June 17th, 2014

Email Marketing Outperforms Social Media in Terms of Reach and Features [INFOGRAPHIC]

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If you’re working on a shoestring budget and are trying to figure out where it would be best used, maybe this infographic can help. Brought to you by Host Papa, it breaks down email marketing and social media marketing to see which outperforms which in what categories. Here are some of the key findings:

  • Social media helps build your audience faster and increases search engine ranking.
  • Email is a fairly inexpensive and easy form of direct response.
  • Social media is growing more, but email is still more widely used.
  • The features and reach on email marketing are surprisingly robust.

See the full infographic here:

email-vs-social-media-marketing

June 16th, 2014

Using Multivariate Testing For Enhanced Email Marketing Campaigns

@Symbol

It is common for companies today to leverage A/B and A/B/C testing when they seek to optimize different variables that contribute to e-mail campaigns. However, most businesses tend to ignore a more powerful tool known as multivariate testing.

Learning about the techniques used in multivariate testing is the first step to reap the rewards this technique can offer versus the more commonly used A/B split test. There are several benefits that can be derived from this test by mid-level marketers.

When you know how to run a multivariate test, you can definitely enhance performance and optimize any e-mail marketing campaign.

What is Multivariate Testing (MVT)?

Trying to define buyer behavior is never easy. If you are a marketer with the intention of boosting sales quickly, then multivariate testing is one of the most powerful tools to determine what influences buying decisions.

Derived from statistical analysis, this technique is quite similar to website testing when determining why customers behave the way they do. This behavior is determined through several techniques to include:

  • Factor analysis – This method is used to examine whether a number of pre-determined variables are linearly linked to a smaller number of unobservable factors.
  • Multiple regression – Regression analysis helps estimate strength and direction between two or more variables. For example, an analyst could look at a company’s sales and profits over several years to determine the actual relationship between the two and if that relationship is a valid one.
  • Multiple analysis of variance (MANOVA) –is an extension of ANOVA. MANOVA allows the examination of more than one dependant variable. ANOVA is a tool that separates the overall variability into two modules: Random and Systematic.
  • Path analysis – is a direct extension of multiple regression. The aim is to provide estimates of the scale and worth of theorized casual relationships between sets of variables.

When talking about variables in the following list, we mean variables within the email marketing campaign. These are elements that can be changed and tested. Some variables that would be good to test, for example:

  • Subject Line
  • Email Personalization
  • Landing Page
  • Call-to-Action

Multivariate testing uses the same core principles of A/B split testing but expands on A/B split testing by testing a higher number of variables. The results try to show how these variables interact with each other.

EmailMan In a traditional A/B split test, traffic is split between different versions, the purpose of the multivariate test is then to measure what the effectiveness of each version combination has on the overall goal.

Testing this way can help you to drill down in to what variables have contributed to having a successful final version. This can also help to identify which variables had the greatest positive or negative impact on your traffic.

When conducting a marketing campaign, it is important to have the best intelligence available or else you cannot do your job properly. In addition, the e-commerce market has stiff competition from all types of competitors that can direct a viewer’s attention elsewhere. Since multivariate testing is a more advanced tool, it allows e-commerce website owners to have the best information in order to make good decisions in regards to marketing campaigns.

Updating content is one of the most important tasks website owners must do regularly to improve SEO rankings and attract repeat customers. In order to choose the best strategy, multivariate testing helps determine conversion results of quantity versus quality. Since many companies attempt strategies that do not examine all information accurately, this is one of the reasons why conversion rates are often low.

Social media has also become necessary if you want to build loyalty, engage customers, and get more referrals. Multivariate testing helps examine the impact of articles, videos, and images to help find which balance is optimal for your marketing campaign. Social media websites are also ideal for companies who wish to test new marketing strategies for incorporating them into a company’s main website.

The Benefits of Multivariate over A/B Split Testing

There are several advantages multivariate testing has over A/B or A/B/C testing. First of all, A/B and A/B/C testing only have the ability to help you determine which creative performed the best at generating the highest amount of conversions. However, these tests do not give any indication to why one creative performed better than the other.

