Series Posts: Practical Marketer

B2C Emails vs. B2B Emails

B2C Emails vs. B2B Emails

Practical Marketer • February 27, 2020

Knowing your audience is everything when it comes to marketing. You need to know exactly who you’re trying to reach — and more specifically, their interests, needs, and pain points —  to make a productive impact.  Correctly identifying your audience is one of the biggest obstacles in email marketing. This goes double when you’re working out the differences between sending a B2C email and a B2B email. When it comes to speaking to consumers vs. businesses, you have to understand what motivates each audience and their behavior so that your emails can be more effective. Here’s where to start. Business-to-Consumer (B2C) Emails Think about the last email that you received from your favorite online retailer. Chances are it included a special promotion of some kind — and there’s a reason for that. Consumers respond well to promotional emails that let them know how they can save money on things they already love. And this value-driven purpose is at the heart of all B2C emails. Emotion plays a big part in consumer purchases, so your goal with a B2C email is to build an emotional connection, telling a story that inspires some sort of engagement. Images and videos work well for this purpose, as does the promotional content mentioned above. And don’t be afraid to be a little funnier and a little less buttoned-up with your tone. Consumers love brands that are entertaining and have a clear personality. The consumer buying cycle: Because their purchases are tied to emotions, the buying cycle tends to be much shorter for consumers than it is for businesses. When consumers know they want something, they don’t wait very long to purchase. And if there’s a special promotion, they know they have to act fast. When to send B2C emails: The best time to send out your B2B emails depends on the product or service that you’re selling — and, more importantly, your goal-based metrics. Don’t rely solely on outside reporting about success rates, since your results are mostly dependent on the behavior of your specific audience. Choose one day a week that you send your emails and test it out for a few months to see how it performs, then make tweaks as needed. Don’t forget to maximize your use of email marketing over purchase-heavy periods like holidays. This is a great time to capitalize on consumer attention since your subscribers are already on the lookout for sales, discounts, and special deals. This gives you an opportunity to be a bit more aggressive with your approach and to email more frequently. It also lends a sense of urgency, which correlates well to the short consumer buying cycle. Business-to-Business (B2B) Emails Everyone loves saving money, but businesses are particularly concerned with cost efficiency and their bottom line. Business buyers need to know that whatever they’re being sent or sold on is something that will (a) do something they can’t do, (b) make their lives easier, and (c) help generate revenue in the long term. Your tone should be more professional than it is for a B2C email, but don’t neglect language that shows your brand’s personality. Business decisions are made by people for people — by inserting some wit and creativity into your B2B messaging, you help break down barriers and make your brand more approachable. The business buying cycle: A business’s buying cycle is a lot longer than that of a consumer. Because there are more budget approvals needed and necessary parties to sign off on new initiatives, a business buyer needs to be as educated as possible on a product or service and thoroughly convinced themselves before they make a purchase. Their emails need to contain more content and more information than consumer emails so that they feel confident suggesting your solution to their team. When to send B2B emails: Again, sending emails on specific days just comes down to what works best for your audience, so test out a few different days and see what happens. Make sure with your B2B emails that you aren’t sending a ton of messages in a short period. Too much frequency tends to irritate business subscribers and may make them feel pressured into buying something they aren’t ready to buy yet. Spread out your emails so that you’re sending valuable information at a frequency that works with your audiences’ already hectic schedule. This works better with the longer sales cycle, allowing you to stay top of mind while your readers consider their options.  Getting the Most Out of Your Emails B2B or B2C, the best way to optimize the outcomes of your emails is to create great content that meets your audience where they’re at. By starting with a basic understanding of exactly who you’re creating content for, you give yourself a leg up in nailing the messaging.


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No More Excuses: Why You Need to be Automating Your Marketing

