Posts Tagged ‘Email’

04
Jun

5 Refreshing Approaches for Your Email Newsletters

Does your email newsletter need a little something extra? Rejuvenate your newsletters with the five simple tips listed below.

  • Benchmarking and Statistics —Customers and prospects are eager to hear how your company is performing. Providing benchmarking information and industry statistics will keep readers coming back for more each month.
  • Tips and Best Practices – No matter what profession, people are always interested in practical ideas and best practices they can put to use. Include quick tips in each of your newsletters and highlight any best practices that could help your users.

28
May

Considerations When Implementing Your Email Marketing Plan

As marketers, it’s our responsibility to guide our organizations to success through proper planning, strategy and creative ingenuity. Email marketers have the unique responsibility of having to factor in brand equity and metrics into our email campaigns.  Without these types of metrics, email campaigns would flow rampant without any sense of performance or effectiveness.

However, successful email campaigns aren’t simply just a matter or creating quality content and sending it out.  Organizations need to factor in and plan for some simple, yet key aspects, of implementing their email marketing plans.

Key Aspects to Consider:

  • What are the pros and cons of focusing too heavily on existing customers?
  • Don’t base all your decisions on research gathered from existing satisfied customers.
  • How do non-customers perceive your brand?
  • Investigate why email segments become dormant; what did you do right at first, and what changed?

06
Jul

Email, and the River That Runs Through It


Article from The iContact Blog, Written By:
James Wong, iContact Communications Manager

In October of 2009, Jessica E. Vascellaro if the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) wrote an article titled “Why Email No Longer Rules…” In her article, Jessica states that “Email has had a good run as king of communications. But its reign is over…”

The article cites how a constant stream of communication using social networking channels has become the new and trendy way to communicate. However, to say that email is dead when several industry resources have cited continued industry growth in the email marketing sector, is a bit premature. Social Media is a technological and social trend that is still far too early in its digital infancy to make long term statements about its relevance and longevity as a primary method of communication.

Ultimately, saying that email’s reign is over, is like saying that people should no longer use fax machines due to the advent of printers with integrated scanners. I personally know of several individuals and organizations that still rely heavily on fax machines in lieu of relatively cheap scanner technology available today.


The River That Runs Through It
Social networking channels like Twitter and Facebook have fueled the public’s interest in up-to-the-moment updates and news feeds from their friends on these networks. These individual networks act as “streams” of information, and most internet savvy users have started using stream aggregators that combine streams from various networks into one primary river of updates. Jessica quoted David Liu, an executive at AOL, referring to this constant stream of social updates as “a river that continues to flow as you dip into it.”

Unfortunately, like a fisherman fishing for rainbow trout swimming up and down a river, following conversations and capturing relevant information requires constant review of the stream. This has become a heavy burden in regards to time consumption by many internet users, some of which have already started to take a hiatus from their favorite social networks.


The Hub
While a majority of internet users that use social networking channels are sticking around for the long haul, this internet communication trend has hardly killed or ended the reign of email, especially when you consider the fact that every single social network requires a valid email address to create a user account. With the integration of social networks with mobile devices, email has become even more important, as internet users struggle to keep up with private messages, friend requests, comments and updates from their friends on various networks.

Therefore, instead of laying down and throwing in the proverbial “towel,” email has actually transformed into a communication hub that bridges almost all of an internet user’s social networks. Weekly updates from services like Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and many others (including the hundreds of applications available for each network), have brought back to life the need to have and maintain a healthy inbox.


The Take Away
Email is in fact, still alive and growing strong. Internet users will always have the need to share private conversations, file attachments and sign up for various online communities, services and websites. Without a centralized hub for communication, all that would be left are scattered channels of communication requiring an even more excessive amount of time to check for new updates, messages, and updates. Similar to services like AOL’s Lifestream, which aggregates multiple network streams into one, email consolidates notifications from all your social networks into one consolidated private channel — your inbox.

