Marketers have renewed their focus on customer acquisition, wooing those who promise high buying power
A more modern, customer-friendly approach to e-mail marketing focused on message relevance is yielding great results. However, gathering and combining all of the useful bits of marketing data used to develop marketing segments and strategies is a difficult process. Direct digital marketing software has evolved rapidly, and marketers should demand their e-mail marketing platform contain a universal profile management system.
E-mail has many strengths, and one of the key attributes that excites marketers is the ability to track and report on subscribers' behaviors. Savvy marketers understand the importance of not only testing to increase performance, but choosing the right types of tests to run. They also understand that what worked previously or for another e-mail program may not work today or for your program. This is the reason that the answer to most questions is simply "it depends" and "test it."
Promotions claiming 99.99% anything set off alarm bells. It's just too good to be true, a little voice tells us, and in most cases the little voice is right.
Research from Pivotal Veracity and other deliverability service providers shows that 20% of marketers' opt-in messages were blocked or sent to junk folders in 2009. Deliverability is a challenge that is becoming more complex as consumers read e-mail across multiple platforms such as work laptops, home PCs, iPhones and Blackberries. Your e-mail subscribers are also talking about your brand and reposting your offers and content on their Facebook and Twitter pages.
For years, deliverability has been the bogeyman of e-mail marketing. Warding off its negative consequences has been a black art practiced by deliverability specialists, shrouded in the mystery of their technical talismans. While the complex nature of deliverability can't be denied, the fundamentals are simply good marketing practices predicated on a respect for customer preferences. It's time to put the 'ability' back in deliverability.
As many e-mail marketers know, to comply with CAN-SPAM you must include an unsubscribe link and your postal address in e-mails, as well as make sure your e-mail headers or subject lines are not deceiving.
There are plenty of reasons to keep your list clean. First and foremost is reputation management. As your stream of e-mails reaches receiving servers, it is actively monitored to determine whether or not you are a spammer. A high bounce rate is one sure indicator.
When attempting to comply with CAN-SPAM requirements that prevent advertisers from sending e-mail to consumers who have unsubscribed, many share their physical suppression lists or opt-out lists with their third-party advertising partners.
For many years, direct marketing messages were mostly about a company and its products, with little thought given to the recipients and their needs. With inboxes filled thanks to the popularity of e-mail marketing, irrelevant information is likely to be ignored or treated as spam.
As the CEO of an e-mail marketing service provider, I receive a lot of e-mail. That shouldn't surprise anyone, least of all me. But even I was startled when I read Forrester Research's US E-mail Forecast 2009-2014 report. In the report, Forrester predicts that by 2014 individual consumers will receive an average of 9,000 opt-in e-mail messages a year. That breaks down to an average of more than 24 e-mail messages a day, or more than one e-mail per hour.
Most progressive marketers know that relevance is essential to driving strong customer response. To move to the next stage in customer engagement, deepen loyalty and encourage brand advocacy through e-mail programs that are not only meaningful, but connected to an integrated marketing strategy.
In a down economy, one might think a sale is the way to a consumer's wallet, but you may be surprised to know an innovative group of marketers is focusing on why to buy. Fashion retailers are proving to be trendsetters in more ways than one — they're giving e-mail subscribers a strong point of view.
The days of "one-size-fits-all," "batch-and-blast" e-mail marketing are gone. In its place is "e-mail-plus," a new age e-mail marketing strategy that uses e-mail in combination with other one-to-one marketing tactics and technologies to accelerate conversation and optimize ROI.
E-mail marketing is not enough. You need to supplement it with old-fashioned, hard-copy postal mail. Tangible, direct and targeted, mail still has a valuable, strong pull.
Defined very generally, behavioral economics combines psychology and economics to identify why people make certain decisions about purchasing, borrowing, lending, etc. In her article, "The Gift Card Economy" ('The Atlantic', May 2009), Virginia Postrel turns to behavioral economists to shed light on factors that have been shown to affect consumer spending.
We are constantly inundated with the concept that the Internet is creating a global community — a world marketplace where goods and services can be marketed and purchased anywhere. In the past, when direct mail was the primary means of direct marketing, a key component of strategy was the use of geographical targeting. But does geographical targeting still make sense in the world of online marketing? There are two reasons why the answer is, "Yes."
How are your e-mail programs performing? Typically, when I ask a client this question their response is, "Well, our open rate is X, and our click rate is Y." If this is your typical response, it's time to up your game.
Ted's Montana Grill, a national restaurant chain founded by Ted Turner and restaurateur George McKerrow Jr., needed to redefine and rejuvenate an e-mail program filled with potential and eager subscribers. We helped Ted's develop a VIP-type e-mail program where value and benefits resonated with subscribers.
Anyone trying to send an electronic message to another person right now must make a very important decision: Through which vehicle do I want to use to send my message?
Segmenting your list and personalizing the e-mail content will drive better returns than blasting the entire list with the same message, but it can entail a lot of work with uncertain rewards.
Abandoned carts cost e-commerce sites big dollars in lost sales. In fact, industry studies show that the average cart abandonment rate is between 50% and 60%, which means that more than half of the customers who begin the checkout process on your site fail to complete the purchase.
In these tough economic times, marketers are challenged to do a great deal more with less. One way to do this is to focus on giving current customers the best possible price at the best possible times in the purchasing lifecycle. To effectively target, track and deploy special offers, it's time to turn to our dear old friend, the inbox.
