Mailing list Some people associate it with relic, especially in a world overwhelmed by ubiquitous social media, but is it really so? The experience of marketers, including my own, clearly indicates that mailing is still an important element of every marketing strategy and cannot be omitted if we want to effectively reach customers and boost sales. However, a lot has changed over the years. In the past mailing lists were used mainly to send one-off notifications, e.g. about promotions in an Internet shop, whereas today this tool is primarily aimed at maintain contact, warm up relationships and only at the end, as it were, sell. This trend gave rise to the so-called marketing automation, which transformed traditional mailing into many smaller mailing processes whose task is to provide the recipient with content that may be of most interest to him at a given moment. We will come to automation later.
The mailing list - how did it start?
The first mailing lists were simple e-mails sent via an e-mail client, but addressed to many recipients. In fact, even nowadays I sometimes receive this type of "mailing" from someone, where I have an overview of all recipients, and today my dear spouse also received something similar from a respectable training company. What does RODO say about this? Hmmm let's keep silent. At least that's what got this article written 🙂 .
It turned out that this form of sending has a lot of disadvantages and limitations. So at first simple, then more and more complex scripts started to appear, which made it possible to send mailings to a large number of recipients, distributing them in time so as not to bombard mail servers. And each recipient was listed as the only addressee of a given email, which inspired greater trust and was an element of the fledgling personalization 🙂 .
We often used mailing lists for this purpose, e.g. Mailman, which by definition had a different purpose but could be used for typical mailing. I remember when I was still working in the theatre we used it for internal communication and it worked really well. These scripts are still in use, but today hardly anyone wants to use them in a typical mailing due to the lack of possibility of precise analysis of recipients' behaviours or implementation of the already mentioned automation.
Then came the era of the first dispatch planning solutions, one of the very popular ones was and still is the script phpListwhich was created in 2000 and is still being developed today. This or similar mechanism was installed on a hosting account, a list of email addresses was imported and sending went on. However, when the Internet was flooded with a wave of spam, cultivated, on the one hand, by those aware of this act, as well as unaware, who having at their disposal address databases saw nothing wrong in using them, a fierce fight with similar practices by email service operators began. The recipients themselves also became more and more resistant to the content they received, which in a straight line resulted in a drastic decrease in the effectiveness of this marketing communication channel. This is why today many people who wonder about the tools used in Internet marketing think that mailing is not worthy of attention, because no one will want to read what they send. And you know what I will tell you? They are 100% right.
Today mailing must be understood as a form of communication that sustains relationships, it must be a tool that gives readers positive value and only when this happens does mailing have a chance to strengthen trust in the sender and consequently increase sales, but these sales are nothing more than a "side effect" of the actions taken. If you see mailing as a way to send only hard commercial information, then in fact the chances of it benefiting you are small.
The fight against spam continues, but looking at various types of statistics we can see that the scale of the phenomenon is clearly decreasing. For example, from the data published on statista.com we can see that still 4 years ago, that is in 2014, the volume of spam in the web constituted someą. In other words, roughly only one in three emails circulating on the web was not spam. In contrast, looking at data from May 2018, this share has fallen to 48% and I am convinced that this trend will continue. This is great news for everyone involved in email marketing, including you.
Mailing list - why aren't my emails getting through?
I've worked with many tools, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. What I can tell you, however, is that no matter what solution you decide on, if you plan your actions thoughtfully, the results will be visible.
What characterises good email marketing automation tools is, on the one hand, flexibility and possibilities, on the other, high deliverability of sent emails. And this is where I'll stop for a moment.
Mail is mail, right? You send it and expect it to reach the addressee. But it turns out that it's not that obvious. Antispam scanners not only check the reputation of your domain and the IP address from which you are sending the message, but they also analyse many other technical factors, and here attention, also the content of the message sent. So if several seemingly insignificant factors overlap, your e-mail will more often be qualified as spam, and will land in folders, to which recipients, if they look at it at all, they do it very rarely.
In view of the above deliverability is an extremely important element. Imagine you have a database of 100,000 subscribers. You send mailing from your own domain, via your own mail server. I'm leaving aside for the moment the fact that hosting providers won't let you send that amount, but let's say you have your own dedicated server and no limits. Your mail reaches 20% recipients, and for the rest it falls into the spam, or is completely rejected by the server. It seems to be a big base, but what does it matter if you mostly end up in the spam. What if you send a mailing using an external operator specialising in mailing services, whose IP address has a good reputation in this respect? It may turn out that the same mailing will successfully reach 80% recipients. This is a very simplified example, but this is more or less how it works.
