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How to Boost Engagement Using Rich Media in Emails

How to Boost Engagement Using Rich Media in Emails

Practical Marketer • May 7, 2018

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


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Mother's Day Email Marketing Tips & Infographic

Mother’s Day Email Marketing Tips & Infographic

Practical Marketer • May 3, 2018

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


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The Best Promotional Email Marketing Campaigns for your Mobile App

Beyond • May 2, 2018

What’s the point of creating a beautiful application if no one knows about it? And, how could you tell your customers that you have invested in an amazing application that may prove to be an exceptional one for them? Well, the most appropriate answer to this question is to practice email marketing services. Not well aware of the technicalities that come with it? Don’t worry, I will cover all that and a lot more while explaining to you the do’s and the don’ts of email marketing services. Email marketing services include a number of practices that could help your app get global recognition among the niche audience. Being the umbrella term for the marketers, there are a number of practices that are much beneficial to practice. And, when you are getting into the email marketing services, you must know the do’s and the don\'t of the same in order to practice it the right way. However, prior to revealing these elements, let’s have a look at what stats have to say: Let’s have a look at the stats that prove the efficiency of emails in the modern world: According to a 2015 study, there are approximately more than 2.5 billion email users worldwide 33% of the world population uses emails to communicate With these points in mind, it is time to be careful about how you are shaping your email marketing campaign. If you practice the things the right way, such campaigns can generate an impressive number of leads for your business. Email marketing services, however, are not only about the leads (I\'ll explain later how) but also about making a profound relationship with the clients. Developing a relationship with the clients out of the business is a way to keep them interested in your services. You want this to happen for your business right? So, let’s talk first the Do’s of email marketing services. Do: Compose Your Emails With A Clear Goal In Mind It is the basis of sending emails. They are sent with a purpose. Your purpose may vary with a variety of reasons right from attaining the attention of the customers toward your business or getting the users to click through to a landing page or share any basic information about your business with the users or maybe anything else. So, first decide what you want your email to do and then set the right tone in order to compose it accordingly. It is also important to give a thought to the email title and the body. You need to reflect professionalism in your email. Do: Automate the Outreach Process Email marketing services can actually be exhausting either for business managers or for retailers practicing the same. In case, the scenario seems very much similar, you must be looking out for ways to make it easier for you or your team to practice email marketing. Automating the outreach process can help in this regard and therefore you can opt for email marketing automation. Here are a few points that will help you to apply automation software in the process. A welcoming/ thanking or subscribing email to the users Reminder emails for sales or upcoming events Follow-up emails post purchase Customer loyalty emails to valuable leads Do: Email Personalization Different users are interested in different kind of email marketing services & that makes it important for businesses to curate emails with a personal touch. Reading their names at the top of the email is sure to invoke readers’ interest towards the email. While personalizing it is important to segment the email list. You must know the interest of your prospects in order to curate the mail the right way. Including recipient’s name at the very beginning is a good start. After that consider the following: Find out why customers are visiting your website and curate your email depending on the same It is important to include a persona for each email segment including a list of general demographics, interests, and purchases that can be considered for general group Utilize the time and location in your favor. Send emails at the time of any festival such as around Christmas Do: Emails That Are Mobile Responsive Most of the users prefer mobile browsing, which makes it important for every email marketer to make their emails mobile responsive. In case, your emails are not easy to open on mobile devices, you are missing out on a large audience that frequently uses mobile devices. Therefore, there is no escaping from making your emails mobile responsive. Additionally, keep the following points into the mind to ensure people reading emails on mobile devices can access your email: Reduce the size of images through email compression Use HTML email template editor to alter the style of your email (this helps to arrange the images by sizes rather than by pixel) Increase the size of the buttons and the links Consider responsive HTML email templates Don’t stuff the emails with rich media As we have talked everything about do’s of email marketing services that every marketer should follow, it is now time to practice the don’ts of email marketing services. Here come the considerations to practice: Don’t: Be A Spammer Spam is a no in email marketing services. In fact, it is illegal in the US, which signifies how important it is for you to impart an exceptional experience to the users through your emails. Additionally, keep the following points in the mind in order to ensure the emails meet the required criteria: Only entertain the email addresses of subscribers who have given their consent to receiving emails Reflect a clear image of your business. Tell exactly what you do and what kind of services are available there for the users. Add your contact details including phone number, address, and social media account Avoid sending too many emails in a short duration Make unsubscribing easy for the users. In case, they wish to opt out, do let them opt out of your services. Don’t: Forget Your Links In case your email has not a prominent call to action, your email is a wasted effort. The email is a chance to include a strong call to action in your message, so why not embed a link of your business in the email? Ensure the email provides a click-through opportunity to the users to browse your business link. So, create an impression with your email and do practice the following suggestions: Be catchy with your call to actions Present it as if you are selling something very useful for the users Try to sell them your product by indicating the hidden benefits Tailor your brand’s need in the email Don’t: Buy Email Lists Growing an email list organically is of course frustrating for email marketers. And, the worse part, there is no magic wand to help you win more subscribers for the business. Well, the temptation of purchasing an email list right away is desirable. But you should never do it at any cost. Buying the email list is likely to buy links. What you get is low-quality leads that are not worthwhile. So, to gain the attention of the users, practice the following suggestions: Incentivizing the users Providing them discount on the services, or An invitation to webinar Offering white papers Don’t: Shoot Emails Without AB Testing & Proofreading You might have abandoned a number of emails owing to its poor grammar or a spelling error. It actually doesn’t feel good to find mistakes in an email. So, be very much attentive when composing these emails. It is also important to opt for AB testing. The content of an email should equally be considered as that of a blog post. There is no scope for errors in such posts and thus it is important for you to test the email regarding: Any error in the spelling The tone of the email Usages of words in your email Proofreading the email before sending the same Don’t: Just Focus on The Sales Email marketing is not only about sales. It can effectively do a couple of thing for you. Email marketing is as much about cultivating experience as it is about generating leads. If you solely focus on the sales aspect you may lose other important aspects. Make your emails in such a way that it seems to provide additional offerings. In case, the users like it, they will surely opt for the same. If you really need success, consider offering additional advantages to the users. The Bottom Line And, there you have it the complete guide to practice email marketing the right way. Now practice all these suggestions in order to get the attention of your users. Remember it is all about offering the value to the clients to get their attention. And, if you are able to practice email marketing the right way, you are sure to generate leads for the business. All it requires is practicing the elements that are in the trend. And, doing these practices the right way (as we have explained the things here) will obviously generate positive results for your business. Additionally, keep studying the trends that marketers are practicing. This will help to generate positive results.


