Want to Reach Out to Customers throughout the Holiday Season? Here are a Few Email Marketing Tips!

Email marketing can be an effective way to touch base with customers during the holiday season.  It can also help your bottom line because you are capitalizing on the busiest shopping season of the year.  The important thing is to design a strategy that is more than just flooding in-boxes.

What are some of the best ways to boost sales during the holiday season using email marketing?

Make the Message Appealing

The most important thing you can do when reaching out to customers during the holidays via email is to make sure you are offering a true incentive to shop with you.  Include images in your emails and list the benefits of any products or services you offer.  Make sure you are answering the most important question: “What is in it for the person receiving the email?”

Content is King – Even in Holiday Emails!

You want to sell your products or services, but you also want to still be educating and informing with quality content.  Offer advice, include video demonstrations of products, or provide holiday shopping tips make sure your emails are doing more than just selling.

Include Coupons

Nothing gets an email opened faster than the promise of a great bargain.  This is a great time to run promos and sales, especially if your goal is to boost sales.  People love getting a great bargain and are especially looking for good deals this time of year. 

Make Your Emails Targeted

It might be more effective to send certain emails to certain people.  Consider dividing your email list into segments: previous shoppers hot leads, varying demographics… whatever makes sense for your business.  Then you can send targeted emails that get the right message to the right people.

Timing is Everything!

You do not want to be a pest, but you want to make sure you stay at the forefront of your customers’ minds.  This is a delicate balance that so many business owners get wrong.  It is also important to not start your campaign too early because you’ve already become background news by the time the holiday shopping season is in full swing.

If you have been postponing setting up a holiday shopping season email marketing campaign, now is the time.  Take advantage of these last few weeks of the year and make the most of your mailing list.

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What is the Difference between Social Media Marketing and Digital Marketing? Here is What You Need to Know!

If you are running a business there is a good chance you have heard of social media marketing and digital marketing. What is the difference between the two?

Digital marketing allows you to build awareness of and promote your brand. This includes using tools like SEO, PPC, smartphones, email marketing, online banners, social media, etc.

Social media, which falls under the digital marketing umbrella, utilizes social media platforms to interact with current and potential customers. The most popular social media marketing sites include Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Snapchat, but these are by no means your only options.

Using both digital marketing methods, and specifically, social media marketing, is essential to your business’s success in this day and age. It allows you to spread the word quickly about your business and rely on social proof to build a strong fan base.

Social media is also good for SEO. The more attention your business gets online the better. Active social media accounts boost other aspects of your digital marketing plans. Do not be surprised that once you start investing some time in social media you see traffic to your site jump and you notice an improvement in your search engine rankings.

Social media also lets you build personal relationships with your customers. Social media is about communities and the more active your community the better. Using social media allows you to put a personal face on your business.

One of the most important things to understand about the difference between social media and digital marketing is that one is a part of the other. Social media is one of the most important components of your digital marketing campaign. It is a great place to begin with digital marketing because there is an easy interest point and you will see a major impact – and fast.

Is One More Important than the Other?

Not necessarily, but it might be depending on your products or services. Not all businesses are conducive to social media, and others can use it but they need to be really creative. You need to consider how effective social media will be for promoting your brand.

It is also important to consider how helpful it might be to use other forms of digital marketing. In some cases, purchasing ads on social media is going to be more effective than having a traditional social media campaign.

If you would like to know more about digital marketing or social media marketing, or you are ready to launch a program and grow your business, let us know!

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About to Launch an Email Marketing Campaign? Here is How to Ensure Success!

Email marketing can be one of your most powerful tools for growing your business, but there are so many businesses using email marketing yours can get lost in the shuffle.

Though it is important to grow your email list, just reaching out to the people on your list may not be enough.   Your goal is to turn your email recipients into customers, and doing so is going to take some fine tuning to your email marketing campaigns.

Here’s how:

Start by organizing your email list.   If it is been awhile, chances are there are a few accounts that have been abandoned.   By removing the inactive emails, known as segmenting, you are able to better analyze the success of your campaigns.   In addition to removing dead accounts, take some time to clean up those that are just plain wrong.   Maybe they were fake email addresses or were entered incorrectly by mistake.   Either way, get rid of them.

Now that you have a complete accurate list of recipients, make sure your emails are not ending up in their spam folders.   You can protect your emails against being marked as spam by using an HTML rich campaign that features a variety of text and imagery.   Avoid large chunks of text and make sure any text you include is formatted properly.   It can also help to encourage subscribers to mark your emails as safe.

