146 Search Results: personalized

Creative and Personalized Birthday Email Campaigns

Creative and Personalized Birthday Email Campaigns

Beyond • January 31, 2017

People love feeling special. As a marketer or brand representative, this is a huge “in” for you. Whether it’s birthdays, births, or special victories, there are certain milestones in your client or audience’s life that you should always be celebrating. As your company grows, though, this is harder to keep up with - except for birthdays. Birthdays are a perennial opportunity, a consistent year date that will always have special meaning to your clients. This is the date that should also matter to you. Recognizing your clients’ birthdays gives us a chance to say “hey, look at me.” Of course, you’re recognizing their special day but that recognition is coming from you - so they’re also going to be recognizing you. This is a classic social media move: always wish people a happy birthday. Many times that just gets you on someone’s radar and/or it opens up a dialogue. This is where email marketing is more special. If you’ send your email subscriber a birthday email campaign - especially if it’s personalized - you’re able to send them a digital card versus what everyone else is doing, which is just sending them a message. Birthday campaigns can be automated. Put it in your project management system to set aside a couple hours at the start of each month or quarter and schedule email campaigns. The more personalized, the better. Even using someone’s name or getting their style down and sending them something tailored to suit their tastes shows you’ve taken the extra step as a brand. When sending a campaign you can offer a discount code or a freebie with purchase. If you’re able to, the best bet is to send a small gift that they can redeem by entering a special code on your landing page at checkout. It can have a $5 or $10 value, but it’s something they’re getting for free that triggers interest. Even just directing a consumer to your landing page to enter the code - even without purchase - will likely get them to make that purchase. However, it’s really about more than just the purchase. It’s about the brand and creating bonds with consumers. Sephora, a titanic makeup retailer, offers a pretty decent sized freebie. They offer a special “birthday cake” scented bath soap or bubble bath. For the retailer, it’s a drop in the ocean compared to how much they make a year. For recipients, it became a huge talking about and got people to sign up for the mailing list in order to get the freebie. There’s the real silver lining in giving away something in an email campaign - and that’s getting people to sign up as your subscriber in the first place. Even if you’re giving away something of small value to you, you’re gaining subscribers who are going to likely hang on in the long run, which means they will also be exposed to other email campaigns. And who said the act of giving is more rewarding than the act of receiving? If you plan it right, you can both give and receive for mutual gain.


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The Devil is in the Details:  Simple Ways to Creating a Personalized Customer Experience [Part 2 of 2]

The Devil is in the Details: Simple Ways to Creating a Personalized Customer Experience [Part 2 of 2]

Beyond • August 20, 2014

In Part 1 of “The Devil is the in the Detail,” we covered the advantages small business owners have over their competitors when it comes to creating a great customer experience. We also covered the first half of a six part list on simple ways how you can do this. Add to that list with the last three dead simple ways you can part business benevolence and reap a compelling customer experience. Don’t Hen-Peck Contracts I recently subcontracted a new corporate logo. The client has been on the roster for a while and comes back every now and again for some work. More importantly, this client always pays on time and can be trusted to communicate – which, if you’re a small business owner, know is pretty rare and valuable. The point of this story is that the client reached for work outside the terms of the contract, but rather than hen-peck the contract, we obligingly delivered exactly what they wanted. As I explained to the subcontractor who didn’t understand this process, “if you hen-peck the contract, you’re just looking petty. She’s not asking for that much more…so just give her what she wants and she’ll be happy enough to come back again.” Recognize the “Big Stuff” Birthdays, losses, new babies, charity drives. This is the important stuff – or in honor of Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting, “that’s the good stuff.” Money will come and go but creating relationships is, at least for me, the most important aspect of my business. I always try to recognize the important stuff in a person’s life. Honestly, it doesn’t take a lot to do this. For example, I have a micro-business for custom handmade jewelry (an Etsy storefront called “Qahani”). Earlier this year I had a client who mentioned she wanted an order of earrings to go with her wedding dress. I didn’t just send her the earrings. I also sent her an extra little gift of jewelry with a personal not that it was a wedding gift from me. I can tell you, it meant the world to her. On another note, I knew an old-time client was having a particularly rough year…so for her birthday, I sent a gorgeous bouquet of flowers from the company. That also went over very well. Recognition comes in several different forms. The “big stuff” stuff in their personal lives is one of them. The other is recognizing business milestones. Have they won a recent award, accepted an invitation to join a local board of directors, or have they won an election for local council? Have they been featured in a magazine or are they celebrating their second year in business? These are important, especially if you had a hand in helping them reach this step. Here a simple card will do, or a bouquet of flowers for more notable achievements. Expenses incurred from client recognition can be written off as “gifts”. You should also step forward to recognize people’s lives without expecting any business in return. It’s not about getting the business…it’s about keeping the clients so that next time around, they’ll be likely to go with you – or that when they speak of you to their friends and colleagues, they’ll speak fondly and with favor. The reason recognition works like a charm is because most people don’t do it. It’s something I’ve been meaning to write a future post on – the lost art of basic business etiquette and manners. So if you’re one of the few handfuls that’s capable about giving without expecting anything directly in return, you’ll do well creating an exceptional customer experience. Be Willing to Have a Conversation Make time for your clients. Make it a point to reach out to them to get to know them as people. On the same note, never be to busy to have a quick 10 minute conversation with a client who’s reaching out to you …whether that’s about your company, their experience, or something entirely unrelated like new baby photos or tales from their last family reunion. Creating a connection with a customer as a human being is always ten times more effective than any marketing campaign you could throw at them. Also consider that sometimes that conversation can take place on social media, which is particularly true if you’re a digital company with no physical office or storefront and limited face-to-face time. Author Charles Bukowski once said that you’ve got to passionately love what you do. If you don’t love it, you’ve got to go and find something you do love. His reasoning was that unless you’re madly in love with your work, your work suffers. The same rule applies to you. It’s not a reasonable for you to expect to create a positive customer experience unless you’re passionate about what you do. Without passion, that dulled begrudging enthusiasm seeps through to the other end of the line. Creating a great customer experience all comes down to the details. It’s a question of being able to do the little things in a client’s life, outside of standard business practices, that helps create a connection between you, your company, and your client. It’s about stepping outside of the marketing wall and coming face to face with the people that make your business happen…and getting to know those people intimately. At the end of the day, your clients will love the great work you do, but you want them to also love the great people your company is comprised of.


