5 Hot Tips for a Clean Email List

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5 Hot Tips for a Clean Email List

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Top Video Marketing Trends For Increased Sales & Conversion

Top Video Marketing Trends For Increased Sales & Conversion

Beyond • November 6, 2017

Marketing has, time and again, proved to be one of the most volatile aspects of a business. What works today may longer be effectual on its first anniversary. Think of it in the following way: Text-based content had its fair share of marketing before still images emerged and turned things around. But textual content didn’t completely disappear. So, both had a grip on marketing until recently, when video surfaced and overturned the space. In the past, video was mostly a preserve of broadcast media, but thanks to social media, emerging tech, and devices and changing consumer behavior, its consumption has been revolutionized. Video consumption is now on the rise. Video marketing itself continues to evolve as well. Discoveries and improvements are made now and then that makes it more effective, powerful, and relevant. Today, we expose top video marketing trends that have demonstrated exceptional ability to increase sales and conversions. Personalized Videos A one-size-fits-all kind of video had its place in the past and it sort of worked, but it is just not as good as personalized videos. Today’s personalized videos pack data such as name, image, titles, and email (you name it), and uses it to deliver a viewing experience unique to each viewer. This technique creates a connection between the brand and the targeted person and results in an impact that increases conversions. Hubspot reports that in-house marketers who personalize their web experience and quantify the improvement can experience, on average, a 19% rise in sales. There are a lot of things already competing for our attention today and scattering a person’s details across the video is a sure way to pique their interest and call them to action. Personalized videos can be placed on landing pages, social media, websites, and emails amongst many other places for marketing purposes. And they are perfect not just for large but small and medium businesses, plus startups as well. If done well, expect a rise in conversions and sales. 360 Videos Hong Kong Airlines is among the first companies that put out a 360-degree video ad, and the results were beyond the expectations of many. Its effectiveness was rated 35 times better than that of the traditional 2D ad. Recognized brands across the world have since expressed interest in 360 videos. This is because it’s not only innovative but exceptional and, more importantly, exhilarating.  As such, it makes it easy to capture the attention of your audience and raise their engagement levels. With 360-degree video content, users control the perspective either with a VR headset or through other devices, such as phone and tablet. Tests were done by Google on the effectiveness of this 360 videos in comparison to the standard format exposed incredible results that included higher click-through rates, shares, views, and subscribers. Reputable camera manufacturers such as Kodak and GoPro are already manufacturing 360-degree cameras. Known platforms that support 360 videos today include Facebook, YouTube, and Google. Video Storytelling We all (at least many of us) relish a good story. Good stories make us thirsty for books and TV shows. Millions of people watch Netflix today, and millions of others continue to buy Amazon Kindles. The majority of them keep doing so because of how they feel when they read or watch something. When something is emotionally compelling, we hardly want to let it go. The details stick to our minds. Good storytelling has the same effect. So, the art of storytelling is a craft every marketer should master. Loading a bunch of data or info on a video won’t achieve the same thing video storytelling can. If not building excitement and motivating your audience, video storytelling will create stronger bonds when done right. Animoto reports that four times as many consumers prefer to watch a video than reading about the product. If you can leverage this through good storytelling, then you can get as many people as possible to buy your product or service. Make the story about the customer, use context, and, of course, show some conflict, and offer a solution. Testimonials are another great example of great storytelling. Bonus Point: Video in Email Despite there being an influx of new trends in online marketing, email marketing has weathered their influence. Proof of this is in the fact that it still delivers a comparatively higher ROI. Even in the wake of high video consumption, the majority of people still hold on to their emails accounts for different reasons. Combining the two is like taking the best of both worlds. For many, the result has always been a rise in click-through rates, increased sharing, and time spent checking out the email. So, the bottom line is, no matter the trend, you can always expand your video\'s reach by sharing the video with your email subscribers. Final Thoughts If your business or brand has not adopted video marketing, much less the trends we’ve mentioned, time is running out. Your competition is probably leveraging video in their marketing campaigns and enjoying the pie alone. Nonetheless, you still have a chance to make the most out of video, and incorporating these up-to-date trends into your marketing strategy is a sure way to take your business or brand to the next level.  


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Automation Pro Has Officially Launched

Automation Pro Has Officially Launched

Beyond • November 3, 2017

It’s called “Beta,” because there’s going to be a better (said with a Boston accent) version when all is said and done. At least that’s the case with Automation Pro. We’ve tested and retested, listened to your feedback and are thrilled to see Automation Pro operating in its full glory. What Is Automation Pro? It’s our powerfully simple and simply powerful tool that lets you easily send automated a series of emails that are triggered by website and email engagement. The best way to succeed with email marketing is to cater to the needs of each and everyone one of your subscribers. The best way to do that is to make them feel like you understand their interests and that you’re paying attention to what they want from you. With Automation Pro, it’s incredibly easy to map out paths for your contacts to be sent down. Actions such as subscribing to a list, opening or clicking on an email and visiting a specific webpage can trigger emails to send, subscribers to move lists, etc., making your marketing more efficient as you convert leads to sales and subscribers to loyal customers. What Improved During the Beta Period? Here are some of the improvements that have been made during the Automation Pro beta period: Improved Email Editor speed Automatically add a delay after the Send Email node to ensure your subscribers have time to engage with your campaigns before the next action is triggered The Automation Pro coach is live to guide you through your automation creation experience New strategy templates to help you get started quickly and effectively Bug fixes and updates to ensure the best possible user experience Every Marketer Needs at Least One Automation Email marketing automation will save you time and help you earn more … while you do less. There’s no excuse for not creating at least one automation. A Welcome Series is triggered when a new subscriber is added to your list. It creates a unified experience for all new subscribers. It lets you provide the same warm welcome to each subscriber. It is as easy to understand as it is to build (which is very). Strategy Templates to Get You Started Aside from the aforementioned Welcome Series, we’ve created a template for that strategy and several others to help you get started with ease. Check out these strategy templates: Follow-up Series This easy-to-use template lets you follow up with subscribers based on their engagement with an email campaign. It’s the next step for when your subscribers have been sorted to a goal-based list. Promote and Target Opens This template allows you to promote your business and send automated follow-ups to your most interested subscribers that opened the first email in your automation. Promote and Target Clicks This template allows you to automate follow-ups to your most engaged subscribers within a promotion. Those that have both opened and clicked on a link in the first email in your automation. Promote and Target Opens, Clicks and Website Engagement This template allows you to send personalized followups to your subscribers based on the type of engagement with your email campaigns. Abandoned Cart This template helps you make sure you’re not leaving leads in the shopping cart. Automate follow-ups with your hottest leads. Subscribers have placed items in your shopping cart but did not complete the purchase. Feedback Request Your subscribers are a wealth of valuable information. Use this template to request their feedback. Review Request Your happy customers will be thrilled to sing your praises. All you have to do is ask. This template helps you do that. #FOMA Fear Of Marketing Automation is real. It’s also unnecessary when a tool like Automation Pro is available to you. As you can see, we’ve done a lot of the legwork for you with our strategy templates. So, don’t let a fear of a lack of expertise or know-how get in your way. You may also fear that you don’t have the manpower to use marketing automation. However, once you set up each automation the rest of the work is done for you. Spend less time, accomplishing more. Automation Pro is included in all paid accounts, so there’s no reason to worry about budget restrictions either. Automation Fridays We’re hosting Automation Fridays every single Friday at noon PST. Do you have questions about email automation? It could be about how to get started with automation or perhaps you have questions about a current automation you are trying to execute. Join us and have your questions answered by our Director of Marketing, Daniel Miller. He may even jump right into an account and show you how to build it himself! Get Started Today If this post has you inspired to become and Automation Pro, signup for the free Benchmark Starter Plan. Or login and put what you’ve learned to use.


