Most Recent Posts

How To Increase eCommerce Sales in Summer

How To Increase eCommerce Sales in Summer

Practical Marketer • May 30, 2019

With the arrival of summer, it’s not uncommon for some to see our sales numbers drop. Professionals are on holidays and private customers are busy enjoying sunny days and long evenings instead of browsing through online shops. As a result, online store owners have to work even harder to make ends meet, rather than taking some well-deserved vacation time without having to worry (too much) about the business. In this article, we want to give you some strategic advice and ideas on how to keep your sales up this summer without much extra work. If you prefer to see for yourself how you can put this into practice, please join our online workshop on Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019 at 10 am GMT /11 am CEST, where we will give you practical examples and step-by-step explanations. Let’s Get Started with an Example: The business: We own an online store selling handmade decorative items. The idea: We will offer a package of two products at a lower price than if they were to be purchased separately during the three summer months. The goal: Maintain and even raise sales while we or our staff are on vacation. Every year in summer, we detect that our sales decrease so we have thought of three ideas to get them back up: Make bundles of different products at a lower price than purchased separately. Create joint offers with partner companies offering added value. For example, teaming up with a sofa store by offering matching cushions at a reduced price to everyone ordering a sofa. Using traditional summer sales and combining it with other offers. The team liked all three options but decided to go for the first one, as it helped us to increment both the turnover and the product rotation. Also, it seemed to be easier to communicate with the clients than the other two. To implement our idea, we will use Automation Pro, which is a tool that allows our business to run on autopilot while we are away or otherwise busy. To start using this tool properly, we must insert the Tracking Code on all the pages on which we want to track our subscribers during this promotion. Tracking code: <!--JB Tracker--> <script type=\"text/javascript\"> var _paq = _paq || []; (function(){ if(window.apScriptInserted) return; _paq.push([\'clientToken\',\']); var d=document, g=d.createElement(\'script\'),s=d.getElementsByTagName(\'script\')[0];g.type=\'text/javascript\';g.async=true;g.defer=true;g.src=\'https://prod.benchmarkemail.com/tracker.bundle.js\'; s.parentNode.insertBefore(g,s); window.apScriptInserted=true;})(); </script> <!--/JB Tracker→ The code has to be inserted in the header of the pages to be tracked. Furthermore, I can integrate my eCommerce platform with Benchmark to import my contacts. Benchmark offers direct integrations with the following eCommerce service providers: WooCommerce Shopify BigCommerce 3dcart WordPress Volusion Recurly PayPal Stripe If your eCommerce provider does not appear on this list, you can also use the integration platforms Zapier and PieSync which are both connected with Benchmark Email. Once we have imported our subscribers we can work on our automation strategy, which will not only be aimed at our existing recipients but also at new subscribers. We will use three methods to attract new subscribers: We will design one of Benchmark’s special sign up forms and place it on our store homepage to attract new subscribers. No matter which of our sign up forms suits you best, don’t forget to insert the code of the signup form WITH the tracking code so you can track the subscribers’ behavior even before you sent them the first campaign. To get a higher volume of new subscribers we will also create several campaigns using Facebook Ads featuring our offer and import these contacts into Benchmark via Zapier. Last but not least we will create specific publications on social media channels (Instagram / Twitter / Facebook) that will take the people directly to the registration page in order to be able to purchase our offer. On the other hand, we still have our own existing database to which we will also send an email marketing campaign about the promotion. Let\'s Start with the New Subscribers The new subscribers will start their journey with a welcome automation. In this automation, we will provide the discounted product pack which we hope will be purchased by them. This welcome automation will contain leads that will become paying customers soon and others who may need a bit longer to make up their mind. For the second group we will design a follow-up automation, which consists of five steps: Day 1 - Why us?: Let’s give some good reasons why the subscriber should purchase from us. Day 3 - Remind our special discounted pack: In order to activate the people, we will let them know that our special offer is for a limited time only. Day 5 - Other offers: In case we did not hit the subscribers taste with our summer package, we will feature some other products and offers. Day 10 - 5 days countdown: We’ll inform our subscribers that there are only 5 days left to get our offer and that we only have very few left in stock. Day 15 - Discount ends today: This is the last chance to get our special summer bundle. During this tracking automation, we will move those who become paying customers, by purchasing the pack, into a separate list and will continue insisting those who have not yet made up their minds. The list with the new paying customers will trigger the feedback automation in which we will ask the clients for feedback and will try to find out how their experience was. There will be some other subscribers who have actually placed the package into their shopping cart but then finally not reached the payment confirmation page. As we do not want to let any sales opportunity escape, we will activate an abandoned cart automation to follow up on these special cases. And finally we are going to target all those who registered to receive the special offer, but finally did not purchase it, through Facebook using a special retargeting automation. This way will have a complete cycle of automation, designed for each and every case. Let’s not forget, that we still have our own existing database with subscribers we have been collecting day by day, and we will also include them in this strategy. Depending on whether they have already made a purchase or not, we can divide them into two groups: The first group (newsletter subscribers w/o any purchase) will be treated as the new subscribers and will be included in the same automation as those. The second group (newsletter subscribers with purchase) will receive a campaign with the new promotion and will be included in a follow-up campaign, similar to the one we have designed for the new subscribers, but less insistent. In our workshop on Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019 at 10 am GMT /11 am CEST we will show you step by step how to design a campaign with a similar structure. So if this article was a bit too theoretical or you just want to find out, how to put it all into practice, please join us. Don’t waste this opportunity to improve your skills in email marketing and automation. If you liked this post, please share it with your community and leave us your comments below.


