Series Posts: Practical Marketer

5 Ways to Use Email Marketing and Social Media Integration Techniques for Lead Generation

5 Ways to Use Email Marketing and Social Media Integration Techniques for Lead Generation

Practical Marketer • June 18, 2019

People often ask, “should I be doing email marketing or social media marketing?” The answer is that you should actually be doing both! Your marketing efforts will be the strongest when you use both of these channels together. The biggest reason why a combination of these two channels is more effective than using either one of them by itself is that you will simply reach more people when you use them both. Your email subscribers are not necessarily your social media followers and vice versa. So, by using email marketing, you can reach people who don’t follow you on social media and by using social media marketing, you can reach people who are not on your email list. However, although you should definitely use both email and social media for marketing, email is the more important of the two. For every $1 that companies spend on email marketing, they average $38 in revenue. This is significantly higher than the return on ad spend on social media marketing. In fact, people who buy products marketed through email spend 138 % more than those who do not receive email offers, such as people who click on social media ads. Another reason why email marketing is so valuable is that you will actually own your email list and do not have to pay social media companies to communicate with your subscribers. However, social media is rented space. You will have to pay social media companies if you would like to advertise on their platforms. 1. Your Signup Form should be linked in your CALL TO ACTION button on social media pages/profile that helps grow your email list Adding a signup form on your Call To Action button on your social media pages/profile will help you to funnel people from your social media pages to your email list. By doing this, you can use your social media pages to bulk up your email list. This is a good example of a signup form you can add to your call to action button. To get the most out of your signup form, you should use an action word because people respond positively to these. You should also make sure that you clear and concise and promote a benefit, not the product. Further, to get people’s attention, you can ask a question. For example, “Do you want to improve your health with optimal nutrition? Sign up for our email list today to get regular product offers and information for our incredible nutritional supplements.” Another thing that can help is negative words. For example, you can say, “Stop wasting money with X, sign up here, and start saving.” Negative sentiment has been shown to increase click-through rates by 47 percent. Showing value is also extremely beneficial. To show value, you need to clearly express the value of going with your offer and quickly explain why a pain point may be relieved, why the person’s life may be improved, etc. 2. Engage your existing clients (and find new ones) on social media by uploading your email list on social channels Uploading your email subscriber list on your social channels is an excellent way to grow your business’s social media following and to be able to get more bang for your buck with social media advertising. All of the main social media networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. allow you to upload your email lists. Then you can simply follow or send connection requests to the people who are matches for the emails. Many of them will accept. Once they accept, they will start seeing your posts and your ads, and many will share them. This will help to grow your following even more. Custom Facebook audiences are also extremely helpful. With a custom Facebook audience, you can advertise to people who are a certain age or gender, or who have shown interest in your website or products, etc. This image shows you where you can find custom audiences on Facebook ads manager. Lookalike audiences are also extremely beneficial for growing your list. Lookalike audiences are audiences on social media who have similar characteristics, preferences, and habits to your existing customers. When you are creating a lookalike audience, you should focus on your most engaged audience members. This will help you to maximize your ROI. 3. Your regularly scheduled newsletter/thank you page campaigns should include social media follow us button for live updates notification When you add a social media follow us button to your scheduled newsletter/thank you page campaign, you can dramatically increase the number of social media followers that you get. It takes up to seven times to recognize a brand. You can speed up the brand recognition process by making sure that people from your email list subscribe and follow you on your social media channels as well. Include a button like this in your emails: When you post content on your social media channels, you should make sure that this content is different than your standard email marketing content. You want your subscribers to feel like they are getting different value on your social media channels than the value that they are already getting on your email list. Try to connect in a different way, with different information. Imagine where your subscriber will be when they engage the content and create unique content for each space. Give them a reason to follow you in both places. 4. Schedule campaigns for email marketing as well as social media posts Your marketing campaigns need to include both social media posts and emails. When you create your campaigns, 80 percent of your time should be spent on promoting your content and 20 percent of it should be spent creating it. Most marketers have this backward. This is because not all people who read content have the time at that moment to engage with it. So, if you post it again later, then there is a greater chance that your content will get more clicks and more engagement. When you are creating your campaign, you should keep a 360-degree perspective in mind. The goal is for all you to promote your content on all of your channels in order to increase the number of shares and forwards and to get maximum clicks and engagement. You should build your campaign around recent tweets/posts which have higher amounts of likes, shares, and retweets. These campaigns will most likely perform the best since they have content that has already proven to be very interesting to followers and subscribers. 5. Email marketing campaigns should include the announcement of an upcoming contest/rewards/deals that is going to happen on social media pages. Announcing your social media contests with email marketing will act as an influencer marketing technique/viral marketing. Rewards, contests, and deals all help to create a large amount of interest amongst your email subscribers. This is because people tend to love anything that can help them to get something for a reduced price. This is a good example of a Facebook contest post: This kind of content is often more effective for email marketing because the average person checks their email 15 times a day. So, it is essentially a guarantee that your email subscribers will see your marketing email with your rewards, contests, and deals content. However, social media posts tend to be frequently missed since they quickly disappear down newsfeeds and timelines. In fact, the average Facebook user only spends about 27 minutes a day on Facebook. So, this means that many of your Facebook users will not see your posts. Are You Already Using Benchmark Email? Make sure that you place the UTM tracking code for the links/page URL that you want to promote via both social media as well as email marketing campaign. This will help to track and allow you to filter the audience interest, geography, medium, demographic and other analysis for optimization. This will enable your campaigns to be much more effective and successful.


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3 Priceless Email Marketing Lessons from Fatherly Advice

