Generate 320% More Revenue With Welcome Emails: Strategies That Don’t Require Luck

Practical Marketer - Reading Time: 9 Minutes

Generate 320% More Revenue With Welcome Emails: Strategies That Don’t Require Luck

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Get started with Marketing Automation

Get started with Marketing Automation

Practical Marketer • March 9, 2019

Perhaps you’ve already heard about Marketing Automation or you have a rough idea about it. If not, it’s OK! With this article, we want to show you how to create a marketing automation strategy for your email marketing. You’ll be ready to launch your first own automation with the simple but efficient Automation PRO tool. What is Marketing Automation? \"Marketing Automation is the design, management and execution of sales and marketing strategies through a software that automates the tasks and processes of scheduling, sending and tracking marketing campaigns according to the actions that the subscribers take on the campaigns and on the website. \" Is it the same as doing Email Marketing? Email marketing isn’t quite the same. Generally, basic email marketing strategy involves sending unique one off campaigns to a database, with the aim of informing, selling or promoting certain products or services. Marketing Automation includes email marketing as part of its elements, but both are some key differences. What are the benefits of Marketing Automation? Send relevant information to clients and leads, based on the pages they visit on your website. Automatically segment clients and leads based on their behavior, interests, page visits, purchases and more Develop marketing and sales journeys aimed at improving conversion funnels How many impacts should a lead receive to become a client? According to Nimble, between five and seven impacts are necessary for a lead, from the moment they get to knows us until they becomes a paying client. What is an ‘impact?’ An impact, or touchpoint, is each moment when there is interaction between the brand and the lead, either through the website, an email, social media, a call, an ad on Facebook or Google Ads, a meeting or a demo. The goal of Marketing Automation is to organize all these touchpoints in order to create funnels or conversion paths that automatically turn a lead into a client, without having to have large teams behind each impact. Or even better yet, without having to be aware of the current point the lead runs through in order to create a new touch point. Show empathy with the client Marketing Automation means contacting the ideal customer within the sales funnels, using the right message at the right time. Getting this right is not easy because in business we tend to think more about us, our goals and the messages we want to share, than what the customer really needs at every moment. To empathize with the lead and client means to put ourselves in their place, and to think as if we were them. Therefore it is necessary to ask a series of questions before starting to create any automation: When the client visits the website for the first time, will they need any further information or will he find all he needs to know? Am I providing all the client needs to know in my welcome campaign, or am I rather trying to sell myself? Are the subscribers interacting with the campaigns I am sending them? Worry about your subscribers! Send them messages that are genuinely useful and make them feel that you are communicating with them personally. To do this, always try to be very aware of the open rates, clicks, the unsubscribes (and their reasons), and always perform AB tests. In marketing it is very difficult to get the best results at the first try, everything is based on experience. PARTS OF A SALES FUNNEL Considerations before creating an automation or sales / marketing funnel Draw it: Don’t try to translate the visualization you see in your mind directly into the software. Take your time to draw it on a piece of paper. This will help to find weak points and improve it even before you start setting it up. Keep it simple: Creating a marketing or sales funnel does not mean sending dozens of email campaigns triggered by dozens of conditions. It’s all about inspiring subscribers, by sending the right content at the time they need it. We rather recommend designing several simple automations focused on each moment of the customer experience, than having a big and complicated funnel, which will be very complicated to manage and might lead to hidden mistakes. Go step by step: Always keep in mind what the leads might expect from you at each point and what they will be grateful and happy to receive. Right after signing up is not the best moment to push them to buy but rather to share some surprising information and content they will enjoy. Start with a test: There is no \"perfect\" automation, we are sorry. It is important to draw, think and prepare your automation but only practical reality can show you if you were right or not. Depending on the kind of automation it is recommendable to set up a test automation first and see how a sample reacts. Measure, learn and improve: The first automations should serve you to find out if the experience you want to offer the clients works or not. Analyze the most important metrics like visits, openings, clicks and purchases and decide if you have to adapt the journey. Find these 4 templates for your automated sales funnel TEMPLATE 1: NEED/NECESSITY The lead has just registered. They might have done it because you promised a download, discount code or similar. So this first automation would be the welcome automation, ideal to provide the most important information about your product, and send the promised welcome gift. The lead will be saved into a different list for further steps. TEMPLATE 2: ENGAGEMENT At this time the subscribers are comparing our product or service with other competitors. What information will they need to finally buy from us? With this automation we must solve the initial doubts that the client has about our product or service. We also have the chance to make clear what differentiates us from the competitors and provide testimonies of happy and satisfied customers. TEMPLATE 3: CONSIDERATION With this template, we should be able to close a demo or a call with the subscribers or make them sign up for a free trial. They are showing interest in us. This is an excellent moment to give a better idea about, how our product or service works. TEMPLATE 4: ABANDONED CART It is quite normal that subscribers do not finish the process of purchasing, but it would definitely not be normal, not to remind them and offer the necessary assistance and support to solve possible problems or doubts that might have prevented them from buying. These are some of the templates based on the funnel we had a look at the beginning. You will be able to fully customize and adapt them to the needs of your business and create easily your first Marketing Automation. On March 20th, 2019 at 10 a.m. GMT and 11:00 a.m. CET we will hold a webinar where we will show you how to create an automated sales funnel like this. If you would like to learn more and get practical tips, register now! Actually, the most difficult thing about Marketing Automation is to start. If you are managing a small company and you have never done it before, marketing, automation may look a bit scary at the beginning. But all you have to do is to follow these steps above and start learning from the results. Keep in mind that automation is the most efficient and time saving way to provide each client with the information and input they might need at any time!


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Email Marketing Automation Strategy To Optimize Your Entire Funnel

Email Marketing Automation Strategy To Optimize Your Entire Funnel

Practical Marketer • March 8, 2019

When a lot of marketers hear the word automation, they assume that means a robotic process that sounds like it’s from a computer instead of a human. In fact, automation is a whole lot smarter today than it’s ever been before. Using Artificial Intelligence (AI), you can not only say goodbye to mundane, repetitive tasks, but you can also reach your customers more effectively. Using different forms of marketing automation is shown to drive a 14% increase in sales productivity. It’s not a way to lose sight of your message to get rid of erroneous tasks. It’s all about reaching your customers on a more personal, data-driven level. Using marketing automation tools, you’re better equipped to target your message to the right audience and you can optimize the customer experience. When done correctly, marketing automation is an asset to your entire company. However, it’s not as simple as setting up email automation or investing in customer retention software. You need to have a greater understanding of automation strategy to optimize your sales funnel effectively or else your customers will slip through the cracks along the way. Why Use an Automation Strategy? Despite what some critics say, email marketing is long from dead. In fact, email marketing is thriving, especially as far as automation is concerned. Consumers who make a purchase through email are shown to spend 138% more than consumers that haven’t received an email offer, for instance. That’s a powerful statistic. However, email is a complex tool today. As we said before, it’s no longer as simple as setting up a few welcome emails and periodically sending updates to your email subscribers. You need a targeted strategy not only to find interested customers but to keep those customers interested in your brand. Start thinking of your emails as not only a way to increase sales, but also a way to build brand awareness. Emails are a way to share valuable content, previews, and things your customers care about. They’re more than just a way to drive traffic to your sales page, and if you try to land the sale too soon you’ll quickly discover why email is so tricky. Effective Email Automation Strategy You need to master the art of the right time and the right place. There’s a basic roadmap to email automation you can follow and refine to your unique niche. It starts with a lead magnet and warms up your list over time to build genuine relationships. At the end of the funnel, you’ll encourage your prospective customers to make a sale with an enticing offer. Step 1: Lead Magnets When marketers aren’t having success building an email list, it usually comes down to one thing: they don’t have a lead magnet. A lead magnet, in itself, is a form of automation. You set it up once and it continues to generate new leads long after you hit publish. A lead magnet is anything that encourages users to sign up. It’s usually a freebie, like a discount code or a free guide. These simple things cost you nothing, and they bring you engaged email addresses. Popular money-making blog Making Sense of Cents offers a free 10-day online course as a lead magnet to attract customers. Step 2: Welcome Email Now, it’s time to introduce your business. This could be combined with your lead magnet email, but it can also be on its own with a special offer or freebie. This is the most powerful email in the whole strategy, and 320% more revenue is attributed to them than other types of promotional emails. To follow up with the online course lead magnet above, the first welcome email includes more information about what to expect with the course as well as useful links. Notice how it’s welcoming, informative, and not a sales pitch. This is building trust with the reader. Step 3: Soft Offer Next, it’s time to share a story. This is when you establish credibility. Share the history of your company, the problems you solve for customers, and share some of your top services or products. Remember, the key here is to be educational and engaging, not salesy. Instagram influencer Helene of Helene in Between uses her soft offer email as a chance to introduce herself, share her story, and encourage students to learn more about her course. Notice how she’s engaging and personable, but unafraid to share information about her new offer. Step 4: FAQ Email Your customers might have questions, especially if they haven’t made a purchase yet. This is when you follow up with common questions. Address them while also sharing your refund policy and warranty period. Grocery delivery service Instacart includes an FAQ email for a recent promotion. First, they offer free delivery on your first order, then they explain how it works and share some of the available foods you can have delivery. Prospective customers would get their questions answered and be tempted to click on that free delivery offer. Step 5: Final Offer This is when you’re allowed to be a big salesy. You’ve educated your audience about who you are and what you do, and now’s the time to land the sale with your final discount. See how Rosemarie Groner of The Busy Budgeter uses this email below to encourage users to signup for her training before time’s up. By sharing more information and letting users know the clock is ticking, people are more likely to take action. Step 6: Last Call Follow up as a reminder that this is the last chance to snag that great deal. See below how Burrow, a furniture company, sends a final offer to email subscribers following a weekend sale. As you can see, this is a comprehensive strategy that leaves a lot of room for targeting, A/B testing, and segmenting. Make sure you’re using quality email addresses and that if you send emails to SharePoint lists, you do so properly. No strategy will work perfectly the first time. It’s worth testing for yourself to see where you can best refine your emails. Your audience might need more time between emails, or they might need several last call notices to take action. This is why using automation software is your best friend. By keeping track of your email analytics, you can gain insight into how your customers are interacting with your marketing emails. Make the Most of Every Email Every email should count in your overall marketing strategy. There’s no room for wishy-washy emails that don’t know what they want to accomplish. Be clear in your goals and automate confidently. Automating a sales funnel with the above steps means spending more time on other valuable marketing tasks. Making the most of automation is also an effective way to learn more about your audience. How do they interact with your emails? Which offers lead to the most revenue? Embrace email marketing automation yourself to see what it can do for your business.


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6 Email Trends in Vogue This Year

6 Email Trends in Vogue This Year

Beyond • February 28, 2019

The latest statistics of the number of Vogue readers are from several years ago, and they show that Vogue has reached 15.7 million readers in the United States. That number definitely has gone up by now, but just imagine how many millions of Vogue readers there are all over the world. Vogue is constantly enhancing its email marketing strategy because that’s precisely what helps attract new readers and engage them in Vogue’s fresh, original, and compelling content. Email marketing experts at Vogue are bringing new email trends this year, and you should definitely take a page from their book. Take a look at the six email trends that Vogue is following right now so that you can learn something from their strategy and make sure that yours is just as effective. Attracting Mobile Users Attracting mobile users definitely isn’t a new concept, but it’s one that a lot of marketers still avoid for some reason. They don’t realize the huge potential of mobile and the importance of engaging mobile users into their brand. If you still don’t have a good mobile strategy, here’s Vogue to the rescue. Vogue has an app for the digital version of its magazine, which its avid readers can use to stay engaged in their content and all the latest fashion trends anywhere they are, and anytime they want. But how does Vogue compel its readers to get Vogue for their mobile devices? It sends them an email! In the email screenshot above, you can see Vogue showcasing every tablet it’s available on, enticing its email subscribers to get Vogue for their favorite mobile devices. If you don’t have an app for your content, simply make sure your website is mobile-friendly, and let your subscribers know it. Did you know that 94% of people judge websites on responsive web design? Without a mobile-friendly site, you lose lots of opportunities for growth and higher ROI, and your email newsletter is the best tool to promote it and attract mobile users. Grabbing Attention with Eye-Catching Visuals Vogue wouldn’t be where it is now if it hadn’t been providing its readers with beautiful and eye-catching visuals, apart from its original and unique content, of course. This also isn’t a new trend for Vogue, but the magazine does include more and more visuals these days in all its emails. You can write a compelling email copy to engage new readers but enriching it with compelling visuals will instantly capture your subscribers’ attention. Take a look at how Vogue does it. In the email shown above, the first thing you see is “VOGUE TREND ALERT”. It instantly grabs attention. The second thing you see is the runway models wearing beautiful pieces of the latest fashion trends. You cannot help but click through to find out more. And that’s how you engage people. Visuals tap into their emotions and they want to find out more about what you have to say or offer. So, be sure to enrich your every email with irresistible images, infographics, graphs, or anything else that will help you appeal to your audience. Incorporating Videos in Emails According to video marketing statistics by IMPACT, the number of businesses using videos in email increased from 36% to 46% in the past year. This is because, according to Forbes, 90% of customers say that videos help them with their purchasing decisions, while 64% of customers say that they’re more likely to purchase a product after watching a video about it. Videos are much more powerful than images, and Vogue is one of those numerous businesses that follow the trend of incorporating video content into their emails. In Vogue’s email shown above, Vogue invites its readers to check out its archive and uncover hidden gems that may inspire them and help them improve their fashion style. Offering Exclusive Content Yet another one of the great ways to capture more email leads is to offer exclusive content. Offer your email subscribers an incentive that they won’t be able to refuse, and you’ll manage to guide them up the engagement ladder and into your sales funnel. One of the ways Vogue does this is by offering its email subscribers full-year access to exclusive interviews with the biggest names in the fashion industry, top photographers’ images to inspire them, and many other pieces of content regarding fashion trends, style, culture, food, and much more. Blending Quizzes With audience engagement taking an edge with email marketing, it has become quite easier for anyone to know their readers\' preferences and shape up their content. Including a quiz or a survey with great title definitely prompts the readers to take it up. Questions about the latest trends and readers’ expectations with upcoming fashion help magazines to shape up their content. These days, the online quiz creator is in trend. Editorials are using such tools to create online quizzes and embed them to their emails or social media pages. This not only helps magazines with their content but also enhances communication. Including the Readers in Their Brand The best way to truly engage your audience in your brand and form meaningful relationships is to actually include them in what you do. It makes them feel special and builds trust and long-lasting loyalty. Vogue encourages its readers to share their Vogue story, which may end up being published in one of their next issues. The readers are invited to share their experience with the magazine and tell the world how Vogue has influenced them and made their life better. If you can find a similar way to connect with your audience and really include them in your brand, you’ll build a strong base of loyal customers who will eventually become your brand advocates. Do you have an interesting Vogue experience you’d like to share? What about your email marketing? Are you already following these email trends? Are you using some other email strategies that are helping you generate quality leads? Feel free to share your experience in the comments section below!


