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You can have an enticing website loaded with the latest features, offering a remarkable experience to the users. However, until and unless, your potential customers find you on Google and other popular search engines, you actually don’t exist for them. After hearing so, you may like to make your presence in the ever-evolving digital realm. … Continue reading “Top 4 SEO Tips That Will Help Your Website to Rank High in 2020”
Being part of such
a demanding and pressurized industry is not easy. For years, dotdigital has
been working to deliver solutions to many NFP pain points. That’s why Engagement
Cloud is the platform of choice for so many non-profit organizations. We decided
to unite our years of insight with the current trends in marketing and use cases
of the innovative work happening right now, in an event dedicated solely to
helping NFPs work smarter and deliver big.
(P.S. it was on a really big boat)
So, without any
further ado, here are the key takeaways we learned aboard HMS Belfast:
Make everything you do T.A.S.T.E-y
a not-for-profit organization, you’ve probably done extensive research into the
personas of your donors and volunteers. But, do you remember to apply it in your
Gavin Laugenie, Head of Strategy & Insight at dotdigital, broke down the simple tactics you can adopt to ensure your content makes an impact with every type of donor.
Without trust in your organization, no one is going to be willing to donate their time or money. NFPs, and charities, in particular, suffered massive blows to the amount of trust the public had in them in 2018. It’s more important than ever to the public that NFPs be open and honest about everything they do.
You need to continuously reinforce the message that your nonprofit will put resources to the best use. Whenever you’re publicly recognized in the press, or on social channels, be sure to include it in your emails. Especially in the early stages of the customers’ journey with you.
Altruism and a general concern for the wellbeing of others is considered to be the most powerful reason people decide to donate or volunteer for a charity.
this in your marketing. Include pictures of your volunteers at work. Create
videos of your work and your volunteers on the front line. Visuals like these
in your email marketing specifically can be very powerful. They show the real
impact you are making to your mission and spur your altruistic subscribers to contribute
in any way they can.
forget about the emotional connection people may have to your cause. It may be
that someone close to them cares about your mission or has been affected by it
personally. That’s often the reason married couples donate together, and friends
join fun runs as a group.
human stories that help people connect with your organization, and really drive
home the social impact their contributions have helped provide. Videos are particularly
impactful here. Just think about the impact the stories featured in Stand Up 2
Cancer have every year. If they can feel they can relate to your story, the more
likely they will be to get involved.
This may not feel like a natural reason, but it resonates with a lot of people today. Especially your high-value givers. Tax breaks for charitable giving are well established in countries such as the US, but in the UK, it more often than not comes in the form of the Gift Aid scheme. And, this is only really brought up when someone is already in the process of donating.
your email marketing, creating targeted campaigns around Gift Aid, especially
around the holiday season, is a great way of generating awareness and driving
People donate or volunteer because of the way it makes them feel. They might not want to phrase it that way, but these donors or volunteers experience a positive feeling similar to a buyer’s high when the act is charitable.
Make sure you say, ‘thank you’ and ‘you’ve made a real difference today’. It’s a great way to encourage these donors and volunteers to repeat their actions. Also, using language like ‘even a little bit makes a big difference’ or asking them to donate time, not money, can make people feel good, without stumbling over the issue of financial constraints.
Breaking the status quo
Jamie Walker and Najmah Salam are still relatively new to Help for Heroes, but they’re at the start of a very exciting journey.
Aware that email is an unbeatable channel to engage audiences and drive donations, they have looked at today’s savvy subscriber and decided that they needed to do something new. Audiences are constantly bombarded by marketing on every channel. Cutting through the noise as an NFP is even harder because you’re not just asking someone to read your email, but do something – really do something – too.
a result, they’ve decided to adopt a new approach – #respectheinbox.
how? And what does it mean?
Automate for humans
Some people worry automated emails take the human touch out of the message – but this really isn’t the case. You just have to make sure you do it well.
Adding ‘Meet the Team’ emails to your drip or welcome campaigns can create a personal connection with readers. Asking for feedback demonstrates the value you put in their opinions. RSS feeds give a live update of what’s happening in your organization. It also makes it easier for you to take readers on individual journeys based on whether they’re supporters or beneficiaries.
