Tags: email newsletters

20 New Professional Email Templates from Benchmark Email!

20 New Professional Email Templates from Benchmark Email!

Beyond • December 13, 2011

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

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Download Today! Online Marketing Manual for the Holidays

Beyond • November 1, 2011

We are international. (Benchmark, that is, being an encompassing brand carried from our headquarters here in Southern California to Germany, Portugal, Spain, Mexico, Latin America, Taiwan, India, Italy and Japan.) And, if you\'re a Benchmark customer, chances are you\'re international, too, or at least have a few clients who are. And there are a lot of holidays to account for. Here in the U.S. the biggest holiday is typically Christmas, but there are many religious (and even secular) celebrations that come near the end of the year: Kwanzaa, Bodhi Day, Pancha Ganapati, Hanukkah and, in some years, Eid ul-Adha among them. But no matter where you hail from or what you believe, the internet is spectacularly egalitarian. So whether you plan on email marketing or pulling out all the stops and engaging your customers with cross-promotional PPC, social and ad campaigns, Benchmark Email has a manual for you. Benchmark\'s Holiday Online Marketing Guide: 2011 Edition covers every aspect of this season\'s marketing opportunities: creating dynamic email newsletters, scheduling around Cyber Monday and Black Friday, shipping payment options, promoting with social media, creating PPC campaigns and the pros and cons of daily deals. So download the free PDF today or read it directly from our site. And from our international community to yours, we wish you Happy Holidays!

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Customize a Tasty Email Template: July Is National Hot Dog Month

Beyond • October 29, 2011

July is National Hot Dog Month. It makes perfect sense. July is the peak of summer. You can’t walk through any neighborhood without the smell of a backyard BBQ wafting through the air. What doesn’t make sense is how people can put ketchup on a hot dog. That is blasphemy, people! And while I do enjoy both bacon and hot dogs, sorry LA, but bacon wrapped hot dogs are not my jam. Without further adieu, the recipe for an authentic Chicago dog (i.e. the only way a hot dog should ever be prepared): Steamed kosher-style, all-beef hotdog Poppy seed bun (it won’t taste the same on a regular bun or even sesame seed) Yellow mustard (nothing too fancy) Chopped white onion Sweet pick relish (if it’s not radioactive green, it’s not the real deal) Dill pickle spear Tomato slices Celery salt Sport peppers Now that you know how to make a hot dog the right way, you can celebrate National Hot Dog Month with your subscribers. Customize a Benchmark email template for National Hot Dog Month. Share this recipe with them, and spread the word on the way a hot dog was meant to be eaten. Besides, the hot dog subject lines practically write themselves.

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Celebrate Flag Day on June 14 with a Custom Email Template

Beyond • June 7, 2011

If you have never attended a Chicago Blackhawks game at the United Center, I highly suggest you do so. Not just because I love the Blackhawks and think that everyone else should too (although that is one reason). It’s to see the National Anthem being sung by Jim Cornelison. Unlike every other time the Anthem is sung and you can hear a pin drop, it is a raucous occasion at the good ol’ UC. Opposing teams often tell their friends and family in attendance to make sure they’re at the game in time for the Anthem. It is while Cornelison belts out our country’s National Anthem and raises his hand towards the flag as he sings “and our flag was still there” that I can feel the pride for our country coursing through me. Flag Day, celebrated June 14, honors the adoption of our flag. I think that Jim Cornelison should sing the National Anthem on a national broadcast. Every person, whether at home, work or in the car should stop what they’re doing and cheer for the Anthem. Sorry productivity at work, we’re gonna take a moment to celebrate our country’s flag. So maybe that won’t happen. You can honor Flag Day in your own way. Use a Benchmark Flag Day email template, and celebrate the occasion with your subscribers. Perhaps you have your own story or connection to the flag. Your subscribers probably will too. Tell them your story and ask your subscribers to share theirs. You can even move the conversation over to one of your social networking channels. Maybe even have a prize for the best or most unique story. Regardless of what you do, enjoy Flag Day as a day to honor one of the biggest symbols of our country.

