We Wrote a Book! Clues for the Clueless Email Marketer

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We Wrote a Book! Clues for the Clueless Email Marketer

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5 Issues That Hurt Your Email Deliverability and How To Correct Them

5 Issues That Hurt Your Email Deliverability and How To Correct Them

Practical Marketer • June 6, 2018

Email deliverability has been a challenge that even the most seasoned marketers combat on a regular basis. There’s probably nothing more painful than realizing that the email you had carefully written and designed never reached the subscriber’s inbox - it was likely pushed into the Junk or Spam folder where it won’t be ever read. Email deliverability - the ability to place emails into your subscribers\' inbox as intended - is the key metrics that marketers try to get right. If your email is not placed where it can be read, everything else is useless. The Spam Filter Despite everything you do from your end to get an email placed in the inbox of the recipient, it’s the mailbox provider that takes the final decision on where your email should be placed: the Inbox or the Junk folder. That means if you’re focusing on improving email deliverability, you should understand emails from the point of view of the mailbox provider. All mailbox providers have a spam filter - a mechanism that blocks incoming spam. Every single inbound email has got to pass through the spam filter of the mailbox provider, so avoiding the spam filter, by whatever means, is impossible. However, by following email marketing best practices, you can convince the spam filter that the email it has received from you is not spam. Factors Impacting Email Deliverability A ReturnPath study suggests an average of 13.5 percent of all incoming email is placed in the Spam folder. You don’t want your email to be one of them. Different spam filters use different standards to keep unwanted emails from reaching the inbox of the recipients. However, there are some common practices that all spam filters follow. Below is the list of issues that impact email deliverability and ways by which you can work on each to significantly increase your deliverability rates. IP address reputation Sender Reputation Email subject line and contents Email Service Provider - your automation partner Email list quality IP Address Reputation An IP address is a numerical label unique to each device that’s connected to any computer network using the Internet Protocol (IP) to communicate over a network. IP address reputation is the extent to which the IP address (actually the sender using the IP address) has acted responsibly while sending emails. Spam filters judge incoming emails on the basis of, among other characteristics, the IP address reputation of the sender. While sending email campaigns, you can either use a shared IP or a dedicated IP. A shared IP is where multiple senders use the same IP address as you do, to send their emails from. The reputation of a shared IP address is the aggregate of the reputation of all those who’ve used the IP before you do. So sharing an IP also means sharing the reputation of everyone else using the same IP. Poor practices of any of the previous sender will negatively influence your email deliverability. A dedicated IP, on the other hand, is one where you are the only user of the IP address. Hence the reputation of a dedicated IP is influenced only by your own practices, since you are the only user of that IP. That gives you absolute control over the IP reputation. How You Can Get Your IP Address Reputation Right If your volumes are small, using shared IPs helps you control costs. But as your sending volume grows, you’ll need to move to dedicated IPs. When you begin using a dedicated IP it has no previous history. So it has no reputation, good or bad. Your task will be to build the IP reputation by following email marketing best practices. You can’t immediately send a large number of emails the moment you get a dedicated IP; you’ll have to gradually increase the number of emails you send (a practice called throttling), as mailboxes slowly start recognizing you as a responsible sender. Begin by sending to your most engaged subscribers. That way, you get a much better open rates and a zero bounce rate. This sends positive signals to the mailbox provider regarding your reputation. 2. Sender Reputation Sender reputation is a composite result of the IP address you send emails from, your domain reputation, SPF (Sender Policy Framework) authentication, the bounce rate of your campaigns till date, subscriber complaints, engagement, whether (and how many) spam traps sit on your subscriber list and other factors. Email engagement - what subscribers do when they receive your email - is key. Subscriber actions that suggest they are willing to interact further with you, like opening the email, reading the email, clicking on a link, following a call to action, forwarding the email and so on is considered ‘good engagement’. Actions like not opening the email or deleting the email without reading it is considered ‘poor engagement’. How You Can Improve Your Sender Reputation Keep new subscribers in a separate list. Add them to the regular list only after new subscribers respond to your double opt-in. Or add them to the regular list only if the welcome email doesn’t show a hard bounce. Maintain the right frequency of emailing to subscribers. Long gaps between emails raise the chances of valid email addresses being converted into spam traps. If you email to your subscribers at irregular intervals, they might forget you and are more likely to mark your incoming email as Spam. Have a plan of action to handle inactive subscribers. Give it your best shot to win them back. But once their inactivity crosses a certain threshold, stop sending them emails. Finally, never use purchased lists. 3. Email Subject Line and Content Nearly 60% of the email traffic worldwide is spam. That suggests spammers are getting aggressive, so spam filters need to stay a step ahead. One way spam filters identify spam is the email content. Poor grammar and high-risk words like “Free” and “Easily make $$$ online” are some of the first things that make your email look suspicious. Other content that looks suspicious to spam filters includes weight reduction, body enhancement and related pharmacy products. An all-caps subject-line is almost a guarantee your email won’t get past the spam filter. Moreover, subject-lines with too many exclamation marks is another indicator the mail is spam. Earlier, emails with shortened URLs in the content were commonly red-flagged; today instances of a shortened URL being red-flagged are a lot less frequent, thanks to its heavy use in social media platforms like Twitter. Messages that contain only a link or only an image are widely treated as spam. How You Can Get This Right Run your email draft through the Spam Check feature Benchmark provides. It gives you an excellent feedback on whether you need to improve your content. Build a compelling Subject Line. If the subscriber doesn’t like the Subject Line, she’ll likely delete your email without opening it. Mailbox providers, especially Gmail, believe that when recipients delete your emails without opening them, recipients are not interested in your email - a sign you’re sending spam! Over time, your subsequent emails to the same recipient may be pushed into the Spam folder. It’s best to use clickable keywords in place of lengthy URLs. Make sure the Unsubscribe link is clearly visible. This may sound a bit counter-intuitive but it works. When recipients can’t find the unsubscribe option easily, they tend to mark the email as Spam! 4. Email Service Provider (ESP) - Your Automation Partner Select your ESP on the basis of their experience and technical competence, and not some tall claims. For instance, claims by ESPs about overnight improvement in your deliverability rates when you switch to their service from elsewhere are mostly too good to be true. Actually, something opposite is equally likely to happen! Remember, when you switch ESPs, you are also switching IP addresses. So when the recipient mailbox providers notice you’re suddenly sending from a new range of IPs, they will, rightfully, turn cautious and may place fewer emails in the inbox than they did with the older IP address. If your new ESP doesn’t understand the importance of throttling, the recipient email box provider might actually push more of your emails into the Spam folder. How the Right ESP Matters Choosing the right email marketing partner is more than half the job done. The right partner will have most things figured out for you. To begin with, they have the right technology in place that can handle hundreds of thousands of emails. They can, for instance, help you maintain segmented email addresses lists, based on the engagement patterns or interests of the subscribers. You can also set a variety of subscription options. For instance, instead of losing your subscriber entirely, you can let her choose the frequency of her subscription: a weekly newsletter, a fortnightly compilation or may be a monthly digest. Finally, a good ESP will have strong measures in place that will have you covered. For example, even if you’ve opted for shared IPs, you can be sure the IP reputation has been maintained at optimum levels by your ESP. 5. Email List Quality One of the factors influencing the deliverability rates of your emails is also the one you can swiftly act upon: bad email addresses. Maybe there was a typo when the subscriber keyed in the email address while signing up, maybe the subscriber knowingly entered a wrong address, maybe the subscriber is using a disposable address…Reasons like this lead to your list containing a number of email addresses that are not safe to send emails to. Sending campaigns to these addresses lead to bounces, poor or no engagement (if the address is role-based or disposable), or complaints. For instance, BenchMark notes sending emails to role-based addresses results in high complaints. Poor list hygiene, therefore, influences email deliverability. How You Can Deal with Bad Email Addresses Consider double opt-in. After the subscriber signs up, send them a confirmation email, asking them to click upon a link to activate their subscription. Subscribers who do not follow this action do not receive further emails. Next, improve your list-building practices. When collecting email addresses manually, e.g. when your team is writing down addresses, spelling errors are most likely to creep in. While collecting email addresses online, use an email verification API service to validate the email address at the entry point, such as signup forms or applications, before the address gets added into your subscriber list. Use an email verification service to verify email addresses of all your subscribers. It is strongly advised that you validate email addresses at least once a year. These, by no means, are the only steps you can take to improve email deliverability, but these are some of the most significant ones. Wish you great success in your email marketing!


