Archive for ‘Email marketing’

November 10th, 2014

7 Secret Ingredients of an Impeccable Sales Email

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Email is the first port of call for most sales and marketing teams in the B2B realm owing to its ease of use, comparatively low technology requirements, and the quick turnaround time that it affords.

Whether it is a cold call or a pitch, a follow-up with a lead or nurturing a potential customer, handling an existing customer or offering service to an existing one, email allows marketers to handle each task with élan.

B2C marketing teams are not too far behind in their use of email in their marketing. As a conversion tool, email marketing has proven itself over the years to be highly effective. What’s more, over 52% of all marketers increased their email marketing budgets in 2014.

A recent Email Marketing Benchmarks Study by eMarketer reports that: “The average order value from customers acquired via email is also 17% higher than those acquired from social media channels.”

Email marketing is easy to measure and analyze, which makes it unparalleled in its ability to help us understand where sales are coming from. And email marketing makes sense for both the B2C world and the B2B world. After all, the final readers in both cases are individuals so the effect of media channels on them ought to be similar.

What follows are 7 secrets you can use in your email marketing to ensure you get the most bang for your buck.

  1. Get inside the mind of your prospective customers

An email campaign is only as good as the research that goes into it.

In a B2B scenario, study your client’s business inside out. Understand what their pain points are, what their victories were, what they are currently working on. All of these will help you get a sense of what to offer to the client and be more relevant to their immediate needs.

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A B2C campaign needs to send targeted communications to its users based on the wealth of big data that they have at their disposal. An email campaign promoting women’s running shoes to a male athlete is a waste of time and effort. Worse, it tells the user that you have no clue about their real needs, prompting them to ignore future communications that you send them.

Track users across different interfaces and loop data back into personalized emails.

Whether online or in physical stores, you can track user behavior and profiles to deep levels these days. Click tracking, browsing behavior or actual purchases tell you a lot about each individual user.

Use this information in creating personalized emails for your customers. After all, studies show that relevant, personalized communication results in higher conversions.

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Source: Monetate
  1. Use a real person’s name in the “from” field to increase opens by 33%

It pains me every time I receive email from excitingoffers-noreply@some-site-on-behalf-of-some-other.com. If your subscribers don’t see the name of your site, app, or CEO (best) in the Sender field of your email, why should they waste time in opening it? If at all it chances to beat their spam filters, it probably won’t even register in their minds.

Customers tend to not bother opening emails that they think are from unknown people or brands they have never interacted with. According to a study by Marketing Sherpa:

“A ’from name’ test showed a 33% increase in Open Rates, by using a person’s name and not a brand. But it also resulted in a 150% increase in Unsubscribes.”

Use your CEO’s name if she is a recognizable personality, for the ‘From’ field in your emails. Go with your brand name if that is more recognizable. A trusted, known name is always a better deal than random unknown email ‘From’ names.

While marketing agencies like Distilled (Will Critchlow), QuickSprout (Neil Patel) and WordStream (Larry Kim) put this practice to good use, it’s a great sight to see a major brand like Ralph Lauren building connections in this way.

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Imagine opening your inbox and seeing a direct mail from the CEO you adore, of a brand you love and use!

  1. Make sure your content is scintilating

You might get the subject line spot on and make a customer curious enough to open your email. But if your content is not worthwhile, it will ensure future emails from your brand don’t get opened.

Equip your B2C emails with a strong headline that clearly communicates the gist of the email. The content of the email should have a clear offer, pricing information (if appropriate to the stage of communication) and an unmissable, unambiguous Call to Action.

A B2B email should begin with a strong opening line that makes a connection with the reader instead of wasting the opening line on boring self-introductions that the user couldn’t care less about.

  1. Offer the user something special to entice them to read

82.4 billion B2C and 100.5 billion B2B emails are sent every single day. An average user is inundated with an avalanche of unsolicited and spammy emails on a daily basis.

If you want your communication to stand out, offer the user something special, something that would prompt them to look forward to hearing more from you.

This can be in the form of valuable information like research studies, infographics or whitepapers. It could even be really attractive deals and monetary enticements like discounts, freebies, referral bonus, extra loyalty points, and so on.

  1. Create a sense of urgency with time-bound offers

However great an offer maybe, unless there’s an end-date to it, no customer is pushed to whip out their wallets right away.

