Archive for the ‘Email Marketing’ Category

Easy scheduling and tracking of emails with Bananatag

Email tracking is becoming more and more important in this day and age. The traditional method of sending an email and waiting for an acknowledgement from the recipient requires a lot of patience. Today, technology allows you to track the life of your email, from the moment it was opened by your recipient to the time they downloaded your attachments. Email tracking is useful to cultivate relationships with your clients at a time when it has become increasingly difficult to maintain customer relationships in the cutthroat environment of the online marketing world.

While we didn’t previously have the option of tracking our emails, now there is an abundance of email tracking tools and applications that you can use. Of them is Bananatag. One added benefit with Bananatag’s email tracking is that you can use it to schedule emails too.

Bananatag helps you stay competitive in the inbox world

With the options of tracking as well as scheduling emails, Bananatag will soon become indispensible to organizations. Designed for audiences wider than just sales guys, Bananatag’s focus is also on the organization’s internal communication. This greatly helps in monitoring and generating real-time data on employee management. With an interface that is simple to use, Bananatag also offers the following features:

  • Three different types of dashboards:
    • Metrics dashboards: Users can view data as opened emails versus unopened emails, unique clicks versus repeat clicks, and un-clicked emails versus clicked emails.
    • Resource dashboard: This dashboard provides downloads for plug-ins such as Gmail, Microsoft Outlook and so on.
    • User dashboard: Users can use this dashboard to view data such as the emails that they have already tracked, the amount of time that has passed between the sending and the opening of the emails, etc.
  • Email tracking: After you link an account to Bananatag for tracking your email messages, Bananatag sends you a notification for every email that was clicked by your recipient and every email that was opened.
  • Email scheduling: With just two clicks, you can use Bananatag to schedule your emails to be sent at a later time. You can select the date and time for an email to be sent. Also, you can set a recurring time for certain types of emails to be sent periodically, like newsfeeds or customer engagement emails.
  • Templates: If you have no time to compose basic messages, Bananatag has you covered in that area too. You can use variables (up to three variables per email) to customize the details of your email with the same basic template provided by Bananatag.
  • Attachment tracking: Probably one of the USPs of Bananatag, the application lets you view heat-maps for all your attachments, including presentations, documents, spreadsheets, and more file types. It will give you data such as the time spent on viewing each page of the attachment, the total page views, etc.
  • Email analytics: With this feature, you can view the success rate of your emails. It gives you a detailed view of the number of emails you sent on a particular day, the number of emails that were opened, the number of links that were clicked, the percentage of emails that were opened on a mobile device as compared to those that were opened on a desktop device, and the usage of the templates.

Tool working

Once you download Bananatag’s Gmail or Outlook plug-in from their site, it is pretty simple to decide if you wish to take the ‘For Sales Teams’ or the ‘For Internal Comms’ plan. After buying and installing the plug-in, you will be able to schedule and track emails with the Schedule and Track buttons on your compose window. For tracking links and attachments, you need not perform an extra step. Only clicking the Track button in your compose window will do the trick. Your tracked emails are sent through your own server, which means that they arrive from your own email address. So you can always be assured of data security. You can use the dashboard to view the metrics of your email interaction.

  • To track emails, links and attachments, click the Track button on your compose window before sending the email.
  • To schedule an email to be sent later, click the Schedule button on your compose window. The Schedule window will display the calendar and the clock to set the preferred date and time for the email to be sent. Clicking the Recurring button will allow you to set an email for sending periodically.
  • Log on to their website with your log-in credentials to be able to view the metrics of your emails.

Pros and Cons

High points of the tool include:

  • Free tracking of 5 emails per day
  • Seamless tracking of all emails that are sent
  • Different plans for different purposes: sales and internal communication

There’s one low point too:

  • Plug-ins available only for Gmail and Outlook

Pricing

The Pro plan can be bought for $6.25 with the capacity of tracking 100 emails a day. The Team plan is offered at $12.50 with the capacity of tracking 200 emails per day. The Internal Comms plan, although expensive at $200, allows you the capacity of tracking 200 emails a day along with the ability to send distribution lists and tracking internal communications.

  • Track your Gmail and Outlook emails with @bananatag bananatag.com/ via @supermonitoring

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Verdict

With a free plan and different plans for different purposes, Bananatag is a star email tracking application. While it could do with plug-ins for more email applications, we are still okay with support for Google and Outlook. Better than its counterparts, Bananatag emerges a winner in this fight for the best email tracking application. We suggest you give it a try too!

Preview outgoing emails and newsletters with Inbox Inspector

Lest you get confused by the title of this review, let us give you a brief about what email preview tools are and why they are needed.

