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60% Say Email Marketing is Biggest Source of ROI: Going Back to School To Hit Your Benchmarks

Practical Marketer - Reading Time: 9 Minutes

60% Say Email Marketing is Biggest Source of ROI: Going Back to School To Hit Your Benchmarks

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How & Why To Use Emojis In Your Subject Lines

How & Why To Use Emojis In Your Subject Lines

Practical Marketer • June 18, 2018

It can be hard to express ourselves when words limit us. Sometimes a feeling we’re experiencing just doesn’t seem fit for the box a given word puts it in. Sometimes, an emoji communicates what we can’t put into words. Using emojis is also an opportunity to deliver a little bit of joy and delight. As of June 2018, there are 2,823 emojis in the Unicode Standard. In case you’re wondering what we’re all trying to express with emojis, these were the most popular emojis in 2017: 🤷 Person Shrugging 😂 Face With Tears of Joy ❤️ Red Heart 😍 Smiling Face With Heart-Eyes 🤔 Thinking Face 🔥 Fire 😊 Smiling Face With Smiling Eyes 😘 Face Blowing a Kiss 👍 Thumbs Up Emoji usage is growing in our everyday lives. By the middle of 2015, 50% of all Instagram comments featured an emoji. It was inevitable that emojis would find their way into the world of email marketing. Email Marketing and Emojis are Fast Friends The inbox of the average consumer is a crowded one. Brands need to find a way to stand out. Using an emoji in your email’s subject line can be a great way to make your email campaigns stand apart from the crowd. In fact, 56% of brands including emojis in their subject lines had a higher open rate, according to a report by Experian. Businesses are taking note of the success of emojis in subject lines. From 2015 to 2016, emoji use in email increased 7100%. A small business app developer, Swiftpage, conducted tests on emoji use in subject lines. The emails with subject lines that included emojis saw impressive results: 29% increase in unique opens 28% increase in unique Click-Through Rate (CTR) 93% overall increase in CTR Certainly, the individuals that make up your audience will factor into the success of your emoji use. However, there are other factors that may come into play in regards to why emoji use is effective. Why Emojis Are Effective The numbers support the fact that emojis work. Let’s look at a few reasons why that’s the case: Emojis Help with Brevity Depending on the inbox client, there are only so many characters displayed from the subject line. You can say more in less space by using an emoji. The cliche of “a picture is worth 1,000 words” rings very true in this case. Emojis Convey Emotion As I mentioned before, sometimes it’s hard to put emotions into words. Emojis do that for you. However, they can also trigger an emotional response from your subscribers. When they see your subject line smiling at them, chances are they’re going to smile right back. Emojis Are Easy-To-Use In today’s mobile-first world, emojis are supported on practically every device and in every inbox client. Adding an emoji to your subject line could be as easy as copy and pasting. However, Benchmark Email just made it ever easier… Introducing the Benchmark Email Emoji Picker Our product team has just rolled out an emoji picker directly in the email creation process. Now, as you’re writing your subject line in Step 1: Details, you can easily pick out an emoji to include. This feature is available to you in our Drag & Drop Editor, HTML Code Editor and Plain Text Editor as well and can be used in the creation of regular emails, RSS emails and a simple automation via Automation Lite. Various devices will display the same emoji differently. Our emoji picker will display the emojis the way your native device defaults. However, the way your subscriber experiences the emoji will be dependant on their own device, operating system or inbox client and how they display emojis. If you’re curious to find out how emojis may display in various elements, you can check out Emojipedia to see how they’ll look on different devices or operating systems. We’re currently offering Emoji 1.0 from the Unicode Standard. They’re currently on 5.0. This is to ensure that the most possible emojis display properly for the most amount of people. However, if you have your heart set on using a newer emoji, you can always copy and paste one into your subject line. Examples of Using Emoji in Subject Lines If you’re ever not sure where to get started with a new strategy in email marketing, it can always help to see what others have done. This will let you take gain some inspiration and help you to consider what you liked and think you can improve upon. Email Marketing Tipps put together a long list of examples of emoji in subject lines from reputable businesses across the globe. Here are some favorites: A New Twist on M♥M’s Day Gifts + More Great Savings In Stores & Online ☀ sun’s out, sale’s on! ❄ A Winter Advisory you NEED to check out → ✈ Fabulous Flight-Inclusive Offers from £269! | Your Sunshine & Golf Await…✈ Score Pizza With A FREE Kick! Factors To Consider When Using Emoji In a perfect world, we could all use emoji in our subject lines willy-nilly. That’s not the case. There are some things to take into consideration when using emoji in your subject lines. Much like with fonts, there are better emoji to use than others. Some may not yet be compatible on certain devices. One example of that is skin tone variations. Also like fonts, emoji display differently based on the device they’re on. Don’t forget to send test emails or use Inbox Checker to see how they’ll appear. Just as you want to be careful about using excessive punctuation, you shouldn’t overdo emoji use either. You still have to keep character limits in consideration. Those aren’t the only reasons to be careful with your emoji use. You might be very excited to tell your subscribers about the new Farmer’s Market you’ll be peddling your wares out, but as 93% of emoji users aren’t using 🍑 to represent a fruit...but rather as a posterior. Share Your Tips Have you successfully employed emoji in your subject lines? Share examples or some tips on what has or hasn’t worked for your business. We’d love to hear your feedback in the comments!


