Maximize your email delivery this holiday season

Email delivery is a tricky subject matter, and we never want to understand it more than during periods where we’re sending mass emails. This question from my line manager on a Friday afternoon started an interesting conversation for the delivery operations and deliverability teams. My first thought (well, not my first thought – that was the witty reply of “Saturday”, and much chortling ensued) was that they must be my least favorite American imports: Black Friday and its bumbling step-sibling, Cyber Monday.

I was pretty surprised to find out that it’s actually Singles Day on November 11th, a popular shopping day for our friends in the Asia-Pacific region. This year Alibaba set the record with sales surpassing $30.8 billion in just 24 hours.

We’re not yet on board with Singles Day here in Europe, but UK retailers and consumers have embraced the aforementioned Thanksgiving weekend as an opportunity for pre-Christmas sales and bargains. This means emails. Lots and lots and LOTS of emails.

During busy periods, recipients receive so many emails that marketers have to vie for their attention. This kind of inbox exhaustion is a known challenge. But another common sentiment we hear from customers during the festive period is, “why is it taking so long to deliver my emails?”

Delays can be frustrating, especially if you’re sending time-sensitive emails for short-lived sales. So, why do delays occur and what can you do to avoid them?

Queues aren’t just a British thing

In email delivery, queuing happens in two places: on the mailserver sending out the emails and on the mailserver receiving the emails.

When sending emails, the server has to wait for an IP address to have an available outbound connection opportunity, then connect to the recipient mailserver, and finally deliver the email to that recipient server. While waiting for available IPs, the mailserver will create queues of emails which are all going to the same domain (gmail.com, hotmail.com, etc.) so that it’s ready when a connection becomes available to push as many emails through that connection as it can.

On the receiving end, the servers have the unenviable task of taking those inbound emails and making sure they end up in the correct inboxes. During this process, the emails are checked by filtering tools and algorithms to ensure they’re wanted mail. Queues will be created of emails waiting to be checked for spam, to then be allocated to the correct inbox, etc. Mailbox providers prioritize person-to-person communications (that thanksgiving update you sent to your grandma) over bulk marketing communications.

Just think of it like traffic: you have cars queuing at the barriers to exit parking lot A and get onto the road to their destination. There are only a certain number of exits and the road outside is busy, so they have to wait their turn. When they get to parking lot B, they have to queue for a security check and then queue to park on the right level and in the right space.

Email delivery gridlock

In general, when sending out emails, the more IPs you have the faster emails can be transmitted to a receiving mailserver. However, there are some pretty hefty caveats that apply on a day-to-day basis, even outside of the Black Friday/Cyber Monday and festive periods.

For example, most mailbox providers will apply various fair-usage limits on the number of inbound connections, the number of messages that can be sent per connection, the total number of messages they’ll accept per minute/hour/day, etc. These limits are often lower for IPs/domains which have poorer reputations and higher for those with better reputations, but most will have a cap — even for the best senders.

What happens when email volume is high?

It’s possible, and has happened historically, that receiving mailservers can be overwhelmed by the volume of email being sent during busy periods. When experiencing a high load, they may be more restrictive on the number of connections they’ll accept — even from IPs with excellent reputations.

When mailbox providers are telling our mailservers that they’re under high load, we automatically reduce our send rates and the number of connections we’re making. This slows down sending and lengthens queues, but it means that we’re less likely to irritate a mailbox provider to the point where they throttle the sending IPs (i.e. impose their own, even more severe, rate limits) or block them outright. Our system can detect when things are back to normal and send rates will increase again.

Even after emails have been accepted by receivers, during busy periods they may have enormous queues waiting for their filtering and allocation tools to check emails for spam and actually get them to the inbox. This is where person-to-person prioritization comes in: you might be able to send a single test email from your work Office 365 account to your personal gmail account and it’s delivered in seconds, but marketing emails from your ESP could take much longer. This is because recipients are more likely to complain to their mailbox provider about delays in receiving an email from their niece than complain about a delay in receiving a marketing email.

What you can do about email delivery

Firstly, choose a responsible ESP that understands the challenges of busy periods and has the ability to scale up during times of high load. Our deliverability operations team has been hard at work all year, expanding the number of IPs in use and bolstering our sending infrastructure.

Secondly, put yourself in the shoes of the person receiving your emails. Just spend 10 minutes in your own personal inbox, being overwhelmed by the influx of marketing emails. Have some empathy for your recipients and use targeting and segmentation to send something really interesting to people who are likely to engage with your emails.

