Tags: email campaigns

New Email Marketing Manual for Party Supply Businesses

New Email Marketing Manual for Party Supply Businesses

Beyond • December 19, 2011

When times are tough, it\'s even more important to keep your chin up, enjoy good friends, good food and good times. Party supply operations are more important than ever, and a great source of fun, from your child\'s next birthday party to the wedding on your calendar for this coming spring. With such diverse business units and individual needs, how can a party supply store - small or large - reach the clientele best suited to their operations? Email marketing allows businesses to reach out to a greater number of clients with more specifically targeted sales information at a lower price point than traditional advertising methods. After years of providing exemplary service to party supply retailers across the country, Benchmark Email has just released its first industry-oriented guide, Party Supply: Serious Email Marketing Results in a Fun Business, to help you get your online promotional efforts off the ground. We can show you how to reach new customers, build your subscriber list, tailor your efforts to specific group segments - all with the grand finale of an elevated bottom line. Learn about how Benchmark Email can help you become the best business in your market by allowing us to help make your online presence boom. Benchmark Email is superlative in its field for providing the most efficient, effective and expert email marketing techniques in the industry. Our professional media concierges will help guide your email marketing newsletter campaign beyond your goals and into even greater success. Start by reading this free, downloadable PDF guide about email marketing for the party supply industry. Benchmark Email has more than 70,000 satisfied users across the world, and we can\'t wait to add you to the list. In the words of famous 80s icons Wayne and Garth: \"Party on!\" For more guides and manuals, check out our email marketing manual page.


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20 New Professional Email Templates from Benchmark Email!

20 New Professional Email Templates from Benchmark Email!

Beyond • December 13, 2011

Benchmark Email\'s got 20 brand new HTML email templates, each uniquely suited to showcase your business, event or service. We\'re very proud of these ones, as they offer both the variety and the bold colors that are sure to draw the notice of your newsletter or event recipients. Announcing Free HTML Email Templates from Benchmark Email View all Free Email Templates


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2011 Christmas & Holiday Email Templates from Benchmark Email

2011 Christmas & Holiday Email Templates from Benchmark Email

Beyond • December 7, 2011

Since high school, I have spent many a Christmas with my dad’s younger sister, her husband and his family in Colorado. The “Lonely Jew on Christmas” song from South Park never really applied to me. I have long enjoyed exchanging gifts with that side of the family on Christmas and partaking in their traditions. That being said, this year was the first time I have ever had my own stocking (thanks, Julie, for that and your master holiday decorating skills). The holidays are a time for traditions new and old. I’ll be going back to Colorado again this year and already caved and ate the candy cane from my first ever Christmas stocking. It’s a special time for your subscribers and one that you can share in with them. Use your email campaigns to capture the holiday spirit. This can even turn into a multichannel effort. Share your favorite holiday traditions with your subscribers. In it you can also ask them to tweet or post on your Facebook page about their own favorite holiday traditions. Maybe even make it a contest. Designate a prize, and everyone who shares their own holiday traditions is eligible to win. If you are able to bring the warmth of the holiday spirit to your subscribers via email campaign, then you are doing your job. They will appreciate the sentiment and good feelings will be associated with your company or brand. The gift of holiday cheer can be one that will pay dividends for you year-round. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hannukkah or every holiday this season, Benchmark has dozens of customizable email templates for you. Check them out below: Happy Holidays Email Templates Hanukkah Email Templates Christmas Email Templates Kwanzaa Email Templates Holiday Email Templates


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Why Video Is Dominating the Market and How You Can Get in on It