Read More
Get started with Marketing Automation

Get started with Marketing Automation

Practical Marketer • March 9, 2019

Perhaps you’ve already heard about Marketing Automation or you have a rough idea about it. If not, it’s OK! With this article, we want to show you how to create a marketing automation strategy for your email marketing. You’ll be ready to launch your first own automation with the simple but efficient Automation PRO tool. What is Marketing Automation? \"Marketing Automation is the design, management and execution of sales and marketing strategies through a software that automates the tasks and processes of scheduling, sending and tracking marketing campaigns according to the actions that the subscribers take on the campaigns and on the website. \" Is it the same as doing Email Marketing? Email marketing isn’t quite the same. Generally, basic email marketing strategy involves sending unique one off campaigns to a database, with the aim of informing, selling or promoting certain products or services. Marketing Automation includes email marketing as part of its elements, but both are some key differences. What are the benefits of Marketing Automation? Send relevant information to clients and leads, based on the pages they visit on your website. Automatically segment clients and leads based on their behavior, interests, page visits, purchases and more Develop marketing and sales journeys aimed at improving conversion funnels How many impacts should a lead receive to become a client? According to Nimble, between five and seven impacts are necessary for a lead, from the moment they get to knows us until they becomes a paying client. What is an ‘impact?’ An impact, or touchpoint, is each moment when there is interaction between the brand and the lead, either through the website, an email, social media, a call, an ad on Facebook or Google Ads, a meeting or a demo. The goal of Marketing Automation is to organize all these touchpoints in order to create funnels or conversion paths that automatically turn a lead into a client, without having to have large teams behind each impact. Or even better yet, without having to be aware of the current point the lead runs through in order to create a new touch point. Show empathy with the client Marketing Automation means contacting the ideal customer within the sales funnels, using the right message at the right time. Getting this right is not easy because in business we tend to think more about us, our goals and the messages we want to share, than what the customer really needs at every moment. To empathize with the lead and client means to put ourselves in their place, and to think as if we were them. Therefore it is necessary to ask a series of questions before starting to create any automation: When the client visits the website for the first time, will they need any further information or will he find all he needs to know? Am I providing all the client needs to know in my welcome campaign, or am I rather trying to sell myself? Are the subscribers interacting with the campaigns I am sending them? Worry about your subscribers! Send them messages that are genuinely useful and make them feel that you are communicating with them personally. To do this, always try to be very aware of the open rates, clicks, the unsubscribes (and their reasons), and always perform AB tests. In marketing it is very difficult to get the best results at the first try, everything is based on experience. PARTS OF A SALES FUNNEL Considerations before creating an automation or sales / marketing funnel Draw it: Don’t try to translate the visualization you see in your mind directly into the software. Take your time to draw it on a piece of paper. This will help to find weak points and improve it even before you start setting it up. Keep it simple: Creating a marketing or sales funnel does not mean sending dozens of email campaigns triggered by dozens of conditions. It’s all about inspiring subscribers, by sending the right content at the time they need it. We rather recommend designing several simple automations focused on each moment of the customer experience, than having a big and complicated funnel, which will be very complicated to manage and might lead to hidden mistakes. Go step by step: Always keep in mind what the leads might expect from you at each point and what they will be grateful and happy to receive. Right after signing up is not the best moment to push them to buy but rather to share some surprising information and content they will enjoy. Start with a test: There is no \"perfect\" automation, we are sorry. It is important to draw, think and prepare your automation but only practical reality can show you if you were right or not. Depending on the kind of automation it is recommendable to set up a test automation first and see how a sample reacts. Measure, learn and improve: The first automations should serve you to find out if the experience you want to offer the clients works or not. Analyze the most important metrics like visits, openings, clicks and purchases and decide if you have to adapt the journey. Find these 4 templates for your automated sales funnel TEMPLATE 1: NEED/NECESSITY The lead has just registered. They might have done it because you promised a download, discount code or similar. So this first automation would be the welcome automation, ideal to provide the most important information about your product, and send the promised welcome gift. The lead will be saved into a different list for further steps. TEMPLATE 2: ENGAGEMENT At this time the subscribers are comparing our product or service with other competitors. What information will they need to finally buy from us? With this automation we must solve the initial doubts that the client has about our product or service. We also have the chance to make clear what differentiates us from the competitors and provide testimonies of happy and satisfied customers. TEMPLATE 3: CONSIDERATION With this template, we should be able to close a demo or a call with the subscribers or make them sign up for a free trial. They are showing interest in us. This is an excellent moment to give a better idea about, how our product or service works. TEMPLATE 4: ABANDONED CART It is quite normal that subscribers do not finish the process of purchasing, but it would definitely not be normal, not to remind them and offer the necessary assistance and support to solve possible problems or doubts that might have prevented them from buying. These are some of the templates based on the funnel we had a look at the beginning. You will be able to fully customize and adapt them to the needs of your business and create easily your first Marketing Automation. Watch our webinar about how to create an automated sales funnel like this: https://bmesrv.wistia.com/medias/lzdjj7pfd6?embedType=iframe&videoWidth=640 Actually, the most difficult thing about Marketing Automation is to start. If you are managing a small company and you have never done it before, marketing, automation may look a bit scary at the beginning. But all you have to do is to follow these steps above and start learning from the results. Keep in mind that automation is the most efficient and time saving way to provide each client with the information and input they might need at any time!


