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

email_for_millennials

Developing content for your email marketing campaigns can sometimes feel like it requires a crystal ball or a lucky streak to get things right. This notion holds especially true if your ideal audience falls into that powerful rising segment of youthful consumers who have both particular tastes and a discerning eye for content. To help your brand capture the attention of these shoppers, and the substantial amount of spending power they bring to the digital world, let’s talk about some of the best ways to optimize your content with Millennials in mind.

Why Millennials Matter

Before delving into the particulars of this process, you’re probably wondering why exactly these people – born between 1982 and 2004 – matter so much to your company’s inbox prospects. According to Yahoo’s Ryan Jenkins, it all starts with the fact that the balance of power is constantly shifting toward this demographic when it comes to expendable income.

Specifically, Millennials stand to have the most spending power of any generation by 2018. Outside of this trend, the people that fall into this range also stand to account for a staggering $2.45 trillion in purchases by the end of this year. Finally, no other generation is as tethered to its mobile devices as the Millennials, meaning that brands who are trying to ride the wave of on-the-go mobile marketing must account for the influence garnered by this type of shopper.

Think Culturally

Now that you understand why the Millennials matter, it’s time to cover what these viewers are looking for in terms of inbox content. As Shea Bennett of Social Times explains, these consumers can’t get enough of content with a heavy cultural orientation. While other players in the world of email marketing are trying to jam overt promotions in front of the Millennials, your brand needs to “get with the times” if it wants to really generate some buzz.

Whether you highlight how your product is relevant to social trends or regional events and gatherings, the big key here is to tether your content to desirable happenings and movements. Simply throwing out an email that’s nothing more than a thinly-veiled “buy me now!” statement isn’t going to cut it with this group.

Keep Things Short and Sweet

As far as the length of your inbox offering goes, Bennett goes on to point out that brevity is a powerful ally when it comes to the Millennials. In fact, Bennett reports that two in five Millennials will simply abandon your content if they consider it too long or boring. Considering how much time and effort you put into developing these offerings, it’s safe to say that facing down an outcome such as this one falls firmly into the “disaster” category.

During your content optimization sessions, ask yourself the following question: “Would my son or daughter read this through to the end?” If the answer is anything other than a confident “yes,” it’s imperative that you head back to the drawing board and see if the message can’t be trimmed or edited down to a more desirable length.

Build with Mobile in Mind

Another strong tactic – this time from Entrepreneur magazine’s Eric Krattenstein – revolves around the concept of building with mobile devices in mind. As we covered earlier, no other generation relies on interacting with email marketing campaigns via mobile platforms as much as the Millennials, so creating accessible and refined content for these devices is a must.

Generating templates and email messages that offer up a responsive experience is a good start. However, if you really want to win on this front, you’ll need to constantly test the end user experience early and often across as many devices as possible.

Leverage Social Media as Much as Possible

Finally, Krattenstein notes that successful email marketing campaigns don’t just take place in the inbox. If you really want to squeeze out the maximum amount of value from these initiatives, then you need to get active on social media and jump right into the middle of relevant digital conversations.

Tweeting out interesting content, sharing your email messages via Facebook posts, and firing off sharable visuals on Instagram all make the cut. Naturally you’ll need to figure out which social networks matter most to your portion of the Millennial demographic pie, but the idea of the “more the merrier” definitely holds some weight in this strategy.

As you can see, building a strong relationship with the Millennials is both highly important and challenging if you’re not prepared for this journey. However, with this newfound knowledge guiding your way, there’s no reason why your brand can’t connect with these shoppers on a deep, meaningful, and lasting level.

 

h2h_email_campaign

By now, you’ve probably noticed a recurring theme regarding statistics, data, and analytics in a lot of the helpful content on this blog. Considering how important these tools are to the email marketing process, this revelation should come as no surprise. After all, everyone loves a good figure or stat that helps support an email marketing decision or change. However, there is a growing number of voices in the community that claim these cold and calculating tools aren’t the only way to enhance your inbox content development and optimization.

