Email Marketing

Feeling the Customer Love

For a few years we’ve using “We Love Email” as our tagline, catch phrase, or whatever you’d like to call it. I’ve been told that it’s an effective branding mechanism; I don’t know about that.

But every so often our customers will go out of their way to send us a some extra love. I suppose that’s proof that our “We Love Email” message not only resonates with our customers it’s also in line with what we promise. Thanks to you all, much love!

Justin with Golf Outlet
Mike with Savage Pools
Isabella with Hasbro Deutschland

Make Those Transactional Emails Work Harder!

Are your transactional emails one of the workhorses of your email marketing program? Or just sitting in stalls not helping at all?

“Whoa!” you be thinking right now. “Transactional? Marketing? Aren’t those two different kinds of emails with two very different jobs?”

Your transactional emails aren’t marketing. They’re business, you’re right. But they can do some heavy lifting on behalf of your marketing. They can subtly promote product and build brand without distracting from their primary purpose.

People are very receptive to transactional emails because they are sent in response to an action on the part of the customer or subscriber. It’s therefore an email they anticipate and open. By transactional emails we mean communications like:

  • Welcome emails
  • Order confirmations
  • Receipts
  • Shipping confirmations
  • Billing notices
  • Regular statements

These types of emails are more likely to be opened by the recipient than your regular promotional email marketing messages because they are anticipated and welcomed. That makes them ideal partners to their marketing cohorts.

Transactional emails are an opportunity. The people getting transactional emails from you are already communicating with you and even buying from you, so the trust is there. And they are already opening those transactional emails, so the opportunity is there.

Use your transactional emails for subtle sales by cross-selling and up selling similar products or relevant products or services. Here are some possibilities:

  • Promote products or services that complement what the customer just bought.
  • Drive traffic back to your website for more shopping.
  • Encourage recipients to sign up for email communications.

Ask yourself: Is there targeted selling information that could be included in your transactional emails that’s relevant and useful without distracting from the business nature of the message?

And there’s more. When I say workhorse, I mean workhorse. Selling isn’t the only extra task these emails can tackle. They can be brand builders too. By ensuring the look, feel and voice of the transactional email fits with all your other messaging everywhere else, every message sent is one more brick in the brand you’re building in the customer’s mind.

Review your transactional emails: Do they share the same look and feel as your branded emails? Is the email copywriting written in a voice that matches your brand? Or are they just dry and straightforward business communications? Your transactional emails need not be splashy HTML to reinforce your brand. You can be plenty creative with text only emails. Just make sure the messaging is spot on inline with your brand.

Don’t let your transactional emails munch hay all day when they could be making hay instead. Put them to work promoting product and building brand!

About the Author: Marco Marini is the CEO of ClickMail Marketing and an acknowledged expert in email marketing with over a decade of experience in the field. Follow ClickMail on Twitter: @ClickMail

Email Autoresponders: The Lazy Marketer’s Best Friend

We found this great post on, which was written by Sonia Simone. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

No one loves blogs more than I do. They’re a great way to build your authority, attract an engaged audience, develop trust and rapport, attract links, and stake your claim in search engines.

I love blogs. But like babies and kittens, two other things I love, they’re also a lot of responsibility.

Blogs take time. You’ve got to write terrific content that stands out from the general noise, promote it intelligently, and cultivate reader relationships. And that’s in addition to everything else you do in your business, from producing your product to getting your taxes filed.

That’s why there’s another content marketing tool that I always recommend having in place — ideally before you write your first blog post.

It’s the email autoresponder.

What is an email autoresponder and why do I want one?

An autoresponder is just a sequence of email marketing messages that gets sent to subscribers in the order and frequency that you decide.

Let’s say you have a seven-part autoresponder that delivers a great tutorial for your potential customers — something that they’ll find beneficial and valuable, and that lays the groundwork for you to make a sale.

That autoresponder creates a great experience for your first subscriber. And it creates the same great experience for your 100,000th subscriber.

It never gets tired. It never needs the weekend off for Father’s Day or Mother’s Day (or Email Autoresponder’s Day).

It never gets bored with your marketing message. It never gets snarky. It never gets sick of newbies.

It delivers your best content, in the best possible order and frequency, to every new reader who finds you. Forever.

That’s why I say it’s the lazy marketer’s friend. Whether you want a day off to head to the beach or a month off for a life-changing adventure, your autoresponder is back home taking care of business.

What goes into a really good autoresponder?

Most autoresponder sequences aren’t all that good, because most of them are about the marketer.

Your autoresponder needs to be about the reader.

The autoresponder’s most important function is to take people who are curious about what you do and turn them into raving fans.

That means an autoresponder needs your best content — the kind of content that makes readers glad every time they click through.

It doesn’t have to be funny, witty, charming, or poetically written.

It has to be damned useful.