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Prepare Your Email Marketing For The Holidays

Prepare Your Email Marketing For The Holidays

Product & Design • November 2, 2017

Tis the season… ...for beginning your holiday email marketing, that is. I know, I can’t believe it’s that time of year already either. Especially since it’s been 100 degrees here at Benchmark HQ all week. Even if you’ve already begun your holiday planning or have a strategy in place, we’re co-hosting a webinar that will serve as a perfect refresher to make sure you have all of your bases covered. Prepare Your Email Marketing For The Holidays We have partnered with our friends at Kickbox to kick off this holiday season and to make sure your email marketing campaigns are ready for your subscribers to unwrap. We’ll be discussing: Preparing your list and segments for the holiday List cleaning tips and best practices Email marketing tips and best practices Learning how to organize your data after the holiday craziness The webinar will be held on November 14th at 11:00 AM PST. Register today.


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How to Use GIFs with Email Marketing

How to Use GIFs with Email Marketing

Practical Marketer • October 30, 2017

Perhaps you\'ve noticed amazing email campaigns that have graphics featuring a lot of movement. Would you like to do the same in your in your next email send? Creating moving graphics is a piece of cake. I will show you here how to create videos and add them to your emails as GIFs. First, you should know a GIF is just an image that moves, and you can upload a GIF in the editor as a regular image. Let\'s start making a GIF a video. For that, let\'s take as an example next video: When using a video, we recommend using short videos no more than 10 seconds. Remember, GIFs will be embedded into your email as an image. People will usually only pay attention for that long. Also, GIFs don\'t have any sound. Way #1 Start by downloading a GIF app like GIF Brewery or Giphy. Both allow you to record your screen and save the content as a GIF. With Brewery and Giphy, just open the app and click on Record screen (if you want to demonstrate something) or record video or window. Now, select the area you want to capture and click on rec button, and don\'t worry about errors. When you finish your recording, you can set the start or the end to avoid some mistakes. Then click on create. [embed]https://giphy.com/gifs/gif-of-a-video-3ov9jDKJu9HDYvzyog[/embed] Very important: remember our Editor only allows you to upload an image of 200 kb. Here is the reason: one of every two people read emails from their phones. When they open emails, they are looking for two things speed and readability. Do not make them spend their time loading images. We do this to ensure the delivery of your email. So, please be careful to make GIFs within that size. If your GIF is heavier than 200kb, it will be shown as a regular image with no movement. Here is how you will see an email with the GIF we have created: Way #2 Playable Playable is a video email creator. You can drag and drop your 10-second video to the platform and Playable will give you an embed code. [caption id=\"attachment_7788\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"615\"] Upload your video.[/caption] [caption id=\"attachment_7789\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"1168\"] Copy the code.[/caption] [embed]https://giphy.com/gifs/upload-a-gif-to-benchmark-email-l1J9qyu6NHlrDhMkw[/embed] As you can see in the GIF above, you will add the code in a text block. The advantages of Playable are that you don\'t have to record a screen, make editions or be worried about image size. Just be careful to select a 10-second video. If you are a professional, I know you can use Adobe Suite or any other available software to do this, but by trying this way can save you time. There are many reasons to start using GIFs. Not only do they help enhance a brand’s message with visual content, but they are friendly with mobile devices and can be embedded in your email, and hopefully, readers don\'t leave your email to watch it. Confucius used to say \"a picture says more than 1000 words\" but Giphy\'s Ceo Alex Chung says \"the average GIF contains sixty frames, then they’re capable of conveying 60,000 words – the same as the average novel.” Let your emails become more interesting for your audience and start using GIFs and let us know in the comments how it goes.


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What is Marketing Automation?

What is Marketing Automation?

Beyond • October 25, 2017

By now, you must have heard about marketing automation. Some may see it as a buzz-word of the moment, and some others may be taking it very seriously, but what is it and why does it matter? Marketing Automation refers to a piece of software that allows you to (as its name says) automate sales and marketing actions or processes. The scope of actions can range from: welcoming your new subscribers to even retargeting leads that may have gone cold. How far you go with it will usually depend on the nature of your business, and your creativity. What is true is that Marketing Automation makes repetitive marketing and sales tasks be performed with little effort. A statement that marketers agree with, according to VB insight, Three-quarters of marketers say the biggest benefit of automation is saving time. Other benefits include increased customer engagement (68%), more timely communications (58%) and increased opportunities such as upselling (58%). What can you do with it? I use this phrase more than I’d like to, but: The possibilities are endless. Nurturing your customers helps them be more engaged with your business or product and Offering them what you know is needed to convert them at the right time can be a game changer for your business or product. Actions like turning a one-time customer into a repeat customer, upselling, cross-selling, cycle-based selling, etc. Are strategies that if automated will not only give you more time to focus on getting new leads but always keep the machine going. Are you In need of customer feedback? You can take your marketing game to the next level by giving users that completed your survey a special ‘thank you’ offer, and even think of a reward program if they share your content. Conducting awesome strategies like these without automation would require a large amount of time and leave other important strategies neglected in the background. FOMA Fear of Marketing Automation in some marketers is very real and sometimes understandably so. Usually, when you hear of all the great things you can do with MA it can be very exciting, but for some, it can quickly get intimidating especially once they start thinking of the time they have to set aside to define things such as content and customer flows. Overcoming this fear is actually very simple, once you find out that: Four in five users increased their leads by using marketing automation software and almost as many (77%) saw an increase in conversions. That is a lot of saved time for sales and marketing. So, this fear may be depriving you of reaping great benefits that you could be in need of. Should you invest in Marketing Automation? Can Marketing Automation be beneficial to your business? In very simple terms: yes it can. Now, Should you invest in marketing automation? That’s for you to answer, but ask yourself before you decide: Do you see an opportunity to grow indicators such as the number of qualified leads you generate? Do you think you can get more from your customers by engaging in a smarter way with them? Do you see steps of your sales funnel that are neglected and need nurturing? A smart thing to do is to calculate your Customer Lifetime Value to help you understand how much you should invest in acquiring new customers and retaining them, our friends at Shopify did a great job on making a step by step guide on how to figure that number out. At Benchmark, if you already use Benchmark Email Pro you will have access to our automation platform: Automation Pro at no extra cost, all templates, all actions. We believe in how much it will benefit our customers that we have created a series of live weekly webinars where we answer all questions you may have about Automation Pro and marketing automation in general. Want to waste no time? You can chat with a specialist today.


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What Should I Do If My IP Gets Blacklisted?

What Should I Do If My IP Gets Blacklisted?

