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5 Ways to Make Your Marketing Emails More Personal

5 Ways to Make Your Marketing Emails More Personal

Practical Marketer • October 24, 2019

Can you guess how many emails were sent in one day in 2018?  Would your guess be in the thousands or millions? Surprisingly, it is actually in the billions. In one day in 2018, there were 281 billion emails sent and received. Even more surprising is that number is expected to increase to 347 billion in just three years.  If your company is sending out marketing emails and you were already wondering how to stand-out, that number might not be what you want to hear. However, the good news is there are plenty of tips and tricks you can incorporate into your content to get noticed, read, appreciated and convert leads into customers. Personalize Your Subject Line  The first way is an old trick, but one that is still useful to marketers. If you made sure to get everyone’s first name when building out your email lists, this is one you can start using today. Now, you may be wondering if this still gets higher open rates, since you likely aren’t the first person your customer has seen add their first name to a sales email.  According to Experian, your customers are 29% more likely to open your email if their name is used. The study showed that personalized emails generated six times higher transaction rates. This is one of the quickest and easiest ways to get noticed and make your customer feel like you know them by name.  Take a Conversational Tone  Knowing what to say is the first part to writing a great email and the way you make it more personalized, is knowing how to say it. The tone of your messaging is an important way to stand out and shouldn’t be overlooked. Many sales emails that go out to inboxes everywhere take a more formal or sophisticated approach. That is not how people usually talk to their friends. You don’t have to make the tone too informal, but it is necessary to take a conversational approach to your content.  The easiest way to do this is to write like you would if you were talking with some friends. For example, use the word “it’s” instead of spelling out “it is” because when you read it out loud it usually sounds more awkward and not how people normally talk. You can also use words like “just” or even add in some emojis to make the email more fun to read. Let’s face it, people enjoy opening and reading emails from their friends more than they do from businesses.  Use Humor in Your Emails  On the note of emojis in marketing emails, another way to make an email more personalized is by adding in humor or some well-loved puns. Again, this is how friends talk to each other and it makes your content that much more fun to read. A lot of fashion and retail marketers are catching on to this trend and we aren’t mad about it. If you are going to get an email in your inbox in the morning, wouldn’t you rather it be something that brightens your day or makes you smile? Brands are now seen as more humanized, doing social good and they want to be seen as more approachable. They want more people to share their content, forward their email to a friend or post about them on social media. Brands want to build trust and they see the value. It’s a risk, but what if it’s one your competitors are willing to make? Of course, every marketing email message is different, so always make sure it is appropriate.  Segment Your Email Lists  Another great way to make your emails more personalized and feel less like a bulk email, is segmenting your lists. This isn’t something marketers always take the time to do, but it’s an important step if you’re also hopefully using email link clicks for tracking your leads. There are a few ways to segment your lists, but a popular one is by the target audience. If your company sells to a few different markets, organizing your lists will help you tailor your email marketing content. Let’s say you work with multiple industries, by segmenting your lists this way, you can write an email just focused on the interests and problems your product solves, just for them. When you are writing content for the masses, it’s more difficult to make your point. Use Automation to Send the Right Message at the Right Time Marketing automation doesn’t have to mean the end of email personalization. With so many affordable marketing automation platforms on the market, businesses that aren’t utilizing this technology are falling behind. Keep an eye out for specific buying signals, such as a demo request, email engagement or pricing page visit, and use those signals to trigger intelligent automations that will make your prospects feel like you’re reaching out to them on a one-to-one basis.  As a small business, you don’t have time to send one-off emails to prospects all day every day. Marketing automation allows you to put the processes in place to ensure that your outreach is nurturing leads through your sales funnel and never letting prospective customers fall through the cracks.  Email personalization is key to getting noticed in the overcrowded inbox. Using the tips we mentioned above, you can increase your odds that your prospects will open and engage with your emails – even when their inboxes are flooded.


