The 10 Best CRM Tools for Small Business

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The 10 Best CRM Tools for Small Business

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How International Robinson Lists Can Impact Your Email Marketing

Beyond • April 25, 2009

An entry onto the Robinson list can be considered a demand by the individual to be treated like Robinson Crusoe on his desert island and thus receive no marketing communications. The various national Robinson lists were originally created to provide a database of telephone numbers and addresses that had opted out of any incoming direct mail marketing or telemarketing, but recently are being amplified to encompass mobile device texts and email marketing as well. Canada\'s Bell: The Fox in the Chicken Coop A Robinson list situation suitable for a parody show occurred in December 2010 in Canada. In a clear case of a fox in the chicken coop, the Bell Canada telephone company had been granted management of the country’s “Do Not Call List” by the government’s telecom commission and then was fined $1.3 million by that same agency for using that list’s numbers for its own telemarketing! Spammers See DO NOT CONTACT Lists as Prime Prospects The Bell Canada violation of trust lies at the heart of the problem with all types of Robinson lists. They are intended to provide a reference guide to marketers as to who not to contact, but unethical spammers see the lists as a treasure trove of contacts to blast with their illegal missives. Even though all national Robinson lists are backed by severe legal penalties, spammers bet that by setting up their operations in loosely controlled jurisdictions such as Ukraine, Kazakhstan or Vietnam they have placed themselves far from the long arm of European or North American law. The European Union Has Stringent Laws that Are Widely Flouted Not all illegal online operators are located in Asia. Although the European Union has the most stringent online anti-piracy regulation on Earth, the web’s leading television program sharing site, eztv.it, has been operating from Italy with total impunity for years. The Union’s strict anti-spam laws have also had little effect on Spain as it is the number one country where email harvesters are located, with the latest statistics accounting for nearly 22% of the world’s total. That equals more than 21,000 harvesters with an average of nearly 800 spam servers each in Spain alone! Spain Leads in Both Robinson Lists & Spammers With such an overwhelming problem on its hands, Spain has taken steps to crack down by empowering a special agency to implement Robinson list procedures across the email and overall marketing spectrum. The Consulting Council of the Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD) includes both the directors of the various regional data protection agencies as well as directors placed by the Congress of Deputies and the Senate. This government body guides the activities of the AEPD and is primarily responsible for the proposals of various statutes such as the ones adopted in March 2011. These laws were formulated to provide greater powers to impose financial sanctions on spammers and to be able to modify these fines to suit the type and volume of violating emails sent. Penalties can vary from a fairly nominal 900 Euros ($1,300) to a very severe 600,000 Euros ($875,000). Various Countries Have Their Own Robinson Lists Robinson lists are implemented to some degree in a number of nations. Over and above Spain and Canada, Germany, Belgium, Italy and Greece are among the countries that have their own Robinson list services, as does Australia with its Do Not Call Register, the United Kingdom with the Telephone Preference Service and New Zealand with its Name Removal Service. As many of the titles suggest, these Robinson lists were initially formulated to target telemarketing but most are in the process of being expanded to include email marketing. The United States National Do Not Call Registry is currently limited to telemarketing alone, and the only effective option for consumers wishing to block incoming email marketing is the Direct Marketing Association’s Email Preference Service, which is limited to the association’s members alone and is not binding on any spammer who is not a member. European Union law is not overly clear on what occurs if individuals provide you with email newsletter permission and then place themselves on a Robinson list without opting out from your list. One interpretation is that you’re just as liable as if you didn’t receive permission at all, although that would be a case ripe for court challenge. If you see the current international Robinson list situation as a confounding patchwork, you’re essentially correct. The lack of a homogeneous structure to determine which email addresses are off limits is going to require a great deal of awareness from any American email marketer wishing to engage customers in other countries.


