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quickideas

There’s nothing worse than sitting down and trying to put virtual pin to paper, only to wind up staring at a blank screen. Okay, so email marketing writer’s block isn’t on the same scale as the kind experienced by Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, or any other famous author, but it can still be devastating to the viability of your email marketing operations. To keep you on the right track, here’s a few quick ideas that can help get your creative email content back on schedule and landing in consumer inboxes in no time.

Rework Your Welcome Email

Considering that most of the people reading this aren’t sure where to take the content of their next marketing message, why not take a step back and retool your opening letter to new contact list members? Sure, it might not be the direction you thought this endeavor would go, but as Pamela Neely of Web Marketing Today explains, few items are as important as your welcome email.

Whether it’s a new template or an update on what these subscribers can expect, this quick detour can help you shift your focus toward a creative development that’s just as important. Not only does this method ensure you don’t waste your time sitting around waiting for inspiration to strike, it can also help give you a chance to formulate a new idea regarding the content for your current contact list members.

Hijack the News

If this approach doesn’t work, you can always aim at utilizing current events and stories relevant to your audience in your next email. Known as “newsjacking,” the Content Marketing Institute’s Britt Klontz points out that this process can be a little tricky. Essentially, your brand will need to move in real time and capture the fervor and excitement surrounding a developing story. Whether it’s simply linking back to a news sources and bringing the issue to the attention of your audience, or making the most out of this approach by offering exclusive industry-based insight along with the generic overview, being current and relevant is the main appeal of the newsjacking method as it pertains to inbox operations.

Do a “Best of” Edition

Another tactic that can help alleviate the burden of coming up with unique content – while still offering quality and value to the viewer – is a “best of” edition of your newsletter or other email content. As the name implies, you’ll want to dig deep and find the best tidbits and nuggets from your previous messages. Naturally, relying on this tactic too often can come off as a little repetitive, but when used in moderation, this tool can help keep established members interested while simultaneously helping to catch up the newer viewers on your contact list.

Try to Go Viral

For the trendier brands out there, maximizing the rapid-fire nature of social sharing and its connection to the inbox presents the unique opportunity to “go viral.” In her look at this process, Kristie Lorette of the Houston Chronicle notes that more members of your contact list are likely to click that share, like, or favorite button if you include coupons, videos, or even exclusive information or tips that won’t find anywhere else. Of course, going viral is usually easier said than done, but if you have a unique presentation or truly one-of-a-kind experience to tether to your content, the process becomes significantly easier to accomplish.

Say Thank You

Finally, if all else fails and you can’t come up with anything else worth saying to your dedicated inbox following, there’s nothing wrong with taking a few minutes to just say thank you. These individuals are the veritable lifeblood of your digital operations, so making sure they know exactly how important they are to your organization is never a bad idea.

In fact, if you really want to go above and beyond on this front, keying in on contact list member birthdays, subscriber anniversaries, and other momentous occasions can help further endear your brand to your loyal following. Obviously, gathering this information and developing an automated system will require a little bit of extra work, but it can not only help fill in the gaps during email content locals, it can also earn your organization some serious goodwill – something that’s not easy to come by with most audiences.

Hopefully after browsing over these ideas, you’ll find exactly what you need to get back on track with your content development. At the very least, you’ll walk away from your computer with a stable of ideas that can serve you well the next time you’re feeling stuck and unsure of what to say to your email following.

 

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.

 

supercharge

It’s one thing to build a contact list full of eager and excited customers, but maintaining and growing this list is any entirely different matter altogether. It might seem like a fairly innocuous statement at first glance, but for most brands it represents a problem that is both hard to handle and harder still to solve. With this in mind, let’s spend a few minutes digging into how loyalty programs – and the rewards held within these strategies – can help keep your contact list engaged and ensure customers are always ready to open your next great email.

The Basic Concept

If you’re currently just dipping your toes into the world of email marketing, it’s probably a good idea to start with a quick overview of how a loyalty program works. Essentially, this type of strategy offers some sort of incentive – a reward – to customers that either stick around as part of your list, participate in a certain campaign, or even go so far as to spread the word about your email content to friends, family members, and other interested parties. It definitely sounds simple right now, but you’ll soon see that pulling off this approach requires quite a bit of planning and strategy.

