Series Posts: Practical Marketer

The Email Marketing Benchmarks You Should be Measuring

The Email Marketing Benchmarks You Should be Measuring

Practical Marketer • November 19, 2019

Technology is like the ocean. It ebbs and flows and can change on a dime. Take, for instance, email. When electronic mail first came on the scene, the idea of quickly sending a correspondence instead of waiting a couple of days for snail mail felt like magic. The tide was in, and the possibilities were endless. Pretty soon, email marketing became one of the best ways to reach and nurture your audience.  But like all periods of greatness, there comes a time when the light fades a bit. And in an instant, the tide went out, leaving tin cans of spam in its wake. Email became inundated with clutter and junk, and people began to dread checking their inbox. Eventually, it became an unpopular form of digital marketing.  But, with 60% of marketers claiming email is the biggest source of ROI, the tide is coming back in again.  By the year 2022, the number of active email users is forecasted to reach 4.3 billion people. The rise of intelligent email service providers and securely encrypted firewall technology has gained the trust of consumers once more, leading to the development of automated sales and marketing technologies that streamline email strategies. These programs produce a lot of data that a brand should know how to measure and put to work. But the key is in knowing what metrics to look at. Email Marketing Metrics to Measure Every business has different objectives they want to reach. That means there is no set standard for what you must measure in an email campaign. Your particular business goals should drive the metrics you use to measure success. With that said, there are a few go-to benchmarks to note when formulating a plan, benchmarks that make sense for most marketers to look at and consider. 1. Open Rate The top priority when sending an email is to have it opened. This is the first sign of interest that can spark a variety of campaigns. It\'s also the best way to tell whether your subject lines are engaging enough to encourage people to read the email. The benchmark figure for an acceptable open rate varies by industry. The average for all industries is approximately 20%. Anything lower means you probably need to reconfigure the campaign. Total vs. unique opens is also something to compare. Did the prospect open the email once, or did they go back and read it a few times? This data can be very telling and can be used to better position leads in the marketing funnel.  2. Mobile Open Rate Every marketer knows that mobile optimization is key to reaching your consumers. We’re always on our phones, and that includes when we’re consuming email content.  Keeping that in mind, the rate at which your prospects open emails on their mobile devices can say a lot about their behavior. If you find the open rate is higher through mobile channels, make sure your campaigns are optimized on mobile, your site is responsive, fonts are larger, your emails aren’t too text-heavy, and the call-to-action isn’t hidden.  3. Click-through Rate (CTR) The goal of most email campaigns is to get subscribers to convert on a webpage from an email you send. This is usually presented in the text of the email as a call-to-action (as mentioned in the previous point). It can be a button or link that redirects the consumer to a promotional item or branded offering. The CTR signifies the percentage of people who clicked the link in your email vs. the number of people who opened it. It’s a metric that indicates a willingness to convert. When people click the link, it means you’ve successfully compelled them to the next step. Half the battle is won.  A benchmark for a healthy email CTR is 7.77% (add an extra 14% if you personalize the subject line).  The CTR is essential because it’s the gateway metric to conversions. The more people that “click-through,” your email directly relates to the success of the email you’re sending. It can help you determine that the subject and content are engaging, drawing people in, and guiding them through the inbound funnel.  4. Reply Rate This is the most vital metric to track, and yet it is often ignored. Yes, you need your email opened before you can even see a reply, but even if you have an open rate of 50%, it’s not a metric that is directly connected to revenue. The reply rate is. This figure will always be on the lower side. That’s because some leads may simply click the link without ever replying. However, a reply leapfrogs leads into the hot part of the funnel. The business standard for a reply rate is typically between 5-6%.  Additional Email Marketing Metrics to Consider Don’t stop there! Here are a few more metrics to consider measuring for email marketing success:  Bounce rate Spam score Time spent viewing email Purchase rate Unsubscribes These are all pretty self-explanatory. But, these additional five metrics can ultimately help you upgrade your email marketing. Determining if people are disengaging from your emails, if you’re being marked as spam, or if your emails are encouraging buying behavior are important indicators of success. Ongoing Analysis  A/B testing is a great way to measure the success of an email marketing campaign, and it starts with the subject line. If you find you have a low open rate, try using the same content but with a different subject line, and then see which subject line has a higher open rate.  Improving your email marketing metrics starts with personalization. Studies show that a subject line with the recipient’s first name is 26% more likely to be opened. Know your audience and establish email benchmarks accordingly, so once you have the right information, you can use it to drive successful campaigns that generate revenue.


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8 Marketing Automation Tips for Small Business

8 Marketing Automation Tips for Small Business

Practical Marketer • November 13, 2019

Marketing automation can be a godsend for small businesses. With limited time, resources, and team members on hand, automating repetitive tasks and processes allows your small business to do more with less for better marketing results. But even the robots need a little help doing their jobs. To make sure that you’re optimizing your business’s usage of marketing automation, it pays to take a step back and overview the best practices that others have learned along the way. And to make it easy for you, we’ve compiled some of the very best small business marketing automation tips and must-dos from around the web. Ready? Let’s get into it. 1. Choose Your Software Carefully Not all marketing automation solutions are created equally. Keep in mind that, while there are certainly a lot of great options out there, not all of them are necessarily right for your business. Put time and effort into researching marketing automation software so you can be sure to make the right pick, and don’t be afraid to drill vendors on the things that matter most to your company, including data integration capabilities with your existing software solutions and the platform’s strengths and weaknesses. Source: CRM Magazine 2. Build Your List — Don’t Buy It “Your campaigns are only as good as your list,” says Debbie Farese, Senior Manager of Product Marketing for HubSpot. And if you really want your list to pull its weight, it needs to be filled with qualified leads. So while it might be tempting to get the instant engagement push that buying a contact list can give you, there’s no point in doing so if those leads aren’t interested in what you’re selling. Source: HubSpot 3. Put Strategy First It’s difficult to maximize the utility of your marketing automation platform if you’re not sure exactly what you’re trying to achieve. Defining a clear strategy is key at each step of the process, from choosing your best software option to tracking and analyzing your customer data. The more you understand what you’re looking for, the more you’ll be able to steer your marketing automation in the right direction. Source: Martech Advisor 4. Produce Great Content Marketing automation can exceed your expectations when it comes to disseminating content, but it can’t create the content for you. You’ll still need to plan, create, and refine the content that you share with your leads, with a focus on quality and originality. Not only will you get more benefits out of your marketing automation platform, you’ll also get more conversions. Source: ActiveCampaign 5. Offer Training Whether your marketing team is five people, two people, or just you, it’s important that you provide training on how to use the platform you’ve put in place. Even the best marketing automation solutions might not be very intuitive to use, and if you don’t get an advanced overview of what you’re working with you’ll probably end up misusing or neglecting key features. Pretty much all vendors offer training services, so talk to your sales rep about getting set up. Source: Act-On 6. Think Agile Instead of trying to set up everything at once, start with just one or two processes and build from there. The agile method of marketing is based on data — not assumptions. By executing a small number of strategies and then tracking the data for actionable insights, you create campaigns that are more likely to drive conversions and engagement, and you avoid some of the common mistakes that you might otherwise end up repeating from campaign to campaign. Source: Forbes 7. Segment Your Contact List Segmentation is instrumental in effective marketing automation. By dividing your contact list into targeted subsets, you ensure that you’re reaching the right people with the right message at the right time—and that’s crucial if you want to convert. Source: Soffront 8. Develop Customer Personas Speaking of segmentation, it helps to assign personas to each subset list. Customer personas are a solution to today’s marketing challenge of needing to address each customer personally but not having the time to write out individual messages. When developing yours, try to get as specific as you can, identifying not just the core demographics of certain types of customers but their pain points, behaviors, and objectives. Source: Small Business Trends Automation is still a relatively new player in the marketing game. While we can’t predict exactly how it will change and evolve over time, we can tell you that following the tips above will help you get more value of your automation platform — regardless of how it functions. Use your vendor as a resource to help you navigate the platform as efficiently as possible, and if something isn’t working right, look for ways to improve your own processes first, instead of giving up on the system.


