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

Practical Marketer - Reading Time: 9 Minutes

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

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Top Effective Email Marketing Strategies That Will Boost Your Sales in 2019

Top Effective Email Marketing Strategies That Will Boost Your Sales in 2019

Beyond • November 19, 2018

Boosting sales is a key to success, and effective marketing strategies are a key to boosting sales. Learn about the most potentially effective innovative email marketing strategies recommended as core shots for the upcoming 2019. This article aims to identify the most perspective email marketing strategies to be employed for boosting the revenue of a company in the next business year via highlights of triggers of their potential. The strategies will be discussed in terms of the main trends and priorities of the modern world of digital marketing. Triggering Headlines to Be Honored and Employed Are you still in a doubt whether headlines can trigger your sales? The Return On Investment (ROI) on email marketing is, on average, 38:1. That means you can earn $38 for every $1.00 spent. No more doubts now, right? Awesome, cause we have a list of working tips for you to add this tool to effective daily use. Every perspective of response starts with the first words a receiver sees. As a rule, it is a headline in the context of email marketing. Having trouble with a headline is not a failure, but a high time to learn the strategy: be concise, be flamboyant, mean it. Do not overwhelm a reader with information – headlines are to attract attention, not to give every single detail. Triggering headline leads to reading further, which means that it should refer to the reader’s needs, values, or current emotions. Actually, it is emotions that are responsible primarily for the interaction with the target audience. Once a constructive reference to emotions is implemented in a message of the headline, it is easier to engage the target audience. The potential use of the following email is another substantial power that should be incorporated in the headline if there is a real benefit in the message, in particular, and the offer, in general: It is also crucial to literally imply what a headline says: there will be no efficiency if headlines have no actions or quality behind them. One more important aspect of a functional headline is that it should not be excessively long. There is no need to build a complete sentence, but a phrase should evoke emotions and create a particular impression, scene, or atmosphere. As a rule, creating an atmosphere implies invitation for a person in a world that atmosphere embodies, and people love being invited to a different reality or being offered an alternative to something they already have or have already experienced. Emotions mean new experiences and opportunities in the given context, whereas basically every offer is a promise. Make this promise concise and tempting by answering the following question: would this headline trigger my own interest? Several examples of working headlines are here for you: Stating the Obvious: Constructive Analysis vs Personal Opinion in the Ar No Sales – Justified, yet Affordable Prices only The Art of Being Persuasive and Efficient Religious Matters: Believing in or Following the Schedule. Welcome Interactive Emails to Regular Use Interactivity in terms of email sent with a business-oriented purpose implies engagement, participation, different kinds of activity from a receiver. Interactive triggers that can be employed in such emails involve swiping, tapping, or responding to the content provided. These activities vary from clicking a button to actual instant purchase or subscription. Some businesses prefer only informing their customers via emails, whereas others make a real profit due to the given marketing tool. Apparently, the latter case is an example of big corporations with a well-known name and crystal clean reputation when it comes to quality and integrity issues. If a company is newly born or is not recognized widely, it is recommended to employ informative and entertaining e-mails so as to avoid pressuring the target audience with constant claims to buy or visit since such patterns can result in unsubscribing or even blocking the sender. It is crucial to choose the type of interaction that will be perceived as a comfortable and suitable one for the target audience, not a burdening or annoying kind of interaction. Interaction should be presented in the light form: not an obligation, but an entertainment since customers strive to have fun above all the rest. Entertainment comes first, and only then being informed and curiosity appear on the radar. Take a look: “91% of B2B buyers prefer to consume interactive and visual content.” Once this is established, let us underline some crucial aspects: Build your brand on inspiration and vividness, and make sure emails are no different: We strongly recommend using innovative techniques such as digital scratch cards or offering a fun deal (nothing complicated or creepy, just a game): Personalizing every message will get you profits, loyal customers, and reputation. The examples of such interaction in e-mails are as follows: It makes the impression that this particular email is addressed directly to me. People, tend to react better when they see their names. Video Content: How to Make a Difference Video captures attention immediately, it is known. As Biteable claims, people prefer watching videos to reading texts, especially when those are long ones. The ultimate secret of effective videos used all over the profitable companies is as follows: it is crucial to make an impactful, vivid image that triggers interests and simultaneously appeals in terms of esthetics, and link it to the video. The visual element can surprise people, make them smile or wonder, in any case, the main task here is to enter the emotional area of the target audience. Again. Experts recommend mentioning the word “video” in the subject line, keep this subject line sweet and short, and remember about viral qualities necessary for success in this domain. Apart from it, do not make mysterious assumptions or vague suggestion: the call to action should be impeccably clear. Nevertheless, sending an excellent video with an attractive visual basic element is not enough. We recommend placing this video as a central element within a bigger context. Remember: you do not want the text to be too long and your message – too redundant. Just put some highlights and outline core points of what it’s all about. Concerning the impeccably clear call to action, emails from Jobs for Editors tend to have it: No Hints to Spam: Natural and Effective Spam is the worst threat to your business in terms of digital marketing one could have ever imagined. First of all, it is necessary to avoid all the spam words that can be recognized as spam. It is strongly recommended to steer clear of conventional phrases marking it is a matter of business offer sent to numerous receivers. Spam is one thing when it is recognized by the system and quite another one when a receiver marks it as one. Therefore, do everything possible in order to gain and sustain the loyalty of the target audience. A visual aspect is also important in the given context. To be more precise, it is recommended to pick a particular color and font for your brand so as to make it recognizable and distinguish it from the pile of other emails aiming to conquer attention of the target audience: A piece of alarming statistics: an average person tends to receive approximately 88 e-mails per day. Impressive, right? Remember that branding your e-mails is like branding your products or services: it may look like a small aspect right now, but it will repay you in the long run significantly. Make sure that both chosen font and color are relevant to your mission, vision, positioning and values. It is important in the world of business to make a holistic impression. Words triggering spam status to be avoided include “buy,” “order,” “order status,” “scores,” “stakes,” “additional income,” “beneficiary,” “be your own boss,” “cash,” “work at home,” “make $ while you sleep,” “cheap,” “credit,” “insurance,” “price,” “profits,” etc Infographics as It Is in Email Marketing A call to action is your major weapon for email marketers. You may already know that. What you might not know is that a traditional point for placing your call to action, namely, the end of the letter, is often a major reason of e-mail’s failure, especially when there are two or more sections in the letter. An optimal solution for this dilemma is to have a call to action for each section. One more thing about emails with several sections: you need to mark them appropriately and vividly. It does not mean that you should use multiple colors, fonts or images – no way, that is a definite taboo. A smart way to mark different sections for reader’s convenience is to use constructive icons. Requirements to those icons: they should reflect the theme of the section, have a consistent style, and be smartly structured. Black and white colors are a classic solution provided you are in a serious business niche or do not want to mess with multicolored content. Nevertheless, classic is not always a go. Try using an unconventional layout since this will both distinguish your email from others and at the same time will increase chances to draw the attention of a receiver to the headlines of sections. In such a way, there will be more chances to interest him or her and engage. Finally, a template is a smart decision in terms of infographics. Approximately 80% of the receivers tend to only skim the letter, not read it thoroughly. Hence, an infographic can become your advantage for catching their attention at first and sustaining the interest further on. Here is an example of a smart infographic:   We wish you good luck in battles located in the area of digital marketing. Be smart, be concise, and be consistent!


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How You Can Use AI to Boost Your Email Marketing Strategy (And 3 Brands That Did It Right)

How You Can Use AI to Boost Your Email Marketing Strategy (And 3 Brands That Did It Right)