3 Priceless Email Marketing Lessons from Fatherly Advice

Practical Marketer • June 11, 2019

Dads. They offer an endless supply of awesomely terrible jokes. They amuse us with their habit of wearing socks with sandals. They keep us humble with their dictator-like control over the thermostat and light switches (everyone’s dad follows them around the house turning lights off … right?!). On top of all the funny little quirks they have -- dads give us some pretty solid life advice that can be surprisingly relevant in a wide variety of situations. In honor of Father’s Day, we’re reflecting on some of the priceless wisdom our dads have passed on to us. Specifically, we’ll examine how we can apply these gems of wisdom to email marketing. Priceless Email Marketing Lessons From Fatherly Advice #1: Have Fun My dad coached my brother and me in Little League baseball. His focus was never on winning -- it was about having fun. Sure, he taught my teammates, my brother and me the fundamentals. He helped us hone our skills and showed us how to get better at the game. At the end of the day, my dad taught us that all our hard work was for nothing if we weren’t having fun. That was an important lesson: that we should be smiling even if we weren’t hitting home runs. That’s an idea that definitely translates to email marketing. Sure, there might be times when it feels like you’re not winning. For example, when you’re just trying to get things going from scratch, or when you’re attempting to rebound after a stagnant period. Still -- as Tom Hanks’ character says in A League of Their Own -- “there’s no crying in baseball!” Similarly, there should be no crying in email marketing! When you find yourself feeling down, or uninspired -- think about what it is about your business that brings you joy. Why did you start doing this in the first place? Maybe it’s the satisfaction of knowing that you’re solving problems in people’s lives. Maybe it’s the joy of dreaming up new products and getting them to the market. Whatever it is, there’s something special and unique that drove you to do this. Channel that feeling, and infuse it into your email campaigns. How do you add that sense of fun into your email marketing? One way is to use humor. Now, a warning: In order to use the power of humor effectively, you have to be … wait for it! … funny. We all know this instinctively. Attempting to be funny and failing is far worse than not trying to funny in the first place. There are lots of places you can inject some humor. For example, your signup form, your welcome email, your unsubscribe page or anything in between. Check out these examples: Examples FUNNY SIGN-UP FORM From: Nerd Fitness Why it’s great: Nerd Fitness, as its wonderfully descriptive name suggests, is “a fitness website for nerds and average Joes.” The company stays wonderfully on-brand with this funny email list sign-up form -- which is jokey without becoming a joke. FUNNY WELCOME EMAIL From: Find Me a Gift Why it’s great: Casual. Congratulatory. And accompanied by a funny and memorable image. This welcome email hits all the high notes. It does a great job of introducing customers to the “quirky little world” of this service. FUNNY UNSUBSCRIBE PAGE From: 1-800-Contacts Why it’s great: Great unsubscribe pages do the opposite of what their name suggests -- they give customers a reason to stay on your email list rather than severing the inbox relationship. This sassy and surprising unsubscribe message from 1-800-Contacts sends out a subtle but powerful message: If you unsubscribe, you’ll miss out on some pretty amusing content! Another way to have some dad-approved fun in your email marketing is by using GIFs. Yes, at the end of the day, we are all like cats chasing laser pointers. Moving images are downright hypnotic! GIFs are great for emails for a couple of important reasons. First, they catch the eye and are much more fun than a photo. Second, they are very current, so they add some hipness to your campaigns. However, be very careful that you don’t overdo it -- or your email will end up looking like a bad MySpace page. Also, be sure to use alt-text -- the little description that describes what an image is either when you hover your mouse over the image frame or if the image fails to load. That’s another great place to infuse a little humor, by the way. Examples From: Ann Taylor LOFT Why it’s great: This subtle bit of movement creates an eye-catching surprise while keeping the message clean, uncluttered and totally on-brand. Who can resist the urge to unwrap a holiday gift that’s wiggling so invitingly? From: Moo Why it’s great: Sale announcement burnout … it’s real. How many emails do we all get every day screaming “Final hours!” “Don’t miss this one!” and such? Chances are unless a customer is further down your sales funnel already -- that is, looking to pounce on a discount or already about to pull the trigger on a purchase -- a message announcing that a sale is about to end could feel irrelevant at best and irritating at worst. Luxury business card printer Moo combats that vibe with this mesmerizing GIF. Priceless Lessons From Fatherly Advice #2: Always Do Your Best There was a second part to my dad’s big lesson about the importance of having fun. Sure, winning isn’t everything. But it’s important to always try your hardest and do your best. When the two lessons are combined, you get my dad’s attitude. For instance, he always wanted me to do well in school, but he was happy as long as I was putting my maximum effort into things. What does this idea mean in the world of email marketing? Stop putting pressure on yourself: Your email marketing does not have to be perfect. In fact, you should give yourself a big pat on the back right now -- just the fact that you’re doing email marketing gives you a leg up on much of your competition. (The fact that you’re taking the time to read an article about how to optimize your emails? You get extra credit!) Take this moment to realign your priorities. Focus on continuous improvement. It’s fine to have big goals, but don’t be discouraged by them -- email is all about the micro-wins. Break your objectives down to their building blocks. Yes, you want eyeballs and engagement. But to start with: Did you get people to open your emails? Great! Now you have a way to see who’s already interested in your content. Refine this data even further by A/B testing your subject lines and “from” names to improve open rates -- and to have even more fun. Next, take a look at whether your customers clicked through to your website. If they did, that means your content was compelling and your call to action was effective. That’s no small feat -- good work! To drill down even further on this data … you guessed it: test your calls to action (play around with the text, colors, placement, etc.), try different things with your content and switch up your design for even more fun. Finally, don’t miss the chance to follow through! You can track your customers from email to website for conversions or follow-ups. There are loads of great tools out there to help with this. Use Google Analytics to see what portion of the traffic you drive from emails is converting on your website. Use Automation to follow up based on links clicked or web pages visited. Priceless Lessons From Fatherly Advice #3: It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Know My dad built a career on relationships. And it took a while for me to realize this -- because kindness was an effortless part of his personality. It just came naturally to him. I grew up believing my dad truly “knew a guy” at every single place in the city of Chicago. We got special access to places at Chicago Bears games, the zoo and countless other places. Why did we get this special treatment? It was the result of my dad doing tons of favors for others without ever asking for anything in return. If he could put someone in touch with another person to help them out, he would. If he could be of assistance to someone, he would. He knew it would come back around to him at some point -- but that’s not what motivated him. The people who invited my dad to exclusive events and gave him special access behind velvet ropes felt like it was the least they could do for him. The favors flowed naturally -- but they never felt like repaid debts or calculated transactions on either side. I’ve taken that spirit with me to L.A. I’ve been able to help out countless friends as they navigate careers in this city. When I tell folks I was invited to 8 weddings in 2018 -- which is only a slight uptick from most years -- they wonder how I have so many friends. Well, I learned from my dad. Bringing it full circle back to email marketing -- what lesson can we learn from this? Most importantly: Your email list is your most valuable marketing asset. That’s no exaggeration. Joe Pulizzi, the founder of Content Marketing Institute, said it best: “Getting an email address is the first critical step to figuring out who my reader is, and hopefully in the future, my customer of some sort.” That’s the thing about your email list -- you own it entirely. So when you use it for marketing purposes, you have the key advantage of doing things on your own “turf,” so to speak. You aren’t marketing on rented space. Rand Fishkin, the founder of SEO firm Moz, said in his recent keynote speech at Digital Summit Los Angeles, that 10 new email addresses on your list are worth more than 10,000 new followers on social media. How can your email list be a thousand times more valuable than your social media followers list? It has everything to do with the ways we use each medium. Email messages are: Personal Goal-oriented Targeted As such, you can get an amazing ROI of $38 for every $1 you spend on email marketing. Bringing it full circle back to fatherly advice and the importance of leveraging “who you know” -- I’ll conclude now with five killer ways to maximize your email marketing ROI. First: automate your email marketing. Even the fastest typing, never-sleeping, most dedicated and methodical marketer could never hope to beat the sheer accuracy and convenience factor provided by automation. When you automate your email marketing, you take full advantage of your incredibly valuable email marketing list. The addresses on your list are worth their weight in platinum. Focus your energies on creating incredible content for your audience and constantly analyzing how they’re liking it. Make sure you have an incredible welcome email. We’ve mentioned before how important it is to have an on-brand, memorable and compelling welcome email. Use automation to have that message sent immediately once someone signs up for your list. You should make sure your conversion funnel is optimized. As you know, the conversion funnel is the path your customer takes from curiosity all the way to the sale (and hopefully raving to others about it). If you haven’t optimized your email marketing to take advantage of each distinct phase in your customer’s journey, you are truly leaving money on the table. Use dynamic segmentation on your list. This is another critical factor in the idea that “it’s all about who you know” -- because if a person joins your list as a prospect, but then later becomes one of your biggest customers -- you better be sure that your email marketing has adjusted to match that huge change. Dynamic segmentation, or the practice of constantly updating how your email list subscribers are categorized, is vitally important if you want to keep people engaged. It’s only by keeping a firm handle on people’s individual needs that you can hope to create compelling content that feels fresh, timely and personally relevant to them. Hone your timing. We’ve mentioned before that Tuesday through Thursday mornings are a great time to send an email, as a general rule. But taking that a step further -- what information do you have about the individuals on your email marketing list that might cause you to change or adjust that rule? For example, if you have a trip planning app where people enter their travel details -- don’t miss the opportunity to send out uniquely relevant content to your subscribers when they’re crisscrossing the globe, and adjust the send time based on local time zones. Or, for another hypothetical: If you’re an eCommerce retailer, you can track a customer’s interest in a product over time (by making note of when they favorite the item, add it to cart, ask to be emailed when it comes back in stock, etc.). Make sure you’re using the power of automation to send out perfectly timed, personalized content that addresses your customer’s needs and desires. That’s the kind of thing that closes a sale -- and builds incredible brand loyalty. Putting it All Together: Send Marketing Emails That Would Make a Father Proud This Father’s Day, there are bound to be a lot of cheesy ties, #1 Dad mugs and bottles of bad cologne given as gifts. We won’t judge if you’re giving one of those to your father or father figure this year. However, we do urge you to take a moment and be grateful for the incredible lessons that your dad -- and all dads -- have taught us about life, love and the art of email marketing. Have fun, always do the best job possible and nurture your relationships above almost everything else. Those are the best email marketing lessons that my dad taught me. Fernanda Brito - Mexico You must be hot or cold: you cannot be lukewarm with your decisions. Shresth Prabhat - India The best technique to use in the world of marketing is word of mouth. People will generally consider an option suggested by another person. It builds an unmatched reputation. Jason Ashley - USA It takes all kinds of people to make the world go around, so don\'t judge or question another\'s actions or who they are as an individual. Learn something from the uniqueness or actions of others, accept them as helping in your growth, even if it doesn\'t seem that way at that time. Juanjo Polo - Spain Take care of your family. Frieder Egermann - Germany It\'s not direct advice he gave me, but he showed me to be responsible and true to myself. Curt Keller - CEO He told, me that my lack of athletic success was ALL IN MY HEAD! I now agree with more than ever. Raquel Herrera - Spain If I have to say one piece of advice that my father gave me, it\'s about having common sense in everything that I do. It is very simple but very deep and important and applying in your daily life helps you to make a good decision. Ilich Lamas - Italy If things do not go your way, look at things from another perspective. There is always a way to change things. Tanay Chaturvedi - India Work smart but do not underestimate hard work. Lisa Fletcher - USA Believe nothing that you hear and only half of what you see. It was his way to say don\'t always default to trust. Find out for yourself. Yersing Noriega - Guatemala Treat people the way you would like to be treated. Also, one act of kindness from you can change somebody\'s day! Yamile Flores - Mexico More than advice, I had his example. He woke up in the morning to go to his job and would walk. I saw him from the window walking away, and once I asked him, \"why you don\'t take the car?\" He told me because you have to go to school in it. He is a man who took his t-shirt to give it to his sons always. Irene Martinez - USA \'Sacrifices are temporary.\' My dad came to the US as an immigrant, and since his first day here he worked day and night to provide for his family. There was a time where I did not understand why my dad worked so much. But every time I asked, he would hug me and tell me Sacrifices are temporary. - Lo quiero mucho apa!! Sandeep Kumar - India Build/maintain relationships. Leticia Mottola - USA The \'no\' you already have. Go for the \'yes.\' If you don\'t try, you\'ll never know. Titi Bekaert - Belgium Be curious, be open-minded and stay rational in a world that has a lot to offer! Joanne Walker - USA You put in a good days work for a good days pay. Virender Mohan Dang - India This was not a direct advise to me but a cousin in my presence. We were visiting him a few days ago when he mentioned friction with a few family members, that he was trying to resolve the matters, and the lack of response from the rest of the family was frustrating. My dad told him \"No matter what they say or do, you maintain a good mindset\" (If I translate from the Hindi language to English it meant something like \'keep your level of thoughts high.\' Today when I saw a message from Andy to share some advice from my dad that could relate to email marketing, this incident popped out of my memory box. A lot of people see what others are doing when it comes to email marketing and hence try to achieve quick success by purchasing contact lists, sending over content that\'s just not relevant, and sending volumes that would trigger the anti-spam filters of various ISPs. To succeed in email marketing, one needs to keep a high mindset where they are patient enough to generate their own contact lists, work on the content that resonates with their customers, research various ESPs and the features they offer, work on warming up their IPs to help ISPs get acquainted with their sending practices, honour unsubscribes, and so on.  


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Everything You Need to Know About Creating Irresistible Event Marketing Emails