These are just some easy ways to keep your messages personal while saving you time to do what humans do best: create, invent, and innovate.
Less is more
Always be mindful of decision fatigue. The average office worker receives around 121 emails a day. Handheld devices are checked between 80 and 150 time a day. If you overwhelm your email with too much information, it’s simply not going to go in and your impact will be lost.
Keep emails short and punchy. If
you’re asking for donations, sign-ups, or any kind of action, make sure the message
in your email is singular
Read the room
Understand the climate, practice
empathy, and remember that timeliness is effectiveness. This can come in many forms
such as asking for consent before sending emails around the holidays. For Help
for Heroes, this has recently been put into practice as they continuously keep supporters
informed about the progress of the new Office of Veterans Affairs.
This helps you build momentum,
and keeps subscribers engaged.
There’s a time and a place
In other words, don’t be a one-trick pony. Just because data proves that first name personalization in a subject line increases open rates, doesn’t mean every subject line needs to be.
By constantly testing and learning, you’ll soon develop a bank of magic tricks you can pull out to reach your audience at the right time, and in the right place.
By respecting the inbox, Help for Heroes is ensuring that the emails it sends are relevant and engaging. Donors have busy lives, so holding their attention is essential. Adopting this approach is helping Help for Heroes on their mission.
Macmillan Cancer Support, like many charities in the NFP sector, had left its technology systems in the past as it focused almost entirely on its mission. With its objective in mind, Macmillan turned to Felinesoft to help it accelerate its impact through technology and innovation.
required a drastic change in the way the whole organization acted. Cultural
change is never easy, but the success of Macmillan and Felinesoft’s work proves
that you must never let fear hold you back.
Macmillan had a decision-making process that was almost too inclusive, a waterfall approach to information sharing and high demands for success. This slowed the process of change, making innovation hard.
Together, the two organizations identified the iterative process needed to successfully innovate:
Understand where you are
Start at the very beginning. Yes, you’ll have an end goal, but you can’t get there before you understand where you are today. Evaluate your key metrics, understand the user journey, and how the conversion funnel works.
Once you know where you are, think about where you want to be. How can you improve your key metrics or the user journey? Empathy is essential to think about what the ideal journey should be.
Feedback from stakeholders is essential. But don’t forget, too many cooks spoil the broth. Get together small focus groups where you can work collaboratively on a solution. Small teams move faster and get to work quicker.
Build and test
You need to be focused on implementation if you’re going to get something done. Act fast and start building your solution as quickly as possible. Testing everything you do is the only way you’ll know if it’s working.
Always be optimizing
Arguably the most important
part, never be afraid to fail. By closely monitoring your goals and KPIs, you’ll
soon find out what’s working and what’s not. Without this environment of trust,
change is never going to happen.
First impressions count
There really is nothing more important to the modern marketer than data. Without data, we can’t engage customers. And for an NFP, an unengaged subscriber is stopping them from getting closer to their mission.
For the founder of eFocus Marketing, Kate Barrett, the second someone subscribes to your newsletter, you need to work hard to engage them, and keep them engaged. Kate looked at a small sample of NFPs and identified three key mistakes that were far too common for a modern marketer.
Opting in was hard
60% of brands had no clearly visible email opt-in on the homepage.
When someone enters your website, they’re expressing an interest in you, so it’s vital to connect with them as soon as possible. Collecting details from these interested parties means you can inspire, educate, and nurture them until they’re ready to donate.
What’s worse is that Kate discovered 30% of NFPs didn’t even offer a newsletter opt-in at the end of a donation. These are people clearly committed to helping you achieve your mission, and they are passing you by, potentially shifting their interests to a more engaging organization with a similar proposition.
Whether you choose to use a popover or a form in your footer, making it easy to subscribe is essential.
Welcome programs were lacking
Even with nearly half of NFPs
sending welcome emails, there’s still a long way for brands to go.
Your welcome email is your first
interaction with a potential supporter. To really drive and inspire action you
need to be telling them your story. What do you do? Who do you help? Why is it
important? And, how can they make a difference?
Break these up into a series of welcome emails and make sure you keep the CTAs to 1 max. per email. Consider carefully what your important messages are, and make sure you’re communicating these from the start.