Practical Marketer • November 9, 2018

While modern digital marketers have advanced techniques such search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising at their disposal for driving consumer interest, an old staple such as email marketing is managing to maintain its relevance. Financially speaking, email marketing probably still has the best return on investment compared to other digital marketing methods, which is why businesses of all sizes are still using it to great effect. And if you wish to take email marketing a step further, you can supplement your campaigns with artificial intelligence (AI) systems. AI is capable of analyzing vast amounts of data with speed and accuracy unmatched by human data analysts. The result of such an analysis is patterns and trends that would otherwise be impossible to detect, and which can be used to improve the effectiveness of email marketing campaigns. By utilizing the power of AI, digital marketers can ensure that their emails will reach the right audience at the right time, with the right kind of message. To find out more about how email marketing has benefited from the introduction of AI, take a look at our guide in the post below. Auto-Generated Subject Lines The average consumer can receive up to a hundred emails per day. The majority of what is received gets classified as spam, but even if your marketing email manages to evade the filters, the odds that the consumer will end up opening it are slim at best. With an AI at your side, you can improve your chances by a significant margin. For instance, an AI could predict how likely it is that a prospect will open an email based on the subject line used, and it can even offer suggestions on which lines would work best. AIs can also help ensure that your subject lines are brand-compliant, a process that can otherwise take weeks to finish. Copy with Relevant Keywords If your targets end up opening your email, you are already halfway there to converting them. However, the other half of the journey is much more difficult to complete. This is where your copy comes into play. A good email copy has to engage the lead enough to take a CTA which will turn them into a customer. The secret to creating engagement is providing value to the potential customer. Finding out what each customer wants is not an easy task, but it can be streamlined through the use of AI. Such AIs can analyze the social media and web activity unique to each lead, and give recommendations regarding which keywords to use for maximum conversion potential. More Actionable CTAs The CTA is the final piece of the email marketing puzzle. Without an effective CTA, the lead will have no clue on how to proceed to become your customer, an outcome you want to avoid at all costs. The secret to making a good CTA is to provide an offer your leads wouldn’t want to pass up. Creating such an offer is easier said than done, but again, the AIs can help. An AI armed with sufficient data could determine the price points and products which are likely to entice a given consumer. As you keep feeding more data to the AI, it will become better at predicting which offer has the best conversion potential. Efficient Segmentation And Targeting Creating highly targeted emails is an effective conversion strategy, but sometimes you can’t afford this level of customization. What you can do in such situations is divide up your audience into segments, to retain some level of customization, while being able to target multiple prospects at once. Your audience can be segmented according to demographic, geographic, psychographic, or other kinds of criteria. This is a time-consuming process for humans and one that is prone mistakes, which is why email marketers began using AI for more streamlined audience segmentation. An AI can easily screen your customers to find the relevant data, and then use it to categorize them into clear groups, saving you time and resources better spent elsewhere. Scheduling Sending Times The times at which you send your emails is as important as their content. If you keep sending emails at inopportune moments, your prospects, leads, and even existing customers will lose patience and unsubscribe, which is an outcome you must avoid at all costs. Finding out the perfect time for sending an email is a time-consuming process because there are many factors at play, including the time zone they reside in, their daily schedule, their online habits, etc. Fortunately, AI systems are perfectly suited for collating factors of this sort into a single, coherent picture. An AI can pinpoint exactly the exact time when a subscriber is likely to open, as well as read an email, and it can do this for each and every person on your mailing list. This makes creating mailing schedules by hand a thing of the past. Streamlined Customer Lifecycle Marketing An email marketing campaign involves more than just sending batches of emails – it is a process of nurturing a consumer from lead to customer, and beyond. Along this journey, the target will take actions that are in line with your business goals, such as clicking on CTAs, visiting your website, or purchasing your items, but also those that are detrimental to your bottom line, such as unsubscribing to your email newsletter, abandoning their shopping cart, or stopping to follow your brand on social media. To get the most out of your email marketing campaign, you have to study customer behavior and send highly contextual emails throughout the customer lifecycle. With their ability to analyze large quantities of data in record speed, AIs is perfectly suited for determining when is the best moment to send out a particular kind of email, to a particular kind of customer. Use Cases of AI in Email Marketing So far we have been talking about the theory behind AI-powered email marketing, but that is not all there is to it. Many digital marketing companies are already using AI to power a wide variety of digital marketing campaigns, including email marketing. Now we can move on to specific examples of brands using these methods to improve the outcomes of their campaigns. Teleflora Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest holidays for online flower delivery services such as Teleflora. This company tends to send more than a billion email offers per year. And in order to make heads or tails of the mountains of data they gather on their customers, they use Bluecore, an AI-powered tool that matches customer data to products. They also use Custora, another AI customer analytics tool, which can create automated flags for delivering customized messages to customers at every point in the buyer’s journey. By using AI in email marketing, Teleflora was able to accurately match customers to products they were most likely to be interested in, and the company saw an increase of 50% in orders compared to previous years. Virgin Holidays Virgin Holidays is one of the bigger players in the field of vacation planning in the United Kingdom, with more than a hundred million holiday packages sold each year. However, when it comes to finding the right subject line for their email marketing campaigns, Virgin Holidays was struggling to find an approach that yielded the results they were looking for. They eventually chose to use Phrasee, an AI-powered language generation tool. Instead of spending weeks waiting for writers to come up with the appropriate subjects lines, and having them tested, Virgin Holidays simply forwarded their brand guidelines to Phrasee. Once the AI took over the process, the subject lines were both generated and tested automatically. And the results? A 2% increase in sales, which amounted to more than a million pounds. SecretEscapes SecretEscapes, another UK-based travel company, has an audience of more than 32 million subscribers in 23 different countries. The company makes about 70% of its sales from email marketing, and it usually sends subscribers two emails per day. However, SecretEscapes was having trouble finding an eCommerce solution that could keep up with the influx of data generated by subscribers with widely different backgrounds. That is until they found JetLore, an AI prediction system that can analyze customer data for the purpose of ranking each customer according to their interests, and then send relevant product and service suggestions based on those interests. The result of using JetLore was an increase in open rates, as well as higher revenue from an increased number of sales. Wrapping Up AI makes email marketing much simpler by allowing marketers to add value to the emails that go beyond just discounts and first-name personalization. This technology lets brands sustain the modern customer by translating the collected data into relevant, unique, and timely content for each individual customer. If you haven’t incorporated AI into your email marketing strategy yet, now is the right time to begin doing so for better in-the-moment personalization– and, ultimately, sales.


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Free Holiday Email Templates

Free Holiday Email Templates

Practical Marketer • November 7, 2018

The season to be jolly is right around the corner! That’s right! Holiday cups are back at Starbucks, Christmas music is already playing in every store you walk into. Decorations are right around the corner. It always feels too early to start celebrating the holidays, but it’s never too early to plan your holiday email marketing. After all, email marketing accounts for 20 percent of holiday sales, according to Mailcharts. Holiday Email Templates Who doesn’t enjoy spreading some holiday cheer? Benchmark Email helps you get your email marketing in the holiday spirit with dozens of festive holiday email templates. Here are some things to keep in mind when using a holiday email template: Stay true to your branding. Don’t make your logo a color your subscribers have never seen it before, just to match the holiday motif. Same goes for buttons and other colors that are consistent across your email campaigns. Dress it up for the holidays, but don’t become something unrecognizable to your subscribers. Keep it simple. Don’t overdo it. You don’t want to be the house on the block with lights covering every square inch of the exterior and lawn with lights. You can’t look at that house without sunglasses. Don’t limit it to the template. Extend the holiday cheer to your subject line as well. That way it won’t be a surprise when your subscribers open your holiday email. Don’t just promote your sales. Promote your products too. A common mistake many businesses make is to only inform their subscribers of their promotions. That assumes they know everything you offer. Be sure to highlight your products too. The promo and the product together are the knockout combo you want. Templates To Automate Aside from the great holiday email templates available to you, we’ve also created strategy templates to let you automate your holiday email marketing. You can send a promotion and follow-up with your subscribers based on if they opened the email, clicked a link or visited a specific page on your website. Don’t wait for 2018 to take your email marketing to the next level. Get a head start on your New Year’s resolution and close out 2017 strong. We also put together some tips and ideas for your Christmas and Chanukah marketing campaigns to be automated. Holiday Email Marketing Tips Now that you know how to pick the right template and what to do with it, let’s look at some strategies and suggestions for your holiday email marketing campaigns. Make A Plan Everything will go smoother for your holiday email marketing if you start with a good plan. Holiday emails campaigns sent in the first half of November tend to get the best open rates, according to GoDaddy. The first step in creating a holiday email marketing plan is to know which holidays you should be creating campaigns for. These are the big ones: Thanksgiving, November 22 Black Friday, November 23 Small Business Saturday, November 24 Cyber Monday, November 26 Giving Tuesday, November 27 Hanukkah, December 2-10 Christmas, December 25 Figure out which of those holidays make sense for your business. Don’t contort to uncomfortable, Stretch Armstrong-esque lengths to make all of these holidays work for your brand. You may also not have the time or resources to do campaigns for all of them. Be reasonable and focus on the ones that will work best for your goals. What emails should you be sending for any (or all) of these holidays? A sequence of three emails is your best bet for successful holiday email marketing: First, you should send an email to announce your holiday promotion. You can send this up to two weeks prior to your sale. Next, you’ll want to send a reminder for your holiday promotion. If you sent the first one two weeks out, the follow-up email should go out a week later (one week before your sale). Lastly, you should send an email the day off the promotion. This one should really create some urgency and get your subscribers to act now. Segment Your List(s) Relevance is key with any emails you send, but especially so with your holiday email marketing. Most inboxes are even more crowded during the holiday season making it all the more important to stand out. Email list segmentation or targeted emailing are your best bets for sending targeted, relevant content to your subscribers. You can use purchase history, click history, demographic or location data to sort your list in order to send the best possible content to each subscriber. Holiday Email Marketing Content Ideas Giving gifts to our loved ones can be difficult. We want to give them something that will feel personal and picked out just for them. But where to start? Many businesses create gift guides to help their subscribers choose the right gift for everyone on their list. One way to create a gift guide is to sort it by price. Here’s a holiday email campaign from Bed, Bath & Beyond that sorts their campaign into sections by cost. It makes it easy to find the right item for everything from office holiday parties to something for your loved ones. Another way to organize your gift guide is by who the gift is for. It can be gifts for him or her, your kids, parents, etc. If you sell products for kids big and small, you can even create a gift guide sorted by age groups, from newborns to those of us with an inner child that still burns strong. This holiday email from Target shows how you can make it easy to find gifts for all your nieces, nephews, sons and daughters. Outside of gift guides, there are plenty of other holiday sales you can use email marketing to promote. Some companies offer a special gift to the first group of customers through the door in the morning. For some businesses, this results in customers camping out to receive the free giveaway! What better social media buzz than a line of anxious customers braving the elements to come to your store. This Black Friday from Chan Luu executes this strategy well: Other than giving customers a percentage off their total, you can also offer free shipping for your online shoppers. That’s what J Crew did with a recent Cyber Monday campaign: J Crew also creates a sense of urgency by telling their subscribers that free shipping deal is for that day only. One additional way to boost your holiday email marketing efforts is to include a charitable component with your promotions. If all of the proceeds from certain items or total sales are donated to charity, it increases the likelihood that a subscriber will make a purchase. PayPal itself wanted to inspire everyone to donate to charities during the holiday season. They announced that PayPal would add 1% to any donation made to a charity during the month of December. In 2017, more than $8.5 billion was donated through PayPal, in part due to this holiday promotion. Share Your Tips Have you run a successful holiday email marketing campaign in the past? Or maybe a favorite one you’ve received? Share your tips in the comments. We love to hear them!


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How to Write Welcome Emails That Turn Subscribers into Leads

