Email: 3 things you must do instead of ‘sending to all’

This is one of the most frequent conversations I have with dotdigital customers who want to email their entire recipient base about a change – and usually quickly.

They want help with minimizing risk and troubleshooting the damage. I get it, terms have changed, a new privacy policy has been put in place, or something else has happened that you’re being told has to be communicated to everybody. I’ve been there, I understand your pain and I want to shout: THERE’S A BETTER WAY. Dealing with the damage retroactively is not the only way to handle this situation. 

A word on legalities

Before I get into the whys and hows, please note that this is deliverability advice and is meant to help you get the most from your brands digital messaging.  you should always check the legalities with your legal team. 

Recognize your email KPI

Before
making the decision to send an email to your entire file, take a step back and
consider the impact it could have.

When
building an email program, the goal is to hit the KPI that you are being
measured on. Whether that’s revenue, getting attendees to an event, pushing
forward a cause, attracting users to your app – there are many intended
outcomes from sending an email. Sending to a much larger group than those that
will support that KPI puts the program you have dedicated your time to at
risk. 

The risks of blanket email

Mailbox providers are held to their customers wants and needs – people like you and I who have email addresses, and they need to watch the positive and negative indicators closely to make sure the emails being allowed to reach the inbox are from brands that are sending wanted emails. When you send to your entire file, regardless of the status of that recipient, you run the risk of:

  • more complaints (recipients who mark a
    message as spam, complain to your ESP or complain to the mailbox provider)
  • high unknown users (email addresses that don’t
    exist)
  • sending to spam traps (email addresses used to
    identify senders sending with poor list hygiene or sending to recipients
    who haven’t given consent)

These
negative interactions, which can come from sending to all email addresses in
your file, can have a serious knock-on effect. Emails going to the customers
that keep you in business are put in jeopardy and are at risk of going in to
the spam folder or not making it to the recipient at all.

How can
you accomplish your goals without the possibility of causing damage to your
email program’s bottom line? Here are three steps to help you through this
situation:

1. Send an email to active recipients

Those who are actively participating in the email conversation with you will be interacting positively (i.e. opening, clicking) with your emails. Send them an email to explain any changes in a way that they will understand. Give them the ability to take it a step further by drilling down themselves. This shows that you respect them enough to make sure they really understand the changes that are being made. 

2. Segment recipients that are not being sent emails regularly into other digital messaging methods

Here, you minimize the risk to your deliverability. One of the benefits of using Engagement Cloud, offered by dotdigital, is that there are other avenues available to you. There are different channels where recipients may be interacting with you and more effectively reached.

3. Respect those that have actively said they don’t want to hear from you

If a
recipient has unsubscribed from your messaging – don’t send them any messages.
Explore other ways of communicating with those recipients. A couple of
examples:

  • If you have an online account available to your recipients, use a popover that communicates to users the changes that have taken place – and requires them to click through.
  • If you have an app, ask the user to agree to the new terms before using the app again. 

The bottom line

Approach the communications with your recipients/subscribers/customers as a conversation. It’s a reciprocal, two-way thing, where both parties are conversing. Why risk ending the revenue-generating conversations by sending an email to your entire database when you don’t have to? Instead, save yourself some pain and use the opportunity to communicate with your recipients in the way they want to hear from you. Make this about them. 

Want more advice on deliverability?

The post Email: 3 things you must do instead of ‘sending to all’ appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 2 weeks ago from blog.dotdigital.com

4 Ways To Use Social Media With Email

But why is social media so popular? Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram allow audiences to stay connected and connect with people they never meet in real life.

Social influencers have emerged from this and are now instrumental in many successful marketing strategies. People love to hear what other people are wearing, buying and doing. That’s why, today, 69% of people trust social influencers and peer recommendations more than they do brands.

As a result, including social proof in your email marketing campaign – if not all your marketing campaigns – is essential. Tapping into your audiences’ social feeds sounds simple, right? After all, you have their email address, and there’s no better place to start than that. But encouraging them to actively share your content is a whole other ball game.

But have no fear, we’ve got four top tips to help you:

Follow us on…

Directing subscribers to your social accounts should be high on your to-do list. Especially when they’ve just signed up.

Introducing your various social media channels should be an integral part of your welcome program. New subscribers are engaged with your brand. Make the most of it and direct them to your social channels as quickly as possible.

Whether it’s the core of your message or at the end, make your CTA clear, easy to understand, and accessible on mobile devices.

GQ social media welcome

And, don’t just think of it as part of your welcome program. Social links should be a part of every email you send.

Make sharing easy

When you’ve invested time and effort into creating engaging content, don’t let readers forget about it when they close your email.

Most web content, especially mobile-friendly web content, has an easy-to-identify share button. To increase the lifespan of your work, make it as easy as possible for subscribers to share. If they find it interesting, so may their social circle. Email subscribers are 3x more likely to share content, so use this and make it as easy as possible.

Newsletters like The Skimm do this by including sharing links at the end of every content block.

The Skimm social sharing

But that’s not the only way to encourage your audiences to spread the word about your brand. People who discover a new brand through referral marketing are 4x more likely to buy from it.

Key to getting customers to refer are incentives. Once you’ve decided what you’ll offer them, invite customers to post referrals via social media. This has the dual benefit of promoting your business and giving them more opportunities to receive your referral perks.