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Data Breach Triggers Spear Phishing Warning

Beyond • April 22, 2009

What some online security experts are calling the largest breach in the history of the internet has triggered concerns that a marked increase in the amount of the criminal phishing activity known as Spear Fishing will be witnessed in the inboxes of individuals and small businesses across the nation and around the world. To learn how this will impact your email and online marketing, read below and take all necessary precautions to protect yourself. Phishers Can Address Spam Victims by Name Phishers can use the victim’s name within the email itself in a ploy designed to gain the trust and confidence of the individual. Once that is achieved it is the goal of the criminals to get the user to click on a link in the email that leads to a clone of the legitimate login screen devised to steal the customer’s user name and password. Email Addresses Stolen from 7 of the 10 Largest Companies in the World Millions of customers of the following corporations are in the process of receiving notices that their names and email addresses were compromised by hackers: Ameriprise Financial, Barclays Bank, Best Buy, Brookstone, CapitalOne, Citibank, Disney, Home Shopping Network, JPMorgan Chase, Kroger, L.L. Bean, Marriott, McKinsey & Company, Ritz Carlton, TiVo, US Bancorp, and Walgreens. The data theft occurred from the servers of Epsilon, a subsidiary of Alliance Data Company, which sends 40 billion emails per year on behalf of seven of the ten largest multi-nationals in the world as well as 2,500 other corporate clients. A Fresh Wave of Spam Is on Its Way to Millions With these data breaches revealing the email addresses of millions of bank, retail and communications company customers, hackers have reached new heights in their nefarious arts. A considerable number of customers and companies that do business with these firms can look forward to receiving a fresh new wave of spam messages in the coming days. Contact Authorities when Receiving Spam The first step when receiving a spam email is to report it to the various authorities and agencies that deal with this pestilent problem. Contacting Spamcop, the Federal Trade Commission, the Internet Crime Complaint Center and the Anti-Phishing Working Group will help to curb the amount of spam being received by all, thus it is a highly recommended action. You may also want to refer to the Spam & Phishing Page on StaySafeOnline, which lists the spam contacts for all ten of the United States’ leading ISPs.


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Email Marketing Plan: Can You Include Maps in Your Email Campaign?

Beyond • April 22, 2009

Maps have become quite popular in the era of mobile apps and GPS tracking technology. Apart from helping us find our way, we are also learning that they can be useful for those interested in using email marketing to drive traffic to an event. However, while embedding maps in your email message has many potential benefits, actually ensuring that they work across the board is an entirely different story. Here’s both sides of that tale. The Pros and Cons of Embedded Email Maps Email is pretty flexible, so technically, embedding maps is a relatively straightforward process. In fact, Microsoft and Google have enabled this functionality seamlessly with Bing Maps for Hotmail and Google Maps for Gmail respectively. In these particular instances, they work quite well. Unfortunately, this is not always the case when other email clients and different web browsers come into play. Embedding maps in an email is not impossible, but there are no guarantees that they will display properly or at all. It isn’t really an issue of rendering capability as most clients are more than capable. It has more to do with the fact that most automatically strip out or disable additional HTML elements for security purposes. Since the popular mapping applications are built on top of technologies such as AJAX, Javascript and iFrames, the practice of embedding their features is not very reliable. Depending on the mail client and browser the subscriber is using, your map may just show up as one big blank space. Viable Alternative Method Successfully integrating maps with your email marketing may require you to take the same approach as you do with video email, surveys and other elements that often cause trouble for HTML messages. Include a link to them in your message instead of embedding them directly in your email. The good thing about this method is that both Microsoft and Google have made it convenient to incorporate their maps on web pages through flexible, easy to use APIs. All you have to worry about is coming up with a compelling call to action that convinces the subscriber to click through and have a look. For now, this is definitely the safest option. Test and Find Out Although there are obvious disadvantages, embedding maps in your email message isn’t necessarily a bad idea. Hotmail and Gmail have been optimized to support this functionality, so if most of your subscribers use these clients you may experience little to no problems. Yet regardless of what mail programs your subscribers use, the best way to determine the effectiveness of embedded email maps is through testing. Set up a few test accounts on the services you will be targeting, run them through the most widely used browsers and analyze the results. Whenever in doubt, test and find out.


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Biggest Complaints Users Lodge with Their Email Service Providers

