Tags: Email Marketing

The Benefits of a Dedicated IP

The Benefits of a Dedicated IP

Beyond • September 24, 2017

Spam. That word sends shivers down our spines. As an email marketing company, it’s a joke (and sometimes accusation) that often gets lobbed our way. We’re sure you’ve heard similar when you tell a friend or family member that you do email marketing. “Oh … you’re a spammer.” Then we explain permission-based, opt-in email marketing. Some people buy it (real practical marketers already knew and don’t bother with the jokes … they’re too busy enjoying the ROI email marketers enjoy). That’s because even legitimate businesses sometimes don’t understand the impact of unwanted emails. Companies who don’t quite follow email marketing best practices can become a huge problem. A lot of marketers don’t even realize the damage they can cause if they don’t pay attention to their sender reputation. The worst part is that sometimes these bad practices can affect other senders on the same servers. Why Use a Dedicated IP At Benchmark we offer shared IPs and Servers for a lot of our users. It’s a great way to get started with email marketing. We always try to group users who have similar sending patterns and reputation. Even though we do this, sometimes a bad sender can slip through the cracks. We have algorithms and security measures that detect these bad practices quite fast. We immediately take action by halting a harmful user, but it can still affect the server. How It Works As we mentioned, Benchmark tries to group users with similar sending patterns and reputation scores. We based these off of your domain’s sender score and sending habits. For example, if you are a retail business and you send often promotions and sales like emails, our system would take that and your sender score as reference to place you into a group of other users with similar practices. We would do the same for a blogger or non-profit organization that would send out more newsletter type emails. This practice helps keep a good reputation with the ISPs and an overall good delivery rate for the emails. When to Use a Dedicated IP As you get started with your email marketing efforts, shared spaces are a perfect, cost-effective solution. It’s already included in your account! As your list grows and the importance of your email marketing channel builds, your email volume will surely increase. This is when you should consider a dedicated IP for your account. Your Own Dedicated IP Having a Dedicated IP means that we setup an IP just for you! Think of it as having your own dedicated mail man. This gives you full control over your reputation and sender score. The more you send and the more engagement your subscribers have with your emails, the better delivery rates you will have. For just $30 a month, you can have your own Dedicated IP. We have plenty of IPs warming up and they only take a few minutes to set up for your business. Let’s Review A shared IP is perfect for the standard email marketer or for small lists of subscribers. However, as your list grows, and your emails become money makers, we encourage you to look into the advantages of having a Dedicated IP. Once again, this gives you full control over your reputation and delivery. The more engagement, the better rates! We recommend companies with a list size of 50,000 or more to consider the dedicated IP option. Especially if you are a frequent sender. We’re Here To Help If you have questions or if you would like to learn more about dedicated IPs, call, chat or email us! Our knowledgeable and dedicated team of customer engagement specialists can help you identify if a Dedicated IP is right for you.      


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11 Marketing Automation Terms You Should Know

11 Marketing Automation Terms You Should Know

Practical Marketer • September 21, 2017

As we’ve said it before during our Automation Fridays weekly workshops: Marketing Automation is the next frontier of Digital Marketing. This means if you haven’t dabbled in automation yet, let me tell you, you’re already late. Perhaps you have already come across some terms that you are not familiar with. And let’s be honest, in SaaS products things can get pretty jargony pretty quick. So, if you are curious about marketing automation and want to keep up with some of the industry terms, here are 11 concepts we think you should know: 1. Trigger / Entry Point No, this doesn’t refer to the feeling you get when someone chews too loud when they are eating right next to you (or is that just me?). A trigger is where an automation starts, based on certain actions, like adding contacts to a particular list, sending out an email and even based on actions taken by a contact or a group of them. 2. Visitor A visitor is an anonymous user who comes to your site. Your goal should be to have them at least provide their email address. Once you have an address, you have yourself a contact or lead. 3. Condition Inside your automation, you can define conditions to be set for each of the actions you want your automation to perform. That means you can segment contacts based on their engagement with emails you previously sent in the same automation or segments they are already a part of or even their engagement with your site. [caption id=\"attachment_7311\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"1024\"] These are some of the conditions you can use when creating a series of emails to communicate with your contacts using Automation Pro.[/caption] 4. Contact, Lead or Prospect In essence, which of the three terms you use depends on the industry and division you are in, but what it means for you is that once a visitor has provided contact information, they become your subscriber. 5. List In Marketing Automation, a list is the collection of contacts or email addresses that will allow you to communicate with them. 6. Segment A segment is the result of the process of organizing your list. That means separating your contacts and target audience into buckets of specific needs, preferences and even desired experiences. [caption id=\"attachment_7312\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"1024\"] To achieve a higher success rate based on your goals, segment your contacts to ensure each email is hitting the best possible target audience. This keeps your email automation relevant.[/caption] 7. Drip A drip campaign is what sometimes an email automation is referred as, what both of these concepts are is a series of programmed and timely emails. 8. Journey / Email Flow Every automation you start should be goal oriented, so a flow is what you would layout as the stages or steps your automation would take to reach a specific goal. 9. Goal As mentioned above each automation should have a clear desired result, some of the most common goals are: Onboarding: teach users how to use your product Engagement: to encourage your users to interact with your company Retention: To keep customers coming back Re-engagement: to get customers or users to come back and start using your product again if they stopped But really, there are a lot of possibilities. 10. Signup form / email box You should have one of these on your site already, but if not, a signup form will allow you to gather visitor’s contact information, to be able to create campaigns geared towards them. 11. Automation Pro The most practical tool out there to manage and create your marketing automation (What? You thought I wouldn’t take the chance talk about our awesome tool?). Click here to learn more. So there you have it, Marketing Automation is becoming more and more ubiquitous each day. So, this is a good start for you to have an idea of what all the industry lingo means. Are there any other concepts you are still wondering about related to automation? Drop us a line in the comments section below, and we’ll make sure to answer any questions.


