Creating compelling messaging that motivates buyers to take action is only one part of the email marketing equation. Another vital component is expanding the audience for those messages. In the past, we revealed five easy ways to grow your email list.
Marketing trends may ebb and flow, but email marketing still delivers a higher ROI than any other digital channel. Even in 2017, email continues to outperform other mediums because it reaches every demographic, offering a powerful solution that appeals to many different audience groups.
You may think you know your email list pretty well, but if you haven’t used data to enrich your customer insights, you’re just looking at the tip of the iceberg. One great data-driven way to maximize your marketing efforts and boost ROI is list segmentation. HubSpot found that email marketers who segmented their lists had markedly higher click-through rates than those who did not:
Marketers love lead nurturing. In fact, 43 percent of marketers say lead nurturing is among their most important objectives. What’s more, 57 percent of marketers say lead nurturing is one of the most strategic goals of their marketing automation strategies.
It’s natural to be curious about the online behavior of customers and prospects. What social networks do they use most often? Which sources do they turn to for news?
Thanks to new technology, the answers to these questions are no longer out of reach. Marketers have the resources they need to gather data about how these individuals behave, which then evolves into knowledge. (And as we all know, knowledge is power.) This information serves as a platform for better understanding your audience and creating email marketing campaigns that align with your findings.
When it comes to better understanding your customers’ identities, hashed emails are one of the most powerful tools at your disposal. Here’s a closer look at how they work and how to make them work for you.
Today, consumers are buying more online than they are in stores — and for good reason. Thanks to speedy delivery options, consumers can get their products quickly while avoiding the long lines and crowds we often see at stores.
That’s not to say that every consumer prefers the online retail experience. Some would rather visit the store in person before they decide to buy. They may find it beneficial to speak directly with workers at the store and receive their assistance. In other cases, they may just want to see the product firsthand and test it out.
The trick is to retain these in-store customers while encouraging online shoppers to visit the store, as well. Retail email marketing is a powerful tool for making this happen.
Here are five ways retailers can connect the in-store experience to the online experience.
We're excited to bring you this infographic from WebsiteBuilder. Scroll down to learn 119 facts about email marketing you may not know.
You’re a loyal customer who loves a brand’s boots, but suddenly, ads for their sleeping bags start popping up. What’s the deal? You’ve only ever bought their boots, and you’re more about the great indoors than the the great outdoors. So why are they targeting you with a sleeping bag?
It’s impersonal and irritating: Does your favorite brand even know you?
Customer intelligence allows you to know interests and wants of your customers and prospects, and lets you reach your audience with the right message at the right time.
Here’s how you can use customer intelligence to refine your email strategy.
The efforts and money spent behind performing your email campaigns will be justified with the increased number of email open rates and improved number subscribers for your brand.
As an email marketer — and a consumer — you’ve likely seen some triggered emails in your own personal inbox. These messages are incredibly powerful when used correctly.
Think about it: When was the last time you took advantage of free shipping or a discount from a retailer after abandoning your cart? It jumpstarted your loyalty.
Triggered email messaging can also be used for more than just abandoned shopping carts or welcome emails.
Here’s how you can use triggered emails to achieve success.
Personal. Empathetic. Authentic.
They’re words to live by, and also the core of HubSpot’s philosophy of creating a delightful customer experience. This theme both inspired us and taught us, from big name speakers (yes, we heard a moving talk with a former First Lady!) to sessions from top-notch thought leaders.
Here are 3 teachable moments and inspiring takeaways from INBOUND 2017.
There’s no denying promotional emails tend to consume the bulk of an email marketing team’s creative energy. After all, these are the communications most often responsible for driving immediate action and bringing in a healthy ROI. And personalization takes that even further — brands that personalize promotional marketing emails earn 11 percent higher click-to-open rates and 27 percent higher unique click rates and than those that don’t use personalization, according to Experian.
In other words, a personalized promotional email can drive a massive amount of conversions in a short period of time. But while these messages are important, focusing all your email personalization efforts on promotional campaigns can be a mistake.
Transactional emails need love, too. And personalizing these sorts of messages can help kick relationships with new subscribers off on the right foot, and help keep existing customers satisfied and engaged. Frankly, if you’re not making subscribers feel special with each and every message, there’s a good chance you’re going to lose them to a competitor who does.
Opening a website only to have a pop-up box greet you is one of the most annoying online experiences.
If you’ve ever cleaned out a closet, you know the fulfillment and satisfaction that comes with organizing and decluttering a space. Often, you discover items you forgot you had, eliminate junk you no longer need and have a much easier time finding a clean shirt on an otherwise frantic Monday morning. It just feels good.
And if you’ve ever completed a thorough email list cleaning, you know it offers a similar feeling of accomplishment.
Suddenly, campaigns are easier to assemble and yield better results, hard bounces decrease and your sender reputation is more likely to improve. Plus, without inactive addresses cluttering up your contact lists, your campaign results more accurately reflect your efforts.
Overall, email list cleaning is one of the best things you can do for your organization’s email marketing program. But how do you make sure your efforts are most effective?
In email marketing, it often comes down to semantics. Copy needs to be casual yet informative, and persuasive but not pushy. It needs to be engaging, but also personal and friendly.
Technology and the rapid growth of data can be a double-edged sword for modern marketers. On one hand, you have access to more information and tools than ever before — but, on the other hand, trends and customer expectations shift quickly, and it can be difficult to keep up.
Today, consumers not only expect brands to provide them a highly relevant and customized experience, they also demand a seamless experience across all channels and devices. How can you, a busy marketer, meet these growing expectations?
It’s time to meet your new sidekick: omnichannel marketing.
Your email marketing campaigns are chugging along. Subscribers are engaged, open rates are satisfactory and conversions are strong. You’ve reached a state of marketing bliss — that cozy, unfamiliar and often fleeting feeling marketing professionals enjoy when the stars align and everything is optimized for success. You might as well kick back and relax for once, right?
Not so fast. Just because your email marketing strategy seems perfect doesn’t mean there isn’t potential for even better campaign performance.
Here are a few signs it’s time to take a fresh look.
Some things will never change:
However, when it comes to connecting with an individual consumer, things are changing constantly. And if you want to connect with that subscriber at the right time, on the right channel, with the right content, you’re going to need as much data about him or her as possible.
Whether you’ve been an email marketer for several years or you’re fresh on the scene, there’s a good chance you’ve heard the term email validation.
In an email marketer’s perfect world, subscribers would never have to leave their inbox to complete transactions.
And while it’s pretty impressive that marketing emails have evolved from generic plaintext to highly personalized and remarkably interactive, more often than not, you still need to send subscribers to a landing page.
To make sure your landing pages offer the same value and positive user experience as your emails, take advantage of the three tips below.
It’s time to leave behind flat, static emails. After all, if your current and potential customers wanted to consume motionless, non-shareable content, they’d just read a newspaper or a magazine.
Every couple of years, a marketing thought leader predicts the demise of email. And every couple of years, they’re proven wrong.
If you’ve ever been unfortunate enough to send an email with an error, you know the feeling of instant regret.
Now imagine emailing that same error to your entire contact base. Mortifying, isn’t it?
While tradeshows and conferences can be a great excuse to get out of town for a few days, being able to attend an event in your own city is pretty wonderful.
Care to make a wager on the number of marketing technology (martech) solutions currently on the market?
Want to know a secret? Even the biggest brands in the world have to deal with email deliverability issues.
Maybe it’s because it’s been around for so long, but it seems as if there is a plethora of misinformation and contradictions surrounding email marketing.
The concept of cross-channel marketing has been around only since 2005 (in fact, Google Trends shows legitimately zero search volume for the term before then.)
Effective marketing is vital to increasing your business’ overall profitability and success, but putting together a strong campaign may seem impossible if you're operating on a meager budget.
This can create a vicious cycle in which small companies feel the need to bring in more revenue in order to pay for marketing but need better marketing to attract more business in the first place.
The word “automation” conjures visions of cyborgs, machines, AI, robots — in other words, pretty much the opposite of organic or human.
And in the world of email marketing where personalized, customer-centric messaging is a must, the idea of using automation seems rather counterintuitive. In reality, using automation in email marketing enables you to create campaigns that speak to your audience on an even more personal level.
Find out the basics of email marketing automation and why every marketer should use it.
Who doesn’t love feeling like a VIP? I know I do. I might never be a celebrity, but when Uber sends me a promo code for two free trips to the airport or Halsted Street Deli offers me a 99-cent bagel with cream cheese, I can’t help but feel a little special.
Customer loyalty programs with custom perks like these are a great way to show your customers you care about them and are dedicated to giving them a positive experience.
Just how important is improving email deliverability? Consider it in the same category as improving your credit score.
In February, I was invited to co-host a webinar with Bounce Exchange’s Conversion Director Inge Konther, about this hot topic. In addition to discussing the current state of email deliverability, we discussed why brands can (and should) use data to build emails their subscribers actually want to read.
If you’re using the same email templates for every campaign, don’t be surprised if your messages become regular occupants of your subscribers’ bulk mail folders.
Your subscribers get a lot of email, which makes it difficult enough to capture their attention and make them want to engage with your brand. So don’t shoot yourself in the foot by sending carbon copies of the same email every time, regardless of the purpose of the campaign.
As fellow experts in the email space, Campaign Monitor is familiar with the struggles marketers face. Recently, the leading provider of email marketing solutions and marketing automation software for growing businesses conducted a survey of marketers at 151 SMBs across the United States.
Building connections with subscribers is fundamental to email marketing. But establishing those customer relationships is only the first step in the process, and marketers who stop there will see the size of their audience declining.
Email marketers must pull double-duty: maintaining and nurturing the relationships with active subscribers and re-engaging users with lower levels of engagement
Here are four great ways to re-engage inactive email subscribers.
New techniques and methodologies are constantly emerging in the world of data-driven marketing. And as a trusted partner of innovative brands across the United States, we at TowerData make it a point to stay up-to-date on the latest strategies.
Last month I attended RampUp 2017 where Joe Stanhope, VP and Principal Analyst at Forrester, gave a presentation on a core capability of TowerData's that has more recently become a hot topic in the industry: identity resolution. Stanhope discussed the basics of identity resolution, including how it offers marketers more profound consumer insights and empowers them to enhance the cross-channel customer experience.
Here are a few highlights from Stanhope’s talk.
The first few months of 2017 have been a whirlwind of marketing exhibitions, conferences and expos.
Most recently, I headed to Las Vegas for MarketingSherpa Summit 2017, a two-day event featuring case studies, how-to sessions, professional certification workshops and presentations from business leaders. This year, the focus of the summit was on teaching marketers how data is the linchpin for effective cross-channel campaigns.
Here’s a summary of the major highlights from the conference.
Whichever their preferred medium of choice (broadcast, print or digital), every successful marketer recognizes the need for a strong mobile strategy.
According to Atlas’ 2015 whitepaper, Behind the Buzz: People-Based Marketing Defined, 25 percent of consumers use three or more devices per day. And 40 percent switch between multiple devices to complete an activity, such as making a purchase.
In other words, brands must build a marketing strategy that leverages data to connect a user’s behavior across channels and devices. But how can marketers get the data they need to make these connections? By utilizing mobile device IDs provided by TowerData.
Humans are visual creatures — we’re naturally attracted to colorful and dynamic images. This means it’s in the best interest of email marketers to leverage this impulse.
And the evidence goes beyond anecdotal: A 2015 BuzzSumo study showed marketing content with images has higher engagement than content without images.
To attract subscribers and keep them interested in your emails, take advantage of these four types of must-have email marketing content.
Email marketers are competitive. They have to be. If they can’t make their messages stand out in crowded inboxes, their emails will never be read.
Most email marketers know one of the biggest keys to success is personalization. But what many don’t realize is personalization goes far beyond simply using a subscriber’s first name or including a reference to their geographic location.
To help you create the kind of emails that will make your competitors envious, check out these four lesser-known email personalization strategies.
There is only one drawback to data-driven marketing: It requires conclusive, comprehensive data to be effective.
While this may seem obvious, some brands continue to make important decisions about their marketing with an inaccurate or incomplete email database. Unfortunately, if they don’t do anything to verify their data (particularly user email addresses), they’ll be unaware of one of the primary reasons their marketing efforts failed.
Email validation (which removes invalid emails from a brand’s database and corrects misspellings as well as syntax errors) can certainly boost a brand’s email marketing efforts, but it also can help the brand’s marketing as a whole. Here are five ways email validation can improve all types of marketing.
As you may or may not be aware, in February Verizon announced it is retiring its email service. As a result, users with Verizon.net email addresses will be required to either migrate their account to AOL Mail or close their account entirely.
What is the most common trait you associate with goldfish, aside from the funeral rite of flushing them down the toilet? Likely, it’s their remarkably short attention span.
But did you know that a human’s average attention span is actually less than that of a goldfish? Yikes.
With only eight seconds (you read that right—eight) to convince someone an email is worth reading, marketers must design a message that is interesting and engaging right off the bat.
To ensure your subscribers make it past the first few words of your message, adopt these three best practices for designing engaging marketing emails.
Email celebrates its 46th birthday this year, and what a journey it’s been. Did you know that email actually predates the internet?
While most technology gets replaced by smaller and more powerful solutions, email traversed the technological revolution virtually unscathed. Even more impressive is that it’s still growing in popularity.
Prepare to be astounded by these surprising facts about the history of email marketing.
Even though Chicago was a pleasant (and uncharacteristic) 58 degrees, who can say no to visiting Palm Springs in the middle of winter and spending five days mingling with retailers like Disney, Nike and Samsung (to name just a few)? Last week, the TowerData team attended eTail West, an annual event dedicated to helping the retail industry expand and innovate.
Here are a few things we learned about the future of retail while networking with 1,200 retailers and 600 retail companies.
Most people believe the idea of referring to junk mail as “spam” is because the emails are considered “fake messages” just as the Hormel product is considered “fake meat.”
But did you know the idea is actually from a Monty Python sketch? It’s true.
Regardless of the origins of the phrase, email marketers are (understandably) insulted when their messages are marked as spam. The way to avoid the shameful moniker is by understanding the importance of email deliverability.
Read on to learn the basics about email deliverability and why it’s a metric every email marketer should care about.
Fun fact: Popular application review site GetApp has listings for over 820 different marketing tools. In other words, marketers have an overwhelming number of technologies available to them.
Unfortunately, not all technology is created equal.
Some sound great in theory but end up making projects more complicated and turn marketing headaches into marketing migraines. Others are well-designed and easy to use but lack key integrations or features, making them about as helpful as a digital paperweight.
But every so often, a solution comes along that is a true game-changer and makes building multi-channel marketing campaigns without it seem like an impossibility.
Allow us to save you the trial-and-error routine with some of our favorite tools.
Email personalization is a retailer’s golden ticket to engaging subscribers, delighting customers and building brand loyalty.
A 2015 report by Aberdeen Group showed personalized email messages increase click-through rates by an average of 14 percent and conversion rates by 10 percent. And according to Experian Marketing Services, personalized emails inspire six times higher transaction rates.
Why do customers love personalized emails so much? Because they offer greater value in the form of highly relevant content and the kind of VIP deals that make your customers feel special.
Smart brands know the way to effectively personalize emails is by using customer data creatively (and correctly) to serve up a truly unique experience. Check out how these three retailers used email personalization to treat their customers right.
What if you had current information on the content a person is interested in and the products they are looking for? What if you had accurate and timely insight into an individual’s unique browsing behavior, preferences and purchase intent? You could reach out to them while they are still shopping and help them decide in your favor. You could influence customers’ buying process and increase sales. Now, you have that power at your fingertips with TowerData’s new Active Customer Intelligence.
There is one universal truth, regardless of your industry: Consumers are notoriously difficult to please. They expect consistent, personalized experiences every time they interact with your brand, and if they don’t get them, they’ll move on.
The holiday season brings out the best in email marketers. There are major gains to be had—especially for retailers, who collectively generate over $3 trillion in sales during the holiday shopping season.
Businesses pull out all the stops in November and December to capitalize on the annual increase in traffic and purchases. We always enjoy seeing the remarkable creativity and what these brands come up with.
Without further adieu, here are our three favorite holiday email marketing campaigns of 2016. We think these will give you some excellent inspiration for your 2017 campaigns.
One of my favorite things about working at TowerData is having the opportunity to collaborate with some of the most innovative brands in the country.
I had the privilege last month of being a guest presenter on a webinar hosted by sales and marketing software provider GreenRope.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions broadly cover human resource, finance, operations and corporate services. For everything else, we have function-specific customer relationship management (CRM) tools, marketing automation tools, social media tools, email marketing tools, and so on.
We at TowerData pride ourselves on using the most up-to-date and comprehensive security practices to protect our clients’ data, which is why we are proud to announce we are now Privacy Shield-certified.
The year is quickly coming to a close, which means it’s time for one of our favorite traditions: TowerData’s annual email marketing predictions.
As you prepare your 2017 email marketing strategy, make sure to keep the following trends and themes in mind.
What’s better than spending a week in picturesque Park City, Utah enjoying powdery snow and copious amounts of steaming hot cocoa? Spending the week with some of the most innovative email marketing professionals in the industry, of course. The MediaPost Email Insider Summit (EIS) is always a memorable experience, and this year was no different.
This year’s featured presentations covered everything from cross-channel strategies, content distribution, email acquisition and attribution to hot new technology. But the overall message of the event was a returned focus on the importance of strategy basics and a reminder not to get swept up in buzzy products that might just be a flash in the pan.
Missed EIS? To keep you in the loop, here are a few of my favorite highlights.
Today, our email addresses are a critical piece of our identity—our passport to the digital world. Each time we create an account on a website, we enter an email address and, often, don’t think twice about it. When we started TowerData in 2001, though, this wasn’t the case.
Getting started with email marketing is like looking under the hood of your car. Even if you’re not a mechanic, you likely have a general understanding of what you’re looking at—the engine, the battery, the windshield washer fluid reservoir.
Today’s customer is a cross-channel shopper—they use different combinations of social media, instant messenger, email, mobile apps, tablets, smartphones, desktop computers, in-store browsing and now wearable technology to make a purchasing decision.
If brands want to capitalize on every opportunity to help customers make the right decision, they must use cross-channel strategies.
Last week I visited New York City for ad:tech, a semi-annual marketing and media technology event.
This year’s ad:tech marks the 20th anniversary of the conference, which offers presentations by industry leaders, workshops and exhibitions of the latest technology. I’ve regularly attended the show since 2002, and this year I had the pleasure of manning the TowerData booth.
Have you ever had a friend who tries too hard? Perhaps they talk way too much but never say anything of value. Maybe they are a little too clingy. Or perhaps they embellish the truth or even lie to seem relevant. These friends just want to be accepted and involved, but their desperate attempts end up pushing people away.
The same can be said of certain email strategies. Brands want to connect with their customers and try to do so in different ways. But sometimes their efforts do more harm than good. Here are six things email marketers do that drive customers crazy.
The DMA’s annual &THEN marketing conference, the nation’s longest-standing direct marketing conference and exhibition. With 11 consecutive years under our belt, it’s been an interesting journey as the show evolves from a traditional direct marketing conference to a modern digital marketing event.
The best marketers are always six months ahead of schedule. While the rest of the world is eagerly anticipating the start of the holiday season, these marketers have their sights set on the summer of 2017.
With so many communication channels at our disposal, and an unprecedented degree of social connectedness, political elections have become intensely competitive and downright overwhelming.
To defuse the situation, we voters have mastered the art of deflection. We toss direct mailers out as junk, hang up on telemarketers mid-sentence, quickly change the channel during TV spots and scroll past Facebook ads at blinding speed.
The first few correspondences with a new contact are the most important of the entire relationship. If done well, these interactions will pave the foundation for lifelong loyalty and repeat business. But, if done improperly, these interactions can kill the relationship before it even has a chance to blossom. And, as you probably already guessed, customer data plays a major role. So if you’re wondering if data can help you build trust—the answer is yes, and also no. Confused? No worries! In today’s video I’m breaking it all down. Check it out:
Did you know that the average shopping cart abandonment rate is more than 60 percent across the entire web? Ask any eCommerce business about their most challenging pain points, and they’re sure to mention this frustration. But while this widespread issue can be a thorn in your side, those who figure out how to prevent shopping cart abandonment from happening or persuade customers to return and complete their orders are at a significant advantage over those still working on runaway customers.
To shed light on this dilemma, VWO surveyed over 1,000 online shoppers between the ages of 18 and 65 to find out the most common reasons why customers abandon shopping carts. What they discovered may surprise you.
In just two months, the largest shopping season of the year will be under way, and most retailers are putting the final touches on their carefully crafted holiday campaigns. How can you make sure you’re getting the biggest return on the time and effort you’ve spent on these campaigns?
Whether you’re an online retailer, brick and mortar, or both—customer loyalty programs bring huge sales success. But here’s the thing: If you want your loyalty program to make an impact, don’t wait until 2017 to kick off.
Despite chatter that “snail mail” is becoming a trend of the past, marketers are still finding this channel incredibly lucrative. That’s because, while the digital space is becoming more and more crowded, the postal service is delivering fewer and fewer mailers. Less competition in your prospect’s mailbox means a greater opportunity for your brand to make an impact. There’s just one issue ...
Labor Day has come and gone, kids have returned to school and most marketers are counting the days until they can launch their holiday campaigns and finish out another successful year. But before we file away our summertime memories and pull out the cable knit, let’s take one more fond look back on a few of the email campaigns that impressed us most last season.
Here are three clever and inspiring summer email campaigns we loved.
As a modern marketer with practically unlimited consumer data at your fingertips, it’s not uncommon to feel a little bit like Big Brother. The sheer volume of information available to you is impressive and can help fuel a positive experience for your prospects—but, if mishandled, can be downright unnerving. If your marketing gives your audience the creeps, it will turn them off from your brand.
Last week, we talked about the six tactics you should avoid like the plague. Today, we’re going to talk about how you can personalize successfully.
Every marketer wants to appeal to their target audience with the most relevant and personalized experience possible. After all, that’s how brands create a unique and memorable buyer experience; one that makes your customer feel valued. But some marketers aren’t seeing great results from their personalization efforts. And if your strategies aren’t yielding the healthy results you’d expected, there’s likely a good reason.
To help save you from wasting your time and marketing budget on faulty strategies, today we’re going to share six personalization tactics you should definitely avoid:
Despite all the intelligence and data available to us, it’s sometimes difficult for marketers to determine why one email campaign is a mega success that yields an enormous percentage of clicks, opens and conversions, while another is a dud. This is especially frustrating when you’ve put equal amounts of time, effort and other resources into both campaigns. We’ve all been there—and it’s not a great feeling.
Imagine you purchase a gift for your spouse from a retailer. Even though you’ve provided the retailer with a wealth of information—your name, age, gender, geographical location and even the fact that the item was a gift—they begin targeting you with ads for other merchandise similar to the gifted item. Would you feel irritated? Perhaps even annoyed enough to opt ot of future marketing messages?
Your customers would. In fact, they do it all the time.
Why do you remember some advertisements with vivid clarity while the thousands of others you encounter on a daily basis are instantly forgotten? It’s not complex science or some sort of voodoo magic employed by successful brands to entrance their audience (if only it were that easy). The answer is much simpler: emotional targeting.
Email marketing remains one of the most powerful lead generators for any organization. In fact, 73% of marketers agree email marketing is core to their business. Given the importance of this channel, the mere thought of switching to a new ESP (email service provider) is enough to make a marketer’s stomach flip.
Marketing and advertising have come a long way since the 1960s. The well-dressed, martini-swilling, creative-driven advertising executives of the mid-century—as portrayed in “Mad Men”—remind us that tried-and-true marketing strategies, like audience-centric messaging, are still the cornerstone of modern marketing. But technology has raised the stakes, allowing marketers to be more data-driven in messaging, targeting and more.
According to the National Retail Federation, families are expected to “spend more freely” this year on school and college supplies—$7.8 billion more. For retailers, this means major opportunity to see a spike in sales. The key to capitalizing on the second biggest shopping season of the year? Bring in-store and online experiences together.
People’s attention spans seem to get shorter and shorter every year. Recent attention span statistics show the average attention span today is only 8.25 seconds, which is nearly four seconds shorter than 15 years ago. For a marketing standpoint, this means people expect to get what they want quickly and easily—especially online.
When was the last time someone forwarded you an email? If you’re like me, it probably hasn’t happened in quite awhile. But that doesn’t mean people aren’t still sharing great email content with their friends, family and other contacts. More often than not, it’s happening via social media instead.
Transactional emails are key to any email strategy because they empower users to take a next action. In the most basic sense, a transactional email is sent to someone because of their inaction or a specific action they took. These types of emails include things like email address confirmations, password resets, purchase receipts and monthly invoices.
Transactional emails, or relationship-based emails, can also be beneficial to email marketers for automated re-engagement campaigns, upsell emails or other autoresponders that present an opportunity to engage contacts with personalized messaging.
