There seems to be little evidence that email marketing will lose its effectiveness; indeed, all evidence points to the contrary. An email statistics report by Californian based technology market firm The Radicati Group says that there were 4.11 billion email accounts worldwide (2.6 billion email users) in 2014 and this will increase to over 5.23 billion (over 2.9 billion users) by 2018.
At present, over 90% of Americans have at least one email address that is checked on a daily basis and over 70% of email users provide marketers with their primary address when signing up for marketing offers. Of course, the modern consumer expects high standards from email marketers so if you want to turn subscribers into customers, read the following tips on optimizing your emails.
Make Them Mobile Friendly
If your emails are not mobile responsive, you are missing out on a huge chunk of the market. Basically, this means ensuring your email is crisp, clear and easy to read no matter what device is used by the recipient.
By the end of 2014, approximately 53% of emails were opened on a mobile device, a figure certain to increase by the end of 2015. Depressingly for those yet to optimize emails for mobile devices, over 70% of mobile users will delete any unoptimized emails. Don’t make the mistake of shrinking the screen to fit; this only makes emails look bad on larger screens.
Get Your Timing Right
The global economy can make things tricky when attempting to send messages at the perfect times. The best way to do this is through the use of segmentation; you will ideally invest in automation software for this purpose. With detailed analytics, you can find out the time period where recipients are most likely to be checking their email.
You also need to pay attention to email frequency, sending too many emails puts you at danger of being marked out as spam; too few causes subscribers to forget you. Avoid daily emails unless they contain special offers; most marketers tend to send out a weekly email.
Subject Line & Preheader Text
The best subject lines tend to be less than 50 characters long yet they contain an interesting tidbit that compels the recipient to keep reading. Including a quick stat that benefits the reader is a great way to get their attention.
The next step is to customize your preheader text; this is the short summary that comes immediately after the subject line. Too many marketers ignore it and the result is generic text. You can change all that by using the preheader text to provide a teaser of your email content, provide an incentive to open, expand on the subject line and instil a sense of urgency. The 3 seconds it takes to read the preheader text could make or break your email marketing campaign so don’t forget it!
While we believe the above tips will remain relevant for quite some time, it is important to note that email marketing is growing and evolving. This means you must keep abreast of the changes to ensure you don’t use outdated tactics. I hope to continue bringing you up to date information to keep you at the front of the queue.
Integrated marketing has been used to promote B2C and B2B products/services for a number of years but it appears as if companies in the automotive aftermarket industry are lagging behind. Below, we look at some ways in which you can combine your marketing efforts to create a cohesive strategy that puts your company on top.
Radius Direct Marketing
This is a great way to combine email and direct mail. There are a number of marketing companies capable of selecting your target audience based on your current trade area or a new area you wish to expand into.
Now you can target specific ‘types’ of customer; for example, an automotive dealership can look to target vehicle owners who have a modeled lease expiration within the next 90 days. Other examples include owners of particular vehicle types or owners of specific year/model/make vehicles. This is particularly useful if you specialize in providing parts of a particular automobile brand.
The next step is deciding if you want to send marketing messages via email, direct mail or both; we recommend both. When you combine targeted direct mail and email, it can be timed so both messages arrive at approximately the same time.
The final step is to decide upon your message. Please ensure your message/offer is compelling enough to give recipients a reason to take action. This may come in the form of a phone call, an email, visits to your website or even an in-store visit. When designing your messages, always remember that your customers have a ‘What’s in it for me?’ mindset.
You could say synchronized marketing goes beyond mere integration as it enables the ‘true voice’ of your brand to be heard. It can involve the use of marketing sales literature, social media, design, advertising and PR.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking synchronized marketing is a simple matter of creating a single advertising concept that is then translated across different mediums. In reality, each marketing discipline should draw from its own strengths. It enables your marketing communications to be tweaked continuously based on real time customer feedback. It connects individual ‘touch points’; this ensures your target audience receives an enhanced experience which naturally results in stronger customer engagement.
