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

Tether Deals and Offers to Your Social Pages

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

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

Signing Up Via Social Media

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

Promote Your Next Campaign on Relevant Networks

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

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

Reward Your Loyal Followers

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

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

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

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

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

Sanitize Your Lists

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

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

Consider IP Bonding

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

Think Long-term about Content

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

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

Conduct an Email “Test Run”

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

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

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

A Little Background Before the SMS Run

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

Breaking down the SMS Process

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

Hitting the SMS Jackpot

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

Rolling the Dice for Your Brand

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

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

Belterra

 

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

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

What Is the Halo Effect?

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

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

Understanding Its Role In the World of Email Marketing

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

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

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

Building Around this Effect

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

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

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

Learn More about Your Particular Audience

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

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

Consolidate Your Data Systems

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

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

Keep Registration Flexible

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

Constantly Test and Evaluate Your Results

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

Leave Your Fear of Change Behind

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

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

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The impact of mobile marketing can’t be overstated. According to IDC, more people in the U.S. will access the Internet through a mobile device than through their PC by 2015. In this new series, Elite Email takes a look at highly successful campaigns to uncover their mobile marketing lessons. This week’s case study: How blending SMS and social media together put Skinny Water’s text campaign over the top with Walgreens customers.

If you’re a regular reader of this case study series, you know that social media and texting customers are a match made in Heaven. However, few brands have utilized this connection quite like premium beverage manufacturer Skinny Water. Instead of just following the routine path and appreciating the standard results, this retailer went above and beyond with a comprehensive approach that made the most out of a variety of powerful marketing tools. To learn a little more about this campaign, and what it could mean for your brand’s next text messaging initiative, let’s spend a few minutes covering the particulars of this stellar example of potent SMS and social tactics.

Understanding the Purpose of the Process

At the heart of this campaign was Skinny Water’s desire to revitalize a flagging social audience. While this might seem like a job for the team in charge of managing the brand’s Twitter, Facebook, and other network pages, the people running the show at this premier bottled beverage producer understood that if you really want to make a splash with consumers, you need to connect with them where it matters most – their phones. With this concept propelling the campaign forward, Skinny Water would refine the process even more by incorporating some creative SMS awareness strategies.

Building the Perfect Plan

Instead of just making a few posts on Facebook and hoping for a positive response, this brand decided to take a very proactive, and specialized approach to the problem. By refining the targeted audience to women shoppers that frequented the drug store Walgreens, between the ages of 18 and 45, Skinny Water had a narrow and focused demographic in its sights. Once the people in charge of this marketing operation had this detail hammered out, it was time to figure out how to connect with these female shoppers in a meaningful and productive manner.

To accomplish this task, Skinny Water set up “shelf talkers” in participating Walgreens stores in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area. As part of the interactive display, customers received a call-to-action (CTA) imploring them to text in the keyword “BEATS,” or scan the QR Code displayed on the talker. In return for this action, these participating shoppers would have a chance at winning several valuable prizes, including Beats by Dr. Dre headphones and $100 Walgreens gift cards. From here, the next step of the SMS plan directed the audience to connect with the brand on Facebook by liking the official page and sharing the details for the contest with friends and family members.

An Overwhelmingly Social Response

As you can see, Skinny Water wasn’t afraid to lay it all on the table by incorporating complementary marketing tools and lavish giveaways as part of its process. In return, the brand received an amazing amount of involvement and visibility in the Philadelphia area. After the one-month campaign wrapped up, Skinny Water reported more than 2,100 sweepstakes entries. This kind of response by itself would make plenty of mobile marketers jump with joy.

However, the numbers supporting the real focus of this program, expanding the brand’s reach on Facebook, were even more impressive. In total, Skinny Water acquired 1,300 new fans to its official Facebook page, providing them with an immediate boost to its network, in addition to access to an even greater range of customers via likes, shares, and comments from these participating individuals.

Finding the Right Balance for Your Brand

Naturally, not every brand will operate a mobile marketing operation just like Skinny Water, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything companies like your own can pull from this case study. For starters, these beverage retailers showed that there’s plenty of overlap between the social media and SMS industries. For brands willing to work toward forging a connection between these realms, the payoff is definitely significant. From here, getting creative with consumer interaction, via QR codes, shelf talkers, and traditional text communications provides increased opportunities for customers to join in on the fun.

Finally, the biggest tip you can take from Skinny Water’s campaign is that, regardless of the marketing platform, fans respond to valuable giveaways and other incentives. If you can make the interaction worth their time, either via prizes or useful coupons and discounts related to your products, don’t be surprised when these consumers turn out in droves to participate in your next great SMS campaign.

