Tags: Email Marketing

Tiger by the Tail:  Video Content in Email Campaigns

Tiger by the Tail: Video Content in Email Campaigns

Beyond • November 22, 2017

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


Read More
Why Nobody Reads Your Emails

Why Nobody Reads Your Emails

Beyond • November 20, 2017

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


Read More
Comparing Email Marketing Success with Other Marketing Channels

Comparing Email Marketing Success with Other Marketing Channels

Beyond • November 16, 2017

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


Read More
Prepare Your Email Marketing For The Holidays

Prepare Your Email Marketing For The Holidays

Product & Design • November 2, 2017

Tis the season… ...for beginning your holiday email marketing, that is. I know, I can’t believe it’s that time of year already either. Especially since it’s been 100 degrees here at Benchmark HQ all week. Even if you’ve already begun your holiday planning or have a strategy in place, we’re co-hosting a webinar that will serve as a perfect refresher to make sure you have all of your bases covered. Prepare Your Email Marketing For The Holidays We have partnered with our friends at Kickbox to kick off this holiday season and to make sure your email marketing campaigns are ready for your subscribers to unwrap. We’ll be discussing: Preparing your list and segments for the holiday List cleaning tips and best practices Email marketing tips and best practices Learning how to organize your data after the holiday craziness The webinar will be held on November 14th at 11:00 AM PST. Register today.


Read More
Using Goal Based Lists For Marketing Automation

Using Goal Based Lists For Marketing Automation

Practical Marketer • October 20, 2017

Marketing automation is all about organization. As you dive into Marketing Automation with email, you will find yourself with some automations that work together and connect with one another and some automations that work as stand-alone or that are parallel to the rest of your marketing efforts. The bottom line is that you don’t want to mix things up. Keep a fluid experience for your subscribers in mind. In this blog, we will give you some tips on how to properly organize your lists by creating “Goal-Based Lists” and “Established Lists” to keep your automations under control and to have the ability to connect one with another. Avoid Spaghetti Automation We have so many channels of communication and so many layers of leads, subscribers, potentials, customers, etc. You don’t want to mix things up and confuse yourself with your own automations. As I’ve helped build automations for Benchmark and some of our customers, I have found two important things to keep in mind at all times: Keep your automations short and to the point Learn to connect multiple automations by moving subscribers from one list to another. These two tips are the starting points of email and Marketing Automation and will help you understand how to build out your automation strategy. Simple Automation is in Your Lists With Automation Pro, you can start an automation based on someone being added to a list. For example, when a website visitor completes your signup form and becomes a new subscriber, they are added to your “Leads List” and you can trigger a welcome series automation to welcome those new subscribers. When organizing your subscribers, contacts, leads, etc. in your Benchmark Email account, we recommend focussing on two kinds of lists: Established Lists Goal Based Lists Established Lists are your main lists. These lists are the heartbeat of your email marketing efforts. Some examples of Established Lists are: Subscribers Leads Prospects Contacts/Customers Lost Customers Goal-Based Lists are lists focused on subscribers achieving a goal throughout your automations. For example, if you send an email to your prospects, you may want to create two separate lists: 1) EmailNameOpens 2) EmailNameUnopens. Based on the opens and unopens of the email, both lists will automatically populate with the appropriate subscribes. Other examples of Goal-Based lists: HasClicked/HasNotClicked HasVisitedWebsite/HasNotVisitedWebsite Completed Transaction Abandoned Cart Goal-based lists will help you stay organized by separating your subscribers based on the actions and behaviors throughout your automations. Let\'s take a look at a live example where we use Established Lists and Goal-Based Lists. Say you own a clothing store. You just got a new shipment with all of the new clothes for the upcoming season. You’ll want to create a special sale focused on your old inventory to make room for your new clothes. One of the channels you may use is email! Let’s see how marketing automation can help you. Targeting the Established List For this example, let’s say the clothing store has an Established list called: “VIP - Customers.\" The people in this list are customers who have spent more than X amount of dollars with the store. They want to give these customers a priority on the sale so they target this list as the trigger to the automation. Sending A Promotional Email Now that we have our targeted Established List, we want to send an email to promote the sale. The email will include the sale details along with a link to the online store. The next step will be to track who click on the link in the email vs. those who didn’t. (REMINDER: Don’t forget to add a delay before your condition) Setting a Click Condition (Click vs. Did Not Click) Once the email is delivered and you’ve given enough time for your subscriber to engage with the email (That’s why they previously mentioned delay is so important), it\'s time to check who performed the desired action: “CLICK.” When we set up this condition in Automation Pro, you will see two paths on your automation: Has Clicked Has Not Clicked Now, is when the Goal-Based Lists come into play for proper organization. Goal-Based Lists In Action From this example, we see that after the email is delivered, Automation Pro will wait 24 hours before checking to see who clicked on the email or not. Once the 24 hours us up, the condition will check for this action and will split up the people who clicked vs. the ones who didn’t down their respective paths. What to do next? You could continue each path on the same automation and send another email… but from experience, this can get out of hand. You may find yourself creating an automation that looks something like this: The example from above may be exaggerated, but it is a real example from a real user that decided to continue the whole sequence on one automation. Instead of creating a confusing mess, we highly recommend to end this automation after the condition by creating two Goal Based lists, one for each path (Has Clicked / Has Not Clicked). Name your Goal Based Lists something like this: “EmailNameHasClicked” & EmailNameHasNotClicked.” Doing this will allow you to then create a separate automation that is focused on each Goal Based List. This may sound like extra work at first… but trust me! It is extremely helpful to organize your automations and if you ever need to modify something in the future, you can just modify one piece of the automation instead of having to deactivate the whole thing to make a small change. In Conclusion Getting used to the idea of Goal-Based List will really help you stay organized. Especially as you create tons of automations that work with each other. Start by using Goal Based Lists in simple automations like in the example in this blog post. As you become more familiar with your automation strategy, you’ll have the practice to create mind-bending automations with simple list movements. Feedback We hope this blog helps you understand how to better organize your lists and subscribers for best practices related to your marketing automation. We came up with this list idea from helping our customers and building our own automations as well. Please share with us in the comments examples of how you organize your automations and lists so we can try to share these ideas with the rest of our users as well.


