We Wrote a Book! Clues for the Clueless Email Marketer

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We Wrote a Book! Clues for the Clueless Email Marketer

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Marketing Automation: Welcome Series

Marketing Automation: Welcome Series

Practical Marketer • December 10, 2017

Marketing Automation is not a buzzword. It’s an industry standard at this point. If you have signup forms on your website, blog, social channels or anywhere else, you should have an automation to at least welcome those new subscribers. Time is of the essence here, and when someone is showing interest in your company, it’s extremely important to engage with them ASAP. Some of you may say, “I know, I know. I need to set up Automation… but I just don’t have time! It’s too complicated” or whatever excuse you want to use. The Case for Marketing Automation The bottom line here is that creating an automation will save you time and when it comes to the idea of it being too complicated well, that’s why I am writing this blog. To demonstrate how any business can create simple automations to at least welcome new subscribers, leads, contacts, etc. The days of sending an email once a week/month to your newly added subscribers for that time are over. People want your information as soon as they sign up. If they don’t get it from you promptly … they will find someone else. Marketing Automation has proven to drive excellent ROI and experience to businesses and subscribers. A recent study by Nucleus Research shows that businesses who use marketing automation have seen an increase in sales by 14.5% and a reduction in marketing overhead of about 12.2%. Start with \"Welcome\" On top of saving you time and money while increasing sales you are also providing an excellent experience to your subscribers. Having a welcome series automation allows you to set a standard for the user experience. This means that every time a new visitor goes to your website and subscribes, you know exactly what they receive and when. This sets a clear standard and will help you identify issues when optimizing your marketing efforts. If you see your open rates are low, you can work on adjusting the send time or Subject line and From name of your automation. If you see low engagement rate, you can work on adjusting the content of the email and CTAs. Sending welcome emails manually opens up a huge issue when trying to identify where to optimize since each email is sent at a different time from the moment your subscriber signs up and may even include different text. I don’t want to hear, “I have a reminder that notifies me every day at 9:00 AM to send my welcome emails…” What if you are sick? On holiday? Or snooze the reminder to “do it later?” Save yourself time and stress, and get rid of unnecessary reminders and create a welcome email series. You have no excuse to avoid this. Marketing Automation Made Easy We have heard it all! We made sure to make your experience creating a welcome series extremely easy. With Marketing Automation Pro tool, we created a few templates to get you started right away. I clocked myself using the Welcome Series template, and I was able to create a full welcome series automation (with tips and tricks) in under 15 min. Your first time around may take a little longer than that, but trust me, you will be so proud and happy once it’s done! Get Started with Marketing Automation If you are reading this blog, you are already a step closer to getting on board with Automation. The next step is to login to your Benchmark Email account (click here if you don’t have an account) and get to work! We even created a downloadable PDF that explains our Welcome Series Template and how to use it: Welcome Your New Subscribers Final tips and thoughts on the Welcome Series Automation: Keep it simple. If you are just getting started with marketing automation, one email is enough to welcome your subscribers. You can edit your automation later on as you gain experience. Warm Welcome. Remember the purpose of the email. It’s to welcome your new subscribers. Unless you state it at the point of signup, avoid selling in a welcome email. Think of building a long-lasting relationship. The welcome email is intended to give a warm welcome and to connect with your subscribers. Calls to Action. As most, if not all emails, avoid too many calls to action but most definitely include at least one! To help build a long-lasting relationship it is important to do this from day one. Include a link to your website, social channels or a really interesting blog. This will help your subscriber get used to clicking on your emails so when you start sending promotional emails in the future, your subscriber is already familiar with engaging with your messages. It also tells your subscribers email provider (Gmail, Outlook, etc.) that they like to engage with your emails, resulting in a higher priority to ensure your emails always land in the inbox. Reporting. Once you create the welcome series, set yourself a timeframe to review the results. If it is your first automation, a 30-day window is great. That doesn’t mean you have to change anything. It’s just a time to review the automation and think of improvements. You may find that it’s working great and no changes need to be made! If that is the case, check back around in another 60 - 90 days. Don’t forget about Holidays and other events within your company. You may want to make a special welcome series depending on the time of the year. Welcome Series Per Channel or Signup Method. Start with your most influential channel or signup method. If most of your subscribers come from your blog or website, start there for your first welcome series. As you nail down the most important one, you can go on to the next one. This may be your social channels or other avenues you may have. Can you have just one welcome series for all of your channels? Sure! But I recommend giving somewhat of a custom experience based on where the subscriber came from. You don’t have to re-invent the wheel, just play with the wording or message to match the place they came from. BONUS: List Management. This is optional, but I highly recommend keeping your “New Subscribers” separate from your “Existing Subscribers.” This may not apply to your single email welcome automation, but it makes much more sense when you have a longer welcome series with multiple emails. Doing this allows you to separate new subscribers from the rest. Why is this important? Two main reasons: Filter freebie signups. If you are giving something away in exchange of the signup, (e.g. A free report, pdf, infographic, etc.) you will get a lot of signups looking for that free asset. But when it comes to potential buyers… you will want to filter the freebie chasers out. Having a longer welcome series can help you identify quality subscribers who may show interest in your product or service by tracking the engagement with your emails. Towards the end of the welcome automation series, you can add conditions to check who your most engaged subscribers were and automatically add these to your “Main Subscriber” list for more aggressive sales follow-ups later on. It’s a good way to weed out “junk” signups and focus on real interested signups. Promotions. Imagine it is your slow seasons and you want to send a special promotion to try to boost sales for that month. Keeping your lists separated allows you to target new subscribers with specials to earn their business and avoid sending to subscribers that may have already purchased at the full price. You can learn more about using goal-based lists for marketing automation in a post we recently published. As mentioned, marketing automation can seem intimidating, and many times you give up because you just don’t know where to start. Take it with bite-size pieces and start to automate what already works for your business. This is why we highly recommend to start your automation experience with a welcome series. Its simple, has value and its an excellent way to get your feet wet and see the power of automation. Join Us For Automation Fridays If you have a welcome series to share with us, or a success story after implementing automation for your business, please post it below in the comments or join us for Automation Friday! We meet every week to discuss automation tips, strategies and examples.


