Should You Choose A Fixed Rate Plan Or Per Transmission For Your Email Marketing Campaign?

Posted on Sep 30, 2013 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing

In your current email marketing plan, do you pay your email service provider (ESP) per month or per transmission? It is pretty common for email marketers to look for the lowest price point and immediately consider that to be the best value when this may not be the case at all. It is fair to suggest that the industry has failed to quantity what ‘good value’ actually is. In most cases, email providers are lumped together and the point of comparison is their per transmission rate only.

The Importance of Price

Email marketing is an industry worth billions of dollars per annum. The landscape of the industry has also changed dramatically over the years, especially with the challenge of deliverability and trying to get past spam filters. An EmailStat Center survey showed that only 40% of marketers were getting over 90% of their emails delivered for example.

With so many companies in the email marketing business, competition is fierce and prices have fallen accordingly. Certain experts suggest that the difference in service, features and quality of infrastructure is not much different so price ends up being the decisive factor in most cases.

Price Differential

Clearly, the aforementioned experts have not viewed too many email service providers because there can be huge differences in the standard of service and features. Most pertinently perhaps, there is a massive gap in prices depending on the provider. ESPs that focus on businesses looking for less than 100,000 emails per month will occasionally lack some of the features offered by companies like Response Wise that allows large organizations to send an almost limitless amount of emails. Therefore, ESPs offering cutting edge features may charge a little extra (though not always).

Which Option is Right for Your Company?

If you run a relatively small business, it may behoove you to stick with a per transmission plan, especially if you are not entirely sure how many emails you intend to send each month. If you plan to expand your email marketing campaign or are already sending a large amount of emails, common sense suggests you stick to a fixed plan as long as you know your ballpark monthly figure.

For example, you get plenty of leeway at Response Wise where plans are available up to and beyond 100,000 emails per month. A business with a larger database sending volumes of email each month at a per transmission rate, can get astronomically expensive. A flat rate can help control and predict costs.

The bottom line is that fixed price is best for growing businesses with an increasingly large email list. Smaller companies unsure of their monthly strategy may choose per transmission for the sake of flexibility. Flat rates for small business are also good, particularly for consistent senders, as the costs are fixed and no surprises each month.

5 Video Landing Page Tips To Boost Your Email Marketing Campaign

Posted on Sep 23, 2013 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing, Social Media

You simply cannot ignore the popularity of video online. By the end of 2012, it was estimated that over 180 million Americans watch online video and engage in over 40 billion video views PER MONTH!!! Proponents of video marketing suggest that its biggest plus point is that it adds a human side to a business. Therefore, you need to consider leveraging its power when conducting an email marketing campaign. Below, we offer 5 important tips to help you get the most out of this awesome marketing tool.

1 – Embrace Brevity

We live in the ‘fast food’ generation where attention spans are limited. Research has already shown that marketing videos that last longer than 60 seconds lose effectiveness. Offer a clear and concise message to your viewers and do it before they switch off! It is also a good idea to mention video length in the landing page copy. Explain that your video is just 53 seconds long and more people will watch it.

2 – Be Clear

Using video during email marketing campaigns is a great way to engage prospects but its effectiveness is measured by the clarity of the message being conveyed. Always include the main message or special offer for your products/services at the very start to engage the audience. This is proven to increase conversion rates.

3 – A/B Testing

You should use your video as an important element of your landing page’s A/B testing. By adding the location and other elements on the video player thumb image and landing page, you give yourself several options when it comes to discovering the perfect layout to improve your conversion rate.

4 – Analytics

Do whatever it takes to gain the analytics from video viewership as this could prove to be of huge strategic value to you. Pay special attention to time viewed, video views and traffic sources to help you determine if your video is actually effective. If it isn’t, at least you know that changes are necessary and can act immediately.

5 – Specificity

Doesn’t waste this golden marketing opportunity by creating a generic company video. Instead, focus on crafting a video specifically for your marketing program. The graphics and voiceover script should match the core messaging and call to action. Without this form of targeted marketing, your video is just another dull corporate mouthpiece.

Now is the time to add video to your email marketing plans. Every study and all forms of research suggest that video marketing will only rise in popularity so get on board before your rivals leave you trailing in their wake.

