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I am very excited to be one of the featured experts on ITbusiness.ca’s twitter chat at 1pm ET today (March 20).

You can learn more about the Twitter Chat here: http://www.itbusiness.ca/news/bitcoinitb-an-itbusiness-ca-twitter-chat/47210

Be sure to follow along with the action using the hashtag #BitcoinITB

While Bitcoin has been around for a while, in the past several months it has really picked up a lot of media attention.

The adoption of Bitcoin has been an amazing thing to witness as businesses of all shapes, sizes and geographic locations start to use this cryptocurrency alongside traditional currencies.

Elite Email customers may recall that we were the first ESP in the world to start accepting Bitcoin for our email marketing subscriptions. While we were excited to be the first ones to dive in, it also gave us some great insight into how this new digital currency affects businesses. (See our Bitcoin acceptance blog post)

Currently Elite Email has subscribes in different parts of the world paying in Bitcoin and we actually pay some suppliers in Bitcoin as well. It will be interesting to see how (or if) Bitcoin will become even more mainstream.

I’m sure today’s Twitter chat will be very interesting and I hope you can join in.

Elite Email: Bitcoin Twitter Chat

 

Email Marketing Fuels Social Media Campaigns

Email marketing and social media are keys to online business success. This is true for both small and large businesses alike; the problem most have is effectively integrating the two.

Many use social media to drive traffic to landing pages and signup forms in order to build their email lists. From there, they start their email marketing campaigns. This is effective, but email can also be used to help fuel a social media campaign.

Here are five tactics to make email a driving force for successful social media campaigns.

Include Social Components In Email Newsletters

Elite Email allow social profiles to be included in each email template. When setting up a newsletter, including social profiles does two things:

  1. It allows the recipients of an email to share it with their friends on their preferred social networks.
  2. It also gives recipients an opportunity to connect with a brand on social media by following that brand’s account or page, opening an additional channel for communication and engagement.

As the online space becomes more crowded, competition for attention is fierce and brands need to take every opportunity available to them to get in front of their target customers. When someone who has already opted in to receive emails chooses to follow and engage with a brand on social media, it increases the chances that they will help to spread that brand’s messages to their social contacts.

This is the online equivalent to word-of-mouth advertising. People still trust the recommendations of their friends more than any other form of marketing.

The other way to make emails social is to include hash tags. Twitter, Instagram and Facebook all make use of the hash tag feature to keep up with a particular topic. If a brand is launching a new campaign with a heavy emphasis on social media, they should have a topic picked out that they will create a hash tag for.

It could be the topic itself, or a related word or term that fits that topic. Whatever it is, it should be included along with graphics and videos in emails to encourage sharing, the use of hash tags and further engagement.

Give An Idea Of What People Can Expect On Each Social Site

When sending an email with the intention of boosting a social media campaign, users may want to know what will be different from the normal email and website content they are used to.

Creative emails may include videos, images or gifs that show users what they can expect to find on social media. It may be a contest, special deals and offers only shared with followers on social media, or even non-promotional content meant to build a brand.

It doesn’t really matter what the campaign entails. The only thing that matters is that people know what they are about to see, and that it is interesting enough for them to engage with it.

For most people, choosing to engage with a brand on social media is a step lower in terms of commitment than giving their email address. They are most likely already getting a steady stream of emails on a daily basis and can get overwhelmed.

Taking the opportunity to lighten things up and provide some sort of incentive to engage socially is a great idea. Not only does it change the dynamic of the brand-customer relationship, it also gives brands an opportunity to get more personal feedback on what is working and what isn’t.

Tell People What You Want Them To Do

A strong call-to-action is often the missing element in getting a conversion of any type. People don’t always know it, but they need to be told what to do.

If a brand includes social sharing with their email newsletters, they should tell users exactly what to do. Including a call-to-action in the email with directions to like a brand on Facebook, tweet an email newsletter to their friends, use a hash tag for discussions or follow on Instagram is a surefire way to increase social activity between target customers and brands.