Communications weren’t continuing
A single welcome email or ‘thank
you for your donation’ is just the start of the journey. Making communications
personal to the reader helps you keep supporters coming back to your cause.
If they’ve donated, don’t leave it at thank you. Show them how their money is being used and the progress that is being made thanks to them. If they’re regular fundraisers, show them how much they’ve raised and whose lives they’ve made a difference to.
To avoid these mistakes, you need to know your audience. The data you have on them facilitates the conversation – you just need to use it to get maximum returns on your emails marketing.
loyal customers can help boost a company’s revenue. Engaging your email recipients
is vital for converting prospects and building customer loyalty. What’s more,
looking your best in the inbox increases your brand’s reputation.
be hard to measure numerically and objectively. Put simply, it’s an indicator
of how interested your contacts are, and therefore gauges the success of your email
campaigns. Generating more engagement means that you’re making a bigger impact
with your recipients.
The start is
always the hardest, but here you’ll find some great ways to increase customer
engagement and encourage your recipients to take more actions through your
What do we mean when we talk about customer engagement? The definition is broad and might change depending on who you’re asking, but let’s look at some examples of how to inspire customer engagement.
Personalize your campaign
Have you ever received an email which started with ‘Dear valued customer’? Chances are, you didn’t feel very valued at all. Whether you use a CRM or keep your data in other formats, it will contain plenty of valuable information, from recipients’ first names to their purchase history.
Ensure you use this information to create personalized subject lines and messages that speak directly to each individual recipient. It’s harder to ignore something that feels intended for you, which is why personalized email campaigns usually have higher open rates than generic ones.
Nobody wants to be treated as though they’re a cog in a machine – they want to feel like they have a personal relationship with your brand. If they get this impression, they’ll be more likely to engage.
The operative word here is ‘specific’. Like the denim jeans of this world, one size definitely doesn’t fit all when it comes to email marketing. If you offer a variety of products or services, chances are you have different customer segments with unique characteristics. If you’re not using segments, why not?
To take full advantage of customer engagement, prepare messages that specifically address the needs, wants, and interests of different groups.
Don’t get lost in the crowd. Make life easier for your customers: write actionable subject lines that set the expectation of what your messages are about. You want to inspire customer engagement by letting customers know what they can do with the email.
Most emails are won or lost at the subject line
Most emails are won or lost at the subject line; not only does it determine whether your email is ever opened, but it affects your recipient’s mood and nature from the outset.
something appealing, unique, and compelling; avoid using exclamation marks and
salesy language in favor of something clever and original.
forget the preheader text. So many marketers don’t even know what this is, and
yet the preview, or preheader, text in your email can make or break your open
Generally, this is pulled from the first sentence when you’re sending personal emails, but, in the marketing world, it normally consists of image alt text or browser instructions.
Your dotdigital Engagement Cloud platform provides you with the space in which to choose what text gets shown in the preview. Using 35-90 characters to capture the recipient’s interest—and supplement your subject line—will help you get those higher open rates.
Don’t be afraid to experiment
Your business is unique, and so are your recipients. You need to determine what types of emails drive customer engagement for your business. Experiment with different strategies and see what succeeds. In email marketing this is called A/B (or split) testing.
The idea is to run two nearly identical versions of an email campaign and compare the performance of each version. The campaigns might differ on variables such as subject line, layout, or friendly from name. Once you learn which factors lead to higher engagement, you’ll be able to create more effective campaigns in the future.
Allow omnichannel opportunities
wants to engage in the same way, and that’s OK. Omnichannel marketing means
retailers can now offer a consistent experience across all channels – you can
let your customer choose when and where to engage.
If you have a strong Facebook presence, get involved in our Facebook Audience Program Extension. A Facebook Audience channel extension can be used in programs to automate the enrollment of new contacts into your audiences. This enables you to easily maintain and grow your audiences and improve your re-targeting efforts. Optimizing your ad campaign spend, you can target your ads to people who aren’t engaged through other channels, such as email. You can read more here.
Easily maintain and grow your audiences
Offering multiple ways to engage with your business maximizes marketing results, customer engagement, and brand reputation.
