The welcome program: the first step towards data-driven email marketing automation

However, given the sheer quantity of data brands are leveraging, automation programs are becoming necessary to win the email marketing game. Consumers’ expectations are rising, and highly personalised, 1:1 communications are becoming the norm among brands who wish to establish and maintain a good relationship with their customers.

Fret not, however!

Automation doesn’t have to feel like jumping into the deep end — we all start learning how to swim with a little paddle. A welcome email introduces your brand to new subscribers and sets their expectations with regard to your email marketing; this is a great place to test the automation waters.

As a customer, I want a timely response to my sign-up and more information on what I’m going to receive. It’s also worth noting that – according to Big Commerce – 75% of email subscribers expect a welcome email after joining a mailing list. This positive first impression helps a customer maintain their interest and trust in your brand; both of which are crucial for your sending reputation and deliverability.

Nevertheless, according to a 2017 Econsultancy survey on UK & U.S. marketers, only 44% sent welcome emails, despite them delivering higher open, click and conversion rates than ordinary promotional emails (Big Commerce**). Brands are subsequently losing revenue by not implementing a welcome series.

Equally, a welcome program is a great opportunity for brands to drive engagement and get to know their customers. It’s like the beginning of any relationship, whether it’s a colleague, a friend, or a partner: when we meet people, we want to find out more about them so we can understand their interests and eventually nurture a mutually beneficial relationship. Enriching your customer insight during a welcome series will help you to build a data foundation to leverage, ultimately driving lifetime value.

Here’s an example of a three-part welcome program that can help you to boost your brand at the beginning of the relationship.

3-stage welcome program with a preference center

  1. Online sign-up

It’s important to keep the sign-up simple (e.g. via a pop-up) to drive organic data acquisition. Save the preference center for the welcome series, as asking for too much information at this early stage can increase the drop-off rate.

  1. WELCOME 1 – Thanks for signing up!

This email should be sent within a few minutes of the sign-up, and include brand visuals so that the subscriber recognises who it’s from and what it’s about. It’s also important to incorporate a double opt-in link so that the email account can be verified.

  1. WELCOME 2 – We’d like to get to know you 😊

In this email, it’s key to engage the subscriber and incentivise them to do something. My advice would be to invite them to complete a preference center, allowing them to dictate their own email journey. This stimulates interest, builds trust, enriches your data and ultimately helps you create a profile of your subscribers. Off the back of subscribers’ responses, you can put them into segments and opt them into different programs for targeting purposes.

  1. WELCOME 3 – Thanks for updating your preferences!

This is the reward bit. For those who haven’t update their preferences, I would send them a reminder to do so. For those who have, say ‘thank you’ and let them know what emails you’re going to send them (this can be done using dynamic content). In terms of reward, this could be anything: a complementary product, free delivery, money off their first purchase, some downloadable content etc.; it totally depends on your business and what’s important.

Remember: you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.

According to Digital Commerce 360, retailers that generate the most revenue from new subscribers typically send three welcome emails, incorporating a discount within the series. Although discounts are not always advisable (as they can devalue the brand), you should always offer some sort of reward off the back of the subscriber fulfilling an action.

Nowadays, a welcome program is an essential component of your email marketing strategy. If you’re not doing one, you should be! Driving brand value and customer engagement from the off will pay dividends. Remember, a first impression goes a long way!

The post The welcome program: the first step towards data-driven email marketing automation appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 3 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Hack yourself first with Troy Hunt

No, the developers hadn’t gone on strike (unlike some of the transport companies they use to commute to work)! We had booked application security expert Troy Hunt to deliver a developer-focused security workshop…and it was awesome.

Most companies will say they take security very seriously, and of course we are no different. We have dedicated Security and Privacy teams, and are constantly investing resources to do what we can to ensure systems and data are kept safe. However, it is widely accepted that throwing money at technology solutions – and services such as penetration testing – will only get you so far, and that the bit that is often missing is the human element; namely awareness training and education.

We have already developed an internal awareness session that is delivered to our staff on matters such as password security, phishing, security updates, data protection, etc. However, as a SaaS company with a large tech team developing our product in-house, our risk profile differs somewhat to a company that simply consumes products and services. Our clients trust us to provide them with a secure and stable platform, so we must do what we can to ensure things are done the right way, right from the outset: when the code is written. Or, for those of you in the industry, we wanted to make sure we were moving security more to the left.

