5 Hot Tips for a Clean Email List

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5 Hot Tips for a Clean Email List

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Living the Fantasy: How Eliot Crist Became a Football Analyst

Living the Fantasy: How Eliot Crist Became a Football Analyst

Beyond • April 26, 2018

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


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Email Marketing for the Travel Industry

Email Marketing for the Travel Industry

Practical Marketer • April 24, 2018

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


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6 Automation Rules to Skyrocket Your Email Marketing Performance

6 Automation Rules to Skyrocket Your Email Marketing Performance

Beyond • April 23, 2018

Email marketing is surely the most challenging yet rewarding path towards riches. Every type of business, no matter whether it’s a big brand or a small business, must develop and nurture a close relationship with its customers. And because our current marketplace is slowly becoming 100% digital, email communication is and will continue to be the most effective method of building solid connections with your clients and customers. However, to perform an effective email marketing campaign, you should perfectly understand all of your options. Moreover, you need to grasp the basics of email automatization, which includes several important aspects that can differentiate a winning and a losing campaign. In today’s post, we’re going to focus on automation rules, one of the most intriguing and challenging features that every respectable email autoresponder offers. In case you’re not very familiar with the term, email automation rules are programmed cause-and-effect conditions that you set up according to your wishes. For example: if X customer buys Y product, he will be moved to List B, and he’ll start receiving new emails. By properly automating your email marketing, you’ll tap into great benefits that’ll allow you to simplify your work and cut the working hours. Well, that’s what today’s post is all about. Pay attention and add your twists. Lastly, make sure that you take action! Topic Automation Primary Triggers: Offer Downloads and/or Website Visits A business may sell different products that solve different problems for different customers. In this case, you should develop a different email sequence for each of the niche-related subjects that you’ll develop content about. So let’s say that your business’ main audience is comprised of dog owners. Obviously, through your content, you’ll address different problems and challenges (dog health, dog nutrition, dog training). Well, some of these topics may not concern a big part of your list, but it may concern a minority that is eager to see more. In this case, you’ll need to create a topic automation rule that’ll separate your email audience, making it easier for you to send the proper content to the proper prospects. So. The simplest way to divide your email list and prompt the proper automated email sequences is to use a form submission that allows your prospect to choose the information they wish to receive in the future. The alternative would be to develop different free bonuses such as e-books, webinars, or podcasts around specific subjects and use them to understand your prospects’ genuine interests. So if one of your prospects chooses to download your e-book about “50 Dog Health Issues You May Not Be Aware Of”, then your “Dog Health” email sequence should be triggered, sending him emails that are only related to dog health and no other subject. New Subscription Welcome Email Primary Trigger: Opt-In to Your Website or Blog “One of the essential rules of email marketing revolves around building solid, long-lasting relationships with your customers. The best way to do that is to start on the right foot and give your prospect the right impression.” – Johana Pierce, Marketing Specialist at EssayGeeks.co.uk. Indeed, as Johana notes, the beginning of any prosperous business-to-customer relationship is heavily influenced by the first impression that the brand leaves. One of the most commonly used automation rules in the email marketing is the delivery of an automated welcome email to every new person that subscribes to a brand’s list. To make your subscribers’ experience even better, you should develop personalized welcome emails for each of your different automated sequences. By leveraging this automation rule, you can let every new subscriber (of each sequence) understand what content he’ll receive in the future emails that he’ll receive from you. Moreover, you can use the welcoming email to thank them for joining