Triggered and automated email campaigns come in many varieties, but they all share the same incentive: sending custom emails to recipients based on their previous actions and interests, all without any manual input – perfect.
‘Content is king’ is a common phrase that is circulated within the industries of digital and content marketing. What seemed to be visionary theory in the early 2010s has become widely accepted; in recent years it’s become law. Marketers cannot deny the impact high quality content marketing has on branding, customer engagement, conversion rates, and sales. Therefore, it is crucial to make your content marketing strategy a priority. The rewards are abundant for those who do, according to these stats gathered by digital thought leader Neil Patel:
Year-over-year growth for unique site traffic is 7.8 times higher for content marketing leaders than followers.
Content marketing costs 62 percent less than traditional marketing and generates approximately three times as many leads.
Conversion rates are around six times higher for content marketing adopters than non-adopters.
The numbers show that content marketing really is king. However, to benefit from the power of content marketing, marketers have to implement a fool-proof content curation strategy to go along with it. Unique, compelling content hooks your prospects and pulls them deeper into your funnel. If you are still developing your content marketing strategy—or are not seeing the return on investment that you would like—check out these top tips for excellent content curation.
What is Content Curation?
The first step to sharing excellent content is truly understanding the meaning behind content curation. According to the social media scheduling site, Hootsuite, content curation is “adding your voice and value to a handpicked collection of content.”
Through content curation, you select material you deem to be relevant and engaging enough to share with your audience. Think about it as if you are responsible for picking all new pieces for an art museum. You select art that will not only engage your visitors, but that also reflects your museum’s mission, brand, and the overall voice of your organization. You are your company or brand’s curator. The art you pick is content. Now, let’s see how to incorporate this idea into your current digital marketing strategy.
Know Your Audience
Before you start selecting any material to share on your chosen social media platform, you first need to know who your audience is and what they are looking for. You want to position your brand in a way where your constituents know they can find value in what you say. The only way to do this is to get to know them. What are they saying regarding your current industry, your business, or your brand? Who do they follow on social media? What are they liking and sharing the most? Knowing this information will allow you to select content that engages them.
Keep Your Ear to the Ground
Have you ever wondered how competitors or thought leaders that you admire always seem to find and share amazing stuff that gets shared over and over again? They are keeping their ear close to the ground regarding the most pertinent information in your industry. Start visiting the places they visit to find out the latest and most helpful information. Find some of the best blogs in your industry and sign up for their RSS feeds and newsletters. Keep an eye on sites like Google News to get a feel for recent happenings in your topic area. Perhaps add a task in your daily project and task manager so nothing slips through the cracks. Apps like Scoop.it, Feedly, and even BuzzSumo, are also excellent for finding great candidate material.
Always Associate This Material with Your Brand
In some way, you should make a point to connect curated content with your brand. While you are sharing content that is not originally yours, it should still relate to what you do in some way. For example, if you happen to sell environmentally friendly apparel, and you share an article that describes ways to decrease your carbon footprint, relate it to how your company is doing this.
Simply sharing with “We couldn’t agree more!” isn’t going to help advance your cause. By adding context and perspective to what you share, you not only add value for your audience, you’re making your brand more relevant as well.
Always Tag Authors and Contributors
It’s not just proper attribution. Tagging authors of content you have selected for curation also widens your reach. If it’s someone you’re particularly interested in connecting with, send them an email letting them know about the article and how much you appreciate their work. It can be a great way to kickstart a relationship.
Often, authors are excited when others share their material and will likely share it with their audiences as well. So, you’re not only reaching your own constituents, but you are now reaching theirs. If you become fond of an author’s work and regularly share their content, you might be able to create a situation where they also routinely share your material with their audience. So, always make a point to find the social media handle of any individual’s work you share. They will likely appreciate the gesture and return the favor.
Involve Your Audience
Invite your audience to create content that you can share. User-generated content is consistently growing in popularity, and it makes total sense. One of the best ways to engage your audience is by sharing great content from someone they know or can relate to. Invite your audience to share photos of themselves using your product or service, or even invite them to contribute their own insights or opinions about the industry in which you work. This method is a great way to expand your content pool, while also strengthening customer loyalty.
