Why Upgrade to Marketing Automation?

Where do exactly email service providers fall short? Where do marketers need to upgrade to a more robust marketing platform? We have outlined some of the factors that may require you to upgrade to marketing automation.

What makes an email marketing campaign most engaging?

 

There are five factors that determine engagement level of email marketing campaigns and successful – these include:

1. Email must be made a credible communication:

Your email communications must be able to meet your subscribers’ expectations and relate their with your products/services – and consistency is the key in meeting subscribers’ needs and preferences.

2. Relevant communications

Only relevant email marketing campaigns will keep your audience hooked to your mails and increase their interest to open mails every time you trigger. So you need to inevitably deliver the right message or content, at the right time, to right audience, tailored to their interests.

3. More conversational, less promotional

Conversational email messages entice and engage customers more than batch and blast email marketing campaigns. Conversational messages strike a chord with the targeted prospects and buyers who find these emails more personalized and less promotional. That’s why marketers need to build their campaigns around the kind of conversational, personalized engagement programs than the typical kinds of batch and blast campaigns that email service providers (ESPs) and vendors offer. These lack the functionalities to enable marketers to initiate one-to-one communication. Though ESPs allow customization, two-way communications with consumers are not easy (and frequently not enabled) with these email marketing services.

4. Multi-channel communication

Make sure your emails are not standalone assets but, well-synced to other channels of communications, such as landing pages, web ads, social channels, banner ads and other channels and other mode of your interactions with your prospects and buyers. With prospects and buyers exploring diverse channels to seek information before they make a purchase, marketers also need to integrate cross-channel interactions with their email communications – traditional email service providers enable only a small level of integration with social channels, but all fail to integrate comprehensive cross-channel marketing communications.

5. In-depth insights

Make sure you have the right metrics in place to monitor and measure performance and effectiveness of email marketing campaigns. Many email service providers tie their comprehensive analytics and measurable metrics to expensive packages that most marketers cannot make use of these must-haves of email campaign musts.

On the other hand …

There are other reasons why vendors fail to create engaging email campaigns include their failure to deliver relevant solutions. Though ESPs may take into account the demographics of your targeted audience, they often overlook buyers’ behaviors and actions when they engage with information, any site or any offline sources. In that way, email service providers fail to connect, engage and establish relations with either new or existing customers.

This lack of automation functionalities is another limitation of email service providers which lead marketers to upgrade to email marketing automation platform. For example, for an event follow-up campaign with email service providers, you need to create two different campaigns, subscribers who attended and who have not attended by manually gathering information, since ESPs do not accumulate such data and send two different mails for both types of subscribers.

With so much valuable time wasted, why not repurpose it and use it to create fresh new strategies and content to engage those who have not attended your events?

So, what do you get with marketing automation?

Marketing automation platforms enable different types of email marketing campaigns, whether batch and blast, personalized campaigns, or real-time campaigns. The wide range of email marketing functionalities of marketing automation that ESPs do not offer include online forms, behavior tracking, social marketing, customer retention, landing pages, event management, campaign management, analytics, CRM integration, cross-selling and upselling, lead generation, lead scoring, lead management, relationship marketing and many more.

Additionally, marketing automation saves time and resources with automated and timely delivery by cutting down manual processes. The improved customer engagement combined with relevant content and messaging really helps accelerate revenue growth.

Need more reasons why upgrade to marketing automation from email service providers?

Here are four reasons:

1. Behavioral Targeting:

Behavioral Targeting is a must, to conduct more relevant email marketing campaigns. Marketing automation enables marketers to segment audience by building behavioral lists. These lists can incorporate data on demographics, browsing activities, history of social sharing, online purchase and transactional among others.

2. Customer relation boosting conversation:

Marketing automation lets marketers track where each prospect and buyer stands in the relationship with the business and lets them send relevant messages to their customers based on that analysis. In this way, marketers can optimize their conversations, which can last through stages of buying cycle and after purchase.

3. Comprehensive analytics:

Strategic and comprehensive analytics with marketing automation provides in-depth analysis of effectiveness of the campaign and scope of revenue growth from campaigns. This email marketing platform brings much more than open rates, bounce rates and click through rates to present essential tools that help understand marketers’ needs to measure engagement, scope of purchase, retention and various revenue metrics to measure the goal of the campaign.

4. Cross-channel Campaigns:

The cross-channel campaign functionalities of marketing automation platforms enable marketers to trace their prospects and buyers across various channels of digital marketing as they hop from one to another, in search of information. This email marketing allows companies to monitor their customers’ behaviors and activities on different channels and optimize campaigns according to the demographics, behavior, transaction history, social media usage, mobile usage, responses to ads and many others.