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Heart of Business

Living the Fantasy: How Eliot Crist Became a Football Analyst

Beyond • April 26, 2018

I play fantasy football. More accurately, I play a lot of fantasy football. This coming August, I’ll be in Las Vegas for the draft for the 10th year of one of my leagues. The past few years, 10 of us started a dynasty football league. That meant needing to pay closer attention to NFL prospects and the incoming rookie classes. That’s how Eliot Crist came on my radar. His name kept popping up when I was researching draft scouts and football analysts to help me better prepare for my league. He quickly became one of my favorite Twitter follows. I saw him tweet that he wanted to be on any podcast that wanted to have him. The lightbulb turned on. Myself, and many others I know, have dreamed of writing and talking about football for a living. Why not talk to someone on the Heart of Business, the podcast I host where we talk to people who have pursued their passions through business and life? I applied to Pro Football Focus, thinking there was no way in hell ... It was a part time opportunity ... Just grinding all the time, not making much money. But, you know, consistently getting more and more opportunities. 2:44 - How Eliot got started 9:38 - On maintaining a love for your passion when it’s also a job 11:30 - Talking about what goes into analyzing a football player 14:27 - How podcasting has helped him become a better people person 15:59 - The power of social media to connect people 18:14 - Recognizing yourself as a pier to the top individuals in your space 19:55 - Breaking into and standing out in a crowded profession Want to catch up with our 100+ episodes of the Heart of Business? Check us out on iTunes or on Spotify.  


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Email Marketing for the Travel Industry

Email Marketing for the Travel Industry

Practical Marketer • April 24, 2018

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


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Swiss-US Privacy Shield

Benchmark Email is Swiss-US Privacy Shield Certified

Going Global • April 23, 2018

At the start of the year, the U.S and Switzerland governments agreed to the Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield. This is important for understanding how you should be handling your data. After all, you may not think you have any customers in Switzerland. However, the internet makes almost every business open to the world. It’s better to be safe. That’s why it’s important to use business tools who are certified for the Swiss-US Privacy Shield. Benchmark Email is Swiss-US Privacy Shield certified. What is the Swiss-US Privacy Shield? It’s an agreed upon framework between the governments of the United States and Switzerland that allows certified companies to handle data between both countries. It was modeled after the regulations in the rest of the European Union with a focus on consistency in the region. The Swiss-US Privacy Shield Offers Improved Protection This Framework, which replaces the previous Safe Harbor Framework, offers better protection than its predecessor. Here’s how: Companies who are Swiss-US Privacy Shield certified have a greater obligation to protect data as well as offer specific information to data subjects The U.S. Commerce Department and the Swiss data protection regulator will more together more Free and accessible dispute-resolution processes must be provided by certified companies, which includes the ability for data subjects to complain directly to a company or to submit them to a binding arbitration Benchmark Cares About Your Privacy If you’ve done any data protection and privacy research, you’ve likely read about the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) lately. Here is everything you need to know about GDPR.


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A Content Strategist's Guide to Creating Engaging Email Content

