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3 Priceless Email Marketing Lessons from Fatherly Advice

Practical Marketer - Reading Time: 11 Minutes

3 Priceless Email Marketing Lessons from Fatherly Advice

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Giving Your Audience The Power of Perspective: Tips from Cult Classic “They Live”

Giving Your Audience The Power of Perspective: Tips from Cult Classic “They Live”

Beyond • October 20, 2016

The best Halloween themed films are the ones that think differently. It’s not all about the supernatural, the gore or outright horror, but about making us uncomfortable. This is why pod people stories like Invasion with Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig was such a great story - because something very slight was off about the world they lived in and only the (and we the audience) had special knowledge. This is really how a lot of people feel in daily life which is why stories like this really strike a chord and resonate with us. Even better than Invasion was another even older film from 1989 called They Live: “They Live is a 1988 American satirical science fiction horror film written and directed by John Carpenter. The film stars Roddy Piper, Keith David, and Meg Foster. It follows an unnamed drifter (referred to as \"John Nada\" in the film\'s credits) who discovers the ruling class is, in fact, aliens concealing their appearance and manipulating people to spend money, breed, and accept the status quo with subliminal messages in mass media. They Live is based on the 1963 short story, \"Eight O\'Clock in the Morning\" by Ray Nelson.” [Source] The movie is a marriage between the Orwellian world of 1984 and the supernatural and extraterrestrial world of science fiction. Bridging two genres together the movie captures the heart of perspective storytelling, especially by telling it through the eyes of a drifter (someone who already doesn’t quite belong to society). I’d say it’s the most powerful lesson in marketing and brand building I’ve ever seen in a movie. Here’s why: First, they make the protagonist relatable. He’s an Average Joe, just like everyone else. There isn’t anything remarkable about him, no special knowledge that he has that we would need to learn. This makes him easy to identify with for the audience. For your brand, you’re going to need to do the same. It’s tough to do this as a company but easier if you’re able to brand the personality. That persona, no matter how special it is, still needs to be relatable. If you cannot relate to your audience, you cannot lead them over the threshold into a world where you’d like to them to see how you do. Second, the movie shows the paradox of parallel worlds in one place. Science fiction typically looks at different worlds like two sides of a coin where essentially one is here and one is somewhere else - in other words, not here. They Live layered worlds together to show how two things can be in one place at the same time. This is essentially our battle as thought leaders, especially in industries that are driven by moral values such as education, philanthropy, media, etc. We need to show not just our point of view but convey our point of view by showing a second layer. In the film, the protagonist wears a special pair of glasses that lets him see another reality. In your world, your brand is going to have to act as that pair of glasses. And there you have the ultimate goal: show your audience two fused worlds and empower them by giving them a perspective they couldn’t see without you.


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Marketing Survival Tips From Zombie Movies

Marketing Survival Tips From Zombie Movies

Beyond • October 19, 2016

Every horror movie has an antagonist and a protagonist. There’s the person who is doing the chasing and the person who is running away. You’ve got Freddie Kreuger and Jason, serial killers who terrorize their audience. You’ve got the horror movies with strange supernatural creatures that no one knows who to counter. Then you’ve got zombie movies. Across the board, zombie movies have one thing in common and that’s the fact that people fight back. Every zombie movie has a plan or a strategy for tackling the problem. Sure there’s fear and mayhem, but there’s also a plan. Does the climate sound familiar? It should. It’s a perfect describer for the world of marketing: the unknown with occasional mayhem, but there’s a plan. So what advice about our world can be further from our favorite zombie movies? Separate Yourself From the Crowd At the end of 28 Days Later, we saw our protagonist survive the Zombie apocalypse because they retreated to a farmland outside the city. In every zombie movie, the goal is to be remote. Now there’s a difference between being remote and being cut off. Cut off means you have no access or information about the outside world, which can be dangerous. However, remote means you’re separate from the pack but still can get access if need. This works both ways because you’re also controlling what gets in. Marketing works the same way. You want to be aware of what’s going on but you don’t want to be just another body in a large and overwhelming crowd. Create some distance to give you perspective and control - as well as creating exclusivity. Viral Happens Quick In zombie films that are based on viral infections, it’s safe to say that it happens rapidly. In World War Z, there was about a 13-second count between bite and transformation before the zombie went on the attack. Viral in our world works the same way. The question is how are you going to respond to it. In World War Z, nations around the world from Israel to North Korea had different strategies for containing a viral outbreak. While this works for some of them, the problem with containment is that you’re not tackling the source. This is true for whether you’re dealing with a viral attack on your brand, a competitor’s viral message, or our own - it’s always smartest to get to the source so you can either control the spread or manipulate it to trigger it again. In other words, you want to understand the thought process that occurs in split second that would convert someone from reading or seeing the message to transferring it to their community of people. Your Instincts Are Usually Right Marketing used to be about inspiration, and now it’s become a science and data controlled industry. And yet, instincts are usually not only correct but they’re a way of saving time through faster decision making. Take Shaun of the Dead where our hero knew the owner of a bar they frequented must have had a weapon behind the counter - which he did. If they had gotten to that stronghold earlier without the interference and second guessing, they probably wouldn’t have lost as many resources. Rule of thumb: trust your instincts, especially if they’ve been right in the past.