Finally, and most importantly, be sympathetic with mailbox providers. Their goal is to provide the best experience to their users and during busy festive periods they manage queues and prioritize accordingly. Don’t leave campaigns until the last minute; instead, think about spreading your sends out over a few hours or days. Every email you send to gmail or Hotmail or Yahoo uses up some amount of processing power and then some amount of storage space – and you don’t pay for that. Be patient and learn from experiences this holiday season to inform your future strategies.


Want more hands-on advice on email deliverability? Download our 101 guide here.

The post Maximize your email delivery this holiday season appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 1 week ago from blog.dotdigital.com

5 tactics to convert holiday bargain hunters into year-round shoppers

Using data pulled from Engagement Cloud, we found three key
trends occurring across our wide range of customers during the Black Friday
weekend:

  1. Inactive customers are eagerly re-engaging with
    brands
  2. New customers are more like to become inactive
    after the sales are over
  3. Brand champions are hard to engage during the
    sales period

Armed with this knowledge, identifying the segments you need to target is easier. Using RFM persona movement tracker, you can keep a close eye on how successfully you’re converting holiday shoppers to repeat buyers.

Convert holiday shoppers

The return of the inactive customer

Inactive customers are a key segment you should be keeping a constant eye on. During the Black Friday weekend, you’re most likely to see a larger proportion of these shoppers moving from inactive to recent purchasers. As they’ve already interacted with you before, you don’t need to earn their trust, which makes it easier for them to convert.

But that isn’t enough. We want to keep them coming back, long after the sales are over. Adopting new tactics will help ensure these shoppers don’t relapse back into your inactive segment.

Advanced personalization

Beyond basic first name personalization, tap
into the data you already have. As existing customers, you’ll have a wide range
of information on them, from order insights to shipping address. You can use
this in your sales emails to deliver a delightfully personal experience.

Order insight or browsing behavior can be used to populate product recommendations blocks. Highlight products similar to those they’ve already bought, or items that complement a previous purchase.

Dynamic content can pull in specific messages based on data such as location. This can be used to push shoppers to their local stores or encourage in-store collection. By driving them to your brick-and-mortar store, you’ll increase the chances of shoppers making additional spontaneous purchases.

Modern customers demand special experiences from brands. Not receiving personalized communications is one of the key factors that drive shoppers to inactivity. Therefore, it’s important you put your data to work.

When inactive customers aren’t engaging
with your emails it’s time to try a new channel.

New channels

If you haven’t already acquired customers’
phone numbers, Black Friday is the perfect time to do this. With this extra
piece of information, you have a chance to opt inactive customers into
marketing channels such as SMS.

The powerful impact of SMS marketing is unmistakable. With 95% of messages being opened and read within 5 minutes, it’s the perfect channel for flash sales and limited-time offers. You can target customers with unique discount codes regularly throughout the year to keep them from lapsing back into inactivity.

For customers who need some incentive to shop, this is the perfect tactic, as it catches them whenever and wherever they are, without the need for them to sift through their emails to find you.

Get new customer ready

One of the key advantages of the Black Friday weekend is
that new customers are on the hunt for a deal. If you win their business, then
you have new names in your database.

Unfortunately, these new customers are twice as likely to
abandon you after they’ve bought your goods or services. In order to keep them
active, you need to ensure you’re nurturing them. Automation is key to keep
them engaged.

And, as an added bonus, it saves both time and money for you and your team.

The welcome program

Welcome programs are essential for every new customer. During the Black Friday sales period, you need to take extra effort to introduce your brand. Storytelling is essential here. People remember stories better than stats and evoking an emotional response will keep your brand at the forefront of shoppers’ minds.

Enroll new customers onto your welcome program as your competitors bring their sales to a close. Shoppers’ inboxes will be quietening down, so this is the time to get yourself heard. Demonstrating your brand’s personality and USPs will help keep new customers engaged, post-sale.

Loyalty programs

Now that your new customers are through the door, the hard work begins. You need to give new shoppers a reason to keep coming back. Beyond connecting with your brand, customers need an incentive to stay loyal.

As part of your welcome series, introduce your loyalty program and outline the benefits of joining. This is a great way of collecting more data on your new customers. Whether you’re collecting dates for exclusive birthday offers or favorite products or hobbies, customers are happy to hand over their personal data if they feel like they’re benefitting from the relationship.

These key automations will keep new customers engaged. As a result, you’ll have more opportunity to develop a relationship with them. Once you have a relationship established, converting throughout the year will be easier.

