Tags: do

Emails That Do Work: Spring Edition Part 1

Emails That Do Work: Spring Edition Part 1

Beyond • April 28, 2014

Spring has sprung for many, except for the few areas over east with pockets of snow (boo). The flowers bloom, the birds and the bees mingle, and businesses everywhere send out spring-themed emails to their faithful readers. Now that I’m done setting up this imaginary tea party, let’s sit down and chat about Emails That Do Work. Main Street Wine Bar The Main Street Wine Bar is based in Stahlstown, Pennsylvania. Right in the heart of the Laurel Highlands, this cozy bar features wines from around the world. The small and intimate restaurant specializes mainly in its hefty selection of wines, either by the glass or bottle. Menu items feature delicious small plates, hand tossed pizza, and main dishes that can easily be paired with any wine offered. Why it works: Proper Dress Code: This email is well themed. From its imagery down to the colors used for the bottom fold, a mere glance is more than enough to convey what type of business the email is from. The rich reds and the scenic graphic paired with small glimpses of half-filled wine glasses is creates a very relaxing aesthetic. Nothing turns off readers more than misleading or confusing content. It’s safe to recommend that your emails should establish at least a somewhat relevant environment for your subscribers to recognize and open. Inviting Format: Good emails don’t necessarily need to be anything more than simple. Main Street Wine Bar stays on point with nothing more than informative content. This is an invitation with details - anything else, the reader can definitely do without. When structuring an email layout, think of what the purpose of your email will be. In this case, the Main Street Wine Bar is inviting all recipients to a wine tasting event. The next step would be to consider the information necessary for these recipients to attend. Remember to keep the objective in mind before executing anything else. Escade Media Entertainment Group Since 2009, The Escade Media Entertainment Group (Escade) has been working to offer professional services to all clients. This innovative DJ booking agency has more than 10 years of experience within the music industry, acting as an international agents for a roster of aspiring artists and DJs worldwide Why it works: Balance: There is a lot of attention to balancing the vibrant, dynamic imagery with structure. Without compromising movement and visual appeal, Escade has managed to contain the excitement of the imagery with organization in layout. Regardless of what industry you’re working in, putting some thought into simple tactics like this will demonstrate the quality of your business. In this case, Escade has skillfully balanced structure with creativity by presenting bold and intensive imagery in their emails while making it an easy read. Functional Folds: The folds of your email each serve a different purpose and therefore, hold different value. What do I mean by “folds”? The term “above the fold” refers to the upper half of the front page of the newspaper. Applying this to what we know today (ahem, the Internet), this term has now evolved into what we know now as content being “above the scroll”. Escade keeps this good practice in mind with their current email. Splaying out the main headline with louder imagery in the top fold was no accident. If emails have real estate value, anything “above the fold” or “above the scroll” is considered to be the highest priority. Important content is prominently displayed to ensure that the main message is visible to all users on a default as soon as the page loads. Small Business Expo Small Business Expo is the largest networking event, trade show and conference for small business owners. Hosted in seven of the Nation’s largest small business cities, Small Business Expo offers more than 5,000 registrants, 25 workshops, and 150 exhibitors in each market. Speaking of which, Benchmark is an active sponsor. Come visit us at a city near you if you can! Why it works: Brand Mentions: See the list of logos in the bottom of the email? Cross promotion is a great way for your business to form and develop relationships with other businesses. Competition is always key, but never forget potential allies that can do a great deal of work in brand awareness. Many SMBs are now working to form partner/affiliate programs and integrations with other businesses. Not all businesses can afford some of the larger sources of branding and promotion. Those who can usually hire ad agencies to execute media buys, outdoor and guerilla advertising, viral web campaigns, the whole nine yards. They lie in wait, hidden in the metaphorical business grass waiting to pounce during their multi-million dollar Superbowl ad time slot. For the rest of us, building a great foundation through lasting business relationships will simply have to do (because it works). Links: Emails that promote upcoming events, like this one, need to also offer the user ways to contact, share or sign up for the organization’s event. Small Business Expo provides social media sharing links to make it easy for their subscribers to share or sign up. Removing these options may not seem like a big deal, but the extra click or spare minutes your readers take to look for the information themselves can cost you more than you will know. A sign up, perhaps?


