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Why and How To Re-Engage Your Email Leads

Why and How To Re-Engage Your Email Leads

Practical Marketer • March 30, 2017

Marketing is a contest for people’s attention. And that’s a big challenge, as you’re up against a lot of noise. To be honest, noise is only how marketers describe all the other messages and distractions consumers have in their life. If you can get and keep subscribers engaged email remains one of the most consistent channels to reach and motivate your target audience.
 In earning the same valuable piece of attention, the trick is, of course, to not become noise yourself. Your potential customer is assaulted by marketing messages everywhere he goes, so it’s tough to firstly generate quality SMB leads and after that keep them engaged. The even harsher truth is that many well-intentioned, committed SMB marketers are working with email lists in which an average 60% of the subscribers are inactive – or, to use the appropriate industry term, “dead.” These contacts have not opened, clicked on or responded to any email sent in in the last period. Usually, the yardstick is six months or longer. Armed with this knowledge, SMB marketers can make the choice not to ignore the inactives
and just keep sending, with the risk of diminished deliverability. Instead, go for re-engagement, attempt to re-establish a relationship with those potential customers. Why It’s Worthwhile to Re-Engage It is a big chunk of the email list we are talking about. Inactive subscribers on your list have not unsubscribed. That means they are still part of your (addressable) audience. They already like you and want to hear from your brand. At one point, they opted in, which means they are on your good side – they’re a far cry from cold calls. You want to keep your email subscribers longer than a day. Although the email marketing rule of thumb has historically been to proactively “prune” dead subscribers to avoid damaging your message deliverability and refrain from teaching ISPs to recognize you as spam, it’s worthwhile to attempt re-engagement before starting to prune. Ultimately, the ROI of email marketing campaign for reactivation is hard to miss. The dollars and cents tell you to attempt re-engagement before cutting the inactive subscribers from your list. Don’t take your existing contacts for granted. Re-engaging them is a way to improve your list quality, increase conversion rates, and maintain good list hygiene. Re-engagement Versus Winback Before we break down disengagement into “reason buckets” in order to formulate your re-engagement strategy, it’s critical to define a “reengage” message vs. a “win-back” message. A re-engagement email’s purpose is to convince a dead subscriber to become interested in hearing from your brand again, whereas a win-back email is used to drive a specific purchase after that purchase may seem lost. For instance when someone cancels his subscription. The difference between the two is essential because you are not attempting to get one customer to buy anything at this point. Your goal is to spark your potential customer’s interest in your messaging and re-establishing a long-term relationship with your brand. Why Did Your Subscribers Flat-Line?
 In order to formulate your reengagement strategy, first it is good to identify various reasons behind disengagement. You can adjust your email marketing strategy if the reasons are known. Here are the most likely disengagement enhancing culprits. 1. Poor quality content: If your emails didn’t deliver relevant, valuable content that your target audience could genuinely benefit from, no wonder your subscribers stopped opening your messages. Back to the (content) drawing board after you find out this is the main reason for large scale disengagement. You have to give your email subscribers some love if you are to expect anything in return. 2. Email overload: Did you send too many emails? Subscribers have limits to their attention, so they prioritize. Overloading them likely landed your messages in your subscriber’s “I’ll read that tomorrow” pile… and tomorrow never came. Image via notablist.com One way to prevent overload in combination with re-engagement is to (just once) give the option to decrease frequency, like Delish does with their “we miss you” campaign. 3. They were never interested in the first place: Perhaps, with the best of intentions, you offered an expertly marketed opt-in to increase subscribers. But it ultimately didn’t provide you with quality leads. If the freebie offer was “too good,” you may have unintentionally attracted people who don’t care about your brand, but instead simply wanted the freebie you were offering. In order to keep track of your subscription quality always mark save the name of your subscription in the customer profile. It avoids investing in a big but uninterested freebie/giveaway group which is watering down your subscriber list in the future. 4. You broke a promise (or many): Clickbait-y titles that don’t deliver, a super useful-looking download which turns out to be nothing more than a blatant advertisement… broken promises compromise the trust your subscribers hold in your brand, and that leads to disengagement. Take Their Pulse It’s important to identify how disengaged your subscriber really is. Has this person walked away just from your email marketing campaigns or from your other touch-points as well? Because there are different levels of “dead,” each rightfully having its own reengagement strategy. You must segment your dead subscribers into groups based on what channels they’ve disengaged from. Alive but unengaged: This person isn’t opening your emails but is still visiting your website and your brick-and-mortar store, and last week, she liked one of your Facebook posts. She is going to be reasonably easy to re-engage. Mostly dead: This person not only isn’t opening your emails, she isn’t visiting your website or engaged via other channels. She made a purchase and this year, but you haven’t heard from her since. She is going to be hard, hard, hard to re-engage Go through his clothes and look for loose change dead: This person is entirely uninterested. He isn’t opening your emails, isn’t engaging with your brand, and has never made a purchase. The only engagement you’ve ever seen is the email subscription, but it stopped there. You may never be able to win him back because he likely wasn’t interested from the start. How to Re-engage If someone has only disengaged from your emails but is still engaging with your brand on alternate channels, your best move is to reach out directly with a reactivation email prompting them to update their preferences. Perhaps the emails they’ve received from you thus far haven’t been properly personalized or are simply not valuable or engaging. Revamp your emails to make them more valuable, and reach out. Not once. Not twice. Attempt at least three times before closing the door on this still valuable contact. If, however, someone has walked away from most or all of your channels – email, social, website – you have to re-demonstrate your value entirely. You can send an offer to entice, or send something that shoots straight including messaging that states clearly that you haven’t seen this person in a while and that you’d love to re-establish a relationship. Highlight all the news, features, sales and “buzz” that you’ve created in the last few months, and perhaps even kick it up a notch by including recent testimonials to prove your value. Yes, there are some subscribers you’re going to have to cut from the list. When you find yourself picking through his clothes for loose change, it’s time to cut him.  If he has never made a purchase or interacted with your brand on any channel, you can feel productive eliminating him from your subscriber list. Don’t Let the Contact Wither When you notice “dead” weight on your subscriber list, avoid the temptation to delete disengaged users immediately. First re-market to them intelligently. Remember, your purpose here is not to convince the disinterested subscriber to buy directly from that first email, but neither is it to open just that one email. What you really want is for your potential customers to start interacting with you again and ultimately purchase regularly. It’s a worthwhile effort to re-engage your contacts!


