Series Posts: Practical Marketer

How To Interpret Your First Email Marketing Campaign

How To Interpret Your First Email Marketing Campaign

Practical Marketer • September 5, 2018

The use of an email marketing tool is not based solely on the sending of promotional campaigns, but the tool becomes an excellent instrument for achieving one or several goals. According to the latest report by Demand Metrics, the three principal reasons why users decide to do email marketing are: Communicate with customers Communicate with prospects Build brand awareness There are also other reasons like generating revenue or capturing data on subscribers, and just 3% of the users do not have any goal. Do you know your email marketing goal? Having a goal is crucial to building your whole email marketing strategy. How should you read your first email marketing report? When you are on the report page, you will find a summary of the outcome of the campaign: With numbers alone, it is difficult to see what happens. However, just below the numbers are changed to percentages from which we can get better insights: This chart is fantastic to get an idea about the campaign performance and to start planning the measures we need to take in our next campaign. In this case, and to best situate yourself, these results belong to an information campaign that was composed of a logo plus the text. It was sent to a database compiled since 2017 and updated every day. Let’s start to analyze the results: OPEN RATE: it is very good. We can determine that the campaign has been useful. It reached the 33%. We should work to reach the 35% next time. BOUNCE RATE: it is just within the limits. This rate should never be higher than 2%, and if possible, it should be lower than 1%. In this article, Want To Start List Hygiene, But You’re Afraid To Start? We give you the key steps you should follow to get a bounce rate of one percent or less. Then, we have: CLICKS INTERACTIONS measure the percentage and the number of subscribers that have clicked on your links. If we click on the number, we will be able to see the name, email address, and date of click. In this case, the campaign did not have any link to click, except the one in the logo, that’s why the click-through rate is too low. This click-through rate is calculated based on opens. It is difficult to know the click-through rate that can be considered as good because it depends on the goal of the campaign (informative o sales) and the design (if we use links, CTAs, etc.). If the goal is that the subscriber clicks, that percentage never should be lower than 1%. Otherwise, we should rethink the content or the design. This part also offers us the possibility to know on which links the user has clicked and how many times. Also, you have a CLICK MAP that shows you like a hot map where the subscriber has clicked: We also have the number and the percentage of the UNSUBSCRIBES, and if you click on the number, you will see the reasons: Knowing the reason is interesting, because in the case of a high number of unsubscribers sharing the same reason you may understand that there is something you\'re not doing well. It is usual that some people lose the interest in your product or information, but if you see that this percentage surpasses 1% on a regular basis, that can give you a signal that the content is no longer relevant for them or that maybe you should change the frequency of the sends. The ABUSE RATE is also important data to keep in mind because it measures the number of subscribers that have marked your campaign as spam. Again, if you click on the number, you will see the report: Even, if it is a double opt-in list, you may have a spam complaint, for example, when you have sent a campaign to that database, and a subscriber does not remember to have signed up for it. If you have more than one isolated complaint, you should review the process of obtaining your subscribers, because it indicates that they are not expecting to receive your emails. This report gives the contact data of the subscriber who has marked you as spam. In Benchmark, we always recommend to include these links... ...to allow the user to exercise his/her rights, and in particular, the link “Report Abuse” that gives the subscribers the chance to mark you as spam. Removing it from your campaigns is preventing yourself from getting valuable information. In this blog, How Do Abuse Complaints Affect Your Newsletter’s Deliverability? We tell you what you should do to avoid abuse complaints. And finally, the FORWARDS RATE tells you how many times your campaign has been forwarded to a user who was not on your list. This rate only counts when subscribers have used the “Forward Email” link in your campaigns, so if you don’t include it, the percentage will be 0. At the bottom of the report, you will find the HOURLY PERFORMANCE: This is a great chart to know the days and hours that work better to send your email marketing campaigns. For example, this campaign was sent on Friday, June 22nd  at 7.30 AM, so if we read the graphic, the subscribers are active on Saturday, 23th at 10.00 AM or Monday 25th at 7.00 AM which, we guess is when many of them login in their inbox for first time to start the working day. It is fantastic to have this information and sending the next campaigns based on the suscribers’ behavior guarantees you a higher engagement. If you shared your campaign on social media channel, you could see the interactions that the users have made on the channel with your post under FACEBOOK ENGAGEMENT. Also, you have an interactive map where you can see the OPENS BY GEOLOCATION: If you send to various countries, this report can be interesting for you, although you need to keep in mind that this information is an estimate and may not be as reliable due to the way ISPs distribute IP addresses. All this information can be downloaded as a PDF or Excel, and you can share the campaign with your sub-accounts, among other things: What results should you expect from your first email marketing campaign? Answering this question is a bit complicated because there are many factors that influence the outcome, such as: Old database Verified database Own database Recent database Design of the campaign Subject line Domain quality or use of public domain Set up of the SPF and CNAME records Use of a Dedicated IP And a few more… But set yourself the following numbers as initial objectives: Open rate: 15% Bounce rate: 0.5% Unsubscribe rate: 0.75% Abuse complaints: 0.05% If you can not reach these metrics, you can always count on the help of our Email Marketing Specialists, who will guide you with their best tips to reach them. Now it\'s your turn to start your campaigns! Would you mind to share your results with us?


