Category Archives: E-mail

Track these 3 email marketing metrics

marketing analyticsAnalytics are an important tool in email marketing because they reveal how effective your campaigns are. While it’s easy for me to say that a heavy investment in marketing will yield more revenue for your company, analytics are the data-driven proof. And if things go wrong, analytics can help you determine what didn’t work.

For example, a key aspect of a marketing automation campaign is that you target leads who have opted in to access your gated content. If these people unsubscribe from your campaign, you can review and tweak your messaging to see if that helps.

Before you can review your email marketing analytics, you need to know what you’re looking for. Click-through rate, bounce rate, and unsubscribes are three key metrics to scrutinize. They’ll help you determine if your campaigns are worth the investment.

Click-through rate

One of the most important metrics in email marketing, the click-through rate is the percentage of recipients who clicked on one or more links. It’s based on the total number of people who opened your email. For example, a 30 percent click-through rate would mean that for every 10 people who opened your campaign, three people clicked on at least one link.

Using this metric, you can see how many people are engaging with your content each time you send an email.

Bounce rate

The bounce rate is the number of emails from your list that couldn’t be delivered. Sometimes, it means that recipients’ email providers marked your campaign as spam. Other reasons for bounces include full mail boxes and server issues.

You might want to try resending once more, but don’t keep doing it if the addresses bounce again. Internet service providers look at bounce rates with a wary eye. You don’t want to be reported as a spammer.

Unsubscribe rate

The unsubscribe rate shows you how many people unsubscribed from your email list for a specific campaign. Depending on where you got your email list, this number could be high. Purchased lists often result in high unsubscribe rates as do old lists that include people you haven’t communicated with regularly.

Make it count 

If you create targeted, timely, and valuable content that benefits your subscribers, your email campaigns should do well. They’ll want to hear from you – and keep reading. That should help your delivery rates and your bottom line.

What have you learned from your email marketing metrics? Let us know in the comments below.

Get prospects to “yes” with a lead nurturing campaign

lead nurturing campaign In the digital age, prospects need to trust you before they’ll buy your products and services. A lead nurturing campaign is a straightforward way to develop this trust, beginning when potential buyers show interest by providing their emails in exchange for compelling content.

But getting emails is only the beginning. You want prospects to remember you when they’re filling out their purchase orders, and one way to do that is to follow up periodically using autoresponders, which are automated email messages that you schedule for specific times in response to prospect interest.

For example, you might create a landing page that promotes an ebook or a benefit-driven tip sheet for solving a common customer challenge. Include a form on the page that requires basic customer information, including names and email addresses. That’s all you need to start a lead nurturing campaign.

Keep the momentum going

The next step is to create an autoresponder series that triggers when someone completes the form on the landing page. In the first autoresponder email, you might thank them for downloading your content. In the next message, let them know how you can help them in other areas.

For example, you might offer webinars or other training. In subsequent autoresponders, you can ask for feedback about your products and services, encourage them to sign up for your newsletter or blog, and engage with them in other ways. Just make sure the content provides clear benefits and fresh messaging, including relevant offers to help your prospects be more receptive to follow-up emails.

One caveat: nothing will turn a lead off faster than acting needy, so timely communication is key. You don’t want to give them enough time to forget about you in this new world of short attention spans, but you don’t want to over-communicate, either. Treat your autoresponder follow-ups the way you would manage those in the traditional sales cycle, allowing two to four days between each new message.

Consider long term goals too

When someone completes the form on your landing page, they’ve already expressed an interest in your products and services, but the ultimate goal is to get them fully engaged. The next step might be scheduling a free consultation as a way to upgrade leads into prospects. An alternative is to generate more long-form content, or even a video on a relevant subject.

Bottom line: marketing automation is a proven process that generates measurable results. Following a logical series of steps enables your prospects to make better buying decisions, which positions them for future sales.

How did you approach your most successful lead nurturing campaign? Let us know in the comments below.

