Product Reviews

typing on a laptop next to subjectline.com logo and pure firefly logo mark

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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how to use zerobounce over an image of a man with a long paper list

How to Use Zerobounce for Email List Cleaning

Maintaining a clean contact list is crucial for email marketers. Thankfully, several tools and services offer you a clean list in an instant. Zerobounce is one of the most reliable among these options. In this blog post, we’ll provide a comprehensive guide to using Zerobounce, from uploading your audience file to interpreting the results. For more list-cleaning tips, book a training with one of Pure Firefly’s email experts!

What is Zerobounce?

Zerobounce is an email validation platform designed to improve the quality of your email lists. Basically, you upload the email addresses, and Zerobounce tells you which are worth contacting! Their software uses advanced algorithms and an extensive database to root out invalid email addresses, spam traps, and other low-quality contacts. After getting a full analysis of your list from Zerobounce, you can remove risky contacts in order to boost both engagement and deliverability.

Why is List Cleaning Important?

List cleaning is vital for maintaining a healthy sender reputation. Sender reputation is based on a variety of factors, including spam reports, active opt-in, and the presence of spam traps in your audience. By maintaining a healthy sender reputation, you can maximize overall deliverability. This means more contacts will actually receive your emails in their inbox.

By regularly cleaning your email list with a service like Zerobounce, you can continuously remove invalid and inactive contacts, which reduces your bounce rates, and minimizes the risk of being flagged as spam.

Upload Your File to Zerobounce

To clean your email list with Zerobounce, you’ll first need to upload your audience file. The process is simple:

  1. Create an account or log in
  2. Click on “Validate New List”
  3. Drag and drop your file, or import from cloud storage
  4. Match the columns in your file to the labels in Zerobounce
  5. Mark whether or not the first row contains column headers
  6. Confirm if Zerobounce can remove duplicate emails
  7. Hit Validate!

Once you’ve uploaded your file, Zerobounce may take up to an hour or more to complete the validation process. Zerobounce list cleaning supports CSV, XLS, XLSX, and TXT files of any size.

How to Interpret Your Zerobounce Results

After the validation process is complete, Zerobounce will provide you with a detailed report on the quality of your email list. Emails will be divided into the following statuses:

  • Valid: These contacts have a bounce rate under 2% and are the safest to email.

  • Invalid: Invalid emails either do not exist, contain a syntax error, or have a full inbox. As a general rule, these contacts should be deleted.

  • Catch-All: These addresses are set up on a unique kind of domain that always returns a valid response – even if there’s no one on the other end. If you want to keep these addresses, try making a segment of catch-all contacts and observing their response to a campaign.

  • Spamtrap: These emails are fake addresses set up by ISPs & blacklist providers in order to catch spammers. Sending to a spam trap can have an immense impact on your sender reputation, so definitely delete any that Zerobounce finds! Check out Mailchimp’s article on spam traps to understand how these addresses work. 
  • Abuse: These contacts are typically real people that are known to report even innocent emails as spam. Avoid sending to these contacts, as even an inaccurate spam report can damage your deliverability.

  • Do Not Mail: These are most often role-based or company emails (like “sales@purefirefly.com”). While these addresses are valid, they’re typically poor contacts for most email marketing. Take a closer look at these addresses to determine whether or not you’d like to continue sending to them.

  • Unknown: As you might predict, Zerobounce can’t determine the validity of unknown contacts. Try re-importing them at no cost, or remove them from your audience. 80% of unknowns are invalid addresses.

Along with these statuses, Zerobounce also provides sub-statuses explaining why a contact may have landed in a particular status. They also provide additional predicted information about your contacts, including name, gender, and general location. 

What’s Next?

After you’ve cleaned your list using Zerobounce, you can choose how to make the most of the information provided! One great option is to archive any of the invalid, spam trap, and abuse contacts in your audience. You can even archive your full contact list and re-import the valid addresses.