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11 Ways to Upgrade Your Email Marketing Content

11 Ways to Upgrade Your Email Marketing Content

Practical Marketer • November 7, 2019

With new marketing channels popping up regularly, email marketing may seem like an outdated technique. Despite this, email marketing remains the channel with the highest ROI per marketing dollar and is an incredibly effective tool for everything from direct and effective sales to growing social media audiences. The main thing that has changed over the years in email marketing is the scope of the emails themselves (and the ability to get placed in the inbox). While some businesses still use email to deliver promotional or sales-y content, the most successful marketing emails are focused on valuable, educational content. It’s the content of your emails that gets people interested in subscribing regularly in the first place. Email can also serve as a great way to lead people from being simply aware of your company to being brand advocates. Here’s how to upgrade your content to make email marketing work efficiently. Put more work into it The first step toward creating better content is simply stepping up your game. You may think that people are now too engaged in 140-character Twitter posts to have the time to read anything for longer than a few seconds. That’s simply not true. Posts that contain over 3000 words show remarkable results in every metric from social media shares to attracting traffic. Invest more time in each email. Even though it’s more time-intensive to create them, the benefits will pay off later. Don’t just go for the length, go for the detail in the way you describe the topic at hand. The easier it is to consume and the more information there is about the topic, the better. Read existing articles on the topic you’re covering and make sure the content you’re creating is both detailed and actionable. Use editing and proofreading services like Grammarly, Typely, or any professional content writing service to make your content higher quality. Here are some ideas for formats you can implement in your email marketing. Guides While some industries are harder to create interesting, creative content for, downloadable guides are a format that seem to work for everyone. Whether you’re dealing in software development or home repairs, there’s always something to write a how-to guide on. Guides or e-books naturally lend themselves to long-form content. If something requires a guide to understand how it’s done, you’d expect it to have enough intricate details to explain at length. Checklist Checklists, while often short and sweet, can be a long-lasting resource for your prospects and customers. The most successful ones will become a go-to tool for your subscribers.  The best way to approach checklist creation is to identify key processes and tasks that people in your industry struggle with and to create a detailed breakdown, explaining each step. It doesn’t need to look fancy, but make sure it’s printable if you truly want it to be an everyday resource for your contacts. Source: Totalhomeinspection.com Case study Case studies are a win-win for your subscribers and your business. Not only are they a fantastic brand awareness tool, but they do much of the research legwork potential customers might be doing before pulling the trigger on making a purchase from your business. Case studies make great email content because they’re promotional without being outright sales-focused, and they give prospective buyers a look into what a partnership with your organization might look like.  E-book No, you don’t actually need to a 400 page book and publish it on Amazon. Sales and marketing e-books are typically anywhere from 10 - 30 pages (depending how detailed the information you’re providing is). Think about it as a long blog post taken to the next level. Since there’s a finite number of topics you can cover in such a long format, you’ll want to be sparse on e-books. The ones you do create, however, should be valuable enough to contribute to your email marketing campaign popularity and the success of your website as a whole. Be ready to spend several weeks creating an e-book. You may also hire a designer to do some illustrations for you. That’s not a must, but a good bonus. Even the biggest companies can keep their design minimal like Ahrefs here. Source: Ahrefs Ready-made content Long, detailed content keeps readers interested when they can gain a ton of benefits from reading it. Give them even more benefits if you want to keep your audience engaged. Share ready-made content in your email marketing campaign to increase traffic and social media shares. Ready-made content is something your reader can directly use in their job or hobby. Here’s what you can create. Template Templates are a great way to give your subscribers something of value that they can tailor specifically to their needs. The most commonly offered marketing template is the email template. An HTML email template may be useful for hundreds of people, and all they have to do it just change the text and insert their own images. Source: Benchmarkemail An email template can be even easier like this Quicksprout example. It’s a textual template that users can make their own by filling in the blanks. Source: Quicksprout You can do the same with any type of resource and share it in an email marketing campaign. Industry-specific resources You can create a guide on an industry-related topic in almost any walk of life. It’s much harder with resources, though. Every industry has its own set of resources that may be useful for the public. If you’re a software development company, you can share snippets of code that can later be used by other developers. A carpentry company can share specifications for a DIY bench. A web design company can create a set of icons and give them away for free. Think of a resource that is relevant to your industry and invest some time in creating it. Change the medium Content is king, but not all content has to be in a written form. Consider changing the medium to attract more people. Here are your two main options when it comes to diversifying your content. Podcast You’d be surprised by the fact that some people who don’t have the time to read an article for 10 minutes will gladly listen to a 30-minute podcast. Whether they’re listening to it during their commute to work or after working hours when they’re tired of staring at a screen, some people want to listen to what you have to say instead of reading it. Considering the fact that podcasts now show up in Google results, this medium is becoming even more lucrative and potentially beneficial for marketing strategies. Infographics You may be tired of infographics because for some time they’ve been everywhere. It’s not because they’re not useful, however, the infographic format became too popular and too many people jumped on the bandwagon. Now that the infographic hype seems to be passing, you can revisit the medium without being viewed as another company that contributes nothing with their visual media. Focus on the data instead of graphics, and your newsletter subscribers will appreciate the ability to see complex ideas in an easily digestible form. You don’t even have to provide proprietary data. Presenting old but reliable research can work as well. Source: Visual.ly Gather your own data Now that you know the basic content formats that work well in email marketing campaigns, here’s a great tip that will take it to the next level. It will undoubtedly take a bigger monetary and time investment, but it’s worth it. Gather your own data. It’s okay to do research and aggregate complex ideas into one resource, but what is more compelling than presenting your own research? It will give a fresh perspective on the topic you’re covering and establish you as an expert in the industry. Add unique content How do you motivate people to subscribe to your newsletter? You give them an incentive they can’t refuse. You offer unique content for newsletter subscribers, content that doesn’t appear on the website. The only way to get that unique information and resources is to be a subscriber. It’s a small sacrifice since your website users will miss out on the content, but it’s worth making. It will help the email marketing campaign become even more successful and make newsletter subscribers feel special. Want to have it both ways? You can mention the unique content on the website but make it accessible only by email. Ask users to subscribe before they can get it. Make it personal Not all emails should be serious, formal, and straight to the point. If your audience is okay with a bit of personality in their inbox, give them a glimpse into your inner workings as a company. Share a photo from the office, tell a bit about one of your employees, or share a story of how you solved a problem at work. These things can provide necessary relief from the stream of business emails your subscribers get every day and can help them see you as a group of people, not just as another company on the web. Conclusion Email marketing isn’t just about sending the right emails to the right people. It’s also about the content you send to them. “Give value for free” is probably the shortest way you could describe what creating successful content for email marketing entails. You have to invest more time into creating content in different formats and make it as useful for the reader as possible. With these tips in your arsenal, your email marketing campaign will no doubt be a success!


