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:

Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 11.45.06 AM

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!”

Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 11.55.01 AM

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

 

August 13th, 2012

New Research: Email Converts 10 Times Better Than Social Media [Infographic]

By Jamie Turner, Founder, 60 Second Marketer

If you’ve been hanging around the 60 Second Marketer for any length of time, you know that I’m a huge fan of email marketing. I’ve made that point on several occasions recently with posts such as “Email Marketing Benchmarks: What To Look for If You’re in a Hurry,”  “What is the Average Email Open Rate? New Study Provides the Answer,” and “What Are the Best Days of the Week to Send an Email?”

The other day, I came across an infographic from the folks at Monetate that drives home the point that email is a very effective — and underrated — marketing tool. In fact, one of the key pieces of information is quite stunning — email converts prospects into customers 10 times better than social media.

That’s huge!

Why is it that email converts prospects so much better than social? Because a visitor that lands on your site via social media is often a first-time visitor with no sense of trust or relationship with your brand. On the other hand, a visitor that lands on your site via email marketing has an established sense of trust and an ongoing relationship with your brand.

The result is that the email visitor sticks around and buys more stuff — at a 10 times higher rate than the social media visitor!

There’s plenty more data like that in the infographic below. Check it out and let us know about your experiences with email marketing vs. social media marketing in the comments section below the infographic.

 

August 9th, 2012

How and Why to Use Images in Email

By Crystal Gouldey, Education Marketing Associate, AWeber

Images look great in emails. People like them, they can make things visually appealing, and used the right way, they can bring in more click-throughs.

But images in emails can also be tricky. If a subscriber has images disabled in their settings or reads emails on mobile devices, images can make your email look a little wacky.

There are a few simple rules you can follow to ensure your email campaign only reaps the benefits of using images.

1. Don’t rely on images to deliver your message. While it may be easy to create your message as one giant image and plop it in your email, it’s not a good idea. If your subscribers have images disabled, they aren’t going to be able to see anything except a blank message. This can be annoying and confusing, which can cause readers to give up and unsubscribe.

For example, take a look how this email appears in an inbox with images disabled:

And here’s what it’s supposed to look like:

 

If I’m quickly going through my email, the blank one will be skipped over since I can’t see anything.

2. Make sure your text contrasts with the background – with or without images enabled. Let’s say you have a dark template with white text. If images are disabled, and your template is a background image, that means you’ll essentially have invisible text — and the same problems as the blank email scenario above.

3. Use alt text on all images. The images you do include should have alt text, which causes text to appear in place of the image. Instead of having white space, you’ll be able to explain to subscribers what exactly they’re missing. If the text makes them curious, they can enable images or click to view a web-based version of your email.

4. Provide a link to a web-based version of your email. Regardless of how much care you put into the design of your email, you may have some subscribers who still have difficulty seeing what you intended – either because they don’t know how to change their settings or they simply don’t want to. By including a link to a web-based version, you’ve provided them with an easier and safer alternative to messing with their settings.

5. Don’t forget to test. Once you’ve created your email, don’t forget to test it to multiple email clients and make sure it appears as you wanted. You want to make sure all email clients are displaying your images properly, or at least in a way you’re comfortable with.

If you follow these instructions, you should have an appealing and engaging email that your subscribers will be able to interact with.

 

About the Author: Crystal Gouldey is an Education Marketing Associate at AWeber, the leading email service provider for small-to-medium businesses. Crystal’s spent the past three years teaching email marketers how to optimize their campaigns. She currently writes for the AWeber blog, which you can visit for more tips on marketing with email.