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What Are Some Tricks I Can Use To Deliver A Treat To My Subscribers For Halloween?

What Are Some Tricks I Can Use To Deliver A Treat To My Subscribers For Halloween?

Practical Marketer • October 18, 2016

The horror genre owns some real estate in the land of Halloween. However, it’s also about fun. Most of us remember dressing up in costumes we were tremendously excited about and dragging a sack full of candy (and our parents) around the neighborhood. If you can capture just a modicum of that fun in your Halloween email marketing campaigns, it will be a success. So, what can you do to achieve that? Surprise Them With A Treat Offer some mystery savings to your subscribers. I’ve seen several businesses in the past execute this strategy to success. You segment your list into three groups. Each receives a different promo code. When they go to checkout and enter the promo code, they discover the amount of savings. One group may get 10%, another 20% and the last 30%. That’s up to you. The fun is in the reveal. Put A Costume On Your Email Template We already talked about ways in which you can Halloween-ize your email marketing template. So, I’ll just touch on why it’s a fun treat for your subscribers. Seeing the same-looking email month after month will get boring. Spicing up your template once in a while for the holidays is a great way to keep things fresh. Put A Costume On Your CEO If it’s early enough in the month, you can offer a poll to your subscribers and let them vote on the costume your CEO will wear. Then you can post the winning option on your social media channels or in another email campaign. CEO is often viewed as a stuffy position. Sending out a photo of your CEO in a funny costume will go a long way towards humanizing the CEO and your brand.


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Benchmark Email Around The World

Benchmark Email Around The World

Beyond • October 17, 2016

Benchmark Email takes pride in being an international business. Our headquarters are located in Los Alamitos, California and Benchmark boasts local offices worldwide. We also call Bogotá, Guangzhou, Guatemala City, Gurgaon, Madrid, Mexico City, Mumbai, Rome, Sáo Paolo, Taipei and Tokyo home (or casa, 家, ホーム). This allows us to offer our services in nine languages, with a local presence and customer support for each one. Across the globe, the Benchmark team has been busy participating in trade shows, seminars and more. Recently, Benchmark representatives from near and far (Japan!) attended the Litmus Email Design Conference in San Francisco. The lessons they brought back have already spread throughout our office and will surely find their way into new blog posts, webinars and more. Benchmark values the email marketer who takes pride in furthering his or her education and skills. That’s why we make a point to participate in as many events and other speaking opportunities. Where will you find us next?! [caption id=\"attachment_2929\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"480\"] Our team hosted an Email Marketing seminar in Taiwan.[/caption]   [caption id=\"attachment_2930\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"759\"] The Benchmark team was all smiles at our booth at Publishop in Mexico.[/caption] [caption id=\"attachment_2931\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"1200\"] Benchmark Japan hosted a seminar for 100 attendees from the fashion industry.[/caption] [caption id=\"attachment_2932\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"759\"] Fresh off being named the best email marketing company in Brazil, our team hosted a talk called \"What happens when two winning platforms get together?\" at Forum eCommerce Brasil 2016.[/caption] [caption id=\"attachment_2933\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"700\"] Our UK team shows off the soon to be released Automation Pro BETA at Benchmark at Technology For Marketing 2016 in London.[/caption] These photos only begin to scratch the surface of the events Benchmark Email attends, hosts and/or sponsors across the globe. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to see where you\'ll find us next!


