6 Strategies for Booming Holiday Email Marketing Campaigns

Halloween is officially the commencement of the holiday season and with Thanksgiving is only weeks away, it’s time of the year when marketers gear up for their holiday marketing campaigns. Though all marketers blast their holiday email marketing campaigns, however, not of those emails catch dust either in the spam box or as unread messages under promotional categories. That’s why we wanted to bring you the bunch of tricks which actually work plus dos and don’ts to make your holiday-themed email campaigns collect higher revenues, not dust in recipients’ promotional or spam folders.

Before you get started…

Every successful holiday-themed email marketing campaign follows a data-backed plan and goal which is closely tied to the specific business objective for that season. Hence, the first thing you need to do is to set goals in the form of estimated open rates, downloads, link clicks, or actual conversions. Once you have set the goal, you need the right strategies to set your email marketing campaigns in motion. Here are six strategies to get you started and race for a revenue-driven holiday email marketing program.

1. Leverage progressive profiling for better segmentation

Owing to this technology of predictive intelligence, your email marketing campaigns can benefit from more personalized recommendations. However, your target customers might be shopping for a whole lot of other stuff which is why data received from a subscribers’ history might not provide exact data you need to segment based on their areas of interests during this holiday season. Instead you can simply ask your target audience about their interests and choice of products they will be shopping this year. Hence, first send your subscribers the progressive profiling email which will create an alert for the holiday email which will be optimized to your subscribers.

2. The right set of images on holiday-themed emails

One of the most important elements in a holiday email marketing campaign is images that spark instant connections with subscribers. Photos aid in adding relevancy, sense of fellow-feeling and often triggers an instant urge for shopping. Especially during festive seasons like Christmas, Thanksgiving, Black Friday etc. Hence, it is extremely imperative to add seasonal imageries, preferably your own images and optimized with your brand names and your own messages that appear more personalized for your subscribers.

3. Leverage social media for further interactions

Social media plays a vital role in improving visibility of your holiday email marketing campaigns. The trick is to distribute your holiday campaign across diverse social media channels and make your holiday offers surface on different channels – therefore, even when your subscriber misses your emails, they can be targeted on social media channels where they most frequent. In addition to social media channels, you can also publish your offer on your blogs. Another way to incorporate social media channels is to incorporate social media plug-ins in your emails, if you have not done them yet. You can give a holiday makeover to social media plug-ins by incorporating holiday-themed social media buttons. Encourage your subscribers to make purchases from your social channels by offering an additional social media offer. For example, you can offer 30% for email subscribers and an additional 30% discount for those who purchase from social channels by clicking on your social buttons. For this, you can use social media analytics, for example Pinterest gives data on what people are looking for and are buying during holiday season.

4. Make sure your emails are mobile-optimized

The single factor which may decide the fate of your holiday email marketing campaigns is mobile-readiness. That’s why you need to check how your emails look, feel and function on mobile devices, mobile browsers, on different mobile platforms. Especially, you need to test your emails on newer platforms and browsers to ensure cross-browser and cross-platform compatibility of your emails before you release them. For this you can consider the responsive template of emails – need help with responsive email templates for your holiday email marketing campaign? Call our email marketing and designing experts at (408) 502 6765 now.

5. What about when things go awry?

And that’s why you need to keep an apology email ready for your holiday campaigns. Email marketing mistakes are common and those are most likely during holiday seasons when your team could be pressed for time to run multiple campaigns on diverse channels within a limited span of time. Mistakes such as sending repeated offers to the same prospects or customers, erroneous email copies, links to incorrect pages, faulty navigational links, or date of validity etc., could tarnish the reputation of your holiday campaign, however, a personalized, immediate apology mail delivered to targeted subscribers can bridge the gap and restore their confidence in your campaign. It is best to create an apology email template and make sure they contain the latest logo (if holiday-themed), links to facilitate unsubscribe, links to your website, holiday microsite, social media pages etc.

