Series Posts: Practical Marketer

How Benchmark has adapted to the GDPR

How Benchmark Has Adapted to the GDPR

Beyond Practical Marketer • May 18, 2018

We have spent months talking about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The 25th of May, which is the day when it goes into effect, is fast approaching. During this time, we have provide you with tons of information related to adapting your email marketing strategy. On April 11th, 2018, we held a webinar going through the key points in which the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) affects the email marketing strategy. Editor’s Note: Benchmark provides information during the webinar and in this article for informational purposes only. Such information cannot be understood as legal advice. To get advice on any issue or aspect related to the GDPR, you should contact your lawyer. In this article, we\'ll do a quick review of what GDPR is. We also want to do a recap of how has Benchmark has adapted to the GDPR and about all the changes we have implemented and which you might need to know. What is the goal of the new GDPR? The main goal of the new GDPR is to provide users with final control over their personal data. What benefits does the new GDPR provide? One continent, one law: a single, pan-European law for data protection, replacing the current inconsistent patchwork of national laws. Companies will deal with one law, not 28. One-stop-shop: a \'one-stop-shop\' for businesses. Companies will only have to deal with one single supervisory authority, not 28, making it simpler and cheaper for companies to do business in the EU. The same rules for all companies – regardless of where they are established: Today European companies have to adhere to stricter standards than companies established outside the EU but also doing business in our Single Market. With the reform, companies based outside of Europe will have to apply the same rules when they offer goods or services on the EU market. This creates a level playing field. Technological neutrality: the Regulation enables innovation to continue to thrive under the new rules. Roles and restrictions with the treatment of personal data The GDPR lays out the responsibility on the \"controller\" who assumes the responsibility of the application of the Regulation. The controller is who determines the purposes and means of the processing of personal data. As a consequence the controller must also ensure that the way the personal data is treated is compliant with the GDPR. If the controller for example has decided to use Benchmark as an email marketing software, he or she has to ensure that tools provided by Benchmark are GDPR compliant, granting the right of rectification, access or erasure. As you probably know, Benchmark provides that option through the “Manage subscription” link, which however does not appear as mandatory in the footer of the email. Therefore it’s the controller’s duty to activate and add it. In this scenario, Benchmark is just a simple data processor software. Consent Until now, when a subscriber signed up through our signup forms it was not mandatory to inform him/her about the purpose of the data processing activities to be carried out. The GDPR mentions that the consent should be given by a clear affirmative act establishing a freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of the data subject\'s agreement and should cover all processing activities carried out for the same purpose or purposes. When the processing has multiple purposes, consent should be given for all of them. In addition, where processing is based on the data subject\'s consent, the controller should be able to demonstrate that the data subject has given consent to the processing operation. Collection The GDPR advocates for simplicity in data collection. As marketers we tend to ask for more details than required (e.g. for sending out a simple weekly newsletter). This new Regulation encourages to collect the minimum data necessary for the current marketing strategy and not to ask for unnecessary data that may (or may not) be useful in the future. Access The controller should grant the easy execution of the data subject\'s rights, including mechanisms to request and, if applicable, obtain, free of charge, in particular, access to and rectification or erasure of personal data and the exercise of the right to object. Treatment of personal data The controller must inform the data subject of the existence of the processing operation and its purposes to grant a fair and transparent processing. How is Benchmark complying with the new GDPR? “Right to be forgotten” This right is one of the biggest change of this Regulation. For the very first time, this right is regulated and obligated the controller to completely remove the data if the data subject requested. To exercise the right to be forgotten, we have two different scenarios: Benchmark | Customer In the case any of the customers of Benchmark wants to be “forgotten”, he or she needs to request the deletion of the data writing to support@benchmarkemail.com and we will proceed with the elimination of those. Benchmark | Customer | Subscriber Any of our client’s subscribers can request to be deleted from his lists and records. It’s the customer\'s responsibility to delete the subscriber from our (and other) systems, with one exception: if the subscriber has already unsubscribed, the client will not be able to remove the data from the “Unsubscribe” list. If this happens, the customer should forward the user’s email to support@benchmarkemail.com and we will proceed with the elimination of the subscriber from the list. Accessibility / rectification / unsubscribe The controller must include the “Manage Subscription” option on the campaigns: Adding this option, the client gives the data subject the option to access, rectify and unsubscribe from his/her data. When the subscriber clicks on that link, he/she will find this screen: The subscriber can exercise his/her rights here. At Benchmark, we are currently preparing to allow the data subject to be able to rectify the rest of the fields and not just the email, name and surname. Consent We are also updating our signup forms to be compliant with the GDPR before the deadline in May. We are going to include the required check box linked to the controller’s privacy policy. International transfer of personal dataArticle 45 mentions that a transfer of personal data to a third country or an international organisation may take place where the Commission has decided that the third country, a territory or one or more specified sectors within that third country, or the international organisation in question ensures an adequate level of protection. Such a transfer shall not require any specific authorisation.This international transfer of personal data is guaranteed under the EU-US Privacy Shield Agreement whose certification is held by Benchmark: Privacy policy We are adopting our privacy policy to be compliant with the GDPR. In the next weeks, we will send an email with the updates to all our clients. Servers location It was actually NEVER an obligation to have servers in Europe, but with the new GDPR it is even less necessary. One of the goals of the GDPR is to equate the data protection that the European companies are fulfilling with the one applied by companies from abroad, in a way that all companies are obliged to compete in equal conditions. Find the recording of our Webinar here: If this article has been interesting for you, please, share it with your colleagues and friends.


