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Email Marketing

It Doesn’t Take Miss Manners to Figure Out Email Etiquette

By | Email Marketing | No Comments

At the core of email marketing etiquette is a rule you probably had engraved on your brain by your mother: “treat people with respect.”

In other words, don’t assume things about your email recipients. If you’re not taking the time to understand them, you are wasting their time… and yours for that matter.

Now before you decide you understand this concept well enough, take a step back and ask yourself an important question: Is there room for improvement in my email click-through rate? The answer to this is almost always a resounding yes.

Today I’m going to share with you two DON’Ts and two DOs that make up the basis for proper email marketing etiquette.

Follow these tips and watch your CTR grow.

Don’t Underestimate the Intelligence of the Recipient

When you send an email, the goal is to get someone to read it. Pointing out the obvious here.

One great way to botch your chances of reaching that goal is by assuming the recipient is, well… stupid.

That’s bad even for spam.

This one is an obvious no-no. Most marketers would never do something so blatantly sketchy (notice the word “spam” in the link). There are, however, plenty of other ways to disregard your recipients’ intelligence.

For instance, are you A/B testing your subject lines?

If the answer is no, you are assuming to know better than the recipients themselves what subject lines they will be more likely to open. In other words, you are assuming to know them better than they know themselves.

According to WordStream, the subject line of your email is more important than the body itself. So you’ll want to base your choice of subject line on facts rather than assumptions.

Most email marketing software comes with A/B testing features built in. If you’re new to the concept of A/B testing and want more info, check out this post from MailChimp.

Don’t Forget to Personalize Your Message

Getting someone to open your email is only half the battle. After the recipient opens it, your email copy must be interesting enough to get them to keep reading… easier said than done.

When it comes to B2C emails, particularly those sent from retail and ecommerce companies, it may be perfectly fine to send a mass email without personalization … as long as the email provides value, such as a promo code or new product preview.

However, when it comes to B2B emails and blogger/media pitches, personalization is a must.

Without personalization, you may be falling within the “obnoxiously untrustworthy” category more often than you’d expect.

Talk about generic. My first reaction was to send this junk mail to the trash.

Not only do I seriously doubt the sender has ever been on my agency’s website,  I also wonder what should make his software interesting to me or my team. His company creates marketing automation software … great.

When crafting the body of your emails, consider the following: What value are you trying to offer the end user? Get down to the specifics.

Let’s dig a little deeper into the above email…

First, most agencies already have a preferred marketing automation software vendor (or two), so from a personalization standpoint instead of reaffirming how busy I am running my agency, the sender should tell me how their software can help my clients better than what I’m already using.

Second, he should show me that he knows which firm I work for and that he’s done his homework. This could have been accomplished as easily as just including the name of my agency within the email.

For example:

I hope your morning at Agency Name is going well. I am the founder of X Company and we’ve created marketing automation software that can do A, B, C.

I saw on your website that you work with customers such as D, E, F. Our software could really help customer D lift sales through the use of our 123 feature. Other customers in the same industry such as Acme Corp have seen _____ results.

If you’re interested in learning more I would love to schedule time to give you a demo.

.
Personalization certainly requires more of a time commitment than blasting the same draft to a mass list, but believe me… the growth in your click-through rate will be well worth the time. Your CMO would agree.

Simply put, if you want to build sales, you need to build relationships. And it all begins with the first touch point – it’s up to you whether that first impression is a personal one, or a spammy one.

Do Provide Value

Whether you are sending emails to customers or businesses, you should not only provide value… but obvious value.

In the above email, the added value would be that the marketing software could help my agency increase the effectiveness of the campaigns we manage. Unfortunately that value wasn’t communicated very well.

Recipients of your emails won’t take the time to dig through your message and discover the offered value. You have to hand it over on a silver platter with a big arrow pointing to it.

When it comes to B2C emails, providing obvious value can be as simple as offering a promotional code, sharing a sale, or featuring a new product.

screenshot of an email

The best part is, providing value for your email recipients means providing value for the company as well. If your email encourages a click-through, you’ve just won yourself a new lead and possibly even a new sale.

Just think of it this way: providing value creates a win-win situation.

Do Market to Customers Different Than Leads

When a user submits a form on your company website, they should then be entered into a lead nurturing email campaign. The purpose of this series of emails is to subtly remind them of what interested them in your business to begin with, and why they should commit to purchase.

Many businesses forget one important aspect of lead nurturing email campaigns: once a user converts and actually makes a purchase, he or she should be immediately removed from the lead nurturing campaign.

A logical expectation, but many companies miss the mark here.

