Posts Tagged ‘content’

MetricsIf seeing a positive ROI and great analytics is required for your company, then it’s critical the following factors are understood and addressed, in order to see genuine improvement, and your email marketing program being developed into a valuable asset.

Here at Jericho we believe that a consistent improvement in all of these areas is required in order to ensure success:

- Ensuring the content and tone is right, along with the design – does it suit your audience? Is the design in line with your branding? Is the tone of your language appropriate? Is the content right for your audience?

- Create more relevance through segmented data.  Subscribers unsubscribe or stop opening emails are that are not relevant, so make sure you segment and appropriately target your subscribers and share really valuable content.

- Conversely, the number one reason people DO keep opening emails is genuine value offers and as mentioned above, valuable content.  What can you offer your readers, that the readers won’t get anywhere else?

- Ensure you work on getting more qualified recipients.  To get qualified recipients you need to make sure that you are offering genuinely valuable content. And then you need to make sure that you are clearly stating the benefits of that eDM.

Want more advice? We are here to help!

 

 

 

content-is-kingHere are some key content statistics every content marketer needs to know. Let’s comb through some key statistics to shed some light on just how effective good content, especially visual content, really is.

“Drawing in leads is one thing, but getting the kind of engagement that leads to a conversion is where the action is at. Strong content is a leading driver in this area”

Video and e-mail marketing can increase click through rates by more than 90%. (Source: Mist Media)

Viewers are 85% more likely to purchase a product after watching a product video (Source: Captains of Industry)

90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text. (Sources: 3M Corporation and Zabisco)

40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text. (Source: Zabisco)

61% of shoppers prefer brands that offer custom content (Source: Captains of Industry)

46.1% of people say a website’s design is the number one criterion for discerning the credibility of the company. (Source: Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab)

Posts that include video attract 3 times more inbound links than plain text posts (Source: Captains of Industry)

Publishers who use infographics grow in traffic an average of 12% more than those who don’t. (Source: AnsonAlex)

Posts with videos attract 3 times more inbound links than plain text posts. (Source: SEOmoz)

Companies that blog at least 20 times a month generate 5 times more traffic and 4 times more leads than those who only blog a few times a month (Source: Captains of Industry)

Visual content drives engagement. In fact, just one month after the introduction of Facebook timeline for brands, visual content — photos and videos — saw a 65% increase in engagement. (Source: Simply Measured)

On Facebook, photos perform best for likes, comments, and shares as compared to text, video, and links. (Source: Dan Zarrella)

37% of Pinterest account holders log in a few times every week; 28% said they log in a few times a month; 15% log in once daily; 10% log in numerous times a day. (Source: PriceGrabber)

98% of people surveyed with a Pinterest account said they also have a Facebook and/or Twitter account (Source: PriceGrabber)

Pinterest generated more referral traffic for businesses than Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn combined. (Source: Shareaholic)

Pinterest drives sales directly from its website — of people with Pinterest accounts, 21% have purchased an item after seeing it on Pinterest. (Source: PriceGrabber)

85% of the US internet audience watches videos online. The 25-34 age group watches the most online videos, and adult males spend 40% more time watching videos on the internet than females. (Sources: comScore and Nielsen)

Over 60 hours of videos are uploaded each minute on YouTube. (Source: YouTube)

700 YouTube videos are shared on Twitter every minute (Source: YouTube)

Viewers spend 100% more time on pages with videos on them. (Source: MarketingSherpa)

Mobile video viewing increased 35% from 2010 to 2011. (Source: Nielsen)

25 million smartphone users stream 4 hours of mobile video per month. 75% of smartphone users watch videos on their phones, 26% of whom use video at least once a day. (Sources: Ooyala and Ipsos)

Mobile video subscription is expected to hit $16 billion in revenue by 2014, with over 500 million subscribers. (Source: Ooyala)

Viewers are 85% more likely to purchase a product after watching a product video. (Source: Internet Retailer)

You know when you move out of home and suddenly the washing piles up and the dishes don’t get done and the rubbish hasn’t gone out in a while? And you wonder how it got done before?

When you live at home you tend to take for granted that these things magically get done when you were not looking (Spoiler alert – your mother does it) and when you move out of home you realise that you now need to take responsibility and do all these things yourself, and by taking charge of these tasks you can improve the health and cleanliness of your environment. (Wow!)