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We ❤️ Newsletters: Tips and Inspiration from the Newsletters our Email Marketing Experts Love Most

We ❤️ Newsletters: Tips and Inspiration from the Newsletters our Email Marketing Experts Love Most

Beyond • February 14, 2019

Newsletters are probably the form of email marketing that businesses and consumers are most familiar with. They provide the perfect excuse to visit your subscribers’ inbox whether it be monthly, weekly or even daily and help you stay top of mind. Why are newsletters so popular? The New York Times newsletter readers read two times as many stories as those who don’t receive newsletters. They’re also two times as likely to become paid subscribers. They have  more than 50 newsletters with a grand total of 14 million subscribers. It’s the goal of their newsletters to “build meaningful relationships with readers by delivering our original, world-renowned journalism and product experiences straight to their inbox.\" Newsletter readers spend 80% more time on NewYorkTimes.com than non subscribers So, what makes for a lovable newsletter? Here are a handful of tips for making a newsletter that your subscribers will love: Keep your subscribers in mind. Sure you’re sharing updates about your company and goods and services, but it must be with your subscribers’ needs in mind. Solve their problems and you’ll see the results. Choose a template that can be customized for your brand. Make sure you choose a newsletter template that’s set up to serve your goals for your newsletter and that it feels like it comes from your company. Use subheaders. Attention spans are at an all time low and subscribers will more than likely be skimming your email. Make it easy for them with subheaders. Keep it short and simple. Use teasers for each piece of content and bring your subscribers to your website to read the rest. Use captivating images. Grab those skimmers’ attention with some great photos or graphics. Send regularly. Monthly newsletters may be the most popular, but some businesses prefer to send weekly or even daily. You want to stay top-of-mind with your subscribers so that your business is the first they think of when they’re in need of your goods or services. Check your reports. It’s important to track what is (or isn’t) working with your newsletters. If your open rate could use a boost, test different subject lines and make sure you have a familiar From Name. If your click-through rate could be higher, try including different content in your newsletters. At Benchmark Email, we love newsletters as much as the businesses who use our tools to send them. And we see a lot of them! I asked the Benchmark team across the globe to share some of their favorite newsletters with all of you. Here’s what they had to say: Adastros Cruz - The Artist Formerly Known as Senior Marketing Designer - Guatemala What I love about this email from Grammarly is how the content is goal oriented, this was their \'new year\' email and at the end of it they included a recap of their 2018 but kept it customer-focused. See the full email here. What I love about this newsletter from Muzli is the content I get, but also how simple it is, just an image a graphic and a clear short and sweet CTA. Daniel Miller - Marketing Director - USA Subaru is one of my favorite newsletters. If you’ve ever owned a Subaru, you’ve experienced what it means to be part of the Subaru family. Subaru’s real marketing kicks in after one has purchased a vehicle. From tips to where to camp, hike and travel with your new baby (the car that is) to new releases, rally competitions they’ve won and even experiences shared by other drivers. No matter what level of “car expert” you are, Subaru speaks their customers language. Adventure, discovery and fun! Their newsletter backs their message and creates brand loyalty. I ❤️ my Subaru and the way the company treats me. Fernanda Brito - Social Media & Digital Partner - Mexico I really liked the content in this email from Cracks, it is also practical and quick to read, without a doubt I expect the next email. 😊 I like the design of this Cool Hunger MX email which has a lot of color and notes of interest as well as city events related to art and design. Love Veg always shares new recipes and ideas according to the seasons of the year. Ronald Liang - Frontend Development Manager - USA Kumar Guarav - Email Deliverability & Support - India They say great minds think alike and Ronald and Kumar shared love for the same email. Here\'s what they said: Ronald: I love receiving these newsletters from Smashing Magazine, because they’re a quick way to catch up on the latest web design news and topics. Their newsletter is text-heavy, but they do throw in some playful graphics of their mascot here and there that keeps it fun. Kumar: I love the way these guys present the entire newsletter, the content at the top includes a brief description/welcome message from the Editor, Table of content at the top with every article numbered and linked accordingly to the actual article in the newsletter. Proper spacing between the articles, fonts large enough to be readable on all devices. Sponsor ads being marked accordingly and finally at the end, sender information and the purpose of the newsletter. Everything is presented in a very professional format. Kristen Pon - Senior Product Designer - USA I also love getting Action Rocket’s newsletters because it keeps me up to date with email industry news (they compile articles from various sources). Also, over time I’ve seen them test out various things to push email boundaries like switching up their layouts, adding interactions, etc because of who their audience is. (At the top they mention they use experimental code) Sorry, the forwarding of their newsletter breaks those things so you can’t see it.. but this is what their newsletter normally looks like. Action Rocket also does special newsletters every so often, like this one here. It\'s goal is to show how much of an email shows above the fold. Yamile Flores - Learning Experience Designer - Mexico I have a lot of subscriptions in several newsletters: fashion, shoes, food, recipes, but this that comes from NESTLE I really love it, Why? As you can see since the subject line has my  son’s name, then this newsletter reminds when my son turns months /years and what he should achieve in that month, some recipes I can cook for him and other important facts relative to his age. So I really love to read it and keep it. It’s a pity the promotions are just for Spain, not for México, but still I like it. I reminds me to say Congratulations Jaden! Every month. Denise Keller - COO - USA I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE getting this email from Tim Ferriss every Friday like clockwork. It’s 5 bullets, so it’s quick and easy to read while I’m sitting a traffic light.  It is always informative and I inevitably learn something I didn’t know before. This is one of my top 5. I’m forever taking screenshots of this newsletter from Scott’s Cheap Flights and sending them to family and friends saying “Let’s GO!” I love the easy to read format and the info telling the best way to book this particular flight. Even though I rarely cook, I thoroughly enjoy Ina Garten’s occasional newsletter emails. They are super basic, no fancy graphics with an easy link to her recipe.  My husband and I actually made this one and it was FAB! Alvaro Rosado - Product Design - Mexico I like this email for the brightness of the images, the animations and the clarity of the message. The text is really easy to read and understand. Also it has clear call to actions that allow me to understand what to do next. Jason Ashley - Web App. Development Manager - USA I like the Crunchbase Daily newsletter because it gives links to the latest updates of companies to watch, and the subject line refers to the companies too. Goes to variety of blogs. The newsletter content is a lead in to a blog. Also, the blogs have links to outside resources used for research, so the newsletter is like a gateway to different blogs and the different blogs have multiple resources which are commonly other blogs on the same subject. I like this Node Weekly newsletter because it references the latest updates of node.js a programming language I like to stay on top of. The sections reference multiple resources from a variety of common well known blogs from different community services. It really helps to stay on top of what’s new, and if nothing new, to see the items those in the community feel are important. This is my favorite of all time. It gives the graphs of my favorite currencies, their projected short term trend, the give rates, the levels they see as resistance and support to watch for. Allows for a quick view of trend and cross currency comparison on similar pairs. This is my absolute favorite email for the last 7 years since I found it. Bulat Kutliev - Frontend Engineer - Russia I like Medium’s customized feed for me, with additional nice recommended topics. Topics are sorted from more specific to common articles. The design is also minimalistic and neat. Lucas Braga Peres - Customer Engagement Specialist - Brazil The content has my name and the name of the course that I have done here in Brazil on the main text. Then, they suggested more courses based on my certification level, with CTAs and images. Also, they have social media links and the image and text proportion is ok. Emperatriz Ortegón - Marketing Designer - Colombia I really like video games, especially the competition and co-op games. always I want to know any news, updates or offers for video games that I play, so I choose this email from my favorites. Epic Games aaaalways sends me information about events, new maps, new game styles on the platform. I also like how they use colors, images and the newsletter structure is not too rigid and clean.


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We Hosted Rodney Couch the CEO & Founder of Preferred Hospitality, Inc.

We Hosted Rodney Couch the CEO & Founder of Preferred Hospitality, Inc.

Beyond • February 8, 2019

Rodney Couch doesn\'t just have the typical story of going from the dishwasher in a restaurant to running the whole place. He worked his way from the ground up and found a way to do things differently in the service industry. Now, with transparency on their side, his company Provider is disrupting the contract foodservice industry. Trust is not something easily earned in the environment that we currently live in. Profit is not a bad word, but it does and can be abused by vendors and contractors. People are very suspect. That\'s one of the core initiatives that I have when dealing with customers. We need to earn their trust and that doesn\'t happen overnight. It can happen, and when it does happen, you find yourself in a very collaborative relationship. If you prefer to read, the transcript is posted below: 00:14 Andy Shore: Hey everybody, welcome back to the Heart of Business. I\'m Andy Shore, here, as always, is my trusted co-host, Daniel Miller. 00:19 Daniel Miller: Hello everybody. 00:20 AS: And we have an awesome guest for you today. His name is Rodney Couch, and he is the founder and CEO of several restaurants, contract food service, all sorts of stuff. We did it during our lunch break and I know I was ready to go eat afterwards. We sampled some of their restaurants and they\'re quite good. 00:42 DM: Very, very good. 00:43 AS: And he\'s got a great story and they\'re doing some fun stuff and disrupting the industry. So, we were excited to talk to him. Before we get started, I wanna remind everybody about the Benchmark Starter Plan. For up to 2,000 of your contacts, you do your email marketing totally free, let you get started, start sending those first emails, start building those relationships with those subscribers. Check it out, benchmarkemail.com. Let\'s get rolling. 01:06 AS: So, how you doing today, Rodney? 01:08 Rodney Couch: I\'m great, thank you. And yourself? 01:10 AS: Oh, we\'re doing good, doing good. We\'re recording on a Friday, and happy that that\'s finally here, it\'s been a long week. But we\'ve got you here and we\'re excited to talk to you and hear more about everything you do. So, you\'re the CEO and founder of Preferred Hospitality, can you tell us a little bit about that company? 01:30 RC: Sure, yeah. We started our business back in 1989 with the seafood restaurant called Market Broiler and developed a number of those retail brands across the State of California. We\'ve also started a contract food service division, where we\'ve been serving other clients in mostly the educational sector, with some government and schools and others. And so, that business has grown over the years. And then we also have a chain, or involved in a chain of restaurants called Blue Water Grill where I\'m a general partner and we have eight restaurants throughout Southern California under that brand, mostly at water locations. 02:24 AS: Very cool. And where did you get started in the food service industry? [chuckle] 02:29 RC: Well, I started at the ripe old age of 15 and a half. Back in those days you could get a motorcycle license and get a permit at school that would allow you to work. And so, I took my first job as a dishwasher at a group called Lord Charlies, which was part of the C&C organization. And I really enjoyed working in the restaurant environment, it was much like in athletics, very much a team style environment, and so it just stuck. I stayed in the restaurant business my entire career. 03:14 DM: That\'s great. What do you think are some of the best qualities that one can get from working in the restaurant industry? 03:23 RC: Well, it\'s one of those things that you don\'t get taught in school. In today\'s public school system, most of what you learn is through reading and memorization. And actually in the work environment, particularly in restaurants, what you learn is team or collaboration in solving problems and working together. And that\'s something that, I think, most athletes enjoy. There\'s no one in team, there\'s just the group as a whole that participates to achieve high-end results. And as a leader, that\'s mostly what we do as leaders is organize teams to strategize to best deliver a customer experience, and not something that one person can do in a restaurant or a contract food service environment. We really need to operate with team to get results. 04:28 DM: I worked myself in the restaurant business for many years, and when I first got started at a very young age I never really thought what I could really learn from this and how that can help me later on in life. Going in there I\'m like, \"Oh, I got this job and I gotta wash dishes and clean floors and serve people.\" But like you say, the valuable lessons that that can teach you to work in a team, to be efficient, customer first, there\'s no other place that the customer is first more like in the restaurant business. You screw something up there, they\'re coming to your place to have an experience. So, yeah, I value a lot of what you say about... There\'s a lot of team building in the restaurant business itself. 05:15 RC: I read a restaurant staff from the Restaurant Association that reported that over 50% of the citizens in this country have worked in a restaurant at one point in time or another. And I think that really bodes well for the hospitality that is important in every business. Customer service is essential no matter what type of business you\'re in. I think most of us cut our teeth in the restaurant business, which is the epitome of the intimate fellowship with other people. Sharing a meal is something that we\'ve been doing as Americans for a long time. 05:54 AS: Yeah, absolutely, as people continue to get lost in their phones, that opportunity for social interaction and learning those skills is important. But in prepping for the episode and doing some research, what about that experience you had gained, made you believe that it was possible to go out on your own? 06:14 RC: C&C Organization was where I first cut my teeth, and I was in [06:21] ____. But I went on from there and worked for a number of other restaurant groups, including Red Baron and Taco Bell, a couple others, but I did work for a company called Seafood Broiler, where right out of high school, I was hired in the... And we grew that restaurant group from six restaurants when I joined, to, I think, 32, and that\'s the company that in fact, we did sell to Red Lobster. And during that time... You know, I mean I love my job, I was recognized as one of the the best leaders in the organization, and never thought twice about changing companies or moving on. 07:09 RC: But when the company decided to sell, ACCOR sold to Red Lobster, and it was kind of a turning point for me, where either I could, A, start over and prove myself to the new management team that was operating the restaurants, or it was an opportunity to start fresh and not face that threat again of having somebody buy out the group. And so, the decision was quite clear at the time and so I started looking for opportunities to open my first restaurant, drew up a business plan, raised the capital, and what can I say, that the rest is history. I was fortunate enough that the first restaurant I opened was a success, and that was in October 19th of 1989 and that restaurant is still successful to this day. 08:08 DM: Yeah, that\'s amazing. So just to kind of get a timeframe, that was right around 1988 or so? 08:20 RC: It was October of 1989. October 19th, 1989 was our first day of operations at Market Broiler in Riverside. 08:28 DM: Very interesting. And out of curiosity, has much changed in regards to how you define and set up a location for a restaurant, its menu? For some of our listeners here, that may be wanting to open a restaurant, what\'s been some of the changes from when you\'ve done that, to now, of what it really takes to start a restaurant? 08:57 RC: That\'s funny that you ask that question. A lot\'s changed. 09:02 AS: I\'m sure. 09:02 RC: Simultaneously, some things never change. What doesn\'t change is the value proposition of what a restaurant offers. The ambience, the quality of the food, the service, the cleanliness of the restaurant, the entire value proposition. When it gets to the point of reaching an art, and that\'s when the culinary experience is at its best. People know a great value when they see it. And they through word-of-mouth, flock to a restaurant that provides those things. And typically my experience has been, is when you do a good job, there\'s typically a margin there. 09:54 RC: On the other hand, what\'s changed is the economy of restaurants. And I think the biggest change that I\'ve seen in my career is the moving away of full service, or full service casual restaurants or full service restaurants at large and the shrinking of that marketplace, and the movement towards fast casual restaurants, and the reason is, one is price, it\'s a lot less expensive to operate and the prices at fast casual restaurants that don\'t have full service is more of a value. But second, the hurrying of America, everybody is so busy. The convenience of getting better quality food than you would get in fast food in these fast casual restaurants has really caused an explosion in America of these type of restaurants. 10:57 AS: Yeah. And you\'d add in the Uber Eats and all that, that you can get it delivered to your house while you\'re driving on the way home, it\'s nuts, it really changes the dynamic of the customer and the restaurant experience. 11:11 DM: Yeah, what advice could you give on staying on top of those trends, as Yelp comes into the fold and social media, and all that stuff that plays a role in any businesses, but especially in the food service industry? 11:25 RC: Without speaking to it specifically, I would say that any leader needs to be looking at organizational change as something that they have to accept and adopt. Every organization is constantly changing and the restaurant industry is no exception to that. You have to adopt changes and stay relevant, and if you don\'t, you\'re out of business. 11:55 DM: Yeah, absolutely. And I wanna kinda shift gears a little bit and talk more about provider, \'cause in our research and heard a little bit about what you guys are doing there. I mean, my experience in college, I remember my parents buying me a food plan and going to the cafeteria and they\'d get no refund at the end of the year if I didn\'t use all of the plan. So we\'ve been going to the convenience store that you can use your meal plan for and loading up on cases of water and Gatorade and snacks, and all sorts of things. And there is a McDonald\'s you could use it for that would just be treating friends to food because like I said, it wasn\'t going back to my parents or anything, or who knows where that money was going? And what you guys are doing with your contract food service operation sounds like it\'s looking to change all that. 12:52 RC: Yeah. The Contract Food Service Division was something that I tripped into, if you will. I was a member of the board of directors of a large church in the Riverside market, and there was a movement in the mega church movement to incorporate food service. And so my pastor asked me, \"Hey would you consider running the food service operation here and leading it?\" My first response was, \"No, that\'s not why I go to church, to work. I go to church to worship.\" But after I thought about it, I was really convicted. If not you Rodney, then who? And so I decided that I would lead the charge, and that... But it was important to me to memorialize the contractual agreement in which we were more of a steward over the program as opposed to a contractor. And you might think that that\'s a subtle difference, but to me it\'s not subtle at all. I don\'t think that universities or businesses should be bifurcating the responsibility and letting a contractor determine food prices, food quality, service, operating hours, all of those things that are important; aesthetics, to a well-run food service operation. 14:29 RC: So what I did that was a little bit disruptive is I organized a contract where in collaboration with the leader of this particular church, we, together chose and decided on, what was best practices for that particular business? And things worked out fairly well. We were earning a fee for doing what we know how to do, which is to, well, run restaurants. And the clients that we were serving were getting first class, best of breed restaurant practices. And so, that morphed into a collegiate account called Cal Baptist University, and we were brought on to alter the trajectory of the current food service that was operated by one of the big contract food service companies in America, Sodexo. And so they hired us and I basically deployed the same model for them, and we\'ve seen, over the last 15 years, this university has grown from less than 2000 folks on campus to over 10,000 folks on campus. And the food service budget is 15 times what it was, instead of operating one outlet, we\'re operating nine outlets with three additional outlets coming online in the next year, year and a half. 16:05 RC: And so it\'s just really been an exciting time for me because I get to exercise my gifts and hospitality in a way that helps strategically the university accomplish its long-term goals of attraction of new students and retention of students. And we were fortunate enough this year and in the last few years, to be rated second best in California and I think seventh or eighth best in the country for the type of program that we\'re operating. And all that with the university really controlling the cost of what program they wanna offer. And that\'s just been exciting to be able to serve them and accomplish the things that we\'ve accomplished together, has just been very rewarding for me. 17:02 AS: So to go from zero to hero for an industry that seems like it\'s already pretty well established, what are some of the big differences that your program has versus the others? 17:19 RC: Well, I think one of the differences is clearly the perspective that we bring to large contract food service accounts. In retail, it\'s every guest every time. In the contract arena, that sentiment is not always every guest every time. And so, bringing this retail mentality of just doing a great job with each and every guest, and you\'re only as good as that last meal that you serve, that\'s really structurally helped us in the contract food service arena, because typically in the contract arena, it\'s not operated to the degree that we operate in the retail sector. I think that\'s one of the big differentials for us, is just the level of hospitality service quality that we serve to each and every guest in the contract business. 18:24 DM: That\'s great. And I\'m sure going into this new arena with provider has helped in the other side of the business too, you flex muscles a little differently. Maybe even just in the relationships you have with your vendors. I\'m sure it\'s helped you grow everything just using like I said, flexing new muscles and thinking about things from a slightly different perspective. 18:48 RC: And that\'s probably another point of differentiation. What we\'ve gleaned in this business is that the competitors that we operate with, in the contract arena, they\'re certainly not as transparent with the financial information as our model has proven to be. And so there\'s a lot of learning that takes place with our clients, in terms of what is best practices, what is your actual food cost, what are labor costs? We manage those things in the retail environment because we must, in order to be successful, we have to keep control over each and every cost of operating a restaurant, \'cause there\'s just... There\'s not that much margin in restaurants. 19:44 RC: So when we activate those costs in the contract arena, it delivers the same type of results that we deliver in the retail sector. But again, one of those differences is that not all the large contractors disclose what their real costs are to their clients. So we found that in meeting with new clients, oftentimes the most negotiated part of the discussion is about price. We try to take price out of the equation by building a contract that gives us what we call our stewardship management fee, and then by sharing with 100% traceability and transparency what the costs are, the risk is taken out in regards to price. So we spend majority of our time with our clients talking about best practices, how to achieve strategic results, as opposed to incessantly negotiating price each and every day we serve them. 20:55 DM: Yeah, I think transparency really is one of the strongest tools businesses can have and it\'s way underused because the world we live in today with social media, phone chat, email, they have so much access to your business, for brands to be transparent upfront and with their customers, helps build that trust that is what gets you loyal customers. 21:16 AS: Yeah, I\'ve been reading a lot about how businesses can clarify their company message and how to be customer-centric, and the two main things that they do focus on is people buy not what they think is the best, but what they understand the best, that is gonna solve their problem. So there may be two competing services, one works way better, but the other one explains it better, the person is more likely to buy that one, \'cause they clearly understand what they\'re getting into, the value proposition cost and so forth. And the other main thing was, people don\'t really worry about price, what they\'re worried about is being played. So it seems like you guys have the perfect recipe of setting the customer upfront, being transparent, clear. And by doing that, that shows the success that you\'re having. So, yeah. Congratulations. That\'s awesome. 22:11 RC: Well, thanks. Trust is not something that\'s easily earned in the environment that we currently live in. We\'re a fallen people and so none of us are perfect and so many of us have been abused and taken advantage of, and it\'s certainly like that in the business environment. Profit is not a bad word, but it does and can be abused by vendors and contractors, and so people are very suspect. So that\'s one of the core initiatives that I have when dealing with customers, is that we needed to earn, earn their trust, and that doesn\'t happen overnight, but it can happen. And when it does happen, you find yourself in a very collaborative relationship, all strategically shooting for goals that your client has, in regards to their overall business and their core competence. And while as stewards, we use our core competence to deliver the type of program that best suits their needs. 23:26 AS: Yeah, definitely. And so what\'s next for you, guys? Is it more restaurants and expansion and getting more schools for the contract food service? Is there bigger ideas in the works? 23:38 RC: No, I think it\'s stay on the continuum that we\'re on, operate where we operate best, which is in the hospitality sector, certainly, we want to grow both the retail and contract food service components. We think that it\'s really important to have both. We like cutting the teeth of our leadership in the retail sector, and then moving those leaders into the contract food service arena, where each and every guest experience is extremely important, that\'s working really well for us, and I think it\'s worked for quite a few contract food service companies historically, some of the best have been incubated in the retail sector, where every meal, every time is critical. 24:33 AS: Yeah. I think that\'s great. You guys are clearly on to something and it\'s working, so congratulations and keep up the good work. Wanna thank you for spending time to talk with us today. 24:45 RC: Well, thanks a lot for your time, that was fun. 24:47 AS: Thanks everyone for listening and we\'ll catch you next time, bye guys.


