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Digital Summit Los Angeles Day 1 Live Blog

Digital Summit Los Angeles Day 1 Live Blog

Beyond • April 10, 2019

For the next two days, I\'ll be attending Digital Summit Los Angeles. It will be an event chock full of every aspect of marketing. I\'m going to do my best to bring as much of it as possible to y\'all in real-time (as long as WIFI and my laptop battery allow). I\'ll obviously focus on email marketing as much as possible, but there should be a good amount of general marketing knowledge you can apply to your email strategy and every other channel as well. Email 2020: Email Marketing for This Year & Beyond - Michael Barber, Godfrey 8:51 AM: Adobe Study: Average # of hours spent checking personal email: 2.5 hours The same Adobe study showed 50% of consumers preferred email to other marketing channels 9:02 AM: 71.8% will spend more time next year on email, 86.7% say they\'ll spend more money 9:07 AM: eConsultancy conducted a study showing businesses still may not be shifting enough budget to email marketing. The percentage of sales from email is greater than the percentage of a marketing budget dedicated to email. 9:12 AM: According to Experian, B2B conversions are more likely to convert on a desktop (but that doesn\'t mean they\'re more likely to open on a desktop). On mobile, Women are more likely to convert on a tablet. Men are more likely to convert on their phone. 10:02 AM: We\'re back from break and starting to look at the new inbox developments happening already. Seeing some examples of the interactivity in the inbox that AMP allows for is exciting! Text-based emails are seeing new life with wearables like the Apple Watch that only render the text of an email. 10:16 AM: We\'re gonna start talking about building a list. I\'ll share some of the more notable ideas here: Create a page where site visitors can opt-in to any or all of your email content Make your preference center look good, it\'ll save them from opting out entirely Create a sharable signup page that can be posted to other channels Try using a chat-bot instead of a signup form on a page 10:30 AM: The best email marketers use subdomains for SPF and DKIM records. Example hello.yourwebsite.com, etc. 10:36 AM: Some highlights from the section focusing on the design of emails: #1 Reason someone opens your email is the From Name. Using a person\'s name rather than the company helps to build the relationship. The best use of combo tested \"Name from Company\" in one study. Single column, skinny-based layouts are a must in today\'s mobile age. An inverted pyramid layout helps to show the subscriber what you want them to see A Zig Zag layout helps get more complete eye coverage from the subscriber Headlines: 30px, Body copy: 16px, Button minimums: 44x44 points (smallest one a person can click on) Get specific with button copy. Google \"Button Generator copy\" if you have to. The top results are all good tools. Stop saying \"Click Here\" or \"Learn More.\" 10:52 AM: Talking \'bout Subject Lines: Size doesn\'t matter: the variance in opens is less than 0.1% Sentiment; the words you use does matter. Use different word choices for different types of individuals/subscriber personas. The more simple, the better. Emojis make good subject lines good ... and bad subject lines worse. Superlatives matter! \"Brand New\" +37%, \"Latest\" +24%, \"Exciting\" +19% Phrasee is a great subject line testing resource. 11:22 AM: The difference in average ROI for sending to your whole list versus segmented lists is $28 to $42. 12:12 PM: Welcome emails that are sent immediately after signup have a 10x higher transaction rate and revenue per email. 12:15 PM: My favorite tip so far: BE HUMAN Write your emails like a human Don\'t start with \"WHAT WHAT WHAT\" ie the things you want to tell them, but instead \"WHY\" they need to know about it. Ask subscribers what they want to receive. Give them options. Also, let them tell you when they want to receive it. 12:27 PM: Test audience segments that are similar and different. Test segments that are active. Ensure that your testing groups are statistically significant: 10,000 subscribers or more. Opening Keynote: Future Consumers - Randy Zuckerberg, Zuckerberg Media 1:25 PM: Mark Zuckerberg\'s sister, Randy, opened her speech by mentioning she graduated from Harvard ... which her brother did not (she also mentioned that). There\'s clearly no complex there. 1:30 PM: Randy\'s marketing budget for her first year at Facebook was one box of t-shirts. I hope that worked out for them. 1:34 PM: Randy thought of Facebook Live at a Hackathon and thought it was an absolute failure. Only her mom and dad watched. Then, Katy Perry\'s team called, wanting to launch her world tour on Facebook Live. They developed Facebook Live, just so Katy Perry could do it. Four months later, Barack Obama was regularly using Facebook Live to connect with US citizens. 1:40 PM: Randy\'s best advice for women in tech: have a man\'s name. Advice she rightfully called funny and horrible. 1:41 PM: Hearing the person who created the concept for Facebook Live talk about the highs of the platform and the lows (New Zealand mass shooting) was a sobering reminder that we don\'t always know how the technology we create will be used. 1:48 PM: The Future Consumer: Everything is media Values unique experience Wants a different kind of career Craves healthy tech balance 1:52 PM: We should put a focus on long-form content that can engage an audience on a deeper level. 