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10 Essential Event Email Design Tips to Drive Registration

10 Essential Event Email Design Tips to Drive Registration

Practical Marketer • November 30, 2017

Among the billions of emails that are sent daily, there is a common goal among all of them: to drive action. Whether that action is to subscribe, to donate, or to simply open the message, an email’s objective is to always persuade the reader to engage in some way. For event marketers, their email strategy oftentimes revolves around a single action: registering for the event. According to the Event Marketing 2018: Benchmarks and Trends report, most marketers (40%) believe email to be the best channel for promoting events—more than digital ads, social media or content marketing. This comes as no surprise as email continues to be the go-to form of communication for many businesses. The challenge then becomes crafting the ideal email strategy that aligns with the goals of an event marketer. To assist with email crafting process, here are 10 event email design tips that help to drive event registration. Event email marketing is a nuanced kind of email strategy and these tips make sure to address the specific needs of event marketers. 1. The Rule of Three Perhaps the most important rule when it comes to event email design, or any kind of email design for that matter, is simplicity. The most visually appealing emails are the ones that are not too cluttered and easily readable. The key is to make the message memorable for the reader and nothing achieves that more quickly than simplicity. A good rule of thumb keep in mind is to not to exceed three subsections within an email. This will ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience for the reader. As you can see in the example below, Wistia, a video marketing platform, follows the rule of three beautifully. Notice that there is very minimal text because most of the key information is already included in the graphics. This example illustrates that an email with simple, minimal design makes for an enjoyable read while also leaving the recipient wanting more. 2. Apply a Consistent Color Scheme A very specific event email design principle to adhere to is keeping a consistent color scheme throughout the email. Doing so creates a visually unified aesthetic while also showcasing your  event branding. The above example shows how the Forecast 2017 conference maintains a repetitive color scheme throughout, using accents where appropriate. 3. Harness the Power of Video Video marketing continues to be core strategy for marketers so it only make sense to utilize it within email campaigns as well. This study from Syndacast shows that simply including the word “video” in the subject line increased clicked-through rates by 65%. The above example shows how Unbounce used a video a main speaker to persuade people to register. Having an eye-catching thumbnail image also helps to invite more clicks. 4. Strategically Place CTA buttons As mentioned before, the goal of an email is to drive action. Often times the main action that is presented to the reader is a call-to-action button. Within the context of event marketing, this button usually leads to a registration page. Since driving the reader to click on the button is the key action, the placement and design of the button is crucial. One way to make the CTA button stand out is to use a color that is different from the rest of the email but still agrees with the overall aesthetic, as shown in the example above. In terms of placement, make sure it is in line with the overall flow of the email. This is why many CTA buttons are often times at the end of the email. You can also include the button a second or third time to emphasize its importance, as shown in the example from Invision. So as long as the placement makes sense contextually, you should feel free to arrange the buttons as you see fit. 5. Leverage Social Proof There are few things as persuasive as the opinions of others, especially within the context of conferences. Social proof is the concept of solidifying one’s perspective through the collective influence of others. Thus if you have positive reviews from your previous events, make sure to use them within the email to further drive event registration. The above example shows how Amy Porterfield, a business coach for entrepreneurs, promoted her webinar through the praise of previous webinar attendees. Social proof can come in the form of social media mentions, survey responses, video testimonials, or any other kind of evidence that establishes the awesomeness of your event. 6. Spotlight Your Speakers Many attendees and prospective attendees will be most excited about the speaker lineup. To further amp up the hype, you can design the event registration email to solely spotlight your speakers while giving more context about each one. HubSpot’s INBOUND conference always has stellar speakers and they’re not shy about showing them off in their emails. Even if your lineup isn’t as impressive as the one above, there are plenty of ways to create enthusiasm around your speakers. You could give a short summary of their experience, offer a sneak-peek of their speaking topic, or list their accolades. If you’ve chosen them to speak at your event, there is definitely a way to show them off. 7. Add a Personal Touch Personalization is a cardinal rule for effective event email design. One study showed that personalization throughout an email improved click-through rates by 14% and increased conversions by 10%. The above example shows how the Bizzabo platform provides a wide range of personalization tokens within its email marketing feature. By personalizing the email in the right context, you create a message that resonates with your target audience. 8. Apply a Concise Subject Lines Remember that effective event email design begins before the email is actually opened. The subject line is the first thing the reader will see so it is important to optimize this portion of the message. Research has shown that short, catchy subject line usually results in higher open rates. According to a study by Informz, subject lines with less than 10 characters had open rates of nearly 54%. Of course this statistic shouldn’t be applied to all emails as some require more information in the subject line, but this is a good reminder to maintain short, pithy subject lines when possible. Doing so will pique your reader\'s’ interest and entice them to open the email. 9. Create Sense of Urgency Another form of effective event email design would be to include a countdown clock. This timer would count down to the final day of registration which creates a feeling of urgency for prospective attendees. Below you can see that The Web Summit does a great job of making the countdown the largest part of the email to maximize its effect. Including a countdown clock is a simple yet dynamic visual graphic that causes the exact effect you’re looking for. A sense of urgency equals a reason to take action, which results in more registrations. As shown in the example above from Web Summit, a simple countdown clock with a brief explanation of the event is enough content to communicate the necessary information while inducing a feeling of urgency, a perfect balance to drive registrations. 10. Optimize for Mobile An overarching design principle to keep in mind is to optimize your email for mobile devices. Because 65% of email users access their email through a mobile device, it’s imperative to create an optimal mobile reading experience. Overlooking this key feature will result in an unpleasant association with your event brand. Wrapping Up To offer a quick summary, here are a few key points from the aforementioned examples. Maintain simplicity both in terms of content and visuals. Doing so will make your email more memorable and stand out from the rest. Leverage your best assets, which includes your speaker lineup and previous attendee testimonials. Both of these can be strong forms of persuasion. Think of creative ways to use video. Utilizing dynamic content will increase the likelihood of your reader engaging with the email. Mix and match these event email design tips to create the perfect formula for your particular event brand. And while these tips specifically focused on increasing event registration, these best practices can be applied to help achieve your overall email marketing goals.


