Marketing Articles

How to Semi-Automate Your Email Marketing to Connect With Your Clients

by Jennifer Riggins
Published on 12 May 2014

email-service-providerWhat's ESP? No, this time we're not talking about the ability to read minds, but we are talking about how your clients can better read yours. We break down the tricks of email marketing from which email service provider or email marketing tool is right for you to which email mistakes it's time you stop repeating.

You've worked hard to build relationships with customers, leads and prospects. And over the months or years since you've developed your business, you've built a strong contact list or series of lists in a seemingly daunting Excel spreadsheet or your favorite customer relationship management tool. Now it's time to nurture those leads, prospects and customers by KIT (old school, yearbook lingo for "keeping in touch") with the right email marketing service provider or ESP.

First, you need to figure out what you need from your email marketing software and then it's time to make a decision. Today, we help you determine the right ESP for your business.

How can choosing the right email service provider help your business?

An ESP is for more than just email campaigns and newsletters. The small monthly or campaign cost helps make sure you hit your target more efficiently and repeatedly, by:

  • Stay outta that spam box! (Especially with Gmail's newest spambots charging forth)
  • Manages your email database by updating unsubscribes, bounces, and spam complaints
  • Fights back against black-hat SEO, making sure your IP address isn't blacklisted and working to resolve any issues if it is
  • Allows you to create emails more quickly with reusable email templates
  • Segments your email lists for better targeted campaigns
  • Tracks click-throughs so you know which bits are successful (and which aren't)
  • Let's you A/B test subject lines and other bits that allow you to improve email marketing in the future
  • Comes jam-packed with how-tos, advice and demos to help you create more successful email campaigns

Then, what's the right email service provider for your business?

Well, it depends on the audience and goals of your email marketing strategy and what you and your team value most to get out of it:

  • Ability for your email to actually get there In my practice, this is when the premium email marketing tools help more. I mentioned earlier how those Gmail spambots are extra feisty right now. If you're sending out to a large group of people, you're headed for the junk folder unless you use a solution like SendinBlue , which ensures better deliverability.

  • Automate responses Another sly ESP solution paired with a sly mascot, HappyFox l ets you automate responses, so your clients get the responses they need for their most common questions, and then your customer success team can drill down into deeper questions

  • Time it right Pinpointe does just what its name suggests by allowing you to use its rich features and customization to zero in on the type of email action for the type of client. It also has fantastic auto-responder drip marketing campaigns that help you with lead nurturing.

  • Track everything Email marketing software like GetResponse allows you to strategize in order to make smart decisions within minutes: compare follow-ups, measure site conversions, segment subscribers with one click or view hourly fluctuations.

  • Know what your client is reading At GetApp, we heart tracking. That's why we heart MailChimp. Freddie and his mail-carrying gang let us drill down into the sections of our newsletters, so we know which links were clicked on. It also has a subject line generator that helps you find the best subjects.


Now how to avoid those common email mishaps

Here are some nifty tricks to email like a master, yet persuasively like an amateur:

  • Email like a human They call them spambots for a reason. Use email marketing tools to personalize and address your emails properly, to first names. (None of that Dear Sir/Madam!)

  • Write engagingly Again, write like you talk (unless you talk like a sailor.) And as a lot of open-ended questions.

  • Make it ugly! The less formatting, the less likely it'll be redirected to the junk folder. And the folks at AffinityLive CRM found that the uglier (simpler, less formatted) the email, double the click-through rates.

  • Always keep mobile in mind Again, if you overload your emails with images, they'll take forever to load on smartphones and your clients will get bored and delete before reading.

  • Don't unsubscribe! Our pals at AffinityLive also discovered that having the word Unsubscribe , while a requirement of most ESPs, deters actionability and attracts those pesky spambots. Whenever possible, try to customize this wording for an alternative to the U word, like "Opt Out."

  • Customize Subject Lines If you use the company's name, instead of the individual's name, your emails are twice as likely to be acted on

  • Don't write gimmicky subject lines Avoid: Free!, Limited time offer! $$$$! Click! Excessive punctuation in general, and anything you'd see on a banner outside a used car lot

  • Don't forget that CTA! Why are you writing your clients? What's your goal of the email or newsletter? Make sure your call to action is clear, encouraging your client to take the next step

  • KISS Keep it simple, stupid. The golden rule of journalism stands true today.


Looking for an email service provider or email marketing tool?

GetApp lets you compare email marketing solutions side-by-side to help make this sometimes overwhelming decision easier and to help build your business with software that fits your requirements.


Apps mentioned in this article