So, developer-specific security training was top of our agenda, and for both myself and our Head of Development there was only one person we wanted to bring in, a great thought leader: Troy Hunt with his ‘Hack yourself first’ workshop. Sure, there are off-the-shelf modules you can buy for this sort of thing, which would have been more convenient, and cheaper, but I personally am not a great fan of canned online training, and I really don’t like death by PowerPoint. I believe you only get real value when things are hands-on and interactive – which is exactly what this workshop was.

With minimal setup, we were off and running, looking at risks such as Cross-Site Scripting (XSS), SQL injection, Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF), information disclosure, session hijacking, password cracking, account enumeration, and so on. These were all things that we knew about, or had at least heard of, but not really things most of the team had had a chance to get their hands on before. We worked our way through finding vulnerabilities, exploiting them, and then went on to understanding what had caused these weaknesses, and what should be done to protect against them. Looking at some real-world examples of #securityfails was eye-opening, too!

Troy signing one of our Watchdogs

This was a big investment for us. Taking two days out of our development sprints is a huge deal, and we also flew in 20 of our international development colleagues to join us in Croydon. Thankfully the management team were totally supportive, and it was all extremely worthwhile. We learnt a lot, we had fun, and we were fed pizza!

If you’d like to find out more about the lengths we go to to protect our customers’ data, visit our trust center.

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Reblogged 4 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

dotmailer celebrates its first #PrideinLondon

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for many people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer. My colleague, Pam, experienced a very different professional life when she was living in her homeland of Italy. In fact, it’s only in the last year that Italy has passed same-sex civil unions after the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the country was in violation of Human Rights.

Pam moved to the UK in the hope that she could live and work in a country where she would be accepted for who she is. So, when she approached me about her plan to set up dotmailer’s first LGBT network, I jumped at the chance to be a part of it.

A culmination of events over the past year have taught me that many people do not get to enjoy the same sense of freedom and inclusivity as I do; just look at what’s going on in Chechnya and you realise that the world still has a long, long way to go. It makes events like LGBTQ Pride more important than ever in 2017.

Thanks to Pam’s dedication, we had the opportunity to take part in the Pride in London parade on the 8th July. And what an incredible day it was! 50 people from the dotfamily joined the 26,000-strong marchers through the centre of London, and the love and positivity from the crowd truly gave me hope for the future. Though after being close to the Disney float, we’re definitely upping our game for next year!

Here are some pics from the day…

Team dotLGBT – we were sending love and hope (but no emails on Saturday!)

 

Pam, the founder of dotLGBT and the star of the day

 

Parading through the streets of London

If you’re interested in joining in all the fun, we’re recruiting for lots of roles right now!

The post dotmailer celebrates its first #PrideinLondon appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 5 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

A first look @ the UK Digital Marketing Association (DMA) Email Tracking Report 2017

Sometimes a bit of that déjà vu feeling can be a giggle, but when repetition is costing you time and money, it’s a little less amusing.

We’ve just been given first access to The UK Digital Marketing Association (DMA) Email Tracking Report 2017, sponsored by dotmailer. Awesome statistics, actionable insights, and a little bit like something we read this time last year.

The good news is that email is still firmly seated atop the throne as consumers’ preferred marketing channel. In fact, according to the report, email use is still on the rise, with the DMA likening the act of checking your inbox to a routine as subconscious as brushing your teeth in the morning. That’s the kind of healthy recurrence we like to hear about.

And the bad news?

Email marketing is in danger of losing its crown. And the culprit? It’s not new laws, or poor technology, or pesky Millennials whining and moaning and taking everything for granted…

It’s relevancy.

Back in yesteryear, our Client Services Director Skip Fidura wrote a blog post to accompany the recently published DMA Email Tracking Report 2015, detailing a call to action for the prioritization of relevant content in email marketing campaigns. 63% of the 2016 versions of our consumers had said: “Most of the marketing emails I receive include NO content or offers that are of interest to me.” Subject lines were generic, offers were universal, and content was characterless. We all took note; relevancy needed to be improved if email marketing was going to continue to top the charts.

So why are we now looking at a 5% rise in consumers failing to identify the relevancy of our campaigns? 68% now agree with the above statement, and 84% now find less than half of their emails ‘interesting or relevant’. And that’s if they even get to the campaign itself; the DMA Email Tracker Report 2017 reveals that only 6% of consumers opened and read all of their emails – 67% read fewer than half. This is hardly a surprising statistic, when you consider that most feel there’s nothing of worth to them inside.

