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While it might be a touchy subject for some, the truth is that staying completely engaged and excited when operating an email marketing campaign can be a tall order. Combining the grinding nature of coming up with new content that piques consumer interest with the hurdles that come from finding balance between your web page content and marketed emails is enough to wear anyone down. With that in mind, if you feel like your messages and overall marketing approach could use a little pick-me-up, here are five simple ways to find new inspiration as you continue to offer great content to your audience members.

Stay In Touch with Industry Oriented LinkedIn Groups

First up on the list is industry groups found on LinkedIn. While this option focuses a little more on brands that deal with B2B marketing practices, with a little digging and some time spent sifting through the plethora of LinkedIn groups, this practice can help any email campaign find new options for upcoming inbox offerings. What makes this concept so powerful is that point of these groups is to promote discussion on hot-button topics that relate to your audience. After brushing up on the latest conversations happening in these groups, you can summarize the content or incorporate snippets into your emails, adding recognizable or reputable voices to your high quality content that really resonate with your readers.

Look to Support Forums for Hot Topics

Similarly, if your offerings and services aim to assist or improve a daily task or related item, checking out support forums related to the original product is a great way to figure out what the customer wants or needs in top tier email content. By browsing these forum pages, you’ll learn more about the latest issues your customers are dealing with, creating easy ideas for blog posts or any other offerings you promote via marketed messages. Sure, some of the language might be a little salty if the problem is especially frustrating, but there are few places better than support forums to find out what really interests your email audience.

Check In on Pinterest for New Design Ideas

Much like LinkedIn, Pinterest is one of the social networks that get lost in the shadows of Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. However, if your brand isn’t keeping up with all the latest talk and pins on this image-based network, you could be missing out on some serious inspiration for new message content. Whether it’s browsing some of the most popular email marketing boards on Pinterest, or getting a little more specific by following the site’s most popular users that pin relevant content, this network has ample opportunities for providing direction if you need some new ideas. Even if it’s just seeing a new font you like for your blog or email headers, spending a little time browsing isn’t only fun, it’s also a great way to look at the marketing process from a variety of different angles.

Follow Along with Breaking Industry News

Of course, the biggest pitfall surrounding marketing of any kind is simply defaulting to the generic, and tired, content offerings that flood the web. For most brands, it’s clearly easier to write up boring email messages, blog articles, or social media posts that list “duh” knowledge at nauseam. Unfortunately, following this path of least resistance isn’t the best way to knock the socks off of your readers in the inbox or on your website. If you really want to generate content that supports your deals or simply gets your readers to come check out more on your blog, keeping up with the latest news in your industry is a must. Not only will this enhance your perspective for other aspects of your business, it also provides added insight and a well-researched background that helps you pack a little extra punch when you’re trying to make a point in your marketed messages.

Create Promotions That Focus on Blog Interaction

The final way to find new inspiration for your email marketing content is to just listen to your readers. While this might seem like common sense to take your cues straight from the source of your web traffic, actually getting in touch with these viewers is generally easier said than done. To help you revitalize your blog comment section and get the discussion rolling with your audience, consider creating an email promotion that rewards users that interact on your site; it’s no surprise that most web viewers love freebies and giveaways. This way, your brand not only generates some extra traffic and keeps customers excited, but it can also lay the foundation for future content ideas by watching the discussion evolve around what your audience finds most important.

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Sometimes, even the best sales pitch in the world falls on deaf ears. It’s not that there’s anything inherently wrong with traditional email marketing methods; there are just certain customers who put more stock in the words of their peers than the brands that spend big bucks on advertising. However, there is one tool – the customer testimonial – that bridges this gap by letting your satisfied customers spread the good word about your products and services. To ensure you pull this technique off just right the next time you roll out a new set of promotional emails, here’s everything you need to know about testimonials and how they fit into your marketing strategy.

Understanding the Benefits of Testimonials

Before getting into the “how,” let’s look at why testimonials can be so powerful. To start, few things can assuage the concerns of a buyer on the fence more than having someone who has already interacted with your company rave about how great your service or your products are. On top of this, firsthand knowledge of how to get the most use out of what you’re selling helps cut down on the uncertainty found in new buyers. Perhaps the best part about the testimonial approach is that when done right, these additions to your marketed emails don’t come off as “salesy.” For discerning viewers who are tired of blatant advertising tactics, honing in on this aspect can go a long way toward building a lasting connection.