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Internal Newsletters: The Underdog of Email Marketing

Internal Newsletters: The Underdog of Email Marketing

Beyond • July 27, 2015

The internal newsletter: let’s be honest, do you think of this as an essential business tool? Or rather something that arrives every so often and is undertaken by someone, you’re not sure who, in the marketing department? This latter outlook on internal emails is all too common. So, how can we transition from a away from wasting of everyone\'s time and treat the internal newsletter what it is: a huge opportunity. Writing awesome internal newsletters Let’s start with asking a key question: what is the ultimate aim of your internal newsletters? For many this may be motivational, for others, it may be informative - regardless of the specific goals your internal newsletters should be considered as a tool for effective companywide communications, and as such, given the time that is deserves. 1. Keep it Simple Email marketing principals aren’t merely restricted to customer email shots, internal emails face the same challenges such as improving open rates, engagement and reader conversions, which should all should act as key metrics in assessing the effectiveness of your internal emails. As a starting point you should focus upon simplicity, maintain content that focuses on being concise, rather than long winded, and writing with a natural tone that flows from one paragraph to the next. A particular area to review in many a company newsletter is that of the CEO intro; these currently serve as a section that generically suffers from being too long and generally boring full of corporate speak, which can mean that readers fail to make it past even this initial section. 2. Engage, empower, enlighten Internal newsletters shouldn’t be regarded as just something that is sent every week or month. Instead they should aim to engage, empower and enlighten. Your readers should genuinely find your content valuable to them and their job role, rather than reader because the boss told them to. So provide colleagues with a reason to read, be useful and create copy that is catchy, engaging and a possibly even a genuine joy read. So, how do you make what may be otherwise relatively standard content engaging? As a starting point you could introduce a little humor, testament to which are amusing email chains that not only engage readers, but that experience super high levels of conversions by way of a forward. Humour is far more flexible a tactic than you may think, and even industry or company news can be enhanced with a few humorous comments or well-placed candid photos. Some self-depreciation can work especially defusing. Be careful to keep it tasteful and respectful - if any internal newsletter would end up on the front page of the newspaper – it should not harm company reputation. A further way in which to engage upon a personal level (as well as instilling motivation and recognition to boot) is to include a regular team or individual staff member commendation section. This section would then include a brief report on what it is the team or individual has achieved. 3. Talking about tone In order to be engaging it’s generally advisable that newsletters employ a tone that is fairly relaxed and casual. Opting for too formal a tone can feel monotone and even appear authoritarian. Given that newsletters benefit from fewer restrictions as compared to official companywide communications, writers have the freedom necessary to use a tone they find effective and content that they deem to be useful and valuable for their readership. 4. Responding to emails increasingly opened via mobile The way in which people read email has changed irrevocably over the past decade and today an increasing number of users access email from an array of devices, from smartphones through to tablets. This change in readership must be responded to through using a responsive email design that adapts to the screen upon which it is accessed. To illustrate just how important this is 82% of people use their mobile phone to check their email and consider that 42% of email subscribers delete emails that fail to display in a mobile friendly manner, and when this is coupled with the traditional open and engagement challenges that you already face your internal emails could be seeing all together rather lowly readership rate.


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Optimizing Email Marketing by Tracking Abandoned Coupons

Beyond • August 1, 2011

With the large interest in daily deal sites like Groupon and LivingSocial, the email coupon is making a glorious return. Many email marketers in retail and other industries alike are re-evaluating the tactics and use of coupons. But are you getting the most out of your coupon emails? And what do you do with “abandoned coupons”? When Is Your Coupon Email a Success? To see how we can improve, we first have to see what defines success and how to measure it. What metrics would you use when evaluating a coupon email? The number of emails opened, links clicked or the number of coupons printed? While these numbers give some insight into how your emails perform, they don’t say anything about the end result of the campaign. And as it turns out, a lot of retailers don’t measure the actual redemption of coupons, making the email statistics look good by themselves but not delivering insight into the redemption results. Prints Don’t Equal Use Using email stats only is quite misleading. From all the coupons that are printed, only a small percentage makes it to the store and gets redeemed. The number of coupons redeemed might be as low as 15-25%. The coupons get forgotten, lost and expire before being used, so don’t make the mistake of thinking printed coupons equal coupon use. One on One Tracking Brings Opportunities By measuring redemption and using personalized coupons to do so, you are able to track people’s redemption on a person by person level. When you stay digital (e-commerce) it is actually quite easily done, but when people go offline and in the real world it usually takes a bit of effort to track that data. Personalized coupons might include a customer number or a personal barcode - even the email address could be used to track individual redemptions. Optimal Use Email coupons can do very well as a promotional tool, especially when sent to your list of already interested subscribers. And even more so if the coupons offered are personalized by product preferences. You can offer a more attractive coupon if you know what your recipient likes. It is even possible to trigger coupon emails based on individual behavior. Did someone visit the website and browse through a certain product category? Why not send them an email three days later with a coupon for just that product category? A lot of money gets left on the table though, as coupons are often used as a one email send, slipping through the attention or interest of the recipient. Send a Reminder, Series or Abandoned Coupon Email Sending a reminder in a series of emails can greatly boost coupon usage. A reminder might be in the form of an email asking for more attention to the original deal, usually with an extra emphasis on the deal expiring, which can create a feeling of urgency. The same mechanisms work with a post-minder, where you send an email after the deal would normally expire but with a time extension or a new (altered) deal. Normally, reminder mails will be sent to the people that didn’t make use of a deal just yet. The non-openers, non-clickers and non-printers (in case of printed coupons). But that is actually not the most interesting group…. People that Abandoned Your Coupon Remember that 75% to 85% of subscribers that printed your coupon but didn’t redeem it (yet)? They abandoned your coupon after taking the time and effort to print it. So they are very likely to be the most smoking hot prospects you will find, almost ready to buy. Use the tracking information you collected from individual coupon redemption to mine this golden group. Identifying the printed but not redeemed group brings the opportunity to execute your abandoned coupon program. What to do with the abandoned coupon group? Send them a reminder, series or re-market them later. This can be as blunt as: “Did you forget to redeem your coupon?” or more subtle. The message also determines a huge part of the success, so use whatever works best for you and your brand. It is a great opportunity to boost the metrics that matter; in this case, coupon use.


