General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): Everything You Need To Know

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The Beginner’s Guide to Ecommerce Email Marketing Automation

The Beginner’s Guide to Ecommerce Email Marketing Automation

Practical Marketer • August 9, 2018

Email marketing automation is a well-covered subject because there are plenty of benefits which could be derived from proper automation. We know it can be a daunting task for owners of eCommerce websites, but this guide will make your foundation of knowledge rock-solid. In this article, I\'ll discuss the basics of everything from building an email list to the different types of emails that you should be automating. So, grab your notebook, because things are about to get factual. Your Main Email List I’ve observed that a lot of people still don’t know how to build up their email list correctly and this short primer should help you out. Getting People to Give You Their Emails In fact, there are many ways to get customers to give you their email addresses. If they have already made a purchase with you, then this should be a no-brainer. But, what if they happen to be browsing your site and suddenly decide to leave without making a purchase? This now becomes a problem. Fear not, because there are many solutions. You can give them a special offer via an internal ad on your website; this could be in the form of a discount or initial buyer offer. You could utilize some sort of lead magnet tactic where you give something away. If you have an eCommerce store that deals with specialty services or products, you can even have gated content that can only be accessed by giving away an email address. There are free plugins which help you do this, and you can integrate these with the eCommerce platform your store is running on. Segmentation and Varied Campaigns If there is one lesson that we have learned from account-based marketing (ABM), it’s the fact that customized emails work. Your current list or the list you are building also has to be segmented by demographics, buying power, buying propensity, geographical local and so on. This will help with the other automated emails that we will be talking about in the latter part of this article. Remember that people like personalization and custom campaigns. In fact, more than 70 percent of people prefer personalized ads that have been tailor-made for them. Email List Hygiene Practice good email hygiene; there are tools available that can help you with this. Check if the emails that you have are still working and are not just bouncing. This affects the integrity and the reputation of your email address. If it’s terrible, it hurts deliverability. Remember that email addresses are primed. Ensure that the email address of your eCommerce store is primed too and ready to send emails. Double Opt-Ins This is one way of ensuring that the email address that they gave you is valid. It will require the recipient of your email to confirm their email addresses. This way, you don’t send emails to fake addresses. Don’t Forget About the Quality of Your Content This is one thing that a lot of people frequently forget about. Make sure you have at least 500 characters in your email, so you do not get flagged for spam. However, you also need to make sure that your content is not too “wordy” for your ready or you will lose their attention. The trick is to utilize the other characters in your copyright notice or your fine print. Make sure you have enough pictures and graphics to keep the user on your page and make the email read worth their while. Types of Automated Emails Your E-commerce Store Needs to Send Automated emails allow you to properly engage with your customers and increase conversion and CTR sans the hassle. The beauty of automation is it creates a sales system that is automatic and is all-inclusive to make sure that every potential lead is maximized. Here is where the real fun begins. I recommend you use an application to automate the different campaigns that you will be engaging in. Benchmark is a great application that automates different marketing tasks. With software like this, it becomes more comfortable for you to start crafting systems on how to treat different kinds of user behavior towards specific email actions. For example, we see what happens when a user views or ignores an offer message that was previously sent to their inbox. After a particular amount of time, you can automatically send an email depending on the user’s behavior, i.e., if they opened it or not. You just have to set the system up, and you’re pretty much good to go. Systems like this make customer interaction and engagement an easier puzzle to solve. And, those are not the only good things you can do with automation. Here’s the good news. You can customize how much time passes before each action of the automated “email flowchart,” and you can even add a variable number of user actions. It’s a way for you to fully automate the messages that you send out to your customers based on their interactions. What you see is just a simple example of what you can do to automate your email response systems. This can vary per product or service that you have, and in some cases, you can even create flowcharts under your flowcharts. These flowcharts can then be further broken into the different market segments that you might have in your email list. In turn, it makes everything you do for your customers – even the automated emails that they receive – fully personalized. Personalization is the new game in digital marketing, and that is why this is so important. To further emphasize on this, I would even advise that every email that is received from the end of your e-commerce store, is automatically replied to, with an acknowledgment that’s apt to the matter being discussed. Abandoned Carts Just because a customer has left a cart doesn’t mean it’s over. Here’s how you can help them find their way back to you. Send an automated email an hour after they have abandoned their cart. If there has been no response, send an email 24 hours later. You can even include an offer in this email – only in particular cases.   Upsells Here’s an excellent way for you to get additional revenue after a sale has been made. Send an automated email of an upsell offer containing products that are relevant to the purchase that your customer made. If you draw on previous data, you can include items that have been purchased along with the previously purchased item from other customers. Follow Up – Post Purchase Sending an email after the first purchase is an excellent way for you to show your customers that you care about them. Include information about the product that they bought Thank them for their purchase Again, you can include a special discount for the next purchase to increase purchase velocity Follow Up – Engagement If you have customers that have not been engaging with your business for a long time, then you can set your application to send emails to dormant customers. You can include a return offer or the sort. Check out how Pinkberry does it. Something like this and personal always does the trick. VIP Customers Your VIP customers are customers that have had a history of many purchases and are always ready to engage with your business. You have to keep them on a separate list after they have been qualified to give them better promotions for their loyalty. Sending out an email to them now and then helps keep the relationship alive, and is also great for revenue. The welcome series is the essential automated email series that you should send to your customers. It’s the first time that you’ll be sending them an email and naturally, it should be automated. You need to send this as soon as someone subscribes. Remember our tips above? There’s a lot that you can do here. CTAs for social media should be included A special offer for the current season Offer them something to subscribe to your content Value Content This is syndicated content from your blog or team. It aims to inform rather than to sell. Aim to segment who your value content goes to depending on the demographics of the subscriber. Some content will be appealing to another group. You are aiming for brand recognition here. Harness the Feedback At the end of the day, you also want to collect information about the success of your automated email campaigns. It isn’t also wise to start using one campaign with everything, i.e., imagine a sort of response system for the demographics that you cater to. You should still be conducting split tests to determine effective campaigns. This means a couple of things. You will still be looking at your email CTR, your open rates and the overall engagement. So, there you have it- your beginner’s guide to automation. Now that you have the tools to get emails, know what emails to send and have examples of how to go about it, there is no stopping your eCommerce email campaigns.


