Email Marketing is NOT Dead

Email Marketing is Not DeadThere are those that might be predicting the death of email as a marketing tool. Gmail’s new tabs might spell doom for a lot of marketers but those who know how to deploy email marketing effectively will still thrive in the coming new email delivery paradigm. We’re here to tell you: email marketing is not dead – if you know how to use it.

First off, those who understand that email is one marketing tool in a suite that includes search marketing/SEO, social media marketing, display ads, apps, and several more. Email should not be the sole source for outbound marketing efforts rather it should be deployed when and where it makes the most sense.

It starts with your list. Too many marketers rely on buying email lists or using implicit modes to gather email addresses. By “implicit modes” we’re referring to using an event such as completing a form to download a file or register for a webinar and having your email address used to send promotional emails without permission. Marketers often fail when they try to sneak a promotional email in without being approved to do so. Always get specific permission to contact your leads via email. One simple way to do this is to include a checkbox that reads “I would like to receive updates, offers, and news about (your company or its products)”.

Secondly, email is a more intimate touch point. You are in their space when you enter their mailbox. It’s incredibly important to honor that position and not waste their time. If a lead has given you permission to contact him by email, your brand has been elevated to the “interested” position in his mind space. Don’t ruin it by shooting “spray and pray” messages that end up providing little value. Use messaging that not only connects with your lead at an individual level but also gives him a reason to spend time with your brand. The reason should offer value in terms of acquiring knowledge, saving money (but avoid hyper sales tactics!), or providing a beneficial opportunity to improve his company.

Thirdly, stand out within box. Subject lines should not be misleading and provide immediate value. Buyers should know when they scroll through their box exactly what the message is and why it is important to open it. Avoid using personal names your leads won’t recognize – they almost always get sent to the bin. One tactic is to set up distinct addresses to display in the sender field. All email programs display the sender in the mailbox inventory; an email from “wevegotyoursize@fashionista.com” to a lead who used a sizing plugin on your retail clothing website can catch the eye of a lead scrolling through a crowded email box.

So don’t give up on email marketing – it’s not dead. Just figure out how to use this tool effectively.

Why You Should Use Small Business Email Tracking

Why You Should Use Small Business Email TrackingThere’s something about email tracking that eludes small businesses – and just knowing the metrics isn’t good enough. Small business owners can often lack a fundamental understanding of how email tracking and email marketing informs their other marketing efforts. Fortunately, marketing automation and other methods can help business owners use small business email tracking to their advantage.

Forms of Email Tracking

You may be using Mailchimp, iContact or Constant Contact to execute your email marketing efforts. Most of these ESPs (Email Service Providers) will give you some stats that are critical to establishing the success of your email marketing campaigns. You’ll want to pay attention to some of these stats to beef up your email tracking and marketing efforts.

Open rate is a metric that allows you to see what percentage of total emails sent are actually opened. These rates vary by industry, but an ideal open rate is something over 20%. If you find that your open rates are fairly low, a more engaging subject or ensuring that your list is double-opted in can help you.

This is where marketing automation can help as well. Knowing how leads get to your website, how they make it to your email list and their use rate when it comes to your marketing materials can give you an idea as to their conversion probability. When you’re not sure how leads got to you or how they use your site, you may not be able to develop an in-depth understanding of a metric like open rate. The more in-depth you can drill down into your data, the more you’ll be able to improve your metrics over time.

Click rate is another metric to look at. Your emails should have links back to your website in the form of more information or an offer. If you’re experiencing low clicks, you should reposition your links or change up your offers to see if you can get a different result. The right email tracking can take you a step further – if your emails aren’t going to an interested audience to begin with (and an opt in doesn’t always indicate the level of interest you need to eventually generate conversions), marketing automation tools can tell you that.

Email Tracking and Marketing Strategy

It’s important to know how users get to your list, what they do with your emails when they get them, and whether or not email is the most appropriate way to keep your users abreast of your offers. Traditional ESPs can only help you monitor your email performance within their own interfaces. If you’re looking for more fully functional email tracking, marketing automation tools could work well for your small business.

Take a look at how Lead Liaison’s sophistical email tracking and lead monitoring software can work for you!

