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Using Email Marketing to Boost Social Media Followers

Using Email Marketing to Boost Social Media Followers

Beyond • June 26, 2017

Marketing is meant to be a machine with all parts working toward the same goal. In most marketing departments, the parts are meant to make up the whole; at least, that is the ideal. The reality is very different. The reality is most marketing department processes and functions rarely support other pockets of activity. Take content, for example, the most time intensive marketing responsibility. Content should be an overarching umbrella that funnels into different purposes. One piece of content should be adaptable and have multiple functionalities so it can be adapted to social media, email marketing, blogs, and more. In this way, content is not only dictating how other marketing arms are fleshed out, but the content is also bringing these different pockets together. Instead, content tends to be scattered across the board. One thing is said on one platform and something else entirely somewhere else. What’s shared on the blog, of course, often makes it to social media platforms -- but not all social media platforms. First of all, content is not adapted to suit the style of each platform. What works on Facebook will not work on Instagram; and what works on Instagram is not going to cut it for Twitter. Let’s look at content the other way around. In fact, let’s look at your biggest organic content generator: social media. Filling the Social Media Follower Void If you have an active social media presence on any platform -- and you’re not pulling from the engagement and dialogue there -- you’re missing out on some major opportunities. One of those opportunities is getting more people from your email marketing list to convert as new social media followers. This is particularly important if you have a strong email marketing subscriber list and a loyal following there -- and are trying to build up your social media accounts. The most under-utilized way to bridge the gap is to integrate social media into your email campaigns, particularly newsletters. If you have a hot Instagram or Twitter account, take some of the best high-traffic posts and link to them in your campaigns. If there was a dynamic Facebook post the generate a riveting dialogue with followers, then summarize that with a headline and an invitation to join the conversation on Facebook. The point is to tease your subscribers with linked-back images of the chats that are happening somewhere else so you can funnel them to your social platforms. In fact, you can have an entire email campaign per week dedicated exclusively to social media chatter for the week. When it comes to social media, you want to keep this a weekly occurrence just because the news cycle changes so quickly. What’s relevant or hot today, may not be of interest to your followers next week, even if that social post is visually driven images from Instagram. Cultivating Social Media Followers from Email Campaigns The point is not to forget about one pocket while you’re working in another pocket. For starters, it’s highly recommend to center one entire email campaign is centered on a call to action for social media. It should be well-designed, clean and organized, as you see with the two examples. The one above for JoAnn Fabric and Craft Stores is a fantastic example of how to focus on your niche audience. At the top of the email campaign, as you would also share at the top of a website, they list all the social media platforms they’re on. They understand their demographic is women who are inspired to create and get crafty. The best social media platform for that is Pinterest. If they were to focus on a second, maybe it would be Facebook and then Instagram. JoAnn’s chose to focus on Pinterest and paired it with a pinboard. There isn’t an excessive copy. The call to action is simply the pins, which they repeated in various graphic design elements throughout the email campaign. The example below is Bed Bath & Beyond. They have a cheeky theme about “getting into the swing of it,” paired with value for each platform. The value isn’t also a thesis, it’s about pairing strong visuals that direct action with language that supports taking that action. Interestingly, the email campaign weaves in elements of website design. The top two rows of categories mimic their website. This is smart. It reminds people what the brand is about but also is a non-verbal cue to shop. Building on that, there are other