Read More
11 Email Marketing Workflows to Upgrade Marketing Automation

11 Email Marketing Workflows to Upgrade Marketing Automation

Practical Marketer • October 19, 2017

You\'ve worked hard to create a good contact database, but is that base working for you right now? Are they just sitting in that database, doing nothing? If so, you\'ll need to find a way to get them involved. Here are 11 email marketing workflows that will improve automation and engagement: 1. The Welcome Email Workflow When this should trigger: When a contact subscribes to your newsletter or blog. This email workflow should happen when your contacts decide to get to know more from you. For example, you can warmly welcome them to your community, remind them what they\'ll be getting from your blog, and show them some of your best rated pages to get them started. This is the point where first impressions count, so use a good template from Benchmark Email, and use Inbox Checker to ensure your email looks good on all email platforms. 2. The New Customer Welcome When this should trigger: When a contact upgrades to a paying customer. Another welcome should come about when a contact decides to become a paying customer. This email should welcome them, give them any extra information they need, and train them in using your product if needed. It\'s a good way to ensure users stay engaged with you. Use State of Writing or UK Writings to ensure you\'re writing clear, easy to understand copy, and Easy Word Count to make sure you\'re sticking to the point. 3. The Lead Nurturing Workflow When this should trigger: When a contact has downloaded a few different top of the funnel materials. If your contact has been engaging for a while with your content, then it\'s time to give them a nudge in the right direction. This workflow should send them an email that pushes them towards more middle of the funnel content. Include content that you\'ve found to be successful in converting your leads in the past. 4. The Re-Engagement Workflow When this should trigger: When a contact hasn\'t engaged in a while. This should trigger after a set period of time, and give the contact reasons to come back. Try sending them a special offer or deal in order to entice them to come back. You need to make a good impression, so use Essayroo to proofread these emails and Boom Essays to edit them. 5. The Abandoned Cart Workflow When this should trigger: When a contact leaves something in their shopping car without buying it. This happens a lot in e-commerce, but there are plenty of ways you can bring those customers back. Send an email reminding them they left their cart, and even maybe send an offer to entice them back and finish the purchase. 6. The Event Workflow When this should trigger: When a contact signs up for an event. Use this workflow to keep contacts in the know as you set up and run an event. You can use it to send out log in details for webinars, addresses and dates, and to send out additional information after the event. 7. The Engaged Contact Workflow When this should trigger: When a contact downloads, clicks or visits pages a certain amount of times. The more engaged your audience is, the more likely they are to share your content. Determine how often they should engage before you get in touch, and design an email that encourages them to share their favourite content with others. Academized and Academadvisor have guides that can help you persuade those contacts to get involved. 8. The Internal Sales Rep Workflow When this should trigger: When certain posts are being viewed frequently and you need to alert the sales team. It\'s not just customers who should be getting emails from email workflows. This workflow requires you to determine how many views a post should get before an email is sent to your sales team. This should show them that your contacts want more content like this. 9. The Upsell Workflow When this should trigger: When a customer has bought something from you. Communication shouldn\'t stop after a customer buys something. Have a workflow that sends the customer an email to upsell them on their purchase, or sell them a complementary deal. This can work well if you sell many different products that they could be interested in. 10. The Purchase Reminder Workflow When this should trigger: When the customer will need to buy a product again from you. Depending on what you sell, you may have customers who need to buy from you periodically. For example, if you sell contact lenses customers will need to buy from you after a certain amount of time. Set up a workflow based on their last purchase date, to remind them that they need to buy again. 11. The Customer Success Workflow When this should trigger: Once customer success metrics are reached. Customer success metrics will be different for every company, but you\'ll want to build case studies of how your customers have reached success with you. Send an email once they hit a certain level, asking them if they want to be featured as a case study. Use Cite It In to include examples of why this can work well for them. These workflows will help automate a lot of your communication with your contacts, and help convert them into customers. Have you used these before? Have they worked for you? Let us know in the comments.


