Series Posts: Beyond

Marketers Share Why Benchmark is the One

Marketers Share Why Benchmark is the One

Beyond • October 30, 2018

We appreciate the marketers who use Benchmark Email for many reasons. Helping businesses grow is an honor we do not take lightly. That sometimes business owners and marketers take the time to sing our praises and let us know how they\'re thriving with email marketing swells our hearts with joy. We\'ve said it before and we\'ll say it a million more times: thank you for choosing Benchmark Email. Speaking of picking us... :) Here is why some of our favorite businesses in the Philippines chose Benchmark Email: Mansmith & Fielders Customer Support is Superb. Benchmark has a local team that we can depend on for any of our concerns. Though Benchmark has 24/7 chat and email support, having local representatives that we can talk to and serves as our account manager is what we love most. We are very happy that they always join our quarterly planning sessions. Who would do that extended support? Functional Features.  The first thing that you will look for any tool is its features, right? The good thing is it has useful features that you can use for your email marketing. We are very happy to see the analytics in the email reports which helps our marketing team improve our contents. Easy, and fun to use. Of course, we don\'t want to have a boring job and imagine making hundreds, or thousands of emails, we all get bored with that. With this platform making templates is easier. There comes the time that your brain can\'t function well, but don\'t worry because we got you on that. Benchmark has their ready-made templates for all occasions. You can do everything to make your email to look more interesting than before. Flexible Payment Terms. As for the pricing, for us, it’s no brainer that it\'s the least we think of because we are getting way more than what we are paying for. When it comes to email marketing, we can proudly say that Benchmark is like our soul mate, our perfect partner for our business. Benchmark indeed delivers its promise, which is to connect with our customers regularly. We could come up with a longer list on what we love about Benchmark, but we would rather encourage you to experience it yourselves. Mae Naval - Marketing Manager One of the most important tasks in a business is finding and dealing with increasing customers. This is just one task that I am talking about. There\'s a lot more so you need to plan carefully and manage your time effectively. And most marketers technique is to use email marketing software. Email marketing will be an easy task if you know the ins and outs of the tool or software that you are using and for me, that will be Benchmark. Yes, BENCHMARK. I love the mission of Benchmark which focuses on customer engagement. If you own a business, this should be your priority because, without this, your business will not have any potential to grow and move forward. Let me tell you three reasons why I like Benchmark. 1.) Easy Navigation. Benchmark provides a clear analytics interface.  Admit it! Not everyone is tech savvy and has mastered everything that goes on on the internet. You need something that you can easily understand and navigate. 2.) Well-designed templates. If you are looking to attract your prospective clients, you should be able to deliver your message in a professional way. Templates help us to make that easier and since it is well-designed, it turns out to be effective especially for sending newsletters. 3.) Support. Who doesn\'t like a knowledgeable and responsive customer service? At one point, there will still be questions that will pop out of your mind and you need somebody who can answer you. That is what you will get with Benchmark. In addition to that, having someone that recognizes and answers your reviews about their service is also a good thing about Benchmark. And the biggest advantage Benchmark has in the Philippines is that they are the only US-based email software who has a local presence. Having a local expert in email marketing is way so helpful and they even conduct a free weekly workshop. How cool is that? Another one reason why I like Benchmark is they\'re free (another free, huh!) to create your account and gather up to 2000 subscribers. Who doesn\'t love free stuff? I mentioned that I will tell you only three reasons to like Benchmark but I guess there’s so much more because their local representatives are very forthcoming in educating marketers. And very patient for beginners. They really walk you through each step of the way to becoming a pro. Cathy Sipoy - NPS Realty Most, if not all businesses, use email marketing in one form or another nowadays. It is making yourself aware that \"hey, I am here, and I am willing to do business with you\". The potential in email marketing is so huge since the email itself is already a publicity. As they say, negative publicity is still publicity. There will be some who will be encouraged to read a part or your whole email and the primary goal of email marketing is to create awareness. A lot of companies nowadays get the help of marketing firms to ensure this way of advertisement is tapped and maximized. Benchmark, an email tool can help businesses in a lot of ways from enhancing repeat sales, promotional emails, customer engagement and increasing your subscription base. Don\'t get me wrong, these features are also available with other providers, so what sets Benchmark apart? Not all businesses, especially start-ups, are willing to spend an additional amount for something that is very hard to measure until they get to test the waters. That is one risk in email marketing, the results are difficult to quantify especially for first-timers. This is where Benchmark helps your business grow. They offer a free plan for a maximum of 2,000 subscribers per month, yes, you read that right first-timer, two thousand emails without leaving a single penny on the table. Challenge with free plans though are, it is very limited, so what do you get with Benchmark’s $0.00 subscription? Not much actually. You will just get access to their email editor (insanely simple and easy to use as they say); signup forms; drip campaigns; RSS email campaigns; Email Delivery Management; Google Analytics Tracking; List Management and Segments; and, List Hygiene. I do not think you will get that elsewhere. Let me share why the features of Benchmark’s free plan is very useful from start-ups to mid-size businesses. For new businesses, hiring an expert to do email marketing and design will prove costly. Just knowing that anyone with basic computer skills can do it using Benchmark’s tools, is a sigh of relief while you’re busy making your mark in the business world. That is aside from the fact that the email templates don’t need tinkering even if it is seen thru a desktop, laptop or other mobile devices. One of the many great features is the drag and drop email designer. Who says you need expertise in coding to create an email design? With this feature you will be able to customize your email newsletter as easy as 1 2 3. On top of that, it comes with a photo editor, so you don’t have to purchase expensive software or hire a professional to do it for you. If you’re too busy to create your own email designs, you can always use Benchmark’s email templates which comes in different styles and formats to suit your business needs. If you are knowledgeable in HTML, the free plan also has a Code Editor. You can build your own email template or edit an existing one with the help of this. So much for just one system, right? You can integrate Benchmark with your CRM, CMS, Email accounts, social media and other customer-sourcing channels. Integrating Benchmark with other apps and systems will help maximize your email marketing campaign and boost audience engagement. You can create surveys and polls in the free plan. This will enable you to gather insights from your customers which will help in your product research and development. It also gives you the chance to retain customers who voiced out their frustration with your products and services. That is customer service 101! Signup forms is another feature from the free plan as it enables you to embed forms or pop-ups for customers to fill from your website to your Facebook page. You can save images and videos too! Benchmark enables you to store your files which makes it easy for you to access and use it anytime. Very convenient, right? One of the most important features you get is their built-in analytics tracking. You will be able to get the success rate of your email campaigns. Benchmark provide reports that will help you recognize which of your campaign works and which doesn’t. This also helps you identify areas and campaigns that need improvement. These are just a few of the features you get from it. There are a lot more from it that will definitely help your business thrive. Benchmark is one of the best email marketing platforms for me as it is a tailor-fit for my business needs; cost-effective; helps me make the most out of my email marketing campaign and absolutely user-friendly. Deljane Querijero - Freelance Marketer Benchmark, one of the slickest-looking