Finally, make sure your emails are not marked as suspicious by email service providers and internet providers.   IP banning will stall your campaign’s success faster than anything else.   You can do this by having a lengthy roll out of your emails that takes place over the course of several days.   This way it does not look as if you are spamming anyone inbox.

One follow up tip: Make sure you analyze your campaigns once complete.   Actually, do not consider a campaign complete until you have done a debriefing of the campaign.   You need to know what is working and what is not so you know what to use in the future.   You will make mistakes – we all do – but knowing how to fix them or when to let something do will get you on the path to success much faster than sticking with what is not working.

The most successful email marketing campaigns do not just spring up out of nowhere.   They are the accumulation of trial and error over time.

Want more tips for using email marketing to your advantage? Give us a call!

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Email Marketing: Old Tricks Still Bring a Big Return

One of the most important things you can do for business success is to make sure you are aware of and implementing as suitable the latest in internet marketing tricks.   Falling behind is a sure way to allow your competition to rise above you.   Of course, many of the “latest and greatest” internet marketing trends are actually a rehash of what was successful in the past.   All you need to do is figure out how to put a modern spin on what was popular in the past.   When it comes to email marketing, what is old is new again.

Email marketing lost some of its popularity throughout the 2000s and into the 20-teens, but it is making a major comeback.   People were overwhelmed by all the junk mail and they started to ignore their inboxes as much as possible – luckily not completely though.

Today, email marketing is once again – and still – one of the best ways to reach your customers.   Email offers an incredible return on your investment – studies show as much as $38 per dollar spent.   This is thanks in part to millennials – email is a part of everyday life for this generation and they managed their inboxes effectively right from the start, not making some of the mistakes older generations did when it came to junk mail.

So now that you are convinced email marketing is going to help your business, what should you do?

For starters, you are going to need an email list.   You need people who are worth your time and who have given you permission to enter their inboxes.   At one point, buying an email list was permitted, but while you can still do it today, it is a terrible idea.   The best list you can create is the one you create for your business specifically.

In addition to an email list, you also need a strong website.   After all, once people open your emails and are interested in your products or services, where are they going to go to learn more?

Finally, you need to stay in touch with your list.   Whether this is through daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly contact is up to you – you will know what works best for your business.   Create content that is worthy of sharing with your list and you will be sure to keep the lines of communication open with your biggest fans.

And do not forget, once you have an email marketing campaign in place, you will want to keep adding to your list.   Odds are you will lose a chunk of subscribers every year – HubSpot estimates about 22 percent – so keep adding to your list as you go.

Want more tips for email marketing? Let us know!

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How These Email Marketing Strategies Will Help Your Business Grow

Email is as powerful today in marketing as it ever was.  It is one of the most effective ways to communicate with your audience and it provides a minimally intrusive inroad into their lives.  Unfortunately, many business owners are unsure how email marketing works and instead of investing time and money to understand the benefits, they forego the process in favor of other less effective marketing methods.

If you have overlooked email marketing, now is the time to make your move and take advantage of this great opportunity.  Here are a few tips:

Segment Your List

The email list is one of your most powerful tools as a business owner.  And managing that list is one of your most important tasks.  As your list grows, you will want to segment it so you can pinpoint certain people at certain times.  Some will respond better than others to different messages and keeping your list organized into categories makes it easy and convenient to reach out to the right people with your message.

Content, Content, Content

Now that you have a well-organized list, you will want to stay in touch with them.  You can do this with newsletters, blog posts, and email messages – whatever you think is the best tool for sharing your message.  Also keep in mind it is important to structure your emails to be consistent with your brand.  Any time you share content, you want everyone to know it came from you.

Consider Permission Marketing

Take time to get to know your target audience and never assume they are accepting your message.  Give everyone on your list the opportunity to unsubscribe.  You want to work with people who are willing to give you their permission to be a part of their lives.  It is always better to build relationships instead of forcing yourself into someone’s world.

Timing is Everything!

Timing is an important part of marketing.  People need to hear the right message at the right time for it to work, so you really need to consider timing when email marketing.  There is plenty of information out there on the right time to send emails, as well as when to make offers and when to try to make a sale.  Familiarize yourself with these strategies and then keep tabs on what works for you and what does not.  You will be able to create a custom timetable for your business.

To learn more about email marketing or to begin planning your email marketing campaign, give us a call!

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It’s Time to Get a Jumpstart on Email Marketing in 2017

blog4It might seem slow in your business right now, but it is actually the best time to address some of the opportunities you have to grow.  Your email marketing is a great example of this.  What are some of the ways you can get a jump-start on a successful email marketing campaign for the year? 

