All marketers face a challenge when it comes to delivering emails but it is an even bigger issue for B2B marketers. This is because they are forced to meet a set of unique deliverability rules for each domain in databases filled with hundreds of different sets of rules. On the flipside, B2C marketers probably have a database laden with freemail accounts so they can resolve issues with individual providers and settle any problems with a huge portion of their list with one single effort. Below, we look at some common B2B deliverability issues and how to fix them.
There seems to be a belief that the more emails you send, the more successful you will be but this is completely false. Since more than 10% of B2B emails are marked as spam and each email goes through a number of filters, it is best to manage your list and focus on quality over quantity.
This makes perfect sense because in B2B marketing, each potential client is a lucrative contract so you need to worry only about companies eager to do business. By sending out countless emails, you will end up with an inordinate amount of time wasters who you will be futilely chasing while using up valuable resources.
We have already mentioned that a relatively high number of B2B emails are marked as spam and this can lead to complaints and damage to your company’s reputation. What you need to do is segment customers according to Job Title, Product Affinity, Downloads and Website Activity. It gives you clean leads from the beginning and the result is fewer complaints due to unwanted information. Companies that receive relevant content certainly won’t mark it as spam and are more likely to open and engage with the emails you send.
As there is high employee turnover in modern companies, it is likely that an employee leaves and the email address they use remains unused. As a result, you end up targeting a company using the wrong email address as it has been changed! The former employee often as the email address forwarded to him, receives your email and marks it as spam.
What you need to do is develop a reactivation campaign and this begins by sending emails asking the recipient if the right person is being reached. This should elicit a reaction whether it is a positive response or an ex-employee unsubscribing. You should use this kind of campaign to target inactive emails and find out if they are still in use. Then you can cut the cord if necessary and save time and resources.
B2B email marketing is more difficult than its B2C equivalent but the rewards can be so much greater when you get it right. Overcome the deliverability challenges discussed above and your business could have a very bright future.
The huge increase in popularity of smartphones and their convenience for users means that email marketers need to find ways of tailoring campaigns to suit users of mobile devices. As at May 2012, it was discovered that approximately 66% of smartphone users check their email at least once a day. Clearly this is a golden opportunity for email marketers.
However, it is not being grasped properly as email marketers are struggling to turn email views into click-throughs. While 27% of emails opened on a desktop or laptop are clicked-through, only 10% of emails on mobile devices enjoy the same success. It is obvious that marketers need to change their tactics and formulate content specifically for mobile users and here are some tips.
Find Out The Devices Being Used To Click & Open
You need to discover if your target audience uses tablets or smartphones and also learn more about their purchasing behavior: for example, do they open the email using a mobile device but only make the purchase on a laptop or desktop? Most surveys indicate that iPhones are used most often when it comes to opening retail emails for example with Microsoft Outlook second and the iPad third.
When it comes to click-throughs, it would appear as if Outlook and Hotmail are the most commonly used devices. There are some interesting statistics we have discovered; while the percentage opens and click-throughs are almost the same on Outlook, there is a significant difference when it comes to iPads. It appears as if over 30% of people use the iPad to open the email only without clicking-through.
Getting Them To Open
The strategy for opening on mobile devices is similar to that of desktop opens but in the case of mobile, there is a pre-header text visible in the inbox. Use the pre-header text along with your name and the subject line together to entice them to open the email. Make sure the name is recognizable and it is best to use your brand name here. The pre-header text contains rich text and you should state your call to action at this stage.
The subject line should be no more than 40 characters long and the email itself should be filled with the benefits of using your product. Avoid using words like ‘coupon’ and ‘voucher’ and if applicable, have a seasonal theme to generate interest. It goes without saying that the email must be readable and also quite short. You can use longer copy if it is necessary but the email must be scrollable and the template must be clickable.
When you take the above tips into consideration, you should help your audience to interact with your emails on a mobile device. Send the emails at the optimum time and increase the level of convenience and you should see a boost in audience responsiveness.
Despite what some ill-informed critics may say, email marketing is not only alive and well, it remains as one of the most reliable yet complex marketing strategies when it comes to increasing brand awareness, increasing trust and expanding your reach. It is also inexpensive when it comes to utilizing it and the ROI derived from it can be incredible. Email marketing works but only when used in the right manner and below, we offer some bite-sized tips with regards to using email marketing to improve customer engagement.
- Short Subject Line: It should be obvious that open rates increase when a short, snappy and compelling subject line is used. Additionally, some email providers will cut titles less than 50 characters long. Don’t despair; this actually helps you because it forces you to be succinct and this will only serve to improve the quality of your subject line.
