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Reach Your Customers with Email and Social Media Marketing
Updated: 2 hours 34 min ago

A Look at Features Past, Present and Yet to Come

Mon, 06/29/2015 - 10:25

You may find this an odd time for reflection. We admit, tisn’t the regular season. It’s only July! Though most people reserve this type of musing for year-end, we like to take stock regularly and listen to the needs of our customers to inform product development all year round. Don’t worry, there are no chilling visits from ghosts in this post, and we’ve spared you a Charles Dickens novella. Just don’t wait until the end of the year to assess your email marketing. Do it now and make sure you’re taking advantage of all our recently added features and enhancements.

Check out the top three features from the past year, two from our most recent release, and a brief rundown of what you can expect in the months ahead.


1.  Email Signup Forms (June 2014)

A signup form is an essential part of building your email list. When someone visits your website, blog, or social media site, you want to make it easy for them to sign up and receive on-going communication from you. By submitting their email address, they give you permission to stay in touch. This level of interest means a high-quality lead and usually more opens and clicks for your emails.

VerticalResponse offers email signup forms that you can customize and post wherever you like. You can embed the form on your site or use as a hosted web form. Each time someone fills it out, their email address will be automatically added to your list. It’s a must-do for collecting addresses to grow your list.

Explore our Signup Forms including templates, thank you pages, and responsive designs.

2.  Welcome Emails (October 2014)

A welcome email is an automatic message sent to a new subscriber when they sign up for your email list. It’s a great way to greet them and reinforce the value of being part of your list. The welcome email can also be used to set the expectation for the type and frequency of emails you will send them. Use it to encourage a next step. It’s a great way to prompt your new subscriber to check out a particular part of your site, offer them content, or incentivize them to make a purchase while their interest level is high.

VerticalResponse allows you to choose from a variety of templates and customize or design your own welcome email. Indicate which subscriber list should receive the autoresponder and then activate the campaign. You can view and monitor all statistics including open and clicks in reporting.

Check out tips and examples on creating a welcome email.

3.  Logo Footer Removal (April 2015)

If you want subscribers to see only your branding and not ours, you can now remove the VerticalResponse logo from the footer of your emails. This action is easy to take and available for paid accounts.

You can follow the simple instructions on how to remove the VerticalResponse logo here.


Be sure to check out VerticalResponse’s most recent release in its entirety. A couple highlights include:

1.  Follow-Up Emails

You can schedule a follow-up email to be sent automatically to the people who did not open the original email. Follow-up emails are considered best practice among professional email marketers and is shown to lift open rates by an average of 30%. VerticalResponse has now automated this process so you can enjoy the benefit with just a couple clicks.

Find out more about Follow-Up Emails and how you can incorporate them into your next campaign.

2.  Editor Enhancements

Your drag and drop email editor is sporting some new enhancements. It’s now easier than ever to create professional emails for your business. Choose from an updated list of templates, design your email with more choices, and create the perfect call-to-action with our button builder.

Learn about these enhancements and more here.

Yet To Come

With no rest for the weary, our developers are already working on the next features that will further improve your email marketing efforts.

Salesforce Integration

Email marketing and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) are two tools that when paired together are much more powerful than when used separately. This major update to our integration will provide users with responsive email templates, two-way syncing of Contacts, and automatically keep data in sync across your Campaigns and Reports.

Watch this sneak peek to see details of this updated integration.

Timed Series

Timed emails are perfect for leading subscribers through an onboarding process, or taking them through a campaign series such as a drip campaign. This marketing automation feature is coming soon.

List Segmentation

VerticalResponse is adding another level of list management. Enjoy the ability to segment, sort and search within your email lists. This feature will improve your capacity to target specific subscribers.



Rejuvenate your email marketing spirit with these great features to get better results. We wish you the best all throughout the year!

If you’re thinking about upgrading your account, now is the time. Paid accounts have access to premium features such as unlimited sends, logo removal, and Follow-Up Emails. As of 6/30/15, our introductory pricing will expire. For a couple more days, you can take advantage of 20% off the regular price, plus a savings of 15% with an annual subscription. All you have to do is log in, pick the plan and choose your renewal period. With just a couple days left, you can still upgrade and save. 


© 2015, VerticalResponse Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

The post A Look at Features Past, Present and Yet to Come appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

New Automatic Follow-Up Emails + More New Features

Thu, 06/25/2015 - 07:56

Our most recent release is all about top customer-requested features and enhancements. This is why we know you’re going to love it. Here is an overview of what we added to your VerticalResponse account.

Follow-Up Emails

We often recommend sending follow-up emails to your nonresponders (the people who don’t open your email). We added a feature last year that allows you to create a list of nonresponders from a sent email campaign. This segmentation makes it easy for you to send them a secondary email. Now we’ve automated the process for you. 

When you launch or schedule your email, you’ll have the option to schedule a follow-up email. The content of the email doesn’t change. All you need to do is change the subject line and indicate how many days after the first email the follow-up will go out. 

Follow-up emails are intended to get the attention of those who may have missed your email the first time. They have a significant impact on your open rate. By using follow-up emails, you can expect to see an increase of 20% to 30%, or more.

Email Editor Updates

We keep adding more tools to make email creation super easy. These are the latest options we added to the drag and drop email editor:

  • Image group – Add two images side-by-side to showcase your products or services.
  • Divider – Add a line between Content Blocks. You can select the color and thickness of the line. You can even add space above or below it if you need to.
  • Follow Us – Select from updated button shapes and colors for your social networks.
  • Background colors for Content Blocks – To help bring attention to a Content Block, or to add more interest to your email, you can add a background color to the content blocks. You can also change the background color by clicking a color in the spectrum bar, or by adding a color code.
  • Content Block Border -Add a border to your content blocks. Select a solid, dashed, or dotted line, and then choose a color to help set it apart. This design gives you the ability to create a section that looks like a coupon or an offer in your email.
  • Background – Select a color for the background of the email. Use a color we suggest or click the box to find a color of your choice. You can also enter a color code. Instead of a color, there are now background images from which to choose. Click the sample to see a preview of it in your email. Change it by simply clicking on a different image.

Add Message to a Test

If you need someone to edit or look at your email before you send it to your list, we offer a test email option. You can now add a message at the top for those who receive the test email. Let them know you need them to proofread, test links or that you’ve made changes and need approval. Whatever you need to tell your test email recipients you can now relay that message from the test email screen.

Restore Deleted Emails
Last but not least, we’ve added an email trash bin to your account. Have you deleted an email, only to find you needed it after all? Don’t worry; now it’s easy to retrieve. At the bottom of the Messages window, you’ll see a Trash icon. This is where your deleted emails go. Now when you click the Trash icon, you’ll see your deleted emails and can restore the ones you need with a click.

Whew, that’s a lot of new features! They’re available now, so go check them out. These options are only available for the new VerticalResponse app. Follow-Up Email is a premium feature and available for paid accounts.  If you have a free subscription and want to use the Follow-Up email feature, upgrade your account.

Want to stay in the loop on all things VerticalResponse? Sign up for our weekly VR Buzz email.

© 2015, VerticalResponse Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

The post New Automatic Follow-Up Emails + More New Features appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

4 Twitter Tools that Help You With Customer Service

Thu, 06/25/2015 - 06:00

Twitter has fundamentally changed the way that customer service interactions take place. For years, consumer concerns often went unheard or were swept under the rug to protect a company’s overall image.

The increased role of social media within product marketing has however, now given buyers in the marketplace much more power to leverage over businesses, promoting consumers from being backseat drivers to co-pilots of their reputation.

Simply said, even one negative tweet could potentially damage a company’s public persona and could require major damage control.

As a business owner, you might find yourself in a negative customer-tweet situation at some point. Although daunting, with the correct monitoring tools, you can stop the criticism and respond to your customers in a timely manner. In addition to responding to your audience, these tools can also help increase brand loyalty and improve your company’s image.

Here are four interactive tools you can use for customer service purposes on Twitter:


Twazzup is perfect for small business owners who don’t want to break the bank paying for Twitter monitoring. This tool is free and only requires that you log into your Twitter account to sign up.

