Tags: media

Integrate Your Facebook Pages Account Too!

Beyond • October 7, 2010

Benchmark Email\'s Facebook integration just got even snazzier. We did this for you, and not just as an excuse to use snazzy in a blog post (promise!) Originally, this feature would auto-post to your Facebook wall when your email was sent. For some, this was all they had ever wanted in integrating social media and email marketing. But our customers who use Facebook Pages wanted the ability to auto-post to their page instead of their personal wall. Ask and you shall receive. Follow these steps to integrate your email marketing with facebook . There is one extra step for your emails to auto-post to a Facebook Page. Select which page you would like to post to from the drop-down menu, after you click to integrate with Facebook. It should be noted that you must be an administrator for a page to have access to auto-post to it.


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The Fallacy of Pursuing Social Media Friend Pyramids

The Fallacy of Pursuing Social Media Friend Pyramids

Beyond • July 7, 2010

Through the recent period of exponential growth in social media, many email marketers have been mesmerized by the pursuit of logarithmic friend pyramids, where each new level expands the customer base by an order of magnitude. Unfortunately, as social networks mature, marketers are finding themselves hitting demarcations based upon the inability of any social media participant to manage boundless friend lists. A Friend by Any Other Name The prototypical stereotype of the computer nerd is the chubby bespectacled couch potato sporting a Star Trek TNG four-pip command jersey while crouching over his lapped Core i7 Gulftown (overclocked to 4.73 GHz on Peltier) in his parents\' darkened basement - hardly the paragon of social clique popularity. However, in the new world of social media, this very geek likely commands a throng of \"friends\" numbering in the hundreds or thousands - a veritable Lindsay Lohan of cyberspace. The Limits of Evangelization It turns out that the quotation marks around \"friend\" are the critical component necessary to fully comprehend this customer. If we utilize the \"friend\" definition currently applicable to Facebook, Twitter and the rest of the social media galaxy, our nerd certainly is a prime target for our email marketing efforts. If our fine geek becomes convinced that our iBlivet is the best aide to widgetization available, this is one customer who can be counted upon to metamorphosize into a rabid evangelist and will likely single handedly move more iBlivets among his friend horde than 30 seconds on the Super Bowl. Or at least it\'s supposed to work that way. The reality is that many social media participants are starting to lapse into fuzzy inactivity due to the overwhelming online noise to signal ratio. They are realizing that it is simply not feasible to vividly participate in the minutiae of hundreds or thousands of other lives. The novelty is definitely wearing off, and friends lists throughout the social mediaverse are undergoing a massive cull. This drastic filtering is tending to leave only the personal face-to-face friends in the real world, which in the case of our particular nerd is… no one at all. Participation Incentives Are Dwindling Email marketers have been long pursuing the pot of gold at the end of the social media rainbow, and some have experienced outstanding success. As the medium matures, however, we have to come to the realization that bigger is not necessarily better and that the integral value of voluminous friend swarms may actually be a negative factor. Customers with burgeoning friends lists are beginning to suffer from dwindling participation incentives. This trend is actively devaluing the social network itself as well as the archetype of the “trusted endorsement.” When the endorsement is proposed from an acknowledged, accredited, personally known peer, it certainly carries considerable weight. But sooner or later the social media participant is going to start wondering who the heck is this nerd, why is he pitching this, and is iBlivet compensating him for this glowing testimonial? Beyond Milieu Stakeholding Any customer’s ability to maintain active participation in social networks across communities and branding is limited at a threshold that is far below the optimum level desired by the stream of marketers who wish to engage them. Simply maintaining a social media presence in 2010 and beyond is not sufficient for brands to achieve their marketing goals. The brands who were quick on their feet and were able to conglomerate key groups of customers early on have been able to win the territorial claim battle, but there is much more to social media success than mere milieu stakeholding. Enduring brand success can only be achieved in the social media ecosystem when a fair and valid exchange is offered for the customer’s time and focus, through an expectation of receiving real, premium value. The email marketers who are able to distinguish themselves in the social network arena through unflagging, meticulous and honest dedication to the welfare and satisfaction of their individual customers will continue to prevail. The ones who get caught up in pursuing illusory friend pyramids will undoubtedly crash and burn.