Staying on the Right Side of the Legal Line

Unfortunately, some brands go a little too far when leaving the company voice behind while letting happy customers take the lead, creating both moral and legal issues. To keep your company out of hot water and in the good graces of your customers, there’s a few things you need to avoid at all costs. First off, don’t mislead your customers with vague or overtly false testimonials. If it ever comes to light that you’re pulling a fast one on your audience, you could do some serious and lasting damage to your brand image. Also, disclosing any relationships or affiliations with the customers profiled in your emails – like former employees or family members of current workers – should be a high priority, to avoid questions regarding conflicts of interest. Finally, if you’re pulling anything from an online review on Google+, Yelp, or another open source, it’s better to go overboard with the citation than come up short and find yourself in the sticky situation of using content without express permission.

Getting the Most out of Your Testimonials

Once you have all your ducks in a row as far as the legal stuff’s concerned, you can jump into the fun part of actually building a great testimonial to feature in your next email series. As you harvest customer feedback and start sorting through the responses, keep an eye out for short quotes that are snappy and easy to read. While having a devoted customer write a novel espousing the benefits of your products is definitely nice, the average browser isn’t going to sit around and sift through page after page of review. Additionally, try and pick testimonials that match up with your target audience; having a customer that fits into this demographic can help readers relate and connect with the person giving the review.

A testimonial that addresses specific problems or concerns your customers might be facing is another great way to build the case for your products and services. If possible, presenting this content in a “before and after” shell is a smart approach that hammers home the need for your offerings and how the customer can get the most value out of this purchase. Once you have the ball rolling, don’t rest on your laurels. Keeping a steady stream of new and updated testimonials can build content for your site and create additional reach via repurposing on your social media accounts.

There’s Room for Creativity Too!

Of course, the best part about setting up a run of testimonials for your email marketing operations is that there is no cookie cutter format for what turns audiences on. If you want to spice things up with a YouTube channel dedicated to these reviews and demonstrations, there’s nothing stopping you. Additionally, weaving in social media interaction by asking customers to post their own reviews on your company’s Facebook or Google+ pages is another simple tactic to get a little added value out of this marketing push. As long as you stay on the right side of the process, the sky is literally the limit for where your testimonials can take your brand.

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At this point, you know that a good email or SMS campaign goes hand in hand with social media. Few one-two punches even come close to the kind of power this duo packs. However, are your only options really Facebook, Google+, and Twitter? While the “Big Three” might be the first that come to mind when you think of reaching out to fans on social media, the truth about your other options – and the stats backing up these claims – might surprise you. With this in mind, let’s take a look at how Instagram can compliment a strong SMS or Email marketing campaign, sending your brand influence through the roof.

The Power of Instagram

Before going any further, you’re probably wondering why anyone would dare to put Instagram in the same category as Facebook or the other leading networks. However, the truth is that Instagram is in a league of its own when it comes to making contact with customers. According to a recent report from marketing research firm Forrester, Instagram delivered 58 times more engagement for brands per follower than Facebook, and 120 times more engagement per follower than Twitter. To put it plainly, these two leading names aren’t even close when it comes to actually connecting and interacting with your audience.

For a little extra context, the report showcases a video posted by Red Bull, which received 2,600 likes on Facebook. Not bad, right? While that kind of engagement is nothing to scoff at, it definitely pales in comparison to the 36,000 likes the same video received on Instagram. In total, six of the seven platforms studied reported engagement rates below .1 percent, with Instagram easily outpaced the field, taking the lead at 4.21 percent.

Going Beyond Stats

While the stats are definitely eye-popping, the real power of this visually oriented social network is the ability to actually engage customers in a meaningful and interactive way. Instead of tired, generic posts that so many brands rely upon when posting to Facebook or Twitter, sharing on Instagram lets you express your brand image, story, and content in a more engaging and visually pleasing manner. This unique method of getting in contact with your customers is what truly makes connecting via Instagram so powerful. While generating high quality graphic content that relates to your latest round of email or SMS messages, or brand in general, might take a little extra work, the numbers don’t lie regarding how your audience responds to this kind of engagement.

