Login Enterprise
Speak to an Email Marketing Expert
877-789-ELITE (3548)
 

voice_in_inbox

More brands than ever before are using email marketing to reach out to customers around the globe – this is no big secret. However, just because awareness of this powerful tool is on the rise, that doesn’t mean that every brand walking down this path comes off with a distinct and memorable voice. To ensure that your brand’s style and tone stand out, let’s spend some time talking about the best ways to find your voice when creating content for your upcoming email marketing campaign.

Don’t Assume You Already Have a Good Grasp on This Process

In his look at finding your brand’s voice and generating unique inbox content, Business 2 Community’s Arek Estall points out that doing things “the way you’ve always done it” is one of the most dangerous mindsets an organization can rely upon during the content development phase. Yes, leveraging consistent themes and approaches from the past can be helpful – especially if you’ve already spent some time thinking about your content style and tone – but failing to explore new ground and try out new methods is a quick way to end up as a dull and unexciting option to your target consumers.

Build a Plan for Optimization

Once you’ve kicked the concept of “resting on your laurels” out the front door, Estall explains that it’s time to come up with a strong plan for your branded voice. How would you describe your company’s principles, brand values, and mission? Are these things that translate well to the inbox, or do you need to support this medium with content that goes beyond basic text and imagery?

Asking these questions isn’t easy; in fact, if you’re new to the process, this whole ordeal can be a little time consuming. However, by hashing out the overarching direction of your email content campaign, you and your team of marketing experts can then start filling in the details with content ideas and writing styles that support the chosen tone and image.

Create a Style Guide

If all of this feels like it’s too much to handle in just one sitting, Anne Marie Kelly of MarketingProfs suggests creating a style guide based on your findings during the planning phase. This document should seek to answer both technical and content direction-oriented questions, as well as serve as a guideline for specific style decisions.

Think of it this way: Should you find yourself wondering how to phrase a promotional message, or whether or not a topic is acceptable based on what you know about your audience, the content style guide should step into this situation and serve as a spotlight that points your brand in the right direction. At the very least, this type of guide can help ensure that you feel comfortable with a new approach to content by operating as a tool that was created via data-driven thinking and consumer insight.

Don’t Be Afraid to Audit

Kelly goes on to note that whether you use a style guide or keep the process a little more fluid, it never hurts to regularly audit your content and general take on your brand’s inbox voice. Depending on your target audience, the type of content that these people need and crave can change from time to time, so it’s okay to take things back to the drawing board if necessary. After all, isn’t staying proactive on this front a better call than ending up with dated or useless offerings in the inbox?

There’s always the chance that the audit comes back with no changes needed – which is definitely the optimal outcome. However, if and when the time comes for a change in your content voice or orientation, you’ll be glad you took the initiative and conducted a thorough and objective audit.

Communication Is Key

Finally, if you have any questions about which direction you should take your branded voice, don’t be afraid to reach out to a trusted team of email marketing professionals. As Kelly and countless other industry thought leaders explain, having this kind of professional experience on your side can go a long way. Whether you’re new to the market, or just looking to bounce some ideas off of a seasoned expert, this support system ensures that your brand has what it needs to truly stand up and let its voice shine in the inbox. Considering how important it is to be heard on this platform, it makes perfect sense to get your brand’s voice in order as soon as possible.

 

three_levels_consent

If you know anything about email marketing, then you know that garnering consent from your contact list membership is kind of a big deal. In fact, with the continued rise of regulatory agencies and consumer rights, it’s safe to say that properly requesting consent deserves the top spot in virtually any email marketing conversation. With this in mind, let’s shift some focus onto the particulars of acquiring consent appropriately, including the concept of the three distinct levels that make up the contemporary understanding of this practice.

Why Bother with Consent in the First Place?

The need for consent comes from two major shifts in the world of email marketing; the rising insistence for transparency by consumers and the legal ramifications that come with disobeying the law of the land. In terms of consent related laws, there’s one acronym that you need to memorize as soon as possible – CASL.

Those who fail to fall in line with Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL) in terms of consent run the risk of some severe fines and backlash. If you’re not interested in paying a $1.1 million fine like Compu-Finder did earlier this year, then it’s time to get serious about how your brand gathers consent from your existing and future email marketing list membership.

