Feb 20

This post will discuss how to attract subscribers that you do want, and how to identify and get rid of those you don’t.

file000138472429So let’s start off by having a spring clean of existing subscribers. A good way to highlight inactive users is by looking at their open rate and CTR. If you have sent more than 5 newsletters out and none of these have been opened or clicked on, then you know this user is inactive and it is worth unsubscribing them from your newsletter. In order to avoid deleting an excessive number of subscribers, you can send out a final email, highlighting that they have been inactive and informing them they will be removed from the mailing list if they don’t get in touch.

So how do you attract new subscribers? Firstly, ensure your subscribe form is placed logically and visibly on your website. If someone enjoys reading your content, they will want to sign up to the newsletter. If they have to trawl through your pages to find how to do this however, you will probably lose their interest. You should always be able to subscribe from the blog/news section of the site.

Another top tip is posting a subscribe link on your social media pages every so often, and finally using the personalised subscribe link is an extra special touch when you are just targeting one person. This is the kind of thing you can add in to an email for example:


If you need help implementing any of these tips, send over a quick email and we will be in touch!

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Jan 10

Tim Watson has over 9 years of experience specialising solely in email marketing.

He works with brands on email strategy; helping increase the performance of the email marketing channel using an evidence-based analytical approach.

Tim is an active industry voice too, speaking at conferences, regularly blogging and Chair of the email marketing best practice hub for the DMA. We asked Tim some key questions; here is his valuable advice.

What are the main benefits of email marketing campaigns when they are done well?

The main benefit of email marketing is quite simply more business.

For those companies driving revenue online, I like to think of the email marketing “send campaign” button, as more of a “send me money” button. With many of the clients I work with, I find that we send out the campaign and literally within minutes, you see revenue coming in. It is quite incredible.

Those companies working in B2C and online commerce have been the biggest adopters of email marketing. This is mainly due to the tracking that is available. It has been very clear that revenue is delivered through email marketing.
But that doesn’t mean to say that revenue isn’t delivered for companies who don’t have an online instant conversion offer. Email marketing drives response. It drives engagement and it essentially drives more business. This is true whether you are looking to get an immediate click and purchase, or whether you are just looking to re-engage someone and remind them about your brand so that it stays front of mind.

It works.

What is the optimum length of the subject line?

That’s a great question and one that I continually see being debated. It is also something for which poor advice is continually re-circulated. There has been some research in the past about the length of subject lines, but that research was limited in its approach. What it looked at was the correlation between the length of the subject line and just open rates. It found that shorter subject lines generally had higher open rates. However, research failed to look at what happens when the subject line gets longer and how this affects the click rate.

Now clicks are far more important than opens. What actually happens is the click rate tends to go up with the subject line length. There is a very good reason for this; when a subject line is short, it makes it hard for the reader to understand if the email is actually appropriate to them and establish if it is something that they are actually interested in. This means they have to open the email in order to understand the offer, worse still the potentially wrong people open it. Many find the content is not relevant to them this time. Whereas when the subject line is longer, readers can better self-qualify their interest in that particular email. Those people who open it are then much more likely to act, so the click-rates go up.

I would say that the best lesson to be learnt for the subject line is not to always make it less than 50 characters. Fine, if you want to drive awareness and open rate, use a short subject line. But don’t be afraid to use a longer subject line just because of the research that continually gets re-quoted. The better research has shown a bigger picture considering open and click rates.

What is the best way to do split testing?

I’m really quite a fan of split testing, and with many different brands over the years I have driven increased response through careful use of split testing. Now there are a few things to think about when you are split testing. The first is to make sure that you test something from which you can learn and apply to future campaigns. So if you were to make a change to work out what is better on a particular campaign, but you can’t reuse any insight you get from that in future campaigns, you’re missing out big time. Test things from which you can learn and reuse the learnings to keep building and improving.

The next problem that I see happening regularly is sample sizes being too small. In order to ensure results are solid, what we call statistically significant, you need to have sufficient sample size. That means typically 3,000+ people in each test cell. To make sure your results are good, use a statistical significance email split test calculator. There are various free ones available online such as here .

Another I see happening is people make changes that are too small. As a general rule small changes lead to small result differences. If you want a bigger result difference, you need to make more radical changes to your thinking. There are test cases out there where just one word can make a big difference, but that’s where the one word has radically altered the perception of the reader. The best thing to do is to make big perceptual changes to the reader as that gives the biggest result. Rather than just improving a particular message experiment with totally different approaches too.

Is the open rate the best measure of success?

For me, it is a definite NO to that question. I definitely wouldn’t use the open rate as a business metric or put increasing open rates central to strategy. At the very most it is useful as a diagnostic metric, to look at the campaign performance and see what your next step might be.

