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sweetspot

When it comes to stepping out in a crowded room, it generally helps to have a little something special up your sleeve. Considering the constant jockeying for position in the inbox and the fact that seemingly everyone has caught on to the power of email marketing in general, these golden opportunities are few and far between – to say the least. However, with the help of some recently released consumer data, as well as a few key tips and tricks, your brand could be on the verge of hitting the email “sweet spot” and taking your target audience by storm.

Finding the Sweet Spot

So what is this “sweet spot,” and why does it matter to your brand? According to a study conducted by The American Genius, a social media and business marketing news source, there’s one key misconception hindering most brand that make their way into consumer inboxes; the assumption that increased contact makes your organization come off as annoying.

This isn’t to say that email overload or oversaturation isn’t a real thing that has sunk campaigns in the past, but rather the demand for valuable marketed messages is a lot higher than most members of the community realize – especially during the various holidays in your area. To put it in perspective, the average consumer receives less than 10 emails a day, with major events – like Cyber Monday and Black Friday – pushing this number up to a reasonable 12. Additionally, opens during holiday seasons only drop from 22.8 percent to 22.4 percent, further dispelling the related myth that people don’t have time to open marketed messages during these busy periods.

Perhaps the biggest indicator that there’s room for growth in terms of email marketing volume is that fact that of the 10,000 marketed emails sent out during this study, only 63 elicited spam complaints; a number that’s far less than any other relevant inbox category and sure to ease the concerns of even the most cautious brands or marketers.

Revamping Your Viewpoint

Essentially, the moral of the story is pretty straightforward. The people that make up your target audience can’t get enough of great email content, so why not give them what they want? Naturally, this doesn’t mean you should institute a round-the-clock campaign that pings your contact list members incessantly, but that connecting a little more often – especially during the holiday season – is far from a bad idea. In fact, it could just be the key to taking your rightful spot above the competition as the most engaging and relevant content provider in the inbox.

Keeping Quality at the Forefront of Your Approach

Of course, being engaging and relevant does require that your content shine once the person on the other side of the screen takes a peek beyond the fold, so let’s cover a few key points to help you develop stellar emails that match this uptick in volume and outreach. First off, Jonathan Long of The Huffington Post suggests making personalization a priority. There’s nothing worse than receiving a ton of “fill in the blank” messages, so using first names, customer data, and anything else gleaned from your contact list information can help keep the relationship between your brand and these viewers from becoming too impersonal.

Additionally, Long also suggests keeping the conversation flowing by integrating reply tools and services into your content. While most other marketed messages wrap things up with the details regarding spam laws and unsubscribe options, consider sliding this info a little farther down the page and working in a request for all replies. From comments and concerns to general questions, letting these potential customers or loyal members of your brand community know that your virtual doors are always open for a little conversation goes a long way toward enhancing and preserving the familiarity that comes with an increased volume of offers and content.

Outside of maximizing the quality of your text content, Jimmy Daly of Marketing Land suggests giving your themes and graphics a little love as well if you plan on spending more time with your audience in the inbox. Whether you go with a minimalist approach or decide to be beautiful with sweeping color schemes, having a strong plan moving forward, and ensuring that this approach plays well with mobile devices, is the perfect way to round out your new approach. With these tips in hand, as well as a willingness to break the mold and tap into the currently underutilized sweet spot of email marketing volume and frequency, you’ll be well on your way to conquering the inbox in no time.

 

sixkeys

It’s no big secret that a strong subject line can stand out on the screen. In fact, plenty of industry voices point to this part of the marketed message as the most crucial point in the process. Unfortunately, simply acknowledging the need for a great subject line isn’t the same as crafting offerings that capture the attention of your audience. With this in mind, let’s take a look at the six examples of subject lines that stand out on a page – as explained by Business 2 Community’s Larisa Bedgood – as well as how your brand can incorporate these archetypes into your next winning campaign.

The Role of Curiosity

First up on Bedgood’s list is the concept of curiosity. Piquing the curiosity of the viewer on the other side of the screen derives its power from one fundamental truth – people generally can’t stand leaving a question or query unsolved. For instance, having a subject that starts with “you’ll never believe that…” and finishing with an outrageous claim fits this approach admirably. Naturally, you’ll need something truly stunning on the other side of the email fold to avoid a letdown, but if you build around this constraint, you’ll be the proud owner of an engaging and attractive subject line.