Practical Marketer • October 23, 2017

Email marketing has come a long way over the past few years. Many would associate you with spammers at just the mere mention of email marketing not long ago. Email marketing’s reputation has been won in part by the impressive Return On Investment that it offers. The other part is that marketers have gotten smarter. They’ve learned best practices and put them to use. Marketers have begun to learn and accept that it’s the quality, and not the size, of your list that counts. List health is imperative to succeeding with email marketing. Aside from sending only to the individuals who want to hear from you, there are other dangers to keeping an old, outdated or inactive list. Aside from raising bounce rates from unengaged subscribers, you can suffer a much worse fate in being blacklisted. Blacklisting A blacklist is a virtual list of email senders that have been deemed and labeled as spammers. Creators of these lists are organizations that are committed to fighting spam on the internet. Organizations such as Spamhaus are widely regarded as leaders in fighting spam. Service providers also have their own blacklist, but service providers can also subscribe to Spamhaus to block even more spammers. The most common way to get onto a blacklist is by not cleaning your list, removing unsubscribes or constantly getting spam complaints. This starts a battle that is complicated to win. If you find yourself blacklisted, you are likely to receive a very strict call from your ESP requiring you to take action and resolve the issue. Steps to Follow if You’re Blacklisted You first have to find out which blacklist you are on. Spamhaus publishes a widely used list, but there are others as well. You can check which blacklist your IP address resides in, using tools such as MXtoolbox or MultiRBL. These tools will check the blacklists they support and inform you which lists that you are in. Once you have identified the list you are on, you can now request for delisting. You will need to visit the organization’s website (if they have one) and find where they take delisting requests. Sometimes the organization just ask for an IP address. Others may ask for more information such as company name and the reason for requesting. Additional information to include might be the URLs where your subscribers can opt-in and possibly even some examples of the types of emails you send. Next is nobody’s favorite: the waiting game. The organization will review your request and take actions they think is appropriate. If you have properly collected the emails in your list and are practicing proper email etiquette, you should be fine and will be delisted. If your Domain-Name or IP Address is blacklisted at any ISP, you need to send them a request them to be removed from their blacklist (de-listed). Here are the basic steps that you should follow for the whitelisting/de-listing procedure at the ISP in question: You should follow the URL links & apply for whitelisting/de-listing using their online form. And/or: You should send an email to the mentioned email address. List of ISP\'s: Comcast: Follow this URL: www.comcastsupport.com/rbl Fill out the online form & submit. Cox: Follow this URL: https://postmaster.cox.net/confluence/display/postmaster/Error+Codes On the page, search the listed error codes to match the one you received when you were blacklisted. Click the URL suggested to get to the appropriate online form. Then submit. EarthLink: Send an email to: blockedbyearthlink@abuse.earthlink.net Use the subject line <Blocked \'insert your email server\'s IP\'> (example: Blocked 255.255.255.2555) More details are given on these pages: https://earthlink.net/block http://support.earthlink.net/articles/email/email-blocked-by-earthlink.php Gmail: Read Gmail\'s Bulk Senders Guidelines here: https://www.google.com/mail/help/bulk_mail.html Then follow this URL for the Bulk Sender Contact Form: https://mail.google.com/support/bin/request.py?contact_type=bulk_send&hl=en Fill out & submit. Hotmail: Follow this URL: https://support.msn.com/eform.aspx?productKey=edfsmsbl&ct=eformts Fill out the online form & submit. AT&T/SBC Global/Bellsouth: Follow this URL: https://rbl.att.net/cgi-bin/rbl/block_admin.cgi Fill out the online form & submit. For questions related to a request, please contact them at: abuse@rbl@abuse-att.net Juno/NetZero/Bluelight (United Online): Follow this URL: https://www.unitedonline.net/postmaster/blocked.html Fill out the online form & submit. Roadrunner/Adelphia: Follow this URL: https://security.rr.com/mail_blocks.htm Follow this URL to find whether your IP is blacklisted: https://security.rr.com/cgi-bin/block-lookup USA.NET: Follow this URL to find whether your IP is blacklisted: https://postmaster.usa.net/html/error.html Verizon: Follow this URL: https://www2.verizon.net/micro/whitelist/request_form.asp?id=isp Fill out the online form & submit. Yahoo: Follow this URL: https://help.yahoo.com/l/us/yahoo/mail/postmaster/bulkv2.html Fill out the online form & submit. Mail.ru: Follow this URL for the Google page translator tool: https://translate.google.com Check \"Translate from Russian\" and \"Translate to English\" Enter this link in the form: mail.ru/notspam/ Then and hit Enter or Return. Read and follow the directions on the newly translated page. AOL.com: If you have been blacklisted, visit AOL Postmaster You will need to open a Postmaster Support Request to put yourself on AOL\'s whitelist (*The AOL whitelist is meant for permission-based bulk senders. Bear in mind that if you are on their blacklist, you may have done something to violate their technical guidelines or best practices) You can also apply for Whitelist Status immediately. List of Blacklist\'s [RBL/DNSBL]: Lashback: Follow this URL to find whether your IP is blacklisted: https://www.lashback.com/support/UBLQuery.aspx Fill out the online box and follow the links. BarracudaCentral: Follow this URL to find whether your IP is blacklisted: https://www.barracudacentral.org/lookups Then follow this URL: https://www.barracudacentral.org/rbl/removal-request Fill out the online form & submit Spamhaus: Follow this URL to find whether your IP is blacklisted: https://www.spamhaus.org/lookup.lasso Fill out the online form, submit and follow appropriate links. Surbl: Follow this URL to find whether your IP is blacklisted: https://george.surbl.org/lookup.html Fill out the online form & submit. Invaluement.com: Follow this URL to find whether your IP is blacklisted: https://dnsbl.invaluement.com/lookup/ Fill out the online form & submit. DNSBL Manitu: Follow this URL to find whether your IP is blacklisted: https://www.dnsbl.manitu.net/ Fill out the online form & submit. You can also send an email to the link provided. Uribl: Follow this URL to find whether your IP is blacklisted: https://lookup.uribl.com/ Hostkarma blacklist: https://ipadmin.junkemailfilter.com/remove.php Fill out the online form & submit. Spamcop: For network and server administers: https://www.spamcop.net/fom-serve/cache/298.html For bounce message recipients and end-users: https://www.spamcop.net/fom-serve/cache/405.html Blacklist IP look-up: https://www.spamcop.net/bl.shtml It’s Better to Avoid Being Blacklisted There are things that can prevent a nightmare and possibly days without email. Keep your list(s) clean, honor unsubscribe requests and use double opt-in. You can even use list verification to help weed out the bad our outdated addresses in your list(s). It’s best to find a list hygiene routine that makes sense for you. It could be once per quarter, monthly or even before every campaign you send. Pay close attention to who is and who isn’t opening your email addresses. Remove the ones who consistently do not. This will help to keep you from hitting spam traps or other missteps that will land you on a blacklist.


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Using Goal Based Lists For Marketing Automation

Using Goal Based Lists For Marketing Automation

Practical Marketer • October 20, 2017

Marketing automation is all about organization. As you dive into Marketing Automation with email, you will find yourself with some automations that work together and connect with one another and some automations that work as stand-alone or that are parallel to the rest of your marketing efforts. The bottom line is that you don’t want to mix things up. Keep a fluid experience for your subscribers in mind. In this blog, we will give you some tips on how to properly organize your lists by creating “Goal-Based Lists” and “Established Lists” to keep your automations under control and to have the ability to connect one with another. Avoid Spaghetti Automation We have so many channels of communication and so many layers of leads, subscribers, potentials, customers, etc. You don’t want to mix things up and confuse yourself with your own automations. As I’ve helped build automations for Benchmark and some of our customers, I have found two important things to keep in mind at all times: Keep your automations short and to the point Learn to connect multiple automations by moving subscribers from one list to another. These two tips are the starting points of email and Marketing Automation and will help you understand how to build out your automation strategy. Simple Automation is in Your Lists With Automation Pro, you can start an automation based on someone being added to a list. For example, when a website visitor completes your signup form and becomes a new subscriber, they are added to your “Leads List” and you can trigger a welcome series automation to welcome those new subscribers. When organizing your subscribers, contacts, leads, etc. in your Benchmark Email account, we recommend focussing on two kinds of lists: Established Lists Goal Based Lists Established Lists are your main lists. These lists are the heartbeat of your email marketing efforts. Some examples of Established Lists are: Subscribers Leads Prospects Contacts/Customers Lost Customers Goal-Based Lists are lists focused on subscribers achieving a goal throughout your automations. For example, if you send an email to your prospects, you may want to create two separate lists: 1) EmailNameOpens 2) EmailNameUnopens. Based on the opens and unopens of the email, both lists will automatically populate with the appropriate subscribes. Other examples of Goal-Based lists: HasClicked/HasNotClicked HasVisitedWebsite/HasNotVisitedWebsite Completed Transaction Abandoned Cart Goal-based lists will help you stay organized by separating your subscribers based on the actions and behaviors throughout your automations. Let\'s take a look at a live example where we use Established Lists and Goal-Based Lists. Say you own a clothing store. You just got a new shipment with all of the new clothes for the upcoming season. You’ll want to create a special sale focused on your old inventory to make room for your new clothes. One of the channels you may use is email! Let’s see how marketing automation can help you. Targeting the Established List For this example, let’s say the clothing store has an Established list called: “VIP - Customers.\" The people in this list are customers who have spent more than X amount of dollars with the store. They want to give these customers a priority on the sale so they target this list as the trigger to the automation. Sending A Promotional Email Now that we have our targeted Established List, we want to send an email to promote the sale. The email will include the sale details along with a link to the online store. The next step will be to track who click on the link in the email vs. those who didn’t. (REMINDER: Don’t forget to add a delay before your condition) Setting a Click Condition (Click vs. Did Not Click) Once the email is delivered and you’ve given enough time for your subscriber to engage with the email (That’s why they previously mentioned delay is so important), it\'s time to check who performed the desired action: “CLICK.” When we set up this condition in Automation Pro, you will see two paths on your automation: Has Clicked Has Not Clicked Now, is when the Goal-Based Lists come into play for proper organization. Goal-Based Lists In Action From this example, we see that after the email is delivered, Automation Pro will wait 24 hours before checking to see who clicked on the email or not. Once the 24 hours us up, the condition will check for this action and will split up the people who clicked vs. the ones who didn’t down their respective paths. What to do next? You could continue each path on the same automation and send another email… but from experience, this can get out of hand. You may find yourself creating an automation that looks something like this: The example from above may be exaggerated, but it is a real example from a real user that decided to continue the whole sequence on one automation. Instead of creating a confusing mess, we highly recommend to end this automation after the condition by creating two Goal Based lists, one for each path (Has Clicked / Has Not Clicked). Name your Goal Based Lists something like this: “EmailNameHasClicked” & EmailNameHasNotClicked.” Doing this will allow you to then create a separate automation that is focused on each Goal Based List. This may sound like extra work at first… but trust me! It is extremely helpful to organize your automations and if you ever need to modify something in the future, you can just modify one piece of the automation instead of having to deactivate the whole thing to make a small change. In Conclusion Getting used to the idea of Goal-Based List will really help you stay organized. Especially as you create tons of automations that work with each other. Start by using Goal Based Lists in simple automations like in the example in this blog post. As you become more familiar with your automation strategy, you’ll have the practice to create mind-bending automations with simple list movements. Feedback We hope this blog helps you understand how to better organize your lists and subscribers for best practices related to your marketing automation. We came up with this list idea from helping our customers and building our own automations as well. Please share with us in the comments examples of how you organize your automations and lists so we can try to share these ideas with the rest of our users as well.


