Series Posts: Practical Marketer

How can you re-confirm a database?

How can you re-confirm a database?

Practical Marketer • May 23, 2018

Have you updated your privacy policy? Do you just want to keep the most engaged subscribers? Perhaps you want to re-confirm the consent of your database as a preventive measure for the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)? In this video, we show you how you can reconfirm a database with Benchmark. Re-confirm your database:   The text you need to use: Opt-in tag:  [opt-in: here you can write in text] Unsubscribe tag: [unsubscribe: here you can write in text] The text is 100% customizable. You just need to modify the italic text. Save the contacts that have re-confirmed in a separate list   Maybe you want to consider sending a campaign again to those who have not opened or to the whole list, excluding the new list of contacts, that have already confirmed. If you want to know more about the GDPR, we invite you to read and watch the webinar we held and in which we explain all the sensitive points that affect your email marketing strategy. Leave your comments or questions below and keep learning with Benchmark!


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How Benchmark adapts to the GDPR

How Benchmark adapts to the GDPR

Practical Marketer • May 18, 2018

We have spent months talking about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The 25th of May, which is the day when it goes into effect, is fast approaching. During this time, we have provide you with tons of information related to adapting your email marketing strategy. In this article, we want to make a recap of how has Benchmark adapted to the GDPR and about all the changes we have implemented and which you might need to know: “Right to be forgotten” This right is one of the biggest changes of this Regulation. For the very first time, this right is regulated and obliges the controller to completely remove the data if the data subject requests. To exercise the right to be forgotten, we have two different scenarios: Benchmark | Customer If a Benchmark customer wants to be “forgotten,” he or she needs to request the deletion of the data by writing to support@benchmarkemail.com and we will proceed with the removal of their data. Benchmark | Customer | Subscriber Any of our client’s subscribers can request to be deleted from lists and/or records. It’s the customer’s responsibility to delete a subscriber from our (and other) systems, with one exception: if the subscriber has already unsubscribed, the client will not be able to remove the data from the “Unsubscribe” list. If this happens, the customer should forward the user’s email to support@benchmarkemail.com and we will proceed with the elimination of the subscriber from the list. In this FAQ, we explain all the steps to follow. Accessibility / rectification / unsubscribe An email marketer must include the “Manage Subscription” option on all email campaigns:   Adding this option, the client gives the data subject the option to access, rectify and unsubscribe from his/her data. When the subscriber clicks on that link, he/she will find this screen:   The subscriber can exercise his/her rights here. At Benchmark, we are currently preparing to allow the data subject to be able to rectify the rest of the fields and not just the email, name and surname. Consent We have also updated our classic and pop-up signup forms to be compliant with the GDPR. You have to include the required check box linked to your privacy policy. Find out how to do this by reading: How can you create GDPR-compliant sign up forms?   International transfer of personal data Article 45 mentions that a transfer of personal data to a third country or an international organization may take place where the Commission has decided that the third country, a territory or one or more specified sectors within that third country, or the international organisation in question ensures an adequate level of protection. Such a transfer shall not require any specific authorization. This international transfer of personal data is guaranteed under the EU-US Privacy Shield Agreement whose certification is held by Benchmark: Privacy policy We have updated our Privacy Policy, explaining the role Benchmark has according to the GDPR and which roles our clients fulfil themselves. Also, we have determined the period of time which we are going to keep your data for and we give you more details about what we do with your data. Additionally, we have created a new Cookie Policy which you will need to read and accept if you want to peruse our website. Server location It was actually NEVER an obligation to have servers in Europe, but with the new GDPR it is even less necessary. One of the goals of the GDPR is to equate the data protection that the European companies are fulfilling with the one applied by companies from abroad, in a way that all companies are obliged to compete in equal conditions. Contract between the controller and the processor Article 28 explains the possibility to sign a contract between the controller and the processor and provides all the details about it. We have created this contract and will make it available for you through the tool. If you want to check the regulation, you can do it here. If this article has been interesting for you, please, share it with your colleagues and friends.


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Mother’s Day Email Marketing Tips & Infographic