Keep the Conversation Flowing
Your brand ‘voice’ includes Social Media, Website, Promos, Advertising, Events, Sales Presentations and Marketing Literature (email, sales letters, direct mail). The Internet allows you to access and influence communities in bold new ways. Now it is possible to start a conversation and continue interacting with individuals and brands. Your goal should be to ‘keep the conversation flowing’ in order to propel your products/services into the collective consciousness of your target audience.
Land Rover is an automotive aftermarket company with its finger on the pulse. It has beautifully integrated its marketing and is reaping the rewards. It created a tailored experience for customers by using their location and past visit preferences to develop a dynamic advertising experience.
This includes incorporating video marketing; the result is a significant rise in customer engagement with the ‘intent to buy’ metric now at 53%. It has also led to an increase in the number of qualified leads for dealers.
Social Media Integration
It’s a mistake to view social media as a separate activity in your marketing campaign. By doing this, you make your audience feel as if they are uncared for in what is ultimately a hollow customer experience. Social media marketing works best when it is part of a larger campaign so we have included a few ways to integrate it into your marketing below.
Eliminate the Unnecessary
A mistake made by companies attempting to integrate social media into their marketing efforts is to try and do everything (and there are a lot of networks and activities). Choose the sites and features that best fit your brand. For most companies this means sticking with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and perhaps Pinterest but your mileage may vary.
Put Positive Social Media Reviews on Your Website
Customers LOVE making comments and adding reviews of products and services on social media. Find the positive feedback and display it on your company website. Transform your site from a collection of static information pages into your 24/7 salesperson!
Study Your Analytics
Leverage your analytics in concert with social media to visualize changes in your website’s traffic and sales as you begin new marketing campaigns. If you don’t have Google Analytics already, get it now!
If you want to enjoy success in the competitive automotive aftermarket industry, you need to think and act BIG! Integration of all your marketing channels is the single most effective method of truly connecting with your target audience and enhancing your brand.
As far back as 2012 the Harvard Business Review found that combining direct mail and email resulted in a higher response rate and increased order value. Add social media and web marketing to the mix and you should have all your bases covered.
You would like to think that those marketing emails you have carefully crafted will all find their way to the inboxes of subscribers. Unfortunately, an estimated 21% of ‘permissioned’ emails fail to reach their target. While email marketers in the UK fared a little better with only 18% of emails not making the inbox, this was a steep rise from the 2014 figure of 13%.
The thing is, there is no mystery behind this issue and we look at 4 clear reasons why marketing emails are not finding the inbox.
1 – High Rate of Complaints
It is not unusual for consumers to sign up for email offers only to regret their decision. It can sometimes take 14+ days for a company to acknowledge the consumer’s choice to ‘unsubscribe’ which means more marketing emails sneak through.
This angers the recipient who in turn complains to mailbox providers. These providers have an obligation to take complaints seriously and their next step is to consign your emails to the recipient’s ‘spam’ folder. Worst of all, once you are marked as ‘spam’, that consumer will never subscribe to you again. Lowering your rate of complaints is essential if you want a higher delivery rate.
2 – Inactive Subscribers
When you send emails to accounts that are seldom ever used, your messages typically end up being filtered. Remember, mailbox engagement depends on account activity so sending emails to ‘dead’ accounts is bad news for your stats. When your delivery rate drops, you may end up being flagged by mailbox providers. Solve this problem via a customer reengagement campaign which helps you bring old subscribers back while getting rid of inactive accounts.
3 – Spam Traps
A ‘spam trap’ is an email address specifically designed for the purpose of catching companies that send emails without the account holder’s permission. If you make the mistake of falling into this trap, your email address will immediately be flagged as spam which of course prevents your messages from reaching their destination.
Never purchase email lists and look to implement a double opt-in system as it ensures subscribers have to click in order to allow you to send messages to their account.
