7 Differences Between Email Marketing & Marketing Automation

Posted on Sep 25, 2012 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing

To the uninitiated, email marketing and marketing automation (MA) are the same. While they are both marketing tools designed to stay in touch with people in the hope of turning visitors into consumers, there are numerous differences and we briefly explore seven of them below.

Ÿ  1 – The Process: Email marketing involves sending the same type of communications to each prospect. MA on the other hand, is more targeted and involves sending emails relevant to each particular recipient. As you can imagine, this leads to a greater conversion rate.

Ÿ  2 – Tracking: Email marketing tools tend to lose track of the visitor once he has clicked the link to the company newsletter. In contrast, MA enables the company to find out the website pages a prospect visited, materials he downloaded and much more.

Ÿ  3 – Integration With Other Tools: MA systems integrate with customer relationship management tools. This provides your sales team with more detailed data which can be used to make the alterations necessary to improve things in the final stages of the purchasing process where so many sales are lost.

Ÿ  4 – Action: MA is works great when it comes to responding to a prospect’s actions. The material received by a prospect will differ depending on the actions taken by him.

Ÿ  5 – Complexity: If you are a small company with a uniform customer base, MA may not be for you. Email marketing is still an extremely effective system and has been proven to get fantastic results. If you have a large and varied customer base however, MA may be exactly what you need to kick-start your business.

Ÿ  6 – Content: One of the key advantages of email marketing is that huge swathes of content are not needed. In contrast, MA requires a lot of time and effort so if you are not 100% dedicated to the process, you will be unable to get the most out of it. However, if you produce lots of high quality content, MA will treat you extremely well.

Ÿ  7 – Cost: As MA has so many advantages, you won’t be surprised to learn that it is significantly more expensive. You can use Digital Street’s email marketing an package for up to 2,500 subscribers for just $30 a month. MA is more expensive but fortunately for you, Digital Street has evolved its marketing automation platform without the extravagant cost.

Both methods are excellent ways of marketing but if you are really looking to branch out, perhaps you should consider MA. With Digital Street, you get the best of both worlds.

Using Digital Street To Develop A Multi-Channel Approach

Posted on Sep 10, 2012 by Michael Herman | Posted in Social Media

Almost every member of the Direct Marketing Association believes that multi-channel marketing is far more effective than its single channel counterpart. Companies must face the fact that they are in a multi-channel world and must think and act differently. The consumer now has all the power which means the onus is on brands to ensure they are reaching, listening and communicating with customers. Email and social media are excellent tools but only if you use them effectively. Too many companies make the mistake of talking but not listening. This communication failure means they are losing most of the effectiveness these channels can bring.

Social & Email Integration

Digital Street knows that integration of these channels is essential for long-term success. Both marketing tools increase the level of service with customer service before and after the sale improved exponentially. Consumers can now research a potential sale safe in the knowledge that help is at hand should they need it. In effect, social media and email marketing can be used to strength relationships and foster long-term brand loyalty, thus increasing the lifetime value of each customer.

You need to add a share-to-social feature in emails and landing pages in order to share content on the most important social networks. Tracking these campaigns in great detail is now possible and you can even identify the customers most loyal to your brand. The targeting prowess and metrics of email marketing can be combined with the huge audience offered by social media which allows you to engage with your customers like never before. Digital Street can help you as we specialize in email marketing AND social integration. We take statistics directly from the hottest social media sites and make that data readily available to you.

Surveys

It’s obvious that the more you know about potential and actual customers, the easier it is to gather the information required to help them get what they want. Digital Street’s online survey builder makes it easy for your company to communicate with prospects and find out what their expectations are. You can create and send surveys with responses tracked in real time. Every response you receive is stored on our platform which makes it easy for you to access historical data.

If you’re interested in multi-channel marketing (and you should be!), contact Digital Street today. We will help your company extend its reach and enjoy a rise in traffic, sales and revenue that will take your business to the next level.

Current Trends In Mobile Marketing

Posted on Sep 6, 2012 by Michael Herman | Posted in Social Media

It should be clear to you that mobile marketing is not a fad. There are more than 4 billion mobile phones in use around the world, over 1 billion of which are smartphones. It’s believed that mobile internet usage will overtake desktop usage by 2014. Therefore, you need to be up to date with mobile marketing trends to make it in your industry. Here are the latest trends but be quick to join or risk falling behind.