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11 Email Marketing Workflows to Upgrade Marketing Automation

11 Email Marketing Workflows to Upgrade Marketing Automation

Practical Marketer • October 19, 2017

You\'ve worked hard to create a good contact database, but is that base working for you right now? Are they just sitting in that database, doing nothing? If so, you\'ll need to find a way to get them involved. Here are 11 email marketing workflows that will improve automation and engagement: 1. The Welcome Email Workflow When this should trigger: When a contact subscribes to your newsletter or blog. This email workflow should happen when your contacts decide to get to know more from you. For example, you can warmly welcome them to your community, remind them what they\'ll be getting from your blog, and show them some of your best rated pages to get them started. This is the point where first impressions count, so use a good template from Benchmark Email, and use Inbox Checker to ensure your email looks good on all email platforms. 2. The New Customer Welcome When this should trigger: When a contact upgrades to a paying customer. Another welcome should come about when a contact decides to become a paying customer. This email should welcome them, give them any extra information they need, and train them in using your product if needed. It\'s a good way to ensure users stay engaged with you. Use State of Writing or UK Writings to ensure you\'re writing clear, easy to understand copy, and Easy Word Count to make sure you\'re sticking to the point. 3. The Lead Nurturing Workflow When this should trigger: When a contact has downloaded a few different top of the funnel materials. If your contact has been engaging for a while with your content, then it\'s time to give them a nudge in the right direction. This workflow should send them an email that pushes them towards more middle of the funnel content. Include content that you\'ve found to be successful in converting your leads in the past. 4. The Re-Engagement Workflow When this should trigger: When a contact hasn\'t engaged in a while. This should trigger after a set period of time, and give the contact reasons to come back. Try sending them a special offer or deal in order to entice them to come back. You need to make a good impression, so use Essayroo to proofread these emails and Boom Essays to edit them. 5. The Abandoned Cart Workflow When this should trigger: When a contact leaves something in their shopping car without buying it. This happens a lot in e-commerce, but there are plenty of ways you can bring those customers back. Send an email reminding them they left their cart, and even maybe send an offer to entice them back and finish the purchase. 6. The Event Workflow When this should trigger: When a contact signs up for an event. Use this workflow to keep contacts in the know as you set up and run an event. You can use it to send out log in details for webinars, addresses and dates, and to send out additional information after the event. 7. The Engaged Contact Workflow When this should trigger: When a contact downloads, clicks or visits pages a certain amount of times. The more engaged your audience is, the more likely they are to share your content. Determine how often they should engage before you get in touch, and design an email that encourages them to share their favourite content with others. Academized and Academadvisor have guides that can help you persuade those contacts to get involved. 8. The Internal Sales Rep Workflow When this should trigger: When certain posts are being viewed frequently and you need to alert the sales team. It\'s not just customers who should be getting emails from email workflows. This workflow requires you to determine how many views a post should get before an email is sent to your sales team. This should show them that your contacts want more content like this. 9. The Upsell Workflow When this should trigger: When a customer has bought something from you. Communication shouldn\'t stop after a customer buys something. Have a workflow that sends the customer an email to upsell them on their purchase, or sell them a complementary deal. This can work well if you sell many different products that they could be interested in. 10. The Purchase Reminder Workflow When this should trigger: When the customer will need to buy a product again from you. Depending on what you sell, you may have customers who need to buy from you periodically. For example, if you sell contact lenses customers will need to buy from you after a certain amount of time. Set up a workflow based on their last purchase date, to remind them that they need to buy again. 11. The Customer Success Workflow When this should trigger: Once customer success metrics are reached. Customer success metrics will be different for every company, but you\'ll want to build case studies of how your customers have reached success with you. Send an email once they hit a certain level, asking them if they want to be featured as a case study. Use Cite It In to include examples of why this can work well for them. These workflows will help automate a lot of your communication with your contacts, and help convert them into customers. Have you used these before? Have they worked for you? Let us know in the comments.


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How To Use Your Email List To Create Facebook Ads That Deliver

