Archive for ‘Email marketing’

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

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Archive for ‘Email marketing’

June 16th, 2014

Using Multivariate Testing For Enhanced Email Marketing Campaigns

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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.

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Archive for ‘Email marketing’

February 2nd, 2014

21 Easy Ways to Optimize Your Emails for Mobile

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Email is not dead. In fact, email’s a huge part of your social media success. Those leads you’ve generated from well managed social campaigns frankly mean nothing if you’re not converting. Email takes the next step to keep your social relationships alive and well.

With 66% of your email prospects now opening their mail on a mobile device, you need to be making your messages mobile-savvy, super personal, and easy to click through.

To get the best conversions, try out these 21 tried-and-tested tips to optimize your mobile email marketing campaigns.

1. Make a trustworthy first impression - The “from” line in mobile emails is front and center.  Make your message personable and more likely to be opened by using the name of your Lead Salesperson, your Content Marketer, or your CEO. (Don’t send out a blanket mobile email with just your company name in the ‘from’ line.)

2. Show your face – Connect further with your reader through visuals. Include a dynamic headshot of the sender. Use a banner image with your sender’s face too, as not all mobile email platforms display your “from” image.

Image- Face Snapshot

3.Know your recipient - Segment your emails, and use unique collected data to personalize your message. Segment for sales funnel, demographics, source of email, This should be a standard practise, whether you’re targeting mobile users or not.

4. Use short, intriguing subject lines - Mobile readers spend less time per message. Those eye-catching subject lines are more urgent than ever if you want your email to stand out. Use action words, questions, and personal pronouns like “you”.

5. Pay attention to your preheader – Your preheader, or snippet text, shows up as the first ‘teaser’ text in most mobile email devices. Make the text above your header image an extension of your subject line. Use a clear call-to-action, content keywords, or questions.

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6. Reduce image file size - Large images are a big no-no. Not only do they soak up your readers’ bandwidth, but not all mobile devices have images on as a default. Make sure your email displays quickly for those that do show.

7. Make scalable images - A work around the large image files is to create scalable visuals, optimized for mobile. That way, your photo shows up as the right size whether your recipient is using a phone, tablet or anything in between.

8. Use ‘text only’ – A/B test results of “text only” against “text and visual.” As not all mobile devices have images on as default for email, test out if your demographic responds better to the text only option on mobile.

9. Make a tappable CTA - Mobile readers are quick to respond. Make it easy with a clear, distinct CTA. If you’re using visuals, make your clickable image the optimal size of 44 x 44 pixels. If you’re using text only, make sure you use an easy-to-click link, and even make your font size slightly larger to make it stand out.

10. Create responsive email template – Use a CRM that enables you to design responsive templates, so your email looks good no matter the device or email service. (ie MailChimp, Constant Contact, etc.)

11. Don’t use Flash - Use HTML5 or CSS to make your content more user-friendly and scalable.

12. Write concise content - Attention spans are short on mobile. To get your message clicked-through, use short, witty, precise, actionable content. When crafting your email, draft out the message you want to convey, and then rewrite it 5 times. Use the most actionable content. Keep your word count under 60 for best results.

13.  Increase your font size – Make the readability of your email easy. Keep your short text large sized. Use at least 12 pixels for your content. If you are using text only, use 13 or 14 as your CTA font size.

14. Make your content skimmable - If you must have a lengthy text to get your message across, make the skim factor a priority. Keep your content in short sentences, with clear bolded headers, and simple bullet points. Make your message easy to get in a glance, and enticing to read-through.

Image- Skimmable Page

15. Geo-target your market – Geo-targeting is becoming more and more essential. Use geographic list segmentation to target and personalize for your prospects, send timed emails (as in #17), or send out location based discounts. 

16.  Automate to keep top of mind - Automatically schedule your emails for both triggered and drip campaigns. If a prospect signs up for newsletter, set up a series of emails to nurture your lead, and bring them back with a CTA. Make sure your automated messages are mobile optimized.

 17. Test your times - When to send your emails is particularly crucial on mobile. You really just have a matter of 5 seconds (or less) to catch your readers’ attention. On mobile, your audience is less likely to scroll through the emails they’ve missed. Make sure you A/B test time of day, so your email hits the right inbox at the right time, in the right time zone (to reach your geo-targeted market).

18. Make sure your Landing Page is mobile optimized – As with any good email marketing campaign, your Landing Page needs to be consistent with your email content. On mobile, that means having a mobile optimized, scalable Page. Keep your CTA large enough to stand out on phones and tablets, but balanced with compelling information to get the coveted conversion. Keep the visuals on your email cohesive with the visuals on your Landing Page.