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A Content Strategist’s Guide to Creating Engaging Email Content

A Content Strategist’s Guide to Creating Engaging Email Content

Beyond • June 15, 2018

Your email marketing campaign is a crucial component of your overall content strategy and the best email marketing strategies will help you to reach and engage with your target audience. A survey conducted by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and Demand Metric showed that email had a median ROI of 122%, more than four times that of other marketing formats also looked at, such as social media, direct mail and paid search. Email is your direct line of communication to your audience, but all too often it\'s treated as an afterthought in the content strategist\'s plan. This is a mistake, because an email content plan deserves to be a key part of your wider strategy. Here\'s our guide to creating engaging email content that will keep your audience engaged. Know Your Audience If you\'re taking a scattergun approach to your email marketing, then you\'re not focusing your resources effectively. The idea that in keeping your email content as broad as possible you\'ve a better chance of appealing to a wider range of people simply isn\'t true. You\'ll only alienate more of your audience because they\'re far less likely to gain any connection or relevance from what you\'re saying. The extra time you spend getting to know and understand your target audience will be well worth it in the end, so find out who they are and what it is they want. That way you can tailor your content more effectively to your audience. If they feel a personal connection with your brand, they\'re more likely to engage with it. Segment Your Email Lists Research shows that marketers have seen an increase of 760% in email revenue from segmented campaigns. Segmenting your email lists allows you to take a personalised approach to your email content, ensuring the content in your emails is actually relevant to your subscribers. Personalising emails by addressing them to the recipient is a given, but an email with personalised content will be far more likely to be opened and read by a subscriber. To do this, firstly, identify your target audience and break them down into customer personas, which may include considerations like age, gender, profession, interests and so on. Secondly, allow subscribers to choose the kinds of content they receive – this not only ensures the content they get is relevant to them, but also offers useful data and insights. With this information you can then create segmented email lists based on demographics and other metrics and tailor your email content accordingly. Sign-up forms are a great way to gather information from subscribers, such as geographical location, gender, marital status and hobbies. This means, for example, that subscribers won\'t be getting emails about a sale at a store that\'s nowhere near them, or information about products that they\'ve shown no interest in. Spend Some Time On Your Subject Line It seems simple enough, the email subject line – after all it\'s only got to be a few words long – but a lot more thought needs to go into it than you might think. Most of us get sales emails on a daily basis and if we\'re honest, most of those get marked for the trash without having ever been opened. The subject line needs to grab the attention and should typically be short, descriptive and engaging. The tone you opt for, humorous or informative for example, will to some extent depend on your brand of course, but there are plenty of tips you can use to get your email subject line just right for your audience. Cult beauty brand Glossier is just one example of a company that has perfected the email subject line. Glossier products typically appeal to a younger audience, and with just one permanent New York showroom, the vast majority of customers only connect with the brand online. As such, email subject lines are kept short, punchy and intriguing – helping them to stand out in an inbox filled with sales and promotions alerts. Create Content that Appeals So, your audience want to hear what you have to say, they\'ve clicked on the email and are eager to know more, but your actual content fails to grab them and they\'re soon clicking away. If your content is unable to inspire the subscriber to read on, then all your efforts up until that point have been for nothing. Structure your content in a way that easy is to skim by breaking it up into bitesize segments and using headings, subheadings and bullet points. Bold and italicise the most important pieces of information. Long, wordy emails won\'t encourage the subscriber to read on, and there\'s a good chance they\'ll never open another one of your emails again if they\'re expecting much of the same. For example, take a look at the email below: [caption id=\"attachment_9664\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"400\"] Image: Bruce Mayhew[/caption] Finally, use audience-centered wording that focuses on their needs, wants and interests before moving on to any call-to-action. Otherwise it\'s likely to feel forced, which your audience will probably pick up on. Create Content with Value Every one of your email campaigns should contain content that offers value to the subscriber. They need to know you\'re interested in providing them with content that they\'ll find useful or that will entertain them, so think carefully about the kind of content your audience wants. It could be product news, vouchers, tips, funny videos or just some fun facts about your company or industry. Restaurant chain Giraffe fulfil this brief effortlessly, with bright, eye-catching email campaigns that clearly demonstrate what’s in it for the user. Your email shouldn\'t be a sales pitch, its aim should be to create a personal connection between brand and audience. This way you have a better chance of converting them into actual customers. Be Honest Developing trust is key to any relationship and for brands and their customers it\'s no different. Make it clear on your sign-up form what kind of emails you\'ll be sending and how often. Don\'t send them information on topics they specifically didn\'t subscribe to, and if they have been promised a certain type of content, make sure that\'s what they receive. You want your subscribers to become customers, and this is most likely to happen if they feel valued and respected rather than just a sales opportunity. An email marketing strategy is first and foremost about building a relationship with your potential customer, and you\'re unlikely to be able to do that without good quality content that is engaging and useful to them. By following the suggestions in this article, you\'ll be moving closer to creating that relationship with your audience, ultimately leading to higher conversion rates.