Mother’s Day Email Marketing Tips & Infographic

Practical Marketer • May 11, 2018

Mothers. We all have them. Kanye West raps about them. Most of us love them. And at least one day a year, on Mother’s Day, we make sure they know it. In fact, at least 85 million matriarchs were celebrated on Mother’s Day in 2016. Mamma mia that’s a lot of love to go around! We show that love in a lot of ways to the tune of $23.6 billion dollars. Does anyone else see Dr. Evil in their head when they read those numbers?! I was always told that “it’s the thought that counts,” but the consumers spent an average of $172 on Mother’s Day in 2016. With those kinds of numbers, it’s no wonder we expect to see tons of email marketing campaigns in our inboxes leading up to Mother’s Day. If you haven’t begun planning your Mother’s Day email campaign already, there’s still some time. We’ve put together some tips and an infographic to help jumpstart your efforts. Plus we have some Mother’s Day email templates to help get you going. Mother’s Day Email Marketing Tips Of course, you can also look back at your inbox and see what others did in previous years on Mother’s Day. That will give you a good idea of what you liked and didn’t like and what you think you can improve upon. For example, it can help to know who you could be targeting your email campaigns towards by who is buying the most Mother’s Day gifts. That just happens to be 25-34 year olds, according to Fundivo. It also helps to know what moms want. Here’s what they’re expecting: 36% of moms say they want something homemade. See? It is the thought that counts. 34.8% want dinner. I’m not sure if that means a home cooked meal or at a restaurant. 22.5% plan to be opening at least one greeting card. Make sure you add your own personal note. 22.5% prefer the sweet smell of flowers. If you’re like me, you’ll procrastinate until you have to pay for the rush delivery fees. Don’t be like me. Beyond what moms want for Mother’s Day, it also helps to consider who those moms are that are being celebrated. This group of matriarchs is comprised of moms or step-moms (63.9%), wives (23.3%), daughters (10.7%), sisters (8.7%) and grandmothers (7.3%). When it comes to writing your subject lines, it pays to get emotional. A subject line that can gives your subscribers the feels will have a 21.5% higher open rate than those that don’t for Mother’s Day campaigns Ideas for Mother’s Day Email Campaigns Now that you understand who you’re directing your Mother’s Day email marketing towards, the question remains of what to send. Again, taking a cue from Mother’s Day email campaigns past can help you understand what you can send. This most common Mother’s Day promotions are free shipping (55%), sale price (44%) and coupons (41%). Here are some more ideas for Mother’s Day email campaigns: Offer a gift guide. Make it easy for your subscribers to find the perfect gift for their loved ones. Off suggestions for all the types of moms in their lives. This Mother’s Day gift guy from IfOnly is designed to help you get the perfect gift for mom. Sometimes it helps to consult an expert. If you’ve built trust with your subscribers, they’ll be happy to follow the guide you provide. Include gift wrapping and cards. Remove a step or a trip for your subscribers and offer to wrap their gifts for them and include a card with the message of their choice. Give your mom customers a gift. Everyone does it. Free dessert for mom at a restaurant, free popcorn at the movies. Your mom customers will love it and you’ll still get the rest of the family’s business. Offering a free meal for mom, like Table Table does in this email, will bring the rest of the family in as well on Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day Email Marketing Infographic We’ve summed up all of these Mother’s Day stats and tips in a helpful infographic. Check it out, craft the perfect Mother’s Day email campaign and help your subscribers in need of the perfect gift. From all of us here at Benchmark, we wish a happy and healthy Mother’s Day to you and yours.


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How to Boost Engagement Using Rich Media in Emails