in, but also for allowing them to readjust their subscription preferences. Lastly, your welcome email might present the best content pieces you’ve ever published, serving as an introduction to the value you promise to provide in the future. Example: Prospect-to-Customer Transition Welcome E-mail Primary Trigger: Purchase When one of your prospects converts and buys a product or service, he will become your customer. Create another automation rule that sends another welcome email to every prospect that has bought. Let him know that he’s now part of a different email sequence that will focus on new content. By acknowledging the fact that your customers have made a move, you can improve your relationship with them and improve their loyalty towards your brand. Moreover, you can also lead your new customers to detailed training materials that’ll help them understand and use your products or services. Example: Super Prospects Sequence Primary Trigger: Strong User Activity A super prospect is a subscriber who is highly active on your website, opens most of your emails, and downloads most of your freebies. In short, he’s super interested in what your site and email sequence have to offer, but somehow, he hasn’t managed to buy something from you. To turn these super prospects into customers, you could develop a dynamic automated sequence that responds to different triggers: X number of visits to your websites within a specific timeframe X% email open rates X% email clickability rates Form submissions Engagement on social media posts (likes/shares/comments) The “X” element is the number you decide on your own.For example, if a person visits your website ten times per week or if he opens 60% of your emails, you can consider him a super prospect and move him to your “Super Sequence.” Throughout this “super” automated sequence, you can approach these people differently. Use the feedback you’ve got from your analytics and approach these super subscribers differently. Your goal is to finally turn them into customers, so making your content a little more “salesy” might be a good option. Example: Hi, I’ve noticed that you’ve paid particular interest in X and Y subject and that you’ve also done A, B, C, actions. I’m wondering if I could help you, so make sure you reply this email and let me know what exactly do you need. P.S. I’ve added you to my “special list,” a place where I reward my most active subscribers with X, Y, Z. Make sure you join this goldmine place by clicking _____(link). Re-Engagement Sequence Primary Trigger: Inactivity Many of your email contacts may suddenly become inactive. In fact, some of them might be inactive right from the beginning of the interaction, so they have no place in your active email sequences. Luckily, every professional email automation software allows you to “reawaken” your inactive prospects by placing them in a separate, automated sequence, as a result of specific triggers that you choose. For example, some of these conditions (triggers) could be: X amount of time since the last form submission X amount of time since the last website visit X amount of time since the last email open/link click Once your subscribers are marked as “inactive,” they’ll be moved to your re-engagement sequence. Your job is to move them back to your “active list,” so the best way to do that is to grab their attention. Most commonly, people respond to exclusive deals, coupons, and offers that create urgency. Example: Cart Abandonment Sequence Primary Trigger: Cart Abandonment If you own an e-commerce business, you might understand the frustration that comes when your prospects abandon the shopping cart. Well, luckily, you can create an automated email sequence for almost everything, and this is no exception. The concept of this sequence is quite simple: Every time one of your prospects adds a product/service to the cart but leaves your platform before finishing the purchase, you may trigger an automated email that will: Immediately offer them an exclusive offer that they can benefit from if they choose to buy right now. Remind them (after a few hours/days) of their initial thought of purchasing your products/services. Offer the most common questions and answers regarding the product/service that your prospect has left in the cart. Example: Takeaways Every marketer can develop a rockstar email marketing campaign as long as he puts enough time, effort, and attention into it. Take advantage of these X rules and improve your email subscribers’ experience. As long as you’re properly tracking down your stats, you should see slight improvements in a very short time. Treat this as a journey and not as a quick result, and your email performance will slowly begin to thrive!


