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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.

 

directvsemail

Letting go of the past is hard – especially when faced with leaving behind the allure of comfortable methods in exchange for the promise of potential. Sure it sounds a little melodramatic at first glance, but this statement sums up the struggle facing many brands that are still on the fence that stands between direct mail marketing and its modern successor, email marketing. To help you find the channel that’s right for your company moving forward, let’s take a look at both sides of the argument and see what each option has to offer.

The Case for Direct Mail Tactics

Considering that direct mail’s the elder of the two approaches, it seems only fitting to start the discussion with this avenue of interacting with your customers. In his look at the benefits of direct mail marketing, Craig Simpson of Entrepreneur magazine points to a variety attributes that support this process, including a more personalized feel to marketed messages that arrive via standard mail, as well as potentially increased levels of trust and familiarity garnered via this marketing tactic. Additionally, the notion that email inbox overload exists and can inhibit the practicality of email marketing is also used as means of promoting the viability of direct mail marketing.

Standing Behind the Power of Email Marketing

Naturally, we respectfully disagree with Mr. Simpson and the reasoning behind his claims regarding the effectiveness of direct mail marketing – as do other industry thought leaders and prominent voices that understand the true value of email marketing. To help differentiate email marketing and support the notion that this method for reaching out to customers stands above direct mail and other options, let’s turn to Megan Totka of Small Business Trends and her look at some indisputable facts.

First up, Totka notes that 72 percent of adults send and receive emails via smartphone at least weekly, speaking to both the penetration of email acceptance and the fact that on-the-go mobile usage is the biggest thing in the marketing world – and only getting bigger. In fact, 68 percent of consumers name email as the preferred channel for receiving commercial messages.

If that’s not enough, Totka wraps up her research with two astounding facts regarding consumer activity in the inbox. In terms of conversions, 81 percent of online shoppers are more likely to make both digital and in-store purchases due to the impact generated by marketed emails. Finally, about one in five consumers read every email that makes its way into the inbox; primarily due to the desire to receive exclusive offers and content.

Of course, to reach these astounding performance plateaus, you’ll need to be at the top of your game. From streamlining the process via automation, to developing high quality content that responds to mobile platforms, the reality of the situation is that the inbox is a competitive arena, so making the most of your opportunities isn’t only a good idea, it’s essential to the lasting success of your brand in the digital world.

Which One’s Right for Your Brand?

So with all of that being said, it’s time to put the brakes on any other form of advertising and shift your entire budget toward email marketing, right? As great as that sounds to proponents of the email marketing world, the fact of the matter is that at the end of the day, no two audiences are the same, so there is a small chance that some alternative method – like direct mail – ends up as the proper answer.

Despite these unusual outliers, which stand few and far between in the global marketplace, the fact remains that few tools even come close to mirroring the power and reach generated by email marketing in the vast majority of instances. As Armando Roggio of the Practical Ecommerce blog suggests, it doesn’t matter what other strategies you employ – from direct mail marketing to putting up fliers in your local neighborhood – if you’re not trying to connect with these shoppers in the inbox, you’re probably losing out on a major chunk of sales.

In fact, Roggio puts the potential return on investment (ROI) via email marketing at $43 for every dollar spent, according to the Direct Marketing Association’s Statistical Face Book. Needless to say, you’ll be hard pressed to find this kind of ROI from virtually any other form of consumer outreach. At the end of the day, the choice to select one path over the other still rests on your shoulders, but hopefully with this information guiding the way, the discussion that leads to an appropriate marketing channel for your brand becomes a little clearer.

 

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.

 

quits_on_facebook

As far as social media goes, it’s hard to top the raw reach and power offered by Facebook. Sure, it might not have a complete monopoly on the market, but this platform still stands as the top dog when it comes to using social networks to generate consumer outreach. Of course, having everyone vying for the same spotlight can make it pretty hard to get noticed as you try and build a following. If you’re about ready to give up hope and call it quits with Facebook, take a few minutes to read over these quick tips and tricks that could help you get back on track for converting your social presence on this front into increased email contact list membership.

The Too Little/Too Much Dilemma

The first place to look if you’re struggling to make a dent in your target audience is how often you post on this network. As Jesse Aaron of Business 2 Community explains, regardless of whether you’re trying to promote your email content or just gain a few more likes, committing to posting too often or not enough can end your chances of making a splash before you even log in to your account.

Unfortunately, when it comes to frequency, there is no magic number to aim for as you map out your social schedule. Generally, you’ll need to gauge the feedback from your audience and key in on high traffic and activity times – a little more on this later – as well as watch for opportunities to stay relevant and current with breaking stories. Social media is all about having your voice heard, so slipping in some non-promotional posts and offering insight or reactions to trending topics can help you break down the frequency barrier and keep your audience interested.

Make Use of Facebook Analytics and Data

Speaking of your audience, Aaron goes on to point out that there’s no reason not to know quite a bit about these people, considering the ample suite of data and analytics tools built into the Facebook platform. Not only can this information help you decide when and what to post, but it also has the ability to help splash a little insight into your email marketing operations and message content. Naturally, there’s not always this kind of room for crossover, but as you learn more about your Facebook audience and find this potential overlap, you’ll see that this type of efficiency offers quite a bit of incentive to keep pushing forward with both your social and inbox operations.