Fitting in a Question Mark

Much like statements that play on the curiosity of the reader, question marks naturally lead to a desire to see a resolution or ending to the topic. The best part about incorporating relevant and engaging questions into your subject lines is that once you’ve captured the attention of the reader, this base query helps foster and grow what can be a continuing discussion with your target audience – something any brand would be happy to add to its outreach initiatives.

The Name Game

Too often, brands on the right track for email marketing success speak to the audience as a whole, and not to each person on the other side of the screen. As Tim Ash of ClickZ points out, utilizing pronouns, like you and your, in your subject lines – and throughout the body of your message – helps turn the dialogue in the inbox into a true conversation, and not just a speech directed toward an ambiguous group of users. The big key here is finding a relevant subject that speaks to the audience and not just shoehorning in pronouns for little to no reason.

The Draw of Odd Numbers

If you’re looking to put your consumer or product data to good use on the subject line, Bedgood goes on to note that odd or irregular numbers do a great job of standing out in a crowded inbox. Subject lines that fit this mold – like “Why He Paid Yahoo $42,571.68…” – have a unique appeal that text only offerings just can’t replicate. As long as you can cite your sources or build a compelling argument for your product or service around these numbers, don’t be afraid to pull out the most eye-popping example you have on hand.

Parceling out Percentages

Even if you’re not in possession of a singularly astounding figure, percentages and other statistics help fill this void. Again, accuracy and context play a major role on this front, but the same concepts that create an attractive numerical subject line still hold true – the more head-turning the better. For the brands that do sneak their toes over the line and fudge a few statistics to build an artificially attractively subject line, be forewarned; if and when your audience finds out, you’ll never be able to truly regain the trust of these valued potential and current customers again.

Creating Action Due to Scarcity

Finally, the last example on the list taps into the idea that generating a reaction based on scarcity or time-sensitive information can create an immensely powerful response from the people that comprise your contact list. In his look at this concept, Pete Prestipinio of Website magazine explains that scarcity tactics can help “scare up” favorable responses from your audience.

Puns aside, the formula behind this approach is simple. People tend to procrastinate or waffle on important decisions, so putting a time limit or expiry date on your content and offerings can help get these individuals off the fence and heading to your web page in a hurry. Just like the rest of these methods, going overboard and labeling every email as “URGENT” isn’t the way to approach this process. However, sprinkling in this tactic, as well as some of the other options covered, could hold the key to sustained email marketing success via attractive and engaging subject lines.

 

Right_for_Your_Brand

Automation is a touchy subject in many industries. On one hand, embracing the “set it and forget it” concept leads to the idea of more free time to pursue other goals and priorities. However, just as many brands and marketers see this process as one that could lead to poor content generation and flagging results. The reality of the situation – at least in terms of email marketing – is actually quite different than either of these outcomes. To help shed some light on just how automation works in the inbox, as well as whether or not it’s the right call for your next campaign, let’s spend a few minutes covering this method and just what it has to offer for your brand moving forward.

How Does Automating the Email Campaign Process Work?

The best place to start when it comes to deciding whether automation is right for your operations is by answering the single most important question for those who are new to the process – how exactly does automating an email marketing campaign work? As Stephen Fairley of The National Law Review explains, automation relies on three key steps.

First, the prospective viewer triggers your automated campaign by doing something related to your marketed content. Whether this is signing up for an account on your site and going all the way to the checkout, but not quite making the purchase, or applying for access to exclusive content, the need for interest still remains the same. After this happens, your previously generated content automatically fires off based on a predetermined pattern of email frequency and timing in order to help capture a conversion or connection that would otherwise fall through the cracks.

Is There Really a Reason to Add This Method?

If you’re already sending out a newsletter or other routine mailing content to a healthy contact list, you’re probably wondering if adding automated operations to whatever other outreach methods you currently conduct is really worth the effort. In his look at this particular debate, Douglas Karr of the Marketing Technology Blog points out that few things even come close to rivaling the power of automated email outreach when it comes to connecting with new browsers and consumers.

As far a raw benefits go, automated email operations have a 53 percent higher conversion rate on average when compared to the alternative of letting these leads slip away. Additionally, automation also helps boost sales quota achievement rates by a healthy 9.3 percent in most scenarios.

