9 Email Marketing Best Practices for Lead Generation
1. Use Incentives to Increase Open Rates: When you include an incentive in your subject line, you can increase open rates by as much as 50%. “Free shipping when you spend $25 or more” and “Receive a free iPod with demo” are examples of good, incentive-focused subject lines.
2. Stick to Fewer Than 3 Typefaces: The less clutter you have in your email, the more conversions you’ll experience. Don’t junk up your email with more than 2, or at maximum, 3 typefaces.
3. Keep the Main Message and Call-to-Action Above the Fold: If your main call-to-action falls below the fold, then as many as 70% of recipients won’t see it. Also, any call-to-action should be repeated at least 3 times throughout the email.
4. Keep Your Email 500-650 Pixels Wide: If you go wider than 650 pixels, then you’re asking users to scroll horizontally to read your entire message. That’s a no-no.
5. Put Your Logo in the Upper Left-Hand Side of the Email: Eye tracking studies have found that people instinctively look for logos in the upper left-hand side of emails. Put your logo in the upper left-hand side to ensure it gets the most visibility.
6. Write Compelling Subject Lines: A good subject line should contain no more than 30 to 50 characters. It should also create a sense of urgency, and it should give readers some indication of what to expect once they open the email.
7. Use Auto-Responders for Opt-Ins: Be prepared for your readers to forget they opted in. Set up an auto-responder that reminds people they opted in to your email database. The auto-responder should be sent out 1 day, 5 days, and 10 days after the person registers. Each auto-responder email should include additional content or bonus material to reward the reader for opting in.
8. Closely Tie Emails to Landing Pages: Your landing page should match the email in terms of headline, copy, and content. The look and feel of your landing page should also match the email. And make sure you’re utilizing tracking tools to see which emails and landing pages performed the best.
9. Conduct a 5-Second Test: Send a copy of the email to a friend or business associate. Can they quickly tell what your call-to-action is? If so, you’re golden. If not, keep working.
There are a lot of new tools in a marketer’s tool chest that are getting a good amount of attention these days. But don’t forget about old, yet reliable and faithful tools that can still really help you get the most out of your marketing initiatives.
Ten leading experts looked into their crystal balls to see what the future holds for email marketing and made some bold predictions.
The question is, are you ready?
A second coming of age for email marketing
Chad White – Litmus
Email marketing was ignored, under-resourced, and declared uncool (and even dead) during the rise of social media.
It has always been the workhorse behind e-commerce, but now email marketing has become a driving force behind content.
Email marketing has also become central to mobile strategies. Reading email has been the #1 activity on smartphones for a long time, and the growing adoption of responsive email design is boosting smartphone conversion rates to make the most of this opportunity.
Reading emails on smartphones remains the #1 activity & responsive design will help skyrocket conversion rates
The email industry is experiencing a wave of integration, where ESPs are being melded into customer relationship management and enterprise resource planning suites.
Email marketing isn’t just the No. 1 digital marketing channel, it’s also companies’ top source of data for analytics. So it’s not only a powerful channel on its own but the data generated from email marketing helps power other marketing efforts by providing actionable data insights.
Together, these advancements have elevated email marketing’s stature and gotten it very close to achieving the 1-to-1 marketing paradigm as brands are increasingly empowered to facilitate customer journeys and maximize lifetime value. But it’s not just that it’s getting well-deserved attention again, email marketing is actually cool again.
The cumulative effect of all of these developments is that email marketing will experience a second coming of age during 2016.
Email marketing will experience a second coming of age in 2016
Gmail will fix its biggest flaw
Alex Williams – Trendline Interactive
My prediction is that Gmail will add style support to their webmail clients and media query support to their mobile apps. This will allow email designers, marketers and ESPs to finally provide a great experience to Gmail users on desktop and mobile.
The reason this is even an issue is because 80% of Gmail users access their accounts via mobile and desktop email clients, but the remaining 20% open emails in the webmail, which offers little to no support for CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) which can result in broken emails in Gmail.
