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One great email newsletter can bring big results

One great email newsletter can bring big results

The world of online marketing takes into account factors such as contact list segmentation, social media integration, SPAM filters and many more. However, too many marketing strategists overlook the meat and potatoes of an effective campaign: the classic email newsletter. AllBusiness Experts recently explored the ways that well-crafted email newsletters can educate readers, spark their interest in upcoming products and drive sales to new heights.

Marketers enjoy the benefits of instantaneous feedback
Long gone are the days that marketers launched an email campaign and waited around to see if people were buying a product or not. AllBusiness Experts stated that data can help marketers master the art of the promotional email. Today's technology allows for strategists to track the number of people that open messages, click specific links, sign up for calls-to-action and make purchases. This information is then used to create a more effective marketing campaign the next time around.

Modern innovations have also made it easy for anyone to launch a killer marketing initiative with a substantial email distribution list. According to AllBusiness Experts, good newsletters require very little tech savvy, are generally cheap to create and can deliver huge returns on investment. For small business owners looking to expand their market, an email campaign is thus a no-brainer. 

Making the best newsletter possible
Most decision-makers know that email marketing is a key component to any successful business, but how can marketers be sure that email newsletters are reaching their full potential? A recent blog from Amsterdam Printing provided marketers with tips that help create memorable, powerful newsletters

First impressions are key when it comes to perfecting the email newsletter. A short and exciting subject line will encourage users to click, while a diverse range of images will help keep things interesting. Amsterdam Printing also stated that marketers must keep an urgent, personal tone to get their points across.  

Businesses always look for ways to grow their email contact lists

Businesses always look for ways to grow their email contact lists

The science of email marketing has come along way since its conception at the beginning of the digital era, but one thing has remained the same: When it comes to contact lists, having access to more names in an email database increases marketers' chances for a successful campaign. While a lot of time and energy is devoted to crafting perfect subject lines and engaging newsletter content, there is no replacement for having an expansive set of email addresses flood customer inboxes.

Thankfully for marketers, a recent article from Josic provided a number of methods to turn a meager contact list into an abundant supply of receptive readers. For many strategists this means returning to the basics of email marketing. Far too many marketers fail to make their intent clear when they offer the opportunity for individuals to sign up for an email newsletter. Simply asking online readers to "sign up today" will not convince anyone to type in their contact information.

Exclusivity and clarity are essential for growing an email contact list
Email marketers can never be too transparent when it comes to giving consumers the information they need to make a decision. Because the customer has already expressed interest in a brand by exploring a site or social media page, strategists should feel confident in what they have to offer. Josic suggested that every blog post on a company website should offer a call-to-action for interested readers to sign up for newsletters and additional content. 

While some individuals will subscribe to an email chain out of genuine curiosity, many skeptical readers will want a better reason to provide a business with their email addresses. Business 2 Community urged businesses to create incentives that will make it difficult for visitors to resist signing up. Examples included free ebooks and reports, but the best incentives offer access to exclusive content that can only be viewed in a user inbox. Who needs to be emailed information that's already online to view at any time? Marketers providing exclusive email content are likely to see their contact lists expand rapidly.

The digital whims of the modern Internet user are impossible to predict. That is why Josic emphasized the importance of including opt-in boxes no matter where a reader clicks on a site. This will give readers the opportunity to subscribe whenever the feeling strikes. Smart marketers will also place the occasional pop-up box in longer articles and give first-time buyers the chance to subscribe after they make their initial purchase. Strategists will also take advantage of social media platforms to drive traffic back to company websites and let users opt-in from there.

The logistics of successfully managing an expanding contact list
Businesses that find their email database overflowing with names and information may have difficulties utilizing their resources effectively, according to Business 2 Community. Marketers need to specify the kind of data they require and find ways to sort new addresses using tools such as customer relationship management (CRM) software. Once this data has been sorted, companies should keep track of which recipients open emails, click back to the website and eventually make a purchase. 