- Keep It Real: A huge mistake made by marketers is to have an address with noreply@ or info@. If you want to increase customer engagement, you need to send emails with a real name or else your message will be dismissed as spam.
- Transparency: This falls into the ‘trust’ category because customers don’t have time to waste with long-winded emails. Keep it simple and explain why you have contacted them. If you are emailing a subscriber, it is a good idea to refer to a newsletter that was previously sent.
- Benefits Over Features: Customers do not want to hear about why your company is so great nor do they care about any awards you have won. They want to know what benefits can be derived from using your product and why it is better than your competitors. Each email should provide genuine value and should contain quality information from the first line.
- Be Concise: Don’t waste time by rambling; get to the point, explain the benefits and sign off. Some of the most successful marketing emails we have ever seen have been 200 words or less.
- Add A Signature: End the email with a handwritten signature like you would see on a letter. There are all kinds of tools available to allow you to do this. This signature should include your full name, the company name and your position in the company. This makes you seem more ‘real’ and it is a nice, classic touch. You must also include social media buttons that link to your company profiles on sites such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.
The above tips are not difficult to implement and you will be amazed at the results. Customers receive so much junk email that provides no value that they will be thrilled to receive messages that offer hope and real benefits.
If you would like to discuss this with one of us, feel free to give us a call! 512-318-2495
If you have knowledge of online marketing, you will know that video marketing and email marketing are two of the best ways to improve your profits but surprisingly few companies managed to combine the two until recently. This has changed though and approximately 60% of marketers use video with their email marketing campaigns. Imagine having the convenience and speed of email marketing coupled with the ability to promote your brand visually. The possibilities are endless so below, we focus on 5 quick tips to help you learn how to use video with your email marketing campaign for success.
- Don’t Just Rely On YouTube: While YouTube is an amazing advertising opportunity with 1 billion unique users a month and 6 billion hours of video watched each month, you should focus more on branded video landing pages for the sake of your email campaigns. When you use custom landing pages, you have a semblance of control over branding and more importantly, user experience and you can also add extra space for contact information, company info and the all-important call to action.
- Embed Thumbnail Images & Include Links: Embedding a video into an email message is difficult so make things simpler by embedding a thumbnail image of the video that causes the video to play when the ‘play’ button is clicked.
- Gone In 60 Seconds: The Internet generation has the shortest attention span ever so you need to get their interest as soon as possible. After 60 seconds, most videos lose a lot of views so focus on getting in the main marketing message in less than a minute and cut out the fluff.
- Be Mobile Friendly: It is likely that more people will be viewing websites through mobile devices than desktops and laptops in less than 2 years so you need to get ready. You also need to cater to the hundreds of millions of mobile Internet users today so ensure all email marketing messages and accompanying videos can be delivered in HTML5 and Flash formats.
- Measuring Results: You not only need to track email click and open rates, you also have to track the amount of video plays and the percentage of viewers who watched the video the entire way through. By doing this, you can get valuable insights into the minds of prospects and benefit from the statistics you uncover.
We hope that this information has proved useful and that you can go forth and create an email marketing campaign backed up by high quality video.
Given how successful email marketing has proven to be, it is no surprise to learn that companies are increasing their respective budgets as they look to expand their brand globally. It is clear that increase customer engagement is the #1 priority of email marketers which means there will be an increase in the attention paid to customer segmentation and targeting while growing opt-in lists is also a vital part of email marketing in 2014. Below, we take a brief look at other initiatives that represent the future of email marketing.
Understanding of Data
Email marketers may finally get to grip with the fact that there is a shelf life when it comes to customer engagement and preference data. For instance, if a fashion retailer sees that a prospect signs up to an email newsletter and shows an interest in shoes, it is important for the retailer to know how long that data is actually relevant. Once the site engagement and purchasing behavior of the customer is available, there is a chance that some of the original preference data is no longer useful. As a result, marketers need to be more flexible with their data in 2014 and know how to incorporate it in real time.
Instead of being seen as an afterthought like it was a few years ago or ‘important’ like it was last year, there will be a decided emphasis on mobile design and it will become the first consideration for designers ahead of laptops and desktops. This is an obvious evolution since studies show that mobile is becoming the leading platform for the consumption of marketing emails worldwide.
The integration of email and social media channels will finally become popular as marketers finally realize that there is nothing to fear and they will be amazed to find that adding social sharing links for social media sites takes a matter of seconds.
As things stand, marketers are still guilty of under using the power of social media and email as they have a fear that it would direct possible website traffic to their social media pages instead. Yet when you learn how to use social media and email integration tactically, you will be able to come up with a whole new strategy with new product launches, brand messaging and editorial features all perfect for email. When you use social media to amplify the effect, the results will astound you.
