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After all your hard work creating and optimizing what you thought was the perfect promotional email, there’s nothing worse than checking in, only to see your open rates are deep in the tank. For many brands, this nightmare becomes a reality quickly, often for some of the most preventable reasons. If you’d like to skip the disappointment and keep your messages out of readers’ virtual trash cans, here are five easy mistakes you’ll need to avoid as you make your way toward a powerful, and successful, email marketing campaign.

Succumbing to Link Overload

Think of the last time you cleaned out your spam folder. Chances are the messages in this portion of your inbox ranged from the stereotypical – foreign royalty asking for a small donation in return for riches – to the downright odd. However, one of the common themes across most of these spam emails is an overabundance of links within the message body. With many spam filters honing in on link overload, if you want to stick around in the inbox, you’ll need to pick and choose your hyperlink battles. Try to keep your linking to a minimum if possible, focusing only on redirecting to landing and promotional pages. It might seem like a wasted opportunity to not link back to your page throughout the message, but based on the direction major email service providers are taking these platforms, it’s your best bet for dodging an unwarranted trip to the spam folder.

Unnecessarily Promotional Subject Lines

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that subject lines can make or break your chance at connecting with a customer in an instant. But what if your viewers never even get a chance to hear your promotion out because the subject line of your message makes it suitable only for the digital trash can? Unfortunately, overly promotional or overtly sales-focused headlines often earn a ticket straight to the spam folder. To put the brakes on this problem, tone down the numbers, capitalization, and forceful words – think “hurry now,” “open immediately,” etc. – so that your message doesn’t look like it belongs with the rest of the spam folder riff-raff. Instead, keep things simple in your subject line and focus on indentifying the valuable content held within your message. This way, you’ll avoid the wrong part of your audiences’ preferred email clients, in addition to giving them a great reason to keep reading on once they receive your email.

Emails with Too Much Text

While spam filters probably won’t screen your messages based solely on the length of content within, that won’t stop readers from marking incoming emails from your brand as spam after opening something that’s better suited for a library shelf. Essentially, readers only spend about 15 to 20 seconds on each message, so if you go overboard with the length of your message, it’s hard to expect a favorable response from your audience. Unfortunately, there’s no defined ideal message length, so the answer to this dilemma is a bit murky. A good rule of thumb to stand by if you’re unsure about the appropriateness of your email length is to ask yourself a simple question – if this message found its way to your inbox, would you take the time to read it? If the answer is closer to trashing it and blocking the sender than it is to an emphatic yes, it’s time to do a little trimming with your content.

Attachments Only Cause Problems

At first glance, this section probably sounds like it belongs on a dating advice site and not a post about keeping your emails from being caught up in a spam filter. However, if you really want to keep your marketed emails in the clear, skipping attachments is your best bet. Sure, it might seem like a great idea to attach that infographic or eBook you’ve worked so hard on to every email, but this is a major red flag for plenty of email service providers. Instead, after taking a little time in the message to explain the value of these offerings, let your selective links lead back to this content via landing pages. This way, you’ll skip the spam folder and boost site visits at the same time.

Know When Enough is Enough

Tenacity is often a key part in any marketing operation. However, when it comes to your email initiatives, constantly targeting and messaging people who have bounced repeatedly is a recipe for disaster. Not only are you building ill-will with someone who’s simply not interested right this moment, your brand could also face a spot on Gmail, Yahoo, or another email giant’s blacklist – something far worse than ending up in the spam folder. Thankfully, if you can toe this line, while also keeping up with everything else you’ve learned from this post, there’s nothing that can stop your next campaign from being a smash hit with interested audience members around the globe.

Inbox vs. Spam Folder

 

The impact of mobile marketing can’t be overstated. According to IDC, more people in the U.S. will access the Internet through a mobile device than through their PC by 2015. In this new series, Elite Email takes a look at highly successful campaigns to uncover their mobile marketing lessons. This week’s case study: How Palms Resort and Casino switched up the status quo for text message campaigns by offering a once in a lifetime experience to contact list members.