Setting realistic goals is a big part of any successful business. That is why Business 2 Community urged email marketers to set list-building targets for their teams to pursue on a given time horizon. When the desired number is reached, companies should examine their data to determine which opt-in methods were more effective than others in driving site traffic and sales. This information will be key when launching the next campaign. 

Email marketers seek to create winning subject lines

Email marketers seek to create winning subject lines

Compelling subject lines are crucial to crafting an effective campaign. As 2014 begins, marketers will continue trying to master the science of messages that recipients can't resist clicking on. Through years of trial and error, experts are beginning to pinpoint which kinds of lines lead to more clicks and sales. BizJournals recently laid down the ground rules for writing subject lines that will catch the eye of every name on a business' email contact list.

Customers respond to concise email subject lines
Nobody wants to spend extra time sifting through their inbox to find updates from their favorite brands. BizJournals urged email marketers to capture customers' attention by sending emails with short subject lines that get the point across in only a few words. While marketers might be tempted to give a detailed rundown of the enclosed newsletter or discount notification, readers are most intrigued by a brief preview and will likely click through out of natural curiosity. In addition, popular email clients such as Gmail and Microsoft Outlook tend to display only a small portion of a subject line, especially on smaller platforms like tablets and smartphones.

So how long does an email marketer have to convey their message within a subject line? BizJournals suggested less than 50 characters as the best range for businesses to spark the interest of their recipients. Keeping subject lines short will not only save customers the hassle of trudging through excess language but will pay off in the long run when marketers find that more people are clicking on emails and following through with online purchases.

The best email subject lines are more exciting than informative
Emails with urgent subject lines are bound to stand out against a sea of bland notifications and unwanted spam. By giving messages the tone of a pressing issue, marketers can make customers think that they might miss out on an offer if they don't open the email immediately. BizJournals emphasized the importance of numbers in creating the pressure of a short timeframe.The eye is drawn to numbers on a screen cluttered with letters, so subject lines that include digits will more likely convince readers that the email is worth opening.

While including specific information in emails is critical to educate customers about upcoming sales, events and discounts, email marketers can't forget that subject lines are meant to prioritize excitement over everything else. BizJournals noted that the best subject lines include a minimal amount of product information while emphasizing newness and exclusivity. Businesses were also urged to test a wide range of possibilities to see what lines draw the most attention from readers. Common methods include A/B tests and running individual pilot campaigns that can target a specific audience or demographic.

Where email marketers go wrong when creating subject lines
Sadly, there are some emails that rarely ever get clicked on. To help email marketers avoid sending out ineffective messages, Business 2 Community compiled a list of the most common mistakes businesses make when creating their newsletter subject lines. Excessive use of caps lock turns out to be one of the main offenders for inbox browsers. An email should be intriguing, not make customers feel like they are being yelled at. Businesses can capitalize the first letter of each word in a sentence to convey importance but should avoid steer clear of using capitals in every email.

Business 2 Community also cited unusual punctuation as something that can annoy email recipients. Including too many question marks or exclamation points is a waste of characters and can make a subject line appear unprofessional. To find success in email marketing, businesses need clever, exciting lines to hook their customer base.

Businesses can sink or swim based on email marketing strategies

Businesses can sink or swim based on email marketing strategies

Email marketing is not a new phenomenon, but it is still one of the best ways to reach out to an audience and educate them about new products, discounts and sales. In fact, an email distribution list can be one of the most valuable weapons in the repertoire of the modern marketing team. 

New internet marketing trends such as social media might appear to threaten email as the predominant strategy, but according to Business2Community, smart companies will not abandon this old standby for years to come.

Not only is email marketing sticking around, it has shown to lead to increased sales over the past few years. While Business2Community did not disregard social media and marketing apps as sound strategies, they emphasized email as the primary tool businesses should use in their efforts. So why should marketers continue to utilize this method?

Who doesn't love to hear their name?
The primary benefit of email marketing is that it allows for an enhanced relationship between businesses and customers. This is because people love the feeling of being called by name, regardless of who does the addressing. Customers tend to be more responsive the second they recognize their name on the subject line. 

