General Archives – Essence of Email

Category: General

18 Apr 2019
esp migration

ESP Migration Guide for eCommerce Shops + Free Checklist

Email service providers (ESPs) are essential for brands looking to invest in email marketing.

As your brand grows, you may find yourself outgrowing the capabilities of your current ESP. Choosing and subsequently migrating to a different ESP can be pretty tedious and carry some risks. However, if done correctly, it can set your brand up for more advanced email marketing tactics down the line and more robust growth.

Since there’s been a lot of buzz lately going around the Mailchimp & Shopify breakup, and lots of talk about ESP migrations, I created a post that outlines a general plan of attack with any ESP migration.

esp migration

While I pull examples from different ESPs such as Klaviyo, the general framework should hold for all ESPs, even if the specific functionalities vary from platform to platform.

There are several categories of factors to consider when embarking upon migration, and I’ll be addressing each one of these core areas:

• Subscriber Data Migration
• Deliverability and List Health
• Integrations, Configurations, and Customizations
• Email Content Transition

I also include an ESP Migration Checklist to help you cover all relevant points.

Let’s begin.

1. Subscriber Data Migration

Moving your email subscribers list over to the new ESP is one of your first orders of business. You’ll also want to migrate over all of the subscriber/customer profile data as well. The exact methodologies will depend on your ESP’s functionalities, but regardless, you’ll want these core elements to be pulled across:

• Subscriber profile data such as email address, first/last names, time of subscription, location, and custom fields
• Subscriber order data
• Subscriber event data
• Subscribers’ opt-in/opt-out statuses, i.e. suppression lists

Automatic Syncing

Many ESPs have an automatic integration available to sync subscribers from your old ESP. If this is available, you certainly want to make use of it.

Automatic syncing is a quick and easy way to get the bulk of your subscriber data over to the new ESP. However, be wary of how much data actually passes through. It’s likely that you’ll have to do additional manual imports to get all of the requisite data over.

For example, the Klaviyo sync with MailChimp pulls in subscriber First/Last names, email addresses, member rating, opt-in status, subscription timestamps, opens, and clicks. But it doesn’t automatically pull in custom fields and variables. Thus, in that case, you’ll need to subsequently do a manual sync to map all the additional fields.

Moreover, to get the subscriber order and event data into your new ESP, you’ll want to activate the other relevant integrations, particularly with your shopping cart platform.

Manual Syncing

Most ESPs allow you to manually import and update subscriber data via CSV or other file uploads. This is a great tool in your arsenal during data migration.

When uploading the data, be sure to understand the structure of your data and how your new ESP receives it.

Two things to watch out for are:

• Data Types
• Default vs. Custom Fields

Data Types

ESPs store various data into different data types, such as text/string, number, boolean, date, and lists. Depending on which data type each of your data variables gets mapped to, you may have restrictions on the logic set you’ll have access to when segmenting.

It’s important as you sync your data that you pay attention to the data type.

Two examples to quickly highlight this point:

1. Let’s take for example a variable for Age. If you mapped Age to simply Text/String type data, you would only be able to access logic that looks at Text/String:

Now, if you are really going to segment using Age, it’d be much more useful to reference Number type logic, such as:

One caveat here is that some ESPs have the ability to recognize and transform the value into different data types, so they may be able to detect that you wanted to use a Number type, despite uploading it as a Text/String type.

2. Sometimes you’ll have data that varies in length for each subscriber profile. A most common example would be the number of items per order − one subscriber may have ordered 5 items in their order, while another may have only ordered 2 items.

One way to structure the data would be using separate variables for each discrete item, such as:

Item 1
Item 2
tem 3
Item 4
Item 5

However, this becomes unwieldy because a) you won’t be able to predict the maximum # of items ordered and b) when utilizing this variable inside emails dynamically, it’s difficult to show exactly what they ordered as there will be many blank variables.

Instead, the better structure here would be a List/Array data type. In this case, your first subscriber with 5 items would have something like this:

Subscriber 1: [Item_1, Item_2, Item_3, Item_4, Item_5]

Subscriber 2: [Item_1, Item_2]

You can also easily loop through the array when pulling the variables inside an email.

Which would result in something like this product table:

Default vs. Custom Fields

Another distinction to pay attention to is default vs. custom fields/variables. Often times, ESPs have their own set of default variable fields that you can map data to. These default fields sometimes have special properties, and may be indicated with a special notation such as a preceding “$” sign. For example, the $value default field in Klaviyo indicates a monetary value associated with orders that get mapped to a subscriber and aggregated to report on CLV, revenue per recipient, monthly order value, and such.

