The most basic reason to use image personalization in your email campaigns is to make them more appealing to customers. We all receive a huge amount of spam and junk mail in our inboxes and a host of dull and unappealing emails as well. These don’t stand out and even though they may be from genuine companies, we dismiss them as spam too because they are so generic in nature. With image personalization, you not only add a bit of color to emails, you also cater to the individual tastes of each recipient.
It seems strange that the television device of sending messages based on exact times hasn’t really gathered steam when it comes to email marketing. We are of course referring to those adverts which state that there is a sale in 5 days time. The reason why it is not used in emails is because most marketers assume that the message will be opened and read soon after receipt and will then never be read again. However, one set of clever marketers thought otherwise and created an email that displayed a dynamic countdown, in this instance for Christmas. These marketers banked on the fact that the email would be opened repeatedly and recipients saw a different countdown time whenever they open the email.
What happened is that the marketers managed to create an email where the image changed every time the email was opened. If the subscriber opened the email once a day, they would see a new image and a different countdown time on every occasion. It was even possible to change the time displayed in the email depending on where the recipient was viewing it from. For example, if a consumer in Paris and one in New York opened their emails at the same time, they would see a different message. If this seems like a lot of work for a single email, it is worth noting that in our example above, the company enjoyed a sales increase of approximately 40% and each email was opened more than 5 times on average.
What does this prove? That thinking outside the box can be extremely rewarding. While your email campaign does not have to be as innovative as the one we just outlined, you should be using dynamic images in order to get the best results from your email marketing. No one is interested in dull, bland emails that lack a bit of style. Image personalization is clever and breathes new life into each and every email you send.
Unfortunately, the assumption that auto companies still rely heavily on TV, radio and newspaper advertising is true! While these traditional methods of marketing still have their place, the truth is, they are very expensive and have a pretty low ROI. According to BBC Worldwide America, over 50% of viewers watch shows on DVR and an incredible 97% of them skip the advertising content!
Given the growth of online marketing, Smartphones and social media, sticking rigidly to old fashioned marketing is a recipe for disaster. Some dealerships are finally getting to grips with email marketing and now realize it is arguably the most effective mode of advertising for their businesses.
Collecting the email addresses of customers is a priority and can be achieved in a variety of ways:
- At Racing Events.
- At the Dealership.
- At Car Shows.
- At the Service Counter.
- Through Their Website’s Sign-Up Page.
- As a Pre-Requisite For Test Drives.
Once you have a customer’s email address, the next step is to learn how to use it correctly and this is what we examine below.
A huge percentage of your email marketing messages will remain unread if you persist with generic content sent to the wrong people. Email segmentation enables you to provide content your audience is actually interested in. The key is to find what interests different subscribers; then you can create tailor-made emails they will click on and read.
Here are some ways to segment:
- Customer Profile Characteristics: Age, gender and geography for B2C and size of company and industry sector for B2B.
- Current & Predicted Value: This is a way of finding your most valuable customers in order to gain their loyalty.
- Customer Lifecycle Groups: The online loyalty ladder involves customers passing through various phases; moving customers from the first to the second purchase is a big challenge. You need to identify consumers at different stages of the ladder before creating specific promotions to encourage further purchases.
- Current & Predicted Behavior: This involves capturing visitor interactions with different communications such as pages visited on site and email clicks.
There are some interesting statistics relating to how segmented emails perform against non-segmented messages. For example, segmented emails get 14% more opens, over 10% unique opens and over 59% more clicks.
There is no point sending carefully crafted emails if they never reach their intended destination. You need an email provider with an excellent track record of ensuring every phase of sending activity is in accordance with email marketing best practices. This means having anti-spam precautions integrated into every email. Simple ways to avoid ending up in the spam pile include:
- Asking Subscribers To Add You To Their Contact List: This is a quick and easy way to ensure your email makes it to their inbox.
- Be Consistent: Make sure your sending frequency is consistent; in other words, don’t send 1 email a month then suddenly start sending them every 4 days. For the record, 57% of auto-dealerships send out emails monthly while only 9% send out weekly email newsletters.
- Don’t Add Attachments Or Large Images: Adding attachments to email marketing messages tends to raise a red flag with Internet Service Providers.
Short Subject Lines
Most subject lines fall into one of the following categories:
- Price Discount.
- Special Offer.
- Exclusive Product/Service.
- Limited Time Offer.
- General Information.
Given the competition in the automotive aftermarket industry, special offers and discounts are typically the most commonly used subject lines. The ‘sweet spot’ for a subject line in terms of length is 8-10 words. Writing something compelling enough to elicit a response in the form of an Open is a tricky task; but that’s what you pay copywriters for!
Avoid the use of ‘spammy keywords’ and always ensure your subject line is representative of the email’s content. Use of misleading subject lines will quickly get you into trouble.
Finally, try to ‘personalize’ the subject line as the recipient is more likely to open when they see their name.
It’s best to keep your marketing emails short and to the point; anywhere from 200-400 words is reasonable but try and remain closer to 200 than 400 words. Use clear ‘non-salesy’ words when communicating with the reader and always ensure the message contains something of value to the reader.
This could mean the promise of a discount on their next purchase, an offer exclusive to your subscribers or even important information relating to the automotive aftermarket industry. Make sure you conclude the email with a clear Call-to-Action; research suggests that Orange and Red are the most eye-catching colors to use for your CTA button.
It appears as if the automotive aftermarket industry has been slower than other industries to embrace email marketing but it is finally catching on. Once you have gained the emails of prospects, the next step is to gain their trust. The best way to do this is through carefully crafted email newsletter content that increases customer loyalty and boosts your reputation.
If you are a regular Response Wise reader then you’ll already know that the ROI earned from email marketing can be astronomical. According to a report by VentureBeat, email marketing could provide marketers with an ROI of $38 for every $1 spent! Clearly, this will not be the case for every single email marketer but it does provide an insight into the kind of success it is possible to achieve.
Email marketing is constantly evolving so you need to stay on your toes to keep up with these changes. What is working for you right now may not be effective 12 months down the line for example. However, it is possible to enjoy fantastic results by making a few simple additions to each email with the goal of optimizing them.
Segment To Provide Value
Your subscribers could be receiving dozens of marketing emails a day so creating a generically designed email with a less than compelling message spells doom for your campaign. Deliverability rates tend to suffer when subscribers believe the emails are irrelevant to their needs so you need to segment your list to ensure the right person receives the right message.
You can segment according to age, gender, location and interests among other things. No matter how well written your email is, if it isn’t about a topic that interests the recipient, it provides no value and is therefore of no use to them.
Include Several CTAs
Adding a single Call-To-Action at the end of an email won’t cut it. A cleverly designed marketing email will contain multiple CTAs that flow seamlessly within the content and don’t seem overly ‘salesy’. The fact is, the more links there are to click, the more likely it is that readers will click on one.
Your emails should contain content that is easily ‘sharable’ across different marketing channels with special attention paid to social media sites. All it takes is a handful of brand advocates to transform a company’s fortunes and when you give these loyalists the option of sharing your content on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc., good things will happen.
When designing your emails, make sure there are clearly defined areas where subscribers can share the text via social media and email.
Ultimately, the success of your email marketing campaign will lie in your ability to effectively segment your target audience and create content that benefits them. Yet there are a couple of simple additions that can really boost your click-through rate and this will inevitably lead to more sales.
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.
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