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

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

Practical Marketer • June 18, 2019

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


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Lessons Learned from Top Brands on How to Rock on Instagram

Lessons Learned from Top Brands on How to Rock on Instagram

Beyond • June 14, 2019

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


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Spring Cleaning: 4 Practices For Email List Health

Spring Cleaning: 4 Practices For Email List Health

Practical Marketer • April 22, 2019

Building an email list can be an exciting journey to prospective email marketers. It does take a little effort, but the results can be magnanimous when the right practices are followed. As a marketer, it is paramount that you check your email list now and then to be sure they are in their best condition possible. One of the mistakes email marketers make is not being consistent when it comes to monitoring anomalies which are bound to happen, and as such, they keep wondering why their marketing efforts aren’t yielding the expected results. There are many ways to maintain the health of your email list, and one of them entails cleaning up your list, to know what you have there. Ask yourself;   Are there any inactive members?   Expired email address nobody uses anymore?     When you come across a situation whereby some emails are inactive or perhaps, bots, then do the needful by weeding them out of your list. In this article, you will be guided on how to maintain your email list health in four easy-to-follow steps. 1. Using Your Welcome Message To Your Advantage A specific practice which is known to set you on the path of conversion is to send a welcome message whenever a new subscriber opts-in to your list. An email marketing automation is triggered when a new member sign immediately in and it is advised you make it customized and personalized as possible. This is because potential converters want to be recognized as a person, not as a group. Learn how to Generate 320% More Revenue with a Welcome Email. It is also in your best interest to make sure that your email design is friendly and straightforward. Your color scheme has psychological effects and using them well can make a difference in your marketing results. Look for the best email designs and steal some ideas. Another methodology which is commonly used to convert potential subscribers to customers is by asking them to add you to their safe/approved sender list. Also, set expectations to ensure that you are keeping interested subscribers on your list. An annoying feature which subscribers hate is when they are unable to opt-out from your list. You have to make the opt-out button very distinct, to give the uninterested subscribers the option they seek. That is how to build a healthy email list. 2. Create A Preference Center According to Econsultancy, 66% of email recipients say that how often a company sends is their reason for unsubscribing. To be on a safer range, send emails occasionally. Too much can seem annoying and spammy to your subscribers. What Is A Preference Center? An email preference center is a tool that helps establish a healthy communication cadence with your email recipients. This tool aids your subscribers to manage their emails by giving them the option to control what they receive and how often they receive your emails. In the email marketing world, unsubscribes are inevitable. No matter how thrilling your contents are, some recipients are bound to use the opt-out button. Why this happens isn’t far-fetched. They probably felt overwhelmed with the number of emails they were getting and decided to take a break. The way out of this menace is to incorporate a preference center, by giving them a better option by giving them control over the content they receive and how frequently they want it. Apart from the reasons above, another advantage of having a preference center is to improve the overall customer experience, to keep CAN-SPAM complaints at bay and to help create a re-engaging opportunity. Time-Based Preference Center This tool is designed to help subscribers receive fewer emails. Not just that, you need to give them the option to go on a break whenever they feel overwhelmed or better yet, give them control over the number of emails they receive either on a daily, weekly or monthly. Content-Based Preference Center This type of preference is the best cause it gives the subscriber the ability to choose the kind of content that appeals to them. More like, a targeted content which they can never get tired of no matter how frequently they come. Not all subscribers want to see all the buck emails you send forth, by having this content-based preference center in place, you give them the power to see only their favorite and the most helpful. The truth is, some subscribers are more interested in your blog updates and not your promos or discounts, while some are more focused on promos and discounts other than the blog update. To make sure that your marketing efforts aren’t a waste, make sure you segment your subscribers appropriately. Benchmark email services are email specialists who help in your email marketing endeavor. 