Data Capture For Targeting

The device of targeting via location, demographics and content has been used by advertisers for quite some time but social targeting is relatively new. Now, it is possible to provide a greater level of customization when messaging. Social targeting involves conversations on social networks tied to location. Re-targeting involves using connected devices that need registration in order to open up usage patterns. Adverts can then be created based on the data collected. A connection point and data capture from digitally enabled platforms such as phone, tablet and desktop is the ultimate goal.

Content Adaptation

The need for high quality content will never die out by the looks of things. However, content will need to adjust for social media marketing purposes and cater to the dwindling attention spans of modern consumers. All content must be developed to meet the primary needs of customers. Remember, consumers have a 24/7 connection to all of your rivals too. The customer rules the mobile marketing world so pull out all the stops.

Social Media

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that social media is at the forefront of the mobile marketing revolution. Without a doubt, a mobile phone is a consumer’s most personal piece of technology so it’s clear that social needs rule the world of mobile marketing. An estimated 50% of Facebook and Twitter traffic is mobile! Thanks to unlimited mobile access, the way in which people use social media has changed forever. Now it’s all about fun and frivolity. Do try to keep up!

Activation

When you engage potential consumers through mobile, you have the chance to extend the conversation from traditional mediums and it also serves as a good way to track prospects. QR codes are the fastest growing method of mobile customer engagement having grown over 60% in the last 6 months. As always, the content needs to be delivered at the right time to the right person. QR codes will prove to be more successful once reading them becomes seamless. We’ll see what happens with that.

These are the latest mobile marketing trends but such is the rate of technological advance and the speed with which mobile marketing grows, these may well be rendered obsolete with 6-12 months!

Using Touchpoint Analysis To Determine Sales Opportunities

Posted on Aug 27, 2012 by Michael Herman | Posted in Social Media

Touchpoint analysis is one of the most overlooked sales opportunities. Taking the time to identify these touchpoints will help your company to determine its most crucial business relationships, prioritize them in order to receive an excellent ROI and keep risk to a minimal level. Achieve this and you can expect sales to increase dramatically in the space of a few months. It should result in increased client and staff loyalty for good measure. You need to engage with your consumers and nudge them towards a targeted action. Few companies are aware of their touchpoints and why they work. Below is a multi-step touchpoint analysis strategy that will hopefully increase your company’s sales opportunities.

Listening

It begins with the company taking time to listen to the needs of their customers. This usually includes surveys, media tests, customer satisfaction surveys and a myriad of other methods of feedback. The issue with this is that customer feedback is rarely ‘heard’ until the end of a marketing campaign.

Conversation

Social media has turned listening into conversing. Companies must talk to consumers online via sites such as Facebook and Twitter. This gives the customer an opportunity to speak directly to a company and receive an answer in relatively quick time. Companies must be more informed and responsive or risk alienating potential and actual customers. This particular touchpoint is one that can be used to create a relationship and inspire customer loyalty.

Conversion

Marketing efforts are focused on converting visitors into customers via a call to action. This can involve the customer downloading a document, filling in a form to give you their email address or making a purchase. Listening can be classified as ‘awareness’, conversation is ‘interest’ and conversion is ‘action’.

Analysis

Which touchpoints are providing value to the company? At this point, you are responsible for touchpoint analysis. There are a number of critical questions that must be answered:

Ÿ  What web analytics were crucial and at what point?

Ÿ  What marketing inputs are needed to cause different actions and how much did these inputs cost?

Ÿ  Are you getting data from listening touchpoints?

Ÿ  How many of these have been expanded to conversion points?

Ÿ  Which touchpoints are leading to customer loyalty?

Evaluation

The last step you must take is to decide how much each action is worth in terms of customer loyalty, reduction of operating costs and the increase of profits/sales opportunities. This should help you determine an overall ROI and also allow you to create a marketing strategy designed to help the company meet it targets.