Why Video Is Dominating the Market and How You Can Get in on It

Beyond • December 6, 2011

If content is king, then video is queen…and anyone knows that a queen always trumps a king. So it comes as no surprise to see video content take a giant surge when it comes to successful multimedia marketing that gets results. From small time bloggers’ reviews of hauls that have magnetized a growing cult-like audience, to giant e-commerces, it’s clear that video is where it’s at. Take e-commerce giant Zappos, which was one of the pioneers a few years back in sourcing great original videos that both highlighted their news-worthy company culture and previewed their products with SEO rich keywords. In 2010, the company created over 60K product videos, with numbers expecting to reach 100K by the end of this year. So why does video work? Think of the Home Shopping Network…those late night infomercials that have you hooked. The power of video lies in that you can “see” what you’re being offered. There’s an appeal of not relying on static graphics and descriptions; rather, you’re as good as there. There’s also a sensory appeal. Your eyes and ears are filled with changing visuals and sounds, keeping you hooked, keeping you entertained and curious. But videos aren’t just for e-commerce based businesses. Videos are really the one tool that translates to success across ANY business. Whether you’re doing a product video, showing service results, interviewing customer reviews or offering tips or a personal introduction. You simply cannot go wrong with video…if you do it right. Tips for Best Videos Content – Just like with text content, video content needs to have some sort of scheme. Start off by creating an editorial calendar for your video content just as you should be doing for your text content. Keep in mind that producing an entire video from start to finish is a more consuming process that involves at least a small team, as opposed to just one person writing content. With that in mind, pace your content schedule out accordingly, especially if you’re a smaller team that has other priorities. For this type of team, one video every week is ideal; a video every two weeks is realistic, and a video every month should be the minimum. Each video should start with a script. What are you going to say and how are you going to say it? Do a competitor analysis to see what others are doing. Pick up on their successes and avoid their mistakes as you watch other videos as a consumer would. Technical Style – You can create a video without equipment and you can’t create a good video without good equipment. If you’re serious about videos, you absolutely have to invest in the equipment. You’ll need a good camera, lighting props, reflectors and video editing equipment, including a program and preferably an Apple computer (which includes a wonderful iMac movie editing program). If you’re on a smaller budget but can afford to splurge a little per video, hire a college student to edit the videos. I’ve seen the difference an amateur edit offers versus someone who knows what they’re doing. Trust me when I say it’s worth the investment. Going back to style, a video should never just be a straight shot. Consider angles, background, lighting, voice overs, themes, etc. The more dynamic, the more successful your video will be. All videos should range between 1-3 minutes. Anything more and you’ve likely lost your audience. How to Distribute Your Videos Aside from posting your newest videos up on your homepage (not any subpages), you should be marketing all video content across social media channels and plugging it in your email marketing campaigns and press kits. Tip: Scan the Competition with Redux, a curated content platform for videos. Use Redux to see what’s out there in your field and gauge your competition. See what’s being done right, what’s attracting a crowd and comments, and what turns people away…and then apply the strategy to your own video marketing efforts.


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Try These Great Email Marketing Holiday Tips for Your E-Commerce

Try These Great Email Marketing Holiday Tips for Your E-Commerce

Beyond • December 6, 2011

The holiday season is a time of year most of us welcome with open arms. In our personal lives, we look forward to spending time and sharing special moments with our loved ones. As businesses, we embrace the wonderful marketing opportunities that accompany the season. However, trotting out a campaign just for the sake of it will not guarantee you the milk and cookies. If you want to go into the new year on a roll, you need to prepare and execute a strategy your audience will respond to. Lucky for you, we have put together a list of tips that will help you make the most of your holiday marketing efforts. Add Some Holiday Spice When it comes to looking the part for the season, brands tend to go all out with their designs. Not only is this something that is relatively easy to do, it is also an effective tactic that can add a nice personal touch to your brand message. Don’t hesitate to give your email campaigns and website a holiday makeover, and if the moment calls for it, incorporate a theme that matches the occasion. For example, if you are trying to sell a product or service, something along the lines of the “12 Days of Savings” could be an ideal theme to get people to pay attention. Adding a little holiday spice will give your message visual appeal and make you appear much more approachable to the consumer. Prepare for Shipping Cart Abandonment Not all consumers finish the purchase process they start on a website. It is very common for a visitor to place all the items they want in the merchant’s shopping cart, and then bail out for one reason or another before purchasing them. This act is known as shopping cart abandonment, and it happens even more during the holiday season when consumers are bustling to compare prices in their mission to get the best deal possible. A shopping cart abandonment strategy is needed to address this issue, and here is what a good one looks like: Follow up fast - The timeliness of your abandonment strategy is crucial. Ideally, you want to follow up in anywhere from 24 to 72 hours after the cart was abandoned. Anything longer than that and the sale typically becomes unsalvageable. Personalize it - This is your chance to change the visitor’s mind and convince them to complete the purchase process. Don’t blow it. Personalize your follow-up message by including their name, and referencing the item they left behind. Make it tasty - Personalizing your shopping cart abandonment emails may not be enough when approaching some people. Realizing this, you should consider incentivizing your strategy. Who knows? It could be a generous discount, exclusive offer or free shipping that re-engages the lost visitor and persuades them to follow through. Don’t Forget Those Subject Lines Many of us are in such a rush to put our holiday email campaigns out there that we wait until the very last minute before even considering our subject lines. Sadly, some are never able to get it right no matter when they start giving them attention. It pays to treat your subject lines like the important element they are, because your ability to succeed during the holiday rush will largely depend on your ability to stand out in an inbox that is much more crowded than usual. Your campaign could be gold on the inside, but without a compelling subject line that makes it attractive on the outside, it will never have a chance to work its magic. Have you put together your holiday marketing strategy? If not, you better get on it right away. Time is winding fast, and pretty soon there will be no opportunities left for the latecomers.