Understanding the Need for Loyalty Programs

Of course, there’s always the chance that if you’re doing okay now, why rock the boat, right? While good enough might get you by for some time, the truth of the matter is that customers want more from brands in terms of content and value than ever before. In fact, The Huffington Post’s Seamus Egan goes so far as to say that these loyalty programs have never been more integral to the success of brands in the inbox as they are right now.

Basically, loyalty programs divide companies like your own into two categories in the eyes of consumers – those that succeed, and those that either fail or simply don’t try to make a lasting impression. On the positive side of this spectrum are brands like Starbucks, which racked up a 26 percent increase in profit and 11 percent jump in total revenue thanks to a smart and well-planned approach, according to Egan’s review of email-based reward systems. For the 20 percent of business that don’t have loyalty programs in place, or the 62 percent that believe this practice is just too hard to pull off correctly considering their current circumstances, the outlook isn’t as bright and sunny as the one viewed by companies like Starbucks.

Making Sure You Have Your Facts Straight

If you’re not interested in being on the wrong side of the debate, ClickZ’s Tia Matsumoto suggests that you better get your facts straight before you go charging off into the inbox. From understanding the makeup of your contact list audience in terms of attributes and demographics to testing different content and incentives, there’s plenty of variables to master before you release your offerings to the public.

Specifically, Matsumoto goes on to point out the need for constant interaction and engagement as part of the core of this program. As Matsumoto explains, the number of loyalty programs initiated in the last several years is on the rise, but consumer engagement and retention have fallen significantly thanks to shortsightedness on both the content creation and data collection fronts.

Finding the Right Plan of Attack

Once you have your facts in order and you’re confident you know enough about your audience to build a loyalty or reward system based around the inbox, what’s next? As Courtney Eckerle of Marketing Sherpa points out, moving forward is all about differentiating your brand. For instance, Eckerle reports that Sony’s try at an email-based rewards program netted an astounding 300 percent increase in conversions, all thanks to a fairly novel approach – letting the customer spread the word on behalf of their brand.

By offering sizable rewards that ranged from $100 to $250 per new recruit to the dual email marketing/credit card campaign, Sony captured a huge segment of viewers that would otherwise have never heard about this media giant’s inbox offerings. Naturally, your business might not be able to operate on the same scale or offer the same rewards, but the point remains the same. Email marketing is all about value, so your rewards better keep up with this concept if you want to keep your audience interested.

Whether you offer coupons to loyal readers or swing for the fences like Sony, with this info in hand you’ll be able to build a reward program that both engages and retains the attention of the people that matter most to your brand. For companies of all shapes and sizes that place a premium on the inbox, that’s a pretty hard scenario to top.

 

social_reach

Whether you’re knee deep in a successful email marketing campaign or just testing the waters of texting with customers, blending in a bit of social outreach isn’t just recommended, it’s getting pretty close to being mandatory these days. But what if you could have your target audience pitch in and help spread the word about your latest offerings and promotions? As crazy as this dream scenario might sound, the truth of the matter is that if you get your email, text, and other digital marketing content on the right track, expecting the people that like, follow, and interact with your brand to help increase your social reach isn’t out of the realm of possibility.

Images in the Inbox and Beyond

As Nicole Fallon of Business News Daily points out, getting your audience to react, respond, and share with their friends and family starts with eye-catching imagery. Naturally, graphic content has a place in plenty of email marketing programs, but if you really want to go above and beyond, consider developing these images with social sharing in mind.

From infographics to user-generated selections, images that either provide value or evoke a certain emotion ignite a special spark that rests inside each of these social butterflies. Once this desire has taken hold, it’s only a matter of time before the various networks and circles that connect these people to others online become a part of your growing brand audience via engaging, and shareable, imagery.

Make All of Your Content Shareable

Speaking of giving your audience a reason to share images, why not take the next step and make all of your content shareable? We’ve talked before about sharing your offers and discounts on Facebook, Twitter, and other networks as a way to grow your mailing list, but as Entrepreneur magazine’s Ann Handley explains, there’s something far more credible and compelling about making this experience a peer-to-peer affair.