Email marketing habits to kick to the curb

email marketing If your day is anything like mine, you send a lot of emails. A. Lot. You hope for swift responses and perfect messaging every time, but that’s not a realistic result. To prevent getting discouraged or stuck in a rut, I read up on email efficiency and best practices periodically to update my routine. Here are some of my favorite email marketing “don’ts” that help maintain solid open and response rates.

Don’t send without permission. Always get permission before adding anyone to your marketing mailing list. If your company is like The Simons Group, you’re proud of the work you do and want to share it with the world. But we never send out our newsletter or announcements without a contact’s permission. This common courtesy shows that you respect your audience – and even increases your open rates! So, before you sign up everyone you met at your last networking event for the company newsletter, be sure they are just as excited as you are to receive it.

Don’t go for the hard sell. Readers may opt-out of emails if you bombard them with sales pitches. Instead, send an email with industry tips, thought leadership advice or case studies. If you send information that can help them or get them to think in a new way, they are more likely to continue following along.

Don’t abuse your contact list. Sending emails every day can be too much. Studies show that sending marketing emails one to four times a month can be very successful. Keep in mind that your contacts may be overwhelmed with the number of emails they receive from other companies or internal issues, so you don’t want to add to the chaos. Reach out sparingly and your audience will look forward to your next email.

What are some of your favorite email marketing “don’ts”? Let us know in the comments.

 

How to get the most out of your follow-up email

email follow-upsI’ve found myself making a lot of calls recently and that means making sure to follow up with my contacts if I don’t hear back from them, need more information or want to thank them for their time. Follow-up emails have become my lifeline and I simply couldn’t function without being able to rely on their effectiveness. No matter whom you’re trying to reach, a well-executed email could get you a response faster. Here are a few tips to help you with your next check-in.

4 keys to crafting follow-up emails

Start with a straightforward subject line. The most effective subjects are specific, direct and don’t use verbiage that may fall into spam filters. Avoid words like “remove,” “sample,” “form” and “help.” Instead, reference something specific such as the project you both are working on or something about who you are. For example, “Quick question from Public Relations Specialist at The Simons Group,” reminds the contact who I am, where I’m from and why I’m reaching out to him.

Provide context. Be sure to reference what your previous interaction was and why you are reaching out so that your contact isn’t left scratching his head. Say, “I left a voicemail, but wanted to make sure you have my contact information,” if you’re following up after one call. Or, “It was great chatting about XYZ with you on Tuesday,” if you were able to connect. No one wants to rack his brain to remember where you left off, so take the initiative and provide a quick reminder.

Be clear about your objective. Are you emailing your contact to set up another meeting? Do you need to have call that includes another member of your team? Do you want to thank your contact and make a recommendation for the future? Make sure your message is clear and concise so that it’s easy for your contact to understand what to include in a response.

Mind your timing. In many cases, after you’ve left a voicemail, it’s perfectly acceptable to send a follow-up email right away. Sometimes, it’s easier to reach someone through email than by phone, so an immediate email follow-up makes it more convenient for the parties involved. In other cases, such as following up after a meeting or conversation, it’s better to wait a day or two before reaching out. The exceptions to this, of course, are if you’re thanking someone for his time or providing information the contact requested during your meeting.

How do you follow up with your contacts? Let us know in the comments below.

How to structure emails so people will read them

the-letter-f-1445141It’s no secret that people read emails differently than a book or magazine. And when it comes to email structure, F apparently stands for fantastic.

According to a Nielsen Norman Group study that tracked subjects’ eye movements across the screen, readers typically view Web content in a F-shape pattern. The average reader scans the top of the screen and then moves down the left-hand side, with a shorter horizontal scan of content further down the page. That means you have a limited amount of real estate to make your point and pique the reader’s interest. Here’s our guide to structuring emails that will catch your audience’s attention.

