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60% Say Email Marketing is Biggest Source of ROI: Going Back to School To Hit Your Benchmarks

Practical Marketer - Reading Time: 9 Minutes

60% Say Email Marketing is Biggest Source of ROI: Going Back to School To Hit Your Benchmarks

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Want to Build Your Email List Faster? 
Here is How to Choose the Right Lead Magnets

Want to Build Your Email List Faster? 
Here is How to Choose the Right Lead Magnets

Practical Marketer • August 12, 2019

Most people used to be thrilled to receive anything via email. Two decades ago. Today everybody’s inbox is so flooded with messages - both wanted and unwanted - that even being able to send your newsletter has become a privilege. So, if you are a business willing to build a list for email marketing, how do you earn this privilege? How do you encourage more of your website visitors to become loyal subscribers? Two words. Lead magnets. What are lead magnets, anyway? Lead magnet is a real buzzword these days, and you probably hear it a lot. That’s because using a lead magnet is known to be an excellent email opt-in conversion booster. A lead magnet is a specifically targeted item that you promise in exchange for a sign-up. Something that can be delivered within a few minutes. Something irresistible. An ethical bribe if you will. [caption id=\"attachment_11400\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"468\"] Crate&Barrel offers a 10% discount for a subscription[/caption] Adam Connell, the author of Blogging Wizard, states lead magnets can increase conversions by a factor of 7 and even more. Tim Soulo, the Head of Marketing at Ahrefs, shares a 300%-growth case study on his blog. If you’re still skeptical, read this post where Hubspot provides an impressive example of a 42% conversion rate achieved with the right lead magnet. Can you imagine that? Almost half of all page visitors chose to subscribe. [caption id=\"attachment_11401\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"468\"] Shane Barker, a digital marketer, offers a free 30-min consultation in exchange for a name and an email[/caption] When you think of options, almost anything can be a lead magnet: a tool, a guide, a cheat sheet, a discount, a demo version of your app, a webinar, a video course. And yes, even your time can become a lead magnet, should you be willing to provide consultations in exchange for an email. Chances are, along the way you will have various incentives for your audience to subscribe, so when choosing the very first lead magnet, you should probably pick something you’re able to produce relatively fast – ideally, between a few hours and a couple of days. How do you deliver a lead magnet? Remember, I said lead magnets must be delivered instantly because that’s one of their key values? So, technically, there are two ways to do it. #1. Use Benchmark Email autoresponder feature This one is quite obvious. If you use marketing automation to send welcome emails, simply place a link to your promised lead magnet in the email body and schedule it to be sent instantly. #2. Use a Success Page feature in your email list building tool If you collect subscribers using email, contact, or survey forms by GetSiteControl (or any other lead generation app), you can redirect them to any URL after they share their address. It can be a hidden post on your blog, a page to download a lead magnet from, or even a link to a closed Facebook community you invite your fans to. [caption id=\"attachment_11462\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"700\"] This is how you set up a success page to redirect your subscribers to in GetSiteControl[/caption] Tips for choosing a lead magnet So... since there are so many lead magnet ideas to choose from, does it mean you can just pick any of them to create an incentive to subscribe? Of course, not. The key to creating a good lead magnet is precise targeting. You want to make sure you’re offering something your audience wants. Something to solve their “pain” quickly and efficiently. And just like you take a serious approach to choose the right call to action, you should understand that not all the lead magnets might be equally effective. If you have an e-commerce store, the first lead magnet idea you probably have is a discount. Or free shipping. But should it end there? And is it the best lead magnet for just anyone landing on your website? Let’s talk about this in the next few paragraphs. Tip #1. Identify your audience pain points Regardless of what business you’re in, there must be few requests you repeatedly receive from your audience. Something that, if addressed, could make their life instantly easier, and something you are willing to give away. [caption id=\"attachment_11403\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"468\"] Jeff Goins, a best-selling author of 5 books, offers a free web masterclass for writers[/caption] If it’s not obvious to you, there are plenty of sources for inspiration: emails from customers, support tickets, comments on your posts, live chat conversations, discussions in the niche communities, or on even competitors’ websites. Write down 3-5 problems your target audience mentions most frequently and pick one you could easily provide a solution for. That’s your lead magnet. Tip #2. Avoid providing generic solutions to generic problems As banal as this may sound, using a wrong format for a lead magnet is one of the biggest traps beginners fall into. Remember, I asked you to find 3-5 “pain points” you could help your audience with? One mistake marketers make is combining solutions to several problems into one piece of content. That’s how a potentially perfect lead magnet loses its specificity and becomes inefficient. Compare the following incentives: “Get a list of free tools for beginning online entrepreneurs” “Get a list of 37 email templates for e-commerce I personally tested and recommend” The first one might sound exciting at first, but unlike the second one, it doesn’t look like a specific “here and now” solution to a specific “here and now” problem. There are dozens of pain points a beginning entrepreneur has – how do we know this list addresses exactly what they are struggling with at the moment? [caption id=\"attachment_11404\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"468\"] After a sign-up, Muscle&Fitness blog instantly shows a set of exercises for the muscle groups you choose[/caption] Bottom line: don’t try to squeeze in too much information just for the sake of it. Boil down your expertise into one piece of content that provides a clear way to solve one particular problem. Tip #3. Choose shorter formats over lengthy lead magnets Less is more. Yes, e-books used to be the most popular type of lead magnet. But are they still as efficient? Let’s see. Most e-books take forever to create, what’s more – they take forever to consume. At the same time, most people today anticipate immediate value and hate waiting. That’s why more often than not, bite-size pieces of information are more enticing than lengthy content or month-long courses. Ready for the most important piece of advice? Trade size for relevancy. Because the more precisely targeted your lead magnet is, the better it will convert. Here is how the lengthy “entrepreneur’s toolset” could be revised: “Accounting checklist for a beginning entrepreneur” – offered on a page where you talk about bookkeeping, taxes, and financial advice for entrepreneurs. “100 business blog ideas for the times you are out of ideas” – offered on a page where you talk about content marketing, blogging, and self-branding. “My 10 favorite sources for getting free traffic that converts” – offered on any page related to traffic, conversion optimization, and marketing in general. And if you doubt that creating a post-specific lead magnet is worth the effort, read how Brian Dean increased email opt-in conversion rate by 785% using exactly this method. A quick note here. Lead magnets do not always have to be content in the form of ebooks or PDFs. The magnets you create can also be tightly knit to the product or service you are offering. A free trial of the product (that captures the user\'s contact info in exchange for access to your tool) is perhaps the most popular form of lead magnet. If you run an online product or SaaS company, you can create bite-sized reports or documents from your tool and provide it as exclusive content for your leads. You can perhaps create a microsite on WordPress or other platforms and hide the content behind an email capture form. This way, interested users sign up with their email in order to access this exclusive piece of content. Tip #4. Ask your website visitors what they want Have you ever thought of that? Because there are quite a few tools and plugins available today for surveying your audience, asking them what they want, and validating your ideas. If you have a decent traffic volume on your website, that might be the easiest and the fastest way to choose a lead magnet. [caption id=\"attachment_11464\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"700\"] An example of a GetSiteControl survey form[/caption] You can use the Benchmark survey feature or one of the apps it integrates with, such as: GetSiteControl Survey Monkey Wufoo JotForms Tip #5. Vary lead magnets for different funnel stages Wait, aren’t lead magnets already part of the funnel converting website visitors into leads? Well, it depends on how you attract the audience and what your sales funnel looks like. But if you think about it, offering various lead magnets to people on different stages of their customer journey might be quite reasonable. Here is an example, explaining why a discount is not the ultimate lead magnet even for eCommerce stores. Imagine, you sell organic detox juices online. To get traffic to your website, you actively employ content marketing techniques, so there are many educational articles about detoxification, eating clean, and DIY recipes on your blog. Now, if you get this traffic organically, most people landing on these pages are probably on the awareness stage, right? Most probably, they don’t even know your brand yet, let alone thinking about making a purchase. So, will a discount for your product or free shipping be the best incentive for them to subscribe? Probably. But chances are, at this stage, they might be even more incentivized to sign up in exchange for a detox grocery shopping checklist or a printable detox calendar. [caption id=\"attachment_11406\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"468\"] LeadQuizzes offers early access to the new version in exchange for an email[/caption] Of course, you might want to test this assumption – and that brings us to the next chapter of this post. The key takeaway here is that thinking from a customer’s perspective might lead you to the conclusion, what they want is not always exactly what you initially wanted to offer. Tip #6. A/B test your lead magnets There is no way around it. At the end of the day, your lead magnet will either bring you new subscribers or it won’t. And when starting your email list building journey, you may want to fully rely on some expert’s opinion. You may be bold and copy your competitor’s strategy. Or you may trust your intuition and try to guess. The only legit way to find out what works and what doesn’t is to test it. Often, you’ll be surprised by the results as a lead magnet that took weeks to create might not perform as well as the one you created overnight. Besides, remember, it’s not just the lead magnet itself you can test, it’s the call to action, the creative, and – yeah – the button color too. After all, you’ve already invested time and energy into creating a compelling incentive. It would be neglectful not to try and optimize it properly. Do you use lead magnets to collect email subscribers? If not, what stops you? If yes, share your insights in the comments below.


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Heart of Business: Life is Never a Drag for Miz Cracker