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The Importance of Having A Strong Brand in Email Marketing Campaigns

The Importance of Having A Strong Brand in Email Marketing Campaigns

Beyond • June 15, 2018

Imagine: you wake up tomorrow morning ready to start a new great day. You check the email and see two new letters: a letter from Apple, Pepsi or, well, let us say Nike, and a letter from a company you’ve never heard of. Which letter you’re more likely to open? The “branded” or a “no-name” one? The answer is obvious. The letters from well-known brands have a significant advantage when it comes to grabbing the customers’ attention. That’s how the magic of a strong brand works. Luckily for entrepreneurs, the customers’ behavior is predictable and controllable. And a strong band can become a powerful tool helping business people to increase the profits. This post is aimed to show you several ways of turning the brand into an email marketing booster. How Brand Identity Influences Your Email Marketing Campaigns 1. Increases credibility People tend to base their decisions on trust. Only the company that managed to earn the audience’s trust dominates the market. So the greater number of customers knows you, your products, and services the higher efficiency your e-marketing campaigns will have. The trick is that people you send emails to don’t necessarily have to be your customers. They just have to be aware of your company. The power of the brand and the word of the mouth will do the rest. It works like this: “Oh, a letter from Benchmark Email. Hmmm… Sally told me it helped her create an outstanding custom email template for the recent campaign. Let’s see, maybe it can do something for me as well.” If you’re a burgeoning entrepreneur and your company doesn’t have an established brand yet be ready to see lower open rates. But the numbers will grow as your brand becomes more popular and credible. 2. Improves the ROI If your band is strong enough the brand name itself becomes the greatest attraction. A new product from a famous brand always provokes a market insanity. Remember what happens when the new iPhone or the new Yeezys come out? People may not even need the new phone or another pair of shoes but they will buy the product because of a brand loyalty. Of course, not many companies out there have a brand as strong as Apple or Adidas but that’s totally fine! As long as you keep investing time and efforts in your brand the e-marketing campaigns will become more and more effective.  As they say, branding is the reason you buy something and marketing is the reason you think of buying something. So use the benefits the brand loyalty can bring to your email marketing campaigns. The stronger your brand becomes, the more people are aware of it, the higher number of potential customers will not only open your marketing emails but will also accept your offer. Sure, at first you may have to attract the audience with something alluring like “2 for 1 special” or time-sensitive discount coupons but as time goes by the brand will do the same work increasing your open rates and ROI. 3. Helps you stand out One of the main problems the modern marketers confront is that the great number of the offerings from the rival companies have a similar set of features and roughly the same level of quality. Even the e-marketing templates the competitors use may be identical (as they appeal to the same audience). In this case, only the brand values your company stands on will help you stick out. For example, the cosmetics brand Lush has numerous competitors offering hair and body care products. Many of them use natural ingredients and try to be as customer-friendly as possible. But only Lush is well-known as a “green brand”. This company has spent years building up unique eco-friendly practices and now the word “Lush” is a synonym for “cruelty-free brand”, “all-natural brand”, and “eco-conscious brand”. Every little detail from products’ packaging to shops’ interiors are well thought. No Lush’s competitor has an image like that. A post shared by Lush Cosmetics North America (@lushcosmetics) on Apr 1, 2018 at 1:42pm PDT Be like Lush. Stay true to the chosen brand values and they will make your products, services, and marketing campaigns noticeable and appreciated. 