Single Opt-Ins

So where does the consent process begin, and how does the first layer of this process work? According to Forbes magazine’s team of experts, it all starts with the single opt-in process. This base form of consent acquisition includes the user on the other side of the screen knowingly and clearly enacting an action that results in joining your contact list.

Sometimes, this process can come with certain conditions or restrictions. For instance, the person in question might only want to receive email content related to the information presented at the time of consent, so making note of these particular wants and desires helps define a strong single opt-in layer.

Opt-Ins with Confirmation

Going a little deeper on the spectrum is the concept of utilizing a single opt-in process that includes a notification or confirmation. Generally, this approach goes a step farther than the traditional single opt-in by firing off a confirmation email within the first 24 hours of contact list membership acceptance.

This confirmation email will usually cover the particulars of the email marketing campaign, including message frequency, content offerings, and how to unsubscribe. If you’re thinking about implementing this layer of requesting consent, it’s a good idea to ask your new subscribers to whitelist your relevant addresses while confirming their desire to join your campaign. This way, you can reduce the risk of accidental filtering and other hiccups in the process.

Closed Loop or Double Opt-Ins

The final – and most thorough – form of opting-in requires the interested consumer to “close the loop.” Known more often as a “double opt-in,” this practice takes your confirmation email and adds a final action to the process before promotional content starts hitting this individual’s inbox.

Usually, this action comes in the form of a clickable link that redirects the user to a confirmation page, thus closing the loop and creating an air-tight connection between you and the latest addition to your contact list. One of the biggest mistakes brands make on this front is also incorporating advertising into the confirmation email, thus causing this offering – and the redirect link – to end up in the spam folder.

To avoid this untimely roadblock, skip the promotional content and keep things short, sweet, and simple for your viewer. This way, he or she can access the confirmation link in as quick and simple a manner as possible, thereby ensuring that things go smoothly as you add a new member to your contact list.

Which One Is Right for Your Brand?

Now that you’re an expert when it comes to the three layers of requesting consent, it’s time to answer one last question – which layer is right for your brand? While the answer to this question naturally can vary based on your business and current email marketing practices, the answer generally comes down to going as deep into this layered process as possible.

As more and more regulations and industry trends shift the discussion toward even greater consumer rights and transparency requirements, there’s no denying that double opt-in systems will move closer and closer to the norm. This means that even if you don’t need to offer up a strong confirmation process now, chances are you’ll have to revamp and reassess this system later on down the road as CASL and other forces within the email marketing community continue to shape and redefine the notion of consent gathering best practices.

 

back_on_track

By now, you know without a doubt that email marketing is the biggest player in the world of digital brand awareness. More consumers are connecting with organizations in the inbox than ever before, and this trend shows no signs of slowing down. However, this process is far from infallible. To ensure that you get back on track for success in the event of an email marketing stumble, let’s talk about some of the best ways to revamp and reinvigorate your inbox campaign.

Put Your Tools to Good Use

Considering that email marketing is all about making the most out of modern technology, it makes sense to start this conversation off with a look at your digital tools and how best to put these assets to good use. As Jason McDonald of LinkedIn points out, there’s plenty of options to consider as you refine and optimize this content. From free subject line testers to HTML previewers that ensure your coding comes out clean and flaw-free, presenting a technically sound and attractive email shouldn’t be relegated to the territory of guesswork and uncertainty.

Get Personal

Outside of keeping your digital tools and practices in top shape, Business 2 Community’s Amanda Clark suggests getting personal with your audience. For some brands, this means personalizing content and leveraging the power held within your consumer data to make the email marketing experience more intimate and unique. If you don’t have this data to help guide your decision-making process, then now is as good a time as any to start surveying members of your list and utilizing other sources of “Big Data” and viewer information.

Free Stuff Makes a Difference

Perhaps the most powerful way to get back on track with your email marketing campaign is by giving away free stuff. Yes, on paper adding more costs to a failing endeavor seems like bad business. However, analyzing the situation from a more grounded and industry-relevant perspective proves just how wrong this initial assumption is when it comes to the inbox.

As Clark goes on to explain, few methods offer up as much potential for goodwill and immediate impact as a giveaway. Even if it’s something as simple as a coupon or test product, letting these customers and contact list members know that there’s something tangible and worthwhile waiting for them should they participate in this outreach initiative goes a long way toward restoring the impact of your campaign.

