7 email marketing best practices for success in 2020

Email was 50 last year. But brands have only been using it as a revenue-generating channel for around 20 years. It’s frustrating when your emails don’t get opened and no one engages with your brand. But sometimes all it takes is sticking to the email rulebook, those commonplace tactics that actually work.

Email best practice is your bread and butter; and it’s easier and faster to get it right today, thanks to an avalanche of tech in recent years.

So, what are you waiting for?  

Make 2020 the year of email
resolution, and start using your tech smarter. Remember, email
marketing has an ROI of 4200%.
Get your customer engagement up to where it
should be with these seven email marketing best practices. You’ll be driving
more opens, clicks, and conversions in no time.   

1. Improve your email deliverability

You may find that for whatever reason your emails are encountering
deliverability problems. Some of the common ones are:

  • Your contacts are complaining about unwanted
    emails
  • Your emails are going into the junk folder
  • You’re sending to spam traps
  • Your content contains spam keywords

Taking preventative measures can
protect your deliverability in the long term. Otherwise, it may take some time
for issues to resolve.

Sending wanted email is crucial, as well as emailing the people who actually open your emails. Make sure you’ve received explicit consent and are acquiring data through a robust process (double opt-in, etc.). Luckily, our data Watchdog protects you – plus catches anyone out who’s not playing by the rules. And don’t neglect your contact list hygiene. Sending to unengaged contacts doesn’t go unnoticed by ISPs, and puts your email sending reputation at risk.   

Email

For a full flurry of deliverability advice, download our 101 guide here.

2. Nail the subject line

The success of your email campaign rests partly on the subject line. It’s an essential bit of copy, and getting it right makes or breaks your campaign metrics. Communicate clearly what your email’s about. Testing is the best way to optimize the text: maybe your audience reacts better to emotive language; or perhaps emojis arouse more attention?

Check out our 11 tips on how to write subject lines that get opened.

3. Personalize your content

Tailoring your email content effectively to each recipient relies on how well you’re capturing data. Make sure you have a preference center in place that doesn’t ask too much or too little. Let contacts know why you want to get to know them more: to offer more personalized content. 77% of consumers want personalized content, so it’s a no brainer! You can use data to personalize in two ways: through dynamic content or segmentation, or both.    

Relevant data include:

  • Date of birth
  • Location
  • Product preferences
  • Lifecycle interests

4. Use split testing to increase email engagement

Split testing is the best way to find the optimum email campaign. The great thing is that you can test a load of things: from name, subject line, content, call to action, send time and more. We’ve covered subject lines already, so let’s look at body copy.

Test what works best:

  • Fewer or more images
  • CTA as a button or link
  • ‘Shop now’ vs. ‘Discover here’
  • Bestsellers or hottest drops
  • Blog placement – right or left?

Plus, multivariate testing means
it’s possible to test various email elements at once, for an even more
optimized campaign.

5. Tell stories that get contacts to click through

Storytelling is one of the most
important selling tactics in email. People bypass your product features and
benefits in search for an emotional connection. If you can’t tell a good story,
how are you going to sell your products and services?

Generating an emotive response
from subscribers means you need to cut the rhetoric. Put yourself in their
shoes. Focus on authenticity and imagination. Provoke feeling. Potential
customers need to see themselves using your products and services.  

Here are some tips:

  • Share your customers’ experiences through reviews and interviews
  • Use people – not your business name – to narrate your stories
  • Avoid the classic sales pitch in favour of some inspirational editorial 
  • Be real: use realistic images, videos, and commentary to support your stories 

6. Use contact behavior to trigger relevant emails

Let’s cut to the chase. Triggered emails are highly relevant messages. And subscribers often react positively to them because they’re related to some previous action. Just think about when you receive an abandoned browse or cart recovery campaign.

Sending these emails isn’t rocket science. You need two
streams of data going into your omnichannel
marketing automation platform
:  

Website behavioral data. Look at what contacts are browsing and send an email that complements their previous activity. Was it a high-intent page that needs a follow up from sales? Maybe it was a high-value product page that’s worth nudging the contact about.  

Order history. Once customers start buying from you, you’ll start to understand what they like and how much they’re willing to spend. Use product and purchase data to inform what email product recommendations customers will likely respond to.

7. Measure campaign results and then optimize 

Open rates and click rates are the most obvious metrics to measure for your email marketing. Rather than measure campaign by campaign, look your metrics over a period of time (i.e. 30 days) to get a better idea of your reach. You might discover that email engagement levels fluctuate because of the day or month, who you’ve sent to, or the content itself.