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8/3/18: Weekly Clues for the Clueless Email Marketer Digest

8/3/18: Weekly Clues for the Clueless Email Marketer Digest

Beyond • August 3, 2018

Well, folks, we\'ve officially got a week in the books for Clues for the Clueless Email Marketer! For these first five mini-episodes, focused on growing your email list. These topics included why your email list is so important and why you should put effort into growing that list. Then we began looking at the individual touchpoints where you should be trying to build your list and some practical strategies for doing so. Introducing Clues for the Clueless Email Marketer Welcome to our new podcast! We\'ll be releasing daily mini episodes (minisodes) each weekday aimed at the Clueless Email Marketer. After all, we\'re all clueless until someone clues us in! In this first episode, we introduce the podcast and start a conversation on the importance of your email list and why you need to focus on growing your list. Growing a List: Homepage We kick off our series of conversations about how to grow your email list by focusing on the most obvious starting point: your homepage. Do you know where you should place a signup form on your homepage? You will after these 5ish minutes! Growing a List: Your Blog Your blog is one of the best SEO tools for your business. It\'s going to drive traffic to your site. Keep those site visitors coming back by converting them into subscribers. Growing a List: Other Website Pages We continue our conversation about growing an email list by looking at some of the other places to consider putting a signup form on your website. Know the highest trafficked pages on your site, so you\'re not missing opportunities to grow your list. Growing a List: Social Media Email marketing and social media aren\'t an either/or situation. You should always be using both and that includes efforts to grow your list. Listen to this episode to find out how you can use social media to attract new subscribers.


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Best of the Heart of Business

Best of the Heart of Business

Beyond • August 3, 2018

Well, one week is in the books with our daily (on weekdays) mini-episodes of Clues for the Clueless Email Marketer and Clues for the Clueless CRM Marketer. Now that we have three podcasts, it seemed like as good of a time as any to look back on our original podcast, the Heart Of Business. With a little over 100 episodes released, the Heart Of Business has seen some awesome guests, who are doing (or have done) incredible things. We wanted to honor some of our favorites … and some of yours! The truth is, we’ve enjoyed every single episode we’ve recorded. It’s hard not to when you get to speak with people who are passionate about what they’re doing with their lives. Thanks to everyone who has ever been a guest on the Heart Of Business and all of you who have been listening all these years! Andy’s Favorite Episodes Diamond Dallas Page: Wrestling with a New Yoga Business If I’m being honest, a large part of why this was so special is because of the voicemail that was left for my by DDP himself prior to recording. My junior high self was squealing on the inside about this episode. He did not disappoint. Nick Uhas: Beginnings, Big Brother and Beyond You ask Nick Uhas how he wound up on Big Brother and you first hear about how he started wrestling in Junior High, competitive rollerblading and how he crashed a fraternity leadership summit in Mexico. Somehow, it turns into a story of following the path presented to you and gaining confidence in your strengths. There Is No Shot: ImmunoMatrix with Kasia Sawicka Kasia Sawicka is the Neo of ImmunoMatrix. The one that did what has never been done before. During a college experiment, Kasia stumbled upon a discovery that might have major implications across the globe. Through her findings, she has made a patch that can deliver medications through the skin at a greater rate than was previously thought possible. She\'s got a growing list of awards and accolades that boast the significance of ImmunoMatrix. Daniel’s Favorite Episodes All About.com That Podcast with Neil Vogel Neil Vogel is the CEO of About.com. He talked with us about transforming a brand, chubby babies and content. With Andy on injured reserve, Engineer Claude and Daniel took the reigns for this great listen. Siri, Will You Be On Our Podcast? You\'d think being the voice of Siri could be the coolest thing a person could do. Then you learn that Susan Bennett also toured the world with Roy Orbison. She toured with a guy that was in a band with a Beatle. How cool is that?! The answer is very cool, and Susan Bennett is just that. Learn about the life of a voice actor and singer and how one can be the voice of Siri without even realizing it\'s happening. Energized By Grid Modernization Engineer Tirthak Saha Tirthak Saha is only 26 years old. He\'s been recognized by Forbes 30 Under 30, worked with NASA on origami-inspired satellites and won American Electric Power\'s Spark Tank Innovation Challenge. You may not have heard of him yet, but he believes that will change. So do we. Most Downloaded Episodes (Your Favorites!) Drive Change: Social Justice is a Dish Best Served ... Literally It seems more important than ever to tell a story like that of Drive Change. A force for good in our society aimed at improving the lives of its employees, maintaining a conversation on social justice and serving delicious food. Drive Change brings its cause straight to the people taking its food truck, Snowday, on the move with a message. You see, the food truck employs formerly incarcerated young adults and gives them support, on the job training and assistance in achieving the future they desire. Did I mention the food is amazing? I don\'t have to because the awards are piling up ... as are the mentions in every \"best of NY\" list on food trucks. Drive Change co-founder Roy Waterman and his team deserve all the accolades their food has received and more. In a world of hashtag activism, it seems as important as ever to give a platform to the individuals taking action to work for a better tomorrow. 1,810 Seconds with 2-Second Lean\'s Paul Akers Paul Akers had to go to Japan to become fully immersed in Lean culture. Thanks to him, all of us need not leave our desks. To say we were excited to speak to Paul and hear his story is an understatement. His Lean Journey is one of positivity and joy, albeit not with a few bumps along the road. We talked to him about his own company, FastCap, and how they have benefited from implementing Lean. EasilyDo: Stay On Top Of It All Think about all of the things for which you use your smartphone. Calls, email and texting, sure, but what else? You calendar, the internet, social media. Shopping? Transportation? Business? These days the list can go on and on. EasilyDo is like having an assistant that lives in your phone. It integrates with all of the tools you use in your life to stay organized and get things done. We had a great talk on how the tools in your life can be used more efficiently. It\'s something all of us can stand to do. Most Played Episodes (More of Your Favorites!) The Fan Experience with Kevin Browning, Umphrey\'s McGee Not many bands can tour for more than a decade and a half and still bring something new to the table each and every time. Umphrey\'s McGee has delivered unique fan experiences unseen by most others in the music industry. We chat with Kevin Browning, who manages strategy and development for the the band. Listen along and see how you might conjure up some out of the box ideas for your business. Millennials & More with Michael Price Michael Price literally wrote the book on millennials. Hear how his book, What Next? The Millennial’s Guide To Surviving and Thriving in the Real World, came to be and why he felt he was the one to write it. Hear his thoughts on millennials, who they are and what they are capable of. You Can Dance If You Want To ... at Dance With Me Alex Samusevich co-founded Dance With Me Studios with Maksim Chmerkovskiy of Dancing with the Stars. He took a lifelong passion for dance and turned it into a business that also allowed him to share it with others. What started as a conversation about being able to pursue one’s dreams in business and in life that was uplifting and inspirational turned into a look at using what you have, creating great content and doing it all with a DIY approach. Tell Us Your Favorite Do you have a favorite episode that we didn’t include here? Tell us in the comments!


