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Email marketing is all about connecting with as many people as possible, in an effective and efficient manner. Unfortunately, no campaign ever keeps customers glued to their inbox forever. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to sit back and idly watch your contact list dwindle away into obscurity. With a proper understanding of the problem, as well as a smart strategy for maintaining and regaining your position, you can minimize the impact of opt-outs in your campaign and continue enjoying the benefits of email marketing moving forward.

Understanding the Core of the Problem

Before going any farther, it’s important to understand what actually drives customers to opt-out of your email contact list and choose another path. According to Julie Knudson of Small Business Computing, several roadblocks – originating both from your brand’s efforts and from issues on the consumer side of the process – lead to diminishing activity and drooping contact list numbers.

One of the prime offenders in this regard is poor email marketing practices. Whether it’s spamming your consumers day and night with messages or focusing too much on pushy promotions when generating email marketing content, losing sight of the basic value agreement that tethers your organization to these shoppers via the inbox and employing substandard practices is an easy way to force away the viewers that matter most.

Additionally, not understanding that value goes beyond coupons and limited time offers also creates a problem that can lead to opt-outs. This isn’t to say that customers don’t love deals, but rather that in today’s ultra-competitive online marketing landscape, these shoppers expect brands vying for their attention to go above and beyond with relevant and entertaining content, in addition to basic discounts and offers.

Finally, Knudson’s last piece of the opt-in puzzle isn’t really anything you can change, just something that you should be aware of as you develop your strategy; changes on the other side of the screen. From abandoning current email addresses and forgetting to rejoin your contact list to accidentally clicking the unsubscribe button, plenty of unfortunate and unintended errors by your viewership can artificially inflate opt-out numbers.

Redefining Your Strategy

So what can you do to fight back and revitalize the relationship with current contact list members before they also part ways with your email marketing campaign? As Syed Balkhi of Forbes magazine explains, it’s all about getting back to the basics and avoiding mistakes that reduce the original value proposition of your marketing messages.

First off, take some time to review your latest offerings and see if these emails actually stick with what you initially promised to provide to your contact list members. For instance, if your brand set out with the goal of creating an “insider culture” with early access to new products and discounts for subscribers, but somehow ended up straying off this path, it’s time to refocus and renew your commitment to this email marketing angle.

As for frequency and segmentation, Balkhi goes on to point out that these aspects of your campaign require constant testing and evaluation, not just when trying to fight back against increasing opt-outs. When it comes to segmentation, it’s important to create content that hits on the major demographics in your group, as the “one size fits all” approach is far from idle in the email marketing world.

Of course, the biggest question you have to ask yourself when redefining your strategy and aiming for fewer opt-outs revolves around the most important part of the email marketing process – do you still offer tangible value to these customers? If the answer is anything but a resounding “yes,” it’s time to get back to the drawing board and rethink what types of offers and content can truly spark the interest of these readers.

In terms of reconnecting with customers who accidentally unsubscribe or change email addresses without rejoining your list on the new account, the best way to regain lost ground on this front comes in the form of an active and vibrant social media presence. While there’s no guarantees that you’ll find a way to reach these viewers, having your posts shared, liked, retweeted, and spread in a variety of other ways presents your brand with the best chances possible to find these stray members of your campaign and bring them back into the fold. When combined with the rest of what you’ve learned about reducing the impact of opt-outs on your campaign, a strong social front stands as the perfect finish to a complete, and effective, email marketing turnaround.

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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 Dawson McAllister Live talk radio show of Spring Hill, Tennessee used a strong SMS approach to reach out to local youths in need of help and guidance.

Few callings in life are as admirable as trying to help the younger generations make the transition from budding youth to mature adulthood. However, for Dawson McAllister, a well-known youth advisor in the Spring Hill, Tennessee area, of the Dawson McAllister Live radio show, making the connection through standard practices just wasn’t quite doing the job. With the need for enhanced communications and outreach serving as the backdrop, let’s spend a little time looking into how the Dawson McAllister Live radio show utilized a smart and savvy SMS program to reach the adolescents and young adults who needed guidance most.

