dotmailer’s CEO wins well-deserved recognition

The dotmailer team were thrilled to hear that our Chief Executive Officer, Milan Patel, was awarded Chief Financial Officer of the year at the 2017 British Accountancy Awards (BAA).

The BAA celebrates excellence in accountancy and finance management and are the industry’s most prestigious accolades. The annual event pinpoints professional development and highlights individuals who’ve demonstrated excellence in their field.

2017’s ceremony welcomed over 750 guests from some of the top financial enterprises in the UK and globally, including KPMG, Ensors, Unilever and Grant Thornton.

Milan’s dedication to his responsibilities as dotmailer’s CFO are truly commendable. His appointment as permanent CEO in July 2016 followed six months in a dual role as both CFO and interim CEO. With over 9 years experience in accounting and finance at a senior level, he has been the driving force behind the company’s recent advancements in SaaS innovation and excellence, and its exciting global expansion. Milan reflected on this period of transformation:

“I am absolutely thrilled to have won the CFO award. A year ago I proposed changes to our business that would aid globalization and increase the addressable market, and I’m delighted that this strategy has paid dividends. I’m confident about the company’s future; it’s onward and upwards from here!”

All at dotmailer and in the wider dotDigital Group wish Milan warm congratulations.

Its been a successful, dynamic year for the dotDigital group. Take a look at the business’ final results.

The post dotmailer’s CEO wins well-deserved recognition appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 3 days ago from blog.dotmailer.com

[NEW INTEGRATION] Automate your work day with dotmailer and Zapier

You spend a lot of time in your work day just keeping up with what’s going across your web apps. Whether it’s synthesizing new survey responses from customers or chatting with teammates about new email campaigns getting sent out, it can be a lot to keep track of.

dotmailer’s newest integration partner, Zapier, takes care of the busy work for you. Because Zapier connects dotmailer to 750+ web tools, you don’t have to worry about switching between apps all day long.

Instead, Zapier automates your workflows and seamlessly connects all of your marketing and business processes. Set up Zaps that automatically send email campaigns to new leads from social media, new event attendees, or customers who just made a purchase.

Basically, forget about exporting and importing your contact lists and manually sending out emails. Now you can focus on bigger-picture and more creative tasks that are essential to your business.

Give me some examples of what I can automate

  • Create or update dotmailer contacts from Facebook Lead Ads
  • Create a new dotmailer data field for new Eventbrite events
  • Add new Zoho CRM contacts from new dotmailer survey responses
  • Share dotmailer survey responses in Slack

How do I get started?

You can get Zapier set up with dotmailer in three easy steps:

  1. Sign up for a Zapier account
  2. Learn about ways to use Zapier and dotmailer together
  3. Check out our Zapier help documentation for details on connecting your account and setting up your first Zap

Why not try these pre-made dotmailer Zaps:

<script type=”text/javascript” src=”https://zapier.com/zapbook/embed/widget.js?guided_zaps=17288,17318,17316, 17383,17320,17286,17292,17321,17317″></script>

The post [NEW INTEGRATION] Automate your work day with dotmailer and Zapier appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 4 days ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Power up! How to prepare for APAC’s holiday season

It’s that time of year when our customers in Asia Pacific are prepping to bag holiday sales for their own answer to Black Friday and Cyber Monday: Click Frenzy in Australia, and Singles’ Day in China (the world’s biggest online shopping day of the year!).[1] The former, modeled on the US’ Cyber Monday bonanza, centralizes hundreds of online deals on one website built to withstand enormous concurrent traffic volumes. Many Australian vendors have jumped on the trend, holding sales on their own sites around the Click Frenzy Period. Singles’ Day started as an ‘anti-Valentine’s’ celebration back in the 1990s and was snapped up by e-commerce giant Alibaba in 2009.

  • Singles’ Day – Saturday, November 11, 2017
  • Click Frenzy – Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Last year, Singles’ Day racked up almost US$18 billion in sales in 24 hours on  Alibaba, [2] while Click Frenzy day saw a 100% increase in emails sent from dotmailer compared to 2015.

With so many retailers looking to benefit from these, it’s crucial that your marketing strategy is well-planned and fine-tuned ahead of time. Email deliver

s £30 for every £1 spent, making it the obvious choice for bringing in ROI from your holiday efforts.[3] Here are some tips for making the most of Click Frenzy and Singles’ Day 2017:

  • Get noticed with a winning subject line

Your customer’s inbox is a noisy place at the best of times, but during retail holidays the sound is deafening. Cutting through the din of sale announcements and discount-driven messages is crucial, and a stand-out subject line puts your campaign in with the best chance of securing an open.

There are three key ingredients to whipping up a winning subject line, and the first is to ensure you’re promoting something of value. If you’re running a dedicated Click Frenzy or Singles’ Day email program, use your subject line to shout about the value of your proposition – whether that be special holiday editions of content, access to interactive media, or time-limited offers.

Make sure your subject line acknowledges where a customer is on their journey with your brand; this drives relevancy and fulfills the one-to-one communication experience. Segment customers by pathway actions, like date of signup or most recent purchase, and devise subject lines that speak directly to the customer’s experience.