Normally, if your data fits neatly into one of these default values, I’d recommend mapping that variable directly to the default variable of the new ESP.

Custom fields, on the other hand, is entirely defined by you as a user. You can map all sorts of data to them, and name them accordingly (do remember the data type discussion above). One mistake I do see is that people fail to clean up and merge their data fields sufficiently before mapping. This could result in your data being split across redundant variables such as this example:

(Global) Suppression Lists

Another important subscriber list area to pay attention to is making sure your global suppression list is synced up corrected to your new ESP. In essence, your global suppression list consists of all subscribers who have opted out of your marketing emails for various reasons, such as unsubscribe, spam complained, or hard bounced. Keeping your suppression list updated will ensure you don’t accidentally send marketing emails to these contacts who are not eligible.

If your new ESP isn’t automatically pulling this in through the automatic sync, you’ll want to download the suppression list from your old ESP and subsequently upload it into the suppression list section of your new ESP.

Backing Up Data

Before you shut down your old ESP, make sure to back up as much data as possible:

• Download your subscriber lists with all profile properties checked
• Pull all the past email creative into a folder
• Export all metrics reports, preferably the CSVs of the raw data by email message
• Screenshot important segmentation criteria
• Keep a record of A/B testing numbers and results

Worst case is that you’ll never use these again, but more likely you’ll want to reference some of them in the future.

2. Deliverability and List Health

Moving ESPs will almost certainly cause fluctuations in your email deliverability. That said, if you are careful with implementing best practices, you can come out of the migration unscathed (or better yet, in better shape).

There are a host of deliverability house-keeping items you’ll definitely want to be aware of during a migration.

Pick Your Timing

If possible, I recommend avoiding certain times of the year when planning an ESP migration. Particularly, the Q4 holiday season is a poor time to migrate. The inbox becomes very competitive during this time of year, and the inbox providers become more strict than usual with allowing incoming mail to be delivered. Introducing a wild card of an ESP migration isn’t usually a good idea, as it makes it harder for you to get ramped up and establish a solid sender reputation now than at other lower-volume times of the year.

Also, if you have certain big seasonal sales you normally run, try to avoid migrating immediately before those as well. There’s a warmup period during the initial phases of migration that require a more restricted volume of email sends, and that could have a tangible negative impact on short term sales promotions.

Configure Your Sending Infrastructure

The step of configuring your new sending infrastructure can be easily missed in the midst of the chaos of the migration. Yet, it’s an important step to implement in order to get your sender reputation off to a good start.

Depending on if you are using a dedicated or shared IP address, the steps vary, but the most basic ones would include updating your SPF and DKIM records.

These are basically TXT records you add to your DNS in order for inbox providers to better identify your legitimate marketing emails are coming from you.

Some ESPs such as Klaviyo combine the authentication process through using CNAMEs to simultaneously white-label your domain, and offer additional customizations such as URL shortening and dedicated link tracking.

Regardless of your ESP, the important thing to note is that you will have to do some updates and configuration in order to get your new sending infrastructure set up correctly. Your ESP’s account manager and documentation should be very helpful in regards to the exact steps.

List Warm-Up and Cleaning

In order to ramp up your email list correctly on your new ESP, it’s best to institute a structured list onboarding process

The reason you’d want to onboard in a disciplined manner instead of all at once, is because the inbox providers are generally more suspicious of emails sent from new infrastructure. It can be indicative of phishing, spoofing, and spam attempts.

As such, you’ll want to properly warm up the list so as to start off on the right foot deliverability-wise on your new ESP.

Also, an ESP migration is a great time to do some list cleaning in order to prune off dormant deadweight from your list.

3. Integrations, Configurations, and Customizations

Now that you have your shiny new ESP, you’ll need to make updates to the account settings, as well as integrations and templates. While some of the default settings can work well, chances are you’ll need to update at least some of them to meet your brand’s specific needs.

Global Frequency Caps

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, global frequency caps basically refers to a hard limit on the number of marketing emails a single subscriber can receive within a certain period of time. The purpose is to have a filter in place so that no single subscriber gets bombarded with too many emails, regardless of how many automated and/or campaign emails he or she might trigger in rapid succession.

Most ESPs have some sort of global frequency cap, though they may not allow you to configure it or override it selectively.

You should take a look at the options available and configure it according to what works best for your email marketing program.