Business2Community drew the parallel of direct mail marketing to emphasize this point. Even when consumers receive a letter in the mailbox addressed directly to them, they experience a rush of anticipation that cannot be replicated by other forms of marketing. Campaigns that include details like customer location and buying preferences are much more effective as well. 

Creating this personal bond is exactly where email marketing excels over its social media competition. While platforms like Facebook and Twitter offer the excitement of a collaborative atmosphere, they can make people feel like they are just another name in a sea of customers. 

Business2Community said that companies would be wise to mix the best of both worlds by getting customers excited about trends through social media and then sending emails to emphasize their focus on personal treatment.

Email keeps things personal and professional
While there have been some pushes for companies to transition to using social media and text to reach customers on a personal level, Business2Community reminded marketers that most people prefer email as the platform on which they want to be reached by brands. 

Even though personal communication via email has declined 21 percent, compared to a 10 percent increase in social media and 20 percent increase in text message, consumers appear to prefer commercial email messages rather than through these other channels. Most people appear to not like mixing business and pleasure.

This preference has increased 5 percent since 2008 and represents consumer comfort with being reached by businesses over email compared to other methods of communication typically reserved for social interactions. Perhaps email has already asserted its dominance over these other outlets through years of connecting customers to businesses, according to Business2Community. 

Drive sales without slipping up
Email marketing is clearly a force to be reckoned with when it comes to customer engagement via the web, but it is still possible for companies to alienate their audiences through this platform, according to Entrepreneur magazine. Common email marketing mistakes include using poorly chosen stock photos or distracting layouts, sending messages too often or missing their target demographic.

To avoid these mishaps, Entrepreneur suggested that companies spend time segmenting their email marketing campaigns to create sets of messages specifically designed for particular groups of customers. This can be as easy as matching up the proper names of the recipients with their emails, including their locations or recognizing their age-bracket.

Email marketers get personal to ensure successful campaigns

Email marketers get personal to ensure successful campaigns

Internet trends come and go, technologies appear and fade , but what stays the same when it comes to effective email marketing? Determining strategies that stand the test of time is a challenge that business leaders tackle year in and year out. Clickz recently revealed what they believe to be the ultimate in email marketing wisdom, but will these tips remain relevant as the years pass by?

Smart marketers keep the customer's situation in mind
Email marketing has changed with the times, but the customer's desire to be acknowledged as an individual will always be there. Too many businesses opt for an impersonal, mass-distributed newsletter or promotional email that fails to make anyone feel like they are unique. Customer service is all about making the consumer feel respected, and this absolutely applies in the context of email marketing. Clickz reminded strategists to use every bit of personal information they gather in their email database to address customers as distinct members of the brand community. 

The key term here is relevancy. According to Clickz, this translates into understanding the customer. A well-crafted message will take into account a number of specific factors that will separate one client from the next, including purchase history, browsing preferences and other personal touches that will inspire a sense of urgency for the consumer. When promotional offers and product information are framed in a way that directly applies to the customer's situation, they are much more likely to respond in a positive way.

Other ways of making email marketing campaigns relevant for specific customers is to take advantage of any extra knowledge a business might have about a buyer. These bits of information could include age, geographic location, education or family and relationship status. Smart email marketers also shift the message of their campaigns based on world context such as weather, political circumstances or current economic situation. Clickz pointed out to strategists that there is such thing as too much personal information, however. Including details about how businesses gathered buyer preferences (such as observing internet history) can come across as creepy and intrusive.

Business strategically leverage channels according to audience
Clickz urged marketers to never underestimate the power of email marketing, especially in light of hype surrounding social media platforms as the next big trend. Simply because new channels of communication are available, businesses should not abandon their traditional methods by virtue of their being older. The article mentioned a client that still saw most of its business come from direct mail catalogs. Of course it would be unwise for them to get rid of this marketing strategy. The same goes for email as social media becomes more prevalent. 