No More Excuses: Why You Need to be Automating Your Marketing

Practical Marketer • February 26, 2020

Are you constantly putting off finding and implementing marketing automation software? We get it: automated marketing is a relatively new marketing solution that requires an investment in time and money to get off the ground. But there are a lot of benefits to putting marketing automation to work for your business — and a lot of reasons why you should do it sooner rather than later. The Benefits of Automated Marketing There is plenty of sound reasoning behind why you should be automating your marketing processes. So before we talk about why it’s crucial you do it now, here are some general benefits that speak to the utility — and growing necessity — of marketing automation software. It saves you money. While it will cost you money to purchase and run, a marketing automation tool will also save you a ton of money by taking care of the rote processes that eat up so much of your team’s time. In addition to being able to reduce staffing costs, you’ll also be able to be more efficient in tracking expenditures and outcomes and ensuring you don’t spend money on dead-end efforts. It refines your marketing process. Like the rest of us, you’re probably always on the lookout for ways to do things better, smarter, and faster. Automating your marketing allows you to do just that, with key actions taking place even without your input. You’ll identify gaps in your process, as well as eliminate some of the barriers standing in the way of your productivity. You Need Marketing Automation — And You Need It Now Not feeling the urgency yet? Here are three reasons why the sooner you can get started with automated marketing, the better off you’ll be. 1. Your Workload Isn’t Getting Any Lighter The scope of marketing campaigns exploded with the introduction of the internet and social media. And just when you think you’ve figured out one channel, another one pops up to demand your attention. It makes sense then to invest in any tool that will help you lighten your load and save on time. Marketing automation platforms perform various functions of these expanded marketing must-dos for you, such as email marketing, lead generation, and outreach. You’ll still have to pay attention, but you won’t be required to devote a ton of time each day to maximize your output. This gives you a lot more time than you can then focus on other tasks, which is great news in today’s marketing climate. 2. Your Competitors Are Already Doing It Among top-performing companies, 79 percent have already been using marketing automation software for at least the past three years. To keep up with the Joneses (in this case, your competitors in the industry), you’ll need to be working with the same set of tools — and that includes automation. You’ll have to play a little bit of catch up, but it’s better to do that now than when your competitors have had automation processes in place for five years, or a decade! Simply put, if you aren’t automating your marketing, you’re not going to be considered competition among your industry peers for much longer. 3. You’ll Generate More Revenue Automated marketing platforms don’t just save you money — they also help you make more. Companies that automate lead management, for example, see a 10 percent or more bump in revenue in just six to nine months. Again, it comes down to efficiency. When you’re securing more qualified leads and then optimizing your engagement with those leads, you’re bound to increase your conversion rates. Of course, investing in automation requires you first to work it into your budget. But if you’re actively generating more leads and nurturing more leads to a sale, then it’s going to be worth it.  Take your time researching potential marketing automation solutions. There are economical options out there, and there are also platforms that are more expensive but not worth it if they offer more than you need. Always do a free trial of a platform before taking the plunge and making a purchase, and schedule a time for one of their reps to walk your team through a demo to ensure you’re maximizing your usage of the platform during the trial period. Marketing automation can turn your marketing efforts into a well-oiled machine. If you want to compete now and tomorrow, you need to future proof your processes with some sort of automated solution. The more you can automate, the more time you’ll save and the more revenue potential you’ll ultimately end up with. That sounds like as good of a reason as any to stop making excuses and start getting to work choosing the best-automated option for your business. 


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5 Things Every Effective Landing Page Should Have

5 Things Every Effective Landing Page Should Have

Practical Marketer • February 20, 2020

All marketing roads need to lead somewhere, and often, that somewhere is a landing page. As such, optimizing your landing pages is an essential step for your inbound marketing efforts. Landing pages are how most of your site visitors will convert into leads for your company. And in a lot of ways, they’re where the buyer’s journey begins. There’s a lot that you can learn from your landing pages — if they’re done right. This includes who\'s coming to your site, from where, and what they\'re doing once they get there. This is key information for composing your audience personas and creating better-targeted marketing materials. It also helps you qualify your visitors, narrowing in on those who are most interested in your product or service. For your landing page to, well, land, you need to make sure the core components are present. So what are they? Here are five factors you have to nail to build a successful landing page. 1. The Header The first question a prospect is going to ask when they end up on your landing page is, why am I here? You need to be able to convey value and purpose right away, which means you’ll need a solid header. Think of your landing page header like the title of a blog post. It should clearly and concisely cue visitors into what they’ll find there. An image in the header can take it a step further in establishing brand identity from the get-go. To keep it consistent, be sure to use the same look and feel across your landing pages, as well as the guide or a gated resource that they lead to. 2. The Copy Again, concise is the name of the game. The copy on your landing page should be descriptive, short, and concise, and should have direct ties to the ad copy that brought a visitor there in the first place. If your landing page is serving as the “gate” for a how-to guide, use the body copy to present the issue that the guide helps solve. Then, list bullet points outlining what specific topics the guide will cover. This serves to further clue visitors in on where the value is. And as with all other types of marketing copy, transparency and authenticity are always appreciated. 3. The Form The form on your landing page is crucial. Gated assets are gated for a reason: to generate leads. If you give the information away for free, without the requirement of exchanging contact info, you miss out on a big opportunity to build your email list. Once you have your visitors’ information, you can start sending them more targeted content. What information you request they provide in the form depends on your needs, but at the very least, ask for their first name, last name, and email address. Don’t forget to provide a way for them to opt-in to receiving your email newsletter. Other things that you can ask for include their marketing budgets (or budget for whatever service it is that you’re offering), their job title, company name and size, and the region that they’re operating out of. All of this information helps you better segment your email lists and approach leads with more useful content. 4. The GDPR Disclaimer Okay, so this one doesn’t have to be right on your landing page, but you do need to have the appropriate GDPR language on the policy attached to your landing page. GDPR, which stands for General Data Protection Regulation, refers to rules of law set by the European Commission to protect consumer data. Even if your company isn’t operating out of the EU, you may have visitors that are, so you’ll need to include the language. As for the text itself, it should include a short paragraph that lets your prospect know what you’ll be doing with their information. 5. Some Sort of “Thank You” Make sure to show your gratitude for visitors being interested in your company and whatever is behind your landing page. This can be a page that your prospects are automatically redirected to after they fill out the landing page form, or you can simply send a “thank you” email along with the asset they’ve signed up to receive. Either way, you do it, it’s always a smart idea to thank your prospects for filling out the form and engaging with your brand. When you put effort into your landing pages, you end up with happier, better-qualified leads — and it’s easy to see the benefits in that. Take the time to optimize your landing pages, and if they’re not performing quite as well as you want them to, go back to these essential components and see if any of them might need a little bit of tweaking.