19. Use QR codes on signup pages – To generate leads directly via mobile, use QR codes on your marketing material. You can even use them to encode emails, to generate leads direct through handhelds.

Image- QR Code

20. Test on multiple devices - Always test your email marketing campaigns. Check out how your content, formatting, subject and pre-header cutoffs will appear on multiple devices. As a minimum, test out for iOS and Android. (note that iPhone users more readily read emails, with a 50% open rate; Android users account for a 14% open rate.

21. Measure your ROI – As always, track and monitor your opens, click-throughs and conversions. Use Jamie’s In-Depth Guide on How to Calculate the ROI of a Social Media Campaign to help calculate your Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC), and then determine your mobile email marketing ROI. Test to  identify and implement methods to decrease your costs of acquisition.

Try out these mobile email tactics to improve your conversion results. What other tips have you used? What’s your success rate?

About the Author:

Image- Krista BunskoekKrista Bunskoek is the Content Marketer at Wishpond. She has written a number of online marketing ebooks like Influence Marketing and Website Contest and Promotions. You can reach Krista through her twitter handle @kbunskoek or her Google+ page.

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Archive for ‘Email marketing’

January 21st, 2014

How to Sell 34.25% More Stuff to Your Customers

 

Laptop Megaphone  

In a 2007, Marketing Sherpa published a case study showing that ConAgra Foods generated 34.25% more product sales from consumers who subscribed to email newsletters, as opposed to consumers who did not.

The ConAgra case study was yet another example of how well-known brands are using email newsletters as a way to grow sales and improve marketing ROI.

In my 20 years of marketing experience, I have come to learn that there are 8 essential traits of an effective email newsletter. Each one brings something new to the table and increases your odds of generating leads and revenue from your newsletter subscribers.

Let’s get to it. Here are the 8 Essential Traits of an Effective Email Newsletter:

 1.) You have a predictable distribution schedule.

Image- Stop Watch

Predictability is going to play a big role in how effective your newsletter is. People are busy. According to the Radicati Group, the average American receives over 100 emails a day. So why make them guess? Or worse, confuse them?

If your newsletter is unreliable, coming in on no particular schedule, it’s going to get lost in the mix. When they know it’s coming in on Monday mornings or the first Friday of the quarter, they will eventually come to expect its arrival. And if you have valuable, useful content and an aesthetic design, they may even look forward to receiving it.

The frequency (weekly, monthly, etc.) of your newsletter isn’t necessarily important. Choose the schedule that works for you and feels natural for your industry.

 2.) You’re sending it to a targeted audience.

Image- Target Market

Like everything in business and life, you need to be intentional about your email newsletter. Each part of it has to have a purpose. Why are you sending your newsletter? What are your goals? How do the photos and content you select appeal to prospects?

When you decide which demographic to target, you can form the rest of your newsletter to influence that group’s feelings about your company. And you want them to feel good about you, right? So if you’re an RV dealer specifically targeting people who are interested in travel, share pictures and stories from your own clients about where they’ve gone and how their RV has helped them get there, along with some top-5 lists of great resorts or restaurants in popular travel areas.

That’s just one example, but having a specific targeted audience in mind helps you mold your marketing message so it is highly relevant to your subscribers, which makes it much more compelling to them. The more relevant your marketing is, the better your results will be.

As far as how to choose your target audience, there are a number ways to go about this. We advise that first you look at your own current crop of customers and find out who THEY are. There are sure to be correlations, the key is simply to find out what they are. Once you understand the people who’ve already chosen your business, you’re more likely to have success by targeting people similar to them. This is a great place to start.

 3.) You offer useful, valuable, and shareable content.

When it comes to your newsletter, it’s kind of like the fairy tales taught you — it’s what’s on the inside that counts. As I mentioned earlier, people get ridiculous amounts of emails on a daily basis. If they’re going to take the time to read your newsletter, they need to get something out of it.

You can offer prospects and customers industry tips or insights. You can tell them some new or little-known benefit about your product or service. You can even share photos and insights from your own life, so long as it’s interesting and subscriber-focused. That should be the bottom line of all your content: make it subscriber-focused. It needs to help them in their everyday lives. That gives them a reason to look forward to the next email. Great content builds trust with prospects and customers alike, and causes them to want to share your content. That’s the best kind of marketing there is.