Everything You Need to Know About Creating Irresistible Event Marketing Emails

Practical Marketer • June 5, 2019

Event marketing encompasses many strategies that get people to take notice, and email is undoubtedly part of the mix. Keep reading to learn how to create emails people can\'t wait to read. Why Do Event Marketing Emails Matter? Many marketers wonder if email is still relevant. After all, more high-tech ways to spread the word exist, ranging from virtual reality experiences to podcasts. But, various studies show email still gets results. The number of people with email accounts is growing worldwide. Plus, emails give senders opportunities to segment their information for certain groups. Concerning an event, you could send out targeted emails to encourage people to buy tickets, download the schedule or help them book hotels in the area. That level of flexibility means a well-run email campaign could be a valuable element that helps an event succeed. But, what separates an excellent marketing email from a \"just OK\" one? Optimize the Emails for Mobile Devices Research indicates most people read emails on mobile gadgets. That means event marketing emails should ideally have some mobile-friendly characteristics: Short paragraphs Headings or bullets to help make the content scannable No large images Fonts and sizes that are easy to read on small screens Links that take people to websites where they can learn more details later Not surprisingly, all or most of those best practices apply to online content in general, regardless of the device people use to read it. Whenever you format marketing emails or create the content for them, know that although not all of your readers will see the content on mobile devices, most likely will. Choose Subject Lines Carefully An email subject line may seem like a relatively unimportant part of the email. It\'s one of the smallest components, but marketers who don\'t craft their subject lines with intention will frequently find their content getting ignored. Several things could make an email subject line more appealing to the people who see it. Urgency: Use words and phrases like \"soon,\" \"act now,\" \"don\'t miss out, \"limited time\" and \"hurry\" to convey the idea that people need to read the email to avoid missing something crucial about the event. Personalization: Something as simple as including the recipient\'s name in the email subject line could bring the message to their attention. This strategy works best in cases when marketers already have well-established relationships with the people getting the emails. Otherwise, the subject line may seem too personal and a bit creepy. Offers: This part of a subject line works well with the urgency suggestion above. Free things and percentages off are perks that could make a person decide they need to respond to the email to take advantage of an offer they don\'t want to pass up. Brevity: The marketing industry lacks widespread agreement about the best length for marketing emails, but it\'s usually best to keep them short and sweet. If a subject line becomes too long, it\'ll get truncated. That could confuse readers or make them think the email is not worth their time. Emojis used sparingly or not at all: Although marketers need not avoid emojis for event marketing emails in all cases, they should remember how easy it is to misuse them. For that reason, it\'s not ideal to add emojis to the email subject lines of business emails. They could give the impression of unprofessionalism or that the sender is overly casual. People use emojis to add context to what they say, which can make them useful in short messages, such as texts. But, due to a subject line\'s brevity, you shouldn\'t have the reason — or room — to provide context yet. That said, if using emojis fits with your company\'s tone, adding one to an email could strengthen the brand and get potential attendees more interested. Understand Relevant Email Metrics Creating emails people want to read also means understanding what\'s working well and when there\'s room for improvement. Doing that involves getting a handle on industry benchmarks for emails. As a start, statistics say the open rate for the entertainment and events industry is 20.41 percent. Fortunately, getting the metrics is easy thanks to the aptly named Benchmark, an email platform that gives real-time reports about email campaigns, plus allows users to interact with a drag-and-drop interface to create beautiful emails with customization and attractive templates. Apply the Rule of Three Many memorable groups or phrases come in threes. There are the Three Stooges and the Three Musketeers, plus things people say, like \"Lights, camera, action,\" or \"Ready, set, go.\" Barack Obama\'s campaign team likely had that in mind when it came up with his \"Yes We Can\" slogan that ultimately led to two presidential terms. The focus on things in sets of three is called the Rule of Three. It applies to email marketing campaigns, too. The human brain likes patterns, and groups of threes stick in the mind exceptionally well. You could create a three-column chart that shows the different kinds of passes a person can buy for the event, or write a bullet point with the top three reasons people should think attending the conference is a worthy investment. When writing a longer email, consider splitting the content into three broad sections, such as Speakers, Workshops and Pricing. Speak to the Audience\'s Needs When people read promotional materials, they often ask, \"What\'s in it for me?\" That\'s why it\'s crucial for marketers to put themselves in the position of their audience and bring up the things that matter most to the people reading the emails. Here are a couple of ways to do that: For a new parents event: \"Take a much-needed break from diaper duty and spend the day getting hearing from experts who can help you overcome common child-rearing challenges. Also, get to know other new parents and swap tips with them in our networking zones. Can\'t find a sitter? No problem! This event is family-friendly, and you can get on-site babysitting for a modest fee.\" For an event targeting cybersecurity professionals: \"Today\'s cybersecurity landscape is rapidly changing, but this event gets you equipped for the future. Hear leading cybersecurity speakers at our keynote events, or head to a few workshops to get hands-on experience dealing with some of the newest threats. The event also has a testing center where you can take cybersecurity exams to earn in-demand certifications.\" Think about the elements that would most encourage your audience to attend, as well as aspects that could cause them to decide not to go. Then, address both sides in the marketing emails. Cost is something that might be a downside for some people, but highlighting early-bird discounts or providing a link to a letter a person could print out to convince their boss to cover the expenses could help. Set Expectations When people attend events for the first time, they don\'t know what to expect without having the perspective of a past attendee. However, adding a couple of quotes from those who\'ve been to your event before could solidify someone\'s decision to go. Be strategic about the placement of a testimonial, too. A quote from someone that says, \"This event facilitated invaluable connections and opened my mind to fresh perspectives from thought leaders. The best money I\'ve spent in recent memory!\" would work well placed directly above an embedded link or call-to-action button in the email people can use to purchase tickets. Alternatively, set expectations by including links in your email to videos that give short tours of the event facilities or show footage collected from past events. Or, a statistic that indicates the majority of first-time attendees purchase tickets year after year would make readers conclude most people felt the gathering was valuable enough to warrant becoming continual attendees, which is meaningful. Encourage People to Remain on the Email List The CAN-SPAM Act, which sets the rules for email marketing, mandates that all commercial messages should give recipients a way to unsubscribe from the mailing list. Having an \"unsubscribe\" or \"opt-out\" link in the footer allows you to remain compliant with this law, while also preventing people from getting upset when it\'s not immediately obvious how to remove themselves from the email list. But, it\'s also necessary to write emails that make recipients want to keep receiving them. There are several possible ways to do that: Mention email list subscribers are the first to get news about conference developments Feature speaker or vendor spotlights in each edition of the email newsletter Give promotional offers for local hotels or restaurants exclusively to email subscribers Position the email newsletter as a vehicle for getting all the need-to-know information without sifting through social media A useful event marketing email must provide value to the reader. People will want to remain subscribers if they view the emails as giving them something they can\'t easily get elsewhere. A Roadmap for Event Emails That Get Results There are no guarantees when it comes to creating emails that cause favorable responses. But, the information here gives you a framework to create stellar marketing campaigns for any events in your future.  


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How To Increase eCommerce Sales in Summer

How To Increase eCommerce Sales in Summer

Practical Marketer • May 30, 2019

With the arrival of summer, it’s not uncommon for some to see our sales numbers drop. Professionals are on holidays and private customers are busy enjoying sunny days and long evenings instead of browsing through online shops. As a result, online store owners have to work even harder to make ends meet, rather than taking some well-deserved vacation time without having to worry (too much) about the business. In this article, we want to give you some strategic advice and ideas on how to keep your sales up this summer without much extra work. If you prefer to see for yourself how you can put this into practice, please join our online workshop on Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019 at 10 am GMT /11 am CEST, where we will give you practical examples and step-by-step explanations. Let’s Get Started with an Example: The business: We own an online store selling handmade decorative items. The idea: We will offer a package of two products at a lower price than if they were to be purchased separately during the three summer months. The goal: Maintain and even raise sales while we or our staff are on vacation. Every year in summer, we detect that our sales decrease so we have thought of three ideas to get them back up: Make bundles of different products at a lower price than purchased separately. Create joint offers with partner companies offering added value. For example, teaming up with a sofa store by offering matching cushions at a reduced price to everyone ordering a sofa. Using traditional summer sales and combining it with other offers. The team liked all three options but decided to go for the first one, as it helped us to increment both the turnover and the product rotation. Also, it seemed to be easier to communicate with the clients than the other two. To implement our idea, we will use Automation Pro, which is a tool that allows our business to run on autopilot while we are away or otherwise busy. To start using this tool properly, we must insert the Tracking Code on all the pages on which we want to track our subscribers during this promotion. Tracking code: <!--JB Tracker--> <script type=\"text/javascript\"> var _paq = _paq || []; (function(){ if(window.apScriptInserted) return; _paq.push([\'clientToken\',\']); var d=document, g=d.createElement(\'script\'),s=d.getElementsByTagName(\'script\')[0];g.type=\'text/javascript\';g.async=true;g.defer=true;g.src=\'https://prod.benchmarkemail.com/tracker.bundle.js\'; s.parentNode.insertBefore(g,s); window.apScriptInserted=true;})(); </script> <!--/JB Tracker→ The code has to be inserted in the header of the pages to be tracked. Furthermore, I can integrate my eCommerce platform with Benchmark to import my contacts. Benchmark offers direct integrations with the following eCommerce service providers: WooCommerce Shopify BigCommerce 3dcart WordPress Volusion Recurly PayPal Stripe If your eCommerce provider does not appear on this list, you can also use the integration platforms Zapier and PieSync which are both connected with Benchmark Email. Once we have imported our subscribers we can work on our automation strategy, which will not only be aimed at our existing recipients but also at new subscribers. We will use three methods to attract new subscribers: We will design one of Benchmark’s special sign up forms and place it on our store homepage to attract new subscribers. No matter which of our sign up forms suits you best, don’t forget to insert the code of the signup form WITH the tracking code so you can track the subscribers’ behavior even before you sent them the first campaign. To get a higher volume of new subscribers we will also create several campaigns using Facebook Ads featuring our offer and import these contacts into Benchmark via Zapier. Last but not least we will create specific publications on social media channels (Instagram / Twitter / Facebook) that will take the people directly to the registration page in order to be able to purchase our offer. On the other hand, we still have our own existing database to which we will also send an email marketing campaign about the promotion. Let\'s Start with the New Subscribers The new subscribers will start their journey with a welcome automation. In this automation, we will provide the discounted product pack which we hope will be purchased by them. This welcome automation will contain leads that will become paying customers soon and others who may need a bit longer to make up their mind. For the second group we will design a follow-up automation, which consists of five steps: Day 1 - Why us?: Let’s give some good reasons why the subscriber should purchase from us. Day 3 - Remind our special discounted pack: In order to activate the people, we will let them know that our special offer is for a limited time only. Day 5 - Other offers: In case we did not hit the subscribers taste with our summer package, we will feature some other products and offers. Day 10 - 5 days countdown: We’ll inform our subscribers that there are only 5 days left to get our offer and that we only have very few left in stock. Day 15 - Discount ends today: This is the last chance to get our special summer bundle. During this tracking automation, we will move those who become paying customers, by purchasing the pack, into a separate list and will continue insisting those who have not yet made up their minds. The list with the new paying customers will trigger the feedback automation in which we will ask the clients for feedback and will try to find out how their experience was. There will be some other subscribers who have actually placed the package into their shopping cart but then finally not reached the payment confirmation page. As we do not want to let any sales opportunity escape, we will activate an abandoned cart automation to follow up on these special cases. And finally we are going to target all those who registered to receive the special offer, but finally did not purchase it, through Facebook using a special retargeting automation. This way will have a complete cycle of automation, designed for each and every case. Let’s not forget, that we still have our own existing database with subscribers we have been collecting day by day, and we will also include them in this strategy. Depending on whether they have already made a purchase or not, we can divide them into two groups: The first group (newsletter subscribers w/o any purchase) will be treated as the new subscribers and will be included in the same automation as those. The second group (newsletter subscribers with purchase) will receive a campaign with the new promotion and will be included in a follow-up campaign, similar to the one we have designed for the new subscribers, but less insistent. In our workshop on Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019 at 10 am GMT /11 am CEST we will show you step by step how to design a campaign with a similar structure. So if this article was a bit too theoretical or you just want to find out, how to put it all into practice, please join us. Don’t waste this opportunity to improve your skills in email marketing and automation. If you liked this post, please share it with your community and leave us your comments below.


