Series Posts: Practical Marketer

10 Ways To Grow Your Email List As An E-Commerce Brand

10 Ways To Grow Your Email List As An E-Commerce Brand

Practical Marketer • September 19, 2019

So, you’re ready to start using one of the most effective marketing techniques ever: email marketing. However, there\'s a problem: your email list is too small. Luckily there are numerous tried and true strategies to help you grow it.  So whether you’re just starting out or you’re looking for new ways to boost your subscriber counts, here are ten ways to grow your email list as an e-commerce brand. 1. Pop-Ups are your new best friends. Many people hate pop-ups. Why? Because they are annoying and your neighbor says they are annoying so they are annoying. Well, what makes them annoying? The thing is that pop-ups are perceived as annoying because of the ways they are misused by companies. For example, intrusive pop-ups that dominate most of your screen and are impossible to exit will definitely make you grunt. At the same time, having pop-ups appear every time a visitor lands on a new page is probably just as irritating. [caption id=\"attachment_41208\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"949\"] Source: Cygnett.com [/caption] The solution is simple. Make your pop-ups reasonably sized, valuable and provide an easy way to close them. Moreover, making your pop-up appear once or twice is more than enough for the visitor to make up their mind. Also, make the text concise and your call to action clear. 2. Discounts can work miracles. Discounts and coupons are a blessing from above. At least, that\'s what most of your potential customers are probably thinking and the way you should be thinking, too. Discounts are proven to be a very effective tool when it comes to nearly any action you want your online store visitors to complete. As long as you don\'t give too big of a discount, you won\'t be losing value. It\'s a win-win. Ask your visitors to select the products they are interested in and then offer them a relevant discount in exchange for their email address. They will probably be more than happy to do so if it means saving money. 3. People love free stuff. Who doesn\'t like giveaways? They give your potential customers a chance to get something of value completely free of charge. In fact, giveaways are the first thing you should be doing to get your brand discovered. With the help of social media shares, they can attract a lot of attention to your e-commerce business. Logically, if you have been looking for a way to get extra exposure, this is your solution. When hosting a giveaway, make sure that you do it with the help of a social media platform so that there are more people who get the word about it. In addition to that, make one of the requirements for participation subscribing to your newsletter and voila! 4. Improve your email content to keep them hooked. One of the best ways to grow your email list is to improve your email content in order to keep your current subscribers hooked. Just think about it. Even if you get many subscribers, your email marketing will be of no use as they will start unsubscribing due to the lack of quality content from you. A simple solution is to use an online writing service to save you time and start creating content for your emails.  Promotions, discounts, great visuals, and interesting articles - that\'s what makes a good email. 5. Don\'t overlook autoresponders. Another way to keep your subscribers on your email list is by implementing autoresponders into your strategy. First, you must research your audience and segment your list. Make sure that you have located at least these two types of subscribers: Transactional: Subscribers who have purchased from you, abandoned their cart, or registered for your store will receive one type of emails. Informational: Subscribers who want deals and content but haven\'t made a purchase will receive another type of emails. [caption id=\"attachment_41207\" align=\"alignnone\" width=\"1238\"] Source: https://www.mrclutch.com/[/caption] Once you have these sorted out, you can take into account other criteria of your choice and then start creating autoresponders for certain actions your subscribers complete. This will keep them engaged and prevent them from falling off of your email list. 6. Make them fight for it. While that might sound harsh, you must admit that contests provide an amazing environment for competition. Just like giveaways, they can attract a lot of attention to your brand and get you extra exposure. They should also be hosted on social media platforms, but the difference is that there is a bit more your followers need to do for a chance to win. Contests should have rules and requirements as well as a purpose - something that your followers must create that will then be judged. You can make one of the requirements signing up to your email. After the contest is over, give out prizes to the winners and provide a discount for all the participants. 7. Long live signup forms. \"Nobody canceled signup forms. You can have pop-ups and giveaways and so on, having a signup form on your website is still the standard for any email newsletter strategy\" says Estelle Leotard, Writer at WOWgrade. Truly, signup forms are often forgotten in the frenzy of looking for new ways of getting email subscribers. Still wondering how to grow your email list? Use signup forms! In order to make the form appear on every page your visitor goes to, add it either to the footer or header. You can also place it on the about and contact pages as well as at the end of your articles if you have a blog. [caption id=\"attachment_41205\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"791\"] Source: https://www.madfientist.com/[/caption] Another place to consider is a thank you page. This is the one your customer gets sent to after they\'ve completed a purchase or download. At this moment, they are more likely to sign up as they have already had a good experience with you. 8. Landings pages combined with email. Period. This is a truly genius idea, isn\'t it? Create a landing page with a great piece of content such as an evergreen article on a topic that is very relevant to your audience. Then, add an email signup form either at the end or at the beginning. Finally, drive traffic to the landing page with the help of ads or other methods. 9. Share the love. Actually, it\'s not only about giving shout outs to other brands or customers but also about collaborating with other similar e-commerce brands just like you. For example, you can host a massive or contest to create a giant email list.  Alternatively, you could guest post on each other\'s blogs or shout out each other on social media. The opportunities are endless! 10. Keep it old-fashioned. You may be wondering, \"What is the old-fashioned way?\" Well, it\'s simply acquiring subscribers through a purchase made on your website. Most people are hesitant to give out their personal information. They may have had negative experiences with other companies before they came across your store, so they may be not as happy to give you even as much as their last name. This is why most companies only ask for the first name and email address when someone wants to make a purchase. Just remember to tell your customers that you need their email to confirm their purchase. You can ask them for subscription later in that same confirmation email. All in all, growing your email list as an e-commerce brand doesn’t have to be that difficult. Once you figure out these simple tactics, you will be able to set up your email marketing strategy and start increasing your sales exponentially.


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The Definitive List of Email Spam Trigger Words