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Emails That Do Work: April Part 2

Emails That Do Work: April Part 2

Beyond • April 11, 2014

Hello, and welcome to another month of Emails That Do Work! At this point, I feel like I should have a gameshow slogan following the intro of this series. “Welcome to Emails That Do Work! Where emails...that do work...actually...” I’ll need some time to sit on this before improvising a cut-throat slogan. For those of you who are new to this series, I go into our Benchmark Community every month to pull emails from actual Benchmark users. I write highlights on useful practices and how this can be applied to your own email campaigns. Sam Mickail’s CUT Steak House At a quick glance, I found myself salivating over the imagery before I even bothered to look into the text. What is Sam Mickail’s CUT Steak House? Besides the obvious answer (steak house), it is a place where Sam Mickail can infuse a little international twist with the traditional method of preparing and cooking steak. Born in Cairo, raised in France, and trained in Switzerland, Mickail makes good use of his global experiences when it comes to his colorful cuisine.     Why it works: Delicious Presentation: When you’re in the food business, email like it! Food, unlike most products and services, require a different kind of TLC when it is being photographed. Lighting and freshness are key. And do your research - what color schemes are appetizing, and what kind of shots are you willing to present to your audience? In this particular email, Mickail presents himself in the top fold. This personalizes the restaurant, and creates ownership for the chef. After all, it IS Sam Mickail’s CUT Steak House, and not just CUT Steak House alone. Stomachs grumble as we move down to the bottom half of the email, where more-than-static images of their menu items burst out in a colorful frenzy. Remember, the menu is the main selling point! Give it the credit it deserves by creating movement with dynamic shots and colorful garnishments. Your readers will crave for more. Using REAL Imagery: Stock images are out. And if you still think they’re in, then you’re not investing enough in creating your own content. Remember that content is just as important in your marketing efforts to reach out to prospective customers as it is to get in touch with them. Increase your email readership and opens by changing up your content, both in copy and imagery. What I especially liked about this email is the FOOD, but wait...is this just a generic ad to promote the biz? Absolutely not. It’s a weekly special, and that implies a weekly update. These food pics are not a quick buy from a stock photo website. They are the main course--no, the meat of this email (pardon my bad puns). And because of this, the copy on this email is purely description, leaving the featured specials to do the promoting. SoundTree Media SoundTree Media is a music and entertainment company that mainly focuses on independent music marketing. They aspire to invest efforts on promoting independent artists and music to develop partnerships. Their goals lie in strengthening the “alternative entertainment and cultural ecosystem in the country,” through the means of artist management, composing editorials, festivals/events planning and organization, music marketing, and programming.     Why it works:   Layout is Unique, yet Organized: SoundTree’s email is a great example of applying creativity without sacrificing structure. Far different than the usual stacked layout (which is still clean and professional), the use of diagonal lines to segment the content creates a lot of dynamic flow and movement. Readers will find their eyes traveling in diagonal staggered “S” direction all the way down the page. This layout is something you don’t see every day, but that doesn’t make it any less effective. Color Schemes That Flow: It’s always easier said than done when it comes to choosing a good color scheme. SoundTree’s use of color works in several different ways. For one, the existing colors are complimentary. Instead of forcing different colors together to compete for the spotlight, the mellow colors all cancel each other out to make the content easier to read and focus on. Your email’s color scheme should be like backstage help - it allows your emails to function by guiding the reader’s eyes without having too much attention on itself. Royal LePage Realty in Parksville Royal LePage Realty in Parksville (Royal LePage) is a realty firm with its real estate sales territory in the British Colombia. Their team of realtors live and work in the Oceanside area and focus mainly on residential home sales and leasing.   Why it works: Simple and Professional: Blue is the main go-to color when it comes to marketing and branding your business professionally, mainly because blues are pegged for projecting trustworthy and reliable impressions. This doesn’t mean that every business should be branded and plastered in blue. If it’s not in your industry to do so, then don’t. Royal LePage keeps a very easy template going since their listings are the main featured content. These are simple to swap out on a regular basis, leaving the rest of the template to fill in the blank areas with secondary marketing offers. As seen in the lower fold of the email, Royal LePage wastes no time promoting subscriptions to get Vancouver Island market updates.   Detailed CTAs: Not only do they promote readership subscriptions, but they also offer a brief description on what the user will receive by clicking on their CTA (their call-to-action). If I hadn’t mentioned this before, a call-to-action is a banner, button, or a type of graphic with the sole purpose of prompting the user to click and continue down a funnel. As a business, you want your readers to take action on something. Whether it’s to opt in on marketing and promotional efforts or to purchase something right on the spot, you want your users to interact with your business in some way. This stirs up engagement and develops a relationship that leads you one step closer to your audience’s brand loyalty. In this case, Royal LePage explains in the lower left corner of their email what users will receive when they subscribe to market updates. This is a wise move. You don’t want to give your customers something completely irrelevant after they decide to click on your CTA button. Not only will they click out of it, but they might be left with a bad impression of your brand.