 

Finally, with 54 percent of consumers now opening their emails on their phones, it’s crucial that your subject lines (and emails for that matter) are designed with mobile in mind.[4] 20-30 characters provides a general rule of thumb for subject line length, but thorough testing is always recommended.

  • Warm customers over time

Getting deals on beloved brands is truly exciting for your customers, so make sure you leverage this in your warm-up strategy. Tantalize customers with teaser campaigns that hint at what’s to come in the run up to the big day; make sure that you fully utilize all your channels to build the hype. Think too about incorporating rich media like video to provide customers with valuable and engaging content they won’t get elsewhere.

 

 

This 2016 Christmas shopping campaign from Australian fashion footwear brand, Spend-Less Shoes, uses an advent structure to nurture recipients to conversion. Each campaign is bolstered with an Instagram competition that adds value to the proposition and gives customers even more ways to connect and celebrate.

 

  • Close sales like a pro

Nurturing customers and building loyalty is all very well, but to smash sales targets for the holidays you need to rack up customer conversions. The relevance of your email marketing strategy will be the deciding factor in the revenue race this year, so bake it into your strategy early and become the anticipated highlight of the inbox. The data your ESP collects on your contact list provides the key to highly relevant email marketing. You can easily personalize your emails and landing pages with all kinds of information you already hold on your customers, from gender to geographical location. Make use of dynamic content blocks to automatically display pertinent product images based on each customer’s web behavior, and include images, titles and descriptions of previously purchased products to prompt reviews that’ll help other customers convert.

  • Rescue lapsed sales

In a similar way to the stateside stretching of Black Friday to incorporate the days pre- and post- Friday, the boundaries of Click Frenzy and Singles’ Day are ever-blurring, giving you extra time to drive wayward customers to complete last-minute purchases.

Follow up with customers who showed buying intent; you might want to extend your offer for a limited period, or offer new incentives like free delivery or extra loyalty points. Your abandoned cart strategy could provide the perfect vehicle for this rescue mission. Here are three ways to deck your program out for the big event:

  • Pull in a live countdown timer to maximize on customers’ fear of missing out (FOMO).
  • Include dynamic content from your ecommerce store, like product images and stock availability.
  • Bring some relevant user-generated content (UGC) into the mix to boost brand trust.

Still got a list of lapsed conversions after the holidays? Send a personalized feedback email asking for details on why customers didn’t feel like they were able to purchase, and collect valuable data to further refine your strategy.

The more customers you have in your database, the more opportunity you’ve got to bag serious revenue. Check out our free resource: 6 ways to grow your list this season.

 

[1] http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20170616-the-worlds-biggest-online-shopping-day

[2] CNBC, Alibaba’s Singles Day is Amazon’s Prime Day — on steroids., 2017.

[3] UK DMA, Consumer email tracker report 2016.

[4] Litmus, 2017 State of email.

The post Power up! How to prepare for APAC’s holiday season appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 5 days ago from blog.dotmailer.com

It doesn’t need to be spring to give your data a good clean

Here are some of the reasons why…

  • Sending to lapsed data is bad for your deliverability – it’s easy to damage your deliverability but hard to fix it
  • You’re more likely to see complaints, unsubscribes and spam trap hits from this type of data
  • You’re wasting your money by sending to people who no longer open
  • You are automatically, before you even hit send, degrading your engagement metrics
  • It enables you to have a conversation with the people that want to talk to you and are listening

Hopefully the above is enough to convince you that you need to take action if you haven’t already. There are now two things you need to plan for: how to clean up the data that has already lapsed and how to manage lapsing data moving forwards.

Step-by-step guide to handling those who are already playing hard to get

  • Run a segment to find those who’ve become unengaged – I suggest you look for contacts who have been sent multiple campaigns in 180 days yet haven’t opened anything they’ve received (if you are unsure how to do this, your dotmailer Account Manager can help).
  • If you have a large number of contacts who are unengaged, do not send to them all in one go; this could be disastrous! Instead, take a very small chunk of them and test what impact this has (you could use dotmailer’s random sample tool).
  • If you see a high number of unsubscribes or next to no positive action, it might be worth taking the data out and accepting the loss.
  • Next, we need to build your “Don’t leave us” or “We miss you” email.
  • The email must contain a link to be clicked to show that they wish to remain on your mailing list – DO NOT assume an open is enough; it’s not. You need explicit opt-in and the only way to do this is to have them fulfil an action, and this link needs to go to a landing page saying “Thank you for remaining subscribed”. This is now your chance to collect updated preferences and set new expectations.
  • You need to clearly state “If you do not click this link, we will no longer email you – you have 7 days till D day” (or something along those lines).
  • After the desired time period, you need to run a segment or have a decision node in your program to find those who’ve not clicked the link – then whip those clients out of your account!

What to do with those becoming lapsed

Basically, do exactly the same as the above, except ensure that your processes are built into a marketing automation program. Set up your program so it pulls in wavering contacts on the day you think they’re in danger of becoming lapsed. For instance, it could be that you want to capture all contacts who’ve not opened your last 10 email campaigns. It’s at this point that you then send them your lapsed customer campaign.

One thing you need to be conscious of is how you treat the people who are enrolled into your program. It’s worth setting expectations like “If you choose not to stay, we’ll take you out of our marketing list in 7 days”. As it’s an automation program, remember to add in a ‘delay’ node or a ‘decision’ node that holds them for X number of days (i.e. however long you want to give them to take an action). Based on the link they click, send them down a lapsed path or a re-engaged path.

