Series Posts: Practical Marketer

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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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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Spring Cleaning: 4 Practices For Email List Health

Spring Cleaning: 4 Practices For Email List Health

Practical Marketer • April 22, 2019

Building an email list can be an exciting journey to prospective email marketers. It does take a little effort, but the results can be magnanimous when the right practices are followed. As a marketer, it is paramount that you check your email list now and then to be sure they are in their best condition possible. One of the mistakes email marketers make is not being consistent when it comes to monitoring anomalies which are bound to happen, and as such, they keep wondering why their marketing efforts aren’t yielding the expected results. There are many ways to maintain the health of your email list, and one of them entails cleaning up your list, to know what you have there. Ask yourself;   Are there any inactive members?   Expired email address nobody uses anymore?     When you come across a situation whereby some emails are inactive or perhaps, bots, then do the needful by weeding them out of your list. In this article, you will be guided on how to maintain your email list health in four easy-to-follow steps. 1. Using Your Welcome Message To Your Advantage A specific practice which is known to set you on the path of conversion is to send a welcome message whenever a new subscriber opts-in to your list. An email marketing automation is triggered when a new member sign immediately in and it is advised you make it customized and personalized as possible. This is because potential converters want to be recognized as a person, not as a group. Learn how to Generate 320% More Revenue with a Welcome Email. It is also in your best interest to make sure that your email design is friendly and straightforward. Your color scheme has psychological effects and using them well can make a difference in your marketing results. Look for the best email designs and steal some ideas. Another methodology which is commonly used to convert potential subscribers to customers is by asking them to add you to their safe/approved sender list. Also, set expectations to ensure that you are keeping interested subscribers on your list. An annoying feature which subscribers hate is when they are unable to opt-out from your list. You have to make the opt-out button very distinct, to give the uninterested subscribers the option they seek. That is how to build a healthy email list. 2. Create A Preference Center According to Econsultancy, 66% of email recipients say that how often a company sends is their reason for unsubscribing. To be on a safer range, send emails occasionally. Too much can seem annoying and spammy to your subscribers. What Is A Preference Center? An email preference center is a tool that helps establish a healthy communication cadence with your email recipients. This tool aids your subscribers to manage their emails by giving them the option to control what they receive and how often they receive your emails. In the email marketing world, unsubscribes are inevitable. No matter how thrilling your contents are, some recipients are bound to use the opt-out button. Why this happens isn’t far-fetched. They probably felt overwhelmed with the number of emails they were getting and decided to take a break. The way out of this menace is to incorporate a preference center, by giving them a better option by giving them control over the content they receive and how frequently they want it. Apart from the reasons above, another advantage of having a preference center is to improve the overall customer experience, to keep CAN-SPAM complaints at bay and to help create a re-engaging opportunity. Time-Based Preference Center This tool is designed to help subscribers receive fewer emails. Not just that, you need to give them the option to go on a break whenever they feel overwhelmed or better yet, give them control over the number of emails they receive either on a daily, weekly or monthly. Content-Based Preference Center This type of preference is the best cause it gives the subscriber the ability to choose the kind of content that appeals to them. More like, a targeted content which they can never get tired of no matter how frequently they come. Not all subscribers want to see all the buck emails you send forth, by having this content-based preference center in place, you give them the power to see only their favorite and the most helpful. The truth is, some subscribers are more interested in your blog updates and not your promos or discounts, while some are more focused on promos and discounts other than the blog update. To make sure that your marketing efforts aren’t a waste, make sure you segment your subscribers appropriately. Benchmark email services are email specialists who help in your email marketing endeavor. 