Regina Love

Finish Line Tells Us What Customers Want in Email Marketing

February 5th, 2016

For leading athletic retailer Finish Line, a memorable customer experience means focusing on product, presentation and people.

During MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015, after presenting his session on “What Customers Want,” Erin Hogg, Reporter, MarketingSherpa, interviewed 2015 MarketingSherpa Best-in-Show Award Winner, Aaron Buchanan, Digital Personalization Manager, Finish Line. His session presented marketers with information on how they could turn basic segmentation practices into highly personalized, multichannel campaigns.

 

In this day and age, it is very clear to see why 77% of consumers prefer to receive the majority of their marketing communications through email. And while it would be ideal to create one quick email blast to all your customers, personalized email communication is an important element in gaining and keeping subscribers.

That does present a challenge to marketers, because not everyone has the same interests or needs even if you have a general product.

In his interview, Aaron walked through ways marketers could create a significant email experience for customers. By following a few of the tips below, you can also build better engagement with your customers.

 

Tip #1: Discover the balance between high-level and in-depth segmentation

  • Determine the types of segments you want to create

o   The possibilities are endless, which is why Aaron said, “you want to chase it all, but you really have to start elevating priorities, and make sure that you focus on knocking out the best opportunities first.”

o   Patience is also going to be a factor in the process. Good things take time, so make sure your email segments are strategically planned.

  • Remember the tools you use can provide insight to many paths and opportunities

o   Learn how your email marketing program manages list segmentation within your main list. Utilize the tools at your disposal — its job is to make your email marketing process more efficient for your team.

  • Listen to your customers and test

o   What issues are your customers facing on a regular basis and what products would they like to see more of? Make sure that you are addressing their needs through testing.  A/B split test your email marketing campaigns, then review the results and refine your messaging. Then test again to optimize the experience.

 

Tip #2: Identify marketing touchpoints with your customers

  • What contact methods between your company and consumer work best?

o   Create a touchpoint map that lists out all of the times when your customers may interact with your brand and make sure that each one of those touchpoints leads to excellent customer service and experience.

  • Locate the paths of interest and areas of engagement

o   Use the data from your segmentation tools to discover where customers are engaging. What are their behaviors like on-site versus email? Segmenting by interests can be an effective method in building valuable email marketing campaigns.

  • Blend customer concerns with your business priorities to focus on their needs

o   Create messages that will support the business and marketing objectives for your company. What is your company’s overall goal?

o   Aaron’s mission was to provide a fully relevant experience for his Finish Line customers. By identifying the challenges with his customers, he was able to align the business core values to establish the strategy required to achieve the goal.

 

Tip #3: Utilize best practices with available resources

  • Start small when it comes to budgets

o   Before diving fully into email segmentation, Aaron said, try starting with one variable. Although Finish Line is a large brand, Aaron’s team had to work within budget constraints, and more doesn’t always mean better.

  • Locate the best areas for your team to optimize

o   What are essential areas producing lower-than-needed conversion rates for your company? One of the best places to look for the answer to this question is in your user experience. Track each step customers or customer personas will take, and scan them for friction or frustrations.

  • Maximize your ROI with research

o   Prove to your company leaders that you have put in the time. Researching is the most time-consuming phase, but will help you to market segments properly.

 

In the end, when dealing with email segmentation knowing your customer’s experience at every stage of the sales funnel is key.

To see Buchanan’s full session from the Email Summit, just register here.

 

You might also like

Watch Full Sessions from Email Summit 2015 – Including Jessica Best in the “Quick Tips: Elements of email” sessions

Email Segmentation: Finish Line’s automation initiative lifts email revenue 50% [From MarketingSherpa]

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Paul Cheney

Content Strategy Versus Content Volume: How HR tech company, WorkCompass, wrote less content, but increased leads by 300%

January 29th, 2016

Content marketing is a lot of work. Any company doing content marketing has to also run a media business on the side of their regular business.

But what if you could do less writing and still increase your leads by 300%?

That’s exactly what Alan O’Rourke did at HR performance management software company, WorkCompass, with a small marketing team.

According to his blog post on Audience Stack, O’Rourke was having trouble getting his content marketing efforts to pay off.

I tried it for a few months but found I was just sending more content to the same people. More was not better. It was just more. Using basic inbound marketing our audience and reach was not growing.

So what he did instead was create an inbound marketing strategy that focused 70% of his team’s effort on promoting his content, and 30% of his team’s effort in actually creating the content.

The results were fantastic. In fact lead capture (my primary measurement of success) jumped by over 300%!