4 – Your Lead Rate Is Too Low
Mailbox providers are becoming increasingly more sophisticated as they look to protect users from unwanted emails. They are including complex algorithms in order to understand what account holders really want.
If a high percentage of your messages are not opened or get deleted without being read, it is a sign that you are not connecting with the recipient. This will lead to the mailbox provider filtering your messages entirely which means they never again reach the inbox. Your job is to provide subscribers with valuable content or else you risk being consigned to the scrapheap.
Although it seems as if the odds are stacked against email marketers, the more advanced algorithms used by mailbox providers is actually a good thing. They force you to create more relevant content and follow email marketing best practices which increase the quality of what you create. This should yield improved delivery, open and click-through rates.
If you are an email marketer you would be forgiven for thinking mailbox providers such as Outlook and Gmail were trying to prevent your messages from reaching the inbox of subscribers. In actual fact, these providers work hard to ensure that only high quality emails make it past their filters.
According to a detailed study by Securelist, in the first quarter of 2015, over 59% of email traffic was deemed to be ‘spam’. While this is a 6% drop when compared to the first quarter of 2014, it still means that 3 out of every 5 email messages is spam! Perhaps unsurprisingly, the U.S was the biggest culprit as it made up over 14% of all unwanted email messages.
This is a huge problem for email marketers as it can play havoc with your deliverability rates. According to one source, the average email marketing database will decay by over 22% annually. There are a few reasons for this:
- Your subscribers change their email address as they change companies.
- The email address you have on record is not the primary address of your subscriber.
- You end up with unqualified leads that decide to opt-out.
How To Get Your Emails Delivered
First of all, you should be grateful that mailbox providers are trying to tackle the spam problem; fewer messages means lower competition for you as long as your messages are relevant and of high quality. Here are a few quick tips to boost your deliverability rates:
- Create A Great List: NEVER purchase or rent email lists as they will be laden with outdated emails and/or contacts with no interest in what you have to offer. Instead, build your own by offering incentives and a variety of subscription opportunities. Organically built email lists have far higher open rates and far lower complaint rates.
- Authentication: High quality email marketing software gives you the option to authenticate your emails; this means ensuring your emails are sent from your own domain as opposed to the generic one offered by the provider. The top mailbox providers take the stance that authenticated domains are typically a sign of a legitimate business sending genuine emails which greatly reduces the chances of your messages ending up in the spam folder.
- Familiarity: Marketers tend to focus on the ‘To’ name and ignore the importance of including the right ‘From’ name. Use a name that subscribers will recognize; for example, using your own name rather than a bland corporation name should increase open rates.
- Segmentation: This is essential if you want your emails to end up in the inboxes of subscribers with a real interest in your products and services. So if you are a clothing store sending messages to a female subscriber, it makes sense to contain information about women’s clothing rather than a generic email.
Remember, mailbox providers are trying to prevent spam and are keen to allow high quality emails through. If you focus on quality in terms of content and subscribers, you should have no issues with deliverability whatsoever.
The marketing world is changing fast and the modern consumer wants to know precisely what a company or product can do for them and they want to know it quickly. Unsurprisingly, video is becoming the most popular marketing medium. In 2014, about 50% of all online content was video. In 2016, that is set to be over 85%!
Clearly, you can’t expect to make an impact in your niche without well-produced video content. There are various types’ of marketing videos you need but not all of them are useful. Below, we look at 5 that are.
1 – Brand Documentary
This is a great way to explain to the audience what your company is all about. As long as you play to your strengths and keep it personal and genuine, a video about your brand can be a powerful marketing tool. Just make sure you put the most powerful points within the first 10 seconds. Feel free to add client or employee testimonials for greater authenticity.
2 – How To
Also known as an ‘explainer video’, this is an excellent way to establish yourself as an authority in your niche. A great example of a ‘how to’ video would be a production created by an Internet marketing company that shows small businesses how to create a marketing video for their website!