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Emails That Do Work: April Part 1

Emails That Do Work: April Part 1

Beyond • April 10, 2014

Here’s to another around of Emails That Do Work! Every month, I dive into the Benchmark Community to review and select a few emails that are putting good practices to great use. Keep these tips in mind when you’re preparing your next email campaign. Success starts when improvement shows! More Than Sound More Than Sound (MTS) creates and publishes high-quality tools to develop emotionally intelligent leadership and mindfulness. Their production expands from a line of podcasts, articles, blogs, publications, and video courses to offer tips and coaching on mastering the art of both subjects. Based on the nature of their business and their email campaigns (such as the one we’re reviewing today), we can safely say that MTS understands how to communicate effectively to their subscribers.     Why it works: Engaging Imagery: It’s very rare to see graphics that stray anywhere far from the usual stock photos. I was quite impressed by how MTS incorporated their promotional product into their imagery. Even at a glance, we can immediately segment the entire email into three portions - the purple intro and description, the yellow imagery, and an off-topic suggested read of “Understanding the Science of Moods at Work”. The friendly interaction between the people in the graphics and the product immediately communicates two messages: (1) that this book is for everyone, and (2) that someone at MTS took the time to create a visual to engage readers. Rather than to slap a few stock images that could maybe fit into the context of the email message, MTS took ownership in branding their imagery. Complementing Colors: Yes, complementing with an E, not an I...although these colors also do compliment each other as well. When selecting colors to use in creating your email template, take the time to make sure they look good next to each other. In this case, MTS opted for lighter colors that are easy on the eyes. As noted before, the colors also help segment the email into separate portions. Notice how the colors populate about 90% of the email without overwhelming the eyes. The opaqueness fills the page but doesn’t remove the spotlight from the content. You’re probably wondering what influenced the choice of colors within the email. Purple and yellow? Seems a strange pair to use, right? Take a look again. This email is a promotion for a newly released book. What colors are used on the book cover? Yes, there you have it. And that’s where we begin to make the connection of the subtle circular patterns behind the content. The colors and graphics are inspired by the featured product. Pretty neat, huh? SARAR The SARAR Group is a menswear business with over 60 years of experience in the industry. Based in Eskisehir in Turkey, the headquarters now comprise of three modern menswear factories located right next to each other. About 40% of the factory’s output is exported to the U.S., Germany, Holland, Italy, Iceland and the United Arab Emirates.     Why it works: To The Point: This email conveys SARAR’s message in the blink of an eye. That’s a good thing, because many people tend to ramble in emails. This practice works well to engage your readers, and it’s worth the extra time that it might take to cut content out. What may seem less of a read could also mean a boost in readership. Squeezing anything and everything you’d want to say to a reader onto an email is wasted effort. Your subscribers will get lost trying to decipher what the main point of your message is, and will most likely forget about it altogether. That is, if they even get to reading the entire thing. One good habit to make your own, as SARAR has successfully done, is to cut down content. When in doubt, leave it out! Call Out Actions: If we take the email and read the red text, what do we get? “ONE WEEK ONLY (02/17 MON - 02/23 SUN)”, “(Except shoes and accessories)”, and “FREE”. Without even glancing at the rest of the content, we already know that there is a limited time event that excludes a few line of products, and that they are offering a deal in which the buyer gets something free. The red is eye-catching and encourages readers to take action, even if they don’t necessarily know what they need to take action on. If they’re interested, they’ll take the time fill in the blanks by reading the white text. Red is a very powerful color, especially when placed next to whites and blacks. It signals most readers to stop, or pause. SARAR puts into practice what most effective emails do - grab your reader’s attention first, and say what you have to say immediately after. QNAP QNAP, Inc. is branded as the “Quality Network Appliance Provider” and aims to deliver comprehensive offerings of network attached storage and network video recorder solutions. The business integrates technologies and designs to effectively improve business efficiency on file sharing, virtualization applications, storage management and surveillance for other businesses.   Why it works: Content Structure and Layout: As someone who designs the landing pages for our acquisitions team here at Benchmark, I see QNAP’s email design ringing pretty close to home. Try to answer the 5 Ws when you’re developing your email campaign - Who, What, Where, When and Why. Of course, depending on your points, you may be able to eliminate a few Ws out of irrelevancy. In QNAP’s case, the When is left out because there isn’t a date or time of any significance to provide for the readers. The Who is answered by their logo in the top right. The What gets a bit more obvious (hint: it’s the large storage unit pictured in the dead center of the email). The Where is offered as link to redirect interested buyers to view locations that carry the featured product. The Why, though, should always be prevalent. Why do you want your readers to take action? Why do they want the What that you’re offering? This question can be disguised as product features, as QNAP has effectively done with bullet points below the storage unit (you know, that aforementioned storage unit with three small men interacting with it). Social Media Sharing (and Other Options): So you’ve sold your readers on why they should pursue your offer. What now? Put yourself in the customer’s chair. Is the product simple enough to decide on right then and there? Or does your product or service have more information to offer? If so, DON’T include it all on your email. An interested reader will pursue more details, so make it easier for them to find it. In the orange footer section at the bottom of QNAP’s email, there are options to view more information on the product, retailer locations, and an option to contact QNAP for anything else. Social media sharing buttons never hurt an email. If anything, they offer consumers to create a bridge of communication that will extend the lifespan of their relationship with the business. It also shows that QNAP has great web presence, making them more accessible and trustworthy than a business that fails to provide those channels.