With this in mind, social media platforms can be an excellent way to supplement email marketing campaigns, according to a recent article from Business2Community. The piece referenced a report from researchers ExactTarget that showed 77 percent of consumers preferring to receive sales and marketing messages via email. Regardless, social media can be an excellent way to get new consumers interested in a brand and sign up for an email contact list. 

Marketers can pique the curiosity of consumers by letting social community members know what is available for them when they sign up as email recipients. This can be as simple as posting a Facebook status that mentions an interesting exclusive available to members of the list. Business2Community also recommended that strategists experiment with offering different kinds of content based on the kind of campaign they're running. Video, slideshows and live webinars are just some ways to get online communities eager to opt-in on an email list. 

SPAM filtering continues to plague email marketing efforts

SPAM filtering continues to plague email marketing efforts

Few things can be more infuriating for an email marketer than to find that their messages are ending up in SPAM folders rather than customer inboxes. As consumers have grown more aware of cyber security, SPAM filters have become more impenetrable and are causing headaches for email marketing campaigns everywhere. However, there are ways for marketers to improve their chances of reaching the coveted inbox without being tossed aside as SPAM, according to Business 2 Community.

Before the days of SPAM filtering, marketing campaigns functioned by blindly sending messages to any name on an email contact list in the hope that consumers will see them. These days, things are different, Business 2 Community explained. Marketers now need to constantly update their contact lists with new names in order to avoid sending message to inactive subscribers and developing a bad reputation with internet service providers (ISPs). It also is ineffective to send emails to accounts that are either rarely used or de-registered.

Testing message deliverability is essential
Once marketers have ensured they are sending to active accounts and are verified in the eyes of the ISP, Business 2 Community recommended that the next best option is to test whether an email will make it past SPAM filters. Before launching a major campaign, businesses should try a variety of platforms to ensure that their message gets through. Without adequate testing, countless resources could go to waste as thousands of emails never reach their destinations.

Business 2 Community suggested that avoiding major SPAM trigger words is another way for businesses to maximize the deliverability of their messages. Eye-catching words such as "billion" and "solution" were just some of the many triggers that sent otherwise innocuous messages into the SPAM bin. By making some minor adjustments to subject lines and email content, marketers could see a lot more of their emails reaching their desired destinations.

Tabbed inboxes create a new set of challenges for marketers
With the recent addition of Google's tabbed inbox, promotional emails are instantly lumped together in a secondary folder, which gets read much less frequently than the main page. According to KissMetrics, gaining access to the primary inbox is one of the most sought-after privileges in today's email marketing landscape. Most campaigns try to implement keywords such as "SMS" and "attachment" to reach the main box, while others try to get users to change their Gmail settings to circumvent the promotional tab.

Why segmenting email lists is necessary to drive business

Why segmenting email lists is necessary to drive business

While email marketing campaigns were once one-size-fits-all, times have changed and strategies need to be adjusted if businesses want to maximize the effectiveness of their efforts. According to Marketing Land, the main way marketers are doing this is by segmenting the subscribers on their email distribution list. Many companies are catching on to this trend and changing the way they approach email marketing accordingly. 

Marketing Land advised strategists to first focus on determining their best customers. This should be the segment that strategists put the most time and effort into. Loyalty should be rewarded, and the best customers need to made aware of their exclusive status. A friends and family offer is a great way for marketers to deliver that message. By giving privileged customers the option of extending their discounts and perks to their loved ones, businesses increase their chances of boosting brand loyalty.

Increase volume for those well-deserved buyers
All customers like to know that they are receiving special treatment. When businesses send their most valued buyers the option to sign up for an exclusive email chain, they open the opportunity to send more messages more frequently. Because these top clients have chosen to sign up, they are much less likely to become irritated by the increased amount of emails coming their way. 

When businesses offer exclusivity, they need to follow up on their word. Marketing Land reminded marketers that these customers expect to be rewarded when they commit to taking on more emails in their inboxes. By delivering on their promises with exclusive promotions, discounts and deals, businesses are more likely to satisfy their favorite customers and retain them as their most reliable buyers. 

