Local Business Transparency & Empathy for the Holidays: Tips + Downloadable Checklist

Posted by MiriamEllis

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.

An excellent SproutSocial survey of 1,000 consumers found that people define transparency as being:

  • Open (59%)
  • Clear (53%)
  • Honest (49%)

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:

Grab the Holiday Checklist now!

For consumers, even the little things mean a lot

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:

  • Checking your core citations for accurate names, addresses, phone numbers, and other info and making necessary corrections
  • 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?:

Download the 2018 Holiday Local SEO 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

Keep it super simple: 5 life-changing tips

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.

 

 

 

The post Keep it super simple: 5 life-changing tips appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 2 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

5 best practice tips for email

Reading this blog will provide you with five fundamentals of high-performing email campaigns. You’ll also receive a handful of hints, tips and useful tools to easily create email campaigns which deliver great business results.

1. Above the fold

An adult’s attention span is on average about eight seconds. Not long, is it? With such a short attention span it’s safe to assume that not all of your recipients are reading your campaigns word for word. Instead, they’ll scan through your email looking for something of interest which grabs their attention.

The fold is an important part of your campaign design and what’s above it has an impact on the performance of your emails.

What is the fold? The fold is a term stemming from the world of printed newspapers and was the space of newspaper cover that was visible after it was folded in half to put out on display. It often contained breaking news headlines and content to draw immediate interest. Let’s bring that to the present day – ‘above the fold’ is the content that you can see instantly after opening an email campaign.

It should include content to attract the recipients’ attention and encourage them to scroll down the page. More importantly, it should include a call to action (CTA).

In email design, the ‘above the fold’ area is approx. 350px high

Have you heard of the inverted pyramid model? Combine this with key points for designing above the fold and you will create an effective way to ensure your recipients are taking the most away from your email campaigns in those crucial eight seconds.

pyramid model

As you can see from the example below, email campaigns which follow the inverted pyramid model usually contain a concise headline which highlights the key message, a supporting CTA and visuals to help convince readers of the benefits of clicking through.

The inverted pyramid model works particularly well for campaigns with a single message and a single call to action, such as announcements and marketing offer campaigns.

email

 

2. Alt text on images

We all know – and have probably experienced – that images can sometimes be blocked by default in email clients. How do we deal with this? Enter some alt text, of course!

Alt text is the alternative text displayed with an image. It provides some context about what your image is for the recipients who have images blocked or turned off by default.

There’s another good reason for alt text, which often gets forgotten. Alt text is used is for visually impaired subscribers that may use a screen reader to get a description of images in an email.

Tips for including alt text on images:

  1. Keep it succinct
  2. Include punctuation
  3. Include the text that is present in the image
  4. Don’t ‘copy and paste’ image captions. Your alt text should offer additional information that’s not conveyed through the caption.
  5. Keep the alt text in context

3. Responsive design – mobile-first

More email and web traffic are moving towards mobile and it’s likely that your recipients are reading your emails on a mobile device. Just by changing the styling and the methods applied to your mobile-first campaign, you could reach more potential or current users while multiplying your ROI.

Here’s a very quick checklist of what you should be implementing:

  • Inline images
  • Large and lovely CTAs
  • Engaging content with nominal effort

We want to provide email campaigns full of content that is customized for your recipient’s device. Using dotmailer’s EasyEditor, you can use your responsive templates to send emails which adapt to fit the screen size and the device type they’re are viewed on.

Abide by these best practices to achieve effective responsive emails:

  1. Use a single column layout. Less swiping and shifting makes it easier for your recipients to read your campaign.
  2. Use 12pt or 14pt font for the body text and no smaller than 18pt-20pt for the titles. This will ensure your campaign is much more readable on a small screen.
  3. Place your most important CTA above the fold.
  4. Avoid using hyperlinks – use a big, clickable button instead.
  5. Test, test, test. Use dotmailer’s ‘inbox and spam filter test’ which enables you to view your campaigns in all major email inboxes and receive a spam filter report.

