5 reasons why email marketing can be better than social media

Both email marketing and social media marketing can be powerful for any brand online.

But if you had to choose one, which is better?

In the simplest sense, even in a world of social media prevalence, more consumers use email than any social media platform, and more than half of consumers check their email before they check their social media in the morning.

But let’s dive a little deeper. The following are five reasons why email marketing can be better than social media marketing.

You own your contact list

Unlike any social media platform, you actually own the contact list of your email subscribers.

In other words, this means that if a platform shuts down (like Vine did), you lose all those followers that you worked so hard to get. They’re gone.

This is because social media platforms are third-party providers of connections. They are the ones who have control over your followers and even your account (whether you get banned or not for violating terms of service, for example).

With email, your subscribers are yours. You have access to them as long as they want to be on your list.

Email is more personal

In an overwhelmingly digital world, consumers are increasingly craving deeper connections with the brands they buy from.

Enter email.

Your message delivers directly into your recipient’s inbox. Personalization can heighten that engagement and connection as well by including his or her first name, for example. Audience segmentation allows you to break up your contacts into groups and adjust your message accordingly, whether it’s customers you haven’t seen in a while or contacts who have yet to make a purchase. The sky’s the limit when it comes to segmentation, especially when using DailyStory.

But with social media, you have to speak at large to your target audience with hope that your followers (and/or their friends) see your content in their news feeds and engage with it. This is in competition with everything else social media users see in their feeds.

Algorithms are not a factor

Many marketers have to spend a great deal of time considering (and strategizing against) social media algorithms. 

An algorithm is essentially a series of calculations that determine what content a user sees in his or her feed on that social media platform. Its intent is to show what the user will most engage with and have a desire to stay on that platform longer.

One of the most talked-about is the Facebook Algorithm since the social network is the largest in the world, and it has shifted in recent years to prioritizing other user content over that of business pages.

Of course, while email doesn’t have to contend with algorithms, you still want to use best practices in order to prevent ending up as spam.

Full control over your content

Instagram requires a properly sized image or video to post. Twitter limits your tweet to 280 characters.

Those are just two examples of how a marketer is naturally limited in what and how to post content on social media platforms.

On the flip side, email is entirely within your control. You can use whatever best conveys your message to your recipients. 

Check out our breakdown of a successful marketing email.

You’ll get a higher ROI with email

Your return on investment should always be a major factor in your digital marketing strategy decisions.

In fact, about one in five marketing emails get opened on average, with an average clickthrough rate of 3.57 percent. Compare that to Facebook, which has an average clickthrough rate of 1.11 percent.

We have dozens of additional statistics that show the value of email marketing on top of that.

In conclusion

Of course, even though email marketing can be better than social media marketing, the best overall strategy is to use both for your branding, promotions and consumer relationship-building. 

Consider optimizing your digital marketing process, which includes automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.

16 email marketing best practices that make an impact

Email marketing might feel “old hat” in a world of new and ever-evolving digital marketing tools. But it deserves your attention more than ever.

In 2022, the number of email users worldwide is estimated to be about 4.3 billion. This is expected to grow to about 4.6 billion in 2025, making up more than half of the estimated world population

See these 48 statistics that show the value of email marketing.

Simply put, email marketing is the use of email to promote your brand’s products or services. But in addition, you can develop relationships with your current customers and connect to potential customers. It’s about informing and engaging your recipients with a personalized message that resonates. Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective and conversion-rich tactics you can embrace within your overall digital marketing strategy. And embracing its best practices can make you even more effective in your efforts.

The following are 16 email marketing best practices that will help you make an impact.

Never purchase contact lists

There are a number of reasons why you should not purchase contact lists for your email marketing efforts.

Of course, data protection laws (such as the General Data Protection Regulation) are critical to keep in mind. You need consent.

But beyond even that is how differently email recipients act when you’ve bought them versus when you’ve earned them.

Email recipients you’ve brought are essentially cold leads. They could have no idea who you are and may even wonder how or why you are emailing them. This could lead to low open rates, low click rates and even higher unsubscribes or (even worse) spam reports.

See our 11 tips to increase your open rates when you are cold emailing.

The contacts you’ve earned have opted in somehow, so they have a better recognition of your brand and are more likely to open and click (and not unsubscribe or report you).

Regularly review (and segment) your contact list

While several of your contacts might not opt-out of your emails, they could simply never open an email of yours either. This can kill your open rate and cloud some of your campaign analytics.

It’s important to regularly audit your mailing list and segment accordingly so that you can target the right message to the right recipients at the right time. 

Removing contacts is an option some brands use to maintain a more engaged list, but we actually recommend grouping your less-active contacts so that you can target them in different ways (whether that’s frequency or contact channel). Ultimately, the least engaged of your contacts will be the most likely to unsubscribe in the future. So, keep that in mind as you decide how best to engage with them.

On the flip side, you can (and should) segment your contacts into groups that are relevant to your marketing goals. A segment is a grouping of your audience who shares common attributes.

Examples include contacts who have not made a purchase yet or customers whose membership is about to expire, and so on.

By targeting the right group with the right message at the right time, you’ll see better conversion metrics in every email campaign.

Dive deeper into the power of audience segmentation.

Timing is everything

Granted, there is no “silver bullet” time that all marketers can guarantee better conversion rates.

But data suggest that mid-morning, afternoon or evening Tuesdays through Thursdays is a good place to start. We also recommend trying “off” times, like 10:13 a.m. rather than 10 a.m.

That being said, you’ll still want to think about your audience and their habits. Then, you’ll want to track the performance of your emails and see if there’s particular timing that works best with your audience.

Do not use “no reply” in your sending email name or address

Considering CAN-SPAM, which is a law that sets the rules for commercial email, you want to avoid using “no reply” (or anything similar) as your sending email name or address. An example would be “noreply@example.com.”

This interferes with a recipient’s ability to respond or even opt out, which is a huge protection with CAN-SPAM.

Instead, make your sending email name and address as clear, recognizable and even as human as possible. This not only follows commercial email regulations but also builds trust with your recipients, which can encourage them to open and engage with your emails.

Invest effort into your email subject lines

A successful email subject line is part art, part science but typically a recipe for anxiety for any marketer or business owner.

But it doesn’t have to be. If you’ve noticed that your emails aren’t getting the open rate you are looking for, then it’s time to take a look at your subject lines.

Of course, some subject line recommendations include:

  • Keeping it short (between 30 and 50 characters, including spaces)
  • Using action verbs (instead of passive voice)
  • Leveraging urgency
  • Giving an air of exclusivity
  • Being very clear about your offer (whether it’s an incentive, discount or something else)
  • Embracing a compelling or engaging angle

You can also test your subject line with an A/B test or resend through an automation with a new subject line.

Dive deeper with our 12 tips for email subject lines that won’t get ignored.

Optimize your email’s preview text

About 24 percent of email recipients look at an email’s preview text first when deciding whether to open an email.

The majority of email clients provide a snippet of text to preview the contents of an email in your inbox. Leverage this to your advantage.

You should use the space to dive deeper into why recipients should open your email. You can build off of what you say in your subject line, tease something that’s inside the email and so on.

Keep in mind that if you don’t include any content in the email preview text field, a recipient’s email client can pull whatever content it decides to. This could be your preheader (if you have one) or simply the first 40 or so characters of your body text (which could be confusing as preview text). For example, many preheaders say, “Email not displaying correctly? Click here.” You definitely don’t want that.

While you can’t control how much text will be shown in your email preview, you can control what text is shown. And you should include at least 160 characters of text in your preheader copy.

Dig deeper into what email preview text is and how you can best use it to your advantage.

Confirm that your email template isn’t too wide

While many email marketing applications account for automatically resizing your emails to appropriately for the screen sizes your email recipients are using, it’s always a good idea to make sure that your email template is no wider than 650 pixels wide.

Going wider (unknowingly or not) can force your recipients to have to scroll horizontally. Having to do so makes your brand appear less professional.

Readability is critical not just for conversions but the overall user experience that can build relationships with your contacts, which can lead to further conversions in the future.

Limit your font types and sizes

Think clutter. The more font types and sizes you use in a single email, the more cluttered the overall email will feel. 

And that clutter can turn off your email recipients.

Strive to use web-safe fonts between 10-point and 12-point sizing. This helps ensure that your email will be legible on all email clients and possible devices.

Seek opportunities for personalization

Are you sending emails that begin with “Dear Member” or “To our customers”?

Personalization can take your emails to the next level by automatically inserting details about each email recipient that really shows you care enough to speak specifically to them.

Especially in DailyStory, the sky’s the limit with the types of information you can automatically personalize in your messaging. Some examples include:

  • First name
  • Location
  • Number of purchases or visits

First names can be especially powerful, and you can leverage that power in your email subject line and the body of your email.

Dive deeper into the one-to-one marketing that personalization offers.

Always include your logo in your emails

Logos are part of branding, which is critical to your digital marketing in general but your emails as well. 

Brand recall increases about 18 percent after a five-second exposure when including a logo in the email, and the likelihood of a purchase goes up by about 34 percent in emails with logos.

Emails are simply a great opportunity to not only include your logo but also your branded colors, fonts and voice.

Get your main message and call-to-action ‘above the fold’

“Above the fold” in email body copy refers to the information that’s visible to the recipient before he or she scrolls down. 

Consumers spend about 57 percent of their email-viewing time on above-the-fold content, and that decreases to about 17 percent on the second screen below.

Clearly, you don’t want critical call-to-actions (CTAs) getting lost in the need to scroll.

There are many tactics for this, depending on how you design your email. One example is including a CTA button at the top and bottom of the email. Another example is leveraging your banner at the top to be a clickable CTA while also being visually engaging.