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How to Create and Execute Your Email Marketing Plan in 2019: A Template for Success

How to Create and Execute Your Email Marketing Plan in 2019: A Template for Success

Practical Marketer • January 21, 2019

For many, the New Year brings a renewed energy towards the pursuit of one’s passions or success. For more than a few businesses, email marketing is a part of that equation. Email marketing is an incredible opportunity for businesses to nurture meaningful relationships with their customers and leads. After all, better relationships is often a New Year’s resolution many of us have as well. It’s a new year and with that comes a new list of reasons that email marketing isn’t dead yet. Aside from the aforementioned relationship building reason, here are a few stats that demonstrate why email marketing is still the king in 2019: Can you believe that more than half of the people on planet Earth used email in 2018? Well, they did. A whopping 3.8 billion people used email last year. I’m sure some of the younger generations will be surprised it’s not higher. Additionally, there are projections that show that email will hit 4.2B users as 2022 comes to a close. All those people using email and they’re checking it too. In fact, research has shown that 91% of the consumers in the US check their inboxes each day. Checking emails is actually the first thing that 58% of adults say they do in the morning. Not only is email being widely used, but email marketing is effective. Consumers who have received emails from a brand spend on average 138% more than those who don’t get any emails. So, now that we can see why email still reigns supreme in 2019, let’s take a look at creating your email marketing plan for the New Year. Why is it important to have an email marketing plan? We’re not all Google or Apple or another tech giant with seemingly endless resources. Most of us only have a limited amount of time and resources to dedicate to each area of our businesses and marketing efforts. When you can plan out an email marketing plan for the quarter or even your whole year, you allow yourselves the ability to see what’s coming next and plan accordingly. You’re able to budget the time and resources enough in advance that you can ensure a consistent email marketing schedule throughout the year. Additionally, when you establish goals for your email marketing efforts, you can track your progress and report back to the team, as well as make improvements when necessary to ensure you’re hitting your marks. With the end goal in mind, it’s easier to see what you need to be monitoring in your reports and then make adjustments to move closer to those goals. That might be improving your subject lines or using a more recognizable From Name as shown by your open rates. It could also mean doing a better job of segmenting your lists to send more relevant content that boosts your click-through rates and ultimately conversions. Part of the time and resources dedicated to your email marketing plan must involve a focus on growing your list. That way you can choose tactics that fit your schedule and create a plan that you can execute accordingly. Choose Your Email Marketing Tools Jordie van Rijn knows a thing or two about helping businesses choose the best email marketing tool for their needs. He’s an email marketing consultant and the founder of Email Vendor Selection. Here are his thoughts on this subject: With every year comes evaluation and planning. One way to gain more insights into your internal and external vendors is to create a vendor evaluation dashboard as Kevin Hillstrom talks about. I like the idea because it allows you to share your goals with your (internal and external) vendors and keep them awake. Suddenly vendor partners can start to care (more) about your business. If you are looking for a new email marketing software this year, one consideration I’d like to highlight is to not look at the price or even the email marketing ROI if the solutions are in the same range, but take into account the ROTI: Return on Time Investment. Once you have found the different solutions that seems to fit the bill and you are comparing. ROTI  means the time it takes to create emails, set up campaigns, do reporting, handle data and whathaveyou in the day-to-day processes. But also the time in training, collaboration and internal processes. Time might be the ultimate measurement for ease of use. You can easily find more money, but it is hard to find more time. Jordie van Rijn – Identify Your Target Audience Knowing to plan for list growth tactics and where to focus your energy to do so begins with identifying your core customer. Understanding who your customer is will help you in all aspects of your marketing efforts. It’s what will let you do a customer-centric approach to your email marketing. It also helps guide each decision you make, because you can do so with your core customer in mind. Who is your core customer? The first step is the gain an understanding of who is your primary customer. Consider what that person wants and even more important than that, what they truly need. What problem are you solving for them?  What value are you delivering to them? Give that person a name. Consider what that person drives and where they shop. Ask yourself what restaurants they dine at, what publications they read and where they spend their time online. This information will help you understand where you should be spending your time for list growth. The second step for identifying your core customer is to consider who is the supporting customer. Aside from your primary customer detailed above, there will be a group of people who make the purchasing decisions. They may not be the one that has to use your products or services, but they are the one approving the budgets for your primary customer. You need to know where and how to connect with that group as well. What do you need to offer your core customer to get them to opt-in to your list? You need a very good understanding of what is the uncommon offering your core customer seeks from you. It’s what they cannot find anywhere else (at least as good as you do it). The customers you already have are likely telling you what it is that they love about your business. What you’re offering your core customer also extends to the copy you place in the signup forms at all the various touchpoints you deem necessary to focus on. What incentive do they have to give you their email address? Going beyond the products or services you offer what value do you plan to deliver with your email campaigns? You’re likely casting a wide net in terms of driving traffic to your website, social media and any other place where you interact with your subscribers. You need to find the right words to connect with your core customer in those places. You can break this down into three steps: Voice The head coach of the Chicago Bears keeps a note on his play call sheet for every game that says “BE YOU” in bold font. It’s his simple reminder to stay true to who he is and his personality when managing a game for the team. Similarly, your voice for your signup form copy should be true to your brand. Infuse the personality of your company into that copy so that it’s not too vanilla, but stick to who you are. Be you. Here is an example of a signup form from a vocal coach named Felicia Ricci who does a good job of finding a voice that matches her brand. Just the simple “Let’s Belt, Baby!” help you to understand what the experience of working with such a coach might entail. It’s fun and makes you want to be a part of it. Incentive Once you’ve translated your personality across all your signup forms, it’s time to work on the incentive. Why should your core customer subscribe to your email list? You need to let them know you’ll be delivering value to their inbox. Gaining an understanding of your core customer will let you know what they need. That’s where incentive comes in. Aside from the goods or services you offer, what value you can you deliver? It can be information, savings or resources. It could even be entertainment. Something that aligns with your brand ideals and will attract the kind of signups who are core customers. This signup form for a writing course from Enchanting Marketing does a good job of outlining the incentives for signup up: You don’t want to hide the incentive. Make it clear and easy for your core customer to understand the benefits of signing up. CTA A strong Call To Action (CTA) is the last step in creating an effective signup form. Now that you’ve infused your personality into the signup form and demonstrated the benefits it’s time to inspire that signup with a compelling CTA. Your CTA should be easy to find first and foremost. While you can test out various button placements and colors, the primary focus when writing a CTA should be on using action-oriented words. You should also create an urgency by using words like “today” or “now.” Here is a signup form from Treehouse. Notice all the action words they use: “Change,” “make,” “get started today,” and “claim” all action-oriented words to get those signups. These three steps cover “how” to get your core customer to opt-in to your list. Now, let’s take a look at some of the places you should be focusing your efforts. Cover All Your Potential Touchpoints for List Growth You and your brand interact with customers in so many places. Perhaps you’ve never considered there is an opportunity for a signup form at some of them. No matter the location, you need to make sure that a customer or lead is finding the signup form at each place. Take a few minutes and jot down all the potential places a core customer may interact with your business. Go beyond online. There are likely offline opportunities as well, such as in-store, at events and more. Next, you’ll want to consider how those visitors to each touchpoint are interacting with you. How can you seamlessly integrate a signup form into each location? There are some of the common touchpoints you should be focusing on for your business: Homepage Many times, your homepage is the first impression you make on an individual. It’s also always the most trafficked page on your website almost always. You want a way to keep all those site visitors coming back for more. For the greatest odds at growing your email list, place your signup form above the fold (which is just jargon for “before an individual would have to scroll down to find it”). That way, it’s right in their field of vision, and if you’ve done the steps above, you’ll be most likely to capture visitors email addresses. Slack’s entire homepage is built around an above the fold signup form: This signup form also does a good job of demonstrating some of the lessons discussed above. It clearly explains what Slack offers and has a clear CTA. Plus, there’s no way a site visitor can miss this signup form. If you don’t have room above the fold, there are two other places on your homepage that you can place your signup form. In fact, years of the Internet have even trained site visitors to look for a signup form in these two places. The first one is your sidebar. If you use a sidebar for your navigation, advertising or to promote additional goods or services, a signup form can fit right in. Additionally, you can place a signup form in your footer. There are a few benefits to this. One, is that if they make it all the way to the bottom of your page, they’re likely fairly interested in what you’re offering. Second, is that it’s another spot we’ve been trained to look for a signup form. Lastly, it’s also a benefit because if it’s in the footer it will live at the bottom of all of the pages on your site. Blog Your blog is a great source of organic traffic to your website. The content your create is a natural lead generator. Are you capturing that traffic with a signup form? You’ve already got their attention. Keep it by getting their email address. Again, the sidebar can work here, as many blog designs have a sidebar already in place and they’ll encounter it as they’re reading your blog posts. However, a pop-up can also be effective here. Just be sure not to have it pop-up too soon, as you want to give them time to enjoy your content and want more. We put this strategy to action on the Benchmark Email Blog, giving blog visitors a chance to subscribe to get updates whenever we add a new post to each category: The pop-up appears as the readers scrolls through to post, so to give them enough time to fall in love with our content and want more (we hope). Other Website Pages Your homepage and blog are probably the two most familiar places to put a signup form, but in reality, any highly trafficked page on your site should have a signup form. You can check your Google Analytics, or wherever else you’re monitoring your website traffic, and come up with a strategy for each page that gets a lot of visitors. Contact and About Us pages are usually on that list. Same with key feature pages or resources. Think about where a site visitor is in their user experience with your brand and what might be helpful to them in that moment and then promise to deliver it if they opt-in. Social Media For many business, social media is where they’re creating engagement with their audience. It’s important to remember that your social followers are not always your subscribers or customers. Use your social media channels to grow your email list. After all, your marketing efforts will be most powerful when you using all channels together. On Facebook, you can use their CTA button to link to a signup form or place one in a tab, you can also link to a signup form on Twitter or Instagram. One other strategy to promote list growth on social media channels such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram is to run “gated content” offers, which require an email address to unlock the piece of valuable content. Share a link which brings them to a signup landing page that will allow them to opt-in to receive the desired content. Phone Do you have customers or leads calling in via phone for customer support or any other reason? It’s another opportunity to grow your list. It’s not rocket science, either. All you have to do is ask! Train the individuals who are speaking on the phone to explaining the benefits of being on your email list and ask them if they want to be signed up. In-Store/On-Location If you have a brick and mortar location that customers can visit, you should also prepare some offline solutions for list growth. You can go as low-tech as a signup sheet next to the register, or as high-tech as using a tablet or computer with a station for signing up. You can even display signage that has a QR code which makes it easier for in-store visitors to sign up. If your signup opportunity is near your register, you get the added benefit of a salesperson being able to explain the benefits of subscribing to your list. Don’t underestimate the power of personal interaction! Tell those customers exactly what to expect for signing up, whether it be new products, coupons or other discounts, special offers or anything else that will entice them to subscribe. Some stores even make email acquisition a seamless part of the in-store process for checking out. Other bring and mortar locations, such as coffee shops, offer free wifi in exchange of an email address. Events Does your business host events or do members of your team attend expos, conferences or the like? Use that as an opportunity to grow your list! It’s hard to make your mark when an event attendee is encountering dozens of other businesses. However, if you can get them to give you an email address, you can follow-up with them after the event. It could even be an online event, like a webinar. If they register with an email address, you can do pre-event promotion and follow-up after the fact. Print Ads Even as print media seems to be fading away, they’re not gone and print ads can help you to grow your email list. If you’ve got ads in newspapers or magazines or if you’re printing flyers, brochures, postcards or standees, you can place QR codes on them to make signup quick and easy for everyone. Benchmark Email Tip: Any signup form you create comes with a corresponding QR code. Place them on any of your print marketing materials or on your displays and signage at your brick and mortar locations. As with all your touchpoints, remember to make it easy to find, include a compelling CTA and simple instructions on how to opt-in. Segment Your Email List(s) for Targeted Campaigns With all those touchpoints you’ve covered, you’re sure to attract different sorts of folks. Sure, if you’ve got a clear idea of your core customer, they all likely have something in common. However, they may like different goods or services that you offer or have different needs at different times. Say, for example, that you’re in the business of skincare. Some customers may suffer from acne. Others dry or oily skin. If you sent a one-size-fits-all email campaign, some topics may not be of interest to portions of your list. However, if you’re able to know your subscribers individual needs, you could sent targeted campaigns based on that information and ensure that everyone is receiving the more relevant emails possible. That’s why list segmentation is so important. Here are some tips on effectively segmenting your email lists to nurture better relationships: Begin at the Signup Form Data Sorting your subscribers can begin at the signup form. That way, the work is being done for you from the start. If you’re collecting that data from the beginning, it makes it very easy to create list segments when you’re ready to incorporate that strategy into your email marketing plan. Here are a few of the ways you can segment your list based on signup form data: Gender Sure, nowadays gender lines are being blurred and what is created for men and women matters less and less. However, there are still plenty of people out there who will tell you they want content intended for men and women. Below, you can see how shoe company Clarks creates separate email campaigns gearned towards men and women: The goal of the email is the same, but the content is varied for a targeted audience. Each intended audience will have no problem finding the footwear they need. Location This form of segmentation is especially important for businesses who have multiple locations, but it can be an effective form of targeted marketing for any brand. It’s also helpful if you host events at your brick and mortar locations. If you want to send out an email to advertise a promotion at a specific location or event that’s only being held in one place, it won’t apply to a large audience, only those within the area. You can avoid inundating your whole list with promotions that don’t apply to them by using simple location-based list segmentation. This is also helpful for businesses like local real estate, car dealerships, etc. Here is a signup form from a real estate firm, Robert Paul Properties, based in Massachusetts. You can see how they do their segmenting right there in the form: By asking your subscribers to let you know where they live, or what areas are of interest to them, they segment themselves into the proper list. Then they can be updated on new property listings in the area, like the above example, or any other promotion in their area for other businesses. Industry Another common field on signup forms is industry. If your client-base is comprised of multiple industries, it is a helpful one for you to include in your signup forms. That way you can populate each email campaign with relevant content to that industry. For a company like LiveChat, it’s an important step in their signup process. That way, they can follow-up with onboarding materials that may be helpful to that specific industry: LiveChat has years of experience and knows how to service many industries. This step of their process let’s them hone the messaging to be as relevant as possible to each industry. Job Role Are you mainly focused on B2B? Knowing who your audience is within a business can also be valuable. You may want to use different language or provide different content whether you’re sending to developers, consultants, sales, marketing, etc. Job role is another fairly common signup form field in the B2B sector. Each job role has its own pain points and you likely offer solutions to them. That’s why they subscribed! Cater your content to each segmented audience. Segment Based on Interests Not all list segmentation can, or should, be done from the signup form. However, that doesn’t mean it’s difficult to do. Aside from the above demographics, you can also segment your list based on preferences. Every purchase, click and email open is your subscribers telling you what they like. Use that information to better segment your email list(s). Here are a couple examples for how you can do that: Purchase History A review of your customers purchase history will tell you exactly what they are interested in. That information is invaluable to your business. When it comes to email marketing, relevance is key. If you continually send emails that aren’t of interest to your subscribers, they’re going to tune out. Eventually, they’ll unsubscribe. You can use purchase history data to send various types of campaigns. One way you can put that data to use is by offering a discount to encourage them to reorder or re-up on your products or services. You can also send an email with complimentary or related products to their purchase. After all, it’s five times more costly to attract a new customer than it is to sell to an existing one. You can also follow-up with customer testimonials and videos that show your subscribers how the products and services they have purchased to reinforce their decision. Let’s take a look at how Sephora uses its customer’s purchase history to send more targeted email campaigns: What better way to make your customers feel seen than an email campaign like this?! Website Activity The only thing you can sell in an email is a click. That’s why it’s to your advantage to track your subscribers engagement with your website as well. If a subscriber has looked at a specific product page, you can send follow-ups to help convince them to make a purchase. Benchmark Email Tip: With Automation Pro, you can track and automate follow-ups with ease. Setup automated follow-ups that are triggered by subscribers when they visit specific pages on your website to tell a complete marketing story from website to email and back again. Maintenance is a Part of a Good List Management Plan Great email marketing means you’re sending to people who want to hear from you. That means removing the inactive subscribers or maybe the ones who have abandoned that address or never entered it correctly in the first place. That’s why email list validation is an important part of any successful email marketing plan. We asked Jessica Martinez, Marketing Director of Kickbox, to share some thoughts on why it’s integral to thriving with email marketing: For many email marketers, the New Year is like the first day of school. A fresh start. Time to shed any bad email marketing bad habits and incorporate new strategies to address challenges you may have encountered the previous year. Or to discover new tactics, like email verification, to help you achieve your email marketing goals. One of my favorite things about starting a new school year was always shopping for new clothes because no one wants to go back to school in the same clothes as they wore the previous year. You want to put your best foot forward in new kicks and fresh fits. Similarly, you don’t want to start out the New Year with the same old email list. The New Year is the perfect time to freshen up your list and to create a strategy to keep it clean throughout the year. List hygiene is an email marketing best practice and an easy-win if you want to see an increase in email performance and deliverability. By using an email verification service you can easily identify data quality issues within your lists such as invalid and/or poor-quality email addresses. Removing invalid email addresses is a no-brainer because they provide no value to you as an email marketer since they are guaranteed to result in a bounce. Disposable email addresses can be just as bad because the subscriber has no intention of engaging with your company, which means every email message you send not only costs you money but