Don’t just include icons or use a short line like “This email can be shared” at the end of a paragraph or at the bottom of a newsletter. Use clear instructions like “This email can be shared with your friends, click the Twitter icon to tweet it now.”

While it would seem that most people online would know what to do, many don’t. And those that do will often look past the sharing icon and eventually close the email. Tell them what to do and they are more likely to do it.

Make Your Landing Pages Social

Since most email is sent with the intention of getting the recipient to click a link to take them to a landing page, those pages need to be social media friendly as well.

Instead of including the sharing icons at the top of each post or in a scrolling bar to the side, begin each page with a social call-to-action. There may be an incentive, such as unlocking content on a blog post or getting access to a discount code. Likewise, there may be no incentive and simply the direction to share with friends. By building your Facebook and social media profiles (there are many companies that help with this), and by optimizing your landing page call to actions, you will improve your conversion rate significantly.

Each campaign is different, but if the purpose of a particular email or sequence of emails is to fuel a social media campaign, then each action a user takes should reflect that.

Use Email To Test Headlines

Headlines are vital to attracting visitors, getting email opens and earning social shares. The best usually evoke some form of emotion or pique curiosity.

If a business already has a large email subscriber list in place, they may want to test a sequence of emails on a topic related to their social campaign with different types of headlines.

From here, they can track open and click-throughs to determine what works best for their audience. People in different markets will respond differently to each type of headline. Some will open and click-through for headlines that appear urgent. Others will respond best to headlines posing a question. Some may even respond favorably to controversial topics included in headlines.

The key is to set up a sequence of emails leading up to a campaign and to track which headline received the most action. Once that data has been gathered, more effective headlines can be written for a social media campaign.

Bonus Tip

Use email to hint at something new on the horizon. It is not important to tell people that a new social campaign is starting, but to hint at something new and fun to watch out for.

This curiosity builds suspense and interest. These help to keep a brand in the minds of their audience, helping to ensure that whatever it is they do, people will take action o it once that new thing that has been hinted at actually happens.

Integrate All Channels To Maximize Success

Instead of focusing on one area as the main marketing focus, brands need to know how to use each one to fuel the other. Effective email marketing can drive social, just as effective social marketing can help fuel email.

 

Social media has changed the world we live in….

If you jump back in time and told someone to “tweet something”, they’d think you have lost your mind. If you told someone to pin something to your board, they’d grab a thumbtack and look for your cork board (what’s a pinterest?).  A face book was a printed directory that you’d find at most universities with photos and names in it (remember when things were done on paper?). And if you mentioned “Instagram” people might have thought you misspoke and meant telegram… which is a message sent by telegraph and delivered in printed form.

Now these words that didn’t exist up until recently have had such a profound impact on the way society operates.

With the dramatic effect that social media has, it is no wonder that businesses, brands and celebrities have now incorporated “social media” as a cornerstone of their marketing mix. It is simply too powerful to be ignored… and far too lucrative!

That being said, many small businesses still lack the tools to effectively use social media. They know it’s important, they know they want to do it, but they don’t know where to start. There are a variety of enterprise platforms that can do powerful things, but that simply isn’t affordable for the average small business. That is why in the very near future, Elite Email will be launching a brand new Facebook Page Builder that will empower small and medium sized businesses to create engaging and dynamic content on Facebook beyond their “wall” and “photo sharing”. This new tool will be easy to use with point & click wizards so that organizations of all sizes can capitalize on the full potential of social media.

Before launching this exciting new tool, we wanted to take a look at how celebrities are using social media to discover just how well they are able to build “virtual hype” in a digital world. Can they send fans flocking to an event in just 140 characters? Can they boost movie ticket sales with one post on Facebook? Can one picture on Instagram make headlines in all the entertainment magazines?

There were a bunch of rankings online that showed the popularity on individual social networks, but none that looked at a celebrities social influence across several of the most popular social networks to truly measure the impact they can have.

With that in mind, today we released the Celebrity Social Media Power Rankings 2013.

