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Tease Marketing, Intensity and your email marketing

Tease Marketing, Intensity and your email marketing

If there ever was such a thing as an “opt-in for life”, it is well in the past. Permission Marketing has been silently replaced with its brother; tease marketing, continuously building on a brand relationship based on mutual interest.

The challenge is no longer just about matching message, timing and recipient, but also in presenting an – already in itself – appealing and attractive message. This demands that we benchmark our email marketing efforts in a different way.

Presenting an – already in itself – appealing email marketing message

There are plenty of opportunities for email marketers to rise above mediocrity. Even a seemingly simple tactic like segmentation of your email newsletters can have a great positive impact. According to econsultancy research, marketers that use segmentation say their ROI is very good 95% more often than those who don’t. It is a sign on the wall. Optimized marketing pays off, sending less irrelevant emails too, but there are also other forces at play that demand a different way of looking at engagement and benchmarking.

SEO shows what the core of engagement is about

Let’s take an example from another digital discipline. There is a thriving SEO industry built around one of the most well-known filters in the world: Google. The rules for premium (first page) placement in Google seem to change daily, keeping up with the misuse of quick-win-low-value tactics.

How do search engine algorithms determine what is interesting and what is not? Fortunately there is one constant: behaviour of users indicates that certain content is interesting, is rewarded. The reverse is also true: Negative behaviour ensures that messages are filtered out more often.

We crave a new benchmark method for email marketing

Companies want to know where and how they can improve their email marketing engagement. Often we look at the market and competitors, in order to create a truly helpful email marketing benchmark.

Unfortunately, there is little use in benchmarking activity on the standard metrics (opens , clicks , etc. ) because of their superficial value.

A bit exacerbated: “We have a higher or lower click-through rate” as a benchmark, is not actionable. It can give you a ballpark feeling, you might conclude that you need to do better, but that was already our the starting point. Thus, a new method of benchmarking needs to be created if you want to benchmark your competitors, based on their actions.

The tease factor is an indication of the allure and magnetism of an email. An indication of the extent to which you encourage your recipients to be active and engaged. Think about the combined influence of imagery, offers, text and the right Call-to-Actions.

The intensity of the customer messaging

A strong customer relationship includes a higher level of tolerance and allows for more contact moments, and even more sales opportunities. A strong welcome email can give that relationship a flying start. While you must keep in touch, frequency should not be exaggerated. The second metric we introduce is the Recipient Intensity Factor.

How intense your messages are experienced in the inbox among others depends on:

• Frequency of contact

• The type of message

• The sculpting of your subject lines

That data is also turned into a weighted score: the recipient intensity factor. This puts your email in a box: the desired, skippable or interruptive.

The four quadrants of Recipient Intensity versus Tease Factor:

Combine the Recipient intensity with the personal perception of quality and seductiveness (tease factor!) and four quadrants appear.

  • Hidden Persuaders (high tease, low intensity
  • Introverts (low tease, low intensity)
  • Actives (high tease, high intensity)
  • Informants (low tease, high intensity)

Plenty of untapped potential

There is plenty of untapped potential in the email marketing space. By taking a critical look at your own email marketing strategy, you will quickly realize there is plenty of potential growth.

Let me give an example that came from a research we did in the automotive industry: 21% of automotive brands in a research we did, never sent a single email after registration. The majority (63%) of car brands sends monthly or less. There are hardly any welcome emails sent.

This means that a new registrant and potential hot lead doesn’t get his first touch until weeks later. I was shocked. Failure to follow up after showing interest against all laws of marketing (if there were any) and has no place in the mind-set of a direct marketer.

What would your ideal tease and intensity be? I have seen brands being seduced to take a route in their email marketing strategy that made them end up in a different quadrant than they would like to be.