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The Devil is in the Details: Simple Ways to Create a Personalized Customer Experience [Part 1 of 2]

The Devil is in the Details: Simple Ways to Create a Personalized Customer Experience [Part 1 of 2]

Beyond • August 19, 2014

Small business owners have a definite advantage when it comes to creating a compelling customer experience. They can do what most other businesses can’t – and that’s to directly give their time and attention. Here’s where there difference lies between small business owners and their counterparts: big business can spend the money to offer amenities but those gestures are expected and often inauthentic – or taken for granted by wealthy clients. Stepping down a notch, most mid-sized businesses have surpassed their small business status and are so entrenched on scaling up, that they miss the mark on this one. For mid-sized businesses, customer experience isn’t usually a priority anymore. And that’s precisely what still makes the small business owner a contender in the marketplace; the small business owner can give exactly what customers today expect – a positive personalized customer experience. Unlike your competition, you don’t need to spend lavish amounts of money on creating a memorable experience for your customers. You just have to be a considerate business owner that’s willing to take the extra steps. Here are six ways I’ve done just that over the past few years, often with little to no extra effort on my part: Accept Your Failures You know the saying, “the customer is always right.” Well, what about “you’re sometimes wrong.” As a business owner, we’re forced to wear many hats all the while trying to balance some semblance of a personal life. Something is bound to slip through the cracks, and when it does, own up to it. If I’m late on copy because I was in the middle of a move or some other personal emergency came up, I own up to it and do my best to deliver next time beyond expectation. In one case, I completely forgot about a small piece of copy that needed to be written on a monthly basis. As an apology, I gave the client the next two months free. The freebie also taught me a hard and fast rule on never forgetting things – working for free for the next to months was a mini punishment that taught me not to make the same mistake ever again. In another case, for my micro business on Etsy, a vendor was over a month late in delivering a part to me, which made me that much more late in getting the piece of jewelry to the customer. Worse, the customer beat me to the punch and inquired on the status before I could explain the situation. In return, I gave the customer another beautiful piece of jewelry as a free gift, one that paired perfectly with the piece she ordered. She was completely blown away and sent me a personal thank you and left a positive feedback on the site. Mind Your Manners If your business is in service and you’re working with a team of people, you’ll always come across someone on the other side of the table that isn’t quite up to the task. Let’s face it, there are tons of incompetent people and there’s a good chance you’re going to get stuck dealing with a few of them. When it comes to that, always mind your manners. Never complain to your customer about this other individual, their short comings, or your frustration with them. No matter how much of an unskilled ape they might be, it’s your job not to stress out your clients in their dealings with you. Creating a positive customer experience, in this case, is also about eliminating hassle for your client. Everyone Loves a Party Aside from the fact that everyone loves a party, a once a year holiday party is a great way to welcome clients into your home and get more face time with them. Clients are more likely to attend a holiday party than they are to attend any other event you throw during the year. Holiday parties are more about coming together and less about you as a company or some other formal stuffy occasion for celebration. Holiday parties are also almost guaranteed to show a client a good time, and they’re non-committal (come for 30 minutes or stay for two hours). Plus, people are generally happier and more outgoing during that season – and the seasons festivities give you a natural opportunity to liven up the place with lights, trimmings, trees, and presents. It creates a positive overall experience that carries you well into the New Year.