Re-Evaluate Your Timing

Another area that could be tanking your inbox operations comes in the form of poor message timing and frequency. Specifically, Direct Marketing News’ Andrew Corselli points out that even the best content around doesn’t stand much of a chance if you’re unable to get it out in front of viewers when they’re most likely to open the email.

Because of this reality, ensuring you always test new timing strategies and avoid resting on your laurels is not just recommended, it’s virtually essential. Sometimes making a switch based on shifting consumer needs and trends is a tough pill to swallow. However, when compared to the alternative – a failed email campaign – it’s easy to see that making the switch is well worth the effort.

Try a New Template or Email Approach

In some cases, it might be time to take your actual content back to the drawing board in order to get things back on track. According to Search Engine Journal’s Alex Bashinsky, one of the best ways to go about this is by trying out a new template or basic structure for your content.

Change for the sake of change obviously doesn’t make much sense, but just like testing out your timing and frequency, sometimes consistently exploring new territory can help uncover a theme or style that resonates more closely with your audience. Even if it’s something as simple as a new template for your base message, switching things up can go a long way toward catching the attention of your viewers.

Check the Quality of Your Contact List

Finally, take some time to guarantee that there’s actually someone waiting for your content on the other side of the screen. Far too often, brands that purchase or fail to maintain accurate contact lists end up firing off emails to dead end or incorrect addresses. Even if you’re not an email marketing expert, it doesn’t take much to see that either of these scenarios are literally “no-win” situations.

Thankfully, if you stay on top of monitoring and maintaining your contact list – as well as putting to good use the rest of what you’ve learned here, then there’s no reason why your future campaigns can’t end up standing as shining examples of the true power held within this practice.

 

landing_pages

Whether you’re texting with customers in your area or reaching out to the masses in the inbox, one thing is certain – you better have a good plan in place for when these viewers hit your digital domain. Without stellar landing pages leading the charge on this front, it’s only a matter of time before these valued members of your online audience start seeing what the competition has to offer. To ensure that you always close the deal when a potential customer steps foot through your digital front door, let’s spend a minute talking about what makes a great set of landing pages.

Consistency Is Key

In his look at winning on this front, Inc. magazine’s Jim Belosic points out that it’s always a good idea to place an emphasis on consistency. From social profile and main page designs, to the various landing pages that greet new visitors, stable and easily identifiable branding and imagery is vital to creating a welcoming experience. The opposite approach – disparate selections that don’t tie into one another – can leave SMS and email shoppers alike feeling confused or uncertain about the seriousness of your digital approach.

Simple Is a Good Start

Additionally, Belosic suggests keeping things simple and toned down as you start developing and creating landing page content. Just like a longwinded text message or email chock full of images, having a set of landing pages that are too “busy” or confusing isn’t a smart idea.

Instead, keep your call-to-action (CTA) and navigation tools clear and prominent. This way, as shoppers start to delve into the particulars of the offer, product, or service that led to this point, they’ll have a straightforward and easily understood path leading straight to a successful checkout.

Sprinkle in Some Trust Elements

Of course, funneling viewers into a conversion isn’t always enough to seal the deal on a successful campaign. For some visitors, it’s all about feeling comfortable with the process, as well as what your brand has to offer. For this reason, John Paul Mains of Marketing Land explains that sprinkling in some content that helps build trust in your organization is a strong landing page tactic.

As far as options go on this front, Mains points out that you have plenty from which to choose. Whether you go with privacy policy information, consumer testimonials, reviews, certifications, or even prior awards and accolades all depends on your products and services. However, for the skeptical viewers out there, few offerings are as enticing and highly sought after on landing pages as these trust-oriented elements.

Building a Winning Headline

In terms of sheer impact, Phil Frost of Web Marketing Today notes that it’s hard to go wrong with a winning headline. Yes, you still need to have a strong offer and CTA, but simply snagging the initial attention of the shoppers that make the jump from SMS and email to this point often comes down to the headline.

Generally, you’ll want to focus on keeping things short, sweet, and enticing. Letting the reader know that this page is connected to the offer in question, as well as ensuring that it’s worth his or her time to continue reading should be your primary goal when it comes to writing headlines. If you’re able to do this, then you’re well on your way to capturing – and retaining – the attention of these future customers.