6. Holiday email subject lines – do’s and don’ts

a. Your subscribers are expecting discounts, offers, coupon codes or other holiday special incentives on your holiday emails – make your message clear, declare the discount or the special offer in the subject lines to lure them to open the email, sign-up, register, or click the links.

b. Optimize your holiday email copies to the theme of the season – use relatable words such as, “spooktacular” for Halloween, “Gobble the offer” for Thanksgiving etc. Hence, it is time to mix trigger the fun with pun in your holiday-special email copies.

c. Do include the season’s top performing and mostly used keywords in the subject line such as, jingles, jingle bell, New Year’s Eve, Black Friday, last-minute Christmas deals etc.

d. Talk to your subscribers through the email subject line – give a personal touch to the subject lines by using first and second person pronouns such as, we, you, your,  our etc.

e. Introduce numbers and offer gift ideas and suggestions in the subject line – for example, “10 Christmas gifts that break the stereotypes”, “5 holiday gift choices that will create memories”, “8 Christmas gift ideas under $25” etc., to fetch the holiday tips and suggestions they are searching for.

f. Beat the bush of vague subject lines such as, “gifts for him” or “gifts for her”, be precise and mention whom the gifts are appropriate for – whether gifts for wife, gifts for husbands, gifts for senior moms, gifts for your identical twins, gifts for expecting moms etc. If possible, also mention the budget the products you want to promote through holiday email marketing campaigns such as, under $50, $25 or $200 etc.

Finally, it’s time to get your creative juices flowing and get creative with every element of your holiday-themed email campaigns, way beyond just the creative holiday theme or templates. Right from the email message copy, pictures, buttons, offers, subject lines, to everything that you can think of can be optimized for the season. Also, do not hesitate to recreate the magic of the past by implementing and tweaking what about your previous campaigns work best to draw your customers and prospects closer to your brands.

If you have yet to plan how to get started with this year’s holiday email marketing campaigns, then our marketers will walk you through the latest trends and creative ideas which will perfectly reflect your holiday promotional goals for this year. Just call us or reach us via Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Single Opt-in or Double Opt-in – Which Way to Build Email Marketing List?

Isn’t ‘The List’ the cornerstone of email marketing?  The more valid, responsive and large amount of addresses are there in the list, the more successful the marketing campaigns will be. Marketers use various methods to build up the opt-in list, single opt-in and double opt-in (also called confirmed opt-in)s are two methods used extensively.

If both methods are legitimate, then which way will lead to cost-effective, successful email campaigns and more conversion? For that, let’s dissect and assess advantages, disadvantages, and effectiveness of the both – single opt-in and double opt-in.

What is single opt-in?

The single opt-in method implies that the subscriber has once signed up for product updates or newsletter or when a customer starts receiving  promotional emails after they make any purchase from a store. In both bases, subscribers do not receive any confirmation from the company.            

What is Double opt-in?

Double opt-in or confirmed opt-in procedure of building email list helps marketers verifying subscribers’ interest and their valid email addresses. Marketers respond to their subscribers’ signups by sending them a confirmation email which is also known as ‘welcome email’. Such confirmation mails commonly include messages such as, “You have successfully signed up for our newsletters”, “Welcome to the family of…” or “Click this link to confirm your signup or registration” among others. Thus, marketers can ensure lesser chances of subscribers to report them for spamming.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of both processes?

Though single opt-in process skips the steps of seeking confirmation from subscribers, but SOI benefits marketers in a lot of ways in terms of the list growth, opportunities, and performance.

Advantages of single opt-in (SOI)

Least complex process: By eliminating the confirmation process, single opt-in makes it less complicated and adds addresses more quickly instead of waiting for the confirmation. Often subscribers tend to avoid, forget or want to skip too many steps of subscriptions thus, increasing the completion rates than double opt-in (DOI).

Lower failure and higher list growth: Many subscribers might miss out your confirmation mail and then, they will complain of not receiving updates from your company. Around 20 to 40% of subscriptions are lost through confirmation failures which would lead to about 20% loss of list growth.