Segment Your Database for Email Success

Segment Your Database for Email SuccessDatabase segmentation can have a significant impact on your email campaign effectiveness. The relevancy of your messaging and offers is critical to generating opens and – more importantly – sales. Lead Liaison’s database segmentation tools provide parameters that allow you to create email distribution lists that target lead attributes, buying status, behavioral identifiers, and trigger events. Make sure to segment your database for email success.

Segmenting your lead database is important for two reasons: 1) you can target specific leads for customized messages and 2) you can avoid spamming uninterested suspects. With our database segmentation feature, you can accomplish both in a matter of minutes. There are over 65 preset attributes and over 10 trigger events that can be used to filter your email list.

How to Segment Your Database

So what are some of the effective criteria that marketers should use to segment a lead database?

Geography – where are your leads located? Whether your sales team is organized by territory or not, geography can play a role in how you approach a lead. The culture in Texas is different than in New York; messaging can be tweaked to appeal to each region’s cultural differences.

Lead Grade – leads that are graded on how well they fit your buyer profile should be segmented according to appropriateness. After all, should a line worker at a company with revenues below $1MM be approached the same way as a CEO of a company with $10MM in revenues?

Lead Score – marketers should segment according to the implicit (behavioral) attributes that are provided through online activities. For example, a lead that has attended a one-hour webinar should not be grouped with leads that have visited a single webpage.

Gender – this one is not always considered when segmenting a database. However, grouping by gender allows marketers to create messages that appeal to each gender’s buying triggers, emotional attachment(or lack thereof), and value systems.

Job Function (Title) – b2b decision-makers typically reside within certain positions: CEO, vice president, purchaser, etc. Though not always the case, segmenting email recipients by job function is effective at putting your salespeople in front of the right person.

Past Purchases – if a lead has previously purchased from you, it should be segmented for specific repeat, up-sell, or cross-sell purchase messaging. Once segmented, you can deliver special offers and build brand loyalty.

Buying Cycle – why should your sales team be contacting prospects who have just begun their buying process? Leads can be segmented according to indicators that reflect where they are in the buying cycle.

Reduce Waste

When you wish to avoid sending emails to unlikely prospects or invalid addresses, there are several criteria that can be used such as:

Delivery Bounce – an undeliverable address can be easily segmented into a cold lead list.

Do Not Call – often b2b sales require a phone engagement, leads that have indicated ‘do not call’ during previous engagements can segmented for digital communications only.

Do Not Email – whether a lead indicates ‘do not email’ through an opt-out request or on a form, that lead can be bucketed for phone or direct mail contact only.

In addition, you can use explicit (physical) criteria to segment leads that should be avoided. For example, companies with revenues below your target profile can be grouped as third-tier or lower prospects.

Our Lead Management Automation™ platform provides segmentation that can make marketers more effective at creating and delivering messages and make salespeople more efficient by routing the most appropriate and sales-ready leads to your sales team.

10 Email Drip Campaigns That Work

10 Email Drip Campaigns That WorkLooking for lead nurturing help? Here are ten ideas you can use to boost your email drip campaigns.

Create a story

Develop a storyline that is relevant to your solution(s), such as the life and times of your typical customer. Make sure the content is well-written and constructed like an old movie serials about crime fighters, where readers are anticipating a new chapter.

Run a campaign

Start a campaign to reduce waste or to create a movement. This is a variation to cause marketing and can be effective at generating followers.

Host a contest

Design a contest for customers and prospects alike. Leverage social media by having participants follow you. Make it simple to join. Post updates, new information, or other fresh content on social accounts.

Announce an event

Tell your list about an upcoming event that your enterprise is participating in. Use reminder messaging to update readers. Add to previous emails by providing fresh information about the events or its participants. Make sure to include a reference to the new information in your Subject header. It can be an event your enterprise is sponsoring or a third-party event that you’re connected to or attending.

Promote a new product

Introduce a new product with a time-sensitive promotion. Use each message to introduce a new benefit/feature. Update the Subject header to announce the new benefit/feature.

Announce partnerships then drip the benefits

Send an announcement about a new partnership or organization change then follow up with messages about how the move will be beneficial. Be sure to link to websites associated with the change to generate traffic.