Gmail will add style support
The email community has been very vocal at various online and public forums where Google product managers were present, and their answers were “it’s on the roadmap” or “we hear you”. We can tell by their testing of a “mobile-friendly” button in their apps that they feel the experience is subpar.
I predict 2016 is the year Gmail finally adopts some increased standards and support across their family of email clients, setting off celebrations around the globe. Then we all can go back to just complaining about Outlook.
Gmail will fix its biggest flaw
Hyper-targeted emails will become the norm
Daniel Codella – ZURB
People are looking for unique and personalized experiences every time they interact with their favorite brands. As your user base grows, this becomes extremely difficult. Managing thousands or even millions of email conversations is simply too difficult for teams, even big ones to manage.
Fortunately, email automation allows you to craft and send personal, yet automated messages to your customers based on their behavior. This ensures your message is relevant, timely and engaging.
In 2016, I think we’ll continue to see email automation tools become even more useful, offering email marketers more ways to creatively use them. We can expect to see more integration with apps and products, allowing marketers to send emails based on not only in-app behavior but other interactions.
We’ll also see an ever expanding list of triggers, allowing us to send targeted messages based on all sorts of details, completely customized to the individual user, and giving greater context to our messages.
Trigger-based campaigns enable targeting like never before
The goal of all of this is not to bombard people with more emails. The goal is to send them the right message at the right time; the most valuable content right when they need and want it.
It’s an exciting time to be an email marketer!
The goal is to send the right message at the right time
Email templates will finally offer limitless control
Elliot Ross – Action Rocket
I’m expecting 2016 to be the big year for modular template design. For those that don’t know what modular template design is, you can think of it like Lego building blocks that you can pull in, rearrange, and use depending on the type of email and content you are sending. The goal is to be able to quickly, and easily edit designs without having to start from scratch allowing you to improve quality and consistency.
With email automation becoming more easily accessible to big and small companies, marketers need an editable alternative where they can have versions of the same template instead of each one being different, heavy and complex.
Modular templates are convenient because you are able to continue to segment quickly and cost effectively, saving time using WYSIWYG editors; only editing content manually or dynamically to suit each segment and purpose. This means personalized, relevant and timely emails for each subscriber.
One template will provide infinite design options
Using an editor also means that you can fix whichever modules you like for every send, such as headers and footers, allowing you to build a nearly infinite number of emails.
All the time spent designing and testing individual templates will be a thing of the past because modular template design will rule in 2016.
Email templates will finally offer limitless control
Get ready for insane personalization
Philip Storey – Enchant
2016 will be the year that email marketers start to take automation seriously. Until now, most have dabbled with low-scale automation across the most lucrative customer touchpoints and experiences – examples include cart abandonment emails and welcome messages.
Many marketers have found success through these simple automated campaigns, but there is so much more potential. Email marketers will know when they are heading in the right direction, as more of their time will be spent on automation, versus scheduled campaigns and email broadcasts.
Marketers will deliver insanely personal experiences
What does this mean for consumers? Consumers demand a personalized and relevant experience across all channels – automation is by far, the most effective way to deliver this through email marketing.
Marketers will deliver insanely personal experiences with automation
The era of coding HTML emails is dead
Kraig Swensrud – Campaign Monitor
Email marketing is the most powerful channel in a marketer’s toolkit. Over the past few decades, we’ve seen several fundamental shifts in email marketing–from text-only emails to multimedia content, from desktop to predominantly mobile. This year we’ll see another major revolution for email marketing. 2016 is the year coding emails becomes a thing of the past and email design becomes drop dead simple. Powerful drag-and-drop technology will unleash the email designer in everyone and enable marketers around the world to create professional email marketing campaigns that deliver results.