More conversion: Debates around whether single opt-in or double opt-in churns more engagement and conversions are never ending. Many argue that double opt-ins have more potentials to generate engagements, open rates or culminate conversations into conversions since this method confirms subscribers’ interests in receiving marketers’ communications, product updates or promotional mails. But, aren’t single opt-in processes methods also those subscribers who are willing to confirm as well as those would not want to receive additional confirmation mails. Thus, marketers can get to increase click rates and conversion rates.

Lesser technical requirements: Single opt-in helps reducing expenses on additional resources for building email list. This is more advantageous for marketers who are using any third-party email marketing vendors who would charge them extra for extra technical requirements for additional emails with links and webpages requesting users to confirm their email addresses and interests.

Disadvantages of single opt-in (SOI)

Unconfirmed subscription: Email addresses that are unconfirmed pose greater risks of bounce rates when marketers send them any email. Thus, the cost of sending high volume emails often incurs losses and reduces ROI with unconfirmed subscribers present in the list.

Less Respectful of privacy: Marketers run risks of intruding into others’ digital privacy with no confirmation letter. As SOI method of building list gives lesser room for users’ online privacy and their right to limit information they want to receive, some recipients gets disappointed with consistent flow of mails and report you for spamming.

Greater Risk to Your Sender Reputation: With single opt-in methods, the risks of bad addresses such as mistyped addresses, invalid addresses cannot be ruled out – these bad addresses and bounce rates will negatively affect your reputation. Also wrong addresses might land your email campaigns into wrong people’s inbox who are not interested in your content or offers – these users are likely to report you as spam and damage your brand’s reputation.

Many marketers consider the quality of engagement with active subscribers determine the success of the email campaigns, more than the volume and speed at which the list id built – that’s when they use double opt-in method to accumulate their email lists. Advantages and disadvantages of double opt-in methods of building email lists are –

Advantages of Double opt-in (DOI)

More engagement

Though SOI method of building list is extra complexities but added activities of confirmation improves list engagement which eventually determines better quality of lead generation and campaign health. That’s why double opt-in ensures better list engagement and considered a better alternative and more advantageous in terms of revenue generation.

Protection against bad addresses:

Quality over quantity matters when you are building a list with minimum amount of bad addresses. Also, you need to remember that many of your competitors might fill in your email list with bad address to tarnish your online brand reputation and damage the fate of your email marketing campaigns. In such cases, you can sidestep the risk of running your campaign with bad addresses with double opt-in signup method.

Better opportunities of immediate communication with subscribers:

DOI or double opt-in email signup method sends a welcome mail to people who just signed up with your company. Thus, you can use welcome mails as an opportunity to initiate communication with your subscribers immediately. The open rates of welcome emails are estimated as much as 50 percent higher than any other email marketing campaigns. Hence, you can introduce your brand, products, offers, added features and benefits and competitive advantage your products have over your counterparts using welcome mails. Thus, you can make a special welcome offer and connect with your prospects.

Read more: Cheat Sheet to Get Highest Open Rates with Welcome Emails

Disadvantages of Double opt-in (DOI)

Loss of subscribers: About 20% of people who initially signed up for your newsletters miss the next step of confirming their email address. There are other reasons double opt-in might not work which include accidental deletion of confirmation email, mail getting landed up in spam box or subscribers simply forgetting completing the final confirmation step. That’s why double opt-in could be a tough choice for building email list.

Slower rate of growth: A double opt-in email signup process will slow down the speed at which you can increase the volume of the list owing to its dual layer of email address confirmation process. Moreover, since many subscribers take longer to confirm and even forget or choose not to confirm the signup. Thus, growing list in this method takes longer than usual and takes more work to send reminders to subscribers for completing the signup process.

Heavier technical resources: Another major challenge of building list using double opt-in email signup method is requirement of additional technical resources especially if you are building list for proprietary email marketing platform unless you are using any third-party email marketing vendor who has such extra resources to support your double opt-in process.

