Series Posts: Beyond

Preview Text Feature

Preview Text Feature

Beyond • April 20, 2015

They say the subject line is your email campaign’s first impression. That’s true. However, with the use of a preheader you get a second chance at your first impression. The preheader is that bit of text that follows the subject line and appears in most inbox clients. Benchmark Email’s new Preview Text feature allows you a quick and easy way to manage what your subscribers will see in the preheader. Like a too small yet overpriced apartment in New York City, maximizing limited space is key. This advanced feature allows you to do just that in the inbox. It can also help boost the open rates of your email campaigns. The most important information should still remain in your subject line, and the preheader text is there to reinforce it. It’s important to note that there’s still a few inbox clients that don’t display the preheader. However, for everyone else the Preview Text feature is available for all regular campaigns, RSS campaigns and autoresponders when you’re using the Drag & Drop, Cose or Classic Editor. It does not be seen in the text version of your HTML emails and is also not available in the Plain Text Editor. We’ve created a helpful FAQ to show you how to put the Preview Text to use. Preview Text EN wistiaEmbed = Wistia.embed(\"fkvzou69km\", { videoFoam: true });


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The Double Edged Sword Of Subject Line Personalization

The Double Edged Sword Of Subject Line Personalization

Beyond • April 20, 2015

Personalization of email seems to be a darned if you do and darned if you don’t choice for email marketers around the world. While there are clear and undeniable advantages to having the recipient’s name in the subject line so that your customer fully understands at a single glance that this email is specifically intended for them, the problem is that it has become such an overused tactic by the less reputable emailers that it can smell of a huge mail merge which is the exact opposite of indicating that your brand actually cares enough about the customer to send them a personal missive. Walking the personalization tightrope can be a difficult balancing act but it can lead to improvements in your customer engagement if you do it right. Personalization can turn a dream into a nightmare There is essentially no real problem to personalizing the subject line of any email campaign newsletter or message as whether it is done in a direct personal approach manner or even if it’s just a field in a mail merge implementation. The impasse occurs when you run into the stigma of personalization which can turn an appeal strategy to the customer from a dream to a nightmare. It’s basic human psychology to halt at the sight of your name Spammers specialize in placing the name of the recipient in the subject line as they are well aware that it allows the customer to sit up and take notice. If they are swiftly glancing at their email inbox, it is inevitable that their eyes will stop at the insertion of their name into the subject line. It’s basic human psychology to recognize your own name when it is written down. The knock on effect can stain your brand’s reputation Where the spammers have to some degree ruined the procedure of personalization of subject lines is when they have indelibly connected that characteristic with the Viagra, Cialis, and other online scams. Of course your customer is going to be wise to the scam when they read their name in the subject line next to a pitch for prescription pharmaceuticals or offers to make $26,946.17 before breakfast, but the “knock on” effect of the wariness of online scamming can carry over to your own brand’s perfectly legitimate email offerings. Should you ban personalization forever? So… should you forever ban personalization of subject lines from your email newsletter campaigns? Not necessarily. The composition of your subject line, along with the information included in the preheader can actually turn a negative into a positive, as long as you take exquisite care in crafting this critical text. It is an old email nugget of conventional wisdom that any email marketer should take 50 percent of their time in composing the actual newsletter content and the other 50 percent of the time doing nothing more than refining the subject line and preheader text so that it is consummately attractive and encourages the recipient in every way to open and read the message rather than just hit the delete button or worse yet, the spam one. Strive to be as unspammy as humanly possible The key to making personalization work for you is to expend significant effort in having those critical bits of text speak volumes as to your brand’s intent which should be not to sell sell sell, but to establish a relationship with your customer where they see your business as an authoritative source of reliable and unbiased information about the products and services in your industry sector. Even if your call to action for that particular email is based on a discount, special offer, or price-matching scenario, you are well advised to save that for the body of the email, while concentrating on having your subject line and preheader focusing like a laser beam on the social and interpersonal aspects of your brand’s presence. Avoiding the semblance of spamminess in all of your personalization will help to convince the customer of your ethics and that will result in more sales than hitting them over the head with a hard sell driven naming strategy which could backfire!


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Benchmark Email Google Docs Integration

Benchmark Email Google Docs Integration

Beyond • April 17, 2015

Imagine you are in an important meeting with a very important client talking about an extremely important business proposal. You have spent weeks putting together a masterpiece of a document on how your company can benefit theirs and what amazing opportunities lie in the future. You open your laptop to pull up the document but…it never saved?! No problem, you’ll just reach for your flashdrive … oh great, you left it at home. Is this presentation doomed for? Is the client looking ready to pack up and leave? Is this really the end of your job? If only you had utilized the benefits that Google Docs has to offer. It is nearly impossible to find a company that doesn’t use this app to conduct business, keep track of data and reports, instantly share with other team members, and most importantly, can be accessed through any devices. Pen and paper may be great for jotting down small notes or a to-do list, but with Google Docs, you don’t ever have to worry about losing your notes. All you need is internet connection! The main reason why Google Docs is a necessity for a company to do business is that it works in real time. If you just created a document and want to send it over to a member that is commuting from across the country, emailing might not always go over smoothly, with corrupted files, email hacks, or it getting lost in the shuffle with hundreds of other emails. With Google Docs, it is made available to access at anytime. For those working in an office together, the app allows several members to work on a single document as well! With all the information you have gathered, you can even do further with your business by incorporate it into your email marketing strategies. With the Benchmark Email Google Docs Integration, you can transfer all information (spreadsheets, documents, data) collected from Google surveys, straight into your email list! Log in to your Benchmark account Under the Lists tab, click on Create New List Choose the \"Import Contacts from a File\" option and click Save & Add Contacts Click the \"Click here\" link under \"Upload Your File\" Click the Google Docs panel in the list that appears and then click the Connect to Google button If you are not already, you will be asked to sign in to your Google account Click the Allow Access button Click on \"Import List\" and choose the document and worksheet number that you\'d like to import


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How Retail Can Benefit From Segmented Email Marketing

How Retail Can Benefit From Segmented Email Marketing

Beyond • April 16, 2015

Email marketing is most often used in journalism and marketing industries – however the most profitable industry for email marketing is retail. By far, email marketing encourages the highest rate of conversion within the retail sector. The fact is that today’s consumer landscape needs customization and exposure – two things that email marketing excels at, especially when you’re utilizing list segmentation. And the one industry that’s ripe to benefit from this equation is retail. Divide & Conquer: Why Segmentation Works For Retailers If you believe in the saying that no two consumers are alike, then there’s a good chance that you’ll be a fan of list segmentations. That fact is, that theirs is very rarely one list to rule them all; you need to divide and conquer your email marketing list. After all, you took great pains and considerable time to cultivate relationships and curate your email marketing list. What does is say about you as a retailer if you’re now sending all your contacts one generic email? It’s says your unoriginal and impolite. And frankly, it’s poor email etiquette. You may have already thought of segmentation. Perhaps you have a segmented list by demographic, by gender or age. However, this is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to segmented lists. Lists of this caliber are great for when you want to offer a special, a new product or service, or even highlight a feature that’s best suited for a specific group. Yet, the real question is: how do you target the different levels engagement among your email subscribers. Where List Segmentation Gets Interesting Today’s consumer falls into four basic categories, and your segmented email list should be able to identify and cater to each type. How to engage with a responder, for example, should differ from how you engage with a new subscriber, versus those who simply click yet don’t act, and worse still there are the “deadbeats,” which are people how have never opened an email from you. There’s a way to deal with each of these and a strategy that factors in which point of the sales funnel is acting as a bottleneck that prevents them from moving forward. Targeting Content Generation Around List Segmentation Rather than creating content and then sending it to segmented lists, you can also work backwards to create content around segmented lists. This means that your looking at your segmented email marketing lists to see which might have the highest success rates, which you want to target because they don’t, and which audience hasn’t perhaps received a customized email marketing piece to encourage conversion. That said, you next step is to dig in and see which of the 4 types of subscribers your dealing with. Once you’ve figured that out and know how exactly you’re dealing with, you can go back to the content drawing board to develop customized content. Taking this approach facilitates content generation, particular for more intensive projects like video email marketing pieces, ensuring that you’re efforts are honed in for a specific audience and stage of conversion. How to Reuse Segmented Email Marketing Lists One of frequent mistakes those managing an email marketing campaign will do is that a past campaign gets pushed into an email archive. However, these email campaigns still have some serious mileage in them. Furthermore, not finding a way to repurpose them in some way is a limited use of resources. You’ve spent the time crafting content and taken the time to design a campaign – so why should that effort be lost once you click send? Work with your email marketing team (or your content department) to expose them to free training resources that can help you maximize sales within your sector. Or for more information about setting up email marketing, call us at 800.430.4095. Targeted Emailing is a great tool for list segmentation. Check out our latest Ask Andy video on targeted emailing:


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2 Ways You Can Be Reusing Your Targeted Email Campaign Archives

2 Ways You Can Be Reusing Your Targeted Email Campaign Archives

Beyond • April 15, 2015

If we’re driven by productivity and efficiency, then what we produce during that time also needs to both productive and efficient tools that keep generating momentum. As a rule, every single marketing piece you create needs to have a longer shelf-life than just the immediate use of that marketing piece. The same holds true for email marketing campaigns. On average it can take anywhere from about 5 to 15 hours to create a customized email campaign. You need to formulate the template (if you’re using a new design), brainstorm a message, develop the content, and piece it all together before giving it a final look over. It’s an investment of your time – so shouldn’t your investment be something that can be maximized after the initial release? It should and it does. Every single targeting email campaign that you send gets put into an archive. Yet, unlike your email archive, your email marketing campaign archive should be tapped into again and again. Here’s how. Throwing Your Social Media Manager a Bone The one person in your team that will love you endlessly if you share these email campaigns with them is your social media manager. Now, unless you’ve actually walked in their shoes, which I have, no one really understands how anxiety-ridden active social platform management can be. You’re constantly looking for content to share and cross-post. And if you’re following the rule of frequencies, you know there’s a fine ratio for how many re-shares you can do compared to direct links back to your site or product. And sharing contently directly from your site can seem ‘spammy’ while sharing blog posts have a more limited lifespan unless a specific subject pops up again. However, email marketing campaigns are greatly underestimated. When you’re at a total loss for what to share, share an old email campaign. Looking for a specific post for a segmented audience? Try out an old email campaign catered to that segment. There’s another reason that going through email archives is a good idea: “Unlike a tweet from Twitter or a posting on Facebook, an archived version of your emails is static and likely to be indexed by search engines. You want your archived email to be listed in search engines so that people can find it in a keyword search. Two of the best ways to drive traffic to your email or HTML newsletter is to use Twitter and Facebook to draw attention.” Yet another way to do that is through using email archives in the signature portion when commenting on forums and messages boards. Breathing New Life Into Blog Content Depending on how frequently you’re posting blogs, it can become pretty wearisome and taxing to keep developing ideas for and producing new blog fodder. If the same person managing your blog is also doing the writing, you can bet that they’re pretty burned out. Writing blog content is an extensive and exhausting task – if it’s done right. The time spent doing that takes away the time your blog manager could be curating new ideas. That’s said, repurposing old email archives would be highly welcomed by this member of your marketing team. It only gives your content manager much needed breathing room, but it also gives them the opportunity to customize posts based on specific target markets that either use one-off email campaigns or that start looking at the bigger picture. The benefit of giving social and blog managers access to archived segmented email marketing campaigns, is that it allows them to also see exactly what demographic you’re trying to reach and which campaigns were most successful. From there, then can duplicate the effort on the social and blog side of things. In fact, they can and should be working together to mirror efforts on both fronts. Of course, it also helps if you expose your social and blog content manager to resource that help them learn how to maximize the tools at their disposal. If you don’t have an emailing marketing manager who can direct them, then take advantage of free training resources so you can optimize your campaign and make use of targeted marketing strategies. Want to see more on Targeted Emailing? Watch our latest Ask Andy video!


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One Concierge: Your Wish is Their Command

One Concierge: Your Wish is Their Command

Beyond • April 14, 2015

Say you want to meet the president. Or you live on the East Coast and you’re craving In N Out. Maybe you want to a last minute suite at the Super Bowl. Whether you’re looking to live the life of luxury or a business looking to gain networking access, this week’s guest, Arman Motiwalla, on the Heart of Business has the solution for you. One Concierge is a global concierge and lifestyle management company. They won’t get you a killer whale, but they might get you in the same room as your favorite celebrities or help take your business to the next level. I could have talked to Arman for hours, trying to get him to spill on some of the craziest requests from One Concierge members. It was a great lesson in networking and we loved having Arman on the podcast. Listen and enjoy!


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Ask Andy: Targeted Emailing

Ask Andy: Targeted Emailing

Beyond • April 13, 2015

Targeted Emailing is like having an inside man, a mole if you will, that informs you on your most engaged subscribers. It’s the pin point accuracy of Katniss Everdeen that allows you to hit your targeting bulls eye in the midst of the Hunger Games that is inbox noise. I won’t rob you of this rich information any longer. Check out the newest Ask Andy: Discover Your Biggest Fans With Targeted Emailing, you can discover your most engaged subscribers. These are the people that are always opening or are most often opening your email campaign. You can choose to reward their loyalty or test out campaigns with those you know are most likely to engage. Click Focus This is a powerful list segmentation feature. You can specify the exact links you want to see who is clicking. This is a great option for businesses that cater to different niches, whether it’s a clothing designer that has men’s and women’s lines or a sporting goods store that has customers who prefer the outdoors to the hard court or grassy field. It will help you make sure you’re getting the most relevant email content to your subscribers. Reengage or Remove Not all of your subscribers will be your biggest or most engaged fans. Some won’t open your emails or click on any links. It happens. It’s most likely their loss. With the Targeted Emailing feature, you can discover those subscribers. You can then either try a reengagement campaign or remove them from your list completely. One popular reengagement campaign is to simply tell the subscribers that you will be removing them from your email list, unless they decide to opt-in again. Everyone wants what they can’t have! Otherwise you can try something more out of the box. Those subscribers are on the way out the door anyways. Why not try something new and/or fun?


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Taco Bell’s #BreakfastDefector Marketing Campaign Underscores Cultural Shift Toward Dystopian Breakdown

Beyond • April 9, 2015

In the last two centuries, you could measure society by its literature and poetry. Romanticism (1800-1850), for example, was a reaction to the Industrial Revolution – which in itself was a jarring experience that turned time and action in to a commodity and gave birth to bleak landscapes. In the following century, World War 1 gave rise to great literary works in which characters were scarred by war. In another hundred years, they won’t need to read the books of our time to understand us. They’ll just need to look at our advertising campaigns. Advertising, and marketing, have become the new mirrors through which we reflect society, our values, our frustrations and our yearnings. And though Taco Bell’s “Routine Republic” campaign highlighting a pair of #breakfastdefectors is really just about fast food, you’d be terribly wrong to think we’re just talking about food. We’re talking about much more. We’re talking about the point at which three generations meet, discovering what they have in common. From Baby Boomers, to Generation X and newcomer Millennials, the one thing they all have in common is a desperate need to be free. Though we’re not facing the bleak landscape of an Industrial Revolution, and nor are we facing a war at the horrific magnitude of World War I, we are facing something very real and psychologically jarring in a devastating new way: inauthenticity and regulation. Without getting into a long-winded discourse about how we’re more trapped than ever before in any time in history, we can agree that there is an increased amount of regulation and surveillance on our individuality than ever before. It’s despotic and Taco Bell gets that. And audiences are raving over that connection. The last three to four generations has seen has seen a significant push back highlighting dystopian societies. A move that officially spun out of the perfectly packaged lifestyles of the fifties, it’s an idea of dystopia that takes several forms. We saw it in 1948, when George Orwell published 1984, an ominous tale of a world to come that we see in Taco Bell’s “Routine Republic,” marked by the emphasis on ‘double speak’ in phrases like “same is happy,” and so forth. In the early 60’s and through the 70’s, we saw a faux-utopia – a place where everything seemed perfect but was not. Fauxtopia was captured in movies such as Soylent Green, Logan’s Run, and in TV shows like The Prisoner. More recently, we’ve seen versions of dystopia in films like V for Vendetta, Hunger Games, Divergent, and so forth. We’re even seeing in it envelope-pushing mini-series like Black Mirror’s episode titled “15 Million Merits.” Taco Bell understood this. It connected it’s brand, and that of rival McDonald’s with something we identify. We hear the Orwellian double-speak; we recognize V for Vendetta’s all-seeing ‘chancellor’ and the post-apocalyptic poverty found in Hunger Games. And finally, there’s the epic escape of the symbolic Adam and Eve as seen in Logan’s Run (later poorly remade as The Island). These are cultural anchors we recognize, including of course the brilliant chosen track by the Ramones, which had its own double meaning: a Blitzkrieg on routine. For anyone still confused about why revolution and defection is really important, consider where else we’re seeing these strong currents. The theme of revolution continues with TV shows like TURN and Sons of Liberty, as well as in other films like Snow Piercer, Branded, Minority Report, Matrix, Equilibrium, and so on. We’re seeing it in literature, most famously with just about anything Neil Gaiman has written in the last decade, but even with Harry Potter and His Dark Materials. We’re seeing it in the work place with thought leaders like Seth Godin and Malcolm Gladwell and a greater shift toward the free agent economy that allows people to be people first and workers second. It’s everywhere. It’s in the fabric of who we are today as a people. We are people who want to break free from routine, who want to reimagine a reality without control, and act as change agents with the freedom to determine our course – even if that means simply choosing a better breakfast menu. Taco Bell gets this. They told a story – and a brilliant one at that. They shared a message we can all relate to or want to relate to.


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In the Battle of Brands, McDonald’s Destroyed by #RoutineRepublic

Beyond • April 8, 2015

The internet was buzzing last week with Taco Bell’s riotous new commercial launching a highly creative attack ad against breakfast rival, McDonalds. “Routine Republic,” a 3 minute pre-released commercial, which officially aired during The Walking Dead’s 90-minute season finale, was an Orwellian masterpiece that showed an “outdated” brand as fundamentally dystopian. Gabriel Beltron, in an Adweek post titled “Taco Bell Launches Cold War Against McDonald’s With Propaganda Imagery,” describes it best. Beltrone writes, “McDonald\'s affable but intrinsically creepy mascot is reimagined as a sunken-eyed Stalinist clown (though perhaps bearing closer resemblance to Mao). He rules over a small army of look-alikes and an oppressed proletariat in a decrepit, cloistered city with a beefy security apparatus. Run-of-the-mill breakfast sandwiches are his preferred method of subjugation.” Audiences loved it. They thought it was clever, original and creative. Marketing and ad people, however, were floored. To us, it’s a genius because it packages emotion and movement with a product. It understands us…and more importantly, it understand culture. That’s what it really comes down to: culture. Who can see the ad and not think of The Interview, the recent comedic parody of North Korea that started near cyber wars. Taco Bell gets it: no one likes Communism, dictatorships, and unoriginality. The commercial was anything but unoriginal. How do you take apart a brand that exudes fun and play, and turn it into something nefarious? Taco Bell did it and brilliantly. They turned clowns into eerily reimagined mindless foot soldiers – so that if I wasn’t scarred before, I certainly am now. They turned slides into threatening portals that facilitate Gestapo-like clowns that much cl . They even destroyed the idea of a ball pit, turning it into a final desperate attempt to keep you contained. The use of sound was strategic too. You’re fed sound bites from the Routine Republic, with the only break in that monotony being the ‘escape’ soundtrack, “Blitzkrieg Bop” by the Ramones. After that the next sound of distinction is the now-ominous Taco Bell ring of the bell. It’s a bell. It’s a bell we’ve heard a before, but with the right placement in the right ad, it becomes a sound of freedom. It becomes something we connect with. It becomes a calling. (If McDonald’s is listening, I have an idea for a come-back campaign that works against Taco Bell’s own branding) This isn’t the first round between fast food giants. The Huffington Post’s, Carly Ledbetter writes an article titled “Taco Bell’s New Ad Portrays McDonald’s as a Communist State.” In it, she describes how “the so-called ‘breakfast wars’ between the two fast-food chains typically involve a few snarky exchanges.” Taco Bell’s ad campaigns against rival McDonald’s, has escalated past a battle of the brands and taken on the face of political mudslinging where the focus of your message isn’t about how awesome you are, but rather how terrible your opponent is. The snarky exchanges Ledbetter’s talking about refer to a past creative campaign by the fast food chain. Prior to the recent “Routine Republic,” Taco Bell hijacked mascot Ronald McDonald by bringing together people legally named “Ronald McDonald” and having them declare their love for Taco Bell’s breakfast menu. McDonald’s, holding the lion’s share of the breakfast fast food market, is a natural target for Taco Bell. The ‘Mexican’ fast food chain has worked hard in recent years to rebrand itself for a millennial crowd. “Routine Republic” just ensured they secured that goal. However, they didn’t just rely on an ad; they turned a commercial into a mini-movie and the mini-movie into a movement. You didn’t just see a commercial; you were called to action. Taco Bell supported the campaign by creating its own landing page, developing propaganda posters and even offering loyal supporters a ‘defector’ kit.


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Benchmark Email Shopify Integration

Benchmark Email Shopify Integration

Beyond • April 7, 2015

Taking your business from in-store to online can be a very daunting experience. Not only is there a whole new system to learn – HTML, design, coding, etc., but it takes forever and a day to set up yourself … or a ton of money to pay an expert to do it for you. Would it be great if there was already a system that is made, and all you got to do is fill in the blanks and BAM, it will all be done? Then Shopify is your e-commerce fairy godmother. With a wave of a wand, or couple clicks of a button, you can build the shopping site of your dreams. Shopify has everything already built for you. Anyone can do it, and it just takes a few minutes! You can simply name your store, upload your products, and select a customizable design template. Shopify even offers a wide selection of add-ons to increase the functionality of your website, including, a live chat customer service, allowing customers to submit product reviews, social media buttons to increase marketing efforts, tracking reports, tools for payment processing, and more. Basically 90% of the work is already done for you with some added bonuses! With all the road already paved for you, all you need to worry about is adding your own flair to the site and making it all your own. It has to look appealing, be easy to use, and leave a lasting impression in order of customers to trust your site and keep coming back! Shopify is one of the leading softwares that help build and maintain your e-commerce site. Highly rated for offering endless options to customize your site and plenty of integrations that will not only make the shopping experience easier and more fun for customers, but it will gradually build brand awareness. Of all the integrations to utilize, email marketing is one of the top! There is no better way to maintain good relationships and communication with your customers. Gather all your Shopify customers into your Benchmark contact list instantly with our Benchmark Email Shopify Integration: Here is how to connect: Log in to your Benchmark account Click on Integration under My Account Scroll down to Shopify Input your Shopify Domain Click Connect


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