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 2 weeks 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 1 month 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 2 months 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 3 months 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 4 months 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 5 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Email design: how mobile should you go?

Email is your brand’s virtual shop window

Flashy email design, gripping email copy and intelligent personalization – these are the things most of us strive to deliver as email marketers. We want to get the look and feel of our brand spot on. Plus, we want to deliver memorable experiences that’ll help us shine  So sometimes we overlook the bare necessities, like ‘Can my customer see what I’m seeing?’. Email mobile optimization is one of those fuzzy areas of email design: some brands will nail it as a priority, while others haven’t even got it on their radar. Here’s why it matters:

For retail and ecommerce marketers, mobile’s taken over the market share. Mcommerce sales worldwide reached an estimated $1.357 trillion in 2017, or 58.9% of ecommerce spending overall. By 2021, mcommerce will account for 72.9% of the ecommerce market.” And for B2B businesses, it’s a similar story: 76% of Gen X buyers and 84% of millennials said their mobile device was critical to their work.

Email is STILL the top channel for marketers looking to maximize on ROI, delivering £32 for every £1 you spend. But in order for it to fire in all cylinders, it’s got to be optimized for your customers’ viewing preferences.

The customer experience should be seamless, whatever the device

Designing for mobile users shouldn’t be viewed as a separate component to your regular email design. Creating a smooth, effortless experience for your customers across all their touchpoints is the ultimate goal for any marketer – especially when 50% of consumers now regularly use more than four touch points during the buying process.

So the question is:

‘How mobile should I go with my email design?’

Every brand is different, and what works for your peers might not be the best fit for you. Deciding on the level of influence mobile has on your email design is the best way to ensure you’re optimizing content for your customers – without leaving any out in the cold.

Get to grips with just how many of your contacts open, click and convert on mobile devices. If you have a best-of-breed ESP, like dotmailer, you can access a detailed breakdown of email client share for every campaign you send. Find out the percentage of Iphone opens, for example, or build a more accurate picture of how many tablet engagers you’ve got on the books. A quick pointer: getting to grips with this information can also improve your send time optimization; a dip in mobile opens at certain times will highlight the times when it’s inopportune to push out marketing messages.

Once you’ve got the measure of mobile engagement, you can decide just how mobile you’re going to get. We’ve rounded up the important differences between mobile-friendly and mobile-responsive email design to help you make up your mind.

Mobile-friendly

Mobile-friendly email design (sometimes called mobile-first or mobile-aware) is fixed width and optimized for reading on a handheld device. This design relies on a single column layout with large text and CTA buttons; the font size isn’t responsive, but is large enough to be read on smaller screens. Extra spacing around campaign elements allows for maximum ‘tappability’.

Mobile-friendly email designs are simple to create and guarantee customers will be about to view your creatives on any device. However, their primarily single-column layout offers limited design options, especially for meatier campaigns like newsletters.

Responsive

Responsive email design uses CSS media queries to create fluid tables and images, allowing your campaign to adapt for different screen sizes and orientations. You can prioritize different layouts, font sizes, colors and even content based on the device customers are using. Previously, Gmail didn’t support media queries – but that’s no longer the case.

Using responsive email design gives you much more control over your campaigns. The drawback is that the design process is more complex and will require some coding. Some best-of-breed ESPs will have responsive design baked into their platform as standard; brands using dotmailer can select which email content blocks they want to display on what device. Plus, all of our templates are designed to be mobile responsive – even the free ones.

What about hybrid email design?

Hybrid email, sometimes called ‘spongy’ email, uses a combination of percentage-based widths, maximum-widths and clever and complex workaround coding for Outlook clients to ensure emails are adjusted based on a device’s width. Hybrid design offers marketers universal ‘friendliness’, but requires more development knowledge – and can get messy if left to inexperience. Always test any new design across multiple devices and email clients to ensure you’re delivering a consistent customer experience

If you’re interested in building email campaigns with hybrid design, we’re here to help you. dotmailer’s talented Digital Creatives have the full mix of design and coding skills, and can help your team execute beautiful, consistent mobile-optimized campaigns and pages. Get in touch with your Account Manger or check out our Creative Services page.

What next?

dotmailer has a guide that goes into more detail on mobile email design. You’ll get real-world examples for top brands, more insight and a handy list of 10 best practices to help you stand out in any inbox.

Grab our free best practice guide on email design.

 

The post Email design: how mobile should you go? appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 6 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

How to write email subject lines that get opened: 11 tips

For some marketers, email subject lines is an afterthought. For others, it comes first. But for most, it’s the single element of any email that they spend the most time agonizing over.