Test, Test, Test, and Test Some More

Finally, don’t be afraid to repeatedly test your landing page content with different segments of your audience. Just like SMS or email content, assuming you got everything right on the first try is a dangerous and risky way to approach this process. Testing does add extra work to your overall campaign commitment, but failing to optimize and refine this content opens your brand up to a plethora of problems and concerns.

Depending on your content strategy and methods, the type of test needed – as well as the testing variations – can shift or change. However, honing in on bounce rates, unique visitor numbers, time spent on site, and raw conversion rates should help tell the story of your landing page content fairly accurately.

Generating quality landing pages is a lot like pulling off a successful email or SMS marketing initiative. With the right information guiding the way, as well as a willingness to put forth the time and effort needed to refine your operations, there’s nothing that can stop your brand from making the most of this crucial gateway between initial interest and satisfied customers.

 

repurposing_email_content

Sometimes, the biggest problem that comes with running a strong and consistent email marketing campaign isn’t found on the technical side of the process. In fact, once you’re set up with a strong and consistent platform, keeping this well-oiled machine in motion is actually pretty easy. Where most brands get tripped up is with the creation of their content.

While you might not feel the same pressure as Hemingway or Twain, facing down writer’s block when it comes to your marketing messages is never a good thing. With this in mind, let’s talk about five quick and effective ways to repurpose some of your old content. This way, you’ll not only get through the tough times when fresh ideas are scarce, but you’ll also be able to breathe new life into content that still has plenty to offer to the people on the other side of the screen.

Break down an Old Blog Post

At the top of the list of repurposing ideas, according to Search Engine Watch’s Salma Jafri, is splitting up old blog content and leveraging these ideas in upcoming emails. Considering that the value held within these informative and engaging selections, it makes sense to “spotlight” key points and concepts as part of your inbox strategy. The best part? For particularly relevant or poignant posts, you can pull multiple topics and excerpts to keep the excitement and intrigue flowing with your email marketing audience.

The Same Goes for eBooks

On a similar line of thought, if you have an established eBook that might be relevant to your growing email audience, there’s no reason not to repurpose this content and offer it up to your readers in the inbox. Naturally, distilling this long-form offering into a series of interconnected messages can take a little more time and effort when compared to the work that goes into doing the same for a typical blog post.

However, this additional commitment can solve your content creation problems over a far greater period. Instead of developing one email, the repackaged message found within your eBook can span days or even weeks, thus capturing the attention of your inbox following and keeping these viewers eagerly awaiting the next installment in this ongoing series.

Leveraging Your Social Content

In terms of making the most of digital marketing overlap, Erin Everhart of Search Engine Land suggests tapping into your social media profiles as a way to generate message ideas and content. Whether you highlight a tweet, a post, or a pin of your own, or if you take this opportunity to help boost the reach of an industry influencer or respected voice, integrating social content into your email marketing plans is a quick and efficient way to tether these two powerful platforms to one another. For those who are willing to go the extra mile, there’s also the opportunity to keep this interconnected approach moving forward by promoting awareness of your email contact list via these established profiles.

Share Your Video Content

If your brand already has a stable of YouTube postings or on-site video content, why not incorporate this media into your next series of email blasts? Obviously it’s important to verify that this portion of your brand following has an interest in this type of content, otherwise you run the risk of sending these inbox viewers irrelevant messages. However, once you get the green light from your consumer data regarding the content preferences of your contact list, then you’ll have another type of medium to lean on as you continue to stand out from the competition.

Update an Infographic

Finally, the Content Marketing Institute’s Arnie Kuenn points out that infographics – when properly sized and rendered – can excel as a form of repurposed content. The big key to keep in mind on this front is that sending out infographics as part of your email content means updating these offerings from time to time. If you’ve ever worked with infographics before, then you know that this form of content requires the utmost care when it comes to data and information. The last thing you want to do is send out an email with dated – or flat out wrong – information standing center stage.

Naturally, you don’t want to rely solely on repurposing content from your digital endeavors as the fuel that feeds your email marketing fire. However, letting this practice guide the way from time to time can help keep things running smoothly as you continue to engage and interact with the people who make up your inbox audience.

 

email_frequency

“How often should I be sending emails to my contact list” This common question encompasses a wide swath of concerns within the spectrum of email marketing, yet there’s no definitive answer on which to base your campaign moving forward. Unfortunately, this situation doesn’t look like it’s changing anytime soon.