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Multivariate testing allows you to measure the amount of impact creative has in generating conversions. In addition, it provides guidance on where more focus is needed when the test is conducted again.

In terms of saving time and money, MVT is extremely helpful since it tests multiple factor-level settings at the same time. With A/B tests, there is a need to run multiple tests to get the same results.

MVT allows the tester to find quicker optimal settings which results in an increased return on investment. Since timely information is a key factor in any e-mail marketing campaign, a decision-maker who gets the best information in the most cost-efficient manner is one step ahead of the competition.

How to Run Multivariate Testing on an Email Campaign

Thanks to the availability of software that can often be found for free online, multivariate testing can be conducted by yourself, or you can hire a third-party service provider to do it for you.

EmailMarketingTips

Here are the steps to running an MVT test:

  1. Examine previous e-mails and highlight parts that need improvement. Some examples that can be included in the test are: e-mail headings or sub-headings, subjects, banners, or call to action. Is important to examine the most crucial parts of an e-mail to determine if they are used properly to increase conversions.
  2. Create variations for your test by using parts of your e-mail which can be tested together in group elements. Once your group has been decided, you can create specific content and design variations that can be included in the test.
  3. You can now run your test by uploading the variations into your e-mail marketing program or mail manager. Divide your mailing list in half and send one version to one half and the second version the other half.
  4. You can now monitor the results of your e-mail sales leads and click rates using the e-mail manager. When test period is over, pull up the data and examine which variations give the best results. Once you determined which results are best, implement these changes into the next e-mails that you will be sending out to your mailing list.
  5. It is important to never stop testing even if you have found the perfect combination of variations that seem to attract more visitors and increase conversions. As your e-mail list continues to grow and as time passes on, preferences will change so it is important to check your content periodically to make sure your content is fresh and conversions remain high.

There are also many tools on the market that you can choose from that will assist you in using multivariate testing on your email campaigns. You can use tools such as:

Multivariate testing is one of the most effective ways to help any e-commerce marketer increase sales, attract more visitors, and create higher conversions. There is no need for guesswork when determining people’s behaviour on your website when you have the most advanced tool available to help you create the most successful marketing campaign. Remember that it is important to refine your message continuously to generate targeted leads.

 

Owen Sondergaard is an avid data analyst and blogger with over 8 years experience. Owen works with CAMO Software, who specialize in multivariate data analysis.

January 20th, 2014

Best. Unsubscribe. Ever. [Groupon Email Marketing Win]

groupon

I was cleaning out my inbox today, unsubscribing from some email lists I’ve been on for a while, when I came across an email from Groupon.

Now hear this: I am a huge Groupon fan. I have never chosen where to eat without first consulting Groupon, Living Social, and (since I’ve moved to Atlanta) Scout Mob. But my Groupon Goods email was still linked to Charlotte, which doesn’t apply to me anymore, so I figured I’d just unsubscribe.

Little did I know what a treat I was in for.

Punishing Derrick for His Folly

When you hit the tiny button at the bottom of the email to unsubscribe, you come to a screen where you can confirm your desire to leave the mailing list. Once you’ve done that, you get this screen:

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What you can’t see from this screenshot is that the picture at the bottom is moving. That’s right — it’s a GIF of a man sitting at his desk. The movement is subtle (it could probably be less so), but it did catch my eye. I gathered pretty quickly that this is the previously referenced Derrick.

But then, when you scroll down, you see something both squee-inducingly exciting and mildly sadistic: a button to punish Derrick for ever thinking you’d want to receive those emails.

What follows when you push the button (because of course you’re going to push the button) is hilarious. First you see someone you assume to be Derrick’s boss come around the corner. He speaks pointedly with Derrick for a few moments, as evidenced by his irritated expression and body language (there’s no sound, of course). He seems to be asking Derrick, “why would you sign this person up for our emails? That’s a jerk move, man.”