There is no single magic bullet for creating a stellar content curation strategy. It takes time, practice, and patience. Get to know who you are talking to, find content from thought leaders in your field that relates to them, and share these materials as frequently as you can. Always tie everything you post back to what you do. Before you know it, you will begin to be seen as an authority in your field. Customers will know they can come to your platform to receive value-added information. If you want to set your brand apart on social media, excellent content curation is one of the best ways to start.
Chanell Alexander is a writer for TechnologyAdvice. She is a freelance writer and digital marketing strategist. She has over seven years of experience in the nonprofit field, and enjoys blending innovative technology solutions with communications. When she is not writing, Chanell enjoys traveling, contributing to video game blogs, and embracing her inner foodie. See what else Chanell has been up to on her LinkedIn profile and Twitter page.
“American business is overwhelmingly small business.” – SBE Council
Small businesses have created 61.8% of net new jobs in the US since the early 1990s. Local business is big business. Let’s celebrate this in honor of Small Business Saturday with 3 strategies that will support independent business owners this week, and in the better future that can be attained with the right efforts.
What’s Small Business Saturday?
It’s an annual shopping event sponsored by American Express on the Saturday following Thanksgiving with the primary goal of encouraging residents to patronize local merchants. The program was launched in 2010 in response to the Great Recession. By 2017, Small Business Saturday jumped to 7,200 Neighborhood Champions (individuals and groups that organize towns for the event), with 108 million reported participating consumers spending $12 billion across the country.
Those numbers are impressive, and more than that, they hold the acorn of strategy for the spreading oak of a nation in which independently grown communities set standards of living, set policy, and set us on course for a sustainable future.
Tips for small businesses today
If your community is already participating in Small Business Saturday, try these techniques to enhance your success on the big day:
1. Give an extra reason to shop with you
This can be as simple as giving customers a small discount or a small free gift with their purchase, or as far-reaching as donating part of the proceeds of the day’s sales to a worthy local cause. Give customers a reason to feel extra good that they shopped with you, especially if you can demonstrate how their purchase supports their own community. Check out our Local Business Holiday Checklist for further tips.
2. Give local media something to report
Creativity is your best asset in deciding how to make your place of business a top destination on Small Business Saturday, worthy of mentions in the local news. Live music? A treasure hunt? The best store window in town? Reach out to reporters if you’re doing something extra special to build up publicity.
3. Give a reason to come back year-round
Turn a shopping moment into a teaching moment. Print up some flyers from the American Independent Business Alliance and pass them out to customers to teach them how local purchasing increases local wealth, health, and security. Take a minute or two to talk with customers who express interest. Sometimes, all it takes is a little education and kindness to shift habits. First, take a few minutes to boost your own education by reading How to Win Some Customer Back from Amazon this Holiday Season.
Unless your town is truly so small that all residents are already aware of every business located there, make 2019 the year you put the Internet to work for you and your community. Even small town businesses have news and promotions they’d like to share on the web, and don’t forget the arrival of new neighbors and travelers who need to be guided to find you. In larger cities, every resident and visitor needs help navigating the local commercial scene.
Try these tips for growth in the new year:
Dig deeply into the Buy Local movement by reading The Local SEO’s Guide to the Buy Local Phenomenon. Even if you see yourself as a merchant today, you can re-envision your role as a community advocate, improving the quality of life for your entire town.
Expand your vision of excellent customer service to include the reality that your neighbors are almost all on the Internet part of every day looking for solutions to their problems. A combination of on-and-offline customer service is your key to becoming the problem-solver that wins lucrative, loyal patrons. Read What the Local Customer Service Ecosystem Looks Like in 2019.
Not sure where to begin learning about local search marketing on the web? First, check out Moz’s free Local SEO Learning Center with articles written for the beginner to familiarize yourself with the basic concepts. Then, start following the recognized leaders in this form of marketingto keep pace with new developments and opportunities as they arise. Make a new year’s resolution to devote just 15 minutes a day, 5 days a week, to learning more about marketing your small local business. By the end of a single year, you will have become a serious force for promotion of your company and the community it serves.