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Email Marketing Tactics to Help Boost SEO

Email Marketing Tactics to Help Boost SEO

Beyond • November 28, 2017

Although email marketing and SEO campaigns are made up of very different components and utilize different tools, they both ultimately share the same goal – driving traffic to your website. Simply implementing an email marketing campaign into your business strategy will not directly impact SEO results, because search engines can’t rank and crawl emails like they do web page listings. However, there are tactics involved in email marketing that help steer audiences to your company’s website and social media pages, thus furthering SEO initiatives. Encourage Engagement SEO marketing professionals know the key to building authority for your site is making it popular. The more time someone spends on a page, the more Google values it. Email marketing can help encourage consumers to engage on your blog or social media pages by persuading them to leave comments or share on their pages. Interacting with your social media pages or blog helps you gain exposure and also increases the time spent on your pages. Sending out mass emails can also drive more people to your website than ever before. By creating powerful messages about your product or service and linking them back to landing pages on your website through a button or image, you are boosting SEO. Ongoing Engagement is Even Better Convincing people to leave comments and share your social media and blog posts once or twice is helpful, but attracting regular followers and subscribers is much more beneficial. Give your email subscribers (and non-subscribers) the option to sign up for more specific emailing lists, such as daily or weekly emails. Also, encouraging subscribers to follow your social media channels by sending previews of social content to entice them can be helpful. For example, send a few images from your Instagram with a link to your profile, telling people they can view more if they follow you. Turn Emails into Blogs Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way Google could track the content in e-newsletters? Well, repurposing the content into blog posts and loading it up with keywords is a great solution that directly impacts SEO. It also gives people who are not email subscribers a chance to see the content. If an email is too short to be used a blog post, you could either add external content to it or combine multiple short emails into one blog. Choose the Right Email Service Provider Choosing the right Email Service Provider (ESP) is crucial for an email marketing campaign for a number of reasons, including SEO. For your campaign, the ESP will provide you with an IP address, reporting and analytics including clicks and bounce rates, and most importantly, assistance with Internet Service Providers (ISP). The relationship between the ESP and ISP can get quite complex during an email marketing campaign, which is why choosing an ESP that will manage that relationship properly is essential. Incorporate Email into SEO Although it would make life easier for SEO marketers if search engine results included content and keywords from emails directly, it is still extremely valuable to implement email marketing campaigns for their indirect benefits to SEO. Being creative and thinking outside of the box is required when it comes to developing new ways of boosting SEO.


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Tiger by the Tail:  Video Content in Email Campaigns