3. Perform Proper List Hygiene Up to 25% of your email list will drop off each year. This is because people often get new jobs and abandoned their email addresses. Some lose interest in your services and so on. If it is essential that you weed off inactive subscribers from your list. Check your mail reports, some subscribers aren’t engaging with your emails, and the reasons can be diverse. Bored with your emails Can\'t find the time Perhaps they aren’t even getting your emails To re-engage them, comment about removing inactive or unengaging subscribers – everyone wants what they can’t have. Another strategy which has been known to spill in the impressive result is trying out coupons or discounts. It works like magic. Other tips are using polls & surveys, asking trending questions they can quickly answer, etc. Try something unique, something zany and out of the fiend that they wouldn’t expect, while also trying to stay within your brand. Do this, and you will witness a spike in engagement. To build a healthy email list, follow the three points below Remove Inactive Subscribers: Like previously said, a lot of factors can cause your email subscribers not to engage with your post anymore. In that case, don’t hesitate to remove them from the list. The chances are that they will never convert to customers no matter how mouth-watering your offers are. In other words, they are eating up resources and become a burden to your performance metrics. After you have removed them from your list, you will feel the difference right away because you now have a full list of people who are interested in your services. List Verification This is a measure every email marketer is advised to indulge you, to make sure you are wasting money on useless contacts that don’t exist. This is one of the core practice you must not overlook in your quest to build a healthy email list. Many email tools come with their list verification systems or have partnered up with third-party solutions, so they don’t have to worry about the process too much. How often you verify your email list is dependent on the email sender. Do you blast emails daily? Irrespective if your email schedule, it is paramount that you check your email list once every 90 days. For a marketer who sends a newsletter once in a month, verifying your mailing list once in 6 months is ideal. Another pointer to look out for is your email report. Ig your marketing efforts aren\'t yielding the desired result, perhaps that is a sign to verify your list once again. Make It Easier To Unsubscribe To not fall victim to CAN-SPAM complaint, it is mandatory you have a distinct \'unsubscribe button\' that helps uninterested email recipients opt-out from your email marketing list. This act shows good customer relationship management. Only keep subscribers who want to be there, none should feel caged to your email services. Sticking to this rule will make sure that your emails don\'t get flagged as spam. That could spell doom for your business. What Benchmark Email offers is to help businesses to quickly and easily turn their most valuable marketing asset, their email list, into relationships and sales. 4. Customer-Centric Marketing This is prioritizing your customers’ needs over other factors, that is, making your customers your central focus and treating them like the kings they are. Without them, there is no business and that in turn can spell doom. This is the reason customers should never be joked with or taken for granted. Potential customers should not see you like a green monster who is out to drain them of their life-force – money. When you fail to project a selfless and emphatic personal to prospective customers, convincing them to take a specific action can become a daunting task. Never take your customers for granted. See through their view and make sure they get what they anticipated. Doing this right means more customers and recommendations from satisfied customers. Ways To Improve Your Customer-Centric Marketing Efforts Make sure your website is mobile responsive, fast and easy to navigate to avoid frustrating customers when they are browsing through your contents. Content is king, and if they are helpful to your customers and positively affecting their lives, they are satisfied which can lead to recommendation or referrals. Having good customer support is very necessary for marketing. This is what helps to rectify whatever issue or complaint a customer might have. If customer support is terrific, your customers will stick around. One of the best way to better serve your customer is to know and understand them. This is done by collecting as much data as possible and using them to your advantage. If you have data about their birthdays, sending a birthday greeting can mean the world to them. Other data can also help disclose their interest, thereby guiding you on the kind of content that leads to conversion. Lastly, always put your customers first, before your needs. When customers are convinced of your genuine and unquestionable urge to help, they will empty their pocket for your sake. Growing And Managing A-List Every email marketer aims to develop an enormous targeted list of people who will be interested in the services they have to offer. Building an email list does take some effort and planning. Here is a list of 15 Ways to Grow your Email List. Managing a list takes some work as well since you will always have to check list hygiene to weed out inactive or unengaging emails. When you work list management into your email marketing plan, it becomes routine. Learn how to Create and Execute Your Email Marketing Plan. Wrapping Up Building and managing a healthy email list is easy if you know what to do and the practices to follow. Ensure you weed out inactive subscribers, give your subscribers the option to control the content they receive and how frequently they are to receive them. Benchmark helps businesses quickly and easily turn their most valuable marketing asset, their email list, into relationship and sales. Get started free today.