Metrics to consider

  • Unsubscribe rate – Ideally you want to minimize opt-outs and maintain your lists. Ask for feedback on why people are unsubscribing and make changes accordingly.
  • Complaints rate – Marking your email as spam is a serious matter. If this rate increases, consider whether you’ve: purchased lists, missed the unsubscribe link, sent irrelevant content or to old addresses, or emailed too frequently.
  • Conversion rate – Completing a desired action depends on many factors. So, for people who click through to your website, make sure it’s optimized for conversions.
  • Bounce rate – Calculated as a percentage of emails that weren’t successfully delivered to recipients’ inboxes. A good one to look out for any deliverability issues.
  • Forward/share rate – This is a good judge of how many brand ambassadors you have. You want to increase this and generate more leads/customers.
  • Campaign ROI – This is easier to calculate on a campaign-by-campaign basis. But campaign performance is far-reaching; a campaign today could drive ROI in months to come.

Psst… To maintain your list at healthy level, keep your contacts happy with relevant content.

Whenever you change an email variable, watch these metrics like a hawk. They’re a good indicator of optimization and where you need to focus your efforts. To keep on top of your email marketing performance, download our email scoresheet here.


Make email great again

Email will always be the marketer’s preferred channel. But success comes down to best practice. You can’t optimize everything at once, so start with one practice and then move onto the next.

Hit the nail on the head and there’s so much engagement potential with every practice you perfect – your results will soar.

If you’d like some more email marketing advice, check out our guide on best practice here.

The post 7 email marketing best practices for success in 2020 appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 4 days ago from blog.dotdigital.com

All the best bits from the dotdigital Hack Week 2019

2019 was no different, with 11 teams taking part in dreaming – and building – the future of customer engagement.

Why dotdigital Hacks

Hack Week, now in its seventh year, gives our wider product and technology teams the chance to work on things that are just a little bit different from the day-to-day. It can be hard to take a step back and innovate when you’ve got your head down finishing a sprint, so Hack Week forces a pause in what we do.

The winners of 2019

2019 saw the introduction of a judging panel that scored every team, and our winners were the teams that scored highest. The judges were an excuse to introduce a little more role diversity – we had judges from Product Management, Customer Success, Engineering, Pre-Sales, and Training. These are the hacks they awarded most points too.

Voiceitronic Editor Control

Ever wanted to create an email campaign with your voice? For the two million people living with sight loss in the UK alone, it could make all the difference to their Engagement Cloud experience. The team used the speech recognition library annyang to allow EasyEditor to be controlled by voice – everything from selecting building blocks, moving them to a campaign, reorganizing them and, ultimately, sending, was included.

Creating on-demand Magento environments

Ok, so this one doesn’t have the catchiest name – but it solved a very real problem: creating test environments in a particular version of Magento with a specific branch of our Magento integration can be time-consuming (and just a wee bit dull). But it’s important, as we need to test our connector against all the Magento versions before we ship changes (otherwise some of you, understandably, get upset). And so the team set to using Docker to create a Slack bot that allowed the engineers to ask Slack to create a test environment using very specific configuration requirements. What’s more, it even added some sample data to aid the testing. That’s a 40-minute job taken down to seven minutes, on average.

In too deep

It wouldn’t be a hack week without machine learning being used for something, and so this team used TensorFlow Models hosted in BigQuery to provide real-time product recommendations on websites. It’s amazing what can be done with the data held in Engagement Cloud! (Incidentally, if you haven’t got your order data and product calalogs in your account yet, then you really should – once it’s there you can do many, many useful things.)

Interactive mobile landing pages

Ever think that simply sending a customer a discount code isn’t exciting enough? This team wanted to make the process much more fun, with scratch-off panels and spinners that revealed discount codes. The aim here, of course, was to gamify customer engagement, with the team working off the premise that, “humans like interacting with things that give them a reward.” Pavlov’s Dog not included.

Ok Google, how to win Hack Week?

And finally – the judges’ overall winner. This team created an entirely new voice channel for Engagement Cloud via the Google Assistant. What was really nice to see (and one of the things the judges loved) was that it was very consumer-focused. Using the data that lots of our users will already have in their accounts, it allowed someone to check in on order statuses, make changes, and so on. It really was the perfect mix of engagement, data, and innovation.

They also produced a nifty little video of it in action (I think they might be angling for an Oscar to go alongside their Hack Week win):

dotquizulator

There’s actually one more hack from the team that won the ‘popular vote’ from live voting on the day. (We allowed staff from all around the world to vote via SMS using upcoming functionality that will be available later this year – so keep an eye out for that.) This team extended our pages and forms tool so that competitions could be built within a form, including questions that had ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ answers, and even a live tally of someone’s score. It’s very easy to imagine this in our product one day!

Hack throwback

Our Hack Week is a yearly ritual. If you’d like to see previous hacks, check out the blogs from years past

Join us and hack too

If experimenting with new technology and solving customer engagement problems in new and innovative ways seems like something you’d excel at, have a look at our open positions over at careers.dotdigital.com. You never know – maybe next year your hack will be featured here!

The post All the best bits from the dotdigital Hack Week 2019 appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 1 week ago from blog.dotdigital.com

Becoming an Industry Thought Leader: Advanced Techniques for Finding the Best Places to Pitch Guest Posts

Posted by KristinTynski

If you’re involved in any kind of digital PR — or pitching content to writers to expand your brand awareness and build strong links — then you know how hard it can be to find a good home for your content.