This email from TigerDirect has the right combination of a strong headline, an offer that creates a real sense of urgency, and a call to action button that it is loud and clear.

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To make sure your email communication inspires action immediately, create time-bound offers while clearly spelling out when the offer expires. Similar tactics like ‘Limited stock’ offers or special deals for the ‘first 50 customers’ make users want to capitalize on the opportunity while it lasts.

  1. Increase your reach by including social sharing buttons

A truly great sales email inspires users to share it with friends and family who have similar interests. Nudge them to do this by including social sharing buttons alongside each key piece of information. It could be a tweetable quote, a tempting offer shareable on Facebook, or a cute image they can’t resist pinning.

Another great way to ensure visibility to users above and beyond your mailing list is to include a prominent ‘forward to friends’ button on your email.

Typetec encourages users to forward the email to their friends using a prominently placed button in a contrasting color at the top right of the email.

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  1. Increase open rates 50% by using triggered emails

Remarketing company SaleCycle estimates that abandoned shopping carts will cost $3 trillion in online sales in 2014. But there’s a simple and extremely effective way of bringing back customers who ditched your site – triggered emails sent within hours of shopping cart abandonment.

Triggered emails are those you send out based on the behavior or profile data of your site visitors or customers. According to the Epsilon Email Trends and Benchmarks Study 2013, open rates for triggered emails stand at about 50%, while CTRs are around 10% (double that of business-as-usual emails).

In fact, SaleCycle found that such triggered emails for abandoned shopping carts yield revenues ranging from $15.23 (fashion & lifestyle category) to $ 1.48 (food & drink category) per email sent out.

Nordstrom keeps it simple and classy. Their cart abandonment email shows an image of the abandoned item and offers a prominent click through link directing the user to the product page to complete the transaction.

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An effective triggered email for abandoned shopping carts should be extremely personalized with the user’s name, details of the product left behind in the cart, a link and images of the product left behind and a clear call to action encouraging users to retrieve the abandoned cart before it expires. Abandoned cart emails are usually sent out in sets of 2 to 3 emails, with the next set of emails containing a small incentive like a discount or free shipping to entice an immediate purchase.

There’s still room for early adopters in this space. Adopt an integrated email tool like GetResponse’s auto-responder to configure triggers that make sense to your brand, schedule your message cycles, and template out what you want to say in each of them.

Closing Thoughts

Break down your brand’s marketing lifecycle and device-specific email communication strategies using the secrets mentioned above as the foundation for your plans. Once you have the overall direction chalked out and the routes planned, it’s only a matter of following the signs and driving through to your final destination. Here’s to many happy journeys ahead!

Rohan Ayyar works for E2M, a premium digital marketing firm specializing in content strategy, web analytics and conversion rate optimization for startups. His posts are featured on major online marketing blogs such as Moz, Search Engine Journal and Social Media Today. Rohan hangs out round the clock on Twitter @searchrook – hit him up any time for a quick chat.

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Archive for ‘Email marketing’

October 26th, 2014

How to Use Triggered Emails to Generate a 70.5% Increase in Open Rates

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Did you know triggered email messages average 70.5 percent higher open rates and 152 percent higher click-through rates than traditional bulk messages, according to Epsilon?

Yup. You read that right.

Automation is one of the easiest ways to take your marketing operations to the next level – and make your life easier.

At Emma Email Marketing, we created an e-book about this topic that’s designed to help modern marketers learn how to build an email automation program that gets great results right away. (Interested in downloading the e-book? Click here.)

Of course, every journey begins with a first step – and it just so happens the road to strategic email automation starts with a welcome series.

There are lots of good things about new subscribers. They’re more engaged, they haven’t seen most of your content before and they’re statistically more likely to click and open your emails.

But there’s a problem: The story you’re telling your long-time subscribers in your main marketing emails may not make sense to these new contacts. That’s why you need a welcome series – it puts you in control of how your subscribers are introduced to your brand. In addition, it creates trust and helps you establish a relationship with your customer. First impressions are crucial, and sometimes, a single welcome email isn’t enough to set the stage.

Here are three easy steps to mobilize a welcome series using email automation:

Step 1. Create custom messages perfect for your new subscribers.

