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How to Compose Marketing Emails to Get Replies

How to Compose Marketing Emails to Get Replies

Practical Marketer • March 6, 2018

Sending a sales email is one of the most common ways marketers use to promote any product or service. Using emails for sales is very versatile: you can play with the form and content to make it more attractive and appealing, include some polls or surveys to study public opinion on how to improve a product or a certain service you’re offering. Here’s the thing: there’s a growing tendency of people not replying to such emails. There are various reasons for not replying to marketing emails: people are either not interested in the product, or may consider such emails spam, or simply don’t care about it at all. It might sometimes seem rude and offensive, but for marketers, this has become a usual thing. They say that not replying to an email also sends a message that calls for further improvement of an email template, changes in content or makes you rethink the whole idea. After all, you don’t want to irritate your potential customers with loads of information about product or service you’re providing. This might cost you your whole business! But wait a minute: if emailing potential customers is still one of the most effective marketing strategies, but people often get irritated because of them, how can you do it in a more effective way? Let’s take a look at major dos and don’ts of writing marketing emails: 1. Do Personalize For sure, personalization in marketing is very important. With the focus on the content these days, it has become very hard to impress potential customers, it seems that they’ve seen it all. Personalization in advertising and marketing creates an atmosphere of exclusiveness for each person receiving a marketing email. In the age of globalization and total accessibility, people have started feeling that they’ve lost a sense of identity, that is why personalizing your content and adjusting it to the interests and needs of each particular person can make your marketing emails more successful. Here’s a good example of personalization. An online healthy food shop offers to complete a questionnaire to define what the user needs to know to improve their health. 2. Don’t Over-Personalize Don’t go overboard, however. While working on personalizing the content of the marketing emails, make sure that it matches the desired outcomes. Sometimes, personalizing a marketing email involves simple steps, something like: Asking the right questions: a wedding specialist website called Paper Style had a problem with people ignoring their emails. So, to increase sales, they’ve turned to personalization, and namely, asking the right questions (a method of customer behavior analysis). They’ve simply asked their customers what they were planning for: their wedding or their friend’s wedding. People answered, and then received an email containing offers and services they needed for the occasion they were preparing for. As a result, the website has got 244% increase in open rate, 161% increase in click-through and 330% increase revenue per mailing. The lesson is, ask questions that match both your interests and the interests of your target audience. Paying attention to location and time: Bustedtees, a company that sales customized T-shirts has made the common mistake by sending emails to all their potential and existing customers regardless of time and location. The location and time they used as default was Los Angeles, and the email suited only their American audience. The company soon recognized that this wasn’t working, as their customers from other parts of the world received their email late at night and missed it, thus resulting in low rates of email feedback. Segmenting their subscribers and dividing them into different locations and time zones helped Bustedtees increase email revenue by 8%. They’ve set the timer for sending an email according to each particular time zone so that their customers could get an email at an appropriate time. Using behavioral triggered emails: when you get an email from Facebook that you haven’t got any activity or haven’t logged on to your account for a week, that’s a perfect example of a triggered email marketing. What they did is analyzing your “behavior” of not being active on Facebook for a week and notifying you about it, thus reminding you of their service. Triggered emails are a perfect example of a balanced personalization, as they appeal to a particular person but don’t overload with unnecessary, redundant information. Such emails are very effective as they result in at least 71% increase in open rates and nearly 102% increase in click-through rates. By analyzing the behavior of your customers, you get a better idea of what they need. 3. Do Use Your Personal Templates There are millions of websites with marketing email templates, but the only good purpose they serve is being an example of an effective or a not-so-effective email marketing campaigns. Besides, they don’t always work. According to Upwork’s experience, email templates work better when you need to advertise a physical product. In this case, you can use a fancy headline and graphics. Regarding replies, personally written emails work better, as in this case your customers feel your attention fully paid to each of them. To write effective personal emails that will be replied, you can use some of the following tips: Greet your customers: seems like an obvious thing, but somehow people forget about it. This is just a polite way to turn your customer’s attention to your email. Address your customers by name: one of the reasons people pay more attention to emails that have their name in it is because a name is a unique identifier of each person, and using it immediately shows respect to this person. Also, using a person’s name in an email immediately turns it into a personal conversation, thus showing that you pay your full attention to this particular person. Personally, thank each of your customers: at the end of an email, you should thank each of your customers for their attention. It might seem difficult, as you might need to send emails to hundreds of people, but it’s not. “I think all businesses dread the process of sending personalized emails, as it seems to be a very time-consuming job,” says David Jones, a marketing specialist at A-writer, “There are so many mailing programs that can be adjusted to your needs and can turn your emails into more personalized messages.” 4. Don’t Overwhelm Your Customers As it has been mentioned before, one of the reasons you don’t get replies to your emails is because people mark it as spam. A website called TechnologyAdvice conducted a survey, during which they contacted over 1300 adult from the U.S. asking why they don’t reply to marketing emails, and results are pretty definitive: Over 40% of subscribers mark emails as spam because they were emailed too often. It gets even more overwhelming when emails contain the same or similar content, which gets customers even more bored and makes them smash that “Unsubscribe” button. How can you fix it? Try to make it as brief and logically structured as possible. The average number of emails you can send to your subscribers is about 6 to 8 emails per month. But to figure it out specifically for your company, let your subscribers decide how often they want to get marketing emails from you. This will help you figure out the needs of each of your subscribers. 5. Do Work on Original Content We live in the world where it has become very hard to create original content. Plagiarism is everywhere, and plagiarism in marketing is no exception. Companies steal images to use in their marketing campaigns without even crediting their authors, and which such services as Tumblr and Instagram where people share their personal images, stealing content has become easier. The thing is that today customers can easily differentiate original content from stolen content. There’s nothing in this world that any modern customer hasn’t seen, and people are well aware of how plagiarism works. If you state that all your products and services are original, then plagiarizing something in your marketing emails will contradict everything you say and undermine your reputation. If you plagiarize because you doubt the success of your marketing emails, you’re making a huge mistake. Remember that what your business offers is a very specific thing, which needs to be advertised in its way. So if you fail one time, next time you’ll learn from your mistakes. Wrapping Up To summarize what we’ve been talking about a little bit earlier, it is necessary to point out some more don’ts you need to take into account when composing a marketing email: Avoid using Caps throughout your email. This just makes your email look messy. Avoid using too many exclamation points. Avoid using Flash or Video content in your emails. This will only make them harder to upload. Avoid attachments for the same reason as Flash and Video content. For sure, it will take time for you to figure out how to compose marketing emails to get replies, as each product or service requires a customized approach. If you follow the tips mentioned above on what to do and what not to do when it comes to composing marketing emails, you’ll increase your chances to get more replies. If you’ve already incorporated some of these tips into your practice, let us know in the comments about your own experience!


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5 Hot Tips for a Clean Email List

Practical Marketer • February 28, 2018

Ever thought about deleting your entire email list? No? Well, that’s exactly what pub chain JD Wetherspoon did in response to a data breach in relation to one of their email campaigns. As an email marketer you’re probably frightened at the thought of deliberately deleting your entire list, but at the same time, massive penalties for breaching email marketing laws are just as terrifying. While most of us won’t be deleting our lists anytime soon, we do have to educate ourselves about best email marketing practices - or face the consequences. By taking action now, you’ll dramatically reduce the risk that when tough data laws are passed, you’re streets ahead of the unprepared marketer.  Not only does a clean list ensure that your data is compliant with strict data laws in the US and abroad, but it ensures that your message is reaching the people who are interested in hearing it.   Build Trust From the Get-Go Before you even start on the fancy list-cleanliness side of email marketing, you’ve got to make sure your fundamental email marketing building blocks are solid. It might seem like a basic thing, but you need to have a professional email address to send your emails from. Afterall 75% of customer believe that building trust starts with this basic building block  “...a professional email address is the first step to prove you’re not a scam,” writes Jeremy Marsan, a business analyst from Fit Small Business. By establishing trust, you’ll be able to get and keep, the much coveted opted-in subscriber. If you want to avoid breaking laws such as GDPR, you have to make sure you’ve got the permission from your subscribers that they want to be subscribed to your list. This means ensuring that you’re subscribers have ticked an opt-in box that states they want to receive your emails. Double opt-ins are the best way to go for this. By having this in place, are you not only on the right side of the law, but you gain the trust of those on your list because they know you won’t be sending them unrelated emails, or selling their information on. Integrate Your Apps Many businesses are using more than just an email marketing app, like Benchmark, to run their business. Your sales team probably has a CRM, marketing has another marketing automation tool, and customer care has a ticketing app. All of these apps contain prospect and customer data. But how can your email marketing list be up to date (and compliant) if say for example a customer emails customer care to unsubscribe, and customer care logs this but the data stays in their app? You could manually import/export this data, but that’s loads of manual work, and your lists are never really up to date. This is one reason to integrate your existing cloud business apps using a third-party platform such as PieSync, so that customer and prospect data are up to date and consistent across all business apps that you’re using. Remove Duplicates Duplicates are truly a blight on any customer database. They deflate your email open rate and skew lead conversion metrics. Now, with new strict laws you need to be able to keep track of every record of your customers, but if you have “Robert Brown” in your email marketing registered as “Bobby Brown” in your CRM, you’re dealing with duplicate data, that’s difficult to detect. The best course of action is to dedupe your customer database. After you’ve finished integrating your apps together, it’s a good idea to take advantage of native deduping software. Most CRMs can detect duplicates, and Benchmark Email also has this feature. Keep Data Fresh The days of keeping your legacy customer database to use for reactivation marketing campaigns forever and ever are over. Spring clean your customer database and remove old contacts. This will improve email deliverability, open rates, and reduce spam complaints. There are four types of customer emails you should prune from your email marketing list so that’ll it will stay healthy: confirmed bounces, soft bounces, hard bounces and contacts who have stopped opening your emails. Luckily Benchmark email has features in place that can help you easily cut these contacts out, so you can work with a clean email list. Email List Verification You can use a service, such as Kickbox or BriteVerify, to send your list through list verification. While there may be an initial cost to doing this, you\'ll save in the long run. It will help you to reduce bounce rates and remove bad email addresses. It may also help you stay on a list plan longer without having to upgrade to the next level ... even while your list grows!