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Generate 320% More Revenue With Welcome Emails: Strategies That Don’t Require Luck

Generate 320% More Revenue With Welcome Emails: Strategies That Don’t Require Luck

Practical Marketer • March 15, 2019

Writer Lois McMaster Bujold said: A stunning first impression was not the same thing as love at first sight. But surely it was an invitation to consider the matter. Let’s paint a picture demonstrating the wisdom of Ms. Bujold, as seen in email marketing. Someone discovers your brand. It doesn’t matter how. Could be by clicking an ad from another site. Could be by searching for something specific and being intrigued by your company’s meta text on a search engine results page. Could be by having a random finger spasm and keying your brand’s URL into the address bar like some kind of monkey at a typewriter who’s finally stumbled onto something great after years and years of fruitless poo-flinging and keyboard-punching. We’ll assume that your prospect digs your email signup form -- whether it’s a snazzy pop-up or a well-timed exit intent nudger. She eagerly clacks her address into your form and smashes “submit” (or whatever carefully crafted call to action terminology you’re using). Now, you’re a marketer in possession of a virtually priceless thing: your target customer’s email address. She or he has explicitly trusted you with that magical combination of characters that whisks you past the velvet rope of skepticism and deposits you smack into the promised land … the inbox! (And naturally, you’ve done the legwork to make sure all your efforts don’t get relegated to that horrid no man’s land called the spam folder.) It was either the 18th Century French philosopher Voltaire or the 20th Century Uncle Ben from Spider-Man who said that “with great power comes great responsibility.” You’ve got the email address (great power). Here’s how to make sure your welcome email knocks the socks off your new subscriber, maximizes the priceless sales opportunity and creates a diehard loyal brand evangelist for life (great responsibility). Sound hard? By following these tips, you’ll be able to take full advantage of one of the most valuable marketing tools on the planet. Welcome Emails Don’t Require Luck—They’re Destined to Outperform. Here’s How to Unlock Their Full Potential The stats are staggering. According to Invesp, welcome emails: Generate 4x more opens Generate 5x more clicks Boast a 50% open rate -- making them 86% more effective than standard newsletters Generate 3x more transactions and revenue per email over regular promo emails (on average generate 320% more revenue per email basis than other promo emails) With numbers like these, it’s not about luck. Audiences show us that they expect these messages. As well they should -- 57.7% of brands send welcome emails to new subscribers Not only are your subscribers conditioned to receive a nice note upon subscribing to your list-- they tend to enjoy reading it, actively engage with it and are more likely to take action before closing it. Subscribers who are sent a welcome email show 33% more engagement with the brand. The average welcome email has a 14.4% click rate, whereas other email campaigns average 2.7%. Welcome emails deliver results. Back to that bit about getting your subscribers to take action. We’ll expand on this in the next section, but first, let’s establish why it’s so important to have a goal in mind for your welcome email. Simply put -- that message is valuable real estate. To continue mixing metaphors like the mixologist at a trendy bar mixes up cocktails … that message arrives at just the right moment for your audience. The moment of receipt is when your audience is most engaged. The average conversion rate for welcome emails is .94%, whereas it’s .1% for a typical email. And welcome emails with an offer can boost revenue by 30% per email compared to welcome emails without one Hear Voltaire calling out to you from beyond the grave about great power and great responsibility again? (Or Uncle Ben, take your pick.) We’ve established that welcome emails get read and get results. Now we’ll talk about how to design and structure them in order to maximize those outcomes. These are the secrets to unlocking your welcome email’s full potential. Secrets of Highly Effective Welcome Emails #1: Time is of the Essence Feel free to get this rhyming couplet tattooed on your bicep: It doesn’t pay to delay. Send your welcome email right away. A whopping 74% of consumers expect a welcome email the moment they subscribe. In fact, 45% of first-time purchases made by new subscribers occur inside 24 hours of opting in. Strike while the iron’s hot! Make hay while the sun shines! Take time by the forelock! And other adorably quaint sayings about acting fast. You need to have your knockout welcome email ready to go, and you should set it up to be sent out to new subscribers immediately upon signup. Secrets of Highly Effective Welcome Emails #2: Your Subject Line is Key Winston Churchill -- who might have drawn the ire of the #metoo movement had he said it in the present day -- once proclaimed: “A good speech should be like a woman\'s skirt -- long enough to cover the subject and short enough to create interest.” Hashtag army aside, the above is a great guideline