Email marketers are losing their customers’ trust because they’re not able to prove that they know how to engage with them. When you don’t feel like somebody knows you, you’re not going to open up, invite them in for a cup of tea, give them the nice biscuits with chocolate on. And if you feel like someone else is making a better attempt to get to know you, you’re going to turn your attention to them. It’s that simple.

Is it that we just don’t like “simple”?

Why is it that we haven’t yet cracked relevancy in email marketing campaigns, when we’ve got the tools at our fingertips? We can track consumer behavior; we can segment our contact lists by gender, location, and shoe size (if appropriate) we can test subject lines, copy, images and layout at the click of a button, and all of this data can be fed into a campaign that reaches Mrs. Smith when she gets home at 7pm on a Monday and starts surfing for size six shoes.

We need to start effectively using the tools that are available to us.

What can you do before the year is out?

Ask if you are relevant – When we released last year’s results, one of our clients took some of the key metrics, built them into a survey and asked her recipients the same questions. It would be inappropriate to share what she found but it was interesting to compare the responses from her recipients with those of the average consumer.

Pay your data some attention – If you have gaps in your database, create a campaign via email or on your website that seeks to gain a better picture of both your prospects and your customers. Alternatively, you can connect your email platform to your CRM or e-commerce software to get access to live customer data

Strategize your segmentation – Dividing by two and hoping for the best hasn’t worked since school, so start thinking about what your brand can offer to different consumers, and create intelligent segments based on your results. Quizzes, competitions, and preference surveys are a great way to collect additional explicit data, on top of implicit data such as order history and behavioral data.

Think harder about context – You need to keep up to date with what’s happening with your different audiences. Got an internationally active brand? Make sure your content is going to be relevant to everyone – and don’t forget about delivering your emails at a time that the recipient is likely to be looking at email or at least be awake. dotmailer’s Send Time Optimization feature gets your message to your recipient’s inbox at the time that is best for them.

Split-test ‘til the cows come home – Performing a split-test is a brilliant way to find out what works for your brand in a time-effective manner. You can afford to be creative when your ideas are backed up by intelligent reporting.

What can you put in place for 2017?

Get better insight – dotmailer’s WebInsight tool lets you track prospects’ and customers’ online behaviors. You can then use the data you receive to send relevant, automated campaigns that “react” to your recipients most recent actions on your site.

Nurture your valued customers – With a tool like dotmailer’s OrderInsight, you can quickly and easily data-mine your customers to identify those highest scoring by frequency and value of purchase, as well as product category. Then design a targeted appreciation campaign for your most valued segments in minutes using our drag-and-drop segmentation tool.

Get to know our friends – We’ve got the top pick of partners to boost campaign relevancy. Phrasee gives you the insight on what subject lines will perform best for you, Sweet Tooth is the number one platform for points based loyalty programs, and Moveable Ink eats real-time relevancy for breakfast.

Want to get more of the most up-to-date data on the habits of email consumers? Book now for the 2017 DMA Email Tracking Report launch!

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.dotmailer.com

[INTERVIEW] Tink Taylor speaks at Indonesia’s first Meet Magento conference

In your own words, what is Meet Magento all about?

Meet Magento is a global not for profit phenomena. It pulls together the various elements of the community, which includes merchants, technology providers and agencies, right through to system integrators. Because of the love for Magento in the wider ecommerce world, these kinds of meet-ups have been put together over a number of years and they’ve really grown traction.

It’s fantastic to see Magento, now that it’s an independent organization, being able to attend and   augment this community of events. It was really good to be there with Ben Marks, Magento’s Product Evangelist and other speakers including Mike Doyle, Magento’s Enterprise Sales Manager for South-East Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

We’ve attended and spoken at various other Meet Magento events globally – including London, New York who we have hosted in our dotmailer offices and most recently Sydney. And as we expand our global remit, and Magento does too, then our attention turns to Asia. As one of Magento’s Premier partners, it’s important for us to work closely with the team, particularly as they look to expand their operations into the region.

For instance, I’m going to be speaking at one of Meet Magento’s next events in Vietnam run by Smart OSC  and they’re expecting something like 500-1,000 attendees! Shortly followed my Magentocom session in Shanghai China, run by Bluecom. The event in Jakarta, which was hosted by ICUBE, attracted around 300 delegates – even national TV broadcasters and finance ministers came along.

Why do you think Indonesia presents a big opportunity for ecommerce success?

While I was at the event, there was one statistic I heard during Acommerce’s presentation that really stood out for me. A lot of ecommerce is done out of Indonesia, into South-East Asia, and what strikes me is the huge opportunity. The size of South-East Asia in terms of ecommerce possibility is that it’s twice the size of the United States, and the third-largest combined economy in the world – behind China and India.