A Content Strategist’s Guide to Creating Engaging Email Content

Beyond • April 18, 2018

Your email marketing campaign is a crucial component of your overall content strategy and the best email marketing strategies will help you to reach and engage with your target audience. A survey conducted by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and Demand Metric showed that email had a median ROI of 122%, more than four times that of other marketing formats also looked at, such as social media, direct mail and paid search. Email is your direct line of communication to your audience, but all too often it\'s treated as an afterthought in the content strategist\'s plan. This is a mistake, because an email content plan deserves to be a key part of your wider strategy. Here\'s our guide to creating engaging email content that will keep your audience engaged. Know Your Audience If you\'re taking a scattergun approach to your email marketing, then you\'re not focusing your resources effectively. The idea that in keeping your email content as broad as possible you\'ve a better chance of appealing to a wider range of people simply isn\'t true. You\'ll only alienate more of your audience because they\'re far less likely to gain any connection or relevance from what you\'re saying. The extra time you spend getting to know and understand your target audience will be well worth it in the end, so find out who they are and what it is they want. That way you can tailor your content more effectively to your audience. If they feel a personal connection with your brand, they\'re more likely to engage with it. Segment Your Email Lists Research shows that marketers have seen an increase of 760% in email revenue from segmented campaigns. Segmenting your email lists allows you to take a personalised approach to your email content, ensuring the content in your emails is actually relevant to your subscribers. Personalising emails by addressing them to the recipient is a given, but an email with personalised content will be far more likely to be opened and read by a subscriber. To do this, firstly, identify your target audience and break them down into customer personas, which may include considerations like age, gender, profession, interests and so on. Secondly, allow subscribers to choose the kinds of content they receive – this not only ensures the content they get is relevant to them, but also offers useful data and insights. With this information you can then create segmented email lists based on demographics and other metrics and tailor your email content accordingly. Sign-up forms are a great way to gather information from subscribers, such as geographical location, gender, marital status and hobbies. This means, for example, that subscribers won\'t be getting emails about a sale at a store that\'s nowhere near them, or information about products that they\'ve shown no interest in. Spend Some Time On Your Subject Line It seems simple enough, the email subject line – after all it\'s only got to be a few words long – but a lot more thought needs to go into it than you might think. Most of us get sales emails on a daily basis and if we\'re honest, most of those get marked for the trash without having ever been opened. The subject line needs to grab the attention and should typically be short, descriptive and engaging. The tone you opt for, humorous or informative for example, will to some extent depend on your brand of course, but there are plenty of tips you can use to get your email subject line just right for your audience. Cult beauty brand Glossier is just one example of a company that has perfected the email subject line. Glossier products typically appeal to a younger audience, and with just one permanent New York showroom, the vast majority of customers only connect with the brand online. As such, email subject lines are kept short, punchy and intriguing – helping them to stand out in an inbox filled with sales and promotions alerts. Create Content that Appeals So, your audience want to hear what you have to say, they\'ve clicked on the email and are eager to know more, but your actual content fails to grab them and they\'re soon clicking away. If your content is unable to inspire the subscriber to read on, then all your efforts up until that point have been for nothing. Structure your content in a way that easy is to skim by breaking it up into bitesize segments and using headings, subheadings and bullet points. Bold and italicise the most important pieces of information. Long, wordy emails won\'t encourage the subscriber to read on, and there\'s a good chance they\'ll never open another one of your emails again if they\'re expecting much of the same. For example, take a look at the email below: [caption id=\"attachment_9664\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"400\"] Image: Bruce Mayhew[/caption] Finally, use audience-centered wording that focuses on their needs, wants and interests before moving on to any call-to-action. Otherwise it\'s likely to feel forced, which your audience will probably pick up on. Create Content with Value Every one of your email campaigns should contain content that offers value to the subscriber. They need to know you\'re interested in providing them with content that they\'ll find useful or that will entertain them, so think carefully about the kind of content your audience wants. It could be product news, vouchers, tips, funny videos or just some fun facts about your company or industry. Restaurant chain Giraffe fulfil this brief effortlessly, with bright, eye-catching email campaigns that clearly demonstrate what’s in it for the user. Your email shouldn\'t be a sales pitch, its aim should be to create a personal connection between brand and audience. This way you have a better chance of converting them into actual customers. Be Honest Developing trust is key to any relationship and for brands and their customers it\'s no different. Make it clear on your sign-up form what kind of emails you\'ll be sending and how often. Don\'t send them information on topics they specifically didn\'t subscribe to, and if they have been promised a certain type of content, make sure that\'s what they receive. You want your subscribers to become customers, and this is most likely to happen if they feel valued and respected rather than just a sales opportunity. An email marketing strategy is first and foremost about building a relationship with your potential customer, and you\'re unlikely to be able to do that without good quality content that is engaging and useful to them. By following the suggestions in this article, you\'ll be moving closer to creating that relationship with your audience, ultimately leading to higher conversion rates.


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Heart of Business

When it Comes to Email Marketing Rules, Chad S. White Wrote the Book…Literally

Beyond • April 13, 2018

Hey everybody! Welcome back to the Heart of Business. We’re thrilled to return from our hiatus with the great Chad S. White who is the Research Director at Litmus and the author of Email Marketing Rules. While we’d probably already encountered Chad’s work through Litmus or the Email Experience Council, he came onto our radar when our UX Researcher and Data Analyst, Leticia Mottola, was given a signed copy of Email Marketing Rules at a Litmus event. We quickly purchased a few additional copies and passed them around the office. So, when we knew it was time to bring back our beloved Heart Of Business podcast, Chad was one of the first individuals we reached out to. It was a great conversation, which we’re thrilled to be able to share with you. We talked to Chad about how he found his way into the world of email marketing and the process of writing a book. Chad, Daniel and I also looked back on how we’ve seen email evolve since we joined the industry. On living in a post “email is dead” world: It’s not email vs. social. It’s not email vs. another channel. It’s email WITH social. It’s email WITH all these other channels. 8:33 - The evolution of email 18:09 - Why email is unkillable 22:06 - Inbox overload 28:09 - The value of building and maintaining relationships 29:17 - Writing a book 46:05 - The responsibility of deliverability on the sender Want to catch up with our 100+ episodes of the Heart of Business? Check us out on iTunes.