It has to solve problems your readers need to solve. It has to give them small, quick wins toward what they want to achieve. And if it can show you’re a nice, relatable, trustworthy person — not just an expert but a likable expert — that’s even better.

Autoresponders make your case for you

You can use autoresponders for anything you need to educate prospects about before they buy.

Explore the pain and problems they’re facing today. Paint the picture of what their life will look like with that problem solved. Address and overcome objections, build trust, outline features and benefits, and create intense desire for what you have to offer.

And if your prospect isn’t ready to buy right now, great email content will keep her “parked” until she is ready … whether that takes her six months, a year, or ten years. As long as you keep adding to the sequence, you can keep prospects engaged and interested until the time is right for them.

Build it first

There’s no such thing as free traffic.

You either pay for web traffic with money — with advertising or affiliate commissions — or you pay with time and creativity.

Blogging is particularly demanding of that time and creativity. So you want to make sure you capture each and every true fan you attract, from the very first days of your blog.

That’s why if you’re starting from zero in a new topic, I recommend you build your autoresponder first, before you start blogging or doing any other social media marketing.

And if you already have a blog going, the second best time to build your autoresponder is today.

How about it?

  • Do you have an autoresponder in place right now?
  • If so, does it have the kind of content that’s going to turn your readers into raving fans?
  • Are you happy with the number of messages in your sequence, or do you think you could extend it a little and deliver even more value?

If the answer to any of these is No, let us know in the comments when you’re going to fix that. You have my permission to be as lazy as you like after you get it done. :)

About the Author: Sonia Simone is co-founder and CMO of Copyblogger Media. Get more from Sonia on twitter. See the original post here.

What Email Marketers Can Learn from E.T.

The world was captivated by the 80’s hit ET; the story of a boy who forms a symbiotic relationship with a visitor from another world. Sound familiar? As marketers, how can we capture some of that movie magic and turn your prospects and customers from an ET (email terrestrial) into an EC (engaged customer)?

The First Encounter
Your visitor arrives; through the galaxy of search, past the constellation of social and the WOM nebula to land on your website. The visitor looks around, is this the planet they were searching for? He has some trepidation about your intentions and offerings; spook him and he may take off in one click. To maximize the possibility of communication, or ensure return visits, make sure that your “welcome to our planet” sign-up proposition is prominently displayed and quickly communicates the value of getting to know you better.

The Personal and Human Touch
Although they might look a bit strange at first. Your new friend is more than just an email address. Once you get to know them better, these ‘email terrestrials’ are more human than you might think. So be sure you get to know them in order to effectively communicate with them. The sign-up process can capture the essential information needed. But as time goes by, you can ask for further preferences and use behavioral data to go from a general messaging to ones that are more relevant and targeted.

Using Special Effects
Special effects can give your messages the pop needed in today’s crowded inbox. Email marketing special effects might include discounts, incentives, extremely personalized messages and mixing it up with great design. But they should support the story. A solid story trumps special effects every time. Without a (brand) story to tell, special effects just seem silly. You might as well be watching the Syfy movie of the week.  So make sure your messaging is has a heart and wow your audience with great effects.

Bad Guys and Bikes That Fly on Their Own
In the movie our friend ET was protected from the evil “task force”. While most of us will not be hiding customers in our closet, there is always the possibility that they will walk into the hands of the competition. So make sure you monitor your foes and have everything in place to be there when the subscriber is ready to fly, such as cart abandonment, sales cycle, and other triggered emails.

Creating a Blockbuster
With a great story and timely personalized communications, you can make your prospects feel at home, begin to build a relationship, and reduce opt-outs. Turning the ETs (Email terrestrials) into ECs (engaged customers) and maybe even make $ 792 million at the box office.

Indiemark at Dreamhack 2010

Meli spreads the word at Dreamhack, the World’s largest digital festival.

7 Ways to Lift Email Marketing Response Rates

Mention Facebook in the subject line (e.g. “Favorites of Facebook Fans”).

Use bullets and slash your copy like a serial killer.

Spend 50% of your time on the subject and preview text, other 50% on everything else (including design).

A landing page that features the same primary image of the email that links to it will generate a higher response rate than one that does not use the image.

Repeat yourself on landing pages. It’s redundant, but it gives the recipient the much needed confirmation that they are at the right place.

Create “All in” emails, in which every link except the opt-out goes to the same landing page, rather than multiple calls to action.

Use multiple links and links styles, to the same destination/offer.

Making a Case for Managed Email Marketing

For marketers who want to mine more gold from their email programs; outsourced email marketing is quickly gaining popularity.

Managed email marketing can take many forms, such as the crafting and management of recurring email communications.

It could also involve content development, cross-channel distribution, list growth, as well as untold technical integrations and reporting mechanisms. The list is long.

