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Email Marketing: 6 steps to re-engaging subscribers and cleaning your list database

April 22nd, 2016

With spring now upon us, are you ready to “spring clean” your email lists?

It’s a hard task to take on. No one likes to see their list decline. However, list hygiene is an important part of any email strategy.

List-cleaning-graphic

“Blasting your emails to an unqualified list could result in account suspensions from your email platform, penalties, or even fines, not to mention dismal marketing results,” according to the Salesforce article “How to Keep Your Email Lists Sparkling Clean.”

If many of your email addresses are undeliverable or people are marking you as spam, your email reputation suffers. You could be causing yourself to be flagged as spam in your customer’s inboxes — and that won’t get your campaigns very far.

To get your list back to a healthy state and stay that way, we’ve outline six steps for your team to take.

 

Step #1. Delete fake, role-based and misspelled email addresses

To start your email spring cleaning, examine your list for the addresses you won’t hope to win-back. This includes those that don’t actually make it to someone (and probably never have).

For various reasons, consumers don’t always provide the correct information online. As an initial step into cleaning your list, you’ll want to delete all the bogus email addresses. These could include emails like:

  • test@gmail.com
  • 123@company.com
  • asdf@asdf.com (This address even has a fake website to go with it.)

You’ll probably want to eliminate role email address as well. These are typically groups, not individuals, where no one will actually open, read or click your emails. A few examples include:

Read more…

Live From MarketingSherpa Summit 2016: 5 steps to telling your team’s story internally

February 23rd, 2016

No matter which division of marketing your team works in, you’d probably love to grow your team. You know your team is doing well, achieving great success, but how do you get that success noticed by leaders in your organization?

During Day 1 of MarketingSherpa Summit 2016, Brian MacDonald, Senior Manager of Digital Marketing, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, shared his journey to overcome this challenge.

Brian is a huge movie fan, and drew inspiration from Pixar director and screenwriter, Andrew Stanton, in his quest to get his team noticed and gain more budget.

Storytelling became his strategy. Brian is responsible for the IT Experts Community, as well as community strategy and blogging. His previous team of three did some great things that he didn’t feel were well seen by higher ups.

“How can we build a story around it to get people to care?” Brian said.

With movie making as a basis for his strategy, Brian came up with a five-step process for storytelling to internal audiences and stakeholders. 5 Steps to Effective Storytelling

 

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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.

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Content Marketing: How to use social media sweepstakes to encourage user-generated content

October 27th, 2015

“I think content is becoming the forefront for any ecommerce or digital strategy,” Andy Wang, Digital Brand Marketing Manager, World Kitchen, said.

The struggle, though, can come in creating that content. In 2014, 45% of B2C marketers reported “producing enough content” as a top challenge, according to the B2C Content Marketing 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America report. And that’s just creating it. Moreover, 51% of marketers struggled with “producing the kind of content that engages.”

How can marketers meet the content amount demands while still producing quality content that resonates with customers?Challenges that B2C Content Marketers Face chart

At the MarketingSherpa IRCE Media Center, Andy discussed with Courtney Eckerle, Manager of Editorial Content, MarketingSherpa, how his team worked through these challenges.

“For us at World Kitchen, it was critical for us to bring in valid content that would showcase some of our passions that our consumers have for our products,” Andy said. “Giving them a voice was critical and allowing them to contribute to our website and be a part of our campaigns. That was one of the things we really enjoyed and were hopeful for.”

You can watch his full interview to learn how his team invited customers to share pictures and stories and integrated this user generated content into their digital marketing strategy.

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Marketing Management: 6 lessons from The Walking Dead for your team and marketing efforts

October 20th, 2015

For decades, people have been pulling leadership and life lessons from film and television. From sports and war inspired movies to law dramas and comedies, we see characters make tough decisions, lead their teams to victory or support them through the losses.

For me, apocalypse stories often have some of the most dynamic and interesting characters to watch. To survive in such circumstances, they often learn important lessons that you just don’t think about or encounter as dramatically in a normal day-to-day life. Stripping them of their modern conveniences and the restraints of society and laws, you quickly get to see who they really are as a person.

Even though the office place doesn’t require the same life-or-death decisions, we can still draw out valuable lessons from the decisions these characters make.

The Walking Dead fans like me know that Season 6 has finally arrived. To celebrate, I’ve rounded up six lessons marketing leaders can take away from the drama and apply to their teams.

6 lessons from The Walking Dead for your team and marketing efforts

 

Lesson #1. Don’t let your guard down (and keep testing)

“You’re not safe. No matter how many people are around, or how clear the area looks, no matter what anyone says, no matter what you think. You are not safe. It only takes one second. One second and it’s over. Never let your guard down. Ever. I want you to promise me.”

—    Rick Grimes, Season 5 

You might be asking how this relates to marketing. Replace “you” with “your webpages” and switch “safe” to “bulletproof.” Your webpages are not bulletproof.

