Author Archives: Sanam Shrestha

About Sanam Shrestha

Mr. Sanam Krishna Shrestha is the Founder, Managing Director of Avenues Nepal Pvt. Ltd. ( http://AvenuesNepal.com ). He started his career as a computer instructor in 1992. He taught computer packages in computer institutes and schools. He formed database applications development company “FoxValley CompuTech” in 1994 and worked as the proprietor, Systems Analyst and programmer till 1999. He joined an American owned company AsianArt.com / Websoft International Pvt. Ltd. in the capacity as Business Manager and SEO Expert and gathered 5 years of experience. Now, he looks after the marketing division, business operation, resources of AvenuesNepal.com.

Email Marketing III : Email Format

Email Marketing - Email FormatIntroduction:
In the past two posts I’ve talked about email marketing and various factors to be considered in order to have successful electronic mail marketing. Besides knowing the smart ways of promotion with the help of people’s inboxes it is equally important we know the standard format of email marketing. Some prefer to use plain text in their emails, while others like their emails to be attractive with pictures, banners with the help of HTML. Plain text emails are easy and cheaper than HTML format emails. It depends on the sender which one they prefer most. If you want to go fancy with fonts, backgrounds and pictures then HTML format is just the thing for you, where as if plain text makes you feel comfortable then well why not stick to it. If you want to be creative with your email, it is advisable not to use too many colors or go crazy with the graphics. Make sure you have a proper, professional and appealing email. We still don’t want our emails to be thrown in the trash can cause the readers find it hard to read. Here are few ways to use HTML to make your email appealing.

  • Headline and Subheads:
    The headline and the subheads should stand out among the other content of the email. Using a different color and bigger font size than the other content will help grab the attention of the reader.
  • Pictures:
    You can add pictures of your product in your email. Placing image of the product in an interesting way helps the readers to have brief idea about how it looks and they might be interested in knowing more about it.
  • Graphics and Fancy Fonts:
    Using lots of graphics and colorful fonts might not work so well. It is better to stick with minimum graphics (few important ones) and certain font style. Fancy text and graphics that make the email unreadable are better avoided.

Email format:
An email can be divided into different fields. From the “From” field to the salutation, it is necessary to follow a proper format.

  1. FROM:
    The “From” field is where you write in the senders address or your email address. There are ways of filling this space: i) You can either just type in your email address. For example: FROM: web-updates@avenuesnepal.com or ii) Type the senders name or the company’s name. For example: FROM: Sanam Kr. Shrestha/ Avenues Nepal Pvt. Ltd. The second one is a better option because the reader will get to see who wrote to them. People usually prefer to open emails that have the name of the sender. Some bogus email address might not sound so interesting and hence they might delete it without reading it. If typing in your name is not possible then use the company’s name. If you have brand recognition, you can use it to your advantage. People will be interested in knowing what a popular company has to offer.
  2. SUBJECT:
    The “Subject” field is probably the most important of all. The recipients usually check on subject line before deciding on whether to open the mail or not. It is important to carefully pick the subject line considering the limited characters. You can have up to 60 characters in the subject line; hence you need to be really tricky with it. Besides the limited space you need to avoid words like FREE. For years people have used this word to grab attention that people don’t trust it anymore. In fact spam filters usually don’t allow emails to reach the inbox with subject line containing the word “Free”. You can however provide deadlines on subject line if you have limited time to your offer. For example: “Subject: Renewal Deadline: 31st November ‘08”. You can also highlight the benefit of your product on your subject considering you don’t make it sound like an advertisement. Lastly avoid false promises.
  3. TO:
    People usually don’t pay much attention to this field but it is always better to take precautions Here are the few points to remember while filling the “TO:” field:
    – Avoid using only the email address. If you know the recipient’s name or the company’s name use it before the email address.
    – Avoid using only the first name. Some people find it too personal and hence can offend them.
    – Avoid using the word “list”. This makes the email sound impersonal and unprofessional. Some even consider it to be spam.
  4. BODY:
    We’ll start with the salutation. In the body field, it is very important to include salutation. It is always better to greet the customer or prospect. Use “Dear” if you are emailing the person for the first time or you don’t have a close bond with the recipient yet. “Hi” and “Hello” could be used at the latter phase. The second part of the body is the headline. If you have mentioned the purpose of your email in the subject line, then it is fine to not mention the headline. But if you want to include headline in the body then make the headline sound interesting. You also need to avoid ALL CAPS in headline. This gives the impression you are shouting the message. Now the body text, use a good opening line. The first sentence of the email should be interesting so that the recipient will feel like reading further. Don’t make the body too long. Stick with 2-3 paragraphs with few lines. If you can include the purpose of the email in the first paragraph it is to the best. Here you can include your offer, the benefits and the instructions. You can highlight the offer and if needed you can elongate the email. You need to be true and tell the complete story. Make the email sound interesting and don’t forget to include links. Do check the links if they work before you send out the email.
  5. Signature:
    At the end do include your signature. If you cannot personalize the signature include company’s logo and name. You can include your company’s full address along with the web site link.