ways to get email subscribers to show. Try including social media links in your email sign up form as well as your email confirmation form. Your subscriber’s welcome email can also be broken up into two separate campaigns, the latter of which focuses exclusively on social media. Have a second follow-up welcome email focus exclusively on social is smart if your email campaigns tend to be spaced out, allowing your subscribers to stay engaged in other ways in between campaigns. Weaving in Your Brand Value When integrating your social media teasers into your email campaigns, the key is to keep in mind brand value. In other words, think of communicating,  “Here’s what you need and here’s why you need it.” That is how you go about drumming up your value. Ask yourself what’s the one thing you offer on your social platforms that make them pop out? Going further, perhaps there are multiple types of value. You might get great community engagement on your Facebook page. Perhaps your Twitter page scoops up the hottest issues. Instagram might be where you curate the best finds across the visual platform and repost on your Instagram account. Maybe your Instagram is where you capture your brand’s culture. The point is the value you have your social media accounts tends to be diverse, and each platform captures a different facet of your brand value. Now it’s time to bring that back home to your email campaigns. It’s Always About the Numbers [caption id=\"attachment_5960\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"620\"] Graph as seen on OptinMonster.[/caption] The people marketing higher-ups typically answer to are easily charmed by the appeal of social media. The engagement there is visible. The likes and the replies are visible, but that doesn’t mean they’re measurable in the same way you measure engagement on email marketing. Think of it this way: 5,000 subscribers to your email subscriber list is not the same 5,000 subscribers on your Facebook or Twitter page. According to Stuart Marler from Retriever Digital, “If you have 2,000 Facebook fans usually only 2-5 people will see each post you publish.\" The level of engagement on social media is typically very minimal unless you’ve boosted the post. Then there’s the issue of boosting a post. While a boosted post gets you more traffic, likes, shares, and replies, etc., that engagement very typically isn’t driven by people who like or follow your business page. They’re often one-offs, there because you’ve paid for a sponsored post. It’s not an accurate level of reach or fanbase, especially when not compared to what you get on email marketing. Let’s look at what you get when you post the same thing to social media, on a platform like Facebook, while also sending the post to your email subscribers. Thought leaders Ogilvy note that Facebook organic reaches an estimated 6% of a brand’s fanbase, whereas the average reach (open rate) for email is 22%. That is a huge discrepancy in numbers. The point is this, the level of followers or subscribers is not equal to the level of engagement had based on that number alone. Think of it like this: you can have 5,000 contacts on your phone but who picks up the phone when you call? When it comes to social media, the same relative theory applies. It’s a question of who’s there versus who answers the call. Coming back to the point, considering that you naturally have a higher rate of email marketing engagement, it’s smart marketing to drive that audience to social media. Not only do you want to make sure you are evening out the playing field with the same people accessing all platforms you’re present in, but you can also use your email subscribers to help boost social media engagement. Going back to the drawing board, think of how you can use this information to create a bridge to connect social media to your email marketing campaigns. Considering summer is ahead of us and is typically a dry spell for email marketing, this is a great time to go back and pull the best of what you have on social media into your email campaigns. In fact, a key theme during the summer could be to draw attention to the most pivotal conversations and shares on social media as one-off email campaigns that can be sent out daily. It would be curious to see how your numbers perform under this strategy, whether your social media followers go up and whether you’ve maybe even increased social engagement through this innovative way to think about your marketing platforms. Give it a try, have fun with it, and let us know how it went for you!


