Archive for February, 2012

Unless your email is a service update notice, there will usually be a reason why you send an email. And this reason will probably require a call to action.

Ask yourself these questions: Who is the audience? Why are you sending it? What do you want the recipients to do upon reading your email?

The answer to these questions can be solved with a good call to action.

Do you realize how impactful a good call to action can be? It is one of the most important design elements in emails and usually represents the whole reason you are sending the email.

If you have a fantastic email yet you have no call to action, you won’t get the results, the sales, or the traffic you could potentially get.

Here is a little story for you.  An inbound marketing firm decided to test a few alternative design features. “We were pretty shocked to discover that new call-to-action buttons yielded a 1,300% improvement in click-through rate (CTR),”   How good is that?

So here is some of our advice for creating a great call to action.

Design
Should your CTA be large or small? Should it contain an image or not? Should it be a button? What’s going to work best for your audience? There are no set rules; you’ll only discover what appeals to your customers through testing.

Key pointers:
Make it obvious
Make it big

Colour
Colour is an effective way of drawing attention to an element. One good tip is to use colour to distinguish the call to action from other elements in your email to make it stand out.
Also consider what colour it will be as different colours mean different things.
(Keep your eyes out for our upcoming post all about colour)

Key pointers:
Pick a colour that best represents your brand
Pick a colour that brings out the emotion or state you wish to inspire in recipients

Placement
Some people advise always placing the CTA ‘above the fold’ however we often see emails with the CTA near the bottom of the email. Which is better? Again, testing and trials will help you determine what’s right for your campaigns.

Key pointers:
Make good use of white space
Position it well

Purpose
It is also important to be focused in your calls to action. Why did you send the email? What do you want your recipients to do? Too many options and the recipient can be overwhelmed. By limiting the number of choices someone has to make we reduce the amount of mental effort and increase the chances they will click that one big old’ ‘buy now’ button.

Key pointers:
Have a distinct action
Make it simple

There are no set rules for the best call to action, but with testing, you will discover what works best for your campaigns and your recipients.

creating email content is hardWe’ve been talking a lot about content lately (and making tools to help) so we were pleased to find this edgy and actionable resource that deals with a fundamental issue affecting businesses.  How to consistently create high quality content that engages, educates, informs and ideally, entertains?

When we ask clients ‘What’s hard?’ about digital marketing, one consistent pain point comes up:  Creating and curating relevant, sharable, high quality content.  Writing is hard.  When we talk to our peers at other agencies, we hear the same thing.

A way to address this critical issue is a fundamental rethinking, restructuring, and re balancing of company culture, resources, budgets and strategy.

This excellent recent report from Altimeter Group introduces a five-step content maturity model, complete with real-world case examples, to move organisations from zero (“standing”) to hero (“running”) with their content strategy.  It includes a useful Content Marketing Maturity self-audit.  It ends with four actionable recommendations, finishing with ‘Design Recombinant Content’…

The report urges us: “Strive to create content that can be redistributed in multiple formats across numerous platforms and channel to maximise value and minimise the resources dedicated to continually creating content from scratch.  Understand how to redistribute and reuse discrete components of longer form content”.

A new seasons product launch for example might turn into a themed landing page, a video, one or more blog entries, tweets and Facebook posts, and an email opt-in incentive in the form a Welcome email reward ‘Join our Inner Circle now and we’ll send you our exclusive How-to-Wear Guide for the 5 must-have pieces for this seasons new looks’.

I strongly recommend that you read this report and consider a content plan for your own business.  Here at Jericho we already have, and it’s a key strategy for working with our clients and in our own business.

Read the report on SlideShare and please share this post with your networks using the icons below. We’d love to see comments below on how you manage, or struggle with, the growing demands for content.

 

Jericho’s Deadly Email Sins

We often talk about all the good things you can do with email marketing in this blog, however we don’t often mention all the things that can go wrong with email marketing.  There is a balance between getting email very right and very wrong, and a balance between focusing on the technical details vs. the creative and fun.

So we have made up our very own list of ‘email sins’ based on the biblical deadly sins.

Pride
Writing your own eDM content even though you know you’re not a writer, just because you want to retain control. If it’s not your thing, hire a copywriter… or if you don’t have the budget, find someone in the office that is a good writer.

Greed
There are too many companies that only send emails all about themselves and about their products or services and just try to sell, sell, sell. Instead, make sure your messages deliver value to recipients. For example, if you’re a sporting goods manufacturer, don’t just send emails that sell your equipment. Instead, try to teach people new techniques when it comes to working out. 

Sloth
Don’t fill your email with boring content and not make any effort. Not all your subscribers are as excited as you are to read about your products, services and news. So put some effort in. Tell a compelling story, and hold their interest with humour, controversy and interesting facts.

