Series Posts: Beyond

Millennials Haven’t Ditched Email for Social Media

Millennials Haven’t Ditched Email for Social Media

Beyond • September 13, 2015

Millennial driven businesses may find themselves in a tricky situation when trying to target sales through email marketing. The common misconception is that Millennials are no longer on emails; instead, they’re using social media as a prime means of communication. This is true … and this is also not true. Socially, Millennials are driven to social media. However, marketing to them on social media is tougher than it looks. Millennials hop-scotch platforms based on popularity. It was Facebook, then Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat and Vine. Now it’s an amorphous mix of few – and even that is guaranteed to change as platforms and user trends shift. The one thing that remains constant is email marketing. Millennials are still on email – some more than others. Millennials with job and purchase power are definitely on email and they’re paying attention to the campaigns you’re sending. Those who were still lack email as a core means of communication aren’t the type of long-term clientele you need or want anyway. You want powerful Millennials who have influence, are looking to stand out, and can buy. You also want their attention in a one-on-one capacity, and you’re going to secure that through visually driven email marketing campaigns. There’s another strain of thought along this these lines and that’s that Millennials only use email for business – even the influential savvy type with money to invest. On that theory, here are 2 facts: Millennials tend to keep email for business, but they’re still interested in inviting businesses into their inboxes to take advantage of promotion. Email is for serious business, while social media is still for socializing. On that note, Millennials aren’t moving away from email so much as they’re utilizing more channels to communicate. They might use Pinterest for browsing; Instagram for keeping up with their friends; Facebook for banter; and Twitter for rapid fire information gathering. In fact, the average Millennial isn’t so average in how they engage social media. Usage tends to always vary based on the individual, the goals, and the access to free time and resources to really engage in these mediums. For example, Instagram is where aspiring stylists and creative are. They’ll browse through Instagram and see what everyone else is doing, and they’ll be on there to share their own creations. However, serious retail players should be present on Instagram in a ‘street’ capacity, but they still need to elevate their communication strategy by also sending out email campaigns. This is how it’s done. A good rule of thumb is to send your current email list a survey with a 20% off coupon at the end of the survey, and really see what digital traffic patterns are like for your consumer group. It’s also worthwhile to invest in some competitive analysis, starting with signing up for the email campaigns of your top five competitors and cross reference those marketing campaigns with their social media initiatives. In order to understand Millennials, you have to speak to them and you also have to see what’s been working for others in the same industry. But above all, stay ahead of the curve: know what’s coming around the bend. The best way to do that is to hire a team of Millennials.


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Come and meet us at the eCommerce Expo 2015

Come and meet us at the eCommerce Expo 2015

Beyond • September 13, 2015

eCommerce Expo 2015 Fact File: Where is it? Olympia London Where to find us? Stand 382 When? 30 September - 1 October The eCommerce Expo 2015, at the Olympia Conference Centre in London, is a key event in the eCommerce calendar and an unmissable event for businesses big and small. It takes place between 30 September and 1 October and, not only is it free, but it’s also packed full of networking and educational content: choose from over 70 seminar sessions, visit over 180 ecommerce technologies and product providers, network, meet innovative start-ups and get expert advice and training. What’s more, this is Benchmark Email’s first UK exhibition so it’s the perfect opportunity to come and meet us in person at stand 382. We can’t wait to meet you either so we’ll be there with members of our technical support team who will be more than happy to answer all your questions. Just don’t forget to CLICK HERE in order to register for the event and make a date with Benchmark Email. We’re sure it’ll be love at first sight ;)


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Heart of Business Round Table: Types of List Segmentation

Heart of Business Round Table: Types of List Segmentation

Beyond • September 13, 2015

In anticipation of our upcoming webinar, \"Target Marketing: How to Hit Your Bullseye,\" we decided to have the Heart of Business Round Table team sit down and discuss list segmentation. Your ability to do target marketing stems directly from the data you have and how well you segment your lists, so it\'s an important step not to be overlooked. We go through a list of various ways in which an email marketer can do list segmentation. Don\'t miss this very special webinar, being hosted by Benchmark Email Director of Sales & Marketing Daniel Miller and Insightpool CEO Devon Wijesinghe. Target Marketing in email and social media will be the focus, as Devon and Daniel demonstrate the best ways in which to deliver the most relevant content to your audience. The webinar is on Tuesday, September 15th at 11:00AM PDT. Don\'t miss out! Register for \"Target Marketing: How To Hit Your Bullseye.\"


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Top 4 Reasons You Need Video Email Campaigns