for your welcome email subject line. When you create your killer welcome message, start with a clear and engaging subject line. Make sure that your subject line conveys that this is the welcome email. But also tease your readers a bit -- make it intriguing enough to entice subscribers to open it. Also, this isn’t the time for riddles. Make your welcome email subject line easy to understand. All the words in your subject line should be simple, one- or two-syllable words. Use simple, natural language and avoid complex words, because it’s difficult to memorize them. Here’s a good average length for your subject line -- about 6.5 words. You want to be sure that your recipient can read the line and process it quickly. Avoid ambiguity. Be specific and clear in your subject line. Attention spans are an endangered species at this point, and you have a fast-shutting window of time to attract the interest of your recipient. Your subscriber is the center of your universe, so focus on her needs in the subject line. What makes her happy? Annoyed? Excited? Use that, and stir that emotion with just a few words. Examples of Highly Effective Subject Lines: From: Online eyeglass retailer Warby Parker. Subject line: Uh-oh, your prescription is expiring Why it’s great: Uh-oh! That’s simplicity, urgency and a great conversational tone all wrapped in one. Plus, it creates urgency and makes things personal with the note about expiring prescriptions. From: Deals and discount clearinghouse Groupon. Subject line: There are no deals in this email Why it’s great: Wait … what? Then why are you sending me this?! This email dials the curiosity factor up to 11, which is a sure way to get clicks. Be careful that you don’t abuse this technique, though. You don’t want to make people annoyed or feel manipulated. Once in a while packs a powerful punch. From: San Francisco-based online magazine The Bold Italic. Subject line: Just Pho You: Where to Eat SF\'s Best Pho Why it’s great: Punny. Surprising. Makes the mouth water. And best yet, this subject line lays out a super-specific piece of information that you know you’ll receive upon opening the email. Secrets of Highly Effective Welcome Emails #3: Throw Down the Welcome Mat Subscribers are primed to receive a welcome email. So why not use a tone that’s warm, familiar and reassuring? Use your welcome email to make people feel at home right away and to continue the introduction to your brand. From: High-end but economical luggage brand Away. Why it’s great: Lots of white space. Conversational tone. Lets you know what to expect and speaks to you in a cheeky but friendly way. Secrets of Highly Effective Welcome Emails #4: Tell People What to Do! This is not the time to be vague and mysterious. Your welcome email should clearly convey to new subscribers what they should do next. Is there more onboarding that needs to be done? Do you need them to take action? If so, what? Want them to follow you on social media? Want them to check out the “new arrivals” section of your store? Want them to be mentally prepared for another message, coupon or campaign from you? Design your welcome email around the desired action that you’d like your subscribers to take. From: Online hospitality marketplace Airbnb. Why it’s great: Simple. Clean graphics. Tells you exactly what to do and makes you feel like part of a vibrant existing community. Secrets of Highly Effective Welcome Emails #5: Keep Your Promise This secret’s pretty simple, and it has the added benefit of giving your welcome email a true Reason to Exist. Deliver on the promise made at signup. If you offered a lead magnet, such as a PDF, ebook or another resource, send it in the welcome email. If you told your subscribers you’d be delivering other content, information or value, make sure there’s a taste of that in the welcome email. And of course, abide by the other secrets while you do that -- have a good headline, send it out fast, use a welcoming tone, etc. From: Headspace, an app specializing in meditation. Why it’s great: This email does a great job of delivering a valuable lead magnet -- the complimentary 10-day course -- while subtly conveying to the subscriber that there’s much more value to be had beyond this freebie. “Basics” is a great description to describe the freemium model -- it doesn’t sound derogatory, but it sure sounds like if you’re serious, you’d benefit from investigating further offerings. Secrets of Highly Effective Welcome Emails #6: KISS The terribly condescending acronym KISS reminds us to “keep it simple, stupid.” Since we’re not about that negativity (refer back to Secret #2!), let’s just say: “Keep It Simple, Sweetie.” Or how about: “Keep It Simple, Smartmarketer!” Eh, maybe there’s a reason they went with “stupid” in the original saying -- it’s, well … simple. Keep this critical lesson in mind when you write your welcome email. Know the goal of your welcome email, and aim all of the content in your welcome email at it. It’s a delicate balancing act to do the previous steps of giving a warm welcome, informing subscribers of the onboarding process and delivering on the promise. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, remember that you can always advance those goals in separate follow-up emails. Don’t overburden yourself. Don’t try to stuff 10 pounds of onboarding into a 5-pound welcome email, as it were. From: Customer service software company Help Scout. Why it’s great: Thirty-three words. That’s all this welcome email has. And, bonus: 5 of the 33 are the word “help” -- the first word in the company’s name. That helps to make the entire message quite sticky. (Hey, they just got us to say a variation of the word “help” in our last sentence -- talk about effective subliminal messaging!) The email also includes lots of white space, friendly faces and helpful page link buttons. (Hey, they just made us do it again with “helpful.” We can’t … er, help ourselves!) More Welcome Email Examples for Inspiration The magic of what makes a great welcome email isn’t just about the above rules. Your welcome email should be a nice extension of your brand’s culture, marketing and general themes. Ideally, someone could look at a version of your welcome email that had all necessary identifying information stripped out, and still know immediately that it was an email from your brand. Check out these rockstar welcome emails that get the job done with style and memorability. From: Designer brand Kate Spade. Why it’s great: Holy orange, Batman! Nothing about this email is bland. Frankly, the white text on the macaroni-and-cheese-colored envelope is a touch harder to read than the usual “lots of white space” traditional email format. Seriously, we could imagine our nana rubbing her temples and slamming the laptop shut. But that’s part of the fun. This email -- from the exclusive discount code to the bold colors to the promise of more exciting things to come -- it does a great job of making the recipient feel like a true fashion insider. From: Mattress and sleep gear brand Casper. Why it’s great: How can you look at this gorgeous, well-themed email and not yawn? It’s concise, the puns fit the laid-back vibe and the message does an excellent job of focusing on the #1 person in email marketing: “you.” From: Shaving startup Harry’s. Why it’s great: Whimsical! Concise! Unabashedly cute! The razor market seems to have been around for as long as people have had facial hair. It’s a saturated, noisy and … excuse the pun … cutthroat industry. The blades-by-mail segment that Harry’s occupies operates on razor-thin margins (we can’t help ourselves!). That’s why it’s so important for Harry’s to stick to its brand values in this email. It’s fresh, it’s breezy and it promises to add a little fun to your day. From: Arts and crafts megastore Michael’s. Why it’s great: Somebody buy this designer a beer. This message from Michael’s is a work of art! Thanks to the cute and eye-catching design, the email manages to advertise several of its on-trend offerings (we count knitting yarn, chalkboard paint, oil paint and stencils) in a completely organic way. In contrast with some of our other examples in this article -- this email has a fair amount of text and links. But thanks to that great design, it never feels too busy or off-putting. From: Sleep startup Eve. Why it’s great: That collection of photos up top is just plain evocative. It helps remind us that, hey, our beds and sofas aren’t just for sleeping every day -- they’re also the places where we do some pretty important living. The excellent color palette -- white space, placid blue, bright yellow and the model’s lovely red hair -- does a fine job of suggesting the cheer that one feels after getting a great night’s sleep. From: Lifestyle/beauty brand Glossier. Why it’s great: Here’s an example of a message that truly puts the “welcome” in the welcome email. You read this one and you feel instantly calmer. (Notice the tiny but effective “we’ve got a good feeling about this”?) The subtle not-quite-a-CTA of “see you on Instagram” helps build the connection without sounding pushy or unnatural. From: Women’s fashion house Karen Millen. Why it’s great: Wow -- talk about a headline that forces you to read what follows. “Five Reasons We Know You’ll Love Us” --  if your eyes don’t race down that page out of sheer curiosity, you’re probably clinically dead. Or, the important point -- you probably hold zero points of commonality with the target audience. (Say, you’re a middle-aged dude who couldn’t name the brand of the pants he’s wearing currently if his life depended on it.) And that’s not a bad thing. Welcome emails don’t have to roll out the red carpet for absolutely everybody. A little bit of tailoring (pun not intended) and specificity help to reinforce that feeling of specialness among new subscribers. Final Thoughts Welcome Emails are an extremely valuable tool for marketers. Subscribers are conditioned to expect them, and they tend to read them, click on them and act on them at much higher rates than other types of messages. Make sure you take full advantage of this incredible platform by sending your welcome email out immediately, using a great subject line, writing in a warm and welcoming tone, being clear, delivering on your promise and keeping the tone and language simple. Now it’s your turn. What do you think? We bet you’ve received at least one email from a brand that was pretty memorable. What was it, and why did it stand out to you? Hit the comments section to tell us what you liked. Or, feel free to tweet us @BenchmarkEmail on Twitter to share your thoughts.