You may also use your Zerobounce list cleaning results for segmentation. For example, you can use Zerobounce’s gender predictions to send targeted marketing based on gender. Or, you can create a tag for catch-all addresses and send a targeted campaign requesting that they re-confirm their subscription. 

However you choose to use your Zerobounce results, make sure you clear out those spam traps and send to your most valid addresses!

Get a Cleaner List with Pure Firefly

Ready to put your cleaner list into action? Pure Firefly, a trusted partner in email marketing, offers list cleaning services and comprehensive training to help you optimize your campaigns. Our team of email specialists have over 10 years of experience in marketing, design, and IT. 

Contact us today for a free quote on any email marketing service! We look forward to working with you soon.

*Note: This post may include affiliate links. If you sign up for Zerobounce list cleaning using links in this post, Pure Firefly will receive a small commission. We never promote services we do not use ourselves, and all opinions expressed are our own.

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classy vs bloomerang on a desktop computer screen

Classy vs. Bloomerang for Nonprofits

Many nonprofits use Classy or Bloomerang to manage their donor relationships and fundraising efforts. Both softwares offer a range of features to help nonprofits manage their fundraising campaigns. However, key differences make each platform preferable in distinct situations. Drawing on Pure Firefly’s background in nonprofit email marketing, we’re here to help you decide which software best suits your needs. 

What is Classy?

Classy is a fundraising platform designed to help nonprofits easily create and manage their fundraising campaigns. Classy offers various features, including donation processing, event registration, and peer-to-peer fundraising. Their platform is designed to help nonprofits increase their fundraising revenue and build stronger relationships with their donors. Classy’s nonprofit users can create custom donation pages, track their fundraising progress, and communicate simply with their donors.

Classy also integrates with Mailchimp. This integration enables users to sync audience data on Classy donors and fundraisers directly into Mailchimp. By integrating with Mailchimp, Classy users can extend their fundraising efforts using email marketing. Nonprofits who want to make the most of this integration may benefit from working with a Mailchimp Pro Partner. Contact Pure Firefly to learn more!

What is Bloomerang?

Similar to Classy, Bloomerang is a donor management software that is designed to help nonprofits build and maintain relationships with their donors. Bloomerang’s features include donor profiles, donation tracking, and email marketing tools. Bloomerang’s platform is designed to help nonprofits better understand their donors, communicate with them effectively, and ultimately increase their fundraising revenue. Compared to Classy, it places more emphasis on building a relationship with donors, rather than fundraising directly.

Bloomerang also maintains a direct integration with Mailchimp, which can merge audience fields across the two platforms. This can help nonprofits leverage Mailchimp’s email marketing tools to engage all their donors, potential donors, and other audience members. 

If you’re having trouble managing your Mailchimp/Bloomerang integration, consider working with email experts like those at Pure Firefly. Set up a training session with our team to go over the Mailchimp basics. Book a call here.

Classy’s Pros & Cons

Among its extensive range of features, Classy has several advantages for nonprofit organizations. Some of Classy’s major advantages include:

  • User-friendly interface
  • Customizable landing pages
  • Event management (including in-person & virtual events)
  • Peer-to-peer fundraising
  • Recurring donations

However, there are some potential drawbacks to using Classy. One disadvantage is that Classy charges $299 per month for its services. This price may be prohibitive for smaller nonprofits with limited budgets. Classy also charges a small fee on all transactions. Additionally, while Classy’s platform is easy to use, the level of customization and flexibility is less in-depth than some other fundraising platforms.

Bloomerang’s Pros & Cons

When it comes to Bloomerang, one major advantage is its focus on donor relationship management. Bloomerang’s platform is designed to help nonprofits build stronger relationships with their donors. This strong relationship can help boost fundraising revenue over time. Additionally, Bloomerang’s email marketing tools are very robust, which can help nonprofits stay in touch with their donors and keep them engaged.

However, there are some potential drawbacks to using Bloomerang. Compared to Classy, its interface is somewhat more complex and difficult to use. Additionally, Bloomerang’s focus on donor relationship management presents a drawback when it comes to fundraising features. For nonprofits in search of an all-in-one fundraising platform, Bloomerang may not be the ideal choice.