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7 Methods to Increase the Effectivity of Your Email Campaigns Up to 15%

7 Methods to Increase the Effectivity of Your Email Campaigns Up to 15%

Beyond • February 26, 2018

When creating an email marketing campaign there are some special hacks that can be used to increase your conversion rate. Even if you’re increasing the open rate by 15%, for example, then that leads to many more potential buyers of your products. If the size of your email list is large then implementing small changes can lead to big results. In this article, we will show you how to improve the effectiveness of your email marketing campaign. You’ll learn some actionable tips that you can implement today, and get results on your next batch of emails. 1. Email Segmentation Once you learn more about your email list, you should segment the members based on their interests. For example, if you are sending out coupons, links to products, entertainment articles, news and how to videos, then that represents a wide range of content. It might be the case that a specific portion of members only came for the coupons or how to videos. Bombarding them with all types of emails might lead to more unsubscribes than you’d like. Therefore, conduct a survey and ask users what type of content they prefer. Consequently, segment the list based on their preferences. This ensures that the rate of engagement for each member of your list will be much higher. Consequently, this leads to higher chances of a sale. As the Annual Email Optimizer Report found, 39% of marketers received an increase in open rates when they segmented their list. Furthermore, 28% of marketers had lower unsubscribe rates. This shows that not every email list benefits from segmentation in a tangible way. However, there is enough evidence to point in the direction of giving it a shot. You can segment the list based on variables such as demographic data, behavioral data, customer sign up date and customer email client data. By paying attention to your customers, you can learn even more ways of effective segmentation 2. Test Delivery Times A lot of email marketers test the different variables of the emails themselves but forget about other elements, such as delivery times. When you deliver the email can be just as important as what is inside. For instance, if the recipient is getting the email when they are swamped in the middle of the work week at lunch, then the response rate might be low. On the other hand, the same email sent on the weekend could provide a much higher ROI. The only way to find out is to test for yourself to see what works and what doesn’t You could execute an A/B testing campaign where the same email is sent on different days of the week. Alternatively, you can send it on the same day, but one is sent at 1 PM and the other at 8 PM. Testing removes the emotion out of it because you get to see the tangible results for yourself. You do not need to use guesswork to figure out when the best time to send the email. Over time as you test with different delivery times, the precision of when the email is most effective will improve. 3. Call To Action Every email that you send should have a call to action. In fact, for every piece of content that you put out, anywhere, should have a call to action. Even on the “Thank You” page after a website visitor has submitted their email address. The lack of a call to action is a missed opportunity to get the desired result, which is typically the sale. The call to action doesn’t always have to be aggressive by drawing a lot of attention. Mixing it up increases the visibility of the call to action. That’s because if you include the same call to action on every email, the viewer will begin to tune it out. A call to action can be as simple as including clickable text with the words: “Start my trial,” or Read the ebook.” However, you can use a sentence or two to build up to the clickable text so that the audience is persuaded to be interested in the offer. As John Adverton from Rush My Essay, says: “a successful call to action should have a sense of urgency and indicate what’s in it for them.” You understand the psyche of your audience best. Therefore, the type of call to action that works best for your audience is up to you. However, make sure to test to see what readers are responding to the most. 4. Avoid Spam Filters Spam filters are the arch nemesis of email marketing. Spending time carefully crafting the email for it to only end up in the spam folder is the worst case scenario. In some cases, if the email contains certain elements, then it might not even make it into the spam folder at all. Cutting out the words that trigger spam filters is the first thing you should focus on. These words include common phrases like no credit check, MLM, free money, earn per week, big bucks and so on. For any given niche there are some spam triggering keywords that you must keep in mind. In the thank you page you could ask the user to check their spam inbox for your email. Ask them to place you on the whitelist so that further emails end up in the main inbox. You also need to offer an unsubscribe link at the bottom of all your emails to pass the spam test. Finally, study the CAN-SPAM Act 2003 of what you can and can’t do. This information is straight from the email authorities themselves, so it’s a no-brainer to familiarise yourself with what’s shared here. 5. Provide Value to the Reader The purpose of email marketing from your point of view is to achieve conversion and turn a subscriber into a buying customer. However, forcefully going after the sale with just marketing material is not the best strategy. You need to provide value in every email. This shows you’re looking after your audience and giving them a reason to stick around. For example, let’s say that you’re in the metabolic cookbook niche and are promoting a product that helps people lose weight by eating fat burning foods. In every email you could make it your mission to share three recipes free of charge. This does two things: it keeps people on the list opening emails to read those recipes, and it builds you up as an authority building trust in the process. If the quality of the recipes is good, then eventually they will want to buy what you’re selling to get access to more of the same. 6. Mobile Responsive It’s estimated that around 65% of emails are initially opened on a mobile device. Therefore, not optimizing the email for the mobile platforms is essentially shooting yourself in the foot. Audiences will be put-off by unoptimized emails. So even if your open rates are great, the user engagement and number of people reading the call to action might be low. To improve mobile optimization keeping the email simple is key. Avoid complicated formatting list tables and social sharing buttons that are large. Furthermore, keep the width at around 500-600 pixels. A mobile user can scroll down to read more text, but horizontal scrolling is undesirable – even on the desktop platform. The font size should be 13pt for the body, and the header size fonts should be at around 22 pt. This ensures that size of the font is friendly for the mobile user. Also, avoid unreadable fonts and weird symbols that mobile devices might struggle to format correctly. For images keep the files sizes to a minimum. Loading up an image via a wired home based connection might be a piece of cake. However, outdoors on a mobile device, the same might not be true. 7. Resend Unopened Emails Resending an unopened email is a delicate matter that you need to get right to avoid high unsubscribe rates. You’ll need to weigh the chances, and merit, of getting the open a second time versus the chances of an unsubscribe. Some people might have missed the email the first time around, or they might have been too busy to open it. Therefore, by sending it for the second time, you increase your chances of catching them at a more convenient time. This is especially true if you send it at a different time. However, some list members will notice the fact that they received the same email twice. They might get annoyed and feel like you’re acting like a spam bot. Therefore, they will naturally unsubscribe from your list, which is the last thing that you want. As a compromise consider changing aspects of the email when sending for the second time. For example, change the subject line – it doesn’t take long to do. If you’re using images, consider switching them up to give the email a different feel. You can segment your email list and only send the same email a second time to a limited number of your list to see how they respond. If you notice far too many unsubscribes, then you can avoid making the same mistake with the majority of your email list. Conclusion There is an art to email marketing, such as getting the copywriting spot on and ensuring the value inside matches the expectations of the user. However, as you’ve learned in this article, there is also a science behind the process. For example, by taking steps to avoid spam filters and improving the mobile optimization, you’ll increase the effectiveness of the email marketing campaign. Take the time to implement all seven pieces of advice from this article and your email marketing campaign will be better off. Just don’t forget to do your testing regarding what works and doesn’t. After all, every niche and email list is unique and therefore requires a unique approach.


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World class support. Worldwide: Philippines Edition