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How can you re-confirm a database?

Practical Marketer • May 18, 2018

Have you updated your privacy policy? Do you just want to keep the most engaged subscribers? Perhaps you want to re-confirm the consent of your database as a preventive measure for the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)? In this video, we show you how you can reconfirm a database with Benchmark. Re-confirm your database:   The text you need to use: Opt-in tag:  [opt-in: here you can write in text] Unsubscribe tag: [unsubscribe: here you can write in text] The text is 100% customizable. You just need to modify the italic text. Save the contacts that have re-confirmed in a separate list   Maybe you want to consider sending a campaign again to those who have not opened or to the whole list, excluding the new list of contacts, that have already confirmed. If you want to know more about the GDPR, we invite you to read and watch the webinar we held and in which we explain all the sensitive points that affect your email marketing strategy. Leave your comments or questions below and keep learning with Benchmark!


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The Ultimate Guide On Email List Building Using Top Social Media Channels

The Ultimate Guide On Email List Building Using Top Social Media Channels

Practical Marketer • May 17, 2018

Social media has become such a huge part of our daily grind. While these platforms demand their users to participate and interact, some business owners can barely grasp how to leverage their presence and convert their online exposure into revenue. In fact, according to TrustRadius\' survey, marketers that use the platform give more value in displaying an attractive set of vanity metrics than in striving to make their campaigns meaningful in a way that contributes to revenues, website traffic, or leads. Vanity metrics—social media figures that include followers, likes, comments, shares, or retweets—have been a long-used strategy to gain traction. However, these numbers can be easily manipulated, and thus, shrugged off as meaningless. So as marketers, how do you take advantage of your followers on these networks? Always use social media with the aim of encouraging your followers to join your mailing list. By failing to entice them to be part of it, you’re letting possible customers slip away. Remember: your goal is to not just attract them with a one-time, big-time offer, but to seek long-term relationships. What Is Email List Building And Why Is It Important? “Out of all the channels I tested as a marketer, email continually outperforms most of them,” Co-Founder of KISSmetrics, CrazyEgg, and QuickSprout Neil Patel once tweeted. To cite a success story, video editing startup Video Fruit had zero members to its list before beginning its journey. However, after 48 hours of aggressive e-mail marketing and strategic planning, the startup gained 205 email subscribers while generating $247 in revenue in two days. So How Do You Grow your Email List? For Shopify, one of the top e-commerce players today, the key is presenting to your audience the easiest way to get into your mailing list—all the while offering it in a creative and persuasive manner. This simple way is through the opt-in form. What Are Opt-In Forms? To make sure that your site visitors sign up for your newsletter, you need to have a strategically-placed opt-in form. Opt-in forms are the consent users give you, authorizing you to contact them for more information about your service or product. Where Can You Put Opt-In Forms? Opt-in forms should be placed where they will have the best chances of conversions. Think of it as your strategic position when going to war. This includes: Your header or navigation bar Since it’s above the fold, the header is an effective place to put your opt-in form, making it highly visible to all your visitors. Make sure that your call-to-action button contrasts with your overall site colors so that it would stand out. The text should also be compelling enough to encourage sign-ups. Your sidebar The most common location for opt-in forms, a sign-up CTA can also be placed on the