Setting the Stage for Interaction

In order to promote enhanced interaction with his audience, Dawson McAllister of this eponymous radio show focused on something near and dear to the younger generations – texting. During the “Peer-to-Peer Advisor” segment of the radio show, the team behind Dawson McAllister Live decided to incorporate real-time texts as part of the feature. By doing this, other teens and young adults could chime in with advice and insight to help the call-in guest as he or she navigated the sometimes rocky waters of growing up. Depending on the subject or topic, different short codes, like “parents” or “anxiety,” helped funnel appropriate responses to the show in an orderly and efficient fashion.

In the long-term, the Dawson McAllister Live radio show also hoped to acquire a lasting and active SMS contact list. With this audience further connected to the brand, Dawson McAllister and the rest of the organization planned to release relevant content and promotions that would in turn improve the quality of life for these youthful participants.

Reaching out to the Masses

To help spread the word about this new feature, Dawson McAllister and the rest of his team explored a variety of promotional avenues. Aside from talking up the text-in service on the live show, the production group went above and beyond by retooling the branded website with information regarding the service, as well as implementing various awareness campaigns on social media. In the end, listeners of the show had countless opportunities to learn about the text-in feature and how best to utilize this new tool during the next “Peer-to-Peer Advisor” segment.

Gauging the Impact of This Guidance

While still a major part of the Dawson McAllister Live radio show today, the implementation of the text-in service provided powerful insight into the value of SMS marketing in general. First, when offered the choice between chiming in via Facebook, Twitter, the Dawson McAllister Live website, and text, the audience of this radio show overwhelmingly stood behind the SMS option. Considering how powerful text messaging is in this demographic, as well as many others, the fact that this became the preferred method shouldn’t be much of a surprise.

As this SMS community continued to grow, Dawson McAllister and his team used the burgeoning success of this platform to promote and build awareness for a one-on-one off-air help line, known as The Hope Line. Today, this radio show also boosts a constantly growing network of list members that can’t wait to receive all of the latest news and offers associated with relevant topics and discussions.

Finding the Right Path for Your SMS Success

Even if you’re not in the self-help business, there’s still plenty to learn from this case study. First, SMS marketing can easily supplant other offerings – even social media – when you give your audience the opportunity to make a choice. Additionally, while most think of texting as a planned and metered system for communications, the Dawson McAllister Live team proved that utilizing this tool in real-time isn’t only viable, it’s effective as well.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, as you grow your SMS audience, there’s no reason you can’t use this community to foster growth in your other ventures. Whether it’s something like McAllister’s off-air help line, or a selection more oriented toward tangible productions, having a vibrant SMS following is a great way to build awareness for new offerings. With these lessons in hand, the choice is clear; if you want to connect with your audience in a way that truly matters to them, follow the Dawson McAllister Live radio show’s lead and start texting with the people that matter most.

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In terms of raw power and the ability to connect with your targeted audience, few things even come close to deserving mention in the same sentence as email marketing, let alone having the potential to stand as its equal. However, there is one thing that takes an inbox initiative to the next level by adding an astounding amount of reach and power to the equation – social media. The only problem is that plenty of brands that try to combine the two fall woefully short, thanks to mishaps and implementation mistakes. To make sure your brand never ends up in this less than illustrious company, let’s spend a few minutes going over the five social media mistakes that have no place in your campaign as you attempt to take your marketing efforts to the next level.

Misunderstanding the Relationship Between Social Media and Email Marketing

The first mistake on the list also happens to address the social media and email marketing connection from a distinctly big picture perspective. As Shea Bennett of the All Twitter resource explains, too many brands fail to see inbox connections and the social networking landscape as it rightfully stands – two sides of the same coin. Because both methods of outreach work so well together, thinking of the two as separate or disjointed parts is not only incorrect, but can lead to inefficiencies in your content development. By basing your strategy around the notion that email marketing and social media work hand-in-hand through each phase of connecting with customers, you can approach your upcoming campaigns with a mindset that promotes interactive and interconnected offerings.

Offering up a Drastically Different Social Page

In terms of the design of your social pages – from Twitter to Facebook and Google+ – Lisa Cannon of Business 2 Community notes that presenting a profile that drastically differs from the themes and design of your current brands website creates a jarring and disjointed experience that can turn your audience off in a hurry. Instead of operating these branches of your digital outreach as separate entities, consider taking a more streamlined approach that promotes continuity across all fronts. This way, your email content, social profiles, and official website all stand as a unified and professional representation of your brand.