The Definitive List of Email Spam Trigger Words

Practical Marketer • September 17, 2019

Email marketing is as much an art as it is a science. You want your subject lines to effectively capture the attention of your recipients and entice them to click, but you also don’t want to risk being flagged as spam. Unfortunately, email platforms are becoming more intuitive by the day, which means if you’re not careful, your messages could easily end up rerouted before they ever even reach your readers. One of the easiest ways to avoid triggering spam filters is to choose the words you use in your subject line very carefully. To make things a little easier, we’ve put together a rather exhaustive list of common email spam trigger words. Feel free to bookmark this post and consult back whenever you’re crafting an email message. Numbers / Symbols • 100% (including 100% free, 100% satisfied, etc.) • 50% Off • $$$ (including earn $, save $, make $, only $, etc.) • #1 • 4U • Billion • Join Millions • Million • One Hundred Percent • Thousands Greetings • Dear {name} • Friend • Hello Sales & E-Commerce • Act now • As Seen On • Bargain • Best Price • Buy • Buy Direct • Cheap • Clearance • Compare • Compare Rates • Discount • Fantastic Deal • Free • Great Offer • Incredible Deal • Limited (i.e. Limited Time Offer, etc.) • Lowest Price • New Customers Only • Name Brand • No Purchase Necessary • Offer • Offer Expires • Order • Order Now • Order Shipped By • Order Status • Order Today • Risk Free • Sale • Save • Shopper • Shopping Spree • Supplies • Why Pay More? Marketing • Ad • Auto Email Removal • Be Amazed • Bulk Email • Call • Click • Click Below • Click Here • Click to Remove • Compete for Your Business • Direct Email • Direct Marketing • Email Harvest • Email Marketing • Form • Increase Sales • Increase Traffic • Increase Your Sales • Internet Market • Internet Marketing • Marketing • Marketing Solutions • Mass Email • Member • Month Trial Offer • More Internet Traffic • Multi-Level Marketing • One Time Mailing • Online Marketing • Opt-In • Performance • Removal • Removal Instructions • Sales • Search Engine Listings • Search Engines • Subscribe • The Following Form • Unsubscribe • Visit Our Website • Web Traffic • Will Not Believe Your Eyes General Offers • Being a Member • Billing Address • Cancel • Cancel Any Time • Cannot Be Combined with Any Other Offer • Exclusive Deal • Financial Freedom • Gift Certificate • Giving Away • Guarantee • Have You Been Turned Down • Important Information Regarding • Mail In Order Form • Message Contains • Not Intended • Obligation • Off Shore • Offer • Opportunity • Per Day • Per Week • Priority Mail • Prize(s) • Produced and Sent Out • Purchase • Removes • Reserves the Right • Reverses • Score • Sign Up Free • See For Yourself • Terms • Terms and Conditions • The Best Rates • They’re Just Giving It Away • Trial • Unlimited • Unsolicited • Vacation • Vacation Offers • Warranty • We Honor All • Weekend Getaway • What’s Keeping You? • Who Really Wins? • Win • Winner • Winning • Won • You Are a Winner! • You Have Been Selected • You’re a Winner! General Finance • Affordable • Beneficiary • Big Bucks • Billing • Cash • Cash Bonus • Cents on the Dollar • Check • Claims • Collect • Cost • Credit • Credit Bureaus • Earn • Easy Terms • Extra Cash • Fast Cash • Hidden Assets • Hidden Charges • Income • Insurance • Investment • Loan(s) • Million Dollars • Money • Money Back • Mortgage • Mortgage Rates • No Cost • No Fees • One Hundred Percent Free • Pennies a Day • Price • Profits • Pure Profit • Quote • Rates • Refinance • Refund • Save • Save Big Money • Save Up To • Serious Cash • Subject to Credit • They Keep Your Money – No Refund • Unsecured Credit • Unsecured Debt • US Dollars Business Finance • Accept Credit Cards • Cards Accepted • Check or Money Order • Credit Card Offers • Full Refund • Investment Decision • Requires Initial Investment • Stock Alert • Stock Pick Personal Finance • Additional Income • Avoid Bankruptcy • Be Your Own Boss • Calling Creditors • Collect Child Support • Consolidate Credit • Consolidate Debt • Consolidate Your Debt • Debt • Double Your Cash • Double Your Income • Earn Extra Cash • Earn Extra Income • Eliminate Bad Credit • Eliminate Debt • Expect to Earn • Extra Income • Financially Independent • Get Out of Debt • Get Paid • Home Based Business • Home Employment • Income from Home • Lower Interest Rate • Lower Monthly Payment • Lower Your Mortgage Rate • Lowest Insurance Rates • Make Money • Money Making • Online Biz Opportunity • Potential Earnings • Pre-Approved • Refinance Home • Social Security Number • Your Income General • Acceptance • Access • Accordingly • Action • Amazed • Avoid • Beverage • Bonus • Boss • Cashcashcash • Casino • Celebrity • Chance • Claims to Be Legal • Congratulations • Costs • Diagnostics • Dormant • Extra • For You • Freedom • Get • Here • Hidden • Home • Info You Requested • Information You Requested • Junk • Leave • Legal • Life • Lifetime • Lose • Maintained • Medicine • Medium • Miracle • Never • Notspam • Open • Passwords • Phone • Presently • Problem • Promise • Remove • Request • Reverse • Sample • Satisfaction • Solution • Spam • Stop • Success • Teen • This Isn’t a Scam • This Isn’t Junk • This Isn’t Spam • We Hate Spam • Wife Adjectives/Descriptive Words • Affordable • All Natural • All New • Amazing • Certified • Cures • Drastically Reduced • It’s Effective • Fantastic • For Free • Guaranteed • Home Based • Luxury • Outstanding • Real • Risk-Free • Satisfaction Guaranteed Sense of Urgency • Act Now • Apply Now • Apply Online • Call Now • Can’t Live Without • Do It Today • Don’t Delete • Don’t Hesitate • Expire • For Instant Access • For Only • Get It Now • Get Started Now • Instant • Limited Time (i.e. offer, only, etc.) • Now • Now Only • Offer Expires • Once in a Lifetime • One Time • Only • Order Now • Order Today • Please Read • Special Promotion • Supplies are Limited • Take Action Now • This Won’t Last • Time Limited • Urgent • What Are You Waiting for? • While Supplies Last Variations of the Word ‘No’ • No Age Restrictions • No Catch • No Claim Forms • No Cost • No Credit Check • No Disappointment • No Experience • No Fees • No Gimmick • No Hidden • No Hidden Costs • No Interest • No Inventory • No Investment • No Medical Exams • No Middleman • No Obligation • No Purchase Necessary • No Questions Asked • No Selling • No Strings Attached • No-Obligation Variations of the Word ‘Free’ • Free • Free Access • Free Consultation • Free DVD • Free Gift • Free Grant Money • Free Hosting • Free Info • Free Installation • Free Instant • Free Investment • Free Leads • Free Membership • Free Money • Free Offer • Free Preview • Free Priority Mail • Free Quote • Free Sample • Free Trial • Free Website So there you have it! Your up-to-date, comprehensive list of spam trigger words. Will all of these words put your email straight into the junk folder? Not likely. Will avoiding these words guarantee that your messages won’t get flagged? Unfortunately, no. But knowing which words and phrases to steer clear of can certainly increase your odds of success. Of course, being thoughtful and more personal with your email communications while also utilizing an automated email marketing platform like Benchmark can also help you streamline your process and guarantee that more of those important emails are making it into the inboxes of your prospects and customers.


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14 Psychology-Backed Tricks for Effective Sales and Marketing Emails

14 Psychology-Backed Tricks for Effective Sales and Marketing Emails

Practical Marketer • September 5, 2019

Email marketing is still among the best marketing techniques. Despite what many marketers fear, 73% of millennials say email is the best way to communicate with brands. The practice is not going to die out any time soon. The driving force behind email marketing is psychology. You’re more likely to perform an action if you’ve already performed a smaller step. This makes people who have subscribed to your newsletter more likely to go deeper into the sales funnel. Besides, many subscribe with the sole aim of waiting for a discount to buy something later. Leverage psychology even more to supercharge your email marketing campaign. Here’s how you do that. Segment the audience You probably know that segmenting the audience is considered to be a standard practice in email marketing. But you don’t have to do it just because everybody else does. You have to do it because it works wonders for your campaign. Segmented emails bring in two-thirds of revenue. This is the case because people expect to see personalized offers. They don’t want to browse through everything you have on the list, they just want to read about what interests them. This is why personalized emails are opened 26% more often. What do you do to make the emails really personal? You get to know your audience with as much detail as you can. Here’s what you have to consider when segmenting the audience. Activity on the website Activity with the emails Social media activity Explicitly stated preferences With these four factors, you can deliver the content and products your subscribers want to see, making the click-through rate higher. But it’s not the only way of doing it. Create a subject line The subject line is the first thing your subscriber sees. Write a catchy line, and the CRT is going to skyrocket. Write a boring or a spammy one, and it’s going to plummet. Here are psychological tricks for writing a killer subject line. Mention a name Are you writing a B2B email? Business people tend to not have time to read every email they receive. Attract their attention by mentioning a name they’re familiar with. It’s perfect if they know you already and will open an email that mentions your name. If you’re sending a cold email, mention the name of a shared contact. Invoke urgency You probably know that many people buy based on emotions rather than meticulous calculation. What you may not know is that negative emotions sell just as well as positive ones. An urgent offer puts the customer in a state of stress. They need to decide on making a purchase now, or the discount will expire. Many people will choose to buy out of fear of missing out. Include a deadline in the subject line or the email preview to leverage this fear. Make a free offer Offering something for free is a classic strategy for making customers convert more. It still works, too. Subject lines that feature words “free delivery” receive 50% more clicks. Use this magic phrase to increase CTR. Invoke curiosity without being fishy Why do people click on your emails? Because they want to know what content or hot deals you have for them. Because they’re curious. A good email subject line has to evoke curiosity. A great subject line evokes curiosity in a subtle way, avoiding the Nigerian-scam-email curiosity. You don’t have to come up with fantastic ideas or promise something you can’t deliver. Often, it’s as easy as withholding the right information. Use this free tool to check what your subject line looks like on popular mobile devices.  Craft the email Now you have a great subject line that attracts clicks. The customer journey doesn’t stop there. You have to lead the users down the sales funnel. This involves doing two key things, grabbing readers’ attention and directing them towards a certain action. Here’s how psychology helps you do this. Place the logo in the top-left corner Grabbing attention starts with small details. One small detail like this is the very first thing you see when you open up the email. For many people, it’s the brand logo placed in the top-left corner. As left-to-right language speakers, we instinctively start looking through the email from the left corner, so placing the logo there increases the chances of being seen. Norman Nielsen group research suggests that brands whose logos placed like this have 89% more chances of being recognized. This both build the brand image and increases the chances of visitors reading your emails to the end. Even the big brands do it. Source: Really Good Emails However, some companies can pull off a quirky logo placement in their emails. Source: Really Good Emails Catch attention with the design 3 in 5 people check the “Incoming folder” on the go and don’t have the time to decide whether your email is good or not only based on the content. Make the template design appealing to the readers, and more of them will keep reading the email. Compare the price Price anchoring is the psychology marketing tactic that’s been working for decades in retail and can be used in your email. The thing is people don’t know how much your products are worth. If you only show the discounted price, they won’t make anything of it. It only matters if you compare it to the original price. Always show the original price of all discounted goods in comparison to the new price for a better effect. This email sure looks good, but it only mentions a 30% decrease in price with no numbers.  Learn from their mistakes and craft a better email. Source: Really Good Emails Personalize You weren’t segmenting the audience for nothing. You can’t personalize every email to every person, but you can use marketing automation to craft the perfect emails for different audiences. People who subscribed to you may only want one type of content or products in their “Incoming” folder. Deliver what’s relevant to each group, and you’ll increase the conversion rate. It’s not purely theoretic either. Personalized emails can lead to a six-fold increase in transactions. Show faces to invoke emotions A human face is one of the best ways to make readers feel emotion and associate it with your brand. This is why your email can benefit from a human face. But don’t put a cheesy happy face from the stock website in there. The emotion you’re trying to invoke doesn’t even have to be happiness, for that matter. In this Adidas email, it’s focus. Source: Really Good Emails Uniqueness and urgency Many people who subscribe to your newsletter seek a bargain. They want to get something unique for a low price. Their biggest fear? The marketing classic, FOMO, or fear of missing out. Show that the deal you’re offering needs an urgent decision. The urgency can be in the form of a promotion that ends in a day or the last 10 items in stock. If you’re doing a good job personalizing your sales and marketing emails, you can offer truly unique offers for different groups of people to make this psychology trick work even better. Keep it short, simple, and visual 61.9% of emails are opened on a smartphone. Many people who open them are checking the emails for only a couple of minutes when they’re on the go or getting prepared for a day of work in the morning. They don’t have the time to read a 500-words email. Keep the content short and express what you can with imagery. Don’t tell the readers how good the product you advertize is, show them a picture, describe the main points in a few words, and leave a link. Make these few words as simple as you can without compromising the meaning. It’s not “dumbing down,” it’s just making your email easily digestible for a 10 second’s read it’s probably going to get. Even the President knows this, this is why Trump’s speeches use the vocabulary of an eight-year-old.  Include a clear CTA In a perfect world, your subscribers will see a discount and head to the website themselves. In reality, they need a bit of instruction to make the decision easier for them. The discount seems fair, the button is right there, so why not do it right now? Besides, the CTA button is probably a part of customers’ perceptual set by this time. This practice is so widespread, customers expect to see one in the email. Don’t fail their expectations. Put a foot in the door The “Foot in the door” technique is extremely important in marketing, and email is the channel where this technique can be used best. The point of an email is not selling something upfront, it’s making the reader do a small action that doesn’t require that much dedication to your brand. Once they do it, they’ll be more likely to invest their time and money in a more demanding action like making a purchase. It takes multiple touchpoints to make a single conversion. Email can be the touchpoint you use to take your leads on a journey from sharing an article on Facebook to become a brand advocate. The bottom line It’s been a long read, and the fact you’re still here shows your dedication to your job. Now that you’ve learned how to make your sales and marketing emails more effective, from segmenting the audience to writing the body of the email, don’t stop there. Build your email list, and try creating an email yourself.