Maude social refer a friend

Give customers a voice

We’ve already told you how important social proof is to the modern consumer. It’s important that your social accounts are an open and friendly environment. Your audience must feel comfortable talking to you, and the best way to do this is by encouraging them to express on your social channels.

You can achieve this by frequently sharing posts where your brand has been tagged and mentioned by fans and followers.

Paravel social media email

Alternatively, directly asking for feedback has the added
benefit of empowering your customers and making them feel like a valued member
of your audience.

Bellroy social media reviews

Never forget the importance of peer-to-peer reviews. They’re becoming ever-more influential in the decision-making process, so capitalize on your customers’ social habits. Give them a voice, help them be heard, and get good publicity for your brand at the same time.

Promote your content across social

Give your content a new lease of life by repurposing it for social media. This is a useful tactic if you create editorial newsletters on a regular basis. Why not share the link to the web version of your newsletter on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook?

Sheerluxe instagram post

Or perhaps you have a dedicated landing page for each article. Share these links along with a CTA to sign up in the hopes of increasing your subscriber database.

Think about engaging ways content can be repurposed for social media. Pose a question to the audience, run a poll, turn features into a podcast, or create vox pops after an event. With each post, include a link for new subscribers.

Conclusion

Both social media and email are excellent channels from customer acquisition and retention. It’s only logical to use the one to support the other. Using the tactics outlined above, you’ll see your database grow, social followers increase, and customer engagement soar.


Suggested reading

Social media blog suggestion 1
Social media suggested blog 2
Social media suggested blog 3

The post 4 Ways To Use Social Media With Email appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 2 months ago from blog.dotdigital.com

4 strategies to integrate PPC and email for better results

Have your digital marketing conversions hit a plateau? You know
what to do with your pay-per-click campaigns to get more traffic to your site.
And you know how to use email marketing to nurture potential leads. But have
you ever thought about how you could amplify your results by combining the two
channels?

Truth is, success depends
on more than optimizing each digital marketing channel in isolation. Generating
a killer ROI is all about integrating channels, from search to chat, display,
video, email, and even offline.

Combining email and PPC is
an easy place to start. 

Email marketing is still
one of the best-performing online marketing tactics, regularly outperforming Facebook or Twitter by
40X and generating $38 for every $1 spent.

At the same time, Google Ads are brilliant for brand exposure –
they can improve brand awareness by as much as 80%. Businesses make an average
of $2 for every $1 they spend, according to Google.

So, it makes sense to create a strategy that uses email and PPC
advertising in tandem to yield incredible conversions and an ROI worth shouting
about.

Read this post and we’ll show you four actionable strategies how.

Test your strategies using PPC

Did you know that almost 50% of recipients open an email based
solely on the subject line? (OptinMonster)

The more compelling your subject line is, the more people will
actually read your email.

The higher your open rate is, the more people will click
through on your offers and actually convert.

So how do you create a subject line that gets opened
and a call to action that converts?

That’s
where your PPC ads come in.

Use
your PPC ads to test your calls to action,
subject lines, copy, and offers BEFORE you use them for email campaigns.

Create two PPC ad campaigns using your email CTA or subject
line and see which gets more clicks.

Try one subject line to evoke FOMO (fear of missing out), with words like ‘urgent’, ‘important’, or ‘limited offer’:

The other could be tapping into their pain-points, like this one:

Let the campaigns run for at least a few days and see which one
performs better.

A simple A/B test gives you visible results without risking
email unsubscribes, making it a low-risk strategy. You won’t be wasting PPC
budget either, because you can monitor the results and quickly change things if
the test doesn’t yield good results.  

It works the other way, too. Track the subject lines that win the greatest engagement and use them to create your paid search ads.

Use email to remarket with pay-per-click ads

Studies show that 72% of online shoppers abandon their cart
before making a purchase. But one in four of them will return to complete their
purchase later – if they are retargeted.

Bottom line – if you want
to turbocharge the conversions you’re getting through marketing, your funnel must include
retargeting. This means monitoring your customers’ behavior and using what you
know to push them back to your site.

If someone has already shown interest in your brand by opting
into your emails, they are far more likely to convert than a ‘cold’ audience.

Run retargeting ads on Google Ads for people who have already
clicked links in your emails.

Let’s say they clicked on a link to a certain product or offer, you can display relevant ads when they visit other sites.

Grow your email list with PPC

Do you know one of the biggest challenges in email marketing?
Maintaining and growing a list of interested and highly qualified leads.

One easy way to do this is to include a subscriber form on your
website. So how do you get people to the signup form in the first place?

PPC ads.

Think about it – your PPC ads attract clicks from searchers who
are actively looking for products or
services you offer.

So, when they click on a PPC ad, you need to direct them to a
landing page that includes a way for you to stay in contact with these
prospects – even if they aren’t yet ready to make a purchase.

See how this one gets it right:

And one from Krispy Kreme that offers a free doughnut when you subscribe (who can resist that?!):

Upload your email lists to run personalized PPC ads

Squeezing the best results from your marketing budget is all
about customizing your campaigns.

It’s no secret that email best practice is to personalize your emails. Whether you send them an offer relating to their buying history or web browsing behavior, the goal is to build a relationship with subscribers by showing that you ‘get’ them. 

Here’s the thing – you can also customize PPC ads to your
specific audiences using your email lists.

