Many ecommerce merchants use email service providers to deploy outgoing messages and manage subscribers’ email addresses. But there are other companies that offer useful, email-related products and services.
In this article, I’ll review four of those add-on services that I find helpful.
Return Path’s Sender Score
An email is effective only if it reaches your recipients. One of the key preventative measures an ecommerce merchant can take is to monitor its sending IP reputation to ensure it is solid and not on a blacklist. A free service to help with this is Sender Score, from Return Path, an email certification firm. At Sender Score, merchants can enter the IP address — or, addresses; ask your email service provider if you don’t know your IP address(es) — of the sending email server. Sender Score will report a score — from 0 to 100, with 100 being the best — and an explanation of what elements are contributing to the score being either high or low.
Litmus allows email marketers to view a single email across all browsers, email clients, and operating systems. It is a helpful tool for email marketers, designers, and coders as a quick way to view how an email creative will render for almost any possible combination of users, and easily spot any errors.
Litmus is easy to use. Simply upload email creative by copying and pasting HTML or by sending a live version of it. You can then select which browsers, operating systems, or email clients to preview your email messages on.
In addition to email testing previews, Litmus has other handy features that many email service providers do not include. Litmus’s analytics tools, for example, allow you to see if your recipients are opening on mobile devices, and if they are actually reading your email, not just opening and deleting. Some email service providers partner with Litmus to include with their platforms; but some do not. Check with your provider to see if this functionality is available.
Touchstone, by Alchemy Worx, offers testing for email subject lines, to help determine the combination of words and phrases that your subscribers are more apt to open. The one flaw with testing most email subject lines is that you have to wait until the campaign is at least partially deployed to gain any meaningful metrics.
Touchstone, however, is the equivalent of having a crystal ball, to tell you in advance which subject lines are poised to do better before an email is actually sent. The tool compares the subject line to over 30 billion email messages. Subject lines are analyzed based on number of words, number of characters, and average size of the words to help predict which combination will yield highest click and open rates. The tool will also pinpoint potential problem words and offer suggestions for replacing them.
Email Gallery Sites
There are a handful of email gallery websites that collect different types of email messages and place them in an online directory or library. These sites allow you to easily view different creative ideas across different companies in one location, without having to subscribe to dozens of different emails.
Email gallery sites can help generate ideas about your own design, messaging, or offers from other companies in your industry. Two prominent gallery sites are The Email Design Gallery and Email-Gallery.