Posts Tagged ‘email marketing resources’

If I give you $1 will you give me $42 in return?

I won’t hold my breath that you’ll be into that, but that’s ok – Email will.  Email marketing returns $40.56 for every dollar spent on it, according to the DMA.  This is compared to catalogues’ ROI of $7.30, search’s return of $22.24, Internet display advertising’s return of $19.72 and mobile’s return of $10.51.

So, email rocks on and makes a ton of cash.  But who cares?- no one is even using ROI to plan their budgets apparently.  According to the most recent ANA/MMA Marketing Accountability Survey, 9 out of 10 finance executives said they don’t use return-on-investment metrics to set marketing budgets in the annual budgeting cycle. Two-thirds instead take a predetermined percentage of revenue or simply adjust last year’s budget. For whatever reason, CFO’s don’t believe the numbers.  So what’s the point of taking your success story to them to get more budget allocated?  Anecdotally, to get budget, many marketers are doing what they were advised to do at a Brainy Breakfast, which you can re-read in this post: Get out the scissors

It’s much like the opportunity we talked about for the email channel to work harder – ‘yes we know we should, but we’re not now’ they said – that article is here.

The best way that I can add some weight to the push to increase the money that you allocate to email  marketing is to weigh in with the news that we have clients whose email programs are delivering much more than that, and you can read our post which may help give you the ammunition you need to up that email marketing budget.

To further inspire you with some impressive reasons to actually look at your ROI, here are some of the latest email marketing ROI stats:

In 2013, 41% of marketers confirm inbound produces measurable ROI, and a staggering 82% of marketers who blog see positive ROI for their inbound marketing. – HubSpot “2013 State of Inbound Marketing Report” (2013)

60% of respondents said that email marketing is producing ROI for their organization.MarketingSherpa “2013 Email Marketing Benchmark Report” (2013)

54% of organizations generate 20% or more of overall revenue through email marketing. – DMA “National Client Email Report” (2013)k for each $1 you spend

How much  more convincing do you need? Go forth and ROI!

 

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.”

Good on Australia’s ACMA for issuing this timely and detailed reminder that set and forget for email marketing best practice isn’t enough – you need to plan, set, check, plan, set… Here is there great clear minded advice on ensuring your email program is high quality and effective.  The ACMA blog post is here.

Many businesses use email marketing templates that automatically incorporate their contact details and an unsubscribe facility; information that is required by the Spam Act. But it’s still important to test your campaigns to make sure everything is working properly. All too often, we encounter e-marketers who don’t know that their unsubscribe or contact details have ‘dropped off’ their template.

One of the most effective ways to protect your reputation is to do regular quality assurance checks of your e-marketing campaigns and processes.

Quality versus quantity

How you conduct quality assurance will depend on a number of things:

>       the nature of your business

>       your systems and resources

>       the nature and number of e-marketing campaigns you conduct.

Ideally, every e-marketing campaign would be quality-assured, but in some cases this may not be possible. You need to weigh up the risks to your reputation if you breach the Spam Act and with the number or percentage of messages that you consider appropriate to review.

Quality assurance 101

Having overseen a number of enforceable undertakings and conducted a lot of investigations, we have a pretty good idea of what you might want to include in your quality assurance. Think about including the following steps.

1.    Audit your campaigns

Your business may not have a single department or person handling all of your e-marketing activity, making it a real challenge to keep on top of the e-marketing rules. So we strongly recommend that your quality assurance includes an audit of all campaigns conducted:

>       Record the total number of messages sent in the period.

>       Keep a copy of each campaign (if possible), including the number of messages sent, format, date, sending address, subject and content.

>       Keep records of which messages were sent to specific electronic addresses.

2.    Confirm consent

A fundamental rule of the Spam Act is that your e-marketing messages must be sent with consent. Consider:

>       how you gather consent

>       what information you give to recipients when you collect consent

>       how your system handles and records subscriptions, unsubscriptions and re-subscriptions

>       how long you’ll rely on consent for, blacklisting, the consequence of making a purchase and your account management tools.

You should also review your current records. They should clearly identify if:

>       A person has given consent—and also show that you have proof.