Beyond • April 21, 2009

Choosing an email service provider that is right for your needs can be hard enough. Unfortunately, it can get even tougher after you make the final decision and sign up. The relationship between customer and provider can turn rocky fast, and when it does it’s usually the customer on the short end of the stick. Here are some of the top gripes users have with their ESPs: Lack of Support From web hosting to standalone software, support is important when you invest money in just about any technology these days. This is especially the case when investing in something like email marketing to promote your business. Most companies claim to be on the ball in this department, but not all are living up to those claims. Some of the more unfortunate email marketers have signed up with ESPs only to find out that they never answer the phones, take days to respond to email queries and the live chat function is always down. The lack of support is a major reason for complaints and why some users are one step closer to calling it quits. Difficult to Use If it isn’t cheap, then it’s cheap and incredibly easy to use. Ease of use is a selling point that attracts customers to email marketing services because, after all, everyone wants a user-friendly solution. Ironically, one of the biggest complaints customers have has to do with usability. They sign up and learn the hard way that the company’s software is not as accessible as advertised. The software is either too complex or lacks the features and functionality the marketer requires to really make an impact. Either way, the user is stuck with a solution that doesn’t live up to expectations. Poor Deliverability From what we’ve seen, the biggest complaint users have with their ESP is poor deliverability rates. They realize that email marketing is something they can’t do on their own, yet find that their messages are not being delivered as promised. This could actually be for two reasons: either the user is not following some of the most important best practices of permission based marketing or the company simply doesn’t have the infrastructure and reputation to support the user’s sending requirements. Neither is good for the marketer because poor deliverability rates usually means you’re not far from being blacklisted. Know Who You’re Dealing With Many email marketing services will look like gold on the surface, but you know what they say about everything that glitters. It pays to do your homework before you make that investment. No relationship is ever going to be perfect, but by evaluating the level of support, test-driving a service through a demo or trial offer and conducting thorough research to learn more about a company’s deliverability beforehand, you can avoid having to file the same complaints made by so many others.


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Boost your email’s visibility with the Benchmark Email Community!

Beyond • April 20, 2009

Once you\'ve sent your email and added it to your custom archive, did you know there\'s another easy way to drive Web traffic to your email or newsletter? The Benchmark Email Community gives you yet another opportunity to put your email online so everyone can find it. Post your email or newsletter in the community and Web surfers can find it via search, social bookmark, Twitter, Facebook and more. . How do you do this? It\'s easy! In the last stage of the email campaign creation process, you\'ll be given two options: add your email to your archive and/or add it to the Benchmark Email Community. Click on the Benchmark Email Community option. Once you\'ve done that your email will be given a permanent Web address and you can name your email, add tags and even send the URL to your customers. We\'ve even added social networking and bookmarking options. Once your email is up in the community, you can: Send the link to your email page via myspace or Facebook Send out a Tweet via Twitter with a link to your email or newsletter Social bookmark your email or newsletter URL through Digg, Delicious and more Use Stumbleupon and Technorati to boost your page views Sign up additional subscribers who find your email in a keyword search Allow people to vote for your email as well as comment on how good it looks Through the Benchmark Email Community, your email has a life far beyond the time it lands in the inbox of your subscribers. This permanent home on the Web gives you a load of opportunities to drive as many people to your email or newsletter as possible, empowering you to sign up new subscribers, bring in new customers and even sell your products or services.


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New Email Marketing Manual: How to Get Better User Feedback

Beyond • April 20, 2009

Keen observers of the Benchmark blog will note that a new email marketing manual released today would mean that three such guides have been released within the past seven days. Is it some form of online skulduggery? A trick of the monitor contrast setting? No, friends, it is nothing of the sort. Today, Benchmark Email is happy to present its latest guide, How to Get Better User Feedback. But how did it get here so fast? As Queen says, “It’s a kind of magic.” Better User Feedback focuses on taking the initiative with customers, not in an overbearing way, but in the way that the shifting landscape of the internet demands: on equal terms. The term “user” is integral to how you market your services or products online. By contrast, a consumer is simply that, with nothing to say and everything to spend. Users are in on the experience, actually want to offer feedback and can lash out with fair or damning praise depending on their experience. This manual provides insight on how to get your message to the discerning user, generating content that is relevant and fresh and then encouraging the user to share what they like. Testing, polling, surveys and psychographics all have a part to play and will ultimately mold the expectations of those interested in your product. But to properly mold those expectations, a producer must remain honest and open to the users who will ultimately choose to purchase, ignore or slam it. Check out How to Get Better User Feedback by clicking on the link above and downloading the PDF or read it on our site. Benchmark’s online resources are growing and we’re pleased to offer you all sixteen of our current email marketing manuals for free. Visit the page and check them out. And in the spirit of better user feedback, leave us some comments to let us know what guides and manuals you’d like to see in the future!


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How Does Twitter Figure into Email Marketing?