Tips for an independent business future: The time is right
I’ve been working in local business marketing for about 15 years, watching not just the development of technologies, but the ebb and flow of brand and consumer habits and attitudes. What I’m observing with most interest as we close out the present year is a rising tide of localistic leanings.
Where your company does business may influence your customers’ take on economics, but overall, the engrossing trend I’m seeing is towards more trust in smaller, independently owned companies. In fact, communities across the US are starting to map out futures for themselves that are as self-sustaining as possible. Earlier, I referenced small business owners undergoing a mental shift from lone merchant to community advocate, and here, I’ve mapped out a basic model for towns and cities to shift toward independence.
What most communities can’t access locally are branded products: imported big label clothing, packaged foods, electronics, cars, branded cosmetics, books. Similarly, most communities don’t have direct local access to the manufacture or mining of plastics, metals, and gases. And, very often, towns and cities lack access to agroforestry for raw lumber, fuel, natural fibers and free food. So, let’s say for now that the typical community leaves these things up to big brands so that they can still buy computers, books and stainless steel cookware from major manufacturers.
But beyond this, with the right planning, the majority of the components for a high standard of living can be created and owned locally. For example:
With the right craftspeople, the necessities and luxuries of life can be produced by tailors, glass blowers, blacksmiths, potters, carpenters, masons, and others. Local or regional products can be vended directly or by independently-owned retailers. With some effort, residents can live in, sit on, wear, drink and eat from products made not far from home.
Some cities are experimenting with free community colleges and others are opening local centers for continuing higher education like TechTown which helps local businesses launch and grow.
Finally, there is the full menu of personal services like home services, elder care, beauty, and fitness that are already often independently owned and can continue to grow in a motivated community.
There are certainly some things we may rely on big brands and federal resources for, but it isn’t Amazon or the IRS who give us a friendly wave as we take our morning hike through town, making us feel acknowledged as people and improving our sense of community. For that, we have to rely on our neighbor. And it’s becoming increasingly clear that it’s up to towns and cities to determine whether neighbors are experiencing a decent standard of living.
Small Business Saturday doesn’t have to be a once-a-year phenomenon. Small business owners, by joining together as community advocates, have the power to make it a way of life where they live. And they have one significant advantage over most corporations, the value of which shouldn’t be underestimated: They can begin the most important conversations face-to-face with their neighbors, asking, “Who do we want to be? Where do want to live? What’s our best vision for how life could be here?”
Don’t be afraid to talk beyond transactions with your favorite customers. Listening closely, I believe you’ll discover that there’s a longing for change and that the time is right.
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Your local business will invest its all in stocking shelves and menus with the right goods and services in advance of the 2018 holiday season, but does your inventory include the on-and-offline experiences consumers say they want most?
Right now, a potential patron near you is having an experience that will inform their decision of whether to do business with you at year’s end, and their takeaway is largely hinging on two things: your brand’s transparency and empathy.
Meanwhile, after a trying year of fake news, bad news, and privacy breaches, Americans could certainly use some empathy from brands that respect their rights, needs, aspirations, and time.
Today, let’s explore how your local brand can gift customers with both transparency and empathy before and during the holiday season, and let’s make it easy for your team with a shareable, downloadable checklist, complete with 20 tips for in-store excellence and holiday Google My Business best practices:
Your brother eats at that restaurant because its owner fed 10,000 meals to displaced residents during a wildfire. My sister won’t buy merchandise from that shop because their hiring practices are discriminatory. A friend was so amazed when the big brand CEO responded personally to her complaint that she’s telling all her social followers about it now.
Maybe it’s always been a national pastime for Americans to benefit one another with wisdom gained from their purchasing experiences. I own one of the first cookbooks ever published in this country and ‘tis full of wyse warnings about how to avoid “doctored” meats and grains in the marketplace. Social media has certainly amplified our voices, but it has done something else that truly does feel fresh and new. Consider SproutSocial’s findings that:
86% of Americans say transparency from businesses is more important than ever before.
40% of people who say brand transparency is more important than ever before attribute it to social media.
63% of people say CEOs who have their own social profiles are better representatives for their companies than CEOs who do not.