Breaking down the Concept of H2H Marketing

So if there’s more to creating a winning email strategy than just facts and figures, what’s the missing ingredient? According to Gabriel Villablanca of Direct Marketing News, what most brands don’t mix enough of into the campaign process is the “H2H” marketing element.

H2H – otherwise known as human to human – marketing is all about answering a few fundamental questions regarding your customers and leveraging the power that’s held within these queries. Who are these people that open and read your emails? What are their needs and desires? And how can your organization create an email marketing experience that develops a strong emotional bond with these consumers? If you can answer these questions, Villablanca suggests that it’s only a matter of time before your brand stands as a titan in the inbox.

Why Bother with This Method?

For those of you who think that blending the power of H2H marketing with your established consumer data sets sounds like a lot of work, you’re not wrong. However, despite the hurdles that come with this approach, the Content Marketing Institute’s Andrew Davis notes that sparking these meaningful connections with your audience is well worth the effort.

The big takeaway from Davis’ piece on the subject is that in today’s ultra-competitive digital world, every connection counts and anything that helps differentiate your brand is well worth the effort. Basically, standing out in the inbox today and capturing sales requires more than just standard sales pitches and promotional gimmicks.

Gauging Your Current H2H Capabilities

Of course, simply stating that you want your brand to take on a more human element and expecting to see results isn’t exactly a strong plan. To really get off on the right foot, it’s imperative that you gauge your current capabilities and content practices. Specifically, critiquing your active consumer personas and previous email marketing efforts make the cut on this front. By sitting down and engaging in a little introspection within these areas, you’ll not only garner a better understanding of any inherent H2H capabilities in your current campaign, but also generate a better understanding of what you need to do to get up to par with this approach.

Developing a Winning Strategy for Your Next Campaign

Aside from ensuring that you know who makes up your audience and whether or not you’ve sparked any sort of connection beforehand, Deanna Baisden of Social Media Today also points out that it’s important to know your role in the inbox. In terms of creating a more humanistic approach within your email content, Baisden highlights three key roles – the informant, the creative, and the entertainer.

As the names imply, each slant on the H2H process aims to fill a certain void in the inbox that hones in on a certain need or desire found within the audience. The informant uses the stories of others and real-life situations to help enlighten and educate the person on the other side of the screen. This relationship often comes across as slightly more formal than the other two.

Brands that fill the creative slot seek to inspire the inbox audience with content that shows unique or intriguing response to concerns or problems. For those that take on this role, thinking “outside the box” definitely takes a spot at center stage. As for the entertainer, this approach is all about engaging your viewers with high quality offerings that fit the specific interests of the group. Humor is usually a big player in most campaigns that follow this path.

Figuring out which role to take on requires quite a bit of soul-searching on behalf of your brand. However, with this information in hand, as well as the rest of what you’ve learned here today, there’s no reason why your company can’t navigate the sometimes tumultuous waters of the inbox and reap the rewards that come with adding a greater amount of H2H elements to your campaign practices.

 

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.

 

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?

 

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.

 

Never_a_good_Idea

While email marketing offers up some serious returns for your investment, there’s also one truth that plenty of members of the community have a hard time facing: Email marketing requires a hefty amount of work in order to do things right. In an effort to trim down on the workload that goes into building a list, some brands seek out and purchase established contact lists. Unfortunately, buying a list of addresses is far from a good call. To help explain this point – and provide your organization with a more efficient and effective alternative approach to growing a list – let’s dig into the numerous perils that come with acquiring an already developed inbox audience.

Most Lists Aren’t High Quality

In order to properly explain why purchasing an email list is never a good idea, it’s important to impart one clear, concise fact about this process to you and the rest of the readers browsing this article – most lists for sale are bad. As Kate Harrison of Forbes magazine points out, there’s a reason that the owners of these lists generally aren’t too sad about letting such an asset walk out the front door. From poor open rates to an overabundance of abandoned addresses or spam accounts, the vast majority of purchased lists simply just don’t offer much.