For example, last year I signed up to receive information about the Portland Marathon.

I received my first nurture email on December 9th, and by December 19th I had signed up for the race.

Even though I had done what the Portland Marathon team of marketers wanted me to do, I continued to receive lead nurturing emails. For someone who likes to keep a clean inbox, this was incredibly annoying. I received five additional emails encouraging me to register for the race even though I had already converted.

screenshot of gmail inbox

The marathon’s emails are cute and clever, but completely useless to me now that I’ve already registered. In fact, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

By continuing to send me (and other converted leads) these emails, the Portland Marathon’s conversion rates are being unnessesarily dragged down.

The take-away? Once someone converts, add them to a separate, customer-only list.

For instance, the Portland Marathon could have added me to a separate list that pointed me to the store where I could buy “In Training” gear, or they could have started sending me helpful training tips.

Regardless of your industry — from marathons to financial services firms — you will want to distinguish the messaging you give your leads vs. your customers.

The Worst Email Ever…

We’ve all been on the receiving end of bad emails.

What is the worst type of email you’ve ever received?

Do Your Calls to Action Suck? Try These Tips to Lift Conversions

By | Conversion, Email Marketing, Strategy | No Comments

Finding the very best Call to Action (CTA) for your site can mean a huge lift in your current conversion rate.

Whether you’re trying to get someone to subscribe to your email list, submit a lead gen form or make a purchase, having a strong CTA is vitally important.

The bad news is that you could have an infinite number of brainstorming sessions, hire the very best marketer money can buy and still not come up with the very best CTA.

The good news is that you don’t need to waste time in brainstorming sessions or spend a lot of money on Don Draper. All you need to do is allow your website visitors to show you which CTA they respond to best.

How? Through a/b testing!

If you’re not already familiar with a/b testing learn all about it in this guide from Visual Website Optimizer.

I promised that you wouldn’t have to spend a lot of time brainstorming CTAs, and I will stand true to my word.

Instead of coming up with two different CTAs to test against each other on your own, I have pulled together some examples that you can copy for your a/b tests.

1. Email Subscription CTAs

Whether you blog for business or pleasure, you probably include a little signup box that allows readers to submit their email address to receive updates in their inbox.

What does your CTA button to kickstart this process look like?

Do you go with the standard “subscribe”?

Or maybe a lengthier “subscribe to the blog?”

And what does the header above the form say? Do you just flat out say “subscribe to blog via email” or do you use a benefit-driven headline such as “Subscribe to our conversion blog for optimization tips”?

Using a benefit driven CTA can really boost the number of people who respond.

When BettingExpert a/b tested their signup form they were able to increase conversions by 31.54% through the use of a more benefit-driven CTA.

But before you jump to conclusions and start changing your forms based on BettingExpert’s results, know that there are plenty of other options that can also increase your email subscription rates.

For example, you can use social proof on or near your subscription form to increase conversions like ProBlogger and Convince and Convert do.

Social Proof is a marketing concept rooted in psychology that says people are more likely to do something if they see others doing it.

By showing that over 23,100 other readers are subscribed to their newsletter, ProBlogger entices other to sign up so they are not left out.

As you can see there is no single way to present an email subscription CTA. There’s also no way to know which option will work best for your website visitors without a/b testing.

2. Lead Generation CTAs

When it comes to the CTAs you use on your lead generation forms, you may be thinking that a simple “download” or “submit” button will work to convert visitors.

That may be true, but really the only way to know is to test it.

For example, might the “Download Now” convert more visitors than “Download Guide”?

 

And what about that traditional grey submit button… is it converting the max amount of visitors possible?

My guess is it’s probably not working as well as a more stylized button with a strong CTA,, but I could be wrong. That’s the beauty of a/b testing – it allows you to see in real time what actually works.

If you’re wondering why most companies shy away from the traditional small grey/white button it’s because a lot of research shows that buttons that stand out get clicked more than ones that don’t.

In fact, you may have heard before that BOB (the Big Orange Button) is the very best button you can use.

That’s not necessarily true, although it can be true in a lot of cases because a big orange button usually stands out from the rest of a website.

You can see in the examples above – that are from HubSpot and Marketo – both employ the use of BOB.

BOB seems like it would work really well because it really stands out against the background of the landing pages it’s on. It draws the visitor’s eye and then encourages them to click and convert.

If your website theme is mostly orange then BOB probably wouldn’t be the best idea for you.

If you’re wondering what the best color would be … test it!

3. Ecommerce Checkout CTAs

If you want a lot of your ecommerce website visitors to complete a checkout with you, the entire process has to be optimized — including the CTA that actually gets the visitor to start the checkout process.

