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Much like connecting with your customers via text messages, email marketing isn’t only for the brands with a Fortune 500 marketing budget. With the right approach, this practice is not only budget friendly, it’s also effective with your target audience. However, there’s still a few roadblocks along the way that can trip you up. To help keep your organization in the clear and connecting with the shoppers that matter most, here are five email marketing mistakes that small businesses simply can’t afford to make.

Disregarding Anti-Spam Legislation

The first mistake on the list also offers up the biggest legal ramifications – failing to comply with Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL.) As David Harris of the Boston Business Journal explains, even small businesses in the United States must refrain from spamming Canadian inboxes with unwanted messages and promotions. Otherwise, your small business, regardless of where you call home, could face penalties that scale up to $10 million per violation.

To protect your organization from these potentially crippling fines, make sure that every person on your list has opted in and consented to receiving marketed messages from your brand. By doing this, you’ll not only refine your contact list by trimming off the individuals who weren’t likely to convert anyways, but also keep your bottom line from dipping too deeply into the red via stiff government penalties.

Failing to Target the Right Customers

Speaking of the people that are most likely to convert, Sara Angeles of Business News Daily points out that plenty of small businesses fail to truly harness the power of email marketing thanks to shoddy or substandard targeting practices. In some cases, these brands simply don’t implement targeting at all in the campaign process.

To keep your business on track with targeting, you’ll need to learn to build a profile around your ideal customer. By answering questions around optimal delivery times, preferred email content, and location, you can segment your audience and cater to the people who show the most interest in your brand. While it does take some work to get to this point, the results you’ll garner are well worth the time and effort you put into targeting.

Skipping Over Responsive Design

It’s no secret that mobile optimization matters in today’s marketplace. However, there’s still plenty of brands that don’t probably value responsive email design that adjusts to the devices used by your readers. As Cara Olson of Marketing Land reports, more than 50 percent of email opens occur on mobile devices and 70 percent of consumers immediately delete messages that don’t render properly. Basically, you’re letting a massive chunk of your audience slip through the cracks by making this mistake. Thankfully, the fix on this one is pretty easy. Implementing a responsive design template that optimizes your emails for mobile viewing ensures that you never lose a customer due to technical difficulties.

Letting Your Contact List Succumb to Address Bloat

When it comes to spreading the word about your products and services, especially as a small business, if some is good, more is better, right? Not always. Andy Shore of Huffington Post illuminates this point by noting that plenty of brands don’t take the time to keep up with “contact list hygiene.” Under this practice, you’ll routinely clear out unresponsive and inactive consumer email addresses.

While it might seem counterintuitive to drop these contact list members – after all, they might return someday – Shore points out that continuing to message these members is not only a waste of resources, it’s potentially harmful to your deliverability. It’s a little hard to swallow at first, but as you continue along the path to the email marketing success, you’ll soon learn that there’s an ebb and flow to the size of your contact list that requires a little upkeep now and then.

Sending Irrelevant Content

Personalization and geographic relevancy in your messages is a great thing, especially if your small business relies on regional customers to keep things rolling. However, utilizing these tools opens you up to one of the biggest marketing mistakes out there, according to Kim Lachance Shandrow. Content irrelevancy, such as using the wrong name or location, is one of the fastest ways to turn off your audience members. Whether it’s mixing up contact list names or referencing the wrong city, personalization can backfire quickly.

To protect your small business from this embarrassing mistake, Shandrow suggests that you spend some time guaranteeing that your sign-up and opt-in sheets are as clear and easy to complete as possible. By doing this, in addition to everything else you’ve learned about avoiding mistakes that have sunk other small businesses, you can ensure that you always put your best foot forward with the shoppers that matter most to your brand.



The impact of mobile marketing can’t be overstated. According to IDC, more people in the U.S. will access the Internet through a mobile device than through their PC by 2015. In this new series, Elite Email takes a look at highly successful campaigns to uncover their mobile marketing lessons. This week’s case study: How building a better product for the environment, and promoting it via smart SMS messages, put Eagle Claw over the top with eco-friendly customers.

Who says you can’t be environmentally friendly and make a splash with your customers at the same time? For Eagle Claw, a fishing equipment manufacturer and industry leader for the past 84 years, finding the balance between these two goals was the key to gaining ground with the rising tide of environmentally conscious consumers who enjoy fishing and getting a little closer with nature. To find out how Eagle Claw succeeded on both fronts, let’s spend some time looking over this fishing equipment provider’s stellar SMS campaign and see what lessons it might hold for your brand moving forward.