We’ve ushered in a whole new era of email design. Modern emails have edge-to-edge designs, filling up the screen, no matter what size, device, or inbox. Modern emails have big, bold hero banners with engaging, interactive content and clear calls to action. Modern emails are relevant, serving up personalized content to each user when, where and how they want it.
Anyone can now create beautiful, professional email campaigns
With the rise of email marketing technology, anyone can now create beautiful, professional email campaigns with drag-and-drop technology. Gone are the days of needing to know HTML code or Photoshop to design a professional-looking email. No one will start from scratch. Mobile-responsive templates, designed for business use cases, will enable anyone to spin up email marketing campaigns in a matter of minutes and drive their business forward.
The era of coding HTML emails is over
Interactive emails will elevate brand experiences
Justin Khoo – FreshInbox
True user interactivity within email and powerful animations beyond animated GIFs, sometimes called kinetic email, allows marketers to create eye-catching and engaging campaigns that stand out in a recipient’s inbox.
Having its beginnings with simple experiments (such as image rollovers and falling snow animations), kinetic emails are beginning to feature increasingly ambitious interactive designs. Well-known brands such as Pret, Lego, Nest, and B&Q in the UK are realizing the potential for kinetic to elevate their brand experience in customers’ inboxes.
Interactive emails will elevate brand experiences
Not only will more readers be able to view advanced kinetic content in email, but also the capabilities kinetic offers become more relevant.
Kinetic email offers companies new ways to express their brand identity and engage with customers. It’s only a matter of time before this new medium becomes mainstream.
Interactive emails will elevate brand experiences
Animation will drive epic email engagement
Jaymin Bhuptani – Email Monks
In 2016, there’s one thing I predict: The power of animation and interactivity in emails.
Interactive, CSS3 animations in emails will revitalize emails and provide them a fresh, new life. Animation and interactivity provide more opportunity for engagement, but can also improve open and click-through rates.
Interactive emails provide meaningful interaction right in the inbox. With animation, emails receive a new shape and structure creating a great psychological impact leading to enhanced interaction.
Animation will increase interaction and engagement with emails
Earlier on, not many email clients supported attractive animations, but that’s not the case anymore. Although email clients haven’t advanced as much as web browsers, I see them supporting many more aspects of animation in the coming year.
Overall, email as a channel has so much to see. I’m quite optimistic about the advancement of interactive emails in 2016.
Animation will drive epic email engagement
Email campaigns will predict the content you want
Kath Pay – Holistic Email Marketing
One of the things that marketers are constantly struggling with is optimizing their campaigns, with the objective of being able to deliver emails that are valuable to the consumer.
For the past couple of years, automation and personalization have featured heavily on the email marketer’s agenda to implement, and now machine learning simply takes both of these one step further, with the end result being 1:1 emails that have been optimized for each individual based upon their actions and interactions with websites and emails.
Machine learning will result in 1:1 optimized emails
Machine learning is when algorithms are applied to data and these insights are used to make predictions or decisions of what content to serve based upon the insights gained from the data, as opposed to following an explicit set of instructions designated by the marketer.
Although machine learning has been around for awhile and has been used extensively within e-commerce sites like Amazon.com, it’s really only just beginning to take off in email marketing when being applied to data mining.
Essentially machine learning allows email marketers to not only deliver 1:1 emails to individuals – emails that are personalized to that specific individual, with ease, but also to be continually learning and improving the results. The more data that is available, the more accurate, personalized and valuable the results are.
Machine learning allows our programs to evolve and improve over time, without it being too labor-intensive. So be prepared to see more machine learning technology available in 2016 and start planning to avail yourselves of it.
Machine learning will drive email marketing ROI through the roof
Marketers will triumph when automation and email unite
Jordie van Rijn
Jordie van Rijn – Email Vendor Selection
In 2016, we’ll see the fields of email marketing and marketing automation come together. Marketers will move from sending simple newsletters to segmented and personalized emails campaigns.