However, aside from simply giving a bump to your bottom line, automated email marketing helps capture a different segment of your audience that might not know about your weekly newsletter, or the monthly deals that only subscribers can redeem. By having a game plan in place for the casual visitor – specifically one that doesn’t require a unique response each time it triggers – you can develop your contact list even more, or start from scratch entirely if your brand is new to this type of outreach.

Ensuring You Get the Most out of Your Automated Messages

Now that you’re up to speed on how this process works, it’s time to dig into the particulars of what goes into a great automated system. According to Mathew Sweezey of ClickZ, it all starts with data. If this sounds like a recurring theme in the email marketing world, you’re not wrong. Without great data leading the way, it’s virtually impossible to know who to target, when to target these viewers, and what kind of email content piques their curiosity.

Once your data is in order, Sweezey goes on to point out that focusing on your end goal can help shape the rest of your operations. Are you looking to garner a renewal of service or entice a forlorn shopper with an exclusive deal that gets them back on site? What about simply building a rapport with these shoppers and bolstering your email newsletter content list? Regardless of why you’re utilizing automated email content, the big key here is having a goal in mind as you develop these triggered offerings.

Finally, don’t be afraid to use this outreach opportunity to promote and support the rest of your digital marketing operations. Email marketing will always be the centerpiece of your tactics – mainly because of the highly effective nature of the process – but giving a shout out to your social channels, blog, and any other related field can go a long way toward firing on all cylinders in terms of web-based outreach. With these best practices in hand, as well as better understanding of just how automated email marketing works, you can now make a smart and strong decision that puts your brand in a great place with the people that matter most.

 

Reached_a_Plateau

Email marketing is big business – there’s no arguing this point. However, just because the power of connecting with customers in the inbox is common knowledge, that doesn’t mean questions regarding the current state of this tactic aren’t still popping up from time to time on the web. After all, it’s not like email marketing is a spring chicken in the digital marketing world these days.

However, has email marketing reached a plateau in terms of innovation? If not, what’s the next step? Will these potential changes affect my brand? While these questions definitely lead to a tough discussion, that doesn’t mean we can’t work through the clutter and find the answers your company needs to keep pressing the advantage with refined and engaging inbox content.

Breaking down the Argument

As Jordie van Rijn of MediaPost’s Email Insider Europe blog explains, there’s definitely a case for stating that email marketing has reached a plateau – at least on the productivity front. Essentially, this statement comes from the fact that any digitally connected brand understands that funneling resources into this process can yield significant results.

While the power of email marketing is definitely not in question, the discussion naturally turns to whether or not there’s any room left for growth or development in terms of effectiveness and productivity. The answer to this question rests solely on what design spaces and new methods brands are willing to explore in order to find untapped potential and growth.

Making a Case for Innovation

In his look at recent innovations and growth, iMedia Connection’s Christopher Marriott notes that brands on the cutting edge are definitely willing to go the extra mile in terms of testing uncharted inbox territory. From clever abandoned cart messages that aim to capture unclaimed conversions via head-turning graphics, to feedback requests that play on the basic human desire of wanting to feel important and included within a select group, there’s no denying that organizations around the world and across a variety of markets have pushed the boundaries on both the conceptual and graphical levels.

What’s Next?

So now that we know innovation is part of email marketing’s recent history, it’s time to decide whether there’s still room to grow moving forward. According to Bola Awoniyi of Econsultancy, the next five years could see quite a few innovations. Naturally, there’s not nearly as much room for growth and change as there was in the days of email marketing’s infancy, but that doesn’t mean the industry is completely stale.

At the top of Awoniyi’s list is the concept of the completely personalized email. Obviously, personalization is already a hot topic, but surprisingly it’s not completely accepted in all circles. Considering the power that comes with speaking directly to the consumer, it makes sense that this stands as one of the next big changes to the status quo.

Additionally, there’s also the chance that innovation related to marketed messaging doesn’t happen in the inbox at all, but in related fields that support this tactic indirectly. The idea of “going wide” with email marketing and promoting across multiple channels has already gained some traction, but how far are brands willing to take it? Could the hallowed ground of traditional TV spots even become a place to spread the word about mailing lists? It might seem outlandish now, but if inbox initiatives continue to rise in prominence, don’t be surprised if this dream becomes a reality in the near future.