Lacking Extra Content on Your Social Profiles

Another major mistake that can sink your social media operations highlighted by Cannon focuses on the lack of non-sales oriented content on profiles and accounts. While there’s nothing overtly wrong with sharing the same discounts and deals that end up in the inbox of your followers on these platforms, only offering this kind of content is a quick way to lose the attention of social viewers. Repurposing and sharing content from your site, as well as relevant offerings from around the web, helps differentiate your brand as a thought leader, which in turn completes the powerful one-two punch of valuable marketing offers and entertaining content.

Spreading Your Brand’s Presence Too Thin

When it comes to deciding on which networks best compliment your email marketing campaign, your answer should focus on quality and not quantity. As Bob Hutchins of Social Media Today explains in his look at properly utilizing these networks in a supporting role, spreading yourself too thin and trying to use every platform available is a bad idea. If you’re able to properly monitor, post, and interact on a multitude of social media sites, you’re much better off honing in on a smaller selection and maximizing your impact with the target audience this way. You can always spread to new platforms later if you’re comfortable with the position your brand holds on the original selections.

Failing to Respond to, and Acknowledge, Feedback

Of course, the whole reason social media even matters in today’s world is because it offers people and brands a way to constantly interact in a meaningful and enjoyable manner. If you’re not embodying this mentality, there’s no reason to log into Facebook, Twitter, or any other platform.

While posting discounts and updates about brand products and services is a nice place to start, if you really want to see your organization flourish, and your email contact list numbers start trending upward, don’t be afraid to mix things up a bit with your followers. Whether it’s answering questions or responding to comments and suggestions, showing that your company is interactive and can offer more than just the standard sales pitch goes a long way toward tapping into the power of social media. With this ideal guiding the way, and the rest of these potential mistakes in your rearview mirror, there’s nothing stopping your brand from enjoying a healthy and vibrant social media and email marketing campaign.

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We spend a lot of time dipping into more advanced industry topics on this blog, but sometimes it’s worth focusing more on helping newer members of the mobile marketing community get acquainted with the basics of the process. After all, whether you’re a seasoned SMS veteran or you’re in the midst of your first campaign, everyone has to start somewhere. With this in mind, here’s five SMS marketing tips that “newbies” to the process simply can’t live without as they prepare to reach out to mobile shoppers.

Stick to the Short and Sweet Approach

Before doing anything else, Entrepreneur magazine’s Susan Gunelius notes that the last thing mobile viewers want to have pop up in their SMS inbox is a long-winded message. Instead, your brand is much better off keeping things short and sweet. It might take a little practice getting used to trimming down the fluff, but once you see the positive response in the form of opt-ins and increased interaction, you won’t think twice about sticking to a more streamlined method for your SMS content.

Always Avoid Hype and Slang

Of course, there is most definitely a right way and a wrong way to keep your messages short and to the point. As appealing as it may be to use slang and abbreviations to reduce the character count, Gunelius goes on to point out that the reality of the situation is that having these colloquialisms in your text messages does little to impress an audience. Instead, focus on promoting a professional and straightforward style of writing. Additionally, avoid overused hype words, such as “amazing” and “unbelievable,” to keep the tone on track for a clear and powerful marketing message.

Simple CTAs Go a Long Way

The backbone of any mobile offer comes in the form of its call-to-action (CTA.) This portion of the mobile sales pitch frames the offer in such a way as to convince the viewer to accept the promotion immediately. As Lilian Sue of Business 2 Community explains, there’s no need to turn your text CTA into an over the top production. For newer members of the text marketing scene and established brands alike, staying simple and making the next step clear and easy with a straightforward CTA is the best way to generate a positive interaction with your target audience.

Don’t Be Daunted by Seasonality

One of the biggest stumbling points to operating a successful series of text campaigns comes in the form of keeping relevant content rolling out to customers at a consistent pace. Unlike other forms of marketing, SMS messages relies heavily on seizing the moment. In his look at this process, specifically for the upcoming holiday season, Michael Essany of Mobile Marketing Watch reports that brands aiming for true success on this front know the importance of capitalizing on seasonality.