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Introducing Clues for the Clueless Email Marketer

Introducing Clues for the Clueless Email Marketer

Beyond • July 30, 2018

Have you ever felt clueless about something when it comes to email marketing? I know I have. Truth be told, I used to pray that someone approaching our booth at an expo would talk to any of my other coworkers manning the booth with me. I feared someone would expose my lack of knowledge in a certain area. Eventually, I realized I was able to help the majority of the people at those events and that it was OK if, and when, I had to say I was unsure of something or if I had to consult someone else to learn more. Then, I’d be clued in the next time that question came up. We all become less clueless when we’re open to learning. That’s why we’re launching Clues for the Clueless Email Marketer. It’s a daily podcast to teach you something new about email marketing with every episode. We know you’re busy and that you have plenty to focus on every day. Many business owners and marketers are forced to wear multiple hats and shoulder different responsibilities. We get it. That’s why each episode is limited to five or so minutes (save for a few special ones here and there). Allow us to accompany you on a coffee break or binge us while you’re stuck in traffic. You can find these daily mini-episodes every weekday on iTunes, Spotify and Soundcloud. We’ll also be posting a digest of the week’s episodes every Friday. In this first episode, we introduce the podcast and begin discussing the importance of having an email list and why you should work to grow it. Feel like you’re also a bit clueless when it comes to CRM or that you could stand to learn a little more? We’re also launching Clues for the Clueless CRM Marketer. Here’s our first episode of that as well: Be sure to subscribe on iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud or wherever you listen to podcasts!


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5 Fashion-Inspired Color Palettes for Your Summer Email Marketing Campaigns

5 Fashion-Inspired Color Palettes for Your Summer Email Marketing Campaigns

Beyond • July 27, 2018

If you are anything like me, you have been following the summer fashion trends closely and taking copious notes. What is hot this summer and what are the biggest names in fashion wearing this season? It is an especially exciting time in the fashion industry, as there seems to be a constant disruption and turnover sweeping the industry. According to the Pantone Color Institute, a trend forecaster and consultancy, as color becomes increasingly important, designers are responding by featuring more shades in their collections. Vibrant and bold hues, but also new neutrals and more pastels, define the latest summer trends. At this point, you may be starting to wonder what fashion trends have to do with your email marketing campaign. Let me explain: as a marketer you should always look for ways to sustain and increase your competitive position. To do that, you need to stay on top of trends and what better place to look for what is trending than the runway. Fashion trends can always give you a clue as to what is popular at the moment, and this summer there has been some great inspiration coming from the runway. According to a 2015 study by Microsoft, the average consumer’s attention span has dropped to eight seconds. Considering that, on average, a reader spends about eight seconds on an email once opened. Given that small window of time, it is your job to capture your reader’s attention with all the tools at your disposal. Initially, what will capture your reader’s attention are visual elements such as design, imagery, and of course, color. More often than not, it is the color combination, in particular, that is the deciding factor of whether your reader will engage with your content or will lose interest and bounce. Understanding how colors affect one’s disposition towards your content is crucial to the success of your email marketing strategy. With the hot summer days upon us, warmer tones, brighter hues and the use of more colors are popular. This season can present a great opportunity to introduce some bold colors to your email designs, with a summer-inspired color palette. To make your brand more relevant and visible, I have prepared five fashion-inspired color palettes to bring summery vibes to your next email marketing campaign. Tropical Rhythms When I think summer, I think vacation, preferably on a bright sunny beach in an exotic location. Palm trees swaying to a light breeze and ocean waves dancing to a tropical rhythm. To capture this carefree ambiance, tropical hues and patterns have made their way onto the runway to become one of the hottest Spring/Summer 2018 print trends. Leading designers, including Fenty Puma, Michael Kors, Coach, and Gucci, artfully decorated their garments with tropical ornaments like palm leaves, pineapples, and hibiscus flowers. Inspired by this trend, I have created the ultimate tropical palette to bring a summer vibe to your next email campaign. The palette is bright and friendly, with an abundance of color variance and contrast. The most prominent hues include tangerine orange, palm green, dazzling pink, ocean blue and sunny yellow. To make sure the combination of bright and saturated hues is not too overpowering, pair this scheme with a deep tan or a neutral beige. This palette is ideal to add a fresh summery tone to your newsletter designs. Candy Sweet Pastels Anything with an ice cream hue is sweet for Spring/Summer 2018. A slew of delicate pastels came down Spring/Summer 2018 runways Victoria Beckham, Hermes, Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace included. Challenging the increasing popularity of millennial pink, soft shades of lavender and mint have become the ‘it’ colors this summer. Pastel shades are the happier, lighter version of their original color and their simplicity will allow you to style them with other colors and prints. Pastel colors allow for other prominent elements such as text and action buttons to stand out in the foreground, while still providing a warm and cheery presence to the viewer. Choose from a variety of pastel pinks, yellows, mint, blue and lavender. One thing to keep in mind is, if not combined with the appropriate elements and colors, pastels can appear bland and unexciting. Be sure to accommodate a brighter accent color or an interesting font when opting for a pastel palette. Less is More Monochromatic Monochromatic is this season\'s most dominant color trend. This color scheme features one hue in a variety of tones. Even though this color palette may lack contrast, it provides a clean and polished design. From Victoria Beckham’s ice-cream pastels to Max Mara’s neutrals and Rihanna\'s Fenty x Puma eye-popping oranges, the Spring/Summer 2018 runways were a masterclass in how to work the look. For this color palette, I chose orange, to create a versatile spectrum with color options for every part of your design. Working with this single color palette will help you create a warm and exciting feeling. Bring the reader’s attention to your text by choosing an accent color; when in doubt, always turn to the classic black or white as your font color. And if you are feeling adventurous, you can try combining your monochromatic design with the previously mentioned color trends. Choose this color palette to bring cohesiveness and simplicity to a busy design. Bold Pigments & Neon Brights Summer is the season of bright shades, fluorescent colors, and saturated hues. From Tom Ford to Calvin Klein and Kenzo, designers are going all out with bright and bold designs. A rainbow of colors in their brightest varieties are sure to bring that warm summer style to your email designs as well. As we have seen so far, Summer 2018 is the season of experimenting with color. To stand out from your competitors, use bright and bold colors. Dare to use neons and bright pigments. You don’t need to rethink the entirety of your brand’s color palette to introduce some bold pigments to your design. Instead, pick a few colors as your ‘unofficial brand colors’ and use them for all your summer email campaigns. This will help you bring some excitement and novelty to your newsletter while adhering to your brand’s core identity. For this color palette, I have selected vibrant pinks, blues, ultraviolets, and yellows artfully spiced together! What’s Old is New Again 90\'s Eye-popping colors such as coral, hot pink, neon, are the highlights of the 90s. Nostalgic retro design is having a comeback this summer more than ever before. Designer brands like Versace, Tommy Hilfiger and Fila, are paying homage to the popular retro 90s trend. In incorporating retro elements into their designs, designers have brought seemingly outdated colors back into the public eye, inspiring an unusual and exciting color palette. This summer opt for bolder colors in unusual combinations. Vibrant colors communicate energy, excitement, and optimism, which make up the perfect ingredients to set the right mood and grab your reader’s attention. This color scheme features bright purple, opposite shades of blues, neon green, pink and yellow. Integrating this colorful palette with funky patterns and black outlines is sure to invoke the classic 90s aesthetic. The primary force driving this season’s fashion trends is the rebellion of designers against the plain, basic color schemes. Today designers are daring to explore new combinations of hues and pigments, and the result is an innovative, beautiful explosion of colors! Some of the most successful companies know the compelling reasons to prioritize design, and color, in particular, to increase the odds of success. Choosing the right color palette can help you make a meaningful first impression, enhance brand awareness, and help you stand out from your competitors. However, don’t forget to align creativity and strategy. When selecting a color scheme for your next email campaign, always consider its association with your brand. Whether you integrate any of these trends should be based upon careful analysis and consideration.


