In part 2 of Joe’s interview with email marketing expert Adrian Savage, we continue our deep dive into the fundamentals and 80/20 of good email deliverability.
Adrian has worked with influential digital marketers such as Neil Patel, Eben Pagan, and Ryan Levesque. He’s the founder of Deliverability Dashboard, a tool that helps you solve deliverability issues quickly by measuring your email delivery and engagement.
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Should we move on to content?
Joe Troyer 0:53
Let's do it.
Okay, so content, I've got another acronym to help you remember. And in this is a fairly uncommon name for a person these days. But maybe there's an old English name, I think, will 40 short for Wilfred, and will, in this case stands for words, images, links, and frequency. So we'll quickly look at the words first. And that is it again, in the good old days, there was a list of 300 spammy words and you didn't put any of those words in your emails, and you get into the inbox. Now, that still kind of applies. But I did a bit of testing a couple of months ago, and I put the word Coronavirus in an email because I was talking about it. And I tested two versions, one with one without, and the open rate was only about three or 4% different I did not end up in the spam folder just because I put Coronavirus. So, you know, if you're if you're talking about something in context, then what the Googles of this world are looking for much more now, as they've invested millions in artificial intelligence and natural language interpretation and all this kind of thing. They're really looking to see, well, what does the email sound like? Does it sound like a promotion? Does it look like a scam. So as long as you're being authentic, as long as you're writing in your usual way that you will usually communicate with people. And the more you can make it look like an email that was written personally from Gmail or whatever, then the more likely it is to go into the inbox. So you know, there's no list of words to avoid anymore. I mean, obviously, you're not going to, you're not going to completely go crazy with lots of words, you know, kind of buy my stuff now, and you know, kind of blatant offers. But just as long as you're sensible, and as long as you just send stuff that sounds the way you would expect you to speak normally, that's, that's what matters there. Then images, the more images you have, the more likely you are to go into the spam folder, or the promotions tab. So keep that down. You know, these, I'm going to fall out with every graphic designer in the world, unfortunately, because I will always say you know, all those beautiful emails with with with I can't with sorry, with logos at the top and stuff like that. It's like no, that's not helping your calls. Unfortunately, with very few exceptions, every test I've ever seen, has seen that emails with much fewer images perform much better than image heavy content. So keep the images down. And simply the number of links, the fewer links you've gotten an email, the better. So do you remember those old fashioned sales letters and emails that had the call to action dotted dozens of times through the email, not a good idea anymore. And the other thing for the love of all things sacred, please, please remove all those little social media icons at the bottom of your email. Because a is a bunch of images, and B is a bunch of links. And sometimes some of those links, particularly YouTube, end up on block lists. And if you put a link to a domain that's on a block list in your email, guess where it's going to end up in the spam. So keep the images down, keep the links down. You know, the only reason we want a link in an email is to get someone to follow a call to action. And I don't know about you. But if you've got some kind of thing saying buy my program, and then you've got a distraction at the bottom of your email sending off to social media, how does that help anyone, you know, be clear stick with a primary call to action and just reinforce that. And that's all there is to it. So that's the images and the links, then the frequency, this is really crucial. The more frequently you email, the people who are reading your emails, the better. So make sure you've got lots of content that you can share. But it's got to be high quality. There's no point just sending garbage that people aren't going to want to read. It's got to be relevant, ideally entertaining, informing, and don't be afraid to make offers. You know, when I send an email every day in February, then every single day, then I was sharing a story a little bit of a lesson. I always include an offer either in the email or the PS or whatever. And it works. There's nothing wrong with making an offer. But you got to make sure that the balance is there. You got to make sure there's enough education, entertainment information, that kind of thing. But as long as you get that balance right, then you're not going to go wrong. That's pretty much it for the contents. And then we've done engagement already. Which is, you know, basically focus on the people that have opened most recently. Sorry, just taking a note here.
Joe Troyer 5:05
Um, when you ran, I just got to ask this otherwise, I won't be able to remember my train of thought. When you ran that test emailing every single day, what what was the before situation? How often were you emailing versus in the month of February, I believe you said every day.