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Get started with Marketing Automation

Get started with Marketing Automation

Practical Marketer • March 9, 2019

Perhaps you’ve already heard about Marketing Automation or you have a rough idea about it. If not, it’s OK! With this article, we want to show you how to create a marketing automation strategy for your email marketing. You’ll be ready to launch your first own automation with the simple but efficient Automation PRO tool. What is Marketing Automation? \"Marketing Automation is the design, management and execution of sales and marketing strategies through a software that automates the tasks and processes of scheduling, sending and tracking marketing campaigns according to the actions that the subscribers take on the campaigns and on the website. \" Is it the same as doing Email Marketing? Email marketing isn’t quite the same. Generally, basic email marketing strategy involves sending unique one off campaigns to a database, with the aim of informing, selling or promoting certain products or services. Marketing Automation includes email marketing as part of its elements, but both are some key differences. What are the benefits of Marketing Automation? Send relevant information to clients and leads, based on the pages they visit on your website. Automatically segment clients and leads based on their behavior, interests, page visits, purchases and more Develop marketing and sales journeys aimed at improving conversion funnels How many impacts should a lead receive to become a client? According to Nimble, between five and seven impacts are necessary for a lead, from the moment they get to knows us until they becomes a paying client. What is an ‘impact?’ An impact, or touchpoint, is each moment when there is interaction between the brand and the lead, either through the website, an email, social media, a call, an ad on Facebook or Google Ads, a meeting or a demo. The goal of Marketing Automation is to organize all these touchpoints in order to create funnels or conversion paths that automatically turn a lead into a client, without having to have large teams behind each impact. Or even better yet, without having to be aware of the current point the lead runs through in order to create a new touch point. Show empathy with the client Marketing Automation means contacting the ideal customer within the sales funnels, using the right message at the right time. Getting this right is not easy because in business we tend to think more about us, our goals and the messages we want to share, than what the customer really needs at every moment. To empathize with the lead and client means to put ourselves in their place, and to think as if we were them. Therefore it is necessary to ask a series of questions before starting to create any automation: When the client visits the website for the first time, will they need any further information or will he find all he needs to know? Am I providing all the client needs to know in my welcome campaign, or am I rather trying to sell myself? Are the subscribers interacting with the campaigns I am sending them? Worry about your subscribers! Send them messages that are genuinely useful and make them feel that you are communicating with them personally. To do this, always try to be very aware of the open rates, clicks, the unsubscribes (and their reasons), and always perform AB tests. In marketing it is very difficult to get the best results at the first try, everything is based on experience. PARTS OF A SALES FUNNEL Considerations before creating an automation or sales / marketing funnel Draw it: Don’t try to translate the visualization you see in your mind directly into the software. Take your time to draw it on a piece of paper. This will help to find weak points and improve it even before you start setting it up. Keep it simple: Creating a marketing or sales funnel does not mean sending dozens of email campaigns triggered by dozens of conditions. It’s all about inspiring subscribers, by sending the right content at the time they need it. We rather recommend designing several simple automations focused on each moment of the customer experience, than having a big and complicated funnel, which will be very complicated to manage and might lead to hidden mistakes. Go step by step: Always keep in mind what the leads might expect from you at each point and what they will be grateful and happy to receive. Right after signing up is not the best moment to push them to buy but rather to share some surprising information and content they will enjoy. Start with a test: There is no \"perfect\" automation, we are sorry. It is important to draw, think and prepare your automation but only practical reality can show you if you were right or not. Depending on the kind of automation it is recommendable to set up a test automation first and see how a sample reacts. Measure, learn and improve: The first automations should serve you to find out if the experience you want to offer the clients works or not. Analyze the most important metrics like visits, openings, clicks and purchases and decide if you have to adapt the journey. Find these 4 templates for your automated sales funnel TEMPLATE 1: NEED/NECESSITY The lead has just registered. They might have done it because you promised a download, discount code or similar. So this first automation would be the welcome automation, ideal to provide the most important information about your product, and send the promised welcome gift. The lead will be saved into a different list for further steps. TEMPLATE 2: ENGAGEMENT At this time the subscribers are comparing our product or service with other competitors. What information will they need to finally buy from us? With this automation we must solve the initial doubts that the client has about our product or service. We also have the chance to make clear what differentiates us from the competitors and provide testimonies of happy and satisfied customers. TEMPLATE 3: CONSIDERATION With this template, we should be able to close a demo or a call with the subscribers or make them sign up for a free trial. They are showing interest in us. This is an excellent moment to give a better idea about, how our product or service works. TEMPLATE 4: ABANDONED CART It is quite normal that subscribers do not finish the process of purchasing, but it would definitely not be normal, not to remind them and offer the necessary assistance and support to solve possible problems or doubts that might have prevented them from buying. These are some of the templates based on the funnel we had a look at the beginning. You will be able to fully customize and adapt them to the needs of your business and create easily your first Marketing Automation. Watch our webinar about how to create an automated sales funnel like this: https://bmesrv.wistia.com/medias/lzdjj7pfd6?embedType=iframe&videoWidth=640 Actually, the most difficult thing about Marketing Automation is to start. If you are managing a small company and you have never done it before, marketing, automation may look a bit scary at the beginning. But all you have to do is to follow these steps above and start learning from the results. Keep in mind that automation is the most efficient and time saving way to provide each client with the information and input they might need at any time!


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