1:55 PM: Live content creates scarcity. Even with so many options to choose from, people still tune into live events to be a part of a cultural moment. 2:00 PM: Offline experiences also create scarcity. Examples like the Ice Cream Museum show that people will go to take pictures for social media. It also takes advantage of real estate spaces that were previously thought to be hard to fill. Contagious Content: Turn Your Customers From Privately Placid to Publicly Passionate 2:45 PM: S.T.E.P.P.S framework. How to make something catch on: Social Currency: \"People care about how they look to others. They want to seem smart, cool and in-the-know. So be sure to find the inner-remarkability and make people feel like insiders.\" - Jonah Berger (JB) Triggers: \"Top-of-mind means tip-of-tongue. So consider the context and grow your habitat so that people are frequently triggered to think about your product or idea.\" - JB Starbucks does this with its seasonal offerings: Pumpkin Spice Lattes Emotion: \"When we care, we share. Emotional content often goes viral, so focus on feelings rather than function.\" - JB Music is one of the best triggers of emotion that we can use as marketers Anyone can be a hero, the power lies within Public: \"Built to show, built to grow. The more public something is, the more likely people will imitate it. Design products and initiatives that advertise themselves (e.g. red bottom shoes) and create some visible behavioral residue.\" - JB Practical Value Something that connects with both the head and the heart Stories: \"Information travels under what seems like idle chatter. Stories are vessels - so build a Trojan horse.\" - JB 3:01 PM: Take these concepts and infuse them into every single one of your marketing channels. Email, social, etc. Content & Chaos: Diary of a News Marketer - Paul Plumeri, Wall Street Journal 3:21 PM: Marketing should be a service. Not a solicitation. How do I serve the customer at this moment? 3:32: PM: Find your Game of Thrones: what brings people to you Step 1: Recognize the disruption Step 2 Build according to tiers Step 3: Optimize 3:44 PM: Adapting audience experience: bites, snacks and meals More Than Acquisition: Why Marketers Need to Own the Entire Customer Journey - Sean Johnson, Digital Intent 4:03 PM: A retention chart is the money chart. It measures the success and failure of products. 4:08 PM: User Generated Content  (UGC) Loops: User Content > Google Indexes > New Visitors > New Signup 4:10 PM: Strategies to Leverage for UGC: Advocate for any and all user-generated content opportunities Turn lurkers into creators: 90% of users that join a site will usually be lurkers. Levers you can pull to make them user-generated content creators. Ask a question! Consider the cycle of the content: make it easy to share it early/often during that time.our 4:18 PM: Referral Loops let your customers do the marketing for you. Test and build the opportunities for referrals into the flow your customers will follow. Incentivize referrals: doesn\'t have to be money. Dropbox gave away storage space, rather than money. 4:21 PM: Customer activation, especially right off the bat, is the best way to retain customers. Small improvements at each step have a compounding impact 4:24 PM: Tip: go to Product Hunt every Friday and review the most popular companies from that week. See what they\'re doing. What their onboarding is like. What their referrals are like. 4:25 PM: Two steps to all of this: Create a habit Get your timing right 4:30 PM: Create lock-in. What can you do to create more stickiness? Example: Slack lets developers build into or on top of their platform to keep their users there. Bloody Hell! And Other Marketing Truths My British Mum Taught Me - Michael Barber, Godfrey 4:55 PM: We\'re in an era where easy wins. The least path of resistance is the best one. Too often, it\'s a competitor. 4:56 PM: Be Bloody Brilliant Create content where your audience is spending time. Let them get there as quickly as possible. Use Native Always Leverage the context The Magic Castle Hotel didn\'t have the best amenities, but there was something they could do. They could create an experience for kids. They created a popsicle hotline at the pool. All you have to do is pick up a phone and someone in a suit delivers a popsicle. 5:00 PM: Always Be Available Reduce friction to give them what they want immediately. Don\'t have a lengthy signup process. Conversion process should be frictionless. Know your audience: understand their pain points and be there for them Connect people to the things they care about 5:03 PM: Consistency Above All No surprises, ever. All platforms and channels should create a consistent experience for your customers. 5:06 PM: It\'s the little things. Little things create stories. The Hotel Monaco in Portland puts a teddy bear on every bed. The tiniest improvements can have the biggest impacts on experience. 5:09 PM: Be kind. If you can\'t be good, at least be kind. Empathy matters. Build empathetic systems. Do unto others. Live by the golden rule. Chewy (dog food company) has a \"make it right\" budget for customers who tell them that their pet has died. They suggest places to donate the food to, since they can\'t accept it back. They refund them. They\'ve even sent flowers with a note. Bloom & Empathy created a Mother\'s Day email opt-out ahead of the holiday for subscribers who may have lost their moms. It got them far more shares on social media than customers they have.


