3 Ways Marketing Automation Can Boost Your Small Business

Posted on Jan 6, 2016 by Response Wise | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing, Marketing Automation, News, SEO/SEM, Social Media

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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.

4 Ways To Boost Growth Across Multiple Marketing Channels

Posted on Dec 15, 2015 by Response Wise | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing, Marketing Automation, Social Media

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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.

 

What You Need To Know About Paid Email Vendors

Posted on Nov 10, 2015 by Response Wise | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing, SEO/SEM

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The practice of sending sponsored emails to premium leads, also known as paid email programs, is gaining popularity because of the impressive results it achieves. When you find the right email vendor, you can benefit from improved reach, a higher conversion rate and larger database.

Naturally, there are some pitfalls associated with paid email programs; not least the difficulties that lie in finding a trustworthy vendor. Below, we provide you with critical information on this form of email marketing which will hopefully steer you in the right direction.

Best Paid Email Vendors

One of the advantages of choosing a reputable paid email vendor is that your target audience will trust you from the get-go. The best services are ad-free; compare this to Gmail for example which analyzes all your messages in a bid to gather information and send you related ads. Reputable vendors are also regulated by strong privacy legislation which protects customer data.

Target Your Subscribers

Paid email vendors typically allow you to target subscribers based on criteria such as your audience, topics and region. When it comes to your target audience, you should be able to filter by title, industry and a variety of other demographic information.

The next step is to determine the topics your audience is interested in. With the best vendors, you can focus on topics that leads have already engaged with previously thus increasing the open and click-through rates. Finally, you can send emails according to the location of recipients if you are doing a geo-targeted campaign.

When sending emails, it is crucial for you to use clear visuals and a compelling CTA.

Best Practices

  • Reusing Content: Although you must not send the same email twice, you can use the same content if you’re clever about it. Remember, only a small percentage of recipients are likely to read or download what you send.
  • Avoid Duplication: There are third party services that can help you avoid duplicate email addresses; otherwise, you’ll end up accidentally sending one recipient two copies of the same email.
  • Be Aggressive: If your emails are not sent to your satisfaction, demand that your vendor sends them again.
  • Revisit: Be sure to evaluate your program every few months to ensure you’re getting the results you expect.
  • Plan B: Sometimes, you won’t get as many leads as expected. In this instance, you need a Plan B. Occasionally a technical fault could be to blame which means the vendor should resend the emails.

Before choosing any paid email vendor, be sure to negotiate to get what you want. After all, you’re paying for the service so it should be exemplary. If you can’t afford a vendor by yourself, see if you can split the costs with a reputable partner in exchange for the sharing of leads.

5 Reasons Why Your Email Marketing Campaign Is Failing

Posted on Sep 16, 2015 by Response Wise | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing

Email marketing is a remarkable tool when used correctly. Unfortunately, a large majority of businesses get it horribly wrong and not only miss out on potential customers; they can also have their reputation damaged as few things anger modern consumers more than ‘spammers’. If your email marketing efforts are an unmitigated disaster, here are 5 things you are probably doing wrong.

1 – Bad Subject Line

You need a short and snappy subject line that piques the recipient’s interest and compels them to open the message. What you don’t want is a subject line with excessive exclamation marks (this comes off as very salesy), CAPS or misleading information. It is very irritating to open an email only to find the subject line is a complete lie.

2 – Boring The Customer

The best emails are typically in the 200-300 word range as this offers enough of an opportunity to get your point across without waffling. Don’t be afraid to try a fun introduction to your email and try to keep the tone jovial throughout. These types of emails habitually outperform sterile corporate drivel.

3 – Lack of Personalization

Few things scream ‘SPAM’ more than ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ which is almost as bad as getting the recipient’s name wrong. Always use first names when emailing your database; this might require you to invest in high quality marketing automation.

4 – You Regurgitate Information

Another great way to lose potential consumers is to keep sending them emails containing more or less the same information. Again, marketing automation can help you determine the interests of your audience which should enable you to create compelling emails that seem tailor-made for the recipients.

5 – You Ask For Cash Too Quickly

Looking for a purchase from your first email is another surefire way to trim your potential customer base. The whole purpose of email marketing is to build a relationship with your audience. You need to establish an element of trust before you try to pull the trigger on a sale.