top of your sidebar. This offers additional visibility on top of your header opt-ins. If you’re worried about aesthetics, you can place more ads under the opt-in form to balance the look of your sidebar. Your website footer The footer is an often-ignored space. However, studies show that site visitors scroll down a web page even before it loads. This then gives you the opportunity to optimize your below-the-fold area. The great thing about placing your opt-in form on your footer is that it acts as your safety net—if all else fails or if visitors do not want to go back to the top of your page to sign up, you can still persuade them at the bottom of your page. How Can You Grow Your Email List Using Top Social Media Channels? Now that you know how to encourage your site visitors to sign up for your service or product, let’s go back to social media—how it is revolutionizing the world and how you can use it for your marketing campaigns. On Facebook Here are ways for you to entice your Facebook fans into joining your email list: Offer freebies no one can resist You can place your links and offers on the left side of your Facebook page. Programs like Leadpages allow you to add special offers that you can then use to attract new clients. To make sure this is effective, you need two key components: 1) Offer freebies that will provide value to your followers; and 2) Always include a way for them to sign up to your email list. Promote your blog content to your Facebook fans Remember that the purpose of your freebies is to act as lead magnets. Regarding content, you can offer an info product, an e-book, or a helpful guide in exchange for their email addresses. Promote your content on your page, making sure that your opt-ins are placed within your blog content, placed on your side bar, or presented in a pop-up box. Use a Facebook call-to-action button On your Facebook page, the call-to-action appears right below your cover photo on the rightmost side. This button can be customized to suit your purposes. Simply hover over the button, select ‘Edit Button,’ then ‘Get in Touch with Us.’ Now you can choose from a variety of CTAs, which includes an option for your followers to sign up or subscribe as your regular follower. Promote a lead magnet in your Facebook Live broadcast Live videos are a go-to when people search for tutorials, behind-the-scenes videos, or immediate answer to their questions. This presents an opportunity to connect not only with your fans but also with potential customers. However, you shouldn’t stop there. During your live broadcast, promote your lead magnets that would then link to your opt-in forms. This ensures that you give your viewers an avenue to keep their connection with you. Create a Lead-generating Facebook Ad It always pays off to allocate some financing on ads as long as you know your audience. In the case of Facebook Ads, you’ll be able to target your exact demographic. If your message and strategy are right, you’ll see dramatic results almost immediately regarding gathering leads. On Twitter Like Facebook, Twitter is also a great platform for lead magnets. Moreover, the platform makes use of several features like hashtags, which are big traffic generators as long as you know how to use it. Use multimedia tweets According to a survey done by Twitter, multimedia tweets generate three to four times more engagement than a tweet in plain text. Multimedia content, which involves adding photos or videos to your message, is a good and simple way to spice up that tweet. Used pinned tweets to drive traffic to your landing page A pinned tweet is a highly clicked portion of your Twitter profile. So the more clicks you gain, the more website visitors you are attracting. By pinning a tweet, you’re boosting your site traffic and/or promoting your content—two avenues that you can use to lead visitors to an opt-in box. Create high-quality content Inarguably, content is a big booster for generating traffic. Sadly, some may have been doing more quantity at the cost of quality, thinking that numerous sharing and posting does the job. The key here is to keep providing relevant and valuable content to your followers, earning their