iMarket Solutions Blog : Archive for March, 2016

4 Steps to Creating a Powerful Win-Back Program

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

Many have heard the saying “a dollar saved is a dollar earned.” Using that logic, an email address saved would be equivalent to an email address earned. Watching people become inactive in your mailing list is a normal thing. Attempting to spark the interest of someone who once was interested but now is not is no easy task. That is exactly why I’m going to discuss how to create the ideal win-back program to help rekindle that spark in your customers eye when they think of your brand.

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A Large Discount

If there is ever a good time to offer a large discount and settle for a minimal profit margin, this is the time. I always recommend leaving the best for last and users who no longer have an interest in you and your brand would fall in the “worst case scenario” category. Although I typically recommend creating a design that matches your brand and your website, this would be an exception. The recipient has obviously seen your previous emails and has yet to engage. Though promotions and newsletters, they have received it all and got no sign of interest in the process. Being creative with the design and throwing a large discount in the process might be that “something new” that will get them to click and reunite with your website once again.

A Personalized Touch

A large discount will not work for everyone. Most people need something more than an in-personal email that clearly looks like a marketing email. This is exactly the reason why my next step is to create a personalized “human-touch”. In other words, create a text only email that looks like it was sent from someone’s outlook. The idea of having someone personally take the time out of their day to write you an email shows that they care. Include the discount to have the incentive still be part of the persuasion.

A Video Message

By this point, if they still haven’t engaged you need to try something different. An idea that is completely unexpected and creative. I find that a video message from the CEO/Founder speaking directly to the inactive user will show that there are real people behind the messages and might just be enough to get the connection the customer seeks.

Final Notice

This is where we determine who is truly committed to quality and relevant content. At this point in the process, the customer has received numerous emails from you, including the 3 previous steps to this win-back program and has yet to engage. This simply tells me that the customer is either no longer interested in receiving your emails or no longer checks their email account. Either way, I recommend that you send a courtesy notice letting them know that this will be the last email contact you make. Be sure to mention the reason to why you no longer will be sending them emails and if they were wish to continue receiving future emails they can either click on a link you provide to update their mailing preferences or reply to the email for you to do it manually. Either way, you send them the email and follow up by unsubscribing them as a user. This will ensure your email list is populated with active people who genuinely want to receive your emails.

Creating a successful email campaign is full of making difficult decisions, none harder than deciding to keep a list that has only the most interested and willing recipients. Sending an email that is continuously ignored not only brings you no money but affects your reputation in a negative way that could impact whether or not the next person you send an email to receives it.

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6 Golden Rules of Email Marketing

Monday, March 21st, 2016

Like any other digital marketing channel, email marketing can either positively impact your business or become a colossal pain if you do not follow certain basic rules. Today I’m going to help clarify what those basic rules are and explain the importance of each. This will hopefully give you a better understanding of these golden rules to drive your email results to new heights.

Golden-rules

First Rule: Identify Yourself

People should never have to read your email to determine who you are and why you have sent them an email. Therefore, creating an identity and answering the two questions “who” and “why” are the first steps toward succeeding in email marketing. When you send emails to your customers, make sure your “from” line is always consistent. For example, if you put “ABC Company,” make sure all emails send come from ABC Company. Changing the “from” line might confuse your customers and ultimately lead them to ask one of those two questions you don’t ever want them ever ask.

Second Rule: Keep It Short and to the Point

A Rule of thumb with emails: you have exactly one second to catch a reader’s attention this and three seconds to hold it. You can add as much content as you would like, just keep those two things in mind. My personal preference is to keep the content short and to the point because I find helps maximize my click through rate. If you have any doubt about how much content to include, I would encourage you to do an A|B test. If you have any questions on how to do an A|B test, please contact me directly at hamlet@imarketsolutions.com.

Third Rule: Develop Trust

Trust is the most important aspect in all relationships, and the one between business and client base is no exception. Building trust with your customers is easy but takes time. I typically recommend “setting the expectations” when the customer signs up for your emails. Let them know how often they should expect an email and what type of content the email will contain. Building trust is all about staying true to your word so if you promised an email twice a week, send an email twice a week. If you mentioned that you’ll be providing discounts and tips, be sure to keep a good balance between promotional emails and the tips you promised.

Fourth Rule: Look Pretty!

