Author name: Alex Gallagher

Troubleshooting Email Deliverability

At some point in their email marketing experience, many organizations will run into deliverability challenges. If you’re seeing a steep drop in engagement or find your campaigns in the spam folder, you may be experiencing low deliverability. In this article, we’ll cover basic deliverability troubleshooting for email marketers.

What is Deliverability?

In layman’s terms, deliverability describes the likelihood your emails will end up in spam

Emails with high deliverability are likely to make it to the inbox, while emails with low deliverability (or deliverability issues) are likely to get flagged as spam. Deliverability is influenced by several factors, which can make it challenging to identify a singular reason emails start going to spam.

However, there are a few common culprits an email marketer can look for in their domains, account setup, audience, and campaign creation practices.

Why Emails Go to Spam

There are a few common reasons emails end up in spam, including:

  1. Lack of domain authentication
  2. Misconfigured DMARC, SPF, or DKIM Records
  3. Blacklisted domain
  4. Invalid addresses or spamtraps in the audience
  5. Spam reports from recipients
  6. Irregular send frequency
  7. Spammy email content
  8. Large file sizes in emails

In the following sections, we’ll cover reasons why emails commonly end up in spam, as well as a few other tips & tricks to address deliverability.

Authenticate Domain Through Your ESP

Most ESPs (Mailchimp, Klaviyo, etc.) provide a tool to authenticate your domain. Authenticating your domain means adding a handful of records to your DNS in order to prove that you have ownership of the domain and are legitimately sending email through the ESP.

Authenticate your domain in Mailchimp: Log into both Mailchimp and your domain host (Google Domains, Bluehost, GoDaddy, etc.). In Mailchimp, click on your profile picture, choose “Account & Billing,” then choose “Domains.” Mailchimp provides step-by-step instructions on how to add the appropriate records to your DNS.

Authenticate your domain in Klaviyo: Log into both Klaviyo and your domain host (Google Domains, Bluehost, GoDaddy, etc.). In Klaviyo, click on your company name on the lower right corner of the page, then choose “Settings.” Go to the “Email” tab and click “Sending Domains.” Input your sending domain, and Klaviyo will provide prompts to walk you through the process.

Configure SPF, DKIM, and DMARC

Even if you’ve authenticated your domain through an ESP, you may still run into domain configuration issues. The key DNS records for email deliverability are:

  • SPF: Lists the IP addresses permitted to send emails using your domain.
  • DKIM: Verifies emails as legitimate using encrypted hash codes. Emails received are checked against what was originally sent to rule out tampering. Here’s how it works.
  • DMARC: Builds on SPF & DKIM to define how email receivers should respond to non-compliant mail. Learn more on DMARC.org.

How do you know if there’s an issue with your SPF, DKIM, or DMARC records? We recommend a tool like MXToolbox or Dmarcly. Google and Yahoo launched new sender requirements in 2024, so it may be worth double-checking if you haven’t recently.

If there are severe problems with your DNS record configuration, a generalized email marketing expert may be unable to resolve them. Consider working with a DNS specialist who can analyze and correct your records.

Check the Blacklists

Some emails land in spam because the sending domain has been blacklisted. This means the sender’s IP address or domain has been added to a list of known spammers. While being blacklisted can be frustrating, it doesn’t have to spell the end for your email marketing program.

To remove your email from a blacklist, you’ll have to take the following steps:

  1. Use a blacklist checker to identify which list you’ve been added to
  2. Notify the blacklist database and receive their report
  3. Clear up any problems or suspected issues
  4. Wait for your email to be removed from the list

Some blacklists are harder to escape than others. Check out this guide from Mailchimp for more information on how blacklisting works and why some blacklists (like SenderScore) are stricter than others.

As a first step, you can pull up a blacklist report for your domain using any of the blacklist databases below:

Clean Up Your List

Once you’ve crossed domain & blacklist issues off of your checklist, take a close look at your audience list. Where are most of your subscribers signing up? When you look through your contacts, do you see suspicious emails? Keep an eye out for the following red flags:

  • Contacts with gibberish first and/or last names
  • Sudden influxes in subscribers from one source
  • Contacts with invalid domains
  • Foreign email addresses from markets you do not serve

If you see some odd-looking contacts in your list or have a large audience segment that hasn’t opened any emails in 3+ months, consider using a list cleaner. We like Zerobounce, but many list cleaners are available at various price points.

Once you sign up for a list cleaner, you can take the following steps to check your list hygiene:

  1. Export contacts from your ESP
  2. Import them into the cleaner 
  3. Wait for processing
  4. Download your contacts sorted by validity and activity

List cleaners vary, but generally, the contacts to avoid will be marked as invalid, spamtrap, or do-not-mail.

Managing and Avoiding Spam Reports

How you grow your list can matter just as much as what kind of contacts are on it. Make sure all subscribers have actively opted in for your emails. Always include an unsubscribe link in your email footer.