The choice to make

Now that you are aware of the pros and cons of advantages and disadvantages of single and double opt-in email sign up processes, here comes the next step – how to choose the right process for you? One of the fail-safe methods is to test them each at once – take single opt-in process for a trial period for one month and then, upgrade to the double opt-in method for the subsequent month. During the trial process, you need to evaluate each method on the determining factors such as, incidences of spam reporting, signup volume, count of bad email addresses, speed at which  email list getting accumulated, overall performance of email list and other factors, as required. After meticulous recording of all the stats of each signup process, it will be easier for you to measure and compare which solution will work and bring you quality leads and revenues for your email marketing campaigns.

 

Best Marketing Automation Features of Marketo

4 Marketo Features Play a Vital Factor in Campaign Success

With the launch of marketing automation software, marketers and organizations are turning more powerful with new tools and methods to boost their campaign success. One of the most widely banked upon and used automation platform is Marketo. Its LaunchPoint ecosystem consisting of 550 software solution provider partners makes it the most compatible with all major software, platforms and digital marketing tools. Its periodic release notes introduced plethora of new features to improve user experience and clients’ campaigns, extend support for newer browsers, channels and other tools and software related to digital marketing activities – but, are marketers using all its features and making the most of the marketing automation platform?

Here are 4 Marketo features you need to start using today to augment your marketing campaign success –

1. A/B testing

Email A/B testing is one of the most prominent features Marketo that brings users with the capability to do A/B test various areas of marketing campaigns. Marketo allows testing email-from and to address, subject lines, timing and frequency of email campaigns, content of the email copy, images used in the mail, calls to action (CTA), etc. and also various parts of the landing pages and form assets associated to the email campaigns. These tests help measure effectiveness of different elements of email campaigns and see what works and what needs alteration to maximize open rates and conversions. Thus, these A/B tests help drive optimal results and increase success rates. Another advantage of A/B tests of Marketo is the ability to schedule, segment and send mass email messages at the right time to all intended leads across different time zones.

2. Engagement Programs

Marketo’s Engagement Program is another power arm most marketers use to enhance engagement and listening. Using the Engagement Engine of Marketo, customers can get to listen, analyze and optimize emails when their audience is not engaging enough with their email messages. Marketo allows tweaking the schedule when the targeted audience is online and see what they are reading the most and nurture them with the right content and offers they want to make the engagement thrive. With numerous leads segmented for diverse engagement programs and campaigns that are scheduled for as long as one year or even more, Marketo allows marketers to schedule and segment the right leads and buyers to the right campaigns, with relevant content and information they seek, and ensures delivery at the right day and time. If you are looking for an automated system to avoid a single misstep in your multiple engagement programs running simultaneously, then Marketo Engagement Engine is what you need.

3. Lead Generation

Marketo offers a plethora of lead generation functionalities including program management, event marketing, cloning, program import and export. Program management lets you manage campaigns and programs of diverse types including video campaigns, social media campaigns, email campaigns, landing page campaigns, events [such as webinars and auctions] and any online ads by optimizing assets related to those efforts. Marketers can optimize emails, landing pages, lists and campaigns, as well as track and assess results and costs. The events let you manage invitations, registration, attendees, follow-ups, reminders and other assets.  It also offers analytics to track attendees and registration. Clone helps marketers with cloning multiple existing programs to help save valuable resources and time with easily editable program parameters and update assets involved in those programs. Additionally, program import and export brings a collection of programs which can be exchanged within multiple users.

4. Lead Management

Marketo eases the lead managing process with a wide range of lead management functionalities which include marketing lead database (that records all important assets, contacts, data on website visits, updates, history, email clicks and many more), segmentation (to micro-segment campaigns with leads and contacts and filter as per different attributes), lead nurturing campaigns (that schedules drip marketing campaigns to send messages with the right content at the right time), lead scoring and grading brings ability to score and qualify leads based on preset criteria and factors to assess the lead’s interactions and interests), automated sales alerts (which bring the ability to create and set sales alerts on tasks to emails and RSS.), lead lifecycle (this allows integrating CRM platforms with the leads, updates lead status and scores, lead routing and rules), sales intelligence (tracks lead’s behavior, their interests, where they click and they focus on to help sales representatives analyze their prospects.) and revenue cycle modelling (to track how leads engage in different revenue cycles, from one stage to another).