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Benchmark Email is Swiss-US Privacy Shield Certified

Benchmark Email is Swiss-US Privacy Shield Certified

Going Global • May 27, 2018

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


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Building Businesses and Molding Your SEO with Clayton Wood

Building Businesses and Molding Your SEO with Clayton Wood

Beyond • May 25, 2018

The Heart of Business has provided me and my menagerie of cohosts the opportunity to speak with so many incredible people who we’d never get the chance to chat with otherwise. However, once in a while we get to talk with someone who we are familiar with and something special happens. You get to ask questions you never would otherwise and find out even more about someone you already know. It’s a treat. That was the case with Clayton Wood. For the better part of the last year, we’ve gotten to see Clayton’s face in our office or hear his voice on a call with weekly frequency. He’s taught us more about SEO than we could have ever imagined possible. It’s always fun to hear where he’s been in the time he’s not with us. He’ll share with us about the events he attends and speaks at. All those lucky audiences! We realized it was time to make our podcast listeners one of those. We got to talk a bit about SEO, how Clayton has founded multiple multi-million dollar businesses and the lessons he’s learned along the way. Plus, we found out how he wound up in Playboy. There seems to be this common thread through people that have this adventurous spirit and I can’t quite put a pin on it, but there’s something about the personality and it’s really interesting that when these people meet each other, something clicks. Even if you don’t talk about the traveling or the adventures that you had ... there seems to be something about the way that people\'s brains work that are looking for some amazing adventure. The best relationships I’ve had are with people with similar mindsets in that regard. 3:30 - Taking the leap to leave the corporate world and pursuing SEO 9:19 - What is SEO? 14:48 - How to proceed when your savings are dwindling and you think you’ve backed yourself into a corner 20:46 - On winding up in Playboy 26:04 - Going from learning from industry experts to becoming a peer


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The Power Of A Strong Call To Action: How To Make Yours Click-Worthy

