Tags: Email Marketing

What Should I Do If My IP Gets Blacklisted?

What Should I Do If My IP Gets Blacklisted?

Practical Marketer • January 4, 2017

Email marketing has come a long way over the past few years. Many would associate you with spammers at just the mere mention of email marketing not long ago. Email marketing’s reputation has been won in part by the impressive Return On Investment that it offers. The other part is that marketers have gotten smarter. They’ve learned best practices and put them to use. Marketers have begun to learn and accept that it’s the quality, and not the size, of your list that counts. List health is imperative to succeeding with email marketing. Aside from sending only to the individuals who want to hear from you, there are other dangers to keeping an old, outdated or inactive list. Aside from raising bounce rates from unengaged subscribers, you can suffer a much worse fate in being blacklisted. Blacklisting A blacklist is a virtual list of email senders that have been deemed and labeled as spammers. Creators of these lists are organizations that are committed to fighting spam on the internet. Organizations such as Spamhaus are widely regarded as leaders in fighting spam. Service providers also have their own blacklist, but service providers can also subscribe to Spamhaus to block even more spammers. The most common way to get onto a blacklist is by not cleaning your list, removing unsubscribes or constantly getting spam complaints. This starts a battle that is complicated to win. If you find yourself blacklisted, you are likely to receive a very strict call from your ESP requiring you to take action and resolve the issue. Steps to Follow if You’re Blacklisted You first have to find out which blacklist you are on. Spamhaus publishes a widely used list, but there are others as well. You can check which blacklist your IP address resides in, using tools such as MXtoolbox or MultiRBL. These tools will check the blacklists they support and inform you which lists that you are in. Once you have identified the list you are on, you can now request for delisting. You will need to visit the organization’s website (if they have one) and find where they take delisting requests. Sometimes the organization just ask for an IP address. Others may ask for more information such as company name and the reason for requesting. Additional information to include might be the URLs where your subscribers can opt-in and possibly even some examples of the types of emails you send. Next is nobody’s favorite: the waiting game. The organization will review your request and take actions they think is appropriate. If you have properly collected the emails in your list and are practicing proper email etiquette, you should be fine and will be delisted. If your Domain-Name or IP Address is blacklisted at any ISP, you need to send them a request them to be removed from their blacklist (de-listed). Here are the basic steps that you should follow for the whitelisting/de-listing procedure at the ISP in question: You should follow the URL links & apply for whitelisting/de-listing using their online form. And/or: You should send an email to the mentioned email address. List of ISP\'s: Comcast: Follow this URL: www.comcastsupport.com/rbl Fill out the online form & submit. Cox: Follow this URL: https://postmaster.cox.net/confluence/display/postmaster/Error+Codes On the page, search the listed error codes to match the one you received when you were blacklisted. Click the URL suggested to get to the appropriate online form. Then submit. EarthLink: Send an email to: blockedbyearthlink@abuse.earthlink.net Use the subject line <Blocked \'insert your email server\'s IP\'> (example: Blocked 255.255.255.2555) More details are given on these pages: https://earthlink.net/block http://support.earthlink.net/articles/email/email-blocked-by-earthlink.php Gmail: Read Gmail\'s Bulk Senders Guidelines here: https://www.google.com/mail/help/bulk_mail.html