trust along the way. Opt-in forms can be easily included in every blog post. Get active using hashtags and trends The hashtag itself is a way to draw attention. While it’s tempting to use more than one to target more audiences, more than two would negatively impact your engagement. When done well—that is, avoiding spam hashtags and using only the relevant ones in your niche—it will result in 21% more engagements and 55% more retweets. Optimize your hashtags to gain more followers, increase brand awareness, and lead them to your sign up form. Link everything to an opt-in page As the opt-in remains a crucial part of gaining subscribers, don’t forget to include it in every link. However, going back to the main rule, do not get obsessed with just vanity metrics. Make sure that you track the right KPIs and optimize it according to the data you gather. On Pinterest An advantage of Pinterest is that, unlike Facebook and Instagram that are operated by algorithms, Pinterest allows you to connect directly with your customers. Decide on the best free opt-in to pin on your page You can design and create your own opt-in for a more customized approach. But if you don’t have the resources for it, there are services that offer it for free. Once that you have an opt-in, link it to your email service provider and automate it, so it will be sent to each new subscriber who sees your pinned image. Create a “Pinnable Image” for your opt-in Several bloggers miss out on the advantages of creating pinnable images for opt-ins and attracting website visitors. To do this, have an image that has the right size (735 pixels by 1103 pixels), a readable title, and an eye-catching image. With more people finding your images captivating, the higher your chances are of repins. With more repins, you are then increasing your brand reach and the number of opt-in subscribers. Hide your pinnable image within your landing page Some people may prefer removing large images on their landing pages. You can always hide the pinnable image if you think it’s a big distraction to your website’s content. Click here for a step-by-step guide on how to put the image in hiding status. Pin it again and again, everywhere on your board No one’s stopping you from pinning your opt-in so you can do it anytime and anywhere on your page. Not just on your board, but on a group’s board too This may play a crucial role in your aim of generating traffic. Just make sure you’re pinning to boards relevant to your content. Most importantly, follow the rules set by each board group to keep from being blacklisted. Remember To Segment Your Email List According to Red Stag Fulfillment, an emerging e-commerce industry player, people receive a handful of email that, citing recent statistics,  average worker receives 121 emails per day. This is exactly why there has been so much unsubscribing going on. Source: Red Stag Fulfillment According to Fluent, LLC, 57% of email users find the communication they receive “never” or “rarely” useful. About 29% said they “sometimes” find it useful, and only 15% said it was “always” or “often” useful. In contrast to the mainstream strategy of blasting emails, people take in information from emails that are relevant, timely, and necessary. As such, it is important to segment your email list after building it. By segmenting, you divide your contacts based on certain criteria and factors, such as geography, demographics, gender, job function, psychographics, and behavior, among others. Segmenting your subscribers helps you tailor-fit what specific deals they would like to receive and will catch their attention. As such, do not skip your buyer persona research so you can get to know your consumers more. Takeaway With the rise of social media use, plenty of brands stopped investing in email marketing, thinking that it’s an obsolete way of gaining followers and improving sales. This, however, shouldn’t be the case. Social media and email marketing can go hand-in-hand to increase the number of your newsletter subscriptions. Remember to consistently provide value to your subscribers. This way, they won’t unsubscribe and even go as far as recommending you to their family and friends.