Fortunately, this concepts spreads far beyond just taking note of spring, summer, fall, and winter. By keying in on local and regional events, as well as other developments related to your target audience, your brand can make the most of timely and relevant texts. In some cases, this could be a recurring or perennial series of events, or a one-time offer. Either way, when compared with the mundane and static selections fired off by your competition, it won’t take much to see that embracing seasonality is a cornerstone that can help SMS newbies make quite the splash.

It’s All about Value

Of course, the biggest thing to keep in mind as you make your way into the world of SMS marketing is that value stands above all else. Without a compelling or powerful deal backing your promotional material, it’s hard to expect much from your campaign moving forward. Naturally, what defines value depends entirely on what matters to your target audience, but keeping an emphasis on giving these shoppers something worthwhile and relevant at the forefront of your approach is a solid way to lay the foundation for your SMS initiative.

In most cases having coupons or redeemable codes fit this billing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative with your content once you’re a little more comfortable with the text marketing process. By adding in consistent communications that promote upcoming events and other relevant news and info, your brand can go beyond the basics and redefine the established value proposition that comes with coupons and discounts. Even if you’re not quite ready for this phase of your SMS evolution, at least you now have all the tools in place to leave your newbie status in the rearview mirror.

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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 University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky used a smart SMS system to welcome in eager freshmen to campus.

Looking back on your college years probably brings back a mix of emotions. Added in to those sleepless nights cramming for the next day’s exam are plenty of great memories with friends, as well as the struggle of acclimating to life away from home. Now imagine if you would have had the help of your university in making the transition a little easier your freshman year.

For the students at the University of Louisville, this idea turned into a reality, all thanks to a savvy SMS marketing campaign. Even if your focus is on promoting goods and services to eager customers, there’s still myriad lessons to be learned by delving into the particulars of this innovative text messaging approach.

Finding a Better Way

At the heart of this campaign was the desire to make assimilating into college life easier for new students. By minimizing the shock of this process, the team at Louisville felt that new additions to the student body would have a better chance at succeeding in both their personal and academic lives. However, the big issue standing in the way came from the unwillingness of the freshman class to regularly check their official university email inboxes.

While these students generally end up using the school-based email system as a primary means of staying connected with class members and faculty eventually, the university found that early adoption of this method was woefully inadequate during the weeks leading up to the beginning of the semester. However, if there’s one thing about students fresh out of high school that holds true in virtually any situation, it’s that these young people can’t get enough texting.

With this in mind, the team at Louisville decided to build a dedicated SMS campaign that would help keep these new members to campus informed and aware of all upcoming orientation and freshman events. In order to make sure these students heard the message loud a clear, those who opted-in received a free week of campus parking for joining the contact list. Additionally, having new members to the list respond back with the three things they were most looking forward to upon entering college life helped the university learn a little more about these bright young minds.

Creating a Warm and Welcoming Environment

To say the response was positive sells the success of the campaign short in a major way. During the first year of the outreach program, the team at Louisville connected with approximately 500 incoming freshman via SMS messaging. As a result, the university not only gained a new venue for communicating with the portion of the student body that needs guidance and direction most, it also helped bridge the gap that previously occurred between acceptance to the school and slipping into the habit or regularly checking official university email accounts.

Today, Louisville continues to broaden its text messaging outreach program by including reminders about campus visits, application deadlines, and more. Despite serving as a more nontraditional case study, the primary lesson learned from this campaign still holds true for organizations in a variety of industries and nonprofit settings – the younger generations love text messaging.

Taking Notes for Your Next Big SMS Test

So now that we’ve closed the chapter on the University of Louisville’s SMS success story, it’s time to put what you’ve learned to good use for your brand. First off, there’s no denying the power of text messaging when it comes to reaching out to the 18 to 24 demographic. If your target audience falls in to this range, chances are they’ll be more than receptive to the idea of texting with your company or organization.

Also, value in the SMS setting can go beyond traditional coupons and discounts. While these staples serve as a primary part of the mobile marketing process in many campaigns, providing your audience with useful and relevant news and information can also add value to the SMS experience from an entirely different, but equally effective, angle. With these lessons in hand, you’ll be ready to ace your next text message campaign test and start on the path to connecting with the consumers and individuals that matter most to your brand or organization.

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There’s snow on the ground and the aromatic smells of holiday food wafting from the kitchen through the rest of the house, so that can only mean one thing – it’s time for some serious shopping. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday right around the corner, your business needs to get a smart plan together to make the most of these massive sales opportunities. To help set you on the right track, here’s a few powerful tips that can pump up your email contact list and get these consumers ready for all that fun that comes during two of the biggest shopping days of the year.