Top 4 Reasons You Need Video Email Campaigns

Beyond • September 10, 2015

Despite email marketing still being one of the most effective means of communication to a target audience – there’s still one issue: they need to read them. Regardless of what type of audience you have, you’re battling for their attention span. If you’re in retail, then your content is image heavy. If you’re detailing with a chunk of information, then you’re straddled with a lot of text that a reader has to get through. Both scenarios would benefit from video email campaigns. The former gets another layer of creative visual assets shared with their demographic, while the later gets to stream text heavy content into more engaging media files. Full Product Reviews Images are one thing, but most female shoppers have a hard time trusting the images, especially if it’s a textile. Having a video product review offers a more tangible way to experience the product – and it helps increase sales. Products that are felt and touched by the host offer a sort of tactile experience that “connects” the shopper with the product. This is why in home shopping networks, products are often touched and explored or played with rather than just on display. The former experience creates intimacy, trust and curiosity while the latter is remote and detached. Video Testimonials Send out video testimonials by encouraging “…one of your most loyal, happy customers to create a video testimonial to your business and send it out to all your recipients. If you can include more than one, go for it. If not, just showcase the best one to encourage others to be excited about your business or organization.” On that note, any kind of testimonial or exchange can be shared via video, include and particularly interviews. Message from the CEO Create a message from your CEO to your customers, which can be tactically used to push key messages that really need to be communicated, adopted and acted upon. Having your CEO – or key face of the company or organization – give a personal message also create a direct connection and offers access to top tier personnel without your busy executive needing to go out of their way or eat up valuable time with in person meetings. Direct to a Landing Page There are a multitude of ways that marketers can employ videos for email marketing purposes. In addition to triggering greater interest in the message that’s being delivered, it can also be used to direct readers to a specific landing page. Most landing pages require action, and it’s incredibly hard to encourage action without offering something in return or being crystal clear in your messaging. Now that you know “why,” the next step is starting your first video email marketing campaign – and mastering it! If there’s one takeaway, it’s to remember that videos are a lot more difficult and time consuming to produce than traditional text-based content. Don’t overshoot – start with one a month or one every two weeks and get your footing before trying to take on doing more. The quality, pace and feel of your video will improve over time as with anything else.


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Tips to Master Your First Video Email Campaign

Tips to Master Your First Video Email Campaign

Beyond • September 8, 2015

A recent study showed the marketers are increasingly turning to video messaging as part of their email marketing campaigns. In fact, in my last post, we discussed the top reason why you need video email campaigns. But we’re not the only ones that feel video is a compelling mode of communication when it comes to email marketing campaigns. Here’s what other thought leaders are saying: Mimic the look of a typical video player Here you’re adding a visual indication that a video is part of your email with the play button. When readers are prompted with this play button, they’ll click the image and be directed to a landing page – or a branded video sharing page – with your video embedded. Using a compelling image to link readers to your video content within email works really well to increase click through rates. Source: Ian Hutchinson of Vidyard, a video marketing blog that offers resources, inspiration and tactics. Hutchinson also had another great idea that layered on a common approach. Instead of just hosting your video on your landing page – in addition to your email campaign - consider having your landing page video set to autoplay. In the case of sharing it on your landing page, have a email sign up subscription featured that encourages people to opt in to get more great video content delivered right to their emails. Turn up the data with heat maps Every email marketing campaign needs to be be data driven. Video email marketing campaigns aren’t an exception. Every view generates a heatmap, which shows exactly which parts of the video the viewer watched, skipped, and rewatched. Trend Graphs let you track how your entire video library performs over time. Source: Wistia, which offers professional video hosting with analytics and marketing tools. Once you’ve created your video and tracked data, the next video email marketing step is creating video number two and finding a way to organize your video assets through a robust CMS, which Benchmark offers: Storing all your videos in your own gallery that you can access 24/7 Dragging and dropping in videos directly into your layouts and templates Sending recipients to a mirror page showing the video if it gets blocked by their email providers Think in GIFs Gifs are short punctuated videos or slideshows, or an animated graphic, that are wildly popular right now. That said, think in GIFs the next time you need to create a video email campaign. The GIF you create an be used to prompt readers to a landing page. Marketing Land has a useful post with practical example. There is no one way to go about using video email marketing campaigns – but there is only one way to do it right … and that’s with the right tool that serves all your email marketing needs. When shopping for your video marketing tool that allows you to embed creative and information videos in emails, check to see how much more a platform is charging for that service. Unlike Benchmark, not all platforms include this feature as a basic tier of service that’s included in each plan.