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Localizing Your International Email Marketing Program

Beyond • July 1, 2011

All email marketers face the same problems. While you want to be relevant to all your subscribers in an effort to maximize results, resources are always limited. More so if you are running an international email marketing program. We looked at how to localize your message and outlined successful email marketing to an international audience, but how do we determine which regions and segments deserve the bulk of your email budget? In this article we examine how to zoom in on the most important regions for your email marketing. Resources to Spend Some might call it reverse thinking, but take a look at your total email marketing budget. It will define how much time and money you have to spend on email marketing in total. Some companies have their budgets divided by product, by country or just have one budget for all online marketing. You will need to re-arrange your budget into a core email marketing budget and a localization budget. In the core budget you will have all the costs that you would make if you catered to all the countries as one. The region-specific budget will be used to provide the variable costs that you will make per country. A List of Possibilities Now that you know what you have to spend, take inventory on the different countries you could be localizing to. Start with the data you have. Where are your clients and subscribers located? This data can be compiled from a number of sources: Customer data, (delivery) addresses Subscriber preferences and data acquired via surveys Open statistics available in your email from previous sends Website statistics - these will also give you the number of visitors per country Sales, orders, leads statistics per region Cull Your List There are quite a few countries to list, but we are not trying to be complete. The goal is to get a list of regions that you are most suited to localize to. Several may already be eliminated by country size, economy or sheer non-adoption or focus for your company. Group into Regions where Possible Now that we have a list of countries, see which could be grouped together in a logical fashion. That might be determined on the basis of language, but also product, services or logistics. Prioritize Make some extra columns. Per region we add current size, potential, impact of localization and other tactical reasons specific to your company. Based on a combination of the numbers in those columns we can now prioritize the regions, ranking from high importance to low. Divide and Conquer Remember that we split our budget into core and localization. Usually the region at the top of your list is most likely to be the “leading” region, meaning that templates, strategy and the base program are developed with this region in mind, and to later be converted and adapted to the specifics of the different regions. The leading region is included in the core budget. Now we will have to make some decisions for the rest of the priority list. Make a Cost / Benefit Analysis How far is our budget going to reach? We will have to divide it among the other regions at the top of the list. Limit not only the number of regions / countries to be localized but also to what extent you are going to localize your emails. Are you going to formulate a completely different strategy, push other offers / services or just translate the emails you have already made? You can optimize the regional budget by decreasing the frequency of the (deeper) localization or the frequency of the email program altogether. Another tactic is to investigate which regions can re-use content or be combined for certain email campaigns. To further divide your regional budgets, make specific labels according to the expenses required. Some costs to consider can be “translate only,” “all sales localized” or “full, medium, basic campaign.” The End Result It has been a long, deep and hard thinking exercise. And probably you ended up with a different and more nuanced localization tactics than you had expected. But now you have a document with pros, cons and decisions and are ready for the international roll-out!


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Is Your Email Marketing Segmentation Bringing in the Goods?