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Cablevision Blends Television and Opt-in Email Marketing

Beyond • June 21, 2011

The more the marketing game evolves, the more evident it becomes that integration is the key to remaining competitive and profitable. It all makes sense when you think about it because the power of multiple channels is much greater than a single medium. While many of us think trendy when it comes to our internet marketing strategy, we often forget that there are viable traditional channels right under our noses. We don’t hear a lot about combining TV ads and opt-in emails, but I recently encountered a story that reveals how much potential this combination has. New York-based cable TV provider Cablevision just launched a new tool its advertising partners are sure to embrace. The feature known as Optimum Select RFI with Email Fulfillment (an update to the Optimum Select interactive TV marketing system the company launched back in 2009) gives marketers the opportunity to increase email subscriptions through their paid television advertisements. Viewers who want to opt-in can do so in a few clicks of the remote control. From there they can sign up to receive product information, special offers, coupons and other content via email. A Little Something for Both Parties Cablevision appears to be onto something with its interactive TV marketing platform, something that works in favor of both marketer and consumer. The marketer gets to tap into the cable giant’s audience of more 3 million interactive TV subscribers; the consumer gets to interact with relevant marketing content and enjoy a richer television experience - all without interrupting their programming, mind you. According to Cablevision, the initial run with Optimum Select RFI with Email Fulfillment has been an overwhelming success. The first campaign, which aimed to drive sales for Voyage Travel Rewards and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line promotions, reportedly generated 3,000 unique email leads in just two weeks. Additionally, the company garnered an impressive offer redemption rate of 24 percent. In comparison to conventional email marketing campaigns, this is even more than the industry average. A New Trend in Marketing? From the looks of it, Cablevision has concocted a marketing trend its competitors are almost certain to follow. Premium television seems to get more interactive by the day, so it would not be surprising to see others in the cable TV arena jump on the bandwagon. Whether or not this trend will catch on with the email marketing community as a whole is up for debate. While the ICE Enterprise was a success, it would be interesting to see the numbers on campaigns geared to reach a smaller, more targeted audience. With that said, Cablevision claims that the Optimum Select platform has a track record of success with its regional and local advertising partners, hinting that this type of marketing could very well prove highly effective for the right brand.


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The State of Email on Its 50th Anniversary in 2015

Beyond • June 13, 2011

In 1965, The White House was occupied by LBJ and Lady Bird, a gallon of gasoline was around a quarter(!) and TV viewers were watching brand new shows such as Bewitched, The Munsters and Jeopardy. Users of SDC\'s Q32 and MIT\'s CTSS were also exchanging email. Wait up… email? In 1965? Say whaaat? 1965 Email = 2015 Email Way back in the age of NASA Gemini missions and The Beatles’ Help! email was not only being used by a large group of academics but it was essentially the same paradigm as today. The interfaces and extent of connectivity might have changed somewhat and some extra bells and whistles (such as multimedia attachments) added, but the essence of typing a message on a keyboard at Point A and having it available nearly instantaneously to a reader at Point B is the same as the time when a new 1965 Plymouth Barracuda still had that aquarium fastback rear window.Given that email will be celebrating its first half century mark in just four years, what will email look like on its golden anniversary? With the proliferation of mobile web enabled devices and the fragmentation of audiences the first guess might be that it will be wildly different and almost unrecognizable. However, that guess is most likely wrong. Email in 2015 will still be identifiable as email and although four additional years of technological progress will certainly introduce some new minor features and characteristics, the overall market will still be extraordinarily similar to today’s. So let’s fire up the flux capacitor and take a peek at the state of email marketing in the year 2015: Most People Still Use PCs in 2015 Mobile devices were supposed to supplant personal computers… but they didn’t. Nothing has yet been designed that can supersede the traditional “sit up straight at your desk and tap on a keyboard” archetype. After all, the QWERTY keyboard has survived essentially untouched since 1873 and no matter how advanced the tablet, those flat screen keyboards don’t provide the proper tactile feedback for fast touchtyping. On smart phones, entering text with your thumbs is great for Tweets but just try to write a 200 page white paper that way and you’ll end up with dislocated digits. Voice recognition is still just as clunky as it has been for two decades, therefore in 2015 most people still have conventional personal computers where they perform the majority of their tasks. 2015 Soccer Moms Still Don’t Swish & Pinch Although by 2015 smart phones have become nearly ubiquitous, primarily due to their instant payment facilitations, tablet market penetration has remained fairly stagnant. The vast majority of Americans still can’t justify lugging around a relatively fragile device the size of a high school yearbook everywhere they go, especially since there is still no “killer app” that justifies it. Soccer moms are still driving the kids around to the games, to the supermarket and to school without the necessity for swishing and pinching a screen. And that stubborn percentage of nearly a third of the entire American population that resisted any form of web connectivity in 2011 is still just as strong now in 2015. 2015 Social Networking Suffers from Familiarity Breeding Contempt With the integration of Facebook, Twitter and the other social networks into a more open and less hermetic AOL-style model, participation has actually dropped. Not so much due to the liberalization, but because social networking simply takes up too much time for its diminishing returns. As interpersonal relationships moved to the online arena they weakened rather than strengthened. Familiarity breeds contempt and after spending endless hours reading about the bunion exploits of grandmas in other states, people started to realize why they moved away in the first place: to have a life!In 2015 email marketing remains the Mark Twain of online platforms where the reports of its death are always exaggerated. Indeed, it’s more effective and powerful than ever before. There is still no remotely comparable promotional medium that provides the reach, impact, relevance and engagement of an email campaign, even in the age of the iPad 5 and Windows 9.