You also can run A/B testing to determine what approaches work best for your audience. See our nine tips to make your A/B testing more effective.

Include an email signature

No matter how broadly you’re sending a message or newsletter, you’ll want to consider including an email signature at the bottom. Even when an email is representative of your entire company, a signature adds a touch of human personalization to your messaging. It shows that a human is behind the email, not just a marketing department.

About 41 percent of marketers say they use email signatures for branding and visibility.

Send an engaging welcome email

About 74 percent of users expect to receive a welcome email immediately after they subscribe, while only 57.7 percent of brands actually send a welcome email to new subscribers.

You want to be a brand that gives all new subscribers a warm welcome. Welcome emails give you the opportunity to re-introduce yourself and explain to new subscribers what kind of emails they’ll receive from you (and how often they should expect them).

It’s about getting started on the right foot with your new subscribers but also sharing the value of your emails and getting them excited to keep an eye out in their inboxes.

See our nine tips on how to engage new leads with a welcome email series.

Provide an opportunity to subscribe within your email

Of course, common sense suggests that your email recipients are receiving your email because they’re already subscribed to your list.

But that train of thought forgets about the possibility of your email being forwarded from a subscriber to someone else.

Being clear and giving the opportunity for a non-subscriber to subscribe to your email newsletters ensures that you’re not missing out on that opportunity. No one overtly slips through the cracks.

The CTA doesn’t have to be big, just clear. You don’t want it to compete with your primary CTA for the email.

Make unsubscribing easy

On the flip side, you also want to ensure that your subscribers have a clear and easy way to unsubscribe from your emails.

This can feel counterintuitive if your goal is to either grow your email mailing list or boost your conversion rates (or both). 

You’re required by commercial email laws to offer the clear path to opting out. By not doing so, you risk being in violation and/or getting reported as spam, which can hurt your email sending reputation.

Even if the email recipient only moves your emails to a folder he or she never opens, that’s not a win either.

Truthfully, your campaigns will perform better by allowing those no longer interested to easily unsubscribe and focusing on your more engaged recipients while building up your contact list with other interested subscribers.

Use a common phrase like “Unsubscribe” as your hyperlink text, so subscribers can quickly find it. And make the unsubscribe link big enough so that people using mobile devices will be able to click on it easily.

Test and monitor performance as much as possible

Before officially sending out an email, you’ll always want to send a test email. One can go to yourself so that you can confirm everything looks and acts the way it should. The other should go to at least one friend or colleague. 

Not only should that person do a basic proofing and testing of your email, but you’ll also want to ask him or her to tell you whether the CTA is apparent within the first five seconds of looking at the email. If it is, great. If not, you’ll want to adjust.

Beyond the work you’ll want to do upfront, you must follow it up by monitoring and tracking the performance of your email campaigns. Keeping an eye on what is generating higher open or click-through rates and conducting A/B testing will help you learn what works for your audience and what doesn’t.

As you’re evaluating your email marketing strategy, consider optimizing your overall digital marketing process, which includes automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email and text message marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.

6 ways visuals can increase your email conversions

WIth many marketers investing time and energy into engaging subject lines, visuals can be just as important to boosting your email conversion rates.

The right email visuals can help you stand out from your competition and encourage your recipients to click.

And email matters. Four out of five marketers said they’d rather give up social media than email marketing. For every dollar invested in email marketing, brands can earn about $36 on average in return. 

Of course, consumers spend an average of 10 seconds reading brand emails, so your visuals can make or break a conversion.

The following are six ways you can use visuals to increase your email conversions.

Leverage visuals to brand consistently

Branding is critically important for all businesses. When done well, it creates a sense of trust and familiarity among consumers. You’ll also be perceived as more professional.

A brand consists of:

  • Visuals, such as colors, logo, images, font, etc.
  • Tone of voice
  • Content
  • Online presence, such as website, social accounts, etc.
  • Influencer and other types of partnerships

Visuals are definitely at the top of that list. Use them to brand yourself in your emails like you would on any other digital medium.

Refer to your brand style guide to stay consistent throughout. Don’t have one? Check out our five tips to create a brand style guide for your business.

GIFs can add personality to your email

An animated GIF embedded in your email can grab attention, add personality and boost click-through and conversion rates (if used appropriately).

In fact, GIFs have been shown to increase email conversion rates by about 103 percent.

Creating your own customized GIF is likely easier than you might think. There are many free GIF-making tools available online, where you don’t have to know any coding to be successful.

You can:

  • Offer a how-to explainer via GIF.
  • Share an animated infographic.
  • Provide a brief product demonstration.

Just make sure your GIFs are fun but also true to your branding. You’ll also want to keep your GIF file size at about 1 MB and within 600 pixels in width.

Incorporate images into your call-to-actions

It’s likely that your call-to-action buttons within your emails are fairly simple, possibly even text-only. You’ll want to experiment with using images as part of your CTAs.

Imaged-based CTAs in emails report a higher conversion rate than simple text links. This is because they can be more compelling to email recipients and are nearly impossible to miss.

Of course, as you start to experiment, you can begin with a button approach, where the background color contrasts with your email background color and the color of your text. 

Learn more about color psychology in digital marketing.

Be sure to not go overboard. Overly aggressive CTAs won’t increase click-through rates.

Dive deeper into image-based CTAs.

Seize opportunities to use infographics

Infographics add more credibility, so they definitely have a potential place in your emails.

They’re an opportunity to educate your audience, which shows the value of your brand that can help you stand out from your competition.

Check out these 11 free graphic design tools that even the biggest non-designer can use.

Tread carefully with stock photos

Stock photos can be a great help when you’re creating visuals for your branded emails.

However, they can be a double-edged sword: They either look professional, or they look generic and inauthentic. 

About 35 percent of marketers say they use stock photos more than any other type of visual content, so if this is the case for your brand, you’re definitely not alone.

Simply take extra care to only select images that look genuine and natural. If it feels artificial to you, it’ll feel artificial to consumers.

Add videos to your emails

Did you know that videos can potentially boost your email click-through rates by about 500 percent?

It’s true. However, you want to make sure you’re using videos correctly within the structure of your email because many email clients will not allow recipients to play your videos inside of emails.

Oftentimes, linking an image with a play button on it to a YouTube video is the best practice.

See our how-to guide for embedding videos into your emails.

Videos give you the opportunity to share:

  • Behind-the-scenes footage
  • Personalized video messages
  • Tutorials

If you’re still unsure, check out any of these eight email marketing courses online to level up your skills.

While you’re exploring how to use visuals to boost your email conversion rates, consider supercharging your digital marketing process. DailyStory features automation, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

Email automation: What it is, why it matters and 14 examples to inspire you

Email marketing has consistently proven it’s value, but automation can take your efforts to another level.

In general, email marketing is a type of marketing that shares details about your business, products, services, discounts and other information with your customers and potential customers through emails.

See these 48 statistics that show every dollar spent on email marketing is well spent.

Let’s dive into what email automation actually is, why it matters and 14 examples that provide inspiration as you get started.

What is email automation?

Email automation is a series of emails you automatically send to your prospects or customers. Using a tool, such as DailyStory, you can schedule emails to send based on your audience’s interactions with your business.

Unlike email newsletters and one-off campaigns, email automation allows you to create a campaign one time and then automatically reach individuals when certain triggers are hit. That means emails will continue to send long after you set up that automated campaign without you lifting another finger.

An example would be signing up for an account (whether it’s Twitter, Netflix or anything else) and then immediately receiving a confirmation welcome email. Of course, when done right, that automated email is encouraging you to act or engage in some additional way. In this case, it could be a request to complete your profile.

Why does it matter?

Email automation enables you to both save time and be more effective in the timing and point of your messages.

Just set up a campaign initially with automated triggers included. That’s it. Then, your brand is meeting your customers and potential customers wherever they are in their purchasing journey with your business. It’s about scalability within your own business as you continue to grow. 

This leads to a greater return on investment (ROI) for you efforts.

With about 64 percent of businesses using email automation, it truly is the most popular form of marketing automation currently.

And while businesses are often focusing their marketing efforts on getting new customers, email automation can do the work on nurturing and engaging with your existing ones.

This is important because it costs five times more to acquire new customers than it does to keep your existing ones.

Dive deeper into why email automation matters to your marketing.

Examples of email automation

There are almost limitless ways to engage with your customers and potential customers through automated emails, depending on your goals and the nature of your business. These 14 examples can help inspire you to get started:

  1. Welcome new customers (or subscribers)
  2. New customer onboarding
  3. Abandoned shopping cart reminder
  4. Gather feedback on your products or services
  5. Inform customers of upcoming expirations (or renewals)
  6. Birthday messages
  7. Anniversary messages
  8. Appointment reminders
  9. Milestone messages, such as the 100th visit for example
  10. Nurture your leads (see more about email drip campaigns)
  11. Promote new content, such as blogs or videos
  12. Offer an email course
  13. Event or webinar reminders
  14. Replies to customer complaints that explain your complaint process and ensure you’re working on fixing the issue

In conclusion

The key to a successful email automation strategy is not only the marketing platform you’re using but also the depth and quality of your data. 

The triggers that can send off the right email at the right time to the right person are all based on the integration of your systems and the type of data you have on each consumer.

In other words, the better you know a customer or lead, the more uniquely you can design an email automation campaign around that individual to better engage with him or her.

DailyStory can help with email marketing automation (as well as in other types of digital marketing). And our platform offers even more than automation capabilities. Schedule your free demo with us today.

Also, check out these seven opportunities for social media automation that you might not have thought of yet.

