Series Posts: Practical Marketer

How Can I Create Successful Promotional Emails?

How Can I Create Successful Promotional Emails?

Practical Marketer • August 22, 2016

A promotional email is intended to get your audience excited about something. You may have a new service or product to announce or you may just have excess inventory to get rid of. The bottom line is you’re looking to promote something that will bring traffic to your store and accomplish awareness or overall sales increase. Below, I have outlined a few tips of advice to keep your subscribers engaged and to stay clear of the spam folder. Promotion and Strategy: 1. What are the benefits? Not for you, for your customer. Line up the reasons as to why your product or service exists. What problem(s) are you solving? When doing this, make sure your customer is at the center of it all. Explain what they can achieve with your product then include the how. Often times companies will get caught up in the features, bells and whistles. These are great and will help you stand out from your competition later, but will mean nothing to your audience at first unless it is tied to a solution to a problem they may have. Starting off with what is important to them (solving their problem) will catch their attention and keep them engaged to continue learning about how you will help them. 2. Be focused and consistent. The other day I received an email that was promoting a special to travel to Hawaii for 10 days in the subject line. When I opened the email, they were promoting 8 different travel packs. At first, this may seem like a great idea because the company used a catchy subject line to get me into an email to then just show me everything they have. The problem with this is that I have too many options to choose from. I opened the email because of a trip to Hawaii. If I can’t quickly go on to see the details of this trip, I will abandon the email. Use the email as the doorway to your landing page. Doing this, you are able to create a build up to a sale. The subject line catches my eye, the email provides important details that should motivate me to click on the call to action to buy on the website. Once on the website, you have much more real estate to complete the sale for the trip to Hawaii or even show similar travel options at strategic milestones of your sales path. These milestones can be divided based on location, number of days or even price. Make sure to set up your sales path in such a way that it allows you to identify these moments. Overall, be sure to stay focused on what you are trying to sell first. There is a reason you made the promotion in the first place right? As you do this, keep consistency from your subject line to the “Thank you” page. 3. Keep a smooth flow. You want to make sure your message is quick to read and has easy steps to follow. Too many clicks, page loads, waiting time or any other hurdle will reduce your promotion success rate. A few things to keep in mind for this: Make sure your email is scannable. People skim before they read. Titles are your best friend here. The steps to follow after the email should be extremely visible and easy to follow. If your subscriber thinks the process will take too long, they will abandon. If you need a longer process, think about how you can break it up into bite size pieces Taking this last point of bite size pieces, what are your side orders? Any restaurant will always ask, “Do you want a side salad with your steak?” / “Do you want fries with that?” Make sure this is setup as a side option and not part of the main sell. Separating this can easily generate more revenue for your business, just make sure to not distract from the main course. “Thank you for your purchase! Other customers who purchased this item also bought…\" Anything that isn\'t relevant to the promotion should be eliminated. If they opened your email, clicked on your website and are ready to buy, the last thing you want to do is distract them with “shiny red balls”. Let them purchase what they were interested in first and use follow-up emails to offer add-ons or other services later. 4. Calls to action. These should be to the point, actionable and directed to a landing page, not your homepage. If you are going to take the time and effort to do a promotion, don’t leave it halfway. Creating a landing page allows you to stay focused and gives a constant flow. Interrupting this flow will massively reduce your conversion rate. Think of it as if you were telling a story. You want to make sure the punch line aligns with the previous parts of the story. When it comes to placing calls to action on your email, it’s best to have one visible as soon as the email is opened and another one towards the bottom if you have a longer email. 5. Create Urgency. The other day I saw my girlfriend on her phone for over 40 min straight looking through this online store. I tried to catch her attention a few times and failed. As dinner was getting cold, I asked her what was so interesting on her phone? She had received an email from a local store that was offering all of their items at a 60% discount for the next hour. As she clicked on the call to action in the email, she was sent to a landing page with a giant timer on it. You can create urgency in many ways, the bottom line is to get their attention now because later ... they will be distracted by the next promotion. Tips to stay out of the spam folder: Subject Line Guidelines. Catch the eye but don’t stand out like a sore thumb. Writing IN ALL CAPS or with a too many exclamation points will only push your email into the spam folder. Emojis and symbols are trending, but should be used sparingly. Content in your Email. Avoid a lot of bright colors, too much bold font and make sure your emails are responsive. Less is more here. When adding images, be sure to respect the inbox and avoid large images. You want your email to load as fast as possible. Also, be sure to include image descriptions in case your subscriber has images turned off in their email client. Sending Your Email. This is a big one! Make sure to send your emails using your private domain (e.g. @yourcompany.com) Free email clients like Gmail, Yahoo, etc are used for personal use. Sending a promotional email from a personal email address will increase the chances of your email to land in the spam folder.