How To Use Your Email List To Create Facebook Ads That Deliver

Practical Marketer • October 16, 2017

Did you know that the average Click Through Rate (CTR) for Facebook Ads is just 0.9%? What if I said you could increase your Facebook ad CTR to 4% and above? Well, that’s exactly what you could do with email list Facebook ad targeting. This isn’t a hoax. If you want to start creating Facebook ads that deliver, you’re going to want to consider changing the way you target your audience. It’s no secret that the key to boosting the relevance score of your Facebook ad lies in your Facebook ad targeting. The more relevant your ad is to your target audience, the higher your relevance score will be, and ultimately, the lower your CPC will be. Just look at Adespresso who cut their CPC by $1.45 just by targeting a more relevant audience. So what better way to generate a relevant audience for your Facebook ad than by using an email list full of prospects which have already shown interest in your brand? Last year it was revealed that the costs of Facebook ads are increasing by 9% year on year. So there’s no better time to start managing your advertising spend better by utilizing your email list to deliver better Facebook ad targeting. So how can you do this? Generate A Lookalike Audience There are many ways to use email Facebook ad targeting to generate Facebook ads that deliver - but generating a lookalike audience is one of the most effective. When compared to a Facebook ad that utilizes a more common form of targeting, research has shown that lookalike audience targeting for some travel and online shopping companies lowered CPA (cost per action) by anywhere between 54%-70%. That’s a huge saving to make for something that takes only a matter of minutes to change. Lookalike Facebook ad targeting is also great for those businesses whose email lists still need some work. If you don’t have access to an extensive email list and the potential of re-engaging your current contact list is slim, lookalike targeting allows you to reach a much larger pool of prospects, just waiting to be converted. So what exactly is a lookalike audience? A lookalike audience is a group of people who have qualities similar to those in your source audience, which in this case, is your email list. You upload your email list to Facebook, they identify those users in their system and produce a new target list for you based on the common qualities and interests shared by your email list. That’s a whole new audience ready for you to convert. Sounds great, right? Here’s how to set up a lookalike audience: Upload your email list to Facebook Extract your email list and save as a CSV file. Enter the audience section of your Facebook ad and create a new custom audience by uploading your CSV file, as shown in the image below. Facebook will then identify all the users in their system which match with your email address list and use these users to create an audience for your ad. Your email list must have at least 100 contacts in for you to be able to do this, but Facebook recommend uploading anywhere between 1,000 and 50,000 contacts for best results. Generate your lookalike audience Once you’ve uploaded your email list and Facebook have successfully matched your list to their users, you’re ready to generate your lookalike audience. From the same tab as before, select ‘create a lookalike audience’ as shown in the image below. Select your source as the email list you have just uploaded and the country or region you want to target. Then you’ll need to select a percentage of that location that you want to target. You can choose anywhere between 1%-10% of the population, but the lower the percentage you choose, the more closely matched the audience will be to your current email list. [caption id=\"attachment_7567\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"1310\"] It’s important to note that it can take up to 24 hours for Facebook to generate your lookalike audience.[/caption] And then you’re ready to rock. Continue setting up your Facebook ad by adding content and an image which will help you achieve your desired advertising goal. Remarket to Interested Prospects Did you know that only 5%-8% of customers are likely to convert on the first use of your website? That means there’s a massive 92%-95% of website visitors which you could be ignoring. And that’s where remarketing comes in. Remarketing does exactly what it says on the tin - it allows you to retarget the customers who once showed interest in your company. It’s a gentle nudge - a reminder that your brand and your product or service still exists. And it’s not a method to be knocked. In fact, research has shown that 70% of customers that are presented with certain types of remarketing ads will later go on to convert. So how can you use your email list to remarket to customers on Facebook? Identify those prospects with a genuine interest Use your website data to segment your email list into those who have converted and those who haven’t yet. You’re looking for those customers who have signed up for an account, your newsletter or requested more information but haven’t yet converted into a customer. But be realistic with your list. If your list contains prospects who signed up over a year ago and haven’t been active on your site since then - it’s likely they’ve already found another solution elsewhere (sorry!). Use this list of prospects in your Facebook ad targeting As with the lookalike audience, you’ll need to extract your prospect’s email addresses into a CSV file. Then you can upload this file to your advert account by creating a new custom audience, as earlier shown in image 1. Facebook will identify every user who matches with an email address on your list and generates a new audience for you. It’s unlikely you’ll get a 100% match rate - so don’t be disappointed if it only matches 40% of your prospects. Although your Facebook ad targeting is arguably the most important aspect of your campaign, you’ll still need to design an ad that will grab this audience’s attention. It’s not just as simple as putting a link to your website in front of the right customer. You’ll need to think of all the reasons why your audience might not have converted yet and base your ad around these factors. Perhaps you could offer an introductory deal or link them to a help section on your website to help them get started. You’ll need to figure out the best tactic for your business. Upsell to Your Active Customers Facebook ads aren’t only designed for attracting new customers. They’re also great for upselling to existing customers and keeping them interested. It’s likely you’re already contacting these customers by email - and that’s great. But this is all about brand awareness and the more a customer notices your brand - the more inclined they’ll be to convert. In fact, research conducted by Facebook found that using Facebook ads in conjunction with email campaigns will extend the reach of your campaign by 77%! So how can you use your active customer email addresses to improve your Facebook ad targeting? Segment your email list Your first step will be to segment your email list to create a group of active customers. But remember, what makes an active customer for one company, won’t qualify as an active customer for another. For example, for a supermarket, an active customer is likely to shop once a week. However, for a large technology company, an active customer could mean someone who shops with the brand once every few years. It\'s down to you to work out what qualifies someone as an active customer for your business. Once you’ve done this, extract their email addresses into a CSV file ready to be uploaded to Facebook advert manager. Generate your audience As with both lookalike audiences and remarketing lists, you’ll need to create a custom audience. Upload your CSV file, and Facebook will match as many of their users to this list as possible. Again, you’re going to need at least 100 contacts on your list for this to work. (Refer to image one if you need a reminder on how to do this) Figure out your angle Are you going to upsell or are you going to reward your customer with a discount? Are you going to share some helpful guides or launch a new product? Either way, you’re going to need to figure out what your aim is to create a Facebook ad that will keep this audience coming back for more. Now it’s your turn… Thanks for reading this guide. I hope you’ve learned a trick or two about how to use your email list to create Facebook ads that really will deliver. If you have any other tips for using your email list in your advertising plan, feel free to share away in the comments!


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The Foolproof Guide To Guaranteed Success in Micro-Moment Marketing

The Foolproof Guide To Guaranteed Success in Micro-Moment Marketing

Beyond • October 12, 2017

Two years ago, Google came up with the concept of micro-moments to describe a new consumer behavior trend. In the world where most of us have smartphones in our pockets, people have started to expect immediate answers when they need to know something, do something, or buy something. Now, midway through 2017, it’s obvious that micro-moments are only multiplying and marketers have to utilize every second they have with a potential customer. Here are the most crucial things you need to know to create a kickass micro-moment marketing strategy. So What Are Micro-Moments? Google has defined micro-moments as intent-driven moments in which consumers make their decisions and shape their preferences. Meanwhile, The American Marketing Association offers a more specific view, calling them mobile moments in which a person pulls out a mobile device to immediately get what he or she wants. Either way, the main philosophy behind these moments is that consumers reflexively turn to a device to fulfill their needs - to compare prices, to decide what movie to watch, to read the news. And they expect brands to deliver immediate answers. Google has distinguished between 4 different micro-moments, each of which has its specifics: “I-Want-to-Know Moments” when customers are responding to information that provides an answer or solution to a question they’re interested in. “I-Want-to-Go Moments” when customers are more responsive to directions, maps and local search results, rather than to product information. “I-Want-to-Do Moments” when customers are looking for a practical guide to complete a task and respond better to tips, recipes, tutorials and how-to videos. “I-Want-to-Buy Moments” that happens when customers have decided to make a purchase and are looking for best deals and offers. So what does this all mean? As a recent article by Google\'s VP of Marketing for the Americas Lisa Gevelber argues, three new consumer behaviors have emerged: The \"well-advised\" consumer. Mobile has empowered people to make the right decisions by simplifying the way research can be done. The \"right here\" consumer. People expect that their digital experiences will be tailored to the location they are at the moment. The \"right now\" consumer. People have become more reliant on their smartphones to make last minute decisions or spur-of-the-moment decisions. Why Bother? Recent data has pointed to important trends in consumer behavior that just cannot be overlooked:   Consumers spend an average of 4.7 hours each day on their smartphones. 91% of smartphone users look up information while completing a task. Mobile searches for “best” have grown 80% in the past two years. 82% of them consult their smartphones while making a purchase decision in a store. 1 out of 10 of them ends up buying a product they did not plan to buy. 90% of smartphone users are not certain of the specific brand they want to buy. 69% of online consumers admit that the quality, timing, or relevance of a company’s message influence their perception of a brand. 1 out of 3 smartphone users has purchased from a company or brand other than the one they intended because it provided information at the moment they needed it. According to Adobe, shopping from mobile devices accounted for a record-breaking $1.2 billion on Black Friday 2016. Mobile ad spend is expected to double from $100 billion (2016) to nearly $200 billion (2019), accounting for over 70 percent of digital ad spend worldwide. Taking that into account, clearly, it’s more important than ever to understand this new consumer behavior and build your marketing strategies accordingly. Here are some of the most powerful ways for marketers to communicate with their target market, establish brand loyalty, strengthen customer relationships and nurture conversions in the age of micro-moments. 1. Be Mobile and Fast It should be clear by now that your website must be optimised for mobile. However, do not forget that the user experience must be seamless. The recent Facebook’s announcement to join Google in ranking faster loading mobile pages higher has proven that the speed matters. People check their phones in these “micro-moments” and expect to receive what they’re looking for immediately. Try out these tools to easily evaluate your site’s mobile friendliness and mobile page speed: Google’s Mobile Speed Tester TestMySite Mobile Website Speed Tester DareBoost Website’s Performance Tester WebPageTest Domino’s Pizza app has streamlined pizza ordering to just a few clicks and is a great example of speed and ease-of-use. [caption id=\"attachment_7516\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"392\"] Image source: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dominos-pizza-usa/id436491861?mt=8[/caption] 2. Put Yourself In Your Customers’ Shoes Before creating any content, start by putting yourself in your customers’ shoes. Do a walk-through of the customer journey and observe what you see. Think about who is your audience, what are their habits, preferences and demographics. Try to identify whether the customer is in an “I-want-to-know” or “I-want-to-be-inspired” stage and offer the content accordingly. It’s crucial to understand how consumers are searching for your brand. The easiest way to gain some valuable insights is by using Google Analytics 360 Suite, that helps you better understand people, their behavior, so your business can deliver value in the moments they need it most. Google Insights for Search or an alternative Keyword Tool offer a comprehensive set of statistics based on search volume and patterns. L\'Oréal is a great example of how search insights can provide not only unique consumer analytics but also show how to engage this audience with the content they’re most interested in. Using search data, L\'Oréal identified a desire among its audience for an ombré hair style. By analyzing the search patterns, it came clear that more consumers wished to achieve the Ombré look at home, which lead to L\'Oréal creating an at-home ombré hair kit. [caption id=\"attachment_7517\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"949\"] Image source: www.lorealparis.co.nz.[/caption] 3. Predict Micro-Moments Research has shown that \"moments-ready\" companies realize higher ROI in both mobile and overall marketing investment. So once you have explored your audience, consider what types of questions they would ask before purchasing your product or service. Understand when, where and why micro-moments occur for your consumer and how your brand fits in. The goal is to Identify moments that matter and create content that provides exactly what the customer is looking for at any given time. Nike, for instance, noticed that 63% of searches during big sports games happened on mobile devices. Exploring Google data, the company realized that fans were using mobile devices to find game statistics. As an answer to that, Nike developed 3D Phenomenal Shot campaign that let fans from around the world remix and share pivotal moments from the world’s greatest players—just seconds after those moments happened. This way, Nike ensured that its brand is accessible to consumers anytime, any place. [caption id=\"attachment_7518\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"1000\"] Image source: https://quanhoang.com[/caption] 4. Be There & Be Relevant Brand 24 research showed that in one month around 30,000 searches started with \'Where can I buy?\' but around 60% of these questions never received responses from companies. This points to a huge opportunity for your brand to be there in the right moment. While searching at a desktop or from their phones, people are looking for businesses close to them. To ensure your local presence, list your business on Google Local, Bing, Yahoo, and other such sites. Also, don’t forget to update your review strategy and local keywords. You have to remember that if you can’t give consumers what they want, they will turn to the next brand. So not only you have to be there geographically, but you also have to provide useful content. At micro-moments users have only a few minutes to look for answers so don’t make them keep digging for information. Take an example from Red Roof Inn: the company noticed that they get the highest web traffic when airlines cancel their flights and people search for accommodation and they need a place immediately. The company created a geo-targeted campaign with custom flight-tracking technology to process thousands of bits of cancellation data in real time. The tool put Red Roof Inn in front of 75% of last-minute queries in the number one position and led to conversion rates rising 375%, and reservations from organic traffic increasing by 60%. [caption id=\"attachment_7519\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"300\"] Image source: https://www.mediapost.com[/caption] 5. Analyze Your Performance As you start implementing micro-moment marketing in your strategy, make sure you are tracking your leads and other data. Analyze your performance to get a better idea of what your future customers want and whether or not you’re providing it. Some tools that can help are: BuzzSumo is a research and monitoring tool that allows you to identify the best performing content in any niche. Ahrefs is a web analysis tool that features a site explorer, keyword and domain mentions tracker, and a backlink checker. Capsulink is a URL shortener that protects from traffic loss, damaged external links and offers insightful analytics. Google Analytics helps to track website traffic, measuring advertising ROI, and monitoring your social networking sites and applications. Have you identified any important micro-moments in your industry? Share your successes in the comments!