Beyond • April 20, 2009

Some businesses are so focused on establishing a Facebook presence that they underestimate all the other opportunities for social media integration. If you are an email marketer, Twitter is one you may not want to overlook. Twitter is similar to email in a way. Your followers are like your subscribers and if you blow it, you’ll lose them and may even be called a spammer. With these commonalities in mind, the two have the potential to make a very nice match. Here are some tips that will help you merge your email and Twitter marketing efforts: Build Your Following With email marketing, you build a list. With Twitter, you build a network of followers. You are ultimately striving for the same goal so get out there and start trying to make connections on this new platform. Growing your followers isn’t necessarily a difficult chore, but finding those that are relevant to the cause are what you need to be focused on. You want to connect with the people who are more likely to respond and spread your message to others, the people who would also be perfect for your email list. Make sure your integrated strategy is a targeted one. Connect Your Platforms You can actually start connecting your followers to your email marketing as you build your Twitter presence. Once you meet a few people, you can give them a sample of what you have in store outside of the network and even invite them to join your email list. The great thing about this is that it works both ways. For example, you could easily send out a call to action for your email subscribers to connect with you and join the conversation on Twitter. Let the complete newcomers know how everything works and how they can help spread the word through the network. This is something your less savvy subscribers will appreciate. Make It Count When you think about it, Twitter is the ideal tool for spreading your message. It’s brief, targeted and extremely cost effective. You’d be surprised how far a short tweet with a link to your newsletter or signup form can travel. However, even though it is a different channel, many of the rules remain the same. In order to have any sort of impact with Twitter, you need to make sure your communications are relevant all the time. Give your followers a reason to keep listening - with all the noise on Twitter, it\'s easy for users to be distracted. Stay on Track Several marketers would like to know how often they should use Twitter for business purposes. The best answer is that all depends. A company using the site to provide another outlet for customer service would obviously need to be more devoted than one trying to promote a monthly newsletter. The most important thing is staying consistent. If you can only afford to publish one tweet per week, make sure it’s the best tweet you can possibly come up with. You can start your own promotion for special events with a Benchmark Twitter email template.


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Email Marketing: How to Punch above Your Weight Class

Beyond • April 19, 2009

There\'s an old saying - dress for the job you want, not the job you have. People that are well dressed and walk with an air of confidence are respected in a way that the guy who shows up to a business meeting in a wrinkled t-shirt and torn corduroys will never be. This same saying can be applied to your email marketing campaigns. If you want to be taken seriously, you have to dress the part. A prospective client is more likely to take your business seriously if your marketing material looks professional. Here are a few tips that will help your bantam weight business pack a punch worthy of Muhammed Ali. Choose a Clean, Flexible Template Your email template is the aesthetic cornerstone of all your email marketing newsletters. Choose something straightforward and clean. Nothing shouts unprofessional like a neon green background with cursive blue text. Stick to white or light colored backgrounds with dark text and you can\'t go wrong. Also, be sure to choose a template that you can get creative with by adding photos and videos. Professional doesn\'t have to mean boring. Stick to a Schedule Sporadic emails are a tell tale sign of a company that doesn\'t have it\'s expletive together. Find a schedule that works for you (once a week, once a month) and stick to it. For the majority of small businesses, email is the most convenient way to stay in touch with clients and you want to make sure that your clients see you in a positive, professional light. Keep It Personal Not taking the time to build a relationship with the people who subscribe to your email list is one of the most common mistakes a small business can make. Show your readers that they are more than just a possible sale by adding as much personal information to their emails as possible. Try to include the email recipient’s name in the greeting of your email (nothing is more annoying than getting an email addressed to \"Dear Customer!\" You may as well say \"Hey You!\"). If someone makes a purchase, send a followup email a week or two later asking them how they are enjoying the product. Your Address Matters Who would you rather receive a marketing email from - tarentinoboy7648@hotmail.com or john@filmscripts.com? If you want to be taken seriously, always spring for the domain name and set up professional sounding email accounts. Also, keep in mind what we talked about earlier; it\'s possible to be professional sounding while still keeping that personal edge - john@filmscripts.com beats webmaster@filmscripts.com every time. Double Opt-In Double opt-in is basically a way to double check that the person who is receiving your emails is actually interested. The last thing that you want to do as a person trying to build a professional looking business is start sending unwanted emails. Whenever someone subscribes to your email list, send them a confirmation email with a link that they can use to verify their subscription. Once they have confirmed that they want to receive your newsletters, send them a thank you email welcoming them to your newsletter community and letting them know what they can expect. There\'s no reason that a small business can\'t look as professional as Google or Amazon. It\'s all about how you present yourself. The best thing you can do is put yourself in your audience’s shoes. Would you be impressed by the emails you\'ve been sending out?