We’ll see that more marketers will adopt behavior-triggered email and lead nurturing/scoring. Research by the DMA showed that triggered and behavioral driven marketing drive more revenue than in previous years, with a reduction in batch and blast email marketing.
Automation and email are coming together for the Do It Yourself marketer
Forty-nine percent of marketers are currently using some form of marketing automation. But marketers with the dream of complete marketing automation of everything over all channels and touchpoints are bound to be rudely awoken. There we have both Need and Reality as the force, toning down inflated expectations and “Cloudy Dreams of Big Data”.
Coming back to earth, email, and automation will be coming together for a pick and mix. But don’t be sad, the marketer is the winner here, getting more possibilities to easily do more advanced campaigns.
Marketers will triumph when automation and email unite
Ten of the top minds in the email marketing industry have looked into their crystal balls and made some bold predictions about what we can expect in 2016. From email automation, Gmail fixing its biggest flaw, and email being smarter, more personal, more flexible and engaging than ever, 2016 is bound to be a history-making year for email marketing.
To see how these predictions play out, we’ll check in throughout the year, and see what comes true and what surprised us.
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What is Engagement Marketing? In 25 words or less, it is the basis for modern day marketing especially marketing by email and Social Media.
There are 3 main items in Engagement Marketing: (1) Providing a Wow Experience (2) Entice your customers to connect with you and (3) Engage People
1. Create A WOW Customer experience. This is the first step. If you don’t create a WOW experience, then the Engagement Marketing will not work. The curious thing is that, more often than not, it doesn’t take a lot of money to create the WOW Experience! Do something simple that the competition isn’t doing.
Do something that can be done quickly without costing money. GET CREATIVE! Small businesses have the tremendous advantage over big businesses because they are more flexible and new and exciting ideas can be implemented quickly without having to get approval from 16 supervisors and not having to play political games. Get an idea and do it!
2. Now that you have created a WOW experience, capitalize on the customers emotion, ENTICE your customers to connect with you. Creating opportunities and methods for enticing new customers to connect with you is limited only by your imagination and creativity.
By connecting with you, you can stay in touch with them. Connections can be established by email, social media and direct mail (It is not dead). For example, by emailing once a month, even if they don’t open the email, customers see your name and it is refreshed in their minds. If you don’t stay in touch with them, they will forget you.
To help entice your customers to connect with you, offer them something. Offer them, for example, a white paper on business trends or information about the hottest item. You can also offer them a coupon or a free consultation. Again, get Creative!!
3. Engage People. Engaging with people is not a one-way street. Your goal, whether online or off, should be to drive participation. There are several items that you will need to engage people.
First is content in which they are interested. Examples of this are news, special events and special offers. Second is a call to action that grips people. Third is a delivery mechanism such as email, social media and so on. Lastly, make it easy to interact with you and share your content with others.
I have touched on just the highlights of Engagement Marketing. I strongly suggest that if you are interested that you purchase the book “Engagement Marketing” by Gail Goodman and it is available at Amazon.
7 Creative Ideas for Social Media Content
A key value in social media marketing is the content sharing. You want people to share your messages. This is word of mouth marketing at its finest. When a trusted consumer passes along your blog post, email campaign, or video link, it is an implied endorsement. Yet, your content will only be shared if it has value to the reader. It must be focused on the market first. Help them. Educate them. Inspire them. Do not just sell to them. If you need help in this area, read on. Here are 7 Creative Ideas for Social Media Content.
People love contests. There is just something about winning that intrigues and entices people. They love the fact that they can get a prize. Whether it is the gold star from your kindergarten teacher or the gift card from a Facebook promotion, the chance of prize-winning engages us. To leverage this, create and promote contests with prizes that are focused on the needs and wants of your target market. If you need a software-based solution to help you, tap into the Social Media Campaigns feature of Constant Contact’s Toolkit.