Check out what happens in the video below (you’ll have to wait about 15 second for the action to start):

 

 

He ends with what seems like some derivative of, “just don’t let it happen again.” Then, as the boss is walking away, Derrick apparently says something heinous, because the boss turns around and throws his coffee on Derrick’s face.

Now, that’s pretty funny in and of itself, but then there’s the closing screen: “That was pretty mean… I hope you’re happy. Want to make it up to Derrick? Resubscribe!”

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Why This Tactic Is Effective

Okay, so you’ve probably said by now, “but most people wouldn’t even scroll down to do all of this!” And you’re possibly right. I’d argue that a large number of people would leave that screen so quickly that they wouldn’t even notice Derrick moving. In fact, another large number might see him moving but assume he’s an ad and quick away just as quickly.

But let’s look at the reality of the situation. Someone has just unsubscribed from your email list. Unless it’s an extenuating circumstance like mine (which, let’s be honest, is probably the vast minority of the unsubscribes you see), you have irritated them enough that they are taking action in a negative way, and that’s hard to come back from. If there is something on the screen past where they have actually unsubscribed, it’s a Hail Mary if anything.

And that’s why this works. Because those of us who actually take the time to scroll down likely care enough about that kind of thing to let it affect us.

Groupon.001

The guilt trip delivered after a user unsubscribes is not a new concept — it’s the standard when it comes to unsubscribing from email lists, cancelling accounts, and the like. The company at fault knows it’s losing that person altogether, so all bets are off as to the tactics used to keep them around. While canned spam laws prevent them from making it too difficult, they can guilt trip their customers as much as they want.

But there are two main reasons why Groupon’s guilt trip works better than most:

  1. They make the unsubscribers laugh instead of begging them to stick around, which resonates more. Positive reinforcement is almost always more effective than negative; just ask any parent.
  2. Punishing Derrick, as silly as it may be, gives the user a small sense of gratification to make up for the annoyance caused by the emails. This levels the playing field and makes them more likely to resubscribe.

Now, while it would be tactless to blatantly copy Groupon, there are ways that you can take these principles and apply them to your own email marketing campaign. With this example in mind, try revamping your unsubscribe page to reflect that.

The principle behind the success is simple: humor and humanity are always going to be more effective than begging is. You probably won’t go from 100 to zero unsubscribes overnight — or ever, for that matter — largely due to the number of people who will never even see your attempts at reaching out. But of those who do, if you keep Derrick in mind, some are likely to appreciate your efforts as I did with Groupon and opt back in.

 

About the Author: Samantha Gale is a social media and content marketing specialist working for 60 Second Communications, a full-service marketing agency working with brands around the globe.

May 23rd, 2013

Email Marketing: 7 Things You Should Do Before Hitting “Send”

Email Marketing Tips

E-mail marketing is still a great way to connect with consumers, but there’s a fine line between being informative vs. being overbearing.

As technology continues to advance, do-it-yourself e-mail marketing has become more and more popular. And with the advent of e-mail access on mobile devices, you’re able to reach your consumers in a highly personalized space. Rather than being perceived as intrusive, you want your subscribers to invite you in, and it’s important to understand the basics before connecting with your audience via their inboxes.

Whether you’re interesting in starting up your own eCRM program from scratch, or if you’re looking for ways to revamp your existing program, keep these seven tips in mind while you evaluate your e-mail marketing strategy.

Cover the basics:  One of the most easily avoidable mistakes is making sure you’ve laid down the foundation for your e-mail marketing program by covering all of your bases.

Do you have an easily accessible unsubscribe link? If not, you can annoy your existing subscribers in case they want to remove their e-mail from your list. This can potentially hurt your campaign performance with higher unsubscribe rates and spam complaints if you’re not able to cut the unengaged off of your lists.

 

Unsubscribe Link

The 60 Second Marketer e-newsletter includes our physical address as well as an unsubscribe link at the bottom of every email we send.

 

Does your e-mail contain your company name, address, and phone number? Does the “from” line easily identify who the e-mail is coming from? These little details help in legitimizing your e-mail, but failure to include them will leave your e-mail in the Spam folder instead.