While the saying “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” might be true for some things, when it comes to Palms Resort and Casino’s take on mobile marketing, the opposite couldn’t be more true. With a creative offer and a new take on what constitutes a great text message, this leading resort and casino situated in the heart of Las Vegas, right around the corner from the city’s famous “Strip,” is the perfect example of how going big when connecting with your customers can really pay off. To learn more about how Palms hit the mobile marketing jackpot, let’s take a deeper look at all of the pieces of this winning formula.

A Different Take on Text Interactions

At this point, you’re probably wondering what makes this case study so special. After all, if you’re new to getting in touch with customers on the go, chances are you’re only familiar with the basic concept of offering great deals in a simple, easy to understand text format. While there’s nothing wrong with this line of thought, Palms Resort and Casino found out rather quickly that it’s not the only way to really make a splash with viewers via text message.

Instead of sending out messages that included coupons or discounts, this casino and resort decided to swing for the fences with a mobile marketing sweepstakes. For users that agreed to add their phone number to the contact list, a chance at winning a free one-night stay, as well as dinner for two at the hotel, was the big draw. Considering that most shoppers are happy with simple deals that save them a few bucks on their next purchase, offering this kind of value as part of a text campaign proved that Palms was definitely willing to go big to generate some buzz for its brand.

Breaking down the Campaign Particulars

As part of the campaign, interested audience members did have to follow a few particular rules. First off, signs within the resort, as well as ads on TV and the web, instructed viewers to text “PALMS” to 74642 for more information. From here, the customers received confirmation of their entry into the sweepstakes, as well as a request for permission to continue receiving offers from the hotel and casino. After reading that, you’re probably thinking that most of the people who signed up simply skipped out of the contact list agreement after entering the sweepstakes. While some did follow this route, the results garnered by Palms once the dust settled just might surprise you.

Big Results for a Big Giveaway

The final tally for this mobile campaign gave the guys in charge of Palms’ marketing initiatives plenty to smile about. Once the sweepstakes ran its course and the hotel provided the prize package to one lucky winner, over 60 percent of the content participants had stayed on as mobile subscribers. At first glance, that might not seem like much, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the mobile sweepstakes process. However, the average sweepstakes contest only holds a 37 percent retention rate, emphasizing the fact that Palms Resort and Casino hit the big time with a well-planned and executed campaign.

What Your Business Needs to Know to Hit the Mobile Marketing Jackpot

So what can your business do to follow in this casino and resort’s footsteps as it works toward a great mobile marketing campaign? To start, if you want big results, you’re going to have to go big with the prizes or offers. Once you have an established contact list, keeping this audience interested with small deals and coupons is one thing, but getting their attention in the first place requires something especially exceptional or worthwhile. Additionally, keeping things simple in the sign-up process goes a long way as well. This isn’t trying to say something negative about your targeted consumers; it’s just that most people prefer offers and opportunities that are easy to follow and complete during the course of a busy or hectic day. If you can hone in on these two key principles during your text campaign, you’ll be well on your way to hitting the mobile marketing jackpot, just like Palms Resort and Casino.

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Running an email campaign is a lot like taking a swing for the fences in baseball. When things go your way, the home crowd – in this case your online audience – cheers wildly as you round the bases and enjoy the increased traffic that’s flowing into your website. Unfortunately, as any email or baseball guru will tell you, stepping up to the plate, or inbox, with a perfect batting average is just a myth. The reality is that it’s foolish to not have a plan for when you’re in a slump. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some simple tips you can employ as part of an email marketing “win-back” campaign. This way, you’ll have everything you need to reignite those conversion numbers and get your audience back into action after the excitement of your initial push slows down.

Add in a Solid Offer

One of the quickest ways to get your readers back into your campaign is to throw out a nice offer. At the top of the list, actual savings – anything that falls into the “X dollars off” range on your products and services – performs nearly two times better than any other return deal. However, regardless of whether it’s a limited time discount or free content like an eBook download, offering anything specifically for the people who have fallen off your brands marketing bandwagon can help right the ship and get them back to eagerly awaiting your regular emails.