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

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

Beyond • April 13, 2018

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


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How To Design Your Email Marketing Campaign

How To Design Your Email Marketing Campaign

Practical Marketer • April 12, 2018

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


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The Deliverability Formula: 5 Steps to Reach the Inbox

The Deliverability Formula: 5 Steps to Reach the Inbox

Practical Marketer • April 8, 2018

Getting to your subscribers’ inbox is as simple as hitting send, right? Yes. More accurately, yes, but… There are a few steps that come into play before that happens. If done correctly, then it is as simple as hitting send. The Deliverability Formula: 5 Steps to Reach the Inbox Our team of experts has compiled years of experience into a new guide sure to help you thrive with email marketing. If you’re not seeing the results you desire, or even if you just want to see your Return On Investment grow, these five steps will help you get there. Step 1: Define the Private Domain Best Suited For Your Business The address from which you do your email marketing is important. Aside from helping your email deliverability, it also factors into security issues as well. Not only that, but a private domain commands respect that a Gmail, Yahoo, etc. address does not. Our new guide provides resources to help you do this … and that’s just step one. Step 2: Authenticate Your Emails By Adding A Sender Policy Framework Record Sender Policy Framework (SPF) Records identify which mail servers are permitted to send email on behalf of your domain. If that sounds complicated, it’s not. Think about it like when you look through the peephole in a door. You want to make sure the person on the other side is who they say they are. SPF Records are email marketing’s version of that. Step 3: List Verification Verifying your list doesn’t mean you didn’t have a good list to begin with. It’s improving upon what you already have and eliminating human error. List verification helps you remove email addresses that are no longer active, due to individuals changing jobs or addresses. It’s also dropping the ones that were typed incorrectly when they subscribed. This process can help your deliverability and even reduce costs, as you won’t want to pay to send to invalid email addresses. Step 4: Craft Subject Lines That Get Your Emails Opened Subject lines are your first impression. They’re a major factor in what determines whether or not your email will be opened. If you know how to write them, you’re on your way to better email marketing just from this step alone. This guide shows you how. Step 5: Apply the Best Content and Design Tactics to Avoid Spam Filters What you write in your email and how you put it together also play a role in the delivery of your emails. It’s simple things like knowing certain words or phrases to avoid or the best practices for using images. Get Your Copy Today What are you waiting for?! Download The Deliverability Formula: 5 Steps to Reach the Inbox Blog.


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

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

Practical Marketer • April 4, 2018

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


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6 Psychological Triggers to Turn Email Marketing Prospects into Loyal Customers

6 Psychological Triggers to Turn Email Marketing Prospects into Loyal Customers

Beyond • March 28, 2018

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


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4 Creative Ideas To Build Your Email List Fast

4 Creative Ideas To Build Your Email List Fast

Practical Marketer • March 28, 2018

Every time I get a welcome pop-up on a new website that asks for my email for subscription, I usually ignore it and click on the cross on the top right side to remove the pop-up from my screen. Why do I do that, you might ask? Well, these requests for subscription are either too boring for my liking and have no incentive to offer or because I don’t fancy getting my inbox jammed with unnecessary and irrelevant emails. I am sure there are many others like me who do the same and chances are, if you have these unappealing subscription pop-ups on your website, that’s probably the reason why your email database isn’t going up. Turn your business into an automated machine Being able to build your email list fast with some unique and attractive ideas is, undoubtedly, of great importance. However, before you proceed, you need to understand that for people to give you their email and to look forward to hearing from you, you need