How to Write Welcome Emails That Turn Subscribers into Leads

Practical Marketer • November 1, 2018

You never get a second chance to make a first impression, right? Especially today, in the world of online business and communication, when a short attention span and content shock run the shots, and where tons of emails from dozens of brands attack users\' inboxes in the hope of loyalty and sales. But there\'s a catch: We spend hours and budget on planning and implementing stellar email marketing campaigns, test them, optimize them to align with consumer interests and needs... just to find out that most people don\'t want to see our marketing emails at all. In fact, only one-fifth of users open newsletters and business emails, which makes us lose around 80% of our target customers. Oops! The good news is, we can change that. Given that 72% of people still prefer communicating with brands via email, we marketers have a powerful weapon to turn subscribers into leads and make them look forward to our next newsletters: A welcome email. What Makes Welcome Emails So Powerful As you probably know, 3 out of 4 users expect to see a welcome email after subscribing. That explains the following — and quite encouraging for email marketers — stats from Soundest: It’s like dating online. Attracted by your profile and photo (read: your website, blog, or landing page), people express interest by \"poking\" (read: subscribing) you and waiting for you to meet their expectations. Now it’s your turn to take a step: write and send a welcome email that will \"wow\" them with your brand personality so they will look forward to your next letter, open and click on it, and therefore turn into your friends (read: loyal customers). A welcome email is your chance to: Make a first impression Introduce your brand Set clear expectations and the tone of your relationship with followers Get to know them better Stand out from competitors Motivate the target audience to become your loyal subscribers and, anytime soon, customers Crafted by expert marketing writers, welcome emails meet users\' expectations, guide subscribers, and engage them in communication to see and heighten their interest in the brand as well as learn their preferences. All this allows your business to move through a sales funnel successfully. To make welcome emails work, you need to engage your inner creative genius but yet follow some rules of web writing. Here are several techniques to try: What to Write in Welcome Emails As well as any other marketing instrument, a welcome email must live up to its task. What to write there? Here go options: Confirm the subscription and thank a person for choosing your brand. Tell how they can manage their email notifications. Give them a present for the subscription. Set expectations: share the information on what types of content they will get from your newsletters and how often you are going to send them. Ask subscribers to whitelist you. Introduce your brand and website. Introduce the sender of your newsletters, if you have one. Reveal your competitive advantage. Share some works and clients\' feedback. Answer all possible objections they might have. Invite them to follow your brand on social media. Bring them into the dialogue. (Ask to tell about themselves; therefore, you\'ll learn more about subscribers and understand what content they would like to get from you.) Case in point: The welcome email from Michaels includes several elements at once: it thanks subscribers, sets expectations, invites them to set preferences, and gives a present (discount) for building loyalty and better engagement. Here’s the full version. That from Peel asks to follow their brand on social media, sharing some user-generated content. It\'s a great way to build awareness and trust, making new subscribers feel their affiliation with the brand. See the full version here. And this one from Strava introduces the brand and tells how they can help a user, inviting to manage email notifications. The full version is here. It\'s all well and fine, but are there any particular language and design tricks to craft killer welcome emails? Yes! How to Write Welcome Emails Given that a great welcome email goes beyond the \"thanks for being with us\" stuff, your task here is to make subscribers feel excited about joining you. So, write a sincere, heart-warming, and personal email that will build a positive impression of your brand and tell people what\'s in there for them. How to do that? 1. Craft a subject line Welcome emails have the highest open rate among others. To increase it even more, nail subject lines accordingly. First, answer two questions: What\'s the goal of your welcome email? What action should subscribers take after reading it? Depending on these two factors, a subject line of your welcome email may differ but yet be concise, intriguing, inviting, and actionable. Tricks to use: Personalization. (Add a recipient\'s name to the subject line.) \"A question inside\" trick. (Add this phrase to the subject line, if relevant.) A surplus value. (Mention what\'s in there for subscribers: a gift, a discount, a bonus, etc.) Add emojis, if relevant to your brand voice and tone, but don\'t overplay. Emojis make a subject line more personal and human. Avoid spam words, preventing your emails from coming to users\' inboxes. 2. Make it short Your welcome email should be short and sweet. Consider 50-150 words, craft them into a catchy text with the most significant information at the beginning, and make sure it doesn\'t sound pushy. It\'s about welcoming, not selling. By way of example, here goes a short but clear and informative welcome email from Cult Beauty: Hint: Use active verbs only! Also, avoid colloquial expressions and other email etiquette mistakes. 3. Use power words Each word of your email matters. It triggers emotions, inspires readers, motivates them to follow you. Some words engage us, others — drive us nuts! Use that linguistic power for your marketing benefit, and write the right words in emails. Some rules of web writing to remember here: Stick to words everybody knows; avoid long words and sentences. Get straight to the point. Tell them what they get; don\'t tell about yourself. In other words, answer the \"So what?\" question. Consider your brand voice and tone. Read the text of your email aloud before sending. Make sure it has a rhythm; edit accordingly. The most effective words to write in emails are: you/your, now, because, new, thank you, guarantee, free, P.S., and limited. Also, don’t forget about a recipient’s name. Freedom seems to know that: Tip: Send emails from an actual person behind your brand rather than the brand itself. It builds trust, makes an email sound more human, and increases the open rate. 4. Format it like a boss Both plain text and HTML formats are okay as long as they work with your audience: the former looks more natural like it\'s a friend who sends this email, and the latter is more colorful and therefore catchier. Thanks to many email templates available, most marketers prefer crafting messages with colorful elements to make them visually appealing and help subscribers understand their brands better. Images and colors trigger emotions, help to process and remember the information faster, and build an impression of your brand. Did you ever wonder why so many brands had blue in their logos and email design? It\'s basic color psychology: blue is about trust, efficiency, and integrity; isn\'t that what we want to communicate with a welcome email? Like guys from Weebly do: See the full version on Pinterest. Sure enough, it doesn\'t mean you need to give up everything and change your brand\'s identity so it would have a blue color in it. Just think of incorporating some shades of blue into the color scheme of your welcome email to give it a little boost. 5. Add a stellar CTA Your welcome email won\'t work if it\'s a mere \"thank you.\" It stands to reason you need to add a CTA, but are you sure you use the right one? First and foremost, follow the rule: one email = one CTA. Make it obvious what you want subscribers to do. Second, make it concise and easy to find. And third, make it a button rather than a link, even if using a plain text style for your welcome email. Or, at least make that link of a different color. You\'ve got the idea: a CTA should draw the eye. 5 Secrets to Welcome Emails Optimization To get the most out of welcome emails, work on their optimization. First and foremost, send them as soon as possible to confirm subscription and let people know you are with them. When giving you their email address, new subscribers are waiting for the feedback to take further actions. So, grab the moment. Tip: Send the first welcome email within 5 minutes after subscription. People hate waiting too long. If you have a welcome email series, send the second letter in a day, and the third one — 2-3 days later. Also, use your brand identity in a welcome email. Choosing an email template design, consider colors and shifts that would help a user to visually identify your message with a website where he left an email address a few minutes ago. Monitor your subscribers\' actions and respond accordingly. Consider segmentation to understand who opens your welcome emails and re-send them to those who don\'t but with a different subject line. Also, it\'s worth trying to send a follow-up to such subscribers: chances are, your welcome email went to spam or failed to display right in a user\'s inbox. Known as reactivation newsletters, they are often used by marketers. Here\'s one from Buzzfeed, for example: Read the full version here. Just craft a text, relevant to your new subscribers, and make them know your brand is here for them. Optimize a subject line of your welcome email, either. It stands to reason that it\'s aimed at thanking and welcoming a new subscriber to your community, but some options are still available to encourage clicking:   Welcome to Benchmark! What\'s next? Thanks for joining us! Here\'s your 10% discount. Welcome to the Benchmark family! Donuts inside.   To avoid mug hunters using fake email addresses to subscribe and get discounts, consider a welcome email series where the first letter asks a person to confirm his email, and the second one comes with donuts to confirmed emails only. Checklist Long story short, here\'s your checklist to writing stellar welcome emails that will engage subscribers, build their loyalty to your brand, and turn them into leads: A familiar sender. It may be a particular person or a brand name, but a user needs to understand from whom the email comes. Appealing but relevant subject line and preheader. (Yes avoiding a preheader is among most common email marketing mistakes!) Well-timed content: greetings, thanks for registration, introducing a brand, etc. Clearly mentioned benefits for subscribers. Shaping the right expectations. Donuts for subscribers: promo codes, bonuses, discounts. Call to action. Social media subscription buttons. A link or a button, allowing users to unsubscribe from your newsletters. Sending a welcome email series, make sure it\'s consistent and meaningful. As far as 74% of new subscribers wait for your welcome emails, it\'s a window of opportunity to work with the audience for the sake of business. For this very reason, their writing and optimization require time and thorough preparation. But the positive result won\'t take long in coming! Do you send welcome emails to new subscribers? What tricks would you recommend to peers on welcome emails optimization?


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Marketers Share Why Benchmark is the One