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Customer Feedback Through Email Marketing: How To Do It Right

Customer Feedback Through Email Marketing: How To Do It Right

Beyond • October 9, 2017

Everyone in business knows customer feedback is worth its weight in gold. Who better to ask about your latest feature upgrade than the people paying money to use it. The concept seems simple at first. Email your existing customers or leads, ask them the right questions and implement the changes that best align everyone’s needs. If only it were that simple. The truth is, no matter how much someone loves your business, they simply just don’t have the time or motivation to complete the typical survey. Doing Surveys the Old Way is Hard Studies indicate the average survey response rate hovers around 10-15%. This seems decent, especially if you have a huge email list. But even then you’re still leaving 85-90% of your list with a bad taste in their mouth... tempting them to hit unsubscribe. I faced this exact problem while setting up the email sequences for a startup I was working for last year. We had a tiny list of about 500 people who had signed up for a free trial to our tool. So I decided to create a survey and ask them a few quick questions regarding their experience. The response rate was terrible. Out of 500 emails sent only 50 opened the email, of which only four people completed the survey. To add salt to my wounds, it turned out that six people had opted-out of the list. Luckily, all hope isn\'t lost. By thinking a little outside the box, and using the right tools, it’s possible to turn the entire model on its head. Which means it\'s almost effortless to get high-quality customer feedback from your list. Look At Surveys Through the Eyes of A Customer Although it might seem like an obvious exercise, very few email marketers consider the user’s experience when it comes to customer feedback. You have to assume the people receiving your emails are busy. They\'re probably checking their emails at work. When they are under pressure and stressed out. If you start thinking about things from the person on the other end’s perspective, you’ll quickly realize that time is the most important metric to optimize for. Your customers have very little time to give you, even if they are huge fans of your business. Additionally, there’s all these apps and websites waging war on their attention spans each day. Reading a message from a friend on Facebook probably feels way more enticing to them than answering your boring survey. You need to focus on saving as much time as possible. And if you can do it correctly people will start to love you for it. Surveys Can Help Customers Love Your Business It seems almost strange to think that surveying your customers in the right way could make them like you more. But just think of how comforting it feels when the manager of a restaurant you’re eating at comes over and asks if you have enjoyed your meal. People want to feel like answering your survey makes a difference. The trick is to make your surveys convenient while making it more obvious that your customer’s answer will be heard. How To Do It The two most important factors I consider when setting up surveys in emails: Minimize the obstacles blocking people from answering your surveys. Ask only one question at a time, at the right time. Minimizing Obstacles Typical surveys are filled with many obstacles a potential respondent faces. Usually, there’s a button in the email you send out reading something like “Click to open survey.” The user then clicks this button, which opens an external page that takes some time to load. Then they have to answer each question on a given page and hit next, while they wait for the next page to load. Sometimes they need to fill in their name and email before they can complete the survey and click submit. All of these actions are obstacles. Obstacles that can be easily avoided with a few simple tricks. One Question Surveys It seemed strange at first, but asking only a single question was a huge breakthrough. Not only is it much easier for me to figure out what I want to ask, but response rates to a single question survey are unbelievable. People don’t mind answering something if they know it will take only a few seconds. The single question survey also makes respondents feel like their answer will make a difference. Because well, it does. It’s much easier to act on the results of a single question survey because the results are easy to interpret. You don\'t have to worry about which question you should focus on first because you only asked one question. Timing Is Important One thing to take note is that you need to ask your one question at the right time. Your email list wants to give you feedback more than you think, you just need to time it right. So for example, if you get an email notification that a purchased product has been delivered, you can ask them if the shipping was on time. This will help with your response rates while improving the quality of the data you gather since the experience of interacting with your business will still be fresh in your respondents\' minds. Embedding Survey Questions Directly Into Emails This is where the convenience factor goes to the next level. You can embed survey questions directly into emails so that it takes one click for someone to give you feedback. You’ve probably seen examples of these surveys before. Usually, they come in the form of an NPS(Net Promoter Score)  survey - you can see an example of that below. NPS surveys are great, but I find them much less versatile than one question surveys. The cool thing is that the same mechanism that makes NPS surveys work also makes one question surveys work. So you ask a question and have a list of answers that are all hyperlinks. Here’s an example: Then, special tokens automatically capture responses and email addresses when users choose an answer by clicking one of the links. It’s so simple, yet so many email marketers don’t even realize this is possible. After applying the one question limit and embedding my one question surveys directly into the regular emails I sent to my email list, response rates shot through the roof. It was almost as though people didn’t even realize they were getting surveyed. The only problem I had left was that setting up these surveys took a lot of effort. I had to create the surveys manually, with the right links, going to a domain name I had to setup and track myself. YesInsights To the Rescue YesInsights is a tool that takes all the hard work out of setting up and tracking the one question or NPS surveys I mentioned above. You type your question and the answers into a form to create the survey. Then, you just select the email service provider you use, and it automatically creates a snippet you can copy and paste directly into your existing email campaigns. Alternatively, you can also use YesInsights to setup NPS surveys. Many businesses are including NPS surveys in the signatures of their outgoing emails to help them figure out how happy their customers are in general. A Special Offer for Benchmark Email Users By following the outline I gave above and using YesInsights, I am certain you will see a drastic increase in the amount of customer feedback you receive. Feel free to share your own experiences in the comments below. As a special offer from the YesInsights team, I would like to share the coupon code “BenchInsights20” for 20% off your first month at YesInsights for the first 20 people to signup.


