Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Email’

The Most Shared Articles from MarketingSherpa Blog in 2016

January 9th, 2017

While the jury may be out on 2016 as a whole, marketers have had a very exciting year, and MarketingSherpa (if we may say so) has hopefully shown a spotlight on it through our content.

In light of celebrating the good of 2016 as we’re all madly planning what 2017 will bring, we’re revisiting the most popular articles from the past 12 months. Looking back at top content helps us see what our readers found to be the most helpful and valuable content, and it helps you to know what your peers are looking for.

Below, see where we’ve been this past year using the nine most popular articles to find what elements you might want to bring with you into 2017…

#1. Six Places to Focus to Make your Website a Revenue Generator

We have more digital marketing channels than ever before, but it’s become even harder to connect with customers.

One thing’s become clear, that there is a growing divide between those who are fully engaged with digital marketing and those who are still figuring out the fundamentals. This interview with Kristin Zhivago, President of Cloud Potential, goes over her report on “revenue road blocks,” as a deep dive into what she’s discovered to help marketers quickly close this digital marketing gap and do better.

If marketers directly address getting the six key focuses covered in this blog post right, you can move forward and close the gap between digital and customers.

Read more…

Learning About Your Customers Through Testing

November 20th, 2015

Mike Loveridge, Digital Marketing Manager, Humana, runs the conversion rate optimization program at Humana, which is comprised of a team of 15 testers and supporting staff.

In his interview at the MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015 Media Center, Mike explained that the team has spent the past year getting a process in place that would walk a tricky tight rope: keeping costs down, while improving the quality of the test. Locking down this process can be difficult in an enterprise-grade company, Mike said, but especially in the insurance industry with government regulations.

 

“This year it’s more just branching into other areas of the site and the experience that we weren’t able to touch last year,” he said, listing the member’s portal and company firewall.

Mike’s goal is to spur a company-wide transformation with testing culture, starting with his team.

“I think [with] insurance companies in general, the big push is to go from being an insurance company … to being a health partner with the consumer so that there is a level of trust that hasn’t existed before,” he said.

Read more…

Tips for Incorporating GIFs in Email

November 3rd, 2015

I am a serial email subscriber. If I think there’s even a chance that a company’s subscription list will provide me with discounts, fashion tips, insightful news stories or even just a joke every now and then, I will most likely click that sign up button.

This email addiction paired with my experience reporting for MarketingSherpa’s Email beat has transformed my promotional Gmail folder into a nest of virtual hoarding. But it has also given me insight into the latest trends in email marketing.

One trend that seems to overwhelm my inbox is adding GIFs to emails. If you’re unfamiliar, a GIF (commonly pronounced “JIF,” like the peanut butter) is a short animated graphic without sound that typically replays the same visual sequence on a loop.

In the Internet age where memes and GIFs seem to reign supreme, adding these fun graphics seems like an engaging and relatable strategy for companies to employ. However, as I’ve learned sifting through my inbox, there is a proper and an improper way to incorporate graphic animations.

Read on for a quick guide on the do’s and don’ts of GIFing while emailing.

 

Use a GIF when: Flat images would detract from a specific message

For the majority of emails, using an image that relates to its content is enough of an illustration. However, there are instances where using a flat image actually detracts from your overall message. Take a promotional campaign from Dell, for example.

The computer company wanted to send out an email advertising its new Dell XPS 12 Convertible Ultrabook: a laptop with a hinge design that allowed it to transform into a tablet. While Dell could use flat images of the device in both computer and tablet mode, the company decided to instead use a GIF, showing the device’s transformation. This illustrated the full capabilities of the product in a fun way.

Dell

 

Read more…

2016 MarketingSherpa Awards: Customer-focused campaigns that drive results for 4 award nominees

October 2nd, 2015

2015 MarketingSherpa Readers' Choice Award WinnerWe will be evolving this year to keep up with our audience — you.

This year’s MarketingSherpa Awards extend beyond just email marketing and include marketing campaigns across all disciplines. All year long, MarketingSherpa covers compelling stories in the B2C, B2B, email and inbound spheres, so why shouldn’t our yearly awards?