Don’t Shy Away From Hard Data

When it comes to brand awareness and decision-making, too many people that pull the levers and knobs behind the campaign rely on the concept of “gut instincts.” Sure, in plenty of industries having a strong hunch or read on the company can take you a long way, but email marketing is a much more stats driven affair. With numbers on open rates, inbox activity, and a slew of other metrics, pinpointing the exact segments of your audience that aren’t responding, as well as what these individuals like, has never been easier or more readily available. Because of this, let the stats do all the heavy lifting in your win-back campaign and follow their lead. Not only will this help increase your response rate, it can save you a ton of time and money developing and rolling out these messages.

Never Write Anyone Off

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when it comes to starting up one of these re-engagement initiatives is to assume that portions of your inactive audience are off limits. While it might seem like a long shot to get back in touch with the people who haven’t opened one of your emails in months, the truth of the matter is that win-back campaigns can drum up interest with customers who haven’t responded in up to 300 days. Basically, it’s never too late to get things rolling again, even with the most unlikely of candidates.

Not surprisingly, the same holds true for the time that comes after you fire off these win-back emails. As long as the reader hasn’t opted out, there’s nothing stopping you showing that persistence is a virtue with this group of out-of-touch consumers. Considering that you just might one day pique their interest enough to rekindle a connection with your brand, it’s well worth the effort of covering every nook and cranny of your contact list, no matter how unlikely the lead might seem.

Your Subject Lines Matter More Than Ever

If you’re familiar with a large portion of the posts on this blog, you’re well aware of just how powerful the subject line is when it comes to enticing customers to dig a little deeper into your marketed messages. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that having optimized and powerful headings in this area is crucial to a great win-back campaign. To help you get there, skip the caps button and generic terms, like “urgent” or “final notice,” and focus more on explaining just how valuable your offers for returning customers can be. This way, when your forlorn viewers sit down and start sifting through their messages, these emails can stick out on the preview pane for all the right reasons.

Build Toward a Follow-up

One of the biggest misconceptions about these types of campaigns is that once you re-engage your customers, you’re done with the work. Unfortunately, all this does is put you back into the same spot later on down the road. Instead of finding yourself in this endless engagement cycle, focus on working multi-level offers and follow-up requests into your campaign that keep your audience active and connected with your company. If you can do this, your customers will always have a great reason to keep your brand on their minds, ensuring that lost segments and lackadaisical contact list entries become a thing of the past.

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While anti-spam laws aren’t anything new in the world of email marketing, Canada’s upcoming legislation is definitely popping up on plenty of radars in the industry. With some heavy-hitting regulations and some of the strictest wording marketers have ever seen, it’s definitely in your best interests to be up to speed with these changes. To help you keep your great messages reaching interested customers, let’s break down Canada’s new anti-spam legislation, as well as what your brand needs to do so that you have everything in order when these rules go live in July.

The Particulars of the Bill

At the heart of the bill, lawmakers here in Canada want to keep the world of marketed messages completely separate from the decidedly less savory emails that spawn from shady sources across the net. This means introducing legislation that cracks down on spam, hacking, illicit data harvesting, spyware, fraud, and pretty much any other breech of privacy that can happen via your audiences’ inboxes. For brands and marketers who end up on the wrong side of this law, the penalties levied by the government are nothing short of harsh.

In fact, senders that aren’t in compliance run the risk of facing fines that can reach a maximum of $10 million per each specific violation. Naturally, that’s a worst case scenario of the most extreme variety, but it’s a great way to explain just how serious the Canadian government’s penalty system is when it comes to cracking down on individuals and brands alike who misuse and abuse marketed or mass emails.

Why Is This Happening?