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The 1-2-3 Strategy to Boost Sales Using Lead Magnets and Remarketing

The 1-2-3 Strategy to Boost Sales Using Lead Magnets and Remarketing

Practical Marketer • April 4, 2018

Increasing conversions for your website requires a great deal of effort and, there’s nothing more irritating than finding out someone just visited and “bounced off” without doing anything on it. In this article, we’ll show you how to set up your website and campaigns in a manner that will boost sales and capture your visitors. You can expect some tips on remarketing - lead magnets and the proper way to get your content that leads to conversions. How Do You Retarget Visitors To Your Blog? A frequent question that we always receive is, “how do you make visitors come back?” The answer is easy - retargeting. Now there are several ways how you can do that. If a visitor visits your blog through a Google ad campaign, then you can always use cookies or pixel to track those visitors in some way. Here\'s how it looks like: a potential customer visits your site, and their browser gets a cookie. You can now customize when they get another ad from your website while they are browsing the web. Time Delayed – this particular strategy uses time to your advantage. Instead of focusing on their behavior, you could have an ad appear once every week or so. It keeps retention, and if you have a different ad for every week, then they will eventually be persuaded. Sequential – getting them to view different ads depending on where they are in your conversion funnel. It means setting custom made ads depending on their interest in your service. There are also content retargeting strategies where you can repurpose old content that has converted for you in the past. You can update the content and tweak it for the current market. Don’t forget your old customers too. If you still have their email addresses, go ahead and send them something like this: Lead Magnets and Getting Them To Sign Up First, let’s define a lead magnet. A lead magnet is something that you offer a potential customer or client in exchange for them signing up or doing something else for you. So any PDF, guide or downloadable can serve as a lead magnet. But wait, there’s more. Don’t give them anything; it has to be of absolute value to your customer. Here are a few notes on what a lead magnet is supposed to do: It has to be of high value to your potential customer. That means it has to contain information that is beneficial to them. It has to include actionable information that solves a problem of theirs. It encourages trust and rapport between you and the potential customer. It has the added benefit of making them want more from you since you already fixed a problem they have. It has to be short, don’t send them a philosophical essay on why local SEO is going to drive the industry forward, that’s overwhelming, and nobody has time for that. Ideas for Lead Magnets A typical lead magnet is a newsletter or some subscriptions or recurring payment programs which user can enroll after entering the email address. However, don’t just be limited to that. There are a lot of lead magnet ideas that you can take advantage of. Spreadsheets – these take a long time to make and tweak. If you’re willing to give out a spreadsheet for free, it sends a signal that your company is professional and puts in the extra effort for their customers. Tutorial – people spend hundreds of dollars on tutorials. A free tutorial sends a message that you’re not just in the business to take a customer’s money; you don’t mind imparting knowledge for free, too. Generators and calculators – these are some of our favorites because you can have the user interact with them. One of the best examples for this is Hubspot. Check out this one that even generates topics for you! Drip Email Campaigns A drip email campaign is an automated email marketing campaign that responds based on how your users interact with your site and the emails that you have previously sent them. Take this into consideration: If you utilize a proper email drip campaign, you can get a customer to buy from you again, keep them engaged, and even save money. In fact, if you were to sell something to an existing customer the probability of a purchase is at around 60 percent while this falls to about 5 to 20 percent with a new customer. Planning Your Email Campaigns It might seem like a daunting task, but it can be simplified. You can install a plugin to do that or use an email marketing software. If you’re onboarding a new customer, your series of emails could look like this:    Welcome email    Email tip (Week 1)    Email tip (Week 2)    Offer a new service/product (Week 3) Something as simple as this can form your drip email campaign. However, if you’re remarketing it becomes more of a mind map. Check this mind map from Pardot out: As you can see, it involves several steps if your customer does not respond to what you have sent. Remember all those lead magnets we discussed a while ago?  It’s now time to look through your bag of goodies to see if there’s anything you can offer them at each step of the drip marketing process. Remember, they already gave you their email, don’t be cheap with the premiums you’re giving away! There are many programs available that can help you out with your drip email campaign. For instance, Benchmark Email automates workflows for you. This should be enough to get you going on your remarketing strategy in the meantime. These simple trick and explanations will work wonders in how you get your content, site and your planning together. Happy selling!


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6 Psychological Triggers to Turn Email Marketing Prospects into Loyal Customers