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For most email marketing practitioners, it’s all about staying hip and current with your inbox content. Tips on being conversational, relevant, and engaging have flooded the web, leading plenty of brands to fire off messages that look more like emails between old friends and less like marketing offerings. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, that doesn’t mean it’s always the right way to approach email marketing and brand outreach. With a growing push for more official, professionally composed newsletters gaining steam in the industry, now might be the time for your company to switch up its style and partake in a little brand journalism the next time you fire off a marketed message to your audience.

The Current Case for Newsletters

So why exactly are branded newsletters back on the upswing? According to Klint Finley of TechCrunch, you can thank the rise of celebrity bloggers for this renewed interest in more structured email content. By making this content exclusive to the email audience, these digital thought leaders and personalities have drummed up some serious hype for the format. Essentially, it’s the tried and true method of taking something popular, in this case pop culture or industry oriented content, and telling people the only way to indulge in it is by signing up for the “secret club” – in this case the email contact list.

The Benefit of This Approach

Even if your brand isn’t generating the same traffic as the biggest blogging names on the web, that doesn’t mean you can’t ride this wave of excitement as well. Finley goes on in his report on newsletters to note that for those able to pull off a successful email newsletter, there’s plenty to look forward to. First up is the increased control in the content dissemination process. Instead of saving your best copy for the company blog and hoping it makes its way around the web, brands that have a killer newsletter can leverage the most influential platform – the inbox – to spread the word on these top tier offerings.

Additionally, there’s the simple fact that readers pay more attention to what’s going with their emails. We could bore you with a mountain of stats regarding the power of this channel, but Finley’s discussion regarding author Warren Ellis’ contact list provides a much more personal example. Essentially, for each newsletter Ellis sends out, he averages around 5,000 opens. When you consider that his total contact list sits at 6,865, that number really starts to carry some weight. To put it simply, newsletters are in a great position to take advantage of the demand for more detailed content.

Everything You Need to Make a Successful Newsletter

So now that you’ve heard the case for trying out newsletters, it’s time to talk about what goes into an optimized take on this content. To start off, Forbes Magazine’s Kate Kiefer Lee suggests spending some time working on your brand message. It’s definitely not the flashiest part of the process, but if your newsletters come out as disjointed sections with random facts inserted at varying intervals, you’ll be wishing you took the time to hammer out a clear, distinct theme to your content.

Once you have your brand message in order, Lee goes on to point out that the best newsletters are “scannable.” Naturally, not all of the content you offer is relevant to every single reader, so breaking it up into easily digestible, but related and interwoven, sections is a great way to offer an attractive experience for your audience.

The next step, according to Summer Luu of Business 2 Community, is all about timing. Even the best newsletters in the world don’t stand much of a chance if you’re firing them off during odd hours or lulls in audience activity. While it might seem easy to just fit these emails into your schedule and call it good, you’re much better off devoting some time to researching the peak hours and behavioral habits of your audience. This way, your approach can focus more on the data supporting appropriate timing, and less on convenience and the path of least resistance.

Finally, Luu offers up the last key piece to a great newsletter – attention to detail. Whether it’s proofreading or double-checking linked materials, anything you can do to put a little polish on your content goes a long way to making a splash with discerning readers. With so many great options flooding consumer inboxes these days, even the smallest upgrades that come from focusing on the little things could mean the difference between revolutionizing how you interact with your audience and watching the competition steal your thunder with higher quality content.

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Some things are just destined to be together. If you’re in the business of connecting with customers via email marketing, you know that this practice, when paired with social media, is right up there with mustard and ketchup, Abbott and Costello, and all the other great tandems found throughout history. To make this bond even stronger, here are some creative and effective ways to build a better relationship between your marketed messages and the social outreach that compliments these offerings.

Don’t Forget the Social Buttons

One of the easiest ways to fortify this connection is by giving your readers a chance to share the great deals found within your emails. As DJ Waldow of Social Media Examiner notes in his piece on the subject, simply dropping in a button for Twitter, Facebook, or any other relevant network into your messages is a powerful strategy that provides new reach to your deals and promos. With each share, like, favorite, and retweet, your email ends up in front of an entirely new audience. Incentivizing this social promotion with additional discounts and offers gives your audience even more reason to let their friends and family members in on your latest message.

Generate Social Opt-ins

Waldow goes on to point out that your social media accounts hold an untapped reservoir of new contact list members. Unfortunately, these ready and willing consumers simply don’t have an easy way to get in touch with your brand’s email marketing campaign. To put an end to this unfortunate circumstance, use Facebook’s built-in sign-up feature to generate an opt-in page. This way, as word spreads about your campaign and all the great savings that end up directly in shoppers’ inboxes, these social networkers will have easy access to your next round of emails and you’ll have a whole new set of members to add to your brand contact list.