email marketing platform with very user-friendly features,  is hitting all the industry benchmarks and more. Benchmark is an automation pro. It allows you to send automated emails according to “triggers” set by the user. Follow-ups are customized based on engagement so you never lose that “human touch.” Their email designer is one of the most user-friendly and intuitive email editors ever. It’s all drag and drop, coupled with some live editing. Let’s not forget that your email will always be optimized, regardless of what device the user is viewing it in. They make good on their promise to dress your emails for success! Benchmarks can be your CRM so you don’t have to purchase a separate CRM. They make growing and nurturing your audience and leads easy with their list building, custom sign-up forms and list management tool. They also add the ability to run beautifully composed polls and surveys, so you don’t have to invest in a separate survey tool. Analytics ensure that you, as a marketing professional, always makes informed decisions. It takes out the guesswork and having to rely on gut feel. Benchmark offers AB Testing, an Inbox Checker and Reporting features to track your campaign’s progress in real time. Benchmark can be integrated with more than 300 apps! Migrating can be a pain when you switch platforms but Benchmark makes it easy for you. Finally, let’s talk about pricing. First, the free plan offers 50% of what the paid plan does. 50%?! I know right! The last time I saw a free plan that offered that much features was ...never? Second, the price range for the paid plan from $14/mo to $28/mo. Those are prices that definitely play nice with freelancers, sole entrepreneurs and small business owners. Benchmark is easily one of the best email marketing platforms in the market today. It’s user-friendly, offers a host of features in its free plan and has a very nice looking interface. Email marketing, when done right, can renew your faith in modern marketing. And in case you have no idea how to do it the right way, let me give you a great tip - let Benchmark show you how. The Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA) The Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA), Inc. is a non-stock and non-profit organization of tour operators and allied members who actively involved in the advocacy of responsible tourism. PHILTOA was founded on 12 June 1986 and with almost 400 members which includes travel agencies, hotels, resorts, transportation companies, handicraft stores, and other tourism-oriented establishments and associations. PHILTOA is the largest organization accredited enterprise by the Department of Tourism (DOT) and they are the organizer of the annual Philippine Travel Mart (PTM), the biggest and longest-running travel trade exhibition in the Philippines. PTM aims to get more Filipinos to engage in local tourism by promoting ways to enjoy the beautiful, scenic, and exciting Philippines. PHILTOA also provides all their members educational workshops and events through their 4P Seminar program. PHILTOA: Partnering for Professionalism and Progress In cooperation with Benchmark Email, one of the partners of PHILTOA, the members are entitled with a series of workshops on how to effectively engage with their customers. The workshop covers the following: The Complete Guide To Email Marketing For Customer Engagement? How To Build and Grow Your Database? How To Create An Email Marketing Plan? As a prime example, PHILTOA sends a monthly newsletter campaign to their members to disseminate circulars and important announcements. PHILTOA likewise post archive newsletters sent through Benchmark in their website so that members can easily access. As delightedly shared by Mr. Ryan Meimban, the Marketing Head of PHILTOA, “using Benchmark has been beneficial for our organization as it serves as a bridge in tracking that all our members have received and read our circulars and announcements. It may sound funny but sometimes, our members claim that they did not receive anything from us but we can easily track it through the report in our Benchmark account. Most of our members take a traditional approach in reaching their customers, they just want to send their promo packages through regular email and no tracking. That’s why whenever they attend our quarterly workshops, it’s always a new learning for them.  As such, Benchmark is indeed a very important part of our organization. We are very thankful that they have an office and representatives here in the Philippines which assist not just us but also to all our members who use Benchmark.”