>       A person has requested to be unsubscribed in the period—and if any further messages were sent more than five business days after that date.

>       There are any patterns to be aware of—like someone consistently re-subscribing and then quickly unsubscribing.

>       A person has bought an item from you—and the date of the purchase.

>       A person has contacted your business.

3.    Show your identity

Each e-marketing message must clearly identify who authorised the message and provide a way to contact the authoriser—either through information in the message or a direct web link.

4.    Test your unsubscribe functionality

Defective unsubscribe facilities are one of the most common reasons people complain to the ACMA. It’s always a good idea to check (and check again!) that your unsubscribe facility is working properly:

>       Confirm that each message includes a functional unsubscribe facility.

>       Establish a process and timetable for testing the unsubscribe mechanism (and listen to complaints to identify any corner cases that your testing might not cover).

>       Keep records of when you tested the unsubscribe facility and the outcome of the test.

5.    Review complaints

Complaints can be a great source of information about potential problems and a chance to engage in direct conversation with your customers. Consider how you investigated each complaint and what you have done to fix these issues.

6.    Offer training

Often problems with e-marketing arise because staff are not aware of the Spam Act. Do your policies, procedures and training need updating?

>       Keep a note of any relevant training you or your staff have undertaken in the period.

>       Consider the need for further training in problem areas identified through your quality assurance.

7.    Form conclusions

Writing up the outcomes of your quality assurance gives you an ongoing record of when you got things right—or wrong. It demonstrates to your management—and to regulators like the ACMA—that you take compliance seriously. Follow these steps to make sure that your business’s e-marketing is above board:

>       Record details of any issues identified in the audit and any necessary changes.

>       Draft an overall outcome/conclusion of your quality assurance.

Any questions?  We can help!  Email us or call Jericho today.

More than anyone else in your team, you know email marketing is a key part of your marketing.   But you’re stymied by the lack of resourcing or budget.  Do you need help to show your business why to allocate more to your email marketing efforts?

Just in time, this new report from the DMA in the UK, a market similar to New Zealand in many ways,  proves the importance of email marketing and highlights some compelling motivators.  Add these to your budget report now!

THE BEST ROI

67% of respondents cite email as the tactic that gives the BEST ROI when compared to all other standard marketing activities, and almost double the ROI of the next best option which is online marketing.  Email clearly has a valued role in marketing, but does your boss know how it compares with other marketing tactics?

BUT… NOT ENOUGH BUDGET

The reported revenue contributions from email marketing are disproportionately large when compared to its budget allocation. Email drives 30% or more organisational revenue for 44% of email marketers, but it isn’t accounting for an equivalent amount of budget.

SO… WILL BE SPENDING MORE

In budget plans for 2012, 63% of email marketers are intending to increase expenditure on email, and only 6% are expecting a decrease. This alone speaks volumes and reflects the changing perceptions around the importance of email marketing. It has migrated from a simple low cost workhorse to a feature rich and flexible marketing tool, not to mention it supports a range of tactics and goals, and reaches and connects a number of channels and platforms.

BECAUSE…  CLICKS AND OPENS UP

Response rates to good email marketing campaigns are improving.  Opens and click rates are steadily rising – 67% of respondents said that open rates held steady or improved, with click rates higher again at 69% improvement, and conversion rates at 63%.

RELATIONSHIP STATUS = ENGAGED

In terms of relationship building, again email is the clear winner, voted by 72% of marketers as being the best marketing tool by far for developing closer and more enduring customer relationships.

RESOURCING

One of the key things the report highlighted was that the biggest barrier to email marketing success is the struggle around put time and resources toward their email marketing efforts. Many businesses have less than one staff hour a day allocated toward email marketing! So increasingly the value of agencies such as Jericho who have the expertise and resource to handle campaigns comes into play.

THE IMPORTANCE OF EMAIL

Overall, this DMA report really highlights the changing attitudes toward email, how it has gone from being the hot new kid on the block, to being the workhorse in the background, and how it’s come a full circle to being strategically important part of business and marketing as a whole.

You can’t put email in a corner.