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Growing Your Email List With Chatbots

Growing Your Email List With Chatbots

Practical Marketer • October 28, 2019

As chatbots continue to grow in popularity, especially with the onset of AI-backed capabilities, their potential applications in the business realm continue to grow. According to Gartner, 55 percent of all companies will be using chatbots by 2020. Forrester research describes chatbot growth as “crazy,” stating, “Bots are easier to develop than apps, and they’re a way to reach customers where they spend a majority of their time.” One of the most pertinent uses for chatbots at the moment is in the automation arena. Bots are able to autonomously handle customer service conversations, answer questions, and gather useful consumer data. One of the most important components of this data is email. Although it may seem a bit old school, email marketing is still alive and well, and chatbots are one of the easiest and most effective ways to nurture that invaluable email list. Why Use Chatbots? Chatbots have become wildly popular, with more than 1.3 billion people using Facebook messenger bots alone. Drift’s State of Conversational Marketing report found people from all 195 countries use online chat. What explains this popularity? By all accounts, a chat is more convenient, faster, and more readily available than any other form of communication. As Forrester noted, these bots exist in places where customers are already spending a majority of their time — on social media and online. This makes chatbots an easy way to connect with users on a more personal level and provides them with a satisfying interaction. Chatbots are a great way to get your foot in the door and obtain email addresses to add to your subscriber list. If you’re not using chatbots to propel your email marketing campaigns forward, you might be missing out on a lot of potential leads. Why Use Chatbots? A quick note here - while chatbots are absolutely great in growing your email list, running a bot for the sole purpose of gathering emails can come across as pushy. The primary objective of your chatbot must be to provide customer service or gathering user\'s feedback. Capturing email addresses of your users is thus a desirable outcome of the value you provide. How Do You Get the Email Addresses? According to Optinmonster, “Email is a very personal thing. People aren’t going to give you their email address without a good incentive.” Chatbots allow you to target specific audiences and provide them with valuable, customized information. However, simply starting a chat is no longer enough to get users to hand over their email addresses. Using the “in case we get disconnected” line doesn’t cut it anymore. Users need to be wooed through relevant information, entertainment, and enticement. Provide Users With An Incentive In the digital marketing world, email addresses are like currency. In order to get users to hand over their email address, you must provide something equally as valuable for them in return. Chatbots can offer incentives that may benefit customers, such as ebooks, quizzes, podcasts, exclusive members-only content, product demos, promotions, or even trial offers on products. For example, if you have a chatbot for a clothing store, it can provide specific information about certain items, as well as provide advice such as fashion tips. The chatbot could then offer additional incentives like daily outfit inspiration, special offers, and discounts for users who provide an email address. In doing this, the bots have provided customers with enough value to incentivize customers to hand over their personal information. Ensure Bots Do What They’re Built To Do It’s imperative that your bots do exactly what they’re programmed to do and provide relevant information and answers to customers. Each message is vital to successful interaction and can mean the difference between an engaged customer and a disinterested one. An important component to remember is that users opt for chat communication because it’s faster, easier, and more to the point. Complicated messages or too many steps before addressing the main objective will likely disengage your customers. For example, the chatbot for Whole Foods Market is aimed at helping customers find recipes. The bots get right down to business, respond to their prompts, and drive the conversation to help users get exactly the kinds of food and recipes they’re searching for. The chatbot does what it’s supposed to do and aligns directly with the user’s expectations throughout the entire conversation. Don’t Ask For An Email Right Away The easiest time for a customer to say ‘no’ is at the beginning of a conversation. Don’t make the mistake of asking for an email address as soon as the conversation begins. Instead, genuinely engage with your users. An entertaining conversation can go a long way in gaining a user’s trust and keeping them interested until the right moment presents itself. Create bots with personality, like this sassy National Geographic chatbot. The longer a customer spends chatting with your bots and building a relationship, the more likely they’ll be to provide their email address at the end of the conversation. Begin by having bots ask for a user’s name and preferences, create an entertaining dialogue, and slowly work your way up to the big ask: the email address. Once customers have said yes to other questions and have engaged positively with a chatbot, they’ll be much more inclined to keep saying yes. Now That You Have The Emails, Where Do They go? Receiving email addresses is the most difficult task. But, once you have them, it’s important to have a system in place that will help you organize and use them effectively. There are many programs available that can integrate with Facebook messenger or other chatbots to funnel directly into creating automated subscriber lists. With the interconnection between these programs and your chosen email marketing platform, chatbots can build your subscriber list and send emails for your campaigns automatically. Platforms like Benchmark have the ability to take the emails your bots have gathered, sort through them, and send emails at the most optimal time, providing value to each user and ensuring the email addresses stay on the list rather than having users ask to be unsubscribed. Closing Thoughts Chatbots are a way to speak with customers in a setting where they’re already comfortable. The capabilities embedded into these bots allow them to intuitively interact with users, creating an overall positive customer experience. They create a perfect opportunity to foster a personal connection with users and collect valuable customer data, especially emails. In doing so, chatbots provide the perfect way to grow your subscriber list.


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5 Ways to Make Your Marketing Emails More Personal