On the platform’s website, you can type in your company’s name, the names of your products, or other relevant keywords to search for mentions on Twitter. Twazzup shows which top influencers on Twitter made the mentions, which users tweet about your company most frequently, and the latest tweets from everyone who mentioned you.

The screenshot below illustrates a search for “Diamond Candles,” a North Carolina-based small candle business.


Twinitor is a free platform that allows you to search keywords relevant to your business and reply to, retweet, or favorite customer tweets based on what you have found. The site also lists trending topics so you can determine which keywords and hashtags to incorporate into your tweets with customers.

The example below shows what happens when the words ‘Coca Cola’ are typed into the app’s search bar:


If you’re searching for a slightly more comprehensive option, consider Trackur, a paid platform that lets you view brand mentions both on Twitter and across the web. It offers an in-depth analysis of brand sentiment on Twitter and sends you email alerts when your company is discussed.

Trackur also features automated sentiment and influencer scoring, so you can read what influencers are saying about your business and whether it’s categorized as positive, negative, or neutral. 

Trackur charges $97 a month per user, although you can get started on a 10-day trial for free. 


TweetDeck by Twitter offers a more efficient way to use the social media site and interact with customers. When you log into the free platform using your business’ handle, you see your own tweets, the activity of the accounts you follow as well as your direct messages and notifications.

Wondering how it works?

Let’s say a customer left you a review via Twitter.  Using Twitterdeck, you can then email or direct message that tweet to your co-workers and/or employees, and you schedule a direct reply to that customer. Most decks look similar to this example: 

Have you heard of or used any of these tools to help with your Twitter interactions? 

Looking for more information on improving your social media strategy? Sign up for The VR Buzz, our weekly newsletter which offers you advice on all things in small biz marketing. 

Kylie Jane Wakefield is a freelance writer and content creator in Los Angeles. She’s written for NewsCred,, Forbes, Tablet Magazine, and The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles.

© 2015, VerticalResponse Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

The post 4 Twitter Tools that Help You With Customer Service appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

Gmail’s Undo Send Saves You from Emailer’s Remorse

Wed, 06/24/2015 - 20:44

Google recently announced a new feature called Undo Send, and Gmail users are rejoicing. It was once relegated to the mysterious domain of power users and enthusiastic beta testers known as Gmail Labs. This week, Gmail brings its once-experimental unsend feature to the masses.

What does Undo Send do?

It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like, albeit with  one major caveat – you only have a very small window of time (ten seconds by default) to hit the undo send button before it’s too late. To enable this merciful feature, just navigate to the ‘General’ tab of your Gmail settings and check the box next to ‘Undo Send.’ You might as well extend the wait period to the maximum thirty-second window while you’re at it.

So whether you find yourself sending a late-night, wine-influenced essay to an ex, accidentally hitting reply-all in the email chain, or noticing five seconds too late that you used “your” instead of “you’re” when asking your English professor for an extension on that final paper, rest easy knowing that Gmail has got your back.

What this could mean for your email marketing

Unless you’re sending marketing emails directly through Gmail (and if you are, tsk tsk), then not a whole lot. But, it does highlight a best practice for email marketers everywhere, and that is to always test your email before sending. That way, you can catch every typo and error, before someone on your list does it for you.

Sending yourself test emails is one of the many benefits of using an email service provider to market your business. VerticalResponse lets you send tests, pick from dozens of professional-looking email templates, and track all your opens, clicks and shares in real time after you send. Sign up for your free account today.

© 2015, VerticalResponse Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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Guide to Autoresponders Part 2: Content Offer and Survey Emails

Wed, 06/24/2015 - 06:00

Automation takes your email marketing strategy to the next level. If you’re new to email marketing, we created this Beginner’s Guide to lay the foundation. As soon as you have the basics down, you can up your game with autoresponders. 

Last week in the first of this three-part series, we covered the benefits of autoresponders and explored a variety of Welcome Emails. In this second post, we dive into Content Offer and Survey Emails. Here’s what you need to know about these two types of email campaigns.

Content Offer Emails

You can educate your audience by sharing your knowledge. Keep them engaged with content you know they will find interesting and useful. 

Let’s look at a couple of examples that offer quality content.


The Expert Institute uses an autoresponder that combines a welcome email and content offering. 

The email above welcomes the new recipient, provides a point of contact and also includes a link to an in-depth article.


In this next example, you can see how Eventbrite communicates with people who haven’t used their app in a while. They tell the user how much they’ve missed them and offer some content to re-engage.

Both product and service-based businesses can use these two types of content offer emails. Send your version to new customers and those who haven’t purchased from you in a while. Aim to make the recipients feel connected by providing them with thoughtful and relevant content.

Surveys and Feedback Emails

Another way to get customers to engage is by sending an autoresponder that asks for their feedback triggered by a recent purchase. Collecting this kind of information can be of great benefit to your business, and customers appreciate the opportunity to share their thoughts.


In the example below, a chance to win a gift card is offered as an incentive for writing a review. The email also includes instructions on how to write the review and a quick reference to the product that was purchased.




Sending a survey is yet another way to elicit feedback and engage your audience. In the following example, explains the reason for the email and provides a link to the survey. It also conveys that the survey is quick and painless, which is a good thing to mention as short surveys are always better received.


Creating a survey is a simple process. Once you’ve done so, add the link to your automated email or create an eye-catching button that takes the recipient to the survey when clicked. Be sure to use a catchy and relevant subject line to help get opens and stay compliant with laws.


Both Content Offer and Feedback emails give you a way to engage with leads and customers. By setting up these kinds of autoresponders, you maintain communication and keep your brand and business top of mind.

For the final part in this series, we look at Follow-Up and Confirmation emails.

Want more marketing tips? Sign up for an upcoming webinar hosted by a VerticalResponse expert ready to answer all your questions.


© 2015, VerticalResponse Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

The post Guide to Autoresponders Part 2: Content Offer and Survey Emails appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

5 Ways to Create More Touchpoints with Email

Tue, 06/23/2015 - 06:00

You have a good-sized email subscriber list. While it’s nice to have this audience receiving your messages, it doesn’t truly pay unless you can eventually turn these leads into customers.

One way to do this is to optimize your email list for additional marketing purposes. Instead of letting customers just reside on the list, you need to incentivize them to visit places where they will get a fuller understanding of your business or organization. Your social media pages are one example. Here your subscribers can interact with your brand in a more personal way. Your website is, of course, a great place to send them where they have the option to purchase your products and services.

The following are several methods you can use to create more touchpoints and ensure that your email leads become customers. 

1. Include a call to action that takes subscribers to your social accounts and website

Every email should have a call to action. It can be the focus of the email, or reside at the bottom of the email, where your subscribers will see it after they’ve read your email. Either way, no email is complete without one.

An urgent call to action will motivate the customer to make a purchase before a deal or limited-time offer vanishes forever. Here’s an example from a jeweler, Gemma Gray. Notice the urgent language and enticing deal.

2. Place social media buttons and website links in every email 

Adding your social media and website links into your email can be done with the click of a button. Make sure you include the icons for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other site that your brand uses.

Above the buttons, you could say something like, “Like our Facebook page to receive exclusive fan surprises” or “Follow us on Twitter and be the first to learn about our upcoming promotions.” You could also add in the word “connect” to make the buttons more prominent, just like Gap did here:

3. Offer a coupon or promote a sale on your website 

The chance to receive exclusive coupons and promotions is one of the reasons that people will sign up for an email list. To redeem them, customers should have to visit your website. It’s a scenario where both parties win. You get the customers on your site, and they get a great deal.

Below is an example of a promotion from Old Navy that leads to the website and has an urgent call to action 

4. Invite customers to a social media contest

A social media contest, like a Facebook quiz or giveaway, or ‘tweet to win’ competition, can be promoted in your emails. Customers are more likely to click through to your social media pages if you offer a prize. A free product, service or the chance for customers to see their original submissions in your marketing campaigns are good examples.

Check out this Vine competition from Applebee’s called  #BeeFamous to see an example of a social media contest. The chain encouraged customers to vine their reactions to the special new menu items.

