How to Have Fun and Be More Effective with… Your Email Subject Lines!!!


One of the many variable aspects of an email campaigns success is the subject line. Normally this is the first indication a reader receives in regards to the relevance and content of an email they are being sent. If a subject line is engaging, appeals to our psychology, or is found to be relevant to a recipient it will be opened. The higher the open rate–the higher the response–the higher the response-the happier you and/or your boss is.

So the core question becomes what subject lines or most effective? This question has no obvious answer, and is variable depending on your contacts and why they have opted–in to receive your emails. Consideration in regards to what recipients want to receive and why your communications will be beneficial to them should lay out a general overview of what direction to go with your subject lines and how to increase your overall open rates.

The remainder of this article should help guide you to think a little out of the box when it comes to the subject line and hopefully push you to consider some more fun and interesting methods to get a recipient to open your communication. Here are 5 strategies for subject line improvement and I hope you implement these and fill my email box with messages I cannot wait to open.

1. The Questions – Our Pursuit of the Unknown.

A question prompts a part of us to read and then respond. To start your subject line with a question engages the reader with a small challenge they naturally want to overcome.

Some questions can be targeted to the segments you are communicating too.

[Name] Are you ready for retirement?

Some can probe into our inquisitive nature

Where the best burger in town is?

2. The Tease – Our Psychological Need for Closure and Completeness

Like the “Question”, the unfinished sentence awakens something deep within us, answering the unknown. If your subject line is relevant and engaging enough you should be assured to garner an open from any recipient that receives the email. Here are some examples of how the teaser is best used to optimize open rates.

Tease them with an offer

You are important to us. To show this you will receive…

Tease them with a solution

The ten most important things you can do today are…

3. The Sense of Urgency – Now or Never

One of the oldest sales techniques is the use of urgency to pressure a consumer to make a decision. Though most consultative sales people avoid this technique it has found to be very effective in email marketing. Highlighting a limited time sale or emphasizing the scarcity of an offer will make many of us respond with interest and in–turn open the email.

An example for using time urgency.

One day only sale, respond today for your special offer.

An example or scarcity urgency would be.

A massive discount for the next few who respond.

4. Exclusivity – Make People Feel Special

No matter if communication is in person or digital, people want to feel important and special. If they support you and your business and are willing to receive communications from you then reward their loyalty by reminding how unique and important they are. Exclusivity based subject lines will provide a recipient value while confirming their correct choice in supporting your business.

Some examples of this are.

[Name], A special offer just for you.

A limited engagement for our favorite members.

5. Brevity – Short and Sweet

There have been numerous studies done on the shrinking attention span of the consumer. You really cannot blame consumers for moving on quickly. We are overloaded by media content from morning until the night. Therefore, it is important to keep your messaging aligned with our short attention spans. Even if you represent a complex or technical product or service, highlight its benefits to the reader in as few words as possible and insure higher open rates.

Here is an example of a typical subject line improved.

Let us help you refinance your mortgage with one of our special loan programs today.

Lower the cost of your mortgage today by…

Navigating the Social Media World Got You Down?


Do the following questions resonate with you or your company?

  • Our social media content is stale and boring. How do we create exciting and engaging material?
  • How do we keep up with posts and interact with people? How do we keep up with social media monitoring and develop our reputation?
  • I’m not even sure I need to use social media, my business seems to be doing fine but everyone says I should be engaged in social media and have a presence. Why?
  • I really don’t know what I am doing. How do I stay on top of the changing platforms of social media?
  • Who should be responsible in my organization for managing social media? Do I need to designate a particular person?
  • How do we craft blogs and original material if we are not writers?
If you continually find yourself asking these questions,
we have the answers for you!

For social media to be successful, it requires the following:

  • Constant communication between you and your potential and existing customers
  • Use of a variety of methods and communication tools
  • Engagement and content that resonates with your target audience
  • Integrated social media efforts into an overall online marketing strategy that includes your website, email campaigns, public relations plans, etc.
  • Constant monitoring, revisions, and measurement of progress and reach

Let us manage the writing, posting, and engagement process for you so you can pay attention to running your business.

