Emailing Marketing – Increasing your Effectiveness

Effective Emailing

Effective Emailing

I recently attended a very informative webinar that discussed how to make your email marketing more effective. The webinar shared some very interesting statistics from millions of lines of data from MailChimp, a very popular emailing service.  Here is some of the information shared:

Email is homework. Most people check their email because they have to.  They go through emails as though it is homework. Monday morning many people go through emails from the weekend and delete the unimportant ones.  If your email is in the mix of Monday morning emails, it is more likely to be deleted, unread, and have more people unsubscribed to your email list.

Optimize your emails for mobile devices. More people are checking their emails using their phones (smart phones).  If you send long emails, your email messages are likely to be left unread.  Shorten your emails and be as concise as possible.  

The email subject line is very important.  People rely on the email subject line as they filter through to the important emails they want to read.  You must make sure your subject encourages your subscribers to open it. Also subscribers use the subject line to archive their emails.  If you have an informative and logical subject line, the subscriber is more likely to find your email when they need to refer back to it.  Using a time frame (i.e., “Webnoxious eNews 1/1/11: Blogging”) is helpful to your subscribers.  This helps them archive and keep track of your emails better. 

More emails more often is better than 1 long email message. Many organizations send a monthly eNewsletter and include multiple subjects in the email.  However, the current data supports sending out emails to your subscribers more often with less content.  Again, people are viewing email on their mobile devices and going through email much more quickly.

More links the better. The statistics on open rates, unsubscribe rates and click through rates, are better if you have multiple links in your email.  For example, if you put a link to your website, multiple times in your email, your open and click through rates go up, and the unsubscribes go down.

Email in the early morning and on the weekend. Statistics are best for sending your emails in the early morning (6am or earlier) and on the weekend. The theory is your emails are not getting mixed in with the weekly email “homework”. The statistics are the worst for emails sent on Mondays and Fridays. 

Use your name as the sender. People are more likely to open an email from someone  rather than a general email sender name, like info@webnoxious.com or email@webnoxious.com .  Also, hopefully your subscribers recognize your email and will open it. 

Survey your subscribers. I would encourage you to survey your subscribers and see if they follow these statistics.

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Hosting Companies: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Hosting Companies

Hosting Companies

Last week was an interesting week for me.  I have discovered (even though I really knew but didn’t want to admit) that one of my favorite website hosting companies is not perfect.  Two websites I manage had database servers timing out and pages not loading.  The hosting company was responsive in recognizing the problem but unfortunately we are still working on a long-term solution.

Because hosting became a hot topic for me last week, I thought I would blog on how to evaluate your hosting company.

GOOD Technical Support: It is key to have access to quality technical support people.  When your site is down or a page is down, not being able to get through to someone who can help isn’t acceptable. Along with a quick response, quick resolution is very important.  You need access to solutions and not just a frontline support tech who tell you, “It will take up to 72 hours to fix.”  Again, not acceptable.

You get what you paid for. Like many services, if you have the least expensive plan, don’t expect good service and high speed connection.  You get the “BAD“. Your pages will typically take longer to load and may discourage users from visiting your site.   Also, you are more likely to have hosting issues with the cheap hosting plans.  These plans use shared servers, where other sites are on the same server as your site.  The concern is if the other sites increase their activity too much, it will impact your hosting. You site pages load slower than normal, especially your pages that require more connections and have lots of content (videos, estore, CMS pages).

Does this mean you need a dedicated server for your website? Not necessarily.  Many websites Webnoxious manages, are hosted on a shared server, because we have found good hosting plans at reasonal prices that are on shared servers.  On  the other hand, one advantage of  the dedicated server option is it gives you “control” of the activity on the server and how it is configured (i.e., firewalls).  If you like this control, you have to pay more for it.  It can be an additional $50+ for a dedicated server plan.

How important is your website to your business? If your website goes down, how significant is the impact to your business?  Is your website the only way customers can place orders from you?  Do you have a back up plan if the estore or checkout isn’t working?  If you answer “significant impact to my business” to these type of questions, you want very reliable hosting and possibly a dedicated server.  If you are looking for “peace of mind” with your hosting, I would consider a website development company that provide hosting AND additional website services (regular website diagnostic checks for vulnerability or coding errors, consultant services and coding updates).

 The “UGLY” side to hosting, is no company can guarantee no hosting disruptions.  The internet has a unpredictable component to it, causing hosting to be effected.  How often it happens and how the disruptions are handled, should determine which hosting company you use.

Up-Coming Webnoxious Blog Topics:
–Emailing: The Facts & Stats
–SEO: Tips on Search Engine Optimization

Posted in Hosting your Website | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Welcome to the Webnoxious Blog!

Melissa Clemons, MBA, MIS

Melissa Clemons, MBA, MIS

Welcome to the Webnoxious Blog! I am Melissa Clemons, Principal at Webnoxious. I am very excited to start this blog! My goal is to assist clients, and potential clients, (YOU!) to better understand the ever changing web, and determine the impact to your website and online goals. 

Topics we will discuss will include (but not limited to):  social media, emailing and listservs, e-newsletters, browsers, blogging, videos, ecommerce or estores, e-learning and general trends in web design and development.

I understand how busy everyone’s schedules are these days, so I am committed to keeping my postings concise and informative.

I hope you will visit regularly and find useful information for your website and online needs.

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Are ListServs/EMLs outdated?

Should we have a listserv or not? ListServs or electronic mail lists (EMLs) have been around for years, but does that mean they are outdated and not useful? I would argue not. Listservs have been a great way for professionals to discuss topics and assist each other with professional advise, through email systems. “I have an unusual situation with a client and wanted to know if someone else has run into this type of situation.”  This is the type of discussion you would see on a listserv. 

So why not have the same discussion using a blog or forum, or even facebook?  I think one of the advantages of a listserv is the automatic and instant inclusion in the discussions.  Listserv discussions come to you through email, where blogs/forums/facebook try to draw the user to their platform, or in some cases the user must make the effort to participate.  As trivial as this point may seem, it impacts the activity of the discussions.  

Another difference is how easy it is for the user to participate.  In general people are familiar with and more comfortable with emailing comments than posting comments on a blog/forum.  Email is more familiar to us.  Also, people who are “not internet savy” but want to contribute to a discussion, are likely to be more comfortable contributing in an email set up.  An email based discussion tends to appeal to a broad group of users.

In conclusion, don’t rule out using a listserv.  Just because this option has been around for a while, doesn’t mean it is outdated.  Listservs continue to be a great communication tool.

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To Blog, or not to Blog

To Blog, or Not to Blog

To Blog, or Not to Blog

Are you trying to decide if you should start your own blog? Here are 3 important things to keep in mind when you are deciding if you should blog or not.

Do I have enough time to blog?
To have an effective blog, you need to make a commitment to regularly post to your blog. Once a week is a good goal. If you cannot make this commitment, don’t blog.

Blog to bring value to your audience.
Effective bloggers provide value (i.e., new information, entertainment,..) to their audience. Always think about “Why would someone want to read this?” Your blog will form a community of followers and they need a reason to visit your blog and not someone elses.

Bring out your voice in your blog.
Great newspaper columnists have a following because they bring out their personality, thoughts and opinions in their writing. They aren’t just stating the boring facts but providing their opinions on topics.  Also, you don’t have to be the best writer to blog. People will follow you based on your intent and not because you use big words.

To get more tips on “To Blog or Not to Blog”, go to these links:
http://weblogs.about.com/od/startingablog/tp/5FactorsSuccessfulBlogs.htm
http://weblogs.about.com/od/startingablog/tp/Top-Ten-Reasons-to-Blog.htm

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