Using Landing Pages To Capture Data And Score Your Leads

Posted on Aug 22, 2012 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing

Landing pages are a fantastic method of capturing leads and customer data when written correctly. A landing page is easy to program and design because it is usually a single page only. Static landing pages are comprised of one set of data which performs a single action. Dynamic landing pages have an almost unlimited amount of data, copy and results. With a dynamic landing page, you can track the results and responses of your system.

Statistics show that most companies utilizing landing pages are lucky to have a 3% conversion rate. In order to increase that figure to 10%+, you need to create organized and concise pages with a clear call to action. This may involve a link to your website or else an online form which gets them to provide an email address. Then you can begin the process of email marketing in earnest.

Tailor Made Landing Pages

Having a single landing page is not good enough. You must have one for every campaign you run such as SEO, email, social media or banner ads. When visitors land on your site, you have to work fast in order to get them to act. The landing page must turn visitors into subscribers or customers or else it has failed. Well-optimized landing pages should be a prerequisite since they increase conversion rate by 700-800%. Have another landing page for visitors that convert in order to keep a strong relationship with the customer. A customer’s likely value increases the longer you keep him engaged with your website.

Testing

Whenever you make changes to your landing pages, be sure to test them. Testing tends to fall into four areas:

Ÿ  Strategic: Test your branding, messaging and segmentation strategies here.

Ÿ  Tactics: Testing the timing of the message, the feel and the tone.

Ÿ  Context: Does your message match? Who is the competition?

Ÿ  Miscellaneous: Testing colors, images, texts and layout. These are fairly easy things to test.

Even seemingly minor changes can have a huge impact. For example, DHL experienced a 25% increase in leads when they switched an image of a male with one of a female.

Focus On Pitch

Yes, you need to worry about the pitch even more than the content. Landing pages are designed to capture data, generate leads and make sales so forget about a long and boring press release type page. Begin with a strong headline and a value proposition. Make sure every part of the landing page supports your offer and delivers on what you promise. This is one of the keys to increasing your landing page conversion rate.

Forget about traditional landing page strategies. If you want to increase the rate of conversion, ignore ‘normal’ practice because this results in a derisory 3% conversion rate and your business will not thrive on that!

Using Analytics To Find Out What’s Working

Posted on Aug 9, 2012 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing

The combination of lightning quick internet speed and analytics means your company can now safely ‘fail fast’. This is another way of saying your business can quickly find out if an idea is good or not rather than shooting down potentially good ideas before giving them a chance to breathe. It also prevents your company from spending a small fortune on an ill-fated marketing campaign that yields nothing but frustration and large bills.

New Data

Previous analytic methods involved data sets with just 10-20 variables and less than 100 cases. So-called ‘static’ data was taken from isolated disks and computers with assumptions made on the small amount of information available. The result was inaccurate data overall with very few software tools available to analyze and store data. In the modern era, millions of variables and billions of cases are used to form a more accurate picture with unstructured data such as tweets and emails analyzed by complex software.

Numerous organizations have used analytics to improve their business. For example, Best Buy found that over 40% of its sales were accounted for by less than 10% of its customers. As a result, Best Buy re-organized their stores to suit the specific needs of these loyal customers. eBay analyzes the auction history, bidding history and overall feedback of millions of users to detect fraud. All of these companies used analytics to discover what was working and what wasn’t.

Patience

You should already know the basics of analytics. Google Analytics is an excellent free resource that allows you to analyze statistics relating to visitors, activity and bounce rates. One major mistake made by businesses is to watch changes taking place in the gross figures only. Knowing that your conversion rate is at 1% means nothing unless you know how it compares over time. If it’s down from 2%, it is bad news but if it has risen from 0.6%, a 1% conversion rate is excellent news. Definitions and parameters must remain constant or else you will never have accurate measurements.

The beauty of analytics is if you find that your conversion rate has dropped, you will have sufficient data at your disposal to rectify the situation if necessary. If your landing page has a high bounce rate, you know that it doesn’t contain information deemed relevant by visitors and needs to be changed. You can look at individual pages to discover statistics relating to specific web copy and products. When it comes to fixing what is wrong, you need to be patient lest you also accidentally remove aspects of your site that were working.