your message is unopened or unclicked. A high number of unengaged emails can negatively impact deliverability. Additionally, high volumes of invalid or disposable email addresses can also be indicative of a larger problem. People may be trying to abuse free trials, sneak past gated content, or simply making typos. A more robust email verification system is needed, like verification at point-of-capture. Verifying email addresses before they enter your database is becoming more commonplace and can easily be achieved using the Kickbox Real Time API. This combined with periodic email list verification is the most effective way to ensure the best inbox placement. Verification provides you with deliverability information (deliverable, undeliverable,risky, disposable, accept-all, free domain) and a quality score for each email address on your list. Why should you verify your email list? The answer is simple. A healthy, clean list of opt-in subscribers is the foundation for any high-performing email campaign. All the strategizing in the world won’t help your email marketing plans if you have a poor quality list. Oftentimes marketers don’t realize they have quality issues until they start seeing deliverability problems: bounces, landing in the spam/junk folder, or their ESP stopping the campaign. And we all know deliverability issues can be a bear to fix. Time to develop an email list hygiene strategy 2019 is your fresh start. Start it with a clean email list. From there maintenance is easy. B2B email lists often degrade at a higher rate than B2C lists in part because of the frequency in which people change jobs. Your list is constantly degrading and, unfortunately, when you add an email address to your database it doesn’t come with an expiration date. That’s why verification is so helpful and can alert you to quality issues before they become deliverability issues. How often should you clean your list? A good rule of thumb: if you have a list of primarily business email addresses (B2B), you should verify your list every 3 months. If your list consists of mostly consumer email addresses (B2C) once every 6 months is usually sufficient. Or you can take the seasonal approach. Thankfully, verification is affordable and valuable enough that more and more companies choose to verify their lists seasonally before their big holiday campaigns. This is an easy way to ensure your list is always in tip-top shape and sets your campaigns up for success throughout the year. Define Your Email Marketing Goals Setting a goal puts your entire email marketing plan into focus. If you know what the finish line should look like, you can work backwards from there to determine how you can achieve your goals. Every business is different. Sure, at the end of the day everybody wants to sell more. However, there is a set of goals that every email marketer should have. Let’s take a look at what those goals are: Nurture Relationships with Your Email List 75% of Americans say they use their smartphones most frequently to check email. Think about it. For many of us, the first thing we do in the morning is grab our smartphone and check our email, whether it be from bed or in the bathroom. This on-the-go ability to connect with your audience gives you a great opportunity to nurture a relationship with your customers and leads. To earn those relationships that will lead to sales, you need to take a customer-first approach to your email marketing. What does it mean to do customer-centric marketing? Focus on the customer experience. It should be simple, pleasant and convenient. Appreciate loyalty. Offer rewards for your returning customers and let them know how much you value them. Develop strong communication. Know how to talk to your audience, how often and what they need to hear. Variety is the spice of life. If you’re sending the same thing to your audience repeatedly, they’re going to tune you out. Deliver value. Know what you need to offer to your core customer and deliver it consistently. The already talked about knowing what problems your core customer has. The value comes in the solution(s) you offers. Listen to feedback. Give your subscribers a chance to let you know what they need or want. Make them feel heard. Goals for Measurable Improvements in Your Customer Relationships It’s all well and good to say you want to nurture better relationships with your subscribers, but what does that look like? As we mentioned before, nurturing better relationships is the end goal. There are wins you need along the way to achieve that. Like we said, see the finish line and then reverse engineer the path. So what are those objectives that will get you to your ultimate goal? Reduce List Churn List churn is an inevitable part of email marketing. In fact, nearly on average nearly half, 46 percent, of new subscribers churn within the first year of opting into a list. What can you do to lessen the churn in your email list? Here are some tactics to reduce list churn: Decreasing the churn of your email list begins at the signup form. Use double opt-in to ensure you’re growing your list with subscribers who want to hear from you. A Welcome Email is your first impression and best shot to get a subscriber hooked on your emails from the get go. Welcome Emails have the highest open rates, so be sure you’re making the most of the opportunity and set the tone for your emails to come. Keep your subscribers educated on everything they’ll need to successfully solve their problems with your goods and services. It could be video tutorials, DIY tips, customer testimonials that show how others are putting your solutions to use. You may be sick up us saying it by now, but to reduce list churn (and any other goal you’re trying to achieve) you need to deliver value to your subscribers. If they’re happy with the content you’re sending, they’re going to remain on your list. You can also create an exit poll that asks subscribers why they are opting out of your list. This feedback will provide invaluable information on where you can improve your email campaigns to reduce list churn. A re-engagement campaign can also help to keep inactive subscribers in the fold by getting them to remember why they opted into your list in the first place. It can be as simple as telling subscribers you’re going to remove them unless they opt back in or you can try something out of left field, as they’re not engaging with what you’re currently trying. Use your purchase history and click-through data to create targeted campaigns for your subscribers. If you cater to their interests, they’re going to stick around. At last, but certainly not least, be grateful. Make sure you show your appreciation for the space you get in your subscribers’ inbox and say thanks. Say it in words, say it by delivering value and say it often. Improve your Open Rate and Click-Through Rate If you can accomplish even a few of the points detailed above, your open rate and click-through rate (CTR) should improve. There are also a few strategies you can put into place specifically targeted at improving your open rates and CTR. Use a familiar From Name. Make sure that it’s something your subscribers will recognize. Your company name is the most common From Name, but if there is a specific person that your subscribers have been interacting with, you can use their name as well (or a combination of the two). Companies who have a very public CEO or celebrity involvement can bank on those household names as well. Crafting compelling Subject Lines will also go a long way towards improving your open rates. Great subject lines create interest about what’s inside, have a sense of urgency and use action words. You need great CTAs in your emails to improve your CTR. You can use a combination of links and buttons and use the lessons you learned on CTAs from your subject lines to entice subscribers to click-through to your website. Increase Conversion Rate If you’re following the tips for the previous two goals, you’ll likely already see an increase in your conversion rate. To focus on this improvement, you need to do a couple important things: Hone Your Conversion Funnel Just like there are wins that you can aim for on the way to your ultimate goal, there is a series of microwins that businesses need to hit before getting a conversion. The first microwin is getting the opt-in, then it’s each step you need to take to get the conversion. Increase trust, reduce anxiety, build excitement about your products and services. This can be done by sending follow-up emails with testimonials, sharing updates on awards you’ve received or other newsworthy stories. Automation can help you do a lot of this work. Chris Drucker created an awesome infographic to show a very simple:   Improve Your Landing Pages As we mentioned above, the only thing you can sell in an email is a click. The conversion happens on your landing page, whether it be a product page, eCommerce store, registration page or anything else. You must tell one cohesive story from your email to the landing page and make sure that the landing page is set up to seal the deal. Create Repeat Business Again, each of the previous goals will help you improve your repeated business (just as the other goals were served by the goals that preceded them). Repeat business is important. Remember, it’s far easier to sell to your current customers, than to attract new ones. Again, this is where your purchase history data comes in handy. Use it to upsell with related products and accessories to promote a better customer experience for a premium product. Strava promotes their Premium service with an upsell email that paints the picture of what a subscriber’s life will look like if they upgrade: You can also use it when it would be time to order more or when you need to renew a plan early for a SaaS product, like Carbonite does in this email: By targeting their existing customers with a renew email, Carbonite is delivering value by offering two free months, creating urgency with a CTA of “Renew now” and ensuring consistent repeat business. Create an Email Sending Schedule So far we’ve talked a lot about the work that goes into your email marketing efforts even before you even hit send on a campaign. We’ve also discussed the goals you should have for those efforts. There has also been some of talk of different types of emails you can send to achieve those goals. However, no email marketing plan is complete without a schedule of all the types of campaigns you’ll be sending throughout the year. Of course, email marketing affords to ability to riff a bit during the year and send more spontaneous campaigns that will also service your goals. You don’t have to do them all, but these are the types of emails you should work into your email marketing schedule: Newsletters When it comes to email marketing, newsletters are often the first thing people think about. The purpose of a newsletter is to ensure that your brand is never far from the minds of your subscribers. Many subscribers expect to receive a newsletter from your business. It could be monthly, weekly or even daily, as long as the content can consistently deliver on value. Your subscribers will stick around and even look forward to your newsletters if you’re consistently sending great content. Use your newsletters to share your latest blog posts, company news, product launches, promotions and more. These are the things that well help nurture that relationship with your customers as long as they’re focused on your subscribers’ needs. This daily newsletter from Apartment Therapy hits the inbox every morning with tips for better apartment living. There are tips on saving space, decorating and more each day: Holiday Emails The holidays are also great opportunities for email marketing, because consumers have learned to expect them and even look forward to them. Plus, there are holidays spread throughout the whole year that give you excuses to pop into your subscribers’ inbox year-round. Doing holiday email marketing is easy too, as there is no shortage of free holiday email templates available to you. Here are some of the common holidays where subscribers expect to see an influx of holiday email marketing campaigns: New Year’s Day Valentine’s Day Presidents Day Memorial Day Mother’s Day Father’s Day Independence Day Labor Day Halloween Thanksgiving Black Friday Cyber Monday Christmas and Hanukkah New Year’s Eve Inboxes will also be most crowded during these times. If you look hard enough, there is some sort of holiday every day. Have some fun with it and celebrate things like National Pet Day with your subscribers, in addition to the ones listed above. You can find a pretty good list in this holiday marketing calendar from Real Thread. Automation There are so many emails that are recurring, but unlike a newsletter, they can be handled with marketing automation. Emails like your Welcome Email can be automated to send when a new subscriber opts into your list. That way every single new subscriber gets a unified experience. If your goods or services require some onboarding, you can automate that series of emails as well. As mentioned earlier, you can also automate based on your subscribers’ engagement with your email campaigns and your website. If an email goes opened or unopened, you can follow-up with appropriate messages or if they’ve clicked on specific links or visited a particular product page you can automate additional messages to move a subscriber towards a conversion. Additionally, as we’ve discussed, you can also use your purchase history data to automate a sequence of emails to keep customers in the purchase cycle. Decide Which Types of Emails to Send While it’d be nice to cover all of your bases and send newsletters, holiday emails on every occasion and several automations, it’s not feasible for every business given their resources. That’s OK! Just pick one or a few emails to start sending. You can grow your efforts from there. If a newsletter is too much to commit to, given that you have to come up with content each month, start with a simple Welcome Email automation. That way, you’ve got a warm welcome covered for all new subscribers that sets the table for all the rest of your email marketing efforts. You also don’t have to send emails every single holiday, just pick a few that you can manage. Do you have a sale or another promotion during a holiday weekend or maybe for Black Friday? Focus on that first. Regardless of the type of emails you decide to send, they should all be aimed at your goals. Each campaign you sit down to create needs to be in service of the goals you’ve set for yourself. Ask yourself why you want to send each campaign and what you expect the outcome to be. Newsletters are great for getting consumers to buy into your brand story. Holiday emails deliver great value and bring some cheer to the inbox. Automation brings a subscriber into the fold and helds to send targeted campaigns and generate loyalty. All of these are important for relationship building, so pick the ones you can execute within your resources. Trends to Plan for in 2019 As you’re putting together your plan for the year, it’s important to look ahead to what trends you may want to incorporate into your email marketing efforts. We asked our friend Kevin George at Email Monks to share some of the trends he thought email marketers should prepare for in 2019. Innovation with Interactivity As more and more email clients have started supporting CSS-based interactivity, 2019 will be an opportune time for more and more brands to join the bandwagon. With the provision to replicate the interactivity, which was once only possible on websites using JavaScript, brands can send engaging interactive emails, especially during the holidays or special occasion. Moreover, since the message can be customized to be only visible when the subscriber interacts with the email, interactivity can greatly increase the engagement rates and in turn the chances of them converting. Once, AMP for Gmail is implemented well, emails can soon be nicknamed as Mailable Microsites. Check out these emails featuring awesome interactivity of hover for the holiday season: Adestra and BrightWave Gamification By incorporating game mechanics into non-gaming realms, you can encourage your subscribers to take the desired action. The design and functionality of gamification delight the subscribers and significantly enhance their user experience. You can know more about your subscriber through the playful interaction in these emails. It has been in trend since 2016 but it will get more popular in 2019. Here’s an example of a maze game in email from EmailMonks. Artificial Intelligence Most email marketers are employing email automation for sending timely emails to their subscribers based on the pre-defined rules. Yet any scope of personalization is dependent on either including merge tags or adding dynamic content blocks (which are coding head-ache in itself). Just like Phrasee is employing artificial intelligence to personalize the subject lines, implementation of AI shall soon advance further to personalizing email content automatically based on the customer interaction. Improved Accessibility in Emails Move towards making marketing emails accessible has been going on for quite some time. In 2019, more and more brands will adopt industry-standards for making email accessible, which will not only widen the customer base for all brands but also improve the user experience for all your subscribers regardless of any health limitations. Plan for Continuous Improvement You don’t need to be a pro from day one. You only need to be willing to get better as you go and learn from your successes and misses. Reviewing your Reports also shows you what is or isn’t working and where the areas to improve exist. You need to monitor your results to know if you’re on your way to achieving your goals. These are some areas you can focus on in your reports: Open Rate Your open rate is how many of the individuals on the list you sent a campaign to opened that email. It’s a simple metric to follow, and it shows if you’re clearing your first hurdle on the path towards ROI from your email marketing efforts. It’s how you know if you’ve separated yourself from the rest of the noise in your subscribers’ inbox. No additional engagement, much less a conversion, can take place if your email isn’t being opened. Your open rate tells you if two specific things are working right for you: your Subject Line and the From Name you’re using. Does your subject line entice your subscribers to open it? Does it tease enough value? Is your From Name familiar to your subscribers? Do they recognize it? These are the factors that determine whether or not a subscriber is opening your email. To boost your open rates, test and improve your Subject Line and From Name. Click-Through Rate This is the metric in your reports which helps you with the next level of your email marketing efforts. It shows if the content and CTAs are working well enough to get a subscriber to click-through to your website or landing page. As we’ve mentioned, the only thing you can sell in your email is click and this is the metric that tells you if you’re getting exactly that. This is the next micro-win you need to achieve when reaching for your goals. To improve your click-through rates, review your reports to see what type of content is getting you clicks. Focus your emails around that. You can also survey or poll your subscribers to ask what type of content they want to receive. Better segmentation of your lists and targeting of your campaigns should also work to improve your CTR. Additionally, you can test button placement, using links and buttons combined and improve your CTAs to increase your CTR. Opens By Hour This metric shows you when people are opening your email campaigns. Opens By Hour is helpful for asking the old question: when is the best time to send my emails?” Every audience is different and the honest answer to that question is “it depends.” That is, at least, until you review your opens by hour reports. If you’re doing true customer-centric marketing, you’ll be paying close attention to when they’re opening their emails and imagining what’s going on in their day when that happens. Then you can not only know when to send, but what might be helpful content to them in that moment. Unsubscribes and Abuse These two metrics are obviously not the fun part, but they’re an important aspect of your reports nonetheless. If you haven’t done a good job of focusing on your customers’ needs and delivering value, unsubscribers or, worse yet, abuse complaints occur. An unsubscribe or abuse complaint can be the result of sending too often or even not sending often enough to the point that your subscribers forget they subscribed in the first place. It can also mean that your content is no longer relevant. Some subscribers will hit junk or report abuse, because it’s easier for them to find than your Unsubscribe link. That’s why it’s important to have a clear and easy-to-find link for your subscribers to opt out. Following the tips and advice detailed above and focusing on customer-centric should help you to reduce your unsubscribe and abuse rates. Working on your goals from the signup form on will help you to keep these numbers low. Paying attention to what’s in your reports will help you continue to improve and reduce those numbers. A/B Testing Going beyond your reports and learning what is and isn’t working in your email marketing and identifying areas of improvement is one part of the process. Testing is the other. A/B testing is like having a crystal ball, which lets you know how your subscribers are most likely to react to your email campaigns. If you’re wondering which of two subject lines you wrote would be more effective, what design elements would work better, what CTA would be more likely to get a click or anything else in your email, A/B Testing will give you the answers you seek. You can even test entire campaigns against one another. With A/B testing, you can send your variants to small sections of your list to see how each variant works in terms of opens and clicks. Then, the winner is sent to the remainder of your list. With A/B testing, you’re doing continuous improvements as you send campaigns. Here are the types of A/B Tests you can put to use: Subject Line. This is the most popular type of A/B Test. It’s your first impression and will help to boost your open rates. See if a longer or shorter subject works, test with personalization, emojis or any other tactic that you think might increase engagement with your emails. From Name. It’s important to make sure this name is familiar to your subscribers. You can try a name of an individual in your company, if they have a lot of contact with your subscribers, or use your business name. Getting it right will increase your open rate. Entire Campaign. Not sure if an email focused on one product or another would be more effective? Maybe it’s two entirely different designs that you want to test. Just make sure you don’t introduce too many variables, so you know which elements that you’re changing are working. Delivery Time. As we mentioned, the best time to send an email changes with every audience. Test to find out what is best for yours. Wrapping Up For any beginning, all of this might seem like a lot. It doesn’t have to be! Take this article in small pieces and attack one tip or strategy at a time. If every email you send is aimed at improving your relationships with your subscribers and customers, you’re already on the right path. Start with how you’re growing your list and see if there are easy wins you can achieve for adding new subscribers. Just having an understanding of your core customer will help direct the rest of your email marketing planning. Then, take the time to learn a bit about the individuals in your list. Consider the people behind the email addresses and see if you can sort them into segments that let you send more targeted, relevant content. After that, consider your goals for your email marketing efforts. It’s an important step for creating an effective email marketing plan. From there, you can pick and choose the types of email campaigns you want to send. Start with whatever you’re most comfortable with and add more from there. Lastly, review your reports and test different strategies to continuously improve your email marketing efforts. That way you can achieve even more of the goals you set out for your business.