18 low-cost marketing ideas for small businesses

For small businesses, marketing is important but also can feel out of budget.

About one in five small businesses doesn’t use digital marketing, while about one in 10 doesn’t invest in any kind of marketing.

But this doesn’t have to be your small business.

About 47 percent of businesses spend less than $10,000 on digital marketing per year.

Fortunately, you don’t have to spend a ton of money to make an impact with potential customers and brand yourself online.

The following are 18 low-cost marketing ideas for small businesses that you can try without breaking the bank.

Embrace social media for low-cost marketing

Social media is an excellent way to:

  • Express your brand’s identity
  • Create trusting relationships with your audience
  • Build up your online community
  • Establish yourself as an expert in your industry and/or community

All of these benefits can ultimately help you grow your small business. 

While all the major social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and so on) are free to create business accounts on and use, it’s worthwhile to analyze where your time and focus is best spent.

In other words, consider where your target audience is and what resources you have in your favor. If you’re not ready for a full YouTube video channel yet, for example, start with occasional live videos on your Facebook page to get your feet wet.

See our guide to help you decide where to start on social media.

Remember that once you choose where to start, you can use your social media to:

  • Promote any blog posts that can drive traffic to your website
  • Engage with your audience (such as responding to any direct messages or comments)
  • Request feedback, helping your customers feel heard and cared about
  • And more!

Just be consistent and active on any profiles/pages you’re managing.

Smaller but other low-cost tactics you can embrace specifically on social media include:

  • Tagging people (such as loyal customers) and other brands, which can help grow your organic reach on any platform
  • Using hashtags, which are particularly helpful on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok

Create your Google My Business account

If you’re a business with a fixed location that needs to appeal to local customers, a Google My Business account is critical to create and optimize.

It’s essentially a free online listing that helps your business appear on Google Maps, which is the local section of Google Search. You’ll also appear in the right-side knowledge panel for any branded searches, where an internet user is searching for you specifically.

To optimize your profile, be sure to verify your ownership of it first. (This is done through your Google My Business account.) Then, confirm that all contact information is correct. You also can upload photos, post an offer and encourage customers to review your business on Google.

Explore local SEO

Speaking of Google My Business, it’s important to pay extra attention to your local search engine optimization (SEO). Focusing on ways you can rank higher in local search queries in your target area is both low-cost and high-impact if done right.

You can start by:

  • Getting listed in online directories
  • Adding location-based keywords throughout your website and content

See our 11 tips for boosting your local SEO.

Commit to email marketing

While email marketing can be dismissed by some, it’s wise to embrace it. Why? To start, the return on investment is high. See 48 statistics that show the value of email marketing.

Email is a great, inexpensive way to maintain relationships with your existing customers. It also can enable you to build trust with potential customers to the point that they will convert and purchase from your business.

Of course, it all starts with building up your email contact list whether you have a website or not. See our 12 strategies to capture more leads on your website or our six ways you can capture email leads without a website.

Then, once you have contact to send emails to, consider constructing a strong email onboarding sequence. Keep in mind that there are 10 parts in the anatomy of a marketing email that make it successful. Plus, email automation can help you engage with customers and leads at exactly the right times. If you’re considering “cold emailing,” check out our 11 tips to increase your open rate.

To dive deeper into email marketing, check out these eight recommended online courses.

(While not a traditional component of email marketing, keep in mind the opportunity to optimize all employee email signatures. Links that can be used include social media accounts, calendar meeting requests and so on.)

Focus on content marketing

Content marketing is all about attracting website traffic and social media engagement through the valuable content that you create.

While it’s always possible to hire others to create content for you, whatever you can do yourself will save you expenses on your budget.

Starting a blog is a great (and common) way to get the content wheel turning for your brand. Video content also is highly engaging. And repurposing your existing evergreen content is a great way to save on both time and money.

Remember that premium content, such as webinars or ebooks, can also directly help with lead generation.

Of course, the key to success is how you plan and promote your content. See our seven tips to level up your content marketing, and consider using a content calendar to stay organized. And if you are struggling with the creation, check out our guide on beating marketing writer’s block.

Get visual with infographics

Data lends itself to valuable content for your audience. While about 74 percent of marketing content contained a visual element in 2019, infographics specifically can increase website traffic by up to 12 percent.

Of course, hiring a designer to create infographics for you to publish and share can be costly. Fortunately, there are several low-cost and free graphic design tools that you can use to create your own for low-cost marketing.

If you don’t have any of your own data to use in an infographic, there are several open, public sources you can pull from, including:

Just make sure to credit the source of any data you use.

Claim available ad credits for low-cost marketing

Facebook, Google, Yelp and other digital advertising platforms occasionally offer free promo credits to encourage businesses to advertise with them. Whether it’s a discount or a free amount of advertising, it’s important to pay attention to these offers so that you can take advantage.

Read any fine print associated with available offers, and review our guide on the difference between cost-per-click and cost-per-impression advertising. Plus, check out our six tips to maximize your social media advertising budget so that you can maximize whatever amount of money to do decide to spend (or get the most out of the advertising credits offered).

Apply for relevant business awards

Business awards don’t just happen. Whether it’s in your community or nationwide, there traditionally is an application and/or nomination process.

Either way, it’s worthwhile to engage in the award process because winning an award is low-cost marketing at its core, but you also can include a mention or badge on your website that acts as social proof of your authority and trustworthiness.

Awards can be industry-wise or community “best of.”

See more options to build up your social proof that can help drive sales, plus social proof tools that can help.

Get creative with guerilla marketing

Guerilla marketing is all about creativity over money. There is no limit to what you can do with guerilla marketing. Whether it’s sidewalk chalk promoting your business around the block from your location or placing stickers all over town simply to catch people’s eye.

It doesn’t take much, money-wise, but the important part is to be as creative as possible to get attention for your brand for this low-cost marketing tactic.

Partner up with other businesses

Just because you own a small business doesn’t mean that you’re alone. There’s strength in numbers.

Partnering with other businesses is about building mutually beneficial relationships, whether it’s for a special event, placing business cards in each other’s locations or something more. This can expose your brand to an entirely new audience and vice versa.

Make sure to research the business you’re considering partnering with, determine how you can best work together and clarify the expectations between the two of you for this form of low-cost marketing.

Encourage employees to be brand ambassadors

Another form of social proof, word-of-mouth advertising is both affordable and effective. Brand ambassadors are individuals who care about your brand and promote it personally to those they know. 

Employees, who have a natural interest in the success of your business, are great candidates for this form of low-cost marketing. An example of a brand ambassador campaign is an invite-only “friends and family” sale that your employees can promote among their social networks.

If you want to go a step further than encouraging your employees to be brand ambassadors, consider exploring influencer marketing. You’ll definitely want a plan that can keep overall expenses to a minimum, though.

Set up a referral program for low-cost marketing

Again, word of mouth is powerful. You can support this tactic by setting up a referral program for your existing customers.

About 77 percent of consumers are more likely to buy a new product if their friends or family recommend it.

Of course, you can decide the parameters of your program, whether it’s a free product, discount or something else to reward customers for referring others to your business. Make sure that your system has a way of tracking and even automating the referral rewards as much as possible.

Host classes or events

While hosting a class or event could easily break your budget, it’s also possible to keep the cost under control. Focus on your expertise and strength (as well as the needs of your target audience), consider whether there is a registration fee or not tied to the class or event and then promote, promote, promote to get the benefits of this low-cost marketing tactic.

Fortunately, you can share the event on social media in a number of different ways, including creating a Facebook event and/or building an entire “countdown” campaign to generate excitement. While low-tech, clear and eye-catching fliers can be effective when placed in areas that are well seen by your target audience.

Start small, and with each class or event, you can pivot and improve each time.

Create a contest or giveaway

Everyone appreciates winning a prize. The important part about hosting any giveaway or content is to determine what is appealing enough as a prize that will draw engagement and attention in this low-cost marketing method.

Your prize doesn’t have to be very expensive, and ideally, it should be a bit of a wash on your budget. Depending on the user, even some branded swag could be enough. Just think through it because every brand is different, and what would appeal to your target audience can vary.

The goal is typically lead generation, brand awareness or both, so think through the type of contest/giveaway that can help you achieve your goal. For example, you could host a business card drawing using a fishbowl in your business or post a social media style contest. It all depends on what works for your brand and resources.

Then, be sure to include relevant terms and conditions for your giveaway that satisfy local legal requirements tied to operating a contest or giveaway in your state or country.

Consider affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is about creating additional revenue streams for your small business, where an affiliate (you and/or your small business) earns a commission for marketing another’s products.

More than 80 percent of brands have affiliate programs, so there are a lot of opportunities out there. 

And affiliate marketing is especially low-risk (and a great method of low-cost marketing). Either you’re successful and generate a commission or you’re not. There is no upfront cost (outside of your time and effort spent marketing the affiliate offer). As long as you find the right fit for your own brand and audience, there is a real potential for achieving additional revenue.

Dive deeper with our affiliate marketing tips that can help you get started.

Tout your expertise

Whether you’re speaking at an event, appearing on a panel or guest writing for publications and/or blogs, seeking opportunities to get your name (and the name of your business) out there through appearances elsewhere both in-person and online can expose your brand to new audiences.

You also can answer questions on platforms like Quora, joining HARO or being active on online forums that are relevant to your industry.

Sharing your expertise is a form of low-cost marketing.

See our 10 tips to build your personal brand and grow your business as a result.

Offer free trials, samples or other types of coupons

It might sound counterproductive to give a service or product away, but free trials or samples are a great way to help convert potential customers in this method of low-cost marketing.