5 Ways to Make Your Marketing Emails More Personal

Practical Marketer • October 24, 2019

Can you guess how many emails were sent in one day in 2018?  Would your guess be in the thousands or millions? Surprisingly, it is actually in the billions. In one day in 2018, there were 281 billion emails sent and received. Even more surprising is that number is expected to increase to 347 billion in just three years.  If your company is sending out marketing emails and you were already wondering how to stand-out, that number might not be what you want to hear. However, the good news is there are plenty of tips and tricks you can incorporate into your content to get noticed, read, appreciated and convert leads into customers. Personalize Your Subject Line  The first way is an old trick, but one that is still useful to marketers. If you made sure to get everyone’s first name when building out your email lists, this is one you can start using today. Now, you may be wondering if this still gets higher open rates, since you likely aren’t the first person your customer has seen add their first name to a sales email.  According to Experian, your customers are 29% more likely to open your email if their name is used. The study showed that personalized emails generated six times higher transaction rates. This is one of the quickest and easiest ways to get noticed and make your customer feel like you know them by name.  Take a Conversational Tone  Knowing what to say is the first part to writing a great email and the way you make it more personalized, is knowing how to say it. The tone of your messaging is an important way to stand out and shouldn’t be overlooked. Many sales emails that go out to inboxes everywhere take a more formal or sophisticated approach. That is not how people usually talk to their friends. You don’t have to make the tone too informal, but it is necessary to take a conversational approach to your content.  The easiest way to do this is to write like you would if you were talking with some friends. For example, use the word “it’s” instead of spelling out “it is” because when you read it out loud it usually sounds more awkward and not how people normally talk. You can also use words like “just” or even add in some emojis to make the email more fun to read. Let’s face it, people enjoy opening and reading emails from their friends more than they do from businesses.  Use Humor in Your Emails  On the note of emojis in marketing emails, another way to make an email more personalized is by adding in humor or some well-loved puns. Again, this is how friends talk to each other and it makes your content that much more fun to read. A lot of fashion and retail marketers are catching on to this trend and we aren’t mad about it. If you are going to get an email in your inbox in the morning, wouldn’t you rather it be something that brightens your day or makes you smile? Brands are now seen as more humanized, doing social good and they want to be seen as more approachable. They want more people to share their content, forward their email to a friend or post about them on social media. Brands want to build trust and they see the value. It’s a risk, but what if it’s one your competitors are willing to make? Of course, every marketing email message is different, so always make sure it is appropriate.  Segment Your Email Lists  Another great way to make your emails more personalized and feel less like a bulk email, is segmenting your lists. This isn’t something marketers always take the time to do, but it’s an important step if you’re also hopefully using email link clicks for tracking your leads. There are a few ways to segment your lists, but a popular one is by the target audience. If your company sells to a few different markets, organizing your lists will help you tailor your email marketing content. Let’s say you work with multiple industries, by segmenting your lists this way, you can write an email just focused on the interests and problems your product solves, just for them. When you are writing content for the masses, it’s more difficult to make your point. Use Automation to Send the Right Message at the Right Time Marketing automation doesn’t have to mean the end of email personalization. With so many affordable marketing automation platforms on the market, businesses that aren’t utilizing this technology are falling behind. Keep an eye out for specific buying signals, such as a demo request, email engagement or pricing page visit, and use those signals to trigger intelligent automations that will make your prospects feel like you’re reaching out to them on a one-to-one basis.  As a small business, you don’t have time to send one-off emails to prospects all day every day. Marketing automation allows you to put the processes in place to ensure that your outreach is nurturing leads through your sales funnel and never letting prospective customers fall through the cracks.  Email personalization is key to getting noticed in the overcrowded inbox. Using the tips we mentioned above, you can increase your odds that your prospects will open and engage with your emails – even when their inboxes are flooded.


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8 Email Deliverability Tips To Help You Get to the Inbox in 2020

8 Email Deliverability Tips To Help You Get to the Inbox in 2020

Practical Marketer • October 21, 2019

Wouldn’t it be great if every email you sent actually ended up in your intended recipients’ inboxes? While that’s certainly the goal when it comes to email marketing, making your way into someone’s inbox is often a lot easier said than done — especially with today’s rigorous spam filters. Okay, we know what you’re thinking: But I’m not sending spam. And while we get it, your standard email provider is usually more likely to err on the side of caution when choosing which messages make their way into the inbox and which messages fall into the dreaded spam box. It’s important then to optimize your emails so that they don’t set off any red flags, and we’ve got just the tips to help you do that. Read on for eight email deliverability tips that will help your marketing emails end up where you want them to. 1. Focus on Opt-In Subscribers It’s not just your conversion rates that suffer from emailing recipients who have not opted in to hearing from you. Email providers have pretty strict terms of service, especially when it comes to business communications. If you rent, buy, or otherwise obtain email addresses without direct permission, there’s a strong chance you’re going to get flagged as spam. 2. Clean Up Your Contact List Emails sent to non-deliverable addresses will result in a bounce back, and your bounce rate is one of the determining factors that email providers and internet service providers look at when qualifying your message. Fortunately, most email marketing providers make it easy to see which addresses are resulting in bounced messages. Be sure to check your contact list regularly for non-deliverable addresses and delete them so you’re not inadvertently increasing your bounce rate. 3. Target Your Messages Today’s consumers want to hear from brands, but they also want those messages to be personalized to their needs and preferences. Instead of mass-messaging your entire contact list with an email (which could end up in people flagging your message as spam or flat-out unsubscribing from future communications), segment your contact list so you only send recipients messages that they really care about. 4. Authenticate Your Domain Let email providers know that you’re actually who you say you are by authenticating your email domain. Taking this important step will help you jump the hurdles that providers put in the way of messages to ensure that they’re warranted, wanted, and don’t contain harmful material. To do this, we recommend authenticating through two different portals: the Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM), both of which will go a long way toward proving the legitimacy of the emails that your business sends. 5. Optimize Your Subject Lines Considering that 69% of email recipients report an email as spam based on its subject line alone, it pays to be careful when crafting yours. Some best practices for effective email subject lines include keeping it short, avoiding all-caps and exclamation points, and avoiding common spam phrases like “risk free” and “satisfaction guaranteed.” Make your subject lines personal too, since personalization has been shown to increase open rates.   6. Skip the Attachments Hackers and virus-spreaders often use email attachments to gain access to unsuspecting users’ computers. As such, any savvy emailer is going to know to avoid attachments in messages from senders they’re not completely familiar with, and email providers are going to consider an attachment a possible red flag. If you want to direct your recipients to a certain asset, opt for a link instead. 7. Keep Your Message Clean and Professional If you don’t want your email to be marked as spam then don’t write like a spammer. This includes being careful to avoid typos and grammar mistakes, as well as sticking to standard font types, colors, and sizes. This is good for asserting your authority in general, both with the people who are receiving your messages and the email platforms delivering them. 8. Make It Easy for Recipients to Unsubscribe Just because you don’t want anyone to unsubscribe your email doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t make it easy for them to do so. Providing a clear “unsubscribe” link in your email helps designate it as legitimate. It’s also legally required in most countries, including the United States (see: CAN-SPAM Act). This link should be obvious, actionable, and easy to find on the page. In addition to being necessary for marketing compliance, it also makes sure that if someone doesn’t want to hear from you anymore they opt out instead of marking you as spam. There’s no single magic way to get your emails into the inbox every time (if there was, we promise we would tell you!). What there is, however, are best practices that can help all marketers increase their email deliverability rates. Follow the tips above and you should end up where you want to be more often than not.


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6 Mistakes You’re Making With Your Mobile-Friendly Email Campaign