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The Complete Guide to Nurturing Leads with Email Marketing

The Complete Guide to Nurturing Leads with Email Marketing

Practical Marketer • February 19, 2020

So, you know you should be using email marketing, but maybe you aren’t sure how to get the most out of it. Nurturing leads through email isn’t always an intuitive process, and a lot of businesses make avoidable mistakes that reduce the impact of their outreach. So what’s the secret to effective email nurturing? As it turns out, it’s less about one magic bullet and more about optimizing your process and objectives (we know, way less exciting). In this article, we’ll provide you with the information your team requires to better nurture your leads with email marketing. 1. Have a CRM and Marketing Automation Software in Place Trying to send email nurture campaigns without a CRM tool and marketing automation software is like trying to steer a canoe with just a tree branch for a paddle. These platforms do a ton of the hard work for you, and they also make it a whole lot easier to get where you need to go. A CRM allows you to track your prospects’ behaviors, including what pages they’re visiting, what forms they’re filling out, what content of yours they’re downloading and engaging with, and any previous interactions you’ve had with them. This enables you to track and monitor behavior, so you can make your email nurturing campaigns more targeted and personalized. Marketing automation software, meanwhile, saves you time, money, and effort with your nurture emails. Set up your automated platform to send emails out for you instead of having to send them out on your own, and take advantage of templated options and designs that will make your emails more branded, more appealing, and more engaging. 2. Understand the Buyer’s Journey  It’s crucial to understand the buyer’s journey, both in general and in terms of how it relates to lead nurturing. And there are at least three main stages of the journey that you need to understand to better know your prospects. Awareness: When a potential buyer realizes a want or need for a specific product or service. Consideration: When a potential buyer has defined their want or need and is now researching a possible product or service solutions. Decision: When a potential buyer has figured out what their solution is and is comparing the available options to choose the best one for their needs. Keeping the buyer’s journey in mind helps you determine the kinds of content you should be creating.  3. Create Content A lot of companies don’t put nearly as much effort into content creation as they should. Valuable, high-quality content is the most significant part of successful email marketing. It’s what you’re sharing with your leads and what is, hopefully, driving them further along the buyer’s journey. Make sure you’re prioritizing the creation of original content, be it blog posts, guest posts, whitepapers, videos, or other diversified formats. Let the buyer’s journey be your guide for what to create and consult your sales team to determine the main point you want to address in each piece.  4. Have a Designated Person Send the Emails Automated or not, your emails should always appear to be sent from a real person and not a robot. Designate someone on your team whose name and contact information will appear in the signature of the email. This human-to-human connection is crucial, and an excellent way to build trust with your prospects.  As a good rule of thumb, have a sales rep serve as the contact so that if leads have a question or respond, they’ll already be connecting with the right person. 5. Create Drip Campaigns Drip campaigns allow you to put together a series of personalized emails that you can time and send out in a designated order. There are a lot of benefits to engaging this way, including the fact that they continually nurture your leads without inundating them with outreach. This is where understanding the buyer’s journey becomes very beneficial. Segment your leads by stage and send emails that specifically target their questions and objectives. For example, if you have a drip campaign geared toward prospects that are at the bottom of the funnel (i.e., closer to making a decision and more educated on your brand and solutions), send them case studies, testimonials, and other decision-driving content. By sending out this type of content at regular intervals, you stay top of mind while also showing off just what you can do.  6. Measure Results and Update as Needed Just as crucial as getting your content and timing right is utilizing data to adjust as needed. Once you start sending your emails, track specific email metrics to see how they’re being engaged with and what sorts of conversions they’re leading to — particularly emails that are part of drip campaigns. If an email isn’t getting many clicks or responses, tweak it with more updated and actionable content. Use the tips above to optimize your email nurturing strategy and turn more leads into buyers. You got this! 


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6 Steps to Create a Great Email Signature