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Wooing Back Your Bar & Nightclub’s Email-Disengaged Patrons

Beyond • June 6, 2011

There are innumerable reasons as to why a subscriber decides to disengage from your bar or nightclub marketing. These could include an experience that they term disappointing with your offering, your location or your staff; or the passing of their requirement for your venue, perhaps just for a one time only party or other meeting opportunity. Comprehending your bar and nightclub customer’s lifecycle will assist you in properly developing, re-developing or applying a re-engagement process that will result in more successful engagement with your patrons. Comprehend the Reasons for Disengagement In order to identify and define your subscribers’ disengagement you need to delve deep into a profound understanding of how your bar or nightclub interacts with your patrons and how they interact with you. Prior to crafting a re-engagement message to these customers it is recommended that you comprehend the reasons why they have stopped engaging in the first place. To ensure that you conduct an accurate analysis, make sure that you consider all of the various subscriber lifecycle implications as you proceed. It is necessary to realize at the outset that there are some customers who simply won’t be back no matter which reengagement strategies you pursue. These customers may simply have run their course with your venue, discovered that one of your competitors offers them an experience more to their liking, or may even have had their shoulder dislocated by your bouncer. These are the customers to whom you must bid a hearty farewell and move on. Fortunately, most disengaging subscribers are not quite so disaffected and antagonized and fall into one of these three types of somewhat recoverable inactive statuses: Conversion Inactive The subscribers who were once converting and interacting with your email marketing newsletter at a median rate and are now no longer converting are entitled Conversion Inactive. Their open rates are still steady but their reaction to your call to action has gone dormant. This category is the traditionally most highly targeted by bar and nightclub email marketers as it represents patrons who were once active participants and frequenters but have now dropped out of sight. The fact that they are still opening your emails, however, indicates that they are still in the market for something that your venue might provide - just not whatever it is you’re marketing to them right now. Switching up your offers to propose a completely different form of incentive could help you win them back. Email Inactive The subscribers who were once opening your emails but now simply ignore them are called Email Inactive. There are various guidelines as to what constitutes an Email Inactive but it is primarily defined by way of the frequency of your email newsletters. If you are sending out a monthly newsletter and have not had an open in a full year, it’s time to pull the plug. For weekly newsletters, four to six months generally indicates inactivity bordering on rigor mortis. Since these customers are simply not opening your emails, it’s next to impossible to offer them any incentive through conventional means. If you collected their phone number and address during the signup process, you could try approaching them with a motivating incentive once and once only in one of those ways. Lifestyle Inactive The subscribers who were patrons of your bar or nightclub due to specific conditions in their lives, such as attending college; being involved with a particular after-work group; or trying to find a relationship; but have now drifted away are categorized as Lifestyle Inactive. It may be very difficult to re-engage these specific customers for various obvious reasons: If they were frequenting your singles bar their current partner may not be too amenable to their return to your venue. In the expectation (or hope) that there is still some way to win these patrons back, innovative forms of incentivization such as invitations to elite VIP events may be effective. It is a fact of business life that there will be some customer attrition, but reacting to the churning as it occurs can help to keep your subscription list strong and healthy!

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Patterning Your Restaurant Email Marketing after the Food Network

Beyond • May 26, 2011

From meager beginnings as a newspaper and minor network seen in a handful of American markets in 1993 to a global presence that encompasses subsidiary networks in Canada, the UK and Asia, the Food Network has played a major role in triggering the Foodie Revolution. Their shrewd marketing prowess is legend, and some of their techniques can be successfully applied to your restaurant’s email marketing. Solicit Recipes to Choose Your Own Dining Star The Next Food Network Star competition has produced such luminary superstar chefs as Guy Fieri, the spiky-haired juggernaut that has joined the ranks of top Food Network stars such as Rachael Ray, Bobby Flay and Mario Batali in making the jump to national broadcast networks. Unfortunately, Next Food Network Star castoffs such as Adam Gertler proved they can’t cook, so they’re given a show where they just wander around and talk about food. It can be argued that Tom Pizzica can’t cook or even talk about food, so why he has a show at all remains a question mark. Any way you slice it, foodies love to immerse themselves in the food scene, so why not invite your email newsletter subscribers to participate in your own version of Next Food Network Star by contributing recipes, with the winner getting a free dinner for four when their recipe is featured as next week’s special? Engaging your patrons via active participation will help your customers build a connection with your venue and accept dining there as a desirable habit. Bring in a Temp Star Chef Many faithful viewers of Iron Chef America were shocked when they tuned into an episode where Alton Brown took over The Chairman’s tasks since Mark Dacascos was busy high stepping the night away on Dancing with the Stars. Your star head chef may have to be AWOL on some occasions, so instead of temporarily promoting a sous chef and hoping none of your diners notice, why not invite a well-known local chef to pinch hit? Your diners may be thrilled to read in your email newsletter that they can experience a different star chef’s take on your fabulous recipes! Try a Little Good Eats Science Alton Brown of course is justly famous for his Good Eats series where he takes light hearted forays into the chemical constitution of a roux or analyzes the precise technique required to keep calamari from turning into rubber bands. Your diners may appreciate a little science with their email newsletters, perhaps focusing on your chef’s applications of molecular gastronomy or explaining why some garlic containing recipes change color to blue or pink due to the release of an enzyme that forms the colored pigments. Counter Bad Publicity with Apology & Evidence Surviving bad publicity can be the most challenging obstacle any restaurant can overcome. When Ina Garten informed a sick child from the Make A Wish Foundation she didn’t have the time to cook with him and was roundly slammed by critics, she quickly changed her mind and extended the offer. Similarly, when Marc Forgione was called out by a food critic for loudly humiliating his kitchen staff in the middle of service right after becoming the newest Iron Chef, a little contrition went a long way. If your restaurant has gotten slammed due to customer service, food quality or cleanliness issues, the best process is to immediately make clear and well publicized changes promoted in your email newsletters. Sometimes the bad publicity can be nothing more than a rumor, such as the recent fake story doing the rounds that Paula Deen had committed suicide. If your restaurant is falsely accused of serving long-dead lobsters or having rat droppings in corners, the best thing you can do is to include photos of your thriving and active crustaceans waltzing around your tank and close up images of your impeccably clean kitchen areas in your email newsletters. Special event programs on the Food Network can outdraw the major broadcast networks in the ratings game. Any marketing method that achieves that sort of success is certainly worth emulating in your restaurant’s email campaigns!