3. Perform Proper List Hygiene Up to 25% of your email list will drop off each year. This is because people often get new jobs and abandoned their email addresses. Some lose interest in your services and so on. If it is essential that you weed off inactive subscribers from your list. Check your mail reports, some subscribers aren’t engaging with your emails, and the reasons can be diverse. Bored with your emails Can\'t find the time Perhaps they aren’t even getting your emails To re-engage them, comment about removing inactive or unengaging subscribers – everyone wants what they can’t have. Another strategy which has been known to spill in the impressive result is trying out coupons or discounts. It works like magic. Other tips are using polls & surveys, asking trending questions they can quickly answer, etc. Try something unique, something zany and out of the fiend that they wouldn’t expect, while also trying to stay within your brand. Do this, and you will witness a spike in engagement. To build a healthy email list, follow the three points below Remove Inactive Subscribers: Like previously said, a lot of factors can cause your email subscribers not to engage with your post anymore. In that case, don’t hesitate to remove them from the list. The chances are that they will never convert to customers no matter how mouth-watering your offers are. In other words, they are eating up resources and become a burden to your performance metrics. After you have removed them from your list, you will feel the difference right away because you now have a full list of people who are interested in your services. List Verification This is a measure every email marketer is advised to indulge you, to make sure you are wasting money on useless contacts that don’t exist. This is one of the core practice you must not overlook in your quest to build a healthy email list. Many email tools come with their list verification systems or have partnered up with third-party solutions, so they don’t have to worry about the process too much. How often you verify your email list is dependent on the email sender. Do you blast emails daily? Irrespective if your email schedule, it is paramount that you check your email list once every 90 days. For a marketer who sends a newsletter once in a month, verifying your mailing list once in 6 months is ideal. Another pointer to look out for is your email report. Ig your marketing efforts aren\'t yielding the desired result, perhaps that is a sign to verify your list once again. Make It Easier To Unsubscribe To not fall victim to CAN-SPAM complaint, it is mandatory you have a distinct \'unsubscribe button\' that helps uninterested email recipients opt-out from your email marketing list. This act shows good customer relationship management. Only keep subscribers who want to be there, none should feel caged to your email services. Sticking to this rule will make sure that your emails don\'t get flagged as spam. That could spell doom for your business. What Benchmark Email offers is to help businesses to quickly and easily turn their most valuable marketing asset, their email list, into relationships and sales. 4. Customer-Centric Marketing This is prioritizing your customers’ needs over other factors, that is, making your customers your central focus and treating them like the kings they are. Without them, there is no business and that in turn can spell doom. This is the reason customers should never be joked with or taken for granted. Potential customers should not see you like a green monster who is out to drain them of their life-force – money. When you fail to project a selfless and emphatic personal to prospective customers, convincing them to take a specific action can become a daunting task. Never take your customers for granted. See through their view and make sure they get what they anticipated. Doing this right means more customers and recommendations from satisfied customers. Ways To Improve Your Customer-Centric Marketing Efforts Make sure your website is mobile responsive, fast and easy to navigate to avoid frustrating customers when they are browsing through your contents. Content is king, and if they are helpful to your customers and positively affecting their lives, they are satisfied which can lead to recommendation or referrals. Having good customer support is very necessary for marketing. This is what helps to rectify whatever issue or complaint a customer might have. If customer support is terrific, your customers will stick around. One of the best way to better serve your customer is to know and understand them. This is done by collecting as much data as possible and using them to your advantage. If you have data about their birthdays, sending a birthday greeting can mean the world to them. Other data can also help disclose their interest, thereby guiding you on the kind of content that leads to conversion. Lastly, always put your customers first, before your needs. When customers are convinced of your genuine and unquestionable urge to help, they will empty their pocket for your sake. Growing And Managing A-List Every email marketer aims to develop an enormous targeted list of people who will be interested in the services they have to offer. Building an email list does take some effort and planning. Here is a list of 15 Ways to Grow your Email List. Managing a list takes some work as well since you will always have to check list hygiene to weed out inactive or unengaging emails. When you work list management into your email marketing plan, it becomes routine. Learn how to Create and Execute Your Email Marketing Plan. Wrapping Up Building and managing a healthy email list is easy if you know what to do and the practices to follow. Ensure you weed out inactive subscribers, give your subscribers the option to control the content they receive and how frequently they are to receive them. Benchmark helps businesses quickly and easily turn their most valuable marketing asset, their email list, into relationship and sales. Get started free today.


