Posts Tagged ‘email marketing software’

Convincing people to share your news/offers/brands with other people is most likely one of your marketing goals in 2011.  If only because extending the reach of a campaign gets you greater results for the same spend.

Combining email marketing and social media to achieve that is becoming very important – but perhaps it’s no shock that email is key; around two and half times more people share using email than social media.

A new report by AOL and published in partnership with Nielsen, proves what people share, where they share it, and why. Sharing content is the number one driver for sharing both with email and social media.

Brand plays a critical role.  If you need a reason to invest more branding budget in your email and social, here it is:  Nielsen reports that brands play a key role: 60% of all content-sharing messages specifically mention a brand or product name.  That makes sense when you see the reasons people share – they want to share trusted information.

Consumers say trust and a desire to help people are key factors in deciding which content to share:
38% share information from people they trust.
36% share important information that helps others (e.g., traffic reports, how-to, community information).
35% share items about popular culture.
32% share information pertaining to common interests.

Email is the primary content-sharing tool among surveyed consumers (66%), followed social media (28%) and instant messaging (4%). Most People Share via Multiple Platforms.  And, 99% people who share content via social media also use email to share content.   It’s a great report – you can read AOL’s release here.  And Marketing Profs dissect it more, and provide graphs here.

Search the blog for more from our team at Jericho on email marketing and social media (we started for you, below):

Fan. Follower. Subscriber. Which one will actually buy?

4 ways that great web content = free money

Subscribe yourself, share with your network (SWYN) and other missed opportunities

About the study: Findings are based on Nielsen’s NM Incite Social Media Monitoring tools, Online Behavior Panel and Attitudinal analysis, tracking more than 10,000 social media messages; and on a survey of more than 1,000 Nielsen Online panel members for 10 consecutive days, December 14-23, 2010

Thanks to Gretchen Scheiman from Ogilvy in New York who made a great comment on our last post (it’s below – why NOT to use a ‘noreply’ email address in your email marketing), and so inspired this one…

Gretchen said something like  “that’s all very well for a big company with a big team of CSR’s but what about the rest ?”

I remember investing in a ‘letterbox drop’ promotion in one of my first businesses that produced vastly more leads (phone calls) than we expected. It was pandemonium that week as we juggled phones, staff and demand, but what I learned is that if you pick up the call, the money is way more likely to come in than if you let it ring.  I think using ‘noreply’ is a lot like letting the phone ring out. There are different ways we suggest managing replies, based on a number of key factors.

The most important one is probably ‘Is this reply likely to make you money?’, as the ROI is a key factor for all businesses – well it should be anyway!.  If responding to the client is likely to improve the chance that they will buy something from you – including affecting brand, loyalty, word of mouth as well as direct sale – then it should be easier to get buy in from your team that you need to put a good response process in place.

I would suggest some steps to consider are:

1. Know how many emails you expect to get back after each deployment.
Test this.  You might send 100,000 emails and get back just 40 responses, if so what’s the big deal? Your admin staff can manage that!
If the volume is high then there will be delays in your response, so can you use auto-responders?  Note that these can be clever, engaging and helpful not just dull automaton type missives. They can buy you some time til your team can respond in person, or they can offer steps to get satisfaction… offer a range of FAQ answers and direct to your website, live chat, or even ask them to call you if they are not feeling the love – the point is, you haven’t shouted ‘do not reply’.  You can use a lovely polite tone and manner, thank them for their contact and be helpful.

2. Split each communication type or category: transactional, brand, offer, and so on.
Ask what types of replies are we getting, and who is best to manage each?  You can decide who is best to manage responses and set up redirects of the emails to those teams/humans.
For example we have a number of clients who make their Client Account Managers manage replies, simply by using dynamic reply addresses that change out for each customer based on the data fields that show which is their AM.  This is great for B2B especially as any opportunity is noticed and captured.

Love to hear your ideas and learnings too.

