Managing Inbound Leads & Email Marketing Automation

Posted on Apr 8, 2014 by Michael Herman | Posted in Austin, TX, Email Deliverability, Email Marketing


By now, you should be aware that inbound marketing is the best way to turn strangers into customers and advocates of your brand. It has been the most effective way of marketing since around 2006 and is a great way to get traffic on your company website. Proper inbound marketing involves attracting, converting, closing and delighting prospects and is a proven method of generating leads.

Automation

Normally, a marketing automation system looks something of a mess because it focuses on clicks, email opens and other arbitrary data. As a result, leads will not exit the marketing automation flow until these actions are completed. If your leads achieve the marketing goal outside of the campaign, they will still receive the same automated messages which is extremely irritating.

With Response Wise, it is possible to create landing pages for email marketing campaigns and the result is that you capture information via lead forms that are automatically added to your Response Wise database. Landing pages are pages placed on your website that customers can link to from your email. Clever marketers know that this allows them to keep their email copy brief and funnel prospects to a page that has more information, images and a purchase option.

Once leads are added to the database, they receive an automated email which provides them with more relevant information about your company/products/services.

Triggered Emails

This form of email is one of the potent weapons in any email marketer’s tool box but is often overlooked. Triggered emails combine a custom template and user data to send an email message when a certain event occurs; in this case, the behavior of the recipient can trigger the email. The result is that your leads will receive emails filled with information they find relevant and details about products/services/special offers that they have an actual interest in. As you might imagine, triggered email marketing campaigns can enjoy huge success when done correctly.

When you have a host of inbound traffic, trying to do things manually can be time consuming. There is a school of thought which suggests that automating your communications from inbound traffic is expensive but this is not the case if you use the help of Response Wise. Besides, it is mainly a one-time cost to set up and you will be able to rely on automation to gently push email recipients down the sales funnel until they become a qualified lead. In other words, automation can do 80% of the work for you; all’s that left is to pick up the phone and try and turn leads into customers.

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

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.

Get Customers Onside By Providing Value For Their Personal Details

Posted on Apr 30, 2013 by Michael Herman | Posted in Austin, TX, Email Deliverability, Email Marketing

There are a myriad of analytics tools out there that will help you discover how many people visit your site on any given day. Such tools are essential if you want your online business to succeed as they enable you to find out what type of advertising and marketing campaigns are the most effective. However, these tools only provide you with numbers and having thousands of anonymous visitors will not move you any closer to a successful marketing campaign.

You need names and email addresses if you want to go down the personalized email route but sending spam emails can generate negative publicity for your company. People are more protective of their email addresses than ever before and do not tolerate spam. If you wish to get a prospect’s details, you need to make it worth their while.

Provide Value

The Internet is supposed to be about providing and receiving useful information so instead of blatantly trying to sell your wares right off the bat, offer something of value in exchange for a visitor’s details. For example, you could offer an exclusive whitepaper or video of something related to your industry that gives important information about your niche. For example, if you are selling baby products, you could offer a whitepaper that offers well-researched information on baby nutrition, health, safety and anything else of interest to new parents.

Special Offers

Most people will not click on prize draws unless it is worth their while. They know that the odds of winning such a prize are slim so make sure it is a great prize such as a vacation of a lifetime in Las Vegas or Hawaii or a brand new car. Clearly, such extravagant giveaways are not for small businesses. Additionally, this strategy is something of a risk because you will receive lots of email addresses from people completely uninterested in your products/services and only looking for the prize.

Free Newsletter

Offering an informative email newsletter filled with exclusive content to subscribers is an age-old and effective strategy for getting customer details. These newsletters should be regular offerings and provide excellent information and details of special offers available from your company. The information contained within should make the recipient feel as if they are part of ‘an inner circle’ because if the standard of your newsletter drops, expect lots of customers to unsubscribe.

Once you receive the email addresses of prospective customers, you can conduct a marketing campaign that makes them feel as if you are speaking to them alone. The best marketers learn the preferences of their target audience and provide information, special offers and products that increase their company’s conversion rate. Remember, the modern consumer wants value in exchange for his personal details.