Newsletter and Email Marketing – A Must for  Travel Agent and Sites

Newsletter and Email Marketing – A Must for Travel Agent and Sites

Big Online travel agency like Cox and Kings and Thomas Cook have changed how people book vacations over the last several years. More and more consumers are taking a do-it-yourself approach to booking flights, hotels and cruises instead of relying on travel agents to find the best deal.

How does a travel agency or smaller site succeed in this climate? Through email marketing. Did you know that 63% of consumers who signed up for emails from a travel site are more likely to do business through that same site again. That’s a big percentage of business your site or agency could be diverting from the “big name” travel sites.

The Epsilon study shows that 86% of online consumers sign up for emails from travel sites in search of more special travel offers. 51% want to know more about vacation packages. Your customers and site visitors want information from you, and the deals and packages you have for them. Email marketing helps build a relationship between you and your customers that will keep them coming back to you for their trip booking needs.

A permission-based email campaign also has a great return on investment. And on top of that, it’s easy to measure your results. You can tell if your campaign is effective by looking at how many subscribers are opening your emails and clicking on your links to determine what kind of content resonates most with your customers.

Email marketing lets you proactively engage with your visitors and clients. Without an email campaign, you have to depend on your customers to remember your site and visit it when they want to book a trip or look for flights. Email marketing places you in your customers’ inboxes where they’ll see your name regularly and remember you.

Take advantage of the opportunity to connect with your clients through email marketing. This simple steps will walk you through the details for setting up your first campaign.

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Building Your Subscribers List

Build Your List Online

Whether you’re a brick and mortar travel agency or a net-based travel site, if you have a web site, a blog or social media profiles, you can build your list online. Connect with your customers and visitors by placing a web form on your site to collect their names and email addresses. The Subscribe form generator in your stayintouch account allows you to create forms with your own custom fields to gather as much information as you need to help your customers. Once you design your form and place it online, any visitor who fills out that form is automatically added to your list.

Building List Offline

Your list-building efforts aren’t restricted to online avenues only. You can build your list offline too, as you work with customers in person or advertise your travel site.

• Include information about your newsletter or travel deals in your brochures.

• Ask for permission to email your customers on any contact forms they fill out.

• If you attend travel expos, bring an email sign up sheet with you to get the names and email addresses of attendees. Bridal shows are another excellent list building opportunity – you’ll find brides-to-be who are looking for ways to save on their honeymoon expenses or destination wedding packages.

Types of Email to Send

Connecting with your customers or site visitors in the inbox relies largely on the messages you send to them. Not every email will have the same content, but your messages should have some unifying factors to help subscribers recognize you in the inbox. Establishing this kind of consistency will help your customers trust you more.

Regardless of what you’re sending, all of your emails should include the following information:

A subject line that tells what the email is about.

Your name, your travel site’s name, or the name of your travel agency.

All of your contact information.

A call to action telling subscribers how to respond.

Pictures. Include photos of destinations you’re advertising. Feature images of hotel accommodations, show your customers exactly what they’re getting for their money.

Your remaining message content varies based on the kind of message you’re sending. The types of emails you can use in your campaign include:

1. An autoresponder (or “follow up”) series for new subscribers

2. A regular newsletter with vacation stories, hot destinations and travel tips for your subscribers

3. Occasional announcements or special travel promotions

4. Articles and travel tips pulled from your blog and connect with your subscriber

When To Send Your Emails

Consistency is the key to email marketing, but hitting your sending stride can get challenging. Unless you’re sending daily deals, you need to email your subscribers frequently enough so they don’t forget you, but not so frequently that they feel overwhelmed. If you can’t find the right balance, ask your subscribers and use their feedback to adjust your frequency.
You can also schedule your emails around holidays, seasons or events like:

Holiday travel help. Holidays are high-volume travel times and often expensive travel times, too. Send your subscribers ways to save money or stay calm in the horde of other holiday travelers. Don’t forget holiday travel packages and promotions!

Seasonal tips. Advertise seasonal getaways or alert your customers to peak travel times when airfare and hotel rates will cost them more.