The reason for all of this is that more people than ever – over 3.9 billion last year to be exact – are using email to stay in touch, creating ample opportunity for both good and bad practices to occur in the inbox. While this is great for your business in terms of reaching out to customers who are interested in your products and services, it also means that hackers and spammers can also prey on these same people with clever deceptions and outright fraudulent activity. With that in mind, it’s hard to blame our government, and plenty of others around the world, for cracking down on those who employ shady tactics when trying to pull a quick one via marketed emails.

Making Sure You’re In Compliance

Considering that there’s no grace period for this new act, having everything in gear when July rolls around is crucial to the continued success and viability of your email marketing campaign. At the heart of the legislation is a shift from implied to express consent. Before, some brands simply took a customer’s interest in its products or services as enough consent to warrant email contact. However, that’s no longer going to be good enough. Instead, when this change goes live, express consent, in the form of an opt-in agreement, will be the new required minimum to start connecting with your audience.

It’s important to note that sending off emails after July 1 requesting this consent will actually be in violation of the new rules, so if you want to keep the government off your back, you’ll need to get to work on verifying opt-ins with your readers. A great way to do this is to go through your email list and see which entries have express consent and which ones might be closer to the implied side of the scale. Not only will this help you clean up your contact list and do a little housekeeping, but it can also help you roll out opt-in confirmations before the hammer drops on these types of messages.

Understanding the Ramifications of This Change

At first glance, all of this is a lot to digest in one sitting, but it speaks to a bigger change in the email marketing industry as a whole that’s well worth noting. Canada definitely isn’t the first country to crack down on the shadier side of this business sector, and it won’t be the last, so placing an emphasis on quality, and not quantity, is the only way to survive this transition. If your brand has simply slapped together messages and called it good enough up until now, that simply won’t fly anymore.

The best way to prosper, both now and after the new legislation goes live, is to attract readers with high quality content that adds value to the marketing experience. By going this route, you not only stay on the right side of the law, but you also give your audience a reason to stick with your email campaign. For brands that are truly looking to maximize returns on marketed messages, this part of the formula hasn’t changed, even if the rules surrounding it are going through some serious upheaval.

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Subject lines are the bread and butter of any great email marketing campaign. While outstanding content is a must if you want to make a splash with your audience, turning them off before they even click “open” is any brand’s worst nightmare. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to know what works and what doesn’t when it comes to the people on the other side of the screen. To help you avoid this calamity and clean up any offenders in your stable of marketed messages, here are 10 of the top offenders that have doomed countless emails to the virtual trashcan.

Free

First up on the list is a word that can’t help but sound the spam alarm for readers. While it might seem like a great idea to fit this word into your messages, the reality is that using “free” in the subject line is extremely common among scammers and spammers, who use this as a cheap tool when trying to pull a quick one on readers.

Stop

Having an email jump off the screen with the word “stop” is definitely a very particular experience for your audience – just not in the good way. There’s definitely plenty of merit behind the concept of disruptive marketing tactics, but issuing a command or trying to convince your readers to change their ways in this part of the message is not the right way to go about this process.

Donate

For the non-profits out there, email marketing is all about bumping up donations and awareness, so this one’s a little tricky. However, the key to still weaving the concept of viewers taking action into the content of your emails is to save “donate,” “charity,” and the rest of these keywords for after you make your pitch. Going the opposite way and placing this word in the subject line will simply put a halt to any momentum you could be generating for your cause.

LOL

A quick look at your Facebook or Twitter feed provides all the proof you need that “LOL,” “OMG,” and the rest of your audience’s favorite web slang are all still alive and well. However, that doesn’t mean these acronyms have a spot next to your brand name in the inbox. Keeping your messages and subject lines light and conversational is one thing, but don’t cross the line with slang that’s better suited for your personal social media pages.

Last Chance

While this entry is more of a phrase, it still deserves a spot on the list. “Last chance,” “act now,” and all the other call-to-action terms really shouldn’t be the focal point of the message header. Instead, use expiration dates and limited time offers in the body of your emails to get your audience in gear and visiting your web page or brick-and-mortar store.