Big Brother Doesn’t Condone This Activity

Additionally, Harrison goes on to explain that with the advent of tighter regulations and guidelines, the officials behind CASL enforcement and other spam-fighting groups aren’t exactly thrilled with this practice. The problem here is that by purchasing a list, you don’t offer your new readers a chance to opt-in to receive your messages. Sure, those that actually bother to open your incoming messages might have agreed to the original owner’s terms, but that doesn’t mean that they are on board for your content. Considering how stiff fines and penalties can be for those who stick their toes over the spam law lines, do you really want to test your luck with an unsuspecting and potentially disgruntled contact list?

Your Reputation Means More

In terms of future prospects, the HubSpot Blog’s Corey Eridon notes that even those who avoid fines and penalties still aren’t free of the hazards that come with purchasing a list. Internet service providers (ISPs) and email providers, like Yahoo and Gmail, keep track of shady practices, so don’t be surprised if your IPs end up banned or black flagged due to unacceptable email transmissions.

There’s also the reality that consumers using review sites and social media have no problem tarnishing your reputation via negative reviews and word-of-mouth anecdotes regarding unsolicited marketed messages. Think of it this way: If the shoe was on the other foot, would you really want some strange company spamming your inbox with offers and discounts that you didn’t ask to receive? At the end of the day, your brand’s reputation is worth far more than the minimal benefits offered up by purchasing a list.

A Better Alternative

Now that we’ve covered some of the most damaging outcomes that spring forth from this approach, let’s take a moment to talk about properly building your email list via trusted and proven tactics. Yes, doing things the right way is more work than simply forking over a hefty chunk of your marketing budget, but the payoff and goodwill that comes with this approach more than makes up for the effort that you put into this process.

According to the Marketing Profs’ Meghan Keaney Anderson, it all starts with giving your potential contact list membership options. From opt-in options on your blog, social sites, and other web content, to the ability to leave the list whenever they want, ensuring transparency stays at the top of your list of priorities is a great way to play by the rules of your audience, the various ISPs, email providers, and even the government.

Outside of putting the customer’s decision first, Anderson goes on to suggest filling your emails with only that of which they can benefit – and letting the world know about the deals held within. Between your membership spreading the good word to friends and family and your own outreach programs, it won’t take long for your contact list to become a healthy and vibrant community. When compared with the digital downfall that comes with most purchased lists, you’ll be happy you took the time to properly invest your resources in a custom contact list that can truly make your brand proud.

 

time_saving

Running a campaign that connects with your audience in the inbox is one of the most powerful ways to take advantage of the constantly growing digital world. Unfortunately, if you don’t approach this process from the right angles and with the right mindset, it can also end up requiring a substantial investment of your most valuable resource: Time. If you’d rather not deal with inefficient and unnecessary practices, take a few moments to look over these five time-saving email marketing tips.

You Have Consumer Data, Use It!

To start the discussion off in high gear, Wired magazine’s Emily Konouchi suggests dusting off that consumer data that’s been sitting around and putting this asset to good use. All too often, information regarding the people that make up your audience lies dormant due to the perceived idea that this content takes time and effort to properly utilize.

While this notion definitely holds plenty of truth, it’s also important to point out that consumer data enhances and optimizes your content, thus lowering the amount of time and effort put into the process down the line. Essentially, working in this knowledge now takes a little bit of time, but it can save you countless hours later on.

Look for Areas of Improvement

Additionally, Konouchi explains that keeping an eye out for optimization throughout the process continues this tradeoff of a small time commitment now for greater efficiency and resource allocation later. Instead of living by the “getting by is good enough” email marketing mindset, make it a point to take note of weaknesses and deficiencies in both your content development and deployment methods. This way, you can manage and eradicate these small problems before they turn into major issues that bog down your forward momentum in the inbox.

Stay Organized

For those of you who embrace clutter and hectic desk layouts, it’s time to bite the bullet and get organized. Just like in most other facets of your professional and personal lives, letting disarray take center stage with your email marketing operations is akin to asking for avoidable problems.

Lost content ideas, uncertainty regarding plans, and missed meetings with your email marketing team of experts are just a few of the calamities that come with a disorganized take on reaching out in the inbox. Thankfully, one you get things in order and stop wasting time via a cluttered or jumbled approach, you’ll find that maintenance is far easier to handle than the initial clean up.

