Put more energy into your foundation, start small get big: email-marketing practicum.
10 years ago in the education email list business it was quite regular to sell lists of 100K or 1MM contacts. This was usual business when I was working at QED (Quality Education Data) and MDR. Today managing email marketing takes finesse. Here are two important things I learned when I went from email list provider to email marketer.
We recently helped launch Peertopia, a San Francisco based start-up that offers an online marketplace for educators to buy and sell digital classroom content: https://peertopia.com/ An obvious part of our marketing program was to target classroom teachers. So we ventured down the path of email marketing, a first for us. I personally coached hundreds of clients on email best practices but when it came down to doing our own e-marketing there was a lot we learned.
We vetted four email delivery companies over three months. We used two well-known heavy hitters and two more low-key boutique firms. All four offered user led interfaces with built in reporting and great automation tools. We followed all of our own advice, which included using a clean list, uploading smaller chunks of contacts sorted by Last Name, and creating emails that would bypass spam filters. We went from: decent to modest to poor open rates as the weeks went by. This was difficult to understand. Shouldn’t our response rates go up over time as we are fine tuning our deployments and refining our market outreach? Not necessarily.
Here are two things that were game changers for us:
1. Get a dedicated IP address
Deployment companies have their margins extremely thin to compete within their industry as many shop by cpm (cost per thousand) to deploy. Sharing an IP address between multiple clients is a great way to cut costs but it can ruin your hard work & reputation because your results are tied to everyone else on that IP. https://inboxpros.com/dedicated-vs-shared-ip-how-they-affect-email-deliverability/
On Oct. 29th, my developer called me at 6am. She told me that we needed to warm up our IP address. “Look, stop everything. Cut ties with the three companies we are currently deploying with, we are going to start fresh.” We loaded 25 small lists into the last and fourth deployment company’s platform. Day one- we emailed five people, which included two of us from our team- personal emails, which were opened. Day two- 10 emails and we followed the schedule doubling the prior day through day Nine 2,560 contacts. Day 10 we rounded to 3k contacts and went up 2500 contacts each day until Day 25 where we were emailing 40k contacts per day on three separate IP addresses. Daily email total: 120k. Our open rates have never diminished over time as they did when we went hard and heavy out of the gate. Building this foundation, warming up the IP slowly, took patience. As a whole, patience is not my strongest virtue and I imagine most companies want to ramp things up that day and see results the next. The Foundation was laid and the wait was worth it.