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Copywriting: A 5-step guide to a well-defined copy editing process

October 13th, 2015

In my four years at MECLABS Institute, the parent company of MarketingSherpa, I’ve held a few different roles on the Editorial Content team.

However, my very first role was junior copy editor. Having been there and done that, it provides me a unique perspective to manage our current copy editor, Shelby Dorsey.

It’s a unique role. No one seems to know you’re there until you mess up. I can still remember that first email forwarded to me after a director in the company found a small mistake I overlooked in a newsletter send. It was horrifying.

Recently, Shelby and I have set out to help improve some of the processes around the copy editing role, and I know we aren’t the only ones who need help streamlining this area of marketing.

First on the list was increasing the turnaround times for the various content pieces.

To start the presentation, I wanted to find a quote that embodied what a copy editor is. In my search, I found the copy editor description Merrill Perlman wrote in her CNN article, “Why ‘America’ needs copy editors.”

Copy Editor Quote

 

It’s with this quote that I started a simple, but detailed internal PowerPoint deck outlining the copy editing process, requirements and timelines. To help you implement or improve your own copy editing process and procedures, we’re giving you an inside look at that deck.

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The Power of Visuals: How four companies effectively used visual content and three tools to get you started

August 18th, 2015

An image is a powerful tool in the digital world.

It can draw attention, communicate value, increase shareability and so much more. In fact, HubSpot pulled together the “17 Stats You Should Know About Visual Content Marketing in 2015” to display this. From what your peers are doing to how effective visual content is for social sharing, the stats of recent studies are certainly interesting.

Two stats stuck out to me while researching this topic.Visual storytelling in the digital world

First, tweets with images were clicked 18% more and retweeted 150% more than those without, according to Buffer.

Second, when looking at the most shared posts from Facebook pages, a photo post made up 87% of interactions.

Even better than stats, I came across four success stories that show how visual content can greatly impact your content and social media marketing efforts, from blog views to Facebook shares.

 

Case study examples

Content Marketing: Interactive infographic blog post generates 3.9 million views for small insurance company

As a smaller insurance company, HCC Medical Insurance Service (HCCMIS) needed a way to stand out in its marketplace. While insurance can typically be thought of as a boring product, the HCCMIS team decided to make their blog content more exciting with interactive infographics.

The result? The team saw a 1,000% lift in blog traffic, as well as significant lifts in social media followers and email revenue.

Interactive infographic blog post generates 3.9 million views for small insurance company

Read more…

Marketing Careers: 5 sites to develop and enhance your skills with free online courses

March 31st, 2015

Marketing is continually changing and evolving, and nothing has propelled that more than the Internet.

This means marketers must grow with the industry. According to Formstack, those in digital marketing now need seven skills beyond the norm to succeed:career key

  • Analytics
  • Social media
  • Data visualization
  • Technical skills
  • Teamwork
  • Newsjacking
  • Soft skills

 

While the digital age has created a need for new skills, it has also enabled marketers to learn those skills with the click of a button, without going back to college.

It’s possible to learn these skills through books, blog posts, podcasts and more, all with little to no cost commitment. There are also moderate to expensive online courses available. However, for those who might want a more structured or interactive learning experience without the cost, we have a few options for you to check out.

Read on to learn about five different sites that can help expand your skills in a variety of areas.

 

Google Analytics Academy

Skill: Analytics

Google offers free online courses to improve analytics skills in its Analytics Academy. It’s an at-your-own-pace format. You can watch lessons from Google’s experts, then test your knowledge through quizzes and practices exercises. They have also created a learning community with course forums so you can engage with other students and experts.

After you’ve mastered the courses, you can earn Google Analytics Individual Qualification by taking the IQ test, which is now free of charge.

 

Codeacademy

Skill: Coding

Codeacademy’s mission is “teaching the world how to code.” For no cost, users can learn to code in multiple programming languages:

  • HTML and CSS
  • Javascript
  • jQuery
  • Python
  • Ruby
  • PHP

It also offers courses on to make a website, an interactive website and a Rails Application, where students build their own versions of popular websites — Airbnb, Flipboard and Etsy.

Read more…

Email Summit 2015 According to Twitter: Your peers share their key takeaways from Day 1 on engaging, empowering and serving customers

February 25th, 2015

If you haven’t noticed, #SherpaEmail has taken over Twitter.

Well, maybe not in a break-the-Internet scale of Kim Kardashian, but your marketing peers have been tweeting their hearts out with all the good information they’ve learned at MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015.

With Day 2 of Summit underway, we wanted to share some key nuggets your peers found valuable on Day 1. (I might have smuggled a few of my own in too.) Check out some key takeaways from each of yesterday’s insightful sessions.

 

Humanizing Your Email Program: How to transcend the digital revolution by using the essential ability to communicate person-to-person

Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director and CEO, MECLABS Institute

Flint revealed four fundamental principles that guide effective communication and provided examples of how these principles can be used to transform your entire email program.