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We Wrote a Book! Clues for the Clueless Email Marketer

We Wrote a Book! Clues for the Clueless Email Marketer

Beyond • October 23, 2018

We spend a lot of time on the Benchmark Blog, in our emails, on chat, the phones and email helping businesses do their email marketing. You’d think we’d be pretty good about practicing what we preach, right? Well, full transparency here. When going through our new book, Clues for the Clueless Email Marketer, we had to admit that even we could be a bit clueless from time to time. It happens to the best of us. You see, we’re all clueless once in a while. After all, you have to start somewhere. We’re not born knowing everything, as much as some of us would like to think otherwise (just me?!). The book contains seven quick and easy strategies for nurturing relationships with your email list. After all, it’s your most valuable marketing asset! Here’s what you have to look forward to when you download Clues for the Clueless Email Marketer: Grow Your Email List This chapter talks about how to grow your most valuable marketing asset: your email list. The first step in doing growing your email list is understanding all the off touchpoints where you have an opportunity to do so. Here are all the touchpoints we discuss how you can go about growing your list: Homepage Blog Other high trafficked pages Social Media Over the phone In-store/on-location Events Print Ads The next step in growing your list is getting your timing right. Timing comes down to where you place your signup forms on your page and whether you use things like pop-up signup forms or exit-intent signup forms. The last step for growing your list is the words you use in your signup forms. It’s important to know what voice to use, what incentive to offer and how to craft a compelling Call To Action (CTA). Learn how to grow your email list when you download Clues for the Clueless Email Marketer. Know Your Subscribers Once you’ve done all the work to bring in as many subscribers as possible, it’s time to gain an understanding of them. After all, it’s important to remember that there’s a person behind every email address. Even some of the more clueless email marketers have at least heard of list segmentation. This chapter focuses on the ways you can do that both from the start using signup form data and then after signup using their engagement history. Opportunities for segmentation during signup: Gender Location Industry Job Role More! How you can segment based on interests: Purchase history Website activity Clicking habits More! You can also create a preference center to allow your subscribers to segment themselves and choose what types of communications they want to receive from you. This chapter also discusses proper email list hygiene. That includes actions like list verification and creating a re-engagement campaign and then ultimately removing inactive subscribers. Learn what it takes to deliver relevant content to your subscribers when you download Clues for the Clueless Email Marketer. Use New Tools and Technology Growing your list and caring for it is important. As we already mentioned, your list is your most valuable marketing asset. After that, it’s time to expand your horizons beyond the basics with email marketing. Some tools and features we believe you need to be taking advantage of: Marketing automation Targeted Emailing A/B Testing Integrations These are features that will save you time, foster better relationships with your contacts, improve your sales and make you a better email marketer overall. Learn how to take advantage of every aspect of email marketing when you download Clues for the Clueless Email Marketer. Create Better Content If you’re not ready to try the more advanced features, though we believe Clues for the Clueless Email Marketer makes it possible to do so, you can focus on improving the content of the emails you are already sending. Or at least try sending some new types of email marketing campaigns. Here are some of the types of email campaigns you should be sending: Welcome Emails Promo Emails Follow-up Emails Newsletters Value Emails Product Education Emails Survey Emails Testimonial Emails Special Occasion and Holiday Emails Aside from the types of emails, you can create to better your email marketing, you can also work to improve the content of those emails. Focus on writing better subject lines and on including better topics within the email itself. You can also work on kicking the design of your emails up a notch. Learn how to send more quality emails when you download Clues for the Clueless Email Marketer. Get Better Information from Subscribers Hopefully, by now, you’re starting to understand how important it is to nurture your relationships with the contacts on your email list. The best way to do that is by doing customer-centric email marketing. To achieve customer-centric email marketing, you need to learn as much as possible about the subscribers on your list. One great way to get some more intel on your subscribers is to simply ask them. Groundbreaking, we know. Sending polls and surveys is an excellent way to gain some insight into your contacts. Here are some additional free resources where you can seek out information on your subscribers: Social media Niche blogs Discussion forums Q&A sites Amazon reviews Video sharing communities Newsletters Search engines eBooks, manuals and guides Case studies Support documentation Learn how to effectively gain important data on your subscribers via polls, surveys and free resources when you download Clues for the Clueless Email Marketer. Understand Your Reports By this point, we’ve discussed how effectively nurture relationships with your email list by growing it, learning from it and sending better content to it. Is it working? That’s where your reports come in. Your reports are the clues you need to become a better email marketer. You can look at these elements of your reports to see what is (or isn’t) working for your email marketing: Open rate Click-through rate Opens by hour Unsubscribe and abuse Use this information to see areas that need improvement and what tactics you should be doing more of. Learn how to turn your report data into a better email marketing strategy when you download Clues for the Clueless Email Marketer. Seize Opportunities Carpe diem! Sometimes, it’s possible to tap into the zeitgeist with a timely email and it will get more attention from your subscribers. Holiday email marketing campaigns are one way to do this because everyone is focused on that day (and may even expect deals or sales around that holiday). Don’t be afraid to think big! Sometimes, the only limits to what we can achieve with email marketing are what we believe is possible. Give yourself some lofty goals and reverse engineer them to figure out the steps to work towards it. Learn how to take advantage of the right moment with the right message when you download Clues for the Clueless Email Marketer. Wrapping Up The ROI for email marketing is about $42 for every $1 spent. The value of email marketing cannot be understated. Trying something new can be intimidating. We get that and have been there. Nobody likes to feel like they’re clueless. That’s why we wrote the book, Clues for the Clueless Email Marketer. Everyone, even all of us here at Benchmark, had to start somewhere. That’s why we’re here to clue you in. Learn how you can quickly and easily turn your most valuable marketing asset, your email list, into relationships and sales when you download Clues for the Clueless Email Marketer.


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Discover the Value of Each Subscriber in Your List