Read More
How To Use Your Email List To Create Facebook Ads That Deliver

How To Use Your Email List To Create Facebook Ads That Deliver

Practical Marketer • October 16, 2017

Did you know that the average Click Through Rate (CTR) for Facebook Ads is just 0.9%? What if I said you could increase your Facebook ad CTR to 4% and above? Well, that’s exactly what you could do with email list Facebook ad targeting. This isn’t a hoax. If you want to start creating Facebook ads that deliver, you’re going to want to consider changing the way you target your audience. It’s no secret that the key to boosting the relevance score of your Facebook ad lies in your Facebook ad targeting. The more relevant your ad is to your target audience, the higher your relevance score will be, and ultimately, the lower your CPC will be. Just look at Adespresso who cut their CPC by $1.45 just by targeting a more relevant audience. So what better way to generate a relevant audience for your Facebook ad than by using an email list full of prospects which have already shown interest in your brand? Last year it was revealed that the costs of Facebook ads are increasing by 9% year on year. So there’s no better time to start managing your advertising spend better by utilizing your email list to deliver better Facebook ad targeting. So how can you do this? Generate A Lookalike Audience There are many ways to use email Facebook ad targeting to generate Facebook ads that deliver - but generating a lookalike audience is one of the most effective. When compared to a Facebook ad that utilizes a more common form of targeting, research has shown that lookalike audience targeting for some travel and online shopping companies lowered CPA (cost per action) by anywhere between 54%-70%. That’s a huge saving to make for something that takes only a matter of minutes to change. Lookalike Facebook ad targeting is also great for those businesses whose email lists still need some work. If you don’t have access to an extensive email list and the potential of re-engaging your current contact list is slim, lookalike targeting allows you to reach a much larger pool of prospects, just waiting to be converted. So what exactly is a lookalike audience? A lookalike audience is a group of people who have qualities similar to those in your source audience, which in this case, is your email list. You upload your email list to Facebook, they identify those users in their system and produce a new target list for you based on the common qualities and interests shared by your email list. That’s a whole new audience ready for you to convert. Sounds great, right? Here’s how to set up a lookalike audience: Upload your email list to Facebook Extract your email list and save as a CSV file. Enter the audience section of your Facebook ad and create a new custom audience by uploading your CSV file, as shown in the image below. Facebook will then identify all the users in their system which match with your email address list and use these users to create an audience for your ad. Your email list must have at least 100 contacts in for you to be able to do this, but Facebook recommend uploading anywhere between 1,000 and 50,000 contacts for best results. Generate your lookalike audience Once you’ve uploaded your email list and Facebook have successfully matched your list to their users, you’re ready to generate your lookalike audience. From the same tab as before, select ‘create a lookalike audience’ as shown in the image below. Select your source as the email list you have just uploaded and the country or region you want to target. Then you’ll need to select a percentage of that location that you want to target. You can choose anywhere between 1%-10% of the population, but the lower the percentage you choose, the more closely matched the audience will be to your current email list. [caption id=\"attachment_7567\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"1310\"] It’s important to note that it can take up to 24 hours for Facebook to generate your lookalike audience.