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How Can I Use Email Marketing with A Landing Page?

How Can I Use Email Marketing with A Landing Page?

Practical Marketer • September 12, 2017

Landing Pages (LPs) are an extremely effective marketing tool to unleash from your arsenal. They give you flexibility within your branding to do some different things, you can often develop them quicker than a typical page on your website and, most importantly to this post, they can be designed for a single goal. The most effective email marketing campaigns are also designed around a singular goal. That’s what makes email marketing such a natural pair with LPs. At MarketingSherpa Summit 2016, Flint McGlaughlin reminded the crowd of one important fact: an email campaign can’t sell anything … except a click. The sale takes places on your website. That really hammered home the importance of one clear goal for your email campaigns. Carry that ideology through to your LP. If you link someone to your website from an email campaign, there’s the possibility of distraction. Perhaps there are multiple products available on the page or various links in the header or footer that could distract from your goal. When you’re planning a marketing campaign, think about it from the email campaign through to the landing page and what you will consider a success. Match the branding in your email and landing page. Tell a story that begins in the inbox and ends on the LP. Put only on the LP what you will need to achieve success. Keep it simple and enjoy the ROI that email marketing and landing pages can deliver.


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Finding Your Target Audience

Finding Your Target Audience

Practical Marketer • September 12, 2017

I’m sure every single one of us has complained about too many emails in our inbox. We agree to sign up for a list to get a discount, but have no need for additional purchases with that brand and do not continue to see value in being subscribed. Maybe you tried to win a giveaway and one brand partnered with others to compile the prize package. Entering subscribes you to brands you never even knew existed. You weren’t paying attention. You just wanted the free stuff. Even the brands we legitimately subscribed with can let us down after too many irrelevant emails. There is one action that can overcome each of these instances, and it’s targeting. That is why it’s so important to find your target audience. What is a Target Audience? A Target Audience is defined as the group of individuals, or for email marketing purposes the specific list or segment, at which a campaign is aimed. It’s the target demographic for each marketing effort. It’s also who would be most likely to convert, based on each targeted email campaign you send. For example, if you owned a plumbing company, your target audience would be homeowners or landlords. It’s important to remember that the target audience is who is most likely to purchase your goods or services and not necessarily for whom the goods and services are intended. Take, for example, a toy store. Yes, kids (of all ages) will play with the toys. However, more often than not it’s parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles who are most likely to be buying the toys. Why is it important to find a Target Audience for each email you send? In our guide, What Makes a Great Email, we discussed that content makes an email great. However, subject line, email copy and a Call To Action are only half of what we said makes for great emails. Your target audience is the other part of what will make your emails great. To paraphrase an old saying, greatness is in the eye of the beholder. In the above examples of inbox overload, all could have been avoided had the subscribers been able to relate to the tone and content of the emails. That would have made those emails great to those users. This is why it’s imperative to make sure each campaign you send is directed towards the correct target audience. After all, we’ve all surely heard the famous John Lydgate quote, that was also famously shared by Abraham Lincoln. …you can’t please all of the people all of the time. A lot of the time, your whole contact list will not be interested in all of the emails you want to send. However, a targeted email to the right audience is far more likely to find a happy audience. Are your emails being sent to the appropriate audience? It’s important to serve the needs and interests of each subscriber. A targeted audience means a segment of your list(s) filled with individuals who are pleased with the emails they’re receiving. In 2015, nearly 80% of all email marketing ROI was a result of being sent to the correct target audience! There Are No Targeted Audiences Without Proper Segmentation Knowing who to target with your email marketing campaigns begins with an understanding of the list segments you should be creating. List segmentation does not have to be difficult. It can begin with your signup form. Based on the data fields on your signup form, you can sort new subscribers from the beginning. One way you can segment your list is by demographic. This includes gender, age and location. It is possible to gather this data at signup, but be mindful that you’re not turning off potential email subscribers from completing your form. You can also build a segmented target audience around the type of industry a subscriber is in, the size of their company or any wide range of data that you can ask for on your signup form. Engagement is another opportunity for segmenting your sending email list. Find the subscribers who interact (open rates) most often with your effective emails. That could mean who is opening them a lot or even those who tend to click on links. This group comes in handy if you want to get customer feedback with a poll or survey or if you want to create a loyalty program. While