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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 great timing and a smart campaign put Route 66 Harley-Davidson on the fast track for SMS success.

Few things personify enjoying the freedom of the open road like hitting the highway on a Harley-Davidson. However, despite being one of the most iconic brands in the automotive world, the rise of manufacturers like Honda and Ducati have taken a serious bite out of the sales of Harley-Davidson dealerships, according to a report from the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally’s “Rally News” blog. To battle back against these dipping sales, Route 66 Harley-Davidson in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma decided to get a little cozier with shoppers during the holiday season via smart SMS marketing. To see how this text message push brought the Christmas spirit to Route 66′s customers, and pumped up sales in a major way, let’s break down the dealership’s approach to mobile marketing and see what your brand can use for its next SMS campaign.

Building a Savvy SMS Plan

To start, the dealership wanted to play on the concept of the “12 Days of Christmas” by offering unique deals and specials to members of its mobile marketing contact list. Aside from handing out valuable discounts for those looking to pick up accessories or parts for their favorite bikes, the campaign made great use of the buzz surrounding the holiday season. For each of the 12 days that made up the campaign a text message made its way to the inbox of participating members, revealing a redeemable offer related to a product sold in-store.

To give you an idea of how this worked, let’s look at Leather Jacket Day. As the seventh day of the Christmas promotion, seven different styles of motorcycle Jacket were sold at a 20 percent discount. While it might not be “seven swans a swimming” like the original version of this tune, having a deal like that come straight to their phones was music to the ears of the bike fanatics that make up Route 66′s mobile contact list.

Going the Extra Mile

Of course, no top-notch SMS initiative is complete without a solid push to gain new membership. With this in mind, Route 66 Harley-Davidson pulled out all the stops when it came time to promote its 12 Days of Christmas campaign. Social media, in-store advertisement, and reconnecting with past customers who might be interested helped swell the ranks of the list and ensure that these offers didn’t go to waste. After spending some time bolstering its contacts, the dealership began to fire off these deals once a day, creating a sense of excitement and anticipation among the shoppers looking to pick up something special during the holiday season.

Reaping the Rewards

So for all this hard work, what did Route 66 Harley-Davidson gain? To start, the owners noticed a stark upswing in general foot traffic at the dealership, as well as the obvious gains in its SMS contact list. This increased amount of customers in the store naturally led to a significant boost in sales – particularly with the promoted items. On T-shirt Day, sales of these shirts jumped to 250 percent of the numbers posted on an average day. Helmet Day saw the same amount of these high dollar items sold in one business day as what the dealership sold for the entire previous week. While we could go on and on with the stats that support each day, you can already see that this campaign was nothing short of a massive success for Route 66.

Finding the Road to SMS Success for Your Brand

It might seem like all you have to do to follow in the footsteps, or tire marks, of Route 66 Harley-Davidson is to slap a few texts together and send them to your contact list. However, the truth is that there’s plenty that can go wrong if you don’t pull things off just right. To help propel you to the same heights, you’ll need to put an emphasis on offering deals that actually matter. Whether it’s discounting high dollar items or running specials on normally expensive services, finding a way to add value to the customer is key. Also, planning your campaign around upcoming events, like the holiday season, is a smart way to generate some extra buzz. If you can put these practices to good use, you’ll find yourself in the fast lane heading toward major SMS success in no time.

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It’s hard to argue with the fact that texting with your customers is at or near the top of the list when it comes to effective marketing strategies. Whether it’s Mashable’s Allegra Tepper noting that viewers open 98 percent of sent messages, or Rimma Kats from Mobile Commerce Daily reporting that consumers are 10 times more likely to redeem a mobile coupon when compared to a traditional options, there’s no denying that SMS marketing is a powerhouse for brands that pull it off right. However, like any other great thing, a few bad apples can spoil the whole deal for everyone involved.

To help combat this wave of illicit text usage, the Messaging, Malware, and Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group, otherwise known as M3AAWG, has released a series of industry best practices to help steer brands away from the temptation of mistreating contact list members. With that in mind, let’s dig into the report and see what your brand needs to do to ensure that it stays on the straight and narrow, all while keeping the good vibes flowing with audience members.

What Is M3AAWG?