[/caption] And then you’re ready to rock. Continue setting up your Facebook ad by adding content and an image which will help you achieve your desired advertising goal. Remarket to Interested Prospects Did you know that only 5%-8% of customers are likely to convert on the first use of your website? That means there’s a massive 92%-95% of website visitors which you could be ignoring. And that’s where remarketing comes in. Remarketing does exactly what it says on the tin - it allows you to retarget the customers who once showed interest in your company. It’s a gentle nudge - a reminder that your brand and your product or service still exists. And it’s not a method to be knocked. In fact, research has shown that 70% of customers that are presented with certain types of remarketing ads will later go on to convert. So how can you use your email list to remarket to customers on Facebook? Identify those prospects with a genuine interest Use your website data to segment your email list into those who have converted and those who haven’t yet. You’re looking for those customers who have signed up for an account, your newsletter or requested more information but haven’t yet converted into a customer. But be realistic with your list. If your list contains prospects who signed up over a year ago and haven’t been active on your site since then - it’s likely they’ve already found another solution elsewhere (sorry!). Use this list of prospects in your Facebook ad targeting As with the lookalike audience, you’ll need to extract your prospect’s email addresses into a CSV file. Then you can upload this file to your advert account by creating a new custom audience, as earlier shown in image 1. Facebook will identify every user who matches with an email address on your list and generates a new audience for you. It’s unlikely you’ll get a 100% match rate - so don’t be disappointed if it only matches 40% of your prospects. Although your Facebook ad targeting is arguably the most important aspect of your campaign, you’ll still need to design an ad that will grab this audience’s attention. It’s not just as simple as putting a link to your website in front of the right customer. You’ll need to think of all the reasons why your audience might not have converted yet and base your ad around these factors. Perhaps you could offer an introductory deal or link them to a help section on your website to help them get started. You’ll need to figure out the best tactic for your business. Upsell to Your Active Customers Facebook ads aren’t only designed for attracting new customers. They’re also great for upselling to existing customers and keeping them interested. It’s likely you’re already contacting these customers by email - and that’s great. But this is all about brand awareness and the more a customer notices your brand - the more inclined they’ll be to convert. In fact, research conducted by Facebook found that using Facebook ads in conjunction with email campaigns will extend the reach of your campaign by 77%! So how can you use your active customer email addresses to improve your Facebook ad targeting? Segment your email list Your first step will be to segment your email list to create a group of active customers. But remember, what makes an active customer for one company, won’t qualify as an active customer for another. For example, for a supermarket, an active customer is likely to shop once a week. However, for a large technology company, an active customer could mean someone who shops with the brand once every few years. It\'s down to you to work out what qualifies someone as an active customer for your business. Once you’ve done this, extract their email addresses into a CSV file ready to be uploaded to Facebook advert manager. Generate your audience As with both lookalike audiences and remarketing lists, you’ll need to create a custom audience. Upload your CSV file, and Facebook will match as many of their users to this list as possible. Again, you’re going to need at least 100 contacts on your list for this to work. (Refer to image one if you need a reminder on how to do this) Figure out your angle Are you going to upsell or are you going to reward your customer with a discount? Are you going to share some helpful guides or launch a new product? Either way, you’re going to need to figure out what your aim is to create a Facebook ad that will keep this audience coming back for more. Now it’s your turn… Thanks for reading this guide. I hope you’ve learned a trick or two about how to use your email list to create Facebook ads that really will deliver. If you have any other tips for using your email list in your advertising plan, feel free to share away in the comments!