Well I guess it’s safe to say most of you have learnt that one, however I’ve got something else to break to you; YOU control your sender reputation of your email marketing – not your ESP or mailbox providers. (What!?)  That’s right – your mother doesn’t work in your deliverability department. To improve your deliverability and reputation, you need to take some control.

There are five key factors that drive deliverability that you can control:
- Authentication
- List cleansing
- Relevant and valuable content
- Active engagement
- Continuous testing

Now I know deliverability can seem like a very complex system of things that need to be optimised and monitored and analysed and that can seem a bit overwhelming. However there really are a range of simple things you can do to improve your sender reputation, and your deliverability.

spam

What can you do right now?

- Honour unsubscribe requests
- Use a ‘friendly’ recognisable from name
- Send relevant content
- Set expectations

A poor reputation drives poor inbox delivery, however as you control your reputation, the sooner you recognise that the sooner you can improve it.

What exactly can affect your sender reputation?
- Spam complaints
- List quality
- Content
- Engagement
- IP Permanence

Recipients can complain because the email may not be of interest or relevance to them, perhaps wasn’t what they expected, perhaps they didn’t recognise the sender, or perhaps they are just receiving too much email or couldn’t find the unsubscribe button. Which is why having a recognisable from name, relevant content and a clearly visible unsubscribe link are SO important.

Firstly, spam complaints can be the #1 reason for decline in your reputation, and is the biggest indicator to ESP’s that your subscribers don’t want your email and this can result in your email being filtered or blocked.

inactivesubscribers

So what can you do to reduce complaints?
- Set expectations
- Honour unsubscribe requests
- Use a recognisable from name
- Send relevant and valuable content
- Enrol in feedback loops

One of the best things you can actively do to increase your reputation is provide valuable and relevant content that your subscribers want to read, the flow on effect being they will look forward to your email in their inbox and they will open, read, and clickthrough, increasing your engagement and over time that helps increase your reputation.

How important is relevance? 25% of subscribers said they have unsubscribed because the email wasn’t relevant. Well I think it’s worth listening to quarter of your entire database don’t you?

The implications of not being relevant are declining ROI and reputation and eventual increase in unsubscribes and/or complaints.

How can you increase relevance?
- Segment your data based on active/inactive subscribers, demographic, location, etc
- Implement a preference centre so the subscribers are in charge of what they receive and how often
- Send a survey asking your subscribers what they want – but be sure to deliver it
- Use dynamic content to change out content based on subscribers preferences
- Use personalisation throughout the email such as name, account number, points balance, purchase activity, etc

Now it’s no use having an email people want to read if people don’t receive it, so ensure you make it a priority to manage your list hygiene, and make that list as clean and shiny as possible. A clean list means you will be sending to actual humans – not spam traps or old inactive email addresses. It also means higher accepted rates, lower bouncebacks, and therefore better deliverability.

relevantemail
How can you improve your list hygiene?
- Review bouncebacks and correct invalid addresses
- Remove inactive subscribers
- Review your data collection process and ensure accuracy
- Grow your list organically – never purchase!
- Implement a double opt-in process
Then once you have implemented these strategies TEST, TEST, and TEST some more. Be continually analysing and testing a range of variables to find out what works, what doesn’t and what can be changed to suit your audience.

What are some things you can test?
- Email frequency
- Subject lines
- Email cadence
- Send day and time
- Personalisation in content

It’s important to get the frequency right because 54% of consumers say they unsubscribe when emails from a particular sender arrive too frequently….  How do you find the balance between too much and not enough? This is where asking your subscribers how often they want to hear from you can be the perfect solution.

Want some further advice? We have deliverability experts, design experts and experienced account managers at Jericho who can answer your questions – email us!

According to the Direct Marketing Association they do.

In the ’2012 Email Tracking Study’ by the DMA, they reported consumers are still signing up to receive marketing related emails, and, consumer approval of the content of marketing emails has increased, with 25% percent saying that they find more than half of the emails they receive relevant and of interest to them.

There is also some interesting data from Informz which found that the more links an email message contains, the higher the click-thru rate. However, emails should only have one call to action regardless of the number of links.

Informz also found that messages with shorter subject lines had higher open rates, with subject lines with less than 10 characters having the best open rates.

People will read email messages if they think the vendor is paying attention to what they are interested in purchasing. Generic sales emails will likely not gain the notice of readers.

