Author: Chris Donald

Chris sent his first email campaign in 1995. He’s worked directly with Fortune 500 companies, retail giants, nonprofits, SMBs and government agencies in all facets of their email marketing and marketing automation programs. He’s also a BIG baseball fan, loves a good steak, and is mildly obsessed with zombie movies.
email-marketing-midst-covid-19

How Covid-19 Has Affected the Email Marketing Industry (And Tips for Remote Working)

The world as we knew it has changed.

Yes, all because of Covid-19 – the plague that has swept over the world.

And businesses are also feeling the brunt of the pandemic.

Speaking of businesses, how are they faring as the world goes into a lockdown?

A Snapshot Look at Covid-19 – From a Marketer’s Perspective

For businesses, particularly SMEs, navigating the treacherous waters of Covid-19’s impact is tricky. A look at the chart below will give you a picture of how Covid-19 has affected website traffic:

traffic-growth-or-declined-covid-19
Impact of COVID-19 on Traffic

 

Source

With many businesses relying heavily on online traffic to successfully attain their goals, a decline in traffic is worrisome. Unfortunately, most industries are experiencing a 20% decline in traffic on average. Sectors like travel are the hardest hit with traffic plummeting by as much as 50%.

The impact on traffic to e-commerce sites is mixed – it all depends on what the sites are selling.

It’s not all doom and gloom though as a number of sectors are still enjoying an increase in traffic in these dark times. These are sectors such as:

  • Media – 33%
  • Finance – 29%
  • Food – 21%

With website traffic taking a hit, many businesses are in panic mode. And that’s understandable. However, there’s no need for panic, neither do you need to stop marketing. You just have to adapt your marketing strategy to suit the times.

One marketing strategy that you can bank on in these times of uncertainty is one that has been around the longest – email.

Email Marketing in Times of Crisis – To Scale Down or Ramp Up

One of the biggest questions businesses are asking is whether to continue marketing or not. If you’re wondering about that, our advice is to keep marketing. One reason for that is you need to keep in touch with your customers.

But the question still begs to be asked – should you scale down or ramp up your email marketing efforts.

In a nutshell, it all depends on the sector you’re in. However, whether your traffic (online or offline) is tanking or shooting up, you still need to re-strategize – no matter which industry you’re in. This is the perfect time to sit down with your email marketing strategist and chart a new course for your campaigns.

4 Reasons Email is the Best Marketing Channel in Times of Crisis

Every business, no matter the vertical, needs to pay more attention to their email marketing campaigns at this time more than ever.

And if you’re wondering why email is the best marketing channel in times of crisis, let’s me give you 4 good reasons.

1. Email Gives You Direct Access to Your Customers

Of all the marketing channels available to you, email is the only one that gives you direct access to your customers. That’s because a person’s inbox is the equivalent of their home – access is only granted to people they trust. This means when you send emails to your customers, their more likely to see them than they would your social media posts (or other messages delivered via other channels).

2. Consumers Trust Information in Emails More than Other Channels

Another reason you need to put email on the frontlines of communication in times of crisis is that people tend to trust email more than they trust pother channels. Let’s face it, social media has so much information it’s difficult to separate fake news from that which is genuine. That’s why you need to communicate with your subscriber base during times of crisis.

3. Provides a Relief from Social Media Fatigue

While social media is a great place to get news in real-time, it has one disadvantage – social media fatigue. In other words, after watching events unfolding or scrolling through your feed for some time, the brain will need something refreshing.

And this is where your email will come in handy.

One thing people do when they tire of scrolling through their social media accounts is to check their email. This is why you need to make sure to provide your customers with valuable content – even in times of crisis.

4. Likelihood of Engagement Increases

One of the ramifications of Covid-19 is the swift shift to remote working. Taken as a measure to promote social distancing, remote working has almost become the norm. While others have been, sadly, laid off or been placed on indefinite leave, the result is that more people are online now than at any other time in history. That, of course, means your engagement rates are likely to increase.

Email Marketing in the Midst of Covid-19 – 5 Factors to Consider

Now that you know it’s ok, no, a great idea to continue with your email marketing campaigns during the Covid-19 pandemic, let’s quickly look at a few things you need to consider as you do so.

1. Don’t Take Advantage of the Crisis

First and foremost, now is not the time to take advantage of your customers. It’s not the time to be greedy or take advantage of people’s vulnerabilities. Doing so will make you the bad guy, Covid-19’s minion if you will.