NOVEMBER 02, 2008 ISSUE #33

Email Marketing II: Effective Email Marketing

effective_email_marketingEmail marketing though sounds like an easy task, takes proper planning and monitoring. The greatest risk on email marketing is being labeled Spam. People are very careful about spam mails these days, they either delete them without even opening them or use anti-spam filters to block them before reaching their inbox. So what can we do to stop getting our mails trashed or blocked? Let’s look at these tips:

  • Do not use no-reply mailing address:
    You should use your valid email address to send out the marketing email. If you do not want the replies to be send to your personal address, create a separate email address for it. People should be able to reply to your email. Some people have the habit of just clicking the reply button without checking the address. So use a proper email address and check it frequently. You can use a no-reply mailing address if your newsletter is just for information purpose.
  • Correct Spelling:
    Before you send out the emails, it is obligatory to check for any grammatical errors or spelling mistakes. Poor grammar and spelling mistakes would not make a good impression on the readers. Also avoid jargons in your email.
  • Keep it Short & Simple:
    Divide your text into paragraphs and keep it short. In these few paragraphs you need to convince them and provide enough information about your product or service. Long boring mails are usually send to trash can. So be careful and keep it short, simple and interesting. I know it is sort of tricky but it is email marketing we are talking about.
  • Do not use ALL CAPS:
    Some people have the habit of using ALL CAPS to emphasize words or phrases. You can make use of it for some parts of the email but using it all over or using it at too many places can make it look like you are forcing things upon them. The other reason to avoid capital letters is that some spam filters delete messages which are in ALL CAPS.
  • Proper Fonts:
    To make the email readable it is advisable to use Arial or Verdana fonts. They look professional and clean. Make sure the fonts aren’t too big or too small.
  • Do not send file attachments:
    Any kind of file attachments should be avoided. Most recipients will hesitate to open attachments as they fear of containing computer viruses and they will delete it before reading it. The best alternative for file attachment is by turning it into a web page. You can provide the hyperlink to the file.
  • Deadline:
    If you have some offer for the recipients, provide an expiration date. Deadline is a good way of encouraging the readers to check on your offer.
  • Provide an Unsubscribe Option:
    People should be able to unsubscribe from your mailing list. You can provide an unsubscribe link at the bottom of your mail if they wish to remove their names from the list.

The last tip will be to provide the link that takes the customers directly to the offer page. You can use this alongside the deadline of your offers.

OCTOBER 23, 2008 ISSUE #32

Email Marketing I

What is Email Marketing?
Email marketing is a form of marketing done through electronic mails as a mean to promote product or service. Email marketing is one of the easiest, fastest and cheapest ways of reaching the customer. There are three types of emails send out to customers:

  1. Promotional Emails are sent to advertise about any product or service to the customer.  These emails should be able to convince the customer and encourage them to purchase the product.
  2. Regular Emails are sent to strengthen the relationship with the customers and to establish relation with the prospects.
  3. Placing advertisements on the emails send by other people.

Advantages of Email Marketing:
Email marketing is an easy way to advertise on the World Wide Web. Besides being one of the easiest ways of advertisement, email marketing has other advantages:

  • Email marketing has the ability to distribute the information to wide number of people at a low cost.
  • If your email marketing campaign is strong enough, it can take the form of viral marketing which is the best way to spread the news.
  • It takes less time than other marketing methods. (It generally takes just few seconds to send an email).
  • More people rely on email as a way of communication making it possible for more audience to view the advertisement.
  • Instead of waiting for the audience to visit your website, you can knock on their door steps and let them know about your offer.
  • When we send out emails, we send them to the targeted market who wants to know more about our service or product and not bother those who are not interested.