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How Marketing Automation Helps SEO

How Marketing Automation Helps SEO

Beyond • July 26, 2018

It isn’t easy being a marketer. The economy is always shaky, the customers are fickle, and the technological landscape is always shifting and changing. That’s why we need every single tool we can get our hands on. It doesn’t matter what line of marketing you’re in, it doesn’t matter what product or service you’re promoting, and you need to be on top of your game, all the time. As we said, it ain\'t easy. The whole point of this blog post is to share with you guys one of the best SEO marketing tactics out there – automation. As you may already know, automated marketing is relatively new in the internet marketing world, especially when we compare it to the good old SEO. However, that’s what makes it exciting. Its purpose and design is to automate all those tedious and repetitive aspects of internet marketing, things like email listings, social media posting… Essentially, things that are quite essential, but that are also simple and take up a lot of your time. Marketing automation is here to take on some of the work and help you out. So What Does This Mean To Me? What makes marketing automation great is the fact that it does all the heavy annoying lifting for you, leaving you free to be creative and focus on more challenging tasks. If integrated and connected properly, automated marketing is amazing with SEO. With the latter you can get good lead generation, it will create a foundation, while the former can help you maintain and nurture it. Automated marketing gives you the freedom to focus and to develop your marketing or SEO skills. Many people focus too much on getting leads (which is awesome) but don’t think long and hard about what to do with them once they get them. And while we all know that that is the hardest part of the job, maintenance is still required. Especially if you grow too big to quickly, you may end up collapsing under your weight. Marketing automation can help your SEO efforts directly, or by creating room and time for you to focus on SEO yourself. Helps You Distribute Content You will notice that when you automate everything that the greatest resource you will receive is time. The first place where you will save up some time is in distributing content. When you set up an email list, you will lose a couple of hours (or more). However, if you automate properly, you can avoid any of the annoying stuff by using proper data points. The automation process also relies on and utilizes people’s website behavior. This will then send out the content these people would be interested in. Assists with Link Building Any proper marketer will tell you that link building is one of the major parts of any internet marketing effort. Link building takes up a large portion of any SEO work, and while it is very effective and useful, it’s also quite tedious. Not only is it boring, but it will also take up a huge chunk of your time, and let’s not even mention how annoying it is to get rid of all the spam you can end up with. Just to give you an example, you may have backlinks and connections with a website that was once very effective and professional. However, for whatever reason, this website suffered a significant drop in quality and devolved into a spam-filled hellhole. Now your connection with them just lowers your Google ranking and fills up your inbox with spam. With marketing automation, you can scan and get rid of these easily. A proper tool will notify you immediately if there is some damaging or unhealthy inbound link. As the good folks at Green Web Marketing will tell you, these kinds of websites are pure poison. Any digital marketing company worth its salt will tell you that it takes ages to acquire good, high-quality links and that a poisonous website can ruin all your hard work if left unchecked. More Efficiency, Fewer Mistakes Mistakes happen. We\'re all only human, trying to follow our dreams (and make some money doing it). When you’re trying to make it, when you’re overwhelmed with work and with clients, you will lose focus and will make mistakes, in the name of efficiency and speed. Marketing is not an easy job, and you need to be as efficient as possible. Too few keywords and you’re not as effective as you could be, too many, and you’re oversaturating a post, and Google’s algorithms will punish you accordingly. Knowing what elements you need to employ, knowing what keywords are cool and which are not, is necessary for any successful marketer. Using software that can detect the health and density of your keywords, knowing how many you need, how many is too much, is a godsend. Having to count all that manually will waste a lot of time, but if you get some automated software to do it, you will have more room to focus on other things. We all know how boring and time consuming some of the work can be, and we also know that this kind of work can lead to mistakes. Automated marketing will help you avoid that. Remember that good adage: a job can be excellent, cheap and fast – but you can only choose two? Well, most clients tend to forget this. Automated marketing can help you move closer to this ideal of providing all three, without going crazy or broke. Makes Reputation Management Easier Nothing beats a good reputation. It is a badge of honor, a sign you do what you do well. Reputation is above all cultivated by doing your job well, but it also needs to be maintained. Furthermore, since we are all online, we create our reputation online – word of mouth is almost impossible. This is why reviews and referrals are important. You need to know how to get and how to keep Google reviews. Now, there are many ways to get reviews, but the best possible way is to contact happy customers – and the more influential and powerful they are, the more they build your reputation. Here is also where a stumbling block shows up – how to choose. Namely, if you’ve been in business for a while, you have probably accumulated a lot of happy clients. And the easiest way to get reviews is to ask them. Now, this may have sounded pushy at the beginning, but just remember – if you were happy with some kind of product or service, wouldn’t you want the whole world to know and to give them some traffic? But, contacting them all is impossible. Sifting through your client list and choosing the most important people there is also not the most efficient way of utilizing your time. This is where automation steps in. With proper tools and apps, you can set up a way in which you can have software identify and contact automatically all the people that matter the most. Now, every client is important, but not all of them are influencers. Furthermore, you can also set it up to detect a negative review, giving you an opportunity to respond and fix the issue as soon as possible, before it does any serious damage Gets You More High-Quality Leads All men are created equal – leads, not so much. With proper SEO utilization, you can get a ton of leads to your website. However, this may not lead to any useful or ideal clients. Good SEO attract a lot of people, but it doesn’t filter out all the noise. You will lose time and money on leads that will get you nowhere – and you don’t even need to speak with them at all. The very act of separating the wheat from the chaff consumes money and time that could be invested elsewhere. Proper automated marketing will utilize all the data you feed it and will help you avoid this type of work. It will enhance your SEO strategy by helping you create better and targeted content that gets you only the leads that you want to get, nothing more, nothing less. By doing this separation process, it will free up more time for you to contact these people and set up a deal and helps you do the work you’re passionate about. Conclusion We truly hope this has been useful and informative, and that it will help you along on your journey. Marketing is a harsh environment, but with enough dedication and patience, you will make it. If you have a story or a piece of advice, please feel free to share it and to join the conversation below. Any feedback is welcome, no matter how long you’ve been in this business. Remember, we\'re all in this together!