You never want contacts to be surprised they’re getting your emails. When contacts receive emails they did not sign up for, they’re more likely to report you as spam. Over time, spam reports can tank your email deliverability.

Additionally, avoid sending more than 3-4 emails a week and be mindful of aggressive sales tactics like all-caps, repeated exclamation points, and deceptive deals. Sometimes, even unappealing graphic design is enough to get you reported by particularly trigger-happy subscribers.

Send Frequency & Sudden Changes

Can sending too many emails get you sent to spam? Yes. How many is too many? It varies.

As frustrating as that can be, senders may find solace in the fact that deliverability changes are more often caused by a sudden change in send frequency, rather than a specific volume of emails sent. For example, if you leave your email marketing program on pause for 2 years, and then immediately start sending 3 emails a day to 5000 people, your deliverability will likely take a blow.

When it comes to send frequency, try to make gradual, strategic changes. Use segmentation & automation to send emails to the right people at the right times. Remember: When it comes to email, more is not always better!

Optimizing File Size for Email Deliverability

Emails with a very large combined file size are likely to be flagged as spam. When adding images to an email, make sure they are below 500kb each. Check out our guide to email image sizes for more info.

Here are some tools our team at Pure Firefly uses to compress and optimize images:

  1. Tiny PNG
  2. EZ Gif
  3. Optimizilla

Senders should also be wary of large attachments. When sending a free download or .PDF, make sure the file size is below 5MB.

Other Tips and Tricks

If you’ve taken the steps above and still aren’t seeing the results you were looking for, there are a few steps you can take to make a small (but positive) impact on your sender reputation.

  1. Personalize your “To” field: By including a contact’s first name, you indicate a more complete (and thus, more legitimate) record of your audience.
  2. Use live text: Never send an email with only images. This can be hard for people to read and may get you caught in spam filters.
  3. Reply to your emails: When contacts reply to your emails, they indicate an interest in your content. This active engagement can help you stay out of spam.
  4. Add to address book: If subscribers add you to their saved contacts or address book, they are less likely to miss your emails.
  5. Never embed videos: Most ESPs won’t even let you do this, because videos don’t usually render in the inbox. Resist the temptation to install any plugins that allow you to embed video – They are likely to damage your sender reputation.

BONUS: What about Machine Clicks?

Seeing contacts click every single link in your email? They may be extremely engaged, or they may be machine clicks. Some spam filters & inbox providers use automated clicks to check suspicious emails. This can even lead to accidental unsubscribes if the machine clicks on the unsubscribe link in your footer.

How do you spot machine clicks? Look for contacts that have clicked on every single link in an email in a very short time. Some ESPs (like Klaviyo) can show you on a click report if the engagement came from a bot or a human. You can also keep an eye out for trends in machine clicks coming from a particular domain.

If you do see machine clicks on several emails, it’s time for an email deliverability review. Unfortunately, there’s no way to 100% prevent automated clicks on your messages, but keeping a strong sender reputation can help limit them.

Escape Spam with Pure Firefly

Pure Firefly is a full-service email marketing agency. Our team has a combined 10+ years of experience, and we pride ourselves on providing cost-effective email solutions for small businesses, nonprofits, and schools. For help with deliverability, contact us any time!subscribe to our newsletter for mailchimp tips, tutorials, and news

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Mailchimp SMS for Small Businesses: The Ultimate Guide

SMS is a valuable tool for reaching your contacts with the right message at the right moment. In 2023, Mailchimp launched its SMS Tool, allowing users to integrate SMS messages into their existing email strategy. After 1 year with the tool, we’ve helped clients navigate the entire process– From getting messaging set up to sending SMS and analyzing the results. Here is our ultimate guide to Mailchimp SMS, with expert-backed tips to optimize your strategy.

What is SMS? 

SMS stands for short message service. In layman’s terms, that’s a text message. With Mailchimp SMS, you can send messages directly to your subscribers’ smartphones. When you add an image to your SMS, it becomes an MMS. MMS stands for multimedia message service. AKA: Text messages with pictures. 

Getting Started: Mailchimp’s SMS Application

Before you can send SMS or MMS with Mailchimp, you’ll need to fill out an application. This helps Mailchimp ensure you are a legitimate business following all relevant regulations, so they can protect all their users.

The application features a few key steps:

  1. SMS Goals: Choose from a list of approved uses for SMS, including order notifications, promotional campaigns, and more. Be sure to check your intended use against the list of “Unapproved ways of using SMS.” Unapproved use may result in account suspension.
  2. SMS Experience: Select your level of SMS experience or hit “Skip” to receive default how-to pop-ups from Mailchimp.
  3. Business Information: Fill out key business details including website, address, and Tax ID.
  4. Phone Number: Create a new phone number or send using an established number for your business.
  5. Sender Information: Choose your SMS audience (We recommend a single-audience strategy.) and fill in some additional information about your business.
  6. Terms & Conditions: Mailchimp requires terms & conditions and a privacy policy for SMS users. You can use Mailchimp’s template language, or link to existing pages on your website. Check out Mailchimp’s guide to creating a privacy policy.
  7. Credit Subscription: Choose how many credits you’d like to buy per month once your application is approved.