There are a few tactics that successful brands employ in their a/b tests to increase conversions.

For example, since research shows that online shoppers like free shipping, one way to lift conversions is by placing information about free shipping near your CTA.

Another common concern for shoppers is that they won’t be able to return or exchange an item when it’s purchased online. You can easily eliminate that fear by reassuring shoppers that you have a hassle free return policy.

Of course every company can say they have a hassle free return process. If you want to provide great customer service and enjoy repeat business, then you need to follow through on this promise.

In addition to free shipping and hassle-free returns, showing positive customer reviews near the CTA can really help you increase conversions.

For example, when Express Watches added a customer review widget to their website they increased sales by 58.29%.

As for the actual CTA: Add to Bag, Add to Cart, Buy Now… the only way to know which option will work best for you is to test it!

RIPT Apparel was able to increase their conversion rate by over 6% when they began a/b testing their shopping cart CTA button.

What would a 6% increase in conversions look like for your bottom line? Pretty nice, I’m guessing.

What About Other Types of CTAs?

Do you need to optimize the CTA on your site for a situation not listed in this post?

No problem!

My advice? Start a/b testing your CTA until you find the version that gets you the biggest lift in conversions. If you would like us to review your landing page and provide some CTA a/b testing ideas just leave a comment with the link below.

 

How To Optimize Your Emails For Mobile Devices

By | Email Marketing | No Comments

If your emails aren’t optimized for mobile devices, then you’re missing out on countless opportunities.

Forty-eight percent of people open emails on mobile devices, and Experian Marketing Services found in a 2013 study that Internet users in the U.S. spent most of their time checking emails on their mobile devices, averaging 14 minutes to an hour a day.

Email marketing is an important tool for businesses. If you want to take advantage of all the opportunities available, then follow these email optimization strategies.

1) Follow up with people who visit certain pages on your site

Let’s say someone visited a page on your site more than once looking at a certain product but hasn’t purchased it. That’s bad, right? Actually, it’s good and bad. It’s good because clearly they’re interested and have it in their head they’re going to buy it at some point or at least they want to. But it’s bad because they haven’t bought it yet. And there has to be a reason why.

It’s up to you to figure out why and give them a little push toward purchasing. You can do this with an automated email system where you send out a FAQ email, one that tells them how amazing that product is, a testimonial-based email from customers who’ve purchased that item or an email asking them to reply with any questions about the product or your business. One of these could do the trick to get that person to buy your product.

2) Reconnect with those who abandon their shopping cart

It’s common for people to visit a site, add an item to their shopping cart and then leave without purchasing that item. This is so common that the average online shopping cart abandonment rate is 67.89 percent. There are different reasons why this is happening, but a big reason is that people are easily distracted.

One way to get distracted visitors back to your site is through email recovery campaigns. If you’re tracking your shopping cart page, which you should be, and hopefully have the shopper’s name and email address from past purchases or them filling out that information when they started the checkout process, then you can send them emails. Send out a series of two to three emails with the right messages and timing. The emails in this campaign could have reviews or testimonials from customers who’ve purchased the item, special offers or discounts, or a strong call to action to get them back on your site.

3) Send out special offers

Every shopper loves a good sale or receiving a discount. Many people may not need to buy anything from a store, but if they hear about a sale or receive a coupon, then chances are pretty high they’ll buy something because of the good deal they believe they’re receiving.

To better appeal to your customers, send them information on sales or special offers by email. Depending on what you’re willing to offer, you could send one of these emails to customers weekly, biweekly or monthly. Your customers will appreciate being told of sales and given special offers, which makes them more likely to continue shopping at your store.

4) Create subject lines that convert

When it comes to email marketing, writing the perfect subject line is key. If you want to optimize your emails for mobile devices, then your subject lines have to be written just right to ensure your emails are opened.

To help you achieve the perfect subject line, remember to keep it short and simple, use specifics, make it sound urgent and important, and don’t use spam words. Mobile users only spend a few seconds skimming email subject lines, so if yours doesn’t stand out to them, your email will be looked over or deleted instead of opened. Asking a question and making a special offer stand out are examples of two good subject lines.

email

5) Separate your buyers from your prospects

These two types of people are very different and should be separated in your email marketing campaigns. Prospects cost you money, while existing buyers make you money. Divide prospects and buyers into their own lists.

Buyers have already made a purchase with your business, so you need to nurture that relationship to make sure they keep coming back to spend their money with you. Email them special discounts, exclusive offers or information, or anything else that makes them feel special.