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The Proper Email Marketing Practice Checklist

The Proper Email Marketing Practice Checklist

Beyond • May 19, 2010

Even the most experienced email marketers can neglect to include the basics of proper email marketing best practices, nullifying the effectiveness of their campaigns. Here is a basic checklist to ensure that your email campaigns are covering all the bases. Landing & Branding Does your email message enhance the values integral to your brand? Have you ensured that the implementation of your brand identity and logos is essentially identical to that used on your website? Once the customer reaches your website through the links, is the landing page fully and exclusively dedicated to that particular campaign? Does it contain a convincing call to action? Content Are there any terms that could even remotely be defined as spam words anywhere in your subject line and body text? Are you writing to an eighth grade education level? Does your email message contain an offer that is easy to locate, easy to understand and compelling? Have you struck a balance between the number of links and the amount of content, ensuring that neither overwhelms the other? Is the structure of your email message focused, balanced and apropos? Is your call to action persuasive as well as being conveyed both clearly and powerfully? Is your subject line informative and alluring, but well under 55 characters in length? Did you remember to include a link to your own brand’s social media fan page? Social Media Did you remember to include a link to your own brand’s social media fan page? Does your email include share buttons that allow your readers to post it on popular social networks like Facebook and Twitter? Have you included a link that can be forwarded to a friend and set it with a clear sign up link? Personalization & Friendliness Is the email being sent from a specifically proprietary branded domain? Is the From Name prior to the @ symbol a friendly and comprehensible term such as Sally, Fred, Info, or Customer Service? Example: Sally@YourCompany.com Over-personalizing your email messages is taboo, so have you implemented what you feel is the correctly balanced and restrained amount of personalization… or do you have the customer’s first name mail-merged six times in each paragraph? Contact Management Have you collected as many contact details as you feel your customers are comfortable in providing to you? Is your sign up process as easy as it can possibly be? Are there any bottlenecks or any of the dreaded dead links in the process? Have you personally tested it? Legal Requirements Does your email message include all of your corporate details, including full company name and main office address? Is your unsubscribing process completely simple, basic, straightforward, crystal clear, easy to understand and even easier to accomplish? Technical Design Are you absolutely certain that your code does not use any cascading style sheets (CSS)? Do all your images have comprehensive alt text so that the content is still available if the customer has images turned off? Is your email message quick to load even on slow connections and older computers, or is it weighed down with huge multimedia content? Renderability Have you checked the rendering of the email message on a variety of PC monitor resolution settings all the way up to 2560 x 1920 pixels? How about the wide variety of small resolutions used by smartphones, iPhones and the like? Have you checked the rendering of the email message on a wide variety of the most popular email clients and web browsers? Have you included a link to a web version of the email message itself? If you have all these boxes checked off, you can now rest assured that your email campaign is on the launching pad!


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How A Social Networking Face Person Can Boost Your Email Marketing Results

How A Social Networking Face Person Can Boost Your Email Marketing Results

Beyond • February 15, 2010

The explosion of social media has created the profession of blogger-participant, a fully interactive \"face person\" who represents your brand\'s appeal as an integral part of an online community and acts as an extension to your email message. And yes, you need one. Social Media Is Changing How A Generation Interacts The online social networking world evolves at breathtaking speed. Twitter has been the media darling for the past few months, and now some web pundits are already declaring it a \"has been\": The fascination with learning what some Hollywood or sports star is having for breakfast in usually badly misspelled 140 character Tweets was bound to wear off quickly. Regardless of the ups and downs of Tweeting, social networking as a whole is not just showing signs of greater permanence than any of its parts, but actually seems to be profoundly modifying the entire personal interactions of an entire generation. Social Networks Are The Ol\' Skool Marketer\'s Graveyard Any social phenomenon this powerful and far-reaching has to be evaluated for its promotional potential by savvy email marketers. Some have plunged in with disastrous results as they have neglected the primary caveat of social networking marketing: Converse, don\'t advertise. Ol\' skool marketers who see the millions of people on social networks as Nielsen couch potatoes have completely missed the point. Social networks are not passive veg-out receive-only parlors, but full-duplex send and receive participatory arenas. When you are engaging in a conversation with a valued friend or associate you don\'t just read commercial scripts at them, you literally \"engage.\" The key to success in any social media setting is participatory engagement just like a conversation. The social networking participant seeks information of unquestioned value from you, not just your bland, discordant presence. Since your goal is to position your brand as the hub of a mushrooming conversation, you must begin by the establishment of your unassailable credibility not only as an acknowledged expert in the sector, but also as a pleasant and friendly participant in the community. A Blogger-Participant Social Media Face Can Boost Your Brand You may have all the knowledge of your field yet be a stilted or imprecise communicator; you may have a short fuse with the nihilistic criticism you\'ll receive from the tiny but irritatingly vocal minority of \"online conversation vandals\"; or you may simply not have the time or the inclination to put in the hours needed to fully engage a community. That is where a professional blogger-participant can be of unparalleled value. This individual will become the social networking face of your brand, and provide not just unidirectional blogging support, but actually: answer questions launch initiatives respond to opportunities comment on others\' content integrate seamlessly into online communities. Consider this individual as the personal, even one on one, outreach extension of your email message. Blogger-Participants Must Be Not Just Trained, But Motivated A blogger-participant must be trained to understand your brand inside and out, not just with shallow mottos and tag lines, but with a thorough appreciation for the benefits it can provide. It may sound a bit too \"touchy-feely\" for traditional marketers, but the social networking face of your brand has to be convinced that not only will they derive benefits from your promotion (a positive reputation plus a paycheck) but that the individuals they are interacting with will derive pure benefit as well in every sense. Of course a blogger-participant can go sour on you as well and thus must be meticulously selected and scrupulously monitored. The damage they can do to your brand is at least equivalent to the benefits they can provide. They must be professional, maintain a steady frequency and volume of comment, stay cool under pressure, and be totally committed to a format of friendly chat versus hucksterism. When you get the right social media face, your brand will certainly notice the difference.