Mailchimp takes up to 5 business days to review your application, during which time you will see a “processing” status. Once your SMS application is approved, you’ll get an email from Mailchimp & be ready to send immediately!

How Mailchimp’s SMS Credits Work

Mailchimp SMS is available to users on the Essentials plan or above. Once a user completes their SMS application, they can choose to purchase anywhere from 1,000 to 450,000 credits per month. Users spend credits every time they send a message.

How do you know how many SMS credits you’ll need? It may take a little math. Mailchimp SMS messages consume 1 credit per 153 characters, or 1 credit per 63 characters if you use emojis. MMS messages consume 3 credits per 1,600 characters. 

Once you know how many credits your message is likely to use, you can multiply that # by the number of subscribers you’ll be reaching.

So, if you send 3 messages per month to 1000 recipients, and each message is under 153 characters long with no emojis, you’ll need 3000 credits per month.

Small businesses on a shoestring budget may want to start with 1000 credits and purchase more as needed.

Sending SMS & MMS Campaigns

Just like with email, Mailchimp users can schedule SMS messages in advance to moderate their send frequency. The SMS builder is a fairly simple interface, with a text box where users can type in their message, and an option to add an image. Images in MMS campaigns should be no wider than 640px and no taller than 1138px. If you’ve optimized image sizes for email before, you’re already on the right track!

Using SMS in Mailchimp Journeys

SMS messages can also be sent automatically using Mailchimp’s customer journeys. Just add a “Send SMS” journey point and customize the message to your preference! 

Here are some journeys small business owners can use to increase revenue with SMS:

  • Welcome new subscribers as they sign up (This can help decrease unsubscribes down the line!)
  • Send order notifications
  • Trigger reminders when a subscriber registers for an event
  • Send abandoned cart texts to accompany your emails
  • Use date-based automations to beat the competition during holiday rushes (Hello, Black Friday)

How Do I Know if an SMS Campaign is Successful?

Mailchimp offers a range of reports to analyze your SMS campaigns’ performance. For a general benchmark on engagement, click rates and open rates are a great place to start. According to Forbes, SMS open rates can be as high as 98%. However, your first few SMS messages are unlikely to reach such a high open rate and open rates don’t necessarily equate to high click-throughs.

SMS success is best measured in the context of your larger business goals. For example, if you’d like to increase revenue by 25% this quarter, see what percentage of your sales come from SMS. It can also be valuable to evaluate your first quarter using SMS against the same quarter the previous year.

If you’re not seeing the growth you’re hoping to achieve, don’t worry! It can take time to perfect your strategy and reach the right people with the right messages at the right times.

What Not to Do: SMS Practices to Avoid

As you develop your SMS strategy, be sure to avoid the most common pitfalls for new users!

  1. Never cold-SMS: All SMS subscribers MUST be actively opted in
  2. Don’t Send Too Frequently: Keep your messages to 1 per week at absolute maximum
  3. Message with a Purpose: Don’t send SMS just for the heck of it– Always share something valuable for your subscribers
  4. Keep it Personal: Use merge tags to personalize your messages
  5. Don’t Forget Your Numbers: Monitor campaign analytics to ensure your messages are bringing the intended results

When in doubt, put yourself in your subscribers’ shoes! If a message would annoy or upset you, it’s likely to do the same for your customers.

Optimize Your SMS Strategy with Pure Firefly

Pure Firefly was founded to provide high-quality, cost-effective marketing solutions for entrepreneurs, nonprofits & small businesses. As an agency with a combined 10+ years of experience, we’re committed to staying ahead of the curve in digital marketing. To get started with SMS, try booking a training call with one of our experts. Or bring us on a retainer for help with all your Mailchimp needs! We offer a wide range of services to fill your marketing needs.

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The Beginner’s Guide to Yahoo & Google’s New Sender Requirements

As an email marketer, following Yahoo & Google’s new sender requirements is the first step to getting emails into the inbox and engaging with your subscribers. When Yahoo and Google rolled out their new protocol on Feb 1st, the entire email marketing universe rushed to become compliant. The two webmail providers collectively cater to 2 billion users, an audience that no marketer can ignore. 

Why have Google and Yahoo launched these new requirements?

The goal is to protect consumers’ inboxes from spam, unwanted, and phishing emails and make permission marketing the norm. Along with the benefit to users, these requirements prevent spammers from impersonating your brand and damaging your reputation. 

Who gets affected by Yahoo & Google’s new sender requirements? 

The new policy is particularly meant for bulk senders (who send more than 5000 emails within 24 hours). If you’re a small sender or a sender who only sends transactional emails, you might not feel the impact yet. 

But given the current move of making best practices into must-follow rules, experts predict that it’s only a matter of time before Google and Yahoo make these rules mandatory for all senders. 