 5. Use a sign-up form to increase your email leads

At this point, you know that your email marketing campaigns can be utilized to attract customers to your social media pages and website. Remember that the opposite is also true. Your social media pages and your website should be used to grow your email list.

A simple way to do this is to include a sign-up form on your website or social media pages. Make sure it stands out by placing it where customers can easily see it and input their email address.

If you’re a VerticalResponse customer, you can take advantage of our ready-to-go sign-up forms. When a customer signs up, the contact information is automatically added to your email lists within VerticalResponse. (Check out this post to learn how to set it up.)

You can also use third party websites like Popup Domination, which adds a pop-up window to your website to encourage visitors to enter their name and email address.

Always work to grow your email list. A strong, healthy list of contacts is key to your marketing success, so make efforts to add names throughout the year.


Kylie Jane Wakefield is a freelance writer and content creator in Los Angeles. She’s written for NewsCred,, Forbes, Tablet Magazine, and The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles.


© 2015, VerticalResponse Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

The post 5 Ways to Create More Touchpoints with Email appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

Be an Email Marketing Superhero and Get a 30% Lift

Fri, 06/19/2015 - 06:00

When you create and send an email campaign, you can expect to see an average open rate of 20-40% depending on your industry (source: Epsilon Email Benchmark Report). That’s nice, but averages are, well, average. If you’re reading this, you’re already self-identifying as awesome. Maybe you’re so awesome you’ve even asked, how do bionic email marketers get a 30% lift to their open rate? Lean in, I’ll tell you. The secret is they do something most people are terrible at doing. They follow up. That’s right. Their superpower is simply the ability to follow up with those who didn’t open their initial email.

Now that I’ve bestowed this wisdom upon you, I’ll show you how you too can possess this supernatural strength without trading in your identity for a mask and unflattering spandex. You need not be Captain Marvel to incorporate this tactic into your email campaigns. The power is at your fingertips and only requires a few clicks.

As you know, it’s important that you keep your subscriber list clean, craft a professional email, and give your message a clear call-to-action. We provide a plethora of guides and useful tips in each of these areas. It’s also just as essential to consider the group of subscribers who won’t open your email. They might miss it, forget about it, the subject line won’t grab their attention or any number of other reasons. We call this segment of your list “non-responders”.

Let’s walk through an example. You send an email to your list of 100 subscribers. Of that 100, you get 35 people to open your email over a few days. That’s a 35% open rate. Nice work!

Your next mission is to get a portion of those 65 non-responders to open your email by sending them a follow-up. You send that follow-up email three days after the original and over the next few days, you get 11 more people to open. You just brought your total number of opens to 46 out of 100.  Your total open rate is now 46%.

To calculate the lift, you take the Total Open Rate minus the Original Open Rate and then divide by the Original Open Rate. Multiply by 100 to get the percentage. Using the example above it would be (.46 – .35) / .35 = .31 (or 31%).

Based on the lift we’ve seen from our small business customers who practice sending follow-up emails and our internal metrics from the emails we send to our lists, you can expect a lift close to 30%.

Most email service providers allow you to separate out non-responders so you can send them a follow-up email. But many people don’t take that next step and, as a result, they miss out on that increase to their open rate. Except for you of course. Because you’re wise to the fact that a portion of those who receive the second email will open it. So why not do it? Pressed for time? I hear you.

VerticalResponse has automated this process for paid accounts (to be released 6/24/15) so you can maximize the results of your email campaign. In other words, get the 30% lift without the heavy lifting. Feeling heroic? I thought so.

Once your original email is in the queue and ready to be sent, the app will prompt you to take the next recommended step of sending a follow-up email to your non-responders. You can choose when to send it, modify the subject line, and click Schedule. See? No cape required.

The campaign results for both the original email and the follow-up email will be visible in reporting so you can easily see the additional lift.

Whether you use the automated feature in VerticalResponse or an alternative, be sure to incorporate follow-up emails into your campaigns. I commend you for joining the league of Email Marketing Superheroes. Use your superpower for good and enjoy the extra boost to your email opens.

© 2015, VerticalResponse Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

The post Be an Email Marketing Superhero and Get a 30% Lift appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

What You Absolutely Need to Include in Your Online Business Listing

Thu, 06/18/2015 - 06:00

Grabbing the attention of local shoppers online is key to getting them through your shop doors. Having the right type of information in your online business listing is essential to that process. Your online business listing could include any place (besides your own website) where you list your business’ information so customers and prospects can find you. These online listings include sites such as Google, Yahoo!, Yelp, Bing, Foursquare and other online directories. If you haven’t claimed your listing on these sites, check out our previous post on the top 20 online business listings where your business should appear. 

Besides just showing up in an online directory, the goal is to get the right information at the right time into the hands of potential customers. It’s important to consider the type of information shoppers look for when they do a search on a mobile phone versus a desktop. People searching on a smartphone are more likely to be in the midst of shopping. Compare that need for information to someone doing a search on their PC or tablet while at home or the office.

Recent research conducted by Deluxe, shows the type of content shoppers are looking for depending on the device they’re using:

Shoppers conducting a search from their smartphones:

  • 54% are looking for business hours
  • 53% are looking for directions
  • 50% are looking for local store addresses

Shoppers conducting a search from their desktop PC or tablet: 

  • 45% are looking for product availability
  • 42% are looking for business hours
  • 38% are looking for local store addresses

In general, the above information should be included in your online business listing. It’s a no-brainer to include your address, hours of operation, product brands you sell, and directions. However, it’s also best to put yourself in the mind of your potential customers and how they would probably search for your particular type of business.

If you owned a restaurant as an example, besides the above information, potential customers typically want to know what type of food you serve, and what’s on your menu. They may also like to find out if you take reservations, and whether you’re a five-star restaurant or casual neighborhood joint.

If you own a retail clothing shop in a busy area of town, consider that parking is top of mind among patrons. Not only would a searcher want to know your store’s specialty (women’s, men’s, children, plus size, athletic, etc.) but also any recommendations on parking.

Think about how your customers are finding you online and the types of information they’re looking for and then include it in your online business listings. If you’re not sure, you may want to take an informal survey of your customers as you interact with them.  Just a simple query like, “Did you find my shop on the internet? Can you tell me what you searched for?” should provide you with the information you need. 

If you’d like to check out how your business currently appears across the most popular online directories, you can conduct a free scan. This tool provides an online report almost instantaneously with how your business listing appears on sites like Yahoo!, Bing, Facebook, Yelp and more. This scan is a quick and easy way to see how your business is listed. You can verify your information and discover which directories are missing your listing.   

If you find managing numerous directories too time-consuming, there are services that can help you claim, manage and optimize your listings on your behalf. Local SEO services can help ensure your information is not only accurate, but also optimized so your business stands out from competitors on the search results page.  

For more marketing tips like these, sign up for the weekly VR Buzz Newsletter.

© 2015, VerticalResponse Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

The post What You Absolutely Need to Include in Your Online Business Listing appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

Guide to Autoresponders Part 1: Benefits and Welcome Emails

Wed, 06/17/2015 - 06:00

Finding new customers and not having nearly enough time in the day are likely two of your biggest concerns as a business owner. That’s why email marketing is essential to growing your customer base. The high ROI is unrivaled. An autoresponder series is a valuable email marketing tool that gives you the opportunity to share new content, build an email list or start promoting your latest service, even while you sleep.

We’ve put together a three-part guide on the benefits of autoresponders and explore the various kinds of trigger-based emails and when to use them. In part one, we cover the following:

  1. The Benefits of Autoresponders
  2. Welcome Emails
The Benefits of Autoresponders

Here are five ways your business can benefit from using email autoresponders: 

1. Save you time

Want to save some time and get more done in your day? An autoresponder can help you accomplish this.

Rather than writing and sending individual emails to your subscribers, why not create effective emails set for automatic delivery? When your email list gets a new subscriber, you can set a trigger to automatically send them a welcome email. ‘The automation process is a snap,’ says Jill Bastian, our Community Education and Training manager.

“Business owners won’t need much time to set up autoresponder emails,” she says. “That’s a big deal for any business owner.”