4. Colors and fonts

There’s a high chance that your email campaigns aren’t the only interaction or communication your recipients will have with your brand. In fact, your recipients probably visited your website before signing up to receive campaigns from you.

Because of this customer journey, it’s important that your email campaigns are aligned with the colors, fonts and branding you use across your other channels.

It helps your customers to know that the email campaign is from you and it creates a level of trust and credibility which reassures people it’s safe to click through.

If you’re a dotmailer customer, this can be achieved with ease using our drag-and-drop EasyEditor. You can choose from a range of designer-selected, web-safe fonts and select your brand’s hex color. With these features, creating a high-converting email campaign that instills trust among your recipients is effortless.

One of dotmailer’s clients, Daisy London, provides effective consistency between its website and its email campaigns. Take a look…

email

5. Preheader text

We’ve all heard that we should include one of these, but what exactly is it? It’s that little line of text that follows the subject line and introduces the content your recipient will find within the email campaign.

So many brands neglect the preheader, often leaving it blank or, rather shockingly, writing ‘dummy’ text, which consequently leads to poor results.

The crux of the preheader text is to serve as a courtesy to steer recipients in convincing them to open your email, boosting open rates and leading to higher ROI.

We’re in an age where our time is precious, and we seem to have less and less time. We scan read rather than digest the words on a page. Plus, our attention span has dropped, so you might think that adding something extra in to your campaign creation process will be pointless. But in fact, the preheader offers recipients a chance to get an idea using three text levels, helping them screen what is and is not relevant more quickly.

Conclusion

Email marketing is one of the most effective ways for marketers today to reach a wide audience base. But if you’re not optimizing your email campaigns for conversion, you could be missing out on valuable clicks, sales and revenue for your business.

Next time you’re creating an email campaign, no matter the type of content or audience, apply these five fundamentals to get better results.

For more best practice inspo, download our back to basics cheatsheet.

The post 5 best practice tips for email appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 3 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

4 tips to perfectly target your customers

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.

77% of consumers expect brands to use the data in their profiles to personalize their marketing emails. In fact, they prefer it, so make the most of it!

2)   Segmentation, segmentation, segmentation

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?

The post 4 tips to perfectly target your customers appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 4 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

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

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

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

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

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

 

1. Know your audience

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

The following examples are clear and to the point:

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

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

Unless, of course, they’ve been mislead…

 

3. Don’t lie or mislead the reader

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

5. Stand out in the inbox

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

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

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

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

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

 

6. Emojis have their place

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

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

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

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

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

Pros:

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

Cons:

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

 

7. Don’t be afraid to show some personality

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

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

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

 

8. Urgency and scarcity work wonders

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

9. Ask a question

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

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

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

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

  • Who is sending the best emails in retail?

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

 

10. Don’t overcook your personalization

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

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

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

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

 

11. Test, test, test

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • May Newsletter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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

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

Reblogged 5 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

4 local SEO tips for restaurants

While general SEO wisdom is applicable if you’re running a restaurant website, contributor Dave Davies digs into the details of the options available especially for this business category.

The post 4 local SEO tips for restaurants appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 1 year ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

5 Tips to Help Show ROI from Local SEO

Posted by JoyHawkins

Earlier this year, when I was first writing my advanced local SEO training, I reached out to some users who work for local SEO agencies and asked them what they’d like more training on. The biggest topic I got as a result was related to tracking and reporting value to small business owners.

My clients will often forward me reports from their prior SEO company, expressing that they have no idea what they were getting for their money. Some of the most common complaints I see with these reports are:

  • Too much use of marketing lingo (“Bounce Rate,” “CTR,” etc.)
  • Way too much data
  • No representation of what impact the work done had on the business itself (did it get them more customers?)

If a small business owner is giving you hundreds or thousands of dollars every month, how do you prove to them they’re getting value from it? There’s a lot to dig into with this topic — I included a full six pages on it in my training. Today I wanted to share some of the most successful tips that I use with my own clients.