your most active subscribers make a great segment, the opposite is also true. Inactive subscribers are another segment you can create and target. You can target that audience with a re-engagement campaign to bring them back into the fold. Clean your list of the ones to remain inactive. Your customer’s purchase history is another segment you can create. When you know what goods or services they have previously purchased, you can target that audience with a automated email campaign director towards their interests. [caption id=\"\" align=\"alignnone\" width=\"600\"] Finding Your Target Audience[/caption] Target Audience Examples It’s one thing to see how you could segment and target your audiences. Seeing examples makes more relatable: Perhaps you’re a microbrewery. You can segment your list into people who like IPAs or wheat beers based on on the items they’re clicking on in your emails.If you’re a car dealership, you can send targeted campaigns based on the types of cars your subscribers are clicking on in your email promotions.Or maybe you’re in charge of the email marketing for your local Park District. You can segment and create targeted emails for children’s camps, teen activities and adult programs based on the step by step email content in which your subscribers have shown interest. You can also create targeted audiences for the subscribers who most often engage with your emails. This is the audience who is most likely to open your real time emails. They might even be excited when they receive an email from you! It’s a good idea to reward that level of engagement. You can offer your engaged subscribers a sneak peek at new product launches. Give them early access to these products as a reward for their loyalty. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you can create a targeted audience of your inactive subscribers. The easiest and most common way to target this audience is by telling them you’re going to remove them from your list unless they’d like to opt back in. People want what they can’t have, and they’ll probably start paying closer attention to your emails. Purchase history also gives you the information you need to create specific target audiences. Think about any time you’ve purchased something on Amazon. You’ve certainly received an email after the fact that said something like this: “Because you purchased Cards Against Humanity, you may also be interested in What Do You Meme? Adult Party Game.” If your business requires recurring payments, you can also create a target audience of canceled or expired accounts. Show them how to update their credit card information with a quick video. You will likely win back lost accounts and money! Tips for Understanding Your Target Audience It is incredibly important to understand who the individuals are in each target audience. One simple way to do this is by creating customer personas. You can even go so far as to search Google Images and choose a photo for each target audience and the individual that will represent each persona. Consider the car they drive, places they shop and even what magazines or blogs they enjoy reading. You should also turn to your reports to gain a better understanding of each target audience. Your reports are another opportunity to understand your target audience with expected return on investment. There, you can see the device they’re opening your emails on, what time they’re opening those emails and the goods or services of interest based on clicks. You can learn if your target audience is on-the-go opening emails on smartphones or if they open on a computer. This will help you know your sales process should be. If it’s hard for them to convert from a phone, create a process that will work on the phone and allow you to follow-up in a way that will let them actually convert later. Same goes for the time your emails are being opened. Learn when your emails are being opened by your segments, and you’ll know when to time your offerings. Early morning emails may get those that are opening their emails in bed (or the bathroom) every morning. If you’re in a business where your sales team talks to leads on the phone, you may want to send a targeted email campaign to those early morning openers that allows them to schedule a call or a demo later in the day when they’ll be more prepared to handle it. Each will give you an additional peek into the lives of your subscribers and help you know who they are as people. After all, remembering that there are people behind the email addresses you’re sending to is perhaps the most important part of understanding a target audience. Conclusion First, you have to understand what a target audience is and why they’re important and how you\'re going to target them by step by step email marketing guide. Armed with that knowledge, you can start creating your target audiences. That begins with the signup form and continues throughout your relationship with your subscribers. Once you have segmented your list(s) into various target audiences, you can create campaigns tailored specifically to those groups of people. That is what it means to send great emails. Share Your Ideas What do you do to create segments and create target audiences? We want to hear from you. Tell us in the comments your favorite tips for making great targeted emails. Want to Learn More? This post is only one part of what goes into finding your target audience, an integral part of what makes an email great. That’s why we wrote a new guide called What Makes a Great Email. There you can gain a better understanding for segmenting target audiences, and you’ll learn practical strategies to create them. Click here to download What Makes a Great Email. Get Started Today If this post has you inspired to make a great email for your target audiences, signup for the free Benchmark Starter Plan. Or login and put what you’ve learned to use.