Marketers Share Why Benchmark is the One

Beyond • October 30, 2018

We appreciate the marketers who use Benchmark Email for many reasons. Helping businesses grow is an honor we do not take lightly. That sometimes business owners and marketers take the time to sing our praises and let us know how they\'re thriving with email marketing swells our hearts with joy. We\'ve said it before and we\'ll say it a million more times: thank you for choosing Benchmark Email. Speaking of picking us... :) Here is why some of our favorite businesses in the Philippines chose Benchmark Email: Mansmith & Fielders Customer Support is Superb. Benchmark has a local team that we can depend on for any of our concerns. Though Benchmark has 24/7 chat and email support, having local representatives that we can talk to and serves as our account manager is what we love most. We are very happy that they always join our quarterly planning sessions. Who would do that extended support? Functional Features.  The first thing that you will look for any tool is its features, right? The good thing is it has useful features that you can use for your email marketing. We are very happy to see the analytics in the email reports which helps our marketing team improve our contents. Easy, and fun to use. Of course, we don\'t want to have a boring job and imagine making hundreds, or thousands of emails, we all get bored with that. With this platform making templates is easier. There comes the time that your brain can\'t function well, but don\'t worry because we got you on that. Benchmark has their ready-made templates for all occasions. You can do everything to make your email to look more interesting than before. Flexible Payment Terms. As for the pricing, for us, it’s no brainer that it\'s the least we think of because we are getting way more than what we are paying for. When it comes to email marketing, we can proudly say that Benchmark is like our soul mate, our perfect partner for our business. Benchmark indeed delivers its promise, which is to connect with our customers regularly. We could come up with a longer list on what we love about Benchmark, but we would rather encourage you to experience it yourselves. Mae Naval - Marketing Manager One of the most important tasks in a business is finding and dealing with increasing customers. This is just one task that I am talking about. There\'s a lot more so you need to plan carefully and manage your time effectively. And most marketers technique is to use email marketing software. Email marketing will be an easy task if you know the ins and outs of the tool or software that you are using and for me, that will be Benchmark. Yes, BENCHMARK. I love the mission of Benchmark which focuses on customer engagement. If you own a business, this should be your priority because, without this, your business will not have any potential to grow and move forward. Let me tell you three reasons why I like Benchmark. 1.) Easy Navigation. Benchmark provides a clear analytics interface.  Admit it! Not everyone is tech savvy and has mastered everything that goes on on the internet. You need something that you can easily understand and navigate. 2.) Well-designed templates. If you are looking to attract your prospective clients, you should be able to deliver your message in a professional way. Templates help us to make that easier and since it is well-designed, it turns out to be effective especially for sending newsletters. 3.) Support. Who doesn\'t like a knowledgeable and responsive customer service? At one point, there will still be questions that will pop out of your mind and you need somebody who can answer you. That is what you will get with Benchmark. In addition to that, having someone that recognizes and answers your reviews about their service is also a good thing about Benchmark. And the biggest advantage Benchmark has in the Philippines is that they are the only US-based email software who has a local presence. Having a local expert in email marketing is way so helpful and they even conduct a free weekly workshop. How cool is that? Another one reason why I like Benchmark is they\'re free (another free, huh!) to create your account and gather up to 2000 subscribers. Who doesn\'t love free stuff? I mentioned that I will tell you only three reasons to like Benchmark but I guess there’s so much more because their local representatives are very forthcoming in educating marketers. And very patient for beginners. They really walk you through each step of the way to becoming a pro. Cathy Sipoy - NPS Realty Most, if not all businesses, use email marketing in one form or another nowadays. It is making yourself aware that \"hey, I am here, and I am willing to do business with you\". The potential in email marketing is so huge since the email itself is already a publicity. As they say, negative publicity is still publicity. There will be some who will be encouraged to read a part or your whole email and the primary goal of email marketing is to create awareness. A lot of companies nowadays get the help of marketing firms to ensure this way of advertisement is tapped and maximized. Benchmark, an email tool can help businesses in a lot of ways from enhancing repeat sales, promotional emails, customer engagement and increasing your subscription base. Don\'t get me wrong, these features are also available with other providers, so what sets Benchmark apart? Not all businesses, especially start-ups, are willing to spend an additional amount for something that is very hard to measure until they get to test the waters. That is one risk in email marketing, the results are difficult to quantify especially for first-timers. This is where Benchmark helps your business grow. They offer a free plan for a maximum of 2,000 subscribers per month, yes, you read that right first-timer, two thousand emails without leaving a single penny on the table. Challenge with free plans though are, it is very limited, so what do you get with Benchmark’s $0.00 subscription? Not much actually. You will just get access to their email editor (insanely simple and easy to use as they say); signup forms; drip campaigns; RSS email campaigns; Email Delivery Management; Google Analytics Tracking; List Management and Segments; and, List Hygiene. I do not think you will get that elsewhere. Let me share why the features of Benchmark’s free plan is very useful from start-ups to mid-size businesses. For new businesses, hiring an expert to do email marketing and design will prove costly. Just knowing that anyone with basic computer skills can do it using Benchmark’s tools, is a sigh of relief while you’re busy making your mark in the business world. That is aside from the fact that the email templates don’t need tinkering even if it is seen thru a desktop, laptop or other mobile devices. One of the many great features is the drag and drop email designer. Who says you need expertise in coding to create an email design? With this feature you will be able to customize your email newsletter as easy as 1 2 3. On top of that, it comes with a photo editor, so you don’t have to purchase expensive software or hire a professional to do it for you. If you’re too busy to create your own email designs, you can always use Benchmark’s email templates which comes in different styles and formats to suit your business needs. If you are knowledgeable in HTML, the free plan also has a Code Editor. You can build your own email template or edit an existing one with the help of this. So much for just one system, right? You can integrate Benchmark with your CRM, CMS, Email accounts, social media and other customer-sourcing channels. Integrating Benchmark with other apps and systems will help maximize your email marketing campaign and boost audience engagement. You can create surveys and polls in the free plan. This will enable you to gather insights from your customers which will help in your product research and development. It also gives you the chance to retain customers who voiced out their frustration with your products and services. That is customer service 101! Signup forms is another feature from the free plan as it enables you to embed forms or pop-ups for customers to fill from your website to your Facebook page. You can save images and videos too! Benchmark enables you to store your files which makes it easy for you to access and use it anytime. Very convenient, right? One of the most important features you get is their built-in analytics tracking. You will be able to get the success rate of your email campaigns. Benchmark provide reports that will help you recognize which of your campaign works and which doesn’t. This also helps you identify areas and campaigns that need improvement. These are just a few of the features you get from it. There are a lot more from it that will definitely help your business thrive. Benchmark is one of the best email marketing platforms for me as it is a tailor-fit for my business needs; cost-effective; helps me make the most out of my email marketing campaign and absolutely user-friendly. Deljane Querijero - Freelance Marketer Benchmark, one of the slickest-looking email marketing platform with very user-friendly features,  is hitting all the industry benchmarks and more. Benchmark is an automation pro. It allows you to send automated emails according to “triggers” set by the user. Follow-ups are customized based on engagement so you never lose that “human touch.” Their email designer is one of the most user-friendly and intuitive email editors ever. It’s all drag and drop, coupled with some live editing. Let’s not forget that your email will always be optimized, regardless of what device the user is viewing it in. They make good on their promise to dress your emails for success! Benchmarks can be your CRM so you don’t have to purchase a separate CRM. They make growing and nurturing your audience and leads easy with their list building, custom sign-up forms and list management tool. They also add the ability to run beautifully composed polls and surveys, so you don’t have to invest in a separate survey tool. Analytics ensure that you, as a marketing professional, always makes informed decisions. It takes out the guesswork and having to rely on gut feel. Benchmark offers AB Testing, an Inbox Checker and Reporting features to track your campaign’s progress in real time. Benchmark can be integrated with more than 300 apps! Migrating can be a pain when you switch platforms but Benchmark makes it easy for you. Finally, let’s talk about pricing. First, the free plan offers 50% of what the paid plan does. 50%?! I know right! The last time I saw a free plan that offered that much features was ...never? Second, the price range for the paid plan from $14/mo to $28/mo. Those are prices that definitely play nice with freelancers, sole entrepreneurs and small business owners. Benchmark is easily one of the best email marketing platforms in the market today. It’s user-friendly, offers a host of features in its free plan and has a very nice looking interface. Email marketing, when done right, can renew your faith in modern marketing. And in case you have no idea how to do it the right way, let me give you a great tip - let Benchmark show you how. The Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA) The Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA), Inc. is a non-stock and non-profit organization of tour operators and allied members who actively involved in the advocacy of responsible tourism. PHILTOA was founded on 12 June 1986 and with almost 400 members which includes travel agencies, hotels, resorts, transportation companies, handicraft stores, and other tourism-oriented establishments and associations. PHILTOA is the largest organization accredited enterprise by the Department of Tourism (DOT) and they are the organizer of the annual Philippine Travel Mart (PTM), the biggest and longest-running travel trade exhibition in the Philippines. PTM aims to get more Filipinos to engage in local tourism by promoting ways to enjoy the beautiful, scenic, and exciting Philippines. PHILTOA also provides all their members educational workshops and events through their 4P Seminar program. PHILTOA: Partnering for Professionalism and Progress In cooperation with Benchmark Email, one of the partners of PHILTOA, the members are entitled with a series of workshops on how to effectively engage with their customers. The workshop covers the following: The Complete Guide To Email Marketing For Customer Engagement? How To Build and Grow Your Database? How To Create An Email Marketing Plan? As a prime example, PHILTOA sends a monthly newsletter campaign to their members to disseminate circulars and important announcements. PHILTOA likewise post archive newsletters sent through Benchmark in their website so that members can easily access. As delightedly shared by Mr. Ryan Meimban, the Marketing Head of PHILTOA, “using Benchmark has been beneficial for our organization as it serves as a bridge in tracking that all our members have received and read our circulars and announcements. It may sound funny but sometimes, our members claim that they did not receive anything from us but we can easily track it through the report in our Benchmark account. Most of our members take a traditional approach in reaching their customers, they just want to send their promo packages through regular email and no tracking. That’s why whenever they attend our quarterly workshops, it’s always a new learning for them.  As such, Benchmark is indeed a very important part of our organization. We are very thankful that they have an office and representatives here in the Philippines which assist not just us but also to all our members who use Benchmark.”


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5 Customer Retention Emails You Should Be Sending

5 Customer Retention Emails You Should Be Sending

Practical Marketer • October 29, 2018

For eCommerce business owners, email marketing is one of the best ways to stay in touch with your customers. Having a strong customer retention strategy is crucial for boosting conversions and revenue. Through email marketing automation and the delivery of consistent (and valuable) email marketing campaigns, you can keep customers coming back to your site for years to come. In fact, research shows that the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, as opposed to the 5-20% of selling to a new one. As a result, 80% of businesses rely on email marketing for customer retention, with 56% considering it the most effective method for doing so. With this in mind, you’ll want to curate a formulaic and intriguing email marketing campaign that will keep your clientele engaged. There are five specific kinds of emails you must include in your email marketing strategy for ultimate retention. #1) Welcome Email Set up a welcome series for new subscribers/shoppers. A friendly introduction will go a long way, and a welcome email provides you with an opportunity to engage with them in numerous ways. You can ask them to specify their product preferences so that you can send them email suggestions on what to buy. You might also include a first-time buyer discount. Welcome emails are also a great way to invite shoppers to follow your social media accounts. If possible, even consider including a live social feed in the email to entice them. If properly composed, welcome emails can elicit a significant boost in revenue. Experian found that welcome emails generate three times more transactions and revenue than regular promotional emails. #2) Abandoned Cart Cart abandonment in the e-commerce world is all too common, which is why setting up an automated abandoned cart email flow can be your saving grace. Abandoned cart emails can easily be set up through email marketing automation platforms and e-commerce software, such as Shopify. The real key, however, is how to make these emails appealing. The first thing to note is the importance of timing. Business Insider found that the quicker you send an abandoned cart email, the better. Sending one within three hours delivers the best results, including a 40% open rate and a 20% click-through rate. If a shopper does not respond to the first reminder email, consider sending a follow-up. Secondly, you’ll want to compose an intriguing subject line. Consider something along the lines of: “Don’t let someone else snatch up your items!” “Hurry! Your cart is about to expire.” Indicating a sense of urgency when sending the final abandonment reminder email will increase the chances of a conversion. #3) Thank You Email Make sure to thank your customers. For everything. For purchasing, leaving a review, being a loyal shopper. Simply saying thank you will show that you keep track of their patronage – and recognize that they chose your site. In this email, you don’t need to sell or market anything – although it may behoove you to offer a thank you discount. The best thing about thank you emails is that they generate double the open rate of one-off standard marketing emails, and take half the amount of time to create. #4) Personalized Promo Email While it can be effective to offer a mass promotion, the key to customer retention is offering personalized promotions to your loyal customers. These include, but are not limited to: return customer discounts, birthday discounts, and frequent buyers discounts. Not only are you offering shoppers a monetary incentive, but you’re personalizing the kind of discount/messaging based on a specific milestone. Another effective promo tactic is the anniversary email. Reward customers that have been subscribed to your newsletter for a year (or more) with a small discount on the date of their subscription anniversary. Personalization is the future of email marketing, with personalized emails delivering 6x more revenue, according to Experian. #5) Re-engagement Email Don’t let your subscribers go dormant. If you notice that there are users who have not opened/clicked through your emails in a long time, segment those users and send them a re-engagement email. Some effective subject lines for re-engaging users include: “[Name], we miss you!” “[Name], it’s been a while…” “Long time no see, [Name]!” By personalizing these email subjects with the subscriber’s name and keeping them conversational, your subscriber will be curious about what lies inside. Win back their loyalty with a special offer or even just some info about recent changes made to your site (i.e. lower prices, new stock, updated shipping incentives). Marketing Land states that 45% of re-engagement email recipients continue to read subsequent emails. Other Considerations When composing an effective email marketing strategy, is important not only to consider the content of the emails but the supporting factors. Timing, subject lines, and frequency are all additional considerations that can contribute to the success (or failure) of your open and click-through rates. Personalizing subject lines, sending emails in the morning, and sending them often are all helpful tips for higher-converting email campaigns. However, keep in mind that these can vary by industry. eCommerce business owners should engage in A/B testing to see what subject lines or times work best on their subscribers. From there, you can begin to hone and evolve your customer retention strategy – from the welcome email all the way to the re-engagement email. In turn, you should be rewarded with an increased revenue and loyal customer base.