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14 Psychology-Backed Tricks for Effective Sales and Marketing Emails

14 Psychology-Backed Tricks for Effective Sales and Marketing Emails

Practical Marketer • September 5, 2019

Email marketing is still among the best marketing techniques. Despite what many marketers fear, 73% of millennials say email is the best way to communicate with brands. The practice is not going to die out any time soon. The driving force behind email marketing is psychology. You’re more likely to perform an action if you’ve already performed a smaller step. This makes people who have subscribed to your newsletter more likely to go deeper into the sales funnel. Besides, many subscribe with the sole aim of waiting for a discount to buy something later. Leverage psychology even more to supercharge your email marketing campaign. Here’s how you do that. Segment the audience You probably know that segmenting the audience is considered to be a standard practice in email marketing. But you don’t have to do it just because everybody else does. You have to do it because it works wonders for your campaign. Segmented emails bring in two-thirds of revenue. This is the case because people expect to see personalized offers. They don’t want to browse through everything you have on the list, they just want to read about what interests them. This is why personalized emails are opened 26% more often. What do you do to make the emails really personal? You get to know your audience with as much detail as you can. Here’s what you have to consider when segmenting the audience. Activity on the website Activity with the emails Social media activity Explicitly stated preferences With these four factors, you can deliver the content and products your subscribers want to see, making the click-through rate higher. But it’s not the only way of doing it. Create a subject line The subject line is the first thing your subscriber sees. Write a catchy line, and the CRT is going to skyrocket. Write a boring or a spammy one, and it’s going to plummet. Here are psychological tricks for writing a killer subject line. Mention a name Are you writing a B2B email? Business people tend to not have time to read every email they receive. Attract their attention by mentioning a name they’re familiar with. It’s perfect if they know you already and will open an email that mentions your name. If you’re sending a cold email, mention the name of a shared contact. Invoke urgency You probably know that many people buy based on emotions rather than meticulous calculation. What you may not know is that negative emotions sell just as well as positive ones. An urgent offer puts the customer in a state of stress. They need to decide on making a purchase now, or the discount will expire. Many people will choose to buy out of fear of missing out. Include a deadline in the subject line or the email preview to leverage this fear. Make a free offer Offering something for free is a classic strategy for making customers convert more. It still works, too. Subject lines that feature words “free delivery” receive 50% more clicks. Use this magic phrase to increase CTR. Invoke curiosity without being fishy Why do people click on your emails? Because they want to know what content or hot deals you have for them. Because they’re curious. A good email subject line has to evoke curiosity. A great subject line evokes curiosity in a subtle way, avoiding the Nigerian-scam-email curiosity. You don’t have to come up with fantastic ideas or promise something you can’t deliver. Often, it’s as easy as withholding the right information. Use this free tool to check what your subject line looks like on popular mobile devices.  Craft the email Now you have a great subject line that attracts clicks. The customer journey doesn’t stop there. You have to lead the users down the sales funnel. This involves doing two key things, grabbing readers’ attention and directing them towards a certain action. Here’s how psychology helps you do this. Place the logo in the top-left corner Grabbing attention starts with small details. One small detail like this is the very first thing you see when you open up the email. For many people, it’s the brand logo placed in the top-left corner. As left-to-right language speakers, we instinctively start looking through the email from the left corner, so placing the logo there increases the chances of being seen. Norman Nielsen group research suggests that brands whose logos placed like this have 89% more chances of being recognized. This both build the brand image and increases the chances of visitors reading your emails to the end. Even the big brands do it. Source: Really Good Emails However, some companies can pull off a quirky logo placement in their emails. Source: Really Good Emails Catch attention with the design 3 in 5 people check the “Incoming folder” on the go and don’t have the time to decide whether your email is good or not only based on the content. Make the template design appealing to the readers, and more of them will keep reading the email. Compare the price Price anchoring is the psychology marketing tactic that’s been working for decades in retail and can be used in your email. The thing is people don’t know how much your products are worth. If you only show the discounted price, they won’t make anything of it. It only matters if you compare it to the original price. Always show the original price of all discounted goods in comparison to the new price for a better effect. This email sure looks good, but it only mentions a 30% decrease in price with no numbers.  Learn from their mistakes and craft a better email. Source: Really Good Emails Personalize You weren’t segmenting the audience for nothing. You can’t personalize every email to every person, but you can use marketing automation to craft the perfect emails for different audiences. People who subscribed to you may only want one type of content or products in their “Incoming” folder. Deliver what’s relevant to each group, and you’ll increase the conversion rate. It’s not purely theoretic either. Personalized emails can lead to a six-fold increase in transactions. Show faces to invoke emotions A human face is one of the best ways to make readers feel emotion and associate it with your brand. This is why your email can benefit from a human face. But don’t put a cheesy happy face from the stock website in there. The emotion you’re trying to invoke doesn’t even have to be happiness, for that matter. In this Adidas email, it’s focus. Source: Really Good Emails Uniqueness and urgency Many people who subscribe to your newsletter seek a bargain. They want to get something unique for a low price. Their biggest fear? The marketing classic, FOMO, or fear of missing out. Show that the deal you’re offering needs an urgent decision. The urgency can be in the form of a promotion that ends in a day or the last 10 items in stock. If you’re doing a good job personalizing your sales and marketing emails, you can offer truly unique offers for different groups of people to make this psychology trick work even better. Keep it short, simple, and visual 61.9% of emails are opened on a smartphone. Many people who open them are checking the emails for only a couple of minutes when they’re on the go or getting prepared for a day of work in the morning. They don’t have the time to read a 500-words email. Keep the content short and express what you can with imagery. Don’t tell the readers how good the product you advertize is, show them a picture, describe the main points in a few words, and leave a link. Make these few words as simple as you can without compromising the meaning. It’s not “dumbing down,” it’s just making your email easily digestible for a 10 second’s read it’s probably going to get. Even the President knows this, this is why Trump’s speeches use the vocabulary of an eight-year-old.  Include a clear CTA In a perfect world, your subscribers will see a discount and head to the website themselves. In reality, they need a bit of instruction to make the decision easier for them. The discount seems fair, the button is right there, so why not do it right now? Besides, the CTA button is probably a part of customers’ perceptual set by this time. This practice is so widespread, customers expect to see one in the email. Don’t fail their expectations. Put a foot in the door The “Foot in the door” technique is extremely important in marketing, and email is the channel where this technique can be used best. The point of an email is not selling something upfront, it’s making the reader do a small action that doesn’t require that much dedication to your brand. Once they do it, they’ll be more likely to invest their time and money in a more demanding action like making a purchase. It takes multiple touchpoints to make a single conversion. Email can be the touchpoint you use to take your leads on a journey from sharing an article on Facebook to become a brand advocate. The bottom line It’s been a long read, and the fact you’re still here shows your dedication to your job. Now that you’ve learned how to make your sales and marketing emails more effective, from segmenting the audience to writing the body of the email, don’t stop there. Build your email list, and try creating an email yourself.