I’m about to share the process you can use to identify the best, highest ROI publishers for building consistent, mutually beneficial guest posting relationships with.

This knowledge has been invaluable in understanding which publications have the best reach and authority to other known vertical/niche experts, allowing you to share your own authority within these readership communities.

Before we get started, there’s a caveat: If you aren’t willing to develop true thought leadership, this process won’t work for you. The prerequisite for success here is having a piece of content that is new, newsworthy, and most likely data-driven.

Now let’s get to the good stuff.

Not all publications are equal

Guest posting can increase awareness of your brand, create link authority, and ultimately generate qualified leads. However, that only happens if you pick publishers that have:

  • The trust of your target audience.
  • Topical relevance and authority.
  • Sufficiently large penetration in readership amongst existing authorities in your niche/vertical.

A big trap many fall into is not properly prioritizing their guest posting strategy along these three important metrics.

To put this strategy into context, I’ll provide a detailed methodology for understanding the “thought leadership” space of two different verticals. I’ll also include actionable tips for developing a prioritized list of targets for winning guest spots or columns with your killer content.

It all starts with BuzzSumo

We use BuzzSumo data as the starting point for developing these interactive elements. For this piece, the focus will be on looking at data pulled from their Influencer and Shared Links APIs.

Let’s begin by looking at the data we’re after in the regular user interface. On the Influencers tab, we start by selecting a keyword most representative of the overall niche/industry/vertical we want to understand. We’ll start with “SEO.”

The list of influencers here should already be sorted, but feel free to narrow it down by applying filters. I recommend making sure your final list has 250-500 influencers as a minimum to be comprehensive.

Next, and most importantly, we want to get the links’ shared data for each of these influencers. This will be the data we use to build our network visualizations to truly understand the publishers in the space that are likely to be the highest ROI places for guest posting.

Below you can see the visual readout for one influencer.

Note the distribution of websites Gianluca Fiorelli (@gfiorelli1) most often links to on Twitter. These sites (and their percentages) will be the data we use for our visualization.

Pulling our data programmatically

Thankfully, BuzzSumo has an excellent and intuitive API, so it’s relatively easy to pull and aggregate all of the data we need. I’ve included a link to my script in Github for those who would like to do it themselves.

In general, it does the following:

  • Generates the first page of influencers for the given keyword, which is about 50. You can either update the script to iterate through pages or just update the page number it pulls from within the script and concatenate the output files after the fact.
  • For each influencer, it makes another API call and gets all of the aggregated Top Domains shared data for each influencer, which is the same as the data you see in the above pie chart visualization.
  • Aggregates all the data and exports to a CSV.

Learning from the data

Once we have our data in the format Gephi prefers for network visualizations (sample edge file), we are ready to start exploring. Let’s start with our data from the “SEO” search, for which I pulled the domain sharing data for the top 400 influencers.

A few notes:

  • The circles are called nodes. All black nodes are the influencer’s Twitter accounts. All other colored nodes are the websites.
  • The size of the nodes is based on Page Rank. This isn’t the Google Page Rank number, but instead the Page Rank within this graph alone. The larger the node, the more authoritative (and popular) that website is within the entire graph.
  • The colors of the nodes are based on a modularity algorithm in Gephi. Nodes with similar link graphs typically have the same color.

What can we learn from the SEO influencer graph?

Well, the graph is relatively evenly distributed and cohesive. This indicates that the websites and blogs that are shared most frequently are well known by the entire community.

Additionally, there are a few examples of clusters outside the primary cluster (the middle of the graph). For instance, we see a Local SEO cluster at the 10 p.m. position on the left hand side. We can also see a National Press cluster at the 6-7 p.m. position on the bottom and a French Language cluster at the 1-2 p.m. position at the top right.

Ultimately, Moz, Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Roundtable, Search Engine Land are great bets when developing and fostering guest posting relationships.

Note that part of the complication with this data has to do with publishing volume. The three largest nodes are also some of the most prolific, meaning there are more overall chances for articles to earn Tweets and other social media mentions from industry influencers. You could refining of the data further by normalizing each site by content publishing volume to find publishers who publish much less frequently and still enjoy disproportionate visibility within the industry.

Webmasters.Googleblog.com is a good example of this. They publish 3 to 4 times per month, and yet because of their influence in the industry, they’re still one of the largest and most central nodes. Of course, this makes sense given it is the only public voice of Google for our industry.

Another important thing to notice is the prominence of both YouTube and SlideShare. If you haven’t yet realized the importance and reach of these platforms, perhaps this is the proof you need. Video content and slide decks are highly shared in the SEO community by top influencers.

Differences between SEO and content marketing influencer graphs

What can we learn from the Content Marketing influencer graph?

For starters, it looks somewhat different overall from the SEO influencer graph; it’s much less cohesive and seems to have many more separate clusters. This could indicate that the content publishing sphere for content marketing is perhaps less mature, with more fragmentation and fewer central sources for consuming content marketing related content. It could also be that content marketing is descriptive of more than SEO and that different clusters are publishers that focus more on one type of content marketing vs. another (similar to what we saw with the local SEO cluster in the previous example).