I hope you have as much fun checking out the rankings as we did putting them together!

Celebrity Social Media Power Rankings 2013

 

“Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.”

We all know it’s easy to get distracted by the millions of things that go on in our daily professional and personal lives that we forget to plan our email marketing & social media strategy. Don’t let that happen this year!

January is the perfect time of year to spend a little bit of time mapping out your strategy for the upcoming calendar year. The act of creating a “content calendar” can make things a lot easier for you in the future and avoid those fun “oh my god, what are we going to do this month” moments.

Your content calendar can cover your email marketing campaigns, social media campaigns, and even offline promotional activities. The nice thing about mapping it out now is that you’ll have one concise strategy for all your marketing activities.

To help with your planning, we have put together a list of the Top US and Canadian holidays for 2013. Holidays are a great way to make your email and social campaigns timely and relevant. It also goes a long way towards making promotions that much more clever.

Saturday, February 2: Groundhog Day
Will spring come early or are we all in for a lot more winter? This somewhat fun tradition still captures media attention and is therefore on people’s minds so it’s a good tie-in for your marketing campaigns.

When To Market: Week of
Email Marketing Idea: Create two offers in your email that hinge on whether the groundhog goes back into it’s burrow or stays out to welcome spring. Whatever happens with the groundhog determines what offer is live.

Thursday, February 14: Valentine’s Day
It’s the holiday of love, cupid and chocolates. It’s also a holiday loved by marketers since this theme is everywhere!

When to Market: Early February through to the day itself
Email Marketing Idea: Brand your emails in red and play on the idea of giving gifts to your loved ones by offering special prices on great gift ideas. Even if your product/services is not usually positioned as something you’d “gift”, now is the time to break out of that mindset for your marketing this month.

Monday, February 18: Presidents Day
A national holiday to celebrate the birthday of George Washington. Whether people celebrate Mr. Washington or not, the key thing to remember is that they are home from work so they have extra time to engage with your emails and social media postings.

When to Market: Week of & Day Of
Email Marketing Idea: Since people are off work for just the day (and ready to buy something!) it’s a good idea to create “today only” special offers. You can even build hype for those special offers the week before to get people excited and ready to act on your deals. If your products are made in America, it’s also a good idea to tout that.

 Sunday, March 17: St. Patrick’s Day
Green beer… need I say more? This day that celebrates the Irish in America may have a religious background, but now it’s celebrated by almost everyone. This holiday also brings about some great imagery that can be used in your marketing materials.

When to Market: Early March
Email Marketing Idea: Brand your emails in green. Create a contest playing on the “Luck of the Irish” where you award prizes or special offers to people who take a certain action such as liking your Facebook page, forwarding your email, purchasing a specific product, etc.

Sunday, March 31: Easter
Although this is a religious holiday, most organizations focus on the lighter side with images of the Easter Bunny, Easter Eggs, and chocolate.

When to Market: Mid-March
Email Marketing Idea: Create a digital Easter egg hunt on your website. Hide an Easter Bunny on one or more pages and then push people to your website from your email and social media channels. If people reply to your email, tweet at you, etc. and find the bunny they can be entered into a contest to win a prize or qualify for special discounts. Sure, these posts may be public which makes the hunt less challenging, but the key is that you’ll have people engaging with you!

Monday, April 1: April Fool’s Day
Let me share a story with you… a couple years ago I showed up to work on April 1 and walked into my office. Instead of my office chair being at my desk, it was replaced with a toilet! I think that summarizes this day of pranks and jokes.

When To Market: Day Of
Email Marketing Idea: This is a day where you can have a lot of fun and go to extremes. There are no rules! You can really go for some shock value with your emails and social posts on this day.

Monday, April 22: Earth Day
We love our planet and today’s the day we really focus on going green to preserve our previous resources.

When to Market: Week Before & Day Of
Email Marketing Ideas: You’re already using email instead of printed flyers, so you’re going green in a big way (without much effort!). Remind people that you did this to help reduce paper waste so they feel like they are supporting a company that does good things. You can also offer to plant a tree for every X number of sales of a certain promotional item. This way you get sales, and mother earth gets more trees!