All you need to do is upload targeted email lists into Google
Ads, or whatever platform you’re using. Google Ads has something called Customer Match, which lets you target
ads to your customers using data they share with you.

Then you can serve ads that are customized for that audience segment.

Pro tip: You can create a Google Ads campaign targeted to your email list on the Search Network, Google Shopping, YouTube, and Gmail platforms, but not on Google Display Network (GDN).

Over to you

Making PPC and email the
dream team will catapult your conversions and ROI.  Using data from your email campaigns to fuel
PPC, and vice versa, you can grow your subscriber base, optimize your messaging,
and better target your audience. That’s where the magic happens.

Tell us, how do you integrate PPC and email results?

The post 4 strategies to integrate PPC and email for better results appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 4 months ago from blog.dotdigital.com

7 tips to generate email engagement

Engaged and
loyal customers can help boost a company’s revenue. Engaging your email recipients
is vital for converting prospects and building customer loyalty. What’s more,
looking your best in the inbox increases your brand’s reputation.

Engagement can
be hard to measure numerically and objectively. Put simply, it’s an indicator
of how interested your contacts are, and therefore gauges the success of your email
campaigns. Generating more engagement means that you’re making a bigger impact
with your recipients.

The start is
always the hardest, but here you’ll find some great ways to increase customer
engagement and encourage your recipients to take more actions through your
email marketing.

What do we mean when we talk about customer engagement? The definition is broad and might change depending on who you’re asking, but let’s look at some examples of how to inspire customer engagement.

Personalize your campaign

Have you ever received an email which started with ‘Dear valued customer’? Chances are, you didn’t feel very valued at all. Whether you use a CRM or keep your data in other formats, it will contain plenty of valuable information, from recipients’ first names to their purchase history.

Ensure you use this information to create personalized subject lines and messages that speak directly to each individual recipient. It’s harder to ignore something that feels intended for you, which is why personalized email campaigns usually have higher open rates than generic ones.

Nobody wants to be treated as though they’re a cog in a machine – they want to feel like they have a personal relationship with your brand. If they get this impression, they’ll be more likely to engage.

Personalize by using your recipient’s names in your email campaigns. You can also extend this in landing pages and surveys.

Address specific audiences

The operative word here is ‘specific’. Like the denim jeans of this world, one size definitely doesn’t fit all when it comes to email marketing. If you offer a variety of products or services, chances are you have different customer segments with unique characteristics. If you’re not using segments, why not?

To take full advantage of customer engagement, prepare messages that specifically address the needs, wants, and interests of different groups.

Inspire action

Don’t get lost in the crowd. Make life easier for your customers: write actionable subject lines that set the expectation of what your messages are about. You want to inspire customer engagement by letting customers know what they can do with the email.

Most emails are won or lost at the subject line

Most emails are won or lost at the subject line; not only does it determine whether your email is ever opened, but it affects your recipient’s mood and nature from the outset.

Write
something appealing, unique, and compelling; avoid using exclamation marks and
salesy language in favor of something clever and original.

Also, don’t
forget the preheader text. So many marketers don’t even know what this is, and
yet the preview, or preheader, text in your email can make or break your open
rates.

Generally, this is pulled from the first sentence when you’re sending personal emails, but, in the marketing world, it normally consists of image alt text or browser instructions.

Your dotdigital Engagement Cloud platform provides you with the space in which to choose what text gets shown in the preview. Using 35-90 characters to capture the recipient’s interest—and supplement your subject line—will help you get those higher open rates.

Don’t be afraid to experiment

Your business is unique, and so are your recipients. You need to determine what types of emails drive customer engagement for your business. Experiment with different strategies and see what succeeds. In email marketing this is called A/B (or split) testing.

The idea is to run two nearly identical versions of an email campaign and compare the performance of each version. The campaigns might differ on variables such as subject line, layout, or friendly from name. Once you learn which factors lead to higher engagement, you’ll be able to create more effective campaigns in the future.

Allow omnichannel opportunities

Not everyone
wants to engage in the same way, and that’s OK. Omnichannel marketing means
retailers can now offer a consistent experience across all channels – you can
let your customer choose when and where to engage.

If you have a strong Facebook presence, get involved in our Facebook Audience Program Extension. A Facebook Audience channel extension can be used in programs to automate the enrollment of new contacts into your audiences. This enables you to easily maintain and grow your audiences and improve your re-targeting efforts. Optimizing your ad campaign spend, you can target your ads to people who aren’t engaged through other channels, such as email. You can read more here.

Easily maintain and grow your audiences

Offering multiple ways to engage with your business maximizes marketing results, customer engagement, and brand reputation.

Cater to mobile audiences

If your email design caters to mobile users by being stackable, clean, and easy to engage with, you’ll likely see far more customer engagement.

Making simple changes to the styling and layout of your mobile-first campaign can help you generate more engagement, multiplying your ROI.

47% of email is opened on a mobile device.

Take a look at this article I wrote that covers important mobile-first hints and tips.

Use triggered and automated emails

Triggered and automated email campaigns come in many varieties, but they all share the same incentive: sending custom emails to recipients based on their previous actions and interests, all without any manual input – perfect.

Captitalize on existing customer interest

Automation is super-effective not only because it saves you time, but because it lets you capitalize on existing customer interest and intent. For instance, you might send out reminder emails to customers who’ve put items in their cart but haven’t yet checked out. You could enrol contacts onto a replenishment program – this would work particularly well for stationery brands that supply their clients for monthly or annual events, for example.