Yeah. So in January, I sent eight emails out to my list. And then in February, I sent 28. So that was the big difference there. And in January, I was getting between 40 to 50%, open rates, and then in February, then it was around your 28 was the lowest. And I think a couple peaks around 40%. But it's more in the 30s. So there was definitely a reduction in the open rates. But what I also saw when I looked, I actually added an extra bit of analysis into my online tools for this. And I could see how many people opened one or more emails through February, and 75% of my audience opened at least one of my emails through the month of February, which was pretty astonishing. I was Imagine if I've been sending one email a month, it would have taken me two years to reach 75% of my list. Because if you're getting an open rate of say, 30%, it's not gonna be the same 30% every time quite clearly. But you'd have to wait a very long time if you're sending one email a month. And the other thing I noticed as well was that my unsubscribe rate didn't actually go up that much higher. I think I only had about 30%, higher unsubscribes through the month of February compared with January. So I did get a slightly higher number and a few people unsubscribe from every single email. But despite that, it wasn't a it wasn't a really bad loss. It wasn't as bad as I feared. So although I'm not sending emails, every single day in March, I'm still sending three, four emails a week as a minimum, because it works. It's also no coincidence that February was one of my best months in business from revenue point of view. So you know, why wouldn't I carry on doing it? Yeah, that's awesome.
Joe Troyer 6:53
I think like, we email almost every day, we have a structure, it's not always offers over priced 65 70% of the time. Make sense? There's nothing ever to buy. It's just content, its engagement. And it my fear has always been, and I'd love for you to debunk this or tell me that it's valid, is just if I mailed that list all the time that you know, and you guys are getting a secret view into the way I think that then when I email you an offer, right? Maybe they won't open, right? Like I've already, you know, wore them out for the week, right? I've already set, you know, for emails for the week that were for content. Now, if I got a three day promotion going on where I'm running a sale on something, are they going to be worn out, not open my emails? Does that make sense?
That's a great question. Now, here's the thing, if you're mailing every single day, then some people will be reading all of those emails. You know, I was astonished that 9% of my audience opened every single one of those 28 emails that I sent in February. And I would say it's probably more than half of them opened more than half of the emails. So you're going to find that you still get most people reading most of the things. But yeah, there's a definite chance that if you've mailed four times that week already, and then you're sending out email number five with a promo in it, then you're still only going to get maybe 20 to 30% of your audience seeing that promo. So when you're doing a particular promo, what I did in one case is I had the same PS in my email three or four days running. And I kind of tweaked it a little as we went on saying, the first day was his the offer, the second day was, you know, we're running out of places. Third day, you know, it's nearly gone for the price goes up at midnight, here's your final chance. And I would say that the majority of people saw one of those emails, and it did, okay. I think if you just put a one sales message in one email, and then did nothing else, then I'd say you are risking missing out. But I think it is if you're, if you're sending very infrequently, and then you suddenly do a launch, then obviously people are gonna see the message and they'll they'll pick up that way, if you're sending regularly, then is definitely don't just put something in as a one off, make sure that you're repeating it a few times. And this is why, you know, from my perspective, now that I've learned, it's okay, I'm always going to have some kind of soft offering as a PS in my emails, even if it's not the main thing I'm promoting at that point, because, you know, I was surprised that every single time I put any kind of offer, a few people clicked on that link, you know, they didn't always go through and buy. But if they click on a link talking about how I can set up authentication for them, then guess what, I can follow up with them later and say, Hey, you need more help. So there's lots of things you can do based on the results that you see in the click throughs and stuff like that.
Joe Troyer 9:39
That's awesome. I got to do a test. You inspired me. I'll be sure to follow up. Well, we'll do a test for for April and May. Let's see
how it goes. That sounds awesome.
Joe Troyer 9:50
I want to plug into deliverability dashboard, your system so that I can watch and see what happens. Can you tell us a little bit about how that works. I'm geometrics I should be focused on during that test.