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Why You Should Have Audience Personas for Every Email Campaign

Why You Should Have Audience Personas for Every Email Campaign

Beyond • October 17, 2016

Not a single person in your audience wants to be clumped into a data pool. We all want to be seen and understood as individuals – while marketers need to see people in terms of segmented data. The best of both can be achieved by creating audience personas. While an audience persona doesn’t get you to know that Colette likes two lumps of brown sugar with her non-dairy coffee every day, it will get you to know that Colette has her coffee at 10am rather than at 8 or 9 in the morning. The question you should be asking next is why is Colette waiting till so late in the day for a brew – and that’s where your audience persona comes in. Colette is a single mom of an energy-driven five-year-old, and she works from home. She’s also a loyal consumer of your brand. Here’s where these two facts meet: Our busy single work-from-home mom is up in the morning to check emails before getting the little one ready for school. This is not the time to send her your email campaign even though industry experts are telling you to get that email out first thing. The email scans before a school run are just that – they’re scans where she’s looking for the most critical information. Once she drops her kid off, she’s back at her desk and finally having a cup of coffee. Your job, on the other hand, is to keep holding off on that “send” button. Right now Colette is all about knocking out some tasks during the critical 3-5 hours she has before her son gets back. Right now her focus is on work. Colette then picks up her son, tends to him. Maybe it’s time for lunch or a snack. Then she’ll attempt to get some work done, but it won’t happen because she’s distracted by the needs of a hyper-playful five-year-old. You, on the other hand, are getting closer to hitting that send button. The next few hours are a tug-of-war for Colette between trying to get things done and trying to be a mom too. Thoroughly exhausted at about 8pm at night, she’s finally have tired out the little one and will be looking for her first real break of the day. She’s now having a tea and biscuit break and investing in herself. Now you can hit send. At this moment, Colette is exhausted. She’s taking a desperately needed break before she does or does not get back to a few lingering tasks. This is the time she’s going to invest in herself. If she’s going to make a purchase in order to reward herself, now is the time she’s going to do it because (a) she feels she has earned it and (b) she knows she has some uninterrupted time to herself. However, if your mom was a stay-at-home mom, the email campaign you would send would be around 9 am after she dropped the kids to school. If your consumer is a mom of a smaller child, then you wait till nap time, which is around 1-2pm. Audience personas are key for understanding the psychology that drives behavior. Understanding this behavior means that you’re working in flow with your consumer’s lifestyle, rather than against the grain. It is a far more effective strategy to send out email campaigns at different times based on who that target audience is. The content of that campaign may need to change as well. So far example, you might send two women the same email campaign at the same time at 7pm or 8pm. This is generally the time women get to relax, but your goal of each campaign will differ. For the mom, it’s about not feeling like a failure. For the single woman, it’s about feeling successful. Your images should reflect those two tones even if you’re sending otherwise the same campaign. Now if you’re sending that to a dad, 8pm at night is the worst time because his family duties have kicked in. The best time to send him anything is during lunch or gym hours when he has a chance to browse uninterrupted. The same sorts of adaptations are necessary if you’re catering to a small enterprise or start-up, or even wildly successful entrepreneurs. Both sets of people are at a stage in their life where they’re incredibly busy with high demands on their attention. If you’re going to send them anything, make sure it’s short and sweet, with consistent and timely delivery.


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What Can I Do To Dress Up My Email Marketing Templates For Halloween?

What Can I Do To Dress Up My Email Marketing Templates For Halloween?

Practical Marketer • October 14, 2016

It’s that time of year. Pumpkins aren’t just spicing our lattes anymore. No. They’re everywhere. In the Facebook’s feeds of my friends with kids at the pumpkin patch and they’re carved with the faces of the candidates from the current Presidential election. Halloween is here and it’s everywhere you turn. Does that include your email marketing templates? Try A Pre-Made Template Benchmark Email and all ESPs offer a set of pre-made email templates for every occasion. Pick one of the several available to you and then get to work making sure it still stays true to your brand. Add your logo and anything else you can to maintain a consistency in your branding. This is the store-bought costume route. Adjust Your Current Template The DIY costume option is to put a Halloween spin on your current template. Tweak the color scheme to fit a Halloween vibe. Bring out the orange! You can also add in some extra Halloween graphics to spruce up the template. Drop in a couple pumpkins, a witch or a ghost. Just like when using a pre-made template, it’s imperative not to lose the integrity of your brand within the holiday fun.  