However, this lack of a universal answer to the frequency dilemma doesn’t mean that your brand is up the digital creek without a paddle. By putting some industry-leading best practices and tactics to good use, there’s nothing that can stop you from finding the ideal email frequency that fits your organization.

Answer the Five Fundamental Frequency Questions

At the core of the discussion surrounding frequency, according to Business 2 Community’s Annie Zelm, are five fundamental questions. Without a solid answer to each of these concerns, Zelm points out that it’s virtually impossible to develop and refine an equation that helps elaborate on how often your brand should be showing up in the inbox.

The first question you need to ask yourself revolves around the marketing goals of your organization. Is your current contact list good enough, or are you aiming to grow and reach new segments of your audience that may or may not have different preferences when compared to your current membership?

From here, gauging the standard behavior of both your industry at-large and your current contact list specifically comes next. Taking cues from competitors, as well as the habits of your existing followers, goes a long way toward shaping and molding a responsive and effective schedule that covers both timing and the number of weekly or monthly messages.

On a similar line of thought, Zelm also suggests questioning the performance of your previous forays into the inbox. Looking into the habits of those around you does tell some of the story, but you’ll be hard pressed to find a better representation of email volume that resonates with your audience than your prior record of successes and failures.

Finally, don’t be afraid to talk about your targeting capabilities and prospects moving forward. Sitting down for an honest evaluation and asking the tough questions surrounding your current practices is far from easy, but this approach can help pave the way for future growth and positive gains. At the very least, doing this can offer up an insightful look into how further optimization and refinement can beneficially impact your current stance on email frequency and your email marketing methods in general.

Naturally, these five questions don’t cover every facet of the frequency debate. However, chances are you won’t find a better basis for the introspective look needed to begin working toward your ideal number of sent messages.

Adjust for External Factors

Outside of approaching the process from these numerous angles, Marketing Land’s Tom Sather also notes that it’s important to keep your stance on frequency flexible and adaptive – especially when it comes to outside factors. From holiday peaks and lulls to industry specific events, having a willingness to shift the number up or down keeps your campaigns in an optimal and effective position.

It might seem weird to think of your ideal frequency as a “shifting” or “fluid” number at first glance, but a quick run through a busy or slow season and its effects on your audience behavior can reinforce this notion in a hurry. The big key to hitting a home run on this front is to keep an eye out for anything that might fall into this category. The more cohesive and accurate your picture of email marketing frequency is, the more likely you are to avoid any pitfalls or hiccups that can damage the effectiveness of this campaign attribute.

Test, Test, and Test Again

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, is the advice offered up by David Moth of Econsultancy – test, test, and test some more as you work toward an ideal email frequency number. Tweaking the variables and testing different approaches is a time-consuming, effort intensive practice at times; no one can argue against this fact.

However, going above and beyond via testing opens your brand up to truly putting the pieces together when it comes to how often you should be sending messages. While other brands simply accept “good enough” in terms of frequency, this approach can vault your organization to the top of the inbox via proven practices and results. Considering how important getting things right with your email marketing campaign is to the viability of your digital presence, isn’t it worth going all in to figure out your ideal email frequency number?

 

summer_campaign

With the mercury rising to higher and higher levels in thermometers across the country and air conditioners running on full blast, there’s no denying that one thing is on everyone’s mind; summer is officially here. Unfortunately, plenty of brands out there fail to take note of this trending topic and continue along in the inbox with a “business as usual” mentality. To ensure your brand stands out this summer and doesn’t get lost in the flood of generic offerings coming from the competition, let’s talk about five of the best email marketing tips for your upcoming summer campaign.

Go Regional with Your Content

According to Practical Ecommerce’s Carolyn Nye, there’s no better place to start than with regionally relevant content. Naturally, this can be harder for the bigger brands to pull off, but if you’re able to integrate references and relevant information about local events, happenings, and other topics into your content, then you have an opportunity to really stand out and capture the attention of specific communities. Even if you don’t dig into highly specialized neighborhood happenings, simply covering citywide events and other outings in a particular area can help keep the goodwill flowing into your brand image.

Talk about Summer Behavior

Similarly, there’s also the concept of tailoring your overarching content tone toward a more “summer-oriented” style and direction. Discussing gardening, getting ready for the beach, or any other seasonal behavior might seem a little out of place at first, but this approach falls right in line with a sound email marketing strategy.