It falls into the category of “try before you buy.”

Of course, there also are platforms like Groupon that you can explore as well if it makes sense for your brand. You’re essentially being paid for leads that are then up to you to convert.

Start your own podcast

While an initial investment in equipment might be needed, starting and maintaining your own podcast is more about time than money.

Perhaps you already have an idea of the type of podcast you want to create and are ready to jump in, but beware: It’s estimated that there are at least 1.75 million shows already (and they’re definitely not all delivering on the invested time and resources). 

Learn more about how to start your first podcast.

For more tips overall, check out our Digital Marketing 101 Guide for Beginners.

As you’re exploring low-cost marketing methods, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory and our 21-day free trial. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

14 best practices for email drip campaigns

If your business is not currently employing any email drip campaigns, you’re definitely missing out on some conversion opportunities.

But never fear! It’s not too late to get your first campaign up and running.

Email drip campaigns are a type of time-release email marketing tactic. Think drip irrigation systems. Drip emails are intended to land with purposeful timing and targeting with minimal waste (and technically minimal effort once set up to run automatically).

Think about it like a conversation that you’re building upon along the way.

They can be daily reminders, weekly specials, monthly updates, yearly renewal notices or anything in between, depending on your intention and goals. The idea is that while each email in a drip campaign should stand alone, they also should build upon past messages and even set the stage for future messaging. You want to nurture the customer along your sales funnel while building trust along the way.

Find out more about sales funnels and how they can benefit your marketing.

The following are 14 best practices for email drip campaigns that can help you connect with your potential customers at the right time and in the right way.

Start with the basics

While it might be tempting to dive in with your first drip campaign right away, resist that urge. It’s incredibly important to take a step back and think about your goals, your audience and their natural interests. Consider:

  • What search terms are driving visitors to your website?
  • Which web pages are most visited on your site?
  • If you have downloadable items on your website, which are the most downloaded?
  • How would you describe your target audience and/or ideal customer? Detail out a persona profile as much as you can with who they are, what they are likely to respond to and so on.

Once you have a better sense of what you’re working with and who you want to engage with, you can begin to segment out your contact database by geography, interests or any other factors that make sense and you have data for.

Then, you can begin brainstorming different angles for various email drip campaigns that you can plan out.

Expand beyond just emails

Yes, we’re talking about email drip campaigns specifically, but it’s important to keep in mind that you can (and often should) incorporate additional assets into your drip campaigns when appropriate. 

For example, such assets include (but are not limited to):

  • SMS text messages
  • Direct mail (like letters, postcards, etc.)
  • Phone calls

This often can come down to the type of contact information you have for your customers and other leads. But exploring a mix of mediums can help you see what works and what doesn’t for your audience.

Create all drip messages at one time

It’s important to commit to creating all your email drip campaign messages in one sitting in order to promote consistency for your recipients.

This goes back to the goal of building up your messaging over time with each email you send. Think of each email like a chapter in a book. To be more effective with your “story arc,” focus on creating one campaign all at the same time.

Quality matters

Coherent sentences, grammar and spelling all matter in any brand messaging. When creating your email drip campaigns, be sure to double check for any of those issues. You can even have a colleague review before you have anything go out for real.

Poor quality breaks trust with your potential customers. Make it a priority to build (not break) trust to take the extra time for quality proofing.

The shorter the better

The beauty of a drip campaign is that you naturally don’t have to squeeze a ton of information into any one email. You have the built-in formatting to spread out information throughout the email series.

So, capitalize on that. Short paragraphs, an overall short email and a focused message all increase the likelihood of your audience engaging with your content. Long paragraphs and meandering narratives that don’t get to the point will lose the interest of your email recipients.

Nurturing over selling

You might be eager to sell your products or services, but remember that your leads may not be quite ready to buy.

Think of your drip campaign as a progressive series of messages that help warm up the lead with valuable information and insight as he or she moves through the sales funnel and becomes a bit more ready to purchase.

This is especially helpful when your business involves high-ticket products or complex services.

Guide through any free trials

Free trials are an effective way to get your products and/or services in the hands of your potential customers and show them that value first-hand.

However, you can’t assume that all users will know how to get the most out of that trial, which can alienate them and actually limit who might purchase at the end.

This is where you can step in and act as the guide, with a series of messages highlighting different features and other how-to tips that can help them along. This can include:

  • Clear, concise tips
  • General best practices
  • How-to webinars
  • Online support community invitations
  • Message board opportunities

Just be sure to notify users before their trial ends, and if they don’t convert, follow up with a discount offer soon afterward.

It’s not over after the purchase

Just because you may have made the initial conversion, where your potential customer becomes a customer, that does not mean that you no longer need to nurture him or her.

In fact, we recommend using this opportunity to continue providing helpful information on a regular basis. Think of it this way: A long-term relationship with your customer leads to even more trust, additional purchases and even the possibility of word-of-mouth referrals.

Your ongoing email drip campaigns with existing customers can include:

  • A request for a customer review
  • Upsell and/or cross-sell promotions
  • Various instructional videos to help customers get the most out of their purchase (similar to how you would approach free-trial guidance)

Keep buying cycles in mind

This can definitely depend on your business and what you sell. But the idea here is that there tends to be a natural buying cycle. Cars, appliances and many other products need to be replaced every so often, depending on the product itself.

Keeping your customers (and even the potential customers who “got away”) in the loop about your offers can generate further sales (and conversions), especially as natural buying cycles will regularly come up.

Re-engage with any inactive contacts

Be sure to segment out any leads that do not convert so that you can maintain a nurturing drip campaign to keep those leads warm.

Again, not everyone is ready to buy immediately, but this can help ensure that you’ll be top of mind as soon as they are. Including incentives along the way will help.

Personalization engages

Being able to use an email recipient’s first name in a subject line, for example, creates a personal connection with that person that makes it more likely he or she will open your email.

Personalization in general can level up your brand’s connection with your audience.

Whether it involves the contact information you already have (like a first name) or personalized messaging tailored to the specific audience segment you’re reaching, there’s power in personalization. That power can lead to higher engagement and more conversions.

DailyStory features personalization capabilities and more that can help on this front.

Get creative

The more creative you can get with your email drip campaigns, the more likely your target audience will engage with you.

We recommend looking through your own inbox for inspiration. What types of subject lines compel you to open them? Which emails drive you to click the link within? What stands out?

Additional suggestions include:

  • Jokes
  • Special deals (with a creative twist)
  • Word of the day
  • Series of relevant tips

Just be sure to stay true to your brand and the interests of your audience. If you’re not sure, test your more out-of-the-box ideas on a smaller segment of your audience.

Build up anticipation and excitement

There are plenty of opportunities to generate anticipation and excitement among your audience. Whether you’re launching a new product, relaunching your website, opening a new store location, promoting an upcoming event or something else, use email drip campaigns to hint, announce, educate and remind.

This will pull your customers and potential customers through this attention-generating email drip campaign.

Use automation

Manually managing email drip campaigns can be very time-intensive. Automating your campaigns will both save you time and promote overall consistency.

DailyStory can help with email marketing automations (as well as in other types of digital marketing). And our platform offers even more than automation capabilities.

Schedule your free demo with us today.

Increase your email open rates with these 8 strategies

In the email marketing industry, the consensus is that a good email open rate is between 15 percent and 20 percent.

If you are below this, there are some simple things you can do. But with a little more work, you can get your email open rate much higher.

Increasing your email open rate directly impacts the click rate, too. This leads to more conversions. And conversions directly impact the success of your email marketing campaign(s).

Below are eight strategies to get the highest possible email open rate.

Increasing email open rates requires getting to the inbox

Your first objective with any email campaign is to get to the inbox and not the spam (or junk) folder. Seems obvious, but too often, important steps are skipped.

So, before spending your time tweaking subject lines, A/B testing or doing anything else this article outlines, make sure you’ve set up your email marketing for success.

And, while this may sound surprising, we constantly find marketers sending marketing emails with simple email marketing fundamentals completely ignored: Bad sender domains, missing DNS records and so on.

Dive into these technical email setup details with our guide on email inbox placement and avoiding the junk folder.

Once you have confirmed your email isn’t landing in spam, it’s time to focus on increasing your email open rate.

It starts with the subject line.

A great subject line increases email open rates

The subject line is the first thing people read when they receive your email. The subject line is the determining factor when they decide to open your email, ignore it, trash it or mark it as spam.

Writing a clear, concise subject line is often the difference between a successful email marketing campaign and a failed one.

Below are some recommendations for how to craft a great subject line:

  • Ask a question: This can be as simple as, “Mark, what is your biggest marketing challenge?” A question is a great way to capture the readers’ attention. This is especially useful if you target your question to fit the audience.
  • Announce a product or offer:15% off today for fitness friends like you, Anne.” An offer or announcement that is relevant to the recipient will have a high likelihood of getting read.
  • Offer a solution to a problem:Our SMS marketing delivery rates are 95%.” By addressing a problem the recipient is facing (perhaps with sending SMS marketing, for example), you are positioning yourself as a solution to a problem.
  • Educate:Update your terms of service to adhere to new CCPA laws.” Providing education creates value for the recipient and gives them the information they may need – before they know they need it.

There are many other opportunities. The point is to craft a meaningful subject line that the recipient finds useful and relevant.

See our 12 tips for email subject lines that won’t get ignored.

Personalize your subject line to increase email open rates

In the preceding examples of email subject lines, several included the recipient’s first name. While you may not always have this data available, personalizing the subject line is a great way to achieve higher open rates.