to up your game. One way of doing this is by automating the procedure using online software that helps you send personalized emails without turning them into repetitive and uninteresting templates. Not only would doing this lead to an automatic customer profile enrichment but in the long term, it will even boost your email list. However, if you want to tweak things around fast with creativity and ease, here’s what you need to do. There is hardly anyone who doesn’t get excited at the prospect of winning something without making an effort and that too, for free. And if subscribing and giving my email is all it takes, I, for one, am going to participate! Think about it. If a landing page asks you for your email address, why would you give it, unless it was going to give you something in exchange? You can use this strategy to your advantage and increase your email list by giving people an incentive in return for their email. The giveaway could be free access to an e-book, a report, a gift hamper, or perhaps a lucky draw where people enter their emails and get a chance to win. A tantalizing offer is all you need for people to comply. For example: A strong call to action might just get you the desired response Yes, pop-ups on websites and online pages are annoying and dreary, but that doesn’t mean they always have to be that way. What if you could tweak them in such a way that visitors are left with no other option than to subscribe and plug in their email? You just need to give a quick boost to your creativity and connect with them on a personal level. Perhaps something like what Ramit Sethi, an American personal finance advisor, and entrepreneur, has done on his confirmation page - a timer and a picture of him with a sad face - may do the trick for you too. Here’s what it looks like: Calls-to-action (CTAs) are a great way to send incoming traffic to your landing page, and they also generate interesting lead conversations. Simultaneously, they also help you grow your email list and expand your list of contacts at a great pace. Live video broadcasts? Why not! With Facebook receiving more than 8 million daily video impressions in 2016 and studies suggesting that nearly 74% of all internet traffic will be video based content by 2017, video is slowly taking over the world of internet marketing. And what could be more appealing and fun than a live video broadcast? Not only would you have a lot of views but those viewers can be turned into potential subscribers that instant! Live streaming, unarguably, comes with a lot of perks and advantages, the most important being the ability to reach out to hundreds and thousands of people at a time. Also, it doesn’t only allow you to reach a huge audience but also creates a sense of engagement between you and your viewers. The live video option on Facebook, for example, can be increasingly used to your advantage, where you can connect with so many people at the same time. While you are at it, you can create a live contest too, through your live video, and get your audience on your email list by asking them to participate by leaving their email in the comment section. This is a fast, easy, fun and free of cost way that is going to increase traffic on your email database. A hard-to-resist-bonus for every referral? Sounds like a great deal! If you could receive a bonus, discount or a $30-off coupon for referring your friends to a website or a Facebook page for their products, wouldn’t you be doing it all the time? And if that very friend also receives it, wouldn’t you both yearn to spread the word and make referrals about that particular site or page? This could be a brilliant strategy to hack your email subscriptions if done cleverly and properly. For example, giftbasketsoverseas.com offers its customers a $20-off coupon for referring a friend to their products. The referred friend also receives 20% off on their first purchase. Setting such a referral system could be a great game-changer for you and could grow your email list in no time. You could also keep coming with different offers like a 50% off discount card or a buy-one-get-one-free deal so that your customers keep coming back to you for more and also spread the word about you among their friends and family. If you don’t wish to adopt any of the above-mentioned strategies to build your email list, you can also use blogger outreach programs and software that help promote your company, product or service. They post about you on their site in exchange for product, payment or any service, as a result of which you get mentioned in several places online which is likely to create email traffic for you. Whichever strategy you decide to use, just make sure to target the right kind of audience at the right time so that you get the kind of response you truly desire.