Read More
Customer Feedback Through Email Marketing: How To Do It Right

Customer Feedback Through Email Marketing: How To Do It Right

Beyond • October 9, 2017

Everyone in business knows customer feedback is worth its weight in gold. Who better to ask about your latest feature upgrade than the people paying money to use it. The concept seems simple at first. Email your existing customers or leads, ask them the right questions and implement the changes that best align everyone’s needs. If only it were that simple. The truth is, no matter how much someone loves your business, they simply just don’t have the time or motivation to complete the typical survey. Doing Surveys the Old Way is Hard Studies indicate the average survey response rate hovers around 10-15%. This seems decent, especially if you have a huge email list. But even then you’re still leaving 85-90% of your list with a bad taste in their mouth... tempting them to hit unsubscribe. I faced this exact problem while setting up the email sequences for a startup I was working for last year. We had a tiny list of about 500 people who had signed up for a free trial to our tool. So I decided to create a survey and ask them a few quick questions regarding their experience. The response rate was terrible. Out of 500 emails sent only 50 opened the email, of which only four people completed the survey. To add salt to my wounds, it turned out that six people had opted-out of the list. Luckily, all hope isn\'t lost. By thinking a little outside the box, and using the right tools, it’s possible to turn the entire model on its head. Which means it\'s almost effortless to get high-quality customer feedback from your list. Look At Surveys Through the Eyes of A Customer Although it might seem like an obvious exercise, very few email marketers consider the user’s experience when it comes to customer feedback. You have to assume the people receiving your emails are busy. They\'re probably checking their emails at work. When they are under pressure and stressed out. If you start thinking about things from the person on the other end’s perspective, you’ll quickly realize that time is the most important metric to optimize for. Your customers have very little time to give you, even if they are huge fans of your business. Additionally, there’s all these apps and websites waging war on their attention spans each day. Reading a message from a friend on Facebook probably feels way more enticing to them than answering your boring survey. You need to focus on saving as much time as possible. And if you can do it correctly people will start to love you for it. Surveys Can Help Customers Love Your Business It seems almost strange to think that surveying your customers in the right way could make them like you more. But just think of how comforting it feels when the manager of a restaurant you’re eating at comes over and asks if you have enjoyed your meal. People want to feel like answering your survey makes a difference. The trick is to make your surveys convenient while making it more obvious that your customer’s answer will be heard. How To Do It The two most important factors I consider when setting up surveys in emails: Minimize the obstacles blocking people from answering your surveys. Ask only one question at a time, at the right time. Minimizing Obstacles Typical surveys are filled with many obstacles a potential respondent faces. Usually, there’s a button in the email you send out reading something like “Click to open survey.” The user then clicks this button, which opens an external page that takes some time to load. Then they have to answer each question on a given page and hit next, while they wait for the next page to load. Sometimes they need to fill in their name and email before they can complete the survey and click submit. All of these actions are obstacles. Obstacles that can be easily avoided with a few simple tricks. One Question Surveys It seemed strange at first, but asking only a single question was a huge breakthrough. Not only is it much easier for me to figure out what I want to ask, but response rates to a single question survey are unbelievable. People don’t mind answering something if they know it will take only a few seconds. The single question survey also makes respondents feel like their answer will make a difference. Because well, it does. It’s much easier to act on the results of a single question survey because the results are easy to interpret. You don\'t have to worry about which question you should focus on first because you only asked one question. Timing Is Important One thing to take note is that you need to ask your one question at the right time. Your email list wants to give you feedback more than you think, you just need to time it right. So for example, if you get an email notification that a purchased product has been delivered, you can ask them if the shipping was on time. This will help with your response rates while improving the quality of the data you gather since the experience of interacting with your business will still be fresh in your respondents\' minds. Embedding Survey Questions Directly Into Emails This is where the convenience factor goes to the next level. You can embed survey questions directly into emails so that it takes one click for someone to give you feedback. You’ve probably seen examples of these surveys before. Usually, they come in the form of an NPS(Net Promoter Score)  survey - you can see an example of that below. NPS surveys are great, but I find them much less versatile than one question surveys. The cool thing is that the same mechanism that makes NPS surveys work also makes one question surveys work. So you ask a question and have a list of answers that are all hyperlinks. Here’s an example: Then, special tokens automatically capture responses and email addresses when users choose an answer by clicking one of the links. It’s so simple, yet so many email marketers don’t even realize this is possible. After applying the one question limit and embedding my one question surveys directly into the regular emails I sent to my email list, response rates shot through the roof. It was almost as though people didn’t even realize they were getting surveyed. The only problem I had left was that setting up these surveys took a lot of effort. I had to create the surveys manually, with the right links, going to a domain name I had to setup and track myself. YesInsights To the Rescue YesInsights is a tool that takes all the hard work out of setting up and tracking the one question or NPS surveys I mentioned above. You type your question and the answers into a form to create the survey. Then, you just select the email service provider you use, and it automatically creates a snippet you can copy and paste directly into your existing email campaigns. Alternatively, you can also use YesInsights to setup NPS surveys. Many businesses are including NPS surveys in the signatures of their outgoing emails to help them figure out how happy their customers are in general. A Special Offer for Benchmark Email Users By following the outline I gave above and using YesInsights, I am certain you will see a drastic increase in the amount of customer feedback you receive. Feel free to share your own experiences in the comments below. As a special offer from the YesInsights team, I would like to share the coupon code “BenchInsights20” for 20% off your first month at YesInsights for the first 20 people to signup.