Automate Opt-ins and Other Steps in the Process

When it comes to running the day to day operations, Business 2 Community’s Monica Montesa notes that automation is a massive boon to those who are looking to cut down on their time expenditure. Naturally, you won’t want to put everything on autopilot, but there are a few key steps that definitely benefit from an automated response approach.

At the top of this list are sign-up confirmations and other opt-in messages. By having welcome content and data entries ready to fire up when a user accepts your invitation to join your brand’s contact list, you’ll not only be saving a few minutes getting things up and running, but also offer a professional and quick response to this action.

In terms of other points worthy of automation, important date and product reminders deserve a spot in the conversation. By utilizing the consumer data we talked about earlier to hone in on these events and generate relevant automated content, you can efficiently maximize your interaction and impact with these customers, all while working on other projects or duties. When it comes to saving a few minutes here and there, it’s hard to pass up this kind of opportunity.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (Within Reason)

Finally, don’t be afraid to recycle and reuse your content across every facet of your business and marketing approach. From “best of” email newsletters to snippets on social media that breathe new life into influencer quotes and other offerings, repurposing what once lit the inbox up is a great way to reduce your development time and get these selections out in front of new viewership.

The only catch here is that you won’t want to rely solely on this process going forward; you’ll need to find the right balance between recycling and creation to keep your inbox users excited and engaged. However, if you can find this sweet spot and pair it with the rest of what you’ve learned here, it won’t be long before your email marketing operations take on a sleek, streamlined, and efficient new look.

 

5_pillars

As a smaller organization, chances are you’re familiar with exploring all of the options set before you, especially when it comes to stretching a budget as far as it can go. After all, being creative with your resources is the best weapon in your arsenal when it comes to playing with the “big boys” in your industry. To ensure you’re not leaving anything on the table in terms of SMS marketing, let’s look into the five pillars of success for small businesses on this front, as well as a few key tips and tricks your brand can implement to further optimize these practices.

Knowing Your Audience Comes First

The first key point that leads to SMS success, according to the experts over at ITWeb, comes in the form of identifying and researching the habits and desires of your audience. While some brands rely upon the mass message approach that aims to fire off texts to literally anyone who is willing to accept, smaller businesses are better off refining their approach and honing in on the consumers who are most likely to respond. By sketching out the particulars of your audience, then continuing to develop this viewpoint into a narrower focus, your brand can reach out to the segment – or segments – of this group who are ready and willing to build a text-based relationship with your organization.

Timing Matters More Than Ever

Of course, it’s also important for your brand to take a good, hard look at the situation and find out where timing fits into this equation. Otherwise, don’t be surprised when your brand earns the unfavorable reputation as the company that’s willing to text shoppers at all hours of the day and night. Depending on the lifestyle patterns and habits of your targeted segment, the answer to the question regarding when the best time is to fire off a message can vary drastically. However, once you’ve pinpointed the appropriate part of the day for a great SMS message, don’t be afraid to run with your research and start implementing your marketing strategy accordingly.

Engage Your Audience

In terms of the style of your content, South Africa’s Cape Business News suggests skipping the passive experience and actually interacting with your viewership instead of simply talking at these shoppers. As hard as it may be to openly address for some, far too many small businesses have everything fall apart when the time comes to actually generate engaging content. To avoid this unwanted scenario for your brand, try to mix in some surveys, feedback requests, promotional competitions, and anything else that can help turn your messages into an interactive experience.

Understand That Some Lines Aren’t Meant to Be Crossed

On a more technical note, the team behind the Cape Business News report goes on to explain that in the world of SMS marketing, there are definitely plenty of lines that aren’t meant to be crossed – unless you’re interested in ending up on the wrong side of the law. Naturally, the rules and regulations regarding spam violations and other illicit activity can vary from region to region, but ignorance isn’t an excuse for breaking the law.

Before you start racking up fines and penalties, spend some time consulting with SMS experts who understand what it takes to play by the rules in other parts of your country or the world at large. This way, you can move forward with confidence and clarity regarding opt-out clauses, sign-up requirements, and other technical details as your SMS operations lead your brand to new heights and greater audience reach.