While all of this sounds nice, you’re probably sitting in front of your computer wondering what M3AAWG is and why this organization cares about your text marketing campaign. To answer the first part of that quandary, this organization is an open membership group that services the technologically oriented communications industries – in this case, anyone who plans to connect with customers via text. As far as the motives of this group, the goal of M3AAWG is to bring these related sectors together to combat messaging abuse – namely spam, viruses, and any other threat to the digital well being of consumers around the globe.

Laying the Foundation

To pave the way for this goal, M3AAWG released a comprehensive review of the issues facing the industry and its recommended feedback to these problems. At the heart of the report is the concept of making mobile marketing abuse unprofitable. By having regulatory bodies and laws, like CASL, bring the hammer down on those who stick a toe over the line that separates acceptable from illicit, M3AAWG hopes to curtail the threat of spam and other shady practices to unsuspecting readers. Aside from covering the threats faced by the text community, the report also covers safe Internet browsing and protecting business web domains.

Developing Industry Best Practices

To help realize this dream of a spam-free community, M3AAWG offers up some important best practices for brands like your own. Before your messages start hitting mobile inboxes, here’s a quick breakdown of M3AAWG’s recommended tactics, as explained by The Wall Street’s MarketWatch blog. First, limiting the number of messages you send, as well as notifying the authorities of any group soliciting black market bulk user information, can help separate your campaign from the ranks of generic spammers. Naturally, there’s nothing wrong with connecting with your audience regularly, but if you’re going overboard with multiple daily messages, you’ve definitely crossed over into the shadier part of the industry.

From here, resist the temptation of spam endorsements at all costs. While the idea of pumping up your contact list with new users is great at first glance, subscribing to these services, even if it is free, only propagates consumer abuse in the form of compromised personal information and illicit data harvesting. Additionally, letting your customers provide feedback with the 7726 (SPAM) system keeps your campaign honest and provides feedback from the viewers at the same time. The last recommendation is a call to action of sorts for the industry. Instead of just reading about text messaging best practices on blogs like this one, connect with others via comment sections, forums, and social media to help spread the word about doing business, and gaining results, the right way.

Is This the Same as CASL?

Considering all the coverage we’ve given CASL recently, you’re probably seeing a lot of similarities between that legislation and this industry report. The big difference here is that CASL is a law with severe penalties for those who decide to break it, while M3AAWG’s recommendations for best practices is simply the industry chiming in with its own take on the right way to connect with mobile shoppers. However, if you truly want to stay on the good side of the law, the overlap between these two offerings can help reinforce a strong approach to mobile marketing, according to Candice So of news outlet ITBusiness.ca. It might seem like a little bit of overkill at first glance, but keeping up with M3AAWG’s releases and staying on top of all the latest regarding CASL enforcement is a smart way to keep your campaign rolling smoothly and avoid the long arm of the law.

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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 Nimnicht Family of Dealerships brought great mobile messages to car shoppers down in Florida.

Cruising by the beach with the top down and the sun shining on a beautiful day seems like all the advertising a dealership would need to sell cars in Jacksonville, Florida. Unfortunately for the Nimnicht Family of Dealerships, playing on the appeal of the good weather and location just wasn’t enough. With a plethora of competitors using the same tactics to sway shoppers looking for a new car away from these affiliated dealerships, this group – consisting of authorized Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Wheego dealers – had to shift into high gear with a smart text campaign to beat the heat. To learn more about this strategy, let’s take a moment to break down the particulars of the campaign and how your brand can put these lessons to good use.

Setting the Stage for SMS Success

With car lots and service centers located on both sides of the St. Johns River, the Nimnicht Family of Dealerships already had the infrastructure in place to offer a great customer experience to the people of Jacksonville. However, plenty of businesses have had the same foundation, but couldn’t seal the deal due to insufficient customer awareness. To get the message out about the cars currently in stock, the people in control of this dealership group decided to kick things up a notch with a smart and engaging SMS campaign.

At the heart of this promotion was a “text-to-win” contest. Essentially, potential customers and anyone else interested in the Nimnicht brand were encouraged to fire off a text to the dealership for a chance to win a variety of prizes. To help get the word out, this campaign used available billboard space and online ad content, in addition to local TV and radio spots, to connect with the local population. With nearly 1.5 million people living in Jacksonville and surrounding areas, it’s easy to see why this dealership group exhausted every venue available when building its SMS contact list.