Instead of 3 to 5 similarly sized market leaders, here we see one behemoth, Content Marketing Institute, a testament to both the authority of that brand and the massive amount of content they publish.

We can also see several specific clusters. For instance, the “SEO blogs” cluster in blue at the 8-9 p.m. position and the more general marketing blogs like Hubspot, MarketingProfs, and Social Media Examiner in green and mauve at the 4-5 p.m. position.

The general business top-tier press sites appear quite influential in this space as well, including Forbes, Entrepreneur, Adweek, Tech Crunch, Business Insider, Inc., which we didn’t see as much in the SEO example.

YouTube, again, is extremely important, even more so than in the SEO example.

Is it worth it?

If you’re already deep in an industry, the visualization results of this process are unlikely to shock you. As someone who’s been in the SEO/content marketing industry for 10 years, the graphs are roughly what I expected, but there certainly were some surprises.

This process will be most valuable to you when you are new to an industry or are working within a new vertical or niche. Using the python code I linked and BuzzSumo’s fantastic API and data offers the opportunity to gain a deep visual understanding of the favorite places of industry thought leaders. This knowledge acts as a basis for strategic planning toward identifying top publishers with your own guest content.

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 1 month ago from tracking.feedpress.it

How to Choose the Best SEO Packages?

In today’s world, digital media plays a huge role in the rise or fall of a business. You need to make sure that your website, social media page, and ranking is topmost so that you can turn your potential customers into real ones. That being said, I am sure that by now you know the … Continue reading “How to Choose the Best SEO Packages?”

The post How to Choose the Best SEO Packages? appeared first on OutreachMama.

Reblogged 1 month ago from www.outreachmama.com

dotdigital bags the 2019 Best Marketing Automation Partner Award at NORA Solution Partner Excellence Awards

dotdigital APAC emerged as winners of the Best Marketing Automation category at the recent NORA Solution Partner Excellence Awards, held at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney.

The awards, organized by the National Online Retail Association (NORA), celebrated behind-the-scenes heroes of the online retail industry. The winners were chosen through a voting process whereby retailers across Australia and New Zealand voted for their favorite technology vendor under each category.

A heartfelt congratulations to all the winners! This award is a great achievement for the entire dotdigital APAC team and reflects the commitment and effort that each one puts into servicing our customers and building the dotdigital brand within the Australian market and beyond.

Rohan Lock, Regional Director of APAC, was interviewed during the event and here are his thoughts after accepting the award!

The awards hosted by Paul Greenberg, Founder of NORA Network, and change and leadership expert, Nigel Collin, were the Australian retail industry’s first sustainable awards evening. Every aspect of the event had a high standard of sustainability, from food prepared with sustainably farmed produce, the use of recycled/recyclable materials, and a goal of zero waste. Well done to NORA Network for a hosting a fantastic evening. We are looking forward to next year’s gala already!


Unlock your cross-channel marketing potential with Engagement Cloud. For a quick demo, click here.

The post dotdigital bags the 2019 Best Marketing Automation Partner Award at NORA Solution Partner Excellence Awards appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 2 months ago from blog.dotdigital.com

Follow the Local SEO Leaders: A Guide to Our Industry’s Best Publications

Posted by MiriamEllis

Change is the only constant in local SEO. As your local brand or local search marketing agency grows, you’ll be onboarding new hires. Whether they’re novices or adepts, they’ll need to keep up with continuous industry developments in order to make agile contributions to team strategy. Particularly if local SEO is new to someone, it saves training time if you can fast-track them on who to follow for the best news and analysis. This guide serves as a blueprint for that very purpose.

And even if you’re an old hand in the local SEM industry, you may find some sources here you’ve been overlooking that could add richness and depth to your ongoing education.

Two quick notes on what and how I’ve chosen:

  1. As the author of both of Moz’s newsletters (the Moz Top 10 and the Moz Local Top 7), I read an inordinate amount of SEO and local SEO content, but I could have missed your work. The list that follows represents my own, personal slate of the resources that have taught me the most. If you publish great local SEO information but you’re not on this list, my apologies, and if you write something truly awesome in future, you’re welcome to tweet at me. I’m always on the lookout for fresh and enlightening voices. My personal criteria for the publications I trust is that they are typically groundbreaking, thoughtful, investigative, and respectful of readers and subjects.
  2. Following the leaders is a useful practice, but not a stopping point. Even experts aren’t infallible. Rather than take industry advice at face value, do your own testing. Some of the most interesting local SEO discussions I’ve ever participated in have stemmed from people questioning standard best practices. So, while it’s smart to absorb the wisdom of experts, it’s even smarter to do your own experiments.

The best of local SEO news

Who reports fastest on Google updates, Knowledge Panel tweaks, and industry business?

Sterling Sky’s Timeline of Local SEO Changes is the industry’s premiere log of developments that impact local businesses and is continuously updated by Joy Hawkins + team.

