Email marketing has been around for over ten years now, but with all the changing technology available, there are many new techniques and strategies you can apply to email in order to achieve an even higher ROI and conversion rate than was attainable in the past! In fact, one of the MOST important things you can do for your email marketing campaign is to invest in an ESP, or email marketing service provider. Even if your email list is small, start out with a reliable ESP so once your list grows to a few hundred or more recipients, you’ll have the technology already in place to automatically handle subscribes, bounces, and deliverability issues!
Here are a quick list of reasons you should be using an ESP instead of a regular email client such as Outlook.
1. List Management: Make it easy for yourself and others to subscribe to your list! With ESP’s you can automatically have new contacts added through your website, Facebook page, and more! As you are growing your list quickly, this will be very helpful!
2. High Deliverability: Your email client is not meant to sent out bulk emails to contacts and your messages may end up labeled as spam by ISPs, not even arriving into your recipients’ spam folders, much less their inboxes. ESPs are approved by ISPd as a legitimate, CAN SPAM compliant, permission-based email delivery service.
3. Ability to Create and Send HTML Messages: Most ESPs include several well-designed HTML templates for you to customize and use for your email campaigns. Save these templates to use over and over again so all of your messages are consistent!
4. Segmented Lists and Personalization Features: Target those individuals on your list with messages that are most relevant to them. This increases your click-thru and conversion rates – therefore increasing your ROI! With ESPs you can easily insert your recipients’ name, company name, past purchase history and other information directly into the message or subject line!
5. Automatic CAN SPAM Compliance: ESPs make CAN SPAM compliance easy by automatically inserting your physical address and unsubscribe information in the footer of the email, as well as automatically removing unsubscribes immediately so that you are in compliance with the 10 day rule!
There are so many other features that make an ESP your top choice for your email marketing! Give us a call and we can review more with you!
Posted on Feb 23, 2011 by Michael Herman |
Posted in Social Media
I recently attended the Social Fresh conference in Tampa, FL and had the opportunity to hear some mind-blowing speakers. One of them was Ellie Mirman from HubSpot. She provided 20 tips on getting your content seen on Facebook. It isn’t as easy as it sounds, but check out these great tips!
What is “News Feed Optimization”?
The news feed is the #1 most visible real estate on Facebook. It is customized to each user based on their network and their patterns of activity, like which of their friends they interact with the most. The news feed shows the top posts from a user’s network, filtering out more than 99% of content. So, the question is, how do you make sure your content makes it into that <1% of content securing real estate in the news feed?
Facebook’s Algorithm: EdgeRank
Facebook, unlike the super-secret Google, has shared their algorithm for ranking content on Facebook and filtering what appears in the news feed. The algorithm consists of three components:
1. Affinity – the number of times 2 people (or a person and a page) have interacted
2. Weight – the number of times users have interacted (commented, liked) with the content in question
3. Recency – the time since the content was posted, note that Facebook moves and changes very quickly, and my news feed, for example, never has content more than 24 hours old.
20 Tips to Get Your Content Seen on Facebook
With the understanding of how Facebook ranks and filters content, what can you do to make sure your content makes the cut? Here are 20 ideas.
Post a variety of content to attract interactions from a higher percentage of your users, raising your affinity score.
Focus on positive and fun content on Facebook. Sex sells.*
Talk about Facebook – Facebook is the number one most shareable topic on Facebook.*
Respond to comments that your fans post on your content to increase the number of interactions per post.
Respond to comments that your fans post on your wall to increase your affinity score.
Experiment with targeting posts to get a higher feedback score (percentage of impressions that turn into interactions).
Post regularly, but not too frequently (more than once a day) to give each post a good chance of gaining traction.*
Post content outside of main work hours – Facebook users interact more when they’re off the clock.*
Include images on blog posts you publish to create a more eye-catching post.
Don’t forget to write an appealing meta description for any links you post, because Facebook automatically pulls this in for links.
Use share links on your blog articles and landing pages to encourage users to post your content directly.
Integrate landing pages within Facebook to get higher conversion rates – Facebookers don’t like to leave Facebook.
Post videos directly instead of links to articles with videos, so users can watch the video within Facebook.
Include links in video descriptions to drive traffic back to your website.
To share photos but protect your copyright and get better analytics, use Flickr integrated with your Facebook account.
To share photos for maximum interactions, post photos directly to Facebook.
Refrain from using complex language or jargon in your posts for maximum response.*
Ask questions and specifically ask for feedback from your fans.
Use Facebook Insights to measure which content performs the best on your specific page.
Encourage user-generated content, including user-created photos, comments, or links.
Posted on Nov 19, 2010 by Michael Herman |
Posted in Social Media
Stephanie, our Director of Social Media, was one of 20 women chosen to participate in the Nike Women Make Yourself Movement. As her first assignment, she was asked to post a blog on “What Makes Me” – and with typical “Stephanie fashion”, she chose to do a video instead! Check it out below! More videos will be coming, so be sure to check out the Nike Women Facebook page as well as our own!