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How Do I Make Sure My Emails Are Mobile Friendly?

How Do I Make Sure My Emails Are Mobile Friendly?

Practical Marketer • August 19, 2016

How many of you start the day by waking up and then instantly start reaching for your phone (by reaching I mean if it’s not already under your pillow)? I know I do. Certainly the fact that our smartphones are such a huge part of our lives explains the data that shows that 56% of the email opens come from mobile devices according to Litmus. So yes, mobile opens are at an impressive 56% overall, with webmail taking 2nd place (22%) and desktop placing 3rd (17%). If you’re already thinking of ways to make your email be spotlight ready and most importantly results ready for mobile, here’s some advice you should follow. Before we start, I’d like to add a note here, as with everything: Data should be your ultimate decision-making aid before you go all out with these awesome improvements. You should check your email reports to study your subscribers and learn which device they are using the most to open your emails. Now let’s get started! Look Great Everywhere, Always Responsive design is such a trending topic and rightfully so. In short, what a responsive design does is display your content properly no matter how someone views it or the device that’s used to access it. Benchmark Email offers an Email Designer that automatically makes your emails responsive for you, so you don’t have to worry about more complex approaches like fluid or scalable design (apologies if that comes off as sales-y but I had to mention we’ve already done all the legwork for you). [caption id=\"attachment_2310\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"1400\"] An example of a single email design being displayed correctly on multiple devices.[/caption] Short Subject Lines The length of your subject line should be optimized for mobile no doubt, however, you should know that there’s a slight variation between email clients (iOS mail, Gmail, Yahoo Mail, etc.) and how much of your subject line they display. A common desktop inbox displays about 60 characters of a subject line while mobile applications show around 25 to 30 characters, So 40 characters or less would be a good rule of thumb for your subject lines. Make sure that the most important sentence in your subject like is placed first. [caption id=\"attachment_2311\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"1400\"] Subject lines well-crafted for mobile.[/caption] Visible Call To Action (CTA) Your CTAs should be visible enough for your subscribers to find and to act on them. Buttons are a bulletproof industry tactic that lets your subscribers engage with your campaigns easily. To make them mobile friendly place them near the top. Make sure that you convey why any subscriber should follow that link and use verbs that describe what they will do when they click it. [caption id=\"attachment_2312\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"1400\"] A simple and easy-to-click CTA.[/caption] No Tiny Fonts Reading a piece of text with a font under 12 pixels is already hard on a desktop for some people. A good rule of thumb would be to keep all your paragraphs and CTAs above that mark, making your content more readable on the smaller screens. Images Images and email are a vast subject and one you should review in order to obtain the best results. For mobile, you should be making sure that your images stay small in size (anything above 100kb will start adding uploading time). However, there are other factors to consider to start painting a picture: some email clients only display images from verified sending addresses and others just don’t display images automatically until permission to display them has been granted. Here’s a simple checklist to have images optimized for mobile devices: To work around the aforementioned image display situation include alt text (alternative text) for all images. You can do so through Benchmark’s Email Designer in the image option panel. This text should be a short description of  what the image is about. Even with alt text in place, don’t include CTAs or important messages in images. Instead, make your images a visual support for your text and the overall message of your campaign. Make sure your images don’t go over 600px wide. That width will make your email display correctly on mobile even if it isn\'t responsive. [caption id=\"attachment_2313\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"1400\"] Using images while keeping mobile in mind.[/caption] That’s All, For Now These 5 points should help you get started pretty easily on your newfound mobile strategy. However, if you have more questions or tips you think are important to share please add them below in the comments section.


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What Tests Are Good To Run On My Campaigns Before I Hit Send?

What Tests Are Good To Run On My Campaigns Before I Hit Send?