Benefit From An Intelligent Email Campaign

Posted on Sep 18, 2013 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Marketing

Virtually every email marketer worth his salt knows that the face of the industry has changed so that successful campaigns launched today are unrecognizable when compared to email marketing attempts of a few years ago. Yet online businesses are still guilty of failing to take advantage of trigged emails with an estimated 75% of email marketers falling into the generic message trap. Below, we look at a strategy that involves email marketing and your website. Follow it and you could wind up with emails so targeted and personalized that you won’t believe your conversion rate.

Collect Information

This involves collecting raw data and can be quickly and easily achieved via the traditional route of including an opt-in form on your website where leads can sign up by giving you their email address. Offering an incentive at this point should prove fruitful. Most businesses offer a discount, an e-book, white paper or PDF document containing information that should prove useful to the consumer.

Store & Access Information

A centralized database enables you to run all your systems from the same source thus ensuring you receive up to date information. It is also necessary to make the information accessible to your staff in a useful format to make it easily available.

Analyzing Customer Behavior

A mistake made by email marketers is to immediately send autoresponder emails to those who have subscribed. As you don’t have a huge amount of specific data, these messages tend to end up looking generic and provide little value to the recipient. Choose a high quality Customer Relationship Management (CRM) package to help you by providing sophisticated ways of identifying customer trends and behavioral patterns. The information you have gathered will include:

  • Demographics: Age, gender, income, address.
  • Behavior: What they buy, where they purchase it from and how they pay.
  • Psychographic: Opinions, beliefs and interests.
  • Firmographic: Business and sector demographics.

Effective Marketing

For many companies, triggered email campaigns can provide more than 20% of their email marketing revenue despite taking up less than 5% of their budget. With a greater understanding of the needs, self-perception and desires of your customer base, you can target and reward your most valuable customers. Triggered emails can consist of:

  • Post-Purchase Series: Thank the customer for their purchase and invite them to fill in a survey about their experience shopping online with your company.
  • Abandoned Shopping Cart: A simple reminder that their order is ready to be completed.
  • Welcome Series: The most important campaign that sets the tone for your relationship with the customer. In this email, you deliver on the incentive/promise, explain the benefits of your products, progressively profile the customer and introduce the subscriber to new ways to communicate with your brand.

Instead of setting up an email campaign and hoping for the best, link it with your website to learn more about your customers. Use this information to send triggered emails and benefit from a much higher conversion rate. It is a lot of work but well worth the effort.

 

 

Develop A Drip Marketing Campaign With Emails

Posted on Aug 6, 2013 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Marketing, Social Media

While email marketing may not be as ‘sexy’ as social network marketing, it is a tried and trusted affordable method that gets results and regularly leads to an incredible ROI for users. Drip marketing is named after the Automatic Drip Coffee Maker because it keeps on dripping regularly no matter what you do. In terms of email marketing, it involves sending emails spaced several days apart. It is automated, inexpensive and can produce remarkable results. Below, we look at 3 drip email marketing campaigns you could implement in your business for maximum impact.

Topics

This essentially means creating a campaign based on topics involving your business. You would be amazed at how often a company adds irrelevant information to their marketing drives. For example, if you run a fitness company, your emails should cover topics like weight lifting, Crossfit and nutrition. Begin by creating content assets such as ‘how-to’ guides, videos and webinars that can be offered to those willing to give you their email address. Once a user downloads the material, you can start drip, drip, dripping!

Engaged Contacts

This is an overlooked email campaign despite the fact that it is incredibly important and can produce amazing results. A high percentage of the people on your list will read and enjoy your material but will not necessarily become paying customers. Is this a waste of time? Not at all!

How about creating a drip email marketing campaign where users receive great content that they feel obliged to share with others? Think about offering exclusive special offers to tempt them into travelling a little further down your sales funnel than usual. Even if they don’t bite, they will probably end up sharing the content with friends that share the same interests and this could result in a new set of customers.