Industry news. What kind of developments in travel regulations will affect your customers or site visitors? Give them a heads up before they travel or book their trip.

Targeting Subscribers

Not all of your subscribers have the same destination in mind, or the same way of getting there. Some people like cruises. Others want a quick weekend getaway that’s close to home. Still others are very budget-conscious. You wouldn’t want to send information on a luxury cruise ship to a college student who wants to backpack across Europe on a shoestring budget.

Segmenting organizes your subscribers into groups based on their preferences to ensure that you’re sending the right deals and packages to the right people. Group your subscribers by travel interest – send emails about airline discounts to subscribers who express an interest in flight information. Send emails about luxury resorts to subscribers who want top-notch accommodations. You can also use their geographic location to send emails about flight deals originating from their nearest airport or small weekend getaways near their hometown.

How Relevant Is My Email?

How Relevant Is My Email?

As marketers, we understand that the email we’re sending must be intriguing, relevant, and desirable. And as the holidays approach, consumers expect to receive more emails and brands sure plan to send it (woo!). But we have to remember that email is supposed to be a win-win—brands send more email, and consumers get to see more offers/info relevant to their wants, needs, and actions they’ve taken.

So how can you judge your performance during your email campaigns? One easy metric to monitor and that give you some solid insight if you’re sending relevant email is Click to Open Rate (CTOR).

The best way to think about CTOR is to imagine, of those who opened your email, what percent found the content inside valuable/relevant enough to click.

Although metrics like open rates are equally important to track, CTOR helps paints a more complete picture of how your content is performing.

CTOR is different than CTR (click through rate), as the CTO is based on people who opened the email rather than the entire recipient list.

Keeping a close eye on your CTOR ensures that you can determine if your content is actually resonating with your recipients (once they were convinced to open your email).

How to increase your click to open rate (CTOR)

In order to optimize your CTOR, ensure you are considering the following elements:

Know your industry – As with any metric, it’s important to know how you compare with your industry averages. Analyze and compare how much your organization rank with your industry averages.

Find your baseline – If you’re tracking your emails on a campaign level, find your norm for each of your different campaign types. Campaigns with personalized offers will have a consistently higher CTOR, so make sure you’re comparing apples to apples.

Giving customers something relevant and personalized to them will undoubtedly cause more clicks once your customers have opened your email. Use whatever data you have such as pages, products viewed, or products favorited, etc. to serve them something specific to their tastes.

Perfect your subject line – Every email marketer shoots for a subject line that will get them the highest possible open rate. I definitely get a feeling of excitement when I think of a clever, or funny subject line, but subject lines serve a bigger purpose than just a “wow” factor.

Opens are great, but only as great as how close it gets you to the final goal: Conversion.

If your subject lines are getting opens because they’re funny or abstract, but not because they are representing the copy appropriately, and they cause your email to bounce, consider providing a more clear and direct subject line.

Provide a persuasive CTA – Focus on including clear and concise calls to action. Make sure your openers know exactly what you’re asking of them.

Takeaways

The holiday season is the busiest time of year for many companies and with that comes more email. So while there are many things to juggle during this busy time, make sure you’re keeping your user in mind.

Email marketing revenue is not a volume-based metric; it’s a value-based metric.

This type of thinking is important when fostering a strong relationship with your customer. How can you deliver your customer value through email? Once campaigns go out, tracking your CTOR is a great way to see how you’re doing.

For more on how to optimize your email sending for the holidays, check out our tips for a successful holiday program blog which is full of knowledge based tips to make sure you finish out the year with your best email campaigns to date!

How To Maintain Brand Standards in Your Email Designs

How To Maintain Brand Standards in Your Email Designs

Keeping a brand experience consistent across all marketing touch points is a crucial component of cultivating an engaged user base. And one of the more important transitions a customer or prospect makes is from an email to a website.