The Power Of A Strong Call To Action: How To Make Yours Click-Worthy

Beyond • May 23, 2018

Calls to action might be the most important part of your business strategy: the jewel in your marketing crown. Your brand’s success goes hand in hand with a strong call to action. You will have experienced this first-hand, whether you’ve signed up to Netflix or bought a new jacket online: the chances are a good call to action led you there. I’ve seen countless CTAs in my work, so I know what works — and what doesn’t. If your CTAs aren’t on-point, you’ll see conversions slow and sales fizzle out. So, if you want to know how to make your call to actions truly click-worthy, read on... So why are calls to action important? Well, take this as an example: if you include just a single call to action as part of your email marketing strategy, your clicks could increase by up to 400%, and your sales by over 1000%. A good call to action works as part of a more comprehensive customer experience strategy, building on useful and engaging copy and high-quality aesthetics to work towards a final goal. It should be compelling and drive your customers to take a specific action: to make a purchase or sign up for your newsletter. Without a compelling call to action, your customers are just lost sheep on a mountain without a shepherd. Your CTA can lead them to where you want them to go. So what makes for a strong call to action? A good call to action is so much more than just a button at the bottom of the page. When you’re writing your CTA, you need to… Make It Compelling This is an obvious one, but no less important. Your customers are like mice in a maze: they need direction, and you need to provide them with it. So when you write your CTA, it needs to have a clear and compelling directive. This means using a powerful, commanding verb to start your CTA with. This can vary depending on what it is you’re offering, and therefore what you need from the customer. For example, if you’re running an online store, you would want to start with “buy” or “shop.” Alternatively, if you’re marketing a newsletter or ebook, begin with “subscribe” or “download.” Charity: Water does this nicely with their donation page, below. They start with the imperative to give but follow it up with another command: “change.” It’s a pleasant surprise that gives their CTA a more emotional slant, compelling people to donate. Keep It In the First Person Your customers also like to feel like they’re the only customer in the world. They don’t want to share your attention with anyone else, so be sure that your CTAs are written in the first person. While this might not work with every call to action, it can be hugely effective for some. For example, saying things like “claim my discount code today” rather than “download your free discount code today” can make the difference between a conversion and a loss. Convey A Sense of Urgency Remember when you had to write an essay at school and as you got closer and closer to the deadline, all you could think of was that essay? While it might have been stressful back then, today you can leverage that in your CTAs to ramp up your conversions and boost sales. Consider including a deadline for a special offer or promotion in your CTA, for example: “Buy now! Sale ends tomorrow”. Just like you and me, customers have severe FOMO (that is, Fear Of Missing Out). The thought of losing out on a great deal or offer because of inaction is a powerful motivator. Check out online fashion retailer ASOS’s lead-in to their call to action in the example below. The command to “grab it before it’s gone” reinforces the sense of urgency, further compounded by the bold announcement that these are the “final reductions” below. Tell Your Customer Why They Should Click If you want your call to action to be truly click-worthy, you need to show your customer what’s in it for them. Will they get a great deal on shoes? Will they learn the secrets of the trade? The benefit might be a summation of your value proposition, the unique quality that your business has over your competitors. Clearly state the benefit they’ll receive when they click on your CTA to give them that little extra nudge. For example, the eCommerce marketplace Exchange lures their customers in with the promise of their “next big success,” a bold claim that is sure to hook any budding entrepreneur looking for businesses for sale: Combine that with a brightly-colored CTA button, and your eyes are drawn to it like a pink flower in a lilac field. It’s all about making the CTA irresistible to click. Engage Your Customers Consumers are bombarded with demands to buy, download, sign up and more from marketing all the time, from print, digital and television advertisements. This means they tend to tune out a lot of what they see and hear. So you need to slice through that and grab their attention. How? With a little quirky humor. Check out credit union Fairwinds’ website, below. They use the oldest (and in my unpopular opinion, the best) trick in the book to get their customers focused: a simple pun. It might not be the funniest thing you’ve read all day, but it’s enough to raise a smile on your face and hook you long enough to read it. Emphasize Freebies People love freebies. Whether it’s a cheese sample at your local grocery store or a ticket to a concert, consumers love getting something for nothing. If you’re able to offer something for free, such as a sample or product trial, make sure that’s clear in your call to action. It could be just enough to push a dithering shopper to purchase or sign up. Check out Spotify’s call to action. The offer of their free option is colored a punchy green and naturally draws the reader subtly to their Premium option too. It stands out, and the freebie is hard to miss. The layout as well is nice and simple, the cornerstone of any good CTA. Minimize Stress and Hassle As much as people love freebies, they enjoy a stress-free life too (and don’t we all?). So consumers are understandably wary of signing up to anything if they think that they’re going to have to endure countless tedious phone calls and annoying email exchanges if anything goes wrong. To counter this, you need to reassure them that by clicking your CTA, the process will be as easy or risk-free as possible for them. For example, Netflix knows that customers can be put off by the hassle of canceling a subscription to services. Recognizing that, they lead into their call to action with the promise that potential customers can cancel at any time, heading off their concern before they can even voice it. Keep It Simple This one is crucial. If your website or email is chock-a-block with copy, images, graphics and banners, your potential customers will get an instant headache. Instead of clicking on your call to action, they’ll probably be more likely to take a painkiller and lie down in a darkened room. Visual clutter is a big turn-off and will distract from your CTA. Want to see an example of a brand doing it right? Look no further than file hosting service Dropbox. Their aesthetic is built around subtle imagery and simple design, and their call to action is no difference. Contained in a bold blue box, it contrasts with the negative space around it. It jumps out from the page without any external distractions, and even the photo is simple and understated. Your call to action is your advertising Horn of Gondor, the guiding light down your marketing funnel. Work on creating a strong, crafted, and compelling command, and your campaigns will be rejuvenated, injected with a hit of energy and dynamism. Whether it’s part of your email marketing or placed enticingly on your website, be sure to heed the lessons imparted above. And it’s not just there either: a call to action on your blog post or social media content can open up new avenues for you to draw in the customers. So what are you waiting for? Get working on those calls to action today!


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How can you re-confirm a database?

How can you re-confirm a database?

Practical Marketer • May 23, 2018

Have you updated your privacy policy? Do you just want to keep the most engaged subscribers? Perhaps you want to re-confirm the consent of your database as a preventive measure for the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)? In this video, we show you how you can reconfirm a database with Benchmark. Re-confirm your database:   The text you need to use: Opt-in tag:  [opt-in: here you can write in text] Unsubscribe tag: [unsubscribe: here you can write in text] The text is 100% customizable. You just need to modify the italic text. Save the contacts that have re-confirmed in a separate list   Maybe you want to consider sending a campaign again to those who have not opened or to the whole list, excluding the new list of contacts, that have already confirmed. If you want to know more about the GDPR, we invite you to read and watch the webinar we held and in which we explain all the sensitive points that affect your email marketing strategy. Leave your comments or questions below and keep learning with Benchmark!