Tink and the Meet Magento speaker line-up

What did you speak about at Meet Magento and why?

I spoke about the 10 revenue-driving email programs for merchants. Simply, this is the number one piece of content that resonates around the world – including in the states, in the UK and in Australia.

When a retailer is buying a piece of software, they often have so many different requirements in their RFP document. But when they finally make their purchase and get the platform, they don’t know where to start or what to do with it! It’s a bit like getting writer’s block.

The 10 email programs guide gives online retailers a real starting point, because it highlights the top programs that are proven to make revenue and bring ROI. If you don’t begin with these, you’re effectively leaving money on the table. What’s more, they’re all simple to set up in our platform because it’s so easy to use, unlike some of our competitors. But if you haven’t got the time or inclination to set them up, we can offer it as a service or use one of our local partners who are fully trained.

Once online retailers have implemented those, we’re here to talk to them about their business and help them identify other automations that could make sense.

Who did you meet at the event?

As I mentioned earlier, the mixture of people at Meet Magento included Magento users, tech partners, solution partners, Magento themselves and, of course, retailers.

It was really good to meet some of the solution partners we’ve been in discussions with; it’s always much nicer to speak to people face-to-face and engage with the senior executives. It was also encouraging to speak to smaller yet growing retailers who’ve been doing the basics of ecommerce and email, and are now ready to take the next leap. Naturally, the logical move would be for them to consider dotmailer and Magento 2.

There were lots of technical integrators in attendance, who wire products together, which was really interesting. They were keen to speak to us because of dotmailer’s email automation tools and the level of sophistication we offer.

We’ve also got conversations going on with several new partners and we’re in the process of signing them up.

What were the three most interesting things you heard or learnt at #MM16?

  • The size of the ecommerce market and consequently the opportunities
  • The expected penetration of mobile devices is significantly higher in Asia than in other areas of the world
  • A shift in readiness of merchants who are set to adopt Magento 2 – and now we’re on 2.1, and almost 2.2, people are more comfortable and confident

What’s next? Tink will be speaking at Shop.org Dallas at our partner Absolunet’s event and then again at Meet Magento Vietnam next month. He’ll also be attending Dreamforce in early October as well as a number of other events. Keep your eyes peeled on the blog for updates.

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Is a big Google search update happening? Chatter thinks so.

The SEO community is vigorously talking about two Google updates, one with the core web search results and one with the local pack results.

The post Is a big Google search update happening? Chatter thinks so. appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 1 year ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

Darryl, the man behind dotmailer’s Custom Technical Solutions team

Why did you decide to come to dotmailer?

I first got to know dotmailer when the company was just a bunch of young enthusiastic web developers called Ellipsis Media back in 1999. I was introduced by one of my suppliers and we decided to bring them on board to build a recruitment website for one of our clients. That client was Amnesty International and the job role was Secretary General. Not bad for a Croydon company whose biggest client before that was Scobles the plumber’s merchants. So, I was probably dotmailer’s first ever corporate client! After that, I used dotmailer at each company I worked for and then one day they approached a colleague and me and asked us if we wanted to work for them. That was 2013.  We grabbed the opportunity with both hands and haven’t looked back since.

Tell us a bit about your role

I’m the Global Head of Technical Solutions which actually gives me responsibility for 2 teams. First, Custom Technical Solutions (CTS), who build bespoke applications and tools for customers that allow them to integrate more closely with dotmailer and make life easier. Second, Technical Pre-sales, which spans our 3 territories (EMEA, US and APAC) and works with prospective and existing clients to figure out the best solution and fit within dotmailer.

What accomplishments are you most proud of from your dotmailer time so far?

I would say so far it has to be helping to turn the CTS team from just 2 people into a group of 7 highly skilled and dedicated men and women who have become an intrinsic and valued part of the dotmailer organization. Also I really enjoy being part of the Senior Technical Management team. Here we have the ability to influence the direction and structure of the platform on a daily basis.

Meet Darryl Clark – the cheese and peanut butter sandwich lover

Can you speak a bit about your background and that of your team? What experience and expertise is required to join this team?

My background is quite diverse from a stint in the Army, through design college, web development, business analysis to heading up my current teams. I would say the most valuable skill that I have is being highly analytical. I love nothing more than listening to a client’s requirements and digging deep to work out how we can answer these if not exceed them.