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The Best Email Designs Are Based on Your Audience

The Best Email Designs Are Based on Your Audience

Beyond • May 16, 2017

You might want all the bells and whistles when you’re crafting the best email designs for your marketing campaigns. Yet, the best way to go about this project is to step back and think about your audience. If you’re opting for a packing your email campaign with a lot of information, consider whether that’s the ideal way to communicate to an older audience that might have trouble navigating between different messages or focusing on the one you want to emphasize the most. It would be information overflow. Similarly, if your email design is going to an e-commerce subscriber list of customers, you may want to focus on information such as different products. However, now you’re facing an additional issue. Your content isn’t text, but the product, and so your email design needs to highlight and beautify each product. Making this process a lot easier for you, we’ve tallied the best tips across the web. Best Email Design Tip #1: Forget the Big Picture Even though you might want a big beautiful design, email design size matters. Studies show that the more a reader has to keep their eye movement along the same line before a line break, the longer it takes them to process the information. The longer it takes someone to read or process something, the sooner they’re disinterested and walk away. That stat has a lot to do with why content skyrocketed once mobile technology developed. People go through content more on their mobile devices. The same goes for your newsletter. You want your desktop version to be at 600px and you want to also check and see how that converts to mobile. In most cases, this means keeping design simple and focusing on one or two key images versus flooding your email campaign with images. You want your desktop version to be at 600px and you want to also check and see how that converts to mobile. In most cases, this means keeping design simple and focusing on one or two key images versus flooding your email campaign with images. If you do have a lot of images to share, focus on one or two for the email campaign and include a link to a landing page that hosts more. Because size matters, you’re going to want to be very selective about what type of content you include. This also applies to the level of text you have. Sure people are scanning for information, but they don’t want to keep scanning. Keep the text brief with a link to a landing page. If you absolutely feel the need to add in a lot of text, then have breakers and subheadings with bullet points. These markers will help draw the eye to key information, helping your reader get through it faster. Best Email Design Tip #2: Think About the Big Picture So while we’re forgetting about the literal big picture, we do want to keep in mind the figurative big picture. When there’s so much going on in the world of your subscriber - or even just in your email campaign - how do you draw their eye to what matters? An email campaign isn’t just about saying hello and letting people know you exist. In other words, it’s not enough to just send the campaign. Best email design practices mean that you need to drive home a point. Each email campaign MUST have a call to action. The most powerful way to set up your call to action is in your design. Your email design needs to highlight the call to action but also clearly frame and identify it. The call to action could be a key point or message; it could be a donate button; it could be a ‘buy now’ button, etc. The truth is most email campaign readers don’t scroll all the way through your email campaign. Instead, they make a snap decision. This means that you’re best email design practice includes keeping your call to action at the top. For content-driven campaigns, that means using the major headlines as the key point you want to drive home so that if that’s all your reader read, they’ve walked away with the bit of info you want. For e-commerce, it’s about capturing someone’s attention with the sale teaser, such as the percentage off, the coupon or the window of time - all these things. From there you want to keep the buy now button not at the end of the campaign, but in the middle of the frame or picture so it’s still easy to access.


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How to Go Back to the Drawing Board for the Best Email Newsletters

How to Go Back to the Drawing Board for the Best Email Newsletters

Beyond • May 10, 2017

I’ve been around a lot of email marketing campaigns across several industries. Whether you’re looking at non-profits, think tanks, e-commerce, major consumer brands, networking groups, or blogs, there’s one thing that ties the best of the best together, and it’s purpose. Every great email marketing plan — and notice it’s a plan or a campaign, versus a single email — has these common variables. They each have a common purpose behind their campaigns. They each invoke emotion, and that emotion is typically carried in part through the design. There’s consistency in deliverability and there’s a variety of the types of campaigns shared over time. These factors are what creates the difference between mediocre campaigns and the best email newsletters. It always boils down to purpose. If you know what you’re walking through those doors for every morning — if you have a mission — it becomes a lot easier to walk out of them winning every day. The best email newsletters are all unified in their mission statement. They understand that email is so different from any other content or messaging platform. Email is the spear that drives the arrow. For there to be a point, you need to know what your purpose is. This comes back to organizational awareness. You might know what product or service you’re selling, but unless you know why you matter (or what matters to you), you don’t really have a purpose. You may be looking back and thinking this would have been easier to get right at the start of your business rather than maybe going back to the drawing board. I disagree. Once you’re in the ebb and flow of your business, you sometimes come out with a much better idea of what direction you’re going in and what matters to you now. From there, it’s always easy to shift and redesign. 9 Rules for Going Back to the Drawing Board World leading marketing analysts McKinsey & Co. developed a fantastic guideline for redesigning with purpose. According to the expert analysts that are drivers to growth and opportunity in some of the world’s most lucrative business, there are nine concrete steps to making this happen: Focus on long term goals Study the landscape Think about the blueprint Think beyond structures Bring on the right people Guide people to think differently Set a benchmark for analytics Leaders should be talking to each other, always. Things won’t always go your way, so manage those risks. Their guideline also shows that companies who follow six or more rules have a 73% improvement rate versus companies who followed just one or two rules. The latter had a 12% improvement rate. Those who followed all nine rules secured a jump in an improvement of a staggering 86%. Your Mission Statement, Should You Choose To Accept It To shake up your own company’s mission statement, get your team in a room and ask them to write down their answers to these questions: What do they think your business does every day? What would they say is your mission statement in a sentence or two? What would they like to see the company doing in this regard? You don’t want to give people more than 15 minutes to write their answers down. You want their answers to be real and not packaged for what might sound best. The same can also be done if you run an online business or content-based platform.