2. Make a great first impression

A new contact could quickly become a paying customer, but first you’ll need to make the right impression. In a world full of competitors, you can impress potential customers by showing your commitment to customer service. If prospective clients receive a welcome email or a discount after signing up for your company email, it shows them that you’re on top of your game and will entice them to come back for more.

3. Offer the chance to capitalize on sales

When a new subscriber signs up for your email, it’s a signal that they are ready to learn more about your business. They’ve already shown their interest; now you just need to capitalize on the opportunity.

“Being able to connect with new customers right away can be a huge win for a small business,” Bastian says. “And autoresponders can expedite that process.”

By sending an automated welcome email, or a thanks-for-signing-up email, you take one step closer to converting an interested prospect into a paying customer.

4. Provide value for your customers

The idea of getting overrun with spam emails or useless junk mail often keeps people from signing up for emails. An autoresponder that contains access to additional content or service is an excellent way to show your customers that your emails are valuable. You want to demonstrate that your name in the inbox provides something worth reading.

5. Keep your audience engaged

Setting up automated emails is a great no-hassle way to speak to your customers and keep your brand top of mind within your industry. Remember though that your content should not only be informative, but also provoke thought and speak directly to the reader’s needs/desires.

You want to make customers feel they are participating in something worthwhile. Adding polls or ‘submit your best story’ prompts about a select topic to an automated email are just two examples of how to do that. These types of messages set the tone for how a new customer will view the approachability of your brand.

Now that we’ve highlighted the benefits let’s take a look at one of the most popular autoresponders.

Welcome Emails

As mentioned earlier, Welcome emails are widely used and often expected when signing up for any sort of company/brand list. They are the perfect way to get new customers interested in your brand and ready to learn about what’s coming next from you!

Rockhouse Partners, a marketing company that helps promote entertainment venues, effectively uses Welcome emails to thank their fans for signing up. This is also their initial touchpoint for encouraging more interaction with their audience and it seems to work well.

“When a fan signs up for an email list they’ll automatically receive a message from our client with a brief, tone-setting introduction,” says Emily Harris with Rockhouse Partners. “Often, we’ll incorporate a call-to-action for tickets to upcoming events, or an offer to connect on social media profiles.” Emily Harris with Rockhouse Partners explains.

This recent autoresponder example illustrates how they incorporate an introduction along with a call-to-action (CTA) and social media buttons:

The “welcome to the family” message is a nice way to acknowledge the new fan, and the “view all events” button is an important call to action that pushes fans to learn more.

Below, you’ll find two other Welcome emails. Notice one offers a free item; the other includes several text-based links that provide more company information. 


A promotional element like a discount code or a printable coupon is an excellent addition to a Welcome email as well.

If you haven’t started using autoresponders, a Welcome email is a great place to begin. VerticalResponse allows you to do so easily with a free or paid account. For even more tips and information on how Welcome emails increase engagement, check out this video.

Stay tuned for part two when we cover Content Offer and Survey Emails of the autoresponder series.

Want more branding and marketing tips for your business? Sign up today for an upcoming webinar. These sessions are fun, interactive, and hosted by one of our experts who will be ready to answer all your questions.

© 2015, VerticalResponse Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

The post Guide to Autoresponders Part 1: Benefits and Welcome Emails appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

Have You Gotten Your Facebook Privacy Checkup?

Tue, 06/16/2015 - 06:00

Facebook and privacy are two entities that don’t always play nice. The mega social network is no stranger to privacy complaints. More recently, a user accused Facebook of purposely making the privacy settings hard to understand and change. The Privacy Checkup feature is Facebook’s attempt to right that ship.

In this week’s episode of Tips in 2, we take a tour of this new feature and show you how to access your privacy settings and how to change them.

Click on the video below to watch.

For more Tips in 2 videos, check out our informative blog.

© 2015, VerticalResponse Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

The post Have You Gotten Your Facebook Privacy Checkup? appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

What Jurassic World Teaches About Marketing

Fri, 06/12/2015 - 06:00

Summer always brings big blockbuster hits to the movie theaters, and this year is no different. Steven Spielberg’s fourth action-packed dino movie, Jurassic World, is released today and is sure to attract the masses. 

In this movie, John Hammond’s dream becomes reality as a dinosaur theme park opens to the public. The main attraction at this park isn’t a giant T-Rex. Nope. This park takes dinosaurs to a whole new level. Scientists “spared no expense” and created a hybrid dinosaur, Indominus Rex. And (prepare your shocked face) this genetically altered creature breaks free from his cage and causes all kinds of chaos.

The scientists overdid it. Sometimes trying to reinvent the wheel, or, in this case, a dinosaur, just isn’t worth it. It’s a valuable lesson you can apply to your marketing efforts as well. How, you ask? Take a look at the three ways you can over-engineer you marketing:

1. A busy website

One of your best marketing tools is your website. Your digital presence says a lot to visitors, so it’s vital that your website offer a clean, user-friendly experience. If your website looks like the picture below, your customers might feel you tossed them into the raptor cage. There’s just too much going on here.

Solution: Your website should have a fresh look, a solid color scheme, easy navigation, marketing content that inspires your customers or clients to act and a way to purchase goods online.

If your website needs some sprucing up, but you don’t want to shell out thousands of dollars to a designer to build it, turn to a DIY tool. We offer website hosting with hundreds of templates to choose from on our Marketing Solutions Hub. If your website is in good shape, but you’d like to add a shopping cart feature, try Shopify. (Shopify is integrated with VerticalResponse, so you can easily contact your customers.)

2. Too many calls to action in an email

You don’t want to over-engineer your marketing emails either. Keep it simple. Each email should have one call to action.

You can overwhelm a customer if, for example, there are two call-to-action buttons, two hyperlinks, and clickable contact information all in one email. It’s like seeing a T-Rex for the first time. Your email recipient won’t run for cover in a bathroom like the lawyer did in the first Jurassic Park, but he or she will definitely close the email because it’s just too much to handle.

Solution: Don’t over do it. As a rule of thumb, each marketing email should have one call to action. Of course, it’s not a hard and fast rule. You can add a hyperlink to your email or your contact information, but the point is don’t go crazy.

The main call to action should be a can’t-miss button that has urgent text like, ‘Shop Now.’ If you need help creating a button, use our button creator. For additional help, check out a previous article, “5 Elements of an Effective Call to Action.”

3. Becoming an ‘oversharer’ on social media

You know those Facebook friends who constantly share updates about their kid’s potty training efforts, or the old college roommate who loves to share super-specific details about his love life? Yeah, these people are over-engineering their social posts.

Don’t turn your business social media sites into an oversharing message board or your customers will run from your site as if being chased by a herd of Gallimimus. (For those keeping up with our Jurassic Park references, that’s the dinosaur pack that chased Alan Grant and the two kids through the open plain in the second movie.)

Solution: Keep it professional and post useful marketing information. Your business social media sites should be for marketing your business. Now, that’s not to say you can’t share a personal achievement on your business page here and there, but save most of that information for your personal social sites.

You should also post information that your customers can use. Share news from your industry, tips to improve a customer’s life, how-to guides that help clients understand your product and links to purchase items from your website.

Hopefully, with a little inspiration from Jurassic World, your marketing efforts will successfully evolve – without the help of dino DNA.

Send your emails today with VerticalResponse – It’s free up to 1,000 email contacts.

© 2015, VerticalResponse Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

The post What Jurassic World Teaches About Marketing appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

3 Tips to Extend Your Email Reach with Social Sharing

Thu, 06/11/2015 - 06:00

Tracking how many readers share your emails on social media is easier than ever. Any email service provider worth its salt lets you monitor social interactions (we do!) such as likes, comments, shares and retweets in your email report.

But how do you get your readers to share your email in the first place? Read on for a few tips and best practices for maximizing your email reach through social sharing.

1. Add social share buttons to make sharing easy

A good email will include a call-to-action (CTA) that makes the next desired step clear. When you add social buttons to the email header, you create a secondary CTA without detracting from the primary one in the main body.

VerticalResponse’s editor allows you to drag and drop sharing buttons anywhere in your email. If you’re worried about distracting readers from your central message, try testing button placement in different areas of your email. Here’s an example.