Going Beyond the Basics

However, all of this was just the first phase of the project. Once excited customers participated in the text-to-win promotion, the Nimnicht Family of Dealerships went above and beyond by rolling out a second initiative based off of these new members to the texting list. For those expressing interest in hearing about new car offers during phase one of the campaign, the next wave of messages helped connect these mobile consumers with sales professionals that were ready and willing to walk shoppers through the process of finding the perfect new or used car.

The Big Finish

While the idea of a multi-tiered text campaign might seem a little overbearing at first, the results this dealership organization produced tell an entirely different tale. In total, over 4,000 people signed up to experience the fun and interactive text-to-win portion of the SMS initiative. This stat is pretty impressive on its own, but the people running the campaign weren’t satisfied with just good enough.

From here, the Nimnicht Family of Dealerships indentified and pursued leads from within these interested customers. Of this second wave, 9.25 percent were workable leads, giving the sales force for this dealership group more than enough customers to keep them busy in the following months. In short, this campaign surpassed plenty of expectations, easily entering the ranks of other resounding SMS success stories.

Polishing Your Own Text Message Campaign

So now that you know the story of how the Nimnicht Family of Dealerships left its competition in the dust with great SMS messages, what can you do to make your next campaign go over just as well? To start, leave no stone unturned. Whether you’re doing radio spots or in-store promotions, getting the word out about your initiative and growing your list is extremely important. Once you do this, don’t be afraid to reconnect with your customers and go beyond the basics. As this dealership group demonstrated, having a plan with several layers that goes beyond signing people up is a powerful approach. With the Nimnicht example and some savvy SMS knowledge guiding you along the way, there’s nothing that can stop your next text message campaign from joining the other successful brands found within these case studies.

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In today’s email marketing landscape, mailing list numbers are nice, but if you don’t have the content to keep these consumers interested, don’t expect them to stick around for very long. As Elite Email’s president, Robert Burko, explained in a recent post on Marketo, brands must ensure that they emphasize value when fighting with the competition in a packed inbox setting. To help get you on your way toward this goal, let’s spend a few minutes looking over some of the more effective ways you can add value to your email content as you prepare to roll out a new series of marketed messages.

Avoid Stock Content

One of the biggest ways to turn off your audience is by offering up bland information that’s easily found with a quick Google search. While this is definitely easier than spending time creating unique, engaging brand content, it’s not the best way to build a marketing strategy. In the place of boring, worn-out offerings, Shawn Naggiar of the Content Marketing Institute suggests that brands should personalize the experience as much as possible.

In the case of your marketed messages, this goes beyond simply starting greetings with the reader’s first name and toward building content that fits their habits and styles. Whether it’s a sporting goods company using this space to tie in its products to the world’s greatest hiking locations or a restaurant offering up tips for the ultimate romantic dinner date, having content that speaks to what matters to your audience is one of the best ways to add value to the email experience.

Don’t Be Afraid of User Generated Content

One of the most effective ways to learn about a product or service is to connect with someone you know, like a friend of family member, and get his or her opinion on the item. Thanks to the Internet, there’s no shortage of even more unbiased reviews and testimonials. With this in mind, it only makes sense to bring the value of a second opinion directly to your email audience with user-generated content, according to Courtney Eckerle of Marketing Sherpa.

As you harvest these social media posts, customer testimonials, blog reviews, and even comments off your site, it’s important to get permission from the original author. If you’re running a little short on options, don’t be afraid to reach out to your audience and request feedback. If you stick to these honest customer opinions that support your offerings and avoid faking the process with staged reviews, you’ll give a significant amount of value to the audience from the source they trust the most.

Highlight the Big Points

The old sayings about time being the most precious commodity or resource might seem worn-out, but there’s still some truth in these statements. With this perspective, one of the most unique ways you can add value to your emails is not with the content you offer, but how you offer this content. To save your readers time and effort when they open up your message, Kate Kiefer Lee of Forbes Magazine suggests making your content “scannable.”

