Agency friends – Do you have plans to provide email marketing services to a new client? Before you do, consider these tools to help prevent a new project from becoming a new burden.
1. List Validation Tools
Chances are your new client has been using an email service provider (ESP) that cleans their list with every new send. Bad email addresses are removed, bounced emails are held, and so on. If you are adopting a new list(s) that look a little suspect, it is a good idea to call on a list validation tool like BriteVerify or LeadSpend.
For roughly a penny per address, these tools can determine whether an email is truly valid. Sending to bogus email addresses could potentially harm the client’s sender reputation. Speaking of which…
2. Sender Reputation & Black List Tools
Every email marketing message is sent from an IP address. Often times that IP address is occupied exclusively by a singular sender, and other times it is shared. Your first step is to identify your client’s sender IP address. This is fairly easy as long as you have access to an email sent previously by your client. Once found, run that IP address through two tools – SenderScore.org and MX Toolbox.
SenderScore.org will provide a reputation score between 0 and 100. You’re looking for scores in the high 90s. Scores in the 80s and below likely suffer from some deliverability problems. In other words, IP addresses that do not produce excellent scores will not deliver every email message to its intended recipients.
MX Toolbox will tell you if the IP address is on any blacklists. A blacklist is record of any IP Addresses that will not be allowed to send email. Blacklists are used by Internet Service Providers to block SPAM.
If your client has a low SenderScore or is on any blacklists, the best option is to clean the list and switch to a trusted email service provider.
3. Email Design Preview Tools
If you are adding a new email marketing client to your agency roster, they might be up for some changes to the service used for sending, the methods in which lists are segmented, the metrics they rely upon, and even the design template used to send email. However, in the case where your new client is not interested in updating the look and feel of their email designs, you may consider running them through an email preview tool like Litmus or Email on Acid.
These design preview tools will help your agency demonstrate exactly what the client’s emails look like in the most popular desktop, web-based and mobile clients. If any preview is not pristine, you now have some ammunition to encourage the client to update their email design.
4. Facebook Audience Insights
I know, this recommendation might not make a ton of sense at first glance, but the Facebook ad manager does provide a pretty powerful tool to help with audience analysis.
Within Facebook ads, you can upload your client’s list. Facebook will match email records on that list with existing accounts.
Once this process is complete (expect 30 minutes), you can navigate to the Audience Insights tab and select your newly created audience comprised of Facebook users on the list. It’s not 100% perfect, but the reports generated will tell you information about list demographics, income, education level, device usage (desktop vs. tablet vs. mobile), purchase behavior and a wealth of other insights that help you better understand who is on your client’s list or list segments. This process can aid in planning efforts not just for email marketing, but for other disciplines as well.
Best of luck adding and welcoming new email clients onto your agency client roster. In addition to these four tools, here are eleven additional questions you may want to answer when adding a new email client.
- What is the client’s ultimate business objective(s)? Can email marketing realistically accomplish that goal? What other business goals can email marketing positively impact?
- How does email fit within the overall marketing ecosystem? Is email placed in a silo or is it meaningfully integrated into other marketing programs?
- What methods are being used to generate a quality list? Is the client setting expectations for new subscribers properly? How can the subscriber on-boarding and “welcome” messaging by improved?
- What is the current segmentation strategy used by the client? Does the client use a “batch and blast” approach, or does every recipient receive the same thing? Is the data housed within the current list sufficient to create reliable list segments?
- What data is captured currently by the client about email subscribers/recipients? How can this data be improved to increase message relevance? What additional information would you like to know about recipients that the client doesn’t know today?
- How are lists managed and cleansed? What is the current rate of list attrition? How can this process be improved?
- Do client emails render well on every device in every known email client (e.g. Outlook, Yahoo, Apple Mail, Gmail, etc.)?
- Based on available click metrics, what should change about the client’s current email design? How should it be altered to improve click activity?
- Are there opportunities to introduce or modify automated messaging techniques for this client? What transactional messages can be sent to provide timely relevance and value for customers?
- What metrics are important to this client? What metrics can you introduce that will tell a more meaningful story about their email program? How should email marketing reports be structured?
- What testing programs have been conducted for email messages? What elements should be tested? Are there common challenges witnessed among email recipients that should be solved with a well-planned email testing program?