Read more…

What your email campaigns are missing

face-questions-1567164Wondering why your e-blasts keep falling flat? Successful email campaigns take time and patience. Some marketers make the mistake of blasting out emails without fully considering their audience, content or desired outcome.

From managing your email lists to perfecting your call to action, a few tweaks here and there can have a big impact on the success of your e-blasts. Read on to learn how to improve your email campaigns and open rates.

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5 steps to making email marketing shine with video

lights-camera-action-1168523Videos are an up-and-coming channel for presenting content to customers. According to Cisco, video is projected to make up 67 percent of all fixed Internet traffic by 2017. Studies also show that customers will stay on a website longer if it features a video. So what does that mean for you? Video is increasingly becoming a must-have on your marketing plan.

Here are some tips for adding video to email:

  1. Start with content you already have. Many companies have videos in their wheel houses, whether it’s a product demo or an overview of the company. To make the most of your resources, start small and work your way up to include a dedicated video strategy for your marketing plan.
  2. Use the word “video” in the subject line, which tends to generate more clicks.
  3. Time your video email to coordinate with where your customer is in the sales process. If your goal is to sell the costumer on a new product, send them a video touting the product features. If your customer has already made a purchase, send a video email a day or two after the items have arrived that describes how to use the item or gives tips for cleaning it.
    4. Use a call to action in your video. Depending on your video and what type of customer it’s being sent to, your call to action can be as simple as a phone number or website.
    5. Send related content. If a prospect clicks on a video in an email, direct them to your website. Provide links to related videos on your site, and as the customer watches more content, you can get a better sense of what they’re interested in.

Videos engage customers by delivering relevant content that’s easy to digest, ultimately increasing awareness and revenue. Use your videos to generate leads by linking them to your email campaigns. While it takes some equipment and technical expertise to execute videos correctly, a professional marketing team can help you shine on screen.

Have you started incorporating more videos into your marketing? Tell us about it in the comments below.

 

Why generic ‘Hi, [YOUR NAME],’ email wastes your money and the 5-step fix

Email marketing is alive and well, but I’m surprised some companies continue to send faux personalized messages with blind pitches like this:

“Hi, Dawn — hope you’re well. I’m hoping you might be able to help me out with a favor. I’m looking for an advertising contact at The Simons Group. Have you thought about utilizing this venue to engage with customers and potential customers? We’d love to set up a time to chat. Thanks so much!”

The make-believe familiarity is bad enough, but the sender clearly didn’t do any research or she would have realized we write and design ads. Within minutes of receiving this email, a consultant sent me a reminder to attend a hot marketing seminar that was starting that afternoon – in London.

targetThe big fail

Generic email marketing is about as effective as trying to win the gazillion-dollar lottery. In fact, the chances of winning the jackpot are probably greater than the odds of reaching prospects and customers with fill-in-the-blank offers. Playing the numbers game – sending email by the gross and hoping at least some of them stick – is also sadly misguided.

Recipients delete these emails instantly. Many of them probably also do what I do – create a filter that keeps future messages from getting to my inbox. So many outlets are already competing for my attention; anything that saves me from having to comb through junk “Hi, [YOUR NAME],” email is a blessing.

The antidote

Smart marketers know there’s a better way to attract and retain customers. Here’s a five-step fix you can use today:

  1. Do your homework. Rather than peppering 1,000 people with the same general offer, figure out who you want to connect with and what they do. In other words, don’t promote website design to an agency that creates websites. Not only does it make you look dumb, but it also wastes time and money.
  2. Identify your goals. Do you want to want to entice current customers to renew their maintenance contracts? Are you testing a new product and need to gauge how prospects will react to it? Having a specific goal will help you determine your campaign’s success.
  3. Pass the “what’s in it for me?” test. Every email should explain how the recipient will benefit from your products and services. Your offer may seem like a no-brainer to you, but you’ll still need to back it up. It isn’t necessary to send 1,000 unique messages – that would take forever – but be as specific as possible.
  4. Use short, punchy subject lines. Even if you have epic design and content, no one will open your message if you’ve got a boring subject line. Make it intriguing and include a clear benefit — see number 3.
  5. Follow up. Don’t send one email and expect instant results. Effective marketing campaigns have multiple touch points – often a combination of online and print initiatives.

