Archive for ‘Email marketing’

March 1st, 2015

91% of Consumers Check Emails Once a Day via Smartphone

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Did you know that 91% of consumers check their email on their smartphone at least once a day, and spend, on-average, 9 minutes a day on accessing email from their mobile devices. Furthermore, 71% of users immediately delete emails that don’t display correctly on your device.

What does this mean for your email marketing program? Well, for starters this means that using responsive email design has now become a necessity.

The infographic below, created by Aqeuous,  offers more interesting statistics about mobile use for email, and explains why responsive email design is no longer optional:

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Archive for ‘Email marketing’

February 5th, 2015

5 Ways to Tweak Your Email Sign Up Forms to Boost Subscribers

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Most of us are perpetually looking for new contacts to add to our subscriber lists. It’s part of life as a modern marketer. The average email list churns by about 30 percent every year, so we have to constantly be on the lookout for new and innovative ways to fill that funnel.

The good news is, every page on your site is full of opportunities to engage your visitors and convince them to join your list. The bad news is, most visitors don’t spend much time on a web page – in fact, 55% spend 15 seconds or less on your site.

So, how can you make the most of those 15 seconds? Here are five simple tweaks to optimize your signup form – and convert more clicks.

Tweak #1: Shine a spotlight on your call to action.

Keep the call to action in the visitor’s line of sight as long as possible. One of the easiest ways to do this is to use a lightbox to add the form to a sticky header or footer and keep it on screen at all times.

I know – lightboxes (also known as pop-ups) aren’t universally loved. Some marketers believe they degrade the brand. Others feel they degrade the user experience. Others just think they’re ugly.

Fact is, when it comes to attracting new subscribers, lightboxes are a tried-and-true tactic. They work because they make it easy for visitors to find your form – and to join your list.

If you’re still on the fence, consider this: Amazon uses a similar method to keep the “Add to Cart” button on screen. By keeping the button on screen at all times, the visitor can add the product to their cart at any time without having to scroll all the way back to the top of the page, making it far more likely that the visitor will make a purchase.

Also: Be specific. A generic “contact us” message isn’t going to yield the same results as a more specific CTA. Think about your key messages. If you’re trying to raise funds for your food pantry, your CTA might be, “Help feed the hungry.” If you are pushing a new ebook, try “Get the inside scoop now.” A CTA directly related to the content you’re offering will always generate better results.

Tweak #2: Pique visitor interest by adding video.

Video is a must-have for marketers for many reasons. First, it boosts awareness: Videos increase people’s understanding of your product or service by 74%. It also is a powerful conversion tool. Website visitors are 64% more likely to buy a product on an online retail site after watching a video.

Video’s also one of the best ways to keep guests on your site for longer than the aforementioned 15 seconds. If you have a video on your page, position your opt-in right under it. Or, use a lightbox to ask people to join before they view. By tying your signup to a video that already has the visitor’s attention, you’ll increase the chances that they’ll sign up for your list.

Tweak #3: Relocate your form to prime real estate.

Many company websites corral links in footers for the sake of design. It looks clean – but it can lead to many missed opt-in opportunities. Put your signup form at the top of your home page alongside some other engaging content. You’ll get the most eyeballs possible on your form without requiring site visitors to scroll all the way down to the bottom.

Tweak #4: Encourage engagement with interactive elements.

Keep your audience captivated by adding engaging elements to your form, like an animated gif.

Another tactic? Switch up the look and feel of your opt-in to make it look more like a live chat box. Ask the user a question like, “Hi, I’m Emily – want to learn more about our product?” This also provides a great opportunity for A/B testing. Craft several copy options, and rotate various questions until you find the one that best resonates with your target audience.


Tweak #5: Modify it for mobile.

Today, it’s absolutely critical to optimize your forms for mobile – 80% of Internet searches are made on a smartphone, and 47% are logged from a tablet. With that in mind, your sign-up forms should be built with a smaller screen and ease of scrolling in mind. Instead of putting a bunch of fields on your form, limit it to one or two fields and add a big call to action button. This allows visitors to join your list with the tap of a button.


Christopher Lester is the vice president of sales at Emma where he leads the team of experts who provide strategic and tactical services to all Emma clients, as well as specialized support to large senders and significant brands.

 

Archive for ‘Email marketing’

January 20th, 2015

Three Tips to Overcome Email Fatigue in the New Year

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The start of a new year can bring many new opportunities for marketers. Unfortunately, this season of fresh starts also comes with its own set of unique challenges.

Once the calendar flips to January, many consumers feel compelled to clean hypothetical house – purging clutter, conquering unhealthy habits, and even opting out of emails from the brands that crammed their inboxes in December.

So, how can modern marketers deal with this detox mode – and make sure their messages aren’t lost in the New Year’s clean sweep? To help, here are three quick tips to help overcome post-holiday subscriber email fatigue.

1. Spotlight your most relevant, value-added content in January. 

For a brand to keep subscribers around in the midst of the big January purge, they’ve got to show them some real value. Now that they are past the holiday crunch, your subscribers are less interested in “save big, limited time, act now” value. They’re looking for content that makes them feel smarter, inspires positive change and builds on the trust that they’ve put in their relationship with your business.

Use January to show your brand’s worth as a long-term investment. Share evergreen tips and advice that are related to – but not all about –your product or service. This is a great time of year to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry or mindspace – and the best way to accomplish that goal is to regularly share relevant content that first makes your subscribers click – and then makes them think.

2. Create an email series geared toward making your subscriber’s life a little easier in the New Year.

It may seem counter-intuitive to create a series targeted to email-fatigued subscribers. But this is another strategic way to show consumers you have valuable information to share – and that you know how to break that content down into bite-sized nuggets that won’t tax their attention, their schedule, or their inbox storage capacity.

First, select an umbrella topic relevant to your recipients’ business objectives. You can probably look to your own first quarter plan for great ideas on content that will resonate with your audiences – think “organization” and “optimization” to start. Those concepts are practically universal this time of year.

Once you know what you want to say, create a schedule and a mini-messaging plan for this push. For example, you might send 4-6 messages every few days. Or, consider offering subscribers a weekly “Top Five Tips for the New Year” countdown. The goal is to create meaningful, periodic touch points over the course of a few weeks to remind your subscribers that you’re a valuable resource year-round – not just during the holidays.

3. Be willing to concede to a scale back.

Subscribers’ needs are constantly changing, so flexibility is key. The customer who wanted your sales emails twice a day in December may not want to sustain that frequent contact now that their annual shopping binge is over for the year. However, with some savvy handling, you can maintain the contact by simply scaling back your contact strategy.

Consider offering a way for readers to manage their subscription preferences. An “all or nothing” model can alienate consumers who only want to hear from you on their schedule. Instead, build some flexibility into your subscriber services and allow customers to deal with their New Year email fatigue by reducing contact, rather than eliminating it completely. Make it easy to “turn down” the conversation volume – but continue to share valuable content on a schedule that appeals to each individual user.

With all that said, remember: The average email list churns by about 30 percent every year. If a few subscribers decide to opt out of your list, it’s ok – because new subscribers are everywhere!  Put equal emphasis on finding new contacts and retaining the ones you already have, and you’ll be well positioned for success in 2015.

 

Christopher Lester is the vice president of sales at Emma where he leads the team of experts who provide strategic and tactical services to all Emma clients, as well as specialized support to large senders and significant brands.

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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.

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.