As a business objective I would be quite happy to see my open rate go down if my revenue was going up and that absolutely can happen, and it does happen. The reason for this is that the open rate does not map accurately to click rates and conversion rates. So, even an increase in open rate will not necessarily mean that there is an increase in conversion rate. In fact the open rate gets it wrong a lot of the time. So I look to click rates and conversion rates, whether that’s sales, number of purchases, downloads of white papers, registration for events etc. Measure those things that drive your business, using clicks as a secondary metric to back that up, and opens really just as a cursory one to look at. Look at customer based metrics, rather than campaign based metrics.

When creating a campaign what is more important, the look of the newsletter or the content?

Well without a doubt it’s the content. Even ugly emails can do well; even poor emails can actually do well. It is surprising what a newsletter that might be considered rubbish can actually achieve. If the content is right and the offer is right, then the reader will actually forgive that is isn’t the most beautiful newsletter.

Of course designing an email to make it easy to read is a very good idea, I certainly wouldn’t set out to make an email hard to read. But the difference between easy to read and a beautiful look are also very different. No-one is going in to their inbox expecting to find the Tate Modern Gallery; no-one is looking for artistic and enjoyable things to look at. Any design work has to be designed to appeal to emotion and simplicity of message. But the content is the most important.

You can read more of Tim’s thoughts and great advice on his blog: http://www.zettasphere.com/blog

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Dec 31

Don’t make unachievable resolutions this year, follow these 3 simple steps to improve your eNewsletters.

By spending a little time reviewing your newsletter content and making simple changes you can make a big difference in 2014. Of course it is always good to have big ambitions, especially when it comes to business but here are 3 top tips to ensure a prosperous new year.

Review previous newsletters. People often set up newsletters without stopping to think what the audience actually want to receive. Does it read well? Does it address your target market? And most importantly, if you were being asked to criticise the content, what would you highlight?

Have a read through past emails and go through them with a fine tooth comb, imagine you have just received a message in your inbox. Does the title make you open it? Make a list of questions such as those I have mentioned and draw some conclusions. If you would like some impartial advice regarding your newsletter the team at Nouri.sh will be happy to provide feedback.

Sometimes it is what you don’t do that makes the difference. Let me illustrate what I mean by using the visual of a Waltz. The Waltz is the most graceful dance, it looks simple and effortless, however in order to actually achieve this a huge amount of control and precision is required. One jerky movement and the whole illusion is ruined. In terms of an eNewsletter, the most effective ones will target the reader with intellect and calculated content, not with brash generic statements. The tact with which you deliver your content is very important.

Tailor your newsletter to your audience. This may seem obvious, but when was the last time you reviewed your subscribers activities and interests? You can use multiple feeds to create a newsletter with Nouri.sh so why not make the most of this and send the relevant feeds to the relevant people.

Image you own a coffee shop and you know that certain customers like certain drinks. The click through rate of an eNewsletter that gives them information or offers about their favourite beverage will be significantly higher than that of an email with generic information about the shop. If you have information about customer behaviour then you should be using this knowledge to create multiple campaigns. This demonstrates that you know and understand your reader.

Implement some changes. After reviewing your newsletters with the audience in mind, implement the top 3 things you have picked up on and see how this affects the open rate and CTR. You can use these statistics to see how effective your changes have been.

All the best for 2014 from the Nouri.sh team

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Sep 26

Nourish is great for your Social Media strategy

Our customers know it, but we thought you may also want to know just how powerful Nourish really is when it comes to engaging an audience.

You know your business best, however one thing we wanted to make sure you have is a great eNewsletter. We have been developing Nourish as the eNewsletter solution that will empower you to differentiate in your Social Media strategy. Your ‘unfair advantage’.

Here is how…

Nearly all news sources on the web use RSS. How many of your readers familiar with RSS? Who knows?… But the good thing is that almost all of them are familiar with email. So this is where comes Nourish helping you to share your content in the format familiar to your readers.

Unlike other tools Nourish only lets you generate emails from an RSS feed. You can use a single or a combination of RSS feeds to streamline valuable and engaging content to your readers. Different feeds can be used for different campaigns, and even different template can be used for each of your newsletters. For example you can communicate with your clients using a different tone to how you communicate with your suppliers.

Nourish is easy to set up and intuitive. It makes managing a large list of subscribers effortless. The opt-out process, as well as subscribing/unsubscribing to individual campaigns is completely automated. Nourish can take the hassle of you managing any number of subscribers, starting from a personal blog to a large company newsletter.