Targeting seasonal and inactive customers
Although businesses would ideally maintain their holiday customer base year-round, Marketing Land explained that they cannot deny the effectiveness of honing in on the seasonal crowds to get the best marketing results. Companies should time their email marketing campaigns with upcoming seasonal events and tie together offers that would appeal to customers during a specific time of year. This will bring in more seasonal business and likely remind once-a-year customers to come back during the off-season. 

If marketers still have the addresses of old customers on their email contact list, it is a great idea to reach out to them and try to spark interest once again. Customers might be pleasantly surprised by a campaign reminding them of their positive shopping experiences with that company. While some customers have made up their mind not to shop with a brand again, it can never hurt to try, pointed out Marketing Land. 

Other benefits of segmenting an email marketing campaign
A common complaint about email marketing methods is that they don't appeal to people personally. By segmenting campaigns, marketers are in a much better position to develop customized content to consumers based on their experiences with the brand. According to Business2Community, sending tailored emails to every customer is out of the question, but segmenting is the next best choice.

Recipients of email with a personal touch are much less likely to unsubscribe. Business2Community asserted that these details can be as small as including a zip code with nearby branches. This will keep customers engaged and attentive to any new emails sent their way. Segmenting campaigns doesn't need to be complex, and the benefits can really pay off in the long run. 

Too many businesses develop an email database only to have it wither away as customers continue to unsubscribe and file complaints. Marketers who segment their campaigns can expect to hold on to their hard-earned email addresses. 

Is email marketing still a relevant strategy?

Is email marketing still a relevant strategy?

Email marketing is one of the oldest techniques on the Internet to reach out to customers. As technology has progressed leaps and bounds since the invention of the Web, new strategies have emerged. Are methods such as search and social media taking the throne as the main way for businesses to market their products? According to a recent article from Digital Journal, nothing has changed quite yet. Email marketing is still the top choice for strategists trying to maximize the exposure of their company's products and services. 

For consistent, effective customer engagement and communication, Digital Journal stated that the best choice for marketers is still email. In fact, one of the main uses for social media pages is for companies to gather email contact lists and focus on marketing campaigns with those databases.While social is a great way for businesses to get their names out there, email is where customers receive the necessary information, exclusive offers and discounts that will convert them into return buyers. 

How has the email marketing game changed?
Whereas email marketing was once a cut-and-dry business choice, strategists nowadays treat it like a science. Digital Journal cited market segmentation as the factor that brought email marketing to the next level of precision. Collecting data and targeting specific demographics with tailored messages lifted email marketing out of the dark ages and allowed recipients to feel that they were personally addressed by their favorite brands and updated about their preferred products. 

Marketing strategists have also made an effort to cut down on the total amount of content that their target audience receives in an average email. This quality over quantity approach has allowed businesses to maintain the relevancy of each message and has been shown to keep customers interested in receiving more mail in the future. Mobile viewing was another element that Digital Journal emphasized will be a critical point moving forward in email marketing. Because over 50 percent of email viewing occurred on mobile platforms last year, businesses cannot overlook the importance of optimizing their messages for this format.

It's about the little touches
Personal details are separating successful email marketing campaigns from failures. In a recent article from Business2Community, contributor Lisa Gulasy examined the differences between two order confirmation emails that helped her decide which brand she preferred. Unsurprisingly, the businesses that crafted a fun holiday message became her top choice.

Email marketers seek a new year's plan

Email marketers seek a new year’s plan

The holidays are without a doubt the easiest time for email marketers to get their messages across to customers, but all good things come to an end. Even though sales across industries slump as the new year plods along, there are ways that marketing strategists can continue to use email as a method to attract new customers and make conversions. According to a recent Clickz article, marketers need to use their beefed up holiday email contact lists wisely and make sure that they can turn seasonal shoppers into loyal customers year-round. 

A sure way for businesses to set their emails apart from the slew of discounts customers receive is by taking the opportunity to educate consumers on new products or services. Customers who know more about products are more likely to buy them, Clickz noted. Offering plenty of information without being directly promotional will encourage consumers to read up without feeling pressured to buy. When they finally get offered that discount, they will know everything they need to go ahead and make the purchase. 