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

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

Practical Marketer • March 15, 2019

Writer Lois McMaster Bujold said: A stunning first impression was not the same thing as love at first sight. But surely it was an invitation to consider the matter. Let’s paint a picture demonstrating the wisdom of Ms. Bujold, as seen in email marketing. Someone discovers your brand. It doesn’t matter how. Could be by clicking an ad from another site. Could be by searching for something specific and being intrigued by your company’s meta text on a search engine results page. Could be by having a random finger spasm and keying your brand’s URL into the address bar like some kind of monkey at a typewriter who’s finally stumbled onto something great after years and years of fruitless poo-flinging and keyboard-punching. We’ll assume that your prospect digs your email signup form -- whether it’s a snazzy pop-up or a well-timed exit intent nudger. She eagerly clacks her address into your form and smashes “submit” (or whatever carefully crafted call to action terminology you’re using). Now, you’re a marketer in possession of a virtually priceless thing: your target customer’s email address. She or he has explicitly trusted you with that magical combination of characters that whisks you past the velvet rope of skepticism and deposits you smack into the promised land … the inbox! (And naturally, you’ve done the legwork to make sure all your efforts don’t get relegated to that horrid no man’s land called the spam folder.) It was either the 18th Century French philosopher Voltaire or the 20th Century Uncle Ben from Spider-Man who said that “with great power comes great responsibility.” You’ve got the email address (great power). Here’s how to make sure your welcome email knocks the socks off your new subscriber, maximizes the priceless sales opportunity and creates a diehard loyal brand evangelist for life (great responsibility). Sound hard? By following these tips, you’ll be able to take full advantage of one of the most valuable marketing tools on the planet. Welcome Emails Don’t Require Luck—They’re Destined to Outperform. Here’s How to Unlock Their Full Potential The stats are staggering. According to Invesp, welcome emails: Generate 4x more opens Generate 5x more clicks Boast a 50% open rate -- making them 86% more effective than standard newsletters Generate 3x more transactions and revenue per email over regular promo emails (on average generate 320% more revenue per email basis than other promo emails) With numbers like these, it’s not about luck. Audiences show us that they expect these messages. As well they should -- 57.7% of brands send welcome emails to new subscribers Not only are your subscribers conditioned to receive a nice note upon subscribing to your list-- they tend to enjoy reading it, actively engage with it and are more likely to take action before closing it. Subscribers who are sent a welcome email show 33% more engagement with the brand. The average welcome email has a 14.4% click rate, whereas other email campaigns average 2.7%. Welcome emails deliver results. Back to that bit about getting your subscribers to take action. We’ll expand on this in the next section, but first, let’s establish why it’s so important to have a goal in mind for your welcome email. Simply put -- that message is valuable real estate. To continue mixing metaphors like the mixologist at a trendy bar mixes up cocktails … that message arrives at just the right moment for your audience. The moment of receipt is when your audience is most engaged. The average conversion rate for welcome emails is .94%, whereas it’s .1% for a typical email. And welcome emails with an offer can boost revenue by 30% per email compared to welcome emails without one Hear Voltaire calling out to you from beyond the grave about great power and great responsibility again? (Or Uncle Ben, take your pick.) We’ve established that welcome emails get read and get results. Now we’ll talk about how to design and structure them in order to maximize those outcomes. These are the secrets to unlocking your welcome email’s full potential. Secrets of Highly Effective Welcome Emails #1: Time is of the Essence Feel free to get this rhyming couplet tattooed on your bicep: It doesn’t pay to delay. Send your welcome email right away. A whopping 74% of consumers expect a welcome email the moment they subscribe. In fact, 45% of first-time purchases made by new subscribers occur inside 24 hours of opting in. Strike while the iron’s hot! Make hay while the sun shines! Take time by the forelock! And other adorably quaint sayings about acting fast. You need to have your knockout welcome email ready to go, and you should set it up to be sent out to new subscribers immediately upon signup. Secrets of Highly Effective Welcome Emails #2: Your Subject Line is Key Winston Churchill -- who might have drawn the ire of the #metoo movement had he said it in the present day -- once proclaimed: “A good speech should be like a woman\'s skirt -- long enough to cover the subject and short enough to create interest.” Hashtag army aside, the above is a great guideline for your welcome email subject line. When you create your killer welcome message, start with a clear and engaging subject line. Make sure that your subject line conveys that this is the welcome email. But also tease your readers a bit -- make it intriguing enough to entice subscribers to open it. Also, this isn’t the time for riddles. Make your welcome email subject line easy to understand. All the words in your subject line should be simple, one- or two-syllable words. Use simple, natural language and avoid complex words, because it’s difficult to memorize them. Here’s a good average length for your subject line -- about 6.5 words. You want to be sure that your recipient can read the line and process it quickly. Avoid ambiguity. Be specific and clear in your subject line. Attention spans are an endangered species at this point, and you have a fast-shutting window of time to attract the interest of your recipient. Your subscriber is the center of your universe, so focus on her needs in the subject line. What makes her happy? Annoyed? Excited? Use that, and stir that emotion with just a few words. Examples of Highly Effective Subject Lines: From: Online eyeglass retailer Warby Parker. Subject line: Uh-oh, your prescription is expiring Why it’s great: Uh-oh! That’s simplicity, urgency and a great conversational tone all wrapped in one. Plus, it creates urgency and makes things personal with the note about expiring prescriptions. From: Deals and discount clearinghouse Groupon. Subject line: There are no deals in this email Why it’s great: Wait … what? Then why are you sending me this?! This email dials the curiosity factor up to 11, which is a sure way to get clicks. Be careful that you don’t abuse this technique, though. You don’t want to make people annoyed or feel manipulated. Once in a while packs a powerful punch. From: San Francisco-based online magazine The Bold Italic. Subject line: Just Pho You: Where to Eat SF\'s Best Pho Why it’s great: Punny. Surprising. Makes the mouth water. And best yet, this subject line lays out a super-specific piece of information that you know you’ll receive upon opening the email. Secrets of Highly Effective Welcome Emails #3: Throw Down the Welcome Mat Subscribers are primed to receive a welcome email. So why not use a tone that’s warm, familiar and reassuring? Use your welcome email to make people feel at home right away and to continue the introduction to your brand. From: High-end but economical luggage brand Away. Why it’s great: Lots of white space. Conversational tone. Lets you know what to expect and speaks to you in a cheeky but friendly way. Secrets of Highly Effective Welcome Emails #4: Tell People What to Do! This is not the