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3 Tips on How to Make Your Marketing Emails Stand Out Among the Noise

Posted by Liz Papagni in Marketing Strategy | 0 comments

make marketing emails stand oug Expert marketers still say email marketing is one of the best ways to follow up with your prospects. After all, the people on your email list have raised their hands to say they would like to receive information from you -  A  perfect, open invitation to nurture and build trust in your brand. Email marketing has been around for nearly two decades now, with marketers continuing to use the same technique: Addresses are captured by providing a lead magnet; These addresses are loaded into an auto-responder; and then several messages are sent out in an effort to  build relationships and be in the consideration set when their  prospects are ready to buy. Yes, the method continues to work well for businesses, but, email recipients are becoming more calloused to cookie-cutter procedures. Just like with traditional marketing methods, once your approach becomes predictable, then the level of engagement from your prospective client starts to drop off. Put yourself in your prospect’s shoes. How many emails do you they get asking for their attention? A lot, right? Are there any ways for your messages to stand out from all of the noise out there? The good news is that there is. Here is how you can spice up your email marketing to keep you top of mind for your clients and your prospects.

Close Your Emails with a Question

Most marketing emails end with a call to action. And while there is nothing wrong with that, the recipient is going to either answer that call or disregard it. Most experts agree that the conversion rate on a call to action email will be anywhere from 1%-5%. This will depend on where the prospective client is in their buying cycle and how well that email and CTA fits their position in their journey towards the decision stage. By asking a question, we give them a third option - the option to engage with you even if they are not quite ready to move forward with a sale. Some great questions are “could this work for your business?” or “what similar challenges have you faced?”. If that reader reaches out to answer your question, then they are giving you valuable information on how you can help them. At this point you can respond with a personalized message. This is a great opportunity for you to share with them how your product or service will solve their problems or meet their needs. Even if your reply does not garner a sale, you will stand out from all of the canned messages in their inbox. This also creates a personal conversation they will likely come back to for future information.

Use The Power of Timing

There have been countless studies on the best times to send emails. Auto-responder provider GetResponse seems to think that Tuesday is the best day of the week for email marketing. According to their research, 18% of emails sent on Tuesday are opened. That’s a higher rate than any other day of the week. Emma, another email automation service provider, has concluded that 58% of people check their email first thing in the morning. By that logic, they assume that 6 a.m. is the best time of day to send emails. That may be an interesting metric, but it’s worthless if your clients are in multiple time zones. While these analytics might make for good research, the answer to the question of when to send your emails differs depending on your audience. With that in mind, why don’t we let them choose when to receive your emails? Most auto-responder providers allow the option to let your subscriber choose how often they receive your emails. While these settings may not let the user choose an exact day of the week or time of day, they can choose how often they would like to hear from you. That could be once a week, or once a month. This allows you to customize your level of contact frequency based on your recipient’s preferences. A bonus benefit is it will also cut back on your unsubscribers. It’s unlikely that your readers will opt out of your list since they were the ones who specified when they would like to hear from you. This is a subtle way of positioning yourself as a permission-based marketer.

Leverage Your Preheader

Your “preheader” (also referred to as a “Johnson Box”) is the line of text that contains a portion of your email message that shows up in a user’s inbox beside your subject line. This can be considered as an extension of your subject line and it can make or break your open-rate. Sure, your subject line is important. It’s in bold right next to your name. And yet no matter how good your subject line is, most people would like just a little more information to make sure it’s worth their time to click on what you have sent them. Your preheader can be a great way to grab your reader’s attention before they have even opened your message. By default, your preheader is going to be the first sentence or two in your email message. As an example, Gmail shows 100 characters and iPhones show 140 characters. With that in mind, think about what ends up in that preheader box as you compose your messages. If you have written a great subject line and you decide that you don’t want your reader to see a preheader, you can also hide it so that only the subject shows up in the recipient’s inbox. These simple techniques can give you an upper edge on your competition. Of course, the best practice in email marketing is still to provide great content and an engaging conversation that will keep your clients opening your messages.  Feel free to reach out if  if you need any help establishing an on-brand message for your next email campaign.    

How User-Generated Content Will Rocket Your Brand Through 2016

Posted by Liz Papagni in Marketing Strategy | 0 comments

rocket through 2016

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Do you ever wonder if consumers are tired of hearing you talk about yourself? Advertising and marketing really puts brands on a razor’s edge of publicity and self-absorption. It’s hard to extoll your many virtues anymore, simply because so many other brands are doing the same. Who should buyers believe? In 2016, you can change the game. What do you think consumers would do if, instead of you proclaiming your brand’s superiority, other buyers started chattering about you? If you think those consumers might be more interested in what your brand is doing, then you’re right. Do you know why?