Tiger by the Tail: Video Content in Email Campaigns

Beyond • November 22, 2017

Video in email marketing improves campaign results more than any other form of content. Blame it on the saber-tooth tigers, probably.  Motion in the grass was a KMI (key mortality indicator) for our marketing ancestors. Figuring out why something is moving - hungry? not? - was important.  So we still can’t help but give attention priority to things that are moving. Video content is a savage beast, even for marketers with infinite budgets and no deadlines (and other fictitious creatures.)  The rewards are fantastic - your audiences will look and click and watch 2x-8x more.  But sourcing and using video content is the problem. Video is expensive; the Small Business Cost Helper says ‘corporate video packages typically range from $500 to $5,000, depending on the length of the video.’ Video is still quite technical.  Encoding, hosting, embed codes, mobile-ready - these are just the chapter headings for hours of work.  (For even one video!) Video is SLOW.  Writing, storyboarding, shooting, sound, editing, post-production take time, or budgets to hire talent, and they still take time! Feel the bite? I do and have.  Our small studio produced hundreds of videos, mainly for Fortune 100 clients - about six weeks and six figures on average.  More often than not, our clients took that precious artifact and buried in the digital jungle (YouTube). Sometimes it got to their website; sometimes on their social media pages, but I can think of just a few that put their expensive video assets to work in their email campaigns. Disappointing.  Frustrating.  So we decided to tie a knot in that kitty’s tail by developing one platform with all of the pieces needed to create and use video content - Vid.One. Imagine you’ve got a critical campaign going out the door through Benchmark.  Geez, it would be great to see the numbers bump up a bunch - adding video would probably do it, but it’s scheduled to launch in 1 hour. Grrr! Relax. You can use the other 59 minutes for something else, because creating a video, and getting the key assets ready to use in Benchmark (including an animated GIF thumbnail - remember, we look at moving things) will take about 1 minute on Vid.One. Sound useful? Read on. Tigers Aside, Why Does Video Have Such A Bite? The saber-tooth thing is part of the video story; our eyes go right to a thing-in-motion without any conscious prompt.  (Open a web page with a looping GIF, and leave it on-screen for a minute.  Distracting, isn’t it??)  It’s one aspect of a broader principle - we process visuals first and fast - then text.  The generally-accepted stat in the world of visual communications in that we process visuals 50,000 times faster than text. That means the people who get your campaign are going to assess the visuals before they peruse that copy your team has been sweating over.  Most of them won’t read the copy, either; they’ll skim and scan, hit the H1s and breeze over the rest. No wonder clickthrough rates are single-digits. In simple human terms, the impact of video makes sense.  It’s got visuals - 1000 words per picture; it’s got motion - about 30 images per second. Forrester combined those figures to come up with their controversial estimate - 1 minute of video is worth 1.8 million words of text.  I think Forrester’s equation leaves out another dimension in video - story.  Video unfolds over time; it’s inherently suited to story. On the longer time axis - memory & recall - the combination of visuals and language and story structures make video potentially the best way to get a little piece of a viewer’s memory banks.  Competing studies and academic theories abound; the Picture Superiority Effect, which argues that we’re more likely to remember images than words, has been verified repeatedly. Dual-coding theory, Sensory semantic theory, and Weldon and Roediger-transfer appropriate processing theories propose reasons why.  (I do wish one of ‘em would come up with a diagram - visuals, right?) The punch line is, if you want brand recall, use video. Video for Email Made Simple It’s faster to create a video in Vid.One than to read this blog post, and you’ll see what the tool does in 2 quick screens.  But some people prefer to read first, so for both of you, here are the essentials. Pick a template.  You don’t need to bring video footage or audio tracks.  Vid.One offers thousands of professionally-designed video templates. You can browse by themes (People, Nature, Technology), or search in 22 different languages.  The soundtrack has already been picked for each template, and all of the music is properly licensed; don’t put your company at risk with unlicensed soundtracks! Write a tiny story: beginning, middle and end.  By design, Vid.One provides that most basic of narrative forms. You’ve got full layout control - multiple text blocks, hundreds of fonts, colors, etc.  Think of it as writing three great subject lines. Add logos & photos. You can incorporate your visuals into the video - logos, photos or existing marketing graphics. Size them, lay them out, even rotate & drop-shadow them. Preview, tweak, preview, tweak.  We generate video previews in just seconds, so you can watch and adjust until you’re happy.  Then just hit Publish. Use It with Integrations & Downloads.  Benchmark integration is built right in. Click the Benchmark button and sign in; Vid.One will instantly transfer an animated GIF ‘teaser’, and a still thumbnail, right into the Benchmark image gallery. Add an image block; select that image; link to the video landing page or (better) the video on your website. You can also publish your video to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Buffer...and download the HD video file and thumbnails. (We’re working with Benchmark to provide ‘Add Video’ shortly; did you know Benchmark is the only major email platform with a built-in video gallery?) Video isn’t quite on the same footing in the inbox as the browser; video doesn’t play reliably and predictably in email, and that will probably remain true for some time.  (The technical reasons deserve a separate post.) But study after study shows that video thumbnails - which are a visual promise to deliver a video - and, more recently, animated GIFs - still change engagement and action rates substantially. Free.  Then Cheap. Vid.One is not a subscription service. Vid.One is not a subscription service. That seemed worth repeating since just about everything seems to be a subscription service these days!  New users get a coupon code for three free videos, instantly. (Sign up & check your email.) After that, individual videos run between $5-$10.  You get perpetual rights - it’s yours to use, forever.  Vid.One does include 30 days of video hosting, and there’s an option to extend hosting if you find it useful - but it’s not required. Email platforms like Benchmark have fantastic email templates and design tools to modify them.  Vid.One aims to do the same thing for video; it should be just as quick and easy to add a video to your campaigns as an image. How To Make The Most Of Your Video Assets Email marketing doesn’t operate in a vacuum; you have other channels, and it’s worth pointing out some ways to manage your video assets to get the most out of them.  Here are a few guidelines: Keep them brand-coherent.  You will, over time, create and use many separate videos; I’d bet you have that problem with static graphics now.  Decide what kind of visuals suit your brand; decide where your logo goes, and what kind of call-to-action information you include. 
(Video is hard to modify after-the-fact; get it right up front.) One video = many assets.  A quick Vid.One video for a campaign gives you a cloud-hosted video, which has its web embed code and email merge tags.  It also provides downloads - HD video, SD video, PNG thumbnail, GIF and GIF teaser.  Each of those can be re-used elsewhere. One video = content for many channels.  
Email, check.  Why not put that same video on your social-media pages? Embed it on your website.  Paste the merge tag (which is a thumbnail linked to the video landing page) in a template in your CRM system, too. SEO super-magnet.  Search engines LOVE video. Forrester calculated that a page with video is 53 times more likely to reach Page 1 than a text-only page. Keep track of your videos.  Video is a pain in the tail (tiger joke) to manage; the files are big, and a file name doesn’t tell you all the things you need to know. HD or SD?  Version 1? 2? 93?  H264 or OGV?  I’ve had clients get in touch a year after a project, asking if we could send them a copy because they lost it.  (You paid six figures for this, and you lost it? Sure...hang on a sec…) Start evaluating video-hosting options.  If you… Want to look at ROI on video content… Want to track visits, views, viewers…. Want to capture leads. Want to keep people on YOUR website, not YouTube.com… Want to improve your SEO. Want to make better video content in the future Then you’re probably in the market for a business-grade video hosting platform.  The costs are relatively modest, the benefits - especially in the long run - are enormous.  Vid.One is integrated with Wistia, Vidyard and Vimeo - direct transfer, no download! Try Video, It Won’t Bite Video is a relatively new piece of the online world, and it is still far more complicated than it should be.  It’s still surprisingly technical; it’s still quite fussy and easy to break.  HTML5 isn’t magic; rumors to the contrary, HTML5’s <video> tag doesn’t fully sort out the vexing issues. Video playing in email has some additional costs to consider, too.  Many of the critical measures for digital marketing are made on-page - website, social-media page, or some other landing page. Playing a video within an email client doesn’t close those loops. After a bunch of research and attempts to get video to play within email clients, we put that particular tiger back in the cage. It’s just too unpredictable; it moved Vid.One away from click-and-market simplicity, back into the HTML/if/CSS !important jungle. (Tip:  if you want to test video-playing-in-email-where-it-can, take a look at Viwomail.com.) There’s still a bunch of ROI in video content for email campaigns, though.  Do static PNG/JPG thumbnails increase read & clickthrough rates?  Yes - but you’re promising your prospect a video when you show them a thumb.  Beyond that - what about animated GIFs?  We looked at some A/B tests of animated-GIF thumbnails; the one that convinced us to build them in showed a 49.7% increase in clickthroughs over static JPG thumbnails. That makes Yet More Images to manage, but Vid.One tames that beast as well.  Static thumbnails and animated ‘teaser’ GIFs thumbnails are included, and those images are pushed directly into Benchmark for ease of use. If you’ve been putting off testing video in your campaigns, you’re in great company. Video has been a budget and time sink.  Video-making solutions are getting better, but that’s only part of the equation; integration, like the Vid.One→ Benchmark integration is key to making video a natural part of campaign management. Three free videos?  Instant Benchmark campaign assets?  Yup. Give it a try at https://app.vid.one; look for the Benchmark icon under each finished video.