Short paragraphs, subheadings, bolded statements, and even image breaks that help highlight important points all do this job exceptionally well. If you’re planning on releasing a particularly long message in your next campaign, take a second to add a teaser with info on the content at the top of the email. This way, your readers can get right to the point and start sifting through the message for the portions that matter most to them.

Location Is Everything

One of the best tools in your email marketing bag of tricks is understanding the location of your target audience. Naturally, this is a little tougher for national or international brands to pull off, but if you’re honing in on shoppers in a certain city or region, this knowledge is good to use during your campaign. As Angie Zener of Marketing Land suggests, tailoring your content to add value in the form of local updates is a smart and savvy way to build an even better relationship with these consumers.

Whether your brand is sending out severe weather warnings during a particularly bitter winter, or you have the chance to remind customers to pick up sunscreen and sunglasses with a UV index update during those hot summer months, adding value in the form of localized message content is a smart way to add enhance the quality of your messages. While this, and the rest of the tips in this post, will require a little extra effort on your end, there’s no doubt that your audience will love this new approach that’s engaging and rich in meaningful content.

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Whether you’re new to the world of email marketing or a seasoned veteran spearheading your brand’s latest campaign, there’s one thing that always stays the same – good enough won’t get you very far. With so many companies offering great email content, resting on your laurels is a quick way to fall behind the pack when it comes to your email templates and message content. To help you avoid a campaign that falls flat on its face, here are some quick tips that can help ensure your templates and messages are responsive and evocative moving forward.

Avoid Multiple Columns When Possible

Starting off the list is the basic structure of your template. By skipping multiple columns and sticking with a single text column approach, you can standardize your templates and ensure consistency between your desktop and mobile variants, according to Andre Lejeune in an article on Chief Marketer. This approach comes from two different perspectives. First is the fact that multiple columns are often hard to render and read comfortably on a mobile screen. From here, your brand really can’t afford to disregard its mobile constituency, as all signs point to smartphone and tablet usage continuing its meteoric rise in relevancy. Because of this, the best plan of action is finding a happy medium between the two and a unified template that’s responsive on both platforms.

Placing Your CTA

With the single column approach, you can continue to build a powerful template by reserving premium screen space at the top of the template for the call-to-action (CTA.) As part of the responsive approach, it’s important to engage your readers quickly, lest they lose focus and click over to the next promotional message in the inbox. By putting the CTA button or blurb at the top of the template, you offer a high impact piece of content that supports the body of the message and piques the viewer’s interest to continue reading, eventually leading into potential conversion territory by having them visit your page. When compared to the old approach of sticking the CTA at the bottom of the message, it’s easy to see that keeping things upfront and straightforward is a more proactive way to illicit a response from your audience.

Understand the Size Constraints of Mobile Screens

Continuing with the mobile theme, it’s important to keep interactive design fluid on smartphone and tablet platforms. While your desktop templates might be full of nifty graphics and buttons, these additions often don’t translate well to the small screen, even if you’re using the one column approach. If you absolutely need graphics in your marketed messages, consider building in the option to hide this secondary content. As The Business Journals’ report on the subject explains, keeping load times down and emails brief is a smart way to boost the response from your targeted demographic.

In regard to buttons, navigating these waters can be a little trickier because hiding this interactive feature can marginalize your CTA. For the buttons on your mobile platform to function properly, use them sparingly when possible and provide ample space on the template between interactive features to help mitigate the risk of unintentional clicks. Not only will this keep your click rates honest, it’s also key to avoiding a frustrated set of readers that can’t properly navigate or use your marketed message.

Thinking In Sections

Outside of some of the technical considerations surrounding the responsive approach, it’s also important to understand the big picture design implications of this strategy. At the heart of a responsive template is the idea that messages and visuals separated by segments are far easier for your audience to enjoy and view. Whether it’s split into block sections of the column, or breakaways explaining related deals, having defined borders and positioning helps present a more palatable email for consumers who don’t have time to sift through a single block of text.

Reaping Your Rewards

Now that you’re an expert on bringing your templates up to speed with modern trends, it’s time to look at some of the benefits you can expect from making the switch to the responsive design approach. As Cara Olson of Marketing Land explains in her case study on responsive emails, messages that don’t render well on desktops and mobile devices due to improper design are deleted immediately 70 percent of consumers. On the flip side, responsive templates generate more views, clicks, and conversions when compared to traditional message layouts. From this perspective, and with the tools to build a great responsive template in hand, there’s no reason your brand should ever send out a bland marketed message again.