Read More
Get to know 8 advantages of surveys and polls

Get to know 8 advantages of surveys and polls

Practical Marketer • October 2, 2018

Have you ever wondered what your customers think about your service or product? Are you sure which products your followers might see in your shop? Are you looking for ways to engage with your subscribers? If you answered yes to any of those questions, you will love to learn these eight advantages of surveys and polls, which are actually included for free in your email marketing account.    What is a survey? A survey consists of a series of questions asked to an audience (the larger the better) in order to gather data or to detect statistical tendencies in their opinions about a specific issue. A survey can help to get an idea about how happy your customers are with your service or to understand who they are and what exactly they are looking for. What is a poll? A poll is a mini survey of one or two (at most) questions that may be published on a website to quickly measure public opinion about a topic at a specific moment. Both options are the perfect tools for inviting your audience to speak their minds. The answers may help you to make the necessary adjustments to your products and services or to prepare the right content for your segments that you can create with the information provided. What are the 8 advantages of surveys and polls? Starting a conversation: Sending a survey with open questions is the ideal way to engage with your audience and to open a channel of communication with them. People like it when somebody cares about their opinion. Easy and fast: Create your survey in no time and start receiving feedback from the very moment you sent it to your subscribers. Outsourcing this service would require time and money. Innovative ideas: Seeing your service through your clients’ eyes can help you to improve it. They may be experiencing issues that you are not aware of, or give you new ideas you wouldn’t have thought of. No pressure: People will respond to your poll or survey at the time they consider appropriate, without a time limit and without anyone who can distort their response. Satisfaction: Knowing the level of satisfaction of your customers is essential to growing your business and moving in the right direction. A survey will help you to double check if your perception actually matches the opinion of your customers about you. It\'s like getting a performance review on your service offerings and support just by sending a poll or survey! All-in-one solution: We tend to use more and more different tools with separate logins and functionalities, but surveys and polls are actually included for free in your email marketing account, at least with Benchmark Email, and can be sent to your whole database by email with just one click. No extra costs: Polls and surveys are free: they are included in your Benchmark account at no additional cost. Statistical results: The analysis of results will be quick for all but the open questions. Results will be displayed in percentages that will help you to know the preferences of the majority at just one glimpse. Keys to create a good survey Decide for each question if it is mandatory or not. Some question need to be answered by all respondents and some just make sense for a few of them. Surveys should be easy and quick to answer. According to your audience and the aim of  the survey, we recommend not asking more than five questions. Give a benefit in return for the collaboration to respond. People will dedicate some time on answering your questions. They will do this more happily if they receive a little gift (download, discount, etc.) in exchange. Ask closed questions if you want to get specific, quantifiable answers. However, if you need to explore your respondents opinions and feelings a bit more deeply, leave them some space with open questions. For closed questions, make sure you offer all possible answers or include an “others” field if you are not sure. Use the different types of answers strategically: \"One line\" are open but short answers, which allow up to 255 characters. They are ideal to allow the respondent to give a free answer will still be easy to analyze since it’s brief. \"Radio\" responses allow the respondent to select only one of the given options. It is a closed question used for specific and mutually excluding answers. \"Check\" responses look the same as the “Radio” ones but allow several answers. This is useful when more than one option might apply. \"Dropdown\" responses fulfill the same function as the \"radio\" responses, as the respondent will be only able to pick one, but won’t be able to view all answers at once. Dropdowns are mainly used for long lists of choices like “Countries” or “Months”. \"Descriptive text\" responses are similar to “One line” responses but will have no limitation of characters. You can get high quality feedback with these questions, but analyzing the results might take you longer. “Multiple choice” answers allow the respondent to select several options. It is used when the response options are not mutually exclusive. Benchmark Surveys Benchmark surveys are easy and quick to create. You just have to be clear about the goal of the survey and begin to think about the questions. Also if you need a bit of inspiration to get started, at Benchmark we offer you 6 templates for your surveys. Survey Templates Blank Survey: This template is entirely blank. You create all the questions for this survey from scratch. Services Provided: This survey measures customer satisfaction with goods or services and gives participants a chance to suggest improvement. Event Participation: This template gathers opinion on a special event, from prior expectations to whether the event lived up to those expectations. Company Satisfaction: This template measures if customers are pleased with a company or organization, and gathers demographic data from participants. Website Survey: This survey tracks customer opinion on your Website\'s appearance, content and more. In-store purchase: This template not only measures customer opinion on past product purchases, but sets a gauge for future purchases Go ahead and start creating your own polls and surveys and use the information we have shared with you in this post. And… would you allow us to make a small survey with you? How successful was your first survey? It is an open question and you can leave us your experience in the comments section below :-).