World class support. Worldwide: Philippines Edition

Going Global • February 21, 2018

World class support. Worldwide. We say it to ourselves as a company all the time. We even say it directly on our About Us page. It’s a mission statement for us as a company. We want to provide localized support for each language for which Benchmark is available. Not only that, we want to be the best support available. One of the most important lessons I learned back when I was in journalism school is “show, don’t tell.” It’s one that I frequently am reminded of while I run this blog. Your audience may or may not trust you, but if you can provide data and examples to back up your point, it’s hard to disagree. So, we can say “World class support. Worldwide” until we’re blue in the face (and truth be told, we might). However, we can back it up by showing it to you too. Joy Aspacio, our amazing regional manager in the Philippines, is constantly sharing awesome stories from events she attends, workshops she participates in and of customer success stories. I’ve put together a few of my favorite recent ones to share with all of you. 5th Annual Philippine SME Business Expo 2017 The Philippine SME Business Expo (PhilSME) is known as the Philippines’ largest business-2-business tradeshow, conference and networking event for Small and Medium Enterprises\' (SME\'s). The 5th Philippine SME Business Expo was held from November 03-04, 2017 at the SMX Convention Center Manila, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City, Metro Manila. Benchmark Email is one of the silver sponsors, and we’re very glad to Mr. David Abrenilla, the Founder and Managing Director of Philippine SME Business Expo and CEO of Mediacom Solutions Inc. for the opportunity to be their official email marketing partner in the Philippines. One of the highlights of the opening day, our Customer Success Specialist and Evangelist from Benchmark Email Japan, Mr. Goro Kasahara was one of the VIP guests at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. PhilSME has also recognized the companies that significantly contributed in empowering Philippines’ Small and Medium Enterprises in the country, and Benchmark Email was given recognition in the Best Email Marketing Provider Award. There were over 100 Business Solutions and Business Opportunity in over 1,815 sqm exhibit space and attended by more than 10,000 visitors. The 2-day event showcased information on the latest innovations and trends which were presented in an interactive program composed of seminars, product presentations and other activities which is helpful to the SME’s to be competitive in the Philippines and the ASEAN region. During the event, we get the chance to meet with business leaders, company owners, senior-level executives, decision-makers and build new business relationships amongst SME’s in the Philippines. We have also gained valuable insights on how the various SME industries are doing in the Philippine set-up. Looking at the benefits as one of the exhibitors in the 5th PhilSME, Benchmark Email has successfully opened a great deal of opportunities for the SMEs to reach their target customers in the most cost-efficient way. After the expo, we have sent a newsletter campaign to thank everyone we have met. And we were so grateful as we have received an overwhelming response. Some recipients have requested to attend our workshop in our Makati office while others were asking for quotations and proposals. Also of Note from PhilSME Follow-through after every expo or conference is very critical. You had the opportunity to meet your target customers and influencers but how will you be able to establish a good connection and convert them after? One practical and easiest way is through email marketing. As such, Benchmark Email is a very powerful tool and user-friendly for any marketer. As Mr. David Abrenilla explained, “Regarding sales and branding, our sales have dramatically increased after using Benchmark Email because we can reach much more customers than before. Also branding-wise, it helps us to distribute and market our brands to a larger pool of potential customers.” We are so excited for 6th Philippine SME Business Expo 2018 on May 25-26, 2018. MediaCom Loves Benchmark We caught up with MediaCom at PhilSME and asked if they’d share a bit about how they use Benchmark. Here’s what they had to say: MediaCom Solutions Inc. is a trade show and a trade fair organizing company. We do twelve trade fairs in a year in the Philippines. Our company was founded in 2012, and we currently have thirty-five employees. We are headquartered in Makati City business district of Metro Manila. Predominant customer types are a bit of business-to-business and our main customers are small and medium enterprises. We catered to entrepreneur and franchise businesses for small and medium enterprises. We realized this year that we are heavily towards technology services as well as logistics, office leasing, an airline for corporate accounts, mobile app developers software, accounting services, etc. You can also check our website for more information at www.mediacom.ph. As for our industry niche, we also have a very specific exhibition that caters to babies and children products called the Baby, Kids & Family Expo where we have multinational accounts like Johnson and Johnson Philippines, Pampers Philippines and other major baby product players in the industry. What decided for us to use Benchmark Email is the capability to reach a large pool of potential customers, to communicate with them on a regular basis and provide valuable information which is either written content, through image and videos as well, which we distribute through email. We see this as a very valuable service to engage with our customers to keep them informed on a regular basis, and the service is excellent, the support is there, especially when it comes to the life support service which is very responsive and that\'s what we like a lot so that it\'s very easy for marketing team as well as our IT personnel to communicate in case there are any problems or are things that we would like to change with our email campaigns. Benchmark Email is very user-friendly. It allows even our staff that is not familiar with HTML coding to immediately start email campaign especially the drag and drop function which makes it very easy to include a media content into the email marketing campaigns. Regarding sales and branding, our sales have dramatically increased after using Benchmark Email because we can reach much more customers than before. Also branding-wise, it helps us to distribute and market our brands to a larger pool of potential customers. The reporting data especially regarding gathering insights on how our campaigns are doing. The service of Benchmark Email also helps us to strategize on our email campaigns to make them more effectively. Like every small business, the challenges that we have encountered before using Benchmark Email is how to get our brand out and to reach as many potential customers as possible in a short period, that\'s where Benchmark Email helped us to scale our business dramatically. Benchmark Email has mainly helped us resolve the distribution of information and to broadcast the benefits of our exhibitions and the services of our company. Benchmark Email is great software. It\'s a great product, the functionality is very user-friendly and has a great support team. The fact that they have a local Representative that we can contact immediately, this gives us the confidence to work with them and chose them for a specific reason. We have someone on the ground that could visit us and can explain certain things, because sometimes it\'s hard to do just on email support - you can only write to that person, but you cannot talk to that person. The Filipino culture has cultural differences between somebody that is doing offshore support in a different country does not sometimes also speak the same language from a culture perspective like here in the Philippines. We do not have any concerns about the software, but it\'s just the onboarding period for all our people to learn how to use the software, I think there are still big opportunity of growth when it comes to actually teaching people how to use email marketing effectively because besides from the technology, it\'s also actually on how to use it effectively. I think there’s a good opportunity regarding training. So I would love to hear about more local training where people can showcase best practices. I know that there’s available online but it\'s always something different if you do it face to face and especially again our culture in the Philippines, people want to talk to other people, so I think that\'s still also a big difference in there. Learn The Best Email Practices With Benchmark Email Philippines Everyone has to advance themselves to be able to be able to be competitive in their market. There are a lot of resources and webinars available on online. Nonetheless, these tools are just not enough. Most people still prefer a face to face discussion especially here in the Philippines as Filipinos love to get together to brainstorm and hustle - it makes a huge difference. As such, Benchmark Email not just offers a free webinar, video tutorials, manuals and other useful materials available from our Sales and Training Team in our headquarters but we also provide a free local workshop which sets us apart from other providers. We have been conducting the free workshops since September in our Philippines office located at the heart of Makati City in Salcedo Village. We have met a lot of marketers from different industries, from beginners to advance knowledge about the best practices of email marketing. We have shared about the importance of email marketing, its reward and drawback. We provide helpful tips and ideas of a compelling contents such as the following: What is an effective subject line? What are the call-to-actions? What are the email deliverability tips? With this information, a marketer will be able to have successful customer engagement. We also feature our simple yet powerful email designer - which a marketer can choose from the drag and drop, HTML and plain text editors. It has always been a usual compliment from our attendees that the drag and drop editor makes them feel like a pro. This has proved that even a beginner can easily adapt and create a beautiful email newsletter using Benchmark Email. The call-to-action has also been an important and interesting discussion which the attendees got to give their thoughts and asked for some clarifications. This perfectly demonstrates how eager our marketers wanted to learn the best email marketing practices. In general, all our attendees in the last five workshops were palpable and with so much enthusiasm. It gives us more reason and inspiration to conduct efficient workshops for the upcoming months. Also, the photo op never ceases to keep the attendees be at their awesome self - groupie and selfie is always a must. Impacting Hotels and Sales Resorts Online Presence We have been overwhelmed by the participants from various hotels and resorts in the Philippines who want to learn how to convert a sales through email marketing. The event was a collaboration between Hotel Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMA), Mr. Jay McLean, the Digital Marketing Director of Pixel Plus One and Benchmark Email. It was held at the Manila Marriott Hotel and was attended exclusively by HSMA members. With the aggressive constructions of hotels and resorts in the country, operators should be more proactive in promoting their brands to their regular and potential clients. As such, HSMA gathered their members to learn an effective way to engage with their customers on a regular basis. The seminar kicked off with how powerful email marketing and the member participants were very interactive during the presentation on the features of Benchmark Email. The highlights of the learnings to increase visibility to lead to sales conversions by showing sample email newsletter campaigns as well as tips and call-to-action ideas. As a result, every participant left the venue with an awesome smile on their faces as they were able to go home with a free account from Benchmark Email and added knowledge which they can use to kick start with their journey to sales conversion. Mommy Mundo Year-End Meet Up The Year-End Mommy Mundo Mompreneur Meet Up is a gathering for sharing, learning and Thanksgiving on November 25, 2017, at the Makati Diamond Residences. Benchmark Email was honored to be a part of the pre-Christmas celebrations of Mompreneurs for 2017. It was a powerful crowd of Mompreneurs and Dadpreneurs as well. Benchmark Email has been grateful to co-sponsor the event and was able to share to the Mompreneurs how to strengthen their customer relationships through email marketing. The Mompreneurs were all beaming with joy to learn that they will be easily able to jump-start with their newsletters knowing the local going visibility Benchmark Email in the Philippines. The Founder of Mommy Mundo, Janice Villanueva shared how Benchmark Email has been an effective tool in connecting with the Mommy Mundo community all these years. “I have been using Benchmark for five years already and its the tool I use to send out newsletters to my mailing lists. I recommend you to use Benchmark to build your customer and connect with them on a regular basis. You can send newsletters as often as you want to promote your products, promo or something new about your brand but of course, you don’t want to bombard your customers with so many emails. With Mommy Mundo, we only send out once a month as we want our subscribers to look forward to our newsletters and will not report us as a spammer. Benchmark Email is an easy way to communicate with your community, and you will be able to track your emails as they provide analytics.” For the Thanksgiving event, we were also joined by Ms. Dana Esteban, a holistic and nutrition coach who shared the Gift of Being Present. The Mompreneurs know how to have some fun, as they played some games and gave gifts to get in the holiday spirit. The meet up was also co-sponsored by Benchmark Email, Meralco, SunLife, PLDT, Safehouse Storage and Belo Baby.


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Harnessing the Power of Email Marketing Segmentation

Harnessing the Power of Email Marketing Segmentation

Practical Marketer • February 12, 2018

Fun fact: every day more than 200 billion email are sent all over the world. Long considered the granddaddy of digital marketing, the astonishing number of email sent every day just goes to show how relevant is email in this day age. There are many reasons why email is so effective. First of all, everyone in digital has an email address. More than Facebook or any other social media platform, email is the most ubiquitous digital platform for users. In fact, you cannot sign on to Facebook without an email address. Think of the potential reach you can have. Next, you are sure that the message is received and delivered. On other platforms, your paid advertising efforts depend on its ability to attract that audience. Email is a direct shot to hearts and minds of your users. Email is also an open platform. Nearly everyone can shoot out an email to a person. No one entity controls the ebb and flow of email, unlike Facebook or Instagram which are governed by algorithms that change on a regular basis. Finally, email is here to stay. Social media has a lifespan. Think of how many social media platforms have come and gone. Friendster and MySpace have gone the way of the dinosaur, forgotten relics of a bygone age. Snapchat and Twitter are both fighting for survival. Only one constant remains - the email. Given that, why is that most email marketing schemes fail? Most of the email you send to your email list are left unopened, contributing no clicks and no conversions. The biggest mistake email marketers fall into is sending their email with their offer to all the people in their list. They rarely tailor fit their email to their target audience, making the message lost in the hundreds of email received by a potential customer every day. The secret therefore to a successful email campaign is the concept of segmentation. You divide your email list into specific segments, and tailor fit your content for their consumption. This requires you to know your audience more. The great Sun Tzu once said that you must know your enemy as you know yourself. The more information you have on your target market, the better you can segment.   There are many ways to segment your marketing. Here are a few: GEOGRAPHICAL 1) Location The most basic way to segment is by location. First of all, if you have a global market, then you can tailor fit your content by country, city and area to regional and culture idiosyncrasies. For example, here’s an email sent by Spotify, to their subscribers who follows and listens to LANY, Zedd and more – about their concerts near your area. Moreover, the concept of time zones come into play. There usually is a best time to send an email and each time zone has its own best time to send. Demographical 2) Age Age groups are a great way of segmenting your market. Age groups have different backgrounds and a different mindset. Generation Z is swimming in tech and digital, millennials are flighty and restless, Gen Xers are hard-nosed and to the point, and Baby Boomers yearn for nostalgia. Each age group has certain world views where you can make specific appeals to purchase. Here’s one example from an email campaign sent by Adobe about their promotions exclusively for students. 3) Gender The gender spectrum has multiple segmentation opportunities. Each ray of the gender spectrum has specific needs and wants and can be addressed directly in your messaging. As more and more people are open to the gender spectrum, with platforms openly acknowledging different genders, it gives you the ability to tweak your message for maximum effect. Here’s an example of an email campaign sent by NIKE, catering to women, young adults and age ranges from 18-26 years old. 4) Job Function Email can also be sent via job function. Gatekeepers like secretaries and personal assistants are great targets for segmentation because they control the flow of information to the decision makers. Getting on the good side of gatekeepers through thoughtful email can do wonders for your business. Here’s an email sent by HubSpot indicating a link to an article that talks about neuroscience for marketing experts. Psychographics 5) Persona Personality is a broad term, but you could also segment via personality. People who identify as introverts could be open to content about activities that can be done indoors. Gaming and e-books are a great marketing play for the introverted set. On the other hand, more outdoorsy offerings can be sent to identified extroverts. 6) Lifestyle Lifestyle is also a big segmentation opportunity. Take, for example, flight attendants. Flight attendants fly in and out of countries every day. This allows you to make offerings that are tied to the jet-set lifestyle. Hotel offerings with discounts for short layovers can be sent to flight attendants who want to rest and freshen up. These are the broad segmentations. You could segment on a more granular level. 7) Interests Subcultures are a powerful niche marketing segmentation. For example, Star Wars fans are more likely to respond to Star Wars content especially if you send that out on May 4 (May the 4th be with you). Behavioral 8) Past Purchase An old e-commerce marketing technique is to create market basket analysis. People who purchase one product usually end up purchasing another product and patterns begin to appear. Analytics can be used to create a basket of goods where you can target users who purchased one product with an offering for another product. If they are in the same market basket group, more or less you could expect a bigger chance for a conversion. 9) Buying Frequency E-commerce platforms could usually track how much a user buys over a certain period of time. A frequent buyer would be a great person to send a frequent user discount while a user that has not bought in a long while can be sent a welcome back offering. 10) Website Behavior Even website behavior can be segmented. Window shoppers, people who just visit a website but do not make a purchase, are great people to send promotions that will nudge them into making a purchase. This example was sent by ZALORA informing their subscribers that their favorite brands are on sale and encouraging them to make a purchase, again. 11) Email Engagement Email engagement is also a great segmentation opportunity. Non-openers and people who do not click are a good segment to cull from your email lists. If you have likely gotten emails from brands saying, “We’ve missed you!”. These were probably the brands whose email you have not opened in a while. A great example would be the email sent by Uber, to those riders who were not booking lately. Conclusion Email is one of the most powerful ways to engage your audience. But it will all be for naught if you do a shotgun approach to marketing. Segmentation with market-specific content will go a long way to improving your open, click through and conversion metrics. Are you having trouble dividing your email lists into more specific and unified segments? Does this article help you to overcome it? If so, let me know in the comment section below. We would be happy to hear from you!


