Tags: Email Marketing

How can you re-confirm a database?

Practical Marketer • May 18, 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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Newsletter Templates

How to Pick the Best Free HTML Email Templates

Practical Marketer • March 28, 2018

We all see beautifully designed emails in our inbox every day. Even local mom and pop shops or kitchen table operations seem to have them. Do all those businesses have a budget for a top-notch designer? They must, right? I mean, look at how awesome those emails look. Nope! They don’t have to. That’s why free HTML email templates exist. With a free HTML email template, you can choose the design elements, graphics and layout that fits your brand. From there, you can customize it with your logo, company updates, product information and more. There are styles of templates for any email marketing need you could possibly have. Newsletters, holiday promotions, press releases, sales, events or anything else you could think of. In fact, perusing the types of templates could even give you inspiration for various types of email marketing campaigns you could be sending! With the help of free HTML email templates, it’s liking having a graphic designer on call 24/7 without paying a retainer or hefty hourly rates. Sorry, graphic designers. There is plenty of work for you to go around elsewhere. We promise. But we digress... Now that you know that free HTML email templates are there for you to take advantage of, let’s take a look at how to find the best one for the job at hand. Types of Free HTML Email Templates There’s an email template for every task. No matter the occasion or objective, you can find a template to help you get the job done. Do you know what to look for? A practical approach for selecting the right template is to gain an understanding of what others are doing well. See what you like, what you don’t like and what you think you can improve upon. The next step in finding the right template for your campaign is generally pretty simple. Most ESPs will sort their templates into various categories such as newsletters, holidays or even provide options for one, two or three columns. That way you have options for every occasion or even the amount of information you want to share. Newsletter Templates For many, the gateway to email marketing is via the newsletter. It’s a type of campaign that almost everyone understands and sees in his or her inbox each and every day. In fact, newsletters top the list for types of email campaigns used. According to Pardot, 66% of email marketers send newsletters, followed by promotional content at 54% and a welcome email at 42%. For the marketer looking to begin a newsletter, or revamp the one they currently have, it all begins with the newsletter template. We understand that between email marketing, social media, PPC, retargeting and the many other marketing strategies on your plate, you may not have as much time as you’d like to browse the many newsletter templates offered by Benchmark. Let’s look at an example of an effective newsletter as inspiration: Apartment Therapy I’ve finally reached the point of my life where an unmade bed and a pile of clothes does not a bedroom make. So, I’ve been paying extra close attention to the Apartment Therapy daily newsletter. They do a good job of highlighting each new story or idea, with a headline, small teaser and a call to action to read more. Holiday Templates Halloween isn’t the only holiday for which you can adopt a template “costume.” Christmas, New Years, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, 4th of July and many more are all email marketing opportunities for which holiday email templates exist. We’ve previously put together a blog post dedicated to the best ways to use our holiday email templates, but here’s a refresher: Stay true to your branding Keep it simple Don’t limit your holiday theme to the template Here’s an example of a well put-together holiday email campaign: Etsy For Valentine’s Day, Etsy did a great job of both promoting their gift cards and giving some good gift ideas which could be used by a significant other that very day to avoid the dog house. They used the hero image to promote their gift cards and then split the template into a two-column approach to share gift ideas. Check it out: Templates That Inform If the goal of your email campaign is to provide your subscribers with information, you should be looking for a template layout that will allow you to accomplish this. Here is an example of a design that does a good job of informing: Thrillist This is a daily newsletter, which I read every morning without fail. Because of this frequency, I know that the lead Thrillist story is always the new or top content posted that day. Sometimes I’ve read that story before I even get out of bed. It tells me the best new restaurants that have opened lately, events going on in my city and sometimes there are crazy stories from bartenders, waiters or flight attendants. The template succeeds in sharing content and informing me on what’s available to do come date night. Check it out: Templates That Sell Obviously, everyone wants to get a big Return On Investment with their email marketing. That’s not always the primary focus when choosing a template, but it is sometimes. Here’s an example of a brand picking an email layout that helps them sell more: Bullymake I stumbled upon Bullymake in pursuit of chew toys that my pitbull/lab mix could not destroy in minutes. I quickly identified with the bully breed owner vibe of the company. After two months of my Bullymake subscription, I had acquired a stockpile of indestructible toys and couldn’t see adding to it every month. So, I canceled my subscription to Bullymake but did not unsubscribe to their newsletters. That’s because their template enables them to connect with me on an emotional, dog-loving level... …and if still does a good job of showing me what I could purchase from their website outside of the subscription box model. Not only that, the section below even sells their subscription model. Templates That Engage One problem that email markers face is that they consider their email marketing to be a one-way communication channel. It’s not, nor should it be. It’s important to create quality, ongoing engagement with your subscribers. That’s how you create loyal customers and even brand evangelists. Here’s one company that has done a great job in bringing their customers along the journey of a template redesign, which is sure to create great engagement: ActionRocket This weekly newsletter from ActionRocket is branded as #emailweekly. The template features the same top block with personalized copy that welcomes you each and every week. Next, there are six blocks sharing their favorite email marketing posts from the past week. If I were writing this post two months ago, I’d show you this template and include it in the Templates That Inform category: However, the email marketing geniuses at ActionRocket have taken a turn that engages their subscribers. They’re doing a live, on-going redesign of their #emailweekly newsletter. It should be noted that a long history of quality weekly newsletters earned them the right to try things out with their subscribers. Because of this, I eagerly await each new #emailweekly newsletter to see the latest progress in the redesign. Subscribe to see how to work towards a new newsletter template for #emailweekly. ac What have we learned? A good newsletter template has content that engages above the fold. That hero image, story or general warm welcome that brings you into the newsletter from the get go. It also does a good job of sharing additional content that helps support the goals of the newsletter. How you select the best newsletter template for your business comes down to answering a few simple questions: Does the template support the goal of your newsletter? Can the template be customized to support your branding? Does the layout match that of your website or at least give a similar feeling? Let’s not forget one of the most important facts in email marketing: there is a real person behind each email address. Email marketing must be customer centric. Yes, you want to sell more and create more engagement with your customers, but that is a byproduct of customer centric marketing. You’re not the only one sending marketing emails. They may get a few or a few dozen every day. They key to standing tall in a crowded inbox is to provide value. It doesn’t have to be savings, it can be information or entertainment as well. If you’re adding value to your subscriber’s, it will cut through the noise and they’ll open your email campaigns and possibly even look forward to their arrival. Ready to Put What You’ve Learned to Work? Login or create an account to choose or design the newsletter template for you! Feedback We’d love to hear some tips from you on how you select your templates. Even better, share your own examples in the comments below!