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6 Email Topics for Your Printing Business Newsletter

Beyond • May 11, 2011

A target market requires email newsletters that provide a specific type of content. Otherwise, marketers will inevitably lose the interest of their subscribers. When the market concerns the business of printing and shipping, the biggest challenge is in the wide spectrum of interests associated with those activities. While email marketing may seem as though it is at cross-purposes with the printing industry, email can actually be used to bolster the business for whom printing is the necessary medium. Below are six topics a printing and shipping business could use in their newsletter to promote their business and integrate with email. 1. Stories on How to Pack Items for Shipping (China, Electronics, Etc.) What is obvious to you and your coworkers may not be so obvious to the customers. Remember that one of the elemental reasons for sending out newsletters is to establish the reputation of your business as the expert in the field. Include stories in your newsletter that cover a wide spectrum of topics related to your business and the services it provides. An example of this might be instructions on how to pack items for shipping. Most people are not familiar with the specifics on how to properly ship items abroad or how to properly package electronics. Consistently provide helpful stories on tips for shipping various items to cover an array of inquiries your customers may have. 2. Stories on Business Card Trends As trends change, business cards are constantly evolving, but most people do not have the time to keep up on such details. Once again, your company can establish itself as the expert in this field by simply reporting on trends you observe as a supplier. Let your newsletter subscribers in on some tricks of the trade. If a certain color scheme or alternative shape is in high demand, report it on your newsletter and inform your subscribers on how best to keep up with the emerging trends. 3. Info on Green Materials You Use (Paper, Packing Material, Boxes) Going “green” has progressed beyond mere trendiness. People acknowledge the importance of utilizing recyclable or eco-friendly materials and base their investment decisions on such factors. Inform subscribers of any new materials your business may be using or expand on the importance of the green materials your business already puts to use. 4. Intro and Info on a Trusted Vendor Create a segment in your newsletter that introduces and provides information about a trusted vendor. This information should reflect the time and experiences your business has accumulated throughout its existence. Not only is it vital for the recommended vendor to be trustworthy, remember that any experiences, good or bad, that your clients have with that vendor will also be associated with your business. 5. Industry News (Set Up RSS Feeds) Many of your newsletter subscribers may be in the same industry or have shared interests. Supplement the newsletter with RSS feeds or industry news that your clients and colleagues will both appreciate. 6. Focus on Specific Services for Specific Businesses The most loyal readers of your newsletter will be those who already utilize the services you offer. Frequent users of your service will inevitably be the larger companies who by definition have more demands or needs. On the other hand, there will be individuals who utilize online methods of commerce for personal use. Amazon sellers, for instance, are a large enough market to recognize but also exemplify a specific service that may be of interest for other readers of your newsletter.

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Make Email Newsletters Interactive: Give Users a Reason to Click