Social Marketing is another powerful feature of Marketo which brings functionalities such as social listening and tracking tools, social sharing and campaigning, social profiling, social engagement and promotions, and social analytics. Now, it’s your turn to share which Marketo features you love the most – drop your tips in the comment section below.

5 Things You Need to Know to Make the Most of Marketo Summit 2016

5 Things You Need to Know to Make the Most of Marketo Summit 2016Marketo Summit 2016 Conference is just a week away – marketers are all geared up to make the most of the event, grow network, monetize their experience and gain from golden words of wisdom from industry leaders. So, here’s what it takes to beat the competition and flourish at this one of the most anticipated events of the year – because what happens (at Marketo Marketing Nation Summit) in Vegas, should not stay in Vegas, but you must bring it along with your team to push your marketing efforts forward.

Summit week schedule –

The Marketo Marketing Nation Summit is divided into multiple events including sessions, keynotes, expos, galas and parties. The events from May 9, 2016 to May 12, 2016 commence from early at 8.30 am in the morning with breakfast. The following diagram shows schedules of events stipulated, from morning to evening.

Image credit: Marketo

Did you get the app yet?

Marketo has released a dedicated app for event attendees as an ultimate guide to the Marketo Marketing Nation Summit 2016 – which will let you check out the full agenda of the event including schedules, events, locations, speaker information, and will also help in keeping a tab on the latest updates, keynotes,  sessions and booths. The app comes exceptionally handy in viewing information about industry experts who are attending the event, connecting with them and growing networks. At the same time, the app showcases top trending sessions, discussion topics and forums which you can interact with, share real-time comments, as well as share and view photos. And yes, using the app will also earn you points and badges – so, download the app and start exploring now https://goo.gl/HGDExq

Swag!

Are you a sponsor or an attendee? Since you are heading to the event with your team/company, make sure you do not leave any stones unturned in showcasing your booth or the hall – adorn your area with color, your logo and the message of your company to boost brand prominence of your company/team. You can get your crew to wear the tees which reflect your brand logo and the tagline or any special message optimized to the #MKTGnation. At the same time, you can get all the laptops, smartphones, tablets, adapters and other devices plastered with the brand logo. Marketo provides sponsors with a locker and a combination lock – however, fees for a locksmith, when required, and liability of belongings are not covered.

It’s time to go social

You need to get social to view, share, comment and get into the action to be part of the buzz on the Marketo Marketing Nation Summit. Make the most of the top trending hashtags including #MKTGnation while you share and showcase images of your booth, activities, meetings with clients, your experience, comments, quotes and excerpts of keynotes, and of course, the glitzy bits of Marketo gala events and parties. That’s why you need to be active on all major social networking channels to be more seen, heard and meet new prospects, grow network and meet clients with whom you can build long-term business relationships. Major social channels that are buzzing the most are Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn which will bring you loads of opportunities to increase your social footage as well as business networks. Besides using social media apps on your smartphone and tablets, once again, we are reminding you to use the Marketo Summit app which doubles as any major social networks you target in building agendas, sharing comments, photos, latest updates, following prospects, and industry leaders you will meet at the summit.

Don’t miss the essentials

Finally, do not miss the essentials, and by essentials, I do not mean your grooming kits, but rather tech essentials which will keep your devices running from morning til night. Since you are going to use a slew of apps, such as a navigational and location app, business card scanning app, printing app, social apps, photo editing apps, email apps and more, you’ll need to keep your devices juiced up with power from time to time – so, carry a good and large power bank which supports your smartphone, laptop, tablet and camera. You can also keep a travel adapter handy. Make sure your devices are cased in rugged, protective covers to keep them safe from accidental slips or drops at the busiest hours of the day.

Marketo recommends purchasing a hardline internet connection to stay connected outside the Expo Hall, since sponsor Wi-Fi is available there. If you are a regular at Marketo Summit every year, then why don’t you share something enlightening and your own tips on how to make the most of the event? We are all ears and would love to hear from you – drop your tips in the comment section and see you at the ShowMeLeads, Inc. booth at Marketo Summit – can’t wait to meet you there!