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What Email Marketing Integrations Deliver Scary Good Results?

What Email Marketing Integrations Deliver Scary Good Results?

Practical Marketer • September 4, 2019

There is more than just using an email marketing service to send emails. Email marketing services, though, depending on who you use, will sometimes have limited resources. Like in a scary movie, you want any tools you can get your hands on to get you get out of a sticky situation. In this case, you’d want all the tools you can get to help you successfully market to your subscribers. So here are some types of email marketing integrations that can deliver life-saving results. CRM Integrations There are many Customer Relationship Management tools out there, Zoho and Salesforce are just a couple out there. Many email marketing services may not provide a comprehensive tool to store and manage contacts. By using CRM, you’ll be able to view and manage your subscribers a lot more easily. Allowing you to create specific segments to target and send to. E-Commerce Stores It’s best to collect contacts organically and what better way to organically build your subscriber base than with an online storefront. E-Commerce, or conducting business online as you can imagine is the way to go nowadays. Integrating your email marketing service with your store, you can collect very strong subscribers who may open your emails and return to your store. Blogging Blogging as an activity is popular among businesses and casual internet users alike. There are also the \"in-betweens\" - casual internet users striving to make a living off blogging. There are others who use blogs as a launchpad to set up other businesses like eCommerce.  Regardless of which segment of bloggers you belong to, building a mailing list is of paramount importance. The idea here is simple - blogging is a high-engagement marketing activity that attracts prospective customers to your website. Integrating your blog with an email marketing platform allows these prospects to subscribe to regular updates from your blog.This presents a lucrative opportunity to build a targeted following that can be leveraged for conversion. Social Media Do you have a social media presence? You can gain a wider audience by posting or releasing your emails to your social media platforms. Integrations may allow you to easily post your emails automatically and You can gain a wider audience for your emails. It’s not trackable who and how many people may read your emails, but it could convince your fans to subscribe to your email.


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The 7 Best Email Marketing Tips For Small Businesses We’ve Ever Heard

The 7 Best Email Marketing Tips For Small Businesses We’ve Ever Heard

Practical Marketer • August 28, 2019

Email marketing looks a little bit different when you’re a small business. With fewer resources to work with, you can’t afford to just throw a scattered strategy at the wall and see what sticks.  Small business email marketing requires a coordinated, cohesive plan that optimizes your network, your budget, and your marketing mojo. And for that, you want to focus on the practices that are guaranteed to stretch your efforts as far as they can go.   You’ve got a few major goals when it comes to email marketing: Maximize your open rates Maximize your click-through rates Actually make it into your recipients’ email inboxes (this one is a biggie) So how do you do it? We’ve compiled seven of the very best small business email marketing tips we’ve found around the web to help you ace your inbound marketing strategy and get more bang for your email buck. Incorporate these tips into your own practices to start seeing results fast. 1. Never Buy Email Addresses “Unless your company is in the middle of a merger or acquisition, you\'re not going to come across a high-quality email list you can purchase. If it\'s for sale, it means the email addresses on it have already been deemed non-responsive or unqualified for marketing outreach.”  Source: Hubspot You know that feeling you get when you receive a promotional email from someone you didn’t ask to hear from? It’s not a feeling you want to replicate when it comes to your own business and your own potential customers. Purchased email lists may provide you with a lot of addresses, but that very rarely equates to high-quality leads. Plus, if any of the recipients are in Europe, you’ll be violating the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) by not having them opt-in first. Resist the urge to purchase email addresses and instead focus on cultivating your own list of opt-in contacts. 2. Take the Guesswork Out of Subscribing “This seems obvious, but you would be surprised how many small companies–from consulting businesses to corporations–have a regular email newsletter but do not have a place to subscribe for emails on their website.”  Source: Blue Corona Speaking of building that opt-in list, make it as easy as you can for people to sign up to receive emails from you. The more barriers you have in place, the less likely they are to follow through. Have an active “Subscribe” link in a clear and obvious place on your site, and don’t require too much information to sign up — just a name and email address is sufficient.  Equally important: make sure the “Unsubscribe” button is obvious on your website and in your emails, too. The CAN-SPAM act requires all of your recipients to be able to unsubscribe within your email. 3. Optimize For Mobile “According to Litmus, more emails are read on mobile devices than they are on PCs. In fact, statistics show 54% of emails are read on mobile devices. If you don’t optimize your email campaigns to be appealing and digestible across multiple devices, you stand to miss out on new sales, new customers, and new website visitors.”  Source: Pardot With more than half of emails read on mobile devices, it’s crucial that your messages are designed to have the same impact on small screens as they do on large ones. Everything from texts and images to links and ads should be formatted for both desktop and mobile, and you should test your emails on both devices before sending them out to make sure that nothing gets lost in translation. 4. Offer Something of Value “If you want to increase your user engagement metrics, your campaigns need to add value without creating work for your readers. Customers get waterboarded with promotional emails every day. They get distracted. And you lose them – even though they wanted to stick around.” Source: ActiveCampaign General company updates may be interesting, but they’re not enough to keep people opening your emails over and over again. For that, you need to provide tangible value, such as a coupon code, free asset download, personalized content, contest entry form, or some other benefit available only to subscribers. A free download or 5% off a future purchase is a small price to pay for a funnel-driving conversion. 5. Avoid Spam Filters “Spam filters use a long list of criteria to decide whether or not your campaign will be placed in a recipient’s spam folder. The list of spammy criteria is constantly growing and adapting.” Source: Mailchimp You’d think a quality email from a quality company would keep a message out of spam, but it’s not always the case. Pay close attention to the features and actions that help you avoid spam filters, including:       Clean and proper HTML coding       Good text to image ratio       Having an entirely opt-in subscriber list Always test your emails before sending to make sure they’re not going to spam, especially when you make changes to your template design. 6. Integrate Social “Increasing the number of people who see your link will increase the number of people who click on it. So, be sure to extend the life of your email by adding social sharing buttons.” Source: Hubspot Have your emails do double duty by driving traffic to other platforms — particularly your social channels. Add social share buttons, include a pre-written tweet that recipients can share, and make it easy to find and connect with your brand on all of your social pages. The more you can diversify where your marketing happens, the better chance you’ll have of turning new leads into new customers. 7. Keep an Eye on the Competition “If you want to make your email campaigns more successful, it could be helpful to see how your local competitors are handling their email marketing campaigns. Subscribe to their email lists and see what type of content they’re including, promotions they’re offering, what kind of emails they said, how often they send a newsletter, and what elements they included in their email template design.” Source: Blue Corona A little market research can go a long way. Subscribe to your competitors’ email lists to gather ideas and better optimize your content to beat theirs. Pay close attention not just to what they send, but when and how often. And while you shouldn’t be outright copying anyone else’s strategy, there’s no reason you can’t use their emails to inspire your own inbound marketing efforts. At the end of the day, your content should be all yours — different from your competitors’ content and designed to be more impactful. There’s no one secret that will make your small business email marketing more successful. The trick is to incorporate many different tips and strategies that are specifically designed for small business growth. The ones above are a great place to start, so if you’re not following these tips already, now is the time to put them into practice. 