Additionally, a marketing automation platform puts its users many steps ahead of those who rely on simple email service providers by presenting a comprehensive lead management tools to score, nurture, manage and convert their leads into buyers. So, if you are stuck with your email service providers, you can lose your business to competitors who have already upgraded to abmarketing automation platform.

Are you thinking of upgrading to marketing automation? We can help you to assess your needs, and to assess what type of marketing automation program might work best for you. Call us at (408) 502 6765 or contact us via our social channels Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Move Over Social Analytics – Boost Social Media Marketing with Predictive Analytics

We marketers like to play it safe, don’t we? Frequently we only buy or sign up for the things that are most highly recommended by our peers? That’s why social media influencers and advocates play a vital role in how we are influenced, and they also, through their own social media campaigns, are so effective in influencing the buying decision of targeted customers. If you hope catch the attention of some major influencers’ attention and increase their engagement with your brand, mere social media analytics won’t necessarily give you the kind of date you need to be found in the right place at the right time.

That’s where “predictive analytics” can best fit the bill. Predictive analytics can give you the right insights to find and communicate with engaging messages to have them do the talking for your business. And voila!

What is Predictive analytics?

Predictive analytics is one type of analytics that will enable you actually to predict things about future prospects and events. None of it simple. But common practices include statistics, modeling, data mining, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. All of these techniques enable marketers to observe and evaluate current trends. And based on these assessments, predictive analytics data can enable marketers to foresee prospects of gains or losses in the future.

Why use predictive analytics with social media?

Most social media and digital marketers still find themselves relying on the usual social media marketing analytics and practices. Approximately 70% of marketers still rely on posting social media ads. Some 65% were known to update their current events on business pages. And about 68% were found to listening to key influencers and prospective buyers and monitoring their activities on various social channels through targeted trends and hashtags.  About 59% marketers were known to try to stand out above and beyond the fray to offer incentives and freebies in order to entice their brand advocates. At that, only 32% social media marketers have adopted a more advanced and intuitive form of predictive analytics data to map the right social media strategy for future based on trends in current activities.

Major reasons of predictive analytics adoption by social media marketers

Shiny new technologies in social media:

Predictive analytics is one of the newest technologies to be adopted by social media marketers. Even though we’ve heard the phrase quite a bit in recent years, “predictive analytics” are still a relatively new concept in social media scene, and it’s still in the early phase of application — and it is worthy of your efforts in measuring and making data-backed predictive analysis in finding and foreseeing key brand advocates’ interests and engagements. Also, the wide range of features and functionalities that predictive analytics offer are still mostly unknown to marketers, and many struggle to figure out the best uses of these tools, to find and foresee key brand advocates’ interests and the prospect of engaging them in meaningful ways.

Stay ahead of the competition

One of the many reasons why social media marketers should use predictive analytics technology is to predict the market well in advance, to devise effective strategies and to compose the best content for their targeted advocates, in short, to stay one-up from their competitors. Predictive analytics enables marketers to search for upcoming trends (such as those on Twitter or Instagram), before the trend becomes popular. Today, most of marketers are following the same practices – monitoring the present trends and tags so that they can jump at the gun, tap the trend to communicate with their advocates and create campaigns around the trend. But with the appropriate predictive analytics at their disposal, they COULD be able to foresee trends and create strategies for campaigns and communications long before competitors could adapt their campaigns to those trends.

Predicting a trend would aid marketers in optimizing or creating new social media events, campaigns, and messages — and to be one of the first few brands to reach out in that way, especially to the targeted advocates who are following those trends. That’s how your campaigns will become more appropriate and refined than those of your competitors who don’t have predictive insights into these trends. And as a result, your brand advocates and users will both appreciate your campaigns — you’ll be ready with the right news, data, stories, or videos, and you’ll be among the first to score well with those trends and those tags.

What prospects want from the brand?

Since the early days of digital marketing, marketers have been spending money to analyze one thing the most – what their customers want – and to be able to become the first few to deliver quality products and services that are best aligned to their customers’ needs. That’s why today’s smart social media marketers are tapping the potential of predictive analytics in their social media campaigns – to be able to respond to trends well ahead of time, and more importantly, ahead of competitors.

More brands than ever (who are engaged in social media marketing) are planning to adopt predictive analytics for these reasons. Where will you be on the curve?

Greater campaign success

Predictive analytics provide useful information in developing products, campaigns and services that have greater potential for success, than their competitors. They enable marketers figure out what kind of content and information customers and prospects are interested in that segment and also, they will be able to monitor changing tastes and preferences of customers based on the insights from predictive modeling.

