Justin Premick is the Director of Education Marketing for AWeber Communications , an email marketing services company. Justin helps small businesses learn how to grow through permission-based email marketing campaigns. He is also a regular contributor to the AWeber blog, newsletter, webinars and educational materials. In this interview Justin explains what Email Marketing is, he gives tips on getting subscribers and suggests the best ways to get your emails delivered and actually read. The main service that AWeber provides is Email Marketing. If someone hadn’t heard of this can you explain simply what it is? Email marketing at its simplest is sending emails to customers and prospects in order to generate a desired response. That response could be product purchases, donations to a cause, referrals of new customers, or whatever else you want people to do. Effective email marketing involves promising people something of value if they sign up to your list, collecting their information, for example, via a signup form on your website, and delivering the value you promised them. Director of Education Marketing sounds like a specific role – what does it involve? At AWeber, we grow the business through education. By teaching businesses to more effectively use email to connect with customers and prospects, we create trust and establish credibility as a company and as a provider of email marketing software. So we market AWeber through email marketing tips on our blog, free live webinars, videos, downloadable email marketing guides and other educational content. As Director of Education Marketing, I provide vision and guidance to a team who generates and delivers that educational content. Email Marketing can be a minefield of mistakes just waiting to happen if it isn’t done properly. Do you provide help for people starting off? You’re absolutely right – while email marketing is an effective way to grow your business, it does require that you grasp a few key concepts and avoid some common mistakes. The good news is that we want businesses to succeed with their email campaigns, and we put a lot of resources into making sure that yours can. We provide live webinars, helpful email marketing tips, and an extensive Knowledge Base with videos that make it easy to create, manage and expand your email marketing campaigns. Do you have suggestions on how a business would build up subscribers to their Newsletters? The biggest mistake I see businesses make when it comes to (not) building their lists is that they don’t give people enough chances to sign up. People get to your website through search engines, links from friends, and other ways that don’t result on them starting on your homepage – in fact, some visitors will never see your homepage at all. If that’s the only place you have a signup form, those people will never get a chance to subscribe to your emails. So you should have a signup form on more than just your homepage. On most sites, there are only a handful of pages, an order page, for example, where you don’t want a signup form. If for some reason you can’t swing putting a form on all or most pages, at least get one on your About page – it’s one of the most visited pages for most sites, so capitalize on the knowledge that people will be going there and give them a chance to sign up! Newsletters sent by email often fall at the first hurdle by not reaching the Inbox of the subscriber, possibly going straight to Junk Mail. What do you advise to stop this happening? There are a number of things involved in getting your email delivered. Some of these are technical in nature, and are best handled by an email marketing service (such as AWeber) – unless, of course, you want to learn how to implement DKIM, process feedback loops, and handle other technical challenges that arise in-house. The good news is, once you have outsourced those technical issues to an email marketing service, the deliverability-related responsibilities that fall to you are relatively easy. To get your email delivered, send email that people want, to people who have asked for it and expect it. If you do that, you’ll minimize spam complaints, which are a key determinant of whether ISPs put your emails in the inbox or the Junk folder. An added bonus: doing this will maximize not only your delivery rates, but also your response rates. There are certainly other things you can do, for example: I recommend getting subscribers to add your email address to their address books, but honestly, sending email people want, expect, and have asked for is 95% of what you have to do to get to the inbox. Do photos and videos in the body of the email help or hinder the email going to the right place? If you’re going to send an email with images in it, you should host those images on your website and use their URLs to display them in the email. Most email marketing software makes this easy to do. As for video, most recipients’ email programs will not allow video to play directly in the email, so you need to send subscribers somewhere they can watch it online. The best way to do this is to take a screenshot of the video, put that image in the email, and link the image to the webpage where the video is embedded. That way, subscribers click the video player image and are taken to the video page to watch. What tips would you give to people writing their Newsletters to get them opened once they arrive in their Inbox? There are two main things that people look at when deciding whether to open an email: the “from” line and the “subject” line. Your “from” line should be something that your subscribers will immediately recognize and associate with your organization. If you yourself are the brand, you may want to use your name and email address, but otherwise the company name is typically the way to go. If the “from” line helps subscribers decide if a message is from someone they want to give their attention to in general, the “subject” line helps them decide whether this particular email is important and needs to be opened promptly. Your “subject” line should convey what the email is about while piquing subscribers’ curiosity and interest, much as you would in a blog post title or sales page headline. You may find that certain types of subject lines, such as those that ask questions, tend to pull better response rates than others. However don’t fall into the trap of making all your subject lines feel the same otherwise subscribers may decide that all your emails are the same and they don’t need to open the one you just sent them. When do you suggest is the best time and day to send out your Newsletter on email to ensure it is read? Honestly? The day isn’t a critical factor in most cases. If you send content people expect and value, they’ll read. If you send low-value content, it won’t matter whether it’s Tuesday morning or Wednesday afternoon. Garbage in, garbage out. Micromanaging your emails by tinkering with delivery days and times just distracts you from creating the best content possible. Spend your resources on improving your content and offers, not the timing. A huge thanks to Justin Premick for his informative insights into Email Marketing. I hope that it helps people with their email newsletters and if you have any more tips please let us know below.