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3 Ways to Write Engaging Emails that Sell

3 Ways to Write Engaging Emails that Sell

Practical Marketer • October 26, 2018

The modern consumers can best be described as a “fickle,” thanks to the rise of e-commerce. A significant number of customers still patronize the traditional brick and mortar stores, but the majority has been swept off by the e-commerce wave. Online marketers are in constant search for efficient and effective marketing strategies that convert readers into potential customers. One such approach is e-mail marketing. Why Is Email Marketing Important? A study by Chen examining the relationship between customer satisfaction and loyalty in interactive e-service settings established the importance of emails in such interactions. Georgieva shared similar sentiments in their comprehensive eBook on introduction to email marketing by citing evidence showing that finance and shopping had above average webmail views (49% & 48%) compared to other industries. The evidence illustrates the penetrating force associated with email campaigns. Companies consider emails to be among the most powerful marketing channels. Therefore, the size of your email list demonstrates how far your reach and thought leadership stretch. Email marketing campaigns should be used as a holistic approach to educating contacts about the company or brand. This way, you are able to build and enhance business relationships with previous and current customers, encourage customer loyalty, acquire new customers, and encourage the sharing of company advertisements. You cannot afford to be in the lower bracket of the competition. Email marketing is a dominant form of communication, and a recent survey showed that over 70% of people preferred a business to contact them via email. However, there is a hurdle for email marketers to navigate. Statistics show that an average customer gets at least 100 emails daily, opens only 23% of them, and clicks through a measly 25. Very few emails are getting the level of engagement sought after, making the prospect of a phone call or even a deal unlikely. Therefore, to crush it in sales, you need top-notch emailing skills and knowledge. This is of paramount importance to avoid falling into the trap of committing either of the two email marketers common mistakes that can cost you a lot of money: Giving away too much content without achieving the sales selling objective. Doing too much selling without giving away sufficient content. Here are 3 ways you can go about developing an engaging email that can sell you and your brand: 1. Make the Email Short or Easy to Read You should master the dos and don’ts of email content. Make sure to come in useful in the email by avoiding content that wastes people’s time such as talking about your client list. An effective sales email has 5 major components: subject line; opening line; body copy; closing copy; and signature. The sections are what you need to make your email concise, a weapon every salesperson needs to make sure anyone reads their emails. Most prospects targeted by your email are busy and have no time for novel-long email describing your product. Keep the email short and sweet. You should be driven by the understanding that it is possible to make a deal and close a sale in one single email. In instances where a long email cannot be avoided, formatting is the key to effective delivery. Make use of distinct, headline sections, bold important information, and use bullet lists. The objective is to make the email scannable and enable the reader to get the information they need with ease. The image below shows the same pizzeria promotional emails. What is your response to seeing and reading each? It is uncalled for to hit your audience with a giant block of text that is unreadable. As a salesperson, you depend on prospects actually reading the emails you send out to have any chance of eliciting a positive response. 2. Sell Using Your Signature Having unnecessary information about the company on the email can be boring for prospects. Such a signature has no benefits to the sender or recipients of the email. No credibility; nothing interesting; and nothing being sold. To sell using your signature you need to pitch your other product or service offerings. Strive to capture the readers’ interest by including links to recent company webinar, relevant press articles, case studies, or anything else that adds credibility to the email. Where possible, add YouTube link to a video that displays a thumbnail. Researchers from MIT have established that photos containing people are the most memorable. Similarly, psychologists found out colored photos to be more memorable than those in black and whiter.  Thumbnail of a speech video in the email signature potentially triggers interest to watch the whole video, which in turn leads to the positive feedback that can translate to sales. Therefore, you can exploit this feature to get the company’s marketing to existing and potential customers. A signature must sell both the sender and the company. It should increase the amount of engagement from the readers of the email. Little effort is needed to come up with such a signature. You should keep updating it with content that is already available. 3. Get the Emails Opened A typical buyer\'s inbox is congested with uninteresting and boring emails. How can you prevent your emails from being drowned in the noisy inboxes that Google tabs have made even worse? Email designing skills are critical here and seduction is the weapon of choice! Use the email subject line to pique the interest of the readers. It should be short and concise and devoid of “spammy” words. The subject line should promise readers something good. Specific knowledge of what will be learned or how you can make people happier, more informed, or succeed in business motivates them to read more about it. Power words that are emotional or bizarre and numbers can be used to generate curiosity by attracting the wandering eyes of the readers. Get out of the box by not adhering to standards such as an optimal subject line. There are no average readers. The trick is to build a personal relationship with the readers who would become accustomed to your emails and anticipate them because they recognize the name of the sender. Engage the readers through personal touch, avoiding automated greetings, asking questions, and addressing them in the second person. Lindsay Kolowich argues that it is inherent to talk about the benefits of the product or service rather than its features in the email. As an email marketer, you may understand the value of your email, but the recipient or customer has no idea of such value. It is up to you to explain to them. Now Make Your Emails Engaging The past few years have witnessed a revolution in email marketing. The exponential increase in the number of consumers with preferences for online shopping presents prospects for marketers to deploy similar platforms to target this growing market. Most emails are uninteresting and boring, which gives you as a salesperson an opportunity. Each of the three tips discussed herein can increase the prospects of your email being opened, read, and clicked. Take the initiative to stand out from the competition.


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We Wrote a Book! Clues for the Clueless Email Marketer

We Wrote a Book! Clues for the Clueless Email Marketer

Beyond • October 23, 2018

We spend a lot of time on the Benchmark Blog, in our emails, on chat, the phones and email helping businesses do their email marketing. You’d think we’d be pretty good about practicing what we preach, right? Well, full transparency here. When going through our new book, Clues for the Clueless Email Marketer, we had to admit that even we could be a bit clueless from time to time. It happens to the best of us. You see, we’re all clueless once in a while. After all, you have to start somewhere. We’re not born knowing everything, as much as some of us would like to think otherwise (just me?!). The book contains seven quick and easy strategies for nurturing relationships with your email list. After all, it’s your most valuable marketing asset! Here’s what you have to look forward to when you download Clues for the Clueless Email Marketer: Grow Your Email List This chapter talks about how to grow your most valuable marketing asset: your email list. The first step in doing growing your email list is understanding all the off touchpoints where you have an opportunity to do so. Here are all the touchpoints we discuss how you can go about growing your list: Homepage Blog Other high trafficked pages Social Media Over the phone In-store/on-location Events Print Ads The next step in growing your list is getting your timing right. Timing comes down to where you place your signup forms on your page and whether you use things like pop-up signup forms or exit-intent signup forms. The last step for growing your list is the words you use in your signup forms. It’s important to know what voice to use, what incentive to offer and how to craft a compelling Call To Action (CTA). Learn how to grow your email list when you download Clues for the Clueless Email Marketer. Know Your Subscribers Once you’ve done all the work to bring in as many subscribers as possible, it’s time to gain an understanding of them. After all, it’s important to remember that there’s a person behind every email address. Even some of the more clueless email marketers have at least heard of list segmentation. This chapter focuses on the ways you can do that both from the start using signup form data and then after signup using their engagement history. Opportunities for segmentation during signup: Gender Location Industry Job Role More! How you can segment based on interests: Purchase history Website activity Clicking habits More! You can also create a preference center to allow your subscribers to segment themselves and choose what types of communications they want to receive from you. This chapter also discusses proper email list hygiene. That includes actions like list verification and creating a re-engagement campaign and then ultimately removing inactive subscribers. Learn what it takes to deliver relevant content to your subscribers when you download Clues for the Clueless Email Marketer. Use New Tools and Technology Growing your list and caring for it is important. As we already mentioned, your list is your most valuable marketing asset. After that, it’s time to expand your horizons beyond the basics with email marketing. Some tools and features we believe you need to be taking advantage of: Marketing automation Targeted Emailing A/B Testing Integrations These are features that will save you time, foster better relationships with your contacts, improve your sales and make you a better email marketer overall. Learn how to take advantage of every aspect of email marketing when you download Clues for the Clueless Email Marketer. Create Better Content If you’re not ready to try the more advanced features, though we believe Clues for the Clueless Email Marketer makes it possible to do so, you can focus on improving the content of the emails you are already sending. Or at least try sending some new types of email marketing campaigns. Here are some of the types of email campaigns you should be sending: Welcome Emails Promo Emails Follow-up Emails Newsletters Value Emails Product Education Emails Survey Emails Testimonial Emails Special Occasion and Holiday Emails Aside from the types of emails, you can create to better your email marketing, you can also work to improve the content of those emails. Focus on writing better subject lines and on including better topics within the email itself. You can also work on kicking the design of your emails up a notch. Learn how to send more quality emails when you download Clues for the Clueless Email Marketer. Get Better Information from Subscribers Hopefully, by now, you’re starting to understand how important it is to nurture your relationships with the contacts on your email list. The best way to do that is by doing customer-centric email marketing. To achieve customer-centric email marketing, you need to learn as much as possible about the subscribers on your list. One great way to get some more intel on your subscribers is to simply ask them. Groundbreaking, we know. Sending polls and surveys is an excellent way to gain some insight into your contacts. Here are some additional free resources where you can seek out information on your subscribers: Social media Niche blogs Discussion forums Q&A sites Amazon reviews Video sharing communities Newsletters Search engines eBooks, manuals and guides Case studies Support documentation Learn how to effectively gain important data on your subscribers via polls, surveys and free resources when you download Clues for the Clueless Email Marketer. Understand Your Reports By this point, we’ve discussed how effectively nurture relationships with your email list by growing it, learning from it and sending better content to it. Is it working? That’s where your reports come in. Your reports are the clues you need to become a better email marketer. You can look at these elements of your reports to see what is (or isn’t) working for your email marketing: Open rate Click-through rate Opens by hour Unsubscribe and abuse Use this information to see areas that need improvement and what tactics you should be doing more of. Learn how to turn your report data into a better email marketing strategy when you download Clues for the Clueless Email Marketer. Seize Opportunities Carpe diem! Sometimes, it’s possible to tap into the zeitgeist with a timely email and it will get more attention from your subscribers. Holiday email marketing campaigns are one way to do this because everyone is focused on that day (and may even expect deals or sales around that holiday). Don’t be afraid to think big! Sometimes, the only limits to what we can achieve with email marketing are what we believe is possible. Give yourself some lofty goals and reverse engineer them to figure out the steps to work towards it. Learn how to take advantage of the right moment with the right message when you download Clues for the Clueless Email Marketer. Wrapping Up The ROI for email marketing is about $42 for every $1 spent. The value of email marketing cannot be understated. Trying something new can be intimidating. We get that and have been there. Nobody likes to feel like they’re clueless. That’s why we wrote the book, Clues for the Clueless Email Marketer. Everyone, even all of us here at Benchmark, had to start somewhere. That’s why we’re here to clue you in. Learn how you can quickly and easily turn your most valuable marketing asset, your email list, into relationships and sales when you download Clues for the Clueless Email Marketer.