Sunday, May 12: Mother’s Day
As my mother would say, “mother’s should be celebrated every day”… but this day in particular!

When to Market: Early May
Email Marketing Idea: Encourage people to buy a gift for their mother. If you are shipping the items, give people a cut off date to both create a sense of urgency to make a purchase and to make sure it arrives in time.

Monday, May 20: Victoria Day (Canada)
A holiday in Canada typically called the May 2-4 long weekend that is the unofficial start of the cottage season. Officially it is a holiday in honour of Queen Victoria’s birthday.

When to Market: Mid-May
Email Marketing Idea: Since this holiday sort of marks the start of summer, try to pair some special offers with the general summer season. If you sell seasonal products that are really summer-only, now is the time to put those front and center.

Monday, May 27: Memorial Day
A day of remembering the men and women who dies while serving in the US military.

When to Market: Mid-May
Email Marketing Idea: Make sure to thank our troops on this day! You can also offer special discounts to members of the military and their families. This may exclude a large percentage of your customers, but it also sends a nice message about how your organization feels about the people keeping us safe.

Sunday, June 16: Father’s Day
A day to celebrate dad’s everywhere. Since I just became a father last October, I am personally looking forward to my first father’s day.

When to Market: Early June
Email Marketing Idea: If you sell products commonly used by men, this is the holiday for you. Encourage the women/mothers on your mailing list and social media channels to buy gifts for the great men in their lives. Just like mother’s day, give a cut-off day to order by so that you create a sense of urgency and can make sure items arrive in time.

Monday, July 1: Canada Day
OH Canada! Similar to Independence Day in America, this day celebrates Canada’s birthday.

When to Market: End of June
Email Marketing Idea: Theme your email in red & white. Try to find a linkage between your products and celebrations to pair them together for a winning deal.

Thursday, July 4: Independence Day
Today we commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Bring on the fireworks!

When to Market: End of June / Beginning of July
Email Marketing Idea: Today is all about being patriotic so brand your emails in some good ol’ red, white and blue. Run special “one day only” discounts and if you’re products are made in America, be sure to emphasize that.

Monday, September 2: Labor Day (USA & Canada)
This federal holiday celebrates the economic and social contribution of workers. More importantly for merchants, it is historically one of largest sale days of the year.

When to Market: Mid-August / Early September
Email Marketing Idea: This is going to be a big spending day for consumers so hold nothing back on your special promotions. Show people that they get the best value when they buy from you!

Monday, October 14: Columbus Day
The anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival to the Americas. History Pop Quiz… what year did that happen in? If you said 1492 then your history teachers are proud of you!

When to Market: Early October
Email Marketing Idea: If you have a traditional physical location for your store, then you can offer special in-store discounts only for those that take the voyage into your store instead of shopping online.

Thursday, October 31: Halloween
Ghost, goblins, vampires and yummy yummy trick-or-treat candy. A marketing mega holiday that is cherished by people of all ages.

When to Market: October
Email Marketing Idea: This is another holiday that is tied with great imagery to put into your emails. Last year we had a customer send out a “bobbing for apples” email. There were 8 apples in the email and each one led to a page on their website with a different special offer. Of course, people could click all the apples, but that type of engagement is to be celebrated.

Monday, November 11: Veteran’s Day (USA) & Remembrance Day (Canada)
A holiday that honors people who have served in the American & Canadian armed services. [Note: Don't confuse this with Memorial Day which remembers those who died while serving.]

When to Market: Early November
Email Marketing Idea: Similar to Memorial Day, it’s a good time to use your emails and social channels to thank everyone in our armed services. You can also offer special discounts to members of the armed services and their families. To expand your potential market, you can include people who are buying a gift for someone in the armed services.

Wednesday, November 27: Start of Chanukah
It’s time for the festival of lights and 8 days of presents.