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5 Reasons Why Your Email Campaign is Hitting The “Junk” Folder

5 Reasons Why Your Email Campaign is Hitting The “Junk” Folder

Beyond • September 4, 2015

You can have something amazing to say in every weekly email update. You can have the greatest content team producing stunning email marketing content. You can have the best target list of email subscribers. Yet, there’s one major glitch you might not even be aware of: spam triggers. Recently, I spoke with a few companies that didn’t understand why their email campaigns to a list of opted-in subscribers had such marginally low click-open rates. As it turns out, each campaign was going into the spam folder. Here’s why that happens. Failed Subject Lines Your subject line is the first impression you give an email server of the type of content you’re sending out. However, if you’re subject line is too “animated” with the use excessive exclamation marks, then it’s going to trigger the spam. Same goes for subject lines that include symbols, the word “free” and/or the letter “X.” Each of those trigger junk mail filters for spam or inappropriate content. Frustrating Navigation No matter how great your email campaign is, someone people are just going to want to unsubscribe. However, if you don’t have a clear and easy way to guide them to an unsubscribe link – or if you don’t even include a link – frustrated readers will just mark you as spam. You’re better off having someone unsubscribe than having them mark your email as spam. Faulty Email Servers Certain email servers have more sensitive spam triggers than others, which means that they’re more inclined to toss your campaign into a slush pile. How an email server treats email content will depend on the server. There’s another more challenging face to this problem: you ultimately have zero control of other people’s email servers. Trapped by Large Visuals The trend in email campaigns is to have visually rich content that sprinkles in language selectively and has redirect links. To do this, you need to use a template. Some novice email marketers will design on large image and have that embedded as the email marketing content. This doesn’t work. The reason why is because spam filters are specifically looking out for this type of email content because it’s usually where suspect content is hidden. So if you’re sending visuals – great, you’re onto something there. But take the time to format a proper template to guide your design so you can escape the junk mail filters. Email Flood Another problem you could be facing is that you’re just sending out too many emails in one go, which also triggers a spam alert. This problem is particularly relevant if you’re not using an email marketing software that can help organize your campaign distributions. Despite the challenges faced in meeting your email marketing click-open goals, there are steps you can take the rescue your email campaign from the “junk” folder. Talk to your email campaign provider to see why they feel you’re having this problem. Depending on the campaign platform, it could either that you’re sending mass emails or that your dealing with a new domain. When you’re getting to the bottom of the problem, realize that you’re dealing with a bit of a Rubik cute and you’re going to need to play around with a few variables before you figure it out. However, getting to the bottom of the problem is crucial if you plan on creating effective campaigns that engage and convert your audience.


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How to Rescue Your Email Campaigns From the “Junk” Folder

How to Rescue Your Email Campaigns From the “Junk” Folder

Beyond • September 4, 2015

After you’ve identified the reasons your emails are hitting the junk folder, the next step is to source practical solutions for overcoming this problem. Understanding Email Servers Certain email servers have more sensitive spam triggers than others, which means that they’re more inclined to toss your campaign into a slush pile. How an email server treats email content will depend on the server. There’s another more challenging face to this problem: you ultimately have zero control of other people’s email servers. The way around email servers is to get your email subscribers to recognize your domain as a ‘safe sender.’ There are several ways this can – and should – be done since all servers work a little bit differently. The campaign platform you’re using should have a guide you can share with your email list, or a representative should be able to work with you on this. The simplest way forward is to draft a punctuated email to your members, which states the obstacle in receiving content from you and then shows you to overcome it. Have your email identify the type of email serve they’re using and how to adopt your domain as a safe sender. If you have the opportunity, including a visual guide as a part of this document would be immensely helpful. Then set up times to reach out out to each member and see how they’re doing. Factor in that you might need to get them on a call to help them through this process, especially if you’re not technologically savvy. It’s certainly time-consuming but it’s worth the effort to get your email delivered to the right folder. Rethink Subject Lines Your subject line is the first impression you give an email server of the type of content you’re sending out. However, if you’re subject line is too “animated” with the use excessive exclamation marks, then it’s going to trigger the spam. Same goes for if your subject lines have symbols, the word “free” or the letter “X.” Each of those trigger junk mail filters for spam or inappropriate content. The solution is to play with a few different subject line options that either highlight a few key subjects, what’s being offered in the email or experiment with different styles and tones to see what type of language your readers prefer. Segmentation Segmentation is key when you’re sending out email campaigns. You can either send out emails per lists guided by demographic reach (which is particularly useful if you’re reaching a wide net with different time zones). In addition to segmentation, another option is to have a ‘drip’ campaign, where you sending out a chunk of emails in one go versus all the emails at once. Segmentation and drip campaigns are especially important if your subscribers are hosted on Yahoo or Hotmail. Testing 1, 2, 3 If you’re using an email marketing software, then take advantage of the test email feature that lets you preview what your email campaign is going to look like. This is the first wave of prevention in keeping your email away from the spam folder. If you’re looking for your preview and it’s immediately dumped in the spam bin, then you’ve got a problem. That’s step one. Once you can identify that problem, you can then move forward and see how to solve that problem. And once your email has jumped over the “junk mail” hurdle, you can now move on to properly asses click-open rates. Marketing doesn’t mean anything without analytics, but you can rely on your analytics if they’re not able to source authentic information. So before you worry about click-open rates, and A/B testing, let’s make sure your subscribers are aware of your campaign to begin with. Most people never check their junk folders, so take the time to reach out and have a conversation with the individuals on your email list.