time to be vague and mysterious. Your welcome email should clearly convey to new subscribers what they should do next. Is there more onboarding that needs to be done? Do you need them to take action? If so, what? Want them to follow you on social media? Want them to check out the “new arrivals” section of your store? Want them to be mentally prepared for another message, coupon or campaign from you? Design your welcome email around the desired action that you’d like your subscribers to take. From: Online hospitality marketplace Airbnb. Why it’s great: Simple. Clean graphics. Tells you exactly what to do and makes you feel like part of a vibrant existing community. Secrets of Highly Effective Welcome Emails #5: Keep Your Promise This secret’s pretty simple, and it has the added benefit of giving your welcome email a true Reason to Exist. Deliver on the promise made at signup. If you offered a lead magnet, such as a PDF, ebook or another resource, send it in the welcome email. If you told your subscribers you’d be delivering other content, information or value, make sure there’s a taste of that in the welcome email. And of course, abide by the other secrets while you do that -- have a good headline, send it out fast, use a welcoming tone, etc. From: Headspace, an app specializing in meditation. Why it’s great: This email does a great job of delivering a valuable lead magnet -- the complimentary 10-day course -- while subtly conveying to the subscriber that there’s much more value to be had beyond this freebie. “Basics” is a great description to describe the freemium model -- it doesn’t sound derogatory, but it sure sounds like if you’re serious, you’d benefit from investigating further offerings. Secrets of Highly Effective Welcome Emails #6: KISS The terribly condescending acronym KISS reminds us to “keep it simple, stupid.” Since we’re not about that negativity (refer back to Secret #2!), let’s just say: “Keep It Simple, Sweetie.” Or how about: “Keep It Simple, Smartmarketer!” Eh, maybe there’s a reason they went with “stupid” in the original saying -- it’s, well … simple. Keep this critical lesson in mind when you write your welcome email. Know the goal of your welcome email, and aim all of the content in your welcome email at it. It’s a delicate balancing act to do the previous steps of giving a warm welcome, informing subscribers of the onboarding process and delivering on the promise. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, remember that you can always advance those goals in separate follow-up emails. Don’t overburden yourself. Don’t try to stuff 10 pounds of onboarding into a 5-pound welcome email, as it were. From: Customer service software company Help Scout. Why it’s great: Thirty-three words. That’s all this welcome email has. And, bonus: 5 of the 33 are the word “help” -- the first word in the company’s name. That helps to make the entire message quite sticky. (Hey, they just got us to say a variation of the word “help” in our last sentence -- talk about effective subliminal messaging!) The email also includes lots of white space, friendly faces and helpful page link buttons. (Hey, they just made us do it again with “helpful.” We can’t … er, help ourselves!) More Welcome Email Examples for Inspiration The magic of what makes a great welcome email isn’t just about the above rules. Your welcome email should be a nice extension of your brand’s culture, marketing and general themes. Ideally, someone could look at a version of your welcome email that had all necessary identifying information stripped out, and still know immediately that it was an email from your brand. Check out these rockstar welcome emails that get the job done with style and memorability. From: Designer brand Kate Spade. Why it’s great: Holy orange, Batman! Nothing about this email is bland. Frankly, the white text on the macaroni-and-cheese-colored envelope is a touch harder to read than the usual “lots of white space” traditional email format. Seriously, we could imagine our nana rubbing her temples and slamming the laptop shut. But that’s part of the fun. This email -- from the exclusive discount code to the bold colors to the promise of more exciting things to come -- it does a great job of making the recipient feel like a true fashion insider. From: Mattress and sleep gear brand Casper. Why it’s great: How can you look at this gorgeous, well-themed email and not yawn? It’s concise, the puns fit the laid-back vibe and the message does an excellent job of focusing on the #1 person in email marketing: “you.” From: Shaving startup Harry’s. Why it’s great: Whimsical! Concise! Unabashedly cute! The razor market seems to have been around for as long as people have had facial hair. It’s a saturated, noisy and … excuse the pun … cutthroat industry. The blades-by-mail segment that Harry’s occupies operates on razor-thin margins (we can’t help ourselves!). That’s why it’s so important for Harry’s to stick to its brand values in this email. It’s fresh, it’s breezy and it promises to add a little fun to your day. From: Arts and crafts megastore Michael’s. Why it’s great: Somebody buy this designer a beer. This message from Michael’s is a work of art! Thanks to the cute and eye-catching design, the email manages to advertise several of its on-trend offerings (we count knitting yarn, chalkboard paint, oil paint and stencils) in a completely organic way. In contrast with some of our other examples in this article -- this email has a fair amount of text and links. But thanks to that great design, it never feels too busy or off-putting. From: Sleep startup Eve. Why it’s great: That collection of photos up top is just plain evocative. It helps remind us that, hey, our beds and sofas aren’t just for sleeping every day -- they’re also the places where we do some pretty important living. The excellent color palette -- white space, placid blue, bright yellow and the model’s lovely red hair -- does a fine job of suggesting the cheer that one feels after getting a great night’s sleep. From: Lifestyle/beauty brand Glossier. Why it’s great: Here’s an example of a message that truly puts the “welcome” in the welcome email. You read this one and you feel instantly calmer. (Notice the tiny but effective “we’ve got a good feeling about this”?) The subtle not-quite-a-CTA of “see you on Instagram” helps build the connection without sounding pushy or unnatural. From: Women’s fashion house Karen Millen. Why it’s great: Wow -- talk about a headline that forces you to read what follows. “Five Reasons We Know You’ll Love Us” --  if your eyes don’t race down that page out of sheer curiosity, you’re probably clinically dead. Or, the important point -- you probably hold zero points of commonality with the target audience. (Say, you’re a middle-aged dude who couldn’t name the brand of the pants he’s wearing currently if his life depended on it.) And that’s not a bad thing. Welcome emails don’t have to roll out the red carpet for absolutely everybody. A little bit of tailoring (pun not intended) and specificity help to reinforce that feeling of specialness among new subscribers. Final Thoughts Welcome Emails are an extremely valuable tool for marketers. Subscribers are conditioned to expect them, and they tend to read them, click on them and act on them at much higher rates than other types of messages. Make sure you take full advantage of this incredible platform by sending your welcome email out immediately, using a great subject line, writing in a warm and welcoming tone, being clear, delivering on your promise and keeping the tone and language simple. Now it’s your turn. What do you think? We bet you’ve received at least one email from a brand that was pretty memorable. What was it, and why did it stand out to you? Hit the comments section to tell us what you liked. Or, feel free to tweet us @BenchmarkEmail on Twitter to share your thoughts.