A number of changes across the e-mail landscape over the last six months are adding up to a seismic shift in how we think about e-mail, communications and marketing.
Why did you decide to see the last movie you watched? Was it because of some glorious review or perhaps a friend's suggestion? Long before the social portals and constant banter on Twitter, people have valued the opinions of others. Today, this behavior is highly measureable.
Small businesses are being stretched even thinner during the recession and must continue to innovate if they're going to thrive. The good news is that the National Federation of Independent Business' (NFIB) optimism index recently found that small businesses believe the next three months are a good time to expand, albeit at lower levels than desired.
While many marketers are currently experimenting in the social networking space, most don't have a strategic plan for media integration or measurement. However, social networking offers an opportunity for marketers to better target, reach and understand their subscriber base.
A report from analyst firm Altimeter and social platform provider Wetpaint found that companies investing heavily in social media significantly surpass their peers in terms of both revenue and performance.
It's no secret that e-mail marketing is an effective and inexpensive lead generation channel, but where it lags is in its power to spread content beyond your existing list.
Forget all the claims that one day or time is better than another to send messages to your mailing list. The ideal time to send e-mails, of course, is when each recipient is most likely to open and act on your e-mails.
Looking back over the past decade, I continue to marvel at the power, promise and precision offered by e-mail. It can be a highly effective tool to communicate, build relationships and drive consumer action. Unfortunately, marketers and e-mail service providers often fail to look beyond deliverability and open rates, and fail to consider the end-to-end consumer experience. Marketers tend to forget there is a person behind the e-mail address. It is the customer's e-mail address, not yours. Any other way of thinking is poor etiquette.
During the recession, companies launched e-mail campaigns in record numbers because it is cost-effective and measurable. According to a study by Forrester Research, spending on e-mail marketing in the US will balloon to $2 billion by 2014. In many cases, marketers are opting to shift marketing money from traditional media to interactive marketing.
E-mail is one of the youngest children in the marketing family but has long struggled for attention in the shadow of its print and online siblings. Today it enjoys the role of family favorite due to its efficiency, immediacy and measurability.
In these challenging times, it's more important than ever to stay in front of your customers. E-mail appears to be in the lead as a cost-effective way to achieve that goal. Its ability to help you optimize your most valuable asset — loyal customers — is a competitive advantage, especially in a down economy.
E-mail newsletters are an inexpensive tool for communicating with current and prospective customers and make up over half of all e-mails sent. They are expected to double in the next four years. You need a solid newsletter strategy to achieve long-term results.
E-mail has long been a mainstay of both consumer and enterprise marketing because it is cost-effective and because it has superior tracking capabilities compared to other marketing channels.
Achieving results is the core mandate of any online marketing strategy. Your goals are nothing less than gaining maximum, efficient exposure among your target audience, generating as many qualified leads as possible, and turning those leads into customers.
The level playing field that was once search marketing has morphed into He-with-the-most-money-and-resources-wins. In other words, large companies have finally woken up to what's been working for smaller companies since the early 2000s. Pay-per-click advertising offers quantifiable metrics and results, right out of the gate. As a result, the big boys jumped into paid search with a certain fervor (and budget) smaller advertisers simply didn't have.
Print and production
AáLittle over seven years ago, I wrote a column in DM News about the resources available from the US Postal Service. At that time, I was not too thrilled with how the USPS Web site was constructed. It was not user-friendly at all.
Powered by áGoogle and unlimited choice, consumers have taken control of the marketing process. They decide to visit your Web site, your store or call your phone center. They initiate more than 70 percent of site visits. Consumers generate an estimated 5 billion Web site visits, 2 billion searches, and almost a billion inbound calls per day.
A couple of my copywriting colleagues from Germany came to visit me in my office, and as we were chatting, the question came up: When you sit down to write a promotion, where do you start?
The online exchange or marketplace brings buyers and sellers together in the most efficient way possible: getting what they're looking for, at a price acceptable to both, while the exchange takes care of the administration (think eBay). This has been successful for many types of businesses offering goods or services. It's only natural that advertising take this route, the ad exchange allows buyers to maximize return on investment through dynamic pricing and intelligent bidding, automating the setting of bids based on past performance and budgets, and making it easier to select the best pricing models for the investment. As the ad exchange takes hold in the mainstream, a newer model is emerging as one to watch: the lead generation exchange.
It's no surprise that ad copy is an integral part of an online campaign. We are given only a limited number of characters to share our message and get the right users to our clients' Web sites. The rule of thumb is to make ad copy snappy or even catchy. But is that really the best approach? In search engine marketing, an online ad is a door sign on a busy street full of competitors. Knowing this, what would you want your sign to say?
A leading auto manufacturer routinely exhibited at car races to generate sales. Capturing prospect names was easy; fulfilling requests for specific model information was not. Prospects received generic information from a massive inventory of pre-printed material stuffed into envelopes by hand. The fulfillment process could take months and conversion rates were low.
Marketers who participate in contextual advertising programs benefit from a greater ability to target the right customers at the right time with a significant impact on online earnings.
Given the US military's current involvement in the Middle East, American young men and women have to think long and hard before entering into a career in the Army.
ROI planning is often short-sighted
Yellow Book USA, a national yellow pages and online local search company, has launched a live advertiser video trial on yellowbook.com, the company's Internet yellow pages site.
áYahoo last week announced its latest move in an ongoing acquisition battle to dominate the Internet advertising market.
Company of the Week
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