Discover the Value of Each Subscriber in Your List

Beyond • October 22, 2018

Not all email marketing subscribers are created equal. Contact A: Has come to your website after visiting several other competitors. They see your popup signup form that boasts a 20% off discount for new subscribers. They signup just in case, but they haven’t made a decision yet about your business or any other one. After opt-in, they aren’t really paying much attention to your emails. Contact B: Has already done their research. They even have a recommendation or referral about your business. They’re confident you’re the solution for what they seek. They might just be waiting to save some more money, for a holiday bonus or any other number of reasons. They signup, because they want to hear more from you. Emails from you are almost always opened. Do you think it pays to communicate to those two subscribers in the same manner? It’s not rhetorical. The answer is no. If you were to continue on sending to Contact A, the same way you were sending to Contact B, it would eventually affect your deliverability. Inbox clients pay attention to when you’re continually sending to inactive subscribers and will act accordingly. For that reason alone, knowing how important each individual subscriber is to your business has incredible value. Enter Benchmark Email’s brand new Contact Rating system. What is the Contact Ratings System? Contact Rating is a way of telling how engaged your subscribers are with your email campaigns. Aside from seeing who is interacting with the emails you send, contact rating is also beneficial because it allows you to segment your emails based on the subscriber’s rating. Ratings can go from 0 stars, meaning they’re a new subscriber who you haven’t sent to yet, to one star, meaning they’ve received an email, but haven’t clicked or opened, and 2-5, which show how engaged that contact is with your emails. The rating is based off of your previous 90 days of sending. You can improve your email’s deliverability (and do some awesome strategies we’ll get into shortly), with the Contact Rating system. You can segment your emails on the fly using the rating system and separate the low rated contacts (0-2) from the highly rated ones (3-5). To learn more about Contact Rating, you can check out our helpful FAQ. Now that you know how to segment based on Contact Rating, let’s look at how you can put it to use: Create a Loyalty Program for Your Highest Rated Subscribers On average, it costs 5 times more to acquire a new customer than to keep the ones you already have. That’s why a customer loyalty program is a good strategy for any business. Knowing how important customer retention is, making your subscribers feel special with a loyalty program is an essential part of nurturing positive customer relationships with email marketing. How can you do it? Create Special Sales or Events Exclusive to Your Highest Rated Contacts To make your loyal subscribers feel special, creating an heir of exclusivity can go a long ways. It can be a single day or a week-long affair, but the idea is to generate some excitement and to make your loyal contacts feel appreciated. Think about how Amazon handles Prime Day. It’s 24+ hours of new deals occurring throughout the day. It incentives Prime members to return all day and night to see the new deals that have opened up. This Amazon Prime Day email lets you know only a select group gets to enjoy the benefits and it creates a sense of urgency. It’s sure to result in plenty of repeat business. Give Loyal Customers a Say Aside from showing your customers that you appreciate them by giving them discounts and access to special sales, asking for their feedback is another way to show your contacts that they’re valued. I play fantasy football with my friends. I’m in a handful of leagues. Recently, Yahoo emailed me to tell me that as one of their more active users for fantasy football, they wanted to know if I’d be interested in participating in a survey about their services. Of course I was. I wanted to feel like I had a say in what was happening. They even sweetened the deal by offering a gift card as a token of their gratitude. They remind me that it’s only for me, which gives it that level of exclusivity as well. It’s a simple, plain text email. It doesn’t look great. However, it did get me to complete the survey as they requested. Re-engage Your Lowest Rated Contacts Inactive subscribers happen. There are various reasons a subscribe doesn’t engage with your emails. Perhaps they’re traveling or they’re busy. Maybe they already made a purchase and don’t need your emails any more. Or it could be that they just don’t see the value in what you’re sending. It could be any of those reasons or none of them. Why it happens is a topic for another blog. For now, we’ll focus on what you can to to re-engage them when it happens. Tell Them You’re Going to Remove Them Everyone wants what they can’t have. Telling your subscribers that you’re going to remove them from your list, unless they opt back into your list is a good way to re-engage your inactive subscribers. It may make them realize they do want to hear from you, or let you know that they’ve just been too busy to engage. If you do this, it’s important to toe the line of desperation and creepiness and just let them know that you’ll stop dropping by their inbox unless they say otherwise. This re-engagement email from Sidekick, now known as HubSpot Sales Tools, does a really great job of being friendly and understanding, while staying on brand and not over-stepping. Incentivize Re-engagement Sometimes, it just takes a friendly nudge to re-engage an inactive subscriber. Say something like “we miss you” and offer a small discount to get them in the door. There is a lot of competition in most industries these days. If you’re not staying top of mind, you’re going to be forgetting. Giving a little reminder can help you bring back lost business. Pinkberry does a nice job with this re-engagement email for their loyal customers with a Pinkcard who haven’t been around in a while. That they put an expiration on it, creates a sense of urgency and ensures the customer comes back soon. Additional Re-engagement Strategies Much like rewarding your engaged contacts by listening to them, you can ask for feedback from your inactive ones. Give them a chance to tell you what they’d have liked to be receiving from you, rather than the content they’ve been ignoring. Their passion for what they don’t like can be a lesson to you as well. You can also try to throw a hail mary. After all, they’re already inactive. If they decide to unsubscribe at that point, it will make little difference. Has there been an idea for an email campaign you’ve always wanted to do, but have been too nervous to try? Use it as a re-engagement campaign. Do something bold (yet appropriate) to catch their attention and you may even learn a new tactic you can use with your engaged customers. Wrapping Up Whether you have two or two million subscribers, it’s important to know what not all contacts have the same value to your business. Thankfully, the new Contact Rating System from Benchmark makes it easy for you to see which contacts are engaged (and which ones aren’t).