How to Boost Engagement Using Rich Media in Emails

Practical Marketer • May 7, 2018

Gone are the days when emails were used as nothing more than a medium to keep in touch (with the distant friends and relatives)! Today, emails have outplayed their past role and grown to be one of the most effective marketing channels that generates the highest ROI in comparison to all other business approaches. According to a survey by DMA and Demand Metric, email had a median ROI of 122%, that is more than 4 times when compared to marketing channels like paid search, social media, and direct mail. Time and again, marketers have tried various tricks to boost their email engagement. Emails are no longer written as a boring wall of content. Rich media like images, GIFs, cinemagraphs, and videos have added a dash of oomph and brilliance to email marketing as a whole. Your subscribers prefer to scan through the emails you send, rather than ‘read.’ Consequently, your emails should be easily scannable and appealing enough to keep your subscribers hooked. Moreover, as the attention span of humans is getting even lower than that of a gold fish, your emails ought to be striking and tap the right pulse of your subscribers. Take a look at this email. Isn’t it boring to read such a long email without any visual elements? It would have been better if there was a relevant image that supported the content. Using Static Images in Emails PetSmart includes cute images that match the purpose of the email and engage the audience in a much better way than plain text. Images help to build a brand reputation and get higher click-through rates. Applications of Static Images Travel industry can rely on static images to roll out different offers available for the diverse destinations. Ecommerce and retail industry can take help of images to share product recommendations to the past buyers. They can even create better cart abandonment emails by including the images of the abandoned products. Using GIFs in Email If we go a step further from static images, we have simple animated GIFs. GIFs allow you to convey more in less. You can display considerable amount of content or images in a limited space. Consider the example by Carnival Cruise Line.   The subscribers would surely get enticed to book the tickets and visit the destination on seeing the beautiful GIF animation… And that’s the ultimate goal of the email. Applications of GIFs GIFs are very popular in ecommerce industry to promote various products. E-retailers can showcase the varieties available in a single product through GIFs. Emails from fashion industry can include visually enticing GIFs to highlight the product details. Email marketers from IT industry can leverage GIFs and use them as explainer videos. Travel industry can make use of GIFs to inspire wanderlust in the subscribers. Using Cinemagraphs in Emails If you are paranoid about using GIFs because of its file size but still wish to include a subtle animation in your email, CINEMAGRAPH is the right choice for you. Cinemagraph is basically seamless looping of an animation. It is created in such a way that you get the illusion of viewing a video. Based on the type of business and your brand reputation, you can explore the world of cinemagraphs in your email campaigns. Here’s a beautiful example of a cinemagraph by Saks Fifth Avenue.   You can create a cinemagraph with the help of tools such as Flixel, Pictoreo, Kinotropic, Echograph, and Cinemagr.Am. Applications of Cinemagraphs Email marketers from the food industry can add cinemagraphs to promote their delectable delicacies. Cinemagraphs can prove to be very useful for fashion industry emails to promote their stylish products. The lavishness of premium products can be effectively illustrated through cinemagraphs. Using Videos in Emails Videos in emails are effective for sending out an event invitation or product launch announcement. The only drawback is that including videos increases the email file size. HTML5 supports 3 video formats, mainly OGG, MP4, and WebM. Hey Smiles Davis - did you know that video plays in email? null Wistia has made wonderful use of video in email to promote their services. The CTA button too is equally engaging for the subscriber. Applications of Videos You can leverage the use of videos in your meeting reminders. Non-profit organizations can promote their cause with a video. Telecommunications industry can drive higher conversions by including videos in their product launches. 10 Mistakes to Avoid While Using Rich Media Make sure you maintain the text to image ratio at 80:20 and do not exploit the use of rich media. Avoid sending an email as one whole image, because if your subscriber does not download the image, your email will go futile. As far as possible, avoid having a CTA in the image. Using too many images in addition to other spam triggers can land your email in the spam folder and hamper your deliverability. If you use a heavy GIF in your email, it may slow down the loading time of your email. Therefore, light-weight GIFs should be used. A number of tools can help you to compress the file. Outlook does not support the rendering of GIFs or cinemagraphs, so it is recommended that the first frame of your animation should make sense independently and include all the important information along with the CTA. It is advisable to have a mobile version of the GIFs with 320px width so that the animation gets displayed properly on the mobile devices even if it does not scale to mobile. Alt-text is a must while you use rich media as the email clients have these visual elements blocked by default. Always have a fallback image whenever you are using a GIF or video in your email.Note: Only email clients like Apple Mail, Thunderbird, and Web Browsers support embedded videos, so fallback image and suitable alt text become a must. Since the heavy size of videos can be a deterrent for your email marketing metrics, you should not use it just for the sake of using it. Do not overdo the use of rich media in a way it gets boring and monotonous for your subscriber. Wrapping Up Rich media is for all those email marketers looking forward to attempting something innovative in their email marketing campaigns. Are you ready to try it out? Do let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