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Benchmark 5: Favorite Moments from Feira do Empreendedor 2014

Benchmark 5: Favorite Moments from Feira do Empreendedor 2014

Beyond • March 13, 2014

Trade shows are one of our favorite things. Why? As an Internet company, we don’t always get to see the faces of our users. Plus, talking email marketing and event management is as natural to us as breathing air. Recently, our Brazil team spent a few days at Feira do Empreendedor 2014. It was a great success. Our team had a blast educating Brazilians on Benchmark, email marketing and event management. Here is our Benchmark 5: Favorite Moments from Feira do Empreendedor 2014. 1. Our awesome Brazil team ready to greet event attendees 2. Crowds of people coming to talk about Benchmark 3. … and more people … 4. … and even more people … 5. … and the people just didn’t stop!


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Too Busy for Email Marketing? Now We Do It For You.

Beyond • August 25, 2010

We live in a busy world. In the hustle and bustle of it all, people don\'t always have the time to do things that they know are important, in both their personal lives and in business. It\'s the reason quality restaurants and fast food places are so popular: It\'s great to have someone else do the work for you. Then there are some things you just need to do yourself. Nobody is getting healthy by watching someone else exercise for them. And up until now, email marketing has been like that too. Even with a service as great and easy like Benchmark Email, you still have to get in there and do it. Here at Benchmark Email, we understand you don\'t always have time to do everything yourself. That\'s why we are proud to introduce our new and exciting service: We Do It For You. Our email marketing experts will do all the email marketing steps for you. With an email concierge team at your disposal, you can have all the benefits of email marketing without the worry. Just like the Showtime Rotisserie, you can set it and forget it. Just send us what you want to say in a doc, pages or text file and send it to us along with any pictures or logos you want in your campaign. We\'ll do the rest! At only an additional $149.95 per month, Benchmark Email\'s We Do It For You email marketing service is a no-brainer for people who are really busy. You get all our standard features, but we actually do the steps for you. This includes up to two email marketing campaigns - from start to finish - each month (additional campaigns can be added for just $35). Plus, you get final say before the emails are sent out. You get a total subscriber management solution. We\'ll upload and even segment your lists for you. Our team will create an online sign-up form that automatically builds your subscriber list for you. We\'ll even set up your account with auto-responders so welcome messages will greet all your new subscribers automatically. The service doesn\'t end there. You\'ll have great customer feedback channels when we build customer surveys and polls for you. And because the social space is where it\'s at in 2010, you won\'t be left out. We\'ll publish your newsletter to your Twitter account as well as other social media services. Most importantly, we\'ll make sure you look professional. Your emails will sparkle with images, text and video to enhance the appeal. We\'ll refine one of our award-winning templates to fit your company\'s image for free (there are over 300 to choose from, but we can also design a custom template for 1/2 price - $150). Your email will have a permanent home in the Benchmark Email community, ensuring longevity to your campaigns. The rewards of email marketing cannot be denied. It\'s one of the most cost effect ways to market your company. We understand that running your business is no simple task and that every minute counts. Perhaps you understand the benefits of email marketing, but just don\'t have the time to make it happen. At Benchmark Email, we get that you\'re busy. That\'s why we\'re offering to do it for you. Find out more about Benchmark Email\'s We Do It For You.


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