It may be summertime, but some people are already planning for the holidays, especially retail marketers. It’s never too early to start strategizing your email marketing plan to drive sales and revenue this holiday season, and for good reason—in 2014, the primary driver of U.S. online sales on Black Friday for marketers was email, which accounted for 27.3 percent of sales.
Maintaining a healthy reputation with ISPs and ESPs, and achieving a high deliverability rate is becoming increasingly challenging for marketers today. Even if your email address acquisition practices are organic, and they follow all the standards for email marketing, they still run the risk of falling victim to spam traps. And because spam traps, bounce rates and complaint rates will determine your reputation as a sender, you can’t afford to ignore this fact.
Market research is an incredibly important part of any business strategy, especially for marketers trying to determine how to best engage with their audience and persuade them to take action. Third-party data, whether from quantitative surveys, focus groups or email enhancement data via email intelligence, can lead to valuable insight about what customers want and how you can meet their expectations. Coupled with existing research, these insights can drive even greater connections with your customers.
“I found the exact item I want, online, for a great price—so I’ll buy it next week,” said no one, ever. In the age of Amazon one-click shipping, same-day delivery services, ride-sharing and other near-instant gratification offerings we can purchase wherever and whenever we want—and “when” is usually “now.”
Consumers feel a sense of time pressure to buy, whether or not they actually need the item in that moment. By better understanding time pressure, marketers can meet consumers exactly when and where they’re most likely to engage them.
As an email marketer, you’re always aiming to connect with your audience in a way that inspires loyalty and action. A message that drives a subscriber to convert is one form of success, but a message that leads a subscriber to share with others? That’s something truly special. But how can you make more shareable emails?
According to a 2016 report from the Content Marketing Institute, 76 percent of B2B marketers will create more content this year than they did in 2015. And for 57 percent of survey respondents, finding more and better ways to repurpose the content they create is one of the top five priorities content creators will focus on this year. Email is one of the key channels businesses can use to repurpose content that is compelling and achieve email marketing results.
Here are three steps to repurpose content such as blog posts, eBooks, infographics, and videos into powerful email marketing campaigns.
With the rate of unwanted, “spammy” emails reaching nearly 50% in 2015, email deliverability remains a top concern for database marketing teams. And the penalties for not complying with the CAN-SPAM Act are hefty—for each email you send that violates the 2003 CAN-SPAM Act, the FTC can fine you up to $16,000. That’s $16,000 for every individual email address that receives a non-compliant message. If you’re sending messages to a rather large list, non-compliance can be costly.
So how does the FTC know if your email qualifies as spam? Basically, email spam filters look for spammy signals in your content. Each signal is assigned a specific score. Your message receives a total score, which determines whether or not your email is delivered.
This post was originally published on Relevance.com.
It’s finally the season for travel, leisure and those long-awaited summer vacations your prospects have been dreaming about. While some people love the process of choosing a destination, the hotel and other aspects of a getaway, it can also feel like information overload—especially when the hopeful traveler visits 38 travel sites, on average, before booking.
For marketers in the travel sector, email is an effective way to capitalize on consumer travel plans. And with so many travel websites, hotel options and destinations to choose from, businesses that specialize in travel and leisure can leverage email to stay top of mind among busy consumers as they plan their much-needed vacations.
Here are three examples of travel emails that do an incredible job engaging and entertaining wandering vacation shoppers:
Here at TowerData, we’re proud of our email data API. In its role supporting our Email Validation and Email Intelligence services, the TowerData API has a big job. It’s humming along 24/7/365 supporting over 6 billion events a year.
Email marketers sometimes have a bad habit of being too wordy, which means achieving the proper balance between providing adequate information and not overdoing the details makes email optimization challenging. But if your subject line enticed the recipient enough to open the email, it’s important the actual content is worth their click.
In this post, we’ll discuss how email length impacts engagement, inbox placement rate and clicks.
If you’ve been involved in the email marketing industry for even a brief period of time, you’ve probably noticed it’s a tight-knit community. Whether you’re a modern business seeking new products or tools to assist you in growing and engaging your customer base, or you’re an email technology partner seeking to improve the way businesses communicate with their audience, attend any industry event and you’re liable to see plenty of familiar faces. Last week’s inaugural Email Innovation Summit was no exception.
You probably know Robin Roberts as the warm, relatable and ever-positive co-host of “Good Morning America” who rose in recognition following her public battle with breast cancer. But, unless you’ve researched her further, you probably don’t know a whole lot more about her backstory. At last week’s Salesforce Connections in Atlanta, Roberts shared her career climb, challenges and lessons during a candid keynote address. As she spoke, I couldn’t help but notice: Roberts’ story isn’t unlike the story of a successful business.
I know it sounds a little crazy, but bear with me.
Here are four things you and your brand can learn from Roberts.
The term “newsletter” sounds archaic, doesn’t it? Like something distributed by your grandparents’ condo association announcing a new water aerobics class, or something pinned to the bulletin board in your dentist’s waiting room. While it may seem outdated, a study by Forrester found that one in five email recipients reads every email newsletter they receive. If you’re not sending out a regular email newsletter, you could be missing a huge opportunity to engage with your subscribers.
Here are a few tips to help you drive huge engagement through your company’s email newsletter.
Cookies offer marketers a wealth of information about the way their prospects navigate the internet via desktop, from the sites they visit to the social profiles they own and the pages they viewed and clicked within your website. There’s just one problem: According to Google’s blog, “More Google searches take place on mobile devices than desktop in 10 countries including the U.S. and Japan.” And all this mobile browsing is lost to cookies. But, it’s still possible to track, and that’s where identity matching or unified data comes in.
Think about the last time you made a large purchase. Did you immediately hop online to do some research about your options and pricing? Or did you go to a store or call customer service to engage with a salesperson? If you’re like most Americans, you didn’t follow the traditional sales process. That’s because today, customers get through 60% of the sales process by engaging with (and only with) online content, according to a study by Google and CEB.
Part of this could be because people tend to trust their peers through reviews, word-of-mouth recommendations or online influencers more than salespeople or traditional advertising.
Email marketing remains one of the most effective means for communicating with potential and current customers. But your unsubscribe rate could be an indicator of poor email performance. Industry data shows varying average unsubscribe rates by industry—for example, media/publishing companies experienced the lowest average unsubscribe rates in 2015 at 0.06%. On the other hand, real estate and construction companies had the highest unsubscribe from email rates last year at 0.3%. With more enhanced email intelligence, you can experience fewer unsubscribes by delivering more personalized content and targeted offers to your contacts.
Here are a few more things to consider about why your unsubscribe rates might be dipping as you investigate your email intelligence options.
Back in October, we published The Ultimate Email Marketer’s Glossary—a list of the top 10 data management and email marketing terms all email marketing gurus should know.
Because we’ve been focusing so much on the importance of both storytelling and personalization in email marketing, it only made sense to create another glossary around content-focused email marketing campaigns.
About 7% of U.S. residents age 16 or older, or 17.6 million Americans, were victims of identity fraud in 2014, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics. Chances are, you or one of your customers has become a victim of this epidemic.
Have you ever been to an upscale restaurant and ordered what you thought was a standard cocktail only to be overwhelmed by the most delicious, expertly crafted concoction you’ve ever tasted? Try as you might, you were never truly able to recreate the magic—not on your own, and not at your local neighborhood bar. It’s not that you didn’t have the right ingredients, it’s that you didn’t have the right steps, proportions or specially sourced products. When it comes to a masterfully mixed drink, you can really only trust a well-trained expert.
There’s nothing worse than receiving an email meant to be personalized that totally misses the mark. As marketers, we have a lot of valuable information about our customers and failing to use it correctly can result in a flopped campaign. Instead of relying on purchase data to fuel post-purchase engagements, go the extra mile.
In this video, I discuss a few ways you can wow your customers by combining other data points with purchase information. Here’s how to give your messages context and offer your subscribers the best experience possible.
There are two things I learned at the 2016 Email Evolution Conference last week: First, there’s no such thing as a bad meal in New Orleans. (OK, I’ve known that for awhile.) Second, the next big trend in email marketing is building tools to make all the previously predicted big email marketing trends a reality—and making currently existing tools easier to use.
Marketing SaaS solutions can be a little tricky sometimes. You can’t really offer loyalty programs or promo codes the way traditional retailers can, and if your service is free, it’s even more crucial to keep your customers engaged with your brand so your advertisers continue to see traffic.
Considering that (presumably) nearly 100 percent of your current and prospective customers spend a healthy portion of their day in front of a computer, email marketing is an effective way to promote your solution, and there are some excellent strategies you can employ to build brand loyalty via email. Below are three examples from SaaS providers who have found a good formula for using Saas email marketing to do just that.
As a marketer, it’s not enough to simply keep your clients treading water. Traffic, conversions, engagement—sure, all these things are great. But to provide sustainable value, you have to help your clients beat out their competition on a regular basis. Often, that means going against the grain.
For example, as recently as last year marketers were falsely predicting email’s demise. But the most successful marketers realized that while email marketing was evolving, it wasn’t any less valuable. In fact, it’s even more important. And now those who recently banished email are scrambling to rebuild their email marketing strategy and keep up with those who ignored the unfounded warnings. To be clear: The future of email marketing isn’t just bright, it’s on fire. And there is no shortage of innovative options for setting your clients apart.
Here are five trends to keep in mind as you close out the first quarter of 2016 and prepare your clients’ email strategy for the rest of the year.
Your brand followers are pretty amazing. They have great taste (they’re into your brand, after all). But they also have smart ideas, witty quips, stay on trend and often, can be downright inspiring.
For these reasons, user-generated content shouldn’t be overlooked as part of your marketing strategy. When correctly implemented, it’s a great way to fortify the bond between customer and brand, and to help audience members feel that they’re being heard. At the same time, user-generated content increases SEO traffic and helps your business collect invaluable intel.
There are many benefits, but there are also risks.
An effective salesperson doesn’t buttonhole a client, fill their ears with a pitch they’ve already heard a thousand times, and before they can say a word, hand them a business card and say, “Call me.”
And then walk away, confident that they will.
Good person-to-person pitches are creative and engaging and good email pitches should be, too. Making your emails interactive is a hot marketing trend that gives your brand an edge over traditional approaches. Segmentation, personalization and hitting your audience with lively and alluring content is real-time marketing your subscribers won’t be able to resist.
Here are eight approaches that will reach your client base and give them a chance to reach back.
For the past several years, marketing thought leaders have been calling mobile one of the “biggest trends.” If you aren’t taking advantage of mobile, they said (and we did, too) then you were leaving piles of potential revenue sitting on the table. But here’s the thing: Mobile isn’t just a trend—it’s not a fad or a flash-in-the-pan concept. Mobile is here to stay.
But how do you know if you’re doing mobile right? Sure, you’ve seen a jump in engagement—but how do you know you’re taking full advantage? To help you determine your next move, we’re sharing a few mobile marketing tactics you should use right now.
Pop quiz! Which type of email yields the highest open rates?
No, it’s not the preview of your biggest sale of the year, or even your most popular coupon.
The emails opened most often are post-purchase emails. In our next series, we’ll talk all about post-purchase messages to help you make the most of this opportunity. Today, I’m kicking things off by sharing a few reasons why post-purchase emails are so important, then we’ll talk about the key elements every post-purchase email should include for maximum engagement.
Check out the videos below to learn more!
Most people have more than one email account, and sift through an average of 122 business emails per day. What does this mean for your email marketing campaigns? To drive higher open rates and engagement, you’re going to have to pull your subscribers in—and keep them wanting more.
The hard truth is this: Your recipients are inundated with messaging, and quick to delete or pass up anything that doesn’t immediately pique their interest. Which means email marketers have been challenged with finding new and creative ways to overcome email boredom or frustration and snag attention. To help you hook your subscribers, we’ve compiled five tips to make your emails more interesting:
As you’ve probably noticed, retail emails continue to get better—with better targeted content, more enticing design and irresistible offers. As a retail marketer, this means the competition is getting tough. To captivate your audience, you have to do more than play by the rules—you have to make the rules. When it comes to email marketing customers love, innovation is key.
To help you blitz the competition, and earn more loyal customers, check out these four fire-hot retail email trends.
Super Size Me, the legendary documentary directed by Morgan Spurlock, grossed more than $22 million in the box office, an Academy Award nomination and led to a serious shakeup of the fast food industry and consumer lifestyle choices. But, why? People knew regularly consuming fast food was unhealthy long before the film’s release in 2004.
The answer is simple: Spurlock didn’t release a whitepaper full of facts and figures—he told a story. And storytelling, as we now know, is one of the most powerful ways to connect with your audience and share your message.
Last week, MailChimp posted an article about why your inactive subscribers are valuable. They discovered that, although many industry experts for years have been telling email marketers to delete inactives, these addresses may actually be worth saving.
While reading the article, I couldn’t shake this strange feeling of deja vu. It’s almost as if I’d heard the same concept before. (Maybe here, here or here?)
It’s true. We’ve been saying it for a while now: Your inactive file could be a gold mine of prospects just waiting for the right offer.
In other words, we agree with the folks at MailChimp. If you’re still pruning inactives, here are the top reasons why you should step back from the “delete” button and change your strategy.
Last month, we talked about some of the deadliest and most treacherous email delusions we’ve stumbled across. Guess what? We’re not done. Believe it or not, there is still one risky myth that needs busted.
Customers don’t always tell you what they want, so it’s a good thing you’re clairvoyant. Oh wait, you’re not? In that case, you’ll probably want to keep reading.
As an email marketer, you know consumers have very specific wants, needs and expectations. If you don’t deliver, they’ll unsubscribe faster than you can say, “Shoot, that was a mistake.”
Fortunately, the mindset of your customers doesn’t need to remain a mystery. Below, we’ve identified four things your email subscribers might not tell you in so many words—but they definitely want.
Last month, Google published an article stating its research found “marketers who try to reach their audience solely on demographics risk missing more than 70% of potential mobile shoppers.” If you’re like most marketers, this likely caught you off guard. Aren’t demographics the quintessential type of consumer data? The foundation of all great campaigns?
A great email can transform a prospect into a customer or a loyal customer into a brand advocate. It has the power to alter relationships, inspire engagement and change the way your subscribers interact with your brand forever. That is, assuming the email gets delivered.
If you’re looking to be a stronger marketer in 2016, you won’t find a more appropriate goal than resolving to make better use of your marketing data. Of course, for most of us, that’s easier said than done. While the industry began embracing Big Data years ago, many marketers are still challenged by mining, manipulating and leveraging their data in a way that brings tangible results. Luckily, it is possible.
As you begin your journey into making 2016 your most accomplished year yet, here are four tips to keep you on the right path toward more data-driven wins.
Just because your email campaigns are doing well doesn't mean they couldn’t be doing better. There are plenty of opportunities for fine-tuning your strategy to help increase opens, clicks and conversions. Your ultimate goal? To do more of the things that work, fix or eliminate the things that don’t work and drive the most revenue possible from your email marketing activities.
Here are our top tips for making that happen.
Over the past few years, we’ve noticed an emerging trend in the marketing world: email marketing professionals no longer are focusing solely on email. As marketing teams break out of their silos, today’s email specialists are expected to take on a whole host of endeavors simultaneously, including social media, data analysis and paid marketing. For companies, this means more well-rounded strategies. But, as a marketer, it’s not uncommon to feel pulled in a million directions. How can you connect the dots across multiple channels to produce successful, highly targeted campaigns?
The answer is data. (But you already knew that’s what I was going to say, didn’t you?)
The truth is that using one channel to guide the other can make your life much easier—and your strategies more effective. Today, we’re going to talk about three ways you can use PPC to improve your email strategy, and vise versa.
Some myths are harmless. (The tooth fairy, for example.) Then there are myths that can cause your business a lot of turmoil—like misguided advice about email marketing. As we’ve discussed previously, while the Internet is rife with helpful information on best practices for your campaigns, there are also some email rules you should ignore.
We all know and fear the spam folder: the sad place where otherwise perfect messaging goes to die. Fail to follow correct email deliverability best practices, and your message is exiled to the land of no-return leads, the final resting place of an average of the more than 80 percent of marketing emails that are never opened.
When it comes to advice on your email marketing strategy, we hear a lot of conflicting rules. Of course, seasoned email marketers know there’s no silver bullet to transform results from zero to hero overnight. The truth is, what works for one marketer might fail miserably for another. The only way to know which email strategy works best for your company is to test, test and test some more.
Tomorrow evening, we’ll don our party hats for the last event of the holiday season and prepare to ring in a fresh start. For many, today is the last official working day of 2015. And as we reflect on the many successes of the past 12 months, many email marketers are wondering what the next year has in store. Last year, while some were predicting the demise of email, we predicted 2015 would be its next defining year. From drilling down on ROI to micro-targeting, we saw many of our email predictions come to fruition this year. Here’s to continuing the trend.
Without further ado, here’s what our crystal ball shows for 2016:
Growing your email list is one of the most important things you can do as a marketer—not just because it offers you the opportunity to communicate directly with your prospects, but because it’s your key to unbelievable amounts of consumer data. But, before you can start taking advantage of your newly acquired email addresses, there are a few steps you must take.
Ah, the holidays. Parties, gifts, family time, indulgent food and a few days off work—just about everyone can find something to love about the holiday season. But even after festivities end, you still have cause to celebrate. After all, your captivating seasonal campaigns are likely earning you tons of new email subscribers who made holiday purchases on your website, through your catalog or in your stores.
As I strolled through the Stein Lodge at the 2015 MediaPost Email Insider Summit last week, I noticed there was something distinctly different about the event than in years past. While the beautiful mountain views, skiing excursions, thoughtful panels and lively cocktail parties still remained at the epicenter of the week’s experience, I couldn’t help but pick up on one glaring detail: This year, there was a suspicious lack of the word “email”—particularly in the names of sponsors and companies attending.
Location, location, location. This favorite real estate mantra is now vital to your email marketing strategy as well. When it comes to sending the most timely, relevant campaigns possible, leveraging the geographic location of your readers can give you a huge advantage.
When you’ve been in marketing long enough, you begin to relate nearly every life experience back to strategies and principles—it’s practically unavoidable. So, when I talk to a client about building email engagement with new subscribers, I always refer back to one specific experience.
If there’s one word at the top of every marketer’s vocabulary, it’s growth—growth of leads, growth of sales, growth of engagement and, of course, growth of your customer base. The number of contacts in your database is a great tool for measuring the success of your campaigns.
Did you know your subscribers leave a digital fingerprint behind on all their online activities? Even better, did you know you already have everything you need to access this information?
As the holiday season hits full-swing, retailers everywhere are preparing to close out their most lucrative quarter of the year. Twinkling lights grace shop windows, in-store displays and online advertisements announce irresistible year-end sales and marketers are firing up their engines for a barrage of seasonal campaigns.
As an email marketer, you’re responsible for keeping up with a lot of information. From spying new trends to obtaining, analyzing and applying customer data, there’s a lot on your plate. When we’re this busy, it’s easy to fall into familiar habits—especially when doing things the way you’ve always done them still gets results. But one area where you may need to revisit your strategy is measuring email metrics.
Of the many trade shows we attend each year, Ad:Tech is among those we look forward to the most. The spirited atmosphere, candid conversations about hot industry topics and opportunity to connect with some of our favorite clients and partners makes these three days highly valuable to our team. This year was no different.
In the mad drive to build credibility for your brand, few avenues carry as much weight as customer reviews. With more than two-thirds of global consumers trusting the opinions posted by other consumers online, these social signals can make a giant impact on your overall marketing success.
Email is the strongest owned marketing channel a business can leverage. It’s the preferred contact method for many customers and, given the ever-growing popularity of mobile, most of us are only an arm's length from our inboxes at any given time. But to truly harness the power of email, brands need to utilize email list segmentation.
Segmented email lists perform better across key metrics like unique opens, clicks and abuse reports. But exactly what criteria should you use to segment your list, and how should you go about it? Read on to discover the answers to these important questions.
About the Guest Author: Brooke Cade is a freelance writer withInMoment.com. When she is not writing, Brooke is committed to learning more about helping businesses and sales professionals improve their customer experience.
Once upon a time, there was a king named Email and, for several years, it reigned supreme over the digital marketing landscape. People checked email with fervor, valiantly slashing spam and filing important messages — jockeying for the coveted Inbox Zero. Then, something happened. Suddenly, people began to doubt Email. They fawned over a newcomer by the name of Social Media.
What do you want to get out of your email marketing efforts? Leads? Purchases? Loyal customers? No matter what your objective, you first need to get subscribers to click.
It’s an exciting time to be an email marketer. Innovative technologies and bold new approaches are transforming the way we leverage data to optimize our campaigns and impact our customers.
If you’re struggling to keep up with the changes, don’t worry. There’s a lot going on out there, and we’ve got you covered. To help you make sense of all the industry jargon, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 trending email marketing data terms you should know.
As B2C businesses double down to prepare bigger and better promotions and campaigns for the upcoming holiday season, it’s important to spread the love to loyalty programs, too. After all, loyalty programs have been shown to have an astounding 335% return on investment. And there’s no better time to amp up your loyalty than during the biggest shopping season of the year.
Ten years ago, the term “data science” sounded about as relevant to marketing as quantum physics. Today, companies rely on sophisticated data to guide each and every strategy. While large businesses like Amazon and Google can afford more robust, predictive data-crunching endeavors, smaller businesses are challenged with finding a way to compete.
Springbot, a data, automated analytics and marketing optimization eCommerce platform, works with small to mid-size businesses to make the most of their data. This month, we sat down with Marketing Manager Kelly Schmalz to learn how the company’s most successful clients use data.
Growing databases, soaring click-through-rates and skyrocketing ROI — these are the moments when being an email marketer feels like the greatest job on earth. It’s on those days when you feel you’ve got the Midas touch. Every strategy is gold and every result is a success.
For anyone losing sleep over worries about the future of email, two new reports should put you at ease. According to one a report by the American Press Institute, email is the most common digital activity for adults between the ages of 18 and 34 – also known as Millennials. Even better, according to a second report by Principal Financial Group, Millennials actually prefer to keep in touch with brands through – you guessed it – email!
For today’s email marketer, data has become just as valuable as physical currency for driving opens, clicks and sales. Yet, commenting on his detailed findings from nearly 1,300 email marketers, VentureBeat research analyst Jon Cifuentes said: “The single most surprising insight was to learn just how bad end users are at capturing data and applying it to decision-making.” Cifuentes continued, “There’s an education problem at play, both in the vendors’ understanding of what end users need, and end users lacking data management skills.”
In the world of email marketing, trends are always changing and the industry is ever-evolving. As marketers, we’re constantly driven to keep up with the latest developments. Sometimes, though, it’s good to take a moment to remember the basics.
Today, we’re going to talk about the fundamentals of one of your most important objectives: increasing email open rates. Below, we’ve presented a few new strategies on this age-old topic
Tracy Vides is a digital marketing strategist who helps small businesses carry out content, email and social campaigns online. Tracy is also a prolific blogger – her posts are regularly featured on Tech Cocktail, Online Marketing Institute and Business 2 Community. Follow her on Twitter: @tracyvides.
In our social media and SEO obsessed digital marketing generation, email marketing often gets the short end of the stick. Like children who are fascinated by shiny new objects, this “oldie but goodie” has been pushed to the back of the closet, to be dipped into only when you have nothing else on your plate.
Big mistake. In fact, email marketing happens to be one of the most efficient ways of reaching out to your target audience.
Open, ignore, save for later.
When it comes to interacting with our email inboxes, we all behave in much the same way. Some of us may be a little more organized, dragging various communications into perfectly labeled folders, but the principle is still the same. As we scroll through the dozens of messages, we make instant micro-decisions.
As email marketers, we focus on engaging subscribers using tactics proven to yield results. But to really boost your engagement rates and create better strategies, it’s important to understand the psychology behind subconscious decision-making.
Here are three common psychological drivers and techniques proven to increase your email engagement:
This post is written by Devesh Khanal, Founder of Devesh Design. Devesh helps businesses grow their online revenue through conversion optimization.
Like, follow and retweet all you want but, when it comes to sales, social media is not always your best friend.
Relying on social media alone, and failing to allocate adequate time to other channels to attract paying customers, is a common mistake made by many online businesses.
We’ve all been there once or twelve times. You start an online shopping session, only to become interrupted by an email or distracted by Facebook. Or, maybe you added a big ticket item to your cart, but decided you needed to do a little more research before finalizing your purchase. Whatever the case, shopping cart abandonment is a common concern for B2C businesses. On the flip side, though, it represents a perfect opportunity to re-engage already-interested prospects.
Last month, we shared secrets of irresistible shopping cart campaigns. Today, we’re going to take a look at what successful shopping cart abandonment campaigns look like in action.
At first you thought it was a random lull. But you can’t ignore the problem any longer: Your engagement rate is dropping and you’re not sure what to do.