6 Steps to Create a Great Email Signature

Practical Marketer • February 13, 2020

When you get emails with signatures that include photos and live links to social media feeds, do you find them interesting and wonder how you could do the same? An email signature can make your emails stand out from the daily storm that hits most inboxes every day. This simple six-step process will guide you through designing your own awesome email signature. 1. Determine Your Goal Your signature will make you stand out, but what do you expect to achieve beyond that? Work out what your immediate and short-term goals for this process. Possible direct effects of a great email signature include; a greater sense of personal contact, an extra social media follower, and a smiling contact. Your immediate aim might be to amuse your contact, and laughs don’t generate dollars directly, but a happy contact is more likely to buy from you. If your prospects feel a more personal bond with you, they are more apt to ask for your help when making a purchase. 2. Learn Basic HTML You can use a plain text email signature, but it will never stand out like an HTML formatted one. You only need a smattering of code knowledge to produce great-looking sign-offs. And Copy and Paste solves a lot of apparent issues. The easiest way to get the code you want is to: Open a WordPress Dashboard → Posts →  Add New Post → Then enter type that you want. Insert any images just as you would for a blog post and format font and alignment to your liking. Then, switch to the text view window, which will give you the HTML for your signature. Copy and paste it into your email signature HTML window. For an easier solution, use an application such as WiseStamp, where formatting is a breeze. This links to your social media accounts and can include your latest tweets or photos. Source: https://www.wisestamp.com/ 3. Color Choice You’d be surprised to learn which colors evoke certain emotions from customers.  Source: https://www.usertesting.com/blog/color-ux-conversion-rates/ Use the right colors to elicit the desired emotion in your email contacts. Alternatively, use the branding colors that you have already chosen for maximum resonance with your target profile. 4. Your Photo People buy from people, even in the B2B world, so include a smiling and professional headshot in your signature. Use the same photo as you use on your website for a greater branding effect. A professional headshot works best, but if you are using a DIY photo, then make sure the background is uncluttered and that there is enough contrast between your face and the background. Make sure the image isn’t overly complicated or obscured, and that it’s inviting and appropriate.  5. Your Message Having a message in your signature can help give your prospects a glimpse into what kind of person you are, and what drives you. It can also reflect the type of company you represent and the line of work you’re in.  Your message doesn’t need to be lengthy. You can use colons (::) and pipes (¦¦) to separate parts of your message, so it needs to be easy to scan. Try using unusual, powerful, and actionable words to penetrate the email marketing fog that blights most email communications. 6. Check, Check and Check Again Your contacts are going to open your email on all manner of devices ranging from mobile phones to tablets to desktops. Many contacts open email messages on mobile devices and never reopen them on larger screens, which reinforces the concept of optimizing for mobile. You only get one chance, so make sure you get the most out of it. The easiest way to ensure you’re emails are compatible with various devices is by using email marketing automation software.  Give your email signature a lot of thought and consideration. It’s the last thing your prospects see when reading your messages, so you’ll want to leave a lasting impression that gives them an idea of who you are and why you’re reliable.   


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Should Your SaaS Business Advertise on Review Sites?

Should Your SaaS Business Advertise on Review Sites?

Practical Marketer • February 12, 2020

Software companies, as well as marketing agencies that work with software companies, are up against a tricky problem when it comes to review sites. While these sites can be a valuable resource for people who are researching SaaS platforms and features, they’re also becoming increasingly pay to play. For users of the site, that means less transparency about why companies are ranking where they are. And for the companies themselves, that means if you’re not willing to pay, you’re probably not going to rank high enough to be discovered. Should a review site PPC be in your SaaS company’s marketing budget? As with most things in the pay-per-click marketing world: it depends. Below, we’ll go over some of the pros and cons of paying for leads on review sites so that you can make the decision that’s best for your budget and your long-term goals. Pro: Review Site Leads are Key in the Age of Informed Consumerism Today’s consumers want to know as much information about a product as they can before they invest. This is in large part because software purchases are happening without direct human interaction. And the less you can speak to your product yourself, the more you have to rely on other sources to tout what makes you so great. Review sites serve a key purpose when it comes to moving potential customers along all stages of the sales cycle. Also, they can make the difference between someone discovering (and purchasing) your product and never hearing about you. Two-thirds of software buyers say that product reviews significantly impact their purchasing decisions, with only 2% saying they have no impact at all. Con: They’re Misleading to Users If you get an icky feeling when you think about paying for a spot on review sites, you’re certainly not alone. As a general rule, you’re not going to see most sites offering transparency to their users about why certain software platforms made the list and why certain ones didn’t. Nor are they transparent about the order of the rankings. And while it’s not necessarily unheard of in the review world to require payment for exposure, it’s not something that a lot of consumers are aware of — and when they find out, it does tend to mar their perception of the information they’re getting. Consider Yelp, a popular review site for commercial businesses that were once the go-to spot for people looking for a good restaurant or hairdresser. While the site is still pretty popular, they’ve lost a lot of consumer trust since news about their pay to play practices came to light. Today, it’s pretty much general wisdom that businesses have to pay up if they want the advertorial benefits of the site, and that makes more reliable peer-to-peer consumer review sites like Google Reviews and Facebook a preferred pick for many people. Pro: It Helps to Diversify Your Reviews A strong marketing strategy for a SaaS company includes getting reviews on as many sites as possible. That’s because 64% of software buyers want to read at least six reviews before making a purchase. If you’re only showing up on one or two sites, your platform might get overshadowed by one that shows up more often. A concerted effort then to appear on review sites — even if it requires paying to get there — makes sense. Reviews are crucial in the software buying process, and there’s value in optimizing your presence on review sites. The fact that that so often requires payment might just be the downside to an otherwise sound marketing strategy. Con: Review Sites Aren’t the Only Way to Get Your Name Out There If you’re doing everything else right, you may be able to get away with opting out of the review site game. Because while reviews are notably important, they’re not the only way to get your name in front of buyers. You may find that the marketing success you’re able to achieve through other channels fills in the gaps that not being on review sites leave behind. After all, the less money you spend on getting your platform ranked on review sites, the more money you have to put toward other marketing efforts. Ultimately, it’s up to your marketing team to decide whether advertising on review sites is in line with your values and your budget. Weigh the pros and cons discussed above, and consider the performance of your other marketing channels. If brand awareness and sales are strong without an active presence on review sites, then you might be just fine taking a stand against the pay to play practice. And if you do think that paying for review exposure is worth it, be sure to do your research so that you only allocate funds to the sites that stand to make the most significant impact for your business. 