Beyond • March 28, 2018

Digital marketing has completely changed the face of business. Most of the transactions that people make today are online. The first currency people use is time. The second one is attention. Lastly, once they used their time to pay attention, they’ll use the currency that they’re most aware of, and that is their money. As an email marketing practitioner, you are probably aware of how fast the marketplace is changing at this very moment. New trends, new strategies, new opportunities, new ways of selling. These are all part of the entire business game, and they could be part of your email marketing game. Keep It Simple What does “business” mean? In my terms, it’s the trade of money for value. People pay their beloved currency to improve their lives one way or another. To sell well, your product must be the “perfect solution” for the person in trouble or in need of something. The principles haven’t changed, and they never will. The truth is, if you care to keep things simple, you won’t have to experience the chaos that most businessmen and marketers indulge today. I’m talking about tirelessly A/B testing of email headlines, ad pictures, fonts, audience targeting, ad copy, ad format, and so on. In fact, to be good at business, which means to consistently generate product sales, you must have a basic understanding of human psychology. Turning simple website visitors into loyal customers is a true art, and it also involves the element of skill. We’re living in a world led by millennials, and many of our customers are millennials too. Considering that 73% of millennials prefer the email communication over anything else when it comes to business transactions (product vs. money), you should be quick to understand one simple fact: The better you: Understand the millennial generation, the better you’ll know when, how, and what to offer to them. Understand basic psychology (a few principles), the better you’ll capture your prospects’ time & attention. Measure and optimize your email performance, the better your conversion rates and the bigger your success will be. Simple, right? Well, in today’s post, we’re explaining six psychological triggers that you may use to convert your email campaign into an unstoppable selling machine. The purpose of these triggers, which are mostly based on simple psychology principles, is to capture attention, inspire action, and lastly, to close sales 1. Pain & Pleasure: The Primary Motivators of Human Behavior Pain and pleasure are the most powerful driving forces of human behavior. Stop for a second and filter this thought: all your actions are driven by the desire to gain pleasure or by your urge to avoid pain. Even when something is (or becomes) painful – a relationship, a bad habit such as smoking or drinking, or anything that drives pain – we tend to ignore the pain because we love the pleasure that comes with it. For example, when students must do their homework, they often procrastinate until the deadline is very close because this is their way of avoiding pain. However, when there is no more time left, they enter a state of urgency and – most of the times – they get to work. The urgency is triggered by intense emotions of pain that are associated with the negative consequences that are about to follow. The key to a great marketing and selling performance is to know what forces are already influencing your customers before actually interfering. Whether they’re after pleasure or pain, you’ll be able to customize your message accordingly. Try to emphasize pain and pleasure stimuli through language. Use stories and words that represent the feelings that you want to convey. For example, words as “hard,” “sad,” “problems,” “struggles,” “overwhelm” indicate pain. “Love,” “benefit,” “positive,” “effective,” or “joy” will convey pleasure. Take your email prospects from where they’re at (point A) to where they want to arrive (point B).Educate them for free and try to improve their journey’s experience as much as you possibly can. When they feel close to point B, they will associate their progress, and that’s exactly when they’ll feel safe and ready to invest in your ultimate solution that comes through your products. 2. Explain the Reason Why Because the rational mind searches for meanings in every situation and information that we perceive and process, there’s a huge power behind reason. A famous Xerox experiment performed by a recognized psychologist named Ellen Langer showed how people respond to even the most arbitrary reasons. A person went on and addressed several crowds of people who were waiting in line to Xerox their documents. The question was: “May you give me your spot...because I need to Xerox my copies”. 90% of people said yes. Why? Because their brains have instantly responded to a reason. Now, to sell your products productively through email, tell your subscribers exactly why it’s important for them to pay attention to your content. Why should they open each of your email headlines and why should they follow through? When you present your products, it’s essential that you show them why your products are the perfect solution for their needs or problems. Lastly, yet very importantly, tell them why it’s important to buy right NOW. Not later, now. Urgency is often the best factor that will motivate the reason why now or never. 3. Tell Remarkable Stories Stories are an incredible way of playing with your customer’s minds. If you didn’t know, stories trigger emotions. We, humans, are emotional beings whether we like it or not. Surprisingly for some of you, 95% of our cognitive processes happen in our subconscious mind. Our subconscious minds are also the primary triggers for our emotions. Therefore, by telling remarkable stories, you are soaking your prospects into their subconscious minds. You develop imagery, sound, feelings, smells, tastes, and so, you take him into a beautiful, imaginary world. To inspire and motivate your readers to take action and finally purchase your products, you’ll have to make them resonate with the morale of the story, or with one of the characters. The stronger the impact of your wording the faster your prospects will make up their “own mind” and decide to purchase your solution. 4. Bring Novelty Bring something new to the table, and you shall have people’s attention. Did you know that your dopamine levels are skyrocketing when the brain experiences something new? Well, novelty is exactly the type of trigger you need to help your prospects’ brains to release dopamine, so that they’ll be more open and eager to experiment with your brand. Look at Apple. They release a new version of iPhone every few months even if the changes are insignificant. Wonder why they do it? Obviously, they bring novelty because it is so efficient that it encourages people to get rid of their “old phones” and get new ones simply because they’re new. How can you benefit from this trigger? You can tweak your content in multiple forms, deliver new content in new formats, and appeal to your audience in new ways. Secondly, you can (and should) release new products on a consistent basis.However, do not overdo it because you may look like a fraud or like someone who’s “out of value.” 5. Trigger Curiosity When the average customer encounters a gap between what he knows and what he doesn’t know, he’ll often want to take action to discover the missing components. I’m talking about the well-known psychological principle of curiosity. Most individuals are curious. When you hit the spot and say something they relate to, something they want, or something they desperately need, you truly got their full attention. However, to see this content, your subscribers need to stumble upon a thought-provoking headline. It all starts with the email headlines, so ensure that you keep your email open rates high by carefully testing and optimizing your titles.If you manage to generate enough curiosity, you can expect people to seek more and more, up to the point where they reach your products. 6. Emphasize Benefits, Not Features Again, people are selfish creatures. Even though it’s not nice to hear, most of us think only about our needs and problems. Once you accept this reality, as a marketer, you’ll understand that presenting the features of a product will be ten times less effective than emphasizing the potential benefits that come with it. As Jane Smith, Marketing Manager at Aussie Writings, suggests, “tell a person all the details and features of your new product, and they won’t be able to care less. Tell them that it’s going to make them rich, famous, healthy, beautiful, and they’ll suddenly start paying attention.” In your content and advertising copies, ensure that you use enough words that emphasize benefits. Don’t forget about the features. Find them a good place in your sales copy page and let the prospect absorb them once they’re already “hooked” by the future benefits provided by your products. As you can notice, the Digital Marketer team knows what it’s doing. They manage to promise you the sea of benefits you’ll be getting in just five rows. Short and concise, focused on benefits rather than features. Takeaways Once you comprehend the true power that lies in these basic yet powerful psychological triggers, you’ll be able to change your sales game forever. What other triggers and principles do you currently use to generate sales? If you had or have struggled to understand or implement any of these psychological triggers, post your queries in the comments and expect for a quick answer. Wish you the best of luck!


