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.

Email, Social Media & Mobile: The Marketing Triumvirate

Posted on May 22, 2012 by Michael Herman | Posted in Social Media

You only need to look at the fall of the Roman Republic to know that triumvirates don’t always work. Just ask Julius Caesar, Crassus and Pompey or even Lepidus, Octavian and Mark Antony. However, some threesomes do work and the combination of email, social media and mobile marketing is a prime example of how to combine the strengths of three great marketing forms and create an unstoppable juggernaut. Here’s some quick statistics to show you just how all-encompassing your marketing strategy can be when you bring this trio together:

  • Ÿ  97% of American households use email
  • Ÿ  75% of Americans with internet access have at least one social networking account
  • Ÿ  Almost 70% of marketers are integrating email and social media marketing
  • Ÿ  There are 285 million mobile devices in the United States
  • Ÿ  Almost one quarter of mobile devices are smartphones

When you combine the three, you are hitting virtually every single person in the country. Look around the world and you will find similar statistics in most countries. Having email, social media and mobile marketing completely changes the way people interact with your organization. As things stand, approximately 97% of marketing experts believe that social media compliments other marketing strategies such as email and mobile.

If you are one of the few who doesn’t believe this to be the case, your company is likely to fall behind every other business that has embraced the 21st century. Simply put, utilizing all three as a combined effort will ensure that your marketing campaign will provide results even greater than the sum of its parts. And when you consider the relative effectiveness of each marketing method individually, you begin to realize the magnitude of what you have at your fingertips.

Of course, you can’t go blindly into the process of combining the three and expect positive results. It is important that you have a set of clear objectives and measurable goals. As a result, you need to consider the following:

Ÿ  Brand Identity - If you can create a brand that becomes synonymous with your industry and quality service, the marketing triumvirate could explode your business into life.

Ÿ  Acquiring Customers - What is a realistic customer target in 12 months? 24 months?

Ÿ  Keeping Customers - We all know how expensive it is to gain new customers in comparison to retaining old ones.

Ÿ  Launching Products - Every single product/service you release must become public knowledge as soon as possible. Create a buzz, generate publicity and enjoy the rewards.

After deciding on your goals, it will be far easier to conduct a strategy that will successfully combine email, social media and mobile marketing.

Mobile Marketing Vs. Email Marketing

Posted on May 17, 2012 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Marketing


Mobile Marketing Vs. Email Marketing

A number of companies make a huge mistake and assume that if they already have email marketing, there is no need for mobile marketing and vice versa. We have previously spoken of the advantages provided by email marketing but are you aware of the power of the humble text message? With both forms of marketing, you are asking your customers to give you their contact information which will allow you to begin your direct marketing campaign.

An advantage of both email and mobile marketing is that you are ‘preaching to the choir’ so to speak. You are marketing to people who are already interested in your services (otherwise they wouldn’t have given you their details). As a result, you have a readymade target audience. There are subtle differences between the two which are covered below.

Catching The Eye

It has to be said that mobile text message marketing has a far higher view rate than its email counterpart. If you write emails with compelling subject lines, you may find that 20% of them are opened. In contrast, around 95% of text messages are read. If this seems artificially high, ask yourself: When was the last I last failed to open a text message?

Same Day Sales

Email marketing is more of a slow burner. The idea is to craft an email campaign that helps customers to gain your trust. This takes time and effort. With mobile marketing, you could increase your level of sales on the day you send the text messages. According to various surveys, it takes someone 14 minutes to open a text message on average. The average time it takes to open an email is 6 hours and 24 minutes. Although the number of phones with internet capability is increasing dramatically, there are still millions of people with ‘older’ phones. If you are offering special discounts, the customer can avail of the promotion by showing their phone with mobile marketing. With email marketing, they need to print out the page.

Cost

Email marketing certainly wins this battle as it is one of the lowest cost methods of marketing on the planet. Small businesses can find email marketing providers, such as Digital Street that send unlimited emails on their behalf for as little as $15 a month. This means an outstanding return on investment, well over 400%. In contrast, mobile marketing can be expensive but it does generally offer a higher rate of respondents.

In summation, companies need to utilize both forms of marketing. Emails allow them to build a rapport with customers in the long term whereas mobile marketing can lead to instant sales.

 

Why You Need An Email Marketing Agency

Posted on May 7, 2012 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Marketing

Why You Need An Email Marketing Agency

For most businesses, email marketing is second only to SEO in terms of return on investment (ROI). Yet it is a specialized task which cannot be performed by a company who are already stretched to the limit when it comes to time and staff. If you don’t already have an employee who engages in email marketing, can you afford the time and expense of training someone? With an email marketing agency, you can really take your advertising to the next level. With the right agency, you will become more efficient while drastically improving your profit margin. With the help of experts, your email list can grow at a rate that suits your company’s overall growth

What Does An Agency Do?

Many agencies specialize in a handful of email marketing areas with some companies possessing the capacity to cover all aspects. Here is what an email marketing agency can potentially do for you:

  • Ÿ  Create a plan of action based on your goals
  • Ÿ  Manage the entire marketing campaign
  • Ÿ  Write, format and send your emails.
  • Ÿ  Use certain strategies to grow your email subscribers list
  • Ÿ  Find the best vendor to send your emails
  • Ÿ  Ensure that each email is delivered
  • Ÿ  Analyze your metrics to see if the campaign is working and make changes if necessary
  • Ÿ  Make sure that your marketing is consistent online and offline
  • As you can see, a top quality email marketing agency gets through a lot of work so you don’t have to.