Search Engine Roundtable has a proven track record of being among the first to report news that affects both local and digital businesses, thanks to the ongoing dedication of Barry Schwartz.

Street Fight is the best place on the web to read about mergers, acquisitions, the release of new technology, and other major happenings on the business side of local. I’m categorizing Street Fight under news, but they also offer good commentary, particularly the joint contributions of David Mihm and Mike Blumenthal.

LocalU’s Last Week in Local video and podcast series highlights Mike Blumenthal and Mary Bowling’s top picks of industry coverage most worthy of your attention. Comes with the bonus of expert commentary as they share their list.

TechCrunch also keeps a finger on the pulse of technology and business dealings that point to the future of local.

Search Engine Land’s local category is consistently swift in getting the word out about breaking industry news, with the help of multiple authors.

Adweek is a good source for reportage on retail and brand news, but there’s a limit to the number of articles you can read without a subscription. I often find them covering quirky stories that are absent from other publications I read.

The SEMPost’s local tab is another good place to check for local developments, chiefly covered by Jennifer Slegg.

Search Engine Journal’s local column also gets my vote for speedy delivery of breaking local stories.

Google’s main blog and the ThinkWithGoogle blog are musts to keep tabs on the search engine’s own developments, bearing in mind, of course, that these publications can be highly promotional of their products and worldview.

The best of local search marketing analysis

Who can you trust most to analyze the present and predict the future?

LocalU’s Deep Dive video series features what I consider to be the our industry’s most consistently insightful analysis of a variety of local marketing topics, discussed by learned faculty and guests.

The Moz Blog’s local category hosts a slate of gifted bloggers and professional editorial standards that result in truly in-depth treatment of local topics, presented with care and attention. As a veteran contributor to this publication, I can attest to how Moz inspires authors to aim high, and one of the nicest things that happened to our team in 2018 was being voted the #2 local SEO blog by BrightLocal’s survey respondents.

The Local Search Association’s Insider blog is one I turn to again and again, particularly for their excellent studies and quotable statistics.

Mike Blumenthal’s blog has earned a place of honor over many years as a key destination for breaking local developments and one-of-a-kind analysis. When Blumenthal talks, local people listen. One of the things I’ve prized for well over a decade in Mike’s writing is his ability to see things from a small business perspective, as opposed to simply standing in awe of big business and technology.

BrightLocal’s surveys and studies are some of the industry’s most cited and I look eagerly forward to their annual publication.

Whitespark’s blog doesn’t publish as frequently as I wish it did, but their posts by Darren Shaw and crew are always on extremely relevant topics and of high quality.

Sterling Sky’s blog is a relative newcomer, but the expertise Joy Hawkins and Colan Nielsen bring to their agency’s publication is making it a go-to resource for advice on some of the toughest aspects of local SEO.

Local Visibility System’s blog continues to please, with the thoughtful voice of Phil Rozek exploring themes you likely encounter in your day-to-day work as a local SEO.

The Local Search Forum is, hands down, the best free forum on the web to take your local mysteries and musings to. Founded by Linda Buquet, the ethos of the platform is approachable, friendly, and often fun, and high-level local SEOs frequently weigh in on hot topics.

Pro tip: In addition to the above tried-and-true resources, I frequently scan the online versions of city newspapers across the country for interesting local stories that add perspective to my vision of the challenges and successes of local businesses. Sometimes, too, publications like The Atlantic, Forbes, or Business Insider will publish pieces of a high journalistic quality with relevance to our industry. Check them out!

The best for specific local marketing disciplines

Here, I’ll break this down by subject or industry for easy scanning:

Reviews

  • GetFiveStars can’t be beat for insight into online reputation management, with Aaron Weiche and team delivering amazing case studies and memorable statistics. I literally have a document of quotes from their work that I refer to on a regular basis in my own writing.
  • Grade.us is my other ORM favorite for bright and lively coverage from authors like Garrett Sussman and Andrew McDermott.

Email marketing

  • Tidings’ vault contains a tiny but growing treasure trove of email marketing wisdom from David Mihm, whose former glory days spent in the trenches of local SEO make him especially attuned to our industry.

SABs

  • Tom Waddington’s blog is the must-read publication for service area businesses whose livelihoods are being impacted by Google’s Local Service Ads program in an increasing number of categories and cities.

Automotive marketing

  • DealerOn’s blog is the real deal when it comes to automotive local SEO, with Greg Gifford teaching memorable lessons in an enjoyable way.

Legal marketing

  • JurisDigital brings the the educated voices of Casey Meraz and team to the highly-specialized field of attorney marketing.

Hospitality marketing

Independent businesses

Link building

  • Nifty Marketing’s blog has earned my trust for its nifty local link building ideas and case studies.
  • ZipSprout belongs here, too, because of their focus on local sponsorships, which are a favorite local link building methodology. Check them out for blog posts and podcasts.

Schema + other markup

  • Touchpoint Digital Marketing doesn’t publish much on their own website, but look anywhere you can for David Deering’s writings on markup. LocalU and Moz are good places to search for his expertise.