Only those who have run multiple campaigns know how overwhelming that can be. If you aim to target multiple audiences or promote different products, Nourish has a great deal to offer you. It allows you to run multiple campaigns for segmenting your subscribers. Delivering the most relevant content to each group of your readers can boost your open and click through rates and reduce unsubscribers. Plus you have subscribers’ statistics at hand any time to validate the relevancy in the course of your campaigns to their audience.

Nourish allows you to manage multiple campaigns in one single account. Each campaign you create represents a different newsletter. Nice and simple! Unlike any other service Nourish does not limit the number of campaigns you can have.

We know how important it is for B2B organizations for example to segment their subscribers by industry sector. Your campaigns, and the content you deliver with each may vary on (for example) customer demographics, or by set products or services. Or perhaps you may need to have a more ‘independent’ newsletter featuring content from multiple sources.

It’s also easy to create a form for your website to add subscribers to one or more of your campaigns. We have developed a WordPress plugin called Nouri.sh Newsletter that makes this a simple 2 step process.

With the automated scheduling you are sure that your email campaigns go out at regular intervals, without logging in or any manual intervention from your side. Just set and forget!

And my favourite one: your readers like cool custom templates. Your Nourish emails can have your unique branding for a professional look of your campaigns. We can help with that too, just send your brand ideas to: my [at] nouri.sh

Unlike other similar services, Nourish will not force you to upgrade after a trial. Come join us for free today and keep it free as long as you wish!

Plus one: make sure you invite all your friends and contacts too. We’ll make sure they will also get it for free!

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Jan 27

In 2011 we will continue to nourish your business communications by distributing your successful newsletters. So we decided to continue offering promotional discounts to all new and existing customers:

  • Our standard discount to new customers is giving you 1 month free if you pay for 11 months.
  • If you have signed up in 2010 we give you the option to prepay for 10 months and use Nourish for free for 2 more months.
  • Either if you are new or existing customers you can receive a free newsletter template (worth $99) completely customized to your business’ unique look by prepaying for 22 months. On top of the free template you will get 2 more months for free.

To give you even more means for awesome year start we decided to extent our offering by introducing our personalized discounts. What do we mean by that? We will be happy to discuss your unique business requirements and prepare a custom proposal especially for you! Did I say at no obligation, just as a special gift from us!?

Just use the comments form below or email me directly at my @ nouri.sh to express your interest and I will be in touch promptly.

Don’t miss this out. We at Nourish look forward to helping you make 2011 your best year yet!

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Sep 07

The new service is being rolled out to current users of Google’s Gmail system this week. It creates a two-tier inbox: one for ‘priority mail’; and another for the remainder of a person’s emails. Google will also retain its spam filtering system.

The internet search giant has come up with the priority system to help users cope with the amount of emails they receive in a day.

Users can switch on the feature in a click, instead of setting filters and creating multiple folders as they had to with previous services. Gmail will then adapt the way it treats incoming emails based on the account owner’s pattern of usage.

This will mean that email marketers will have to alter their approach to current marketing by following best practice to ensure their email reaches the priority inbox. Sending email based on data such as previous purchases will increase their relevance, meaning better inbox positioning with less competition.

So how do you ensure that you are a ‘priority’?

Well Google will prioritize emails according to whether the account holder will reply to a message. Marketing emails – especially those sent from “do not reply” email accounts – will be at a disadvantage. It will also deprioritise emails that are routinely deleted without being read.

This means that emails should be as engaging as possible i.e. segregating your lists, following design and HTML best practice and cutting out irrelevant ‘blanket blasts’ to everyone. It might mean emailing less. Make the content interesting and avoid spam words to ensure that your email hits the ‘pinbox’.

So preparing for Gmail’s priority inbox is actually an exercise in being a better email marketer. Smarter inboxes like this are becoming more common, and most of the major webmail players have made noises about this recently, so you need to ensure that you adapt your marketing strategy accordingly.

Aug 11
Featured Newsletter - Forget Computers

Forget Computers is a team of Apple support specialists, dedicated to helping people work smarter by managing technology. Notice the Nourish newsletter subscription box on their homepage, allowing visitors to stay updated on the latest tips, techniques and even Tweets! Yes that’s right, Forget Computers have gone one step further by using Nourish to turn tweets into a weekly newsletter. Now that’s cool!

Here are some interesting insights shared by Ben Greiner, Founder & Lead Consultant at Forget Computers:

Why did you want a Forget Computers’ newsletter in the first place? 
We wanted a way for clients and our team to receive a weekly summary of our Tweets.

Why did you choose Nourish?
We choose Nourish because of its ability to quickly and easily take an RSS feed and convert it into a scheduled newsletter.

How easy was it to get going with Nourish?
We were up and running with a test newsletter in less than one hour.

Would you recommend us to friends/ colleagues?  

How much has your web traffic increased thanks to Nourish? Do you see any change in figures already?
Not yet. We are still building our subscriber list.