Personalised, targeted and relevant content is still essential. So behavioural targeting should become a part of everyone’s arsenal. Merchants should communicate with customers based on how they responded to previous emails, their website browsing patterns, and their purchase history.

Email continues to have an excellent return on investment and is one of the most cost-effective methods of marketing – and because of its relatively low cost and high ROI, email will continue to ‘WIN’ for the foreseeable future.

Marketing Sherpa recently released the 2013 Marketing Benchmark report. It’s the latest and most comprehensive collection of email marketing research stats and insights in market.  We bought it and whilst we can’t reproduce it for you due to copyright reasons, we are happy to share some of the findings.  You can also get an excerpt of it here.

As Marketing Sherpa says, “email is a venerable tactic that is often dismissed as being too rudimentary for today’s focus on real-time information. Yet, email continues to endure, and even thrive, under such scrutiny, continually proving its worth through better delivery practices, more advanced design, and strategic integration with other channels”

A few of the key insights from the report are:

60% of organisations using email reported that email marketing is producing a positive return on their investment (ROI)

83% report they are involved with tracking, reporting and analysing their email metrics – yay – no ‘set and forgets’ around here! And the metrics that organisations track the most? Clickthrough rate and open rate are the most popular by far, both sitting at around 90% – the next most measured metric is unsubscribe rate at 75%.

It appears that content is still king – the most effective tactic of all is content and in particular for B2B marketers, whitepapers and other premium content was considered the most effective of all. As we have said before, it is still not worth sending an email unless there is content worth reading, sharing or discussing. And this is shown as a key goal as 67% report that the top goal for the next 12 months is to deliver highly relevant content.

And for the biggest question of all – which is the best day to send? Well the results are in! Tuesday (At 26%) and Wednesday (At 23%) were, by far, considered the most effective days to send overall.  We find that this depends on the business you are in to some degree – read our earlier analysis here.  Further, retail email with a mobile friendly design is showing good results when sent on a Saturday or Sunday.  We see that while the open rates may be slightly lower, the click through and action rates can be very strong indeed.

Despite the rise of ‘mobile’, 58% of people are still not designing emails to render differently on mobile, let alone mobile specific versions of their emails.  However that same 58% recognises the pervasiveness of smartphones and tablets and they expect that mobile will dramatically affect or change their email marketing program in the next 12 months.   And with the continuing rise of the use of mobile as our primary device, it is not surprising to hear most say that they realise all their email designs and strategies need to be revamped for mobile compatibility.

But mobile isn’t everything – Social Media is only 1% behind mobile at 57% as the next most important aspect, and most recognise social media as a primary communications tool and is becoming one of the main ways they interact and engage with their audience.

82% believe their list is growing slowly or not all.  Data ages, people change and your list shrinks.  Without a process for active planning for acquisition and a continual focus on growing your list, your list will shrink and the quality will deteriorate. Keep in mind that both paid search and co-registration programs performed poorly in comparison to other list growth tactics such as offering exclusive content or using the good old website registration page.

And in terms of improving your email deliverability? This area is lacking somewhat. 60% of you provide an easy unsubscribe process, (But that’s still 30% of you who don’t) And only 50% of you remove bounces, and worse still only 40% report they regularly clean their lists. There is some work to be done here!

What about triggered emails? This powerful area of email marketing often brings the greatest results however it is sorely underutilised. Just 50% of respondents report they deploy welcome emails. That is 50% of people who don’t! And most other types of triggered email activity are only being used by 19% – 35% of respondents. Overall, surveyed marketers did not appear to commonly re-engage subscribers, as just 15% indicated their organisations sent win-back emails, and just 9% sent shopping cart abandonment reminders. That leaves a lot of room for improvement.

One of the biggest things that may be stopping people achieving all their email marketing goals is the fact that 54% report inadequate staffing resources, expertise or time, as noted in this comment: “Our greatest challenge is time. We have been doing email campaigning for about 18 months, so we are still learning. We have a robust database but lack time and resources to mine it like we could.”

One other area of concern that came out of this report was a lack of capability to properly segment and target recipients, as little more than half of respondents indicated they could segment their lists by email engagement behaviour (55%) or purchase history (53%), and just 38% said the same about user-declared personal preferences. Even fewer (28%) could segment based on user device habits. “This is telling, as it shows a distinct gap between marketer actions, and the wants and needs of subscribers”

So what’s the bottom line? “Email remains a marketer’s most effective tool in terms of content reach. But, even the widest-cast net won’t produce results if your readers aren’t compelled by your content, or, even worse, aren’t receiving it at all. Proper list growth and management, alongside engaging, consistently delivered content, are the keys to maximizing email effectiveness.”

