Author Archives: Alec Wilcox

Email lists can boost effectiveness of communications.

Email marketing lists attract engaged consumers

Marketing channels have a tendency to rise and fall quickly with the whim of the public. One medium, though, continues to prove itself to be a mainstay – email. However, a new study suggests there's room for improvement in the field and the tactics currently being leveraged. 

According to research from Kentico, high-quality email marketing lists are able to capture and retain respondents. In fact, 37 percent of respondents subscribe to 1-5 email lists, with 31 percent receiving messages from 6-10 lists and 14 percent fielding communications from 11-15 lists. Of those 31 percent on 6-10 email lists, 48 percent read 75 percent of the messages they receive from their lists. Furthermore, email lists are able to hold the attention of consumers longer than unsolicited messages, with 57 percent remaining on one for 1-3 years and 22 percent staying for 4-6 years.

There are a number of mistakes, however, that marketers should keep an eye on, as they could be the difference between messages being read and being marked as spam.

  • Timing is everything: The study reported that 38 percent of respondents will mark a message as spam if they are emailed too often.
  • Content is king: Presumably, you're emailing shoppers who would be interested in your products and services. This doesn't mean you can produce boring and unengaging contact. Do this, and risk being tossed.
  • Maintain professionalism: Make sure business emails don't contain simple errors and typos. Proofread to make sure you have the basics covered.

And don't forget to go mobile. The number of consumers – regardless of demographics – checking their email is growing, reaching nearly half of all users, a survey from Yesmail found. If you fail to optimize desktop messages, you could be doing so at your own risk, EcommerceBytes explained.

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Creating email press releases are an art.

Don’t commit these faux pas when emailing press releases

A comprehensive email distribution list can help businesses and organizations reach new and existing customers to distribute different types of information. One of the most important types of communications firms send out may just be the press release.

The basics of a press release                            
Not all information is noteworthy and requiring – or even deserving – of being featured in a press release. However, if you're looking to notify consumers of a new product, service or company change, this could be the perfect venue as it gives customers a snapshot that can pique their interest to learn more.

The relative shortness of the communications medium can create added pressure for organizations to catch readers' attention and hold it. 

"In a job interview you have just a few seconds to make a first impression and it needs to be a great one," said Tyler Ragghianti of PR NewsChannel in a statement. "You get even less time with a press release. You have to hook a consumer, reporter or editor quickly otherwise the release gets tossed in the trash, deleted or ignored. It's as simple as that."

Common mistakes to avoid                                   
There are a million little ways organizations can commit a faux pas and render their press release less effective. Yet recent research from PR NewsChannel identified a number of the most commonly made mistakes in the business.

For one, oftentimes companies try to be everything to everyone, but this just isn't possible. You can't target anyone by attempting to appeal to everyone. Instead, organizations should find their audience niche and speak to them, according to PR NewsChannel.

Secondly, don't get fancy. Trying to get into the nitty gritty details of a complex product may be interesting to some, but for the majority of recipients it could end up looking like a bunch of jargon. Find your message and articulate it in a clear, straightfoward tone.

Business 2 Community adds that organizations will want to be wary of over advertising. While press releases are promotional by nature, they don't need to beg for business. Organizations should focus on providing information on their products or services and let that do the talking for them. This is much more likely to impress recipients and make them feel like business partners rather than walking, talking wallets.

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Responsive email could boost click and open rates.

Responsive design – essential to email marketers?

As smartphones grow nearly ubiquitous, the ability to use them for virtually every task is increasing. No longer are these devices merely conduits through which to call your mom or boyfriend. Instead, they now enable owners to check their social networks, shop for gifts and check the weather.

It should come as no surprise, then, that mobile devices are treading on desktop computers' stronghold over email. In fact, recent research from YesMail found that nearly half of all emails are opened on mobile gadgets. With their smaller screens and lack of mouse, smartphones present a challenge for companies, requiring them to adopt new content strategies, - such as responsive email - for their email marketing lists.

What, precisely, is responsive email?                                                     
According to a recent article from The Next Web, responsive email is designed to boost engagement between businesses and customers through the use of questions, fluid layouts and images, and personalized copy, depending on the types of device being used by recipients. For example, the news source pointed out, while a firm may include numerous paragraphs of information and photos in an email meant to be opened on a computer, responsive design enables a much shorter message and call to action to be presented on a mobile device.

