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Getting Your Subscribers to Open and Click

Getting Subscribers to Open and ClickIt’s tough to send good marketing emails. Even after they’ve opted in, you have to reaffirm their interest with each and every email you send. And let’s be honest, it takes time to develop a winning email marketing strategy, and no matter the size of your business, time is expensive. Here are a few quick and simple things to implement in your email marketing strategy:

A/B Testing

Try A/B testing with several strong subject lines to see what works better. What’s going to make your recipient open this email? The first step is getting it opened. Check out these email subject line hacks taken from SXSW session titles. Try out your own version of these against something else you think might work. It’s all about experimentation and understanding your subscribers. Tailor it to them personally as often as possible.

Spicy Subject Line

Surprise your subscribers with an interesting subject line. Play-up the sense of urgency and scarcity of your product. Along the same lines of A/B testing, test out what times of the day work best for your content. Are you grabbing your audience at a time when they’re looking for your services? Or are you sending at a time when your email is just one of many and it’s lost in the pile? Check out a few tips on improving your open rate here.

Know Your Subscribers

Understand your buyer persona. What makes them tick? Why would they have subscribed to your list and what kind of information are they seeking? This is where organizing your leads properly will really pay off. Read more about email tracking here. Targeting your subscribers personally makes them believe that email is for them, not just the whole pool of subscribers.

Lead Liaison keeps email marketing simple for you through our marketing automation services. We make it easy for you to succeed in each email campaign, keeping each email personalized, utilizing drip campaigns, keeping your lists clean and organized, and providing important analytics.

Solidify Your Email Marketing Efforts in 2014

email-marketing-tips-for-2014Good email marketing requires not only the ability to create compelling content, but a strategy for ensuring click throughs and open rates increase throughout your marketing efforts. For many companies, time is such a factor that developing a strategy around increasing readership and engagement becomes difficult. If you’re looking to solidify your email marketing efforts in 2014 look no further, we can help.

Fortunately, there are some strategies companies of all sizes can implement to ensure they’re getting the best content to their reader base and are increasing engagement as time passes. Now is a great time to start thinking about how your company manages email marketing and if there are potential ways to increase your stats and reach your readership more effectively.

Consider Your Subject Lines

If you haven’t yet created a subject line that features a call to action why not test one out? A call to action typically begins with a strong verb that compels the reader to do something. Good examples of strong subject lines are:

  • Be the change you want to be.
  • Enjoy the holidays for once!
  • Open your own store today.

It’s important that your email subject line be fairly brief and concise. Verbose subjects don’t tend to get a lot of opens, particularly since most people use an email client that obscures part of the subject line. It’s always a good rule of thumb to get to the point quickly.

Strategically Place Links

Don’t just put a URL leading to your site in the sidebar of your email. Prominently feature a link back to your site or content in a few different places. One great way to get people clicking is to feature an interesting article that includes about 2-3 paragraphs of text in your email, and then post a “Read More” link where your article starts to get really compelling.

You can also experiment with creating a footer or other area in your email that groups “related content” links that allow people to click through to your site.

Vary Your Email Marketing Techniques

Rather than just sending out the normal company newsletter, try creating a new post when your company has a big sale, news or even if there’s a new blog post available to read. Check your email stats and take stock of what your client base seems interested in reading. By managing your stats, you can get an idea of how to best get the open rate and click throughs that you’re looking for.

If you need help creating content or managing your email marketing stats, Lead Liaison would love to help! Let us show you how today.

What’s the Impact of Google Caching Email Images?

What's the impact of Google Caching Email Images?Google has changed their posture on caching images in emails. This event is actually good news for our customers for the following three reasons:

  1. The tiny image we insert into each email campaign is a unique image per recipient. Email Opens will still be counted; however, only repeat email opens will not be counted since the image is cached and no response will be sent back to our servers. This is good news since many people scroll through their email inbox and tab over emails. Less Opens per email will provide less noise.
  2. Google announced that images will load by default, instead of being turned off by default. This is good news since more unique opens will be reported; whereas before, the recipient would have to click the link to download images. The recipient could read an email without an open being reported. Now, a unique open will always be reported.
  3. The value of Lead Liaison just went up! Instead of companies using Email Opens as a key stat, they’ll start to look at what really matters, the click throughs. Fortunately, Lead Liaison does an excellent job at tracking what links are clicked in an email and capturing the recipients subsequent behavior as they navigate your site. That’s what you really care about. If they went to your site and poked around or not.
Lead Liaison’s leading edge marketing automation software includes next generation email marketing capabilities that diminish the impact of Google’s changes to image loading.  If you’re interested in learning more about how Lead Liaison can profile a potential buyer’s activity by tracking link click throughs, social post clicks, webpage visits, page views, forms submitted, landing pages, videos watched and more then contact us for a personalized demonstration.

Email Open Rate: What Are Your Clients Seeing?

Email Open RatesIf you’re familiar with email marketing, you know the average email open rate for any standard campaign is between 12-20%. This rate varies by industry – a real estate company newsletter may not do as well as a coupon retailer, for instance. It’s important to have a firm grasp on how your client base uses your content and continually provide them with what they want to see.

How do you find out what your users want? First, try asking them. As simple as it sounds, engaging your users via social media and incentive-based surveys can get them talking to you. Once you’ve shown that you’re interested and you’re paying attention, people have a tendency to start talking. It is in this engagement that you’ll be able to ask for feedback and opinions, and tailor your marketing efforts to best suit your audience.

Email Open Rate – What About Mobile?

Over the past year or so, smartphone email opens boosted at about 80%. This means it’s especially important to ensure that your emails and other content can be viewed by your readers in the format they prefer.  You might be amazed at how many small businesses don’t take the time to discover how their readers would like to receive content.

