Email Marketing 101

Email Marketing 101

14 Essentials to Maximize Your ROI

Email marketing is a direct marketing approach that uses electronic mail as a means of communicating commercial or fundraising messages to an audience. In its broadest sense, every email sent to a potential or current customer could be considered email marketing. However, the term is usually used to refer to (1) sending emails with the purpose of enhancing the relationship of a merchant with its current or previous customers, and (2) sending emails with the purpose of acquiring new customers or convincing current customers to purchase something immediately.

The main difference between email marketing and other types of direct marketing is that with email marketing, businesses can communicate one-to-one, as opposed to one-to-many. This allows for more personalized attention that can result in better conversion rates.

While the statistics are overwhelmingly in favor of email marketing as the best method for converting leads, but you can’t expect those kinds of returns without putting a lot of thought and effort into your campaigns.

Having your own email list is obviously ideal, but if you don't have one you can utilize other lead-generation methods to help you get started. Either way, you're going to want to capitalize on the 50% of people who say they buy from marketing emails at least once per month or the 59% of people who say that marketing emails have influenced their purchases.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. How many bad marketing emails have you received for everyone that’s converted you? Nearly 1 in 5 email campaigns aren’t optimized for mobile devices, and 41% of marketing emails are viewed on smartphones (59% of millennials, and 67% of Gen Z).

Email marketing isn't just about sending out mass emails to everyone on your list. The success of your email marketing campaigns depends on three things: the quality of your list, the quality of your content, and the frequency with which you send emails. Keep these things in mind as we go over some tips for successful email marketing.

Keep your list clean and up-to-date. 

Remove any inactive subscribers, bounced addresses, and duplicates on a regular basis. Not only will this keep your list manageable, but it will also improve your deliverability rate (the percentage of messages that are successfully delivered to subscribers' inboxes).

Make sure you have permission to send emails. 

This seems like a no-brainer, but it's important to make sure that everyone on your list has opted in to receive emails from you. Otherwise, you risk being marked as a spammer.

A larger list does not mean a larger ROI.

‍There is a point of diminishing returns when it comes to large email lists. Instead of blasting one giant list with the same content, consider segmenting those lists and personalizing your content as much as possible.

Too few or too many emails per month hurts email ROI.

‍Daily is too much, and monthly is not enough. Based on studies, the sweet spot seems to be between 9-16 emails per month. While slightly more or less still generate significant returns, we're going for outstanding, not pretty good results.

Testing your emails leads to higher ROI.

‍Companies that test their email campaigns enjoyed 28% higher ROI than their counterparts. Keep it simple at first by testing different subject lines. Definitely make sure you're testing for spam filters and deliverability, and preview before sending for formatting issues. Once you're comfortable, you can start testing different content and even the landing pages where you're directing traffic.

Personalized content leads to higher returns.

‍Dynamic content is essential to add a personalized touch to your email campaigns, and companies that do experience ROIs 4x higher than companies that don’t.

Make sure you have permission to send emails. 

This seems like a no-brainer, but it's important to make sure that everyone on your list has opted in to receive emails from you. Otherwise, you risk being marked as a spammer.

Know your audience.

Segmenting your list allows you to send targeted content that is relevant to each group of subscribers. This increases engagement and makes people more likely to open and click through your emails.

Presentation Download | Online Marketing

Presentation Download | Online Marketing

Below is a link to the presentation I gave at the Reel Women's Film Festival.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dianna Means at the Reel Women's Film Festival for asking me to be a speaker.

Update Your Website – Automatic Social Media Feeds

Update Your Website – Automatic Social Media Feeds

One of the truly innovative things you can do to update your website is to add features that allow you to automatically update your social media feeds. This eliminates the need for the people who handle your Internet marketing to update your social media feeds individually after making an update to your website.

The Concept

Sites such as Twitter, Facebook and other social media giants do have tools that work with them and that allow you to update them regularly. In fact, there are tools available that allow you to update your social media sites on a schedule. Your Internet marketing people, using these tools, could make several updates for these feeds and schedule them to deploy automatically.This can save a great deal of time and money and increase the return on investment you get from your website. It also allows you to do something very important, given the fact that many social media sites are coming up with various payment schemes for companies that use them for largely advertising purposes.

7 Creative Uses For QR Codes

7 Creative Uses For QR Codes

What are QR Codes?