Building an Instagram Strategy

So now that you’re up to speed with what you have to gain by incorporating Instagram into your social media game plan, it’s time to take a look at how to fit this network into your next campaign. To start, take advantage of the full service profile features to give your customers an idea of what your brand is all about. Much like Twitter and Facebook, incomplete profile information doesn’t come off as very professional, so make sure you give your audience all they need to know (and then some) to ensure they have the complete picture regarding your brand.

From here, engaging your customers with fun events and activities is a great way to drum up interest in your brand and even score some extra numbers and addresses for your contact lists. Offering contests that require user submissions, as well as featuring these members of your audience on a regular basis, can go a long way toward building a significant brand following on Instagram. Even doing something as simple as showing off a promo code you’d normally use for your email or SMS marketing initiatives every once in a while can give members of the network all the incentive they need to make stopping by your profile and checking out your latest uploads a part of their daily routine.

Looking to the Future

Of course, the biggest question surrounding a platform like Instagram is the concern that it is just a passing fad. While the likes of MySpace, Friendster, etc. all tell a cautionary tale about the viability of social networks, the fact that over 90 percent of Instagram’s 150 million (and growing) users are under the age of 35 bodes well for the long-term prospects of brand’s that plan on utilizing this platform in upcoming campaigns. Adding in that the mobile technology revolution is going nowhere anytime soon, it’s pretty safe to say that Instagram should definitely have at least a complimentary spot in your email and SMS initiatives for a long time to come.

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Even with Canada’s housing market showing some serious signs of continued growth, making your way through the real estate industry isn’t exactly a walk in the park. With so many other agents and firms vying for the same limited number of potential new homeowners, doing everything you can to get the upper hand and get your message out to the masses is always a top priority. With this in mind, let’s look at how exactly a smart SMS marketing campaign can breathe new life into your real estate sales efforts.

It’s Never a Bad Thing to Build an Inexpensive, Reusable Database

The focus of any marketing initiative is to find a cost effective, powerful way of making connections with customers – all on a budget that can be pretty tight at times. While other forms of marketing definitely have their perks, few options are as cost effective as connecting via SMS. Aside from taking it easy on a budget, having these numbers in your contact list gives you the chance to incorporate a reusable database of potentially interested buyers into each new home sale, adding lasting value to an approach that already rewards you getting ahead of the curve in the first place.

It’s Hard to Ignore a Text Message

Think back to all the times you called a prospective buyer to talk with them about a new house and they didn’t even bother to pick up. While some agents might just tell you that it’s part of the business and not to take it personally, the reality is that people can’t help but open their messages, giving you that much needed first contact to get your message out and intrigue your audience. In fact, those who receive these messages open it 98 percent of time, proving that at the very least, you can count on your message popping up on the screen and in front of their eyes at least once; which is more than you can say about some of your other marketing options.

SMS Campaigns Fit the Real Estate Cycle Perfectly

At times, closing the deal on house feels like a whirlwind affair. In just a few days, you’re sitting across from the happy new homeowners, signing the papers and looking forward to when your commission check clears the bank. However, plenty of other sales take weeks and weeks to finally wrap up. You probably already know that the key to closing deals with shoppers on the fence is consistent, reliable communication – falling out of contact for even a few days could shut the door permanently on this sale, sending you back to the drawing board for the house in question.

By working in SMS marketing to your approach, you not only have a better chance at making initial contact with your list of interested buyers, but you can also create a steady stream of communications over the following days and weeks. This is primarily due to the fact that mobile users check their phones 150 times a day and rarely spend time away from these devices. As you continue to hammer out the particulars with your potential buyer, having a reliable and consistent channel of communication ensures you never fall off the radar once they open up that first promotional message.

Regardless of Your Business, SMS Marketing is Just Plain Powerful

Perhaps the biggest way SMS marketing can pump up your real estate sales is the same reason that this type of marketing is good for pretty much any business; it is one of the most effective strategies out there. With most campaigns holding opt-out rates that stay below 5 percent, as well as the fact that 70 percent of people like to receive promotional information via text, it is hard to look the other way when the time comes to talk about reaching out via SMS. Of course, building your list does require some legwork, but once you get the ball rolling, there’s no denying the power of going mobile with your marketing.