6 Mistakes You’re Making With Your Mobile-Friendly Email Campaign

Practical Marketer • October 16, 2019

Smartphones are ubiquitous in today\'s society. Most people can\'t imagine going more than a few minutes without having their phones nearby. The widespread adoption of these and other mobile devices is good news for marketers who want to reach out to people in an accessible and effective way. You can send emails that people read and otherwise engage with on their mobile gadgets. That matters because: Many people receive push notifications from their email providers and are alerted to new messages immediately. Individuals often carry their mobile devices wherever they go and may be more likely to read content during downtime, such as while waiting for appointments. More internet traffic comes from mobile devices than desktop computers. Handheld devices let people engage with content during times when computer usage may be unfeasible, such as during road trips and at concerts, festivals and sporting events. Most of the world\'s population will solely use smartphones for internet access by 2025. You cannot ignore the rising popularity of mobile devices and should make creating effective campaigns for people who use them a priority. However, even carefully planned mobile-friendly email campaigns can backfire. Here are six blunders mobile-centric marketers should avoid. 1. Showing Insensitivity to Events One of the best practices for email marketing is to connect content to well-known events. You could even do it in a broad sense by talking about summer getaways when seasonal changes bring warmer temperatures, for example. However, trying to connect with people by talking about relatable things can also go wrong. Adidas learned that the hard way in 2017 when it sent out an email with the subject line, \"Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon!\" Ordinarily, that would have been an effective way to reach out to people who trained for the big event and wanted to treat themselves to some new athletic gear. However, Adidas overlooked the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings that killed three people and injured hundreds of others. Although several years passed between the time of that attack and when Adidas set the message, the brand received flack on Twitter for its choice of words. [caption id=\"attachment_42254\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"956\"] Image Source: https://twitter.com/mikd33/status/854377690408906753/photo/1[/caption]   Adidas soon posted an apology on the social media platform and recognized the insensitivity shown in the subject line. [caption id=\"attachment_42258\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"935\"] Source: https://twitter.com/adidasUS/status/854422872944771073/photo/1[/caption]   Something that\'s both good and possibly bad about mobile email campaigns is that they can reach people all over the world in a matter of seconds. That\'s why you must be extremely careful to consider the possible ramifications of the words or phrases used, even if that means thinking about the consequences of common expressions. For example, people often say they survived a tough day at work, a drama-filled dinner with relatives or a marathon. Given what happened at the Boston Marathon in 2013, people were not ready to associate survival with the event — since some people there didn\'t live through it. 2. Subject Lines That Are Too Long or Overly Specific People may receive dozens or even hundreds of emails each day. If someone gets an email and immediately thinks, \"That doesn\'t apply to me at all,\" they\'ll likely get frustrated with the sender for cluttering up their inboxes. Sometimes, long or overly broad subject lines also get flagged as spam by email providers. The subject line above is an email sent to a person who signed up to earn money on the side by carrying out secret shopper assignments at local businesses. However, the requirements for qualified individuals are overly specific here — at least for a subject line. Participants must be within the given age range, plus be taking a trip to Arizona soon. Additionally, on a mobile device, the subject line got cut off after \"Help us.\" That means readers don\'t get to learn about the type of secret shopping opportunity, or how they could make more money by doing up to 12 assignments in a day, from the subject line alone. This email went to the spam folder even though the recipient signed up for the mailing list, too. It\'s difficult to say why that happened, but it could be that the two sentences in a row with exclamation points made the message seem like junk. You can avoid this mistake by making the subject line as brief and enticing as possible. Choose words to capture attention, and don\'t become so long-winded that people don\'t see most of the subject line in their email programs. Also, consider using segmentation to help people receive emails that apply to them. Going back to the screenshot example, a better approach would be to ask people how old they are when they sign up to receive messages from the company. Then, when the sender must recruit people who are a certain age, they could use segmentation to send messages only to people that fall within the desired group. 3. Too Much Data Without Supporting Visualizations Adding statistics to your emails can be an excellent way to position yourself as an authority or thought leader. However, readability is one of the hallmarks of a fantastic mobile email. Remember, people using smartphones or tablets digest the content on screens that are substantially smaller than what computers have. If they see huge chunks of text in an email, recipients will likely click out of it. However, data visualizations can make statistics easier on the eyes. In the business world, they support company leaders in making more confident conclusions about how to run their enterprises. Statistics show that 77% of organizations using data visualizations noticed improved decision-making. Visualizations apply to email marketing, too. If you\'re thinking about sending a data-heavy email, you might improve it by: Inserting an infographic that pulls the key points from a larger study Creating a pie chart that shows the top benefits people get from a product you sell based on a poll Including a line graph that illustrates the shifts in a trend over time Making a bar graph and using contrasting colors is another worthwhile method for email. Check out this example of a visualization that backs up the earlier information about how more people use mobile devices than desktops. It shows the email open rates for people on mobile or desktop platforms. [caption id=\"attachment_42257\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"949\"] Source: https://www.superoffice.com/blog/email-open-rates/[/caption] The company put this image in a blog post rather than an email, but you can immediately notice the eye-popping effects of selecting a red-and-blue color scheme. Visualizations make data easier to understand in most cases. However, for mobile specifically, long paragraphs full of statistics could overwhelm people as they read their emails. Think about using visualizations in an email to give a teaser of more available content. For example, you might provide a chart or two, followed by a link where people can download the full research paper containing the statistics cited in the email. 4. Using Clickbait Headlines Clickbait is headline content intended to get people\'s attention enough that they open the content and read further. Here are some examples of typical clickbait phrases and structures: This one food helped her lose 10 pounds in a month You\'ll never believe how much he saved on airfare with this trick The tax secret that led to a giant refund This common ingredient could help you fight diabetes The gadget that has everyone in the country talking Fight aging with this mind-blowing ancient remedy Clickbait headlines are familiar sights around the internet, but research shows they could decrease your email open rates. Using \"shocking\" and \"secret of\" in subject lines made people less likely to open them. It\'s also easier than you may think to emphasize shock value so much that it makes recipients feel frightened, then angry. See the email message below that BuzzFeed used to drive traffic to an article about people making mistakes on the job. [caption id=\"attachment_42256\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"949\"] Source: https://zapier.com/learn/email-marketing/email-marketing-mistakes/[/caption] The \"Hi, You\'re Fired\" subject line is enough to make anyone\'s stomach lurch with sudden dread. The BuzzFeed representative responsible for it confirmed that the message was one of the most-opened emails BuzzFeed had ever sent at the time. However, it\'s not difficult to see how using such a fear-inducing subject line could make people upset. They may even conclude that BuzzFeed betrayed their trust. Since distributing that email, BuzzFeed established a policy that focused on delighting readers first and foremost. It\'s best to steer clear of clickbait altogether in your mobile marketing campaigns. People are now so accustomed to it that it makes them weary. Moreover, the research above suggests it could make people less likely to open emails. If you do choose to use it, never use a strategy that makes you seem callous or out of touch with your users. It\'s OK to use urgency when warranted, such as when promoting limited-time offers. Just don\'t structure your headline to make people click out of anxiety or desperation. 5. Incomplete Content If you\'re working on a tight schedule or don\'t have enough team members to check emails before they go out, embarrassing oversights are more likely to happen. Recipients may think you\'re unprofessional or confusing. Take a look at this subject line from a band that sent out a message to tell fans about its upcoming tour. However, it falls short of the intended emphasis by merely saying, \"We are excited to get back on the.\" The \"We are excited\" part might make some people interested enough to click inside and read more. However, that\'ll likely only happen if they\'re devoted fans of the group who care about what happens in their career. If the subject line was complete, there\'s a strong chance it\'d make even more casual fans click to read more about the stops on the tour. Because this subject line example is not very long, this mistake was probably an oversight. Similar errors can happen if you include an image that should have an embedded link but doesn\'t. Humans always play a part in email distribution, which makes it impossible to avoid missing content altogether. However, you can substantially cut down on it by having a thorough quality control process. 6. Image-Heavy Emails Many people who receive emails on their mobile devices want to restrict the data used. Depending on the plans they have, using too much could result in them receiving surprisingly high bills. That\'s not to say you should avoid using images, but think about whether you could convey your message without them. Until now, we\'ve seen examples of what not to do. Here\'s how you can create an attractive email without the images that could eat up a person\'s internet data allotment. [caption id=\"attachment_42255\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"893\"] Source: https://www.practicalecommerce.com/Email-Marketing-3-Examples-Good-and-Bad[/caption] The branded header is the primary graphic element. Plus, several characteristics help this email stand out without lots of pictures: The email was sent shortly before weather experts forecasted a hurricane to hit the recipient\'s area. It had short, scannable paragraphs. A bulleted list breaks down the benefits of hiring Roto-Rooter. The Schedule Service button follows a call-to-action to encourage readers. See how you could craft an impactful email without letting large images do the talking? An approach like the one above is ideal when addressing mobile users. You tell them what they need to know without making them download pictures first. Making a Mobile-Friendly Email Campaign That Resonates The six mistakes mentioned here happen more often than people think, but you don\'t need to make them too. Use this list as a guide while creating and implementing a mobile-friendly email strategy people will love.


