Infusionsoft, the well-known small business sales and marketing software platform, recently added a new feature called Email Builder to its suite of sales, marketing and customer relationship management (CRM) software. Infusionsoft Email Builder is part of Chandler, Ariz.-based company's strategy to help small businesses not only survive their first few years, but also thrive, said Brina Kaiser, product marketing manager at Infusionsoft.
The company's mission is to "change the failure rate for small businesses worldwide," Kaiser told Small Business Computing. While portions of the U.S. economy—such as the service sector—growing wildly, many startups "still fail at an alarming rate," she said. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' latest survival-rate figures, slightly more than 20 percent of new businesses fail before their second year, and nearly a third don't see year three.
Infusionsoft focuses solely on small businesses, typically those with 25 or fewer employees. To improve a small business' chance of survival, the company specializes in automating sales, marketing, and other business processesso that entrepreneurs can spend more time turning their expertise into revenue and less time deciphering spreadsheets and poring over invoices.
Email Builder is the company's newest tool for time-strapped small business owners.
Simplified Email Marketing
Inspired by its success with Broadcast—Infusionsoft's bulk-email creator and manager—the company offers Email Builder as part of Campaign Builder, Infusionsoft's automated marketing component. It features drag-and-drop editing and templates that render well on any device, simplifying email marketing for non-coders.
"A quality template is crucial to building a successful email campaign," said Kaiser. "You become an editor as opposed to a creator," said Kaiser. Her company's mobile-friendly templates help small businesses get their message across to all their recipients—regardless of whether they view and manage their email on a desktop PC, a tablet, or a smartphone.
Safe Email Marketing: No Spammers Allowed
Creating and sending emails "in a way that's delightful for recipients," is only part of Infusionsoft's strategy for helping small businesses succeed. They also help business owners avoid pitfalls that can endanger their shot at success—such as being labeled a spammer.
The company has added a new status called "Unengaged Marketable" to its email marketing management platform. It's a seemingly small move that can have a big effect on a business' customer engagement rates and online reputation.
"In an effort to help our customers keep a healthy list of engaged contacts, we created a new email status called, 'Unengaged Marketable,'" explained Clate Mask, CEO of Infusionsoft, in a blog post. "This new email status is automatically applied on a weekly basis to addresses that have not engaged with marketing efforts in the last four months. What this means for you is minimized spam risk."
Being branded a spammer is one of the worst things that can happen to a small business. That can happen if you email former customers long after they have moved on. "If they're not interested in your content anymore, they mark it as spam," Kaiser said.
Another risk: emailing abandoned email accounts. Typically, once an email account closes, it causes a hard bounce, which tells senders that they're wasting their time trying to reach a certain recipient. Email marketers scrub these types of emails from their lists and life goes on.
But ignoring those hard bounces can cause a sender to be labeled a spammer, thanks to a tactic borrowed from computer security researchers.
In an effort to slow the massive volumes of spam that flood email inboxes, many email providers turn abandoned accounts into a honeypot, said Kaiser. Honeypots are unprotected systems used by security researchers to study how attacks work. In this scenario, email providers watch for indiscriminate email senders and will block their emails.
"Once they have your IP address, it's hard to recover," said Kaiser. Infusionsoft's new Unengaged Marketable status helps small businesses avoid this fate.
Infusionsoft subscriptions start at $199 per month for an Essentials plan that includes three-person access to the company's CRM and marketing automation software.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Small Business Computing. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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