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4 Steps to Writing An Email That Sells Your Product

4 Steps to Writing An Email That Sells Your Product

Practical Marketer • February 6, 2020

These days, having a digital storefront is a necessity -- not a luxury. But, having an online place to transact your business isn’t enough. If you want to keep your business in the black, you need warm traffic full of people ready to purchase. Out of the numerous marketing strategies out there, when it comes to selling your products online, there’s one that stands the test of time (so far) -- selling through email. Whether you’re wondering how to sell an online course, SaaS product, or physical event, there’s something to glean from these four steps on how to write an email that sells your products. 1. Segment Your Email Using the 5 Stages of Awareness The first step to writing an email that sells is to make sure you’re writing and sending emails to the right audience. But, how do you make sure your targeting and messaging are on point? By segmenting your email list using the five stages of awareness: Really unaware - people who aren’t actively looking for a solution and don’t know they have a problem Problem-aware - visitors who realize they have a problem but aren’t hunting for a fix Solution-aware - browsers which understand they need a solution to their problem but haven’t actively researched options yet Product-aware - people who have done some research and are aware of the options for solutions to their problem Most aware - prospective customers who are actively seeking a solution to their problem, have done their research, and want to choose a solution It’s important to distinguish your audience between these five stages because your messaging needs to match their stage. Otherwise, it won’t resonate with them and, worse, instead of hearing cha-ching for earned sales you’ll hear... crickets. If you doubt the power of segmentation, find proof in the numbers. Marketers have seen as much as a 760% revenue increase by segmenting their email campaigns. What’s more, segmented email campaigns also have a 14.32% higher open rate than campaigns that aren’t segmented, so it’s worth taking seriously. While there are several ways to segment your email list (e.g., by demographics, location, preferences, interests, action taken, et cetera), be sure to include the five stages of awareness in your groupings, which allows you to write copy that addresses that stage. The reason why addressing your recipient’s awareness stage works so well is it matches your reader’s trust level to your email copy. It takes time to build trust among your readers, so make sure you’re offering the right value at the right time.  For instance, if you offer one of your products to someone who’s in the “problem-aware” stage, they’ll likely snub your offer. Whereas someone who’s in the “most aware” stage will more likely be ready for your offer.  Additionally, the better you are matching your audience’s trust level with your email copy and offers, the more they’ll trust you. And trust is certainly something that’s becoming a scarcity among brands these days. Sadly, trust declined in 10 out of 15 business sectors from 2017 to 2018. (Image source) Plus, a staggering 81% of consumers claim that trust is an important part of their purchasing behavior. So, if you’re looking for a simple marketing strategy for your business and don’t know where to start, building trust by segmenting your consumers according to their needs is definitely a solid foundation.  It’s not enough to just say the right thing; you have to say it at the right time, too. And that’s especially true for your subject line. 2. Conquer Your Subject Line Your next step is to nail your subject line, which is a tall order because a lot is weighing on a well-written subject line. So much so that 47% of email recipients open your email based solely on your subject line.  On top of that, there are certain words to avoid, like \"newsletters,\" for example. It decreases your open rate by 18.7%, not to mention, there\'s also a list of email spam trigger words you should avoid. (Image source) A tip for getting your email subject line right is to aim for less than 20 characters, which can score you an open rate of 18.5%, according to a study by Yes Lifecycle Marketing. (Image source) If you include a number in your subject line, your open rate scores a 1.3% boost in open rate and 2.2% lift in reply rate. (Image source) Also, title casing matters. If you write a subject line in title case, it should beat out your sentence case and lower case subject lines in both open rate and reply rate. (Image source) I could go on and on about the best email subject line formulas, best practices, and trends to help you optimize your subject lines. But, there’s nothing more reliable than testing out your subject lines.  A good place to start is CoSchedule’s email subject line tester, which pumps out a score for your subject line and gives you tips on how to improve it, once you submit your subject line into their form field. For extra reassurance, try using Send Check It’s email subject line tester, which simply grades your subject line. The moral here is to follow the best formulas for writing your subject lines and be sure to test your subject lines. You may be surprised by the results. 3. Educate Your Audience Our advice on writing your email body centers around educating your audience and delivering value. Why? Educational content is king. Check out how Harvard Business Review educates its email recipients by simply including blog article content in the body of the email. (Image source) An effective way to educate your email readers is to get into your audience’s shoes, empathize with them, understand their problems (within their specific awareness stage, of course), and teach them how to solve their pain points. As you focus on educating your audience, try to also personalize your emails. When your message is personalized, your emails can see an 18.8% average open rate and 21.1% click rate. On top of that, personalized emails deliver six times greater transaction rates, so it’s worth tackling. On a technical note, try to keep your email concise and between 50 and 125 words, which tend to get a response rate above 50%. To make sure your email copy is readable and easy to digest, use this free Hemingway App by simply copying and pasting your body text into the app and improving the highlighted “hard to read” and “very hard to read” sections. (Image source)  Formatting aside, the important takeaway is to focus on teaching your audience how to solve their problem, which positions your brand as a reliable expert on your topic.  4. Include A Distinct CTA Our final step for writing emails that sell your product is to include a distinct call-to-action (CTA). A powerful way to get your readers to click your CTA is to, yet again, make it more personal. Personalized CTAs are so powerful; they can surge your conversation rates by 202%. If you don’t have fancy software that lets you create smart CTAs, it can be as simple as including your recipient’s name near your CTA, just like Marie Forleo does. Another way to write a distinct CTA is to be as specific as possible, so your reader knows exactly what they’re getting into if they click your CTA. Take Suiteness’s email CTA for example. By including a button that reads “Plan ahead & save,” their recipient can expect to go to a booking page from their email. (Image source) Also, rather than use the overdone “shop now,” “book now,” or “read more” CTAs, write something unique that represents your brand. A simple copy update from “Get it now” to “Gimme” increased Sumo’s conversions by 182%. (Image source) Another way to make your CTA stand out is to include a button that visually stands out from the rest of your email, just like Made In’s “let’s cook!” CTA button in red. (Image source) All in all: Make your email CTA irresistible to click by personalizing, being specific and unique, and visually standing out. Better monetize your email list by following the four straightforward steps listed above, and see your email marketing results soar.