Beefing up Your Strategy with Smart Tactics

For agencies that already have a similar email campaign underway, getting new numbers for your contact list, and gaining momentum the next time you put a house up on the market, becomes significantly easier. However, simply knowing the how strong this process is, doesn’t mean it automatically sets itself up.  Doing simple things like adding a sign-up sheet at your next open house will have you well on your way to turning these messages into happy customers and a happier bottom line.

In fact, one of the best ways to go the extra mile with your audience is to have a mobile site that showcases all of your listings, while also making it accessible via a simple text code. This system will obviously generate you some pretty hot leads with customers who are clearly interested in your current properties, in addition to the fact that keeping track of their numbers and the keyword used to pull up your text description and mobile site, lets you know what really resonates with customers. With this info in hand, you have all the tools you need to constantly optimize your automated messages. Of course, you’ll still need to ask for permission before firing off additional texts, but considering the interest you’re generating with this tactic, chances are you’ll fair pretty well in this part of the process.

The Final Verdict

At this point, it’s pretty easy to see that SMS messages are a great addition to the marketing strategy you already have in place to help turn vacant houses into new homes for people in your area. For any realtor that’s really looking to make a mark on his or her audience, the choice is simple. With the right tools on your side, as well as the right approach, there’s nothing stopping your agency from growing an eager base of customers who can’t wait to hear from you the next time a beautiful home hits the market.

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By now, you know that email marketing and social media are two peas in a pod when it comes to reaching out to your audience. Whether it’s one of the countless marketing blogs out there telling you how great these two are together or your own personal experience doing a little brand promotion work, it’s not exactly the best kept secret in the industry. However, what plenty of talking heads fail to cover is exactly how you can put this connection to good use and grow your email contact list without a lot of extra effort. Thankfully, all you need to do is take a few minutes and look over these must see tips to get the ball rolling on your next big email marketing push.

Use Facebook’s Built-in Apps to Make an Email Opt-in Form (and Don’t Forget to Promote It!)

One of the absolute best synergies between social media and email marketing comes from the biggest social platform in the world. As part of its extensive app library, Facebook gives your brand the opportunity to setup an email opt-in form right on your page. While this might not seem like much, think back to the last time you were browsing a page and had to click an external link to check out an article or sign-up for something; chances are you probably just kept scrolling down because you didn’t want to leave the Facebook page or app on your phone. Your customers have the same mindset, so make it easy on them with a sign-up sheet that keeps them on Facebook. Once you have it up and running, don’t forget to post about it so that it pops up in their newsfeeds.

Each Social Site Deserves a Little Extra Attention

In a world where everything is automated and lumped together for convenience, it’s easy to be lazy and approach your social media engagement in broad and generic strokes. So many platforms give you the ability to post to all sites at once, so why not do this and save a little time? While this sounds good at first, the reality is that different people prefer different networks, so using the same method to promote your list across all of them isn’t your best bet.

Much like your email templates that have links and icons for each network you post on, instead of just one option, your promotional messages should also mix things up to entice different portions of your audience. While this does mean that you’ll need to test and tweak the different parts of your posts to see what Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc. viewers like, the sign-ups you get in return will make you happy you didn’t take the easy way out and just click “post to all.”

Free Stuff Is a Great Motivator

If after all this you’re still having trouble with sagging contact list numbers, don’t be afraid to do start handing out some freebies. While you might not want to make this your go to plan, it doesn’t hurt to have some giveaway ideas in store for the times when you need to inject some new life into your audience’s enthusiasm. After all, nothing gets the online crowd buzzing more than a post offering goodies or discounts to those who take a minute to sign-up. If you really want to go deep on this strategy, adding in a small bonus for those who like or retweet your offer will have it popping up on potential new customer newsfeeds in no time.

Give Your Users a Chance to Sound off

With the rest of the tips on this list focusing on how you can make the sign-up experience enticing for customers, this one shifts the balance of power in the other direction a little bit. Customers love giving feedback, so why not give them a chance to speak their minds and let your brand know exactly what they like and dislike about your email campaigns. It doesn’t have to be an open Facebook post or Google+ community discussion, but linking back to feedback forms and customer support email accounts on your social media pages offers a direct line to the people you’re trying to connect in the first place.