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Growing Your Email List With Chatbots

Growing Your Email List With Chatbots

Practical Marketer • May 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. 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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How To Improve Conversions With An Effective Lead Nurturing Email Automation

How To Improve Conversions With An Effective Lead Nurturing Email Automation

Practical Marketer • May 21, 2019

Have you ever bought anything online just from the first website you visit? No, right? You check out different websites, compare prices and offers, do your research and then finally make a purchase. Whenever someone hits your website, it doesn’t mean that they are ready to buy. In fact, most of such leads are either in the research phase, which implies that they want to know more about you or, they are in the consideration phase, which implies that they still need some time before making a final purchase. They need to be convinced why should they purchase from you. As per a survey, 50% of leads in any marketing funnel are not ready to buy. Hence, lead nurturing comes to your rescue to allow you to make most of these leads. Lead nurturing is just like dating. While dating, you are expected to understand your partner’s need, similarly, in this case, you have to understand your client’s buying process. Ideally, your leads should maneuver down the marketing funnel themselves but that is not true in reality. In the real world, you need to nurture your leads to drive them down the marketing funnel. You have to be their guide from the time they visit your website and then convert them into a lead, make them your buyer and finally your promoter. It is just like building and growing a relationship. Having leads is great but if you don’t convert them into sales, this is useless. As per a  study conducting by MarketingSherpa, it was found that around 80% of new leads don’t convert to sales. Marketo, a provider of automated marketing services found that companies that are able to effectively implement lead nurturing enjoy 50% more sales at around 33% less cost. Likewise, demand generation services company, the Annuitas Group observed that nurtured leads are likely to make 47% larger purchases. This is why creating a lead nurturing program is so important. Before we delve into how to implement lead nurturing into your marketing and selling process, let’s first understand what is lead nurturing and why is it so important? What is lead nurturing? To put in the most simple words, lead refers to contact with a potential customer also known as a prospect. Nurture means to care. Thus, lead nurturing is a process of taking care of your leads. It a process of developing relationships with the buyer at every stage of the sale cycle. Why do you need a lead nurturing program?   Lead nurturing is a crucial component for marketing success across all industries. Be it a B2B or a B2C company or a SaaS company, they all need an effective lead nurturing strategy. There is no point in having a lead generation campaign if there is no plan for effectively converting leads into sale. An effective lead nurturing campaign will - Boost Sales and Revenue. Modern customers are not only impressed by flashy websites and a strong social media presence. They consider these things as a bare minimum and look out for substance. They need to be assured that their best interests are kept in mind. As per a Demand Gen Report nurtured leads produce, on average, a 20% increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads. Increase Staff Efficiency. An automated lead nurture system adjusts itself based on the communication of the prospect and minimizes the role of sales personnel. They only need to intervene at the last stage when the lead shows signs of purchasing. Shorten sales cycle. An effective lead nurturing campaign, drip appropriate content depending upon where a buyer is the sales cycle. When buyers complete their research and arrive at a sales-ready stage, sales won’t have to waste time in understanding their pain points and needs as they are already educated and these issues have been addressed beforehand. Bulldog solutions found that companies that invest in marketing automation solutions witness 70% faster sales cycle times. Minimizes Sales Leakage. To paraphrase an old adage: you always buy from the last person you speak to. For any product or service, especially B2B, that has a long consideration stage (anything more than a few weeks) the buyer will very often speak with multiple vendors and can easily forget those they encounter at the early stage of the investigation period. In these cases, lead nurturing is a powerful way to stay top of mind for those prospects and ensure, when they do finally decide, you are actively considered and not forgotten. Now since you are familiar with the concept of lead nurturing and its importance, the next step is to learn how to nurture your leads. One of the best ways to communicate with your leads is through emails. As per a survey by Merkle, 74% of consumers prefer to receive commercial communications through email. Direct Marketing Association says that email marketing has an ROI of 4,300%. Lead nurturing through email marketing allows your brand to stay in constant communication with your prospects. Email Automation Emails are the most direct and cost-effective method to get specific content to a specific lead. However, imagine sending nurturing emails to all your clients manually. Well, you can do it for 50-100 leads but what about 50,000-1,00,000 leads. It will make your process massively slow and time-consuming. Automation helps you to send the right content to the right lead at the right time. You can just create a lead nurturing campaign through email automation and your job is done. You can focus on your core business and your leads will be taken care through email automation. Email drip campaigns can be complicated and intimidating. You are required to create a bunch of content and weave it all together to persuade your leads. Here are a few simple steps that you can follow to make email marketing for lead nurturing your magic tool to generate more revenue: 1. Send introductory emails. Start your lead nurturing camping by dripping a few introductory emails about your brand. For instance, have a look at this email from designbetter.co. It welcomes the prospects, brief them about what to expect from the brand’s emails. This is the first step towards engaging and nurturing the lead so if you provide adequate information about the brand it will help the lead to engage further. 2. Get to know your leads. After you have introduced your brand to the lead, it is imperative to figure out where your prospect is in the marketing funnel. The goal is to gather as much information as you can about your lead. To cater to the needs of your lead you should first know its preferences. You may gather all the information from your lead in the form of a questionnaire in exchange for a free download or a discount coupon. Once your prospects are familiar with your content and recognize its quality, they’ll be more willing to trust you with the information you need in order to receive something helpful in return. 3. Segmentation.  After you have gathered all the information about your prospects, you can move to the next step of the lead nurturing campaign i.e. segmentation. On the basis of the information received, categorize your leads on the basis of gender, age or whatever suits best for your company. In this example, Adidas segmented their list by gender in order to ensure their female customers received content that was most relevant to them: This will enable you to deliver exactly what your prospect is looking for. If you deliver great and appropriate content, your prospect is more likely to come back which in turn will provide you with more information and will let you segment even better, and the cycle continues. 4. Engage your leads.  It is not a golden rule that every time you only have to talk about your product. At times, you may send educational content which is likely to engage your prospects. For instance, Makaan does something in their nurturing emails that works like a charm: education. By sharing an interesting article with the reader they are providing value in exchange. 5. Automate email delivery. Did you know automation does not only assist you in saving time but also enables you to deliver content at the time and the day your prospect is most likely to respond? A well-written campaign is a waste if it gets at the bottom of your subscribers’ list. Research highlights that the time you send your emails has an effect on opens, click-throughs, and, yes, even revenue. When you schedule email delivery, your customers who reside in different time zone will also get emails at a good time. 6. Personalize. As per a survey by DemandGen, leads that are nurtured with personalized content convert into sales at 20% higher than those who aren\'t. The genius of segmentation and automation lies with your ability to deliver content that’s tailored to your individual prospects. This email from Robin Sharma is the perfect example of personalization. This email looks like the CEO is directly speaking to prospect and adding value without directing the sale. 7. Provide CTA. To engage your leads it is crucial to give them call-to-action. In general, CTA buttons out-perform text links, often because so many people scan emails instead of reading them. They should know why are you sending them an email, what are they expected out of it. Referring to the example above - the CEO wants the prospect to watch the video and tell the prospect the guide motivational videos he is making. The “play button” - call-to-action certainly stands out in the email. 8. Use visuals and graphics. Eye-tracking studies have shown that readers spend more time looking through images than reading text when they are relevant to the copy. So if you can align images in your email while educating your readers, the message will stick with them for longer and have a higher impact. 9. Add customer reviews. When you know a lead has been looking to buy a particular product or a service but hasn\'t actually made a purchase yet, then you may send it an email like what Casper has done. This will reinstate the quality of the product or the service the prospect is intending to buy. 10. Holiday Marketing. Holiday marketing uses seasons, festivals, etc. as a type of campaign to nurture leads. Both B2B and B2C companies take full advantages of running holiday-themed campaigns throughout the year. While drafting such an email you must keep it sweet and short. For instance, here Nykaa in its email campaign talks about 7 summer beauty favorite. By following these simple steps, you’ll are likely to tap into one of your greatest resources, building brand loyalty and awareness and generating more revenue than ever before for your company.


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What To Do When Your Welcome Email Lacks Soul