6) Make images look proportionate on a mobile screen

If someone opens an email on their mobile device and the image you placed in that email isn’t resized to fit on their screen, then their user experience is horrible and they may not finish reading your email. Another way to make the mobile user experience bad is attaching image files that are too large and take too long to load. No one wants to sit and wait for an image to load. When users are on mobile devices, they expect fast download times. If a download takes too long, they lose interest and move on. To optimize your emails for better mobile user experience, make sure your images are sized to fit a mobile device’s screen.

7) Increase link sizes and call to action buttons

Most mobile devices today are touchscreen. But most people’s fingers aren’t dainty and small, so it’s harder to be precise with your finger as the cursor on a mobile device. To help with this matter and to create a better mobile user experience, make your text links and call to action buttons a big enough size for anyone to easily click on. It’s also good to space your links out far enough so no one accidentally clicks on the wrong link because that’s just frustrating.

In a 2013 study, 80.3 percent of people said they’d delete an email if it didn’t look good or if they couldn’t properly read it on their mobile device. Don’t be a business that has this high of a percentage of customers or potentials deleting your emails. Follow these email optimization strategies so your email marketing plan works in providing a good mobile user experience, while bringing people to your website and their money into your business.

5 Ways To Generate More Revenue From Customers Post Sale

By | Email Marketing | No Comments

email remarketing

Many businesses, large and small work very hard to sell their product or service and once they do, they stop. This makes me sad! Very sad! Smart businesses not only work hard to sell their product or service, but they continue to work hard, post sale, to nurture relationships, fill additional needs of their customers, and take sales to the next level. This is also referred to as working to increase the lifetime value of each customer.

This might sound great, but one of the biggest reasons businesses stop working hard to sell, post sale, is because they don’t know how to do it. These strategies are often times technology driven and let’s be honest, most of us don’t get it. But fear not, with some help from a killer developer or development team, your business can be a remarketing machine!

So let’s talk about the five ways to generate more revenue from your customers post sale.

Pitch Complementary Products

The first thing you should do to help grow your sales is to recommend complimentary products immediately based on what was purchased. You should recommend related products on the thank you page. If your customer bought a iPhone case, pitch them screen protectors, chargers, etc.

Transactional Emails

Very similar to pitching complementary products on the thank you page, you should be pitching them in the order confirmation email. If you think about it, when was the last time you ordered something and immediately went to your email to make sure the order was received? Uh… like yesterday! And I do it 100% of the time and so do your customers.

In these emails you can pitch the same products you did on the thank you page or a whole new set of related products.

Re-Engagement Offers

In most cases, you should know exactly who your customers are and what they purchased from you. Well, your database should know. A few days post sale, you should be sending out custom offers to your customers based on their interests. These emails can include related products (like above), related content published on your site, but most importantly, some sort of trigger, like a discount to re-engage and bring them back to the website.

Dynamic Email Content

Get crazy with your emails… Just kidding! Nothing too crazy anyway. For those unfamiliar with dynamic content, this allows you to display the name of the customer, the product they purchased, recommend products, etc right in the email subject and body. As you can imagine, this is a pretty powerful strategy because the emails feel very personalized and tend to have higher open and conversion rates.

Retargeting

Lastly, retarget your customers. Tap into a network like Adroll or the Google Display Network and serve your customers ads pitching a discount on their next purchase or related products complimentary to their most recent purchase. Retargeting basically allows you to “stalk” your customers online with ads that hopefully bring them back to your site to spend more money with you.

By investing time, energy, and money into nurturing relationships with your current customers, you will grow your revenue and customer lifetime value dramatically.

Steal Our Tips from 3 Real Marketing Email Critiques

By | Email Marketing | No Comments

Email marketing is one of the most effective channels for driving repeat customers for your e-commerce business.

In fact, according to a research report put out by Forrester in September of 2012, “thirty percent of transactions by repeat customers start with an email from the retailer.”

This means every email you send should be checked, double checked and then triple checked for accuracy and conversion worthiness.

Below we review three emails one of our team members received within the last month from three different online stores. Each example comes with tips from our expert team on how the email could be improved.

Feel free to use these tips in your own email marketing campaigns!

 

Email #1: Fit2Go

email-fit2go

The company:

Fit2Go is a company that allows you to purchase pre-made meals. The company then delivers the meals to your office or home.

What We Like:

  • The email includes a great offer
  • A sense of urgency to take advantage of the offer is expressed with the line, “Take advantage of this promotion before it ends!”
  • The call-to-action (“Click here to buy 3 weeks of Fit2go meals and get 1 FREE!”) is right at the top of the email.