Absolutely. So the key, the key tool within deliverability dashboard is the free health check that you kind of go into the system with. And what that does is it connects up to whichever email platform you're using, it supports eight of them at the moment, we did about developing a few more. And first thing I'll do is it will just look at your engagement data. And then it will create a nice simple health score. Looking at that, and that's where zero is really bad. 100 is really good. And most people are somewhere, you know, on the low side in the 30s. Now I've had a few people actually rock up with a score of 100, which means they've been really managing things well. But the idea of that is, is a very simple score to understand, because you know, it's like your credit score, or whatever else, the higher the number, the better you're doing. But equally, unlike a credit score, if you've got a low email health score to start with, there's no need to panic, because it means that you can very quickly start to improve things, if you've got a bad credit score, it might take you years to rebuild it. So you know, email health is much better from that perspective. And then once you've got that email health score, you can then start to dive into the other reports. And the main two that I look at are, firstly, that new contact engagement report that I mentioned, because that's telling you, not just how well your ad spend is giving you a return on investment. But it's also broken down by mailbox provider. So you can see Gmail, G Suite, Microsoft, 365, Hotmail, Yahoo, and so on. And you can see what level of engagement you're getting from each of them. And they might be you get an average of 70%. And G Suite might be up in the 90s. Because Google is always really easy to deliver to. And you might find that Microsoft is much lower. And when you see those numbers, you can say, right, I need to work out why I'm not hitting Microsoft, and then go and take action about that. So that report is really important. And then the other one is the similarly named email engagement report. And what that tells you is how many people you've sent something to across, say 30 days or 90 days or whatever. And more importantly, how many of those people open something. And the one metric I look at is how many people were sent something in 90 days, and how many people open something in 90 days. So let's suppose you've got 5000 people open something in the last 90 days, then look at how many people you sent something to in the last 30 days, that should be 5000 or fewer in this example, because you only want to be emailing in the last 30 days, the people that open something in the last 90 days, a lot of 30s 90s. So it can get confusing. But that's the thing that I look at there just to make sure that you know, basically, are you doing everything you can to manage your engagement as best as possible. And that report right there is the one that will tell you that.
Joe Troyer 12:39
That's awesome. And correct me if I'm wrong, but that balls actually free. It is absolutely.
Oh, sorry, I lost that
Joe Troyer 12:47
when I set the set of tools rather.
Yeah. So as it stands, then deliverability dashboard, you've got the health check. And then there's the engagement reports and the new contacts and a couple of other different engagement reports. And it also shows the audience analysis so you can see what proportion of your audiences on G Suite, Gmail, Hotmail, whatever else, all of those are free.
Joe Troyer 13:07
Right? And then tell us a little bit. Adrian, as we wrap this up about we delivered that email, your other servicer or a project.
Okay, so I'll quickly mentioned we deliver but also mentioned deliverability defender as well, that's kind of more relevant. We delivers kind of very niche solution. Now that just helps. And the reason it came into being was to help people reroutes the Infusionsoft emails, if they had problems reaching the inbox because of Infusionsoft reputation. This is going back five or six years when IP reputation was everything. And these days Infusionsoft to firstly raise their game, because they kind of did such a good job, they nearly put me out of business. But secondly, because it's now a lot more on on domain reputation, it doesn't matter which platform you're using. So we live is still there as a very kind of specific solution. But the main thing that I'm focusing on now is deliverability defender because what that does, is it automatically tags all of your contacts in your email platform, so you can understand who's engaged in the last seven days, the last 30 days, the last 90 days, and so on. And that way, it makes it really super easy to send your email blasts out just to the people that have opened within that timescale, the updates those tags every 24 hours. And it has a bunch of other reports in as well so you can see what's going on. And that's kind of the that's the main focus that I've got now. We deliver is still there. And it's doing very nicely, but it's a very, very niche solution, if that makes sense.
Joe Troyer 14:28
Yeah, perfect sense. It's funny, everybody I feel like still to this day talks about, oh, we need to move from this platform to that platform because of deliverability I love that you debunk that and man, this has been absolutely fantastic. I think in terms of email deliverability the the most concise system and things to look out for things to look at and way to look with with race and then your acronyms for each. So man, I just want to thank you for coming on the podcast. I don't want to take up any more of your time. Just again, thank you and want to have you back It was a pleasure. Thanks so much for having me, Joe. All right, guys, I hope you enjoyed this episode of show me the nuggets. Please do me a favor. Go follow Adrian. Check out his tools. Get involved. See how your email is being delivered. And I'll see you guys on the next episode. sign off.