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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 retail promotion turned Westfield Malls into a mobile marketing leader.

Regardless of whether you live on the shores of Nova Scotia or reside in sunny northern California, it’s always a treat to spend an afternoon at the mall. For residents of the latter location, Westfield Malls is one of the premier destinations for just such a shopping excursion. However, staying on top of the retail world doesn’t come easy. For the guys in charge of this chain, connecting with customers was essential to the sustained success of the malls, so the decision to roll out a smart and effective SMS marketing campaign came pretty easy. If you’re interested in learning more about how this retail giant rode an outstanding series of texts to increased customer activity in the participating stores, take a moment to read on and find out how you can put these lessons to good use for your brand.

A Different Approach

One of the most intriguing facets of this case study is that unlike the other companies and brands we’ve profiled, this campaign came from the center’s management and not from particular stores within the mall. Instead of letting the shops renting stalls within the mall fend for themselves as far as promotional materials went, the executives of the Westfield Mall management team decided that what’s good for these particular outlets was good for the center as a whole. With this big picture outlook serving as the foundation of its mobile marketing campaign, the advertising team was ready to make some waves with an audience that couldn’t wait to connect via their mobile phones.

Breaking down the Promotion Particulars

To start, the Westfield Mall chain pushed hard to generate substantial gains within its subscriber database. Via in-store promotional material and external outreach programs – namely local radio broadcasts and TV spots – the northern California audience soon became well aware of the buzz going on down by the local mall. At the heart of the promotion was a “text-to-win” event.

For those willing to join the contact list and receive promotional materials, a chance at winning a $1000 shopping spree was the grand prize. The best part? Westfield Malls used the SMS short-code “SPREE” as the lynchpin of the campaign to keep things simple and memorable for those willing to join in on the fun.

Understanding the Impact of Great Text Messages

After the dust had settled and the shoppers came out to the mall in droves, the people in charge of this campaign had plenty to be happy about. First off, over 6,000 new individuals joined the contact list during the event. While that’s great on its own, understanding that all of this occurred within just a week, adds an entirely different and impressive perspective to the increased subscriber number.

Today, all five locations of Westfield Mall enjoy increased foot traffic and extended reach via a stable and highly responsive mobile messaging contact list. For mall management and independent retailers within these centers alike, it’s hard to call this campaign anything other than a resounding success.

Building Your Own Powerful Campaign

So what can your brand learn from the Westfield Mall campaign about connecting with customers via powerful marketed text messages? Above all else, having a smart plan matters when you’re setting up your advertising operations. By putting the greater good before individual promotion, the people in charge of this initiative were able to create a situation that benefited those renting space within the chain’s retail space. This in turn created increased business for the malls as a whole, which was definitely music to the ears of those operating the outlets.

As for the actual texts you send out, don’t be afraid to keep things simple. Too often brands worry about wowing the audience with long prose and witty banter. While there’s nothing wrong with keeping your messages engaging and informative, remember that people are more likely to participate if you make the process easy and straightforward. A memorable or brief short-code, as well as texts that get straight to the point, can help round out everything else you’ve learned and provide all the tools you need to build the perfect messages for your next mobile marketing campaign.Wesfield

 

 

Chances are when you were a child, your parents sat you down and talked about the “golden rule” – treat others the way you want to be treated. As far as your daily interactions go, there’s plenty of merit to subscribing to this concept as you meet new people and connect with established friends and family. What might not be so obvious is that this, and some of life’s other tried and true staples for successfully navigating your social scene, also has a spot in your next great SMS campaign. To learn a little more about being polite, courteous, and effective with mobile marketing, let’s break down the five golden rules of texting with customers and what your brand can do to make sure it always stays in the audience’s good graces.