It’s important to keep in mind that not everything you send out to your contact list members has to be related to a product or service. Sometimes, it’s okay to take a moment and talk about something – in this case, summer activities – that’s both relevant and interesting to your audience.

“Christmas in July”

Nye also suggests utilizing the “Christmas in July” tactic as part of your summer email marketing initiative. It might seem a little awkward at first, but creating a sense of urgency for the holiday season now is both effective and engaging; if you’re able to pull it off properly.

Essentially, a Christmas in July email campaign or sale needs to hit on two key points – encouraging the consumer to start holiday shopping early and offering real value to incentivize the process. If you’re not able to hit on these aspects of the process, then don’t be surprised when even the most well-crafted summer email content falls flat on its face.

Offer up a Seasonal Giveaway

If you’re not looking to run a sale, but rather generate some excitement via a giveaway or contest, Jonha Revesencio of The Huffington Post points out that the summer season offers up the perfect timing for this tactic. A surefire way to win big on this front is by blending in practicality to the process.

As Revesencio goes on to explain, people can really appreciate offerings that fill a practical need during these hot summer months. Even if your organization doesn’t offer up a product or service that fits in line with this mentality, that doesn’t mean that branded sandals, sunglasses, and other giveaways can’t fill this void.

Give Summer Tips and Health Advice

Finally, if you’re all out of other ideas, don’t be afraid to send out an email that’s a little more educational in orientation. The rising temperature comes with plenty of perils, so a simple and straightforward tips and advice edition of your weekly brand newsletter can go a long way toward keeping your audience informed and safe.

Whether you cover information regarding sun safety and extreme weather warnings, or simply decide to focus on lawn-care advice and other relevant summer discussions, setting aside the promotional content for a day is a powerful and effective tool for bonding with your valued following. The best part is that this tactic extends to other seasons as well, so you’ll never have to worry about coming up with something to write about when the fall, winter, and spring months pop up on the calendar.

At the end of the day, staying seasonally relevant – especially during these hot summer months – is all about finding new ways to transfer value to your audience. This basic premise is the guiding light behind email marketing, so finding creative ways to incorporate summer and other major yearly events into your campaign approach ensures that you’ll always be relevant and engaging.

 

behavioral_segmentation

As crazy as it sounds, there are some voices from around the web that would have you believe email marketing needs saving. Specifically, these experts point to behavioral segmentation and its applications as the prime source of resurgence and renewed power behind this practice. To see if these claims actually hold any weight, let’s take a moment to delve into the basic argument supporting the unappreciated impact of behavioral segmentation.

What Is Behavioral Segmentation?

Naturally, a lot of the importance of this discussion is lost in translation if you’re not exactly up to date on the finer points of this process. To help get you back up to speed, the consulting experts over at MBA & Company explain that behavioral segmentation is essentially a more focused subset of traditional segmentation tactics.

Instead of relying upon standard data – like age, location, gender, etc. – this form of segmentation seeks to go beyond and answer the “how” and “why” of your connection with a certain audience. The influence of special occasions, benefits offered, consumer loyalty, and usage rate of digital tools all serve as excellent examples of behavioral metrics. The overarching point here is that to truly understanding the people that relate to your brand, it’s important to go beyond the basic statistics and data.

The Claim Behind Email Marketing’s Savior

At this point, we know the truth about the particulars of behavioral segmentation, so it’s time to answer the big question – did this practice really save email marketing? According to Bryan Gudmundson of Business 2 Community, the answer is an unequivocal “yes.”

Gudmundson posits that behavioral segmentation is the key to dispelling the oft repeated mantra of “email is dead!” By combining an analytical approach with life and environmental cues, this method stands to generate a substantial jump forward in the effectiveness and productivity of the average email campaign.

Getting down to the Truth

Of course, the only problem with this viewpoint is the misguided notion that email marketing needed saving in the first place. While behavioral marketing can definitely add a new and powerful layer to your next campaign, it’s not the “last hope” for this method of reaching out to consumers. In fact, email marketing continues to stand as the hottest digital marketing practice around.