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Discover the Value of Each Subscriber in Your List

Discover the Value of Each Subscriber in Your List

Beyond • October 22, 2018

Not all email marketing subscribers are created equal. Contact A: Has come to your website after visiting several other competitors. They see your popup signup form that boasts a 20% off discount for new subscribers. They signup just in case, but they haven’t made a decision yet about your business or any other one. After opt-in, they aren’t really paying much attention to your emails. Contact B: Has already done their research. They even have a recommendation or referral about your business. They’re confident you’re the solution for what they seek. They might just be waiting to save some more money, for a holiday bonus or any other number of reasons. They signup, because they want to hear more from you. Emails from you are almost always opened. Do you think it pays to communicate to those two subscribers in the same manner? It’s not rhetorical. The answer is no. If you were to continue on sending to Contact A, the same way you were sending to Contact B, it would eventually affect your deliverability. Inbox clients pay attention to when you’re continually sending to inactive subscribers and will act accordingly. For that reason alone, knowing how important each individual subscriber is to your business has incredible value. Enter Benchmark Email’s brand new Contact Rating system. What is the Contact Ratings System? Contact Rating is a way of telling how engaged your subscribers are with your email campaigns. Aside from seeing who is interacting with the emails you send, contact rating is also beneficial because it allows you to segment your emails based on the subscriber’s rating. Ratings can go from 0 stars, meaning they’re a new subscriber who you haven’t sent to yet, to one star, meaning they’ve received an email, but haven’t clicked or opened, and 2-5, which show how engaged that contact is with your emails. The rating is based off of your previous 90 days of sending. You can improve your email’s deliverability (and do some awesome strategies we’ll get into shortly), with the Contact Rating system. You can segment your emails on the fly using the rating system and separate the low rated contacts (0-2) from the highly rated ones (3-5). To learn more about Contact Rating, you can check out our helpful FAQ. Now that you know how to segment based on Contact Rating, let’s look at how you can put it to use: Create a Loyalty Program for Your Highest Rated Subscribers On average, it costs 5 times more to acquire a new customer than to keep the ones you already have. That’s why a customer loyalty program is a good strategy for any business. Knowing how important customer retention is, making your subscribers feel special with a loyalty program is an essential part of nurturing positive customer relationships with email marketing. How can you do it? Create Special Sales or Events Exclusive to Your Highest Rated Contacts To make your loyal subscribers feel special, creating an heir of exclusivity can go a long ways. It can be a single day or a week-long affair, but the idea is to generate some excitement and to make your loyal contacts feel appreciated. Think about how Amazon handles Prime Day. It’s 24+ hours of new deals occurring throughout the day. It incentives Prime members to return all day and night to see the new deals that have opened up. This Amazon Prime Day email lets you know only a select group gets to enjoy the benefits and it creates a sense of urgency. It’s sure to result in plenty of repeat business. Give Loyal Customers a Say Aside from showing your customers that you appreciate them by giving them discounts and access to special sales, asking for their feedback is another way to show your contacts that they’re valued. I play fantasy football with my friends. I’m in a handful of leagues. Recently, Yahoo emailed me to tell me that as one of their more active users for fantasy football, they wanted to know if I’d be interested in participating in a survey about their services. Of course I was. I wanted to feel like I had a say in what was happening. They even sweetened the deal by offering a gift card as a token of their gratitude. They remind me that it’s only for me, which gives it that level of exclusivity as well. It’s a simple, plain text email. It doesn’t look great. However, it did get me to complete the survey as they requested. Re-engage Your Lowest Rated Contacts Inactive subscribers happen. There are various reasons a subscribe doesn’t engage with your emails. Perhaps they’re traveling or they’re busy. Maybe they already made a purchase and don’t need your emails any more. Or it could be that they just don’t see the value in what you’re sending. It could be any of those reasons or none of them. Why it happens is a topic for another blog. For now, we’ll focus on what you can to to re-engage them when it happens. Tell Them You’re Going to Remove Them Everyone wants what they can’t have. Telling your subscribers that you’re going to remove them from your list, unless they opt back into your list is a good way to re-engage your inactive subscribers. It may make them realize they do want to hear from you, or let you know that they’ve just been too busy to engage. If you do this, it’s important to toe the line of desperation and creepiness and just let them know that you’ll stop dropping by their inbox unless they say otherwise. This re-engagement email from Sidekick, now known as HubSpot Sales Tools, does a really great job of being friendly and understanding, while staying on brand and not over-stepping. Incentivize Re-engagement Sometimes, it just takes a friendly nudge to re-engage an inactive subscriber. Say something like “we miss you” and offer a small discount to get them in the door. There is a lot of competition in most industries these days. If you’re not staying top of mind, you’re going to be forgetting. Giving a little reminder can help you bring back lost business. Pinkberry does a nice job with this re-engagement email for their loyal customers with a Pinkcard who haven’t been around in a while. That they put an expiration on it, creates a sense of urgency and ensures the customer comes back soon. Additional Re-engagement Strategies Much like rewarding your engaged contacts by listening to them, you can ask for feedback from your inactive ones. Give them a chance to tell you what they’d have liked to be receiving from you, rather than the content they’ve been ignoring. Their passion for what they don’t like can be a lesson to you as well. You can also try to throw a hail mary. After all, they’re already inactive. If they decide to unsubscribe at that point, it will make little difference. Has there been an idea for an email campaign you’ve always wanted to do, but have been too nervous to try? Use it as a re-engagement campaign. Do something bold (yet appropriate) to catch their attention and you may even learn a new tactic you can use with your engaged customers. Wrapping Up Whether you have two or two million subscribers, it’s important to know what not all contacts have the same value to your business. Thankfully, the new Contact Rating System from Benchmark makes it easy for you to see which contacts are engaged (and which ones aren’t).


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Inbox Placement Results from 2 Billion Email Messages

Inbox Placement Results from 2 Billion Email Messages

Beyond • October 18, 2018

Return Path announced this year’s annual benchmark report and it is very important to gain perspectives to boost our email deliverability. In this benchmark report more than 2 billion promotional email messages that send between July 2017 and June 2018, have analyzed. Thanks to this research we have now 12 month global, regional, and country inbox placement results, as well as inbox placement rates by industry and the top four mailbox providers. Before sharing the findings of this report, I want to start by describing the email path to the inbox. Email Delivery Through the internet, multiple servers help emails to reach their destination point. Through their journey, there occurs a decision process to determine them as they’re trustable or not. Unfortunately, a lot of emails blocked on the gateway and never reach the spam folder or inbox folder. Also, email open rates are very important. They are calculated by email service providers. ESPs consider the number of people who open the email and dividing it by the number of emails sent that failed to reach the reader. For example, if you sent out 100 emails, 20 bounced, and 10 were opened, you would have an open rate of 12.5%. After passing the gateway, spam filters consider the relevancy of the content, sender reputation, and user engagement to decide whether to send them in the spam folder or inbox. For detailed information about spam folders check out How to Increase Email Open Rates. Measuring the Inbox Placement In this report, Return Path used two different sets of data to calculate inbox placement; Seed Data Panel Data (Consumer Data) First of all, don’t forget that we’re talking about hundreds of mailbox providers around the world. So, numbers are huge! Let’s start by measuring the inbox placement. Well, seed data is used to see if seed addresses are delivered or went into the spam folder or inbox. It’s a good option to measure missing or blocked emails. Also, global or country-specific inbox placement rates are calculated by seed data. Panel data is used for email data and real-world information. The main purpose is to understand subscriber engagement. How about measuring engagement data? Well, the answer is, they have 2 million users in their system! So, mailbox provider and industry-specific inbox placement are calculated with panel data in this research. Global Inbox Placement Average global inbox placement increased by 5% points this year. In the second quarter of 2018, the most significant increase came in with 7% points over the same period last year. Inbox Placement in North America North America deliverability was driven largely by increased inbox placement in the United States. Mails sent to US subscribers reached the inbox an average of 83% of the time. An increase of 6% percentage points over the previous period. The average inbox placement rate to Canadian mailboxes of 89% exceeded the global average. Inbox Placement in Latin America Latin America region dropped 3% percentage points this period for an average of 78%. Only Mexico was able to achieve deliverability above the global average. Inbox Placement in Europe Deliverability to European mailboxes rose slightly to an average inbox placement rate of 86%. Greece, Portugal, and Norway have Europe’s highest inbox placement at 93%. Austrian mailboxes saw the lowest inbox placement of any European country (79%). In Ireland, email deliverability rate increased 15% points for a new average of 92% inbox placement. Denmark and the Czech Republic saw the largest decline in deliverability among European countries with 3% points below the previous period. Inbox Placement in Asia-Pacific In the previous reporting period, Asia-Pacific Region had 79% in inbox placement. This year they saw a slight decline in inbox placement with an average rate of  78%. Senders in mailing to Singapore and New Zealand consumers helped bring up the regional average with inbox placement rates of 90% in both countries. Chinese mailboxes fell far below the global average with an average inbox placement rate of just 57%. Before jumping up the findings I should remind you that this part is calculated using panel data. While reviewing these benchmarks, consider: This data shows accepted emails by the gateway. Blocked or blacklisted messages aren’t included. Panel data shows only the top four webmail providers: Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and AOL. Global Inbox Placement at the Top Four Mailbox Providers Marketers are successfully reaching mailboxes at AOL, Gmail, and Yahoo, seeing inbox placement rates above 90 every quarter. Outlook was a challenging mailbox for marketers to reach with a period average of just 75%. Inbox Placement By Industry Industry results are based on global panel data consisting of more than 17,000 commercial senders, 2 million consumer panelists, and 2 billion commercial email messages sent to Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and AOL users in the same time period. Across the board, every industry saw an increase in inbox placement compared to the previous period. Distribution & manufacturing and banking & finance had the highest inbox placement averages for the period at 96%. Education/nonprofit/government had the lowest inbox placement rate at 83%. The automotive industry saw the largest increase in inbox placement with %88 of email reaching subscribers’ inboxes—an increase of 11% points over the previous period. Well, we’ve covered the email deliverability benchmark 2018 in this article. I hope you find it useful for your email marketing benefits. I’d be glad if you share your comments or additional information.