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We talk to you about the importance of configuring SPF and DKIM records

Beyond • February 6, 2018

How many business emails do you send in a typical month? Probably a lot. Maybe thousands of them. At the very least a newsletter with weekly or monthly special offers or related information about your company. Before the birth of Email Marketing, ISPs only managed a small amount of emails. However, in adopting this strategy, our whole database can be reached with a single click. Because of it, ISPs had to create ways to filter emails, letting the good senders have their space in the subscribers´ inbox. Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo, among others, have understood that this is a two-way task and demand the sender go through a series of actions to help them. Today, we want to explain how important it is to configure SPF and DKIM records in your email marketing strategy. This may be the first time you’re hearing both names. Thus, throughout this article, we want to help you all to achieve your Email Marketing strategy not only by basing it on designing, sending and measuring, but by addressing external factors that are familiar with your day-to-day routine, that affect your deliverability. As we said in the beginning of this article, inbox trays spend the day categorizing emails so we only receive messages from: A trustworthy sender, that is to say, any email with whom we have regular business, or an email from a colleague, a client, or a family related person. Special offers, eBooks, and newsletters in general, the information we have subscribed to. Nevertheless, there is no doubt Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo handle a massive amount of advertising emails, and they have to inspect them one by one and give inbox permission only to those that pass their spam filters. At the same time, they have to allocate suspect emails into the junk and spam folders. With regular, one-to-one emails, we don\'t bump into this problem. It becomes a real concern when we use an Email Marketing platform such as ours, where campaigns designed by businesses need to pass these spam filters. However, sending through an ESP is still the best bet for businesses to do email marketing. It’s like the difference in going to a party alone, versus being with the host. The host already knows everyone and has established relationships. In email, those established relationships are what will land you in the inbox, when everything else is done right. Today, we want to talk to you about the filter related to the safety of your emails being sent. Technological development has enabled spam distributors to easily gain access to the information inside your emails, and therefore the ISPs reward higher deliverability to the senders that take action to encrypt their messages, protecting the delivery process. What is a SPF record? A Sender Policy Framework record, or SPF, is a system of domain names (DNS), that identifies mail servers (like Benchmark) that are allowed to send messages on behalf of your domain. The goal of SPF records is to avoid spammers sending fake messages with your domain´s sender address. The receivers may verify the SPF record to check if a message coming from your domain is from an authorized email server. The advantage of SPF records is that they can only be configured by the domain´s owner and act as a ´passport´ to identify the emails by the time of their arrival, helping ISPs to categorize them into authorized or SPAM. What are DKIM records? The DKIM standard (DomainKeys Identified Mail) helps the emails to fight against identity deception (spoofing) by adding a digital signature to your emails´ headers which are always examined by the ISPs. Basically, it is an additional authentication step for your emails. Differently from SPF, which enables Benchmark to send emails on your behalf, in this case the DKIM records add a domain name identifier to your message, using cryptography techniques to validate it as the receiver gets the email. That way, the ISPs receiving the incoming emails from such domain may use this digital signature to help them determine if each email is legitimate. In order to have a better understanding, this is what you design: And this is what the ISPs really analyze and approve through their filters if the email checks with the demanded authentication measures: The lines marked in red are part of the SPF records already configured and of the DKIM records that still need to be setup. The record to be configured inside DKIM is called CNAME record. In the same way as with the SPF records, we will add a line of code to the domain´s configuration. Once you get to this point, it is ideal to contact your hosting company technical support so they can help you setup both domains. What can you do to prevent the email from ending up in the spam folder or not being sent at all? It\'s very simple. Just add these digital signatures mentioned above to your emails so no one can get in the way of the sending procedure and authorize Benchmark to send emails or your behalf. To help you with this task, Benchmark Email has developed the technology that enables the compliance with sending safety protocols required by different ISPs. The procedure is so simple that you only need to access your domain´s account settings, find the DNS, and copy and paste the following lines of code: STEP 1: update the SPF records v=spf1 a mx include:bmsend.com ~all STEP 2: update the CNAME records Tag/Host: bmdeda._domainkey.YOURDOMAIN Destination/Objective: bmdeda._domainkey.bmsend.com Access your domain´s account settings and upgrade these fields. Once it is done, contact us so we can verify it and update your account. What happens if I do not setup SPF and DKIM records? If you do not authenticate your emails, your messages can get blocked or end up in the spam folder. Making these adjustments in the configuration is going to increase the possibility that your emails are accepted by the ISPs, reaching the inbox folder properly. If you wish to learn more about this subject, we will host a webinar on March 8th, at 9AM EST. In the webinar, we will dive deeper and show you step by step where you need to setup these records. If you wish to participate, please click on the this link: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/262030501720790787 We will share a PDF file available for download at the end of the webinar with all attendees. If you are responsible for the email marketing strategy, the head of marketing, or work independently for clients, or even for yourself, as a blogger or SME that does email marketing, please contact our Customer Engagement Specialists if you need any help. If you believe this content can be be interesting to your audience, please share it. We are waiting for you!


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How Email Marketing Helps Mobile App Startups

Beyond • January 30, 2018

If you think that email marketing is a beaten and outdated method that has lost its relevance years ago, you should reconsider your point of view. There must be a reason why countless companies, including most of Jelvix customers, just adore email marketing and squeeze everything out of it! We will try to overview the issue to understand if it makes sense to overcome the fear of loss and to invest in email marketing if you are a startup. Since we at Jelvix provide software development services to many different industries, we see the broad picture that can be useful here. Did you know that: People tend to click on links in email more often than on links on Twitter and Facebook combined? 53% of emails are viewed via mobile devices? Is E-newsletter Relevant In Modern Marketing? According to an online survey based on the festive newsletter of Adobe in 2016, 40% of the polled consumers reported that the best way to contact them via a mobile device is email. The Low Cost Of Sending Email Is A Strong Argument In Its Favor For your information, email distribution brings significant income (≈ 4 times more than the invested sum), which is another proof in favor of this method. Email marketing is among the most effective and staying relevant tools for increasing interest of the audience and attracting customers. However, not everything is so wonderful in the world of email marketing. It is well-known that emails show a very meager percentage of clicks on the links - only 4%. It is also evident that our mailboxes are clogged with tens of thousands of emails, and sending advertisements to emails continues day and night, that is why your letter has almost no chance to attract the user\'s attention. Do not forget that email can boast a higher percentage of clicks on links through mobile devices. 53% of electronic messages are read from mobile devices. Moreover, 23% of recipients who see a message on the screen of their mobile gadget are most probably to open it later. From every four clicks on the links in the letter, one click is made through mobile devices. All of these stunning statistics point to the fact that the mobile environment is the best piece of digital territory for promoting applications. How Does It Work? Target those who are already subscribed to your email, and invite them to participate in the beta testing of your application. Your company most probably has a ready-made list of email addresses of subscribers. Use it to the fullest extent. Begin to act: attract subscribers with a beautiful mailing HTML format. Do you think they will be enraged when they receive another unnecessary message? On the contrary, they will be proud and happy to know that you rank them as favorites and trust them to beta test your application. Take a look at Echograph\'s letter, in which the company offers to test their application. The text is unambiguous and in essence. There is only a description of some steps and pictures explaining how the recipient of the letter can begin to test the application. When users send you feedback on the results of beta testing, use this as an excuse to send them a thank you letter. Before doing so, just make sure that there is some extra included in the thank you letter. Some free application update, for example. Take a look at what Dropmark has come up with. There is a letter of thanks for those who participated in the Dropmark beta test. First of all, the company thanks users for beta testing of the application. And then it says that beta participants can get an improved version of the application at a special price. Get down to business - compose an attractive newsletter featuring the go button leading to the App Store Emails should be concise and straight to the point. In other words, cut to the chase. This is a \"military\" style of electronic correspondence, nothing superfluous. If you need to explain something - use bulleted lists. The ability to save words takes on immense significance here. In the world of mobile application marketing, things are almost the same. Mailing service allows you to send any letter a bunch of times, but only the most precise and riveting letters can claim the attention of consumers. Look, for example, at the excellent email newsletter from FreshDirect, promoting their applications for Android, iPhone and iPad. As you can see, the message immediately proclaims the main idea, and in focus there is a mobile application. More importantly, there are large buttons with direct links to AppStore and PlayMarket, which allows users to directly download the application to their devices. Send an explanatory letter You are delighted that users are downloading your application. However, later you discover that some people started deleting it in the first days of use, thus confirming the statistics that 80% of applications are deleted in the first three days after the initial download. Do you want to avoid this situation? Do not panic - include an explanatory letter in an app installer or send it via newsletter to the user until the three days have elapsed. Before that, it is necessary to automate the newsletter so to save time and make sure that your explanatory letter acquaints the user with the functionality of the application in an accessible form. Let\'s get an idea of how an explanatory letter should be organized, looking at the application for travelers Hitlist. Hitlist found that new users did not actively use the downloaded application. To stir them, the company developed a mailing based on the behavior and configured for the necessary triggers. At first sight, this letter is rather dry and plain. But as soon as users start reading, they will understand that this letter will help resolve the difficulties that arise when trying to deal with the application. It feels like Hitlist can read the minds of its users! The letter offers us stop worrying and begin to act, even if we have not decided on dates or directions yet. The newsletter promises the recipients the solution to all problems associated with planning a trip. Introduce them to a little-known feature Unlike the explanatory letter giving an idea of the basic application’s functionality, this letter draws the user\'s attention to other exciting features that are underappreciated. Such email reminders can help users rediscover the benefits of the application, which will help the application to \"live\" on the mobile device longer. To compose such a letter, try to find out which features in the application are the most popular and used ones. Various analytical tools such as Appcues can help you with that. Learn the Swarm newsletter to better understand the mechanics of the work of such letters. As you noticed, the letter immediately directs the user\'s attention to the new functions of the application. No less important is that the letter has two buttons with a call to try new opportunities. Moreover, the letter contains a direct link to Swarm, and the click will transfer the user directly to the messenger. Use data on the users’ activity in the application to stay on the same wave with your audience Your company should be able to obtain the latest information which will help to keep a hand on the pulse in relations with consumers. Here, the analytics of applications comes into play again. With it, you can track in what aspects of the application people are most active, and, based on such data, adjust the content of the mailings to their interests. For example, keep an eye on what products the user most often browses and which pages of the application have remained open longer than others. Then, take the first step and impress customers by sending them a selection of desired products with pleasant discounts. For example, this personalized newsletter from Amazon.com is aimed at people interested in Canon cameras. Perhaps these users were viewing Canon cameras in the Amazon application or on their website, and this prompted the company to send this group of customers an up-to-date personalized letter. Employ user information to personalize notifications Anyone who neglects data from a user profile disregards the opportunity to win their loyalty. Increasingly, emails leave a feeling that we try to sell the goods using the standard phrases. Consumers look such emails through and delete them, barely reading. Therefore, you need to move beyond the standard approach if you want to please the users. The main idea: collect as much users information as possible while they are browsing through the application. This will help to create personalized emails for each group of recipients in the future. Collect these and other accessible information as well: Name Age Behavior in the application Location Interests Gender Position or place of work Past purchases Frequency of purchases Follow Through Concluding our overview of the most beneficial advantages of email marketing based on our experience in advising email marketing to our clients in the software development sector, healthcare, logistics, and many other industries, we can surely state two things - it is always a relevant strategy, which companies have been resorting to for a very long time; It is a very profitable technique. Therefore, whatever the cost, be sure to apply twice as much effort working on marketing mailings and making them as personalized as possible - that’s a great resolution for 2018. If you are still not sure how to deal with it, such a service as Benchmark will become a great helper to you. The service’s team has an extensive experience in email marketing and knows well how to promote an app successfully.