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How to Create the Most Engaging Sales Email

How to Create the Most Engaging Sales Email

Practical Marketer • February 5, 2020

Sales reps spend at least 33% of their work hours emailing. Email remains a robust sales and prospecting tool. But, how you go about creating those sales emails is really what matters here. Prospects may not know a ton about you or your products, so they’ll need a reason to open, read, and convert. Here are 17 actionable tips for creating the most engaging sales emails that will delight your prospects. 1. Prepare Before you begin composing your email, take some time to gather relevant information on your target audience. The best sales negotiation training can equip you to identify your target recipient, but also consult your marketing strategy where your audience personas should be clearly indicated.  Also, consult your CRM software if the lead you’re reaching out to is in your system. It should tell you what your recipient cares about and what sort of content he or she is engaging with. Also, check your prospects out online by looking for any content they’ve created, publications they read or contribute to, or what their social media activity is like. Determine the kinds of posts and tweets the recipient shares and review their company\'s website.  2. Use Engaging Subject Lines Your sales email subject line is the most critical part of convincing your prospect to open your email. Crafting the perfect subject line can influence the recipient\'s initial perception of the message, and ultimately determine if he or she will open it. Your email subject may even be the ice-breaker when you finally meet the prospect for negotiations.  Personalize your subject lines by including the recipient’s name to grab attention. Some examples of effective email subject lines include: Dan, can you help me out? Dan, I know you\'ll love this Dan, here’s a fantastic new tool for your marketing automation Dan, here\'s a better way to (insert benefit) Dan, check out how (competitor) increased (high-level benefit) 3. Drop the Formality Formal structures sound too impersonal. Drop the corporate-speak and write like you\'re talking to a friend. Keep your message casual, friendly, and lively. An informal email is likely to put your contact at ease. A warm tone can increase your chances of landing a face-to-face meeting or a seat at the negotiating table.  An informal tone gives the contact the impression they can get along with you when you reach the negotiation stage. Drop the strict structures and be the friend offering support for your contact’s goals. 4. Work On Your Opening Sentence Your opening line leads the reader to the rest of your email and, possibly, to negotiations. A weak opening can result in a quick dismissal, with your email ending up in archives. Avoid opening with, \"Hi, my name is...\" Instead, lead with something more impactful such as: Jennifer from __ mentioned... I noticed you... I read your recent... I loved your presentation at... Congratulations on (recent achievement)... 5. Use Simple Design A complex email marketing design may obscure your message. You don\'t need to use all the bells and whistles that are available. What you need most is a simple, clutter-free design that highlights your main message points. You may also need to use an interactive mobile-friendly design, as most people use different gadgets to view their emails on the go.  There are several online tools to create beautiful, user-centric emails, and that are a sinch to operate. Use email design tools make it easy for even the least tech-savvy to customize their sales emails.  6. Make It Short and Sweet The body of your email needs to be concise. Your prospect is most likely busy and has little time to wade through a load of minutiae.  Your email needs to elicit a response, not inundate the reader with information. Make the body no more than three paragraphs long. Each paragraph could have two to four sentences. Space your paragraphs for easier reading and comprehension.   7. Personalize Your Message The fastest way to lose your prospect\'s interest is to send a cookie-cutter email. Sending out a mass email to many prospects may send all your future emails to the spam box.  Get personal. Refer to your contact by name. Mention events and causes your prospect may be interested in. Many LinkedIn profiles list interests at the bottom. Your value proposition should focus on your prospect’s pain points, with a distant place position going to general industry needs. 8. Leverage Connections Do you have any mutual connections with your prospect? Is there someone of high standing you both know on a personal level? Mention events you may have attended together, such as training or other corporate events.  Use your connections to make an introduction. A mutual connection can establish your credibility. A shared connection offers the prospect a chance to do a quick background check before they decide whether to engage and negotiate with you.  9. Reveal Your Trigger You\'ve already introduced yourself and answered the “who.” You have included your value proposition, explaining the “what” and the “why.” The next question to address is “why now?” Advance your sales agenda by telling the prospect why you\'re reaching out now. What\'s the trigger that made you make your pitch? The answer could be that you saw their ad for a similar product. Maybe you read the prospect\'s recent blog post that outlined the challenges the company was facing. Perhaps it was a news item or a meeting you had with one of their employees. The prospect may have recently viewed or commented on your content. Whatever the reason, mention it and make it plausible.  10. Clarify Your Value Proposition Your email\'s body should deliver a clear value proposition. What is the recipient getting out of reading this email? Avoid generic value propositions such as \"Our firm helps growing companies to boost their conversion rates by 300%.\" A better strategy would be to ask questions that align with the prospect\'s pain points. Some examples of winning questions include: Would you like to improve your sales negotiation strategy for the upcoming holiday season? Are you locking out prospective clients in your sales funnel? Wouldn\'t it be valuable to have reliable email marketing automation for your lead generation systems? Do you need a seamless integration between your sales, marketing, and accounting departments? 