Read More
Email Marketing and the Importance of Security

Email Marketing and the Importance of Security

Beyond • October 5, 2017

With marketing becoming largely digital, email in particular has become a huge driver for generating more leads, conversions and ultimately revenue. It ranks above other distribution channels such as affiliate marketing, SEO, and even social media. In fact, email marketing was found to be the preferred channel by most marketers in a survey carried out by Gigaom. While it may sound easy to simply click and send off a slew of emails, the least of our worries is a full inbox. Email is deemed one of the most valuable online distribution channels, but it’s also the least secure. With people’s personal information at stake, the email channel must be protected at all costs. At the end of the day, it’s not just about ensuring that your marketing campaigns are effective but it’s also protecting your brand’s reputation and helping your customers, past, present or future, from falling for possible scams and cyber attacks like the most common one for email marketing: phishing. What Is Email Phishing? Phishing is a big threat to marketers because it can directly affect marketing efforts and Return on Investment (ROI) drastically. According to Venture Beat, for every $1 spent on email marketing, there is a $38 ROI (some even believe this number to be upwards of $42). So, what exactly is phishing? There are many variants of phishing but they largely all follow the same pattern. Phishing works through electronic communication, usually via email, in which the sender mimics a trustworthy entity using social engineering tactics to convince the recipient that they are legitimate and, in return, obtain personal or financial information for malicious purposes. It’s more than just financial losses; phishing also affects your company’s brand and reputation. A major downside with email phishing is that anyone can fall for one. Social engineering has come a long way and even top executives like CEOs fall victim to phishing emails (this particular type is called “whaling”). Today, businesses are seeing more and more malicious emails flooding their inboxes. Statistics from Symantec’s 2017 Internet Security Threat Report revealed a disturbing fact: one in every 131 emails contained malware in 2016. Phishing is an extremely successful tactic for hackers to get what they want, and marketers should take extra caution. Email phishing has a huge impact on marketing email campaigns, so it’s important to know the warning signs. Here are some warning signs to look out for when identifying a potential spoofed or phishing email: Poor spelling and grammar. We are all human and make mistakes, but when an email correspondence is littered with spelling and grammatical errors, then there is every reason to be suspicious since a reliable and professional entity will rarely make that many blatant typos. Check for any lack of personalization. If the email was directly sent to one person, a vague greeting without specific names or titles also calls for suspicion. Urgency detected. If the email message seems geared towards promoting a sense of urgency or is flagged as “high importance,” as counterintuitive as it is, the email might be spoofed. Pay particular attention to emails that demand a response “at your earliest convenience” and call on specific actions to be taken, like verifying information online. Typically, urgent matters are handled over the phone, so when in doubt, double check through another mode of communication. False hyperlinks. Hackers typically hide malicious links in hypertext within the contents of an email. Before clicking, hover over the destination address. If there is a mismatch between the text and the hyperlinked URL web address, there’s a good chance that the email is attempting to redirect you to a malicious site. Request for personal information. If you are asked for personal information or asked to verify your identity by clicking a link for example, be wary. Banks, for example, will never ask you for personal information over email. It only takes a second to verify the link before you proceed to click or download an attachment, and that can save you from dealing with the overwhelming burden and consequences that comes with a phishing attack. Best Security Practices Learning to spot inconsistencies and suspicious content within emails is a useful skill for anyone, but for marketers, sharing this kind of information with customers can make a huge difference in the effectiveness of campaigns. Besides, regardless of tangible campaign success, you are also looking to build the trust of your customers by keeping your customers safe from cyber attacks that originate from email. So, we would recommend adopting the following practices: Ask recipients to add you to their address list. Before you launch an email marketing campaign, request for your recipients to add your mailing address to their contact list so that your campaign emails will not go into the spam or junk folders. Doing this also means recipients will see warnings if a spoofed email (seemingly coming for your company) shows up in their inbox as senders who aren’t in their address book should be flagged. Authenticate your email. Authenticating your email is a great way to prevent phishing attacks even before they reach your customers’ inboxes. This is possible because email authentication ensures that the server that sends the email has the right to use the domain name listed in the message’s header (the “from” field) in the first place, thus “verifying” the legitimacy of the sender. As a result, email authentication works like a security tool. Add disclaimers. Adding disclaimers to the bottom of your emails and reminding customers that you will never ask for financial information and other sensitive information via email can help recipients spot the red flags in future spoofed emails if they ever receive them. Even if you have email authentication in place, a difference in a letter can mislead recipients in believing they are receiving legitimate emails from you. Generate general security awareness. We’ve shared our own tips for spotting phishing emails but educating your customers on these warning signs benefits your campaigns as well. Besides just including disclaimers at the bottom of your emails, launching a short campaign on online security can reap long term benefits. Email marketing is a powerful tool, and responsibility should come from your company and your employees. Before you launch an email marketing campaign, it’s crucial that you place importance on security as a first step to making sure your emails reach your customers with the right impact. Taking some basic measures to protect your customers from email-based web attacks also means that you can focus on other aspects of your campaign, knowing its success won\'t be hindered by spam filters and having your emails mistaken for spoofed phishing emails How has security impacted your campaigns? Was it positive or negative? Share it in the comments!