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8 Email Deliverability Tips To Help You Get to the Inbox in 2020

8 Email Deliverability Tips To Help You Get to the Inbox in 2020

Practical Marketer • October 21, 2019

Wouldn’t it be great if every email you sent actually ended up in your intended recipients’ inboxes? While that’s certainly the goal when it comes to email marketing, making your way into someone’s inbox is often a lot easier said than done — especially with today’s rigorous spam filters. Okay, we know what you’re thinking: But I’m not sending spam. And while we get it, your standard email provider is usually more likely to err on the side of caution when choosing which messages make their way into the inbox and which messages fall into the dreaded spam box. It’s important then to optimize your emails so that they don’t set off any red flags, and we’ve got just the tips to help you do that. Read on for eight email deliverability tips that will help your marketing emails end up where you want them to. 1. Focus on Opt-In Subscribers It’s not just your conversion rates that suffer from emailing recipients who have not opted in to hearing from you. Email providers have pretty strict terms of service, especially when it comes to business communications. If you rent, buy, or otherwise obtain email addresses without direct permission, there’s a strong chance you’re going to get flagged as spam. 2. Clean Up Your Contact List Emails sent to non-deliverable addresses will result in a bounce back, and your bounce rate is one of the determining factors that email providers and internet service providers look at when qualifying your message. Fortunately, most email marketing providers make it easy to see which addresses are resulting in bounced messages. Be sure to check your contact list regularly for non-deliverable addresses and delete them so you’re not inadvertently increasing your bounce rate. 3. Target Your Messages Today’s consumers want to hear from brands, but they also want those messages to be personalized to their needs and preferences. Instead of mass-messaging your entire contact list with an email (which could end up in people flagging your message as spam or flat-out unsubscribing from future communications), segment your contact list so you only send recipients messages that they really care about. 4. Authenticate Your Domain Let email providers know that you’re actually who you say you are by authenticating your email domain. Taking this important step will help you jump the hurdles that providers put in the way of messages to ensure that they’re warranted, wanted, and don’t contain harmful material. To do this, we recommend authenticating through two different portals: the Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM), both of which will go a long way toward proving the legitimacy of the emails that your business sends. 5. Optimize Your Subject Lines Considering that 69% of email recipients report an email as spam based on its subject line alone, it pays to be careful when crafting yours. Some best practices for effective email subject lines include keeping it short, avoiding all-caps and exclamation points, and avoiding common spam phrases like “risk free” and “satisfaction guaranteed.” Make your subject lines personal too, since personalization has been shown to increase open rates.   6. Skip the Attachments Hackers and virus-spreaders often use email attachments to gain access to unsuspecting users’ computers. As such, any savvy emailer is going to know to avoid attachments in messages from senders they’re not completely familiar with, and email providers are going to consider an attachment a possible red flag. If you want to direct your recipients to a certain asset, opt for a link instead. 7. Keep Your Message Clean and Professional If you don’t want your email to be marked as spam then don’t write like a spammer. This includes being careful to avoid typos and grammar mistakes, as well as sticking to standard font types, colors, and sizes. This is good for asserting your authority in general, both with the people who are receiving your messages and the email platforms delivering them. 8. Make It Easy for Recipients to Unsubscribe Just because you don’t want anyone to unsubscribe your email doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t make it easy for them to do so. Providing a clear “unsubscribe” link in your email helps designate it as legitimate. It’s also legally required in most countries, including the United States (see: CAN-SPAM Act). This link should be obvious, actionable, and easy to find on the page. In addition to being necessary for marketing compliance, it also makes sure that if someone doesn’t want to hear from you anymore they opt out instead of marking you as spam. There’s no single magic way to get your emails into the inbox every time (if there was, we promise we would tell you!). What there is, however, are best practices that can help all marketers increase their email deliverability rates. Follow the tips above and you should end up where you want to be more often than not.


