Posts Tagged ‘social media’

It has been said that ‘email is the Swiss Army knife of marketing’ and is one of the most widely used digital channels in your marketing arsenal. For most marketers, email costs the least but gives the greatest returns. Here are the top few reasons why email is still king.

blogImg_emailWinning

Email is the workhorse of your digital marketing program
One of the greatest things about email is its versatility; that ability for it to reach your customers and drive traffic to your other channels such as your website and social network profiles. It really integrates your channels together. It also wins terms of increasing ROI by utilising it for triggered emails such as welcoming new customers, processing purchases, and all those other good things. I don’t know of any other channel that does that.

Email is like Madonna – it keeps reinventing itself
You can’t beat email for its ability to reinvent itself, to be a platform that can constantly be updated, upgraded, re-designed, re-coded, optimised, and inte­grate with other technologies and channels as they appear.  Look at how email is adapting to HTML and video in email for example, and how already people are seeing an increase in engagement and higher ROI as a result.

Email can actually prove it’s worth to you
For all those data and analysis nerds, you will appreciate one of the best things about the email channel is that you can easily see exactly how your emails are performing, and you can prove your email marketing ROI to management through all the reporting and analytics that are available. After all shiny new apps are neat but at the end of the day what will be appreciated by the keepers of the budget is what really provides returns and value.

Email is still leagues ahead of social media
The report by Custora sheds some light on what is really shaping e-Commerce and Digital Marketing. And the results are quite clear - email still has a massive lead beyond the other channels and is still providing the highest value.

There you have it. Email remains the most effective way to deliver your message, it’s the #1 activity on all smartphones and tablets, it drives the most conversions and consumer purchases more than any other marketing channel, and it’s the preferred communication stream for consumers.

Here at Jericho we really can’t stress enough how beneficial an effective email marketing program is to your business.

Want 11 more reasons why email is so great?

 

 

 

Experian Marketing Services, a global provider of integrated consumer insight, targeting and cross channel marketing, reveals that if the time spent on the Internet for personal computers was distilled into an hour then 27 percent of it would be spent on social networking and forums across US, UK and Australia, and 23 percent of total US mobile internet time is spent reading and writing emails.

Online Browsing
In the US, 16 minutes out of every hour online is spent on social networking, nine minutes on entertainment sites, five minutes shopping and three minutes on email. For comparison, in the UK 13 minutes out of every hour online is spent on social networking, nine minutes on entertainment sites, and six minutes shopping.  Australian Internet users spend 14 minutes on social sites, nine on entertainment and four minutes shopping online.

Click on image to see full size graph

 

Mobile Browsing
If we analyse US browsing data for mobile devices, email accounts for the largest time spent on average –  specifically speaking, email makes up 23 percent of time spent on mobile devices, followed by social networking at 15 percent. Entertainment had the third highest time spent with 13 percent, then shopping with 11 percent.

 


Source

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.”

Pinterest is a frequent topic of conversation these days and I don’t want to jump on the bandwagon for the sake of it, however I do want to share some useful tips about how to integrate email and Pinterest.

Firstly, for the initiated, Pinterest is the third most popular social media site in terms of site visits, behind Facebook and Twitter. (According to Hitwise) Pinterest is a virtual pin board where people can ‘Pin’ images from websites, upload and share their own images, and ‘Re-pin’ images from other people. It allows you to collate these images into categorised boards which you can share, and others on Pinterest can see and share & re-pin. It is visual in nature, and draws a largely female audience – obviously it resonates with females due to our ‘gathering’ instincts, and appeals to our visual nature, and particularly appeals because of the strong themes around home, fashion, food and family. (Among many other categories) and it can be, and is, used heavily for planning weddings, birthdays, vacations etc.

It is also being used for brands to showcase their products, art, designs, and show ‘behind the scenes’ of the company, which helps build the brand personality and personal connection to your customers. So it is no surprise that it is quickly becoming a key player in online marketing. You might be surprised to learn however that the ability to integrate Pinterest with your email marketing channel to build and grow your Pinterest presence is relatively easy. So here are a couple of tips about how to bring these two channels together, beyond just adding a “follow us on Pinterest” button to your email.

Here are the five most productive ways to increase social media ROI by linking the two:

1. Use Email to Announce Your Pinterest Presence
It is often said and well known that your email subscribers are your best and most loyal customers. If your brand fits with the typical demographic of the Pinterest user, you have every reason to promote your presence on the site, and share your images with your customers. One great example is how zulily has embraced its Pinterest presence by not only telling their subscribers what they can find on Pinterest, but also creating content specific to the channel via poster creation and even featuring an incentive to encourage Pinning from their site. (Click here or on the image to your right to view the full email)

2. Include “Pin This” Icons within Your Email
Including a Pinterest icon with a simple string of code is all you need to do to get your content from your email to your Board. You even have the ability to pass through a description to accompany the image – and descriptions in Pinterest are important. A few fun things to note here: if you include a dollar amount price in the description, Pinterest will automatically place a banner in the top, left hand side of the image feature the price; it will also place the Pin in the Gift Guides from the main drop down. Another fun note is that descriptions can also help impact SEO. Think the descriptions through as carefully as you choose your imagery.