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Top 5 Email Marketing Automation Triggers You Should Know

Top 5 Email Marketing Automation Triggers You Should Know

Practical Marketer • March 23, 2018

Over the years, marketers continued to use “spray and pray” email marketing tactics. The basic idea is to create a killer email list, send out the same message to the masses of people, hope and pray that someone will notice them and their hard work will prove its value. Regretfully, this tactic in email marketing is counter-productive. Sending spam can damage the reputation of your company and ruin relationships with your potential clients. Do you know that 90% of UK customers have unsubscribed from retail emails last year because of too many ham-fisted emails? I guess you don’t want to suffer from the same problem, and, conversely, you want to triple your sales. Instead of sending mass “one-size-fits-all: emails” focus on your audience, on their needs and behavior. Do it with marketing automation. For example, with the triggered emails. Those nurtured or operational emails are sent in response to a certain interaction with your website or your email program such as email opens, web-form filled, whitepaper download, etc. While triggered emails are often complex and highly customized, they work incredibly well. Due to specific user behavior or an event, a marketing automation tool sends out a personalized message at the right time to crack their problem. According to Smart Insights, triggered emails reach 71% higher open rates and 102% higher click-through rates compared to general email newsletters. Here are five email marketing triggers that help your business increase conversion rates and customer experience: 1. Welcome Emails The welcome email is an old school autoresponder sent immediately after an event such as a sign-up, the end of a free trial or a purchase occurs. Those messages look something like - “thanks for signing up” or “here is your login info” and are a huge indicator of user status. This type of email triggers helps you establish connections with new subscribers, give more information about your business (the guide how to use a product or service, details about your customer rewards program, etc.), ask them to introduce themselves, and send useful resources based on their interests. To make users feel comfortable with your business and build brand trust, create and send out more personalized welcome emails. For example, you can send a message from a personal Customer Engagement Manager. Take a look at the welcome email from SE Ranking: Welcome emails should look compelling and make a positive impact on your subscribers. Add more value to your message, and your client will be agreeably surprised about your care. Here are some more good examples of welcome triggered emails that will touch your feelings: 2. Nurturing Emails Customers want different content at different times throughout the buying cycle. The main objective of these emails is not to promote your product or service but help customers get what they want based on what they’ve done - deliver the right message to the right person at the right time. The advantage of nurturing emails is the opportunity to establish an open communication channel that cuts two ways. Customers can give you constructive and valuable feedback and ask questions, and you can better understand your customers and their needs. Once you deliver your emails into the real world, you can find out what works and what doesn’t work. Just keep testing and learning your emails like subject lines, timing or copy to make the best use of them. Let’s say you have a SaaS product. You can set up a range of automated nurturing emails educate your users about your features or to promote some updates. For example, SE Ranking is sending out a chain of triggered emails to help users understand better how their key features can help complete SEO tasks. It helps their customers find out more about the features and how to use them properly for their business. 3. Retention Emails According to Marketing Metrics, the probability of selling to a new lead is between 5-20%. That is increased to 60-70% for the probability of selling to existing customers. Your team is constantly improving the product and enticing customers to make another purchase. That’s where retention emails come into play. These emails are intended to engage your clients, especially where they stay inactive or doesn’t take full advantage of your service or product. It is critical to have something to offer them and use the opportunity to communicate. If you want to make them happy and offer more value for their money, you can show what they are missing out via automated retention emails. Here are good examples of retention emails: Shopping cart abandonment emails. For e-Commerce, shopping cart abandonment is a huge problem. Why not customize a system to entice and get your potential clients back to your website? You can use the following ways to do this 1. Give them an incentive to return, include images and a description of your products. 2. Offer discounts and show cheaper alternative products with a subject line “Similar Products”, etc. 3. Create a good email design and add your brand logo. Display ratings, reviews, or even social proof. Send friendly reminders. Friendly reminders are a good way to retrain your clients. For example, if a customer’ credit card or a product’s subscription is about to expire, you can let them know that they need to update it. Transactional emails. This type of triggered email is not only based on a transaction. It contains all the essential information to push upsells and cross-sells. It can be an order status information, service request updates, shipping confirmation, etc. To show some care and love, you can add extra value to your email. For example: Offer additional items that might interest customers Provide useful links to community forums Give answers to FAQ Share guides and tips on how to use products or services Invite them to contact you through social media networks Note: the primary goal is the transaction, but additionally you can include this info to cross-sell and upsell your products. Reactivate your lapsed customers. There is a type of customers who have made the order from you only once or twice but then dropped out from returning customers. The recent Return Path survey revealed that the phrase “miss you” reached 13% read rate, and the words “come back” reached 12.7% read rate. Deliver them a nudging email with the words like “Miss You” and give a discount or coupon to stimulate the returning orders. Good ideas for powerful reminders: New products updates Updates for products out of stock Seasonal products reminders Refill orders Offer similar products Give a discount if customers don’t re-order Personalize emails creatively 4. Special Occasion Emails Customers are the basis of any business. To retain them, you need to reward their loyalty, and special occasions are ideal for delivering personalized automated emails triggered based on the certain criterion. There are two types of special occasions: birthdays, holidays, anniversaries in customers’ lives and the occasions commemorated by your company or for clients’ sake, follow-up appointments, reminders. In some cases, it can be easy to gather birthdays, anniversaries and other special dates. But sometimes, you need to figure out a way to collect this data. You can create special requests, make surveys or use a dedicated form approach. If you ask for such personal information, you should motivate subscribers by showing a great benefit or offering an award. 5. Product Review Emails This type of “ask” emails is very simple and shows how important customers’ opinions are. It is important to intromit personality into the email. Reviews are useful for your business in two ways. First, you will get more feedback about your product or your services that can help boost your sales. Even negative reviews are good as they help you to make your products better. Secondly, once people come back to review your product, they are more likely to place another order from you. You can even give a coupon or discount in exchange for a review. TripAdvisor uses personalized reports to encourage users open and read their emails with an eye towards contributing to the community. Conclusion Triggered emails make up a low percentage of overall email volume. Even with low volume, well-planned campaigns have a marked impact on sales getting from email marketing. Triggered emails can run on auto-pilot and help generate more revenue over time. Thoughtfully designed emails can break new ground, increase sales and better serve customers. Especially, they work well for e-commerce business. You can perform different experiments with triggered emails to figure out what works best for your business.