2. Dedicate an email campaign to your social pages

An alternative approach is to make connecting on social media the primary call-to-action of your email. While email still provides the highest return on investment by far, staying active on your business’ social media accounts has its perks.

For one, social media often serves as a de facto customer support tool. It’s a great medium for retaining happy customers and reconnecting with former ones. Also, you can boost your search rank by having profiles on Facebook and Twitter.

3. Give them an incentive to follow you online

Keep in mind some customers may be reluctant to follow you on social media if you already have access to them via email. Whether you want them to like your Facebook page or follow you on Twitter, give them incentives to connect with you.

Let them know up front what they’re missing, like social-exclusive offers and content. Then, be sure to deliver on that promise. 

Like what you saw? The examples above were made using VerticalResponse’s easy-to-use email editor and template gallery. Sign up for your free account today. 

© 2015, VerticalResponse Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

The post 3 Tips to Extend Your Email Reach with Social Sharing appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

The Best Ways To Promote New Products on Instagram

Wed, 06/10/2015 - 06:00

When it comes to spotlighting a new product, few social media platforms are more visually stimulating than Instagram, making it an ideal place to showcase your latest arrivals.

We’ve put together some tips to help you determine what to post, when to do it, and how to boost the number of people who actually see it.

Image quality and design

First and foremost, your product image needs to be high quality. However, that does not mean you need to invest in a high-end camera to achieve this effect. Most mobile phone cameras will work just fine, as long as the photo isn’t blurry. There are also countless apps that can enhance your image. Here are a few that can help:

  • Aviary is a free app that offers filters, frames, stickers, touch-up tools and more.
  • Overgram is a free app that lets you quickly and easily add text to photos.
  • PicFrame allows you to organize multiple photos into a patchwork design to create a single postable image. Yellows Plus uses this design to showcase eyewear from a variety of distances and perspectives.

Image content

Products that create a distinct improvement in some way can be displayed in “before-and-after” photos like Tanino Smoothing Therapy did with these hair comparison shots.

You could also post your new product with an introductory price or limited time trial, like Cowgirl Dirt did when they introduced their new eye shadow trios.

Additionally, always make sure to post a mix of products and fun stuff, like photos of employees, events, or relevant memes to give your customers a behind-the-scenes look into your business.

Short videos

Instagram now allows its users to post videos.These can be uploaded directly from your phone or tablet’s library or recorded using their dedicated video app. Videos can be 3 to 15 seconds long, and you can add filters and geotags. A recent example would be Glorify Apparel’s video post to announce their spring clothing line.

For those feeling especially creative, you can use an app like Flipagram to make fun, short “photo-videos” set to music. Rosalita’s Roadside Cantina often uses this app to introduce their latest menu selections.

Using hashtags

If you’re just getting started with Instagram, make sure your posts are set to “public” display so you can add hashtags to your photos and videos. Remember that you can use numbers and letters, but no spaces or special characters, and you are allowed to include up to 30 tags on a post.

Not sure which hashtags to use? Try #newproduct and #newarrival. You can also use industry-specific tags like #designerhandbag and #prosurfboard. Website builder platform Wix also recently published an article highlighting Instagram’s most popular hashtags and their meanings which is definitely worth a read.  

As a general rule, it’s always good to think about what your target customer would be searching for and try to use those keywords as your hashtags.

When to post

When thinking about the frequency of your posts, consistency is key. Set an initial pattern for posts in the beginning and stick with it. Accounts that suddenly cut back on the frequency of their posts on Instagram can lose followers quickly.

Not sure when to post? IconoSquare is a great app that identifies the best times to post based on your followers’ engagement. You can also get analytics for total number of likes, most-liked images, average number of likes/comments per image, and follower growth charts. There’s even a way to track how filters impact your likes and comments received.

Seasonal and holiday posts can also boost sales. Bucci’s Bridal capitalized on prom season by posting dress photos in October and used hashtags like #prom2015 and #newprom. Mary Kay independent beauty consultant Stephanie Cyrus planted the seed for “the perfect Mother’s Day gift wrapped and delivered” two weeks before the big day.

You can also build excitement by posting a photo before the item is actually available, also known as a ‘tease image‘.

Promoting your post

Posting images of your new product is great, but it’s not enough to drive sales. You’ll still need to work to promote it and get seen by both existing and potential customers. Here are some quick tips:

Perhaps the most important tip is to remember to engage with your followers. Post comments on their images once in a while and respond to all comments left on yours. Product specific questions (e.g., colors, sizes, shipping, gift wrapping, etc.) from followers can also be useful in creating an FAQ for your online store.

Want more tips and how-to advice? Sign up for the VerticalResponse weekly VR Buzz newsletter.

Wendy Burt-Thomas is a full-time freelance writer with four books and thousands of published articles to her credit. Contact Wendy at

© 2015, VerticalResponse Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

The post The Best Ways To Promote New Products on Instagram appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

3 Valuable Insights Into Selling Email Marketing to Your Clients

Tue, 06/09/2015 - 06:00

Chances are, your clients know about the array of email marketing service providers out there; they may even already be using one of them. So, how do you convince them to use the co-branded solution you set up with us? One of our partner agencies gives us the scoop.

Since 2010, Vyral Marketing has incorporated VerticalResponse as one of the main components in driving referrals and sales for their real-estate clients. They’ve become pros in promoting the value of email marketing. COO, John McMillan, shares three valuable insights into Vyral’s strategy for success.

Provide Value

Vyral Marketing’s bread and butter is creating content for their clients using video marketing. When it comes to email marketing, the value is clear, but clients don’t always understand how to execute a strategy that’s consistent and drives results. That’s where Vyral comes in.

“We make it easy and come up with educational content that adds value to their database. Sometimes our clients already use another email service provider, but not with much consistency. Consistency is the key to getting results. Ten percent of your database should be referring you every year, and if you are not staying in touch with them, that’s a lot of business you are losing.”

Integrate Email Marketing Into Your Core Service Offerings

While video marketing is their primary focus, email marketing is the backbone of their 3-Step Plan for helping clients increase referrals and sales:

1. Ask for an email when you meet a person.
2. Make two educational Q&A videos a month.
3. Call the people who watch your videos.

“We like to send two video emails with educational content each month. For example, if you’re an auto repair shop owner, send just a simple 2-minute video on how to keep your car in good shape. The strategy is the same for every client, but we customize the content for each of them depending on the market and their industry. After three business days, we send them an email of all the people who opened and clicked in the email. These are the leads they can use to follow up on.”


Vyral Marketing does all the work for their clients of providing content for their videos and emails. It’s also necessary for their clients to understand how to build their email lists organically, be consistent and understand the results.

Their website is packed with informational videos including, ‘How to Get More Emails to Grow Your List’ and ‘Six Email Follow-Up Sequences You Need’. Along with the tutorials on their website, they have a corresponding YouTube channel where clients can quickly access all the ‘how to’ videos they’ve created.

In addition to the tutorials they provide, Vyral Marketing designates coaches to each client to review results from every campaign. They walk their clients through the results to help them understand the value of a consistent email marketing strategy that will grow their business over time. “Our clients spend a certain amount of money with us per year and our goal is to increase their repeat and referral business 10x. Sometimes it takes a few months to start seeing results and our coaches help our clients track their progress.”

By providing value, integrating email marketing into their core service offerings and educating their clients about the benefits, Vyral Marketing is able to make email marketing an ‘easy-sell’. Try implementing these ideas into your strategy for selling email marketing to find out if they work for your business.

Sign up for our weekly newsletter to get more email marketing advice.

© 2015, VerticalResponse Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

The post 3 Valuable Insights Into Selling Email Marketing to Your Clients appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

50 Summer Subject Lines + Tips to Write Sunny Subject Lines

Fri, 06/05/2015 - 06:00

Are you preparing for summer? People everywhere are breaking out the grill, tilling up the garden and hitting the gym to tone up their beach body. While there’s a lot on your seasonal to-do list, your email subject lines could use a little summer lovin’ too.

As we welcome rising temperatures and days at the park, we also welcome summer-themed marketing. To provide inspiration, we’ve put together a list of 50 summer subject lines. Plus, we’ll give you three tips to help you create your own fun-in-the-sun subject lines.