Don’t Forget the Secondary Networks

The final tip that can really grow your email list doesn’t have anything to do with Facebook or Twitter. While these guys are definitely the top dogs when it comes to social media, that doesn’t mean they are the only players in the game. Working with Pinterest, LinkedIn, and the other up and coming platforms can help you tap into a user base that might not connect very often on the bigger networks. Additionally, getting creative and doing things like saving your email offers as pins on Pinterest can help push your brand image ahead of the competition. When it comes to email marketing and social media, isn’t that where you want to be with your audience?

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For the regular readers of this blog and pretty much any other site that covers email marketing, you probably see a ton of discussion regarding social media – and for good reason. While emails are still your best bet for generating leads and hammering out sales, there’s a ton of overlap between this marketing approach and getting friendly with your email list and other potential customers, especially on Facebook. With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of this synergy and how you can best retool your company’s Facebook account to supercharge your next email marketing campaign.

Everyone Loves Being Liked

The first entry on the list is pretty straightforward, but highly effective. By simply having a “like” button in the bottom of your email messages, you give your list members a fast and easy way to share your content and let it go viral. With so many social groups looking to show off great deals, it only makes sense that you give them the tools to do this with a simple click. From here, others who might never have known about your email list can jump on the bandwagon and get your daily or weekly offers in their inboxes going forward. In short, it’s a simple addition to your message that goes a long way with customers who love being social on the web.

Learning More about Those Already on Your List

Outside of having your email list show off your deals by liking and sharing your latest message, you can dig a little deeper with Facebook and learn more about your target audience. With so much information being made publicly available via this social network, your company can compare its mailing list with what these customers like and which social communities they’re a part of. Even just a few years ago, this type of insight into what your audience likes and wants was pretty much unheard of. However, with this information in hand, you can reshape and rework your email marketing operations to give them what they really want and boost conversions in a big way at the same time.

Timing’s Everything on Any Platform

It’s funny how some things, regardless of the platform, never change. When it comes to email marketing and posting on Facebook – or any other social network – timing is at the top of this list. If you’ve taken the steps to learn as much as possible about your target audience, then you should have a pretty solid idea of how and when they like their messages. If not, that’s OK too. By fiddling with when you schedule posts on Facebook and keeping track of which offerings blow up and which ones fizzle out, you’ll learn a lot about timing and your audience. From here, putting those test results to good use by optimizing your email messaging schedule is a nifty little trick that can help you sneak in a few extra conversions that might have otherwise have gone by the wayside because of bad timing.

Having a Little Fun

Of course, the synergy between email marketing and Facebook that your fans will like the most is letting them have a little fun. At first glance, you might be wondering how this is even possible. However, simply opening up a browser window with your own Facebook page and looking at your newsfeed will answer this pretty quickly. If you’re page is like most of the rest of ours, you’ll notice that everyone’s filling out quizzes and surveys for pretty much anything. From TV shows to the latest Internet trends, surveys asking “which character are you most like” and a variety of other topics are a major part of the Facebook social experience these days – and there’s no reason your brand shouldn’t get in on the fun.

By having links to your own Facebook surveys, quizzes, and even contests in your emails, you’ll not only engage your audience a little more by letting them have some fun filling these out, but you’ll also learn a lot about what makes them tick. When it comes to maximizing sales and exposure on any part of the web, this kind of insight and interaction should be a top priority for any brand that’s serious about getting the most out of social media and email marketing.

Give Your Viewers a Reason to Share

The final entry on the list is more of a mantra than a specific tip. While all the other synergies we’ve covered have been pretty specific, the biggest thing to remember, regardless of what you decide to do with your company’s Facebook page and email marketing campaign, is to give your audience a reason to share your content. No matter what direction you go, keep this ideal at the forefront of your strategy and you’ll be sure to hit a home run with the social butterflies that make up your audience the next time you roll out a new campaign.

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Sometimes we let the discussion on this blog get a little too meta, covering topics and reports that assume you have years of experience in the email marketing business. However, if you’re just looking for something a little more introductory to get your feet wet before taking the plunge into a full-on campaign centered around emailing interested customers, we’ve got you covered. With the help of a great study on the subject, as well as a few other resources that offer some seriously potent insight, you can get up to speed in no time and see just how important email marketing is to your brand awareness.