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Adapt Your Email Marketing Strategy to the GDPR

Adapt Your Email Marketing Strategy to the GDPR

Practical Marketer • May 6, 2018

We have spent months talking about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The 25th of May, which is the day when it goes into effect, is fast approaching. During this time, we have provide you with tons of information related to adapting your email marketing strategy. On April 11th, 2018, we held a webinar going through the key points in which the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) affects the email marketing strategy. Editor’s Note: Benchmark provides information during the webinar and in this article for informational purposes only. Such information cannot be understood as legal advice. To get advice on any issue or aspect related to the GDPR, you should contact your lawyer. In this article, we\'ll do a quick review of what GDPR is. We also want to do a recap of how has Benchmark has adapted to the GDPR and about all the changes we have implemented and which you might need to know. What is the goal of the new GDPR? The main goal of the new GDPR is to provide users with final control over their personal data. What benefits does the new GDPR provide? One continent, one law: a single, pan-European law for data protection, replacing the current inconsistent patchwork of national laws. Companies will deal with one law, not 28. One-stop-shop: a \'one-stop-shop\' for businesses. Companies will only have to deal with one single supervisory authority, not 28, making it simpler and cheaper for companies to do business in the EU. The same rules for all companies – regardless of where they are established: Today European companies have to adhere to stricter standards than companies established outside the EU but also doing business in our Single Market. With the reform, companies based outside of Europe will have to apply the same rules when they offer goods or services on the EU market. This creates a level playing field. Technological neutrality: the Regulation enables innovation to continue to thrive under the new rules. Roles and restrictions with the treatment of personal data The GDPR lays out the responsibility on the \"controller\" who assumes the responsibility of the application of the Regulation. The controller is who determines the purposes and means of the processing of personal data. As a consequence the controller must also ensure that the way the personal data is treated is compliant with the GDPR. If the controller for example has decided to use Benchmark as an email marketing software, he or she has to ensure that tools provided by Benchmark are GDPR compliant, granting the right of rectification, access or erasure. As you probably know, Benchmark provides that option through the “Manage subscription” link, which however does not appear as mandatory in the footer of the email. Therefore it’s the controller’s duty to activate and add it. In this scenario, Benchmark is just a simple data processor software. Consent Until now, when a subscriber signed up through our signup forms it was not mandatory to inform him/her about the purpose of the data processing activities to be carried out. The GDPR mentions that the consent should be given by a clear affirmative act establishing a freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of the data subject\'s agreement and should cover all processing activities carried out for the same purpose or purposes. When the processing has multiple purposes, consent should be given for all of them. In addition, where processing is based on the data subject\'s consent, the controller should be able to demonstrate that the data subject has given consent to the processing operation. Collection The GDPR advocates for simplicity in data collection. As marketers we tend to ask for more details than required (e.g. for sending out a simple weekly newsletter). This new Regulation encourages to collect the minimum data necessary for the current marketing strategy and not to ask for unnecessary data that may (or may not) be useful in the future. Access The controller should grant the easy execution of the data subject\'s rights, including mechanisms to request and, if applicable, obtain, free of charge, in particular, access to and rectification or erasure of personal data and the exercise of the right to object. Treatment of personal data The controller must inform the data subject of the existence of the processing operation and its purposes to grant a fair and transparent processing. How is Benchmark complying with the new GDPR? Find out all the details about How Benchmark adapts to the GDPR in this article. Find the recording of our Webinar here: If this article has been interesting for you, please, share it with your colleagues and friends.