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Protect Your Brand with SPF Records

Protect Your Brand with SPF Records

Beyond Practical Marketer • November 21, 2017

At 32, and in a long-term relationship, I seldom get a quiet night alone. On those rare occasions, I usually order in. Cooking for one isn’t too much fun. Inevitably, the pizza delivery person will knock. Every time, without fail, I will peek through the eyehole to see who is at the door even though I’m expecting the arrival of the pizza (my girlfriend is lactose intolerant, and it’s the only chance I get to eat pizza). I won’t open the door for the pizza I’m expecting without confirming that it’s the delivery person. The same way that I sought to authenticate the identity of the individual knocking on my door, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) do the same with your email campaigns. What are SPF Records? Sender Policy Framework (SPF) records ensure higher deliverability for your emails by allowing ISPs to trust the authenticity of your email. In short, the ISP can trust the email is genuine and not fraudulently sent in your name, which is a common spammers\' trick. SPF is an email validation system that blocks spam in the form of spoofing. \"Spoofers\" commit mail fraud by sending mail from what appear to be trusted addresses to gain sensitive information. If you are following email marketing best practices, your good reputation and verified identity should be enough to let the ISP know that your email is not spam and thus should be delivered. Using SPF records, an administrator can choose which hosts may use a given domain by creating an SPF record in the public Domain Name System (DNS). The DNS can then be used to verify that email from a given domain is sent from a host approved by the domain\'s administrators. Why Does Benchmark Use SPF Records? Benchmark Email creates a record on your behalf that shows the ISP that you are exactly who you say you are when your email is being sent. By adding an SPF to include Benchmark Email, you will authorize Benchmark to send on your behalf, by verifying that we are doing the sending with the SPF Record. The single advantage of publishing an SPF Record is that Spammers and Phishers will not be able to forge the email sending domain. Spammers will not be able to pretend that they are sending mails from your domain name. If they do, that mail will be caught by the Anti-Spam systems of the respective ISPs and the mail will land in the Junk or Spam folder. Thus by publishing an SPF record, you are making your domain spoof-proof. Benchmark Email authenticates outgoing emails by using SPF and other authentication methods. You can find out more by reading our article on email authentication. Further Understanding SPF Records An SPF Record looks something like this: \"v=spf1 a mx -all\" In the SPF Record, you can determine which IP addresses and domains can send mails on behalf of your domain, preventing spoofing. Let\'s say you are a client of Benchmark Email and you are sending emails to your customers through the Benchmark Email platform. For better deliverability, you need to explicitly allow Benchmark Email to send mails to your customers on your behalf. The SPF record for yourwebdomain.com should go in your DNS manager something like this: yourwebdomain.com IN TXT \"v=spf1 a mx ip4:1.2.3.4 include:thirdpartyespdomain.com -all\" In this scenario, 1.2.3.4 = the IP Address of your mail server or 3rd party ESP, like Benchmark Email. Furthermore, thirdpartyespdomain.com = the domain of the 3rd party ESP, such as Benchmark Email, or their relay mail server\'s domain name. Additional SPF Resources We\'ve put together a helpful FAQ that teaches you how to establish SPF Records with many different domain hosts. You can get great help from the links given here: http://www.openspf.org/SPF_Record_Syntax http://www.openspf.org/FAQ Once you have published your SPF record as a DNS TXT record, you can test it by visiting the given links: http://www.mxtoolbox.com/spf.aspx http://www.kitterman.com/spf/validate.html Bonus Section: DKIM DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) is the second factor that goes into authenticating an email address. DKIM grants an organization the responsibility for an email being delivered. DKIM may pertain to your business or your ESP. What DKIM does is it verifies a domain using cryptographic authentication. Using an ESP like Benchmark, you will automatically have your emails authenticated with DKIM. You can take it up a notch and further improve your deliverability by enabling a DKIM CName, giving yourself double authentication. This lets ISPs know who you are and will assist you in building a sender reputation with your ESP as your co-signer. Here\'s what you\'ll need: CNAME RECORD FOR DKIM: bmdeda._domainkey.yourdomain.net VALUE: bmdeda._domainkey.bmsend.com We\'ve put together a helpful FAQ to assist you with DKIM and various domain hosting companies. Need Help? Our customer engagement specialists are here to help if you have any questions or need any assistance with SPF Records. Contact us via phone, chat or email.


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Why Nobody Reads Your Emails