Practical Marketer • August 18, 2016

Tests like A/B testing can be invaluable to email marketers. However, A/B test is an umbrella term for when you are testing different elements within your email to compare and see which works better. But there are many things that you can test for in an email. Here are some good tests to perform before sending your email campaign: Subject Lines Time of Day Inbox Tests Subject Lines Subject lines are very important. Not only do filters look at subject lines for possible spam, but it describes what the email is about and entices the subscriber to open the email. So coming up with that perfect sounding subject line can be difficult. By performing an A/B test to test the different subject lines you come up with, the winning subject line will be sent to the majority of your list for an optimum open rate. So what would you open, a subject line like, “Benchmark Email Monthly Updates” or would you open, “Benchmark Email New Feature and Patch Notes?” Time of Day A common question we\'re often asked is when to send your email? Well, this largely depends on your contacts and their preference, useful information may be their occupation and their company location. Depending on the content of your email, you may want to send an email early in the morning as people are checking their work/business related emails. Or you may want to send catalogs during lunch or afternoon for a quick look at deals and some quick shopping. Since finding that good time largely depends on the type of email and content, again testing sending different times of the day, or even different days of the week. However, it’s very important to note before we start testing wildly. Best practice dictates that if you promise to send daily, weekly, or annual, you should always stick to that regimen. Trying to find a good time of day or week should not impede that promise. Inbox Tests This is a common test being done today but I thought I should bring it up because there are many ways to go about doing so. Some of us are aware that all the different browsers and software used to view emails can alter the email so that it can be displayed nicely on their end. However this sometimes causes problems, especially in the case of Microsoft Outlook, which uses the Word processing engine to render the email. It’s very important to invest time to testing what your emails would look like in at the very least the most common services like: Gmail Yahoo AOL Hotmail Outlook These 5 are the most commonly used public email services. By having an account for each of these services, you’ll be able to cover at the very least public domains. Another method to testing how emails would look is by using Benchmark Email’s Inbox Checker tool. This tool will allow the user to test the email on any computer operating system, browser, and service. Users can also test the email in a pass or fail type of test. The underlying theme to these tests how can we as the sender, better engage or get better visibility with the client. Subject lines are to catch the attention of the subscriber. Then there’s time of day so that we at least know they are awake when they receive the email!. Lastly, we need to make sure that the email looks good for that person, for whatever inbox they are using. It’s impossible to test and guarantee all emails, we definitely try our best.


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How Do I Know If I’m Sending Too Many Emails?

How Do I Know If I’m Sending Too Many Emails?

Practical Marketer • August 15, 2016

The answer to this question is a matter of actions speaking louder than words, but you may get some subscribers that tell you to, “stop sending so many  emails!” It makes it easier when they say that, but it won’t happen often. The far more likely scenario is that unhappy contacts in your list will hit the unsubscribe button and you’ll never hear from them again. So how do you know? A subscriber opting out of your email campaigns is not solely an indicator that you’re sending too often. Perhaps the content no longer resonates with them. Maybe they’re just trying to receive fewer emails. Or, if you haven’t been sending frequently enough, they may have forgotten they subscribed with you in the first place. Finding out how often you can send, and if it’s becoming too often, is a matter of trial and error. Test your sending frequency. As you increase the frequency of sending, eventually you’ll see an uptick in unsubscribes. That’s your subscribers speaking to you through their actions. Pay attention, and eventually, you’ll find the frequency sweet spot. That’s not the end of the story, though. Some subscribers may not mind hearing from you more often. However, once you start increasing the frequency and subscribers start heading for the exit, it’s possible to catch them on their way out the proverbial door. With the use of a preference center, those that were about to opt-out may decide that once per month is an acceptable amount to hear from you. Or maybe it’s once per quarter, weekly or any other amount of time that works for you and your subscribers. Giving them the option to dictate the sending frequency will save you some subscribers … and perhaps better inform you on how often you should be sending in general.


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How Can I Improve Click Through Rates In My Emails?

How Can I Improve Click Through Rates In My Emails?