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How to Turn Your Email List into Brand Promoters

How to Turn Your Email List into Brand Promoters

Beyond • August 10, 2017

Customer acquisition and retention are the traditionally advertised benefits of email marketing. Automation software makes keeping in touch with customers at every stage of the buyers’ journey simple and cost-effective. Yet, an often overlooked potential for email marketing is the ability to transform your list from passive readers to active promoters. Brand ambassadors are born after the sale. Sadly, many companies don’t take advantage of the full scale of possibilities inherent in email marketing. They end relationships with customers after check out. The thank-you email or shipping confirmation signals the end of the journey. Other companies may continue to send monthly promotional emails to stay in the forefront of consumer consciousness, but these companies still fail to develop the true potential of email marketing. Forward-thinking businesses understand that to leverage the power of email properly, and convert your customers from purchasing to engaging, you need to consider the overall experience. Branding, proper targeting, ethical email practices, relevant content, and effective re-marketing strategies will turn a static email list into a dynamic fan base happy to promote your business, unprompted, through word of mouth. Untapped Potential Statistically, you have 100 days to solidify customer opinion of your business. The countdown starts at initial awareness and means every communication you have with the customer vital. The strategy begins with the opt-in. The first few days are crucial for brand awareness. A perfected welcome email makes customers feel valued and comfortable. Also, consider that 67% of first time customers who add items to a shopping cart will abandon it. Rather than viewing this as a negative data point, see this as an opportunity. With an additional $36 of revenue generated per click on an abandoned cart email, it is imperative to send one within 24 hours. Abandoned cart emails that contain a discount code further increase the likelihood that the customer will return to complete the purchase and also establishes a baseline of trust. Once the purchase is made, the strategy to convert your new customer into a brand ambassador begins. Branding Every email sent to your list needs to succinctly communicate your business philosophy. From welcome emails to renewal notices, tell customers how important their satisfaction is and how you intend to keep it that way. Businesses who have crisp, clean, and clear tag lines, logos, and mission statements embedded in their email communications embed their brand into consumer consciousness. By communicating your business philosophy, you are giving consumers the ammunition they need to promote your business. Brand promoters don’t just identify businesses by product offerings. They describe them with emotion. This is why it is essential to communicate the emotional side of your business to the customer at every opportunity. They will likely share both their experience as a customer and your company’s mission statement with others. Targeting Customers are not created equal. Not everyone has the potential to become a brand ambassador. Using targeted emailing, analyze your list for purchasing behavior and look for repeat customers who have shared or forwarded your emails to others in the past. Repeat customers are the most likely to become promoters. Another demographic to target is customers who have clicked on embedded social media links to share your emails, discount codes, or content. This indicates a high likelihood of them becoming a promoter. Proper identification and targeting of this demographic with post-sale email marketing will encourage them to evolve from an occasional sharer of information into a full-time brand promoter. Once they have been identified, give those customers their own segmented list and be sure to send them VIP and loyalty emails as well as relevant content, discounts, and surveys. Ethical Email Practices The quickest way to get unsubscribes is to bombard customers with irrelevant or tricky emails. Use open rate data from A/B testing to determine the best times and frequency to deploy email campaigns and make sure the content of your emails aligns to your subject line. If customers feel tricked by catchy, but irrelevant subject lines, they will unsubscribe so they won’t hear from you in the future. The perfect welcome email will make your customers feel appreciated and comfortable at first contact. To create brand promoters, consider inviting them to join a VIP list where they receive special offers or are the first to know of upcoming events or sales. Predictive marketing is another tool that works well to facilitate an emotional connection. Showing repeat customers similar items that they may enjoy, illustrates they can trust your judgement. You are showing them that you know them well enough to predict their tastes in product. Supportive Content Continuing to provide customers with post-sale support and information through content is one of the best ways to create brand ambassadors. Consider maintaining an active blog on your website and email them articles or videos that they may enjoy. This is especially effective if the content is related to past product purchases. Sending them relevant, informative content is an excellent way to show customers your loyalty to them long after a purchase is completed. Include a well-placed call-to-action in your emails encouraging them to share the information with friends. People respond well to clear directions. Tell them what you want. If they forward your emails or share your content on social media, they have become unpaid marketing specialists for your company. To increase the likelihood of them sharing, offer a freebie, contest, or discount code if they do share. Re-marketing The key to re-marketing customers is under-selling. Taking them back to step one of the buyer’s journey is impersonal and shows a lack of understanding or consideration on your part. Instead of re-sending template emails from the beginning of the funnel, make sure your emails abide by the 80/20 rule allowing you to stay in their immediate consciousness while feeling special. You must appear to be genuinely thankful for their previous purchases, while subtly encouraging them to return often and buy more. Whether you are corresponding with a first-time customer or repeat-buyer, no one likes a hard sell. Don’t focus your emails on the sale, focus instead on the relationship you have established with the customers. the 80/20 rule states that 80% of your email content should be about the customer and their needs. The remaining 20% can strategically place your products and services as a solution to their problems. Effective re-marketing is intended to maintain trust and loyalty. When a company does what is best for the customer, they will come back for more. Conclusion Turning your email list into brand promoters isn’t difficult, but it does require strategy and thoughtfulness on your part. These customers are unique and deserve to be treated as such. Establish a relationship with them early using ethical email practices. Continue to anticipate their needs and be responsive to their concerns at all times. Keep the purchase process simple and be genuinely thankful for their business. Most important of all, continue nurturing the relationship long after the sale is complete with well-timed, supportive content that is useful to them. Following these simple rules will have customers singing your praises online and through word-of-mouth - and that’s the best marketing strategy of all.