If you choose to exclude lapsed contacts from ‘business as usual’ emails, you should flag those contacts currently going through the lapsed journey and add them as an exclusion rule in your usual send segments. You can do this using the subscription node and enter them into a lapsed address book when they enter the program. Alternatively, you can use the ‘update contact’ node and update a data field to show they’re going through the journey, using the relevant address book or data field in the exclusion box. Please be aware that if they click the link to remain subscribed, you then also need to reverse this and update the field again, or remove them from the “going through lapsed” address book.

If you’ve managed to keep them then WOHOO! Make sure you capture their preferences and ensure you honour these options so you do not have to put them back into the program later. What you should be left with after this is a beautifully engaged pot of data, a far less risky email program, and much nicer email reporting stats!

If you’re interested in other ways to keep your reputation and deliverability in tip-top condition, get a free copy of our deliverability guide.

The post It doesn’t need to be spring to give your data a good clean appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 1 week ago from blog.dotmailer.com

From manual to automatic: how automation saved Minor Entertainment 50 hours’ admin time

When I ask clients why they’re not yet using marketing automation, the top reasons are either data gaps or a lack of available time/budget.

Minor Entertainment Ltd was one of those organizations who hadn’t yet realized the potential of marketing automation. The company specializes in spectacular family theater events, with its most famous being In the Night Garden Live which typically tours UK cities from May to August.

Before introducing marketing automation to its communications strategy, Minor Entertainment Ltd used to collect ticket information via a third-party data warehouse which offered a limited integration with dotmailer. The lack of integration meant that its marketing team were forced to manually send emails to ticket holders to let them know about the event, location and merchandising available, which was becoming extremely time consuming.

After an initial data assessment, we identified a way to improve the current custom integration so it’d provide the data we needed to build our marketing automation. We named the program the ‘Get Ready automation’ because the communications it delivers are aimed at prepping ticketholders about their upcoming show. Using dotmailer and the newly enabled flow of data, the program automatically triggers a series of personalized emails providing people with the right information at the right times.

What were the results?

The Get Ready program has resulted in huge efficiencies, reducing human error to zero. We’ve estimated that the company is now saving around 50 hours of admin time a year; not only a significant cost saving but it’s enabling the marketing team to focus on more fun and productive activities.

Jenni McNally, who’s the Marketing Manager at Minor Entertainment Ltd, commented on the results of the work: “We are delighted with our new automation program. It has saved us an enormous amount of admin time.”

How can I get marketing automation off the ground?

If you’re an extremely busy team, making time to save time is often the hardest part. Here are a few things to consider to help you on your journey to smarter marketing:

  1. Find the right tool: the program builder is available in every dotmailer account and it’s easy to use. Here’s a link to our automation videos to show you how to get started.
  2. Plan: if you’re super busy, draw up a priority list of automations and build them into long-term plan. Having a roadmap will help you to keep on track and avoid getting overwhelmed. As they say, a goal without a plan is just a wish!
  3. Improve: start simple and build up as you go. Build, measure, learn and repeat.

Here’s a list of automations to get your started:

  1. Welcome series: introduce new subscribers to your brand, with a series of emails that move prospects closer towards a purchase.
  2. Transactional programs: spice up functional transactional emails, like order confirmations, so they’re inspiring and better promote your brand.
  3. Post-purchase programs: build trust in your brand and help new customers get the most out of their product with helpful, relevant content.
  4. Abandoned cart program: rescue lost sales by reminding customers who’ve left items in their cart to come back and complete the purchase.
  5. Abandoned browse programs: use web behavioural tracking with automation to send follow-up emails with content based on what users have browsed.
  6. Product replenishment programs: remind customers to re-stock with automated emails when you have a good idea that their supplies are dwindling.
  7. Customer retention programs: from loyalty programs to brand-building content, you can automate emails that keep your brand front of mind.
  8. Recommendation and upsell programs: use customers’ past purchase and web browsing behaviour to automate product recommendation and upsell emails.
  9. Lost customer programs: reduce your attrition rate by using automated programs to send incentives to buy again or capture why they left.
  10. Date-driven programs: use the valuable data you have to get in touch during different times of the year, such as ‘happy birthday’ emails.

Get your free copy of our ‘Making time to save time’ guide which’ll put you on the path to marketing automation:

Should you need any help to create your automation roadmap or in getting your programs set up, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your Account Manager. We offer Automation Kickstarters, custom integrations and collaborative implementation workshops.

The post From manual to automatic: how automation saved Minor Entertainment 50 hours’ admin time appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 1 week ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Local SEO: 7 Google My Business questions asked and answered

At first glance, Google’s offering for local businesses might appear fairly simple. But questions inevitably arise. Contributor Sherry Bonelli explains the nuances and offers answers.

The post Local SEO: 7 Google My Business questions asked and answered appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 2 weeks ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

Special Notes for SABs Amid Decreased Local Search Visibility

Posted by MiriamEllis

One of the most common complaints I hear from service area business owners, like plumbers, locksmiths, and housekeepers, is that Google has always treated them as an afterthought. If you’re in charge of the digital marketing for these business models, it’s vital to understand just how accurate this complaint is so that you can both empathize with SAB brand owners and create a strategy that honors limitations while also identifying opportunities.