Help

Much like “donate” and “charity,” “help” is a word that shouldn’t make its home in your email subject line. Again, taking a stand on an issue or advancing your cause via the actual body of your message is far more effective than using words or phrases that unfortunately come off as pleading or pushy in the subject section.

Reminder

Surprisingly, people don’t respond well to words like “reminder.” While it might not make much sense at first glance, this word invokes feelings of repetition, which in turn has a strong connotation with common spam tactics. This becomes even more apparent when first time messages bring this word into the subject line as a method of faking familiarity – a concept that’s not limited to just this entry.

FWD: or RE:

Like “reminder,” “FWD,” “RE,” and other traditionally automated tags can be surreptitiously added into the subject line to befuddle unsuspecting readers. Sure, being sneaky and trying to pass off your next message as a continued conversation might trick a few unsuspecting readers, but don’t expect your open rates to stay up for long once your audience catches on to this underhanded tactic.

Webinar

If you keep up with content marketing slang, it might seem like a no-brainer to throw in terms like “webinar” in your message headers. Unfortunately, there’s a very real disconnect between inbox open rates and emails that jam these words in the subject line. While drumming up interest for your content is never a bad thing, keep the particulars to the core of the message and let a simple, straightforward subject line stand on its own.

Awesome

Rounding out the list is perhaps the biggest blunder looking to derail your email campaign. Today’s marketing world is full sales pitches and message headers that try to pump up products with over-the-top wording and unnecessary superlatives. The worst offender of all of these words is, without a doubt, “awesome.” Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being proud of what your brand has to offer; just don’t fall for the trap of slapping “awesome,” “amazing,” “epic”, and all the other overused exemplary adjectives in front of every other word in your subject line.

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The impact of mobile marketing can’t be overstated. According to IDC, more people in the U.S. will access the Internet through a mobile device than through their PC by 2015. In this new series, Elite Email takes a look at highly successful campaigns to uncover their mobile marketing lessons. This week’s case study: A return to the quick service food industry with a look at how one Papa John’s franchise went above and beyond with great SMS messages.

When it comes to mobile marketing and the quick service food industry, it’s easy to see that these two industries are clearly a match made in heaven. While it’s true that we’ve covered plenty of food related case studies that have made a strong case for SMS messages – and probably added a distinct rumbling in your stomach – Papa John’s franchise serves as the centerpiece of this study has plenty of new ideas to add to the ongoing discussion. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how our friends across the pond set up a wildly successful text marketing plan and what it could mean for your business if you decide to follow in their footsteps.

Setting up a Smart Text Plan

For the owners of this particular Papa John’s franchise in the U.K., the foundation for a great text message initiative was already in place. Before the campaign even started, the chain had 8100 members on its contact list, all of whom were eager to hear about the latest deals and discounts. However, that didn’t stop the guys in charge from tweaking and fine tuning the promotion to ensure that these messages made the biggest splash with customers on the go. From the wording of the message to what kind of deals the franchise offered, optimizing the potency of these short messages with value and brevity proved to be the key to connecting with hungry customers.

The Text Message Particulars

As part of this marketing move, the franchise owners created a short, succinct message that got straight to the point – any pizza, any size, for two great prices. The first price, £6.99, was for takeout (or collection as it’s known across the pond), while the second, £8.99, covered customers that decided to have a hot and delicious pizza delivered straight to their doorsteps. You might have noticed that this promo didn’t come with any strings attached in the form of opt-in codes or limited time offers. Instead, Papa John’s left things open for sharing via word of mouth and social media, giving the sale even more reach beyond the 8100 members of the text message list.

Variety is the Spice of Life (and Great SMS Messages!)

It’s important to note that this simple, straightforward message had to include two different offers to accommodate the variety of customers a pizza chain in the U.K. or here, in Canada, services on a regular basis. Naturally, your business might not need to account for varying rates based on delivery expenses or other factors, but it shows a high level of foresight and transparency on the part of this Papa John’s franchise to clearly state the difference in charges. The opposite path, only providing the base rate of £6.99 in the message and then tacking on the delivery up-charge later, could have easily left a sour taste in the mouths of the customers who didn’t want to leave the comfort of their homes.