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How To Use Interactivity In Your Holiday Email Campaigns To Get Better Engagement

How To Use Interactivity In Your Holiday Email Campaigns To Get Better Engagement

Practical Marketer • October 16, 2018

Do you know the US spends a whopping 3.4 billion dollars on Halloween costumes alone? Now imagine how much you can leverage it through your holiday email campaigns. In fact, not only Halloween but, holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving, Black Friday Cyber Monday, etc. are also a great way of engaging customers and driving conversions. With 52% of customers checking their email every few hours, well-crafted email campaigns can provide great value to your subscribers and help fuel sales as well. Are you doing enough to engage your customers better this holiday season through your email campaigns? And, whatever holiday email marketing strategies you implement, ask yourself - Is it helping you stand out amidst your competition? Especially when it’s holiday season and chances of accelerating revenues are very high. This is where including interactivity in your holiday email campaigns can come in handy. Yes, it is one of the top email marketing trends doing the rounds of an email campaign. Interactivity in emails wouldn’t only pleasantly surprise your subscribers but also help in their better engagement. Here\'s how you can do it: 1. CSS Animation is the Key Incorporating CSS animation within your holiday email marketing can be a great way of delighting customers and improving their overall user experience. A CSS animation works towards changing the CSS properties of an animation at regular time intervals. These intervals are specified by certain keyframes which decide the style of the elements and work towards facilitating its animation and transition property. Moreover, CSS animations are not only scalable but are also load in quick time. This makes the overall animation experience smooth for customers and works wonders for their engagement. See how EmailMonks makes use of CSS animation for sending its Christmas wishes. To experience the interactivity, click here. 2. Make Way for Videos One of the best ways of capturing the subscriber’s attention is making use of videos within your email campaign. It gives you the opportunity to deliver diverse content to subscribers within a quick span of time. In fact, interactive emails with videos increase conversion rates by 86%. So, include some relevant, creative, compelling and enticing videos within your holiday email campaigns and see how it takes your interaction with subscribers a level up. Look how Rentalcars.com wishes its customers with a creative video in email: 3. Say Hello to GIFs GIFs (Graphics Interchange Format) are a powerful way of engaging customers.  Since it is somewhere between static images and videos, it manages to give subscribers a unique experience by grabbing their attention instantly. It is lightweight, so it does not hamper the loading speed of the email. Try including GIFs in your holiday email campaigns to make it stand out amidst competition and ultimately drive more sales and revenue. 1973’s Christmas email is a great example of using GIFs creatively. 4. Incorporate Add To Calendar Option Add to calendar option is a great way to enhance your click-through rates and engagement. After all, subscribers will go ahead with your email campaign only when you will give them something enticing enough to click on. So, while designing your holiday email campaign, don’t forget to include an add to calendar option. This way, when you send your customer a holiday specific email, it will give the customer an option to add it to their calendar. This, in turn, will remind the customer not only of the holiday but will also encourage to do holiday shopping with your brand. Simple yet effective – that’s how an option to add to the calendar can help you scale your business in the holiday season. 5. Make Use of Scratch Cards Scratch cards help increase the curiosity level of subscribers. It is an impeccable tool to increase engagement. The customers have no idea what they are going to get. So, naturally, it will encourage them to click through your email and discover your offer or any kind of promotion that you have included in your holiday campaign. It is a great way of separating yourself from competition and enhancing customer interaction. See how Forever 21 makes use of a cool scratch card for its Black Friday email campaign. 6. Incorporate Countdown Timers Countdown timers can work a great deal in making holiday email campaign more dynamic.  It doesn’t only captivate a customer’s attention with its motion pictures but, also creates a sense of urgency by incorporating strategies like free shipping deadlines, time-sensitive product promotions with messages like “the stock will be over soon”, “the countdown begins” etc. So, try these countdown timer emails and see how it increases the visual interest of your customers while engaging them in a better way.  Remember, countdowns are exciting and make people impatient. Hence, make sure you leverage it this festive season and boost your sales. 
7. Engage with Gamification Gamification is considered to be the ‘in thing’ for millennials, but its admirers go much beyond. Hence, leveraging it for your holiday email campaign can be a smart marketing strategy for you. All you need is an interesting game within your email and enhance customer engagement. Further, you can even include surveys and feedbacks in the form of a game and work towards improving interactivity by giving a world-class gaming experience to your subscribers. Taco Bell makes use of its creative streak with this Christmas gamification email: 8. Give Cinemagraph a Chance GIFs, videos and images work well for customer engagement but, it is cinemagraph that can make your holiday email campaign top-notch in no time. Since a cinemagraph works towards highlighting a single element of an image while keeping the whole of it static, it works wonders in driving the customer\'s attention towards a particularly critical part of the email. 9. Increase Interactivity with Kinetic Emails Kinetic emails which are created by combining GIFs and key frame animation together takes interactivity to an altogether new level. It is a very impactful way of giving a seamless visual experience to customers within the realms of their inbox. All a customer needs to do is click on a call to action and experience your email content visually just the way Wiredmessenger did it for its Halloween email campaign. Imagine including one such email in your holiday campaign too. It would certainly increase your engagement and click-through rates by keeping the customers hooked for a long time. In fact, your interactive and creative approach would not only help retain the existing customers but also attract the new ones as well. Final Thoughts Interactive emails can help you have an edge over competitors and pave new avenues of success for you. It is a creative and innovative way of engaging customers. So, make use of the above-mentioned interactive elements in your holiday email campaigns to give your customers a beautiful and long-lasting experience while escalating your traffic and conversions.


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The Do’s and Don’ts of Engagement Tracking

The Do’s and Don’ts of Engagement Tracking

Practical Marketer • October 12, 2018

You’ve probably been the beneficiary of engagement tracking before and didn’t even realize it. Have you ever been doing some late night online shopping, but avoid the impulse purchase and go to bed only to wake up the next morning with an email for a discount on the product you were viewing the night before? That’s engagement tracking at work! Email marketing is all about nurturing relationships with your most valuable marketing asset: your contact list. For many of those contacts on your email list, that relationship began at the moment they opted-in through one of your signup forms on your website, social media pages, in-store or at events. It’s important to remember that while you may have a one-size-fits-all signup form on your homepage or elsewhere, that not all subscribers are created equal. There are real people on the other side of those email addresses. Those individuals have their own wants and needs. The problems they seek your products or services to solve will also vary. When it comes to email marketing, relevance is the key to your success. The ability to follow-up with subscribers based on their interests and engagements with your email campaigns and website is how you can achieve relevance and it will help you nurture better relationships. Engagement tracking, that begins at the signup form, will help you follow-up with the right subscriber at the right time, with the right message. When done correctly, engagement tracking will help your subscribers feel seen by you. Their needs will be met. The emails they read will be relevant. Value delivered. However, there are some engagement tracking don’t to add to the mix. Here are the Do’s and Don’ts of engagement tracking, as well as how you can do engagement tracking with Benchmark Email: The Do’s of Engagement Tracking Engagement tracking can help you nurture relationships with your customers when done properly. There are some very simple “do’s” that you can put into action that will help those relationships flourish. Do: Be Transparent Transparency begins directly on the signup form. Tell your subscribers what they can expect from your emails right there on the form. This includes the type of content they should expect and how often they should expect to hear it. Let them know that you’re going to send them information related to their interests. Granted, this example from the New York Times is likely for several different lists, but the points still stand. They tell you what kind of content to expect to receive and how often they will receive it. If that’s too much copy to put on your signup form, which it very well might be, you can continue to set expectations in your Welcome Email. If you’re crystal clear about what you’ll be sending your subscribers from the get-go, they won’t be surprised when they receive an email that speaks to their interests thanks to successful engagement tracking. Do: Send with Consistent Frequency It’s an email marketing best practice to send with enough frequency to stay top of mind with your subscribers. You want your company to be the first thing a subscriber thinks about when they’re in need of the types of goods or services you offer. Additionally, if your subscribers haven’t heard from you in a while, it may be odd if they visit a page and an automated communication is triggered. That’s when engagement tracking can start to feel like Big Brother. Here is a graph from databox that shows how often marketers are sending to their list: Do: Consider Your Subscriber’s Experience It’s important, when doing email marketing, to see things from your subscribers perspective. It’s easy to lose sight of things like the number of emails you’re sending and how having more than one automation created can result in an overflow of emails in your subscribers’ inbox. Sometimes, you’re too close to it to see you’re doing it. That’s why it’s helpful to have a friend or coworker who hasn’t helped create all your emails to signup to receive your emails as if they were new subscribers. Ask them questions to see what kind of experience they had with your emails. A potential email overload isn’t the only thing you should look out for on behalf of your customers. You should also create subscriber personas, to get to know who your subscribers are. Consider things like what their needs and wants are, where else they may be spending time online, the car they drive, etc. This will inform you of how to talk to your subscribers and what type of content you should be sending them. With all this information, you can do successful engagement tracking, because you know that you’re servicing your subscribers’ needs and not just your businesses’ desire to sell more. Do: Tell a Story Storytelling is one of the most effective marketing tactics around. The experience from your signup forms, welcome email, newsletters, website and other email communications to work together to tell one complete story. If the signup form is the “once upon a time” each subsequent email is another breadcrumb that leads your subscribe to their “happily ever after.” Let’s take a look at what that fairytale might look like for your business: A website visitor encounters your signup form. They see your promise to send relevant product updates and offers as well as a 10% off discount in exchange for signing up. They enter their information. An automated Welcome Email hits their inbox shortly thereafter. It should provide a warm greeting to them and continue to set expectations for what email communication from your business will be like. The Welcome Email should also include some resources to help them find their way. Information on various products, tutorials, etc. This is what brings them into the rest of the story. If they clicked through to your website and wound up checking out a specific product, you can follow up a few days later with another email sharing a few customer testimonials. Another chapter in the story you’re telling. If they open that email but have not yet made a purchase, you can follow up again with an email with a video showing how others have put that product to use. It continues to paint the picture of what they’re life will look like with that product. If that email gets opened, but it still didn’t do the trick to get the conversion, you can try sending another email reminding them that they have a 10% off discount to put to use. If they finally make a purchase, it’s the happily ever after you’re seeking. The Don’ts of Engagement Tracking Engagement tracking helps you create a one-to-one feel for your marketing. With engagement tracking, you can ensure you’re always sending timely and relevant communications that help to nurture your relationships with your subscribers. However, there are some “don’ts” that come with engagement tracking. Failure to avoid them will have your subscribers feeling like Big Brother is watching. Don’t: Do One-Size-Fits-All Emailing If you’re simply blasting out the same exact promos to your entire list, you’re not sending relevant emails. That one-size-fits-all approach will net you some sales because there is part of your list that message would be relevant to. However, the rest of your list won’t open, or click, on that email. They’ll go inactive, and if left on your list, will result in bounces and ultimately poor email delivery. According to the DMA, more than half of your subscribers will hit unsubscribe due to irrelevant emails: The good news is that you didn’t even need to let those subscribers become inactive in the first place. Follow the do’s listed above to use engagement tracking to send relevant emails to your subscribers. Don’t: Be Creepy When engagement tracking goes wrong, it can feel a bit creepy. Don’t be creepy. Here are a few things you can do to avoid the creep factor with engagement tracking: Don’t say things like “I noticed you…” and “since you click on…” That goes a little too far. You can send the follow-ups that were triggered by what you noticed or know that they clicked on, but don’t tell them that’s why you’re doing it. Use a send delay. Don’t send the follow-up email based on subscriber engagements immediately. They may start to look for the hidden cameras. Send a day or two later, so that they’ve had time to act without your next email, but not too far away that they’ve lost interest or moved on. Avoid leaving an automation running for too long unchecked. It’s important to check in with any engagement tracking-based automation you create. If it’s running for too long, chances for errors creep in. Your user experience may change on your website, or you may create an email at a different step in the journey that covers a similar topic. Things can go wrong or feel creepy when an automation isn’t working as planned. How to do Engagement Tracking with Benchmark Email With Automation Pro, you can do engagement tracking with ease. The first step is to ensure engagement tracking begins at your signup forms. Here’s a helpful FAQ on how to do it. Next, there is a strategy template waiting for you in Automation Pro called “Promote and Target Opens, Clicks and Website Engagement. This template helps you automate the follow-ups to your subscribers based on whether or not they’re interacting with your emails and what pages they’re viewing on your website. Putting this template to use will help you do engagement tracking with ease. If you have any questions, chat, call or email us!