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The Lenny Award for Best Employee Training Goes to … Benchmark!

The Lenny Award for Best Employee Training Goes to … Benchmark!

Beyond • October 5, 2017

Benchmark was just honored with “Best Employee Training” at the 2017 Lenny Awards from Litmos. We are thrilled as can be for this recognition. Our training team works tirelessly to ensure that everyone here at Benchmark is prepared to offer top notch customer support. They also write and maintain our FAQs, which are a valuable resource to all marketers using Benchmark. Congratulations go to our Training Manager, Irene Martinez, as well as Yamile Flores and Sandeep Kumar. What those three accomplish is no small feat. Irene runs the show from our headquarters in the U.S. Yamile works from Mexico and Sandeep is on hand to work with our support team in India. I want to share our journey that led to this point. Our training department wasn’t always what it is today. So, I’ll share the write-up Irene sent to Litmos to be considered for this award. There were over 100 nominees. There is also a bit of a Q&A with our training department, there to help you learn how to improve your employee training. We also got some feedback from Litmos on great employee training. A Story of Zero to Hero Here’s what Irene wrote: Benchmark Email was founded in 2004, and since then all procedures and how to\'s were taught by providing a few manuals or by trial and error. It wasn\'t until 2016, 12 years later, that we finally implemented a Training Program. We also created the Knowledge Base for all things our employees would ever need. I\'m not sure how our company had succeeded up until that point, with no actual training process, but it did! When I first came to Benchmark, I spent 30 days using our platform and experimenting. Those 30 days and manuals did help. However, I also spent a lot of time interrogating my supervisors and colleagues. As much as they were always willing to help, we knew this was taking time from both them and me. When Litmos was first introduced to us, it was something out of this world! You mean to tell me no more group messages? And no more quick 5 minute talks to explain the new processes?! I have to admit I was relieved. The training was easy to understand, and the best thing is the information never disappeared. We can go back and review if needed.  Best thing yet, we finally had a training department. Not only has Litmos given us the platform to train and educate our employees, but it has also given us that level of accountability we never had. Did I mention we are a worldwide company with over 140 employees spread across the globe?! Now all 15 countries can take the same training, and we can communicate the same goal. We now have 117 training courses, ranging from sales to Understanding DKIM. Thank you, Litmos, for giving us the accountability our employees needed. In Their Own Words Andy Shore: What was your biggest challenge when you joined the Training Team? Irene Martinez: My biggest challenge joining the training team was, and is, knowing that the training for all support and sales is mostly in my hands. But, who doesn’t like a little challenge?! Let’s not forget this department was still relatively new, which meant the opportunities were endless. Sandeep Kumar: When I joined the Training Team, I witnessed two major hurdles in the form of resistance to change and engaging the team. Previously, training was a one-way process where employees were updated through online platforms (Litmos and FAQs), which I thought must be changed to a two-way road. Initiating live training sessions gave the teams a platform to discuss weekly issues and to find best possible solutions for the queries. I also noticed a gap between the multiple teams, who should be working hand-in-hand. Yamile Flores: Trying to make courses, that were not just reading, that adding more movement, colors, imagery and learning techniques. AS: What excited you about contributing to this team? IM: When I first joined Benchmark, I joined as a sales and support rep. This allowed me to learn the product and be able to sell it. However, as time progressed, I found myself helping my colleagues and giving them solutions our clients can use. So, when I was promoted to be the Training Manager, this meant I could do what I love most ... which is lending a hand. Knowing the work I do makes our clients lives a tad bit easier is more than enough to be excited about. SK: When one believes in and understands the potential of a product, it\'s easy to convince others of the same. Right from the beginning when I joined Benchmark, I was confident in the platform we provide. There were are many possibilities for employees to explore when supporting or pitching one of the best platform available in the industry. I started with a keen observation of the tiny details and how to achieve them. Now, being on the training team, I’m happy to teach them to our teams. YF: I love the design, and strangely, I always have kept in touch with the learning experience. I like being a teacher, and am always trying to teach, so this is easy for me. I like when someone learns something I was involved with. AS: What was an unexpected challenge that presented itself along the way? IM: I’ve had many unexpected challenges along the way, but not one specific moment I can recall. One daily challenge I face when creating content is making sure it will fit for all regions and be understood correctly. Another is answering questions in the content before they can be asked by our employees or customers. As time goes on, I’ve learned what kind of things to include and what to leave out. Sometimes too much information can be confusing. SK: With so much continuously changing in the industry, keeping deadlines was, and is, tough. Now and then, the training team faces a moment of decision on prioritizing what needs to be done first. With FAQs, a knowledge base, blog posts, Litmos courses and live training sessions, there is a very small window to accommodate more. However, working with such an amazing team allowed me to overcome all the hurdles. YF: The Litmos platform was a new thing for me, and of course, I don’t know how to code. In the beginning, Litmos didn’t allow me to put into practice a bunch of ideas I had because as a designer I can think of a universe with no limits. However, sometimes a platform does has limits. :( I still don’t know how to code well, but I can center an image (with code) adding a video (with code), or change colors (with code too)! :P In my latest courses, I said goodbye to that way of making courses. I started with a new design in a Google presentation, made it a PDF and then brought it to Litmos. Yes, it took more time, but I think it looks better. AS: How have you worked towards continuous improvement? IM: We are always looking for new ways to perform better. We ask our team on a regular basis if there is something we can do differently. We have surveyed our learners many times trying to find how we can improve. Also, attending Litmos C3 was one way of continuous improvement. I think I came home with improvements for the next year! SK: Initially, I started with restructuring the content we already had available and categorized it under various sections. This helped to understand where to start for the continuous learning environment. Next, was making sure everyone knows about the unique selling points of our product. This could be done by giving a human touch to the training modules that already existed. Keeping the training sessions short enough, while still providing a wealth of information, combined with giving company-wide updates in Slack created an environment for learning. A knowledge base is handy for when our training team to keep note of all the updates. With updates posted on Slack, a routine was initiated that helped employee orientation and urged them to learn more about our product. YF: As I said before, I’ve been learning a little little bit about coding, done research about constructive learning techniques and applying them and am improving the design all the time. AS: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned since joining the Training Team? IM: My biggest lesson learned to date is that it\'s okay to ask for help. There was a time where I felt ashamed about asking for help. Why would a training manager ask for help? Shouldn’t they have the answers to everything? Well, NO! We don’t, and we also must ask questions. Even if it means questioning your CEO. Now, how you approach that situation is totally on you. :) SK: It is always good to ask questions. This is the one thing I learned being in training team. With queries comes solutions and with solution comes the confidence to convince our clients that our tools are the solution for them. A convincing resolution allows us to build trust, which makes for the foundation of a long-lasting bond. YF: I’ve learned how to work in a team and not to let down the people who have given me their trust, like Irene. She always is trusting in me, so I want to make her feel proud. AS: What advice would you offer to someone looking to improve their company’s employee training? IM: My main advice to anyone looking to improve their employee training would be to start by asking what they need help with. Yes, I know there is much you want to teach, but you need to find out where they are having issues and start there. If you alone cannot do it, then be humble and ask for help. The trainers need training too. SK: I would suggest improving communication in the company, and in turn, with the clients to which they’re providing service. I strongly believe in user feedback. This feedback allows a continuous development of the product regarding user experience and market value. Small and precise training modules are always better compared to a huge chunk of information. YF: We’re not perfect yet, but we are trying to do the best we can. My advice is to always ask your team if what you are doing is working for them. We Also Asked Litmos to Weigh In Andy Shore: What are the characteristics or qualities of a Top Employee Training program? Litmos: A Top Employee Training program provides deep employee engagement, gamification, blended learning, is easily accessible, and intuitive to use.  Top organizations make learning at the center of their company’s mission and culture; with widespread adoption across all departments. AS: What are the biggest challenges for businesses today with employee training? L: A big challenge employee training departments face is to keep learners engaged, proactively providing relevant and updated content,  and keeping up on trends and best practices. With the modern workforce ever-changing, it is imperative to deliver suitable content for all audiences. AS: What pain points does Litmos solve for a business? L: Litmos provides an engaging platform that users want to use. Litmos Learning Management System provides the solution to allow the company to build a learning culture. AS: What are common mistakes you see a business make with their employee training programs? L: A lot of organizations measure the wrong outcomes and focus on the number of courses and completions across the organization instead of driving engagement and tying that to learning outcomes and ROI. A big mistake organizations also make is searching for a platform that has the most features and functionality, instead of a platform that will fit their need. AS: What advice would you offer a business looking to improve its employee training? L: Initially, I would recommend an organization that is looking to improve employee training to take a step back, and understand the learning outcomes they want to achieve. Once the outcomes and objectives have been identified, then map this to the learning system. Share Your Insights What do you do for employee training that has worked for your business? Have you learned any lessons the hard way? Share with us in the comments! Thank Yous Special thanks go out to our Director of Design, TJ Taylor, for his wonderful photo of Irene Martinez and Bryndon Díaz for gracing the photograph with his incredible artwork. Of course, from all of us here at Benchmark, thank you, Irene, Yamile and Sandeep for everything you do. We’re not sure how we ever got by without you … and never want to again. Thanks to Dennis Le for starting the training department and laying the groundwork for us to build upon.