How do you become compliant with 2024 sender requirements?

Here are the top 5 things you should do immediately

  • Verify ownership of your domain: Whether you’re a business, a freelancer, or a solopreneur, you must own and create sender emails from your domain.
  • Don’t send from a free email address: If you’ve been using a generic email provided by webmail providers like Gmail, Yahoo, or Outlook, it’s time to change. Use free email addresses  for one-on-one communication, not bulk emails. Such emails (like example@gmail.com) hide the true identity of the sender, and ISPs reject bulk emails from these addresses for this reason.
  • Authenticate your emails: Email authentication is a way to reassure webmail providers that you are who you say you are. Not only does it prevent spam emails from entering the inbox, but it also prevents scammers from impersonating your brand. Most large email marketing platforms provide domain authentication to maximize deliverability.
  • Keep spam complaints below 0.3%: According to the new requirements, Gmail requires that spam complaints stay below 0.3% to land in the inbox. To monitor spam complaints, register your domain for Google Postmaster Tools. It also monitors your IP and domain reputation and helps you take steps when any of these plummet.
  • Make it easy for users to unsubscribe: The Unsubscribe button just moved to the top! You’ve likely been adding it to your footer. It will now also appear next to the From address at the top of your email. Yahoo and Google have mandated 1-click unsubscribes that are honored  within 2 days.

And that’s about it, these are the top 5 steps to optimize your deliverability.

BONUS: Authentication for Google sender protocols

3 authentication protocols are essential for your brand: SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. 

  • SPF: Short for ‘Sender Policy Framework’, an SPF record confirms to the ISP that the IP the email is coming from is allowed to send emails on your behalf. If your emails don’t have SPF set up, find out how to set up SPF records here
  • DKIM: Short for ‘DomainKeys Identified Mail’, a DKIM prevents your emails from being impersonated by spammers by attaching a private digital signature to each email going out.  Email servers verify this signature and only allow the email into inboxes if there’s a match. For more information on DKIM, check out this helpful article by Google.
  • DMARC: Short for ‘Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance’, a DMARC record serves as a failsafe and informs the ISP of the steps to be taken if any authentication fails. So even with a valid DMARC record, if an SPF or DKIM fails, a DMARC would fail as well. This provides additional security for your emails. Set up your DMARC record with this help article.

Failing to complete all 3 authentication protocols can stop you from reaching your subscriber’s inbox directly. If you’re a Mailchimp user, a high number of cleaned addresses in your audience may be a sign you should review the protocols above to maintain your deliverability.

Go Beyond Compliance with Pure Firefly

If you have questions on any of Yahoo & Google’s new sender requirements, reach out to contactus@purefirefly.com for personalized support. We offer various deliverability services, including one-on-one training to keep you up-to-date on the latest best practices! Just contact us any time for a quote or intro call.

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What Does “Cleaned” Mean in Mailchimp? Understanding Contact Statuses

If you use Mailchimp for email marketing, you’ve probably seen contacts being marked as cleaned. Cleaned is a contact status that impacts how you can store and market to a contact. Let’s dig into what Mailchimp’s cleaned contact status means and what you can do about it.

What is a “Cleaned” Contact?

In Mailchimp, a Cleaned contact is any contact that has been determined as invalid. In other words, this email address is unable to receive any emails. Typically, contacts are marked as cleaned after emails sent to that contact from your Mailchimp account have hard-bounced or repeatedly soft-bounced. Emails need to soft bounce at least 15 times for Mailchimp to clean a contact.

Because you are prevented from sending emails to a cleaned contact, it can be frustrating to see them on your account. Thankfully, cleaned contacts do not count towards your monthly plan limit. 

You can export cleaned contacts, but Mailchimp does not allow you to archive or edit them.

When Does Mailchimp Mark a Contact as Cleaned?

Mailchimp may clean a contact at any point in their lifecycle in your audience. Here are a few of the most common times when you’ll see a subscriber become cleaned:

  • After you send a campaign: When you send out a new email, Mailchimp will record the contacts that bounce. Addresses that hard bounce or soft bounce repeatedly will be marked as cleaned.
  • When you import contacts: If you import a misspelled or invalid email address, Mailchimp may automatically mark them as cleaned. Some emails will even be blocked from importing at all.
  • During an automated series: Sometimes contacts that initially appear valid will bounce back repeatedly, leading to them being marked as cleaned.

If you find that many of your new contacts are being blocked from import or immediately marked as cleaned, it may be time to brush up on list hygiene. Consider using a list cleaner like Zerobounce to remove invalid addresses.

What Do I Do With Cleaned Contacts?

Unfortunately, Mailchimp does not allow you to archive cleaned contacts. These contacts are removed from your billing but will remain in your audience unless you remove the list entirely.

To avoid cluttering your list with cleaned contacts, make sure invalid addresses are not allowed into your audience. Consider enabling double opt-in or reCAPTCHA to prevent spam on your signup forms. 