When to Market: Mid/Late November
Email Marketing Idea: Since this holiday lasts for 8 days, you can offer a discount on 8 different items. To create a sense of urgency you can have each item only be on sale for one specific day or you can have the same in effect up until a certain day and then it expires.

Thursday, November 28: Thanksgiving
This is one of the major holidays of the year in America, often used for family time (and possibly watching some football!).

When to Market: Mid-November
Email Marketing Idea: This is a good opportunity to push for sales prior to the beginning of the December holiday season. If you’re looking to clear out some inventory space in preparation for Christmas, now is the time to offer deep discounts on those items.

Wednesday, December 25: Christmas
The Christmas season begins well before the 25th as Santa Clause shows up in malls around the country and streets become lined with beautiful lights. Get ready for marketing mayhem!

When to Market: Day after Thanksgiving
Email Marketing Idea: T’is the season for daily deal promotions. Having the “12 Days of Christmas Deals” is a great way to send out an email every day with a special offer for 24 hours only.

Tuesday, December 31: New Years Eve
Wow that year went by fast. Here comes 2014! Before you drink too much champagne be sure to pat yourself on the back for all the great marketing you did this year.

When to Market: After Christmas related emails
Email Marketing Idea: It’s time to celebrate as people get caught up in the excitement of New Year’s. Harness that excitement by offering special end of year discounts on items that might not have sold as well as you wanted during the Christmas season. Don’t forget to take this time to wish everyone a happy new year.

One last suggestion is to make sure you have a mailing list signup button/form on your website right away. This way by the time you get to December, you’ve accumulated all sorts of great new contacts on your mailing list and can really boost your email marketing throughout the year! All Elite Email customers can easily generate these buttons & forms from their account.

Happy Marketing!

2013 Email Marketing Content Calendar

 

 

 

I’ve always been a proponent that email marketing and social media go hand-in-hand. In the world we live in today, it’s all about communication & relationship building, and both email marketing & social media act as different channels for engaging in conversation. All organizations should not be playing in just one of these sandboxes, but should be actively involved in all of them to ensure their brand runs the gauntlet of where customers might be looking for them.

I remember a time not too long ago when a “tweet” meant nothing at all and no one had heard of this thing called Twitter. Now Twitter has announced that half-way through 2011, Twitter users are sending 200 million tweets per day. That is written as 200,000,000… that’s a lot of Tweets! Assuming everyone is maxing out their 140 characters, that means that over the Twitter-sphere is about 28 billion characters per day.

Just to give context to the growth of Twitter, in January 2009, there was about 2 million tweets per day. Now, according to Twitter’s blog post, with this 200 million milestone, the world writes the equivalent of a 10 million-page book in Tweets every single day!

Is your organization actively tweeting? Do you have a Facebook page where your customers can connect with you?

I know it can sometimes be difficult to find something to say, but did you know that you can easily share your email newsletters from Elite Email on Twitter, Facebook and any other social network?

Right after you send your email, it can be published to the web using the Email-2-Web feature in your account. This gives you a dedicated URL for your email. Many people use this to link to past emails from their website, or link to last month’s newsletter in this month’s newsletter, but you can also use it to feed content into your social networks.

[Tip: If you are sending private content, you can deactivate the Email-2-Web feature so it is not published online.]

All you have to do is grab the URL to your email from the Email-2-Web page and then post it right to Twitter, Facebook or any other social network.

Any interactions that occur on the web-version of your email will still track in your reports. But, unlike with email contacts, you won’t be able to see the detailed information about who is clicking because once it’s in the social network universe, it really could be anyone.

When someone visits the web version of your email, it can easily be re-shared using the social sharing links that are automatically added to the bottom for you.

I strongly suggest you get in the habit of sending your email to your mailing list and then sharing it on the various social networks.

This isn’t to say your email content will go viral, since it might not be as captivating as that “Friday” song we’ve all come to love (hehe), but it will definitely extend your reach beyond the inbox.

© 2013 Elite Email Inc. Email Marketing by Elite Email | Blog Admin