1. Stop sending automated Google Analytics reports

If the goal is to show the customer what they’re getting from their investment, you probably won’t achieve it by simply sending them an Analytics report each month. Google Analytics is a powerful tool, but it only looks awesome to you because you’re a marketer. Over the past year, I’ve looked at many monthly reports that made my head spin — it’s just too much data. The average SMB isn’t going to be able to look at those reports and figure out how their bounce rate decreasing somehow means you’re doing a great job at SEO.

2. Make conversions the focus of your report

What does the business owner care about? Hint: it’s not how you increased the ranking for one of their 50 tracked keywords this month. No, what they care about is how much additional business you drove to their business. This should be the focus of the report you send them.

3. Use dynamic number insertion to track calls

If you’re not already doing this, you’re really killing your ability to show value. I don’t have a single SEO or SEM client that isn’t using call tracking. I use Call Tracking Metrics, but CallRail is another one that works well, too. This allows you to see the sources of incoming calls. Unlike slapping a call tracking number on your website, dynamic number insertion won’t mess up NAP consistency.

The bonus here is that you can set up these calls as goals in Google Analytics. Using the Landing Page report, you can see which pages on the site were responsible for getting that call. Instead of saying, “Hey customer, a few months ago I created this awesome page of content for you,” you can say “Hey customer, a few months ago, I added this page to your site and as a result, it’s got you 5 more calls.”
Conversion goal completion in Google Analytics

4. Estimate revenue

I remember sitting in a session a couple years ago when Dev Basu from Powered by Search told me about this tactic. I had a lightbulb moment, wondering why the heck I didn’t think to do this before.

The concept is simple: Ask the client what the average lifetime value of their customer is. Next, ask them what their average closing ratio is on Internet leads. Take those numbers and, based on the number of conversions, you can calculate their estimated revenue.

Formula: Lifetime Value of a Customer x Closing Ratio (%) x Number of Conversions = Estimated Revenue

Bonus tip: Take this a step further and show them that for every dollar they pay you, you make them $X. Obviously, if the lifetime value of the customer is high, these numbers look a lot better. For example, an attorney could look like this:Example monthly ROI for an attorneyWhereas an insurance agent would look like this:
Example monthly ROI for an insurance agent

5. Show before/after screenshots, not a ranking tracker.

I seriously love ranking trackers. I spend a ton of time every week looking at reports in Bright Local for my clients. However, I really believe ranking trackers are best used for marketers, not business owners. How many times have you had a client call you freaking out because they noticed a drop in ranking for one keyword? I chose to help stop this trend by not including ranking reports in my monthly reporting and have never regretted that decision.

Instead, if I want to highlight a significant ranking increase that happened as a result of SEO, I can do that by showing the business owner a visual — something they will actually understand. This is where I use Bright Local’s screenshots; I can see historically how a SERP used to look versus how it looks now.


At the end of the day, to show ROI you need to think like a business owner, not a marketer. If your goals match the goals of the business owner (which is usually to increase calls), make sure that’s what you’re conveying in your monthly reporting.

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Reblogged 1 year ago from tracking.feedpress.it

Award season: top hints and tips to get a gong

It was a fantastic night, and aside from the delicious food, a few drinks and a very energetic dancefloor, it was amazing to see some of the fantastic work our customers and partners have been doing over the last 12 months.

The work showcased was of an unbelievably high standard, and for all those who submitted worthy work but didn’t quite make the podium, the aim for next year seems to be ‘how can we win?!’

I have been at dotmailer for 5 years, working as a Senior Account Manager, and my day-to-day role is to ensure my customers are getting the best out of dotmailer.

We are fortunate enough to have customers achieving outstanding results every day, yet writing a winning award entry can be really difficult; summing up all of that work, collaboration and effort in a concise story sometimes seems impossible.

However, fear not, because we have some super tips from our friends at the DMA who put on an awards entry workshop. Listen up!

Think about your audience

Similarly to viewing an email with the idea of ‘what’s in it for me?’, entries should be written with ‘would this story impress me?’ in mind. If your award entry isn’t impressive to you, it’s time to redraft before submitting to harsh, time-poor judges!