A good How To video can take seconds to explain something that usually requires minutes of reading.
3 – Product/Service Overviews
Anyone can write down the great features of your products but actually showing customers your products in action makes a statement. As well as clearly demonstrating the benefits, it tells customers that you’re extremely confident in your merchandise and this confidence rubs off on them.
4 – Promoting an Event
Tickets to events are usually quite expensive, particularly if they are marketing events designed to improve a company’s profits. Record one of your events in action and let viewers decide for themselves the kind of impact you can have on their businesses. When they see the energy and passion, it will prove to be irresistible for some.
5 – Q&A
This can also be called an ‘expert’ video and is yet another opportunity to display your knowledge of your industry & products. For customers still in the research phase, the option to directly ask a company questions will be well received. Creating a survey that determines FAQs gives you the ‘script’ you need and this should clear up any confusion/misinformation about your product. Q&A videos are also an excellent way of establishing credibility.
If you’re not using video marketing, the time to change is now. Don’t be afraid to test out the different types of video to find out the ones that are most popular with your target audience. While there is a lot of effort involved, the ROI on both your time and financial investment will be well worth it.
Back in 2012, some analysts decried marketing automation and claimed it was a failure. One article in particular was written by an author (Joby Blume) who had worked with the technology only to find his employer not only failed but went bust! The thing is, the article made a lot of sense and it was a lesson to all small companies interested in using marketing automation to get to the next level.
The basic takeaways from the piece were that marketing automation will fail if you didn’t have:
- Clear objectives.
- Enough leads.
- The right content.
- Adequate staff.
- Sales and marketing alignment.
- Customers & prospects.
There were a few more but basically, marketing automation is not a ‘golden ticket’ and only works if you make it work. Fortunately, it is possible to do incredible things with the new technology which we outline below.
1 – Get The Most From Lead Management
According to Blume, small businesses need to go out and get a host of leads if they expect marketing automation to work. But once you have done this, it is possible to get the maximum out of your lead management efforts. The biggest problem is lack of quality leads but with a scoring and grading system, you can immediately qualify leads and pass them directly to the company’s sales team when they are ready to be nurtured.
When you assign a ‘score’, you do so based on the activity levels of the lead and when you assign a ‘grade’, you do so based on how leads fit into your ‘ideal buyer profile’. A lead nurturing system also makes sure that they receive marketing communications to nudge them towards ‘sales ready’ status over the course of time. When these leads are ready to make a purchase, you are likely to be #1 on their list.
2 – Content Strategy Optimization
Another issue Blume outlined was the lack of quality content that leads would swap their contact details for. His company had lots of content but not in the form of whitepapers, e-books etc. With marketing automation, you can create buyer personas in order to learn more about your target audience.
The results of this strategy should be a clear insight into what customers want in terms of content. If you don’t have enough fresh content to go around, simply repackage what you have. For example, if you have an e-book, you can publish it chapter by chapter on your blog.
3 – Increase Revenue
While Blume’s employer when bust back in 2011, small businesses in 2015 are enjoying the fruits of marketing automation. According to a recent survey by Venture Beat, 80% of companies that utilized marketing automation saw an increase in leads and 77% of companies saw an increase in conversion rate. You can click on the link above to learn more about the top marketing automation vendors.
The fact that marketing automation will significantly help your business seems to be set in stone but the level of success depends on how much you’re willing to put in. Marketing automation will get you results but it is no substitute for hard work.
Multi-channel marketing is essentially the practice of communicating and marketing to consumers across a number of channels both online and offline. Savvy marketers know that they can only be a success if they establish a presence on online channels such as social media, blogs, emails and websites along with offline channels such as TV, radio and print media.
No matter what niche you reside in, competition is almost certain to be fierce so you can only hope to achieve success by being wherever your prospects are. This could be in-store, at their desktop or on their mobile device for example. The potential for any business in the Internet age to grow is obvious but how can you maximize this growth?