Read More
Practical Marketer Spotlight: Mommy Mundo

Practical Marketer Spotlight: Mommy Mundo

Beyond • September 28, 2017

There\'s a lot of wisdom in learning from the successes of others. In fact, we\'d go as far as to say that\'s the practical approach to growing as a marketer. It\'s important to gather inspiration, test your theories and improve based on your data. That\'s why we\'re thrilled to share what has worked for Mommy Mundo. Here is Mommy Mundo\'s Email Marketing Story We have been using Benchmark Email for almost five years. Benchmark has been a partner of Mommy Mundo since almost the beginning. We use Benchmark to build our mailing lists. You’ll see the Benchmark form on our home page of our website. When people signup, they\'re automatically added to our mailing lists. Our team loves how easy Benchmark is to use. The dashboard is very easy to navigate. Even laying out the email newsletters are very easy! Plus, of course, if you have any questions the service that you get is very fast regarding response time. I think another plus is the reporting analytics, such as seeing how many people opened your email or how many bounced back. Things like that have been very useful to us. So, I always recommend Benchmark to my MomPreneur partners and friends and fellow entrepreneurs. I believe that nowadays relationship building is a key element in business. Especially for businesses like ours where we service the community, and it\'s important for us to always be in touch with the people we serve and our community members. For any business that hopes to establish relationships with customers, email marketing is essential. If you have a website, why not have a tool to: get leads know who is visiting your website welcome them into your community make them partners be in touch with them on a regular basis encourage repeat business Now, more and more, marketing is about relationships and Benchmark is one of the tools we use to build that. Janice Villanueva Founder, Mommy Mundo Key Takeaways So, what can you learn from what has worked for Mommy Mundo? Grow Your List Your list of contacts is an asset you own and is yours to keep no matter the platform. Marketing channels will change, but that list of individuals you have built a relationship with will always be there. Here are a few posts to help you grow your list: 15 Ways to Grow Your Email List Awesome Ways to Grow Your Email List with Facebook and Snapchat 4 Creative Ideas to Build Your Email List Fast Tracking Reporting Data is Essential Every email marketing campaign should have a goal. Your reports will tell you whether or not you have achieved your goal. Learn more about goals and the reporting metrics to track: How To Set & Achieve Your Email Marketing Goals 5 Email Marketing Metrics to Watch Depending on Your Goals Understanding Your Email Marketing Reports Email Marketing Builds Relationships A successful email marketer knows the value of fostering ongoing customer engagement. Great customer relationships are based on the quality of your email marketing: Is Your Email Content a Gift or a Drag? How to Turn Your Email List into Brand Promoters Share Your Story Do you have an email marketing success story you want to share? Tell us in the comments!


Read More
1 2 3 4 5 6 32