What should you consider personalizing? First name and company name are the most obvious candidates. However, depending upon the data you have, you can go even further. For example:

  • Bill, you’re an O+ donor, and we’re low on your blood type
  • Amy, we know you love spin class, and we just updated our schedule
  • Tom, your favorite whey shake mix is back in stock
  • You made your 3rd purchase – thank you, Kayley, here is a 15% coupon

In the examples above, the bold text is an example of content that is personalized.

Find out more about the email personalization available through DailyStory.

Use emojis to help your subject line stand out

Most email subject lines can be pretty boring. To increase email open rates, your goal is to stand out!

While not appropriate for every email, use emojis and other non-standard text in your subject line. For example:

  • Amy, the 🎥 [webinar] on SMS marketing for 💪 fitness gyms is tomorrow
  • [Cheat sheet for you] 🔍 the ABCs of A/B testing your emails

Both the bracketed, e.g. [webinar], text and use of emojis helps the email stand out in the inbox. It provides some visual cues to the reader about what the topic of the email is about.

Here is a list of the 100 most commonly used emojis. Just copy/paste into your email subject lines.

Consider different subject line lengths

Marketers love to debate which works better: a short focused subject line or a longer more detailed subject line.

Use a subject line too short, and you miss out on content you could have included.

But long subject lines get clipped on mobile email clients. This prevents them from even being seen. A long subject line also negates the benefit of the email preheader.

Aim for the ‘Goldilocks zone’

The “Goldilocks zone” for your subject line is not too short and not too long.

Therefore, the ideal subject line length is between 40 and 60 characters. This ensures your subject line is readable on any email client. A mobile client allows for less space than a desktop client, and in both cases, a longer subject line may get trimmed.

Staying in the “Goldilocks zone” allows you to optimize the preview text of the email. Set in the preheader.

Use this tool to check how many characters your subject line is. DailyStory has built-in tools to help you optimize your subject line length.

Always use a personalized preheader

Modern email clients show a preview of an email in the inbox. This provides additional information beyond the subject line.

Email clients determine what is shown exclusively by what text comes first in the email.

Set email preheader to increase open rates

While the subject line is the most important factor for your email open rates. The preheader is a very close second. And you should always take as much time writing the preheader as you do the subject line.

A preheader is text content, usually not more than 100 characters, that is added to the top of an email using some advanced HTML. The preheader is a feature provided in modern email marketing platforms.

When the email is opened, the preheader is hidden from view. But, by adding the content to the very top of the email, the preheader ensures that it is the content displayed when the email is previewed.

Learn more about how an email preheader works.

Writing an effective email preheader

The preheader content should not be the same as the subject line. It should be personalized, and while it can include emojis, the preheader should be treated like a small ad or the continuation of the subject line.

If the subject line captures the reader’s interest, the preheader is often used to validate the expected content. For example, here is a sample subject line with a related preheader:

Subject: “📅 Amy, we updated our spin class schedule

Preheader: “More spin classes at 5:30 a.m., 6 p.m., and 7:30 p.m. Be sure to sign up soon as classes are likely to fill up.

In the above preheader example, we include more copy that we expect to be shown in the inbox preview. Any overflow copy will be replaced with ellipses. But that’s OK. Too much is better than too little!

Remember, if you don’t set the preheader, you are letting the email client pick the text it shows. If you care about email open rates, always set the preheader.

DailyStory has built-in tools to tell you if you have the right length for your preheader text.

Don’t ignore the ‘from’ address

You’ve written a killer subject line. Optimized it with personalization, included emojis and complimented it with a preheader that just begs for the reader to open an email.

Don’t hit the “send” button just yet. There is one more thing to do: Set the “from” address.

A basic email address is “hello@example.com.” But an email address can also include a more friendly name. For example, “Rob Howard <rob.howard@example.com>.”

So, why not use something descriptive for your marketing emails, too? For example,  “Marketing Webinars <hello@example.com>.”

Your marketing emails should always come from an email address that identifies who the sender is.

Want to make the email important, make it appear to come from someone senior on your team that customers know? Like your CEO, “Elon Musk <elon.musk@example.com>.”

Is the email about an upcoming webinar? Set the address to include the company name and the focus “Tesla Webinars <hello@example.com>.”

The goal is to use the email address to signal who and what the email is about.

Should I send from a no-reply address?

Generally, we’re not fans of sending from a no-reply address.

Email is meant to be used for discussions.

Furthermore, it’s possible to set a reply address when sending the email so that the email comes from one address, e.g., “Tesla Webinars <hello@example.com>,” but replies are sent to support@example.com.

A/B test to optimize email open rates

Finally, once you’ve optimized everything, test it.

A/B testing works best if you are sending to a large audience and you have some good ideas about your subject line and preheader variations.

See our nine tips for effective A/B testing.

In conclusion

Start by focusing on getting your email to the inbox. Then, turn your attention to the subject line and preheader. Optimize these, and use personalization. And don’t forget about the “from” address.

Following these strategies will help you craft better email marketing campaigns that lead to higher email open rates.

As you’re improving your email open rates, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory. Features include automation, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

What happens if subscribers mark your emails as spam?

No one’s goal of any email marketing campaign would be to end up as spam.

But what happens if your emails DO get marked as spam?

Spam complaints are when an email recipient clicks on the “spam” button within their mailbox provider interface for any particular message. They can happen within an email inbox on any device. These complaints ultimately affect your deliverability as well as your sender reputation.

Because a spam complaint is a mailbox provider option rather than part of the email that you sent (like an unsubscribe link), that information is not automatically fed back to you, the sender.

Feedback loops

In order to get a sense of spam complaints tied to your emails, you need to be part of a feedback loop.

Feedback loops are emails that let senders know which of their recipients complained about their emails. These notification emails can be delivered to an email address of your choosing.

The downside is that not all mailbox providers use them. The ones that do include (but are not entirely limited to):

  • Hotmail
  • Yahoo
  • AOL
  • Comcast
  • Cox
  • Zoho.com
  • Fastmail

The big question you’re likely thinking is: What about Gmail? Gmail does operate a slightly different version of a feedback loop system that is somewhat limited. Instead of sending information based on email addresses, Gmail will send an aggregate report about a particular email campaign that performed poorly in regard to spam complaints.

Next steps for spam complaints

The key is that you make sure to register to receive feedback loops from mailbox providers. Once you are, monitor all reports of spam complaints. As you see email addresses that complain, move them to a suppression list so that you no longer email them. Of course, you can automate this process.

If you do not add these complaining email addresses to a suppression list, you risk having subsequent emails go to those recipients’ spam folders. The more that happens, the more hits your sender reputation will take.

If you’re seeing an uptick in spam complaints, there are several things you can do to help your inbox placement rate and hopefully showing more value to your subscribers to prevent those complaints.

In addition, consider making your unsubscribe link more obvious and clear. This might sound counter-intuitive, but think about it this way: If an email recipient doesn’t see the value in your messages, they’re already less likely to engage in the way you would like.

Granted, you can reconfigure your content strategy and focus on creating more effective marketing emails.

But in the end, just remember that it’s actually better to have some recipients unsubscribe than to complain.

Learn more about inbox placement and avoiding the junk folder. Plus, you’ll want to keep an eye on your bounce rate as well.

As you’re evaluating the effectiveness of your email campaigns, consider DailyStory. We can help overhaul your entire digital marketing process with automations, audience segmentations and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

8 expert tips to create an email onboarding sequence that converts

It’s one thing to convert website visitors to email subscribers. It’s another to convert those subscribers into paying customers.

That’s what makes an effective email onboarding sequence so critical to your sales efforts.

An email onboarding sequence is a series of emails intended to deepen the relationship they have with your brand, show them how to make the most out of your product or service and/or get them to use your product or service as much as possible.

A recent study found that about 80 percent of marketers have reported increases in email engagement, while the ROI of email marketing has increased to $55 for every $1 spent on it.

With effective email onboarding, you can increase your customer lifetime value by about 500 percent.

And email marketing in general boasts a high ROI when used strategically.

Onboarding is about nurturing your email recipient with valuable information that builds a trusting relationship and guides them to decide to purchase a product or service from you. It can’t be forced (and there is an art to it), but there are several best practices that can help boost your conversion rate.

The good news is that your subscribers are already interested enough to give you their email addresses in exchange for engaging content and/or more information. (Check out these six ways to collect email addresses without a website.)

You can dive deeper into email drip campaigns (with examples) for further inspiration.

The following are eight expert tips to create an email onboarding sequence that converts leads into paying customers.

Begin with a confirmation email

It might sound simple enough, but you’ll want to verify that every new subscriber is a real person with a legitimate email address.

A concise confirmation email can do just that. The email is sent immediately with a link requesting the recipient verify his or her email address by clicking.

While most will likely confirm right away, you’ll want to include a follow-up confirmation email for anyone who fails to do so.

Of course, when it comes to confirmation emails, the simpler and more direct the better. Focus on a clear call-to-action, which asks the recipient to click to confirm his or her email address.

Seize the welcome email opportunity

This is the first official step (and possibly the most important) of the email onboarding sequence.

It’s your opportunity to make a strong first impression and show your subscribers why they should open future emails from you.

Consider taking the approach of offering guidance and expressing your appreciation for their subscription. Remember, this is about starting to build a relationship. Treat it that way.

Consider multiple sequences

Logic and thinking through engagement scenarios is critical for effective email onboarding sequences. Not all subscribers are going to engage with your business in the same way or even engage with your emails in the same way.

You’ll want to segment your audience to account for these differences so that you’re sending the right messages to the right people at the right time.

Different actions they take (like making a purchase) or actions they don’t take (like failing to open an email) should trigger different sequences.

