Series Posts: Beyond

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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The Best Quotes on Email Marketing

The Best Quotes on Email Marketing

Beyond • August 28, 2015

There are times when you’re sitting at the computer trying to drum up the next idea for your weekly newsletter marketing automation campaign. That’s about the time when it would be really great to have a couple of colleagues to use as a sounding board to bounce ideas off of. Chances are, there’s no one like that in your marketing team – but there is this post, which curates some of the best and more inspired conversations by step by step email marketing guide. \"Average conversion rates are meaningless. Switzerland on average is flat.\" – Chris Goward \"Nothing begets creativity like constraints.\" – Christopher Mims \"On average, 8 out of 10 people will read your headline copy, but only 2 out 10 will read the rest.\" – Brian Clark \"To get the right message to the right person at the right time you first need to get the right data to the right database at the right time.\" – John Caldwell \"The cost of being wrong is less than the cost of doing nothing.\" – Seth Godin \"Open, click and unsubscribe rates are pretty poor measures for email engagement.\" – Jordie van Rijn Jordie van Rijn also has this gem to add… \"An email without clarity is like an annoying mime: Just say what you want or get out the way!\" \"Start an editorial calendar that everyone involved in your blog (writers, editors, marketing team, etc.) can access.\" – Kristi Hines \"Email has an ability many channels don’t: creating valuable, personal touches – at scale.\" – David Newman \"Make the prospect a more informed buyer with content.\" – Robert Simon (Four Seasons Hotels) “The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.” – Tom Fishburne \"Make the customer the hero of your story … and … good content isn’t about good storytelling. It’s about telling a true story well.– Ann Handley \"Having a lot to say is never a good enough reason to actually say it.\" – Lee Clowes beard “Your top of the funnel content must be intellectually divorced from your product but emotionally wed to it.\" – Joe Chernov “How to write a good email: 1. Write your email 2. Delete most of it 3. Send.\" – Dan Munz “Focus on growing your list all of the time as newer subscribers are more engaged adding to healthier open rates and ROI.\" – Karl Murray “Bait without a hook is just food.\" – John Hayes on email CTAs Think about which of these quotes made you stop and think for a bit. If you had to stop and think about it, chances are it’s a gap in your current email marketing service campaign. The next step is to chart out where you are now and where you want to go. What action (click through rates/email subscribers) do you want your audience to follow through on when they get your great email marketing campaign with amazing subject lines. Are you looking for a sale, a social share, a conversation/ return on investment or some other type of call to action? Once you can identify that, you can pair the gaps you discovered here and start creating a effective emails strategy with real time updates. Also help audience to subscribe email newsletters. In this way email address list also updates. Periodic sending emails can be possible in order to hold the repeated visitors.


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Mafioso Masterpieces with Michael Bell

Mafioso Masterpieces with Michael Bell

Beyond • August 27, 2015

Most portrait artists only have to fear an unhappy client or maybe a bad review on Yelp. Michael Bell is just glad he doesn\'t sleep with the fishes when his job is done. As a portrait artist his subject matter has included famous mafia types such as the Gotti family. Bell joined us to talk about his famous and infamous clients, as well as how to follow your passion for art as a career and more.


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Keep eCommerce Fresh: Benchmark Magento Integration

Keep eCommerce Fresh: Benchmark Magento Integration

Beyond • August 24, 2015

There is a saying, “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” However, in the world of eCommerce, you got to keep fixing and improving your site. Even if you already have the most successful online store in the world, it will definitely grow stagnant if you leave it untouched. Then before you know it, other competitors will be crawling up to take your place. That’s why the motto here is: always be improving! There is always a way to improve! Keep your eyes peeled to see what the latest trends are, what your customers are requesting, and what you can do to make the online shopping experience much better. Kendra Scott had that mission to upgrade their site when they upgraded their Magento page to Magento Enterprise edition. Kendra Scott is a popular jewelry company with over 20 retail location and 700 specialty boutiques. The jewelry line experienced tremendous success since its launch in 2002 and has partnered with various high-end department stores. So when starting their eCommerce propelled their sales up by 200% annually, the company saw that it was time to upgrade to their site to handle more products, more customers, and more tools that would really amplify the whole online store. That’s why in 2014, Kendra Scott upgraded their software to Magento Enterprise Edition. With this new edition, Kendra Scott was able to perform many more tasks to improve their store. As VP of Ecommerce and Loyalty, Tria Brindley Foster, says, “As our business grew by leaps and bounds, we upgraded to Magneto Enterprise Edition for several reasons: service and support, higher performance and stability as well as more robust marketing features like gift cards offers.” Due to the new design and features, the Kendra Scott company now enables to showcase their products through social media integrations, digital look books, weekly cross channel promotions, retargeting campaigns, and more. Unique to their eCommerce store too, customers are now able to use the digital Color Bar on large in-store displays as part of their experience. With improved designed and digital functionality, Kendra Scott is able to provide the most optimal online service to their customers. If you are just starting out your online store and not sure where to start yet, Magento will make your introduction easy and fun. Don’t forget to combine it with email marketing, the most effective and proven way to increase brand awareness, strengthen customer relations and improve your business overall. Try the Benchmark Email Magento integration and see for yourself!