Double opt-in can also root out any real website visitors using fake email addresses – Some people will do anything for that 10% discount.

Can I Send Anything to a Cleaned Contact?

Contact statuses in Mailchimp impact what you can send. For example, users cannot send marketing emails to non-subscribed contacts. However, non-subscribed contacts can still receive postcards.

Cleaned contacts are unable to receive any communications from Mailchimp. 

Why is Mailchimp Strict About Cleaned Contacts?

Mailchimp maintains strict deliverability standards to protect the sender reputation of all its users. If a handful of Mailchimp users send to many invalid addresses, this can impact the delivery of all emails on Mailchimp’s platform. 

To keep everyone out of spam, Mailchimp constantly cleans contacts and monitors compliance with laws like CAN-SPAM & GDPR.

Optimize Your List Hygiene with Pure Firefly

If you’re struggling with managing cleaned contacts in Mailchimp, consider working with a Pro Partner like Pure Firefly. A qualified email marketing expert can help identify the source of cleaned contacts and develop a list hygiene strategy. Just send us a message for a quote on audience work.

30 & 60 Minute Training Calls are also available to answer all your email questions!

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What is SubjectLine.com: Pros and Cons

SubjectLine.com is a vital tool to ensure your emails stand out in those crowded inboxes of your receivers. Let’s talk about SubjecLine.com and examine its pros and cons to help you decide whether it’s the right choice for your email marketing strategy.

What is SubjectLine.com?

SubjectLine.com is an online platform designed to help email marketers improve the effectiveness of their email subject lines. It offers a simple and user-friendly interface, allowing users to test, analyze, and optimize their subject lines for maximum engagement and open email rates.
This tool helps marketers generate increased response rates and improved inbox deliverability.

Pros of Using SubjectLine.com

SubjectLine.com displays email deliverability and marketing results, adding and subtracting points based on subject line best practices. Here are some of its advantages:

  • Free to Use: SubjectLine.com is a FREE top-ranked email subject line testing tool.
  • Increase Open Rates: One of the most significant advantages of SubjectLine.com is its ability to boost email open rates. By analyzing your subject lines, it provides recommendations and insights on how to create subject lines that are more likely to capture the recipient’s attention. This will result in increased open rates, which is crucial for the success of email marketing campaigns.
  • A/B Testing: SubjectLine.com allows you to perform A/B testing with your subject lines. This approach empowers you to modify your email marketing strategies and adjust your content to the preferences of your audience.
  • Time and Cost Efficient: SubjectLine.com can save you time and money by streamlining the email marketing process. You can use the platform to improve your subject lines and make your campaigns more successful instead of relying on trial and error.
  • Learning Resources: You can learn more about the underlying effectiveness of the subject lines by consulting the educational tools and guidelines from SubjectLine.com. 

Cons of Using SubjectLine.com

While SubjectLine.com has many benefits, there may be better fits for some businesses. The tool only focuses on subject lines so here are some of its disadvantages.

  • Subscription Costs: It may be necessary for you to sign up for a subscription plan in order to access premium features. The subscription fees can increase your marketing costs, which may not be acceptable for individuals or small businesses on a limited budget.
  • Limited to Subject Lines: Subject lines are the main emphasis of SubjectLine.com. Email marketing success depends on many variables, including content quality, audience segmentation, timeliness, and others. Marketers who want their email marketing campaigns to succeed should rely on more than subject line optimization.
  • Subjectivity: While SubjectLine.com provides data-driven insights, email marketing can still be subjective. What resonates with one audience may not work for another. Therefore, relying solely on the platform’s recommendations without understanding your specific audience’s preferences might not yield the best results.

Conclusion

SubjectLine.com is a powerful tool that can help email marketers create subject lines that capture recipients’ attention and improve open rates. Its real-time feedback, A/B testing capabilities, and educational resources make it a valuable asset for email marketing campaigns. However, it’s important to remember that subject lines are just one piece of the email marketing puzzle. To achieve the best results, it’s essential to consider other aspects of email marketing as well.

Create your Magical Subject Lines with Pure Firefly

Creating effective subject lines is only the first part of a successful email campaign. Pure Firefly can provide full-service email marketing strategies with years of experience in IT & design. Contact us to book a free intro call.

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10 Signs You Should Work with an Email Marketing Agency

For small businesses, the decision to move from “do it yourself” to “do it for me” email marketing can be a major one. Working with an email marketing expert can help unlock hidden potential in your current audience and grow your business by reaching more contacts. How do you know when you’re ready to make the switch to working with an email marketing agency? Here are 10 signs you may be ready to reach out for a helping hand.

1. You’re Planning a Major Product Launch

Are you gearing up for a big product or service launch? Email marketing can be a powerful tool to create buzz and excitement among your audience. Try building up to the launch with scheduled campaigns that highlight the best features of your new product. Be strategic about your send frequency and be sure to announce the launch on your other marketing channels as well. An email marketing agency, like Pure Firefly, can help you craft product launch campaigns that drive engagement and encourage purchases.