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How to Boost Engagement Using Rich Media in Emails

How to Boost Engagement Using Rich Media in Emails

Practical Marketer • May 7, 2018

Gone are the days when emails were used as nothing more than a medium to keep in touch (with the distant friends and relatives)! Today, emails have outplayed their past role and grown to be one of the most effective marketing channels that generates the highest ROI in comparison to all other business approaches. According to a survey by DMA and Demand Metric, email had a median ROI of 122%, that is more than 4 times when compared to marketing channels like paid search, social media, and direct mail. Time and again, marketers have tried various tricks to boost their email engagement. Emails are no longer written as a boring wall of content. Rich media like images, GIFs, cinemagraphs, and videos have added a dash of oomph and brilliance to email marketing as a whole. Your subscribers prefer to scan through the emails you send, rather than ‘read.’ Consequently, your emails should be easily scannable and appealing enough to keep your subscribers hooked. Moreover, as the attention span of humans is getting even lower than that of a gold fish, your emails ought to be striking and tap the right pulse of your subscribers. Take a look at this email. Isn’t it boring to read such a long email without any visual elements? It would have been better if there was a relevant image that supported the content. Using Static Images in Emails PetSmart includes cute images that match the purpose of the email and engage the audience in a much better way than plain text. Images help to build a brand reputation and get higher click-through rates. Applications of Static Images Travel industry can rely on static images to roll out different offers available for the diverse destinations. Ecommerce and retail industry can take help of images to share product recommendations to the past buyers. They can even create better cart abandonment emails by including the images of the abandoned products. Using GIFs in Email If we go a step further from static images, we have simple animated GIFs. GIFs allow you to convey more in less. You can display considerable amount of content or images in a limited space. Consider the example by Carnival Cruise Line.   The subscribers would surely get enticed to book the tickets and visit the destination on seeing the beautiful GIF animation… And that’s the ultimate goal of the email. Applications of GIFs GIFs are very popular in ecommerce industry to promote various products. E-retailers can showcase the varieties available in a single product through GIFs. Emails from fashion industry can include visually enticing GIFs to highlight the product details. Email marketers from IT industry can leverage GIFs and use them as explainer videos. Travel industry can make use of GIFs to inspire wanderlust in the subscribers. Using Cinemagraphs in Emails If you are paranoid about using GIFs because of its file size but still wish to include a subtle animation in your email, CINEMAGRAPH is the right choice for you. Cinemagraph is basically seamless looping of an animation. It is created in such a way that you get the illusion of viewing a video. Based on the type of business and your brand reputation, you can explore the world of cinemagraphs in your email campaigns. Here’s a beautiful example of a cinemagraph by Saks Fifth Avenue.   You can create a cinemagraph with the help of tools such as Flixel, Pictoreo, Kinotropic, Echograph, and Cinemagr.Am. Applications of Cinemagraphs Email marketers from the food industry can add cinemagraphs to promote their delectable delicacies. Cinemagraphs can prove to be very useful for fashion industry emails to promote their stylish products. The lavishness of premium products can be effectively illustrated through cinemagraphs. Using Videos in Emails Videos in emails are effective for sending out an event invitation or product launch announcement. The only drawback is that including videos increases the email file size. HTML5 supports 3 video formats, mainly OGG, MP4, and WebM. Hey Smiles Davis - did you know that video plays in email? null Wistia has made wonderful use of video in email to promote their services. The CTA button too is equally engaging for the subscriber. Applications of Videos You can leverage the use of videos in your meeting reminders. Non-profit organizations can promote their cause with a video. Telecommunications industry can drive higher conversions by including videos in their product launches. 10 Mistakes to Avoid While Using Rich Media Make sure you maintain the text to image ratio at 80:20 and do not exploit the use of rich media. Avoid sending an email as one whole image, because if your subscriber does not download the image, your email will go futile. As far as possible, avoid having a CTA in the image. Using too many images in addition to other spam triggers can land your email in the spam folder and hamper your deliverability. If you use a heavy GIF in your email, it may slow down the loading time of your email. Therefore, light-weight GIFs should be used. A number of tools can help you to compress the file. Outlook does not support the rendering of GIFs or cinemagraphs, so it is recommended that the first frame of your animation should make sense independently and include all the important information along with the CTA. It is advisable to have a mobile version of the GIFs with 320px width so that the animation gets displayed properly on the mobile devices even if it does not scale to mobile. Alt-text is a must while you use rich media as the email clients have these visual elements blocked by default. Always have a fallback image whenever you are using a GIF or video in your email.Note: Only email clients like Apple Mail, Thunderbird, and Web Browsers support embedded videos, so fallback image and suitable alt text become a must. Since the heavy size of videos can be a deterrent for your email marketing metrics, you should not use it just for the sake of using it. Do not overdo the use of rich media in a way it gets boring and monotonous for your subscriber. Wrapping Up Rich media is for all those email marketers looking forward to attempting something innovative in their email marketing campaigns. Are you ready to try it out? Do let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


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