Assess Where You Are

Begin by taking a look at where you are and who your subscribers are.  Did you recently pick up several new subscribers or new buyers during the holiday season? Now is the time to nurture these relationships and acknowledge how valuable they are to your business.  Here are a few things to keep in mind when welcoming these new subscribers into your community:

  • Do not overdo it. If someone has already made a purchase from you, there is no reason to overload them with emails.
  • Consider sending new subscribers only the most relevant of offers you have. Look at their purchases and send them offers based on what they already own.
  • Thank them for joining your community and consider providing a special offer to welcome them.

Mobile is Where It’s At

Next, you need to consider mobile and how your email marketing campaign will reach mobile users.  Emphasizing mobile means you make it easy for users to make purchases from their phones instead of needing to use a desktop or laptop.

Getting users to take action on their phone can be tough, so try:

  • Using responsive design that allows your email to render correctly – this increases clicks by up to 15 percent
  • Preview the email before sending it to make sure you like what you see, and consider doing so from more than one device and/or browser

Create Your Email Road Map

How do you get where you want to go in 2017 with your email marketing campaign? Like any trip you need a map.  This map is a kind of calendar, too, and allows you to schedule the types of email promotions you want to run throughout the year.  Repeat what worked last year and consider revamping anything that did not work.  You can make changes to the road map as you go, but at least you will have a clear starting and ending point with some direction for how to get there.

Make One Commitment

If you are feeling overwhelmed and that slow period you expected never came, just choose one commitment to make to your email marketing this year.  Investing time and energy into one impactful change is more beneficial than trying to squeeze in every idea and improvement that is on your to-do list.

Need more tips for improving your email marketing in 2017? Give us a call!

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Making Your Emails Compelling

Email Envelope With At Web SymbolDespite being a product of a long-ago age (it was introduced in the early 1970s), email remains a mainstay in our digital lives and a powerful marketing and customer-retention and lead-generating tool. Which is interesting, because emails are also one of the most easily ignored tools in our repertoires – so easily blocked, deleted and unsubscribed from.

So how do you make your emails compelling and reduce un-subscribers? Here are some tips that always work.

Timing and Schedule

First and foremost, you have to send your emails at the right time. Too early or late and they get ignored until the next day, by which time they are buried with dozens of others waiting to be read. Know your customers and choose a time when they’re first starting their day, bright and alert and in the frame of mind to sift through information.

Also, be regular, predictable and constant. While you don’t want to overwhelm and irritate your clients with endless emails, emails that come once in a while get ignored and ironically result in more un-subscribers. Email regularly, and always structure your emails the same way so your clients get comfortable with them.

Be Visual and Tell a Story

Visuals are incredibly powerful. Showing and not telling works because the brain processes images very quickly compared to text, meaning you can get your point across before your client even thinks to close the email, giving you a chance to hook them.

How you hook them means telling a story – that creates a real connection between you and your customers, a bond that will make them want to buy from you even if they have no real compelling need. The more personal you can get, the better.

Be Responsive

Ultimately this may be the most important thing you can do. Responding to emails from your customers makes them feel valued and reinforces the sense of connection you’ve managed to establish elsewhere. On the other hand, a lack of response will make your customers feel under-valued, and can actually destroy the effectiveness of even the best email campaign.

Email is a vital aspect of your marketing campaign. Don’t make the mistake of assuming it’s too ‘old school’ to be effective, or that simply sending out some cursory emails means you have a ‘campaign.’ You need to employ best practices make sure your emails are read and are compelling.

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Need an Effective Marketing Tool for Small Business? Try Email

email-marketingIt’s tempting to dismiss email as an old-school tool that’s seen better days. So tempting, in fact, that people keep trying to dismiss it, over and over again. And yet we can’t seem to rid ourselves of this old dinosaur that recently celebrated its 40th birthday. In a world where people keep asking what’s going to replace Facebook at the robust age of six, email’s continued existence seems mysterious. 

Yet, the fact is email is actually one of the most effective marketing tools in our arsenal. Newer vectors like social media get all the attention, but email remains a powerful – and underrated – tool that small businesses everywhere should be utilizing. The reasons for this continued dominance are straightforward.

Although it might seem like it, the fact is – not everyone has a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account. Or, if they do, they don’t use them all. Social media and other newfangled marketing vectors are of limited reach. On the other hand, everyone has an email account – and, more importantly, everyone uses email on a daily basis. Every morning millions of your customers start their day by checking their email – and that means that your marketing message has its best possible chance of reaching the people you target.