Beyond • June 1, 2011

Segmentation is a popular tactic to take your email marketing to the next level. It can bring you more success, but segmentation efforts also cost money and resources. Yet if we examine our list management closely we must ask: is our segmentation giving us what it should? How Segmentation Works Take the example of a sports retailer. He normally sends a general catalog newsletter to his email list to promote his store and the sporting goods he sells. But a special on tennis equipment will work best if he sends it to the people interested in tennis. The people only interested in basketball just won’t care about tennis rackets so he can send them a special on basketball goods. Overlap and Digging Deeper That is basically how segmentation works; you divide your total email list into different pieces based on the profile information, behavior or characteristics of the recipients. People can be in several segments at once (like tennis and basketball). Information on the recipients can also be combined, allowing you to send even more targeted communication. If the offer was for tennis clothes, you might also want to segment the offer by gender so the men won’t end up with an offer for discounted tennis skirts. Cost of Producing Different Versions How are you going to produce different, more targeted versions of the email? If they are going to be totally different, you are adding production work for each extra segment you target. Another option is to go more efficient, reuse content and change only certain parts of the emails. For instance, by using one template and showing different offers via dynamic content blocks. Why Segmentation Doesn’t Always Work But not all segmentation works out the way you had expected. Sending more targeted messages might mean that you are missing the mark with a too narrow focus. Or you might conclude that your data (e.g. preferences) are not of the quality you thought. So before you commit to a whole different email program for each segment, first test if it is worth the added effort. Starting Small Is Much More Efficient Depending on the scope and magnitude of your segmentation plans, you might decide to segment by starting small. Starting small, you first single out one or two segments with the most potential for effect. Then run an A/B split test with a targeted email next to the general email you would normally send. Do you see any difference? Sometimes you might need multiple tests or a longer time to see the effects, but if the results really don’t show or are very minimal, it might be more efficient not to segment. Or…. Back to the Drawing Board Before saying “segmentation didn’t work, we tried it…” think about the other possibility. It might just be that your communication to that segment didn’t work. That means back to the drawing board. It might also mean that your method and characteristics segmented upon didn’t work and you should divide the list in a different way. Effective Segmentation via Success Metrics One way to discover effective segmentation is to look more closely at the behavior of your list: the differences between the people that always click, the ones that sometimes click and the ones that rarely click. Look at the differences between the people that buy and the ones that don’t, the ones that convert and the ones that don’t. With the use of analytics you can see if there are similarities in these groups and you can see for whom your current communication is working and for whom it isn’t. Indirect Segmentation Criteria The example of the segmenting sports retailer is directly one on one. The clearer the product, the easier it is to define target groups. But in many other businesses the criteria are not that obvious. Or they might be, but the profile information needed is very hard or expensive to come by. So then you might want to look beyond that and segment based on other information, like behavioral data or customer lifestyle information not directly linked to your product. But who said segmentation needed to be about your product? Adjusting the way you communicate and present your emails and offers might just be the key to more success in email, divided by segment of course.


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Things to Consider when Creating Your Email Calendar

