
  2. Do I need a sequential auto-responder?

This will narrow down your choices significantly. If you’d like to have people sign up on your website/blog/facebook to different lists and offer them different automated sequential messages (aka auto-responders) then my choice would be iContact – I use it myself and recommend it to my clients.

For the ultimate in ease of use, try MadMimi.com, I recommend them to my clients who are just starting out, with zero contacts on the list. MadMimi has the most easy-to-use interface of all the ESPs I’ve tried over the years. Their customer service is the best I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with, plus they keep adding features on a regular basis. MadMimi’s free account is a fully-featured one, but is limited to 100 contacts, and you can send as many messages as you want. Read my blog post MadMimi Brings the Fun Back to Sending Email “Blasts”

Category : Boris Recommends | E-newsletter Publishing | Email List Management | Email Marketing | Email Service Providers | Blog
14
Jun

I just realised I have 100 published blog posts. To celebrate this insignificant fact I decided to give away my entire product line to whoever buys anything in the next 12 hours, limited to the first 100 people. Starting now, at 8:00 pm ET – ending at 8:00 am ET.

Since I don’t want to create any special links or discount codes, simply buy anything you like and I’ll refund it to you asap (less the usual PayPal processing fee so I don’t end up in the red with this crazy thing).

Category : Boris Recommends | Blog
13
Jun

An interesting question regarding email subscribers vs. blog subscribers was asked recently on Linkedin. In a nutshell Lisa Bowen was wondering:

Can a blog-subscription email list be used for general company announcements and email newsletter blasts?

I personally separate the two types of subscribers and recommend that my clients do so as well. Although this practice may be perfectly legal under CAN-SPAM, I consider it not very ethical.

However, depending on how you phrase the ad copy in your pop-up, you may get away with it, e.g. if you say: “Sign up for updates from my blog and also receive my ezine.”

Be aware, though, that the spam issue is ultimately in the eyes of the subscriber.

Additionally, problems may arise when somebody opts out. Because these two lists are usually handled by two separate systems, you need to manually update one of them. Ideally, your email service provider would have some sort of RSS Feed plugin or connectivity. Email Service Provider MadMimi recently introduced this upgrade to their very slick email publishing platform. iContact has it, Aweber, too, I think. GetResponse also has a limited feature which allows you to send an automated email to your ezine subscribers announcing the new content is available on your blog, but it doesn’t actually deliver your blog content by email.

I use FeedBurner for handling email subscriptions to my blog and it can only collect the email address, not the name of the subscriber. This is just one of the reasons I wouldn’t use the blog subscribers list the same way I would any of my other confirmed opt-in email marketing lists.

What do you think? How do you let your blog subscibers mingle with the ezine subscribers?

Category : Blogging for Business | E-newsletter Publishing | Email Delivery Best Practices | Email List Building | Email List Management | Email Marketing | Email Service Providers | Small Business Marketing | Web Site Development | Blog
11
Jun

I decided at the last minute to attend Boris’ latest email marketing workshop and I am extremely glad I did. The 4 hour session was filled with tons of valuable internet based information including how to improve your web search rankings and of course how to enhance your business sales through email marketing.

This was the best value for money seminar I have attended in many years.
A great seminar, Boris!

Dennis Heathcote
Co-President at D&K Imports Inc.
DandKimports.com

Note: This testimonial was originally published as a recommendation on Linkedin

If you ever attended one of my seminars, please leave your own comment – Thanks!

Category : Driving Traffic to Your site | Email Marketing | Events | Search Engine Optimization | Seminars and Live Events | Testimonials | Web Site Development | Blog