The three-month process of rewarding talent is a serious endeavor. The selection process included 50 hours of pre-screening more than 300 submissions, followed by 15 hours of group deliberation by our panel of five judges. As we searched through stacks of awards and speaking applications, we were looking for a team that could carry on the legacy of previous years’ winners.

It’s now your turn. We’ve narrowed the submissions down to four of the best campaigns, and you can now vote for your Readers’ Choice Award winner through November 10. After voting, please share your favorite nominee or insight on social media.

All of the campaigns met our judging criteria:

  • Be transformative
  • Be customer-centric
  • Be innovative
  • Offer transferable principles that marketing peers can apply to their efforts
  • Display strong results

From here, it’s up to you to decide which one deserves top honors.

Have different criteria? Thoughts to share on any of the campaigns? Let us know in the comments.

Among many others, here are four lessons you can expect to take from this year’s Awards:

Read more…

Email Marketing: How the Kentucky Derby engages customers with relevant email

June 30th, 2015

The Kentucky Derby is a once a year event worth hundreds of millions of dollars. It has been held annually on the first Saturday of May at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky since 1875.

It’s a race like no other, filled with traditions like the sweet taste of a mint julep dancing over the ice of a frozen silver cup, women in lavish hats ringed in a halo of soft glowing pearls and the victorious aroma of 554 red roses dripping across the backs of the winners.

Even with its long traditions, it takes a lot of effort and hard work to give the Kentucky Derby’s spectators exactly what they come to expect year after year as those expectations change through time.

To find out how the Kentucky Derby consistently makes this high level event continually more successful, Courtney Eckerle, Manager of Editorial Content, MarketingSherpa, sat down with Kate Ellis, Marketing Analyst, and Jeff Koleba, Vice President of Marketing and Programming, both of the Kentucky Derby, at the MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015 Media Center to discuss how the Kentucky Derby keeps its customers engaged all year long for an annual event.

  Read more…

How to Harness the Power of New Technology to Personalize to Your Audience

February 13th, 2015

We are in the midst of an informational and technological revolution. It is constantly changing the way we communicate. There is an unspoken drive deep down in the collective psyche of humanity that is pushing us to make communication faster and universal.

Being able to express complex ideas is vital to our species’ survival. It’s taken us from caves to high rises. From wall paintings and smoke signals to emails and international phone calls, the way we communicate is versatile and fluid. What’s the norm yesterday could easily be archaic tomorrow.

As marketers we have to communicate our companies’ ideas, products and values to potential customers in any medium they communicate in.

As we move toward more instant communication, the marketer has to evolve with consumers. Just like the shift from direct mail to email, the savvy marketer must know when to move to a new technological medium and how to market correctly in that medium.

 

Mobile email

For several years there have been predictions about the end of email.  While email has changed significantly in the last 20 years, we now send more emails than ever before.

According to emailisnotdead.com, there are currently 4.1 billion email accounts that send 122+ billion emails per hour — and 53% of those emails were opened on a mobile device. The future of communication is mobile email, and there is already a lot of it going on.

In order to get ahead of this curve, email service providers (ESPs) are developing algorithms that automatically sort your emails. Google unveiled their answer to the overcrowded inbox late in 2014. A consummate innovator and leader in the email space, Google has developed a system that automatically sweeps your emails into three easy to manage subfolders: Updates, Social and Promotions. They have allowed more design elements to be featured in the subject line space and have made it even easier to clear a whole inbox in seconds.

So what does that mean for marketers?

It means that as ESPs move into the future, they will use bundling to sort people’s emails. This will most likely lead to the average clickthrough rate decreasing. However, the quality of the leads will go up because emails, instead of being cookie-cutter sends, can be personalized for individuals based on data marketers accrue. In the future, designers will have to work with content writers to make sure their emails stick out visually, alongside personalization.