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5 Email Marketing Metrics to Watch Depending on Your Goals

5 Email Marketing Metrics to Watch Depending on Your Goals

Beyond • August 8, 2017

Email remains one of the best ways to reach your audience. Nearly all internet users have at least one email address and most check them daily. It does no good, however, to send an email out into the void without an understanding of who will read it and how they will react. To ensure that you are doing everything to meet your goals, watch the metrics that apply. What you will look at will often depend on what you want to achieve. We\'ve assembled a few of the best metrics to watch for a range of email marketing goals. You\'re Trying To Increase Awareness If your goal is increasing awareness of your brand or a new product, your open rate is one of the most important metrics to look at. This is the measure of how many people are opening your emails and how many are deleting them unread. If your open rate is lower than you would like, there are a number of strategies that can increase it. Changing your subject line to something that adds urgency, for instance, can help increase your open rate. You may also wish to vary the times and days that you send your emails. Business to business emails may get more response during morning hours. For B2C communications, weekends may work better for you. You Want More Traffic To Your Website If you want to increase traffic to a landing page or product page, measure how many people are clicking your links. The percentage of people who you are sending to who click through will tell you how successful you are. To learn more about who is visiting, create unique tracking codes that go in each email. These codes can tell you which prospects are visiting your website to learn more. When paired with other information that you have about each prospect, you can learn more about what they respond to. Including a single, clear, and compelling call to action (CTA) can increase the traffic to your site. Be sure that the CTA is easily seen. Using a larger font and setting it off from the paragraphs above and below can help. Try A/B testing of different colors and fonts. Look at whether you have the best results when you put the CTA above the fold versus at the bottom of the email. You Are Promoting A New Product Look at click-throughs and conversions when you are bringing a new product to your prospects. There are a number of variables that can affect your success in this area. Do your customers click through and buy more often when you feature a single product or several related ones? Does it help when your emails are mobile-friendly? Do you do better when you list a price in the email itself or when it is shown once they\'ve clicked through to the page? Testing these variables to see which give you the best results can dramatically increase your success in this area. Track your results to learn what your prospects respond to. Test one variable at a time with similar lists to learn more about what works. You Want To Build A More Robust List While size isn\'t everything, the number of people who you are reaching is important. Learn whether your emails are turning prospects off by watching your unsubscribes. People unsubscribing to your list is a normal part of marketing. However, if you are finding that too many people are leaving, there could be something wrong with your approach. Try different headlines or offering the option to subscribe to a list that receives mail less often to keep your numbers up. You Want To Increase Revenue When you are working to grow your business, every bit of revenue counts. Increases here can open up opportunities to expand your product range, bring in new talent, or expand into new markets. To see how your email marketing stands up, look at your revenue per email -- how much you earn, on average, for each marketing email that you send. There are a wide range of actions that you can take that can increase your return on your email marketing investment. Segmenting your marketing list can result in better conversions. With segmentation, you send a different marketing message to different groups of prospects based on their reactions in the past. This sort of highly targeted marketing is more resource intensive, but can also significantly increase your conversion rate and your revenue. Upselling and cross-selling can also increase your revenue from each prospect who responds. For instance, instead of marketing a single product in each email, you can increase your revenue by offering related products together. Summing Up The shotgun approach to email marketing does not work anymore. Too many of your clients are constantly bombarded by offers and promotions. To stand out from the noise, you need to create email marketing assets that take your clients\' behaviors and preferences into account. By carefully studying the data that you get from your marketing analytics, you can create more compelling marketing emails. This, in turn, helps you achieve your goals.


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How To Set & Achieve Your Email Marketing Goals

