Posts Tagged ‘segmentation’

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!

 

 

 

I heard something the other day that struck me – someone said their customer service rep ‘put a personal face on a big corporation’.  It made me consider the journey that many organisations take from being small and therefore personal, to greater success and towards the cliche of the big faceless corporation, at which point they see the need to do a full circle right back to providing the personal touch.   Because to your customer, that is all that matters – that personal service. That friendly human face that actually talks to you, helps you, and most of all provides value. That face is often perceived as being ‘your company’ -not your building – not your logo – that personal face. And it is often the difference between a happy customer and no customer.

Being personal applies to every single business and every single industry. People love personalised service, even in this digital world. And email gets closer to people than many other digital channels, via what comes into their inbox.  When you send an email to anyone’s inbox, you are in the ‘golden circle’ of their life, along with emails from friends and family…. it’s like you have just walked into their house and they are having a family party when you arrive. This could be awkward…

So are you going to butt-in and start pitching to them? Only to have them ‘delete’ you and kick you out? Or are you going to be friendly and relevant to them and actually join in the conversation and provide some value to them? You know the correct answer. You know that friend that always comes around and just sits there and helps themselves to your food and your TV then expects you to be grateful to them for their mere presence? I bet you know some emails like that.

Now how about that friend that comes in when they are invited, when you said it’s OK to visit, and they bring your favourite cookies because you told them and they remembered. While they are visiting they also give you some tips, do your dishes and give you some discounts for something you really wanted. Maybe they even tell some jokes and make you laugh. Well obviously that friend is welcome any time! Just imagine if you do your email marketing like that, how much your subscribers would love you.

Well we have an example of an email from a company in New Zealand called Pixel Paint who do just that. Who? Pixel Paint is a canvas printing company based in Wellington and they send the most humorous, friendly emails ever. This month they sent an email out with the subject line ‘We love you so much we made you a mix tape…’ with a link to a retro music mix tape they made on Sound Cloud for their subscribers, just so they didn’t have to endure certain music on the radio. Then they added at the bottom ‘PS – if you want to buy a canvas click here’.  Wow talk about feeling the love from a company who has just gone the extra mile to do something for me. I instantly love these guys. Click on the email and check it out.

Once you have had a look at that awesome email, let’s go back a bit for a second. Email can get technical and can seem like it’s all about metrics, engagement, segmentation, dynamic content, setting up rules, looking at data, vlookups,  exporting reports….. and all that isn’t much ‘fun’ (Unless you are email geeks like us at Jericho) and like housework it’s not the most glamorous part, however, these are all important facets of email marketing and they must be done. Then, when all that foundation work is done, bring the personal side back in. Be human, be personable. Mix up the flavour of your emails and inject some humour into them. The age of using an overly formal corporate voice has gone and we are now all speaking to people in a more natural way.

I love the emails that arrive when I have told them to, I love the emails that open with a funny pre-header or intro, and who use a funny, friendly tone of language. I love those emails that include a pop culture reference, or a joke, or a nice story. Mainly I love those emails that give me my favourite cookies – the products I like and that I’ve told them I like. I love the emails that help me clean and give me advise while they are visiting – that could be anything from whitepapers, to industry advise, discounts, content no-one has seen before… I love these emails and I look forward to them arriving in my inbox. Every single day.

Real-life-humans operate your website, your social media and your email marketing so why not just act like it and embrace the personal, customer-centered focus. Now before you start dropping meme’s into your legal newsletter, we are not saying turn from corporate communication to young funky start-up just to try and be cool all of a sudden. It needs to be done in a way that is genuine and relevant to your company.  If you are a  young funky company like our example Pixel Paint, then you can take this humour and friendliness a lot further than some other companies potentially could.

The moral of this story is if you have made it as far as the inbox, you may as well be a good friend to your subscriber – add value, provide content they will appreciate, send emails your subscribers will look forward to, and they will love you.

Here is a Case Study by Marketing Sherpa that shows how http://www.marketingsherpa.com/article/case-study/e-commerce-eco-friendly-email-content

 

If you are not yet running an integrated, segmented, personalized, customized, dynamic, responsive, multi-channel email marketing program… don’t fret, you are not alone! And yes you can still make email marketing work for you.

Most email marketers will always be talking about the most cutting edge developments and recommending you implement all the latest complex technical solutions and best practices. Those solutions are great for those who need and want them. However we realise that implementing these tactics and strategies are not always realistic or achievable for most people doing email marketing within their SMB, or those with just one staff member, a limited budget and 3 hours a week.

We recognise email marketing demands resources, skills or time that often just isn’t available. In the always shifting digital industry and the constant changes and push to get ahead, we sometimes forget to make sure we’ve got the basics right.

So instead of thinking about how to implement the most advanced, complex campaign ever because we told you to, we recommend you walk before you run – start by getting the basics right, and concentrate on what you actually need to do and what your customers want from you.