In email marketing, what you see is not what your readers see. The email template you design and send to your own email account for testing may look great to you, but you should know that once that email lands in the inboxes of your contact list, it can look very different. And there are 3 main reasons for that:

  • There are no established standards for displaying emails, so emails rendered with different webmail services and different email clients have totally different look and feel.
  • Most users view emails on mobiles and handheld devices nowadays. So while you may have designed email templates on desktops, the final outgoing emails can look totally different on the devices your audiences use.
  • Most webmail services and email clients by default block images in emails unless the user takes specific otherwise action.

If the above reasons don’t prompt you to preview your outgoing emails and get an idea of what they would look like at your users’ end, we don’t know what will.

Enter – Inbox Inspector.

Inbox Inspector – Preview Newsletters before they reach your customers

Inbox Inspector allows you to monitor and test your email / newsletter designs by previewing them on a number of popular desktop and mobile email clients. The tool enables you to see what the recipients of your newsletters would see when the mails you send them reach their inbox. That way, you can be sure that the hours of work you put into designing email and newsletter templates doesn’t go waste owing to environment differences at your users’ end.

Some of the most attractive features of Inbox Inspector are:

  • Allows you to preview your emails in more than 25 popular clients including standalone desktop clients, webmail and mobile email apps
  • Extremely responsive, as in, as soon as you choose an email message to preview, it displays it in the clients you’ve selected instantly
  • Enables you to see real email previews, even when images are blocked, and view how the subject line is displayed in an inbox
  • The tool is completely free, no strings attached

Tool Usage

Using Inbox Inspector is unbelievably simple. Just land on the tool’s homepage, punch in your name and email id and click on “Preview my email”. You’ll be directed to a page that’s simple – no flashy dashboards or confusing options. Just a left hand panel with 4 clickable options, viz. preview new email, watch video tutorial (which is quite self-explanatory by the way), FAQs, contact. Though you’ll be able to see a “My Previews” button on the top right corner of the screen, we’re not really sure why it’s needed. There were no signups required so how would the tool keep a track of the previews for a particular visitor?

Note: We later found out that the tool maintained session history of each user. So clicking on “My Previews” button showed us all email previews we had seen in our current session.

Anyways, to proceed we clicked on “Preview New Email” and found ourselves on a option selecting page. Here we picked the email clients we wanted to test our newsletters on and clicked on “Next Step”. Now came the time to provide the tool with the email we wanted it to preview. There were 3 options to do this:

  • Pasting HTML code – Clicking on this opened a panel with fields to enter email subject line and the HTML code for the email. There was a Preview button to be clicked once the code was pasted.
  • Sending the email – Here, the panel that opened listed instructions through which we could send the tool the email we wanted it to preview. We had to login to our inbox, choose the email for preview, and send it to the address provided by the tool. Then click on a button saying “Okay, I’ve sent it”.
  • Entering the URL address – This required entering the URL of the email message if it was available online.

We picked the second option and sent a dummy email to the tool to test its working. It took just a few milliseconds to receive and load the email we’d sent and then we were directed to the results page. Here we could see the email’s subject line highlighted on the top with all the previews for various email clients and devices displayed below. The results were kind of mixed:

  • For web-based clients – we could see the results of 2 out of the 3 clients selected
  • For standalone clients – we could see 3 out of 4 results
  • For mobile clients – we couldn’t see any results

Clicking on each result opened it up on a new page so we could analyze the look and feel of our test email and make changes accordingly. There was no limit as to how many times we ran the tests, each time we needed fresh results or wanted to send a new email to the tool, all we had to do was repeat the basic steps.

Note: If for any reason you have to refresh the ‘Preview New Email’ page where you pick a method to send test email to the tool, remember to note the target email id the tool provides. It’s different each time.

Pros VS Cons

We’d like to summarize the pros of the tool in a single line – it’s neat, simple, and free.

The cons however need to be listed:

  • Many of the listed preview environments don’t work (we couldn’t see many results)
  • Loading results takes quite a lot of time
  • The tool doesn’t have much appeal
  • Preview outgoing emails and make improvements before sending – inboxinspector.com/ by @getresponse via @supermonitoring

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Verdict

After a long time, this was a tool that wasn’t really impressive. Yes the purpose behind building it is genuine, but it doesn’t strike as an extremely useful tool. There are better alternatives out there.

Automated email follow-up with Woodpecker

Effective communication is one that’s promptly followed up. But what do you do if you’re travelling / having lunch / visiting the doctor / same such when you’re supposed to be replying to your client’s “urgent” email? Reply after a while, of course!