Here’s a couple examples of great email newsletter content:

  • An auto-repair business warns prospects of the kinds of car troubles that most often catch people by surprise, but can be avoided if caught in time.
  • A dental hygienist breaks down the seemingly endless variations of toothpaste and explains which ones are best for which situations.

It’s a good idea to brainstorm content ideas at the beginning of every month, or every other month (if you come up with enough good ones). Here are a few good ideas to start your next brainstorming session. Come up with a few items for each.

–       Problems that can be solved by your product/service

–       Behind-the-velvet-rope content — little known facts about your product/service

–       Seasonal or timely content that relates your product/service to current events

 4.) You have an ever-expanding readership.

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Just because your audience is targeted doesn’t mean it can’t grow. If you’re targeting new prospects, find a way to get email addresses from them regularly. Continually adding new subscribers gives you more and more opportunities to generate revenue from your email newsletter.

You can do this by adding all the prospects you already have to your email database. Then, add a subscription form on your website. Website visitors can give you their email address to subscribe to your email newsletter if they like what they see. These prospects are opting in to your newsletter, so they’re already interested. Maybe they just need a few emails to push them to make the leap from prospect to customer. Also, maybe mentioning that you offer newsletter-only special offers may increase sign ups!

Don’t forget to ensure your receptionists and sales team routinely ask for email addresses. This is a great practice for building your database as well.

 5.) You provide company news and updates.

According to a survey of email newsletter users done by the Nielsen Norman Group, over 60% of newsletter users rate company news as VALUABLE content for an email newsletter. Basically, that means that a majority of users generate more revenue and click-thru traffic from their newsletter when they feature news about their company or new product promotions in the newsletter. That means this is win-win. Not only are you using easy-to-gather content that will increase the trust and affinity prospects feel for you and your business, you’re actually generating more clicks to your site! And that’s what you want out of a newsletter, right?

Keeping subscribers plugged in to your company’s latest news maintains a stronger connection with them and leads to more sales.

Ideas for what to feature in this section: Staff accomplishments, personal milestones, new products or features, fun work/office happenings and more!

 6.) You don’t forget special offers and subscription incentives.

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Special offers are always attractive to prospects. Use them to your advantage. Feature some discounts or bonuses that are exclusive to your newsletter subscribers. This motivates customers and interested prospects to subscribe, so they can get access to valuable reader-focused content and special promotions at the same time. Special deals also keep subscribers looking forward to the next email.

Be sure to offer something that carries a high perceived value for your customers but a low actual cost for you. For example, many of our medical clients offer free x-rays because the machine is already there, and there’s very little time or labor involved in taking the x-rays. Yet this is a service for which they could potentially charge around $100. High perceived value and low actual cost — it’s virtually perfect.

 7.) You link back to your site frequently to drive traffic.

So, you have a form on your website leading website visitors to subscribe to your newsletter. Now you need links in your newsletter to lead subscribers to your website.

Your newsletter should accomplish two goals:

1) Offer valuable content to encourage loyal reading.

2) Drive traffic to your website.

Look at the topic of each newsletter and find opportunities to link to landing pages for relevant products and services. This gives you natural ways of connecting the great content you offer to the great products or services you provide.

 8.) You give as many contact opportunities as possible.

Image- Social Media Keyboard

You need to give subscribers every opportunity to contact your company. This means featuring contact information prominently, so it can’t be missed. Include your phone number, email address, mailing address (if you have an office location) and social media links. This information makes your company available to prospects should they have a question for you or an interest in a particular product or service. You can feature it right at the top or in your email signature. Just make sure it is easily visible to readers.

Does your newsletter have all 8 of these elements? Each one brings a certain marketing benefit to your newsletter, so be sure you have all of them working for you. If you don’t have a newsletter yet, I recommend you get started right away. They really are a great way to generate more revenue by maintaining your connection and building trust with prospects and customers.

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Here Are Your Next Steps Towards a Killer Email Newsletter:

  • Set a schedule you can stick to consistently with your email newsletter.
  • Define your target audience (unconverted prospects, current customer, prospects who would be interested in a particular product or service, etc.)
  • Brainstorm a list of content ideas to write about in your upcoming newsletters.
  • Add all leads into your newsletter email database.
  • Make sure your newsletters include the important components we discussed (Company News, Contact Info, Website Links, etc.)

So what are you waiting for exactly? Get to it!

Joy Gendusa is the founder and CEO of PostcardMania, a $20 million, full-service marketing company based in Clearwater, FL. She wrote the book on postcard marketing, and built her company from the ground up without any outside investment capital. Download her complete 95-Point Total Marketing Checklist today!

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Archive for ‘Email marketing’

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.

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