Read More
How To Interpret Your First Email Marketing Campaign

How To Interpret Your First Email Marketing Campaign

Practical Marketer • September 5, 2018

The use of an email marketing tool is not based solely on the sending of promotional campaigns, but the tool becomes an excellent instrument for achieving one or several goals. According to the latest report by Demand Metrics, the three principal reasons why users decide to do email marketing are: Communicate with customers Communicate with prospects Build brand awareness There are also other reasons like generating revenue or capturing data on subscribers, and just 3% of the users do not have any goal. Do you know your email marketing goal? Having a goal is crucial to building your whole email marketing strategy. How should you read your first email marketing report? When you are on the report page, you will find a summary of the outcome of the campaign: With numbers alone, it is difficult to see what happens. However, just below the numbers are changed to percentages from which we can get better insights: This chart is fantastic to get an idea about the campaign performance and to start planning the measures we need to take in our next campaign. In this case, and to best situate yourself, these results belong to an information campaign that was composed of a logo plus the text. It was sent to a database compiled since 2017 and updated every day. Let’s start to analyze the results: OPEN RATE: it is very good. We can determine that the campaign has been useful. It reached the 33%. We should work to reach the 35% next time. BOUNCE RATE: it is just within the limits. This rate should never be higher than 2%, and if possible, it should be lower than 1%. In this article, Want To Start List Hygiene, But You’re Afraid To Start? We give you the key steps you should follow to get a bounce rate of one percent or less. Then, we have: CLICKS INTERACTIONS measure the percentage and the number of subscribers that have clicked on your links. If we click on the number, we will be able to see the name, email address, and date of click. In this case, the campaign did not have any link to click, except the one in the logo, that’s why the click-through rate is too low. This click-through rate is calculated based on opens. It is difficult to know the click-through rate that can be considered as good because it depends on the goal of the campaign (informative o sales) and the design (if we use links, CTAs, etc.). If the goal is that the subscriber clicks, that percentage never should be lower than 1%. Otherwise, we should rethink the content or the design. This part also offers us the possibility to know on which links the user has clicked and how many times. Also, you have a CLICK MAP that shows you like a hot map where the subscriber has clicked: We also have the number and the percentage of the UNSUBSCRIBES, and if you click on the number, you will see the reasons: Knowing the reason is interesting, because in the case of a high number of unsubscribers sharing the same reason you may understand that there is something you\'re not doing well. It is usual that some people lose the interest in your product or information, but if you see that this percentage surpasses 1% on a regular basis, that can give you a signal that the content is no longer relevant for them or that maybe you should change the frequency of the sends. The ABUSE RATE is also important data to keep in mind because it measures the number of subscribers that have marked your campaign as spam. Again, if you click on the number, you will see the report: Even, if it is a double opt-in list, you may have a spam complaint, for example, when you have sent a campaign to that database, and a subscriber does not remember to have signed up for it. If you have more than one isolated complaint, you should review the process of obtaining your subscribers, because it indicates that they are not expecting to receive your emails. This report gives the contact data of the subscriber who has marked you as spam. In Benchmark, we always recommend to include these links... ...to allow the user to exercise his/her rights, and in particular, the link “Report Abuse” that gives the subscribers the chance to mark you as spam. Removing it from your campaigns is preventing yourself from getting valuable information. In this blog, How Do Abuse Complaints Affect Your Newsletter’s Deliverability? We tell you what you should do to avoid abuse complaints. And finally, the FORWARDS RATE tells you how many times your campaign has been forwarded to a user who was not on your list. This rate only counts when subscribers have used the “Forward Email” link in your campaigns, so if you don’t include it, the percentage will be 0. At the bottom of the report, you will find the HOURLY PERFORMANCE: This is a great chart to know the days and hours that work better to send your email marketing campaigns. For example, this campaign was sent on Friday, June 22nd  at 7.30 AM, so if we read the graphic, the subscribers are active on Saturday, 23th at 10.00 AM or Monday 25th at 7.00 AM which, we guess is when many of them login in their inbox for first time to start the working day. It is fantastic to have this information and sending the next campaigns based on the suscribers’ behavior guarantees you a higher engagement. If you shared your campaign on social media channel, you could see the interactions that the users have made on the channel with your post under FACEBOOK ENGAGEMENT. Also, you have an interactive map where you can see the OPENS BY GEOLOCATION: If you send to various countries, this report can be interesting for you, although you need to keep in mind that this information is an estimate and may not be as reliable due to the way ISPs distribute IP addresses. All this information can be downloaded as a PDF or Excel, and you can share the campaign with your sub-accounts, among other things: What results should you expect from your first email marketing campaign? Answering this question is a bit complicated because there are many factors that influence the outcome, such as: Old database Verified database Own database Recent database Design of the campaign Subject line Domain quality or use of public domain Set up of the SPF and CNAME records Use of a Dedicated IP And a few more… But set yourself the following numbers as initial objectives: Open rate: 15% Bounce rate: 0.5% Unsubscribe rate: 0.75% Abuse complaints: 0.05% If you can not reach these metrics, you can always count on the help of our Email Marketing Specialists, who will guide you with their best tips to reach them. Now it\'s your turn to start your campaigns! Would you mind to share your results with us?