Loyalty: hard to earn, easy to lose

Loyalty can be hard to earn from modern shoppers. They have
hundreds of choices waiting for them with the click of a button or tap of a
screen. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

A strong brand story, teamed with a rewarding and engaging loyalty program, will keep customers coming back. But Black Friday can be a tricky time for these engaged shoppers. They’re already choosing you over your competitors time and again, so don’t bore them with endless sales emails. Using these intelligent tactics, you can keep your loyal shoppers engaged throughout the Black Friday sales period.

Personal journeys

As loyal customers, these subscribers are
shopping with you frequently, or on a regular basis. It’s therefore fair to
assume that these shoppers are not going to be as engaged with your Black
Friday comms as new or returning customers. To ensure you don’t cause these
shoppers to switch off, it’s essential you take them on a separate journey to
the rest of your database.

Make sure this segment is still enrolled in
your regular marketing messages to keep them connected to the brand. It also
reduces the risk of them finding something they’ve already purchased in your
sale. Your Black Friday sales tactics should instead focus on giving them
something ‘exclusive’.

This could take the form of early access to pre-sale content or an extra 10% off sale items. Whichever tactic you choose, it’s important these shoppers feel special and aren’t overwhelmed by sales marketing.

Giving back

‘Tis the season for giving after all, so
why not treat your loyal customers to something special. These treats are what’ll
tip your loyal customers into champions. As champions, they’ll spread the word
about your brand, by word of mouth, across social media and through reviews.

To do this, offer loyal customers something like free shipping for the year, or VIP prices on high ticket items if they make a purchase during Black Friday weekend. This will give them a greater incentive to keep returning to your brand, as well as contribute to your Black Friday revenue.  

Convert holiday shoppers

To say the holiday season is frantic is an understatement –
especially for anyone working in ecommerce. But there are many opportunities out
there to massively shift your customer database.

What’s essential is that you track the movement of your shoppers. Using Engagement Cloud’s RFM persona tracker, you can gain clear insight into the behavior of your customers. This will help you determine the perfect journeys for every segment which will keep them engaged for longer.


Keep reading

Supercharge your marketing communications with in-store customer data
The beginner's guide of email marketing automation

The post 5 tactics to convert holiday bargain hunters into year-round shoppers appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 1 week ago from blog.dotdigital.com

Evolving RFM analysis for retailers this holiday season

A natural extension of the Pareto principle which tells us that 80% of sales typically come from 20% of clients, RFM goes further to better understand the behavior of customers, and how best to convert them. Dedicated innovators, at dotdigital, we’ve gone that one step further again. For businesses interested in behavior-based targeting and reporting, Engagement Cloud makes these activities possible with its customer dashboard and contact segment builder.

When interviewing retailers about RFM, they challenged us to
go deeper and help them understand customer behaviour over time. Taking this
back to our teams working on data science, we could not have been happier. We
were already thinking and prototyping ideas in this area and were convinced of
its value.

Some examples of what retailers were interested in included:

  • Examining how the number of at-risk customers
    changes over time;
  • Tracking the effects of a two-month marketing
    campaign focused on increasing customer loyalty;
  • Targeting new customers who have become inactive
    in a specific time frame;
  • Seeing where loyal customers come from.

We knew, with Black Friday on the horizon and moving into Q4,
that these items were going to be more important than ever. What’s more, during
the holiday season, your customers don’t act in the same way they do the rest
of the year round. We needed a report that would be as diverse as your
customers’ behaviour.

To visualize this in a concise and attractive way, we chose to use a Sankey diagram.

The Sankey diagram’s origins date back to steam engines,
where the first one was used to show the movement of thermal energy through a
system. Today their use is incredibly widespread. From tracking energy production to
tracking voting habits – Sankeys are popping up everywhere.
Their use is not always appropriate, or enlightening of the data being
presented, but Sankeys are a great fit for our analysis of A-to-B movement.

Our persona movement report is designed to be interactive.
Hovering over a starting persona shows pipes representing destinations;
hovering over a destination persona shows pipes representing sources. Finally,
you can hover over a discrete pipe to see the contacts moving between a source
and a destination. The pipe is clickable, allowing you to dial in a contact
segment and target customers who made that specific movement in the specified
time frame.

In addition to the Sankey, our movement report also tracks the population size changes for each RFM persona between two time periods.