It’s All About Updated Data
The trouble with data is that it has a tendency to become decayed and outdated over time. One way around this is to continually track consumer visits across the various channels but this is only possible with the aid of marketing automation software.
If you get it right, your software will instantly send the correct messages at the perfect time. For example, an insurance company will be able to send out information about automobile insurance right at the time when the consumer’s existing coverage is coming to an end. Imagine doing this with thousands of customers! With so many qualified leads, your chances of finding new customers are increased exponentially.
Create Buyer Personas
A buyer persona can provide you with details of your ‘ideal customer’. With this information, you can narrow down the number of channels you need to focus on. As well as being a great time saver, it significantly increases the quality of your leads.
Integrate Your Marketing Channels
It should go without saying that your marketing team must work together if you wish to succeed in a multi-channel world. There is no point in going to the trouble of setting up various social media accounts, an email address, a blog and a website if they are working independently.
Remember, the modern consumer moves from one channel to the next at warp speed so your strategy must adapt just as fast. By integrating your marketing channels, you will be able to make a seamless transition.
Advanced Measurement Techniques
Since there are several channels to analyze, you’ll have to create a system of measuring all of the results. You can use analytics software to perform ‘closed loop’ analytics which can show you the most & least effective channels and how certain channels influenced others. This data can then be used to eliminate the channels that don’t work for your business and enables you to spend more time and money on areas of your marketing strategy that actually work.
It may seem as if the entire multi-channel marketing approach is overly complicated but with the right automation software, you’ll find that most of the work is done for you. Best of all, your brand name receives more attention which is crucial in such a crowded marketplace.
According to research performed by Workfront ominously entitled ‘Marketers Stress Report’, 25% of marketers are ‘Stressed to the Max’, 35% are ‘Somewhat Stressed’ while only 3% are ‘Not Stressed At All’. According to over half of the marketers surveyed, one of the top 3 things that make them dread their job the most is trying to get all their work done in a 40 hour week. In most cases, their work hours extend beyond reasonable levels which can only have deleterious effects on their health in the long term.
Marketing Automation Saves Time & Reduces Stress!
A surprising number of marketing teams within organizations use outdated techniques and tools which are high on workload but low on results. Here are some obvious signs that your marketing needs sprucing up:
- You need the aid of your firm’s IT or engineering team because your campaigns cannot be handled entirely by marketing due to lack of tools.
- You are still using non-automated systems to pull lists of customer data.
- You are unable to automatically integrate your company’s marketing activities across all channels.
Fortunately, marketing automation tools are now readily available and best of all; they have a fairly gentle learning curve despite their hi-tech nature. The majority of automated marketing systems are designed to be user-friendly which means you no longer need the assistance of your company’s technical staff.
Choose the proper marketing automation tool for your company and you can enjoy the flexibility of implementing ‘real time’ marketing strategies across a variety of channels. Instead of going down the old and unsuccessful path of marketing ‘at’ customers, you can use the new technology to actively engage with customers thus improving your overall relationship with them.
3 Great Features of Marketing Automation Tools
- Simple Tracking & Analysis of Email Marketing: Now you can create triggered email campaigns that actually ‘follow’ individual members of your target audience during the purchasing cycle. Automation allows you to create and analyze emails and alter them based on the behavior of the consumer.
- Personalized Website Creation: You can change your company website according to your target segment. For example, your site will look different for first-time visitors than it does for regular visitors.
- Form Creation: You can create forms on your landing pages or website that work with other marketing channels such as social media; and you don’t need to bother your company’s design team!
Imagine a scenario where you have a database containing the information of prospects and existing customers and their behaviors across all channels. Add in remarkably accurate analytics and an ability to create your own segments and you have a marketing solution that helps you work smarter not harder. The result is more success and less working hours. You may even get to enjoy the occasionally leng
The practice of sending sponsored emails to premium leads, also known as paid email programs, is gaining popularity because of the impressive results it achieves. When you find the right email vendor, you can benefit from improved reach, a higher conversion rate and larger database.