Clear before clever – judges will know if you’ve embellished

Although the award entry will need to be impressive, it’s also important to be clear and concise. Judges will know if the story is embellished so an easy-to-read entry will work in your favour.

Be confident and tell a good story

At the same time as being clear, like any good story, entries will need to be well written and confident. Put yourself in the judges’ shoes – after reading numerous entries all day, you’d appreciate a compelling, stand-out story.

Objectives –> Outcomes

As with any project, you’ll need a clear aim and proof that you have fulfilled this. As a sneaky trick, write the outcomes first and make sure your objectives match these.

Avoid Jargon

Any internal language used may be confusing to external judges – mirroring point 2, clear, concise and jargon-free.

Collaborative – talk to your Account Manager and any agencies early

With any award winning entry, one person cannot win alone. This is always a team effort! If you’re thinking of applying for a dotties award, get in touch with your Account Manager as soon as you can. If you’re looking to applying for other industry awards, such as the DMAs, it might be an idea to introduce all your agencies as soon as you can.

Don’t enter something before you’ve given it enough time for results

Some campaigns will be a short-term win, whereas some will take a while to mature. As much as it might be tempting to enter a campaign you’re excited about, you might find this is a winning entry the following year…

To many cooks will spoil it – make sure one person writes the finished entry

Awards are exciting and it’s only natural that everyone wants to be involved! However, let one person take final ownership of the award entry. A story written by numerous people will appear disjointed and inconsistent.

Vague results won’t make a winning entry

Show exactly how effective your campaign was. Get the exact ROI and any other stats that back up your story; vague results will make you appear less confident and less worthy.

Proof read!

And finally, after all your hard work, please make sure you proofread your entry! Get others to check it over; small typos and spelling mistakes can really devalue an otherwise great submission.

I hope you find all of these tips useful. If you’re a dotmailer customer and you’re interested in submitting an entry for 2018, get in touch with your Account Manager for more information.

If you’d like to find out more about the dotties, check out our microsite or see all the fun from the night.  

The post Award season: top hints and tips to get a gong appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Tools and tips for data best practice

When sitting down to devise an email marketing strategy, it is always best to start from the very beginning. Review the core component of all emails: data; specifically the email address. Where has it come from? How did you get it? How clean is it?

Great quality data can act as rocket fuel to your email campaigns, which is no surprise when data sits at the core of all one-to-one marketing. But equally, bad data can severely affect your deliverability, particularly in light of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), which is just around the corner.

Now would be the best time to review your data hygiene. Here are three dotmailer tools and tips to put you on the road to data best practice:

Watchdog

The Watchdog acts as the trusted guardian for your data when importing into dotmailer. Although the responsibility for the data very much remains with you (the data owner), the Watchdog screens all data imported into the platform and flags any questionable or risky content in order to protect your sender reputation.

It protects you on two levels:

  1. The Watchdog protects you from sending emails to any questionable data that’s been uploaded, ensuring high inbox placement and deliverability nurture.
  2. It also protects you from being affected by any other users sending to questionable data.

In summary, he’s a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A Dark Knight A Data Watchdog.

GSL

Data can and will decay if it’s not properly monitored, soiling your once pristine database; the recipient could have moved companies; perhaps they’re a B2B organisation and have changed name; it could even be that the recipient has abandoned their email addresses, due to the sheer volume of emails they receive.

Continuing to send to these email addresses is dangerous for your business. At best, you’re delivering emails that go unopened, or that are hard-bouncing. At worst, the email address is reclaimed and turned into a spam trap – and you could quite easily be blacklisted.

This is where the dotmailer’s Global Suppression List (GSL) comes into play. It scans your existing database against a list of known bad email addresses and can suppress these before they do any damage to your sending reputation. You can regularly use the GSL to clean up your data – find out how to do so by clicking here.

Sun Setting Policies

The last item on the agenda is implementing sun-setting policies for long-term un-engaged customers. In essence, what you are doing is filtering your database of all the contacts that have not opened your emails for a set period to answer the question: ‘Does the recipient still want to receive my emails?’