Renew Activity

Every business has inactive contacts and in most cases, companies write these individuals off which could be a major mistake. Let’s face it, life can get in the way and your customers may simply ‘forget’ how brilliant your company is. Begin by deciding on the criteria that defines ‘inactive’; for instance, you may focus on people that haven’t opened one of your emails in 3 months. Separate these people from the rest and concentrate on including special offers that are limited to inactive contacts. It is an inexpensive exercise that pays for itself if only a small fraction of the recipients become active again.

In order to get the best out of drip email marketing, you need to continue sending targeted emails that offer genuine value rather than bland blanket emails that fail to inspire the modern consumer.

 

Using Email Marketing To Close The Deal

Posted on Jul 17, 2013 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing, Social Media

When it comes to transforming an interested party into a customer, few tools are better suited to the job than email marketing. Although salespeople have incredible tools such as LinkedIn, social media networks and mobile apps at hand to seal the deal, email still reigns supreme as the most effective method of building and maintaining a dialog with customers. You can use email to send a brief personal message that can be tracked and measured.

It seems incredible but according to statistics, less than 50% of sales leads are contacted by the business! Why a company would go to the trouble of running a Google Ad and capturing a lead if they don’t bother following up is peculiar to say the least. Perhaps these businesses don’t want to make money, maybe they are lazy or else they don’t know how to use email marketing to their advantage?

Why You Need An Email List

The vast majority of people who visit your website browse but are not willing to part with their cash just yet. Even when a prospect gives you their email address, you are only a little closer to getting paid. Do you expect them to wait by their computer for further communication from your end? When you create an email list, you can automate your follow up emails thus saving time and frustration while continuing to have a flow of qualified leads. When you decide to go down the email marketing road, you need the following:

  • A website
  • Bait – This is a special offer or information that captures the reader’s attention
  • An opt-in form
  • Follow-up system

Your 24/7 Response Tool

The best thing about email marketing is that it serves as your tireless assistant that never gets bored, look for better working conditions or asks to take a break. Once you have crafted your marketing emails and used your autoresponder system, qualified leads will immediately be contacted. Best of all, you can simply press a few buttons in order to send timed emails. Through this process, you could send several emails to the same person over the course of a month. Each email can provide more information and customer benefits until eventually, the recipient caves in and becomes a paying client.

In the modern era, emails needs to be targeted and personalized so don’t waste your time sending generic emails. Once you capture a lead, you can begin the process of gradually transforming them into a loyal customer using email marketing and patience. It is a system that guarantees you never lose a lead again because you forgot to follow-up.

 

Combining LinkedIn, Email Marketing & Salesforce

Posted on Jun 25, 2013 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing, Social Media

 

 

 

 

Thanks to the myriad of technology at our fingertips, even small businesses can compete with the big boys if they utilize all the tools at their disposal. In the modern era, companies that embrace all the marketing, advertising and sales tools and techniques on offer will thrive while those that don’t will struggle to survive. As such, you need to combine your sales and marketing strategy by using LinkedIn, email marketing and Salesforce. Do this correctly and there is no telling how successful your company will become.

LinkedIn For Contacts

LinkedIn Groups is one of the best ways to use your social media engagement time and while it is possible to join up to 50 groups, it is best to focus time and energy on a narrow approach to increase your influence on this professional social network. Pick groups that have several hundred members and focus on a maximum of 5 groups that give the most accurate representation of your target audience. Visit each group 2-3 times a week and discuss industry news with group members. Target the most popular discussions, start your own discussion, follow up on these conversations and start your own group while inviting members of your other groups.

Email Marketing To Follow Up

Once you have made contacts in LinkedIn, your company’s name will become known and you will be in a position to gather more email addresses from interested parties. You can encourage LinkedIn group members to sign up for your company’s newsletter to find out more information about your company’s products/services. Once they agree, you have a readymade group of prospective customers that are genuinely interested in your company, know all about you and have some element of trust in you.

Salesforce For Growth

Salesforce is an application hosted on the web that keeps a database of the names, email addresses, phone numbers and other contact details of customers. The single license user option costs around $70 a year and is the ideal way to manage existing customers and grow your business. It offers a huge array of options such as mass emails, product tracking, analytics snapshots, contract management and much more. Those who already use Salesforce say that it has improved their sales productivity, enhanced customer connection and increased revenue.