"While traditional emails generally feature fixed-width frameworks, multiple images and paragraphs of text, responsive emails adapt to the device viewport size and display content accordingly, often skipping elements like blocks of text to allow touchscreen users to read and respond calls to action quickly," The Next Web wrote. "Responsive techniques allow designers to hide, stack, expand/collapse or modify content to optimize content display in emails on smaller screens."

Additionally, responsive design incorporates more functional aspects, such as larger buttons to allow for easier clicks with the touch of a finger and content that works without image displays. 

Surpass other marketing channels                               
Email being already one of the top marketing mediums for companies and organizations as well as one of the most effective could surpass anything currently available if techniques such as responsive email were employed, Dan Smith, vice president of product at Outsell, told 1to1 Media.

While the strategy will require marketers to educate themselves on the ins and outs of a more complex marketing tool, it could spur higher opens, more clicks and greater revenue.

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Promote clicks with personalized email communications.

Ecommerce retailers: Personalize messages for greater success

Email distribution lists have helped ecommerce retailers reach shoppers more effectively than is possible with other channels. However, new research suggests it may be time for online sellers to update their business email strategies.

According to the latest Ecommerce Quarterly from Monetate, email marketing referral traffic and conversions rates leading to ecommerce sites have declined since last year. Specifically, while Q2 2012 experienced a referral rate of 3.75 percent, this figure dropped to 2.36 percent for Q2 2013. Additionally, conversion rates fell from 3.56 percent to 3.34 percent year over year.

However, ecommerce outlets that use email marketing shouldn't despair. The channel still remains the most effective in terms of conversion and referral, with only social improving year over year. Furthermore, Monetate suggested personalizing emails.

Amazon already does this, sending out marketing messages to consumers based on past purchases and browsing behaviors. Monetate termed this "open-time personalization," as it requires online businesses to behave more intelligently and responsively. For example, if a blizzard is in the forecast, this may be a perfect time for sporting goods retailers to mail missives advertising coats, boots and other weather-related gear.

Personalization may grow increasingly important, as the number of retailers opening up shop on the Internet only grows and begins to push into shoppers' inboxes. In fact, another study from Daily Deal Media reported that 71 percent of merchants tout email as their most effective marketing channel. However, only 17 percent are satisfied with their online marketing strategies.

A good place for ecommerce businesses to begin is with a comprehensive and targeted email marketing list. With this resource, online sellers can make sure their efforts to create personalized content aren't going to waste, and their messaging is being delivered to those most likely to open and click.

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Doctors can help email marketing campaigns succeed.

Doctor involvement can spur greater success with healthcare email marketing lists

For members of the healthcare industry, email contact lists present both a golden opportunity and a challenge. While the marketing medium allows doctors and hospitals to stay in closer contact with patients and build deeper relationships, who recipients actually want to hear from within this sector is limited.

Cross-channel marketing can better connect doctors with patients          
In a recent article for Med City News, Deanna Pogoreic contended that patients do now want to build relationships with hospitals or provider networks. What they desire is greater communication with their physicians, i.e. the individual directly providing them health services. Yet doctors are not eager to involve themselves in institutions' marketing and email campaigns.

So what can marketers do to integrate doctors' voice into cross-channel marketing efforts? According to Dr. Russell Faust, a strategy healthcare consultant for Annica Media, the first thing to do is understand physicians' hesitations, the news source explained. A survey the company did last year found that doctors' biggest fears of utilizing such marketing campaigns are related to committing unknown violations or spurring negative reputations.

There are a few simple ways institutions can help assuage these worries, Faust explained to Med City News. For example, enabling physicians to create educational content for patients allows them to tap into a vocational urge to teach. Doctors can shape email content around commonly-asked questions or illnesses they are seeing more frequently.

Additionally, since physicians maintain very busy schedules with many stressful, competing demands, the easier it is for them to write up a message and send it out, the more likely they will engage with these marketing tools to great effect. Marketing departments can help doctors by setting up the simple things, such as writing bios and creating templates.

Finally, doctors like to see results. Tracking click-rates and open-rates can engage them.

"Physicians aren't afraid of data," Faust told the news source. "Show them your analytics."

Doctor-curated content can cut costs                    
As many healthcare organizations are reporting budget constraints, homegrown marketing can help them cut costs and save money, Healthcare Marketing Matters explained. Content created by doctors allows institutions to have a continuous conversation with healthcare consumers to collect more data on their preferences, choices and desires, which can ultimately help shape content and serv​ice moving forward. 

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