Practical Marketer • August 12, 2016

The first step in trying to increase the Click Through Rate (CTR) of your emails is to properly segment your list(s). As mentioned in my previous blog post, on how to increase your expected ROI for email marketing, sending to the right people can really help you solidify your numbers and gain more accurate stats on your subscribers. Once you know you\'re sending to the interested crowd, here are six tips to help you get the highest Click Rate. 1. Straight To The Point - One Call To Action (CTA) Be sure to be clear and to the point in your emails. When a subscriber opens your email, the faster they understand it, the more likely they will be to engage with it. This means, don’t try to write a 12-page email and be sure to focus on one product or at least lean on a specific theme. You will overload the subscriber if you try to sell multiple products at once in an email. For example, if you have a shoe store, and you have different types of shoes to put on sale (eg. sport, dress, casual, etc.), you can create a focused email for each and send this to a segment of your list that would be more inclined to buy that type of shoe. Offering fewer options allows your subscriber to easily make quick decisions. Marketers that have done this have seen their CTR double. Don’t be afraid to be specific. By doing this, you will learn much more about your subscribers. If they don’t click on a focused email, you will learn more than if they don’t click on an email that offers all of your products. If you offer all of your products, they may not click simply because the email was too busy. 2. Visible CTA As soon as I open your email I should see the offer and the CTA. This means, test your email on desktops and mobile devices to ensure these areas are above the fold. As your subscriber skims through their emails, they need to see something that will catch their eye. I also recommend having multiple CTAs throughout your email, and again, make sure they are visible. Use our Button Feature to really make your CTA stand out! I highly recommend having at least one CTA above the fold and another one towards the bottom of your email. Imagine if you were selling backpacks and you had a special offer for one of your new models. This email could highlight the backpack at the top with a call to action. As you scroll down the email, you can point out specific features with a CTA right next to each feature. This will increase the chance of a click because as soon as a feature peeks your subscribers\' interest, they will have an easy button to click on to buy. Also, this will help you gain insights as to what your subscribers love most about your new product by seeing the feature that received the most clicks. 3. Make Your Emails Social This is something I think we are all aware of, but just in case, make sure you have social sharing options in your emails! Your subscribers are on various social channels, let them share your content on them. Even if it’s just the “Like” button, if they click on that, their friends will see that then they get curious and start sharing and before you know it, you are out of stock! OK, that may be an exaggeration or edge case, but look at how well social sharing worked for companies like Dollar Shave Club or Poo-Pourri. You won’t know until you try. 4. Local Offers Companies should keep in mind that, if given the choice, a customer is more likely to buy from a local store (even if it’s done online) because it gives the customer a sense of reach. If anything goes wrong, they feel as if a local store will be much more apt to correct it. If you have many stores, have them send to their subscribers locally and make sure they share that local pride! This will increase engagement and will also increase your brand loyalty. 5. Urgency When it comes to clicks, urgency works great! If a subscriber has a full month to click on your special, they are likely to forget about it. Time sensitive emails really separate the shoppers from the buyers. As a side note for this one, I sometimes see companies that send time sensitive emails with discounts. If the first one fails, another email is sent with a  more aggressive discount. Be careful doing this, since you don’t want to create a habit for your subscriber to always wait for the “next email” with the bigger discount. 6. For Bloggers, Don’t Give It All Up On The First Date Email is very much like dating. You need to test the waters before you go all the way. And trust me, your subscriber feels the same way. For this case, be sure to set a clear path as to why you are sending emails to your subscribers. The main idea is to get them on your page, right? If you offer all of your blog content in your email, there will be no reason to go to your website. Create an email with briefings of your posts for the week/month and add calls to action to continue reading. Just like for selling products, this will also give you a better idea as to what are the most common blogs your subscribers are interested in. It will also keep your emails clean and easy to read. I hope these 6 tips help you with your click through rate! Please feel free to post questions or comments below on experiences you have had in regards to your click rate.  


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What Are The Email Metrics I Should Be Paying Attention To?

What Are The Email Metrics I Should Be Paying Attention To?