Run a Social Tie-in Contest

Regardless of the medium, there’s one universal truth in the marketing world; customers love giveaways. For this very reason, social media expert Jeff Bulas suggests on his personal blog that brands looking to build better harmony between email and social marketing should operate a sweepstakes via these networks. The benefits of running this type of outreach program are numerous.

First, you’ll generate a major boost in your social network activity, which is never a bad thing. From here, expect to see your opt-in rates go up as word spreads to every corner of the web about the free stuff your brand is handing out. Naturally, you’ll need to offer a prize that’s worth the time and effort put forth by these customers when they sign up, but that’s the easy part. One look at your contact list after the fact will give you all the motivation you need to really knock their socks off with an amazing giveaway.

Put a Social Spin on Your Subject Lines

It’s amazing what a great subject line can do for your email marketing campaign. Obviously, we’ve talked about optimizing these headers at great length, but when it comes to integrating your social strategy, there’s still a few thoughts to cover. Amy Birch of Social Media Today helps get the discussion rolling by covering this very concept in her article detailing great integration examples.

In her piece, Birch notes that fashion retailer New Look pushed customer responsiveness through the roof by using the simple headline, “Are You a Social Butterfly?” With this simple, straightforward, and incredibly powerful headline guiding the way, New Look was able to let contact list members know right away that this brand’s message was all about looking good in person, as well as on social media. Even if you’re not in the fashion business, a smart headline oriented toward social media can really help your brand strut its stuff.

Know Which Platforms Matter Most

The final tip for complimenting your email strategy with powerful social media tactics comes from Pamella Neely of Web Marketing Today. Neely explains that to really build a dedicated following that boosts inbox open rates and shares, you need to know which platforms matter most to your audience. While some brands might say Facebook and Twitter are just fine and go from there, if you really want to make a splash, this path of least resistance simply isn’t good enough. With Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+ all pulling plenty of subscribers, harnessing the power of all the options placed before your brand can really set it apart from the competition. If your organization can put this tip with the rest of what you’ve learned in this post, there’s nothing stopping your next email marketing campaign from reaching new heights, all thanks to a little help from the world of social media.

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The impact of mobile marketing can’t be overstated. According to IDC, more people in the U.S. will access the Internet through a mobile device than through their PC by 2015. In this new series, Elite Email takes a look at highly successful campaigns to uncover their mobile marketing lessons. This week’s case study: How the perfect SMS lineup brought a local sports television show a major boost in viewership and customer interaction.

Who says that only the biggest brands can get in on the power of SMS marketing? As Kentucky Sports Television (KSTV) showed with a three-week mobile marketing campaign, sometimes it’s not about the size of the marketing bat you bring to the game, but how you swing it. To learn more about KSTV’s successful sports-oriented text initiative, let’s spend a few minutes breaking down the show’s strategy and what it might mean for your organization moving forward.

Honing In on the Right Audience

For KSTV, the whole point of reaching out to customers via mobile messages was to boost the interaction between the community and this sports talk show. Naturally, the people pulling the strings of this campaign knew that not everyone would be interested in learning more about the sports-related content of this program. Instead of wasting time appealing to the masses, KSTV honed in a very specific target audience – men, aged 18 to 45, in the Louisville, Kentucky area. By keeping the focus on this group, KSTV could begin to mold the perfect plan to increase interaction from this demographic.

Enacting a Powerful Game Plan

Once the sports program had its sights set on this group, it needed to hammer out its mobile marketing game plan. With this in mind, KSTV set out to create “The Ultimate Tailgating Experience.” At the heart of this concept was enticing these men to sign-up for the mobile contact list in exchange for a chance to win a plethora of goodies. Included in this prize package was a $150 gift card to the Kroger grocery store, a case of Rootie’s BBQ sauce, an event tent, a grill, and a wide selection of sports memorabilia. In short, everything a sports fanatic would need to enjoy tailgating before a major sports event.

To add a little icing on the cake, KSTV provided extra opportunities to win the event for those willing to opt-in to its mobile marketing contact list more than once. In total, 10 additional shots at the grand prize were up for grabs for the fans willing to “double opt-in.” If you’re unfamiliar with this process, it’s a method usually used to confirm a contact list membership request or as a gateway that unlocks premium services and features – in this case, extra chances to win.

The Final Score

After an exciting three weeks, KSTV was ready to crown a winner. Of course, the winner we’re talking about isn’t the guy that won the tailgating goodies, but rather the sports television program itself. For all of its hard work, KSTV received the greatest prize any brand utilizing SMS marketing could ask for – a massive jump in visibility and consumer interaction.