Read More
Want To Start List Hygiene, But You’re Afraid To Start?

Want To Start List Hygiene, But You’re Afraid To Start?

Practical Marketer • August 5, 2018

In our daily work, we send email campaigns on a regular basis. However, we tend to not take any action once the campaign has been sent. We’re talking about list hygiene. Do you know that the various ISPs (Hotmail, Gmail, etc.) know if you’re sending to an invalid email address and they can tank your deliverability? Yes, they can. For example, if after checking reports no action is taken in regards to bounces or email addresses that have not opened your last 30 campaigns, ISPs can start to block your campaigns with their filters. They will consider your emails to be from a sender that doesn’t take any action to improve results. That said, do you know what you need to remove? When we are referring to list hygiene, we’re talking about removing the hard bounces and email addresses which aren’t opening your campaigns. If you don\'t already know, there are three different types of bounces: Confirmed bounces. The email addresses that no longer exist and the sending server has tried to contact them three times, but the campaign has been able to be delivered. Hard bounces. These are email addresses that no longer exist. When they bounce three times, they turn into confirmed bounces. This could be due to a mistyped address, the domain no longer existing or the person who belongs to the email address no longer works there, and the address is no longer valid. Soft bounces. They are email addresses that temporally are inactivate. It has not yet been possible to deliver the campaign, but only temporally. Consequently, they are valid email addresses which should not be removed. What might the temporary issue be? It could be that the inbox is full of messages and the person cannot receive more emails until they free up space for it. Perhaps you sent a campaign outside working hours and got an autoresponder, or maybe the server has been down temporarily. These email addresses are not available for a period but when those issues are solved, they back to being activate. It might feel like you can’t see the importance of list hygiene, but we’ve made it easy for you to check the health of your list in your account in the reputation panel. This section will indicate a number between 1 and 8 which evaluates the status of your reputation. Do you know what reputation means? Reputation is a measure used for monitoring the behavior of your campaigns in regards to the spam filters and subscribers’ campaign interactions. It is precisely this interaction which will be improved with list hygiene. This is because you’re sending your campaigns to an email address that really exists and can actually open and click to your links. Similarly, if you remove the email addresses that have not opened your campaigns for a long time, you’ll be increasing the interaction for the rest of your list that remains. Furthermore, you can opt for a smaller plan and only pay for the subscribers that are opening your campaigns and through which you have chances to deliver your message. Please note that this won’t necessarily work with a new list as you likely won’t have enough data or bounces to make any major changes to the hygiene of your list. List verification may be more helpful to you in this instance, to remove things like mistyped email addresses. This is also solved by using double opt-in signup forms. In this blog, One Simple Way To Rescue Your Email Marketing Strategy we shared some ideas on how to increase your database. However, if the database is not current, or if you have never sent email marketing campaigns to it, your campaign’s reports will likely show a high bounce rate (in other words, more than 2%). Do you know what bounce rates you have? An email marketing account should have on average a 2% of bounces as the maximum. Additionally, list hygiene can be necessary if your list lands you in a spam trap. A spam trap is a trap used by ISPs to know which users are sending to a non-permission database or have a very old database. How can list hygiene be done with Benchmark? If you do not have a good control system in place to handle your contacts that you have removed, it’s possible they can be uploaded again into the tool. To solve this, the list hygiene would be: Login in your account Click on “Clean list” Select: confirmed + hard bounces Click on “Create New List” Once it has been created, you need to access the list and click on the three points. Select the option “Copy List” Copy to an “Existing List” and select “Master Unsubscribe List” In this way, we are blocking those contacts that are unuseful to be uploaded again to the tool. Keep in mind that this action is irreversible. If you have a good control system to handle your contacts to avoid your removed addresses being sent to, then the list hygiene would be from the points 1.1 to 1.3, and then click on “Remove from list” If a specific campaign you sent had a high number of bounces, and in that campaign, you selected multiple lists, following the steps above can be tricky. In that case, we recommend you to do the following: Go to Reports and click on the campaign Click on “Bounces” Select “Hard Bounces” Click on the three points and then “Export to File” Download the file and upload it to the “Master Unsubscribe List” If you have spam traps in your account, you should follow the previous steps and include the subscribers who have not opened your last 30 campaigns. The spam traps are in this group because they won’t be opening your emails. These are the four ways that we propose you keep your account clean of bounces to earn a high reputation. Now, you just need to choose the option that fits best with your needs and start doing it. If you need help with this process, you can contact your Email Marketing Specialist, or if you observe an anomaly in your bounce rate, such as a sudden growth in it, feel free to contact us before proceeding with list hygiene. We want to know what list hygiene practices have impacted your email marketing. Share your tips or results in the comments below!