Make Mobile a Priority

The first place to start your planning begins with putting mobile at the forefront. As ClickZ’s Liva Judic explains in her look at the upcoming shopping season, mobile viewing accounted for 29.7 percent of all traffic on Cyber Monday in 2013, exposing a massive upward trend of over 58 percent from the previous year. If this move continues, optimizing your messages for mobile viewing takes on even more importance in your campaign.

Thankfully, getting your messages dressed to impress on smartphones and tablets doesn’t require a completely new approach. By reducing image clutter and sticking to a single column design, you can develop simple, straightforward messages that renders quickly on these smaller screens. Additionally, putting your call-to-action (CTA) button front and center makes clicking and visiting your mobile landing pages a simple and convenient affair.

Going Beyond Standard Social Interactions

Obviously, the impact of social media in modern marketing of any form can’t be overstated. However, there’s truly something special when it comes to the connection this digital community has with the world of marketed inbox messages. In her look at this bond and its implications in the build-up leading to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Lili Boev points out that socially shareable content in the inbox goes a long way toward improving your brand’s fortunes.

During last year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday season, 55 percent of social activity occurred on a mobile device, with more than $150 million in revenue tracing its origins to referrals via shareable content. To capitalize on this powerful platform that grows even stronger when the sales start firing up, consider adding single-click social sharing links to your email templates, in addition to follow buttons. By doing this, you’ll give your sales content a great opportunity to go viral, which helps boost redemptions and grow your social media presence.

There’s No Time for Sitting Around

Boev goes on to point out that there’s no time like the present to get your campaign in gear. While it might seem a little early to start promoting the limited time offers that come with this shopping season, building a sense of urgency goes a long way toward creating a digital replication of the “doorbuster” frenzy associated with brick and mortar store offerings.

Whether you’re sending out time sensitive emails or inbox promotions that offer limited opportunity redemption codes, instilling this “act now” mentality helps give your conversion rate a healthy boost without dipping into spam tactic territory. If you’re looking to get a little more creative with your email content, consider adding a countdown clock to the message or on a relevant landing page. This approach brings your concept of urgency to life with a stunning visual that keeps customers aware that the savings won’t last beyond this shopping holiday.

Build a Strategy for Cart Abandonment

Speaking of boosting conversions, no great email marketing campaign – either during this frantic time of the year or a more standard cycle – is complete without putting an emphasis on reducing cart abandonment. As Eddy Swindell of Media Post explains, going out of your way to reconnect with these potential shoppers goes a long way toward increasing sales now and building a strong relationship for later.

By sending out personalized messages to these visitors, often 20 minutes to an hour after they ditch their carts, you can cut down on missed opportunities and keep your brand in the conversation. In some cases, trying again after a few days and including a discount or promotion code can help seal the deal as well. Naturally, you’ll want to avoid bombarding these potential consumers with email overload, but it can’t hurt to take a few extra shots at building toward a conversion. When combined with the rest of what you’ve learned here, there’s no doubt that you’ll be ready to take the inbox scene by storm when the Black Friday and Cyber Monday frenzy kicks into high gear.

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The holiday season is all about spending time with family, experiencing the joy of giving and receiving presents, and, most importantly, all of the great food you can’t help but indulge in. Since our friends to the south are heading toward their Thanksgiving, and Christmas is right around the corner for everyone, there’s no time like the present to spend some time whipping up the perfect email marketing recipe for success. This way, after you’ve enjoyed the fine offerings of the holiday season, you’ll have all the ingredients you need to build a winning approach to connecting in the inbox that stretches well beyond the New Year.

The Right Foundation

Before jumping into any other part of the recipe, it’s important to start with the right “cookbook.” As Vikas Lalwani of Entrepreneur explains, in the world of email marketing, this means coming up with a strong objective that helps guide and direct your outreach initiative from start to finish. Whether your goal focuses on boosting site traffic via email marketing or building and maintaining a healthy subscriber list that you can rely on far into the future, having a solid foundation for your campaign helps streamline the process and improve the overall efficiency of your operations.