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6 Ways To Make Your Cart Abandonment Emails More Interesting

6 Ways To Make Your Cart Abandonment Emails More Interesting

Practical Marketer • October 14, 2019

Online shoppers are notoriously fickle, and why shouldn’t they be? There are so many options and avenues at their fingertips that there’s no sense in wildly committing to the first products they see. The multi-step checkout process allows them to toy with potential purchases — chalk certain items down as likely buys while they look around for alternatives. From the standpoint of a seller, of course, this can be extremely frustrating. Just when you think you’re on the verge of making a sale — a site visitor having heaped their cart with products and taken the first step in the checkout phase — it all goes up in smoke. The interested party disappears from the site, leaving behind all those items. To combat this, every sensible online merchant automates cart abandonment emails to trigger when this happens. The goal? To tempt back the near-misses and turn those abandoned carts into sales. But they’re so common that they easily get dull and predictable. If what’s on your site didn’t do enough to hold someone’s attention, you won’t get anywhere with a boring email. So, if you want to optimize the results you get from your cart abandonment email campaigns, you need to make them more interesting. Here are 6 ways to do just that: Reiterate the Main Selling Points Very commonly, cart abandonment emails will simply list the items left behind and advise that they’re still on offer — handy for prospective buyers who simply got distracted and forgot to finish their purchases, but not much use to those who actually decided against buying (for whatever reason). It makes no sense to simply repeat a failed tactic. Regardless of the reason behind an email recipient failing to complete their order, you’re best served adding the big selling points for the listed products to their email. If they were already sold on them and simply had to leave for some emergency, the extra rhetoric won’t discourage them from continuing, and if they left because they decided otherwise, seeing the benefits clearly restated might just convince them that they were wrong to leave. Throw In Some Small Incentives There’s no shortage of competition in the eCommerce world, so retailers need to work extremely hard to stay viable. This tends to result in similar prices across the board — going too high will run you out of contention (people can easily shop around to find cheaper listings) while going too low will destroy your profit on items with razor-thin margins to begin with. The good news about that is that even a very modest discount can often be enough to convince someone to complete an order, particularly when it’s offered out of nowhere in a cart abandonment email. Or you could provide a different kind of incentive: a free gift included with the order, for instance. Be sure to make your presentation optimally appealing! Tell a Creative Story Most eCommerce site copy comes across as fairly generic. You have basic product details, key features, customer reviews, warranty details, and relevant images. The persuasive burden for a given listing is placed on the visual presentation in combination with the innate appeal of the product — which means that two websites offering the same item will have very similar pages. But you don’t have to settle for that, particularly in your cart abandonment emails. Even if you’re reluctant to get too creative with your on-page copy (perhaps fearing the consequences for SEO), you can easily get more relaxed with your email copy. Allow some whimsy to creep in. Tell them how sad you are that they didn’t complete your order and that your adorable office puppy is looking heartbroken. A little humor (executed well) can really get people on your side, leading them to want to support your brand with their patronage. Lean on FOMO Elements Someone looks at the products on your site, nearly buys them, then decides against it. There’s clearly no rush driving their actions (at least pertaining to your site in particular). If you email them to say something that effectively amounts to “Hey, these items are still here! You forgot them!” then you’re not changing that. You can change this using FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), the rhetorical powerhouse that readily compels us to take action because we’re worried that something great will pass us by. Instead of just listing the left-behind products, show their stock levels too, or simply note that they’re going quickly (even if they’re not). Lead the recipient to believe that their opportunity to buy isn’t indefinite. If they don’t act soon, their time will run out. Alternatively, Play It Cool FOMO is strong, but it doesn’t always work. It’s really a hard-line gambit: if they’re really on the fence about wanting the item, the effort to hurry them may well cause them to conclusively decide against it. But that’s not the only negative effect it could have, because it might also lead them to dislike your business in general. People don’t like feeling hurried. So if it’s more fitting of the circumstances, you can take the opposite tack and play it cool. Instead of leading them to think that they need to decide immediately, let them know that there’s no rush. They can change their mind whenever they want, and the great products (and great offers) will be there when they’re ready, no matter when (or how) they want to buy from you. After all, assuming you’re using a multi-channel eCommerce platform, there’ll be nothing stopping them from changing their mind in the middle of the night and ordering from their phone through a chatbot in a messaging application (unlikely, perhaps, but completely possible). This works as a display of confidence, shifting their perception of the situation and (possibly) driving them to want the products again. Think of a child refusing to do something they enjoy because their parent ordered them to — once that pressure goes away, they can make a free decision and follow their personal preferences. Recommend Some Comparable Items Suppose that nothing you do in your email, from restating the benefits of the abandoned items to offering a discount, has any effect on the recipient’s inclination to buy. They already made their mind up about those items, firmly concluding that they were no longer interested. But that doesn’t mean they lack interest in comparable items — maybe they just read some reviews and concluded that those specific products weren’t worth buying. To cater to this, try listing some recommended products along with the abandoned items. If the stats of your online store show that 40% of the people who view a particular laptop go on to buy a totally different laptop, then that’s an obvious inclusion in a cart abandonment email to someone who left that first laptop in their cart. Bonus: Get the Right Automation Tools Even if you have a fool-proof strategy for reigniting the interest of abandoned cart shoppers, you need the right tools to pull it off. Sign up for a free Benchmark Email account to test out our light email automation and learn how you can automate email follow-up and turn abandoned carts into fresh sales for your business. Sending cart abandonment emails isn’t enough in itself to make the most of your near-misses. You need to take the time to optimize them, setting them apart from those of your competitors — and these 6 tactics will help you do just that. (originally published on March 21, 2019)


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The 10 Best CRM Tools for Small Business