Bloomerang offers pricing on a sliding scale depending on the number of contacts in a user’s account, as well as their organization’s annual fundraising income. For nonprofits making under $250k a year, plans start at $79 per month for up to 1,000 contacts.

Classy vs. Bloomerang: What’s the Best Fit?

Ultimately, the choice between Classy & Bloomerang depends on your organization’s needs. Both are well-rounded tools that can increase fundraising revenue, but here are some major guidelines to help you decide.

Classy may be right for you if…

  • You’re willing to invest more for a wider range of features
  • Your team needs something immediately easy to use
  • Events are a key aspect of your fundraising strategy

Bloomerang may be right for you if…

  • Engaging with donors is your #1 priority
  • Your team is tech-savvy and open to learning a new tool
  • You have a small budget and annual fundraising revenue under $250k

Overall, both Classy and Bloomerang are robust software programs with a range of fundraising and donor relationship management features. The choice is yours- but you can always contact Pure Firefly if you need an extra hand!

 

Reach Beyond the Software: Work with Pure Firefly

 

If you find that your fundraising tool isn’t engaging your audience effectively, it may be time to branch out into other marketing avenues. That’s where Pure Firefly comes in. 

Our team of Mailchimp-certified email specialists can help you develop effective email marketing campaigns to engage the donors you already have and reach the website visitors you hope to convert. We have proven experience working with nonprofits, and offer a range of email marketing services. 

Contact us today to elevate your nonprofit’s fundraising strategy!

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Top 10 Email Marketing Template Resources

For some, designing a beautiful template is one of the most entertaining parts of email marketing. Meanwhile, others find template design more like pulling teeth. No matter which camp you fall into, a little inspiration can go a long way. Here are Pure Firefly’s top 10 template design resources (in no particular order) to get the ideas flowing.

1. Mailchimp’s Template Marketplace

As Mailchimp Pro Partners, we have to give a nod to Mailchimp’s template marketplace. With 47 expert-designed templates to choose from, this is a great place to start if you’re a Mailchimp user. Plus, this is one of the only resources on this list that can provide editable templates for the Mailchimp builder.

Browse Mailchimp’s Premium Templates 

2. Really Good Emails

In the event that you’re just looking for inspiration and not for templates to download yourself, we can’t recommend Really Good Emails enough. Their library of over 10,000 templates updates every day with the best in email design. At Pure Firefly, we use Really Good Emails to keep an eye on design trends and incorporate them into our own templates. 

Check out Really Good Emails

3. Newsletter Glue

While its selection of pre-built templates is somewhat limited, Newsletter Glue is a great option for designers who prefer designing in WordPress to email marketing tools. It’s a WordPress plug-in that integrates with 13 of the most popular email service providers.

Try Newsletter Glue

4. Litmus Email Templates

Litmus is an email powerhouse offering email testing, design, and analytics. As long as you create a free account, you can choose from over 50 templates for use in their builder.

Browse templates by Litmus

5. BeeFree

BeeFree is another free email builder and includes over 1250 templates. Free users can add templates to their favorites, then customize them.

Check out BeeFree templates

6. MailBakery Email Marketing Templates

MailBakery designs & sells responsive HTML email templates. Start with their free options and see if you like their style!

Browse free MailBakery templates

7. Envato Market (aka Themeforest)

Envato Market is an online market for email & web designers. They offer over 1,500 email designs and offer a variety of price points for any marketing need.

Go shopping on Envato Market

8. Topol.io Free Marketing Templates

Like BeeFree, Topol is another email builder. They offer a monthly plan, as well as a handful of free templates you can edit with or without a subscription.

Browse templates on Topol

9. Stripo

Stripo is an email marketing template resource with over 1300 templates to choose from, including free options. A subscription is needed to access Stripo’s complete functionality.

