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Better Email Marketing Pt. 5 – Landing Page Optimization

email-marketingIn this series we will be identifying some of the biggest questions and concerns associated with email marketing. From finding the right vendor to understanding how people read emails, we will be diving into it all to help you make your email marketing efforts more successful and profitable. Now that you’ve picked the right vendor, constructed a plan of action, considered the overall design of your email, and thought about designing it for mobile, it’s time to look at the final part of our series and talk about landing page optimization.

Landing Page Optimization

You take the time to write good copy, you come up with a great subject line and promote an offer, you use eye-catching images and a slick design. Now what? Now it’s time to reel them in with a great landing page. Ultimately, we really want to bring people to our website after viewing an email and that’s why quality landing page optimization is key.

Headline

  • A clear and concise headline is critical.
  • Sum up your offer as clearly as possible.

Hidden Navigation

  • De-emphasize or hide any top and side navigation bars from that page (if possible).
  • Don’t try to send them to another page on your site, simply provide them with a seamless way to retrieve the information.

Context

  • Below your main headline, consider using a subheader to provide a little bit of information about the benefits of your offer 
(your landing page’s value proposition).
  • Every piece of your page is a possible conversion point (Why is this offer valuable to your visitor?).
  • Nurture leads with social media.

Web-LandingValue

  • Use the rest of the text on your landing page to clearly and simply explain the value of your offer.
  • Use bullet points to demonstrate concrete takeaways, break up large blocks of text, and keep your copy brief and to-the-point.

Images

  • Include a relevant image on your landing page. Try to match that image with the offer.
    (For example, if you’re offering an ebook or a webinar, show a cover of the ebook or a screenshot of the webinar’s presentation cover slide)

Lead-Capture Form

  • What converts those visitors into precious sales leads.
  • Only ask for information you need from your leads in order to effectively follow up with and/or qualify them.

Take the Quiz

Here is a great little checklist to use when creating landing pages:

lpo-quiz

 

Source: HubSpot – How to Optimize Landing Pages for Conversions

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Better Email Marketing Pt. 4 – Mobile Tips

email-marketingIn this series we will be identifying some of the biggest questions and concerns associated with email marketing. From finding the right vendor to understanding how people read emails, we will be diving into it all to help you make your email marketing efforts more successful and profitable. Now that you’ve picked the right vendor, constructed a plan of action and considered the overall design of your email, it’s time to think about mobile emails.

In 2012, 40% of emails were read on a mobile device, compared to 35% on a desktop. (Informz: 2013 Association Email Marketing Benchmark Report)

Before you begin creating mobile email campaigns, the first thing you should do is check your website analytics. Determine what types of mobile devices people are coming to your site from to create effective email campaigns (I-Pad, I-Phone, Samsung Galaxy, Razr, etc.)

mobileanalytics

Consider how people are using their mobile devices now:

  • As a shopping tool for price comparisons
  • To share purchases with others
  • Look at media and entertainment
  • Post on social sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest

mobile_phones
Set clear metrics for success

More than 80% of marketers expect their organization to increase focus on mobile marketing strategies in 2013. (Aquent: Marketing Salaries, Strategies and Trends for 2013)

Focus on the post click experience
:

  • Drive your objectives.
  • Drive awareness, capture information for re-marketing, drive consumers to brick-and-mortar locations or to mobile commerce sales directly through mobile.
  • Identify your campaign goals, then customize your message and strategy to achieve those results.
  • Test, test, optimize
. Repeat!

Creating your email

  • mobileexample copyCreate a mobile version of your email (thinking about the screen size of phones, 7 inches or less)
  • Make your fonts larger and your content brief and precise
  • Call to action buttons and links should be given the most prominent real estate
  • Avoid using tiny navigation or menu bars
  • Don’t stack links on top of one another, leave room for fingers
  • Use single columns
  • Short subject lines with 40 characters or less
  • Make sure the places you send them after the email are mobile friendly as well

Use all these simple tips to avoid having your emails ignored or sent to the trash. The main thing to remember is that you are designing your email for a small screen, so adapt your emails accordingly.