First, breathe. You’re not alone. With engagement-based filtering making it harder for senders to reach disengaged users, marketers like you are feeling stumped on how to re-engage subscribers and improve their numbers.
The good news is we’re here to help. You can use these five tactics to begin sending your email engagement curve upward.
This post is written by Dan Scudder, VP Business Development at Privy. Privy helps businesses more rapidly grow their email list.
Growing an email list is one of the foundations of effective, long-term digital marketing. Email lists allow you to remarket to your audience on-demand and cost effectively. You can also use email lists to gain greater customer insight with companies like TowerData, serve targeted display ads on channels like Facebook and Twitter and drive social sharing of your content and brand.
At Privy, we’ve found that, to encourage people to join your email list, you can be up to three times more effective when you personalize based on website content, geography and visitor behavior. What does it mean to personalize effectively?
So far, 2015 has been a year of change and innovation in the email marketing world. From real-time data to sticky data, advancements in personalization and customization and, of course, adaptive content, our industry has kept marketers on their toes.
Looking into our crystal ball, we don’t see these trends losing steam anytime soon. But we certainly anticipate some shifts. In fact, we have our eyes on a few key developments that we believe will shape email marketing trends throughout the rest of the year and well into 2016.
Here’s a quick breakdown of what you need to know:
I don’t need to tell you how busy, distracted and mobile-focused consumers have become. After all, there’s a good chance you’re reading this blog post on your phone between meetings, and it’s only a matter of time before a text message or app notification steals away your attention. In this fast-paced age, it’s not enough to send targeted, relevant messages to your customers. To fully engage your audience and drive action, your messages also have to reach customers at exactly the right time and through the right channel.
In the past two years, there’s been a great deal of buzz on the topic of real-time email marketing — a strategy that offers a solution to the conundrum of right message, right time, right place. As data continues to grow, so does the sophistication of real-time marketing.
Today, we’re going to discuss what real-time email marketing entails and explore how you can use your data to ensure your strategy is successful.
As a marketer, you know the marketing technology landscape looks a lot like rush hour in Manhattan. To say there are a lot of email technology providers is an understatement. Narrowing down providers to the best of the best is a full-time job but, lucky for you, Fluent Inc. has done all the legwork for you. Recently, the company released the Email Marketingscape — a visually organized chart of the top email marketing vendors within each sector.
As email marketers, we live and die by our metrics. In our world, few email KPIs are scrutinized more than clicks. It’s not just about getting readers to open our emails — it’s about encouraging prospects and customers to click through to the next step. If our emails don’t produce an action, all our brilliant copy, design and strategy has gone to waste.
It’s lunchtime, and you’re quickly gobbling down a sandwich at your desk between meetings. Taking advantage of the few precious moments between obligations, you start browsing online for a sleeping bag for your upcoming camping trip and discover a high quality bag on sale at one of your favorite outdoor supply stores. You add it to your cart and proceed to check out. Just as you start to fish out your wallet and to enter your credit card information, your co-worker ducks his head into your office and reminds you it’s time for your next meeting. You shut your laptop and head out the door.
Here at TowerData, we’ve been trumpeting the importance of personalization for years. But the truth is, in today’s competitive landscape, merely adding a customer’s name to the top of a newsletter simply won’t cut it anymore. When we discuss personalization today, we mean using a data-driven strategy that takes your email marketing to the next level. This means always seeking innovative new ways to engage your prospects.
Cue the next “big thing” in personalization: adaptive content.
You’re feeling pretty good about the size of your email database. You’ve worked hard to obtain those new email addresses—carefully guiding droves of customers through the almighty website subscription form, register sign-up and your customer service’s data capture process. Maybe you’ve even surpassed your quarterly goals. Either way, you’re pleased, your boss is pleased and now you can kick back and ride the gravy train to email marketing Easy Street.
Now for the reality check. Did you know the average email list decays by 25% each year? That means, for every four new contacts you gain, you’re likely to lose one. Yikes. Time to hop off the gravy train and get back to work.
Today, marketers aren’t simply concerned with tracking browser behavior, we’re interested in tracking all behaviors across all platforms. We know this is the key to truly understanding what drives our customers’ decisions. Enter sticky data—your new secret weapon for capturing a wealth of customer insights, and the potential to completely transform the ways you engage with your audiences.
Read on to learn what sticky data is and how you can use it to drive successful marketing:
At one time or another, we’ve all fallen prey to a bit of attractive misinformation. Whether passed along by a well-meaning friend or a misguided blogger, myths often originate from our most trusted sources. However, while some myths are completely harmless (aside from the nights you lost sleep after hearing alligators live in your city’s sewer), email marketing myths could cost you thousands in marketing dollars, decrease conversion and hurt your sender reputation.
Luckily we’re here to dispel a few of the most common myths so you can ensure you’re exercising the best email marketing practices.
For most people (especially for those of us in the email marketing world), receiving a newsletter from your favorite brand is akin to finding a chocolate on your hotel pillow. Even though you may have anticipated it, you still feel a little burst of excitement. You hope, when you open it, you’ll discover something sweet. If you don’t, it may be time to look elsewhere.
As an email marketer, creating loveable newsletters seems easier said than done. To help you reach the newsletter sweet spot, and keep subscribers coming back for more, we’ve put together a little roadmap. Check out how to create winning newsletters in three easy steps:
Last week, TowerData sponsored the Salesforce Connections conference here in New York City. Connections has long been considered the “digital marketing event of the year,” and, while the transition to the Salesforce brand has brought a lot of change, with speakers like Seth Meyers and Diane Von Furstenberg—not to mention performances by Elle King, The Roots and a surprise appearance by the one and only Derek Jeter—the energy was excellent.
Email marketers are no strangers to data. We love pouring over analytics and insights, and we know the only way to truly prove a fact is to back it with data. So, when it comes to email marketing trends, the best way to weed out fact from fiction is to look at the numbers.
Below, we’ve collected ten of the most important data-backed email marketing truth guaranteed to help you create higher converting campaigns this quarter:
My job is rough. Last week, I flew to Kiawah Island, South Carolina, for the MediaPost Email Insider Summit (MPEIS). I was subjected to beautiful weather, flawless Atlantic beaches and irresistible Southern cuisine. I spent my time rubbing elbows with some of the brightest minds in email marketing, led a panel with four accomplished professionals and snagged a few insider secrets on how Amazon uses customer data to power its dynamic recommendations. Sounds like a tough time, right?
In between bacon biscuits (and there were a lot of bacon biscuits), the summit was abuzz with insights on two of the biggest topics in email marketing this quarter: how to achieve a successful customer loyalty program, and how to engage with your customers using dynamic content. Naturally, both of these topics tie back to data.
In case you missed last week’s MPEIS (and even if you didn’t), here is our recap of the two most-talked-about topics:
How many emails land in your inbox every day? 20? 30? 75? Think again. The average working professional receives more than 100 emails per day. This poses a challenge not only for the beleaguered professional who has to sift through her email inbox, but also for the marketers who are tasked with ensuring their emails stand out and convert on defined goals.
The path to email marketing success starts with getting your emails opened, and the best way to accomplish this feat is by crafting truly spectacular subject lines.
Here are six examples to help spark your creativity:
We’re halfway through 2015—or, as we like to call it, the Year of Personalization (again). While those of us in the marketing world have been touting the benefits of personalization for years, the concept has become much more mainstream in recent months as companies realize the importance of data (and as customers demand a more targeted experience.) There’s just one problem: not everyone knows how to accomplish successful personalization.
Have no fear! We’re here to make your life a little easier.
When it comes to the design of a website or application, there’s really no denying the effectiveness of a great user experience. We often hear positive UX increases subscriber engagement while poor UX drives users away. You’ve probably experienced this for yourself after visiting a visually pleasing, easy-to-navigate website, and again when you’ve landed on a cluttered, confusing page.
But, what factors make up UX and, when it comes to email marketing, does it even matter? Here’s what we’ve discovered:
You just wrapped up a wildly successful social campaign, or started collecting emails at the register, and now you’re the proud owner of several dozen new email addresses. Congratulations! Now what?
The first few days after you collect a new email address may be the most crucial time of that customer’s relationship with your business. What you do now will set the tone for the entire relationship, and create a foundation for either a productive, mutually beneficial partnership or a neglected opportunity.
Here are four actions you should take to maximize the value of every email address you acquire:
No one can dispute the power of email, especially in the age of big data. However, as email rises in importance, marketers are still challenged by acquiring their prospect’s email addresses. When it comes to email acquisition, no one does it better than our friends at Bounce Exchange—the software company that helps clients to increase conversion and improve email acquisition by serving up content targeted to specific segments.
This month, we took a few minutes to chat with Sam Crosby, Business Development Manager at Bounce Exchange, to talk about behavioral marketing, best email acquisition practices, future trends and, of course, the power of email.
Wikipedia has plenty of helpful, well-researched, well-cited articles on nearly every topic you could imagine. Aside from Google, it’s probably the most widely used tool for quick fact-finding. But, there’s one thing Wikipedia got dead wrong: Personalization is not synonymous with customization.
Personalization and customization have long remained two of the most popular buzzwords in the modern marketing world. Unfortunately, as marketers, we’ve fallen into a bad habit of using the terms interchangeably when, in fact, they have completely different meanings and implications.
To help you better understand, here is some helpful insight into personalization and customization:
When a customer makes a purchase from your company, what happens next? Do you take the opportunity to connect further, or do you gently fade off into the horizon until your next scheduled offer lands in their inbox?
As we’ve stated before, the best time to engage your customer is immediately after they’ve engaged with you. When a customer makes a purchase, they’re feeling great. They’re riding a serotonin high and are fully engaged with your brand. This is a ripe opportunity to further engage these customers, to upsell, cross-sell and build enthusiastic brand evangelists.
Unfortunately, for many companies, triggered emails are little more than an afterthought. In fact, triggered emails make up less than 5% of overall email volume. But these emails can account for as much as 15% of revenue attributed to email—which gives you ample reason to take a second look at your triggered email strategy in general and, specifically, your post-purchase email strategy.
Here are three examples of brands doing post-purchase emails right:
Cookies and milk, peanut butter and jelly, sandy beaches and margaritas—some things were just meant to go together. That’s exactly how we feel about email intelligence and beautiful design, which is why TowerData is teaming up with award-winning design and development provider, Email Monks.
In other words, this strategic partnership means even more powerful email campaigns in your near future.
Here’s some more information to explain the “why” and “how” behind our latest exciting alliance:
When you’re about to launch a new email campaign, you’ve got a million things on your mind. You’re in a rush, you’ve got a deadline to meet and, often, you can’t escape the nagging feeling you’re overlooking something important. As we email marketers know all too well, there are few things worse in this world than hitting “send” and realizing, a millisecond too late, you missed something critical.
To help you minimize this risk, we’ve created a handy cheat sheet you can use to check against your campaign so you can hit “send” with confidence.
When it comes to email subscribers enjoy, messages fall into one of two categories. First, there’s the “I’ll save this for later” pile. Then there’s the “I can’t wait to read this right now!” stack. In which category do your messages fall?
When it comes to creating powerful email copy, including valuable information is only half the battle. To keep your subscribers engaged, you must write content that keeps them hooked. Your copy needs to be so enticing, your readers would be willing to skip their subway stop just to finish.
With the development of apps like Pocket and Instapaper, the “read-later” email is a growing phenomenon. While the option for consumers to read content where, when and how they like could mean they’re reading more, as a marketer, falling into the “read-now” category should always be your top priority. Fortunately, with the right content, you can make your emails so mind-blowingly interesting, your subscribers will stop in their tracks to read what you send, the moment you send it.
Here are our top six tips for irresistible email content:
Your customers expect a personalized marketing experience. They expect you to present them with offers and content most relevant to their needs, and in a manner that makes sense for their lifestyle. However, while all the data you need to build these sorts of highly engaging, targeted and individualized campaigns is within reach, many companies still fail to make the most of personalization.
The truth of the matter is, personalization doesn’t have to be complicated. Getting beyond the first stage is crucial to achieving success, and data can help you get there.
If I asked you to identify your top email marketing goals, you’d probably say “increase engagement,” “re-engage old subscribers,” or “achieve faster conversion.” These are among the most popular and important objectives. However, they’re not always easy to measure. Even after you’ve defined factors such as what constitutes engagement and how to define a conversion, determining whether your efforts are successful is a challenge marketers face every day.
As we grapple with tasks such as proving ROI and measuring campaign effectiveness, marketers face another issue: making sense of results in the age of “big data.” So, how can you wrap your arms around all of this data and determine whether your strategies are bringing you closer to your email marketing objectives?
Here are our top three tips for setting more quantifiable goals, and making sense of your results:
Earlier this week, I enjoyed the opportunity to join my friend Erik Severinghaus, founder and CEO of SimpleRelevance, on the virtual stage of the 2015 GroupHigh Outreach Marketing Summit. If you haven’t attended this conference, I would highly recommend doing so in the future. It’s free, jam-packed with helpful presentations from some of the industry’s biggest influencers and, best of all, you can attend in you bunny slippers—because it’s completely online.
When it comes to providing women with expert financial and career advice, few publishers offer as much value and professional insight as DailyWorth. But, as any savvy content provider knows, to address your customers’ key questions and concerns, you have to do more than guess what your audience wants. To truly understand who your audience is, and the challenges they face, you need access to sophisticated data.
This month, we sat down with Hilary Fetter, marketing director at DailyWorth and all-around digital rockstar, to gain insight into how the financial media company uses customer data to drive its editorial and email strategy.
Marketing is no longer means canvassing your audience with promotional messages you feel will earn you the most sales. In today’s marketing landscape, deemed the “age of the consumer,” marketing takes place entirely on the customer’s terms. The most successful campaigns go beyond simply adding a customer’s name to your emails. We’re talking about letting the customer set the context of the emails you create—so your messages align perfectly with where the customer is, what the customer is doing and why the customer wants to hear from you.
This approach is called contextual marketing, and it’s hot, hot, hot right now. Why? Because it allows marketers to intersect big data, email automation, and their own insights, to anticipate customer needs and drive conversion.
Just as Picasso’s masterpieces would be nonexistent if he’d never owned a brush, and Michelangelo’s grand works absent without his chisel, great email marketers also need extraordinary tools to fulfill their ultimate potential. However, with new applications released daily, and dozens of tech startups constantly competing for a spot as marketing’s “next big thing,” combing through the options can be exhausting. To help in your endeavor, we’ve compiled a list of the top 12 best tools for successful email marketers.
In addition to helping you save precious time in your congested schedule, these helpful tools will assist you in making better educated decisions, assessing campaign success and, ultimately, improving customer engagement.
A few days ago, the Wall Street Journal published an article hinting Google will soon unveil an offering that allows advertisers to leverage email lists to target audiences via display ads. The program rivals the advertising technology of another internet giant: Facebook’s custom audiences tool. Now email is hopping back into its spot as the most popular marketing vehicle and, once again, email marketers everywhere are saying “told you so.”
This post was originally published on the Kuno Creative blog by Tracy Vides.
We keep hearing about all the different ways brands can work more efficiently to convert visitors to their website. Conversion optimization advice typically revolves around website design, on-page and off-page SEO ranking signals, content marketing, social media marketing and so on.
But what about that gem of a marketing tool called personalization? What happens when brands spend some time treating their target audiences like people instead of treating them as numbers in an excel sheet? This does not even have to be on your website alone. What happens when you offer some personal TLC via your brick and mortar store, your email campaign or even your mobile ads? Good things, I assure you.
Read on for insights into how personalization can be your secret weapon in the race for conversion optimization.
Imagine you have a highly engaged customer who opens all of your emails, regularly reviews your inventory and makes frequent purchases. If you could somehow reach more customers like this subscriber, your company would have no problem beating sales goals and increasing marketing ROI.
To increase your success, you know you need to target more customers like this one. But how do you get started? How do you know which attributes of this shopper you should be seeking in other potential prospects? Furthermore, even if you’ve determined which characteristics are most important, how do you find consumers who share these same interests and behaviors?
That’s where the marketing industry’s newest secret weapon comes into play. Behold lookalike modeling: your new favorite strategy for finding and reaching your best prospects.
As we’ve mentioned before, personalization is key to driving customer engagement. By using data to learn more about your customers, and using that knowledge to craft customized messaging, you will make a greater impact on your subscribers. But, what does truly stellar personalization look like in action?
To help inspire your next campaign, we’re sharing examples from three buzzworthy brands. Keep reading to see how these well-known companies are making the most of their email marketing through data-driven email personalization.
Customer data is the key to successful personalization. It can transform your marketing strategy, boost subscriber engagement increase ROI and help you better understand the drivers behind customer conversion. In many ways, customer data is the magic elixir guaranteed to help take your email marketing strategy from dull to dazzling.
There’s just one problem: what do you do when you only have access to a limited amount of data?
Regardless of company size and success, smart business owners know the best way to eliminate excess spend is to continually re-evaluate their budget. Because marketing often represents a significant part of company’s budget, it generally faces additional scrutiny. Savvy marketers know it’s up to them to justify every dollar through reports, examples and measured success. As marketers, it’s our duty to choose channels wisely and ensure every penny is well spent.
Because marketing is always evolving, and new tools and applications emerge every day, choosing where to allocate resources can be a challenge for even the most seasoned marketing professionals. The good news is email has long been a tried-and-true platform capable of yielding impressive results and a fast ROI.
Need help convincing your boss of the importance of email marketing? Here are 14 statistics to prove email is still one of the most powerful channels for reaching, and converting, your audience:
In previous decades, consumers struggled to find reliable, trustworthy local businesses and contractors. Today, however, crowdsourced online reviews keep companies on their toes and ready to please. When it comes to connecting consumers with the reliable products and services they need most, few services have leveled the playing field quite like Angie’s List. In other words, the brand understands the importance of providing the right message at the right time.
This month, we sat down with Jeff Carl, eCommerce Marketing Manager at Angie's List. He filled us in on what the brand has been doing to achieve responsive design, how data is improving customer segmentation and his predictions for email marketing’s next big challenge in connecting with subscribers.
Brands today are becoming increasingly more innovative. By adopting new, cutting-edge techniques for connecting with their audiences, and experimenting outside conventional marketing channels, companies are exposing their message to more prospects than ever before.
However, there’s a caveat: More marketing isn’t always better marketing. To successfully and seamlessly launch a campaign spanning multiple channels, you need adequate planning, preparation and plenty of strategizing. The lasting impact of a well-crafted omnichannel campaign, however, is well worth the effort.
Below are our top three tips to increase engagement through omnichannel campaigns:
When your business creates content that’s shareable, it’s amplifies the impression your email marketing is making on potential customers. Think of social media shares as a form of marketing currency, exponentially increasing the value of your content with every transaction. Through sharing, your primary audience creates a secondary audience for your content and opens up the potential for a tertiary audience.
Still unsure of the importance of social media in your email marketing strategy? Consider this: Nearly two-thirds of all adult internet users utilize at least one social network, and consumers are 71% more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals. There’s enhanced value in the social proof spread by a connected internet user, rather than directly from your company, because consumers trust other consumers.
So, how do you leverage the power of social proofing to foster sharing among connected customer? Here are five easy tips:
So, you think you’ve got your email marketing strategy perfectly designed. You’re sending out emails announcing upcoming sales and promotions and triggered, transactional emails covering things like online ordering and shipments. Subscribers love your well-crafted coupons and rewards, and all analytics point to success. However, did you know there’s still more you can do?
Today, we’re going to do more “show” than “tell.” To help you continue improving your strategy and pleasing your customers, check out these five emails retail and B2C business should be sending:
Winter in New York hasn’t been particularly kind this year but, after a couple of trips to the tropical, sandy beaches of Miami, Spring doesn’t feel so far out of reach. Last week, Katie and I took the opportunity to travel back to Magic City for the highly anticipated 2015 Bronto Summit.
Before the New Year, I made a prediction: 2015 is going to be the year hashed email becomes one of the industry’s top buzzwords. We haven’t even reached the end of the first quarter, and my prediction is already holding true.
Digital marketers continue to pinpoint email marketing as the most effective online tactic for building awareness, acquisition, retention and conversion. But according to a B2B Marketing Insider Report, 43% of readers of B2B marketing content identified “blatantly self-promotional content” as their biggest turnoff.
Blending the promotional aspects of your email marketing with a helpful angle can be more beneficial for your subscribers than a weekly product update. In addition to sharing news about your product or the latest promotion you’re running, incorporate something truly useful to engage your subscribers in a different way. We’re talking about content that will make their lives easier, intrigue them by providing an interesting viewpoint on a challenging topic or meet a specific need as it relates to your industry.
The good news is you can deliver this type of useful content while promoting your brand at the same time. Here are three things to consider as you get started:
A well-composed, expertly designed and highly targeted email can transform prospects into customers—but it can’t do it alone. To seamlessly guide your subscribers down the sales funnel, you also need a powerful landing page.
Unlike your homepage, a landing page is streamlined and tightly focused on a single, all-encompassing task: compel your reader to complete an action.
For most websites, these landing pages work the hardest and drive the most revenue. Like non-stop sales representatives, successful landing pages convert visitors into customers. However, to ensure your landing pages are working as hard as your emails, they need to be optimized.
Here are five best practices to turbocharge the process and achieve conversion goals fast:
Another week, another inspiring conference bursting at the seams with big ideas, great minds and fascinating trend predictions. And, of course, another escape to a sunny locale.
For most industries, the start of a new year means taking time to reflect on previous quarters’ most successful endeavors, areas of opportunity and gain insight into upcoming trends. In the marketing world, though, it also means already becoming an expert on the “next big thing” and executing a rock-solid plan before the rest of the world catches up.
One company who always seems to stay a step ahead of the consumer email curve is Livingsocial. This week, we sat down with Danny Hsia, Senior Manager of Email Experience at Livingsocial, to chat about some of the brand’s biggest successes last year and what’s in store for email in 2015.
Looking to boost performance with your email marketing? The new year offers a new opportunity to start fresh with a solid foundation. However, in order to build your foundation, you first need to do a little clean-up. While the idea of list hygiene may not be the most exciting task, top marketers know it’s an absolute requirement.
When it comes to cleaning up your lists, it’s not uncommon to miss a few spots. To help you achieve a pristine database, we’ve compiled a list of the top three often-overlooked areas. So, roll your sleeves up and let’s get to work!
A few times a decade, a trend emerges that changes the face of marketing. Over the last couple of years, we’ve heard a lot about industry buzz topics like personalization, attribution and multi-channel engagement. As these concepts continue to evolve, and mobile usage increases, marketers thirst for more and more customer data. Like crazed information junkies, we guzzle data by the gigabyte and still want more.
Cue the next big trend in email marketing: behold the hashed email.
Heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, a dozen roses and a bottle of champagne. Sure, those things are nice, but the real way to the heart is through a great email.
OK, maybe that’s just us.
While a great email may not lead you to the love of your life (although it did simplify the process for Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks), it can win the affections and loyalty of your customers. A well-crafted, well-designed and properly targeted email inspires brand recognition, a better subscriber experience and all sorts of warm fuzzies. In honor of Valentine’s Day, here are three emails that have us falling head over heels.
Last week, Brian and I attended the 2015 Email Evolution Conference in beautiful, sunny Miami. In addition to the brilliant weather, five-star accommodations and a balmy, evening yacht excursion (a nice treat before heading back to a frigid Chicago), we were privy to enlightening discussion on some of email marketing’s most hot-button issues. Couldn’t make it to this year’s EEC? Have no fear! We’re here to shed light on some of the most talked-about topics from last week’s show.
Take a few hundred email marketing professionals, add salt water, sunshine and the beautiful Miami InterContinental, and you’ve got yourself one heck of a party.
It’s no secret targeting your email messages toward your audience increases engagement. By understanding your personas, and crafting your messages around their specific wants and needs, your company can foster trust and grow brand loyalty. But, how do you determine what will make the most significant impact on your subscribers? As Shubert Organization discovered, using consumer data to build targeted messages results in nearly instant engagement.
As the old cliche goes, you’ll never get a second chance to make a first impression. When it comes to email marketing, a stellar first impression can transform a new prospect into a lifetime customer. Your welcome message is one of the most crucial components of your introductory process, and requires your most creative juices. Effective welcome emails imply the value of your product or service, encourage your subscriber to take the next step and leave an indelible impression of your brand.
Here are 4 of our favorite b2c welcome emails and what we love about them:
Marketers are obsessed with analytics. We eat, sleep and breathe reports—continuously sniffing out any hint of success or potential failure. We want to know what we’re doing well, and where we could improve to ensure we’re making the most of every dime of our budgets. Our dashboards and spreadsheets are the science driving our decisions and, ultimately, the success of each new campaign.
Key performance indicators (KPIs) are the lifeblood of email marketing, but not every metric is given equal time in the spotlight. Delivery rates, open rates and click-through-rates are often the superstars of our weekly reports, but what about those less popular analytics?