This responsibility lies primarily on how you design and build your email campaigns. The less aligned your emails look from your website (and your overall brand), the more likely you are to confuse and cause friction with your recipients. The following email design tips will help unite your emails and website to ensure that your recipients don’t become distracted by inconsistent branding.

Layout

Start with the larger foundational design elements of your website, such as column layout, when you start to lay out your email templates. But, just because you might have a three column break on your website doesn’t mean you must have the same in your email designs. Again, the goal is to keep the idea and feel the same.

An often overlooked element of the email template is the footer. Making the email footer match the website footer is a great way to connect your website and emails so that the user knows how to navigate to certain parts of the website.

Keep in mind that when you are laying out your email campaigns, you don’t have to exactly copy your website, but as long as the overall look of your website transfers over to the emails, you are well on your way to keeping your brand experience consistent.

Images: making your emails responsive

Imagery is a powerful design component and tool that can bring emails to life and increase recipient engagement. But images in emails (along with other digital mediums) can become problematic, quickly. Every inbox handles and renders images differently and the more images you include, the slower your email will load. Some ISPs may even view your emails unfavorably and place your email in the spam folder if there are too many images.

Keep in mind that some inboxes won’t even display images, so the more you rely on the images to communicate your messages, the more likely that you risk your entire email.

Images supplement, they don’t carry your email program.

And don’t forget to browser test your emails to ensure that the majority of browser and device combinations are displaying your emails the way you want them to.

 

Buttons and CTAs

Buttons and CTAs within your email should also be as similar as possible to your brand’s website so that the user knows exactly where to go if they want to learn more or continue their experience.

These buttons and CTAs are consistent and clear for the user whether they are on the website or reading an email.

Fonts

The font you choose for your emails should resemble the font found on your website as much as possible. If you want the exact font from your website, this advanced option is made simple using Marketing Campaigns’ design editor’s option to edit the HTML Head to add custom fonts. However, this is by no means a “must do” for email design.

Because some fonts aren’t always supported, you should always use fallback fonts (similar looking and supported fonts readily on hand). Having these fonts on hand will help you quickly be able to create your email campaigns. As long as you compare the fonts side by side, you will be able to find a good match.

Takeaways

Although your emails don’t have to match your website brand exactly, ensuring a consistent brand experience from an email to a website and vice versa is key to keeping your recipients and customers engaged. Keep in mind the following guidelines when designing and putting together marketing emails:

• The overall layout does not need to match 100%, but should convey the same design ideas

• Ensure you are using responsive images, and that you are browser testing before sending

• Fonts do not have to be a perfect match—most ESPs provide enough web fonts to match your website enough without having to import from your website

Learn some more specific tactics on email design by checking out our blog post, Best Practices To Boost Engagement. And explore Stayintouch’s new features.

Tips For A Successful Holiday Email Program

Tips For A Successful Holiday Email Program

Marketing departments often find themselves in a frenzy during the holiday season as teams are tasked to get the most ROI out of all marketing program. And this time of year can be highly profitable as consumers’ pocketbooks are wide open.

However, some email strategies and tactics often go overlooked that can damage your sending reputation for the upcoming year. Below are 5 strategies that ensure you get the most of your holiday sends and don’t risk unwanted negative consequences for holiday sending once your sending frequency normalizes in the new year.

1. Ring the bell early with a teaser of what you have planned

Previewing or teasing out what you’ll be offering before the holidays arrive in the fall helps generate engagement with holiday emails. Once the holiday emails start arriving in subscribers’ inboxes, your great offer will be much more likely to be engaged with if the recipient is already excited and expecting your emails.

2. Ring in Black Friday by bucking the trends

Pick a time to send that is an “off” time. Most email senders will choose to send their emails on the hour, 5 minutes, 15 minutes or 30 minutes after the hour, or simply at a time that ends in 5 or 0.

Think of this like email rush hour traffic– you don’t want to jump on the highway right in the middle of rush hour.