The bottom line is that people are not as willing to give out their email addresses as they used to be. So, businesses now have to think of easy and creative ways to collect emails while providing incentive to sign up.
1. Set out an Email Signup Sheet – All you need is pen and paper. It may seem a little old school with all the technology we have these days, but people will appreciate that they can sign up quickly and easily without all the hassle of getting online. Simply place a sign-up sheet at the check-out counter or main desk at your place of business and make sure it is visible for everyone to see. When customers check out, you can tell them about the special deals and updates they’ll receive by signing up.
2. Bucket O’ Business Cards – Not only do people love deals, but they love EXCLUSIVE deals that not everyone else gets. Put out a fish bowl, bucket, or basket at the main counter of your place of business and have some sort of an incentive for why someone would want to give your business their business card. For example, if you own a coffee shop, let your customers know that once a month you will draw a business card from the bucket, and the lucky winner will receive free coffee for a week! This leads to you getting a lot of business cards and customers becoming very excited for the chance to win your special deal.
3. Employee Walk-up- Creating communication between businesses and customers is key to building consumers trust. Businesses that strive for great customer service have the highest potential for success. While employees engage with customers, why not have them mention the great deals and updates they will receive by signing up for your emails? People trust people.
4. Set up a Webform- I know it sounds complicated, but it’s actually a really easy and almost effortless way to get people to sign up for emails. A webform goes on a webpage, such as your website or Facebook. It allows people to enter in information, such as their name, email address, and birth date. When people sign up, their information automatically goes into your Digital Street contact list.
Posted on Oct 1, 2010 by Michael Herman |
Posted in Social Media
Are you hiding under your desk scared of what social media could mean for your company? Remember thinking that you are “safe” if you don’t get involved? If there is one thing we hope you realize is that disasters aren’t caused by social media! Social media is what lets you SURVIVE them! No matter how small or how large your company is, your customers are still talking about you! Avoiding the conversations makes you look like you aren’t interested in connecting with your customers. When taking a look at social media, don’t only think about Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or MySpace. Think about using these tools to connect with your target audience…social media is about people.
So are you ready to take that leap of faith into the social media world? The only way to start is by developing a social media plan. No plan? Well, let’s get you started – no one is successful without a plan, right?
Define Your Success
You shouldn’t enter into social media unless you know what you want to get out of it! If you aren’t sure what defines “success” for your company, then you aren’t ready! Some examples of metrics are:
* Building buzz and conversation around your product
* Gaining more traffic
* Knowing how your customers view your brand
* Better overall brand awareness
* Leads or blog subscribers
Once you know that, the next step in the planning process is to figure out how you will measure it! Be sure you understand your challenges and goals to determine how “buzz” will be quantified. Are you looking at blog comments, conversions, links, Twitter conversations, or better brand recognition? No measurement = not meeting goals!
Tell Your Story
The best way for you to connect with your customers is to use social media tools to tell them who you are! What are the values your company holds? Are you known for anything in particular or do you have something you want to be known for? Marketing is telling a company story! When your story is being shared by your customers, you know you have been successful because they WANT to be associated with you!
Make sure that you understand who your customers are and where they are located. If you aren’t sure, start some research to find out. Starting with Twitter, search for your brand name, your competitors’ names, your keywords, industry, etc. You will then need to decide if there is enough conversation to start engaging. With Facebook, see if there are Business Pages dedicated to your company or industry. If there aren’t, are there a lot of people who list it as an interest and possibly interested in joining a community on that topic? You can also check out Yahoo Answers to see if people are asking or answering questions.
Rules for Engagement
There might be some times where your company is called names and have some negative comments come from customers, but make sure you set up a strategy for dealing with them! Having ground rules is a must! You also need rules for not just what you will say, but WHO will be in charge of saying it and what their role is. Better to create the rules before you get started and not while the fire is flaming!
Check Your SuccessYou can’t set up your account name on your social media accounts and then just wait for things to happen. You have to make sure that you are engaging with your community, but then also taking a look at your efforts to make sure you have been successful. If you haven’t, what are you going to do to fix them? Make sure you give it time…. Social media efforts start showing their effects about 2-3 months into your plan. When you begin, you start looking at Twitter followers and Facebook fans, but those aren’t the metrics you should be evaluating all the time. You should really be looking if your rankings have increased based on traffic and links, if social media users are actually engaging or converting, and if you have increased awareness about a product that has led to a sale.
Whatever you had outlined as determining “success” before, now is the time to see if you’ve gotten any closer to that goal. If you have, congrats. Keep on doing what you’re doing. If not, figure out what’s broken and fix it. If you can’t do it yourself, you may need some help! I’m sure you know where we will point you ———–> Digital Street!
