Archive for ‘Email marketing’

February 2nd, 2014

21 Easy Ways to Optimize Your Emails for Mobile

Image- Mobile

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.

Image- Preheader

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.

Image- People Connected

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.

Image- Sale

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.

Image- Success Sign

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:

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.

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Archive for ‘Email marketing’

January 2nd, 2014

3 Things You’re Not Doing with Your Emails That You Should Start Doing Today

Image of Email

Did you know that the typical adult finger covers 45 pixels when pressed against a mobile screen? Why is that important? Because if your mobile emails don’t have 15 pixels of padding around your links, 1/3rd of your clicks could be errors.

Image of Mobile Website

That’s just one of the many things I learned from an excellent presentation by Jay Schwedelson with Worldata, a direct marketing services provider. Each year, Jay’s company sends out over 25,000 email and direct marketing campaigns and analyzes what works and what doesn’t work.

With that in mind, I wanted to share 3 of the most interesting findings from the Worldata research. (If you’d like the complete presentation, feel free to contact the team at Worldata — they have plenty of good resources.)

Tip #1: Add a Pre-Header to Your Mobile Emails

What is a pre-header? It may be one of the most under-utilized tools in your email marketing toolkit. The pre-header is the often-ignored line of copy that goes at the top of an email. Most people ignore it or simply add “To view on a web browser, click here.”

If you look at the pre-header on the 60 Second Marketer desktop email, it’s rather innocuous. But on the mobile version, that little line can work a world of magic.

In fact, according to the Worldata research, emails that utilize the first line of a pre-header for offer-related information generate a 19% higher open rate than those that use the space for format issues such as “To view in a web browser, click here.”

Image of Mobile Email

Tip #2: Use the Words “Secret,” “Exclusive” and “Private” to Increase Open Rates by 12% to 17%

Did you notice we used the word “Exclusive” in the e-newsletter that drove you to this blog post? According to the research from Worldata, that increased the odds of you opening the email by 12%. (If we’d used the word “Secret” in the subject line, it would have been closer to 17%.)

Image of Email

Tip #3: Create “Email Only” Offers to Generate a 14% Higher Overall Open Rate

Making people feel exclusive is a great way to increase engagement and, ultimately, sales. The team at Worldata found that adding “Email Only” to their subject lines increased the open rates by 14%.

This finding touches on a larger issue that goes beyond just emails. The larger issue is that humans respond more frequently when they think a product, service or even an advertisement is directed specifically to them. On a deeper level, they feel a commitment to engage with a piece of communication that is speaking to them personally.

As we move into an era of personalized mass marketing, you can expect open rates and click through rates to gradually increase, despite our overflowing email in-boxes. The more personalized we an make our communications, the better for business. And the better for you.

Jamie Turner is the CEO of the 60 Second Marketer and 60 Second Communications, a marketing communications agency that works with national and international brands. He is the co-author of “How to Make Money with Social Media” and “Go Mobile” and is a popular marketing speaker at events, trade shows and corporations around the globe.

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Archive for ‘Email marketing’

November 19th, 2013

How to Get More People to Engage with Your Email Marketing Campaigns

Image of email

When I’m reading a good book, I’m susceptible to getting so engrossed in the story I lose track of time. But If I’m reading an article on a computer, tablet or phone, my attention span is that of a … wait, what were we talking about again?

But I know I’m in good company. With so much media to take in each day, who has time to read every word?

That’s why you should compose your email newsletters and promotions with short attention spans in mind. Grab the attention of your email subscribers and encourage them to engage with your content with a secret weapon: images.

Images bring your message to life, and heck, they’re what keep drawing me back Pinterest most of the time, so use them in your email campaigns. And next time you do, ask yourself these seven questions for the best results:

1. Do they combat scroll-fatigue?

In other words, are you designing for a preview pane? Putting the most important information above the fold? This email marketing tip – in its various forms – has been around for ages, but it’s ubiquitous for a reason: Inboxes are crowded, and we’re all guilty of breezing past emails in preview panes or neglecting to scroll.

Image of email

Images have the power to entice the scroll, though, like this example from J.Crew Factory. They account for the narrowest of preview panes by adding a corner banner that conveys urgency, and on my 13″ MacBook, I get just a peek of the product and an overlaid discount offer. It’s enough to make me scroll down, click-through, and even consider braving the mall this weekend.

2. Do they account for inbox blocks?

It’s always, always worth the extra time to add alt text to your images. These are clues that appear for those readers who haven’t downloaded your images — which is probably most people opening your email in Gmail or Microsoft Outlook or almost any popular web client. Be descriptive and pay attention to the details — A misspelled word in alt text stands out in such a sparse view.

3. Do they evoke emotion?

We’ve already established that email marketing should appeal to the inbox scanner, and that using images to tell your story is the most effective way to get your point across quickly, but images of people have the added effect of conveying emotion.

Image of emotional email

One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is by using pictures of people, like this example from Sseko Designs. Any reader can immediately understand the connection between mother and child and sense the joy on their faces.

4. Do they draw the eye to the right places?

Let’s stick with this example from Sseko Designs. In addition to evoking emotion, the mother’s gaze and the daughter’s head draw the reader’s eye to the right, where the product is. Once you learn this trick, you’ll see it in play everywhere, but it’s a great way to get the focus of your readers in the right place.

5. Do they invite the click?

Make all your images clickable, and where possible, add captions to your images and link some of the text to the same place. At Emma, where I work, we link images and caption text to the same URL, and the caption link always gets more clicks than the image itself, even if the image is a video player.

And it’s not just us — In his book, Cashvertising, Drew Eric Whitman writes that image captions are some of the most read online copy, so it’s a natural place to include a link to more content. Garden & Gun does a great job of adding linked captions below clickable images.

Image of Garden & Gun email

While you’re linking images, make sure they’re sized for fingertip clicks. Forty-three percent of all email is read on a mobile device these days, and that number will only continue to rise. Size buttons and clickable images to at least 45 pixels and give them plenty of white space to allow for mobile readers to engage with your content (and not accidentally click in the wrong spot).

6. Do they relate to each other?

Unified images — those of the same size, in the same frames or of the same color scheme — are often the difference between a professional-looking email and one that looks haphazard. The designers at method home do a great job of tying together their graphic elements and photos with similar hues, like this email full of oranges, blues and yellows.

Image of Method Email

Luckily, there’s an abundance of tools out there that can make your images feel related without a lot of fuss (or design know-how). Emma has a built-in image editor powered by Aviary, and websites like PicMonkey.com and Pixlr.com offer similar tools and an easy-to-use interface.

7. Do they tell my story?

Since now you know that images get lots of attention from email readers, choose them wisely. Images should reflect your brand, support the message you’re conveying, and ultimately further the bigger story of your organization. Before you hit send on your next email, run each image through a short set of check backs that you’ve defined.

Are you a design firm? Make sure the images evoke the right aesthetic for your prospects. Is your business or nonprofit all about people? Then your email should have some faces in it. Are you selling a product? Take a look with fresh eyes and confirm the photo presents your product in the most compelling way possible.

Find more image stats and tips in the Brainiac Guide to Images in Email.

About the Author: Emily Konouchi is the Director of Content & Communication at Emma, Inc. a web-based email marketing service that helps organizations communicate in style.

 

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