Email Marketing & Display Ads

With the world continually evolving in a more technologically advanced way, it is becoming more and more important to remain focused on how we are engaging with clients, current and prospective.   Email campaigns have been the most affordable way to advertise to consumers for many years running. And many marketing managers continue to see this as the trend.

So, what are the latest and greatest trends? What can we expect to see in the near future with regard to mind blowing email campaigns?

No one really knows. But there are a lot of great ideas, upgrades and technology trends that should be paid attention to in order to stay relevant and on the edge of what consumers want to see.  Throughout the year what consumers want changes, and it will continue to change. One minute they are enticed by images and infographics, and in the next all of the focus is on the subject line of the email.  Regardless of the trend, the truly important part is staying on top of them and being proactive to educate yourself and your company on what the top marketers are doing.

In looking at those in the know, we are learning of new ways to gain emails from potential consumers, and Jason Hawkins at Search Engine Journal tells us that using pop-ups on your website is a trend that we will see more and more as we transition into 2016.

As consumers, we have become conditioned to passing out our information in exchange for information we want, but we have also learned how to turn off annoying pop-ups.  But, the latest trend will show us that using these pop-ups in conjunction with a win-win outcome for the consumer will encourage them to willingly give marketers what they want in return for the remainder of the information they (the consumer) want.  These pop-ups have been said to grow your email 5 to 10 times faster than traditional signups.

These pop-ups are called lightboxes, and Jason shows us two of the trending formats.  The first type of lightbox is the one that appears when the user’s cursor scrolls into the browser, called an exit overlay, aptly named I must say.  This is the least offensive of the pop-ups to my estimation, as the end user has already decided to leave the site or continue their search elsewhere.  This method is more polite in that there is no real interruption for the consumer. However, this method is only applicable for desktops, as there are no cursors on mobile.

The second type is based on time or depth in a page.  This method will definitely interrupt the user, but it is set to trigger during peak engagement within the site. If you have their attention and then ask for their information, the likelihood that they will comply is high.  You have captured the consumer’s attention with your site information and as long as their still thinking favorably about your site, data indicates that they will give you what you want regardless of whether it is needed in order for them to continue on within the site.  Of the two methods this one is mobile friendly, yet more intrusive.

Regardless of the pop-up method used, the facts stand that these work to increase your email capture.  There are many varieties and they are worth looking into if email marketing is a substantial part of your marketing strategy.  The more email addresses you have to send to, the higher the potential conversion rate.

Gamification & Retention

In a world with so many options, retailers and companies are looking for alternative ways to retain their customers. In doing so they are thinking outside the box and combining the fun of gaming with the ability to gain and retain loyal customers.

Retention can be costly, so if a company can keep a customer happy and coming back through traditional outlets, that is great, but unlikely. A study showed that by increasing customer retention rates by a mere 5%, a business has the potential for increasing their profits between 25% and 95%. But, with so many options for consumers that is getting harder and harder to do.

One of the key components of retention is listening to your customers and giving them what they feel is a good incentive to keep coming back. Whether that is in the form of a loyalty program or discount, customized communication or something entertaining, it is important to make your customers feel important.  That feeling of importance or belonging will foster an ongoing relationship between you, building brand loyalty.

So, what better way to incentivize your customer than introducing gamification? What might that be, you ask? Gamification, in a nut shell, is the introduction “of game-thinking in non-game contexts.”  It’s the process of borrowing pieces of games and applying them to areas of business, allowing one’s competitive nature to thrive.

By introducing games to the consumer cycle, you are adding a non-traditional component to your marketing pyramid.  This, not only makes your company unique, but it allows for your most loyal customers to further increase their engagement with your brand.  This increased engagement will also increase the likelihood of consumer reviews, positive word-of-mouth, and unpaid advertising through social media shares.  All by adding a game.

One example of gamification that has been proven to work is the rewards program through Starbucks. They reward you for purchasing through their app, at their stores, buying products online and/or at your regular grocer.  They get you excited about their brand and engage you on several levels. Add to that the gaming aspect of ‘winning’ free stuff, and you have a marketing campaign that has paid for itself in droves.  And they even market it by stating “Play Starbucks for Life”, and the link is labelled ‘Join to Play’.  Who doesn’t want to play a game?!

Another example is going to the grocery store and being rewarded ‘points’ for buying things you need.  Chains are rewarding your purchasing behavior in various ways, knowing that you have options on where to shop, they are rewarding you for picking their doors to walk through.  Those points can mean dollars off on a future visit or cents off on gas, but regardless of what it is, you are being rewarded for being a regular customer.  You are a pawn in the marketing chess game and retailers are using incentives to get you in the door and to keep coming back.