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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. Email newsletters can significantly boost your website engagement. 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. There are some services that offer HTML email templates, such Stripo.email and many others. 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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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 email marketing efforts. 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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eCommerce Email Marketing Integrations Perfect for Black Friday & Cyber Monday

eCommerce Email Marketing Integrations Perfect for Black Friday & Cyber Monday

Practical Marketer • November 21, 2018

You’re leaving a lot of money on the table if your business isn’t engaging in Black Friday or Cyber Monday promotions. In 2017, U.S. retailers saw a record $7.9 billion spent on Black Friday. They added another $6.6 billion in online sales on Cyber Monday, which was a new record high for online shopping in a single day. Sales aside, the number of people participating in Black Friday, 133.7 Million, is more than those who attend Disneyland (20.4 million). So, we can see that the opportunity is there for sales during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The Case for Integrating eCommerce and Email Marketing First, let’s look at why email marketing can be one of your most effective tools during Black Friday and Cyber Monday: There’s an 106 percent increase in customer reactivation on Black Friday when compared to every other day of the year. On Black Friday, open rates (309 percent increase) and click-through rates (455 percent boost) explode in comparison to standard bulk email sends. Using email automation and a sequence of three emails can lead to an increase in orders to the tune of 90 percent. Email marketing led to the highest conversion rate (4.29 percent) on Black Friday in comparison to other marketing channels: search (3.04 percent), direct mail (2.39 percent) and social media (1.81 percent). It’s hard to argue with the numbers in favor of sending email marketing campaigns for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Let’s take it a step further and talk about why integrating your eCommerce tool can be even more effective this holiday season. Integrating with any third-party tool or app is a great way to grow your email list. However, when you can sync your email marketing and eCommerce, you’ll be able to get more data on your subscribers. This will lead to a better relationship with the contacts on your email list. After all, the ability to send targeted, relevant content has a major impact on the success of email marketing. That comes from properly segmented lists, which is best achieved when you have sufficient data on your subscribers. How much more effective are segmented email campaigns? Open rates for segmented email campaigns are 14.32 percent higher than their counterparts. Additionally, segmented email campaigns see an increase in click-throughs of 100.95 percent in comparison to non-segmented email campaigns. Your email list is your most valuable marketing asset. Especially when you can segment it in a way that allows you to send the best possible content to each and every subscriber. That’s how long-standing, meaningful customer relationships are nurtured. eCommerce Data You Can Use to Segment Your Black Friday & Cyber Monday Email Campaigns There is a ton of data that you can use to segment your Black Friday and Cyber Monday email marketing campaigns, when you integrate your eCommerce Store. First Time Customers If a subscriber is a new customer, they may not have had much of an interaction with your brand before. So, this is your chance to make a first impression and greet them with a warm welcome. A Welcome Email campaign should be standard for any email marketer. It sets the tone for your email marketing and let’s new subscribers know what to expect. This can be automated so that every single new subscriber to your list gets the same greeting. This welcome email from Ancestry.com does a great job of greeting new customers. It eases anxiety by informing them that it’s simple to get started and backing that up by showing them clearly what the steps are to do so. It also does a good job at maintaining their branding. For the holiday season, you can get your Welcome Emails into the holiday spirit with some simple design or template tweaks. You can even offer a discount for all purchases made before or during the holiday season! Repeat Customers Did you know that it costs fives times more to acquire a new customer than to get repeat business? If you know that you have recurring customers, you can create an email sequence that supports their repeat business. For example, Amazon and other retailers often offer a subscription plan for products you consistently use. Things like toilet paper and paper towels, bottles of water or anything else you always use. Those retailers offer a small discount when you create a subscription for those products. By being able to sync your eCommerce data with your email marketing tool, you have easy access to your repeat customers and can create campaigns dedicated to them. Top Purchasers or VIP Customers based on Milestone Sales or Order Numbers For Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you can reward your loyal customers. First, segment your email list from your eCommerce customers to discover your top purchasers. Then, you can create a loyalty reward campaign and send it to that list! What can you reward them with? Maybe it’s early access to your holiday sale or an exclusive sale just for them! It could even be a special discount just for your loyal customers. This Cyber Monday email from Wigs.com offers a discount to the members of their Loyalty Program. It even denotes their current status in their program and the points available to them. Make your loyal customers feel special and they will reward you with their continued business. Location Sometimes, you want to use a few fields as possible on your signup forms. That means you don’t always get location data from the get go. However, if you integrate your eCommerce data with your email marketing account, you can get location data in that manner. If you’re a restaurant with multiple locations or any other business with several brick and mortar locations, you can use your location data to send targeted email campaigns this Black Friday or Cyber Monday. This email from Kate Spade promotes their new line of bags and let’s their subscribers know the closest location to them. For your Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaigns, you can promote your sales for the day and let your subscribers know where they can go to take advantage of the promo. It’s especially an effective strategy if you’re offering an exclusive giveaway to the first 100 customers through the door on Black Friday. Inactive Customers Subscribers go inactive sometimes and so do your customers. Email marketing affords you an opportunity to re-engage those customers who haven’t come back for more in a while. There are a few tactics you can try to re-engage an inactive customer: Tell them you’re going to remove them from your list. Remind them that being on the list gives them access to sales and promotions and other great information. They can choose to opt back into your email campaigns and not miss out on your Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions. Incentivize re-engagement. Tell your customers that they’re missed and offer a small incentive to make a new purchase. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday on the horizon, you can give them an offer for Free Shipping or a percentage off their next order to bring that customer back into the fold. Send a poll or survey. If a customer hasn’t returned in a while, you can ask them why. You can even get creative with it. Tell them you’re putting together a gift giving guide for Black Friday and Cyber Monday and ask questions about how they’re purchasing for and various interests. This will give you great data and feedback for your holiday campaigns. Shopping Cart Abandonment It’s reported that between 50 and 80 percent of consumers leave items in their online shopping cart. That’s a lot of potential sales! Perhaps some of your subscribers didn’t convert after your Black Friday sales. It happens. It’s OK. You have a chance to complete the conversion on Cyber Monday. If you segment your eCommerce data by the abandoned shopping cart list, you can send a cart abandonment email to them for Cyber Monday. First Time, Last Time and Item (Last Time) Email marketing helps stimulate repeat business and you can keep customers in the purchase cycle with well-timed emails. One way to do this is by keeping purchase history data. With an eCommerce integration, you can see the first time or last time a customer made a purchase and send campaigns based on that information. This data can help show you when it might be time for a customer to come back for more. After all, a well-timed email with the right message is when email marketing is working at its best. How to Integrate Your Benchmark Email Account with WooCommerce Benchmark has many eCommerce integrations, perhaps none more powerful than our WooCommerce integration. All of the data points detailed above can be synced with your email marketing account to guarantee real-time, up-to-date data. You can learn more about our WooCommerce eCommerce integration in this helpful FAQ. Wrapping Up For Black Friday and Cyber Monday and holidays throughout the year, you can use your eCommerce data to send better, more targeted email marketing campaigns. Now that you know that strategies that you can put into action, we’ve also got free holiday email templates to help you along the way. Do you have any tips on integrating eCommerce and email marketing or for Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Share them in the comments below!