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Practical Marketer Spotlight: Mommy Mundo

Practical Marketer Spotlight: Mommy Mundo

Beyond • September 28, 2017

There\'s a lot of wisdom in learning from the successes of others. In fact, we\'d go as far as to say that\'s the practical approach to growing as a marketer. It\'s important to gather inspiration, test your theories and improve based on your data. That\'s why we\'re thrilled to share what has worked for Mommy Mundo. Here is Mommy Mundo\'s Email Marketing Story We have been using Benchmark Email for almost five years. Benchmark has been a partner of Mommy Mundo since almost the beginning. We use Benchmark to build our mailing lists. You’ll see the Benchmark form on our home page of our website. When people signup, they\'re automatically added to our mailing lists. Our team loves how easy Benchmark is to use. The dashboard is very easy to navigate. Even laying out the email newsletters are very easy! Plus, of course, if you have any questions the service that you get is very fast regarding response time. I think another plus is the reporting analytics, such as seeing how many people opened your email or how many bounced back. Things like that have been very useful to us. So, I always recommend Benchmark to my MomPreneur partners and friends and fellow entrepreneurs. I believe that nowadays relationship building is a key element in business. Especially for businesses like ours where we service the community, and it\'s important for us to always be in touch with the people we serve and our community members. For any business that hopes to establish relationships with customers, email marketing is essential. If you have a website, why not have a tool to: get leads know who is visiting your website welcome them into your community make them partners be in touch with them on a regular basis encourage repeat business Now, more and more, marketing is about relationships and Benchmark is one of the tools we use to build that. Janice Villanueva Founder, Mommy Mundo Key Takeaways So, what can you learn from what has worked for Mommy Mundo? Grow Your List Your list of contacts is an asset you own and is yours to keep no matter the platform. Marketing channels will change, but that list of individuals you have built a relationship with will always be there. Here are a few posts to help you grow your list: 15 Ways to Grow Your Email List Awesome Ways to Grow Your Email List with Facebook and Snapchat 4 Creative Ideas to Build Your Email List Fast Tracking Reporting Data is Essential Every email marketing campaign should have a goal. Your reports will tell you whether or not you have achieved your goal. Learn more about goals and the reporting metrics to track: How To Set & Achieve Your Email Marketing Goals 5 Email Marketing Metrics to Watch Depending on Your Goals Understanding Your Email Marketing Reports Email Marketing Builds Relationships A successful email marketer knows the value of fostering ongoing customer engagement. Great customer relationships are based on the quality of your email marketing: Is Your Email Content a Gift or a Drag? How to Turn Your Email List into Brand Promoters Share Your Story Do you have an email marketing success story you want to share? Tell us in the comments!


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独立 IP 的益处

独立 IP 的益处

超越自己/我们 • September 24, 2017

听到“垃圾邮件”一词时,常常会让人觉得很烦。 作为邮件营销公司,这样的玩笑(有时候是指责)常让我们感到尴尬。 当您告诉朋友、家人,您从事于邮件营销,想必您听到的是相似下面的回答: “哦~,你就是发垃圾邮件的人。” 接着会向他们解释,我们在从事于合法的邮件营销。有些人就会认可我们所说的。(真正经验丰富的营销人员早已经知道了这个情况,但他们忙着享受邮件营销带来的成果都来不及了,哪里还有时间去管这个笑话)。 会有这个情况的原因是,即使合法企业有时候也不知道垃圾邮件带来的后果。没有遵守邮件发送规则的公司将成为棘手的问题。 如果许多营销人员都不重视邮件发送信誉,甚至还没意识到这会带来严重的后果,最糟糕的是,这个情况有时还会影响其他的寄件人。 使用独立 IP 的原因 Benchmark 为很多用户提供共享 IP 以及服务端,这是开展邮件营销的好方法。 我们通常尝试将有相似的发送模式、评等的用户进行分组,尽管我们这样做,有时候百密一疏,还是会出现不良的寄件人。我们可以通过运算以及采取安全措施快速检测到不良的发信模式。然后我们立即行动,停止有害的用户发信,即使如此,不良的发信模式依旧会对服务端造成影响。 运行原理 正如前面所提及的,我们通常尝试将有相似的发送模式、评等的用户进行分组,这都基于域名的发送评分以及发送习惯。 举例来说,假设您是做零售生意的,经常发送促销、销售邮件,当您通过我们系统发送邮件时,系统会以您的发送评分为参考,将您分类到与您有相似的其他用户所在的群组。 对于会发送更多通讯类型邮件的博客或者非盈利组织,我们会采取同样的做法。 此种做法能够有助于保持邮箱的发送信誉,提供邮件的到达率。 何时使用独立 IP 当您刚开展您的邮件营销时,共享空间就是完美又经济实惠的方案,已经打包在您的账户里面啦! 逐渐地您的联络人不断增加,重要邮件营销通道的建立,您的邮件量一定会有所增加,这正是您要考虑增加账户的独立 IP 的时候了。 您的独立 IP 拥有独立 IP 意味着我们为您设置一个专属的 IP。 试想您拥有自己的独立 IP 之后,您完全可以控制您的邮件发送信誉以及发送评分。 您发送越多的邮件给订阅者以及与订阅者有更多的互动,邮件的到达率就更加高。 您每月只需支付¥200(未税价),您立即可拥有自己的独立 IP。我们已经准备好足够的IPs 了,花费几分钟的时间就可以开展您的业务了。 重点回顾 共享 IP 适用于一般邮件营销人员或者订阅者用户比较少的客户。 然而,随着您的名单逐渐增多以及营销邮件带来收益,我们建议您阅读此文章:独立 IP 强大的威力。 再次提醒您,独立IP真的能够让您全权掌控邮件发送信誉、邮件到达率。与顾客的互动越来越多,邮件的到达率就越高! 如果您的名单收件人 50,000 或者 50,000 以上,特别是您频繁发送邮件,我们会建议您使用独立 IP。 我们随时准备着协助您 如果您有任何问题,或者想要了解关于独立 IP,请随时致电、以线上交谈的方式、发送邮件联系我们!顾客关系管理专员随时为您提供专业的、一对一的独立 IP 指导服务。


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