Beyond • April 1, 2011

With an email calendar, you can take a step back from ad hoc and last minute emailings and convert your email strategy and tactics into concrete communication. When you are rolling out your email campaigns, those ideas tend to get lost in the heat of the moment. A calendar can give you something to hold on to. So we ask ourselves: how do we make a proper email marketing calendar? Take a Look Back An easy time saver is to take a look back into last year’s overall and email communication. What did you do then, what worked and what didn’t work? Successful mailings should be nominated for a re-run this year. That doesn’t mean you can copy them exactly. Rewrite them with an eye to this year’s trends and developments. Also you can look at last year’s trade publications or magazines relevant to your business and audience. The email marketing messages from your competition can also help you get a feeling for timing and inspiration of content. If you didn’t subscribe to your competitors’ email newsletters, you don’t have their emailings to review. Resources for (mostly B2C) galleries where you might find examples of your competition’s email messages across the year include emailium, inboxvision and emailtastic or the more competitive intelligence driven emaildatasource. Sharable Format Make sure to set up your planning in a format that is easily sharable in your organization. A lot of companies use excel, word or google docs but you might have a specialized marketing planning tool in place. Main concerns are: You want to be able to make notations and comments - The ability to easily share and print the documents - You don’t want to be reformatting the whole document each time you change a small detail. Aligning Your Email Marketing Strategy Convert the ideas you have in your marketing plan and plot them on a timeline; in the end you will have an overall schedule of the communications that you will be sending. With this you can also take a step back and see if all the individual messages collectively convey the brand and are aligned with the strategy you had in mind. When you are creating the calendar, usually the event-driven emails are left out because they are not calendar dependent. But if yours change in the course of the year, you should add them too. How Far Should I Plan Ahead? There are no hard rules about the timespan of an email calendar but planning should be for the foreseeable future. In some industries the foreseeable future is a half year, in others it is a full year. But you don’t need to plan for more than a year in advance. Looking too far into the future is inefficient, as your company and marketing strategy will probably change over time. Refine Your Planning Planning a full year ahead gives a balanced overview because you can also take the seasons, vacations and special events into account. It will also allow you to make a good estimate of costs and distribute your budget over time. I can hear you thinking: a year ahead, that is too much, too far and too unclear for me to fill the calendar in detail. That is why most will refine the planning as the messages come in to a 6 months, 3 months and one month period. This way you can adjust based on experience from earlier mailings, changes in the market and your periodical targets. Frequency For your calendar, it is also important to know your email frequency. If you have a higher frequency, you have the opportunity to go wider in the number of subjects to touch or deeper with specialized emailings than you would with a lower frequency. Again, there are no laws carved in stone, but you do have to consider your resources. How many messages are you able to create? Remember: a weekly email is 52 emailings per year. You don’t want to bore or annoy people with too high a frequency, but you also don’t want them to forget you - and you do want to be there once they’re ready to convert. Buying Cycles Some industries have very clear buying cycles. This is pretty obvious for travel, garden, skiing and sunglasses. But other industries have their own high sales and low sales periods. Basically you want to be there in the orientation phase to get into the considered set and be there in the buying phase to close the deal. Make sure you intensify the list growth before and during those periods and consider increasing the frequency and changing the types of messages according to the buying cycle. Check your buying cycle, find the high and low sales periods and mark them on your calendar. You can look into the sales overview of last year, talk to your sales team or check industry stats to find these periods. Product Launches and Campaigns If you have new products and general marketing campaigns lined up for the coming year, be sure to include them in your calendar. Tying your email marketing campaigns into the general marketing activities will make the combined message stronger across your channels. And it would be a missed opportunity not to include sales, discounts and promotions in your commercial messages. There is a lot more to be said about making an email marketing calendar - next time I’ll go into it even deeper and explain some of the concerns and tips when making a calendar for an international audience.


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How to Localize Your Email Marketing Message