To plan out your programs, download your automation worksheet here.

Let’s wrap it up

The examples in this article should help you get more customers engaging with your existing email marketing campaigns; they’re a great base to help kick-start your new engagement strategy.

Embracing new
strategies and ideas, while acting on useful information from industry experts,
can lead to increased engagement. All you need to have is the willingness to
experiment.

If you need a helping hand with implementing a tailored strategy, please reach out to your dotdigital account manager.

For more customer engagement inspiration, download our epic guide here.

The post 7 tips to generate email engagement appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 4 months ago from blog.dotdigital.com

5 ways you could be using email to secure longer-lasting loyalty from one-time BFCM customers

Once the stomping ground of only the biggest US brands, Black Friday has now become a universal sales period that for many – it is too costly to ignore.

There are brands out there who don’t embrace the annual price-cutting chaos – for example, Apple, Ikea, and the UK’s Walmart cousin, Asda. However, with 30% of annual retail sales occurring between Black Friday and Christmas (almost 40 percent for jewellery retailers), it’s easy to see why so many are still getting stuck in.

Discounting periods are proving costly for retailers the world over with UK-market leader, John Lewis, recently citing having to match twice as many discounting extravaganzas in 2018 as the key reason for a major fall in profits. The rising number of discount days retailers must acknowledge, combined with the lower lifetime value of a customer acquired during a discounting period, is a key reason why merchants must focus on securing longer-lasting loyalty from one-time shoppers acquired during the sales.

Let’s get started with five simple ways that you could be optimizing your email strategy in order to secure longer-term customer loyalty, both during BFCM and once the sales are over:

1. Segmenting your customer base from the get-go

When it comes to email, it’s tempting to adopt a one-size-fits-all approach and send the same messages out to everyone. It’s even more tempting to take this approach following BFCM, when you have a large collection of customers who have only purchased once, but you want to re-engage with as soon as possible.

You might not know everything about these customers just yet, but use the information that you do have to segment your customer base and send the most relevant emails.

Whether you segment by the type of products purchased or by the brand or collection purchased from, make sure that the first message that you send post-BFCM is highly targeted and relevant. Customers who believe that you understand their individual behaviors are more likely to return and engage again.


2. Sending emails triggered by personal events

80% of customers are more likely to shop at brands that offer personalised experiences. At the most basic level, you can achieve this by sending special messages, offers or discounts on a customer’s birthday. At a deeper level, you can send messages that are tailored around their shopping anniversaries.

For example, celebrate with them each time they unlock a reward, qualify for a higher tier on your loyalty program, or reach a specific number of purchases with your store.

Whether you offer them simple discounts in return for their ongoing engagement, or offer them more exclusive perks such as free shipping or early access to sales or new product ranges, customers will appreciate the fact that they have received an email entirely unique to them and their actions or buying behaviors.


3. Re-engaging at-risk customers with incentives to return

Customers acquired during BCFM are proven to have a lower lifetime value than those acquired at other times of year. This means that they are less likely to return and make their next purchase, leaving them ‘at risk’.

In order to prevent at-risk customers from churning, ensure that you’re giving them reasons to come back and shop again. One approach is to credit customers with points within your emails.

Even if those customers do not immediately return to use those points, you have differentiated yourself by giving them something for doing nothing – something not many retailers will do. We recommend crediting enough points so that at-risk customers can instantly unlock a new reward.

You might also consider moving customers up to a higher tier in your loyalty program, allowing them to unlock more generous or exclusive rewards that are worth returning to use. There is no cost to this strategy, and also no doubt that your customers will be pleased they stopped to open that email!

4. Making the benefits implicit

Use emails you are already sending – such as post-purchase emails – to make sure that customers know what they are missing out on if they don’t return and repeat purchase. We don’t necessarily mean other sales or discounts they could be accessing, but instead, the rewards and benefits they could be unlocking with another purchase.

Use your post-purchase emails to show customers how many points they have or could have earned with their BFCM purchase, and remind them what that could translate to in terms of rewards and benefits.

You can also let them know how many points they would need to earn to unlock other, even more valuable rewards, incentivising them to come back to your store and shop again, sooner.


5. Reiterating your brand values

For many customers, purchasing decisions around BFCM are based solely on price, rather than shared values or beliefs. That’s why we encourage merchants to take the time to share their brand values once the shopping period is out of the way and customers are thinking more clearly.

Loyalty programs are all about community and relationships, and shared values are a key incentive for customers to join and engage more with your brand. Build messaging into your welcome and post-purchase emails, so that customers immediately see how your brand resonates with their own personal values. This is a key step to building longer-term relationships that will drive customer retention and increase lifetime value.

This year, all we want for Christmas is to see merchants making the most of every opportunity to turn Black Friday Cyber Monday into a resounding retention success story, rather than just a spike in acquisition. Have a chat with one of our team to find out more, or head to the LoyaltyLion Academy to learn more about improving the effectiveness of  loyalty emails.

 

About LoyaltyLion

LoyaltyLion is a data-driven loyalty and engagement software for fast-growth ecommerce merchants. Thousands of retailers worldwide use LoyaltyLion to add their own fully customizable loyalty programs and increase customer engagement, retention and spend.  Stores using LoyaltyLion typically generate at least $15 for every $1 they spend on the platform.