After all of your hard work, you need your recipients to actually open the email, otherwise all of that hard work on the creative has been for nothing.

Fortunately, there are certain things you can and should always consider when attempting to craft compelling email subject lines.

Here are 11 essential tips to consider whenever you’re writing your email subject lines.

 

1. Know your audience

It feels like it goes without saying, but for any marketing activity to be successful, you need to know your audience. If you don’t know this much, then you don’t know how you should be approaching, addressing, and marketing to your audience.

Knowing your audience will help you to devise subject lines that will work in your favor. That really is the first step – knowing who you’re sending the email to, and why, is essential in helping you decide where to start with your subject line.

 

2. Be clear about what the reader can expect when they open the email

Time is precious, so you need to make sure that you’re front-loading your subject lines with the benefits. Make it clear what the recipient gets from opening your email.

The second benefit of being clear and upfront with recipients is that this strengthens the relationship between you and your customers and prospects. If your subject lines always deliver on their promises when the recipient opens the email, they’ll know to trust you.

So, being upfront and crystal clear about what your email contains is essential.

For example, if your email is about the new summer product line that your brand is launching, make sure you put that in the subject line! Trying to be too clever with your subject lines could lead to them tanking.

The following examples are clear and to the point:

  • Our new summer range is here, look and shop now
  • Available now: summer styles
  • Shop our new summer range today

If anyone opens these emails, they should know exactly what they’re going to see.

Unless, of course, they’ve been mislead…

 

3. Don’t lie or mislead the reader

Following on from the previous tip, you don’t want to mislead your readers, as that can be damaging to your relationship.

Don’t promise anything in your subject lines that your email doesn’t deliver on. Not only is this disingenuous, it’s also spammy and if you take this approach your email campaigns will be winging their way to spam folders in no time at all.

Either that, or your hard earned subscribers and customers will be searching for that unsubscribe link that can be found in your email.

One misleading tactic that I’m genuinely surprised to still be seeing from brands in 2018 is the classic ‘RE:’ approach, in order to make you think it’s a reply to an email that you’ve already sent or received before:

It may work for some people, but it’s not going to endear you to your subscribers.

 

4. Brevity is best, so keep it short and snappy

Email is read more on mobile devices than on desktop (Litmus, 2018), and this in itself brings another subject line issue to contend with. Smaller screens mean less space to work with when displaying your subject lines.

With most mobile email clients, you will probably only have around four or five words before your subject line trails off.

You should try hard to make your subject line pop in those first four or five words. If you can make a strong subject line in just four or five words (or less) then do it.

 

5. Stand out in the inbox

With a year-on-year increase in the total volume of emails sent every day (Radicati Group, 2017), it’s becoming increasingly harder to stand out in a crowded inbox.

Having said that, it’s important that you don’t utilize practices that can be detrimental, which could limit your chances of even getting your email into the inbox at all.

Here’s a list of some things that you shouldn’t do with your subject lines when trying to stand out among the email inbox crowd:

  • Don’t use ALL CAPS – this can be considered spammy
  • Stay away from heavy use of exclamation marks!!!!!!!!
  • Avoid overzealous use of currency signs ($$$$$ or £££££, for example)

You don’t want your hard work to be for nothing, so avoid these approaches when crafting your subject lines.

 

6. Emojis have their place

Emojis have found their way into almost every aspect of everyday life now, they’ve even got their own (awful) movie.

They’re used a lot more in email now, especially email subject lines. The early adopters certainly stood out in their recipients’ inboxes, albeit briefly, until more and more brands started using the same approach.

The good news is that, when used effectively, emojis can help your subject lines stand out. Econsultancy summed up its recent research into emoji usage in subject lines, noting that an emoji ‘makes a good subject line better’, or ‘makes a bad subject line worse’.

So again, you need to ensure that you’re using emojis in the right way for them to be effective.

It’s important to consider some pros and cons when using emojis in subject lines:

Pros:

  • 💥 They can help your subject lines stand out
  • 😍 They’re more emotive
  • 👩‍🏫 You can use them to get a point across without the need for words
  • 📱 Especially useful for mobile
  • 📧 When used properly, they can add context to your email subject lines (again, useful for mobile)

Cons:

  • 💩 Improper use can be detrimental
  • 😬 Inconsistent rendering across mobile devices, platforms, and email clients (a good resource to check the differences is EmojipediaThe ‘grimacing face’ emoji is a great example of how emojis can look very different cross-platform)
  • 😡 Some audiences won’t like them (which takes us back to my first tip – know your audience)
  • 🎷 Irrelevant use can be confusing – is it immediately obvious what the emoji is, and why it’s being used? If the answer to either is no, don’t use it
  • 🍆 Some emojis can have multiple meanings, so make sure you understand any and all meanings before you use them

 

7. Don’t be afraid to show some personality

Most of the subject lines that lead me to open emails in my inbox are either to the point, or have a bit of personality shining through them. Adding personality to your subject lines can be a powerful tool in getting recipients to open.