The best way to get an idea of how delivery can affect your email open rate is to view your email on different devices. Try to make it a point to open the emails you’re sending on a PC, tablet and a smartphone as well as using different email programs. Most email service providers give you a preview of what different email messages look like in different formats.

Make Sure You’re Looking

Don’t just open your emails in several different places- use email metrics tracking to get an idea of how your clients are opening them. Even if your emails are beautiful, you’re still wasting time if your emails go to a smartphone where your click through links aren’t visible on different browsers. This can cause your email open rate to plummet – once a potential client knows he or she can’t open an email from you a smartphone, they’re probably not going to give you the benefit of waiting to get in front of a computer to open your content. They’ll most likely delete your email.

It’s important to determine how your users are translating your content into something that supplements their lives – even if it’s only during the minute or two they take to open and read your email. To determine how clients are using your email marketing based on all your other marketing efforts, it’s a good idea to look into marketing automation and determine the value of your campaigns per client. The Lead Liaison team can help you do this. Contact us today for an assessment of your advertising assets so we can determine how to help you!

We also recommend Search Engine Land’s Free SEO Primer. And remember: Email open rate is important, but understanding how your users access and read your content can make all the difference!

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.

The New Gmail Interface Means You Can’t Rely on Email Marketing Alone

Gmail Interface and Email MarketingGoogle rolled out its new tabbed Gmail interface recently to mixed reviews. Some enjoy its ability to compartmentalize messages while others prefer to sift and sort themselves (in these cases, users must change the default setting to accept all messages in their ‘Primary’ folder).

Folks, there are no rules on how to avoid having your messages delivered to the ‘Promotions’ tab if a user has not specifically indicated a desire to receive them in the ‘Primary’ inbox. (However, it appears that marketing messages sent through social networks like LinkedIn will appear under the ‘Social’ tab.) Because of this, B2B marketers should expect a drop-off in open rates.

Buyers who wish to receive emails from you can simply drag an opened message or the email header into the ‘Primary’ folder. Companies in the B2B and B2C spaces are encouraging their prospects and customers to perform this step to make it easier to receive requested offers, promotions, and updates together in a single folder.

While there may be little you can do to prevent messages from being delivered to the ‘Promotions’ tab in Gmail, you can adjust your digital marketing practices to rely less on email marketing and more on other content delivery channels. We’re not advocating the exclusion of email, we’re simply suggesting an approach which relies more heavily on social marketing, thought leadership articles, and search strategies.

As a general rule – absent the Gmail changes – your automated marketing practices should be diversified to begin with. Automated marketing experts know the secret to successful deployment of MA functionality comes down to diversifying your channels and producing great content. Lead Liaison recommends a strategy that integrates automated social posting, email campaigns, and link building in order to be effective in this changing email environment.

Email personalization using customized fields can help when it comes to appealing to your leads. Some experts suggest that Gmail users opening the ‘Promotions’ tab may be in a buying mood when they access that tab, so all hope is not lost. But the jury is still out as to how inclined they will be to open your message when it is grouped with other (potentially poorly-crafted) offers.

When your email IS opened, make sure that the message is strong enough to drive click-through and the landing page is designed well enough to facilitate actions such as completing a web form. Automated responses to lead inquiries must be swift and provide adequate value so your leads will be inclined to move your email marketing messages to Gmail’s ‘Primary’ tab.

It is likely that other email service providers will follow suit if Google’s implementation gains wider approval among its users. This will expand the challenge of driving email marketing success. Remember to stay diversified in your automated marketing tactics so the impact of the new tabbed Gmail interface doesn’t significantly lower your marketing effectiveness.

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.

Email Marketing and Website Traffic Information: The Big Picture

Email Marketing and Website Traffic InformationEmail marketing is an integral part of your overall marketing strategy, and the website traffic information you can glean from email reporting gives you an idea as to your email campaign’s effectiveness. However, when your email marketing platform doesn’t integrate with your other campaigns – like Adwords, Analytics, social media or your overall website visits – you may be missing data that can give you a better strategy.

Email Marketing and Website Traffic Information

A good email marketing campaign will undoubtedly bring some traffic to your website. If your current email marketing efforts don’t incorporate a linking strategy that sends visitors back to special pages on your website, it may be time to consider a change. Good linking practices can help you get your email reader even further down your sales funnel – and that’s the point of your email marketing in general.

Once you’re getting visitors back to your website via your email marketing campaigns – or if you’re getting visitors already – it’s time to take a look at how website traffic information from your email marketing efforts reflects on your overall marketing visits. Oh wait – you’re having a difficult time doing that with your current website traffic information tracking? Like many other businesses, you may not have an accurate idea of how your email marketing efforts, your Adwords or other PPC efforts or your general marketing strategy affect your campaigns on the whole.

Marketing Automation: A Holistic Perspective

The history of your email marketing may be unclear when you look at it through tools like Google Analytics. Folks who sign up for your email list may end up exploring certain areas of your website more than users who came through other methods. You may also find that the same specific email users are clicking on your email links again and again. When it comes to website traffic information, Google Analytics and other web tracking suites aren’t going to give you the kind of specific information about your visitors that you’ll get from marketing automation services. A good marketing automation dashboard will show you not just numbers – as in, xx amount of visitors have clicked over to your website from a certain email campaign – you’ll be able to see who these clicks are, assess their specific path through your website and more.

This isn’t just a fancy tool you’ll use to watch a certain visitor – its intelligence data, the kind that can change your email marketing strategy to give your users a better experience. Better experiences become greater sales and can even shorten your overall funnel or the efforts you put into doing your marketing.

When it comes to website traffic information, Lead Liaison’s suite of tools competes with other major marketing automation tools at only a portion of the price. Learn more by visiting leadliaison.com.

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.