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How Benchmark adapts to the GDPR

How Benchmark adapts to the GDPR

Practical Marketer • May 18, 2018

We have spent months talking about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The 25th of May, which is the day when it goes into effect, is fast approaching. During this time, we have provide you with tons of information related to adapting your email marketing strategy. In this article, we want to make a recap of how has Benchmark adapted to the GDPR and about all the changes we have implemented and which you might need to know: “Right to be forgotten” This right is one of the biggest changes of this Regulation. For the very first time, this right is regulated and obliges the controller to completely remove the data if the data subject requests. To exercise the right to be forgotten, we have two different scenarios: Benchmark | Customer If a Benchmark customer wants to be “forgotten,” he or she needs to request the deletion of the data by writing to support@benchmarkemail.com and we will proceed with the removal of their data. Benchmark | Customer | Subscriber Any of our client’s subscribers can request to be deleted from lists and/or records. It’s the customer’s responsibility to delete a subscriber from our (and other) systems, with one exception: if the subscriber has already unsubscribed, the client will not be able to remove the data from the “Unsubscribe” list. If this happens, the customer should forward the user’s email to support@benchmarkemail.com and we will proceed with the elimination of the subscriber from the list. In this FAQ, we explain all the steps to follow. Accessibility / rectification / unsubscribe An email marketer must include the “Manage Subscription” option on all email campaigns:   Adding this option, the client gives the data subject the option to access, rectify and unsubscribe from his/her data. When the subscriber clicks on that link, he/she will find this screen:   The subscriber can exercise his/her rights here. At Benchmark, we are currently preparing to allow the data subject to be able to rectify the rest of the fields and not just the email, name and surname. Consent We have also updated our classic and pop-up signup forms to be compliant with the GDPR. You have to include the required check box linked to your privacy policy. Find out how to do this by reading: How can you create GDPR-compliant sign up forms?   International transfer of personal data Article 45 mentions that a transfer of personal data to a third country or an international organization may take place where the Commission has decided that the third country, a territory or one or more specified sectors within that third country, or the international organisation in question ensures an adequate level of protection. Such a transfer shall not require any specific authorization. This international transfer of personal data is guaranteed under the EU-US Privacy Shield Agreement whose certification is held by Benchmark: Privacy policy We have updated our Privacy Policy, explaining the role Benchmark has according to the GDPR and which roles our clients fulfil themselves. Also, we have determined the period of time which we are going to keep your data for and we give you more details about what we do with your data. Additionally, we have created a new Cookie Policy which you will need to read and accept if you want to peruse our website. Server location It was actually NEVER an obligation to have servers in Europe, but with the new GDPR it is even less necessary. One of the goals of the GDPR is to equate the data protection that the European companies are fulfilling with the one applied by companies from abroad, in a way that all companies are obliged to compete in equal conditions. Contract between the controller and the processor Article 28 explains the possibility to sign a contract between the controller and the processor and provides all the details about it. We have created this contract and will make it available for you through the tool. If you want to check the regulation, you can do it here. If this article has been interesting for you, please, share it with your colleagues and friends.


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The Ultimate Guide On Email List Building Using Top Social Media Channels

