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We've got a bunch of really good stuff scheduled for you!
Here's an overview of our upcoming FREE webinars:
A recent Plan to Engage & Pure360 survey (The current state of email strategy) of over 500 UK marketers revealed a lack of strategy and an over reliance on open rates as a metric in email marketing programmes:
I thought today I’d address three of these findings:
Strategy: objective setting seen as a luxury not a necessity
I teach hundreds of email marketers every year and in every class I am amazed at the percentage of email marketers who do not have a solid strategy in place.
Email is a channel where setting objectives seems to be a luxury rather than a necessity. There are very few other channels where setting objectives and KPIs are not mandatory – in fact I’m struggling to think of any – other than email.
Setting objectives is where we must start – as it affects everything we subsequently do – from creating the strategy and identifying the tactics, to designing, copywriting and creating the landing pages to testing and optimising. Everything, maps back to our objectives – business objectives, email programme objectives and of course campaign objectives.
Personally I believe the lack of objective setting and strategy creation is down to the channel historically being seen as ‘cheap’. Happily this is changing year by year but we still are suffering the effects of this way of thinking. I believe a simple mindset change can be very effective in remedying this situation.
If we were all to swap the phrase ‘cheap channel’ with ‘cost-effective channel’ then suddenly we’re taking into consideration the ROI, the traffic, the branding exposure, the customer retention and strengthening of customer relationships we gain from this channel – all for a small amount of investment. Words are very powerful and the word ‘cheap’ has a lot of negative connotations associated with it. The word ‘cheap’ indicates something we probably won’t value, invest into it or treat it well. ‘Cost-effective’ however brings it to light as being the valuable, essential channel that should be prioritised and invested into. A good start to the investment is by implementing a holistic strategy for your email marketing programme.
Reporting: an over reliance on open rates
This ties in with the lack of objective setting. Basically, if you don’t know what you want to achieve and have a strategy in place – how do you determine what to measure? Email Marketing is one of the most accountable and trackable channels – let’s take advantage of this!
Even if reporting is undertaken, too many email marketers seem to be too much value on the open rate and use it as their main measure of success. But in reality, does the open rate map back to your objective and actually signify success? I truly doubt it.
Personally I think that the days of viewing the open rate as a valuable metric are dated. To me it has always been a messy metric, not at all reliable and generally not a good indication of success. It does not report how many people have read your email, rather it reports how many people have downloaded images on your email. So, because of this, many email marketers have been using it to gauge reader engagement, assuming that a reader is engaged with your email because they have downloaded images. To this extent, this was a fairly safe assumption – until recently.
In 2013, Hotmail.com became Outlook.com and with that change, came also the automated downloading of images; recently Gmail has followed suit and is no longer blocking images but downloading them by default. Now, while this is wonderful news for our beautifully designed emails, it has made the open rate even more of a messy metric. No longer can we rely on it as being a measurement of engagement.
I would recommend that the reporting be structured to involve the metrics that truly indicate success according to your objective. That’s not to say that we ignore metrics such as opens or clicks, as there are insights that we can gain – not just on a campaign by campaign basis but on a subscriber reporting basis as well as in comparing year-on-year reports.
Unsubscribe: part of the customer journey
I believe we need to view everything to do related to our email programme as a journey, a journey that the customer takes. And yes, this journey may include them unsubscribing from our email programme. When I perform my email heath checks for my clients. I’ve discovered that many brands forget about optimising this step and just accept the basic process provided to them by their ESP. What they provide to you is just the start – not the end of optimising this process.
Not only is the unsubscribe process an opportunity to gather information about why they’re leaving (and hint – it isn’t always about your email programme! Sometimes it’s about a bad customer experience) or offer them the ability to opt down and stay subscribed.
But most importantly, if they decide that they really do want to leave, then this is your opportunity to let them leave you with a smile on their face, it doesn’t have to be a negative experience. So, our main aim here is to give them a positive experience so that if they want to subscribe at a later stage or follow us on social media, they’re more likely to want to.
Hubspot do a great job at conveying this message with their video – just watch and enjoy.
(article originally published on DMA UK Email Marketing Councils, Infobox)
At the Email Evolution Conference in Miami, Kath and I learned that video is a great way to engage an audience - and when featured in an email, they tend to get a lot of clicks!
I'm a big fan of animated videos, that's why I invited guest author Manroop Takhar of of Qudos Animations (turn your volume down before you click!) to write a short blog post on how to create animated videos:
How Animated Video Can Boost Your Marketing Message Delivery
by Manroop Takhar
Welcoming visitors to an inspiring animated video, away from the bustling mayhem that is the internet, can make an invaluable first impression.
Attracting visitors to your animated video is not always easy, though.
Here are my top tips for producing a video that attracts, gets shared and makes an impact.
Tip 1. Simple is attractive
With so much content crowding the web, people can become overwhelmed.
So making your video simple yet striking can be the best way to retain attention and encourage click-through.
It is best to provide potential customers with the minimal information necessary at first. Don’t push them, but captivate them with an inspiring thought.
Don’t forget, simple can still be original and make you stand out from competitors.