Then follow this URL for the Bulk Sender Contact Form: https://mail.google.com/support/bin/request.py?contact_type=bulk_send&hl=en Fill out & submit. Hotmail: Follow this URL: https://support.msn.com/eform.aspx?productKey=edfsmsbl&ct=eformts Fill out the online form & submit. AT&T/SBC Global/Bellsouth: Follow this URL: https://rbl.att.net/cgi-bin/rbl/block_admin.cgi Fill out the online form & submit. For questions related to a request, please contact them at: abuse@rbl@abuse-att.net Juno/NetZero/Bluelight (United Online): Follow this URL: https://www.unitedonline.net/postmaster/blocked.html Fill out the online form & submit. Roadrunner/Adelphia: Follow this URL: https://security.rr.com/mail_blocks.htm Follow this URL to find whether your IP is blacklisted: https://security.rr.com/cgi-bin/block-lookup USA.NET: Follow this URL to find whether your IP is blacklisted: https://postmaster.usa.net/html/error.html Verizon: Follow this URL: https://www2.verizon.net/micro/whitelist/request_form.asp?id=isp Fill out the online form & submit. Yahoo: Follow this URL: https://help.yahoo.com/l/us/yahoo/mail/postmaster/bulkv2.html Fill out the online form & submit. Mail.ru: Follow this URL for the Google page translator tool: https://translate.google.com Check \"Translate from Russian\" and \"Translate to English\" Enter this link in the form: mail.ru/notspam/ Then and hit Enter or Return. Read and follow the directions on the newly translated page. AOL.com: If you have been blacklisted, visit AOL Postmaster You will need to open a Postmaster Support Request to put yourself on AOL\'s whitelist (*The AOL whitelist is meant for permission-based bulk senders. Bear in mind that if you are on their blacklist, you may have done something to violate their technical guidelines or best practices) You can also apply for Whitelist Status immediately. List of Blacklist\'s [RBL/DNSBL]: Lashback: Follow this URL to find whether your IP is blacklisted: https://www.lashback.com/support/UBLQuery.aspx Fill out the online box and follow the links. BarracudaCentral: Follow this URL to find whether your IP is blacklisted: https://www.barracudacentral.org/lookups Then follow this URL: https://www.barracudacentral.org/rbl/removal-request Fill out the online form & submit Spamhaus: Follow this URL to find whether your IP is blacklisted: https://www.spamhaus.org/lookup.lasso Fill out the online form, submit and follow appropriate links. Surbl: Follow this URL to find whether your IP is blacklisted: https://george.surbl.org/lookup.html Fill out the online form & submit. Invaluement.com: Follow this URL to find whether your IP is blacklisted: https://dnsbl.invaluement.com/lookup/ Fill out the online form & submit. DNSBL Manitu: Follow this URL to find whether your IP is blacklisted: https://www.dnsbl.manitu.net/ Fill out the online form & submit. You can also send an email to the link provided. Uribl: Follow this URL to find whether your IP is blacklisted: https://lookup.uribl.com/ Hostkarma blacklist: https://ipadmin.junkemailfilter.com/remove.php Fill out the online form & submit. Spamcop: For network and server administers: https://www.spamcop.net/fom-serve/cache/298.html For bounce message recipients and end-users: https://www.spamcop.net/fom-serve/cache/405.html Blacklist IP look-up: https://www.spamcop.net/bl.shtml It’s Better to Avoid Being Blacklisted There are things that can prevent a nightmare and possibly days without email. Keep your list(s) clean, honor unsubscribe requests and use double opt-in. You can even use list verification to help weed out the bad our outdated addresses in your list(s). It’s best to find a list hygiene routine that makes sense for you. It could be once per quarter, monthly or even before every campaign you send. Pay close attention to who is and who isn’t opening your email addresses. Remove the ones who consistently do not. This will help to keep you from hitting spam traps or other missteps that will land you on a blacklist.