Beyond • March 10, 2011

If your email marketing is spread over multiple countries, it is best to respect the local differences - and that requires more than just consideration of the varying email laws. My last post, Email Marketing from Your International Kitchen, explored customer email behavior and local and global preferences. But the question remains: How can we localize our email campaigns? Translation alone isn’t enough, as we will soon see. Speak Their Language It might seem pretty logical to speak the same language as your recipients; if you tried to communicate in a foreign language, they would not understand. But that is not only literally true when talking about personalized messaging, it can also be taken figuratively: When marketing in multiple countries, translate your messages to the local flavor, even in cases where, for instance, English is widely spoken in the recipients’ country. Countries that speak the same language have their differences. Dutch is spoken in the Netherlands and Belgium. English is spoken in the UK and the USA. But they have different ways of talking, saluting and conversing. For instance, a flashlight is called a torch in the United Kingdom and sneakers are called trainers. Translation alone can bring a great uplift in opens, click-throughs and response rates. The best tip in translating is to always use local translators. Native speakers have a feel for the language and can easily spot if something is even the slightest bit off. If possible, try to find a translator that is in your own time-zone, as working with overseas teams can be much more difficult. Translation might be a first step, but it isn’t enough to customize an email for international audiences. Localizing an email campaign often involves making adjustments to the campaign’s tone, imagery, offer and other elements to reflect cultural differences. Imagery In general it’s not the best idea to use images that look too much like stock images. (You can use stock images, they just shouldn’t look like stock images.) It shows disinterest and people are trained to regard them as less interesting. It is better to use images that look “real and close.” When there are people in the visuals they should fit with the recipient’s surroundings. While it is easy to spot the major differences between, for example, US, Arabian countries and China, subtle differences between countries can make it seem as if there is something strange about an image. Ethnic differences, but also brands, locations, tone and clothing styles can easily give away the fact that an image isn’t local. Non-local images may not always directly impact conversion, but be sure to test it. Also be very careful when referencing the images as being local. Images of call center employees can give a totally wrong impression when not localized, as do images of account managers, shops and pictures that accompany local news. Local Holidays Different regions have different holidays, so make sure you have your holiday calendars up to date. Holiday timing can make a huge difference in email marketing success, both in B2B as in B2C marketing. School and national holidays imply that the recipients are breaking their normal email reading habits. And though they might check their emails while on vacation, more often via their phone, they might not (be able to) act on it or buy your products. So be sure to time your messages accordingly. The Hook A hook is a piece of communication where you ride the wave of top-of-the-mind events. It might be a great idea to do a Superbowl special or a Thanksgiving sale, but across the border there are people that don’t even know what those events mean. They don’t celebrate Christmas, or do it in a whole different manner. And they don’t have American football teams, let alone the desire to respond to such a hook. On the other hand, there is a multitude of national events that are in their thoughts. If you are crafting your hook, make an alternative version for your international audience. Offers and Marketing Approach Offers can be painfully off when targeting other countries. Take a good look at the variations in local statistics and conversion rates. Examples of segmenting your approach can be illustrated as follows: The US and UK public is used to a much more aggressive style of campaigning and offers. For the rest of Europe, these messages would be too blunt and might not work at all. While you can still include offers, your messaging needs to be adjusted to a less sales oriented style. In countries with strong religious traditions, sexual or explicit imagery is best avoided. Nationalism and patriotism are often used in American marketing, but aren’t appreciated at all in other countries like Germany or Canada. A nationalistic approach there, possibly even with flags, wouldn’t strike a chord. Final Prelaunch Check Try to get a hold of a local representative to advise and tune your messages to the local customs and preferences. Even when not involving them in production, it is always good to send the message for a last prelaunch localization check. Next time I’ll share some tips on planning for international campaigns and creating an international email marketing calendar.