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6 Ways to Use Social Media in Your Email Marketing Campaign

6 Ways to Use Social Media in Your Email Marketing Campaign

Practical Marketer • December 27, 2018

Incorporating social media in your marketing campaigns can help you experience a number of benefits. Not only are social media platforms used by millions of users from all around the world, they can also help you run your marketing campaign in a much more cost-efficient and faster way. Social media can really help you learn a lot of new things about running your own email marketing campaigns and they can help you not only attract more people to your brand but to also achieve higher conversion rates. Here are some effective ways to use social media in order to help make your email marketing campaign a success. 1. Use the Right Social Media Platforms The very first way for you to support your email marketing campaign and help it grow through social media is by picking the right social media platform to work on. There are millions of online users for every platform, but you might have a harder time working with some. For example, Instagram doesn’t allow you to share links directly through your posts and you will most likely have to link them on your profile’s bio. This might become a setback as many users will not take the time to visit your website and click on that link if it is not easily accessible to them. It is a lot wiser to use Twitter or Facebook instead. Both are platforms which are being used by many companies on the daily in order to promote their blogs and websites and they can help your audience come in contact with your content a lot easier. 2. Provide Redirect Links to Your Landing Page After picking the right social media platform through which you will be promoting your content, you should make sure you are sharing the right links in order to give your followers access to joining your email list. The best way to do that is by always incorporating the right links on your posts. These links should redirect your followers to your landing page, where they will be able to easily spot your email list subscription form. Social media will help you get your content out to a lot of different people and if you promote your page correctly, you will be able to get a lot of people to join your email list and therefore make your email marketing campaign a success. 3. Offer Special Discount Codes Through Your Social Media One of the tactics many companies follow in order to get more people to join their email list is to encourage them through special promotions and various discount codes. This is a great idea which can really help you attract a bigger audience and gain you a lot of followers on your social media. You can probably understand why most people are hunting for bargains. In our day and time, every company wants to sell more than their competitors and promotions are a surefire tactic to achieve that. By spreading the message through your social media accounts you are achieving a number of results. First of all, you are helping people who already are in your follower list to actually go ahead and make a purchase they have been thinking about for a while. Alex Anderson, marketer for TopWritersReview notes, “Placing your discounts on social media will help you reach a lot more potential customers than any other form of paid advertisement”. On top of that, you will be able to get even more people to view your offer if you have your followers share the post you created. Not only will this attract more people to join your email list, but you will also be able to increase your sales. The best way to go about this is to let your online followers know that by joining your email list, they will be able to benefit from a certain promotion. Your social media accounts are the best way to do that as they allow you to come in direct contact with your audience. These followers will more than likely stay subscribed to your email list and that means that they will continue receiving offers and promotional emails, therefore making them more likely to come back for another purchase. 4. Let Your Audience Know How Easy it is to Join Your Email List In order to motivate people to join your mailing list and get certain benefits, you should also let them know how easy it is to join. Your social media accounts are the perfect place for you to do so. Instagram and Facebook give you the option to start a live video where you can show your followers live just how easily they can join and benefit from your offers. You can also go ahead and create a video or an infographic which will show your audience through the right pictures, just how easy it is to follow the link you will attach and become a member of your email list. The point here is to actually make sure you don’t ask for a lot of information in order for them to join. A name and an email address should be enough for you to create a personalized email for them when they decide to join. You can adjust your email marketing campaign to their preference on your website and their purchases, as well as their social media account information, in order to make your emails a little more personal and fun. 5. Create and Share Interesting Content

 When using your social media accounts to promote your email marketing campaign, you will have to give your followers a taste of what they should expect through it. Apart from showing them how to join your email list and informing them about discounts and other important offers, you should also be able to offer them interesting content which will actually motivate them to stay subscribed. Depending in your niche, there are a number of things you can do in order to keep your audience entertained. You can post pictures about fashion, inspirational posts, recipes, blog posts about interesting topics and many other things. In this case social media can help you by providing you with a means of creating the hype before you send of the next email. If your email list is automated, so should your social media be. A few hours before a new blog post, or even a day in advance, you should have already created an interesting email promoting it as well as an appropriate social media post which will make your audience expect the new email in a certain amount of time. This will help you make your audience interested, keep them up to date with your activity and help them give you feedback on what they enjoy so you can improve your email marketing campaign in the long run. 6. Keep Improving Your Marketing Campaign

   The secret to any successful email marketing campaign is to get enough feedback from your audience and make sure you are adapting your content to what they enjoy the most. Unless you pay attention to their wants and needs, you won’t be able to actually create content they will truly enjoy and that will result in them leaving your email list and in your marketing campaign being unsuccessful. Social media platforms allow you to come in contact with your audience without them having to send you an email or give you a phone call. Most people will actually prefer using direct messages to talk to you about any sort of issue. This is a great thing you can do in order to ask for their feedback on your email list after any conversation you have. You can also create a poll on your social media accounts where you can ask your audience what they would like to see next in your future emails as well as what they would like you to continue doing. This type of direct feedback is the number one thing that will keep your campaign running successfully for the long run. It will also allow you to improve the way you create your emails as well as the services you provide. Running a Successful Email Marketing Campaign is in Your Hand There are many different ways for you to use social media to your advantage. The point here is to not only find a good way to spread the message about your emails and website and to attract more followers, but to also continuously improve your content in order to make your campaign successful in the long run. You can use your social media accounts in order to solve any questions your followers have regarding your email list. You can talk to them about all the offers you can provide them with as well as get feedback on your current email content and keep improving it. No matter how you go about it, your campaign will be a success as long as you put enough effort into good communication and content creation.


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How to Use Your Email List to Create a Facebook Audience

How to Use Your Email List to Create a Facebook Audience

Practical Marketer • December 21, 2018

You’ve probably heard us say it many times before, but your email list is your most valuable marketing asset. But did you know its value extends beyond the inbox? You can use your email list to create an Audience to promote ads to on Facebook. After all, it’d be silly to limit your marketing to one platform when it takes 5-7 times for a person to recognize your logo. A strong marketing strategy comes from using all the channels available to you in combination with one another. There’s no denying the audience that Facebook provides. It’s massive. As of the third quarter of 2018, Facebook had 2.27 billion monthly active users. That’s a lot of eyeballs in one place! A lot of businesses are taking advantage of this massive audience. 93% of marketers, which is around three million businesses, use Facebook advertising with regularity. Additionally, showing off its prowess as a global force, 70% of those businesses are based outside of the US. The ability to target those ads by creating a Facebook Audience from your email list will help you to stand out from the crowd with more relevant ads. What is a Facebook Audience? Facebook allows you to upload an email list of customers and leads to its platform and compares your data with theirs to formulate an audience that you can target with ads. How to Use Your Email List to Create a Facebook Audience Let’s say your business has a special sale coming up. Perhaps it’s for something around the holidays such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, Hanukkah or New Year’s. It can also be for a new product launch or just because! Whatever the occasion, you can use Facebook Audience to help promote your sale. First, you’ll want to create your custom Facebook Audience by uploading your list of existing subscribers. If you’re using Benchmark Email, you can now use Automation Pro to create an automation that will automatically upload new subscribers you add as you grow your email list to your Facebook Audience. You can also do this from your Contacts dashboard. We’ve put together a helpful FAQ to help you create a Facebook Audience with Automation Pro. A 360° Marketing Approach to Your Facebook Audience This is an email marketing blog, so first we’ll discuss using Facebook Ads in conjunction with your Facebook Ads. However, we will share some tips for Facebook Ads below. As mentioned above, your marketing efforts will be most powerful when you combine your channels. You should create a sequence of automated emails that match the messages in your Facebook Ads. That way, they’re reminded of your special sale at multiple touchpoints. It makes it all the more likely that you’ll convert those sales. Here are a few tips for combining email marketing automation and Facebook Ads: Try to sync the messages. Think about when a subscriber might see the Facebook Ad or an email in the sequence. Make it feel like one complete story. Additionally, you need to make sure your branding is consistent down to the colors, font styles and voice in your copy. Don’t repeat yourself on both channels. Add some variety and give your subscribers a reason to follow you in each place. Offer a different perspective, make a new joke, anything that is going to add additional value for your customers and give them a reason to tune in. When a conversion happens, you may want to remove the buyer from your Facebook Audience list for that campaign. You don’t want to annoy them with ads after they’ve already made a purchase. Alternatively, you can add them to a new Facebook Audience with upsell ads. Facebook has an audience minimum of 10,000. If by uploading your subscribers, your audience isn\'t large enough at first, feel free to add in more people by selecting from their audience settings. You can choose audience lookalikes and Facebook will find people on their network that share similar interests and profiles as your existing subscribers. Following these tips will help you stay top of mind with your subscribers, grow stronger relationships with them faster and can even get your message in front of more eyes by using lookalike audiences on Facebook. Tips for Facebook Ads We’re obviously excited about the new Facebook Audience features available in Benchmark Email. However, we also took some time to compile some stats for you on Facebook Ads. They say a picture is worth 1,000 words, but when it comes to Facebook Ads, images account for 75 to 90 percent of an ads effectivity and performance. Keep it short and simple. An ad title is most effective at just four words and it only grows to 15 words when it comes to your link description. When it comes to using video in a Facebook Ad, you have to get to your point quickly. According to Facebook, 47 percent of the value from your video comes from the first three seconds. Wordstream conducted research to determine the average Cost Per Click (CPC) and Click-Through Rate (CTR) for Facebook Ads. They determined that the CPC was $1.72 on average for Facebook Ads and that the CTR was 0.9%. These numbers are important when it comes to knowing how effective your own Facebook Ads are in comparison to other businesses. However, their importance really only factors into your Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) for a new customer. You can use a Facebook Pixel and Google Analytics to track your entire conversion funnel. This will tell you what your CPA is for your Facebook Ads. If your Customer Lifetime Value is high, a higher CPC or CTR will be more acceptable for your business. Wrapping Up Like Captain Planet, your marketing efforts are most effective “by your powers combined” from all your marketing channels. Facebook Audiences let you easily combine your email marketing and Facebook Advertising efforts. It’s an incredibly effective strategy to better nurture relationships with your customers and subscribers. That’s why we’re all here, right? We\'ve put all this info into a helpful infographic as well. Share it up! Do you have tips for Facebook Ads? Share them in the comments below!