What were customers’ chances of seeking redress and publicity just 20 years ago if a big brand treated them poorly? Today, they can document with video, write a review, tweet to the multitudes, even get picked up by national news. They can use a search engine to dig up the truth about a company’s past and present practices. And… they can find the social profiles of a growing number of brand representatives and speak to them directly about their experiences, putting the ball in the company’s court to respond for all to see.
In other words, people increasingly assume brands should be directly accessible. That’s new!
Should this increased expectation of interactive transparency terrify businesses?
Absolutely not, if their intentions and policies are open, clear, and honest. It’s a little thing to treat a customer with fairness and regard, but its impacts in the age of social media are not small. In fact, SproutSocial found that transparent practices are golden as far as consumer loyalty is concerned:
85% of people say a business’ history of being transparent makes them more likely to give it a second chance after a bad experience.
89% of people say a business can regain their trust if it admits to a mistake and is transparent about the steps it will take to resolve the issue.
I highly recommend reading the entire SproutSocial study, and while it focuses mainly on general brands and general social media, my read of it correlated again and again to the specific scenario of local businesses. Let’s talk about this!
How transparency & empathy relate to local brands
“73.8% of customers were either likely or extremely likely to continue to do business with a merchant once the complaint had been resolved.” – GetFiveStars
On the local business scene, we’re also witnessing the rising trend of consumers who expect accountability and accessibility, and who speak up when they don’t encounter it. Local businesses need to commit to openness in terms of their business practices, just as digital businesses do, but there are some special nuances at play here, too.
I can’t count the number of negative reviews I’ve read that cited inconvenience caused by local business listings containing wrong addresses and incorrect hours. These reviewers have experienced a sense of ill-usage stemming from a perceived lack of respect for their busy schedules and a lack of brand concern for their well-being. Neglected online local business information leads to neglected-feeling customers who sometimes even believe that a company is hiding the truth from them!
These are avoidable outcomes. As the above quote from a GetFiveStars survey demonstrates, local brands that fully participate in anticipating, hearing, and responding to consumer needs are rewarded with loyalty. Given this, as we begin the countdown to holiday shopping, be sure you’re fostering basic transparency and empathy with simple steps like:
Updating your local business listing hours to reflect extended holiday hours and closures
Updating your website and all local landing pages to reflect this information
Next, bolster more advanced transparency by:
Using Google Posts to clearly highlight your major sale dates so people don’t feel tricked or left out
Answering all consumer questions via Google Questions & Answers in your Google Knowledge Panels
Responding swiftly to both positive and negative reviews on core platforms
Monitoring and participating on all social discussion of your brand when concerns or complaints arise, letting customers know you are accessible
Posting in-store signage directing customers to complaint phone/text hotlines
And, finally, create an empathetic rapport with customers via efforts like:
Developing and publishing a consumer-centric service policy both on your website and in signage or print materials in all of your locations
Using Google My Business attributes to let patrons know about features like wheelchair accessibility, available parking, pet-friendliness, etc.
Publishing your company giving strategies so that customers can feel spending with you supports good things — for example, X% of sales going to a local homeless shelter, children’s hospital, or other worthy cause
Creating a true welcome for all patrons, regardless of gender, identity, race, creed, or culture — for example, gender neutral bathrooms, feeding stations for mothers, fragrance-free environments for the chemically sensitive, or even a few comfortable chairs for tired shoppers to rest in
A company commitment to standards like TAGFEE coupled with a basic regard for the rights, well-being, and aspirations of customers year-round can stand a local brand in very good stead at the holidays. Sometimes it’s the intangible goods a brand stocks — like goodwill towards one’s local community — that yield a brand of loyalty nothing else can buy.
Why not organize for it, organize for the mutual benefits of business and society with a detailed, step-by-step checklist you can take to your next team meeting?:
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By no means does that mean design is easy. Achieving simplicity in your work can be hard, but it’s definitely worth it in the end. By simplifying your creative you’re reducing the amount of delay, distractions, confusion and stress customers could experience when reading your email.
Simplicity in your creative matters
Today’s consumers have everything at their fingertips. Literally. Nearly 50% of all emails are now opened on mobile devices. As a result, smartphones have quickly become the consumer’s preferred device for online shopping. And, with social media channels like Instagram making it easier for small brands to reach customers, they’re more difficult to pin down, and even harder to hold on to.