Read More
How can you re-confirm a database?

How can you re-confirm a database?

Practical Marketer • May 23, 2018

Have you updated your privacy policy? Do you just want to keep the most engaged subscribers? Perhaps you want to re-confirm the consent of your database as a preventive measure for the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)? In this video, we show you how you can reconfirm a database with Benchmark. Re-confirm your database:   The text you need to use: Opt-in tag:  [opt-in: here you can write in text] Unsubscribe tag: [unsubscribe: here you can write in text] The text is 100% customizable. You just need to modify the italic text. Save the contacts that have re-confirmed in a separate list   Maybe you want to consider sending a campaign again to those who have not opened or to the whole list, excluding the new list of contacts, that have already confirmed. If you want to know more about the GDPR, we invite you to read and watch the webinar we held and in which we explain all the sensitive points that affect your email marketing strategy. Leave your comments or questions below and keep learning with Benchmark!


Read More
How Benchmark adapts to the GDPR

How Benchmark adapts to the GDPR

Practical Marketer • May 18, 2018

We have spent months talking about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The 25th of May, which is the day when it goes into effect, is fast approaching. During this time, we have provide you with tons of information related to adapting your email marketing strategy. In this article, we want to make a recap of how has Benchmark adapted to the GDPR and about all the changes we have implemented and which you might need to know: “Right to be forgotten” This right is one of the biggest changes of this Regulation. For the very first time, this right is regulated and obliges the controller to completely remove the data if the data subject requests. To exercise the right to be forgotten, we have two different scenarios: Benchmark | Customer If a Benchmark customer wants to be “forgotten,” he or she needs to request the deletion of the data by writing to support@benchmarkemail.com and we will proceed with the removal of their data. Benchmark | Customer | Subscriber Any of our client’s subscribers can request to be deleted from lists and/or records. It’s the customer’s responsibility to delete a subscriber from our (and other) systems, with one exception: if the subscriber has already unsubscribed, the client will not be able to remove the data from the “Unsubscribe” list. If this happens, the customer should forward the user’s email to support@benchmarkemail.com and we will proceed with the elimination of the subscriber from the list. In this FAQ, we explain all the steps to follow. Accessibility / rectification / unsubscribe An email marketer must include the “Manage Subscription” option on all email campaigns:   Adding this option, the client gives the data subject the option to access, rectify and unsubscribe from his/her data. When the subscriber clicks on that link, he/she will find this screen:   The subscriber can exercise his/her rights here. At Benchmark, we are currently preparing to allow the data subject to be able to rectify the rest of the fields and not just the email, name and surname. Consent We have also updated our classic and pop-up signup forms to be compliant with the GDPR. You have to include the required check box linked to your privacy policy. Find out how to do this by reading: How can you create GDPR-compliant sign up forms?   International transfer of personal data Article 45 mentions that a transfer of personal data to a third country or an international organization may take place where the Commission has decided that the third country, a territory or one or more specified sectors within that third country, or the international organisation in question ensures an adequate level of protection. Such a transfer shall not require any specific authorization. This international transfer of personal data is guaranteed under the EU-US Privacy Shield Agreement whose certification is held by Benchmark: Privacy policy We have updated our Privacy Policy, explaining the role Benchmark has according to the GDPR and which roles our clients fulfil themselves. Also, we have determined the period of time which we are going to keep your data for and we give you more details about what we do with your data. Additionally, we have created a new Cookie Policy which you will need to read and accept if you want to peruse our website. Server location It was actually NEVER an obligation to have servers in Europe, but with the new GDPR it is even less necessary. One of the goals of the GDPR is to equate the data protection that the European companies are fulfilling with the one applied by companies from abroad, in a way that all companies are obliged to compete in equal conditions. Contract between the controller and the processor Article 28 explains the possibility to sign a contract between the controller and the processor and provides all the details about it. We have created this contract and will make it available for you through the tool. If you want to check the regulation, you can do it here. If this article has been interesting for you, please, share it with your colleagues and friends.