The unsubscribe link is a critical part of your relationship with your email reader, and providing one that works is required by law.  Here are 4 things about the unsusbcribe process that you need to keep in mind as you manage your email marketing program:

  1. The Lowdown
  2. The Experience
  3. The Consequence
  4. The Obvious

The Lowdown

Unsubscribing is a nice, simple, clean way for your recipients to control the flow of information into their inbox.  You want people to use your unsubscribe link because the alternatives (delete, ignore, email purgatory, or ‘Mark as Spam’ inbox tools) can affect your bank balance, your sender reputation, and your brand and word of mouth.  To a business, an unsubscribe might cost thousands of dollars or more in loss of the chance to build a relationship with, and extract revenue from that human.  We have written about this before, but the recent six-figure fines at Virgin has prompted another post today. Previous posts include some great stuff, so if you missed them: Unsubscribe don’t send hate mail. Happy to unsubscribe in 30 steps… Subscribe yourself, share with your network (SWYN) and other missed opportunities. Unsubscribe – a quick and painless death?

Legally, the ‘spam law’ in New Zealand, Australia, the EU, Canada, the USA and more, states clearly that your unsubscribe method must work, be free, and be honoured within a few days (5 days in NZ and AU, 10 days for CAN-SPAM).

The Experience – how users see your unsubscribe

People unsubscribe because they can.  How the process works will be important to whether or not they call you next time they are in the market for your services.  A difficult unsubscribe process can be annoying, infuriating, and illegal.   There are three common scenarios.  I’d love your comments, and why.

a) Click to Unsubscribe
Most important – there should be no doubt what you need to do, and whether or not you have done it.  Practising what we preach, we were adamant that our SmartmailPro platform behave in a way that is extremely clear.  One click on the link in the email and you see this message: Success!  Next, it shows the email address you have unsusbcribed, we all have multiple addresses and sometime you’ll surprise even yourself with which you are signed up with, to what.

SmartMailPro Unsubscribe page

Then you can add a reason if you like, resubscribe if it was an error, or change your other subscriptions.

Usually found at the bottom of an email, we believe that the link should also be at the top of the email.  (Sometimes this link is placed in the side bar which is uncommon and therefore bad.)

b) Phone, email to unsubscribe.
It surprises many of our clients to hear that they have to motnior inboxes and instruct CS staff in how to action unsusbcribes – if someone calls to unsusbcribe, can your staff tell them how to, or better yet, do it for them?

c) Log in to your account to ‘update your preferences’.
If you want people to log in then you are providing a barrier to unsusbcribe, something that is anti-customer, if not illegal.  You can easily add the data to the link dynamically so that they are logged in with their details upon clicking the link.  Yes, if you are a bank, then you might not have any option but to require security steps, however it’s important to offer an alternate method of contact so they can change their preferences even if they can’t access their account for any reason.

The Consequence – Virgin Aussie fined six figures for their non-working unsubscribe recently posted news about the fines levied on Virgin three times now, for spamming.  He relays that in March last year Virgin Mobile was fined $22,000 dollars in Australia, and more recently in the UK, Virgin Media came under fire for spamming,  and in this the latest blow Virgin Blue Airlines has been fined AU$110,000 dollars for spamming by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.  Virgin Blue has since committed to overhauling its email marketing in response to alleged contraventions of Spam Act. How did they fall foul? The unsubscribe links in their email simply did not work.

The enforcable conditions for Virgin Blue are available on the ACMA website, download here.

The Obvious – make your emails relevant

Finally, it’s important to remember that when asked why they unsubscribed, a majority of people respond that ‘it just isn’t relevant to me’.  Making email personal and relevant is critical to keeping your recipients engaged in your content, and ultimately in your organisation.

Relevance can be improved dramatically with the following, which should be considerations in every campaign you plan: 
If you still have time you can read more here Six Truths for Email Marketing (one of our most popular posts ever) Evolve your Email Strategy and here Does your site deliver ?(ecommerce focus).   But perhaps the truth is still, as eMarketer reported last year, Email Marketers plan to get smart at some point just not right now!