The Environmentally Sound Approach

At the heart of this SMS promotion was company’s latest offering, Bioline. As the world’s first biodegradable fishing line, this product aimed to please the fishing fanatics that wanted to reduce the impact synthetic lines had on their local waterways. Of course, spamming these customers with paper coupons that the eventually turn into litter and trash kind of defeats the purpose.

To maximize the environmental slant of this message, Eagle Claw turned to a smart text-oriented initiative. Not only did this approach provide these consumers with paperless coupons, thereby reducing the impact of the promotion on the local ecology, but it also tapped into the inherent power of SMS marketing.

Promoting the SMS Initiative

Naturally, this was a win-win for both parties at first glance. However, Eagle Claw knew that it had to build a solid SMS contact list to get the word out on Bioline. To achieve this, the brand honed in on the 33rd Annual International Sportsmen’s Expo in Denver, Colorado. By setting up opt-in sheets and promotional materials throughout the convention, as well as purchasing ad space in local markets, Eagle Claw developed a strong text backing.

From here, the brand moved to connecting with the customers that opted-in via powerful and engaging mobile messages. As part of this outreach, participating shoppers received a paperless, environmentally friendly coupon to put toward the initial purchase of a spool of Bioline. For customers that enjoyed the product and stuck around as part of the contact list, more exciting and valuable offers regularly appeared via text.

Reeling In the Results

While Eagle Claw expected quite the response from the expo, the guys in charge of the promotion weren’t prepared for the influx of purchase requests that this SMS campaign spawned. After two days, the company’s inventory had been depleted, causing the fishing manufacturer to pull down signage and rush production to catch up with the overwhelming rise in business and demand.

In total, Eagle Claw analyzed all sales for the four day period and concluded that a whopping 23 percent of the company’s total profit during this period was directly related to the SMS campaign. Considering that the brand ran out of Bioline halfway through the promotion, it’s fairly safe to say that this percentage, and the gross profit of this push, would have been even higher had Eagle Claw expected such a massive amount of participation.

Creating Your Own Brand Message

So now that you’ve read up on how Eagle Claw leveraged an eco-friendly text message campaign to increase sales and goodwill among customers, it’s time to find out what tips and ideas you can pull from this case study to give your brand an extra SMS boost. To start, finding a cause related to your products and making it the focal point of your advertising operations is a powerful way to strengthen the bond with your audience. While Eagle Claw chose to focus on protecting the environment, it’s okay if the desires and ideals of your customers take you down a different path. The big point here is that you find what matters to them, and show how your brand cares about the same issues and ideological concerns.

Additionally, finding the right platform to spread the word regarding your SMS campaign is also important. While digital advertising and traditional outlets definitely have a spot in most initiatives, going above and beyond with industry conventions and local events can really impress your customers. If you can do this, in addition to the rest of what you’ve learned from Eagle Claw’s outstanding text campaign, you’ll be well on your way to standing above the competition in no time.



With the rise of lists that incorporate GIFs making the rounds on virtually every social media platform, there’s a lot of buzz going on in the world of email marketing about what role these animated images might have in upcoming campaigns. While there’s no doubt that people love visual content, the inbox is a fickle place at times, so it’s important to tread carefully before bombarding your audience with an entirely new approach. To help your company make a smart call when it comes to GIFs, here’s a breakdown of what this approach has to offer, as well as the potential problems that could put a damper on your inbox initiatives.

The Power of This Tool

There’s no denying that GIFs, when used properly, can add a significant boost to an email marketing campaign. As Allison Banko of Marketing Sherpa reports in a case study focused on Dell’s convertible tablet-laptop promotion, GIFs helped give this tech giant a 109 percent increase in revenue throughout the duration of the marketing event. Regardless of what you’re selling, seeing gains that more than double your prior returns is definitely a sign that you’re doing things right.

The big key to Dell’s success came from the realization that a static image simply couldn’t get the job done when trying to showcase how the convertible product shifted seamlessly from tablet to laptop capabilities. By utilizing animated GIFs in its marketed messages, Dell added a striking visual that helped bring to life the appeal of the XPS 12 and convince customers that the product was right for their computing needs.