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Using Marketing Automation to Improve the Customer Journey

Using Marketing Automation to Improve the Customer Journey

Practical Marketer • August 22, 2019

Today’s marketers wear a lot of hats. They’re content creators and data miners. Social media mavens and email experts. SEO researchers and influencer investors and anything else that they need to be in order to help their brands stand out in the right ways.  Just as the digital age has made the customer journey more robust (and frankly, a bit more complicated), it has also made the role of a good marketer that much harder to define. Effective marketing is no longer just about getting results — it’s about optimizing and capitalizing on every single customer behavior so that you can thrive in a hyper-competitive marketplace. And that’s where marketing automation can really help a marketer excel.  Marketing automation is becoming increasingly indispensable for both fueling and improving the customer journey. Through automation, brands can stay in touch with their customers more efficiently, and nurture them to the point of sale with targeted communications, promotions, and ads. It’s a good thing, too. With so much to do, the more marketers can automate, the better - especially when it leads to improved results.  So how can marketing automation enrich the customer journey and push prospects further down the sales funnel for your business? Let’s take a look. Awareness Stage The awareness stage is at the very top of the customer journey funnel. At this stage, you’re focused less on targeting individual customers and more on lead generation efforts. Marketing automation makes that process a whole lot easier, which is a major plus if you’ve ever had to sort through endless contact lists, pull out leads manually, and contact each one at a time.  What to try: Automated lead generation software that aggregates contacts for you, combined with email marketing. Automated lead generation software scans relevant platforms like your social media pages, PPC ad data, and inboxes to sort out relevant leads, append any missing contact information and deliver them to you in a more palatable format. From there, you can use email marketing automation to reach out and introduce your business. Try to target your outreach as much as possible by tailoring your message based on what you know about a lead’s demographic and geographic data. Lead generation tools we love: Datanyze, Lead Forensics, Prospect.io, Clearbit Consideration Stage This is when customers are just beginning to search for solutions to their problem, and when they are first considering your company’s product or service as a potential solution. The primary marketing objectives at this point are giving your lead all the information they need to proceed to the next stage of the journey and positioning yourself as a preferred alternative to your competitors. Quick but personalized communications can give you a competitive edge and instantly help you make a good impression. What to try: Automated workflows that spring into action the second a customer performs a certain action. An automated workflow can start at any behavior of your choice, such as when a lead signs up for more info or asks your on-screen chatbot a question. From there, workflows can be set up to perform key tasks that guide a customer further into their journey. For example, if a lead asks a chatbot a question and then disappears, the workflow can be automated to send them an email thanking them for their interest and asking if they need more assistance. It can also be triggered to send them a unique promotion for whatever product or service they were inquiring about. Most marketing automation tools feature the ability to build out workflows, sometimes referred to as automation campaigns, to prepare for a wide variety of contact engagement.  The key to making workflow automation work at this stage is to personalize all triggered communications so that customers get real, quantifiable value out of your follow ups. Chatbot and workflow tools we love: Drift, Intercom, Hubspot Decision Stage The decision stage is when you can turn a lead into a paying customer. Ramping up your marketing with automation enables you to cover your bases and make as strong of an impact as possible. Strike the right balance, and you’ll come off as actively engaging, not overly pushy. What to try: Drip campaigns that trickle out content to keep your product or service top of mind.  Drip campaigns fall under the umbrella of automated email marketing and function similarly to automated workflows. You send out an email, and depending on what action the recipient takes, a second email is automatically triggered. This goes on until a point of sale, or until the recipient stops engaging. You can use drip campaigns to do a lot of things that may lead someone to a purchase, including sending reminders about abandoned shopping carts, offering recommendations, and sending out promos and coupons. And because your drip emails are automated, you won’t have to write each of them out manually. Create your email templates, choose your triggers and your frequency, and you’re good to go. Automation tools we love: Benchmark, ActiveCampaign, Hatchbuck No two customers are the same, and neither are two customer journeys. Marketing automation can take your leads down a personalized path that shortens the road to conversion. Ready to get started with marketing automation? Benchmark can help.


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60% Say Email Marketing is Biggest Source of ROI: Going Back to School To Hit Your Benchmarks

60% Say Email Marketing is Biggest Source of ROI: Going Back to School To Hit Your Benchmarks