Heart of Business: Life is Never a Drag for Miz Cracker

Beyond • August 9, 2019

A few weeks ago, the YouTube algorithm auto-played a video of Miz Cracker giving Queer Eye\'s Antoni Porowski a drag makeover. It left me thinking about the opportunities that being on a show like RuPaul\'s Drag Race opened up for a drag queen\'s career. Then, I remembered I hosted a podcast that asked those very questions to a person who gets to play dress up for a living. Not long after, I had confirmation for an interview in an email signed xoxo Miz Cracker. Reader, let me tell you: Miz Cracker does not disappoint. Fun, witty and thoughtful. We talk about how she got her start in drag, the decision to go on RuPaul\'s Drag Race and what she\'s been up to since. Miz Cracker talks about the importance of building a brand and how social media has changed the game for drag queens. I mean brand building is 90% of what I do. I am on stage for about 10 to 30 minutes a day. I\'ll do two five-minute numbers or I\'ll do a half hour show, at most I\'ll do an hour and 15 minutes show. And the rest of the entire day is thinking about the brand and what I\'m putting out there. A lot of people think that building a brand is about fabricating an image and building it on social media, creating a story. But it really should be sort of turning around to the pile of stuff that is you and shoveling it onto the internet. 00:00 Andy Shore: Alright, so how you doing today? 00:03 Miz Cracker: I\'m doing great. I\'m here in my little studio in the Bronx, which my co-pilot, Katelyn, and I just rented, and it\'s now just our little home where we run everything from. 00:16 AS: Yeah, that\'s exciting. Congrats on finding your own space and moving in there. I guess we can... 00:21 MC: Yeah, it\'s... 00:22 AS: Sorry, go ahead. 00:23 MC: No, it\'s important to have a space, a working space that\'s not your living space, you know what I mean? 00:31 AS: I do, yeah. We both work from home a bit here and there, and it\'s important to be able to have that space so you\'re not just like, \"Oh, I can go get food, or go take a nap, or go do all these other things. The dog is here to play with.\" 00:45 MC: Yeah. 00:45 Daniel Miller: Throw some pants on, shower. [laughter] 00:47 MC: Yeah. 00:50 AS: And so I guess we\'ll get back into having your own space and seeing that real career grow, but I wanna start at the beginning. What made you wanna get into drag in the first place? 01:03 MC: I actually didn\'t want to get into drag at all. [chuckle] I was nagged into it by one of my friends. I was walking home one night, and I ran into this guy who needed help with a bookshelf, and I was like, \"Listen, I\'m gonna help you haul this up to your apartment.\" And when I got to his apartment, it was covered floor-to-ceiling in wigs. And I was like, \"What have I gotten myself into?\" [laughter] And the guy\'s like, \"Well, I actually do drag every Saturday. I do these marches for marriage equality in Times Square. You should join me.\" And I said, \"Sure, maybe,\" as in never. [chuckle] But he lived down the street from me, and he just kept asking every single weekend for six months, so finally I was like, \"Okay, I will try it.\" 01:58 AS: And that\'s, of course, the infamous or famous Bob the Drag Queen? 02:02 MC: That\'s Bob the Drag Queen. And as soon as he put me in makeup, I turned around and looked in the mirror, I was like, \"Oh my god. This is the new thing!\" 02:08 DM: That\'s wonderful. So for some of our listeners, do you mind explaining a little bit what is drag and drag shows? 02:20 MC: Drag shows are a lot of things, but above all, they are people wearing too much, doing too much, [chuckle] in order to entertain queer people and their friends, really. 02:36 DM: Wonderful. I actually... I was just telling Andy, I think the first drag show I went to was in the Keys in Florida. 02:45 MC: Oh wow. 02:45 DM: And yes, I ended up on stage. I don\'t remember anything after that, though, that\'s probably the dangerous part of it, though, [laughter] but it was a lot of fun. 02:54 MC: I\'ve had a few of those as well. Yeah, there\'s... A lot of people have different rules for what drag should be and how it should look, but as long as it\'s too much, I think that\'s drag. Men can do it, women can do it, trans people can do it. There\'s really no laws in the world of drag because it\'s one of the only forms of entertainment that doesn\'t have a NYU program feeding into it, [chuckle] it is just... It\'s its own thing. 03:27 AS: It almost does now, with the whole Drag Race kind of economy that has grown from the show. 03:34 MC: Right, yeah, now there\'s a market that it belongs to, but luckily it still has escaped academics for now. 03:43 AS: Sure. 03:44 MC: Which, who knows. There could be a drag vocational school, [chuckle] drag community college, which would be a great television show on ABC. 03:54 AS: I was just gonna say, I\'d watch that for sure. 03:57 MC: Yeah. 03:58 AS: And so how long after you started doing drag, and getting started, and seeing yourself there for the first time... When did it go from, \"Hey, this is really fun,\" to \"This is what I think I could do for a living\"? 04:11 MC: Well, I actually just had this show with a queen, Brenda Darling, in the Upper West Side. And one night she just was just murdering it, she was just doing such an amazing performance, and she got the standing ovation, and I got mild applause, and I was like, \"This is so rough, [chuckle] every week, to go through this.\" And I was kind of like, \"Listen, I\'ve gotta either quit or really go all out and make this my thing because this middle ground is not doing me any favors, it\'s not doing the audience any favors.\" And that was when the tides turned, which I think was like 2014, 2015. 04:53 AS: Yeah, I think that\'s a good lesson for a lot of people wanting to pursue passions is you gotta go all in on it. 05:00 DM: You can\'t half-ass it, yeah. 05:00 AS: If you\'re gonna do one foot in, you\'re gonna find yourself there being like, \"Yeah, is this it?\" \'cause you\'re not giving it your all anyways. 05:09 MC: And your relationship with drag is like your relationship with any person, you\'re only going to get out of it what you put into it. And you can starve it or feed it, but you\'re not gonna get... And there are exceptions to the rules, of course, but you\'re usually not gonna get more rewards from drag than you make sacrifices. It\'s gonna be about equal. 05:33 DM: Yeah, absolutely. 05:35 AS: And I do content marketing, social media, for a living, and as a nice Jewish boy from the Midwest, I have a hard enough time explaining that to my parents, that that\'s a thing you can do. How did it go over with your family when you told them that this was the thing for you? 05:52 MC: I think my mother was actually in town when I decided to quit my job and do drag full-time, and she was just like, \"You know what, you hate your job so much, I would rather that you were homeless on the streets than doing this job because I really want you to be happy more than anything else. So I don\'t know if drag is gonna be successful for you, but I know that you are going to be happier.\" And I was like, \"Okay, we\'re doing this then. If my mom says I should do it, then let\'s do it.\" 06:24 DM: That\'s wonderful, that\'s... Yeah, having support from family, friends, with something like this, I think that that\'s always one of the most important things. I see you\'re on tour a lot. It seems like beyond being able to get a career from this, drag has allowed you to travel a lot. What are some of the places that you\'ve traveled to, and what are some of your favorites? 06:54 MC: Oh my god, we\'ve been to so many places. I think we\'ve been to 15 countries in the last year. 07:00 DM: Oh wow. 07:00 AS: Wow. 07:01 MC: It\'s not made up. Katelyn is sitting over there like it\'s totally made up, but [chuckle] Brazil, Argentina, Chile, New Zealand, Australia, Mexico, I\'m won\'t count the US, Canada, Ireland, Scotland, the UK... Wait, is Scotland part of that or what? They\'re gonna be so mad that I still don\'t know. Portugal, that\'s 13, I think, now. And I\'m sure there\'s just one more. Oh, I\'ve been to Senegal and the Gambia, but not for travel. But yeah, we\'ve been to over a dozen countries. It\'s a lot. 07:42 DM: What\'s been one of your favorite ones, so far? 07:46 MC: I mean, one of my favorite ones, of course, on the small side was Portugal, it\'s... Lisbon was the most beautiful place I\'ve ever been in my entire life. But our favorite place to go is anywhere in the UK and Ireland because they just treat us so well. They treat me so well over there. And every single aspect of a drag show is handled so beautifully, and the audiences are so polite, and kind, and they bring gifts. And it\'s like when you come back to America, it\'s quite a shock because any American listening to this will know, we are a lot to deal with. We just are. [laughter] 08:35 DM: That\'s so funny. Is there... Do you see big differences from country to country in regards to the drag community? 08:42 MC: Oh, you can see differences in the drag community from state to state. If you are in Columbus, Ohio, and you name a pretty drag queen and a comedy drag queen, they will be completely silent for the pretty drag queen and just go wild for the comedy queen. And then if you are in certain parts of New York, they will go nuts for the pretty girl and have nothing to say about the the comedy queen at all. But you could cross the water and go into another part of New York City, and it\'ll be completely opposite. There\'s so many little bubbles, and you kinda have to know where you\'re going. I know what numbers to perform, what songs to perform in different states. I\'m like, \"Well, this is the state for this song, I can\'t do any other, they\'re not gonna hear this one,\" and you just have to be very sensitive to it, and you learn very quickly. 09:41 AS: Yeah, I\'ve heard a lot of comedians talk about that. There\'s always the, \"Local jokes get local work,\" but just knowing what material\'s killing in the clubs in LA, and the second they go on tour and they\'re just getting blank stares, that you gotta be able to read a room, and I guess it\'s incredibly important for you guys, too. 10:00 MC: Right. Just stop and think for a minute about the people that are in that room. You don\'t have to know that much about a city to know jokes about Fendi and Prada on 5th Avenue are not just gonna play as well in San Francisco, or... You know what I mean? It\'s just like it\'s not there, and that\'s not what people live for in San Francisco, it\'s just... It\'s not that hard to do, doesn\'t take rocket science, just go with your gut. But if you... What you do, I find, is I... Whenever I\'m backstage, I\'ll just turn to the other people in the room, I\'ll be like, \"Alright, here we are in Puxaluxie, Alabama, what is the neighborhood that everyone makes fun of?\" And they\'re like, \"Oh, we always make fun of blah-blah-blah-blah neighborhood,\" you\'re like, \"Alright, work.\" You go out on stage, and you\'re like, \"Oh, sir, look at your outfit, where are you from? Blah, blah, blah, neighborhood?\" and everyone\'s like, \"Oh my God, genius!\" It\'s a literally a mad lib fill-in-the-blank joke that I take everywhere, but people live for it. 11:10 AS: Yeah, that\'s great. I don\'t know if you heard of Brody Stevens, that\'s way last year, but he used to be the guy that closed the comedy club, would perform the last hour to the six people still there finishing their drinks. And his entire bit was that he can do all the different places in the Valley, and know the zip codes, and just all over the country, too. If someone\'s in town, he would have some random fact about... Just an encyclopedic knowledge of the randomest things that... Exactly like you\'re saying, connect with anybody for any means necessary. 11:42 MC: Yeah, just know the lingo. 11:45 DM: What would you say are some of your pet peeves when it comes to drag shows in general, and then as a career as well? 11:54 MC: My pet peeves for a drag show? My pet peeves for a drag show... Honestly, for Ru Girls! , we meet our fans at some point during the show. We will go to a little photo area, and get to say hello to everybody, sign a few autographs. It\'s a huge pet peeve for me when that is scheduled to be at the end of the show because I am one of those drag queens that sweats her face off during the show, [chuckle] and I just look like a bedraggled Cocker Spaniel-rodent hybrid, just something pulled out of a drain, and that\'s the picture that they\'re gonna get. [chuckle] So for the bar it makes sense, it\'s an incentive for people to stay for the whole time, but for me, I just hate that. And my big peeve for drag shows in general is when someone performs a song, and then another queen a couple of performances later comes up and does the same song, I\'m like, \"Really? You didn\'t have [chuckle] one other song to do? You had to... We\'re gonna listen to Nicki Minaj Super Bass four times tonight?\" You know what I mean? [chuckle] 13:11 AS: \"Just that confident that yours is gonna be better after the fact?\" 13:14 MC: Right, \"It better be amazing.\" [chuckle] We had this night, we went to a place in LA called Mickey\'s. There were 10 girls, I would say six of them did the same did the same Nicki Minaj song. Six! [chuckle] And you know what, luckily Nicki Minaj is great, so it was fun every time, but still! The principle stays. 13:35 AS: It\'s a lot. So what was the process like for you deciding to go on the show? Was it a no-brainer, or was it something you had to really think about? And then the experience with filming, and how did that change your drag outlook? 13:52 MC: I was really hesitant to even audition for Drag Race because I believe in small rooms. I believe in making in-person contact with the audience when you are a drag queen. And I wasn\'t sure if being part of television was gonna get in the way of that, and if it was gonna make me compromise myself in ways that I couldn\'t predict. So it was a really long process. And finally what it came down to was, \"Listen, I am in my 30s now. We need to be financially stable, and we need to take this to the next level and go all the way, as I already said. Otherwise we may as just well stop.\" So I was like, \"Alright.\" It\'s like if you wanna do something, you wanna do it on the highest level, and I was like, \"Alright, this is the highest level. And if I wanna be true to myself, I gotta do it in that context.\" 14:58 AS: Yeah. And I\'m sure all those things that you did want that you were concerned, you had to know it was gonna open up the opportunity to do those later. Like look at John Mayer did two pop albums, and then got to do whatever he wanted for the rest of his career, whether it\'s... 15:13 MC: Right! 15:14 AS: Touring with the Grateful Dead, or playing with Eric Clapton, or all those things that... We\'re both marketers, so for me, it\'s just like, oh yeah, you take the opportunity that\'s gonna give you the exposure, and then do it on your own terms afterwards. 15:28 MC: I\'m sort of like the John Mayer of drag in that sense. [laughter] 15:31 AS: I\'m here for it. Let\'s start it right now, we\'ll keep spreading it. [laughter] 15:36 MC: But yeah, no, it is true, I do get to do exactly what I want. And I had this Jewish epiphany, which means nervous breakdown, [laughter] and at the end of it, I was just like, \"You know what, I\'m gonna do exactly what I want all the time. I\'m not gonna pay attention to what anyone else is doing because that\'s the only way I\'m gonna be happy.\" So that\'s the way we do things now. 15:57 DM: Yeah, I think that that\'s a really good point. For anybody that says... Sorry, I hear so many people... I think it\'s a good idea to keep an eye out on what the competitors are doing, what other businesses are doing, but if you continuously do that, you\'re always gonna be chasing them and going behind them. If you look inward and start to focus on what you really want, there is no competition to you, and you do your own thing. So yeah, I agree with that full-heartedly. 16:24 AS: Speaking about that, can you tell us a little bit more about American Woman? 16:30 MC: Oh yeah, American Woman, I guess we\'re relaunching the global tour this week. We\'re doing it at a place called Laurie Beechman Theater in New York. And it is about feminism today, and the mistakes that I have made in not supporting women in the way I think they should be supported, especially because I was raised by women, by my mother and my sister, my Drag Race audition tape was made by a woman, my manager and my assistant are both women, 75% of my audience members, when I look off the stage, are women. I owe women everything, and I think I have to stop and think now about some of the stuff that I do that doesn\'t make life easier for the women around me. And I make fun of myself and point out things that we can all do better to make America and the world a better place for women, especially right now when women are coming together and saying, \"It\'s time.\" 17:42 AS: Yeah, that\'s interesting. You say walk a mile in their shoes, and you do [chuckle] that whenever you\'re performing. 17:47 MC: Oh, yeah, yeah. 17:48 AS: And just having... After the explosion of Nanette and Hannah Gadsby last year, and looking at the self-deprecating humor of it all, and the impact that has on yourself and the community, I think that\'s important. 18:00 MC: I watched Nanette while I was preparing for American Woman, and it was really a powerful thing. And I don\'t think everyone has to be perfect when they contribute to the women\'s rights movement that\'s starting to re-emerge and gather momentum right now, but I do think we have a responsibility to do our best to try to contribute. Make mistakes, fix them along the way. 18:29 AS: Yeah, I think especially in the social media culture we have, that it\'s important that it\'s not... To accept that everyone\'s not perfect. And as long as we\'re trying and everyone\'s on the same team, that it\'s okay to have those bumps in the road. 18:42 MC: I think women make a lot of mistakes when it comes to women\'s rights, too, and in the way that they treat each other. And so we can sort of all be on the same page of like, \"Okay, we\'re all struggling to figure out where to go from here, but we all agree that where we are now is not great.\" [chuckle] 19:00 DM: Yeah, most definitely. I think there was a Ted Talk, gosh, I can\'t remember for the life of me, the name of the guy that was talking about it. But he was showing the differences between languages and upbringings from men and women. And languages, for example, in certain countries like in Spanish, bridge is masculine, but in German, it\'s feminine. And when they would ask people to describe in their own language what a bridge looks like, in Spanish, they would say it\'s strong, it\'s this and that. It would be a lot of male words. 19:40 DM: And in German it would be a lot of female ones. Oh, it\'s a beautiful bridge, connecting bridge and so forth. So the the wiring of the language alone was so interesting on how that wasn\'t... The main thing that he was saying \'cause language is much harder to change, but the upbringing, so many parents will encouraged their kids to go on the playground and get hurt. But their daughters, they\'re like, \"No, no, don\'t skin your knees, you\'re a princess, stay here.\" And there is that balance of that pre-wiring is from a very young as a kid and the power that that can have. So yeah, I think the movements that are happening now, it\'s something that it should have happened long time ago, but the power of social media is really allowing communities to spread and to empower women. Definitely. 20:28 MC: Yeah. And to talk about and to talk about things that they haven\'t been able to talk about before, so... 20:32 DM: Exactly. 20:35 AS: So we\'re talking about you being able to have a platform and trying to use that responsibly, going along with that and kind of building your brand as drag has become such a bigger part of the zeitgeist with the popularity of drag race. How much thought do you put into kind of building the brand you have and helping yourself separate from the rest of the crowd? 20:55 MC: I mean brand building is 90% of what I do. I am on stage for about 10 to 30 minutes a day. I\'ll do two five-minute numbers or I\'ll do a half hour show, at most I\'ll do an hour and 15 minutes show. And the rest of the entire day is thinking about the brand and what I\'m putting out there. And it\'s really... A lot of people think that building a brand is about fabricating an image and building it on social media, creating a story. But it really should be sort of turning around to the pile of stuff that is you and shoveling it onto the internet. And by that I mean... 21:45 DM: That\'s a good visual. 21:47 MC: You know what I mean? Kaitlyn and I take the stuff that we do every day, and we take pictures of that so people know what we\'re doing. We don\'t go very often to a photo studio and put me in an outfit that I wouldn\'t normally wear, and a hair that I wouldn\'t normally wear, in lighting that I\'m not normally in, to tell the story of me being someone that I\'m not. We\'re like, \"Okay. I was in drag early today and I was in Boston, so here\'s a picture of me early in drag in Boston by a landmark.\" We try to take a picture of me with a landmark in every city that we go to. And it is not story-telling, it is literally just journalism. It\'s documentarianism. You know what I mean? And I think that\'s... People get everything backwards that you are supposed to create this image and then live towards it, but really you live and then you expose that life to the world. And that\'s... If you try to do it the other way, you will get exhausted. This way is exhausting enough, but that artifice is gonna take up so much of your energy. 23:00 DM: Yeah, if you don\'t absolutely do what you love, you\'re gonna burn out really fast. That\'s yeah... 23:03 AS: And we live in a world... 23:05 MC: Another thing that... Another business, the smartest business thing I ever heard which came from Kaitlyn as far as anyone who is trying to sell an item based on their brand, do not sell something that you would wear or you would use; sell something that your customers will wear or use. And a really good example of that is like if you are a 6\'5, 102-pound model, yes, you would wear a leather bra and panty set out on to the stage. But you can\'t really make that into merchandise for your customers because almost none of them are going to be 6\'5 models. Do you know what I mean? And I see people make this mistake all the time. They\'re like, \"Oh, here\'s something that I would use, I would wear, I\'m gonna sell it, and I\'m gonna put my brand, my logo on it.\" And then the fans come up and they are Americans just regular Americans, not wealthy traveling entertainers and they look at the spread of stuff and they\'re like, \"Where does this fit in my life?\" It\'s backwards. 24:29 DM: Yeah, definitely. I mean like you said, we live in LA and where you\'re always told write what you know. And just as marketers in general, just seeing the importance of being authentic and trying through it like... There\'s so much competition in any market, really, at this point, that the ones that people feel like they can connect with and see who they actually are is who it\'s gonna be. And I think that extra layer of being able to understand your audience, I mean, as marketers, you could be selling a product, but what you\'re really selling is the solution to a problem that someone has and being able to understand from their eyes and do that customer-centric marketing rather than just blasting what you think you need to be putting out there. 25:09 MC: I think authenticity, loving what you do, are such high goals. And if... You have a whole lifetime, you might not get there. But you can definitely start by not lying before you get to authenticity, just don\'t lie. That\'s a good one. And then if you don\'t love what you do, at least do what you do. It\'s very hard for you to create a brand as a drag queen if you don\'t do drag all the time. Does that make sense? 25:44 AS: Yeah. 25:45 MC: So obviously the goals are to be totally authentic with yourself and your audience and to love what you do. But shy of that on a regular human day, just don\'t lie and do your job. You know what I mean? 25:57 AS: Mm-hmm. 25:58 MC: Kaitlyn almost died just now walking into the room. [26:00] ____ wires everywhere. It\'s almost became a one-woman business again. [laughter] 26:08 AS: I\'m glad everyone\'s okay. And kinda continuing on, using all of you and what you\'re doing, you\'ve had two web series that are either Rhymes Or Puns With Jew, and Review With The Jew, and Jewtorials, what went in the decision in including that in what you\'re putting out there? 26:26 MC: When I went into season 10, I was looking at Kaitlyn and I was like, \"I am Jewish. I\'m not gonna let them turn me into the token Jew.\" I\'m not gonna make... I know they wanna make that part of my storyline, but it\'s like... That\'s just a part of me. And then Watching season 10, every time I walk into the room I\'m like, \" Jewie McJew, McJew Jewison. You know? And I was like, \"Oh my god.\" It is a massive part of who I am and I\'m just going to embrace that. And it is really just... I laugh the hardest when I\'m making Jew jokes because I love being a Jew and I think Jews are funny and wonderful people. And so it\'s just... When I put Jew in the title of anything I do, it\'s just kind of like... It just makes me happy, that\'s why. 27:16 AS: Mm-hmm, that\'s great. I think in audiences like there... Especially Jewish audiences, the second they know someone is Jewish will just support that person no matter what. 27:28 MC: Oh absolutely. 27:28 AS: Even growing up, there was like one Jewish player on the Dodgers and I\'m from Chicago, but I knew that because my dad told me every time he was on television. And told me of the Sandy Koufax story all over again \'cause he is just like Jew, he\'s like, \"Well, we\'ve gotta root for what we\'ve got left.\" And it\'s just so funny [27:47] ____. 27:47 MC: Yeah, any time you get together with Jews you\'re like, \"Did you know that so and so was a Jew?\" \"Oh, I didn\'t know that.\" \"Did you know that so and so was a Jew?\" \"Oh, I didn\'t know that.\" \"Did you know that so was... \" \"Oh, I did know that. Yes, I knew he was a Jew because he did this Jewy thing.\" \"Alright.\" \"Well. How are your bowels?\" \"Terrible, let\'s talk about it.\" Like how every Jewish conversation begins. 28:10 AS: Yeah, just Eliot Glazer from Broad City and many other things had Este Haim on his haunting rendition show. They did a whole Jewish music set that just killed the whole room. 28:22 MC: Right. 28:22 AS: I was like, \"Yeah, this plays in LA. It might not play like you said in Ohio so much.\" 28:27 MC: Right, I can\'t wait to release my Klezmer album, which I don\'t know why I didn\'t think of this before, but it\'s gonna be great. And I\'m gonna play Klezmer for Kaitlyn after this so she knows what the hell I\'m talking about. \'Cause I\'ve had to teach her everything about Judaism. [laughter] 28:43 AS: That\'s funny, yeah, I\'m the... 28:44 MC: Doesn\'t play well in DC. 28:45 AS: I\'m definitely the token Jew in our office. 28:48 MC: Good. 28:48 AS: So I get that responsibility as well. 28:51 MC: Yeah. 28:52 AS: And so we\'re talking about doing it and everything that goes into it. Is drag a career that you think has longevity, or do you have plans beyond that? 29:01 MC: I never make any plans for my life in the long term. I sort of do what I wanna do until I\'m not interested in it anymore and then I suddenly stop. So I\'ve never... I think as long as drag allows me to do exactly what I want to do all the time, which is what it\'s allowing me to do right now, I\'m gonna... There\'s no reason I would ever leave it. If ever at any point I find that it\'s constraining me and that I feel that I\'m not totally free, then I could leave. But I just don\'t see that happening. 29:34 DM: That\'s a great feeling. 29:35 AS: Yeah. 29:36 MC: I\'ve never made any plans ever. [chuckle] 29:41 AS: That\'s great, yeah. Our next guest we\'ve got that we\'re interviewing actually later today, his name is Nick Uhas. He was on Big Brother back in the day, but the first time we interviewed with him was like four years ago. And he\'d gone from like a high school wrestler to a professional rollerblader to like crashing a fraternity conference to do networking that landed him on Big Brother, and then was like hosting other shows. And like the whole conversation we had is just kinda picking the path presented to you and being able to do that and see that and accept that where you are is where you\'re supposed to be and kind of go forward from there. 30:15 MC: I came to New York as a poet, and I worked with a number of poets in a group. And we traveled around the country doing readings and performances then I got bored and I quit. And I joined a publishing house and worked my way up to the top as an arts editor and then I was bored of that. And I went into journalism and I wrote for a newspaper for a while and then I was done with that. I took one fundraising course and became a fundraiser for a museum. And then I was like, \"Now I hate fundraising.\" And I was like, \"I think I\'ll do drag.\" And so that it\'s sort of just been like completely 180 turns all the time that led me here. No plan whatsoever. I left Seattle to come to New York because I saw Meryl Streep walking down the street in a movie in New York, and I was like, \"Oh, I wanna do that.\" 31:12 DM: Do what you love to find the people to love. That\'s what [31:16] ____. 31:16 MC: Right, oh exactly. Do what the people you love do. 31:18 DM: There you go. Yeah. This is the question that I had for a little bit earlier, but the conversation kind of strayed it out. But I\'m actually on the computer right now and I can see some of your photos. And I have to say, \"My goodness, the make up, the hair, the dress, everything.\" How long does it normally take to get out... To have that transformation? To be ready like that? 31:44 MC: It takes me about an hour to make a wig. I usually make my wig right before the show. And then about two hours to get in drag, and that\'s including getting in my pads and everything. 32:00 DM: Wow, that\'s... Yeah. I thought it would be more than that. It looks amazing, so yeah. 32:06 MC: Oh, I mean, it used to take me four hours just to put my eyebrows on. But now it\'s a lot easier. 32:17 AS: Great, getting your Malcolm Gladwell 10,000-hours in drag. 32:21 MC: Oh, definitely 10,000 hours at least. [chuckle] 32:26 AS: And in terms of the pictures and everything you talked about, like wanting to show the authentic part, how much has social media and Instagram in general changed the game for drag? 32:41 MC: Let\'s just put it this way: When Lady Bunny was doing drag, it was not a visual art form. [laughter] 32:50 MC: She and the ladies of her time, it was about being in the same room with them and if they could be funny and make you happy while you were there. Never mind the fact that she was just wearing two lashes and a touch of lip gloss under that wig. It took... The makeup did not matter and the outfit could have been vintage, let\'s put it that way. As Jinkx Monsoon put it, a series of unfortunate caftans [laughter] But now social media is a visual... Especially Instagram is a visual medium and it has created an expectation for drag that it will be a powerful visual experience. So that, I think, has created a massive change in drag and also the expectation that thousands of people should know about you, which I don\'t think that the queens like Lady Bunny really anticipated when they were starting drag. You know what I mean? They were not like, \"I\'m gonna be world famous.\" I think they were like, \"I\'m [34:04] ____ gay tonight, girl,\" you know? And that was pretty much it. And things like Sweetie, they were going lip sync in a club and have a really great time and then that was it. They wouldn\'t expect to become a mega star. 34:20 AS: Yeah, now you guys have to be the multi-hyphenates of the look, the make-up, you can dance, the comedy, all of it. It\'s like a lot more. 34:28 MC: Right, but also you have a different breed of people coming into drag. People that wanted to do something for its own sake, art for art\'s sake, those were the kind of queens and the kind of personality types that were flooding into drag in the \'70s and the \'80s because they had no expectations of fame. Now you have people that are thirsty for fame which is a very different personality type, thirsty for fame, thirsty for money, thirsty for recognition. Those flies are being drawn to the tape now, and it has changed the temperature of the water. [laughter] 35:07 AS: I believe that. So what\'s next for you? You said the show is starting back up again and you\'re about to go on to tour? 35:14 MC: I\'m about to go on tour with American Woman, so it\'s gonna start here in New York once again. And then this fall we\'re taking it to New Zealand and Australia and then the UK in January. And then in the spring, we\'re thinking of doing an American tour as well since, you know, that\'s where we\'re from. 35:39 MC: But we\'re spending a full year and a half in the UK if we can. 35:44 AS: It\'s fun. Sure, why not? As you said, follow the path you got. If the opportunity is there, you might as well. 35:50 MC: Yeah, give me a visa and a Visa debit card. [laughter] 35:56 AS: Well, Miz Cracker, I wanna thank you sincerely for spending the time and chatting with us today. Before we say goodbye, let everyone know where they can follow you and find as you go on the tour. 36:08 MC: Absolutely. If you like a visually appealing drag queen, just go to miz_cracker. That\'s miz_racialslur on Instagram and Twitter. And find my YouTube where I have literally 50 hours of video content laboriously made. I watched all 50 of \'em while I was sick the other day. And yeah, get to it. Go to mizcracker.com too, but it\'s just gonna direct you to the good sites, so... [chuckle] 36:42 DM: Awesome. Well, thanks again for joining us. And thanks everyone for listening. We\'ll catch you guys next time. 36:47 MC: Thank you so much, everybody. 36:49 AS: Bye.