Another great thing to note here as we head into Halloween, Thanksgiving
and beyond is just how robust our RFM model is. It’s not just your customers
that change in the holiday season, it’s your definition of these RFM personas
themselves. Because they are defined by segmented pots with assigned values of
1-5, the goal posts are always shifting. A valuable purchase in August of £50
might be a drop in the ocean compared to the larger spends in November on Black
Friday, so the model must, and does, react and respond accordingly.

Being armed by persona movement reports on top of this means
you have a better idea of your customers (and therefore better plans of action)
across 12 months, instead of writing off valuable data because of seasonal
abnormalities. 

You already know that customers behave in different ways. The data is clear just by looking at your retail dashboard. But do you treat them differently even after knowing this? And how do you do that? Well, it’s true that persona movement reports won’t help you come up the amazing personalization that you, as a marketer, are so good at. But it will empower you to improve re-targeting, measure what’s working, and give you the kind of insight that inspires great campaigns; ones that are every bit as unique and diverse as your customers.

Start sending smarter messages now. Download out factsheet on Commerce Intelligence here.

The post Evolving RFM analysis for retailers this holiday season appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 1 month ago from blog.dotdigital.com

The 2019 Holiday Checklist for Local SEO Heroes

Posted by MiriamEllis



Right now, the shoppers nearest you are making some pretty long gift lists. US holiday sales are predicted to surpass $1.1 trillion, with 4.5–5% growth between November–January. That’s a lot of gadgets, garments, games, goodies, and gizmos to bought and sold.

Winter weather and long lines will be braved, traffic endured, tired feet soaked, and patience tested in the search for the perfect gift for everyone on everyone’s list. Holiday shopping can and should be cheery, but sometimes it can be a bit of an overload. The end of the year can put local businesses back in the black, but it can be kind of stressful, too.

And that’s why local business marketers need a list of their own. Your agency can be holiday heroes, both to clients and their customers. An organized approach can ensure that no mom with three kids in tow is inconvenienced by a wrong address on a Facebook listing, and no dad is doomed to wander lonely aisles for hours with no help in sight. Strategic planning can save your clients, too, from total holiday frazzle.

Be of good cheer! Download the Moz Holiday Local SEO Checklist, share it with each of your clients, and plan for reputation, rankings, and revenue to rise as a result of your well-orchestrated campaign:

Get your free copy!

Holiday marketing success in 3 segments

Part 1: The client

The local business owner provides the basic, raw materials and agrees to being ready with:

  • Knowledge of their customers and market
  • Sufficient, well-trained staff
  • Front door and indoor signage explaining hours and support availability for complaints
  • Adequate stock
  • Content for marketing
  • A joint commitment to ongoing local listing/social engagement during the holiday season

Part 2: The local marketing agency

Your agency knits up the online picture of local businesses and is ready with:

  • Accurate, complete, persuasive local business listings
  • Unique marketing ideas to set the client apart
  • A joint commitment to ongoing local listing/social engagement during the holiday season
  • Publication of holiday content, on time and in the right places
  • Analytics and post-holiday analysis

Part 3: The customer

The shopper is aided along their merry way by:

  • A great online experience
  • A great offline experience
  • An overall experience that’s exceptional enough to inspire them to leave a review, recommend the business via WoM, and return for more shopping after New Year’s Day.

A lot of time and care goes into crafting happy holiday customers. Ready for a detailed list of the finer points that could take your agency’s reputation to heroic proportions as we put a bow on 2019?

Download the holiday checklist!

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

Reblogged 2 months ago from tracking.feedpress.it

Get your holiday campaigns wrapped up early this year

The holidays will be here before we know it, so it’s important you’re as prepared as possible. But what are you preparing for? Well, that depends on your audience and your market but here are just a few of the big days coming up:

  •  Halloween and Día de Muertos (Oct 31)
  • Bonfire Night in the UK (Nov 5)
  • Diwali (Nov 7)
  • Singles Day in China (Nov 11)
  • Thanksgiving (Nov 22)
  • Black Friday (Nov 23)
  • Small Business Saturday in the US (Nov 24)
  • Cyber Monday (Nov 26)
  • Small Business Saturday in the UK (Dec 1)
  • Hanukkah (Dec 2-10)
  • Green Monday (Dec 10)
  • Free Shipping Day (Dec 14)
  • Ugly Sweater Day (Dec 21)
  • Panic Saturday (Dec 22)
  • Christmas Eve (Dec 24)
  • Christmas Day (Dec 25)
  • Boxing Day and Kwanzaa (Dec 26)
  • New Year’s Eve (Dec 31)

On top of all that, you’ve also got to make yourself stand out in overcrowded inboxes. But have no fear, we’ve got some handy tips to help make sure your customers sit up and take notice this season.