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Marketing Automation: Promote and Follow-up

Marketing Automation: Promote and Follow-up

Practical Marketer • April 27, 2018

If you are using an email marketing service, you are promoting something. It could be a newsletter, your latest blog post, updates on your non-profit, business and product updates or new services you offer. Email Marketing is the perfect tool to announce, promote and keep your circle up to date with everything. The trick is, to send the right email, to the right person and at the right time. With Marketing Automation and Automation Pro, you can do just that! Let’s say you are involved with a local non-profit, and you’re asked to create a campaign for an upcoming fundraiser. It would be awesome if you could just send one email and have donations flowing to the extent that you never needed to do another fundraiser again, right? Well, while anything is possible … it is unlikely for just one email to do the job. When running a fundraiser or any promotion, you need to cast a wide net through as many channels as possible and with multiple messages. It’s not because your subscribers and followers don’t care about your cause or promotion, its because you may catch them at a bad time or the way the message was presented didn’t relate to them. This is why it is important to reach your audience through as many channels as possible and with different messages. Create a list of compelling reasons your subscribers can relate to and promote it through various channels following a cohesive storyline. Let\'s take a look at one of the most successful fundraiser campaigns: the Obama Campaigns. Over his two terms, the Obama administration was able to raise $1.4 Billion with Email and Social Media as their main channels for promotion. This was no accident or lucky viral stunt. This was the result of hard work and planning. From personalized landing pages to intriguing action based subject lines, they created a recipe for success by testing everything they did and by finding ways to relate to their donors. Email Marketing Strategy Focusing on just email for a moment, Marketing Sherpa interviewed Toby Fallsgraff, Director of Email, for the \"Obama for America” campaign. Toby and his team helped raise $690 million for the 2012 campaign alone. With more than 4.5 million people donating an average of $53. A lot of these donors gifted more than once. The Obama administration had four main segments: Previous Donors, these were donors who had already donated in 2012. Quick Donors, these were the donors who donated and saved their payment information. Non-Donors, these were subscribers who have not yet donated Lapsed Donors, these were donors who donated in 2008 but haven’t yet donated in 2012. By keeping a simple four category segment, they were able to send clear, direct messages and stay focused. As soon as they would see patterns, it’s as easy as automating. An example of email automation they used was the \"quick donors\" link. Quick donors were people who saved their payment information at the moment of donating. Toby and his team incentivized this behavior by sending free bumper stickers and other gifts. This allowed them to leveraged this opportunity by simply adding a “quick donate” link to their “Thank You” emails after a person donated. Since the donor would save their payment information, Toby’s team would include the option to donate again with a simple click. No forms to fill out, no time wasted, just one click away. By doing this, they saw a 300% increase in conversions. In this case, they used the power of email automation to ensure the “Thank You\" email was sent right away with the correct followup links to earn more donations. They chose these main segments because, from their studies and tests, they saw that behavior based followups were the most successful strategy and the way to go. Landing Pages When it comes to the landing pages, Kissmetrics did a study on how these related to the messages. What they found was a whole lot of personalization! From custom landing pages related to their campaigns (Obama held an “Ask me anything” session on Reddit for 30 min):   To including the website visitors state at the moment of signup: These small details can go a log way! The Obama administration did hundreds of tests to ensure the right strategy and what they found out is that personalization and behavior based follow-ups are key to a successful promotional campaign. The good news is that all of this goes hand in hand with marketing automation. Email Marketing Automation can sound intimidating or time-consuming, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t have to be that way. The Obama for America campaign was able to raise over $690 million in less than six months with four main list segments. Nothing too crazy or super complicated, they just made sure to send the right messages, to the right people and at the right time. So, what does this mean for you? Will you beat those numbers? I sure hope so! To get you going, we encourage you to use Automation Pro with our new templates. With Automation Pro, you can easily create behavior-based follow-ups from engagement on previous emails and your website, allowing you to automate messages based on certain pages your subscribers visit or based on opening an email or not. To promote something, we created four main templates in Automation Pro. Promote and Target Opens. This template is focused on promoting something and targeting your opened/unopened for followups. Notice how after the email is sent, we have a condition to check for opens. We then push the opened and unopened subscribers into separate lists for a future follow-up. Promote and Target Clicks. Allows you to promote something and target your clicks/non-clicks for followups. It looks the same as the Opens template but will focus on click-through engagement instead. In this template after the email is sent, we have a condition to check for clicks. We then push the clicked and non-clicked subscribers into separate lists for a future follow-up. Promote and Target Opens, Clicks and Website Engagement. Allows you to promote something and target all of the milestones. Follow-up with opened/unopened, clicks/non-clicks and website visits/non-website visits. Here, after the email is sent, we have a condition to check for opens, clicks and website engagement. We then push each group of subscribers into separate lists for a future follow-ups. Follow-up Series. This template is used to automatically follow-up with each of the targeted groups. (eg. Opened vs. Unopened or Visited Website vs. Didn’t Visit Website, etc.) Since an automation can be triggered from someone being added to a list, once you send a promotion, and separate the engaged with non-engaged subscribers into different lists, you can use this template to create a new automation and follow-up with these subscribers as they get added to their list. For more information on how to combine automations, check out our blog on Goal Based Lists.  We created these four templates to allow you to start where you feel most comfortable. If you are new to automation, start with just the Promote and Target Opens template. Once you get the hang of it, you will quickly roll over to the next one. (Be careful, it can get very addicting!) Here are the takeaways I would love for everyone to walk away with: Identify what works, AKA your “proven process”. You do this by creating somewhat of a plan, brainstorming ideas and then testing. Test as much as you can and start automating what works as you see patterns. Start small. Make sure to start with simple automation you feel comfortable with. Create a Welcome Series or create a promotion that has a simple follow-up to the unopened emails. Keep your automation short. It is ok to have a full sales process automated, but don’t do it all under one automation. Set milestones and have each automation work with the next. As an example, the Obama campaign could have an automation sending once a week to those who haven’t donated. Once they donate once, they may try to get them to save their payment information to promote the “Quick Donate” automated email after that. Learn to listen to your subscribers and create engaging campaigns that your followers can relate to. Embrace behavior based follow-ups! Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed this blog and that you found it useful! If you have automation ideas or success stories to share, we would love to hear them! Comment below and tell us how you automate your promotions.