Fortunately, he mapped out his entire strategy in a nice infographic. He calls it the One Month Micro B2B Marketing Plan — although I’m sure most savvy ecommerce marketers out there will be able to apply the same principles to their own content marketing strategies.

Micro B2B Marketing and Promotion Plan - Audiencestack.com
The Micro B2B Marketing and Promotion Plan from AudienceStack.com

 

So what does this mean for your team?

It means you can at least test slowing down your editorial calendar to produce higher quality long form content to promote over and over again.

P.S. I found O’Rourke’s blog post and infographic from a post on Reddit, where he had promoted it. Now I’m writing about it here, giving him links and hopefully sending a significant amount of traffic his way. So he’s doing something right.

 

You might also like

B2B Marketing: Content strategy results in 50% of qualified leads being inbound [From MarketingSherpa]

Content Marketing 101: Tips on content strategy

Content Marketing: How an energy data company’s content strategy increased leads by 733% [From MarketingSherpa]

Inbound Marketing: Beef jerky company develops content strategy around brand character to increase social media fans 2,113% [From MarketingSherpa]

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Daniel Burstein

Online Advertising: Tips based on The Leading Hotels of the World’s campaigns

January 26th, 2016

Unlike many hotel brands that strive for a consistent look and feel, part of the value proposition of The Leading Hotels of the World (LHW), a hospitality consortium with 425 hotels worldwide, is that each hotel is unique. From the fabled King David Hotel in Jerusalem to The Ritz Hotel in London (featured in the film “Notting Hill”), customers have a plethora of experiences to choose from.

With such a diverse offering, online advertising, content and customer journey challenges that face every brand loom especially large for LHW.

I sat down with Debbie Johnsen, Director of Interactive Marketing, The Leading Hotels of the World (and Adjunct Instructor at New York University teaching Integrated Marketing, Ecommerce Marketing and Web Analytics), to get some tips that might help you improve your marketing campaigns.

“It’s key to understand your target audience. And for us, being a luxury brand, we’re looking for people [with] higher income, higher propensity to travel, people who travel more frequently [and] are looking for unique experiences,” Debbie said.

We discussed paid search, travel-specific Meta Search Networks, A/B testing, attribution modeling, the customer journey, content and customer reviews in this conversation.

 

Read more…

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Selena Blue

Social Media Marketing: How the Boston Celtics’ social strategy adapts to evolving platforms

January 22nd, 2016

“Your strategy has to be evolving. As the platforms continue to evolve, you have to evolve,” Peter Stringer, Vice President of Digital Media, Boston Celtics, said at the MarketingSherpa Media Center at DMA’s &THEN 2015.

As new social media platforms emerge and others change their algorithms, digital marketers must be nimble in their strategies. However, even in the midst of new social platforms, you still have to focus on fans.

“You really can’t have a great strategy until you start using the platform and try to understand how your fans expect to use it. Realistically, if you’re using [it] in a way that doesn’t match up with the way people actually use this platform in the wild, it’s not going to work,” he said.

Watch the interview to learn how Peter and the Boston Celtics have evolved to meet the needs of fans on social media platforms.

 

How an impromptu change in the approach to Facebook video led to a major shift in strategy

Peter discussed the responsibility that is on marketers to figure out if changes in how platforms work mean a change in strategy is in order. He provided an example around Facebook video and the viral trend for taking the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Read more…

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Kylie Hyer

3 Strategies for Overcoming Banner Blindness

January 19th, 2016

To be honest, I don’t even see them most of the time. It is as if the top and sides of the webpage I’m looking at are blurred—I know they’re there, but I don’t even notice them. For this, I thank “banner blindness.”

Banner blindness is the result of templated or “best practice” page layouts that place banner ads in specific places, such as the very top center of the page or on the far right side of the page. See the red boxes below:

common-ad-layout

 

Why is it called “blindness”?

The ad is there, but we ignore it because our minds have “seen that, done that” so many times before. We have established the typical banner areas as distracting from our goal on the page.

As marketers, if we are stuck in these blind areas, what can we do to increase the effectiveness of our banner ads? For questions like this, I always like to refer to the MECLABS Institute’s (MarketingSherpa’s parent company) Online Ad Sequence  heuristic for guidance:  

Read more…

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Courtney Eckerle

How to Engage in the B2B Sphere With Nostalgia

January 15th, 2016

Having lighthearted fun with your customers is probably the most effective way to engage them with your services. Especially when you want to stand out in the B2B sphere.

At data protection company Intronis, a multi-channel campaign was launched around a dimensional mailer with an initial incentive of an Atari game console replicator.

Intronis sells to a very specific type of customer, IT service providers, who is “very busy, they have a lot going on. They have to run their business, they have to help their customers with their problems. So we were looking for a way that we could break through that noise,” Aaron Dun, CMO, Intronis, said.