Sadly, that might not always work out for the best. Some conversations are just too important to be replied to at leisure. Like a job interview invite, for instance. Take a little time to reply and someone else might fill up the space; or a delayed email to your long-distance girlfriend might lead to a break up.

Okay that was a bit dramatic, but on a serious note, what do you do when you need to follow-up on an important email chain but you aren’t sure you’ll be able to get hold of a computer when you need to? The answer lies in automation.

Automate your email follow up, and while you’re at it, make it interesting. Meet – Woodpecker.

Woodpecker – cold emails and follow-ups sent from your inbox, automatically

Woodpecker is a one-of-a-kind online tool that lets you send out follow-up emails but at a frequency that makes the receiver believe you’re sending them yourself. You can set up how many emails you wish to send out and at what times so that it doesn’t look automated. What’s more, the tool intelligently detects replies to mail chains and stops further follow-ups accordingly. Replies from different addresses, forwards, and auto-responders are also detected.

Woodpecker is a boon for people who market or keep in touch with their client base through regular cold emails. You can contact an unlimited number of prospects with personalized cold emails daily to build solid revenues. Moreover, the tool shows you who opened one of your automated emails and when or clicked your link.

Talking about the tool from an organization’s point of view, if more than one person (or a team) is responsible for sending follow-ups, Woodpecker ensures the same people aren’t addressed twice. That way you don’t end up spamming your prospects and everyone stays happy.

Here are some other cool advantages the tool gives you:

  • Integration with a number of email platforms (Gmail, Outlook, or other IMAP based)
  • Support for exporting leads through Zoho, Zapier, Pipedrive, etc.
  • Enables easy customization of follow-up emails with multiple fields to make them sound as natural as possible
  • Allows you to import contacts form Zapier (using API) or from Excel files

How it Works

To let the guys at Woodpecker give you a nice demo, click on ‘Get a demo’ at the upper right corner of the homepage.

To try it out for yourself, sign up for a 14 day trial without providing any credit card information. Thereafter, you can choose to watch a sweet 3-minute tutorial-of-sorts to know your way around the tool’s interface. But even if you don’t watch it you’ll be able to figure the tool out. That’s because there isn’t much of a learning curve involved (plus point in our view).

Once you reach the tool’s dashboard, you’ll see a button on the right hand side that says “Add campaign”. That’s where you’ll need to click to start sending out your first emails using Woodpecker. Once you do, the tool will ask you to pick a campaign name, attach an email id (from which you wish to send the emails out), and fill-in email components (subject, content, etc.). On the right hand side, adjacent to the email content section you’ll see a number of custom fields that you can add to your follow-ups to give them a personal touch. These fields include:

  • First name
  • Last name
  • Full name
  • Company
  • Email
  • URL
  • Additional snippets

The values for these fields will be mapped from your Contact address book that you import into Woodpecker. Or you can add prospects (Contacts, clients) individually through “Add Prospects” button on the lower right side of the screen.

Thereafter, set a delivery time to send out the emails and select any additional settings you want (like tracking email opens). Once all settings are in place, hit “Save as Draft” or “Save & Send” to proceed.

In the trial account you’ll be entitled to send out 150 emails and track how many of them were opened. You’ll need to upgrade your membership to access the tool’s full features.

We tried sending out 5 dummy emails using Woodpecker and the tool worked exactly as described. Our content was there, all first names mapped from the Contact excel sheet that we imported, and we didn’t need to carry out any monitoring. The tool reported which emails were opened and when. Neat and simple!

Pros VS Cons

Pros – the tool does what it says, smartly, hassle-freely, affordably.

Cons – at the end of the day, it is just a tool to automate email follow-up. Today most people have anti-spammers installed in their emails to directly send automated email follow-ups to the trash. Wait a minute! doesn’t Woodpecker detect automated responses too? What if your receiver uses it and it flags your automated follow-up?

Guess it comes down to the value the tool can bring to your organization. It could be great for start-up and small organizations but for huge corporations that have dedicated marketing and sales teams, not so much!

  • Never lose touch with a prospect, follow-up smartly with @woodpeckerapp woodpecker.co/ via @supermonitoring

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Verdict

If you’re looking for a quick and affordable way to get in touch with a lot of prospective customers, Woodpecker could really help you out. That is keeping the risk of your emails going to the trash in mind. Try it to make an informed choice.

MailChimp – Send Better Email!