1.) Go all in

Our first tip: dive straight in the deep end.

Halloween, Thanksgiving or Ugly Sweater Day. Whichever it is, go all in if you’re planning on including them in your marketing plan.

M.A.C and Land’s End are perfect examples of brands fully embracing the day.

M.A.C aims to inspire its make-up loving followers with this ghost bride costume, just in time for the big day. The brand highlights all the products needed to recreate this ethereal look by breaking it down in the email. On the other side, the shopper’s journey is simple and quick to complete.


Lands' End Halloween email

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lands’ End knows just how to make their emails jump out of the inbox. Getting into the spirit of things, it offers customers a spooktacular 31% off for one day only, October 31. The brand’s awesome combination of creepy elements is simply bewitching.

2.) Get creative

During the holidays it’s very easy to fall into the typical of tropes. Customers will be drowning in images of Christmas trees and falling snow and big sale signs. Try to think outside of the box.

Some of our favorite designs use the ordinary and make them extraordinary.

Australian shoe retailers, Spendless Shoes, did this to perfection last year. The beauty of this email lies in its simplicity. The brand’s focus is on the hottest trend of the year. It’s given a seasonal spin by organizing its products in the shape of a Christmas tree. Festive, without being stereotypical about it. 😍

Spendless Shoe holiday email

In this one, Alternative Apparel took its Cyber Monday email to a whole new dimension. Who wouldn’t be surprised and delighted to find a Space Invaders-themed email in their inbox? The brand also manages to showcase its Cyber Monday deal without having to say the word ‘sale. An all-round winner!

3) It’s not all or nothing

Tip number three: sales don’t have to be the center of your holiday campaign.

It’s true, a big, bold SALE sticker is going to catch the shoppers eye but that doesn’t guarantee their business. In fact, with so many sale emails flooding their inbox, they’re more likely to delete it than take notice.

That’s not to say don’t use deals, sales and special offers at all. Instead, break up these sends with other content. It’s important to consider what your audience might be doing. What angle are you taking to appeal to them?

Missguided email

In this email from Missguided, the brand’s chosen to focus on the party season over gift hunting.  This guide lines up some perfect picks depending on the readers’ plans for the festive season. It’s copy if fun and the decision to go pink certainly helps it stand out amongst typical Christmas emails.

Jo Malone email

Jo Malone looks to last-minute shoppers instead. It’s all about delighting customers with its simple solution: find your closest boutique. To keep it festive, its included an ever-so-subtle champagne glass Christmas tree. We also love the bright pops of color which you don’t often see in the fall and winter. This one’s a real crowd pleaser, and all without talking about discounts anywhere!

4) Lend a helping hand

When your customers aren’t partying or visiting family or eating too much food, you’ll find them at the shops. They’re frantically shopping, weighed down with bags, still hunting for that perfect gift.

To have a massive impact with your subscribers, try to be as helpful as you can. For many, this can be a stressful time, so helping them out can make the world of difference.

Brit+Co email

This email from Brit+Co is certainly eye-catching. It perfectly sets the scene for its absurd, unexpected and delightful gift guide. It’s inspiring and perfect for those who still have no idea what to get someone. This guide has it covered, from the impossible-to-buy-for friend, to that brother who already has everything.

Tiffany emails

Tiffany take this further by creating personas for readers to browse. For the modernist, it’s curated a beautiful assortment of simple, elegant jewelry. The explorer focuses on men’s gifts and accessories in a perfectly thought through guide. We especially love the ‘Drop A Hint’ prompt at the end of the email. This makes the email perfect for the sender and the recipient.

5) Get some inspiration2018 Holiday Lookbook

For more inspiration, check out our holiday lookbook.
Get ahead of the game and start thinking about how you can make your emails stand out this season.

In the run up to the holidays, be sure to take advantage of the expertise our Professional Services team. With their help you can create beautiful, intelligent campaigns, just in time for the festive season. Get in touch with your Account Manager today to find out about the exclusive offers they have for you.

The post Get your holiday campaigns wrapped up early this year appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.dotmailer.com

The Local SEO Holiday Checklist – You Could Even Say It Glows

Posted by MiriamEllis

“You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Citations…”

If you’re in charge of the local search marketing for a business, you’ve got two groups to please at the holidays: your clients/superiors and consumers. You don’t want to be kicked out of the reindeer games on January 2nd, so let’s dive into an organized checklist of the most important things you can do to maximize outreach and profits in the coming weeks, making everyone (including you) a winner!