Potential Pitfalls

Of course, just because Dell made great use of this image format doesn’t mean that GIFs are always the right call for every brand out there. As Elyse Dupre of Direct Marketing News explains, there are plenty of issues you need to be aware of before going all in with GIFs in your marketed messages. First off, size matters when shipping out emails, so you’ll need to avoid GIFS that are too bulky. If your GIFs take up more than 125K in space, you could be creating a situation in which the animation loads slowly or freezes entirely. Neither of these options are where you want to be when trying to make a strong sales pitch to customers who aren’t always the most patient people.

Outside of the size of your GIF, it’s also important to refrain from overloading the message with too many of these files. Just like normal images, going overboard with graphics is a quick way to disenfranchise customers viewing your content on mobile devices. Again, broken email designs and unwieldy load times are the culprits here.

The final major pitfall faced by brands that rely on GIFs in the inbox comes from content relevancy. Simply using a GIF to have one in your message isn’t a good idea. While it definitely adds a layer of flair to your message, Dupre points out that customers want more than just filler when delving into your content. If you have to ask whether or not your GIF fits in with your theme or product, changes are you should leave it for a different, more relevant promotional cycle.

Hitting the Mark with Your Own GIFs

Now that you’re up to speed with the power of GIFs and when to use these images, it’s time to talk about how to maximize the value of your animations. Emily Konouchi of Marketing Profs offers up a few simple guidelines to help you along your way. First off, keep the animation simple. Having a GIF that’s better suited for the latest Hollywood blockbuster release is an easy way to reduce the effectiveness of your animation by making it too long.

From here, consider repurposing your Flash web content for GIF usage. Not only does this practice cut down on the time needed to produce these images since you already have the content, it also creates a perfect bridge that connects your marketed email to the page containing the original flash presentation.

Once you’re ready to send out the email, pump the brakes a little before hitting the send button. Konouchi’s also suggests testing your message a few times before reaching out to your targeted audience. This way, you can ensure that you’re not falling into the content relevancy and size pitfalls covered earlier. If you’ve passed all of these checkpoints, now it’s time to dazzle your audience with an animated GIF that supports and enhances the overall message found within your promotional emails.



Who says that email marketing is only for the big boys? Whether you’re just starting out or you have established your small business firmly in the local community, having a great email marketing plan can give your company a serious competitive advantage. To help you wow your digital customers the next time your messages reach the inbox, here’s all the pieces that make up the secret to email marketing success for small businesses.

Build a Content Game Plan

While some small businesses get hung up on the technical side of developing great emails, your best bet to build a successful foundation is to start off with a content game plan. From here, you can worry about templates, analytics, and all the other things that take place during campaign optimization and refinement. If you’re in need of a little guidance for a content game plan, Chris Rancourt of The Business Journals suggests starting off with a weekly newsletter.

This type of content might not be the flashiest way to enter the market, but it offers a stable, consistent platform to connect with customers and provide them with valuable content and offers. Additionally, small businesses that properly utilize this channel can further leverage this inbox access by showing off upcoming products and exclusive insider information to participants – both of which add even more value to your small business newsletter.

Play to Upcoming Events

Another way to bridge the gap between you and your customers, while still staying competitive with the bigger brands in your industry, is by maximizing your seasonal relevancy. As Steve Dille of Marketing Land explains, having email content that focuses on the time of year shows your customers that you’re willing to go beyond the standard “promo” messages and actually put some thought into your marketing messages.

While Christmas, Thanksgiving, and all the other major players definitely make the seasonal relevancy cut, that doesn’t mean you can’t focus on the smaller, local traditions in your area. In fact, capitalizing on these events, like city festivals and upcoming concerts, gives you a decided advantage that national and international brands simply can’t replicate.

Get to Know the Spam List

This tip is really for businesses of any size, but it’s still well worth your time if you’re running a smaller outfit. With Gmail and the rest of the email service provider world segmenting your inbox into primary and secondary sections, it’s more important than ever before that you know which spam words can earn your emails a one way trip into the digital trash can, according to Matthew Collis of Huffington Post.

Plenty of the entries on this list are the usual suspects. “Free,” “urgent,” “sales,” and “act now” all headline the spam word gallery. However, some less obvious options, like “click” and “legal,” also put a big red flag on your email operations. If you’re unsure about a certain word, don’t hesitate to connect with your email marketing service provider. This way, you can avoid joining the less than savory crowd that calls the spam folder home.