Personalization helps

Personalizing your email onboarding sequence can increase both your open rates and click-through rates. It can also boost the overall user experience with your emails.

However, the trick to personalization (like including the subscriber’s first name in the subject line of your email) requires data about your audience.

Email addresses alone won’t cut it.

Look at including additional fields to collect more data, such as name, city, age and/or any other information that can help you better personalize your messages.

You also could include a “complete your profile” email in your onboarding sequence as a call-to-action to obtain more data about your subscribers. You can even include an incentive, such as a discount code, to encourage subscribers to do so.

Think mobile first

About 46 percent of all emails are opened on mobile devices. Therefore, mobile optimization for your email onboarding sequence is critical.

Tactics that can help you optimize your emails for mobile include (but are not limited to):

  • Use a responsive email template that automatically resize across devices and screen sizes.
  • Choose simple images that are a smaller file size, which will load more quickly.
  • Keep the character count in your subject line as short as possible since most mobile devices only show so much.

Focus everything around your call-to-action

Setting and achieving goals with your onboarding emails comes down to using the right CTAs at the right time while focusing each email on that CTA.

It’s common to be tempted to stuff too much into any one email. 

Remember who you’re writing to. More than ever, you’re writing for subscribers who often skim more than read.

Time is a valuable resource. No one will feel the need to invest a lot of time reading a long, unfocused email. An email with more than one CTA can also lead to confusion and a loss of subscriber engagement.

Focus your content on capturing the attention of your subscribers and then incentivizing them to take a specific action.

Engaging. Direct. Incentivized. 

Don’t overthink it. Pair your CTA with the right visuals, but the simpler the better.

Think through valuable content for your subscribers

Whether your sequence is educating your subscribers with tips, showing them how to best use your product, sharing how they can get the most out of your service or something else, your content has to be just as well-thought-out as your CTA.

This can include, for example:

  • Video tutorials
  • Freebies, like an ebook or webinar
  • Behind-the-scenes content
  • Q&A with industry-related experts

Whatever the specific content thread, map out each sequence. Then, balance out the anticipated actions that your subscribers could do so that you can meet them where they are every step of the way.

Test as much as possible

Email onboarding sequences shouldn’t exist in a vacuum. Testing will help you best understand what will work best with your subscribers.

One way to do this is with A/B testing. It’s about showing two variants of any particular element to different segments of your audience at the same time. You then compare which variant is more successful. A/B testing is also known as split testing.

Check out our nine tips to help you get the most out of your A/B testing efforts.

Plus, you can level up your email marketing skills with any of these eight online courses.

While you’re thinking through your possible email onboarding sequences, consider using DailyStory to optimize your digital marketing process with automations, audience segmentation and more. See more about how we can help, and schedule your free demo today.

Plain text or HTML email – which to use in your next campaign

Plain text emails focus on content versus design.

We’ve read a lot recently about a resurgence of plain text email. And, some email marketers even promote writing exclusively plain text emails instead of using HTML.

We at DailyStory want to share some of the research we’ve done and the recommendations we give our customers.

What is a plain text email?

A plain text email is devoid of images, colors, styles, tables and everything else marketers typically use to make emails as visually attractive as possible. It then sends as text/plain in the body of the email.

It includes no HTML, and any HTML that was included is stripped out.

Below is an example when viewing the raw email content:

An example of a plain text email

Should you send plain text-only emails?

No, you shouldn’t. And writing plain text-only emails is terrible advice.

With today’s modern email clients, there is no reason to send a plain text-only email.

Why?

Because writing an email that isn’t overloaded with images, colors, and styles can be a solid strategy for connecting with your intended audience.

Confused? Let’s dig in a little deeper.

Technical background on text/plain email

An email message can include both HTML and plain text content in the same email. And, some email clients now support a third option, AMP content.

This is called Multi-part MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions).

Don’t let the technical jargon scare you. All it means is your email may contain two versions: a plain text (text/plain) version and/or an HTML (text/html) version of your content.

Note that we said “versions” and not “copies.” This is because the text/plain and the text/html content can be different.

Mail clients can be (but usually are not) configured to only display plain text. In fact, configuring an email client to only display plain text is a lot of work.

And most email marketing platforms, including DailyStory, enable you to set both the HTML and plain text versions of your content.

For example, in DailyStory, you can switch between tabs to edit your HTML or text content (or use the drag-and-drop HTML designer).

DailyStory plain text email editor

While we don’t recommend sending plain-text emails, we do still recommend including the content in your email.

Always include plain-text content with your HTML content

You should always include an edited plain-text version of your content in your email in addition to your HTML content. The following are some of the reasons why.

Accessibility is important

People who have difficulty reading for any reason can use accessibility features to read email. Although many readers are capable of reading HTML, make sure to provide an alternative just in case.

Increasing popularity of Internet of Things (IOT), mobile devices, and smartwatches

Including plain text versions of your email content is important to ensure these devices properly display your content in alerts and notifications. Some devices may not have a browser built in to parse HTML content.

Decreased spam score

While some older anti-spam platforms have the ability to flag HTML-only versions of emails as spam, the real culprit is link and image to content ratios. Email with lots of images and links (but very little content) is a red flag. But your sender score and properly configured SPF and DMARC are much more important as it relates to spam scoring.

Some people do choose plain text

Some email clients, such as Microsoft Outlook, provide an option for users to only display the text-only version of an email. And some clients are exclusively built for plain text emails, such as Bat and Mutt. But keep in mind that users of these clients are not the target audience for most marketers.

As an example, SPAM Assassin, a popular Open Source anti-spam platform includes a rule MIME_HTML_ONLY. This rules triggers when an email message “only has text/html MIME parts” and is missing a text/plain alternative.

It should be noted that while the points about people choosing plain-text email readers are a real possibility, they are remote and the exception. The majority of modern email clients only display HTML.

While we recommend including content in the plain-text section of your email body, this content doesn’t need to be an exact copy of your HTML version. In fact, you should include only a summary and instead redirect them to an HTML version on your website.

The tactic that you should use as part of your email marketing strategy involves writing HTML emails that appear to be written as plain text.

Write HTML email that looks like Plain Text

So, what is the reason for writing an email that looks like a plain-text email?

  • Improved delivery: As an example, Gmail identifies HTML-dense emails as non-personal and thus less important. Because of this, it filters those emails to the “Everything else” category or worse, as “Spam.” This makes these messages more difficult to find.
  • It looks more personal: Email that isn’t HTML-heavy is perceived to be more personal. Because of this, it has a higher open rate than HTML-heavy emails.
  • It is easier to read: Simple emails – such as the ones you send to your friends or co-workers – are easier to read. This is both because of substance and style. Expect these emails as less formally written and not overloaded with links.
  • Readability on mobile devices: Related to mobility and the Internet of Things (IOT), more and more people read emails on mobile devices. And reading complex HTML emails on mobile devices can be frustrating.
  • Support for linked text: HTML email can use anchors to hide complex links. And the links can be as long and complex as required to capture click tracking data. A plain text-only email can’t use links and must include the full URL.
  • Track when the email is opened: Embedded tracking tags enable your email marketing platform to detect when an email is opened or viewed. This is only possible with HTML email.
  • Brand affirmation and identity: Logos and brand colors ensure that the recipient quickly identifies with the brand. This can create a level of trust beyond what can be accomplished with plain-text email.

Hopefully, by now, you realize that the best strategy is to use varying levels of HTML in your email marketing.

How much HTML to use in your email

We’ve laid out the case for HTML email and to avoid plain text-only email. Next, let’s talk briefly about how much HTML you should use.

For the sake of simplicity, we’ve identified three categories.

In reality, there is a continuum of very light HTML to very heavy HTML. The guidance below should give you a general idea of where you need to be based on your objectives.

  • Plain HTML email: HTML formatting used to look like it is text only. It may include basic stylings, such as bold text and links. An image may be included as part of the signature.
  • Light HTML email: Light HTML formatting. Typically a logo or other image, and some light formatting beyond a plain HTML email.
  • Heavy HTML email: HTML formatting that makes no attempt to appear as plain text. Typically with lots of images, colors, and laid out with tables.

Let’s look at some examples.

Plain HTML email

Check out this simple example of a cold email below that’s written to appear as a simple email. The objective here is for Anna, your recipient, to click the link or reply to the email.

Light HTML email

Here is a simple example of an email with light HTML markup. We’ve included images and some light styling.

Heavy HTML email

Here is an example of an HTML email that makes heavy use of HTML.

Choosing when to write a plain HTML email, light HTML email, or heavy HTML email depends on several factors:

  • Sender: Is this email sent from an individual or an alias?
  • Audience: Is the email meant to appear personal or impersonal?
  • Personalization: Is the email personalized to the recipient?
  • Purpose: Is the email communicating status or requiring an action?
  • Reply: Is a response required from the email?

Deeper dive into factors for the amount of HTML used

Plain HTML Email Light HTML Email Heavy HTML Email
Sender Appears to come from a person, e.g. anna@example.com Appears to come from a person, but on behalf of an application, e.g. anna@example.com Clearly comes from an application, e.g. orders@example.com
Audience Personal, one-to-one communication. One-to-one communication, but more formal. One-to-many communication. Formal.
Personalization Speaking to the person. Written for the person. Written about the person.
Purpose Solicit a direct reply. Generate a call-to-action. Solicit a call-to-action or is purely informational.
Reply Desired outcome Optional Not expected

Recommendation: For HTML-heavy emails where you don’t expect a reply, don’t use a no-reply email address.

Key points

Instead of writing plain text-only email, write HTML-light email. The majority of modern email clients all support HTML, and there are many benefits from even light use of HTML.