With several thousand local sports fans participating in the event, KSTV was already on the path to notching a mark in the win column. However, the simple fact that over 54 percent of the respondents agreed to future communications helped lay the foundation for a responsive and connected mobile community. Additionally, KSTV sifted through the data in the weeks following the sweepstakes to learn more about its target demographic. This information would prove valuable in future SMS campaigns and other outreach programs enacted by KSTV.

Maximizing Your Time at the SMS Plate

So now that the clock has reached zero on KSTV’s outstanding SMS campaign, it’s time to figure out what your brand can take from this case study and put to good use the next time it sets into the mobile marketing arena. First up, if you’re going to offer a prize package or sweepstakes, you better make it worth your audience’s time. To make this a little easier, follow in KSTV’s footsteps and spend some time learning a little more about your target demographic. This way, you know exactly what strikes their fancy when it’s time to promote the big event. Additionally, getting creative with your consumer interaction, like double opt-ins and extra sweepstakes entries, helps strengthen the bond between you and your audience. With these lessons learned from KSTV’s campaign, you’ll have everything you need to knock one out of the park the next time you step up to bat with your mobile customers.

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In a perfect digital world, once a consumer clicks on your subscribe button, he or she will always be ready and willing to check out your latest messages. Unfortunately, this dream scenario is far from reality. Sometimes, subscribers grow weary of your marketed emails and simply stop paying attention. To keep your target audience from hitting the snooze button any longer when it comes to your email marketing tactics, here are five strategies that will not only wake up a dormant contact list, but also revitalize your entire inbox approach.

Bringing Your Messages Into Real-time

One of the most exciting new takes on email marketing comes in the form of real-time interaction, according to Liz Rowley of Ad Exchanger. In her look at the programmatic side of email advertising, Rowley notes that some brands are using geo-location services to reconnect with disinterested contact list members.

Essentially, this process uses the viewer’s proximity to your store or shop as a trigger for custom email content. If the consumer passes within the location threshold, they’ll receive an exclusive offer or friendly reminder to stop by and see your latest offerings. When it comes to catching the attention of a wayward shopper, few strategies are as exciting or innovative as real-time outreach.

Offer Them a Chance to Unsubscribe

Yes, you read that subhead correctly. While offering your dormant contact list members a chance to unsubscribe seems counterintuitive at best and damaging to your strategy at worst, it’s actually a smart way to reconnect with users or streamline your marketing initiative. As Carol Stott of Marketing Profs explains, leaving these disinterested subscribers unattended could eventually lead to an unnecessary spam report. For any brand that wants to stay on the right side of the leading email service providers, you simply can’t let this happen.

Instead, send them a friendly reminder letting them know that they’re still members of your contact list. This could convince them to re-engage your brand and start participating in your inbox offers. If they go the other way and unsubscribe, at least you’ll have a more accurate list of contacts and a reduced chance at dealing with the damage that comes from a mistaken spam report.

Try out a New Design

Sometimes, the biggest way to breathe new life into your email marketing is to do a little design house cleaning. Even if you’re old templates and color schemes work just fine, changing things up a bit can spice up consumers relationships that have fizzled, according to Ellen Valentine of Advertising Age. This approach doesn’t mean you have to rethink your entire marketing strategy, but rather repackage your current content into a new and exciting format.

While there’s no guarantee that this will bring distant users back into the fold, it can’t hurt to build a few extra templates and layouts for your campaign. The worst-case scenario, if you can even call it that, is that your brand will have a little extra flexibility regarding design features moving forward.

Shift Your Focus to Mobile Outreach

For most brands, the vast majority of its contact list checks in via mobile devices. For this very reason, Amber Whiteman of Target Marketing Magazine suggests that you push your email marketing focus toward smartphones and tablets. By optimizing your messages for these devices, you can zero in on the platform that matters most to consumers. Naturally, if you data points toward an audience that’s primarily desktop-oriented, then this strategy really doesn’t hold much value. However, the reality is that very few brands fall into this category, and even the ones that do have plenty of other reasons to consider optimizing branded content for today’s mobile world.

Don’t Forget Who the Top Dog In Digital Marketing Really Is

The final strategy covered is a simple reminder that the best way to reconnect with customers that have slipped out of the loop is to keep your priorities in order. No business has an infinite marketing budget, so naturally certain cuts and allotments have to be made. However, getting too experimental and shifting your focus away from email marketing is never a good idea. Regardless of the latest fads or trends, the fact remains that branded emails are still the top dog in the marketing world.

To prove this point, Josh Constine of Tech Crunch highlights the fact that 62 percent of consumers prefer email marketing to other methods of receiving promotions. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with using other services and approaches in a complimentary role. However, not giving email marketing its proper due is still the easiest way not only fail at reconnecting with your email audience, but also lose whatever inbox following you still had.

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