3. Co-ordinate New Boards or Pins Around Email Deployment
If you are including references to Pinterest within your email communication, chances are your customers may visit your Pinterest wall of various boards following an email deployment. It is a good idea to have new content available when they get there. To that point, you should be putting up new content, arranging boards and managing the “above the fold” appearances of your Pinterest presence frequently to deter fatigue.

4. Here are some other ideas you might like to consider: 

  • Create new pins and update your Pinterest boards around email deployment schedules to complement the email message.
  • Add the Pinterest icon to your social media sharing icons in email campaigns and newsletters etc.
  • Create specific boards around your email marketing calendar (holidays, big events, social media trends, special sales, or any popular Pinterest category that’s relevant to your brand).
  • Include visuals of Pinterest activity in your email campaigns, including the Pinterest activity of your most social community members or ‘behind the scenes’ shots.
  • Prepare your boards before an email deploys, so that the content is updated and fresh by the time traffic spikes.
  • Keep your boards looking fresh by rearranging them frequently, make sure featured pins are “above the fold” and make sure you choose the best ‘album cover’ for each board.
  • Stay social – repin other people’s pins, monitor the community, and start a conversation with users.
  • Tap Pinterest’s potential to add to your social media ROI and create boards that mirror the interests, activities, demographics etc, of your customers or followers.
  • Have customized boards for different segments of your email database, and of course you’ll want to know who is pinning from your site and engage them on other social platforms as well.
  • Pin emails to Pinterest for faster ROI, by linking your email marketing campaigns to your Pinterest.

 

As you can imagine, this is an ever-evolving topic and new information is coming out every day – we are just scratching the surface of what marketers can do with this channel, so look at this as a few tips to help get you started.
Want more? click here to read more advice about combining email and Pinterest.

So start thinking about what you want to share with your prospects and customers – think about how you can communicate those things through email and social media. Those are the key questions that will determine whether or not pinning email to Pinterest should be part of your plan. If you are using both email and social media, then you’ll find that linking them together in a planned, coordinated effort will make a significant positive change in your social media ROI.

Spammers are scummy criminals, yes, but some of their subject lines are pretty catchy.  Tell me I’m not the only one perversely attracted to the copywriting entertainment that lurks in the junk folder.

There is a lot of emarketing blog subject matter there, for another day.   For our growth theme we head straight to pharma.  A few favourite subject lines:

- Hello, Smallest thing of the year, How are you? ; )    
– Hey Comrade, how’s your ramrod?
– Where did you get so small weenie?
- Could you reply why your thing is so short
- Curious thing about your weenie
- You think you have enough size?

Ouch.  As the person in charge of marketing to your databases, whether you have an audience of 5,000 or 5,000,000 you are likely to experience dissatisfaction about your ‘size’.

It’s not the size, it’s what you do with it right? Well, yes… small databases may just be perfectly formed, but your contacts are always changing, so growth is a good idea in any case.  The real question is, if your’s is too small, what can you do about it?  Growing your database relies on some MUST-DO’s. Every single day, they are not done, all over the web, on sites from all over the world.  Don’t be one of them.   Here are a few of the MUST-DO’s to grow your email list.

