Author Archives: Alec Wilcox

New study affirms the continued importance of email marketing

New study affirms continued importance of email marketing

The list of reasons why marketers shouldn't listen too closely to detractors who prophesy the death of email as a platform for promotional messages grew recently, as Marketo released results of a survey that showed email marketing lists are as relevant a tool as ever.

Granted, the sheer number of claims about email's decline makes this idea hard to ignore. The Marketo study showed that a Google search of the phrase "email is dead" yielded 1,500,000 results, compared to 280,000 for "blogging is dead" and 180,000 for "social media is dead." 

However, responses from consumers don't support the hypothesis that email is dead, as 94 percent of Americans check their messages regularly, the study revealed, and more than half log into their email accounts upon waking up in the morning. 

Furthermore, 64 percent of companies surveyed said they planned to increase spending on email marketing campaigns in 2013. They have good reason to do so: the study also showed that every dollar spent on email promotions in 2011 yielded a $40.56 return.

While email remains strong, the rules of marketing on the platform are changing. More than ever, customers need to feel that an email is relevant. In light of the Marketo study, Business 2 Community suggested that companies should lean toward a conversational tone rather than come off as out-and-out promotional, and they might consider dividing their marketing lists based on demographics and other factors in order to tailor messages to specific customer groups.

Honesty and CAN Spam compliance
Trustworthiness was one of the key qualities of effective marketing emails cited by the Marketo study. Business 2 Community expressed a similar viewpoint, pointing out that emails should be transparent and comply with CAN Spam.

"What is CAN Spam?" you might ask, if you're not already well acquainted with the term.

Far from being something you could buy in a supermarket, the CAN Spam Act is a law that outlines penalties for businesses who impede a consumer's right to unsubscribe from their emails, HubSpot noted. The source went on to point out that under the act, not only are emails not allowed to overcomplicate the process for users who want to unsubscribe, they also cannot include subject lines that mislead the reader about the message's contents and must include a valid physical address for the company.

Compliance with these guidelines can help ensure that when customers in your email database read your messages, they trust your brand as a source of honest content and want to follow up on what they read.

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Multichannel marketing can help dentists spur success.

Dentists partner social media, business emails for success

Marketing and dental practices may not seem to have an obvious relationship, as many people believe dentists get new patients merely through word of mouth. However, multichannel marketing, including business email lists and social media, is enabling those who care for teeth to be more effective in reaching new and existing patients.

Spurring practice growth                                
Especially in an uncertain economy, maintaining current relationships with dental patients while concurrently seeking new connections is critical to practice success. A recent article in Dental Economics explained how marketing methods, such as social media and utilizing email marketing lists, can help dentists and their staff accomplish these goals.

For example, many practices are utilizing blogs and email communications to effectively share simple information about healthy habits and care, let patients know about changes to services and disseminate photos, videos and fun facts, the news source explained., This type of content can help dentists differentiate themselves from other local practices.

Dental Economics explained that these channels can additionally be leveraged to "promote new dental technology and cutting-edge products and services sold in your office, share in-depth information about specific treatments performed or promote community events."

Partnering with social media                   
Email distribution lists can also be used to promote dental practices' social media accounts on networks such as Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. While the first two sites may seem easy and obvious choices, the ways in which dentists can leverage Pinterest may not be so clear.

According to the news source, there are many ways that dentists can  use the pin-board, photo-sharing website to help current patients and appeal to new individuals.

"For example, your dental practice may pin items such as 'Top 5 Ways To Keep Teeth Healthy,' 'Teeth Whitening Techniques' or 'Foods You Can Eat While in Braces,'" Dental Economics wrote. "If they agree, using your patients' before-and-after dental photos can create valuable content on Pinterest."

These efforts can also be used to reach out to patients who have been relatively inactive. A recent article in Dentistry IQ encouraged practices to designate one staff member to be in charge of contacting patients who have not been seen in 18 months or more. Email can be one way to catch their attention or remind them that they haven't been by to have their teeth checked out in awhile.

Email lists for marketing can be used to unobtrusively reach out to patients and underscore the importance of dental hygiene.

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B2B email marketing messages should continue to use custom content and segmentation.

B2B email marketing messages aren’t the same as B2C

Most individuals perceive email marketing lists to be the domain of business-to-consumer (B2C) companies. However, business-to-business (B2B) online communications are being increasingly leveraged by firms that offer other organizations professional services. And while some of the same marketing tips and tricks apply for these business emails, there are a few key differences in B2B and B2C best practices.