For example, Klaviyo (they call it “Smart Sending”) has a default setting of one email every 16 hours, which might be too conservative depending on your campaign cadence, resend frequency, and robustness of automated emails.

You may also want to selectively override the caps for certain automation. I normally override this for the Welcome email that delivers an incentive upon subscriber signup, as well as the first checkout abandonment email.

Attribution Setup

Chances are your new ESP will have its own mechanism for tracking revenue attribution. This can be a very useful feature for reporting and analysis, as well as triggering automated emails based on purchases from email.

That said, it’s not a bad idea to a) run Google Analytics (or other web analytics platforms) concurrently with the native ESP attribution and b) configure the attribution window to align with your own parameters.

Normally, ESPs will have a feature to allow you to append UTM parameters to all links within outgoing emails. This is superbly useful, as you don’t want to spend tedious hours tagging each link with these. Sometimes you can also configure the tracking parameters’ structure:

As for the attribution window, the default settings can often time be changed as well:

Organizational Settings

A simple point of configuration that might be easy to miss is your organizational settings. This is where you can usually configure your Company, Name, Address, Phone, Default From Address and Name, etc.

It’s a good idea to properly set these up since many templates would pull these values dynamically into the footer and other areas of your emails:

One mistake I see people making is having their personal info in the organizational settings, which incidentally pulls in that info into the marketing emails.

Opt-In & Opt-Out Settings

Configuring your opt-in and opt-out settings and pages are important to ensure a great user experience as well as to grow and retain your subscriber list.

Global Unsubscribes

For ESPs that have a List-level organizational structure, there may be an option to configure how unsubscribes to any particular list or email get treated, whether as a global unsubscribe or a local unsubscribe.

I normally like to set it by default to a global unsubscribe, but if you are maintaining specific lists for preferences, you could also go the other way… though I prefer using custom fields and variables to keep track of preferences instead of lists.

Custom Preferences & Unsubscribe Pages

The default pages for unsubscribing and email preferences for most ESPs are pretty sparse and basic. Case in point:

If you want to apply any customizations to it, you’ll need to configure it yourself either using the default drag & drop editor or through editing the HTML source code.

Aside from branding/design changes, I recommend two other starting customizations:

1. Adding frequency preferences to your unsubscribe page to try and “save” a portion of potential unsubscribers.

2. Pull in only relevant preferences on the email preferences pages so that the form is not too overwhelming.

Single Opt-In Lists

By default, many ESPs pass new subscribers through a double opt-in process, i.e. they have to further confirm via a link in their email before getting onto the list. While this is not always a bad idea, and indeed is required in certain jurisdictions, you may not want to have double opt-in by default and instead go for single opt-in.

In that case, you’ll want to configure your list settings accordingly. You may even need to email your ESP’s support directly to have them turn on the single opt-in functionality if it doesn’t exist already in your account.

Note that most of the time, manual CSV uploads will be single opt-in regardless of the settings of the particular list.

Email Signup Forms

Most sites have some sort of email signup forms onsite. Common suspects are:

• Footer forms
• Blog page signups
• Popups/flyout forms

You’ll need to make sure all of these forms are now passing subscribers directly into your new ESP.

For embedded forms on the site, such as a footer signup form, you can usually either a) swap out the code with the default embed code provided by your new ESP or b) change the hard-coded version’s action URL and list ID values to pass now to the new ESP’s URL & list:

Additionally, sometimes these footer forms pass directly into your shopping cart’s newsletter list, which can get automatically synced with your new ESP via a direct integration.

For the popup and flyout forms, if you use a third party software to power those, you can usually just swap out the integration directly inside that software. For example, inside Justuno, on the last setup page of each campaign, you can choose where to pass the subscribers to:

You’ll still want to make sure all incoming subscribers are directed to the correct lists inside your new ESP though.

Shopping Cart Integration

In addition to other apps, you may decide to integrate with (loyalty apps, product review requests, recurring billing, shipping management, etc), the most important core integration for your new ESP will be with your shopping cart platform.

Enabling and configuring this integration is going to be key to power your email efforts moving forward given how much order-event data gets pulled through. Your ESP should have extensive documentation on the specifics on how to integrate with your shopping cart.

