What To Look For In An Email Marketing Company

Posted on Feb 16, 2012 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Marketing

What To Look For In An Email Marketing Company

Companies who know which avenues they need to take in order to be a success are well aware of what email marketing can do for them.  Virtually every company that has been asked about email marketing say that it’s an excellent form of advertising. A recent survey published by Econsultancy showed that almost 75% of businesses consider email marketing to be second behind SEO in terms of return on investment. Almost half of the companies in the survey suggested that email marketing was their number one advertising tool with around two-thirds of companies stating that an increase in email marketing was on the cards in 2012.

Right Choice

So how does a small business find a suitable email marketing company? Small organizations don’t have the room for error that their larger counterparts have which means that they must choose the right provider first time around. Avoid signing lengthy contracts with any agency. If they can’t give you what you need, a contract will tie you to their unsuitable services. By the time the contract ends, your company could more or less be finished. Note the difference between money back guarantees and free trials. If there is a free trial available, take it but be aware of catches. Money back guarantees carry stipulations so be wary before signing any contracts.

Expense

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that ‘high-end’ (read expensive) email marketing companies offer you the same level of service. Expect there to be a tremendous difference in the features offered by each company. It’s not unusual for one company to have automation while another lacks this seemingly commonplace feature for example. Therefore, the onus is on you to check the services provided by each company. Go through them with a fine-tooth comb leaving nothing to chance. Only settle for a company that can give you precisely what you need. Don’t accept less than the best available on your budget because your entire business may rise and fall on the email marketing services provided by a company.

The number of subscribers you have dictates the cost. It’s not unusual for an email marketing company to charge $15 a month for businesses with less than 500 contacts while charging more than $100 a month for companies with over 20,000 contacts. Large companies will think nothing of spending $1,000+ on email marketing, small businesses may have to think twice. Also, be sure to read as many reviews pertaining to the email marketing companies y

Have You Forgotten About Email Marketing?

Posted on Feb 16, 2012 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Marketing

Have You Forgotten About Email Marketing?

A mistake most companies make when the time comes to launch a product or service online is to rely mainly on SEO content writing as their main plan of attack. While SEO content is vital, missing out on the power of email marketing really is criminal. It is a form of marketing that can reach more customers than any other, is inexpensive and when done correctly, will see your profit margin dramatically rise.

Customer Retention

One of the best things about email marketing is its ability to help you keep existing customers. SEO content writing helps you get the customers while email marketing enables you to keep them. According to industry statistics, it can cost 400% more to market to new customers than old ones. Your regulars know your company and use up less of your customer service time. They are also familiar with your product, know what they want and tend to purchase more than new customers. Therefore, it makes sense to market to those you know before targeting a new audience. With old customers, all you need to do is provide them with updates on new products as well as offering the occasional incentive.

Be Personal

Did you know that almost one trillion emails are sent per day and that more than 50% of email users check their email at least four times a day? Email marketing gives you a greater opportunity than any other form of advertising. One problem is the number of spam each email user endures. As a result, your email should sound like it speaks directly to one person. This doesn’t mean that you must spend all your waking hours typing individual emails to each person, it just means that you avoid sending generic emails that scream out ‘SPAM’! Remember, modern internet users define spam as unwanted email. In days gone by, spam was seen as unsolicited email.

Remember Your Purpose

Email marketing is nothing like writing web content. There are active spam filters and you need to avoid making your emails sound like adverts even though their sole purpose is to generate sales. To get your email opened, you need a great subject line which arouses interest. To keep them reading, the content must be concise and to the point because people don’t have time to read verbose emails. No matter how flowery your prose is, if you don’t make sales, the entire email marketing campaign has been a failure.

How Bars And Breweries Should Use Email Marketing

Posted on Feb 15, 2012 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Marketing

How Bars And Breweries Should Use Email Marketing

Anyone who runs a brewery or a bar knows that keeping customers is becoming increasingly difficult. The era of the ‘regular’ in bars is coming to an end as customers seek the newest and most chic places to socialize. From the point of view of the brewer, it can seem like an impossible task to take on rivals who have larger distribution channels and a greater marketing budget. However, email marketing is the great equalizer. Once you know how to use email efficiently, you will be able to take customers from breweries and bars many times larger than yours.