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Email Marketing for the Travel Industry

Email Marketing for the Travel Industry

Practical Marketer • April 24, 2018

If you’re in the travel industry, you may or may not know that email is as well-traveled as your customers wish they were. With one click of the send button, you can reach a worldwide audience immediately. And in today’s mobile, on-the-go world, you’ll land directly in their hand. In an uber-competitive industry that hit a seven year high in 2017, it’s important to find ways to stand out. After all, it was a 7.6 trillion dollar industry in 2016. Let’s take a look at how you can use email marketing to get yourself a piece of that pie. Benefits of Email Marketing for the Travel Industry First of all, let’s talk about why email is so important. It’s estimated that we’ll have 2.9 billion email users on the planet by 2019. While we’re piling on giant numbers to make our point, let’s not forget that there are 105 billion emails sent every day, with that number expected to increase to 246 billion by 2020. There are several more reasons you should be doing email for your travel business: It’s affordable. Email marketing is one of the cost-effective marketing solutions available today. It’s fast. Thanks to free HTML email templates, you can create and send your first email campaign in under 30 minutes. That’s less time than it takes to fly from Los Angeles to Las Vegas! It’s focused. You can send to a targeted list and have one clear call to action, allowing you to hit a relevant audience and achieve your intended goal. It’s simple. It’s simple enough for your marketing intern to take the reins when needed. You can use a drag-and-drop editor to design an email that will impress your creative team and you’ll achieve results to impress your boss. It works. It’s estimated that when done well, email will deliver $42 for every $1 spent. Our friends at Litmus have put together some pointers for travel industry professionals looking to capitalize with email marketing. The good news is, that even in the bad news (some feel they aren’t really connecting with their audienec) there’s an opportunity for improvement. That’s why we’re here. To learn from the numbers and see what we can do better than our competitors. Take a quick look at this presentation from Litmus: 10 Things Travel Brands Should Know About Their Email Subscribers from Litmus Some of us may often drift away into daydreams of destinations near and far, but the reality is we can’t afford to go on vacation every other week, month or even year. However, you want your business to be the first thing a person thinks of when it is time for a vacation. Email marketing helps you stay top of mind. You can also use email to grow your customer base. If you have a blog on your site or you’re offering travel advice or tips in a newsletter, you can attract subscribers who will later become customers with an effective email marketing strategy. Because it’s so easy to create well-designed, professional-looking email campaigns, even the smallest travel business can compete with the larger ones in their space. If you look the part, your customers and prospects will believe it. It’s one major advantage in the digital age. Nobody Leaves Home Without Their Smartphone Think about the last time you heard a friend recount a story of trying to teach a grandparent or parent how to use their smartphone or that a coworker shared a story about their still-young child begging for a phone of their own. Almost everyone has a smartphone these days. In fact, a smartphone is the preferred accessory for 76% of travelers. Additionally, 85% of travelers will use their smartphone to coordinate some aspect of their trip. That could mean booking their trip, checking in for flights, research for places to eat or sights to see. Whatever the reason, it’s clear that you must be thinking mobile when you create an email marketing strategy for your travel business. There is Opportunity in Mobile Travel Marketing Americans are not the only ones using smartphones. Across the globe, smartphone adoption continues to increase. That means you can be targeting travelers near and far with an email campaign. Nearly 70% of travel-related emails are opened on a mobile device. We know that these travelers are using their smartphones from the time they research and book a trip, through to finding activities when at their destination, taking photos and checking into their flight home. If you already know they’re using their phone, the next step is to time your emails with those activities for maximum impact. Let’s not forget one important fact: the only thing you can sell in an email is a click. The conversions will take place on your website. So, some of your campaigns may be primed for viewing on a desktop versus when to target mobile viewers. It’s important to have a clear understanding of your customers and leads and where they’re at or what they may be doing when they receive your emails. Do you have customer profiles to help you understand your audience to this extent? How to do Email Marketing for the Travel Industry If you’re still unsure of whether or not you should be doing email marketing for your business, perhaps it’s time to see someone to discuss your stubbornness. For the rest of you, let’s take a look at how you should get started: Establish your email list. It all starts with your email list. If you’ve been in business for a while, you undoubtedly have a list of emails from all your customers. Upload that to your email marketing account. Friends, family and leads who have given you permission to send to them can also be included. Grow your list. Next, you should create signup forms to be placed anywhere you have touchpoints with potential customers. Your website, your Facebook page and even on a tablet or computer in your brick and mortar location(s). Tell them why they should subscribe and incentivize them to do so. If your customers can book with you online, you can also add opt-in options during the purchase process. [caption id=\"attachment_9764\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"1357\"] Travel + Leisure does a good job of telling you what to expect when you subscribe to their newsletter.[/caption] Email content. The most common comment from novice email marketers is that they just don’t know where to start when it comes to knowing what to send. A monthly newsletter is one of the easiest things any business can do. Send helpful tips on things travelers should know when going to a certain destination or how they can get the biggest bang for their buck. Also, a welcome email campaign or series to greet new subscribers can help you convert leads into customers faster than ever before. Guidebooks for various destinations Information on attractions, events, holidays or festivals Destination reviews Success stories from happy customers Some additional content to consider: All about timing. The most successful marketing is customer-centric. That’s why the aforementioned subscriber profiles are so important. If you can gain an understanding of where they might be at a certain time of day or during their trip, you can send the perfect campaign at the right moment. Part of it is creating the profiles or personas. The other part is reviewing your email reports to see when your emails are being opened. More on that later. Create a sending frequency and content calendar. You likely already know the most popular times of the year for travel. Spring break, summer vacations, Thanksgiving and Christmas, etc. You can plan your email marketing for the quarter or the year and work backwards from there on when you should be sending. Plus, gaining an understanding of how often your subscribers want to hear from you will help you determine which campaigns to send and when. Send your first email. It all starts from the first time you hit send. Choose a free HTML email template or design your own with a drag-and-drop editor. Fill in your content. Hit send. You’ll learn as you go and improve with each new campaign. If you’re not even sure what to send, start with a survey asking what your subscribers want from you! Review your reports. Once you’ve hit send, it’s time to track your reports. Your open rate will show if you had a good subject line and a recognizable From Name. Your click-through rate will show if the content in your email is compelling enough. That’s just the start of what you can learn from your reports. Practical Strategies for Successful Travel Email Marketing Let’s take it a step further than here are the very basics of what you need to do and look at some tips to help you thrive with email marketing. Personalization. The numbers support using a personalized approach to your travel customers. 83% of millennials won’t mind being tracked for personalized service and 85% of travelers desire a customized itinerary. You can also insert a subscriber’s name into a subject line or in the copy of the email, to make it seem like it was created just for them. Use video. subscribers attention in ways that evan a photo cannot. You want them to feel what it’s like to be somewhere and like they have to be there for it. FOMO is real. Plus, 66% of travelers will watch video when doing research on a destination. Location. You can use your subscribers location to sent them targeted campaigns for vacations they might be interested in. If they live in Los Angeles, you may not need to send them to Southern California vacation destination email that the rest of your subscribers may crave. Or, if you’re sending campaigns intended to be seen by a subscriber while they’re on their trip, you can include weather information, events for the time they’re there or more. Create a sense of urgency. Vacations aren’t necessarily impulse buys, but if someone is already researching a trip they might be more inclined to pull the trigger if you hit them with a promotion at the right moment. But put a time limit on it. It could be a flash sale for a few hours after hitting send or a deal that lasts through the weekend. Make them feel like they need to take action now! Get Started Today Are you ready to put what you’ve learned to use? Signup for the free Benchmark Starter Plan. Send to up to 2,000 of your subscribers at no cost. Get access to the features you need to begin your email marketing. Don’t pay until your list grows past 2,000 subscribers or when you’re ready for our features such as marketing automation which are only available on our Pro plans. Or login to your Benchmark Email account now. Share Your Story Have you successfully used email marketing for your travel industry business? Share your successes and tips in the comments section. We want to hear from you!