How did your subscribers get onto your list? Are they opted in? Did you use a double opt-in? Like it or not, you still need permission to e-mail, and if you don’t have your subscribers’ explicit consent, you could get in more trouble that you’d like. If you make sure your lists are clean from the get-go, you can maintain high deliverability. One of the most common ways of doing this is utilizing a double opt-in sign up form that requires subscribers to validate their subscription after receiving a confirmation e-mail.

If you’re not familiar with the CAN-SPAM act, make sure you’ve reviewed the requirements thoroughly, as it will detail all the elements you’ll need to keep in mind before you hit “send.”

A summary of these regulations can be viewed here.

What’s considered TMI? : If you’re asking your e-mail subscribers for their information, make sure you’re leveraging it effectively (and legally) to bring some personalization to your communication. Customizing your content to your consumer enables you to take a step further than your competitors in showcasing that you know your audience and understand their needs.

An Experian study showed that 70 percent of brands are not personalizing emails sent to their subscribers. If you have the information handy, use it, but just make sure that it’s accurate. Otherwise you may do more harm than good if you mishandle personal information.  Show that you know your audience and that you want to establish a relationship with them. This will help keep your engagement high and keep your unsubscribe rate low.

If you find that you’re collecting more information than you need, cut it out from your sign-up form. This will at least help optimize the user experience.

 

Email Sign Up Form

The 60 Second Marketer e-newsletter landing page includes our sign-up form as well as a description of what people will receive when they sign up for our e-newsletter.

 

Stay relevant: With a world of people looking for real-time information, you need to make sure your content speaks to your audience. At the same time you always want to make sure that you keep your content fresh and that you’re not hitting subscribers with the same information over and over. If you’ve got access to some data, take a few minutes to analyze the content that users are most engaged with.

What e-mails had the highest open rate? What links saw the most click-throughs? Did you see a bump in website traffic on a specific day?  Asking these questions and evaluating your e-mail performance periodically will help you optimize your content and keep subscribers’ attention and far away from boredom.

Don’t be afraid of testing different elements as well. When you find that you need to mix things up, think about testing your subject lines or different lifestyle images. Also take a look at your content. If your e-mails are text heavy, shorten them, have larger call-to-actions, include an offer, or move links around. Minor tweaks can make a world of difference. Just make sure that you don’t test everything at once- otherwise you won’t be able to figure out what worked!

And if you’re staring completely from scratch, think about the purpose of the e-mail. Is it to sell a product or to be informative? How frequently do you want to engage your subscribers — weekly, monthly, quarterly? Do you have existing content that you can repurpose, or will you need to produce it all? Have you examined the content on your website that is getting the most engagement? Would you be able to use that content in your e-mails?

Answering these questions from the get-go will help you get your campaign organized before you set the expectations with your subscribers about the information that you’ll be providing them.

The year of mobile responsive: eMarketer recently noted that by 2016, 62% of the U.S. population will be on smartphones thus increasing the need for marketers to make sure their content is primed for mobile. To determine how much your audience is accessing content through their mobile devices, take a look at your website stats.

If you have Google Analytics on you page, you can gauge whether or not you need to make that move to make sure your content is mobile-responsive. Chances are with the way technology is moving and the increasing consumption of mobile content, you’re going to have to take the initiative sooner rather than later.

Not only do you need to think about your e-mail rendering in a readable format on a mobile device, you’ll also want to remember that the click-through should also lead to a mobile responsive page. There are still some big brands who still make this simple mistake and lead customers to the desktop version of their website. When you’re designing for mobile, keep these tips in mind:

  • Single-column layouts no wider than 500 to 600 pixels work best.
  • Keep messaging concise and place important elements above the fold.
  • Links and buttons should have a minimum target area of 44 × 44 pixels as this helps prevent accidentally clicking  of tiny links on touchscreens.