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Automation: The Practical Tool for Marketers

Automation: The Practical Tool for Marketers

Beyond • May 9, 2017

Here’s what your life looks like without email automation: You send out your email campaign: You notice you have three new subscribers You send out a separate campaign to welcome your new subscribers You notice someone has unsubscribed: You send out a separate “hey why did you leave/come back” campaign You notice 5 people haven’t completeld a conversion cycle you set up: You send out a separate new campaign to push them along the sales funnel. You notice some dead-end email subscribers: You launch a separate campaign targeted at stragglers who aren’t engaging. So while you dipped into your email marketing with just one task in mind, you ended up taking on three others, wasting about at least an extra hour or more on tasks that should have been automated. Automation Lets You Be a Precision-Oriented Marketer Automating makes sense. As a marketer who wears several hats, I know that if I have to detour my tasks to take on additional subtasks like the ones mentioned below -- then I’m not going to be that great at each individual task let alone get through my list of action items. But if I thought about these needs ahead of time, I can invest the time, creativity and attention to detail it needs to perfect each automated campaign. This keeps me from being sloppy and making a mistake. And this keeps your subscriber far more engaged. Fact is, the average email open time is about 15-20 seconds. This means you’ve got that small window to rope someone in; and so what you send to be top notch -- and not rushed in a flurry of email tasks. This means that you can be on the go with other tasks while your email marketing is still happening on autopilot. In other words, think of automotion as the Tesla of email marketing. Your most effective engagement vehicle is on autopilot while you can tend to other matters. Automation Lets You Focus on Your “Real” Job The idea behind automation as a practical business solution is this: it keeps your hands free so you can keep a pulse on customers and leads. So while you’re able to stay attuned to your clients and develop new business, your automated marketing campaigns are: Sending out personalized email campaigns that mimic direct engagement without you actually needing to directly engage. Something as simple as saying someone’s name creates an emotional connection that is a tenet of rapport building. In fact, a personalized subject line increases click open rates by 22%. You might be asking why you’d want a personalized subject line when the email is personalized. The answer is this: you want to get the subscriber to even click open the email first. To do that, rely on direct connections through emotional ties like a person’s name. To further the cause, personalized email push click-through rates by 14% and conversion rates by 10%. It’s About More Than Email Marketing. It’s About You. That’s really the takeaway with automation: not only does it make your job easier and help you be more successful in other areas by freeing up your time, but it also maximizes results. Lead generation alone sees over a 450% increase when marketing campaigns are personalized. And of course, you could do that yourself. You could painstakingly send out each email and be on top of every movement within the campaign cycle across however many users you have. But we’re sure you’d like to actually get away from your desk once in awhile or enjoy lunch with your colleagues. Automation is bigger than giving you your life back. Email marketing automation gives order and process by framing email marketing within a systemic framework. Consider that 64% of chief marketing officers have no process to manage their marketing automation, which keeps them forever in a ‘management’ loop juggling all these different tasks versus really steering the ship as a director of marketing. So not only is automation about making your job easier and doing your job better -- it’s ultimately about leveling up. Your email marketing game levels up, and in turn you get room to level up professionally.


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3 Things Every Email Marketing Specialist Should Know