02
Jul

Tips & Tricks to Email Marketing Success!

Tip #1: Collecting Your TARGET Audience

The 2003 CAN-SPAM Act requires that ALL lists be PERMISSION-BASED Lists. By using Industry BEST PRACTICES when gathering contacts, you maintain integrity and reputation throughout your email marketing campaign. Collecting emails from existing or new clients through physical forms, online signup forms, and through any type of permission-based system, will protect you from potentially devastating fines for SPAM.

OLD LISTS: If you have an OLD list that you have not maintained regular contact with, you may want to consider not using the list, or at a bare minimum, you should utilize our Double Opt-In system to allow them to “Opt-In” to your List.

SIGNUP FORMS: If you have a signup form on your website, or decide to add one, please remember to place a permission statement on the same page as the signup form. The statement should clearly state that by signing up, they should expect to receive emailed content from your organization.

TRADE SHOWS & PERSON-2-PERSON LEADS: If you meet contacts in person-2-person type situations, verify that you have their permission before attempting to send emailed content to them. This simple gesture, can help maintain your organization’s integrity and reputation, and is a professional courtesy to your potential clients.

Tip #2: Email Content Design

Your email content should be simple, easy to navigate, and visually pleasing to your target audience. Your content should be focused to the segment or grouping of individuals in your List(s). In most cases, a short but direct email design can be more effective than a long and bloated email.

INFORMATIONAL EMAILS: If the goal of your email is to provide information to your readers, then clearly and simply provide that information as cleanly as possible. Readers seem to be less likely to read long drawn out emails, verses shorter more direct emails.

WEBSITE CLICK-THROUGHS: If the goal of your email is to direct the readers to a particular website, then provide short 1-2 line “teasers,” and have links that direct them to the full articles on the target website. This will provide your readers with a short and easy to navigate email, while also directing them to your target website(s), and thus, increases your click-through rates and email performance.

IMAGE INTENSIVE EMAILS: If your email primarily consists of images, or is based solely on images, you may want to consider email client compatibility and SPAM-filtering software. Many of today’s Email Clients (Yahoo, AOL, MSN, GMail, Outlook), will automatically block images until the reader ALLOWS images to be downloaded. This feature is designed to help reduce spam, as well as malicious hacks by SPAMMERS. If the basic message in your email relies on the images alone, then your message may be deleted without the reader ever seeing the true content of the email. Messages with images only, which the reader has not clicked on “download images,” will appear BLANK, and therefore, have a higher chance of being prematurely discarded.

USING NON-HTML BASED EDITORS: All emails are coded in HTML (Hyper-Text Markup Language) code, and therefore, you should always use HTML-based Editing software to compose your email content. From personal experience, using programs such as Microsoft Word*, Publisher, and other Desktop Document Publishing software packages, will result in “quirky” emails containing added line breaks, broken images and links, missing background colors, lost font faces and sizes, and even truncated emails; due to invalid proprietary coding produced within NON-HTML software. HTML Software packages (examples include Dreamweaver, Adobe GoLIVE, & FrontPage), are specifically designed to produce reliable HTML documents.

*If you MUST use Microsoft Word to produce your email content, then please verify that the software which you are using to compose your HTML document, has a filter which will filter out proprietary Microsoft Word code

TIP #3: Subject Line CONSISTENCY & Brand Name Recognition

Avoid using generic subject lines like: “July’s Newsletter,” “Daily Newsletter,” “Weekend Sale,” or any other generic email subject lines that everyone else will be using at the same time. If at all possible, incorporate your organization’s name into the subject line, and then include a short “issue description,” such as “My Company News – July 2008.”

A subject line that is short yet direct, can dramatically increase the performance of your email campaign, as well as produce valuable name brand recognition. Your readers will be able to quickly and easily pick out your email content from their inbox full of SPAM. You want your email to stand out from the crowd, and not only be noticed, but read as well.