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Merge Tags Available in Benchmark Email

Beyond • June 18, 2018

You can personalize or customize your Benchmark Email campaigns through the use of merge tags. The following categories of tags are available to show you how you can personalize your email campaigns. General Merge Tags Merge Tags for Personalization RSS Related Merge Tags Social Merge Tags Merge Tags for Conditional Formatting QR / Bar Code Related Merge Tags General Merge Tags [address_block] The address entered for the email [company_name] The name of your company [company_phone] The phone number of your company [uppercase:text] To convert the text to upper case, e.g. [uppercase:[contact_attribute:firstname]] will print BRUCE, for a contact whose first name has been entered as bRuce [lowercase:text] To convert the text to lower case, e.g. [lowercase:[contact_attribute:firstname]] will print bruce, for a contact whose first name has been entered as bRuce [propercase:text] To convert the first character of each word to upper case, e.g. [propercase:[contact_attribute:firstname]] will print Bruce, for a contact whose first name has been entered as bRuce [propercase:[contact_attribute:companyname]] will print Acme Inc, for a contact whose company name has been entered as ACME INC [forwardurl] URL Link to forward your message. e.g. <a href=\"[forwardurl]\"> Click here to forward </a> [unsubscribeurl] URL Link to allow users to unsubscribe (or \"opt-out\") of your messages. e.g. <a href=\"[unsubscribeurl]\"> Click here to unsubscribe</a> [opt-in:text for the link] URL Link to allow opt-in, e.g. [opt-in:Click here to reconfirm] will print <a href=\"___\">Click here to reconfirm</a> [subscribe:text for the link] URL Link to allow subscribe, e.g. [subscribe:Click here to subscribe] will print <a href=\"___\">Click here to subscribe</a> [unsubscribe:text for the link] URL Link to allow unsubscribe, e.g. [unsubscribe:Click here to unsubscribe] will print <a href=\"___\">Click here to unsubscribe</a> [forward:text for the link] URL Link to forward your message, e.g. [forward:Click here to forward] will print <a href=\"___\">Click here to forward</a> [Date:number of day from current] Gives the date after calculating the interval e.g. [Date:0] will give the date when the email is sent [Date:5] will give the date of 5 days after when the email is sent [Date:-10] will give the date of 10 days before when the email is sent Merge tags for Personalization You can personalize your email with details of the individual contact using the personalization tags. [Greeting: pretext=\"salutation\" field=\"field\" alttext=\"alternative text\"] Print the greeting with the contact\'s name or the alternative greeting if the name is not found. The values for the field can be F = First name L= Last Name FL = First Name + Last Name e.g. [Greeting: pretext=\"Hello\" field=\"F\" alttext=\"Greetings!!\"] In case the contact\'s name is Peter Wayne, it would print Hello Peter In case the contact\'s name is not given, it would print Greetings!! [contact_attribute:fieldname] Print the value of the field for the contact fieldname is the label of the field used in the contact list. To get the labels you can go to the detail of any contact and copy-paste the label e.g \"Job Title\" or \"Business Phone\" etc. These would translate into [contact_attribute:Job Title] and [contact_attribute:Business Phone] e.g. \"Dear [contact_attribute:firstname],\" If James Anderson receives the email, it will say: \"Dear James,\" RSS Related Merge Tags If you have a site that has an RSS Feed, you can now send out email without having to create the content all over again. You can simply create an RSS Email that will \"pull\" content from your RSS Feed and send out the email. You can use the following tags to customize your email. [RSS:Title] The title of the RSS Feed. [RSS:Description] The description for the RSS Feed. [RSS:Date] Published date of the RSS Feed [RSS:Link] URL Link of the RSS Feed To display the RSS items in a preset format [RSSItem:Block] This will print an RSS Item in a preset format To display a RSS item in your format [RSSItem:Start] This will indicate the start of the Item [RSSItem:End] This will indicate the end of the Item [RSSItem:Title] The title of the RSS Item [RSSItem:Author] The author of the RSS Item, if available [RSSItem:Date] The published date of the RSS Item [RSSItem:Description] The description of the RSS Item [RSSItem:Link] URL Link to the RSS Item [RSSItem:Category] A comma-separated list of the categories of the RSS item. [RSSItem:Image] Lets you pull in images To limit the RSS Items in the email [RSSItems: number of items to display] Limit results to the given number e.g. [RSSItems:3] [RSSItem:Block] This will print 3 RSS Items Or [RSSItems:5] [RSSItem:Start] [RSSItem:Title] [RSSItem:End] This will print 5 titles of the RSS item Social Merge Tags If you have linked your Twitter and/or Facebook account linked to your Benchmarkemail account, you can use the following tags. [twitter_profile] If you have linked your twitter profile, this will print your twitter profile which includes name, profile image, number of followers, number of people being followed and the number of tweets. [fb_like] If you have linked your facebook account, this will print a like icon in your email. This will allow viewer to “like” your email. [share_email] Share links to the email to facebook, myspace, twitter, delicious, digg and stumbleupon To see all the merge tags available for Conditional Formatting, click here