Sometimes the least common KPIs offer the deepest insight into performance. Here are the top four most important (and least-often used) KPIs you should be utilizing:
Ah, the customer lifecycle—the guiding light of any email marketing campaign. Without this information, marketers would still be sending outdated, one-size-fits-all messages and enduring excruciatingly low click-through-rates. The truth is, customers have different needs at different stages in the purchasing decision and, to be effective marketers, we need to tailor our messaging to the buyer persona as well as the step in the buying cycle. By taking time to fully understand your customer lifecycle, you can hit the mark on their needs and increase engagement.
Use these tips below as your guide for fluidly moving customers through their lifecycle and driving them toward becoming satisfied, engaged brand loyalists.
In this digitally driven, highly social age, personalization is an essential component to any email marketing campaign. Because your subscribers encounter thousands of messages online every day, the only way to win their attention is to tailor your content to them.
Successful email marketing requires a two prong approach. The first step is to know your customers and understand when to engage with them. The second step is to craft customized, context-driven messages.
Here are four expert tips for developing more context-driven emails:
The holiday decor has been boxed up, the New Year’s Eve confetti swept away and, one by one, your team members have returned from their holiday travels. There’s a certain excitement in the air at the beginning of a new business quarter—an opportunity to start fresh with a brand new strategy.
If 2014 taught us anything, it’s the power of email is growing exponentially. Automation and analytics have become smarter, paving the way for another generation of email-proficient consumers. Even better, all signs point to 2015 being another landmark year for email.
To ensure you put your best foot forward in Q1, we’ve got three pro tips guaranteed to maximize your contact engagement.
Imagine if we substituted proven methods for gut instincts. If you were a scientist trying to figure out which hand soap is also the best germ killer, you wouldn’t ask five people to wash their hands with a different soap and make a decision based on whose hands looked cleanest. Rather, for a test to have integrity, you need to employ reliable testing techniques. Email marketing is no different.
By accounting for variables, controlling the testing environment, and accumulating a significant data sample, employing uniform A/B testing methods will help you optimize your email marketing ROI.
Here are the top six steps we recommend:
Trust is not often achieved overnight. In marketing, as in personal relationships, trust and loyalty are earned over an extended period of time through positive, meaningful interactions. Every time your consumers enjoy a favorable experience with your brand, they inch closer to becoming a devoted patron and, eventually, a brand advocate.
The challenge, however, is in providing a unique, personalized experience to each and every prospect. A company may have several thousand contacts in its database, and making a personal, relevant connection with each and every prospect has always been an arduous task for even the most experienced marketers.
The good news is, thanks to the wealth of customer data at your fingertips, you can begin earning your prospect’s trust faster than ever before.
Here are our top three tips for leveraging your customers’ data to build trust.
Once customers stop engaging with your messages, it’s easy to pass them off as inactive. In an effort to preserve your sender reputation, you likely pluck these addresses from your lists and leave them to gather dust within your inactive file. Often, though, there is more to the story than meets the eye.
You customers’ interests and needs will change over time. While prospects may eagerly open sales messages early in your relationship, their engagement may dwindle post-purchase. Why? Because you’ve satiated this initial need, and you need to target your messaging toward other desires. If your email messages don’t correspond to the particular lifecycle stage your customer is in, your customers will have little to no motivation to read your emails.
As marketers, we’re perpetually working to better understand our audiences. Regardless of the size of your company, a better understanding of your audience leads to meaningful engagement—which leads to greater revenue per customer. However, understanding your customers requires a great deal of information, including data you may not have on hand.
This week, I flew to beautiful Park City, UT, to attend MediaPost’s Email Insider Summit. It was a fantastic experience filled with rousing discussion, thought-provoking presentations and, of course, a little skiing.
On Tuesday, I was fortunate enough to lead a panel on a topic I, and the rest of the TowerData team, have been exploring more in depth over the past several months: how do companies appropriately manage email frequency? How do we, as marketers, achieve a healthy balance that keeps customers engaged while driving down unsubscribe rates and spam complaints?
The panel, composed of Jeff Carl (Angie’s List), Sarah Lessem (Aon), Omer Navaid (Cars.com) and Shanon Strahl (Zoro), offered insight into their own practices and we discovered three valuable points.
The first day of MediaPosts’s Email Insider Summit was nothing short of inspirational. Girl Scouts of the USA shared the recent launch of Digital Cookie, an online component of the Girl Scout Cookie program, and how the iconic brand plans to expand engagement through email marketing. We also heard from giants such as Amazon, Coupons.com, Ebates, Dell and other brilliant minds within the digital sphere on plenty of buzz-worthy topics including how to develop an emotional connection and using responsive design.
Just a few years ago, some industry experts were predicting the demise of traditional email marketing in favor of newer channels like social media. Fortunately, we’re delighted to say reports of email marketing’s imminent death are not only greatly exaggerated, they’ve been proven wrong. In fact, through the end of 2014 and looking forward to 2015, email effectiveness has never been stronger.
But, don’t just take our word for it. Below, we’ve compiled some data on the state of modern email marketing. Use this information to solidify your own email strategies and secure a bigger earmark for email in your 2015 marketing budget.
As we’ve discussed previously, the more active your email list, the greater your email deliverability. However, measuring subscriber activity can pose significant challenges. For example, what if an inactive subscriber is actually an active email user on other lists, but not yours? Armed with the insight offered by email activity scoring, you can vastly improve the overall effectiveness of your own emails.
If your marketing strategy was a Thanksgiving table, your website would be the turkey. It’s the plat de résistance—the hub from which all customers emerge. But, just as a turkey alone would make for a bland meal, your website thrives only in the company of sweet, savory and delicious side dishes—er, marketing channels.
In our digital world, consumers are met with thousands of messages daily. From remarketing to video pre-roll, banners to sponsored social posts, we’re almost always surrounded by brand communications. With so many messages happening simultaneously, traditional strategies simply aren’t enough to stand out. You need an innovative marketing strategy to create an environment that drives engagement and builds relationships.
You need contextual marketing.
If we were asked to boil down email marketing into eight words or less, we would say: Right People + Right Message + Right Time = Email ROI. Unfortunately, accomplishing this success is slightly more difficult than this statement might imply. However, if you have a reliable email intelligence partner, you’re already on your way to healthier email ROI.
What is the single best time to interact with your customers? Right after they’ve interacted with you. Triggered email marketing campaigns can generate open rates 30 percent to 50 percent higher than open rates for traditional email campaigns. If you’re not already using behavior-specific emails as a part of your marketing strategy, you’re likely missing some giant opportunities.
When it comes to email marketing, it’s not always about you. Sorry to bruise your ego, but it’s the truth. Your email marketing should always be about the needs and interests of your customers. Sometimes, catering to your customers means putting your email subscribers in control.
Are you ready to re-engage dormant and inactive subscribers?
Everyone loves a good BLT. Warm, crispy bacon, crunchy lettuce and a juicy tomato. Mmmm.
However, eliminate even one of these ingredients and the sandwich would be, well, unsatisfying.
Every email list contains inactive subscribers. But smart marketers do everything they can to win them back to regain lost sales and improve their sender reputations. Add to that the fact the costs associated with acquiring new customers are steep, and it quickly becomes clear investing in a reactivation makes good business sense. Below are a few steps to consider.
Remember back in grade school when a few misbehaving students would cheat on an exam and the teacher would re-test the entire class? Even though you may not have been a part of the offending group, you still had to suffer the consequences. This is precisely what is happening with spam traps. Even if you’re not sending spam messages to your marketing lists, you could still end up blocked by providers due to spam traps.
These traps penalize companies who reach their email inbox by reporting their sending address as spam. Email providers pick up on these trends and use automatic filters to push incoming messages directly to a user’s spam box where, more often than not, they’ll remain unseen and unopened. Email validation can assist you in removing traps from your coveted list.
TowerData sponsored and attended Connections 2014, the marketer’s can’t-miss industry conference from the Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud. At Connections 2014, Salesforce executives were promoting the latest addition to the Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud—Journey Builder for Apps—which helps marketers deliver personalized customer journeys directly from mobile apps.
Last week, I along with Katie and Thomas attended and sponsored America’s Customer Festival in Las Vegas. As we attended presentations and spoke with other attendees at our booth, three themes emerged:
Programmers, developers and IT professionals are all well-versed in the world of syntax errors. Often, we see them in the form of a pesky dialog box after inputting a piece of invalid code. Unfortunately, when these little typos take place while entering email addresses into your CRM, they can wreak havoc on your email marketing lists and upset your analytics.
Few businesses are privy to as much consumer data as traditional brick-and-mortar retailers. But knowing more doesn’t always mean knowing what to do with it. We’ve identified three critical business questions big data can answer for retailers, revealing profitable opportunities to grow sales and profits.
We’ve all heard the statistics that it costs more to acquire new customers than it does to keep existing ones. Yet many marketers continue to struggle with building customer relationships that last. Fortunately, advances in marketing technology are empowering the next generation of customer loyalty and driving more high-value customer interactions than ever before. Here are some insights you can use to maximize your own customer relationships.
Few things in life are more frustrating than trying your hardest and coming up empty. If you’re an email marketer struggling to get results, the complexity of everything you do can make it tough to know where to look for problems, let alone know how to fix them. Here are some practical tips that will walk you through the troubleshooting process so you can take the right steps to get your campaigns back on track.
Starting a new email campaign is a little like going back to school. And just as students spend their first few days of class brushing up on the basics, so too should marketers. With fall right around the corner and students across the country getting ready to go back to school, it’s a great opportunity to pause for a few moments and review the basics.
Are you right-brained or left-brained? Do you base your marketing on intuition or numbers? Creativity or data? Most marketers would say the former; big data can be a little scary when not relegated to the data scientists. However, the truth of the matter is there are a variety of ways even the most right-brained email marketers can benefit from big data; as more and more data becomes available to marketers, increasingly, creativity and data are going hand-in-hand.
Sometimes the most profound advice can come from the most unexpected places. Take, for instance, Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter John Legend’s keynote at Interact 2014.
At first blush, you might not think Legend would have anything to say to today’s marketers. However, the art of marketing actually has a lot in common with music. Here are three key takeaways we’d like to share with you.
If a picture’s worth 1,000 words, what’s a video worth? According to a recent study by Email Monks, using video can boost your email marketing returns by 280%. Yet only 25% of email marketers are doing it. With so many different uses for video—from product demonstrations and customer testimonials to training videos and factory walk-throughs—there are endless opportunities to leverage the power of video in your next email marketing campaign.
Use the following video best practices to ensure you get the most ROI for your buck in your next campaign:
Video has the power to capture attention like few other email marketing tactics. In fact, more and more marketers say they are using or are planning to use video in their email initiatives. So what do they know that you don’t? Does video make sense for your email marketing campaigns?
According to a study by the Web Video Marketing Council, 88% of email marketers report a positive impact from incorporating video into their strategies. To quantify that further, an Experian study found that when marketers included the word “video” in an email subject line, open rates rose by 7%, conversion rates rose by 21% and average order value rose by 24%. Who wouldn’t want to see results like that?
If mobile is on the up-and-up, why aren’t your mobile campaigns converting as well as you’d like? According to Campaign Monitor, the percentage of click-throughs relative to opens is decreasing for mobile, suggesting that it’s becoming more difficult to turn opens into clicks on a mobile device.
Clearly, users consume email differently on mobile devices than they do on their computers. But can these differences be leveraged? We believe so. Here are several tactics that can improve the way users interact with your emails on mobile devices, driving more click-throughs and ultimately more sales.
We marketers like to start the year out strong. We arm ourselves with long lists of New Year’s resolutions we know will make this year our strongest yet. But as the year goes on, we often forget to check back in with those resolutions. This summer, try something different.
We’ve identified several mid-year email marketing resolutions that will help you close out the second half of the year with a bang.
Back in 2011, this Bridgestone Tires Super Bowl commercial perfectly captured the dread that comes with hitting “reply all” when you mean to respond only to one person.
Last week, startups and tech companies from all over the Midwest came together for TechWeek Chicago. During the weeklong conference and expo, SimpleRelevance CEO Erik Severinghaus and TowerData CBO Phil Davis sat down to discuss email marketing, data-driven personalization and predictive analytics.
Plain and simple: Email marketing produces great results and it’s cost-effective. According to the Harvard Business Review, direct mail can cost as much as 100 times more than email marketing, while email marketing can still pull 95 times better ROI. Email converts better than search and social media, too. But does that mean you should put all your eggs into the email basket and forget about those other channels?
The short answer is no. Here’s why:
I think we can all agree that social media has proved its worth. Gone are the days when industry experts duked it out over whether Facebook and Twitter and Instagram were just a flash fad in online marketing.
Summer is finally here! The sun’s out, everyone’s a little happier, and IRCE kicked off its big annual conference in Chicago. With its eCommerce focus, #IRCE2014 was all about one question: How can Internet retailers give online shoppers the same personal experience they get in a brick-and-mortar store? The answer? Leveraging consumer data and behavior to personalize the whole online retail experience from welcome letter to shopping cart.
In case you didn’t get a chance to hang out with team TowerData at IRCE last week, we’ve put together our favorite tweets from the show.
Like all business, eCommerce is all about relationships. But without an opportunity to engage customers in person (like you do in a brick-and-mortar store), building a relationship can be a challenge. That’s why it’s important to make your email marketing as personal and impactful as possible. One excellent way to do this is through customer insight like Email Intelligence.
Email Intelligence is the email-based data you need to learn more about your customers so you can develop communications that give them what they want. It’s fundamentally changing the way marketers interact with customers. And it can empower you to add more depth to your email marketing than ever before.
The mechanics of Email Intelligence are quite simple. Starting with your existing list of email subscribers, you can:
At its core, Email Intelligence brings big data up close and personal. And personal data means more relevant, personalized emails.
Data quality is one of the main criteria ISPs use to distinguish between a company sending wanted email and a company sending spam. Mail thousands of undeliverable addresses and they’ll think you’re a spammer. Do it several times and you’ll see your deliverability rates plummet along with your sender reputation.
While using an email validation service is a fast and effective way to avoid these pitfalls, choosing an email validation provider is not. There are a number of steps you need to take before selecting the right email validation provider for your company.
From personalized subject lines to custom content videos, emails are getting flashier. After all, marketers are continually looking to improve results with an edge over the competition. There’s always a new tactic, technology or theory that promises to drive more opens, clicks and conversions. The problem is that in our zeal to find “the next big thing,” we often lose sight of what really matters: putting together the right foundational elements that will drive sales consistently and predictably.
Here are four basics every successful email marketing strategy should include. By getting back to these basics, you can rest assured that you’ve built a strong foundation to support all that flashy content.
What prompts customers to share their personal data with brands? And how can email marketers adapt their data acquisition strategies to encourage their customers to share more? It’s a vexing challenge, particularly in this age where data drives most major marketing decisions.
Unfortunately, consumers are often leery of losing control over their data; according a Communispace survey, almost one in three consumers would actually pay a fee to guarantee that merchants would not be able to capture their data.
Big data is a term we’ve come to see in news articles and blogs on a regular basis. So regular in fact, many marketers have come to view big data as this big scary monolith outside of their pay grade.
But that’s not really the case. Big data isn’t just a flashy buzzword or omen of the robot apocalypse; it’s what you, the marketer, makes of it.
With Oreo’s Dunk in the Dark Tweet from the Super Bowl two years ago, real-time marketing hit the big leagues, popping up in blogs and newspapers everywhere. However, relatively few marketers have made the leap to leverage real-time data into their own campaigns.
Marketers are often concerned about sending too many emails to subscribers. It’s understandable; email fatigue can become a real problem if the causes aren’t understood and appropriate actions aren’t taken. However, when email marketing is done the right way, marketers can shoot themselves in the foot by holding back on sending email.
Are you leveraging your email marketing system’s full potential? If triggered emails aren’t part of your strategy, then the answer is a big fat “NO.” Behaviorally targeted trigger campaigns are phenomenal at achieving the marketing trifecta: sending the right message to the right person at the right time. According to MarketingSherpa, triggered emails generate 30% higher open and click-through rates and 300% higher conversion rates than traditional campaigns. By combining personalization with automation, you can send highly specific and relevant emails precisely when they’ll achieve the best results.
Email marketers often ponder the optimum frequency for sending emails. Is the number of emails we’re sending too high? Too low? Just right? Finding a sweet spot that keeps subscribers engaged without overwhelming them is harder than Goldilocks finding the right porridge.
Didn’t get a chance to attend Media Post’s Email Insider Summit last week? If you missed out on the action and want to catch up, you can watch all of the panels and presentations online here. But if you don’t have the time for that, have no fear! TowerData has compiled a list of the best tweets of #MPEIS 2014 just for you.
How do I get more customers? How do I increase loyalty to get greater value from those customers? These are the questions marketers continue to ask today.
On its surface, email marketing may look simple. Convince people to sign up for your mailings, and then send them messages persuading them to take action. A then B. But, when you dig deeper, it becomes glaringly obvious this initial impression is misguided. As marketers well know, there are quite a few things that can go wrong in email marketing. And once you address one hitch, there’s usually another right behind, ready to block you from your ultimate goal.
Have you ever come across a blog post that declares with absolute certainty the best time of day or the best day of the week to send emails? Of course you have! They’re everywhere. The problem is almost all of these blogs get it wrong. There simply is no “best day/time” to send emails.
You may be the savviest salesman in the world but, at the end of the day, you’re only as good as your data. And for many companies, data could be a lot better.
How many articles and blogs on “need-to-know” email marketing statistics do you read a week? If you’re like us, the answer is A TON. And after a while, all these stats seem to blur together; you’ve seen ‘em all. But what happens when the experts share a stat that is truly off the wall? Here, we’ve compiled some of the stranger pieces of advice and weird statistics we’ve come across in our research—those odd nuggets of information that make you scratch your head and think, “huh?” at first but ultimately prove the key to email success.
Did you know that including movie or song titles in email subject lines increases open rates by 26.2%? This is great if you’re trying to sell that movie or song, but for the rest of us, this may be a tough—though not impossible—statistic to actually act on.
The lesson to learn here is that including something unexpected and surprising in the subject line, from Godfather quote to Spice Girls lyric, will typically bring a better result than a boring, predictable subject line.
Do you suffer from email writer’s block? Sometimes marketers become so hung up on crafting clever content they miss opportunities to use email for more basic functions. Here are a few examples of simple, yet effective emails that will keep you at the top of your customers’ minds.
I’ve written before about maximizing opportunities on your website to collect more data. But when it comes to collecting data, email marketers mustn’t forget that offline opportunities are just as worthwhile. After all, brick-and-mortar stores managed to learn valuable personal details about their customers long before the online boom.
Let’s face it: Not all online retailers are created equal. You’ve got the Davids and the Goliaths. The smaller, newer online merchants and the bigger, more established e-commerce megastores like Amazon and Wal-Mart. The Goliaths have giant marketing departments and in-house data mining teams. The Davids...do not. So how can these small- to middle-sized e-commerce companies compete with the data-driven personalization and automation of the big wigs?
Emailing your customers is a privilege. Use it well, and you’ll build loyalty that translates into sales. Abuse it, and they’ll cut you off faster than you can hit “send.”
An ever-expanding email list doesn’t always mean you’re reaching more people. About 30 percent of people change their email addresses every year, and some reports estimate more than 70 percent of email marketing lists are comprised of inactive subscribers.
The number one priority for any email marketer is quite simple: Ensure the emails you send actually make it to the inbox. This means avoiding practices, like poor data hygiene, that get your email flagged as spam and embracing practices that get your email opened, such as maintaining a stellar sender reputation.
Over the past year, real-time marketing has burst onto the scene as a simple, effective strategy for engaging customers with time-relevant messages. But marketers beware: Real-time email marketing is not as easy to implement as it seems.
List segmentation remains one of the most effective methods to boost the performance of your email marketing campaigns. In fact, according to the Lyris Annual Email Optimizer Report, 71percent of email marketers say list segmentation has significantly improved their results.
More customer data means better personalization and a better overall customer experience. But here’s the paradox: Customers often don’t want to share their information, even if it will improve the marketing they’ll receive. It’s understandable; in today’s age of privacy concerns and overflowing inboxes, most people are hesitant to offer up even the most basic of information.
Imagine you’re 2,000 miles from home hustling through a hectic airport after two days of flight delays when someone greets you by name. This person not only recognizes you, but she knows how anxious you are to get back home after a snowstorm threw a wrench into your travel plans.
Over the past decade, few aspects of marketing have received as much publicity as social media. But as the buzz dies down, we’re seeing more hype than hard results. In fact, most statistics show that email still trumps social media. Email marketing might not be as flashy, but it’s still number one in effectiveness.
Wondering how to better engage with the person behind the email address? You’re not alone. “Scaling Personalization Through Big Data,” an interactive roundtable hosted by email marketing strategist Phil Davis at last week’s 2014 MarketingSherpa Email Summit, provided email marketers like you the expert advice needed to take email personalization to the next level.
If you aren’t incorporating Big Data into your email strategy this year, it’s high time to get started. According to ExactTarget’s 2014 State of Marketing survey, collecting, measuring and using behavior-based data is one of the top three most common priorities in the email industry. Sixty-one percent of marketers say they will increase their spend on data and analytics in 2014 alone.
Bounces and complaints and spam hits, oh my! If your bounce rates and spam trap hits are on the rise, it’s time to face the music. You might have a data hygiene issue. How do you know if your list is in need of a deep cleanse with email validation? Here are three signs your list might benefit from some email validation:
As marketers, we see blogs and tweets and whitepapers touting the newest email best practices everywhere. But where do these best practices actually come from? An individual account? A company survey? There’s no guarantee that what works for one company will work for yours. That’s why you need to create your own email marketing best practices based on solid evidence. The best way to do that? Testing. The next question, of course, is what to test.
When you’re responsible for managing hundreds or thousands of emails each week, it’s easy to rely on the same old templates, colors and messages. But a savvy marketer doesn’t just rest on his laurels. As we always say on this blog, email success is all about dynamic engagement marketing.
On July 1, 2014, Canada’s new Anti-Spam Law (CASL) will take effect. Though that may seem far in the future, it’s important for email marketers to start preparing for the law today. When one email mistakenly taken for spam can rack up a $10 million fine, you’d be crazy not to. That’s why we’ve compiled everything you need to know about the CASL and the updates you’ll need to make to be in compliance.
With the Seattle Seahawks' victory on Sunday, it’s been a full year since Super Bowl XLVII. That means a full year since Beyonce’s half-time show, a full year since the bowl-wide blackout, and a full year since Oreo brought the phrase “real-time” into the mainstream.
The increasing sophistication of email marketing and its widening role as a revenue generator is reflected in the surging adoption of marketing automation systems. With a strong email marketing program becoming ever more mission-critical, increasing numbers of companies are investing in marketing automation to keep pace with competitors and raise their email marketing game.
Without a doubt, email list growth may be the single most important metric email marketers track. There’s a lot of advice out there about the best ways to grow a list, so it can be tough to figure out the best approach for your company. To help clear things up, we’ve analyzed recent surveys conducted by two industry leaders—ExactTarget’s 2013 Audience Growth Survey and MarketingSherpa’s 2013 Email Marketing Benchmark Survey—to offer top recommendations for growing your email list as effectively and efficiently as possible.
As buzzwords like “big data” and “data-driven marketing” get more and more coverage in the press, marketers are starting to double down on data in their plans for 2014. In a study from ExactTarget, big data topped the list of marketing priorities for 2014, with 61 percent of digital marketers pledging to increase their investment in data and analytics over the next year. To many of these marketers, data is a Holy Grail, a catchall solution to all their marketing woes.
Email marketers are continually being told the path to success is to engage prospects and forge a relationship. However, there is some controversy about just what type of relationship consumers want to have with a brand, if any.
As an online vendor, email is one of your most powerful marketing tools. It's low-cost, low-maintenance and easily tracked. Plus, it produces the quickest sales. Nevertheless, it’s never good to put all your eggs in one basket— especially if you operate a physical storefront. Direct mail still has its place; targeted, eye-catching letters and postcards can set you apart from your competition. You can get the best of both worlds by combining your email and direct marketing initiatives.
You’ve just sent out an amazing email campaign, but over the next few days, you watch as the opt-outs grow and grow. You start worrying. Should I clean my list? Should I dump the campaign and start over? Should I survey my subscribers to find out what’s going on?
Does your email marketing strategy consist solely of telling your subscribers how great your company is? If so, you might be missing out. Content marketing has been generating quite a bit of buzz over the past few years for its ability to drive deeper relationships with customers. In fact, we included it on our list of the Top 10 Email Marketing Trends of 2012, and even in 2014, we think it’s the key to engaging your audience and driving better email marketing results. Here’s what you need to know about how content can fit into your email marketing strategy:
Personalized email allows marketers to thrive in an era of big data and dynamic content. For all of its potential, though, email personalization sometimes gets a bad rap.