One way to educate customers is to provide information about products that they just bought, highlighting features and benefits that they might not have known about at the time of their purchase. Keeping a steady 'drip' of informational emails will keep the customer engaged without drowning their inbox with content, causing them to ignore future emails. Clickz reminded businesses that this will also make the customer feel like they are constantly getting more out of their purchase and associate a great deal of value with that particular brand.

Cross-promotional emails can be effective
Once a customer begins to receive their drip of emails, businesses should start incorporating information about products that supplement or enhance the customer's purchase to start guiding them toward their next buy. This can be especially useful after the holiday season when people get acquainted with new and unfamiliar products. Testimonials can also be an asset to companies that have a wealth of user support from social media or feedback forums. The subtle promotional value of reading another customer's positive account of a product can be a major factor in getting someone to make a purchase.

This is the time of year that people receive new hardware platforms that need many accessories and corollary products. This goes for computers, tablets, smartphones, game systems, home theater equipment and everything in between. When a customer buys one of these core items, smart email marketers will take advantage of their desire to get the most out of their user experience by offering them the latest additional gadgets or downloadable features. Clickz encouraged companies with these business models to be persistent in their email marketing to keep customers interested. 

The state of email marketing today
Although email is one of the classic staples of Web use, it is still a prominent way that companies reach out to their new customers and keep old ones coming back. A recent Mobile Marketing Watch article featured an infographic from analysts Monetate that explored why email marketing is still a viable and profitable marketing strategy. In the typically slow months of April to June of last year, email marketing was shown to have higher averages of add-to-cart rates, conversion rates and page views per session than both search and social media channels. Customers still respond to these newer methods, but not as much as industry hype would suggest.

With an 18 percent increase in retail email volume from 2011 to 2012 and a predicted $2.5 billion spent on email marketing campaigns by 2016, the practice shows no sign of slowing down. Businesses will likely always be able to rely on going straight to the customer's inbox.

Retailers supplement email marketing with social media

Retailers supplement email marketing with social media

Having a reliable email contact list can be one of the biggest weapons in an online marketer's arsenal, but is social media on its way to replacing email marketing as the primary way retailers reach their customers via the Web? According to a recent report from AllBusiness Experts, social media is an invaluable channel of communication but not as critical as a well-planned email marketing campaign. Businesses should take social media hype with a grain of salt and rely on their traditional email marketing solutions. 

The main reason that email should remain the primary focus of businesses' online marketing initiatives is that it shows a much better return on investment than its social media counterpart. AllBusiness Experts cited a post on Forbes from McKinsey and Company that revealed email marketing products convert more than 40 times the number of customers than Facebook and Twitter combined. While social media efforts can be optimized to produce greater results, the disparity between the two methods is still a large one. 

Increasing use of mobile platforms is another reason why retailers are sticking to their guns and going with classic email marketing strategies. AllBusiness Experts showed that 91 percent of mobile users check their email at least once a day. At such a high rate of exposure, businesses would be making a mistake by failing to implement their best possible email marketing strategies and optimize them for smartphone viewing. 

Retailers are revisiting the email contact list
Despite a lot of industry discussion surrounding the role of social media in the next generation of marketing initiatives, a recent report from Internet Retailer suggested that online vendors are only increasing their emphasis on email marketing. The news source cited a study from marketing analysts Monetate revealing that retailers sent almost 23 percent more emails to inboxes this Q3 than last year's. Buyers are also making bigger purchases when they click on email offers, as retailers' average order value increased from $93.43 to $100.48, a leap of 7.55 percent.

Email marketing efforts are certainly bringing in a lot more business than they used to, although social media is bringing in some big sales for retailers across the board. Internet Retailer noted that the Monetate study saw a 26.13 percent increase in the average order value of purchases resulting from social media marketing. Businesses should balance the two, but email marketing reigns supreme for the time being.