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!
Every year I see hundreds of great email campaigns sent from clients, and one of my favorite things about being an Account Manager is seeing how our clients utilize Digital Street’s email marketing platform to it’s fullest potential.
Below are five of my favorite email campaigns that were sent out through Digital Street. All of these email campaigns have a very clean feel to them, not too much clutter! It is also important for companies to maintain their brand identity by staying consistent. Sending out entirely new looking emails every other week is only going to distract your contacts from remembering your brand!
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Short, sweet, simple, & sexy. The more organized an email campaign looks, the more attention it is going to receive. In general, people don’t have much time to read through your email. Stick to the main points that you want to get across so you don’t overwhelm the reader with too much information. The email on the left is very organized and the image suits the information perfectly. (It also kinda makes me a little hungry…)
*Hint: Keep the fonts within your email campaign basic and consistent! You don’t want to use a new font each time you start a new paragraph. This leads to fontophobia.
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No Such Thing as TMI
Emails really give you the opportunity to connect with your customers on a more personal level. You have the ability to automate happy birthday emails, include names within campaigns, and gain other information you might need for future segmenting purposes. You will notice that Guero’s Taco Bar always includes a link for contacts to update their data. In this particular email, Guero’s is wanting the recipient to update their information so he/she can receive a birthday surprise that is well worth opening!
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Keep It Relevant
You never want your reader to think, “What are they talking about?!”. This could ruin your reputation and have people’s eyes scanning for the Unsubscribe option rather than scanning through your beautiful email that you just worked so hard on. Keep in mind that people want to know about things that they can relate to. Stick to topics, such as holidays that are coming up, that will be relevant to a broad number of your target audience.
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Don’t Be A Bore, Link Some More!
I specifically like this email campaign because it includes many links within the campaign. As a company, you want people to interact within your email and be led to your website and/or somewhere related to what you are discussing.
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Easy Access to Social Media
One of the most important trends that has caught on this year is to include social media icons within your email campaign to build your online communities. This is a great way to start creating conversations with your clientele. Engaged users lead to loyal customers.
With the rise of digital marketing, it can leave you wondering how you can improve your web presence and where to start! Let us give you some quick tips….
The Obvious Social Network Route
As the movie The Social Network hit screens, the time came to reflect on the phenomenal success of Facebook and other social media sites. Facebook has an estimated 500 million users and this is likely to increase even further. Twitter now has well over 100 million users and is attracting an average of 300,000 new users a day. This makes it plainly obvious as to your main 2011 social media strategy. Facebook seems to attract users in the ‘right’ age group for marketing purposes, so dedicate a considerable amount of your budget towards setting up campaigns both on Twitter and Facebook.
Video Kills The Behind The Times Company
Yet it is important to push yourself to the front of the queue when it comes to jumping on the video marketing bandwagon. A recent whitepaper by Cisco suggested that more than half of all web traffic will be video-related by 2014. The days of the 30 second advert are dying out with more and more consumers skipping these dull and unimaginative productions. Sites like YouTube need to used more frequently with thought provoking and lengthier adverts the key to success. If you want someone to buy your cereal, don’t depict a happy family with 2.4 children eating the product by the kitchen. Edgy, new and deep will sell in future where fast, predictable and cheesy once ruled.
Email And Mobiles
As one might expect, email marketing is moving with the times. An extraordinary 97% of American households use email so a well constructed email campaign will reap dividends. It is a fact that social networks such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are being integrated with email. The smartphone, Android and iPhone are linking even more users to their mail. The challenge facing digital marketers is to find a way to tailor their campaign for customers who view their email on a mobile device. The best strategy is to use a tool such as Litmus to find out more about your audience and tailor your campaign to them. This is necessary because it is difficult to find a current strategy that will work well for all mobile users.
SEO Is Still King
Believe it or not however, despite the huge budgets set aside for the all of the above, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is still top of the list when it comes to 2011 digital marketing tactics according to a poll carried out by Top Rank. Yet in order to get your content to the top of the search engine ladder, you still have to know your targets and audience. If you know your audience but not their triggers, start surveying. If you know what you want to market but have no idea to who, check out sites like eMarketer for market statistics. It should be remembered that no amount of marketing will work if your content is poor, sort it out. Oh, and avoid those nasty “please stay on my page and click on cancel for something special” pop-ups, these REALLY annoy consumers!
So where will this leave your marketing strategy for 2011? All four of these pieces will make your marketing plan come together and keep up with the ever-changing trends for digital marketing.
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.
Back in 2003, Congress created the CAN-SPAM Act in order to prevent spam. There are rules in place now that need to be followed when sending emails, period. Don’t even think about not following the CAN-SPAM law or you might find yourself in up to a $16,000 pickle.
So what can you do to make sure your emails are CAN-SPAM compliant? It’s actually very simple, so don’t start sweating yet!
1) Don’t Lie About Who You Are. The “From” and “Reply-to” email addresses that are associated with your email must not be misleading. If you don’t want to use a personal email address, use an alternative email address such as email@example.com.
2) Your Subject Line Must Be Relevant To Your Email Campaign. This may seem like common sense to you, but there are email senders out there that have manipulated their subject line in order to ensure a higher open rate. This is the opposite of good. You want to gain your contacts trust, not take advantage of them.