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Raising the Bar: How Sandbox Software Engaged a List of 3,000 Subscribers

Raising the Bar: How Sandbox Software Engaged a List of 3,000 Subscribers

Beyond • August 6, 2019

Sandbox was founded in 2011 when the two co-founders discovered the need for an administration software in the childcare industry. Looking at other players in this industry, they quickly noticed that there were only a few options available and they were cumbersome to work in and outdated. They set out to develop a solution that would make it easier for owners and early educators to manage their daily activities at the center. By meeting with a number of local centers they were able to find out more about the needs and wants of childcare workers and early educators. Fast forward 8 years, Sandbox is now one of the fastest-growing companies in the childcare space with over 80,000 users across North America. They have also recently received Two awards from Gartner Digital Markets for ‘Best Value’ and ‘Best Ease of Use.’ Sandbox Software’s mission is to innovate through technology to enable childcare centers to grow their business and optimize the learning experiences for their families. I found Benchmark Email to be extremely intuitive and easy to use. I was a little concerned about the flexibility of the email editing, however, I found it easy to start working in and it allowed me to create professional looking emails. Gavin Wieske - Marketing Manager at Sandbox Sandbox was looking for an email service provider that boasted both fast and easy campaign creation options to help them build and maintain their brand. Sandbox hadn\'t found a solution that offered an adaptable enough email editor for their needs. They felt that other solutions lacked the formatting options to complete their vision. Sandbox had no way to stay connected with users and prospects, which made it difficult for them to establish relationships, build their brand and stay top of mind. Benchmark provided Sandbox with a simple and powerful drag and drop editor which allowed them to create beautiful emails. That made it easy for Sandbox to keep their customers and other interested parties engaged. Before using Benchmark, Sandbox had no way to stay connected with their customers and followers. Now, Sandbox has over 3,000 email subscribers and a 25% open rate on their emails! Let\'s look at how they\'ve done it: Above the Fold It\'s necessary to delivery value with every email that hits a subscriber\'s inbox. What could be more important than the safety of your children?! Plus, learning is always more fun in graphic form. It\'s also a great choice for the hero image, with the smiling children, that does a great job of carrying their brand into the email. Plus, there is a clear Call To Action (CTA) that cannot be missed by subscribers. Social Proof Customer testimonials can go a long way towards attracting new subscribers and re-affirming the choices of your current customers. Plus, it can help sway any leads and prospects on your email list. After all, studies have shown that almost 70 percent of consumers will look to an online review before making a purchase. The graphic elements carry over from the hero image and continue the fun branding of Sandbox as the subscriber scrolls down. Delivering Value with Good Content   Your newsletter can be one of the best drivers of traffic to your blog. Sharing your best posts via email is an excellent strategy and Sandbox does this well here. They give you just enough of a teaser to pique your interest and a clear CTA to get you to click-through to the blog. It\'s important to create engagement with the emails you\'re sending and so far through this email Sandbox offers several great click oppotunities. The More You Know Getting a subscriber to download your app can keep them around longer. It creates \"stickiness\" with your subscribers and customers. Also, your email subscribers may not be your social media followers. Give subscribers an opportunity to be both. With such a well-executed email, it\'s no wonder Sandbox Software has been able to create good engagement and grow their email list. If you\'re interested in learning more about Sandbox Software, you can follow them on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.


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6 Top Email Marketing Design Tips to Keep Your Readers Engaged

6 Top Email Marketing Design Tips to Keep Your Readers Engaged

Practical Marketer • July 30, 2019

Email marketing is a practice that 82% of B2B and B2C companies are now incorporating into their marketing strategies. However, just because you are sending an email that reaches your consumers’ personal inbox, this does not simply guarantee the monetary results you’d expect. You’re going to have to provide your readers with quality content that will actually capture their attention, and you’re going to have to do this in a very quick and concise way. This is where a visually pleasing email marketing design can come to your advantage. What are the benefits of a stunning email marketing design? An email marketing visual design will be one of the key components that you will need to nail. If done right, this can encourage audience engagement and result in the conversions you were aiming for. The harsh reality is that people still care a lot about aesthetics. Many of consumers’ decisions are based on visible elements. With that being said, a wise selection of visuals in your email content will play an important role in helping you stand out, keeping readers interested in your message, and ultimately, growing as a business. Wonder how you can make the most out of email marketing and deliver optimal results for your business?  Here are the email marketing design tips and tricks on how you can keep your reader’s engaged. The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing Design For Higher Engagement 1) Choosing the Right Color(s) Color can make a huge impact on how your readers’ perceive your product and brand, and this will similarly apply to your email content. Whether or not your newsletter or promotional campaign will speak to your readers will depend on your selection of color for your email marketing design. Make sure that your color palette highly corresponds to the subject of your email. On most occasions, you should consider using your main brand color as this will be most representative of your brand, which can help your audience in terms of brand recognition. However, if you are promoting a festive campaign, it is possible to use colors outside of your brand for greater emphasis on the email subject. For example, you may use red, green, and white for a Christmas campaign, or red, pink, and white for Valentine’s. Whichever color you choose to use in your email marketing design, remember to be consistent with it. Avoid using too many colors as this will only set you back and give your audience a visual headache. In fact, color psychology reveals that different colors are  associated with different types of human emotions. Hence, it is recommended to tactically select a color that best corresponds to the type of attention to want to attract from your audiences. The following list shows the common colors used in marketing campaigns and their emotional effect on audiences: Red Evokes passion and excitement. Red has high visibility and helps bring a sense of urgency to your email content. Interestingly, it can also promote hunger! Recommended for: Food, travel, and sports-related email marketing content Yellow Associated with intellect, joy, and sunshine, hence the reason why it can make people feel good and happy. Similar to red, yellow also promotes hunger and can be used along with it. Recommended for: Vacation deals and food email marketing content Blue Represents stability, reliability, and calmness. Darker blue shades represent expertise and is used by many corporates. Remember to never use it for food or cooking-related newsletters or campaign as it suppresses appetite. Recommended for: Water, cleaning, and high-tech products Green Green is the color of nature that symbolizes growth and harmony. However, green can be a bit of a tricky color as different shades can have different effects on people. To be safe, try to aim for a brighter green. Recommended for: Fruit and vegetable produce, and sustainability marketing campaigns Orange An energetic color with high visibility. It stimulates appetite and is often associated with healthy food. Recommended for: Seasonal campaigns during Fall, food email marketing campaigns and non-corporate brands Purple Symbolizes royalty, luxury, power, and nobility. Purple also helps express wealth and extravagance. Recommended for: Feminine or children’s products Black Highly associated with professionalism, luxury, elegance, and mystery. Black help depict professionalism of your email marketing campaign and overall brand. Recommended for: Luxury brands’ email marketing campaigns 2) Have an Adequate Amount of White Space White is used as a background color for many types of designs and is even more important in an email marketing design. Leave some white or in other words, blank spaces, between each section of your email content for neatness and increased clarity. As white spaces will help make your email appear more organized, it can serve to help your audiences read your email in a digestible manner. Messy email marketing designs are never good. Before readers get the chance to read your text, they could easily be thrown off by the amount of clutter seen. 3) Choose the Appropriate Font Style and Size For email marketing, it is highly advised to limit the number of fonts you use. As with any other visual elements of your brand, you should keep the type of font consistent with the one on your logo, packaging, or website. Stick to one font if you can. Two is also possible, but do not add more than this. It is recommended that you use the main font and copy font of your brand within your email content in order to keep the cohesiveness of your brand’s visual identity. While the header font for your email should align with your brand’s main font, you should select a basic font for your body copy font. Avoid squiggly fonts as this will decrease the readability of your email content. Fonts that are commonly used as body copy fonts for email marketing include Arial, Times New Roman, Courier, Verdana, and Georgia. Ideally, your body copy font should be large enough for your readers to be able to read it, but not too large that it takes up too much space. A good rule of thumb for body copy fonts is about a 14-16 font size. 4) Only Add Images That Are Necessary The current design trend calls for the ‘less is more’ approach, so don’t overflow your email with images. Carefully choose and only include those that are necessary to communicate your main message. Focus on quality and not quantity. Having a few professional and high-quality images that add value and are  highly-related to your email content will be more impactful than including a load of images that have nothing to do with your subject. It is possible to even use animated images such as GIFs. If you feel that this would add to the visual appeal and communicative aspect of your email, feel free to use them. Just make sure that you format them correctly. 5) Have an Organized Email Marketing Template Although it would be great if you could professionally design your own email marketing template, getting a premade template is much easier to do. Plus, it can save you a lot of time. Downloading a premade template does not necessarily mean that your template design will no longer be original. You can tweak it to make it more personal and unique to your brand, and these modifications are always highly advised. For instance, you may rearrange each section by shifting the position of text boxes and images to make it fitting to your desired email marketing design. However, regardless of which template you choose, whether originally designed or premade, a good tip is to make sure that your template has a clear visual hierarchy. When it comes to email marketing, you will need to be extremely quick to communicate your message before you lose your readers’ attention. You should have a focal point, and your design should be able to easily create a sense of what is most important to read to your reader. To create this visual hierarchy, you may use different font and image sizes, color, contrast, shapes, and positions within your template. Your logo position should also remain consistent throughout all your emails. It does not have to take up a lot of space but make sure it is placed somewhere where your readers can clearly see it. A good idea would be to place your logo within your header so that your readers won’t have to scroll down to recognize your brand. 6) Keep Your Content As Simple As Possible When opening your email, it is likely that your readers may not take the time to read through its entirety. To keep it engaging and provoking curiosity out of your readers, you should keep your text as short and concise as possible. Simply, you must get straight to the point. Leave out the fluff, avoid large chunks of paragraphs, and use infographics whenever possible. As humans tend to process images faster than text and can surprisingly do it as quickly as 13 milliseconds, using symbols can be incredibly helpful in conveying your message more efficiently. For both campaigns and newsletters, strategically use keywords in the very first few sentences and remember to include a call for action. If you take too long to communicate your point, you will have a very good chance of losing your readers’ engagement as well as the desired results. Something that would be worth knowing is that some readers may have images turned off by default on their emails. Therefore, avoid having your text embed in an image. Add text separately within your email so your readers aren’t missing out on any important points. 7) Make Sure Your Design Is Mobile-friendly In this day and age, everyone checks their emails through their phones. Statistics have shown that 53% emails are opened on a mobile device. With this in mind, it is incredibly necessary that your email marketing design is mobile-friendly but also compatible with other technological devices. The template should work well and be as visually appealing on mobile devices, so remember to format your email content such as texts, images, and logos. Remember that your email marketing design template should also not be too wide so that your readers would not have to go through the hassle of scrolling side to side on their phones in order to read your content. All in all, email marketing services is still quite a relatively new strategy that companies have been using to drive sales in their business. Although it might seem a bit difficult to nail your email marketing design at first, applying the mentioned email marketing design tips and tricks will help grab and retain your readers’ engagement. More importantly, they can help you maximize monetary results from your email marketing campaign. However, if you are still unsure about how you can get started on your email marketing campaign design, be sure to give this Benchmark article a read for more explanation on this topic.