Practical Marketer • August 14, 2019

Nearly 60 percent of businesses say that email marketing is their top source of Return On Investment (ROI), according to HubSpot. We’ve got your back if you don’t feel like you’re hitting that benchmark. See what we did there?! Thankfully, Back to School season is here! This time of year can bring a rush of feelings to people of all ages. To the kids: dread. To the parents: relief (though they may not admit it). While many of us long for the downright luxurious schedule of being in school -- with summers off and a winter and spring break, for starters -- we grown-ups can still use this back-to-school period to go back to the basics and make sure we have a good foundation of the essentials for our work. Just like Billy Madison went back to school to prove he knew everything he’d need to make it in the real world -- all of us could use a refresher on how to thrive with our email marketing. And so, we present the ABCs (and beyond) of how to make magic with your email marketing strategy. But first, you may ask: Is email marketing really that important? Is it really such an essential, high-priority marketing tool, like everyone says? Back to Basics: Here’s Why Email Marketing is So Essential Email marketing may seem like just another tedious task on your to-do list, making you ask: “Why? What’s the point of it all?” An understandable impulse, but as it turns out -- email marketing serves a massively important purpose both for your customers and for your business. For your customers, email marketing has the benefit of solving problems. It’s a key part of your brand storytelling, as it demonstrates how your products and services fill a need. Email marketing also delivers significant value for your customers. Email messages can be used to deliver savings (think promo codes, discount alerts, flash sale announcements and more), information (think new product announcements, alerts about changes to your product or policies, etc.) and entertainment (think holiday-themed messages, birthday or anniversary greetings and beyond). Now, notice anything in particular about all those functions that email marketing serves for your customers? Bueller? That’s right … email marketing is particularly useful for your customers when you, as a marketer, make the effort to personalize your messaging and segment your audience. Feel free to take a dive into our various “study guides” on those all-important topics elsewhere on this blog. (We promise there won’t be a pop quiz … but these topics are incredibly useful for turbo-charging your email marketing efforts. That means you can accomplish more and in a lot less time. Talk about extra credit!) For your business, email marketing serves an even more important role. As we’ve mentioned before, email marketing delivers the highest ROI. You can’t argue with the numbers: According to reliable sources, email marketing can deliver an absolutely astounding 3800% ROI -- banking your business a potential $38 for every $1 spent. In addition, email helps nourish your relationships with your most valuable marketing asset: the members of your email list. Why are those particular individuals so valuable to your business? Simply put: They’re vetted and they’re committed. Your email subscribers are a select few who have not only willingly opted into your emails, but they make the decision over and over to keep listening to what you have to say -- rather than smashing that “unsubscribe” link or even the horrid “mark as spam” button. Email marketing is so great for your business because it allows you to send targeted, personalized messages directly to each subscriber. As we mentioned just now, your email list subscribers are your VVIPs. And even though the messages you write for your email marketing campaigns go out to a bunch of people -- if they’re done right, they have a very intimate, valuable and personal feel. That’s a win-win for everyone. Without further ado, here are our Top 3 Email Marketing Basics That Are Worth Revisiting. Back to Basics Tip #1: Audit Your List Growth Practices OK, time to ask the hard questions, so let’s dive in: Are you doing everything you can to effectively grow your email list? … No? Well, don’t worry. There are a couple easy places to start. Step 1 to Grow Your Email List Quickly: Create Online Opportunities Surf on over to your brand’s website. Do you know what the most popular page of your site is? (It’s OK if you don’t, but if you have an idea, all the better.) What’s the most active, frequently updated part of your site? Make sure you have an email list signup forms active on all of the pages on your site where visitors are likely to linger or engage. We’re talking homepage (this is a big one, obviously), product pages, your blog, etc. EXAMPLES: From: BuzzFeed Why It’s Great: Talk about targeting! This sidebar email signup -- which doesn’t feel annoying or intrusive -- pops up after BuzzFeed visitors view content related to adorable animals. By creating a targeted email signup landing page that offers choice, transparency and the lure of a world of fun, BuzzFeed can capture highly engaged and interested email subscribers. Who could say no to fuzzy kitties videos in their inbox and daily pics of absolutely cuddle-worth good boys? From: Pure Kana CBD Why It’s Great: This email signup popup asks visitors an irresistible question while they’re scrolling the brand’s products page. (Curiosity and personalization are always a good combo for getting your customers interested!) Further, visitors are presented with the seemingly no-brainer deal of giving an email address to get both the answer to this burning question and a valuable 10% discount. From: Aimee Song, founder of fashion and lifestyle blog Song of Style Why It’s Great: This beautifully designed email list popup appears when a user stays on the homepage of blogger Aimee Song’s site for 30 seconds without clicking anything. The colors are inviting and eye-catching, and the theme of travel and old-school correspondence is subtly suggested. An email list popup like this promotes the powerful idea that if you don’t sign up, you’ll be missing out on a direct line to a powerful influencer -- and nobody wants that FOMO. Step 2 to Grow Your Email List Quickly: Create Offline Opportunities Just because everyone’s always online doesn’t mean that you should neglect the opportunity to maximize your offline signup opportunities, too. IRL signups -- versus their URL counterparts -- can add an extra layer of connection, because they’re likely to involve your customer actually talking to someone and possibly even doing a manual task like writing with pen and paper (gasp!). Great examples of this include the sign-in “interest list” that you might encounter at a realtor’s open house, an in-store physical signup mechanism -- sometimes promising a freebie or chance to win something (like those fish bowls of business cards that you see at restaurant counters and retail stores) or when a cashier asks for your email and tells you you could have your receipt sent to your inbox rather than printed. All of those offline methods represent great ways to capture the email addresses and other contact info of your most loyal and interested customers. But remember to follow the CAN-SPAM rules and associated best practices regarding email marketing so that your sender address doesn’t get blacklisted. (For example: Be very clear with your customers about what emails they’re signing up to receive, and honor any opt-out requests promptly.) Step 3 to Grow Your Email List Quickly: Take a Cold, Hard Look at the Facts Finally, it’s time to do some soul-searching. Be honest with yourself now: Is what you’re currently doing for email subscriber list growth working? To arrive at the answer to this probing question, consider the following two questions: How many signups do you get versus traffic to a page? Do you need to update your signup forms? If the answer to the first question is “not enough,” and/or the answer to the second question is “yes” -- here’s what you can do. Once again, surf over to the user side of your brand’s website, so that you can retrace the exact experience that your customers are getting when they visit you. How does the entire experience feel -- cohesive? Disjointed? Read over your copy and the CTA of your email signup forms and popups. Do those words feel like they are distinctly your brand’s, or do they feel generic? Don’t be afraid to declutter, too -- sometimes cutting down the number of fields on your signup or taking the proverbial red pen to some of your copy can do wonders for conversion rates and signup success. Back to Basics Tip #2: Make Your Email Template Design Functional Is your email template design working for you? In 2019, all email campaigns should be responsive and geared towards deliverability. The text-to-image ratio is critical -- you don’t want so many graphics and GIFs that your message won’t load for people (or that it takes too long to load, which is also a mortal sin). Mathematically speaking, the experts are divided. Some have recommended an 80:20 text-to-image ratio. SpamAssassin is a bit more aggressive, claiming that a 60:40 text-to-image ratio is OK. You’ll find a virtually 50/50 split for the 80:20 ratio and the 60:40 ratio among the experts. Which is just fine, in fact -- you’ll want to evaluate your brand’s individual needs and situation to determine how much is too much when it comes to incorporating images. No matter what your text-to-image ratio is, your messages need to be designed for user experience. Step 1 to Design for User Experience: Direct Your Reader Towards the Goal of the Email To borrow a cheesy and somewhat outdated phrase popularized by the Canadian rock band fronted by the guy who was once Mr. Avril Lavigne: “All Killer. No Filler.” That’s how your marketing emails should be. Sure you can have fun with the copy. You can use borders, graphics and even GIFs in your layout -- but every element you add to your email design needs to direct your customers towards a goal. Often, that goal is a click to your website. For certain brands -- such as gurus running consultancies -- the goal might be something more personal like a response. EXAMPLE: From: TJ Maxx Why It Works: Designer discount retailer TJ Maxx has an interesting email marketing strategy. While they technically have an ecommerce site, it’s not particularly robust or up-to-date with their latest offerings. (TJ Maxx draws customers in with the promise that it’s “never the same store twice” because of regular killer deals arriving and being snatched up. They’re more interested in getting traffic into their brick and mortar stores rather than having people sit online checking for new items.) That’s why TJ Maxx’s marketing email is relatively pared-down and graphically simple. Since it’s likely to be read a lot on mobile devices as people are out-and-about, the brand doesn’t want to jeopardize deliverability with clogged-up design, and they don’t want to lose people’s interest with a wall of text. Step 2 to Design for User Experience: Place Actionable Content Above the Fold In the days where people read physical newspapers, “above the fold” content could be seen before a customer even picked up the paper. It was the juicy stuff -- the wording, images and design could be enough to make a person either shell out for the product (the newspaper, that is) or walk away without another thought. In this era of smartphone screens, email marketers must make sure to place actionable content above the “fold” of a device -- meaning, it should be plainly visible and easy-to-understand without requiring scrolling or unnecessary clicking. EXAMPLE: From: Gap Factory Why It Works: This email features a live countdown just under the brand’s logo and nav bar, and before the massive clickable image that advertises a big discount. In fact, the countdown itself is clickable -- meaning that it’s super-easy for the customer to click through to find these big deals before they run out. Step 3 to Design for User Experience: Keep Color in Mind As we’ve covered elsewhere in the blog, color can make a huge impact on how your readers perceive your product and brand. Be sure to be consistent with the overall vibe and identity of your brand, but don’t be afraid to experiment with different hues and shades, especially across individual campaigns. EXAMPLE: FROM: Nordstrom Rack Why It Works: Check out this side-by-side of two different emails from retailer Nordstrom Rack. While both play off the same color palette -- muted pastel backgrounds and white text, with brand and navigation text in dark colors -- the shades chosen create an entirely different experience for each email. The one on the left creates urgency, starting with the sun-colored orange and yellow banner on top. Then, a beautiful product image with complementary colors encourages the customer to click through to the product page of the site. On the right, the email’s colors invite a little more lingering, which is appropriate -- the brand aims to have customers review six options in a poll and cast a vote for a favorite. Back to Basics Tip #3: Examine Your Email Marketing Goals OK, it’s report card time! As a twist -- you’ll be grading yourself here. Time for some brutal honesty and self-evaluation … Is your email content strategy effective? What are your reports telling you? If you’re not sure how to answer this question, consider whether you’re seeing the opens you want. If your opens are low, you may need better list segmentation. Segmentation is a beautiful thing that we love to talk about. It’s a powerful tool that allows you to send more relevant emails. It also allows you to do more personalization -- allowing your messages to go further for you. Another troubleshooting trick you can try to up your open rate is to A/B test your subject lines. There are so many trends with subject lines, which is why brands do well to mix things up based on what the situation calls for. Check out this inbox snapshot: You’ve got emojis. You’ve got conversational language. You’ve got straightforward announcements, irresistible come-ons and personalized offers. Don’t be afraid to try new and different things with your subject lines, and always watch your open rates to decide which new tricks are worth keeping and which are worth ditching. Your “from” sender name is another thing you can play with in your marketing emails. We know that you’d never make the rookie mistake of keeping your sender name as “noreply” -- how robotic! But the choice of whether you go with “[First Name] from [Brand],” “[Brand],” “[brand.com]” or something else … that’s a tough one. Now, check out another inbox snapshot: These are all marketing emails, from the “Promotions” tab of a Gmail inbox. Notice there’s a good mix of people’s names, full brand names, shortened brand names and even a combination of first name plus full brand name that got truncated. As you test different sender names for your emails, consider how they affect your campaigns. Do certain stylizations feel more formal? More intimate? Are some more likely to grab people’s eyes? Are some in danger of being shortened in a confusing way? Finally, as you assess your email marketing strategy in pursuit of the lofty goal of sky-high click-through rates, remember that the only rules are the ones you set for yourself. Don’t feel locked in to one format, style or type of content. A/B test like your business depends on it -- because it sort of does. Remember: Even small tweaks to your email marketing strategy can mean big chances. For instance, if you experiment with a text link versus a button CTA at the end of your messages, you could see a huge difference in click-through rates. So, class is dismissed on our little Email Marketing Basics 101 crash course. What new email marketing changes are you excited to try in your campaigns?