To start, here is a list of 50 summer-themed subject lines from retailers, service-based businesses and non-profits:

  • ACustom: Your go-to summer jacket – The Featherweight
  • AtoZPetGroomers: Your dog needs a beach body too
  • RowBoatTours: Float the river during the dog days of summer
  • Vince: First look. Pre-order summer 2015
  • DealsDirect: Prices slashed! Summer clearance sale
  • Body Jewelry Shop: Summer is nearly here!
  • Thomson Holidays: Summer is getting closer. Grab a cruise deal now
  • BonPrix: Get set for summer!
  • WindowShine: Get the winter junk off your windows. Summer sale
  • Gray & Osbourn: New summer lines just arrived
  • Temperley London: The Summer Trench up to 60% off
  • Forzier: Top 4 watch trends for the summer
  • Shopbop: The go-to summer shoe
  • TireRack: Which tires should you be driving on this summer?
  • Title Nine: Cast your vote! Title Nine’s summer cover
  • BBQ season is back!
  • Forever Unique: New arrivals and poolside cover-ups
  • 4imprint Inc: Small business news: May sprouts big ideas for small business!
  • Swimwear to dive for
  • Ghurka: Bring in summer with this hip market bag
  • Athleta: Sun, sand, linen
  • Target: A summer shoe update that’s budget-friendly
  • Elf: Hit the beach with this $3 kit
  • Accessorize: Discover your perfect beach style
  • NYS Electric and Gas: Keep cooling costs down with these tips
  • Ideeli: Hello, Sunshine! Extra 10% off everything
  • Estee Lauer: Let the sun worship you. Bronze Goddess is back
  • Bellabox: How to get effortless beach hair
  • Joss & Main: Host a garden party with these accessories
  • Life is Good: Cool tees bring in the breeze
  • PCRepairNow: Get 25% off your next PC maintenance package this June
  • Angie’s List: Summer sign up deal
  • Coppertone: 6 ways to protect your skin this summer
  • The Catholic Company: Summer reading suggestions
  • Frontier Utilities: Schedule your summer maintenance now
  • AARP: Find volunteer opportunities near you this summer
  • FitnessFactor2: Get your swimsuit body ready with these 4 classes
  • ASPCA: Give to our fun-in-the-sun campaign now
  • PlanITParty: Let us plan your next BBQ
  • Mothercare: A heat wave is coming!
  • LancasterLibrary: 10 beach reads you’ll love
  • Luisaviaroma: Don’t be seen without these summer styles
  • TravelTour: 5 summer jet-set ideas
  • WoundedVets: Enjoy summer while honoring veterans
  • Make-A-Wish: See your summer donation in action
  • Sears Auto: Nice weather is here. Bring your car in for a complete detail
  • RotoRooter: Celebrate the end of winter. Take $50 off your next service call
  • Craftsy: Great summer patterns
  • EdibleTips: Hot off the grill: 3 recipes every family will love

Three tips to help you add a dose of sunshine to your next subject line 

1. Use summer references

You don’t have to sell sunscreen or bathing suits to reference summer. Our list of summer subject lines proves that, but here are a few ways you can bring some summer flair to your emails:  

  • Celebrate summer with a discount.
  • When the temperature rises, host a Heat Wave sale.
  • Provide solutions to pesky summer problems like sunburn or mosquitoes.
  • Provide tips to improve summer gatherings like grilling tips or lawn maintenance tricks.

You can also use common summer words in your subject lines. Here’s a quick list:

  • Summer descriptions: heat wave, high temps, fun-in-the-sun, mercury-rising, beat the heat, dog days of summer
  • Summer places: cabin, lake, beach, park
  • Summer must-haves: bathing suit, sunglasses, beach bags, flip flops
  • Summer events: bbq, picnics, family reunions, road trips
  • Summer chores: lawn maintenance, gardening, home repair
  • Summer safety: sunblock, water, sun exposure

2. Use movie or song titles

A study from Retention Science shows emails with song titles get opened 26 percent of the time, which is an 11 percent higher open rate than those without a title. So, why not add a summer-themed song title to your subject line, or reference a classic summer movie?

3. Mimic personal email format

If you send an email to a buddy to arrange a summer play date, would you send something like this? 

Probably not. You wouldn’t use all capital letters, exclamation points or little emoticons. (And the use of “super duper” raises some red flags too.) If you wouldn’t send the subject line to a friend, you shouldn’t send it to customers or donors either.

In other words, don’t use capital letters, stay away from Wingdings or emoticons, and don’t go overboard with punctuation. Some people use these items to make their email standout, but it makes your email look less professional. You can be creative, but you don’t need these “extras” to draw attention.

Want more subject line inspiration? Check this out: 50 All-Time Great Retails Subject Lines.

© 2015, VerticalResponse Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

The post 50 Summer Subject Lines + Tips to Write Sunny Subject Lines appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

3 Tips for Retailers Promoting a New Product via Email

Thu, 06/04/2015 - 06:00

You’ve worked hard to create or find a great product, and now it’s time for your customers to reap the benefits. But because you’re unveiling something new and possibly unfamiliar, it’s important to keep messaging clear, concise and helpful.

Any announcement email should tell the customer three things: What the new product is, what it can do for the consumer, and what action should be taken next. That’s a good deal of information to get across in just one message, but it can be done efficiently with the right copy and design. We put together three tips below to help you make sure your email is straightforward and, most importantly, effective.

1. Make your excitement contagious

If you’re rolling out a new product, it’s likely something your customers have requested or something you think they will benefit from. Don’t be afraid to let your enthusiasm about the product shine through! Adding personality never hurts, as long as it is consistent with your brand voice. When you’re crafting the copy, start by writing as if you were describing the product in person, and then work from there.

Look at the example below from Peak. Phrases like “We’ve been working,” “We’re excited to share it with the world,” and “we think you’re going to love it,” make it clear they are passionate about their product and can’t wait to share it with you. The example also makes clear the value that this product will bring to users, and because Peak also asks for feedback, the email feels more personable and genuine.

When you’re excited, it’s likely that customers will be too. Read your copy out loud to make sure it sounds like something you would say. And always keep it authentic.

2. Describe the new product and its value

Details are important, but they can also be boring. For a new product email, you want to provide just enough information so that a user is intrigued and understands what you’re offering. You don’t want to overwhelm them with so much information that they abandon the email without taking action. A good rule of thumb is to write the sentence you want to write, and then cut it in half.

When it comes to copywriting, it’s been shown that users absorb the first three and the last three words of a headline. Follow similar parameters here. Treat each point in your email as if it’s a headline, and try to convey the most important information in about 6-10 words. In the example below, you’ll see that each product point has a short description that’s no more than ten words long.

3. Pick a CTA and stick with it

There’s so much information in a product announcement that it can be tempting to offer your reader multiple options for where to go next. “See the product in action,” “learn more about these features,” and “sign up,” could all be realistic calls to action, but it’s important to keep your email focused. Offer the reader a clear path forward.

If you want them to learn more, send them to an in-depth page with greater details. Make sure that page has a clear next step too. If you want to get readers straight to the sign-up, tell them the most pertinent information up front and prompt them to sign up. Then offer more resources after they’ve made an account.

When you have multiple CTAs in a single email, it can feel inconsistent, and customers can get distracted. The result may be that they don’t take any action at all.

The above email from gets straight to the point with a prominent “View Your Stats” button after a few lines of introduction. Then, after they provide more details about what will be available on the new page, they repeat the same CTA. It provides consistency and offers a direct path forward for people who want to click immediately, and for those who desire to learn more before clicking.

No matter what your product email is announcing, it’s important to keep the messaging clear and help your customers understand what the new product can do for them. By providing a sense of urgency and excitement, they’ll be ready to click and learn more.

Want more tips and tactics? Sign up for the weekly VR Buzz.

Sarah Maloy is a copywriter and digital marketing strategist. Follow her on Twitter @smaloy and see more of her work at

© 2015, VerticalResponse Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

The post 3 Tips for Retailers Promoting a New Product via Email appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

How to Build a Call to Action Button for Your Email

Wed, 06/03/2015 - 06:00

A call-to-action (CTA) is an important part of email marketing. A smart CTA gives readers clear instructions on what action you want them to take. A call-to-action button makes this desired step even more visible. For PC, tablet, or mobile users, the button is a quick way to get to the designated URL or landing page. 