3 Things Every Email Marketing Specialist Should Know

Beyond • May 1, 2017

Whether you’re manning the email marketing fort, training a team, or looking to hire a specialist, there are some concrete skills every email marketing specialist should have. We’re here to help you figure out what that list looks like, and how to get these skills. #1 Knowing How to Survey the Scene Email marketing doesn’t start with your email campaigns. It starts with understanding the conversation around you. It’s the job of every smart email marketing specialist to survey the scene and understand the conversation around them. That starts with listening. Listening is actually one of the most important things you can be doing on social media. While many marketers think the point of social media is to engage, it’s just as important to keep your eyes and ears open for what people are talking about and how they’re talking about it. There are simple ways to do that including setting up lists and checking in with those lists on a daily basis to see where the conversation is going. But for more aggressive email marketing specialists, there are social media listening tools that range from free to paid structures. # 2 Understanding What Your Audience Wants A “Science of Email” study shows that 64% of email subscribers prefer rich text emails. Once you figure out if your demographic - and which part of your demographic - falls into that category, the next step is seeing what they consider rich. While rich to me might be a thousand words, rich for most people might just mean a good 400 words with a link to a landing page if they want to read on or find out more. Then there’s the question of knowing that not everyone wants words. This goes back to your demographic. Some readers might only be interested in visual content or a certain type of content like quarterly updates or weekly check-ins. Others might like in-depth material. To understand what your audience wants, you need to ask them. The best time to do that is to get them to check off their preferences when they opt-in to your email list. #3 Automation Makes Your Life Easier Emails that reward people for signing up do something else: they bring people into the world of your brand. The first email you send once someone has signed up is the most important one. It’s the one that statistically as a 41% chance of being opened up over any other email you’ll ever send again, and it has a 14% click-through rate, which is pretty high considering you’re looking at 14% of 41%. Being an email marketing specialist is a misunderstood position. Unless you’ve done it and understand what needs to be done to be successful (see above), people are going to think you’re sitting there stuffing and licking envelopes - the real-time equivalent to what they think email marketing is about. We know better. We know you have a lot of fine tuning to know what the message should be, how to craft it, and how to repackage it for each segmented audience. That’s why you need to use automation as much as you can, especially the follow-up emails thanking people for signing up. Being an email marketing specialist is about being smart and using all the tools at your disposal to run a full-time, well-oiled machine. You’re the proverbial wizard behind the curtain, pulling levers and pushing buttons - and somehow it all seems to work on the other end. But you and I know there is a lot that goes on (and needs to go on) behind the scenes. What are some other things that you think email marketers should know? Share your ideas in the comments!


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Two Reasons to See Email Marketing as an Extension of Content Design

Two Reasons to See Email Marketing as an Extension of Content Design

Beyond • April 25, 2017

A textbook mistake marketing departments make is disembodying their content strategy from their email marketing strategy. At the drafting table, most marketers design a content plan that is focused on types of content and then look to outlets to disseminate that information. Along with social media and websites, email is seen as another content marketing channel. Instead, email should be looked at like a hybrid between a marketing channel and it’s own content platform. While not all content cuts and pastes neatly into an email campaign, email marketing design can still accommodate content needs. In fact, it can not only present the info to a pool of subscribers, but it can also evolve and adapt the content to be reframed. Repetition There are a couple of reasons it’s advantageous to reframe content when considering how content can be designed to fit email marketing. First, there’s repetition. A commonly known marketing fact is that a viewer needs to be presented with the same information at least 5-7 times before being persuaded or influenced to make a decision. The same is true if you’re trying to inform or educate. Repeat exposure helps drill in the information you’re trying to get your audience to internalize and express it back in their own opinion. A McKinsey report on the customer journey showed that repeat exposure gets your audience through key gateways before they can convert to a loyal customer or audience member: Awareness Familiarity Consideration Purchase Loyalty Framing Framing is about how you position your message. What you can say in one format might not be how you want to (or can) say it in another way especially when you have to repeat exposure to a product or idea. Take for example a feature article you might write: 800 words are great for an in-depth publication but it’s too long for a blog post about that article. You can chop it down to 300 words for a summary in a blog post, but that’s probably still too much for an email campaign, especially if that campaign is designed to drive traffic to the original article. So while you’re reframing your original feature for email, you also need to consider how the audience best approaches the issue in a pool of email subscribers. This is where segmenting works really well, but you want to pair segmentation with smart email marketing design. Instead of just segmenting batches of email campaigns by demographics, age, or gender, why not try something far more intimately and scientifically tested -- like a Meta Program? According to Forbes contributing writer Christine Comaford’s article “How to Influence Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere,” Meta Programs increase conversion by 50% through looking at codes: Meta Programs operate on a range: we don’t usually fall all the way to one side or the other as an absolute. They are also contextual, meaning that you may have one set of meta programs in the context of work, another set when it comes to money, and yet another for romantic love. Though we generally have an overall set for how we approach life. Going back to segmenting, you’re going to design your email marketing based on another scientific principle, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), that looks at how people perform. ABA was something we discussed in an earlier blog post, and if you’ve been working on understanding your audience through motivators, you should have begun forming a model that helps you understand what motivates them and how they make a decision. Using that data, you can then apply meta programs to push content so that it drives behavior. The ultimate purpose of content is not to inform, but to persuade.