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6 Trends That Suggest Email Marketing Is Still the Top Marketing Technique

6 Trends That Suggest Email Marketing Is Still the Top Marketing Technique

Beyond • July 26, 2019

More companies are investing in email marketing – you might want to do the same after taking a look at the numbers. Over 59% of marketers say email is their most lucrative marketing channel with the largest ROI. Along with a wide scope for innovation, the emergence of diverse trends, such as interactivity, CSS animation, AI, and automation, continues to help email sustain its popularity over other marketing channels. Businesses are also increasingly aware of the potential to build loyalty and boost sales through fostering the connections which are already accessible through subscriber lists. In 2019, marketers will keep expanding upon the big theme of delivering quality over quantity into inboxes. Besides heavy emphasis on quality and personalization, what else can we expect? Here are 6 trends that suggest email marketing is still one of the top marketing techniques! 1.   Creative design trends Innovative design trends in web and email design have reshaped a user’s entire experience with email, especially how they engage with a brand and their content. Marketers are implementing creative design trends into their email templates to give subscribers a new and exciting way to interact with their brand – without clicking out of an email. Brands are embracing top trends in creative email design to deliver dynamic content to subscribers through image galleries, carousels, offer reveals, and add-to-cart functionality. AI-powered systems have also made it easier for marketers to make sense of more customer data and to identify the trends that are necessary for personalizing emails. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but innovations in email design have taken it up a notch through CSS animations, GIFs, keyframe animations, cinemagraphs, and live backgrounds. With the rise of interactive content, written content has become less of a priority for marketers as they continue to focus on creating dynamic content and reducing the barriers to engagement. Businesses like Home Depot are embracing interactivity in their email campaigns to facilitate a frictionless email experience. For instance, instead of opening a new browser, customers can leave a rating or type a review all within an email. Tips for creating dynamic visual content: Use Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG format) to ensure images retain their quality when resized or rendered Compress the file size of animated GIFs to ensure faster loading time 2.   Optimizing email for smartphones It goes without saying that a lot of people are attached to their phones. About 46% of email opens were done through mobile email in 2018. With more people accessing email on their smartphones, optimizing email campaigns for the mobile world is something all businesses should look into. Mastering the art of visual-storytelling is the secret to creating an effective email design. With short attention spans and hectic schedules, no one has the time or patience to go through a messy email – keep things simple with a minimalistic design. Using a well-balanced design with plenty of white space to organize your images and text makes it easier for people to scan through your email – consuming more information faster. Sites like Pinterest have made good use of the card layout. More businesses and eCommerce sites are using this type of layout to appeal to prospects and increase CTR. CTR (click-through rate) is a metric used to measure the percentage of people that are actually clicking on your links or ads. Tips for optimizing content for smartphones: Focus on your goal when designing your email – reduce barriers in responding to a CTA Use a design that makes it easy to tap on links or a CTA Display your CTA above the fold Use a larger font size for better readability Resize images to fit a mobile screen 3.   Artificial Intelligence and automation In 2019, marketers continue to focus on building connections with subscribers through a customer-centric model to create a frictionless experience in their email campaigns. With the help of AI and automation, the possibilities in email marketing continue to reach new heights in the level of personalization that can be offered to each and every subscriber. With automated emails, you can expect higher open rates of about 70.5%. AI augments automation to do most of the grunt work for marketers. AI-powered systems can sift through large amounts of information and draw important correlations to be integrated into master templates. Besides saving marketers a ton of time, this also provides the necessary insights to ensure the right emails are being sent to the right people – and at the right time. Conversion rate optimization or CRO is a big theme in 2019, where marketers are prioritizing customer retention just as much as acquisition. CRO focuses on converting the people who are most likely to buy. In conjunction with master templates, AI automation can effectively close a sale by sending out customer-centric emails based on their pain points and preferences. AI-powered systems can join customers on their buyer journey. An example would be when a prospect abandons their shopping cart without checking out, triggering an automated email encouraging them to complete their purchase. AI trends are streamlining business processes Brands are also embracing AI in their business processes with innovative tools to streamline all facets of creating an effective email campaign. These tools have made it easier for more people to collaborate on a campaign – either those within the same company or even from external agencies. Top trends in 2019, such as visual automation workflow builders will continue to make it easier for businesses to manage email campaigns and enhance their workflow – integrating insights and relevant data. To facilitate targeted emailing, marketers are also using automated email list segmentation to organize their emailing lists into relevant segments. AI-powered systems are paving the way for new business growth strategies in the world of email marketing. ‘The marketing flywheel’ combines the core principles of effective email marketing with a customer-centric model to build momentum in email campaigns. 4.    Email marketing vs. other marketing channels Search Engine Optimization Businesses use SEO to drive traffic to their site and to build long-term prospects organically. The main drawback with SEO? Besides general insights, businesses are in the dark when it comes to who their content reaches. With email marketing, you can track the reach of your email campaign because you know who you’re emailing. Social Media Marketing Embracing social media is the best way for brands to remain relevant in the information age. Social media marketing is a great way to increase brand awareness and extend your reach to larger audiences, all of which can have a positive impact on conversion rates. The advantage with email marketing is that you can deliver a personalized approach to those who are already interested in your brand. Paid Campaign Marketing How does email marketing compare to paid campaigns? Well, let’s take a look at the numbers – for every $1 businesses spend on Google Ads, they get a return of $2 in revenue. With email marketing, you can expect a ROI of $38 for every $1 spent. It’s pretty clear who the winner is. Affiliate marketing is a great way to extend your reach to a new audience by partnering with a third-party advocate to advertise for you. The main drawback with affiliate marketing is that your prospects are limited to the audience of your advocate. When you take into consideration the fact that not everyone’s going to be interested (converted), your pool of prospects gets much smaller. With email marketing, you have higher chances of converting because the people you reach out to are already interested in your brand. 5.   GDPR and data protection/privacy policy In 2018, big changes were made to EU’s data privacy regulation laws – also known as GDPR or General Data Protection Regulation. In light of these changes, marketers must pay special attention to creating GDPR compliant email campaigns. With GDPR, marketers are prohibited from sending emails to those who haven’t given them explicit permission to do so. For example, email designs should facilitate the act of opting in to receive newsletters, as well as making opt-out or unsubscribe links somewhere easily accessible. 6.   Chatbots and trustworthiness Trust is a huge concern for businesses when it comes to chatbot technology. There’s a lot of uncertainty as to whether businesses can fully trust bots to deliver the quality or consistency of a unique customer service experience – one they wish to uphold across all channels. At its best, chatbots can benefit both parties (brand and consumer) by automating repetitive tasks and streamlining the customer service experience. However, there’s always the possibility that it can lead to a very unpleasant customer service experience for users who are unfamiliar with bots. Or even worse, there could be a major disconnect in the quality of service a business hopes to keep consistent, and the actual capabilities of their bot. Nonetheless, the advancement of technology has truly left its mark on the world of email marketing – helping to sustain the popularity of emails and to streamline the various business processes in creating an email campaign.


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Why Email Marketing Is Your Most Valuable Brand Touchpoint

Why Email Marketing Is Your Most Valuable Brand Touchpoint

Practical Marketer • July 18, 2019

In this increasingly-connected world, beset with digital infrastructure, there are countless ways in which a brand can reach its target audience. Each moment of interaction is known as a brand touchpoint — a fresh opportunity to leave an impression. You can make your brand look worse, raise some interest, or fail to do anything memorable whatsoever. And because no company — however enormous — has the creative or monetary resources to approach each possible touchpoint with the same care, it’s necessary to pick out the touchpoints that offer the most value in prospect. So what should you prioritize? Social media holds a lot of sway, of course, and is fairly versatile. A strong website with a live chat feature can be excellent for earning conversions. If going to put your effort towards getting the most from one particular touchpoint, it should be email marketing. On the whole, it’s by far the most reliably valuable. It’s relevant and viable for precise targeting When you’re trying to reach people totally unfamiliar with your business, a platform like Facebook Ads provides optimal targeting precision, but a touchpoint needs something a little more in-depth than someone simply glancing at one of your ads. What sets email marketing apart is that it relies on retargeting — marketing to people already interested in your brand. Once you’ve built up your email database, you can get very specific about how you send out your emails. You can send one version to everyone under a particular age or in a certain profession, and another version to everyone else, for instance. Getting that granular with your approach might seem unwarranted when reaching out to strangers, but when you know that you’re reaching an invested audience, it’s surely worth it. Since you can track when your emails are opened (and when they’re not), you can target with even greater precision the longer you email someone. In the above example, Framebridge created an email to go out in place of its regular marketing email — an email specifically for those who haven’t been opening Framebridge emails. If the email changes their mind, great. If it doesn’t, then they get removed from the mailing list, and the company gets to stop wasting money on sending them emails they don’t really want. Consider the old adage that you can’t miss someone if they never go away. It’s better for someone who’s become apathetic to be unsubscribed — that way, at least, there’s a chance that they’ll rediscover their interest down the line and choose to subscribe once more. Using this kind of awareness of the recipient’s situation and likely interests will significantly raise the value of your average email by making its message much more impactful. Don’t you naturally gravitate away from brands that send you generic messages? But it isn’t just targeting that you can nail with email marketing, as we’ll see next. It’s perfectly suited to personalization There’s the basic form of email personalization — including the recipient’s name in various places — but there’s so much more that can be achieved. I heard an interesting comparison when listening to email marketing guru Andrew Chaperon’s appearance on the Marketing Speak podcast. He likened advanced email marketing to writing a choose-your-own-adventure story, allowing recipients to take different paths: “Everyone starts off in the same adventure, in the same story, if they have come via a certain squeeze page, and then I will quickly try to figure out what they are about and I will create different pathways. I will allow people to self-select what interests them.” Instead of viewing each touchpoint as independent, you can focus on planning a series of touchpoints that steadily present your brand in a particular way (you can also look at this as broad lead nurturing). With each email recipient getting emails that reflect their preferences (mentioning new products relevant to them, and offering content that entertains and informs them), you can slowly, meticulously, and consistently improve your brand image. This is particularly easy to accomplish for any service that gathers rich use data, because it can periodically weigh in with insights that make the user’s activities feel more momentous. Uber’s yearly recap email layout (see above) is a great example, because each stat adds something: most usefully, reminding the recipient of how long they’ve been a member makes it feel even more like a core part of their routine. Using data in this way is incredibly potent for how easy it is. The recipient can easily feel understood, even though it’s automatically generated with no manual involvement outside of making the template and writing the set of comments. But you don’t have to stop there. Whenever you feel like it, you can take the time to add some user-specific comments — when you’re emailing your biggest clients, it can be worth it. It allows near-boundless creativity It’s entirely up to you what you do with an email, because you can make it as long, short, simple or complex as you like. Maybe you want to fill it with flashy animations and embedded videos, or leave it sparse and minimalistic — either way, you’re covered. Factor in the importance of having a unique brand style (both visually and otherwise), and it’s clearly a major advantage. Supposing you want to depict your brand as informal and comedic in tone. It’s a gambit, but some brands do this extremely well (see Old Spice, for instance, or Firebox). In an email, you can run through all the jokes you want, splurge on wild colors, and even add interactive elements to spice things up. You can make your emails indistinguishable from any others. For the aforementioned Firebox, the personality is both textual and visual (you can see the latter in the above example). Anyone who’s bought from the store is clearly comfortable with playful content, so the company leans into it as boldly as it can, and it really works. You’d never mistake a Firebox product description for one from another company (e.g. \"Go right off the grid, escape to the country, find that Snorlax\" for \"ROBOT HEAD PORTABLE CHARGERS\"). Imagine scrolling through your inbox, seeing plenty of off-white backgrounds with generic hero images, and happening upon a wall of neon yellow with a face embedded in it. That’s something that would get your attention, surely. Now imagine trying to convey personality of that magnitude through other formats. It’s fair to say you’d struggle to manage it. Through digital ads? Too many restrictions: not enough space, not enough characters. Offline ads? Too difficult to gauge performance. Social media posts and conversations? Definitely viable, but extremely risky (you never know when something might blow up in your face, as social media marketing can go very wrong), and also limited by formatting — longer-form content is generally better for showing personality. A small attached image of the above wouldn’t have the same effect as the lengthy column you can have in an email. It’s great for spurring further touchpoints Another thing that works in email marketing’s favor is how effective it can be as the cornerstone of a marketing strategy. What I mean by this is that it can consistently push recipients towards other touchpoints, such as social media discussions (through the inclusion of social function buttons), website visits (through strong CTAs), and even in-person meetings (through the detailed promotion and booking of brand events). Having the aforementioned room for creativity, and knowing that the reader is relatively likely to stick around when the email is suitably targeted and personalized, you can take your time to run through numerous points with the goal of bringing attention to those other touchpoints. In the same way that your homepage greets people before passing value to other pages, your emails can greet your biggest customers before passing value to other touchpoints. When people do move along to those touchpoints, you can feed that data back into your emails, as TunnelBear did, with the above retention email. Email a customer to encourage them to talk about you through social media, then email them once they do to reward them, creating a rewarding loop. Until your data starts to suggest that you’re sending too many emails, at least, you can make a significant effort to use emails as action prompts. If nothing else, that makes email marketing the most economical brand touchpoint, so even if it lacked potency, it would still be worth pursuing for its sheer ROI. But since it’s also a powerful tool for doing everything from announcing new products to keeping interested parties apprised of the latest company updates, it’s an irresistible package. Which of the various contenders could stack up against everything email marketing brings to the table? It’s superbly versatile and configurable. It can be deployed at scale through templating and triggering, all without incurring enormous costs. It can delight recipients with finely-targeted and personalized content, and smoothly pass traffic to other touchpoints. For these reasons, and more, it’s the inarguable champion.