11. Include Timelines and Deadlines It works to create some sense of urgency in your sales emails. Timelines and deadlines can inspire your contact to take immediate action or risk losing the benefits you\'re offering. Timelines set up practical expectations and provide a tentative timetable for taking the next step in the sales cycle. 12. Create a Call to Action Nowadays, an increasing number of email users are desensitized to most calls to action. Yet, including one is still relevant, as a strong call to action prompts and guides the recipient to the next step.  Make a call to action that appeals to your contact\'s self-interest rather than your sales agenda. An example would be, “Could your sales negotiations team benefit from a demonstration on how to boost their sales quotas?” 13. Embrace Technology Several tools can make the sales process much more effective. Certain email add-ons and browser extensions can reveal your prospect\'s reactions. Prospect reactions may include the links the reader clicked on, whether the reader opened the email, and whether the reader scrolled to the bottom of the email.  The tools can also provide insights into your sales email campaign even without tech training. Some popular add-ons and extensions allow you to: Create dynamic CRM email marketing templates Quickly attach files and images Schedule email blast templates Create videos right inside your mailbox Include your calendar for easy scheduling of calls and meetings Track emails and clickable links 14. Find Out CC Possibilities Your first email is not for closing sales or initiating negotiations. Instead, your first email is an attempt at building relationships. Use your initial email to find out who else in the prospect\'s company may need to join in the conversation. For instance, does your email recipient need to consult someone else? If so, ask your contact whether you need to CC someone else in their organization in follow-up emails. 15. Have a Strong Closing Closing strong leaves a memorable impression while providing the recipient with a clear path of action. A strong closing can also set up the agenda for the next interaction. Try the following questions to prompt a positive response: Can we set up a meeting to discuss the next steps? Are you available tomorrow for a 10-minute phone call? Let me know if improving your (business operations) is a priority for your company now. Can I send over our top rep to make a presentation and explain the benefits further? 16. Craft Your Email Signature Your email signature is not a vanity tool. It shouldn\'t distract from the rest of the email or contain too many links. You need a professional signature that\'s on-brand and offers quick contact info. Have your phone number and one or two of your most active social media buttons. Avoid inspirational quotes and images. You want your contact to focus on the message rather than vanity designs.  17. Think About Timing Inconvenient timing can result in your contact ignoring your email. You want to be top of your recipient\'s inbox when they are fresh and have just started their workday.  Scheduling allows you to write your emails when you\'re in your best frame of mind. Let’s say you feel you write your best emails at two in the afternoon. With scheduling, you can draft your pitch when it’s most convenient for you,  and the email is sent when it\'s most suitable for your recipient. Email sales campaigns can be tough, especially if you’re cold-calling strangers. Using a friendly tone can set you up for success. Personalizing your email, from the subject line to the value proposition, can make the email and message more appealing.  Leverage mutual connections and shared interests to make your introduction. Have a strong closing and a call to action to prompt a response. Using timelines and deadlines works to create a sense of urgency and set up an action timetable. Your email signature works to take the conversation beyond email to the negotiation table.


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Introducing Benchmark Landing Pages

Introducing Benchmark Landing Pages

Practical Marketer • February 5, 2020

We are thrilled to announce the launch of Benchmark’s newest feature: Landing Pages! Take customer experience to the next level and grow your contact lists with Benchmark’s new landing page builder. In a few simple steps, you can create stunning, branded landing pages from scratch with our drag and drop builder. Need more help in the design department? Start with a simple landing page template and make it your own.  Attract More Leads and Subscribers Landing pages are crucial to generating ROI from your marketing campaigns. With Benchmark’s new landing page builder, you can create a page with hyper-targeted messaging that relates directly to the contacts on your email campaign. So, instead of sending a group of contacts to your homepage, you can send them to a landing page tailored to their journey - whether it’s a unique promotion, a new ebook or an updated online course. Build Landing Pages with Ease You’re too busy to learn the ins and outs of HTML and CSS. Our simple drag and drop builder means that ambitious marketers and busy business owners alike can create a landing page in a snap. Our tools allow you to flex your creative muscle and build the right page for your brand and your marketing campaign. Leverage the Power of Email Automation Benchmark forms can be embedded in any landing page you create. As contacts fill out your form on your landing page and are added to a list, you can trigger automations to further personalize their experience. Pairing Benchmark landing pages with Automation Pro technology unlocks huge opportunities. For instance, trigger an email course, send an ebook, reply with a schedule link, or email a discount code when contacts complete a landing page form. Track Your Goals When it comes to digital marketing, it’s tough to determine which strategies are working, and which ones aren’t effective. That’s why we’ve included the ability to track goals. Track lead generation goals with form submissions and evaluate engagement with link clicks. Simply turn on tracking goals to see at a glance which landing pages are performing the best. With landing pages, you can tailor your marketing messages and personalize the customer journey for optimized campaigns that serve up the content your visitors want every time. You’re a few simple steps away from growing your contact lists, boosting conversions and streamlining your marketing strategy from prospect to customer. Happy building!