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Inbox Placement Results from 2 Billion Email Messages

Inbox Placement Results from 2 Billion Email Messages

Beyond • October 18, 2018

Return Path announced this year’s annual benchmark report and it is very important to gain perspectives to boost our email deliverability. In this benchmark report more than 2 billion promotional email messages that send between July 2017 and June 2018, have analyzed. Thanks to this research we have now 12 month global, regional, and country inbox placement results, as well as inbox placement rates by industry and the top four mailbox providers. Before sharing the findings of this report, I want to start by describing the email path to the inbox. Email Delivery Through the internet, multiple servers help emails to reach their destination point. Through their journey, there occurs a decision process to determine them as they’re trustable or not. Unfortunately, a lot of emails blocked on the gateway and never reach the spam folder or inbox folder. Also, email open rates are very important. They are calculated by email service providers. ESPs consider the number of people who open the email and dividing it by the number of emails sent that failed to reach the reader. For example, if you sent out 100 emails, 20 bounced, and 10 were opened, you would have an open rate of 12.5%. After passing the gateway, spam filters consider the relevancy of the content, sender reputation, and user engagement to decide whether to send them in the spam folder or inbox. For detailed information about spam folders check out How to Increase Email Open Rates. Measuring the Inbox Placement In this report, Return Path used two different sets of data to calculate inbox placement; Seed Data Panel Data (Consumer Data) First of all, don’t forget that we’re talking about hundreds of mailbox providers around the world. So, numbers are huge! Let’s start by measuring the inbox placement. Well, seed data is used to see if seed addresses are delivered or went into the spam folder or inbox. It’s a good option to measure missing or blocked emails. Also, global or country-specific inbox placement rates are calculated by seed data. Panel data is used for email data and real-world information. The main purpose is to understand subscriber engagement. How about measuring engagement data? Well, the answer is, they have 2 million users in their system! So, mailbox provider and industry-specific inbox placement are calculated with panel data in this research. Global Inbox Placement Average global inbox placement increased by 5% points this year. In the second quarter of 2018, the most significant increase came in with 7% points over the same period last year. Inbox Placement in North America North America deliverability was driven largely by increased inbox placement in the United States. Mails sent to US subscribers reached the inbox an average of 83% of the time. An increase of 6% percentage points over the previous period. The average inbox placement rate to Canadian mailboxes of 89% exceeded the global average. Inbox Placement in Latin America Latin America region dropped 3% percentage points this period for an average of 78%. Only Mexico was able to achieve deliverability above the global average. Inbox Placement in Europe Deliverability to European mailboxes rose slightly to an average inbox placement rate of 86%. Greece, Portugal, and Norway have Europe’s highest inbox placement at 93%. Austrian mailboxes saw the lowest inbox placement of any European country (79%). In Ireland, email deliverability rate increased 15% points for a new average of 92% inbox placement. Denmark and the Czech Republic saw the largest decline in deliverability among European countries with 3% points below the previous period. Inbox Placement in Asia-Pacific In the previous reporting period, Asia-Pacific Region had 79% in inbox placement. This year they saw a slight decline in inbox placement with an average rate of  78%. Senders in mailing to Singapore and New Zealand consumers helped bring up the regional average with inbox placement rates of 90% in both countries. Chinese mailboxes fell far below the global average with an average inbox placement rate of just 57%. Before jumping up the findings I should remind you that this part is calculated using panel data. While reviewing these benchmarks, consider: This data shows accepted emails by the gateway. Blocked or blacklisted messages aren’t included. Panel data shows only the top four webmail providers: Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and AOL. Global Inbox Placement at the Top Four Mailbox Providers Marketers are successfully reaching mailboxes at AOL, Gmail, and Yahoo, seeing inbox placement rates above 90 every quarter. Outlook was a challenging mailbox for marketers to reach with a period average of just 75%. Inbox Placement By Industry Industry results are based on global panel data consisting of more than 17,000 commercial senders, 2 million consumer panelists, and 2 billion commercial email messages sent to Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and AOL users in the same time period. Across the board, every industry saw an increase in inbox placement compared to the previous period. Distribution & manufacturing and banking & finance had the highest inbox placement averages for the period at 96%. Education/nonprofit/government had the lowest inbox placement rate at 83%. The automotive industry saw the largest increase in inbox placement with %88 of email reaching subscribers’ inboxes—an increase of 11% points over the previous period. Well, we’ve covered the email deliverability benchmark 2018 in this article. I hope you find it useful for your email marketing benefits. I’d be glad if you share your comments or additional information.