Check out Stripo’s HTML templates 

10. Canva for Email Design

After getting inspired, Canva is the perfect place to design email graphics yourself. You can start from scratch or with one of their templates. Plus, most of Canva’s design tools are available for free.

Give Canva a try

(BONUS) 11. Hire an Expert at Pure Firefly

When in doubt, working with an expert is the best way to guarantee a fully-functional and aesthetically pleasing template. At Pure Firefly, we use a range of tools to build and test our templates, ensuring functionality on various platforms. After all, email is our happy place. Contact us today for a free quote!

*Note: This post may include affiliate links. When you sign up for Newsletter Glue through this post, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

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ChatGPT for (AI-Hesitant) Email Marketers

If you’ve had an eye on any tech news, you know that Chat GPT is everywhere. The AI language model sparks questions about plagiarism, creativity, and language. Plus, people in diverse fields are using ChatGPT to streamline their work. This week, I set up an account to investigate the possibilities of ChatGPT for email marketers. Here’s what I experienced and how you can apply it to your emails.

First, Have No Fear

I’ll be honest: I might have a moderate fear of AI technology. As someone with only a few toes in the tech world, the speed of progress can be overwhelming. So, if you have only a nebulous (& maybe morbid) fascination with ChatGPT, this post is for you. 

In my first hands-on experience with ChatGPT, I was surprised by how easy the interface is to use. It reminded me of the novelty chatbots I experimented with in my childhood (does anyone remember iGod?). ChatGPT displays your conversations and settings on the left side of the page, and all the magic happens on the right.

Swallowing my biases, I tested the waters with a basic prompt: “Please generate a 15 word paragraph on ChatGPT.”

The answer: “ChatGPT is an AI-powered language model designed to communicate and respond like a human.”

A bit robotic, sure, but accurate. Soon, I was diving in with more questions. I narrowed my focus to figuring out how ChatGPT can support email marketers like Pure Firefly and came up with some surprising approaches.

Use ChatGPT to Generate Subject Lines

As a copywriting tool, ChatGPT for email marketers is helpful but could be better. A great example is the language model’s approach to subject lines. In my first attempt at generating subject lines with ChatGPT, I used the prompt below:

“Please generate 3 email subject lines based on the following text:

Pure Firefly is an email marketing agency & Mailchimp pro-partner. We provide the right team of specialists at the right price to deliver strategic work designed for any budget.”

The AI returned 3 subject lines which were accurate to the text I’d shared. However, the options it created were too long. The longest was 11 words, 4 words over our recommended maximum of 7 words. So, the AI is smart, but it’s not an email pro.

I asked again in different words: “Please generate 3 email subject lines under 7 words each, based on the following text….”

Then again, with more modification: “Please generate 3 email subject lines under 6 words each, based on the following text…All of the subject lines should include a number.”

With each layer of added specificity, the responses were better tuned to my needs. So, if you use ChatGPT to generate draft subject lines or other copy, know that specificity is key. 

ChatGPT is designed to mimic human speech, but it won’t make the same assumptions you might. If you’re collaborating with ChatGPT for email marketing, explain your expected results in detail.

Let the AI Help You Code for Email

After working with ChatGPT to generate some draft subject lines, I asked the bot for some basic HTML code using the following prompt: Can you generate the HTML code for a button in a Mailchimp email template text box? The button should be 300 pixels wide and have the words “Read More.”

Even with my imperfect phrasing, ChatGPT returned effective code to display a button. When I copied & pasted the code into a Mailchimp template, it created a blue button matching my requirements.

Not bad for a bot! It even displayed properly in Outlook and Gmail, across mobile and desktop browsers.

For more complicated assignments, ChatGPT will likely require more detailed guidance. The code it generates should always be tested for accuracy. However, this is a great tool for email designers looking to generate some quick HTML they can then modify as needed.

ChatGPT’s Limitations for Email Marketers

Despite its presence in the news, the version of ChatGPT available today is only a research preview. With every new conversation, the model’s ability to mimic human language improves. However, ChatGPT still has a handful of limitations.