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Email Marketing from Your International Kitchen

Beyond • February 22, 2011

If you are going to deploy your email marketing messages on a global scale, the first issue that comes to mind is difference in language. There is a lot more to international emailing than just a good translation. A uniform international audience doesn’t exist, averages do not apply. Consider the following to make your email campaigns successful in multiple countries. Consumer Behavior and Email Tactics Your campaigns will have varying results when compared between different countries. An average open-, click- or conversion rate can’t be taken across the border. Why? For starters, consumer email behavior isn’t the same in all countries. In part this has to do with local preferences and cultural differences in splitting work and personal email. Some tactics just work better than others in different countries, so don’t be led astray by an international benchmark. Averages don’t tell the whole story. The 2009 Global Consumer Email Study underlines these differences. For instance a subject line with a limited-time offer is a much more compelling reason to open an email for people in Asia (48%) than in North America (36%) or Europe (31%). The study also shows large differences in desired content. Sweepstakes, for instance, are much more popular for consumers in North America (57%) than in Europe (37%). Tip: Split your stats and use geographical tracking to see if your email campaigns are effective per region. Adjust your email tactics to the local inbox behavior. Subscription A lot of companies have more than one signup point for their email list (recommended) and are actively trying to grow their email lists by promoting it (also recommended). The way you collect your subscribers probably differs by region. If not, test promotion types per region and observe the impact on data quality. While channel preferences have changed over the last couple of years, the 2010 Global Perspectives Study does give us insight into the differences in sign up behavior per country. Company website registration, for instance is highest in Spain (60%) and Italy (58%), but consumers in France and the Netherlands are less likely to opt-in via the website. SMS acquisition is most prevalent in the Asia Pacific region. 21% of consumers have opted in to email via SMS, as compared to 13% of the overall global survey respondents. This behavior is highest in China (27%). Tip: Investigate which regions are falling behind in data quality / quantity and optimize subscription methods. It’s a Whole Different Business Most importantly, your business is different per region. People tend to forget that your messaging echoes your company’s presence, brand and other marketing efforts that an individual consumes, and that an individual has a unique surrounding in each region. There are other competitors, other media consumption and other types of advertisement. The 2010 Global Perspectives Study asks a very compelling question: “Have you actually bought a product in a store or by telephone after receiving a marketing email?” The differences were staggering. 35% of the respondents in the Netherlands said they did, 50% in Italy and 75% in China. Yes, that is more than double the amount of sales credited to email when comparing the Netherlands with China. Tip: Don’t just measure your business against your most prominent competitors. Explore the local competition for your international customers. Striking a Global vs. Local Balance There should always be a balance to how local or how global your company operates. A larger focus on local means more fine-tuned messages and offers. This will probably give you better results in the end. But it also means more work and more costs. The last couple of years have exhibited bigger emphasis on Return on Investment (ROI) in email marketing. This dictates that those extra costs should be in balance with the added conversions and profit you get from them. The bigger your subscriber base the easier it is to justify the extra costs. Tip: There are no laws about going either totally global or totally local, so pick and mix, use the centralized campaigns where you can and go local where you will expect the highest impact, both in quantity and in profit margin. Your International Kitchen A company that bakes an international pie can get a slice of email efficiency by centralizing IT infrastructure, campaigns and designs. But be aware that different people have different tastes and preferences. Some national email dishes are spicier, some sweeter, while others prefer more subtle flavors. Know your international kitchen and serve your cakes accordingly, or they might not get eaten at all. Next time I’ll share some tips on how to localize your campaigns and the pitfalls you should avoid.