We say it with only a slight tongue in cheek – 100% of the emails you send that are not delivered will never sell anything.   So, since email-in-inbox is the start of everything – here they are – the top 5 deliverability myths de-mystified!

1. Thinking that sending legally compliant messages will protect you.
Not true! Legislation like the NZ UEM Act, and the USA’s CAN-SPAM is just the bare minimum threshold that you should adhere too.  We always say that if you are trying to hide behind fine print you are doing something wrong. Treat your database with respect by doing what you say you will do, increasing the relevance of your content to your subscribers, and working on all of your deliverability best practices to improve your reputation over time.

2. You think confirmed opt-ins wouldn’t click the ‘mark as spam’ or ‘add to junk folder’  button.
Not true! This action is viewed as a complaint by ISP’s and is taken really seriously by them.  If you have more than 1 in a 1000 of these ‘complaints’ you could see an impact on your email delivery.  Why do they do it?  It can be a quick way for subscribers to remove the email even if they have subscribed. A significant % of recipients do this rather than unsubscribing – one reason is they may not know the difference between the ‘spam’ and the ‘unsubscribe’ functions and not realise the effect it has on reputation.  We’ve seen reports that subscribers don’t want to ‘hurt your feelings’ by unsubscribing so they just sweep you out of the inbox.  For others hitting ‘spam’ is simply quicker than finding the unsubscribe button and going through that process.

3. You think if you make it difficult to unsubscribe that you will stop people unsubscribing.
Not true! It only makes people flag your email as spam (as in 2. above) if they don’t want your email, rather than searching for your unsubscribe link. Best practice is to have a clearly visible and simple unsubscribe link in all your emails, and allow subscribers to simply and easily opt out and don’t give them any reason to complain.  We recommend they are in the top and the bottom of most email campaigns, and prefer a one click instant unsubscribe method on our own clients emails.

4. ‘Free’ ‘Deal’ and ‘CAPITAL’ words instantly flag your email as spam.
Not true! Certain words aren’t great for sure, but they won’t do this if they are relevant and effective in the context of your campaign. Deliverability is measured on many factors, and these combined determine the reputation. So words such as ‘deal’! and ‘free’! used well in the right context will do no harm.  These days, most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) filter based on reputation, so content plays a much smaller role in that filtering decision. If you have a good reputation, it will usually override any content filter being used, and your mail will be delivered appropriately. However, that doesn’t mean that your content is never a factor in determining inbox delivery.

5. Compelling content is the best way to create engagement and retain long term subscribers.
Not true! Sending good emails and good content will make your emails welcomed and useful to your audience.  However if you send just one  email too many, or any email at all if you’re ignoring other deliverability best practices, this will affect your reputation despite having the greatest content in the world.  Also on content -  balancing ‘image to text’ by having as much of your email as possible in text, while leaving images in a supporting role, is important both to the eye and to the deliverability of your email too.

Yes there are many more things you can do to enhance your reputation and optimise your deliverability, these are just the top 5 things that you should be aware of and take into consideration.   If there is one thing we can be sure of – there’s no sure thing.

If you’d like more detail on deliverability or if you’d like to discuss concerns or ideas, give us a call any time on +64 9 360 6463.

 

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.

 

In a Social Media-mad marketplace, newsletters are largely regarded as like so totally 1998.  They’re so not.  Your organisations clients deserve to be the first to know about what’s going on. Many of you will even have a contracted or legal obligation to keep them up to date.  Newsletters can add real value to your clients lives, and to your brand, and are right on the money for many audiences.  Do you want to improve yours?  Or maybe just start doing one, finally?  Here is the first of my top 3 no-brainer ways to make sure the YourCo newsletter is the one your recipient looks forward to, and acts on.  The next 2 will follow over the next week right here at the GetSmart Blog.

#1 – Spy

You should receive the email newsletters from at least 10 other businesses like yours,  from at least three different continents.  This is my number one advised, most obvious, most effective and least used tactic.