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Get Intimate: New Year’s Resolutions That Spark Connections

Get Intimate: New Year’s Resolutions That Spark Connections

Beyond • January 3, 2017

Now that the holiday season is over, it’s time for marketers to look forward to the year ahead. Last year we threw out a game plan for how to approach your year-long marketing campaign. This year, we’re going to try something different; we’re going to look at how you can think differently about email marketing campaigns this year. Get Real: Create a Video Connection One of the hottest social media trends of 2016 has been video. This time last year, Forbes predicted visual marketing would be one of the hottest upcoming trends - and they were right. This year alone we saw Instagram bring on the ability to host videos, and Facebook Live became a social media favorite. Add to it Twitter. One of the biggest attractions on Twitter was the ability to view video clips directly on the platform. While that was a feature Twitter already hosted going into 2016, the social media giant realized that Twitter-hosted video views were up by 50%. That in part prompted the company to extend video playtime from 30 second clips to 140 seconds. So what’s the market for videos moving forward? Analysts forecast that by 2019, an estimated 80% of all internet traffic will be videos. According to Forbes, that’s growth rate that’s up by 64% from 2014. All this really begs the question: how do you implement all this in your email marketing campaign? The reason that video works so well is because it is the most real version of you that your audience is going to get. It’s the closest you can get to tangible in a remote space. Video email is a sensory filled experience, sight and sounds that allow your users to construct a full picture rather than pieces of a picture through just images and text. How you can take advantage of it is by directly uploading video into your email campaigns through Benchmark’s video-friendly back-end email campaign dashboard. You can also link to the social media URL, including Twitter or Facetime. If you’re opting for the latter, remember that two steps tend to be more challenging to get your audience to commit to. People prefer instant access and if you can’t give them that then offer the incentive to click. Why should they click on the Facebook Live video, or what was the big deal about your Twitter clip? The answer could be anything from a reveal to the type of dialogue that share triggered. Go Back for Seconds: Tap into Unopened Emails There’s a saying that it’s always easier to keep a client than attract a new one. The same principle applies to your subscriber list. For every campaign, there’s a percentage of subscribers who fall into the “unopened” category. This means they haven’t clicked on your email campaign, which also means they probably didn’t even see it or they have glossed over it during a quick inbox scan. That glossing over isn’t a slight against you or your brand. It’s a simple numbers game. There are about 109 billion emails and about over 100 emails per day per person. If we study our own pattern of behavior we know this isn’t too far fetched. First, we may intend to look over an email when we have a free moment later. And yet, that moment never comes as we get distracted with other high priorities. Second - and this is important - we tend to give priority to direct emails rather than those we know are campaigns (especially if you’re using Gmail email filters). This is where you come in as a marketer. First, do the legwork and start with a bimonthly or monthly approach depending on how often you send out campaigns. See who tends to not click emails or which ones they’ve missed. Benchmark’s Targeted Emailing feature does with just a few clicks this and so does Automation Pro automates this process as well … not to mention this can be accomplished with the data from the Reports provided by most ESPs. Next, send out a personalized email to that individual letting them know you’re interested in connecting with them the info they might need. Instead of linking back to the campaign, link to the landing pages you were using emails to drive traffic to. Instantly, your email to a subscriber is far more personal and reconnects the subscriber with the brand through a human element. In other words, a direct person-to-person connection.


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Mischief and Whimsy: Strategies To Throw Caution To The Wind

Mischief and Whimsy: Strategies To Throw Caution To The Wind

Beyond • December 28, 2016

The holiday season is a marketing playground. It’s the time of year where people are feeling more relaxed, which makes it the perfect time of year to be a little playful and mischievous in your marketing. Perhaps you’ve already tried a few new tricks this holiday season, or maybe you’re looking to learn from others examples for next year. Either way, here’s a look at the why and how you can effectively add emojis into your email marketing efforts during the holidays and beyond. Emojis Are Communication Imps Ask professionals what they hate most in an email and some might say it’s a “smiley face.”  When pressed on why they’ll usually respond that :) or =) are unprofessional in the workplace. While it might be a tabooed practice for some, the fact is that the expression of emotion does soften communication. It makes it more human. Smiley faces eventually gave way to emojis, and now we have more expressive emoji varieties along with ones for objects or even trends. The jury was still out on emojis and their place in the workplace - or even in personal conversations. Some users would fill text messages and social media posts with emojis, others would rely on it primarily as a mode of communication after finding it was just more time efficient to throw out a bunch of pictures messages. That idea, that we’re communicating with picture messages, is one of the key features that humanized and popularized emojis. Just like we were getting back into the art of storytelling and narratives to define ourselves - in keeping with ancient and rich oral traditions whose value we once again recognized - we’re not getting back to the simplest form of communication: pictures. It’s also more than that. There’s an element of mischievousness in emojis that otherwise has largely been lacking from our more perfected forms of communication. There an undeniable element of playfulness in the emoji choices, especially in how just a couple of pictures paired together can take a story and emit a feeling that words alone can’t capture. For the emoji-averse, there’s another development. The newest adaptation of email marketing is to elevate the use of emoticons beyond conversation and use it in subject lines as a way to be more engaging and piggy-back off of the personalized effect emoticons offer. Using emoticons does another thing: it catches the eye. By catching reader attention you’ve just upped the chances that they’re going to pay more attention to your email campaigns. Cos Play Your Subject Line There’s the saying that familiarity breeds contempt. The same can hold true for your email subscribers. They might not feel contempt exactly, but they are most certainly very bored. Seeing the same message from the same person, week after week, especially when nothing else has really changed, are, to be honest, quite boring. So how do you change it up? Take inspiration from the holidays. You could change up the sender to various Christmas characters, from Santa to Mrs. Claus or even the Grinch. Visualize your subscribers\' inbox and their pleasantly surprised reaction when they see an email from Santa’s Helpers with stocking stuffer ideas for your friends and family, with a little emoji of a stocking at the start of a subject line. An email from Mrs. Claus could talk about holiday hosting and even the Grinch can get on it with financial advice to get the cheapest gifts without looking cheap. Playful marketing is all about throwing the caution to the wind. Whatever typical reservations you have, put them aside for a month and experiment with a new way to do something. Competition in the email inbox is fierce. Your customers are loyal, but sometimes it takes trying a new approach to grab their attention. Remember that it’s about more than just you and your campaigns. Subscriber inboxes are filled with compelling and competing offers, which means that you’ve really got to find a way to shine a bigger spotlight on yourself. Emojis and changing up the sender name are two creative and highly playful ways to do just that. Think of it is getting past an important hurdle. As much as you might be averse to emojis or playful marketing, your serious marketing efforts don’t mean much if you can’t get past the hurdle of just getting email subscribers to click open your campaign. When you consider that Millennials are the largest growing demographic with a disposable income, you’re going to want to start communicating in their language. That language doesn’t take itself too seriously, has fun, and freely uses emoticons.