What To Do When Your Welcome Email Lacks Soul

Practical Marketer • May 16, 2019

Research shows that we form our first impression of someone within 27 seconds of meeting them. E-meeting someone is exactly the same. Well, actually, it’s much faster; consumers can make a snap decision about whether they like your company or want to read your email in a matter of milliseconds. That’s why your welcome email needs to shine. A welcome email is a perfect chance to make a great first impression on your brand new subscribers. However, crafting an enticing welcome email is easier said than done, especially if you’re not a natural writer or you haven’t got the time or budget to hire someone to make it sound good. The danger of writing a bad welcome email is that your brand can come across as too aggressive, too dull or just plain weird. It’s the email equivalent of standing in the corner of a party not talking to anyone and clutching a bowl of pretzels as if it’s a safety blanket. If you’re worried about how your welcome email is being perceived, then don’t be. Here are a few of our top tips on what to do when your welcome email lacks soul. Keep It Simple A welcome email is (or should be) the very first communication between your company and a subscriber. Take this opportunity to wow them, but also introduce yourself in a chilled way, like this well-toned welcome email from Virgin America: You don’t want to scare your potential customer off before they’ve even bought anything. Throwing a shedload of irrelevant, unnecessary information at them in the very first email you send is too much. Say you’re at a party; it’s essentially like meeting a new person by the fridge and then diving headfirst into a monologue where you proceed to tell them every intricate detail of your life. At the soonest chance, your poor new acquaintance will down their glass of wine and make a run for it. Keep it simple: sometimes, just a friendly hello is enough to start off. Be clear and concise — introduce yourself, say thanks for signing up, and include a call to action. The rest will come later in other types of emails as you start to nurture a meaningful relationship, but for now, minimal is best. Tell a Compelling Story If you think your welcome email lacks soul, then a surefire way to inject some is to tell your subscribers a story. Storytelling is a powerful tool for connecting with consumers, marketing your brand and selling your product. By storytelling in your welcome email, you can create an engaging, emotional narrative that draws your audience closer and creates a shared experience between them and your brand. You can do this in a number of ways — by telling them the story behind how your business began, introducing them to the team, mentioning customers you’ve helped already or even including a snap of the office dog. Design brand Ugmonk used storytelling in their welcome email to make their copy creative, authentic and emotive: Think of writing a welcome email like writing a book. You need compelling characters (your team or your customers), a killer plot (your brand origin story), and some decent writing. This blog post from Jericho Writers on how to write a book details the components of a great story pretty well — and applying these points to your welcome email will help you treat your email content in a more creative way. This is what will strike a chord with your subscribers; vibrant, emotive storytelling will persuade readers to like you, which will lead to trust, which will lead to conversions. You can even embed a fun introductory video if you want — visual storytelling is a really effective way of capturing your subscriber’s attention and injecting some fun and personality into your email. The key is to be heartwarming, funny or uplifting; you want to capture their hearts as well as their email addresses. Get Personal and Start Conversations Getting personal will ensure that your welcome email has plenty of soul. You can do this in a number of ways. Firstly, setting a friendly, conversational tone will set your readers at ease and make them more inclined to carry on the conversation. Back to that party analogy; when you meet someone new at a party, you want to make a good impression. You’d try to be friendly and engaging because you want them to like you, right? It’s the same with a welcome email, except in this circumstance you’ve got potential sales riding on this conversation. When you’re writing your welcome email, try to channel this genuine person-to-person interaction. People want to get to know you. They want to know the faces behind the brand — it makes your company seem more human and more relatable, rather than just being a faceless corporation. HelloPrint got it right when they added this awesome introductory section to their welcome email: Be personable; sign your email from the real people in your team that will be looking after your customers. A warm, friendly introduction like this stops you from being anonymous and allows customers to put a face to your brand. If you use an email marketing platform to craft your emails, you can also make the most of personalization to address the recipient in their name. It makes it seem like your email was written just for them, and will be much better received than a generic “hello customer” email ever will. Neil Patel explores some other killer methods of email personalization that will propel your email marketing. Make an effort to get to know them too: ask them to fill in a short survey or questionnaire detailing the types of emails they’d like to receive, and the topics they’re interested in. This will help you to create targeted content that they are more interested in, which will generate a higher click-through rate for you too. Creating a natural connection with subscribers will help you to build a loyal community around your brand. You may feel like your welcome email lacks soul at the moment, but it’s easy enough to turn that around if you put some love and care into your writing. By injecting some emotion, personality, and simplicity into your email, you can ensure that your new relationship with your subscriber gets off to a good start; where you go from there is up to you.


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

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

Practical Marketer • May 13, 2019

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


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How to Design Powerful Email Call-To-Actions That Convert

How to Design Powerful Email Call-To-Actions That Convert

Practical Marketer • May 7, 2019

Smart email campaigns make a substantial part of successful internet marketing. The goal of every entrepreneur is turning their subscribers into potential customers through their well-thought-out email newsletter. The major question is, which content to include in your email? This is what the world knows about online sales technologies today: Users are not patient (8 seconds till they’re turned into leads or it’s a NO); More users prefer mobile browsing; The “BUY” button is no longer effective; Users get used to filling in forms on landing pages; Emails work better when they’re personal. Many entrepreneurs are convinced email-marketing is no longer effective, which is eventually their biggest mistake...Amazon, eBay, Google, and the entire group of top international brands use emails for direct-, cross-, or up selling. In fact, a HUGE amount of traffic is being converted into real sales with the help of so-called email newsletter. Click here to read more about tips and inspiration from the newsletters our email marketing experts love most. And now with the existence of multiple email services allowing you to send automated email series, you have all the resources to run successful email marketing campaigns. But if you ever dealt with email marketing and it wasn’t going well, it may have simply lacked a CTA (call-to-action)... What is Call-to-Action? Call-to-action is either a word, phrase, or button that urges a user to take a certain action. You can use calls-to-action in any content intended for your target audience - from social media and ad banners to videos and emails. CTA has the potential to bring you more clients and make them complete the wanted action. After all, how would you gain more customers with the help of your email campaign if you don’t ask about it directly? Why Calls-to-Action Are Important CTAs are used for: Generation of leads; Social media reposts; Raising leads; Sales closure; Maintaining the audience; Event promotion. Simply put, the main purpose of any call-to-action is to attract potential clients, turn them into leads and sales, as well as leave them satisfied in prospect. Unfortunately, a lot of company owners pay less attention to the CTA email marketing design than they should. About 70% of small B2B companies use NO call-to-action and therefore fail to find their best customers. At the meantime, picking a random CTA is not enough for a successful email campaign. One should pay attention to the email and CTA design. Let’s get down to 7 handy tips on how to design a powerful email call-to-action that will eventually convert. 1. Which Format to Choose? So, every call to action can be either textual, as an image or as a button. Doubting which one to choose? The second option will always work better. But regardless of which one you choose, make sure that the CTA link will actually lead to the wanted landing page, form, etc. Just like in this Travel Responsive Email Newsletter Template, most buttons have a traditional rectangle shape. If you are not willing to risk or show your imagination, you can leave it that way and it will totally work. Nonetheless, if you want to stand out, feel free to experiment with shapes. Just keep it readable :) 2. Location is Vital If your call-to-action is located in a bad place, you’re eventually missing the opportunity to increase conversions. The next task would be trying to arrange the CTA on the page the way it becomes immediately noticeable. This way, your potential clients will not waste their time searching for this important button or text. The most effective place for a call-to-action is placing it on the top of the newsletter. The person wouldn’t need to scroll down till the end of the email because he sees it immediately. Important reminder: always think of smartphone users. You’ll need to adapt the CTA button so that it will be convenient to press even on a small smartphone screen. Super Responsive Email Template is a great example of how a contrasting button placed in the center of the top image can catch the person’s eye from the very first second. The super multipurpose template includes a drag-and-drop StampReady builder and is supported by one of the major email services - MailChimp. 3. Size Matters So whichever elements you are going to use as a call-to-action - text, buttons, or images - what matters most is their actual size. The choice of size may eventually affect the conversion levels, so you better NOT screw it up. Email marketing pros would always care about the size of their CTA elements. For instance, if you make them too large, there is a huge risk for customers to simply ignore them. Herewith, too large buttons or text may overlap the other elements of the newsletter and this would only create some extra mess. Alongside, the size of your CTA shouldn’t be too small as it should be noticed by viewers right from the first second they open your newsletter. Long story short, there should always be a golden middle :) 4. Enhancing Text with Images Themed images can significantly increase the overall conversion of email campaigns. It’s easier for a subscriber to react to a picture instead of making him read long texts and then urge them to make an action. See how this method works in a BigSale Newsletter Template: Important reminder: some of your subscribers may not see the images in their emails because of a slow Internet connection or just because they blocked this option in their settings. Thus, make sure the user gets enough information from the text only. 5. Conveying the Message Using Text When writing a CTA text message, think of what’s important for your subscriber. Most likely he will spend a couple of seconds to analyze your newsletter before closing it. To convey a message and urge to make a simple one-click action, make it simple and clear. Explain why a reader should click the CTA button and what will come as a result. Every call-to-action should give a clear answer to the What and Why questions. The easier and more transparent you formulated the action, the easier it will be for a reader to perform. Writing a strong CTA is not easy but here are some basic tips: Make your call-to-action a short phrase starting with a verb: Call, Download, Get, Read, Learn, etc. Avoid using words like \"here” or \"there\"; Limit your offer in time using words like \"now\" or \"today\"; Make your product/service more attractive using such tempting words as “free”, “discounted”, etc.; Add some unique value to your proposal. Mention the strongest benefits for a client once he or she gets it. 6. Duplication Is Good There is nothing bad of repeating your call to action unless, of course, you have two or more same-looking buttons all over the page. To make your CTAs look different from each other (although it will lead to making the same action), follow these 2 simple rules: Do NOT place them close to each other - it may only confuse; Write different text messages. Finally, do NOT overload your newsletter with too many CTAs. Stick to no more than two or three clearly-stated calls-to-actions instead of several vague statements. 7. Fully-Responsiveness for Mobile Devices The year of 2019 continues to follow the 2018 mobile browsing trend. According to Litmus report, in December 2018, 43% of all emails were opened on mobile devices. Users are now more likely to browse their email newsletter using their smartphones rather than on a desktop. Thus, having a fully-responsive email design is vital these days. Before sending your CTA to subscribers, check how if the letter looks well-designed and is adequately displayed on all devices. Is your CTA visible? Does it fit in the screen size? Do images load quickly? A good strategy would be acting the other way around. You put your best efforts into developing and improving the mobile version and only then get down to the desktop version. Although, if you decide to purchase one of the email newsletter templates, they will be adapted automatically. Finally, don’t forget there exist additional CTAs for smartphone browsing. Along with the major calls-to-actions, you can include such buttons as “Request a Call” or “Call Me Back.” Wrapping Up Effective email marketing gives you incredible kickbacks. Even if you think your business is “boring” (you’re selling industrial equipment), you can increase the net profit at least by 20% by using a powerful email CTA. For instance, such a world’s top online reseller as Amazon receives $2,5 for every dollar invested in their newsletter. Use our recommendations on practice, test them, and purchase high-quality email newsletter templates only! P.S. Let us know if our 7 tips were helpful as you were designing your own email newsletter. You are also welcome to share your experience with working with the mentioned templates.