Why Nobody Reads Your Emails

Beyond • November 20, 2017

To succeed, email marketers must overcome three hurdles. First, they have to get people to open the email. Second, they have to get people to read it. Third, they have to get people to act on it. Regarding email marketing strategy and metrics, a lot of attention goes to open rates and conversion rates — the first and third challenges. In between, there is the rather important step of getting people to read the email. Using proper email list management techniques and testing methodology for subject lines will boost open rates to be sure, but without getting those additional email openers to read the content, there is no conversion, and as a result, ROI goes nowhere. A Different Approach to Email Marketing Strategy for Content Tips for getting people to read your emails are everywhere on the Internet. But these tips — for instance, writing about benefits, creating attention-grabbing headlines, having strong calls to action — are all good. However, without the right email marketing strategy for content, deploying these techniques is like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. The analysis and suggestions that follow may be a bit different from what you have read in the past, but a new way of thinking about your email content strategy may be just the thing to transform your email ROI from flat to flat-out fantastic. What Happens to Your Email in the Real World People are deluged with email 24/7. They are not likely to consume content for the purpose of saving it for future reference. Unless an email subscriber needs to act on the content now, it will be forgotten. So, when companies send emails with information about new products, industry insights, helpful industry data and the like, the subscriber’s reaction will be, at best, “That’s nice.” In the back of the subscriber’s mind, there may be the thought, “This company is smart, they’d be good to work with” — but that’s a pretty fragile conversion hook on which to hang your hat. As long as I’ve been in sales and marketing, there has always been a strong element of “out of sight, out of mind” on the part of customers and prospects. Now, any possibility of prospects hanging on to emails for future reference has dwindled to near nothingness  — because of search engines. Information is immediately accessible to your email subscribers. If they have an immediate need to know about new products, industry insights and helpful industry data, they just Google it, then and there, when they need it. Nobody is going to sift through an email folder of old emails to find it. Google processes more than 40,000 search queries per second. An interesting consumer study from 2016 shows that when consumers are searching for products, about 75 percent start on Amazon or Google, with, hmm … zero starting with their saved emails. On the B2B side, about 70 percent of product searches start with search queries and is trending upward. With mobile search and voice search set to explode, the ability to obtain instant information will only spike further. The point is, email subscribers are well aware of their ability to get information instantly and on demand. Thus, if they have no immediate need for your email, they are not likely to read it. Emails Must Be Immediately Necessary To continue on this line of thinking, if your email needs to address an immediate need, what sorts of things are customers and prospects always interested in? Here are some pretty safe bets: Saving money (profit) Selling something (profit) Getting an edge over competitors (profit) Preventing a problem (security) Solving a problem (security) Not losing ground to competitors (fear) Getting promoted or being a hero (ego) Contributing to a good cause (ego) There certainly are more items that could go on this list — please share your ideas in comments — but consider: If your emails cycled through these eight content themes, can you imagine the impact on conversions? Boiling it down into a few practical examples: Announcing a new manufacturing capability is boring. Telling subscribers they can take advantage of capability “X” and leave their competitors in the dust — now that’s interesting. Talking about a professional HVAC staff is boring. Explaining how particulates in a home’s ventilation system could be poisoning the family —interesting. Recapping changes to the tax code is boring. Explaining five accounting changes that, if made now, could reduce taxes next April by $2,000 — interesting. Reminding subscribers of store hours is boring. Sending a coupon redeemable for $100 for the next 48 hours — interesting. The common theme is immediacy. If your email content can be salted away, it’s unlikely to be reopened. Buy To Sell Offering to buy or accept donations is a very underused email marketing strategy, but people are always interested in selling something or donating to a good cause. So, if “give-to-get” is a good marketing strategy, “buy-to-sell” is an even better one. There may be a good option for you in this area. For example: Buying outdated equipment in exchange for a new model Men’s Wearhouse runs its National Suit Drive to help people in need — and also tempts contributors to clean out overpacked closets. Could something like this work in your business? These approaches have the additional benefits of building a very strong brand image, and may even enable your business to create a new revenue stream selling used or refurbished equipment or merchandise. SEO: Make Your Emails Searchable and Optimized One final technique worth touching on is to make your email content findable on organic search, which will enable all those people doing search queries to discover your email content. From an SEO perspective, the best way to do this is to create an HTML page on your website domain for each email, optimized with relevant and at least moderately high-volume keywords. Thus, anyone (subscriber or not) with an immediate need can find your content and convert, tomorrow or three years from tomorrow. This is an excellent way to repurpose email content and squeeze yet more conversions and ROI out of your email campaign. Also, steadily adding fresh content will help raise the organic visibility of your website. Google values sites with continually updated content, and for many types of searches, ranks fresh content higher. Over To You Addressing or creating immediate needs should be the constant theme of your email marketing strategy for content. Anything else is liable to be wasted motion, something nobody can afford unless they have an unlimited marketing budget. But in the real world, most organizations never seem to have a big enough budget, and by the same token, email subscribers never have enough time to plow through their inboxes. Subscribers must have a great reason — not just a good reason — to read what you’ve sent them. What techniques have you used successfully in email campaigns to create a sense of urgency and boost conversions?  