What is the best time to use predictive analytics?

Capture market during holidays

Especially during special seasons, holidays and occasions, brands can foresee the type of content and incentives customers will be most attracted to – this analysis will be pure gold as all marketers try to lead with their best deals, products and content in their attempts to gain greater market share and sales revenue. Holidays are the best time to explore new markets with a new lineup of offers and also to gain loyal customers once they gain confidence in their product and services – at that, predictive analysis tools help businesses measure and predict their upcoming interests in the next holiday season, based on the data on customers’ social media use and behavior, and how they are seeking recommendations from key influencers and their peers before making buying decision.

During their product launches:

Social insights obtained through predictive analytics can empower brands with loads of information that they can use in making the ideal and most engaging product launch plans. If your current (e.g. a VoIP product) product is aimed at small and medium business owners, you can make a search on predictive analytics tools by ‘#smallbusinesses’, ‘small office’, or VoIP to be able to reach for the right segment who are looking for the similar product and services on predictive analytics.

Special occasions:

Predictive analytics advice comes exceptionally handy in helping businesses to find out the market rush during special occasions and times of the year such as weddings, back-to-school, graduation days etc., when a specific segment of market becomes active in making purchases or calling the service providers in seeking support. Social searches made through predictive analytics tools will help search for the customers who need their kind of products and services.

Last but not least, brands can analyze customers’ sentiments by making use of predictive analytics for their social media campaigns. The sentiment analysis in predictive analytics tools takes in advanced technology, gives cues to help brands sort customers opinions whether that are “positive”, “negative”, or “neutral on social media scene. This insight aids in brands find out recent trends in consumers’ opinions on a specific product, service, campaigns or content.

What kinds of social media successes can you tell? Leave them in the comments below. Do you have questions about Predictive Analytics? Find out more. Call us at (408) 502 6765 or contact us via our social channels Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to get professional assistance.

Do’s and Don’ts of Email Designs to Avoid Pitfalls and Increase Subscribers

All marketers, whether they hail from B2C or B2B market, have a thing for email marketing. Though the digital space of targeted recipients’ inboxes have thrown them challenges from time to time, one of the most desired prizes in marketing is to carve a space there for a long time to come, if not permanently or as long as users are using that account. But competing for a space in inboxes and establishing a long-term association with subscribers is not a cakewalk, given their inboxes are always cramped with mails from different sources – personal circles, work and job search, social updates, forum updates, updates from multiple accounts that of banks, voice connection, data connections, credit cards, and of course, there are thousands of marketers (including your competitors) with their sweet offers, promotions and product updates.

What gets your email clicked and (God forbid) ignored?

Then, which part of an email or newsletter will prompt targeted audience to click and read your mails? What are the email design best practices and must-do things that marketers need to learn to get clicked, opened, clicked-through, and if all things go well, get them decide to make purchase? Similarly, which elements will drive off potential prospects even when they have decided to share their email address? Marketers and businesses end up spending A LOT before they figure out the ultimate mantras of email design – do’s and don’ts of email design that crack the deal and get on the road to email marketing success. Because we’re asked all the time for these kinds of best practices, we have taken the initiative to jot down some winning and losing points of email design with a bunch of dos and don’ts you don’t that want to miss and let your competitors taking advantage of. So let’s get started – first do’s of email designs.

Dos of Email Design

  1. Do make sure that you have done all the email design and styling using inline style attributes within the tags of the email copy content – that is within “<p style=”border:2px solid #db00 font-size:11px>”.

  1. Do try to strike a balanced ratio between image and text ratio since spam filter tools scan mails by this text-to-image ratio to check if a mail has too many images or too much texts – too much of both the element will prompt filters to report as spam

  1. Do keep it simple by using reader-friendly, light background colors instead of using images as background. At the same time, you need to also check how your email will appear on a white background when the background color or image will not load.

  1. Do keep a backup version of your email ready when recipients will face issue in loading image-rich emails – so that you can ensure your mails will load with a colored background instead of an image. HTML will enable designers to include both image and color code under the same tag. So even though images don’t appear, the emails will load with your chosen colorsthan.

  1. Do make sure that subscribers can open the link of the videos on your site from the email. You can include an image with the red, triangular play button (like you see on YouTube before the video plays) on the email and link it with the video in your site.