In my last post, I described the four basic methods that can be employed by all email marketers to boost revenues. In this post, I'll focus on the leading-edge methods being adopted by top-tier email marketers to enable them to continue to achieve significantly higher ROI than their peers ($80 per dollar spent vs. the $44 average and $20 low end).
A recent Yesmail survey tellingly titled Data-Rich and Insight-Poor found that almost half of marketers said analyzing and applying data is their biggest data-related challenge. Big Data is a huge trend for email marketers, but it’s not always easy to understand. There’s a reason they call It BIG data, after all. That’s why we’ve put together this list of data-driven metrics that help us understand which email tactics are generating the best results and where you might be leaving money on the table.
While generating revenues is the goal of most email marketers, some are more skillful at monetizing their efforts than others. Surveys show the average return on email marketing is about $44 for every dollar spent. However, as Chad White notes, many brands are happy achieving a $20 return for each dollar spent, while others are able to generate $80 per dollar spent or more.
It’s no surprise the Lyris Annual Email Optimizer Report named demographic segmentation the top email marketing practice of 2012. Leveraging the rich data contained within your email database allows you to deliver more targeted messages that increase response rates and drive revenue. Still, it’s often difficult for email marketers to know where to begin segmenting.
Winning business requires gaining prospects’ attention and giving them a compelling reason to engage with your company. This is difficult when your content is bland and unoriginal, which is why so many experts advise you to make your content unique.
It’s fairly impossible to read about modern email marketing without encountering the term “new buyer’s journey.” Hugh Macfarlane is credited with coining the term “buyer’s journey” in his book “The Leaky Funnel,” published in 2003.
As the title implies, the collapse of the traditional marketing funnel was a critical change caused by information becoming widely available to consumers on the Internet. Before the collapse, prospects were beholden to marketing and sales people to inform their understanding of products and guide them through a buying process that could be controlled through the well-known and predictable stages of the marketing funnel.
A subject line is the first (and sometimes only) part of your email subscribers see in their inboxes, which is why crafting them is one of the most important steps in putting together an email marketing campaign. The power of a great email subject line is undeniable; when you harness that power, your campaigns and your open rates soar. The difficulty with subject lines, however, is real estate: You only have a few words to say something meaningful. And that’s especially true of mobile campaigns.
Oh, the weather outside is frightful but the Email Insider Summit is so delightful! It’s only day three of MediaPost’s email marketing event in Park City, Utah and we’ve already seen a ton of great announcements, panels, and roundtables (not to mention a couple curious deer).
At the Email Insider Summit today, TowerData, an EIS sponsor, announced that it has integrated the demographic, purchase and interest data of consumer data aggregator Rapleaf with its email validation service. With the expanded service, marketers can now clean and enhance their email addresses in a single, real-time API call.
Email marketing is undergoing a radical transformation, as evidenced by the host of experts offering advice on how to deal with the profound changes taking place. As pundits try to wrap their minds around email marketing’s new directions, they are formulating new sets of rules and best practices they believe marketers must adopt going forward.
We all want to avoid making mistakes with our email marketing. But the best way to do the right thing is to start with the right strategy. Here are six of our top tips to help you manage your email campaigns for the best results possible.
In email marketing, trends and buzzwords come and go. Topping the chart today is “engagement.” This trend is so big, says Marketo, it should replace the term email marketing. “It’s time to move beyond the term email marketing,” says Marketo. “The future lies in engagement marketing.”
The idea that engagement is the key to email marketing is being touted by experts of all stripes. Mike Veilleux of Dyn, for example, puts user engagement atop his list of the five hottest trends in email marketing, while Penny Baldwin-French of Whitespace says the pursuit of engagement is “the key to marketing.” Lyris, Experian and Silverpop all cite engagement as the key to deliverability and overall success.
You might not know it, but BuzzFeed had a newsletter problem. The popular website doesn’t just serve up the hottest viral content; it also sends out an engaging email newsletter each week to keep subscribers in the loop. But Buzzfeed’s trademark pictures and lists don’t mean a thing if newsletter readers don’t see them, and many did not because many email clients disable images by default. While BuzzFeed knew going easy on the images would improve its email deliverability, it also didn’t want to water down the unique BuzzFeed style subscribers have come to know and love.
While etailers can make assumptions, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly why online customers abandon shopping carts. However, as we learned in our last blog, etailers should assume visitors who have abandoned their carts are still interested in making that purchase. That makes strategically planned and executed abandoned cart triggered emails an essential component of any etailer’s email marketing strategy.
As most email marketers have come to realize, the nature of email marketing is changing, becoming more sophisticated, complex, and quicker in tempo. As Silverpop’s Loren McDonald noted, “Having observed the email marketing industry the last 15 years, I've come to the conclusion that our beloved channel is entering its next phase: adulthood.”
Did you know 67.44 percent of all online shopping carts are abandoned? And that 80 percent of the largest etailers do absolutely nothing about it? It’s a shame because convincing customers to make a purchase is easy once you’ve formed a cohesive strategy for one of the most effective types of triggered emails: the abandoned cart email.
If you’re in the business of sending emails, you may already know for every $1 spent, an estimated $39 is gained. That’s an amazing rate of return that shows not only the cost-efficiency of the medium itself, but also its effectiveness.
The intersection of email and social media has led to the emergence of what is being called the Social Inbox. There is, however, no clear consensus of what constitutes a Social Inbox or how marketers should address it in their campaigns.
Marketers have been talking about the importance of Big Data for quite a while now. But ZDNet recently warned the marketing industry may be approaching overuse, calling Big Data the “hype word of the year” and questioning whether it’s still a relevant concept. Confused? Don’t be.
There are a host of email marketing dos and don’ts that have been put forth by pundits. However, there also are a good number of marketing practitioners who see conformity to these types of strict rules as restrictive and detrimental to success.
There’s been much hubbub in marketing circles about Gmail’s new inbox system and the best way to get your emails into the coveted Primary tab. And yet, a few calmer heads are realizing these changes are actually a blessing—they’re presenting marketers with a tremendous opportunity to improve their overall marketing strategy. In short, their advice goes something like this: You want to beat Gmail tabs? Know your audience better, so you can send better email.
We’ve got tradeshow fever at TowerData! Today, we’re headed to ad:tech, our third tradeshow in three months. ad:tech is the leading digital media event where more than 9,000 marketing and technology professionals from around the world gather to network, exchange ideas and contribute to industry trends and initiatives. This conference is happening in our backyard—New York’s Javits Center—November 6-7.
Behavioral marketing with automated triggers is all the rage. Andrea Krohnberg, for example, describes behavioral marketing as “the marketer's dream—delivering the most relevant message to the willing customer, at the right time, via the right channel.”
Email hygiene is central to email marketing success. Leading email service providers and consultants know this, which is why the importance of email hygiene is emphasized in their latest reports, along with good advice for cleaning and maintaining quality databases.
Your website is bustling, your email list is growing, and you're capturing contact information from every interested visitor. That's great—but what about your social media presence? Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ are popular with many demographics, and if your audiences find a particular social media platform especially worthwhile, you’re missing out big time if you don’t have a presence. Social media is more than just another way to communicate with existing customers; it's one of your most powerful email list-building tools, too!
Many marketing professionals constantly challenge the value of email marketing, insisting newer digital marketing tactics—such as blogging and social media—have replaced it entirely. While this may be a widely held view, it by no means reflects the reality of the data regarding what constitutes successful digital marketing efforts.
Integrated multichannel marketing campaigns yield better results than campaigns conducted via individual channels. Within multichannel marketing campaigns, email plays a central role as a communications channel and in binding channels together, and its uses are limited only by the imagination of the marketer.
As the barriers to gaining access to consumer inboxes lessen, it can be easy for marketers to forget just how personal the inbox really is. The marketing emails you send pop up alongside photographs of grandchildren and GoToMeeting invites from coworkers. Personalizing your emails shows respect for the access your customers grant you into that area of their lives. By taking the extra steps to segment your emails and target them to your audience’s specific needs, your company stands to improve open rates, lower unsubscribe rates and convert more sales. So how can you make that happen?
Email marketers are always on the lookout for fresh ways to grow their email lists. To grow lists quickly, many marketers rely on customer incentives, to the tune of $5 billion each year. There’s no doubt that incentives can be powerful email marketing tools – when used correctly.
Businesses focused on providing a positive customer experience appreciate the ways in which an email preference center can contribute to their efforts. Savvy marketers also know a preference center can be a valuable marketing tool and a means of obtaining useful customer data.
Remember the adage, "If something seems too good to be true, it probably is"? This is certainly the case with buying an email list. Sure, it's tempting; especially since purchasing a list is much quicker and easier than organically growing or building a list from your existing customers. But it's also risky, and definitely a case where the too-good-to-be-true concept applies. Let's take a closer look at the risks associated with buying an email list.
Today’s e-commerce is bigger than ever; do you have a handle on your growing email list? Almost every online business requires robust email campaigns for sustained business, but lists can easily get bogged down with typos and fraudulent data. Left uncorrected, these faulty entries will cause you to lose out on sales, harm your reputation and possibly suffer fines and penalties for spam.
Gmail’s Inbox changes have email marketers scurrying to find the most effective strategies to curtail losses in readership and maintain the best possible open rates. Pundits, meanwhile, are offering a gamut of approaches as they wrestle with the ramifications of the new Gmail format.
This weekend, TowerData is headed for DMA2013, the Direct Marketing Association’s annual conference, where more than 200 global marketing leaders from some of the world’s top brands will share ideas, innovations and case studies.
Email campaigns are key to any digital marketing strategy. They allow you to directly connect with consumers and, if done right, email marketing campaigns can lead to a high ROI. Since consumers are inundated with emails, it’s important to make sure yours will be noticed. Below are five email marketing tactics you can pursue to guarantee your marketing message is getting across.
Does your email newsletter generate results for your organization? Or is it a tired, dead-end effort you continue to send simply because it’s what you’ve always done? Email newsletters can be powerful tools, delivering lead generation, customer engagement and more, but only if you’re putting the right ingredients into it. Focusing on a few simple areas will help you get the maximum return from your newsletter, helping you achieve the results you want.
In previous posts, we explored the skills and practices that enable top-tier email marketers to outperform their peers. As Loren McDonald relates, Silverpop’s 2013 Email Metrics Benchmark Study provides further insights into the ways savvier email marketers are able to achieve superior results.
If you’re trying to develop personalized customer experiences, you need to know who your customers are. Real-time data can be the key. By enriching your customer records with everything from zip codes to occupations, you can learn incredible amounts of detail about the people on your email list.
You’re not implementing an email marketing strategy because you have nothing better to do with your time. There’s a purpose to the madness: to elicit a response from subscribers. You might want them to call you, make a purchase, or click a link back to your website. But unless you tell them exactly what to do, they might not catch on.
As a bevy of studies have shown that, despite the skyrocketing adoption of smartphones, the majority of email marketers are not customizing their emails for mobile devices. This has many experts shaking their heads (and wagging their fingers) as they continue to warn email marketers about the perils of ignoring the mobile market.
Email marketers love to give advice. Sadly, it’s not always accurate. The challenge for practitioners is knowing which advice is the right recommendation to follow. For example, “When is the best time to send emails?” is one key question that is often answered inaccurately—or at least not accurately enough to help the vast majority of email marketers.
The power of video in marketing today is undeniable. Just look at electronic music duo Daft Punk—the pair successfully built an entire marketing campaign around it! Using video in your email marketing can help your click-through-rates and sales soar. Here, we explore three video email marketing questions that can help you to quickly and efficiently build your email list.
Do you know how much your customers' typos are costing you? According to a 2006 report, top retail websites lose an average of 6.7 million dollars each year due to mistyped email addresses. Sadly, many online shops still fail to capture common registration errors, and business owners have to contend with lengthy lists of unreachable customers.
The accepted email marketing industry wisdom is that sending too many emails is a bad practice that will alienate prospects and customers. However, this view is being challenged by some out-of-the box thinkers who believe sending more emails is a better strategy.
To succeed in digital marketing today, email marketers must work in tandem with social media managers to create the ultimate digital customer experience. Why? According to research by the marketing agency Merkle, 42 percent of social media users actually check their email four times a day, whereas only 24 percent non-social media users do the same. This presents a huge opportunity for email marketers to grow their databases.
As savvy email marketers move away from old-school “batch and blast” strategies, they’re looking for better ways to extend their conversations with customers. In our blog post “Social Media & Email Marketing Integration Part I: The Business Case,” we showed you why social media presents the perfect opportunity to expand your email results by listening to customers, adding value and engaging in meaningful communication. Now let’s look at some on-the-ground strategies to get you started:
The world’s leading marketers are heading to Connections 2013 this month–and we’re going with them! Hosted by ExactTarget, the leading global SaaS provider of data-driven marketing, Connections 2013 is a premier digital marketing event for modern marketers. Now in its seventh year, the event is being held in Indianapolis, Ind., September 17-19.
With all the buzz social media has seen lately, you might think it’s time to move your marketing budget away from email and focus exclusively on social media. You’d be wrong.
When it comes to email deliverability, new twists continue to crop up, keeping email marketers on their toes. The new tabbed format of Gmail’s Inbox is one such development. It’s a big change that has many email marketers wringing their hands with worry.
Email marketers who aren’t leveraging triggered emails (messages your system sends to a subscriber in response to his or her action) may be leaving money on the table. These transactional emails boast open rates of more than 50 percent versus just 20 percent for standard direct marketing emails, according to Marketing Sherpa. They drive more revenue, too, according to Experian – two to five times more than standard emails, in fact. But developing and implementing an effective trigger email strategy is as much of an art as it is a science.
Think back to the days before grabbing your smartphone in bed and before scrolling through Flipboard while preparing your coffee and breakfast. Think of the days where you had to hit the newsstand for your fix of the latest headlines. What made you pick up USA Today instead of the Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal instead of The New York Times?
As if email deliverability wasn’t a big enough challenge, Google has gone and made it even harder to reach certain subscribers. In case you haven’t heard, over the past few months Google has rolled out a new inbox layout for their popular Gmail service. Given that Gmail has more than 425 million active users, email marketers everywhere are standing up and taking notice. Should you be concerned?
Plateau: To reach a state or level of little or no growth or decline, especially to stop increasing or progressing; remain at a stable level of achievement; level off.
As discussed in the blog “5 Ideas on Growing Your Email Database Using Social Media,” social media, used in tandem with your email marketing efforts, can effectively strengthen your relationship with current and potential consumers and improve the overall effectiveness of your marketing programs.
We have seen how triggered email, Big Data, the flattened marketing funnel and real-time marketing are revolutionizing the practice of email marketing. Although marketers must be able to identify and respond to opportunities in real time, not all sales can be closed immediately. To win business today, marketers must possess the tools and skills to operate in quick marketing cycles and long marketing cycles—and hybrids of both.
Remember the rush to create the perfect Yahoo! email address in the late 1990s? It was a lot like the Gold Rush back in the late 1840s. Think about it: In the beginning of the Gold Rush, few people hitched their wagons and headed west. But by 1949, gold-seekers from all over the world were flocking to the Gold Coast hoping to strike it rich. However, aside from the early arrivals, few reaped the rewards they were seeking.
Recently, a top-5 Internet Retailer approached Rapleaf because they were struggling to make their email marketing more relevant. Using our data to tailor content, special offers, and gender-specific subject lines, the e-tail company saw some pretty crazy improvements in their email campaigns. Open and click-through rates increased by 30%. Earnings per user shot up 14% over the first 30-day period. And cost per conversion decreased by 63%, all because they took the time (and data) to personalize.
While both fall under the marketing umbrella, it’s not uncommon for email marketing and social media to be managed by different individuals within an organization. Sure, the social media manager will send an occasional tweet directing followers to subscribe to the company’s newsletter. And, yes, the email marketing manager always includes social links in the footer of email communications. But, for the most part, these individuals will keep the entities separate.
As studies show, dirty data takes a toll in undermining marketing effectiveness and profitability, yet many organizations fail to implement data-quality programs. A 2013 Marketing Data Benchmark Report by NetProspex supports these findings, showing that more than 60 percent of companies surveyed had an overall data health score of “unreliable.”
For years, email has been the go-to choice for marketers searching for the biggest bang for their buck. “Compared to traditional marketing strategies like direct mail, print advertising or trade shows, email marketing costs less and drives a higher return,” Marketo says. In fact, in one experiment, HubSpot found the return on investment of an email-only campaign to be 95x higher than that of a direct mail-only campaign.
In its most basic form, email marketing seems like a simple task. Acquire email addresses, send subscribers well-crafted emails, include some form of call to action for subscribers to download a piece of content or buy your product and so on. But as email marketers well know, there are a plethora of hurdles to overcome in order to get subscribers see your message and take action on it.
In the blog “Fasten Your Seat Belts: It’s Email Marketing at Warp Speed,” we described how email marketing is undergoing a sea change in response to the fast-moving real-time opportunities that are presenting themselves on the Internet. However, research shows that a lack of skills and tools is preventing a majority of marketers from conducting real-time campaigns.
As far as marketing strategy in 2013 is concerned, email marketing is the digital king. Yes, social media and PPC have their place, but as Katie Oakes puts it, email marketing is the hub of the marketing web. Numerous studies, reports, forecasts and the like highlight the importance of email as an effective marketing tool, showing how it continues to generate the highest ROI of all marketing channels.
As discussed in the blog “Optimize for Mobile for Better Email Marketing Results,” smartphone usage among U.S. adults has grown exponentially, increasing 21 percent in just two years. The rapid adoption of iPhones, Androids and other devices has left many email marketers realizing they can no longer afford to think of their messages in terms of mobile and non-mobile. Forward thinkers have begun investigating responsive and mobile aware design.
The fast-flowing online market is creating new challenges for email marketers, forcing them to accelerate their pace to capitalize on real-time opportunities as they arise. As eMarketer reports, social media and mobile devices have driven fundamental changes in consumer behavior and opened up new avenues for consumers to engage with brands. The upshot, says Debra Aho Williamson, is that “the need to move faster is greater now than it has ever been.”
In order to be successful these days, every business needs both an online and offline marketing plan. Having face-to-face interactions are just as important as forming online relationships with your customers. This thought applies to building your email list, too. Just because email is an online communication tool doesn’t mean you only can collect emails via online tactics. Businesses should be creative and utilize offline strategies, as well.
Once a rarity, smart phones are now everywhere. According to the Pew Research Center, a whopping 56 percent of American adults now have smartphones, up from 35 percent just two years ago. And those smartphone adopters are doing more than playing Angry Birds and streaming music—they’re checking email, too.
As we learned in a previous post, many businesses are neglecting mobile email marketing, an area that is experiencing such booming popularity that experts believe it can no longer be ignored. IHS reported smartphones will comprise one-half of the cell phone market in 2013, two years earlier than the firm had previously forecast. IHS projects smartphones will account for 54 percent of the total market in 2013, up from 46 percent in 2012 and 35 percent in 2011.
Constantly improving your email communications is one of the most important skills that you, as an email marketer, can leverage to increase your company’s bottom line. But “improvement” can often seem daunting—even to seasoned professionals—due to the vast number of variables to consider.
We’ve all had to deal with at least one obnoxious person in our lives at some point or another. Perhaps it’s that sole person on the AM commuter train who insists on singing along with his iPod while everyone else attempts to snooze. Or the mystery food “critic” at your office, who takes it upon himself to “sample” everyone’s lunch in the refrigerator—without their permission.
Whatever scenario you’ve had the misfortune of experiencing, the sentiment is clear: You don’t want to be that guy. However, when it comes to your email marketing campaign, unless you’re following best practices for email marketing, you may come off just as rude to your subscribers. That’s why we’ve listed five surefire ways to annoy your audience and sabotage your email campaign.
In Part 1 of this series, we introduced 10 of the most commonly used terms in email marketing. Here, we expand upon that list, bringing you 10 more need-to-know email marketing definitions.
How important is an email’s subject line? According to Brian Clark of Copyblogger, it is the most important element. Your headline, says Clark, “is what determines whether or not your effort even gets a chance.”
Mastering the lingo of any profession can be challenging for newbies. In email marketing, even established professionals can confuse the essential terms with techno-babble and buzzwords. Then, as the industry changes and new trends emerge, email marketers need to file even more definitions into their already cramped noggins. It’s enough to make the perkiest professionals feel more like worn, old dictionaries than direct communications masters.
When you come across an insightful blog about email marketing like those on TowerData, it’s second nature to want to share the article with friends and colleagues within the industry. Ten years ago, you’d do so by emailing the link. Today, you broadcast the link to your social media accounts, tagging the individuals you think would be most interested.
One of the biggest blows an email marketer can be dealt is shockingly low email deliverability. A good email deliverability rate to work toward, according to Ginger Shimp on BtoB Blog, is 90 percent, yet, according to Direct Marketing News, the average is just 81 percent. When you view your campaign performance report and note unusually low email deliverability, you ask yourself, “What went wrong?”
In our last article, we described how bad data can undermine email marketing and wreak havoc in all key areas of a business. Equally troubling were studies that showed that many businesses fail to recognize or ignore the problem.
It’s not personal. Losing email subscribers is going to happen. In fact, those email unsubscribes may actually be good for your marketing – and your business. Here are three reasons why.
Email marketing is like a journey of a thousand steps. But that journey doesn’t end when your email arrives in your subscriber’s inbox. There remains one final – and formidable – challenge: getting your email opened. So how can you improve your open rates? We’ve outlined three key steps.
Your role as an email marketing manager is not as defined as you may think. Yes, you manage all aspects of your company‘s email campaigns, but you’re also a bit of a scientist, as well. You may not work in a lab or handle corrosive chemicals, but as an A/B tester, you’re constantly running experiments and testing variables, such as your from line, landing page and target audience.
The welcome email may be the single most important email you send. Welcome emails are four times more likely to be opened than regular bulk emails and five times more likely to generate click throughs, according to eMarketer. They not only can make a great first impression on new subscribers, they also set the stage for future subscriber engagement.
Bad data is a widespread and costly problem that undermines not only email marketing campaigns, but all key areas of a business. The Data Warehousing Institute estimated that data quality problems cost U.S. businesses more than $600 billion a year, while Hollis Tibbets, Dell’s global director of marketing, put the figure at more than $3 trillion per year.
Email lists comprised of highly targeted prospects and customers deliver higher open and click-through rates and, ultimately, revenue. Therefore, acquiring email addresses for new prospects likely to respond to your email marketing campaigns should be top priority for all email marketers.
As much as marketers would like to ask dozens of questions of visitors to their websites, the reality is that they must minimize the number of fields on forms or else no one will fill them out. If email is the only required field on your forms, even the most interested parties are inevitably going to leave out names, phone numbers and other critical info–leaving you with incomplete data. Fortunately, real-time enhancement services can help you to fill in the blanks and even answer questions you didn't directly ask. Here are a few ways data enhancement can take your marketing efforts–and your profits–to the next level.
Before you can effectively implement an email marketing campaign (or any marketing initiative, for that matter), you must create a strategy around it. Without a comprehensive, clear strategy, your campaign will never meet or exceed your goals and objectives. Unfortunately, many email marketers struggle with how to create strategies, focusing instead on logistics, tactics or design and development.
Increasing the number of their email subscribers enables marketers to cast a wider net – and can substantially boost the effectiveness of marketing efforts. Unfortunately, too few email marketers put conscientious effort into welcoming new subscribers, instead sending one measly, “Thanks for subscribing” initial email, then entering them into established campaigns.
Our previous blog on deliverability showed how increasingly difficult it has become to reach users’ inboxes, a condition that is requiring email marketers to adopt more sophisticated methods to succeed. As ExactTarget relates, batch and blast is no longer a viable strategy and having permission to send mail has become a starting point, not the finish line.
Email marketing programs are only as successful as the number of subscribers who see and respond to the messages sent. Mailing to undeliverable addresses, spam traps and people who complain about your messages can negatively impacting your email reputation, causing your emails to go to the junk folder or even get blocked entirely.
Last week, Rapleaf joined thousands of internet retailers and ecommerce partners at McCormick Place in Chicago for the 2013 International Retail Conference and Expo.
While some people's highlights from the conference were probably Al Gore's keynote speech or the great Chicago deep dish pizza or even those snazzy socks the bus booth was giving away, ours was seeing just how passionate marketers and internet companies are about data.
If you can’t reach your buyers, your email marketing program has little chance of success. Reaching the inbox, however, has become more difficult as the barriers to deliverability have become more formidable. To succeed, email marketers must adopt more sophisticated techniques.
Whether you’re discussing email list growth or social media fan growth, quality versus quantity is always part of the conversation. At the Email Insider Summit 2013 panel “Converting Consumers Into Subscribers: Acquisition Strategies,” Kelly Briggs, director of corporate communications for the Dallas Stars, argued list growth is never bad, even if you’re not acquiring quality subscribers. “Ultimately, if you’re gaining contact, then you have the opportunity…to speak to them and convert them,” she said.