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Email Subscriber Loyalty: 8 Video Ideas to Keep Them Engaged

Email Subscriber Loyalty: 8 Video Ideas to Keep Them Engaged

Practical Marketer • July 10, 2019

Video marketing is on the rise, and in the golden age of online content known as 2019, video isn’t going away anytime soon. Since email marketing is such a strong driver of sales, and video can drive all sorts of outcomes depending on when you use it along your sales funnel and what goal you’re trying to achieve, combining your video and email marketing efforts is a no-brainer. You see, video marketing isn’t just for raising brand awareness or funneling viewers to your website to get them to sign up for your email list. Video can actually be used to great effect over the entire course of your marketing funnel. As video can be used to attract new customers during the awareness stage, it can be used to engage web viewers on your homepage during the consideration stage, and then nurture prospects into becoming customers during the decision stage. That last stage is where video can be the most effective in your email marketing efforts. In your funnel, while you’re trying to build a relationship with your subscribers to get them to convert into sales, what you’re doing is providing them value to attempt to win them over. Sharing newsletters, tips, tricks, and discounts are all ways you can provide value to your subscribers, and video in your emails is a great way to combine all three while increasing click-through rates by 200-300 percent. Also, video not only increases a viewer’s decision to buy by up to 85 percent but 90 percent of customers self-reported that watching a video helped sway their decision, which is why you not only want to use video in your marketing emails but in your sales prospecting emails, as well. With that being said, here are a handful of video ideas you can add to your email marketing efforts in order to increase click-throughs, nurture more leads, and positively impact sales prospecting. 1. Share a customer spotlight video One of the first things you’re going to try to do when nurturing your email subscribers is proving your worth. You’ve done the leg work of proving your subscribers know who you are and are interested in what you have to offer, but they gave you their email because they weren’t ready to buy. Now, you need to warm them up to the idea of buying, and one of the best ways to do that is through social proof. By sharing someone else’s success with a customer spotlight video, which is a video that highlights one of your recent customers and a recent success story of theirs tied to your product or service, you’re providing credibility for yourself and awakening their imagination to the possibilities of what buying your product or service will look like. When viewers can visualize their future results, it becomes easier to accept the idea of buying. 2. Turn your frequently asked questions into an FAQ video A good deal of time spent nurturing leads in the decision stage also helps relieve your prospect’s fears and anxieties. They’re afraid of buying your product or service and losing money on something they’re unsure about. Answering frequently asked questions helps save your sales and customer support teams’ time, while also easing some of these fears and anxieties. To help the information land better, try turning those FAQs into an FAQ video, where you answer your prospective customers’ questions in a video format, either with a spokesperson talking directly to the camera or with voice-over or animated text. Because viewers retain up to 95 percent of a message after watching it, compared to only 10 percent retained after reading it, FAQ videos are not only more engaging to your subscribers but will help them hold on to the information you’re providing better. 3. Share third-party product review videos Along with answering customer questions, showing third-party validation is another way to help put aside your subscribers’ fears and doubts about your product. Your subscribers are going to be looking for reviews for your product or service anyway, whether it’s on Amazon, Yelp, or other places, so why not put their doubts aside by sharing product reviews yourself? You can find or commission a well-known reviewer to come to try your product himself or herself and film it as a product review video. You can even work with YouTube or Instagram influencers to create the video themselves and then share it in your email marketing once it’s complete. This will build more social proof, like a customer spotlight, while also answering viewer questions like an FAQ video. Call it a nurture two-for-one video! 4. Turn a recent event into an event video One smart way to continue to nurture leads in a subtle way is to film a recent or upcoming event and turn it into an event video. Whether it’s an event you hosted or an event you participated in, bring a camera crew and record the experience to show your company out and about and participating with the rest of the world. This creates outside validation that you’re a known brand offering a real product or service, and if you get positive reactions from the crowd at your event, what better way to use that than to share it with your subscribers who are on the fence? If others love it, by the law of attraction (or the unwritten laws of FOMO), your subscribers will start to lean toward jumping on the bandwagon, too. 5. Share popular social content videos in an end-of-the-week email If you’re already engaging in video marketing efforts, the bulk of your videos are probably showing up on your company’s social media channels. Your social media team might even share videos from around the web to engage your followers. In either case, you should track the response each video gets from your followers. One way to use that data is to re-share your top liked, most viewed, or most commented-on videos in a social content video email recap. By re-sharing social content, you get double the value from it, and you aren’t losing valuable videos with engaging content to the daily scroll. Since your social followers and email subscribers might make up different audiences, it’s good to have double the reach. Social content is so easy to miss - sharing a video both in social and in email means a higher chance that content is actually seen. This is especially true if you’re producing your own social content videos. Since video production can be expensive, it’s better to recycle and reuse videos, especially if they perform well. 6. Try a before and after compilation video to show results Another way to encourage those subscribers that are on the fence is to share the positive results of your product or service in action through a before and after the video. Like a customer spotlight or a product review video, this type of video helps your subscribers visualize their future after buying your product. Plus, by showing the before, you can remind customers of where they are now to encourage how much they can use a change. In particular, by rounding up a bunch of before and after footage and creating a before and after compilation of multiple success stories, you can show social proof and prove your product works for many customers, not just a select few. 7. Send personalized welcome, thank you, or customer support videos Personalized videos can be great for sales emails in particular. There are quite a few companies that offer these services, where you can customize the video to the name of the person reading the email, but even a personally recorded old-fashioned webcam or iPhone video from the individual sales rep can increase the positive results of your lead nurturing. As far as welcome, thank you, and customer support videos are concerned, these types of videos are more for delighting customers after they’ve made a purchase than nurturing leads, but by using the same tactics as a sales rep nurturing a prospect with a personalized video response, you can increase customer satisfaction that leads to further sales or referrals later down the line. 8. Any video in your email Videos in your email marketing increase positive results, whether it’s click-throughs, opens, or straight-up sales conversions. Even just including the word “video” in your email subject lines is guaranteed to increase open rates over those without it. If you aren’t currently producing your own marketing video content, find a video production partner to work with. If you’re leaving video content out of your email, you’re leaving more nurtured leads, more customers, and more money on the table.


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Earn 18x The Revenue with Automation: Tips to Help Find Your Independence This Summer

Earn 18x The Revenue with Automation: Tips to Help Find Your Independence This Summer

Practical Marketer • July 1, 2019

There’s a Chinese proverb that says: “Don’t remove a fly from your friend’s forehead with an ax.” Your friend might lose a nose and that pesky fly is likely to go free. Also, axes are heavy and you probably leave home without one most days. The root message behind that saying certainly holds true with email marketing. How do you say “Don’t use batch and blast email marketing when you want to increase efficiency, skyrocket your conversions and save loads of time” in Mandarin? Kidding aside, smart brands are discovering a fundamental marketing truth in this world of overstuffed inboxes. Sending out the same message at the same time to all of your customers (“batch and blast”) is not a wise strategy. The alternative -- email marketing automation, in which you tailor messages to your subscribers based on their needs, their history and their place in the customer journey  -- makes for stunning improvements in click-through rate and conversions. Email marketing automation helps increase efficiency and gives you back time to focus on other tasks. Or, you can use automation to take some well-deserved time off. Automation is not quite as simple as “set it and forget it,” as they say in the Ronco oven infomercials. But with these tricks we’re about to show you, you’ll see dramatic improvements from automation almost instantaneously. In honor of Independence Day, let’s talk about how to use email marketing automation to boost your revenue, free up your time and give you some much-needed independence from your computer and/or smartphone. Email Marketing Automation Basics: Here’s Exactly What It Will Do For You What’s the secret that explains why automation can supercharge your conversions? It starts with the open rate. According to data-driven marketing firm Epsilon, automated emails get 119% higher click rates than blast emails. That’s because they deliver the right message to the right people at the right time. Other sources agree: According to digital research firm eMarketer, B2C marketers see up to a 50% conversion rate with automated emails. And automated emails are 133% more likely to sync with a customer’s purchase cycle than broadcast (a.k.a. batch and blast) messages, according to the Lenskold and Pedowitz Groups. And, our title stat -- according to Jupiter Research, automated emails generate 18 times more revenue than blast emails. The Basics of Email Marketing Automation: Here’s An Easy Way to Get Started OK, you say. Eighteen times the revenue? Sign me up! … now what? If you’re not sure where to start with email marketing automation, don’t worry. It’s easy to dive in. A great place to start is to automate things you’re already doing. Let’s break down a couple of easy places to do this. Automate Your Welcome Email Series or Onboarding Messages Why does Wal-Mart employ greeters, whose sole purpose is to say hello to customers the moment they walk into the store? Why do savvy brands -- such as Disney or Uniqlo -- have specific welcome wording that gets repeated without variation every time a customer initiates contact? It’s because those megabrands know that good welcome messages -- that is, ones that feel totally friendly and natural, but which are carefully crafted to get the maximum impact -- can make a huge difference in conversions, sales and loyalty. Here’s a handy crib sheet of top tips to steal from the masters for your automated welcome emails and messages: TIP 1: Say “Thank You”  This one’s just basic manners. When people hand over their email address, that’s a big deal. Even if they’re doing it for a short-term goal -- say, because a pop-up promised a 10% off code for signing up -- they’ve still extended a measure of trust that needs to be met with genuine gratitude. To make the thank you feel organic, feel free to pair it with useful info for your customer about how to use your offering. EXAMPLES: FROM: Carbonite WHY IT’S GREAT: Simple. Straightforward. Visual enough with some icons and brand colors, yet not too busy to be a turnoff. The helpful content and clean aesthetics are a great fit for this online backup company. The text shows a focus on useful tips, yet the tone isn’t off-puttingly uptight. The beauty of an instant automated “Thank you and welcome” email is that it forms an excellent first impression. Sure, we hardened marketers understand that there’s not a person at a computer hitting send individually on a message thanking people every time they sign up for emails. But when a gratitude-focused message like this hits a new subscriber’s inbox right away, it lays a great foundation of solid goodwill. FROM: JO-ANN Fabrics WHY IT’S GREAT: This colorful, eye-pleasing message is short, sweet and memorable. It’s more designed than the Carbonite example -- which is appropriate for the arts & crafts crowd that JO-ANN caters to. Notice a commonality with the Carbonite message? That’s right, both use a color scheme where bright green and white are front and center. Green is a classic “go” or happy color, which subtly reinforces that joining these brands’ email lists was indeed a great decision. TIP 2: Reinforce Your Brand Whether you do it with your words, your graphics, your colors or something else, use the welcome email as an opportunity to reinforce your branding. This can mean a number of different things, so see what’s right for you. It could be about including a special offer, giving people a little chuckle with your offbeat word choices, driving new signups to a special section of your site, etc. EXAMPLE: FROM: Virgin America WHY IT’S GREAT: When do people sign up for an airline’s email list? Virgin knows that most signups come 1) when people are watching a fare and want alerts when the price drops, and 2) when they’ve pulled the trigger and purchased a ticket. With that in mind, Virgin uses this automated welcome email to reassure new subscribers of the value of their subscription. With that great header graphic -- which signifies either “I Love You” or “Rock on and Hail Satan,” depending whose grandmother you ask -- Virgin America establishes an easy rapport with its new email subscribers. The company also uses this prime opportunity to emphasize the useful information that will be coming through this channel, which is great for discouraging anyone who might feel a case of subscriber’s remorse coming on. TIP 3: Be Clear About What’s Next You can follow all the best practices for writing and designing a killer welcome email, but if you forego the opportunity to get people to use and love your offering -- well, that’s unfortunate. The beauty of automating your welcome messages is that you can send out emails that encourage engagement and conversions based on what point of the customer journey people are in. Make sure you take the time to encourage brand engagement through your welcome message. That can mean a variety of things -- you can have the goal of driving your subscriber back to your site to browse if you’re an eCommerce retailer; you can encourage your subscriber to engage with your social media channels, etc. Just don’t forget a Call to Action of some sort! EXAMPLE: FROM: Lyft WHY IT’S GREAT: Lyft knows that people often sign up for their email list 1) when chasing down a free ride promo, or 2) when signing up to use the service for the first time. That’s why this message is short and incredibly action-driven. In just about 13 words, Lyft does everything that our tips prescribe. Best of all, that enticingly bright call to action button (“Take a Ride”) gets people going to where Lyft wants them -- back to the rideshare app, to use the service. This is a great example of how to write a welcome email for an app-based service. It drives an outward click to the brand’s phone app, as that’s where Lyft wants its customers to spend their time engaging with the brand. Automate Your Promo Emails When you need to signal boost a particular product, service or offering, promo emails are hard to beat. This is a place where automation really shines -- using the data gleaned from your customers’ behavior, you can pinpoint exactly when each customer is likely to be most receptive to your promotion. For some inspiration -- consider automating a follow-up message for people who did or didn’t open your message, or try a follow-up email for those who did or didn’t click on your call to action. Both methods are great for getting more attention for your promotion. Check out these actionable tips for how to maximize your engagement by automating your promo emails and follow-ups. TIP 1: Target your promo Paired with audience segmentation, automation is a critical tool to share hyper-targeted offers to motivated audiences on exactly the right schedule. Time is limited, attention spans are short, and you want to get people enticed ASAP. This is the beauty of automating your promo emails -- you can bank on the fact that when your subscriber receives them, he or she will already be in the mindset to consider what you’re promoting. EXAMPLE: FROM: Code42 WHY IT’S GREAT: This promo email from data backup service Code42 was sent out around the holiday season. This one was targeted to people who had already signed up for the brand’s CrashPlan service, which protects data in the event of an unexpected loss event. The promo urged the subscriber to gift the service to a loved one while promising an incentive to the giver. Audience segmentation and automation were key here -- the promo wouldn’t have made sense if it were sent to subscribers who had not yet converted, or to those who weren’t open to the idea of purchasing the CrashPlan service. TIP 2: Establish urgency You have tracking and analytics set up for your email marketing, correct? (If not, stop what you’re doing and get on that!) Email marketing offers a treasure trove of information about your customers’ browsing habits, shopping preferences and engagement. By using the data provided by standard tracking and analytics, you can create priceless urgency in your automated promo emails by adding deadlines, expiration dates and “while supplies last” caveats. EXAMPLE: FROM: Target WHY IT’S GREAT: Just like Santa Claus on steroids, massive retailer Target knows if you’ve been sleeping and knows when you’re awake. They also know exactly what types of products you’ve been browsing and when -- which allows them to add this super-targeted email footer on their promo emails that display items that you’ve already shown interest in. While your brand may not have the data and programming power of Target (yet!), you can absolutely create a sense of personalization by infusing your automated emails with the insights from specific subscriber habits and patterns. Automate Your Cart Abandonment Messages Cart abandonment messages are one of the easiest and most useful places where you can set up automated messages. Emails like these -- which can give a little nudge about items placed into the online cart and not yet purchased -- are easy to set up and can yield great conversions. Here are a few tips on how to maximize: TIP 1: Consider what timing works best for your customer Something got in the way of your customer finalizing a purchase. Was it price? Was it an urgent phone call? Was it a random coffee spill that caused the computer to glitch out and crash, leaving his or her cart sadly abandoned? Remember: You can use tracking and analytics to determine (or at least make an educated guess about) what the hitch was. No matter what the reason, an automated cart abandonment email that’s triggered to go out at a time when your customer is likely to be in a purchasing mood can work wonders. Think about what that means to you -- are you an eCommerce shop that sells things people buy on impulse? If so, maybe evenings or weekends are the right time to send out your automated cart abandonment messages. Are you a commercial data backup service? Then maybe peak business hours -- say, Tuesday morning -- would be a good time to nudge your cart abandoners. EXAMPLE:   FROM: Chubbies WHY IT’S GREAT: This no-judgment email makes it dead simple to pick things up where the customer left off. Because Chubbies is a leisure/casual brand, this message is timed to go out based on what time of day the customer has been browsing on the site previously. Whether it arrives when the customer is at work or at home, this colorful, lighthearted message adds yet another facet to the customer’s brand experience. TIP 2: Use data to make it personal Why did your customer abandon his or her cart? What was happening at the moment the critical “Checkout” tab was closed, with purchase uncompleted? As stated previously, data and analytics can give you great insight into the answers to these questions. While you’re using that data, why not use a bit of it to jazz up your automated cart abandonment email to make it feel even more hand-sent? EXAMPLE: FROM: Beardbrand WHY IT’S GREAT: Check out that P.S. -- Beardbrand’s automated cart abandonment message is set up to populate this line with an actual product that the customer has purchased or considered. Talk about personal! This is a highly underused tactic in cart abandonment messages, which makes it stand out even more. With the conversational tone, straightforward text and formatting and that slam-dunk P.S., Beardbrand’s automated email feels incredibly not automated (but it gets all the benefits of automation -- namely, going to the right audience at the right time). Automate Your Repurchase/Purchase Cycle Program Messages Even if your product or service is not in the traditional “replenishables” category -- think prescription goods, perishables, seasonal items and more -- you might well benefit from an automated repurchase or purchase cycle email. Here are a few tips on how to maximize these often-overlooked messages. TIP 1: Make repurchase seem essential, not optional We all have those products that we’ve bought and lost interest in. Or products that we’ve pushed aside for an alternative. In order to combat this type of situation -- and to capitalize on a warm lead -- the best automated repurchase emails make the case that buying a product again is vital. EXAMPLE: FROM: Sephora WHY IT’S GREAT: Makeup is a high-margin replenishable, and retailer Sephora is a giant in the industry for a reason. This automated repurchase email is simple, visual and urgent. The language is strong but not over-the-top pushy, and this message goes out to customers in advance of when they might be expected to have finished the product in question. This helps the brand stay top-of-mind at the exact right moment. TIP 2: Automate messages based on season or purchase history -- or both When you set up automated repurchase messages based on season, you open up a whole additional opportunity to help previous purchasers of your product or service that it might be time to buy again. The great thing about doing this is that it comes off as helpful, thoughtful and tuned into the customer’s personal needs. While the ultimate goal may be to make another sale, the objective presented to the customer is to send a friendly reminder about something relevant. That action establishes trust and loyalty. EXAMPLE: FROM: Harrod Horticultural WHY IT’S GREAT: “Is it really that time of year again? The time to kill slugs?” This replenishment email from UK garden supply shop Harrod Horticultural may seem silly to the non-gardener, but to someone who’s purchased this particular garden defense product before, it serves as a helpful reminder coming at a very important time. That’s the beauty of automated messages, remember -- right message, right audience, right time. Envision Your Sales Funnel and Identify Touchpoints to Automate Perhaps you’re really on the ball and you’ve already automated the types of messages above. Perhaps you have a very specific business and not all of these types of emails make sense for you to send. If you’re looking for more guidance on what kind of emails to automate, try this. Envision your sales funnel. Walk through each step of the customer journey, and identify points where your customer might benefit from another touchpoint. You can also reverse engineer an automation strategy based on your goals. Whatever you choose, remember -- automation will help you reach more people with less work on your part in the long run. What could be better than that? What to Do if You’re Not Sure How to Use Email Marketing Automation OK, so you’ve gone through the different types of marketing emails that you can automate. You’ve visualized your sales funnel and brainstormed different points of the customer journey where a specific and useful message might be useful. Maybe you’re thinking: “Wait, back up! What if I don’t know how to use email marketing automation?” We won’t mince words: In order to get the most out of automation, you’re going to have to learn the basics of a new tool. But don’t worry -- much of the knowledge on what to automate lies within you already. For example -- Do you do follow-ups after events? You can automate it! Is your team making a ton of sales calls or sending individual emails to check in with leads? Automate it! If you have emails (or texts or calls) that you regularly send, ask yourself: Could I automate this to make these messages more efficient and engaging? Chances are the answer’s yes! Here are some tips and examples of how to make the most of your more individual email marketing automation campaigns. TIP 1: Get bang for your buck by automating with a date or trigger that applies to all your customers, but which is unique for each one Whether it’s a signup anniversary, a purchase milestone or a birthday -- you can get a tremendous bang for your buck by setting up an automated email message to go out to your customers on a day that’s specific to them. Take this opportunity to do all the things that a great marketing email does -- show gratitude, give a quick reminder of why your marketing emails have been useful to the customer and drive the relationship forward with a great call to action. EXAMPLES: FROM: BestSwimwear WHY IT’S GREAT: Who doesn’t love cake, colors and coupons? Being called “beautiful” on your birthday is pretty great, too. This message is bright and simple. The call to action comes with a compelling reason to click -- a generous 20% discount offer. FROM: ModCloth WHY IT’S GREAT: “I love you more today than yesterday, but not as much as tomorrow,” sang ‘60s pop band Spiral Staircase. ModCloth nails that sweetly appreciative sentiment with their anniversary email. As an added bonus, they send out messages like this for both the annual and semiannual anniversaries of their subscriber signups -- a great little touch that makes people feel extra special. TIP 2: Create well-crafted automated messages to re-engage your customers who are in danger of unsubscribing These types of messages are sometimes called “win-backs,” and they’re a great way to boost your overall engagement. Now, you have to walk a fine line with the crafting of these automated messages, of course. First, they shouldn’t feel automated at all. They should feel as genuine, useful and personal as possible. Also -- keep it brief. Lead with something straightforward and un-gimmicky. Approach this message like you’re writing to an old friend who has grown distant, and you’re trying to remind the friend of your good times without being sappy or pushy. EXAMPLE: FROM: Smart Blogger WHY IT’S GREAT: In the blogging world, gig work, hustling and “feast or famine” ebbs and flows are common. Smart Blogger, an affiliate network, caters to a customer base of content writers who often have a lot of passion but also a high risk of burnout. That’s why this simple and useful automated re-engagement message from the company is so effective -- it has a great, friendly “here’s what you missed” tone, and it goes out of its way to offer no judgment for why the subscriber hasn’t been engaging with the brand. TIP 3: Don’t neglect your evangelists We’ve been focusing on ways to use automated emails to close the elusive sale or to lock in loyalty among new subscribers. What about your loyalists? They deserve your automated love too, of course. That sentence may sound funny -- do you really give the people you love a “canned” message? That’s the beauty of the kind of automated email marketing we’re talking about. Because they’re so relevant and tailored, the best automated email marketing messages don’t feel canned or mass-sent at all. In order to identify your brand evangelists, check your analytics to identify thresholds such as frequency of using your app or website, the open rate for your emails or even engagement on your social channels. What are the pain points and goals of these types of hyper-engaged users? Remember, they’re your VIPs -- how can you make their experience even more special? Still feeling lost? There are plenty of resources available to help you learn. If you want to read more about how automated marketing messages work, check out this great catch-all guide by marketing genius Neil Patel. Digital guru Moz offers a similarly comprehensive compendium. And WordPress services startup WP Curve has another great overview of the category. If you’re looking for services to help -- tools such as Zapier and PieSync can help you automate as well. Still hesitant? There’s no reason why you can’t jump right into email marketing automation. Don’t believe us? Check out this rundown of great workarounds to traditional implementation hurdles. Don’t Have the Human Resources to do Email Marketing Automation? Here’s Why That’s Not a Problem  You have a tiny team. Your budgets make shoestrings look like eight-lane highways. “I don’t have the manpower to set up email marketing automation,” you say. That’s where you’re mistaken. Good news -- automation is specifically useful for you! Automation gives you the impression of more manpower, without actually having to have more manpower. That’s because it frees up time and is way more effective than the batch and blast strategy, or, heaven forbid, manual sending. Plus, automation is built into most email marketing tools, such as Automation Pro. That makes setting up your campaigns even more of a no-brainer. However, if you’re still in need of convincing, check out these time-saving tips and examples to make your automation strategies even more of a win. TIP 1: Segment your audience as if your life depends on it We’ve talked a lot about data, analytics and personalization. The underlying assumption, of course, is that you have some sort of tactic in place to capture critical information about your customers and their usage habits. It’s the fundamental building block of great automated marketing emails -- because specialization is what makes your campaigns feel fresh and applicable rather than stale, forced and generic. So, take every opportunity to filter, categorize and tag your customers based on their needs and behaviors. It’ll make things much easier when it’s time to design automation campaigns. TIP 2: Capitalize on seasonal occasions Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, Fourth of July and more -- have you set up your automated marketing to acknowledge these special dates and seasons? If not, you’re missing a massive opportunity to increase subscriber engagement with your brand. People love to open holiday-themed automated messages, partly because they feel so novel and fun. It’s also another opportunity to provide useful information or promote special occasion sales, offerings or discounts. EXAMPLE: FROM: Uber WHY IT’S GREAT: Useful, adorable and well-designed -- this Halloween themed automated message from Uber hits all the high notes. It tells customers what to expect on the upcoming holiday and makes the brand seem lighthearted and fun. TIP 3: Make it feel like a conversation We’ve established that excellent automated messages work like a finely tuned machine while giving the customer an experience that feels more like receiving a caring email from an old friend. In order to ensure that your automated marketing messages have that friendly vibe, keep things as conversational as possible. You can do that by asking questions, using slang (in moderation) and injecting personal bits (also in moderation). EXAMPLE: FROM: Groove WHY IT’S GREAT: The phrase “quick question” is like catnip to most email subscribers. It piques curiosity while also appealing to our human desire to offer our expertise and help. Groove makes great use of the conversational tone, starting with its use of that phrase in the subject line. Also, notice how the “From” address is “Alex at Groove” -- rather than simply the email address, firstname+lastname or, heaven forbid, “Do Not Reply” or “No Name.” Missing Key Customer Data That Would Help You Automate Your Email Marketing? Try This! We’ve mentioned the importance of gathering relevant customer information in order to tailor your automated messages to reach the right people at the right time. But what if you want to jump in now and you don’t seem to have any actionable customer data on hand yet? Great news -- automation can help you gather valuable customer data! It can also help bolster your data if you’re already in the practice of collecting it. For example, you can use your automation campaigns to capture info including: Customer names and contact info Customer and lead website activity, including website clicks and shopping cart abandonment Email opens Links clicked in an email Subscribers who open, but don’t click You can even automate the segmentation of your lists based on subscriber engagement. Or, you can automatically move subscribers from one list to another based on various engagement designations, such as: Most/Least Engaged Interested in specific products/services Free Trial/Paid Customers Tailor Your Automation Strategies to Unlock Profound Potential with Your Marketing As July 4 approaches, we hope that you’ll implement some of these tips and strategies to declare independence from the tediousness of manual marketing tasks and break away from the inefficiency of broadcast emails. The beauty of automated marketing is that you can use virtually any kind of information or trigger to tailor extremely engaging, useful and memorable messages for just the right audiences at exactly the right times. And you can start automating at any time, regardless of what your previous strategies have been. So try some of these tricks, learn to love automation -- and watch your revenue light up like fireworks!