Here are a few random pointers to take into account though:

• You may still need to add some additional tracking scripts to your site outside of the core integration in order to fully tap into all of the functionality. Klaviyo, for example, often times requires you add Web Tracking, Product Tracking, and Add to Cart tracking scripts onto your site in order to use those events.
• If you are pulling in Amazon order automatically, make sure to configure your automated email segments and campaign email segments to exclude these contacts. You don’t want to land in hot water with Amazon for inadvertently sending marketing emails to these customers.
• Your new ESP may have a dynamic coupon generation option. This will usually involve an additional layer of setup during the integration process.
• Make sure to monitor the sync between your ESP and shopping cart, both at the beginning and ongoing. If the sync goes down without you knowing, it can have some significant effects on your email channel revenue.
• Spend some time configuring and checking your (dynamic) product catalog feed. This can be utilized at times to generate dynamic product recommendations inside your emails.

4. Email Content Transition

Email Content Updates

The first step in transitioning your existing automated emails and getting your new campaign emails into your new ESP is creating an updated email template. Whether you are using drag & drop or a custom HTML-coded template, you’ll need to create a new version inside your new ESP.

At the very least, you’ll need to incorporate the dynamic variables of your new ESP utilizing their new syntax.

For example, Mailchimp’s *|ARCHIVE|* becomes {% web_view %} in Klaviyo, and *|UNSUB|* becomes {% unsubscribe %}.

Automated Email Transition

Per my note about deliverability and onboarding in the section above, it’s usually a good idea to get your automated marketing emails transitioned to your new ESP first before transitioning campaign emails (which you’ll need to warm up).

The general process we like to follow for moving the automated emails is:

• Create the mirrored version of the existing live email sequence in the new ESP.
• Run quality assurance and testing on the new sequence to check for outdated links, images, copy, coupon codes, etc.
• Make sure all triggering mechanisms in the new ESP for that particular sequence will work as intended. For example, if it’s a welcome series, you’ll need to first make sure your signup forms are passing the subscribers into the new ESP and into the correct list, the automation trigger is configured based on the addition to that list, and any coupon codes work as intended.
• Check that no subscribers will unintentionally get the sequence once it is turned on. For example, if you haven’t synced up all of your subscribers yet, and you turn on a sequence based on the addition to a list… and then add a manual batch of subscribers on that list, they’ll get sent that email sequence.
• Turn off the existing automated email sequence in your old ESP.
• Turn on the existing automated email sequence in your new ESP.
• Back-populate contacts if applicable.
• Monitor for any abnormalities after launch.

Click to enlarge image

A note about turning on/off automated sequences: if you have multiple emails within a sequence, often times you’ll have contacts who are making their way through it still at the point you want to make the swap. In this case, one option you have is to implement a date filter at the initial trigger point of the old automation and keep both the new and old ones running simultaneously for a while, until which point the contacts in the existing automation all finish it.

Then you can turn off the old automated sequence.

For example, for a welcome series it might look like this:

You can utilize this tactic in combination with back-population (if your ESP has it) to minimize the number of contacts who would otherwise have missed the emails in the automated sequences.

Transactional Emails

Generally speaking, we recommend keeping your transactional (like order/shipping confirmations) emails inside your native cart or app. If you do so, you can still do some customizations for branded design, as well as add some UTM tracking parameters to get more visibility into conversions.

Otherwise, if you do decide to move some transactional emails onto you new ESP, you’ll need to make sure it’s supported. Also, keep in mind that by default subscribers on your suppression list won’t get these emails − you’ll usually need to have your ESP turn on a special “transactional” designation for each individual email message so that those messages will override the suppression.

If you don’t do this, a handful of your customers who may have unsubscribed in the past to your marketing emails will end up not getting future transactional emails from you.

Campaign Email Transition

The best approach to transition your campaign emails is to follow some sort of onboarding plan to the new ESP. 

It’s also best to stop sending from your old ESP entirely once you begin the campaign email transition process, because generally speaking, inbox providers don’t like seeing marketing emails from your brand coming from too many different sources and it can have adverse effects on your short-term deliverability.

esp migration

I hope you found this helpful. I’m also including a checklist of the key steps of the ESP migration process. 

Good luck with your present or future ESP migration. If you need professional help with it, email us or book a call


Xiaohui “X” Wang is Founder and CEO of Essence of Email. He is a veteran of the email marketing industry, having led the strategic and tactic efforts for over 250+ eCommerce clients ranging from small mom & pops to IR500 retailers. He is super passionate about all things email and constantly keep abreast of the cutting edge of email technology.

12 Apr 2019
email marketing qa

What Is QA for Email Marketing & 5 Tips for Spotless Emails

From start to finish, each stage in the email marketing process is complex, yet rewarding. It requires time, dedication, and attention to detail. However, once all the hard work is done, what’s better than watching the results roll in?