Patents

  • SEO by the Sea has proffered years to matchless analysis of Google patents that frequently impact local businesses or point to future possible developments.

Best local search industry newsletters

Get the latest news and tips delivered right to your inbox by signing up for these fine free newsletters:

Follow the local SEO leaders on Twitter

What an easy way to track what industry adepts are thinking and sharing, up-to-the-minute! Following this list of professionals (alphabetized by first name) will fill up your social calendar with juicy local tidbits. Keep in mind that many of these folks either own or work for agencies or publishers you can follow, too.

Aaron Weiche
Adam Dorfman
Andrew Shotland
Ben Fisher
Bernadette Coleman
Bill Slawski
Brian Barwig
Carrie Hill
Casey Meraz
Cindy Krum
Colan Nielsen
DJ Baxter
Dan Leibson
Dana DiTomaso
Dani Owens
Darren Shaw
Dave DiGreggorio
David Mihm
Don Campbell
Garrett Sussman
Glenn Gabe
Greg Gifford
Greg Sterling
Jennifer Slegg
Joel Headley
Joy Hawkins
Mary Bowling
Mike Blumenthal
Mike Ramsey
Miriam Ellis
Phil Rozek
Sherry Bonelli
Thibault Adda
Tim Capper
Tom Waddington

Share what you learn

How about your voice? How do you get it heard in the local SEO industry? The answer is simple: share what you learn with others. Each of the people and publications on my list has earned a place there because, at one time or another, they have taught me something they learned from their own work. Some tips:

  • Our industry has become a sizeable niche, but there is always room for new, interesting voices
  • Experiment and publish — consistent publication of your findings is the best way I know of to become a trusted source of information
  • Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, so long as you are willing to own them
  • Socialize — attend events, amplify the work of colleagues you admire, reach out in real ways to others to share your common work interest while also respecting busy schedules

Local SEO is a little bit like jazz, in which we’re all riffing off the same chord progressions created by Google, Facebook, Yelp, other major platforms, and the needs of clients. Mike Blumenthal plays a note about a jeweler whose WOMM is driving the majority of her customers. You take that note and turn it around for someone in the auto industry, yielding an unexpected insight. Someone else takes your insight and creates a print handout to bolster a loyalty program.

Everyone ends up learning in this virtuous, democratic cycle, so go ahead — start sharing! A zest for contribution is a step towards leadership and your observations could be music to the industry’s ears.

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 1 year ago from tracking.feedpress.it

5 best practice tips for email

Reading this blog will provide you with five fundamentals of high-performing email campaigns. You’ll also receive a handful of hints, tips and useful tools to easily create email campaigns which deliver great business results.

1. Above the fold

An adult’s attention span is on average about eight seconds. Not long, is it? With such a short attention span it’s safe to assume that not all of your recipients are reading your campaigns word for word. Instead, they’ll scan through your email looking for something of interest which grabs their attention.

The fold is an important part of your campaign design and what’s above it has an impact on the performance of your emails.

What is the fold? The fold is a term stemming from the world of printed newspapers and was the space of newspaper cover that was visible after it was folded in half to put out on display. It often contained breaking news headlines and content to draw immediate interest. Let’s bring that to the present day – ‘above the fold’ is the content that you can see instantly after opening an email campaign.

It should include content to attract the recipients’ attention and encourage them to scroll down the page. More importantly, it should include a call to action (CTA).

In email design, the ‘above the fold’ area is approx. 350px high

Have you heard of the inverted pyramid model? Combine this with key points for designing above the fold and you will create an effective way to ensure your recipients are taking the most away from your email campaigns in those crucial eight seconds.

pyramid model

As you can see from the example below, email campaigns which follow the inverted pyramid model usually contain a concise headline which highlights the key message, a supporting CTA and visuals to help convince readers of the benefits of clicking through.

The inverted pyramid model works particularly well for campaigns with a single message and a single call to action, such as announcements and marketing offer campaigns.

email

 

2. Alt text on images

We all know – and have probably experienced – that images can sometimes be blocked by default in email clients. How do we deal with this? Enter some alt text, of course!

Alt text is the alternative text displayed with an image. It provides some context about what your image is for the recipients who have images blocked or turned off by default.

There’s another good reason for alt text, which often gets forgotten. Alt text is used is for visually impaired subscribers that may use a screen reader to get a description of images in an email.

Tips for including alt text on images:

  1. Keep it succinct
  2. Include punctuation
  3. Include the text that is present in the image
  4. Don’t ‘copy and paste’ image captions. Your alt text should offer additional information that’s not conveyed through the caption.
  5. Keep the alt text in context

3. Responsive design – mobile-first

More email and web traffic are moving towards mobile and it’s likely that your recipients are reading your emails on a mobile device. Just by changing the styling and the methods applied to your mobile-first campaign, you could reach more potential or current users while multiplying your ROI.