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Want To Start List Hygiene, But You’re Afraid To Start?

Want To Start List Hygiene, But You’re Afraid To Start?

Practical Marketer • July 23, 2018

In our daily work, we send email campaigns on a regular basis. However, we tend to not take any action once the campaign has been sent. We’re talking about list hygiene. Do you know that the various ISPs (Hotmail, Gmail, etc.) know if you’re sending to an invalid email address and they can tank your deliverability? Yes, they can. For example, if after checking reports no action is taken in regards to bounces or email addresses that have not opened your last 30 campaigns, ISPs can start to block your campaigns with their filters. They will consider your emails to be from a sender that doesn’t take any action to improve results. That said, do you know what you need to remove? When we are referring to list hygiene, we’re talking about removing the hard bounces and email addresses which aren’t opening your campaigns. If you don\'t already know, there are three different types of bounces: Confirmed bounces. The email addresses that no longer exist and the sending server has tried to contact them three times, but the campaign has been able to be delivered. Hard bounces. These are email addresses that no longer exist. When they bounce three times, they turn into confirmed bounces. This could be due to a mistyped address, the domain no longer existing or the person who belongs to the email address no longer works there, and the address is no longer valid. Soft bounces. They are email addresses that temporally are inactivate. It has not yet been possible to deliver the campaign, but only temporally. Consequently, they are valid email addresses which should not be removed. What might the temporary issue be? It could be that the inbox is full of messages and the person cannot receive more emails until they free up space for it. Perhaps you sent a campaign outside working hours and got an autoresponder, or maybe the server has been down temporarily. These email addresses are not available for a period but when those issues are solved, they back to being activate. It might feel like you can’t see the importance of list hygiene, but we’ve made it easy for you to check the health of your list in your account in the reputation panel. This section will indicate a number between 1 and 8 which evaluates the status of your reputation. Do you know what reputation means? Reputation is a measure used for monitoring the behavior of your campaigns in regards to the spam filters and subscribers’ campaign interactions. It is precisely this interaction which will be improved with list hygiene. This is because you’re sending your campaigns to an email address that really exists and can actually open and click to your links. Similarly, if you remove the email addresses that have not opened your campaigns for a long time, you’ll be increasing the interaction for the rest of your list that remains. Furthermore, you can opt for a smaller plan and only pay for the subscribers that are opening your campaigns and through which you have chances to deliver your message. Please note that this won’t necessarily work with a new list as you likely won’t have enough data or bounces to make any major changes to the hygiene of your list. List verification may be more helpful to you in this instance, to remove things like mistyped email addresses. This is also solved by using double opt-in signup forms. In this blog, One Simple Way To Rescue Your Email Marketing Strategy we shared some ideas on how to increase your database. However, if the database is not current, or if you have never sent email marketing campaigns to it, your campaign’s reports will likely show a high bounce rate (in other words, more than 2%). Do you know what bounce rates you have? An email marketing account should have on average a 2% of bounces as the maximum. Additionally, list hygiene can be necessary if your list lands you in a spam trap. A spam trap is a trap used by ISPs to know which users are sending to a non-permission database or have a very old database. How can list hygiene be done with Benchmark? If you do not have a good control system in place to handle your contacts that you have removed, it’s possible they can be uploaded again into the tool. To solve this, the list hygiene would be: Login in your account Click on “Clean list” Select: confirmed + hard bounces Click on “Create New List” Once it has been created, you need to access the list and click on the three points. Select the option “Copy List” Copy to an “Existing List” and select “Master Unsubscribe List” In this way, we are blocking those contacts that are unuseful to be uploaded again to the tool. Keep in mind that this action is irreversible. If you have a good control system to handle your contacts to avoid your removed addresses being sent to, then the list hygiene would be from the points 1.1 to 1.3, and then click on “Remove from list” If a specific campaign you sent had a high number of bounces, and in that campaign, you selected multiple lists, following the steps above can be tricky. In that case, we recommend you to do the following: Go to Reports and click on the campaign Click on “Bounces” Select “Hard Bounces” Click on the three points and then “Export to File” Download the file and upload it to the “Master Unsubscribe List” If you have spam traps in your account, you should follow the previous steps and include the subscribers who have not opened your last 30 campaigns. The spam traps are in this group because they won’t be opening your emails. These are the four ways that we propose you keep your account clean of bounces to earn a high reputation. Now, you just need to choose the option that fits best with your needs and start doing it. If you need help with this process, you can contact your Email Marketing Specialist, or if you observe an anomaly in your bounce rate, such as a sudden growth in it, feel free to contact us before proceeding with list hygiene. We want to know what list hygiene practices have impacted your email marketing. Share your tips or results in the comments below!


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Really Good Episode with Really Good Emails’ Matt Helbig

Really Good Episode with Really Good Emails’ Matt Helbig

Beyond • July 20, 2018

Spoiler alert: Your hosts of the Heart of Business podcast are really big email nerds. Not surprised? That makes sense. That’s why it was inevitable that we’d invite the folks behind Really Good Emails to join us on the podcast. Matt Helbig did not disappoint us. We talk about what the site is and how it came to be. Matt also offered some intel on the advantages of having a passion project. If you ever wanted to know what email marketing professionals consider to be really good emails and which one makes them cringe, this episode is for you. The number one thing that rings true when we look for emails that we always come back to is that the content serves a customer more than the company. That always kind of holds true with all the different emails. We also looked to the future and discuss what email marketers have to look forward to. 1:12 - What is Really Good Emails and how did it begin? 6:28 - Tips on managing a side hustle 9:14 - How to communicate when your whole team is remote 11:52 - What makes a really good email? 16:20 - What in an email campaign makes them cringe? 21:55 - Matt’s hopes for email marketers 26:21 - Where Matt got started with email marketing


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How to Harness the Power of Emails at Every Stage of Your Buyers’ Journey