Getting Your Brand Ready for the Future

There’s no doubt that this is a lot to consume in one sitting, but it’s still a topic that matters a great deal to your brand. Email marketing isn’t about yesterday’s best practices, but rather taking advantage of the potential of tomorrow before your competition beats you to the punch.

The best way to prepare for these opportunities? Ensure that there’s no cracks in the foundation of your campaign. As Seamus Egan of Entrepreneur magazine explains, if you want to score big with email content, start by working your way from the ground up. Making good use of winning subject lines, relevant content based on consumer data, and smart timing and email frequency all position you to stand as an early adopter if – and when – the next big thing pops up.

Considering how important it is to be a step ahead, enacting this strategy, in addition to keeping everything else you’ve learned here in mind, should stand as a priority during any upcoming campaigns that connect your brand to the valued customer on the other side of the screen.

 

Five_Fast_Tips

There’s nothing worse than feeling strained for time with a million things left to do on your agenda and a rapidly dwindling work week. Unfortunately, just because you’re in a rush, that doesn’t mean all of these obligations will wait patiently in line while you sort things out one by one. To help free up some of your time, and keep your brand on track for success in the inbox, here’s five fast tips that can give your marketed messages a much needed boost. These simple strategies won’t completely overhaul a flagging or failing campaign, but if you’re just looking to spruce up your emails until you have time to really dig into a redesigned approach, these tips should be more than capable of bridging the gap.

Slip in a Promo Video

To start things off, what better way is there to breathe new life into stale or boring email content than with a great promotional video? As Chad Brooks of Business News Daily explains, this simple addition to your standard email offerings can boost your return on investment (ROI) by up to 40 percent, and help click-through rates spike by as much as three times your average volume. This approach might sound like a lot of work, but if you already have previously used video content lying around, or a dedicated brand YouTube page up and running, repurposing these digital assets becomes a significantly less time consuming affair.

Send More of Your Best Messages

One of the most overlooked tools at a brand or marketer’s disposal are the analytics that come with these forays into the inbox. Essentially, you will often have a virtual plethora of data on hand, so put this info to work and find out what’s causing the best reaction from the people on the other side of the screen. Once you’ve honed in on the best options in your arsenal, whether via open rates, redemption numbers, or any other indicator, simply shift your focus to these messages in the form of increased outreach. It’s not a surefire way of getting the most bang for your buck – especially considering the volatile nature of certain audiences – but it’s hard to argue with the logic that comes from leaning on your most productive offerings.

If You’re Not Being Social, Start Now!

Additionally, Brooks points out that there’s absolutely no reason to not include social media buttons within your email content. Alongside email marketing, social media is one of the most powerful mediums when dealing in audience outreach, so combining the two can be a major victory for your brand. The best part? It only takes a few minutes to include the like, share, tweet, and favorite buttons into your message template. Once you have these additions in order, you can watch your optimized content go viral in front of an entirely new audience.

Streamline Your Digital Process

For those brands looking to handle two problems with one solution, Kivi Leroux Miller of the Nonprofit Marketing Guide research site suggests fixing up the consumer path to checkout for when you actually get these inbox viewers on site. Not only will this help boost conversion rates from the shoppers that originate via your email marketing operations, this approach also helps you improve your odds with the consumers that wonder in from other places around the web. As far as optimizing your time expenditure goes, this overarching tactic can definitely help you on a variety of fronts.

Get Your First Impression Right

Finally, if there’s one portion of the email marketing process you give a few minutes of your time to, Miller explains that it has to be what your audience sees above the fold. Whether it’s your “From” address or the subject line of your marketed message, the few characters that make up these selections go a long way toward getting an open as the reader quickly glances over each new inbox entry.

To succeed in these two areas, make sure the “From” byline clearly identifies your brand or other associated persona, as this builds familiarity with your viewership. On the topic of subject lines, being straightforward, catchy, and informative is the best way to snag a view and boost your email marketing results without a ton of work. If you can incorporate these ideas, as well as the rest of what you’ve learned, then you’ll be well on your way to generating some serious buzz with your emails, even if you don’t have all the time in the world to dedicate to improving this branch of your marketing operations.