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The Light At The End Of The Tunnel: It May Not Be A Train

The Light At The End Of The Tunnel: It May Not Be A Train

Beyond • January 18, 2010

There is no doubt that the recession has bottomed out and an uneasy and ragged recovery may be slowly gathering steam. However, there are a number of economists who remain convinced that this will be a double dip recession, and that the light at the end of the tunnel is indeed a train... ready to flatten recovery hopes like Wile E. Coyote. How will email marketing fare? The Greatest Ad Spending Decline Since The Depression The advertising spending statistics are coming in for 2009 and they are not pretty. According to TNS Media Intelligence, the amount spent on all forms of advertising last year dropped by 14.7%, while Interpublic Group\'s Magna estimates the drop at 16.1%. Whatever the exact statistic, it represents the single greatest percentage of advertising spending decline since the days of the Great Depression. Although some countries like the United Kingdom are already seeing an upswing in ad spending, the industry prognosticators are calling for a 2010 in the USA which will be either flat or down a bit more: 2.6% further decrease according to ZenithOptimedia, and 4.3% according to Group M. Online Advertising Will Soon Overtake Newspapers It is important to note that these statistics and forecasts involve advertising as a whole, incorporating newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, outdoor and cinema as well as online ad spending. When we break out the online factors we find that although the graph is as jagged as mountain range, the overall trend is upwards even through the most disastrous advertising year in nearly a century. ZenithOptimedia is calling for an overall online advertising growth of 9.5% in 2010, with paid online search ads zooming forwards at an enviable 15% rate. Although the internet was responsible for 12.9% of total ad expenditures in 2009, this percentage is expected to reach 16.2% in 2012, a total of over $77.5 billion. One of the most amazing trends is that by 2012, online advertising will roughly equal newspaper advertising which was long seen as the monolith in the ad business. Tremendous Growth In Online Advertising: 2008 to 2012 The growth of the various aspects of online advertising between 2008 and 2012 is definitely anticipated to be spectacular: Display: From $16.2 billion in 2008 to $24.4 billion in 2012 Classified: From $9.4 billion in 2008 to $12.3 billion in 2012 Paid Search: From $23.6 billion in 2008 to $40.8 billion in 2012 The Internet Is The Teflon Champion In The Recession Online advertising seems to have become the teflon champion in the advertising spectrum. While the long established traditional media crumble before our eyes, the economists\' gloom and doom seem to have no effect on the daily progress of the internet advertising industry. There is no doubt that the future belongs to internet advertising, and email marketing is a critical part of this vital online mix. Even the powerhouse internet advertising segments like paid search cannot compare with the individualization and personalization possible in email marketing. The Difference Between A Personal Letter & A Billboard An email can reach consumers in ways that banner ads never will. Consider it as the difference between a personal letter and a billboard. A personal letter is a message to an individual about items that are of specific interest to them, based on who they are and what they do, while a billboard is only meant to appeal to the lowest common denominator amidst the cars speeding by on the Interstate. That is why wise email marketers know that to thrive through even a double dip recession, personalization is the key to success. The more you can custom tailor your messages strictly to the individual, their likes, their dislikes, their interests and their passions, the more the light at the end of the tunnel will shine brightly with no train in sight.


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