In order to ensure that the payoff is satisfactory, you need to make sure your emails are interesting, engaging, and blunder-free from start to finish. This is best achieved through the process of thorough quality assurance (QA for short). Keep reading to find out how QA can help you create flawless emails.

What Is Quality Assurance in Email Marketing?

It’s simple: if your emails are full of typos, low-quality images, and incorrect links, your potential customers are not going to take you seriously. This will have a negative impact both on your seller reputation and, ultimately, your business and revenue. This is where QA steps in by making sure your emails are well-written, impactful, and reassuring to your audience.

Still, QA is more than just fixing typos and formatting text. It will help you reconsider decisions about the placement, design, and content of your calls-to-action, re-think the imagery you are using, as well as check if your tone of voice is appropriate for the audience you are targeting.

Why Does Quality Assurance in Emails Matter?

For one, QA can help improve your emails drastically and assure you that everything is just right! Properly formatted emails speaking to the right people can help you build a positive image and credibility.

When potential customers receive an email which is nicely put together and optimized to their needs, they are going to perceive you as professional and trustworthy. Therefore, they will be more likely to purchase from you and keep looking forward to your future offers.

It looks like QA is more important than one may think, doesn’t it? For that reason, we are going to provide you with 5 key tips for making your emails stand out in the eyes of your audience.

1. Know Your Audience

One of the best things you can do is to personalize your emails as much as possible. Throughout the process of composing an email, you should keep in mind exactly who your audience is, both generally, and in that particular case. Approach the email from your audience’s point of view, and pay close attention to what they would most likely want to hear about and be interested in.

Another thing to consider is the impression your emails leave on your customers. Do they encourage your audience to get engaged? Are they overly ambitious and overflowing with CTAs and product offers? Having too many things to click on can sometimes be equally as bad as having too few. Find the middle ground – interest your audience without being overbearing.

This is a crucial part of QA because an email’s quality is equal to its relevance and moderation of expression. You should keep your audience in mind while creating an email; however, it’s not too late to make improvements once the email is composed, but not yet sent.

2. Be Aware of First Impressions

We all know that first impressions always matter, but when it comes to your emails, they are of huge importance.

The subject line and the preheader (preview text) are your audience’s very first contact with your email, and can often make or break your campaign. These two components are visible in the inbox, even before a recipient opens the email, and they naturally have the task of being attention-grabbing enough to entice the recipient to engage with the email by opening it.

This is why you should pay special attention to your subject lines and preheaders. Take a look at them and think about the following:

Are they eye-catching enough?

A quick and easy way to make your subject lines stand out in any inbox are emojis. You can use different emojis to communicate all kinds of messages, just don’t overdo it! Take a look at how emojis can help your email performance in our blog post here.

Do they arise interest in the content of the email?

Apart from using emojis, you can get the audience’s attention by hinting at an exclusive offer inside the email. This is a great way to increase your open rates if you have an offer included. Who doesn’t like a discount or free shipping?

Humor can also help because it shows that there’s a human touch behind just another email in the inbox. This makes it easier for your audience to connect to your company and its values.

Do they contain any grammar mistakes or typos?

Mistakes in the subject line and the preheader can have a very negative impact on your email’s performance. They can lead your audience to see you as unprofessional, careless, and unreliable, which is the last thing any serious email marketer wants. The process of QA requires you to focus on this intensively and to make sure that your audience’s first impression of you is the best possible one. It ensures that your emails are always welcome in your recipients’ inboxes.

email marketing QA

3. Keep the Body Simple, Accurate, and Authentic

Make sure your copy is brief and to the point. It should clearly state what the email is about and present the recipient with a clear call-to-action (CTA). If your copy goes on and on about whatever it is you’re presenting in the email, your recipients are going to lose interest halfway through – or worse, as soon as they open the email and see a wall of text.

Same goes for CTAs – it’s important not to overdo it. You want to encourage your recipients to take action and engage, but if your email is overflowing with the ‘BUY NOW’ and ‘GET IT HERE’ buttons and links, it’s going to have the opposite effect.

Too many CTAs can put a potential customer off, so you should aim to find the perfect balance.

This is a crucial part of the QA process, where the main aim is to produce high-quality emails which establish a friendly relationship with recipients, but also encourage them to engage further once they’ve already opened the email.