The Final Tally

After the dust settled and it was time to count the final numbers, there was no doubt that this Papa John’s franchise scored a major hit with its audience. Of the approximately 8100 customers contacted, 3.9 percent decided to take this pizza chain up on its offer. While that number isn’t too impressive on its own, learning that the store generated $8.10 for every $1.50 it spent on mobile marketing is outstanding. To wrap it up into a nice, simple stat, for each of the three weeks this campaign ran, the Papa John’s franchise generated an additional 33 percent in sales.

Writing Your Own Recipe for Success

After seeing numbers like that, it’s pretty clear that SMS marketing has a place in your brand’s overall advertising plans. If you want to reap the same rewards, there’s a few things you can do to follow this franchise’s lead. First off, keep your messages short and straight to the point, while also being as transparent with the parameters of the deal as possible. From here, make sure you make the discount worth their time and, if possible, let them share the savings with friends and family. If you can add these ingredients into your next mobile marketing campaign, you’re well on your way to writing up an award winning recipe for success of your own.

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

Understanding the Benefits of Testimonials

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

Staying on the Right Side of the Legal Line

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

Getting the Most out of Your Testimonials

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

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

There’s Room for Creativity Too!

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

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Everyone who has a stake in the world of email marketing loves to talk about the “power” of reaching out to customers in their inbox – but where are the hard facts backing this up? If this is your first go round with tailoring messages toward a specific audience, there’s plenty of stats, known as key performance indicators (KPIs), that can help you sift through all this talk and find out what’s really working and what might need a little bit of tweaking before the next email campaign. Instead of wasting your time listing off dozens of KPIs that may or may not have some bearing on how you gauge success, here are the five crucial stats that not only apply to any email marketing initiative, but also do the best job showing off exactly how well things are going once your messages hit the audiences inbox.

Gross Sales

First on the list is the gross sales stat. While it might seem pretty obvious, there are few performance indicators that make it easier on you when you need a quick and simple method for figuring out what’s working and what’s not. The whole process for evaluation goes a little something like this; email campaign starts and sales go up, then you’re doing something right. If sales stay the same or dip, it’s time to bring things back to the drawing board and retool your plan. Naturally, this is cutting out a ton of variables – changes in the industry, new product releases, etc. – that can shift sales one way or the other, but it’s a great indicator to start the evaluation and lends itself well toward digging into the more specific measurements.

Site Traffic

Another KPI that takes a look at the big picture is site traffic. Like the name implies, this one’s all about taking note of visits to your site from repeat customers and new shoppers alike. While most companies just glance over the totals for this site metric, doing so could cause you to miss out on some highly valuable info every time you don’t spend more than a few seconds looking into this stat.

Understanding the nature of the visit helps you break down performance by going beyond the plain old “good” and “bad” labels. Instead, looking into how many new or unique visits come in, or how often repeat visits occur with known customers, helps explain your sites traffic in terms of what segments you do well with and what segments might need a little extra attention. Depending on your products and services, looking beyond the surface of this KPI can really give you the insight needed to knock the customers’ socks off with your next set of emails.

Click Rate

Going a little deeper, click rates can help you sort traffic into different groups via the source – who’s coming in from your emails, from social media, Google search pages, etc. – in addition to frequency and the type of visit.

With this information in hand, you can determine if a link was compelling enough to warrant a click, and if users are responding to certain landing pages more than others. On top of all this, by having the raw numbers in hand and comparing them with the metrics from your other outreach avenues, you can really gauge exactly where your emails stand in your entire marketing initiative.