4. Enhances the reputation Email marketing is one of the most effective marketing tools ever invented. It can get you sales and leads, it can get you basic recognition. But only branding can reinforce your business reputation and win you the audience’s hearts. Let’s say you’ve created your first startup and started promoting your product using e-marketing. It worked and you got a bunch of customers. But unfortunately the product wasn’t good enough and the clients didn’t really enjoy it. There are two ways to deal with the situation: either launch another marketing campaign and sell some more crappy products or fix the product and rebrand it. Sure, the first option will bring you some money. But it will also bury your reputation. On the other hand, rebranding is something that can turn a failure into a future success. Basically, your brand = your reputation. And a solid reputation has always been the greatest asset in any e-marketing campaign. The history knows many examples of successful rebranding. If even the well-known brands like Old Spice that have a reputation to put on stake could do it, the virgin entrepreneurs can do it too. Remember, just a decade ago, in the mid-2000s, Old Spice was an “old school” and “dad” brand. No young people particularly wanted to use it. Then a series of fun ads came out (who can forget a horse on the beach?!) and the brand’s sales went up. 5. Creates meaning Nowadays the business success is no longer about money. It’s not enough to offer the best quality-price ratio. The customers lean towards the companies and products that have a meaning, create a connection and actually make a difference. Only the strong brand can turn all of your marketing efforts into the meaningful ones. Then again, the meaning you’ll put in the marketing campaigns totally depends on your brand values and the message you’d like to convey. The great example of a meaningful marketing campaign is Nike’s “No excuses” featuring an athlete with disabilities. This commercial isn’t really selling anything. It inspires and makes you think. That’s how the brand creates a meaning. And it definitely works for any marketing channel possible (including email marketing). At this point you may think something like: “Well, that’s all great. But I’m a first-time entrepreneur with no experience in the brand establishment. The e-marketing campaigns I launch look nothing like Apple’s or Starbucks’. Should I give up on even trying?” Not at all! Just keep reading! How To Turn A “No Name” Email Into A “Branded” One Here are just a few most simple yet efficient recommended practices that will help you make your emails and e-marketing campaigns better. 1. Turn a milk-and-water template into your canvas Customizing an email template isn’t as hard as it seems. Start with adding your logo plus corporate colors and fonts. If you still haven’t worked on a brand identity fix that immediately. There are plenty of modern design tools that can help you out. Logo design is as important as any other business steps you take. The logo is your company’s face. This tiny picture will be everywhere: on your website, your products, ads, your emails, of course! The right combination of a logo design, corporate colors and fonts is the perfect basis for a strong brand identity (and that’s exactly what every entrepreneur needs). So make sure you have some “colors” to throw on your email template “canvas”. Remember, this step is vital. No business email without a company logo will look professional. 2. Keep the balance of text and images The “all text” emails not only look outdated they harm your marketing efficiency and kill the customers’ engagement. Don’t be afraid to add some visuals that will support your brand message. Choose the images that will make the audience feel good and secure, that will help to get to know your company or product and like it. On the other hand, the excessive use of “all pictures” emails isn’t good either. The high-resolution images may be hard to load on some smartphones. Plus the poor choice of visuals can make your emails look childish, empty, and unprofessional. Stick to a mix of text and images to keep the email trustworthy and good-looking. 3. Stay in touch All of the business emails (whether they’re marketing something or not) should always include the relevant contact info. And it’s not only “name + position + phone” combo in the bottom of a template. Add the website link, the clickable icons that will lead to your corporate social media profiles, a Skype ID to get in touch with you or your support team. The more options the customer has the more credible your email looks. 4. Choose the right tone The tone of your emails becomes even more important when it comes to e-marketing. When composing an email make sure the tone you’ve chosen fits the brand identity. The brand tone sets up the way you communicate with your audience. Is it fun and flirty? Strict and formal? Kind and approachable? Think about it before launching a marketing campaign and stay to true to the chosen tone during the whole communication process. 5. Get a professional-looking address The last but not least is your email address and a visible name. This might seem like a Sunday school truth but no email will look trustworthy if the address is something like secrethunter@yahoo.com and the sender’s name is John Doe. Just make sure this section of your email looks right. A Short and Not Boring Final Word The email marketing and banding will always go hand in hand. The stronger the one the better is another. Just don’t forget that building a brand is a process that you can start once but never can actually end. Experiment, stay positive and who knows, maybe in the nearest future you’ll see your company’s name as an example of “the greatest brand ever created.”