☑ Local business listings accurate

If you’re not already on top of this (maybe using SaaS like Moz Local to ensure your listings on the key platforms are accurate), potential shoppers may end up someplace other than your storefront. Weird versions of your name, old phone numbers, and former street addresses can misdirect your customers or contribute to your failure to be found in the local packs at all. The truth is, November can be a bit late to sign up for a local listing management product in time for holiday victories, so you may have to make fast manual fixes where you can. The Moz Check Listing tool can help you quickly hunt down inaccurate listings. Found a ton of them? Fix whatever data errors you can this year, and make a New Year’s Resolution you’ll keep to undertake professional citation management in Q1 so bad data isn’t still undermining sales and rankings in Q4 2018.

☑ Duplicate listings closed

Related to item one, if you didn’t get duplicates closed earlier in the year and Check Listing is showing you a bunch of them, the fact is that you may not get this completely squared away by the holidays. It can take weeks (sometimes months!) to get certain platforms to resolve duplicate listings. This is the case whether you’re doing it manually or via software, so do what you can as quickly as you can (Google can be surprisingly quick at this) and vow to get this task nailed down completely before the first jingle bell rings next year.

☑ Google My Business special hours added

Extended hours can make a fundamental difference in revenue, and happily, adding them to your GMB listing is a quick fix. Google offers this list of holidays for which they support special hours (including Kadooment Day which Google just taught me is a harvest festival in Barbados!) Here’s Google’s complete tutorial on adding special hours via a variety of methods, including mobile and bulk uploads. Accuracy across all locations matters, of course, as the last thing you want is to create negative brand impressions if customers arrive, gift-list in hand, only to find doors closed for the day. Negative brand impressions lead to negative reviews, which lead to negative trends in conversions, so check your own list of corporate-approved extended hours twice before adding them to GMB.

holidaylocalseo2.jpg

☑ Website pages updated

Doubtless, the brand you are marketing has plans for featuring holiday specials on its website, but while you’re adding extended hours to local business listings, be sure website landing pages/contact pages/home pages display updated hours, too, dispensing with potential confusion. Dealing with multiple locations? Landing pages are a great place to highlight holiday specials specific to certain branches of a business.

☑ Complaint-ready, both on and offline

While many people cherish seasonal shopping trips, others find the holidays to be stressful, and psychologists continue to weigh in on how proposed phenomena like Seasonal Affective Disorder factor into changes in winter mood. Suffice it to say that even the jolliest of us can get frazzled in a crowded shopping mall and may not be at our most forgiving when customer service lets us down. Don’t leave it up to chance whether unhappy shoppers will let disappointments go or vent their frustrations in a stinging and costly negative review.

Urge management to hold a first-time or refresher course to train all public-facing staff in complaint resolution, equipped with a clear hierarchy for escalating problems, and publish your complaint phone/text hotlline on in-store signage and on the company website. This holiday season, I highly recommend giving your clients or higher-ups the gift of Mike Blumenthal’s free eBook, Build a Better Business with Complaints to fully explore the vital role offline sentiment management plays in digital marketing.

☑ Google Posts brainstormed and ready to go

Speaking of gifts, Google is giving one in the form of microblogging right on your Knowledge Panel in 2017. Google Posts is a perfect way to instantly highlight your Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals, your philanthropic outreach, holiday events and other newsworthy items. There are so many options when it comes to social outreach, and other platforms may be stronger performers for you, but I’d use this year’s holiday season to experiment with the new Google Posts feature. Line up some short, exciting content and schedule it.

Best image size is around 750 x 750, only the first 100 characters appear live on your post, and posts stay live for 7 days, unless you schedule an event which will remain live until the event ends. For more tips, I recommend Joy Hawkins’ 12 Things to Know to Succeed with Google Posts.

☑ Other social media ready to go

Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, or Pinterest that your customers rely on most, having your messaging pre-planned the stress of last-minute scrambles to think of something to say. Make a spreadsheet and schedule for your outreach, refined down to the last pixel and character. And don’t just sell; look at how creative agencies told compelling social stories this time last year.

☑ Analytical tracking in place

UTM codes added to the links in your socially-promoted URLs? Google Analytics set up to help you analyze traffic and conversions to local landing pages? A nod to GMB Insights or your Moz Local dashboard’s Insights component so you can evaluate how many clicks-to-call, clicks-for-directions and clicks-to-website your listings are driving? What about call tracking that doesn’t interfere with NAP consistency? If tracking local campaigns is new to you, Nick Pierno’s recent post will get you started swiftly. The goal here is that, when the confetti settles, you’ve got data to analyze so that you can strategize for new-year improvements.