Your emails should be filled with useful information which marks you out as an authority figure in your field. This will make it easier to complete the sale further down the funnel. When embarking on a lengthy email campaign, only start mentioning the price after several high quality informative emails.

If any of the above applies to your existing email marketing efforts, begin rectifying the situation immediately or watch as your prospects make their way into the arms of your rivals.

Which Email Marketing Vehicle Drives You To Success?

Posted on Sep 9, 2015 by Response Wise | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing, Social Media

 

A surprising number of businesses have been taken in by the lure of social media marketing and believe it to be a superior to email marketing. In reality, customers prefer to be contacted via email when it comes to receiving permission-based promotional messages. The Direct Marketing Association has data which shows that email marketing’s ROI is over 4000%! That equates to $442.5 for every $10 you spend which is an incredible return no matter what way you look at it.

Email marketing has become increasingly sophisticated over the last few years which means you can no longer get away with old-fashioned methods which are ineffective and only practiced by lazy marketers. Below, we look at 4 different email marketing methods though not all will drive you to success.

1 – Batch & Broadcast Email

This is one of the aforementioned old-fashioned methods and is incredibly ineffective. Less than 5% of recipients of batch emails actually open them while the rest delete them or place your email address in their spam filters. Batch emails basically involve sending emails to everyone with no rhyme or reason. It is a pointless strategy in an era where personalization is everything.

2 – Triggered Email

This a more advanced form of email marketing as it takes into account customer behavior. Triggered emails combine user data with a custom template and a message is sent when a certain event occurs which ‘triggers’ the email. As a result, you can send these emails at precisely the right moment to the right person which should yield a significantly improved conversion rate.

3 – Template Email

As you should be able to ascertain from the name, template emails involve the use of a template which can be adjusted to suit the needs of the recipient. Designing an excellent template from scratch can be a time consuming process but is ultimately better than purchasing a cheap template which may not be flexible enough for your needs.

4 – Nurturing Email

This type of email marketing has a series of goals built in with the aim of pushing the recipient further down the sales funnel. These emails need to be focused on educating your target audience and providing genuine value. The most important thing here is to focus on the prospect and outline why your product/service is beneficial to them.

In the world of email marketing, the more sophisticated you are, the higher your conversion rate is likely to be. It is also important to note that around 65% of all emails are now opened on mobile devices first so be sure to optimize your emails for mobile recipients.

 

4 Ways To Marry Your Email Marketing & Website Optimization Strategies

Posted on Sep 1, 2015 by Response Wise | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing, SEO/SEM, Social Media

One of the biggest issues facing online marketers is that of syncing email marketing and website optimization strategies. It is common for businesses to oversimplify the process by deciding that email marketers write emails, conversion rate optimizers write landing pages and that’s that!

However, if you want the best possible conversion rate, you need website optimizers and email marketers to work side-by-side to develop dedicated landing pages for specified email marketing projects. Below, we look at 4 ways in which your email marketing can assist your site’s optimization strategy and vice versa.

1 – Validate Email Segmentation Data With Website Data

Audience segmentation is a popular pursuit in email marketing but most businesses make the mistake of treating website traffic segmentation as a separate entity. Instead, look to use data taken from your website to validate predefined segments for your email marketing efforts with the aid of a URL parameter. This allows you to discover if these segments behaved in the expected manner using data that monitors user behavior from when they arrive on a site to when they leave.

2 – Create an Improved Website Experience With Email Marketing

Thanks to the vastly improved technology at your fingertips, it is now possible to segment visitors who come from your email marketing strategy. With this information, you can discover their interests and create content tailored to their specific needs.

3 – Analyze Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Email Engagement

You can place an identifier in your email campaign’s URL; just make sure it is specifically created for an individual. Then you can match up this person to segments defined in the Customer Relationship Management file.

4 – Testing & Targeting

Test the content on the predefined email segments by sending them to a specific page on your website from your emails. Try optimizing your landing pages and emails in one test and combine the data to get a better overview of customer behavior. Since more emails are opened on mobile devices than desktops, it is a good idea to test your website’s mobile landing pages.