The basics for you could be as simple as:
Optimising your subject line
Changing your from name to increase opens
Making sure you include pre-header text and your company information in the footer
Implementing a testing process for your email before you deploy it to make sure it’s 100%
Regularly carrying out data hygiene on your list to ensure your database is as clean as it can be
Update your email content so it is shorter, simpler, and more visual. (If that’s what your audience wants)

You don’t need to be the flashiest or most hi-tech email on the block – leave that to the big companies with the staff, the budget and the time. Concentrate on winning over your audience by sending a quality, timely, relevant and targeted email that that your subscribers look forward to opening.

Once you have mastered all the basics and you are seeing consistent improvements in things like open rates, clickthroughs, and engagement for example, then come talk to us about implementing that integrated, segmented, personalized, customized, dynamic, responsive, multi-channel email marketing program you’ve been dreaming about!

Because it’s amazing what you can achieve with a team of email marketing experts at your side.

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.”

If you follow the email marketing industry, you know that engagement is quite the buzzword lately.  But Engagement isn’t new at all. It has been a part of the filtering mix for quite a while. ISPs including Yahoo! (Xtra) Hotmail and Gmail are adding clicks, opens and other measures of user engagement to the long list of other engagement metrics that have been in use for a while. All these metrics try to do the same thing — figure out which messages are truly wanted by subscribers.

ISPs are measuring engagement and using it to decide who gets to the inbox, and who goes to the junk folder. In simple terms, the ISP is basically looking at whether or not your subscribers open, click, and in general, “interact” with you. If you send an email that mistakenly goes to the junk folder, then the subscriber moves it back out, you scored some engagement points. If your subscriber clicks your links or hits “reply” to send you a message, you get some engagement points.

Returnpath’s George Bilbrey says to senders:

“Treat inactive subscribers differently: This is probably the biggest change that most marketers need to think about. Mailing to a lot of inactive accounts may actually make your reputation look worse at some ISPs. Segment out inactive users and run a win-back campaign. If you cannot win back these subscribers, you may simply want to stop mailing them altogether.”

Over at Clickz, Jeanne Jennings had this to say about inactive members of your list:

“If these folks really aren’t that into you, they may take the next step and report you as spam. It’s like that shunned suitor who just won’t go away; eventually the victim will consider him a stalker and get a restraining order. Keeping inactive names on your list can open you up to blacklisting and deliverability issues.”

There is an art to deciding who is engaged and who is not.  This will depend on your buying cycle and the types of emails you send. It is good to use an email expert to help you make a matrix for your own business but there are some things you can consider:

Do you have strong calls to action in your emails – so that there is something to click?

Do you have a genuinely relevant and  interesting email stream, sent at least bi-monthly (6 per year)?

If you have a frequent email (weekly or more) do you allow people to control the frequency and type of emails they get using a Preference Centre?

  • From time to time you should dissect your email list to identify who have never opened, clicked or bought something from you. We call them ‘zombies’.  They bring all your metrics down, they impact your engagement measures and they don’t pay their way.  Try to get them to wake up – or kill them off.
  • Next look for who is in a coma – used to engage and now don’t.  Talk to them differently too.
  • Who is on their way out?
  • Who are you best responders?  Make them feel special, use them to spread your word, and keep up the good work!

There is much to this and a good agency can help you do this and come out the other side with a more profitable program.

And worst case is you get to kill a few zombies!

 

 

 

With more and more brands online every day, everyone is competing to be seen and be read. As a result, we have overflowing in-boxes and information overload, and are resorting to content filtering or mass-deleting. So how do you cut through all this noise and stand out? What makes you shine above all the others in the inbox?

Here are our best recommendations for making sure your email is a welcome guest in the inbox….

Help your recipients curate, collate, and filter their own content
We know that people are dealing with content overload, and we know people now have many ways they can filter out content, so instead of adding to the information overload, why not be part of the solution.
*Do what Fab does and provide a preference centre link at the top of every email to help make it even easier for recipients to adjust their preferences.
*Send out an email telling your subscribers how much you appreciate them and if they would like to see more, or less of you, in the inbox all they have to do is ‘click here’ to tell you.
*Use dynamic content to ensure you are tailoring the content of your email to the subscribers as much as possible.

Provide value
Do you give people things they want? Neat things they can show off? Products and services that will help them? Tips that no-one else would know? Industry secrets? Personality, humor, fun, quirkiness and uniqueness are all ways to make your message more relevant and valuable.  But what value are you providing content wise? Even if you just sell sticks, instead of just sending a list of sticks and their prices, why not show your subscribers which stick is best for them? Tell your subscribers about some cool tricks they can do with the sticks. Offer bulk buy stick offers. Do you offer gift wrapping and free shipping for 2 or more sticks? Tell your subscribers some of the games you can play with the sticks. Include some photo’s of happy customers with their sticks.  Thinking outside the box like this opens up whole new ways you can provide value.

