Category Archives: USA

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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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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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.

Will promotions tab reduce click rates?

Is Gmail ‘promotions’ tab really just a demotion for email marketing?

This summer, Google implemented changes to Gmail, stirring worries among many companies about how their business email initiatives would be affected.

The multi-tabbed system introduced includes three sections – “primary,” “social” and “promotions” – effectively screening emails and sending them to the correct locations. For businesses, this spurred many concerns about how successful their online newsletters, updates and discounts could be if they were no longer occupying a place of prominence in recipients’ inboxes​, and instead were relegated to “promotions.”

Small businesses aren’t the only entities that could be hurt by the changes. Nonprofits, which often rely on direct email campaigns to boost funding or collect signatures, would also be funneled into “promotions,” International Business Times explained. Yet will the new tabs really hurt companies’ bottom lines or open rates?

Studies from MailChimp and Constant Contact have only found slight decreases in open rates since the changes went into effect, with the former noting that the percentage of recipients reading marketing messages dropped from 13 percent to 12 percent. However, both firms emphasized that it’s still too soon in the system’s deployment to truly gauge how it will affect the number of people on their targeted email lists reading their communications.

“Don’t overreact to a change like this,” Julie Niehoff, director of field education and development for Constant Contact, told the news source. “This is not the time to change your marketing strategy. It’s too early to tell.”

However, other industry insiders offered an even more pragmatic outlook on the development. Lyris CMO Alex Lustberg told Marketing Land that consumers have always filtered their emails, so the new system isn’t really that different at all. Instead, Google just does the work for them.

A deep understanding of how the “promotions” tab affects business will require at least a year of observation. Until then, the general advice seems to be, “stay calm and keep emailing.”

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