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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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

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