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How to Tell Loyal Subscribers You’re Thankful For Them

How to Tell Loyal Subscribers You’re Thankful For Them

Beyond • March 28, 2017

We tend to get comfortable when we’re around the same people often enough. Whether it’s a partner, friends, or colleagues, there’s a level of comfort that sets in after a certain point. While it’s great to be in common company that knows what you’re all about, it’s important to rekindle these relationships so that the other side knows they’re still valued. The same goes for your email subscribers. Of course, your subscriber knows what you’re all about and is still feeding into your campaigns. The problem is, you don’t really know who is paying attention, who is sort of checking out, and who doesn’t exactly remember that they signed up, to begin with. These are all different stages of an exit cycle. This is what you don’t want. In order to retain hard-won subscribers, use the month of gratitude and giving to show them that you’re thankful for their audience. There are a few ways to do this. The simplest way is to send the thank you email campaign speaking directly to your subscribers from the heart. Treat this a bit like the year-end Christmas letters your great aunt Geraldine might have sent. Except, we’re going to twist it up. We’re going to keep it have 500 words; we’re going to make it punchy and segmented. The intro will talk about your gratitude, and the second segment will cover the achievements through the year and how your subscribers played a part in that success. Keep this section short. Nobody likes a glory hog. The third section uses key language and phrasing in order to show authority on the topic at hand. Your goal is to make sure they’re not bored, so do that by dropping some seeds about what’s coming up that might be privileged information. If you can, release an article or product that is only accessible to subscribers as a token of your thanks. This directly gives your subscribers something to show off with - something only they have and can share or purchase through you. As you’re crafting this campaign, remember that your audience is forgetful. They won’t automatically know of wins or shareables. They’re not always in the loop even if they are part of your campaign. They need nudging and directing. That goes for social channels too. A lot of times, subscribers will be all about your email campaigns and Facebook page, but they’ll forget you have a strong Twitter presence or are launching weekly Instagram videos. Whatever it may be, there’s a good chance even your most loyal audience members have been too busy to keep up with it. The thank you email is a good opportunity to nudge them about what else is going on and how they can stay connected. Unlike newbie subscribers that you’re just directing to the most popular calls to action, veteran subscribers can step it up. You might want to segment your list based on this tier and ask for greater involvement from your senior subscribers. Maybe there’s a new philanthropy initiative you think your best brand ambassadors (oldest customers) might be a perfect fit for? Perhaps there’s a segment of your audience that’s very socially active and they can start acting as digital ambassadors making it a point to share one piece of content per week. This is the time to not only thank subscribers but to activate them as well. Show then you’re thankful by being as inclusive as possible.


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Behavior Analysis Expected to Drive 2017 Email Marketing