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Comparing Email Marketing Success with Other Marketing Channels

Comparing Email Marketing Success with Other Marketing Channels

Beyond • November 16, 2017

What is the most effective digital marketing and/or advertising strategy? That’s a question marketers have been asking themselves since the first time the internet became known as the ultimate driver of marketing success. And, while there are many factors that determine the overall success of a marketing and/or advertising campaign, it’s become clear that one strategy has separated itself from the pack. That strategy is email marketing. How is Email Marketing More Effective Than Other Marketing & Advertising Channels? For most organizations, the true value of a marketing strategy is determined by the ROI it provides. According to a study from VentureBeat, email marketing yields $38 in ROI for every $1 spent. That number puts e-marketing ahead of every other potential digital marketing and advertising strategy utilized by organizations throughout the world. In comparison, let’s take a look at some return-on-investment figures offered by other popular digital marketing strategies:      Content Marketing. While this is difficult to measure, content marketing guru Neil Patel estimated that he achieved $10 in ROI for every $1 he spent on creating great content.      Social Media Marketing. According to a survey by SmartInsights, only 20% of businesses feel that social media marketing yields a high ROI. Also, the survey found that only 48% of marketers were confident that social media provided any ROI at all.      Paid Search. The ROI of paid search varies wildly depending on the industry, although WordStream produced a study showing that the average cost-per-action in Adwords is $59.18 for search and over $60 for display. As you can see, e-marketing significantly outperforms all three of the strategies listed above. But reaching the astounding level of ROI provided by email does not just happen because your organization decides to utilize email marketing services. To reach that level of ROI, or even surpass it, there are a few tactics that you’ll need to focus on. The 3 Tactics That Lead to Email Marketing Success While there are many factors that go into succeeding with e-marketing, there are a few tactics that have proven to provide the most significant impact. They include:     Segmentation     Personalization     Automation Fortunately, many email marketing services provide tools to aid you in maximizing the potential of each of these tactics. Segmentation According to the Data & Marketing Association, segmented email campaigns result in a 760% increase in revenue over a one-size-fits-all campaign. And while it makes sense that segmenting would lead to higher conversion rates and success, 760% is a staggering number that makes it clear that segmentation is a necessity. The reason for this is simple. By segmenting your email list into specified groups, you’re able to better target your subscribers in a way that makes them feel as if you’re talking directly to them while catering to their unique wants and needs. Personalization In a study by Experian Marketing Services, they determined that personalized subject lines increased email open rates by 29.3%. But including a name in a subject line isn’t the only way to commit to personalization through email. As KissMetrics contributor Emma O’Neill outlines, there are several other techniques that you can utilize. They include:      Ask specific questions related to the actions taken by the subscriber.      Develop multiple customer personas to better understand the behaviors of subscribers.      Use location and time factors to your advantage.      Utilize marketing automation to create automated behavioral trigger emails. While using personalization in your subject lines can lead to higher open rates, the techniques above can produce the increased click-through and conversion rates that lead to true email marketing success. Automation As Marketo outlined in their ebook about Strategies for Sustaining Success, 91% of successful marketers say that marketing automation is “very important” to the overall success of their marketing strategies. Automation is particularly important in the world of email marketing, as HubSpot identified that relevant emails sent through marketing automation software drive 18x more revenue than those sent through email blasts. The important point to take from these statistics is simple – when identifying potential email marketing services to use, make sure you’re honing in on platforms that offer advanced automation tools. Combining Segmentation, Personalization, and Automation When combined properly, the three techniques outlined above provide a powerful combination capable of helping you reach, or even exceed, the $38 to $1 ROI that e-marketing offers. It’s important, however, that they’re looked at as a team of techniques that need to work together. Using each on their own can certainly lead to success, but combining them effectively is where the real potential lies. Using Email Marketing with Other Marketing Strategies In the same way that e-marketing works best when the techniques outlined above are used in unison, e-marketing is most successful when utilized in combination with other marketing strategies. This is particularly true as you work to build your email list. After all, it will be extremely difficult to achieve success through email if you don’t have a list to target. To get the most out of your email efforts, you’ll want to design your content marketing, social media marketing, and email marketing strategies to work in harmony. A few strategies for making this work could include:      Use your emails as a way to distribute targeted content to the right people at the right time.      Use social media and your blog as a way to encourage visitors to sign up to your email list.      Use social media to create customer personas that can help you better segment and personalize your emails. Bringing It Altogether It\'s hard to argue the power that email marketing has when it comes to the ROI it can provide for your business. But to truly maximize your potential, it’s important that you allow your marketing techniques and strategies to work together as a team. What about you? What are some ways that you’ve combined email marketing with other marketing strategies to maximize the ROI provided to your business?