You could reach out and ask them the following:

  • If they want to continue being a subscriber
  • Ask them to manage their email preferences
  • Show them some love with a discount or special incentive

If they still don’t open or respond the next question should be: ‘Are they really receiving any value from me?’ Your communications aren’t improving your relationship with this customer and, if anything, are probably having a negative impact. Maybe it is time to send a ‘We’ll miss you, but good bye for now’ email. This communication informs the customer that you’ll be removing them from your marketing communications to avoid any potential annoyance, which in turn, saves you sending any more emails that don’t add value to the customer (also a great way to avoid sending to a recycled spam trap). Be sure to include a link to your preference center and, perhaps, a direct newsletter signup box, so that the customer can reengage at any time.

Adopting these tools and tips demonstrates you take data hygiene seriously by keeping your data as clean as possible within dotmailer. Being pro-active and giving your recipients a choice demonstrates responsibility and builds trust. However, as laws and legislation concerning data evolve, so will the road to data best practice. It’s important to keep up to date with new rules and regulations.

Ultimately, keeping your customer at the heart of everything you do will ensure you stay above board and can continue to provide extraordinary brand experiences.

To find out more on deliverability best practice, take a look at our 5 minute cheatsheet!

 

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Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.dotmailer.com

3 unforgettable email design tips

Marketers have the power to send flashy emails with advanced personalization, amazing creative and gripping copy. However, it is easy to get caught up with pushing the boundaries in your campaigns, and even easier to forget the basics of what should be best practice. The aim of this blog is to remind you of three important tips you must remember when putting together your campaigns.

  1. Remember the journey to open

When checking their emails most people think of three things: who is it? What is it? Where do I go from here?

There are three things that need to be in place to ensure a successful open rate. Your friendly from name and domain should identify who you are as a sender; the copy of your email should state your message clearly; your call-to-action should clearly tell the recipient what you would like them to do.

The call-to-action should be:

  • Above the fold

Allow the recipient to click through without having to scroll to find a button or a hyperlink.

  • Compelling

Give the recipient a real and urgent reason to act straight away.

  • Catchy

A good call-to-action should prompt the recipient to click immediately and not move on.

  • Frequent

Give the recipient more than one opportunity to click through.

  1. Balance between images and copy

An image can make your email look super sexy and sleek, or break it.

Make sure you choose an image that’s correctly sized so it doesn’t take too long to download, and ensure it’s in the appropriate file format. A general rule of thumb is: you can use JPEG’s for photos, and GIF’s for everything else.

The most important thing is to make sure your email works just as well without the images. Several email clients have images turned off by default, which will obviously change the way your email will initially look. Header text and alt tags should be visible when images are turned off to provide context. Only Taylor Swift likes a blank space!

In dotmailer, you can preview your email with images turned off prior to sending. Pretty handy, huh?

  1. Don’t forget mobile

Recent research from the DMA shows that the share of smartphone usage is now just shy of the desktop, with almost one third of consumers (31%) choosing smartphones as the main device to click through and buy.

When building your campaigns, remember that most mobile users only see 100 words per screen, and patience is low when on the move. This also applies to your subject lines – for example, iPhone users only see 30-40 characters of a subject line. Optimize your content to meet the requirements of a mobile user, with concise, clear copy, scalable images, and tappable CTAs. Check out how your emails look on mobile in dotmailer, prior to send, with our Litmus partnership.

Ultimately, the best person to tell you how your emails should look is your recipient. Split-test your campaigns, listen to your customers, and test how they respond to your creative with reporting metrics. Optimize your design strategy from the results, and watch your campaigns thrive.

Looking for more design inspo? Check out our 15 minute cheatsheet: On your marks: race to better emails with these 5 steps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

1Source: DMA Consumer Email Tracking Study 2016 – https://dma.org.uk/research/consumer-email-tracker-2016

The post 3 unforgettable email design tips appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.dotmailer.com