What We Would Change:

  • The subject line – why does it show “FWD” and why does it say Test Message? These are two things the recipient should never see
  • The line “Take advantage of this promotion before it ends” creates a sense of urgency, but it could be made stronger by saying WHEN the promotion ends (also, it’s a good thing to let your readers know in general)
  • The call-to-action could be made more dominant and clickable by using a button instead of a text link

Email #2: Philosophy

email-philosophy-581x1024

The Company:

Philosophy produces high-quality bath and body products such as lotions, body washes and parfumes.

What We Like:

  • Nice big call-to-action above the fold
  • The call-to-action has perfect message match with the subject line
  • Great visuals of the product in the email

What We Would Change:

  • The subject line is in all lower case – we would capitalize the first word
  • The benefit (15% off) is at the end of the subject line, we would move that up closer to the beginning because some email providers cut off long subjects
  • We would make the call-to-action (Shop Now) into a button to make it more clickable. We would also make it a color that stands out rather than the same color as the rest of the copy.

Email #3: Coach Factory Outlet

email-coach

The Company:

Coach Factory Outlet is part of the Coach brand which produces handbags and other luxury accessories.

What We Like:

  • The subject line is short and benefit focused
  • The call-to-action is the main focus of the email and matches the subject line
  • There is an easy print option if you want to bring the coupon into a retail location vs. using online

What We Would Change:

  • A sense of urgency is created by saying “Time’s running out” but this line is not only so small it’s easily overlooked, but again no expiration date is added
  • The promo code is long and not easily rememberable. We would include a user-friendly promo code such as 100OFF
  • The call-to-action button blends in with the rest of the email – we would make it pop out by making it larger and a different color
As you can see from the above examples, both small (Fit2go), medium (Philosophy) and large (Coach) companies are making many of the same basic mistakes. 

The most egregious error of all (the test subject line) was made by the smallest company, but it is something that can happen to any business that doesn’t check, double check and triple check each email before sending it.

Additionally, since 30% of all repeat purchases come from an email, doesn’t it make sense to ensure that email is optimized for conversions?

Many of the same principles for landing page optimization apply to email optimization. For example, always make your call-to-action pop!

What are you doing to make sure people take action after viewing your emails?

 

This is What Happens When an Email A/B Test Goes Wrong

By | Email Marketing | No Comments

A/B testing your emails is really cool.

It usually leads to increased open rates, click-through rates and conversion rates – all really great things!

Recently I received the following email:

The good news is that Cruise America is definitely a/b testing their emails.

I can tell because the subject line shows that I have received “var 1” or variation 1.

The bad news is, I can’t imagine this subject line generated a very high open rate. It kind of reads like spam, doesn’t provide any benefit and just looks like a mistake.

Ouch.

Because I love marketing, I opened the email to see what was inside of this unintended email.

The content of the email isn’t bad, although I did notice two things that made me go “huh.”

Choosing the Right Email Address

First, the email addressed used for the send is list@cruiseamerica.com. This isn’t a very friendly or inviting email address, and if I want to reply to the email I’m not exactly sure someone is going to be on the receiving end reading it.

In general I like to advise clients to use something friendly like “hello@companyname.com” or “customerservice@companyname.com” – these type of email addresses let the user know that he or she can comfortably reply if necessary.

Of course some companies don’t want users to reply to their promotional emails to which I say: Are you serious? Any time you send an email you should welcome open communication with your customers.

To say, “do not reply” is similar to saying, “I don’t care.” It’s just not a great marketing tactic or good business practice.

Allow Recipients to Opt-In on Their Own

The second thing that make me shake my head a bit was the small type at the top that said I was receiving the email because I subscribed to Cruise America’s newsletter.

The truth is, I never signed up for the newsletter and if I did- I didn’t realize I was doing it.

Basically, I called Cruise America to inquire about a booking. While on the phone with the sales rep I completed the sale. I guess since I became a paying customer it was decided for me that I would want to receive the newsletter.

In general, you should let recipients opt-in to your emails on their own and make it very clear that they are opting in.

(Don’t let this guy haunt your dreams.)

Opt-in and double opt-in barriers ensure that only people who really want your email will receive it. This keeps your open rates, click-through rates and conversion rates high.

Having high rates for each of these metrics means your list will remain healthy and you won’t get tagged as spam by the major email providers like Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail.

This is important because once you’re tagged as spam it’s very hard to crawl out of that hole.

The one thing Cruise America is definitely doing right is the nice call-to-action right at the top of the email (“Rent an RV – View Hot Deals”).

I have a suspicion that the call-to-action and the button and/or image of the RV are parts of the email that are being a/b tested.