First impressions are crucial. A poorly designed email doesn’t really entice the recipient to read the email at all. Going back to my rule regarding a reader’s attention, you have one second to catch it and three seconds to hold it. You are far more likely to grab someone’s attention with a nice image rather than a headline. This is even truer today with the rise in smart phone and tablet users. I always recommend grabbing a user’s attention with a nice graphic and keep it with relevant and quality content.

Fifth Rule: Segment Your List

Not everyone on your email list is in the same place in developing a business relationship with you.  What this means is, in order to send the “right message” to the “right person.” you can’t simply have a single message for everyone on your list. You have to create certain segments to allow for different messaging. For example, someone who just subscribed to your email list won’t be able to relate to the content that you send to someone who has been on your email list for many years. Another example would be separating your active users from your inactive users. A customer who loves your brand and always participates in your promotions doesn’t require the same messaging as someone who sees your promotional email and still doesn’t engage. Those inactive users need more than just a discount sometimes, so creating a separate segment with content that caters to them will help maximize your overall click-through rate.

Sixth Rule: Provide a Clear Call to Action

The main purpose of sending an email is to get the user to your website. Whether you want them to submit a lead or read your latest tips to them, you always want them on your site. With that said, keep the following formula in mind when creating a layout for your next email. First, you want to, deliver the message to your reader. What was the original reason you were emailing them? If it’s for a promotion, than inform them of the promotion. Once you’ve delivered your message to your reader, you want to then tell them what you want them to do with that message. For example, if you’re offering 20% off when callers mention a promo code, letting them know about the discount is the first step. Telling them to pick up the phone and call would the follow up.

Another thing to keep in mind with Call-to-Action buttons is that it’s always best practice to keep the button “above the fold”. What this means is, a reader should be able to look at your email and see the button to click on without actually having to scroll down.

Keeping these six golden rules in mind, you’ll take your first steps to creating a rock star email marketing program for your customers. That said, there is far more to email marketing than just these six rules so stay tuned for more helpful blogs. For questions or recommendations on what blog you want to see next, please feel free to send me an email at Hamlet@imarketsolutions.com.

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4 Things You Can Do To Improve Your Subject Lines

Sunday, March 13th, 2016

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Consider how much time and effort you put into creating the perfect email. Now compare that to the amount of time you spend writing your subject line. Because a poorly written subject line can deter the recipient from even wanting to see that perfect email, you might want to take a second glance at that subject line to make sure it’s the one you want to go with. If you’re thinking to yourself “I need a better subject line”, then these 4 tips are just what you need. They will help you create effective subject lines that will boost open rates and get more eyes on that perfect email you’ve designed.

 

Keep your subject line short!

With the rise of mobile users comes the rise of new things to think in mind when creating the perfect subject line. Mobile devices limit how long we can make the subject line and ones that do run long are simply cut-off. Keeping your subject line between 30-50 characters will avoid that risk completely.

 

Personalize it when you can

With the average user having their inbox flooded with emails on a regular basis, it sometimes get easy to miss an email. According to a study done by Marketing Sherpa, personalizing a subject line can improve your open rate but as much as 29.3%. I wouldn’t recommend starting every email you send with their name but it should definitely be in the mix.

 

Avoid “salesy” language

Nobody likes a cheesy used car salesman. Don’t be the cheesy used car salesman of the email marketing world. So do yourself a favor and avoid ending your subject lines with a bunch of explanation points!!!!!!!! While you’re at it, you might want to avoid writing in all caps: IT REALLY ISN’T NECESSARY. Saying things like “You’re a winner” in your subject line is frustrating when people open the email just to find out they didn’t win anything. Lastly, you don’t need to say things like “act now!” or “Don’t hesitate” in your subject lines.

 

Use powerful words

I saved the best for last, powerful words. Using certain words or phrases can really help boost your open rates. For example, starting your subject line with the word “Get” and follow it with what it is they are getting in the email, is a surefire bet to get you a respectable open rate almost every time. Words like “invitation”, “introducing”, “new”, “update”, “we”, and “special” are also great words to include. When it comes to power words, it’s important to monitor which words are consistently working for you.

People often underestimate the power the subject line holds. First impressions are everything and with these 4 easy tips, we’re confident your next first impression will be a great one. Send me an email and tell me how it goes at Hamlet@imarketsolutions.com, I would love to hear your story.