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The 10 Best CRM Tools for Small Business

The 10 Best CRM Tools for Small Business

Practical Marketer • October 11, 2019

One of the most important parts of your business is your relationship with your clients. As your business grows, so does the volume of relationships you need to manage. While at first, one-off emails, various databases, or paper spreadsheets can do OK at keeping your customer data within reach, as your business blossoms, so do your needs for a toolset that’s more robust. Customer data is only useful if it’s being utilized. Once you get to the point that you can’t hold your client information in your noggin or in an arm’s reach, it’s time to go digital.  A small business CRM is a critical piece of software that will keep all your client information in one place. Some offer more tools that are related to sales, some offer more marketing reporting, but all offer the basic functionality of customer information management. Let’s look at ten of the best CRM tools that are perfect for small businesses.  Hatchbuck Hatchbuck is a sales and marketing tool that helps you from the moment you capture a lead until you close a sale. Not only is the price point small business-friendly, but Hatchbuck’s platform includes a CRM that allows you to easily see client activity, track leads, and keep your information organized. With an all-in-one marketing platform, Hatchbuck also offers email marketing and automation that integrates directly with your CRM to easily manage all customer and prospect communication in one place. The platform allows users to automate marketing efforts with intelligent actions and keeps more opportunities on the path to conversion. Price: Starts at $39/month and scales up based on contacts, emails sent, and users. Billed semi-annually. [caption id=\"attachment_41696\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"1166\"] Image courtesy of Nimble[/caption] Nimble Nimble is a CRM that works inside of your inbox, whether you’re using Office 365 or Gmail. It allows you to manage contacts, deals and company records seamlessly inside of your existing workflow. Their all-encompassing dashboard lets you see exactly what’s happening with your business at all times – from managing deals and tasks to keeping track of upcoming events and opened emails.  Price: Starts at $19/user per month, billed annually. Hubspot CRM Hubspot is a popular free CRM for small business that features a decent set of tools to help your business manage its contacts, tasks, marketing efforts, customer feedback, sales, and customer service initiatives. The basic version of their CRM is free, but more robust options come with a cost. Never-the-less, Hubspot remains a popular option for small and medium-size businesses with basic CRM needs. Price: Basic CRM is free; other tools vary by volume, tool type, and bundling. [caption id=\"attachment_41702\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"800\"] Image courtesy of Dubsado [/caption] Dubsado Dubsado is a newer CRM on the scene. They bill themselves as a business management solution that allows more than just customer relationship management. Dubsado features tools to easily communicate with your clients, create automated workflows, view leads, track financial goals, and even book appointments. It’s a software designed with small businesses in mind. For the CRM side of their business, their interface is sleek and simple with easy to use lead capturing, project management, and client portal features.  Price: Dubsado has a free trial and is only $35/month for unlimited clients and projects.  [caption id=\"attachment_41695\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"1382\"] Image courtesy of Agile[/caption] Agile CRM Agile CRM is an all-in-one CRM solution that lets users manage their sales, marketing, and service initiatives in one software solution. They are a cloud-based SaaS system that can be easily used on both a desktop computer and mobile device. Their CRM provides robust solutions for sales, marketing, and customer service applications with features like contact management, one-click calling, appointment scheduling, helpdesk features, customer feedback, marketing automation, and a landing page builder. If you’re unsure of how to utilize their CRM to the fullest potential, Agile offers