Effect of Gmail Tabs

Chart courtesy of: MailChimp

 

Marketing efforts will need to work in conjunction with all the other marketing options the company is using. We have to move away from thinking about individual campaigns and towards holistic, cohesive marketing tactics.

Read more…

4 Tips from Jonah Berger on Taking Content Marketing Viral

February 10th, 2015

We all see things go viral on the Web or certain products that suddenly take off. It begs the question: Why do some things get talked about more than others?

“And how by understanding that science can companies and organizations and individuals get their stuff to catch on?” said Jonah Berger, Associate Marketing Professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, during our phone interview.

ContagiousJonah, who will be a keynote speaker at Email Summit 2015, has studied how products are used and why behaviors catch on. His book, Contagious: Why Things Catch On, was a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller on the topic.

Companies can get stuck in an “advertising” mindset, he said, and see that as the only way to communicate with consumers.

“While advertising is useful for some things, it’s not as effective as word-of-mouth for some other things. And so understanding how to both effectively use traditional advertising and word-of-mouth and blend those two approaches becomes really important,” he said.

Jonah provided four tips on how to best integrate the two and how to make your content go “viral.”

 

Tip #1. Keep the focus on customer

Marketers have a tendency to focus too much on the product or service, rather than the customer or user, Jonah pointed out.

It’s easy to speak in a language the customer can’t easily understand when you spend day after day up close to what you’re offering — “You know a lot about your product, your service, your idea,” he said.

Ask yourself a few questions to make sure that you’ve pictured the customer’s journey:

  • Why are they using this?
  • What’s in it for them?
  • How can we be more successful by finding our messages in customer language?

The value of content done well, he said, is that “it’s not about you … the best content doesn’t yell your brand; it whispers it.”

While recently working on a project with 3M, Jonah said he helped them create content that focused on how the product could be used.

“So focus is more on the user, or the thing that happens, or the way it improves the world or people’s lives, rather than the product itself,” he said.

Read more…

3 Tips to Improve Your Marketing from Doctor Who

August 22nd, 2014

(Editor’s note: Courtney Eckerle, Manager of Editorial Content, MarketingSherpa, also contributed her knowledge – and love of “Doctor Who” – to this blog post.)

There are a lot of nerds in our office, and if you’ve read this blog for any length of time, this is probably not news to you. Recently, we’ve realized something nerds everywhere have known for a long time – we are not alone.

In our case studies, blogs and events, we’ve seen how other marketers utilize pop culture to help convey complex ideas – for instance, emergency alert systems provider One Call Now used “Star Trek” characters to represent its customer personas.

Since we have seen the success others have had, we wanted to try this idea out for ourselves using an office favorite: BBC’s science fiction cult classic “Doctor Who,” which is having its latest series premiere on August 23.

doctor-who

For those who are unfamiliar, the titular Doctor is a Time Lord (a time-traveling alien species very similar to humans) who faces various foes in attempts to save civilizations and right wrongs using intellect over force while exploring all of time and space.

Intellect over force is a driving principle behind our work here – marketing through testing and optimization over gut feelings and intuition.

Read on for three tips we’ve taken to heart from “Doctor Who” about how to make the customer your companion in your marketing efforts.

 

Tip #1. Test every (seemingly) insignificant thing

Doctor: Stone dust.

Kate: Is it important?

Doctor: In 1,200 years, I’ve never stepped in anything that wasn’t. … Now, I want this stone dust analyzed. And I want a report in triplicate, with lots of graphs and diagrams and complicated sums on my desk, tomorrow morning, ASAP, pronto …

Doctor Who,” The Day of the Doctor, 2013

Every single thing, down to the dust he has stepped on, is something the Doctor considers important. He’s been testing, scanning and analyzing all of his surroundings for 1,200 years.