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Email Marketing that Gets Results … And Conversions

Email Marketing that Gets Results … And Conversions

Beyond • June 13, 2018

“What no one is telling you about hair loss.” “Hair loss products.” Which email subject line would motivate a hair loss sufferer to open? But how many opens can you expect with a subject line that sparks curiosity? You might be surprised. The Dinosaur is Not Extinct Email marketing is a dinosaur. At least that’s a common belief of business owners who prefer to spend their marketing dollars in other places. The reasons for the belief that email marketing is “dead” are as follows: People’s inboxes are stuffed. They scan through them and only open those that are from friends. Everything else they discard. Their mobile devices now segment emails based upon “priorities” and “promotions,” and the “promotions” are just not opened. Many now have two email accounts (or more)- one for work, one for personal communications, and one that they provide whenever they order something online. The last one is the one they never check, except to receive order or shipping confirmation. The reality is email is not “dead.” And it can be an amazing marketing tool, if it is done right. And therein lies the key: doing it right. But first, a few statistics that may surprise you, based upon a survey conducted by Kissmetrics: 66% of those surveyed stated they have made a purchase based upon an email offer 91% of respondents stated they check their email at least once a day 33+% stated that they opened the email based upon the subject line These stats paint a very different picture of email marketing, and it means that content marketers need to re-think their campaigns, if they have been reducing their email marketing. It can still be a powerful tool. The stats are only one part of the story, though. The question is, how do you craft emails so that you land in that segment that is opened and then acted upon. Here are 5 strategies and tips for doing it right: 1. Getting Recipients to Open Them This is 50% of the battle for marketers. Nothing happens until an email is opened by a target. There are two proven strategies, and they may work for you. The “From” Line: Rather than the company name, perhaps using your first name along with the company name may motivate and open. It makes it more personal and not like it was generated by some automated system. This is especially important if targets have subscribed to your emails/newsletter. That Critical Subject Line: Here is where you must be engaging. And certainly not spammy or like an aggressive salesperson. Promising to solve a problem or issue or answer a question will usually pique interest or curiosity. Consider using what are known as “power words” too. These are usually     adjectives (e.g., hysterical, hilarious, mind-blowing, etc.) There is a list published by Smart Blogger you should take a look at. Intrigue the reader by promising something really important or useful. You     know your target audience. What will they find important? Sometimes a “how to…” works well. “How to craft an amazing blog post in 30 minutes or less” would be a good subject line for a content marketer. Another good tactic is to ask the reader for help. A simple, “I need your help, please” or “I need your opinion.” This is a psychological strategy, because most people genuinely want to help others. The Opening Line: Here’s the thing about opening lines. At least a part of them usually show up in the subject line. (depending on the length of your subject title and browser). So, you have to consider these just as important, and you need to use the same tactics that you do for the subject title. And most mobile devices show part of that opening line. Here’s an example that demonstrates everything covered so far: Note: Matt did not put the name of his company in the “from” position – just his name. That’s probably because the recipient has subscribed to his newsletter or blog, and knows him by now. The subject title is engaging and intriguing, and the first line addresses an issue common with service providers – winning more clients. Don’t be afraid to be a little weird and funny in the title and opening line, as Matt Inglot was. You know your audience and their sense of humor. The only time you have to be a bit careful is when your emails are being translated into other languages for foreign targets. Marketers are increasingly targeting foreign-language speaking audiences, and it will be important that visuals and language are well-received and appropriate. 