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Free Holiday Email Templates

Free Holiday Email Templates

Practical Marketer • November 7, 2018

The season to be jolly is right around the corner! That’s right! Holiday cups are back at Starbucks, Christmas music is already playing in every store you walk into. Decorations are right around the corner. It always feels too early to start celebrating the holidays, but it’s never too early to plan your holiday email marketing. After all, email marketing accounts for 20 percent of holiday sales, according to Mailcharts. Holiday Email Templates Who doesn’t enjoy spreading some holiday cheer? Benchmark Email helps you get your email marketing in the holiday spirit with dozens of festive holiday email templates. Here are some things to keep in mind when using a holiday email template: Stay true to your branding. Don’t make your logo a color your subscribers have never seen it before, just to match the holiday motif. Same goes for buttons and other colors that are consistent across your email campaigns. Dress it up for the holidays, but don’t become something unrecognizable to your subscribers. Keep it simple. Don’t overdo it. You don’t want to be the house on the block with lights covering every square inch of the exterior and lawn with lights. You can’t look at that house without sunglasses. Don’t limit it to the template. Extend the holiday cheer to your subject line as well. That way it won’t be a surprise when your subscribers open your holiday email. Don’t just promote your sales. Promote your products too. A common mistake many businesses make is to only inform their subscribers of their promotions. That assumes they know everything you offer. Be sure to highlight your products too. The promo and the product together are the knockout combo you want. Templates To Automate Aside from the great holiday email templates available to you, we’ve also created strategy templates to let you automate your holiday email marketing. You can send a promotion and follow-up with your subscribers based on if they opened the email, clicked a link or visited a specific page on your website. Don’t wait for 2018 to take your email marketing to the next level. Get a head start on your New Year’s resolution and close out 2017 strong. We also put together some tips and ideas for your Christmas and Chanukah marketing campaigns to be automated. Holiday Email Marketing Tips Now that you know how to pick the right template and what to do with it, let’s look at some strategies and suggestions for your holiday email marketing campaigns. Make A Plan Everything will go smoother for your holiday email marketing if you start with a good plan. Holiday emails campaigns sent in the first half of November tend to get the best open rates, according to GoDaddy. The first step in creating a holiday email marketing plan is to know which holidays you should be creating campaigns for. These are the big ones: Thanksgiving, November 22 Black Friday, November 23 Small Business Saturday, November 24 Cyber Monday, November 26 Giving Tuesday, November 27 Hanukkah, December 2-10 Christmas, December 25 Figure out which of those holidays make sense for your business. Don’t contort to uncomfortable, Stretch Armstrong-esque lengths to make all of these holidays work for your brand. You may also not have the time or resources to do campaigns for all of them. Be reasonable and focus on the ones that will work best for your goals. What emails should you be sending for any (or all) of these holidays? A sequence of three emails is your best bet for successful holiday email marketing: First, you should send an email to announce your holiday promotion. You can send this up to two weeks prior to your sale. Next, you’ll want to send a reminder for your holiday promotion. If you sent the first one two weeks out, the follow-up email should go out a week later (one week before your sale). Lastly, you should send an email the day off the promotion. This one should really create some urgency and get your subscribers to act now. Segment Your List(s) Relevance is key with any emails you send, but especially so with your holiday email marketing. Most inboxes are even more crowded during the holiday season making it all the more important to stand out. Email list segmentation or targeted emailing are your best bets for sending targeted, relevant content to your subscribers. You can use purchase history, click history, demographic or location data to sort your list in order to send the best possible content to each subscriber. Holiday Email Marketing Content Ideas Giving gifts to our loved ones can be difficult. We want to give them something that will feel personal and picked out just for them. But where to start? Many businesses create gift guides to help their subscribers choose the right gift for everyone on their list. One way to create a gift guide is to sort it by price. Here’s a holiday email campaign from Bed, Bath & Beyond that sorts their campaign into sections by cost. It makes it easy to find the right item for everything from office holiday parties to something for your loved ones. Another way to organize your gift guide is by who the gift is for. It can be gifts for him or her, your kids, parents, etc. If you sell products for kids big and small, you can even create a gift guide sorted by age groups, from newborns to those of us with an inner child that still burns strong. This holiday email from Target shows how you can make it easy to find gifts for all your nieces, nephews, sons and daughters. Outside of gift guides, there are plenty of other holiday sales you can use email marketing to promote. Some companies offer a special gift to the first group of customers through the door in the morning. For some businesses, this results in customers camping out to receive the free giveaway! What better social media buzz than a line of anxious customers braving the elements to come to your store. This Black Friday from Chan Luu executes this strategy well: Other than giving customers a percentage off their total, you can also offer free shipping for your online shoppers. That’s what J Crew did with a recent Cyber Monday campaign: J Crew also creates a sense of urgency by telling their subscribers that free shipping deal is for that day only. One additional way to boost your holiday email marketing efforts is to include a charitable component with your promotions. If all of the proceeds from certain items or total sales are donated to charity, it increases the likelihood that a subscriber will make a purchase. PayPal itself wanted to inspire everyone to donate to charities during the holiday season. They announced that PayPal would add 1% to any donation made to a charity during the month of December. In 2017, more than $8.5 billion was donated through PayPal, in part due to this holiday promotion. Share Your Tips Have you run a successful holiday email marketing campaign in the past? Or maybe a favorite one you’ve received? Share your tips in the comments. We love to hear them!