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General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): Everything You Need To Know

Beyond • March 16, 2018

The main objective of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is to strengthen and combine the handling of personal data from various member countries and adapt them under one European Union (EU) regulation. We\'re hosting a webinar on Thursday, April 26th from 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM PDT. You can register here. Currently, the 28 member countries of the EU each have their own data protection regulations and apply those laws to their international commerce, which makes exercising the rights of personal data protection quite difficult. The new GDPR comes with a wide range of rules that impact all companies, regardless of size or sector, and will quite often need to be prepared to focus on different areas of their business. The new regulation concerning the protection of natural persons with regards to the processing and free circulation of personal data goes into effect on May 25th, 2018, two years after Regulation 2016/679 was passed by both the European Parliament and the Council. In this article, we want to help you understand what you can and cannot do in order to meet the requirements of this new regulation and reassure you that Benchmark, your email marketing tool, is also meeting the requirements of this new regulation. The new GDPR does not eliminate each of the member countries own Data Protection legislations currently in place. Instead it helps to sync all the member countries of the EU. Some of the decisions will still be made at a national level for each of the member countries, but be mindful that the responsible parties must now reference the GDPR as the norm and not its own countries Data Protection regulations. If you currently meet the requirements for Data Protection for your country, then you already have a good foundation. However, you will still need to revise and change some aspects to comply with the new regulations. There are three main points you need to keep in mind with your email marketing strategy, they are: consent, access and data collection. Consent According to article 4 (11), ‘consent’ of the data subject means any freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of the data subject\'s wishes by which he or she, by a statement or by a clear affirmative action, signifies agreement to the processing of personal data relating to him or her; As stated in the definition, the consent of the user must be unequivocal and also explicit. These two words eliminate any doubt or ambiguity. (32) Consent should be given by a clear affirmative act establishing a freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of the data subject\'s agreement to the processing of personal data relating to him or her, such as by a written statement, including by electronic means, or an oral statement. This could include ticking a box when visiting an internet website, choosing technical settings for information society services or another statement or conduct which clearly indicates in this context the data subject\'s acceptance of the proposed processing of his or her personal data. Silence, pre-ticked boxes or inactivity should not therefore constitute consent. Consent should cover all processing activities carried out for the same purpose or purposes. When the processing has multiple purposes, consent should be given for all of them. If the data subject\'s consent is to be given following a request by electronic means, the request must be clear, concise and not unnecessarily disruptive to the use of the service for which it is provided. Example: I recently took part in a tradeshow and throughout the day I amassed quite a few business cards, which I will use to create a database that I will then upload to my Benchmark account with the goal of sending newsletters. With the new Regulations, is this legal? No. The networking achieved between you and the individuals at the tradeshow does not give you the right to use their personal data, even with verbal confirmation from the individual. The GDPR now requires that evidence of this agreement between both parties exist. The GDPR states that there must be unequivocal and explicit consent from the individual that can be backed up with evidence in case of an audit. There needs to be evidence that the individual is giving their consent for their personal data to be used. RECOMMENDATION: Review your methods for data collection and eliminate any ambiguity that may exist. Analyze your database and only the data for which you can provide proof that consent was given to you by the individual. Access The party responsible for handling personal data must provide each user with simple and straightforward access to modify their own personal details. The party responsible must also provide an outlet in which the individual can confirm that they