Bounced Messages

Stepping away from KPIs that are mostly used to show how good things are going with your emails, here’s one that can help uncover a big problem that might be undermining all of your hard work – bounced messages. Companies that experience high bounce rates are dealing with a contact list that’s full of incorrect or deactivated email accounts, both of which lead to undeliverable or “bounced” messages. If you’re working with a marketer or software that has the right tools, simply setting up your system to automatically ditch these duds as soon as they bounce will go a long way to clean up your list and more importantly increase your ROI.

Churn Rate

The final KPI that should be an essential part of your next email marketing evaluation pulls a little bit of inspiration from some of the others on our list. The churn rate of an email marketing campaign keeps track of the number of people who decide to opt-out of your contact list. Obviously, in a perfect world you wouldn’t see any; however, it’s just part of the marketing process, so turning a blind eye to it can only hurt your options moving forward. Instead, staying aware of your unsubscribes, as well as how they stack up to new and sustained contacts, can give you a great overview of where your outreach stands – especially when you pair it up with the other leading KPIs found on this list.

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When you were growing up, you probably got tired of your mom saying that you couldn’t leave the dinner table until you finished everything on your plate. These days, you probably look back on this memory from a couple different viewpoints. First, her food sure was better than that microwave “meal” you tried to eat after working late the other night, right? Next, the concept of making sure you don’t waste anything, from food to creative content, is a lesson that resonates with your adult self a lot more than it did with the kid version of you. With this in mind, let’s take a look at how this mindset can help you repurpose your email content and ensure you always get the most out of this kind of customer outreach.

What Exactly Is Repurposing?

At this point, you’re probably wondering what we mean by “repurposing” your marketing emails. Basically, this technique takes content you already have – say a line of emails full of juicy stats and great ideas – and reviews it to see if you can re-use any of the info or ideas in your next email campaign. To some, it’s probably going to sound like scavenging through scraps, but that’s not exactly the mindset associated with repurposing content. Instead think of it as double dipping into facts, stats and ideas that are simply too good to not use again.

Waste Not, Want Not

It’s no secret that as time goes by, it gets harder and harder to write great content, especially when you’re sending out more than one email per week. A few months into a campaign like this and you’ll be scraping the bottom of the barrel trying to come up with fresh and exciting ideas. With repurposing, you’ll still need to put in a little elbow grease to avoid sounding stale, but at least you’ll have a great foundation to build from that saves you hours of extra work. With everything else on your plate, cutting down on how much time you spend doing research to help promote your products and services can go a long way toward making your workdays far more manageable.

Getting the Most out of Your Old Emails

Now that you understand the basics of repurposing your email content, it’s time to dig into the particulars of putting this strategy to good use. First, any stats or figures related to products or industry news that is still relevant are fair game for your next email. Additionally, if these little gems are especially compelling, don’t be shy about sneaking in a tweet or Facebook post containing this content. As part of any smart email marketing campaign, any time you can get social media in on the act, you’re definitely doing something right.

Aside from this, if your emails are cyclical in nature – meaning that you tend to rotate deals in and out during the year – keep a copy of your specific seasonal templates and pull out the particulars whenever it’s time to run the same promo. Obviously just copying and pasting your last version isn’t a smart idea, but if you’ve already done some serious research and put it to use in these emails, reusing it and adding in a fresh take for your customers is definitely a good call.

So, Just How Powerful Is Repurposing Email Content?

Of course, you’re probably not sold on the idea of repurposing your emails until you see some hard facts showing just how powerful this process really is in practice. To help answer this question, let’s take a look at a case study that Marketing Sherpa recently released on repurposing. In this example, Evo, a retailer focusing on outdoor lifestyle products, took content from prior email campaigns and other outreach initiatives to kick its email operation into high gear. After the dust settled and it was time to tally up the results, Evo recorded an increase in clickthrough and open rates by 904 and 160 percent, respectively. With numbers like that, saying that repurposing email content can deliver major results is putting it mildly.