VerticalResponse now offers a free button building tool within the email editor. The tool allows you to create and edit a CTA button with just a few clicks. It’s available to use with 100% of VerticalResponse’s email templates. The tool allows you to create the perfect button for your emails in a snap. The best part is that we designed it to be a new content block. This way, if your reader’s email program blocks the images, the button still appears.

Here are a few things you can do with it:

Label – Your button can say anything you’d like. It’s a text field. We recommend you make the action as clear and concise as possible. If readers have to spend more than a second reading it, it’s too wordy. Short and sweet calls to action like “Sign Up Today”, “Learn More”, “Buy Now” or “Donate” will get your readers clicking.

Design- This is where you can have some fun! Choose the color of the Body, or the main part of the button. You can also pick the color of the Text and the Border around the button. Pick a combination of colors that make your call-to-action stand out or complement the colors of your logo, website, or email template. It’s totally up to you.

Width – The Width and Corners are part of the button design as well. These attributes can help your button stand out even more. Along with determining the width, you can also make the corners rounded or more square. Test how your readers respond to different buttons to find the perfect one for your emails.

Size – This setting will make the text, and the button, bigger. The numbers are pixel sizes for the text on the button.

Lastly, you can add a URL to the button to make it clickable. By inserting a link, you can send them to a signup page, a place to make a donation or purchase, or a page to learn more.

VerticalResponse has included this design tool with the email templates in your account. It is not available in Classic accounts. 

Happy button building!

To read more about VerticalResponse product updates, see our Product Update category on our award-winning blog.

© 2015, VerticalResponse Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

The post How to Build a Call to Action Button for Your Email appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

7 Time-Saving Apps Every Business Owner Needs

Tue, 06/02/2015 - 06:00

Running a business often means that time is your most valued commodity, and like printer ink, there never seems to be enough of it when you really need it. We can’t add more hours to your day, but we’ve added these seven time-saving apps to our bank of ideas to help you get back some much needed time.

1. Dashlane 3
What it does and why we love it: Are you wasting time requesting hints for forgotten passwords? Then you’ll love Dashlane 3. Although there are free password manager apps out there, this app is highly rated by PC Magazine for its extensive features, including password strength reports, emergency password recovery, automatic password capture and its ability to sync across all of your Mac, Windows, Android and iOS devices. 
Cost: $39.99/year

2. AirFile 
What it does and why we love it: 
If you’re juggling multiple clouds like Dropbox, Copy, OneDrive and GoogleDrive, you can save time by using AirFile. It allows you to manage them all in one place. 
Free for 2 clouds or upgrade to AirFile Pro for unlimited

3. Phone Tag
What it does and why we love it: 
You can use this app to convert voicemail messages into emails or texts. The next time a client sends directions or a vendor provides contact information on your voicemail, you won’t have to scroll through messages to find the information again.
Starting at $9.95/month after a free one week trial. 

4. Lucy Phone
What it does and why we love it: 
The motto says it all: “Never wait on hold again.” Consider the Lucy Phone app to be your personal spot-holder. Just put in the company’s phone number and press ** once you’re put on hold. When an agent answers, you’ll get a callback.

5. Remember the Milk
What it does and why we love it: 
This feature-packed app works like a personal assistant with a steel-trap mind. You can create to-do lists, organize your tasks and notes, get reminders, search, sync and prioritize. Remember the Milk is also available for Evernote, Twitter, Gmail, Microsoft Outlook and Google Calendar.
Free for basic app

6. TimeRabbit
What it does and why we love it: 
We know you don’t have all day to spend surfing through Facebook, but we all get sucked in sometimes. If you’re curious, this app tracks how much time you spend on the popular social network. According to Statistic Brain, the average user spends 18 minutes on Facebook per visit. Multiply that by the number of times you log in each day and … Yikes! Where did the time go? With this app, a timer starts automatically when you log into Facebook. If you’re idle or navigate away from the site, the timer stops. TimeRabbit gives you reports that show just how much time you spend on the social site.

7. SelfControl
What it does and why we love it:
If you’re using Mac OS X, the SelfControl app can help you blacklist anything online or just block it for a period of time. Want to ensure you don’t waste time playing games, or scrolling through Twitter? Block any sites with this SelfControl. Be forewarned though: this is tough love. You won’t be able to access those sites until the timer runs out even if you delete the app or restart your computer. 

These 7 time-saving apps should help you avoid distractions, remember passwords and much more. For more time-saving apps, check out twelve more here

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Wendy Burt-Thomas is a full-time freelance writer with four books and thousands of published articles to her credit. Contact Wendy at

© 2015, VerticalResponse Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

The post 7 Time-Saving Apps Every Business Owner Needs appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

15 Hygiene Tips to Keep Your Email List Clean as a Whistle

Fri, 05/29/2015 - 06:00

A healthy email list is vital to any business. Thanks to bounces, unsubscribes and address changes, you can lose upwards of one-third of your list each year. If you’re not replacing churned email addresses with new active ones, your business can feel the impact.

Here are 15 tips to help you clean, maintain and grow your email list.

Remove or win back inactive contacts

Many email list guidelines recommend waiting for a full year of inactivity before removing a subscriber from your mailing list, but many providers now advise removing inactive email addresses after just six months of inactivity. 

That said, it’s important that you try to engage a subscriber before removing him or her from your list. There’s a variety of ways you can win subscribers back or at least learn from their behavior before they go.

Tip No. 1: Send a “we miss you” email with a special offer or discount code to see if you can incentivize the customer to make a purchase.

Tip No. 2: Send a polite “fish or cut bait” email asking if they’d like to confirm they want to stay on your email list before you remove them.

Tip No. 3: Find out why they’re inactive. When you give your contacts a way to unsubscribe after a long period of inactivity, give them a one-click survey on your unsubscribe page to find out why they’re leaving. Too many emails? Irrelevant content? Not enough discounts? Use the information to keep the next contact from leaving. You can also include a similar survey on your unsubscribe confirmation page.

Maintain the working parts of your list

Tip No. 4: Mail your list at least once a month. It will keep your readers engaged, increase the likelihood that they’ll make a purchase or donation, and let you know (via bouncebacks) which accounts are no longer active.

Tip No. 5: There are some great tools to help you maintain a healthy email list. Kickbox helps eliminates bounces before you launch your email campaign by “scrubbing” your list and replacing it with a squeaky-clean version. Kickbox uses a real-time API to verify email addresses before it adds a subscriber to your list. It also detects disposable email domains, role-based email addresses (e.g., webmaster@, info@, support@) and low-quality addresses. All Kickbox users get 100 free verifications every day. What’s more, VerticalResponse users get a 10 percent discount for additional verifications.

Tip No. 6: You’ll also want to take a cue from your open rates. If 99 percent of your list isn’t opening your email, you’ll need to do some work on your subject lines and the timing of your emails (day of the week and time of day). Dasheroo allows you to instantly view key stats from your VerticalResponse emails alongside your other apps like Facebook, Twitter, Google Analytics and many more, all in one easy-to-understand business dashboard! And it’s free.

Tip No. 7: If you’re not already doing it, consider segmenting your emails based on purchases or links clicked. If you sell clothing and certain customers only purchase men’s clothing, they may not want to receive your emails promoting sales on children’s apparel. Likewise, if you sell pet supplies, you can divide your list into categories based on the animal(s) they buy for or are interested in.

Grow your list

Tip No. 8: One of the simplest ways to collect email addresses is with a sign up form on your website or blog. It’s easy to set up, and you don’t have to think about it once you created it. VerticalResponse offers sign up forms for free with every account.

Tip No. 9: You can also collect emails at expos or brick-and-mortar locations. Encourage visitors to drop their card into a fishbowl for a chance to win something. People understand that by doing so, you will include them on your email list.

Tip No. 10: Some retail stores have great success obtaining emails at the register when customers pay. You can offer incentives, such as discounts and promotions, for signing up.