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How Your Dead Email Addresses Get Turned into Spam Traps

Beyond • April 18, 2009

You’re an ethical, legitimate email marketer. You’ve never purchased or rented an email list in the history of your company and you are firmly committed to ensuring that every subscriber on your list has provided clear and unequivocal permission to receive your email newsletter campaign. One morning you show up at work and receive the news: you’ve had a block placed on your firm’s sending and your email marketing has screeched to a halt. How could this happen? Simply put, you didn’t keep your subscription list sufficiently updated, and one of those dormant email addresses has been adopted by ISPs as a spam trap. Churn Rates Can Exceed One Third of Your List per Year The churn rate of email addresses on your list can exceed one third per year. People establish and then drop email addresses at an alarming rate. The proliferation of “disposable” accounts such as Hotmail’s Aliases has made it easier than ever for your customers to set up an email address designed to be temporary from the outset. This massive turnover cannot only be attributed to flightiness as there are countless reasons why people dispose of email addresses. Perhaps they were interested in purchasing a product in your range so they subscribed to the email newsletters of all your competitors in order to gain a perspective on the various offerings. Now they’ve purchased the product and instead of unsubscribing from each list they simply terminate the address. Resend to Hard Bounces & Get Lumped into the Spam Can Unfortunately no matter what type of email address was terminated, it still returns as a hard bounce. Whether or not the address was an alias and the primary email address is still operational cannot be determined by the Mailer Daemons. All the ISPs (internet service providers) see is an attempt to send a message to a non-existent address and return it. Given that one of the primary identifying activities of spammers is repeated resends to dead addresses, the ISPs stuff these types of senders into the spam can and place them on the blockage shelf. ISPs Adopt Dormant Addresses to Use as Spam Traps ISPs will also select dormant email accounts at random and turn them into their own proprietary version of a honeypot, or spam trap. They know that anyone sending to that account has likely purchased or rented an old list and thus does not have permission to send, otherwise they would be aware that it’s a hard bouncing address. Legitimate albeit languorous email marketers fall into that trap by simply not keeping their lists clean enough. Ignoring a hard bouncing address leaves it on your list to gather more hard bounces until some ISP adopts that account as a trap and you’re busted! Deleting Hard Bouncers Is as Imperative as Making Payroll Your company must place the immediate deletion of hard bouncing addresses at a similar level of immutable priority as making payroll and paying rent. Any brand that relies upon email marketing can be decimated or even terminated by the blockage of its email marketing campaigns. In order to avoid this fate worse than corporate death, each and every hard bounce must be immediately purged from your list prior to your next send date without exception. Reputable email service providers are set up to recognize addresses that are hard bouncers and ensure that they are deleted from your list long before they are appropriated by the ISPs as spam traps. At this high churn rate, ignoring your hard bouncing email addresses and leaving them on your list is like sending your email marketing campaign 90 miles an hour down a dead end street.


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5 Questions to Ask Yourself when Choosing an Email Template

Beyond • April 15, 2009

When starting a new email campaign, one of the first big decisions you are going to have to make is choosing an email template. There are tons of free templates out there, so finding one that suits your needs shouldn\'t be a problem. Just remember to choose a template that suits your target audience. If your blog focuses on karate tournaments in your area it doesn\'t really make sense to choose a template that has puppy prints in all the corners. Obviously. So, what should you look for in an email template? Will It Work Long Term? Your email template will be the foundation for all your email newsletters, so you want to make sure to choose one that you can use consistently. Choosing an email template is hard enough the first time, you don\'t want to have to choose and re-choose every month. Stick with something simple that you can augment as you need. Multi Platform Think of all the ways people are checking email today: desktops at work, laptops and tablets at the coffee shop, smartphones while on the go. With so many options or checking email, you need to make sure that your email template will look good on all of them. Choose a few templates and test them out with a few different devices before you make your final decision and start your campaign. You\'ll be glad you did. Multimedia One of the keys to a successful email marketing campaign is to vary the content of your email from time to time. This not only grabs the attention of your readers but gives you the chance to show them different aspects of your business. Make sure that whatever template you choose can handle multimedia additions like photos and videos. Stay Consistent Whatever template you choose should look as similar to your website as possible. It\'s not always possible to have your emails look exactly like your website, but you should at least have the same color scheme and font. Image is important in any business and the more closely your newsletter resembles your website, the more professional your business will appear. Keep Your Options Open While the email template you choose should be able to last a long time, it\'s always good to have options. The best email templates have a basic look that stays the same but allows you to change little things here and there. It\'s nice to have the option to add artwork and photos to special occasions and you readers will enjoy the change of pace. Choosing an email template that suits you and your business can be difficult. Remember that the most important thing is to put yourself in your audience\'s shoes. What appeals to them, what would they want to see? The right template will go a long way towards helping you build a successful email marketing campaign, and with a little creative wiggle room, the sky\'s the limit.