How To Set & Achieve Your Email Marketing Goals

Practical Marketer • August 4, 2017

In any role in your business, it’s easy to fall into autopilot. Most of us are creatures of habit. How often is the reason for doing something, “we’ve always done it that way?” The truth is, we should spend no time or resources on any task without understanding the goal for it. What are you hoping to achieve? When it comes to email marketing, do you know the reason behind each and every email you send? Factors to Consider When Setting a Goal For your email marketing, the needs of your subscriber should almost come first and foremost. This is what makes an email great. Of course, we’re all doing email marketing because it’s great for our business too. Balancing these two is sides of a goal is what leads to great emails. Why Setting a Goal Makes for Great Emails When you understand the ultimate goal of an email, you can reverse engineer the steps it takes to achieve that purpose. Keeping a goal in mind puts every aspect of your email into focus. It lets you know what you need to achieve at each level of your email. Choosing Your Goal Yes, there are many different things that you achieve with email marketing. You can build trust, further your branding, increase your sales and so much more. In reality, it’s really just whether it’s a slow play or a long play towards boosting your bottom line. Knowing that the end game is always going to be sales, even if it’s hard to see how that email will impact sales in the short-term, you can pick your goal based on where that email plays into your overall sales funnel. Marketing is always about micro wins. You won’t go far if your only move is “here buy this.” You have to do the work and approach each small step (or goal) that will lead you towards that ultimate goal of a sale. So how do you do it? How To Achieve Your Goals As mentioned above, to achieve your goals work backwards from your end point. It’s important to gain a complete understanding of each of these levels, in order to truly make your emails great. Without this knowledge, you’re playing a guessing game and you cannot expect to achieve your goals. So, what are the steps a customer or subscribe must take for you to achieve your goal? Step 1: Provide a Clear Call To Action We’ve often shared the sage words of Flint McGlaughlin, Founder and Managing Director of MECLABS, who likes to say that you cannot sell anything with email marketing other than a click. The final goal will likely take place on a product page, landing page or another location outside of your email. That means that Call To Action (CTA) that compels a subscriber to reach that page must be on point. If you have properly identified a goal for your email, the CTA should be obvious. Your CTA should be clear and easy to follow. In fact, that there are impressive stats that demonstrate the benefit of only having one CTA in an email campaign. Recently, Toast tested having one clear CTA in their email campaigns. This test yielded increased clicks to the tune of 371% and boosted sales 1,617%. [caption id=\"attachment_6659\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"615\"] H&M used one clear and simple CTA.[/caption] Most subscribers are busy or in some cases just lazy. Don’t ask too much of subscribers. At this point, you may be thinking, “but Andy ... there are more than one things I may need a subscriber or customer to take action on!” That’s perfectly fine. Just use more than one email to achieve this. What makes a great CTA? A great CTA does three things well: Creates urgency. A subscriber should feel the need to act right away. Provides clear instructions on what you want the email recipient to do next. Gives confidence. Avoid friction or anxiety. There’s no risk when something is free, right? Here’s an example of those points in action: Don’t wait another minute to make a great email! Start email marketing free today. If you don’t already have one, click here to get your Free Plan now! It’s important to test the various CTAs that are available to you, to find out what works with your audience. Test what is more successful for you between buttons for CTAs or using linked text. If you opt for using buttons, the design of your button is another factor to consider. Color, size, placement and even something as simple as adding an arrow graphic, like a mouse cursor, can have a significant impact on your email marketing success. Simply adding an arrow icon to their CTA buttons gave Helzberg Diamonds a 26% increase in clicks. The copy you use to motive in your CTA is also important. One company, ContentVerve, used first-person phrasing and saw a 90% increase in Click-Through Rate (CTR). For example, \"Start my free 30 day trial\" vs. \"Start your free 30 day trial.\" Step 2: Write Compelling Email Copy Your CTA isn’t the only place that copy is important. Write compelling email copy that causes a subscriber to read your entire email through to the CTA. Follow these tips for writing quality email copy: Write quickly. It will help your enthusiasm and personality shine. Be brief. Write like each word costs you money. Subscribers have a short attention span. You don’t want them to lose interest. Write conversationally. Craft your emails as if you were having a face-to-face conversation with one subscriber. Look back at your copy and ask yourself if you would talk that way if you were in a conversation. No boilerplates. Being too formulaic will result in a one way ticket to Boring Town. Break from the norm. Throw away things like “Sincerely,” “Best” or “Thanks.” Use your own personality. You might just see an email from Benchmark end in “With regards from sunny Southern California.” You want to use “you.” It’s among the most persuasive words in the dictionary. It’s not about you. Care and compassion for your subscribers will take your email marketing a long way. Step 3: Write A Great Subject Line Now that you know you can write a great email, let’s make sure that email gets opened. Enter subject lines. According to Convince & Convert, 35% of subscribers will open an email based on the subject line alone. Follow these tips for great subject lines: Be concise. With so many emails being viewed on mobile first, they’ll only see your subject line in its entirety if it’s around 50 characters. Deliver on your promise. Make sure your subject line is an honest representation of what follows within the email. The point of great emails is to build trust! Begin with an action-oriented verb. Your subject line is similar to a CTA and beginning a subject line with an action verb will help your email get opened. Give a sense of urgency. Same logic behind a subject line being like your CTA applies. Make them want to open your email. NOW! Ask a question? One that your subscribers will want the answer to and open the email to find the answer or consider the answer for themselves. In case you still need extra help with subject lines, Sumo has 62 formulas for great subject lines. Other factors that should be considered here are From Name and the email address from which you are sending as well as the Preview Text. Conclusion These are the important steps for creating great emails. Yes, they are in reverse order from how your subscriber will experience them. However, it’s always easiest when you understand what your goal is and then work backwards from there. That way you can make sure that you’ve set yourself up for success at each level of your email. Before you create any great email, you must first know your goal for that email. Then you have you make sure that the CTA in your email is great enough to get them to act on it, ultimately achieving your goal. To get them to your CTA, you have to first craft great email copy. This will make them read through your email to the CTA. For your email to be read in the first place, you need to write a great subject line that inspires your subscribers to open your email. Share Your Ideas What do you do to make your emails great? We want to hear from you. Tell us in the comments your favorite tips for making great emails. Want to Learn More? This post is only one part of what goes into making a great email. That’s why we wrote a new guide called What Makes a Great Email. There you can gain a better understanding for great emails and learn practical strategies to create them. Click here to download What Makes a Great Email. Get Started Today If this post has you inspired to make a great email, signup for the free Benchmark Starter Plan. Or login and put what you’ve learned to use.