Behavior Analysis Expected to Drive 2017 Email Marketing

Beyond • March 3, 2017

If you followed our advice this time last year, you should already have a pretty well-placed system for email marketing campaigns broken down by quarters. Every three months, your campaigns and directions are driven by core goals for that quarter. Alongside that, by now you also have in place a system of measurement. In other words, per quarter and per campaign, what are your campaign goals and how are you going to measure that data? How will you define success? New Benchmarks for Success In part a response to the limitations of email automation alone and the need to project marketing capabilities to meet the needs of the future, Benchmark rolls out a 2017 gamechanger: Automation Pro. Moving into 2017, you can further streamline how success is defined by using Benchmark’s newest defining feature. Using Automation Pro, success isn’t just about the click-open rate but about the customer journey each subscriber has with your brand through email marketing campaigns. But the email campaign journey isn’t just about a deeper funnel - it’s about streamlining the target. One of the key trends for 2017 will be targeting. Targeting look at variable behavior factors such as demographic profile data, lifestyle, and preferences/attitude. Think of it as a pyramid that factors in behavioral analysis into your marketing. A powerful predictor applied behavior analysis (ABA)can not only help you understand the choices your subscribers make, but also the choices they can be expected to make. Through the Looking-Glass of Behavior Analysis In fact, social scientists are venturing further into marketing upon the industry’s realization that the science used to help understand and encourage behavior can also be used to help predict it. Some studies show that the “...collaboration between behavior analysts and environmental psychologists who study the correlation of individuals’ environmental concern and action with their attitudinal, demographic, and personality characteristics…[replacing] armchair theorizing with interdisciplinary and intervention-focused environmental research.” ABA might be new to you but it’s, in fact, one of the fast growing sciences. A simple Google search for “ABA” or “applied behavior analysis” shows a staggering 16,500,000 hits and growing. The reason marketers love ABA is because it’s a practice based on evidence - so not just a theory of what’s going to work, but what actually works. It’s one of the most data-driven methods aside from the data you get from analytics. However, ABA allows for deeper understanding of behavior; you’re not just seeing a number as you would in analytics alone; you’re able to see why something happens and how to modify that behavior. In other words, marketers can work with behavior analysts to not only interpret and predict behavior but to also shape it. In 2017, you can use ABA to help further perfect the subscriber journey through Automation Pro. Shifting Gears to “Engagement” That’s another thing that changes in 2017: we’re changing our thinking. Instead of relying on a clinical and transactional label such as “email marketing” we’re going to shift to “customer engagement” and we encourage you to think in this frame of mind too. Email marketing is something that happens. Customer engagement is something you do. Customer engagement is realizing that emails aren’t a memo shoot, a black hole vacuum where messages go in one direction into an abysmal void of no return. In truth, email is the most real time digital space you’re going to get where YOU get to focus on the audience. But there’s another sort of engagement that’s also prevalent for 2017. Piggybacking off of the hot use of gifs and video, we expect 2017 to be much more dazzling to the eye. Email campaigns are visually oriented, that almost look like inviting ads themselves, are going to be big. If Twitter, for example, is meant to communicate in 140 words, then people are already conditioned (think ABA) for quick and brief communication. This is why GIFs are so powerful, and why 30 second2-minuteute videos are also powerful tools to communicate your message. Take a look at the Kate Spade email campaign, which is a perfect example of how visual drives message. Their email marketing campaign used their products to introduce a new line for a new audience - without ever showing a picture of the audience. The campaign is driven by a creative pairing of visuals to create a new visual: the target market. Not only does it engage, but it also entertains. A 2014 Gallup poll show that customers who want to spend money, want to spend it on something they feel good about. Gallup - kings of predictive behavior - also based their customer engagement model “on the emerging science of behavior economics, which holds that the vast majority of customer loyalty and buying decisions are influenced by emotional as well as rational factors.” Part of what it means to engage is that it means to \'court\' the customer.’ This is especially true for Millennials but it’s a general qualifier for all customers - or subscribers. So as we’re shifting into customer engagement, think what is going to drive behavior for this segmented audience? What makes them feel good? It looks like 2017 is going to be full of a lot of questions that involve getting to know your subscribers better.


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Welcome Emails: Tell New Subscribers You’re Thankful