For instance, Marketing Land’s Amy Gesenhues points out that the last quarter of 2014 saw a 70 percent jump in mobile email conversions over the same timeframe last year. Digging a little deeper, this represents a 40 percent climb in click-to-open rates and a total increase of 10 percent in the overall number of email clicks across a 12 month span. Simply put, there’s plenty of innovations that contribute to the growth of email marketing – like behavioral segmentation – but that doesn’t mean that this practice is even close to falling into the realm of digital obscurity.

Leveraging the Power of Behavioral Segmentation for Your Brand

Now that you know that email marketing is just fine, but powerful assets like behavioral segmentation can take your campaign to greater heights, let’s talk a little bit about how best to leverage the inherent benefits held within this process. As David Kirkpatrick of the Marketing Sherpa blog explains, it all starts with utilizing your existing behavioral data and building a solid foundation for the application of your segmentation techniques. Any information that helps point to how readers react – either positively or negatively – to your content is right in line with this approach.

From here, Kirkpatrick notes that mining social data can help fill in the gaps significantly. People share more about themselves online than ever before, so why not make use of this public information to bolster your understanding of what these individuals desire in high quality email content?

Once you’ve hit this point, Liga Bizune of the Marketing Profs suggests testing the waters with differing content and email tactics. For instance, firing off an offer for alternative, educational content to readers who open your email, but don’t accept your call-to-action is a strong tactic for enhancing interaction with the less active portions of your viewership.

The main idea behind all of this discussion is to find ways to grow and support your relationship with the person on the other side of the screen. People are more than just numbers, so it makes sense to go beyond the basic data and start truly answering questions about who these readers are and why they do the things they do. When paired with the rest of what you know about modern email marketing best practices, it won’t be long before this greater understanding leads to a much better showing in the inbox.

 

CASL_Checkup

With the one year anniversary of Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL) almost here, there’s plenty of questions floating around in the email marketing community. Did CASL work, or is spam still a problem? Should I still be worried about any compliance issues? What’s the next step in the fight against spam? To help you sift through this conversation and learn more about the past, present, and future of Canada’s fight against spam email marketing practices, let’s take a minute to check in on the status of CASL and its position in the current marketplace.

Delving into the Impact of CASL on Spammers

Now that we have almost a year’s worth of data on the books, it’s only logical for the discussion to turn to the raw effectiveness of the anti-spam strategy. According to the experts over at the SPAMfighter blog, the answer to this question falls firmly into the “success” designation. After the law went live on July 1st, 2014, spam originating in Canada fell an astounding 37 percent. Even more impressive is the fact that this number continues to dip as more and more offenders are brought to justice or change to more transparent and acceptable tactics.

Unfortunately, CASL still hasn’t alleviated all of the issues related to spam emails. As the team at SPAMfighter go on to explain, inbound spam from Russia, the United States, and other foreign locations continue to be an issue. However, regulators and officials continue to seek out punishment for those abroad, potentially setting a new precedent for handling international spam complaints that affect consumers here in Canada.

What about Those on the Right Side of the Law?

Of course with such a harsh crackdown on spammers serving as the leading image of the CASL movement, it makes sense to assume that properly handling email campaigns has also become a more demanding affair. Thankfully, IT World Canada’s Jeff Jedras offers up some research that dispels this myth and helps prove that generating buzz in the inbox under CASL guidelines is still a viable strategy.

Specifically, Jedras notes that over 70 percent of Canadian small organizations have continued on with business as usual, and at least nine percent have increased their operations during this year-long period of CASL application. Even list sizes have remained largely unchanged as consumers continue to have access to consistent opt-out opportunities.

The moral of the story here is clear; if you play by the rules, CASL and its enforcers have no need to step in and stop you and your audience from reaping the rewards of this mutually beneficial relationship.

Making a Better Inbox Experience for Consumers

As for the person on the other side of the screen, Elyse Dupre of Direct Marketing News points out that there’s never been a better time for Canadian consumers in the inbox. Despite the concerns faced by brands and marketers over the implementation of CASL compliance, the average Canadian shopper has hardly noticed a change in the email marketing process or their desire to continue receiving this kind of content.

With the average viewer spending about 1.2 hours in their inbox a day – and 68 percent of all shoppers listing email offers as their favorite form of outreach – it’s safe to say that CASL has done little to damage the relationship between eager members of the contact list and the participating brand. In fact, it wouldn’t be all that much of a surprise if the continued drop in spam offenders helps push the demand for authentic, valuable email offers to newer and greater heights.