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Why Marketing is Not a Numbers Game When it Comes to Click-Through Rates

Why Marketing is Not a Numbers Game When it Comes to Click-Through Rates

Beyond • October 14, 2016

One of the worst marketing attitudes is desperation – and we see it all the time. New media marketing, with its high level of competition and many portals for message sharing, can drive companies to feel compelled to be seen and heard. This results in a lot of marketing activity that’s propelled by very little understanding what marketing means. This is where it gets interesting. The average marketing team for an enterprise level company has various members who have one or two key talents. They make up a talent pool that then becomes the driving head of that business’ marketing efforts. In many cases, that head is controlled by someone outside of marketing who doesn’t understand this side of the business that well but still has a voice that drives expectations. For our enterprise level company, this means that marketing is often directed and dictated by high ups who don’t understand that quality is better than quantity. We see this problem more so in email marketing because email preceded social media. While social media is a largely mysterious realm of new media marketing that many people are happy to leave to the pros, email marketing doesn’t quite benefit from that hands off attitude. People have been using email regularly since the 90’s, which for us means that there’s a tendency to assume we also understand email marketing. In other words, you might be pushing – or you might get pushed – to quickly draft up a long list of subscribers from existing contacts. Here’s a small piece of advice: don’t do it. Email marketing is not a numbers game when it comes to the only thing that matters in email marketing: the end goal. The end goal of any email marketing campaign is to have a high click-through rate. Novices in this field make a common mistake: throw everyone into one email pile and blast off messages. This is a terrible, terrible mistake. For one, having a high number of contacts who haven’t opted in doesn’t mean you have a high number of people genuinely interested in your email campaigns. Here’s what happens when you engage in that practice: you’re going to have a high bounce rate, subscription rate, and spam rate. The bad news doesn’t end there. Not only are you losing credibility, you’re also unlikely to get any of these people back as authentic email subscribers. Then there’s the last follow-through of any email campaign – the analytics. When you engage in this practice, your data is completely skewed. You now have, let’s say, 1000 subscribers and no real way to understand behavior patterns once an email goes out. We could take one case example, but the fact is that almost every company that decides to embrace email marketing is guilty of this time-consuming mistake. Instead of thinking you’re going to have an army of email subscribers and this high level of activity, understand that email campaigns are a long game just like most other new media marketing strategies. It’s a brick-by-brick process. The first step is to start with the small pool of subscribers you already have and work with creating content they’re going to want. If that means you only have 8 people to send a campaign to, then make sure you make those 8 people happy and motivated to share that campaign with their network. The second step is to have subscription access points across key places, including social media. You can use widgets, apps, and even directly share a subscription link in your social media “about” page. You definitely want a signup form on your website and a pop-up as well. Ultimately, email marketing is about data and the last thing you want is skewed data. If you take shortcuts, that’s exactly what you’re going to end up with.


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The Art of Nurturing Organic Email Content