 

 

The post 5 ways you could be using email to secure longer-lasting loyalty from one-time BFCM customers appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 10 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Hubble, bubble, email and trouble

Americans spent $9.1 billion on Halloween in 2017. If that didn’t bowl you over, did you know that a quarter of all the sweets sold annually in the US is purchased for Halloween? Uh huh – w.t.f.

Halloween is a goldmine holiday for retailers. It originated way back in the day as a Celtic festival called Samhain (prounound Sow-in). Druids would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off spirits and make offerings to appease the pagan Gods.

Today, however, Halloween – or All Hallows’ Eve – is a popular celebration where revelers trick-or-treat, carve pumpkins into Jack-O’-Lanterns and don ghoulish attire. It’s a great opportunity for marketers to drum up excitement and inspire customers to embrace the festivities.

Here are 5 ways to do just that:

1. Fang-tastic subject lines 

Cast a spell in the inbox! Frighteningly good subject lines can help boost your email open rates.

  • Use seasonal emojis to stand out from competitors 🎃👻😈🔮🍂🌕
  • Communicate something compelling – think FOMO, limited-time offers, etc.
  • Emphasize urgency in your language and use the scarcity tactic to inspire a quick response from customers
  • Makeover your subject lines with fun, playful words: ‘What’s your poison?’ is a good example from restaurant chain, Las Iguanas
  • Be mysterious and build intrigue; Halloween is all about the unknown, so excite customers with a ‘trick or treat’ proposition or the classic ‘Open if you dare!’

2. Dress up to impress

Halloween is a hotbed for marketing creatives. It’s the time of year to freshen up on design and gain an upper hand on the competition. The holidays only start rolling in from October 31st: Guy Fawkes night, Thanksgiving/Black Friday and Christmas.

Incorporating a Halloween theme in your email template helps stir up seasonal fervor. Spiders cascading down cobwebs, glisteningly  orange pumpkins and a scattering of autumnal foliage are all nice subtle tweaks. For a bolder look, why not try Michael Myers holding a bloody dagger? #gohardorgohome.

In all seriousness though, don’t throw your brand in the background. Make sure you maintain a healthy balance between your usual design and any spooky touches you make.

Here are some of our favorite creatives 💖

Halloween

Lands’ End takes a stab at Halloween email design in a creative way, using its very own products to compose a quirky collage.

 

Halloween

Not strictly Halloween, but similar vibes. NoteMaker sends this creepy Friday 13th email, offering a 13% discount across its site for a limited time. We loved how the brand played on the spooky superstition with the message: ‘unlucky for some, but not for you’.

 

Halloween

Baking Mad does a frightfully good job of inspiring subscribers to bake some homemade Halloween treats.

3. Creeping it real with your copy

Halloween is a great time to have a play with words. Have some fun brewing up a pun or two!

sale
Pun

 

3. Razor-sharp segmentation

Audience segmentation should always be top on the marketer’s agenda, and Halloween is no exception. Rather than blast out promotions to your entire database, filter your email audience by preferences and behaviors. Subscribers will be much more likely to engage with messages that are relevant to them – especially so this time of year, amid the ambient noise of the inbox.

Base dynamic content variations on:

  • demographic data such as gender, age or location
  • preferences submitted via a survey
  • personas specific to your brand

Use ecommerce insight to segment:

  • high-value customers
  • frequent buyers
  • recent purchasers

Filter your seasonal customers: 

  • such as those who purchased this time last year
  • or shoppers who’ve previously bought Halloween-themed products

Halloween

Shoedazzle sends a timely email to its VIP segment, prompting high-value customers to make a steal on Halloween morning.

4. Spook customers with SMS

SMS is the titan text tool. If customers don’t fall under your email’s spell, conjure up an SMS instead. Use this channel to communicate your devilish deals to customers in a fast and direct way.

  • Alert customers of time-sensitive offers
  • Trigger timely nudges to unresponsive email subscribers
  • Try your luck with an awful, spook-worthy pun

5. Celebrate El Día de los Muertos

Vividly colorful calaveras, splashes of face paint, exotic flower crowns and deliciously themed foods that make your mouth water – masses of opportunity for marketers! This festival may well be trendy and hip for us westerners, but for Mexico it’s a huge and beautiful religious celebration.

Literally ‘Day of the Dead’, this holiday is the Latin American equivalent of Halloween. It’s observed on November 1st and, not too dissimilar to All Saints Say, is a celebration of the life of departed loved ones. Although the literal translation of this holiday may put marketers off, it should by no means be ignored. Morbid connotations aside, Día de los Muertos is vibrant, colorful and packed full of Mexican flavor.

Tips:

  • Let iconic imagery be the focus in your email
  • Incorporate your products naturally
  • Demystify the tradition and educate subscribers

Day of the dead skull. Woman with calavera makeup. Dia de los muertos Text in Spanish. Stock Vector - 46753663

 

Hopefully this blog has awoken your creative juices and inspired you to treat those reveling consumers. They’ll be on the hunt for something spooktacular, and if you don’t serve up a treat, they’ll go knocking next door!

For more holiday inspo, download our email lookbook here.

If you’d like some creative guidance and support on your Halloween campaigns, please get in touch with your account manager.