Our social media package is affordable, convenient, and comes with our professional expertise.

Our packages include a variety of services:

  • 2 blogs a month on interesting and diverse topics
  • 3 social media posts a week on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus (LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram if needed)
  • Customer engagements with oversight
  • Advanced reputation management

Contact us if your social media plan is waning or you are in need of some guidance. We are inspired and ready to organize your social media presence and engage your customers with fresh and exciting material.

The FireLine – Six Techniques to Optimize Your Email Campaigns


Six Techniques to Optimize Your Email Campaigns

No matter the size of your organization, building a database of your current and prospective customers has become an integral aspect of your organizations success. The question becomes; what to do with all the data you have acquired and how can it help me generate additional revenue?

Email marketing allows for your business to control what, how, and when your message is received by your contact base. Sending a one size fits all message limits the effectiveness of your communications and prevents an organization from fully engaging your contacts and utilizing the valuable data you have collected.

Segmenting your contacts and customizing your messaging is one of the simplest and most effective techniques you can do with your email marketing campaigns. You can reward your contacts by providing relevant content as well as be able to control how they interact with your website and products/services.

To get a sense of the impact of proper segmentation take a look at these stats
from Emarketer:

  Increased Open Rates by 39%
  Increased Click-through Rates by 27%
  Increased Customer Engagement by 24%
  Increased Word of Mouth Engagement by 14%
  Decreased Unsubscribe Rates by 24%
  Decreased Complaint Rates by 15%

As you can see from the stats above, proper segmentation can in–turn provide considerable impact to your bottom line as well as your brand reputation. Let’s look at six simple ways you can implement these improvements:


Technique 1: Select One Category to Segment First

There are many data fields that can be used to effectively segment your contact base. To avoid confusion and being overwhelmed by the data you have accumulated on your customers; pick one data point to build your initial segmentation campaign. By selecting only one data set, you can focus your messaging as well customize your content directly to your segmented group. Overtime you will see the impact of this messaging, positive or negative. With this foundation you can easily modify or adjust your lists by expanding the complexity of your segmented groups.


Technique 2: Brainstorm Your Segments

A major benefit when taking on a segmentation project is to do a proper brainstorming session around what categories your contacts can be split into. Consider what data you are collecting currently and what data you would like to collect moving forward. Insight into the products and services you provide as well as your sales process should provide valuable insight on who your customers are and why they might need unique messaging.


Technique 3: Segment By Past, Current and Prospective Clients

One of the most basic and effective segmentation techniques is to split your contacts between past, current, and potential clients. All three segments require different communications with different calls to action. Past customers should be looked at as potentials to reuse your product or service, current customer communications should be centered on retention and referral communications, and potential customers should be led down your sales funnel to conversion.


Technique 4: Segment by Products and Services

If your company provides multiple products or services as most do, you should qualify contact interest and then use these interests as segmentation points. Relevance is key to strong email communication and what is more irrelevant then receiving information about a product or service you do not care about. Let your customers decided what they want and they will thank you for it by remaining loyal and referral generating patrons.


Technique 5: Segment by Geography

If your business operates in multiple regions, content should be segmented by those business areas. Understanding what a customer in Texas would be interested vs. a customer in Alaska will help you increase response rates as well as revenue for your organization.


Technique 6: Segment by Demography

Customers come in all different shapes and sizes. Understanding the demographics behind your current customer base will be essential to your product selection as well as overall marketing strategy. Utilizing those insights and customizing you’re messaging around the businesses core demographics will increase response rates as well as your overall email ROI.

If your organization has any question about how to best segment your list or how to update your current data capture forms, please contact one of our email specialists today for a free consultation.


Email Lists

Introducing FireDrum 4.0

Version 4.0 (Released November 11, 2013)
Special Promotional Prices

To celebrate the launch of Version 4.0, for a limited time, we’re dropping prices on all upgrades.
















Promotional rate applies for 1 year from time of upgrade.