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The 7 Best Email Marketing Tips For Small Businesses We’ve Ever Heard

The 7 Best Email Marketing Tips For Small Businesses We’ve Ever Heard

Practical Marketer • August 28, 2019

Email marketing looks a little bit different when you’re a small business. With fewer resources to work with, you can’t afford to just throw a scattered strategy at the wall and see what sticks.  Small business email marketing requires a coordinated, cohesive plan that optimizes your network, your budget, and your marketing mojo. And for that, you want to focus on the practices that are guaranteed to stretch your efforts as far as they can go.   You’ve got a few major goals when it comes to email marketing: Maximize your open rates Maximize your click-through rates Actually make it into your recipients’ email inboxes (this one is a biggie) So how do you do it? We’ve compiled seven of the very best small business email marketing tips we’ve found around the web to help you ace your inbound marketing strategy and get more bang for your email buck. Incorporate these tips into your own practices to start seeing results fast. 1. Never Buy Email Addresses “Unless your company is in the middle of a merger or acquisition, you\'re not going to come across a high-quality email list you can purchase. If it\'s for sale, it means the email addresses on it have already been deemed non-responsive or unqualified for marketing outreach.”  Source: Hubspot You know that feeling you get when you receive a promotional email from someone you didn’t ask to hear from? It’s not a feeling you want to replicate when it comes to your own business and your own potential customers. Purchased email lists may provide you with a lot of addresses, but that very rarely equates to high-quality leads. Plus, if any of the recipients are in Europe, you’ll be violating the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) by not having them opt-in first. Resist the urge to purchase email addresses and instead focus on cultivating your own list of opt-in contacts. 2. Take the Guesswork Out of Subscribing “This seems obvious, but you would be surprised how many small companies–from consulting businesses to corporations–have a regular email newsletter but do not have a place to subscribe for emails on their website.”  Source: Blue Corona Speaking of building that opt-in list, make it as easy as you can for people to sign up to receive emails from you. The more barriers you have in place, the less likely they are to follow through. Have an active “Subscribe” link in a clear and obvious place on your site, and don’t require too much information to sign up — just a name and email address is sufficient.  Equally important: make sure the “Unsubscribe” button is obvious on your website and in your emails, too. The CAN-SPAM act requires all of your recipients to be able to unsubscribe within your email. 3. Optimize For Mobile “According to Litmus, more emails are read on mobile devices than they are on PCs. In fact, statistics show 54% of emails are read on mobile devices. If you don’t optimize your email campaigns to be appealing and digestible across multiple devices, you stand to miss out on new sales, new customers, and new website visitors.”  Source: Pardot With more than half of emails read on mobile devices, it’s crucial that your messages are designed to have the same impact on small screens as they do on large ones. Everything from texts and images to links and ads should be formatted for both desktop and mobile, and you should test your emails on both devices before sending them out to make sure that nothing gets lost in translation. 4. Offer Something of Value “If you want to increase your user engagement metrics, your campaigns need to add value without creating work for your readers. Customers get waterboarded with promotional emails every day. They get distracted. And you lose them – even though they wanted to stick around.” Source: ActiveCampaign General company updates may be interesting, but they’re not enough to keep people opening your emails over and over again. For that, you need to provide tangible value, such as a coupon code, free asset download, personalized content, contest entry form, or some other benefit available only to subscribers. A free download or 5% off a future purchase is a small price to pay for a funnel-driving conversion. 5. Avoid Spam Filters “Spam filters use a long list of criteria to decide whether or not your campaign will be placed in a recipient’s spam folder. The list of spammy criteria is constantly growing and adapting.” Source: Mailchimp You’d think a quality email from a quality company would keep a message out of spam, but it’s not always the case. Pay close attention to the features and actions that help you avoid spam filters, including:       Clean and proper HTML coding       Good text to image ratio       Having an entirely opt-in subscriber list Always test your emails before sending to make sure they’re not going to spam, especially when you make changes to your template design. 6. Integrate Social “Increasing the number of people who see your link will increase the number of people who click on it. So, be sure to extend the life of your email by adding social sharing buttons.” Source: Hubspot Have your emails do double duty by driving traffic to other platforms — particularly your social channels. Add social share buttons, include a pre-written tweet that recipients can share, and make it easy to find and connect with your brand on all of your social pages. The more you can diversify where your marketing happens, the better chance you’ll have of turning new leads into new customers. 7. Keep an Eye on the Competition “If you want to make your email campaigns more successful, it could be helpful to see how your local competitors are handling their email marketing campaigns. Subscribe to their email lists and see what type of content they’re including, promotions they’re offering, what kind of emails they said, how often they send a newsletter, and what elements they included in their email template design.” Source: Blue Corona A little market research can go a long way. Subscribe to your competitors’ email lists to gather ideas and better optimize your content to beat theirs. Pay close attention not just to what they send, but when and how often. And while you shouldn’t be outright copying anyone else’s strategy, there’s no reason you can’t use their emails to inspire your own inbound marketing efforts. At the end of the day, your content should be all yours — different from your competitors’ content and designed to be more impactful. There’s no one secret that will make your small business email marketing more successful. The trick is to incorporate many different tips and strategies that are specifically designed for small business growth. The ones above are a great place to start, so if you’re not following these tips already, now is the time to put them into practice. 