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Better Email Marketing Pt. 1 – How to Choose the Right Vendor

email-marketingIn this series we will be identifying some of the biggest questions and concerns associated with email marketing. From finding the right vendor to understanding how people read emails, we will be diving into it all to help you make your email marketing efforts more successful and profitable. 

Email marketing can be complex, so is choosing an ESP (Email Service Provider). With so many potential providers with a vast range of pricing options and levels of service — how do you know which ESP is the best match for your business?

LogosA

Knowing exactly what your needs are now and in the near future can make the decision process a lot easier.

The first thing you need to consider is the future.

Do you have a major change planned in the company, like introducing a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system like SalesForce? 

Make sure your ESP will integrate with it.

Are you expecting rapid growth?
Make sure the ESP can scale.

Do you have the staff to handle your marketing needs or is it just you?
Determine how much time you have to dedicate to email marketing.

Do you want to ‘remarket’ to website visitors who abandon a shopping cart or visit a certain product page?
Make sure you have money in your budget for remarketing.

Make a list of features that you want your vendor to provide.


Comparing vendors isn’t always apples to apples so make sure your list of features are included in whatever email package/service you are considering.

Consider these 5 features or benefits that ESPs offer:

  • Email Automation (Drip & Triggered) – Sending email campaigns with relevant content to your audience without requiring a lot of extra hands-on management. More relevance leads to more opens, click throughs and conversions. It also leads to increased efficiency because  sending reputation improves and that’s what the ISPs are looking for when delivering the email. You will then get a higher percentage of emails to the inbox. This capability also allows you as the marketer to send more timely messages based on behavior and/or where a subscriber is in the sales cycle.
  • Usability – If you or your staff find it difficult to use, you won’t use it effectively. If it’s easy to use, that decreases errors and therefore increases efficiency. Consider how well it works on an individual level and how it works for your organization. Does it allow people across the company to collaborate? How much training is required? Consider ease of navigation, the testing environment, reporting, account configurations and profile settings. Is the workflow intuitive? Are there preloaded templates? Is there a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor? Are there optional interfaces for different user types? Above all, make sure you can take it for a test drive.
  • Integration – Getting information in and out of the application, so your ESP can work with programs like web analytics, CRM, CMS (Content Management System) and custom reporting dashboards. Your subscribers don’t want generic “batch and blast” content. Email has to be more timely, relevant and personalized. And that often means email must be driven by data from outside the email marketing application via integration. Does the ESP have pre-configured integrations with the platforms you want to integrate with?
  • Segmentation and Targeting – We all know smaller, more targeted email lists consistently perform better in terms of opens, click throughs and conversions. Being able to send the right message, at the right time, 
to the right audience. Can you search and select based on date ranges, values and value ranges? How easily can you determine past recipient behavior? Does the platform offer support for data tables (relational data)? Can you do complex filtering, combining logical and/or statements without knowing SQL (Structured Query Language)? Also ask about frequency and timing filtering factors so you can make sure subscribers are not emailed too frequently.
  • Reporting and Analysis – We all know the “standard” measurements: sends, deliveries, opens, click throughs and forwards. What’s critical for measuring the effectiveness of your email campaigns? Make adjustments to optimize ROI over time. Make sure you’re clear on the metrics that matter for your business and review how well the reporting capabilities of the ESP match those needs. What level of detailed reporting is available for bounce messages (i.e. why did a message bounce)? Does the ESP offer downloadable, programmable (i.e. set and forget), post-click through reporting? Do you have flexibility to customize the reports? How easy is it to export results so they can be used with other tools or data? Look for the ability to tag links for analysis in Web analytics tools, as well as the ability to share information between web analytics, CRM and email applications.

Do your research.

WhoWhenWhereWhyHowDon’t take their word for it, ask these important questions when it comes to choosing the right ESP to do business with.

  • What is their deliverability rate? Is deliverability consistently monitored?
  • Is the ESP rated by analysts like Forrester, eMarketer, ClickZ or MarketingSherpa?
  • Can you have your own dedicated IP mail server address? Is there an extra cost? Can you elect to be in a shared or distributed IP mail server pool?
  • Does the ESP have a team of postmasters to interact with ISPs?
  • Is there reputation support within the ESP service offering, including whitelisting, enrollment to feedback loops, authentication protocols and optimization for all?