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5 Tips for Successful Email Marketing Automation

5 Tips for Successful Email Marketing Automation

Practical Marketer • June 26, 2019

Even though social media platforms take the cake in terms of digital communication, email still remains a pivotal part of the equation. No matter the scale of your business or the industry you operate in, email marketing can still make a difference for your lead generation and revenue. According to 99 Firms, over 90% average consumers use email at least once a day, while 39% of marketers never personalize their marketing emails, with 21% also neglecting segmentation. Even though the communication channel is highly relevant, most marketers fail to utilize its potential. This is where email marketing automation comes in as it will allow your marketing department to focus on sales pitch development rather than sending emails by hand. With that in mind, let’s take a look at several tips and guidelines which can help transform your email marketing efforts through automation and careful planning for higher engagement and conversion rates. Advantages of Email Marketing Automation Before we discuss how to make email marketing automation viable for your business, it’s worth discussing “why” you would do so in the first place. Automation doesn’t mean less creative input or control over your marketing campaigns – quite the opposite in fact. Automation eliminates mechanical tasks and tedium from the advertisement process, instead of allowing marketing experts to focus on what matters the most – the end user. With that said the benefits of email marketing automation extend to but are not limited to: Higher Emphasis on Content Your email’s content will always be the decisive factor in whether or not a sale is successful. With automation, your marketing department can pour their resources into writing and if needed utilize writing services to craft intricate sales pitches. An emphasis on content over email optimization due to automation will bring much better conversion rates and revenue to your company over time. Faster Turnaround Time A lot of time is spent on manual targeting, email delivery, and subsequent follow-ups without any form of automation present in the process. Email marketing automation will allow your team to create content faster and deliver it in shorter timespans than ever before. This can lead to much better engagement rates and brand awareness due to your company’s activity on the market. Streamlined Lead Nurturing Once you convert individuals into subscribers or one-time customers they effectively become leads for future nurturing. However, splitting your resources between lead generation and nurturing can lead (pun intended) to lower the quality of content on both fronts. Automation eliminates unnecessary tedium from the process and allows for much better audience management whether they belong in potential or existing lead pools. Tracking & Analysis of Opportunities Lastly, email marketing automation generally relies on a professional email marketing platform to streamline manual tasks. These platforms offer tracking and analysis opportunities for your benefit. Since no marketing campaign exists in a vacuum, this data can be used to refine your sales pitches and attract even more customers in the future. Tips for Successful Email Marketing Automation Now that we have a clearer picture of why email marketing automation is a game-changing addition to email advertisement, let’s talk about how to make the most of it. As we’ve previously mentioned, “automation” won’t take away your control over what content to send and to which B2C or B2B stakeholders. What it can do for you is that it can make the marketing process easier to manage and to offer tangible data for you to learn from. With that said, let’s dive into the ways to make your email marketing more successful via automation. 1. Start with Audience Segmentation The best way to start an email marketing campaign off is to segment your audience into different categories. There are numerous ways to do so, from gender-based segmentation to specific professional backgrounds or lifestyle choices. Audience segmentation will allow you to take full advantage of email marketing segmentation by letting you target individual groups within your customer base directly. Tech-savvy millennials will react to certain types of email content differently than the elderly stay-at-home population would. This will allow you to create unique content based on who you target and with that intent. Once your audience is segmented, you will have an easier time delivering content to individual email lists, adjust your tone and wording, as well as to offer different purchase incentives to different people for better engagement results. 2. Written Content Over Multimedia Embedding multimedia content into email marketing is not a good idea. Many people still use limited bandwidth connections or rely on slow and unreliable (pun intended) ISPs. In order to reach as many people as possible and get positive results from your email marketing automation efforts, make the content as lightweight as possible. Third-party hosting services such as YouTube and ImageShack can be used to upload and link your multimedia content into emails indirectly. This will add a sense of freedom and choice to your email’s recipient, increasing your chances at converting them into customers. Short-form, direct and informative writing will always carry more weight than flashy images or animation embedded into email marketing content for no good reason. Written content should always be sufficient for potential customers to weigh whether or not they want to give your brand a chance. 3. Incentivize Fast Engagement Your goal as an email marketer should always be to incentivize conversion as quickly as possible. In order to do that, you can use numerous sales tactics in order to push your audience into conversion. Exclusive sales offers, discount coupons, limited-time offers and other marketing tactics can be implemented into scheduled, automated email marketing content. Giving your leads a sense of urgency in terms of making the purchase decision is bound to bring better engagement results to your email marketing campaign. However, you shouldn’t rely on invoking a sense of urgency too frequently. Make sure that enough time has passed between “exclusive” offers for your audience to grow expectant of another chance to save money on discounts. Integrating these engagement incentives will result in much faster conversion rates from the moment of sending the automated email marketing content to your mailing lists. 4. Calls to Action are a Must Creating email marketing content without a clear takeaway for the receiver is a wasted opportunity. Most people casually read through promotional emails without paying too much attention to minute details. Make sure that calls to action find their way into your email marketing automation efforts just as the sales offers do. Anything from “Contact Us Now” to “Subscribe to Receive Exclusive Offers” works wonders. Create calls to action which correspond with your industry and the tone of voice you adopted for email marketing. Calls to action are an important element of email marketing since they give the readers a clear direction to act on once they have read your content through and through. Never send passive email marketing content without a takeaway or a direction for potential customers to follow up on. 5. Track, Analyze & Reevaluate on the Fly Lastly, the best way to utilize email marketing automation is to extrapolate data from your campaigns on the fly. As soon as you notice a spike in engagement, ask yourself why it happened. The same goes for a lack of engagement or whenever you receive more follow-ups or subscriptions than anticipated. This can be done to ensure that your email marketing brings the best possible results to your brand for the duration of each campaign. Once each campaign is over, you can go over the data in greater detail to learn even more about what worked and didn’t work with that particular content. Professional email marketing automation platforms offer extensive tracking and report features for your benefit, so make sure to use them to your advantage. Email Marketing Automation Mistakes to Avoid Now that we have a better understanding of how to create an email marketing automation pipeline and make the most of it, it’s worth pointing out some mistakes worth avoiding. Remember that automation will only help you with technical activities which don’t involve creative writing, personalized sales and customer’s psychology. In that regard, here are some of the worst offenders in terms of email marketing automation and why you should keep them in mind going forward. Lack of Personalization Highly curated emails with clear sales pitches can make your company look professional and well-organized. They can also make your brand come off as robotic, uninspired and lacking any form of personalization. Address your recipients by their names, last names or (at the very least) proper gender to make the email more genuine. Lacking any form of personalization will quickly make your brand come off as spam and result in no engagement at all. High Sending Frequency Timing is everything with email marketing automation, so make the most out of scheduled email delivery. Think about when your target audience is most likely to check their email during the day and aim for those hours. Don’t send multiple emails containing the same ads or sales offers to the same addresses. This is also a great way for potential customers to label your brand as “spam” which is a very difficult label to take off down the line. Working with Outdated Data Trends change, and with them, audience expectations are bound to shift from time to time. It’s important for your marketing team to stay in touch with the latest customer expectations, industry trends, and innovations which may help you craft better email marketing content. There is nothing worse than to market your company as a modern industry competitor only to use outdated trends and content people have long forgotten about. Automation for the Sake of Automation Lastly, automation has to be used in a smart and deliberate way. Don’t involve email marketing automation platforms into your advertisement pipeline for the sake of keeping up with your industry. Instead, think about the ways in which you can benefit from automation platforms, what kind of content you can deliver to your audience and how you will grow as a business as a result of automation. Make the most of what automation has to offer and your leads and revenue stream will reflect those goals. In Conclusion When all is said and done, email marketing automation is all about streamlining your content production and delivery as much as possible to make room for creativity and innovation. Don’t strictly rely on automation to bring results to you – instead, look for ways to eliminate marketing bottlenecks and create the best content for your audience. What are some of your experiences with email marketing automation? Do you use it in your email marketing efforts and to what extent? Let us know in the comments below, and make sure to use these tips to your advantage whenever you run into email marketing trouble down the line.