Think Mobile

The days of email access exclusively coming from the desktop are long gone, so putting an emphasis on mobile viewers matters now more than ever. As Kate Kiefer Lee of Forbes Magazine points out, 63 percent of North Americans and 41 percent of Europeans would either delete or ignore a marketed email if it’s not optimized for mobile devices. Even if your audience isn’t as a big as the national and international brands, it’s still important to cater to these readers.

To keep the attention of these members of your audience, spend some time developing mobile messages that fit the smaller screen. Whether it is cutting all nonessential imagery or adopting a vertical layout that puts your call-to-action (CTA) front and center, making it easy to view these emails from smartphones and tablets is a crucial part of making a splash in the inbox.

Test Often

The final secret to email marketing success as a small business comes with some good old-fashioned hard work. Understanding what your email audience wants isn’t always easy, so be prepared to test variations of your message early and often. A/B testing, consumer polling, and a variety of other practices hold the key to developing a consumer profile that fits these customers. With this constantly evolving profile in hand, as well as the rest of what you’ve learned about email marketing, there’s nothing stopping your small business from joining the ranks of the biggest names in the business with a powerful and responsive campaign.



The impact of mobile marketing can’t be overstated. According to IDC, more people in the U.S. will access the Internet through a mobile device than through their PC by 2015. In this new series, Elite Email takes a look at highly successful campaigns to uncover their mobile marketing lessons. This week’s case study: How the perfect SMS plan helped ViQuest Wellness Center bring healthy workouts and powerful promotional materials to fitness fanatics in the Greenville, North Carolina area.

When it comes to connecting with your audience via text messages, it’s easy to become comfortable and let your campaign fall into disrepair. However, if you’re ready to whip this operation back into shape, this case study is just what you need. Located in the heart of Greenville, North Carolina, ViQuest Wellness Center and the story of its branded mobile marketing campaign offers a plethora of lessons that can help your organization return to the ranks of SMS health and prosperity. To find out how, let’s spend some time breaking down the particulars of this campaign and what you can do to make your next text outreach program a hit with customers in your area.

Building a Healthy SMS Plan

To start things off, the people in charge of ViQuest decided to revamp the brand’s marketing approach. At the heart of this new program was an emphasis on connecting with residents in the Greenville area that might be interested in joining a local gym via text message. Considering the nature of the modern fitness industry, particularly the rise of major gym chains with locations spanning cities across North America, honing in on these consumers and offering great mobile content made perfect sense for a regional organization trying to stay afloat.

Reaching out

To connect with these customers, ViQuest promoted a simple call-to-action (CTA) regarding gym membership offers during local cable television spots. From here, all that was required of intrigued customers was simply texting the code “VIQUEST” to 74642. In return for participating in this phase of the campaign, ViQuest waived the registration costs that come with a new membership at the gym. As an additional incentive, this fitness center also handed out free after hours passes to those who joined the SMS contact list before January 31.

Evaluating Initial Gains

After the two-month campaign came to a close, the ViQuest team sat down and reviewed the numbers to find out just how effective this campaign really was. In total, 307 people joined the contact list, with over 44 percent of these new gym members opting-in for further text promotions and offers. Considering how hard it can be for local businesses to compete with national brands that boast significantly larger marketing budgets, it’s safe to say that this influx of new members not only helped create a vibrant new SMS audience, but also improved the general health of the ViQuest Wellness Center’s operations.

Going the Extra Mile

If you’re a regular reader of this mobile marketing series, you know most of the time that this is the part where we jump straight into what your business can take away from a particular case study. However, ViQuest’s story doesn’t quite end here. After the original promotion wound down, the ViQuest team re-marketed its SMS database with a second run of text messages. As part of this new phase in the gym’s overall marketing game plan, ViQuest reconnected with users who double opted into the initial list. In return for this action, participating gym members paid no dues until March 1. Additionally, the gym also dropped in a surprise gift to make sure that these customers understood how much the organization appreciated their commitment to the local business.

Lessons Learned

With this multi-tiered marketing approach completely dissected, it’s time to talk about what your brand can learn from ViQuest’s successful SMS campaign. First off, even if your marketing budget doesn’t have the same bottom line as the big national names, that doesn’t mean you can’t compete when it comes to effective text messages. With the right timing, and some solid promotional strategies backing your mobile marketing game plan, you can reach the customers that matter most.