Always include a plain-text version of your email content along with your HTML version. The plain-text version should be a synopsis and ideally references a URL.

Choose the right amount of HTML to use depending on factors, such as the audience and the purpose of the message.

Personal communication should be light on HTML whereas broad impersonal communication can use heavier HTML.

Share your tips and ideas. We’d love your feedback!

DailyStory can help you optimize your email marketing. Our platform features dynamic audience segmentation, automation features, and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

17 types of automated emails you can start using today

New to automated emails? The good news is that they are an incredibly effective tool when blended into your larger marketing strategy.

The bad news is that you might not know where to start.

But that’s okay!

Depending on your brand and business, there are a number of “low-hanging fruit” type of automated emails that you can begin with and go from there.

Automated emails have a 70.5 percent higher open rate and 152 percent higher click-through rate than generic email newsletters, according to Epsilon.

Dive deeper into email automation and what it is. And see these nine reasons why email automation matters in your digital marketing.

Here are 17 types of automated emails that you can start using today. Let’s get to it!

Welcome emails

The idea behind a welcome email is probably pretty obvious: You want to confirm an opt-in and greet your new subscriber.

Of course, welcome messages don’t have to be limited to a single email. You can set up a series of welcome emails that can pace out introducing your brand, your team, customer experiences and so on. (Learn more about setting up a welcome email series that gets you leads.)

Welcome emails are a critical type of automated email because they serve as your first impression. They lead to higher engagement and boost customer conversion.

In fact, welcome emails generate an average open rate of more than 80 percent and a click-through rate of more than 25 percent, according to GetResponse.

Just remember that you also can remind users what they will get from your emails (exclusive content or content highlights, special discounts, so on). You also can share where users can review their subscription settings (and make adjustments).

Onboarding emails

This type of automated email is all about educating your new customer.

Onboarding emails typically share product or service features, as well as hidden benefits people might not be aware of.

You can consider these a series of training emails in which you’re helping your customer get the most out of your product or service. Perhaps you want to educate them about how to download and use your app. 

Whatever the purpose, when customers fully understand everything you’re giving them, you’ll see better customer retention and fewer refund requests.

Engagement follow-up emails

These automated emails are intended to follow up on a subscriber’s actions, such as whether a recipient opens and clicks your original email (or not) can trigger an automatic follow-up email within a certain period of time to “seal the deal” or help convert that subscriber.

For example, if you send a promotional email out, you can have an automated follow-up email set up to send to anyone who didn’t open the original email, featuring a more targeted subject line and/or even a free, limited-time offer.

Special event emails

A really popular option is to set up birthday and/or anniversary emails for your email database.

You’re essentially sending well wishes for a birthday or other special date.

It not only helps build a relationship with your subscribers but also can help lead to conversions depending on what deal or discount you might additionally offer.

Personalized, targeted emails have a higher open rate as well.

Make sure that your automated email service can support custom-value triggers, such as birth dates and opt-in dates, depending on what type of special event you want to automate for.

Cart abandonment emails

This can be critical to increasing your revenue.

The rate of online shopping cart abandonment is reported to be at almost 70 percent, according to the Baymard Institute. Imagine if you can capture even a fraction of this for your business.

Typically, this type of automated email expresses that not only has the user left items in his or her cart and leverages something to help secure the sale. Sometimes, the reminder alone is enough, but you can also offer a discount, free shipping, etc.

About a third of cart-abandonment email clicks result in a purchase, according to SaleCycle.

You have the opportunity to turn this automated email into a series as well if you desire, timing your reminders and potentially increasing your incentive for recipients to complete the purchase.

Just be aware that you’ll want to confirm that your automated email service can integrate with your e-commerce website in order to trigger these emails.

Retargeting emails

Depending on whether you have retargeting pixels installed on your website, you can set up an email automation that reminds users via email of a product or service they were viewing on your website but did not purchase (or add to their cart).

This can be more advanced to set up but still very effective.

Order notification emails

These automated emails include receipts, invoices, shipping updates, refund confirmations and even order cancellations.

They are entirely dependent on your customer’s purchase activity and can either be fairly basic in design and messaging or encompass a little flair, depending on your brand.

Content download emails

If you’re using content marketing for lead generation, then you should already be familiar with this type of automated email.

In general, you offer some sort of content that a user can download (be it an ebook, webinar, kit, so on). In exchange for this free content, the user gives you his or her contact information. You then use this information to both add the user to your database and send your free content to his or her email inbox.

This is a common practice that you’ll see used on many websites by businesses.

Thank you emails

These can result from almost any action a subscriber takes, depending on your business.

Whether it’s a first-time purchase or an interaction with your customer service (“Thank you for contacting us”) or something else, it’s critical to express gratitude to your subscribers and/or customers. You do value them after all.

Think through interactions people typically have with your brand. Where is it important to automate a considerate thank you message?

Of course, your messaging can include a discount or other offer as well if you like.

Appreciation emails

These differ slightly from “thank you” emails because the idea is to reward your best or most loyal customers.

You can take this opportunity to offer a special coupon, heartfelt message, exclusive content, etc.

Satisfaction emails

If you have a feedback survey system integrated with your email service, it’s possible to create automated emails related to the satisfaction of your customers. 

One email would trigger if the customer is happy, and another would trigger if the customer is not. 

It’s key that you put yourself in the shoes of the customer when creating these messages. An email automatically sending to someone who is not happy (or perhaps even angry) cannot sound fake or inauthentic. 

Feedback, review emails

When you have any amount of customer retention, you’re missing an opportunity if you’re not automating emails to solicit their feedback or customer reviews.

Everyone appreciates being heard and acknowledged, so give your customers that opportunity. What you end up hearing from them could help improve your product, service or even your marketing strategy.

Every business wants to see more positive reviews on Yelp, Google and so on. Simply asking can work better than you might assume. However, you can consider an escalating automated series that asks at first and then offers an incentive (such as a discount, gift card, free shipping, etc.) in the follow-up.

Reminder emails

If you have customers who purchase on any sort of cycle (such as a prepaid year of membership, for example), it’s helpful to have automated reminder emails that let your customer know it’s about time to purchase or renew.

Anything you can do to elevate this messaging can help with the retention and/or conversion. For example, you can include a list of the benefits they’re currently enjoying, as well as a sneak peek of anything new coming in the future.

Of course, reminders can be tied to events, webinars, product launches, you name it.

Referral emails

What’s better than snagging a new customer? That customer referring you to his or her friends, of course.

Perhaps you have an ongoing referral incentive for customers, or maybe you offer referral incentives periodically. Either way, you should communicate that to your customer base.

Referral promotion can be included in a welcome or onboarding automated series or set up separately once a customer has been with you for a certain period of time.

Win-back emails

No matter what, customers will fall off, so it makes sense to have an automated email that sends out after a certain period of time to help win your customers back.

This can include a “miss you” message, as well as an offer to help promote the conversion.

You can choose the frequency. One suggestion is that the first automated email can send 120 days without any purchase activity, a second email 240 days without any purchase activity and a third email 365 days without any purchase activity. The messaging (and even the offer) can differ depending on the length of time.

Traditional ‘drip’ emails

A drip campaign is a common phrase in email marketing and refers to a method of nurturing your leads to help convert them over time to customers.

True, many automated email workflows can be considered drip campaigns, but we would be remiss to not single out the concept separately since there are a number of variations you can employ to nurture your leads, such as upselling.

The idea is that you map out a series of emails that slowly build up the value of your product, service and/or brand to the recipient in order to ultimately result in securing a new client or purchase. 

Farewell emails

If you offer a service that customers can opt out of at some point, it’s worth considering an automated farewell email.

The idea behind it is transparency, gratitude and customer care. It is your opportunity to make a “last impression” on your customer, so be authentic in your messaging. It could very well result in his or her eventual return (or second thoughts about leaving in the first place).

For example, you thank them for the time (perhaps years) they’ve spent with you.

When starting with email automation, list your priorities and start with whatever is the most simple. Monitor that campaign’s performance, and when you feel comfortable, you can add additional automated emails and campaigns.

Check out these seven opportunities for social media automation that you might not have thought of yet.

DailyStory offers a range of automation tools. Whether you’re looking to email, text or send a push alert notification, consider scheduling a free demo today.

12 tips for email subject lines that won’t get ignored

A successful email subject line is part art, part science but typically a recipe for anxiety for any marketer or business owner.

But it doesn’t have to be. If you’ve noticed that your emails aren’t getting the open rate you are looking for, then it’s time to take a look at your subject lines.

The following are 12 tips to think about the next time you’re crafting your next email subject line.

Tip #1: Know your audience

The first rule of any marketing campaign is to know who your audience is. Where do they live? What are their interests? Are they mostly men or women? What age range are they primarily?

Having a general sense of who you’re talking to will keep your subject lines (and overall email content) relevant and engaging. It’s the critical first step because it will drive the topics you highlight and even the voice you use.

Have a broad audience? Be sure to use audience segmentation, which is one of the highlighted features offered by DailyStory. The benefit is that you can tailor your message to different parts of your audience to boost relevancy and, in turn, your open rate. In fact, according to EmailMonday, segmented email campaigns drive 760 percent more revenue than those that aren’t segmented.

Tip #2: Keep it as short and sweet as possible

In essence, novel-length subject line bad, snappy good. The shorter the better.

Think of your audience as skimmers with not enough time on their side. You’ll lose them with anything lengthy, and you’ll want to be concise while also quickly highlighting the benefit to recipients for opening your email.

According to EmailMonday, about 77 percent of email opens happen on mobile devices, so strive to keep your subject lines at fewer than 50 characters. Otherwise, mobile skimmers likely won’t see the entire subject line.