☑ Empathy engaged

It has been one rough year in North America. We’ve experienced life-altering man-made and natural disasters. Even if a given shopper hasn’t personally suffered losses in a fire or hurricane in 2017, chances are good in our interconnected society that they know someone who has. Sadly, these tragedies are going to be in the minds and hearts of many as they set out to make spirits bright for their loved ones this holiday season.

I can’t think of a better time to acknowledge reality and offer a proactive means of some consolation for everyone involved. Encourage clients and management to dig deep into their brand’s store of empathy, letting shoppers know that a percentage of sales or some other benefit is going towards relief and recovery in affected communities. Give people a chance to feel that they are taking care of neighbors while also taking care of their own. Knowing we can help is a powerful step along the healing path.


Good service is your guiding light!

The good news is, if you make a best effort at a lot of little things on the checklist in an organized fashion, they total up to a bright local business that’s covering its customer service bases. If there’s one thing the digital marketing industry has become increasingly aware of with each passing year, it’s how everything circles back to the customer.

holidaylocalse3.jpg

You can do this! If you can envision shoppers interacting both online and offline with the business you’re marketing, you can see how to serve them best, and seriously — then all the reindeer will love you — clients, customers, teammates, and CEOs included! Wishing you success and satisfaction in your work as we put a bow on 2017.

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

Reblogged 2 years ago from tracking.feedpress.it

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Get noticed with a winning subject line

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

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

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

 

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

  • Warm customers over time

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

 

 

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

 

  • Close sales like a pro

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

  • Rescue lapsed sales

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

[4] Litmus, 2017 State of email.

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

Reblogged 2 years ago from blog.dotmailer.com

A little bit of Christmas magic – Barbour’s heartwarming holiday campaign

At dotmailer, we love a creative challenge, so when Barbour approached us with their idea for a holiday email campaign, we couldn’t believe our luck; we must have been very good this year!

Barbour and Sons Ltd was founded in 1894, and is synonymous with waxed cotton and country wear, enjoying a reputation for quality and durability. Barbour is sold in over 40 countries worldwide and has over 30 of its own retail stores in the UK, Germany, US and Japan.

The brand also boasts an impressive email marketing initiative. Here’s an awesome statistic: by adding a popover to their website using dotmailer’s surveys and forms tool, the company grew its engaged contact list by 20,000 contacts in just three months! If you subscribe to their list, you’re in for a refreshing treat; the brand is keen to use their email marketing to inspire customers with their collections, rather than send out batch and blast, cut-price campaigns.

We’re ecstatic to announce that our four-year relationship with Barbour has reached new heights of success this holiday season. Working with dotmailer’s talented Creative & Managed Services team, the company has produced a wonderfully dynamic and festive marketing email to accompany their TV holiday campaign: The Snowman and the Snow Dog. Elaine Taylor, Barbour’s Global Ecommerce and Digital Manager, describes why dotmailer was the only choice for the company:

“This year’s Christmas campaign with The Snowman and The Snow Dog is the biggest we have undertaken and we really wanted every element of it to feel special.  We reached out to the guys at dotmailer to see if they could help us launch the holiday campaign with an email that was a little bit magical.”

Based on the famed story The Snowman by Raymond Briggs, the design for Barbour’s nostalgic advert provides a heart-warming sequel; the now grown main character and his dog, both clad in matching Barbour, recall a memorable bygone Christmas in the snow.

Our CMS team got stuck in with the illustrated assets, producing a holiday campaign that perfectly complements its TV counterpart; the design features an animated snowfall header and Snow Dog, an embedded video, and beautifully illustrated CTA blocks.

Elaine continued “We gave them a tight deadline but Brett (our key Account Director) and his team rose to the challenge and came up with some great ideas. The end result was a beautiful animated email designed to work on all devices that captured our theme perfectly. The email campaign went out on time and in the first four days generated a real buzz around the website and on social media.

The result was a real success. The overall campaign has already been seen by 2 million people online, including a whopping 1.2 million users on Facebook – a truly multi-channel achievement for the brand, and a fantastic experience for the dotmailer team.

The expertise, creativity and knowledge that the team at dotmailer brought to the project was fantastic and we wouldn’t have been able to produce something like this without them.”

Check out Barbour’s case study to find out more about the brand’s achievements using dotmailer.