The 10 Best CRM Tools for Small Business

Practical Marketer • October 11, 2019

One of the most important parts of your business is your relationship with your clients. As your business grows, so does the volume of relationships you need to manage. While at first, one-off emails, various databases, or paper spreadsheets can do OK at keeping your customer data within reach, as your business blossoms, so do your needs for a toolset that’s more robust. Customer data is only useful if it’s being utilized. Once you get to the point that you can’t hold your client information in your noggin or in an arm’s reach, it’s time to go digital.  A small business CRM is a critical piece of software that will keep all your client information in one place. Some offer more tools that are related to sales, some offer more marketing reporting, but all offer the basic functionality of customer information management. Let’s look at ten of the best CRM tools that are perfect for small businesses.  Hatchbuck Hatchbuck is a sales and marketing tool that helps you from the moment you capture a lead until you close a sale. Not only is the price point small business-friendly, but Hatchbuck’s platform includes a CRM that allows you to easily see client activity, track leads, and keep your information organized. With an all-in-one marketing platform, Hatchbuck also offers email marketing and automation that integrates directly with your CRM to easily manage all customer and prospect communication in one place. The platform allows users to automate marketing efforts with intelligent actions and keeps more opportunities on the path to conversion. Price: Starts at $39/month and scales up based on contacts, emails sent, and users. Billed semi-annually. [caption id=\"attachment_41696\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"1166\"] Image courtesy of Nimble[/caption] Nimble Nimble is a CRM that works inside of your inbox, whether you’re using Office 365 or Gmail. It allows you to manage contacts, deals and company records seamlessly inside of your existing workflow. Their all-encompassing dashboard lets you see exactly what’s happening with your business at all times – from managing deals and tasks to keeping track of upcoming events and opened emails.  Price: Starts at $19/user per month, billed annually. Hubspot CRM Hubspot is a popular free CRM for small business that features a decent set of tools to help your business manage its contacts, tasks, marketing efforts, customer feedback, sales, and customer service initiatives. The basic version of their CRM is free, but more robust options come with a cost. Never-the-less, Hubspot remains a popular option for small and medium-size businesses with basic CRM needs. Price: Basic CRM is free; other tools vary by volume, tool type, and bundling. [caption id=\"attachment_41702\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"800\"] Image courtesy of Dubsado [/caption] Dubsado Dubsado is a newer CRM on the scene. They bill themselves as a business management solution that allows more than just customer relationship management. Dubsado features tools to easily communicate with your clients, create automated workflows, view leads, track financial goals, and even book appointments. It’s a software designed with small businesses in mind. For the CRM side of their business, their interface is sleek and simple with easy to use lead capturing, project management, and client portal features.  Price: Dubsado has a free trial and is only $35/month for unlimited clients and projects.  [caption id=\"attachment_41695\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"1382\"] Image courtesy of Agile[/caption] Agile CRM Agile CRM is an all-in-one CRM solution that lets users manage their sales, marketing, and service initiatives in one software solution. They are a cloud-based SaaS system that can be easily used on both a desktop computer and mobile device. Their CRM provides robust solutions for sales, marketing, and customer service applications with features like contact management, one-click calling, appointment scheduling, helpdesk features, customer feedback, marketing automation, and a landing page builder. If you’re unsure of how to utilize their CRM to the fullest potential, Agile offers webinars to further educate their users. Price: Agile CRM is also one of the most affordable options on the list, starting with free memberships for low-volume users. [caption id=\"attachment_41701\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"2902\"] Image courtesy of Zoho[/caption] Zoho CRM Zoho offers a multichannel sales CRM for small businesses looking to cover all of their bases. They offer email, live chat, call management and social media integrations all in one application.They also offer a visual process management tool called Blueprint that allows users to build and automate their sales process. If you’re a little more tech-savvy and looking for a tool that does almost anything you could imagine, Zoho might be the right fit.  Price: Zoho’s professional plan starts at $20/user per month for unlimited contacts and scales up from there.  [caption id=\"attachment_41700\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"2092\"] Image courtesy of Pipedrive[/caption] Pipedrive As you might guess from their name, Pipedrive is a strong pipeline management tool. Their CRM offers activity and goal tracking, sales forecasting and reporting as well as email integration. Their platform focuses on activity-based selling so their tools are there to help you follow up consistently and automatically. Pipedrive’s visual sales pipeline makes it super easy to see exactly what action you need to be taking and when. Price: Their baseline Essential package starts at $12.50/user per month, billed annually and scales based on the features you need.  [caption id=\"attachment_41699\" align=\"alignnone\" width=\"1728\"] Image courtesy of Insightly[/caption] Insightly Insightly, a more B2C-focused CRM, helps you build better customer relationships through streamlined business processes, customizable dashboards and a plethora of integrations. With lead routing, project management and email tracking in one application, business owners can track customers from introduction to sale and beyond. Insightly also offers the ability to create custom apps for your business and to deploy them for employees across the web. Price: Starts at $29/user per month, billed annually. [caption id=\"attachment_41698\" align=\"alignnone\" width=\"3134\"] Image courtesy of Copper[/caption] Copper Copper’s CRM is specifically designed to integration with G Suite. With their deep integration, you never have to leave the inbox to keep tabs on contacts, deals or emails. Copper seamlessly integrations with every app in G Suite including Calendar, Data Studio, Google Docs and more. Another amazing feature is that Copper’s CRM is up and running in minutes and all of your data is automatically populated from Gmail. Who doesn’t love all of that time savings?  Price: Starts at $19/user per month, billed annually.  [caption id=\"attachment_41697\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"1456\"] Image courtesy of Zendesk Sell[/caption] Zendesk Sell Zendesk Sell, formerly Base CRM, is designed specifically with sales reps in mind. It gives a holistic look at the sales pipeline so your teams aren’t left in the dark when they’re out on the road. It also offers a support tool that lets your sales and customer service teams keep tabs on every customer conversation. Sell’s Smart Lists help your team easily segment and filter contacts so they’re sending the right message at the right time.  Price: Starts at $19/user per month, billed annually. A CRM can be transformative to your business. It can improve not only the efficiency of your sales staff but your entire team. Once your CRM is implemented, you’ll see that it is incredibly useful for sales, marketing, customer experience, and customer support. No matter the industry you’re in, if your paper files are stuffed to the gills with client files you can’t utilize, it’s time to switch to a CRM. The CRMs presented on this list all share a lot of similar features; where they tend to differ is usability and price point. The best way to select a CRM for your business is just to try a few out. Give them a shot and see which ones offer the most manageable learning curve and the data points that work for you. Considering there are small business CRMs available at every price point, there’s no reason to not utilize their benefits. Start trying a few out. You and your customers will both be happy you did.