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Aspiration: Top Notch Investing for the Middle Class

Aspiration: Top Notch Investing for the Middle Class

Beyond • September 1, 2015

Andrei Cherney and Aspiration understand the importance of getting an early start with financial planning and investing. With they pay what you want (or can) approach, they\'re targeting an under-represented corner of the market: millennials. Add to that their approach of donating a dime for every dollar earned by their company, we knew we had to have Andrei on the Heart of Business podcast to talk about Aspiration.


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The 6 Most Useful Articles About Email Marketing

The 6 Most Useful Articles About Email Marketing

Beyond • August 31, 2015

So you got a great idea for your email marketing campaign from my last post – but what about next week or the week after that? To really get an edge on your editorial calendar, it’ll help you immensely if you’re well read on the best email marketing articles. Luckily, I’ve rounded those up for you below: Title: 5 Reasons Your Email Campaign is Hitting the “Junk” Folder Key Takeaway: “Despite the challenges faced in meeting your email marketing click-open goals, there are steps you can take the rescue your email campaign from the “junk” folder. Talk to your email campaign provider to see why they feel you’re having this problem. Depending on the campaign platform, it could either that you’re sending mass emails or that your dealing with a new domain.” Title: How to Create Customer Personas with Real Life Data Key Takeaway: “Buyer personas are research-based archetypal (modeled) representations of who buyers are, what they are trying to accomplish, what goals drive their behavior, how they think, how they buy, and why they make buying decisions.” Title: How to Design Email for Smartwatches Key Takeaway: “Smartwatches lack built-in browsers so most of the time they ignore your fancy HTML and CSS. This makes the plain text version of your email more essential and requires a compelling introductory message…Marketers know that the best way to reach customers is to message them wherever they are…” Title: The Struggle is Real - Email Marketing Burnout Key Takeaway: “When it comes to burnout, assess why you’re feeling that way. Is is that you’re uninspired and truly have no ideas (in which case you need to expose yourself to more industry conversations). Is it because you’re lacking personal investment and enthusiasm (in which case you need to bring something to the table and get invested). Or, do you just need to have a conversation with the client to really understand where the failure is occurring and how to move beyond it?” Title: The 25 Principles That Power Our Company Blog It’s about blogs but it could just as well be about email content. Key Takeaway: “Writing often gets in the way of teaching. David Ogilvy once said that ‘The temptation to entertain instead of selling is contagious.’ Marketers often let flowery writing get in the way of their actual jobs. Hemingway should be your hero, not Faulkner–clarity reigns sovereign in the world of content.” Title: The 4 Biggest Inbox Enemies in the Workplace Even though this is about the workplace, it’s still a good idea to keep in mind the challenges your subscribers are dealing with as they’re bombarded with emails in the workplace that often take priority over any personal emails. If you can compete on this level, you’re that much more ahead of the game than your competitors. Key Takeway: “Most emails from team members, could fit into any number of folders depending on current tasks or work priorities. Result? In addition to the time spent organizing messages into folders, we waste time figuring out which folder an email is in. Use your email client’s native search capabilities instead or use an intelligent and easy-to-use search tool.”


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WEBINAR: Target Marketing: How To Hit Your Bullseye

WEBINAR: Target Marketing: How To Hit Your Bullseye

Beyond • August 31, 2015

Nobody likes feeling like they\'re being marketing to. That\'s why delivering relevant content to your audience is so essential. The best way to accomplish that is with targeting. We\'ve teamed up with our friends at Insightpool to deliver a webinar focused on exactly that. It\'s called \"Target Marketing: How To Hit Your Bullseye.\" Insightpool CEO Devon Wijesinghe and Benchmark Email Director of Sales & Marketing Daniel Miller team up to present this very special webinar. Target Marketing in email and social media will be the focus, as Devon and Daniel demonstrate the best ways in which to deliver the most relevant content to your audience. The webinar is on Tuesday, September 15th at 11:00AM PDT. Don\'t miss out! Register for \"Target Marketing: How To Hit Your Bullseye.\"


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