Also, you can have your users actually create content for you. Ask them to share, post or comment. For example, you might ask a controversial question about a topic that is of particular importance to your target market. Suppose that you sold educational supplies to parents. Perhaps your question might be “What is your suggestion to prevent bullying in our schools?” Because this is such an emotionally critical issue for parents right now, you will likely get a lot of engagement. And, these parents are your target market, so you are engaging potential customers.
I strongly encourage you to tap into video testimonials. Some of you can create and post videos with the click of two buttons on your phones. Granted, these videos are not Hollywood production quality, but depending on your needs and target market, that might be just fine. Capture the excited satisfaction of your clients. Remember to post these videos on YouTube with proper keywords to drive optimized website traffic. Since Google, owns YouTube, this is an SEO tool for you. If you need video marketing help, consider investing in the YouTube DIY Success Kit.
People love tips and this idea works for every industry and every product. Every single one of us on the planet needs better ways, easier ways, and less expensive ways to do everything. Be the source of this information. Share your expertise. You cannot give away all your wisdom in a simple blog post. You have infinite knowledge. Just share some of it. It you get stuck, just think about the questions that you get again and again in your business. They are repeated because they are the questions that your market most needs the answers to. To really excel at this, consider using a different voice.
An Adopted Voice
When I say voice, I really mean the source of the expert advice. It could be your expertise, but you could share it via a surrogate. There are countless examples. Personally, I love that Geico uses cavemen and a gecko to sell insurance. I strongly suspect that 95% of the population of the United States did not know what a gecko was before the launch of the incredibly creative Geico campaigns. Borrow the voice of your kids, your pet, your car; it works.
Please share stories. People love stories because they connect us. Share stories that people can relate to and appreciate it. We all have stories of failure, bad decisions, great purchases, and disastrous vacations. Find the common elements in your market demographic and share the stories. If you sell running gear, share the story about how you wore the wrong shoes in a race and paid for it dearly. I suspect that your target customers will appreciate the anecdote because they can personally relate.
Best Case Examples
Remember, to share best case examples about you, your products and your services. Wrap up everything in a manner that showcases how you solve problems, and address the needs of your target market. By doing this via testimonials, stories, and tips, you are speaking to your value.
You are marketing your products without an aggressive sales pitch, and this will encourage social media sharing. Create best case stories that people want to share.
Do you need some online marketing help?
Do you just need the right marketing partner to help you implement these ideas? JNG Associates can help. Contact us today.
8 Easy Ways to Create Content Types
Most of my clients as well as the folks that come up to me after our seminars understand how important it is to create content for their blog. They “get it” that when you create one blog post per week you will have a better opportunity to be found online via search engines. Not only that, creating and sharing good content gives you the fuel to keep your engagement marketing engine running. Remember, all of your social media and email activities have to drive people back to YOUR website! Think of those channels as the vehicle to engage and entice folks back to the party – and the party is happening back at your website. On your website those prospects and returning clients can contact you, buy your products, or fill out a form with their contact info so you can keep the conversation going.
The best thing about most of these content types is they can be repurposed and used over and over again on multiple channels. For example, if you create a great video, you can embed it on your blog, post it on YouTube or Vimeo, share it on Facebook, embed it on your LinkedIn profile page, share it on Twitter – the possibilities are endless!
So with the benefit of creating content so you will be found – here are eight easy to create types of content that you can start off with on your blog or website and then also share on social media!
1 – PHOTO MEMES
A picture tells 1,000 words, so why are you making me read a whole paragraph? Creating photos with sayings are incredibly easy to create using a free tool called PicMonkey. You can take pictures yourself with your smart phone and then upload them to your computer and use them however you like. Just be sure to save smaller versions of them as most phones create high resolution large memory files that take a long time to load on a website. PicMonkey even provides an option to save your pictures as smaller memory files. You can also subscribe to an inexpensive stockphoto website for high quality pictures that are often royalty free (be sure to check). Don’t just go to Google images and start grabbing pictures from there as they may be copyright protected. You can also utilize Creative Commons license images (learn more here: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page).