Posted on Sep 20, 2010 by Michael Herman |
Posted in Social Media
I am still hoping for the day that QR codes, “Quick Response Codes”, become a regular on the advertising scene. QR codes put an end to the “I hope you remember the website in our magazine ad so you will go home later and type it in off the top of your head” issue. These codes create a direct channel to your website right then and there. Let me paint a picture…
You are waiting at a bus stop. Nothing is around you but strangers and a giant advertisement wrap around the bus stop station. The advertisement is a poster for a new movie out with, *gasp*, your favorite actor! Well, hopefully you remember the name of the movie so you can go home and look it up. BUT WAIT! You have the QR Reader App on your smart phone. You hold your phone up to the little digital square and your phone immediately opens up your browser and takes you to the movie’s website. BUT WAIT! Not only does it take you to the website, but a video pops up. It’s the trailer to the movie! Now you scroll below and enter your zip code to see when the movie is playing in your area and can directly buy tickets from your phone! BAM. Conversion goal met.
Here is an example of how Blockbuster used QR codes:
The great thing about a QR Code is that you can make one for ANY landing page. It is entirely too simple. All you have to do is go to Kaywa.com and enter your URL. Once you get your QR code, you can pretty much place it on anything. I even had one on my resume that led to my own personal website. I’ve seen people add them to business cards as well.
What’s the catch? In order for the camera on your smart phone to read these little digital squares, QR codes, you need to download the application for it. Just do a search for QR in your app store and download the QR app.
If you are a fan of the popular HBO show, “True Blood”, you would be happy to know they’ve actually designed a very branded QR code. From what I’ve researched, this is the first designer QR code to appear on TV. Imagine what you can do with this. Since QR codes can go pretty much anywhere, they can use this image in a magazine ad, a giant poster, or even in their commercials (which they did, and you can read about it and watch the commercial here):
If you are considering Email Marketing for your business, we are committed at Digital Street to getting you directly connected with your customers and prospective customers alike. Our services will help you create email campaigns that are targeted, optimized, and measurable.
Email Marketing is a low cost, high impact solution, and Digital Street does not require a long-term contract. Our pricing is based on a month-to-month service agreement with affordable plans that start at as little as $50.00 a month with a full-service approach on every level of account. Each customer we have, large or small, receives the same level of service.
To get you started, your dedicated account manager will set up an initial training session on how to use our Email Marketing platform. You will learn how to create contact lists, import contacts, and how to use other email editing features such as auto responders and triggers. We also offer complementary data entry services. The Digital Street Email Platform can enable you to capture emails from your web site by generating an e-newsletter signup form for your website. Sign up forms are a great way to begin harvesting emails for your contact lists. Additionally, we will offer tips and best practices to ensure delivery and increased open rates.
Once you have your contact lists created and uploaded, you will begin training on how to build customized email campaignsusing a variety of easy-to-use templates, or you can request a custom designed template from our art department. While creating a campaign, you will be able to instantly preview it on multiple email programs such as Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo!, AOL, and Outlook in order to ensure your email campaign is compatible with all of the major internet service providers and email programs.
Another great feature included in our service is the ability to receive customer feedback via surveys. You can create surveys with as many options as you wish and you will have the ability to track all of your survey results located conveniently within your reporting section.
We advocate personalizing your emails as much as possible in order to really stand out and create that one to one communication style. One way to personalize your emails in our system is with the use of Dynamic Content tags. Dynamic Content tags allow recipients to receive images in their emails based on the type of mail they have requested. For example, if a golf course has a combination of women and men golfers and they want to promote merchandise from their pro-shop, they could select a dynamic content tag to display women’s apparel for women recipients and men’s apparel for the men golfers. Also, you can add text personalization to the subject line and beginning of the email. For example, a subject line like: Subject: An email for “John Doe: from your favorite golf course.” can really stand out and get opened without hesitation.
Tracking emails is important to determine the effectiveness of your campaigns and if email marketing is viable for your business. After you have sent an email campaign, you can instantly view response data including open rates, links clicked, bounced emails, unsubscribed emails, and forwarded emails.
Additionally, our email marketing services include unlimited image hosting, multiple split testing, free built-in SPAM checking, and tons more. Find out how to get started with Digital Street’s email marketing services here.
Posted on Jun 14, 2010 by Michael Herman |
Posted in Social Media
You may still be a little unsure of how Digital Street’s video marketing service can help drive traffic to your website. Rather than confusing you more with a bunch of technical explanations, we want to compare it to something simple—a store’s salesperson. A lot of times you’ll go into a store to just browse, but when a salesperson helps you out and points out things that you may be interested in, you are more likely to buy something. Well, online videos are a lot like having a sales force on your website by adding a human element to highlight your services. Essentially, they are short snapshots of a business that can help turn online browsers into buyers for the same reasons a store’s salesperson does.
They greet customers.
Just as a salesperson greets you when you walk into a store, online videos allow you to speak to customers interested in your business. They show your brand’s personality in a way that might not come across in your website’s design or text.
They talk about promotions.
When you have a lot of products or services to offer, online videos can help draw attention to specific capabilities that may be new, updated, on sale, etc.
They bring you something quickly.
Even though everything about your business may be found on your website, a video can show people information faster and in a more entertaining way. This is especially helpful when explaining something complicated. For instance, wouldn’t you rather watch a 5-minute video over reading several pages of text?
They let you see something first.
If a person can watch a video about a product and how it works, they are more likely to consider buying it. Videos are a great way of showing product demonstrations, tutorials, training, and customer testimonials.