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10 of the Worst Email Writing Mistakes You Need to Avoid in Your Campaigns

10 of the Worst Email Writing Mistakes You Need to Avoid in Your Campaigns

Beyond • November 13, 2017

Writing the best emails possible is vital to the success of your business. Any error in communication and you can soon find customer, clients, colleagues, managers and partners will be right on your back, chasing up the mistakes you have caused. To avoid these errors completely, here are ten of the worst mistakes you must avoid. 1. Not Formatting Fonts If you’ve copy and pasted a bit of text into your email, always format it, so your email is consistent. This is as simple as highlighting the text and changing the font so just make sure that you do. 2. Misspelling Your Company Name Another way to ensure your readers don’t take you seriously is by writing your company name wrong. It should be written everywhere you look in your office, so there’s no excuse. 3. Not Checking Your Grammar Grammar is such an important part of writing an email, so it’s essential that you get it right. Using the right grammar will help to improve your email’s readability and structure. To ensure your grammar skills are in line with the most up to date guidelines, check out websites such as Resumention or Easywordcount which host blogs and reference sheets with everything you need to know. 4. Not Editing Your Emails As with any kind of written work, the chances are that you won’t get it right the first time. This is why it’s so important that you edit your emails before sending them. You may want to do this once, twice or even three times. If you’re not sure on the best way to edit, online tools, such as Big Assignments, are home to expert writers who can teach you the best methods for fast editing. 5. Not Formatting Your Email Like an Email If your emails are just big blocks of text and aren’t formatted for easy reading like an email should be, you’re only increasing the risk of miscommunication, and your readers will doubt you and your business’s credibility. Instead, using tools like Email Excellence which teach you everything you need to know to create the perfect emails for your industry or job type. 6. Spacing Out Information Imagine you’re asking your recipient when the best time to hold a meeting is. Instead of listing off your preferred times in a block of text, space your work out using bullets points or inline lists. This makes your emails so much easier to read, rather than your reader misreading what you’ve said. 7. Not Being Precise It’s easy to get carried away with what you’re writing, and your emails can easily end up being hundreds of words long. Instead, use tools like Oxessays to ensure your emails are only a few hundred words, enabling you to stick to the point. 8. Avoiding Online Tools Thanks to modern day technology, there are now thousands of tools that have been designed to make your life easier, fastest and more efficient. By avoiding these tools, you’re simply missing out. Benchmark Email is ideal for creating perfectly formatting emails for your readers. 9. Proofreading Your Work If your emails are full of mistakes, typos and errors, it’s going to make you seem incredibly unprofessional as well as increasing the risk of miscommunication. To ensure your emails are always perfect before sending, use tools like Elite Assignment Help and Essayroo to upload your work to have it read over by a professional writer. 10. Risking Poor Quality No matter who you’re sending your emails to, if you’re sending poor quality emails, it’s going to reflect badly on you. Instead, Use writing tools, such as Write my paper, to create and write your emails on your behalf, minimising the risk of any negative side effects or feedback. Despite the modern-age of instant messaging that we live in, email communication has never been more important. By avoiding the mistakes listed above, you can maximise your opportunities while remaining professional and ahead of your competition.


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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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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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