Once you understand this, the next step comes in providing valuable incentives for participating members. If you don’t make it worth their time, don’t expect customers to go out of their way to connect with your brand. Finally, the SMS process is never ending. Just as ViQuest did with its second text message phase, re-marketing and revamping your approach is vital if you plan to build a lasting bond with your audience. When paired with the rest of what you’ve learned, there’s nothing stopping your brand from joining ViQuest as an organization that maintains its SMS health and wellness.



A quick look around the next time you’re out enjoying a nice meal or picking up some groceries will show you that social media has invaded literally everything about modern life as we know it. Whether it’s tweeting at your favorite celebs or sharing that hilarious cat video with your family on Facebook, the digital world has never been more sociable than it is today. When it comes to SMS marketing, this industry isn’t exempt. To help you make the most out of social media during your next text message campaign, here’s everything you need to know about proactively connecting with these interactive audience members on the go.

Tether Deals and Offers to Your Social Pages

One of the easiest ways to build a lasting bond between your SMS operations and the social accounts related to your organization comes from tethering the two together via integrated promotions, according to Jerry Jascoviak of Mobile Marketing Watch. Whether it’s rewarding new members that found out about your text campaign on social media with gated content or spreading the word about your latest tweet or Facebook post with a quick message, finding common ground between these two processes can make all the difference in the world when connecting with customers.

Naturally, you won’t want to force every promotion into this overlapping area, but it definitely can’t hurt to use it to your advantage when generating a little extra interest. Another smart tactic that plenty of brands overlook comes in the form of reminding your current subscribers what they are missing by not liking or following your pages. This doesn’t mean you need to spam them with texts about social requests, just don’t forget to drop them a line every once in a while letting them know about everything they are missing out on by not participating. If you have an email marketing operation also running at the same time, you can initiate an even larger amount of crossover that will bolster your following on all three platforms.

Signing Up Via Social Media

Speaking of sign up reminders, why not add a marketing sign-up page or link to your existing social media accounts? For instance, Facebook offers a completely built-in tool that lets you create a contact list sheet directly on your company page. Again, this tool offers a great opportunity to build overlap between your SMS and email operations. After all, your customers are already checking out your account, so why not sign them up for both message services? Just be sure that these future audience members understand exactly what you’re offering. Transparency and honesty in the marketing process is key to keeping your customers satisfied once the text messages start hitting their mobile phones.

Promote Your Next Campaign on Relevant Networks

If you’re already in the middle of an SMS campaign, there’s no time like the present to do a little promotion on your favorite social networks. As Brett Relander explains in his post for Entrepreneur magazine, spending a few minutes whipping up an Instagram post or tweet goes a long way to spreading the word about your text messages.

The best part about regular posts regarding your SMS campaign is that it can easily go viral, all thanks to satisfied contact list members liking, sharing, and commenting on your messages. If you’ve never watched it happen before, there’s nothing quite like seeing a vibrant and organic discussion regarding your lasted SMS offer emerge on a social media post.

Reward Your Loyal Followers

Of course, it’s easy for the fervor surrounding your newly implemented crossover promotion to die down if you don’t keep the good vibes rolling. One of the easiest ways to avoid this marketing calamity is by rewarding the customers that remain active and engaged, according to Craig Rossouw of Biz Community. While some brands might offer free samples and other exclusive offers, you don’t exactly have to break the bank to provide a little thank you to those shoppers that stand as members of your social networks and SMS contact list.

In most cases, simply providing a small coupon that can be used on their next visit to your store is a nice enough gesture that shows you really appreciate consumer participation. Of course, if you really want to pull out all the stops, feel free to provide these followers with as valuable a gift as you see fit. If you can do this, as well as incorporate the rest of what you’ve learned about SMS messages and social media crossover, it won’t be long before your brand stands atop both worlds as an interactive and engaging marketing powerhouse.



So you’ve spent countless hours writing up the perfect email content. It’s funny, engaging, and it packs a punch – unfortunately, it’s also sitting in the spam folder among a plethora of unsavory company, all because you didn’t play by the rules when it comes to delivering your messages to the masses. To help get your email marketing dream scenario back on track and your content into the inbox of the customers that matter most, here are five essential tips that are sure to boost your email deliverability.

Before putting any of the other tips in this post to use, you’ll need to ask nicely for permission to connect with these users. While the old days of email marketing were closer to a digital “wild west,” today’s industry is all about opt-ins and legal rulings regarding consumer contact. In fact, with the recent implementation of CASL and other regulatory legislature bearing down on brands that employ shady or outright “black hat” tactics, the experts at PureB2B suggest implementing a double opt-in campaign.