Aaron’s team discovered that with their targets, traditional tactics like phone calls and email weren’t really getting through. After a challenge by their CEO to do a direct mail piece, they began thinking about what would resonate with customers.

“Our target audience … are, generally speaking, men between the ages of 30 and 50. So with that is insight. We started thinking around, ok what kind of thing can we send to them, that will really get them to engage with us and think about Intronis in a different way,” Aaron said.

 

The team, lead by Richard Delahaye, Director of Marketing, Intronis, began looking into what Intronis could send out that would be distinguishing.

Read more…

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Daniel Burstein

Email Marketing: Ideas and inspiration from 11 years of award-winning campaigns

January 12th, 2016

The challenges of today scream at you. How can I increase sales? Get more people to subscribe to my opt-in list? Ensure my emails end up in the inbox? What is the next technology to keep up with?

Sometimes it’s helpful to take a look back to see the future more clearly. Getting a sense of where we have been as email marketers helps us to better understand where we’re going. To quote Isaac Newton, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.”

To help you do that, and find inspiration and ideas for your current email campaigns, let’s take a look back through the archives of the MarketingSherpa Email Awards.

 

Idea #1: Email is not a one-way communication medium (from 2006)

When email marketers talk about engagement, we’re typically talking about metrics, analytics, data — numbers like clickthrough or read rate.

But don’t overlook human interaction as well. Fossil Rim Wildlife Center did more than ask people to click in its Wildlife Watch newsletter. For example, the 1,800-acre natural wildlife conservation center asked readers to name a new baby giraffe.

Wildlife Watch email

 

Because of this very human (and giraffe) form of engagement, traditional engagement metrics also performed well, with the newsletter getting average open rates of 35 to 40 percent and clickthrough rate of 16 to 20 percent of those received.

Learn more from the award-winning email marketers of 2006 — Winners included Blockbuster, Vanguard and Canadian Blood Services.

Read more…

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Shelby Dorsey

How 4 Brands Effectively Responded to Customers

January 8th, 2016

When Cheerios came out with its gluten-free line, social media platforms erupted with Celiac and gluten-intolerant customers celebrating. Perhaps following in the wake of the Chex cereal flavors, Cheerios listened to consumer needs and created a product line to appeal to a very specific subset of customer.

Then the worst thing happened to a brand that had capitalized on being allergen-friendly — customers started getting sick.

It was determined that the way Cheerios was processing its gluten-free grains did not keep them from being cross-contaminated with wheat and oats, resulting in many gluten-free consumers becoming quite ill.

Cheerios GF Cereal

 

Although the brand made a huge mistake in how it was producing the product, this shouldn’t take away from the main effort: a brand listening and responding to consumers. And while Cheerios should have been far more careful, it is important to see a major brand adjusting its product model to try and respond to consumer wants, and then readjust once more when it made a mistake.

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Courtney Eckerle

2015 Year in Review: The most popular posts in content, mobile and visual marketing

January 5th, 2016

No proper New Year’s can be complete without first reflecting on the past year.

Where have we been? What have we accomplished?

By asking these questions, we can move forward with a clearer vision of the year to come, and what we hope to accomplish.

MarketingSherpa is here to help with that reflection with our best content (as determined by you) from this year. As we enter into a new year of marketing efforts, challenges and trends, let’s first take a moment to review the most popular posts of 2015.

 

1. Content Marketing 101: Tips on content strategy

As one of the most valuable marketing channels, content creation is a constant journey for marketers. This post, the most popular of the year, covers the important basics of content marketing for those who are new to the endeavor, and a review for veterans.

This post covers thought leadership and brand awareness in your content, as well as multiple resources at your disposal.

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Courtney Eckerle

Fuji Xerox Launches New B2B Product With a Fashion Show

December 29th, 2015

“I think the industry … Fuji Xerox is [in is] a very competitive one,” Steven Caunce, Corporate Affairs Manager, Fuji Xerox, said.

Aside from the competitive B2B space, “selling print devices to large organizations, it’s not a particularly sexy business to be in, so we’re always looking for different ways to try to engage and motivate our customers.”

A prime opportunity to engage customers in this manner is when launching a new product, he said. It’s especially important since the industry is so competitive.

To generate excitement for the Versant 2100 printer, the team at Fuji Xerox created a fashion show featuring a fictional designer, complete with direct mail “lookbooks.”

The creative event campaign Steven and his team came up with generated new sales, inspired the brand’s sales team and accounted for 34% of the Asia-Pacific sales total.

 

Read more…

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