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Support Update: Would You Like a Receipt with That?

Support Update: Would You Like a Receipt with That?

Beyond • April 13, 2009

The other day I was checking my mail for an invitation that should have been delivered already. I was on pins and needles. It would be nice if my mailbox shouted, “Mail’s here!” every time the mail carrier delivered something for me. It would save me from having to check every 15 minutes. Yes, I actually do that when I’m really excited to receive something. Haven’t we all? Well, on this particular day the only thing I had waiting for me were bills. Sometimes it feels like the only people who want to correspond with me are those I owe money to. But it made me realize something. I realized that with Benchmark Email, you do not have the hassle of bills coming to you monthly. Your account is conveniently set up to automatically deduct the payment for you. Talk about a hassle free way of doing business! There have been some inquiries lately from clients about how to access the billing statements for their Benchmark Email account. Here are the steps to follow to access your Benchmark Email account receipts: First, log into your account. Then click on the My Account tab on the right hand side of the screen (next to the yellow Help tab). From there you will click on Billing Statements. Now you will be able to see a breakdown of your account charges. You will have the option to view a more detailed receipt by clicking the icon on the right hand side of the row (boxed in with red rectangle below). You can also download the information as a PDF file and/or print it with the icons on the top of the screen (circled in red). If you have any questions while reviewing your payment information, please feel free to contact us via email, phone or live chat.


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Email Marketing Equalizes Small Businesses and Public Corporations

Email Marketing Equalizes Small Businesses and Public Corporations

Beyond • April 12, 2009

It should come as no surprise that the largest companies are usually the most successful as well. After all, they tend to have access to a greater number of employees, customers and resources. While there is no secret formula to enjoying the recognition of the big bad corporate players, there is a way to enjoy similar reach and results with a handy tool known as email marketing. Don’t believe me? Feast your eyes on some of the ways a small business can use this powerful tool to operate like a public enterprise: Create Targeted Email Templates In the corporate world, identity is absolutely crucial to a company’s longevity in the market. Brand identity is equally important for a small business. Using your email templates to create targeted designs gives your marketing message the ability to engage the reader and strengthen your identity in the process. A targeted design is more than a template that appeals to the eye. It is one that makes your message easy to digest for the subscriber and speaks to the consistency of your brand. Integrate with Social Media On its own, email marketing can provide a small business with tremendous reach. However, that reach can be extended even further when integrated with other channels. In today’s Web 2.0-based digital era, social media is arguably the best channel to branch out to. Although email is fast from a delivery standpoint, social media gives you the potential to respond even faster, mainly because your subscribers and potential customers are spending more of their time on Facebook, Twitter and other popular networks. Though small in number, companies of all sizes are seeing positive results from mixing the social medium with their existing marketing initiatives. Learn from Your Reports One of the many great things about email marketing is that it gives a small business convenient access to its constantly updating technology and features. The feature that really makes the difference is a reporting system that measures your impact. By reading your reports, you can uncover strengths and weaknesses, compare campaign results and adjust your marketing strategy according to performance. You don’t need a corporate budget to get access to the data big companies use to base their business decisions, and because you are perpetually abreast of consumer behaviours and purchases, your smaller size actually enables you to react more quickly to what the market wants. Keep in mind, though, that actually putting this data to good use is more important than having convenient access to it. You must be serious about tracking your success and making the necessary efforts to improve. Think Big and Grow Thanks to the internet and its unlimited potential, the playing field is more level than ever when it comes to the business sector. Technology is moving fast and the more it evolves, the more smaller companies will be able to compete. Email marketing may not make your business the next Fortune 500 (at least not overnight), but it can help you garner lasting success in your market.


