Email Marketing

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Your Messy Inbox

It’s been said that a messy desk is a sign of genius. OK, so what does a cluttered inbox mean?

As personal notes, promotional messages, invitations and subscriptions flow in every hour on the hour, our inboxes quickly fill up. According to technology market research firm Radicati, the average office worker receives about 90 emails a day. How can we keep track of everything?

Journalist and economist Tim Harford thinks a little digital disorganization isn’t a bad thing. The author of Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives suggests there’s a benefit to embracing chaos.

When faced with the choice to clean or not to clean, we create our own systems, he says.

“It turns out that usually leaving it on your desk is a better strategy,” Harford said in an interview. “It looks disorganized. It looks messy. But your desk is actually organizing itself. The good stuff you’re touching rises to the top of the piles of paper and the stuff you’re not touching goes to the bottom.”

Perhaps in being messy, Harford thinks, we also embrace creativity and autonomy. We are not constricted by rules and wasting time categorizing our thoughts and conversations, but keeping what is important front and center.

Indeed, his claims are also backed up by the way we traditionally work in email. A University of California Santa Cruz study found that while people may in fact use their own complex folder systems to store and retrieve important emails, a lot of the time it’s faster and more natural to simply use an email search feature.

So where do we go from here? Perhaps it’s best to have a limited system, but not go overboard when it comes to tags and folders. Create too many rules, and you may find it difficult to follow them all.

Remember, Harford writes: “Life cannot be controlled. Life itself is messy.”

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Don’t Forget These Personalization Tips

Data, data, data. People crave a personal connection online and in the real world. Thanks to the wealth of social media and marketing insights we’re now able to collect, we can easily innovate to customize the user experience in ways previously unimaginable.

Among the social media and marketing trends that stand out this year, personalization is a big one. It’s connected to email marketing, online advertising and influencer partnerships, and, when used effectively, it can increase customer loyalty.

But this is no robotic trend. We can’t just press a button and see personalization in play. Well, we can, but that doesn’t mean we should. In fact, blindly personalizing messages without thought of how, when or why can hurt a relationship.

A customized user experience happens when we employ technology with a human touch. Working with both our intuition and our insights, we can focus on bringing the best to our clients and audiences.

Although some of the toys for customization may be new, the thought process behind it relies on old standbys. Asking the right questions about your clients can make a world of difference. We know this from our beloved audience personas, who—by the way—can really help sort out which customization options are key. Who is in your audience? Where are they on social media? How do they like to connect?

Research shows that consumers crave relevant customized experiences. Why wouldn’t they, if it makes their daily lives easier and their choices more meaningful? When we talk about customization, we’re talking about putting the focus on the client and creating a connection through thoughtful choices and options.

It may be tempting to act fast and surge forward to maximize the returns customization can bring. But don’t be afraid to slow down. In fact, you may have to. Remember that data, data, data? It takes time to go through it.

You have to consider what your customers want, including:

  • How they want to connect
  • What a meaningful interaction looks like to them
  • How they would like to be addressed (are you on a first-name basis?)
  • Where they like to consume their news (are they likely to follow a link or would they prefer to stay within a platform or email?)

Truly thinking about these answers can improve the experience for both you and your followers. Think about customization from all sides. Sometimes it can be as simple as choosing the right time to send your email.

That’s right. Perhaps the most important factor when it comes to customization is choosing the right time to hit send. Scheduling an email for a Friday afternoon won’t reach office workers who have already checked out, but planning an Instagram post that will catch their eye during their evening scroll might be a better fit.

Don’t get distracted by bells and whistles. Dial it back to your core questions and think about what would make for a meaningful interaction. That’s the best form of personalization.

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How to Create Compelling Subject Lines

In today’s highly digital environment, one’s email inbox is constantly full of emails all competing for the recipient’s time and attention. So how do you make your email stand out and be one that will be opened, maybe even read, rather than immediately deleted or skipped over?

The majority of people spend a mere second to determine if the email is something they want to read or discard. If the subject line isn’t captivating or compelling enough it will get skipped over, even though the email may have valuable information for them. Research shows that 47% of recipients open email based on the subject line alone. That one-line description is your first and only shot at connecting with your audience.