In marketing SABs, you’ve got to learn to make the best of a special situation. In this post, I want to address two of the realities these companies are facing right now that call for careful planning: the unique big picture of SAB local listing management, and the rise of Google’s Home Service Ads.

Let’s talk listings, Moz Local, and SABs

I was fascinated by my appliance repairman — an older German ex-pat with a serious demeanor — the first time he looked at my wall heater and pronounced,

“This puppy is no good.”

Our family went on to form a lasting relationship with this expert who has warned me about everything from lint fires in dryers to mis-branded appliances slapped together in dubious factories. I’m an admiring fan of genuinely knowledgeable service people who come to my doorstep, crawl under my house where possums dwell, ascend to my eerie attic despite spiders, and are professionally dedicated to keeping my old house livable. I work on a computer, surrounded by comforts; these folks know what real elbow grease is all about:

It’s because of my regard for these incredibly hard-working SAB owners and staffers that I’ve always taken issue with the fact that the local Internet tends to treat them in an offhand manner. They do some of the toughest jobs, and I’d like their marketing opportunities to be boundless. But the reality is, the road has been rocky and the limits are real.

Google goofed first

When Google invested heavily in developing their mapped version of the local commercial scene, there was reportedly internal disagreement as to whether a service area business is actually a “place” and deserved of inclusion in Google’s local index. You couldn’t add service area businesses to the now-defunct MapMaker but you could create local listings for them (clear as mud, right?). At a 2008 SMX event, faced with the question as to how SABs could be accurately represented in the local results, a Google rep really goofed in first suggesting that they all get PO boxes, only to have this specific practice subsequently outlawed by Google’s guidelines.

Confusion and spam flowed in

For the record,

  • Both SABs and brick-and-mortar businesses are currently eligible for Google My Business listings if they serve customers face-to-face.
  • SABs must have some form of legitimate street address, even if it’s a home address, to be included
  • Only brick-and-mortar businesses are supposed to have visible addresses on their listings, but Google’s shifting messaging and inconsistent guideline enforcement have created confusion.

Google has shown little zeal for suspending listings that violate the hide-address guidelines, with one notable exception recently mentioned to me by Joy Hawkins of Sterling Sky: SABs who click the Google My Business dashboard box stating that they serve clients at the business’ location in order to get themselves out of no man’s land at the bottom of the Google Home Service ad unit are being completely removed from the map by Google if caught.

Meanwhile, concern has been engendered by past debate over whether hiding the address of a business lowered its local pack rankings. The 2017 Local Search Ranking Factors survey is still finding this to be the #18 negative local pack ranking factor, which might be worthy of further discussion.

All of these factors have created an environment in which legitimate SABs have accidentally incorrectly listed themselves on Google and in which spammers have thrived, intentionally creating multiple listings at non-physical addresses and frequently getting away with it to the detriment of search results uniformity and quality. In this unsatisfactory environment, the advent of Google’s Home Service Ads program may have been inevitable, and we’ll take a look at that in a minute.

Limits made clear in listing options for SABs

Whether the risk of suspension or impact on rankings is great or small, hiding your address on SAB Google My Business listings is the only Google-approved practice. If you want to play it totally safe, you’ll play by the rules, but this doesn’t automatically overcome every challenge.

Google is one of the few high-level local business index requiring hidden SAB addresses. And it’s in this stance that SABs encounter some problems taking advantage of the efficiencies provided by automated location data management tools like Moz Local. There are three main things that have confused our own customers:

  1. Because our SAB customers are required by Google to hide their address, Moz Local can’t then verify the address because… well, it’s hidden. This means that customers need to have a Facebook listing with a visible address on it to get started using Moz Local. Facebook doesn’t require SAB addresses to be hidden.
  2. Once the customer gets started, their ultimate consistency score will generally be lower than what a brick-and-mortar business achieves, again because their hidden GMB listing address can’t be matched to all of the other complete listings Moz Local builds for them. It reads like an inconsistency, and while this in no way impacts their real-world performance, it’s a little sad not to be able to aim for a nifty 100% dashboard metric within Moz Local. Important to mention here that a 100% score isn’t achievable for multi-location business models, either, given that Facebook’s guidelines require adding a modifier to the business name of each branch, rendering it inconsistent. This is in contrast to Google’s policy, which defines the needless addition of keywords or geo-modifiers to the business name as spam! When Google and Facebook fundamentally disagree on a guideline, a small measure of inconsistency is part and parcel of the scenario, and not something worth worrying about.
  3. Finally, for SABs who don’t want their address published anywhere on the Internet, automated citation management simply may not be a good match. Some partners in our network won’t accept address-less distribution from us, viewing it as incomplete data. If an SAB isn’t looking for complete NAP distribution because they want their address to be kept private, automation just isn’t ideal.

So how can SABs use something like Moz Local?

The Moz Local team sides with SABs — we’re not totally satisfied with the above state of affairs and are actively exploring better support options for the future. Given our admiration for these especially hard-working businesses, we feel SABs really deserve to have needless burdens lifted from their shoulders, which is exactly what Moz Local is designed to do. The task of manual local business listing publication and ongoing monitoring is a hefty one — too hefty in so many cases. Automation does the heavy lifting for you. We’re examining better solutions, but right now, what options for automation are open to the SAB?