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Join Us for Automation Fridays

Join Us for Automation Fridays

Practical Marketer • August 4, 2017

Automation is the next frontier of email marketing. Thankfully, automation technology has reached a point where it is accessible to the masses. Automated customer journeys need not look like a toddler hurled a handful of spaghetti at a wall. Automation can be simple, straightforward and easy to build. The best news is: we’re here to help. We’re hosting Automation Fridays every single Friday at noon PST. Do you have questions about automation? It could be about how to get started with automation or perhaps you have questions about a current automation you are trying to execute. Join us and have your questions answered by our Director of Marketing, Daniel Miller. He may even jump right into an account and show you how to build it himself! Even if you’re not sure what using automation would look like for your business, come see what others are doing with automation. You might find some inspiration! Plus, we’ll have practical strategies prepared to discuss every week. It could be talking about creating a shopping cart abandonment email sequence or the perfect drip sequence to attach to your lead magnets. We’ll get to those when all of our attendees questions are done being answered. Automation Fridays are totally free to join. We’re here to serve as your teacher, consultant and sounding board for automating your emails. Register for Automation Fridays.


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Is Your Email Content a Gift or a Drag?

Is Your Email Content a Gift or a Drag?

Beyond • August 2, 2017

I remember the first email I ever got. It was sent and received on the same computer — a test from my parents written to their children’s new shared AOL account. Thanks to both my own and the email marketing world’s immaturity, emails such as that one were the only contents of my inbox for several years. Drip by drip, that began to change for me, and every other email user out there. The word “spam” was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2000 and since then, the drip has turned into a flood. It’s estimated that more than 225 billion emails are sent every day. The growth is spectacular — more emails, more email users, and more email accounts per user are stacking up at staggering rates. And many of us are creating those additional accounts to segregate and manage the vast quantity of marketing emails we receive — from brands we care about and want to hear from (but not too often) and brands we’ve never heard of (and aren’t sure how they heard of us). So what about the marketers on the other side of that send button? We’ve Settled Into Low Expectations Email spam blockers are becoming smarter and more people are signing up for services that roll-up their subscriptions so they’re easier to manage. As a result, bounce rates have been increasing year over year. With the average open rate for marketing emails at less than a fifth of what is sent, and the click through rate just about half of that, most marketers have settled into low expectations. We ooh and ahh over the slightest upward changes our analytics show us — delighted with increases of less than a percentage point. It needn’t be this way. Marketers can beat the spam filters, the inbox exhaustion, and the jaded recipients. It all starts with gaining a little perspective. Take the Test For the next month, take on the following challenge. Create a folder in your email account. Every time you open a marketing email, forward that email to the folder. If you click on the offer in the email, star it as well. Ask a couple of coworkers, friends, and family members to do the same. At the end of the month, collect all of the emails and do an evaluation. Gather up the subject lines. How were they similar? We’re any of the same words used? Were they personalized? Then evaluate the difference between the emails you opened and clicked on versus those you didn’t click through. Where was the CTA placed? Were there images? And what was the general theme of the content? If you clicked, chances are the content wasn’t asking you to do anything, in fact, it was probably offering to give you something instead. Email as a Gift The majority of emails the average adult receives are asking for something — complete this work task, pay that bill, call your mom — our inboxes have have become a burden, a to-do list we’d rather avoid. And because of that, most marketers’ emails go unread, lost to either the mass deleters or those with unopened mail in the six digits. The best way to stand out is simple — give instead of ask; take something off the to-do list rather than add to it; offer a way to make life easier and they will open it and click. So how do you make your emails a gift? Start by thinking about your customers (bonus points if you actually ask them in a survey). What are their pain points? What do they need? What do they have to do, but hate doing? Then insert yourself as the solution. Here are a few ideas you can set up in your marketing automation software to get started: Monetary: Provide a special offer of savings on services or products that you’ve already tracked their interest in through your analytics. This is probably the simplest and most common gift email marketers use today. Exclusive: Give your loyal customers something that no one else can have — early access to a sale, a special invite to an event, or a free download that’s locked to anyone else. Knowledge: Share insightful, engaging content with your customers. This could be a white paper or article that you’ve written yourself that addresses one of the pain points you’ve identified. Curation: If you don’t have the capacity to create your own excellent content, try curating content your customers might enjoy so that they don’t have to go around searching for it. You’ll position yourself as an expert, and show that you’re not just about promoting yourself, but about raising the bar of your industry overall. Happiness: Life is stressful, so why not interrupt that and create some goodwill? Think of small pieces of positivity you can send your customers — birthday greetings, motivational quotes, random bits of trivia, funny or heartwarming stories. If you create email that’s a gift instead of a drag, your customers will look forward to it like you probably look forward to your annual snail mail birthday card in a vast stack of catalogues and junk letters. So go on, raise your expectations, take the one month challenge and change the way you send email.