It’s tempting to build a welcome series based on the number of emails you think you should send. Instead, start with what you need to say, and then determine how many emails it’ll take to say it.

First, consider the basics. If someone is new to your email list, what do they need to know about your brand?

If you sell a product or service, your series might look like this:

  • How our product or service works
  • How we’re different from our competitors
  • People rave about us (testimonials)
  • A special offer

For nonprofit organizations, a series might include pieces such as:

  • Our history and mission
  • Stories of impact we’ve made
  • A calendar of the year’s events
  • Exclusive perks for donors/members

Step 2. Build a framework for those messages.

Once you know what you want to say, decide when you should say it. Create a schedule of emails, and plan a regular – or random — messaging plan. For example, you might send 4-6 messages every few days, so it feels random. Or if you think more structure is a better fit for your program, consider offering new subscribers a daily tip or weekly “Top Five Tips” countdown.

Don’t forget to keep in mind the length of your sales cycle, too. If your typical subscriber is most likely to buy in the first 48 hours, it might be more effective to front-load your series. If your sales cycle is longer, plan meaningful, periodic touch points over the course of a few weeks.

Finally, identify and schedule the appropriate trigger for each email in the series. If you have planned a weekly series, schedule the first email to trigger immediately after someone new joins your list. The second email should trigger one week from the date the new subscriber opted in, the third email two weeks from the date they joined and so on, until all messages have been doled out.

Step 3. Consider removing new subscribers from your primary contact list until they’ve worked their way through the welcome series.

Have you ever walked into a theater after the movie has already started? That’s often what it’s like for new subscribers. The next email on your calendar might mention campaigns or promotions your newest subscribers aren’t ready for yet, creating confusion or worse, frustration.

To make sure your new subscribers are primed for your primary messages, take them out of rotation until they’ve cycled through the full welcome series. There are several ways to do this depending on your email service provider and list structure.

If it sounds easy – it is. And a welcome series is just one impact device you can deploy to nurture leads through email automation.

(To learn more about how automation can elevate your marketing efforts, download Automation Demystified: A modern marketer’s guide to email automation for free here.)

About the Author: Cynthia Price is director of partner development at Emma, an email-marketing company. With an extensive background in sales and marketing, Cynthia represents Emma at conferences across the country, where she can be found geeking out about everything from subject lines to audience segmentation.

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Archive for ‘Email marketing’

October 24th, 2014

Are You Making These Fundamental Mistakes with Your Email Marketing?

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There are some things an email marketer can do that while they won’t kill you, they will make you dead to your subscribers. They’re innocent enough mistakes and some not totally egregious errors. However, when not taken into consideration … they can mean the difference between email marketing success and failure. Here are five deadly mistakes made in email marketing.

Unbalanced content

Big blocks of text make everybody’s eyes glaze over. They’ll scan for anything in bold and headlines and probably ignore all the copy you worked hard on crafting. All the same, emails with too many photos will probably land you in the spam folder … or at the very least go unseen thanks to inbox clients with images automatically disabled.

Neglecting list hygiene

It’s easy to see the logic that the more people you have in your email list, the more chances you’ll have to make a sale. Bigger isn’t always better, though. Actually, if you keep subscribers in your list that aren’t opening your emails, it can start to hurt your deliverability. Say you send a monthly newsletter. If a subscriber hasn’t opened your last six emails, they probably don’t want to receive them any more. They’re just too lazy to unsubscribe. Clean them out of your list, or at the very least move them to a new list. Try to reengage them with a separate campaign. If that fails, delete them for good.

Stay the same

Say you wear a black suit and white shirt to work everyday. Then one day you come in wearing a grey suit and a pink shirt. Everyone is going to take notice. Switching up your design once in a while will keep your subscribers from getting bored and tuning you out.

Consider the funnel

Email is just one step in a company’s overall marketing plan. It is a touchpoint with customers or leads that is part of a bigger goal. Always keep the ultimate goal in mind. Your email could do the job it’s supposed to, but it won’t matter if the rest of the funnel isn’t in order. If the goal of an email campaign is to bring traffic to your website, make sure your website is doing its job as well.