But not all marketers agree. At that same panel, Greg Martz, director of strategic business at The Motley Fool said, “I do think the old mantra ‘garbage in, garbage out’ does apply. We’ve shied away from sweepstakes or even co-registration—they just didn’t convert. It’s got to be quality list growth.”
Like it or not, list churn is part of the email marketing job. In general, those who unsubscribe or “opt-out” from your marketing emails are informing you that your program isn’t what they expected or wanted, or it’s no longer relevant to them. According to Silverpop’s 2013 Email Marketing Metrics Benchmark Study, the average unsubscribe rate in the U.S. is 0.25 percent. Depending on the size of your list, this could be a handful or several thousands of people per year.
In email marketing, few things are as discouraging as high hard bounce rates. The hard bounce rate measures how many messages were undelivered either because the domain name doesn’t exist or the address itself fails to be recognized. A hard bounce rate is not to be confused with the soft bounce rate, which measures bounces that resulted from temporary email server issues that may be resolved on a future mailing. If you were fortunate enough to get a combined hard and soft bounce rate of 0 percent, it would mean all your emails were successfully delivered; however, that’s no guarantee that you’ll get any opens or clicks.
If there’s one truth in the wild world of email marketing, it’s that the success of a campaign relies heavily on the amount of emails opened. If only it were that simple. The Radicati Group estimated that in 2013, the average corporate email user will send and receive approximately 110 emails per day, and, despite spam filters, 19 percent of these emails fall into the unwanted “graymail” category.
While an increasing number of people are accessing information on mobile devices, studies show a majority of marketers are not conducting mobile campaigns, a state of affairs that is causing experts to issue warnings about the dangers email marketers face in neglecting the mobile channel.
Populating an opt-in email list is one of those tasks that an email marketer will never be able to check off his or her to-do list. Like the old adage goes, the more email addresses captured, the merrier. In our previous posts, we’ve highlighted 7 Missed Opportunities for Growing Your Email Database, 5 Easy Ways to Grow Your Email List and 5 More Ways to Grow Your Email List, but if you want to keep the momentum going, the best way to ensure growth is to constantly generate new and innovative ways to gain more opt-in email subscribers.
Marketing departments are experiencing increased pressure from C-Suite to prove return on investment. From social media to email marketing, if the task falls under the marketing umbrella, significant impact on the bottom line must be proven.
The following is a guest post by Ryan Pitylak, CEO at Unique Influence.
As we have seen, email marketing is undergoing a sea change in response to the dramatically changing landscape where Big Data, the collapsed marketing funnel, and real-time marketing have come into play. Because segmentation, personalization and triggered email depend on understanding buyers, creating a comprehensive view of buyers has become a chief goal among marketers.
As an email marketer, you know maintaining a clean email list can reduce your mailing costs and increase the success of your email marketing. And lately, you’ve stumbled across several blogs touting the benefits of email validation, which scrutinizes email addresses for accuracy and authenticity and repairs them when possible.
Inactive subscribers typically comprise 30 to 40 percent of databases for most marketers, according to Email Insider. In our final blog in the Engaging Email Subscribers series, we’re discussing four refreshes email marketers can implement to re-engage inactive subscribers. (See Part 1 of this series by clicking here and Part 2 by clicking here.)
A slew of surveys show that, while marketers are eager to capitalize on the opportunities presented by Big Data, they are being held by a lack of know-how and experience.
ISPs such as Gmail now measure engagement as part of their filtering process, meaning inactive subscribers can impact your deliverability to the inbox. As discussed in “Tips to Keep Subscribers Engaged: Part 1,” there are a number of steps email marketers can take to help ensure their subscribers are opening and taking action in their emails.
Spring has finally sprung and so has the new Rapleaf Dashboard. We've added a ton of features to help you receive, track, and visualize the Rapleaf data you want. Now when you log in to the Dashboard, you can access all the info you need on both your Batch Append files and API keys.
Email marketers work hard to beef up their email databases. But building and growing email lists is only part of the email marketing equation – email marketers must also discover ways to persuade subscribers to open and take action in email communications. If they don’t, they face the bleak realities of inactive subscribers and opt-outs.
The hottest trend in email marketing this year is real-time data—used mainly to understand buyer personas and trigger personalized emails in response to prospects’ activities. As Yesmail reports, “By now, most marketers have picked up on the enthusiasm around real-time data.”
One of the main things that can affect your email deliverability is your recipients marking your messages as spam. This is getting more and more common as spam and the powers that crack down on it, increase.
The following is a guest post by Scott Krauss, Director at LiveIntent.
Top-tier email marketers achieve better results through the application of leading-edge approaches like Big Data mining, micro-segmentation, predictive analytics and real-time triggered email, coupled with best practices that include scrupulous data hygiene, real-time verification and demographic appending.
Acquiring quality subscribers is an integral process of any successful email marketing campaign. Yesterday I moderated a panel called “Converting Consumers Into Subscribers: Acquisition Strategies” at the 2013 Email Insider Summit, exploring just how email marketers can effectively grow their email marketing lists with quality subscribers.
As email marketers wrestle with the challenges of harnessing Big Data, experts stress the importance of maintaining data quality for Big Data marketing efforts to succeed.
Many companies have spent years cultivating large and reliable postal mailing lists, but, once they embrace email marketing, they often find they don’t have corresponding email addresses for most of those buyers. Email append can rapidly boost the size of your email list and accelerate your marketing program by attaching email addresses to your postal records. In our last post, we examined five don’ts of using an email append service.
In the business of turning contacts into customers, more and more direct marketers are opting for experimentation with email campaigns, and for good reason: Some data show email-only campaigns can perform up to 95 times better in terms of ROI than direct mail-only campaigns. Yet, as companies add email marketing to their arsenals, they often discover they possess a large database of postal addresses with relatively few email addresses.
Increasing the number of your email subscribers enables you to cast a wider net with your carefully crafted marketing messages. It can also substantially improve the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. While you understand the goal, the real challenge comes with the execution.
Expanding the email database is a top priority of all email marketers today. And while many remember to ask potential subscribers for the email addresses on landing pages, point-of-sale stations and during the e-commerce checkout process, there are other opportunities for capturing email addresses few pursue.
Big Data is a hot topic and one that email marketers are struggling with as far as defining goals and determining approaches and practices. As Angelo Racoma writes, citing a Yesmail and Infogroup survey, “Marketers love Big Data, but don’t know how to use it.”
With the rise of Twitter and Facebook, marketing isn't just about email anymore. It's true: email is still the king (see last week's blog for the full email manifesto) but the Marketing Kingdom also has its princes (Facebook), dukes (Twitter), earls (LinkedIn), and knights (Google+). And with all these smaller guys running around the Marketing Kingdom, it's sometimes hard to keep your company's coat of arms (brand) and house motto (message) clear and consistent. When Prince Facebook and Sir Google+ each carry a different shield, your marketing is at odds. And your vassals (customers) will be angrier than they were during the ol' Bread Revolt of 1342.
From data entry errors to unengaged subscribers, email marketers already have enough deliverability headaches to manage without factoring in sender reputation. But studies indicate as much as 77 percent of email delivery problems are based on sender reputation and, thus, must be examined.
More companies are exploring Big Data to deliver positive customer experiences across of multitude of channels, but before relying on Big Data for core business functions, companies must ensure the accuracy of that data by employing data hygiene. Without correct consumer information, businesses can waste resources, damage customer experience and hurt their ROI.
There are a good number of marketers and analysts who have concluded that the marketing funnel is dead or flattened. The problem, as Sequentia Environics Chief Strategist Jen Evans explains, is that “marketing has fundamentally changed, and many in the profession are struggling to catch up.”
A whopping 77 percent of U.S. online consumers prefer receiving permission-based marketing messages via email, according to ExactTarget’s 2012 Channel Preference Survey, which is just one of the many reasons email marketing continues to grow.
This morning, I went to Google and started to type.
By this point, Google was already trying to finish my thought for me.
email is not working on iphone
email is dead
Hmm. Google thinks I want to search ‘email is dead.’ I’m intrigued. I hit enter.
Although there is a lot of expert advice about the benefits of triggered email marketing in general, there is little discussion about the technology and systems required to conduct a triggered email campaign. As Neil Rosen of eWay Direct relates, there is an art and science to triggered responses. The art is in deciding which actions to respond to, and in crafting the messages and offers you send in response to prospects’ actions. The science is in the technology that allows you to monitor prospects and deliver relevant and timely content based on their actions.
On its surface, sending marketing emails is a seemingly simple task. But as you well know, reaching your audiences via email with carefully crafted messages that inspire them to take action is much more difficult than slapping your persuasive messages on a nice design and hitting send.
Companies are increasingly depending on Big Data to communicate with consumers and provide business intelligence, which delivers truly positive customer experiences. While most organizations have a strategy in place to monitor and correct the quality of data, 94 percent suspect their customer and prospect data might be inaccurate in some way, according to the Experian QAS study “Data Quality and the Customer Experience.”
You already know you should implement an email validation service to keep your customer contact database up to date. You've heard verification services can improve client reach and reduce the danger of damaging your sender reputation. But with so many different services and product options, where do you get started?
Last week was all about the cold, hard facts behind email personalization. Metrics, percentages and info-graphics all agree: personalized emails work and people like them.
But this week is all about the WHY. Why do people value personalized emails? Why are open rates 30% higher for personalized emails? Why does even the lightest touch of personalization (a local restaurant name-dropped in the subject line, a pet-specific offer for your cat-owning subscribers) make you want to click through or buy or sign up or, at the very least, not mark as spam?
What is it about email personalization that makes customers hearts swoon?
The United States Postal Service’s February announcement that it might stop delivering mail on Saturdays beginning in August has provoked many marketers to shift to email marketing as their primary channel.
The road to email marketing success isn't always smooth. On its way to your customer, your carefully honed message can hit a variety of roadblocks. It could bounce or hit a spam filter, rendering it pretty much useless — or possibly detrimental — to your overall campaign. But deploying an effective email validation strategy can help you address many of these challenges.
Email marketing consistently generates the highest return on investment (ROI) among all online marketing channels. However, studies show that 30% to 50% of companies do not, or cannot, determine their email marketing return on investment (ROI).
As an email marketer, you are already taking advantage of the benefits and efficiencies of email marketing, and chances are the results you are seeing make you want to do more. But your ability to invest in email may be limited by the size of your list, which causes many marketers to ask, how do you actually get more emails?
At Rapleaf, we love data and we love email personalization, so it only makes sense that we love data-driven email personalization too. We’d marry it if we could.
You know email marketing is an important part of reaching customers and growing your company's business. In fact, more than 800 business executives surveyed in a December 2012 study commissioned by Experian QAS ranked email to be their most important marketing channel, surpassing even social media and telemarketing.
As email marketing becomes increasingly more sophisticated and challenging, data appending and list cleansing play an ever more important part in achieving marketing success.
Multi-channel marketers have been debating the lifespan of direct mail ever since the United States Postal Service revealed an accelerated drop in mail volume back in the early days of the recession. The debate is more relevant than it’s ever been today as cheaper, more efficient options spring up seemingly overnight.
In the wake of the Super Bowl and the corresponding tweet by Oreo heard around the world mid-blackout - 'You can still dunk in the dark' - there’s been one hyphenated term on everyone’s lips: real-time. (If you're thinking 'Oreo, dunk in the dark, what?' Check out this article and then get back to reading this blog post.)
A lot of people see social media and email marketing as if they’re enemies, as if social media is some fresh-faced bandit who just rode into town and challenged Sheriff Email to a duel. “This town ain’t big enough for the both of us,” the bandit tweets. And before you can even hit ‘like,’ the guns are blazing. But this just isn’t the case. Email marketing isn’t dead and it isn’t dying.
The better you know your prospective buyers, the better you can fashion your communications to convert them to paying customers. As part of the effort to win more business, email marketers are seeking to segment and target their audiences with ever greater precision through the use of customer profiles and buyer personas.
Increasingly, large and small organizations alike are relying on data to deliver positive customer experiences while tackling the rapidly increasing speed of business and other challenges. Whether they’re using customer data to send direct mail inserts promoting an upcoming sale or capturing leads from online forms to filter them into email marketing campaigns, it’s vital they have management systems in place to maintain the accuracy of data.
Last week, Rapleaf joined hundreds of other email companies and afficionados at the Paris Las Vegas Casino and Hotel for the Marketing Sherpa Email Summit.
Direct mail via the United States Postal Service has long been a marketing standby. As promised by postal service creed, your marketing message will arrive to your customer despite rain or heat or gloom of night — at least if it's not a federal holiday. Or a Sunday. Or now, it seems, a Saturday.
The best email marketing results are achieved through segmenting and targeting, which produce higher open rates, leads, conversion rates and revenues. However, before you can segment and target prospects, you must know the makeup of your audience and be able to identify its members.
Every day as you leave work and hungrily head for home, a major battle is fought in the war for big data and it happens right under your nose. Or rather, right at your fingertips.
Email marketing provides marketers a direct line of communication for conversion to sales. It is also cost-effective, which is why email is an increasing part of marketers’ budgets. But even the most carefully thought-out email marketing strategy will fail if emails sent don’t reach their intended subscribers due to data entry errors and frequent changes of address. You also have to contend with ISPs monitoring your email sending reputation to determine whether your messages should be delivered to the inbox, the spam folder or be blocked entirely.
The 2013 MarketingSherpa email summit is just a week away, and none are more excited than the TowerData team!
Much has been said about big data and Super Bowl XLVII. Its data-driven ads were the some of the most personalized in history. Oreo used big data (and a big blackout) to score the most successful ad of the night for free. King of data himself Nate Silver finally made a faulty prediction. But what jumped out at me today, now that Super Bowl mania has died down and all the purple and yellow confetti has been swept from the Superdome, was a low-key article on what we can learn about email marketing from the coaches of the big game. This article points out the Harbaugh brothers’ insistence on constantly changing things up and taking bold risks as the key to their success as well as the success of any email marketing campaign. And then I remembered an anecdote Rapleaf’s CEO Phil Davis told me when he came into the office on Monday. Now, Phil tells a lot of stories so I’m often hardpressed to remember them all but he’s been at the Email Evolution conference in Miami all week so this one’s fresh in my mind. Phil said:
Once you have a clean email list, marketing managers can focus their attention on the messages they’re sending. After years in the marketing industry, you know targeting all of your customers with the same message is simply wasted effort.
As we have seen, there is a strong consensus that content is king in email marketing. However, as Anne Murphy points out, while large portions of marketing budgets are being allocated toward content for lead generation, marketers are struggling to create successful long-term content marketing strategies.
As email marketers, you know just how much time constructing an email marketing campaign requires. First there’s the seemingly never-ending research followed by hours of creating buyer personas, segmenting lists and strategizing objectives, strategies and tactics. By the time campaign elements, email body copy and designs are drafted, revised and (finally) approved, you’re committed to the campaign 110 percent—but your audiences aren’t.
Three spaceships zoom by overhead. A cyborg blasts a hole through the wall. Out of the cloud of smoke walks Arnold Schwarzenegger, sunglasses on, shotgun in hand. “I’ll be back,” he declares, “to customize my marketing message through automated data analytics.”
Marketing managers, how often have you found yourself inundated with bounced emails after launching your latest email marketing effort? The statistics on bounce rates are daunting: The average email list has a 13 percent bounce rate. Emails frequently bounce due to misspellings, typos and the fast rate of email address changes (30 percent per year).
Email continues to be a strong generator of website traffic and revenue, according to Email Market Study: Email Acquisition and Engagement Tactics, a study conducted by Experian Marketing Services last month. The study also demonstrates that because email communications have the ability to connect websites, mobile sites, social media channels and in-store channels, it continues to be the medium and driving force in cross-channel integration.
The primacy of email as an effective marketing tool continues to rise, with studies showing email continuing to be the most popular marketing and sales channel and the one generating the highest ROI. For marketers, the key direction—and key challenge—is the integration of email with other channels, including social media and mobile.
Targeted marketing possibilities become endless when you use Big Data to help you understand your prospects on a more intimate, personal level. The opportunity for capturing data about prospects and customers has grown exponentially and, consequently, so has the information in our databases. When used properly, this “Big Data” can be used to segment, target and understand leads.
For marketers eager to boost their email marketing results, list segmentation has become the leading strategic approach. The more data you can collect about prospects’ tastes and behavior and the better you can apply that information to targeted marketing, the better your results.
Over fifty years ago statistician and Japanese business guru, W.E. Deming, declared “In God we trust; all others must bring data.” And bring data they have.
In 2013, already dubbed “the year of big data,” 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every day. So we’ve made oodles of data, from tweets to Amazon purchases, but what are we supposed to do with all of it? Here are 5 crazy uses for big data that are currently in action.
As a New Year rolls in, it’s a perfect time to look at the key trends and predictions experts have offered for email marketing in 2013. A good number of prognosticators point to more refined targeting, personalization, mobile marketing, social media, and integrated channel marketing as key directions in the coming year.
Now more than ever, marketers are collecting high volumes of data from multiple sources, including offline behaviors and online actions via social media, email and websites. By using analytical tools, we can use this data to move beyond mass marketing to customized one-to-one marketing. However, to start using Big Data does not mean you need to have millions of customers and terabytes of data. You can start by simply collecting information you weren’t collecting before.
We just got back from the Email Insider Summit in Park City Utah. I know what you’re thinking, ‘sweet place for a boondoggle’. You’re not wrong.
Jokes aside, there’s something about mountain air that provides a top notch setting for reflection and discussion of things outside the day-to-day hustle.
All the work you put into in creating compelling emails is wasted if the emails you send never make it to your recipients’ inbox, which is why experts put so much emphasis on deliverability.
As I pull my skis out of the attic and tune them up for the trek out to the Email Insider Summit in Park City Utah tomorrow, I reflect back upon what a wild year it’s been indeed.
This image comes courtesy of our friends at AdExchanger :)
Testing enables you to refine your content to boost reader engagement, response rates, and revenues.
What attracts prospects and wins business is the content you provide, which is why so many experts assert that “content is king” in email marketing.
As email marketers gear up for the holiday season, it is good time to devote attention to email hygiene, which can have a critical effect on the success or failure of email campaigns.
The holiday season provides an opportunity for email marketers to add new twists to their campaigns and to offer special deals and content. For particular sectors like retail, holidays are critical, with a large portion of yearly sales (25% to 40%) occurring during the holiday season.
Fun fact: While Al Gore may have invented the internet, Amazon is the one running it these days.
With the art of email marketing advancing at a rapid pace and becoming increasingly more sophisticated, relevancy has emerged as a key factor for achieving top-tier email marketing success. Indeed, many experts see success or failure hinging on the degree of relevance that marketers can achieve.
Marketing success increasingly relies on acquiring data and intelligence to better understand and engage prospects and customers. The most successful marketing campaigns also are multichannel, and eliminating and correcting bad data increases their success rates. Real-time data services are an effective means of acquiring and validating the data needed to market across multiple channels.
As the latest trends in email marketing show, we are moving in a direction in which email marketing is becoming more sophisticated as more intelligence is gathered and used to conduct ever more focused and refined email campaigns.
We were speaking at Data 2.0 last week in SF (picture below) when it dawned on us... Someone was missing from the audience... YOU!
The following comes courtesy from our friends at LiveIntent:
With the erosion of email lists being an unavoidable and persistent problem, making a continual effort to refresh your email list is necessary to keep your marketing program from degrading.
Even though mobile adoption is ever increasing, one thing is constant: people prefer to receive messages via email.
As we hit the home stretch in 2012, it is a good time take stock of the state of email marketing as reflected in this year’s key trends. As AWeber noted, “If you’re marketing with email, the industry is shifting.”
If you’re like most companies, leads are the lifeblood of your business. While lead generation has become common practice, there are certain techniques that separate the best marketers from the rest—among them regular list hygiene and lead validation.
Maybe its the way inSparq makes it incredibly easy for their clients to link up the right offer with the right person to encourage sharing in a meaningful way. Maybe we just have love for companies who have the moxy to take the personalization game to the next level.
Although the integration of email marketing and social media has become a marketing must-do, many marketers are struggling to understand the relationship of the two channels and how to make them work best together.
It is in the nature of many organizations to avoid investing in preventative measures, rather to wait until something bad happens and then take reactive measures to fix the problem. This is often the case with email list cleaning.
Email testing is a way to maximize the effectiveness of your email campaigns. Yet studies show that too few marketers actually do test.
The increasing number of users accessing their email on smartphones and other mobile devices is changing the game, making it imperative for email marketers to target mobile devices and master new techniques to achieve the best results.
Bad customer data is costly—wasting resources, increasing marketing costs, reducing sales, and threatening your reputation. With data quality being so critical to marketing success, it pays to weed out bad email addresses and correct email addresses at the point of capture—thereby preventing bad data from entering your database, undermining your marketing efforts, and having to be cleaned up later.
Knowing the lifetime value of a customer gives marketers a means to measure the success of their campaigns and their return on investment. As Alan Pollock notes, knowing a customer’s lifetime value also gives marketers a means to determine how much money it is worth spending to acquire customers.
While the handheld revolution is causing more and more marketers to add mobile marketing to their marketing mix, surveys show that many marketers are just ramping up for mobile. To help kick-start your mobile effort, here is a collection of expert tips on how to approach and build a mobile marketing foundation.
While email appending is a quick and effective way to grow your email list, the new email addresses you obtain should be treated in a different manner than the ones already in service. Rather than simply adding the fresh addresses into your existing mail stream, you should bring the new members into the fold gradually, with a warm greeting and introductory set of emails to win their favor.
One area in which email marketing experts are in agreement is the importance of maintaining a clean email list. As Dan Forootan relates, keeping your list clean, without duplications and incorrect or out-of-date information, "is imperative to having an effective email marketing strategy."
Two years ago, Mary Meeker’s exhaustive Morgan Stanley study called the rise of the mobile Internet an “epic technology transformation” that happens every 10-15 years. Meeker identified the mobile market as being in the “early Innings,” but forecast that within five years there would be more users connecting to the Internet via mobile devices than by desktop PCs.
The combination of email marketing and social media is gaining momentum as their revenue multiplying synergy becomes more widely recognized.
The quality of your email list determines whether you are a top-tier online marketer, which is why the effort put into email verification and overall list hygiene pays off handsomely.
Communicating with your customers over multiple channels is known to produce superior results, yet many companies fail to reap the benefits of multichannel marketing because of missing data. The answer, as experts note, is to employ data append services to obtain the required data, enabling you to raise your marketing game to the next level—to secure more conversions, customers, and revenues.
In email marketing, segmenting prospects and using customer profiling has been found to produce higher success rates than a blanket approach. Demographic segmentation allows you to differentiate your prospects and customize your emails to achieve maximum impact.
Triggered email is one of the hottest trends in email marketing. Indeed, Epsilon in its latest "Q4 2011 Email Trends and Benchmarks" tells marketers that incorporating real-time triggered messaging into your email programs “is critically important” to achieving success.
If your mailings to your list generate a large number of bounces, you can harm your email marketing efforts in a number of ways—by undermining your deliverability, reach, reputation, and profitability. Reducing your bounce rate, with email list cleaning being the most effective means, can significantly benefit your campaign performance.
Rapleaf and LiveRamp hosted the Personalization Summit last Thursday, which brought forth interesting discussion and some necessary debate on why personalization is happening today. The Summit aimed to explore the benefits and implications of personalization, privacy, customer segmentation and more with major thought leaders in the space.
Missing and incorrect data affects your ability to reach more customers, market more effectively, and win more business. As Aberdeen Group reports, solving problems associated with “inconsistent or inadequate” customer data is crucial to online marketing success.
Putting together an email marketing campaign and hitting inboxes is no longer enough, and it hasn’t been for quite some time. Today, consumers are much more cautious and selective with their spending dollars and are significantly less loyal to any one brand. As a result, marketing strategies have shifted to rely on interactive marketing solutions to deliver the right message to the right person at precisely the right time. The key to improve customer relationships is to understand your audience and learn more about what they as a consumer want to know from your brand. Instead of viewing customers as basic groups, all with the same wants, needs and interests, consider how all those things might differ between each, and develop content to engage each group appropriately. Use email to get to know customers better, and then deliver relevant content based on what you learn. After learning more about your audience, use these 8 tips below to help make your content marketing efforts succeed:
Email marketing today is critical for acquiring and retaining customers, and deliverability is critical to the success of email marketing programs. However, with churn rates causing about 30% of emails to become undeliverable at any given time, the erosion of email lists is a battle marketers must continually fight to keep their programs on track. One of the most effective ways marketers can win the battle and gain a competitive edge is by making email list cleaning part of a regular list maintenance program.