Email Advantages

The main advantage of email marketing is of course the fact that it is extremely inexpensive. However, its main weapon is its ability to speak to a specific audience, something that more traditional forms of marketing can’t do. It enables brewers and bars to speak to a local audience as well as delivering the highest return on investment of any form of online marketing. The data generated by email marketing also allows you to make important changes to cater to your target audience.

Getting Email Addresses

The first step is to get customer details. This is surprisingly easy. A great idea is to set up a business card collection box in a visible area (the counter for example). Use an incentive such as a discount or prize to get people to fill in the cards you supply. On your website, you should also have a competition or a poll which will help you gather yet more email addresses. This is a simple way to build up a formidable subscriber list.

Now that consumers have willingly given you their email addresses, you can start that email marketing campaign. There are a huge number of services which can help you email thousands of customers for just a few dollars a month. The best services also have analytic(s) which provide you with statistics relating to the response rate of the email recipients. This data is analyzed and you alter the campaign’s emails if necessary.

Make It Count

The first rule of email marketing is to always show the recipient that there is value in opening the emails. Most people receive hundreds of emails a week so yours needs to stand out in order to be taken seriously. Whenever possible, mention special offers, discounts and other promotions to keep them interested. However, you should also make an effort to send emails that just contain items that you know will be shared such as a link to funny photos or hilarious alcohol-related stories. Always make sure these photos are tagged with your company’s name.

Once you have a customer’s email, it’s your duty to treat them properly. Don’t test their patience by sending emails every day. Only email them when you have something interesting to say. Show respect for their time and they may reward you with future business.

What Should Be Included In A Restaurant’s Email Marketing Campaign

Posted on Feb 15, 2012 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Marketing

What Should Be Included In A Restaurant’s Email Marketing Campaign

Presumably you have subscriber’s lists set up and are informing them about changes to the menu, coupons and special events. Your email marketing campaign appears to be working as customers are responding and there are new subscribers each week. Is it time to rest on your laurels? Only if you want your upturn in fortunes to dissipate. No email marketing campaign is perfect so you need to continue taking a closer look and adding things that may be missing.

Add Menus

One of the biggest mistakes made by restaurants is not having their menus listed online. If someone hasn’t been to your establishment before, you need to add a menu filled with descriptions of your food that will send their taste buds tingling. You may even persuade regular customers to try something new. If you have been too busy or can’t seem to be able to track down your “web-guy” and need to get your menu online in the meantime, you can place your menu on sites like www.thegrubclub.com for free. It’s also a great idea to include professional pictures of your food in emails just to tempt the reader further.

Why Should I Visit?

You need to provide incentives to customers and give them a reason to continue subscribing. The most obvious way of doing this is by offering discounts exclusively to your subscribers. It doesn’t have to be a substantial amount but it does need to be large enough to force customers to take you up on the offer. Perhaps you could offer $10 off purchases over $40 or a free bottle of wine with a main course. Also, if you sell gift cards, be sure to mention this to your subscribers. Gift cards make excellent quick gifts but most people forget to ask for them when they’re out because the (hopefully) amazing dining experience distracts them.

It’s also extremely important that you mention your opening hours on the emails. This is especially relevant for restaurants that lack a website. A startling number of restaurants fail to add this little bit of information and as a result, lose customers who turn up on a Monday only to find the place closed. And while you’re in the business of providing information, ensure that clear directions are available for customers. Why would they bother visiting your business if they have to look long and hard for it?

There is a lot more to email marketing for your restaurant than telling everyone how great your food is. You need to show that your business is superior to all others. Make things as easy as possible for customers and they will show up in their droves, provided your food and service is up to standard of course!