Tip #3: Action verbs are key

It’s the difference between being active or passive. Think of your email subject line as a call to action, not a book report title.

Starting your subject line with a verb inspires activity. Here’s an example: “Tour our new collection” versus “Our new collection.”

Tip #4: Personalization is more powerful than you think

Personalization tags, which are available in DailyStory, give you the ability to say a recipient’s name or location, for example, in your mass email. It’s that element of personalized content that can make an impact on your audience.

You’re only limited by your creativity when it comes to personalization and ways to use it.

Tip #5: Urgency catches more attention

If something is happening for a limited time only, definitely say so. Your audience can be compelled to open simply not to miss out.

But be sure to convey that urgency without using the word “urgent,” for example. Usually, simply stating the deadline is enough.

Tip #6: You can just tell them what’s inside

While a little mystery can go a long way with open rates in the right circumstances, clear transparency should be the name of the game most of the time.

If your recipient is getting an email because they downloaded a deliverable from you, for instance, you’re going to want to tell them that they’ll find it in your email. No need to beat around the bush.

Tip #7: Timing totally matters

Being cognizant of when your email is hitting your audience’s inboxes can be a great way to boost your open rate. For instance, talking about how to start your day first thing in the morning or sharing happy hour specials just before most people get off work.

Use the timing of your email to give that extra reason to open it.

Tip #8: The air of exclusivity

Everyone wants to feel special. Maybe something is a “private invite” or for “most valued customers only.”

Tell your recipients what makes them special in the subject line to give them a reason to open your email.

Tip #9: Use numbers when possible

Just like tweeting on Twitter, numbers and data get more engagement on email subject lines as well. Stay away from vague.

If you can use a number regarding your discount offer, or how many pages there are in your e-book or anything else, that specificity catches attention and boosts interest.

Tip #10: Avoid all caps or too many exclamation points

You can’t force excitement, but you can appear desperate or spammy. “ACT NOW ON THIS LIMITED TIME OFFER!!!!” comes off more like shouting than engaging, relatable or even professional.

Focus on being creative, specific and personable rather than shout at your audience.

Tip #11: Also avoid using both a question mark and an exclamation point

Here’s an example: “Want to save some cash? Act now!”

This combo is actually very commonly filtered out by email filters and can send you to spam, which is exactly where you don’t want to be.

In fact, here are 455 words that typically trigger spam filters to step in, according to Prospect.io.

All that being said, a question alone can be an open-rate booster for email subject lines.

Tip #12: Your preview text also matters

With all this talk about subject lines, it’s important to remember that you also have preview text to use as an opportunity to entice your audience to open your email.

Preview text typically will default to what’s in the body of the email, which can appear sloppy, unless you fill it out with something else. Recipients will see it when they see a preview notification of their email on their phone or in their email, depending. It’s a place where you can add in the details that couldn’t fit into your subject line.

A great rule of thumb, especially when starting out in email marketing, is to have a colleague take a second look at your email subject line (if not your entire email). But also, simply ask yourself if you would open your own email after reading your subject line.

Also, check out the anatomy of an effective marketing email. We also help you dive deeper into your email marketing with our strategies to increase your email open rates.

Still unsure how to improve your email marketing results? We’ve found eight of the best online email marketing courses that can help you beef up your skills.

While you’re analyzing the effectiveness of your email subject lines, consider the strength of your digital marketing process. Is it everything you want it to be? DailyStory features automation capabilities, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

Use email preview text to improve email open rates

The majority of email clients provide a snippet of text to preview the contents of an email in your inbox. This enables you to quickly scan your inbox and taken the next step: open the email.

What you may not know is that you can set this text using an email preheader.

Before you optimize your email’s inbox preview, make sure you read these tips to get your email to the inbox.

An effective email preheader increases open rates

And, if you aren’t setting a preheader, you may be missing an important email optimization that is proven to increase open rates:

And, you should use every part of your email to control your brand.

Before we explain how to set the email preheader, let’s clarify what the email preview text is.

What is email preview text?

The email preview text consists of the text displayed by an email client to preview the contents of an email.

This text displays to the right of the subject in Gmail and below the subject in both Microsoft Outlook and the Apple iOS Mail app.

Below is an example from Gmail highlighting the various parts of an email in the inbox:

Example of email preview text on Gmail

How email clients preview your email content

Email clients set the preview text automatically from the first lines of your email. And today’s modern email clients will use the first 40 or more characters as the preview – unless you set a preheader.

The technical explanation of where the email preview comes from

Let’s get a bit more technical. The preview text is the first non-HTML text found in the beginning of the text/HTML section of an email’s multi-part MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) body.

While the email body may contain both plain text and HTML versions of the email content, the preview text comes from the HTML version.

With a little bit of HTML and CSS Jiu-Jitsu, you can control what the email preview text shows.

This is known as an email preheader or email preview text.

We recommend that instead of letting the email client choose which text to display, you should proactively set this text. Use the email preheader to highlight your content or call to action.

There are two ways to control the email preview with an email preheader.

Let’s start with the easiest.

Use visible text to set the email preheader

The first option for setting the preheader is the easiest. Simply include some content at the top of your email. Much like how a Johnson Box is used for direct mail.

An email preheader is similar to a Johnson Box. A Johnson Box is used at the top of direct mail and includes the key message of the letter.

Here is an example of several emails with their preview highlighted:

Email preview text in Gmail

Looking at the first email in the example, the preview text of the email is set by the content at the top of the email:

Text selected for preview

This type of preheader is common, and you will see it often now that you know what it is. But you can see how the text “View on a web browser” leaked into the email preview text. Not exactly ideal.

A challenge with setting a visible preheader is that the amount of text shown by the email client is arbitrary. The length of preview text shown depends on the screen size, device and the email client itself.

This is a problem because the design and layout of your email won’t allow you to set several sentences of visible text!

While you can’t control how much text will be shown in your preview, you can control what text is shown by using a hidden email preheader.

Use hidden text to set the email preheader

Let’s look at an example email to help illustrate how a hidden text email preheader works:

 

As you can see, there is no visible text at the top of the email.

Instead, the email is heavy with HTML and images. But clearly, Gmail is able to find the right text to display:

Gmail finds email preheader

So, how does Gmail know which text to show in the email preview?

If you dig through the text/HTML section of the original email, you’ll find this code near the top:

Html of email preheader

This is known as a hidden email preheader.

Hiding text using HTML and CSS does require some hacks. We recommend using the following HTML and inline CSS.

[HTML]
<div class=”preheader” style=”display:none !important;
visibility:hidden !important;
mso-hide:all !important;
font-size:1px;
overflow:hidden !important;
display:none !important;”>
Visit During the Month of April for this Great Deal
</div>
[/HTML]

Please note that the class name preheader is incidental and not required unless global styles are being set.

If you’re sending email using DailyStory, the email preheader is easily set when drafting or editing an email.

Now that you know how to control the preview text using hidden HTML, let’s quickly talk about writing an effective preheader.

Write good copy for your preview

Setting an effective preheader can make your email stand out in the inbox. Or, at the very least, clearly communicate the purpose of the email.

The example shown above for the Toyota tire sales event is a great example. Because the combined subject plus preheader text is written as a single statement:

Rob, The Tire Savings Event is Here – Buy 3 Tires, Get the 4th for $1 – Visit during the Month of April for this Great Deal

This message is personalized, has a clear value proposition, and has a clear call to action. All before we even open the email.

The subject and preheader text is written following many of the same guidelines for writing great Tweets.

This is a good strategy for how you should use your preheader copy. Write it as a continuation of the subject.

Why setting an email preheader is important

Hopefully, you’ve found this article helpful. And while we don’t like to focus on what not to do, it’s worth pointing out what happens when you don’t pay attention to how an email looks in your inbox.

Below is a screenshot of an email sent out daily by the Wall Street Journal. And unfortunately, it is a perfect example of where a hidden email preheader would be beneficial:

Not setting a preview

The preview text is clearly being built off of the first text in the email:

 

Setting the following hidden email preheader would make this email a lot more interesting in the inbox:

[HTML]
<div class=”preheader” style=”display:none !important;
visibility:hidden !important;
mso-hide:all !important;
font-size:1px;
overflow:hidden !important;
display:none !important;”>
Power Struggle  – The Trump administration’s commitment to coal is facing its stiffest test yet after an Ohio energy company made a plea to favor that power source over its many rivals.
</div>
[/HTML]

A better email preheader

By setting the email preheader proactively, we get a much more useful view of the email in our inbox.

Use a minimum of 160 characters or more

Maybe you want to set the preheader to a limited amount of text by using something like this:

[HTML]
<div class=”preheader” style=”display:none !important;
visibility:hidden !important;
mso-hide:all !important;
font-size:1px;
overflow:hidden !important;
display:none !important;”>
This is a short header &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;
</div>
[/HTML]

We haven’t tried this with all email clients, but Gmail ignores the non-breaking space and adds the next text it finds.

Always write at least 160 to 200 characters of copy. The entire text may not be shown, but this way you can control what is shown.

In summary

Set a preheader to control your email preview text. It is an important email optimization that is proven to increase open rates, along with writing an effective email subject line.

Set a preheader by hiding text using HTML and CSS. See the HTML snippet above for how to include a hidden preheader in your email.

Write your preheader copy as a continuation of the subject. And be direct and have a clear call to action.

While you can’t control how much text will be shown in your email preview, you can control what text is shown. And you should include at least 160 characters of text in your preheader copy.

Read more about strategies to increase email open rates.

As you begin experimenting with email preview text in your next campaign, consider optimizing your digital marketing process, which includes automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.