Monthly Archives: August 2013

Use a trade show to test out automated emails and expand targeted lists.

Automate email contact lists for stronger leads

The power of a strong email distribution list in producing quality leads, signups and, eventually, even sales cannot be played up enough. Imagine it as similar to being a realtor and approaching a roomful of individuals actively looking to buy a house versus throwing business cards at everyone on the street. The first scenario is much more likely to be successful.

Creating the content that appeals to members of a targeted email list can be a time-consuming and effort intense project, however. As a result, many marketers are investigating how automation can help them ensure their business communications make the biggest impact possible.

Automation allows marketers to choose the correct messages      
One task automation can make easier is determining which messages are most effective with a particular audience, Business 2 Community explained. Marketers can send a series of targeted messages, and using analytics can determine which ones were the most effective by looking at click and open rates. Additionally, this can help them clear out any bounced emails and see which messages spurred the least amount of traffic to a website.

Furthermore, by seeing which users clicked, companies have a much stronger set of leads with which to continue on to the next step – sales calls, according to the source.

This is demonstrated in an article from Marketing Magazine that recounts how automation can be used by sales teams and marketers to prepare for trade shows. According to the source, many professionals fail to even alert clients and prospects to their attendance at such events.

However, an automated email blast can do this for marketers, as well as let them know who's been clicking and, thus, whom they may expect to see, according to the magazine..

"Send out an email blast to a list of prospects who live near the site of the trade show so that they know that your company will be in the area," the news source explained. "Position the email as a friendly reminder that you're stopping by, and include a note that you'd love to see them at the conference."

Sales teams and marketers can't leave it here, though. Trade shows are key places to add to targeted email lists or learn tactics to better win over individuals through first-time emails.

Mobile devices are becoming a common email channel.

Boost business email success with mobile optimization

While email marketing lists continue to be critical tools for businesses looking to reach new clients and customers, the way in which these communications are being accessed is changing alongside technology.

More than ever, research is underscoring the importance of optimizing email marketing messages for mobile devices, including smartphones and tablet computers.

Mobile is a key touchpoint for consumers        
According to a new study from Yesmail Interactive, nearly half of all marketing emails are opened and read via mobile devices, despite a marked preference for using laptops and PCs to read promotional messages.

This lack of active engagement with mobile manifests itself through click rates. On a mobile device, 11 percent of recipients click on a message after opening it, compared to 23 percent when using a desktop computer, the study revealed.

However, these rates do fluctuate by industry, with consumer services – those businesses that provide a service but not a good, such as Groupon or OpenTable - seeing the highest mobile click-to-open rate at 19 percent, while financial services brought up the rear with 2 percent.

"The discrepancy between click-to-open rates means many consumers are disregarding mobile emails," said Michael Fisher, president of Yesmail Interactive. "Brands need to implement mobile-first strategies that rely on responsive design, customized content and easily clickable calls to action. Otherwise, their messages will be deleted or go unread."

These findings cannot be ignored, despite the devices showing lower engagement. The number of consumers exclusively reading their emails via mobile device stands at 30 percent, while 61 percent of consumers consider these communications on their mobiles at least some of the time.

It's a very small screen    
When marketers begin to investigate how to optimize dynamic email communications for mobile devices, one of the most important considerations they will need to keep in mind is the size of the screen, which allows for less content and more dynamic calls to action.

Research from Constant Contact and Chadwick Martin Bailey found 75 percent of consumers said they are "highly likely" to delete business emails if they don't load correctly on their smartphones, tablets or other mobile devices.

For companies that cater to a younger target audience, leveraging mobile devices will be key, especially as the study found 88 percent of millen​nials open email via mobile devices.

Email newsletters can help healthcare professionals communicate a friendly, trusted identity.

Business emails help healthcare professionals keep their message consistent

A targeted email list is a requisite for marketers hoping to reach specific consumer groups, and this is especially true within the healthcare industry. Now, marketing among physicians and providers may seem unnecessary, with many assuming that professionals in the field, including those in the bio-tech, pharma and nutraceutical industries, are just magically found by those in need. 

However, they rely on email communications as much as any industry to find customers and maintain loyalty.

Email newsletters are information centers    
As a marketing channel, email messages are extremely valuable, especially due to their flexibility – they can essentially become a medium for anything individuals hope to impart.

"It is easy to implement and extremely cost-effective – allowing you to communicate with your customers as much as you (and they) want," wrote MaryEllen Tribby, founder and CEO of WorkingMomsOnly.com, in the Huffington Post. "It also gives you the ability to test, see what's working, and quickly react to generate more sales. It allows you to make your message as timely and relevant as possible."

For those in the medical industry, email newsletters offer a special benefit due to the sector's highly competitive and visible nature, Media Post explained. Using opt-in emails allows healthcare professionals to control the conversation about themselves and their products, while providing recipients with consistent messaging and news.