Not only is there a connection between email marketing and website optimization, utilizing this connection is critical if you wish to gain the most conversions. If you want a unified email marketing strategy, every campaign should have a dedicated landing page. In order to make the most of this approach, you need to segment your email lists in order to drive customers to the correct landing pages at the right moment.

Using Email Marketing To Follow Up Your Inbound Marketing Campaign

Posted on Aug 11, 2015 by Response Wise | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing, Social Media

There is a profound difference between traditional marketing and inbound marketing. While the old method involved commercials, television and adverts designed for a mass audience, the overall return on investment is quite low. In contrast, inbound marketing involves targeted techniques such as social media and content creation. In fact, it is known to bring in a greater level of quality leads than traditional marketing at less than 40% of the cost.

Types Of Inbound Marketing

The entire process begins by creating valuable content that will attract visitors to your website and compel them to make a purchase. Content such as blog posts, images and videos are created to increase traffic. SEO techniques involving targeted keywords are also utilized while pay-per-click advertising is also used. Overall, inbound marketing is a great way to convert leads into customers and a well-managed campaign will appeal to people at every stage of the buying process.

Following Up With Email Marketing

Email marketing has the potential to be the most successful of all inbound marketing methods. When it comes to inbound marketing in general, creating informative content is vital and this is specifically the case when it comes to sending emails. Instead of launching a generic marketing campaign, you need to put more effort into being found by customers. While becoming known on social media is important and SEO helps your search engine ranking, email marketing is a quick and effective way to follow up on all your inbound marketing efforts.

This basically entails the sending of persuasive email messages in order to sell your product/service. You need to time these emails in order to get the greatest level of sales impact by using an auto responder service. It is also important to craft emails for every part of the lead spectrum from new subscribers looking to learn more about your company to those already familiar with what you offer and are on the verge of making a purchase.

An ezine or electronic newsletter is another effective tool because it involves compiling other people’s content rather than writing fresh new material of your own. You can combine this with the advertising of your own products for an effective sales technique.

In essence, following up with email marketing can be done in a number of ways, all of which can be effective when performed correctly. If you want to turn leads into customers and increase your sales, going through the inbound marketing motions is not nearly enough. You need to be determined enough to follow up and persuasive enough to make a compelling pitch. Email marketing is one of the least expensive ways of doing this and following up via email is known to increase revenue by up to 300%!

Killer Customer Retention Email Strategies

Posted on Jun 24, 2015 by Response Wise | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing

It’s a mistake to believe that your email marketing efforts end once you have converted visitors into paying customers. In fact, you should believe it is only the beginning because once you have customers; it is much easier and less expensive to retain them than to bring in new custom. In fact, it can cost 7 times more to bring in new customers than to keep old ones yet companies habitually shift their focus away from customer retention.

What Is Customer Retention?

This process isn’t just about keeping customers; it involves actively trying to keep them happy by ensuring they have a great experience which coerces them into spreading the word about how great your products/services are. When you focus on existing customers then bringing in new consumers almost takes care of itself.

This is where triggered email marketing comes in; it is a way to identity what is troubling these customers (pain points) and make a difference. Behavioral marketing involves the personalization of marketing based on the data you collect relating to the activity of users. Here are a few ways to use this strategy and retain a high percentage of your existing customers.

  • Advocacy Program: Send an email to new customers inviting them to join and offer reward points for signing up. Make sure the advocacy program has expiry dates to ensure the recipients of the email take quick action.
  • Promo Code: This classic strategy still works! Offer a thank you gift or special coupon code once customers have made a purchase. The gifts on offer depend on your business and what you can afford. If you sell something with an annual plan for example; you could offer 20% off.
  • Holiday Gifts: Holiday marketing is extremely popular so offer a gift inside the email to make sure your company stands out from the rest. Corporate giants such as Amazon and Starbucks send e-gift cards to customers so if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for everyone else!
  • Market Research Survey: As well as gaining important insights into your company through customer input, these emails can be great ways to retain customers. Simply ask customers for their opinions in a short survey (shorter emails of this nature tend to have better response rates) and offer them a spot in a draw for a big prize like a $500 voucher or vacation in the Caribbean. This gets customers excited about your brand and may even cause them to spread the news about your generosity.