2. Your Small Business is Growing

As small businesses expand, their email marketing strategies often become increasingly complex. To make the most of your growth, work with an email marketing agency to handle the burden of routine sending, automations, and segmentation. An email marketer can also provide the expertise you need to strategically scale your marketing with your growing audience.

3. This Year’s Big Sale is Coming Up

When an important sale or promotion is on the horizon, you want your email marketing efforts to be on point. An agency specializing in email marketing can help you strategize and execute high-impact campaigns that drive traffic and sales during your sales events. Many small businesses will work with an email marketer for their Black Friday promotions in order to maximize sales.

4. Your Campaigns Have Low Engagement

If your email campaigns are consistently met with low open and click rates, it’s time to reevaluate your approach. Email marketing agencies like Pure Firefly can analyze your current strategy, make necessary adjustments, and create content that resonates with your audience. Wondering how to assess your engagement? Check out our blog post on campaign analytics for more info!

5. Email Marketing Efforts are Not Converting to Revenue

It can be frustrating to spend hours on email marketing, only to find that your emails are not improving sales. Even engaging campaigns that generate lots of clicks may fail to lead subscribers to purchase. An email marketing agency can help optimize your strategy with tools like automation, segmentation, and personalized emails. Perfecting your email marketing strategy will give you the best shot at converting subscribers to happy customers.

6. Your Emails are Going to Spam

When your emails end up in the spam folder, you stand little chance of reaching engagement or revenue goals. There are many factors that can land you in spam, including problems with domain authentication, overuse of images, a lack of opt-in, or failure to follow CAN-SPAM & GDPR regulations. Resources online can list the common reasons genuine email marketing ends up in spam, but only an email marketing expert can take a look at your account and determine the individual factors that may impact your sender reputation.

7. You’re Spending Too Much Time on Emails

Many small business owners are surprised to find out how time-consuming email marketing can be. If you find yourself taking time away from critical tasks to focus on email marketing, it may be time to reach out for a helping hand. Email marketing agencies like Pure Firefly can assess your current marketing set-up and step in to strategize, design, and send your campaigns. If you don’t want to hand over the wheel entirely, an email marketer can set up automations to generate sales in the background while you focus on the day-to-day tasks of managing your business.

8. You Haven’t Been Using Automations

Email marketing automation can save you time and increase the relevance of your messages. If you haven’t implemented automation in your email strategy, an agency can help you set up and optimize automated email series. Some of the most popular automations for email marketing include:

  • Welcome emails
  • Re-engagement campaigns
  • Abandoned cart emails
  • Transactional emails
  • Review requests
  • Targeted automations

9. You Aren’t Segmenting Your Audience

Segmenting your email list allows you to send relevant content to different categories of subscribers. Many marketing platforms offer simple tools to make segmentation accessible. Mailchimp, for example, offers tags, groups, segments, and fields for segmentation. If you haven’t been segmenting your audience, you aren’t making the most of your contact list. An email marketing agency can guide you in segmenting your audience and targeting segments with relevant email campaigns.

10. You Haven’t Started Email Marketing Yet

If you’re a small business with any kind of online presence, email marketing should be a tool in your toolbox. According to Campaign Monitor, more than 64% of small businesses are already using email marketing to stay in touch with their consumers and maximize their revenue. There are many platforms offering beginner-friendly email marketing tools. To make sure you get started on the right foot, try booking a one-on-one consultation with a marketing agency like Pure Firefly.

Small Businesses Maximize their Marketing with Pure Firefly

As a small business, Pure Firefly understands the unique challenges and opportunities small businesses face. We offer various email marketing services, including template design, campaign strategy, audience clean-up, and Mailchimp audits. Whether you’re a marketing pro looking to reach the next level, or a beginner ready to dip into your customers’ inboxes, we would be delighted to work with you. Contact us today for a free intro call, or book a one-on-one session with our specialists starting at $89.

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Email Marketing Glossary: 10 Terms You Should Know

Do you speak email marketing language? For email newbies, the unique terms marketers use can be a roadblock to getting started. If you want to cut through the jargon and make the most of your chosen email marketing tools, learning the language is an easy first step. Here are 10 terms to get you started on your path to email mastery.

Segmentation

In email marketing, segmentation involves dividing your email list into smaller categories based on specific characteristics or behaviors. With segmentation, you can send subscribers the most relevant information. Some common methods for segmentation include:

  • Interest groups
  • Segmentation by demographics (age, gender, etc.)
  • Segmentation by location
  • Behavior-based segmentation
  • Purchase-based segmentation
  • Engagement-based segmentation

Email marketing tools like Mailchimp provide straightforward options to begin segmenting your audience. Check out our guide to tags, groups, and segments for more info.