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Marketers Share Why Benchmark is the One

Marketers Share Why Benchmark is the One

Beyond • October 30, 2018

We appreciate the marketers who use Benchmark Email for many reasons. Helping businesses grow is an honor we do not take lightly. That sometimes business owners and marketers take the time to sing our praises and let us know how they\'re thriving with email marketing swells our hearts with joy. We\'ve said it before and we\'ll say it a million more times: thank you for choosing Benchmark Email. Speaking of picking us... :) Here is why some of our favorite businesses in the Philippines chose Benchmark Email: Mansmith & Fielders Customer Support is Superb. Benchmark has a local team that we can depend on for any of our concerns. Though Benchmark has 24/7 chat and email support, having local representatives that we can talk to and serves as our account manager is what we love most. We are very happy that they always join our quarterly planning sessions. Who would do that extended support? Functional Features.  The first thing that you will look for any tool is its features, right? The good thing is it has useful features that you can use for your email marketing. We are very happy to see the analytics in the email reports which helps our marketing team improve our contents. Easy, and fun to use. Of course, we don\'t want to have a boring job and imagine making hundreds, or thousands of emails, we all get bored with that. With this platform making templates is easier. There comes the time that your brain can\'t function well, but don\'t worry because we got you on that. Benchmark has their ready-made templates for all occasions. You can do everything to make your email to look more interesting than before. Flexible Payment Terms. As for the pricing, for us, it’s no brainer that it\'s the least we think of because we are getting way more than what we are paying for. When it comes to email marketing, we can proudly say that Benchmark is like our soul mate, our perfect partner for our business. Benchmark indeed delivers its promise, which is to connect with our customers regularly. We could come up with a longer list on what we love about Benchmark, but we would rather encourage you to experience it yourselves. Mae Naval - Marketing Manager One of the most important tasks in a business is finding and dealing with increasing customers. This is just one task that I am talking about. There\'s a lot more so you need to plan carefully and manage your time effectively. And most marketers technique is to use email marketing software. Email marketing will be an easy task if you know the ins and outs of the tool or software that you are using and for me, that will be Benchmark. Yes, BENCHMARK. I love the mission of Benchmark which focuses on customer engagement. If you own a business, this should be your priority because, without this, your business will not have any potential to grow and move forward. Let me tell you three reasons why I like Benchmark. 1.) Easy Navigation. Benchmark provides a clear analytics interface.  Admit it! Not everyone is tech savvy and has mastered everything that goes on on the internet. You need something that you can easily understand and navigate. 2.) Well-designed templates. If you are looking to attract your prospective clients, you should be able to deliver your message in a professional way. Templates help us to make that easier and since it is well-designed, it turns out to be effective especially for sending newsletters. 3.) Support. Who doesn\'t like a knowledgeable and responsive customer service? At one point, there will still be questions that will pop out of your mind and you need somebody who can answer you. That is what you will get with Benchmark. In addition to that, having someone that recognizes and answers your reviews about their service is also a good thing about Benchmark. And the biggest advantage Benchmark has in the Philippines is that they are the only US-based email software who has a local presence. Having a local expert in email marketing is way so helpful and they even conduct a free weekly workshop. How cool is that? Another one reason why I like Benchmark is they\'re free (another free, huh!) to create your account and gather up to 2000 subscribers. Who doesn\'t love free stuff? I mentioned that I will tell you only three reasons to like Benchmark but I guess there’s so much more because their local representatives are very forthcoming in educating marketers. And very patient for beginners. They really walk you through each step of the way to becoming a pro. Cathy Sipoy - NPS Realty Most, if not all businesses, use email marketing in one form or another nowadays. It is making yourself aware that \"hey, I am here, and I am willing to do business with you\". The potential in email marketing is so huge since the email itself is already a publicity. As they say, negative publicity is still publicity. There will be some who will be encouraged to read a part or your whole email and the primary goal of email marketing is to create awareness. A lot of companies nowadays get the help of marketing firms to ensure this way of advertisement is tapped and maximized. Benchmark, an email tool can help businesses in a lot of ways from enhancing repeat sales, promotional emails, customer engagement and increasing your subscription base. Don\'t get me wrong, these features are also available with other providers, so what sets Benchmark apart? Not all businesses, especially start-ups, are willing to spend an additional amount for something that is very hard to measure until they get to test the waters. That is one risk in email marketing, the results are difficult to quantify especially for first-timers. This is where Benchmark helps your business grow. They offer a free plan for a maximum of 2,000 subscribers per month, yes, you read that right first-timer, two thousand emails without leaving a single penny on the table. Challenge with free plans though are, it is very limited, so what do you get with Benchmark’s $0.00 subscription? Not much actually. You will just get access to their email editor (insanely simple and easy to use as they say); signup forms; drip campaigns; RSS email campaigns; Email Delivery Management; Google Analytics Tracking; List Management and Segments; and, List Hygiene. I do not think you will get that elsewhere. Let me share why the features of Benchmark’s free plan is very useful from start-ups to mid-size businesses. For new businesses, hiring an expert to do email marketing and design will prove costly. Just knowing that anyone with basic computer skills can do it using Benchmark’s tools, is a sigh of relief while you’re busy making your mark in the business world. That is aside from the fact that the email templates don’t need tinkering even if it is seen thru a desktop, laptop or other mobile devices. One of the many great features is the drag and drop email designer. Who says you need expertise in coding to create an email design? With this feature you will be able to customize your email newsletter as easy as 1 2 3. On top of that, it comes with a photo editor, so you don’t have to purchase expensive software or hire a professional to do it for you. If you’re too busy to create your own email designs, you can always use Benchmark’s email templates which comes in different styles and formats to suit your business needs. If you are knowledgeable in HTML, the free plan also has a Code Editor. You can build your own email template or edit an existing one with the help of this. So much for just one system, right? You can integrate Benchmark with your CRM, CMS, Email accounts, social media and other customer-sourcing channels. Integrating Benchmark with other apps and systems will help maximize your email marketing campaign and boost audience engagement. You can create surveys and polls in the free plan. This will enable you to gather insights from your customers which will help in your product research and development. It also gives you the chance to retain customers who voiced out their frustration with your products and services. That is customer service 101! Signup forms is another feature from the free plan as it enables you to embed forms or pop-ups for customers to fill from your website to your Facebook page. You can save images and videos too! Benchmark enables you to store your files which makes it easy for you to access and use it anytime. Very convenient, right? One of the most important features you get is their built-in analytics tracking. You will be able to get the success rate of your email campaigns. Benchmark provide reports that will help you recognize which of your campaign works and which doesn’t. This also helps you identify areas and campaigns that need improvement. These are just a few of the features you get from it. There are a lot more from it that will definitely help your business thrive. Benchmark is one of the best email marketing platforms for me as it is a tailor-fit for my business needs; cost-effective; helps me make the most out of my email marketing campaign and absolutely user-friendly. Deljane Querijero - Freelance Marketer Benchmark, one of the slickest-looking email marketing platform with very user-friendly features,  is hitting all the industry benchmarks and more. Benchmark is an automation pro. It allows you to send automated emails according to “triggers” set by the user. Follow-ups are customized based on engagement so you never lose that “human touch.” Their email designer is one of the most user-friendly and intuitive email editors ever. It’s all drag and drop, coupled with some live editing. Let’s not forget that your email will always be optimized, regardless of what device the user is viewing it in. They make good on their promise to dress your emails for success! Benchmarks can be your CRM so you don’t have to purchase a separate CRM. They make growing and nurturing your audience and leads easy with their list building, custom sign-up forms and list management tool. They also add the ability to run beautifully composed polls and surveys, so you don’t have to invest in a separate survey tool. Analytics ensure that you, as a marketing professional, always makes informed decisions. It takes out the guesswork and having to rely on gut feel. Benchmark offers AB Testing, an Inbox Checker and Reporting features to track your campaign’s progress in real time. Benchmark can be integrated with more than 300 apps! Migrating can be a pain when you switch platforms but Benchmark makes it easy for you. Finally, let’s talk about pricing. First, the free plan offers 50% of what the paid plan does. 50%?! I know right! The last time I saw a free plan that offered that much features was ...never? Second, the price range for the paid plan from $14/mo to $28/mo. Those are prices that definitely play nice with freelancers, sole entrepreneurs and small business owners. Benchmark is easily one of the best email marketing platforms in the market today. It’s user-friendly, offers a host of features in its free plan and has a very nice looking interface. Email marketing, when done right, can renew your faith in modern marketing. And in case you have no idea how to do it the right way, let me give you a great tip - let Benchmark show you how. The Benchmark Email review at emailvendorselection.com echos that exactly. These guys know a lot about different systems – and even side by side they were very surprised by the onboarding support and step by step guide to getting started. And the chat support. Even after just starting with the tool got it up and running so quickly. (the first email created from scratch in 5 minutes).