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Should You Use More than One IP for Your Email Marketing Purposes?

Beyond • June 8, 2011

Every device connected to the internet has an Internet Protocol or IP address, including the server that sends your email campaigns to subscribers. This simple numerical address is extremely important from a reputation standpoint, but whether or not an email marketer requires more than one is certainly an issue that is up for debate. This post will examine how using multiple IPs compares to the common options of sharing one and having one dedicated to yourself. Shared IPs A shared IP is pretty much what it sounds like, a situation that calls for you to share the same address with other customers using the services of your Email Service Provider (ESP). Ironically, it is also an option that calls for you to share the consequences brought forth by your neighbors. For example, if neighboring marketers are ignoring their bounces and sending messages to obsolete email addresses or blatantly sending spam, the reputation of the entire IP address could be compromised. When this happens, every message sent from that server is placed under a microscope by recipients’ Internet Service Providers (ISP). In a worse case scenario, the entire IP is blacklisted, meaning any message you send to the ISP’s server will be automatically blocked. Dedicated IPs With a dedicated IP, you essentially have an entire address that is exclusively reserved for you or your company’s usage. What this means is that you are the only entity sending email from the server. Having a dedicated IP address is a situation that comes with numerous advantages. For one, the simple fact that it is dedicated solely to you means that being penalized because of the bad sending practices of your neighbors instantly becomes a non-issue. If you end up getting blacklisted, then it is only the fault of your own. The biggest perk of a dedicated IP is having total control over your reputation as a sender. As long as you follow the best practices of email marketing, your reputation and deliverability rates should remain in good shape. The downside of a dedicated IP relates to the additional cost that comes along with it. This is generally a luxury you have to pay extra for and the added expense could take a sizeable chunk out of your marketing budget. Though usually not a problem for larger companies, having a dedicated IP could actually be cost prohibitive for a smaller business. Multiple IPs With multiple IPs, you have the perfect middle ground between a shared and dedicated IP address. Some ESPs allow their email marketers to send mail across a range of IPs. Although there could be bad apples in every bunch, they tend to do a fine job of making sure their users are only sending from an address with a good reputation. If you have a reputable ESP in good standings with ISPs, using multiple Internet Protocols could be an ideal alternative to the standard options. Whether it’s shared, dedicated or of the multiple variety, each type of IP address has pros and cons as far as the email marketer is concerned. Above all, what you should take from this post is the importance of adhering to the best practices of permission-based marketing. If you are steadily tallying up complaints or bounces, your reputation could suffer no matter which type of IP you choose.


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Benchmark Support Update: Manually Updating Master Unsubscribe List

Beyond • June 3, 2011

You know what they say...you learn something new every day. Even though I don’t really knows who “they” are, I did actually learn something new yesterday regarding your Benchmark Email contact list management. I was assisting a client with cleaning her contact lists. We noticed that during one of the clean ups, a couple of email addresses were not being removed even though we were selecting to clear out the “unsubscribes”. The client assured me that these were subscribers who had personally requested to be removed from her lists. The email addresses were showing up in the “Master Unsubscribe List” so I assumed they would have been removed from the active contact list during clean up. However, after I did some investigating, this is what I discovered: The client I was assisting had manually added some of her contacts into the “Master Unsubscribe List”. If you manually enter an email address into your “Master Unsubscribe List”, our system will recognize that the owner of that email address does not want to receive correspondence from you and the system will prevent email campaigns from going out to that email address. But because the owner of that email address did not actually click on the “unsubscribe” button in your campaign, the email address will not be removed from the active list during the “clean list” function. Only users who selected “unsubscribe” will be removed during this process. You will want to keep in mind that if you are manually adding someone to your unsubscribe list, you will also need to manually delete them from your active contact list(s). This will help you to keep your lists as up-to-date as possible. For more information on unsubscription practices, check out these previous articles: Support Update: Accidentally Unsubscribing Your Subscribers Support Update: How to Re-Add an Unsubscriber


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