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Practical Marketer Spotlight: Mommy Mundo

Practical Marketer Spotlight: Mommy Mundo

Beyond • September 28, 2017

There\'s a lot of wisdom in learning from the successes of others. In fact, we\'d go as far as to say that\'s the practical approach to growing as a marketer. It\'s important to gather inspiration, test your theories and improve based on your data. That\'s why we\'re thrilled to share what has worked for Mommy Mundo. Here is Mommy Mundo\'s Email Marketing Story We have been using Benchmark Email for almost five years. Benchmark has been a partner of Mommy Mundo since almost the beginning. We use Benchmark to build our mailing lists. You’ll see the Benchmark form on our home page of our website. When people signup, they\'re automatically added to our mailing lists. Our team loves how easy Benchmark is to use. The dashboard is very easy to navigate. Even laying out the email newsletters are very easy! Plus, of course, if you have any questions the service that you get is very fast regarding response time. I think another plus is the reporting analytics, such as seeing how many people opened your email or how many bounced back. Things like that have been very useful to us. So, I always recommend Benchmark to my MomPreneur partners and friends and fellow entrepreneurs. I believe that nowadays relationship building is a key element in business. Especially for businesses like ours where we service the community, and it\'s important for us to always be in touch with the people we serve and our community members. For any business that hopes to establish relationships with customers, email marketing is essential. If you have a website, why not have a tool to: get leads know who is visiting your website welcome them into your community make them partners be in touch with them on a regular basis encourage repeat business Now, more and more, marketing is about relationships and Benchmark is one of the tools we use to build that. Janice Villanueva Founder, Mommy Mundo Key Takeaways So, what can you learn from what has worked for Mommy Mundo? Grow Your List Your list of contacts is an asset you own and is yours to keep no matter the platform. Marketing channels will change, but that list of individuals you have built a relationship with will always be there. Here are a few posts to help you grow your list: 15 Ways to Grow Your Email List Awesome Ways to Grow Your Email List with Facebook and Snapchat 4 Creative Ideas to Build Your Email List Fast Tracking Reporting Data is Essential Every email marketing campaign should have a goal. Your reports will tell you whether or not you have achieved your goal. Learn more about goals and the reporting metrics to track: How To Set & Achieve Your Email Marketing Goals 5 Email Marketing Metrics to Watch Depending on Your Goals Understanding Your Email Marketing Reports Email Marketing Builds Relationships A successful email marketer knows the value of fostering ongoing customer engagement. Great customer relationships are based on the quality of your email marketing: Is Your Email Content a Gift or a Drag? How to Turn Your Email List into Brand Promoters Share Your Story Do you have an email marketing success story you want to share? Tell us in the comments!