Beyond • May 6, 2011

Getting email newsletter subscribers to interact and take action is more important than ever in today’s communication channel. Long gone are the days when sending coupons and special offers was enough to provoke a response. Recipients get enough of this as it is, plus falling into that trap only makes it harder for you to stand out from the bunch. In 2011, it’s all about engaging the reader. Luckily, there are plenty of things you can do increase interaction among your subscriber base. Following are some examples: Make Your Message Social Do you currently have a presence in the social media space? If so, that presence can be leveraged as a way to get your subscribers to interact. By simply including social media links and icons in your newsletter and coupling them with specific calls to action, you can dramatically boost the activity within your message. Don’t have a social presence? That’s okay, because you can still take advantage. It is now possibly to easily embed social sharing buttons that provide a convenient way for subscribers to pass along your newsletter for you. What can be better than having them share your content on popular sites like Facebook and Twitter? Create a Survey Getting your subscribers to provide you with feedback can be just as effective as getting them to make a purchase. All it takes is a simple survey to gather valuable insight that can be used to create content that is more to their liking and helps to improve your email marketing efforts. People love to share their opinions, so make them see the value in giving their feedback and most of your subscribers will be happy to participate. A newsletter gives you plenty of real estate for embedding an HTML survey, but if that\'s not an option, don’t hesitate to set one up on your website or blog and include a link to it. The same benefits are up for grabs. Target Your Marketing Efforts You can incorporate all the interactive elements you want, but your newsletter will continually fail to get a response if it is lacking in the relevance department. People want to read stuff that piques their interests. They want content that benefits them specifically. Just because you are sending a newsletter doesn’t mean you can’t tailor your message to suit individual preferences. If you want to get more subscribers interacting and clicking links, segment your list and start treating them as individuals rather than a single entity. Sorry to say, but what one reader cherishes as quality content could be considered crap by the next. Many of your subscribers are drowning in newsletters and emails from other marketers who share your ambitions. For this reason, it is crucial to find a way to connect with them and stand out from the crowd. Not all of them may be ready to move today, but if you keep at it, they just might decide to take you up on your offer and provide the interaction you’ve been looking for in due time.

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The 4 Archetypes of Restaurant Email Marketing Subscribers

Beyond • May 3, 2011

Experienced restaurant email marketers are well aware of the four basic archetypes that email newsletter subscribers adhere to. Learning the characteristics of each and how to best handle them is a valuable lesson in maximizing your venue’s bottom line. The Influencer This is the customer that subscribed to your email marketing newsletter but has let eons pass between their click-throughs. It’s not that they don’t love your restaurant or think that your Lobster Risotto with Cascades Chanterelles doesn’t rock their world, but they’re so engaged in keeping up with their Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and the dozens of other networks where they receive hundreds of tweets, bleeps and squeals that they couldn’t confidently tell you what day it is. Conventional wisdom would state that if they don’t click through they’re deadbeats, but the opposite is actually the case. Send them just one email that rings their bell and watch them forward and post it to an audience that’s larger than that watching the local nightly news. It is not at all unusual to trace back an entire surge in your night’s covers to a single original email recipient. In order to facilitate these unpaid salespeople, ensure that your email newsletters can be posted on the major social networks with ease by providing a wealth of links to the social universe. The Elite Diner While The Influencer is the equivalent of hitting the occasional jackpot, the Elite Diner is your foundation patron. This customer loves your restaurant so much that they act as the antithesis of the Influencer: they want to keep the excellence of your venue as their own little secret. While the Elite Diner would sooner ask you to pulverize and sprinkle the cyanide-rich pits over your Apricot Chocolate Kugelhupf than to forward anything at all about your existence to a friend, they are the essence of repeat business that translates into steady, long term income. You might as well just delete the forwarding links on their emails for all the times they’ll use them, but that doesn’t mean that just a handful of Elite Diners can’t make the difference between profitability and bankruptcy for your restaurant. The Quiescent This group constitutes at least four out of every five email addresses on your subscription list, and in some cases more than nine out of ten. They love your restaurant and can’t find anything bad to say about it from the perfectly starched cotton/poly damask table cloths to the dryness of the Marsala in the Fruit Compote Zabaglione, but they just don’t see themselves as your promotional vehicles as you haven’t made it easy enough for them. The Quiescent require your assistance in becoming informed how best to work for you. Every single possible offer that will engage and motivate them is in fair play for the Quiescent, as they will be glad to pass along your deals, vouchers, drawings and other offerings, but you have to s-p-e-l-l it out for them. The Spam Clicker This customer is an Influencer in reverse. They subscribed with high expectations and then found your emails to be pedantic, uninspiring or outright offensive, and they didn’t even bother to click on the Unsubscribe link but just noted your email address to be considered as spam in order to block it from their inbox. Just like the Influencer can pass along your positive message to their entire social circle, the Spam Clicker will pass along a very negative message to dozens or even hundreds of your potential patrons, not even taking into consideration the hit your email reputation takes with every single spam classification. It may be hard to believe but this is your single most important customer and you should stop at nothing to get back into their good graces. If you have their home address, send them an offer for your head chef to prepare a gourmet meal at their residence absolutely free of charge. Give away the farm if you have to, but stanch the bleeding of negativity that will permeate throughout your customer base if ignored. May you have nothing but Influencers and Elite Diners on your banquettes!

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