webinars to further educate their users. Price: Agile CRM is also one of the most affordable options on the list, starting with free memberships for low-volume users. [caption id=\"attachment_41701\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"2902\"] Image courtesy of Zoho[/caption] Zoho CRM Zoho offers a multichannel sales CRM for small businesses looking to cover all of their bases. They offer email, live chat, call management and social media integrations all in one application.They also offer a visual process management tool called Blueprint that allows users to build and automate their sales process. If you’re a little more tech-savvy and looking for a tool that does almost anything you could imagine, Zoho might be the right fit.  Price: Zoho’s professional plan starts at $20/user per month for unlimited contacts and scales up from there.  [caption id=\"attachment_41700\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"2092\"] Image courtesy of Pipedrive[/caption] Pipedrive As you might guess from their name, Pipedrive is a strong pipeline management tool. Their CRM offers activity and goal tracking, sales forecasting and reporting as well as email integration. Their platform focuses on activity-based selling so their tools are there to help you follow up consistently and automatically. Pipedrive’s visual sales pipeline makes it super easy to see exactly what action you need to be taking and when. Price: Their baseline Essential package starts at $12.50/user per month, billed annually and scales based on the features you need.  [caption id=\"attachment_41699\" align=\"alignnone\" width=\"1728\"] Image courtesy of Insightly[/caption] Insightly Insightly, a more B2C-focused CRM, helps you build better customer relationships through streamlined business processes, customizable dashboards and a plethora of integrations. With lead routing, project management and email tracking in one application, business owners can track customers from introduction to sale and beyond. Insightly also offers the ability to create custom apps for your business and to deploy them for employees across the web. Price: Starts at $29/user per month, billed annually. [caption id=\"attachment_41698\" align=\"alignnone\" width=\"3134\"] Image courtesy of Copper[/caption] Copper Copper’s CRM is specifically designed to integration with G Suite. With their deep integration, you never have to leave the inbox to keep tabs on contacts, deals or emails. Copper seamlessly integrations with every app in G Suite including Calendar, Data Studio, Google Docs and more. Another amazing feature is that Copper’s CRM is up and running in minutes and all of your data is automatically populated from Gmail. Who doesn’t love all of that time savings?  Price: Starts at $19/user per month, billed annually.  [caption id=\"attachment_41697\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"1456\"] Image courtesy of Zendesk Sell[/caption] Zendesk Sell Zendesk Sell, formerly Base CRM, is designed specifically with sales reps in mind. It gives a holistic look at the sales pipeline so your teams aren’t left in the dark when they’re out on the road. It also offers a support tool that lets your sales and customer service teams keep tabs on every customer conversation. Sell’s Smart Lists help your team easily segment and filter contacts so they’re sending the right message at the right time.  Price: Starts at $19/user per month, billed annually. A CRM can be transformative to your business. It can improve not only the efficiency of your sales staff but your entire team. Once your CRM is implemented, you’ll see that it is incredibly useful for sales, marketing, customer experience, and customer support. No matter the industry you’re in, if your paper files are stuffed to the gills with client files you can’t utilize, it’s time to switch to a CRM. The CRMs presented on this list all share a lot of similar features; where they tend to differ is usability and price point. The best way to select a CRM for your business is just to try a few out. Give them a shot and see which ones offer the most manageable learning curve and the data points that work for you. Considering there are small business CRMs available at every price point, there’s no reason to not utilize their benefits. Start trying a few out. You and your customers will both be happy you did.


