Using Email Marketing To Increase Customer Engagement

Posted on Jan 28, 2014 by Michael Herman | Posted in Austin, TX, Email Deliverability, Email Marketing

 

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

5 Tips When Using Videos in Your Email Marketing Campaigns

Posted on Jan 21, 2014 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing


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.

Email Marketing Initiatives In 2014

Posted on Jan 14, 2014 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing, Social Media

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.

Mobile Design

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.

Integration

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.

Benefits of Integrating Salesforce With An Email Marketing Provider

Posted on Dec 16, 2013 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing, Social Media

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.

 

Volume

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.

 

Marketing Automation

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.

How Split Testing Landing Pages Determines Campaign Performance

Posted on Dec 10, 2013 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Marketing

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. 

Use Lead Scoring & Nurturing to Plug Sales Funnel Leaks

Posted on Nov 4, 2013 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing

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.

Lead Scoring

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.

Grading

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.

Lead Nurturing

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.

The Importance of Split Testing Subject Lines

Posted on Oct 28, 2013 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing, Social Media

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Developing a Sales Funnel to Prioritize Leads

Posted on Oct 22, 2013 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing, Social Media

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!

Lead Prioritization

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.

History of Email Marketing & How it Continues to Evolve

Posted on Oct 14, 2013 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing

Electronic messaging changed the way we communicate forever. It made it possible for companies to conduct business all over the world and was the catalyst for global expansion for an innumerable amount of organizations. It was only a matter of time before emails were used for marketing purposes and so it came to pass in the 1990s.

Before Email

It was a godsend for companies because it was cheaper, easier and more all-encompassing that traditional forms of marketing. Before email, bricks and mortar salespeople waited in stores trying to sell goods to customers. The problem with this was getting people to enter the store in the first place. Then there is direct mail which involves sending countless magazines and brochures to people’s homes. Consumers quickly grew tired of this junk mail and it was costing businesses far too much money.

A New Marketing Method

With email marketing, sending messages to prospects took a fraction of a second. Instead of having to spend time and money designing a catalog or traditional letters and finding the names and addresses of people to send this material to, it was now possible to buy email addresses and start sending marketing emails.

Clever businesses created websites and landing pages designed to capture these addresses. This increased the likelihood of sending an email to a person that was actually interested in what they had to offer. It was possible to send thousands of emails for the equivalent of peanuts and a profit was guaranteed even if the response rate was miniscule.

Personalized Emails

The trouble was, open rates and click-through rates were usually abysmal. The vast majority of companies tried mass marketing and sent emails to everyone they could find. Most of these emails ended up in a junk folder or were deleted without being opened. Yet email marketing had another step to take in its evolution: Personalized or ‘triggered’ emails.

These are emails sent to customers only when they perform a certain action on the company’s website or landing page. It is assumed that the prospect has a real interest in a specific product/service so the content of the message is tailored accordingly. As recipients feel like they are being spoken to as an individual and not part of a generic collective, they are more likely to respond with a purchase. Best of all, these emails are completely automated so once they are set up, the sender has little work to do.

Companies that use personalized emails are already experiencing a major increase in sales revenue. Thanks to the evolution of email marketing, even small businesses can grow into giants as they have the ability to reach potentially millions of people around the world.

Analyzing Email Content & Clicks With Heat Maps

Posted on Oct 8, 2013 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing

There has been a lot of talk about heat maps and email marketing. Does Heat Mapping actually work in email? Not in the traditional sense, but more like link tracking. However, I have written a few things you can expect from heat map analysis.

You can spend as much money as you like and work 80 hours a week on your email marketing campaign but at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is ensuring that the content and format of your emails is eye-catching and gets those clicks. The traditional form of testing works well and has stood the test of time but modern technology continues to improve our understanding of visitor behavior. If you want to achieve success, you need to keep up with the times and the latest innovation for email marketing, heat analysis, promises to take things to another level.

What Heat Map Analysis Does

Traditionally speaking, it uses sophisticated cursor-tracking software to find the areas of the page which are most prominently scanned by visitors. With heat map analysis in your corner, it is possible to find out the best location for your most snappy content. Have you ever wondered where your call-to-action should be placed for example? Most marketers place it towards the end but this may be a waste of time. Therefore, if your email marketing campaign is floundering, you can analyze the problem and fix it before it’s too late. You don’t even have to change your content for better results, just its location! Again, though the only accurate way of displaying a map based on eye catching content in emails is through links.

Using Heat Map Analysis To Your Advantage

Instead of completely tearing up your existing email marketing strategy, use heat map link analysis to tweak it. You can find out where links should be placed and find out if the most important information in the emails is getting the attention it requires. Heat map analysis has already been carried out in great detail and shows overwhelming evidence that the top left hand corner of the screen is the most viewed location.

Analysis Instead of Guesswork

Now that heat map analysis has changed the landscape, you no longer need to adhere to generic email marketing tips you read on the Internet. One thing that is becoming apparent from heat map analysis is that readers respond favorably to lengthy copy as long as it contains important information explaining why the product/service in question is so beneficial. It is also clear that placing navigation bars at the end of emails can generate additional clicks from readers who didn’t find anything of interest on the main page.

We can also see that heat map analysis proves the importance of a headline’s first word so don’t include bland or irrelevant words at the beginning of your main title. Now that heat map analysis is available, it is a valuable string you can add to your bow and it is a necessary addition for the sake of your email marketing campaign.

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