How to Harness the Power of Emails at Every Stage of Your Buyers’ Journey

Practical Marketer • July 16, 2018

Understanding the buyers’ journey allows you to get the database sorted based on their lifecycle stages namely Awareness, Research, Comparison, Purchase, Relationship Building, Retention and Advocacy. You can move your leads down into the sales funnel by nurturing them and convincing them to convert. The most commonly used lead nurturing tool is EMAIL - as it is scalable and cost-effective. However, if you want your email marketing strategy to work, you should understand that every campaign should be tailor-made to match the buyer’s journey. Let’s understand how you can utilize the power of email marketing at every stage of the buyer’s journey. 1. Awareness The first step of any prospect is Awareness. As the name suggests, this is when people get to know about your brand and your offerings. You can help your subscribers evaluate the product in the awareness stage. Send out emails that let them know about the benefits of your product and explain to them how your product would troubleshoot their problems. It is important to understand that customers purchase the solutions to their problems and not just a product. Make sure you entice your subscribers right in the awareness stage so that it is easier to take them further in the sales. After all, well begun is half done. See the welcome email sent by Heyo and how they have included the various tutorials of their solution to help the new subscriber with the contest creation. 2. Research Your subscribers are trying to figure out which solution is the best to resolve their problem during the research stage. It’s in this phase where you can leverage content marketing to educate the subscribers and build credibility for your brand. Examples of emails to be sent in the research stage: Various types of content resources You can have your content published in various formats, namely webinars, white papers, instructional videos, ebooks, slide decks, etc. As your subscribers might have distinct tastes when it comes to consuming information online, you can even ask your subscribers to choose the format preferences for receiving information. Content sharing the challenges faced by the subscriber You can share relevant case studies to explain to the subscriber about the similar challenges faced by fellow customers and how your solution helped to address their concerns. Content sharing actionable tips Your subscribers look forward to getting some valuable advice and actionable tips through the email. If your emails cannot deliver value to them, the brutal truth is that they would not want to hear from you. Content that convinces the subscribers that you offer the best solution A subscriber who is almost at the end of the research stage would want to know why he or she should choose your solution over your competitors. Convey your brand promise in such a way that they are eager to know more about you and are keen on buying from you. The email by Tinder cleverly informs the subscriber about how to use the App and entices them to try it at least once. No wonder, it is so popular among the youngsters nowadays… 3. Comparison After the research stage, comes the comparison stage. Leads who are in the comparison stage demand a special treatment and exclusive emails tailor-made for them. This is the stage where you should send out customer-focused marketing emails. Talk about your USPs and how you STAND OUT from your competitors. You can involve your sales team and schedule a personalized demo or meeting with the prospect. Here are some email examples to be sent in the comparison stage: Wanna schedule a demo? Need help? Have a look at the buyer’s guide. 5 reasons why our solution is the best match for you. It is not always necessary to send a visually attractive email. There are occasions when a plain text email can work better than an HTML email. Check out the below example. That’s plain text emailing done right! 4. Purchase The entire sales process is very much like proposing someone. If you goof up, you are likely to lose the sale. Make sure you do not disappoint your interested subscriber and offer them the resources that would warrant a pleasant shopping experience. Take a look at the type of emails to be sent during the purchase stage: Address the probable objection of the customer proactively. Guide the customers to use the product correctly. Once they make the purchase, send out a follow-up email to tackle the issues, if any. Check out how Code Camp has included a subscriber’s feedback, to encourage the recipient to do the same. (Applauds for the idea!) 5. Relationship Building and Retention The stages of relationship building and retention go hand in hand. After a customer completes the purchase, you should consider building a long-lasting rapport by using an emotional appeal in your emails. Doing so can help you retain the customers and enhance your customer lifetime value and loyalty. A regular email newsletter talking about new products, updates in your services, promotional offers and discounts goes a long way in retaining the customers by keeping your brand at the top of the customer’s mind. Chewy sends out an engaging feedback email to make sure that they can retain the recent buyer. 6. Advocacy Advocacy is the stage where a prospect turns into an evangelist. This implies that your customer becomes the brand ambassador of your business and helps you drive more sales. Word-of-mouth marketing works wonders for any business. In fact, it brings the best ROI and maximizes conversions. Consider sending rewards to ‘patrons’ in your elite list of customers to encourage them to purchase again. You can even leverage referral email marketing, which works towards retention of existing customers as well as the acquisition of new ones. Saying “Thank you” without any marketing or sales pitch also helps in getting evangelists for your brand. Check out the type of emails you can send in the advocacy stage: Refer us and earn a referral bonus. Allow us to serve you better by providing feedback. Mind referring us to your friends and family? Here’s 50% ‘elite customer’ discount for you. Thank you for choosing us. Lyft offers rewards to their top customers in their email with a catchy CTA that would prompt the user to take action and ride with them. Wrapping Up According to the 2018 report by Econsultancy, email has once again maintained its position as the most effective channel for marketers, with 74% rating its ROI yield as either ‘excellent’ or ‘good’… And to use this channel to its full potential, email marketers ought to respect the stages of the buyer’s journey. There’s no other way out.


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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 • July 11, 2018

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. 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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Introducing Benchmark CRM Director of Product Development Paul Rijnders

Introducing Benchmark CRM Director of Product Development Paul Rijnders

Beyond • July 6, 2018

My office is across the hall from the Director of Product Development for CRM, Paul Rijnders. We talk almost daily and have at least one meeting together every week. However, I still hadn’t had a chance to talk to him about the entire development process for Benchmark CRM. Sure, we heard bits and pieces along the way, but this was a unique opportunity for Daniel and me. You see, Paul is a bit of a unicorn here at Benchmark (except that we feel like we’ve got a few of them). His work ethic, determination and round-the-clock schedule are often marveled at by all of us. So, we had to try and figure out what magic elixir he has that lets him do it all. If you’re curious about CRM, what goes into the development of a new product or how to work with an international team, this episode is for you. A short pencil is better than a long memory any day. That’s where I see CRM coming into play. You may have 100 customers, you may have 10 customers, you may have 1,000 customers. Invariably, you’re going to talk to them and that data that makes up those previous conversations and previous touchpoints all your interactions, your customers are going to expect you to remember that. Even as a person, human to human, they’re going to want you to remember various facts about your life. Or even if they don’t want you to remember that, the fact that you do is going to help your relationship, because they’re going to think, ‘Oh wow. This person cares about me. They know me.’ 2:02 - What is CRM? 7:22 - The importance of good organization of data 10:30 - Going back to the beginning of the development process of Benchmark CRM 15:42 - Keeping around the clock hours with an international development team while having infant twins and another kid at home 21:28 - Communication lessons from working with a remote international team 24:40 - Overcoming challenges in the development process