Aim

It’s likely YourCo has dozens, hundreds or thousands of  ‘twins’ around the world and many of them have Marketing Managers with more experience and bigger budgets than you do.  You are looking for two things.  The world’s best YourCo registration process, and the world’s best YourCo email program.  In a nutshell, you want to be aware of businesses just like yours in Europe, in North America, and in Asia-Pacific, and how they use email marketing in relation to:

  1. What they do that you should be doing
  2. What they do that you should not be doing

You will be looking to offer your readers really useful  regular mandatory sections of content, ‘guest star’ type content, promotions both one off and ongoing, so look out for all of this.

Plan

Block out 2 hours in your diary for a solid start. Write a list of your key known competitors and comparable businesses locally and around the world.  Who are the award winners, the ones you aspire to be?

Next, write out search terms that describe your business – i.e. ‘modern art museum’. Register a webmail account for the purpose, and note the login details so you can pass them on if you need to, as this is research on behalf of your role (YourCoMarketingATgmail.com) not you.

Power up, and start by searching for the businesses you know/admire/relate to.

Register

Follow their registration process for email news.  Make notes about what you like and what you don’t.  Is it easy to find the registration form?   Is it in several places on the website?
Does it make you feel wanted/safe/special?  Does it clearly describe expectations and the benefits of joining? Do they ask too much or not enough information? Do they ask you to ‘submit’ or is the button labeled a more user friendly ‘join’ or ‘go’? Do they offer ‘preferences’ so you can pick your own areas of interest, frequency etc.? Do you receive an attractive and clever welcome email?

Rate

As the emails start to come in make a note of what works for you and what doesn’t it.  Make a list of things to check against.  Get your colleagues to rate them too.  What works for YourCo in tone, content, relevance, personalisation?  Which ones would you refer to others?  Why?

Screen & Purge

Keep an eye on which emails are helping you out and which are just a distraction. When you realise your are receiving something that is a total waste of time, then unsubscribe from it, noting the unsubscribe process too.  Is it easy?  Trustworthy?  Pleasant?  What might you like to use from the way it worked?

I doubt I need to do this but anyway: Let me disclaim here.  I’m not suggesting you plagerise, copy, rip off, or mirror other’s work.  Rather, spying is a great way to learn from others and apply the best of what you see to your own communications.  You can use spying to travel the world, do a competitive analysis and bring to YourCo’s customers the best or the rest.

Repeat this process every 6-12 months making sure you have the best, including newcomers.

Remember to keep it doable.  Get the basics right then review the whole inbox again when you have a particular idea to implement, such as a seasonal promotion, a list growth goal, or a competition to launch.

So that’s the 1st of this series of 3, the next 2 are on their way over the coming week.

Until then, comments always welcomed.

I received this campaign today from American Express New Zealand, asking me to register to win.  American Ex-cess usually takes away not gives, so I thought I would take a look.

They called me a warm friendly ‘Cardmember’ – but in fact they had my name, which you can see in the side bar.  That was the first thing that made me feel special.

Then I click through on the link to register and they ask for my credit card number. 
HINT: 1. I think you know it already.  I’ve scratched it out of the email above but you stuck half of it in the side bar under “For Your Security” heading. 
HINT 2. It’s in the big computer next to you, and I’m not typing it into your entry form.

If American Express email marketing want me typing my card number into online forms to enter competitions then they will probably get their wish, as they incite lots of Eastern Blok types to try this campaign themselves.

We’d been talking about how clever spammers and phishers are getting, just this morning.  We’ve had McDonalds, banks of course, but the bank frausters are getting really good…  at phishing.

I had to take this thing apart to work out that it was genuine.

If Peter Newton had his phone number on the email I would have called him straight up, but he’s probably in his office in Sydney signing off campaigns.

Here is the landing page (you can click to enlarge):

What do you think?

UPDATE:  OOps! You did it again. American Express marketing has since sent me 2 other campaigns with a significant error you can see that here.





The landing page

The landing page










This year we are 10 years old, and we have been asking… How has the email environment shifted over the last decade? This article shares, very clearly, the 10 valuable lessons we have learned that affect the success of email marketing.  Keys points:

Acquisition is important, but retention is where the money is
Email is all about the conversation again.
The ISPs are not the enemy
An email message is its own creation, not a repurposed web page
Email has broken free from the desktop
“What’s in it for me?” still rule
One size does not fit all
A marketer can’t claim success until it’s measured the right way.
Email can go social.
It’s time to blow up the silo
Read the article at iMedia, here.