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How to Beat a Crazy Email Deadline

Beyond • February 1, 2011

Email marketing is supposed to be fast, very fast. The touch of a button and the emails are in the inbox, right? Wrong. There is no printing, no media to be bought or long production lines, but this also transfers some of that fast and furious image to the production of email. Email marketing done right also takes time. So let\'s walk you through some steps to beat a crazy deadline. Don\'t Do It This might seem a bit harsh and almost impossible, but if there is no emergency, don’t treat it like one. The fact that a colleague is standing beside your desk or a client is on the phone doesn’t make it a true emergency. If the content is delivered after the deadline has passed, it will not be put in the email newsletter. A day late with the input or final approval? Send the email a day later. It might seem that this is not possible in your organization, but it most often is perfectly possible. This tactic will redirect the problems to where they belong and sticking to it you will see that you don’t have to insist on deadlines as much if contributors know there are consequences. Take Some Extra Time Try and set a wider deadline. Even if you don’t need all that time, the day will come when everything goes wrong. Coding and rendering issues, deliverability problems, key personnel get sick, and on top of everything your email tool breaks down. You don’t want to break your promises, especially if you press the ones that have to deliver to you to keep theirs. So make sure you have enough time to start with and calculate that you will be needing some extra time to handle issues every now and then. Have a Back-Up Plan Having a back-up plan in place is also a life saver. So what will you do if certain content isn’t delivered in time or your key personnel are not available? Writing a back-up plan isn’t that hard. Make a list of all the steps in your publishing process, who is involved and what they do (you should do that anyway to streamline your process). Then try and think of means to \"work around\" them if one or more steps are not available. Have two or three people in place that could perform certain tasks; have some evergreen content or offers ready that you can easily publish as a replacement; et cetera, etc. Last Minute Content It is a bit of a different story if your email is waiting for last minute content like statistics, figures, offers, (business) news or that kind of data. Your best shot is to get a non-dependent version in place to publish in case of lagging input. This allows you to fill, test and approve the emails in advance. The last-minute content can be put on your website or a specific landing page instead of actually in the email. Webpages can be modified later, even after sending the email. Beating the Deadline If you are often facing crazy email deadlines, make it a priority to get these tactics in place. It will make your life as an email marketer much easier and allows you to perform better with less stress. So give those deadlines a beating!


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