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Opportunities For Improvements in Marketing Automation

Opportunities For Improvements in Marketing Automation

Practical Marketer • July 5, 2018

Nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes. We also strive for continuous improvement. It’s a universal truth. And sure, part of the allure of marketing automation is its “set it and forget it” nature. However, letting an automation run without looking for opportunities to improve is a mistake. So, what should you be looking out for? Here are three places where you can strive for the continuous improvement of marketing automation: Fix Mistakes It’s a horrible feeling when you’ve sent out an email campaign only to notice a typo in it later. You quickly fly through the five stages of grief when it happens: Denial. Rubbing your eyes and hoping you’re not seeing what you’re seeing. Anger. You beat yourself up. Tell yourself you should have proofread it one more time. Blame a coworker you sent a test email to. Bargaining. Sitting there wishing a feature existed to unsend an email. Depression. We’ve all been there. Hiding in our office or cubicle. Deciding it’s the worst thing we could have done. Acceptance. It is what it is. You can’t change it. You’ll be better next time. That’s all in the past with marketing automation. Thankfully, you can update any email in your sequence, without interrupting the customer experience. You won’t be able to change the ones who have already hit the inbox. We’ll pour one out for those fallen homies. However, you don’t have to create a whole new automation or risk losing the customers who are already further into the sequence of emails. Update emails when needed to fix typos, broken links or other errors and do your marketing automation with confidence. Get Better Open Rates It’s important to track the success of your marketing automation. If you look at your reports and see that the open rate isn’t what you’d hoped it would be, you’ve found yourself another opportunity for improvement. Adjusting your subject line can help you see better open rates for the emails in your automation. Here’s what makes up a great subject line: It feels urgent. It won’t work if you do it with every subject line, but making your subscribers feel like they have to act now is a helpful tactic to get your emails opened. It makes you want to know more. Craft the perfect teaser that leaves your subscriber wanting to know more. The allure will get them to open the email. It delivers value. Make an offer in your subject line that cannot be refused by your subscribers. If they see the benefit right in their inbox, then they’ll surely open the email. It’s personal. Feeling like you’re being marketed to is not a pleasant experience for anyone. If you can make your subscriber feel like you’ve reached out to just them, rather than sending something that feels like a blast to a large number of people, they’ll be far more likely to engage. It tells a story. We’re all told stories from an early age. It’s wired into us. If you begin your “once upon a time” in the subject line, your subscribers will open your email to discover the happy ending. It’s one thing to know what is considered a good subject line. It’s another to be able to write one. Here are some tips on crafting great subject lines: Quick and to the point. You only get 50-60 characters in a mobile device. Make the most of it. Tell them what to expect. Let them know what they’ll find when they open your email. Use action-oriented verbs. After all, a subject line really is just a Call To Action (CTA) to open your email. Inspire your subscribers to take action by using the right action verbs. Use flattery. Make your subscribers feel special by offering a “private invite” to an exclusive event or an “offer just for you.” Numbers help. If it’s a list of resources for them or tips for success, tell your subscriber how many tips there are. It helps to set expectations. Questions work. Ask something that your subscribers will want to seek out the answer to. It goes back to leave them wanting to know more. Don’t use ALL CAPS or too much punctuation. Your subscribers don’t want to feel like you’re yelling at them. A subject line in all caps and with a whole bunch of exclamation points will do just that. Don’t do it. If you’re still looking for a bit of help with your subject lines, you can try great resources like Kopywriting Kourse’s Subject Line Generator or CoSchedule’s Subject Line Tester. Aside from improving your subject line to increase your open rate, you may also want to consider your From Name. It’s important to have a From Name that is familiar and recognizable to your subscribers. If there is a sales team or support member they’ve been working with the entire time, it might help to have “Their Name from Your Business” as the From Name. Improve Your Click-Through Rate (CTR) Say you’ve solved the issue with your open rates, but your subscribers aren’t clicking on the links in your emails. That’s your next opportunity to improve. After all, you’re not selling anything directly in your emails. You need them to click-through to your site. There are a few factors that may come into play: Content Is what you’re sending relevant to your subscribers? If they’re not clicking-through to your website, the answer to that question is very likely a resounding “no.” They’re simply not going to engage with an email that is of no interest to them. How can you know what they want? The links that are being clicked on are one clue. However, you don’t need to play a guessing game to determine the rest. Create a survey and send it to your subscribers. Let them tell you what they want to hear about from you. Is your customer support team receiving the same questions over and over again? Use that to inspire your email content. If you’re more proactive about answering customer questions, you’ll both be providing relevant content and maybe even relieving your support team a bit. Design Even if the content of your email campaigns is high quality, it’s possible the design is what’s keeping your subscribers from clicking. Here are a few things you can do to optimize the design of your email campaigns to help improve CTR: Consider your image to text ratio. Your emails should contain 80% text and 20% images. Image heavy emails that don’t go to the spam folder will be slow to load or turned off. That won’t bode well for creating engagement with your emails. Include captions with your images. Some subscribers may have images turned off. A caption will help them get the gist of the email even without seeing the image. Add a clear CTA. Don’t make it hard for your subscribers to click-through to your site. Your design should not distract from the CTA. Some email marketers see success with both having a text link and a button. That way, you increase your chances of getting a click and cover your bases with how subscribers interact with your emails. Also, make sure any buttons or links you use are mobile friendly and easily clicked on from any device. The design of your email when it comes to CTAs is important. It’s not the only part of creating effective CTAs. CTAs The ability to write a great CTA is just as important as the design of it. The way to do it is very similar to crafting a subject line. After all, I did tell you your subject line acts as a CTA to open your email. So, I’ll reiterate some points and add some new ones: Begin with a command verb. Words like “buy,” “shop” or “order.” It can also be “download” or “subscribe. Elicit emotion. If you can make your subscribers feel something, they’re far more likely to engage. Include your value proposition. Tell them why taking action will be worth their time. Something like “Schedule a time for your free demo” tells a subscriber what action you want them to take and why. The FOMO is real. Create a sense of urgency where your subscribers will fear missing out if they don’t act. Now that you know where you look for opportunities to improve your marketing automation and how to improve them, I want to take a moment to discuss how you can do this with Benchmark Email. Update An Active Automation in Automation Pro If you’re already a Benchmark Email user and you’re ready to improve automation, you can log in and get started. Any thoughts or suggestions on opportunities for improvement in marketing automation? Please share them in the comments below!