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Sync 2,000 Contacts with your Benchmark Account for Free

Sync 2,000 Contacts with your Benchmark Account for Free

Practical Marketer • September 4, 2018

Should I be doing email marketing or [insert latest marketing channel here]? I’m sure you’ve heard, or asked, some variation of that question dozens of times. Our answer to every version of that question is the same: email marketing is never an either/or situation. You should combine email with all your marketing channels and business tools to maximize the power of each channel or tool. When all are working together, in the same direction, to further the narrative of your brand, your email marketing (and everything else) will be the most powerful. That’s why you should be integrating your email marketing account with everything else your business is using to help your business thrive. Well, folks. We have some good news. Sync 2,000 Contacts with your Benchmark Account for Free Our new partnership with PieSync will allow you to connect your email marketing account with 100+ business tools and apps … totally free! This is a special offer for Benchmark Email users that will allow you to sync up to 2,000 contacts with your email marketing account at no extra cost. That means if you’re collecting email address in your other business tools and apps, you can sync up to 2,000 of them with your email marketing account. Using PieSync with a different ESP, it would cost you $19/month to do. If your list is growing rapidly and you want to exceed the 2,000 contact limit, that’s a good problem to have! PieSync will automatically upgrade your account, so you don’t suffer a workflow interruption. Save Time and Do More Powerful Email Marketing Your time is valuable. Don’t spend it needlessly exporting and importing lists to and from your Benchmark Email account. PieSync helps you to maintain one, unified database across all platforms. This allows you to focus on the tasks that matter, knowing that this is going to happen automatically. By connecting your CRM, eCommerce, administrative apps and beyond, you can make sure all of your business tools and apps are working together to boost your business. With these connections, you can create automated follow-ups based on each tool and make it relevant to those customers. These automations can be triggered when someone is added to a list or by different behaviors and interactions with your email campaigns, website or other business tools and touch points. For example, if you’re using a CRM, you can add new leads and prospects to a specific list. When they’re added, it can trigger an automation to send aimed at converting them to customers. Or, if you’re using a tool for customer support, you can trigger automations to say after you’ve closed a ticket. You can request a review of the support agent’s performance or a customer testimonial if they’re pleased with your service. It works both ways too! If you have a signup form on various parts of your website, you can feed those contacts from your Benchmark Email account into your CRM to make sure they’re getting the appropriate follow-up. What is PieSync? It’s an integration with your Benchmark Email account that allows you to connect all the tools you use to help your business thrive. PieSync enables a 2-way, real-time data sync between your cloud-based tools and apps and Benchmark Email. Since a lot of contact information will be moving back and forth, you can rest easy as PieSync is GDPR compliant. How does it work? After you create the connection between your Benchmark Email account and another business tool or app, PieSync will automatically check to make sure your lists are up-to-date. You can set which of your lists is the master database, and you can choose between 1-way and 2-way directional syncing. For details on how to integrate your Benchmark Email account with PieSync, we’ve created a helpful FAQ. What’s Required to Take Advantage of This Special PieSync Partnership? It’s pretty simple and straightforward! Well, you’ll need to have at least one verified email address in your Benchmark Email account settings. If you’re already sending emails, you’ve already done this step. You’ll also be required to have at least one contact list in your Benchmark Email account. After all, what would you be syncing your contacts to without a list in your email marketing account? This one might seem obvious, but the contact data you’re trying to sync must include an email address. This special partnership is amazing, but it’s not going to scrawl drawings on a cave or send smoke signals for your contacts without email addresses. Wrapping Up So, you’ll know the answer next time someone asks you if you should be doing email marketing or anything else. Don’t just laugh at them. That’d be rude. We’re all clueless email marketers at one time or another. No. Tell them about how much more powerful email marketing and every other business tool are when you connect them to work together. If they ask for more information, tell them all about Benchmark Email’s amazing partnership with PieSync that lets you sync up to 2,000 contacts at no cost to your business. Have you been successful with integrating other business tools and apps with your email marketing account? Share your stories, tips and more in the comments below!  