Read More
Adapt Your Email Marketing Strategy to the GDPR

Adapt Your Email Marketing Strategy to the GDPR

Practical Marketer • May 6, 2018

We have spent months talking about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The 25th of May, which is the day when it goes into effect, is fast approaching. During this time, we have provide you with tons of information related to adapting your email marketing strategy. On April 11th, 2018, we held a webinar going through the key points in which the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) affects the email marketing strategy. Editor’s Note: Benchmark provides information during the webinar and in this article for informational purposes only. Such information cannot be understood as legal advice. To get advice on any issue or aspect related to the GDPR, you should contact your lawyer. In this article, we\'ll do a quick review of what GDPR is. We also want to do a recap of how has Benchmark has adapted to the GDPR and about all the changes we have implemented and which you might need to know. What is the goal of the new GDPR? The main goal of the new GDPR is to provide users with final control over their personal data. What benefits does the new GDPR provide? One continent, one law: a single, pan-European law for data protection, replacing the current inconsistent patchwork of national laws. Companies will deal with one law, not 28. One-stop-shop: a \'one-stop-shop\' for businesses. Companies will only have to deal with one single supervisory authority, not 28, making it simpler and cheaper for companies to do business in the EU. The same rules for all companies – regardless of where they are established: Today European companies have to adhere to stricter standards than companies established outside the EU but also doing business in our Single Market. With the reform, companies based outside of Europe will have to apply the same rules when they offer goods or services on the EU market. This creates a level playing field. Technological neutrality: the Regulation enables innovation to continue to thrive under the new rules. Roles and restrictions with the treatment of personal data The GDPR lays out the responsibility on the \"controller\" who assumes the responsibility of the application of the Regulation. The controller is who determines the purposes and means of the processing of personal data. As a consequence the controller must also ensure that the way the personal data is treated is compliant with the GDPR. If the controller for example has decided to use Benchmark as an email marketing software, he or she has to ensure that tools provided by Benchmark are GDPR compliant, granting the right of rectification, access or erasure. As you probably know, Benchmark provides that option through the “Manage subscription” link, which however does not appear as mandatory in the footer of the email. Therefore it’s the controller’s duty to activate and add it. In this scenario, Benchmark is just a simple data processor software. Consent Until now, when a subscriber signed up through our signup forms it was not mandatory to inform him/her about the purpose of the data processing activities to be carried out. The GDPR mentions that the consent should be given by a clear affirmative act establishing a freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of the data subject\'s agreement and should cover all processing activities carried out for the same purpose or purposes. When the processing has multiple purposes, consent should be given for all of them. In addition, where processing is based on the data subject\'s consent, the controller should be able to demonstrate that the data subject has given consent to the processing operation. Collection The GDPR advocates for simplicity in data collection. As marketers we tend to ask for more details than required (e.g. for sending out a simple weekly newsletter). This new Regulation encourages to collect the minimum data necessary for the current marketing strategy and not to ask for unnecessary data that may (or may not) be useful in the future. Access The controller should grant the easy execution of the data subject\'s rights, including mechanisms to request and, if applicable, obtain, free of charge, in particular, access to and rectification or erasure of personal data and the exercise of the right to object. Treatment of personal data The controller must inform the data subject of the existence of the processing operation and its purposes to grant a fair and transparent processing. How is Benchmark complying with the new GDPR? Find out all the details about How Benchmark adapts to the GDPR in this article. Find the recording of our Webinar here: If this article has been interesting for you, please, share it with your colleagues and friends.


Read More
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): Everything You Need To Know

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): Everything You Need To Know