New User Interface
We’re very excited to roll out our new more modern, user-friendly interface. In the process we’ve implemented numerous changes making our system even easier to use.
Changes and Improvements
Campaigns List

  • Search and Sort – When uploading html for a template or campaign you now have the option to automatically retrieve images that have an absolute URL image source.
  • Simplified List - We simplified the items listed under each campaign. Only one status is shown and the list of previous sendings in now relocated to the Reports area.

    We no longer use the term “Issue #” we simply reference by the Sending Date or Published Date of the Campaign.
View Members Window - When you view members you will not be taken out of your work flow. Members will appear in a pop-up style window which can be closed, keeping whatever you were doing still behind it.
Most Engaged Email Members - When you select to view members from a sending report the members will be sorted by Opens, Clicks and Bounces. In addition, these items will be highlighted so you can quickly see who is most engaged. In any member view the Opens, Clicks and Bounces will be highlighted.
Member Import - Import List now shows a small synopsis of members who where Imported, New, Duplicated and Invalid. You can now hide previous imports.
Exclude Members - Added the ability to exclude members from a sending.
DKIM Authentication - Helps with deliverability to Google.

  • Image Fetching - When uploading html for a template or campaign you now have the option to automatically retrieve images.
  • Default Subject - You can now set a default subject and optionally prevent it from being changed.
  • Sending Date Restriction - Optionally set a date range that a template can be used. You can also search the library by this date.
  • Improved Load Time - Viewing the template library is faster.
  • Document Hosting - Documents (e.g. PDF) can be assigned to a template so they are available when you create a sending. The document can then be downloaded by email members.
  • Delete Images - Remove images associated with a template without deleting template.

The Email List Management Series


The Top 7 Ways to Acquire New Emails

Acquiring email addresses and, more importantly, the new customers and clients who own these addresses can be a challenge for any business, no matter its vertical or size. Since having someone to email is a pretty important part of email marketing, we will highlight 7 of the most effective methods in acquiring new email contacts for your business. These suggestions are not ranked in order, nor are they all the methods your company could use. Instead, please use them as a guide to improve your current email address acquisition strategies.

#1. Social Media to Email — The Next Step of Engagement

Using Facebook and other Social Media to acquire email addresses should be a primary focus for your acquisition efforts. Below is an example of how Pei-Wei uses a coupon offered on Facebook to acquire new email addresses. The promotion is hosted on their Facebook page. Consumers are encouraged to first like Pei-Wei and then are taken to a sign up form.

A key take away from this promotion is how they prompt the consumer to select if they would like future offers. This shows Pei-Wei’s consideration of a user’s potential interest and will lead to a clean and engaged list for future use.

#2. Sweepstakes — One Big Prize and a Whole Lot of Emails

I am from the generation that, when I hear the term sweepstakes, I see Ed McMahan approaching someone’s door with a giant check. Fortunately, you do not need the TV personality or the giant check to run a successful sweepstakes. Think about a prize that would be appealing and relevant to your core client base. Promote it through social media, display advertising, and your website. Lead your sweepstakes registrants to specific landing pages. These landing pages will be able to opt consumers in, provide insight on which promotional channel is most effective at generating traffic, and lastly allow for capturing of a number of important data fields outside of just an email and name.

#3. News and Event Notifications — What’s Up Doc???

If consumers are interested in your business, logically they should be visiting your site. The question then becomes how to get them to take the next step of engagement once they do visit.  Quality and relevant content will keep them exploring, but providing specials, focused news, and event notifications should lead them to opt in to your email communications.

#4. Whitepapers and Value Added Downloads — Can I Have a Sample Please???

Don’t just give away valuable information, time, or content. Make sure that if you’re providing value to prospective customers that you at least capture their email address. If they want the content badly enough, it should not pose much of a barrier to ask them to opt into your email list.  The type of information they request should allow for well-thought-out drip campaigns and in turn push the prospect further down the sales funnel.

#5. Capture Cards — Can I Have Your Autograph Please???

In-store cards can be an extremely productive outlet for retailers to capture information about their customers.

Having customers fill out their information in the billfold, at the counter, or taken by an employee at the point of sale can lead to significant list expansion as well as important feedback about your product and service.