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Overcoming Our Fears of the Gmail Promotions Tab

Beyond • January 24, 2018

Whether it’s facing our fears or achieving our New Year’s Resolutions, there is strength in numbers. Don’t just trust us. The data backs it up. Consider one of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions year after year: getting healthy/losing weight. Studies have shown that having a gym buddy can drastically improve your results. A survey conducted by the Department of Kinesiology at Indiana University tracked married couples who joined a health club together. Those that worked out separately had a 43% dropout rate over the course of one year. The couples who went together, even if they weren’t focused on the same exercises, had only a 6.3% dropout rate. That’s why we committed to facing our fears, while also encouraging our readers to conquer theirs. It’s the whole purpose of our theme for the blog this month. We’re all in it together, so there’s a greater chance of success. The Buddy System We reached out to some of our favorite marketers using Benchmark to ask them about their fears with email marketing. In exchange for being a bit vulnerable and admitting to some of their fears, we told them we’d give them some advice on how to overcome them. Since the chances are less than slim that they’re the only ones facing that fear, we’ll help many of our readers along the way. See? The buddy system! Facing Fears Luis Gil has used Benchmark for nearly three years to promote his life coaching business Inspira y Avanza. Despite seeing open rates and click-through rates that meet or exceed industry standards, there are still fears to which Luis holds on. We reached out to several of our favorite marketers using Benchmark. Luis was one of the brave ones willing to open up about his fear: Benchmark: Did you have any fears when you began email marketing about getting started or that potentially delayed you getting started? Luis Gil: My main fear was that the emails didn’t arrive in the main folder of the contact. Many of them went to “promotions” or “trash.” Should You Fear the Promotions tab? The simple answer is no … and yes. Ok. Maybe it isn’t so simple. Let’s break it down. When Gmail first introduced the Promotions tab, Return Path determined the tabs users enabled. At the time, 77% were using the Social tab, 46% took advantage of the Promotions tab and 46% had the Updates tab. That means that for more than half of your subscribers who are using Gmail, it’s a nonissue. However, we never want the list of people who want to receive emails from us halved. So, let’s look at the pros and the cons of the Promotions Tab. Putting the Pro in the Promotion Tab When you boil it down, all the Promotions tab does is help your subscribers organize their inbox. In fact, according to a ReturnPath study of three million Gmail users, the Promotions tab increased deliverability, open rates and even reduced spam complaints. Not only that, but the Promotions tab trained subscribers on how to shop in the inbox. To explain that concept, let’s think outside of the inbox for a second. Even if you’re a Millenial, you probably remember receiving catalogs in the mail. You may browse through a catalog, just to look at the pictures. However, when you’re ready to shop those catalogs are the first place you’d look. The Promotions tab is the new stack of catalogs. Today’s inbox is crowded. It’s easy to get lost in all the noise. In the Primary tab, you’re also competing with emails from friends and family or even work. However, when your subscribers click over to the Promotions tab, they’re there looking for something. Readers with a purpose are more likely to engage with your email campaigns. Let’s also not forget that as many as 75% of your subscribers are opening your emails on mobile. The Gmail app doesn’t even have tabs to begin with. So What are the Cons of the Promotions Tab? It’s mostly optics that make the Promotions tab feel like a con. The data proves it to be the opposite. So what’s the real con of the Promotions tab? It puts the burden on email marketers to create great content. It holds us all accountable to do our jobs better. Subscribers will seek out great content, no matter the tab. If that sounds intimidating to you, perhaps you’re missing the point of email marketing. The reason email marketing boasts such a high ROI is that it provides so many opportunities to do customer-centric marketing. You’re delivering value directly to your subscribers where they want to receive it. Your sales will increase thanks to email marketing, but only if you’re finding a way to foster quality, ongoing customer engagement. That is done by services your subscribers’ needs and not your own. Your positive outcomes will be a natural byproduct of good, customer-centric marketing. Still not sold? ReturnPath also discovered that campaigns to get your subscribers to move your emails into their primary tab proved largely fruitless. They studied those “move me” campaigns and found that only 61 of the 65,507 emails sent landed in the Primary tab. That’s less than 0.1%. Asking your subscribers to whitelist your emails or to move them to their Primary tab simply does not work. For more information on ensuring your emails are hitting the inbox, regardless of which tab, and not the spam folder check out our latest guide The Deliverability Formula: 5 Steps to Reach the Inbox.


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Fear of Marketing Automation (#FOMA): Insufficient Customer Data

Practical Marketer • January 17, 2018

Technology can seem intimidating, especially to professionals who lack a strong technical background. However, in today’s competitive marketplace, failing to automate means potentially falling behind. Chances are, your competition has already fully embraced software, and in doing so, they have access to information you don’t have. If you haven’t adopted technology as part of your marketing efforts, however, you aren’t alone. According to Econsultancy’s State of B2B Marketing Automation study, 60 percent of companies still struggle to find the resources necessary to put marketing automation in place. That number is likely to decrease over time, so it’s important to begin researching automation for your marketing campaigns sooner, rather than later. For the many businesses who have let Fear of Marketing Automation (FOMA) hold them back, a small amount of research could make all the difference. This guide will help you as you prepare to automate your business’s marketing efforts, whether you’re considering email marketing automation, social media marketing automation, or another option. Addressing the Fear Fear serves a very real purpose. When presented with a danger, humans experience a rush of adrenaline necessary to take action. If that danger is a big bear or an approaching tornado, that sudden surge of energy can be useful. However, when you have a fear of the unknown, it can hold you back. There’s comfort in knowing you aren’t alone. In fact, 15.7 percent of the population fears unfamiliar technology, ranking higher than germs, blood, and strangers. With technology driving so much of our lives today, though, it’s important to recognize that something is only “new” until you learn more about it. Tech providers are well aware of these fears and have worked hard to make it easier than ever to familiarize yourself with technology well before you commit. Each day, therapists encounter patients who want to overcome their fears. The first step is often to get to the root of those fears. What in your past makes you afraid of the things you fear? Is there a previous experience that taught you that tackling something new can lead to problems? If you can identify the cause of your fear, it makes it much easier to take the next step. The next step, as recommended by many therapists, is exposure. If you’re afraid of closed spaces, for instance, a counselor will likely gradually immerse you in tight situations until you begin to grow comfortable. If your fear is specific to public speaking, you may be referred to an organization that can help you gain confidence as you speak in front of audiences. For the many people who fear new technology, exposure is easy. Many solutions providers offer a free demo or trial period, during which time you’ll be allowed to try out various features and make sure they’re right for you. You’ll likely be surprised to find that today’s cloud-based solutions are much more user-friendly than the applications you tried in the past. The Fear of Missing Data For professionals across all industries and specialties, their fears are specific to marketing automation. They may not feel that “fight or flight” type of fear as much as they procrastinate learning more about it because they don’t fully understand it. All around them, companies are using the latest technology to reach customers in ways not available through traditional marketing methods. Procrastination means being left far behind by the competition, who will lure customers away. But as you look at various solutions, a new fear may emerge. What if you don’t have the data necessary to get started with your marketing research? What many professionals don’t realize is that marketing automation can help you build and enrich your existing databases. You’ll be collecting information on a daily basis that you never had access to before. That information includes: Customer names and contact information. Customer website activities, including website clicks and shopping cart abandonments. Email opens. Link clicks within emails. Subscribers who open emails but don’t click. Social media engagements. By gathering this information, you can create marketing campaigns that target specific customers based on the data you’ve gathered. If you have a clearance sale, for instance, you can reach out to customers who have bought similar items in the past. You can even create a targeted campaign specific to customers who have never opened an email but remain on your subscriber list. All of this data goes beyond the type of information you could collect from customers on your own, even if you conducted a survey. The right marketing automation can fill your database with information that you can then use to segment your lists. As customers begin to demand personalized marketing, the businesses that stick to traditional one-size-fits-all messaging will lose to companies who have the automation necessary to customize their approach. Understanding the Tools Chances are, you have specific goals for your business’s marketing efforts. You likely know your customers already and have determined where your ideal customer is likely to hang out. For many businesses today, marketing is a combination of social media, blogging, and email messaging, as well as any traditional advertising they choose to use. You don’t have to tackle every type of marketing automation at once. Many businesses choose to start with email marketing automation since studies show 92 percent of all online adults use email. Marketers also find the return on their investment is better with email, with marketers estimating an ROI of 122 percent on the email campaigns they launch. Best of all, many professionals are already familiar with setting up and sending emails, so the user interface of email marketing solutions is often easier to learn than other tools. Once you’ve researched reviews and recommendations, finding a solution that works for you, ask for a demo if one isn’t available online. This demo will show you exactly how the platform works. From this presentation, you’ll be able to see the reporting features built into the solution, as well as features like segmentation that can help you put that information to work to market to potential customers. Outlining Your Needs Since email marketing automation can help you build and grow your database, it’s important to work well in advance to identify what you hope to get out of it. This starts with highlighting the business gains you hope to achieve. Is your goal to grow your customer base, increase brand awareness, nurture existing customers, or a combination of all of the above? By knowing your end goal, you’ll be more likely to choose an email marketing automation solution that gets exactly the results you want. Once you’ve outlined those overall goals, it’s important to identify exactly what information you hope to gather from your automation efforts. The first layer will be the data you need to customize your future marketing efforts, including customers who purchased certain products you offer and newsletter subscribers who clicked on various links. If you have an existing database, ensure that your email marketing solution can deliver the necessary information to fields within that solution to avoid duplicate work. As you’re defining your requirements, take into account other benefits software can provide, including allowing you to schedule messages to deploy at certain hours. With the right automation, you’ll be able to monitor email opens by day of week and time of day. This data will then allow you to choose the perfect time for your messages to hit recipients’ inboxes, upping the chances that they’ll be opened. When combined with market segmentation, this is a great way to boost your email marketing game. Lastly, it’s important to carefully think through how you plan to use the data you gather in your marketing campaign planning. Once your automation is in place, you’ll regularly collect information such as email open rates, which will give you valuable insight into whether your subject lines are connecting with your target audience. You can then use A/B testing to experiment with various subject lines to learn more about what works and doesn’t work. Over time, you’ll have an approach that is more refined, limiting the risk of wasted time on ineffective subject lines. Putting the Information to Use Once your marketing automation tools are in place, the work begins. It’s important to regularly review the needs you outlined before choosing your software and ensure you’re reaching those goals. Over time, you should see opens, clicks, and sales increasing as a result of your marketing efforts. By closely monitoring your results each month, you’ll be well on your way to fully understanding the exact marketing strategy you need to find success. Whether you choose to connect with customers through social media, content, or email marketing automation, the key is to have the right tools in place to boost your efforts. The biggest benefit you’ll get from any marketing campaigns is the information it brings back to you. Built-in reporting tools will show you exactly how your efforts are received by your intended audience, which will keep you from wasting time on campaigns that don’t work. In the end, you’ll find your ROI increases when you’re monitoring every message you send and each piece of content you post.