Personalization

Personalization means customizing email content for individual recipients. This may use a recipient’s name or past behavior, and is often simpler to set up than it sounds! Marketing platforms like Mailchimp and Klaviyo use merge tags to customize how an email will appear to each subscriber.

Deliverability

In simple terms, deliverability means keeping your emails out of spam. Several factors can impact deliverability, including domain configuration, list hygiene, and compliance with GDPR and CAN-SPAM regulations. Because deliverability is impacted by so many different variables, working with an email marketing expert is often the best way to address deliverability issues.

Accessibility

Accessibility in email marketing means designing emails everyone can enjoy. Subscribers with disabilities, especially people using screen readers, can often run into difficulties reading the content of an inaccessible email. By using alt text and high-contrast colors, email marketers can improve their emails’ accessibility and make them available to all.

Engagement

In email marketing, engagement is the level of responsiveness your audience has to your content. Some common ways of measuring engagement include click rates, open rates, and revenue. For more information, check out our article on email marketing metrics.

A/B Testing

A/B testing is the practice of sending two different versions of an email to a sample of your audience to determine which performs better. You may A/B test an email’s content, “from” name, subject line, or other elements.

Call-to-Action (CTA)

An email’s CTA prompts recipients to take a specific action, such as making a purchase or signing up. It typically takes the form of a text link or a button. Some emails may include multiple CTA’s, while others focus in on one main action.

List Hygiene

List hygiene is routine maintenance for your email audience. Marketers with good list hygiene regularly remove inactive and/or invalid email addresses. Maintaining a clean email list can help with deliverability. If you’ve never cleaned your list, try starting with a straightforward tool like Zerobounce.

Subject Lines

Subject lines are the brief text that appears at the top of an email. They typically give subscribers a glimpse of the email’s content, and can be thought of as an email’s “title.” All emails are required to have a subject line, so developing an engaging subject is essential for email marketing success.

Preview Text

Preview text is a snippet of text that accompanies the subject line. Depending on your email client, it may display slightly shorter or longer than the subject line. Preview text often contains a snippet of text from the email copy itself.

Go Beyond the Basics with Pure Firefly

Maximizing your email marketing success takes more than a grasp of the basics. Pure Firefly offers 1-on-1 training sessions on the nuances of Mailchimp strategy, template design, and campaign analytics. Or contact us to kick off ongoing marketing work including account set-up, Mailchimp audits, template creation, and more.

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How to Integrate Mailchimp with Any Platform in 2023

In the world of email marketing, Mailchimp is well-known for its user-friendly interface. Despite the platform’s overall ease of use, some users still wonder how to integrate Mailchimp with another platform. If you’d like contacts from another website to flow automatically into Mailchimp, integrations should be your first consideration. This guide will cover all of the integration options Mailchimp offers, so you can make an informed decision about the best solution for your needs.

Mailchimp-Native Integrations

Mailchimp offers over 300 native integrations through its Integrations Directory. These are pre-built connections with popular platforms like WordPress, Shopify, and Salesforce. Because these integrations are already built by Mailchimp, they’re some of the simplest to use! Just log into Mailchimp, navigate to “Integrations” on the left side menu, and choose the platform you’d like to connect.

Mailchimp-native integrations are quick to set up and easy to use. Many of these integrations can automatically tag subscribers or record the revenue generated by email campaigns. Plus, several of Mailchimp’s native integrations open up additional possibilities for automated campaigns. After you turn on a new integration, take a look at Mailchimp’s pre-built journeys to see if any new options have become available. 

For less tech-savvy users, Mailchimp Native integrations are typically the best option. Plus, you can always work with a Pro Partner to walk you through the process.

Basic Mailchimp Integration via API Key

For more advanced users, integrating Mailchimp using an API key is a powerful option. This method provides granular control over your data and allows you to automate tasks like adding and updating subscribers. You can even segment your audience based on specific behaviors or data points from your platform.

Pro Tip: Pure Firefly email marketing offers both basic and custom API integrations, ensuring your Mailchimp setup aligns perfectly with your business goals.

How to Integrate Mailchimp Using Zapier

Sometimes, Mailchimp’s native options aren’t giving you what you need. A third-party integration platform may be necessary to bridge the gap between Mailchimp and another app. Zapier is one of the best of these third-party platforms. Using Zapier, you can automate the flow of contacts from Mailchimp to your other online platforms and vice-versa. For instance, when a new customer joins your online store, Zapier can automatically create a matching contact in Mailchimp.

Zapier is a no-code option for integration, so it’s great for people with limited technical skills. If you need a helping hand, consider a training call with an email specialist.

Using Webhooks to Trigger Real-Time Actions in Mailchimp

At the more advanced end of the technical spectrum, webhooks allow Mailchimp to post automatic updates onto your other online platforms, or vice versa. In the simplest terms, webhooks send a kind of digital signal between platforms. Whenever a specific event occurs on your platform, like a user signing up, a webhook sends out a signal to trigger the corresponding action in Mailchimp, such as adding the user to your audience.