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Email Marketing in Holiday Season: How to Get the Most Out of it?

Email Marketing in Holiday Season: How to Get the Most Out of it?

Beyond • October 9, 2018

Small businesses have a lot of competition around the holiday season and a lot of pressure to make sure that the customers are ready to purchase even when they are reluctant to do so. ‘Big guys’ can afford to wait until the end of November and then spend huge chunks of their marketing budget on TV commercials, billboard advertising, radio jingles, newspaper advertisement, digital marketing channels and sponsorships. However, small businesses may not have multi-million dollar budgets but they do have the power of social media and email marketing! According to a Forbes survey, 82% of the consumers said they’re likely to buy online as compared to 77% people who prefer in-store shopping. Let’s take a look at the 2017 online shopping trends during the holiday season: Desktop beats mobile in terms of purchasing behavior. Amazon’s 72% of sales in December 2017 were made through desktop devices. Amazon is still the king in US eCommerce scenario but other competitors are making huge gains. About two-thirds of total purchases made during the holiday season were made on Amazon. However, Macy’s improved its desktop conversion rates by 7-8 times. It is no longer about a specific day during the holiday season but over an extensive period of time. November 2017 generated $33bn in sales which is 17% more than the previous year according to Adobe. When it comes to marketing, one of the most important things to be aware of is the demographics of your Target Audience. According to a report by Business Insider Intelligence earlier this year, millennials remain the key age demographic for online commerce, spending more money online in a given year than any other age group. Millennial consumers–especially those between ages 18 and 29–are also interested in adopting alternative ways of gift-giving, such as loyalty points/rewards, gift cards, etc. Therefore, as an eCommerce business owner, you must make sure to come up with email marketing strategies that cater to this segment i.e. the infamous millennials! Before we get into the tips and tricks on how to get most of the holiday season, let’s take a look at some of the most important dates in the Holiday season: Nov. 23: Thanksgiving Nov. 24: Black Friday Nov. 25: Small Business Saturday Nov. 27: Cyber Monday Nov. 28: Giving Tuesday Dec. 11: Green Monday Dec. 12: Start of Hanukkah Dec. 15: Free Shipping Day Dec. 24: Christmas Eve Dec. 25: Christmas Day Dec. 26: Start of Kwanzaa Dec. 31: New Year’s Eve Jan. 1: New Year’s Day Now that you’ve memorized the above-mentioned dates, here are a few tips and tricks to use to make sure that you stand out from the ‘big guys’ during the holiday season. 1. Start Early and Maintain Momentum For many customers, the holiday season begins before Black Friday or Cyber Monday and they’re lining up their purchases before that. Most of the customer purchases are now well-researched as customers make the purchases after comparing several offers and products. Making an email marketing strategy and sending out a holiday teaser email is a great way to get the attention of your customers. Sending out an early email makes sure that your email arrives before the major inflow of the marketing emails from other brands and gives you the edge. Teaser emails also build excitement and momentum among the customers for the business. Fulcrum Tech, for example, sent out teaser holiday season emails in 2016 and witnessed a whopping 238% increase in revenue from over the previous year on the Cyber Monday deals. 2. Leverage Urgency Using urgency is a great way to boost your revenues. A limited offer in an email that is sent out to your customers would prompt them to take action now instead of later. Nobody likes to miss out! We’ve all had to deal with heartbreaks where we liked something and when we came back to buy it, it was sold out! You can leverage urgency in the following ways: Promotion of early bird discounts for some of your products and services. Including the cut-off time and dates for the products to ship so that your customers know that they will have to make a purchase before that Displaying countdown timer on your email driving urgency among the customer to buy the product. Sending out emails with a limited product quantity or creating flash sales. Below is a good example of Optinmonster executing the idea of leveraging urgency without a cluttered design: 3. Personalize Your Holiday Email Campaigns A vast usage of predictive analytics can help your business personalize the content of the emails that you are sending out. Customer engagement can be generated through the recommendation of the products similar to the ones that they recently purchased or the ones that they browsed through your website. Businesses can also leverage other demographics such as age and gender to design and send out their email marketing campaigns. This makes the emails more personalized and the customers feel connected to your brand, developing a stronger brand loyalty with it. 4. Pay Attention to What Your Users Want This Year/Season If I ask people what they want for the holiday season in the context of shopping, they are most likely to say nice warm clothes and discounts. Their needs and wants change with every season, and you, as an eCommerce store owner, have to keep a keen eye on their changing needs and wants. If you check Google Trends for the topic of sweaters, you will see: Upon analyzing the graph Google has generated for us, we understand that the trends for Sweaters in the USA in 2017 rose between the colder months (which also include the holiday season) i.e. September to January. Again, in August 2018, the graph has begun to rise. As an eCommerce store, you need to prepare for the rising trends by starting early. When I typed women’s knitwear USA on Google, the first organic link to appear was Boohoo’s, an online fashion store based in the US. This shows that they know exactly what the customers will be wanting and hence searching for around this time and in the upcoming months, and have prepared their eCommerce website accordingly. Also, they have made 7 categories for knitwear to make it easy for the customer to navigate and find exactly the kind of knitwear they are looking for. Upon visiting the website, I am taken directly to the sale section in women’s knitwear, which again shows they are catering to both the things their customers currently want: warm clothes and hot sales. Paying attention to your customer base’s needs can be very helpful. A business needs to deliver content that the customer cares about. The question is, “shouldn’t I always deliver content that my customer cares about?” The answer to this is ‘YES!’ but since the customers are bombarded with content over the holiday season, the best way to get a response from them would be by providing them the content that they really want to see. You can use customer feedback collection forms to get a fair idea of what your customers want and then build your eCommerce website around these insights. The survey would help you in following: Improving the content that you’re sending out in your emails Targeting your messages through segmentation of the email lists. Creating and defining offers/discounts for the holiday season While segmenting the email lists, please take into account the open and click through rate factors. Also the purchase behaviors of the customers and their preferences when they chose to sign up for your email list. 5. Growing the Email List Through Pop-Ups Did you know that a recent Listrak study found that pop-ups help achieve an average email list growth of 20%? In addition to this finding, Listrak also reported that the revenue of the welcome/sign-up email is 23% higher for the new subscribers who join your email lists through pop-ups on your website. Pop-ups are an excellent way to gather email data of the users. An excellent strategy would be to offer a discount on sign-up for the website. Sophie and Trey use pop-ups on the home page of their website and offer 10% off on the next purchase. The cost of acquisition of the customer is 10% of the order but in the long run, it can translate into more sales and remarketing opportunities. Once the user is within your email list, you can reach out to them with the latest products, promotions and offers. 6. Exclusive Content The people in your email list signed up for exclusive content. They became the readers/receivers of your emails in order to get exclusive content. Offer them something extra. Treating the people on your email list the same way as the ones on your social media accounts is not going to help them feel exclusive. Tell your readers about the upcoming holiday deals in advance. Offer them extra discounts or free shipping. Give them early bird deals. Another way of reaching out to them is by making sure that they are the first ones to know when the holiday deals are live. Exclusivity can be a great tool for generating brand loyalty. Providing customers with content that can be helpful for them in the shopping seasons like tips for the busy holiday season or family traditions can help you make a personal connection with your customers. Wrapping Up Remember, improving your sales by improving your website is one of the best things you can do for your brand. With October (hint: Halloween!) and November just around the corner, we’re sure you can make use of some of the tips mentioned above and make your holiday email marketing campaigns a great success. Let me know what techniques you use during holidays in the comments below!


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Illustrating the Career of His Dreams with Armando Veve

Illustrating the Career of His Dreams with Armando Veve

Beyond • October 5, 2018

You don\'t wind up on Forbes 30 Under 30 list by accident. It takes hard work, determination and talent. All three of which Armando Veve has in spades. Armando is a Philadelphia-based artist and illustrator. His work has been featured in the New York Times, The New Yorker, Wired and many more publications. He\'s also been awarded two gold medals from the Society of Illustrators, which is extra special given that it\'s voted on by his peers. It involves a lot of storytelling. It\'s kind of like I\'m writing. I\'m a writer, but I do it through pictures. We discussed how Armando got his start as an Illustrator, some projects he\'s had along the way and advice he has for wannabe illustrators. We also talked about the opportunities he has for his work to come off the page and into art galleries, which creates a new experience for the viewer. Lastly, Aramando clues us in as to what his future might hold. 2:37 - On what it means to be an illustrator 5:16 - Talking about beginning his career as an illustrator 13:24 - The purpose that print publications still serve 21:30 - When he knew his passion was a viable career option and advice for others looking to do it 27:10 - The New York Times cover story he said no to


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