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Honey Pot Spam Traps

Beyond • November 28, 2016

‘Honey Pot spam trap,’ a term you’re likely to surmise as being a baiting technique used to trap spammers. It’s a technique used by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and anti-spamming authorities to identify and penalize spammers. The ‘honey pot’ for a spammer is obviously contact details, or more precisely, email IDs. Spammers use harvesting softwares to collect random email IDs from the web, which are filled up by users on different forums and websites. Databases containing harvested email IDs are then sold to innocent marketers (the lazy ones), who seek some fresh new prospects for their email marketing campaigns. At the end of the day, these email IDs get bombarded with marketing emails, which they have never subscribed to and are of no relevance to them. So the next time you find your inbox cluttered with marketing emails, you’ll have a clue about how you have fallen prey to spamming. Even the best offers will not placate the customer who finds spam in their inbox. However, spamming will hurt the marketer more than it does to a prospector customer. Anti-spam organizations, who have been unrelentingly fighting spam for so long, create and spread email IDs across the web so that they get harvested by spammers in order catch them red handed. If you send an email to these IDs, no matter if you agree or not, you will be booked as a spammer. Beware this honey pot can give you a sour mouthful. This technique is called a ‘Honey Pot spam trap.’ Project Honey Pot: Project Honey Pot is bad news for spammers. Spammers guffawed all over cyberspace and celebrated their heyday. It was affecting the email marketing industry and people started to hate email marketing, which is and was one of the most effective ways to deliver your marketing messages. Matt Prince and his anti-spam fighters at Unspam stepped into the scene with this brilliant web based Honey Pot network, to identify spammers and the spambots they use to harvest addresses from websites called Project Honey Pot (PHP). Today, PHP serves various government and law enforcement organizations to fight and reduce spamming. The PHP software installs addresses on your website, which are custom tagged to the time and IP of a visitor (even if it is a bot). If these addresses start receiving messages, obviously it is a clear case of spamming. We will also be able to track the exact time when these addresses were harvested and also the IPs which did that. In simple layman terms, PHP will include email addresses on your website which are invisible to the naked eye (display: none CSS rule), but which bots can scrape. Each invisible email address is a unique email address leading the spammer into the spam trap. Today Project Honey Pot stands tall as far as combating spam is concerned. In fact, they have even diversified their efforts to defend against other types of spamming. They have taken initiatives to prevent comment spamming and also dictionary attacks. PHP also launched services which leverage the data to allow website administrators to keep malicious web robots off their sites. The stats are in favor of this organization in fighting spam: Project Honey Pot so far: Project Statistics (as of June 18, 2016) Time From Harvest To First Spam Slowest: 3 years, 4 months, 2 weeks, 3 days, 21 hours, 1 min, 31 secs Fastest: 1 sec Average: 2 weeks, 5 days, 11 hours, 49 mins, 41 secs Harvester Traffic 1.55% of all honey pot visitors are harvesters Spams Sent 951.9 messages to the average spam trap address 1,700,752 messages sent to the most targeted trap Spam Servers Per Harvester 414.4 spam servers per harvester Monitoring 123,004,531 IPs 228,934,209 spam traps Identified 256,773 harvesters 375,028 search engines 106,406,578 spam servers 1,280,557 comment spammers 27,580,502 dictionary attackers 30,896 rule breakers 382,951 bad web hosts Active (This Week) 3,116 harvesters 137,139 spam servers 5,149 comment spammers 34,760 dictionary attackers 111 rule breakers Received 2,839,586,684 unique spam messages 5,677,168 unique messages this week Monitoring Capability 618,345,000,000 spam traps Top-5 Countries For Harvesting China (32.5%) Spain (12.2%) United States (8.7%) Romania (4.4%) Germany (3.2%) Top-5 Countries For Spam Sending China (9.3%) Brazil (8.5%) Russia (6.8%) United States (6.4%) India (6.0%) Top-5 Countries For Dictionary Attacks India (10.9%) Brazil (8.4%) Russia (7.1%) China (6.2%) Vietnam (5.9%) Top-5 Countries For Comment Spamming China (31.2%) United States (15.9%) Russia (10.0%) Ukraine (5.5%) Brazil (3.8 %) Source: https://www.projecthoneypot.org/statistics.php You can also be part of the effort to fight spam. Count yourself in by giving your details on the PHP website and agreeing to their policies and agreements. You need to do this to enroll your website in project Honey Pot. If more websites contain the PHP software, the more effective it will be in fighting spam. Basically, PHP is a collective effort by a group of individuals working together to fight spam. How to drop off the Honey Pot spam list: It is always recommended that email marketers use services like the ProjectHoneyPot.org, Windows Smart Network Data Services and Return Path’s Sender Score tool to ensure list hygiene. You can accidentally find yourself tangled in the spam trap in the following scenarios: You are reusing an IP which was listed in the spam trap. Your ISP did not play it’s part in preventing spam and complying with the best practices to prevent spamming from the email server you share or are a part of. In such cases, it will be /24 listing and you can request to be whitelisted. Your IP address has been involved in the activity without your consent or knowledge. Spamming/malware bots do have a way of infecting systems without the operator knowing they are there. If this not the case you have to check on your email marketing practices because it’s pretty certain you were directly or indirectly involved in spamming. A honey pot are an automated system and have nothing to do with you on a personal level. Since it is possible to get into a honey pot list inadvertently during your email marketing endeavors, the remedies are as follows: You can send a request to whitelist your IP. You may automatically whitelist any IP within the /24 of your requesting IP. Whitelisted IPs will automatically become delisted by bad activity occurring after the whitelisting date. A delay penalty will then be incurred for the next whitelist submission. Remove all those email Ids from your email list who have never clicked or opened your emails for a span of 6 months. ( this is a preventive measure but will save you from hitting a spam trap multiple times) If you are an email marketer and have been for some time, then you will be well aware of the fact that it is the marketing channel which gives the highest ROI when compared to other digital marketing channels. Emails are personal communication to a customer and spamming exasperate them. As responsible marketers, we should preserve and sustain the channel and join the fight against spam. Happy sending!