Analyzing Visitors To Your Website With Good Analytics

Posted on Apr 22, 2013 by Michael Herman | Posted in Austin, TX, Email Deliverability, Email Marketing, Social Media

Without analytics, businesses would be completely lost when it comes to learning more about visitors to their websites. Tools like Google Analytics not only tell you how many people visit your site, they also analyze visitor behavior. This information is vital when it comes to marketing and advertising and clever use of this data can prevent you from wasting a fortune. It is of course important to note that analytics are a snapshot of your website at a certain point in time so resist the urge to overanalyze everything. Keep reading to learn more about analyzing visitors to your website and how to take advantage of the information you discover.

Metrics

Here is a quick guide to the terms you will find in Google Analytics or any similar tool:

  • Page Views: This counts the number of times a page on your website is loaded and gives you a rough idea of traffic.
  • Unique Visitors: This is more useful than page views because it tells you how many individual visitors have been on your site. So if a person views 100 pages on your site, he only counts as one visitor.
  • Page/visit: Number of pages visited by each person.
  • Duration: How long a visitor spent on your site.
  • Bounce Rate: % of visitors that left the site after viewing only one page.

Google Analytics

This is one of the premier analytics tools and is free if your site has less than 10 million page views a month. After signing up, you need to give it at least a few days to collect data. It is extremely easy to use and it can be connected to your AdWords campaign which allows you to see if your adverts are bringing in new visitors.

Analyze for Success

You can only really accurately interpret the data you receive once a certain amount of visitors come to your website. One of the most important metrics is actually the length of time visitors spend on your website. If this is relatively low, it is an indication that there is a problem. Your challenge is to find the underlying issue which could be anything from incorrect keyword usage to confusing graphics.

It will also be possible to find out if the keywords are directing your target audience to the website. This will be apparent if you discover that a high percentage of visitors are filling in your contact form or else they spend a lot of time on the website and browse through several pages. If users find your website by entering your company name, this is great news because it means you have achieved some form of brand recognition and is a sign of impending success.

Using Image Personalization In Email Campaigns

Posted on Jan 1, 2013 by Michael Herman | Posted in Austin, TX, Email Deliverability, Email Marketing

  

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.

Changing Images

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.

 

Austin: Technological and Entrepreneurial Capital Of America

Posted on Apr 10, 2012 by Michael Herman | Posted in Austin, TX

Austin: Technological and Entrepreneurial Capital Of America

Why would anyone want to open a business in Austin, Texas? Maybe because the metropolitan area is one of the largest in the United States with 1.7 million people. Perhaps you will be wowed by the authentic Mexican cuisine, party atmosphere or amazing quality of life. Or you could just see the financial opportunity presented by the city which is a huge part of the Austin Round Rock MSA business hub. In 2010, this region enjoyed a GDP of $86 billion, making it one of the top 40 economic centers in the entire United States.

High Tech Mania

If you are a high tech company, Austin will feel like home. You will join dozens of companies with a worldwide reach including Apple, Google, AMD, Cisco Systems, Intel Corporation, Samsung Group and Xerox, all of whom have extensive operations in the city of Austin. Recently, Facebook announced the building of a huge office in downtown Austin with 200 new jobs created. While such news is of major importance in other US cities, it is just run of the mill for this bustling and thriving city.

At one time, Austin struggled like other high tech cities when the dot com bubble burst in the late 20th century. Unlike other locations affected by the collapse, Austin bounced back spectacularly. High tech companies have a huge choice of incredibly talented and qualified graduates from the University of Texas in Austin. The number of high tech companies opening offices in the city has led to Austin being nicknamed Silicon Hills as homage to Silicon Valley. The major difference being that property in Austin is substantially cheaper than its San Francisco Bay Area counterpart.

Growth

But don’t be fooled into thinking that Austin is for high tech companies only. Hundreds of other major companies in other industries have their home in Austin. Major pharmaceutical companies such as Hospira operate out of Austin and Fortune 500 giant Whole Foods Market has their headquarters in the city.

The experts at American Statesman have pinpointed Austin as one of the cities to watch when it comes to increased employment over the next 5 years. In fact, Austin should experience an employment growth rate of around 12% in that time with 105,000 new jobs likely to be created. Best of all, this increase is expected to be evenly spread over virtually every sector though the high tech sector may grow faster than every other industry. Austin is a city on the rise and if you want to grow a business, there are few better locations in the entire United States.