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How To Design Your Email Marketing Campaign

How To Design Your Email Marketing Campaign

Practical Marketer • April 12, 2018

Email marketing is amazing. In 2017, 54% of the entire planet had an email address. That means there are more people with an email address than there are people who have a Facebook account. And while Facebook is a good way of reaching your audience and increasing your sales, savvy digital marketers use it as a means of capturing people\'s email addresses. They know that email marketing is more effective than social media, with 44% of users checking their email for a deal from a company they know, whereas only 4% will go to Facebook. If someone is on your email list, it’s because they chose to be there. This means all you have to do is keep them there, and to sell them your stuff. How are you going to do that? With a perfectly designed email marketing campaign that contains all the right components, from top-notch copy to engaging visuals. First, you need to... Nail The Subject Line Almost 50% of your subscribers will open an email because the subject line appealed to them. Buzzfeed knows how important the subject line is when it comes to making an email marketing campaign. Their subject lines are always brilliant, and their former newsletter editor, Dan Oshinksy gives great advice when he says that you need to “Make your subject line clear. Nobody should open an email and not know what they’re about to read.” Email marketers struggle with the subject line because they get around 40-50 characters to make an impression on the reader. That isn’t much, and it means you need to do a few things in a limited space:   Tell people what they’re going to get   Be personal - include their name   Tease - arouse curiosity   Outline a benefit they’ll receive if they open this email   Avoid spam words, such as “free” or “cash”   Create a sense of urgency Do you need to be a magician to make this work? Not at all. Here is an example of expertly crafted subject lines: Send Out Awesome Copy No one wants to read boring emails. They want to be informed or at least entertained. Don’t focus on selling something in every email you send during your campaign. In fact, it’s hard to sell to strangers on the Internet unless you’ve first built a strong rapport with them so that they now trust you. Build rapport by sending out emails that are rich in value and tips and tricks. Make a human connection with your readers by relating a personal story of yours. Get to know them with questions. Segment Your Email List Segmentation works. Segmented email lists return almost 60% more clicks and boost open rates by 14.64%. If you don’t segment your email list, you’re essentially sending out the same email to all your customers, who have different tastes, interests and priorities. Over time, some subscribers will feel as though they’re getting no value from your emails and will either stop opening them or unsubscribe. Perhaps the easiest way to segment your list is with a survey or quiz. Keep in mind that your list will need incentivizing - after all, not all of your subscribers will take the time to fill out a survey or list out of the goodness of their own heart. A survey gives you a massive insight into what your customers want, but it also lets you segment your list according to different wants and needs. Then, you can design your email marketing campaign so that you’re sending better-targeted emails out to the right cluster of customers. WordPress has a Quiz and Survey Master plugin that you may find useful. Another way to segment your list is according to past purchases. If a customer bought X product, make sure you retarget them with a similar product - as opposed to a random one that has zero interest to them. This tailors the shopping experience to each and makes it more personal - which is exactly what customers want. Use Color This is one trick that some email marketers miss, but it’s also not important that all marketers use color in their email. It all depends on what your niche is. For example, an organic food newsletter would benefit from some green text that gives the email a vibrancy and freshness. This makes a better connection with the target audience. Color can be a hugely important aspect of your email newsletter, and it can help you to stand out and make an emotional connection with your subscribers. Think about Christmas for a moment. What colors would a festive email need to contain to make it stand out and catch your eye? Red and green would work. Then there is, of course, the psychology behind color and most consumers have said that color influences their decision-making more than anything else. What colors you use depends what your intentions are: Red:   Attracts attention   Creates a sense of urgency (danger) that they might miss out Yellow:   Makes us feel good (sunshine, warmth, happiness)   Use it to promote vacations and deals Orange:   Energetic (sun-kissed, oranges)   Promote food produce Green:   Fruit and veg campaigns Blue:   Promotes a feeling of trust   Water products and cleanliness Black:   Professional   Slick   Elegant Create A Killer CTA Emails with a single call-to-action increases clicks 371% and sales 1617%. They are an essential part of your email. The CTA is the part where you tell your subscribers exactly what it is you want them to do. Want them to buy your product? Tell them with your CTA. Want them to take your quiz? Ask them with your CTA. Make it a button so that it looks clickable, too. In text-heavy emails, visual elements stand out. Rather than placing a hyperlink in the body of text and hoping you receive clicks, create a CTA that is clickable and easy to find. You can use sites like Design Wizard to create a button without the need of a graphic designer. Keep the CTA visually simple but also keep the text simple. Don’t give people too much to do. Give them just one choice: Use a Premade Template Visuals are well worth using. We’re living in an increasingly visual world and if you haven’t yet started to focus on the visual content of your emails, now might be the time to start. In 2017, over 35% of visual marketers said visual marketing is now more important than any other content. A year earlier in 2016, over half of all B2B marketers were prioritizing visual content assets. When you use a pre-made template, it’s a lot easier to implement visuals in your email marketing campaigns. Pre-made templates are especially popular with beginners who have never used visuals in their emails before. They provide a pretty good foundation, though I’d suggest that you tweak any template you use so that your voice comes through clearly. There are tools available which provide you with ready-made email marketing templates that cost you no time at all. For you, there’s no designing involved. All you need to do is pick a template and tweak it so that - as mentioned - your voice and a brand image comes through. Templates are made up of content blocks which you can easily delete or replicate or shift around. Use Images There’s no need to go overboard with images. Just one picture can tell a thousand words. The great thing about images in emails is that you don’t need to waste time and money taking photos yourself. Instead, you can download a stock photograph from an online site. Pik Wizard, for example, offers lots of free images. In fact, there are a handful of sites that offer free stock photos. It depends what your message and brand are, but you don’t always have to aim for high-quality images. A lot of email marketers use memes that are not top-notch photos, but which are humorous and engaging. And sometimes that’s all that matters. Conclusion These are some tips on how to design your email marketing campaign in 2018. Don’t expect instant results, of course. Fine tune your design efforts, be prepared to make changes until the conversions and sales start rolling in. Let us know what you think in the comments below.