As a team, we love nothing more than brainstorming our ideas. Every member has a valid input and we listen. Everyone has the opportunity to influence what we do and our motto is “there is no such thing as a stupid question.”

To work in my teams you have to be analytical but open minded to the fact that other people may have a better answer than you. Embrace other people’s input and use it to give our clients the best possible solution. We are hugely detail conscious, but have to be acutely aware that we need to tailor what we say to our audience so being able to talk to anyone at any level is hugely valuable.

How much of the dotmailer platform is easily customizable and when does it cross over into something that requires your team’s expertise? How much time is spent on these custom solutions one-time or ongoing?

I’ll let you in on a little secret here. We don’t actually do anything that our customers can’t do with dotmailer given the right knowledge and resources. This is because we build all of our solutions using the dotmailer public API. The API has hundreds of methods in both SOAP and REST versions, which allows you to do a huge amount with the dotmailer platform. We do have a vast amount of experience and knowledge in the team so we may well be able to build a solution quicker than our customers. We are more than happy to help them and their development teams build a solution using us on a consultancy basis to lessen the steepness of the learning curve.

Our aim when building a solution for a customer is that it runs silently in the background and does what it should without any fuss.

What are your plans for the Custom Tech Solutions team going forward?

The great thing about Custom Technical Solutions is you never know what is around the corner as our customers have very diverse needs. What we are concentrating on at the moment is refining our processes to ensure that they are as streamlined as possible and allow us to give as much information to the customer as we can. We are also always looking at the technology and coding approaches that we use to make sure that we build the most innovative and robust solutions.

We are also looking at our external marketing and sharing our knowledge through blogs so keep an eye on the website for our insights.

What are the most common questions that you get when speaking to a prospective customer?

Most questions seem to revolve around reassurance such as “Have you done this before?”, “How safe is my data?”, “What about security?”, “Can you talk to my developers?”, “Do I need to do anything?”.  In most instances, we are the ones asking the questions as we need to find out information as soon as possible so that we can analyse it to ensure that we have the right detail to provide the right solution.

Can you tell us about the dotmailer differentiators you highlight when speaking to prospective customers that seem to really resonate?

We talk a lot about working with best of breed so for example a customer can use our Channel Extensions in automation programs to fire out an SMS to a contact using their existing provider. We don’t force customers down one route, we like to let them decide for themselves.

Also, I really like to emphasize the fact that there is always more than one way to do something within the dotmailer platform. This means we can usually find a way to do something that works for a client within the platform. If not, then we call in CTS to work out if there is a way that we can build something that will — whether this is automating uploads for a small client or mass sending from thousands of child accounts for an enterprise level one.

What do you see as the future of marketing automation technology?  Will one size ever fit all? Or more customization going forward?

The 64 million dollar question. One size will never fit all. Companies and their systems are too organic for that. There isn’t one car that suits every driver or one racquet that suits every sport. Working with a top drawer partner network and building our system to be as open as possible from an integration perspective means that our customers can make dotmailer mold to their business and not the other way round…and adding to that the fact that we are building lots of features in the platform that will blow your socks off.

Tell us a bit about yourself – favorite sports team, favorite food, guilty pleasure, favorite band, favorite vacation spot?

I’m a dyed in the wool Gooner (aka Arsenal Football Club fan) thanks to my Grandfather leading me down the right path as a child. If you are still reading this after that bombshell, then food-wise I pretty much like everything apart from coriander which as far as I’m concerned is the Devils own spawn. I don’t really have a favorite band, but am partial to a bit of Level 42 and Kings of Leon and you will also find me listening to 90s drum and bass and proper old school hip hop. My favorite holiday destination is any decent villa that I can relax in and spend time with my family and I went to Paris recently and loved that. Guilty pleasure – well that probably has to be confessing to liking Coldplay or the fact that my favorite sandwich is peanut butter, cheese and salad cream. Go on try it, you’ll love it.

Want to meet more of the dotmailer team? Say hi to Darren Hockley, Global Head of Support, and Dan Morris, EVP for North America.

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Local citations are dead; long live local citations!

Local citations are often thought to be the bread and butter of local SEO, but are we placing too much importance on them? Columnist Andrew Shotland discusses the results of a study which suggests we might be.

The post Local citations are dead; long live local citations! appeared first on Search…

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Reblogged 1 year ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

Google updates local reviews schema guidelines

Now only reviews “directly produced by your site” can have local reviews markup, according to Google.

The post Google updates local reviews schema guidelines appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 1 year ago from feeds.searchengineland.com