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The 4 Ways Your Email List Becomes Your Most Valuable Marketing Asset

The 4 Ways Your Email List Becomes Your Most Valuable Marketing Asset

Practical Marketer • December 19, 2018

Your email list is your most valuable marketing asset. There are a few reasons behind it. You’re not relying on a third party platform. Your business has been given permission by each individual to send them communications. Most importantly, it’s an opportunity to nurture and grow a relationship with your customers and subscribers. You’re going to hear us say that a lot in 2019 and beyond. It is Benchmark Email’s mission in 2019 to further your understanding of how to make the most of your email list. To learn to love your list and the people on it. After all, it’s all about those relationships. What makes a great relationship? Trust and Respect. As a business, you understand that it’s a privilege to be allowed into a subscriber’s inbox. Don’t take advantage of it and your subscribers won’t be marking you as spam any time soon. Honesty and Forgiveness. Sometimes you’ll make mistakes. That’s OK as long as you’re transparent about it. Share yourselves with your customers and they’ll buy into your brand story, warts and all. Thoughtfulness and Appreciation. You need to be doing customer-centric email marketing at all times. Understanding what problems you solve for your customers and what value you’re delivering to your subscribers’ inbox. Commitment and Appreciation. You need to send consistently and stick to what you promised on your signup forms. It’s also imperative to demonstrate how much you appreciate your subscribers for opting-in to receive your emails. Send them targeted, relevant content that will help them get the most out of your emails. When it comes to making the most of your most valuable marketing asset, your email list, we’ve identified four topics we’ll be focusing on: 1. Growing a List When it comes to growing your email list, it’s important to focus on covering all the potential touchpoints you have with customers and leads. You also want to make sure you’re attracting individuals who want to hear from your brand to your email list. Growing your list is also about timing. It’s about knowing where to put a signup form on a page and which pages to put them on and even what offline opportunities could lead to list growth. Here are many of the touchpoints you should be considering for list growth: Your homepage Your blog The other highly trafficked pages on your website Social Media Over the phone In-store At events Print ads It’s also about knowing what to promise your subscribers. Give them an incentive to signup. 2. Managing a List Learning how to properly sort and segment your list to make sure you’re sending targeted, relevant campaigns will be a difference maker for your business. Not ever subscriber is the same. They have different needs and interests. Being able to meet them on their level and provide the specific information that each subscriber desires will help your business thrive. Here are some of the ways in which you can segment your email lists to provide more relevant content: Gender Location Industry Job role Purchase history Website activity Email engagememt 3. Securing a List In 2019 and beyond, data security is going to be important. We’ll help you make sure your list is safe. That means that you can require anyone who attempts to export a list from your account to enter a PIN. It also means that your data is stored in our top-of-the line secure servers and that we abide by all data protection regulations such as GDPR. 4. Monetizing a List While we believe you should be doing customer-centric marketing versus constant selling, we understand that everyone’s goal at the end of the day is to make money. We’ll show you how. Using tools such as automation, you can help deliver more personal, relevant content to each subscriber. Benchmark Email also makes it easy for you to test your emails with A/B testing and by reviewing your reports. See what is and isn’t working in your email campaigns. This lets you focus on continuous improvement for your email campaigns. Wrapping Up To learn more about how you can grow, manage, secure and monetize your list, check out our book, Clues for the Clueless Email Marketer. It’s full of tips and examples for how you can achieve those four goals for your business. Do you have tips on any of these aspects of your email list? Share them in the comments below!


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Building and Nurturing a Customer Email List Prior to a Product Launch

Building and Nurturing a Customer Email List Prior to a Product Launch

Practical Marketer • December 18, 2018

Your customer list is your most valuable asset. You’ve probably heard this many times, but I’m sure many have never actually taken any action on it. Dealing with many startups, I know for a fact most startups or even older more established companies do not interact with their current or ex-customer list often or ever, or if they do, they probably do not strive to keep a close relationship with the list, and are not really trying to sell the list anything. Coming from a heavy internet marketing background, I’ve seen most savvy marketers take a completely different route than traditional pre-internet companies. I’ve noticed that: They focus on building a list and capturing a targeted audience first They then develop and market products to said list It is really incredible how much money is all too often left on the table by having a dormant email list. As acquiring customers is often the biggest expense any company has, it makes no sense that companies are throwing money away when they acquire customers, but then forget about them once they’ve purchased a product. On the other hand, keeping your current or ex-customer list engaged can really make or break your business long term, as a higher customer engagement almost always means a larger customer lifetime value, which in turn means you can spend more dollars to acquire each customer. Maybe companies have gotten away with neglecting their list in the past, but in markets with higher maturity, and when going against competitors that have this piece of their marketing process dialed in, a higher customer LTV means outbidding, outperforming in advertising and getting a much bigger slice of the available leads. That is why when you’re looking to launch a new product or feature, nurturing and re-establishing a relationship with a pre-existing customer list is not only the most surefire way to guarantee revenue at almost no cost, it’s really key for the long-term pulse of your business. Before getting into how you actually do this, we assume that people reading this post already have an email list so we don’t have to go into list building as that would be a massive post onto itself. If you want to read more about that, you can check out this post, that talks about the most popular free marketing tools. Usually, there are two main types of lists: Public lists - These are usually built with giveaways, promotions or newsletter offers. These lists tend to be much less engaged and therefore need more nurturing of up to 60 days before a launch. Current or Ex-Customer lists - If you’ve sold them something before, and assuming the product fulfilled their needs, this list will be your most valuable asset, as it will be filled with people that already trust you and your brand, and will be eager to know about the upcoming launch of your next product. Ideally, you should be keeping close contact with this list, and if that’s the case, the nurturing for an upcoming launch can start a couple of weeks before launch. Generating Hype Ahead of a Product Launch So you\'ve got a dormant email list. Now the first step is to create an autoresponder sequence to re-engage your list a recommended 60 days before launch, particularly for disengaged public lists. The autoresponder should be split into one email every four or five days for the first 30 days, then for the next 3 weeks every 2-3 days up to launch week. On launch week, send an email every day. 48-72 Hours around launch day you should be sending 2-3 emails per day. The first emails should not be used to pitch anything or even speak about your upcoming product, they should be all about re-engaging people with the want or need that drove them to subscribe to your email list in the first place. So the emails you send in these first 30 days should be used to remind everyone why you are an expert in that subject matter by providing insights about your niche without providing concrete solutions. Twist the knife, that is to say, make people remember the pain they were trying to solve when signing up for your list. I.E. If you have a list about weight loss you can talk about your research into what causes most people to gain belly fat and resulting health problems. Back it up with scientific evidence for an even bigger impact. After the first 30 days, the following 3 weeks you should be sending the list emails about the solution you’re developing to solve the problem you’ve been talking about the previous month and why it’s going to be different than anything else that’s out in the market right now. Do not rush and disclose everything about the product in a single email. It’s often best to separate your product features into separate emails and talk extensively about each one, which problems they solve and how they go about solving them. Set a launch date and include an add to calendar link on every email you sent, so people will get an alert on launch date. During the launch week, you should be sending daily emails re-defining the strong points and main features of your new product, some testimonials if you can get them. Don’t worry about unsubscribers, you should welcome them, as if they don’t even want to read your emails, they would never buy your product. An Example of Email Template You Can Use At This Stage Market’s search for meaning email You can create an email that targets most customers who do not even know why they do not buy and most of the times they subconsciously disqualify themselves based on old cognitive biases or negative self-imaging. You will, therefore, need to reframe those negative self-perceptions and give them a chance to derive new positive meaning to REQUALIFY many of the lost customers. → Questions to ask yourself when coming up with this email template i) What unexpected actions in relation to your product might your prospects feel ashamed of? ii) If there are any unexpected actions that they (the prospects) could feel ashamed of, what external thing can you deflect the blame to? iii) How was the unexpected action best possible at the time? iv) What pain may it have saved your prospects from? v) How did it prepare and/or empower them for this moment? Examples: Tell a story about their experience of that shameful trait/action/behavior Deflect the blame to something external Bridge into WHY it actually wasn’t their fault How was that thing actually positive ­a good thing ­ ie. opening the meaning loop But now there’s a better (more appropriate) way ­ closing the meaning Loop Tying the meaning loop to your offer Overcome surface level objections through your key features/benefits An example of an email you can send to your prospects at this stage is shown below: During The Launch Do not forget to set up your email marketing service so that you segment your list after a customer purchases. Pass the customers that purchase your new product onto a separate list, so they stop receiving pitch emails. Send them 2-3 emails per day in the 72 hours that surround a launch date. These emails should be shortened versions of emails you’ve been sending for the past 3 weeks, addressing the key points in your product and why they need to get it now. Offer them motivation to jump in right now in form of a special launch discount or additional offer that will be very helpful to your customer. This will get your undecided customers to act now. If you do not do it, a lot of these undecided customers that are on the fence will have their hype slowly wear out and will never buy. Offering them some kind of a deal on top is many times all they need to make the jump and buy your product. Make sure you set up conversion tracking on your emails. You want to know which particular email led to the click that generated you the sale, so you can gauge which emails are working best with your audience, and repeat the formula of that winning email. Examples of Email Templates You Can Send To Your Prospects During a Launch 1. The spoiler alert email This email is designed to leverage the power of future pacing. This means that you can use it in a powerful and concentrated way to show your prospect what it will be like to experience the benefits of your products you are launching and at the same time future pacing the experience of overcoming their resistance to purchasing it. In doing so, we acknowledge that those elements of resistance are normal, par for the course, and ultimately overcomeable within the context of a new reality they want to experience. Explanatory Questions To Ask Yourself When Making a Downsell Email Template What are the very SPECIFIC thought patterns or layers of resistance they’ll have to overcome before hitting “purchase”? To the best of your ability, describe their current reality as accurately as you can (this will be used to anchor the future pace) What will their experience look like 12-72 hours after buying your product What will their experience look like 12-72 hours after NOT buying your product? What will their experience look like a few weeks after buying your product? What will their experience look like a few weeks after NOT buying your product? Example in a Template [CTA] [Being Specific, Anchor in Current Reality] [Immediate FP - 10 Minutes - Disarm Fear/Resistance in Purchase] [Short Term FP - 24 Hours - Immediate experience of owning product - disarm buyer’s remorse] [CTA 2] [Medium Term FP - 2-3 Days - Quick wins as it relates to a unique aspect of your offer] [CTA 3] [Long Term FP - 2-3 Weeks - a paradigm has shifted. Reality has flipped. What outcomes have started to become realized?] [CTA 4] [Long Term FP - 4-8 Weeks: Tangible ongoing and growing results that emerge from that new world] [CTA 5] [Future Pace - 10+ Weeks - What it’s like experiencing that new ultimate outcome - and the experiences it now affords them Benji and Devesh of Sellfy have been using this mail in their product launches. The email they send their prospects looks like the one on the image below: 2. The anti-launch launch email Majority of sales usually roll in at the final hours of a launch cycle. It’s a known fact and many people embrace it. While there are more theories that try to explain why that is, most launchers/marketers fail to unpack this ordeal further and reap from the benefits of frontloading more sales from the very start. Front-loading can prove to be very crucial at this point as it will: Increase your cash flow to re-invest in retargeting/ads Validate you and your customers Give you the confidence to market aggressively until the end Provide social proof like case studies to use in your closing mails Create urgency as early as possible especially when there is a limited number. The anti-launch launch email aims at progress and sustaining the momentum of your product as well as consistency in the sales from the time of the launch to the end. The email should answer the following questions: What micro-actions have they ALREADY taken that you can hold them consistent to? How are they already in the process? In what ways is “Rome Burning” for them? How has it been burning for long before you came along? How will your prospect be in a worse position if they buy in a few days? (what will the fire have already consumed between now and then? What benefits are they leaving on the table?) How have they been trying (and struggling) to put out the fire? How is a product “launch” disingenuous to you? What proprietary elements have been in development/testing/being proven for months or years? What results or case studies can you point to? What actions have your prospects taken that hold them consistent to acquire your product from the beginning of your launch campaign to the finish? Example in a template Announce that the offer is now live Social proof and/or a core benefit of the product Bridge into WHY it’s not an actual “launch” Rome is Burning moment - what’s burning - how are they trying to Extinguish? Describe the existing context/problem as SPECIFICALLY as you can Remind them that the fire has been burning long before you got there Why it’s not a launch for you (credibility + proof + case studies) Call out a negative trait (ie. procrastination) + hold them consistent to a higher standard [CTA - which shows naturalness - continuation - small step] Remind them of the cost of waiting. What will be left of Rome? [CTA 2] Optional: use the PS to disarm 1 or 2 key objections An example of an anti launch launch kind of mail is shown in the template below: Post Launch The main post-launch goal is to try different strategies to convert people who were not converted by your sales pitch thus far The customers should be segmented according to the product level/upsells they bought. You can then re-pitch upsells to the ones that have not purchased them during the checkout process. You may need a developer to set this Automation for you between your website/payment processor and your Email Marketing service using API calls. You may want to offer a one-time downsell to those who did not purchase your product (the same product as a discounted price). This will not leave people who paid full price for your product happy, so this is why it’s key that you move these people onto a separate list as they purchase. If applicable you can also offer a 2-3 day free trial, or a $1, 7-day trial. This tends to work really good as you’ll get their credit card information and bill them automatically for the full amount at the end of the week. Make sure you disclose this information to keep chargebacks low. You should keep sending 1-2 emails a week to your non-buyers. Try shortened/key points versions of the many emails you sent prior to launch and always try to give them a new motivation to sign up. If you are doing this correctly, every time you send an email you should squeeze a few more signups. Example of Email Templates You Can Send Your Prospects Post Launch The Downsell Email This ‘’wait, don’t go yet, I have one time special offer for you” kind of email is one of the most profitable emails you can send after the initial launch campaign has closed. It is at this stage that most non-buyers are agitated to have missed on your product and it is the ripe time to coax them into conversions. Apart from just the feeling of missing out on your product, some non-buyers feel disempowered not to pull the trigger and or not being in a position to pull the trigger. A well-designed downsell on your product will boost your campaign with extra dollars while at the same time creating and building trust and goodwill. It is more profitable than just having to leave your non-buyers hanging. It gives your audience a second chance at success apart from just giving you a second chance at a sale and that makes them feel served, excited and re-empowered. A downsell will also create a long-lasting goodwill for your next launch. Forms of Downsell Offering your non-buyers a shorter subscription period/trial An introductory product related to the main product that will empower them to get the full product later in the date. Offering your non-buyers a stripped down product without providing hand holding Explanatory Questions To Ask Yourself When Making A Downsell Email Template For Your Customers Overlooking the price, in what ways was your audience NOT ready to benefit from your initial offer? What option from the downsell options might be useful at this stage? What unique and positive characteristics will exclusively empower them to make a new offer? Example in Template Remind them of offer they missed Show you care - that they’re still on your mind Confirm that they made the right decision Commend them on that decision - and WHY it was the right one Transition: What about their current stage or unique abilities makes them exclusively empowered for your downsell offer Introduce the downsell offer [CTA] OPTIONAL: Give unselfish reason for the downsell Urgency/Scarcity/Guarantee [CTA2] Mistakes people are fond of doing during downsell Guilting or shaming them into a sale. Making them feel like they’re getting a second rate product. Painting the FOMO on too thick Making it feel like a “compromise” instead of a new, more fitting opportunity. Not being transparent. Unless you give your real motivation, your audience may think it’s just a cash grab A downsell email example you can send your prospects is shown below: Other Strategies That Will Help You With A Product Launch And Can Be Incorporated Along With The Above Email Strategy Create a Presell Page This usually will be a small page used to pitch or display your upcoming product or feature to your customer list and possibly validate the product or even just the idea, before actually investing your hard earned money on it. What we usually do with a presell page is we offer our email list the chance to signup for an early launch (with benefits) of said product. Based on the number of signups we not only generate hype for the launch, but we get a pulse for how much the product is going to sell. There is no way of knowing how many of those who sign up actually end up buying the product when it launches, but common figures in the Software as a Service industry tell us that from 30 to 60% of those who make a pre-signup will actually buy the product at least for 1 month, when it comes to subscription based products. So this can be used to get a small representation of the actual figure after you launch. If you will find it good enough, then your product will be worth launching and you can now dig into pre-selling it. If not, then it is advisable to use your time to focus on something else. The image below shows a presell template used by Jimmy Cyclone of Sumo: Top-Notch Pre-selling Strategies 1) Create a group and offer them a Beta version of your product at a discount. This strategy works really well as long as you stay transparent with the fact that you are giving out a discount because your product is still being refined. We use this a lot when we’re in need of funding but we don’t want to stop development and look for funding elsewhere. You can create a private group for members who are willing to pay a bit less for an early unfinished version of your product. A beta version of your product is like an experiment and those who will be willing to pay for it will do it knowingly. Customers usually have different reasons when they decide to pay for your beta product, but the main reason revolves around getting an opportunity of early access to your product and the exclusivity that it entails, as well as actually helping you making the product better. A discount is just a bonus for them. In fact, it acts like a bait for more who may be interested but feel like they cannot afford to pay for a beta product for as much as the complete product costs. Make sure to use that opportunity to gather feedback which will help you refine your product prior to launch. 2) Host a Webinar Even before you host a webinar, you should write a series of emails that not only engage your prospects but also build trust among them. Once you earn their trust, it is easy to host a webinar that teases your product nudging them toward paying for your beta product before the official release. Your ideal webinar should not only focus on convincing your prospects to acquire your product by giving them all the reasons but also should be precise fun and ‘easy’ to watch. If you convince them well, chances are that most viewers will be willing to pay for your product. You should understand that hosting a webinar will prove to be crucial if it dawns on you that you might not be able to gather a group of enough beta testers for your presell activity. In general, if you have a fairly loyal or enthusiastic (assuming you know your audience quite well) following, you can choose to go with the strategy of creating a beta group for your product pre-sell action. The reason is, unless they are already fans of your work, it might not be easy to convince them to pay to work through the kinks of an incomplete product . Hosting a webinar works just fine in all situations, but it does need some more preparation and content creation. Jeff Walker is the prominent entrepreneur who has made a number of most successful webinars prior to product launch and they have made quite a fortune for him. Photo Credits: YouTube Conclusion I trust that this article has shed some light on how you can start utilizing your pre-existing email list and turn into a perpetual money machine, and a source of guaranteed income, particularly when it comes to launching new products or features. As with mostly everything, consistency is key, so after creating your email sequence, you need to put a system in place to guarantee that the crucial emails are being sent to the right prospects every day. Also when it comes to email, more is more, meaning each email you sent will probably lead to more sales, as long as you’re offering some value on it as well. It’s also a good idea to put some of the other tips into action. For example making a pre-signup page shouldn’t take you more than 1 hour and can dramatically increase your product sales.