#6. Loyalty Programs — The Death of the Punch Card

The use of loyalty programs for businesses has been growing over the last decade. I remember the first iterations of these programs where you were given a punch card, and each visit got you closer to that free coffee or car wash. While these programs still linger, the modern organization now uses much more complex versions of the punch card through marketing companies that specialize in this niche. These programs can be both effective and expensive, so be wary when deciding on a vendor for this service. Most importantly, make sure your potential vendor allows you easy access to the email and purchase data that is generated from these programs.

#7. Networking and Guerilla Marketing — Get Out There and Shake Some Hands

No matter how much our communication has shifted to the digital landscape, I think no other form is as effective as interpersonal communication. Company events, trade shows, festivals, etc., can all be effective venues for promoting your business and capturing email addresses from potential or current customers. Arm your employees with a tablet or smart phone, create a landing page with an API into your email system, and Presto… New email contacts for you to communicate with.

Questions? Contact us today for a free consultation.

Why Automate?


Today, it is not enough to just touch a potential customer. Consumers are inundated with countless messages throughout the day. According to Gartner, “The average U.S.consumer is exposed to 1,200 ad messages/impressions per day.” To be effective marketers, we must engage a potential customer with relevant content and personalized messaging. How can this be accomplished on a large scale without hiring a massive staff to walk potential customers through the sales process?

Marketing Automation starts with understanding your end consumer and your sales process. Which steps in the process can be converted from being done manually by an employee to being automated by an email? What information does your company need from a consumer to determine the type of product or service you should be marketing to them? After what point in the sales process is someone ready to buy? These questions seem simple enough but understanding your company’s internal processes will lead to major efficiencies through automated email marketing.

Once your sales process is understood, automated emails can inform, communicate, segment, and engage your customers in an infinite number of ways. In addition, every step of the sales process the customer goes through is trackable and can provide valuable information to the marketer. Automated communications can simplify your marketing processes, increase revenue, and at the same time decrease internal resource time and costs. If you feel you are ready to get started with an automated email program, please do not hesitate to contact us today.


E-mail Marketing and ROI


Return on Investment is surely – and deservedly – the key metric used today to measure the impact of marketing communications.

Yes, ROI is magical, clearly the Holy Grail for determining the worth of sales-oriented messaging. Though this is widely acknowledged, curiously, it is one of the least understood and applied tools in the marketer’s arsenal. This is because it is, at best, difficult to calculate in most advertising media, particularly branding-focused campaigns that do not lend themselves to being readily tracked.

Conversely, because of its track ability, judgments made about digital advertising tend to be more accurate, easier to calculate and, thus, more useful for bottom-line evaluation purposes. If, indeed, putting together an ROI calculation for digital marketing is easier, then one can only wonder why the Direct Marketing Association reports that, when surveyed, just 61% of the respondents said they were able to calculate revenue produced from e-mail marketing, whereas 34% do not know how!*

That’s true . . . fully one-third of e-mail marketers don’t get it!

To create an effective ROI, a marketer must understand the revenue generated from the campaign, the actual cost of the campaign, and lastly, but often overlooked, the cost of goods/services sold.

Here is a quick example of this formula in action:

The monthly budget for e-mail marketing is $500. It generates 25 sales per month. Each sale generates $200. The cost of goods sold is $120.

Using this example:

25 sales x $200 = $3000, (Revenue generated by the campaign), $200-$120= ($80 Margin), $80/$200 = 40% (Margin as a % factoring in Cost of Goods Sold), $5000 x 40% = $2000 (Net Revenue), ROI = $2000/$500 = 4 or a 400% ROI

Thus, every $1 spent on e-mail marketing produces $4. This number can also be used to measure the effectiveness of other marketing media. If an advertising medium has a lower ROI, it is reasonable to assume it is a less effective use of the marketing budget. Understanding how to balance these ROIs across all marketing efforts is essential to a cost-effective marketing strategy.

Note: If this method is used to evaluate various marketing media, you must use care in determining how to recognize revenue and cost allocation. You must also implement the same formula across all mediums to fairly compare your marketing spend.