When possible, schedule your sending for an ‘off’ time like 13 minutes after the hour or some other arbitrary time that is not likely to be as popular of a send time.

This will help you avoid the busiest times and possible email delays at the receiving servers and allows your emails to be delivered in a timely fashion.

3. (w)Ring out your list

While it is tempting to use the holiday sending frenzy to try to reach every address on your list, doing so can actually harm your ability to get those valuable messages to your recipients who are engaging with your emails.

Sending to old email addresses or addresses that haven’t engaged with your email recently can increase the likelihood of delivery to spam trap addresses, increased spam complaints, delivery to unengaged addresses that are a negative signal to inbox providers, or all of the above.

Inbox providers can view these negative signals and decide to filter your emails more heavily (or be blocked entirely). If these signals occur enough, your IP or email domain may even become blacklisted. These are all very expensive problems to have during this important sending season.

Ensure that the recipients you are sending to are ones that are opening and clicking your messages. We suggest never sending to an email address that has not opened or clicked a message of yours in the past 12 months. Quite often, it is best to only send to addresses that have positively engaged in the last 6 months.

If you must send to less engaged emails, I suggest doing so at a reduced frequency and considering segmenting those sends to a different IP group and subdomain/domain combination than your engaged recipients.

4. If they like it, put a ring on it…your best subscribers, that is

All of your subscribers are important. However, it is good to acknowledge that there is likely a portion of your list that is more engaged with your emails than others. Isolate those very engaged subscribers and treat them differently.

Think of these addresses like your VIP list. For example, you might choose to segment subscribers that have opened more than 10 messages in the past 30 days.

Consider sending your most engaged users holiday emails a couple of hours prior to sending to the remainder of your list.

This helps make sure that subscribers that are most likely to positively engage don’t see delivery interruptions that might crop up due to your higher volume sending afterwards. The positive engagement that these subscribers are likely to demonstrate can help pave the way to success for your higher volume sending.

If you want to get really advanced with this strategy, you can also offer your subscribers the ability to further opt in to this “VIP” list by sending them a campaign that asks them to confirm they want special treatment. For those that opt in, you could send them the early access to deals, better discounts, or other special content that takes advantage of their love for your brand.

5. Ring in the New Year without the hangover

The holiday season is often the time of year that senders see their list grow most rapidly. This is especially the case for senders who offer discounts and sales during this busy shopping time. Great, right!?

Well, it depends…

While list growth is common during the holiday season, list hangover is also common once the holidays are over.

While we’d love it if every subscriber that signed up for your great deals in November still loved your brand and emails in January, that’s often not the case.

Quite often, people sign up JUST for the deals and JUST for holiday shopping. Once January rolls around, those people may not be as interested in receiving your emails.

With this in mind, there are a few tactics you could consider to help prevent these recipients from becoming unengaged and/or starting to report your messages as spam just because they do not want them.

First, consider segmenting your list by signup date and/or source so that you can quickly identify cohorts of your list that signed up during the holiday season. This will allow you to monitor the open rates and click rates for those holiday signups to identify any drops in engagement after the holidays are over.

Next, if you begin to see your engagement metrics drop after the holidays, or if spam complaints are increasing, consider:

  • Reducing your frequency to those subscribers
  • Sending a targeted series of campaigns that sells your value and re-establishes why they want to continue receiving your mail
  • Sending those subscribers a targeted campaign that asks them to take action, like click a link, to continue receiving your emails–This can help eliminate those who are uninterested in your mail but not willing to take steps to opt out from your list, and thus help protect your sending reputation
  • Establish a tighter sunset policy for those email addresses that suppresses them after 30-60 days of non-engagement

Finally, along with the 5 strategies above, there’s no time like the present to dig in and make sure all aspects of your email program are working properly and set up for success. A great tool that StayInTouch makes available to our clients is our Expert Support Team that provides access to delivery and onboarding experts that will work with you to fine-tune your email program and work with you to get the success you need.