  • Lacking the Facts: ChatGPT is a language learning model, not a field expert. Several articles have highlighted ChatGPT’s factual inaccuracies. If you use AI to write drafts, always double-check any facts included. 
  • Not So Up-To-Date: If you do ask ChatGPT for factual information, it returns with the preamble, “As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021…” Currently, the model can not provide any updated information beyond that date. 
  • Feeling Awkward?: While ChatGPT’s responses are impressively human, a robotic quality to its speech is apparent in certain contexts. For example, when asked to generate subject lines, the AI recycles phrases from your copy. It lacks the level of creativity a human writer might employ.

Will ChatGPT Put Email Marketers Out of Business?

The short answer? Not right now. As it stands, ChatGPT is a great tool for generating text and code. It doesn’t have the factual knowledge and human creativity that email marketing agencies like Pure Firefly can provide. 

In my own experiments with the language learning model, I’ve found that ChatGPT is more of an assistant than an expert. If you’re looking to write with better speed and concision, ChatGPT could be helpful. But if you need to build a strategy that converts, try email marketing with a Mailchimp Pro Partner instead.

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email and website connected by newsletter glue

Newsletter Glue: One Marketer’s Perspective

Newsletter Glue is a WordPress plugin which allows users to create & send newsletters from within the WordPress builder. Plus, it integrates with 13 major email service providers. This week, I used Newsletter Glue to build Pure Firefly’s monthly newsletter. Here are a few pros and cons for those who might be interested in trying it out!

Easy Blog Updates

For many bloggers, streamlining the process from creating a new blog post to emailing it out to their subscribers can be a challenge. RSS campaigns can run into technical challenges and lack the editability some bloggers would prefer. However, manually copy and pasting blog posts into an email marketing platform also requires a significant time investment.

Newsletter Glue is a great fit for bloggers and organizations in this position. By using your WordPress builder to create & send emails, the plugin takes advantage of the skills you already have. This makes sending out blog updates a much faster process. As Newsletter Glue co-founder Leslie Sim shared, “Once everything is set up, our customers save, on average, an hour or more per newsletter.”

For people and organizations sending newsletters on a regular basis, those hours certainly add up!

Built-In Brand Consistency

When you build newsletters in Newsletter Glue, all of the formatting from your website carries over. This is a great way to ensure consistency between your website and newsletters, fortifying your overall brand voice.

While this built-in consistency can be a plus for some organizations, it can also come with some drawbacks. Because the builder incorporates your overall website styles, it can be challenging to differentiate campaigns with unique colors and/or fonts. Newsletter Glue’s builder does allow users to customize text & color settings for each block, but it will always default to the style settings a user has already established for their WordPress site. 

This is one element which makes Newsletter Glue a better fit for informational newsletters than marketing campaigns. 

Other Considerations

When I built Pure Firefly’s newsletter in Newsletter Glue, I did run into a few challenges with image formatting. The good news is that Newsletter Glue’s tech support team was responsive and helpful. We communicated via email and they responded to every message within 48 hours.

Newsletter Glue’s code is heavily tested and follows WordPress VIP Coding standards. Like any tool, it still has a few quirks. When trying it out for the first time, be sure to double check that your email is appearing as intended across email platforms. Check the Newsletter Glue documentation to ensure all your blocks are email compatible. 

Overall, Newsletter Glue is a great fit for people who prefer creating posts in WordPress than building templates in their email marketing platform. 

Ready to Build Your Newsletter?

Newsletters are one of the best ways to nurture relationships with your audience. Need some inspiration?

Pure Firefly sends a monthly newsletter with email tips, Mailchimp how-to’s, and food for thought from around the web. Plus, check out these recommendations from Lesley Sim:

Thanks to Lesley Sim for her help with this article. Check out her website at lesley.pizza, and definitely try out Newsletter Glue.

If you need help setting up your first newsletter,  contact us for a consultation.

Note: This post may include affiliate links. When you sign up for Newsletter Glue through this post, we earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

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