The question then becomes, how should e-mail reports be used to determine ROI? According to Lyris, the top two ways are, Example: A) counting the number of e-mail clicks or conversions (55%) and B) counting the number of email opens (33%). There is no doubt the more effective method of tracking ROI is the latter. First, make sure your e-mail communication has a call to action that is track able. Couponing and promotional offers are the easiest to track through to conversion. These communications can be coded, and when redeemed can provide an accurate picture of revenue generated. When using e-mail primarily to foster the sales process, you must consider metrics like appointments set and phone calls in; these can be assigned a close rate, and revenue can be determined through a simple calculation.

Using the FireDrum reporting capabilities allows seeing, not only how many clicks/and or conversions occur, but which customers are converting. Both, those who respond to your e-mail marketing efforts and those who do not should be identified. You can create separate categories for each segment and customize your messaging with the goal of optimizing your e-mail recipients’ conversion.

If ever you feel the need for help in understanding your reports, please do not hesitate to contact us. We can help optimize your campaigns and the automated communications associated with them to ensure every dollar spent provides you a positive return.

For more information, please contact Josh Feldman at

Email Testing Made Easier

Different email clients, such as Outlook, Gmail, Hotmail, Apple Mail and Mobile Devices can display differently. Testing across all browsers, operating systems and mobile devices is impractical and just testing a few can be very time consuming.More than likely this is not a problem with your HTML email or a problem with your email marketing software.The problem lies with how different email clients handle HTML coding. Some email clients have problems handling and displaying CSS, others may strip out your background images, some do not show link colors and some may not support HTML at all. All email clients tend to have their own rendering parameters and rules. So while your email may look good on Outlook, it might not look the same on Gmail. The reason for this is that HTML was developed as a standard for Web pages and emails are not web pages.

Please be aware that regardless of whether you design your newsletter, write your own HTML or you use FireDrum Templates and Campaign Wizard to create your email the rendering ultimately is dependent on the email client.

Tips For Success


Use FireDrum’s Inbox Preview assistant.

Don’t have the time to test your message to 54 different clients? Use FireDrum’s Inbox Preview Assistant and we’ll do the testing for you! With each report you’ll get to see how your message renders email clients including the most popular mobile devices. Learn more.

Inbox Preview Assistant

Do Not use Microsoft Word to edit your emails.

While it may look great on your computer, it will look very different, even in Outlook across all email clients.

Use Basic HTML and Inline Styles.

Using basic HTML will still render the look you want with less of the problems of making having it look the same across different email clients.

Use ALT text for images.

Many of the email clients turn off the images from being displayed. Using ALT text and specifying the width and height of the images used will help ensure that your email will still make sense and is being displayed correctly even when the images
are off.

The rendering issues don’t stop at HTML with CSS being a big factor too. You may be shocked at how some of the most popular email clients stack up when it comes to CSS compatibility.

According to The Email Standard Project these are the email clients that have the best compatibility:

Excellent Compatibility Average Compatibility
• AOL Webmail • Windows Live Hotmail
• Apple iPhone, iPad & Touch
• Apple Mail Poor Compatibility
• Apple MobileMe • Google Gmail
• Eudora (Penelope) • Lotus Notes 8
• Entourage • Outlook 2007
• Thunderbird
• Windows Live Mail
• Windows Mail
• Yahoo! Mail Beta


Version 3.3 Limited Time Offer


As if the launch of FireDrum Version 3.3 wasn’t exciting news enough, FireDrum is making the news even sweeter with our largest promotion of the year.

Now through March 1st, take advantage of our lowest prices yet with two special offers to help get your message out.

Receive 50% off when you switch to FireDrum from any other email marketing provider.

  • Offer valid for new FireDrum customers only
  • Offer valid with copy of invoice from your current provider
  • Offer valid for 1 year from start of service
  • Offer valid for equal competitor regular pricing only
  • Offer can not be combined with any other promotional offer

Receive 30% off when upgrading to select paid plan

  • Offer valid for 1 year from the start of service upgrade
  • Offer cannot be combined with any other promotional offer
  • Offer good for plans up to the 25,000 members

Still need to sign up? Click here!