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5 Tips to Lower Your Unsubscribe Rates

5 Tips to Lower Your Unsubscribe Rates

Practical Marketer • September 13, 2016

Are you suffering from high unsubscribe rates in your email marketing campaigns? Are you at a loss as to why this is happening? Are you wondering what the reason for this dilemma is? Take a look at some common reasons that cause subscribers to unsubscribe and the solution to these problems! Read on for five great tips to lower your unsubscribe rates! 1. Provide alternate ways to stay in touch One of the biggest reasons for recipients’ unsubscribing is because they feel they are being flooded with emails. Unfortunately, when this happens they usually land up unsubscribing from the majority of emails they have been receiving. The sad reality of this situation is that these recipients do not consider your email to be anything special. Therefore they do not think twice about unsubscribing from your emails. However, there is a way to salvage this situation. Let them know that there are other ways for them to stay in touch with your business. Provide them with links to your blog, web feeds and any other means of communication. 2. Stop overwhelming recipients with your email Often you are the cause of your recipients’ decision to unsubscribe. This happens when you get carried away and flood your recipients’ inbox with numerous emails. The good news is there are many solutions to fix this problem. You can provide your recipients’ with an option to remain subscribed and change the frequency of the emails sent by you. This option should be offered when they click on the unsubscribe link. This option should also be present at the time of sign-up so that your recipients’ can select the frequency most suitable for themselves. You could also consider testing different frequencies and analyzing your recipients’ reactions to discover the best frequency to be used. 3. Provide an option for changing the email address Your subscribers may simply want to change their email address. However, if you do not provide them with an option to do so, they will end up unsubscribing. Leading Email Service Providers like Benchmark Email, etc. already have such options inbuilt into their application. Failure to do so may result in you needlessly losing subscribers. 4. Give subscribers what they are looking for Your recipients’ subscribed because they expected you to fulfill certain expectations. If you don’t give them what they want, they will have no reason to remain subscribed. Keep an eye on your emails and ensure that they contain what you promised to deliver. If you have promised to send informational emails, avoid placing excessive promotional tactics within your email. Ensure that at least 70% of your information is promotion free. Provide your recipients with a list of topics and subjects and let them select what appeals to them. Also, provide them with the option to unsubscribe only from a particular topic or subject. Analyze your reports and make a note of the topics and promotions that get the best response from your recipients and tailor your emails accordingly. You could even think about implementing trigger emails and segmentation to better target your audience. 5. Get people to use subscriber preference centers Make an effort to motivate people to use subscriber preference centers. This is a great way for your recipients to let you know what’s lacking so you can adapt accordingly. Unfortunately, most people only seem to use this option after they have already decided to unsubscribe. Give them incentives to visit the preference center by notifying them about special offers or requesting them to update their profiles for upcoming events. Do you know any more tips for lowering unsubscribe rates? Do tell us about them!