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Email Marketing in Holiday Season: How to Get the Most Out of it?

Email Marketing in Holiday Season: How to Get the Most Out of it?

Beyond • October 9, 2018

Small businesses have a lot of competition around the holiday season and a lot of pressure to make sure that the customers are ready to purchase even when they are reluctant to do so. ‘Big guys’ can afford to wait until the end of November and then spend huge chunks of their marketing budget on TV commercials, billboard advertising, radio jingles, newspaper advertisement, digital marketing channels and sponsorships. However, small businesses may not have multi-million dollar budgets but they do have the power of social media and email marketing! According to a Forbes survey, 82% of the consumers said they’re likely to buy online as compared to 77% people who prefer in-store shopping. Let’s take a look at the 2017 online shopping trends during the holiday season: Desktop beats mobile in terms of purchasing behavior. Amazon’s 72% of sales in December 2017 were made through desktop devices. Amazon is still the king in US eCommerce scenario but other competitors are making huge gains. About two-thirds of total purchases made during the holiday season were made on Amazon. However, Macy’s improved its desktop conversion rates by 7-8 times. It is no longer about a specific day during the holiday season but over an extensive period of time. November 2017 generated $33bn in sales which is 17% more than the previous year according to Adobe. When it comes to marketing, one of the most important things to be aware of is the demographics of your Target Audience. According to a report by Business Insider Intelligence earlier this year, millennials remain the key age demographic for online commerce, spending more money online in a given year than any other age group. Millennial consumers–especially those between ages 18 and 29–are also interested in adopting alternative ways of gift-giving, such as loyalty points/rewards, gift cards, etc. Therefore, as an eCommerce business owner, you must make sure to come up with email marketing strategies that cater to this segment i.e. the infamous millennials! Before we get into the tips and tricks on how to get most of the holiday season, let’s take a look at some of the most important dates in the Holiday season: Nov. 23: Thanksgiving Nov. 24: Black Friday Nov. 25: Small Business Saturday Nov. 27: Cyber Monday Nov. 28: Giving Tuesday Dec. 11: Green Monday Dec. 12: Start of Hanukkah Dec. 15: Free Shipping Day Dec. 24: Christmas Eve Dec. 25: Christmas Day Dec. 26: Start of Kwanzaa Dec. 31: New Year’s Eve Jan. 1: New Year’s Day Now that you’ve memorized the above-mentioned dates, here are a few tips and tricks to use to make sure that you stand out from the ‘big guys’ during the holiday season. 1. Start Early and Maintain Momentum For many customers, the holiday season begins before Black Friday or Cyber Monday and they’re lining up their purchases before that. Most of the customer purchases are now well-researched as customers make the purchases after comparing several offers and products. Making an email marketing strategy and sending out a holiday teaser email is a great way to get the attention of your customers. Sending out an early email makes sure that your email arrives before the major inflow of the marketing emails from other brands and gives you the edge. Teaser emails also build excitement and momentum among the customers for the business. Fulcrum Tech, for example, sent out teaser holiday season emails in 2016 and witnessed a whopping 238% increase in revenue from over the previous year on the Cyber Monday deals. 2. Leverage Urgency Using urgency is a great way to boost your revenues. A limited offer in an email that is sent out to your customers would prompt them to take action now instead of later. Nobody likes to miss out! We’ve all had to deal with heartbreaks where we liked something and when we came back to buy it, it was sold out! You can leverage urgency in the following ways: Promotion of early bird discounts for some of your products and services. Including the cut-off time and dates for the products to ship so that your customers know that they will have to make a purchase before that Displaying countdown timer on your email driving urgency among the customer to buy the product. Sending out emails with a limited product quantity or creating flash sales. Below is a good example of Optinmonster executing the idea of leveraging urgency without a cluttered design: 3. Personalize Your Holiday Email Campaigns A vast usage of predictive analytics can help your business personalize the content of the emails that you are sending out. Customer engagement can be generated through the recommendation of the products similar to the ones that they recently purchased or the ones that they browsed