Marketing your products or services to a group of people using electronic mail services is called Email Marketing. Email Marketing reduces the delay a business would have in interacting with potential and current clients. It is meant to develop trust, loyalty and brand awareness among people. Email marketing is essential for a business to get new customers, increase conversion and sales but also in getting customer reviews and other offers to current customers.

mailchimp

MailChimp is a Web based email marketing service which is easy to understand and has many useful tools integrated. The best thing about Mailchimp is that it offers 12000 free monthly emails to less than 2000 email contacts. Though this Freemium option won’t let you access all the features and you would have a MailChimp icon added to your email but in my opinion this is acceptable for sending free 12000 emails per month. This free service is very helpful for startups and small business having shoe string budget.

MailChimp has many features that would help you to create an effective email marketing campaign. MailChimp provides subscriber details, Personalized and Automated emails, Advanced Analytics, Design Flexibility, And after installing its mobile application you can send emails anytime, anywhere. Integrated with all the features that work for you MailChimp is one of the best email marketing service you can opt for.

mailchimp1

Social Media Connectivity

MailChimp allows your subscribers to easily share your email marketing campaign on social media. You can also share the emails on your social networking accounts using MailChimp. Using Mailchimp you’ll be able to update Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Delicious with latest information about your email marketing campaign. It also provides information about who has tweeted about or liked your business on Twitter and Facebook respectively.

E-mail Previews

Subscribers use different email clients such as Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo and more. MailChimp provides a preview of your email on 10 popular email clients used by your customers or subscribers. Email Previews help you ensure that your emails are working and have a proper format whenever a subscriber views your email.

Design Flexibility

MailChimp offers many professionally designed templates for your email to choose from. It even allows you to add your own HTML code and have a personalized design for your email. You can add images and customize the design according to your needs. Now, to ensure that your mail doesn’t land up into the subscribers spam folder MailChimp sends it to the Delivery Doctor where the mail is tested to check the spam score and errors in your HTML code.

mailchimp3

Advanced Analytics

MailChimp collects information regarding the subscriber activity analyzes the data and gives a visual representation of all the data in various formats. These graphs provide details about customer interaction with email campaigns. It also shows the growth one has in subscribers via click tracking and focusing on the HTML5 chart. You can get these details for a specified period of time and it also would indicate the best time to send your email campaigns by using the Open and Click over Time chart first, that will show the number of subscribers who read your mail along with the time it was read. This would help you decide at what time your emails are read the most.

mailchimp2

Personalization and Automation

MailChimp allows you to segment your audience and target them with different campaigns at different timings. It allows you to automate email sending options based on their activity on your website. MailChimp lets you know what content your customers care about and you get to know more about your customers too.

Integrations

It is easy to integrate MailChimp with the web services you are using already, easily sync data, import content and generate reports to know the influence of your email campaign on your business. They have integrations for commonly used tools like WordPress, Twitter, Magento, Facebook and Salesforce which help you create much smarter email campaigns. These integrations make it easy for nonprofits to manage donors, track purchase and tackle every unique problem one encounters in his business.

Autoresponders

Autoresponders are automatic email campaign available for premium accounts only. You can use an autoresponder to create a tailored welcome email or send automatic birthday messages and increase subscriber engagement.  An autoresponder would send an email to your subscribers when they meet a specific criteria.

Pros of Using MailChimp

  • Economical, Free up to 2000 subscribers.
  • Pay as you go, pay per email plan and “No Monthly Charges”
  • No Contract And No Credit Card Required.
  • Offers Great Free Learning Resources so that you can easily create effective email campaigns yourself.
  • Awesome and Prompt Customer Support
  • RSS to Email Option, so that whenever you update your blog an email is sent to your subscribers.

Cons of Using MailChimp

  • Crossing 2000 subscriber, you would have to pay for availing this service. For around 2500 subscribers your bill may be around 30$ per month and when you reach 5000 subscribers you would have to pay around 50$ per month.
  • Autoresponder, which would respond to incoming mails automatically comes in only when you upgrade your account.
  • Links to humorous videos on the website can distract you from focusing on your campaign.
  • Loaded with features @MailChimp is one of the best email marketing services you can opt for mailchimp.com/ via @supermonitoring

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Plans and Pricing

MailChimp offers monthly as well as annual plans which are very economical and it is estimated that if you invest 1$ on an average on  email marketing the return on investment would be around 44.5$. The monthly plan would charge around 75$-240$ or more depending upon your subscribers. While the annual plan starts at 900$ to around 2880$ which would again depend on number of subscribers.

Lastly, I would recommend you to try MailChimp as it is cheap, much easier to use, it is very effective and though there are many other email marketing tools available but I don’t feel like any other tool would offer 12000 free emails that too with awesome services almost comparable to any of those paid services.

In my opinion, MailChimp is the best tool available for email marketing! Let us know what you think in the comments

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