You have to make sure that your brand allows a bit of playfulness and personality in its marketing comms, so this tip isn’t for everyone.

However, if you’re able to, then have some fun with your subject lines. As long as you keep them relevant, it opens up a world of limitless possibilities for your subject lines.

 

8. Urgency and scarcity work wonders

If you’re promoting a time-sensitive offer, deal, or sale, then be sure to use that in the subject line.

Good use of urgency will have your recipients clicking in no time. Language like ‘buy now’ or similar can subconsciously trigger the desired reaction from the reader.

Likewise, scarcity can also help to influence the recipient to open your email and then take the desired action.

Limited time or limited quantity offers are the most commonly used approaches. If you’re not offering a product you can always consider something else – a countdown until an event, for example.

With both urgency and scarcity, you’re tapping into the recipient’s fear of missing out (FOMO).

Make the reader believe that if they don’t open your email to see what’s inside, they really will be missing out.

 

9. Ask a question

One of the best ways to get someone to do something is to pique their interest and curiosity. Asking a question in your email subject line is the perfect way to do this.

If you’re a retailer, it can be as simple as asking whether the recipient wants to see your new collection, or even better, receive a discount on their next order, like this:

  • Hi Lee, do you want 20% off your next order?

Or if you’re a B2B business, you can ask a question that is relevant to some content that you’ve produced, like we did with our new Hitting the Mark email benchmark report:

  • Who is sending the best emails in retail?

The reader’s natural curiosity is enough to make them want to click. When they do, it’s up to you to make sure you keep them curious enough to click through from the email.

 

10. Don’t overcook your personalization

The best way to explain the use of personalization in email subject lines would be ‘less is more’. While the odd usage is okay, repetitive or irrelevant usage can turn recipients off.

What we also have to remember is that consumers are far more savvy about the email marketing practices of brands than they were in the past.

Whereas in years gone by seeing your name in the subject line was intriguing, or even exciting to some, it’s now become commonplace. Most consumers expect it, or don’t even notice it any more.

And the only way to know which personalization works best? On to my final tip to find that out…

 

11. Test, test, test

Perhaps the most important tip of all is to make sure that you’re always testing your subject lines and their performance & impact.

It’s essential that you continue to tweak your email subject lines in order to get the best possible performance from your campaigns.

Here’s a handful of things that you should consider when testing your subject lines:

  • Don’t get caught up in what you think your recipients expect
    • While, to a certain extent, you do have to predict what your recipients want, that doesn’t mean you know what they’re expecting. Keep them on their toes with your campaigns, and they’ll become more inclined to open your emails.
  • Don’t be cautious
    • Playing it safe is fine, if you want to do okay. But most of us want to do more than okay. So that means throwing caution to the wind with your subject lines, and stepping out of your comfort zone. It’s okay to brainstorm some really ridiculous subject lines, before scaling them back to something that you are happy with.
  • Monitor what works and what doesn’t
    • Make sure you’re tracking any tests that you’re doing, so that it’s easy to look back and see which type of subject lines worked best. Otherwise you’ll end up not knowing which types of subject lines work best for certain types of campaigns.
  • Don’t stick with a subject line that worked once, or worked well two years ago
    • While it may be easy to stick to the old adage of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, I don’t feel this particularly works well with email subject lines. While you may want to stick to a certain formula if you’re sending regular, consistent email campaigns, what you should consider is that recipients will get used to seeing the same types of subject line. In time, they could become blind or oblivious to them.

One approach you can use is to ensure that the first part of your subject line identifies the type of email you’re sending, before specifying the content it contains.

Let’s say you send a monthly newsletter to your subscribers, but all you do is change the month. So your subject line looks like this:

  • May Newsletter

It’s not the most inspiring or eye-catching subject line that you can use here, is it?

This is where emojis can be useful. You can add context with them, and over time your recipients will begin to associate that emoji with a certain campaign.

Seeing as we’re talking about a newsletter campaign, let’s use the newspaper emoji.

Then you also add a callout to some specific content that’s included in your newsletter. This will make the subject line different every time, while still being clear about its contents.