Naturally, there are some pitfalls associated with paid email programs; not least the difficulties that lie in finding a trustworthy vendor. Below, we provide you with critical information on this form of email marketing which will hopefully steer you in the right direction.
Best Paid Email Vendors
One of the advantages of choosing a reputable paid email vendor is that your target audience will trust you from the get-go. The best services are ad-free; compare this to Gmail for example which analyzes all your messages in a bid to gather information and send you related ads. Reputable vendors are also regulated by strong privacy legislation which protects customer data.
Target Your Subscribers
Paid email vendors typically allow you to target subscribers based on criteria such as your audience, topics and region. When it comes to your target audience, you should be able to filter by title, industry and a variety of other demographic information.
The next step is to determine the topics your audience is interested in. With the best vendors, you can focus on topics that leads have already engaged with previously thus increasing the open and click-through rates. Finally, you can send emails according to the location of recipients if you are doing a geo-targeted campaign.
When sending emails, it is crucial for you to use clear visuals and a compelling CTA.
- Reusing Content: Although you must not send the same email twice, you can use the same content if you’re clever about it. Remember, only a small percentage of recipients are likely to read or download what you send.
- Avoid Duplication: There are third party services that can help you avoid duplicate email addresses; otherwise, you’ll end up accidentally sending one recipient two copies of the same email.
- Be Aggressive: If your emails are not sent to your satisfaction, demand that your vendor sends them again.
- Revisit: Be sure to evaluate your program every few months to ensure you’re getting the results you expect.
- Plan B: Sometimes, you won’t get as many leads as expected. In this instance, you need a Plan B. Occasionally a technical fault could be to blame which means the vendor should resend the emails.
Before choosing any paid email vendor, be sure to negotiate to get what you want. After all, you’re paying for the service so it should be exemplary. If you can’t afford a vendor by yourself, see if you can split the costs with a reputable partner in exchange for the sharing of leads.
If you’re not including phone calls in your email marketing metrics, you’re making a major blunder. It’s not uncommon for a targeted email to result in a phone call from the lead. This phone call has clearly come as a direct result of email marketing but many businesses fail to include calls of this nature in their metrics.
Technological innovations such as marketing automation software can tell when recipients of emails opened the message, clicked on a link, went to a page on your website or downloaded an eBook. As a result, you know whether or not your email marketing campaign is a success. But the same software does not count occasions when someone reads an email and calls the company on the back of it. Fortunately, there is phone tracking software available for this very purpose.
The Smartphone Invasion
According to eMarketer, there will be 1.91 billion Smartphones in the world by the end of 2015. By the end of 2018, this figure will have risen to 2.58 billion. As at the end of 2014, the U.S. had the second most Smartphones in the world (165.3 million compared to 519.7 million in China).
Add in the fact that almost 90% of Smartphone users check their emails on their mobile device at least once a day and it’s clear that phone calls play a huge role in the success of email marketing. How easy is it for someone to read your email and phone your company straight after?
Incredibly easy is the answer thanks to mobile click-to-call links which can be added to the text in emails. All the reader needs to do is tap the link and they will immediately phone your company.
What Should You Measure?
- Volume: Simply create a phone number, list it in your email send and use the special call tracking software to gather information. You can count calls triggered directly by the email or else you can count calls triggered by a visit to your site’s landing page when your email sent the recipient to your website.
- Location: You may find that you receive more calls from recipients in Los Angeles than anywhere else for example which means it’s a good idea to focus on that particular city for future campaigns.
- Timing: You can find out when people call you including the day of the week and the time of day.
- Closing: You can even determine the sales agents within your organization that are most adapt at closing sales from phone calls generated by your emails.
Ultimately, you need to include phone call metrics in your email marketing campaigns. They are often the best sales opportunities so if you can find a way to increase your phone call volume, its likely your conversion rate will soar.
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