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Here Are The New Tools & Features We Brought To You in 2016

Here Are The New Tools & Features We Brought To You in 2016

Beyond • December 19, 2016

It has been a very busy year for all of us here at Benchmark (and we’re sure for you as well). Sometimes, we need to reflect back on all that we’ve done, to see how far we’ve come. So that’s just what we’ll do. Benchmark Email Officially Available in France: Now your email marketing needs can be treated the same way as your fries and toast. Code Editor Improvements: Auto-Saving & Live Preview: Now, if you headbang while listening to metal as you code, you’re not at risk of losing any work when you rock into the computer a little too hard and it shuts down. Plus you can see your work as you go. New Template Integrations for Etsy, Pinterest, LinkedIn, eBay, Twitter and Facebook Events: Easily integrate the marketing and sales efforts you’re already undertaking on other platforms with your email marketing. These templates integrations will pull in your data and let you increase the reach of your engagement efforts. New Integrations for Wufoo, CRM and eCommerce: Automatically import data from your forms, CRM and eCommerce stores with these integrations. That leaves you so much more time to learn French and then use the Benchmark site in that language to practice! New Automations: You can now create a more personalized feel for your subscribers with automations based on engagement. Send automated follow-ups based on if they open emails or click on specific links. Popup Signup Forms: Now, you can connect with a potential subscriber at the exact moment they would be most likely to sign up. Use our new simple and highly customizable signup form editor and watch your list grow. Automation Pro: It’s finally here! Automation Pro is our most powerful tool to date. Use a digital canvas to create automated customer journeys with ease. Automatically send follow-ups based on engagement, move subscribers from one list to another and more.


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Year in Review: Most Important Email Marketing Developments in 2016