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Using Marketing Automation to Improve the Customer Journey

Using Marketing Automation to Improve the Customer Journey

Practical Marketer • August 22, 2019

Today’s marketers wear a lot of hats. They’re content creators and data miners. Social media mavens and email experts. SEO researchers and influencer investors and anything else that they need to be in order to help their brands stand out in the right ways.  Just as the digital age has made the customer journey more robust (and frankly, a bit more complicated), it has also made the role of a good marketer that much harder to define. Effective marketing is no longer just about getting results — it’s about optimizing and capitalizing on every single customer behavior so that you can thrive in a hyper-competitive marketplace. And that’s where marketing automation can really help a marketer excel.  Marketing automation is becoming increasingly indispensable for both fueling and improving the customer journey. Through automation, brands can stay in touch with their customers more efficiently, and nurture them to the point of sale with targeted communications, promotions, and ads. It’s a good thing, too. With so much to do, the more marketers can automate, the better - especially when it leads to improved results.  So how can marketing automation enrich the customer journey and push prospects further down the sales funnel for your business? Let’s take a look. Awareness Stage The awareness stage is at the very top of the customer journey funnel. At this stage, you’re focused less on targeting individual customers and more on lead generation efforts. Marketing automation makes that process a whole lot easier, which is a major plus if you’ve ever had to sort through endless contact lists, pull out leads manually, and contact each one at a time.  What to try: Automated lead generation software that aggregates contacts for you, combined with email marketing. Automated lead generation software scans relevant platforms like your social media pages, PPC ad data, and inboxes to sort out relevant leads, append any missing contact information and deliver them to you in a more palatable format. From there, you can use email marketing automation to reach out and introduce your business. Try to target your outreach as much as possible by tailoring your message based on what you know about a lead’s demographic and geographic data. Lead generation tools we love: Datanyze, Lead Forensics, Prospect.io, Clearbit Consideration Stage This is when customers are just beginning to search for solutions to their problem, and when they are first considering your company’s product or service as a potential solution. The primary marketing objectives at this point are giving your lead all the information they need to proceed to the next stage of the journey and positioning yourself as a preferred alternative to your competitors. Quick but personalized communications can give you a competitive edge and instantly help you make a good impression. What to try: Automated workflows that spring into action the second a customer performs a certain action. An automated workflow can start at any behavior of your choice, such as when a lead signs up for more info or asks your on-screen chatbot a question. From there, workflows can be set up to perform key tasks that guide a customer further into their journey. For example, if a lead asks a chatbot a question and then disappears, the workflow can be automated to send them an email thanking them for their interest and asking if they need more assistance. It can also be triggered to send them a unique promotion for whatever product or service they were inquiring about. Most marketing automation tools feature the ability to build out workflows, sometimes referred to as automation campaigns, to prepare for a wide variety of contact engagement.  The key to making workflow automation work at this stage is to personalize all triggered communications so that customers get real, quantifiable value out of your follow ups. Chatbot and workflow tools we love: Drift, Intercom, Hubspot Decision Stage The decision stage is when you can turn a lead into a paying customer. Ramping up your marketing with automation enables you to cover your bases and make as strong of an impact as possible. Strike the right balance, and you’ll come off as actively engaging, not overly pushy. What to try: Drip campaigns that trickle out content to keep your product or service top of mind.  Drip campaigns fall under the umbrella of automated email marketing and function similarly to automated workflows. You send out an email, and depending on what action the recipient takes, a second email is automatically triggered. This goes on until a point of sale, or until the recipient stops engaging. You can use drip campaigns to do a lot of things that may lead someone to a purchase, including sending reminders about abandoned shopping carts, offering recommendations, and sending out promos and coupons. And because your drip emails are automated, you won’t have to write each of them out manually. Create your email templates, choose your triggers and your frequency, and you’re good to go. Automation tools we love: Benchmark, ActiveCampaign, Hatchbuck No two customers are the same, and neither are two customer journeys. Marketing automation can take your leads down a personalized path that shortens the road to conversion. Ready to get started with marketing automation? Benchmark can help.