This way, there will never be any questions associated with your brand’s intentions or practices. Additionally, this multilayered process helps refine your email contact list to only consumers that actually have interest in hearing your sales pitch, which in turn provides you with more accurate performance metrics once your campaign gets in motion.

Sanitize Your Lists

Speaking of email contact lists, the longer you utilize this marketing practice, the more likely it is that your audience will stop engaging. As time passes certain portions of your list will lose interest and stop opening your content. To combat the distortion this causes in your campaign results, Justin Zhu of Marketing Land suggests embracing the Pareto Principle.

This concept claims that 80 percent of your profits come from the most active 20 percent of your customers, so you might as well “sanitize” your contact list. To do this, simply trim away the least responsive portions of your list and shift your optimization toward the people that show the most interest in your email content.

Consider IP Bonding

If you’re in the business of sending large amounts of emails during your marketing promotions, Zhu goes on to suggest IP bonding to help speed up the process, work around ISP connecting limitations, and diversify your IP reputations – the latter of which is important when it comes to avoiding an unwarranted trip to the spam folder. As part of this process, you’ll connect with your email service provider to acquire multiple dedicated IPs. From here, each IP will handle a section or parcel of the full message load, thereby easing the burden your current single IP address deals with and creating a faster, more efficient delivery process.

Think Long-term about Content

At first glance, this tip might seem a little out of place. After all, the content of your emails doesn’t directly impact the deliverability of your messages from a technical sense like IP bonding and adherence to CASL and other regulatory legislation. However, Tim Asimos of Yahoo’s Small Business Advisor blog makes an interesting point regarding the long-term orientation of your email content and its role in the deliverability process.

Essentially, if you offer subpar or “spammy” content to your audience, don’t be surprised when these readers start to lodge a considerable amount of spam complaints via the built-in tools found on email service providers like Gmail. As these negative reviews build up, your deliverability performance metrics dip farther and farther into the red, creating a grim outlook that could spell the end of email marketing success for your brand moving forward.

Conduct an Email “Test Run”

Once you’ve spent some time refining your messages and tweaking all the variables to make the content just right, it’s time to send your perfect marketed email out – to yourself. As Graham Charlton of Econsultancy points out, the final step to boosting your deliverability lies in conducting a test run. The idea behind this is pretty straightforward. By giving the final product a once over and checking for any words that could trigger spam filters, as well as HTML coding that doesn’t quite translate to the inbox platform, you can ensure that your customers only see the best side of your brand when they click the open message button. When paired with the rest of what you’ve learned about maximizing deliverability, this final tip serves as the capstone to a powerful and well-implemented email marketing campaign.



The impact of mobile marketing can’t be overstated. According to IDC, more people in the U.S. will access the Internet through a mobile device than through their PC by 2015. In this new series, Elite Email takes a look at highly successful campaigns to uncover their mobile marketing lessons. This week’s case study: How the right approach to SMS messages and consumer outreach helped Belterra Casino Resort hit the jackpot with excited text-friendly consumers.

There’s nothing quite like the rush of hitting it big when the stakes are high and the pressure is on. That being said, watching a great text message campaign come together is at least a pretty close second. For the managers and marketing gurus at Belterra Casino Resort, a recent SMS initiative showed that when you come in with a smart plan, even if it’s your first time using this platform, there’s no reason you can’t get in on the fun and connect with the customers that matter most. To learn a little more about how this luxury resort wowed its first time crowd, let’s look at the particulars of this program and see what your brand can put to use the next time you start sending messages to your targeted audience.

A Little Background Before the SMS Run

Before digging into the technical side of the text message campaign, it’s important to understand why the people at Belterra decided to jump in head first with this approach. Despite a robust regular audience, the operators at this casino couldn’t help but feel like they were leaving something on the table with the lack of an SMS branch within the brand’s marketing operations. To bridge this gap and achieve optimal advertising reach, Belterra set out to build a mobile database of interested consumers from the ground up. This way, the organization could connect with visitors on a regular basis and spread the word on upcoming deals and promotions.

Breaking down the SMS Process

With this goal in mind, the foundation for an active text database started coming together. First, the casino decided to target patrons in local metropolitan areas – particularly Louisville and Lexington in Kentucky and Cincinnati in Ohio. Once it had its sights set on these consumers, the next step was generating some activity with a sweepstakes. As part of this giveaway, customers that texted in “BELTERRA” to 74642 received an entry into the promotion. From here, the casino utilized the double opt-in method to confirm user participation and provide an additional 10 chances to win the grand prize – a one-night stay at the hotel and a $100 resort credit.