Before launching your campaign, learn other good email practices and find out how to avoid the most common email marketing mistakes.

Is your email marketing intelligent and relevant? How do you ensure your messages are on point? Let us know in the comments below.

B2B marketing trends to watch in 2014

IncreaseAs you wind down on last-minute holiday decorating, shopping and cooking, it’s a good time to think about 2014 and strategize ways to promote your business. Knowing key B2B trends will help you prepare for a successful year. Among the trends to watch:

  1. Companies will spend more on content marketing. Fifty-eight percent of B2B marketers plan to increase their marketing budgets in 2014, according to a survey from the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs. Most of the companies that plan to boost their efforts are small firms with 10 to 99 employees, according to the survey. Top B2B marketing tactics include social media, website articles, e-newsletters and blogs.
  2. Original and engaging content will remain king. Keyword-driven SEO shops are reinventing themselves as content marketers for a reason. Google continues to update its search algorithms, placing more emphasis on well-written, relevant copy, and thwarting keyword stuffing. This practice involves the overuse of a word or related words and phrases on a single page to improve search engine rankings. Having useful content signals that you’re a subject-matter expert and boosts search engine rankings. Find out why SEO isn’t a magic pill.
  3. Visual content will surge in popularity. Smart content marketers will offer compelling videos and infograhics to stand out. The study from the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs shows that 73 percent of B2B marketers are using video now, while 51 percent are using infographics. While there’s still a market for six-page white papers, audiences increasingly want multimedia and visual storytelling. Here’s an example of the magic that happens when you marry creativity and visuals.
  4. Mobile-responsive design will no longer be an option. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that more people will access your site and learn about your company from mobile devices. A study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project showed that nearly two-thirds of mobile users in the United States use their phones to access the Internet and check email – a number that has doubled since 2009. Learn more about mobile-responsive design.
  5. Social media monitoring and measurement will become more sophisticated. If you don’t have an enterprise social media analytics tool, it’s a challenge to determine what’s working and what’s not. Enhanced technology will make it easier to track engagement and interactions that contribute to lead conversions and sales. Learn more about some of the tools that will help B2B marketers.

What content marketing trends do you foresee in 2014? How will they influence your B2B marketing plans? Let us know in the comments below.

Resolutions: Working on ourselves and our brands

fireworksAs the time flies by, I can’t help but realize it’s almost time to make my New Year’s resolution! Whether we decide we will be healthier, more adventurous or seek better friends, we all strive to improve in some way. Shouldn’t we always strive to improve our brands, too?

Maintaining a positive brand image is a commitment much like the ones we make to ourselves. The key is to be consistent and genuine. How can you stay connected to your audience over this holiday season? Some great ways are through social media, blogs and even holiday cards!

Social media continues to be a focus and it should be. How better to keep your clients and customers engaged and responsive than by letting them join in on the conversation? Respond to their questions and concerns, and fill them in on exciting news and helpful tips.

Does your company have a blog? We love to blog because we love to provide you with information that helps you excel. It’s also a great way to connect with readers and learn from one another. We always appreciate hearing from our readers and answering questions they may have, because when you help your audience, everyone wins. Think about starting a weekly or biweekly blog and share helpful tips with your audience to keep the conversation going.

Finally, what would the holiday season be without some cheer? The Simons Group enjoys creating original holiday cards, because we’re not all business. We like to have fun, too! Take the time to send your audience a fun holiday card or email to show them that yes, you appreciate their business, but you also appreciate them as the great people you have come to know.

How do you like to interact with your audience? Let us know what you recommend and remember to have a great holiday season!