If you are not already combining the power of LinkedIn groups, Salesforce and email marketing, you are lagging far behind rival companies that have their finger on the pulse. Using all of the above is relatively cheap and is just a matter of spending time and making the effort. The ROI can be incredible but only if you combine the three and put in the effort.

 

Is Email Marketing Best For Prospecting Or Following Up Leads?

Posted on Jun 5, 2013 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing

Email marketing seems like the ideal way to look for new business. It is easy, cheap, fast and if your campaign is successful, you could have hundreds of new leads because it is possible to send thousands of emails per month. Email is also deemed to be a fantastic method of following up on existing leads such as subscribers to your newsletter or existing customers. Again, it is an inexpensive and fast reminder to leads that your product/services can cater to their needs. But is email better as a means of prospecting or should it be confined to contacting leads only?

Email For Prospecting

On the face of it, there appears to be no better method of attracting new business than through email marketing. Most companies hate cold calling but sending emails to random people is much easier as there is a level of informality attached. While it hurts to have someone hang up the phone on you, not receiving a response from an email doesn’t matter as there are loads more to send. Additionally, you can send an almost limitless amount of emails a month while spending a fraction of your marketing budget.

Yet statistics show that it takes 9 emails to get a response on average. That equals a total of 27 days on average and new companies especially can’t wait that long for a potential lead. An even bigger issue is that of sending unsolicited emails. Modern email programs can be ruthless when it comes to deciding on spam. If someone decides to complain about your company on social media networks, your reputation could be in tatters.

Email For Following Up

Things are much different when it comes to following up on a lead. In this instance, you are dealing with someone that has already shown an interest in your company and they are less likely to see your emails as spam. Research shows that companies get the best conversion rate when they send 5 emails to leads in the space of 21 days. Oddly enough, studies show that up to 40% of prospects with a valid email address do not receive a single email from businesses! You can also take the opportunity to even contact the lead by phone if you have a phone number. The sooner you contact leads the better which is why you need to have autoresponder emails for rapid replies.

It is clear that email marketing is by far and away one of the best strategies when it comes to getting in touch with leads. However, most people don’t appreciate receiving unwanted emails and the conversion rate from such an endeavor is low so it’s best not to bother sending random emails.

3 Reasons To Use Triggered Emails

Posted on May 28, 2013 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing

Email marketing is a big winner because of its immense return on investment and the fact that a company needs little in the way of investment to get started. Yet many online businesses like to remain firmly behind the times and persist with the ‘traditional’ form of email marketing which involves sending bland, generic emails en masse. Successful online companies know that triggered emails are the best way to reach customers as these personalized messages generate far better results. These emails are sent to consumers when that individual undertakes certain actions. Below, we look at 3 reasons why triggered emails should be part of your marketing campaign.

Better Performance

It doesn’t matter what criteria you use or what study you read, triggered emails dramatically outperform their traditional equivalent. If no one reads the emails, they are useless and since the open rate of triggered emails is 95% higher than the generic kind, it’s pretty obvious where the advantage lies. But that’s not all: The click-through rate of triggered emails is over 120% higher than normal emails. The reason for this is pretty simple; triggered emails are more relevant in terms of timing, specific audience needs and content. This type of email makes the recipient sit up and take notice because it seems as if you are talking directly to them.

Lesser Workload

Triggered emails are the very essence of working without actually doing anything. The vast majority of the work comes in the beginning when you create the emails. Once you decide upon the triggers, the work is more or less done as the emails are automated. Thousands of these emails can be sent while you work on something else though you can set up alerts to tell you if something needs to be done. Of course, you can’t completely ignore triggered emails because you need to monitor them in terms of performance and perhaps make adjustments but for the most part, it is a stress free zone.

Moves The Process Along

Triggered emails can warm up the leads and do some of the sales team’s work. For example, if you are selling cars, you could get email addresses by offering a guide on choosing an automobile. Email #1 would have the chart and follow up emails could give them details of local deals or information on how to receive interest-free financing for a car. Another email could suggest sending a salesperson to discuss the person’s automobile needs. Triggered emails can get leads to say ‘yes’ and move them closer to a purchase rather than risk losing a prospect by looking for the sale immediately.

If you’re aware of email marketing but are not using triggered emails, you have to catch up now or risk falling so far behind your competitors that you will never make up the ground.