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5 Metrics to Track with Your Email Analytics

Beyond • April 12, 2009

Email marketing newsletters are an invaluable resource for your internet marketing campaign. You can promote your brand, business and products to a wide audience every week with a simple email. But how do you know if your email campaign is effective? That’s where email analytics come in. Email analytics, or email metrics, allow you to track who opens your emails, which links are the most effective and whether or not people are linking to your site through your emails. If you want to really hone in on what works with your target audience, analytics are the way to go. Here are a few of the things you should track with your emails: Social Media Activity If you are including social sharing links in your email (which you should be), you can use email analytics to find out who is clicking on which social sharing links. This means that every time someone \"likes\" your email on Facebook or starts following you on Twitter, you\'ll know. The most obvious advantage here is knowing which emails you send inspire people to click that \"share\" button, allowing you to repeat that success. Video Views This doesn\'t differ all that much from using email analytics to gather information about your social sharing links. If you are using videos in your campaign you can use email analytics to figure out which videos are working with your campaign and which aren\'t. You can do this in Benchmark by attaching your video via a link or embed and tracking users\' unique clicks. If you add a video and realize that your audience isn\'t watching it, you have the chance to change the video in the next email or remove the video completely. Calls to Action As a general rule, it\'s best to vary your call to action from email to email. If you stick to the same call to action in every email (such as \"click here to read more!\"), you run the risk of losing your audience\'s attention. Track which calls to action work best with your target audience and experiment with different greetings/actionable content. Reactions to Content Engaging content is the most important aspect of any email marketing campaign. Punchy, creative content draws in the consumer and keeps your brand fresh in the mind even after they have closed your email. Does your audience prefer images or text? Video testimonials or polls and surveys? Email analytics can help you figure out what type of content your audience responds to best. Success of Your Subject Lines The subject line is the first thing your audience sees when they open their inbox. Subject lines need to be sharp and attention grabbing, but not pushy. Think of your subject lines as an invitation. You want the reader to feel welcome. By tracking which emails get the most open rates you can judge whether you need to be more or less aggressive with your subject lines. In the end, analytics increase your knowledge about your target market\'s behavior and allow you to use that information to enhance the power of your email marketing newsletters.


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5 Tips for B2B Email Marketing Campaigns

Beyond • April 11, 2009

Most marketers are familiar with business to consumer (B2C) sales. B2C involves selling a product directly to a consumer, no middle man. Business to business, on the other hand, involves you selling your product or service to another business. B2B marketing is a completely different animal than B2C; the focus is more on the long term sales and building relationships with your clients. Here are some important things you should remember when assembling a B2B email marketing campaign. A Solid Foundation Successful B2B marketing is based almost entirely on trust. Businesses prefer to get their products from companies they believe will provide them with honest, timely services and well made products. Of course, the sale is always important. But when you are dealing with business customers it is equally important to build their trust in you and your brand. Trust leads to relationships, and building relationships with your business customers ensures that they will stay your customers for the long haul. Get Personal When you\'re dealing directly with customers, mass emails with generalized subject lines usually work just fine. But business customers are a different story. Businesses want to know that they have you in their corner, that they are more to you than an I.D. number on an Excel worksheet. The emails you send to your business customers should be as personal as possible. Include names and past purchases to really drive home the fact that their continued business is important to you. Beyond the Sale A great way to show your B2B customers that they are a priority is to give them more than just the product they buy. Send them emails with how-to videos and tips on the different ways they can use your products. The idea is to help them get the most out of your business as they can. The more you offer along with your products, the more your business customers will value your services. Point of View When dealing with B2B customers it\'s important to imagine yourself in their shoes. How would you want to be treated if you were purchasing goods or services from them? It\'s always best to be straightforward. Let them know exactly how your company will service them and what value they should expect from your products. Long Term Business to consumer relationships tend not to last long, one or two purchases at most. The consumer comes in, gets what they want and they are out. On the other hand, B2B relationships are the most fruitful for all parties involved when they are long term. Your email campaigns should focus on building long, steady relationships with your business clients. Focus on the future and your clients will follow suit. These are just a few things to keep in mind when you begin communicating with your business customers. B2B is all about showing your customer that your business can be trusted, that they can count on you to deliver the goods time and time again. Keep you B2B clients happy and they are sure to stick around for a long time.


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