Nothing Can Replace Value

Finally – and most importantly – is the fact that when it comes to truly succeeding via SMS marketing, nothing replaces the allure of value. As Small Business Trends’ Megan Totka points out, creating value helps keep customers satisfied and willing to spread the word to others about your campaign. From giveaways to coupons, providing these shoppers with a reason to go all the way on a purchase is the single biggest key to your SMS success.

If you’re able to pair this take on value up with the rest of what you’ve learned here, there’s nothing that can stop your brand from making the most out of even the tightest SMS marketing budget. Considering how important it is to level the playing field with the bigger brands in your area, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better path to success than the route laid out by these five pillars of the SMS process.

 

drip_campaign

Email marketing comes in a seemingly endless variety of flavors – no one can argue this point. However, many organizations find that instituting a drip campaign serves as one of, if not the, most powerful and efficient ways to keep the conversation going with these audience members in the inbox. If you’re brand is looking to utilize this periodic method that builds a relationship over time via consistent and measured email content offerings, take a moment to review the five keys that can put your campaign in a position to succeed now and long into the future.

Your Goals Are the Foundation

According to Tim Asimos of Business 2 Community, building a winning drip campaign all starts with having a firm and realistic vision of what you want to accomplish. Cliché though this may sound at first, there’s a lot of truth in the notion that you need to view the big picture before hammering out the little details.

Think of it this way: As enticing as it may be to just jump in headfirst and improvise the direction of your campaign as you go, what happens when you invest in content or research, only to find that you’re not able to use these assets? By exploring your overarching goals ahead of time, you can avoid inefficient and wasteful scenarios like this one, all while reducing the strain on your marketing bottom line.

Learn about the Audience

Once you’re ready to move out of the realm of the theoretical and start getting the digital cogs and gears in motion, it’s time to start talking about who’s going to be viewing this content. Essentially, the reason for starting here and not with the content or drip schedule itself comes from the need to build a campaign that fits the desires of these individuals in the first place.

Much like generating goals and benchmarks ahead of the actual planning of the drip initiative, learning as much as possible about your audience now ensures that the message held within your emails and the timing of these offerings always generates the maximum amount of value and impact for your brand.

Finding the Right Blend of Content and Schedule Considerations

It’s no big surprise then that the next key to success comes in the act of applying what you’ve learned to the basic drip campaign structure. Molding unique content to the needs and wants of your viewers, setting up automated emails that trigger upon periodic intervals or important events, and tweaking all of the other little variables that go into this setup phase constitutes this next step in building a successful drip campaign.

Embrace Your Analytical Side

While most brands and marketers might call it a day after setting up the particulars of the campaign, Asimos goes on to explain that to truly keep the success rolling, you’ll need to remain vigilant and constantly evaluate the different variables that go into this inbox initiative. This means being ready to openly and honestly utilize inbox metrics and other key performance indicators.

At the top of the list are the basic choices on this front, including changes in contact list numbers, raw sales, and open rates. However, there’s nothing stopping your brand from digging even deeper and searching for additional areas that could use a little improvement or enhancement. Hard and soft bounces, shifts in abuse complaints, and click-through rates all fit this billing and help emphasize the health of key segments of your drip campaign.

Think Beyond the Inbox

Finally, Social Media Today’s Anand Srinivasan suggests that a successful drip campaign isn’t just relegated to building influence in the inbox. If your brand is willing to expand these principles to other facets of its marketing operation, there’s no reason you can’t create a unified and overlapping consumer experience.

In particular, Srinivasan notes that social media is the perfect conduit to extend the reach of this approach. Often, you can even employ the same concepts of timing and tailored content to capture the attention of consumers who would otherwise have missed out on the chance to join your email marketing sphere of influence. Considering how interconnected these two portion of the digital world are already, it’s not too surprising that this is the logical next step for any successful drip campaign.

It doesn’t take much to see that winning on this front requires a bit of forethought and virtual elbow grease. However, if you’re brand is able to get these things right – from developing a vision for the future to exploring next outreach territory – then there’s nothing that can stop you from getting the most out of your next drip campaign.

© 2013 Elite Email Inc. Blog Admin