are giving their consent via electronic means, be it through their own website, sign-up forms or email confirmation. The party responsible will have one month to provide the client with an answer, with the possibility of extending it to two months in the event that it be a complex request, in which the necessary steps are being taken to complete the individuals request. In the case of our Email Marketing tool, the Manage Subscriptions option allows the individual to access their personal data and modify the data if needed or cancel the subscription outright. Within this point, there is a new right, which is the RIGHT TO ERASURE (Article 17), the user can exercise their “right to be forgotten” and have their personal data removed from the database permanently. We have selected two of the six reasons that are included in sub-point 1, which provide the individual the ability to exercise their right: a) the personal data is no longer necessary in relation to the purposes for which they were collected or otherwise processed; d) the personal data has been unlawfully processed; Compilation: The GDPR advocates for simplicity in the collection of personal data. As marketers we tend to ask for more details than necessary when all we are doing is sending out a weekly newsletter. For that reason, these new regulations encourage that only a minimum of personal data is collected and compiled for our current strategy and not the collection of additional data that you think might be useful in the future. If your goal is to inform your database of upcoming promotions, the compilation of an individual\'s name and email address is more than sufficient to meet your goal. Brexit The UK will officially leave and will no longer be a part of the EU in 2019. With this exit, the regulations will not be applicable to them. We currently do not know how the UK, or companies within the UK, will handle data protection but we believe that they will pass similar regulations that will be comparable with the EU. What happens if I do not meet the new GDPR requirements? The General Data Protection Regulation establishes a set of tools in order to comply with the new regulation, including sanctions and fines. A number of factors will be taken into consideration and carefully evaluated when a fine is imposed due to noncompliance with the new GDPR such as: the gravity/duration of the violation; the number of data subjects affected and level of damage suffered by them; the intentional character of the infringement; any actions taken to mitigate the damage; the degree of co-operation with the supervisory authority. The regulations set two ceilings for fines if the rules are not respected. The first ceiling sets fines up to a maximum of €10 million or, in case of an undertaking, up to 2% of worldwide annual turnover. This first category of fine would be applied for instance if a controllers does not conduct impact assessments, as required by the Regulation. The higher ceiling of fines reaches up to a maximum of €20 million or 4% of worldwide annual turnover. An example would be an infringement of the data subjects\' rights under the Regulation. Fines are adjusted according to the circumstances of each individual case. You will need to keep the above main points (Consent, Access and Compilation) in mind when the time comes to plan your email marketing strategy. Benchmark At Benchmark, we are working hard to update our Privacy Policy in order to comply with the requirements of the regulations. In the case of the GDPR there is no certification given to us that states that we are in compliance with the new regulations as with the Privacy Shield Framework. We at Benchmark, want to reassure you that your personal data is being handled in compliance with the new GDPR. To help you adapt in this transition, we have created a webinar \"Email Marketing under the GDPR: What you can and cannot do\" which we will hold on the 11th of April 2018 at 11am CEST. In this webinar, we will provide answers to all your questions and concerns and will provide you with a Guide for the regulations with all the information needed. For the very first time, the EU shows leadership and unity in how personal data needs to be treated and forces the rest of the world without exception for any country to follow these regulations if they want to handle European personal data. Do not forget to share this article with your audience and leave your comments. Thanks for reading! Join Our Webinar We\'re hosting a webinar to teach you everything you\'ll need to know about the GDPR. It\'s on Thursday, April 26th from 11AM-12PM PDT. You can register for the webinar here.

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10 Essential Event Email Design Tips to Drive Registration

10 Essential Event Email Design Tips to Drive Registration

Practical Marketer • November 30, 2017

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

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