Build Some Social Proof

You already know how important social proof is. That’s why your heart does a little happy dance when people talk about your brand on social media. Unsolicited praise—which leads to brand recognition—is the most powerful form of marketing you can hope for. What if you could recreate that phenomenon on your own, without making up your own fake reviews or putting together a publicity hoax? What if you could ensure that customers would keep talking about you and showing your brand in a positive light well after their purchases are made? That’s the kind of social proof you really need, the proof that keeps going. Proof that’s accessible to anyone searching for your company. Now, how can you get it?

Welcome User Reviews

It’s time to take some control of the user-generated content that reaches consumers. You’ve got a few different options available, starting with user reviews. Do you include testimonials and reviews on your business website? If not, you’re not controlling the story. Instead, a third-party site like Yelp or Angie’s List holds all the power. If you could take that power, wouldn’t you? We’ve all seen the power of the review on mega-ecommerce site Amazon. Other sites have followed suit, with ModCloth, WayFair, and Old Navy leading the charge. You may think that only the larger companies with massive web development budgets could make this a reality, but you’d be wrong. Check out Yotpo and learn how you could incorporate reviews on your own website, no matter how large or small your brand and budget. The important thing to remember when opening your website to user reviews is that negative reviews will happen. If you try to boost your image with fake positive reviews or by deleting negative comments, your appearance won’t be genuine. If you want user-generated content to work for you, you have to make sure you’re including all users.

Share Users’ Content

Do your customers ever send photos of your products in use? Do they show you your brand out and about in the real world? If so, you should be sharing those on your website. What if you could break down the barrier and let users share those on your website without waiting for your approval? For instance, you could incorporate a hashtag for Twitter and Instagram that automatically feeds to your brand’s website. Several companies offer this plug-in for various website platforms, with one of the most popular being Livefyre. If users know you’re not censoring, they might be more likely to share more often. Of course, the point of user-generated content is to boost your brand. If you notice that irrelevant or inappropriate images are shared and attached to your brand, there’s nothing wrong with deleting those. Your buyers will understand that you’re protecting them as much as you’re protecting yourself.

Host Contests

Now, what happens if you have a little trouble getting the user-generated content vehicle moving? There are ways to jump-start some sharing, but you have to be ready to give something up in return. The best way to get the attention of your biggest fans is to offer a prize. Maybe that’s a gift card or some free products, or maybe you let them choose their prizes. If the end result is a bigger collection of user-generated content from which to choose, then everyone’s a winner. If you’re providing prizes, you should ask for something a little bigger than a snapshot. Remember that videos get great responses from consumers, and perhaps you can build a contest around that. Remember Doritos’ massive success with fan-created commercials during the Super Bowl a few years ago? Maybe you can’t pull together something on that level—after all, Super Bowl ads cost millions of dollars—but you can use their plan as a blueprint for your business. You’ve got the ideas now to change up your marketing plans for 2016, so now you just need a little creativity and the gumption to put things in motion. If we can help you in any way, feel free to reach out. We want to see your marketing soar in the New Year.

Want Your Mobile Marketing to Soar in 2016? Start Planning Now

Posted by Liz Papagni in Marketing Strategy | 0 comments

mobile marketing 2016

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Consumers have been asking for years for mobile friendly websites, but not every business was on board. Then, Google told the world that any websites that aren’t mobile responsive would be penalized in search rankings. Well, that got more people moving, but some are still dragging their feet. There is an alarming number of non-friendly websites out there—sites that market or sell to an audience that just isn’t visiting anymore. Did you know that almost 25% of internet users access the web only by their mobile devices? Without a mobile friendly site, you’re missing out on a large chunk of consumers. This, coupled with Google’s epic smackdown, means you should probably get right on updating your website. But don’t let Google tell you what you should do and why. Do it because you want your business to boom in 2016.

Mobile Responsive Design

The first big task on your list is to convert to a mobile responsive design. I know that websites are expensive, but they’re your number-one marketing tool. If you’re still putting off a new design and have been since 2010, you’re suffering more than you know. Here’s a scary fact that many with a “mobile friendly” site don’t know: Unless you’ve used responsive design, your mobile site doesn’t help at all. The mobile templates require a second URL—most often an m-dot (such as m.marketingiw.com)—which confuses Google more than it helps. Plus, you have to make changes to both versions of your site when necessary, which means sometimes mistakes are made. Also, you probably didn’t account for tablets when you purchased the mobile template, and that opens up a whole new world of troubles. Invest now in the future by undergoing a complete website redesign and redevelopment. Get that site truly mobile friendly with responsive design so that it will work on any device now and in the future without the need for multiple templates and URLs.

Marketing Emails

Here’s a question you may not have considered: What do your marketing emails look like when recipients open them on mobile devices? If you haven’t been paying attention to mobile-friendly design, there’s a good chance your logo takes up more than the whole screen when someone opens your email. If you think that potential customers will take the time to make your email fit their screen, think again. They’re gonna bounce. There are some design tips you can keep in mind when creating your marketing emails. The most important factors are the image and text sizes and the width of the email as a whole. Some email design programs such as MailChimp or Emma will help you create an email that’s readable on a desktop, laptop, mobile phone, or tablet. This is the best option for marketers that may not be particularly design savvy.