In any case, when our clients come to us requesting managed email services it’s largely because they’re frustrated and frugal.

Frustrated Marketers

They’re fed up. They can’t find qualified in-house talent or siphon additional production (or ability) from their existing staff, yet they know they could and should be doing so much more.

That’s common. In many ways email marketing is a unique discipline. Email is hard. But in other ways it simply requires talent and tenacity. It’s difficult to find both of those requirements in a single source or an overworked and under-trained team.

Outsourcing works because it allows marketers to tap into the diverse, yet specialized, skillsets of their partner…be they an email marketing agency or an ESP.

Besides creativity, technical skills, and powers of persuasion (all of which are required if you’re going to win the email game), an email marketing partner also brings with them the experiences of working with a varied client base. This is a limitless source for fresh ideas which ensures that the effort does not become a victim of “group think” and that every dollar spent is maximized.

Frugal Marketers

When deciding to outsource their email marketing or keep it in-house, many of our clients first looked at the dollars to see if it makes sense. They’re frugal not stupid.

Let’s face it, email marketing services takes time. So, in one form or another, time is the source of the marketer’s expense.

That’s one of the reasons why outsourcing makes sense; it takes less time.

Because of the experience that your email services partner brings to the table, there is little to no learning curve, as it pertains to their capabilities. They also feel the need to prove their value, every month.

I can’t speak for all agencies but we’ve spent months with our faces buried in almost every ESP’s interface and API. We know their strengths, weaknesses, and limitations.  We have crafted thousands of campaigns and provided consulting services to many many B2C and B2B marketers. This creates an efficiency that is only gained through experience. Efficiency means less time, which means less cost.

Besides efficiency, continuing education becomes the expense of the service provider. Payroll expenses, medical, vacation time? Fugetaboutit.

The cost is usually less than that of a full-time staffer, or depending on the requirements, even greater cost savings can be found. Again, it all backs out to time.

If they outsource, what kind of ROI can the marketer expect? There is  only one way to find out: initiate a conversion and choose wisely. It may pay huge dividends to find a partner that can work in concert with them or their in-house teams, or maybe they’d like to outsource the entire email marketing effort, soup to nuts.

How-to Take Your Email Marketing to the Next Level

Email Marketing How-to GuideIt’s hard to argue with the ROI email marketing can bring to marketers, yet many businesses aren’t getting nearly enough out of their programs. It’s not because they don’t see the value, it’s because achieving a strong ROI with email is harder than it looks.

This  leaves smart marketers with a decision to make. Hire outside email marketing experts (shameless plug), in-house talent, or a combination thereof? The answer of course depends on their unique needs.

If you’re one of those marketers (who knows they could be doing so much with your email marketing), this guide will help you to assess your current efforts, and most importantly, plot a course for Resultsburg.

Step 1: Define the Scope

A successful email marketing program requires a lot of planning and thoughtful consideration, including:

  • Best Practices and Frequency Strategy
  • Editorial & Promotional Content Planning
  • List Growth & Win-back Strategy
  • Up Sale, Cross Sale, and Referral Strategy
  • List Segmentation (via customer profiles and behavior)
  • Flexible Design (on-brand, actionable, and in the inbox)
  • Trigger-based Emails (using customer behaviors or events)
  • Customer Engagement Measurement (One of the biggest factors in deliverability)
  • Social Integration (It’s a two-way street)
  • Testing & Optimization (Need I say more)
  • Email Service Provider (ESP) or Mailing Solution Evaluations

Does the list above encompasses more than you’re doing? You may be under-utilizing this lucrative channel and missing out of profits. Perhaps it’s time for a fresh marketing partner or maybe you need to reallocate budgets or provide your in-house team with more training? Now move on to steps 2 and 3, but be honest with yourself and go with your gut.

Step 2: Look in Your Own Backyard

If you prefer to utilize in-house talent, consider this:

  1. You (meaning you or your team) know your business; are you also well-versed in email marketing?
  2. If yes, do you have time and energy to be effective?
  3. Is your program founded on data and subscriber behavior?
  4. How frequently do you test and then optimize your efforts?
  5. Does your email marketing drive sales AND reduce marketing costs?
  6. What’s your attrition rate?
  7. Could your in-house team use some guidance, recommendations or training?
  8. Is your email ROI above $40 for every $1 spent?

Step 3: Working With Experts

If you already have a marketing agency or other outside help, ask yourself:

  1. Do they understand our target market and business processes?
  2. Do they specialize in email?
  3. Do they generate an ROI that’s in-line with the findings above?
  4. Do they think about your email marketing without being prodded?
  5. Have they monetized all the options?
  6. Is their work for fresh and reflective of best practices?

If you’ve determined that you need help, check out How to Hire Email Marketing Experts. It will help you evaluate qualified talent that fits your most needs, including a tight budget.

– Scott Hardigree | Indiemark