2. The Email Body One of the things we know about today’s consumer and Internet user. He likes to browse and “snack” on stuff, and that includes emails. He doesn’t want to spend a lot of time reading. And you don’t have a lot of time to garner his attention either. So, get to the point quickly. You may want some type of greeting, but don’t use the old “Hi there…my name is...” – boring. Address the recipient by name, and open with something to bring the reader “closer” to you personally. “If you’re like me, you…” Now they are identifying with you – always a good thing. Then get on with the point of the email. Are you running a sale? Are you giving some valuable “how to” information? Your goal is to provide value to the reader – how will what you are offering improve their lives in some way? Example: Look at this email from Pizza Hut: It’s primarily visual – always a good thing, especially for mobile users. And the text speaks to the “value” of what is being offered, as well as a problem solved – easy way to take care of a Saturday night get together with friends. Enough said! Keep it simple. Don’t overload with any irrelevant stuff. You can also refer them to a blog post or website page with a link for more detail. Use very short paragraphs, with the point of that paragraph in the first line. Sometimes asking a question as an opening sentence is effective, because it motivates them to find the answer in the sentences that follow. “Do you know what really causes bag under your eyes?” Doing this helps keep you on track too. Example: FreshBooks offers a solution for professionals who bill by the hour and need to keep track of that billing on the go. Note, the first paragraph explains the whole point simply in one short paragraph. There is a link for the reader to learn more about the product. And the additional value of having a support team on call is an added benefit. 3. The Closing – You Need to “Nail It” This is the part of the email with your CTA and where the reader makes a decision – to move to the next step toward a purchase; to access a page on your site with product details, to download something, or to subscribe to your newsletter. And speaking of newsletters, they can be a big part of email campaigns, if they are done right. If you struggle with how to create a newsletter, subscribe to some yourself and see how those marketers engage readers. You will find many of the same tactics that you are reading here. Example: Here’s a holiday email newsletter from Apple. It provides gift ideas and CTA’s to “shop now,” “Reserve a gift,” and “Learn More.” The main point in the closing is to be clear about what you want them to do and tell them exactly how to do that. “Click here to get all of the product details.” “Click here to register for the workshop.” Urgency is Important: From a psychological standpoint, it’s a good idea to create some urgency in your closing. Fear of missing out (FOMO) tends to make people act. “Click here to register for the workshop – there are 7 spaces left.” If you are offering a special, set a deadline for its expiration. Example: Look at the FOMO CTA from Disney World on Ice promoters. The CAT is to “book Now” with a promo code to use. And this is the recipients “last chance to secure seats…for less.” 4. When to Send Emails Hubspot did a study on the best open rates based on day of the week and time of day. Here is what the study found: Tuesday is the best day of the week to send emails. This makes sense. People’s Mondays tend to be busy and they tend to ignore or delete if their inboxes are too full. The best time of the day to send emails is the two hours between 10:00 a.m. and 12 noon, with a slight peak at 11:00 a.m. 5. Follow-Up So, someone has opened your email. Now, what can you do to move them along? If you are using the right tools, and of course you are, you know who is opening and when they are doing that. Here are the tactics that work well: Send out targeted emails to the “opens.” If you have a phone number, call instead. Ask if they have any questions about your product/service Provide more value regularly. If you have created an e-book, for example, send an email with a free download link; offer special pricing on a product they have been looking at; send an article that was written by news media about your product or service. The point is to keep the door open always. If a target has opened one of your emails, that person is a definite lead. Following up fast and then at spaced intervals after that will keep the relationship going. The target may not be ready to buy yet, but when he is, your brand will be foremost in his mind. 6. A/B Testing This goes without saying. Try several different subject titles for the same email and track the open rates. Use this information as you craft subject titles going forward. Conclusion Email marketing does still matter. What’s more, it is one of the most cost-effective marketing campaign strategies, especially given all of the free tools out there to target, segment, and track. If you have abandoned email marketing for other strategies, keep those other strategies, but use these tactics to initiate an email campaign. What do you have to lose?