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Top Measures To Improve Sender Reputation & Email Deliverability

Top Measures To Improve Sender Reputation & Email Deliverability

Beyond • November 29, 2015

Email marketing is one of the most effective tactics for driving sales and generating new leads. Your success depends on your ability to reach your customer’s inbox. Once you hit send, your emails go through multiple testing paths. The better your reputation as a sender, the more emails get delivered into the inbox. Managing your sender reputation is vital to ensuring your messages are delivered reliably. Email deliverability is an issue faced by many companies depending on email to send important messages to their customers. Over 20% of acceptable emails, including email & shipping confirmations and password resets never reach the recipient’s inbox. Let us look at some important factors driving sender reputation: Complaints Complaints occur when the subscriber marks an email as spam or moves it into their junk folder. A high complaint rate can block your emails and can cause a bad sending reputation. It is calculated by dividing the number of complaints by the number of delivered messages. How to reduce your complaint rate? Stick to the type of content for which your subscribers have opted in. Target your subscribers based on their interests. They are likely to unsubscribe if your email doesn\'t bring any value to them. Send emails at a right frequency, as forgetful customers tend to unsubscribe more. Check your acquisition and permission practices for opting in your customers. Make the unsubscribe process easier so as to avoid complaints. A few complaints will not harm your reputation as it may just be some lazy unsubscribes. It is better to keep these complaints below a threshold. For example, Return Path provides comparative data to the ISPs to decide the acceptable limit for complaints.   Unknown Users Sending your marketing emails to non-existing users makes no sense and also adds to bounce rate. An unknown user is generated when you send mail to a recipient that never existed, inactive users or an address abandoned by the subscriber. Check your email list regularly for misspelled, inactive email addresses to filter out all inactive users. You can also find unknown users by identifying the SMTP error codes. Keep this rate to a minimum to build sender credibility. How to avoid it? Remove the hard bounces from your list and regularly monitor the soft bounces. Review your email collection process and ask users to confirm their email address. Monitor the feedback loops and analyze the SMTP error logs. Major ISPs provide feedback loops, in which the sender can gain information from the recipients who have complained about that sender’s email. Spam Traps These are the email addresses which are specifically created for the purpose of finding spammers. These should not be found on any of your opt-in lists. Hotmail postmaster Travis Wetherbee describes a spam trap as “one of the most widely exploited fraud management tools utilized by Internet Service Providers (ISPs).\" There are two primary types of spam traps employed by ISPs that have an impact on sender score reputation: Pure spam traps and Recycled spam traps. Pure spam traps are the addresses created for the sole purpose of catching spammers. They have never been used as an active email address and can create deliverability issues. Recycled spam traps are the email addresses that were once owned by individuals. After a period of inactivity, the ISP will turn the account off and return hard bounce or SMTP errors. Some addresses are reactivated by ISPs for spam traps. How can you avoid spam traps? Do not purchase email lists. Remove disengaged subscribers – monitor email addresses that become inactive. Avoid sending messages to role accounts (i.e. sales@company.com, customerservice@company.com). Efficiently remove hard bounces and utilize suppression lists for every campaign. Volume of Email Sent Volume is another factor in improving sender score. According to Return Path, “Volume refers to the numbers of emails seen by the reputation network over the past seven days and it focus on sending patterns, consistency, and cadence.\" Hence, you should avoid the unusual spikes in your email traffic. For example, if an IP address sends 1 million emails every month and all of a sudden the number increases to 12 million, it can hurt your sender reputation. Is reputation tied to your sending IP address or your domain? Presently, most ISPs are using IP addresses, but in the near future it may shift to an IP/domain pairing to determine reputation. Authentication will help ISPs assign reputations more precisely, by tying this reputation to both sender IP addresses and sender domains. Email marketing can do wonders to your business only when those emails are delivered. Your sending reputation is the main element in getting high inbox placement rates.