I wonder what Var 2 or variation 2 of the email looks like?

I wonder if Var 2 was sent with a better subject line?

As a marketing geek I can’t help but want to know so much more about this email marketing a/b test even if the actual test was flubbed!

Quick Tips for Smarter Email Marketing

By | Email Marketing | No Comments

Every morning my alarm goes off at 7am. After turning off my blaring alarm, I begin to check email from my phone. The excitement of a new day with new emails is enough to keep my eyes open. Every morning, there are emails I actually read, like the inventive lifestyle blog MaskCara, and those I simply trash, like JCrew because either a) I don’t care about their product or b) They have emailed me so many times that I don’t care what they have to say anymore!

As a marketer, I understand that there are reasons why there are certain emails we open and others we trash, and I’ve learned a lot from my own love/hate relationship with email marketing that I can apply when creating my own email marketing campaigns.

One purpose of email marketing is to generate conversation about a product or service in a personal space. In order to do this effectively, subscribers must trust you. Personalizing an email after an opening salutation can create a sense of intimacy. If you have a certain segment of customers who may be interested in a message due to geographic location, or special event, send a specific email to those customers highlighting the information that is most relevant to them.

People do not want to be taken advantage of or bombarded with useless information. Keep your content fresh, timely, and interesting. Be sure that the subject line is compelling. Including an incentive in your subject line can increase open rates by as much as 50%. Sending special deals to your customers provides motivation to remain on your list and will provide more patience for the days your message does not spark their interest.

In line with my own personal qualms with email marketing, the top reason why people unsubscribe from email lists is because they are sent too often, or the receiver no longer finds the content relevant. Content is key. Make sure that what you have to say is worth reading.

Always create an alternate text version of your email as it is easier for users who might not be able to easily view the images. If a subscriber cannot view content, they will almost certainly delete it. An added bonus—creating a text version will help your SEO if you publish the same content on your site.

BLACKLIST

Mass emails often do not even reach your customer’s inbox. It is critical to remain off the email blacklist. Being on the blacklist will shoot any emails from your IP address directly to the trash or spam folders. The blacklist is calculated using an algorithm, which is largely influenced by the amount of people who report your emails as spam, or unsubscribe from your list. This can be avoided by using a provider like Hubspot or MailChimp to send out mass emails and by keeping your subscription list up to date.

EMAIL LISTS

Keep your list up to date. On average, 25% of those on an email list will change in a year. It is best not to use a third party email list as this works against the idea of inbound marketing. You want a captive audience, not an angry audience wondering how you got their information. A good way to do this is to make sure to have a subscription button on your site, located in a prominent place. Social media is also an effective way to invite your followers to subscribe to your email list.

HOW OFTEN

The most active hours for email are on week days between 2-5pm. The frequency at which you send out email blasts depends largely on the relevance of your content to the customer. At minimum, you should be emailing once a month.

Quick recap: Don’t be annoying, be valuable. Do this by creating relevant content and being mindful of how often customers are being emailed. Stay off the blacklist by keeping your list up to date and paying attention to when your subscribers are online. Depending on your audience, the time of day and frequency at which you email them may differ. If you find yourself emailing someone three times a day (pay attention, Groupon) it is probably too much. Good luck!

Bonus: Check out this infographic with some interesting stats on email marketing:

How to Become an Email Rockstar Using Analytics

By | Email Marketing | No Comments

You probably know that email marketing should be a big part of your online marketing strategy right? After all, your own inbox is likely full of emails from brands that you purchase from.

In fact, you may already be sending out emails to your customers and leads!

Today, I want to ask you…

  • How are those emails performing? 
  • Are you seeing month-over-month growth in list size, open rates and click-through rates? 
  • Is your email marketing growth driving more website traffic and conversions?

If not,  read through the tips below and you’ll be ready to start rocking your email campaigns!

 

Keep a Close Eye on Email Growth

It goes without saying that continued growth of your email list will often lead to increased visits to your website as well as increased conversions (as a byproduct of increased visits).

While you don’t need to see positive growth every single month, though that is preferable, you don’t want to see any big drop offs.

If you start seeing big drop offs you should increase promotion of your email list. One great, and usually inexpensive way to advertise your email list is through Facebook ads.

You can set up an email signup tab on your Facebook page and then run CPM (cost-per-thousand views) based Facebook ads to encourage people to sign up.

If you start seeing your email list size decreasing due to a lot of unsubscribes you have a real problem on your hands.

Unsubscribes mean one of two, bad things:

  1. The people who signed up aren’t receiving what they expected
  2. The people who signed up aren’t liking what they are receiving

In both cases this usually means you need to overhaul your content to make it more targeted and higher quality.