New Import/Export Process

Posted on Feb 15, 2012 by Michael Herman | Posted in SYSTEM UPDATES

Hello All-

We have implemented a new import/export process. Now instead of you having to wait for your list to import with the progress bar, your list is sent to a job queue that processes the upload directly on the server.

This allows for a much faster handling of your lists! Once you select your list to be imported or exported, you are then taken to a page where you can View Scheduled Import/Export Queue.  Once there you will see your job queue.

You can then “View Your Results” for imported lists which will give you a report like this:

The contact import has been completed successfully

122 contacts were imported successfully

0 contacts were updated successfully

1 duplicates

0 contacts are unsubscribed

0 contacts are suppressed from joining this contact list

1 contact contains bad data

0 contacts were not imported successfully

Or if you are exporting, there will be an option to ‘Download.’

Another benefit of the new import/export process is that you can now schedule multiple jobs at once in the same browser. In other words, you can import as many lists as you like at one time without have to wait for each list to complete or opening a new browser to start a new import job.

Hope you like it!

Real Time Features in Facebook

Posted on Jun 23, 2011 by Michael Herman | Posted in Social Media

Facebook has been testing a new feature for News Feeds that gives the user the ability to view likes, comments and things their friends are sharing in real time.

Real time? Oh yes, real time. Now, few of you might have used TweetDeck when they implemented their “real time” ability. I saw quite a few tweets comparing it to #twittercrack. And now with Facebook looking to roll their version out, I can only imagine the impact it will have on users productivity.

But Facebook is already a master at stealing away productivity; the real problem with this new feature is that it kills off the ad space on the right hand side of the home page. Facebook recently reported that in 2010, their ad revenue was at $1.86B. Staggering yes, so why would they kill off some prime ad real estate? It’s unclear.

Again, these screenshots are still in testing phase but I find it hard to believe that they would bite the bullet on the ad revenue. I expect that if Facebook widely implements this feature, there will be some layout adjustments to still accommodate the ads.

5 Reasons to Use an Email Service Provider (ESP)

Posted on Mar 4, 2011 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Marketing

Email marketing has been around for over ten years now, but with all the changing technology available, there are many new techniques and strategies you can apply to email in order to achieve an even higher ROI and conversion rate than was attainable in the past! In fact, one of the MOST important things you can do for your email marketing campaign is to invest in an ESP, or email marketing service provider.  Even if your email list is small, start out with a reliable ESP so once your list grows to a few hundred or more recipients, you’ll have the technology already in place to automatically handle subscribes, bounces, and deliverability issues!

Here are a quick list of reasons you should be using an ESP instead of a regular email client such as Outlook.

1. List Management: Make it easy for yourself and others to subscribe to your list!  With ESP’s you can automatically have new contacts added through your website, Facebook page, and more!  As you are growing your list quickly, this will be very helpful!

2.  High Deliverability: Your email client is not meant to sent out bulk emails to contacts and your messages may end up labeled as spam by ISPs, not even arriving into your recipients’ spam folders, much less their inboxes.  ESPs are approved by ISPd as a legitimate, CAN SPAM compliant, permission-based email delivery service.

3.  Ability to Create and Send HTML Messages: Most ESPs include several well-designed HTML templates for you to customize and use for your email campaigns.  Save these templates to use over and over again so all of your messages are consistent!

4.  Segmented Lists and Personalization Features: Target those individuals on your list with messages that are most relevant to them.  This increases your click-thru and conversion rates – therefore increasing your ROI!  With ESPs you can easily insert your recipients’ name, company name, past purchase history and other information directly into the message or subject line!

5.  Automatic CAN SPAM Compliance:  ESPs make CAN SPAM compliance easy by automatically inserting your physical address and unsubscribe information in the footer of the email, as well as automatically removing unsubscribes immediately so that you are in compliance with the 10 day rule!

There are so many other features that make an ESP your top choice for your email marketing!  Give us a call and we can review more with you!