Email marketing will go from strength to strength in 2014 as it evolves and grows into one of the key marketing strategies, like it always has been.
Unless you are foolish enough to believe that you already have enough customers (and no company on Earth would ever think that), you need marketing to succeed and email marketing is one of the most cost effective solutions. Salesforce is a CRM that offers a host of options for companies looking to boost their sales and they also have an email marketing option which comes free when you sign up for their total package. However, there are limitations to what they offer since they are not a specialist email marketing provider. What Salesforce can do however is allow you to integrate with an Email Service Provider like Response Wise thus giving you the best of both worlds.
Salesforce is pretty restrictive when it comes to sending emails. No matter what package you choose, you’re only allowed a very limited number per day. When you choose their Professional Edition package, you are only allowed to send 250 emails at a time so you would need to send 4 batches in a day just to get out 1000 emails. The Enterprise Edition allows you to send 500 emails at a time while Unlimited Edition users can send all 1,000 at once. When you integrate with Response Wise, you will be allowed to send tens of thousands of emails per day if that is your wish.
When you integrate Salesforce with one of its selected email marketing providers, you have the ability to send thousands of email messages without having to be present. Marketing automation also has the ability to dynamically add names or take them away from a distribution list which is based on pre-established segmentation formulas. You can use data from visit and behavioral patterns in order to apply formulas to leads. You can set up campaigns that involve sending emails up to 180 days before an event followed by automated reminders which are sent until the event has concluded along with a ‘thank you’ message afterwards.
Salesforce can provide you with an email marketing solution but if your company’s needs are more complex, you’ll need a dedicated provider, like Response Wise.
A well crafted landing page is almost certain to boost your conversion rate compared to simply pointing people in the general direction of your website’s home page. In fact, your marketing campaign performance could depend on the quality of your landing page. A page that is changed and thoroughly tested as a means of boosting its performance will have a much better chance of converting visitors than a generic page that has not been optimized to suit the needs of its target audience.
What is A/B Split Testing?
It is exactly what it says on the tin: Landing page A is tested against page B, both versions are very different and each is visible to 50% of the audience. You then monitor the actions of visitors to see which version produces the highest conversion rate.
Pros of A/B Landing Page Testing
- It is extremely easy to set up and no follow-up tests are required.
- You don’t need a huge knowledge of statistics because all you are doing is comparing a baseline version to each version to see which comes out on top.
- It works even if you have a relatively low rate of traffic and conversions.
Cons of A/B Testing
- Though you may identify several issues with your landing page, you can only test one new idea at a time.
- As you only measure one variable, A/B testing is not as effective as multivariate tests. (Response Wise offers multivariate testing)
- While you know which version is the ‘winner’, you won’t know the specific elements that lead to the conversion rate increase.
- You can’t detect variable interactions so it is possible that you don’t uncover the best performing outline.
What You Should Test
- Headline: This is covered in a previous article but your headline is essential.
- Body Content: You need to create a concise message that compels people to buy. The A/B test may help you determine the best words to use and phrases to avoid.
- Graphics/Images: As a single image can be more potent than an entire page of written copy, you may find that a certain image is successful or else it turns people off completely.
- Positioning: The position of your call to action buttons, images and text has a major impact on the decision making process.
- Video: A well-produced explainer video can quickly introduce visitors to your product and a successful split test could see your landing page conversion rate skyrocket.
Split testing your landing page is not an exact science and some tinkering will be required. However, knowledge of what your visitors love and hate will have a dramatic impact on your marketing campaign’s performance.
If you believe in something, you should be aiming to sell hard each and every day but you must also be smart in your efforts. This means you need a system in place that helps you to prioritize your best leads. Going down the old route of trying to sell to everyone will only end in failure. According to a Marketing Sherpa report, almost 80% of companies don’t have a lead scoring system in place so if you implement one; you immediately have a huge advantage over your rivals.
This is an essential element of lead nurturing and must be implemented to create a tight sales funnel. These days with online marketing, there are several options to assign a point value to each prospect action. They will instantly be scored on activities such as emails read, documents downloaded, web pages browsed etc. This helps provide hard data in what can be a subjective process. You can quickly prioritize the leads based on this score and place leads that don’t hit a certain score on a lead nurturing track.
This is another method of lead scoring with grades based on factors such as company size, job title and industry. This grade can show you how close a prospect is to meeting your ideal customer criteria. While this is different to lead scoring which is based on activities performed, it can still provide interesting data.