If you start running ads to promote your email list and you see a large spike in subscribes but then another large spike in unsubscribes it’s likely that you need to revise your ads.

A large spike in subscribes means that people are interested in receiving the kind of content you’re promoting in the ads; however, the content in the actual emails is not meeting their expectations.

For example- If you promise advice and tips in your Facebook ads but only send out promotional emails, you will probably see a lot of unsubscribes. The promise in the ad needs to match the offer in the email.

When your ads are well written and your content is high quality you will see a continued increase in email list growth as well as traffic and conversions. Rock on!

 

Analyze Your Open Rates & Subject Lines

Another important aspect for keeping your email list growing and healthy is the need for analysis on your campaign open rates and their subject lines.

Email marketing software, like MailChimp, will tell you what your campaign open rate is compared to the industry average open rate. Ideally your open rate is at or above the industry average. If it is not, you should strongly consider revising your subject lines.

Speaking of subject lines, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on what the subject lines are for your email campaigns that have the highest open rates.

When you find a subject line formula that seems to work really well you should try to continue using it.

I always advise clients to a/b test their subject lines if they have a list size that is big enough for testing.

 

Look For Patterns in Click-Through Rates

While your open rate is a really important metric for email marketing campaigns, another crucial metric is the click-through rate.

Your email marketing software should automatically show overall campaign click-through rates – and if you use MailChimp it will also show you this stat in comparison to the industry average.

While the overall click-through rate for the campaign is really important, I like to dig deeper and look at the click-through rate for each link within my email.

MailChimp will allow you to do this using their reports.

I like to see which type of links get clicked most often. For example, when working with a pet care company I noticed that over a four-month period articles about pet food got more clicks than any other article type in their monthly newsletter.

Trends like this can help you decide what kind of content to include in future emails.

Use Data to Drive More Traffic to Your Site

Once you are able to identify patterns in your email marketing data, you should absolutely use this information to create more engaging future emails.

For example, once I noticed the trend with articles about pet food, I started creating more blog posts about pet food and treats for the pet care company.

This not only boosted email traffic and conversions, but gave me insight into what the target audience is most interested in. I can use this information for future marketing campaigns outside of email marketing.

In fact, I have already started doing so – I can creating a lot of social media content around pet food and treats as well. As predicted, these social posts are generating a lot of engagement.

Four Powerful Tips To Help Grow & Maintain Your Email List

By | Email Marketing | No Comments

email-marketingCompanies who generate a lot of their revenue via online channels understand how important a responsive email list is to their business. A responsive list, no matter what the size, is worth its weight in gold and can be a source of recurring revenue through strategic remarketing efforts.

Growing and maintaining a list of quality email subscribers takes a lot of work, but by following a few best practices, you can ensure that your email marketing initiatives are successful and profitable for years to come. In today’s post, we are going to talk about four things you should be doing to grow and maintain your email list.

Don’t Ever Take Shortcuts

The first rule of growing and maintaining a quality email subscriber list is to never take shortcuts, EVER! Take it from me, purchasing a list of targeted subscribers from an email list broker is an extremely bad idea! It is also a bad idea to do a bait and switch, meaning promising your prospects something to get them to opt-in and then not deliver or deliver something completely different.

Ask For Subscribers Everywhere

The second rule of growing and maintaining a quality email list is to ask for subscribers everywhere. Most webmasters will just ask for the opt-in when someone visits their website. Others, those who are growing their subscribers at an insane rate, ask for the opt-in everywhere. Some of the places where you can ask for the opt-in are as follows:

  • Facebook Page
  • Google+ Page
  • Twitter
  • During the checkout process
  • After the sale
  • In the sales notification email
  • Ask your subscribers if they can refer new subscribers

And the list can go on and on.

Attract Subscribers With Content

The third rule of growing and maintaining a quality email list is to attract subscribers with valuable content. In addition to creation and social promotion of your content, email list growth should also play into your content marketing and promotion strategy. If not, you are missing out on some HIGH QUALITY subscribers.

So how do you do this? First, you need awesome content that is actually valuable to your target audience. This can come in the form of whitepapers, ebooks, training manuals, how-to guides, and so forth. Next, you take this content and place it in a locked down section of your site and only make it available to individuals who opt-in to receive your email communications. It’s really as simple as that 🙂

Increase Subscribers With The Right Incentives

The fourth rule of growing and maintaining a quality email list is to use incentives to increase opt-ins. Not just any incentives, but incentives that are valued by your target audience. Running a contest and offering a $500 gift card to Amazon to grow subscribers will only get you a bunch of people who don’t really want to receive an email from you. To make matters worse, they will most likely start reporting you as spam and could result in your email server getting blacklisted. Just don’t do it! Instead, offer free product, promo codes, or other targeted incentives to grow an email list of potential buyers.