Email is also surprisingly easy to track. A marketing campaign launched on email can show you how many emails bounced back (and if your bounce rate is more than 1%, you should take a long look at your email list), how many people opened your emails, and how many of those people clicked through your links. That makes an email campaign very easy to tweak and calibrate, and means that even a “failed” email campaign can yield valuable information.
Mobile Lifestyle
While the dominance of mobile applications is most often mentioned linked to social media, the fact is people are checking their email on their phones too. Getting your marketing message in front of people on a mobile platform is essential – and again, everyone checks email, where a Twitter-based campaign might allow some of your customers to fall through the cracks. Instead of having to organize several distinct campaigns designed for different platforms, a single email campaign has almost 100% penetration instantly.
Email is still going strong, and is nowhere near a state of decline that would allow you to dismiss it as an effective marketing vector. Keep it in mind for your next campaign.

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Making Content Marketing Better: Thirteen Ideas

content marketingIn the past, marketing was all about catching the eye and then drilling a message into the brain. It could be effective, but it also turned people off. Content marketing is a conversation, not a lecture.

Here are thirteen suggestions to make your content marketing better – and more successful.
Know Your Customers . Your content has to be specifically tailored to the interests and sensibilities of your target audience.
Steal Big, Steal Little
No, not content – but the techniques used to present it and share it. Look at sites in your industry
that get huge traffic, and study their moves.  
Accept Failure 
Sometimes you’ll post really great content that just won’t land with your audience. Shrug it off and move on.
Be Patient 
Don’t expect to wake up on Day Two and have an audience of millions. People will come if you consistently post great content.
Have a Blog 
The blog is venerable, but blogs are still hugely important. Maintain one with fresh content and your traffic will rise.
Vary Your Content 
Don’t write the same post over and over again on different subjects – take different approaches, like “Best Of” Lists and “How To” essays.
Use Images and Videos 
Text is great for conveying info, bad for catching the eye. Get access to high-quality stock images and videos, or create your own if you can.
Link It Up 
Your content should all relate to itself – have a theme, and address information in different ways.
Don’t “one and done” it – create a quiz associated with a blog post, or a video “master class.”
Shape for Devices 
Don’t forget, people will be viewing your content on a variety of screens. Make sure your content is
easily readable on them all.
Study Reactions 
You want conversation and interaction. Always look back to see what content inspired the most response, and learn why.
Quality over Quantity 
Longer isn’t always better, and neither is more. Instead of madly posting content or stuffing your
posts with verbiage, slow down and make sure your content is “must read/view.”  
Soft Sell 
Content marketing isn’t about the hard sell – ever. Just give people content they’ll be excited to read and share, and step back.
Minimize SEO 
SEO was once the screaming mascot of all online marketing – but today, it’s been back-benched. Still there, still useful – but toned down. 

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Best Practices for Unsubscribers

bestpracticesThe venerable email list remains a powerful tool for marketing your business, even in this modern age of Apps and Flash and other nifty toys. The email isn’t the most exciting way to promote yourself, but it’s effective for a wide variety of reasons, and smart marketers work hard on making their email newsletters and other contacts entertaining, useful, and inoffensive.

Still, no matter how hard you work, you will suffer some mailing list attrition – it’s a fact of life. Some people will unsubscribe from your list no matter what you do. So, you can’t prevent it from happening – but you can follow these best practices when dealing with it.

Make It Easy

The worst thing you can do is try to trick people into not unsubscribing. This is usually done either by (illegally) not offering a one-click unsubscribe at all, or by obscuring its location to make it frustrating to find. This is incredibly counter-productive, because it’s a) illegal and b) it transforms someone very probably just cutting down the volume of emails in their lives into someone who actively hates your business.

You might think making it easy to unsubscribe is just going to guarantee people will leave your list – but if that’s the case, consider your content.

 Offer Choices  

However, making it easy to find the unsubscribe button doesn’t mean you simply let them one-click their way to unsubscribing. Instead, offer them choices. Make sure that a clean “unsubscribe” is one of the options, of course, but also let them tweak and adjust how often they hear from you or what kind of content they receive from you. They may not want the newsletter, but be interested in the sales announcements. Giving them options increases the chances they won’t actually unsubscribe, but simply ‛adjust.’

 Ask for Feedback  

Don’t make it a requirement, but offer unsubscribers a chance to give you a reason. This is invaluable information, as it can educate you on what’s working or not working in your content and your approach. However, be sure to allow for unsubscribing without leaving feedback so as not to irritate people – just because they are unsubscribing today doesn’t mean they will never return to your list in the future!

 Getting an unsubscription notice is never fun, but it can be a learning experience to improve your content and retention, if you follow the best practices.

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