Make Your Message Clear

First up on the list of golden rules is leaving the text-speak behind. While it might seem hip and cool, chances are you have a better shot at offending your target demographic by using things like “ur” instead of “your” and not the other way around, according to Stuart Marburg of Australian newspaper The Age. To make your message clear and easy to read, write your texts in a simple, straightforward manner. A good way to test these texts is by asking whether you would take it seriously if it wound up in your inbox. If the answer’s anything less than a solid yes, it’s time to start revising the message and switching out the slang for plain English.

Be Considerate with Your Timing

Once your content is in good shape, the next step is not stepping on any toes as you start to plan when these text messages fire off. Again, an easy way to understand the importance of timing is to put yourself in the audience’s shoes. If you wouldn’t want messages popping up during the middle of the night or first thing in the morning as you try and wake up, they probably don’t want this either. If you’re dealing with a local audience, it’s easy enough to figure out appropriate timing. However, if you’re targeted consumers span several time zones, you’ll have to place an even greater premium on adjusting and staging automated messages to ensure that you avoid the faux pas of untimely and intrusive SMS marketing.

Skip the Fluff

Some brands try to turn marketed texts into novels as a way of artificially adding value for the audience. The truth is that customers aren’t interested in all of this fluff, as Susan Gunelius of Entrepreneur Magazine explains. Instead of long-winded and rambling messages, these shoppers want value in the form of straightforward and brief text offers. This doesn’t mean you have to completely cut out any of the friendly banter, just don’t let it interfere with the actual point of firing off these texts in the first place; to offer deals and discounts that not only entice the consumer to stop by your store, but also enhances the relationship between these shoppers and your brand.

Be Friendly

It’s important to note that skipping the fluff doesn’t mean you can’t take a moment to stop and say hi before diving into the meat and potatoes of your SMS pitch. Much like connecting with people face to face, there’s nothing wrong with being friendly and inviting to help kick a conversation off. If you have names attached to your contact list, adding these into your SMS messages with a salutation is a good start. For the brands that don’t have this info on hand or feel like this isn’t the right approach, simply starting off with a salutation at the top of the message is also an acceptable way to cut down the formality and make things more comfortable for your audience as your texts start to hit consumer inboxes.

Don’t Be Afraid to Take a Little Criticism

Finally, like plenty of life’s other endeavors, the odds of getting everything right with your first SMS campaign are pretty slim. With this in mind, it’s important to be open to criticism from your audience, according to Bob Bentz of iMedia Connection. While it might not be the most pleasant thing you do during your text campaign, listening to feedback and running A/B testing on your stable of messages is a powerful way to improve and refine your message. The benefit of keeping this form of communication open between you and your audience is that the more you connect with one another and work toward hitting all of the golden rules of SMS marketing, the better off both sides of this relationship will be moving forward.

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If you’re in the business of connecting with customers via marketed emails or SMS messages, you have probably heard that Canada’s new anti-spam legislation (CASL) is up and running this month. Of course, knowing that things have changed regarding marketing laws doesn’t do your organization much good if you’re not familiar with the new rules. With that in mind, let’s take a moment to do a quick crash course regarding the new legislation. From here, next week’s post on the subject will cover the basics of staying in compliance with the CASL as you roll out your next email or text marketing campaign.

Does CASL Affect You?

If you’re reading this article and you use email or SMS messages to connect with customers, the new anti-spam legislation directly affects how you conduct your operations on a daily basis. However, there are other facets of your business outlook that can also change based on the expanded coverage brought forth by this legal ruling. CASL also has specific regulations for any company that also installs software or programs on mobile phones or computers. Basically, if you have a branded app or download in addition to an email or text initiative, you’ll need to be extra careful as you move forward under this new system.

Express Consent

Now that we know who’s affected by this development, it’s time to look at the specifics of the regulations. First up is the concept of express consent and its role in the marketing process. At the core of every shady spam operation is the idea that quantity is better than quality. Naturally, the best way to boost numbers is to simply fire off emails to any address, regardless of whether or not the user wants these promotional messages. Under the new CASL laws, if you want to send an email, text message, or have your app installed on a consumer phone, express and documented consent is the only way to stay on the right side of the law.

Transparency In Transit

Outside of making sure everything’s crystal clear when it comes to asking for permission, the anti-spam legislation also takes aim at less than transparent communications. For instance, altering transmissions in order to have the message arrive at a different location is a major faux pas. Obviously, this is something that most legitimate brands aren’t interested in, but it’s still important to know about this technicality as it ties directly in with express consent and ensuring that the consumer always knows exactly what they’re receiving during a marketing operation.