20 Tips to Get Your Content Seen on Facebook

Posted on Feb 23, 2011 by Michael Herman | Posted in Social Media

I recently attended the Social Fresh conference in Tampa, FL and had the opportunity to hear some mind-blowing speakers.  One of them was Ellie Mirman from HubSpot.  She provided 20 tips on getting your content seen on Facebook.  It isn’t as easy as it sounds, but check out these great tips!

What is “News Feed Optimization”?

The news feed is the #1 most visible real estate on Facebook. It is customized to each user based on their network and their patterns of activity, like which of their friends they interact with the most. The news feed shows the top posts from a user’s network, filtering out more than 99% of content. So, the question is, how do you make sure your content makes it into that <1% of content securing real estate in the news feed?

Facebook’s Algorithm: EdgeRank

Facebook, unlike the super-secret Google, has shared their algorithm for ranking content on Facebook and filtering what appears in the news feed. The algorithm consists of three components:

1. Affinity – the number of times 2 people (or a person and a page) have interacted

2. Weight – the number of times users have interacted (commented, liked) with the content in question

3. Recency – the time since the content was posted, note that Facebook moves and changes very quickly, and my news feed, for example, never has content more than 24 hours old.

20 Tips to Get Your Content Seen on Facebook

With the understanding of how Facebook ranks and filters content, what can you do to make sure your content makes the cut? Here are 20 ideas.

  1. Post a variety of content to attract interactions from a higher percentage of your users, raising your affinity score.
  2. Focus on positive and fun content on Facebook. Sex sells.*
  3. Talk about Facebook – Facebook is the number one most shareable topic on Facebook.*
  4. Respond to comments that your fans post on your content to increase the number of interactions per post.
  5. Respond to comments that your fans post on your wall to increase your affinity score.
  6. Experiment with targeting posts to get a higher feedback score (percentage of impressions that turn into interactions).
  7. Post regularly, but not too frequently (more than once a day) to give each post a good chance of gaining traction.*
  8. Post content outside of main work hours – Facebook users interact more when they’re off the clock.*
  9. Include images on blog posts you publish to create a more eye-catching post.
  10. Don’t forget to write an appealing meta description for any links you post, because Facebook automatically pulls this in for links.
  11. Use share links on your blog articles and landing pages to encourage users to post your content directly.
  12. Integrate landing pages within Facebook to get higher conversion rates – Facebookers don’t like to leave Facebook.
  13. Post videos directly instead of links to articles with videos, so users can watch the video within Facebook.
  14. Include links in video descriptions to drive traffic back to your website.
  15. To share photos but protect your copyright and get better analytics, use Flickr integrated with your Facebook account.
  16. To share photos for maximum interactions, post photos directly to Facebook.
  17. Refrain from using complex language or jargon in your posts for maximum response.*
  18. Ask questions and specifically ask for feedback from your fans.
  19. Use Facebook Insights to measure which content performs the best on your specific page.
  20. Encourage user-generated content, including user-created photos, comments, or links.

Read more: http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/9875/20-Tips-to-Get-Your-Content-Seen-on-Facebook.aspx#ixzz1EnHBPM43

See Ellie’s slides from Social Fresh: http://www.hubspot.com/social-fresh-tampa/

The Best of 2010 – Email Marketing Campaigns

Posted on Jan 5, 2011 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Marketing, Social Media

Every year I see hundreds of great email campaigns sent from clients, and one of my favorite things about being an Account Manager is seeing how our clients utilize Digital Street’s email marketing platform to it’s fullest potential.

Below are five of my favorite email campaigns that were sent out through Digital Street. All of these email campaigns have a very clean feel to them, not too much clutter! It is also important for companies to maintain their brand identity by staying consistent. Sending out entirely new looking emails every other week is only going to distract your contacts from remembering your brand!

(Click image to enlarge)

Cosmetically Appealing

Short, sweet, simple, & sexy. The more organized an email campaign looks, the more attention it is going to receive. In general, people don’t have much time to read through your email. Stick to the main points that you want to get across so you don’t overwhelm the reader with too much information. The email on the left is very organized and the image suits the information perfectly. (It also kinda makes me a little hungry…)

*Hint: Keep the fonts within your email campaign basic and consistent! You don’t want to use a new font each time you start a new paragraph. This leads to fontophobia.