 

The post Hubble, bubble, email and trouble appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 12 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

5 tactics for a successful email program

This year’s Hitting the Mark showcased the email and customer experience tactics of 100 global ecommerce brands. The report revealed both the triumphs and pitfalls of marketers as they bid to foster everlasting relationships from the inbox to the shop counter.

We’ve dissected the report and drawn 5 key tactics to help you optimize your email program ahead of the holiday season.

1. Focus on best practice

If you’re to wow the 3.82 billion email users worldwide, you’ve at least got to nail the basics.

Many brands in this year’s report consistently fell down on best practice. Even those who exhibited the strongest data-driven tactics and most compelling content missed the mark.

5 tips to make the grade in best practice:

Don’t overlook the ‘view in browser’ link

Why? Email clients such as Gmail and Hotmail won’t always render emails correctly – a common challenge for marketers. Continuous system updates can compromise the HTML code, corrupting the look and feel of emails as they land in the inbox.

A VIB link mitigates the effect of a broken email (a poor experience) as it incentivizes contacts to view a version optimized for URL. This maximizes click-throughs from those readers who would otherwise ignore a messy looking email with no VIB link.

Rather than the basic ‘View in browser’, why not try something more conversational:Having trouble viewing this email? See it here.

Populate the preheader space

Neglecting to use the preview text is a missed opportunity. It’s a useful space for inspirational copy and acts as a bridge between the subject line and email content.

When not used, the preheader space is populated by the next readable bit of text. This tends to be markup code; it means nothing to the reader and looks plain messy.

A blunder like this can cause confusion in the inbox, damage the credibility of your emails, and weaken your open rates.

To avoid this, add some commentary in the preheader space that:

  • supports the subject line
  • entices the reader to open
  • adds context to the email

Optimize the unsubscribe

The unsubscribe belongs in the footer of the email. Yes, the link should be visible, but it shouldn’t be blatantly obvious.

It’s much more important what you do after someone clicks through; shout about what they’re going to miss out on and ask for feedback on how to improve the email experience.

Balance imagery and copy

Not every email client (Outlook is one) will automatically download your email’s images. A sexy looking email that’s a full-length image, with copy placed on top, will lose its context if imagery is switched off. The message will be lost.

This runs the risk of:

  • subscribers closing the email automatically
  • the email looking like spam
  • recipients being unable to identify information quickly enough

To lock in engagement, you need to pair imagery with content so that relevance is always communicated.

Become mobile-first

The age of being mobile-friendly is waning. Doing the bare minimum is no longer good enough for consumers who interact with brands exclusively on a handheld device.

60% of ecommerce site visits will start on mobile. Plus, by 2019, consumers will spend over 2 hours per day on their smartphones. So, brands need to start their design concepts on mobile first, and then scale up to other devices such as tablets and desktops.

For tips on how to design email for mobile, grab our guide here.

2. Unlock the inbox using preferences

If you’d like to forge meaningful long-term relationships with your subscribers, then getting to know them should be top on the agenda. They won’t buy from you if you don’t serve up relevant content – so ask for preferences.

  • Think about what data your brand needs
  • Ask for the right amount information (too much can put people off)
  • Offer an incentive in exchange for details

Explicit data like location, date of birth and product preferences allow you to quickly build a profile of who your subscribers are. This information empowers you to tailor your newsletters so that they’re super-relevant.

You can do this in dotmailer through the use of dynamic content in our EasyEditor tool, which is populated based on individual contact data.

Bulk Powders preference center

 

Bulk Powders, winner of Hitting the Mark 2018, uses its preference center to customize email content.

3. Use insight to contextualize your message

The top performers in Hitting the Mark combined their implicit and explicit customer data to build powerful segments and create personalized messages.

Implicit data communicates context:

  • Browse behavior
  • Order history
  • Email activity

Explicit information conveys relevance:

  • Lifestyle
  • Interests
  • Product preferences

Combining both enables you to devise a pretty compelling message. This is because content is conceptualized on the basis of the individual, maximizing their propensity to act. Positive actions might be clicks, downloads or purchases.

The bottom line is that these types of hyper-targeted messages are proven to drive lead generation, boost ecommerce and lift ROI.

4. Curate quality content

The best copywriters can’t inspire readers if their content draws no relevance to the audience. Winning content should inspire readers to do something. Always ask yourself: why am I writing this copy, and what’s the point of it?

A little inspiration goes a long way; at dotmailer we like to say ‘sell the sizzle, not the sausage’ – i.e. focus on the benefits rather than the tangible product.

Make sure:

  • your tone of voice reflects your brand’s personality
  • content is personable, conversational and not ‘hard-selling’

IKEA content

In this year’s Hitting the Mark, many brands showcased exceptional copywriting skills. A great example was IKEA, whose tone of voice was warm and inviting – like the home. Skillfully crafting content that comforts the reader enables the brand to position itself as the home-lover’s choice: there’s no place like IKEA…right?

5. Be customer-obsessed

Welcome new customers with open arms

14% of brands still fail to meet subscribers’ expectations: to receive a welcome message in real time. Making the right first impression is what counts, so brands need to step up to the plate.

Introduce yourself and get to know your subscribers. They won’t buy from you if you don’t. The welcome series is the most important time to get the messaging right – Bulk Powders stated (when we interviewed the brand) that it all boils down to the welcome program.