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Email Marketing Lessons we Learned from Star Wars

Email Marketing Lessons we Learned from Star Wars

Practical Marketer • May 2, 2019

 By the year 2023, there are expected to be 4.4 billion email users. And that’s just the ones we know about on Earth. Who knows how many are using email in galaxies far, far away. It’s also expected that 347 billion emails will be sent daily. If you lined them up, they’d stretch from here to Tatooine! With these staggering numbers on email, it’s no wonder that email marketing delivers such a high Return On Investment (ROI). In 2018, the DMA reported that for every $1 you invest in email marketing, you can expect on average an ROI of $32. As a way to grow your business and nurture relationships, email marketing truly is a force. As Yoda said: For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. When harnessed, you can use the force of email marketing to vanquish your competition. We’ve put together a handful of email marketing lessons from Star Wars to guide you on your journey. Embrace the Traits That Make You Stand Apart We all belong to groups in our society. Whether it’s a Jedi, a drone racer, a Chicago Bulls fan or you’re lactose intolerant, there are things that inherently make us all the same. However, each of us are unique in ways that extend beyond the parents of us millennials telling us all we’re special. Whether it’s your moral code, your personality or even the struggles you’ve overcome, there will be occasions where your specific skill set may be in need. Embrace those moments. Han Solo was the only pilot who could do the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs to deliver the unrefined coaxium on time. With Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing stuck in a Dagobah swamp, Yoda was needed to lift it up out of the muck and show the true power of the force. In A New Hope, it was only Luke who could use the force and guide his torpedos into the Death Star’s thermal exhaust port to destroy it. What does any of this have to do with email marketing? Your subscribers get a lot of email in their inbox on a daily basis. You need to make sure you’re sending content that you, and only you, can deliver. Celebrate what makes your brand unique and your subscribers will open every email you send. How can you identify what makes your brand special? How to Make Your Brand Special Tip #1: Offer Something That No Other Brand Can (and That Your Customers Really Want) In Robert Bloom and Dave Conti\'s “The Inside Advantage: The Strategy That Unlocks the Hidden Growth in Your Business,” the authors emphasize that successful brands must offer an experience that is “neither ordinary nor unique.” This means that customers stay loyal to your brand because they’re getting something they need, in a way that they can’t get from other brands. Emails are the perfect medium to emphasize this in implicit and explicit ways. Your emails to your customers -- if done correctly -- feel useful, welcome and intimate. EXAMPLE: FROM: Samsung WHY IT’S GREAT: The smartphone market is an example of a space that’s incredibly crowded. It’s also an example of a space where customers are fiercely brand-loyal. Samsung capitalizes on this with their marketing emails, which combine listings for new features and offers to upgrade with stunning graphics and a conversational tone. Smartphones are ordinary in this era, but Samsung convinces its customers that their offerings are truly unique. How to Make Your Brand Special Tip #2: Offer Something Genuine and Easy-to-Understand to Your Customer So you’ve got a great product that’s “ordinary and unique.” In order to supercharge your marketing, you’ll want to describe your brand’s offering in a way that’s relatively simple and authentic. Once again, email shines for this need. You can keep things as simple as you want -- while many messages make great use of graphics (or even GIFs), the words always win the day. Take advantage of your subject line and pretext header (more on this later), and use the body of your email to tell a story that your customers want to hear. EXAMPLE: FROM: Beats WHY IT’S GREAT: Talk about simple! A two-year-old could understand this marketing: “You used a free trial of our service to listen to music. You liked it. Sign up to continue.” Bonus points for the earworm of a header -- you’re singing the Rihanna song now, aren’t you? How to Make Your Brand Special Tip #3: Offer Something That Stirs the Imagination -- and Let Your Email Marketing Follow That Tone To quote Bloom and Conti again: “People are intrigued and motivated by imaginative acts because they highlight and dramatize the Inside Advantage of businesses and brands.” Drama -- it’s not just for the theatre geeks. Great stories and colorful details make your brand memorable. And, again, email is a place to combine those two things to great advantage. This is a fantastic time to rise to the challenge. Can you beat out the nearly 100 messages that the average person receives each day? Can you get your customer to click? EXAMPLE: FROM: Airbnb WHY IT’S GREAT: Incredible email marketing in action. Quick, what’s the first word you think of after viewing this stunning marketing email for the vacation stay service? More than likely, it’s the word home. Airbnb subtly emphasizes the idea of home through the simple copy, the call to action button and that great photo of people having loads of casual fun. “Home” is about as simple and as powerful a concept as you can get -- making it perfect to use for evocative marketing. Be Loyal To Your Friends A good friend will stay by your side no matter what. Great friendships require some effort, but they pay off in amazing ways when you put in the work. Think about the unbreakable bond that Han Solo and Chewbacca share. Time and again, we’ve seen them save one another’s hides, have fun together and face challenges side by side. Perhaps it’s the friendship between C-3PO and R2-D2 that you draw inspiration from. They’re like an old married couple. While they may becker relentlessly, their loyalty will never falter. This is how you should approach your relationship with your email subscribers. Yes. Email marketing is a tool that will help your business. However, it should be done with your customers’ needs first and foremost. If you put your own needs aside for now to benefit your subscribers, the benefits will pay off tenfold. Your subscribers have opt-ed in and given you permission to send to them. Don’t take that for granted. Use customer-centric email marketing to reward your subscribers. Tip #1 to Make Your Email Marketing All About Your Customer: Put them at the Center of Your Universe The great sales guru Dale Carnegie said it best: “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” Seeing as he was born in the 1800s, the guy obviously wasn’t talking about email marketing. Yet his “How to Win Friends and Influence People” is filled with pearls of wisdom that are eternally relevant to us. The main idea boils down to one principle, which has held true since the era where horse-drawn carriages were a transportation necessity and not just a quaint hipster curiosity: People care most about themselves. That’s why it’s so important to approach your email marketing by considering your customer’s perspective first. It might feel counterintuitive. You might think that your emails should tell your customers about new features or upcoming sales. And they should -- but the thing is, the message will be much stickier if you prove to your customer that you understand what makes them tick and you’ve got their best interests at heart first. EXAMPLES: FROM: Tasty WHY IT’S GREAT: Tasty has a knack for sharing compulsively clickable content. This email demonstrates one of their time-tested techniques: using enticing imagery and hot tips and tricks that are easy to digest (pun not intended). FROM: WebpageFX WHY IT’S GREAT: This digital marketing agency grabs you right from the get-go with the promise of super-useful info. That graphic -- the top of an Amazon Alexa product, showing the Red Ring of Failure (which occurs when the AI can’t process a voice input) -- is also powerful. This is a great example of choosing a central image that will both be meaningful and emotionally powerful for the target audience. Tip #2 to Make Your Email Marketing All About Your Customers: Don’t Make ‘Em Mad! Don’t poke the bear. Don’t tickle a dragon’s tail. Don’t abuse your customers’ trust with sneaky email tricks! No matter how you phrase it, the idea holds true for bears, dragons and people. Nobody likes being taunted, teased or taken advantage of. It seems like this is a no-brainer, but in the rush to grab clicks or signups, it might be tempting to resort to a bit of marketing trickery. (Examples from elsewhere in digital marketing: making popup windows that are impossible to close, using the email address that someone provided for one thing and cross-enrolling it for unrelated and irrelevant lists, etc.) Don’t resort to cheap tricks to boost your numbers. While you might win the battle, you’ll definitely lose the war. Once you create the perception in your customer’s mind that your brand is not to be trusted, it’s almost impossible to correct that. The customer will likely avoid you in the future, and they’ll probably tell their friends … and possibly social media, too! EXAMPLES: FROM: Bonobos WHY IT’S GREAT: Don’t you hate when you get an email promising one thing but delivering another? Like when you get a message alerting you about new markdowns on clearance items, but when you click the link, it goes to the brand’s homepage, which prominently features “new arrivals” (a.k.a. full-price items)? This Bonobos email keeps it clean, simple and easy -- they even helpfully included links to jump right into the sale items for your size! FROM: Hotjar WHY IT’S GREAT: This one keeps it simple with just three colors and a wonderfully enticing description. The opening line sounds intriguing, and you feel compelled to keep reading out of genuine curiosity -- not out of some cheap trick like an empty promise, a seizure-inducing wacky graphic, etc. The full message overs a succinct summary of the entire podcast. Chances are good that the customers reading this one will want to give it a listen -- no trickery necessary. Tip #3 to Make Your Email Marketing All About Your Customers: Get to Know Them By Analyzing the Data In this era of easy A/B testing, cursor tracking, cookies and more -- there’s absolutely no excuse for not taking advantage of the treasure trove of data that your customers offer you. What does this mean in email marketing? You’ll want to avoid the appearance of impersonality by tailoring messages based on a customer’s history and behaviors. It’s not too difficult -- we’re not talking about extreme specificity. But if you take the time to write and program messages triggered by certain actions or non-actions, and if you reference significant information about your customer’s experience with you, it goes a long way towards personalization, which is key to building trust. EXAMPLES: FROM: Uber WHY IT’S GREAT: This is a great example of a nudge. Uber sent this one out as a reminder after sending an initial message describing a fairly compelling flat-rate ride deal. This follow-up keeps it simple by reiterating the key terms and subtly reminding you that this isn’t your first notice about a compelling offer -- and quantities are limited. FROM: Spotify WHY IT’S GREAT: You can bet that this email, written from the perspective of country band frontman Charles Kelly, wasn’t sent to hip-hop enthusiasts. Streaming service Spotify has loads of very specific data on each of its users -- it knows what kind of music you like, what your listening habits are, who you follow and share with, etc. They used that information to great advantage here to announce the presale for Lady Antebellum’s tour. Notice that the email also includes a link to listen to the band’s music on Spotify -- an action that the service knows that the recipient of this email does frequently. Tip #4 to Make Your Email Marketing All About Your Customers: Offer Them a Top-Notch User Experience Life is too short -- and the Internet is too big -- for savvy customers to stay loyal to brands that offer a subpar user experience. From broken links to hard-to-see images and poorly timed messages (think emails that arrive on Saturday night), if a brand doesn’t make things convenient for its customers, they can expect to lose those customers in short order. As you write, design and program your marketing emails, make sure you keep things clean, beautiful and personal. And be sure to stay brand-consistent -- your customers signed up for your emails because they want and expect the kind of content that made them loyal to you in the first place. EXAMPLES: FROM: Birchbox WHY IT’S GREAT: The luxury of a personal shopper is something that only the most affluent can afford. Or … is it? Birchbox plays product concierge in this email, offering a helpfully curated list of brands and products based on unique customer history. It’s win-win, of course -- such an email saves time for the customer, boosts open rates for the brand and is highly likely to convert to a sale. The generous targeted discount codes are a nice touch as well. FROM: Leadpages WHY IT’S GREAT: What customer doesn’t love the idea that a brand will “utterly spoil” them? Leadpages keeps the focus on its rich content here, without pushing products or further