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How to Make your Marketing Emails more Clickable with Interactive Content?

How to Make your Marketing Emails more Clickable with Interactive Content?

Practical Marketer • December 6, 2018

Say what you will about email marketing but 86% of business professionals still rely on it for business communication. It’s safe to say that you got to have a few tricks up your sleeve to stand out from the sea of marketing emails. Talking of standing out, we suggest you do it in the best way possible- making interactive content a part of your email marketing strategy. Here is a step-by-step guide to make your marketing emails more clickable with interactive content. However, before we dive into the nitty-gritty of using interactive content in emails, let’s have a look at the reasons why we should. Interactive Content in Marketing Emails: The Why and How 1. Personalization According to research, marketers see an average 20% increase in sales when using personalized experiences. Interactive content, by its very character, is highly personalized. Unlike static content, interactive content actively involves the customer as their input decides the outcome that is specifically tailored for them. The consumers love a content piece that speaks to them at a personal level. It should come as no surprise, then, that quizzes and calculators are also written in an informal, personal tone. Using words like ‘you’, ‘me’ and ‘I’ in interactive experiences make them more shareworthy. In fact, according to a study, interactive content which uses more than 30 personal pronouns generates almost 6.5X more views than those with less than 30. Moreover, personalized content leads to returning and loyal customers. And considering the fact that a company’s 20% loyal customers are responsible for 80% of its revenue, we cannot let the personalization aspect of the interactive content slide 2. Targeted Content What’s the difference between a good and a great email. A single ‘T’ that stands for targeted content. The power of targeted content cannot be underestimated as it generates 58% of all revenue. Interactive content can collect valuable information about your customers or prospects through the email. As a result, you can send them more targeted and segmented emails in the future. For instance,  you build a healthcare savings calculator. The users will be required to answer questions like their age and insurance plan to obtain an answer. All this information that can help you develop your customer persona and better target your emails. 3. Engaging Content In the wise words of Shuri from Black Panther, “ just because something works fine, doesn’t mean it cannot be improved”. Interactive content already generates 2x more conversions than passive content. The main reason behind this is that it turns the passive customer into an active one through the required participation. However, you can make the interactive content embedded in your emails more engaging by including images, gifs, and most importantly, humor. Make your customers laugh out loud and feel good about themselves through interactive content. In fact, a study found that uplifting, funny and inspiring pieces of interactive content have the highest open and share rate. Information overload? We won’t keep going on and on. Let’s jump to some practical application of your new found knowledge. Before you do, here are some tips to ensure you’re acing the email game: Catchy Heading First impressions play a very important role in the case of interactive experiences, as do emails. Not unlike the email subject line, the title is one of the first things that can generate customer interest in what you have to offer. It leads the customer to take the quiz and provide valuable information about themselves. According to studies, that analyzed 100 quizzes with 10,000+ views, \"Which (blank) are you?\" has been voted the most irresistible quiz title. In fact, quizzes that include the words ‘which’, ‘are’, and ‘you’ receive 3x more views. Another study found that using the term ‘actually’ in the title increased views by 100%. Strong CTA You don’t have to be a copy doctor to understand that a crappy CTA can ruin all the efforts you put in the interactive marketing mail. Strong but relevant calls to action on your website will help you grab the attention of your potential customers. Additionally, they will help you attain your business goals like email subscription, sales, and sign-ups. By now, you must be wondering what kind of interactive experiences can be integrated with your emails. Well, Wonder. No. More. How to Use Interactive Content in Marketing Emails 1. Recommendation Interactive content is highly customer-centric. It focuses less on brand promotion and more on customer appreciation and acceleration. This is perhaps why the customers trust the personalized recommendation provided by interactive content. This recommendation sourced from interactive content can be used in your marketing emails. Use recommendation quizzes for the bottom of the funnel leads suggesting the appropriate offer for them. You can also use it to upsell to your existing customers. The opportunities are endless. 2. Lead Nurturing Calculators are the best thing that can happen to your marketing emails because they are the ultimate lead nurturing tool. You can create a calculator to help your customers understand if they need your services. For example, if you\'re a lawyer, you can use a calculator titled “See how much I can save you in legal fees” to qualify customers. Additionally, you can use conditional result messaging to direct people to the next piece of content based on the score. For example, in the above calculator, if someone gets 10-15%, you can guide them to a ‘free consultation’ page.  On the other hand, if someone gets 20-25%, you can lead them to ‘book a meeting’ page. What’s more, the information you gather here can also be used to customize follow up emails. Interactive calculators and graded quizzes, just like other interactive content, give real-time answers to your customer/lead’s queries and add real value. Besides, instant gratification is always a winner! 3. Rewards/Incentives Here’s a concept: You create a quiz to re-engage existing customers and get paid manifolds for your efforts. It’s a great idea, isn’t it? And thanks to interactive content, this is not just a concept anymore. According to studies, customers are far more likely to engage with a brand if rewards are involved. Use graded quiz and ask your customers to take a quiz related to your brand or product/services and then attach incentives to the grade they score in the quiz. For instance, if on a scale of 0 to 10, they score between 0 to 5 you can offer them 30% discount and if they score between 6 to 10 you can give 50% discount. So, what are you waiting for? Embed ‘em all! 4. Customer Education and Satisfaction Lead retention and building customer loyalty are just as important as lead generation. In fact, 60% of marketers aim at improving customer loyalty for more business. It is, essentially the purpose of marketing emails. Interactive content can help you with that by educating customers about your brand, albeit in a fun way. Moreover, it allows you to get feedback from your customers by allowing an open channel of communication. Communication is an important part of any relationship and your relationship with your customers is no different. Customer satisfaction is another pillar of strength for any good company. There are high chances that you too are looking to better your customer service through your marketing emails. If yes, we’ve got news for you: interactive content is your friend. Embed interactive polls to ensure customer satisfaction and engagement. Odds are your customers are highly disinterested in filling out a form about customer satisfaction. Interactive content ensures that the process is fun and quick. Not to add, highly useful to you. Parting WOW effect: Words of Wisdom We can go on telling you why interactive content is amazing and how you can get started with that right away. But we feel this infographic says it better! For now, we hope that we have done justice to the effectiveness of interactive content in making marketing emails more clickable. After so much information, there is only one question left to ask: Are you ready to stand out in the sea of marketing emails?


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How To Grow Your Subscriber List Using Email Marketing Automation

How To Grow Your Subscriber List Using Email Marketing Automation

Practical Marketer • December 5, 2018

You know how it goes - the bigger your subscriber list is, the better your email marketing campaign will turn out to be. However, with a less than stellar email list, your email marketing campaign is never going to skyrocket, even if it has huge potential. So, it always comes down to it - Where do you begin? And that’s the question that everyone cares about, because hey… all of us know that we have to work on our email marketing list but not a lot of us are aware of how to do it. Thus, today we are about to make this daunting task extremely smooth and easy by using a few quick email marketing automation tips. Ah! Now the real talk has started - email marketing automation. With the word “automation” attached, it’s a given that things are about to get interesting, not to say easier than ever. So, let’s begin! But, before we move further, let’s understand a bit what email marketing automation. So, What is Email Marketing Automation? Email marketing automation grows your email list and channels your email marketing process in the right direction. But you might think that it is what your regular email marketing strategies do. However, as opposed to the archaic email marketing, the automated email marketing process creates automatic email workflows that get sent with even a single trigger. Say, for example, imagine someone fills a form on your website or someone subscribes to your newsletter. The chances are that if the person gets instant engagement, he or she is likely to feel more inclined towards your brand. Now, if someone subscribes or submit their details on your website for whatever reason - they will immediately get a welcome email which can show them how to get started or what your blog routine is and more. And that’s the reason why everyone is so enamored with email marketing automation and the wonders it can do to one’s email marketing campaigns. Let’s have a look and see how you can grow your subscriber list using email marketing automation 1. Create a Plan Beforehand     Before diving head deep into the whole process, the best way to go about it, or anything for that matter is by creating a plan. So, always before taking things forward with your email marketing automation campaign, you have to have a blueprint ready. Eventually, the success of your automated campaign will rely on how ready you are and the fact that you have everything in place. Plus, you will need to figure out the data and some personal information regarding your target audience as well to create a personalized message. Have a look at how you can shape up your initial automated email marketing campaign: Send out automatic emails after a sign-up. Confirmation message after your website visitor registers on your website. Send re-engagement emails when you feel like you have almost lost the audience. Subscription renewal reminders with one-month remaining You have to keep track of these four simple automated messages, then you will be well on your way of making your automated marketing campaign a success. 2. Identify and Target Profitable and Productive Leads One cannot refute that automating your email marketing process takes a considerable amount of chunk out of your marketing budget. There are two ways to start your email marketing automated campaign. First is to just go about it mindlessly without any research whatsoever. This will save a lot of your time, right? Wrong! It will end up affecting you negatively in the long run because you will be wasting many of your resources without any positive results. However, if you choose a different path, a path that seems a bit difficult initially but makes things easier for you in the long run. That is, by identifying your most profitable and productive leads. For one, you can start by segmenting your list so that you are only sending emails to your productive visitors. If you don’t want to waste your time and resources on chasing unqualified leads, then segmentation is the key. So, start by segmenting who should you send an automated email asking for a subscription. A pretty common way of segmenting is based upon lead demographics, interests, behaviors and lead source. Apart from your own ideal customer profile or buyer’s persona and other demographics, you could consider these factors to segment your prospects: Is the prospect a former client? How can you help the prospect? What is the past record of the prospect? Is the client a total stranger? This was one way to segment people before sending out emails asking them to subscribe to your newsletter or any other thing that you require. These were some basic questions that apply to each and every one of your prospect. Now, have a look at these specific questions that might help you segment your most qualified leads: What is the problem that the prospect is struggling with? What profit can you accrue from the prospect? The number of employees the company has. The revenue that the company generates. Just follow these basic questions and note down everything and finally segment your list accordingly. 3. Social Sharing Not many B2B brands understand the importance of being visible on social media platforms. Many enterprises feel that social media sharing or simply being present on social media is for B2C enterprises. However, on the contrary, using social sharing buttons in your email messages encourages your audience to share your content on their network, hence growing your visibility and eventually your subscriber list. In fact, Facebook has with the recent API update. You can also post your newsletter directly to your fan page. It is actually a great way to give non-subscribers a glimpse into what they could be receiving, which might compel them into becoming your permanent subscriber. 4. Introduce Exit Pop-Ups Sometimes, all you need is one last chance to change your prospect’s minds. And that’s where exit pop-ups come into play. Don’t mistake these pop-ups with those annoying pop-up ads that everyone hates. They are a lot less annoying because, for one, they don’t open up a new tab or a window. Secondly, they are genuine and fun, juxtaposed to the click-bait ones. Using automation, these pop-ups sense the time when the visitor is about to take an exit, and immediately they see this pop-up asking them to consider subscribing one last time. You can further make your prospects’ decision easier by giving out coupon, ebook, or discounts in exchange of an email subscription. 5. Carry Out Automated Surveys Here’s the deal - customers want to be heard. But it is difficult for an enterprise also to engage with all their prospects on a one-to-one basis. In this case, you can take solace with surveying your prospects. It is best if you attach an automatic pop-up survey that engages the prospect at the last moment that they are just about to leave. You can gain subscribers by requiring an email address to fill out the survey, but surveys also give you the opportunity to learn more about existing subscribers. In fact, a lot of people will be flattered with this personal attention. And if not that, they will at least find it engaging and a fun way of giving out some information. Apart from growing your subscriber list, these surveys help you get a better insight into what your prospective customers want and what type of content they want to receive. 6. Analyze Your Email Marketing Automation Results After you have taken all the major steps in order to make your email marketing campaign a success, now is the time to analyze the results. Is your email marketing automation turning out to be a failure? Or is it helping you acquire hundreds and hundreds of new subscribers? How would you know unless you analyze your campaign? After all, you can’t solve a problem unless you know whether there’s anything to be solved in the first place. Apart from this, you have to keep track of what automated email marketing techniques are working the best for you. Is it the exit pop-ups? Or the survey form? Or anything else that you have been using to grow your email subscriber list. All these points clearly point out how email marketing automation can grow your email subscribers very swiftly and easily. If these were not enough, give this a read. Why Should You Adopt Email Marketing Automation? It’s basic human instinct to be inclined more towards a brand or an enterprise that showers you with some extra personal attention. And that’s where social media marketing, email marketing, together with automation bridges the gap. Automation of Email marketing helps the companies deliver the right message to their audience at the right time. With automated emails, you can have a better engagement with your audience and prospects. Get better insights into the needs of your audience. Higher levels of brand recognition.