Over 200 CEOs, Founders, and Execs from industry leading organizations will come together to discuss Personalization in today's world as it relates to business, technology, and society.
The following is a guest post is written by Lior Levin:
E-mail marketing is a key way to directly connect with customers who have given you permission to send them offers, promotions, and product information on a regular basis. This level of customer interest makes e-mail marketing campaigns critically important, and therefore the timing of these campaigns can make or break the level of customer engagement.
The ideal for an e-mail campaign is to not only target a time when customers are online, but when they will most likely open your e-mail and click through on your offer or to your website. While there is no one correct time for an e-mail campaign, there are some important trends and practices that you can learn from and integrate into your e-mail marketing.
When You Should Send Emails
E-mail marketing can be a moving target depending on your industry or customers. For example, a clothing store may send e-mails on the weekend when customers are home and available to go out shopping. An e-mail from a construction supply store may be more effective on Monday morning as contractors are planning to make their purchases.
Marketing writer Lynn Terry writes, “your best days/times to send emails will be unique to your list and to your market. The best thing you can do is test, analyze your results, and adjust according to how your subscribers best respond.”
The best way forward is to test what works best for your customers. Business Week suggests split tests: “Conduct some split tests and send the same message out at different times to see where you get the best results. Once you understand what days and times work the best, you can create a publication schedule.”
How to deal with inactive email addresses is a problem that has generated a lot of debate and commentary. As Mick Griffin on the Email Marketing Tips Blog reported, “We’re hearing it at industry events and on blogs, everywhere the experts are talking about trends.”
We're excited to exhibit this week at ad:tech right down the street from our office in San Francisco. Both Rapleaf and LiveRamp, a division of Rapleaf, will be exhibiting and showing off what's new at Booth #1812. Our GM of LiveRamp, Dan Scudder, will also be presenting CRM Retargeting during a session on Tuesday, April 3 at 10:30am. We're giving away a $500 Jetsetter gift card so be sure to stop by the booth any time Tuesday or Wednesday and say hello!
Building a list that includes a customer’s name, postal address, and email address is as far as many marketers go. However, by limiting the amount of data about your customers, you also limit how far your marketing can go—in reach, accuracy, conversion rates, and up-selling.
We are excited to announce the 2nd round winners for the Rapleaf Personalization Fund, - a fund dedicated to supporting developers interested in creating projects built around data and personalization. The following startups are live with their Rapleaf API integration, and are now able to provide relevant content and a more personalized experience for their users. Be sure to take a look at these awesome new startups.
One of the dangers email marketers face is that their lists may include spam traps - email addresses that cause a service provider or blacklist organization to flag their company’s email as spam.
As our inbox gets flooded with more and more emails daily, it's becoming increasingly important as marketers that we develop relevant content that our email subscribers will want to open and read. As technology, business, and consumer behaviors change, email marketing must also evolve to meet new challenges and take advantage of new opportunities. Content marketing has been on the rise for several years, but as the trend encounters more web-savvy consumers and new techniques, it is rapidly becoming a critical part of every marketing plan. There are numerous ways to increase and optimize your content marketing strategy for best results; here are 5 simple, key tactics to ensure you are on the right track:
Many companies are discovering the exceptional results that can be achieved using email append services. A new case study describes how the Financial Times was able to reach more customers via email, save money, and boost its customer satisfaction and retention efforts.
We are excited to announce that WhatCounts, a leading Email Service Provider, recently launched InstantData inside their platform. InstantData in the WhatCounts Publicastor Edition is a premium data service that will help WhatCounts users target and segment their email database over 12 different data fields to send more targeted emails and improve your email ROI. InstantData is available for WhatCounts customers right inside the platform so there is no setup or integration needed for the WhatCounts user.
While email marketing can produce tremendous returns, some care and attention is required to achieve the greatest results. Creating a successful email program depends on building and maintaining a high-quality email database, then having the discipline to maintain the database at its optimum level.
The debate continues but over the last several years email still remains one of the most preferred marketing tools and communication channels for marketers today. While Email marketing techniques and best practices have evolved and every marketing program has different goals and metrics they work towards, there are still those core practices every team should work into their email marketing plan. In no particular order, here are 10 simple checks and balances that are crucial to the success of your campaigns:
Once you understand the effectiveness of email marketing, a key goal should be to get more emails. The more email addresses you accumulate, the more customers you will reach and the more revenues you will generate.
Based on the stats below, what's wrong with this picture?
As many of us know, a seemingly small injury can seriously affect your overall health. While undeliverable email addresses may seem like a trivial problem, being unable to reach customers through email can have serious consequences on a business’s health.
People often use the words personalization and customization interchangeably. But there is a subtle difference between the two that can have a great impact on our lives.
As a revenue generator, email marketing is the king of marketing channels. Studies consistently show that email marketing is among the top most effective marketing tactics and is the marketing method that yields the best return on investment (ROI).
A few surprising statistics about email marketing today:
Undeliverable emails can take a serious toll on your marketing effectiveness. Critical to successful email delivery is your reputation, which can be harmed when too many emails bounce or are branded as spam.
Smart email marketers know that leveraging customer data is the key to creating relevant and effective email marketing campaigns. Tying into customer databases allows marketers to segment emails to consumers based on key demographic and preference data. And people are even taking it a step further and integrating with e-commerce systems and/or web analytics data to help trigger relevant messages based on past purchases, page visits or shopping cart activity. These are all excellent tactics that many email marketers are doing today (or at least know they should be doing!), but how about fine-tuning relevancy based on your customers' activities on social media?
For organizations unaware of the value of email appending, adding missing email addresses to your existing customer records is a fast, easy way to boost sales and reduce costs.
It’s fair to assume that customers opt in to receiving emails from your business because they’re interested in staying in touch and being kept up to date with news, specials, or promotions. However, with inboxes becoming more and more cluttered, it's critical now to focus on targeting your emails to a tailored audience in order to limit subscriber fatigue and keep engagement high. For many businesses and organizations, capturing an email address is a big step, and asking for more information beyond that can be cumbersome. Most business owners don’t have time to make notes on each customer, such as their age, gender, and more; and most consumers don't want to spend the time telling you, but they expect you to know. That's where the power of data can step in and help take your email marketing efforts to the next level:
With e-commerce booming, the demand for real-time data services is a red hot area.
We love showcasing products and use-cases of our data, and here is one that may need your help! Simple Relevance, one of our first-round winners of the Personalization Fund, is looking for companies interested in trying out the future of e-commerce personalization. Simple Relevance built an easy to use platform that allows businesses to personalize communication to their customers through their easy to use platform.
It's certainly come a long way!
The following is a guest post from Johnathan Conlon, an Email Operations Manager at one of the world’s largest publishing houses in London.
As 2011 starts to become a fading memory, I could reflect on a year filled with talk of social, mocial and all the other buzzwords we threw around last year as the “hot topics” of discussion. However, I decided it was probably more useful to kick 2012 off by reminding you to look at some of the more common principles, potentially those which could be overlooked as we concentrate on more and more complex strategies that we’re tasked with. What follows will hopefully provide you with some practical examples of how you can work on your A, B, C’s in 2012!
Based off their Email Marketing Summit, which occurred in early December of 2011, Media Post compiled a great list of Email-Related companies to watch for this upcoming year. While we are thrilled to make the list ourselves, be sure to check out the other cool companies on the rise for 2012! The following companies (including yours truly) offer services that can be integrated into your current ESP with limited or no integration.
Check out our new and improved video and see how InstantData works--featuring our new interface!
Our last post on 2012 email marketing predictions got some marketers thinking about their own predictions. The following is a guest post from Remy Bergsma, who works as a community manager providing the user community of his company's email marketing platform with email marketing insights through blog posts, training sessions and videos to help them reach their goals:
Writing predictions is actually difficult. Some people say it's easy because you are not 'held back' by prior events and experience: just make some statements, put in your views and that's it. Prior events and experience mean you really should be prepared for the future.
Contrary, life in email marketing is not that simple. The more experience you have, the better you may be able to predict the future: but also the more cautious you get.
Without further ado, here's my take on what 2012 will mean for email marketers.
Platform independence for email
Email used to be straightforward: people would read it on their regular computer or worst case, on their laptop. Either way, a fixed width would be fine, with the better email designs optimizing for images off, snippet previews and vertical/horizontal panes.
With the global rise in usage of any type of mobile platform however, it has become a challenge for email marketers to keep all platforms happy from the start. Most email designs currently in use still date from the 2005 ~ 2007 era, when Outlook 2007 was only just being introduced and the biggest change was losing backgrounds and some CSS support.
The email designs that will win in 2012 and beyond are the ones that are fluid: they'll look beautiful and will work on any platform--be it the iphone, android, ipad, laptop, and more. Regardless of touch or mouse interface, and regardless of the resolution used.
The next level of personalization
Personalization will not just mean you can put Dear Remy in an email to me and call it a day – that is now more of an expectation than an attention grabber. The next level of personalization will (and should) involve a lot more data, to include in emailing in very specific levels of detail.
The importance from this comes from websites with great conversion rates (I'm talking 90% and up, no joke): if you can make almost every single email unique like all your subscribers are, you will win their hearts.
Example: put in a big logo of your product/company or a small one? Just the name and no logo? What about CTAs? Buttons or text links? Which color? How big should the email be? Extra info or not? Just some factors which you can personalize in every single email: you just need to collect the relevant data on every customer and put it to good use.
Does it sound a little too much like Minority Report? Don't worry, it will happen sooner or later – and as an email marketer, you better be involved in the process!
The total integration of all online channels
Surprisingly (or not), in quite a few companies, email is still the lone gunman: the strategy and execution of that strategy is often a separate process done by people who don't oversee the total picture of online marketing. A subscriber however does not want to see different channels or different marketing campaigns: they want to see a single brand or a single product with a single message.
They don't want to waste time navigating from email to landing page to another landing page to a form. They want to get everything done in the least amount of time so they can get on with their lives.
If a brand wants to lift all their online channels to the best conversion level possible, a total integration of those channels is key. Only then can a consumer go from channel to channel in a seamless way and convert without a hitch.
That type of integration will demand time, money and effort but will be very rewarding in the end. No more dead ends, no more separate campaigns and statistics. Email will play a big role in this: either as a hub or a supporting actor it will guide consumers in the right direction. Timing is everything, as is location and personalization: with the technologies that are available today it is not too difficult to achieve this.
So there you have it: three developments that deserve your attention and will (and should!) become hot in 2012. Do you agree?
As the year draws to a close and new one begins, it is a good time to reflect on the email list enhancement industry, which is entering its second decade—how far it has come, the state of the industry today, and what lies ahead.
As we officially make our way into 2012, (Happy New Year!) not only are new resolutions being made, but also the latest predictions for what new trends will emerge and stick in the upcoming 12 months in email marketing. Will email remain a key channel for communication? Will social media continue to become a key adopter for businesses? To help us Email Marketers answer this question, here are 6 predictions for email in 2012, according to Online Marketing Strategies and Tactics:
Constant Contact is the number one email platform for small businesses. With over 350,000 customers, Constant Contact helps small organizations grow their businesses by building stronger customer relationships. Rapleaf is a trusted partner of Constant Contact, working inside their platform to help users easily segment their list and learn more about their subscribers. Looking for ways to increase your email marketing results for the upcoming year? Check out what Josh Sherman, member of Constant Contact's team, has to say about your email marketing tactics. You can read his full post and more in Constant Contacts Community Center:
It's the same great product with a whole new design, just in time for the holidays. In case you haven't tried it, Instant Data is the easiest and fastest way to get insight on emails; zero technical knowledge required. Upload any file of email addresses and watch Rapleaf append our data and charts so you can learn more about your customer base, right before your eyes.
With just 12 Official Days left of Christmas, the countdown has begun. While preparing for the typical 9 Ladies Dancing, 3 French Hens, and a Partridge in a Pear Tree, our friends over at Uncommon goods decided to look deeper and analyze how people shop during the holiday season. They took their own shopper data, coupled with Rapleaf to depict interesting shopping habits ands trends across different demographics. Check out what interesting insights they discovered--where do you fit in?
As 2011 comes to an end, the role of email marketing in today's world has been seen as a key focus for brands over the last 12 months. The constant changes and drastic updates over the year made us wonder: What will the email world look like a year from now?
Special Shoutout to Adotas, a premier news publication focused on the Internet advertising and media industry, for recently featuring our latest case study! Thanks to Senior Editor Brian LaRue over at Adotas for his efforts on this post!
The email inbox is a competitive place. Success is not only dependent on stacking up favorably against your competitors in the marketplace; but also on stacking up favorably against every other brand in the inbox. The problem is that people no longer look at their inbox in the same way. Their decision is not whether they should open the Nike or the Adidas email, it is whether your email is worth the energy and time it will take to digest the message you have sent them.
Direct Message Lab is a SaaS platform that works with name brands to synchronize offline, online and social marketing. Their REACH platform provides brands with a single platform to manage all of their social media, mobile and application based activity simultaneously, while delivering data that allows brands to measure outreach and engagement. DML’s Rapleaf integration allows them to deliver a more customized and expanded set of data to their customers. With the newly integrated Rapleaf API, brands are now able to view gender and other in-depth demographic data on any user that interacts with their page or social, mobile or desktop application, giving brands the opportunity to view a more detailed profile of their users and allow for more effective strategies overall. This data will create increased opportunity for demographic-specific targeting in merchandise, marketing and advertising initiatives.
New York, NY, November 15th, 2011 - Subuno, a fraud screening SaaS platform, and Rapleaf, an industry leader in personalization solutions, today announced a partnership to integrate Rapleaf services into Subuno.
Our friends over at WePay used Rapleaf data to break down and analyze the demographics of #OccupyWallStreet donors to display in the infographic below. Some interesting stats! What surprises you most about their findings?
A few weeks ago we announced our first round winners for the Rapleaf Personalization Fund, a fund created to donate cash and data grants to various startups with a strong focus on data and personalization. One of the featured winners, Mirapost, recently ran an email campaign with a client analyzing the effects of the Rapleaf integration, outlined below.
Here's a quick 2-minute video we made to explain how Instant Data works. Check it out, and let us know what you think!
Increasingly, marketers are focusing on sending personalized emails and engaging deeply with customers. One problem that they face, though is finding the tools to do so. At ExactTarget, a global leader in email marketing software, they make it their mission to help marketers harness the power of cross-channel interactive technologies, and send engagement and retention rates through the roof. As the leading provider in on-demand email and one-to-one marketing software solutions, they serve the world’s top brands, such as JetBlue Airlines, Pier 1, Expedia, Best Buy and more. ExactTarget offers an all-encompassing platform that makes it easy for businesses of all sizes to market individually to consumers, across all channels.
Great infographic on the evolution of spam, brought to you by our email marketing platform, Marketo. Be sure to check out their best practices at the bottom so your only type of spam comes from a can, not your emails. Enjoy!
Thanks to our friends over at Giftwrapped that put together this rap for us! Check the rap sheet...it's Rapleaf:
We are excited to be able to participate in the X.commerce Innovate developer conference, starting tomorrow through Thursday, October 12-13 at Moscone West in San Francisco.Technology has fundamentally changed the way consumers shop and the line between offline and online has virtually disappeared. Offline retail used to about location; now, it’s about innovation.
By combining the end-to-end capabilities of eBay, PayPal, Magento and other commerce leaders in a single platform, X.commerce is radically transforming the retail landscape. It provides merchants of all sizes and creative developers with easy access to the industry's most cutting-edge technologies, and unprecedented power to innovate, compete and grow. They have an exciting lineup put together, including speakers, breakout sessions, and partner booths. We are giving away prizes to beta testers for our new ESP app, so be sure to stop by Kiosk 19 to learn more about Rapleaf's innovations in e-commerce and what new things we have in store!
Anyone who has ever stepped foot into a mall can tell you that men and women shop differently. When it comes to what we buy, how we buy and why we buy it, most believe there is a gender divide. But what about when it comes to online shopping? Our friends over at Extrabux.com, wondered this very thing, so they crunched numbers from 5 years of historical shopping data and then used Rapleaf to determine which of their shoppers are male vs female. Check out what they found:
We’re very excited that Oracle has chosen Rapleaf to demonstrate a real-time integrated enterprise data management approach with their new Fusion Customer Hub product at Open World this coming week - Octover 2-6- in the Moscone Center in San Francisco.
The Fusion Customer Hub is an awesome facility to give Oracle customers a 360 degree view of their customers. The demonstration will reveal how Rapleaf's data service is an incredibly easy and effective way to add powerful consumer insights to a corporate CRM.
More and more companies are choosing Rapleaf to provide demographic insights and data to personalize their customer interactions. You can always get the latest updates of our service here. For those of you excited and interested to see a live demo of the Rapleaf service working with Oracle Fusion, visit Oracle’s #W-040 booth at Open World Oct. 2-6. We’ll look forward to seeing you there!
The following is a post written by Erik Severinghaus, Founder & CEO over at KoalaDeal. KoalaDeal integrated with Rapleaf and has been using our data to build analysis and correlations associated with online shopping habits. Check out what they have been up to:
The following is a summary of a piece, Making Sense of Social Data, which was recently published in Deloitte's Review.
Introducing a new app with Rapleaf that allows you to easily learn more about your customers and create effective and engaging email campaigns. In a joint collaboration with Constant Contact, we've created a tool that is a game changer for email marketing. InstantData for Constant Contact offers demographic insight and analytics on your customers inside Constant Contact's platform. With the app, you can now answer the question: “Who is my audience and what do they care about?” Here’s how it works:
Once logged in with your Constant Contact credentials, the tool allows you to select which Constant Contact list you would like Rapleaf analyze. Once selected, we'll instantly show you charts and graphs that highlight demographic insights associated with your lists:
The Rapleaf API is a powerful tool that enables businesses to integrate personalization services into their systems. As great as it is to have this option available, it may have some limitations for smaller businesses and individuals. Enter 2011 and there are a whole lot more websites run by small business owners or individuals who want to take advantage of personalization, but maybe were never able to in the past. Two members of the Joomla! community decided to step in and solve this problem, so they recently integrated with Rapleaf to produce an extension for Joomla!, officially known as 'Rapleaf Instant'.
The tech industry is booming and we're witnessing the emergence of a vibrant ecosystem where companies that could potentially change the world are starting everyday. We decided we wanted to help contribute...so that's exactly what we did. Rapleaf joined Startup America Partnership and donated $1 million dollars of data to offer participating startups the chance to leverage personalization and join us in making every customer interaction a more enjoyable one.
San Francisco, CA – September 7, 2011
We are extremely excited to announce the creation of a $1 million dollar fund supporting applications focused on what we know best: data and personalization.
What does the average buyer who checks-in to an Apple store look like? Stumped? So were we. Then, we came across Cains Retail, who thought to discover the answer behind that very question, and much more. Could analyzing this user data provide valuable insights into consumer trends?
Here at Rapleaf, we love connecting with other innovative companies and learning about how they utilize data to make our world even more personalized. Saber Blast, a new web marketing analytics interface, just plugged Rapleaf into their platform to help clients easily segment lists and message their audience more effectively. Check it out:
The following is a guest post by Elyse Tager, West Coast Regional Development Director for Constant Contact. A long-time marketer and passionate entrepreneur, Elyse has helped hundreds of small businesses, associations, and nonprofits develop and implement effective social media and email marketing strategies to grow their business or organization.
Is A,B,C really as easy as 1,2,3?! Maybe, but mastering the art of the email can be a tricky thing. Marketo, our revenue performance management platform, makes it a little easier for you. Check out their version of the Jackson 5 for emails below.
The following is a guest post by , Erik Severinghaus, Founder & CEO of Koala Deal. KoalaDeal is a simple tool that learns about your interests and past purchases and uses that information to find matching deals from the most popular deals sites.
We are the email guys.
Or rather, in a lot of words!
The following is a guest blog post from GetContact.Info or GCI, is a new company that has created an innovative way to exchange information faster by creating your own virtual contact card with all your social media affiliations in one place.
Personalization is changing marketing, and marketers are beginning to understand that one-size-fits-all campaigns might not be the most effective type of marketing. According to new data released by eMarketer, when it comes to effectiveness, personalizing email marketing campaigns may be the way to go.
KickOffLabs believes that nothing is more important for new businesses than customer engagement. KickoffLabs gets new businesses up and running online fast by helping build easy sites and assisting clients with their first customer mailing list. KickoffLabs plugged into Rapleaf to provide clients with age, gender, and location on their platform.
The following is a guest blog post by Lindsay McMurdo, VP of Marketing at Topica- a leading email marketing service provider located in downtown San Francisco.
For one week, July 22-29, 2011, the world of technology will take over Chicago in celebration of a new tech epicenter unique among major cities. TechWeek will transform the city into an incubator of ideas, opportunities, partnerships and creative expressions to connect the latest web and mobile technologies with thousands of Chicago business, academic, community and media professionals- all in one week.
LiveRamp, a new service platform enabling publishers, data platforms, and offline data providers to better access and manage data in digital format, recently launched to help build a more personalized web.
The following post was written by Amanda Gagnon, an Education Marketing Associate at AWeber Email Marketing, whose email marketing software services make it easy for you to build your email list and stay in touch with prospects.
JangoMail's web-based e-mail broadcast and marketing system offers a unique marketing platform enabling brands to create and monitor advanced, custom newsletters to effectively message your audience base. Rated as a Top-Ten Web Service, JangoMail continually looks to stay ahead of the crowd and introduce new features to improve their email campaign software. We are excited to take part in the latest update to their platform, powered by Rapleaf.
Just last week Eloqua CEO Joe Payne announced the “Eloqua AppCloud,” an unprecedented online marketplace for B2B marketing applications. AppCloud serves as a universal hub for an encompassing list of B2B marketing applications that connects directly with Eloqua’s powerful Revenue Performance Management platform. We're excited partner with Eloqua and offer an app that plugs Rapleaf insight into their existing interface.
The following is a guest blog post by Darren Lancaster, Co-Founder & President of GroupVine, who utilizes Rapleaf data to help transform today's most ubiquitous, simple, and comfortable communication medium - email - from a static to an interactive environment. Follow him: @thecommunityguy
Rapleaf and Personyze seem to share a vision of where Personalization should be taking customers, which is why we are excited to announce our newest partnership - plugging into the most advanced SaaS platform in the market for real-time website personalization. The partnership brings forth a unique solution; websites can now utilize Rapleaf’s valuable data in Personyze’s platform to offer more enjoyable consumer experiences and to streamline the personalization process.
The following is a guest blog post by Kara Trivunovic, Sr. Dir of Strategic Services at StrongMail (a leader in email marketing). StrongMail utilizes Rapleaf data to allow their customers (Travelocity, Zappos, IHG, and more) to leverage email marketing with data insight to personalize and build meaningful customer connections.
Rapleaf recently secured a partnership with LivePerson, bringing personalization to the world of online chat. LivePerson, Inc., the leader in Intelligent Engagement Solutions, enables top brands to create meaningful online connections with their customers. With their comprehensive live chat platform, LivePerson partners, including Home Depot, Crate & Barrel, 1-800-Flowers and more, extend and integrate core chat solutions for enhanced eCommerce customer experience marketing.
Nearly 200 well-established, intelligent and influential attendees from a variety of industries all speaking/discussing/debating about the benefits & implications of personalization: how to use personalization to engage customer loyalty, or even enhance a doctor’s visit, what is to come, and so much more. The 2011 1st Annual Personalization Summit was a great success!
We’re taught from an early age to use specific procedures to evaluate and solve problems. These skills work great when we have the right information to put into a formula or a structured plan. But what happens when we don’t even know the problems that we’re trying to solve? In these kinds of situations, we can engage in a process of discovery and make “little bets” along the way… according to Peter Sims.
We love to hear how people are using our API to do cool things. The latest entry in Murrion Blog explains how to incorporate Rapleaf's APIs to better protect your website from fraudulent sign-ups. The post also gives a step-by-step tutorial on how to receive age, gender and location information on all incoming emails by applying Rapleaf APIs with PHP. This incoming information enables you to send personalized responses to all the messages you receive.
Making decisions, learning a lot, and reaping the fruits of one’s labor are things most people would love to do on the job.
Rapleaf’s own Travis May was recently featured in VentureBeat, discussing his career search upon graduation and how he saw more opportunities to work for a start-up after graduation precisely for the opportunity available to young people for ownership and growth in the start-up space.
GreenRope simplifies life for your business, bringing email, social networks, websites, and more into one convenient place. Green Rope recently plugged Rapleaf data into their existing CRM platform to provide customers with insight into their contacts database for more personalized campaigns. Their easy-to-use, intuitive interface allows businesses to manage email marketing, CRM, events, projects, websites, e-commerce, and more.