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The Beginner’s Guide to Ecommerce Email Marketing Automation

The Beginner’s Guide to Ecommerce Email Marketing Automation

Practical Marketer • August 9, 2018

Email marketing automation is a well-covered subject because there are plenty of benefits which could be derived from proper automation. We know it can be a daunting task for owners of eCommerce websites, but this guide will make your foundation of knowledge rock-solid. In this article, I\'ll discuss the basics of everything from building an email list to the different types of emails that you should be automating. So, grab your notebook, because things are about to get factual. Your Main Email List I’ve observed that a lot of people still don’t know how to build up their email list correctly and this short primer should help you out. Getting People to Give You Their Emails In fact, there are many ways to get customers to give you their email addresses. If they have already made a purchase with you, then this should be a no-brainer. But, what if they happen to be browsing your site and suddenly decide to leave without making a purchase? This now becomes a problem. Fear not, because there are many solutions. You can give them a special offer via an internal ad on your website; this could be in the form of a discount or initial buyer offer. You could utilize some sort of lead magnet tactic where you give something away. If you have an eCommerce store that deals with specialty services or products, you can even have gated content that can only be accessed by giving away an email address. There are free plugins which help you do this, and you can integrate these with the eCommerce platform your store is running on. Segmentation and Varied Campaigns If there is one lesson that we have learned from account-based marketing (ABM), it’s the fact that customized emails work. Your current list or the list you are building also has to be segmented by demographics, buying power, buying propensity, geographical local and so on. This will help with the other automated emails that we will be talking about in the latter part of this article. Remember that people like personalization and custom campaigns. In fact, more than 70 percent of people prefer personalized ads that have been tailor-made for them. Email List Hygiene Practice good email hygiene; there are tools available that can help you with this. Check if the emails that you have are still working and are not just bouncing. This affects the integrity and the reputation of your email address. If it’s terrible, it hurts deliverability. Remember that email addresses are primed. Ensure that the email address of your eCommerce store is primed too and ready to send emails. Double Opt-Ins This is one way of ensuring that the email address that they gave you is valid. It will require the recipient of your email to confirm their email addresses. This way, you don’t send emails to fake addresses. Don’t Forget About the Quality of Your Content This is one thing that a lot of people frequently forget about. Make sure you have at least 500 characters in your email, so you do not get flagged for spam. However, you also need to make sure that your content is not too “wordy” for your ready or you will lose their attention. The trick is to utilize the other characters in your copyright notice or your fine print. Make sure you have enough pictures and graphics to keep the user on your page and make the email read worth their while. Types of Automated Emails Your E-commerce Store Needs to Send Automated emails allow you to properly engage with your customers and increase conversion and CTR sans the hassle. The beauty of automation is it creates a sales system that is automatic and is all-inclusive to make sure that every potential lead is maximized. Here is where the real fun begins. I recommend you use an application to automate the different campaigns that you will be engaging in. Benchmark is a great application that automates different marketing tasks. With software like this, it becomes more comfortable for you to start crafting systems on how to treat different kinds of user behavior towards specific email actions. For example, we see what happens when a user views or ignores an offer message that was previously sent to their inbox. After a particular amount of time, you can automatically send an email depending on the user’s