Practical Marketer • August 8, 2016

There are a lot of metrics to look at when sending an email campaign to your contacts. The metrics you should pay close attention to are: Return on Investment (ROI) Conversion rate Click Through Rate (CTR) Unsubscribes Unopens A metric that is missing from this list that everyone focuses on is opens. Although opens are important, in that it tells us who had opened this email that we just sent, but that’s essentially all that it tells us. It doesn’t necessarily tell us if the campaign has been successful. It really just tells us who opened the email. The metrics that we’ll talk about have a different meaning than the opens. When you analyze these metrics they will not just give us more information, but will give us an idea of what to do next. Return on Investment Many ESPs do not report ROI, but it is one important metric that should be looked at. Time and time again, the channel that proves to be the highest return for every dollar invested remains to be email marketing. In Litmus’ State of Email Report, the ROI for email marketing in 2015 is 38-1. However, just having a high ROI doesn’t mean you are successful in your email campaign. What you want to see in your ROI Metric is that return growing or increasing from campaign to campaign. If you invest the same number, and your return is increasing, that is when you know you have a very successful campaign and strategy. At the sign of decreasing ROI, you know there is something wrong and that you’ll need to make an adjustment. Conversion Rate What is considered a conversion? Well, according to Marketing Sherpa’s Ultimate Email Glossary, it means the email recipient performing the desired action we the sender wanted them to perform. This ranges from just opening the email, clicking a link to visit your website or even making a purchase on your website. Whatever you consider is the conversion action, this conversion rate metric illustrates how strong your list is. Unlike ROI, which measures how successful an email campaign/strategy is, Conversion Rate shows us as a business how loyal and engaged your customers in the list are. Remember to not be fixated on opens and adjust your conversion metrics to show meaningful actions from your subscribers. Click Through Rate I personally mention Click Through Rate when talking with email marketers, because I believe it to be very important ... especially if you are in the retail business. Click rate or click through rate is immensely valuable when it comes to seeing the level of interest in a product. As a retail business, it is most likely you’ll have multiple products in an email that you are showcasing hoping for the conversion of clients looking at the product in the email to making a purchase on your website. Well, you can gauge the level of interest in each product you list in your email. Since effectively each link is a product, we can tell how interested people are by how many times they click on that single link. The technology is available for service providers to tell how many times a link has been clicked on. When you have a high click-through rate and an especially high rate of repeated clicks from a single person, you can safely assume that person either likes the product or has a big interest in it. Unsubscribes Unsubscribed contacts are not something a marketer wants to see. Especially in email marketing, when all of your contacts should be clean and want to receive your emails. However, humans are the finicky type and people do things for various reasons. It is expected to get a couple of unsubscribes here and there. So what should you be looking for in unsubscribes? When your contacts sign up to your list, a big question is why the have signed up in the first place. Were you running a promotion for signing people up? Were these signups from your website? When a person unsubscribes from your email, it’s because they lost that reason for staying. So when you start seeing more and more unsubscribes, you may want to stop and take a look at your emails to see what may be causing a high unsubscribe rate. So unsubscribes let us see cause and effect. Unopens This may seem like a hipster thing and instead of looking at the opens, looking at the unopens is even better. It’s better because when looking at the unopens, you can take direct action to improving your deliverability and make your list stronger. Unopens are unengaged contacts and they basically just take up space and cost you, the email marketer, money. So if you are consistently sending email campaigns that go unopened, you should definitely clean them from your list! Cleaning them does not mean deleting them off of your list, but at the very least you may want to place them on an inactive list. Legitimate unopened emails that sit in the inbox for a very long time are starting to become a bit of a problem, but not as bad as spam back in the day. However, they are cluttering the inbox and is becoming an issue in the eyes of some providers. It’s becoming such a problem that it even has a name, called Grey Mail. Grey Mail can lower your deliverability if you send too much of it. So if you start seeing a lot of unopens should trigger a process of cleaning out your list!


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How Should I Segment My Email List(s)?

How Should I Segment My Email List(s)?

Practical Marketer • August 1, 2016

List segmentation is a must in order to deliver the most relevant content to your subscribers’ inbox. It’s the best way to create a one-to-one feel for your marketing campaigns. So, how can you accomplish successful list segmentation? There are many ways to do it, but we’ll break it down into the ways in which you can achieve good list segmentation before and after the signup. Before Signup Segmenting your list from the start is the best way to go. That way, your subscribers are receiving targeted content from the very first email they receive. You can segment your lists using signup forms in two very effective ways. The first way is to use the data fields in your signup form. This could be by industry, location, gender or many other options. This information will help sort out new subscribers and will allow you to send great, relevant content to each segment. If you’re a clothing company, you can send the new men’s and women’s lines to the right gender. When segmenting by location, you can even time your campaigns to send at the time you’d like, such as 9AM, in each time zone. The other way to segment pre-signup is to allow individuals to select which list they’d like to join. The easiest way to explain this is with a Weekly or Monthly newsletter. Some subscribers may only want to hear from you once per month. Others would be excited to hear from you on a weekly basis. Your superfans may even select both! After Signup We don’t always get it right the first time (as in before the signup). Some may be so excited to get going with their email marketing, they don’t plan it all the way through in terms of list segmentation. That’s OK too. For this group, reports are especially important. Your reports will speak wonders in regards to the preferences of your subscribers. By paying attention to the types of links your subscribers are clicking on, you can get an idea of the types of articles or other content that grabs their attention. You can then segment your lists based on that information. Using your reports, you can also segment by levels of engagement. You can break it down to the individuals who are opening all of your email campaigns, some of your email campaigns and none of your email campaigns. By doing this, you can vary the strategy for each group. You can try a hail mary campaign to re-engage the ones who aren’t opening your emails. The best way to do this is simply by telling those subscribers you’re going to stop sending to them. Everyone wants what they can’t have. Bonus: Unsubscribes When someone decides to unsubscribe from your email campaigns, they already have one foot out the door. Before it shuts, you can direct them to a preference center. There, they can unsubscribe if that’s what they’re determined to do. However, like on the signup form, you can allow these individuals to change the frequency with which they are sent to or the types of lists they are a part of. You may save some unsubscribes and even turn unhappy subscribers into delighted ones.