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Reporting on Edisonda: Talking Research & Design with Hubert Turaj

Reporting on Edisonda: Talking Research & Design with Hubert Turaj

Beyond • August 19, 2015

We were so blown away by the report put together by Edisonda on Mobile Eyetracking in Email Marketing that we knew we had to invite their UX Director, Hubert Turaj, to the Heart of Business podcast to find out more about Edisonda and what went into the report. It was an incredible discussion on what science and research can do for design and we thoroghly enjoyed our conversation. Benchmark Email is proud to have partered with Edisona on this incredible study. You can download the report here, or view it below. Download the Edisonda Mobile Eyetracking in Email Marketing Report. Mobile Eyetracking in Email Marketing from Benchmark Email


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The Struggle is Real: Email Marketing Burnout

The Struggle is Real: Email Marketing Burnout

Beyond • August 18, 2015

A content marketer is a lot like the Wizard of Oz. He’s the man behind the green curtain, pulling all the levers, making things happen and keeping things running. In fact, your job is a little bit tougher than the Wizard’s; he’s just got to sustain the engine, while you on the other hand have to keep developing new creations to keep that engine fueled. That’s essentially the job of a content marketer. It’s our job to keep content flowing, and we’re typically pretty fantastic at it. Yet, when it comes to email marketing, even the best of content marketers start to hit the wall sooner or later. This is because developing content for email marketing is different than just developing content for any other portal. Email marketing campaigns, whether they’re a one off or a series, needs to captivate a pool of people pretty quickly and precisely – and it can be pretty challenging to keep that momentum going up, which means even the best of us face burnout. However, the problem is that most people (especially those who aren’t necessarily content marketers) don’t recognize the signs of burnout or what that can mean to your marketing efforts. If you’re not aware of it, that means you’re probably producing uninspired (and ineffective) content that does little to convert customers – or worse, triggers them to unsubscribe. So, to be more conscientious of total email marketing drain, keep a look out for these signs (and then go on to read on you can recover from email marketing burnout). You’re dreading the fact that you’re soon going to have to think of an email marketing campaign. You’re struggling with ideas on what to create – even in a brainstorm with a colleague. You’re sales pitch to your client is weak, and you’re going in circles about why this next email campaign is a great idea. Sometimes, there are other factors at play when it comes to burnout. Who you’re working for could be one of them. Whether it’s your direct manager, your company or your client, figure out what it is you’d like to do differently and then approach whoever it is that you need to talk to. Speaking from a place of experience, I suffered the same problem a few months ago. As a heart-led thinker, I felt completely uninspired by content we needed to create for several campaigns. So I thought of a better and more personal way to discuss topics, and then approached the client with a new solution, explaining to them the benefit of speaking from heart to heart rather than in a podium-to-student style. I did this for several clients and some of them needed coaxing, but they do trust that you’re the expert on this and it’s why they hired you. Taking a personal role in the project is inspiring…and produces a far more effective and invested campaign. Another factor at play could be the bottleneck you’re dealing with. I had a client that was on board with all the wonderful ideas we came to her with. However, those ideas depended on deliverables from her team members, which we eventually learned. However, in the several campaigns before (and including) that, we always struggled with keeping the momentum of the project and staying enthused, simply because deadlines for deliverables were never met by the client. After a heart to heart talk, I learned that the client was equally frustrated with her team, and that the proposed solution of having a simpler “plan B” for every newsletter campaign was the solution moving forward. 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?


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How to Bounce Back From Email Marketing Burnout

How to Bounce Back From Email Marketing Burnout

Beyond • August 18, 2015

I would say that it’s one thing to recognize a problem and quite another to fix it. Yet, when it comes to marketing, a challenge many people face is recognizing what the problem is in the first place. In the case of email marketing, you couldn’t just say that you’re struggling with email campaigns and feel burnt out. There’s always a reason why you’re feeling email marketing burn out – and there’s always a way to bounce back from it. Assessing the situation and figuring out your part in the burn is always step one. From there you can figure out how to approach a solution. Problem: You’re struggling with ideas on what to create – even in a brainstorm with a colleague. Solution: Develop a series. A series is a great way to create interconnected content that tells a story and continues through several smaller campaign cycles. It also gives you a break from having to go back to ideation at every new campaign. Problem: You’re sales pitch to your client is weak, and you’re going in circles about why this next email campaign is a great idea. You’re uninspired and truly have no ideas. Solution: You need to expose yourself to more industry conversations. Read more books and blog posts. Follow industry thought leaders. Setup Google alerts. Network. Just get out there and expose yourself to new ideas. Problem: You’re lacking personal investment and enthusiasm. Solution: You need to bring something to the table and get invested. Take personal responsibility for the project. If you could change something, what would it be and why? There’s your solution, now go out and make the pitch to implement your idea. Problem: The client is failing to deliver on content and graphics you need to move forward with the email marketing campaign. Solution: Sometimes the client can’t delivery to you until someone on her team first delivers to her. The solution here is to come up with “plan B” approach that isn’t dependent on deliveries. The solution to a problem concerning the client is often simply a conversation with the client to really understand where the failure is occurring and how to move beyond it? Problem: You’re dreading the fact that you’re soon going to have to think of an email marketing campaign. Solution: Think of the “tree” instead of the “forest.” Stop worrying about sending out a great campaign. Instead think of your customer – what’s going on in their lives, what interests them, etc. If they were in front of you, what would you talk to them about? What advice would you give them? That’s your next campaign. Pushing Past Email Marketing Burnout: Creating Action-Oriented Silos Charts for Problem Solving Problem solving by working backwards from the sentiment is a great way to target the root cause of any burn out. Practice it for email marketing burnout or any other problem you might have. Start with writing out how you feel about a dilemma – so, for example, you could state any one of the problems above. Then work backwards to create silos that further break down the “why” behind each problem. Why were you stuck; why are you feeling that way; why can’t you move forward. After a series of identifiers you’ll reach the last couple of silos, which should transition into the “how” or “what.” Here is where you’re going to transition into how you can shift past those obstacles and what solid steps you’ll take to get there.


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How to Design Emails for Smartwatches

How to Design Emails for Smartwatches

Beyond • August 17, 2015

Believe it or not, Smartwatches are starting to sell. They have been around about a year now, but the launch of Apple Watch gave a kick-start to wearable communication devices. According to Nielsen’s Connected Life Report, the number of wearable devices sold will increase ten-fold by 2018. This means people will be staring at their wrist more and phone less. Although it is the small section of the market, it is important to consider how people will react to your emails. Here are some smartwatch email design tips which will help marketers maximize success. Sender Details Sender details form part of the notification when someone receives an email and are even more important for smartwatches. You should use a recognizable name that could be either your own name or the name of your company. Here you can also make use of A/B test feature to determine which will work best. Subject Lines Screen size being smaller on wearable devices leaves minimal display area for other information. It is very important to keep your subject line short and catchy. It should be engaging enough to capture audience attention. Try to keep your subject line around 3-6 words so that you have more space for other email text. For example, Apple watches offer 12-20 characters for subject line whereas Samsung Gear S allow 30-45 characters for the subject. Preheader Text Preheader is the text followed by the subject line and provides an overview of the rest of the content. It gives you an idea of what the message is about before you open it. As wearable devices are getting popular, it is essential to entice readers at the beginning of your emails. This helps the user to decide whether to mark this for later or take the action instantly. Call To Action Tell the reader exactly what to do by crafting your call to action early in the email. Links are disabled for apple watches so it is better to mention as a text rather than a link. You can make the address and phone number a link to allow wearers to call up straight away or open the address in maps to make a visit. Plain Text 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. If your email doesn’t have a plain-text alternative, it will be more or less useless. Without a text version Android watches render raw HTML, whereas Apple watches tell you that “The full version of this message isn\'t available, but you can read it on your iPhone.\" Marketers know that the best way to reach customers is to message them wherever they are and wearable devices allow marketers to engage with their audience in new and fun ways. You can only win by standing out in the cluttered inbox, so start optimizing your subject lines and preheader for different devices. Wearable devices are part of a bigger picture and they are here to stay. If you have any suggestions for smartwatch marketing please let us know in below comments.


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