Read more…

A/B Testing: How adding a second CTA increased clickthrough 291%

February 23rd, 2015

Originally published on B2B LeadBlog

How do you serve ?ready to buy? customers and ?just looking? prospects on the same page? You don?t want to alienate one group while speaking to the other. However, you still need to offer both sets of customers the next step they need no matter their level of interest. To answer that question and more for one B2B SaaS nonprofit, Jon Powell, Senior Executive Research and Development Manager, MECLABS Institute, worked with Shari Tishman, Director of Engagement, and Lauren Wagner, Senior Manager of Engagement, both of VolunteerMatch. VolunteerMatch was selected as the ?client? for this year?s Email Summit live test. The team designed a three-part series of experiments, the first two leading up the interactive live test to launch tomorrow, Feb. 24, here at Summit. Since today marks the first day of Summit activities I?ll be giving you a behind the scenes look at Test No. 2 of the series. Check out the MarketingExperiments Blog to learn about the test background and call for treatment ideas and to learn about the results and what they mean. VolunteerMatchBefore we get into the specifics of this test, let?s review why this test is important to the series. The solutions page test will help us to understand the most attractive derivative value for actual sales-ready leads to include in the call-to-action section of the email for optimization at the Summit. Basically, we should be able to take what we previously learned about prospects and transfer it to another channel of testing: email.   Experiment background Primary Research Question: Which call-to-action variable cluster will achieve the highest contact page conversion rate? Secondary Question: Which call-to-action variable cluster will achieve the highest total page click-through rate? Test Design: A/B split test Before the test Prior to the test and its control, the VolunteerMatch team had already updated the call-to-action (CTA) on the product page. The original CTA read, ?Let?s Get Started Together.? CTA1 While the CTA did a good job of attracting customers across the spectrum of motivation levels, it seemed the pipeline became full of leads not motivated enough to move forward. This caused a lot of fruitless time for the sales staff. Motivation   That led the team to create a new CTA, which is the control for this test.   Control To limit the amount of leads entering the pipeline, so that there are more qualified prospects, the team changed the copy to ?Contact Sales for a Quote.? CTA2 Motivation2   However, this left no option for those prospects simply trying to learn more. This lead to the creation of the two-option CTA for the treatment.   Treatment When conducting analysis on the solutions page, click tracking showed that 2.39% of visitors were leaving the page to go to the demo page. Since that would be a useful place for prospects to learn more if they weren?t ready to buy, the team thought it would make the most sense as a secondary CTA. Instead of letting those lower-motivated prospects blindly stumble around the site, a demo CTA would allow VolunteerMatch to guide them there. CTA3   The copy of the Contact Sales CTA was also changed. The team hypothesized that ?Contact Sales? could have produced a high-level of anxiety in visitors. There was also a lack of clarity. What exactly does ?contact? mean? And what will a quote consist of? To help answer some of those concerns, the team developed the ?Speak to a Director? treatment of the CTA. ? Results Let?s look at the metric results to the secondary research question: overall clickthrough rate. Results   As you can see, adding another CTA increased overall clickthrough. The question after that would be if it this impacted the clickthrough to the Contact Sales CTA. However, there was no statistical difference between the control and the treatment. In fact, no visitor who clicked through to the sales contact form page on the control filled out the form. However, of those who landed on the sales contact page from the treatment, 30% of visitors filled out the form. Additionally, of the 8.1% visitors to click on the demo CTA, 12.5% of them converted on the demo.   What you need to know It?s possible to serve two groups of prospects on one solutions or product page. There can be fear when adding a second CTA that you will lose clickthrough or leads, but you won?t know if you don?t test. For VolunteerMatch, that wasn?t the case at all. The second CTA did not diminish clickthrough to the contact form page. Rather, it seems as if the update copy in addition with another option to learn more allowed better qualified visitors to click through, seeing as the rate of completion went up. Additionally, we were able to better guide lower sales-ready visitors to a page that might be better suited for them: the demo. Adding the demo CTA allowed us to decrease the need for unsupervised thinking on the part of visitors. If left to themselves, visitors might not have found the demo and could have left the site without gaining information that would have led to an eventual sale.   Email Summit live test Be sure to attend Jon?s session tomorrow after lunch with VolunteerMatch ???Hands-on Live Test Lab: Learn how to improve your already successful marketing? ??to contribute to the live test. If you?re not able to join us here in Las Vegas this week, we?ll be sharing a case study about the Email Summit live test in the MarketingSherpa B2B Marketing newsletter after Summit.  

If you liked to learn all of the top takeaways from Email Summit 2015, stay tuned to the?MarketingSherpa Email Marketing Newsletter. An event recap with everything you need to know will be published in the coming weeks.

You can follow Selena Blue, Manager of Editorial Content, MECLABS Institute on Twitter at?@SelenaLBlue. ? You might also like MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015?? February 23-26, ARIA Resort, Las Vegas Lead Management: How a B2B SaaS nonprofit decreased its sales cycle 99%?[MarketingSherpa case study] Lead Generation: The power of copy?[More from the blogs] 5 Traits the Best Calls-to-action All Share in Common?[More from the blogs]