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The Deliverability Formula: 5 Steps to Reach the Inbox

The Deliverability Formula: 5 Steps to Reach the Inbox

Practical Marketer • April 8, 2018

Getting to your subscribers’ inbox is as simple as hitting send, right? Yes. More accurately, yes, but… There are a few steps that come into play before that happens. If done correctly, then it is as simple as hitting send. The Deliverability Formula: 5 Steps to Reach the Inbox Our team of experts has compiled years of experience into a new guide sure to help you thrive with email marketing. If you’re not seeing the results you desire, or even if you just want to see your Return On Investment grow, these five steps will help you get there. Step 1: Define the Private Domain Best Suited For Your Business The address from which you do your email marketing is important. Aside from helping your email deliverability, it also factors into security issues as well. Not only that, but a private domain commands respect that a Gmail, Yahoo, etc. address does not. Our new guide provides resources to help you do this … and that’s just step one. Step 2: Authenticate Your Emails By Adding A Sender Policy Framework Record Sender Policy Framework (SPF) Records identify which mail servers are permitted to send email on behalf of your domain. If that sounds complicated, it’s not. Think about it like when you look through the peephole in a door. You want to make sure the person on the other side is who they say they are. SPF Records are email marketing’s version of that. Step 3: List Verification Verifying your list doesn’t mean you didn’t have a good list to begin with. It’s improving upon what you already have and eliminating human error. List verification helps you remove email addresses that are no longer active, due to individuals changing jobs or addresses. It’s also dropping the ones that were typed incorrectly when they subscribed. This process can help your deliverability and even reduce costs, as you won’t want to pay to send to invalid email addresses. Step 4: Craft Subject Lines That Get Your Emails Opened Subject lines are your first impression. They’re a major factor in what determines whether or not your email will be opened. If you know how to write them, you’re on your way to better email marketing just from this step alone. This guide shows you how. Step 5: Apply the Best Content and Design Tactics to Avoid Spam Filters What you write in your email and how you put it together also play a role in the delivery of your emails. It’s simple things like knowing certain words or phrases to avoid or the best practices for using images. Get Your Copy Today What are you waiting for?! Download The Deliverability Formula: 5 Steps to Reach the Inbox Blog.


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