Don’ts of Email Design

  1. Don’t forget to use a table format in your email to keep multiple sections of your body content distinctive and clear. Also, don’t cram your email with too much content to repel your targeted readers. Content that is brief, well-sectioned and divided into various sections will allow readers to navigate and read content easily. You can simply add hyperlinks to different sections to the content on the landing page, making easier for readers to choose what they want to read.

  2. Don’t forget to place a call to action button – but before planting a call-to-action button, consider what you want them to do – whether to click a hyperlink, download a whitepaper or e-book, join a cause or an event or get product update information. The best place to place a call-to-action is to place it at the top of the email copy where all the eyeballs reach at first after loading the mail or even while the mail is still loading.

  3. Don’t create a top banner in all your email unless it is essential to incorporate in your promotional emails. Emails with top banners are usually marked as promotional and end up landing in the promotional tabs of email clients instead of the main inbox.

Now, it’s your turn – why don’t you share your secret tips in email design that are keeping you at the top of the email marketing game? We are keen to share with and learn from you – so, why don’t you let the cat out of the bag and brag your wisdom in the comments below?

7 Email Marketing Sins Are making Your Customers Unsubscribe – How to Rebuild Trust? [Part II]

Now that you have learned why people are unsubscribing from your email list, here we explain the ways marketers can gain trust and sell products to those customers again. Here are the six types of emails work at their best in this regard.

1. Welcome email

The first is the welcome email which initiates the first communication between you and your subscribers after they have signed up with your brand. Like the first handshake with your prospects, a welcome email must be concise, cordial and inviting. Include signup details, introductory coupon codes or offers (if any), an expression of gratitude, and brief introduction about your business. We recommend that you keep to a few bullet points on types of offers and content they may be receiving after signing up with you. It’s a way to be transparent with them, and also it sets expectations (or even enables them to set expectations about) how often they’d like to receive emails from you. Also, you need to ask your subscribers to add your email address in the whitelist in their email address books to prevent heading to spam.

2. Alert or notification emails

Let your subscribers know about any potential suspicious activities on their accounts. Instant alert or notification mails will restore the trust in your brand that it takes care of subscribers’ accounts with fast communication. At the same time, you can also send alert mails of certain activities, trends, weather updates, alerts on probable risks of contamination of diseases in an area or in a season. You can also use send notifications about their purchases with details on purchase receipt, shipping status, expected time of delivery etc. By keeping your subscribers and customers in the loop of current happenings with timely and relevant messages, you gain huge amount of trust from subscribers in return.

3. Apology emails

Never ever feel scared of seeking apology, even for those accidental mistakes. Apology emails come in exceptionally handy in minimizing the risk of losing customers or subscribers in the event of any email blunders. Have you mistakenly sent an email announcing a deal which is no longer valid or which has expired? Did you send them a broken link that takes them to an error page? Have you stated an inaccurate fact or statistics in your mail? Before your subscribers snub you for the blunder that took place, send them an apology mail instantly before they discover it – that ways your consumers will still be able to trust you despite your mistake and the problem being aware that you take the ownership and are able to fix it, without much delay.

4. Educational emails

Create a collection of content on tips, tricks, best practices and guides to keep your subscribers and customers educated about the product and problems they face. You can create videos with steps of instructions and screenshots, infographic content with rich visual graphics on tips, facts or data, how-to articles, news articles pertinent to the product or services you are selling, e-books and things like that. This kind of educational content helps a great deal in establishing thought leadership and reinforcing your knowledge and expertise in the field. You can also curate and include articles by key influencers in the market what they say about your product, services or the brand to set off instant confidence of your targeted consumers in your brand.

5. Newsletters

Plan and schedule the delivery of newsletters for your targeted audience with a combination of industry updates, latest news, launches and updates on your upcoming products, upcoming events to be held and that they can join, any special mentions on your social channels by key influencers, and any important declaration you want put forward. Make sure you send these newsletters on a regular basis so that they can anticipate your next issue. In case you need to postpone the newsletter, send out an email stating the reason for the delay, when they can expect it, and offer them something of genuine value so that the delay will be associated with a good memory. You can also provide them with links so that they can follow digital meetings with you for a more personal level interaction.

6. Giveaway emails

Are you wanting to give something to your valuable customers? You can offer something useful related to your service, without necessarily offering any of your services for free such as, a free consultation, a free membership, tickets to training shows or seminars that offer training, and guides for products you are selling. Any of these will likely impress your subscribers and customers. In that case, you can send them emails to communicate the exclusive offer you present to them. Many such shows and seminars can motivate them to buy your products in case they were initially hesitant – for example, photography classes or seminars can encourage your customers to buy high-end cameras from you since they can trust you in helping them and presenting them with opportunities to hone their skills by taking part in these kinds of events. You can also give away free gated content such as e-books or special training manuals to help clear their doubts about your products.