How do you intend to promote your newsletter to increase subscribers? 
We will continue to promote it via Twitter, our public Knowledge Base and through postcard mailings to our current and potential clients. 

Forget Computers provide Macintosh technology management and support for IT and Creative Professionals. A way to improve their open and click-through rates and to quickly gain more subscribers is to create different campaigns. By branding campaigns with bespoke templates and segmenting subscribers, allowing them to sign up for the most relevant campaign/s, they can attract more subscribers who will stay longer and come back regularly. I am sure their website visitors and readers will appreciate the opportunity to subscribe for and receive selected information relevant to their interests and needs.

Segmenting subscribers is a smart way to see which topics are of greater interest. Nourish allows you to create different campaigns and using campaign statistics you will gain considerable insight into what works well for your newsletter and which aspects you can improve.

Nourish can help to provide your audience with the most relevant content. As always, I am here to help you get the best out of your Nourish newsletter, so do not hesitate to reach out if you have questions or doubts.

Found other creative ways to use Nourish? We certainly want to know about that! Let me know by emailing me at my[at]nouri.sh We’d love to showcase your newsletter as an example for our customers to see and learn from.

Stay creative!

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Aug 11

Ensuring email is delivered to subscriber inboxes is an increasingly difficult battle especially with developments in spam filtering. Open and click thru response rates can be dramatically affected by as much as 20-30% due to incorrect spam filter classification.

Not all email is equally important to a recipient and so there is often a gap between email a recipient is happy receiving and email a recipient both wants and is expecting enough to complain about not receiving.

To ensure that your email deliverability is the best it can be follow these 7 steps

1. Verification

The number one step in the battle for deliverability is confirming that the people who ask for your information have actually requested to be on your list. You can do this by using a process called confirmed opt-in or verified opt-in to send a unique link to the subscriber. They must click that unique link verifying that they own the email address and did actually request to subscribe.

2. Email Addresses

When asking visitors to subscribe, you should be asking for their “primary” email address instead of a free email address like Google or Hotmail. Free email accounts tend to be used far less.

3. Bounce Backs

Always remove undeliverable addresses as soon as possible. An address that consistently  bounces should be removed from the list. ISP’s track what percentage of your newsletters bounce and will block them if you attempt to continually deliver messages to closed subscriber mailboxes.

4. Format

Usage of HTML messages to allow for text formatting, multiple columns, images, and brand recognition is growing in popularity and is widely supported by most email client software. Most spam is also HTML formatted and the difference between the two can be hard to distinguish. Always consider plain text emails too as deliverability failure is around 1.2% compare to 2.5% with HTML.

5. Content

Many ISP’s filter based on the content that appears within the message text.

  • Advertising

Research potential newsletter advertisers before allowing them to place ads in your newsletter issues. If they have used their website URL to send spam, just having their URL appear in your newsletter could cause the entire message to be filtered.

  • Language

Choose your language carefully when crafting messages. Avoid topics often found in spam such as medication, mortgages, making money, and pornography.

  • Images

Avoid creating messages that are entirely images. Use images sparingly. Commonly used open rate tracking technology uses images to calculate opens. You may choose to disable open rate tracking to avoid being filtered based on image content.

  • Attachments

Avoid attachments where possible by including a web link instead- where complete avoidance is not feasible. Many people are still afraid of the spread of viruses through opening of attachments.

6. Relationships

Where possible contact the ISP and let them know about your email service. Many large providers such as AOL and Yahoo have specific whitelisting programs and postmaster website areas to ensure your email is delivered as long as you meet their policies and procedures in handling your opt-in list.

7. Legal Practice

There are a number of laws relating to email deliverability. It’s important to keep up to date with current legal practice and you must make sure you periodically review your current practice to ensure legal compliance. The two most important rules include having a valid postal mail address listed in all commercial messages and a working unsubscribe link to remove the subscriber from future messages (which must be swiftly tasked).

Mar 26

This month we’d like to showcase a great example newsletter created by http://www.dgm-uk.com/ – DGM, the UK’s most experienced  affiliate network.

We designed a custom template to promote the DGM brand and give a more professional look to all their newsletter mailings. With well written content, this is an excellent example of a newsletter designed for hundreds of subscribers.

Continue reading »

Aug 28
Keep customers informed with an email newsletter

Keep customers informed with an email newsletter

Do your customers know what’s going on in your business? How can you inform them of that press release or that award in a low cost way that’s non intrusive? Most businesses know they need to have an eNewsletter, indeed, many have attempted one, only to find that it doesn’t go out on schedule, the content isn’t quite perfect and it ends up taking ages to get right. This is where the free web service Nouri.sh really helps.

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