Another thing to keep in mind with your copy is how well it represents your brand. You want your email to reflect the goals and attitudes of your company. Think about what your values are and integrate them into your emails, and along with that, into the relationship with your audience. This, of course, means that your copy is error-free and consistent. Mistakes and inconsistencies (such as typos, wrong punctuation, missing words, grammar mistakes, etc.) can make you look amateurish and careless. Being mindful of this when you’re going through the QA process for your emails can really make your emails shine and leave a lasting positive effect on your audience.

4. Check That the Images Are Relevant

While some people prefer text-only marketing emails, relevant and eye-catching images can certainly intrigue your audience and familiarize them with your products or services. The main image of the email should, of course, be the hero image. This is most likely the first thing that stands out to your recipients, so use it to your advantage – present your products concisely and accurately, and get the recipient’s attention.

It’s a good idea to include images of your product in use. By showing people engaging with the product, you are more likely to get your audience to see what they could get from the product and how it would fit into their lives. This could potentially convince those indecisive customers who need a bit of final encouragement to go ahead and purchase the product or engage with your website.

Make sure your images are always clear and high-quality. Grainy or pixelated images are probably going to put some people off, as they reflect a lack of professionalism and care.

Remember: high-quality emails contain high-quality content!

Still, you should keep your images relatively small and be moderate when using them. Having too many images in an email or featuring images which are too large can land you in the spam folder.

As mentioned before, although you want to encourage your potential customers to take action, you don’t want to overwhelm them with too many CTAs, as they can lead to the conclusion that you only care about profit and not about building lasting relationships with your subscribers. Images can help you resolve this problem easily! You should hyperlink your images, because by doing that, you give the audience more points-of-access to your website without being annoying or overbearing.

5. Optimize for Mobile View

So, you’ve applied every tip above and your email looks good on your desktop. At this point, it’s easy to forget to make the final but crucial step – optimize the email for mobile devices. It’s absolutely necessary you do so because the number of people who check their inbox on mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones keeps increasing. All serious email marketers should keep that in mind.

Optimizing emails for mobile devices means adjusting many components of the email, such as the subject line, preheader, navigation bar, content, etc. Make your subject lines and preheaders short enough so they can be clearly visible in a mobile device inbox. Hide your navigation bar if you have one, as it can take a lot of valuable space and clutter the recipient’s small screen. Adjust the images so that they look good on mobile, and make sure that any text in those images is legible.

These are just some pieces of advice on improving your emails’ appearance on mobile devices. Keep your emails clean, clutter-free, and optimized with our tips on creating mobile-friendly emails.

Wrap It Up

Once your email is personalized and straightforward in its intention, leaves a good first impression in the inbox, features adequate images, and looks good on mobile devices, you’re ready to send with confidence! The process of QA reassures you that your audience will enjoy the experience of engaging with the email and will have you reaping the benefits of hard work.

Good luck!

Three QA checkpoints for Essence of Email client emails.
Yes, you read that right. All marketing emails we send on behalf of our clients go through three quality assurance checkpoints before sending. That’s how we deliver spotless campaigns for brands that trust us.

Contact us to find out more about how we deliver email marketing services for repeat eCommerce sales.

Mirjana Kuzmanović – Quality Assurance Lead @ Essence of Email

21 Mar 2019

Email Marketing Checklist

If you are regularly sending email campaigns and newsletters for the promotion of your products or services, a list of pre-launch checks for your email campaign can come in handy.

This email checklist will help you:

• Prepare a successful strategy of your campaign
• Set the campaign settings properly
• Prepare content that converts
• Make sure the emails look good across devices



🗹 You have created a clear goal for your campaign

🗹 You have a clear view of the value you will provide to your customers with the campaign

🗹 You have permission to send the email

🗹 Your contact list has been segmented

🗹 Your list is clean


🗹 A catchy and clear subject line

🗹 Clearly defined email and sender name

🗹 A set reply email address (if needed)

🗹 Personalized emails


🗹 Alternative text for images has been set

🗹 All the buttons, images, and logos have a link

🗹 CTA is clear and aligns with the goal of the campaign

🗹 The text has passed QA (Quality Assurance)

🗹 Sentences are short and match the company’s style

🗹 Preview text has been optimized

🗹 Personalization has been used correctly


🗹 Preview works well on desktop, mobile, and tablet

🗹 Preview works for different email services and browsers

🗹 Inbox test has been completed

🗹 Test email sent out to test list with various email clients

🗹 Preheader looks good on different email clients

🗹 All links are functioning properly

🗹 Dynamic text/personalization is displayed correctly


🗹 Strategically set send time and date

🗹 Monitor the results and engagement rates

If all boxes are checked, it is time to launch this campaign! 👍

Need help? We offer professional Email Marketing services. Check out how we can help your business and schedule your free consultation!

