Successful small business owners — whether they’re new or just niche entrepreneurs — are usually hands-on kinds of people; when they see some task that needs to be completed to operate or grow their company, they tend to roll up their sleeves and get it done. That does not, importantly, mean they do it all themselves; knowing when you can handle something yourself and when you need to call in a professional is a critical part of successful time management.
Many of these “do it myself or hire it out” kinds of decisions are easy; we’re not all master plumbers, for example. But while it’s tempting to believe there’s nothing more to an email marketing campaign than downloading a template you found online somewhere, filling in the details of your doubtless irresistible upcoming sale, buying an inexpensive list of email addresses, and hitting “send,” the reality is quite different. By jumping head first into the deep end of this particularly sensitive marketing pool, you may set yourself up to cause more damage than the money saved could hope to offset. Email marketing can be a powerful tool to capture customers, drive sales, and increase your reach — but it’s not for the weekend dabbler, either.
Email marketing campaigns that work well all share several qualities, but perhaps the most important is they are well-targeted, and carefully tailored. One size rarely fits all, and this is no exception. The people at the other end must be receiving a message that makes sense for them to be reading — either demographically, geographically, or simply by virtue of knowing their interests and needs ahead of time. Professional email marketing partners build email lists not just by volume, but by quality — and the ability to segment their lists to create useful subsets of differentiated groups that can help a particular campaign be successful.
The importance of the quality of these lists cannot be overstated; in email marketing, the oldest of clichés is absolutely true: you never, ever get a second chance to make a first impression. If the message you’ve sent goes to the wrong place, you’ve labeled yourself and your company as spammers. And once you’ve found your way into someone’s spam folder, there’s a lot of work to be done to dig yourself out of it. Using a high-quality list of email addresses — with recipients that are reliably interested in the sort of things your business has to offer in the first place — is much easier and less expensive in the long run.
And these lists aren’t static; interests change, addresses change, trends change. Professionals know that building a list is the first tiny step toward having a list. It needs to be curated, updated, and maintained; the email addresses need to be checked and validated regularly, with an eye to keeping a group of addresses together that will give the biggest ROI. There’s more to email address deliverability than simply whether it exists, and professional email marketers use multiple methods to ensure your message will always get through to the people who need to see it.
Finally, successful targeting and tailoring means keeping your messages fresh and relevant to whichever part of the market you’re gunning for. And while you might be up on the latest in your field, successful online marketing trends emerge, shift and fall into irrelevance faster than you might believe possible. What worked to reach and build customer groups last month is almost certainly less effective this month; email marketing professionals are already laying ground work for the campaigns of tomorrow.
With such a large variety of business software options on the market to choose from, sometimes these platforms don’t interact as well as most of us would like them to. There are numerous Customer Relationship Managers (CRM’s) and Email Service Providers (ESP’s) on the market to choose from. But what happens if your CRM and your ESP clash – Don’t play nice together? Your ESP may tell you that your list was not formatted correctly or it needs to be in a different column order to be able to upload it into their platform. Or, when you get to the personalization stage, you don’t know why it is showing your customer’s full name instead of just their first name.
Below I’m going to explain how to reorganize or move data within an Excel Spreadsheet.
In the example above, you can see that I have the customer’s full name in column B. To split the column so that you have one column for first name and one column for last name, the next step is to go to the click the header of column C so that the whole column is selected. Then go to the CELLS section in the HOME tab and click the INSERT button.
This will insert a new column and shift the original column C to column D.
The next step is to select Column B just like you did with Column C earlier and click the column header to highlight the whole tab. You will then go to the DATA tab and under DATA TOOLS and click TEXT TO COLUMNS.
This will open up a “Wizard” box as shown below. The Wizard will detect what type of data you have. Click Next to proceed.
In this example, a single space separates the first and last names. So in the next screen of the Wizard below, only check “Space” in the DELIMITERS section. The Wizard will show you an example of how your new columns will look. Then click NEXT.
The Wizard will ask you what type of data you’ll be formatting. In this example, it is Text. Choose GENERAL or TEXT in the COLUMN DATA FORMAT section by highlighting the new columns in the DATA PREVIEW and then click FINISH.
A pop-up will appear asking you if you want to replace the contents of the destination cells. Since we already cleared a new column for the data to go into in column C, and there is currently no data in those cells, click OK.
And Voila! Your data is now split into First and Last Name in two separate columns.
You can also perform the same steps to split a column that is separated by a comma such as my column D in this example. When you get to the step in the wizard that asks you which DELIMITERS you want to sort by, just ensure that you have selected the check-box for comma.
Deduping an email list using Excel is easier than you think.
Since we are asked quite often about removing duplicates in an email list, we thought it might be time to post a simple “How To” guide explaining how easy it really is to dedupe an email list using Excel.
Using Excel to remove, view or hide duplicates in 3 steps or less.
3. Click OK in the selection box. As you can see in the image below, Excel will tell you how many duplicates it found as well as how many unique values remain. The duplicates will be removed with only the first instance of the records remaining.
This will treat the first instance of the records as the master value and delete all others.
What if you want the first instance of the duplicate record to not be in your list either? Or, you are interested in viewing each duplicate instance and determining for yourself if you want to keep it? Luckily this is made simple with conditional formatting.
If your email list is larger, follow these steps to sort your formatted list for easy viewing.
The previous two options were easily done, but maybe you don’t want to delete the duplicates from your list – Maybe you just want to hide them. Here is way to quickly dedupe your data by hiding the rows that contain duplicate data.
Now that was pretty easy – Wasn’t it?
Remember, even if you have a list of unique emails, you should consider using Purelist to scrub and clean your emails or have your email list cleaned and validated before sending to it. Having undeliverable emails in your list or sending to complainers, spam seeds or dead domains will only cause your IP Reputation to be damaged. Keeping your email list clean, valid, deliverable and free from spam seeds or BOTS will help you deliver your marketing emails to your users inbox on a more consistent basis.