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

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

Practical Marketer • August 14, 2019

Nearly 60 percent of businesses say that email marketing is their top source of Return On Investment (ROI), according to HubSpot. We’ve got your back if you don’t feel like you’re hitting that benchmark. See what we did there?! Thankfully, Back to School season is here! This time of year can bring a rush of feelings to people of all ages. To the kids: dread. To the parents: relief (though they may not admit it). While many of us long for the downright luxurious schedule of being in school -- with summers off and a winter and spring break, for starters -- we grown-ups can still use this back-to-school period to go back to the basics and make sure we have a good foundation of the essentials for our work. Just like Billy Madison went back to school to prove he knew everything he’d need to make it in the real world -- all of us could use a refresher on how to thrive with our email marketing. And so, we present the ABCs (and beyond) of how to make magic with your email marketing strategy. But first, you may ask: Is email marketing really that important? Is it really such an essential, high-priority marketing tool, like everyone says? Back to Basics: Here’s Why Email Marketing is So Essential Email marketing may seem like just another tedious task on your to-do list, making you ask: “Why? What’s the point of it all?” An understandable impulse, but as it turns out -- email marketing serves a massively important purpose both for your customers and for your business. For your customers, email marketing has the benefit of solving problems. It’s a key part of your brand storytelling, as it demonstrates how your products and services fill a need. Email marketing also delivers significant value for your customers. Email messages can be used to deliver savings (think promo codes, discount alerts, flash sale announcements and more), information (think new product announcements, alerts about changes to your product or policies, etc.) and entertainment (think holiday-themed messages, birthday or anniversary greetings and beyond). Now, notice anything in particular about all those functions that email marketing serves for your customers? Bueller? That’s right … email marketing is particularly useful for your customers when you, as a marketer, make the effort to personalize your messaging and segment your audience. Feel free to take a dive into our various “study guides” on those all-important topics elsewhere on this blog. (We promise there won’t be a pop quiz … but these topics are incredibly useful for turbo-charging your email marketing efforts. That means you can accomplish more and in a lot less time. Talk about extra credit!) For your business, email marketing serves an even more important role. As we’ve mentioned before, email marketing delivers the highest ROI. You can’t argue with the numbers: According to reliable sources, email marketing can deliver an absolutely astounding 3800% ROI -- banking your business a potential $38 for every $1 spent. In addition, email helps nourish your relationships with your most valuable marketing asset: the members of your email list. Why are those particular individuals so valuable to your business? Simply put: They’re vetted and they’re committed. Your email subscribers are a select few who have not only willingly opted into your emails, but they make the decision over and over to keep listening to what you have to say -- rather than smashing that “unsubscribe” link or even the horrid “mark as spam” button. Email marketing is so great for your business because it allows you to send targeted, personalized messages directly to each subscriber. As we mentioned just now, your email list subscribers are your VVIPs. And even though the messages you write for your email marketing campaigns go out to a bunch of people -- if they’re done right, they have a very intimate, valuable and personal feel. That’s a win-win for everyone. Without further ado, here are our Top 3 Email Marketing Basics That Are Worth Revisiting. Back to Basics Tip #1: Audit Your List Growth Practices OK, time to ask the hard questions, so let’s dive in: Are you doing everything you can to effectively grow your email list? … No? Well, don’t worry. There are a couple easy places to start. Step 1 to Grow Your Email List Quickly: Create Online Opportunities Surf on over to your brand’s website. Do you know what the most popular page of your site is? (It’s OK if you don’t, but if you have an idea, all the better.) What’s the most active, frequently updated part of your site? Make sure you have an email list signup forms active on all of the pages on your site where visitors are likely to linger or engage. We’re talking homepage (this is a big one, obviously), product pages, your blog, etc. EXAMPLES: From: BuzzFeed Why It’s Great: Talk about targeting! This sidebar email signup -- which doesn’t feel annoying or intrusive -- pops up after BuzzFeed visitors view content related to adorable animals. By creating a targeted email signup landing page that offers choice, transparency and the lure of a world of fun, BuzzFeed can capture highly engaged and interested email subscribers. Who could say no to fuzzy kitties videos in their inbox and daily pics of absolutely cuddle-worth good boys? From: Pure Kana CBD Why It’s Great: This email signup popup asks visitors an irresistible question while they’re scrolling the brand’s products page. (Curiosity and personalization are always a good combo for getting