False or Misleading Content

After covering how these messages arrive, the government’s new stance on the matter takes a look at what’s inside your messages. While this might seem a little nosy at first, the main issue here is that CASL wants to protect consumers from false or misleading emails and texts. Whether it’s slight embellishments or complete lies about products and services, hedging the truth for the sake of a great marketing push is a quick way to bring down sanctions and fines from the various branches covering the enactment of this new legislation.

Unethical Data Harvesting

The final big move from CASL covers unethical data harvesting during an electronic marketing campaign. Whether it’s prying into your audience’s personal life without their consent or keeping tabs via illegally acquired consumer data, this new set of legislation takes a firm stance on where morality fits into the marketing process. Additionally, infiltrating computer systems and installing programs without the knowledge and consent of the owner are also mentioned at length in this portion of the new legislation, giving the powers that be enhanced reach in the fight against unethical operations during the marketing process.

The Big Three

So what happens if you slip up and stick a toe over the CASL line? In this circumstance, be prepared to come in contact with at least one of the three government agencies responsible for enforcing the law. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has the power to issue monetary penalties to violators of this anti-spam law. In conjunction with this new ability, the Competition Bureau has the right to pursue potential misconduct and seek monetary penalties or criminal sanctions. Finally, an amended version of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Document Act gives the Office of the Privacy Commissioner extended authority to investigate illicit marketing operations occurring via text and email.

Now that you’re familiar with all the ins and outs of who administers CASL and what it covers, be sure to check in next week as we delve into the best ways to stay on the right side of this legislation and still make a major impact with your SMS and email campaigns.

CASL - Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation

 

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 a larger than life approach to SMS marketing helped Six Flags reel in young rollercoaster fanatics.

A day at the amusement park is one of the best ways to spend some time off during those hot summer months. For Six Flags in Maryland, this concept definitely held true, but something was lacking from its traditional summer turnout. To help boost attendance and connect with the young, tech-savvy side of its audience, this leader in the world of amusement parks turned to a strong blend of mobile marketing and smart planning. With that in mind, let’s strap in and ride along to see exactly how this plan turned Six Flags lagging summer attendance around over the course of the campaign.

The Power of Targeting

First up, Six Flags made it the mobile messaging initiative’s main mission to target the amusement park’s highest performing demographic – teenagers. At this point you might be wondering why a brand would focus on the audience members mostly likely to pay a visit to the park. The answer lies directly with surprisingly low summer turnouts from this group. To help get things back in gear, Six Flags decided to return to its roots and use the power of targeting via text messages in order reconnect with these younger park goers during the hot summer months.

Great Content Builds Great Results

Aside from focusing in on this specific group, they also knew that teens wouldn’t just jump at any mobile offer. To really connect with this group, Six Flags offered text-to-win contests, as well as mobile alerts regarding park information and weather updates. Even VIP ticket offers made the cut, ensuring that this younger, active audience had all the encouragement they needed to pay a visit during major events, like the park’s 4th of July festival, as well as all the regular sunny summer days.

Getting the Message to the Masses

As part of the push, Six Flags went all out on sign-ups and referrals to expand its contact list. At the base of the push was traditional avenues for opt-ins, like in-park customer service stations and signage. From here, radio spots and promotional content helped create more buzz about the interactive text program. Of course, when it comes to connecting with today’s teens, the smartest thing Six Flags did was to turn its social media accounts into the focal point of the campaign, providing this audience with everything they needed to sign-up directly on Facebook, Twitter, and all the other relevant social networks.

The Thrilling Results

So after all this hard work, what did Six Flags have to show for it? First off, during the three months of the program, participation within the brand’s existing text message system skyrocketed. In total, almost 5,000 subscribers decided to check out the offers on their mobile phones. That stat is great on its own, but the increased park attendance, as well as the admission, concession, and attraction revenue, this boost generated was even more impressive. As the summer text campaign came to a close, Six Flags hit all of these goals, as well as reinvigorated the demographic that mattered most. By reconnecting teen attendants, this campaign not only boosted sales in the short-term, but helped fortify the park’s long-term viability by creating a dedicated and interested text-based community.