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Heart Of Business: Kicking Off with Kickbox’s Jack Wrigley

Heart Of Business: Kicking Off with Kickbox’s Jack Wrigley

Beyond • June 8, 2018

Back when the return of the Heart of Business was just a seed of an idea, Jack Wrigley was due for a trip Benchmark HQ for some email list verification training with Kickbox, and I knew we had to ask him to be a guest. I mention it in the podcast, but I first became aware of Jack via the Only Influencers community. The Cubs fan in me naturally gravitated to the fact that he shares his surname with my favorite place to watch a baseball game. Since then, all of us at Benchmark Email have enjoyed a professional relationship with Jack and Kickbox. We’ve co-hosted webinars, guest blogged for one another and just enjoyed getting to know that whole team as people. It was a treat to talk to Jack, not just about Kickbox and email list verification, but the lessons he learned as an entrepreneur, working with startups and more. There will come a point that even if you think you have the coolest thing since sliced bread, and you leave that desk job, there will come a point when stuff isn’t working. There will come a point when the income isn’t coming in and you’re trying to figure out how to pay your rent. There will come a point when your kids want to, you know, go to soccer camp and you’re like, ‘how do I pay for that?’ Right? There will come a point. And the difference between someone that has that DNA versus someone who doesn’t...the difference is at that critical moment it’s whether you give up, because you can’t handle it ... or you persevere and you punch through it. This was recorded back in November, and you may hear some of that in the episode. We had to wait to put together a content schedule for the Heart Of Business. 3:07 - How he adjusted to joining a new industry and how to use what you already know 5:20 - All about Kickbox and email list verification 8:36 - On lessons learned about startups 15:00 - Talking about how email marketing has evolved 19:20 - The entrepreneurial spirit


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

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

Practical Marketer • June 6, 2018

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


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How To Eliminate Old CRM Data That Will Put You In Danger