The Ultimate Guide On Email List Building Using Top Social Media Channels

Practical Marketer • May 17, 2018

Social media has become such a huge part of our daily grind. While these platforms demand their users to participate and interact, some business owners can barely grasp how to leverage their presence and convert their online exposure into revenue. In fact, according to TrustRadius\' survey, marketers that use the platform give more value in displaying an attractive set of vanity metrics than in striving to make their campaigns meaningful in a way that contributes to revenues, website traffic, or leads. Vanity metrics—social media figures that include followers, likes, comments, shares, or retweets—have been a long-used strategy to gain traction. However, these numbers can be easily manipulated, and thus, shrugged off as meaningless. So as marketers, how do you take advantage of your followers on these networks? Always use social media with the aim of encouraging your followers to join your mailing list. By failing to entice them to be part of it, you’re letting possible customers slip away. Remember: your goal is to not just attract them with a one-time, big-time offer, but to seek long-term relationships. What Is Email List Building And Why Is It Important? “Out of all the channels I tested as a marketer, email continually outperforms most of them,” Co-Founder of KISSmetrics, CrazyEgg, and QuickSprout Neil Patel once tweeted. To cite a success story, video editing startup Video Fruit had zero members to its list before beginning its journey. However, after 48 hours of aggressive e-mail marketing and strategic planning, the startup gained 205 email subscribers while generating $247 in revenue in two days. So How Do You Grow your Email List? For Shopify, one of the top e-commerce players today, the key is presenting to your audience the easiest way to get into your mailing list—all the while offering it in a creative and persuasive manner. This simple way is through the opt-in form. What Are Opt-In Forms? To make sure that your site visitors sign up for your newsletter, you need to have a strategically-placed opt-in form. Opt-in forms are the consent users give you, authorizing you to contact them for more information about your service or product. Where Can You Put Opt-In Forms? Opt-in forms should be placed where they will have the best chances of conversions. Think of it as your strategic position when going to war. This includes: Your header or navigation bar Since it’s above the fold, the header is an effective place to put your opt-in form, making it highly visible to all your visitors. Make sure that your call-to-action button contrasts with your overall site colors so that it would stand out. The text should also be compelling enough to encourage sign-ups. Your sidebar The most common location for opt-in forms, a sign-up CTA can also be placed on the top of your sidebar. This offers additional visibility on top of your header opt-ins. If you’re worried about aesthetics, you can place more ads under the opt-in form to balance the look of your sidebar. Your website footer The footer is an often-ignored space. However, studies show that site visitors scroll down a web page even before it loads. This then gives you the opportunity to optimize your below-the-fold area. The great thing about placing your opt-in form on your footer is that it acts as your safety net—if all else fails or if visitors do not want to go back to the top of your page to sign up, you can still persuade them at the bottom of your page. How Can You Grow Your Email List Using Top Social Media Channels? Now that you know how to encourage your site visitors to sign up for your service or product, let’s go back to social media—how it is revolutionizing the world and how you can use it for your marketing campaigns. On Facebook Here are ways for you to entice your Facebook fans into joining your email list: Offer freebies no one can resist You can place your links and offers on the left side of your Facebook page. Programs like Leadpages allow you to add special offers that you can then use to attract new clients. To make sure this is effective, you need two key components: 1) Offer freebies that will provide value to your followers; and 2) Always include a way for them to sign up to your email list. Promote your blog content to your Facebook fans Remember that the purpose of your freebies is to act as lead magnets. Regarding content, you can offer an info product, an e-book, or a helpful guide in exchange for their email addresses. Promote your content on your page, making sure that your opt-ins are placed within your blog content, placed on your side bar, or presented in a pop-up box. Use a Facebook call-to-action button On your Facebook page, the call-to-action appears right below your cover photo on the rightmost side. This button can be customized to suit your purposes. Simply hover over the button, select ‘Edit Button,’ then ‘Get in Touch with Us.’ Now you can choose from a variety of CTAs, which includes an option for your followers to sign up or subscribe as your regular follower. Promote a lead magnet in your Facebook Live broadcast Live videos are a go-to when people search for tutorials, behind-the-scenes videos, or immediate answer to their questions. This presents an opportunity to connect not only with your fans but also with potential customers. However, you shouldn’t stop there. During your live broadcast, promote your lead magnets that would then link to your opt-in forms. This ensures that you give your viewers an avenue to keep their connection with you. Create a Lead-generating Facebook Ad It always pays off to allocate some financing on ads as long as you know your audience. In the case of Facebook Ads, you’ll be able to target your exact demographic. If your message and strategy are right, you’ll see dramatic results almost immediately regarding gathering leads. On Twitter Like Facebook, Twitter is also a great platform for lead magnets. Moreover, the platform makes use of several features like hashtags, which are big traffic generators as long as you know how to use it. Use multimedia tweets According to a survey done by Twitter, multimedia tweets generate three to four times more engagement than a tweet in plain text. Multimedia content, which involves adding photos or videos to your message, is a good and simple way to spice up that tweet. Used pinned tweets to drive traffic to your landing page A pinned tweet is a highly clicked portion of your Twitter profile. So the more clicks you gain, the more website visitors you are attracting. By pinning a tweet, you’re boosting your site traffic and/or promoting your content—two avenues that you can use to lead visitors to an opt-in box. Create high-quality content Inarguably, content is a big booster for generating traffic. Sadly, some may have been doing more quantity at the cost of quality, thinking that numerous sharing and posting does the job. The key here is to keep providing relevant and valuable content to your followers, earning their trust along the way. Opt-in forms can be easily included in every blog post. Get active using hashtags and trends The hashtag itself is a way to draw attention. While it’s tempting to use more than one to target more audiences, more than two would negatively impact your engagement. When done well—that is, avoiding spam hashtags and using only the relevant ones in your niche—it will result in 21% more engagements and 55% more retweets. Optimize your hashtags to gain more followers, increase brand awareness, and lead them to your sign up form. Link everything to an opt-in page As the opt-in remains a crucial part of gaining subscribers, don’t forget to include it in every link. However, going back to the main rule, do not get obsessed with just vanity metrics. Make sure that you track the right KPIs and optimize it according to the data you gather. On Pinterest An advantage of Pinterest is that, unlike Facebook and Instagram that are operated by algorithms, Pinterest allows you to connect directly with your customers. Decide on the best free opt-in to pin on your page You can design and create your own opt-in for a more customized approach. But if you don’t have the resources for it, there are services that offer it for free. Once that you have an opt-in, link it to your email service provider and automate it, so it will be sent to each new subscriber who sees your pinned image. Create a “Pinnable Image” for your opt-in Several bloggers miss out on the advantages of creating pinnable images for opt-ins and attracting website visitors. To do this, have an image that has the right size (735 pixels by 1103 pixels), a readable title, and an eye-catching image. With more people finding your images captivating, the higher your chances are of repins. With more repins, you are then increasing your brand reach and the number of opt-in subscribers. Hide your pinnable image within your landing page Some people may prefer removing large images on their landing pages. You can always hide the pinnable image if you think it’s a big distraction to your website’s content. Click here for a step-by-step guide on how to put the image in hiding status. Pin it again and again, everywhere on your board No one’s stopping you from pinning your opt-in so you can do it anytime and anywhere on your page. Not just on your board, but on a group’s board too This may play a crucial role in your aim of generating traffic. Just make sure you’re pinning to boards relevant to your content. Most importantly, follow the rules set by each board group to keep from being blacklisted. Remember To Segment Your Email List According to Red Stag Fulfillment, an emerging e-commerce industry player, people receive a handful of email that, citing recent statistics,  average worker receives 121 emails per day. This is exactly why there has been so much unsubscribing going on. Source: Red Stag Fulfillment According to Fluent, LLC, 57% of email users find the communication they receive “never” or “rarely” useful. About 29% said they “sometimes” find it useful, and only 15% said it was “always” or “often” useful. In contrast to the mainstream strategy of blasting emails, people take in information from emails that are relevant, timely, and necessary. As such, it is important to segment your email list after building it. By segmenting, you divide your contacts based on certain criteria and factors, such as geography, demographics, gender, job function, psychographics, and behavior, among others. Segmenting your subscribers helps you tailor-fit what specific deals they would like to receive and will catch their attention. As such, do not skip your buyer persona research so you can get to know your consumers more. Takeaway With the rise of social media use, plenty of brands stopped investing in email marketing, thinking that it’s an obsolete way of gaining followers and improving sales. This, however, shouldn’t be the case. Social media and email marketing can go hand-in-hand to increase the number of your newsletter subscriptions. Remember to consistently provide value to your subscribers. This way, they won’t unsubscribe and even go as far as recommending you to their family and friends.