Wrath
The positive benefits of personalisation will quickly turn negative if your message begins with Dear [blank]. No subscriber thinks you personally sat down and wrote them a message, but your recipients should be able to expect that you at least get their non-personal personalisation correct.

Envy
Don’t try to copy someone else’s style just because you like it… create your own email personality. Develop a tone and look and feel that is unique to your company. Each company has their own style, and a humorous tone that works for an agency may not work for an insurance company.

Lust
Some email marketers think they can use the low cost of sending emails as a chance to send to every email address in the universe. Others buy lists and try and re-subscribe those recipients who have unsubscribed. Sure sending to 5 million people might widen your net, however you will get lots of recipients who may unsubscribe anyway, and mark you as ‘spam’ which will damage your reputation and open rates. It is much wiser to send relevant emails to segmented databases to people who actually want to hear from you. 

Gluttony
Putting EVERYTHING possible in your email and making it as long as your arm just gives your recipients email indigestion. And you risk losing their attention part way through your looonnnng email. Instead, consider putting snippets of information in your email and putting extra content on landing pages, or even link back to stories on your website. Alternatively you could send shorter emails at more regular intervals.

If you want more, you can read Hub Spot’s take on deadly email sins here

As we’ve written before, planning content around a theme helps you and your reader.  To help you and your team plan for campaigns with content around key holidays and events and celebrations, Jericho has created the 2012 Campaign Content Calendar.

Download, share to social, and print and pin above your desk to help create a theme and content plan that keeps your audience engaged and your communications relevant all year around.

We’ve included 2012 holiday and key dates in both Australia and New Zealand.  Mother’s Day, School Holidays, Halloween and the solstice are all here. Some Australian events and New Zealand events and festivals are included too.

Click here or on the image to download, and be sure to share to your social networks.

Jericho Campaign Calendar

Love strikes when you least expect it. Well, not really – it’s 14th February every year… but it does seem to sneak up on us! You’ve only just taken down the Christmas tree and started on that exercise regime to lose those Christmas pounds and BAM!… Its Valentine’s already! Last year we looked at Valentine’s Day subject lines.   Even more exciting – this year is Leap Year so on the 29th of this month you have another reason for love-themed campaigns!

So here’s an interesting Valentine’s fact for you – retail spending for the holiday will increase nearly 13 percent this year, and the average person will spend $116.21 on traditional Valentine’s Day merchandise this year – that is an increase of 12.8% over 2011’s total. This makes this Valentine’s Day the fourth most popular shopping holiday of the year, just behind Christmas, Back-to-School and Mother’s Day. So Valentine’s Day really is an opportunity you don’t want to miss – unlike your gym appointments.

So how can you share the love and reap the rewards this Valentine’s Day? The good news is, no matter what industry you’re in, or kind of business you have, you can capitalise on it. Here are a few quick tips and tactics to get you and your readers feeling the love:

Go with the theme but be a bit different
Everyone will be sending Valentines emails and marketing materials out with hearts and teddies and cupids, so how about being a bit different? Stand out by doing something unique. Do something interactive, fun, or unexpected that helps you stand out from the crowd.

Give good gift ideas
How about building on the suggestion above and combine fun and interactive by having a gift-generator that helps someone find a great gift? Or send your email out with a selection of beautiful, unique, or even quirky gift ideas?

Share the love
Now that you have created that awesome gift-generator, get your recipients to share the love. Extend the reach of your message by allowing recipients to share the email content on your social networks. Jericho’s email marketing platform SmartMail PRO has share to social functionality built right in, which allows you to share your email to all the main social networks. And since you have spent the time putting together all those unique gift ideas, you want people talking about them, yes?

Have a stand out subject line
Here are some examples of some of the best stand out subject lines from previous Valentine’s Day marketing. I like the one that says ‘Cupid made us do it’! Like we mentioned before, the aim is to stand out amongst all the other Valentine’s Day marketing, so make it something that is really funny and clever, while representing your brand. Or a big sale ought to work.

Valentine’s Day means action
Have a call to action button that encourages the recipients to buy. It’s no use having all these amazing goodies if no-one buys any of them. Make it clear and simple – ensure recipients can see it, click it and buy it, quickly and easily. As those Valentine’s facts we mentioned earlier said, this is the fourth most popular shopping holiday of the year. And you’re here to capitalise on it.

TIP:
There is a great tip from Retail Email Blog about not shortening Valentine’s Day to V-Day in your subject line. They say, “V-Day has a number of meanings and associations, generally violent. Email marketers are always looking to trim characters from their subject lines, but this may not be the best way to shorten “Valentine’s Day.”

So the key things to keep in mind are: be creative, stand out, both with your subject line and content, make it easy for them to buy and everyone will be happy.

Update: We Love Hunter Boots Valentine’s Day Campaign – do you?  Click here to view