 

NFL_Teach

For our friends down south, and the NFL fans here in Canada, it’s almost time for the big finale to one of the most exciting seasons of professional football. Like any other Super Bowl, this year’s version is rife with storylines. Can Tom Brady and Bill Belichick claim a fourth title amid the “deflate-gate” allegations? Will Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks repeat? Why is the NFL so good at email marketing?

That last question might seem a little bit out of place at first glance, but the truth of the matter is that few organizations pull off inbox initiatives quite like the NFL. To prove this point, and help dig into some lessons your own brand can apply to its marketed messages moving forward, let’s discuss the finer points of just how this $45 billion organization keeps the hits coming via email.

A History of Content

Before going any farther, it’s important to understand that the NFL’s marketing prowess – across any format – isn’t some recent development. In fact, As Paul Camarata of the NFL Films blog explains, this sporting association has given the fans exactly what they wanted since 1962. Of course, back then the focus was on documenting the emergence of this eventual global phenomenon with a branded film studio, as well as keeping loyal followers abreast of games in other television markets and regions. Regardless of the reasons why, the point is that the NFL has never been shy about adopting the most powerful communication mediums and leveraging these tools in an effort to constantly connect with the fans.

Making the Shift to the Modern World

Naturally, the focus of these marketing operations has shifted quite a bit over the years. While NFL Films and the documentary style approach still holds a firm place in the NFL’s pantheon of marketing methods and programs, Steve Dille of Marketing Land points out that nothing compares to the fan engagement generated by this sports league’s email marketing approach. Considering the sometimes stubborn stance of the league to reassess rules, regulations, and the advent of technology into the game itself, this willingness to adopt the power of email marketing might come as a surprise to some. However, don’t be fooled; at the heart of this success is a willingness to bridge the gap with fans and bring the content they want to them in a hip and modern setting.

Best Practices of the Pros

We’ve spent quite some time telling you how great the NFL is at email marketing, but what exactly is this organization doing that works so well? As Dille goes on to explain, it’s about reaching the fans – all of them. The NFL has a sizeable audience, but it takes great pains to segment, catalog, and sort these individuals into meaningful groups and demographics. Naturally, having 32 distinct teams to help divide up this ravenous fan base into defined segments does give the organization a bit of a head start, but this attention to detail still goes above and beyond the bare minimum by a significant degree.

In terms of actual email content, the NFL’s newsletter is second to none. In fact, Marketing Sherpa named this facet of the campaign as one of the leading reasons it bestowed its top email marketing program award upon the NFL in 2013. From the perspective of a brand that’s trying to follow in the NFL’s footsteps, the best part is possibly the fact that this organization utilized an on-site sign-up survey to not only track new contact list members, but also learn more about these email patrons via a quick sign-up survey.

Scoring Big with Your Audience

Obviously the NFL has a massive marketing budget that few brands can match, but Dille wraps up his look into the subject by pointing out that this league’s most recent success – including an impressive 121 percent increase in email opens over last year’s total – comes from just a few key traits.

First off, great content is a must. Even if you’re not looking to fire off an award-winning newsletter, put some thought into your content. If you wouldn’t bother to sit down and read it, why should your audience? From here, getting on board with the latest trends, including the constantly growing mobile craze, can help you stay ahead of the game and stand as a trendsetter like the NFL. Finally, if you’re able to integrate services in a cross-channel manner – like this organization did with its sign-up survey – don’t be afraid to double dip and learn even more about your audience. Once you have this info in hand, as well as the rest of what you’ve learned from the NFL’s playbook, you’ll be ready to march down the field and score a game winning drive for your email marketing campaign in no time.

 

Does_Size_Matter_Email_Marketing

In terms of email marketing, few things are worse than watching your message end up in the spam folder or bounce back. Unfortunately, sometimes the cause of this isn’t related to a potentially damaged reputation or obtrusive marketing tactics. Instead, it’s something far more manageable and mundane – the size of your content. In fact, ClickZ’s Jeanne Jennings reports that up to 19 percent of emails succumb to deliverability issues during an average campaign.

To avoid this simple, yet debilitating, faux pas, let’s talk a little bit about the relationship between email size and deliverability, as well as what your brand needs to do keep things in order and on target in the inbox. This way, you’ll never have to experience the frustration of an email that either can’t be delivered or rendered on screen by your valued viewership.