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Mother’s Day Advice & Lessons Learned from the Benchmark Moms

Mother’s Day Advice & Lessons Learned from the Benchmark Moms

Beyond • May 11, 2018

I love my mom, but she’s crazy. Don’t worry. Saying it in this blog post won’t be news to her. I tell her all the time (both that I love her and that she’s crazy). While I may have done my fair share of complaining about it in my younger years, I came to appreciate the crazy too. Her fierce love for her family meant she would do anything to advocate for us. It helped in school if we got into trouble and in any other situation we needed someone on our side. What I saw as crazy at one point, I came to see as one of her greatest assets. Doing whatever you can for the ones you love is one of the most important lessons I’ve learned from my mom. That’s why I supported my younger brother for a few years when he followed me out to Los Angeles. It’s also why I love cooking Thanksgiving dinner with my found family in LA when I can’t make it back to Chicago for the holiday and why I enjoy making sure close friends have special plans to celebrate birthdays. I am who I am in no small part thanks to my mom. For that, I’ll always love her. I’ll be halfway across the country from my mom on Mother’s Day, and will have to resort to sending flowers and a phone call or Skype to tell her I love her. However, I’m always surrounded by great moms here at Benchmark. So, I figured this was as good of a time as any to pick their brains for some advice on being a mom, what they’ve learned as a mom and why moms are the best to work with. Here’s what they had to say: What\'s the best advice you\'ve been given on being a mom (and who gave it)? Yamile Flores - Learning Experience Designer: I think my mother told me: dress him, change his clothes two or three times a day. I like it because they grow up so fast and then they use their clothes like twice (not enough to justify the purchase). Irene Martinez - Training Manager: It is okay to take time off for yourself. Yes, kids are our priority, but you must take time to refocus. It does not have to be for days. A simple hour can do the trick. My mother-in-law told me this. [caption id=\"attachment_10111\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"769\"] Irene and her girls.[/caption] Lisa Fletcher - Customer Engagement Specialist: Don\'t sweat the small stuff. From a book cover lol. Debbie Running - Accounting & Human Resources Manager: Advice from my Mom: Take your children to church. Pray with them. Teach your children the Golden Rule (Do on to others as you would have them do unto you). Advice from Auntie Maude (Nanny): Always have your children wear onesies under their clothing for months that have an R in them. My children were rarely sick. Nydia Lopez - Integrations and International Content Management: My mom always told me to never say bad things (words) to my kids to correct them. Those words hurt them more than a punishment or even a spank. What\'s the biggest lesson you\'ve learned since becoming a mom? YF: In the beginning, I wanted the time run faster because I was so tired. Sometimes I still have the same feeling, but I learned I need to enjoy this. No matter how tired I am, I have to find the strength to play, to laugh, to be a mom. IM: Things can go from great to bad in an instant (especially with little ones). Be prepared for anything possible. If you are not, then learn for the next time. Because trust me, there will be a next time. LF: As bad as any tantrum appears to be, it\'s really a cry to be heard or understood, and they always pass. DR: Never say never! Life is precious. Don\'t take it for granted. Children are a blessing. Smell and kiss them often. Hold their hands and guide them always. NL: Being a mom at a young age was a big challenge. I have always said that there is no manual to learn how to be a mom, you learn it over time. I can say that I grew up learning together with my children to fall and get up, but always with their heads held high. What advice would you give to a new mom? YF: All the help is welcome. Sleep when the baby is asleep too. Eat! Do not care about your weight. You will have time later to lose those pounds. Enjoy taking pictures of your baby and spending time watching them growing up. Time never comes back, and yes, you will forget how it was. IM: Take things day by day. The days where you want to rip your hair out are outnumbered by the days your heart is filled with joy. The long nights will be gone before you know it, and all that will be left are memories. LF: Learn to enjoy time with your kids. Never see it as a job you must do, but something you are gaining from. DR: I tell my daughter that as a new mom, life goes by so fast. Enjoy every day with them as if it were your last. As a Mom, I taught our children when you are at someones home, always be on your best behavior. I have passed that advice to my daughter. [caption id=\"attachment_10109\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"1080\"] Debbie with her mother, sisters, daughter, nieces and daughter-in-law.[/caption] NL: Kids grow so fast, Enjoy them, protect them, experience them now. Because in a blink of an eye, they will become adults and you will wish to turn back time and do what you didn’t do before. Why do moms make great employees and coworkers? YF: The ability to be really good at multitasking. You have a 360º view, and that\'s incredible because for any reason all your senses are improved like a superhero. You can see things that could happen where anybody else can see it, so you become an expert detailing. You work faster because you can\'t spend all day on just one thing. And for the things that must be done only for one, and perfectly, you can not go back and repeat tasks. Kids make you become a perfectionist in all you do. So, I am better working since I become a mom. IM: A woman without kids is no more important than one with kids. However, moms bring something different to the table, and that is flexibility. We know things can go from good to bad in an instant, and we tend to prepare for the worst case possible. In a working environment, you must be flexible to take on new challenges. LF: Most moms bring a deep well for empathy and know how to gather the troop together for the betterment of all. DR: Moms are great employees because we have learned to juggle lots of responsibilities. Therefore, we can multitask. We care about how our co-workers feel. We have time management skills. Moms are dedicated and loyal employees. NL: Moms are very determined, and we are known as the masters of multi-tasking. If there is something that we do not know how to do, we always come up with something. And having moms as coworkers makes us feel like we have something in common and that we understand each other. Moms work very hard! :)