3) Clearly Identify What The Message Is. If it is an ad, make sure the recipient knows it! This will set the expectation of what your contacts will always receive from you in the future.
4) Provide A Valid Postal Address. This could be a current address or a post office box you’ve registered with the U.S. Postal Service.
5) Give Recipients An Option To Opt-Out. Although we understand that you want to continually build your contact lists rather than have people unsubscribe, your contacts have every right to not want to receive future emails from you. It is very natural to have a small percentage of your contacts unsubscribe each time you send out an email campaign. This is nothing to be too worried about.
Like we said, these rules are simple and based on clever reasoning. You want your contacts to trust you, to open your emails knowing what they can expect. You want your contacts to like you, to stay on your contact list because they enjoy what you have to say, not be stuck there deleting your emails every time yours comes around. Especially with the large amount of activity on Social Networks these days, you can’t afford to have a contact or customer complaining about you to the ever-listening social world.
>Build Brand Consistency – When sending email campaigns, it is important to stay consistent without overwhelming your contacts. Take this opportunity to build brand loyalty by sending out a campaign once a week, twice a month, or whenever you think would best suit your brands needs without being overbearing. Your consumers will begin to look forward to your email campaigns once you set the pace for when to send out campaigns. This will also lead to less chances of someone unsubscribing because they are too bombarded with your emails and don’t want to receive them anymore.
>Engage your Contacts – Believe it or not, your customers want to talk to you. It is even better when you reach out to them. With a platform such as Digital Street, you can personalize your emails by simply including someone’s first name. It makes you look like you are going the extra mile to interact with that individual. Don’t forget to give your contacts a “call-to-action”. Remember, the whole point of sending an email is to potentially bring more business to your company. Whether you are promoting a sale or just talking about something new happening within your company, you should have links going back to your company’s website. This will lead to your customers feeling more engaged, and you will be getting the most out of your email marketing.
>Catch Them Quickly – With people around the world being extremely busy, you usually don’t have much time to catch the attention of your customers. Emails allow you to get straight to the point with what you are promoting. Make sure your subject line is strong enough to make the consumer want to see what’s inside your email! However, the subject line MUST be relevant to the message you are telling. Once your email has been opened, you still only have limited time to keep the reader’s attention, so make sure your email is direct and to-the-point. Short and sweet is better than long and lengthy. The beauty of using email marketing is being able to connect with your customers in a time efficient manner.
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.
There are so many businesses that fear the unknown and are frightened of starting email marketing. Although many are still hesitant to move away from their tried-and-true snail-mail methods, others are rapidly discovering that email marketing is one of the most effective means of generating sales.
When Shop.org surveyed retailers for its State of Retailing Online 2009 report, it found that email was the most-mentioned successful tactic overall.
The Ad Effectiveness Survey commissioned by Forbes Media in February/March 2009 placed email marketing second only to search engine optimization for generating conversions.
And research conducted in 2009 by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) found that email outperforms all other forms of direct marketing. The bigger question, of course, is why? Of all the hundreds or even thousands of messages consumers are exposed to each day, why is email marketing so effective?
1. Email Marketing Reaches Many!
It’s hard to find someone that doesn’t have at least one email address! What this means for your business is that you can reach out to your entire customer and prospect base.
2. Email Marketing Is Proactive!
Email marketing goes directly into your customer’s email inbox! They don’t have to search through a phone directory or newspaper to find your services! With one click of a mouse, they can contact you directly to get a quote or more information about your services!
3. Email Marketing is Targeted
Most forms of advertising are based on the idea that if you hit thousands of people with your message, even though it may mean nothing to most of them, a few are likely to respond.
Email marketing is based on the idea of sending the right message directly to the right people based on their preferences, local market conditions, and other factors.
You can build a master list and then segment it by geographic location, marital status, gender, age, income, time of year, etc. Doing so eliminates a lot of the guesswork that makes other forms of marketing so inefficient.
4. Email Marketing Provides Data
We at Digital Street provide you with reports to show which emails or messages went through and which didn’t, so you can improve your next campaign. You are able to run split tests, sending one offer or message to half your list and a different one to the other half, so you can get a better feel for what your customers want and what your prospects buy from you!
5. Email Marketing Allows You to Engage
It’s nice to get the immediate reaction from a customer who sees your ad just before going shopping. But your real goal is to build a relationship with a broader base of prospects so they think of you whenever it’s time to hit the stores.
Email marketing allows you to do that by bringing them shopping tips, updates on trends, seasonal items, and special loyalty-program deals on a regular basis. It’s a great way to engage them—and keep them engaged.
6. Email Marketing is Less Intrusive
Unlike telemarketing calls, email marketing doesn’t interrupt a prior activity to deliver a message. Opening email is the activity your customers and prospects are engaged in when they see your message. If you’ve done a good job of building that relationship, they’ll look forward to seeing what you have to say.
7. Email Marketing Works
According to the DMA’s (Direct Marketing Association) research, email marketing generated a return on investment (ROI) of $43.62 for every dollar spent on it in 2009. You’re unlikely to find that kind of ROI from any other form of marketing or advertising—the best reason of all to launch an email-marketing campaign.
When done correctly, email marketing allows you to become (and remain) visible to your customers and prospects with highly targeted messages at a minimal cost, all while delivering outstanding, measurable results that will ripple far beyond your pond of current customers.