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How to Use Social Data to Launch a Successful Email Marketing Campaign

How to Use Social Data to Launch a Successful Email Marketing Campaign

Practical Marketer • June 21, 2019

Is email marketing dying? Last year, the Internet was full of articles and blog posts, where different experts expressed their concern about the effectiveness of email marketing. The main idea behind this claim is that email marketing is becoming obsolete due to the new (and arguably more effective) marketing strategies, like social media marketing. Yet, the death of email marketing is a rather bold claim. Email marketing is very much alive, which is proven by the recent stats by Optinmonster: 58% of people check email first thing in the morning Email marketing is still the most important content marketing distribution channel (according to the 91% of respondents); Reportedly, email marketing has 4400% ROI, which means that for every dollar you spend on your email marketing campaign, you’ll get $44 in return If we start comparing the effectiveness of social media marketing vs. email marketing, the latter one still gives a better and more even performance. Not only is it very hard to measure your ROI from a social media marketing campaign, but according to Optinmonster, consumers sign up for brand’s emails more often that its social media accounts. And, email has a higher open rate (22.8% across industries) and a higher CTR (3.71% across industries), compared to 0.58% overall engagement rate on social media. So, lesson learned – email marketing is alive and well, and does not perform worse than the popular social media marketing. Should Email Marketing and Social Media Marketing Be Separated? No. In this age of marketing, customer experience is the main target of any marketing campaign. And, with all the technology and resources available, achieving a complete customer experience cannot be put to practice without integrating various marketing channels. Thus, email marketing doesn’t exclude the use of social media, nor is it superior to what social networks can offer in terms of marketing. In fact, social media can help kick start your email marketing campaign by providing you with volumes of social data. Social…What? Simply put, social data is publicly shared information, which includes metadata that comes from social media users. Social data includes, but is not limited to the following: Time and location Language Biographical data Likes Shares Comments Shared links Clicks The main characteristic feature of social data is that it is dynamic, and it is a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, you’ll be receiving updated volumes of information all the time (to keep your marketing campaign closer to its goal). On the other hand, high dynamics of social data makes it hard to keep up with it. Yet, social data can help you find answers to many questions, including the ones that are concerned with the email marketing campaign. So, how can you use it? Let’s take a look. Applying Social Data to an Email Marketing Campaign 1. Analyzing and Growing Your Target Audience Social data can provide you with extensive knowledge of who your audience is, giving you a whole set of ideas on how you can apply it to your email marketing campaign. However, social data can do more than that. You can use social media channels to build email lists. And, vice versa, it allows you to take a closer look at who your email subscribers are to make your email marketing campaign more targeted. For instance, here’s how LinkedIn can help you with email subscriber analysis. If you go to LinkedIn, choose Connections, you’ll see a section where you can enter your email to add more people to follow. After you enter your email, you’ll see all the people that you have in your email subscriber list as LinkedIn users: Twitter has the same function, which allows you to take a better look at who your audience is, what their interests are, which eventually can be very helpful when creating content for your next email marketing campaign. You can also integrate social media platforms to redirect people to your email via a newsletter. For instance, Facebook call-to-action button can be designed in a way to help your Facebook followers contact you via email. How do companies benefit from it? Peter Jefferson, a marketing specialist at the international real estate company, says that switching from “Visit our website” to “Contact Us” via email helped the company boost their email marketing campaign. Doing so can help you redirect more potential subscribers to your email. However, you can draw even more benefits from it. All social media platforms have their own built-in analytics tools, which, among many other functions, allow you to track how many people used this CTA. You can also track their location, time zone, and other social data, which can be useful for your email marketing campaign. 2. Finding Content Ideas for Email Although social data mainly comes from likes, shares, and comments from across social media platforms, it can also be collected from various other sources. Marketers are in a constant hunt for email marketing ideas, especially when it comes to content. And, if you plan on sending marketing emails every day, your content should be really engaging. This has a lot to do with a positive customer experience, which is a goal of every marketing campaign. And who can tell you more about it than subscribers themselves? Surveying your target audience will provide you with social data which later can be used to generate content ideas for email. For instance, recently I participated in a poll from an interior design brand that I follow on Instagram: After a couple of weeks, I started receiving marketing emails from this brand, showing me the products, among which I could find those ones that the majority of people voted for. This is a smart move from a brand to see what their target audience on Instagram prefers, and then to offer them similar products via email. 3. Benefiting from Customer Support Your customer support service is another source of an ongoing flow of social data. As your customer support operates through various channels, including email and all your social media platforms, you can collect the data to help you launch your next email marketing campaign. Stats prove the effectiveness of customer support. According to Social Media Today, customers love communicating with brands via social media and the majority of them use social media mostly for this purpose. This not only contributes to the positive customer experience but also to the growth of your brand as those who have a good experience are 3x more likely to be a brand evangelist. In terms of email marketing, your customer support service can supply you with the data from tickets they receive via social media. This social data can help you find answers to some marketing-related questions, including how well your previous email marketing campaign was received. Let’s take a closer look at more benefits: Customer support has all the information on your previous email marketing campaign. Responses and feedbacks they get as replies to the emails is social data that can provide you with important clues as to what should be taken into consideration next time; Customer service also has to deal with customer portals (forums, discussion boards), which also offer social data that may play an important role in launching an email marketing campaign. In general, customer support receives a lot of feedback from customers, which can be converted into social data. Although the data that you receive from the customer service is raw and needs thorough analysis, it can potentially give you the answers and ideas you’re looking for. Try Social Data for Email Marketing Although marketers commonly use analytics tools to launch an email marketing campaign and measure its success, social data, obtained from social media and other channels for interacting with customers, can give answers to many confusing questions, including whom you want to target and what content you should put in your emails. Do you have experience applying social data to launching email marketing campaigns? What issues did it help you solve? Share your experience with us!


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5 Ways to Use Email Marketing and Social Media Integration Techniques for Lead Generation

5 Ways to Use Email Marketing and Social Media Integration Techniques for Lead Generation

Practical Marketer • June 18, 2019

People often ask, “should I be doing email marketing or social media marketing?” The answer is that you should actually be doing both! Your marketing efforts will be the strongest when you use both of these channels together. The biggest reason why a combination of these two channels is more effective than using either one of them by itself is that you will simply reach more people when you use them both. Your email subscribers are not necessarily your social media followers and vice versa. So, by using email marketing, you can reach people who don’t follow you on social media and by using social media marketing, you can reach people who are not on your email list. However, although you should definitely use both email and social media for marketing, email is the more important of the two. For every $1 that companies spend on email marketing, they average $38 in revenue. This is significantly higher than the return on ad spend on social media marketing. In fact, people who buy products marketed through email spend 138 % more than those who do not receive email offers, such as people who click on social media ads. Another reason why email marketing is so valuable is that you will actually own your email list and do not have to pay social media companies to communicate with your subscribers. However, social media is rented space. You will have to pay social media companies if you would like to advertise on their platforms. 1. Your Signup Form should be linked in your CALL TO ACTION button on social media pages/profile that helps grow your email list Adding a signup form on your Call To Action button on your social media pages/profile will help you to funnel people from your social media pages to your email list. By doing this, you can use your social media pages to bulk up your email list. This is a good example of a signup form you can add to your call to action button. To get the most out of your signup form, you should use an action word because people respond positively to these. You should also make sure that you clear and concise and promote a benefit, not the product. Further, to get people’s attention, you can ask a question. For example, “Do you want to improve your health with optimal nutrition? Sign up for our email list today to get regular product offers and information for our incredible nutritional supplements.” Another thing that can help is negative words. For example, you can say, “Stop wasting money with X, sign up here, and start saving.” Negative sentiment has been shown to increase click-through rates by 47 percent. Showing value is also extremely beneficial. To show value, you need to clearly express the value of going with your offer and quickly explain why a pain point may be relieved, why the person’s life may be improved, etc. 2. Engage your existing clients (and find new ones) on social media by uploading your email list on social channels Uploading your email subscriber list on your social channels is an excellent way to grow your business’s social media following and to be able to get more bang for your buck with social media advertising. All of the main social media networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. allow you to upload your email lists. Then you can simply follow or send connection requests to the people who are matches for the emails. Many of them will accept. Once they accept, they will start seeing your posts and your ads, and many will share them. This will help to grow your following even more. Custom Facebook audiences are also extremely helpful. With a custom Facebook audience, you can advertise to people who are a certain age or gender, or who have shown interest in your website or products, etc. This image shows you where you can find custom audiences on Facebook ads manager. Lookalike audiences are also extremely beneficial for growing your list. Lookalike audiences are audiences on social media who have similar characteristics, preferences, and habits to your existing customers. When you are creating a lookalike audience, you should focus on your most engaged audience members. This will help you to maximize your ROI. 3. Your regularly scheduled newsletter/thank you page campaigns should include social media follow us button for live updates notification When you add a social media follow us button to your scheduled newsletter/thank you page campaign, you can dramatically increase the number of social media followers that you get. It takes up to seven times to recognize a brand. You can speed up the brand recognition process by making sure that people from your email list subscribe and follow you on your social media channels as well. Include a button like this in your emails: When you post content on your social media channels, you should make sure that this content is different than your standard email marketing content. You want your subscribers to feel like they are getting different value on your social media channels than the value that they are already getting on your email list. Try to connect in a different way, with different information. Imagine where your subscriber will be when they engage the content and create unique content for each space. Give them a reason to follow you in both places. 4. Schedule campaigns for email marketing as well as social media posts Your marketing campaigns need to include both social media posts and emails. When you create your campaigns, 80 percent of your time should be spent on promoting your content and 20 percent of it should be spent creating it. Most marketers have this backward. This is because not all people who read content have the time at that moment to engage with it. So, if you post it again later, then there is a greater chance that your content will get more clicks and more engagement. When you are creating your campaign, you should keep a 360-degree perspective in mind. The goal is for all you to promote your content on all of your channels in order to increase the number of shares and forwards and to get maximum clicks and engagement. You should build your campaign around recent tweets/posts which have higher amounts of likes, shares, and retweets. These campaigns will most likely perform the best since they have content that has already proven to be very interesting to followers and subscribers. 5. Email marketing campaigns should include the announcement of an upcoming contest/rewards/deals that is going to happen on social media pages. Announcing your social media contests with email marketing will act as an influencer marketing technique/viral marketing. Rewards, contests, and deals all help to create a large amount of interest amongst your email subscribers. This is because people tend to love anything that can help them to get something for a reduced price. This is a good example of a Facebook contest post: This kind of content is often more effective for email marketing because the average person checks their email 15 times a day. So, it is essentially a guarantee that your email subscribers will see your marketing email with your rewards, contests, and deals content. However, social media posts tend to be frequently missed since they quickly disappear down newsfeeds and timelines. In fact, the average Facebook user only spends about 27 minutes a day on Facebook. So, this means that many of your Facebook users will not see your posts. Are You Already Using Benchmark Email? Make sure that you place the UTM tracking code for the links/page URL that you want to promote via both social media as well as email marketing campaign. This will help to track and allow you to filter the audience interest, geography, medium, demographic and other analysis for optimization. This will enable your campaigns to be much more effective and successful.


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Lessons Learned from Top Brands on How to Rock on Instagram

Lessons Learned from Top Brands on How to Rock on Instagram

Beyond • June 14, 2019

Instagram has gained a huge footing from various social media marketers thanks to its knack for connecting people. According to Forrester Research, Instagram is superior to every other social network when it comes to user engagement. Of the seven social networks reviewed, six had an engagement rate less than 0.1 %. Instagram was the only network with a user engagement rate of 4.21%. Nate Elliot, an expert marketing analyst, said that Instagram has 120 times more engagement per follower than Twitter and 58 times better user engagement than Facebook. One of the most common way to increase reach on post is to use Instagram hashtags. Top brands are making the best out of this opportunity by coming up with imaginative and creative ways to popularize themselves. Here is a list of some top brands that will serve to help marketers gain inspiration for How to Rock on Instagram: Lesson Learned from Zappos: Go Beyond Your Product The most excellent thing about Zappos is that their Instagram feed is just so out of left field. No doubt that there are several images of handbags and footwear scattered here and there, but their feed is packed with some cute little gems. The lesson here is that businesses should not just limit the Instagram feed to photos of products. If there is any occasion coming up like Christmas, New Years, Easter, etc. you can put a relevant inspirational, attractive and funny image on the feed that will attract more followers and bring a smile on their faces. Lesson Learned from Asus: Capture That Follower A common mistake that even large brands often commit is treating Instagram marketing as a standalone campaign. The end goal of any of your marketing campaigns should be to either to build brand awareness, capture leads or make a sale. While growing your Instagram following helps you build awareness or even make a sale once in a while, it is worth remembering that relying entirely on a third party platform may not be a sustainable strategy. It takes one algorithmic tweak from Instagram for you to lose all your followers. Translating your Instagram following into a mailing or retargeting list must thus be top priority. The bio section of your Instagram profile comes in very handy here. It is ideal to have a custom landing page built primarily for your Instagram users. This way, when a follower clicks on the bio link and lands on your website, they may be channeled into your mailing list or remarketing group. Lesson Learned from Adidas: Selfie, Meet Personalized Shoe Adidas was the third most popular account on Instagram as of May, 2014 with close to 2 million followers. First place being was Nike (4 million followers) and second place was Starbucks (2.5 million followers). Adidas is allowing every sports fan to pull their favorite photos from Instagram and have them personalized as per their requirements directly on their ZX Flux shoes. This announcement generated a great level of user engagement on the Instagram post as well as on the video shared on Instagram persuading users to share their experience with personalized shoes. The lesson that every marketer needs to learn is that customers love to boast their creations and if posts can include personalized products ... there’s little better than that. Lesson Learned from Pabst Blue Ribbon: Take Your Brand Places Pasbst Blue Ribbon (PBR) embraces its Instagram feed with grace and humor rather than its hipster image. PBR’s Instagram feed doesn’t contain any photos of beer pong or group members, but rather it has wonderful and elegant pictures that people would like to share without caring about the fact that they like cheap beer. The lesson that every marketer should learn is that you can brand your product in historic landmarks, or any other beautiful scenic places, and there you go with thousands of comments and likes piled up on the feed.


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What Trends You Must be Aware of While Designing a CRM Strategy in 2019