Year in Review: Most Important Email Marketing Developments in 2016

Beyond • December 19, 2016

This year has been a major year for email marketers. It’s been a year that’s seen email marketing platforms both grow and simply at the same time. On the one hand, we have more dynamic ways to be marketers, and at the same time, we don’t need as many cooks in the kitchen to create something that will be impactful and impressive. We\'ve already told you about the Gmail CSS update that will make your email campaigns more interactive. Here are two more changes that have changed the email marketing landscape. It’s also the two things you can work on this month to kick off 2017 in full force. Development #1: Forget “Dear Everyone” Why It’s Important: Several times through the years we’ve suggested ditching the mass emails once in a while and favor personalization. In fact, last year I talked about the benefit of targeted email lists, offering four key steps to get through this process. And years prior, I recommended creating a customer profile to help with what later lead to segmentation. Yet some marketers are now suggesting to completely ditch the mass email campaigns for no other reason than that it does not capture the heart-led business focused on the individual. There’s now a new term for this: hyper-personalization. On the need for personalization, Business 2 Community’s Keval Padia writes, “Email recipients are now interested in messages that are addressed to personal taste, preference and focus areas rather than just their first name.\" The reason being for this is greater interaction. When you’re able to customize, you’re able to better connect with a recipient. Padia adds, “Emails that drive user interaction already garner higher engagement from the user. By ensuring user interactivity within the email marketers can ensure much higher click through rate, traffic for the corresponding website and business conversion.” How It’s Applied: So how do you do this? You start by looking at both ends of the telescope so to speak. Take advantage of the fact that it’s the end of the year. Look at all the past campaigns you’ve had this year and start charting them - their audience, their themes, etc. Here you get an idea of where you fall heavier in types of campaigns and themes. Next look at your subscriber list and run that subscriber profile if you haven’t already done so. I guarantee you this is what your competitors are doing. Ask yourself where your subscribers are based; what’s their gender, their lifestyle, work sectors, their interests? If you have time, run a deeper analysis if possible on where they engaged. You’ll start seeing intersection points that might not have been visible to you before. And at the very least, you start seeing which email campaigns could have been personalized to whom. And even if you have mass emails you still need to send out, you can send these out based on nothing more than time zones, ensuring these campaigns arrive when at an opportune time for the reader. Industry insiders are forecasting that within the next five years, personalization will be the industry standard. When asked, “What do you think the single biggest to change to email marketing will be, when looking ahead 5 years,” an Econsultancy survey showed that 76% of survey takers saw hyper-personalization as a key attribute moving forward through the next years, while 74% of them still saw email as relevant. For marketers, this means strengthening your email game in 2017 and weaving personalization now to retain and grow a subscriber base. Development #2: Email Marketers Also Want Hyper-Personalization Why It’s Important: Hyper-personalization isn’t just limited to subscribers. Clients using email marketing software and platforms are expecting the same of the tools they use. Marketing automation has evolved from the drag-and-drop design that’s now a common feature of most platforms and is looking for something more advanced. 2016 is the year marketers started realizing this demand, which allowed them to be more personalized. But they also grew aware that this is an incredible chore to keep track of. They’re now turning their heads looking for something to help with that. The marketing user who understands email is about more than just the one-off campaign, knows they’re going to need something that can be a guide in a cycle of communication. We talked about it before here with drip campaigns or automated campaigns triggered by new subscribers or a cart initiation that wasn’t completed with a checkout. In the past, these automations have required human intel to track and follow. It hasn’t been automated until now. How It’s Applied: Few email marketing platforms have stepped up their game. Benchmark is one of them, developing an automation system in 2016. Called Automation Pro, it’s currently in it’s Beta period. Think of Automation Pro as turning your clunky email marketing platform into a Transformer that can automate and change shape without you manually needing to dig in and re-align parts to turn your email platform into a new form temporarily capable of something else. For example, if you had to send out a welcome campaign to a new subscriber, send out a campaign for a special date or reminder, you would need to dig into the back end and manually create and send those campaigns out. Automation Pro - a responsive plan that understands the biggest industry changes of 2016 - does that for you. Most significantly, Automation Pro also anticipates where marketers are heading in 2017. The plan features a responsive “Engagement Automation” that automatically sends an email when a subscriber opens an email, clicks on any (or specific) link. Learn all about Automation Pro.


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Your End-of-Year Re-Engagement Campaign: Why Now is the Best Time