Learning When Size Affects Deliverability

Before going any farther, let’s cover the instances that size can – and will – affect the deliverability of your messages. The obvious place to start is with the maximum space offered per message by email service providers. This data limit can vary from platform to platform, but each provider lists the maximum email size online. For instance, Gmail, AOL, and Yahoo stop delivering messages at 25 MB, while smaller services, like Zoho Mail, limit each email to 12 MB. It might seem like a ton of data as you sit at your desk and read this blog, but the reality of the situation is that hitting these limits can be a problem, and it can happen quicker than you think thanks to the rise of image-laden messages.

However, simply staying under these limits is not enough. Some spam filters trigger based on size (capturing messages that stray even over small limits like 100 KB), template rendering, and the file type of attachments – in addition to actual content – so developing messages that work within these confines also comes at a premium for brands that are serious about making an impact in the inbox.

The Other Piece of the Equation

So now that you know just how much size matters, it’s time to chop up your current content and ship it out in a new trimmed and minimalist form, right? Not exactly. As Graham Charlton of Econsultancy explains, failing to give the content in your messages its due, or slipping too far away from this content due to size concerns, can also hinder deliverability. Essentially, when it comes to keeping deliverability rates high, you’re walking a tightrope, balancing size constraints in one hand and the need for desirable and engaging content and imagery in the other. Leaning too far either way is sure to spell disaster for your campaign.

Finding Balance with Your Content

At this point, you’re probably digesting this information and wondering just what it takes to get the best of both worlds in terms of size and content. While there’s definitely some hard work ahead of you, it’s far from an unmanageable task. To start, Christina Galbornetti of Target Marketing magazine suggests aiming for a template that measures between 450 to 500 pixels in width to help keep size concerns to a minimum if you want to target both desktop and mobile viewers. If you’re willing to incorporate two different templates – which is recommended as part of your audience segmentation – consider having one template designed for desktop viewers that sits at the slightly higher end of this spectrum and one on the lower side for mobile viewers.

When it comes to images, Galbornetti goes on to point out that adding these data intensive object for no better reason than to create a flashy message is a bad idea. There’s nothing wrong with imagery in emails, just don’t go overboard. For those graphics you do use, try to limit each image to a size of 20 KB or less. This way, you can avoid the harsh penalty imposed by certain spam filters.

Finally, the Content Marketing Institute’s Jenny DeGraff makes a strong point regarding the role of layouts and calls-to-action (CTAs) in the size debate. Basically, if you can stick to a single column approach, especially on the mobile front, as well as keep your CTAs in an easily visible spot at the top of the message, you’ll put your brand in a good position to blend these two opposing concerns and keep the most important content held within in the limelight while still being cognizant of size concerns. From here, all that’s left to do is watch your deliverability rates go up as the competition still struggles with oversized emails and spam filter problems.

 

Email-Marketing-Tips

For all of the personal trainers, plumbers, or freelance IT gurus out there, making a name for yourself seems like a hopeless proposition at times. After all, there’s a plethora of options consumers can choose from, in addition to your brand’s need to hone in on local demographics. However, just because you have your sights set on a different target audience than all of the major global brands that utilize email marketing successfully doesn’t mean that you also can’t put this powerful process to use. To help your service-based business get the most out of email marketing, here’s five smart tips that will have you sailing past the competition in the inbox in no time.

Focus on Yourself

The best place to start when forging ahead with email content is yourself. As narcissistic as this tip might sound, Kim T. Gordon of Entrepreneur magazine explains that one of the most important selling points when offering a service is letting the customer learn a little more about you. Whether it’s providing these individuals with a look into your quality control steps, or focusing on your experience in the industry, mixing in this kind of content into your welcome and marketing messages goes a long way toward maximizing the comfort of your potential customers.

Cross Promote Your Other Content

In keeping with this theme, Gordon goes on to point out that promoting your other content in the inbox continues what you’ve already started in terms of trust building among your audience. “How-to” videos on your YouTube channel, social media Q&A sessions, and old-fashioned blog posts all fit this billing and ensure that you establish yourself as a trusted and reputable source for information and services. The best part about this approach? Taking the time to mix in your other content and outreach programs expands your inbox offerings and helps avoid stagnant or repetitive marketed messages.