(Click image to enlarge)

No Such Thing as TMI

Emails really give you the opportunity to connect with your customers on a more personal level. You have the ability to automate happy birthday emails, include names within campaigns, and gain other information you might need for future segmenting purposes. You will notice that Guero’s Taco Bar always includes a link for contacts to update their data. In this particular email, Guero’s is wanting the recipient to update their information so he/she can receive a birthday surprise that is well worth opening!

(Click image to enlarge)

Keep It Relevant

You never want your reader to think, “What are they talking about?!”. This could ruin your reputation and have people’s eyes scanning for the Unsubscribe option rather than scanning through your beautiful email that you just worked so hard on. Keep in mind that people want to know about things that they can relate to. Stick to topics, such as holidays that are coming up, that will be relevant to a broad number of your target audience.

(Click image to enlarge)

Don’t Be A Bore, Link Some More!

I specifically like this email campaign because it includes many links within the campaign. As a company, you want people to interact within your email and be led to your website and/or somewhere related to what you are discussing.

(Click image to enlarge)

Easy Access to Social Media

One of the most important trends that has caught on this year is to include social media icons within your email campaign to build your online communities. This is a great way to start creating conversations with your clientele. Engaged users lead to loyal customers.

Digital Marketing in 2011

Posted on Dec 21, 2010 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Marketing, Social Media

With the rise of digital marketing, it can leave you wondering how you can improve your web presence and where to start!  Let us give you some quick tips….

The Obvious Social Network Route

As the movie The Social Network hit screens, the time came to reflect on the phenomenal success of Facebook and other social media sites. Facebook has an estimated 500 million users and this is likely to increase even further. Twitter now has well over 100 million users and is attracting an average of 300,000 new users a day. This makes it plainly obvious as to your main 2011 social media strategy. Facebook seems to attract users in the ‘right’ age group for marketing purposes, so dedicate a considerable amount of your budget towards setting up campaigns both on Twitter and Facebook.

Video Kills The Behind The Times Company

Yet it is important to push yourself to the front of the queue when it comes to jumping on the video marketing bandwagon. A recent whitepaper by Cisco suggested that more than half of all web traffic will be video-related by 2014. The days of the 30 second advert are dying out with more and more consumers skipping these dull and unimaginative productions. Sites like YouTube need to used more frequently with thought provoking and lengthier adverts the key to success. If you want someone to buy your cereal, don’t depict a happy family with 2.4 children eating the product by the kitchen. Edgy, new and deep will sell in future where fast, predictable and cheesy once ruled.

Email And Mobiles

As one might expect, email marketing is moving with the times. An extraordinary 97% of American households use email so a well constructed email campaign will reap dividends. It is a fact that social networks such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are being integrated with email. The smartphone, Android and iPhone are linking even more users to their mail. The challenge facing digital marketers is to find a way to tailor their campaign for customers who view their email on a mobile device. The best strategy is to use a tool such as Litmus to find out more about your audience and tailor your campaign to them. This is necessary because it is difficult to find a current strategy that will work well for all mobile users.

SEO Is Still King

Believe it or not however, despite the huge budgets set aside for the all of the above, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is still top of the list when it comes to 2011 digital marketing tactics according to a poll carried out by Top Rank. Yet in order to get your content to the top of the search engine ladder, you still have to know your targets and audience. If you know your audience but not their triggers, start surveying. If you know what you want to market but have no idea to who, check out sites like eMarketer for market statistics. It should be remembered that no amount of marketing will work if your content is poor, sort it out. Oh, and avoid those nasty “please stay on my page and click on cancel for something special” pop-ups, these REALLY annoy consumers!

So where will this leave your marketing strategy for 2011?  All four of these pieces will make your marketing plan come together and keep up with the ever-changing trends for digital marketing.

Page 10 of 16« First...89101112...Last »