Host a charity fund drive

Announce a charity fund drive and follow up with milestone achievements, uses for funds, thank donors, etc. Follow up with goal attainment, notable donors, and other information.

“Did you see this?”

Provide third-party content that can be helpful to your leads. For B2B companies, this can include a wide variety of information such as financial, operational, small biz, legal and regulatory, trends, whatever.

Create a conversation (like with social media)

Use a drip campaign to start a conversation about a topic that is close to your lead’s heart or work responsibility. Send follow up messages that include comments made other participants.  Remember to use bcc:!

Send video links

Provide links to helpful and/or informative videos that can benefit your list. After several messages, take a poll on which videos were beneficial or suggestions for future videos.

Get your marketing and sales people together for brainstorming and input on what interests prospects and customers.

Lead Liaison Continues to Expand With New San Francisco Office and Email Deliverability Services

Lead Liaison has announced the opening of an office in San Francisco where the company’s Email Deliverability Services will be managed. This expansion comes at a time when Lead Liaison’s growth has tripled since late 2012. The company, which provides robust digital marketing solutions, has earned record revenues over the past two quarters.

The email deliverability function is part of Lead Liaison’s flagship marketing automation platform,Lead Management Automation™ (LMA), which helps marketing and sales teams manage the entire revenue generation cycle. With the addition of this service, the company expects to provide its customers with improved email delivery and open rates.

Lead Liaison began offering the services to select customers as a beta test in June 2012. Following successful integration with the Lead Management Automation product, the company officially launched the services in March.

In addition to building a world-class email deliverability network to support Lead Liaison’s marketing automation platform, the company has leveraged its expertise and vast resources to provide tailored professional services to companies interested in becoming an Email Service Provider (ESP). The company’s flexible approach to doing business has paved the way for unique Cost Per Million (CPM) rates and business models for prospective ESP clients to ensure their success.

The Email Deliverability Services are available as three packages designed to optimize the email marketing experience as it relates to the Lead Management Automation platform. Premium packages include reputation management, a best practices guide, blacklist alerts and a dedicated IP address among other features.

Lead Liaison believes the integration of email marketing managed services with the existing platform will allow the company to leverage its automated marketing products by increasing delivery accuracy. It also creates closer relationships with clients, which is unique in the marketing automation industry as most companies redirect integration and managed services to third parties.

For more information about the email deliverability services, contact Lead Liaison at 888-895-3237 or sales(at)leadliaison(dot)com.

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Lead Liaison is an application development company that designs, develops, and sells cloud-based marketing and sales automation software. The company markets to small and medium-sized businesses worldwide, and focuses on creating the broadest and most user-friendly revenue generation software platform. Applications cover all phases of lead management automation including sales prospecting, lead generation, and marketing automation functions that directly influence revenue generation. It’s innovative and robust lead management platform combines unparalleled sales prospecting, lead capture, real-time lead tracking, lead qualification, lead distribution, database segmentation, lead nurturing and ROI reporting. The Software as a Service (SaaS) model delivers an effective user experience and integrated cloud computing capabilities.

Media Contacts:
Alex Brown
VP Corporate Communications
abrown(at)leadliaison(dot)com
888.89.53237 (LEADS)

10 Ways to Improve Email Marketing ROI

Improve Email Marketing ROIEmail marketing can certainly boost your sales effectiveness. However, email campaigns can drag down your marketing ROI if the execution is flawed. Here are ten ways to improve email marketing ROI.

Clean Lists

Though B2B email list buying is not always the best way to go,  if you do purchase lists make sure the lists are “clean”. Studies have shown that on average over 20% of list records are not delivered. And ISP mail servers can prevent your domain from future messaging if your emails are repeatedly sent to invalid addresses. Random address checks can help determine if your lists are worth the money paid.

Chase Ambulances

With the digital footprints that can be seen today, there is plenty of data that can be used to target email recipients. For example, if a company recently leased new space and your business sells office furniture, a friendly email campaign saying “congratulations!” and offering discounted items can prompt a conversion.

Deploy Videos

Video marketing has skyrocketed for a reason. A 2012 study by Experian Marketing Services revealed that embedded video increased conversion rates by 21% for companies surveyed. In addition, CTR rates improved 7% to 13% by simply including “video” in the subject line for video messages.