There are many guidelines that you can follow when crafting your subject lines. The tactics for developing impactful subject lines vary, but we’ve gathered the guidelines that can help improve your email marketing results.

 

Keep it short.

There are several reasons to keep the subject line short, for one, you need to be able to quickly grab your audience’s attention.

Another reason is due to a large number of emails that are opened on mobile devices. Subject lines will get cut off if they’re too long. Look at your subject lines and remove any fluff words or words that matter less and don’t contribute to the message. Remove words like ‘newsletter’ as these may actually decrease your open rate.

 

Add personalization.

Personalize your subject lines. Use the name of the recipient or location. When you use personalization it adds a sense of rapport, especially when a name is used. Research has shown that emails that included a recipient’s first name in the subject line had higher open and click-through rates than emails that did not. (Read more about adding personalization to your marketing strategy.)

 

Make it interesting.

Your subject line should be interesting and unique. Tell the recipient what’s inside your email in an interesting way that will capture their attention. Pose a compelling question, provide a call to action, or incentivize them to learn more by opening the email.

 

Provide value and invoke trust.

As with most marketing, email marketing should include a value proposition. The subject line should communicate the value of the email and how it will benefit your audience. Be sure to be convincing and provide information on how it will benefit their lives or their business.

While your brand should emit an element of trust, trustworthiness should be a priority when sending emails. Your email content should match your subject line. Don’t make false promises.

 

Lastly, test out your subject lines. Your audience may respond better to “Sally, your exclusive offer awaits!”  than “Get your exclusive offer today!”. Test your subject lines by doing an A/B split and see which gets a better result. With A/B testing you can try out different versions of subject lines.

 

We hope these guidelines will help you formulate your next subject line. If you need assistance with your subject lines and your email marketing, contact us at connect@epicmc2.com. We’d be happy to help.

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Email Marketing Best Practices

email marketing

Email marketing is one of the most powerful tools your business can use. With well-earned opted-in subscribers, email marketing has perhaps the largest opportunity to be a return on your investment in turning subscribers into engaged customers.

 

But where do you begin?

Terms like click-through rate, conversion rate, or A/B split testing may sound daunting at first. We’ve done the legwork for you and identified email marketing best practices to kick your email marketing into high-gear!

 

First things, first: define your audience.

Think about who is on your email list. You may want to segment them into different categories such as ages 18-34, repeat customers, or customers you haven’t heard from in a while. You can use a tool like Constant Contact or Mailchimp to create email segments. You should promote your email sign-up on places like your website, blog, and landing pages.

 

Subject Lines, the most important part of your email.

You’ll want to create emails that people read, click through and encourage further engagement with your brand. First, you’ll want to persuade subscribers to open your email with a compelling subject line. The subject line is perhaps the most important component as it determines whether or not your email will be clicked on and opened. You may find success with a longer subject line, or subject lines with keywords. Use A/B Splits to test subject lines out and adjust accordingly. Try using action verbs and give readers a taste of what’s inside (while providing value). Don’t overdo the caps or emojis, readers will find this spammy. We all receive dozens of emails a day, what’s going to make you open an email?

 

Call-to-Actions

Create compelling call-to-actions (referred to as CTAs). In the body of the email you’ll want to include CTAs – this could be in the form of links to your latest offering, a flash sale, your blog, or an option to download your latest ebook, and more. Make sure to provide context to your CTA – to earn clicks try answering the question, “What’s in it for me?” Call to actions allow for consumers to continue down the consumer journey and hopefully to a conversion.

 

 

Email Design

Whether you use a template, hire a designer, or have a developer on hand to code your email, your email design should align with your branding, especially that found on your website. It should be obvious who the email is coming from, the transition from email to landing page or website should be seamless.

Create an email checklist before you send any email: do you have the right image to text ratio?  “Image only” emails go into spam, images may be turned off by users, and images may take more time to load. Try 80% images and 20% text as a good rule of thumb.