Creating A Solid Schedule For Polling Customers

Posted on May 21, 2013 by Michael Herman | Posted in Austin, TX, Email Marketing

Customer surveys are an invaluable method of finding out what people think of your business. The feedback you receive will help you discover any flaws in your products/services and enhance your brand image. Once you find out what the consumers want, it’s just a matter of giving it to them! Yet creating surveys in a haphazard way has been a feature of business over the years and this has seen countless organizations miss a wonderful opportunity to improve their business. Below are some quick tips on creating an effective customer survey.

Analyze Goals of Survey

For a customer survey to work, you need to determine what you’re trying to learn and what you intend to do with that information. If customers are already delighted with your services, you need to know that as much as you must be aware if there are issues consumers want taken care of. Growing companies need to create and send out a survey every 6 months. The goals should include the gauging of customer service effectiveness, measuring customer loyalty and new product development.

Creating Quality Questions

This is a difficult process and may require the services of an expert in the field but here are some pointers:

  • All questions need to be specific with no room for ambiguity.
  • Double barrel questions such as ‘how simple and timely was this experience?’ must be avoided.
  • Use a multiple indicator approach by asking customers how satisfied they were, how far their experience exceeded or fell short of expectations and how their experience compares to their ideal experience.
  • The more questions you ask, the more information you receive and the less margin for error there is.
  • Add in a comments field at the end of each section so customers can expand on their answers.

Offer Incentives

Even though your survey only takes a few minutes, most customers will ignore it unless there is something in it for them. Offering a special discount or a free download with important information will offer people some motivation and increase the likelihood of them completing the survey.

The Set Up

There are a myriad of data collection and automated survey programs that allow you to set up customer feedback programs for free. These programs offer paid versions with advanced features to help you create even better customer surveys. Advertise your survey on your website, blog page, social media networking sites and in your email signature as well as sending it to email subscribers.

When you get your customer responses, evaluate each and every one and make changes to your company website/marketing plan based on the feedback you receive if appropriate. When you respond to customer feedback, you show consumers that you care about their opinion and enhance your company’s reputation.

Capturing Leads From Your Website

Posted on May 11, 2013 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing, Social Media

Your website should be much more than just an ornament if you want to be successful in the world of online business. If your lead capture system isn’t working, then your website is ultimately a failure. Simply put, a certain percentage of traffic must become leads and then a certain amount of these leads need to become paying customers. Otherwise, what is the purpose of your website? You will read lots of tips about improving lead capture that are specific to a certain industry but below, we offer all-encompassing tips for online businesses.

Web Analytic Goals & Funnels

When adding funnels and goals for you web site traffic, ‘improving lead capture’ should be an automatic choice. Enter in the average value of a lead; knowledge of this is vital if you want to make the right decision when it comes to web development and paid search. A funnel is the path you want visitors to take on your site before they sign up and setting up funnels enables you to gain a greater understanding of visitor behavior. Use funnels along with Visitor Flow to compare how many customers are using your website with how many should be visiting it. Response Wise is adding a whole new web analytics feature so you can set up goals and funnels and track all of your web site activity.

Split Test Landing Pages

Believe it or not, seemingly innocuous changes to your landing pages can have a profound effect on lead capture. Perhaps your existing call-to-action button is not prominent enough. Change it to a more obvious color and see if this improves customer response. It is important to consider creating landing pages for every marketing campaign where lead capture is a goal. This doesn’t have a huge impact on your resources and the results can be astounding. Even a single change to a landing page form could cause a 50% improvement in lead captures.

Create a ‘Thank You’ Page URL

Few companies bother taking this step yet it can have a serious positive impact on lead capture rates. Those who complete the ‘contact us’ form you have on your website should be redirected to a special ‘Thank You’ page. It is then possible to create a web site goal by using this Thank You page URL while giving each completed lead or goal a specific value. Once you know the average value of your lead, you will be able to make important marketing decisions.

Although these tips will increase your lead capture rate, this will have no impact on your overall revenue unless your company’s staff is trained to understand the importance of each lead. Therefore, improving your website’s lead capture rate is only one part of the story, albeit a very valuable one.

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