The opportunity to have a space in which to offer consumers information and news about products and events, as well as responses to market developments, is critical in an industry so tied to consumers' well-being. As a result, healthcare marketers face a number of challenges other industries don't have to bat an eyelash at. For example, the volumes of legal medical warnings can often disrupt pharma professionals messaging attempts, while regulatory compliance is a constant concern. 

"For this reason, the responsible sharing of information via product messaging that is both accurate – and also broken down into communications that can be easily digested by varied audience groups – is absolutely critical," the new source asserted.

Investing in business email distribution lists can help members of the healthcare industry reach those consumers who most need certain services and products. This contact information is tailored to help companies and marketing professionals communicate with individuals who are in need of their offerings and thus more likely to result in opens, clicks and even purchases.

Use a "permission pass" message to make sure marketing emails don't negatively affect company reputation.

So you have an email marketing list – now what?

Despite being one of the oldest digital marketing channels, email is still one of the most effective ways to reach new and existing customers online. However, when starting out with a business email campaign for the first time, it can be difficult to figure out how to use a targeted email list in a way that appeals to consumers and doesn't overstep privacy bounds.

Is it really better to ask for forgiveness than for permission?  
As individuals continue to feel inundated by marketing messages, sending a communication to an unknown quantity of consumers for the first time can spur anxiety among businesses. Will recipients find the message interesting? Will they be annoyed? In what way will it reflect on the company? Fortunately, there are strategies for an organization to successfully utilize its email distribution list while avoiding costly errors.

According to MarketingProfs, the "seek forgiveness later" approach is a fool's errand. Instead, companies should consider using what the news source called a "permission-pass campaign." 

"Metaphorically, you're giving those who may no longer (be) interested in your email (or who can't remember whether they ever were) a chance to get off the train before it leaves the station," MarketingProfs explained.

A "permission-pass" message contains a series of elements that not only act as a vehicle for asking individuals to stay on an email mailing list, but also attempt to persuade them of the value in becoming "active" recipients, i.e. those who spur higher open and click rates.

As such, one of the most important things a company will communicate in these messages is the business' relative value. This can be done by outlining the benefits of being part of an email list, including special discounts or savings, insider information, exclusive content and other perks.

However, firms will want to avoid allowing expectations to become unmanageable. 

"If they are going to stay on your list, let subscribers know what kind of communications and especially what sort of frequency they can expect," explained MarketingProfs. "Better yet, if you're launching a rich and diverse email program with many choices, direct subscribers to a sign-up or email preferences center to help them make their decisions."

Email marketing continues to prove itself time and again to be a dynamic way to attract and maintain business. In fact, a recent study from MailerMailer called it the "workhorse tactic" of digital marketing.

Figuring out the right days and times for email marketing messages can boost overall list success.

Keep it short and sweet with email marketing

As any company or marketer crafting a business email marketing strategy knows, not all communications are created equal. Ineffective content and poor structure can prevent a firm from getting the most from its email distribution list, leading to missed opportunities to attract new customers and raise revenues. 

Avoid lengthy lines   
According to MailerMailer's annual Email Marketing Metrics Report, email newsletters that experienced the highest average open rates kept subject lines short - between 4 and 15 characters - MarketingProfs reported, with open rates decreasing as subject lines lengths increased. The same was true of click rates. The shortest subject lines had the highest click rates (2.6 percent), and subject lines over 51 characters had the lowest (1.6 percent).

Timing also matters, as the open rate peaks within the first hour of delivery and a little more than half (51.7 percent) of all opens occur within the first six hours. For email marketers and businesses, this will require them to choose their days and times wisely, with weekdays, early mornings and evenings provoking high open rates. In fact, Tuesday and Wednesday proved to be the best times to send marketing messages, with a 10.7 percent average open rate, the study found, as reported by the news source.

"Among many other factors, message scheduling affects your email open and click rates," the report stated. "Adjusting your sending schedule in response to our findings may improve your stats. However, since every list differs, be sure to track your results and fine-tune."

Know your audience  
However, there is more to experiencing marketing success with an email contact list than just nailing delivery logistics such as data and time. Recipients like to believe messages are tailored for them, and companies that can deliver on this are likely to see higher open rates.

Personalizing the subject line increased the average open rate to 12.9 percent, while doing the same for the content of the communication boosted the rate to 13.2 percent. Yet, perhaps shockingly, when both pieces of content were tailored to recipients, open rates dropped lower than those with no personalization at all – 5.3 percent compared to 9.8 percent, respectively.

However, if recipients did open doubly-personalized messages, they were more likely to click compared to any other combination.

The take-away from this studies seems to be one overarching trend: The more firms understand who their recipients are, the more likely they'll be able to boost revenues and success with their email distribution lists.