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Want to Build Your Email List Faster? 
Here is How to Choose the Right Lead Magnets

Want to Build Your Email List Faster? 
Here is How to Choose the Right Lead Magnets

Practical Marketer • August 12, 2019

Most people used to be thrilled to receive anything via email. Two decades ago. Today everybody’s inbox is so flooded with messages - both wanted and unwanted - that even being able to send your newsletter has become a privilege. So, if you are a business willing to build a list for email marketing, how do you earn this privilege? How do you encourage more of your website visitors to become loyal subscribers? Two words. Lead magnets. What are lead magnets, anyway? Lead magnet is a real buzzword these days, and you probably hear it a lot. That’s because using a lead magnet is known to be an excellent email opt-in conversion booster. A lead magnet is a specifically targeted item that you promise in exchange for a sign-up. Something that can be delivered within a few minutes. Something irresistible. An ethical bribe if you will. [caption id=\"attachment_11400\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"468\"] Crate&Barrel offers a 10% discount for a subscription[/caption] Adam Connell, the author of Blogging Wizard, states lead magnets can increase conversions by a factor of 7 and even more. Tim Soulo, the Head of Marketing at Ahrefs, shares a 300%-growth case study on his blog. If you’re still skeptical, read this post where Hubspot provides an impressive example of a 42% conversion rate achieved with the right lead magnet. Can you imagine that? Almost half of all page visitors chose to subscribe. [caption id=\"attachment_11401\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"468\"] Shane Barker, a digital marketer, offers a free 30-min consultation in exchange for a name and an email[/caption] When you think of options, almost anything can be a lead magnet: a tool, a guide, a cheat sheet, a discount, a demo version of your app, a webinar, a video course. And yes, even your time can become a lead magnet, should you be willing to provide consultations in exchange for an email. Chances are, along the way you will have various incentives for your audience to subscribe, so when choosing the very first lead magnet, you should probably pick something you’re able to produce relatively fast – ideally, between a few hours and a couple of days. How do you deliver a lead magnet? Remember, I said lead magnets must be delivered instantly because that’s one of their key values? So, technically, there are two ways to do it. #1. Use Benchmark Email autoresponder feature This one is quite obvious. If you use marketing automation to send welcome emails, simply place a link to your promised lead magnet in the email body and schedule it to be sent instantly. #2. Use a Success Page feature in your email list building tool If you collect subscribers using email, contact, or survey forms by GetSiteControl (or any other lead generation app), you can redirect them to any URL after they share their address. It can be a hidden post on your blog, a page to download a lead magnet from, or even a link to a closed Facebook community you invite your fans to. [caption id=\"attachment_11462\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"700\"] This is how you set up a success page to redirect your subscribers to in GetSiteControl[/caption] Tips for choosing a lead magnet So... since there are so many lead magnet ideas to choose from, does it mean you can just pick any of them to create an incentive to subscribe? Of course, not. The key to creating a good lead magnet is precise targeting. You want to make sure you’re offering something your audience wants. Something to solve their “pain” quickly and efficiently. And just like you take a serious approach to choose the right call to action, you should understand that not all the lead magnets might be equally effective. If you have an e-commerce store, the first lead magnet idea you probably have is a discount. Or free shipping. But should it end there? And is it the best lead magnet for just anyone landing on your website? Let’s talk about this in the next few paragraphs. Tip #1. Identify your audience pain points Regardless of what business you’re in, there must be few requests you repeatedly receive from your audience. Something that, if addressed, could make their life instantly easier, and something you are willing to give away. [caption id=\"attachment_11403\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"468\"] Jeff Goins, a best-selling author of 5 books, offers a free web masterclass for writers[/caption] If it’s not obvious to you, there are plenty of sources for inspiration: emails from customers, support tickets, comments on your posts, live chat conversations, discussions in the niche communities, or on even competitors’ websites. Write down 3-5 problems your target audience mentions most frequently and pick one you could easily provide a solution for. That’s your lead magnet. Tip #2. Avoid providing generic solutions to generic problems As banal as this may sound, using a wrong format for a lead magnet is one of the biggest traps beginners fall into. Remember, I asked you to find 3-5 “pain points” you could help your audience with? One mistake marketers make is combining solutions to several problems into one piece of content. That’s how a potentially perfect lead magnet loses its specificity and becomes inefficient. Compare the following incentives: “Get a list of free tools for beginning online entrepreneurs” “Get a list of 37 email templates for e-commerce I personally tested and recommend” The first one might sound exciting at first, but unlike the second one, it doesn’t look like a specific “here and now” solution to a specific “here and now” problem. There are dozens of pain points a beginning entrepreneur has – how do we know this list addresses exactly what they are struggling with at the moment? [caption id=\"attachment_11404\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"468\"] After a sign-up, Muscle&Fitness blog instantly shows a set of exercises for the muscle groups you choose[/caption] Bottom line: don’t try to squeeze in too much information just for the sake of it. Boil down your expertise into one piece of content that provides a clear way to solve one particular problem. Tip #3. Choose shorter formats over lengthy lead magnets Less is more. Yes, e-books used to be the most popular type of lead magnet. But are they still as efficient? Let’s see. Most e-books take forever to create, what’s more – they take forever to consume. At the same time, most people today anticipate immediate value and hate waiting. That’s why more often than not, bite-size pieces of information are more enticing than lengthy content or month-long courses. Ready for the most important piece of advice? Trade size for relevancy. Because the more precisely targeted your lead magnet is, the better it will convert. Here is how the lengthy “entrepreneur’s toolset” could be revised: “Accounting checklist for a beginning entrepreneur” – offered on a page where you talk about bookkeeping, taxes, and financial advice for entrepreneurs. “100 business blog ideas for the times you are out of ideas” – offered on a page where you talk about content marketing, blogging, and self-branding. “My 10 favorite sources for getting free traffic that converts” – offered on any page related to traffic, conversion optimization, and marketing in general. And if you doubt that creating a post-specific lead magnet is worth the effort, read how Brian Dean increased email opt-in conversion rate by 785% using exactly this method. A quick note here. Lead magnets do not always have to be content in the form of ebooks or PDFs. The magnets you create can also be tightly knit to the product or service you are offering. A free trial of the product (that captures the user\'s contact info in exchange for access to your tool) is perhaps the most popular form of lead magnet. If you run an online product or SaaS company, you can create bite-sized reports or documents from your tool and provide it as exclusive content for your leads. You can perhaps create a microsite on WordPress or other platforms and hide the content behind an email capture form. This way, interested users sign up with their email in order to access this exclusive piece of content. Tip #4. Ask your website visitors what they want Have you ever thought of that? Because there are quite a few tools and plugins available today for surveying your audience, asking them what they want, and validating your ideas. If you have a decent traffic volume on your website, that might be the easiest and the fastest way to choose a lead magnet. [caption id=\"attachment_11464\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"700\"] An example of a GetSiteControl survey form[/caption] You can use the Benchmark survey feature or one of the apps it integrates with, such as: GetSiteControl Survey Monkey Wufoo JotForms Tip #5. Vary lead magnets for different funnel stages Wait, aren’t lead magnets already part of the funnel converting website visitors into leads? Well, it depends on how you attract the audience and what your sales funnel looks like. But if you think about it, offering various lead magnets to people on different stages of their customer journey might be quite reasonable. Here is an example, explaining why a discount is not the ultimate lead magnet even for eCommerce stores. Imagine, you sell organic detox juices online. To get traffic to your website, you actively employ content marketing techniques, so there are many educational articles about detoxification, eating clean, and DIY recipes on your blog. Now, if you get this traffic organically, most people landing on these pages are probably on the awareness stage, right? Most probably, they don’t even know your brand yet, let alone thinking about making a purchase. So, will a discount for your product or free shipping be the best incentive for them to subscribe? Probably. But chances are, at this stage, they might be even more incentivized to sign up in exchange for a detox grocery shopping checklist or a printable detox calendar. [caption id=\"attachment_11406\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"468\"] LeadQuizzes offers early access to the new version in exchange for an email[/caption] Of course, you might want to test this assumption – and that brings us to the next chapter of this post. The key takeaway here is that thinking from a customer’s perspective might lead you to the conclusion, what they want is not always exactly what you initially wanted to offer. Tip #6. A/B test your lead magnets There is no way around it. At the end of the day, your lead magnet will either bring you new subscribers or it won’t. And when starting your email list building journey, you may want to fully rely on some expert’s opinion. You may be bold and copy your competitor’s strategy. Or you may trust your intuition and try to guess. The only legit way to find out what works and what doesn’t is to test it. Often, you’ll be surprised by the results as a lead magnet that took weeks to create might not perform as well as the one you created overnight. Besides, remember, it’s not just the lead magnet itself you can test, it’s the call to action, the creative, and – yeah – the button color too. After all, you’ve already invested time and energy into creating a compelling incentive. It would be neglectful not to try and optimize it properly. Do you use lead magnets to collect email subscribers? If not, what stops you? If yes, share your insights in the comments below.


