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Marketing Technology: Choosing an email service provider to fit your needs in 4 steps

February 24th, 2017
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As one of the most commonly outsourced services, an ESP (email service provider) can be a great asset to a marketing team. Choosing the wrong one, however, can slow projects and inhibit email creativity, as well as cause issues with subscribers.

Finding the best ESP for your company means more than just wandering out into the marketplace with a wad of cash. It’s about understanding what your team — and your customers — uniquely need from the email marketing channel.

Many of the case studies I produce for the MarketingSherpa email marketing newsletter deal with an ESP switch, in differing variations. Usually, I’m writing about a stellar campaign that was produced after a marketing team broke free from the constraints of an ill-fitting ESP.

If the search for an email service provider is done correctly, it should be labor intensive. Which means you don’t want to have to do it very often.

Step #1: Perform an audit on the processes and workflows you currently have in place

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How Dell Simplified Email Template Design to Improve Engagement

November 18th, 2016
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“Our main focus [in email marketing] is making sure we’re saying the right thing at the right time to the right person,” said Jessica Vogel, Global Marketing Consultant, Dell.

Having an efficient and effective direct marketing vehicle such as email is critical for the success of Dell’s sizeable direct business. Jessica is part of a team that continuously focuses on email user experience and channel optimization through efforts like responsive design, dynamic content and engaging content integration.

As the email vehicle has evolved into a complex and highly automated direct marketing medium, the team audited its email program (including customers’ mobile and desktop preview-pane experience) and discovered a key challenge to email engagement — its legacy email template.

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‘Twas the Night Before Sending: How Ebates created a compelling holiday email send in one day

November 11th, 2016
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As marketers become fully entrenched in the hectic holiday season, it’s easy to just keep to the schedule while letting customer engagement opportunities pass by.

Derek Kazee, Director of Retention Marketing, Ebates, and I spoke about this issue in the Media Center at MarketingSherpa Summit 2016 about how his team overcame the biggest holiday season obstacle cutting through the noise.

By reacting quickly after some holiday inspiration, Derek and his team quickly mobilized to engage with members about current and upcoming promotions in a fun and informative way.

“I got an idea to do something different, which was actually to remind and to preview all of the promos we were going to launch because I was having trouble keeping track of it myself,” he said.

Derek came into the office with that idea and challenged his team to come up with something that would be informative, non-promotional and engaging at the same time. As a result, one of the copy writers rewrote “’Twas the Night Before Christmas,” and it was designed in just one day.

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Mobile Email Marketing Optimization: Tips for beginner and advanced marketers from four experts

May 10th, 2016
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In the article from today’s MarketingSherpa Chart of the Week newsletter, we share data produced exclusively for MarketingSherpa by Adestra and Econsultancy, which identified the mobile email marketing optimization techniques that most commonly produce excellent email marketing ROI.

You can take a closer look at the data in the article – Email Marketing Chart: ROI from optimizing email for mobile devices – but here’s the punchline: Optimizing emails for mobile is more than three times as likely to generate ROI.

If you need data to help justify the budget, resources, and buy-in you need from business leaders or clients for optimized mobile email marketing (or if you’re already optimizing your mobile email marketing but need resources to move to the next level), the chart is an excellent asset.

So now what? Let’s say you get the resources … where do you begin? Or perhaps you’re already several years down the road, but are running out of ideas on what to do next.

To help with your mobile email marketing, we interviewed four experts who gave us invaluable tips for both beginner and advanced mobile email marketers. We’re including all the tips in one blog post to allow you to easily scan because, let’s face it, one marketer’s “beginner tactic” is another marketer’s “advanced idea.”

Let’s get started …

 

Tip #1. Start simple

No matter your budget or resources, adding tasks to your department’s already overflowing plate is no easy feat. This is especially true when you consider the proliferation of mobile device types, screen sizes, operating systems, email readers, and download speeds.

(You can multiply that complexity several times over if you have an international customer base.)