Omni-channel Marketing

Domino’s Pizza has the world captivated right now with their Twitter and text pizza emoji ordering function. While it’s still not perfect, it is exactly where mobile marketing is headed. By offering several different ways for your customers to reach you, you also open up those channels so you can reach them. Emoji pizza orders aside, there are several different ways to provide an omni-channel experience for your customers. Apps for mobile devices are the first that come to mind. Starbucks made this pretty much mandatory for all regular customers. How else could those buyers keep up with their loyalty points and top up their gift cards? Then there’s Macy’s, which weeds out those who “showroom” (shoppers who stop in brick-and-mortar stores to look up better prices online) by providing their shopping app. Buyers can find items on clearance, get special discounts, and mark their favorites for reminders when the price drops. Apps are a hard sell for consumers sometimes, because there’s only so much storage space on a mobile device. If you’re going to go that route, make sure it’s something your buyers absolutely can’t live without. If you can’t justify an app, find other ways to keep buyers engaged through their devices. Text offers, push notifications, and newsletters are only a few options to consider. Just remember, the whole premise of omni-channel marketing is to have a consistent consumer experience in all communication channels.

Focus on the Buyer

The biggest piece of advice you can take away is to keep the buyer at the forefront of your mobile marketing planning. Your bottom line is important, yes, but if you’re not making the buyer happy, the bottom line will suffer. Give them options, make it exciting, and above all, remind them that they’re safe when they do business with you through their mobile devices. With these mobile updates and upgrades in place before 2016, you’ll be ready to rock in the New Year. Don’t miss out on incredible marketing results simply because you can’t (or won’t) keep up with changing technology. Need help getting your mobile marketing ready for 2016? Shoot us an email at info@marketingiw.com; we’ll get you moving fast.

Will your 2016 Digital Marketing Plan Knock it Out of the Park?

Posted by Liz Papagni in Content Marketing, Marketing Strategy | 0 comments

Our Expert Tips in Content, Social Media & Optimization Will Help You Make It Happen 2016 digital marketing plan Most of us are up to our ears (and elbows) in 2016 marketing planning. We’re pouring over year-to-date business results and brainstorming new tactics for SEO, conversions, social media – the list goes on and on. Will this be the year you finally optimize your company’s online presence to make it work harder for your business? We think it should be your #1 priority and here’s our cheat sheet of what’s got to be included to make it happen:

Content Marketing

  • Develop long form content. Keywords don’t rule the world anymore. With Google’s latest updates and changes, long form, high quality content will help your site rank. A thousand words is good; 2,000 words is better.
  • Blog. If you don’t have a blog on your site, now’s the time. If the content needs of a blog intimidate you, you can still get some SEO boost with a blog that posts only 2x a month or a “news” page with monthly updates and well, company news. The goal here is to have a home on your site for quality, frequent content.
  • Create videos. For SEO and social media, quality videos are a must. Count Facebook’s new video auto-play feature in the newsfeed and Google’s preference for You Tube videos in search results as two reasons you can’t afford to skip video.

Social Media Marketing

  • Convert. Here’s a mistake we see all the time in social – every day companies post news, content and links from other businesses and media. While that content may be interesting to your audience, it isn’t very effective for your bottom line. Don’t just share other people’s content; create attention-grabbing content that drives directly to your web site or landing page with a call to action. Next year, strive for a healthy 60/40 mix of owned content vs. curated content.
  • Advertise. Unfortunately, social media is increasingly a pay-to-play powerhouse. Our clients who are Facebook advertisers see better results overall, from conversions to consumer engagement and fan numbers. The good news is – social media offers an efficient and affordable way to advertise. Determine which social channel performs best for your brand, and include social advertising in your 2016 plans.

Digital Optimization

  • Go Mobile. Make sure your site is optimized for mobile. Most sites see the majority of their traffic coming from mobile this year. If your site isn’t optimized, that traffic is likely to quickly bounce. And after this year’s “Mobilegeddon,” non-mobile sites are also now penalized in search. Here’s a simple test to see if Google considers your site mobile-friendly. Tell the truth - did you fail? If so, this one’s a must in 2016.
  • Analyze. You probably already have web site analytics installed on your site, but you also need to have conversions and goals set up. We know it takes precious time (and a little know-how), but don’t leave out these important metrics and tracking. And mark your calendar to regularly assess your analytics reports and note what’s working and what’s not. Don’t wait until Q4 to figure it out and then frantically try to update and optimize your site in the final hour. Digital performance is something that should be assessed monthly so you can optimize and troubleshoot your digital marketing efforts along the way.
We know planning can be overwhelming, and we’re happy to help. First step, download our expert tips for creating content that drives customer conversions. And if you need a strategic partner who can do the heavy lifting, here’s our checklist to help you find the right match to make sure your 2016 marketing efforts are on point.