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5 Creative B2B Emails You Hadn’t Considered

5 Creative B2B Emails You Hadn’t Considered

Practical Marketer • September 26, 2019

Need some inspiration when it comes to your B2B email campaigns? We’ve got you covered. The right email campaign can make or break your marketing efforts, especially when you’re running a small business on limited resources. From the content and substance of your emails to their design, each feature should be optimized to convert. And while you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, you should always be aiming for creativity in every email campaign that you put into action. Below, we’ll give you a full picture view of some of the unique ways that you can use email to enhance consumer engagement and get you closer to your most ambitious marketing and sales goals. Try to focus on both the forest and the trees — considering how an email might function on its own but also as part of your larger marketing initiatives. After all, you’ve got big goals, and it’s going to take a cohesive strategy to meet them. So let’s get to it. Here are five of our favorite creative B2B email ideas for small businesses. 1. Activation Emails Just because someone is a customer doesn’t mean that they’re an engaged customer. B2B marketing is all about cultivating strong relationships that are sustainable throughout each stage of the funnel, even after a customer has made a purchase. That’s where an activation email comes into play, not just confirming with a customer that they’re ready to go but offering up valuable information that they can use to get the full use out of the product or service that you’re selling. Tip: Make it actionable. You want your customer to engage with their purchase as soon as possible, so remove any barriers that they might have to getting started by including links in the activation email to support, demos, feature explanations, and more. 2. Big Events & Promotion Announcements Email is a great way to spread the word about exciting upcoming events and promotions. Get multiple outreach opportunities out of one event by sending emails throughout the lead-up period, keep them short, sweet, and focused for maximum impact. This is a particularly good strategy for upcoming deals and product launches, since it builds anticipation and lets everyone know what’s happening when.  Tip: Instill a sense of urgency. Both the subject line of your email and the text of the email itself should make it clear when the event is happening and that the time to take advantage of it will be limited. 3. Curiosity Cultivation Sometimes the best thing that you can say is nothing at all. Tease new features, content, and promotions by sending out an email that hints something big has happened without saying what it is. Recipients will have to click-through if they want to learn what you’re talking about, which is a great way to increase traffic to your site and generate interest during a rollout. Tip: Less is more. The content of the link should be a mystery, but not the link itself. Instead of burying your curiosity-building text on the page, make it the sole purpose of the email. Aim for one image and one line of text, and let intrigue take it from there. 4. Re-Engagement Emails One of the most effective uses of B2B email marketing is to re-animate conversations with leads who have disengaged. While you probably gear most of your efforts toward engaging with active contacts, switch your strategy up by creating a campaign for your inactive contacts. Include a coupon code or some other asset of value so that you’re not just getting back in touch but getting in touch with something that can navigate a lead to the next stage of the sales cycle. Tip: Narrow your focus. Delineate a purpose for a re-engagement email that goes beyond simply building brand awareness (for example: getting more demo sign-ups, e-book downloads, etc.), and then include a clear call to action that drives recipients toward that specific conversion. 5. Blog Highlight Reels Give your blog content a chance to shine by sending out curated emails that direct to your most helpful posts. Remember: you’re an authority in whatever it is that your leads are trying to achieve. By sharing content snippets and then linking out to those pages, you further establish your expertise in the field all while getting more traffic on your site. Sounds like a win-win, right? Tip: Pick a theme. Center the blog posts that you choose to feature around a particular topic, which each post relating to that topic in some way. It’ll be more interesting than a standard blog round-up, and will also grab attention right away. As always, do your research. Look to what your competitors are doing and brainstorm off of their good ideas. Look within your own analytics too to see what’s working with your leads and what isn’t. Even with a small budget, you should have no trouble maximizing the utility of your email campaigns.


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The Definitive List of Email Spam Trigger Words