Here’s a very quick checklist of what you should be implementing:

  • Inline images
  • Large and lovely CTAs
  • Engaging content with nominal effort

We want to provide email campaigns full of content that is customized for your recipient’s device. Using dotmailer’s EasyEditor, you can use your responsive templates to send emails which adapt to fit the screen size and the device type they’re are viewed on.

Abide by these best practices to achieve effective responsive emails:

  1. Use a single column layout. Less swiping and shifting makes it easier for your recipients to read your campaign.
  2. Use 12pt or 14pt font for the body text and no smaller than 18pt-20pt for the titles. This will ensure your campaign is much more readable on a small screen.
  3. Place your most important CTA above the fold.
  4. Avoid using hyperlinks – use a big, clickable button instead.
  5. Test, test, test. Use dotmailer’s ‘inbox and spam filter test’ which enables you to view your campaigns in all major email inboxes and receive a spam filter report.

4. Colors and fonts

There’s a high chance that your email campaigns aren’t the only interaction or communication your recipients will have with your brand. In fact, your recipients probably visited your website before signing up to receive campaigns from you.

Because of this customer journey, it’s important that your email campaigns are aligned with the colors, fonts and branding you use across your other channels.

It helps your customers to know that the email campaign is from you and it creates a level of trust and credibility which reassures people it’s safe to click through.

If you’re a dotmailer customer, this can be achieved with ease using our drag-and-drop EasyEditor. You can choose from a range of designer-selected, web-safe fonts and select your brand’s hex color. With these features, creating a high-converting email campaign that instills trust among your recipients is effortless.

One of dotmailer’s clients, Daisy London, provides effective consistency between its website and its email campaigns. Take a look…

email

5. Preheader text

We’ve all heard that we should include one of these, but what exactly is it? It’s that little line of text that follows the subject line and introduces the content your recipient will find within the email campaign.

So many brands neglect the preheader, often leaving it blank or, rather shockingly, writing ‘dummy’ text, which consequently leads to poor results.

The crux of the preheader text is to serve as a courtesy to steer recipients in convincing them to open your email, boosting open rates and leading to higher ROI.

We’re in an age where our time is precious, and we seem to have less and less time. We scan read rather than digest the words on a page. Plus, our attention span has dropped, so you might think that adding something extra in to your campaign creation process will be pointless. But in fact, the preheader offers recipients a chance to get an idea using three text levels, helping them screen what is and is not relevant more quickly.

Conclusion

Email marketing is one of the most effective ways for marketers today to reach a wide audience base. But if you’re not optimizing your email campaigns for conversion, you could be missing out on valuable clicks, sales and revenue for your business.

Next time you’re creating an email campaign, no matter the type of content or audience, apply these five fundamentals to get better results.

For more best practice inspo, download our back to basics cheatsheet.

The post 5 best practice tips for email appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.dotmailer.com

It’s the best time ever to be a marketer: either go big or go home

Chris Kubbernus, also known as Chris Kubby, is the Founder and CEO of Kubb&co – a digital marketing agency based in Copenhagen. Chris, originally from Canada, is an expert when it comes to helping brands become bigger, better and more effective. He’s worked with both start-ups and large corporations on digital strategy and social media – he teaches others how to take their marketing (and their businesses) to new heights, including working with large brands like Coloplast, Carlsberg, Burger King, and HP.

We caught up with Chris last week to get some clues on what he’ll be covering at the dotmailer Summit, and to get a closer look into the mind of one of the top marketing influencers of our time. The chat we had with him was full of knowledge, inspiration and humor – his talk at the dotmailer Summit 2018 is not to be missed!

 

1. What is or has been your biggest influence?

My biggest influence has been my mother and father. They instilled in me a massive work ethic, which drives me. I love my work and that’s a big reason for my success.

I would also say I am influenced heavily by marketers of the past. People who paved the path, people like Seth Godin, Gary Vaynerchuk, David Ogilvy and others.

 

2. What will you be bringing to the dotmailer Summit? Is there anything that the audience will definitely be walking away with?

My goal is to give the audience a renewed sense of purpose and energy. I think we’re in the best time ever to be a marketer and we should be embracing this and go big or go home.

They will be walking away with some practical advice and tactics they can implement the very next day to help take their marketing to the next level.

 

3. What role does email automation play in relation to your social media strategy?

Email and email marketing automation can be a great way to recap all the amazing things that a brand is doing in social or other places. I use email as a way to collect everything I do and to help my subscribers pick and choose the stuff they want to engage with.

With simple trigger flows and a collection of content tools, I am able to streamline my marketing program significantly.

 

4. What is the biggest thing marketers should be looking at in 2018?

Video and voice seem to be at the top of people’s minds. But I think AI is really gaining steam.

 

5. Where is social media heading?

Social media is heading into the awkward teenager phase of its life. Its trying to find its space in the marketing and life household. Its being asked to be more responsible, we see this recently with Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and the recent US election.

Twitter is also being asked to step up and be responsible for how people use the platform. I think this will be good for consumers, businesses, and people.