Although not yet fully adopted by the mainstream world yet, QR (or quick response) codes have seen a dramatic rise in usage and very well may be the new way that companies decide to give customers information on products. For those uninitiated, QR codes are those big squares you may have seen in the bottom corners of movie posters, under your drink on a coaster at your favorite restaurant or possibly next to various products at your local supermarket. With any smartphone armed with a QR code scanner (which are a free download on any app store). In the future, an advertisement may not be just a message and a picture, but an interactive environment with unlimited possibilities. What you can do with these handy bar codes may surprise you.

What can I do with QR codes?

Now that I’ve (hopefully) piqued your interest into QR codes, what kind of information can a QR code hold? In the end, it all depends on how powerful your end-users reader is. Below is a list of things any QR reader can do and some notions on how your business may be able to utilize QR codes:

You can open URLs in a browser

Probably the most common way to use a QR code, using it as a link to your company’s website or blog is one method, but think harder; what about a specially tailored site or campaign customized to the demographic of people that is likely to scan your code? Be creative with your site (and maybe poach a few other ideas from this blog) to make something truly unique that will give your target market a memorable experience.

Use QR codes to display hidden/secret text

The simplest of tasks you could ask of a QR code may seem like the type of command you may want to skip over, but it could have a few uses if you think creatively. Perhaps hiding your code with a special password on it that when given provides a special deal at your establishment.  

Help people in setting up system alerts

Do you have a weekly special or special event coming up? Why not create a QR code that will automatically set up a reminder in your clients calender on their phone?

5 Easy Ways To Increase Traffic To Your Website in Less Than An Hour.

5 Easy Ways To Increase Traffic To Your Website in Less Than An Hour.

This article is meant to be an elementary glimpse into the world of digital marketing; there are many avenues to explore in the realm of marketing on the Internet, but one of the biggies is SEO. Below you will find some of the basic tactics and tricks anyone can do to immediately help with their site's Page Rank (the placement of your site in Google searches). SEO, or Search Engine Optimization is the practice of sprinkling specific commonly used words (or “keywords”) into your websites in order to (hopefully) have your page rank higher in Google’s search engine. To find what words you need to use you can use the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. Begin by punching in words you think people will use when searching for your company’s trade in Google.Take note of the most commonly used words or phrases, these are your “keywords”.

1) Plug-In Your Keywords!

The trick here is to not use them too much, Google can spot these and will consider your website spam and not post it at all; which is definitely not what you want. Be crafty and use multiple different keywords to plug into your website copy. Think of it as a game of Sudoku, but with words.

4 Ways Pinterest Can Reach Out To Small Businesses

4 Ways Pinterest Can Reach Out To Small Businesses

As I am sure you are aware, Pinterest is being talked about in every coffee shop, hair salon and boutique from here to the Tatooine. But for those uninitiated, think of Pinterest as like twitter for photos and videos, but with a fun layout. Not only does your Pinterest wall show pictures and video from all your friends and followers in a scrolling box, Pinterest creates a captivating interface that posts pictures and video everywhere; up, down, left, right, all over your screen.

Upon creation of your account, Pinterest will ask you your hobbies and interests and automatically connect you with relevant and frequent posters of content that fits your tastes. You can filter these posts (or pins) by topics or fans, thus allowing you to find things you are looking for instantaneously or just browse around and see who’s looking at what. Pinterest welcomes new content and is a viral hotbed for interesting and fresh content.

The current profile of the average Pinterest user tends to skew toward women of all ages, but primarily those in the oh-so-precious 17-27 range, making it a hot new proving ground when marketing to those Millennials we’ve been hearing so much about. However don’t forget about those guys out there. Men, who are typically later adopters of social media, are sure to jump in the game however as soon Pinterest picks up more steam and goes into the forefront of the social media world.

Unlike Twitter, Pinterest isn’t about noise. However, it is about viral content. No need to post every photo from your last party here, save that for a Facebook album. Pinterest wants content that is fun to share, consider it visual bubble gum. Something that consumers can take in quickly, sweetly and be done with soon after. Using Pinterest in your everyday browsing is easy as all getout too. After registering your account, Pinterest will prompt you on how to install a “Pin It” button to your task bar which makes sharing the things you find across the web a simple and painless process.    