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How Event Marketing Can Boost Your Sales

How Event Marketing Can Boost Your Sales

Beyond • September 18, 2015

Business organizations know that maximizing profits requires smart marketing. Nevertheless, it’s challenging for some businesses to devote the time required to market efficiently. In order to support that effort, this post presents you with event marketing strategies to help your business gain more loyal customers and maximize profitability. Whether you’re launching a new product or service, promoting a limited time offer or merely looking to increase the exposure of your business, incorporating the best strategies for event marketing can help you maximize growth for your business and reap the benefits of the promotional activity. Every company has sales systems targeted towards specific markets or clients that are likely to convert leads into customers. Event marketing can be achieved in 2 ways: As a participant As a sponsor A company that implements best practices in event marketing can increase its awareness and familiarize itself with prospects that can prove beneficial to the business. Event marketing can be held at both national and international forums. It is a powerful technique used by businesses today to increase customer engagement, sales within the event and outside of it as well as create great opportunities for content generation. Event marketing helps businesses to move from one-on-one sales to group sales so that a company can present their products or services to different prospects at the same location and time. Here are some easy guidelines to help you boost your sales through event marketing: To understand what features and aspects of an event can bring in business for your company, the first step is to create an effective marketing plan for the event. The marketing plans helps businesses provide increased attention and focus to the more successful aspects.   Create an event within an event by creating a qualitative experience for the individual customer and for a large crowd. This provides businesses with an opportunity to educate customers on the quality of a product by directly interacting with them.   Make the best use of social media platforms for promoting the event – create a memorable, short, branded hashtag, develop an effective social media promotion plan for Twitter, LinkedIn. Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram, schedule status updates and tweets on the day of the event and make use of targeted advertisements. All these strategies are considered effective methods for directly engaging with customers through social media in a mutually beneficial manner.   Regardless of whether it’s design experts to create an ideal exhibition space, collaborating with another brand for cross-promotion or for recognizable and effective branding, do not hesitate to hire outside help. Businesses that bring in external resources can add value to its products or services from a different and creative perspective. So what are you waiting for? Use Benchmark Events to create and manage your events for free. Bring in customers for your business and demonstrate the goodwill that will leave a positive image and favorable impression of your brand on the customer.


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How to Design Emails for Smartwatches

How to Design Emails for Smartwatches

Beyond • August 17, 2015

Believe it or not, Smartwatches are starting to sell. They have been around about a year now, but the launch of Apple Watch gave a kick-start to wearable communication devices. According to Nielsen’s Connected Life Report, the number of wearable devices sold will increase ten-fold by 2018. This means people will be staring at their wrist more and phone less. Although it is the small section of the market, it is important to consider how people will react to your emails. Here are some smartwatch email design tips which will help marketers maximize success. Sender Details Sender details form part of the notification when someone receives an email and are even more important for smartwatches. You should use a recognizable name that could be either your own name or the name of your company. Here you can also make use of A/B test feature to determine which will work best. Subject Lines Screen size being smaller on wearable devices leaves minimal display area for other information. It is very important to keep your subject line short and catchy. It should be engaging enough to capture audience attention. Try to keep your subject line around 3-6 words so that you have more space for other email text. For example, Apple watches offer 12-20 characters for subject line whereas Samsung Gear S allow 30-45 characters for the subject. Preheader Text Preheader is the text followed by the subject line and provides an overview of the rest of the content. It gives you an idea of what the message is about before you open it. As wearable devices are getting popular, it is essential to entice readers at the beginning of your emails. This helps the user to decide whether to mark this for later or take the action instantly. Call To Action Tell the reader exactly what to do by crafting your call to action early in the email. Links are disabled for apple watches so it is better to mention as a text rather than a link. You can make the address and phone number a link to allow wearers to call up straight away or open the address in maps to make a visit. Plain Text Smartwatches lack built-in browsers so most of the time they ignore your fancy HTML and CSS. This makes the plain text version of your email more essential and requires a compelling introductory message. If your email doesn’t have a plain-text alternative, it will be more or less useless. Without a text version Android watches render raw HTML, whereas Apple watches tell you that “The full version of this message isn\'t available, but you can read it on your iPhone.\" Marketers know that the best way to reach customers is to message them wherever they are and wearable devices allow marketers to engage with their audience in new and fun ways. You can only win by standing out in the cluttered inbox, so start optimizing your subject lines and preheader for different devices. Wearable devices are part of a bigger picture and they are here to stay. If you have any suggestions for smartwatch marketing please let us know in below comments.


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