Keeping it simple is more than an idea…it’s a philosophy
Time is a commodity for us all. As marketers we don’t have enough of it, and as consumers we don’t want to waste it. By dedicating just some of your time to our five, life-changing steps, you’ll soon be more agile and able to keep up with customers.
Read our latest cheatsheet
In it you’ll find all you need to know about how you can adopt these tactics today to start creating emails that are really resonate with your customers. Don’t forget to watch our quick demo to see first-hand how dotmailer can help you create simple, beautiful emails. Download today.
If you’re interested in refining your creative, our cheatsheet is an excellent place to start. But, if you want to take a deep dive into your creative, join our Creative Director for bespoke one-to-one sessions.
Hosted by Ger Ashby, Creative Director and presenter of the KISS dotlive, this is your chance to get expert advice on email design. To book in a one-to-one session, talk to your Account Manager today.
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.
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.
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:
Keep it succinct
Include the text that is present in the image
Don’t ‘copy and paste’ image captions. Your alt text should offer additional information that’s not conveyed through the caption.
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:
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:
Use a single column layout. Less swiping and shifting makes it easier for your recipients to read your campaign.
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.
Place your most important CTA above the fold.
Avoid using hyperlinks – use a big, clickable button instead.
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…
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.
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.
AI is a buzzword in marketing right now. For marketers like you, battling these everyday challenges, it acts as a shining light at the end of the tunnel. With any luck, when it comes, AI will be the end of all your marketing woes, helping you deliver content to the right person at the right time. But, before these dreams become the reality, don’t miss a trick and let today’s potential customers pass you by; make sure you’re targeting customers with smart, data-driven automation tactics.
We’ve put together a cheatsheet outlining four top tips to help you reach the next stage of your marketing journey. Have a sneak peek here:
1) Get to know your customers
Customers’ expectations of brands are changing. They don’t want to waste their time looking at content that isn’t relevant to them. Get to know them as quickly as possible by building a preference center – the email equivalent of a handshake. By getting prospects and customers to tell you about themselves, they’re giving you a treasure trove of data to help keep your communications super-relevant.
Segmentation is the key to getting the right message to the right person. While it’s not a new practice, there are still many brands out there that are only employing basic segmentation tactics. With dotmailer your segmentation knows no limits. You have access to a vast number customer of insights, including behavioral web and order-based data.
When thinking about segmentation consider things like page views or order histories to create rich, sophisticated behavior-driven groups. dotmailer’s drag-and-drop segment builder makes targeting your customers easier than ever before.
Remember: Campaigns that use segmentation typically have a 50% higher click rate. There’s really no reason not to do it.
3) Extend your reach
Sadly, not every one of your subscribers will be responsive to your email marketing. But these contacts aren’t lost to you. It’s time to start exploring other channels.
90% of text messages are read within three minutes. With this extremely high level of engagement, it’s important not to overload contacts with useless content that pushes them further away from you. Enticing them with a unique discount code or free delivery is a great use of this channel to encourage conversion.
SMS is not only a channel for unresponsive customers though. Transactional communications are a perfect way to remind customers that you’re thinking about how to make things simpler for them, such as letting them know when to expect a delivery. When you’re being helpful your customers are going to have a much better experience.
4) Bring them back into the fold
Re-targeting is an essential tactic in today’s digital age. These customers have already expressed an interest in your brand. Half the battle is over. Websites alone have an average conversion rate of 2%, re-targeting gives brands a second chance to convert the remaining 98%. By keeping an eye on abandoned carts and abandoned browses, you can target customers with super-relevant content and making them 70% more likely to convert.
Through dotmailer, contacts can be auto-added to Google AdWords and Facebook Audience campaigns.
To find out more about bringing all these tips together into perfectly automated campaigns download the cheatsheet now.
Want to know more? Register today for our next #dotlive
Join us on Wednesday 11 July and learn how perfecting your marketing automation tactics can bring you closer to incorporating AI into your marketing strategy.
As well as learning about planning for the future, we have plenty of free breakfast treats for you and a chance to win dotmailer goodies on the day. After all, who said learning can’t be fun?