How To Eliminate Old CRM Data That Will Put You In Danger

CRM • June 4, 2018

Maintaining relationships with your customers is an essential part of your business. That is why you chose a CRM to log crucial data and learn more about your customer\'s needs. CRM’s can be very powerful tools to help you gain the upper hand with your marketing efforts, and lead to more sales. But, what happens over time when your CRM data becomes old? Think about it. You are not mailing every contact in your database warehouse every day. There are probably contact records in there you have not had a touch point with since 2015, so how do you know if these users are even still valid? Chances are you probably will have no idea until you attempt to send them an email or give them a call. Old data merely is just taking up space and not being valuable to you. Old data could end up landing you in hot water. Why Is Old CRM Data Dangerous? Hard Bounces: If you are doing any email marketing to your database you are going to run into hard bounces. Bouncing occurs when the email accounts no longer exist, or perhaps the data you initially collected was never valid. Hard bounces may not seem like such a big deal but can lead to deliverability problems or cause you to get suspended from your mailing platform. You want to aim for a hard bounce rate of 5% or less. Soft Bounces: A soft bounce is when you send off an email, and it gets bounced back. They are not as dangerous as a hard bounce, but they are essential to remove from your list. Soft bounces typically occur when a user’s mailbox is full. This is an initial indication that the user has not been checking their inbox or using that email account. Blacklisting and Blocks: Once you start sending emails and getting hard bounces, this could lead to blacklisting. If the email server sees you are mailing to multiple users that are hard bouncing that server might consider you as a spammer. If the server thinks you are spamming you will become blocked. Once you are blacklisted, it\'s going to impact the success of your email campaign significantly. Here is what you can do if you become blacklisted. It’s also important to monitor your IPs for blacklisting’s as it is important to not send off any campaigns while listed. Unengaged Users: Unengaged users, are the accounts in your database that have not been opening or clicking emails that you send. This may not sound like such a big deal, but it can cause a lot of damage. Unengaged users will eventually turn into spam complaints against you. Or, they might have abandoned their email account and will sooner or later turn into hard bounces. Poor Deliverability: As we just discussed both hard bounces and black-listings will lead to poor deliverability. ISPs want to see that users are engaging with your mail, not marking it as spam. Whenever you send emails to outdated information, you are damaging your sender score and hurting your own performance. Therefore, you are encouraged to regularly sift through your data and remove contact data which is no longer being used. Spam Traps: Spam traps are a way ISPs attempt to combat spammers. They are email addresses that have been set up and designed to be a trap. Spam traps are not owned by users, but instead by ISPs. They can identify spammers because that email address should never receive any emails since it never officially opt-ed into anything. Therefore, if it starts getting messages, it knows that you must have purchased data or scraped data from the web.  The last thing you want for your business is to be labeled as a spammer. How Can You Identify Which Contacts Are Not Valuable? To keep your CRM in tip-top shape, you are going to want to go in and delete contact data of email addresses that have previously bounced. If you know of companies who have been in your database that have gone out of business, make sure you remove them. This way you don’t accidentally send them an email which creates extra hard bounces for you. The idea is to eliminate as many poor-quality data points as possible before you send out your next digital campaign. Manually Identify and Unsubscribe Contacts Another method of removing inactive contacts is to analyze your email campaign history. Look at email addresses that have not been engaging for months. Find users who have no opened ANY of your last ten emails sent. Once you have identified those recipients, unsubscribe them from your list. Downsizing your list can be a battle, but once you do you will see astonishing results. Your open rates will improve because you are sending emails only to engaged subscribers. This means your sender score will gradually improve and you will get better rates of inbox placement because a more significant percentage of your users are actually reading your message. ISPs like to see that their users have an interest in what you send. 

Learn how Hubspot benefited from unsubscribing over 250k contacts. Using An Email Verification Service You can also skip the manual work and use an email verification tool like XVerify. If you are also using Benchmark for your email marketing, you can directly connect your account and pull in data from the lists you already have. The cleaning process will scan through your subscribers and identify which email addresses are invalid, or a risk. It’s even able to automatically update the lists you have with Benchmark making the process even more simplified. Email verification works by checking the username and making sure it is currently active and registered at the domain level. If the account is good, this will result in a valid email response. If the email account is old or the user has not logged into their account, then the account would likely yield an invalid answer. The email addresses that come back as invalid is what you want to remove from your CRM. Sometimes accounts are real and active but not safe to communicate with via email. As earlier we mentioned traps, those are not accounts you want to mail to. One pattern that could red flag an account as a trap is that the email account was once valid, then went inactive, then became active again. It’s not in all cases that it has turned into a trap but yes, a good reason to omit signups into your funnel with that behavior. Keep your data clean and pristine As a recommendation, it is a good idea to clean your lists every three months. Remember over time data does become obsolete. If your business is B2B, then remember that employees leave companies, or change positions causing the email ID to no longer be legit. Even if you are a B2C business, users still abandon their accounts. Scrubbing your data consistently is going to be the best method of remaining in good standing. Don’t get discouraged if you find a significant portion of your data is invalid. It’s quite common for this to happen. As you start taking a more detailed approach to evaluating your data quality, you will see how much your quality improves. Have you ever experienced problems with old data sitting in your CRM? We would love to hear about your unique experience. Feel free to comment on your situation and what you did to improve it.


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Benchmark Email is Swiss-US Privacy Shield Certified

Benchmark Email is Swiss-US Privacy Shield Certified

Going Global • May 27, 2018

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


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Building Businesses and Molding Your SEO with Clayton Wood

Building Businesses and Molding Your SEO with Clayton Wood

Beyond • May 25, 2018

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


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

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

Beyond • May 23, 2018

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


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How can you re-confirm a database?

How can you re-confirm a database?

Practical Marketer • May 23, 2018

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


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How Benchmark adapts to the GDPR

How Benchmark adapts to the GDPR

Practical Marketer • May 18, 2018

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


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

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

Beyond • May 11, 2018

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


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