Do you have a text version available to support your HTML email? Having both versions ensures that however people choose to view emails in their browser that they are able to do so. Did you proofread the copy? Did you test to see how your email appears on different browsers or mobile devices?

 

Email Performance and Insights

The best way to evaluate the success of your email marketing campaign is to review your engagement after each email send. You should look for key engagement indicators including how many people opened your email, how many people clicked on a link in your email (and what links they clicked on), and who unsubscribed. These are valuable insights to determine if your subscribers are finding your emails useful. Watch these metrics over time to determine how often you should be sending an email – if engagement drops off when you send an email every week, try stepping down to once every other week or once a month, even. You don’t want to fatigue your audience.

 

A/B Testing

Another tried and true tip when it comes to email marketing is to A/B test your email. Put simply: this means changing your subject line, design, subject matter, or CTAs one element at a time, then sending your email to a significant sample size. Why this is important: you can make more informed future email marketing decisions about what gets your recipients to open and click on your content.

 

Make sure the unsubscribe option is obvious in your emails. Yes, you want everyone to love every email you send but sometimes this just isn’t the case – and it’s better than ending up in the spam folder.

Finanlly, send email that is valuable to your users and that will ultimately strengthen your relationship with them…that will keep your customers coming back for more!

Need help getting started? Drop us a line at connect@epicmc2.com and we’ll invigorate your email marketing!

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Mobile Mania – Thinking About Mobile for Your Business

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Nearly two-thirds of Americans are smartphone users. This mass adoption of the technology is radically changing how we communicate and how we interact with businesses. …Read More ⟩

Read the full article at: www.bluehost.com

Has your organization conducted a mobile communications audit?

 

If the answer is, “we’re thinking about it,” “maybe in the future,” or “um, what’s that?”, then it’s time to rethink your position.

With over 2/3 of Americans using smartphones, it’s time to get that audit – and the resulting action items – underway.

So what does a mobile communications audit entail?

 

1. Check your website for mobile responsiveness

Pull up your website on your tablet and mobile device to see if it responds to the different screen sizes. Also check it on an alternative mobile device so you see it on several mobile operating systems and screen sizes. Your website shouldn’t just show as a miniature version – it should be readable and navigable on all screen sizes.

Still not convinced that you need to view your website on mobile? Check out your Google Analytics to see exactly how much of your traffic visits from a tablet or mobile. You’l be surprised. (Oh, you don’t have Google Analytics installed? Contact us for some help with that and get valuable intel on your site and its performance.)

 

2. Check search engines

Be close to your organization (but not at it) and search for your business category. Where did you rank? You may need to tinker with some Webmaster Tools to dial it in if you didn’t show up near or at the top of the search.

While you’re in the search results, make sure you’re listed as local and that the map and information are correct. If not, head back to Webmaster Tools to fix asap.

 

3. Check your social ads

Does your organization have paid ads or promoted posts on a social channel? Check them out on your mobile to make sure they appear as you intend. It’s amazing how an image and text can appear unreadable on a smaller screen.

 

4. Check eblasts

Does your organization send out email blasts? Whether they are sent from an in-house server, Constant Contact, MailChimp, or another provider, it’s imperative that you view them on your mobile to see how they appear. Some users only want to receive text emails on their phones, so be sure to look at the eblast in both HTML and text on your cell.

 

So how did your organization fare?

If you need assistance with any of the above, we can help. We’ve made mobile our mission and strive to help our clients meet the changing demands of a connected society. Contact us today and let’s have a conversation about your audit results.

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Get Your Emails Ready for the Holidays with These 11 Email Templates

email marketing

The holidays are coming.
And if you’re like most small businesses and organizations, email will play a big role in how you communicate with your audience and get the word out about everything you have going on this holiday season.

Read the full article at: blogs.constantcontact.com

 

Check out some really nice holiday email templates from our friends over at Constant Contact.

Email marketing can be some of the most effective and least expensive options, especially for a small business at holiday time.

So, get your list shined up, head over to Constant Contact, and get the email blasts ready!

Need some help or want a full service solution? Contact epic Marketing today. We can help you with anything from lists, templates, copy, imagery, custom coding, or a full service mailing.

 

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