behavior, i.e., if they opened it or not. You just have to set the system up, and you’re pretty much good to go. Systems like this make customer interaction and engagement an easier puzzle to solve. And, those are not the only good things you can do with automation. Here’s the good news. You can customize how much time passes before each action of the automated “email flowchart,” and you can even add a variable number of user actions. It’s a way for you to fully automate the messages that you send out to your customers based on their interactions. What you see is just a simple example of what you can do to automate your email response systems. This can vary per product or service that you have, and in some cases, you can even create flowcharts under your flowcharts. These flowcharts can then be further broken into the different market segments that you might have in your email list. In turn, it makes everything you do for your customers – even the automated emails that they receive – fully personalized. Personalization is the new game in digital marketing, and that is why this is so important. To further emphasize on this, I would even advise that every email that is received from the end of your e-commerce store, is automatically replied to, with an acknowledgment that’s apt to the matter being discussed. Abandoned Carts Just because a customer has left a cart doesn’t mean it’s over. Here’s how you can help them find their way back to you. Send an automated email an hour after they have abandoned their cart. If there has been no response, send an email 24 hours later. You can even include an offer in this email – only in particular cases.   Upsells Here’s an excellent way for you to get additional revenue after a sale has been made. Send an automated email of an upsell offer containing products that are relevant to the purchase that your customer made. If you draw on previous data, you can include items that have been purchased along with the previously purchased item from other customers. Follow Up – Post Purchase Sending an email after the first purchase is an excellent way for you to show your customers that you care about them. Include information about the product that they bought Thank them for their purchase Again, you can include a special discount for the next purchase to increase purchase velocity Follow Up – Engagement If you have customers that have not been engaging with your business for a long time, then you can set your application to send emails to dormant customers. You can include a return offer or the sort. Check out how Pinkberry does it. Something like this and personal always does the trick. VIP Customers Your VIP customers are customers that have had a history of many purchases and are always ready to engage with your business. You have to keep them on a separate list after they have been qualified to give them better promotions for their loyalty. Sending out an email to them now and then helps keep the relationship alive, and is also great for revenue. The welcome series is the essential automated email series that you should send to your customers. It’s the first time that you’ll be sending them an email and naturally, it should be automated. You need to send this as soon as someone subscribes. Remember our tips above? There’s a lot that you can do here. CTAs for social media should be included A special offer for the current season Offer them something to subscribe to your content Value Content This is syndicated content from your blog or team. It aims to inform rather than to sell. Aim to segment who your value content goes to depending on the demographics of the subscriber. Some content will be appealing to another group. You are aiming for brand recognition here. Harness the Feedback At the end of the day, you also want to collect information about the success of your automated email campaigns. It isn’t also wise to start using one campaign with everything, i.e., imagine a sort of response system for the demographics that you cater to. You should still be conducting split tests to determine effective campaigns. This means a couple of things. You will still be looking at your email CTR, your open rates and the overall engagement. So, there you have it- your beginner’s guide to automation. Now that you have the tools to get emails, know what emails to send and have examples of how to go about it, there is no stopping your eCommerce email campaigns.