As said above, a responsive email list is worth its weight in gold and is surely worth the time and investment it takes to grow and maintain it. Do you have any other tips on how to grow your email list? If so, please share in the comments section below.

[REPLY TO ME!] 5 Tips for Increasing Your Email Response Rates- Part 2

By | Email Marketing | No Comments

improve email response ratesStay out of the dark with your email campaigns! There’s always room for improvement.

Having an fantastic email marketing program and optimizing can drastically increase your business.

According to iContact, customers who receive email marketing spend 83% more when shopping. Additionally, the average return on email marketing investment is $44.25 for every $1 spent.

Are you kidding me??

If you’re not seeing that kind of ROI from your email campaigns, it’s time to begin optimizing for more than just the subject line!

We’ll show you how here in Part 2 of our guide: 5 Tips for Increasing Your Email Response Rates. If you haven’t already ready part one of our email marketing optimization series, go do that now!

Optimize for Mobile

“Sent from my iPhone” and its many variations is a very common way to see an email end. This is because more and more people are adopting smart phones and using them to send and receive email.

In fact, according to eMarketer more than 50% of people in the US who have a mobile phone use a smart phone.

email marketing mobile user stats

Perhaps even more importantly, according to Top Rank Blog, 64% of decision-makers read their email via mobile devices.

Because of this, it is very important for businesses of all sizes to cater to the smartphone market and create emails that render well on mobile devices.

Unfortunately, MarketingSherpa’s “2013 Email Marketing Benchmark Report” shows that less than 50% of companies are currently creating mobile-friendly emails.

improve your email marketing

This is bad news for most businesses since not creating emails that render well on smartphones means not having their message seen. However, it also presents a huge opportunity for businesses that do create mobile-friendly emails.

Think of it this way- if both you and your competitor reach a customer’s mobile inbox, but only one of you has taken the time to create an email that renders on a mobile device, who is likely to win the attention of the customer?

Don’t let your email get the “archive” or “delete” swipe of death!

Segment Your Lists

Segmenting your email lists allows you to send more targeted content and offers to your subscribers. You can segment your lists by almost any data point, including:

  • Location
  • Gender
  • Lead vs. Customer
  • Lead Type (cold, warm, hot, etc.)
  • Purchasing habits
  • Occupation

By segmenting your subscriber list you can expect an increase in the performance of your email campaigns.

When MailChimp looked at data from customers who segment their lists vs. those that don’t they found that the segmented lists vastly outperformed. Some of the results include:

  • 14.44% higher open rate for segmented lists
  • 14.99% higher click through rate
  • 0.80% less bounces

How much could an almost 15% increase in open and click-through rates affect your bottom line? We’re talking about some serious business results here!

Create Dedicated Landing Pages

When it comes to optimizing your email marketing campaigns, your focus should not only be on increasing your response rates, but also on conversion. In the end, it’s all about generating revenue. Once your email recipient received an email, you have to also optimize where you try to send them. 

landing page clicks

Send yur recipients to a dedicated landing page! Not your home page, product page, or another site. 

If you don’t have a dedicated landing page for each email campaign you send– you’re doing it wrong.

Here’s why:

Sending traffic to your homepage or a deep link within your site can earn you a conversion, but in general it won’t earn you as many conversions as a dedicated landing page.

“But, but, but I send a lot of emails, do I really need a dedicated landing page for each one?” The answer is a resounding YES.

You can use a template to build off of so you don’t have to start from scratch each time (hint: this is a really good idea), but you do need to make sure each landing page matches the email that sends traffic to it. That means the overall look and feel should match, the offer should match, the headline should match and so on.

We recommend using Unbounce to build and test your landing pages.

Yes, this also means you will end up with a lot of landing pages.

The good news is, according to HubSpot research, companies with 40+ landing pages generate 12X more leads than those with 5 or less. That’s not bad company to keep.

Landing page for email

Get serious about email marketing!

Remember those stats I shared at the beginning of this post?

  • Recipients of email marketing spend 83% more when shopping.
  • The average ROI for email marketing is $44.25 for every $1 spent.

Email marketing is a strategy that you simply cannot ignore.
There’s too much to gain!

Your Thoughts

If you’ve made it through part one and part two (this post), you’re now ready to begin optimizing your emails for increased click-throughs and conversions.

Good luck! If you need any help send us a tweet or leave us a comment below.