What Trends You Must be Aware of While Designing a CRM Strategy in 2019

CRM • June 13, 2019

It is essential for businesses to create and maintain a healthy relationship with their customers. People in the management field already know as to how important it is to build a healthy customer relationship in business. Customer relationship management helps the company by creating goodwill in the industry. You can build goodwill in the market by addressing your customer’s problems in the market effectively. CRM system helps the organization with improving profitability and staying connected with the customers. Benefits of CRM Customer Relationship Management is very beneficial for an organization. CRM helps to manage your customer data in a single place, and it also makes the employees more efficient and productive by following customer history and continuously adding reminders for the important meetings and sales calls. It helps to speed up your growth process and manages your growing database. CRM centralizes the data, and all the processes become automated. Thus, it sends auto emails and SMS to the customers. This helps in building a long-lasting relationship with your customers through small but meaningful gestures, such as sending your customers wishes on birthdays and anniversaries and festivals. You can also find out where to make improvements in the business. CRM solutions also add value through business intelligence and data mining which in other words is known as data warehousing. Challenges in CRM The change from manual to automatic operations is one of the most daunting tasks that you can face during the implementation of CRM because not all employees are well-versed with the developing technologies. With software, you can never be too careful as there is always a risk that you can get hacked. Similarly, in CRM software the team who is using the software has to be extra careful while implementing the software. But if the employees are well trained and guided, they don\'t have to worry about their information being leaked. There is always a chance of getting hacked, but the trained employees can stop the hacker at the very initial stage so that no sensitive data gets stolen. The CRM tool will slow down your activities a little because now you will have to record the whole conversation that you with your customer on the phone or take notes. This will slow you down in the short term, but in the long run, it will be beneficial for the organization. CRM tool requires a significant amount of investment and businesses usually do need to make a large amount of investment for the company\'s growth. Because of the advancements in the technology field, the CRM software needs to be up to date in order to fulfill the needs of the company. And due to these software updates, training camps have to be set up so that the employees know how to use the software correctly. Major CRM Trends in 2019 1. Conversational AI-Powered CRM Artificial Intelligence combined with CRM will focus more on Informal CRM systems in 2019 and after. So many new developments have been introduced in the CRM world such as face recognition and text recognition, and one of the developments that are yet to be launched in 2019 is voice functionalities. A lot of new advancements will be introduced in the year 2019. Similar to the voice functionalities on smartphones, Salesforce Einstein is an AI-powered CRM that has voice recognition and enables organizations to get information using voice commands. Voice recognition is changing our lives, and our work lives as everything is becoming simpler. Just by using our voice we can get our job done very easily, and we can access information very quickly through the mobile phone or other gadgets. 2. IoT in CRM for Proactive, Predictive and Prescriptive Customer Service The future of customer service is IoT in CRM. One of the main factors of CRM is believed to be IoT because it will boost CRM in terms of CRM software having to work for better organizations and improving sales, customer service and satisfaction. For example, such integration has the ability to analyze information collected from all the devices that are connected and if there are any issues then fixing them on even the slightest level. Nowadays everything is getting connected to the network, and a lot of industries will get transformed and because of IoT in CRM. It will be able to manage this transformation as it will automate better customer service to solve queries quickly, efficiently and sometimes even before they occur. IoT will have a considerable impact on CRM in the year 2019 because as it will enhance and improve the functioning of CRM through a large amount of useful data that has been collected from customers and the potential customers. 3. An increase in Mobile CRM Usage A mobile CRM provides all the CRM capabilities on most of the devices that can be connected to the network. It is capable of real-time access at any place and any time. This trend will grow in 2019 because of advancements in the technological field. Mobile device usage is increasing day by day and because of that CRM user who use the system on their mobile phones and tablets will grow significantly as well. Increase in Mobile CRM usage means that the efficiency will also increase, users will have access to more accurate information, improvement in customer’s experience and eliminating the need to learn new software. About 90% of companies have a CRM system, and it is evident that these systems work on different varieties of devices and internet speed. 4. Hyper- individualization for Unbeatable CX The companies who have been using CRM systems for many years must be having a substantial amount of data in their systems, and that will help them to provide their customer with an unmatched deeply personalized customer experience. This trend will become quite evident in 2019. Deeply personalized or extremely personalized experience means delivering service where the customers feel valued and appreciated as the company understands them and know what the customers want and when they want it. Deep personalization will be very important in 2019 and the years after that, as it will give companies a competitive edge on customer engagement and experience. Collecting the right data instead of more data and trying to answer the question to why instead of what. 5. Deep Personalization The year where the companies will gather all the years of customer data to personalize experiences for their customers is 2019. The most important rule to maintain your customers is by making your customers feel valued. The trick is to target the needs of the customer before the customer itself, and you will make a lifetime customer. CRM has years and years of customer data, and it can be used to do that. The world is transforming into a place where customer experience will enhance to become the key differentiator, and extreme personalization is the most popular path to it. You should make use of the customer data that you have to understand your customer and identify what their needs, wants and preferences are and then customize the experience with the help of Artificial Intelligence to make them feel valued. You should read about how you can use SugarCRM to improve your company’s customer experience. 6. CRM and Digital Transformation in 2019 Digital presence already very apparent and it will become more in the future. The amount of information that is available is increasing day by day, and the decisions that the companies have to make nowadays have become more critical such as making sure that they are targeting the correct customer, at the exact time and with the exact offer. And all of this possible with the customer related data that is available through digitalization. In the year 2019, you need to have an expert understanding of your customers and potential customers and an excellent digital presence. This will help you in increased profits, strong customer relations and multi-channel experience. The digitally transformed companies have customers that are 60% more likely to test a new product or service from their choice of brand, 40% more likely to suggest your brand and 20% more likely to purchase a product from their preferred brand even though the competitor has better offers and discounts. Final Thoughts The CRM systems will become even more expensive in 2019 as the companies realize the significance of understanding their customers and not just knowing them. The technology that’s being used in CRM such as voice and mobile functionalities improves the customer experience as well as user experience. The trends for 2019 are: Those that give access to CRM to use technology more efficiently and also integrating the technology. The CRM that is so evolved today and indeed it will become more in the future as CRM is becoming very important for companies.  


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3 Priceless Email Marketing Lessons from Fatherly Advice

3 Priceless Email Marketing Lessons from Fatherly Advice

Practical Marketer • June 11, 2019

Dads. They offer an endless supply of awesomely terrible jokes. They amuse us with their habit of wearing socks with sandals. They keep us humble with their dictator-like control over the thermostat and light switches (everyone’s dad follows them around the house turning lights off … right?!). On top of all the funny little quirks they have -- dads give us some pretty solid life advice that can be surprisingly relevant in a wide variety of situations. In honor of Father’s Day, we’re reflecting on some of the priceless wisdom our dads have passed on to us. Specifically, we’ll examine how we can apply these gems of wisdom to email marketing. Priceless Email Marketing Lessons From Fatherly Advice #1: Have Fun My dad coached my brother and me in Little League baseball. His focus was never on winning -- it was about having fun. Sure, he taught my teammates, my brother and me the fundamentals. He helped us hone our skills and showed us how to get better at the game. At the end of the day, my dad taught us that all our hard work was for nothing if we weren’t having fun. That was an important lesson: that we should be smiling even if we weren’t hitting home runs. That’s an idea that definitely translates to email marketing. Sure, there might be times when it feels like you’re not winning. For example, when you’re just trying to get things going from scratch, or when you’re attempting to rebound after a stagnant period. Still -- as Tom Hanks’ character says in A League of Their Own -- “there’s no crying in baseball!” Similarly, there should be no crying in email marketing! When you find yourself feeling down, or uninspired -- think about what it is about your business that brings you joy. Why did you start doing this in the first place? Maybe it’s the satisfaction of knowing that you’re solving problems in people’s lives. Maybe it’s the joy of dreaming up new products and getting them to the market. Whatever it is, there’s something special and unique that drove you to do this. Channel that feeling, and infuse it into your email campaigns. How do you add that sense of fun into your email marketing? One way is to use humor. Now, a warning: In order to use the power of humor effectively, you have to be … wait for it! … funny. We all know this instinctively. Attempting to be funny and failing is far worse than not trying to funny in the first place. There are lots of places you can inject some humor. For example, your signup form, your welcome email, your unsubscribe page or anything in between. Check out these examples: Examples FUNNY SIGN-UP FORM From: Nerd Fitness Why it’s great: Nerd Fitness, as its wonderfully descriptive name suggests, is “a fitness website for nerds and average Joes.” The company stays wonderfully on-brand with this funny email list sign-up form -- which is jokey without becoming a joke. FUNNY WELCOME EMAIL From: Find Me a Gift Why it’s great: Casual. Congratulatory. And accompanied by a funny and memorable image. This welcome email hits all the high notes. It does a great job of introducing customers to the “quirky little world” of this service. FUNNY UNSUBSCRIBE PAGE From: 1-800-Contacts Why it’s great: Great unsubscribe pages do the opposite of what their name suggests -- they give customers a reason to stay on your email list rather than severing the inbox relationship. This sassy and surprising unsubscribe message from 1-800-Contacts sends out a subtle but powerful message: If you unsubscribe, you’ll miss out on some pretty amusing content! Another way to have some dad-approved fun in your email marketing is by using GIFs. Yes, at the end of the day, we are all like cats chasing laser pointers. Moving images are downright hypnotic! GIFs are great for emails for a couple of important reasons. First, they catch the eye and are much more fun than a photo. Second, they are very current, so they add some hipness to your campaigns. However, be very careful that you don’t overdo it -- or your email will end up looking like a bad MySpace page. Also, be sure to use alt-text -- the little description that describes what an image is either when you hover your mouse over the image frame or if the image fails to load. That’s another great place to infuse a little humor, by the way. Examples From: Ann Taylor LOFT Why it’s great: This subtle bit of movement creates an eye-catching surprise while keeping the message clean, uncluttered and totally on-brand. Who can resist the urge to unwrap a holiday gift that’s wiggling so invitingly? From: Moo Why it’s great: Sale announcement burnout … it’s real. How many emails do we all get every day screaming “Final hours!” “Don’t miss this one!” and such? Chances are unless a customer is further down your sales funnel already -- that is, looking to pounce on a discount or already about to pull the trigger on a purchase -- a message announcing that a sale is about to end could feel irrelevant at best and irritating at worst. Luxury business card printer Moo combats that vibe with this mesmerizing GIF. Priceless Lessons From Fatherly Advice #2: Always Do Your Best There was a second part to my dad’s big lesson about the importance of having fun. Sure, winning isn’t everything. But it’s important to always try your hardest and do your best. When the two lessons are combined, you get my dad’s attitude. For instance, he always wanted me to do well in school, but he was happy as long as I was putting my maximum effort into things. What does this idea mean in the world of email marketing? Stop putting pressure on yourself: Your email marketing does not have to be perfect. In fact, you should give yourself a big pat on the back right now -- just the fact that you’re doing email marketing gives you a leg up on much of your competition. (The fact that you’re taking the time to read an article about how to optimize your emails? You get extra credit!) Take this moment to realign your priorities. Focus on continuous improvement. It’s fine to have big goals, but don’t be discouraged by them -- email is all about the micro-wins. Break your objectives down to their building blocks. Yes, you want eyeballs and engagement. But to start with: Did you get people to open your emails? Great! Now you have a way to see who’s already interested in your content. Refine this data even further by A/B testing your subject lines and “from” names to improve open rates -- and to have even more fun. Next, take a look at whether your customers clicked through to your website. If they did, that means your content was compelling and your call to action was effective. That’s no small feat -- good work! To drill down even further on this data … you guessed it: test your calls to action (play around with the text, colors, placement, etc.), try different things with your content and switch up your design for even more fun. Finally, don’t miss the chance to follow through! You can track your customers from email to website for conversions or follow-ups. There are loads of great tools out there to help with this. Use Google Analytics to see what portion of the traffic you drive from emails is converting on your website. Use Automation to follow up based on links clicked or web pages visited. Priceless Lessons From Fatherly Advice #3: It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Know My dad built a career on relationships. And it took a while for me to realize this -- because kindness was an effortless part of his personality. It just came naturally to him. I grew up believing my dad truly “knew a guy” at every single place in the city of Chicago. We got special access to places at Chicago Bears games, the zoo and countless other places. Why did we get this special treatment? It was the result of my dad doing tons of favors for others without ever asking for anything in return. If he could put someone in touch with another person to help them out, he would. If he could be of assistance to someone, he would. He knew it would come back around to him at some point -- but that’s not what motivated him. The people who invited my dad to exclusive events and gave him special access behind velvet ropes felt like it was the least they could do for him. The favors flowed naturally -- but they never felt like repaid debts or calculated transactions on either side. I’ve taken that spirit with me to L.A. I’ve been able to help out countless friends as they navigate careers in this city. When I tell folks I was invited to 8 weddings in 2018 -- which is only a slight uptick from most years -- they wonder how I have so many friends. Well, I learned from my dad. Bringing it full circle back to email marketing -- what lesson can we learn from this? Most importantly: Your email list is your most valuable marketing asset. That’s no exaggeration. Joe Pulizzi, the founder of Content Marketing Institute, said it best: “Getting an email address is the first critical step to figuring out who my reader is, and hopefully in the future, my customer of some sort.” That’s the thing about your email list -- you own it entirely. So when you use it for marketing purposes, you have the key advantage of doing things on your own “turf,” so to speak. You aren’t marketing on rented space. Rand Fishkin, the founder of SEO firm Moz, said in his recent keynote speech at Digital Summit Los Angeles, that 10 new email addresses on your list are worth more than 10,000 new followers on social media. How can your email list be a thousand times more valuable than your social media followers list? It has everything to do with the ways we use each medium. Email messages are: Personal Goal-oriented Targeted As such, you can get an amazing ROI of $38 for every $1 you spend on email marketing. Bringing it full circle back to fatherly advice and the importance of leveraging “who you know” -- I’ll conclude now with five killer ways to maximize your email marketing ROI. First: automate your email marketing. Even the fastest typing, never-sleeping, most dedicated and methodical marketer could never hope to beat the sheer accuracy and convenience factor provided by automation. When you automate your email marketing, you take full advantage of your incredibly valuable email marketing list. The addresses on your list are worth their weight in platinum. Focus your energies on creating incredible content for your audience and constantly analyzing how they’re liking it. Make sure you have an incredible welcome email. We’ve mentioned before how important it is to have an on-brand, memorable and compelling welcome email. Use automation to have that message sent immediately once someone signs up for your list. You should make sure your conversion funnel is optimized. As you know, the conversion funnel is the path your customer takes from curiosity all the way to the sale (and hopefully raving to others about it). If you haven’t optimized your email marketing to take advantage of each distinct phase in your customer’s journey, you are truly leaving money on the table. Use dynamic segmentation on your list. This is another critical factor in the idea that “it’s all about who you know” -- because if a person joins your list as a prospect, but then later becomes one of your biggest customers -- you better be sure that your email marketing has adjusted to match that huge change. Dynamic segmentation, or the practice of constantly updating how your email list subscribers are categorized, is vitally important if you want to keep people engaged. It’s only by keeping a firm handle on people’s individual needs that you can hope to create compelling content that feels fresh, timely and personally relevant to them. Hone your timing. We’ve mentioned before that Tuesday through Thursday mornings are a great time to send an email, as a general rule. But taking that a step further -- what information do you have about the individuals on your email marketing list that might cause you to change or adjust that rule? For example, if you have a trip planning app where people enter their travel details -- don’t miss the opportunity to send out uniquely relevant content to your subscribers when they’re crisscrossing the globe, and adjust the send time based on local time zones. Or, for another hypothetical: If you’re an eCommerce retailer, you can track a customer’s interest in a product over time (by making note of when they favorite the item, add it to cart, ask to be emailed when it comes back in stock, etc.). Make sure you’re using the power of automation to send out perfectly timed, personalized content that addresses your customer’s needs and desires. That’s the kind of thing that closes a sale -- and builds incredible brand loyalty. Putting it All Together: Send Marketing Emails That Would Make a Father Proud This Father’s Day, there are bound to be a lot of cheesy ties, #1 Dad mugs and bottles of bad cologne given as gifts. We won’t judge if you’re giving one of those to your father or father figure this year. However, we do urge you to take a moment and be grateful for the incredible lessons that your dad -- and all dads -- have taught us about life, love and the art of email marketing. Have fun, always do the best job possible and nurture your relationships above almost everything else. Those are the best email marketing lessons that my dad taught me. Fernanda Brito - Mexico You must be hot or cold: you cannot be lukewarm with your decisions. Shresth Prabhat - India The best technique to use in the world of marketing is word of mouth. People will generally consider an option suggested by another person. It builds an unmatched reputation. Jason Ashley - USA It takes all kinds of people to make the world go around, so don\'t judge or question another\'s actions or who they are as an individual. Learn something from the uniqueness or actions of others, accept them as helping in your growth, even if it doesn\'t seem that way at that time. Juanjo Polo - Spain Take care of your family. Frieder Egermann - Germany It\'s not direct advice he gave me, but he showed me to be responsible and true to myself. Curt Keller - CEO He told, me that my lack of athletic success was ALL IN MY HEAD! I now agree with more than ever. Raquel Herrera - Spain If I have to say one piece of advice that my father gave me, it\'s about having common sense in everything that I do. It is very simple but very deep and important and applying in your daily life helps you to make a good decision. Ilich Lamas - Italy If things do not go your way, look at things from another perspective. There is always a way to change things. Tanay Chaturvedi - India Work smart but do not underestimate hard work. Lisa Fletcher - USA Believe nothing that you hear and only half of what you see. It was his way to say don\'t always default to trust. Find out for yourself. Yersing Noriega - Guatemala Treat people the way you would like to be treated. Also, one act of kindness from you can change somebody\'s day! Yamile Flores - Mexico More than advice, I had his example. He woke up in the morning to go to his job and would walk. I saw him from the window walking away, and once I asked him, \"why you don\'t take the car?\" He told me because you have to go to school in it. He is a man who took his t-shirt to give it to his sons always. Irene Martinez - USA \'Sacrifices are temporary.\' My dad came to the US as an immigrant, and since his first day here he worked day and night to provide for his family. There was a time where I did not understand why my dad worked so much. But every time I asked, he would hug me and tell me Sacrifices are temporary. - Lo quiero mucho apa!! Sandeep Kumar - India Build/maintain relationships. Leticia Mottola - USA The \'no\' you already have. Go for the \'yes.\' If you don\'t try, you\'ll never know. Titi Bekaert - Belgium Be curious, be open-minded and stay rational in a world that has a lot to offer! Joanne Walker - USA You put in a good days work for a good days pay. Virender Mohan Dang - India This was not a direct advise to me but a cousin in my presence. We were visiting him a few days ago when he mentioned friction with a few family members, that he was trying to resolve the matters, and the lack of response from the rest of the family was frustrating. My dad told him \"No matter what they say or do, you maintain a good mindset\" (If I translate from the Hindi language to English it meant something like \'keep your level of thoughts high.\' Today when I saw a message from Andy to share some advice from my dad that could relate to email marketing, this incident popped out of my memory box. A lot of people see what others are doing when it comes to email marketing and hence try to achieve quick success by purchasing contact lists, sending over content that\'s just not relevant, and sending volumes that would trigger the anti-spam filters of various ISPs. To succeed in email marketing, one needs to keep a high mindset where they are patient enough to generate their own contact lists, work on the content that resonates with their customers, research various ESPs and the features they offer, work on warming up their IPs to help ISPs get acquainted with their sending practices, honour unsubscribes, and so on.  


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