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8 Ways You Can Use Messaging Apps to Boost Your Christmas Email Marketing Strategy

8 Ways You Can Use Messaging Apps to Boost Your Christmas Email Marketing Strategy

Practical Marketer • November 27, 2018

Every year, the Christmas season brings a kind of frenzy unique to the season. According to Statista, Christmas is the largest economic stimulus worldwide. In the US alone, total holiday retail sales reach up to $719 billion. That’s about 23% of the total retail sales in the country, which is a little over $3 trillion. The internet has also changed the way people buy their Christmas presents. In 2018, holiday shopping e-commerce grew to 16.6 percent compared to the previous year. And many experts expect this trend to continue well into the future. As more people shift to online shopping, brands will also need to embrace new ways of marketing. Email marketing has always been popular. But the rise of messaging apps means that you\'ll need to rethink how you approach your strategy. Don\'t know where to start? Don\'t worry. In this article, we\'ll cover eight ways you can use messaging apps to boost your Christmas email marketing. Christmas Email Marketing Strategy: Email or Messaging Apps? For the majority of brands, email marketing is the standard for holiday marketing. After all, holiday sales account for 20% of all retail sales, according to National Retail Federation. Although emails have been a staple for many marketers, messaging apps have recently taken the spotlight. Apps like Facebook Messenger and WeChat have enjoyed steady growth in the number of users. Research also shows these apps have 20% more active users per month than social media sites. What\'s even more impressive is the engagement on messaging apps. According to a Frost & Sullivan study, mobile messages have a 98% open rate. Email marketing campaigns, on the other hand, have an average open rate of 20%. So, does this mean you should forego email campaigns altogether for messaging apps? Not necessarily. Ubisend reports that users are split when it comes to both tools. Email still wins as the preferred way to get in touch with a business, but only by a small margin. About 45.8% of users prefer messaging apps against 54.2% who choose email. 8 Ways You Can Use Messaging Apps and Email What if you don’t have to choose between the two after all? Yes, it’s possible to plan a Christmas marketing strategy that uses both channels. What the email lacks in urgency, your messaging apps can fill. And what messaging apps lack in space for content and offers, your email campaign can deliver. Here\'s how you can combine messaging apps and email to amplify your Christmas email marketing strategy: 1. Launch a Holiday-Themed Newsletter The Christmas season is a perfect time to get creative with your newsletters. You can start by launching a holiday-themed campaign covering your seasonal promotions. You can create an email marketing campaign to promote products right before Christmas starts. Or you could publish a short article about unique gift ideas and tips your subscribers can try. For example, Mothercare has created a holiday email campaign with tips and product offers for the Christmas season. You can also use messaging apps to remind people of your newsletter. This way, your newsletters are more likely to be read and even anticipated! 2. Promote Limited-Time Offers Every other business will have its version of a limited offer during the holidays. So how do you stand out? You can try showcasing products that are not currently available from competitors or retailers. Your subscribers will be more likely to buy your product if they know it\'s not available anywhere else. For example, Swatch created a campaign where users could design custom, one-off watches for Christmas. Again, you can use messaging apps to send notifications to your customers. This will lead to higher engagement with your offer. And, in turn, make your promotions more effective than if you were to send them via email alone. 3. Give Helpful Holiday-Themed Videos The Christmas season is such a hectic time for many. You can make it less stressful by sharing videos with solutions to common problems. For instance, you could share a video on how to wrap gifts, just like what Hobby Lobby did. If you sell items that need to be assembled, you can create a short guide on how to put those products together. Your videos don\'t need to be limited to products. Simple how-to’s on decorating the home and preparing for Christmas can also provide value to your subscribers. What’s great about this type of content is that you can publish it anywhere. Whether it\'s your site, social media channels, mobile apps, or email campaigns. You can also generate more views by adding messaging notifications to your campaign. A text messaging service could help you send timely messages to your customers even if you only have their email address. 4. Offer Custom Service to High-Value Customers Messaging apps provide several benefits to your Christmas email marketing strategy. But you can also use your email campaigns to tell users about how they can use messaging apps to access different services. For example, you can tell people to use messaging apps for a more personalized chat service. That\'s what lingerie brand, Agent Provocateur, did for their Christmas marketing plan. They launched a WhatsApp promo called, “Menage a Trois” for all customers. WhatsApp users could invite a personal shopper into a group chat to discuss Christmas gift-giving ideas for their partner. The result? 112 chats took place, which led to a 61% increase in website traffic and a 31% increase in store visits. Creating an email campaign that promotes a similar type of service can go a long way in boosting your conversions. 5. Give a Generous ‘Thank You’ to Customers Christmas marks the time of year when most businesses focus on enticing customers to buy discounted products. There\'s nothing wrong with that. But you can take a different approach to this occasion by thanking them instead. Show your gratitude by sending heartwarming emails. Express your appreciation for customers’ continued support. And let them know about any special offers they can take advantage of before the year ends. One example is what outdoor clothing brand Woolrich did. Their email campaign featured a thank you message. As well as warm holiday wishes, and information about their winter clearance sale. Attractive imagery complete with snowy views made the offer perfect for the season: You can take your thank messages a step further by sending them through messaging apps. Your messages don\'t have to be elaborate. A simple \"Thank for your continued support\" can make customers feel appreciated. 6. Cater to Last-Minute Shoppers During the holidays, it’s inevitable that some people will wait until the last minute to shop. You could design an email campaign for these folks. The campaign could showcase sale products and even provide tips on how last-minute shoppers can choose the ideal gift. Retail giant, Neiman Marcus, created a holiday email campaign to do that. The campaign explained their GiftNow service, which allowed last-minute shoppers to send a gift to their loved ones by Christmas: Each email included cool gift suggestions and videos about the service and provided a unique solution for a common problem. 7. Use Gamification Strategies Games will always pique our interest. So it\'s a good idea to add a bit of fun and excitement to your email campaign. You can do this by making use of interactive gamification. One noteworthy example of gamification comes from the creative agency, Two. In one of their campaigns, they sent an email allowing subscribers to take part in a Christmas tree decorating activity. Users were asked to share their designs on Twitter using the hashtag, #XmasHTreeMail. This led to an increase in social shares and email subscribers for Two. Using Messaging apps to promote your interactive campaigns can create similar results. You could even add exclusive freebies or prizes for those who win the contest. 8. Give a Sneak Preview Providing a sneak peek of your products is another good way to combine messaging apps and email. For example, you can create an email campaign to notify users about an upcoming product. You can also ask them to sign up for mobile notifications to get exclusive \"early bird\" discounts. Here’s an “early bird” discount holiday email from Current Catalog that offers 20% off Christmas cards if you buy them in September: Be sure to emphasize the Christmas theme in your emails. You can also mention how the product will be available in limited quantities because of the holiday rush. Takeaway Messaging apps are becoming a new way to reach customers. But this doesn\'t mean you should forget about email. We encourage you to use email and messaging together. Experiment with both channels until you find a winning Christmas email marketing strategy. Be sure to keep the needs of your customers in mind and ask for feedback whenever possible. With every iteration, you\'ll see an increase in your marketing performance. The ideas we shared in this article are great starting points, but they are by no means the only ways to use messaging apps during the holiday season. If you know about other best practices for using email marketing and text messaging during the Christmas season, let us know. Share your experiences and tips in the comment section. We would love to hear all about them!


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10 Email Newsletter Ideas to Boost Engagement During the Holiday Season

10 Email Newsletter Ideas to Boost Engagement During the Holiday Season

Practical Marketer • November 26, 2018

The festive period is drawing closer, and customers are ready to spend big bucks on holiday gifts for their nearest and dearest. As specified in a new NPD Group holiday shopping report, an average customer will spend around $700 on holiday gifts this year. Another research by Adobe Analytics predicts that the U.S. online spending will be $124.1B during the holiday season, and the majority of customers plan to spend 57% of their holiday budgets online. For brands of any size, it means an opportunity to drive sales. What makes you any different from the millions of other businesses hoping for the attention? To stand out from your competitors, you should avoid being too salesy and pushing your customers too hard, and the best way is to boost engagement to draw customers’ attention to your business first. The good news? With the rise of eCommerce, there’s no need to waste your marketing budget on broadcast media, product placement, outdoor billboards, etc. Nowadays online shopping offers customers an easy way to discover and buy items: 96% of US customers have made an online purchase in their life and 51% of Americans prefer to shop online in 2018. Thus, sending email newsletters is a perfect way to connect with customers, communicate new ideas and events to subscribers who are interested in your product, and therefore advertise your brand. Moreover, email newsletters can boost engagement. Although Black Friday is considered to be the unofficial kickoff to the holiday shopping season, it’s not too late to jump on the bandwagon and start a holiday sales campaign, promoting it in your email newsletter. To make the most out of your email marketing in the holiday season, it’s important to understand key principles of writing newsletters that get clicks and engagement. How to Write Email Newsletters for the Holiday Season Before your subscribers want to open and read your emails, making up holiday newsletters ideas is a waste of time. Thus, it’s important to know how to write email newsletters for the holiday season that will help you stand out from the crowd. Let’s take a look at key principles of effective email marketing: Focus on one topic idea. The rule is simple: one topic idea for one newsletter. Brainstorming your topic idea, keep in mind that it should be relevant to your readers. If you can grab their attention, it’s more likely you will make them want to read the whole newsletter. Write eye-catching subject lines. Since the number of consumer emails sent and received per day totals 111 emails a day, you can’t afford to get buried in the inbox. Thus, it’s important to write eye-catching subject lines that grab and hold customers’ attention. Forexample, you can include emjoiis: it draws attention, creates a sense of friendliness, and increases your open rate. Keep emails simple and short. The brutal truth: your subscribers are too busy during the holiday season to read your boring newsletters. If you want to make customers read your emails, keep emails simple and short. The main idea is to provide readers with interesting and useful information that can solve their problems. For example, it’s no wonder people are looking for gift ideas this period, right? Add visuals. Not only will images break up the monotony of the text, but they will also keep your audience hooked. Here’s the deal: the 90% of the transmitted information to our brains is visual and people are visually-oriented, so it’s easier for us to perceive images. Build your own festive holiday design. Most people love holidays, and we want to get in the holiday mood. And the easiest way to remind your subscribers of the holiday season is to create a holiday template for your newsletter. If you use holiday email templates, that’s great. If you build your unique festive holiday design, that’s even better. Stick to the holiday calendar. Once your perfect holiday newsletter is ready, it’s time to think when you should send it. Actually, there are many occasions during the festive period (Thanksgiving Day, St. Nicholas Day, Christmas Eve, New Year’s Day, etc.), so it’s important to set a goal for your newsletter and stick to the holiday calendar. Create a sense of urgency. When you rely on the fear of missing out (FOMO), you encourage your subscribers to take an action faster. All in all, it’s in our nature to make impulse decisions when we feel we can’t miss out on something, Bombarding your subscribers with too many emails isn’t an option: spammy emails are the main reason for the majority consumers to unsubscribed from brand emails. However, if you’re lucky to make up holiday newsletter ideas that boost engagement and convince subscribers to take an action, you can bring your business to the next level. Here’s the list of email newsletters ideas to boost engagement during the holiday season: 1. Mention a New Product Launch During the holiday rush, customers are looking for new gift ideas for their nearest and dearest. Therefore, it’s perfect period to launch a new product that can satisfy their needs and wants. Before turning your subscribers into customers, you need to engage them, and introducing a new product is a great way to spark their curiosity. As specified in the Nielsen report,  63% of customers like it when manufacturers offer new products. For business owners, it’s a chance to generate a buzz around your brand and increase sales. For example, Lancome has created holiday cosmetics collection. With the limited-edition holiday beauty collections, the brand encourages their fans to surprise their friends and family with these gifts. Adding a call to action button, the brand provokes an immediate response and leads the subscribers to the landing page with the variety of gift sets. Since the company provokes potential customers’ interest, their subscribers are more likely to consider these products as an option. 2. Offer Deals and Discounts The holiday season is a period when customers buy things not just for themselves but also for their friends and family. Moreover, 6 in 10 holiday shoppers plan to take an advantage of retailers’ sales and discounts to make additional purchases. Thus, it’s the ideal time to send out special offers and discounts. The bigger your discount is, the more chances it will attract your customers’ attention. For example, it’s no doubt that J.Crew subscribers will hasten to click the newsletter to find out more about the sale. What can we learn from J.Crew? The combination of a great discount and tight deadlines is a proven way to encourage subscribers to take an action faster. But smaller businesses can’t afford big discounts. Selecting the appropriate discount rate can be difficult, so you’d better get math assistance from experts to set the right discounts, and therefore avoid damaging your brand or cutting into your profits. 3. Announce Social Giveaways The festive season represents the period of giving, and it’s a well-known fact that people love gifts. When you run a social giveaway, you build loyalty, brand awareness, and trust. Moreover, it’s a chance to enter an already-established community and promote your brand among your loyal customers’ friends as more than a half of customers say they are more likely to share a link to a holiday contest or giveaway. Running social giveaways is a waste of time until you have participants. The more people take part in your competition, the better for your brand. And the best way is to attract your loyal customers. Thus, Gillies Coffee sent a newsletter with the giveaway announcement. When you inform your subscribers about the giveaway, you provide them with a chance to win a great branded gift. As a result, they are more loyal to your brand as they feel you take care of them. Plus, you can implement one marketing technique and offer all participants a small discount as a bonus for their activity. 4. Offer Free Wrapping Who else wants to receive the neatly wrapped gifts? For the majority of people, gift-wrapping is a chance to get into the Christmas spirit. However, 52% of people dislike wrapping as it takes too much time. During the holiday rush, customers are pressed for time to wrap gifts. For brands, it’s a perfect chance to engage potential clients and stay one step ahead of competitors: offering gift wrapping is a perfect way to show your care. That’s what Jigsaw does, offering the clients an opportunity to save their time and budget and get wrapped gifts. It’s up to you to decide whether you want to charge for the service or not, but offering it is a great way to engage customers and attract attention to your brand. With gift-wrapping, you offer customers a convenience they will never forget. 5. Create a Holiday Gift Guide “A gift guide is one of the most powerful tools you can have during the holidays. It allows you to showcase your products, inspire shoppers, and stay top of mind throughout the season.” says Francesca Nuicasion, retail expert and content strategist at Vend. Esprit, for example, has created a simple holiday gift guide, based on their products. Not only will it hint their subscribers at what they can buy for their friends and family, but it will also promote their products in an interesting and engaging way. Since the holidays are coming closer, shoppers crave for gift ideas for their friends and family. When you provide subscribers with a holiday gift guide, you solve their problem and help them make a choice. As a result, it’s a powerful way to engage with your holiday customers. 6. Promote Giving Do you know that charitable donations increase by 42% during holiday months of November and December? For many people, the holiday season is a period of giving back.  When you organize a holiday giving program and announce it via email newsletters, you get the support of your subscribers. People want to be a part of something significant, so they engage in the activity with ease. Let’s take a look at Starbucks: If you’re a Starbucks fan, it doesn’t require much effort or time to take part in the holiday giving. At the same time, you become a member of something significant, so people are more likely to consider this coffee chain when it comes to getting their morning cup of coffee. 7. Announce Events To make the most out of promoting your products, you need to combine offline and online marketing, and hosting holiday events is a great way to sum up your annual results. Plus, it’s a proven way to engage your customers. Thus, you can announce events via email newsletters during the holiday season. Let’s take a look at a newsletter by CATT. This simple and short email informs the loyal customers about the upcoming event and invites them to attend an event. The good news? The recipients feel valued to be invited to the party. Therefore, it increases the loyalty toward the company and it positively affects the purchase decisions when it comes to buying holiday gifts. 8. Take Subscribers Behind-the-Scenes According to Forbes, authenticity is the main factor for building loyalty toward a brand. Moreover, it’s a way to positively influence customer perception. Thus, companies seek out ways to bring transparency to their brands, and taking subscribers behind-the-scenes is one of the options. Here’s the deal: Although CPW Dentistry introduces the team members every month, the company has put much effort into creating a special holiday edition, featuring their treatment coordinator, Lauren. During the holiday season, people want to get closer to other people. Thus, it’s a perfect time to give customers a look behind the scenes by introducing team members and sharing something personal. 9. Send Last-Minute Reminders When it comes to the holiday season, it’s considered to believe that most people jump the gun on buying gifts. However, 3 in 4 consumers said they backed out of a purchase at the last minute last year. For brands, it means they need to send last-minute reminders to help people make their holiday purchases on time. Here’s a little case study of this strategy in action by Amazon: Since customers are afraid of missing out something important, last-minute reminders persuade them to take an action faster. Moreover, these people are pressed for time to think much about the gift ideas, so they can make impulse purchase decisions to meet the deadlines. For brands, it’s an opportunity to drive engagement and last minute sales. 10. Congratulate Your Community Although businesses want to grow revenue during the holiday season, it’s also a great time to establish a good connection with customers, sharing your gratitude and warm wishes. Sending greetings to your customers is a great investment in your relationships: no matter what your product is, your customers want to feel valued. Thus, it’s important to send holiday newsletters with greetings. Just look at Barneys New York. With a short and sweet design, they just wanted to wish their community all the best. Think about it. When you greet your community on a holiday without trying to sell your product or service, you establish an authentic connection with your potential customers. In a Word The holiday season is the biggest gift-buying period, so it is perfect time for your business to drive sales. However, working in a competitive environment, it’s important to grab and hold subscribers attention to boost their engagement, and therefore stand out from other businesses. Thus, you need to lay a bet on email newsletter ideas that engage. The more engaged your subscribers are, the more likely they are to buy your product. Do you have another holiday newsletter idea that boosts engagement? Are you ready to engage your subscribers during this holiday season?


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