 

 

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4 Reasons Why You Need Email Marketing

Wednesday, March 9th, 2016

 

Knowing where to invest your marketing dollars is never an easy task, especially for start-ups. Email marketing is not only one of the most affordable marketing channels, it’s also one of the most versatile and effective. It keeps your customers updated, boosts revenues and leads, re-engages old customers, and builds your brand.

Keep Customers Updated

I always like to treat my email subscribers like I would treat my family. I keep my family updated with what’s going on in my life, what new endeavors I’m pursuing, and what new love interests I have. I use this same approach with my email subscribers to keep them updated with new hires, major goals or projects, new services or products, new partnerships and clients, and so on.

Boost Revenue and Incoming Leads

The easiest and most obvious reason to be doing email marketing is to give your revenue supply a nice boost. Whether you’re sending your regular customers the occasional promotional email or sending your new customers an exclusive special, email marketing is a great tool to boost your sales.

Re-engage Older Customers

Customers come and go. It’s an everyday thing for business owners. However, not only does email marketing help retain customers month over month, but it also helps bring back some of the more inactive customers. These are customers that may have once expressed interest or even made a purchase but for various reasons haven’t come back since then. Send those customers a special email to let them know how much you miss them, thereby incentivizing them to give you another chance.

Build Your Brand

Lastly, email marketing is a brand-building machine for businesses of all sizes. Email marketing allows you to have a certain look, message, tone and overall brand for your company. This is done by sending a series of consistent emails whose content and design that matches your brand and culture. With the flexibility and control to send what you want, to whomever you want, you can build your brand to be whatever you want it to be.

Email marketing can help you reach your marketing goals but will only be as effective as your utilization of it. I would love to hear from you so feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns you might have at hamlet@imarketsolutions.com.

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Lead Generation vs. Branding in Email Marketing

Friday, March 4th, 2016

The ultimate goal for sending an email is to make a return on your investment so it’s only natural that the average email marketer would prefer sending a lead generation email over an email meant for branding purposes. With that said, it’s still crucial that we maintain a balance between the two if we want to achieve long-term success with email marketing. Below, we’ll be discussing the differences between branding and lead generation emails, highlighting the reasons to send emails for branding purposes, and finally what the expectations should be for the two.

Difference Between Lead Generation and Email Branding

The main difference between lead generation emails and branding emails is in terms of ROI. Lead generation emails often have a discount in them to persuade people into scheduling service. This often creates “bargain hunters” in your list, people who only schedule service if there is a discount involved. One of the issues with these type of clients is they are likely to use a competitor’s service if the incentive large enough.

On the other hand, branding emails often provide added value in the form of information. Customers who regularly open and read your branding emails slowly overtime become your true fans. These are customers who are looking for something beyond just a good deal and if you can earn their trust, you will see their repeat business for many years.

The 411 on Branding Emails

The problem with the branding email is that it often doesn’t give you an immediate ROI. It’s no wonder that most would want to send more lead generation emails than branding emails. But what would happen if you only sent lead generation emails? Those users who were actually hoping to receive tips, information and the latest news would most probably unsubscribe from your list. This creates an imbalance in your list between your “bargain hunters” and the true fans of your brand. By giving your customers valuable information that they can relate to, you create a positive memory for the customer making them more likely to remember you when a service need arises.

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Setting the Expectations for Success

Ultimately whether you’re sending a lead generation email or a branding email, knowing what to expect from each will greatly help whether you view it as a success or not. Lead generation emails are a great way to get consistent leads. However, sending too many during a short period of time will not only burn out your list but it will also lower the amount of leads you get on average per email campaign. Branding emails on the other hand will not always generate leads. The key to branding emails is knowing who to send it to that will appreciate that information. Creating a segment for “active users” and only sending the branding emails to users who consistently open and read your emails will give you a higher probability of getting the valuable information to only the people who want to get it.

There is the right message for every customer on your list so there is no universal email that will spark everyone customer’s interest. At the end of the day, your marketing plan should include both branding as well as lead generation emails. Send me an email at Hamlet@imarketsolutions.com with what segments you’re using and what emails you’re sending to that segment. I’ll give you my honest feedback along with some tips on how to create a more strategic email campaign.

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