Take Creativity to a New Level

In terms of your actual Facebook posts and shares, AdWeek’s David Cohen recommends that you let your creative side off of its leash and have a little fun. Holiday themed offerings, “behind the scenes” insight into how your company works during daily tasks or special events, and even sharing the occasional meme or funny picture, fits the bill. People come to Facebook to let off a little steam and enjoy some digital rest and relaxation, so try and be the fun brand from time to time. If you can do this, you’ll find there’s plenty of opportunities later on to provide a quick glimpse into what’s going on in the inbox.

Ask Questions

As you probably know by now, faking or manufacturing interaction with your audience isn’t just a tough task – it’s virtually impossible. If you want to try your hand at some authentic back and forth, Victor Luckerson of Time magazine has a surprisingly simple, and effective, suggestion; ask a question.

Simply skipping the “statement” posts and requesting a response from your audience in the form of a thought-provoking or intriguing question can help get your brand name trending. The best part is that as followers respond, you’ll have the perfect opportunity to engage each person and present an active persona on behalf of your organization.

Don’t Be Afraid to Give Your Brand a Little Boost

Of course, sometimes doing your best just isn’t enough to get over the hump in this highly competitive social arena. For this reason, Luckerson goes on to point out that there’s nothing wrong with picking up some targeted ads or even cross-promoting with already established entities. Both of these methods might force you to readjust your company’s marketing budget, but the return in brand awareness – and eventually email list gains – should make this investment more than worthwhile. Once you’re on the map, putting the rest of these tips to good use, and spreading the word about your email content, should become a decidedly easier affair.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

ABCs_of_Email_Marketing

When it comes to looking back on your time in school, everything you’ve learned points back to one specific lesson – getting to know your ABCs. Sure, this might sound like an understatement or generalization, but it’s the truth; without these building blocks serving as the foundation of the educational process, how could you ever delve into history, literature, or even mathematics?

With this “building from the ground up” approach guiding the discussion, let’s dig into the ABCs of email marketing, as described by Daniel Faggella of Marketing Land. This way, much like the transition from earlier schooling to advanced studies in high school and college, you’ll have all the tools you need to growth and enhance your brand’s appeal in the inbox.

The Basics Concept Behind This Approach

So what exactly are the “ABCs of email marketing?” As Faggella explains, the “A” stands for aggregating your lists, while building on this overarching list and finding consistency in your inbox represents “B” and “C,” respectively. Essentially, the idea set forth here is that if you can hone in on these three facets of the process, you’ll have no problems enacting more in-depth strategies and methods. Additionally, simply ensuring your brand doesn’t succumb to the pitfalls associated with poor implementation also has a role in learning what goes into these ABCs.

Harnessing the Power of List Aggregation

Now that we’ve taken a look at the big picture, it’s time to zoom in each of the pillars of this approach, starting with list aggregation. In this scenario, properly aggregating your brand’s lists begins with viewing each of your addresses or contacts as a specific resource that can be broken up into nuggets of information and identifiers. Whether it’s geological data or personal information related to the consumer or the organization on the other site of the screen, having this content in hand can help you sub-segment your list and develop emails that lean heavily on optimized messages and lead generation.

While all that sounds great, it doesn’t explain the best way to aggregate and segment your existing contacts. If you’re looking for a few tips on how to get to this point, Sujan Patel of Search Engine Journal offers up some insight regarding segmentation and aggregation.

First off, compile your assorted lists and let this database serve as the starting point. From here, breaking up your list into popular segments – like customers who have or have not previously made a purchase – can help tell the story of your contacts. Naturally, the more you split and categorize these customers and followers, the more refined and detailed your aggregation and segmentation process will become.

Taking a Step Forward with List Building

Once you have a system in place, Fagella’s next portion of the email marketing alphabet, “B,” is all about building your list up. While this sounds like something that seems fairly straightforward, there’s one underlying truth that makes this process anything but easy – virtually every brand knows how important it is to be king of the email marketing hill. If you want to stand out from the competition, you’ll need to go above and beyond in terms of list building.

According to A.J. Kumar of Entrepreneur magazine, the best way to go about list building is by attacking this endeavor from a variety of angles. Whether you’re generating an opt-in page on your branded site or Facebook page, or making the request for email contact info an integral part of your checkout process, politely requesting access to the inbox early, and often, is the best way to cast a wide net and create a list that’s sure to power your operations moving forward.

Finding Consistency in All Phases of Your Email Marketing

Finally, consistency in all phases of your email marketing operation wraps up this fundamental, yet in-depth, approach to going about an email marketing campaign the right way. Email marketing isn’t just about what you send to the  customers inbox, so be prepared to take an all-encompassing approach that dips into the rest of your digital marketing efforts. Slipping in opt-in requests in guest posts on other industry sites, networking and building mentions or recommendations on social media, and simply pushing email marketing to the forefront of your operations online is the best way to extract the most value out of this process and promote consistency. Considering that connecting with customers in the inbox shows no signs of slowing down as the most powerful form of digital outreach, chances are you won’t find a better way to spend your time, effort, and web-based marketing budget.

© 2013 Elite Email Inc. Blog Admin