You can download the full report here

 

 

 

 

You are getting your seasonal campaigns designed, your stock levels right and the Christmas rush is looming – maybe it’s time to STOP and re-check what you are doing online first.

If you have an ecommerce site then you’ll love these insights we heard from Google and the Australian Centre for Retail Studies at a NZRA online retailers seminar this month.

  • There are more reasons than ever to be selling or at least showing, online.  Google expects at least a conservative 35% increase this year on last years search volume for Christmas purchases.
  • Does your site have search? Does it work? Presenting unhelpful results is the same as one of your store staff pointing an enquiring customer to the wrong place to look for an item – rude, annoying and off putting.  According to the Australian Centre for Retail Studies, people who search within your site are your VIP’s – they are 3 times more likely to buy than browsers.
  • Even if you have a bricks n mortar store, does your site have at least your best selling stock listed, with photos and descriptions?  78% of New Zealand and Australian shoppers use more than one channel to research, pre-purchase.
  • When asked how they research their purchases before they buy, consumers were presented with a list of channels.  10 out of the 12 they ranked as top ways to research were online!
  • Last minute applies to online too.  New Zealand shoppers use overseas shopping sites from October to early December for their Christmas shopping.   Then they hit the local sites with the peak coming mid-December.
  • Google predicts their Google Maps use on mobile will overtake use on desktop by June 2011. Location-based marketing potential is soaring.  Google can already see that mobile search is peaking – before and after work , and at lunch time as consumers use their smart phone to locate information about the shopping they are about to do.

Do these ring true to you?

We know you are busy, but your comments are always welcomed….

To read our weekly blog posts for the most comprehensive posts on emarketing, and email marketing in New Zealand, click the JERICHO logo at the top of the post here, and pick through the menu on the right hand side, or use the Search box.  To follow us on Twitter got to http://twitter.com/roanne1 and choose Follow.


The loveliest thing about the email below is that it’s from the Customer Prevention Unit.  Most days I see businesses send emails that might as well have come from the CPU.  Most are STILL not talking to customers and prospects as though they are the best source of revenue for you.  Most  are STILL not making sure they feel known, appreciated and on the ‘inside’.   I talked about that in the post about the email where the AMEX marketer told me that he’d been a member since 2004 but got my name wrong and didn’t acknowledge that I’ve been a member since 1999!  At least this kiwi bank-wannabe has come right out with it.

Those spammers are sending more engaging copy than ever with their diseases and lotteries and so on.  I’ve been getting a few bank ones lately like this one of this morning.  And I get genuine Kiwibank ones too as I’m a client.  I have to figure which is which when they arrive.

The most important daily challenge for us is ensuring that the emails are delivered.  And spam kings work to make sure their emails look as much like the genuine article as they can.

It’s our job to work with you to make sure your emails are delivered.  But the thing that will get your revenue up is stop being the CPU and use email to drive closer relationships.


No, it’s not my birthday. But if it was?  This morning I was thinking about the new email automation tools we’ve built, which in turn led me to thinking about the simplest ways to use these to build real, closer relationships with customers.

Like you, I spend my money across a range of organisations every day, and not many of them are stand-outs at making me feel special.  I won’t name names now, but it’s clear that most of them are more interested, still, in the next new customer and not very interested in impressing me.  Yes, of course some of them have retention targets and aim to keep these on track, but I don’t see this trickle through as caring, or even pretending to care if I feel special, noticed, acknowledged or valued.

It’s kind of back to front isn’t it. I care a lot about the companies I rely on to make sure my life ticks along smoothly.  I know if they are there or not, and when it suits them best for me to contact them.   I go out of my way to spend money with them, I often notice if things change for them, and some of them even tell me loudly when it’s their birthday.

Maybe you belonged to a club like I did as a little girl, that sent me a postcard for my birthday.   Along with the cards from my family and friends, this one would arrive and I noticed, and now some years later I smile when I think about how much it meant to me .  As each year ticks by most humans find that our birthdays are less and less special.  We’re very mature about it but, on the inside we dont feel like that’s very fair.  So, I’ve decided to start to talk to clients about Birthday Clubs.