2 – Videos
I create videos all the time. I have an entire website called www.doityourselfwpwebsites.com that features 20 videos that walk you through the step-by-step process of how to build a website on WordPress. At the end of the 20 videos – you’ve created your own website. Since we just talked about PicMonkey, one of my videos provides tips for editing and using images including PicMonkey, www.ColorCop.net and a photo clipping tool called Jing. I also used a very inexpensive video software to create the introduction animation and exit animation. It’s called Video FX and you can create all kinds of fun videos with it. Lastly, the screen capture video software I used to show my screen as you follow along is called Screencast-O-Matic. They have a free version and a paid version (only $15 bucks a year and so worth it!). So get on it and create some videos! ACTION!
3 – Webinars
Webinars are a great asset to create due to all the marketing you can do around them. If someone signs up for your webinar, they are usually more than willing to give you their email address. Heck, they kind of have to because they need to be sent the link to the webinar prior to viewing it. That gives you the opportunity to reach out to those folks that signed up before the webinar as well as send them the recorded version after. This is a perfect example of repurpose, repurpose, repurpose.
You need a few things to pull off a webinar. You need compelling content (usually in a PowerPoint presentation) and you need webinar software. I highly recommend GoToMeeting or GoToWebinar. They are not the cheapest, but they are the best in my book. Reliable and almost everyone has been on a webinar where the presenter was using the GoToMeeting or GoToWebinar software. Constant Contact’s Event Spot software is also a great tool to promote your webinars and keep your audience informed of all the info they need, and then keep the conversation going with additional emails long after the webinar is over. Watch the replay of my Introduction to WordPress webinar here for an example!
4 – Slide ShareIf you have gone to all the trouble of creating a great powerpoint presentation for your webinar, repurpose it again on SlideShare! Did you know SlideShare allows users to easily upload and share presentations, infographics, documents, videos, PDFs, and webinars? In Q4 of 2013, the site averaged 60 million unique visitors a month and 215 million page views. SlideShare is among the top 120 most-visited websites in the world.
5 – Tip Sheets
Tip sheets can easily be created in a word document and then saved as a PDF to share. You can be as creative as you like – or simply list your tips and provide links to resources to implement the tips. I can actually repurpose this whole blog post as a Tip Sheet (yep, I’ve done it so click here for the PDF) as an example. I can then offer the PDF for free on my website – or provide it as an incentive/reward for someone who signs up for my newsletter. My choice. Don’t have a PDF maker? Here’s a link to a site that will convert your Word document to a PDF file for FREE. http://www.freepdfconvert.com/
6 – Surveys
Have you ever sent a survey to your current clients or contacts? Did you know you could do that with Watch the Video of Constant Contact’s Online Survey Tool? The survey info will give you many gifts that keep on giving. Polls and results can be posts on all your social media channels. Its easy enough to create pie charts and bar graphs in Excel and save them as pictures to share. Best of all, your customers will truly tell you what they want when you survey them. So often as business owners, we think we know what our customers want – but make it easy on yourself and just ask ‘em! No sense guessing when they’ll tell you straight up!
7 – Infographics
There are plenty of resources out there to help you build infographics. Here’s a great article and free resource for templates: http://www.freeinfographictemplates.com/how-to-make-an-infographic/. All you need is an interesting story to tell and then figure out how to tell it in pictures, graphics and images. Another short and sweet article with a clear cut example can be found on DigitalChalk:
8 – Client Testimonials
This is a great way to showcase your clients on your website and promote on social media. No need to spend a ton of money on a professional level video shoot – you can do it on your smart phone. You may even be able to showcase a video your client already has about their business and then splice in a few interview segments of your client talking about how your business helped their business! Below is a great example of this strategy by Constant Contact. They highlight Kim Hughes from Wings & Hooves Therapeutic Riding who uses Constant Contact’s tools to stay in touch with her supporters and raise funds for her nonprofit organization.
Check out the video here: