Series Posts: Beyond

Email Marketing that Gets Results … And Conversions

Email Marketing that Gets Results … And Conversions

Beyond • June 13, 2018

“What no one is telling you about hair loss.” “Hair loss products.” Which email subject line would motivate a hair loss sufferer to open? But how many opens can you expect with a subject line that sparks curiosity? You might be surprised. The Dinosaur is Not Extinct Email marketing is a dinosaur. At least that’s a common belief of business owners who prefer to spend their marketing dollars in other places. The reasons for the belief that email marketing is “dead” are as follows: People’s inboxes are stuffed. They scan through them and only open those that are from friends. Everything else they discard. Their mobile devices now segment emails based upon “priorities” and “promotions,” and the “promotions” are just not opened. Many now have two email accounts (or more)- one for work, one for personal communications, and one that they provide whenever they order something online. The last one is the one they never check, except to receive order or shipping confirmation. The reality is email is not “dead.” And it can be an amazing marketing tool, if it is done right. And therein lies the key: doing it right. But first, a few statistics that may surprise you, based upon a survey conducted by Kissmetrics: 66% of those surveyed stated they have made a purchase based upon an email offer 91% of respondents stated they check their email at least once a day 33+% stated that they opened the email based upon the subject line These stats paint a very different picture of email marketing, and it means that content marketers need to re-think their campaigns, if they have been reducing their email marketing. It can still be a powerful tool. The stats are only one part of the story, though. The question is, how do you craft emails so that you land in that segment that is opened and then acted upon. Here are 5 strategies and tips for doing it right: 1. Getting Recipients to Open Them This is 50% of the battle for marketers. Nothing happens until an email is opened by a target. There are two proven strategies, and they may work for you. The “From” Line: Rather than the company name, perhaps using your first name along with the company name may motivate and open. It makes it more personal and not like it was generated by some automated system. This is especially important if targets have subscribed to your emails/newsletter. That Critical Subject Line: Here is where you must be engaging. And certainly not spammy or like an aggressive salesperson. Promising to solve a problem or issue or answer a question will usually pique interest or curiosity. Consider using what are known as “power words” too. These are usually     adjectives (e.g., hysterical, hilarious, mind-blowing, etc.) There is a list published by Smart Blogger you should take a look at. Intrigue the reader by promising something really important or useful. You     know your target audience. What will they find important? Sometimes a “how to…” works well. “How to craft an amazing blog post in 30 minutes or less” would be a good subject line for a content marketer. Another good tactic is to ask the reader for help. A simple, “I need your help, please” or “I need your opinion.” This is a psychological strategy, because most people genuinely want to help others. The Opening Line: Here’s the thing about opening lines. At least a part of them usually show up in the subject line. (depending on the length of your subject title and browser). So, you have to consider these just as important, and you need to use the same tactics that you do for the subject title. And most mobile devices show part of that opening line. Here’s an example that demonstrates everything covered so far: Note: Matt did not put the name of his company in the “from” position – just his name. That’s probably because the recipient has subscribed to his newsletter or blog, and knows him by now. The subject title is engaging and intriguing, and the first line addresses an issue common with service providers – winning more clients. Don’t be afraid to be a little weird and funny in the title and opening line, as Matt Inglot was. You know your audience and their sense of humor. The only time you have to be a bit careful is when your emails are being translated into other languages for foreign targets. Marketers are increasingly targeting foreign-language speaking audiences, and it will be important that visuals and language are well-received and appropriate. 2. The Email Body One of the things we know about today’s consumer and Internet user. He likes to browse and “snack” on stuff, and that includes emails. He doesn’t want to spend a lot of time reading. And you don’t have a lot of time to garner his attention either. So, get to the point quickly. You may want some type of greeting, but don’t use the old “Hi there…my name is...” – boring. Address the recipient by name, and open with something to bring the reader “closer” to you personally. “If you’re like me, you…” Now they are identifying with you – always a good thing. Then get on with the point of the email. Are you running a sale? Are you giving some valuable “how to” information? Your goal is to provide value to the reader – how will what you are offering improve their lives in some way? Example: Look at this email from Pizza Hut: It’s primarily visual – always a good thing, especially for mobile users. And the text speaks to the “value” of what is being offered, as well as a problem solved – easy way to take care of a Saturday night get together with friends. Enough said! Keep it simple. Don’t overload with any irrelevant stuff. You can also refer them to a blog post or website page with a link for more detail. Use very short paragraphs, with the point of that paragraph in the first line. Sometimes asking a question as an opening sentence is effective, because it motivates them to find the answer in the sentences that follow. “Do you know what really causes bag under your eyes?” Doing this helps keep you on track too. Example: FreshBooks offers a solution for professionals who bill by the hour and need to keep track of that billing on the go. Note, the first paragraph explains the whole point simply in one short paragraph. There is a link for the reader to learn more about the product. And the additional value of having a support team on call is an added benefit. 3. The Closing – You Need to “Nail It” This is the part of the email with your CTA and where the reader makes a decision – to move to the next step toward a purchase; to access a page on your site with product details, to download something, or to subscribe to your newsletter. And speaking of newsletters, they can be a big part of email campaigns, if they are done right. If you struggle with how to create a newsletter, subscribe to some yourself and see how those marketers engage readers. You will find many of the same tactics that you are reading here. Example: Here’s a holiday email newsletter from Apple. It provides gift ideas and CTA’s to “shop now,” “Reserve a gift,” and “Learn More.” The main point in the closing is to be clear about what you want them to do and tell them exactly how to do that. “Click here to get all of the product details.” “Click here to register for the workshop.” Urgency is Important: From a psychological standpoint, it’s a good idea to create some urgency in your closing. Fear of missing out (FOMO) tends to make people act. “Click here to register for the workshop – there are 7 spaces left.” If you are offering a special, set a deadline for its expiration. Example: Look at the FOMO CTA from Disney World on Ice promoters. The CAT is to “book Now” with a promo code to use. And this is the recipients “last chance to secure seats…for less.” 4. When to Send Emails Hubspot did a study on the best open rates based on day of the week and time of day. Here is what the study found: Tuesday is the best day of the week to send emails. This makes sense. People’s Mondays tend to be busy and they tend to ignore or delete if their inboxes are too full. The best time of the day to send emails is the two hours between 10:00 a.m. and 12 noon, with a slight peak at 11:00 a.m. 5. Follow-Up So, someone has opened your email. Now, what can you do to move them along? If you are using the right tools, and of course you are, you know who is opening and when they are doing that. Here are the tactics that work well: Send out targeted emails to the “opens.” If you have a phone number, call instead. Ask if they have any questions about your product/service Provide more value regularly. If you have created an e-book, for example, send an email with a free download link; offer special pricing on a product they have been looking at; send an article that was written by news media about your product or service. The point is to keep the door open always. If a target has opened one of your emails, that person is a definite lead. Following up fast and then at spaced intervals after that will keep the relationship going. The target may not be ready to buy yet, but when he is, your brand will be foremost in his mind. 6. A/B Testing This goes without saying. Try several different subject titles for the same email and track the open rates. Use this information as you craft subject titles going forward. Conclusion Email marketing does still matter. What’s more, it is one of the most cost-effective marketing campaign strategies, especially given all of the free tools out there to target, segment, and track. If you have abandoned email marketing for other strategies, keep those other strategies, but use these tactics to initiate an email campaign. What do you have to lose?


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Heart Of Business: Kicking Off with Kickbox’s Jack Wrigley

Heart Of Business: Kicking Off with Kickbox’s Jack Wrigley

Beyond • June 8, 2018

Back when the return of the Heart of Business was just a seed of an idea, Jack Wrigley was due for a trip Benchmark HQ for some email list verification training with Kickbox, and I knew we had to ask him to be a guest. I mention it in the podcast, but I first became aware of Jack via the Only Influencers community. The Cubs fan in me naturally gravitated to the fact that he shares his surname with my favorite place to watch a baseball game. Since then, all of us at Benchmark Email have enjoyed a professional relationship with Jack and Kickbox. We’ve co-hosted webinars, guest blogged for one another and just enjoyed getting to know that whole team as people. It was a treat to talk to Jack, not just about Kickbox and email list verification, but the lessons he learned as an entrepreneur, working with startups and more. There will come a point that even if you think you have the coolest thing since sliced bread, and you leave that desk job, there will come a point when stuff isn’t working. There will come a point when the income isn’t coming in and you’re trying to figure out how to pay your rent. There will come a point when your kids want to, you know, go to soccer camp and you’re like, ‘how do I pay for that?’ Right? There will come a point. And the difference between someone that has that DNA versus someone who doesn’t...the difference is at that critical moment it’s whether you give up, because you can’t handle it ... or you persevere and you punch through it. This was recorded back in November, and you may hear some of that in the episode. We had to wait to put together a content schedule for the Heart Of Business. 3:07 - How he adjusted to joining a new industry and how to use what you already know 5:20 - All about Kickbox and email list verification 8:36 - On lessons learned about startups 15:00 - Talking about how email marketing has evolved 19:20 - The entrepreneurial spirit


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Building Businesses and Molding Your SEO with Clayton Wood

Building Businesses and Molding Your SEO with Clayton Wood

Beyond • May 25, 2018

The Heart of Business has provided me and my menagerie of cohosts the opportunity to speak with so many incredible people who we’d never get the chance to chat with otherwise. However, once in a while we get to talk with someone who we are familiar with and something special happens. You get to ask questions you never would otherwise and find out even more about someone you already know. It’s a treat. That was the case with Clayton Wood. For the better part of the last year, we’ve gotten to see Clayton’s face in our office or hear his voice on a call with weekly frequency. He’s taught us more about SEO than we could have ever imagined possible. It’s always fun to hear where he’s been in the time he’s not with us. He’ll share with us about the events he attends and speaks at. All those lucky audiences! We realized it was time to make our podcast listeners one of those. We got to talk a bit about SEO, how Clayton has founded multiple multi-million dollar businesses and the lessons he’s learned along the way. Plus, we found out how he wound up in Playboy. There seems to be this common thread through people that have this adventurous spirit and I can’t quite put a pin on it, but there’s something about the personality and it’s really interesting that when these people meet each other, something clicks. Even if you don’t talk about the traveling or the adventures that you had ... there seems to be something about the way that people\'s brains work that are looking for some amazing adventure. The best relationships I’ve had are with people with similar mindsets in that regard. 3:30 - Taking the leap to leave the corporate world and pursuing SEO 9:19 - What is SEO? 14:48 - How to proceed when your savings are dwindling and you think you’ve backed yourself into a corner 20:46 - On winding up in Playboy 26:04 - Going from learning from industry experts to becoming a peer


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The Power Of A Strong Call To Action: How To Make Yours Click-Worthy

The Power Of A Strong Call To Action: How To Make Yours Click-Worthy

Beyond • May 23, 2018

Calls to action might be the most important part of your business strategy: the jewel in your marketing crown. Your brand’s success goes hand in hand with a strong call to action. You will have experienced this first-hand, whether you’ve signed up to Netflix or bought a new jacket online: the chances are a good call to action led you there. I’ve seen countless CTAs in my work, so I know what works — and what doesn’t. If your CTAs aren’t on-point, you’ll see conversions slow and sales fizzle out. So, if you want to know how to make your call to actions truly click-worthy, read on... So why are calls to action important? Well, take this as an example: if you include just a single call to action as part of your email marketing strategy, your clicks could increase by up to 400%, and your sales by over 1000%. A good call to action works as part of a more comprehensive customer experience strategy, building on useful and engaging copy and high-quality aesthetics to work towards a final goal. It should be compelling and drive your customers to take a specific action: to make a purchase or sign up for your newsletter. Without a compelling call to action, your customers are just lost sheep on a mountain without a shepherd. Your CTA can lead them to where you want them to go. So what makes for a strong call to action? A good call to action is so much more than just a button at the bottom of the page. When you’re writing your CTA, you need to… Make It Compelling This is an obvious one, but no less important. Your customers are like mice in a maze: they need direction, and you need to provide them with it. So when you write your CTA, it needs to have a clear and compelling directive. This means using a powerful, commanding verb to start your CTA with. This can vary depending on what it is you’re offering, and therefore what you need from the customer. For example, if you’re running an online store, you would want to start with “buy” or “shop.” Alternatively, if you’re marketing a newsletter or ebook, begin with “subscribe” or “download.” Charity: Water does this nicely with their donation page, below. They start with the imperative to give but follow it up with another command: “change.” It’s a pleasant surprise that gives their CTA a more emotional slant, compelling people to donate. Keep It In the First Person Your customers also like to feel like they’re the only customer in the world. They don’t want to share your attention with anyone else, so be sure that your CTAs are written in the first person. While this might not work with every call to action, it can be hugely effective for some. For example, saying things like “claim my discount code today” rather than “download your free discount code today” can make the difference between a conversion and a loss. Convey A Sense of Urgency Remember when you had to write an essay at school and as you got closer and closer to the deadline, all you could think of was that essay? While it might have been stressful back then, today you can leverage that in your CTAs to ramp up your conversions and boost sales. Consider including a deadline for a special offer or promotion in your CTA, for example: “Buy now! Sale ends tomorrow”. Just like you and me, customers have severe FOMO (that is, Fear Of Missing Out). The thought of losing out on a great deal or offer because of inaction is a powerful motivator. Check out online fashion retailer ASOS’s lead-in to their call to action in the example below. The command to “grab it before it’s gone” reinforces the sense of urgency, further compounded by the bold announcement that these are the “final reductions” below. Tell Your Customer Why They Should Click If you want your call to action to be truly click-worthy, you need to show your customer what’s in it for them. Will they get a great deal on shoes? Will they learn the secrets of the trade? The benefit might be a summation of your value proposition, the unique quality that your business has over your competitors. Clearly state the benefit they’ll receive when they click on your CTA to give them that little extra nudge. For example, the eCommerce marketplace Exchange lures their customers in with the promise of their “next big success,” a bold claim that is sure to hook any budding entrepreneur looking for businesses for sale: Combine that with a brightly-colored CTA button, and your eyes are drawn to it like a pink flower in a lilac field. It’s all about making the CTA irresistible to click. Engage Your Customers Consumers are bombarded with demands to buy, download, sign up and more from marketing all the time, from print, digital and television advertisements. This means they tend to tune out a lot of what they see and hear. So you need to slice through that and grab their attention. How? With a little quirky humor. Check out credit union Fairwinds’ website, below. They use the oldest (and in my unpopular opinion, the best) trick in the book to get their customers focused: a simple pun. It might not be the funniest thing you’ve read all day, but it’s enough to raise a smile on your face and hook you long enough to read it. Emphasize Freebies People love freebies. Whether it’s a cheese sample at your local grocery store or a ticket to a concert, consumers love getting something for nothing. If you’re able to offer something for free, such as a sample or product trial, make sure that’s clear in your call to action. It could be just enough to push a dithering shopper to purchase or sign up. Check out Spotify’s call to action. The offer of their free option is colored a punchy green and naturally draws the reader subtly to their Premium option too. It stands out, and the freebie is hard to miss. The layout as well is nice and simple, the cornerstone of any good CTA. Minimize Stress and Hassle As much as people love freebies, they enjoy a stress-free life too (and don’t we all?). So consumers are understandably wary of signing up to anything if they think that they’re going to have to endure countless tedious phone calls and annoying email exchanges if anything goes wrong. To counter this, you need to reassure them that by clicking your CTA, the process will be as easy or risk-free as possible for them. For example, Netflix knows that customers can be put off by the hassle of canceling a subscription to services. Recognizing that, they lead into their call to action with the promise that potential customers can cancel at any time, heading off their concern before they can even voice it. Keep It Simple This one is crucial. If your website or email is chock-a-block with copy, images, graphics and banners, your potential customers will get an instant headache. Instead of clicking on your call to action, they’ll probably be more likely to take a painkiller and lie down in a darkened room. Visual clutter is a big turn-off and will distract from your CTA. Want to see an example of a brand doing it right? Look no further than file hosting service Dropbox. Their aesthetic is built around subtle imagery and simple design, and their call to action is no difference. Contained in a bold blue box, it contrasts with the negative space around it. It jumps out from the page without any external distractions, and even the photo is simple and understated. Your call to action is your advertising Horn of Gondor, the guiding light down your marketing funnel. Work on creating a strong, crafted, and compelling command, and your campaigns will be rejuvenated, injected with a hit of energy and dynamism. Whether it’s part of your email marketing or placed enticingly on your website, be sure to heed the lessons imparted above. And it’s not just there either: a call to action on your blog post or social media content can open up new avenues for you to draw in the customers. So what are you waiting for? Get working on those calls to action today!


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Mother’s Day Advice & Lessons Learned from the Benchmark Moms

Mother’s Day Advice & Lessons Learned from the Benchmark Moms

Beyond • May 11, 2018

I love my mom, but she’s crazy. Don’t worry. Saying it in this blog post won’t be news to her. I tell her all the time (both that I love her and that she’s crazy). While I may have done my fair share of complaining about it in my younger years, I came to appreciate the crazy too. Her fierce love for her family meant she would do anything to advocate for us. It helped in school if we got into trouble and in any other situation we needed someone on our side. What I saw as crazy at one point, I came to see as one of her greatest assets. Doing whatever you can for the ones you love is one of the most important lessons I’ve learned from my mom. That’s why I supported my younger brother for a few years when he followed me out to Los Angeles. It’s also why I love cooking Thanksgiving dinner with my found family in LA when I can’t make it back to Chicago for the holiday and why I enjoy making sure close friends have special plans to celebrate birthdays. I am who I am in no small part thanks to my mom. For that, I’ll always love her. I’ll be halfway across the country from my mom on Mother’s Day, and will have to resort to sending flowers and a phone call or Skype to tell her I love her. However, I’m always surrounded by great moms here at Benchmark. So, I figured this was as good of a time as any to pick their brains for some advice on being a mom, what they’ve learned as a mom and why moms are the best to work with. Here’s what they had to say: What\'s the best advice you\'ve been given on being a mom (and who gave it)? Yamile Flores - Learning Experience Designer: I think my mother told me: dress him, change his clothes two or three times a day. I like it because they grow up so fast and then they use their clothes like twice (not enough to justify the purchase). Irene Martinez - Training Manager: It is okay to take time off for yourself. Yes, kids are our priority, but you must take time to refocus. It does not have to be for days. A simple hour can do the trick. My mother-in-law told me this. [caption id=\"attachment_10111\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"769\"] Irene and her girls.[/caption] Lisa Fletcher - Customer Engagement Specialist: Don\'t sweat the small stuff. From a book cover lol. Debbie Running - Accounting & Human Resources Manager: Advice from my Mom: Take your children to church. Pray with them. Teach your children the Golden Rule (Do on to others as you would have them do unto you). Advice from Auntie Maude (Nanny): Always have your children wear onesies under their clothing for months that have an R in them. My children were rarely sick. Nydia Lopez - Integrations and International Content Management: My mom always told me to never say bad things (words) to my kids to correct them. Those words hurt them more than a punishment or even a spank. What\'s the biggest lesson you\'ve learned since becoming a mom? YF: In the beginning, I wanted the time run faster because I was so tired. Sometimes I still have the same feeling, but I learned I need to enjoy this. No matter how tired I am, I have to find the strength to play, to laugh, to be a mom. IM: Things can go from great to bad in an instant (especially with little ones). Be prepared for anything possible. If you are not, then learn for the next time. Because trust me, there will be a next time. LF: As bad as any tantrum appears to be, it\'s really a cry to be heard or understood, and they always pass. DR: Never say never! Life is precious. Don\'t take it for granted. Children are a blessing. Smell and kiss them often. Hold their hands and guide them always. NL: Being a mom at a young age was a big challenge. I have always said that there is no manual to learn how to be a mom, you learn it over time. I can say that I grew up learning together with my children to fall and get up, but always with their heads held high. What advice would you give to a new mom? YF: All the help is welcome. Sleep when the baby is asleep too. Eat! Do not care about your weight. You will have time later to lose those pounds. Enjoy taking pictures of your baby and spending time watching them growing up. Time never comes back, and yes, you will forget how it was. IM: Take things day by day. The days where you want to rip your hair out are outnumbered by the days your heart is filled with joy. The long nights will be gone before you know it, and all that will be left are memories. LF: Learn to enjoy time with your kids. Never see it as a job you must do, but something you are gaining from. DR: I tell my daughter that as a new mom, life goes by so fast. Enjoy every day with them as if it were your last. As a Mom, I taught our children when you are at someones home, always be on your best behavior. I have passed that advice to my daughter. [caption id=\"attachment_10109\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"1080\"] Debbie with her mother, sisters, daughter, nieces and daughter-in-law.[/caption] NL: Kids grow so fast, Enjoy them, protect them, experience them now. Because in a blink of an eye, they will become adults and you will wish to turn back time and do what you didn’t do before. Why do moms make great employees and coworkers? YF: The ability to be really good at multitasking. You have a 360º view, and that\'s incredible because for any reason all your senses are improved like a superhero. You can see things that could happen where anybody else can see it, so you become an expert detailing. You work faster because you can\'t spend all day on just one thing. And for the things that must be done only for one, and perfectly, you can not go back and repeat tasks. Kids make you become a perfectionist in all you do. So, I am better working since I become a mom. IM: A woman without kids is no more important than one with kids. However, moms bring something different to the table, and that is flexibility. We know things can go from good to bad in an instant, and we tend to prepare for the worst case possible. In a working environment, you must be flexible to take on new challenges. LF: Most moms bring a deep well for empathy and know how to gather the troop together for the betterment of all. DR: Moms are great employees because we have learned to juggle lots of responsibilities. Therefore, we can multitask. We care about how our co-workers feel. We have time management skills. Moms are dedicated and loyal employees. NL: Moms are very determined, and we are known as the masters of multi-tasking. If there is something that we do not know how to do, we always come up with something. And having moms as coworkers makes us feel like we have something in common and that we understand each other. Moms work very hard! :)


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Rand Fishkin Returns: Igniting SparkToro

Rand Fishkin Returns: Igniting SparkToro

Beyond • May 11, 2018

It was a pleasure to bring Rand Fishkin back to the Heart of Business, as he begins to ignite SparkToro, his latest endeavor. Hear our first conversation with Rand Fishkin, where we talk all things SEO. The invite to return to the podcast went out the day he announced he was leaving Moz and starting SparkToro. We just had to hear what the former Wonderful Wizard of Moz was getting into next. I think the bias toward, ‘you know...hey...there’s only one way to be successful’ is kind of [BS]. So this time around I am intentionally avoiding that. It turns out he’s got some pretty awesome stuff brewing with SparkToro. He told us all about it, and we can’t wait to see what it will become. He also shared details about his newly released book, Lost and Founder. As a Content Manager, my favorite part of his chat with Rand was our conversation about content. We talked about how to create great content and the importance of transparency. 1:28 - What is SparkToro? 4:11 - On life after Moz 7:43 - There’s not just one way to succeed 11:39 - Understanding your audience 20:06 - How transparency can make you the king of content 30:58 - His new book: Lost and Founder


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I’m a Mompreneur. Email Marketing Built My Business.

I’m a Mompreneur. Email Marketing Built My Business.

Beyond • May 10, 2018

My business began as a weekly email. It was Valentine’s Day 2016. I had been working as a marketing consultant for a few years -- ever since I had gotten pregnant with my second daughter and decided to leave my agency job to test out solopreneur life. I loved the freedom it afforded me; the ability to do great work, but do it around my young daughters’ schedules. I felt like I had discovered the magic mix of work and play that so many mothers were seeking -- and I wanted to share the wealth. So I started my second business, MotherHustle.com, to help the other creative working mothers that I knew from the agency world make the leap from stressed-out and unappreciated employee to empowered creative mompreneur. Every Sunday night, I began sending out my MotherHustle emails, filled with tips and stories about starting and growing a family-focused business. And as I shared, my list began to grow. I saw the magic of email marketing happening right in front of me: when you share great content, people want you to show up in their inbox. After a year of being a strictly email-only business, I expanded MotherHustle into an online community and publication and brought in more mom bosses to share their stories and ideas. But I kept up with my weekly email, and it has helped my little idea continue to grow with strength and resilience. My email list grew me a business. It also grew me fantastic connections, a community of other creative mompreneurs to lean on, and a private outlet for content that doesn’t necessarily belong on the public MotherHustle channels. Joe Pulizzi, author of Content, Inc., got it right when he said: “When all your focus is on an audience you know deeply, instead of a product, good things usually happen. When we listen intently to our audience, we are automatically led to new product opportunities.” Email marketing allows you to focus on getting to know your audience deeply. By testing which content resonates most with your list, and by actually getting subscribers to open your emails and interact with your content on a consistent basis, you’re able to create a deep connection with your audience before you even have a product to sell. That’s how I built MotherHustle -- and that’s how many of the other mom bosses, or mompreneurs, I know were able to build their successful businesses. As email marketing continues to grow and change, it’s important to keep up with how audiences are receiving those emails. So I decided to ask some of the mom bosses I know to share their best email marketing tips with me. As moms, what do they appreciate about the good emails they receive? What makes an email cut through the clutter? And as business owners, what email marketing tactics have been effective in their practices? Here’s what they had to say: “Personalization. I believe great emails come from great segmentation and really understanding your audience. [Pregnancy and parenting website] WhatToExpect is awesome at this. Their emails and the content they send are always hyper-relevant to the stage I’m in with my kiddo.” -- Latoya James Torrance, founder of EndearContent.com “I really don’t like hidden sponsorships. I don’t mind sponsored emails, but I really don’t like feeling tricked when I reach the end of an interesting email and find it’s only leading me to a purchase. I will likely unsubscribe. If it’s upfront, I don’t mind!” -- Maggie Murdy, founder of NativeCM “I like emails that give me free value, honestly. Anyone who is going to teach me something that makes my life easier. I read a lot of Holly Homer’s emails from Kids Activities Blog -- they are sales-y, but they also have a ton of good info before she tries to sell you anything.  I also like an email that tries to teach me one thing. Just one.” -- Maggie Frank-Hsu, founder of Blogs To Riches consulting program “[For the emails I receive:] get to the point. Skip formalities, and keep things bullet-point style. [For my business,] split-testing my headlines and resending to unopens a day or two later has increased my opens by about 8 percent.” -- Shawna May, sales and marketing consultant, owner of HeyHeyShawnaMay.com \"Your audience is busy. And no one wants junk cluttering up their inboxes. Focus on building a relationship with your audience and providing them the value that they want and need. In your welcome sequence, ask them what they want from you. Then, as you\'re creating your regular nurturing emails, include that value. Emails are so much more personal than social media, blog posts, and videos because they happen in real time and require a buy-in from your subscribers. Give them something special!\" -- Abby Herman, content marketing strategist If email marketing is on your business’ to-do list this Mother’s Day, take it from these mompreneurs: get right to it, give us value and gain our trust with honesty. If you do, email marketing can help you grow your business (just like it did for this mompreneur!).


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Why You Should Hire A Mom

Why You Should Hire A Mom

Beyond • May 9, 2018

I’m a mom, a single one at that. I own multiple businesses but before that, I worked at a large company where one might say I “cut my teeth.”  Corporate culture wasn’t for me, so I moved to entrepreneurship. Through all of those years of office training and now becoming a mom myself, I have learned an incredible amount of lessons with one residing at the top: moms make the best employees. My businesses have fortunately grown. I started out solo, and through the years, I’ve had to expand when needed to truly be able to grow the way I intended to. Hiring can be challenging, but I have built out my team comprised of several moms, purposely.  Not only because I am one, and I get how they tick, but it goes so much deeper than that. Is Your Mother\'s Day Email Marketing Ready? Check Out These Tips & Infographic. In the past, I used to constantly hear criticisms of moms in the workplace. People would say they’re not as focused, not as dedicated; they have too many commitments to worry about outside of the office that could prevent them from keeping their eye on the prize while in the office and I would cringe at every word.  In fact, it can be entirely the opposite if just given a proper chance and a mom on your team could wind up being the most highly beneficial business decision you could ever make. The Octopus Theory Did you ever see a mother that could not multi-task? I look back at some moments in my life, such as a typical start of a business trip when my daughter was younger. On my own, wheeling a suitcase, while pushing a stroller with a messenger bag strapped across me, feeding her and digging for a bottle in my bag in an airport all while on a conference call on my headset en route to board a plane. It sounds manic, but to me it was just natural and to many, many other moms that are home cooking dinner in the evening, while helping their child with their homework, handling household tasks, getting in the car to do activity pickups, preparing clothes for the next day, paying bills online and responding to emails and texts both personal and work-related without breaking a sweat. It just happens, and most mothers never, ever complain about it. They just DO. They’re given a situation, a tough one that has a lot of moving parts, and in most cases, they just figure it out.  If this incredible skill isn’t what you need on your team, you’re probably not growing the best way possible. In a study for Microsoft, it was shown that 62% of women make better team players and nearly 2/3 of moms surveyed agreed their multitasking skills improved after having a child, along with their time management skills whereas those of working dads didn’t necessarily improve. Balance A day in the life of a busy mom is a day you cannot possibly imagine unless you’re in those shoes. There are very early mornings that begin with thinking of someone else, handling something for someone else, ensuring someone else’s day is going well, that someone else is thriving and ensuring that someone else has everything they need to be their best. Activities to sign up for, school to prepare for, homework to complete, socialization to enjoy, food to eat, stable home to reside in and the list goes on. A mom can handle all of these spinning plates in the air easily and not drop any because it just comes naturally. It’s balance. When a mom really enjoys their work, fitting this into the mix to maintain balance also comes naturally too because they’ve had the best training. Work is something so crucial to a mom’s life to keep them grounded and feeling like they perhaps once did before all of the beautiful chaos and at least in my case, as is the case with countless others, work is so much more appreciated at this stage of life, commitments get stronger and in the end, work makes a mom a better version of herself in all ways. They also make incredible role models for children. A recent study of 50,000 adults in 25 countries saw daughters of working mothers completing more education and landing in ten leadership roles. Patience Placing beads on a string or making a complicated version of colored slime. Waiting at a soccer game that’s gone into triple overtime. Getting up at 5 am for hockey practice.  Listening to a story from a child that is adorable but goes on, and on, and on, and on. Patience is an art best developed by caring for a child and realizing that one’s schedule is no longer their own. Life operates on a completely different cycle once one enters motherhood and nothing else tests one\'s patience quite like this. This is a quality that can be highly attractive in the workplace and contributes to people getting along, to dedication to perfection on projects completed, and also when it comes to both learning on the job and perhaps even training someone on the job. The Art of Negotiation Consider how many times a day a mother has to channel her inner Monty Hall and play out a whole Let’s Make A Deal scenario.  10? 20? Easily. “If you get dressed in 5 minutes I’ll let you play a game on your phone.” “If you eat 10 brussels sprouts you only have to eat four pieces of steak.” “If you finish your homework in time you can watch a little TV.” The script goes on and on from sun up to sun down when you’re a mom. It is a constant battle, an endless trade, a continual offer being made and with negotiation being such a critical cornerstone in business, this is likely one of the best assets you will find in a mom. Why? Because they are forever on the training ground. It doesn’t stop when work stops, it begins far before and ends far later. And remember, in most situations, moms usually win. Emotion Where It’s Needed Most say there is no room for emotion in business, but passion is what fuels people to be their best. When commitment is strong, and the desire runs deep, there is no stopping anyone from achieving their goals. Moms enter the most extreme commitment one can ever make, the most binding, the most dedicated, the most bonding and the most amazing and they deliver, every minute of every day. There’s a touch that a mom has when explaining something when handling a delicate issue, when keeping things going when everything else seems dire that is so crucial to helping maintain a happy, healthy work environment. So, I urge you, whether you’re on your own and growing slowly or you’re running a large company, to ignore concerns you may have had before about the performance a working mom can deliver and consider these reasons why I firmly believe a mom should be a top candidate.


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The Best Promotional Email Marketing Campaigns for your Mobile App

The Best Promotional Email Marketing Campaigns for your Mobile App

Beyond • May 2, 2018

What’s the point of creating a beautiful application if no one knows about it? And, how could you tell your customers that you have invested in an amazing application that may prove to be an exceptional one for them? Well, the most appropriate answer to this question is to practice email marketing services. Not well aware of the technicalities that come with it? Don’t worry, I will cover all that and a lot more while explaining to you the do’s and the don’ts of email marketing services. Email marketing services include a number of practices that could help your app get global recognition among the niche audience. Being the umbrella term for the marketers, there are a number of practices that are much beneficial to practice. And, when you are getting into the email marketing services, you must know the do’s and the don\'t of the same in order to practice it the right way. However, prior to revealing these elements, let’s have a look at what stats have to say: Let’s have a look at the stats that prove the efficiency of emails in the modern world: According to a 2015 study, there are approximately more than 2.5 billion email users worldwide 33% of the world population uses emails to communicate With these points in mind, it is time to be careful about how you are shaping your email marketing campaign. If you practice the things the right way, such campaigns can generate an impressive number of leads for your business. Email marketing services, however, are not only about the leads (I\'ll explain later how) but also about making a profound relationship with the clients. Developing a relationship with the clients out of the business is a way to keep them interested in your services. You want this to happen for your business right? So, let’s talk first the Do’s of email marketing services. Do: Compose Your Emails With A Clear Goal In Mind It is the basis of sending emails. They are sent with a purpose. Your purpose may vary with a variety of reasons right from attaining the attention of the customers toward your business or getting the users to click through to a landing page or share any basic information about your business with the users or maybe anything else. So, first decide what you want your email to do and then set the right tone in order to compose it accordingly. It is also important to give a thought to the email title and the body. You need to reflect professionalism in your email. Do: Automate the Outreach Process Email marketing services can actually be exhausting either for business managers or for retailers practicing the same. In case, the scenario seems very much similar, you must be looking out for ways to make it easier for you or your team to practice email marketing. Automating the outreach process can help in this regard and therefore you can opt for email marketing automation. Here are a few points that will help you to apply automation software in the process. A welcoming/ thanking or subscribing email to the users Reminder emails for sales or upcoming events Follow-up emails post purchase Customer loyalty emails to valuable leads Do: Email Personalization Different users are interested in different kind of email marketing services & that makes it important for businesses to curate emails with a personal touch. Reading their names at the top of the email is sure to invoke readers’ interest towards the email. While personalizing it is important to segment the email list. You must know the interest of your prospects in order to curate the mail the right way. Including recipient’s name at the very beginning is a good start. After that consider the following: Find out why customers are visiting your website and curate your email depending on the same It is important to include a persona for each email segment including a list of general demographics, interests, and purchases that can be considered for general group Utilize the time and location in your favor. Send emails at the time of any festival such as around Christmas Do: Emails That Are Mobile Responsive Most of the users prefer mobile browsing, which makes it important for every email marketer to make their emails mobile responsive. In case, your emails are not easy to open on mobile devices, you are missing out on a large audience that frequently uses mobile devices. Therefore, there is no escaping from making your emails mobile responsive. Additionally, keep the following points into the mind to ensure people reading emails on mobile devices can access your email: Reduce the size of images through email compression Use HTML email template editor to alter the style of your email (this helps to arrange the images by sizes rather than by pixel) Increase the size of the buttons and the links Consider responsive HTML email templates Don’t stuff the emails with rich media As we have talked everything about do’s of email marketing services that every marketer should follow, it is now time to practice the don’ts of email marketing services. Here come the considerations to practice: Don’t: Be A Spammer Spam is a no in email marketing services. In fact, it is illegal in the US, which signifies how important it is for you to impart an exceptional experience to the users through your emails. Additionally, keep the following points in the mind in order to ensure the emails meet the required criteria: Only entertain the email addresses of subscribers who have given their consent to receiving emails Reflect a clear image of your business. Tell exactly what you do and what kind of services are available there for the users. Add your contact details including phone number, address, and social media account Avoid sending too many emails in a short duration Make unsubscribing easy for the users. In case, they wish to opt out, do let them opt out of your services. Don’t: Forget Your Links In case your email has not a prominent call to action, your email is a wasted effort. The email is a chance to include a strong call to action in your message, so why not embed a link of your business in the email? Ensure the email provides a click-through opportunity to the users to browse your business link. So, create an impression with your email and do practice the following suggestions: Be catchy with your call to actions Present it as if you are selling something very useful for the users Try to sell them your product by indicating the hidden benefits Tailor your brand’s need in the email Don’t: Buy Email Lists Growing an email list organically is of course frustrating for email marketers. And, the worse part, there is no magic wand to help you win more subscribers for the business. Well, the temptation of purchasing an email list right away is desirable. But you should never do it at any cost. Buying the email list is likely to buy links. What you get is low-quality leads that are not worthwhile. So, to gain the attention of the users, practice the following suggestions: Incentivizing the users Providing them discount on the services, or An invitation to webinar Offering white papers Don’t: Shoot Emails Without AB Testing & Proofreading You might have abandoned a number of emails owing to its poor grammar or a spelling error. It actually doesn’t feel good to find mistakes in an email. So, be very much attentive when composing these emails. It is also important to opt for AB testing. The content of an email should equally be considered as that of a blog post. There is no scope for errors in such posts and thus it is important for you to test the email regarding: Any error in the spelling The tone of the email Usages of words in your email Proofreading the email before sending the same Don’t: Just Focus on The Sales Email marketing is not only about sales. It can effectively do a couple of thing for you. Email marketing is as much about cultivating experience as it is about generating leads. If you solely focus on the sales aspect you may lose other important aspects. Make your emails in such a way that it seems to provide additional offerings. In case, the users like it, they will surely opt for the same. If you really need success, consider offering additional advantages to the users. The Bottom Line And, there you have it the complete guide to practice email marketing the right way. Now practice all these suggestions in order to get the attention of your users. Remember it is all about offering the value to the clients to get their attention. And, if you are able to practice email marketing the right way, you are sure to generate leads for the business. All it requires is practicing the elements that are in the trend. And, doing these practices the right way (as we have explained the things here) will obviously generate positive results for your business. Additionally, keep studying the trends that marketers are practicing. This will help to generate positive results.


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Living the Fantasy: How Eliot Crist Became a Football Analyst

Living the Fantasy: How Eliot Crist Became a Football Analyst

Beyond • April 26, 2018

I play fantasy football. More accurately, I play a lot of fantasy football. This coming August, I’ll be in Las Vegas for the draft for the 10th year of one of my leagues. The past few years, 10 of us started a dynasty football league. That meant needing to pay closer attention to NFL prospects and the incoming rookie classes. That’s how Eliot Crist came on my radar. His name kept popping up when I was researching draft scouts and football analysts to help me better prepare for my league. He quickly became one of my favorite Twitter follows. I saw him tweet that he wanted to be on any podcast that wanted to have him. The lightbulb turned on. Myself, and many others I know, have dreamed of writing and talking about football for a living. Why not talk to someone on the Heart of Business, the podcast I host where we talk to people who have pursued their passions through business and life? I applied to Pro Football Focus, thinking there was no way in hell ... It was a part time opportunity ... Just grinding all the time, not making much money. But, you know, consistently getting more and more opportunities. 2:44 - How Eliot got started 9:38 - On maintaining a love for your passion when it’s also a job 11:30 - Talking about what goes into analyzing a football player 14:27 - How podcasting has helped him become a better people person 15:59 - The power of social media to connect people 18:14 - Recognizing yourself as a pier to the top individuals in your space 19:55 - Breaking into and standing out in a crowded profession Want to catch up with our 100+ episodes of the Heart of Business? Check us out on iTunes or on Spotify.  


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