The Art of Nurturing Organic Email Content

Beyond • October 14, 2016

Every week or every month, you sit there in front of your email marketing campaign wondering what you’re going to send out this week. Email, the evolved version of a letter, is a far cry from the letters we would send each other up until about two decades ago. Now it’s all about emails and in the process we’ve become the wizard behind the curtain, pushing buttons and pulling levers to send out campaign communications. We rarely see who we’re even sending these to anymore – and they rarely see us. Add to this the hierarchy of social media, which I’m convinced has more or less made people forget how to talk with each other rather than to each other. Yet, there’s a way to use both these tools to nurture real conversations with your audience so that your email content is original, organic and thoughtful. Let’s start with consumer expectations and brand loyalty. Consumer expectation is to be able to have a clear looking glass into your company. Your audience wants to know who you are, what you’re about and why your culture resonates with their values. And that’s part of where brand loyalty stems from. Your company probably isn’t a brand like Aston Martin or Gucci, so when people come to you they’re not going for that kind of brand. The brand they’re going for isn’t about labels. Rather, it’s about narratives. A narrative is the story you tell your audience. It can be a story about shared values or it can be a story that has your company mirroring what matters most to your customers. Ultimately it’s about reciprocation and the ability of the consumer to see themselves in your brand so they can say “I identify with this.” All that comes down to conversations. You can cultivate brand loyalty, get to know your audience base and stimulate meaningful conversations with them so you have not only a deeper understanding of these people but so that you can also create more meaningful email content. This happens in two ways. Most enterprise companies move faster through digital media, especially when it comes to their marketing branch of the operation. So in this department, you’re going to want to have a people person that can generate conversations on social media and through email campaigns more so than just automatically posting content. In other words, you want a dialogue coordinator. A dialogue coordinator isn’t widely used in the consumer world, but it needs to be. Instead, we see dialogue coordinators more so with activism and publication outlets. However, everyone should be relying on a skilled dialogue coordinator for the doors they can open and conversations they can initiate. One group by the name of Clarion Project, which talks about current issues, has a fantastic dialogue coordinator whose job it is to cultivate conversations with the audience. This coordinator even launched a highly successful Facebook group page for interested members. After a year of cultivating conversations, there has recently turned them into a podcast that has generated PR, followers and brand visibility for Clarion. Clarion also has a brand challenge. They were seen as too conservative in their views, which alienated a large potential audience base that they needed in order to be considered authentic and impactful. Having a dialogue coordinator build bridges and work with new communities and bring them into the fold, giving them a voice that they also wanted, has pretty much completely rebranded Clarion as inclusive and balanced. They’ve gone from being just a publication about news to being seen as a humanitarian group – all in about the time span of one year. And now their email campaigns are more about humanitarian stories and they’re able to pivot themselves on that position based on nurtured conversations over the last year.  For Clarion, this means increased market relevance, increased social shares/email forwards, and increased visibility as a thought leader.


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Conjuring a New Spirit for October Email Campaigns

Conjuring a New Spirit for October Email Campaigns

Beyond • October 13, 2016

In the spirit of dressing up your marketing campaigns for Halloween, I thought it would be spooky and cool to go a step further and really become someone else for Halloween campaigns. Think seance and possession, channeling the spirit of someone else and having them speak through you during the month of Halloween. What Would History’s Most Iconic and Notorious Personalities Say About You? The month is half over but it’s never too late to conjure up a dead persona and have them be a guest contributor penning campaigns, quotes, letters and thoughts for your email marketing campaigns. What would Coco-Chanel say about your new line of clothing your online shop is now carrying? Need someone more eccentric? Try channeling Harry Potter super-villain Bellatrix Lestrange. The idea is to have fun with this and introduce a new perspective but also keep it entertaining. If you’re a thought leader, what would some of history’s greatest minds have to say about your ideas? How would they challenge them? What would a debate between friend and foe of your ideas look like? I especially love the idea of changing it out and getting a diverse set of people from different backgrounds - fiction, nonfiction, wicked and benevolent - all getting into a word war over your work. How about a collection of letters that come in every day through Halloween from notorious villains in fiction or history? This keeps it superbly fascinating and lets you see your brand and mission from a completely different perspective. The power of perspective should never be underestimated. Aside it being a fantastic marketing tool, it also helps us as marketers and thought leaders step outside ourselves and think about something differently. When we deal with a brand, problem or message day in and day out as ourselves, it can become something of a routine. Nothing new or innovative is ever discovered in a routine. Wearing a new skin and truly embracing that persona unleashes a powerful part of ourselves that is otherwise locked away. Take on an Alter-Ego The spirit of Halloween and getting dressed up isn’t just about one day. It’s about a transition between seasons, a taking on of a new identity. You can invoke those themes in your email marketing campaigns for the season. Take on a new identity, invoke your creative alter-ego for a weekly series or a searing last-week-of-the-month daily delivery of email campaigns. If you could wear a costume and be a different and unreserved you, what would that you say about your brand, industry, or experiences? Think of this as the ultimate opportunity to play Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde without the repercussions. The idea of wearing a different costume is already done in pop culture by rock stars and supermodels who change their name to embrace an alter-ego. The alter-ego lets them embrace a new style, direction and narrative that their old identities are too caged to be able to do freely. It creates buzz. It allows you to be controversial - which is what it takes to get heard - without necessarily becoming the controversy.Halloween is the season to make people uncomfortable and be able to get away with it. Why not finally say and do something that you know is going to make people uncomfortable and get heads to turn? Halloween is the season to make people uncomfortable and be able to get away with it. Why not finally say and do something that you know is going to make people uncomfortable and get heads to turn?