Tip 2. Educate and explain complex concepts
You can simplify complicated ideas this with the use of various elements in animated video – i.e. imagery, music, voiceover, special effects.
These also stimulate the viewer’s senses.
One minute of video is the equivalent of 1.8 million words of text, according to Dr. James McQuivey of Forrester Research.
A personable or authoritative voiceover can help viewers relate to an educational video.
Tip 3. Trigger an emotion
Appealing to the viewer’s visceral emotions can be an effective method for keeping them engaged - whether happiness, excitement or shock.
Viewers are then more likely to hear your message, and these emotion-rendering videos are most likely to be shared with their friends.
Tip 4. Create memories and enhance brand recall
If you look back at the most memorable television adverts you’ve seen, the chances are that many of these will be animated.
The simplicity, imagination, unusual voices and often vibrant colours make these often unforgettable; and these can become synonymous with a brand.
Paired with a positive message and this can be invaluable to brand image and loyalty.
Tip 5. Create appealing characters
Give your story a hero - or several.
Some marketers will make the brand the hero of their story, but this often does not answer the questions that your customers have.
It is more effective to tell stories about the problems your customers have faced, so that they can relate to the hero.
For example, if your prospects are animal-lovers, tell a compassionate animal-rescue story.
With your customer taking the lead role in the story, you as the company or brand might take the role of the sage, providing them with answers.
Tip 6. Include gaps and cliffhangers
To engage with your audience, you need to understand the importance of the disparity that exists between what the hero of your story wants and where he/she is now.
As the hero closes in on his/her goal, viewers follow and expect to see their accomplishment, but an unexpected cliffhanger can add to the story’s lure.
Your audience also have gaps in their lives and goals to reach, which they’ve invested a lot of energy in to. A story that recognises this can have power.
Tip 7. Take time choosing your style
There are many methods and styles of animation to choose from, some with potentially different benefits.
A quirky paper cut-out animation can inspire creative minds, while the most up-to-date motion graphics with special effects can appeal to a different target audience.
Find the best style to put across your message to your audience, adapting it to your creative ideas, and this could give a considerable boost to your brand image.
I wish you all the best in creating your animated masterpiece!
This blog post was written by Manroop Takhar, who is the founder of Qudos Animations, an animation studio that creates engaging advertisements and high impact explainer animations for businesses.
Kath and Tamara are planning a couple of live events as well as an online email marketing course in the next couple of weeks. So if you want to learn about email marketing, now is your chance!
5 keys to increase your email marketing conversions
London, 19th February
Advanced Email Marketing Masterclass
Antwerp, 24 February 2014
Getting Started with Email Marketing
by Liga Bizune, Mailigen
The day of love rapidly approaches, and for marketers it’s time to think about a perfect Valentine’s Day email campaign.
Follow our tips to develop a smart strategy, build an eye-catching design, create relevant content and make subscribers fall in love with you and your brand.
#1 Kick off at the beginnging of February
Love is in the air long before Valentine’s Day, so start early with your marketing communication. February 14th or some days before would be okay if you are sending an e-card or promoting ready-to-use products or last minute offers. But if your campaign needs more engagement, kick off before or at the beginning of February:
#2 Let them fall in love with your offer
Offering the right thing is crucial for your email marketing ROI. Think about the most suitable products and services a person would like to receive on that special once-in-a-year day.
If you are in a fashion, food, beauty, travel or a similar industry, you are lucky! For you, Valentine’s Day may be as profitable as Christmas. Use email marketing wisely to get the most out of it.
#3 Treat your lovers differently
I’m sure your subscribers’ inboxes will be stuffed with Valentine’s Day emails. But to make them pay attention and read your email, send what your subscribers really want.
Split your target audience into segments by:
You can also segment by activity within one campaign. Resend your email with a changed subject or call to action to those who haven’t opened or clicked your Valentine’s Day campaign. Or, if you have several offers within one campaign, check out who has clicked on what but hasn’t proceeded and then send an exclusive offer for the product to each customer who was especially interested.
#4 Flirt with hot email design
Valentine’s Day is a perfect time to fully express your creativity in email designs. Instead of your usual email template design, prepare or order a custom email template design including today’s web design trends.
#5 Surprise with compelling email content
Content is king, especially in email marketing. It has to persuade the recipient, firstly, to open the email and, secondly, to take an action.
#6 Be their Valentine…
Not everyone is in love on Valentine’s Day. So, for the single customers, all the talk of love and other romantic issues may be quite annoying. When creating a Valentine’s Day email campaign, think about offers, activities and gifts that all subscribers can enjoy regardless of their relationship status. Be their Valentine and express your love and care via personal email campaigns.
If you start planning early, prepare the right offer to the right recipient and pack all this in a beautiful design, a Valentine’s Day email campaign may bring you both great business results and customer loyalty. Make use of our tips to share your love and to receive it back. Wishing you a happy and fulfilling Valentine’s Day!
Cart Abandonment experts, Cloud.IQ have just released a new infographic with some fascinating findings regarding how our customers are abandoning their purchases and how we can leverage this opportunity to generate more sales.
Some stats of interest:
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