Your End-of-Year Re-Engagement Campaign: Why Now is the Best Time

Beyond • December 12, 2016

Contrary to popular opinion, the best end-of-year marketing strategy isn’t the summary holiday campaign highlighting your great brand or year-long triumphs. In fact, the best end of year campaign is a two-fold campaign. First, do that - run your triumphant victory lap congratulating yourself, wishing people a merry holiday season, and reminding them why you’re fabulous. And two, run a re-engagement campaign. Arguably, the latter is tougher than the former. Everyone how to do the first. Most of you are probably scratching your heads at the second, and understandably so. The first question that pops to mind is “why.” Why would you run any serious campaign during the time of the year most people are totally checked out? Let’s take a step back and see where you are in the grand scheme of your yearly marketing calendar action items. Here it is: you’re done. You’ve at the tail end of your yearly marketing campaign. At this point, you’ve got a couple of philanthropic campaigns to send out and the annual newsletter or holiday greeting. That’s it. This isn’t hard and most of it should have probably already been sorted out. At this point, it’s in the pile of outgoing campaigns with very little planning left. Tis The Season … To Escape Long Lines And Wait Times With Your Phone. You might still be resisting, thinking, “but most people are checked out for the year. Why bother now.” This is true, most people are checked out for the rest of the year. Here’s what they’re doing: they’re stuck in long lines for last minute Christmas shopping, they’re stuck at holiday parties, family gatherings, long drives or flights for getaways or obligatory family time. I think you’re starting to get the idea… This means they’re on their smartphones with the time and availability to glance at something or engage in a way that might not have been possible before with more demands on their time in even the micro-moments of our lives. The truth is, you’re probably in the same situation as your audience. You’re probably doing the same thing - in lines, stuck en route. This is the time to be sending out re-engagement campaigns with a mobile-friendly email marketing platform. If you’re using Benchmark Email, you can do all of that that through Benchmark’s mobile app. Things Often Just Get Glanced Over, Because That’s Life. To re-engage, look at which campaigns and strategies didn’t work in the past. Which campaigns didn’t get opened or clicked on? Try re-sending those individual to subscribers with a possible personalized note if you can. If you’ve got a long list of subscribers, try segmenting that into tiers of how to re-engage with first. It might seem tedious, but the one-off personalized reach out is going to work a lot more wonder than a generic re-send. Sometimes You’ve Got To Say It Again ... In A Way That’s Going To Matter More. And another way to re-engage is to look at the same list of failed engagement and assess the way the material was presented. Was there a really important campaign that you’d love a segment of subscribers to read and react too...but they just didn’t? It’s probably not what you said but how you said it. Try changing the subject line around, or repositioning the data to humanize the information. In most cases, there’s just too much info and not enough call to action. For something to be impactful and actionable, keep it simple: tell people what it is and tell them why they should care. Make People Feel Important. It Always Works. If you’re hitting the wall with re-engagement efforts, the solution is to make people feel important. Tell them you’d like to include their review, their opinion, or get a quote as part of a new advertising angle or content piece. The idea is to include them in some way that makes them feel heard and recognized. It also gives them a direct action item they can quickly partake in. In other words, simple tasks work best especially when they’re paired with rewards. Now, of course, this only works if you’ve invested time and imagination into building a brand that your audience will recognize as a platform or industry leader. The overarching idea is to take advantage of the pockets of time left in the year to dust up any lingering campaigns and get them off the shelf and into the send shoot. You want to start of 2017 with a clear plate and this allows you to do just that. It also keeps people looped in through the holidays so you’re not working twice as hard roping everyone back in after the New Year.


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Email Campaigns: How to Run a Post-Transaction Follow-up