A Strong Subject Line

Once you have a strong objective helping shape your campaign, it’s time to jump into the first bite of the email marketing process – the always important subject line. To find the right subject line, Lalwani goes on to suggest spending some time looking at your email content from the point of view of your subscribers. By embodying this mindset, you can key in on what piques the interest of these viewers and start testing potential offerings from this vantage point. Considering that Lalwani reports 47 percent of readers decide whether or not to read an email based on the subject line alone, there’s nothing wrong with pointing in some serious effort perfecting this portion of the recipe.

Appealing Body Content

As far as the content of your message goes, the experts at Business 2 Community point out that you can’t go wrong with placing an emphasis on personalization and value. By tailoring your message to each reader with the information garnered via your contact list sign-up sheet, your brand can develop a unique and engaging experience that stands out in a cluttered inbox. Adding in that shoppers are always looking for a good deal stands as plenty of reason to provide valuable promotions when building your stable of great email messages.

Enticing Email Layouts

Of course, enticing text content doesn’t go over so well if it’s wrapped up in a boring or confusing package that’s hard to read. For this reason, one of the most important facets of the successful email marketing recipe hones in on your email design and layouts. By developing ascetically appealing presentations that help promote your message and keep the reader’s eyes flowing to your call-to-action (CTA), these emails can pack a dynamic one-two punch of content and visuals that is sure to knock your inbox audience off of its collective feet. Just be sure to spend some time delving into the arena of mobile and responsive design as well. Otherwise, you run the risk of alienating a large portion of your targeted demographic with unwieldy selections that don’t render properly on these devices.

The Secret Ingredient

The final ingredient that goes into the recipe for a stellar inbox initiative actually doesn’t have a spot in your email content at all. Instead, Carolina Di Pietro, also part of the Business 2 Community team of industry experts, recommends that any brand serious about making a splash via email marketing and other digital outreach programs spend some time sprucing up its landing pages. The main reason for this “secret ingredient” comes from the fact that many organizations develop great inbox content, but let numerous conversions slip through the cracks thanks to a substandard on-site experience.

To avoid this unwanted outcome, don’t be afraid to redesign and streamline your stable of landing pages. Whether you revamp your visuals and content, or implement a more interactive digital design, spending some time bringing this gateway to your online storefront into the modern era can help your brand better accommodate desktop and on-the-go shoppers. Naturally, this isn’t a process that happens in the blink of an eye, but seeing the boost in site traffic and conversions that come from complimentary landing pages is more than enough motivation for brands looking to whip up an email marketing recipe that puts the competition to shame this holiday season.

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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 Bricktown tourist attraction in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma helped boost sagging visitor numbers with a savvy SMS and social media campaign.

While every city has a “trendy” spot, few compare to Bricktown in Oklahoma City. With a sprawling variety of specialty shops, restaurants, and major regional events and concerts throughout the month, it probably doesn’t sound like Bricktown needs much help in the marketing department, right? Unfortunately, sometimes it takes a new approach to reinvigorate a flagging audience and gain a little extra traction for the other marketing operations included in a branded initiative. To find out how the team at Bricktown did just this with a savvy SMS and social media approach, let’s spend some time breaking down the particulars of this stellar mobile marketing campaign.

Building the Foundation Brick by Brick

At the core of this approach, Bricktown wanted to accomplish two things – build a lasting SMS contact list and a strong presence on the various social media networks. By doing this, the team managing the marketing side of this premier tourist attraction in Oklahoma City not only hoped to boost foot traffic on site and more interaction with the community, but also leverage this enhanced digital standing to generate additional value for its online advertising partners. Essentially, Bricktown hoped that building the foundation of a strong SMS approach would improve all aspects of the attraction’s marketing operations.

Spreading the Word about Bricktown

So how did Bricktown spread the word about its revamped SMS contact list? To start, signage around Bricktown’s various attractions, as well as in the digital world via social media posts and website banner ads, helped get the on-site and web communities excited about upcoming events and new additions to the area. Additionally, Bricktown also offered a variety of giveaways and limited time offers for those willing to join the club. In order to redeem their membership, consumers simply had to text the keyword “CHEVY” to the short code 62582.