Content

The first pillar, which also happens to be the most obvious, focuses on what your message actually says to the reader. Of course, shooting off an email that makes you and your customers sound like old pals getting back in touch – all while sneaking in a sales pitch – is easier said than done. Thankfully, there are a few simple tips that can help get your message across and beef up your email content in a big way.

To start, give your readers something they actually want. Is your newsletter just thinly veiled product links and descriptions? Chances are you’re not going to get very far with that kind of approach. Instead, tie your offerings into things that relate to your reader’s daily life if possible. Making things fun and conversational never hurts either – but more on that in just a little bit. Perhaps the biggest way to make great content is to make your message scalable by the viewer. Your audience is just as busy as you are, so make it simple for them and put an emphasis on the big points. From there, they can go the extra step and read a little deeper if you caught their attention.

Personalization

Getting back to that whole conversational thing brings us to the second pillar – personalization. If you can swing this one, expect open rates to jump by 29 percent when compared to the standard mass message approach. Just remember that personalizing your messages and adding a conversational tone can go wrong in a big way if you don’t know what you’re doing. If you want to avoid coming off like a creep, don’t go overboard with the name dropping. While it might seem like a great idea to have your emails insert the viewer’s name for “X” throughout the message, all you’re doing is making what could be a great newsletter or promo turn into the most awkward email your audience members have ever opened. That’s not a reputation you want attached to your brand no matter how good your prices are.

Segmentation

Last, but not least, is matching up your messages with the right audience at the right time. This process, called segmentation, looks pretty complex at first glance, but is a breeze once you set your mailing list forms up right. Basically, think back to any form you’ve filled out recently online. While it might not have meant much to you to tell the site your gender, location, and any other vanilla info, this stuff goes a long way when splitting up your audience into little groups. Digging a little deeper and asking simple questions related to your business gives you all the knobs and levers you need to push out your various emails to the right screens at the perfect time.

In many ways, you can use this data to make personalizing your emails go beyond “Hi, (insert name here).” Think of it this way; if you sell car parts and ask for the type of vehicle on the subscriber form, you can drop in a little nod to the car by asking how it is in the email. For all the brand diehards out there, asking how the Chevy, Ford, etc. is running to kick off the email adds a nice little touch that can reel them in for the rest of the pitch.

Bringing It All Together

Naturally, these three pillars are just the beginning of email marketing. Just like anything else, once you’ve mastered the basics, there is always more you can add to go the extra mile. To hit the ground running though, you really can’t go wrong by hammering out great, personalized content that segments your audience into manageable, unique groups. From here, the sky’s the limit for where your email marketing campaign can go as you learn to tweak all the moving parts of the process and score a win with your target viewers.

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When it comes to your customers, you probably wish you had a way to read their minds and find out what they really want from a great marketing campaign. Unfortunately, the technology required to tap into personal thoughts isn’t quite on the market. Instead, you’ll have to rely on some more indirect, yet still effective methods to get the job done. At the top of this list is the email survey. With this tool in hand, your company can gain some serious insight into the inner workings of the collective conscious of your targeted audience – provided you go about the process in the correct manner. To make sure you get the most out of your survey, take a moment to look over some of the finer points of gauging consumer interest with this method.

Plan a Smart Survey

To start the process, look at what goes into an effective survey. According to Qualtrics, a data management and collection firm, a strong survey hits on four prime measurements via the compiled questions. Perceived quality, which helps define what the customer received, is the most important factor according to this firm. From here, gauging consumer loyalty – specifically if the customer would recommend your brand to friends and family – as well as the important details that led to their final decision on a purchase, come up next. Finally, checking for the potential for repeat business rounds out the process and gives you an idea of where your products and services currently stand with the shopper.

Get Creative with Your Survey

Once you have the basic question outline in hand, the next step in building a great customer survey to ship out after your email marketing campaign centers around engaging your reader’s curiosity and interests. While many companies understand the proper line of questioning to extract this information, they drop the ball with a dull and boring survey. To avoid having your email offering fall flat on its face, think about how you can spice up your survey to draw in the interest of the shopper.