But the experts we interviewed encouraged marketers to simply get started on the changes you’re capable of making right away, and not trying to swallow all that complexity with one bite.

“Most of those just starting on the mobile optimization journey feel overwhelmed, so they should keep in mind that simplicity is often the best route,” said Monica Savut, Senior Research Manager, Econsultancy. “Focusing on the core components is key, from using a single-column design and hiding content that might not be essential in a mobile view, to including a mobile-friendly pre-header and designing for ‘fingers and thumbs.’”

“For companies just starting to put a mobile strategy together, simplifying is key,” agreed Aaron Pearson, Product Manager, Listrak. “Simplify you template and layout; simplify your content such as copy, buttons, and images. A mobile-optimized template doesn’t necessarily have to be responsive, so don’t worry about spending time developing a hugely complex system to deliver content to your subscribers. Instead, focus on iterating your content strategy and begin to improve the conversation with your audience.”

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

April 22nd, 2016
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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:

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How NakedWines.com Used Email to Maximize Lifetime Value

April 15th, 2016
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How do you turn a name on a list into a loyal and engaged subscriber?

Ecommerce site NakedWines.com has accomplished this by establishing a community of customers and “Angel” members. These customers fund independent wine makers in return for access to hand-crafted wine at a lower cost.

At the MarketingSherpa Summit 2016 Media Center, Julia Fox, Marketing Manager, NakedWines.com, spoke about how her team wanted to maximize member lifetime value during the early phases of the customer journey.

 

“Since we’re all ecommerce, email is obviously a huge part of our success,” Julia said, adding that most of the company’s revenue comes from these “Angel” members, which means nurturing new customers into Angels through this channel is especially important.

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How One Small Template Change Led to Greater Customer-Centric Content for WeddingWire

April 1st, 2016
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Most email marketers know they’re supposed to throw the social sharing buttons into their email templates.

… or do you?

“When we first started doing that, that made sense and that was the best practice when social media first came around. But we never looked back at it and did a reality check to see if that still made sense,” said Bart Thornburg, Senior Manager of Email Marketing, WeddingWire.

In his MarketingSherpa Summit 2016 Media Center interview, Bart talked about how WeddingWire checked that portion of the template to see if it was really a best practice for them.

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20 Predictions for the Next 5 Years that Every Email Marketer Should Hear

March 28th, 2016
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Email marketing has evolved significantly during the first half of this decade — from the impact of mobile and engagement-based email filtering to the emergence of wearables and omni-channel integration. All that change made us wonder: ‘How will email marketing evolve between now and the end of the decade?’

That was what Chad White, Research Director, Litmus, sent me in an email when I asked him to comment on a SlideShare he created from Litmus’ Email Marketing in 2020 ebook.

In the report, our own Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content, along with 19 other experts in the field of email marketing, share their predictions for what email marketing will look like in the year 2020.

The slides, which pull out Litmus’ favorite prediction from each of the experts interviewed, have a number of interesting tidbits.

Overall, the general consensus is that email will be incredibly personalized and highly automated.

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Tips for Incorporating GIFs in Email

November 3rd, 2015
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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

 

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Email Marketing: Establishing a process to organize thoughtful campaigns

September 25th, 2015
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As an Operations Manager, I believe it is vital to establish processes that ultimately work for you and benefit your team. So I get very excited when I find a new process that could help my team with their workloads.

The challenge I often face is, how do I implement and make this development a success?

As a marketer, have you ever found yourself passionate about showcasing the best practices you’ve learned in order to achieve your goal, only to realize there are countless steps and paths to take? Don’t worry. Take a deep breath; it happens to all of us.

At MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015 in Las Vegas, Courtney Eckerle, Managing Editor, MarketingSherpa, sat down with Tink Taylor, Founder and Chief Operating Officer, dotmailer, to discuss how email marketers can overcome the underlying challenges they may face by establishing processes to deal with the mountains of information at their disposal.

For instance, when outlining and creating email marketing campaigns, how can you condense the valuable content into something that will benefit customers?

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