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How To Design Your Email Marketing Campaign

Practical Marketer • March 20, 2018

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


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Don’t Sleep on Benchmark Email’s RESTful APIs

Beyond • March 16, 2018

You may interact with APIs every day without knowing it. Whether it’s using an app to hail a ride, to order a pizza for speedy delivery, to share photos on social media or to find out when a loved one’s flight gets in, web APIs make it happen. So, what is an API? API stands for Application Programming Interface. Simply put, it’s a set of functions or procedures that allows one computer program to access data from an operating system, software library or another system. From Visually. When you see a person’s social media feed on their website, that’s thanks to APIs. Same for  embedded video or other dynamic content within a webpage. In 2014, there was more than 11,000 Public APIs registered at programmableweb.com. Those numbers grow exponentially, because companies are constantly creating new APIs to interface with their website with an app. There are various forms of APIs. Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) are a widely used, albeit increasingly outdated, type of API. JSON is another popular form. REpresentational State Transfer (RESTful) APIs are the more popular form of API today. Benchmark Email Now Offers RESTful APIs Recently, Benchmark Email launched its RESTful APIs for public use. To gain a little perspective on what that means for email marketers, I asked one of our Frontend Developers, Ronald Liang, a few questions. Here’s what he had to say: Andy Shore: Why is RESTful API better than what we were previously offering? Ronald Liang: RESTful APIs, which is the current standard for APIs should make app creation and integration easier. In addition, we offer a complete list of our APIs as opposed to a limited selection from what we have before with the Legacy APIs. AS: What’s new that businesses can do with these APIs? RL: You can pretty much do everything that you can within our web app. Our Legacy APIs were limited to certain methods, but with these new RESTful APIs, all of them are made available to our users. AS: What has been improved in regards to the user experience with these new APIs? RL: While we redesigned our web app, we have switched from using ASP.NET Web Forms to RESTful APIs which has brought some speed improvements and better API organization. But the bigger benefit was that we can now improve and develop faster than we can before because of the power of RESTful APIs. AS: What might an email marketer want to consider trying if they’re not already using APIs? RL: With some coding knowledge, they can create some simple web apps or integrations with us that were either not possible before or was harder to do. Additional Info on Benchmark Email’s RESTful APIs If you’re interested in putting Benchmark Email’s RESTful APIs to use, you can access them through our developer’s page. With our APIs, you can make 500 calls every two minutes and 60,000 calls total each day.To put our APIs to use, you’ll need to access your Benchmark Email API token.


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General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): Everything You Need To Know

