Recap: Email Marketing — It’s Not Spam

October 25, 2011 Kevin Donnigan

For our October 5 event, Chris Kenworthy discussed what he's learned from sending over 2 million emails each month. If you were unable to attend or need a refresher, we've got you covered:


Please note …Everytime you spam, god kills a kitten. It's true …

Primary Goals

The primary goals of an e-mail marketing campaign are to:

E-mail Types

  1. Transactional, which include confirmations, alerts and notifications, billing changes, subscriptions, and goods.
  2. Promotional, that include newsletters, special offers, coupons, promotions, content, and RSS Feeds.

The Essentials of Making A Successful E-mail

List Building (Permission Based): This step is essential. You need people to read your e-mail, right? Well, there are four list building types:

DO NOT buy or rent e-mail lists. It's a waste of your money, it is filled with fake e-mail addresses, and you will get less open rates. DO NOT trick or deceive your subscribers or people about to sign-up for your e-mails. Also, be smart and don't violate privacy policies and include an unsubscribe link that is easily accessible.

Create the e-mail campaign through templates A couple of the most popular 3rd party e-mail newsletter companies are MailChimp and Constant Contact. More on design/development below.

Send the e-mail … and cross your fingers. Who are you sending the e-mail to? Um… the people on your list. Which contains one or both of the two audience types: Existing and Potential Customers

Measure and track The e-mail has been sent, your fingers are crossed, and you are sitting there waiting to see how things pan out, right? You should be… You should also be measuring the success (or failure) of your e-mail and tracking the amount of opens, clicks, and various other statistics to optimize for future compaigns. You can't improve if you don't know. A good e-mail marketeer should be conducting A/B Test as well! Was it mentioned that if you spam, God kills a kitten?

Open rates vary by industry and are tracked by an image that is a pixel in height and width that sends a call back to the server that says "Hey, I'm open!." An average open rate for a list of 600 addresses is about 45%. An average click through rate is 3.74%. An average opt-out unsubscribe rate is 0.27%. What are your statistics?

E-mail Design Rules of Thumb

A Note About Subject Lines

Subject lines work best when they describe what's in the e-mail. Here's a look at a few that work best.

The Best Delivery Times

Common Challenges (25,000+)

Chris sends a lot of e-mail. By a lot, I mean somewhere in the millions. He's hardcore. Common challenges he's run into over the coarse of his e-mailing career have been:

Bounce Management & Honey

There are two types of bounces when sending e-mails. They are:

ISP's know when e-mails get bounced. Meaning, they know that you aren't doing a good job of keeping your list clean. If you do it too much, you will get blacklisted. You don't want that. M'mkay.

Honey Pots are used to detect spam. ISP's keep them for when spammers get these e-mail addresses, they know who to block. Check out this Wikipedia article for more info.

Blacklists are tied to your IP/Domain. Use this tool to see where you are blacklisted. You can try and get off the list for free, but some cost money.

A Few Best Practices

Build a high quality list and use high quality content. The better the list, the better the performance of the e-mail. Also, send on a regular basis, such as bi-weekly or monthly. NO SPAM!

If You're The Stalker Type…


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Slide Deck

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