signups. This email is nice and sweet, which is appropriate as the intro to digest-style messages. Tip #5 to Make Your Email Marketing All About Your Customers: Offer Rewards Loyalty, loyalty, loyalty / 10-4, no switchin\' sides / Feel somethin\' wrong / You actin\' shifty, you don\'t ride / With me no more, I need / Loyalty, loyalty, loyalty. --Rihanna, “Loyalty” RiRi had the right idea. In this world of endless choices and never enough time, why should a customer stick with your brand if you don’t recognize and reward loyalty? That’s where repeat discounts, VIP offers and rewards programs come in. Piggybacking off tip #3 -- this is a great time to make use of the copious data you have regarding your customer’s likes, dislikes and shopping history. EXAMPLES: FROM: Starbucks WHY IT’S GREAT: When this email was sent, people who signed up for the Starbucks loyalty program for the first time received a promo code good for one free drink. That same program offers discounts and freebies for the customer’s birthday, as well as when certain thresholds are reached. Starbucks regularly sends cheerful, clean email messages offering perks, many of which are time-limited or unexpected. This strategy trains the customer to get excited every time an email from Starbucks comes in. That’s exactly what we all hope for with our email marketing efforts. FROM: Crocs WHY IT’S GREAT: When your customer keeps your marketing emails on the whitelist for one whole year, that’s something to be celebrated. Crocs cleverly capitalized on this, with their one-time $15 off coupon, sent to customers on their 1-year anniversary of being on the email list. Try something similar -- discounts are great to boost re-engagement, but even an acknowledgment of the signup anniversary shows thoughtfulness and builds brand loyalty. It’s Never Too Late To Turn Things Around Darth Vader is the original big bad in the Star Wars universe. The one we were told to fight from the start. However, with the proverbial chips on the table, when it came time to protect his son, he opted to save Luke and kill the Emperor, throwing him down the Death Star reactor shaft. It didn’t change all that he’s done, though, it did give him redemption. Email marketing may not be literal life and death (though it may feel that way sometimes), however, there are things you can do to hurt your email efforts and your brand. It may not be easy, but there are also ways to turn your ship around and return to the light. Tip #1 to Turn Things Around with Your Email Marketing Campaign: Use SPF/DKIM What the heck does sunblock have to do with email? Just kidding. When it comes to email marketing, SPF stands for Sender Policy Framework. DKIM stands for DomainKeys Identified Mail. The two work hand-in-hand to add a layer of legitimacy to the emails you send your customers. SPF works, in simple terms, by providing proof that emails are really coming from who they say they’re coming from. In order to take advantage of this protection, you’ll want to ensure that all apps that you use to send emails on your behalf are included in your SPF. Check the support logs for each service and your control panel to see exactly how. DKIM works, in simple terms, by using a unique, private key to encrypt your signature in your email message headers. The private key works in tandem with a public key, which appears in your DNS records. When you send out an email using DKIM, your customer’s email server uses the public key to decrypt your hidden signature in the message header and confirm that everything’s on the up and up. In order to take advantage of this protection, all you have to do is enter your public key information into your server’s records. This will trigger your customer’s server to attempt to decrypt your hidden signature with the public key each time a message comes in. Again, check associated software help guides to ensure you are doing this properly. Using SPF and DKIM leads to increased deliverability of mail. Tip #2 to Turn Things Around with Your Email Marketing Campaign: Improve Your Opt-In Process to Set Proper Expectations We’ve all been there. You’re looking for an answer to a burning question. Let’s say you’ve searched: “How to breed short-haired hamsters.” Hooray -- you find a random blog from someone who seems pretty knowledgeable about short-haired hamsters. A pop-up window promises the world’s most comprehensive free PDF guide to short-haired hamster breeding, provided you enter your email address. You do so. You receive the guide. You start breeding those hamsters. But then … oh no! This random blogger emails you many times a day about something completely irrelevant to you and your short-haired hamster breeding needs. You angrily unsubscribe, and perhaps even hit “mark as spam” on the email for good measure. How can this whole scenario be avoided? With proper expectation setting at the opt-in process, of course. When someone gives you their precious email address, you owe them an explanation of what kind of emails you will be sending them. How frequent will they be? Roughly how long? What will they be about? When you communicate these things clearly upfront, you cut way down on the mutual frustration and miscommunication that can occur when someone starts receiving way more emails, or emails about irrelevant topics, than they expected. EXAMPLE: FROM: Upworthy WHY IT’S GREAT: This signup form tells the subscriber exactly what, when and how to expect communications from Upworthy. Sure, it takes time to be cute and funny about it, but the message comes through clearly, meaning the customer is unlikely to become irked later. Tip #3 to Turn Things Around with Your Email Marketing Campaign: Write Subject Lines That Get Your Emails Opened Before there were computers and smartphones, people used to say “don’t judge a book by its cover.” These days, nobody has time to judge you by anything but your cover. In the world of email marketing, you “cover” is your subject line and pretext header (that short preview of the message content that appears beside the subject line in an unopened email in the inbox). People make split-second decisions about whether to open your message based on these two things -- so make them count! In order to write a great subject line: DO keep things short ‘n’ sweet. DO convey urgency (without being gimmicky). DO use personalization tokens to make things specific to your customer. DO capitalize on relevant references or current events -- within reason. DO give an enticing clue to what the message is about. DON’T get too random. DON’T promise something and not deliver. EXAMPLES: FROM: Brooklinen SUBJECT: “Hmm… what’s this?” WHY IT’S GREAT: Come on, how could you see this one and not click? The sheer curiosity factor is almost too much to bear. The luxury bedding company Brooklinen excels at short, catchy subject lines, which their customers love. FROM: Herman Miller SUBJECT: “The design is timeless, but the sale isn’t” WHY IT’S GREAT: Art & design shop Herman Miller tastefully nods to its artistic icon status while also conveying a sense of urgency. Who wouldn’t feel FOMO after seeing this in the inbox? Tip #4 to Turn Things Around with Your Email Marketing Campaign: Offer a Preference Center One of the top reasons customers give for opting out of email communications is “getting more emails than expected.” You want to stay top-of-mind and you have loads of valuable information to share. So should you reduce what you send? Of course not! What you should do, however, is segment your audience to separate out the die-hards who can’t get enough of your content, the not-yet-fanatics who are still feeling you out and the customers who are somewhere in between. The way to do this is with a preference center, that checkbox option where customers can choose what kind of messages to receive. EXAMPLES: FROM: Old Navy WHY IT’S GREAT: Old Navy does a great job of making one last attempt to hold onto an unsubscriber with a preference center offer that doesn’t feel sleazy. The descriptions of message frequency even sound light and conversational, emphasizing the “no hard feelings” nature of things. FROM: Groupon WHY IT’S GREAT: Deals aggregator Groupon does a great job breaking their email categories out, so that someone who signs up for dining deals doesn’t feel bombarded when they start getting massage discount offers unexpectedly. Tip #5 to Turn Things Around with Your Email Marketing Campaign: Keep a Clean List with Segmentation, List Verification and Removal of Inactive Subscribers Segment Your Subscribers -- and Send Some Messages Relevant Just for Each Segment The humor writer Josh Stern said: “I like gross generalizations...I also like disgusting specifics!” Segmentation relies on the idea that your customer expects “disgusting specifics” from your email marketing. He or she isn’t looking for generic blasts -- today’s customer wants information that’s targeted to location, shopping preferences and even more specific factors like size, gender or previous purchases. EXAMPLE: FROM: Casper WHY IT’S GREAT: This email -- sent just to the segment of Casper’s list that has already made a purchase from the online bedding retailer -- combines classy sales copy with inviting imagery, all wrapped together with a tone that feels fun and in-the-know. Verify Your Email List List verification is the practice of confirming an email list signup. It can be accomplished a couple of ways. First, you can use third-party services such as Kickbox, BriteVerify or many others that scan and verify your list in bulk, based on a CSV, Excel or other data file. Or, you could add an API to check the email address a customer provides in real-time to ensure that it actually exists. (Example for when you would need this: If a customer is after some content that you’ve gated behind an email collection form -- such as a coupon, a free PDF, etc. -- but feels wary of offering up his or her real address.) List verification can also be accomplished individually at signup by making people click or even respond to an initial message -- sometimes called “double opt-in” -- so that the address from which your emails originate can enjoy a prime position on the whitelist. This way, you stay out of the wasteland that is someone’s spam folder. As you can see, each of these methods has specific uses that apply for different scenarios. They each offer different advantages depending on what point in time you need to use them (e.g., when you’ve run a list for many years but haven’t cleaned the data in a while vs. when you have valuable gated content that people keep coming to your site for and you’re looking to bolster your email subscriber numbers, etc.). No matter which method or methods you choose -- implementing list verification for your email subscribers is certainly a worthwhile investment of your time. Remove Inactive Subscribers Removal of inactive subscribers is, of course, exactly what it sounds like -- the sometimes painful but ultimately prudent pruning of subscribers who never seem to open or engage with your content. It’s certainly a good idea to offer a last-ditch attempt to engage the subscriber, though -- this can be done with an enticing deal, a heartfelt interest message, etc. Taken together, segmentation, list verification and the removal of inactive subscribers are three killer tricks that keep your email list fresh and your engagement rate high. EXAMPLE: FROM: Grammarly WHY IT’S GREAT: A bit of personalization. Short & sweet message. A tempting call to action. This inactive subscriber prompt from grammar and usage editor Grammarly poses its request in a way that puts the customer first (“Just to be safe, please make sure ...”). Tip #6 to Turn Things Around with Your Email Marketing Campaign: Send Email Your Subscribers Love Did you know that the average person receives 90 emails every day?! That’s a heck of a lot of noise. In order for your messages to have a fighting shot of being read, you need to make sure that your emails feel deliberate and targeted -- not random and generic. When you combine all the elements above and harness them in your email marketing, the result is messages that feel personal, relevant and memorable. We’ll add one more tip to close this section -- focus on what your customers love. It’s that simple. EXAMPLES: FROM: Amazon WHY IT’S GREAT: Amazon is the master at sending info-rich, relevant product aggregation emails. Think of it as cart abandonment marketing on steroids. The simple but persuasive text, tempting yellow call-to-action buttons and total personalization here make it really stand out. FROM: Net-a-Porter WHY IT’S GREAT: Designer retailer Net-a-Porter combines the commercialism of a department store with the aspirational appeal of a glossy fashion magazine. Make no mistake -- their site is for ecommerce. But their chic marketing emails offer tons of usable, relevant content. Customers know that the news and insights in these emails are a great value-add, so they’re happy to open them. Never Say “I Have a Bad Feeling About This” This is a phrase we’ve heard in basically every Star Wars movie to date. Our heroes are usually right to trust their guts too. Han said it before the walls of the trash compactor starting closing in on them in A New Hope. C-3PO tells Artoo the same as they enter Jabba the Hutt’s palace in Return of the Jedi and BB-8 even beeps and boops it in The Last Jedi. For some, the thought of doing email marketing and automation is enough to utter those words. It doesn’t have to be that way! With testing, you can try out various