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Supernatural Lessons On Marketing

Supernatural Lessons On Marketing

Beyond • October 12, 2016

What makes Halloween so exciting for people all over the world is the element of the unknown. When you pair this with a season that embraces gloomier days and colder nights, we understand how the transition from bright and exposed days of summer to dark and secretive themes in October is so appealing to people. Essentially, that supernatural element of the unknown is probably the most thrilling part of the Halloween season. It’s also what a show by that name, Supernatural, has gotten down perfectly across 12 seasons. So what advice would a hit show about the supernatural world give to the marketing world? Create a Bond What drives the show is the bond between two brothers: Sam and Dean Winchester Along the way other characters are introduced who pull at the heart strings. What’s ultimately a very dark and sometimes serious show is anchored by the love you have for these characters and how human they are in a world that is not. When it comes to marketing - especially if your subject matter is dark or dense - it’s that much more important for you to create your own anchor. There’s a saying that “facts tell but stories sell.” In the same way, the story you tell about your company, purpose, or even its leaders go a lot further and carry more weight than the facts alone. There’s Always a Baddie The mission is the same but the face of the bad guy changes. As is the case for any plot that needs to move forward, you need a ‘baddie’ or a nemesis. In your own world, what’s the face of your enemy and how can you leverage that to position yourself as the counter to that enemy? If it’s a mission-driven cause you’re fighting for, then the enemy is as faceless. In this case, you’re fighting an idea so you’re going to want to make that idea come to life so you have something to stand against and confront. On the other hand, If it’s a person or an opponent, then at least behind closed doors you want to rally your team to face off against this challenge. In this case, you’ll publically challenge your opponent through value propositioning. In other words, what is a value you offer that your enemy fails to bring to the table? Remember that for you to win, there has to be an enemy for you to win against. Have a Signature Style What makes Supernatural iconic is the Americana it embraces: classic cars, jeans and flannel. Having that unique style, which 12 seasons ago was risky and an unpopular aesthetic, is what helped the show skyrocket to success by being so bravely and unapologetically unique. Your brand should do the same. What is it about you or your company that stands out from the crowd and helps it get remembered? It doesn’t just have to be how you look: it can be about how you think, or how you approach a problem. In some powerful way, you need to be different.


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What Email Marketing Integrations Deliver Scary Good Results?

What Email Marketing Integrations Deliver Scary Good Results?

Practical Marketer • October 10, 2016

There is more than just using an email marketing service to send emails. Email marketing services, though, depending on who you use, will sometimes have limited resources. Like in a scary movie, you want any tools you can get your hands on to get you get out of a sticky situation. In this case, you’d want all the tools you can get to help you successfully market to your subscribers. So here are some types of email marketing integrations that can deliver life-saving results. CRM Integrations There are many Customer Relationship Management tools out there, Zoho and Salesforce are just a couple out there. Many email marketing services may not provide a comprehensive tool to store and manage contacts. By using CRM, you’ll be able to view and manage your subscribers a lot more easily. Allowing you to create specific segments to target and send to. E-Commerce Stores It’s best to collect contacts organically and what better way to organically build your subscriber base than with an online storefront. E-Commerce, or conducting business online as you can imagine is the way to go nowadays. Integrating your email marketing service with your store, you can collect very strong subscribers who may open your emails and return to your store. Social Media Do you have a social media presence? You can gain a wider audience by posting or releasing your emails to your social media platforms. Integrations may allow you to easily post your emails automatically and You can gain a wider audience for your emails. It’s not trackable who and how many people may read your emails, but it could convince your fans to subscribe to your email.


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How To Increase The Expected ROI For Email Marketing?

How To Increase The Expected ROI For Email Marketing?