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6 Top Email Marketing Design Tips to Keep Your Readers Engaged

6 Top Email Marketing Design Tips to Keep Your Readers Engaged

Practical Marketer • July 30, 2019

Email marketing is a practice that 82% of B2B and B2C companies are now incorporating into their marketing strategies. However, just because you are sending an email that reaches your consumers’ personal inbox, this does not simply guarantee the monetary results you’d expect. You’re going to have to provide your readers with quality content that will actually capture their attention, and you’re going to have to do this in a very quick and concise way. This is where a visually pleasing email marketing design can come to your advantage. What are the benefits of a stunning email marketing design? An email marketing visual design will be one of the key components that you will need to nail. If done right, this can encourage audience engagement and result in the conversions you were aiming for. The harsh reality is that people still care a lot about aesthetics. Many of consumers’ decisions are based on visible elements. With that being said, a wise selection of visuals in your email content will play an important role in helping you stand out, keeping readers interested in your message, and ultimately, growing as a business. Wonder how you can make the most out of email marketing and deliver optimal results for your business?  Here are the email marketing design tips and tricks on how you can keep your reader’s engaged. The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing Design For Higher Engagement 1) Choosing the Right Color(s) Color can make a huge impact on how your readers’ perceive your product and brand, and this will similarly apply to your email content. Whether or not your newsletter or promotional campaign will speak to your readers will depend on your selection of color for your email marketing design. Make sure that your color palette highly corresponds to the subject of your email. On most occasions, you should consider using your main brand color as this will be most representative of your brand, which can help your audience in terms of brand recognition. However, if you are promoting a festive campaign, it is possible to use colors outside of your brand for greater emphasis on the email subject. For example, you may use red, green, and white for a Christmas campaign, or red, pink, and white for Valentine’s. Whichever color you choose to use in your email marketing design, remember to be consistent with it. Avoid using too many colors as this will only set you back and give your audience a visual headache. In fact, color psychology reveals that different colors are  associated with different types of human emotions. Hence, it is recommended to tactically select a color that best corresponds to the type of attention to want to attract from your audiences. The following list shows the common colors used in marketing campaigns and their emotional effect on audiences: Red Evokes passion and excitement. Red has high visibility and helps bring a sense of urgency to your email content. Interestingly, it can also promote hunger! Recommended for: Food, travel, and sports-related email marketing content Yellow Associated with intellect, joy, and sunshine, hence the reason why it can make people feel good and happy. Similar to red, yellow also promotes hunger and can be used along with it. Recommended for: Vacation deals and food email marketing content Blue Represents stability, reliability, and calmness. Darker blue shades represent expertise and is used by many corporates. Remember to never use it for food or cooking-related newsletters or campaign as it suppresses appetite. Recommended for: Water, cleaning, and high-tech products Green Green is the color of nature that symbolizes growth and harmony. However, green can be a bit of a tricky color as different shades can have different effects on people. To be safe, try to aim for a brighter green. Recommended for: Fruit and vegetable produce, and sustainability marketing campaigns Orange An energetic color with high visibility. It stimulates appetite and is often associated with healthy food. Recommended for: Seasonal campaigns during Fall, food email marketing campaigns and non-corporate brands Purple Symbolizes royalty, luxury, power, and nobility. Purple also helps express wealth and extravagance. Recommended for: Feminine or children’s products Black Highly associated with professionalism, luxury, elegance, and mystery. Black help depict professionalism of your email marketing campaign and overall brand. Recommended for: Luxury brands’ email marketing campaigns 2) Have an Adequate Amount of White Space White is used as a background color for many types of designs and is even more important in an email marketing design. Leave some white or in other words, blank spaces, between each section of your email content for neatness and increased clarity. As white spaces will help make your email appear more organized, it can serve to help your audiences read your email in a digestible manner. Messy email marketing designs are never good. Before readers get the chance to read your text, they could easily be thrown off by the amount of clutter seen. 3) Choose the Appropriate Font Style and Size For email marketing, it is highly advised to limit the number of fonts you use. As with any other visual elements of your brand, you should keep the type of font consistent with the one on your logo, packaging, or website. Stick to one font if you can. Two is also possible, but do not add more than this. It is recommended that you use the main font and copy font of your brand within your email content in order to keep the cohesiveness of your brand’s visual identity. While the header font for your email should align with your brand’s main font, you should select a basic font for your body copy font. Avoid squiggly fonts as this will decrease the readability of your email content. Fonts that are commonly used as body copy fonts for email marketing include Arial, Times New Roman, Courier, Verdana, and Georgia. Ideally, your body copy font should be large enough for your readers to be able to read it, but not too large that it takes up too much space. A good rule of thumb for body copy fonts is about a 14-16 font size. 4) Only Add Images That Are Necessary The current design trend calls for the ‘less is more’ approach, so don’t overflow your email with images. Carefully choose and only include those that are necessary to communicate your main message. Focus on quality and not quantity. Having a few professional and high-quality images that add value and are  highly-related to your email content will be more impactful than including a load of images that have nothing to do with your subject. It is possible to even use animated images such as GIFs. If you feel that this would add to the visual appeal and communicative aspect of your email, feel free to use them. Just make sure that you format them correctly. 5) Have an Organized Email Marketing Template Although it would be great if you could professionally design your own email marketing template, getting a premade template is much easier to do. Plus, it can save you a lot of time. Downloading a premade template does not necessarily mean that your template design will no longer be original. You can tweak it to make it more personal and unique to your brand, and these modifications are always highly advised. For instance, you may rearrange each section by shifting the position of text boxes and images to make it fitting to your desired email marketing design. However, regardless of which template you choose, whether originally designed or premade, a good tip is to make sure that your template has a clear visual hierarchy. When it comes to email marketing, you will need to be extremely quick to communicate your message before you lose your readers’ attention. You should have a focal point, and your design should be able to easily create a sense of what is most important to read to your reader. To create this visual hierarchy, you may use different font and image sizes, color, contrast, shapes, and positions within your template. Your logo position should also remain consistent throughout all your emails. It does not have to take up a lot of space but make sure it is placed somewhere where your readers can clearly see it. A good idea would be to place your logo within your header so that your readers won’t have to scroll down to recognize your brand. 6) Keep Your Content As Simple As Possible When opening your email, it is likely that your readers may not take the time to read through its entirety. To keep it engaging and provoking curiosity out of your readers, you should keep your text as short and concise as possible. Simply, you must get straight to the point. Leave out the fluff, avoid large chunks of paragraphs, and use infographics whenever possible. As humans tend to process images faster than text and can surprisingly do it as quickly as 13 milliseconds, using symbols can be incredibly helpful in conveying your message more efficiently. For both campaigns and newsletters, strategically use keywords in the very first few sentences and remember to include a call for action. If you take too long to communicate your point, you will have a very good chance of losing your readers’ engagement as well as the desired results. Something that would be worth knowing is that some readers may have images turned off by default on their emails. Therefore, avoid having your text embed in an image. Add text separately within your email so your readers aren’t missing out on any important points. 7) Make Sure Your Design Is Mobile-friendly In this day and age, everyone checks their emails through their phones. Statistics have shown that 53% emails are opened on a mobile device. With this in mind, it is incredibly necessary that your email marketing design is mobile-friendly but also compatible with other technological devices. The template should work well and be as visually appealing on mobile devices, so remember to format your email content such as texts, images, and logos. Remember that your email marketing design template should also not be too wide so that your readers would not have to go through the hassle of scrolling side to side on their phones in order to read your content. All in all, email marketing services is still quite a relatively new strategy that companies have been using to drive sales in their business. Although it might seem a bit difficult to nail your email marketing design at first, applying the mentioned email marketing design tips and tricks will help grab and retain your readers’ engagement. More importantly, they can help you maximize monetary results from your email marketing campaign. However, if you are still unsure about how you can get started on your email marketing campaign design, be sure to give this Benchmark article a read for more explanation on this topic.