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Why Are My Emails Going Into The Promotions Tab?

Why Are My Emails Going Into The Promotions Tab?

Practical Marketer • July 28, 2016

Since Gmail’s smart labels or smart filters were released to its users in 2013, a big question for email marketers has been, “what makes my email go into the promotions tab?” Google being as complex as they are, it’s an algorithm that determines where your emails are sent. There are a variety of factors that determine to which tab your emails are sent. Since Google does not publicly release this information, we can only make observations based on the emails sent and received with each tab. Focusing on the Promotions tab, the emails received there are surprisingly very accurate in terms of being promotional emails. Google’s algorithm is adjusted based on personal preferences and the email recipient’s actions. A subject line like, “$10 Off Your First Item,” is a dead giveaway. Why isn’t this in my spam folder though? I do have a membership to this website, which goes to show how extensive and complex the algorithm is. Your domain and sending reputation undoubtedly are a part of what Google looks at. Google, being one of the biggest online search indexes, might have some sense of who you are based on your domain online. Everyone knows who Amazon and Uber are, but just because your name is big does not mean you’ll get the coveted Primary tab. Amazon mainly sends transactional emails, so those go into my primary tab no problem. Unless I subscribe to their newsletters, those go to the Promotions tab. Uber sends me 50% deals (thank you), but those I’ll only see in my Promotions tab. There are some things we can change, others we can’t. A way to describe the algorithm is that it’s like a very shallow person that puts the emails it doesn’t like, promotional emails, into a special tab, so it can kinda get ignored. Although you can’t change Google’s algorithm, you probably don’t want to change your domain. So what can you do? Well, because the algorithm is complex we can try to influence Google to consider it as a primary email. Here are some tips: Personalization. Using the subscriber\'s name can prove to be influential. However, don’t make it sound too spammy! Images. Promotional emails usually have lots of pictures for their items. Try to reduce images and increase text. Hyperlinks. This is the same concept as images above. Lots of promotional emails have links leading to products. Reducing the number of hyperlinks going to websites can influence the algorithm.


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How Many Emails Should I Send To My Subscribers?

How Many Emails Should I Send To My Subscribers?