The above is just a handful of retention email strategies you can use to keep a loyal fan base and ensure you are forced to spend less on new customer marketing campaigns.

The 10 Marketing Emails You Should Be Sending

Posted on Jun 10, 2015 by Response Wise | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing, Social Media


There are thousands of different email types you could be using in your marketing efforts but in reality, only a small percentage are successful. Instead of relying on one type of email or a mishmash of unsuitable emails, stick to the following message types.

  1. Welcome: An estimated 80% of companies now send welcome emails so don’t get left behind. In this email, you need to not only welcome subscribers, you must also immediately set their expectation levels. Let them know what to expect and add a discount or special gift as a ‘welcome’ present.
  2. Promotional: Make your offer clear; while customers may not read the entire email, they should at least remember what the special offer is. The best promo emails are very short and also create a sense of urgency; expiry dates work well.
  3. Newsletter: These messages are designed to build a relationship with your audience and should consist of short and easy to digest paragraphs. Always include your contact information on this email as its purpose is for customers to find you as opposed to making an immediate sale.
  4. New Inventory: This email tells recipients about new product launches and should be sent as soon as the news becomes available. Use the subject line to make your point and include at least one glossy image of the product/service.
  5. Product Advice: Provide customers with advice on how to get the best from what you offer. This email is all about great content so make sure it is well edited and has a focus on providing outstanding customer service.
  6. Reorder: Retaining customers is crucial to any business model so a gentle reminder to reorder your goods is a necessary marketing ploy. Remind customers of the value of what you offer, mention previous purchases and have a clear CTA.
  7. Educational: This email should contain information about your industry which is helpful to customers. Again, it is all about the content here which should be divided into smaller paragraphs.
  8. Testimonial: This helps to build brand trust with customers; these emails should contain customer reviews and have a few images of the items you offer. Be sure to offer readers the chance to leave their own feedback.
  9. Shopping Cart Reminder: As an estimated 76% of shopping carts are abandoned, you should send customers an email reminding them of what they chose. Additionally, tell them that there are only limited quantities to create a sense of urgency.
  10. Survey: This involves collecting customer information as a means of learning more about your target audience. Offer an incentive to complete the survey, make it easy to access and keep it short.

Global Anti-Spam Laws

Posted on Jun 4, 2015 by Response Wise | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing

 

When you engage in email marketing, it is important to provide a way to easily opt-out in each message but did you know that there are various anti-spam laws in force all over the world? Below, we briefly look at the regulations in place which will hopefully prevent you from breaking the law and receiving a huge fine!

United States

The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 says that businesses must identify themselves and cannot use subject lines to deceive recipients. In other words, the content of the email must be reflected in its subject line. Additionally, you have to provide customers with the physical address of your business along with clear directions on how to opt out.

United Kingdom

A combination of the 1998 Data Protection Act and 2003 Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive legislation means the UK has one of the world’s strictest approaches to spam as it is illegal to send a direct marketing email unless the recipient has provided you with his/her express consent. This is not the case if a business relationship has already been established. Additionally, the opt-in option needs to be clear and distinct to ensure individuals know precisely what they are opting in for when they sign up.

New Zealand

The 2007 Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act defines unsolicited commercial marketing emails as spam. Senders of emails must include up to date information about their business and all promotional emails must contain options which allow the recipients to opt out or refuse to receive any further communications.

Japan

There is no ‘grace’ period when it comes to unsubscribing emails; as soon as the recipient clicks on ‘unsubscribe’, it is illegal to send them further emails at any time. If marketers refuse to allow the Japanese Government to inspect their records or violate the law, they are hit with a 1 million yen (just over $8,000) fine. If a sender’s agents violate the law, the fine increases to 30 million yen (over $240,000).

Canada

Canada has some of the most up to date spam legislation in the world as it make changes to the existing Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) in 2014. Now, marketers need express or implied consent when sending commercial emails, they must clearly identify their company in each email and they must have an opt-out option in every email sent. Along with the UK, Canada has some of the world’s strictest anti-spam laws.

It is imperative that you continually monitor your database and ensure unsubscribe and opt-out requests are immediately processed. Otherwise, you could be on the wrong end of complaints which will damage your reputation and your bank account.

 

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