Beyond • April 2, 2018

The main objective of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is to strengthen and combine the handling of personal data from various member countries and adapt them under one European Union (EU) regulation. Currently, the 28 member countries of the EU each have their own data protection regulations and apply those laws to their international commerce, which makes exercising the rights of personal data protection quite difficult. The new GDPR comes with a wide range of rules that impact all companies, regardless of size or sector, and will quite often need to be prepared to focus on different areas of their business. The new regulation concerning the protection of natural persons with regards to the processing and free circulation of personal data goes into effect on May 25th, 2018, two years after Regulation 2016/679 was passed by both the European Parliament and the Council. In this article, we want to help you understand what you can and cannot do in order to meet the requirements of this new regulation and reassure you that Benchmark, your email marketing tool, is also meeting the requirements of this new regulation. The new GDPR does not eliminate each of the member countries own Data Protection legislations currently in place. Instead it helps to sync all the member countries of the EU. Some of the decisions will still be made at a national level for each of the member countries, but be mindful that the responsible parties must now reference the GDPR as the norm and not its own countries Data Protection regulations. If you currently meet the requirements for Data Protection for your country, then you already have a good foundation. However, you will still need to revise and change some aspects to comply with the new regulations. There are three main points you need to keep in mind with your email marketing strategy, they are: consent, access and data collection. Consent According to article 4 (11), ‘consent’ of the data subject means any freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of the data subject\'s wishes by which he or she, by a statement or by a clear affirmative action, signifies agreement to the processing of personal data relating to him or her; As stated in the definition, the consent of the user must be unequivocal and also explicit. These two words eliminate any doubt or ambiguity. (32) Consent should be given by a clear affirmative act establishing a freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of the data subject\'s agreement to the processing of personal data relating to him or her, such as by a written statement, including by electronic means, or an oral statement. This could include ticking a box when visiting an internet website, choosing technical settings for information society services or another statement or conduct which clearly indicates in this context the data subject\'s acceptance of the proposed processing of his or her personal data. Silence, pre-ticked boxes or inactivity should not therefore constitute consent. Consent should cover all processing activities carried out for the same purpose or purposes. When the processing has multiple purposes, consent should be given for all of them. If the data subject\'s consent is to be given following a request by electronic means, the request must be clear, concise and not unnecessarily disruptive to the use of the service for which it is provided. Example: I recently took part in a tradeshow and throughout the day I amassed quite a few business cards, which I will use to create a database that I will then upload to my Benchmark account with the goal of sending newsletters. With the new Regulations, is this legal? No. The networking achieved between you and the individuals at the tradeshow does not give you the right to use their personal data, even with verbal confirmation from the individual. The GDPR now requires that evidence of this agreement between both parties exist. The GDPR states that there must be unequivocal and explicit consent from the individual that can be backed up with evidence in case of an audit. There needs to be evidence that the individual is giving their consent for their personal data to be used. RECOMMENDATION: Review your methods for data collection and eliminate any ambiguity that may exist. Analyze your database and only the data for which you can provide proof that consent was given to you by the individual. Access The party responsible for handling personal data must provide each user with simple and straightforward access to modify their own personal details. The party responsible must also provide an outlet in which the individual can confirm that they are giving their consent via electronic means, be it through their own website, sign-up forms or email confirmation. The party responsible will have one month to provide the client with an answer, with the possibility of extending it to two months in the event that it be a complex request, in which the necessary steps are being taken to complete the individuals request. In the case of our Email Marketing tool, the Manage Subscriptions option allows the individual to access their personal data and modify the data if needed or cancel the subscription outright. Within this point, there is a new right, which is the RIGHT TO ERASURE (Article 17), the user can exercise their “right to be forgotten” and have their personal data removed from the database permanently. We have selected two of the six reasons that are included in sub-point 1, which provide the individual the ability to exercise their right: a) the personal data is no longer necessary in relation to the purposes for which they were collected or otherwise processed; d) the personal data has been unlawfully processed; Compilation: The GDPR advocates for simplicity in the collection of personal data. As marketers we tend to ask for more details than necessary when all we are doing is sending out a weekly newsletter. For that reason, these new regulations encourage that only a minimum of personal data is collected and compiled for our current strategy and not the collection of additional data that you think might be useful in the future. If your goal is to inform your database of upcoming promotions, the compilation of an individual\'s name and email address is more than sufficient to meet your goal. Brexit The UK will officially leave and will no longer be a part of the EU in 2019. With this exit, the regulations will not be applicable to them. We currently do not know how the UK, or companies within the UK, will handle data protection but we believe that they will pass similar regulations that will be comparable with the EU. What happens if I do not meet the new GDPR requirements? The General Data Protection Regulation establishes a set of tools in order to comply with the new regulation, including sanctions and fines. A number of factors will be taken into consideration and carefully evaluated when a fine is imposed due to noncompliance with the new GDPR such as: the gravity/duration of the violation; the number of data subjects affected and level of damage suffered by them; the intentional character of the infringement; any actions taken to mitigate the damage; the degree of co-operation with the supervisory authority. The regulations set two ceilings for fines if the rules are not respected. The first ceiling sets fines up to a maximum of €10 million or, in case of an undertaking, up to 2% of worldwide annual turnover. This first category of fine would be applied for instance if a controllers does not conduct impact assessments, as required by the Regulation. The higher ceiling of fines reaches up to a maximum of €20 million or 4% of worldwide annual turnover. An example would be an infringement of the data subjects\' rights under the Regulation. Fines are adjusted according to the circumstances of each individual case. You will need to keep the above main points (Consent, Access and Compilation) in mind when the time comes to plan your email marketing strategy. Benchmark At Benchmark, we are working hard to update our Privacy Policy in order to comply with the requirements of the regulations. In the case of the GDPR there is no certification given to us that states that we are in compliance with the new regulations as with the Privacy Shield Framework. We at Benchmark, want to reassure you that your personal data is being handled in compliance with the new GDPR. For the very first time, the EU shows leadership and unity in how personal data needs to be treated and forces the rest of the world without exception for any country to follow these regulations if they want to handle European personal data. Do not forget to share this article with your audience and leave your comments. Thanks for reading! Watch our Webinar [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kw2W8RHlP5U&amp=&amp=&amp=&feature=youtu.be[/embed]


Read More
1 2