Disadvantages of Email Marketing:
Every coin does have two sides and email marketing is not free from it. Along with the advantages, its drawbacks make many marketers take a step back in following it. The main downside being the unsolicited bulk-mail also known as Spam. In some countries unsolicited emailing is a punishable offense. The USA, for example has CAN-SPAM Act 2003 (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act) which has very strict emailing rules like: no misleading information on emails, no deceptive subject lines, there should be an opt-out method, and promotional emails should identify itself as an advertisement and should include physical valid postal address. The other disadvantages include:

  • Deliverability: Corporate firewalls, webmail systems and ISPs (Internet Service Provider) sometimes prevent suspicious emails. Hence there’s no guarantee of deliverability.
  • Email Renderability: There are different email readers with different set-ups which make it difficult for HTML email creatives to be shown in the intended manner.
  • Email Preferences: It is difficult to keep up with different recipients with different preferences for offers, frequency and content.

Email Content:
It is very important to create an effective email to be sent out to the readers. You email should provide all the valuable information, that’ll help the readers know more about your company and its product or services. You should have a strong benefit driven subject line to let the readers open the email. You need to build a good relationship with the subscribers in order to retain the current customers and build trust. It is necessary to make your email interesting and informative.

There are various tools available online for email marketing. You need to take the targeted email list and avoid buying just any other lists provided. You need to be creative and trustworthy to increase customers through email marketing.

OCTOBER 16, 2008 ISSUE #31

How to write effective Google Adwords:

Google Adwords is one of the best advertising medium on the internet. Google is still ranked #1 when it comes to search engines and they place these advertisements on relevant search terms giving higher chances of the ad being clicked. The advertisers pay at least $1 per click for competitive keywords. But just paying more money does not guarantee the advertisement to be displayed on top. Google gives more preference to the most clicked ads than the highest paid ads. A simple equation might explain the reason behind this:
20 Clicks on Ad #1 ($1/click) > 2 Clicks on Ad #2 ($2/click).
Here you can see that 20 clicks on $1 per click ad generates $20 where as only 2 clicks on $2 ad generates $4, giving Google more profit from the $1 ad. Therefore it is very important that the advertisements placed are effective and that people are lured to click on it.
google_adwords

Rules of Google Adwords:

Besides your ad being creative and attractive, it has to follow few restrictions: Continue reading

Tips to make your website load faster

It is pretty annoying when you try to open a website that takes ages to load. Not everyone is blessed with good internet speed and in the world where everything runs in the fast lane, slow loading websites are the worst mistake anyone can make. The worst thing that could happen with slow loading sites is losing the potential clients. There are thousands of competitors on the World Wide Web and the visitor will be easily driven to the competitor’s site. To avoid this you can follow few things to make your website load faster.

  1. Images:
    Large sized images could be blamed for slow loading sites. Images are an essential part of your website. In order to let the images load faster you need to follow these steps:

    • The first thing you need to do is size your image correctly. You cannot decrease the size of an image by just decreasing the height and width. If you have an image of size 40k, decreasing its width and height will still make it the same 40k size. I was making the same mistake on my blog till someone pointed it out to me. When I did this the image’s quality degraded. You can use image editor like Adobe Photoshop to decrease the size of the image.
    • The second important thing is to use proper format. If you have complex pictures .jpg format works the best. For simple images with fewer colors .gif files are appropriate. .png format works for both but they could have larger file size.
    • You can even slice images in order to decrease its size. Image slicing is the process of slicing a larger image into smaller images and then putting them back together using an HTML table. This reduces the file size of the image and makes the web page download faster.
    • Using thumbnails is also a good idea to make the pages load faster. You can use Java Script and display only the thumbnail size of the picture and let the user see the larger image only when he clicks on the image.
  2. CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) Files:
    Table based sites might take longer time to load. The better alternative is using CSS files. The advantage in using these files is that the browser cache can directly read the .css file which makes it convenient and takes lesser time than to read each tag every time the page loads. You can also compress your CSS files. Continue reading