They can’t continue making profits like a media company and claim no responsibility for the media they allow.

I think the result will be more expensive advertising, because the overhead will be too much for these platforms and then we will see less “mom and pop” advertising and more big brands, and more focus on organic content and community building.

 

6. What role do you think social media will play in your kids’ lives?

I hope not that much. I know I sound a bit antagonistic, but I do love social media and the opportunities for brands. But I am very aware of the negative effects of social media on people.

I think everyone needs to have that healthy dose of scepticism in them in order to safeguard their behaviour and the mental health of their loved-ones.

It will be a large part of their life, but I want it to be a tool they use and use only when needed and not a distraction from reality.

 

7. Everyone is competing for attention on social media what are your top three hacks or tricks that marketers should be doing to make themselves heard?

You need to change your mindset. That’s the hack. You need to think like a consumer and not like a brand. You need to understand what excites, inspires, teaches, provokes, disgusts, taunts, your community. And I say community because you need to think of them as a part of your brand, a part of your story. If you can do that and involve people in your marketing and social media, then you’ll win.

Those who don’t do this will continue to live in the marketing era of television – before every. single. person. on the planet had a voice and a platform.

 

8. What is your favorite social medium?

Right now, Twitter. Weird right? There’s a resurgence on Twitter at the moment and it’s a lot of fun.

 

9. What is the secret to advertising in 2018?

Self-awareness. People see right through advertising. So if you can be self-aware like the recent Tide Super Bowl ads, or the Heavy Bubbles ads a couple of years ago, then you can get people to let their guard down long enough for you to talk honestly about your products.

The other thing I would say is advertising is less and less about setting an agenda or “nudging” as we call it in the industry, but more about tapping into an already growing cultural storm and riding the wave.

 

Thank you, Chris – we’re looking forward to welcoming you on stage on April 19 at the dotmailer Summit 2018. We’re in no doubt that you’re going inspire us to be the best marketers we can be.

You can find out more about the dotmailer Summit here.

See you there!

The post It’s the best time ever to be a marketer: either go big or go home appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Let’s talk about email best practice

Despite all the quirky new ways to promote your brand, email continues to be the most effective and influential.

What makes email so powerful today?

Email is a fast and direct way to reach your customers, wherever they are and on whatever device they’re on. You can adapt email campaigns easily to suit your target market’s needs. It’s super cost-effective and – most importantly – it can be highly personalized and targeted (e.g. through web behavior, order history and preferences). What’s more, campaigns with a cool design and relevant message will not only influence online activity but offline behavior as well, such as driving customer purchases in store.

The channel’s also highly measurable – you can see instant results through real-time tracking of opens, clicks and ROI. This insight allows you to analyze performance and – in understanding what works and what doesn’t – optimize your strategy.

There are many statistics that indicate how much businesses and customers value email:

  • 75% of companies agree that email offers ‘excellent’ to ‘good’ ROI. (Econsultancy, 2016)
  • Email use worldwide will top 3 billion users by 2020 (The Radicati Group, 2016)

Top Tips

These simple tactics will make sure you stand out to recipients – over and above your competitors – in a crowded inbox.

1. Avoid the ‘dead zone’ of subject lines

Keep it short, keep it snappy, and keep it relevant. Long, uninspiring subject lines will likely disengage readers and prevent them from opening. Check out our cheatsheet which features some great subject line examples.

2. Always personalize your emails

Why? The key objective of an email is to build a relationship with subscribers. There’s an abundance of data to leverage: their name, their preferences, their actions. Perhaps send them an offer which relates to their buying history or web browsing behavior. Brands that value customers’ needs will always prevail.

3. Make sure your emails are optimized across all devices

The look-and-feel of your email is so important and it needs to be consistent when it’s opened on a mobile, tablet or on different email clients (e.g. Outlook, Apple Mail etc.). Make sure your template is mobile-optimized and designed by experts. First impressions count, and email is certainly no exception.

4. Be targeted and avoid batch-and-blast

Too much information at once can overload the recipient and strip engagement away from your product/service offering and organization…. disaster! Analyze your email opens, pinpoint your send time optimization and then maintain consistency in your sending. B2Bs for instance might find it more effective to send emails during weekday mornings, whereas B2C brands may see better results by emailing on a Thursday evening or on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

5. Leverage rich customer insight to drive automation

A consistently engaged customer is the dream! And how do you convert your subscribers into engaged brand advocates? The answer is data-driven automation. There are so many clever things you can do with email these days. You can understand what your customers like, dislike; what they want and need. What’s more, the technology is there for you to understand their behavior too.

 

Your key takeaway?

It’s impossible to please everyone, but as a serious marketer you can be clever. I would love to say that a sexy-looking campaign is all you need, but the devil’s in the data. It’s not about one element but rather the bigger picture. Implementing just a few of the above suggestions will help you on your way to sending out the right emails, to the right people, at the right time.

If you would like to hear more information about the power of automation, then please contact your account manager.

The post Let’s talk about email best practice appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 2 years ago from blog.dotmailer.com