If you’re just getting started on this front, adding social link plug-ins with simple reminder text, like “Click here to share this with your friends,” to your emails is a good start. For those looking for a slightly more advanced approach, consider turning related content, including white papers and presentations, into shareable selections or even rewards for those who participate in this new program. It might seem like a little extra work, but if you want your audience to help promote and enhance the reach of your brand’s message organically, it’s only fair you give them something worthwhile in return.

Understanding the Power of the Consumer Testimonial

Continuing on with the peer-to-peer theme is the concept that consumer testimonials can help enact this strategy as engaging and creative content. In his look at the usage of these user-based offerings, Paul Gustafson of the Content Marketing Institute notes that tethering a podcast to your email, SMS, or social content lets satisfied customers tell their stories in their own words. The best part about using this type of consumer content is that it not only helps keep your brand’s efforts from coming off as contrived, but these testimonials can serve as a major part of your content arsenal for as long as the relevant product or service stays in production.

Even if you don’t want to go down the podcast route, there’s still plenty of good tidbits and suggestions found within Gustafson’s article. First off, skip the sales pitch and focus on telling a story. Too many brands think of testimonials from the infomercial perspective, but the reality is that today’s content consumers would rather enjoy an honest and natural recollection that skips the fluff and speaks to them in a way that captures their attention.

Additionally, if you’re going to use a video or audio format for your testimonials, don’t skimp on the production values. Sure, your brand might not have the budget to turn this content into a major motion picture production before it hits the inbox and starts to spread among your audience, but using a scratchy mic or a low resolution camera is a quick way to invalidate and trivialize the message held within your testimonial.

Interact Across a Wide Variety of Platforms

Of course, the best way to turn your audience into a powerful marketing tool that operates on behalf of your brand independently is by going above and beyond in terms of interaction. This isn’t to say that putting your email or SMS content on the backburner is a good idea, but instead that taking every opportunity to connect on social sites, consumer review pages, and even in the comment section of your own blog posts can complement your operations and ensure that the people closest to your brand help spread the word to potential new customers across the web about your email, SMS, and social presence.

 

valentine_email

When it comes to romance and getting a little closer to that special someone in your life, few holidays even come close to comparing to Valentine’s Day. However, did you know that Valentine’s Day also accounts for $13 billion in retail and online sales every year? For this reason, Douglas Karr of the Marketing Technology Blog and plenty of other industry experts point out that if you’re brand isn’t also trying to cozy up customers in the big lead up to this holiday, it’s time to switch up your approach. With this in mind, let’s dig into a few tips and tricks that are sure to get your campaign ready for Valentine’s Day.

Create Content for Everyone

First up is the realization that Valentine’s Day isn’t just for couples. As Karr goes on to explain, over 60 percent of people plan to pick up holiday gifts for friends and family members as well. Adding in that 45 percent who also buy Valentine’s gifts for their pets, shows that there’s plenty of space for brands to build an email marketing campaign during this holiday, even if you’re not dealing in “romantic” products and services. Basically, as long as you have a great discount or offer to fire off – or even some informative or engaging content – there’s no reason not to connect with your contact list in the inbox when February 14th rolls around.

Timing Is Everything

As far as when you should send out your emails, The Huffington Post’s Gabriel Shaoolian points out that timing is everything, but it can be a little tricky. If you want to get the most out of your content, try and send out your emails a day or two before the big holiday. If you wait until Valentine’s Day itself, or you jump the gun and send out an email four or five days in advance, your brand will have a hard time maximizing the impact of this content. Additionally, offering up “last minute” delivery and purchase discounts can help impart a sense of urgency among your audience and help make timing an even bigger part of your campaign process.

Have a Little Fun with Templates and Designs

Outside of pinpointing the proper timing, Shaoolian also suggests that if you want to boost the return of your Valentine holiday marketing investment, don’t be afraid to get into the spirit of the season with festive templates and designs. From the traditional cherubs and hearts, to themed version of your branded images and logos, fixing up your inbox content with shades of pink, red, and white can really get your audience into the spirit of the season.

For those brands willing to go the extra mile, Valentine’s Day graphic content can also take on a decidedly interactive flair. Embedded games, animations, and personalized messages all fit this billing and ensure that your brand provides a unique and custom experience that sets your message apart from the rest of the fluff found in the inbox.