Welcome Emails: Tell New Subscribers You’re Thankful

Beyond • February 23, 2017

In the entire lifespan of your subscribers, there’s just one moment where they’re absolutely thrilled to be hearing from you - and that’s when they first subscribe. The first email campaign you send to a new subscriber is going to be the most crucial campaign in your ability to hold onto that subscriber. After all, it’s perhaps even easier for them to unsubscribe as it was for them to jump on board, to begin with. For that reason alone, it’s worth it that you not only make a good first impression but that you also make it clear they’re valued - that you make them feel like they’re “in” your world. Humanize it Sending thanks is about more than just the obligatory note. It’s about the first step in cultivating the relationship. Part of your automation campaign to newbie subscribers should include a personal note from you speaking directly with the new subscriber. Think of it as the “letter from the editor” at the start of every magazine. Except keep it about half the length of the typical editorial letters and make it more pressing. You can make it more pressing by weaving in an overview of what’s been done so far but also look at the landscape ahead so there’s something to look forward to. If possible, always add a picture of yourself. It helps humanize you and the brand, and that helps with subscriber retention. Part of that thanks you should also talk about them, the subscriber. What is their role moving forward and why are they needed? Why do you value them? This is going to be a little tougher with some industries rather than others. Retail is one of those industries. Yet you can use this opportunity to show value in being a subscriber. Say you offer subscribers access to trunk sales or newest finds and want their feedback. This makes subscribers feel rewarded for being part of your brand and also gives you vital consumer feedback you can talk about...in something like a thank you campaign. Gratitude is Always in the Gift Once you’ve roped in the subscriber and make them feel warm and fuzzy, the next thing you do is direct them to something of value. They’ve signed up, but what have they signed up for exactly? No matter what industry you’re in, this is really key. You’ve got to give your subscriber something of value off the bat. This something is the equivalent of a gift you’d give in cultures around the world, all of which see the exchange as a social act that seals a bond between two sides. In the digital marketing world - and in society nowadays - gift giving is a completely lost art but it is so important in bonding with your new subscriber. Not only do you need to give something of value, you need to show them what’s so awesome about being in your world. You use this gift to lead them to a landing page, a call to action, an ebook - whatever you’ve got - to get them something they can use, share or reference. So to recap, first is the personal message of gratitude that weaves in why your subscriber is valuable. Once that foundation has been set, next you direct them to the action you want them to take that also needs to be something of value to the subscriber. In many cases, this is going to be a shareable or downloadable item to which the subscriber otherwise might not have access.


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The Freedom of Personal Branding for the Good of the Company

The Freedom of Personal Branding for the Good of the Company

Beyond • February 21, 2017

Personal branding is something that you might have seen more of in recent times as a result of a brand’s increased digital media presence, but it’s an idea that’s been around for a lot longer than that. You might remember Dear Abby, a newspaper advice column from back in the day. In many ways, that was the first instance of personal branding – and it was widely successful. Today, I find many companies are hesitant to embrace personal branding, favoring instead to push the entire company brand. In other cases, where no brand was pushed at all, there was always some sort of hidden “back channel” personal branding that was going on. Typically, this was found in the marketing department through link building, blogging and social media efforts. The fact is, to do any of these three – link building, blogging, and social media – there is naturally some voice that rises to the surface. If your goal is link building, there is some actual real life person in your company reaching out to other websites and creating connections. So in a lot of ways, there’s already an element of personal branding that’s happening to the benefit of the company. There other benefits to personal branding, and it starts with recognizing the motivations of a company owner. Not every business owner wants to be the face of the business, but in an environment that demands business transparency, the fact is your customers are going to want to know who you are. Allow for personal branding gives your company a face – or an anchor point – that customers and brand followers can attach to. It’s the ultimate “glass wall” in that you’re not just seeing who’s on the other side; as a customer, you’re able to engage them directly. The value of being able to cultivate a personal brand is why social media channels have become so powerful, even for the individual who didn’t intend to become a brand but through their voice ended up rising as one. It builds community trust and it gets a following. Following is valuable social currency that elevates a company from just having a brand to being a trusted authority. Let’s look at the value of a brand from beyond just the customer’s point of view. If your goal is to build partnerships with colleagues or to create a network that can be leveraged, then you need a point person that is visible online. Say you’re trying to form alliances in order to launch a new initiative, and let’s say you’ve reached out to a person in Group A. That person will likely have one or two other people they can connect you with. However, when discussing you to their colleagues, it’s going to be challenging to communicate the company as a whole. It’s a lot easier to reference one point person in a company than the whole company. This allows the person in Group B to grasp onto and engage the individual. It’s a lot tougher to engage a whole company than it is to engage one person in that company. It also makes it easier for outside influencers to know who to reach, especially if you designate multiple personal brands based on different consumer interests or target areas. So think of it as having regional sales managers – which business owner would agree is a good idea for a national market – but now you have ideation managers based on areas you’re serving as a thought leader in.


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