Nurture – and then nurture some more

The age of anonymity is over. As customers, we expect personalized experiences. Successful brands will use personalization as a nurture tactic to turn indifferent consumers into loyal customers.

When creating your newsletters and nurture programs, think about:

  • what subscribers actually want to receive over the products you want to sell
  • how you can use data to underscore your offering and garner real interest

Say thanks to customers for their purchase

A simple thank you is bound to make customers smile. An aftersales program that delivers how-to tips and advice transforms the shopping experience from a mere transaction into a personal conversation.

In our customer-centric world, asking for a review after purchase is a must; yet 53% of brands fail to do so. By taking an active interest in feedback, you’re showing your online shoppers that you care about customer satisfaction and product improvement. It’s a win-win.

Re-engage at-risk customers

Make it clear that a customer lapsing is a big deal – a real loss for your brand. This makes the customer feel valued. Go on a charm offensive to win them back.

Your re-engagement program could include:

  • a special offer that tempts a repeat purchase
  • a survey to find out more about the subscriber
  • some inspirational content to incentivize a browse

Optimize your emails to lift ROI

Below is a tidy summary of key takeaways that’ll help you drive up returns from email:

  • Following best practice helps you deliver an optimized email experience and facilitates a seamless customer journey from inbox to store.
  • Preferences and insight will help you maximize conversions; if your brand wants to stand out in the crowd, your messaging needs to be driven from data.
  • Content is how you transform data into relevant and contextual communication.

The last piece of the puzzle is embracing a customer-first philosophy. Translate everything you’ve built up into lifecycle automation programs; bring something meaningful to the table that inspires customers to act.

For our favorite automation examples from Hitting the Mark, download our bitesize guide here.

The post 5 tactics for a successful email program appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.dotmailer.com

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

6 ways to target ecommerce customers with SMS and email

SMS marketing provides brands with the opportunity to craft an immediate personal relationship with customers, but many are yet to incorporate the channel. With consumers running the game when it comes to tech adoption, those that act fast will stake a claim in the mobile inbox – leaving others at the back of the queue.

Today’s empowered consumer challenges us to provide exceptional brand experiences. Each interaction needs to be packed with all the contextual relevancy and personalization we now receive in our digital lives. Moreover, consumers are fully aware that they leave data breadcrumbs everywhere they go. And they expect them to be used to make their experience better.

To keep up with on-the-go consumers, marketers (firstly) need to utilize powerful technology and leverage the right data. Secondly, they need to compose brilliant, meaningful messages that compel customers to act fast. Adding complementary channels to support your email marketing efforts means you can reach the right customer through their most relevant channel. At dotmailer, we think this omnichannel expansion starts with SMS.

Multiracial hipster friends couple having fun with smartphone in subway train – Urban relationship concept with young people watching mobile phone in city underground area – Bright desaturated filter

There’s no better way to reach every customer than by bringing together the two giants in communication: SMS and email marketing automation. More than 5 billion people will own a mobile by 2019. Plus, eMarketer expects total US retail mcommerce sales will grow a further 32.7% in 2018. And with email boasting a healthy £38 return for every £1 spent, the numbers paint a healthy picture for investment. Both mediums provide much more bang for their buck compared to, say, paid media, giving you back valuable resources to spend as you see fit.

Combining these two push channels nurtures that all-important 360° customer view. Plus, you can add relevance and granularity to your strategy when you tailor your engagements to the individual. Choosing a tech provider with SMS baked in means you can add the channel to your strategy with ease – and scale quickly.

We’ve put together 6 prime use-cases for the SMS/email partnership, along with some ideas for your multi-channel campaigns:

1. Shipping/updates

Using automation to deliver a dual-channel transactional strategy is the best way to keep customers up-to-date with their purchases and deliver exceptional customer service. If you’re using an ESP like dotmailer, you can trigger SMS messages – like dispatch alerts – using the SMS service. Automate your key transactional communications through your email provider to keep all your analytics in one place.

2. Customer feedback surveys

If you’re looking for a quick way to gauge the experience your customer has received, a quick SMS survey could be just the ticket. Get feedback on your transactional emails by asking customers to reply with a number between one and ten. Quick, easy and informative!

3. Reminders and alerts

Slotting SMS extensions into your automation programs enables you to deliver emails and SMS at appropriate points along an individual customer’s journey – but at mass scale. Appointment reminders and expiry prompts are just two examples of SMS notifications that you can automate.

4. Personalized offers/marketing campaigns

In a recent survey conducted by Narvar, US online shoppers from every age group from 12-65 admitted to preferring to receive text messages over push notifications from retailers regarding their orders. The story runs parallel in the UK, with 67% of  internet users aged 18-34 stating they like receiving relevant brand offers and promotions via SMS.

Offer-led messages are more likely to strike the right chord with customers if they’re carefully considered and well-timed. Consider this use case: An existing customer browses and ‘favorites’ a sale item on your website; she leaves the website without buying, so your automation program triggers an ‘abandoned browse’ email to the customer to remind her of product she’s flagged – you could also include the date that your sale ends. If the customer doesn’t return after a chosen period, delivering an SMS to reminder her that her favorite item will soon be full price might just do the trick. You could even offer the customer an exclusive SMS discount to bring them over the line.