Marketing Automation Through Email Marketing

Posted on Aug 1, 2012 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing

If you are focusing solely on sending emails without any real call to action, SWITCH GEARS! It’s time to realize that there’s a better way to send emails and increase your conversion rate. It’s called marketing automation and is often confused with email marketing due to several similarities. Both forms of marketing attempt to stay in touch with prospects and they are both ostensibly email marketing tools. However, using email marketing systems that allow marketing automation are far more successful. Here is how to drop what you’re doing and get involved in a marketing solution that rewards you with an incredible ROI.

Urging Customers To Take Action

Email marketing usually consists of sending newsletters in the hope of turning subscribers into paying customers. While it is great to maintain a consistent newsletter to stay in touch, you can also quickly divert your attentions to marketing automation by using a more targeted approach. Each email communication should be progressively more relevant and even include the presentation of custom webpages whenever the recipient returns to your company’s website. This can gently push prospects through the buying process and before they know it, they’re purchasing products/services from your company.

Being Aware

There is very little awareness involved in standard email marketing. Even the most advanced tools will lose a prospect once he clicks on the link to the newsletter you send. In contrast, marketing automation systems know when a link was clicked in a e-newsletter, when someone goes to a certain page on your website and when a contact form was filled in. You need to up your game and stay in touch or risk losing prospects forever.

Getting Integrated

Marketing automation systems like Digital Street integrate with Salesforce CRM and a variety of other CRM tools. As a result, data can be used to personalize campaigns and also give your sales team information relating to how prospects reacted to the new campaigns. These systems also react based on what a prospect does. For example, if a visitor to your website clicks on a certain product, he will receive different emails over the next few weeks compared to someone that clicked on another page.

For more information about how to better utilize our automation suite and to get integrated with Salesforce, feel free to contact one of our sales reps by emailing: sales@digitalstreetinc.com

 

Email Content That Gets People Talking

Posted on Jul 20, 2012 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing

When you are marketing your business, it’s important to know that Americans are exposed to approximately 1,500 advertisements of some kind every day. Whether it is through television adverts, pop-up ads online, newspaper ads, radio announcements or billboards, the average consumer is bombarded by advertising. Therefore, they will not respond well to poorly written email content which is yet another attempt to get them to part with their hard earned and increasingly dwindling cash.

However, there is hope. Despite the average person’s aversion to advertising, we can’t help but talk about companies and products. It is estimated that we engage in 125 conversations a week with friends and family relating to products and services. 60 of these conversations mention a brand name. Is it any wonder that Starbucks, Coca-Cola and Microsoft do so well when they pop up in conversations every day?

Loyalty

Email marketing is one of the cheapest forms of marketing around and also provides you with the best return on investment of all online strategies barring search engine optimization. When you are creating content for your emails, remember that your company’s reputation is on the line. If you want to establish brand loyalty, you need to create content that has value to the recipient. Every email subscriber has expectations and if you fail to meet them, you can’t expect customers to remain loyal to your brand.

Fulfill Obligations

As email recipients have willingly provided you with their address, you have a wonderful opportunity to establish brand identity in their minds. When you make promises of discounts and special offers, you must make good on them. Use personalization fields and salutations. This ensures that the customer sees his/her name on the email.

Past Sales

Another excellent way to improve sales via email marketing is to show customers products/services they have bought from you in the past. It has been found that companies who influence a customer’s purchasing behavior in this manner have benefited immensely with an astounding 60% of customers who viewed a previous purchase on an email immediately buying another item from the company.

When it comes to being a ‘talkable’ brand, you need your content to offer obvious customer benefits while standing out as being remarkable. Look at Starbucks. They have a unique language that is used when ordering drinks. Some people loathe it while others love it. Either way, you can be sure that Starbucks is often a topic of discussion. If you want your brand to be spoken about, ensure that your email content is remarkable, targeted and relevant to your industry. Fluff content is unacceptable and will cause people to unsubscribe.