Does this mean you shouldn't send mailings through your own server? No, but you must take great care of the quality of your list (it can't be a list bought somewhere on a marketplace on the net), about the reputation of the IP from which you are sending and finally about the content of the messages sent.
A simple way to test mailings for technical aspects related to their deliverability is, for example Mail Tester. How does it work? Go to the website: https://www.mail-tester.com/ Then copy the generated email address and send a message to it, e.g. the content of the planned mailing. Then click on the CHECK RESULT button and wait for the result. It is important to send this email in exactly the same way as the target mailing. You can, for example, create a separate list of subscribers, to which you will add only this one generated address and send a mailing to it.
This will give you a set of information that will allow you to eliminate at least the most glaring technical errorswhich may result in your emails ending up in the spam folder. If the result is OK you can send.
This method of verification is worth using from time to time, even if you send via external systems, which very often themselves verify the quality of what you want to release and suggest what can or should be improved.
How to take care of your mailing list
First of all, start from scratch. Ideally, you should plan your entire strategy, work out all the details and Create a list from scratch having valuable contacts on it who are genuinely interested in what you do. Some people think that the bigger the mailing list the better. Yes, but only if it is a list with addresses of people who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer. If you obtained a database of addresses somewhere in the network, which is not a problem - I am leaving aside for now the aspect of legality of such an action and you would have, let's say, 100,000 addresses whose owners do not even know about your existence, and next to a database of a thousand addresses of people who already know you, who subscribed to your list, who are interested in what you do. Believe me, this smaller database will be much more effective, and you will not risk the reputation of your domain, IP address or even the reputation of your brand, not to mention the fact that someone may, to put it mildly, chase you for such practices.
Quality of the mailing list
That is why you should take care of the quality of your list from the very beginning. Do not go for quantity but quality. Use additional verification when subscribing to the list, i.e. if someone gives you their address, ask them to confirm the subscription by clicking on the link in the e-mail. In this way you will immediately sift out a number of addresses, e.g. those where someone simply made a mistake by making a typo. It may also happen that someone will put on your mailing list a mailtrap or simply not their address. In such a situation the verification will correct this behaviour by not allowing such an address to the mailing list. Then, when you send messages you will only reach genuinely verified recipientswhich will mean fewer returns and the consequent favourable view of postal service providers. In other words, it is one of the factors that reduces the risk of you being treated as a spammer.
Absolutely give the opportunity to unsubscribe from the list, don't make it difficult. The person who wants to unsubscribe is probably no longer interested in what you do, and so is of no use either.
I often receive messages where it is not possible to unsubscribe from the list. I usually ignore it, because I simply do not have time to correspond with the sender and I mark it in the spam filters, but many people go further by reporting such mail e.g. to RBL listsThe IP address of the recipient will block your emails, not only for this recipient, but also for many others. It makes no sense to make it difficult to unsubscribe. What's the point of keeping someone by force and irritating them more and more with every subsequent email they send. Would such a person ever buy something from you? Would you?
Another element of a good mailing list. Many people change their email addresses for various reasons, some are immediately deleted and cease to physically exist, others are left alone and over time fill to the brim without allowing any new messages. Others, on the other hand, may simply be misspelled (I mentioned typos, for example). In any of these situations, the mail server will send you a return stating that the email address does not exist or that it is overflowing. If you don't remove such dead addresses from your mailing list, it may turn out after some time that a significant part of them in your database are ghosts, and the more of them there are and you keep trying to send messages to them, it will eventually affect the reputation of your domain or IP address with email operators and you will start landing in spam again.
Of course, I am not forcing you to manually analyse such stanzas. Decent mailing tools have return email support as standardand you can decide what to do with them in their configuration. For example, if an email address does not exist, you can automatically remove it from the list.
The three elements mentioned above, i.e. the process of subscribing to the list, the possibility of easily unsubscribing from the list and, finally, the automatic analysis of returns on the basis of which non-existent or dead addresses will be eliminated, are the most important points related to the optimisation of mailing and minimising the risk of you being treated as a spammer.
I've mentioned that I've worked on a number of solutions and what I can suggest to you is that you should test a number of them in order to finally choose one that will be effective for you on the one hand, because that's the most important aspect, and on the other hand won't give you too many problems related to implementation and operation. If I remember correctly, my first external mailing system was MailChimp.