Practical Marketer • July 22, 2016

Anytime I do a workshop or seminar, this is probably one of the number one questions I get. “How often should I send emails?” Well, it depends. How often do your subscribers want to hear from you? It is very important to send as often as your subscribers want to hear from you and not as often as you want to talk to them. Think of it as the person who follows you around in the clothing store asking 10 times within 5 min, “Do you need help?” You don’t want to be that person in email form. I signed up to an email list the other day and before I could take my phone out of my pocket, I had already received 5 emails from them! Here are the 5 emails I received: Opt-in Confirmation Email Welcome Email Re-confirm Opt-in Confirmation Email First Steps Intro Personal Account Manager I can totally picture their marketing team talking about the drip campaign for their first-time customers and for these 5 emails making sense, in theory… “An opt-in email to confirm their subscription is a no-brainer!” “We need an introduction email that talks about us and why they need us” “Oh! Lets also send a re-confirmation email, in case the subscriber doesn’t get the first one!” “The subscriber needs to know where to start! Let\'s also send a first steps intro!” “Lets WOW the new signup with a personal account manager as well!” As you can see, it’s easy to get excited with emails. They are quick, easy and show results immediately. So fast that I got a call right after I unsubscribed. Automation is great and can do wonders if it’s used properly. Many times, I see companies create long drip campaigns without really testing them. In theory, the campaign could make sense and even look good! Then when you actually go through the process, you realize you are just burying your subscribers with emails and scaring your customers away! I say this all the time, Email Marketing is not a numbers game. It is important to include a strategy and truly test your paths. For the case mentioned above, they could have given me the same amount of information in fewer emails and spread it out over more time. The idea is to create a constant flow and to make it effortless to the subscriber. If you send me too much at once, I probably won’t read half of it, therefore, missing valuable information and wasting your efforts overall. Make smart drip campaigns. If you don’t already know this, try to understand your customers\' behavior. How they navigate on your site or how they use your product or service. This isn’t rocket science. It can be as easy as just observing and asking your customers key questions or as complex as analyzing piles of data. Either way, your subscribers and customers are what keep your business moving, so it’s important you get to know them and their habits. Let’s take an example of well-timed email marketing. My friend was at a pet store buying some food for his dog and as he paid at the cash register, they asked for his email address. He hesitated for a second because he doesn’t like receiving a lot of emails but this time, he did it for his dog! The person at the cash register promised great deals and that they don’t annoy their subscribers (Yeah right, they all say that!). But here is what happened next: nothing! Or at least it seemed like nothing was happening. Funny enough, right when his gorgeous Husky was almost out of food my friend received an email from the pet shop. The email included a 10% off his next purchase of dog food. This company understood timing with email. I will guarantee this wasn\'t the first bag of food they sold and they know well about how long the bag will last. As my friend gave his email at the point of sale, they can easily time the next email to be sent with an offer to entice my friend to come back. Did it work? Of course, it did! It is extremely important to properly segment your lists and send emails that make sense! Often times companies try to send emails just to be in front of their subscribers. Although this can be great for branding, make sure the email is relevant first! If it isn’t, it’s probably going to waste your time and your subscribers. With Benchmark, we offer integrations with eCommerce platforms that allow you to create this type of automation. With our new Automations by engagement triggers, that allow you to send emails based on previous opens and clicks of other emails, you can push this to the next level! If that 10% didn’t work, the next email can be a “bring a friend” type email and so forth. You can continue this path until the right email lands in your subscribers inbox to get them back in your store. What are the takeaways from this? Be creative, test and get to know your subscribers. Always, Always! Test your own drip campaigns first. Go to your inbox, see what it looks like from the inbox view, read the emails in detail and try to read your own story. What is the story and path you are trying to take your customers down? What are the questions your customers may have and when? If you get bored reading your own emails or they seem too long, if you aren’t answering questions that interest your subscriber you’re probably losing their attention.


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How much time should I spend on my email marketing campaigns?

How much time should I spend on my email marketing campaigns?

Practical Marketer • July 20, 2016

When you first signup for Benchmark Email, the header on the form says you can send your first email in 30 minutes. That’s true. However, that’s not necessarily how much time you can spend on every campaign. True to form with most marketing questions, the real answer is that it depends. It can range from 30 minutes to several hours and maybe more. Let’s look at what factors play into it. If you did want to fire off a quick campaign, it’s perfectly acceptable to select a pre-made template, drop in some quick text and an image or two and send it on its way. This is an incredibly simple thing to do that works great if you don’t have much design expertise or want to send a campaign from a live event. Adding your logo and using a From Name which your subscribers will recognize will go a long way for branding, even with a ready-made template. Creating your first campaign and your own custom template would obviously take a bit longer. However, with a drag-and-drop editor, it shouldn’t be too time-consuming. As you get more experience, the time will shorten too. However, that first time it could take you a few hours to get it just right. Be sure to send a few test emails to make sure it’s what you expected and get opinions from a friend or coworker … or both. Once you’ve created a custom template just to your liking, you can copy it for future campaigns and just replace the copy and images. This may get you back into that 30-minute range, but likely will be about an hour or so. You don’t want to rush it, plus you’ll want time to review previous campaign reports to see what worked and didn’t and how you can improve. If you want to send a design-heavy email campaign, perhaps one that includes an infographic, GIF or something else fun, it could take a day or two to collect all the design elements needed. You’ll want to do some extra testing for these types of campaigns too so that you can be sure all the graphics display properly. So, how much time should you spend on your email marketing campaigns? Say it with me everybody… IT DEPENDS! How much time do you typically spend on your email campaigns? Let us know in the comments!


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