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5 Hot Tips for a Clean Email List

5 Hot Tips for a Clean Email List

Practical Marketer • August 6, 2018

Ever thought about deleting your entire email list? No? Well, that’s exactly what pub chain JD Wetherspoon did in response to a data breach in relation to one of their email campaigns. As an email marketer you’re probably frightened at the thought of deliberately deleting your entire list, but at the same time, massive penalties for breaching email marketing laws are just as terrifying. While most of us won’t be deleting our lists anytime soon, we do have to educate ourselves about best email marketing practices - or face the consequences. By taking action now, you’ll dramatically reduce the risk that when tough data laws are passed, you’re streets ahead of the unprepared marketer.  Not only does a clean list ensure that your data is compliant with strict data laws in the US and abroad, but it ensures that your message is reaching the people who are interested in hearing it.   1. Build Trust From the Get-Go Before you even start on the fancy list-cleanliness side of email marketing, you’ve got to make sure your fundamental email marketing building blocks are solid. It might seem like a basic thing, but you need to have a professional email address to send your emails from. Afterall 75% of customer believe that building trust starts with this basic building block  “...a professional email address is the first step to prove you’re not a scam,” writes Jeremy Marsan, a business analyst from Fit Small Business. By establishing trust, you’ll be able to get and keep, the much coveted opted-in subscriber. If you want to avoid breaking laws such as GDPR, you have to make sure you’ve got the permission from your subscribers that they want to be subscribed to your list. This means ensuring that you’re subscribers have ticked an opt-in box that states they want to receive your emails. Double opt-ins are the best way to go for this. By having this in place, are you not only on the right side of the law, but you gain the trust of those on your list because they know you won’t be sending them unrelated emails, or selling their information on. 2. Integrate Your Apps Many businesses are using more than just an email marketing app, like Benchmark, to run their business. Your sales team probably has a CRM, marketing has another marketing automation tool, and customer care has a ticketing app. All of these apps contain prospect and customer data. But how can your email marketing list be up to date (and compliant) if say for example a customer emails customer care to unsubscribe, and customer care logs this but the data stays in their app? You could manually import/export this data, but that’s loads of manual work, and your lists are never really up to date. This is one reason to integrate your existing cloud business apps using a third-party platform such as PieSync, so that customer and prospect data are up to date and consistent across all business apps that you’re using. 3. Remove Duplicates Duplicates are truly a blight on any customer database. They deflate your email open rate and skew lead conversion metrics. Now, with new strict laws you need to be able to keep track of every record of your customers, but if you have “Robert Brown” in your email marketing registered as “Bobby Brown” in your CRM, you’re dealing with duplicate data, that’s difficult to detect. The best course of action is to dedupe your customer database. After you’ve finished integrating your apps together, it’s a good idea to take advantage of native deduping software. Most CRMs can detect duplicates, and Benchmark Email also has this feature. 4. Keep Data Fresh The days of keeping your legacy customer database to use for reactivation marketing campaigns forever and ever are over. Spring clean your customer database and remove old contacts. This will improve email deliverability, open rates, and reduce spam complaints. There are four types of customer emails you should prune from your email marketing list so that’ll it will stay healthy: confirmed bounces, soft bounces, hard bounces and contacts who have stopped opening your emails. Luckily Benchmark email has features in place that can help you easily cut these contacts out, so you can work with a clean email list. 5. Email List Verification You can use a service, such as Kickbox or BriteVerify, to send your list through list verification. While there may be an initial cost to doing this, you\'ll save in the long run. It will help you to reduce bounce rates and remove bad email addresses. It may also help you stay on a list plan longer without having to upgrade to the next level ... even while your list grows!


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Want To Start List Hygiene, But You’re Afraid To Start?

Want To Start List Hygiene, But You’re Afraid To Start?