Email Campaigns: How to Run a Post-Transaction Follow-up

Beyond • December 12, 2016

It’s a pretty glorious moment when a prospective consumer officially crosses the threshold and becomes a customer. Once you’re done celebrating the moment, let’s think “next step.” When you’ve gotten someone to trust you enough to give your product and brand a try, the next step is getting them to “rinse and repeat,” in other words – to do it again. There are three ways of looking at this. (1) You can either have the end goal of securing just another transaction; (2) you can try and get this person to rely on you for their products in the future on a steady drip pattern or (3) you can have this person trust you as a brand for their needs. The Holy Grail of marketing is always, always option number three. The first option is for amateurs or the snake-oil salesmen mentality that is only looking to push the sale versus build a trust. Option number two is similar, again focused on the sale but this time in a pattern formation. Option 2 is how a more talented salesman thinks. Option three is the humanist approach to full-spectrum marketing. It considers both the needs of the company and the needs of the consumer. It looks to build a relationship. The big picture view of a post-transaction moment is going to look at all opportunities to relationship build that will be in the interest of that consumer, other consumers, and of the company itself. This starts with asking for a review once the product has been purchased, received and used within a reasonable time. For how this is done in a humanistic way, look at Etsy where vendors send out personal notes ensuring the customer is happy. They don’t directly ask for a review but they do provide the link for a review or include a little line at the end of the email suggesting (not asking or expecting) the review. There’s another thing Etsy users do that has allowed some one-time sellers become big brands: they anticipate your needs. Amazon is a pro at this when it comes to regularly used items. It lets consumers set something like a household consumable to an auto-purchase cycle to arrive regularly. This is where our idea of lean comes in. Lean doesn’t just mean what’s easier for you – what shaves off time for you. Lean is also about making your customers’ lives a little bit easier. What’s one less thing they have to think about? Best Buy, a retail giant for tech and appliances and other home and office goods, goes a step further and tells you what else you’d want to buy in addition to what you’ve just purchased. Not only do consumers like this – especially if it’s positioned as what else people bought who’ve made the same purchase as the consumer – but it helps trigger a repeat transaction. The goal with any post-transaction follow up is that you want to explore all options to be present in the consumer’s mind. From a business perspective, it’s much easier to get someone to repeat a transaction than it is to try and attract a brand new customer. So from that perspective, the entire idea of post-transaction marketing is a lean pathway to keep a sales cycle going.


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What To Do If You’re Not Seeing Clicks In Your Emails

What To Do If You’re Not Seeing Clicks In Your Emails

Beyond • December 7, 2016

The Holy Grail of marketing is analytics. Most email marketing campaigns are click bait designed to get the reader to click a link and be directed to a page. But what do you do if you’re not seeing click-throughs in the reports for email campaigns? The answers are surprisingly simple. The Numbered List People don’t have the time we expect of them, so the easier you make it for them the more likely they are to read what you have to say. No matter what industry you’re in, numbered list content is almost impossible to deny. You’ve definitely seen numerical posts before: “5 Ways to Cultivate Swag,” or “10 Ways to Finish Summer With a Bang.\" If you’re going this route, then do two things. First, use an image with every number. Second, make each number point is in bold especially if you plan on adding copy below the numerical. This allows readers to scan the content reading just the headings and looking at the pictures to get the idea. (Lean is about your reader just as much as it is about us. Make it easy for them to quickly get through your content). Double-Backing Sometimes, it’s not just about the links in the email. There’s another problem with click-throughs and it’s that a reader can’t click through if they haven’t even opened the email. There could by any number of reasons why a reader didn’t click open. In most cases, especially if they have Gmail, it could just be that your email got lost in a pile of others. If that’s the case, resend it. In fact, resend all email campaigns that weren’t opened. If you’re finding that still didn’t work, it might be worth it to run an a/b test on the resend and just change something like the subject line for half of them. You can also try changing the times the campaigns are sent. The rule here is: don’t give up. Just keep trying and changing up how you deliver that campaigns. Playing with Delivery Times Pinging off the last point, delivery times has a huge role to play with click open and click-through rates. There’s no magic equation here. You need to look at your list of subscribers and maybe gather some necessary data. Ask yourself what you’re trying to accomplish. Are you trying to educate, sell, or stimulate engagement? Each one requires the individual to have a certain amount of time and ability to act. For example, if you want people to make a purchase, then sending out a morning campaign probably isn’t the best time. That’s when they’re just getting into office and starting their day. For women, lunch time is popular for e-commerce sales. For moms and students, late afternoon tends to be more popular. You can also get an idea of sales patterns by looking at a history of purchasers and seeing what times tend to produce the highest sales versus the lowest. If you have enough consumer data, you can work backwards to see which type of consumers made purchases within select time-frames.


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How to Avoid Email Marketing Monotony