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How To Create A Webinar That Builds Your Email List

How To Create A Webinar That Builds Your Email List

Practical Marketer • January 29, 2020

There’s nothing more powerful in modern marketing than putting a face to a brand. Opening the doors and chatting with your audience is one of the most effective forms of engagement there is. In fact, the average audience viewing time for a webinar is 57 minutes. That’s about 54 minutes more than people will typically give you! Hosting regular webinars provides your brand with a variety of benefits. In this article, we’ll look at how holding an effective and informed webinar can increase consumer loyalty and drive lead generation opportunities, and therefore, grow your email lists.  Choose a Topic That Resonates Before you get started, you have to choose a discussion topic that will be of interest to your audience. This will not only help ensure you have something valuable to offer, but it will also increase your chances of getting high-quality leads to register. No one will want to spend an hour of their time listening to a sales presentation. Get creative, and spend a little effort researching what your audience needs to know. What are the main pain points customers face? This is an excellent question to ask when generating your webinar content. The more you can educate people during your webinar, the more they will stick around. You can look to your blog and social media for inspiration too. What are your three most popular blog posts? What’s trending right now on social? This can help you refine topics that leads will want to hear about.  People should ultimately leave the webinar having learned something and perhaps seeing your brand as a solution (but don’t push it). Just think, “fewer sales, more assistance.” Don’t forget about a CTA at the end that promotes a piece of applicable content, or a special offer. Go For A Co-Branded Strategy Webinars aren’t the quickest and easiest to coordinate. They require a lot of time, preparation, and labor. But, if you’re able to partner with a brand that has a similar audience as yours, you’ll be able to split the efforts. Do some research and look into other brands in your industry that are creating content and hosting webinars already. When looking for new and qualified leads, this is a crucial method of opening doors. Co-branding has benefits like: Strengthening business relationships Creating brand authority and trust by third-party credibility  Tapping into a new resource of qualified leads  Growing your network through shared efforts Don’t just partner with anyone eager. Do the research to find experts in your space because anyone who isn’t a great fit could result in a disjointed webinar. When your webinar doesn’t make sense, it will leave a bad taste in the mouths of your registrants, which could ruin your chances of talking to them seriously about your services.  Plan, Promote, and Prepare Did you know that 36% of webinar registrations occur between 8-10 a.m.? There is no point in spending a ton of time putting together a webinar and composing the proper content if you don’t work to promote it appropriately.  A webinar is one of the most effective forms of content you have, so spend the necessary amount of time to introduce. Doing so will ensure it’s successful and that more people not only register but attend the live broadcast. The worst mistake to make is not giving people enough time to schedule their day around your webinar.   Planning should start at least a month out or so, and you should begin webinar promotion with a dedicated email campaign. Depending on what you’re discussing, you can send an email to your entire list or segment and send it to those it will be most applicable to. You want as many registrants as possible, but you want them to be qualified. Otherwise, you’re wasting peoples’ time (including yours).  Don’t forget to include social media campaigns to promote your webinar and consider paid advertising. Test out a few different audience segments to gauge which types might be the most interested.  Delegate Responsibilities If you choose to work with a partner, ensure you are both spending an equal amount of time on webinar efforts. A good rule of thumb is for all parties involved to send out the same amount of email promo or at least promote it to a comparable amount of people. You may want to also consider creating some blog content around the topic of the webinar for further promotion. Whichever party is hosting the webinar is also hosting landing page. This is very important, as this is how you’ll generate leads for the webinar and ensure everyone knows how to log-on the day of. Whoever hosts should typically share the lead list with the other party, depending on their brand guidelines and rules. This is something you should negotiate and confirm before solidifying the partnership, as it’s how you’ll actually grow your email lists.  Follow Up As soon as the webinar is over, follow up with potential leads. During webinars, it’s not uncommon for attendees to request copies of slides and documents, so a follow-up email is a great way to send those resources, as well as say thank you for registering.  A tip is to prepare a follow-up email in advance that you can quickly send out right after the broadcast. You want to follow-up with people as soon as possible, so you’re still fresh in their minds.  Webinars can be a disaster if you don’t prepare, plan, and promote appropriately. The more people that attend, the more opportunity you have to convert leads and grow your email lists, but make sure you select your partner wisely, as that will ultimately determine the quality of leads you’ll see coming in. 


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