 

 

 

The post A little bit of Christmas magic – Barbour’s heartwarming holiday campaign appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 2 years ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Holiday Email Marketing Q&A: Your Planning Questions Answered

Need help planning your holiday email campaign? You’re not alone. In our recent webinar, How to Get Holiday Ready: Your Festive Email Plan, Matthew Potter, Regional VP EMEA at Movable Ink and Skip Fidura, Client Service Director at dotmailer, talked about developing an email campaign that has the stamina to last the full holiday season.

We received lots of questions from attendees about how to plan their festive campaigns – everything from when to send to which type of email content works best. Skip and Matthew kindly compiled them all into this blog post. Here are your holiday questions, answered!

Q – How important is it to integrate a Christmas campaign with non-Christmas related content in the build up?

Matthew: As ‘Christmas’ comes further forward it is really important to add non-Christmas content into it. Your first campaign may be in September, personally I’m still only just getting over summer and I’m not ready for Christmas, so whilst you can seed it into my head, I really don’t want to only hear about Christmas for the next four months.

You should also consider the diversity of your client base, its is very difficult to discern religion, ethnicity, age, gender, marital status and more from an email address and people choose or choose not to celebrate a number of holidays. Most people like a discount or an offer, but not everyone responds to specific imagery and wording for a variety of holiday events.

Skip: Unlike Matt, I have started thinking about Christmas, not in any specific way, but in a, “I must be better organized this year” way. Now is the time to reinforce the breadth of your product line. If you typically segment on previous purchase, relax those rules a bit to give me new ideas rather than just focussing on what I have bought for myself in the past.

Q – What was your favorite festive campaign EVER? And why?

Matthew: Across Black Friday in 2014 and 2015 a US client of ours, ‘RadioShack’, did a truly innovative campaign. Their email detailed 24 deals in 24 hours. On opening the email the deal of the current hour was displayed. A timer showed how long this deal had to run and when the next one was due.

Finally, using a provided clue, recipients could tweet what they thought the next product on offer was going to be for the chance to win it. Recipients of the email re-opened it multiple times to see what the next reveal was and the people who only opened once saw the very latest content.

Skip: Call me sentimental but I always like the campaigns that remind me that the holidays are about spending time with friends and family and not all about “BUY THIS! BUY NOW!” More than any other time of year, campaigns that make my life easier through better customer service, reinforce that message AND get me to buy.

Q – When do you recommend sending the first holiday email?

Matthew: You haven’t sent it already? What are you waiting for? I think it is important to consider the content, why are you looking to send the email? What are you hoping the recipient will do with it? How long is your average purchase cycle? How considered a purchase is one of your products? What is the lead-time on delivery? What is your returns policy? If you are asking people to keep an eye out for specific dates, bookmark events, arrange delivery slots etc… you should send now as well.

If you are selling lower value impulse purchases, you can wait some time yet. The answer to this question unfortunately is ‘it depends’. However, as Skip and I both said during the webinar, do make sure you don’t leave it too late; evidence suggests the inbox will not be any less crowded this year, so don’t get lost in the noise.

Skip: When my wife and I first moved to the UK she always did our Christmas cards really early. At first it was to ensure they got there in time but after a year or two we realized that some family member would come over at Thanksgiving and we could send the cards back in their suitcase and save the overseas postage. The result for the recipients was a bit of envy for “how could she be so organized” but it also served as a reminder for them to do their own Christmas cards.

In addition to not leave it too late, Matt and I also stressed in the webinar that you should not treat the Christmas period as a series of discrete events but as a journey. For existing customers this is just a continuation of the relationship you have already built. For new customers, this should be the start of a series of purchases; not just a one-off. You should probably have already started planting the Christmas seeds even if you have not sent an email featuring a jolly man in a bright red suit.

Q – Are these percentages specific to a certain country/market or they are global? Black Friday figures vary wildly depending on niche and country.

Matthew: They are UK and US centric numbers. I completely agree that they can vary wildly by geography and a number of other variables and should only be used as a guide. Trends however, can be taken, some obvious, some less so. If you appreciate that there is a minimum 12 week extended purchasing period across the holiday season and that people will be buying for themselves and others, they will be buying across mobile and to a lesser extent desktop and they will not hold to brand loyalty unless you can provide an exceptional service (or price) then you will be thinking the right way.

These questions were submitted during the live recording of How to Get Holiday Ready: Your Festive Email Plan. The full recording is available to watch now.

Reblogged 3 years ago from blog.dotmailer.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 3 years ago from blog.dotmailer.com