Option #1: If your business is okay with your address being visible in multiple places, then simply be sure your Facebook listing shows your address and you can sign up for Moz Local today, no problem! We’ll push your complete NAP to the major aggregators and other partners, but know that your Moz Local dashboard consistency score won’t be 100%. This is because we won’t be able to “see” your Google My Business listing with its hidden address, and because choosing service-related categories will also hide your address on Citysearch, Localeze, and sometimes, Bing. Also note that one of our partners, Factual, doesn’t support locksmiths, bail bondsmen or towing companies. So, in using an automated solution like Moz Local, be prepared for a lower score in the dashboard, because it’s “baked into” the scenario in which some platforms show your full street address while others hide it. And, of course, be aware that many of your direct local competitors are in the same boat, facing the same limitations, thus leveling the playing field.

Option #2: If your business can budget for it, consider transitioning from an SAB to a brick-and-mortar business model, and get a real-world office that’s staffed during stated business hours. As Mike Blumenthal and Mary Bowling discuss is in this excellent video chat, smaller SABs need to be sure they can still make a profit after renting an office space, and that may largely be based on rental costs in their part of the country. Very successful virtual brands are exploring traditional retail options and traditional brick-and-mortar business models are setting up virtual showrooms; change is afoot. Having some customers come to the physical location of a typical SAB may require some re-thinking of service. A locksmith could grind keys on-site, a landscaper could virtually showcase projects in the comfort of their office, but what could a plumber do? Any ideas? If you can come up with a viable answer, and can still see profits factoring in the cost of office space, transitioning to brick-and-mortar effectively removes any barriers to how you represent yourself on Google and how fully you can use software like Moz Local.

If neither option works for you, and you need to remain an SAB with a hidden address, you’ll either need to a) build citations manually on sites that support your requirements, like these ones listed out by Phil Rozek, while having a plan for regularly monitoring your listings for emerging inconsistencies, duplicates and incoming reviews or b) hire a company to do the manual development and monitoring for you on the platforms that support hiding your address.

I wish the digital marketing sky could be the limit for SABs, but we’ve got to do the most we can working within parameters defined by Google and other location data platforms.

Now comes HSA: Google’s next SAB move

As service area business owner or marketer, you can’t be faulted for feeling that Google hasn’t handled your commercial scenario terribly well over the years. As we’ve discussed, Google has wobbled on policy and enforcement. Not yet mentioned is that they’ve never offered an adequate solution to the reality that a plumber located in City A equally services Cities B, C, and D, but is almost never allowed to rank in the local packs for these service cities. Google’s historic bias toward physical location doesn’t meet the reality of business models that go to clients to serve. And it’s this apparent lack of interest in SAB needs that may be adding a bit of sting to Google’s latest move: the Home Service Ads (HSA) program.

You’re not alone if you don’t feel totally comfortable with Google becoming a lead gen agent between customers and, to date:

  • Plumbers
  • House cleaners
  • Locksmiths
  • Handymen
  • Contractors
  • Electricians
  • Painters
  • Garage door services
  • HVAC companies
  • Roadside assistance services
  • Auto glass services

in a rapidly increasing number of cities.

Suddenly, SABs have moved to the core of Google’s consciousness, and an unprecedented challenge for these business models is that, while you can choose whether or not to opt into the program, there’s no way to opt out of the impacts it is having on all affected local results.

An upheaval in SAB visibility

If HSA has come to your geo-industry, and you don’t buy into the program, you will find yourself relegated to the bottom of the new HSA ad unit which appears above the traditional 3-pack in the SERPs:

Additionally, even if you were #1 in the 3-pack prior to HSA coming to town, if you lack a visible address, your claimed listing appears to have vanished from the pack and finder views.

hsa2.jpg

*I must tip my hat again to Joy Hawkins for helping me understand why that last example hasn’t vanished from the packs — it’s unclaimed. Honestly, this blip tempts me to unclaim an SAB listing and “manage” it via community edits instead of the GMB dashboard to see if I could maintain its local finder visibility… but this might be an overreaction!

If you’re marketing an SAB, have been relegated to the bottom of the HSA ad unit, and have vanished from the local pack/finder view, please share with our community how this has impacted your traffic and conversions. My guess would be that things are not so good.

So, what can SABs do in this new landscape?

I don’t have all of the answers to this question, but I do have these suggestions:

  1. Obviously, if you can budget for it, opt into HSA.
  2. But, bizarrely, understand that in some ways, Google has just made your GMB listing less important. If you have to hide your address and won’t be shown in HSA-impacted local packs and finder views because of this guideline compliance, your GMB listing is likely to become a less important source of visibility for your business.
  3. Be sure, then, that all of your other local business listings are in apple-pie order. If you’re okay with your address being published, you can automate this necessary work with software like Moz Local. If you need to keep your address private, put in the time to manually get listed everywhere you can. A converted lead from CitySearch or Foursquare may even feel like more of a victory than one from Google.
  4. Because diversification has just become a great deal more important, alternatives like those offered by visibility on Facebook are now more appealing than ever. And ramp up your word-of-mouth marketing and review management strategies like never before. If I were marketing an SAB, I’d be taking a serious new look at companies like ZipSprout, which helps establish real-world local relationships via sponsorships, and GetFiveStars, which helps with multiple aspects of managing reviews.
  5. Know that organic visibility is now more of a prize than previously. If you’re not in the packs, you’ve got to show up below them. This means clearly defining local SEO and traditional SEO as inextricably linked, and doing the customary work of keyword research, content development, and link management that have fueled organic SEO from the beginning. I’m personally committing to becoming more intimately familiar with Moz Pro so that I can better integrate into my skill set what software like this can do for local businesses, especially SABs.
  6. Expect change. HSA is still a test, and Google continues to experiment with how it’s displaying its paying customers in relationship to the traditional free packs and organic results. Who knows what’s next? If you’re marketing SABs, an empathetic and realistic approach to both historic and emerging limitations will help you create a strategy designed to ensure brand survival, independent of Google’s developments.

Why is Google doing this?

monopoly.jpg

I need to get some window blinds replaced in my home this fall. When I turned to Google’s (non-HSA) results and began calling local window treatment shops, imagine my annoyance in discovering that fully ½ of the listings in the local finder were for companies not located anywhere near my town. These brands had set up spam listings for a ton of different cities to which they apparently can send a representative, but where they definitely don’t have physical locations. I wasted a great deal of time calling each of them, and only felt better after reporting the listings to Google and seeing them subsequently removed.

I’m sharing this daily-life anecdote because it encapsulates the very best reason for Google rolling out Home Service Ads. Google’s program is meant to ensure that when I use their platform to access service companies, I’m finding vetted, legitimate enterprises with accurate location data and money-back satisfaction guarantees, instead of finding the mess of spam listings Google’s shifting policies and inadequate moderation have created. The HSA ad units can improve results quality while also protecting consumers from spurious providers.

The other evident purpose of HSA is the less civic-minded but no less brilliant one: there’s money to be made and Google’s profit motives are no different than those of any other enterprise. For the same reason that Amazon has gotten into the SAB lead gen business, Google wants a piece of this action. So, okay, no surprise there, and if the Google leads wind up growing the revenue of my wonderful German handyman, more power to them both.

But I hope my plumber, and yours, and your clients in the service markets, will take a step back from the Monopoly board and see this as a moment to reevaluate a game in which Google and Amazon are setting up big red hotels on Boardwalk and Park Place. I do advocate getting qualified for HSA, but I don’t advise a stance of unquestioning loyalty to or dependence on Google, particularly if you haven’t felt especially well-served by their SAB policies over the years. If Google can drive lucrative leads your way, take them, but remember you have one advantage Google, Amazon and other lead generation agencies lack: you are still the one who meets the customer face-to-face.

Opportunity is knocking in having a giant of visibility like Google selling you customers, because those customers, if amazed by your service, have grandmothers, and brothers and co-workers who can be directly referred to your company, completely outside the lead-gen loop. In fact, you might even come up with an incentivization program of your own to be sure that every customer you shake hands with is convinced of your appreciation for every referral they may send your way.

Don’t leave it all up to Google to make your local SAB brand a household word. Strategize for maximum independence via the real-world relationships you build, in the home of every neighbor where the door of welcome is opened in anticipation of the very best service you know how to give.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

Reblogged 2 weeks ago from tracking.feedpress.it

Give your open rates a boost

That’s great, you might think, but do they act on the call-to-action once they’ve been opened? The one thing to keep in mind when measuring success is not just the number of opened emails, but the number of opened emails that then result in some kind of action: a sale or a lead.

In this post, we’ll share a few tips that’ll help you open your mind to new and exciting ways to get your customers to open, and act on, your emails.

Start as you mean to go on

When you meet someone new for the first time, it’s natural to introduce yourself. And the concept should be exactly the same when it comes to sending a first-time email.

Tell your customer or lead why you’re contacting them in a welcome email – for instance, they could’ve signed up to your newsletter on your website or joined your list as part of a social media competition. Set the expectations of your relationship, like letting them know how often they can expect to hear from you or telling them the kind of content they’ll receive from you. The more you put them in the picture, and the more information you give them about yourself, the more likely they are to open any future correspondence from you.

Keep it fresh

People’s tastes and preferences change over time. That’s why it’s essential you keep your mailing list as fresh as possible. You can do this by simply asking your subscribers if they still want to hear from you, or by checking in and seeing what they’d be interested in receiving via a survey.

If not, try a re-engagement program based on what you know about your contacts. You could either use the insight you have on your customers to create super-relevant content, or attempt something a little more explicit like a ‘We miss you’ email with accompanying offer. You can also use more creative and imaginative subject lines to pique interest – sometimes wacky and unexpected will alter people’s perceptions of your brand.

But if all this fails, simply (and politely) go your separate ways.

Make your subject line STAND OUT

A creative, funny, interesting, relevant, timely or personalized subject line can really help to boost your open rates.

Bland, generic ones are likely to block your chances – so make sure you put as much effort into crafting your subject line as you do your email body copy.

Use A/B testing to your advantage – record the results; keep sending the ones that work and stop sending the ones that don’t!

Segment your list

Every one of your customers has different needs, tastes and desires. Communicate with them accordingly by creating meaningful segments and tailoring your content so that it has resonance with each set of contacts.