Gauging the Success of the Campaign

To say that this campaign was a success might be selling Bricktown’s efforts a little short. Since the initiative’s inception, the marketing team at Bricktown has reported hundreds of new followers on Facebook, as well as similar gains on the mobile marketing list each month. In turn, this enhanced presence in both the physical and digital landscapes has significantly increased the value of advertising spots in Bricktown proper, the center’s website, and even in promotions that end up serving as part of the various deployed text messages. Today, the campaign still continues to stand as a shining example of what a smart and effective mobile marketing campaign can do when promoted from a variety of different angles.

Finding Your Own Path to Success

Even if you’re not in the business of standing as a civic attraction, there’s still plenty of powerful tips and tricks to pull from Bricktown’s successful campaign. First off, don’t be afraid to support your mobile marketing initiative across every format possible. While it might take some extra work to build a comprehensive campaign, having a strong backing and enhanced awareness across social media, in your local community, and within your site’s visiting audience goes a long way toward maximizing an SMS contact list’s potential.

From here, the content you share via text messages doesn’t have to be only in the realm of coupons and limited time offers. Bricktown made a major name for itself by promoting upcoming events in the shopping center, as well as utilizing this platform for brand news and giveaways. Value-driven content starts with discounts, but there’s nothing in the SMS rulebook that says your campaign can’t offer even more.

Finally, building a strong following on the SMS, social, and digital fronts isn’t just great for your brand awareness and foot traffic in-store, it also enhances the value of the rest of your advertising operations. Leveraging this increased position in your industry like Bricktown did helps add even more potential to an already powerful process. Whether you’re a local staple like this civic center or you have aspirations for global business operations, squeezing every last ounce of value out of text message marketing can help reach even the loftiest of goals.

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When your email marketing campaign fires on all cylinders, there’s no denying that this connection with your target audience rises above all of your other marketing options. However, that doesn’t that mean standing tall in the inbox is an easy affair. In fact, there are plenty of pitfalls that can keep your emails from the eyes of the viewers that matter most. With this in mind, let’s spend a few minutes looking at the four types of emails that absolutely fail in the inbox, as well what your brand can do to avoid watching these substandard offerings sink your next campaign.

The “Over the Top” Amazing Offer or Result Email

The first type of email that can turn off your inbox readers embodies one of the oldest tricks in the spam book – the ridiculous, over the top offer or results claim in the subject line. In this approach, your branded messages make an outrageous claim or statement, which requires extraordinary evidence to back up. As Kimanzi Constable of Entrepreneur magazine explains, going down this path seems like a great idea for brands looking to make a sale, but there’s only one problem; your viewers simply can’t believe that these result or offerings are real.

A better option, whether you’re truly promoting some groundbreaking industry innovation or a standard promotional run, is to keep things simple with your subject line. Staying conversational and brief allows your subject line to intrigue readers and induce them into clicking the open button. From here, strong text content and supporting calls-to-action (CTAs) can help present your campaign material in a more effective, less spam-oriented manner.

The “Quick Question” Click Bait Email

Sitting on the opposite side of the spectrum from the over the top message is the click bait email. Constable goes on to point out that brands incorporating this type of email marketing content often lead off with a seemingly quick or vague question, designed to illicit a cheap click from the inbox viewer. “Interested in making six figures a year?” and “You’ll never believe this” both serve as strong examples of this spam technique.

Obviously, we’ve already explained that there’s nothing wrong with being brief, just try to not to take the indirect or misleading approach. This method can definitely boost click rates in the short term, but don’t expect to have readers open up these messages in the future once they’re on to your tactics. Your brand is much better off offering relevant and useful content that ties in with your subject line once the reader opens your email.

The “Too Personal/Too Obscure” Email

As far as personalization and identification go, there are two ways you can really stack the odds against a viewer clicking the open button associated with this message, according to Ryan Pinkham of Forbes magazine. The first way to do this is by getting a little too friendly with the subject line. Personalizing this portion of the email is a perfectly fine strategy, but calling out audience segments and demographics by name or putting too much personal info in this space (think first, middle, and last names) comes off as creepy for virtually any brand.

Additionally, failing to identify your brand in the “From” portion also serves as a roadblock for getting readers to dig into your email content. With so much spam flooding into today’s inboxes, users are more cautious than ever when it comes to choosing what they open. If possible, utilize branded “From” lines in the preview section of the message, as well as a company specific sending domain. This way, your target audience won’t have any questions when trying to figure out if the message in front of them comes from a source they can trust.