Pairing up with Other Brands

Valentine’s Day is all about enjoying relationships with others, so why not use this time to create unique deals with related products and service providers – or even “deal-of-the-day” outlets like Groupon? As Kay McFadden of Inc. magazine explains, this process not only helps connect your brand to the holiday if it’s not exactly oriented toward this seasonal event, but it can also set the stage for future advertising and promotional partnerships. The best part about this approach is that customers love value, so few things you can do are more effective at reaching this goal than giving these consumers combined options and increased discounts.

Share the Fun on Social Media

Finally, use this special time of the year to be a little more social with your audience. Building relationships with these shoppers from around your city, the country, and even the globe isn’t easy, but breaking the ice with a fun Valentine’s offer makes the process a little more palatable. Even if it’s something as simple as posting your email content for the week to Twitter, Facebook, or any other platform, showing that you’re willing to reach out on this special holiday is a great step forward in terms of brand awareness and social outreach.

Naturally, this is a lot to take in all at once, but with these tips guiding the way, there’s no doubt that you’ll be having a blast with everyone on your contact list and enjoying all that Valentine’s day has to offer in the inbox and beyond.

 

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.

 

Blizzardof2015

With over 50 million people feeling its frigid wrath, the #BlizzardOf2015, #Juno, and whatever other social media hashtag name you prefer was a major news story this past week – and that’s putting it mildly. However, the big story here isn’t the inclement winter weather – that’s nothing new here in the aptly named Great White North – but rather the effect this storm had on the world of email marketing. To take a look at just what was going on in the inbox while people across North America were snowed under, let’s dig into the particulars of a few of the more intriguing storylines that emerged from this wintry weather phenomenon.

Connecting Current Events with Your Brand

While most people probably aren’t looking forward to spending a few days bunkered down and waiting out a big storm, businesses in relevant industries saw this snowfall as the perfect opportunity to help position themselves as both current and relevant in the inbox. For instance, Sara Castellanos of the Boston Business Journal points out that the fashionable What to Wear email list saw a major jump in sign-ups during the storm.

Essentially, What to Wear offers apparel recommendations based on the subscriber’s location and forecast, so boosting outreach and capitalizing on the fervor surrounding the impending blizzard was the equivalent of an email marketing lay-up. Even if you’re not in a weather related field, the point here is still clear; being part of the discussion surrounding current events is a great way to stay in the limelight and connected with your targeted audience.

Monopolizing the Moment

Much like prepping for an upcoming event, making the most out of the moment in real-time can also lead to success. As Business 2 Community’s Katherine Boyarksy explains, there’s plenty to be gained by literally seizing the moment. Sure, firing off an email that’s not part of your scheduled run does add a bit of a time crunch on your end, but going above and beyond in this fashion speaks to your inbox customers in a major way.

From offering up free white papers and eBooks to read while being snowed in, to a flash sale on high heels to help pass the time, Boyarsky notes that quite a few players in their respective industries reaped the rewards that come with taking advantage of the moment. If you want to follow in the footsteps of these innovators, try to keep a keen eye on the latest headlines and constantly ask yourself, “would talking about this make a good email?”

Often the answer will be no, but for those special times when you find the right story, you’ll be ready to take charge with a strong content plan that’s sure to dazzle your customers in terms of timeliness and engagement.

Putting Segmentation to Good Use

Of course, all of this goes right out the window if you commit an inbox faux pas and email irrelevant content to a portion of your contact list. For this reason, the discussion inevitably turns back to data – particularly geographically relevant information. Many current events are localized, so ensuring that you don’t inundate your loyal constituency with content that’s meant for people on the other side of the country is not only recommended, it’s vital to the health of your email marketing operations. If you can’t stay on top of this part of the process, don’t be surprised when the feedback regarding your latest message makes your brand feel like it’s snowed under by a heavy downfall of negativity and ill will.

Having a Little Fun with the Social Craze

Finally, the last lesson learned from the #BlizzardOf2015, coming again from Boyarsky’s look into the subject, takes a look at the lighter side of this massive weather event – having a little fun on social media. By now it’s no secret that email marketing and social media go hand-in-hand, so why not boost the visibility of your contact list via some fun and engaging social outreach?