Use Analytics

From video analytics to CTR, the data available through reporting programs is staggering. You can examine response rates, engagement duration, and message timing. Marketing automation programs, such as our Lead Management Automation™ platform, provide analytics that can be used to improve messaging, targeting, and timing.

 Go Mobile

Email messages should be designed to be easily viewed via mobile devices if you hope to compete. Email is often the preferred choice of marketers over SMS and IM (though each has their place in a robust marketing strategy) because it is less costly and easier to analyze. Plus, email can be sent to multiple recipients at a lower cost than text messages.

Combine Email and SMM

Email marketing provides a great partner channel with social media marketing. Through email integration with social media ROI from both channels can be improved. Email subscribers can easily share content, offers, and other information. Using Facebook or Twitter to provide email opt-in opportunities can be effective as well.

Make Landing Pages Convert

If your email recipients are routed to ineffective landing pages, your ROI drops. Even with solid CTR numbers, if your landing page cannot convert, the email was wasted. Align landing page copy with the email message but also provide more “meat”. A landing page visit should not simply rehash the email; provide an additional offer or include additional reasons to buy. Above all, make sure the landing page offers something substantial in exchange for the click-through.

Target Behavior

Frequent buyers should receive emails that encourage brand loyalty and repeat purchases. Email can also provide a feedback mechanism that allows customers to easily respond to customer satisfaction surveys. Take the time to analyze activities that have resulted from previous campaigns and implement messages that trigger similar behavior in subsequent campaigns.

Get Them Back to the Cart

Email can be used to target customers who abandoned ecommerce shopping carts during a site visit. An email message with a time-sensitive discount can be an effective way of resuscitating a pending purchase.

Avoid Being a Spammer

According to the February 2013 Symantec Intelligence Report, spam, phishing, and malware events have all decreased; however, spam still accounts for just over 64% of all email sent. Do everything possible to send “clean” emails so your company is not targeted as a spammer.

Calculating Email Marketing ROI: How it Works

Email Marketing ROIAccording to the most recent Direct Marketing Association Power of Direct Marketing report, in 2011 calculating email marketing ROI returned $40.56 for every dollar spent. This blew away other touch points including:

  • Search engine – $22.24
  • Desktop display ads – $19.72
  • Mobile display ads – $10.51
  • Catalogs – $7.30

EmailStatCenter.com revealed in its 2010 Compensation & Resources Study that “70% of email marketers say they don’t have enough staff to prove (email marketing) ROI”. In addition, ClickZ claims that “44% of email marketers measure their email program using ‘customer engagement’ as a yardstick”.

It should be no surprise that email is among the most popular marketing channels available. If you’re not using email as a marketing tool, you should. But it’s not all about blasting messages and engaging respondents. The metrics should support your campaigns or money is being lost. So how do you determine the return on investment? Let’s take a look.

Email Campaign Results

The first step is to input data from your completed campaign into a formula. There are some online calculators that will compute the results for you. When you are examining your email campaign results a few of the generally accepted data points to include are

  • Number of email records (total list count)
  • Response rate (% of responses against total blast)
  • Conversion rate (% of respondents who purchased)
  • Unique buyers (first-time purchasers)
  • Average profit per sale
  • Campaign costs
    • Creating message (in house or contracted)
    • Delivery (Constant Contact, etc.)
    • Analytics (reporting and analysis costs)

Analyze Email Campaign Results

The next step is to review the results each campaign. Each company may use different metrics to judge the success or failure of a campaign, but some of the critical data points include

  • Number of responses (total opens, click-throughs, replies)
  • Number of buyers (Web purchases via landing pages or site links)
  • Cost per response (total dollars  responses)
  • Cost per buyer (total dollars  buyers)
  • Cost per first-time purchaser (total dollars  new buyers)
  • Cost per address (total dollars  total records)
  • Total profit from campaign

Keep in mind that ROI should not be calculated until a sufficient period of time has passed to allow for purchases to take place (up to 60 days following a campaign). Multi-release campaigns require a longer window to more accurately determine cost per purchase.