The Email That Mobile Viewers Can’t Open

Pinkham also points out that it’s hard to expect viewers to open your messages at all if they’re unable to view these offerings on a mobile device. With more people than ever before using tablets and smartphones to view the latest additions to their inboxes, one bad experience can ruin your reputation with these viewers.

Thankfully, we’ve spent quite a bit of time talking about mobile optimization for new and established campaigns alike, so avoiding this email misstep isn’t a monumental endeavor. With these tips in hand, as well as the rest of what you’ve learned about the prime offenders that can keep readers from opening your messages, you brand should be on the right track for keeping the good vibes flowing with the best marketing channel across the entire digital landscape.

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There’s no time like the present when it comes to refocusing your email marketing practices on the constantly expanding mobile world. Whether it’s Business Insider’s John Heggestuen reporting that one in every five people in the world owns a smartphone, or the blockbuster announcement from Google regarding the release of the Inbox by Gmail app, the mobile side of inbox communications continues to demand attention. To ensure your brand doesn’t fall behind the times, and the competition, here’s five quick and easy tips from around the industry that can help you optimize your mobile email offerings.

Make Your Call-to-Action Button Easy to Use

One of the most infuriating things about reading an email that isn’t optimized for mobile viewing is struggling to click the call-to-action (CTA) button and redeem an offer. If you’ve ever been in this position yourself, you know that the frustration associated with this problem can quickly turn to email abandonment. To avoid watching potential conversions fall through the cracks, Christina Galbornetti of Target Marketing magazine suggests placing the CTA button “above the fold,” in an easy-to-click location. By separating this clickable URL from other portions of the message, you provide your readers with quick and easy access to your landing pages if they decide to redeem an offer and move forward with a conversion.

Avoid Poor Font and Text Choices

Galbornetti goes on to point out that the text and fonts used in your marketed messages also play a vital role in your mobile optimization endeavors. For instance, dark background tables with white knockout text ends up placing invisible content in front of your audience, thanks to the removal of colored tables by many email clients. Additionally, larger fonts can distort even responsive and adaptive templates, while red font coloring can quickly trigger spam filters. Before firing off any emails, spend a few minutes testing how your text selections render on mobile devices. Otherwise, don’t be surprised when your audience ships back and underwhelming response to unreadable emails.

Stick to Single Column Layouts

As far as the body of your email goes, Laurie Beasley of the Online Marketing Institute notes that double column layouts might look great on the desktop, but only cause headaches in the mobile world. At best, these offerings clog up precious small screen real estate, while at worst this type of layout ends up as an unintelligible mess. The better option, according to Beasley, is to focus on single column layouts. By doing this your message can render properly and maximize its usage of the limited smartphone screen with a clear flow of text and graphic content.

Let Go of the Click Mentality

Additionally, Beasley also suggests thinking with your fingers and thumbs, and not with the clicker of your mouse, when designing your mobile messages. To help you embrace this mentality, consider keeping any buttons and “tappable” content to a size at least as big as a 44 pixel square. Aside from this size minimum, keeping links and buttons to the center or left of the template also makes life a little easier on your mobile viewers. Finally, say no to hover and pop-out interactive elements that jam up the viewing process, as well as any wording that references clicking – like the oft overused “click here.”

Offer a Plain Text Version of Your Message

The final tip, from Erik Boman of Econsultancy, strips away the high tech setting of smartphones and opts for something that’s a little more back to basics; a plain text version of your message. While it might seem a little strange to not utilize all of the fancy bells and whistles that come with the modern mobile inbox, Boman explains that sometimes you’re much better off providing a simple alternative that helps keep the message clear for those using older equipment or readers who are less inclined to read graphic-oriented content.

The best part about the plain text alternative approach is that it doesn’t really tax your development resources. Simply including a link in your email, generally near the bottom of the page, to a browser-based version of the message that skips over all of the graphics and template features fulfills this tip and provides another angle of fostering and capitalizing on potential conversions.

Naturally, not all of these tips will fit your approach to developing a strong mobile front. However, between implementing some of the ideas and utilizing others as the basis for a little extra research and discussion, your brand will be well on its way to optimizing for the ever-growing mobile portion of its audience. Considering that the trends toward smartphone usage and checking email on the go show no signs of slowing down, this is right where your organization wants to be moving forward.

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