Go Beyond Splash Offers

Of course, sometimes simply building in additional content to your offers just isn’t enough. For service-based individuals, a lasting and deep bond in the inbox means repeat customers. To achieve this continued relationship, it’s time to go above and beyond in terms of your emails that don’t contain offers or discounts. Well wishes for upcoming holidays, birthday e-cards, and any other personal moment you can hone in on is a great way to show that you care about more than just the next sale. In ultra-competitive industries, the goodwill built in this manner can be worth far more than its weight in gold.

Incorporate Brand Reviews from Peer-Oriented Sites

As important as it is to tout your skills and services, Jeff Sexton of Web Marketing Today explains that in many cases, you’re better off letting someone else speak on your behalf. Sometimes this means adding in links to your brand pages on Yelp, Angie’s List, and other local peer sites and letting your inbox viewers do a little digging before committing to the deals and discounts offered within your marketed messages. However, if you can utilize reviews and testimonials from satisfied customers and users of these sites, you’ll have a powerful asset on your side as you connect with wary and speculative customers still sitting on the fence.

If you really want to get creative with peer-oriented review content, Sexton goes on to suggest utilizing product reviews covering your tools from Amazon and other online retailers. By doing this, you’ll be able to erase any doubts your customers might have about low quality or insufficient materials on the job.

Make the Most of Visual First Impressions

Finally, Sexton recommends that you take some pride in the visuals that go with your marketing pitch – in the inbox and anywhere else online. You only get one chance to make a stellar first impression, so why not get the most out of this process with aesthetically pleasing templates and graphics? Sure, at the end of the day you need to impart value and a certain level of confidence to the customers considering your services, but it’s hard to expect them to read beyond the break if your email comes off as rudimentary or disorganized. With this tip in hand, as well as the rest of what you’ve learned, you’ll be well on your way to serving new customers in your area in no time.

 

 

Getting-to-the-root-of-ineffective-marketed-email

If there’s one thing most businesses can’t stand, it’s investing in something that should be a major hit with consumers, but only ends up fizzling out or falling flat on its face. Unfortunately, email marketing campaigns aren’t exempt from this reality. The truth of the matter is that just because connecting with consumers via the inbox can be the most powerful tool in your digital marketing arsenal, doesn’t always mean it’s a slam dunk. To help get things back on track, let’s diagnosis the different ailments found in many ineffective marketed emails. From here, you’ll have everything you need to install a successful and productive campaign that will have your target customers eagerly waiting for more.

Failing to Understand the Customer Lifecycle

The first place to start dissecting your email content comes in the form of gauging your understanding of the role of these marketed messages within the consumer lifecycle. As the experts at the London School of Marketing explain, everything from the inviting welcome email sent out to new subscribers to the “final chance” outreach fired off to long dormant contact list members, has a spot in your planning process. Without the ability to think several steps ahead and tie your content together across these various stages, it’s hard not to have a message that comes off as incomplete or flat out disjointed.

Lacking an Understanding of the Customer-Business Relationship

Similarly, having an understanding of what’s expected between your brand and the consumers making up your contact list also matters when gauging the successes and failures of an inbox campaign. After all, as Karol Krol of Business 2 Community explains, an inability to comprehend the particulars of this relationship creates a gap between the message held within your emails and the person reading it at home or in the office that’s not easily overcome.

If you don’t want to ruin this relationship, Krol suggests stepping into the shoes of your consumers for a little bit and basing your creative development decisions off of this introspection. From keying in on seasonal events to simplifying the purchasing process once your viewers hit your landing pages, spending some time learning about the intricacies of the customer-business relationship via email marketing can go a long way toward regaining a successful campaign outlook.

Overcoming Technical Barriers

One you’re done tying up these conceptual loose ends, it’s time to shift your gaze toward the technical side of email marketing. In his look at the myriad technical difficulties afflicting modern email campaigns, Ian McGrath of iMedia Connection points out that sometimes these issues simply aren’t in your control. For instance, if you’re based out of a country that’s notorious for spam operations, it’s hard to avoid getting caught up in the wide-ranging nets cast by email service providers.

However, for the technical difficulties that do reside within your grasp, like shoddy templates and images that render incorrectly, there’s one surefire way to beat these problems for good – constant testing. It might not be the most exciting answer to this dilemma, but when facing down a campaign that’s sinking thanks to technical mishaps, it’s hard to deny the power of A/B testing. Naturally, you’ll spend a decent amount of time getting into the swing of things, but once you see the results of your hard work come to life in the form of technically sound and engaging emails, you’ll never question again that testing your content before it goes live is the right call.