Practical Marketer • October 10, 2016

Many talk about the expected Return on Investment for email marketing being $40 per $1 spent. Although I love this stat and I believe that many can achieve even more than this, it’s important to understand how your email marketing is being used before setting expectations. Below are a few examples as to how email marketing can be used for your business and what to look at when trying to increase the ROI of your email marketing efforts. For Sales When it comes to creating sales or promotional emails the numbers are pretty straightforward, right? How much did it cost to create and send the email vs. how much money did it generate? If you were a daily deal company, it may be that easy. However, when it comes to the habits of today\'s consumers, this black and white view may need a few shades of grey … no leathers needed here (unless that is what you are selling). Here are a few things to pay attention to when trying to increase the expected ROI for your next promotion: Are you sending to the right people? Many companies lack segmentation in their email marketing strategies. If you try to send to everyone you may be discouraged by the results, since it’s important to know that not all of your subscribers are buyers (YET). What I mean by this is that some people may not have the need for your product at that time or they may have just subscribed to you emails because you have an excellent blog and they would like to get updates of your posts. It is important to try to segment your subscribers based on behaviours and sign up purpose. For example, for people who signup from your blog pages, you may want to have these in a separate list from people who signed up on your pricing page. I think this is step one of setting up your next promotional email: Segment your lists. This isn’t cheating! For the people who aren’t in your buying category, you can send them more of a “warm up” email to entice them to move into that category. What are the selling points? The other day I was speaking with a friend that had issues with a product they were trying to promote. They had segmented their list and had a series of 3 emails to promote their new product. All of the emails had the same information and were pointing to the same landing page. The issue with this is redundancy. If you have an idea to set up a series of emails, I sure hope you have a reason for this. People receive a lot of emails. Sending too many emails with the same info will only disappoint your subscribers. When trying to promote a product if you want to have a series of emails, make sure to find reasons to send that series. Are you focusing on different selling points? Is time of the essences? If that first email didn’t get the result you were looking for what improvements can you make with the next one? This is also a perfect opportunity to learn more about your subscribers. Having different selling points will give you insights as to what your subscribers are more interested in. For example: If you are selling computers, you may have 3 different emails that focus on computers for Gaming, School or Work. This will help you create more in-depth segments on your subscribers to increase your engagement rate later on. Do you have a fluid buying process? Is it easy for your subscriber to understand and buy the product or service you are promoting? I have seen cases where companies have complicated rules or just don’t have an easy and fluid process to buy. For this last case, the most common mistake I see is an email that promotes something but the call to action just dumps the subscriber on their home page. It’s important to use landing pages to keep the flow of the sale. Using landing pages allows you to focus on the promotion and get specific feedback to better your next promotion. If you just dump subscribers onto your homepage, they may get distracted with other areas of your site and totally miss the reason they came to your site in the first place. In regards to providing easy to follow steps to redeem this promotion, be sure to use your channels properly. Often times companies try to include everything in the email. Remember, you have less than a 3-second likability opportunity with email. The promotion needs to WOW me and intrigue me to click on the call to action. Once you have me on the landing page, you have more real estate to explain the steps or rules to qualify. Think of your email as the doorway to the promotion, not the promotion itself. Measure. What is the goal? For this last point, I want to remind every marketer to measure what they do. It’s easy to get lost in the idea of just sending emails and pushing people to landing pages. If your results are just focused on looking at the sales numbers, you won’t know why your sales are going up or down… If your marketing efforts include multichannel strategies, be sure to set specific milestones and overall goals to reach that pertain to your email efforts exclusively, and, of course, do the same for the other channels involved but be sure to keep them separate. Doing this will help you understand the true value of email marketing. If the goal isn’t reached, the milestones should help you understand how to improve your next campaign. Key takeaways? Divide and conquer. These are suggestions that any marketer can follow and implement with their own strategies. Today, customers are crossing and subscribing to many of your channels: Your website, emails, social, etc. Be sure to set clear paths for each, measure by stages and stay focused! Jumbling it all together will only drive you crazy and discourage you and your team.


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How To Tell When Your Subscribers Are Bored