The Definitive List of Email Spam Trigger Words

Practical Marketer • September 17, 2019

Email marketing is as much an art as it is a science. You want your subject lines to effectively capture the attention of your recipients and entice them to click, but you also don’t want to risk being flagged as spam. Unfortunately, email platforms are becoming more intuitive by the day, which means if you’re not careful, your messages could easily end up rerouted before they ever even reach your readers. One of the easiest ways to avoid triggering spam filters is to choose the words you use in your subject line very carefully. To make things a little easier, we’ve put together a rather exhaustive list of common email spam trigger words. Feel free to bookmark this post and consult back whenever you’re crafting an email message. Numbers / Symbols • 100% (including 100% free, 100% satisfied, etc.) • 50% Off • $$$ (including earn $, save $, make $, only $, etc.) • #1 • 4U • Billion • Join Millions • Million • One Hundred Percent • Thousands Greetings • Dear {name} • Friend • Hello Sales & E-Commerce • Act now • As Seen On • Bargain • Best Price • Buy • Buy Direct • Cheap • Clearance • Compare • Compare Rates • Discount • Fantastic Deal • Free • Great Offer • Incredible Deal • Limited (i.e. Limited Time Offer, etc.) • Lowest Price • New Customers Only • Name Brand • No Purchase Necessary • Offer • Offer Expires • Order • Order Now • Order Shipped By • Order Status • Order Today • Risk Free • Sale • Save • Shopper • Shopping Spree • Supplies • Why Pay More? Marketing • Ad • Auto Email Removal • Be Amazed • Bulk Email • Call • Click • Click Below • Click Here • Click to Remove • Compete for Your Business • Direct Email • Direct Marketing • Email Harvest • Email Marketing • Form • Increase Sales • Increase Traffic • Increase Your Sales • Internet Market • Internet Marketing • Marketing • Marketing Solutions • Mass Email • Member • Month Trial Offer • More Internet Traffic • Multi-Level Marketing • One Time Mailing • Online Marketing • Opt-In • Performance • Removal • Removal Instructions • Sales • Search Engine Listings • Search Engines • Subscribe • The Following Form • Unsubscribe • Visit Our Website • Web Traffic • Will Not Believe Your Eyes General Offers • Being a Member • Billing Address • Cancel • Cancel Any Time • Cannot Be Combined with Any Other Offer • Exclusive Deal • Financial Freedom • Gift Certificate • Giving Away • Guarantee • Have You Been Turned Down • Important Information Regarding • Mail In Order Form • Message Contains • Not Intended • Obligation • Off Shore • Offer • Opportunity • Per Day • Per Week • Priority Mail • Prize(s) • Produced and Sent Out • Purchase • Removes • Reserves the Right • Reverses • Score • Sign Up Free • See For Yourself • Terms • Terms and Conditions • The Best Rates • They’re Just Giving It Away • Trial • Unlimited • Unsolicited • Vacation • Vacation Offers • Warranty • We Honor All • Weekend Getaway • What’s Keeping You? • Who Really Wins? • Win • Winner • Winning • Won • You Are a Winner! • You Have Been Selected • You’re a Winner! General Finance • Affordable • Beneficiary • Big Bucks • Billing • Cash • Cash Bonus • Cents on the Dollar • Check • Claims • Collect • Cost • Credit • Credit Bureaus • Earn • Easy Terms • Extra Cash • Fast Cash • Hidden Assets • Hidden Charges • Income • Insurance • Investment • Loan(s) • Million Dollars • Money • Money Back • Mortgage • Mortgage Rates • No Cost • No Fees • One Hundred Percent Free • Pennies a Day • Price • Profits • Pure Profit • Quote • Rates • Refinance • Refund • Save • Save Big Money • Save Up To • Serious Cash • Subject to Credit • They Keep Your Money – No Refund • Unsecured Credit • Unsecured Debt • US Dollars Business Finance • Accept Credit Cards • Cards Accepted • Check or Money Order • Credit Card Offers • Full Refund • Investment Decision • Requires Initial Investment • Stock Alert • Stock Pick Personal Finance • Additional Income • Avoid Bankruptcy • Be Your Own Boss • Calling Creditors • Collect Child Support • Consolidate Credit • Consolidate Debt • Consolidate Your Debt • Debt • Double Your Cash • Double Your Income • Earn Extra Cash • Earn Extra Income • Eliminate Bad Credit • Eliminate Debt • Expect to Earn • Extra Income • Financially Independent • Get Out of Debt • Get Paid • Home Based Business • Home Employment • Income from Home • Lower Interest Rate • Lower Monthly Payment • Lower Your Mortgage Rate • Lowest Insurance Rates • Make Money • Money Making • Online Biz Opportunity • Potential Earnings • Pre-Approved • Refinance Home • Social Security Number • Your Income General • Acceptance • Access • Accordingly • Action • Amazed • Avoid • Beverage • Bonus • Boss • Cashcashcash • Casino • Celebrity • Chance • Claims to Be Legal • Congratulations • Costs • Diagnostics • Dormant • Extra • For You • Freedom • Get • Here • Hidden • Home • Info You Requested • Information You Requested • Junk • Leave • Legal • Life • Lifetime • Lose • Maintained • Medicine • Medium • Miracle • Never • Notspam • Open • Passwords • Phone • Presently • Problem • Promise • Remove • Request • Reverse • Sample • Satisfaction • Solution • Spam • Stop • Success • Teen • This Isn’t a Scam • This Isn’t Junk • This Isn’t Spam • We Hate Spam • Wife Adjectives/Descriptive Words • Affordable • All Natural • All New • Amazing • Certified • Cures • Drastically Reduced • It’s Effective • Fantastic • For Free • Guaranteed • Home Based • Luxury • Outstanding • Real • Risk-Free • Satisfaction Guaranteed Sense of Urgency • Act Now • Apply Now • Apply Online • Call Now • Can’t Live Without • Do It Today • Don’t Delete • Don’t Hesitate • Expire • For Instant Access • For Only • Get It Now • Get Started Now • Instant • Limited Time (i.e. offer, only, etc.) • Now • Now Only • Offer Expires • Once in a Lifetime • One Time • Only • Order Now • Order Today • Please Read • Special Promotion • Supplies are Limited • Take Action Now • This Won’t Last • Time Limited • Urgent • What Are You Waiting for? • While Supplies Last Variations of the Word ‘No’ • No Age Restrictions • No Catch • No Claim Forms • No Cost • No Credit Check • No Disappointment • No Experience • No Fees • No Gimmick • No Hidden • No Hidden Costs • No Interest • No Inventory • No Investment • No Medical Exams • No Middleman • No Obligation • No Purchase Necessary • No Questions Asked • No Selling • No Strings Attached • No-Obligation Variations of the Word ‘Free’ • Free • Free Access • Free Consultation • Free DVD • Free Gift • Free Grant Money • Free Hosting • Free Info • Free Installation • Free Instant • Free Investment • Free Leads • Free Membership • Free Money • Free Offer • Free Preview • Free Priority Mail • Free Quote • Free Sample • Free Trial • Free Website So there you have it! Your up-to-date, comprehensive list of spam trigger words. Will all of these words put your email straight into the junk folder? Not likely. Will avoiding these words guarantee that your messages won’t get flagged? Unfortunately, no. But knowing which words and phrases to steer clear of can certainly increase your odds of success. Of course, being thoughtful and more personal with your email communications while also utilizing an automated email marketing platform like Benchmark can also help you streamline your process and guarantee that more of those important emails are making it into the inboxes of your prospects and customers.