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5 Foolproof Strategies to Help You Win More Email Subscribers

5 Foolproof Strategies to Help You Win More Email Subscribers

Practical Marketer • October 3, 2019

The only way to expand a business is to invest time and money into marketing. However, how do you know which channel should you choose? Among tons of online marketing tools available today, there is one that has been around for as long as the Internet has been in existence – email!  Almost every modern person uses email for communication, work, education, and personal purposes. Being so widely-spread, this is one of a few channels that allow marketers to reach out to millions of Internet users worldwide. Thus, using it as one of your primary channels for online marketing has its purpose and potential benefits for your business. On average, a person spends about 28% of their working time reading and responding to the messages. This fact makes it a powerful marketing tool available to every business at literally no cost. Key Concept of Email Marketing Whether you are a dedicated manager, marketer, or entrepreneur, the main goal that unites all these specialists is to nurture and grow their businesses. Luckily, in the 21st century, there are numerous opportunities for advancement. Among tons of different marketing strategies, email marketing is often being undervalued. Many entrepreneurs have probably heard of this technique. However, most of them don’t realize its full potential and have no idea how to use it to benefit their businesses. So, exactly what is email marketing? In simple terms, it\'s a strategy that allows you to promote your business by using email as the primary channel. Here are some of the key goals that email marketing meets: Boosting loyalty among current customers; Attracting new clients; Sharing news and updates related to your business; Increasing awareness of your brand; Cultivating trusted relationships with current and potential customers; Providing information about sales/sending coupons to clients, etc.  These are only some of the goals that can be easily met with the help of email and the correct marketing strategy. Nevertheless, why do entrepreneurs neglect using this handy promotion tool?  One of the main reasons is that many people believe that email marketing is outdated. Indeed, there are plenty of modern tools, but does this mean that your business doesn’t need a solid email marketing strategy? Absolutely not! There are many ways to add some creative flair to a good old newsletter. You may not even need to provide brand new content every time. Try compilation strategies like Moz does with their “top tens.”Another example is short daily overviews provided by the bunch of geniuses from theSkimm. Life is too short for longreads anyway, they say! Though, the guys from Longreads may not agree. Otherwise, why would people sign up for their “Weekly Top 5s” or “Monthly books\" newsletter with reviews, excerpts, author interviews, and conversations on craft?  Email marketing is valuable in so many ways. First of all, it is one of the few forms of direct marketing. It is also much more price-efficient than almost any other channel. What other benefits does it offer to your business? Here are a few key pros: It helps strengthen the brand’s relationships with customers and build trust. It allows businesses to reach a wider audience and attract customers since 94% of users use email on a daily basis in the studying process, at work, and at home. It offers a pretty high return on investment and simple tracking of this indicator. In most cases, unlike other strategies and tools, email marketing costs less while the results still prove great. Knowing about the fundamental concept behind email marketing and its key benefits, now, you are probably wondering how to integrate it into your business model. At this point, it is crucial to understand that this form of marketing can bring excellent results, but only with the right strategy! How to pick it and make the most of your email marketing campaign? Below, we have collected the most effective ideas to get you started! Rethink Your Offer Let’s start with the basics – the first thing that holds you back from getting more subscribers is a weak offer. An offer that converts is the most significant part of your campaign. Not giving a compelling proposition, you’re being penny-wise and pound foolish. Therefore, if you are hoping to get more subscribers, the first move should be to rethink the offer you make.  There are a few tips that can help you make the offer more attractive to a user. First of all, it is vital to know your audience well. The better you understand the needs of a potential customer, the higher are the chances that you can make an offer that satisfies one\'s needs!  How to find out what a target client wants? Unfortunately, there is no universal formula for success. The most effective way to reach this goal is to conduct in-depth research and then keep experimenting with the offer until you get those high conversions. Another handy tip is to offer your potential customers something for free. Regardless of age, nationality, sex, and other characteristics, all people love free content, and businesses can use this to their benefit.  Let’s consider a few working samples of such techniques. You must be well aware of different giveaways that are being continuously conducted by many brands and bloggers themselves on various platforms. Offering a free template, service, or product in exchange for a client’s email address, you get more subscribers and also a unique chance to let the customers try your service or product. However, not only free samples can attract people. It is also of crucial importance to remember that anyone becomes more open once we receive some personal touch rather than obviously an automated response or a mail created by a robot.  A good example of following such personalized strategy can be the one used by the guys from The Conversation. Instead of seeing not that attractive “uk.newsletter@theconversation.com” near the subject line of each email one gets to know the name of the person who wrote it. Here are the samples - Annabel and Joe from The Conversation:  Together with a catchy subject line, you just can\'t resist opening the email composed by their business and economy editor, Annabel Bligh or outreach manager Joe Abrams!    Make It Mobile-Friendly With the overwhelming number of mobile devices in use today, it is vital for businesses to build their campaigns and resources for both desktop and mobile users. According to this study by Litmus, almost 50% of all email opens are done from a mobile device. What does this mean for your campaign? This basically means that if you don’t make your newsletters mobile-friendly, you lose that 50% of potential customers and, thus, miss a big deal of potential revenue. Waving bye-bye to almost half of your earnings just because of how bad your newsletters look on a mobile device doesn’t sound like a fair deal. Respectively, the better your messages look on different devices, the more subscribers you can get. Thus, don’t underestimate the value of mobile-friendliness! Subject Lines Subject lines are the most vital elements of every email! This is the only thing a recipient sees prior to clicking on a particular message and, thus, a subject line pretty much determines whether a person will open your letter or not.  Here\'s an example of an attention-catching subject line. True kings of the Internet entertainment industry, BuzzFeed writers seem to know everything about a subject line and a call to action. It is almost impossible to ignore the email with the line “Hi, You’re Fired.\" How can you empower your strategy with the help of subject lines? Here are a few tips to follow: Make it engaging – start with a phrase or offer that will immediately evoke genuine interest in the recipient; Keep it concise – you will only need a small number of characters to grab the recipient’s attention, so be sure to keep the subject line straight to the point and concise; Make it stand out – marketers have long been using additional tricks such as the use of emojis in the subject line to make it more eye-catchy! Let Social Media Enter the Game As we mentioned earlier, 94% of all Internet users have an email and use it regularly, which makes it a perfect channel for reaching out to a broader audience. However, the best results can be reached only when you empower your strategy with additional marketing forces such as social media. In 2019, a regular user spends on average over two hours a day on different social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and others. Due to increasing popularity, social media platforms have became powerful sales and marketing tools for businesses. Now, these channels are on every marketer’s radar, so why lose an opportunity to benefit from them? By integrating popular social media links into your email marketing campaigns, you can complete two essential tasks: Spread the word about your brand Get more subscribers Both of these goals will allow you to reach the ultimate goals: growing your business and increasing revenue. Create the Right Conditions for Subscription Finally, the best strategy for success is simplicity! The more comfortable and simple it is to subscribe to your newsletters, the more people will do so. Therefore, our last tip is to create the right conditions for a quick subscription. How can you make it easy? We recommend businesses use these two simple tricks: Minimize the clicks. We all know how annoying it can be to have to click continuously in order to complete a specific action. Therefore, the fewer clicks a potential customer needs to make to subscribe, the better! Ideally, you should make a single-click subscription. Also, it is crucial to ensure that the button is noticeable. Make entering an email easy. When shaping the subscription form, you will face a few dilemmas, such as whether to ask just for an address or throw a few extra questions at your potential clients. The second option, without a doubt, will let you learn more about a new customer. However, it can be quite annoying and may scare some potential subscribers away.  Thus, we recommend businesses to hold on to their questions and make the opt-in form as straightforward as possible! Both these tricks work pretty well regardless of the business niche or profiles of your target customers. Final Thoughts Whether your potential customers are college students, retirees, young parents, or anyone else, email is a channel that different groups of people use on a daily basis. It is fair to say that every successful business should be running email marketing campaigns to expand reach and get better conversions! Creating a killer email marketing strategy isn’t that hard if you know your objectives and audience, and have a clear idea of what a good plan consists of. Hopefully, this article will help you get on the right track!


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