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Top 5 Email Marketing Automation Triggers You Should Know

Top 5 Email Marketing Automation Triggers You Should Know

Practical Marketer • March 23, 2018

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


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Don’t Sleep on Benchmark Email’s RESTful APIs

Don’t Sleep on Benchmark Email’s RESTful APIs

Beyond • March 16, 2018

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


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

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

Beyond • March 16, 2018

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


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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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Improve Open Rates With Targeted Emailing

Improve Open Rates With Targeted Emailing

Beyond • March 2, 2018

So, if you ask me what was the first thing I did when I started doing email marketing, it was  building a list. That is one thing that any marketer can do from the beginning. Having a list is the best way to deepen your relationship with the audience. Having said so, it is equally important to master the art of targeting in order to unleash the full power of your email lists. Having a list of your most engaged clients or subscribers is a most important asset for a business. It\'s All About Being On Target Targeted emailing is a key for building a foundation for your effective email outreach. Some marketers never realize the importance of targeting and end up generating leads that aren’t qualified. You have to realize that your email list consists of people with varying interests, behaviors and profiles. We have to remember one size doesn’t fit all. So, why treat them the same? The solution is to split them into small groups and send personalized email campaigns to each segment. The common mistakes some marketers make is treating their email list as a single entity. According to the case study done by Marketing Sherpa, artbeads.com saw conversion rates jump by 208% when they used targeted emailing instead of email blast. 32% of marketers say segmenting their email database is one of their top priority for the year. Furthermore, 52% of marketers believe that they are in great need to improve their list segmentation. What Are They Missing Out On? Jupiter Research found targeted email marketing campaigns can generate nine times more revenue than broadcast mailings. The more personalization that is included in each email sent to your subscribers, users are more likely to open the emails, clicks on call-to-action and then convert to buyers. On average, untargeted email campaigns have open rates of only 20%, a click-through rate of only 9.5% and conversion rates of only about 1%. On the other hand, targeted email campaigns have a 33% open rate on average, a 14% click-through rate, and a conversion rate of 3.9%. With a targeted list, you will always have a group of loyal customers. For instance, if you are a bookseller and have a chain of retail outlets, then you can segment your list into people who prefer certain genres of books, age-groups, most valued customers etc. You can also classify your list on the basis of the purchases your customers make. This means you may have a separate category for people who make purchases between $300 and $500 or between $500 and $1000 or above $1000. Benchmark Email provides you Targeted Emailing tool to help you get better ROI from your email lists. Targeted Emailing takes your campaigns and compares all the opens or clicks to create segmented lists for you to target. Targeting specific contacts is a great way to improve your engagement in your emails.  It isn\'t the size of your list, it is also the quality of your list.  Targeted Emailing can also be used to clean your lists as well, as it creates a list of contacts that have not opened your emails. Targeting specific contacts is a great way to improve your engagement in your emails.  It isn\'t the size of your list, it is also the quality of your list.  Targeted Emailing can also be used to clean your lists as well, as it creates a list of contacts that have not opened your emails. You can access this feature in your navigation bar. There are two ways you can create targeted lists. The first one is based on opens & unopens of your email campaigns. The second list is based on the URLs clicked in your campaigns. General Clicks and Opens The process for Targeted Emailing is this: Select up to 10 campaigns to compare Choose whether to base the comparison on engaged or non-engaged contacts Based on each individual emails or all your emails Opens or Clicks Save So in the first step, you\'ll need to select the campaigns you want to compare. It\'s recommended you compare similar campaigns to accurately segment or target your campaigns, but is not required.  Just to reiterate, as it is important, you can only select from the most recent 50 campaigns that are older than three days. Then you can only select up to 10 campaigns to compare. The third step is to select whether to compare your campaigns individually (Some or one Emails), or compare them all against each other (All Emails). Depending on what you choose, you can have a very different number. The Some (or one) Emails option, will combine through all 10 emails and depending on opens or clicks, it will place the contact in the list at the end. The All Emails option will take all 10 of your campaigns and looks for contacts that opened or click all of your emails that you\'ve selected. This will produce a significantly lower number. Lastly, you simply choose whether you want a list of opens or a list of clicks or both!  After this, you\'ll be able to create a second list based on different settings. At this step, you can also calculate the number of each set so that you can also visualize the number of contacts for each, as it takes time to assemble the list.  Don\'t forget to name it and then save your list! Click Focus Click Focus is different from Clicks & Opens. This will compare not the emails themselves, but the URLs within the emails. So if you are a retailer with promotions, or if your emails contain a lot of URLs, this may be the best option for you.  Comparing all the products and URLs is difficult manually, but Click Focus automates the comparison and allows users to create lists based on certain settings. Much like Opens & Clicks, you can select from the most recent 50 campaigns that are older than three days and you can select up to 10 campaigns. A little similar to Clicks & Opens, but still different. The difference between the previous option and Click Focus is that this extra step you select the URLs you want to gain contacts from.  For example, if you are a sports retailer and have sent several emails related to different sports.  You can create a Click Focus lists of contacts who are interested in Soccer products, then create a strategy to market to only Soccer players based on what they clicked.  That\'s exactly how Targeted Emailing is meant to work. So the First step is to choose the campaigns you want to look at, then second you choose the URLs you want to see contact.  You can only select up to 10 campaigns and 10 URLs to compare. The next step is to select ANY or ALL of the lists.  This is much like the same concept as before that is sometimes hard to grasp.  If you choose ANY, the system will collect contacts that have clicked on at least one URL in ANY email.  If you ALL, the system will look at all the campaigns, and collect contacts that have clicked on ALL of the emails.  The ALL option will most likely produce a significant number than the other.  Then name the list and click save. What You Need To Do If you have just started then it can be an intimidating task, if you do not have a clear direction. So to start with, you’ll need to determine what your objectives are for each targeted email marketing segment and how success will be measured. You’ll also need to figure out what your strategy will accomplish. Benchmark email’s Targeted emailing tool makes it easy to identify your most loyal subscribers. If you haven’t used it yet, test the tool in and out and let me know your feedback.


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