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Mother’s Day Email Marketing Tips & Infographic

Mother’s Day Email Marketing Tips & Infographic

Practical Marketer • May 11, 2018

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


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Rand Fishkin Returns: Igniting SparkToro

Rand Fishkin Returns: Igniting SparkToro

Beyond • May 11, 2018

It was a pleasure to bring Rand Fishkin back to the Heart of Business, as he begins to ignite SparkToro, his latest endeavor. Hear our first conversation with Rand Fishkin, where we talk all things SEO. The invite to return to the podcast went out the day he announced he was leaving Moz and starting SparkToro. We just had to hear what the former Wonderful Wizard of Moz was getting into next. I think the bias toward, ‘you know...hey...there’s only one way to be successful’ is kind of [BS]. So this time around I am intentionally avoiding that. It turns out he’s got some pretty awesome stuff brewing with SparkToro. He told us all about it, and we can’t wait to see what it will become. He also shared details about his newly released book, Lost and Founder. As a Content Manager, my favorite part of his chat with Rand was our conversation about content. We talked about how to create great content and the importance of transparency. 1:28 - What is SparkToro? 4:11 - On life after Moz 7:43 - There’s not just one way to succeed 11:39 - Understanding your audience 20:06 - How transparency can make you the king of content 30:58 - His new book: Lost and Founder


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I’m a Mompreneur. Email Marketing Built My Business.

I’m a Mompreneur. Email Marketing Built My Business.

Beyond • May 10, 2018

My business began as a weekly email. It was Valentine’s Day 2016. I had been working as a marketing consultant for a few years -- ever since I had gotten pregnant with my second daughter and decided to leave my agency job to test out solopreneur life. I loved the freedom it afforded me; the ability to do great work, but do it around my young daughters’ schedules. I felt like I had discovered the magic mix of work and play that so many mothers were seeking -- and I wanted to share the wealth. So I started my second business, MotherHustle.com, to help the other creative working mothers that I knew from the agency world make the leap from stressed-out and unappreciated employee to empowered creative mompreneur. Every Sunday night, I began sending out my MotherHustle emails, filled with tips and stories about starting and growing a family-focused business. And as I shared, my list began to grow. I saw the magic of email marketing happening right in front of me: when you share great content, people want you to show up in their inbox. After a year of being a strictly email-only business, I expanded MotherHustle into an online community and publication and brought in more mom bosses to share their stories and ideas. But I kept up with my weekly email, and it has helped my little idea continue to grow with strength and resilience. My email list grew me a business. It also grew me fantastic connections, a community of other creative mompreneurs to lean on, and a private outlet for content that doesn’t necessarily belong on the public MotherHustle channels. Joe Pulizzi, author of Content, Inc., got it right when he said: “When all your focus is on an audience you know deeply, instead of a product, good things usually happen. When we listen intently to our audience, we are automatically led to new product opportunities.” Email marketing allows you to focus on getting to know your audience deeply. By testing which content resonates most with your list, and by actually getting subscribers to open your emails and interact with your content on a consistent basis, you’re able to create a deep connection with your audience before you even have a product to sell. That’s how I built MotherHustle -- and that’s how many of the other mom bosses, or mompreneurs, I know were able to build their successful businesses. As email marketing continues to grow and change, it’s important to keep up with how audiences are receiving those emails. So I decided to ask some of the mom bosses I know to share their best email marketing tips with me. As moms, what do they appreciate about the good emails they receive? What makes an email cut through the clutter? And as business owners, what email marketing tactics have been effective in their practices? Here’s what they had to say: “Personalization. I believe great emails come from great segmentation and really understanding your audience. [Pregnancy and parenting website] WhatToExpect is awesome at this. Their emails and the content they send are always hyper-relevant to the stage I’m in with my kiddo.” -- Latoya James Torrance, founder of EndearContent.com “I really don’t like hidden sponsorships. I don’t mind sponsored emails, but I really don’t like feeling tricked when I reach the end of an interesting email and find it’s only leading me to a purchase. I will likely unsubscribe. If it’s upfront, I don’t mind!” -- Maggie Murdy, founder of NativeCM “I like emails that give me free value, honestly. Anyone who is going to teach me something that makes my life easier. I read a lot of Holly Homer’s emails from Kids Activities Blog -- they are sales-y, but they also have a ton of good info before she tries to sell you anything.  I also like an email that tries to teach me one thing. Just one.” -- Maggie Frank-Hsu, founder of Blogs To Riches consulting program “[For the emails I receive:] get to the point. Skip formalities, and keep things bullet-point style. [For my business,] split-testing my headlines and resending to unopens a day or two later has increased my opens by about 8 percent.” -- Shawna May, sales and marketing consultant, owner of HeyHeyShawnaMay.com \"Your audience is busy. And no one wants junk cluttering up their inboxes. Focus on building a relationship with your audience and providing them the value that they want and need. In your welcome sequence, ask them what they want from you. Then, as you\'re creating your regular nurturing emails, include that value. Emails are so much more personal than social media, blog posts, and videos because they happen in real time and require a buy-in from your subscribers. Give them something special!\" -- Abby Herman, content marketing strategist If email marketing is on your business’ to-do list this Mother’s Day, take it from these mompreneurs: get right to it, give us value and gain our trust with honesty. If you do, email marketing can help you grow your business (just like it did for this mompreneur!).