With the Final Four around the corner, Rapleaf looked into its database to learn more about the starring teams’ hometowns. We sampled publicly-available data from the greater Indianapolis, Richmond, Storrs and Lexington areas, and compared the brands of snacks and beverages popular in each area. The results: Lays beat out all the other snacks for all four teams by a large margin. And Rams fans stand apart, preferring Pepsi over any other soda and Doritos over snacks popular with the other towns. Will Richmond’s unique snacking habits set it apart in the tournament as well? We’ll find out this weekend how these stats will play out on the court.
We just launched our new customer dashboard, which now allows customers to visualize what is different about their users and easily personalize interactions to appropriate audiences. The Dashboard offers a unique, interactive display that instantly generates aggregate analytics and graphics both for the data you are receiving as well as some of our premium fields, free of charge.
Email is still the most ubiquitous way to communicate across the internet. Rapleaf is excited to announce a new partnership with email API Email Yak, which just broke out of the Beta-sphere to launch its Version 1.0 product.
Rapleaf Engineer Greg Poulos authored this guest blog post featured on Cloudera further explaining our core technology, hadoop, how it works, and how Rapleaf uses it to help build a more personalized world.
Every individual has a set of preferences, likes, and dislikes that translates to different shopping behaviors. Coupons, advertisements and marketing messages, however, are not always personalized and tailored to these preferences. So how can the world of online marketing become a more relevant place? One answer is through the delivery of opt-in customized email based on existing behaviors. The study below compares shopping habits of Google and Microsoft employees to demonstrate how personalization works at the organizational level.
We are always interested in hearing about how other people are leveraging Rapleaf data to build great personalization applications and features. One tech blogger, Chicago Hacks, recently built off our "Insight" Spreadsheet, which allows individuals to enter emails into an Excel spreadsheet and get data instantly. He took this windows-only feature to enable it with Google and take Google spreadsheets to a whole new level. Read more about it here:
Here at Rapleaf, we have gotten so used to the word "personalization" that we do not think twice about what it means anymore. The concept of personalization is not new, but the proliferation of online data is finally making true personalization possible. So what exactly is personalization?
With a variety of avenues for exposure to thousands of key industry representatives, #SXSW fosters an environment for numerous successful startup launches every year. In past, we have seen many popular startups introduced, and we expect this year to be no different.
Calling all developers, entrepreneurs, and data aficionados - will you be at SXSW next week? Ping me at manish at rapleaf dot com or on Twitter if you would like to connect.
A first name could tell us a lot about someone. Whether you're brainstorming baby names or have always wondered why you had to be the III "John Jacob", we thought it would be interesting to look at certain demographics and see what insights and other interesting facts we could find about our first names. We conducted a study and compiled our results into an infographic that shows some pretty interesting comparisons and fun facts about first names.
For many marketers today, the name of the game isn’t getting new customers -- it’s keeping and expanding on the customer relationships you already have. A generally accepted rule of thumb is that it costs six to seven times more to acquire a new customer than to keep a current one. As such, a highly relevant email to an existing customer can generate very compelling results. Just ask Vintners' Alliance.
Vintners' Alliance is introducing innovative tools and proven technologies to the wine industry by providing database solutions and direct marketing services to ultra premium wineries to help build more effective, personalized marketing campaigns. With a little insight, Vintners' Alliance can help clients instantly know more about their customer base and effectively market their grapes with tailored messages and creatives to appropriate audiences.
Are you a budding entrepreneur promoting your business to bloggers, other entrepreneurs and investors? Or are you a PR person sending out tens of the same email each day, reaching out to publications on behalf of your client? Sure, you could blast out a mass mail merge message. But personalizing the message to your audience can get you a much higher response rate...and goodwill from your recipients.
Ever wonder how to get demographic information about your customers into Salesforce? You probably have to involve some developers, figure out a plan, research data providers. Maybe they have an app on the AppExchange. Eh, this sounds too complicated...maybe you can just think about this next week. After all, there are some urgent things to get to. Oh, and it's time for lunch!
Rapleaf prides ourself in our unique and hardworking culture. Today we are proud to announce Rapleaf was named "Hottest Companies in San Francisco" for 2011. The list originally started with over 2,200 companies and it has been narrowed down to the top 60.
Who has never experienced the frustration of time-consuming and infuriating customer service? You get on the phone, dial through endless automated messages and finally reach a real person only to find them treating you like any other customer.
Part of marketing in a startup is being able to create marketing materials and cool graphics and images on the fly. Photoshop is the usual choice, but it is expensive and often too advanced for the casual user. And any startup can appreciate a cost-effective alternative. For this, we love Aviary.
Here at Rapleaf, we've been thinking a lot about personalization lately. Companies from retail sites to travel sites to email service providers are constantly thinking about how they can offer their customers a more personalized and, therefore better, experience. A recent study (pdf here, see p. 16) by ForeSee Results finds that email still rules in driving traffic to retail sites, leaving search and social media behind.
We came across a fascinating survey (here is the pdf) by Alterian on how marketers personalize their messages to their customers. According to this survey of over 1,000 marketers, 72% of them focus primarily on personalizing emails to their audiences.
Latest video made by Rapleaf engineers Emma Zhou and Greg Poulos that displays our culture at Rapleaf. Check it out!
What do you consider a successful Data API? We came across this interesting post on what makes a good data API. We would love to hear what you think, or other tips on what is useful in an API and how you can make it better. "What makes a good data API?"
Just in case you missed it, here is a recap of 12 simple ways to give and get the gift of personalization with minimal effort.
Day 12: "A Valuable Box Office"
Day 11: "The Sound of Music"
Day 10: “At Your Service”
Day 9: Grab their Attention
Day 8: “Leave a Lasting Impression”
The key to pleasing your audience is to leave a lasting impression.
Day 7: What’s in Your News?
Day 6: “Roll Out the Red Carpet”
Day 4: Plant the Seed
Day 3: Get the Answers Without the Search
Day 2: Your Time is Precious
Rapleaf’s vision is to help create a more personalized world. We feel delivering a more personalized experience is the best gift you can give to your customers. In honor of the holiday season, we present to you “12 days of Personalization”. For the next 12 days, we’ll discuss 12 simple ways to give and get the gift of personalization with minimal effort.
Day 1: “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” - Creative offers based on Gender.
If you have a single deal to offer to your audience, it’s important to deliver that deal in a relevant and attractive way to each individual. Put the reader first and increase conversions. For example, if there is promotion for a local spa, you could send a message to your female audience saying:
“Tired of holiday shopping for everyone else? Treat yourself to a day of relaxation.”
Alternatively, for a male audience, you could send a slightly different and more personalized message to invite them to treat their loved one to a spa:
“Looking for ways to show that special someone just how much they mean to you? Treat your loved one to a day of relaxation.”
The first, female-oriented message is not very likely to catch a man’s attention. With a simple change in wording, the second message becomes far more personalized to the recipient and makes both males and females equally as likely to purchase.
Try our Personalization API for free here. Simply input an email address and/or postal address for instant results.
We are pleased to announce Ken Dreifach has joined us as our General Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer. We’re excited to have Ken on board to help us further our strong commitment to safeguarding people’s data as we build a more personalizable world.
“Ken brings to our team an in-depth knowledge of information privacy practices, and valuable strategic vision about incorporating privacy practices into business operations,” said Rapleaf’s CEO, Auren Hoffman.
Rapleaf is working on delivering safe personalization to millions of people. Today, Rapleaf customers help people receive useful product recommendations, enjoy higher levels of customer service, engage directly with candidates running for office, see better ads, receive less spam, and view relevant content. Rapleaf’s customers are helping millions of people have better lives.
There have been a lot of questions about how online users can opt out of Rapleaf’s data system. We are pretty proud of our industry leading position providing users complete control of their information.
We understand that you might not want personalized content. We provide two options for people to opt out of the Rapleaf database and Rapleaf cookies. You can always opt back in if you later decide that you prefer seeing ads and content related to your general interests.
In recent media coverage, Rapleaf has been referred to as a “tracking company,” leading many to rightfully be confused about what we do and the technology space we operate in. The fact is that Rapleaf does not collect any tracking information about the online community: we do not collect or store any tracking data and we never have.
Updated: There has been a lot of press recently about Rapleaf's efforts to personalize experiences for consumers. The following are some thoughts by Rapleaf’s CEO Auren Hoffman:
The Wall Street Journal’s recent article in the "What They Know" series discussed the problem of Facebook IDs being passed to ad networks. This is a serious potential privacy risk – and most Facebook applications are impacted by this issue.
Update-11.4.11: This article reflects our policies as of Fall 2010. Since that time, we've continued to update our policies in line with industry best practices, including those developed by the DMA, NAI and IAB. As our technology and products continue to evolve, we're always committed to certain fundamental privacy principles: that users have control over their data, that data collection and use be made as transparent as possible, and that online behavioral tracking data should never be merged with a person's real-life identity. For our most current privacy practices in our online advertising data business (a division within Rapleaf called LiveRamp), refer to LiveRamp's current privacy standards here.
Below is the full excerpt of a recent post by Auren Hoffman on the importance of protecting online anonymity and privacy. The post discusses what anonymity means, its importance to the internet economy, and how the online advertising industry can continue to raise the standard on online privacy.
One of the most important principles of individual privacy is the ability to act anonymously. When people are driving to a store or reading a book at home, they have a reasonable assumption that nobody is monitoring their behavior and attaching it to their name and address.
The same should be true on the internet: when you are online, there should be a presumption of anonymity. Nobody -- including websites, ad networks, ad exchanges, widgets, outside analytics services, etc. -- should know who you are and what you do unless you sign up or log in.
In a better world with sufficient anonymity online, your search history and the sites you visit should not be matched back to personally-identifiable information (like your name, address, email, etc.) so it cannot be stolen, used to discriminate against you, or subpoenaed by the government.
In online advertising, there are various standards for what constitutes sufficient online anonymity. But unless companies adhere to the highest standard and increase awareness to consumers, internet users may think their browsing behavior is being tied to their identity and may subsequently dramatically decrease internet consumption and be less likely to experiment with new online services. In short, the lack of available anonymity could stifle the online economy and all the innovation happening on the web.
Update-11/4/11: This article reflects our policies as of Fall 2010. Since that time, we've continued to update our policies in line with industry best practices, including those developed by the DMA, NAI and IAB. As our technology and products continue to evolve, we're always committed to certain fundamental privacy principles: that users have control over their data, that data collection and use be made as transparent as possible, and that online behavioral tracking data should never be merged with a person's real-life identity. For our most current privacy practices in our online advertising data business (a division within Rapleaf called LiveRamp), refer to LiveRamp's current privacy standards here.
The ad industry, with leadership from groups like the IAB and NAI, is working hard to evolve and is gaining momentum by prioritizing transparency and privacy, spreading awareness and giving people more choice and control over how they want to participate. As we make progress, certain practices become obvious candidates for change and at the top of the list today is the use of Local Shared Objects (also known as flash cookies) for advertising.
If you frequent sites that use flash like YouTube, you’re probably already acquainted with flash cookies – they are responsible for storing things like your volume preferences.
The Miami Heat are one of the most anticipated NBA teams to watch this upcoming season, thanks to its star trio of Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James. These players also happen to be some of the most popular celebrities on Twitter. Who are their followers and what do they look like? Click on the infographic below to find out.
Update-11.4.11: This article reflects our policies as of Fall 2010. Since that time, we've continued to update our policies in line with industry best practices, including those developed by the DMA, NAI and IAB. As our technology and products continue to evolve, we're always committed to certain fundamental privacy principles: that users have control over their data, that data collection and use be made as transparent as possible, and that online behavioral tracking data should never be merged with a person's real-life identity. For our most current privacy practices in our online advertising data business (a division within Rapleaf called LiveRamp), refer to LiveRamp's current privacy standards here.
This 20-minute webinar will share simple tips on the:
• Importance of integrated marketing
• Rise of content marketing
• New advertising solutions that can help you acquire more customers
Here is a blog post from our awesome engineering team that discusses how we're working on anonymizing large amounts of data, which is the backbone of our display advertising solution. While the blog entry delves into some technical details, it provides a good overview of our vision and focus on safeguarding information.
From June 11 to July 11, World Cup mania consumed the hearts, minds, and TV screens of billions of soccer fans across the world. Given how popular Twitter has been as a communication platform for World Cup fans, we thought it would be interesting to study U.S. fans on Twitter and see how they compared to Twitter users overall. Here’s what we found after researching over 80,000 Twitter users that tweeted using the hashtags #worldcup and #USA over the last three weeks of the international tournament (click for larger image):
In a recent AdExchanger.com article, Rapleaf CEO Auren Hoffman wrote about the need for regulating online advertising and how doing so will help promote growth of the industry overall. Below is the full excerpt:
The first step towards better marketing is a better understanding of your customers, and companies are using Rapleaf to discover the "Four Ws" of their audience in order to personalize interactions and socializing CRM systems:
Despite all the buzz about social CRM and how it will transform how companies do business, there is still a lot of confusion about what exactly social CRM is. That’s not surprising as social CRM actually consists of many, divided parts (which is discussed at length in the Altimeter Report below). For example, while Rapleaf helps firms identify which customers are active on social media and how influential they are, companies like Radian6 and salesforce.com help with social media monitoring and managing/tracking customer interactions – all of which are aspects of social CRM.
The political campaign space is ripe with innovation as politicos and technologists alike seek to find more efficient ways to create awareness, reach the right constituents, and ultimately win elections.
As primary season gets into full-swing and campaigns across the country prepare for the November 2010 general election, we at Rapleaf’s Political Division believe that the following three technologies that will be game changers for 2010.
1. Influencer Identification (+ Word of Mouth Marketing)
Singling out highly influential people and getting them to spread a message is nothing new—that’s the whole idea behind high-profile and celebrity endorsements. But the rapid rise of social media has not only made it easier to measure someone’s influence, it’s also ushered in a new breed of influencers. Today, the most influential bloggers and Tweeters can propagate a message to hundreds of thousands of people with the click of a button.
The hardest part is knowing who the influencers are – once a campaign overlays influence with voter data, it’s easy to see who the cream of the advocate crop is and who should receive extra time and special care throughout campaign season.
Rapleaf recently worked with a campaign to identify the top 50 most influential supporters online. The candidate then called each one individually to thank them for their support, asked if they wanted to be involved more actively, and also sent them seemingly small tokens of appreciation. The campaign ended up with 800,000 more people learning about their cause when the influencers tweeted about their experience.
In a time where people are drowning in information, these four tools aim to personalize your web surfing and email experience. You'd be surprised at how much more enjoyable being online can be -- and how much better you can manage your personal and business relationships -- with these tools.
With the average inbox easily getting more than 40 new emails every day, it's no surprise that people are drowning in emails. Even if you think your emails are important, people will probably ignore them (or scan them in under 2 seconds before deleting them) -- everybody thinks the email they send is the most important.
How do you make your firms' communication stand out from social media updates, shopping alerts, and blog subscriptions?
Simple: make everything you say relevant.
The emails that are consistently opened, read, and clicked on are the ones that have valuable and personalized content. The sooner you can do this, the sooner your readers will look forward to getting your emails.
Here are three general tips to help you boost email relevance.
Yesterday, Mashable featured Rapleaf’s ability help companies reach target audiences and personalize customers’ experiences. Here's an excerpt from the article:
If they can learn more about their customer, then they can personalize an experience for that customer, according to CEO Auren Hoffman. He said consumers are already expecting this high level of service, and that it’s all about the product, service, and experience that you would prefer.
It's already been an exciting year for us with several developments on the new hires and product fronts, and it's about to get even better with Rapleaf expanding across the country.
We're excited to have Adithya Raghunathan join as Rapleaf's Head of Product Management. Having worked in a variety of technology roles in financial services, education, security and international development, Adithya brings valuable experience in product planning, development, and marketing to Rapleaf.
Despite some recent reports claiming otherwise, what you post on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites does not impact your credit score.
Rapleaf is proud to partner with Loyalty Lab to boost customer loyalty marketing programs. Below is the full press release from PRweb:
We’re proud and excited to have Phil Davis join the Rapleaf team. Phil is an innovative and seasoned marketing and sales executive who is coming on board as Rapleaf’s General Manager of Marketing Services.
"I am delighted to be part of a fantastic team as we provide our social media data and consumer insight to fuel our customers' acquisition, retention and data intelligence activities. With our unique data and technology capabilities, we will continue to launch innovative marketing services products in 2010," says Phil.
In this last study of our email analysis series, we looked at social network memberships of 120,000 AOL, Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo users to gauge where they spend time online.
We found that AOL and Gmail users tend to favor Facebook, while Hotmail and Yahoo users tend to use Facebook and MySpace equally. Twitter is the third-most popular social network, followed by LinkedIn.
Here are the results:
In our last post, we analyzed age and gender of AOL, Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo users. For this post, we sampled the same 120,000 users and studied their online social media profile counts and friend counts across 25 social media sites in order to gauge how active these email users are on the social web.
Unlike age and gender data, online activity and friend counts do not have clear trends across email service providers. What the data seems to suggest is that Hotmail users tend to have slightly more social media profiles, and Gmail users tend to be slightly better connected overall.
Here are the results:
We thought it would be interesting to see what you can learn about a person from their email, so we decided to compare demographics and online behavior of people who use the four most popular internet email clients: AOL, Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo mail.
For this study, we sampled 120,000 users with @aol.com, @gmail.com, @hotmail.com, and @yahoo.com emails, and looked at their age, gender, online activity, friend counts, and social network memberships.
We broke this study into several parts so this post will only cover the age and gender data.
Overall, people who use these four webmail clients tend to be young, with over 75% of all users under 35 years of age. Part of the reason for this younger skew is that these demographics are based on self-reported data from public social media profiles, and the people who use social media are generally younger. Even so, comparing demographics between each of the email services offers insight into userbase differences.
Here’s what we found:
A few weeks ago, we analyzed trends in Twitter followers within the customer list of a leading consumer packaged goods (CPG) company and found that the most popular users pick up more followers and pick them up at a faster rate.
Who are these Twitter influencers and what do they look like? To answer this question, we analyzed social media profile counts and self-reported demographics of the CPG’s top 0.1%, top 1%, and top 10% most followed Twitter users and compared that data with the 90% least followed users. As a reminder, the sample set includes over 40,000 “active” Twitter users (defined as those with at least five followers, five friends, or five updates).
Bear in mind that these results are specific to the CPG company’s audience and, consequently, will tend to skew towards middle-aged females. Here are more details on user demographics and online activity:
Recently, we helped one of the world’s largest consumer packaged goods companies identify the most influential and connected Twitter users within their customer list for word-of-mouth marketing. Since part of our analysis involved studying how profiles of their customers on Twitter changed between late March and mid-June of this year, we thought it would be interesting to study the effect of Twitter’s 60% growth during that time on these influencers. So, we analyzed follower and following counts for the company’s top 0.1%, top 1% and top 10% most-followed Twitter users, and compared how these figures changed in nine short weeks.
For this study, we analyzed over 40,000 “active” Twitter users, which were defined as users with at least five followers, five friends, or five updates.
Summary of Findings
Now for the details:
Given the myriad of Twitter clients available, we wanted to see which ones are the most popular. So, we studied the 20 most recent tweets from over 4 million Twitter users. Here’s what we found:
Most Popular Twitter Clients (as % of Tweets Sent)
Twitter continues to grow at an impressive rate with a 16% jump in visits from May to June. With studies suggesting that the majority of Twitter users are not active participants, we thought it would be interesting to study tweeting behavior in more detail. So, we sampled over 4 million Twitter users and analyzed the distribution of their tweet frequency.
Here's what we found:
Every summer, Rapleaf brings aboard engineering and business interns (like me) for 8 - 12 weeks not only for extra help, but also to give us a taste of an internet startup. I thought it would be a good idea to share my thoughts about Rapleaf culture and inner workings so future interns and outsiders get a better sense of the people, tasks, and responsibilities. Instead of just offering my own perspective, I have asked each of my fellow 9 interns -- 6 engineering, 3 business -- to share their experiences as well. Without further adieu, I introduce the Rapleaf intern class of 2009:
Adam Coffman, Software Engineering Intern
Hometown: Edwardsville, IL (St. Louis)
College & Major: Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville, Computer
Most Enjoyable Experience So Far: Company social events like Campleaf, movie nights, catered dinners, board games, etc., and the fact that the people here are so easy to get along with makes them a ton of fun!
Interning at Rapleaf has been one of the more challenging but fun things I've had the opportunity to do. Many of my friends have had software engineering internships that have amounted to little more than help desk and tech support jobs for the summer, but not so here! The interns here are given real projects to work on that actually are put into production, and never feel like they're just being handed busywork. All of the full-time engineers are incredibly smart and helpful, and the number and variety of projects here is awesome; there's always something new to figure out and learn. In just a couple months I've worked with Thrift, Ruby, Java, Scribe, Hadoop and more. If you're like me and always dreamed of coming out to the west coast to work at a startup, this is the place to be!
Here at Rapleaf, we are mindful citizens who try to do our part to help the economy. There are two key components to this: not only are we hiring (and have several positions open), but we are also offering awards for hired referrals. Perhaps a sampling of Rapleaf email signatures would better illustrate our rescue plan:
Michael Jackson's death on June 25, 2009 triggered a record-breaking social media explosion as Twitter, YouTube, blogs, search engines, and online news sites were flooded with traffic about his passing.
Here at Rapleaf, we thought it would be interesting to gauge the King of Pop's online popularity and fan base before the social media outburst, and to compare them with those of other leading pop culture icons in music such as The Beatles, Elvis, and Madonna. So we sampled public profiles of 1.1 million fans of these four artists across major social networks and got some surprising results.
Before discussing the findings, here are some things to keep in mind about this study:
And now for the results:
Facebook is not only one of the largest communities online, it’s also one of the most cosmopolitan. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see what the most common names are on a social network with such vast reach? We thought so too, so one of our engineers spent a few hours during “Hackleaf” – our choose-your-own-project-for-a-day event – to find out.
First, we looked at over 100 million publicly-available profiles on Facebook. Next, we ran a rough tally on all the unique first and last names to get a general impression of popularity – we did not apply any intelligence to the data so nicknames like “Bob” and “Mike” were considered unique from “Robert” and “Michael.”
First Name Results
Here are the top 10 most popular first names on Facebook:
First Name Count
1. John 1,037,972
2. David 966,439
3. Michael 798,212
4. Chris 647,966
5. Mike 535,065
6. Mark 526,198
7. Paul 511,504
8. Daniel 504,203
9. James 494,945
10. Maria 484,693
Last Name Results
Rapleaf was mentioned in yesterday’s BusinessWeek article discussing the resources companies are pouring into studying the social graph as they begin to recognize the value of online friendships.
Just a few years ago, the primary business value of friends was for our personal use, including identifying new business opportunities, getting introduced to potential clients, and seeking advice from trusted sources. This has all changed recently as both academic and corporate researchers have started to find significant opportunity for businesses to profit from an individual’s friend connections.
With research showing that friends behave similarly, social graph data can deepen understanding about consumer behavior and preferences, which in turn can be used for targeted marketing and improving their experiences. For example, if all your friends have iPhones, you are more likely to buy one as well.
A recent study on 2.8 million basketball, baseball, and hockey fans across social network offered some insight on demographic differences between fans online. For example, despite being fewer in number, hockey fans tend to be the most gender-balanced and also the best-connected.
Rapleaf recently-published a study analyzing social network usage of over 9 million users in 13 swing states. Results of the study revealed discrepancies in demographic and social network preferences between the states' online citizens.
The other day we blogged about Brad Fitzpatrick’s excellent piece on social graph portability and the evolution of the social web. We’re excited to see further support for this issue with the release of A Bill of Rights for Users of the Social Web.
The Bill of Rights was created by Joseph Smarr, Marc Canter, Robert Scoble, and Michael Arrington. The document asserts that web users are entitled certain rights to their information, such as “to syndicate their own stream of activity outside the site” and “to discover who else they know is also on their site, using the same external identifiers made available for lookup within the service.” It’s a step forward in the movement to unleash the social capabilities and inherent social graph that is present on the web.
The other day Brad Fitzpatrick (co-founder of LiveJournal) wrote an excellent piece on the evolution of social networks on the web. Brad’s main point is the issue of portability of the “social graph” and being able to transport your friend relationships across multiple social sites as you please. As Brad explains, there is no decentralized “social graph” service, and web users have to struggle to find the same friends on every new website they join. Additionally, small startups with a cool product lag behind because they spend too much time having to redevelop their own version of a social graph.
At Rapleaf, we fully agree with Brad and we are working hard to help create ‘online identities’ for web developers to benefit from. One of Brad’s future hopes is for a “reputation/trust API” that can be used, for example, to prevent comment spam on blogs. The Rapleaf API is a step in that direction – you can lookup the email address of blog commenters on Rapleaf and learn who they are. Additionally, the Rapleaf API can be used to leverage online identity across commerce sites, forums, and other web services that benefit from having a reputation/identity aspect. Over time, we also hope to unleash further aspects of our API that can provide a greater depth of benefit to web developers.