Making A Decision

It’s up to you to figure out what your company needs. When it comes to marketing your business, sit down with your team and discuss what your goals are for the next two years or so. Ask yourself where email marketing comes in the grand scheme of things. When choosing an email marketing agency, you will need to explain what your ROI goal is as well as outlining the challenges you expect to face.

When deciding on an agency, ask prospective candidates if they offer any other marketing services besides email marketing. Be sure to find out what their specialty areas are (if any) and ask them if they see any obstacles and if so, how do they avoid them?

Cost

Naturally, the cost of an email marketing agency is of paramount importance to businesses on a budget. In general, agencies like to charge several thousand dollars a month. They justify this expenditure with results which is fair enough but when you can get a first rate all-encompassing email marketing service like Digital Street for just $495 a month, you don’t need to break the bank unnecessarily. Digital Street has an experienced marketing team that will take care of all your email marketing needs. Explain your goals and expected ROI and Digital Street will do the rest.

The Importance Of Email Marketing Content

Posted on May 2, 2012 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing

The Importance Of Email Marketing Content

Email marketing is fantastic because emails are an incredibly inexpensive mode of communication. We can send hundreds, if not thousands of emails per dollar so it’s ok to have a dismal conversion rate right? After all, if you throw enough mud to the wall, some of it will stick! Not so. A large percentage of companies who use email marketing still have hideous conversion rates. So awful are their conversion rates that they actually lose money on the enterprise and quit email marketing altogether. Big mistake!

Bad Content, Bad Sales!

You have probably heard the ‘content is king’ maxim 1,000 times and if your email marketing campaign is faltering, perhaps you need to hear it 1,000 more! The modern consumer has internet access virtually all day long but your target audience probably has better things to do than read a bland, dull email that doesn’t make them feel as if it is a worthwhile expenditure of their time.

Rules?

What is good content? There are no hard and fast rules barring the usual ‘avoid spelling mistakes and make sure the email looks like it was written by someone whose first language is English’. The reason why there are few set rules is because emails are supposed to be an individual experience. Those who read the email need to feel as if it is they who are being specifically spoken to. When you are thinking about content, ask yourself what is important to your subscribers. Think about their age group, interests, hobbies and the products they have recently purchased.

Ask Questions

But I don’t know what my subscribers like! Ask and you will receive! Create a survey and send it to your subscribers. Ask them what they would like to see in an email. By doing this, you will make your subscribers feel as if they are an important part of the process. Alternatively, you can try different content on a regular basis. For example, you may write a newsletter style email one week and a ‘how to’ piece on the following email. Use analytics to find out if one email type was more popular than the other.

Above all, you need to be honest and ask yourself: Is this email worth reading? How do your subscribers benefit from reading this email? The most successful emails will also be worth sharing. You can write all the flowery prose you like but if there is no substance to your email, readers will soon unsubscribe or stop opening your emails. The bottom line is: Content ultimately makes or breaks your email campaign so pay more attention to it and spend less time on trivial matters.

 

Triple Email Marketing Results With Split Testing!

Posted on Apr 23, 2012 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing

Triple Email Marketing Results With Split Testing!

A recent study showed that split testing improved click through, email opening and purchase rates by over 190%! Email marketing providers such as Digital Street Inc. offer split testing which means you can upload multiple versions of one broadcast and send them to different areas of your database. After a few days, you analyze the results and compare them.

You should also set up conversion or sales tracking too as these are the results that matter most when it comes to your profit margin. Failure to do this means you will only be analyzing open and click through rates. Although these are important statistics, they do not tell you how much money your email marketing campaign is making. Once the test has been completed, you can use the better performing version in future emails. This version can then be used against another in future tests as you constantly seek improvement.

 

What can I test?

You can test just about any type of content though there will be occasions when you only wish to test one aspect of your email marketing plan. Choose from the following when testing:

  • Headlines
  • Subject lines
  • Product images
  • Landing pages
  • Calls to action

Timing is Everything

Content variations are not the only thing you can test. For example, you could decide to send the same content at different times of the day or days of the week. You could also send content to different segments of your customer base. Most companies choose to use half of their customer base to conduct experiments on but if you feel that this is too risky and you don’t want to alienate your subscribers, you could test your new emails on 25% or even 10% of your audience provided you have a large enough base. Testing on too small a group will make the procedure almost irrelevant.

Is Split Testing Worth The Effort?

When you consider the fact that it can treble your sales rate, it is undoubtedly a productive use of your time. In fact, if you are currently with an email marketing service provider that doesn’t offer split testing; you should leave them and find one that does such as Digital Street Inc. It is possible to conduct the process manually by downloading your subscriber list, conducting some spreadsheet magic and uploading multiple lists that can be used once. However, the same vendors that don’t offer split testing also tend to prevent new lists being imported. You simply must utilize split testing and if you contact Digital Street Inc., you can watch your sales rate treble in the space of a few months thanks to this innovative method of finding out what works best in your emails.

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