  • Ask. This is direct marketing. You must ask, directly, in many ways – buttons, text links, in-copy prompts, and from landing pages, blogs, Facebook and LinkedIn, etc.  Get someone who has no involvement with your website – you mum for example – and ask them to get their name on your mailing list; watch over their shoulder while they sign up.  Everywhere they attempt to look should have  a text link, button or directive to join.  Note how the GAP family of sites, and RachelZoe.com do this right on the home page – their most valuable real estate.
  • Be attractive and useful. Now is not the time to be coy. Describe how you will help and waggle your benefits right in their face.   Use pain-points that demonstrate you know their difficulties, and can help them solve them.  Use value-adds and bonuses to incentivise their action.   We developed our SmartMail Pro’s email series tools for just this purpose (Get our monthly specials and we’ll send you the ground-breaking tutorial ‘Get the most from health insurance’ in 5 parts, each week for the next 5 weeks, for free’).  Yes your content is worth something but their email address is worth a lot – to you, and, even more to them.  Use examples, testimonials and clear language to exchange value and to minimise their risk: ‘We will never ever give your details to anyone else’.  Are your emails beautiful, and functional?  It costs the same time and money to send an ugly email – but risks less pass-along, poor response rates.  Make it rock.  See email design examples here and ask us for some before and afters to see what a difference design can make.
  • Make it easy. See the Bonus Resource on form design below - DO ask for the personal details you can (and that you will) use to vastly improve the customers experience, such as Gender, Location, and broad preference categories.  Date of birth is nice if you will use it to acknowledge their birthday.  We’ve already said Do NOT hide the subscribe button deep in your site – get it out there!  Please don’t ask for a mailing address, unless you really, really need it – it’s very offputting.  If you have a call centre or CSR’s calling customers on the phone, or viceversa, then make sure they are asking for the email address, and getting permssion by explaining why it will be good to recieve emails from your company.
  • Close the loop.  Do what you said you would, when you said you would do it. Fulfilling the promises that you made is key to extend permission and take Seth Godin’s journey from stranger, to friend, to customer and then advocate.  Handing over the email addy is a risk – make the risk pay off and you will have them. and their wallets, right where you need it.
  • Use Advocates.     Pass along, and social sharing using social media is one of the strongest advantages email has over other marketing channels, so use your SWYN tools not to send readers to your Facebook page but to get yourself on theirs, and if you don’t have  these tools get us to set you up. Make sure you have clear path to subscribe in every email you send – we explain that fully here. Check out this post Fan, Follower, Subscriber – which one will buy?, and other previous GetSmart posts on social media and email marketing.

Bonus Resources

-How New York Public Library grew their database by 50%.  A case study.

-Sign up/Registration form design: I have found a fascinating resource on web design usability that has several posts about form design, I recommend them all – just search their site.  Your goal is to optimise the form, and the path to the form, so you increase the chance that web page visitors will persist and complete your form.  
The first post is about the layout of the form: Vertical arrangement works fastest


Do you need plans, extraordinary design creative, and a real life team of global email experts to drive your email marketing and social media? Here we are – down under and always ready for action.



These bits and pieces are all gleaned from reading we’ve done this month.  Reading is great but it takes time to then jot down your key points and relay them back in writing – we’re going to try to do more of it  – your comments welcomed.

Are you asking for email registrations everywhere – in the obvious and not so obvious places? Front and centre of your home page like BE IN THE KNOW – in capital letters on GAP.com - probably one of the most expensive pieces of ecommerce real estate in the western world?  Do you have the whole team involved and do they understand why getting an email address is a key to a customers lifetime value (LTV – all the money they will spend with you over the course of their life!)?

Are your emails touchable? Guess what! I’m reading your email on my iPad. If your calls to action are too small my fingers can’t connect – and I’ll only try a couple of times before I give up and shut you down. The great news is that when you have lots of iPhone and iPad users in your database you can think about using big beautiful images as your call to action again – because i am poking my finger and expecting them to link to the relevant part of your site or your offer.

Is Forward to a Friend dead? In some case you are better to use the prime position in your email design to promote share to social or share with your network (SWYN) than refer or ‘forward to a friend’ – especially if you are sharing a subscription promotion or competition. See our other blog posts about that by clicking the social media topic to the right.

B2B Marketing? Remember much of the basics apply to both B2B and B2C: people like to buy from people they like, we all have a needs hierarchy, we will pay to stop something being a pain, etc. In addition though with B2B it pays to: Think about your audience, Think beyond your product, Think customer lifecycle, Think multichannel, Think quality over quantity.

The improbably named Deanie Sultana from Neilsen in New Zealand today says we are all on the band wagon, and the biggest number in the use of social media is for ‘looking at social media profiles’ i.e. 79% of us love to check each other out.

You can see whom what and how often in their press release of today, here.



Fifty-eight percent of 13,000 consumers surveyed recently have been driven to make a purchase in a store or over the phone by a marketing email, according to the recently published The Global E-mail Attitudes Survey.

While websites are the preferred place for consumers to opt in, the survey revealed that they’re also very willing to subscribe to email messages offline, such as when placing a catalog order (46 percent), at the point of sale (29 percent) or via SMS text message (13 percent).

In addition, two-thirds of consumers said email-inspired purchases have prompted them to further research a brand and its products. More than half said it spurred a peer recommendation.

More opportunity for pass-along and social media activity abounds too; roughly half of consumers revealed they’re willing to act as brand advocates in order to connect email content, such as special offers and promotions, to social networks.

The study showed that this activity is highest in the Asia-Pacific region.

The survey from e-Dialog consisted of interviews with 13,000 consumers across 13 countries, including the U.S., the U.K., Germany, the Netherlands, France, Spain, Sweden, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Australia, South Korea and China. It was conducted on behalf of e-Dialog’s Centre for Digital Marketing Excellence byLightspeed Research in April 2010.



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.