What the email review liked: 24/7 real user support. Chat phone and email, even for free users. The image editor is amazing fun One of the cheapest email autoresponders Free small business CRM functions The Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA) The Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA), Inc. is a non-stock and non-profit organization of tour operators and allied members who actively involved in the advocacy of responsible tourism. PHILTOA was founded on 12 June 1986 and with almost 400 members which includes travel agencies, hotels, resorts, transportation companies, handicraft stores, and other tourism-oriented establishments and associations. PHILTOA is the largest organization accredited enterprise by the Department of Tourism (DOT) and they are the organizer of the annual Philippine Travel Mart (PTM), the biggest and longest-running travel trade exhibition in the Philippines. PTM aims to get more Filipinos to engage in local tourism by promoting ways to enjoy the beautiful, scenic, and exciting Philippines. PHILTOA also provides all their members educational workshops and events through their 4P Seminar program. PHILTOA: Partnering for Professionalism and Progress In cooperation with Benchmark Email, one of the partners of PHILTOA, the members are entitled with a series of workshops on how to effectively engage with their customers. The workshop covers the following: The Complete Guide To Email Marketing For Customer Engagement? How To Build and Grow Your Database? How To Create An Email Marketing Plan? As a prime example, PHILTOA sends a monthly newsletter campaign to their members to disseminate circulars and important announcements. PHILTOA likewise post archive newsletters sent through Benchmark in their website so that members can easily access. As delightedly shared by Mr. Ryan Meimban, the Marketing Head of PHILTOA, “using Benchmark has been beneficial for our organization as it serves as a bridge in tracking that all our members have received and read our circulars and announcements. It may sound funny but sometimes, our members claim that they did not receive anything from us but we can easily track it through the report in our Benchmark account. Most of our members take a traditional approach in reaching their customers, they just want to send their promo packages through regular email and no tracking. That’s why whenever they attend our quarterly workshops, it’s always a new learning for them.  As such, Benchmark is indeed a very important part of our organization. We are very thankful that they have an office and representatives here in the Philippines which assist not just us but also to all our members who use Benchmark.”


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