Thus, you can build customers’ trust and nurture positive relationships with your prospects and buyers by using your email marketing campaigns. Have any questions or doubts? Call us at (408) 502 6765 or via our social channels Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to get professional assistance.

7 Email Marketing Sins Are Making Your Customers Unsubscribe – How to Rebuild Trust? [Part I]

Are people unsubscribing from your email marketing lists soon after they are signing up for the newsletters? It’s not time to worry just yet! There are common reasons why subscribers and prospective customers want to unsubscribe, and you are not alone. And there are effective strategies too, to woo and win back customers’ trust, to rebuild customer relationships, and sell to those customers again.

Why customers are unsubscribing from your email list?

Most common reasons why customers and subscribers are leaving you could be one or more of the following:

1. Sending too many emails

Are you sending them too many emails? Too-much frequency of emailing can repel your subscribers away and persuade them to go off the grid and unsubscribe from the list. The best way to avoid this and gain the trust of customers is to let them choose how often they wish to receive offers, updates, tips and other type of content. You can do that by setting up a “subscription center”.

2. You’re not emailing them enough

Another side of the issue is when marketers are not sending enough emails – too few emails will disappoint customers and when they are not receiving enough email or information they close the deal and unsubscribe. One way to keep your customers engaged and interested is to maintain a fixed schedule and to automate emails at regular intervals with relevant, follow-up emails. You can simply create drip engagement email campaigns with the right offers such as whitepapers, ebooks, webinar invitations, or even video or other content to build up their interest.

3. Your emails are not relevant enough

This is one of the most common mistakes that drive targeted audience away. If you are sending information to the wrong segments, no matter how well-structured and research-backed they are, those emails are of no significance to the reader and are easily skipped over. Eventually, they unsubscribe from your email list. The only way to prevent them from unsubscribing from the list is to send the right message and content to the right people, at the right time. Use a marketing automation platform to segment, schedule and ensure timely delivery of emails to the targeted segment.

4. Your emails do not open properly on mobile devices

Studies point to the fact that emails that are not quite mobile optimized, do not load properly or do not look good on mobile devices, can be trashed, also leading recipients to unsubscribe. Make sure you are using responsive email templates that adjust the mail content, look and feel of the email according to the screen size and resolution of the devices. ShowMeLeads has plenty of responsive email templates for diverse industries, themes and purposes of campaigns – talk to us at (408) 502 6765 or at services@showmeleads.com to check those out.

5. Repeated content or promotions

Are you sending repeated content or the same offers to your customers? Especially if you are sending the email to those who have already bought the same product, the offer will no longer be useful for them and frequently, they will find your mails redundant and too generic. Over time, repeated emails may eventually infuriate your customers, making them unsubscribe from your list. To avoid this mistake, add customers who have already purchased to a different segment or list, and schedule your promotional emails for the product to other segments. For existing buyers, you can create mails containing demo videos to improve the usability, list if related products and accessories, feedback emails to ask them to rate and share the experience etc.

6. Emails that are too long

Are your email newsletters too long to hold the attention span? With attention spans that steadily plummet while we are browsing sites, checking mails or scrolling through social channels, longer than usual emails can exhaust our attention span far earlier than you might expect. That’s why .gif images or video shorts may win your consumers more than long email content, that too without any paragraph breaks, subheads, bullets or images in between. Soon they lose interest in long, tedious emails and decide to leave the list.  One smarter technique is to trim excess, redundant, unnecessary and irrelevant portions and include relevant, attention-grabbing images in between paragraphs. If the content is too long and useful, then create a small guide for your consumers and link it for recipients to download from the email with a call to action pitch.

7. Sending same content available online

If you are circulating and aggregating the same content you have already published, whether on your blog or on your site, then chances are that your recipients will find nothing valuable or useful in your email newsletters. The moment your customers find your newsletters cannot offer them new updates, content, stories or offers that they cannot find while visiting your site, blog or social channels, they will leave. The basic rule is to create exclusive content for newsletters that they will not find on your website. For example, your site already has all the price lists and product lists that your customers do not expect to find in your newsletters. Instead, include news on your upcoming product releases and latest launches, or include an exclusive coupon code for your email subscribers. Give them reasons to stay hooked and look forward to your next email, instead of choosing to unsubscribing from the list.

These are the kinds of things that are causing your subscribers to want to opt out of your email marketing campaigns. In part II, we’ll show you the types of mails that will help you to regain your customers’ trust and turn them into buyers.