5. New product updates

Got a new mobile app or an upgrade to your service? These brand landmarks are worth telling your customers about and an SMS could be the ideal way to spread the good news. If you’re communicating your new app, including a CTA link to a download page helps the recipient instantly get the goods.

6. Loyalty

VIP customers deserve VIP treatment. They already feel affinity for your brand and, in some cases, may be true advocates who are sharing the positive experiences with their peers.

Loyalty reward emails containing time-sensitive content are often best backed up with SMS reminders. Updates about new points earned or those that are due to expire are a good way to show that you know and respect your customer; Think too about optimizing the conversion period for valuable customers with SMS alerts about exclusive sales access.

dotmailer SMS

SMS is an effective marketing tool that enables you to cut through the noise when other channels can’t. 54% of US retailers plan to expand their unified commerce (omnichannel initiatives) over the next 18 months, the top answer for those surveyed. It’s never been more important to get ahead of the competition.

dotmailer’s integrated global SMS service works in 156 countries, helping you amplify your automation strategy with timely and contextually relevant communication. Check it out for yourself!

Want to see what you can do with SMS? Take a quick demo.

 

The post 6 ways to target ecommerce customers with SMS and email appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Convert your social followers into email subscribers

The power of email and social is jaw-dropping! Both channels are extremely potent and warrant full attention from marketers like you. Why? Their direct and wide-reaching capabilities make it easy for you to connect with your subscribers and target your online audiences. And the ROI speaks for itself – £32 is returned for every £1 that’s invested in email, while social network advertising in 2017 generated staggering revenues of $41 billion.

Adopting a holistic approach to your email and social efforts will drive better results; as you’ll find out in this blog, co-ordinating both channels adds fuel to the fire, helping you maximize your brand’s online reach.

Here are 5 super-effective ways to drive email opt-ins from social media:

1. Promote email sign-up in social environments

Having a brand page on social media is key in today’s digital environment. Facebook has a monthly audience of 2.13 billion, so you’d be mad not to!

For your social presence to be highly effective – so that it drives your followers to act on impulse – it’s crucial to link through to other revenue-generating channels such as email. Offering a simple sign-up on your Facebook page can drive enrollments into a welcome program or newsletter series, helping you nurture new subscribers into loyal customers.

2. Request followers to opt-in as part of a social campaign

Social campaigns – like competitions, contests and prize draws – are proven to generate buzz and hype around a brand. What’s more, they’re super-effective in reaching the desired audience thanks to the practice of social sharing.

This is a prime time to ask for an email address! When launching a competition for example, you can integrate a newsletter subscription as a condition for social followers to enter. Or it might cause more of a storm to inspire feelings of one-upmanship – give email subscribers a kickstart over non-subscriber entrants, incentivizing those in a less advantageous position to sign up.

3. Exchange exclusive content for email addresses

Content is becoming a key driver of brand engagement – leverage it to your advantage! Social followers want more and more content, and – as they seek to unlock its value – there’s a chance they’ll act positively by sharing, interacting or buying.

Tapping into this trend, you can effectively increase your email database by making content you share on social media – such as Twitter for example – exclusive to those who’ve signed up to emails.

Gatekeeping your content for an exchange of email address is a win-win – followers engage with your piece and convert into email subscribers. Ensure the content you do gatekeep is enticing: think product-related tips and tricks, how-to guides or some rich media, such as audiobooks, podcasts or videos.

     4. Leverage the social tools at your disposal

Posting

Sharing snippets of in-email content – that people are missing out on by not subscribing – is an effective means to increase sign-ups on social media. You could post exclusive blogs, offers and competitions – even a newsletter sample that you know will tickle your audience’s fancy.

To get their hands on subscriber benefits, followers will need to exchange their email address. But remember, it’s better that any incentive you do employ is tailored towards loyal followers, as opposed to the one-time deal hunters that generate less value in the long run.

Sharing

Those who opt in on social media are likely to be the most engaged segment of your audience, interested in the products and services you offer – ideal subscribers! And, once these key influencers are on your list, ask them to share content with best friends and family members – this will further maximize your sign-up opportunities.

Direct messaging

While posting and sharing on social media are compelling methods to increase sign-ups, neither is one-to-one – or rather, brand-to-consumer. A more direct and persuasive way of growing your email database is through hyper-targeted messaging.

For instance, imagine one of your social followers gives you a positive shout-out on Facebook. With the right tech stack in place, you can slide in a direct message – off the back of the social mention – requesting sign-up. I.e. “Thanks for the love. Let us send it back to you – sign up for 10% off …”. Contextual or what?

5. Utilize social ads

Paid media – if you’ve got the cash to splash – is a viable option for you to increase newsletter sign-ups. Advertising is tried and tested, capable of reaching audiences outside of your social sphere.

On Facebook you can generate powerful ads to collect subscriptions; they open a form pre-populated with already known data – such as name and email address – which makes the sign-up process quick and simple.

Ads can be used in a variety of ways to increase your mailing list: they can target audiences based on an exclusive sale, event or rich editorial content. Likewise, they’re an effective means for B2Bs to fill their pipelines with high-quality leads: job-profile ads on LinkedIn and software pitches on Twitter are just some examples.

 

Want deeper insight? Download our cheatsheet on how to convert social followers into email subscribers.

It’s full of stellar examples that’ll help you smash your online marketing.

The post Convert your social followers into email subscribers appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.dotmailer.com