ESP — Having a sixth sense for the right e-mail provider: Depending on the size of your list and your e-mail marketing needs, there are plenty of e-mail service providers that you can utilize for your program. If you need a robust CRM platform or something on a smaller scale for smaller lists, you’re sure to find one that will help you comply with CAN-SPAM regulations and meet your goals. Some ESP’s offer free trials as well so that you can test drive platforms to see what they can offer you.

The costs and hassles associated with switching to another supplier can be challenging depending on the size of your program. When you think about your ESP, think about what you need for it to deliver.

Do you need something that will manage your e-mail lists for you, or will you require something that will allow you to upload a list when you’re ready to send? How often does your database change? How robust of a reporting do you need to analyze your programs?

Exploring these questions and carefully reviewing what each ESP will provide will help you ease into finding the right platform to execute your campaigns.

A list of ESPs you can check out to get started include: AWeber, Campaign Monitor, Constant Contact, Emma, Epsilon, ExactTarget, GetResponse, iContact, Lyris, MailChimp, mailVU, Return Path, Silverpop, Swiftpage, and Vertical Response.

 

AWeber Email

AWeber is considered one of the top email service providers with a very high delivery rate and a spotless CAN-SPAM record.

 

Sharing is Caring: If you’re providing relevant content, chances are that content will speak to prospects who haven’t quite made it on your e-mail list. If that’s the case, make sure you’re making your content sharable across social networks. You can accomplish this by adding ShareThis button which will allow your subscribers to login to their preferred platform to circulate content within their networks. “Forward to a Friend” has typically been the method to encourage sharing. However studies have shown that this link receives less than a one percent click through rate.

 

Email Sharing Buttons

The 60 Second Marketer e-Newsletter includes social sharing buttons at the bottom of each email.

 

Keep in mind that placing the share links in your e-mail might not be enough, so you will also need to encourage your subscribers to share. Include call-to-actions to get people engaging with your content and with their networks. It may also be worth identifying the high influencers and reaching out to them. Not only will this help increase the distribution and reach of your content, it will also help you identify potential prospects to build your mailing list.

Keep it Simple: As consumers are saturated with a barrage of information on a daily basis from all different types of channels, it’s important to stand out despite the noise and to keep your e-mails concise. The first chance at grabbing the attention of your audience will likely be the subject line as they quickly scan through their inbox to prioritize the information that they want to take a look at immediately.

Make sure to keep your subject line under 50 characters and related to the content of your e-mail. Research has shown that shorter subject lines typically tend to outperform longer ones. Some have also found success by including localization to make it more personal and relevant to the recipient, while others have also used the method of asking a question. Typically trigger words to avoid include “free,” “buy,” “winner”

Once your subscribers get past the subject line and open your e-mail, make sure the reason why subscribers have signed up for your e-mail is prominent. If you’re selling a product, put the offer front and center. Or, if you’re providing tips and advice, make sure you’re encouraging your audience to share the content or to engage with you.

E-mail marketing is a great channel to reach your consumers as long as you follow the regulations to avoid spam. Make sure that you’re grabbing your audience’s attention and giving them a reason to engage with your e-mails. Establishing relevance at the start will help you retain and acquire a more involved audience.

To stay updated on all things social and mobile, be sure to stay tuned for more 60 second marketer blogs.

About the Author: May Advincula is a marketing enthusiast and graduate of the University of Georgia She has worked on B2C campaigns for primarily service clients (healthcare, financial, and IT) and is currently looking for opportunities to continue to expand her knowledge of all things marketing in the Atlanta area. Connect on LinkedIn


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August 20th, 2012

57% Are More Likely to Buy from Stores that Send Email [INFOGRAPHIC]

The folks at Bolt Insurance shared an infographic that has some terrific statistics on the tools businesses use to connect with customers. In addition to the data mentioned in the headline — that 57% of internet users are more likely to buy from a store after getting an email from them — the infographic has other data about social media, print and the top challenges for small businesses.

In a Nutshell: Email marketing continues to be a great way to connect with customers; social media is a great way to supplement your efforts with email; and, despite what you may have heard, print is still a viable option for certain segments.

Email Marketing Infographic