Practical Marketer • August 5, 2018

In our daily work, we send email campaigns on a regular basis. However, we tend to not take any action once the campaign has been sent. We’re talking about list hygiene. Do you know that the various ISPs (Hotmail, Gmail, etc.) know if you’re sending to an invalid email address and they can tank your deliverability? Yes, they can. For example, if after checking reports no action is taken in regards to bounces or email addresses that have not opened your last 30 campaigns, ISPs can start to block your campaigns with their filters. They will consider your emails to be from a sender that doesn’t take any action to improve results. That said, do you know what you need to remove? When we are referring to list hygiene, we’re talking about removing the hard bounces and email addresses which aren’t opening your campaigns. If you don\'t already know, there are three different types of bounces: Confirmed bounces. The email addresses that no longer exist and the sending server has tried to contact them three times, but the campaign has been able to be delivered. Hard bounces. These are email addresses that no longer exist. When they bounce three times, they turn into confirmed bounces. This could be due to a mistyped address, the domain no longer existing or the person who belongs to the email address no longer works there, and the address is no longer valid. Soft bounces. They are email addresses that temporally are inactivate. It has not yet been possible to deliver the campaign, but only temporally. Consequently, they are valid email addresses which should not be removed. What might the temporary issue be? It could be that the inbox is full of messages and the person cannot receive more emails until they free up space for it. Perhaps you sent a campaign outside working hours and got an autoresponder, or maybe the server has been down temporarily. These email addresses are not available for a period but when those issues are solved, they back to being activate. It might feel like you can’t see the importance of list hygiene, but we’ve made it easy for you to check the health of your list in your account in the reputation panel. This section will indicate a number between 1 and 8 which evaluates the status of your reputation. Do you know what reputation means? Reputation is a measure used for monitoring the behavior of your campaigns in regards to the spam filters and subscribers’ campaign interactions. It is precisely this interaction which will be improved with list hygiene. This is because you’re sending your campaigns to an email address that really exists and can actually open and click to your links. Similarly, if you remove the email addresses that have not opened your campaigns for a long time, you’ll be increasing the interaction for the rest of your list that remains. Furthermore, you can opt for a smaller plan and only pay for the subscribers that are opening your campaigns and through which you have chances to deliver your message. Please note that this won’t necessarily work with a new list as you likely won’t have enough data or bounces to make any major changes to the hygiene of your list. List verification may be more helpful to you in this instance, to remove things like mistyped email addresses. This is also solved by using double opt-in signup forms. In this blog, One Simple Way To Rescue Your Email Marketing Strategy we shared some ideas on how to increase your database. However, if the database is not current, or if you have never sent email marketing campaigns to it, your campaign’s reports will likely show a high bounce rate (in other words, more than 2%). Do you know what bounce rates you have? An email marketing account should have on average a 2% of bounces as the maximum. Additionally, list hygiene can be necessary if your list lands you in a spam trap. A spam trap is a trap used by ISPs to know which users are sending to a non-permission database or have a very old database. How can list hygiene be done with Benchmark? If you do not have a good control system in place to handle your contacts that you have removed, it’s possible they can be uploaded again into the tool. To solve this, the list hygiene would be: Login in your account Click on “Clean list” Select: confirmed + hard bounces Click on “Create New List” Once it has been created, you need to access the list and click on the three points. Select the option “Copy List” Copy to an “Existing List” and select “Master Unsubscribe List” In this way, we are blocking those contacts that are unuseful to be uploaded again to the tool. Keep in mind that this action is irreversible. If you have a good control system to handle your contacts to avoid your removed addresses being sent to, then the list hygiene would be from the points 1.1 to 1.3, and then click on “Remove from list” If a specific campaign you sent had a high number of bounces, and in that campaign, you selected multiple lists, following the steps above can be tricky. In that case, we recommend you to do the following: Go to Reports and click on the campaign Click on “Bounces” Select “Hard Bounces” Click on the three points and then “Export to File” Download the file and upload it to the “Master Unsubscribe List” If you have spam traps in your account, you should follow the previous steps and include the subscribers who have not opened your last 30 campaigns. The spam traps are in this group because they won’t be opening your emails. These are the four ways that we propose you keep your account clean of bounces to earn a high reputation. Now, you just need to choose the option that fits best with your needs and start doing it. If you need help with this process, you can contact your Email Marketing Specialist, or if you observe an anomaly in your bounce rate, such as a sudden growth in it, feel free to contact us before proceeding with list hygiene. We want to know what list hygiene practices have impacted your email marketing. Share your tips or results in the comments below!


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