Age, gender, location, past orders, behavioral data: these kinds of insight are invaluable in helping to guide you as to who should receive what content. Remember, the days of ‘batch and blast’ mailing are long gone – the more personal you are with people in your emails, the more likely they are to open and act on your messages.

Avoid spam

Another way to improve your open rates is to avoid your emails being labelled as spam. Every time an email is marked as spam, you’re at risk of harming your sender reputation.

Firstly, you’ll want to make sure your email makes it to the inbox by using a spam checker. dotmailer’s spam test gives your email a spam filter score and alerts you when it’s in danger of triggering inbox spam filters. This ensures that your IP reputation remains as clean as possible by providing you with a detailed breakdown of how your content and code scores against all the key spam filters in use.

Secondly, make it clear that the email is from a recognized sender. If it’s not obvious that it’s from you – i.e. you don’t have a friendly ‘from’ name or the email isn’t branded – then the recipient could mistake your email as spam.

Timing is everything

Open rates very much depend on timing. Day or night? Weekday or weekend? Season? It can be difficult to gauge, particularly when one person might consume your content during their morning commute and another might check emails intermittently throughout the day. One way is to test sending your emails at different times and see which garners the best overall response.

Another is to use dotmailer’s Send Time Optimization tool, which will optimize the time of individual sends to maximize open rates based on your contacts’ historical behavior.

Don’t be content with just standard content

If your recipient thinks they’re going to benefit in some way shape or form from opening your email, they will. You have to reward them for doing so. There has to be some value, financial or otherwise, in every email you send.

Discounts, loyalty points, exclusive previews, limited-time offers, video, tips, blogs….so whatever kind of content you provide, make sure it benefits the recipient.

Subscribe to a clear unsubscribe button

As painful as it might seem, some customers will want to separate from you.

To show that you’ve nothing to hide, don’t hide your unsubscribe button. Make it clear and accessible. If people see you’re being honest and fair, the more likely they are to trust you in the first place.

By using all the tools at your disposal – such as a spam filter – and making sure you’ve upped the relevancy of your emails, you’re much more likely to reach people’s inboxes and achieve the desired responses.

See many more marketing tips in our regularly updated resources library.

The post Give your open rates a boost appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 2 weeks ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Why is segmentation a must for all business types?

Targeting your audience with the right and relevant information is not only going to increase your chances of conversion, but will massively help with keeping your customers engaged and loyal – and you’ll likely see an improvement in your campaign reporting.

Back to basics

Think about what you’re trying to achieve as a business and the ways in which segmenting groups of contacts can help you reach those goals. In other words, don’t create segments for the sake of creating segments – make them meaningful.

You might find it hard to prioritise, so here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Engagement: who’s opened your emails in the last 30-60 days (depending on how frequently you send)? These contacts are going to be your key engaged audience, so consider how you can maintain and further cultivate the relationship. Perhaps thank them for engaging with your brand and ask them to complete a quick survey to capture more information / feedback on how they think your emails are doing, or what they’d like to see in the future.
  • Non-engagement: like the above but reversing the rule. Has the contact avoided opening the campaigns you’ve sent in the last 30-60 days? Pop those subscribers into a nurture program to help keep your data clean and your engagement strong.
  • Geographical: if you’re a store-based or location-based brand and have access to your customers’ postcodes, you can make use of dotmailer’s geographical segmentation – it’s handy for any local events, sales, store openings, or just a reminder that you’re there.
  • Gender: a great segment for retailers and healthcare, though in some cases it’s still good to include multi-gender products/information in your communications as your audience are likely to make recommendations to friends or family members. “Have a look at this, I think you’ll find it interesting” or “Look at these shoes, I think you’ll love them”.
  • Subscription date: show your customers you’re thinking of them by reminding them that they’ve been a member for 6 months, a year etc. You can use dynamic content to personalize the emails, perhaps offering them some kind of reward or incentive.

Transactional data segmentation – must-haves for retailers

This mostly applies if you have order insight and are pushing data through the API or Magento. Of course, some of these can still work using a flat data field and by manually updating your contact records based on the category or product type they’ve purchased.

The following segment examples are based on a mid-size company with mid-range prices (so somewhere in between your Primark (UK) / Target (US).

  • VIP customers: makes at least 1 purchase a month and has opened 1 campaign per month for the last 6 months
  • Discount spenders: have only purchased ‘Sale’ items in the last 6 months
  • Loyal customers: have opened at least 3 campaigns per month for the last 3 months and have made at least 2 orders
  • Big spenders: spend frequently with full priced items and are likely to bulk buy that one shirt you sell in 12 different colours
  • New customers: subscribed, opened an email and have purchased in the last 30 days
  • Win-back: non-openers and non-purchasers in 90 days or more
  • Online shopping carts containing: one of ‘X’ stock keeping unit

How do the above segments help me?

The above segments will help you to get a handle on the clients you’re losing and why they’re no longer buying from you. Your high-engagers and spenders are undoubtably worth your time and effort, so segmentation can ensure that you’re always sending them the relevant products and content that’ll keep them warm.

If I still haven’t convinced you to give this a try, reach out to your Account Manager or contact us for a demo and we’ll be happy to walk you through the platform.