As with any business cost center, email marketing should be examined to ensure that marketing dollars are being well spent. ROI from lead nurturing email campaigns requires some different computations but is just as important as determining ROI from a direct marketing email campaign. Although email is not the holy grail of marketing avenues, statistics show a significant bang for the buck. The key is to keep track of the bang from each buck.

Let us know if you have other metrics you use for measuring your email marketing ROI. For more automated marketing strategies talk with a Lead Liaison account representative today!

Key Considerations For a Successful Email Drip Campaign

Key Considerations For a Successful Email Drip CampaignWhat are the key considerations you should make when implementing a successful email drip campaign? Email drip campaigns can really boost your lead nurturing program. But it’s not as easy simply blasting a sales letter to your database of leads. Here are some ideas for creating a winning email drip campaign.

Gain permission to maintain contact

I put this as the top priority of any lead nurturing program. It is especially important for email drip campaigns because you can quickly earn a bad online reputation if prospects throw you into the spam folder. Make sure to repeatedly ask for permission to contact prospects. Providing an opt-out feature is essential; it reduces negative impact and minimizes wasted effort for the rest of the drip campaign.

Decide time frame

Lead nurturing requires time to be effective but managing your response rate should be done using a defined period, such as 30 days or 3 months. Buying cycles vary for different products and services, different industries, and among different companies. It’s important to plan the duration of each campaign, because it will be easier to determine how many contacts should be made within the time frame.

Set a schedule

Within the time frame will be scheduled releases, drip releases should be set at intervals no more frequently than 4-7 business days. Staging email drips too frequently may result in a spam designation; too rare and you risk losing your prospect to a competitor. Timing is important to lead nurturing success; therefore it’s a good idea to invest time into setting a proper schedule for your markets.

Determine content for each message

A successful campaign isn’t built on repeating previous messages, with the hope that your prospect will eventually open the email after feeling a sense of familiarity with the sender or subject line. Each contact should be part of a progression that builds interest. The level of engagement through content should increase each time a response to a “drip” is made.

Decide who should write

A winning email drip campaign is not about trotting out hackneyed marketing phrases. The keys to an effective lead nurturing process are fresh messaging, response generation, and timely contacts. Your content provider impacts messaging and response, and not all marketers or salespeople write good copy. If there are no good options internally, consider hiring a professional copywriter.  Email, like most channels, is overstuffed with messages that are often tuned out, so – when choosing a content provider – make sure she understands your market’s buying behavior and knows how to build a relationship.

Build a landing page

For each lead nurturing attempt there should be links embedded that direct interested parties to a landing page. Lead nurturing builds towards deeper engagement, so if a prospect clicks a link within an email, there is a prime opportunity to increase engagement. Prospects should land on a page that requires them to fill out a form for more information. And the landing page should contain new details that support the information in the email message in order to move your prospect deeper into the sales funnel.

Review responses rates to each message

During the drip campaign, monitor the results of each release.  Using Lead Liaison’s Send and Track tool, for example, you can easily see who opened the message, when it was opened, and what, if any, actions were taken.  It’s important to review the effectiveness of your lead nurturing both during and following the email campaign.

10 Winning Email Drip Campaigns – Part 2

10 Winning Email Drip Campaigns – Part 2Email drip campaigns can be an effective lead nurturing tool if used appropriately. Email provides a convenient way to establish trust among leads that take time to cultivate, and allows you to build a relationship without offending prospects. There is a variety of useful ways you can inform, assist, and entertain your leads while they go through their buying decision cycles.

In 10 Winning Email Drip Campaigns – Part 1, we covered five effective options that can be used for lead nurturing purposes. Here are five more that experts agree will boost your lead nurturing effectiveness:

  1. Free Resources – Providing a link to a tool or resource that your prospects can use is a great way to show that you are interested in being helpful, that you wish to be an ally. For example, if your market includes companies that provide financial investment advice, provide links to popular trading software products. Online financial calculators, website keyword analyzers, and energy conversion charts are commonly used examples of helpful tools.
  2. Industry Surveys – Send relevant data that gives your prospects a view into what peers are thinking. Information about trends or opinions can provide valuable insight to your email recipients. One strategy might be to conduct your own survey and furnish the results as part of a drip campaign.
  3. Industry News – Creating awareness about important news can be an effective method of building trust. Many business professionals like to be informed about their industry, so sending a brief message that includes a link to a recent news article provides a reason to make contact – and a way to remain relevant in your prospects’ eyes.
  4. Blogs – Why not provide a link to your blog in an email message? Using this technique combines the marketing power of email and blog posts in your lead nurturing strategy. One good way to promote your company and nurture leads is to share recent posts, but be sure to remain sensitive to the frequency with which you are contacting prospects.
  5. Videos and Images – Visual content can help to achieve TOMA in your prospects’ minds. Sending a useful how-to video or a funny (but tasteful) cartoon can provide a nice break in their routine and build a relationship over time. It’s most effective when you use content that is relevant to your B2B prospect or your offering.

There are a few things to keep in mind when you design your drip campaign. First and foremost, touch points should not be stale rehashes of previous messages. Secondly, every message should be designed to provide value to your prospects. Third, it’s best to integrate a variety of content within a linear campaign; provide content that builds engagement as the number of contacts increases.

While you nurture leads through a drip campaign you should avoid overexposure. On average a schedule of blasts every 2 to 4 weeks is appropriate. And don’t forget to include opt-out links within your email messages to avoid being labeled as spam.

To find out how we design effective email campaigns for lead nurturing, contact a Lead Liaison representative today!

10 Winning Email Drip Campaigns – Part 1

Winning Email Drip Campaigns – Part 1Lead nurturing can be accomplished through several channels: phone, direct mail, social media, and email. According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, nearly 60% of Internet users check email daily, so a winning email drip campaign is a logical choice for lead nurturing.

Studies show it takes an average of 3 to 30 impressions to become successful at creating interest through an email marketing campaign. So how can you be effective at lead nurturing through a drip campaign without filling your prospects’ mailboxes with useless marketing fluff? The short answer: provide value. Although the purpose of a drip campaign is to create top-of-mind awareness (TOMA) for your offering, each message should be valuable to your audience while earning trust in your company.

In this two-part series, we’ll discuss 10 ways to provide useful information that makes an email drip campaign effective and engaging. The ideas in this series are not presented according to any specific metric, but each should be used within a comprehensive engagement strategy in order to be effective at nurturing leads.

  1. Newsletter – Invite prospects to subscribe to your newsletter. Avoid simply asking for a subscription; provide a sample of the content to whet a prospect’s appetite for more information. By giving readers a sample of stories it will allow them to determine if a subscription would be beneficial. One effective technique is to provide the actual headline and a portion of the article with a Read More link to a signup form.
  2. Best Practices – Business professionals are constantly seeking ways to improve. By providing information that assists your prospects in their business activities, your company gains trust and value. For B2B consulting or B2B service vendors,  providing free information can be effective in persuading prospects to purchase premium offerings, such as research studies or software development contracts.
  3. White Papers – Thought leadership is a highly coveted position among B2B marketers. Producing white papers filled with relevant statistics and hard-to-find data has been shown to be a productive means of lead nurturing. Introduce prospects to your white paper through email messages. Use a lead-in within your message to generate interest. You can create several drip messages by highlighting different findings within the paper.
  4. Info-graphics – Create a visually appealing email filled with statistics and other data for quick consumption. USA Today is a major media outlet, due in part to its focus on easily digestible graphs, charts, and lists. This strategy works for B2B email campaigns because readers are often sifting through multiple emails at a time. An info-graphic gives prospects a quick dose of relevant information and provides a valuable reason to reach out to your prospects.
  5. Webinar – Sending an invitation to a free webinar you are hosting or participating in can provide value to your leads. One effective technique is to introduce event topics and presenters in the email message. It helps to provide an easy registration process and a follow up message with simple connection steps to make attendance easy for your prospects.

It’s important to schedule email blasts with a frequency that isn’t too pushy but allows you to achieve TOMA as soon as possible. In Winning Email Drip Campaigns – Part 2 we’ll discuss five more ways to nurture leads by providing value to your prospects through effective email messages.

For more ideas on drip campaigns and other lead nurturing strategies that boost your marketing effectiveness, contact us today!