Keep Your Brand on Track for Email Marketing Success

So now that you’re all caught up on the current status of CASL, what’s next for your brand? The answer to this question revolves around your goals and aspirations for the future. Are you interested in expanding your email operations and reaching out to new audiences? What if this is your first time reading about email marketing and you’re looking to capture sales that would otherwise go unrealized? Regardless of where you currently fit into the process, it’s safe to say that as long as you play by the rules, there’s nothing that can stop your brand from truly making a mark in the inbox with effective and sound email content.

If you’d like to learn more about CASL compliance and advice for staying on the right side of this law, feel free to check out our CASL Survival Guide, expert analysis from our CEO, Robert Burko, and additional coverage.

 

email_vs_Social

If there’s one thing you can count on in the digital world, it’s that most communities on the Internet love a good argument. When it comes to weighing the merits of email marketing and social media against one another, this adage holds strong with endless debates promoting both sides of the discussion. Unfortunately, for brands that are trying to fit both of these processes into an optimized and streamlined marketing strategy, this constant arguing doesn’t come close to answering the big question on everyone’s mind – which path is better for your company? To answer this dilemma once and for all, and ensure you’re not wasting a single dollar of your digital marketing budget, let’s delve into the benefits of both email marketing and social media management to see which one comes out on top.

The Power of Social Media

Since we primarily deal with email marketing, let’s start off with the challenger to the throne, social media. As marketing expert Jeff Bullas explains on his personal blog, there’s plenty that social media management has going for itself in terms of reach and potential benefits. For starters, there are currently over 2 billion active social media accounts on the web.

If you’re looking to dig a little deeper, this equates to a daily total of 4.5 billion likes on Facebook, 500 million tweets on Twitter, 70 million photo uploads to Instagram. Google+ also has an astounding 5 billion +1 button hits in this same time-frame. Needless to say, in terms of activity, it’s hard to deny that the world of social media is virtually humming with prospective clients and other interested parties.

Making the Case for Email Marketing

Of course, email marketing has plenty going for itself as well. In his look at the virtues of reaching out via the inbox, Stewart Rogers of Venture Beat points out that some sectors of this approach – namely mid-size businesses – enjoy an average return on investment of around 246 percent on the initial cost that goes into email marketing. For the smaller and enterprise-level businesses out there, these statistic still hits a more than impressive level of 183 and 117 percent, respectively.  As Rogers so eloquently puts it, email marketing is still the king when it comes to sheer impact, even if social media is a more expansive platform.

Which One’s Better for Your Brand?

So with this knowledge on hand now, it’s time to drop your social accounts and go all in on email marketing, right? While this kneejerk reaction seems right, Business 2 Community’s K.C. Claveria explains that it’s not exactly the best way to approach the situation.

Yes, email marketing offers up the biggest bang for your buck. In fact, Claveria points out that it should stand as the centerpiece of your digital strategy if you’re truly looking to maximize your impact with potential clients and consumers. However, email marketing operations truly thrive when you nurture and support these campaigns via secondary methods – like proper social media management.

Moving Forward with a Smart Plan

In order to get the most out of these two complementary outreach tools, it’s time to rethink your take on the discussion. Instead of worrying about which one is best, try to focus on promoting both platforms to the best of your abilities. As Pamella Neely of Web Marketing Today suggests, this all starts with finding simple and effective ways to integrate social media with your greater email marketing plans.

For instance, finding common ground between your inbox and social consumer segments can serve as the impetus for developing content for both groups. Once you have these offerings in hand, don’t be shy about letting each branch of your online community know that access to other similar selections can be had by joining the opposite platform. Acknowledging both outreach methods via your blog keeps this newly integrated trend moving in the right direction.

Additionally, you can also incorporate social share buttons on your email content as a way to help the truly stellar messages go viral with new online audiences. Even doing something as simple as using Facebook’s built-in opt-in feature can drive more traffic to your email contact list.

The big point to take away here is that as long as you’re willing to explore new territory, there’s no reason why you can’t bolster the reach of your inbox initiatives with the support of savvy social management practices. Considering how important both are to your digital prospects, it’s easy to see why getting behind these approaches can do wonders for your connection to the consumers that matter most.

© 2013 Elite Email Inc. Blog Admin