How to Avoid Email Marketing Monotony

Beyond • December 5, 2016

Even the best marketing departments face a common obstacle: burn out. It can become challenging at times to find inspiration for that next email marketing campaign. Yet, despite what we may think, burn out isn’t some sudden onset of inspiration failure. Burn out is a slow process that comes from more than just overworking yourself or failing to project plan. It also comes from monotony. The truth is, there’s only so much room for creativity in the day to day marketing. The bulk of marketing is about running a well-oiled machine. Things are a process and you’re jumping from client to client, project to project. This is where the monotony sets in. We don’t have the advantage of leisurely dreaming up creating concepts for campaigns – whether they’re our clients or our own. But there are some things you can do. Create a Roulette Create a list of things you can go down to rotate topics. For example, not every email campaign needs to be about the same two or three things. Instead, break it down so you can really dig deep and focus on one or two things per campaign. The goal of email marketing campaigns is to ultimately rally your audience around a certain sale, promotion or landing page. The more you stuff your email campaign, the more diluted the action will be. So instead of cramming, focus. You can opt for various choices including doing a profile, a feature, a review, a success story, a look behind-the-scenes, or more. Look at your business and your audience and see which of these best fits with what you’re offering. Now that you have a list, you can rotate topics which allow you to focus your efforts. The next time you’re creating a campaign, you won’t be spreading yourself thin thinking of ideas. Instead, you’ll know the theme is “x” or “y” and you can then channel your focus to find a fitting topic within that theme. This is also a lean strategy because a bulk of any meeting or strategy session gets wasted in the “what.” In other words, “what are we doing” or “what are we going to talk about.” Having a topic roulette is a great way to get on to the business of creating, instead of investing too much time in the business of planning. Develop a Series This is a particularly excellent idea if you have to job of creating multiple individual campaigns or creating a complex campaign that covers 4 or more topic per campaign. How you develop your series is really up to you. The series can follow one customer, one product, one campaign or one team member through the entire month, quarter or year. A series is great because it’s part of the roulette idea, and it gives you something you can automatically fill in each month. The challenge is keeping in mind the end goal. Here it’s unlikely to be in regard to a sale and more about a brand narrative. Even breaking a monotony from a process is ultimately about a process. You’re setting up a process that creates a smaller pocket, for a finite pool of creative thought that allows you to really focus your energy. Instead of reaching into the air for a creative idea each month, you’ve got a more focused approach to liven up your email marketing campaigns. My favorite way to break out of monotony is to always stay well-read in the industry and think about how we can connect the dots. It’s an idea that Einstein came up with: you don’t need to reinvent the wheel but that genius is really about pairing ideas in a new way.


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How To Use SMM To Boost Email Subscription

How To Use SMM To Boost Email Subscription

Beyond • November 30, 2016

Business activity almost seems to come to a halt during the holidays. It noticeably starts around the holidays and continues through New Year’s Day. But this is also a prime time for using behavior patterns to your advantage by using social media marketing to boost email subscriptions. Think about it. What are you doing when you’re stuck in line at the mall while shopping for holiday gifts? You’re on your phone. What are you doing when you’re stuck in a car full of family headed on a long drive to visit family? You’re on your phone. And what are you doing once there? You escape the only real way you can...by being on your phone. With that in mind, one of your goals during this peak phone season is to gear your marketing toward boosting email subscription rates. Here’s how you can do that. You already know to create portals on social channels to your sign-up page. There should be a link on Twitter and a button on your Facebook. That’s lovely but that’s also like sticking a baitless hook in the ocean and hoping some fishes crashes into it. It doesn’t quite work. Instead of you want to look at the direction the fish are swimming in and cast a wide net. In reality, that means you appeal to people’s interest and you go to where they are. The standard practice is to create a white paper that appeals to your demographic’s interest and link to that landing page via social email. That landing page leads to a sign-up form with a promise of a product once they’ve signed up. The problem is no one is going to read your white paper during the holidays. They’re already bored by being in line, in the car, and stuck at the far corners of the earth at Aunt Martha’s home pretending they love their hideous presents. Entertain them. Turn your white paper into some top ten list, a video, a visual chart - something that captures their curiosity. Be funny. Be entertaining. And they will sign up. Use that same method to create content that is crafty and visually appealing. And use social media during the holidays to be a platform for entertainment and relevant news or product info as needed. People will be on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to be amused and entertained. This means content that meets this mark gets clicked on. Once on your website, they need to be directed to email beyond just a tab at top or bottom of the page and the obligatory pop-up. You should have 3 to 4 different styles of graphics that blend in with your content scheme, which then leads to newsletter signup forms. These are calls to actions that weave in with your narrative versus the jarring candy bars that seem almost spammy. And that’s really how to see social media especially during the holiday season; social media is the ocean and your smartly designed content and is the net.


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