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Why Email Marketing Is Your Most Valuable Brand Touchpoint

Why Email Marketing Is Your Most Valuable Brand Touchpoint

Practical Marketer • July 18, 2019

In this increasingly-connected world, beset with digital infrastructure, there are countless ways in which a brand can reach its target audience. Each moment of interaction is known as a brand touchpoint — a fresh opportunity to leave an impression. You can make your brand look worse, raise some interest, or fail to do anything memorable whatsoever. And because no company — however enormous — has the creative or monetary resources to approach each possible touchpoint with the same care, it’s necessary to pick out the touchpoints that offer the most value in prospect. So what should you prioritize? Social media holds a lot of sway, of course, and is fairly versatile. A strong website with a live chat feature can be excellent for earning conversions. If going to put your effort towards getting the most from one particular touchpoint, it should be email marketing. On the whole, it’s by far the most reliably valuable. It’s relevant and viable for precise targeting When you’re trying to reach people totally unfamiliar with your business, a platform like Facebook Ads provides optimal targeting precision, but a touchpoint needs something a little more in-depth than someone simply glancing at one of your ads. What sets email marketing apart is that it relies on retargeting — marketing to people already interested in your brand. Once you’ve built up your email database, you can get very specific about how you send out your emails. You can send one version to everyone under a particular age or in a certain profession, and another version to everyone else, for instance. Getting that granular with your approach might seem unwarranted when reaching out to strangers, but when you know that you’re reaching an invested audience, it’s surely worth it. Since you can track when your emails are opened (and when they’re not), you can target with even greater precision the longer you email someone. In the above example, Framebridge created an email to go out in place of its regular marketing email — an email specifically for those who haven’t been opening Framebridge emails. If the email changes their mind, great. If it doesn’t, then they get removed from the mailing list, and the company gets to stop wasting money on sending them emails they don’t really want. Consider the old adage that you can’t miss someone if they never go away. It’s better for someone who’s become apathetic to be unsubscribed — that way, at least, there’s a chance that they’ll rediscover their interest down the line and choose to subscribe once more. Using this kind of awareness of the recipient’s situation and likely interests will significantly raise the value of your average email by making its message much more impactful. Don’t you naturally gravitate away from brands that send you generic messages? But it isn’t just targeting that you can nail with email marketing, as we’ll see next. It’s perfectly suited to personalization There’s the basic form of email personalization — including the recipient’s name in various places — but there’s so much more that can be achieved. I heard an interesting comparison when listening to email marketing guru Andrew Chaperon’s appearance on the Marketing Speak podcast. He likened advanced email marketing to writing a choose-your-own-adventure story, allowing recipients to take different paths: “Everyone starts off in the same adventure, in the same story, if they have come via a certain squeeze page, and then I will quickly try to figure out what they are about and I will create different pathways. I will allow people to self-select what interests them.” Instead of viewing each touchpoint as independent, you can focus on planning a series of touchpoints that steadily present your brand in a particular way (you can also look at this as broad lead nurturing). With each email recipient getting emails that reflect their preferences (mentioning new products relevant to them, and offering content that entertains and informs them), you can slowly, meticulously, and consistently improve your brand image. This is particularly easy to accomplish for any service that gathers rich use data, because it can periodically weigh in with insights that make the user’s activities feel more momentous. Uber’s yearly recap email layout (see above) is a great example, because each stat adds something: most usefully, reminding the recipient of how long they’ve been a member makes it feel even more like a core part of their routine. Using data in this way is incredibly potent for how easy it is. The recipient can easily feel understood, even though it’s automatically generated with no manual involvement outside of making the template and writing the set of comments. But you don’t have to stop there. Whenever you feel like it, you can take the time to add some user-specific comments — when you’re emailing your biggest clients, it can be worth it. It allows near-boundless creativity It’s entirely up to you what you do with an email, because you can make it as long, short, simple or complex as you like. Maybe you want to fill it with flashy animations and embedded videos, or leave it sparse and minimalistic — either way, you’re covered. Factor in the importance of having a unique brand style (both visually and otherwise), and it’s clearly a major advantage. Supposing you want to depict your brand as informal and comedic in tone. It’s a gambit, but some brands do this extremely well (see Old Spice, for instance, or Firebox). In an email, you can run through all the jokes you want, splurge on wild colors, and even add interactive elements to spice things up. You can make your emails indistinguishable from any others. For the aforementioned Firebox, the personality is both textual and visual (you can see the latter in the above example). Anyone who’s bought from the store is clearly comfortable with playful content, so the company leans into it as boldly as it can, and it really works. You’d never mistake a Firebox product description for one from another company (e.g. \"Go right off the grid, escape to the country, find that Snorlax\" for \"ROBOT HEAD PORTABLE CHARGERS\"). Imagine scrolling through your inbox, seeing plenty of off-white backgrounds with generic hero images, and happening upon a wall of neon yellow with a face embedded in it. That’s something that would get your attention, surely. Now imagine trying to convey personality of that magnitude through other formats. It’s fair to say you’d struggle to manage it. Through digital ads? Too many restrictions: not enough space, not enough characters. Offline ads? Too difficult to gauge performance. Social media posts and conversations? Definitely viable, but extremely risky (you never know when something might blow up in your face, as social media marketing can go very wrong), and also limited by formatting — longer-form content is generally better for showing personality. A small attached image of the above wouldn’t have the same effect as the lengthy column you can have in an email. It’s great for spurring further touchpoints Another thing that works in email marketing’s favor is how effective it can be as the cornerstone of a marketing strategy. What I mean by this is that it can consistently push recipients towards other touchpoints, such as social media discussions (through the inclusion of social function buttons), website visits (through strong CTAs), and even in-person meetings (through the detailed promotion and booking of brand events). Having the aforementioned room for creativity, and knowing that the reader is relatively likely to stick around when the email is suitably targeted and personalized, you can take your time to run through numerous points with the goal of bringing attention to those other touchpoints. In the same way that your homepage greets people before passing value to other pages, your emails can greet your biggest customers before passing value to other touchpoints. When people do move along to those touchpoints, you can feed that data back into your emails, as TunnelBear did, with the above retention email. Email a customer to encourage them to talk about you through social media, then email them once they do to reward them, creating a rewarding loop. Until your data starts to suggest that you’re sending too many emails, at least, you can make a significant effort to use emails as action prompts. If nothing else, that makes email marketing the most economical brand touchpoint, so even if it lacked potency, it would still be worth pursuing for its sheer ROI. But since it’s also a powerful tool for doing everything from announcing new products to keeping interested parties apprised of the latest company updates, it’s an irresistible package. Which of the various contenders could stack up against everything email marketing brings to the table? It’s superbly versatile and configurable. It can be deployed at scale through templating and triggering, all without incurring enormous costs. It can delight recipients with finely-targeted and personalized content, and smoothly pass traffic to other touchpoints. For these reasons, and more, it’s the inarguable champion.


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