Let’s explore some ways you can harness Pinterest now to expose yourself to whoever your target market is:

Creative Use of Your Brand In Action

What are some fun or avant-garde ways to use your product? Show off the secondary and tertiary modes of use for your product or that special feature that your brand has that others don’t. Consumers of your brand/product will either find it clever or relate to it a way they have or thought to use it; either way, people are likely to share this content.

Crowdsourcing 101: How To Gather Consumer Data and Feedback and Still Be Their Friend.

Crowdsourcing 101: How To Gather Consumer Data and Feedback and Still Be Their Friend.

Sam Walton of Sam’s Club and Wal-Mart is noted for saying to his executives “If you need any question answered, go to a store and ask our customers.”

The idea of crowdsourcing is quite similar; bringing your clients, experts, and fans of your company into the fold to assist your company in creating something palatable for your target audience. Many companies have used this method to gather ideas for their marketing and branding campaigns for a few years now. Doritos has become notorious for its crowdsourcing techniques to create its Super Bowl commercials. Recently, Harley Davidson has shifted almost their entire marketing campaign to their fans who they now rely upon to create the ideas behind their marketing campaigns.

Crowdsourcing is a great way to tackle a project or problem that you may not have the talent pool or skill set to accomplish. It can also be good as a form of surveying tool to see what your target audiences or markets like and dislike. Before your company dives head first into the crowdsourcing game, however, let's go over a few basic parameters on how crowdsourcing works:

Consumer Intent Data and Social Media

Consumer Intent Data and Social Media

It’s a hard job trying to convince 750 million people to change their day-to-day habits. Just ask anyone from The American Cancer Society, or the people at Google+.

If you’ve been catching up with social media news recently, you would know that Google+ is beginning to roll out business and corporate pages for its new social media platform. Facebook has long since used this as lucrative means for businesses to interact with their customers. Naturally Google+ is going to jump in too, but is this how they can catch up with Facebook.

If you read our previous blog, you would know that Google+ is going to have a hard time catching up with Facebook’s 750 million active users, which in itself makes it hard for the new platform to get up and running. How will it try and get you to switch?

Three words: Consumer Intent Data

Blogging For Your Business. Should You Outsource Your Blog?

Blogging For Your Business. Should You Outsource Your Blog?

The average Joe-Businessman is sure to find blogging to be another thing to do in an already busy work week. Blogs are a great way to build content and add weight to your site, especially for search engine page rankings. They can also act as a human face to a big corporation, thus building a rapport with clients who may have thought otherwise about your company.

If you’re just as busy as the aforementioned businessman, this is where hiring a blogger would come in; or someone from HR steps in and handles the legwork. But who is qualified for writing what? Are you getting what you’re paying for?

Ahead are some answers and tips about blogging for your business.

What is your company blogging about?

Who reads your blogs? Is it clients? Potential clients? Employees? Depending on who reads your blog you may have different strategies of what to post. Should you have a lot of potential clients viewing your blog, your blog would likely be more geared to selling your wares. Blogging about the positive notes and reviews your company has received will show your brand quality.

Typically, employees would like to see more about company news and events, or even about themselves. Should people currently doing business with you be reading your blog it should have information to help product users and content that bolsters their decision to choose and stay with your company/product.

4 Quick and Easy Ways To Build Your Online Presence

4 Quick and Easy Ways To Build Your Online Presence

My dad runs a successful business, and he has done so without stepping foot on the Internet. How has he done that? By having a presence within his field. You call his company, you get his cell phone. You want to talk to the head of sales, you talk to him. You want to have a meeting with the production manager, he can pencil you in some time between two other meetings. Not that he doesn’t have dozens of qualified workers handling those jobs, but rather he cannot stand the idea of someone else representing his brand other than him. I mean his name is on every box that’s shipped for crying out loud. To call this micromanaging is as gross an understatement as saying Robin Williams has “a little stubble,” but it proves a point; my dad has a presence. He’s everywhere, and on the Internet, building your online presence is just as important. If you’re like my dad however, you don’t have the time to be everywhere in the real world and the virtual world, but there are a few things (besides having a website) you can set up to make sure you at least have some sort of online presence and manage communication with your customers:

Email Marketing

No, this isn’t spam, nor is it junk mail. It is a means of getting your word out to all of your clients about whatever sales, promotions, news, or events you may have going on. There are many programs available to ease this process and help non tech-savvy professionals manage mailing lists, create newsletters, and configure deals tailored to particular sets of clients and build a greater online presence. Great products to try include: Constant Contact, MailChimp, and iContact.