Using simple gaming tactics can increase brand loyalty, which increases the bottom line. Companies that are actively engaged with their current clients are increasing that customer’s lifetime value, which is often more profitable than looking and luring in new customers.  As we mentioned, customer acquisition and retention is expensive, so increasing your current customers loyalty, and therefore return rate, is a highly profitable way to do business.

Knowing the Challenges of Email Marketing

Email is not dead, not matter what some people say, we’ve talked about it before. It is still proven to be an effective and affordable means of communicating and advertising. But that’s not to say that email facing its fair share of challenges.  When looking at the engagement, it is imperative to understand the potential challenges of email marketing before being able to put together an effective campaign.

The Abundance of Information

The internet is easy to access, as we all know. In a few clicks I can have a plethora of information literally at my fingertips. But this ease of use and over-abundance of information might actually counteracting each other.  Users have suddenly been faced with an overwhelming amount of information that they do not have enough time to process. A bit of foreshadowing came in 1971 from economist, Herbert Simon: “In an information-rich world, the wealth of information means a [death] of something else: a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes. What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.”

In all, it is imperative that as marketing experts we pay close attention to the phenomenon of Attention Economics when formulating email marketing plans. Simply stated by Matthew Crawford, “Attention is a resource; a person has only so much of it.” Treating attention as a commodity is a good way to start thinking about what to put into your emails.

Don’t Ignore Today’s Cross-Channel Marketing

Companies that are looking to engage their customers need to be looking to interact with them across many channels: email, mobile, social, display, print, etc. Being relevant with your brand across the various channels of which your customers interact will bring credibility and influence to what you have to say in the eyes of your (potential) customer.

Today’s buyers are multi-taskers by nature. They are able to interact with multiple brands across various channels almost simultaneously.  Traditional email service providers are not equipped to handle this level of engagement.  The latest school of thought is to embrace email as a platform to tie all of the channels consumers use together. Building that trust in your brand across media is vital to building a relationship with your audience.

Knowing what your audience is already doing and where they are doing it will help grow your email marketing strategy.  Remember that your audience is inundated with information on a daily basis. Become a trusted advisor by providing relevant content across multiple platforms. And speak to the various platforms; your tone makes you relevant and trustworthy. Treating people’s attention as a limited resource will go over well. Give your audience the information they need and want in a precise, aesthetically pleasing way.

Tie your whole marketing strategy together via your email campaigns. Allow consumers ways to connect to you where and when they feel the most comfortable.

4 Ways Marketing Automation Will Save Your Campaign

New data reports that 79% of top-performing companies have been leveraging the power of marketing automation for more than three years. As adoption continues to grow, marketers are clearly seeing the value marketing automation brings to customer acquisition and retention. Where implemented, automation solutions can amplify your ROI with boosted reach, engagement and even drive revenue while expediting your efforts with more accuracy and efficiency.

1. Improve your lead management and nurturing

Automated marketing tools give you unparalleled insight into your audience and how they’re being reached. By tracking your audience’s engagement with the web and, specifically, your content and placements — automated systems can provide you a full profile on your next customer’s digital experience with your brand. This insight is imperative to fostering a relationship and capitalizing on the user’s wants and needs at exactly the right moment. Identify opportunities more easily, efficiently communicate with greater relevance and measure your ROI with precision while leveraging these tools.

2. Enhance the user experience with targeting and personalization

Automated marketing strategies arm you with exceptional data profiling your audience. That insight can empower you to reach new and old customers alike with precisely targeted messages — improving your engagement, conversions and even the perception of your brand. By targeting your audience with highly relevant content and marketing tactics, you’ll find less resistance to your campaigns and, consequently, see greater returns.

That added relevance is only accentuated by the powerful use of personalization in your efforts. Reach your audience with precisely the right product or service they’re looking for when they need it leveraging all of this unmatched information.

3. Align marketing and sales efforts

Gone are the days of every man for himself. Marketing automation aligns the strategies of marketing and sales teams to provide you a complete big-picture view of your customers and acquaintances from start to finish. See where your marketing efforts first caught hold with a potential customers. Then, follow them through every touch point and engagement until your sales team is able to close the deal. Even then, review and analyze the revenue generated and true lifetime value vs. the investment in nurturing that client.

Furthermore, see where your business flow falls short. When each and every aspect of the customer lifecycle can be tracked and measured, you can quickly see where your efforts aren’t meeting the mark. You can also address those issues more quickly and effectively — taking the guessing game out of successfully growing you business.