your customers interested!) Further, visitors are presented with the seemingly no-brainer deal of giving an email address to get both the answer to this burning question and a valuable 10% discount. From: Aimee Song, founder of fashion and lifestyle blog Song of Style Why It’s Great: This beautifully designed email list popup appears when a user stays on the homepage of blogger Aimee Song’s site for 30 seconds without clicking anything. The colors are inviting and eye-catching, and the theme of travel and old-school correspondence is subtly suggested. An email list popup like this promotes the powerful idea that if you don’t sign up, you’ll be missing out on a direct line to a powerful influencer -- and nobody wants that FOMO. Step 2 to Grow Your Email List Quickly: Create Offline Opportunities Just because everyone’s always online doesn’t mean that you should neglect the opportunity to maximize your offline signup opportunities, too. IRL signups -- versus their URL counterparts -- can add an extra layer of connection, because they’re likely to involve your customer actually talking to someone and possibly even doing a manual task like writing with pen and paper (gasp!). Great examples of this include the sign-in “interest list” that you might encounter at a realtor’s open house, an in-store physical signup mechanism -- sometimes promising a freebie or chance to win something (like those fish bowls of business cards that you see at restaurant counters and retail stores) or when a cashier asks for your email and tells you you could have your receipt sent to your inbox rather than printed. All of those offline methods represent great ways to capture the email addresses and other contact info of your most loyal and interested customers. But remember to follow the CAN-SPAM rules and associated best practices regarding email marketing so that your sender address doesn’t get blacklisted. (For example: Be very clear with your customers about what emails they’re signing up to receive, and honor any opt-out requests promptly.) Step 3 to Grow Your Email List Quickly: Take a Cold, Hard Look at the Facts Finally, it’s time to do some soul-searching. Be honest with yourself now: Is what you’re currently doing for email subscriber list growth working? To arrive at the answer to this probing question, consider the following two questions: How many signups do you get versus traffic to a page? Do you need to update your signup forms? If the answer to the first question is “not enough,” and/or the answer to the second question is “yes” -- here’s what you can do. Once again, surf over to the user side of your brand’s website, so that you can retrace the exact experience that your customers are getting when they visit you. How does the entire experience feel -- cohesive? Disjointed? Read over your copy and the CTA of your email signup forms and popups. Do those words feel like they are distinctly your brand’s, or do they feel generic? Don’t be afraid to declutter, too -- sometimes cutting down the number of fields on your signup or taking the proverbial red pen to some of your copy can do wonders for conversion rates and signup success. Back to Basics Tip #2: Make Your Email Template Design Functional Is your email template design working for you? In 2019, all email campaigns should be responsive and geared towards deliverability. The text-to-image ratio is critical -- you don’t want so many graphics and GIFs that your message won’t load for people (or that it takes too long to load, which is also a mortal sin). Mathematically speaking, the experts are divided. Some have recommended an 80:20 text-to-image ratio. SpamAssassin is a bit more aggressive, claiming that a 60:40 text-to-image ratio is OK. You’ll find a virtually 50/50 split for the 80:20 ratio and the 60:40 ratio among the experts. Which is just fine, in fact -- you’ll want to evaluate your brand’s individual needs and situation to determine how much is too much when it comes to incorporating images. No matter what your text-to-image ratio is, your messages need to be designed for user experience. Step 1 to Design for User Experience: Direct Your Reader Towards the Goal of the Email To borrow a cheesy and somewhat outdated phrase popularized by the Canadian rock band fronted by the guy who was once Mr. Avril Lavigne: “All Killer. No Filler.” That’s how your marketing emails should be. Sure you can have fun with the copy. You can use borders, graphics and even GIFs in your layout -- but every element you add to your email design needs to direct your customers towards a goal. Often, that goal is a click to your website. For certain brands -- such as gurus running consultancies -- the goal might be something more personal like a response. EXAMPLE: From: TJ Maxx Why It Works: Designer discount retailer TJ Maxx has an interesting email marketing strategy. While they technically have an ecommerce site, it’s not particularly robust or up-to-date with their latest offerings. (TJ Maxx draws customers in with the promise that it’s “never the same store twice” because of regular killer deals arriving and being snatched up. They’re more interested in getting traffic into their brick and mortar stores rather than having people sit online checking for new items.) That’s why TJ Maxx’s marketing email is relatively pared-down and graphically simple. Since it’s likely to be read a lot on mobile devices as people are out-and-about, the brand doesn’t want to jeopardize deliverability with clogged-up design, and they don’t want to lose people’s interest with a wall of text. Step 2 to Design for User