Put these elements together, and you end up with a subject line that looks like this:

  • 📰 May newsletter: Email subject line guide, GDPR webinar, and new platform features

Sure, it’s a lot longer, and the full subject line will likely be truncated on some displays, but it’s better. By using an emoji and adding clear information about what the email contains, it’s already more appealing to the recipient.

 


If you’re looking for more information about how to get your recipients to open your emails, then take a look at our best practice guide – First impressions count – and learn how to write killer email subject lines for every type of email.

The post How to write email subject lines that get opened: 11 tips appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 6 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Inspiring the serious marketer in you: Hitting the Mark email benchmark report 2018 is here

We’ve expanded our remit. Our sample now includes a mix of big and small companies, across three continents with the inclusion of Asia-Pacific (APAC), as well as incorporating brands from the B2B sector.  It’s our biggest, beefiest benchmark report – and now it’s truly relevant on a global scale.

Even more insights to dive into

Some of our findings echo last year’s report. There are still several brands out there failing to adopt simple automation programs, most notably a welcome program. Similarly, 56 of the 100 brands still aren’t utilizing cart recovery emails – crazy when you think about the massive opportunity for ROI presented by triggered campaigns. These are quick and easy wins that many companies continue to miss.

However, our wider scope offers marketers some new insights too. We’ve found that B2C businesses are outperforming B2B thanks to their wider adoption of basic automation, and they offer a better post-purchase experience. In the APAC region, brands aren’t making the most of data-driven tactics causing them to lag behind their US and UK rivals when it comes to personalizing content and making it relevant to their customers.

In our 2018 benchmark report, we’ll show you how and why some retailers are winning big and reveal the faux pas that can make a massive difference to your profits.

Real results for winning practices

The overall winner, hitting the mark across all our criteria, was a young, UK brand that’s rapidly expanding across Europe. This is in no small part thanks to its hyper-targeted email marketing strategy which proved the perfect technique to win, serve and retain its customers.

This brand never missed an opportunity to send abandoned cart prompts, personalized subject lines and tailored content based on past activity and preferences. The company has made significant and commendable improvements for 2018; especially as it scored 0 for abandoned cart emails and segmentation in last year’s report, ranking in the mid-30s overall. What an achievement! Customers were made to feel valued and given a reason to keep coming back and remain loyal to the brand.

The brand has clearly implemented the winning practices outlined in Hitting the Mark 2017, allowing it to forge a powerful and compelling email marketing strategy. We’ve taken an in-depth look at the tactics that have inspired this epic turnaround, so you can get there too.

What do you need to do to top next year’s Hitting the Mark?

Read Hitting the Mark in full today to get the low-down on all our dos and don’ts that make up a fantastic email marketing campaign.

If you’re a dotmailer client, don’t forget to talk to your account manager for advice and tips on how to put these into action. Interested in how dotmailer can help your business hit the mark? Take a free tour of our platform at a time that suits you.

The post Inspiring the serious marketer in you: Hitting the Mark email benchmark report 2018 is here appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 6 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

dotmailer receives ‘Great User Experience’ title for email marketing software – from reputable business software directory

Leading business software directory FinancesOnline believes businesses and organizations can highly benefit from an email automation marketing platform that is both feature-rich and easy to use. FinancesOnline’s experts found this in dotmailer, thus they gave us a positive 8.8 score and bestowed to us their prestigious Great User Experience and Rising Star awards.

 

The Great User Experience and Rising Star recognition for online email marketing software is given to systems that have satisfied clients with well-designed functionalities alongside a user-friendly and intuitive interface. This can be attributed to dotmailer’s unique drag-and-drop template builder that allow users to effortlessly create impressive email templates within a few minutes. It was also one of the reasons why our solution was recommended in the platform’s ‘what is email marketing software’ guide.

 

FinancesOnline believes dotmailer’s throng of functionalities enables users to remain “on top of every single phase of their email marketing campaigns and other related activities.” Aside from easily creating emails, FinancesOnline said our software can help users “fully optimize their email marketing strategies and get the best results” through various services including, but not limited to, campaign management, creative studio and strategic services. With these, users can significantly boost click-through rates and grow their business.

 

Businesses are also safeguarded with dotmailer’s scalability and custom-built integrations. “As your business needs develop and become more demanding and diverse, dotmailer is more than capable of growing with your enterprise,” wrote FinancesOnline’s experts.

The post dotmailer receives ‘Great User Experience’ title for email marketing software – from reputable business software directory appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 7 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com