You need to maintain a good relationship with prospects regardless of whether they are ready to become paying customers and nurturing is the way to do it. In most cases, less than 5% of visitors to your website will be sales ready so you need to nurture the other 95% or else they will disappear! The benefits of nurturing are as follows:
- Educates leads
- Sustains their interest in your company
- Allows you to determine if a lead is ready to become a customer
- Enables you to understand the intentions of customers
Drip marketing is one of the most commonly used methods of lead nurturing and involves sending regular pieces of information to your leads. Email marketing is a superb method of achieving this as you can send an email a week outlining the benefits of your products as well as mentioning any sales. In the last couple of emails, you can include details of freebies and discounts to gauge whether or not your strategy is working.
The process of lead nurturing depends on sharp and compelling content as this enhances the recall value of your company. Throw in a high quality lead scoring/grading process and you have the recipe for a successful sales funnel.
It doesn’t matter how amazing the content of your email is, if you can’t get prospects to read beyond the subject line, all your efforts will be completely wasted. Your subject line is the single most important piece of material on the entire page because it must intrigue readers enough to make them want to read on.
According to David Ogilvy, one of the foremost marketing experts in the world, five times more people read the headline of the content than the body. In other words, if your headline doesn’t sell your product, you have wasted most of your time and budget. As such, split testing your email’s headline is important so read on to learn more.
3 Reasons to Split Test Headlines
- Increase Conversions: In simple terms, the better your headline performs, the more subscribers will open and read the entire message. Simple mathematics suggests that this will automatically lead to more conversions. In marketing terms, it is obvious that subscribers that open the message have some level of interest in your product which means the likelihood of making a purchase increases. A good headline merely intensifies their initial interest.
- Improve Knowledge of Your Audience: It is essential for you to know the desires of subscribers so you can provide them with useful information catered to their specific tastes. When you test your email headlines, you can determine if your audience likes your sale emails or if they open your newsletters more. This gives you an insight into the style of writing they prefer.
- Learn to Make Adjustments: A mistake often made by marketers is to achieve a certain level of success and rest on their laurels. At some point, the needs and tastes of your audience will change so you need to know when this happens or else you risk losing subscribers. Split testing headlines ensures that you don’t give in to complacency and are more attuned to the ever-changing needs of the modern day consumer.
What Can I Split Test?
There are a range of options:
- Length: Does a short headline outperform a longer one?
- Personalized Messages: Do subscribers like having their name mentioned in the subject line?
- Wording: Does your audience respond to certain psychological triggers or do they view them as gimmicks?
- Design: Will your subscribers respond positively to punctuation or will they view it as spam?
Various organizations have found that split testing has made a significant difference to their email open rates and ROI. Even the slightest change to your subject line can make a profound positive or negative difference so start testing and earn more profit!
In basic terms, the sales funnel describes the sales process from first content to purchase. It is used as a visual aid and resembles a leaky funnel where sales opportunities are dropped into. There will be occasions when these opportunities need to be taken away from the funnel because the customers are either uninterested or deemed to be outside your target audience. The stages of the funnel refer to the likelihood of a customer making a purchase and the sales opportunity increases the further down the funnel you go.
Developing your Sales Funnel
When a sales opportunity presents itself, your goal is to remove all road blocks preventing a possible sale. After removing this barrier, you move on to the next stage and closer to the final goal. These issues include customer uncertainty about your brand, the value of your product and whether or not it is within their budget. By developing sales metrics appropriate for your business, you will be able to manage the sales funnel.
Sales Funnel Stages
- Lead: This refers to someone that fits into your target audience but you have not yet been in contact with.
- Prospect: This is a potential customer that has expressed an interest in what you have to offer. This means you have had a conversation and the prospect has been given information on what to do next in the process.
- Qualified Prospect: This is the most testing part of the funnel as it involves you verifying that the prospect has a need for your product, has the budget and sees value in what you sell.
- Commitment: By now, the prospect is a committed customer and has made verbal agreement to make a purchase.
- Transaction: This is when the deal has been signed, sealed and delivered!
Going back to the qualified prospect part of the sales funnel, you need to use lead scoring in order to rank and prioritize your leads. For example, you may find that those who register for your webinar are more likely to pay for your services than those who sign up for email newsletters. In this case, you will pour more resources into the webinar than you would have done otherwise.
Basic personal information is necessary of course but you should also look to get details of the professional occupation, location, company size and budget. ‘Score’ each visitor’s interaction with your brand; the closer someone moves towards a purchase, the more points you assign to that customer.
With a well-drawn out sales funnel, you can quickly get rid of irrelevant leads that will end up costing you money in marketing and focus on those who are likely to become paying customers. This reduces costs, increases ROI and allows you to become more dedicated to prospects that will prop up your business.
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