For example, a recent article in Business 2 Community pointed out the need to avoid "NoReply" emails. This term is common among B2C companies and marketers, and communicates to recipients upfront that the email they're receiving is purely informational or promotional, i.e. there's no need to start a dialogue. However, as the news source notes, this is precisely the opposite of what B2B firms should be striving to do.

"Allow the recipient to reply directly to the email to open a rapport with you," wrote Business 2 Community. "This can be accomplished by redirects on your server or by bootstrapping the mailer to an active account directly (the former usually being a better idea)."

Additionally, the news source added that B2B email marketing messages should contain simple and quick links that the recipient can click on to learn more about your company, its products and how to get in contact.

Some best practices are consistent across B2B and B2C, though. ClickZ pointed out that even in B2B email marketing messages, companies will want to use segmentation and personalization to connect with clients on a deeper level. By customizing the content potential and existing clients receive, B2B firms can potentially garner more customers, boost revenues and build stronger relationships that can last over the long term.

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Psychiatrists are using online channels to connect with patients and their families.

Psychiatrists can use email marketing lists to promote blogs

Online technologies, such as business email marketing and social media, have opened up new avenues for physicians, psychiatrists and other care workers to stay in touch with patients and offer them helpful hints and information through an easy channel.

For example, Care for Your Mind is an online forum for individuals suffering from moods, their families and doctors to come together to discuss the status of mental health care and how changes introduced by the Affordable Care Act may affect them, Psychiatric News reported. The blog has already seen success, with nearly 5,550 total visitors – 1,500 of whom were directed to the site via external sources such as Facebook and Twitter.

Furthermore, the website is helping physicians and psychiatrists better aid their patients during a confusing transitional period in regard to access to insurance and the quickest methods to get coverage, the news source stated.

"I think that clinicians should go to the website for issues that are concerns for our patients," William Gilmer, a mood disorder specialist and associate professor of clinical psychology at Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, told Psychiatric News. "It helps us, as clinicians, to become better advocates and to help our patients become better advocates for themselves during this transitional period of our healthcare system."

Psychiatrists can further their reach with such blogs by employing targeted email lists. While many patients will be able to find the online help they need through networks such as Facebook and Twitter, not everyone has a presence on these websites. Instead, a majority of individuals still rely on email accounts as their primary mode of online communication, making email a critical channel for physicians of all specialties to engage with.

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With holiday shopping season around the corner, retailers are prepping their email distribution lists.

Retailers prepping email marketing lists for the holidays

With the 2013 holiday season primed to begin, retailers are already readying their email contact lists to maximize success. In fact, according to a recent article from Retail Customer Experience, store owners and ecommerce sites are preparing to kick off the shopping season before kids are even going door-to-door to collect candy. So, how are brands planning to stand out in the holiday melee?

Timing is everything               
A recent survey from Experian noted that nearly half (49 percent) of retailers plan on launching their first online holiday campaign before Halloween, yet most won't begin in earnest until two weeks out from Thanksgiving, MarketWatch cited.

The majority of retailers plan to funnel their marketing budgets into online channels, with 55 percent saying they will be leveraging their email marketing lists to reach shoppers. Some of the promotional tactics they plan on using within these messages include free shipping, e-coupons and deal-of-the-day offers.

Customizing the consumer experience               
One of the biggest trends retailers are expected to leverage is consumer customization, i.e. sending out specific deals, discounts and news based on customer purchase and browsing histories. According to the news source, while shoppers have now come to expect deep discounts – punishing those who don't offer them – businesses are looking for additional ways to catch their attention.

For example, some firms will be sending out business emails with tailored gift recommendations for existing customers. This can also work for how they offer discounts. If a shopper regularly purchases cooking supplies throughout the year, this may be a prime time to send him or her an email with a special coupon for these goods, and this can have a lasting effect, Retail Customer Experience noted. 

"Marketers who come up with creative ways to connect with customers this holiday season will not only increase sales in Q4, they'll also improve brand loyalty and continue to enjoy the payoff in 2014," stated the news provider.

To get started, it's important for retailers to take a hard look at their email marketing lists. Have they been updated recently? How active are recipients? Is it time to get help from professionals in the business? The answers to all of these questions could make or break a brand this holiday season, as pressure to see high returns increases.

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