The post Why is segmentation a must for all business types? appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 3 weeks ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Moz’s Brand-New SEO Learning Center Has Landed!

Posted by rachelgooodmanmoore

CHAPTER 1: A New Hope

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, marketers who wanted to learn about SEO were forced to mine deep into the caverns of Google search engine result pages to find the answers to even the most simple SEO questions.

Then, out of darkness came a new hope (with a mouthful of a name):

…the Learn SEO and Search Marketing hub!

The SEO and Search Marketing hub housed resources like the Beginner’s Guide to SEO and articles about popular SEO topics like meta descriptions, title tags, and robots.txt. Its purpose was to serve as a one-stop-shop for visitors looking to learn what SEO was all about and how to use it on their own sites.

The Learn SEO and Search marketing hub would go on to serve as a guiding light for searchers and site visitors looking to learn the ropes of SEO for many years to come.

CHAPTER 2: The Learning Hub Strikes Back

Since its inception in 2010, this hub happily served hundreds of thousands of Internet folk looking to learn the ropes of SEO and search marketing. But time took its toll on the hub. As marketing and search engine optimization grew increasingly complex, the Learning Hub lapsed into disrepair. While new content was periodically added, that content was hard to find and often intermingled with older, out-of-date resources. The Learning Hub became less of a hub and more of a list of resources… some of which were also lists of resources.

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Offshoots like the Local Learning Center and Content Marketing Learning Center sprung up in an effort to tame the overgrown learning hub, but ‘twas all for naught: By autumn of 2016, Moz’s learning hub sites were a confusing nest of hard-to-navigate articles, guides, and 404s. Some articles were written for SEO experts and explained concepts in extensive, technical detail, while others were written for an audience with less extensive SEO knowledge. It was impossible to know which type of article you found yourself in before you wound up confused or discouraged.

What had once been a useful resource for marketers of all backgrounds was languishing in its age.

CHAPTER 3: The Return of the Learning Center

The vision behind the SEO and Search Marketing Hub had always been to educate SEOs and search marketers on the skills they needed to be successful in their jobs. While the site section continued to serve that purpose, somewhere along the along the way we started getting diminishing returns.

Our mission, then, was clear: Re-invent Moz’s learning resources with a new structure, new website, and new content.

As we set off on this mission, one thing was clear: The new Learning Center should serve as a home base for marketers and SEOs of all skill levels to learn what’s needed to excel in their work: from the fundamentals to expert-level content, from time-tested tenets of SEO success to cutting-edge tactics and tricks. If we weren’t able to accomplish this, our mission would all be for naught.

We also believed that a new Learning Center should make it easy for visitors of all skill levels and learning styles to find value: from those folks who want to read an article then dive into their work; to those who want to browse through libraries of focused SEO videos; to folks who want to learn from the experts in hands-on webinars.

So, that’s exactly what we built.

May we introduce to you the (drumroll, please) brand new, totally rebuilt SEO Learning Center!

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Unlike the “list of lists” in the old Learn SEO and Search Marketing hub, the new Learning Center organizes content by topic.

Each topic has its own “topic hub.” There are eleven of these and they cover:

Each of the eleven topic hubs host a slew of hand-picked articles, videos, blog posts, webinars, Q&A posts, templates, and training classes designed to help you dive deeper into your chosen SEO topic.

All eleven of the hubs contain a “fundamentals” menu to help you wrap your brain around a topic, as well as a content feed with hundreds of resources to help you go even further. These feed resources are filterable by topic (for instance, content that’s about both ranking & visibility AND local SEO), SEO skill level (from beginner to advanced), and format.

Use the Learning Center’s filters to zero in on exactly the content you’re looking for.

And, if you’re brand new to a topic or not sure where to start, you can always find a link to the Beginner’s Guide to SEO right at the top of each page.

But we can only explain so much in words — check it out for yourself:

Visit the new SEO Learning Center!

CHAPTER 4: The Content Awakens

One of the main motivations behind rebuilding the Learning Center website was to make it easier for folks to find and move through a slew of educational content, be that a native Learning Center article, a blog post, a webinar, or otherwise. But it doesn’t do any good to make content easier to find if that content is totally out-of-date and unhelpful.

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In addition to our mission to build a new Learning Center, we’ve also been quietly updating our existing articles to include the latest best practices, tactics, strategies, and resources. As part of this rewrite, we’ve also made an effort to keep each article as focused as possible around specifically one topic — a complete explanation of everything someone newer to the world of SEO needs to know about the given topic. What did that process look like in action? Check it out:

As of now we’ve updated 50+ articles, with more on the way!

Going forward, we’ll continue to iterate on the search experience within the new Learning Center. For example, while we always have our site search bar available, a Learning Center-specific search function would make finding articles even easier — and that’s just one of our plans for the future. Bigger projects include a complete update of the Beginner’s Guide to SEO (keep an eye on the blog for more news there, too), as well as our other introductory guides.

Help us, Moz-i Wan Community, you’re our only hope

We’ve already telekinetically moved mountains with this project, but the Learning Center is your resource — we’d love to hear what you’d like to see next, or if there’s anything really important you think we’ve missed. Head over, check it out, and tell us what you think in the comments!

Explore the new SEO Learning Center!

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

Reblogged 3 weeks ago from tracking.feedpress.it