You may think that you know the answer to every question anyone could ask about your customers. But when you begin testing, you could discover that you’ve totally overlooked a simple concept that was right under your nose (or boots).

For example, at MarketingSherpa Lead Gen Summit 2013 in San Francisco, Jon Ciampi, Vice President Marketing, Corporate Development, Business Development and Strategic Accounts, CRC Health, presented a case study where his team tested what they considered to be best practices.

They took their control page of concise copy with an above the fold call-to-action, and created a treatment full of copy with a below the fold call-to-action.

What Jon and his team discovered was an “aha moment,” realizing that not only had the treatment outperformed the control by 220%, but they hadn’t understood their customers’ motivations at all.

While they had been promoting luxury and statistics, it took one test to realize that customers weren’t asking, “What is your doctor-to-patient ratio?” but rather, “Can I trust you with my loved one?”

“We test in the eternal hope that we can possibly understand the motivations of our customers and adjust our practices accordingly,” Jon summed up in his presentation.

Read more…

Email Marketing: Unique send times for micro-personalization [Video]

August 15th, 2014

According to the MarketingSherpa Ecommerce Benchmark Study, email was the top channel for driving significant traffic to an ecommerce site. For companies in the $10 million $100 million range, it drives nearly 80% of the traffic.

However, if you are not sending your marketing emails at the most optimal time for your audience, you’re leaving revenue on the table.

This is not a new challenge. But timing the right message to the right person at the right time remains a critical aspect to effective email marketing.

At MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2014, Dave Sierk, Consumer and Small Business Strategist, Dell, took the stage to share several case studies showing how Dell leveraged a GIF-centric campaign to achieve a 109% revenue lift.

You can see Dave’s full presentation from Summit for that story, but in this MarketingSherpa Blog post, see how Dell created unique send profiles for each of its customers to personalize email marketing efforts on a micro-level.

 

While composing a creative and engaging email is a great start to driving traffic and, hopefully, conversions, sending it at a time that does not match customers’ email viewing habits could mean your efforts are wasted when that email never gets opened.

dell-send-times

 

Watch this brief excerpt from Dave’s session to see how the team personalized email send times to adjust to customer’s consumption habits and drove an 8.2% increase in unique click rate.

Read more…

Social Media Marketing: Insights from Email Summit keynote Jay Baer

July 30th, 2013

At MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2014, attendees will hear a wide range of case studies and keynote addresses covering many aspects of email marketing.

At last year’s event, Jay Baer, President, Convince and Convert, presented, “More Alike than Different: Why email is Madonna, and Facebook is Lady Gaga,”  in which he explained the relationship between email and Facebook and how marketers can take advantage of the two channels through integration.

In this excerpt from his presentation, filled with 16 ways to integrate email and Facebook into marketing plans, hear highlights from Jay’s session, including why this integration is so essential for businesses, now and especially in the future.

 

00:10 “If somebody is subscribing to your email newsletter on your website, on your thank you page, why not ask them to also like you on Facebook?” Jay asked, citing many brands he has audited have not tried this approach.

2:26 Jay explained why marketers who are doing advanced segmentation should turn to connecting Facebook accounts to websites to collect information from customers. Instead of having customers fill out a lengthy form with their information, allowing them to connect their Facebook accounts makes it easier on them to give up their information and faster for marketers to collect this essential data.

2:56 Jay revealed in this session how any time a marketer sends something, it is likely only 25% of the audience will see it at any given time. This is precisely why it is essential for marketers to surround customers with many options for communication, including email and social media.

4:08 While the integration tactics discussed in Jay’s keynote address are not difficult technically, they can be difficult to accomplish culturally, operationally and tactically. But, email marketers’ jobs depend on doing these things “because email isn’t going anywhere, but social media is getting a disproportionate amount of attention, and you know that to be true.”

 

Watch the full, free session from Email Summit 2013 to hear all of Jay’s insights about integrating email and Facebook.

Read more…