Posts Tagged ‘planning’

It is never to early to prepare for Christmas, especially if you are an elf – they prepare all year long.  So we thought we could help out by sharing our tips for maximising the effectiveness of your Christmas campaign, and help you stand out amongst all the other Christmas mail.

1. The first step is to prepare.

It’s the Christmas season and everyone gets busy, every year, so plan to plan well in advance. After spending all year building rapport with customers and sending great email campaigns, the last thing you want to do is hurriedly put together a last minute Christmas email. This is where it counts! Send something they’ll remember all of next year and keep them coming back for more. So here are our top pointers:

a. Think about who your target audience is.
WHAT are you offering?
WHY you are offering it?
HOW often you will email people?
Will you set up a fun series of Christmas emails, or send just the one super Christmas email?

b. Keep in mind the relevancy of the campaign to the recipients. Those Christmas garden galoshes may be superb, but if you are sending them to someone who would rather hear about your garden cricket set, you have lost a major opportunity to both appeal to your customers and sell them something. And with everyone struggling to be heard at Christmas, relevancy is more important than ever! Mail that is tailored to your recipients and personalised will grab their attention over the emails that are bland and generic. So think about how you can tailor your Christmas campaigns to your recipients.

2. When you lure them in, where are they going to go?

a. If you are on Pinterest and if it’s relevant to your brand, why not make a Christmas board full of gift ideas, with each product image linking back to your website  to drive traffic. Just look at all the Christmas posts on Pinterest! Then once your board is full of pretty pictures, click here to read about how to integrate it into your email campaign.

b. You are getting your seasonal campaigns designed, and the Christmas rush is looming  - but before you send that campaign and drive all that traffic to your site, 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.

3. The first thing someone sees  is your subject line.

a. If you have done all that planning, and gone to all the effort of making a beautiful Christmas email, but people don’t open it because of the subject line, then it doesn’t matter how great your email is, or how many cute elves are singing in it – getting your subject line right is #1. For more info read this post on creating effective subject lines – and this post on using special characters in your subject line to help you stand out.

b. Make sure your subject line is intriguing, catchy and stands out amongst the rest. Some key things to think about are whether or not personalisation is relevant or suitable. Also you don’t want your email getting picked up by spam filters, so avoid using words like “sale” and “free” too much.

3. Once you have got into their inbox….

a. A creative, well designed email with a Christmas theme that is interactive and fun is great for this time of year. Also, sending your clients an email to thank them for their loyalty over the past year is a great way to encourage loyalty in the coming year and make your clients feel appreciated. So make it a goal of yours this year to have the smartest and most memorable Christmas message of all!

b. If you would like any ideas, our creative team has loads! Get in touch with us now

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 created the 2013 Campaign Content Calendar.

Download, share to social, and print and pin the calendar above your desk to help with your content planning and keep your audience engaged and your communications relevant all year around.

We’ve included key holidays and key dates for both Australia and New Zealand, including Mother’s Day, School Holidays, Halloween, Chinese New Year, Easter, and more. Some Australian New Zealand events and festivals are included too.

Click on the image to download your copy of the calendar, and be sure to share to your social networks!  And yes, we know it’s March already but we have had this in use with clients loving it to date, so thought it would be nice to share it with you too!

 


Even though it’s likely you are still focusing on your Christmas ‘recovery’ and easing back to work, it’s never too early to think about your 2013 email marketing program.

For some this year might be about reviewing your budget and allocating more resources towards your email communications program in order to set in place the best of the basics.  If you are already more established and ‘mature’  in your approach to email then you are continually reviewing your email communications program and are evaluating it to see how you can enhance what you’re doing.

Either way if you really want to power up your email marketing, below are some of the biggest shifts and trends at the moment that you should now seriously be thinking about how you could make this work better for you.

1. From mobile optimised to mobile first
Given that most email opens now happen on mobile devices, simply optimising your email message for mobile devices is becoming more of an outdated notion. On the other hand – while optimising designs for mobile is now crucial, don’t forget that context is just as important. And a mobile first approach means that landing pages and your Web site are also designed to convert mobile readers of your email.