In the free version you can serve a maximum of 2,000 subscribers sending them up to 12,000 emails per month. The paid versions start from a base of 500 subscribers, but with no limit of messages sent to them. MailChimp is one of the most recognizable brands when it comes to mailing systems in the world, so it's definitely one of the players you can take a look at.
A real harvester. In my opinion it's a top tool with huge possibilities of automation and planning related processes, but it's not cheap. In basic plan with 1000 addresses database you will have to pay $29 a month, which is over 100 PLN. The tool is also quite complex and using its potential requires some commitment. If you can afford such expenditure and you know that you will be able to use the possibilities offered by AC, it is definitely worth implementing it. It will pay off with results.
Another interesting solution for email marketing, but also for SMS marketing. The price is very decent. There is also a free version that allows you to send 300 emails per day. The paid version, where you can send up to 40,000 emails per month with no limit on the number of contacts, costs $19 per month. It's also where you can plan sophisticated email marketing strategies based on automation processes. The tool is very convenient and quite intuitive. I had no reservations in working with it, so I can confidently recommend it for testing.
You'll be pleased to know that the interface is in Polish. It's not as sophisticated as Active Campaign or even SendinBlue, but it also allows you to conduct email marketing effectively. The tool is certainly more intuitive than its predecessors, so you should be able to implement the automation tree for individual campaigns without too much trouble. Prices start from 50 PLN per month for the ability to handle a mailing database of up to 1000 contacts.
Like GetResponse, this is also a proposal from our native backyard. It may not be very sophisticated in terms of automation processes and creating complex campaigns, but you will undoubtedly implement automation and it will work smoothly. As in the case of GetResponse, the price starts at PLN 50 per month for a database of 1000 recipients.
Take a look at these solutions, and if that's not enough for you you'll find dozens of others, e.g: Sendloop, AWeber, ConvertKit, Emma, Contactually, HubSpot, Campaign Monitor, etc. So the choice is very wide, which, paradoxically, doesn't make the task any easier 🙂
I recommend you choose one of the tools described above, but as you pointed out these are tools for email marketing provided by external providers. There are advantages to this, such as not having to maintain the application - this is the responsibility of the provider, and usually the deliverability of emails is higher because it is supervised by a staff of specialists who monitor the reputation of IP addresses and react appropriately in crisis situations. However, you can use other solutions, e.g. hosted on your own server.
This is probably the most popular email marketing automation tool available under a free license. This means that you are not charged for using this software, but beware in the case of Mautica, maintaining it on a regular hosting account even if the SMTP server is external may be troublesome due to the consumption of server computing resources. Deciding on such a solution you have to aim for at least a VPS, and this in any case means costs from several dozen PLN per month. The advantage is that you have no limits either on sending or on the size of the mailing basewhich, in the case of large databases, may prove to be an economical solution even if you had to pay several hundred zloty a month for server maintenance and administration .
Interesting solution, albeit a bit clumsy in comparison with the aforementioned ones. Nevertheless, here you can also effectively manage a mailing list and automate campaign processes accordingly.
In turn, users WordPress, especially for bloggers, I recommend taking a look at the plug-in MailPoet. The free version supports a database of 2000 subscribers. You can send messages through your own mail server (rather discouraged if you are inexperienced and use traditional hosting) and pay nothing for sending or through the producer's servers and then the fees start from 10 dollars a month.
A simple, intuitive tool for basic automation mechanisms, and what I like the most about it is the ability to send automatic information about new articles on the blog. I used to use such an option in GetResponse, but I find this mechanism works much better in MailPoet. I will prepare a separate article about this plugin. If you want to see how it works you can subscribe to my blog subscribers list below the article. In response, you will receive a small bonus 🙂
Email marketing is experiencing its second youth. Once crushed by waves of spam, today it rises like a phoenix from the ashes, however, completely changed, stronger and more effective. This is an important part of online marketing activityYou should also use it in an active, thoughtful and sensible way. The tools available on the market will increase your effectiveness, thanks to which building a positive image of yourself or your company will be easier and more effective.
People are still using email, despite the fact that more than one person predicted its demise on the back of the growing popularity of social media and its messengers. But does everyone who uses the Internet have a profile on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter? Of course not and never will. However, practically everyone has an email address and everyone uses it. The potential doesn't end here, you just have to learn to spot it and use it skilfully.
If you are at the stage setting up your websiteIf you have a website, the mailing list should be one of its elements right from the start. If you've had a website for a while and the mailing list is just an empty phrase for you, change that. It will pay off in time.
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