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Time-Based Email Marketing: A Smarter Approach to Boost Customer Engagement

Time-Based Email Marketing: A Smarter Approach to Boost Customer Engagement

Beyond • July 3, 2018

The latest statistics shared by Statista suggest that in 2017, there are around 3.7 billion email users worldwide, and the population is likely to grow into a massive number of 4.1 billion by 2021. That explains why businesses are investing so much in their email marketing campaigns, even though a considerable portion of the population claims that email is dead. Interestingly, the US has invested around 2.07 billion USD in email marketing in 2014, which is expected to grow by another billion dollars by 2019, as reported by Statista. And now that the average ROI for email marketing is ticking at astonishing 3800 percent ($38 return for each dollar invested), the business owners require no other excuse to invest in email marketing campaigns. Challenges in the Field of Email Marketing Despite all those enticing details, one cannot deny the fact that it is getting harder with time to engage more customers using the traditional way of email marketing. Just think about it. An average person receives over 100 emails a day, and most of them check their inboxes only 4-5 times in the entire day. Feeding your customers with multiple emails isn\'t going to help if your emails get buried under the other emails. There are several elements that you need to consider in order to improve the open rates of your email, and the timing of the email remains at the top of that list. Personalized emails are useful` But if they are not delivered at the right time, their purpose is lost. Time-based email marketing is not only going to improve open-rates, but they will also ensure a fewer number of unsubscribes. What is GDPR and How is it Going To Change Everything? According to Hubspot, 78 percent of the users unsubscribe an email because the brand was sending them too many emails. And now that the regulations like GDPR are being introduced, businesses can no longer afford to lose their subscribers. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has made it mandatory for the email marketers in the EU countries to collect freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous consent (Article 32) from the consumers, with effect from May 25, 2018. It simply means, the companies now can engage with only those customers who have given their explicit permission to be engaged in marketing strategies. Also, the companies now need to present “legitimate reasons” why they need consumer data. The marketers in the EU countries have already started to make significant changes in their strategies to adapt to these new regulations, and they are trying their best to avoid unsubscribes since fetching data from the new customers have become way difficult than earlier. If your business is not based in any of the EU countries, you may not have to deal with that issue, but since everyone has become sensitive about personal data, soon other countries will also follow the same. So it is better if you start focusing on the time-based approach for your email marketing campaigns, instead of relying on the conventional way of email marketing. How To Adopt Time-Based Email Marketing To Improve Customer Engagement? If you are wondering how time-based email marketing can improve your customer engagement or how you can adopt this new approach, you don’t need to look any further. Here is your answer: Act When the Time is Right If you want to increase your customer engagement, you need to acknowledge the right time to approach them. A recent study, which analyzed more than 1.4 billion marketing emails, has shown that consumers are more likely to engage in marketing communications at the beginning of the week. As per the study, Tuesday evening is the best time to engage customers with email marketing. During the time 5 PM to 6:30 PM, customers are more receptive, and the number of unsubscribes are also less. However, you may need to work on the composition of the email to ensure the effort does not go in vain. If you send the email right on time, but it fails to impress the recipient, the chances of unsubscriptions may increase. Here’s what you should do: Use Short and Catchy Subject Lines The subject and the first few words of the mail are crucial for attracting the reader. Keep the Email Content Short and To the Point The readers usually skip the emails that are too long. Here’s an example: These little tricks are already known to most of the email marketers. However, now you need to focus on your timing as well. Acknowledge the Demographics The concept of personalized content has proven itself useful in maintaining customer engagement, but a marketer needs to consider certain elements like the age, gender and geographical location of the audience, as well as how these elements affect the engagement rate of consumers with the particular brand. A study conducted by SmartFocus suggests that the email engagement of men is more immediate compared to women, receiving the message. For male audiences, the best time to engage is between 4 PM and 5:30 PM, while women typically engage between 8 PM and 9:30 PM. Pro tip: You can segment your email list based on the factors like demographics, geographical locations as well as website browsing behavior. Sending the targeted emails on the perfect time improves the chances of customer engagement. Create Different Strategies for Each Age Groups As per the study by SmartFocus, young adults (18 to 30 years old) who are working, prefer to engage in email communications during the morning and late afternoons. On the other hand, the older people prefer the time 11 AM to 12 PM and 2 PM to 3 PM. While sending the emails, make sure the content compatible for mobile use. Most of the people access their emails on the phone. Not just the millennials, but the generation X and even the baby boomers are using smartphones to access the emails. So optimizing the email for mobile can be useful in engaging the consumers of all age-group. Know Your Consumers With the introduction of GDPR, the power is shifting towards the consumers, and now to keep them engaged through email marketing, you need to consider their email habits while working on the personalized content. As an email marketer, you need to focus your marketing efforts based on the preferences of your consumers. In the wake of GDPR, this may be the best way to reduce the risk of unsubscribes while keeping the existing customers engaged. As mentioned previously, personalization has given the businesses positive results, but now they need to focus on the timing as well. Perhaps, learning the emailing habits of your subscribers as well as their preferences may help you strategize a better email marketing strategy. Most experts are suggesting that customized content sent at the right time can be the key to success for the brands, and if an organization truly understands its audiences, the regulations like the GDPR will provide more opportunity than setbacks.


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Energized By Grid Modernization Engineer Tirthak Saha

Energized By Grid Modernization Engineer Tirthak Saha

Beyond • June 22, 2018

When preparing to interview Tirthak Saha, we saw him say in an interview that he’d once been called “tictac.” However, by the end of the interview with us, he admitted he hoped his work would make him the household name that Elon Musk is today. I gotta say after talking to him for a while, I believe him. Besides being so good at his job as a Grid Modernization Engineer that he was recognized on the Forbes 30 under 30, he proved more than adept at breaking down the jargon-y barriers to entry for understanding what he does. We could have peppered him with questions all day long. At 26, he’s already worked with NASA on satellites inspired by origami, and he is the Co-Founder and Chair of the Innovation Advocacy Network for American Electric Power. Not all heroes wear capes, but if Tirthak did, he would probably pull it off. I’m just very arrogant, right. You have to turn that self-arrogance into something positive. Into what people call drive. My biggest fear, to date actually, is to die without having left a positive legacy. I don’t care if it’s three people or three hundred people talking about me after I die, but I want them to say he left the planet better than he found it. If it is significantly better, that’s even better. It doesn’t matter what the magnitude of the thing I do in my life is. It matters that it’s in the right direction. And when you have that sort of a mindset, you never stop pushing, right? Because you’re always unsure. Have I done enough to be on the right side of the books? 1:50 - What it means to be a Grid Modernization Engineer 6:11 - Innovation through partnerships and cooperation versus competition 14:58 - On how to dream big enough 32:15 - Whether working in his space has left him hopeful or fearful for the future  


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