Tip No. 11: Tatango allows new contacts to add their email address to your list with a simple text. Customers text your business’s unique word to 33733, and they’ll be asked to reply with their email address. You can add up to 250 contacts each month to your VerticalResponse email list.

Tip No. 12: Run a contest on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest requiring participants to supply their email address to enter. Remember to follow contest guidelines for each social network. 

Tip No. 13: Justuno is a tool that allows you to build email lists with incentive-based promotions. Using an instant offer widget, you can offer site visitors a coupon code or free download if they join your email list.

Tip No. 14:  Include a link to your sign up form in your personal email signature.

Tip No. 15: Collect contact information with Twitter Lead Generation Cards, which requires the reader to do nothing more than click on the call to action and then hit submit. The beauty of these cards is that the person’s name, Twitter handle and email address is automatically filled in for them. You can see how to set up a Twitter Lead Generation Card in this short video.

For more marketing tips for your business, subscribe to the weekly VR Buzz Newsletter

Wendy Burt-Thomas is a full-time freelance writer with four books and thousands of published articles to her credit. Contact Wendy at

© 2015, VerticalResponse Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

The post 15 Hygiene Tips to Keep Your Email List Clean as a Whistle appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

5 Ways to Get More People to Read Your Emails

Thu, 05/28/2015 - 06:00

Wouldn’t it be nice if your customers or clients read every email you sent? It would be amazing, right? Well, we’re here to help.

There are dozens of reasons for emails to go unread. Your customers are busy, and their inboxes may be inundated with messages. From company memos to promotional emails, we all know how emails can pile up.

So, how do you get your customers to read your emails? We’ve created a list of five easy-to-do tips to increase your “email readability.” While we can’t promise every email will get read, these tips are designed to up the ante and increase your open and conversion rates.

1. Hook your readers with an intriguing subject line

First thing’s first. You need people to open your email before they can read it. That means you need to spend some time finessing your subject line. It’s a good policy to craft your subject line before you write the body of the email. It will help you focus your content. Plus, if you write the subject line last you might be tired of writing and produce a sub-par message.

So, how do you create a 50-character sentence that results in high open rates? Consider writing a subject line that falls into one of these six categories:

  • Pop culture. Keep an eye on what’s going on in pop culture and consider connecting it to your business or product. For example, an online baby retailer can create a subject line that includes the arrival of the Royal Baby.
  • Movie line or a song title. Draw on your film and music knowledge to create unique subject lines. A sporting goods store could use the song “We Are the Champions” in its subject lines during playoff season.
  • Curiosity. You want a subject line that makes a recipient say, “That’s interesting. I want to know more.” Curiosity improves open rates.
  • Outstanding deal. If you’re offering a great promotion, coupon, gift or deal you should declare it right in your subject line. It’s the same principal as “SALE” signs in brick-and-mortar establishments.
  • Take action. Use your subject line to tell readers what action you’d like them to take. Maybe you want your audience to enter a contest or read a how-to article. If so, mention the action from the outset.

Pro-tip: If you’re having trouble coming up with the perfect subject line, turn to the Conversation Starter. It’s a Mad Libs-style tool that will generate some ideas for you.

2. Don’t underestimate the power of a good format

In one glance, your audience should be able to tell what your email is all about. To do that requires organization. Your email shouldn’t look like a high school English paper; it should look more like a visual postcard. Here are some formatting tips to make sure your emails get read:

  • Create a title. Give your email a title. Take a look at the example below. The text at the top of the email instantly tells the reader about the contents of the email. Plus, the font is bold and larger than the rest of the text, so it stands out.


  • Use subheadings or bullet points. That same example has a subheading, “Getting started.” Subheadings are an excellent way to break up content. It makes the email easy to digest. If you plan to write anything longer than four sentences in your email, use subheadings to chunk the content out. The subheadings should be in bold and slightly smaller than your title text.

If subheadings aren’t the right fit, you can also use bullet points to keep your email neat and tidy. Likewise, if you’re creating a list of any kind, go for bullet points. For example, in your welcome email you can highlight the benefits of your product in a bulleted list.

  • Generate a call to action button. The green call to action button is eye-catching. You should create similar CTAs for your email. Sure, you can use a hyperlink as a call to action, but a clickable button is better.

          Pro-tip: Not sure how to make a call to action button? No problem. Check out our handy button maker.

  • Pick vibrant colors. In the example, the sender makes great use of the color green. It sets the call to action apart from the rest of the content. If there’s something you want to stand out, make it a vibrant color. Of course, you’ll want to use this color sparingly otherwise it will lose its effect.

3. Create an email buffet

Think of your email arsenal like a buffet, with all sorts of options that appeal to a broad audience. Your email strategy should be similar. You want to serve your audience a variety of different messages.

In other words, don’t send a promotional email for the same product every Friday afternoon. Instead, send a variety of emails. Here’s a quick list of emails you can send to keep the smorgasbord full.

  • Welcome email. When you get a new contact, send an email greeting within the first 48 hours. In a brief message, welcome them and explain what they can expect from your emails.
  • Announcement email. Have a new product? Launching a new service? Make it known to your contacts via email.
  • Newsletters. Keep your crew in the know with newsletters. These informational emails are a great way to keep your customers engaged. If you need a little help coming up with topics to include, check out this list of newsletter ideas.
  • Customer appreciation email. Give your customers a digital high five. Consider offering a special promotion or a giveaway to show how much you value your audience.
  • Promotional email. Entice your clients to make a purchase or book an appointment through promotional offers. Promotional emails are an excellent way to attract new customers and retain current ones, but you don’t want to send too many offers. Promotional emails are just another part of your buffet.
  • Invitation email. Whether you’re hosting an event or attending a trade show, you can always invite your customers via email.

4. Segment your list

One of the best ways to increase your open and conversion rates is to segment your list. By breaking your email list into specific groups, you can send targeted messages to your audience. A targeted message that lands in the right inbox is like an email slam-dunk. Not sure how to slice and dice your list? Here are a few ideas:

  • Demographics. Split your list by demographics like age, gender, or geographic location.
  • Survey results. Email a survey to your customers and use the results to categorize the names. For example, an online clothing retailer could group customers into pools like “winter apparel group” and “accessories group.”
  • Past purchases. If you track what customers buy, you can send emails based on their purchasing histories.
  • Email response rates. You’ll have a spectrum of active to not-so-active customers on your list. You can use this information to create groups. For example, you can put your active, loyal customers on one list and the once-in-awhile customers on another. Knowing this information, you can gear email campaigns accordingly.

5. Use online tools to improve your email success rate

As a small business owner, we know you don’t have a team of people to craft, check and send every email. Not to worry, though. There are several online tools that can help you create effective emails. Try some of these services and apps to improve your emails and save time:

The secret to email success is to constantly collect contact information from prospective customers and clients. To do so, you should set up an email sign up form on your website. It’s a hassle-free way for your business to collect email addresses from interested folks.

It’s always best to have a second set of eyes read your email, but sometimes in a one-person shop that’s not an option. To get around this, pop your content into Grammarly. This website will spot errors like misspellings and punctuation mistakes.

When you put your content into the Hemingway App it will highlight sentences that can be improved. For example, it will highlight long, convoluted sentences. Using this information you can clean up your content and create a streamlined message.

You’ll want to spice up your email with an image or two. If you don’t have any on hand, or don’t want to pay for them through stock sites, you can use Picjumbo or Unsplash. Both of these sites offer images for free.

When you need to edit an image, turn to PicMonkey. This handy website allows you resize, crop and edit pictures quickly.

If you’re a Google Analytics user, this link-building tool will help you track which links people click on the most inside your email. It’s a more advanced tool, but one worth checking out for measuring purposes.

Ready to create a survey? Check out SurveyMonkey. This easy-to-use site helps you create questions and deliver the survey to your email list. (As an added bonus, SurveyMonkey is integrated with VerticalResponse. Learn more about it on our website.)

Now that you’re armed with these five tips your readers won’t be able to resist your emails. As you work to improve your email strategy, monitor your metrics so you know what’s working.

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© 2015, VerticalResponse Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

The post 5 Ways to Get More People to Read Your Emails appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.