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Fear of Marketing Automation (FOMA): Lack of Expertise / Know-How

Fear of Marketing Automation (#FOMA): Lack of Expertise or Know-How

Practical Marketer • January 16, 2018

Starting the process of automating your marketing process can be daunting. You’re used to personalizing your approach, and the idea of giving up that level of control likely makes you uneasy. However, automated doesn’t have to mean generic, and as you’ll see, there are plenty of ways to make marketing automation your own. Businesses always need to keep up with evolving practices, and over time, automated marketing will be more consistent and efficient than the traditional variety. Managers often avoid making the switch to automated marketing because of the associated uncertainty, but if you have a good understanding of the process, you’ll find that it’s much simpler than you imagined. The results are well worth the initial transition: Email Monday reported that 74% of companies said marketing automation has been either very beneficial or quite beneficial. Marketing automation is effective for both B2B and B2C. Statistics from Act-On show that B2B marketers increase their sales-pipeline contribution by 10%, while B2C marketers who use automation have had it lead to conversion rates of up to 50%. Knowing in advance how to deal with some of the most common issues and setbacks will give you a leg up on the competition as you begin to automate your business’s marketing. Applying Your Marketing Knowledge Marketing automation seems like an unknown, but it involves the knowledge and expertise you’ve already built up through conventional marketing. While you’ll have to learn some new concepts, you have most of the tools you need to be successful. If you typically write emails to new contacts, this is a great starting point for automation. Instead of personally writing emails after events, just have an automatic email triggered when a contact is added to the list—simply include the key points you would send to any new lead. Automation can also be a key piece of moving your leads closer to a sale. While businesses often make repetitive sales calls or write emails to check in and follow up, automating this process accomplishes the same goal with a smaller time investment, giving you time to focus on what matters to you and your business. In addition to efficiency, marketing automation also improves the consistency of your sales development. This allows you to pursue more leads with the same time investment for reliable results. By writing your emails beforehand instead of personally, you can take the time to ensure your brand and image are being communicated effectively to each potential client. As opposed to continually calling or emailing leads to push them toward conversion, you can schedule automated emails to be triggered at certain times. These serve the same purpose as the conventional follow-up process with a smaller time investment, giving you more opportunities to expand your sales. These are just a few examples of ways to replace your current marketing processes with automation—you know your business and market better than anyone else. Managers often overestimate the scope of the changes necessary and don’t realize that a lot can be accomplished with the knowledge and experience they already have. Automated marketing isn’t about changing your sales process. It’s about taking that process and making it even more efficient. The Basics of Marketing Automation The first thing you should focus on as you make the transition to automated marketing is setting clear goals. The specific goals depend on your business and management style, but some examples include figures for revenue, market share, or new accounts. By measuring your newly automated marketing against what came before, you’ll have a better idea of what’s working and what needs to improve. This step should align with the work you’ve already done on your current marketing strategies, rather than replacing them. Since traditional and automated marketing alike are meant to accomplish the same goals, many of the same ideas and philosophies apply. By checking your results periodically, you can see which areas are working and which ones aren’t, which will help you adapt your approach over time. In fact, your goal-setting process should start with a review of your existing practices. Look at what’s effective and what isn’t, and identify areas to improve when you move to automated marketing. Keep your strengths prominent in your new approach while using the advantages of automation to address your weaknesses. Automated marketing is often more similar to conventional marketing than people assume, as it involves the same process of trying new things, evaluating them, and making adjustments. Automated marketing offers a range of benefits compared to traditional marketing. In fact, according to Salesforce, companies with automation have a 53% higher conversion rate from marketing response to marketing qualified lead. However, that doesn’t mean you should implement it carelessly. It’s important to find the right tool for each part of the sales process—your marketing approach should be tailored to your business’ unique needs. Initial emails, for example, can often be automated with only minor adjustments, but there’s always going to be a place for personal communication, and there are some things that should be left as they are. No automated marketing system is going to work perfectly from the start, so while you can anticipate some of the benefits and challenges, a lot of the fine-tuning takes place later on. Once you’ve had a chance to see how your new approach looks in action, you’ll be able to make changes. As time goes on, you’ll have a better idea of your market, so don’t be afraid to test out new ideas. Just like regular marketing, your goal isn’t to come up with a single, perfect system. Even the best marketing strategies are constantly being tested and adjusted. The easiest way to see what changes are necessary is to regularly evaluate your current practices. Measuring your success quarterly, for example, will give you regular as well as year-over-year data to work off as you make adjustments. While this can seem like a challenge, businesses who push through the initial phase are almost always satisfied with the results: 91% of marketing automation users say that it’s very important to the success of their online marketing. Marketing Resources If you’re weighing the pros and cons of marketing automation, you’re not alone. There are numerous resources available to guide you through it. These writers and managers have seen firsthand the advantages and potential pitfalls of automated marketing, so becoming familiar with their experience and advice will help you avoid falling into the same traps. As with any change, preparation is key—if you have an idea of what to expect, you’re more likely to make the right decisions for you and your business. Neil Patel, one of the internet’s most prolific writers on marketing, has a guide intended to explain the ins and outs of marketing automation, from the basics to more minute details. He focuses on three main aspects of the automation: email marketing, social media, and landing pages. In fact, Neil’s guide is in some parts a step-by-step walkthrough on how to implement the necessary changes. With email marketing, for example, he explains how he automatically share blog posts with subscribers. If you’re new to the world of marketing automation, this guide is a great place to start learning about both the possibilities of automation and how to use them to your advantage. Another extremely comprehensive resource is Moz’s Beginner\'s Guide to Marketing Automation. In contrast to Neil Patel’s, this guide focuses more on how and why it works the way it does. Some of the main concepts are explained in detail, and you’ll learn how to harness the best aspects of marketing automation while avoiding some of the most common negatives. It doesn’t spend as much time on the actual mechanics, such as how to use various marketing tools, instead of explaining each step of the process along with some tips and best practices. WP Curve has a guide with an extremely helpful section on some of the key areas of marketing automation. For example, one issue that often comes up with marketing automation is a lack of personalization. The guide gives some advice on making sure your marketing comes off as genuine and unique rather than spammy or one-size-fits-all. Following those tips will make the transition to automated marketing even easier. Tools like Zapier can help streamline your marketing automation by performing certain tasks for you automatically. It will allow you to schedule social media posts or emails, making them go out on their own at the right time, in addition to a wide range of other features. Zapier and other software are key pieces of automated marketing as they enable you to accomplish your goals with minimal oversight. Conclusion With recent increases in the availability, cost, and functionality of technology, marketing automation is now a unique opportunity for businesses to expand their reach without using unnecessary resources. On average, users of marketing automation see a 3.1% higher revenue growth rate. However, it can also be tricky to work with and lead to unexpected results if not managed correctly. By following the guidelines covered here, you’ll be well on your way to successful marketing, but in the end, nobody knows your business and market better than you. No matter how much you read, there’s no substitute for real-world experience and the process of trial and error. Don’t be afraid to try out your ideas—seeing what’s effective and what isn’t is the best way to improve. Setting clear, measurable goals will help you determine whether you’re making sufficient progress or whether you need to make changes. You can connect with fellow marketers or use the resources available online to read and learn from others’ experiences. This information should be enough to get you started, but marketing automation is an ongoing, constantly changing process. The best marketers are those who see their unique place in the market, stay ahead of the trends, and continuously adapt to new developments.


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Benchmark Email con mas Integraciones

Benchmark Email Now Integrates With 1,000+ Other Products

Beyond • January 10, 2018

Do you remember Captain Planet? The famous line was “by your powers combined!” In case you’re too young to remember, have blocked it out or simply never watched, here’s a refresher: Each person’s powers individually had their strengths, but when combined was when the true heroism began. It was true for that cartoon, but it’s even truer in our actual day to day lives. Integrations Make us Great We know that getting your work done requires many different web tools. In fact, the average business uses between 10 and 16 apps. You have your email app, CRM, note-taking tool, cloud storage tool, team communication app, along with project management tools and various to-do lists. Sometimes, it can be a struggle to get them all working in tandem. Now that Benchmark Email has 1,000 integrations, you can choose your favorite tools and easily integrate them with Benchmark Email. Benchmark Email now connects to 1,000 other web tools, thanks to our Zapier integration. With the workflow automation tool Zapier, you can set up your own codeless integrations called “Zaps.” These connections will automatically send information from one tool to another, so you’ll spend less time manually transferring data between your business tools and can dedicate more time to focus on creative or big picture tasks. Integrate Your eCommerce Store If you are using an eCommerce platform to sell through your website, you should have it connect to your email marketing account. It’s one of the most effective ways to turn a one time purchaser into a repeat customer or even a brand evangelist. When a customer makes a purchase, you can immediately follow up with a Thank You email. That Thank You email can and should actually be the first of several emails that are triggered by the purchase. Future follow-up emails can offer related products or services that you may sell or even customer testimonials that will confirm they’ve made a great purchase or help them further understand how to put your goods or services to use. You can even send an email when it may be time for that customer to re-up on your product or service. That helpful reminder will keep them coming back. If they still haven’t made another purchase after that gentle nudge, you can try a little harder with a discount or another incentive to gain their repeat business. This can all be easily set up and once and happen automatically, even months after the initial purchase, thanks to marketing automation. Integrate Your Form Builders You may be using lead capturing tools throughout your website and social media. Those are valuable contacts that need to be followed up with. Integrating those forms with your email account just makes good sense. Using automation, you can begin with a Welcome Email. This sets the tone with a warm welcome and lets your leads know what to expect. From there, you can send Promotion Emails to turn those leads into customers. With a well-designed automated sequence of emails, you can send follow-ups based on if the leads opened the email, clicked on links or even visited specific pages on your website. Integrate Your CRM You’re using CRM to track all of the details, interactions and everything else that goes into your business relationship with your customers and leads. It would be silly not to put all that information to use with email marketing. Targeted, relevant content is always most effective with email marketing. Use your CRM data to create segmented lists that enable you to send email campaigns to your customers that they want to receive, because it delivers values and answers their needs. Boost Your Productivity with Popular Benchmark Email Integrations No matter what other apps you use, chances are Benchmark Email integrates with them via Zapier. Here are some of the most popular integrations that Benchmark Email users already use to be more productive. The New Year is the perfect time to evaluate your processes and find ways to boost productivity. Try out some of the Zaps above or view more ways to integrate Benchmark Email.