strategies and find out the ones that will work for you. Then you can hit send with confidence! Whether it’s with A/B testing, following your reports or otherwise, there are many elements of your email marketing campaigns that you can test. What to Test Metric #1: Subject Line This one’s simple, with great bang-for-the-buck. Almost half (47%) of all email recipients open email based solely on the subject line. Almost 7 out of 10 people (69%) hit “report as spam” based only the subject line. Those are some steep numbers! Therefore: Be very careful what you choose as your subject line. EXAMPLE: A/B Test your subject lines to see which ones get more opens. Fun quick exercise: Which of the two do you think is more likely to be opened? Subject Line A: “It’s FREE. All the tiny houses on our site and more.” Subject Line B: “It features all the houses on our website plus more…” Answer: The first one -- featuring that oh-so-irresistible word FREE, got 26% more opens for the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, according to a test the brand conducted via AWeber. What to Test Metric #2: From Name First things first: Whatever you do, drop the “noreply” send address. Nothing sounds more impersonal or closed-off. (“Noreply” emails are still fine -- and probably preferable -- for certain types of simple notifications.) Play around with the name from which your email originates and see what gets the best results. EXAMPLE: When customers love your products -- just like Costco loyalists tend to love the members-only wholesale paradise -- they’re going to get a lot of emails from you. Order confirmations, news blasts about featured offers, branded credit card communications, etc. Keep things clean and click-worthy with clear and specific “from” sender names. What to Test Metric #3: Day of Week and Time of Day According to Propellor CRM, the best time and day to send emails is Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. That doesn’t mean that all your marketing emails should go out at that time, of course. There are various scenarios under which the lowered competition or various customer mindsets at different days or times can work to your advantage. Let the reason for the message and the audience it’s intended for guide your thinking on when to schedule the message’s delivery. Further, should you send out emails in one big blast across your entire subscriber base, or should you stagger them according to customers’ geography and time zone? The answer can vary. For example, if you’re anticipating a big click through rate from an email, you can use that to your advantage -- if you want to avoid crashing your site if you send an email announcing an exciting sale, you could send the message based on time zone. If your message asks people to check out a social media post, on the other hand, you could benefit from a big push that everyone on your subscriber list receives at the same time -- because the heavy traffic might allow your post to trend or go viral. If in doubt -- A/B test, of course! What to Test Metric #4: Frequency What’s a good cadence for your marketing messages? How often should you appear in your customer’s inbox and still provide value, without hitting the tipping point where they’re tempted to press “unsubscribe,” “mute” or the deadly “mark as spam”? As with most of these details, it depends heavily on your audience segment and their motivations. This one’s a bit harder to A/B test, as you of course don’t want to reach that annoyance point and lose a customer forever. If you have open and engagement data to analyze from existing or previous campaigns, you can use those as tea leaves of sorts. EXAMPLE: Online print shop Vistaprint is great about offering free shipping codes and other various discounts. But when you offer too many discounts, you train the customer that “full price” is just a phantom number, and you risk degrading the value of your unique offering. Be careful as well about making things sound special -- great if the sale or occasion really is unusual; perhaps a turn-off if a customer is receiving messages about how you’re “rolling out the red carpet” every single day. Beware of glazed-over eyes and marketing fatigue, which can be killer for your campaigns. What to Test Metric #5: Mostly-images vs. mostly-text A picture is worth a thousand words. Thing is, people checking their emails probably don’t want to read a thousand words. How do you strike the right balance between offering visual appeal and using the power of great copy? A/B test versions of your emails with loads of text and loads of images. This one’s an easy and fruitful test to run, and you can be reasonably confident that the results given offer a usable insight. Here’s what you can expect to find: text-based emails tend to have higher delivery rates (image-heavy messages can get flagged for spam more easily, and/or may not load or may not load fast enough, resulting in the customer not getting anything). Yet, when delivered, image-based emails tend to have a higher click-through rate. EXAMPLE: FROM: Seafolly WHY IT’S GREAT: It’s hard to beat a camel. Sometimes -- such as in the case of an upscale beachwear retailer like Seafolly -- it’s best to rely on images. Aesthetics are such an integral part of this brand’s offering that it’s potentially worth the risk of not making it into some customers’ inboxes. FROM: Milanote WHY IT’S GREAT: On the other hand, this onboarding email from notes app Milanote feels no-nonsense and no-gimmicks -- a great sign of a streamlined life to come. What to Test Metric #6: Copy Length In the evolution from direct mail to email, many marketers have waged an internal war over whether longer is better. That’s generally the rule in the paper, envelope and stamp world of direct mail -- it’s arguably untrue in the pixel, spam and “block sender” world of email. Your ideal copy length will depend on what your product is and what your customer segment has the patience and desire for. EXAMPLE: FROM: Paul Jarvis WHY IT’S GREAT: Wow, that’s long! Then again, Paul Jarvis is an author, and this is the email he sent to his list -- you can bet that most of the people signed up to receive his updates loved this one. What applies for an author may not necessarily hold for your brand, of course, so test out various copy lengths to see what your customers love best. What to Test Metric #7: Links v. Buttons Take it from the kid who smashed all the floor numbers the moment after you stepped into an elevator to head to a job interview on the top floor that you’re running late for -- It’s hard to resist the “press me now” urgency of a button. But if your email buttons don’t load or aren’t appealing, then you won’t be getting any clicks, and you should have stuck with a link. This is why it’s so important to A/B test links v. buttons. EXAMPLE: Which one looks more appealing to you? The answer will vary for your customers, depending on factors like whether they tend to read your messages on mobile, how often you use buttons (be careful -- button fatigue is real!), etc. A/B test to know what’s best. What to Test Metric #8: Number of Links and Placement of Links Some brands probably think that LOL stands for “Lots of Links.” Highly clickable content makes sense for some marketers -- such as for ecommerce brands. Just like everything else, this is a metric that you’ll want to test and re-test to ensure that you’re writing and designing emails that are relevant and appealing to your customer. EXAMPLE: FROM: Refinery29 WHY IT’S GREAT: There are lots of things to click here. Stories, ads, even social media follow buttons. Refinery29 has determined that this is what their audience wants, so they deliver it and reap the strong click-through rates. FROM: Jersey Mike’s Subs WHY IT’S GREAT: On the other hand, sub shop Jersey Mike’s knows that few people can resist the siren’s song of a coupon for freebies, so they’ve made that offer the focal point of this email. What to Test Metric #9: First Name Personalization in Subject Line and/or Email Body When a stranger greets you by your first name, it’s jarring. When a friend does it, it’s music to your ears. When the front desk at a hotel you regularly visit uses it, it’s a nice touch; when a fast food employee at a place you’ve never visited before does it, it’s genuine cause for alarm. Just like anything in life, the decision about whether or not to use first name personalization in emails is complicated and sometimes unpredictable. That’s where the A/B Test comes in. EXAMPLES: Subject Line A/B Test: OPTION A: Subject: [Name], Do You Have a Minute? OPTION B: Subject: Do You Have a Minute? Hmm -- this one straddles the line between hokey and helpful. Your mileage may vary, depending on what your brand’s tone is. Email Body A/B Test: OPTION A:   OPTION B: You’ve gotta admit, personalization in the graphic of this Starbucks email is pretty cool. What to Test Metric #10: Animated GIFs In many ways, we’re all just cats chasing a laser. It’s very hard for people to ignore the appeal of moving graphics -- especially when tastefully done and used judiciously. Do GIFs make sense for your marketing emails? The answer will depend on your brand, your customers and the GIFs you choose. A/B Test to find out. EXAMPLE: OPTION A: OPTION B: In this email from Bonobos, the image is compelling enough -- but the Magic Mike version really sells the benefit (tear-away modular pants) with an arresting animation. What to Test Metric #11: Font Colors & Font Styles Cool colors for calm. Warm colors for excitement. Serif fonts and sans serif styles. When it comes to text, there’s more than just words -- email is a visual medium, so you have to consider the way things appear on the screen, too. A/B test different font colors and font styles to see what impact they have on your conversion rate. Amazingly, something as simple as changing the color of a call to action button can have a big impact! Same goes for using different font styles. EXAMPLES: FROM: 22 Days Nutrition WHY IT’S GREAT: Yellow is widely considered a cheery color that puts people in a great mood. The green text picks up the mint leaf in the photo and conveys “go” -- just the boost customers need to commit to selecting a plan from this meal prep company. Brush script-style fonts aren’t right for every brand -- in fact, they’re probably not right for most brands. But for a floral company, this whimsical typeface conveys just the right vibe. What to Test Metric #12: Tone: Human vs. Corporate “Sup fam” or “Dear Valued Customer” -- there is a huge tonal difference between the two. The tone you choose for your marketing emails will vary based on your brand, your target customer and the reason for your message. In general, you’ll want to stay consistent with your other brand messaging, but there can be good reason for switching things up every once in a while. EXAMPLES: Discount code aggregator UNiDAYS offers trackable promo codes to customers when they provide a .edu email address. No wonder their emails feel so casual and young -- they’re speaking the language of their users. On the other hand, Target keeps it mostly straightforward and informational with their email tone. The corporation sends loads of sale and new arrival emails, so too much slang or casualness could become grating. How to A/B Test: What to Keep in Mind You know what to test. So how do you set up your tests so that the data is clean and actionable? Here are a couple guidelines: Change only one thing at a time: In science experiments, the baseline is called the control. In medical studies, it’s called a placebo. In your email A/B tests, we advise that you change only one thing at a time, and make that thing simple to start, so you can be clear on what’s driving your results. Take time of day and day of week into account: Similarly, realize that A/B testing isn’t 100% perfect -- you may have to run tests at different times or on slightly different customer segments. Always consider how the factors beyond your control are affecting your results. Keep track of everything: You may think you’ll remember different results, but trust us, you won’t have the same encyclopedic recall of your A/B test data that you have right after the test when a few weeks, months or even years pass. Keep meticulous notes, and put new insights into play as you go. Implement testing into your day-to-day. Make it routine! Keep your test groups small enough to be manageable, but large enough to make the results statistically significant. Open your mind to the possibility that even seemingly small differences in your A/B test results can indicate important trends and insights that can be harnessed to make meaningful impacts. Test and re-test to confirm. For the love of megabytes, please take heed of the insights that come from your A/B tests! Otherwise … what was the point? A Little Hope Goes A Long Way So much of the Star Wars movies revolves around hope. Those characters had to believe they can fight the evil empire and shine a light on the darkness. Email marketing is the same way. Before you get started, things can seem complicated or overwhelming. However, it doesn’t have to be. Start simple and build from there. Should you find yourself feeling like there is no hope, remember our favorite heroes and get inspired to follow in their footsteps. As Obi-Wan Kenobi said: The Force will be with you. Always. Remember the lessons you learned here today and harness the force of email marketing for your business.  


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