Incorporating something fun, useful, or creative is the key to hammering this point home. For instance, look at a recent offering from online fashion boutique ModCloth. This design shop quickly realized that most of their customers probably weren’t that interested in a boring email that contained a generic marketing survey. Instead, the company repackaged this questionnaire into a fun and engaging style quiz that gathered the same information, but received a considerably larger amount of responses than what it expected from a typical survey. Naturally, tailoring this offering to your industry will require a little creative thinking. However, you can guarantee that your customers will take note of your hard work and reward you with this valuable information accordingly.

Ensure an Ongoing Process

Of course, a survey doesn’t do you much good if you simply roll it out once and waste the information you’ve gathered. With this in mind, Entrepreneur.com suggests that to get the most out of your email marketing and consumer survey approach, take action when you can. This means adjusting your offerings and services to boost consumer interest and letting these shoppers know you care about their opinions. A great way to do this is with a follow-up email detailing your company’s appreciation of their involvement and a description of upcoming changes and improvements to your products and services.

With all of this information on your side, rolling out a strong survey can give you all the tools you need to keep up with your targeted audience. To start, plan a survey that keys in on top concerns like consumer loyalty and the perceived quality of your products and services. Once you have this in hand, finding a fun or creative way of getting your message across can help you get more responses and help ensure that you keep your customers engaged and providing information as new iterations of your survey hit their inboxes.

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It is always interesting to get a pulse on what people are talking about.

Twitter has their trending topic (or you can check out Trendsmap), Google has Google Hot Trends, Yahoo has their Top Trends…. but what about the world of email marketing?

What is trendy enough to warrant  the coveted space in an organizations newsletter or email campaign?

All email marketers know that a more relevant email will produce greater engagement, and being plugged-in to trending topics is a great way to be right on point.

To answer that question, we did another monthly installment of our “Email Marketing Trends” report where we analyze millions of emails to see what topics bubble to the top.

For the purposes of this analysis we only focused on organizations based out of the USA and Canada. So, these are really North American email marketing trends.

The top 3 trends for the first 3 weeks of January 2013 were:

  1. Super Bowl & NFL Playoffs
  2. New Year’s Resolutions
  3. Golden Globes

This year we saw some really interesting football related promotions where the special or discount that went live was based on the outcome of an upcoming game. These campaigns produced excellent engagement because for people who wanted a certain “deal” it was almost as if they had bet on the game.

Also worth mentioning, although it’s not all that surprising, is that organizations in the health & wellness category (such as gyms, personal trainers, retailers of exercise equipment, etc) had a huge spike in sending volume in January. This definitely ties in with “New Year’s Resolution” trend. I know one of my resolutions was to go to the gym more……. let’s just say that hasn’t panned out!

Read our full press release online.

January 2013 Email Trends

 

The more targeted your list, the better your results. It’s that simple of a concept.

Some emails that you’ll send will target everyone, like a Holiday card or a ‘what’s new with us’ message.

However, in many cases your emails only need to be sent to a specific segment of your mailing list, and sending it to your entire list is not going to generate the results you’re hoping for.

If you send emails that are not pertaining to your contacts, you are taking the risk of them unsubscribing or marking it as spam.

Since those are obviously not the results you are striving for, taking this approach runs the risk of being counterproductive to your overall email marketing strategy.

By having segmented lists; either by products they buy, their gender, age, or even past promotions they’ve used, etc,  you will have a much better feel of how your campaigns are doing.

Even better, as you’re targeting just those people that will be interested, your engagement will be much higher and your ROI [Return on Investment] will be better than ever.

For example; if you own a clothing store and you’re having a sale on woman’s clothes, you may not want to send that email to your male customers. They may not understand why they received an email promoting the latest women fashions, and they may opt-out of your mailing list.

If that happens and then a month down the road you decide to have a sale on men’s clothes, you have now lost potential repeat customers because they previously unsubscribed.

On the flip side; if you only send the email to your female customers, you know everyone on the list will be interested, and you’ll see a much higher response rate.

In addition, since you only sent the email to your female customers, you haven’t alienated any of your male customers so they are ready to receive your next male-centric promotion.

By segmenting your lists and sending targeted emails, you’ll be essentially speaking directly to your customers with the right message that meets their needs, which will boost engagement and increase sales!

Within Elite Email you can create unlimited interest groups so you can segment your list is as many ways as you would like.

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