 

 

The Benefits Of Using An Email Marketing Service Provider

Posted on Jul 5, 2012 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing

You’re probably pretty familiar with the advantages of email marketing by now. Statistics from dozens of carefully monitored studies have conclusively shown that email marketing increases a company’s sales conversion, increases instances of repeat customers, improves the chances of up-selling and cross-selling and persuades website users to make offline purchases. It is also extremely affordable and has one of the largest returns on investment ratios in the field of marketing.

Yet email marketing is only successful if it is performed correctly. Contrary to what you may think, sending emails to thousands of customers is not nearly as easy as you think. This is why you need the services of an email marketing company to ensure that the entire process behind the scenes is handled professionally and runs smoothly. Here are some of the reasons why you must hire a specialist for your email marketing campaign.

Ÿ  Bulk Mail Approved: Did you know that most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and email accounts place limits on the amount of emails you can send at once? Indeed, most ISPs prevent bulk mailing as they believe these emails to be spam. An email marketing provider has special ties with ISPs and has the ability to send bulk mail without any problems.

Ÿ  Best Practices: It is far too easy for the uninitiated to make mistakes when sending emails. A classic error is to expose your list in the ‘To’ line which strips away the confidentiality of your list members. This allows their email address to be seen by all recipients. Many companies who try to perform DIY email marketing also fail to include unsubscribe information at the bottom of the email. This is now against the law!

Ÿ  No Technical Issues: Sending emails without using a provider (for example, sending out using Outlook) you are able to push 1500 messages or more through your host or Internet Service Provider without causing problems. With email marketing services, all issues relating to bandwidth, flexibility and power are removed and most services don’t even have a set-up fee.

Ÿ  Better Delivery Rate: ISPs have a tendency to block emails so if you try and conduct your own campaign, most of the emails you send will never reach the recipient or else they will instantly go to the ‘Junk’ folder. An email service provider knows how to deal with email filters and can use their network and filtering features to ensure emails do not contain content that could be seen as spam.

It should also be noted that email service providers enable you to see the results of each campaign and most providers are affordable. If you don’t have time to do it yourself, Digital Street has a low-cost dedicated service option for us t handle it all for you!

Using Customer Segmentation To Send Out Targeted Communications

Posted on Jun 13, 2012 by Michael Herman | Posted in Social Media

Targeted communication should be the goal of any marketing strategy. Companies waste countless millions of dollars each year advertising to demographics that have absolutely no interest in the product. It is the equivalent of a politician spending the majority of his campaign trying to convert staunch Republicans into Democrat voters. Customer segmentation is an essential element of marketing because it is the basis for understanding the needs, desires and orientation of consumers.

The purpose of customer segmentation is to divide the market into groups (or segments) of people with similar characteristics and needs who are likely to have similar purchasing behavior. It is a form of marketing that acknowledges the individuality of the consumer and understands that the different groups of buyers require varied marketing approaches and messages.

This is a vastly superior method of improving sales than the typical mass marketing efforts which treat customers as sheep and show little respect. Such companies are usually ‘rewarded’ with dismally low conversion rates and overall sales. With customer segmentation, a company can adapt its product and marketing message to suit the different types of consumer. It is important to create market segments where the differences between the buyers are relatively small but a realistic target.

It is necessary to consider certain variables when beginning the process of customer segmentation:

Ÿ  Demography: Age, ethnicity, sex, religion, nationality, income of each consumer

Ÿ  Geography: Where each consumer lives

Ÿ  Behavior: How often a customer uses a product and their loyalty to the brand

Ÿ  Psychographic: The type of lifestyle customers lead and their social status

Although you need to differentiate between consumer types, it is equally important not to create too many segments as this can be confusing and counter-productive. One of the main advantages of customer segmentation is that you gain a greater understanding of your consumer base. It is normal for people to change their minds about the things they like and most individuals will undergo some form of behavioral change in this regard over time. Assuming that a consumer likes the same things he did five years ago is foolish and lazy.

A perfect example of adapting a product to suit the different needs of customers is the selling of a car. Most car manufacturers will have a car for first time drivers, families, a sporty car for young people with large amounts of disposable income etc. If a car company created the same kind of cars all the time, they would be out of business before long.

In summation, you can’t treat your customers like robots. One size does not fit all and the sooner you realize this, the more likely you are to be successful.

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