2. From dry to juicy
Things have changed in the way customers expect to communicate with companies and what they want from them. Gone is the notion of editing content to within an inch of its life to take out any human presence and get it past the lawyers. It’s now about taking a different approach that involves sending content that educates, informs, engages and entertains. This doesn’t mean you abandon your professional corporate speak for the ‘LOL’-speak, however it’s about balance – customers just want to know they are dealing with humans that care.

3. From 1-1001 to 1-1
Batch and Blasts (where everyone gets everything) should have died out along with the Spice Girls. So it is really time to shift to automating more parts of your email program, where the subscribers themselves determine the frequency and cadence of the emails they receive through their own purchases, check-ins, behaviour and interests. It is those smart cookies that use the data they have to deliver real-time emails with truly dynamic and personal content.

4. From welcome message to boarding program
There is a shift away from firing out a ‘welcome’ message and then dumping subscribers into your main communication feed, to gently warming them up with a series of on-boarding messages that are tailored toward new recipients.

5. From one-off to email series
Did you know cart abandonment follow up emails get the highest engagement rate of all emails? Followed by birthday series emails.  Reports show a three-part birthday or cart-abandonment series always significantly outperform a single email. We have heard of people getting average conversion rates of 22%, 15% and 24% with a three-part cart-abandonment re-marketing series. How much money would it have lost if it had stopped after the first message?

Worth thinking about…. Email or call us if you want to talk strategy and email communications planning for 2013, we are elbow deep into work with many clients already and in the coming months they will be very pleased we did!

 

To complement our two part email series on preparing for Christmas, we wanted to share our tips for maximising the effectiveness of your Christmas campaign, and how to stand out amongst all the other Christmas mail.

1) The first step is to prepare.
It’s the Christmas season and everyone gets busy, so plan in advance.  Here are our top pointers for preparation.

Think about who your target audience is
WHAT are you offering
WHY you are offering it
HOW often you will email people (Will you set up a fun series of Christmas emails, or send just the one super Christmas email?)

After spending all year building rapport with customers and sending great email campaigns, the last thing you want to do is hurriedly put together a last minute Christmas email. This is where it counts! Send something they’ll remember all of next year and keep them coming back for more.

And speaking of WHO, WHAT, and WHY, keep in mind the relevancy of the campaign to the recipients. Those Christmas garden galoshes may be superb, but if you are sending them to someone who would rather hear about your garden cricket set, you have lost a major opportunity to both appeal to your customers and sell them something.

And with everyone struggling to be heard at Christmas, relevancy is more important than ever! Mail that is tailored to your recipients and personalised will grab their attention over the emails that are bland and generic. So think about how you can tailor your Christmas campaigns to your recipients.

2) The first thing someone sees before opening your beautiful email is your subject line.
If you have done all that planning, then people don’t open your email because of the subject line, then it doesn’t matter how great your email is. So getting your subject line right is important. Make sure it is intriguing, catchy and stands out amongst the rest. Some key things to think about are whether or not personalization is relevant or suitable. Also you don’t want your email getting picked up by spam filters, so avoid using words like “sale” and “free” too much.

3) Once you have got into their inbox….
A creative, well designed email with a Christmas theme that is interactive and fun is great for this time of year.  Also, sending your clients an email to thank them for their loyalty over the past year is a great way to encourage loyalty in the coming year and make your clients feel appreciated. So make it a goal of yours this year to have the smartest and most memorable Christmas message of all!

If you would like any ideas, our creative team has loads! Get in touch with us now  

Top Tip:
Your subscribers are about to be inundated with communications from various businesses and chances are they‘ll unsubscribe from a few of them. So why not get to know them a little better, and ask your subscribers to update their preferences with you before they get bombarded. Then you can use this information to provide them with more relevant communications during the Christmas onslaught. The more relevant your communication is, the more likely they are to be engaged and the less likely they are to hit that unsubscribe link.

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.