12 Mar 2019
cold emailing

Cold Emailing: How to Get More Replies

As a part of the lead generation strategy, companies quite commonly consider cold emailing the best way to go. However, very often they quickly give up because it is very hard to get people to respond. Furthermore, aside from the fact that people don’t respond to those emails, they tend to delete them without even opening them.

Nevertheless, there are ways to avoid your cold emails getting ignored. Namely, there are some basic tips composed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) which should be practiced when sending cold emails to people because they increase the odds of getting a response.

One of the main goals of cold emails is getting engaged in a back and forth conversation with the recipients to see if they are THE ONES for our business. We prepared 6 tips to help you achieve this goal.

cold emailing

1. Do Some Research

What you want to do is ensure that you have done your research on the person you are reaching out to. By that, we mean that you know everything − information about them, their companies history, and pretty much all the info that you may find useful.

You don’t want to approach the person without knowing anything about them, right? Also, by including some background info, you make your emails seem more personalized, which is definitely the way to go.

2. Use Your Connections

So, you’ve done a bit of detective work on your recipients and you’ve learned a thing or two about them. It’s now their turn to learn something about you. Does that make sense?

It’s natural for them not to know who you are at first, since you don’t have any previous experience with each other. You’ll want to change that as it is more likely they’ll want to hear more from you if they have an idea of who you are.

What works best here is mutual contacts! If you know someone they know, or even better, if you work with someone they know or work with, it’s almost like they already know you.

3. Pleasure vs. Pain

Catch their attention. It is a fact that people would do way more to avoid pain than gain pleasure. Try to point out some types of pain your recipient is experiencing. If you can offer something to ease their troubles, make sure you tell them that.

This is one of the crucial points of your cold email because you want them to see why they need you. Otherwise, why would they care?

4. Keep It Short and Easy

Shorter emails stand a better chance of being read and replied to. That’s a home truth. Imagine you’ve just received an email that resembles an essay more than an actual email. You’ve just rolled your eyes, haven’t you? That is exactly the reaction you want to avoid when cold emailing people. Don’t make the person leave your email unread just because they have to invest more effort and time to look at what you have to say.

Also, there is really no need for you to use big, fancy words just to try and impress them. Keep it simple and always have a friendly note to your emails. As a matter of fact, just write as you would talk. It’s that easy.

When asking for a meetup or a call, they shouldn’t be burdened with having to think of the time and date. Give them the time that works for you. If they can’t make it, then ask them to come up with the time that is suitable for them.

5. Make Them Feel Good About Themselves for Helping You

If someone asked you for your help and you decided to go for it, you would feel like a good person, right? This applies to your recipients as well. By simply showing some gratitude for the person’s help instead of just saying “Thanks”, you will get more replies. This is only because they will want to help you.

Just remember, always give them an opt-out option! You are more likely to do something when you want it than you are when being pushed into it.

6. Remember to Always Make It Personal

As we said before, try personalizing your emails to each and every one of your recipients.

Using templates might not be the best option because there is no way you can avoid having a cold note to your emails, and trust me, you don’t want that. Even though templates are awesome when emailing wide masses, they are simply not an option when you are reaching out to a specific person.

cold emailing

We’ve gone through a few key points you should keep in mind when approaching potential customers, partners, or whatever you are looking for. Following these principles will help you get higher responsiveness from your cold emails.

FTC Rules

When sending cold emails to people, you need to follow the rules outlined by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). We’re going to help you out by breaking down the FTC rules and providing a few tips on how to write a cold email that will get you the response you were aiming for in the first place!

• Identify yourself − Make sure your “From” properly displays who you are.
• Use a subject line that represents what your email is about− Don’t mislead your recipients with subject lines that have nothing to do with the actual email.
• Identify your email as an ad if that is the case − Be sure you label your email as an advertisement if it is one.
• Include your business address − This has to be included, whether it is your PO Box or physical address. The best place to use it is your signature.
• Give your recipients an opt-out option − An “Unsubscribe” link should be included, but you can always go for something more personal. “Let me know if you don’t want to be contacted” or something similar works well, just make sure you are giving them an option.
• If they decided to opt-out, respect their decision − Make it easy for them to leave your mailing list and make sure they will be removed.
• Be aware of what others send on your behalf Keep in mind that, even if someone else is handling your email correspondence, you are still legally responsible for it. It’s a good idea to monitor what emails are being sent out on your behalf.