How To Tell When Your Subscribers Are Bored

Beyond • October 10, 2016

Your marketing efforts is a ship that needs to be kept afloat - and moving forward. No ship just suddenly sinks. There is a cause and effect chain that impacts a ship just like there is a cause and effect chain that impacts your marketing. So if you’re thinking that your email marketing is a sinking ship, look back to see what were some of the signs that should have been a tell. In some cases, it’s just a sail that no longer catches any wind. In this case, that useless sail might be your engagement capability. In other words, are your email subscribers bored? There are a few ways to figure this out. As with any vessel that you’re in, your job is to make sure all parts are in working conditions. Becuase the climate you’re in might not be favorable from time to time, but your ability to sail through will depend on the condition of your vessel. These are important points to get across, especially since a lot of people understand these simpler concepts but don’t associate them with intangibles like digital media. Yet, the rules are the same. Let’s take a look at what might be turning off your subscribers and see if we can fix that sail. When the Tone Never Changes...Ever One of the most annoying email marketing campaigns are the ones that don’t ever shift their tone. One of these serial email senders hails from a pretty significant new media company. Every email from him is trying to rope me into thinking the message is a personal note from a friend. Obviously, it’s not. And then there’s the tone. The one of enthusiastic and it’s unbelievable. No one is always that happy. The reason this is boring is because it doesn’t come across as genuine - and that’s boring. Your email subscribers want a real person, and not some ever-cheery Android programmed at 100% happy. The same rule of thumb goes for the doom-and-gloom or the overly serious email campaigners. Learn to change it up and have some sort of balance in your messaging. It’s Not You, It’s Me A ship that doesn’t understand it’s part of a sea is a ship that will probably sink. You need to respect that your marketing campaigns aren’t some machine independent of the environment that it’s in. That environment is your audience. Campaigns that don’t consider the end-reader are selfishly driven and monotonous. To break it up try working with segmented audiences based on gender or location so that you can make content more personal. Or you can even send out personalized campaigns that shows you get the reader. If you’re in retail, then perhaps you have a new product coming out and have a list of buyers in mind that covet said product. Or if you’re in media, perhaps there’s a story that you know some readers are particularly interested in or following. If you’re in academia and there’s a new class or lecture, how about sending a personal invite to students (or parents of students) who are keen on that subject.


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Hocus Pocus: Recipes for Your Marketing Cauldron

Hocus Pocus: Recipes for Your Marketing Cauldron

Beyond • October 7, 2016

Imaging you found a dusty old cook-book with secret recipes for marketing success. What would those recipes look like? What would you need to throw into the cauldron to create something really spectacular?     1 part Fear     2 parts Risk     1 Unicorn Horn     5 Warted Toads     1 large Ogre     3 Zombies 1 Part Fear Anything marketing strategy is ultimately a gamble - a well-calculated gamble but a risk nonetheless. If you’re not risking then you’re not doing what it takes to push the envelope and get seen and heard. Sure you could take a run-of-the-mill routine marketing template and create a campaign around that, but who would really care? The thing that gets people to pay attention is controversy. And that’s a scary thing, but it’s a necessary ingredient for success. 1 Parts Risk No matter what route you’re taking, each step is essentially a risk. Your plan might work, or it might not. The client could love the concept or they could hate it. Your consumers would listen or they could turn a deaf fear. Everything is risk, so just like fear, learn to embrace is and you won’t be paralyzed by fear of failure. 1 Unicorn Horn Every success needs something that much more amazing working behind the scenes. Here I mean talent and team work. You need to always be looking for the unicorns in your team and how to get them to start working as a pack. Don’t have any? Then it might be time to dig a little deeper in your employees otherwise unnoticed potential or start hiring some freelance talent. 5 Warted Toads Call this the ugly side of marketing - the deadlines, the pressure, the late nights. Just like you have to slave over a cauldron for that perfect recipe, on some level you need to stand guard and keep stirring the pot figuratively too because there’s always going to be another obstacle around the corner. The more you’re prepared for these toads, the better you’ll be at handling them. 1 Large Ogre The ogre is the competition and there’s always going to be competition. Ogres don’t go away over time; in fact, they multiply. The more successful you are, the more ogres you can expect sniffing you out and heading your way. Ogres relish being loud and obnoxious, and they thrive from your response to them. The best way to deal with ogres is to not give them the attention they so desperately want. 3 Zombies The secret recipe for marketing success isn’t just about what you need, it’s also about what you need to watch out for so you don’t stumble and fall. This is a potion to make yourself more aware and better able to see what’s headed your way. In addition to the toads and ogres, there are the zombies. This is deadweight you’re going to need to cut if you want to keep soaring. Slashing zombies is going to be tougher than dealing with ogres and toads. Zombies are usually internal nuisances. These are usually people that got hired on early on and now they’re sort of fixed to the company like a barnacle - but they have no real purpose or worth.


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