In the midst of this snowy downfall, Boyarsky notes that a wide variety of fun hashtags and posts made the most of this otherwise dreary situation. From one fashion companies clever play on words, “Juno what to do,” to posting relevant info in the #snomageddon2015 stream of tweets, the examples of smart social interplay between brands and consumers are both plenty – and entertaining.

So now that you’ve learned a little more about the email marketing craze surrounding the #BlizzardOf2015, it’s time to prepare your brand for the next major chance to score a current event victory with your audience. Whether it’s tomorrow or a month from now, you’ll be happy you were ready and willing to maximize this special time in the inbox and on social media.

 

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.

 

5_Quick_Tips_Google+

Social media and email marketing go together like peanut butter and jelly, Bonnie and Clyde, two peas in a pod, and virtually any other simile or metaphor you can come up with off the top of your head that relates to great pairs. It’s well-documented and far from earthshattering in terms of news potential, but there’s no way to skirt around the facts. However, what is a little surprising is the fact that Google’s favorite social project does fly under the radar a bit in terms of exposure – at least when compared to the amount of attention given to Twitter and Facebook. To help give your brand a competitive advantage over other organizations that are still fighting for dwindling share and reach on these other networks, let’s take a look at five quick tips that can help you become a big name on Google+.

Get Familiar with Gmail/Google+ Messages

One of the biggest things going for Google+ is the extended reach it offers for active members of the community. As Danny Sullivan of Marketing Land explains, Google+ users, including your brand, can send messages to anyone else on the network. While this message does show up in the social tab of the new Gmail interface, it provides an extra avenue for communication with individuals who might not be aware of your email offers and discounts. Adding that it helps promote your brand’s standing on this ever-growing network doesn’t hurt either.

Make the Most of the People Widget

After you start building up a list of followers on Google+, you’ll find that your posts start popping up in the people widget section of the Gmail interface. As Frederic Lardinois of TechCrunch points out, highlighting recent posts and comments in this portion of the inbox serves as additional marketing real estate for your brand. Essentially, if you plan out your social media content with this concept in mind, you can create a deeper and lasting bond with your contact list that blends Google+ posts and the deals and discounts held within your current email content seamlessly.

Keep an Eye on Influencers

Of course, sometimes people don’t want to experience a deluge of marketing offers when they open up their inbox in the morning. With this in mind, Forbes magazine’s Kate Harrison suggests keeping an eye on influencers and developing content and social outreach that leans heavily on these major industry voices.

The end game for this method is two-fold. First, simply watching for relevant or interesting posts and links from these individuals on Google+ helps improve the quality of your email content. Additionally, if you can leverage your emerging position on this network into a relationship with these influencers, then mentions, recommendations, and exclusive content that your competitors can only dream of could stand as a well-earned reward for your hard work.

Understand and Utilize Google+ Analytics

Harrison goes on to note that for brands looking at any form of online outreach, from email to social and other digital strategies, the audience analytics offered by this social network are second to none. For instance, the “post ripple” feature tracks virtually every facet of a given submission to the platform. From distribution channels to top influencer interaction and sharing velocity, taking note of how users interact with this content can help shape and mold your email message moving forward.

Think of it as an alternate form of A/B testing. If something ignites your social circles on Google+, chances are it has a home in your next marketed message. Similarly, if you have a recent offer in the inbox that is doing well, there’s no reason not to double up and hit your social audience for even more conversions and brand awareness.

Optimize Your Profile

Finally, it’s no big secret that Google is the biggest name in the search engine business, so it makes sense to optimize your profile and rank higher on relevant result pages. Filling out all relevant entries, keeping your profile content up to date, and using accurate imagery all help kick this process into high gear. If you want to go to the next level, Cindy King of Social Media Examiner recommends using your profile to claim authorship for any original works generated on behalf of your brand.

Even if it’s just a simple industry white paper or report, connecting your social presence to these high value pieces of content can help increase the reach of your online persona. This, in turn, should help funnel even more interested consumers into your contact list, which means all the world for brands that are serious about taking the inbox by storm.

© 2013 Elite Email Inc. Blog Admin