For more info on Webhooks, consider watching Mailchimp’s free Webhooks webinar hosted by Kristy McCarley in 2023. Webhooks can be challenging for users not familiar with HTTP programming, so consider working with an email expert to get everything set up correctly.

Custom API Development: Tailoring Integration to Your Needs

In some cases, you might have unique requirements that go beyond Mailchimp’s typical integration capabilities. That’s where custom API development comes into play. With a custom API, you can build a solution tailored precisely to your needs, ensuring a seamless flow of data between your platform and Mailchimp.

Custom API development requires a high level of technical expertise and can be a lengthy process. This makes them a better fit for organizations with large budgets and highly specific integration needs. If you’re curious about what possibilities API development could open up for you, contact us for more information

Work with Pure Firefly for a World of Integration Possibilities

Integrating Mailchimp with your platform of choice makes audience management seamless. Whether you choose a native integration, API key, Zapier, webhooks, or custom development, Pure Firefly can help you identify the integration strategy that aligns with your business goals. If you’re interested in working together on an integration project, contact us to book a free intro call.

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What is an Email Bounce?

Newbies to email marketing often wonder what it means when an email bounces. If you’re among these new marketers, don’t worry. Bounces are a common occurrence every email marketer must learn to manage. In this blog post, we’ll explain what a bounce is and delve into the key distinctions between “hard bounces” and “soft bounces.”

What is an Email Bounce?

Emails bounce when they are unable to be delivered to a specific address and are returned to the sender. This can happen for various reasons depending on the situation and type of bounce. Typically, bounces are divided into “soft” and “hard” bounces. Understanding the difference can make a major impact on your email marketing strategy.

What is a Hard Bounce?

A “hard bounce” is a type of email bounce that occurs when an email cannot be delivered to the recipient and is permanently rejected. Hard bounces typically result from issues that are unlikely to be resolved, such as:

  • Invalid Email Addresses: This is the most common reason for a hard bounce. If the recipient’s email address is incorrect or doesn’t exist (e.g., typos in the domain or username), the email cannot be delivered.
  • Blocked Emails: Sometimes, an email address may be blocked by the recipient’s email server, often due to spam or security reasons.
  • Domain Does Not Exist: If the domain part of the email address (e.g. gmal.com) doesn’t exist, it results in a hard bounce.

What is a Soft Bounce?

Unlike hard bounces, soft bounces are the result of a temporary issue that prevents an email’s delivery. Common causes include:

  • Mailbox Full: Similar to a hard bounce, if a recipient’s mailbox is temporarily over its storage limit, it can result in a soft bounce. This issue can be resolved when the recipient clears space in their mailbox.
  • Server Is Down: If the recipient’s email server is temporarily unavailable, you may be unable to send to it. This can happen due to server maintenance or technical issues. It typically resolves when the server comes back online.
  • Message Size Exceeds Limit: If your email message is too large to be delivered to the recipient’s mailbox, it may bounce. Use file-sharing links or optimize your image sizes to resolve this issue.
  • Recipient Server Timeout: Sometimes, the recipient’s email server may take too long to respond due to server congestion or slow network connections.

Why Email Bounces Matter

Understanding the difference between hard and soft bounces is crucial for several reasons:

  • List Maintenance: By identifying and removing email addresses that result in hard bounces, you can keep your email list clean and up to date, improving your email deliverability.
  • Reputation Management: High bounce rates, especially hard bounces, can negatively impact your sender reputation. Maintaining a positive sender reputation is essential for avoiding the spam folder.
  • Customer Engagement: Bounced emails fail to reach the intended recipient. Over time, this can lead to lower engagement rates and diminished campaign success.

How to Handle Email Bounces

Dealing with email bounces effectively can boost your list health and improve the success of future campaigns. Here are some steps to start with:

  • Identify Bounced Emails: Use an email marketing platform that tracks bounces and categorizes them as hard or soft bounces. This will help you understand the severity of the issue.
  • Remove Hard Bounces: For hard bounces, promptly remove the email addresses from your list. Continuing to send emails to addresses that hard bounce can harm your sender reputation. Try using a list cleaner like Zerobounce to root out any additional invalid addresses in your audience.
  • Retry Soft Bounces: For soft bounces, consider retrying the delivery after some time. Soft bounces may resolve themselves, especially if the issue is temporary.
  • Update Contact Information: Routinely encourage subscribers to update their contact info. This can help clear out invalid email addresses.
  • Monitor & Repeat: Keep a close eye on your bounce rates as you continue to email your audience. Promptly addressing any sudden spikes can prevent further deliverability issues.

Bounce Back with Pure Firefly

Email bounces are a common occurrence in digital marketing, and understanding the difference between hard and soft bounces is essential. To take your knowledge to the next level, consider booking a strategy session with the email marketing experts at Pure Firefly. We can take a close look at your campaign analytics and provide you with actionable steps to improve deliverability, maximize engagement, and help you convert subscribers into happy customers.

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