Be unique
I love Fab and Fancy’s emails because they have such a uniquely designed email that really captures my attention, and I enjoy looking at it. Every day. The other reason is that it is filled with 100% new and unique things every day, which is amazing in itself. I also love them because they offer me things no-one else does, things I see no-where else, which makes it even more special. So what is your point of difference? Think about what you are offering people that no-one else is.Portray your own brand, design, flavour, and make your uniqueness stand out.

Be relevant
There are many ways to be relevant – use preference centre’s so people can tell you specifically what they are interested in. Segment your database so you can customise your content based on anything you can collect the data for – location, gender, age bracket, favorite music genre, preferred store, last purchase date, anything. Basically the bottom line is send an email people want to get.

Use a ‘friendly’ from name
Did you know the majority of email users look at the sender from name and address before deciding whether or not to open the email. If they recognise the from name they’re more likely to open the campaign, however if they don’t, they’re likely to delete the email or mark it as spam. If your recipients recognise your from name and have an association with this, then they’re more likely to open the email. So make sure you choose one that matches your brand/company name, preferably the same one used on your website and across your social media accounts, so that when people see it they instantly recognise you in the inbox. Read more on this here

Use a superstar subject line
Apart from your from name, do you know what one other thing entices people to read your email? Your subject line.  And with the majority of subscribers now reading emails on their smartphone, this means you just have up to 50 characters to make your point. Do your subject lines read ‘March Update’ or do they read something like ‘The top 5 things about X you didn’t know but should’.  Read our post about creating effective subject lines.

Be timely and expected
I like Mashable because among other things, their email always arrives in my inbox at exactly at the same time every day, because guess what – that’s when I asked them to send it. One absolutely fundamental rule is to stipulate exactly when and how often you will send email – when someone first subscribes. And make sure you send it exactly when you said you would. This sets the expectation of the subscriber from the outset, and if you send it when you said you would that leads to happy subscribers. If the recipient likes the email, and you, they will open and engage, and even if you email them daily, they will still love you. However if you email more than you said you would or if they don’t like the email, they will often just use the mark as spam or delete buttons, and if that is the case, do not underestimate how this will affect your deliverability. Read more about sentiment.

Be brief
“Most studies show that people spend less than 10 seconds reading an email” says Simms Jenkins, chief executive officer of the Atlanta-based email marketing agency BrightWave Marketing. People are busy, so help them out and replace those long blocks of text with bullet points, lists, summaries, or even better, images or graphs that demonstrate the point. Think about how magazines sell – their cover’s are full of ‘top 10′ this, and ‘best tips’ that, and all their content is brief and concise.

Provide content people want to read
I get an email from VisualNews, every day. Yet I love it because every day they send me links to things that are new, quirky and unique that I don’t see anywhere else and they are always so interesting to read. It’s one of the only emails that make my ‘to read’ shortlist every day because I always know it’s going to be good. Simms Jenkins said “Compelling content that provides value to your subscribers is the best way to ensure they stay engaged with your e-mail program”. 

Provide something they don’t get anywhere else
What do I get from signing up to your emails that web visitors and store visitors don’t get? HomeMint and ShoeMint make a habit of sending me 20% to 50% and off vouchers at least once a week, just because I subscribed. These emails are among the only ones that stay in my inbox along with those from my friends, while I browse their website and dream about how I am going to redeem that special offer.

Send emails with built in relevancy
Trigger emails are intrinsically relevant as they go out as a direct result of a specific action, like signing up to something or a cart abandonment email. This build in relevancy is why many people see these types of email as a cornerstone of email marketing, and will be more and more relevant and important as time goes on. If you are not already doing some form of triggered emails, we strongly suggest you do – and we have a whole raft of posts on the subject. They can also be surprisingly easy to implement.

Tell a story
In this age where it’s all about storytelling, realise that people don’t want a corporate robot anymore – they appreciate receiving emails that have been written by a human and that actually read like it. So drop the corporate speak and write your communications in a more personable way, in keeping with your brand obviously, and inject some personality into your copy. Add some humour, and make it into a story.  We all know people like stories and this is the best way to get your point across, teach people things, and have them remember things. So share a story or anecdote – for example what’s been happening behind the scenes at your company, or something funny that happened to you, or a quote perhaps. Some of the best emails I have read are written as a story to demonstrate a point. And guess what I virtually always read the entire email, and I retain that story and that message long after that email has left my inbox.

So are you one of the people who’s email makes my daily shortlist of emails to be read, or are you on the list of noise that get’s deleted?

If you have any other fantastic suggestions of ways to stand out in the inbox, email us and let us know!