It’s my job to notice this stuff, and in addition to the businesses I pay to run my life, I sign up for so much marketing material you’d think I’d be drowning in it.  Nope.   Many opt-in, purchase, and registration forms request a date of birth, but I can’t think of any that use it well.

I’m telling you because I think there is a lot of room in this space – it’s not a one size fits all, and it’s not likely that any one person will be so inundated with birthday love that they’ll have a freak out.

Automated emails can be set and forget, driven and personalised from a simple data file. They are unbelieveably cost effective, and just plain effective both at engendering loyalty and driving revenue. Use your imagination to jump out from behind your desk and stand in the shoes of your customer or prospect, and think up something that is bang on – relevant, good-natured and valuable to them, and have fun with it.

Construct a program that makes you feel good, and chances are you will spread that feel-good to your database.

I hope that some of our clients might see the opportunity to stand out with a genuine birthday offer and acknowledgement, that’s beautifully designed, high quality, and endearing.  I hope that you do too.  If you have questions or comments please leave them here.


P.S. there is an update to this post here – when it actually was my birthday, who told me they cared?

Here is a recent blog post on Great Birthday Email Examples.


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.

We think that the email marketing industry needs standard reporting and metrics.

Right now, it’s impossible to compare and benchmark response and deliverability rates across the industry because marketers get reports with different terms based on different calculations.

Technological barriers (more on this below) mean that some of the numbers are imperfect metrics but we could all make sure that the name of the  imperfect report is accurate.

Inaccurate or inconsistent metrics impact the credibility of email marketers.  If our metrics cannot conform to benchmarks, we lessen our ability to convince our management and our colleagues of our program’s success.  And that makes it harder to negotiate for resources.

The EEC is the US DMA’s email arm, and their metrics round table has produced a set of standardised metrics they want all email marketers to adopt.  The latest definitions are here.

There are lots of people (okay email freaks/geeks like me) who feel strongly about this.  This article and the comments below about Open Rates are the best kind of argument – considered, intelligent, experienced and a little bit argy-bargy… Which reports are most useful to you?  What do you think they should be called?  You can have your say below.

Loren starts off on the OPEN RATE (proposed rename = RENDER RATE)
“Here are some real-world examples of the inaccuracies and inconsistencies of email opens:
· The email is “opened” (launched), but images are blocked: not counted as an open
· The email is not opened (launched), but images are enabled and is read in the preview pane: counted as an open
· The text version of a multi-part message is read on a BlackBerry. The HTML version (with images blocked) is later opened in Gmail (or other email service/client). The email has been opened and read twice — but zero opens are recorded.
· A text version is opened and read but not clicked: not counted as an open
· A text version is opened and read, but the user clicks a link: not counted as an open with some email software. Others assign an open because the email was clicked on, which assumes an open.

…I think you get my point. With marketers increasingly being held accountable for their marketing spends and actions, do they really want to base performance reports and marketing decisions on such a flawed and inconsistent metric?
Further, the open rate is a process metric that does not measure return on investment or how well the campaign helped you achieve a strategic initiative for your company. Showing how much email contributes to the bottom line, not how many people opened your email, will help you secure a bigger share of the marketing budget.”

In response, we get comments like this from John Calder:

I have to disagree that clicks are a better open indicator. Subject lines cause a message to be opened and read. Value proposition and call to action cause a link to be clicked. What happens after the click causes conversion.
Therefore, a weak subject line with a good value proposition and strong call to action may get more clicks even though fewer people have ‘read’ the message, than a good subject line where more people have ‘read’ the message with a weak value proposition and call to action. From that, which is the better subject line?
The people who buy from you or read your newsletter and really want what you have to offer will turn images on. They will show open rates along with click rates. These people are a good indicator of what people like them are interested in, and if that’s your target market I’d say that there’s some pretty good intelligence to be had there.”

This is a big subject and we’re doing a lot of work on it now.  What is most important to measure and benchmark, how should it be calculated and what should it be called?

I’d love to hear your thoughts with comments here on the GetSmart blog.  We will take all of these into account when we review our reporting layouts.  Our clients and our teams are pleased with our reporting now, but we’d love to be the first ESP in the world with the new standard names and calculations for all our reports.

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.