4. Improve user engagement

With so much information and so many powerful features available to you in marketing automation tools — you’ll quickly see a rise in your user engagement as you optimize messaging and tactics to better connect with your audience. That rise is often directly reflected in conversions and ROI as well — making automated marketing one of the most efficient and effective contributors to highly successful campaigns.

Top 5 Email Stats You Must Know Now

Email marketing continues to be the workhorse of the marketing industry as users continue to grow and message types evolve. With the recent release of new data on eMarketer, these are the email stats you must know right now.

1. 72.4% of the US population uses email.

Including more than 84% of US Internet users, email extends even farther than online social networks which only reach slightly over 69% of the same audience. The saturation has earned email the top-ranking spot for online reach.

2. 57% of digital marketers agree that email marketing is very effective in acquiring new customers.

More than half of digital marketing experts stand behind email marketing as a solution for growing their business. That speaks volumes when the same cannot be said for offering free trials, hosting community events or paying for display advertising. Even fewer consumer insight professionals believe that social media campaigns or search advertising work as well.

3. 44% of B2B marketing executives say that less than one quarter of their emails are triggered.

This quick stat gives us insight into huge area of opportunity for most marketers. Triggered messages can be effectively implemented to drive sales and create unique, thoughtful touch points with your audience — ultimately cultivating a relationship that may have been missing.

4. Open rates on house lists average 19-20% while the open rates average about half that — 9-10% — on prospect lists.

Curating your own list is more valuable than ever. Not only do fresh opt-in lists maintain better deliverablity, open rates and engagement — they also help to protect you from being blacklisted or flagged for sending unwanted mail. At a time where deliverability can be somewhat fickle, take advantage of these benefits and get started building an organic list.

5. Email leads other marketing channels with a media ROI of 21-23%.

Email marketing continues to return a higher ROI than most media — especially when monetization is involved. Sending email to drive engagement, traffic and conversions can be hugely effective, but you can also see a high ROI in sending email offers to drive immediate revenue from your email data. Partnering with a proven monetization solution like SendKnowledge can make the process extremely simple — empowering you to make money from your email in as little as one hour.

Unsubscribe and List Cleaning Best Practices

Users are receiving more email than ever these days. If you want your emails to reach them, there are things to keep in mind. Not only do you need to follow CAN-SPAM guidelines for unsubscribe links, but you should only be mailing to users who want to receive your mail. Mailing to users who don’t want it hurts your list quality and reputation. Here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to unsubscribes and list cleaning:

Ensure you’re following unsubscribe guidelines.

Opt-out links must include a clearly visible, text-based link that allows recipients to opt-out of receiving emails. Use the words “opt-out” or “unsubscribe” to make it clear to a user how they can unsubscribe. The unsubscribe link must only require a user to visit a single webpage or send an opt-out email directly to you to unsubscribe.

CAN-SPAM specifies that the user needs to only provide their email address to unsubscribe. That means you can’t require a CAPTCHA, request that a user answer why they are unsubscribing or ask for any other information to allow them to unsubscribe. Additional guidelines require that:

  • The opt-out link must be kept active for a minimum of 30 days after you send your email.
  • After the user unsubscribes, you can choose to ask them why. But make this optional, not a requirement.
  • You should show a confirmation webpage after the user unsubscribes. It could offer the user a chance to re-subscribe to the list if they unsubscribed by accident, and confirm to the user that you won’t mail to them anymore.
    • Don’t email users a confirmation of the unsubscribe. Once a user requests to unsubscribe, they don’t want to receive any more email from you.

Honor the opt-out request as soon as possible.

SendPointe’s best practice is to honor them within 48 hours, but CAN-SPAM requires that they be removed within 10 business days.

Clean up your subscriber list.

When you mail to bad users, it can reflect poorly on your reputation and cause damage to your IPs. Mailing to users who have been inactive for long periods of time, invalid email addresses or users who have already opted out can prevent your mail from reaching a user’s inbox.

Consider using a list cleaning or hygiene service to help you clean your list. Those services can catch invalid email addresses that contain typos or syntax problems.

Segment your list into active and inactive users.

Send a re-engagement email to recently inactive users. Encourage users to change their email frequency preferences or simply ask if they’re still interested in continuing to receive emails.

  • If users respond, move them to your active list.
  • If you don’t get a response, remove those users.

Perform this re-engagement process regularly. Re-engaging and then removing inactive users will only help your list performance in the long run.

Following these practices will keep you in compliance with CAN-SPAM and result in a better list performance over the long run. Quality is more important than quantity when it comes to email subscribers.