Hitting the SMS Jackpot

After the one-month campaign came to a close, Belterra had plenty of reasons to file this one under the SMS success label. To start, thousands of customers from each area responded to the outreach program, instantly generating a mobile marketing list that would make plenty of other brands jealous. From here, almost 60 percent of the respondents completed the double opt-in process, providing ample motivation to keep the interactive SMS messages flowing in the future. Even if this campaign wasn’t aiming at building an initial SMS contact list, it’d be hard to view this promotion as anything but a major payoff for the team at Belterra Casino Resort.

Rolling the Dice for Your Brand

So now that you’re all caught up on Belterra’s initial SMS offering, what lessons can you take for your brand’s next, or potentially first, foray into the text message arena? At the top of the list is a recurring theme in many of these case studies – honing in on your target audience. Of course, there is a very important reason that this concept pops up often. If you don’t have the right audience in your crosshairs, it’s nearly impossible to maximize your impact once the messages starting popping up on consumer phone screens.

Additionally, utilizing every tool at your disposal, including double opt-in programs, ensures that your contact list trims away the fat and holds only the customers that actually plan to connect with your brand messages now and in the future. Finally, and perhaps the most important of all the lessons learned from this case study, if you really want to interact with these shoppers, don’t hold back on the giveaways. Pairing up an astonishing promotion – in this case a free night at the casino and $100 in resort credit – with the rest of what you’ve learned from Belterra’s move into the world of SMS marketing is a strong way to make a splash of your own when your brand starts sending messages to interested consumers in your area.



The more the world studies marketing in general, the more the lines between this discipline and the realm of psychology tend to blur together. It’s no big secret that the great advertising campaigns of any era play to the mental constructs of that time’s society. A quick look at this concept from Margarita Tartakovsky of PsychCentral shows that plenty of brands have had great success portraying consumers that purchase specific products as happier, healthier, and more attractive.

However, with the added digital barrier found within marketing across the web, do these concepts still hold the same weight? One such ideal in particular, the “halo effect,” is starting to gain major ground in the email marketing discussion. To help bring you up to speed on this concept, and what it might mean for your branded messages in the future, let’s spend some time breaking down the halo effect and its potential role in the world of email marketing.

What Is the Halo Effect?

At this point, if you didn’t spend your undergrad years majoring in marketing or psychology, you’re probably wondering just what the heck the halo effect is and why it has any bearing on your email content. To make it a little easier to understand, Yaro Stark of Entrepreneurs-Journey explains that this cognitive bias comes from a shopper’s perceived image or impression of a brand, person, good, or service. Essentially, it’s the ripple effect a person, or in this case your content, makes as it works through the general populace and builds a reputation.

In some cases, psychologists label this heuristic as a cognitive error. That’s not to say that it is wrong, just that individuals could create an impression based on this process that isn’t in accordance with the actual substance of a person, brand, or product. Fortunately, we can leave the philosophical side of this debate to the academics. Instead, we’ll just focus on maximizing your email marketing returns based on the known power of the halo effect and how it affects shoppers who connect directly, or indirectly in this case, with your brand via the inbox.

Understanding Its Role In the World of Email Marketing

To understand the halo effect and its role in your email advertising initiative, Dela Quist of MarketingProfs lays out the process in a series of steps that illuminate the power of this cognitive construct. To start, the halo effect plays an important role in helping provide an accurate scope of the reach of your messages. As Quist points out, plenty of companies struggle with gauging the impact of email marketing, primarily because the usefulness of this digital tool goes beyond simply measuring clicks and opens.

To bridge this gap, the halo effect seeks to quantify the true benefits of your strategy by connecting the marketing and sales process into a big picture approach. Essentially, instead of just relying on clicks and open rates, your brand will look beyond these metrics and find trends related to the actual transmission of these messages.

For instance, Quist notes that virtually all brands receive page visits and conversions that originate from “another route” or basic awareness factors that come with having name recognition. When an email campaign kicks into full gear, these numbers often rise in a disproportionate manner when compared to click and open rates. To put it in far simpler terms, this rise in activity comes from the power of emails that viewers might only see in passing as they surf through the inbox – a prime example of the reach of the halo effect.