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Why You Should Hire A Mom

Why You Should Hire A Mom

Beyond • May 9, 2018

I’m a mom, a single one at that. I own multiple businesses but before that, I worked at a large company where one might say I “cut my teeth.”  Corporate culture wasn’t for me, so I moved to entrepreneurship. Through all of those years of office training and now becoming a mom myself, I have learned an incredible amount of lessons with one residing at the top: moms make the best employees. My businesses have fortunately grown. I started out solo, and through the years, I’ve had to expand when needed to truly be able to grow the way I intended to. Hiring can be challenging, but I have built out my team comprised of several moms, purposely.  Not only because I am one, and I get how they tick, but it goes so much deeper than that. Is Your Mother\'s Day Email Marketing Ready? Check Out These Tips & Infographic. In the past, I used to constantly hear criticisms of moms in the workplace. People would say they’re not as focused, not as dedicated; they have too many commitments to worry about outside of the office that could prevent them from keeping their eye on the prize while in the office and I would cringe at every word.  In fact, it can be entirely the opposite if just given a proper chance and a mom on your team could wind up being the most highly beneficial business decision you could ever make. The Octopus Theory Did you ever see a mother that could not multi-task? I look back at some moments in my life, such as a typical start of a business trip when my daughter was younger. On my own, wheeling a suitcase, while pushing a stroller with a messenger bag strapped across me, feeding her and digging for a bottle in my bag in an airport all while on a conference call on my headset en route to board a plane. It sounds manic, but to me it was just natural and to many, many other moms that are home cooking dinner in the evening, while helping their child with their homework, handling household tasks, getting in the car to do activity pickups, preparing clothes for the next day, paying bills online and responding to emails and texts both personal and work-related without breaking a sweat. It just happens, and most mothers never, ever complain about it. They just DO. They’re given a situation, a tough one that has a lot of moving parts, and in most cases, they just figure it out.  If this incredible skill isn’t what you need on your team, you’re probably not growing the best way possible. In a study for Microsoft, it was shown that 62% of women make better team players and nearly 2/3 of moms surveyed agreed their multitasking skills improved after having a child, along with their time management skills whereas those of working dads didn’t necessarily improve. Balance A day in the life of a busy mom is a day you cannot possibly imagine unless you’re in those shoes. There are very early mornings that begin with thinking of someone else, handling something for someone else, ensuring someone else’s day is going well, that someone else is thriving and ensuring that someone else has everything they need to be their best. Activities to sign up for, school to prepare for, homework to complete, socialization to enjoy, food to eat, stable home to reside in and the list goes on. A mom can handle all of these spinning plates in the air easily and not drop any because it just comes naturally. It’s balance. When a mom really enjoys their work, fitting this into the mix to maintain balance also comes naturally too because they’ve had the best training. Work is something so crucial to a mom’s life to keep them grounded and feeling like they perhaps once did before all of the beautiful chaos and at least in my case, as is the case with countless others, work is so much more appreciated at this stage of life, commitments get stronger and in the end, work makes a mom a better version of herself in all ways. They also make incredible role models for children. A recent study of 50,000 adults in 25 countries saw daughters of working mothers completing more education and landing in ten leadership roles. Patience Placing beads on a string or making a complicated version of colored slime. Waiting at a soccer game that’s gone into triple overtime. Getting up at 5 am for hockey practice.  Listening to a story from a child that is adorable but goes on, and on, and on, and on. Patience is an art best developed by caring for a child and realizing that one’s schedule is no longer their own. Life operates on a completely different cycle once one enters motherhood and nothing else tests one\'s patience quite like this. This is a quality that can be highly attractive in the workplace and contributes to people getting along, to dedication to perfection on projects completed, and also when it comes to both learning on the job and perhaps even training someone on the job. The Art of Negotiation Consider how many times a day a mother has to channel her inner Monty Hall and play out a whole Let’s Make A Deal scenario.  10? 20? Easily. “If you get dressed in 5 minutes I’ll let you play a game on your phone.” “If you eat 10 brussels sprouts you only have to eat four pieces of steak.” “If you finish your homework in time you can watch a little TV.” The script goes on and on from sun up to sun down when you’re a mom. It is a constant battle, an endless trade, a continual offer being made and with negotiation being such a critical cornerstone in business, this is likely one of the best assets you will find in a mom. Why? Because they are forever on the training ground. It doesn’t stop when work stops, it begins far before and ends far later. And remember, in most situations, moms usually win. Emotion Where It’s Needed Most say there is no room for emotion in business, but passion is what fuels people to be their best. When commitment is strong, and the desire runs deep, there is no stopping anyone from achieving their goals. Moms enter the most extreme commitment one can ever make, the most binding, the most dedicated, the most bonding and the most amazing and they deliver, every minute of every day. There’s a touch that a mom has when explaining something when handling a delicate issue, when keeping things going when everything else seems dire that is so crucial to helping maintain a happy, healthy work environment. So, I urge you, whether you’re on your own and growing slowly or you’re running a large company, to ignore concerns you may have had before about the performance a working mom can deliver and consider these reasons why I firmly believe a mom should be a top candidate.


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How to Boost Engagement Using Rich Media in Emails

How to Boost Engagement Using Rich Media in Emails

Practical Marketer • May 7, 2018

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


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