Thinking Long-term

Perhaps the most enticing thing about repurposing your email content is that it can extend to every facet of your marketing operations. Whether it’s breaking white papers down into an email series or turning that question and answer series your brand released on YouTube a while back into a string of Facebook posts, there’s plenty of ways to breathe new life into content that still has value to your customers. Eventually, there will be a time and a place to put this content to rest – like when new research comes out or your brand shifts its marketing focus. However, until that day comes, there’s no reason not to make sure you repurpose your emails and other offerings to ensure you give your audience the best experience possible and save yourself a little time and hard work while you’re at it.

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While getting your audience to read your messages might seem like the hard part of SMS marketing, in reality it’s the easiest portion of the whole process. People can’t get enough texting, so it’s pretty clear that simply sending out a message is at least worth a momentary glance from this customer on the go. However, it’s not so easy to get these interested shoppers in the door if your messages don’t hit them the right way. Thankfully, you won’t need to do too much to revamp your SMS approach; just follow these five simple tips and you’ll be heading toward radically improving the redemption rates on your latest text message deals and offers.

Don’t Forget to Identify Your Brand

While this one might seem painfully obvious when you first read it, you’d be surprised at just how many brands fail to do something as simple as identify themselves somewhere in the text. Chances are, you’ve probably even come across one of these messages on your own phone. We’ve all received vague messages from strange numbers and more than likely the first response most people have is to dump this wasted opportunity into the virtual trash can. To avoid this potentially campaign killing fate, make sure you add something that people can relate to your brand. Whether it’s a product name, company name, or even a slogan, anything that helps cut out this confusion can go a long way toward pumping up redemption rate numbers on your offers.

Set up Auto-responders and Surveys

Being interactive makes members of your audience feel like they’re doing something worthwhile, so why not add this flavor into your SMS strategy? By setting up auto-responders or building in surveys that utilize response keywords, your customers can chime in via text with what they like and dislike, all while snagging a coupon or discount for their time and effort. Even something as simple as texting back a word or series of numbers to redeem an offer can go a long way instead of a generic text that does little to separate itself from the rest of the SMS pack. In some cases, you can double dip with this little trick and turn a onetime text into a recurring conversation in the form of periodic messages to a highly interested customer.

Avoid Abbreviations… But Keep It Short

The biggest draw to texting over pretty much any other marketing medium is the speed at which your viewers read and respond. Because of this, plenty of brands try to keep these promotional messages as short as possible. While this is definitely the right approach in theory, the problem arises when relying on “text speak.” “Msge bk 4 gr8 deals” might seem trendy and okay when you’re prepping your first set of messages, but the reality of the situation is that most mobile consumers don’t like or even understand these abbreviations and shorthand. Additionally, the fact that they also don’t want to read a novel on their phones makes things a little tricky.

To keep your redemption rates up and remain relevant, you’ll need to learn to walk the fine line of brevity. Basically, try cutting out all the filler in your message and get right to the important details – while also skipping out on the text speak. It might be a little hard to handle at first because so many brands think more is better when it comes to talking with customers, but in the case of texts, keeping it simple and short goes a long way with your audience.

Timing is Everything

Another simple pitfall that has doomed far too many SMS campaigns and crushed redemption rates on offers is poor timing. While your message might be one of a kind in terms of the deal you’re offering and how you phrase it, if it hits most of your audience at four in the morning, chances are they’re not going to be too thrilled with your text. If you’re sticking to a regional plan, matching up times based on peak hours (like 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. for restaurants with lunch specials) is pretty easy. However, crossing over into other time zones does require a little more effort in the form of staggering these messages to all arrive in the right time slot.

Tying in the Rest of Your Brand Content

The final quick tip you can take to revamp your redemption rates comes in the form of adding a simple link to some of your other content. Whether it’s a blog post about the featured product or a link to your email mailing list, anything that adds a little extra value to the text without taking up too much space is a great tool to boost customer interest. Even if it’s just a graphic or a little extra info on what you’re promoting, it’s well worth the addition. When paired up with the rest of these quick tips, you can build a sound SMS marketing strategy that keeps redemption rates and conversions up and your customers happier and more interested than ever before.

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