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Fear of Marketing Automation (#FOMA): Lack of Human Resources

Practical Marketer • January 9, 2018

Marketing automation has become a bit of a buzzword, and I’m guessing you have heard it thrown around quite a bit. It’s okay if you still don’t fully understand what is involved in marketing automation. To explain it in layman’s terms, once your company reaches a certain point, it’s impossible to have one-on-one contact with everyone. Therefore, marketing automation involves using software to automate certain marketing tactics and workflows. That way you continue to nurture relationships with your customers while still bringing in new business. In other words, marketing automation can give one person the power of ten (or more!) and erase any fear of a lack of resources. You can do all this without having to spend your time emailing customers or scheduling social media posts. Therefore, it can save you tons of time down the road and free you up to do the most important things in your business. The Biggest Myths About Marketing Automation The popularity of marketing automation has grown tremendously over the years with roughly 59 percent of B2B companies implementing some form of it. And for good reason -- marketing automation increases sales productivity by 14.5 percent while reducing overhead by 12.2 percent. So if that’s true, then why aren’t more companies adopting marketing automation? Obviously, there are still a few holdouts left. What’s the deal? Well, the reason really boils down to one word: fear. Many people don’t really understand marketing automation so certain fears and myths still persist around the topic. Let’s look at a few of them, shall we? Marketing Automation is Impersonal This is probably the biggest fear most people need to overcome. So let’s clear up one thing right from the start -- marketing automation does not mean that you are delivering cold, impersonal content to your customers. It’s actually the exact opposite. Because it gives you the bandwidth to reach more people in a more strategic way, you can take the time to create exceptional content that will deliver more value to your customers. So rather than automation being synonymous with spam, it actually allows you to communicate in a more meaningful way. And the research backs this up -- out of all the companies using marketing automation, 80 percent saw an increase in leads and 77 percent reported an increase in their conversion rates. It’s Only Useful for the Marketing Department This myth is understandable given the name but the truth is, marketing automation extends beyond your marketing team. It can help anyone who is interested in taking more redundant tasks off their plate. It gives you more time to focus on strategic, big picture thinking like how to continue to nurture leads or coming up with new campaign ideas. It can also be hugely beneficial to your sales team because it makes it easier for them to qualify leads. You probably already know that not all leads are created equal. After all, what is the point of lead generation if it only seems to attract people who have no interest in buying your product or service? That’s why a huge benefit of marketing automation is that it ensures not just that your company brings in new leads but that it brings in quality leads. It does this by providing important customer data like job position and industry. It also reveals digital data about how your leads behave online. All of this information can be used to help your company sort and quality those leads, which we will get to shortly. Marketing Automation is Too Expensive for Small Businesses This is another persistent myth and if it were 2011, it may even be true. But now that are tons of marketing automation tools available and many of the most basic plans are completely free. And don’t write off the more affordable plans -- the majority are intuitive, simple to use, and have many of the same capabilities as more expensive plans. Tips for Implementing Marketing Automation So now that we have cleared up some of the biggest myths and fears about marketing automation, how do you actually get started? This is a good question because truth be told, it is only as useful as its implementation. Going forward, it’s important to find the right mix of strategies and tactics so that your company can find the biggest return on investment. Let’s look at a few tips on how you can move forward. Start With a Plan It’s important to understand that the beginning period will be the most difficult, time-consuming part of the process. However, marketing automation will save you time down the road. Before you choose your marketing automation software, make sure you have a plan in place. What objectives and goals is your company looking to achieve? Once you have identified this you can put a plan in place. I would recommend starting small and then build out your plan from there. Begin deploying what you are already doing first and then you can always add on as you continue to gain confidence. Once you have a plan in place and everything seems to be smooth sailing, it’s important that you continue to evaluate what’s working and what isn’t. Continue to monitor your data and test out new ideas. You’re never going to be done learning and it will always be a work in progress. Sort and Qualify Your Leads Do you understand how your customers are interacting with your website? Are you familiar with their browsing habits? And most important, do you know how to use that information to develop future marketing strategies? Your marketing automation software can help you do just that. You can use it to gauge customer interest based on opens and clicks through rates. And the data you receive makes it easier to segment both leads and customers based on their behavior. That way you can create messaging that is specific to each type of lead or customer. The term “segmentation” makes a lot of people nervous but it’s actually pretty simple. It’s simply a strategy for dividing customers and leads into different groups based on similar traits or online habits. To get started, you first need to make sure your data is accurate and reliable. Many businesses have databases that contain tons of outdated and redundant information. In fact, according to this study, 60 percent of companies have data that is unreliable. Once you have cleaned up your data, you can focus on segmentation knowing that your efforts will produce the best results possible. However, this is also a process that will never be finished. Your motto should always be to test...and then test some more. Outsource What You Can So what if you don’t have a big marketing department to handle all of this for you? Does this mean marketing automation isn’t for you? Absolutely not. Thanks to the rise of the freelance economy, it has become easier than ever to outsource some of your work to other people at an affordable price point. For instance, freelance platforms like Upwork allows you to connect with over nine million freelancers in 180 different countries. With over 1.5 million freelancers, Guru is another great alternative for outsourcing work. This not only puts a wide pool of qualified candidates at your fingertips but it allows you to build long-term relationships with the freelancers you hire. And scaling your business will be easier when you already have a remote team put in place. Many people get nervous when they think about outsourcing important business tasks to freelancers. We’ve probably all heard stories of associates who were taken advantage of. And hiring the wrong person can definitely hurt you more than it can help. A good plan is to ask for recommendations from colleagues for freelancers they used and were happy with. And again, I would recommend you start small in this area. Start out with some basic tasks and then build from there as you gain a level of trust with that person. Conclusion Once your email list gets beyond a certain level, it’s impossible for you to personally interact with everyone. Thankfully, marketing automation allows you to continue to build relationships with your customers and leads while still maintaining a shred of sanity. Hopefully, now you understand not only how powerful marketing automation is but also how feasible it is for you to implement in your own business. It’s a great way to automate the things you just don’t have time for so you can continue to bring value to your customers. What are some of the marketing tasks you plan to automate first? Let me know in the comments!


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Fear of Marketing Automation (FOMA): Lack of Marketing Automation Strategy

Fear of Marketing Automation (#FOMA): Lack of Marketing Automation Strategy

Practical Marketer • January 8, 2018

Marketing automation can seem scary. “Giving up control to the machines? No way.” “I don’t know. It’s so complicated… I’m probably better off doing this on my own.” Fun fact: Industry stats tell us a very different story. In fact, this study shows that marketing automation increases sales productivity by 14.5% and drives a 12.2% decrease in marketing overhead. Doesn’t seem that scary now, does it? It isn’t. Most marketers still hesitate to take the automation leap, especially because they feel they don’t have a good enough “strategy” to do that yet. Here’s the good news: You don’t have to wait. You don’t need a complex, out-of-the-world strategy. Your marketing automation strategy is right there in front of you. It lies within all the things you are already doing manually. You just need to find it. We are here to help you do just that. Follow these three simple, super-easy steps to find and deploy your perfect Marketing Automation strategy 1. Start Simple First of all, stop worrying about doing everything all at once. You don’t have to automate all your marketing or sales processes in one day. When you start simple, you have a clear idea of where you stand, and where you want to go from there. This gives you more control over your decisions, and you’ll end up with a better, more effective automation strategy. Automate the Basics Start with the most basic stuff already part of your sales process. Think about it: what kind of emails do you typically send out? Don’t you think you can save a lot of time by automating those emails? You could invest that time into more important things. Like actually creating an amazing email. Here are some basic marketing processes you can easily automate when you start off initially: Welcome Series If you have a sign-up or subscription form anywhere on your website, blog or store, you should at least welcome your new subscribers. If you already do that manually, think about how much automation can help you out. Automating your welcome emails will do more than just save a lot of your precious time and energy. You will also know exactly when and what your visitors will receive as soon as they hit that subscribe button. Being aware of what your visitors can expect helps you optimize your future marketing efforts. If you manually send your welcome emails, you’ll never fully understand the effects of what you send out. What if you sent that one email two minutes earlier? What if you forgot to welcome those other two subscribers? The list goes on and on. Automating your welcome emails ensures your visitors get an immediate response from you, which can do wonders for their experience, help you save time, and increase your sales at the same time! Promotional Emails New products in your e-commerce store? An upcoming event you need to promote? A SALE?? Of course, you need to send an email about it! What if some of your subscribers never opened your email? Maybe they just scrolled past and missed it. Or maybe they just weren’t interested at that time. Whatever the reason, you need to follow up with them. That’s where you automate. Automating your follow-up emails can help you send personalized emails to the right people, at just the right time, which is an integral part of your automation strategy. You no longer have to worry about tracking down who to send them to, because automating the process will simply send pre-designed follow-up emails after a set time to the right subscribers, based on whether they opened your promotional email or not. Sending automated follow-up emails will save you tons of time, and will also minimize, if not eliminate, the chances of missing out on following up with some subscribers. It’s also very effective when it comes to increasing sales, and getting people to notice your promotions. Cart Abandonment & Repurchase Programs According to the Baymard Institute, the average shopping cart abandonment rate is 69.23%. That’s a LOT. And if you run an e-commerce business, you already know the importance of trying to win these “abandoners” back. Look at it this way: These people showed interest in your products. All they need is a little nudge in the right direction! Cart abandonment and repurchase programs can easily become an effective part of your marketing automation strategy. Instead of manually trying to reach every single person who showed interest in your product, automate the whole process! This ensures your “potential” customers receive timely, personalized emails, which can dramatically increase your conversion rates. For added impact, you can also throw in automated discounts and promotions on the items they showed interest in or abandoned. 2. Visualize Your Sales Process Now that you’ve automated some of the basic stuff you usually do manually, it’s time to take things a little further. To develop an ideal, comprehensive marketing automation strategy for your business, you need to look more carefully at your sales process. Visualize it. It’s a great practice to jot down all the steps involved in your marketing and sales process, from welcoming subscribers, offering promotions and discounts, to thanking them and asking them for feedback. Once you do that, it will be much easier to focus on each part, instead of being overwhelmed by the whole. Look for Opportunities to Automate The good thing about visualizing your entire sales process is now you can identify ‘openings,’ or opportunities to automate. Don’t just restrict yourself to the obvious. Look for the pieces in between. Thanking a customer after they buy your product? Automate it. Schedule an awesome ‘Thank You’ email that goes every time someone makes a purchase. That part where you ask for their feedback? You can automate that too. Other than the usual stuff, you can also use your creativity to start to fill in the gaps. If you collect information like your subscriber’s birth date, you can send out automated birthday emails to brighten their day! Enrich your automation strategy by exploiting new, untapped opportunities in your marketing and sales process. Work Backwards Great, so you have started to hunt for opportunities to automate. Now, how about you look at your sales process from a different perspective? Working backward, or reverse engineering your sales process, is a crucial step in developing an effective automation strategy. When you work backward, you start with the end in mind. Look at what sells, and which of your campaigns do well. Break it down and see what worked. What parts can you automate to get the same or even better results? 3. Learn from Others Use of Marketing Automation Never underestimate the importance of learning from other businesses, and all their different kinds of automation campaigns and strategies. Take inspiration from the best, and you’ll find that marketing automation is not complicated at all. Finding out what works, and following the trend, with some modification, of course, can go a long way in helping you develop that perfect automation strategy. Check out these examples of great automated emails for a healthy dose of inspiration: Example 1: Evernote Evernote is a digital productivity tool for collecting and organizing notes. Here is an example of their Welcome Email, which is sent as soon as a visitor makes it through their opt-in page, and downloads their software. Notice how they end their welcome email with a call-to-action for downloading their app across all other devices. Evernote’s Welcome Email is followed by a series of more short emails, which guide you step-by-step through the journey of using and understanding their app. Each email makes sure to end with a call-to-action. Check out the complete email sequence here. Example 2: Twitter Of course, you know about Twitter.  It’s one of the most popular social media platforms out there. Twitter welcomes its new users with a different, more actionable approach than others. Take a look at this example of the first email visitors receive as soon as they sign up and verify their email address on Twitter. What’s important to note here is this email is part of Twitter’s onboarding sequence. Which means that each email in the series is designed to get new users to engage with the platform, and start using it regularly. This first email helps new users ‘get started’ immediately and connects with them by showing them they are part of the Twitter community now. Notice the two calls-to-action placed inside the email. You can check out Twitter’s complete onboarding email sequence here. Example 3: Vimeo Vimeo is a popular video marketing and hosting platform. Here is an interesting example of Vimeo’s onboarding email sequence. Vimeo sends out this specific automated email to remind users about their weekly storage limit. Notice how the email also incorporates some calls-to-action to get people to upgrade to their PRO Unlimited or Business plans. As I said before, this email is part of Vimeo’s onboarding email sequence. The other emails in this sequence also talk about the PRO and Business plans in detail, with the aim of getting their users to upgrade and actively engage with the platform. Check out Vimeo’s complete onboarding email sequence here. Conclusion Developing your perfect marketing automation strategy is not as complicated as you think it is. You just need to reflect on the sales process you already have in place and find out where you can automate to speed things up and get better results. Did this article help you find a great automation strategy for your business? Let us know your feedback and comments!