Building Around this Effect

So if the halo effect is simply the added reach that your emails generate online, as well as in the traditional marketplace, how to do you build around and maximize the utility of this concept? Considering the deep psychological undertone of this discussion, the answer to this question is surprisingly straightforward – be active and stay connected. Basically, you can’t take advantage of the halo effect if you’re not constantly reaching out and expanding your email audience, so it’s exceedingly important to stay in touch whenever possible.

This doesn’t mean you need to spam your readers with flashy messages at all hours of the day to reap the reward of the effect. Instead, build a consistent, regular campaign that relies on attributes like strong subject lines to keep your brand message in the back of consumers’ minds. This way, even if these shoppers don’t open your email, you can still lay the seeds for a future relationship thanks to the expanded reach of the halo effect.



Even if your familiarity with today’s digital marketing world is fleeting at best, it’s common knowledge that connecting with consumers via their inbox stands above the rest of the field. However, for the brands that really know how to spin the perfect email content, there’s so much more to the process. By connecting other marketing practices to your email campaign, you can tap into the extended reach, and results, of the multi-channel approach. To help get you to this point, let’s take a look at five of the best ways to transform a standard email marketing initiative into the crown jewel of an expansive program that traverses all of today’s most popular forms of digital media.

Learn More about Your Particular Audience

The first key to a great multi-channel campaign comes from learning more about your audience. While this might seem like generic advice at first glance, it’s all about knowing what devices and channels matter most to the people you’re targeting. As Jill Jones of Business 2 Community explains, the more you know about the behavioral patterns of these shoppers, the better your optimization efforts can become.

This concept hinges on the idea that your campaign can benefit from addition by subtraction. As you learn more about your audience, you can hone in on the channels that really matter and cut down the budget allocation of the less impactful alternatives. Whether it’s text marketing in a supporting role or connecting via social media, trimming the fat and focusing on the heavy hitters is the perfect way to enhance your multi-channel approach.

Consolidate Your Data Systems

Unfortunately, the more you dig into the habits and practices of these consumers across a variety of channels, the bigger a burden your data systems become. It’s not that this information isn’t useful, it’s just that you end up having so much to sift through that it becomes overwhelming. For this reason, Jessica Lee of ClickZ suggests that brands looking to conquer the world of multi-channel marketing take data consolidation and handling seriously.

By giving data its due and implementing appropriate systems for the storage and retrieval of this information, your organization can access information in real time and make the right calls when it comes to campaign management and direction. When compared with the alternative – clunky data referencing and inefficient decision-making – it’s easy to see the appeal of a fine-tuned and consolidated data system.

Keep Registration Flexible

By connecting via multiple supporting channels, such as telephone, text, and social media, you naturally move away from the “one size fits all” approach to signing up consumers to your email contact list. Because of this, David Kirkpatrick of Marketing Sherpa notes that brands utilizing varying platforms need to cater to these specific channels when building registration material – specifically sign-up sheets. For instance, keeping things short and sweet, while avoiding slang and abbreviations, works best when sending out supporting text messages, while the social media world, particularly Facebook, enjoys more formal sign-up sheets and registration forms that come built into the network.

Constantly Test and Evaluate Your Results

As your campaign gets in motion, don’t lose sight of the practices that you’d normally conduct in a regular email marketing program – specifically testing and evaluation. As Jay Acunzo of HubSpot explains in his post on the subject, just because you’ve switched up your approach doesn’t mean you should say goodbye to optimization and adjustments. Sure, there’s an increased amount of variables in the equation, but the basic process doesn’t change too much – monitor what works and what lags behind as often as possible and realign from there.

Leave Your Fear of Change Behind

The final key to multi-channel success focuses entirely on your mindset regarding movement between channels. Dan LeBlanc of Experian’s marketing resource blog highlights this mentality by pointing out that today’s consumer is constantly evolving and shifting in regard to platform preferences. With this concept at the forefront of your approach, it makes sense to remain fluid and adaptive when building supporting content for your email marketing campaign. While your data might suggest certain channels today, the next big technological or culture shift can render this guidance meaningless in the blink of an eye.

This doesn’t mean you need to discredit the value of consumer data completely, but rather keep your head up and your finger on the pulse of the latest industry trends. By doing this, along with the rest of what you’ve learned about building a powerful multi-channel approach, there’s nothing stopping your brand from expanding the reach of its next email marketing initiative to unparalleled heights.


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