Beyond • March 16, 2018

The main objective of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is to strengthen and combine the handling of personal data from various member countries and adapt them under one European Union (EU) regulation. We\'re hosting a webinar on Thursday, April 26th from 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM PDT. You can register here. Currently, the 28 member countries of the EU each have their own data protection regulations and apply those laws to their international commerce, which makes exercising the rights of personal data protection quite difficult. The new GDPR comes with a wide range of rules that impact all companies, regardless of size or sector, and will quite often need to be prepared to focus on different areas of their business. The new regulation concerning the protection of natural persons with regards to the processing and free circulation of personal data goes into effect on May 25th, 2018, two years after Regulation 2016/679 was passed by both the European Parliament and the Council. In this article, we want to help you understand what you can and cannot do in order to meet the requirements of this new regulation and reassure you that Benchmark, your email marketing tool, is also meeting the requirements of this new regulation. The new GDPR does not eliminate each of the member countries own Data Protection legislations currently in place. Instead it helps to sync all the member countries of the EU. Some of the decisions will still be made at a national level for each of the member countries, but be mindful that the responsible parties must now reference the GDPR as the norm and not its own countries Data Protection regulations. If you currently meet the requirements for Data Protection for your country, then you already have a good foundation. However, you will still need to revise and change some aspects to comply with the new regulations. There are three main points you need to keep in mind with your email marketing strategy, they are: consent, access and data collection. Consent According to article 4 (11), ‘consent’ of the data subject means any freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of the data subject\'s wishes by which he or she, by a statement or by a clear affirmative action, signifies agreement to the processing of personal data relating to him or her; As stated in the definition, the consent of the user must be unequivocal and also explicit. These two words eliminate any doubt or ambiguity. (32) Consent should be given by a clear affirmative act establishing a freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of the data subject\'s agreement to the processing of personal data relating to him or her, such as by a written statement, including by electronic means, or an oral statement. This could include ticking a box when visiting an internet website, choosing technical settings for information society services or another statement or conduct which clearly indicates in this context the data subject\'s acceptance of the proposed processing of his or her personal data. Silence, pre-ticked boxes or inactivity should not therefore constitute consent. Consent should cover all processing activities carried out for the same purpose or purposes. When the processing has multiple purposes, consent should be given for all of them. If the data subject\'s consent is to be given following a request by electronic means, the request must be clear, concise and not unnecessarily disruptive to the use of the service for which it is provided. Example: I recently took part in a tradeshow and throughout the day I amassed quite a few business cards, which I will use to create a database that I will then upload to my Benchmark account with the goal of sending newsletters. With the new Regulations, is this legal? No. The networking achieved between you and the individuals at the tradeshow does not give you the right to use their personal data, even with verbal confirmation from the individual. The GDPR now requires that evidence of this agreement between both parties exist. The GDPR states that there must be unequivocal and explicit consent from the individual that can be backed up with evidence in case of an audit. There needs to be evidence that the individual is giving their consent for their personal data to be used. RECOMMENDATION: Review your methods for data collection and eliminate any ambiguity that may exist. Analyze your database and only the data for which you can provide proof that consent was given to you by the individual. Access The party responsible for handling personal data must provide each user with simple and straightforward access to modify their own personal details. The party responsible must also provide an outlet in which the individual can confirm that they are giving their consent via electronic means, be it through their own website, sign-up forms or email confirmation. The party responsible will have one month to provide the client with an answer, with the possibility of extending it to two months in the event that it be a complex request, in which the necessary steps are being taken to complete the individuals request. In the case of our Email Marketing tool, the Manage Subscriptions option allows the individual to access their personal data and modify the data if needed or cancel the subscription outright. Within this point, there is a new right, which is the RIGHT TO ERASURE (Article 17), the user can exercise their “right to be forgotten” and have their personal data removed from the database permanently. We have selected two of the six reasons that are included in sub-point 1, which provide the individual the ability to exercise their right: a) the personal data is no longer necessary in relation to the purposes for which they were collected or otherwise processed; d) the personal data has been unlawfully processed; Compilation: The GDPR advocates for simplicity in the collection of personal data. As marketers we tend to ask for more details than necessary when all we are doing is sending out a weekly newsletter. For that reason, these new regulations encourage that only a minimum of personal data is collected and compiled for our current strategy and not the collection of additional data that you think might be useful in the future. If your goal is to inform your database of upcoming promotions, the compilation of an individual\'s name and email address is more than sufficient to meet your goal. Brexit The UK will officially leave and will no longer be a part of the EU in 2019. With this exit, the regulations will not be applicable to them. We currently do not know how the UK, or companies within the UK, will handle data protection but we believe that they will pass similar regulations that will be comparable with the EU. What happens if I do not meet the new GDPR requirements? The General Data Protection Regulation establishes a set of tools in order to comply with the new regulation, including sanctions and fines. A number of factors will be taken into consideration and carefully evaluated when a fine is imposed due to noncompliance with the new GDPR such as: the gravity/duration of the violation; the number of data subjects affected and level of damage suffered by them; the intentional character of the infringement; any actions taken to mitigate the damage; the degree of co-operation with the supervisory authority. The regulations set two ceilings for fines if the rules are not respected. The first ceiling sets fines up to a maximum of €10 million or, in case of an undertaking, up to 2% of worldwide annual turnover. This first category of fine would be applied for instance if a controllers does not conduct impact assessments, as required by the Regulation. The higher ceiling of fines reaches up to a maximum of €20 million or 4% of worldwide annual turnover. An example would be an infringement of the data subjects\' rights under the Regulation. Fines are adjusted according to the circumstances of each individual case. You will need to keep the above main points (Consent, Access and Compilation) in mind when the time comes to plan your email marketing strategy. Benchmark At Benchmark, we are working hard to update our Privacy Policy in order to comply with the requirements of the regulations. In the case of the GDPR there is no certification given to us that states that we are in compliance with the new regulations as with the Privacy Shield Framework. We at Benchmark, want to reassure you that your personal data is being handled in compliance with the new GDPR. To help you adapt in this transition, we have created a webinar \"Email Marketing under the GDPR: What you can and cannot do\" which we will hold on the 11th of April 2018 at 11am CEST. In this webinar, we will provide answers to all your questions and concerns and will provide you with a Guide for the regulations with all the information needed. For the very first time, the EU shows leadership and unity in how personal data needs to be treated and forces the rest of the world without exception for any country to follow these regulations if they want to handle European personal data. Do not forget to share this article with your audience and leave your comments. Thanks for reading! Join Our Webinar We\'re hosting a webinar to teach you everything you\'ll need to know about the GDPR. It\'s on Thursday, April 26th from 11AM-12PM PDT. You can register for the webinar here.


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