Making Your Own Mobile Attraction

After reading all that, it’s clear to see that connecting with your audience via mobile marketing is a powerful tool in your outreach arsenal. Even if you’re not in the amusement industry, there’s still plenty we can pull from Six Flags’ example to help make your next campaign a major hit. First, know whom you need to target. Whether it’s teens or octogenarians, having the right audience members on tap is the best way to utilize your content.

Speaking of content, make these messages pack a punch. While simple coupons or discounts are definitely valuable, mixing in some great content or exclusive info definitely spices up the message and keeps your reader interested. If you can pull these two concepts off, as well as go all in on promoting your campaign across multiple channels, you’ll be well on your way to a thrilling marketing ride that ends with happy customers and a major boost to sales.

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Happening every four years, the FIFA World Cup is an event unlike any other. Whether you’re a fan of this kind of football or not, it’s hard to deny the impact this tournament has on daily life around the globe. However, have you ever wondered what kind of effect events like the World Cup might have on your brand awareness via email marketing? While this might seem like an odd question to pose, a quick breakdown of the statistics surrounding marketing initiatives could radically change how you view the connection between sports and marketing in the context of making a splash via the inbox.

A History of Sports and Marketing

But wait, don’t the sporting and marketing worlds have a great history of working together? While the answer to this question is a definite yes, things aren’t always so cut and dry. Sure, plenty of campaigns have utilized sports icons and figures to deliver a powerful message, but that’s not the only overlap between these two platforms. In regard to email marketing, the truth of the matter is that mega sporting events aren’t always great to have going on in the background when you start firing off marketed messages.

Discovering a Digital Connection

While the average football friendly or exhibition game might not garner a noticeable bump in consumer interest, events like the World Cup can drastically warp the priorities and focus of your target audience. In a recent study covered by Amy Gesenhues of Marketing Land, the digital connection between these worlds generally isn’t very accommodating to the world of email marketing. In fact, special circumstances – like the World Cup, Super Bowl, and other major occurrences – can actually cause some serious harm to you open and conversion rates.

The main issue here is not that the sporting world hates promotional emails packed with value and substance. Instead, it’s simply that when the game is on, rabid fans don’t have eyes for anything else. Whether the match ends in a one-sided rout or goes to penalty kicks, expecting your audience to check their inbox or alerts is a recipe for unexpected disaster that can really sink your email marketing ship long before it sets sail.

A Look at the World Cup

The aforementioned study from Marketing Land and the World Cup focused on three countries; Mexico, Brazil, and the United States. In Brazil, click rates and email activity during football matches plummeted to 61 percent of the country’s standard activity. While that might not seem like much at first glance, imagine losing around 40 percent of your audience right after you hit send on your latest content. Mexico saw a similar drop, this time measured in raw percentage of clicks, going from the usual 9 percent of email clicks to just 5 percent.

The final country reviewed in this survey of the email marketing climate during the FIFA World Cup, the United States, showed a minimal dip in email activity during the game. However, the drop, measured between 1 and 2 percent total, still shows that in countries only recently experiencing the football or soccer craze, this event still had a negative impact on email activity during the match times.

Coming To a Conclusion

This one instance of reduced email activity underlies a major problem facing brands looking to make a move via marketing messages. Even though email marketing is one of the most powerful ways to connect with consumers, if your timing is off, you can’t expect much from this type of outreach. Naturally, you won’t always be facing down the World Cup, Olympics, or NHL Finals every day, but it’s still worth keeping these events in mind as you begin to roll out your last digital campaign that places a premium on what happens in the inbox.

Building a Smart Plan for Your Business

If you don’t want to watch your email marketing operations take a nosedive every time your favorite team scores the game winning goal, build a schedule that’s cognizant of what’s happening in the sporting world. This doesn’t mean keeping track of every preseason or regular season game. In fact, depending on your target audience’s location, it might mean taking out certain sports entirely from the equation. However, once you have your ideal consumer profile set up and certain sports highlighted as potential problems, you can start to build strategies with playoffs, championships, and other major events in mind. This way, you’ll never deliver great email content that goes unseen when the big game is on the line.

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