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Overcoming Our Fears: Getting Started with Email Marketing

Overcoming Our Fears: Getting Started with Email Marketing

Practical Marketer • January 5, 2018

For a lot of us, doing something new is scary. It could be that we fear the unknown, a fear of failing or that we fear we won’t know how to do something. Regardless of the source, many of us won’t ever try a new thing as we succumb to our fears. When it comes to email marketing, several fears or impediments may come into play. So, let’s address them. But first, let’s take a look at why you should even be doing email marketing in the first place. If you made it this far, you’re at least curious. The Case For Email Marketing It’s projected that there will be 2.9 billion email users worldwide by 2019. That’s quite the large audience. Additionally, 105 billion emails are sent daily, with that number expected to increase to 246 billion by 2020. If the numbers aren’t convincing enough, here are several more reasons you need to be doing email marketing: It’s Affordable. Hands down, email marketing is one of the most, if not the most, cost-effective marketing solutions available to businesses today. It\'s Fast. You can create and send your first email in under thirty minutes. You can reach thousands (or more!) of customers and leads in less time than it takes to watch an episode of Game of Thrones. Sending the right message will even inspire your subscribers to quickly engage with your campaign and act upon your call to action. It’s Focused. Few people enjoy feeling like they’re being marketing to. Email marketing allows you to segment your lists into targeted opportunities which allows you to address the needs and wants of your subscribers and provide them with value. That makes for a happy, engaged audience. It’s Simple. Anyone can succeed with email marketing, no matter their experience. Thanks to email templates and drag and drop email builders, as well as other easy-to-implement tools such as A/B Testing and List Segmentation, the learning curve for email marketing is lower than ever before. Plus, real-time reporting shows you your successes and areas for improvement. When your strategy is properly executed, your campaigns will contribute to managing themselves while freeing you up to plan the next move. It Works. A well-planned email campaign will work to drive traffic to your website, increase sales and create ongoing engagement that leads to loyal customers. In fact, for every $1 spent on email marketing, the Return on Investment is $42 earned. Other marketing opportunities simply don’t see those results, all while creating and building brand reputation. So, now you know why you should be doing email marketing. Now, what’s stopping you? Fear of Not Knowing Where to Get Started In the almost decade that I have been working in the email marketing industry, there is one statement that I hear all too frequently from business owners: “We’re not ready for email marketing yet.” However, the real reason they’re not doing email marketing yet is that they don’t know what to do or afraid they’ll do the wrong thing. The truth is, any business, even before they have officially opened their doors (either at a brick and mortar physical location or on the web), should have an email marketing account. Why? It All Starts with a List An email list is the single most important marketing asset to any business. It’s more important than social media followers and a presence on those sites. After all, those sites could go away one day, and all your hard work would be erased along with your followers on that site. Your list of contacts endures. Plus, you can start growing your list even before you company officially launches. It’s a good idea to place a signup form on your website and Facebook page. Tell people to signup to get updates from the company to begin growing excitement. That reason for that is twofold. On the one hand, it helps you build hype leading up to your launch date. It also helps you hit the ground running once you’re open for business. Upload Your List Many companies have a list of contacts, even if they are new to email marketing. For some, it’s the list of customers with whom you’ve already established a relationship. For others, it’s the leads you’re already nurturing with one-off basic emails or phone calls. It could even be just the friends and family members who you can test your early strategies on. Take what you have to work with and upload it to your email marketing account. Based on the amount of data you have on your list, you may even be able to begin some segmentation. At the very least, it’ll give you your start to email marketing. You have to start somewhere, and even sending to a small audience will help you learn what works. Create a Signup Form After uploading any existing contacts you may have already had, a signup form is going to be your new best friend. According to the Nielsen Norman Group, when asked to opt-in to receive updates for a company, 90% chose to receive an email newsletter. Only 10% elected to get updates via Facebook. This is how your list will grow. From there, you expand your reach, follow-up with leads and build your brand--all while doing nothing more than placing a lead capturing form in the places that people interested in your business may visit. So what goes into a great signup form? Keep It Simple, Stupid. You don’t want anything on your list that will give someone pause before signing up. That means keep it short by not asking for too much information. Do you need more than the email address? Can you get that information or qualify your leads in another way? In most cases, the answer is yes. Set clear expectations for the subscriber. This is important for a couple of reasons. First, it helps convince people to sign up. If they know they’re going to get deals from you or helpful information once a month, they won’t be worried about getting their inboxes bombarded. It also helps you attract the kind of subscribers you want and ones who won’t quickly unsubscribe. Create a strong CTA. It should make your site visitors or social followers feel like they simply have to sign up to hear from you and that they have to act now. Make sure the button is large enough to be easily noticed Again, the button must stand out. Traditionally, red buttons work best, and green is the second most effective. Your CTA copy should not be longer than 40 characters. Use first-person language such as “me” or “my” to help potential subscribers relate better. Now that you know what makes up a great signup form, it’s also important to understand where you should put them. Your homepage is the obvious place to start. Some will place it right smack dab above the fold, as the hero image at the top of their page. These are people whose business relies on capturing email addresses. You can’t miss this signup form on the homepage for by Regina. It helps that they’re offering something for signing up. Any incentive is always helpful. Others may relegate their signup form to a sidebar or footer on the page. Make sure it’s on the top of your sidebar. The further down the page it gets, the fewer subscribers you’ll receive. Yes, the footer is all the way at the bottom of your page. However, if someone gets that far, they’re interested in what you’re doing. That makes for better quality subscribers in most cases. A company like Casper knows you’re not on their website to sign up for their emails. That’s why it makes sense for them to reserve their signup form for their footer. The “Free bedtime reading” copy is very on brand for them. If you want to demand attention, use a pop-up signup form. A website visitor will not be able to miss your signup form when it pops directly into their sightlines. You can’t ignore these savings from TOMS when their signup form pops up in front of your face. Saying “Join Us” is another nice touch. It sounds like you have less on the line to sign up. It sounds more like your helping them in their cause of donating shoes to those in need. Aside from your homepage, here are a few other places you should put a signup form: Your blog. It can even be a separate list from your main list. These people may just want to subscribe to receive email updates when you post new content on the blog. Facebook page. Your social media followers aren’t always your email subscribers or website visitors. Change that. About Us page. For many businesses, the About Us page is among the most visited on their website. Take advantage of the eyeballs on the page! That little bar across the top of your site. You’ve probably seen it on some sites you frequent. There are tools that make it easy. Try Hello Bar or ViperBar. SPF Records and DKIM The phrase SPF Records sounds like it means I have to show proof to my overbearing mother that I wore sunscreen at the beach yesterday. DKIM sounds intimidating as well. They don’t need to be! While these two steps in getting started with email marketing are on the technical side, there are easy to follow instructions on how to do them. But first, let’s understand them. SPF Records SPF stands for Sender Policy Framework. If you’re like me, that doesn’t mean anything. In fact, it makes it more confusing. Simply put, SPF Records allow ISPs and inbox clients to trust the authenticity of your emails. Still lost? Say someone knocks on your door. You look through the peephole to see who it is. SPF Records are the peephole of your email campaigns. One of the most common tricks that spammers run is a phishing scam. They design an email to look like it’s from your bank and use it to gain access to your passwords or other sensitive data. Establishing your SPF Records means the ISP can identify the email campaigns you’re sending. It ensures the best chance of delivery of your email campaigns. To establish your SPF records, you’ll do so with your DNS Manager. If you’re unsure of what a DNS Manager is, you’re not alone. If you’ve purchased a domain name and hosting, you have access to a DNS manager. If you don’t, whoever runs your website does. Ask them for help. The SPF record for yourwebdomain.com should go in your DNS manager something like this: yourwebdomain.com IN TXT “v=spf1 a mx ip4:1.2.3.4 include:thirdpartyespdomain.com -all” In this example, 1.2.3.4 = the IP Address of your mail server or 3rd party ESP, like Benchmark Email. Also, thirdpartyespdomain.com = the domain of the 3rd party ESP, such as Benchmark Email, or their relay mail server’s domain name. Your ESP will give you this information. Here’s a very helpful FAQ that will help you establish SPF Records with various domain hosts. Additionally, you can get help with your SPF Records on these sites: http://www.openspf.org/SPF_Record_Syntax http://www.openspf.org/FAQ Once you’ve finished establishing your SPF Records, it’s time to test it. You can do so with either of these sites: http://www.mxtoolbox.com/spf.aspx http://www.kitterman.com/spf/validate.html If you’re still lost or confused, you can reach out to the support with your domain host or your ESP. Both will have plenty of resources to help you out. We cannot emphasize enough how important this step is to getting started with email marketing on the right foot. If you need help, just ask! DKIM DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) is another intimidating sounding phrase, but one which is another easy step in setting yourself up for good email delivery from the start. What DKIM does, is grants an organization the responsibility for an email being delivered, which may pertain to your own business or the ESP you’re using … or both! Any ESP will automatically authenticate your emails with DKIM. That’s good news! However, you can take it up a notch and enable a DKIM CName, which gives you double authentication. That means your emails are authenticated as coming from your business, sent through your ESP. This lets the ISPs identify you as the sender and builds your sender reputation with the help of your ESP as your co-signer. This is what you’ll need: CNAME RECORD FOR DKIM: bmdeda._domainkey.yourdomain.net VALUE: bmdeda._domainkey.bmsend.com Here is a very helpful FAQ to assist you with DKIM and various domain hosting companies. For even more on what you can do to improve your email deliverability, check out our guide The Deliverability Formula: 5 Steps to Reach the Inbox.


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