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Leading CRM and Email Marketing SaaS Providers, Hatchbuck, Benchmark, Merge

Leading CRM and Email Marketing SaaS Providers, Hatchbuck, Benchmark, Merge

Product & Design • September 10, 2019

The combined company, Benchmark, will enable businesses to flourish with powerfully simple sales and marketing tools. Los Alamitos, CA - September 10, 2019  - Benchmark Email and Hatchbuck, leading SaaS (software as a service) providers of sales and marketing solutions, today announced they have merged, creating a global customer relationship management (CRM) and email marketing automation technology leader.  The combined entity will operate under the Benchmark name and has U.S. offices in St. Louis and Los Angeles with international presence in 15 countries. Jonathan Herrick, previously CEO and Co-Founder of Hatchbuck will assume the role of CEO. Curt Keller, previously CEO of Benchmark, will assume the role of Chief Innovation Officer and Chairman of the Board. The newly merged company brings together 130 employees serving over 150,000 users in 15 countries and 9 languages worldwide.  With businesses rapidly adopting digital sales and marketing technology, the combination of Hatchbuck CRM and Benchmark email solutions will enable the newly formed company to better serve its customers and gain market share in an ever growing CRM and marketing technology market. By 2025 the CRM market is projected to reach nearly $82 billion and the email marketing market is expected to reach $22 billion (Grand View Research).  “Email marketing has always been a cost-effective way to connect with customers,” said Keller. “As SMBs invest more heavily in digital channels, they need a centralized place to track the relationships they’ve worked hard to build. We’re extremely excited about partnering with Hatchbuck to make CRM central to our robust email marketing platform.”  “Combining the two entities is a win for businesses on a global scale,” Herrick said. “Benchmark’s vision is to take our email marketing platform to the next level by incorporating CRM tools and making both facets accessible to small and midsize businesses. Hatchbuck’s expertise in the CRM space is going to be key to enriching Benchmark’s product offering.” “CRM software is the largest of all software markets and growing 12% year over year,” added Cliff Holekamp, Co-Founder and General Partner at Cultivation Capital. “The future is bright for Benchmark, and we are thrilled to support their success.” The new leadership team includes veteran SaaS leaders from both Hatchbuck and Benchmark that bring over 350 years of combined experience.  Hatchbuck and Benchmark will continue to operate as two separate brands and platforms and merge the combined best-in-class functionality into one innovative platform by 2021.  Portland-based Alkali Partners, a boutique technology-focused investment bank, served as an advisor during the merger process. The terms of the deal were not released. About Benchmark Benchmark Email offers an integrated, automated and robust feature set built to help the enterprise of any size. A powerfully simple and simply powerful email marketing solution designed to help you create and send compelling campaigns with ease. Learn more at https://www.benchmarkemail.com/. About Hatchbuck Hatchbuck is sales and marketing software for small businesses and marketing agencies. We help agencies and small business owners propel relationships into sales with all-in-one CRM and marketing automation. Cut through the clutter and complexity of bulky tools with a simple, affordable platform made for you. Learn more at https://www.hatchbuck.com/. Read the original press release here.


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What Email Marketing Integrations Deliver Scary Good Results?

What Email Marketing Integrations Deliver Scary Good Results?

Practical Marketer • September 4, 2019

There is more than just using an email marketing service to send emails. Email marketing services, though, depending on who you use, will sometimes have limited resources. Like in a scary movie, you want any tools you can get your hands on to get you get out of a sticky situation. In this case, you’d want all the tools you can get to help you successfully market to your subscribers. So here are some types of email marketing integrations that can deliver life-saving results. CRM Integrations There are many Customer Relationship Management tools out there, Zoho and Salesforce are just a couple out there. Many email marketing services may not provide a comprehensive tool to store and manage contacts. By using CRM, you’ll be able to view and manage your subscribers a lot more easily. Allowing you to create specific segments to target and send to. E-Commerce Stores It’s best to collect contacts organically and what better way to organically build your subscriber base than with an online storefront. E-Commerce, or conducting business online as you can imagine is the way to go nowadays. Integrating your email marketing service with your store, you can collect very strong subscribers who may open your emails and return to your store. Blogging Blogging as an activity is popular among businesses and casual internet users alike. There are also the \"in-betweens\" - casual internet users striving to make a living off blogging. There are others who use blogs as a launchpad to set up other businesses like eCommerce.  Regardless of which segment of bloggers you belong to, building a mailing list is of paramount importance. The idea here is simple - blogging is a high-engagement marketing activity that attracts prospective customers to your website. Integrating your blog with an email marketing platform allows these prospects to subscribe to regular updates from your blog.This presents a lucrative opportunity to build a targeted following that can be leveraged for conversion. Social Media Do you have a social media presence? You can gain a wider audience by posting or releasing your emails to your social media platforms. Integrations may allow you to easily post your emails automatically and You can gain a wider audience for your emails. It’s not trackable who and how many people may read your emails, but it could convince your fans to subscribe to your email.


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

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

Practical Marketer • August 28, 2019

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


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Using Marketing Automation to Improve the Customer Journey

Using Marketing Automation to Improve the Customer Journey

Practical Marketer • August 22, 2019

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


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

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

Beyond • July 26, 2019

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


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