This was just a short breakdown on what rules you should follow to perform better in email marketing. You can read more about this on the official website on the Federal Trade Commission.

By all means, experiment and test out different things until you find the approach that works for you and your product best.

Happy Cold Emailing!

If you need help with your email marketing strategy, feel free to schedule a free consultation with one of our email marketing experts!

Danica Tešić – Account Manager @ Essence of Email

06 Mar 2019

How to Squeeze More Engagement Out of Your Emails

Are you stuck thinking about the past? Thinking about when your email marketing campaigns performed better? Don’t worry, you are not the only one who is experiencing these thoughts. A dip in the engagement rate is a common occurrence and you can quickly return to the fast lane.

We are going to give you the tricks of the trade which will help you squeeze more engagement out of your list.

First, let’s understand why users are not opening your emails.

There are three primary reasons why subscribers are no longer engaged:
1. They have abandoned their email account.
2. They are no longer interested in your subject-matter.
3. They are having an email overload.

This means you are going to need to overhaul your list and make an attempt to get users who are genuinely interested engaged. Remember, you want your list to be filled with quality subscribers, and not just pay attention to quantity.

1. Clean Your Database

To get engagement you have to make sure you have active working email accounts. Overtime data goes stale, users abandon accounts and change email addresses. Emailing to these types of accounts is going to generate hard bounces. You might also run into other types of hazardous emails which could cause deliverability and blacklisting issues.

An excellent tool to clean your data would be Xverify. You can simply upload your entire list, and it will go through each email address to identify if it’s a real registered account. A good rule of thumb is to clean your database quarterly, but it is strongly recommended to validate data in real time as it comes into your funnel.

2. Start a Re-Engagement Campaign

After you have finished cleaning your list, your total number of overall subscribers should be smaller. The next thing you need to do is start a re-engagement campaign.

Here are some examples of good ideas for re-engagement campaign subject lines:

• We’ve Missed You! Take 15% OFF EVERYTHING
• We Want You Back!
• Don’t Forget About Us! We Have a Present for You!
• Let’s Catch Up!

Check out the above example of an awesome re-engagement email from West Elm. They got a massive lift in their open rates because of this powerful subject line. Plus, the strong call to action of 20% off and providing a coupon code directly in the email got more users clicking

3. Resend to Non-Openers

After you’ve cleaned up your list and blasted off your re-engagement campaign, don’t expect to generate a 90% open rate. You could have created the absolute best subject line, but it still doesn’t guarantee an open. Often the root cause of this pain point is merely the fact that the user is just not interested or that they have lost your email in their inbox.

An email marketer performed an experiment where he was able to generate a 54.7% increase in his email reach. He did this simply by resending the exact same message to users who did not previously open.

4. Make Use of Emojis and Gifs

Most of our tips so far were aimed at helping you get opens. However, getting clicks is where the real conversions happen. It’s been proven that a strategic animated GIF in an email is more likely to generate a click than a static image. Still, you want to use GIFs with caution, as too many GIFs could generate a higher unsubscribe rate or cause you to land in the spam box. Therefore, we encourage you to use one GIF per email.

Below is a tasteful animated image that MOO placed in an email campaign. It’s subtle, fits their brand, and delivers a strong message.

5. Don’t Let Them Abandon the Cart

Online shoppers don’t always get the opportunity to finish what they started. Sometimes they are shopping during their lunch break and are interrupted by a phone call. It’s quite common that they completely forget what they were doing and abandon the cart. It’s our job as marketers to give them that gentle nudge in the form of a reminder that they forgot something.

On average, 63% of abandoned cart sales are recoverable.

Set up your system to be intelligent. Auto-deploy an email a few hours after the shopper added things to their cart but did not check out. For more ideas on how to put together your abandoned cart campaign, here are 14 abandoned cart email examples.


Now that you have some fresh ideas on how to boost your engagement rates, it’s your turn to start putting it to work. Once you clean your data and re-engage your users, you are going to see immediate results. Just keep fine-tuning your emails from there and don’t forget that consistency is key. Happy emailing!

Author: Krista Brea
Krista Brea is a marketing specialist at Xverify. She helps digital marketers improve email campaign success through data verification. Outside of the office, Krista also enjoys traveling, fitness, reading, and listening to podcasts.