through your website. Businesses can also leverage other demographics such as age and gender to design and send out their email marketing campaigns. This makes the emails more personalized and the customers feel connected to your brand, developing a stronger brand loyalty with it. 4. Pay Attention to What Your Users Want This Year/Season If I ask people what they want for the holiday season in the context of shopping, they are most likely to say nice warm clothes and discounts. Their needs and wants change with every season, and you, as an eCommerce store owner, have to keep a keen eye on their changing needs and wants. If you check Google Trends for the topic of sweaters, you will see: Upon analyzing the graph Google has generated for us, we understand that the trends for Sweaters in the USA in 2017 rose between the colder months (which also include the holiday season) i.e. September to January. Again, in August 2018, the graph has begun to rise. As an eCommerce store, you need to prepare for the rising trends by starting early. When I typed women’s knitwear USA on Google, the first organic link to appear was Boohoo’s, an online fashion store based in the US. This shows that they know exactly what the customers will be wanting and hence searching for around this time and in the upcoming months, and have prepared their eCommerce website accordingly. Also, they have made 7 categories for knitwear to make it easy for the customer to navigate and find exactly the kind of knitwear they are looking for. Upon visiting the website, I am taken directly to the sale section in women’s knitwear, which again shows they are catering to both the things their customers currently want: warm clothes and hot sales. Paying attention to your customer base’s needs can be very helpful. A business needs to deliver content that the customer cares about. The question is, “shouldn’t I always deliver content that my customer cares about?” The answer to this is ‘YES!’ but since the customers are bombarded with content over the holiday season, the best way to get a response from them would be by providing them the content that they really want to see. You can use customer feedback collection forms to get a fair idea of what your customers want and then build your eCommerce website around these insights. The survey would help you in following: Improving the content that you’re sending out in your emails Targeting your messages through segmentation of the email lists. Creating and defining offers/discounts for the holiday season While segmenting the email lists, please take into account the open and click through rate factors. Also the purchase behaviors of the customers and their preferences when they chose to sign up for your email list. 5. Growing the Email List Through Pop-Ups Did you know that a recent Listrak study found that pop-ups help achieve an average email list growth of 20%? In addition to this finding, Listrak also reported that the revenue of the welcome/sign-up email is 23% higher for the new subscribers who join your email lists through pop-ups on your website. Pop-ups are an excellent way to gather email data of the users. An excellent strategy would be to offer a discount on sign-up for the website. Sophie and Trey use pop-ups on the home page of their website and offer 10% off on the next purchase. The cost of acquisition of the customer is 10% of the order but in the long run, it can translate into more sales and remarketing opportunities. Once the user is within your email list, you can reach out to them with the latest products, promotions and offers. 6. Exclusive Content The people in your email list signed up for exclusive content. They became the readers/receivers of your emails in order to get exclusive content. Offer them something extra. Treating the people on your email list the same way as the ones on your social media accounts is not going to help them feel exclusive. Tell your readers about the upcoming holiday deals in advance. Offer them extra discounts or free shipping. Give them early bird deals. Another way of reaching out to them is by making sure that they are the first ones to know when the holiday deals are live. Exclusivity can be a great tool for generating brand loyalty. Providing customers with content that can be helpful for them in the shopping seasons like tips for the busy holiday season or family traditions can help you make a personal connection with your customers. Wrapping Up Remember, improving your sales by improving your website is one of the best things you can do for your brand. With October (hint: Halloween!) and November just around the corner, we’re sure you can make use of some of the tips mentioned above and make your holiday email marketing campaigns a great success. Let me know what techniques you use during holidays in the comments below!


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