Talk to others that have experience working with ESPs.

  • Join an email group on LinkedIn and see what they discuss. LinkedIn Group members are a great resource. They will give you their personal experiences just be sure to be very specific with your questions.
  • Other Marketing Professionals
 from your local AMA (American Marketing Association) or Chamber can also provide some great feedback on their experiences.

Narrow down your choices to two or three.

Request a FREE trial from the ESP. Use their service for a month and see how well it works for your organization. If the ESP you’re interested in doesn’t offer this option, ask them if they have a reseller or partner that does.

Effective email marketing is difficult and unfortunately it’s only going to get harder. Review potential ESPs before entering into a long-term relationship. Doing careful research will make your email marketing easier and more profitable.

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WHEN should your business send emails?

Traditionally marketers have been told to schedule their email campaigns to be sent out early in the day on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. However, in a recent study by MailerMailer released in July, those days and times have some surprising changes. It seems Sunday through Thursday have some of the highest open and click through rates, Sunday being the highest.

Open Rates

Sunday overwhelmingly beat out the other days with a 12.3% open rate average. This translates into people planning for their week ahead from home. It is evident from this report that emails sent earlier in the week are opened more frequently.

Click Through Rates

Sunday also beat out the other days in click through rates with an average rate of 5.1%. Thursday is the second highest day for clicks, but definitely behind Sunday. This one is probably the most important to pay attention to since it is ultimately the click throughs that will bring business to your site.

Time of Day

The study also took a look at what time of day emails were sent in terms of opens and clicks. There was a definite dip in open and click through rates throughout the middle part of the day. This trend most likely occurs because recipients are more preoccupied during midday hours and cannot check their inbox. Surprisingly, midnight and 4:00am had the highest open rate and the highest click through rate. Doesn’t anyone sleep these days?

So what does all of this tell us? Try sending an email campaign on Sunday at midnight or Thursday at 3:00am and see if you get a better response from your prospects or customers. It is important that you test every day of the week and at various times for your list. What works for you could be very different than what this study found.

Need help with your Email Marketing efforts? Contact SiteLogic today.

5 Easy Email Rules for Better Open Rates

Everyone knows that getting people to open emails these days can be a challenge, especially when we are getting inundated with dozens of messages a day. Make sure you are using these 5 basic rules and you can ensure that your message will get read and your open rates will improve leading to more sales.

Send it from a real person

Make sure your emails are coming from the appropriate department. If your sales team is sending out an email, have a specific address for their department (sales@sitelogic.com). Even better, have separate addresses for specific people on your team (joe.sales@sitelogic.com) to give your emails a personal touch. If you can’t get that specific, consider adding a customer service or info address to your emails so that people know they can hit “reply” if they have questions and expect to get answers.

Keep the message first and the “small print” last

The most important parts of your email should be the subject and the first few lines. Remember what your message is, and send it in the very beginning. Don’t waste your time (or your customer’s) with a message that starts off with, “Having trouble viewing this message,” “View this email as a web page, or the worst, “If you would like to receive our monthly newsletter, please add AnnoyingNewsletter@newsletter.com to your address book!” Keep the small print at the bottom of the email. Also remember to always include the unsubscribe link at the bottom as a good email practice. The unsubscribe link should go to a page on your website to better define what they want to be unsubscribed from (newsletters, promotions, etc.) that way you don’t loose the contact entirely.

Get to the point

Attention span and time is short these days, so don’t write an entire paragraph about something you can break up with bullet points. If people want to read a book they will download one from Amazon. Be sure to use bold or italic text for important statements as well.

Limit your call to actions

Use ONE call to action! Too many calls to action is like your three kids trying to get your attention all at the same time when you are on the phone with your boss and trying to make dinner.  Give the reader something to focus on and they will more than likely take action.

Give the reader a chance to spread the word

Make sure you have social media links in your email so that if someone wants to spread the word about your 15% Off promo they can. If they are interested enough to download your offer, why not invite them to share your content and encourage more people to do so? Give them an easy way to spread the news about the offer with their Facebook friends, Twitter followers and LinkedIn connections. The more prospects you drive to your landing pages, the more leads you’ll be generating.

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