Setting Appropriate Goals

Finally, it’s always important to set realistic goals when developing your email content and campaigns. Obviously, everyone wants to hit a home run in the inbox on their first try, but the reality of the situation is that starting off small and working your way up is often the best course of action for long term success. In his look at this method of cleaning up a flagging campaign, Ryan Pinkham, also of Business 2 Community, suggests honing in on a specific area and building off of these partitioned goals.

Whether it’s aiming for a raw increase in contact list numbers, or building a strategy that boosts conversions with your current audience, setting appropriate goals and being diligent when it comes to monitoring your successes and failures goes a long way toward righting the ship. When combined with the rest of what you’ve learned, there’s no doubt that this approach will help you get to the root of ineffective emails and lay a foundation on which you can build moving forward.

 

 

social-media-2015

2015 will be the year of social media. In fact, Jeremy Harris Lipschultz, a professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and contributor to The Huffington Post, suggests that nothing will influence online marketing operations more than how brands integrate these social platforms into the other facets of digital outreach. Considering that email marketing still stands supreme in terms of reach and conversion potential, it only makes sense to start with the bond between these two when building a plan that maximizes the gains of this rising social trend. To help get you up to speed and ready to reap the rewards of a more social 2015, here’s a few quick tips to strengthen the connection between this form of media and the content you ship off to customers.

Mixing Things up with Blasts and Shares

The first tip comes from Nicole Kroese of Business 2 Community and touches on the basic – but oft overlooked – practice of including social share links in your email marketing blasts and content. While it might seem like an obvious inclusion, plenty of brands fail to incorporate these simple buttons and hyperlinks into their content, which in turn results in missed opportunities for bolstering your social following while also enacting your standard email strategy.

If you’re shipping out webinars, white papers, or any other content that can go viral, you can help propel this content to viewership far outside of your established inbox audience by including a sweepstakes or giveaway promotion. People love the chance to win free stuff, so why not offer up something enticing in exchange for a like, share, or repost? This way, you’ll not only drum up some interest within your current community, but also enhance your ability to connect with viewers who might be unaware of your content and email subscription list.

Retarget Your “Cold Feet” Prospects

For brands willing to further entwine their email marketing operations with social media and digital marketing at large, Kroese goes on to suggest utilizing the powerful Facebook retargeted ad campaign tool when the time comes to attempt another conversion. By retargeting individuals that reached your landing pages after opening an email or social link but didn’t quite go all the way with a sale, you can advertise on the most relevant platform and keep your brand’s name in the discussion. There’s no guarantee that you’ll convert all of these shoppers who would otherwise slip through the cracks, but leveraging the power of social media and breathing new life into the deals and discounts found in your emails via a new medium is hard to pass up.

Make Unsubscribing a Positive

Not everyone stays subscribed to your email contact list, but that doesn’t mean you and these wayward viewers can’t stay in touch. As Pamella Neely of Web Marketing Today explains, just because someone doesn’t want to receive emails anymore, that doesn’t mean he or she is completely done with your brand. By adding in social like, follow, and favorite buttons on your unsubscribe confirmation page, you leave the door open for consumers that might just need a change of pace in terms of brand contact. Who knows? After enjoying your social content for a while, they might decide that it’s time for a change of heart and come back to the list. At the very least, you can keep your brand from completely being cut out of the picture.

Generate Web-Based Versions of Your Email Content

Similarly, building web-based versions of your email content is a great way to show these unsubscribed viewers what they are missing. Not only can your brand tweet, post, and share these deals and discounts as a way of promoting its email contact list and generating value, it also provides users with a way to share specific offerings with friends and family. In short, web-based clones of your email content extends the reach even farther of this already powerful tool.

Spotlight Exceptional Fans

Finally, any time you can add a little human element to your content, you’re doing something right. With this in mind, why not take the best posts, tweets, and other follower activity and add it into your email content? Having a “customer spotlight” section in your emails on a daily or periodic basis not only helps break up the “salesy” nature of many messages, it also gives people a chance to hear from their peers before accepting an offer. Combining this modern take on testimonials and other tips with your current content can help seal the deal and ensure you always extract the most value from email marketing and social media in 2015 and beyond.

© 2013 Elite Email Inc. Blog Admin