Experience: Place Actionable Content Above the Fold In the days where people read physical newspapers, “above the fold” content could be seen before a customer even picked up the paper. It was the juicy stuff -- the wording, images and design could be enough to make a person either shell out for the product (the newspaper, that is) or walk away without another thought. In this era of smartphone screens, email marketers must make sure to place actionable content above the “fold” of a device -- meaning, it should be plainly visible and easy-to-understand without requiring scrolling or unnecessary clicking. EXAMPLE: From: Gap Factory Why It Works: This email features a live countdown just under the brand’s logo and nav bar, and before the massive clickable image that advertises a big discount. In fact, the countdown itself is clickable -- meaning that it’s super-easy for the customer to click through to find these big deals before they run out. Step 3 to Design for User Experience: Keep Color in Mind As we’ve covered elsewhere in the blog, color can make a huge impact on how your readers perceive your product and brand. Be sure to be consistent with the overall vibe and identity of your brand, but don’t be afraid to experiment with different hues and shades, especially across individual campaigns. EXAMPLE: FROM: Nordstrom Rack Why It Works: Check out this side-by-side of two different emails from retailer Nordstrom Rack. While both play off the same color palette -- muted pastel backgrounds and white text, with brand and navigation text in dark colors -- the shades chosen create an entirely different experience for each email. The one on the left creates urgency, starting with the sun-colored orange and yellow banner on top. Then, a beautiful product image with complementary colors encourages the customer to click through to the product page of the site. On the right, the email’s colors invite a little more lingering, which is appropriate -- the brand aims to have customers review six options in a poll and cast a vote for a favorite. Back to Basics Tip #3: Examine Your Email Marketing Goals OK, it’s report card time! As a twist -- you’ll be grading yourself here. Time for some brutal honesty and self-evaluation … Is your email content strategy effective? What are your reports telling you? If you’re not sure how to answer this question, consider whether you’re seeing the opens you want. If your opens are low, you may need better list segmentation. Segmentation is a beautiful thing that we love to talk about. It’s a powerful tool that allows you to send more relevant emails. It also allows you to do more personalization -- allowing your messages to go further for you. Another troubleshooting trick you can try to up your open rate is to A/B test your subject lines. There are so many trends with subject lines, which is why brands do well to mix things up based on what the situation calls for. Check out this inbox snapshot: You’ve got emojis. You’ve got conversational language. You’ve got straightforward announcements, irresistible come-ons and personalized offers. Don’t be afraid to try new and different things with your subject lines, and always watch your open rates to decide which new tricks are worth keeping and which are worth ditching. Your “from” sender name is another thing you can play with in your marketing emails. We know that you’d never make the rookie mistake of keeping your sender name as “noreply” -- how robotic! But the choice of whether you go with “[First Name] from [Brand],” “[Brand],” “[brand.com]” or something else … that’s a tough one. Now, check out another inbox snapshot: These are all marketing emails, from the “Promotions” tab of a Gmail inbox. Notice there’s a good mix of people’s names, full brand names, shortened brand names and even a combination of first name plus full brand name that got truncated. As you test different sender names for your emails, consider how they affect your campaigns. Do certain stylizations feel more formal? More intimate? Are some more likely to grab people’s eyes? Are some in danger of being shortened in a confusing way? Finally, as you assess your email marketing strategy in pursuit of the lofty goal of sky-high click-through rates, remember that the only rules are the ones you set for yourself. Don’t feel locked in to one format, style or type of content. A/B test like your business depends on it -- because it sort of does. Remember: Even small tweaks to your email marketing strategy can mean big chances. For instance, if you experiment with a text link versus a button CTA at the end of your messages, you could see a huge difference in click-through rates. So, class is dismissed on our little Email Marketing Basics 101 crash course. What new email marketing changes are you excited to try in your campaigns?


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

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

Beyond • July 26, 2019

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


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Why Email Marketing Is Your Most Valuable Brand Touchpoint

Why Email Marketing Is Your Most Valuable Brand Touchpoint

Practical Marketer • July 18, 2019

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


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Email Subscriber Loyalty: 8 Video Ideas to Keep Them Engaged

Email Subscriber Loyalty: 8 Video Ideas to Keep Them Engaged

Practical Marketer • July 10, 2019

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


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