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Awesome Ways to Grow Your Email List with Facebook and Snapchat

Awesome Ways to Grow Your Email List with Facebook and Snapchat

Practical Marketer • July 24, 2017

It’s a question older than email marketing itself: How do I grow my contact list? Your list is one of the most valuable assets to your company. No matter the communication channel, you own your list. Nobody can take that away from you. With a return on investment for Email Marketing of $45 for every $1 spent, of course you want to grow your list! Consider Your Options There is no shortage of tried and true methods to grow your email list. Let’s take this time to get a little creative and consider what else is available to you. Are you getting the most out of the tools and apps you’re already using? With every new social media tool that debuts, the questions of “is email marketing dead?” soon follows. The opposite is true. Email marketing thrives in tandem with social media. It’s actually a new avenue to support and strengthen your email list. While it may sometimes seem like Facebook and Snapchat are engaging in an all out battle to the death, both are exciting options for growing your email list. The Power of Social Media and Its Users With each new feature released by a social channel, new marketing opportunities arise. Why? Because no marketer can ignore the numbers. The stats on Facebook are staggering: 1.9 Billion active monthly users 1.2 Billion logon to the platform daily 20 min is the average time a user spends on Facebook when they log on 4.75 Billion pieces of content are shared daily Over 16 Million Business pages on the platform Snapchat is rapidly growing each day: 300 Million monthly active users 100 Million daily active users 1.7 Billiion snaps are shared each day 30% of US Millennial Internet Users use Snapchat regularly 60% of college students would purchased from a brand off of Spapchat With all those users, some will surely subscribe to your email list. Right? Right. Let’s look at how. Harness the Power of Facebook You can promote your email subscription to your existing Facebook fans. To do this, you can put a signup form on a Tab on your Facebook page. You can best accomplish this with an iFrame app. Using the iFrame app, you can paste the HTML code of a signup form you’ve previously designed or even link the URL of a landing page built for gathering subscribers. The result will be a signup form that matches your branding, directly on your Facebook page. Once you’ve added a signup form to your Facebook page, you can also create ads to promote it. You can drive traffic directly to the Tab on your page that has your signup form with a simple ad. The best part, is that you can target to whom you promote your ad. When you’re in the process of creating your ad, you have the option to customize the audience for your ad. There, you’ll see the immensely valuable option to create a Lookalike Audience. That means you’ll target your ad towards people on Facebook who are similar to your most valuable customers. Snapchat, Crackle and Make Your List Pop As Snapchat is still the relatively new kid on the block, it doesn’t hurt to take some steps to grow your audience there. Snapchat users have found many creative ways to share their snapcode: Print it out and put it on your storefront, car or anywhere! Set it as your profile picture on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media channel Put your snapcode on your business card Simply forward it to your list of contacts (in a post on how social media can boost your email marketing, let’s not forget email can promote your social media efforts as well) Now, you can turn your new and existing Snapchat followers into subscribers. This can be done with the new attachment feature on Snapchat. The way this looks from a user experience, is that your follower can swipe up on your snap. This will take them to the website you’ve chosen. Much like Facebook, you can direct them to a landing page with your signup form on it. Tailor the page to your Snapchat followers and give them good incentive to subscribe. Also like Facebook, there are unique targeting options available to you in Snapchat. Using the Our Story feature, you can target your signup form snaps to a specific audience. This feature allows you to add a snap to a local story, whether it be a location or even an event. Adding a snap in Our Story means anyone watching the story for their location or the event they’re attending or following will see your snap. Snapchat has more recently added an option to view snaps from anywhere in the world. That’s right! Now your snap you’ve sent to build your list can even go viral. Go to a highly dense snap area or look for events in your area and upload snaps to the public story with your attachment. This will bring in new subscribers to your landing page. Don’t Forget the Details No matter what methods you use to grow your list, make sure to keep your lists well organized and segmented. Try not to group all your new subscribers together in one list. You can do this with the fields in the signup forms you’re using on Facebook and Snapchat. Or you can even create separate lists for each one. That will let you send campaigns tailored to the audience on each channel. Conclusion There are many creative and interesting ways that you can incentivize your social media followers to become email subscribers. The method you choose is the first step. Getting someone to subscribe to your email list is all about the “why.” Think of an email address as a currency. You better give value for the exchange. Otherwise, why would anyone signup? How Do You Grow Your List? Have you found effective ways to use Facebook, Snapchat or any other social tool that we didn’t discuss? Share your successes in the comments! We love to hear about what others are doing. If you’re inspired to put these ideas to use, signup and get started today.


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