Doing it all yourself

No, I don’t mean you need a team of employees and interns at your beck and call to do great email marketing. I mean, you should automate as much of it as you can. Autoresponders are a great tool in your arsenal. They’re the Ronco ShHowtime Rotisserie of email marketing. You can just “set it, and forget it!” Things like birthday emails, or triggered email campaigns can do all the work for you after you set them up once.

About the Author: Andy Shore is the Content and Social Networking Manager at Benchmark Email.

 

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Archive for ‘Email marketing’

September 22nd, 2014

How to Use Social Media Insights to Increase Your Email ROI.

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When was the last time you went a day without seeing an article about social media? Just scroll through any marketing blog and you’ll see dozens of posts about what businesses could, should and ought to be doing in social media in order to get a higher ROI.

Hardly a day goes by without seeing an article like that, right?

If you printed every article on the value of social media for business, it would circle the globe several times over. This is due, in part, because it’s a relatively new marketing discipline. It’s also due to the rapid growth of content marketing. And it’s due to the fact that people are still trying to prove there actually is an ROI to social media.

Maybe then if we all keep placing our bets, all keep praying for a good harvest, the sun will shine and there’ll be enough food to get us through the winter.

False Rumors of Email Death

At the same time, the death of email marketing has been widely rumored for a while. And yet, email is alive and well.

According to an Econsultancy 2014 industry census 68% rate email as a good or excellent marketing channel, with 23% of their total sales coming from that channel. Social however, fell behind PPC and content, with only 32% of respondents claiming it to be good or excellent for ROI. A shocking 30% considers it poor, from that same survey.

According to a Marketing Sherpa Survey, email is still the preferred channel for 75% of customers. And the Direct Marketing Association reports that email has an ROI of 4300%, which means for every $1 spent, brands, on average, get $43 back.

A Social Leap of Faith

In a New York Times op-ed, author and technology journalist, Stephen Baker, highlighted the fact that on Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, social media only played a supporting role. According to an IBM study, ‘a scant 0.68 percent of online purchases came directly from Facebook. The number from Twitter was undetectable.’

Baker compares social media to the arrival of other major technological shifts, like electricity, and a familiar story from the dot-com bubble: thousands of well-funded consumer websites designed to generate ad revenue from “eyeballs.” He feels that, ‘The impact of new technologies is invariably misjudged because we measure the future with yardsticks from the past.’

From a historical perspective, he’s right.

As far as a CMO is concerned, they can’t afford to think in decades. Yes, engagement is great, and yes, it helps to raise awareness when customers are moving along their unique buyer journey; but trying to extract meaningful ROI from those actions and put a dollar amount on them is still proving difficult.

Best of Both Worlds?

At the moment social media still has qualities which, from an ROI perspective, are hard to nail down. Not exactly what a CFO would want to hear, but it’s true. Email however, is doing better than ever. Can the two be combined in a meaningful way?

Consumers want brands who recognize that and align their marketing with their aspirations. Savvy marketers are leveraging technology to make that happen.

Gregarious Narain, Chute’s CTO and Co-founder, worked with Atlantic Records to produce a customer-generated video for the popular movie The Fault in Our Stars. Every image, was crowd-sourced using the hashtag #TFIOSencouragements on Instagram and Twitter, sourced and filtered using the Chute platform. In total 3,800 frames were collected, with the end result — using lyrics by Ed Sheeran — has had 10.8 million views so far.

Narain told the blogger, Ann Handley, “All it takes is consistent engagement and collaboration. Your fans want to hear from you, talk to you and be recognized by you. They are no longer happy just consuming the one-way stream of content brands historically produced.”

In a similar way, customers and prospects want to feel they are taking part in a narrative. Not just one of several million receiving the same email. With social media listening tools it is possible to bring social data, deep customer insight, into that narrative.

What kind of social media listening tools can be used to monitor the sentiments of your customers and prospects? We cover 9 of the top tools (including SproutSocial, BrandsEye and SocialBakers) in a post on the 60 Second Marketer called 9 Top Social Media Analytics Tools to Help You Track Your Success.

Review the post and see which tools might be right for your social media listening campaign. Then apply what you’ve learned about your prospects and customers into your next email marketing campaign. By leveraging both sets of tools, you’ll be able to improve the ROI of your next email marketing campaign.

Dominic Tarn is a content creator for start-ups and is the author of The New Goldrush: A Quick Guide to Startups.

 
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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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