2. Communicate with Empathy

Communicating with your customers in trying times needs to be done carefully. You must empathize with them – and your emails need to convey that empathy.

 

 

communicate-with-empathy
Sympathised Response to Client

 

A couple of ways you can pull this off include:

  • Acknowledging the situation
  • Letting your customers know what you’re doing to help
  • If applicable, suggest products that can help in the crisis

People need a lot of reassurance in challenging times, even from their favorite brands. Meet that need and you’re bound to convert your customers into brand ambassadors.

3. Improve Consumer Confidence – With Email

If there’s one thing that has taken a hit in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, it’s consumer confidence. Use your emails to improve consumer confidence by:

  • Using positive language
  • Giving regular updates (of the situation and your products)

 

improve-consumer-confidence
Improve Consumer Confidence – By Using Positive Approach

If there’s one thing your customers may appreciate in these trying times is a distraction from all that is going on. While they may not necessarily click on your offer, the fact that they engage with your emails will pay off after this all blows over.

4. The Economy May Slow Down – But You Shouldn’t

It’s a fact you can’t escape – the Covid-19 pandemic (and other global crisis) impact the global economy in a huge way. Businesses, like in this instance, grind to a halt.

proactive-approach-towards-situation
Proactive Approach Towards Situation

 

However, the fact that the economy has slowed down doesn’t mean you should pack up and close shop. Instead, take this as an opportunity to work on aspects of your business that will help you survive the crisis and thrive afterwards. These are aspects such as:

  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Creating valuable content to foster continued engagement
  • Growing your email list
  • Building stronger relationships with customers
  • Driving traffic to old but relevant blog posts using email

One advantage of marketing in an economic downturn is the fact that most brands are doubling down and cutting marketing spend. As a result, you have less competition than normal. So, even though the economy is slowing down, it’s no reason for you to slow down your marketing efforts.

5. Think (and Plan) Long-term

It’s easy to lose focus when the world is fighting a global pandemic. In a state of panic, individuals and businesses alike, tend to look at what is happening around and fail to think for the future. Terrible as Covid-19 maybe, this is not the end of the world.  The world will continue after Covid-19, and it’s only businesses with visionary marketers that will come out of it and command a big market share.

Email Marketing Best Practices in Times of Crisis

It goes without saying, the way you market in times of crises is different from the way you’d market at any other time. That’s why as an email marketer, you need to consider some email marketing best practices to follow in times of crisis. Here are a few:

Honesty is the Best Policy

Everyone appreciates honesty at all times. In times of crisis, it becomes even more valuable. Communicate with your customers and let them know:

  • Your limitations and capabilities
  • Know when a product is out of stock (and when you hope to have it)

 

honest-response-to-client
Honest Response To the Client

 

Source

Don’t worry about losing customers during this time. With everything from production chains to supply chains crawling, people will understand if you take longer to fulfil orders.

Segmentation – Couldn’t Be More Important

Segmentation is the foundation of successful email marketing campaigns. In times of crisis, ultra segmenting your list is a great way to communicate with your customers at a more intimate level. This will help inspire confidence and increase engagement.

Refresh Your Campaigns

If there’s one thing subscribers love (as observed by open rates) it’s new campaigns. Refreshing your campaigns is essential in such trying times as a number of factors your current campaign was based on have changed. These are factors such as people’s:

  • Moods
  • Expectations
  • Spending patterns

Adapt your email campaigns to accommodate these.

Know Your Audience – And Put Them First

It’s during crisis times that you really need to know your audience. Use every single piece of data you can gather on your customers and use it to understand any shifts in their interests and concerns. This will help you:

  • Craft the right message
  • Avoid words that trigger negative emotions
  • Tailor content and promotions that are hyper-relevant

Campaigns that are run in times of crisis should be done so with careful consideration of your audience’s feelings – be sensitive.

Lock Down Got You Down? Here’s How Email Marketers can Be Effective Even Working from Home

While we’ve spent most of the post discussing how to handle your business on the client front, this pot would be incomplete without touching on a critical aspect of the new norm of working -remote work.

With mandatory lockdown being enforced in many parts of the world, remote work has become unavoidable. Here are a few tips and ideas to help you out:

Build a Remote Team – The Right Way

While working remotely is a temporary solution, you still need to ensure that you build your remote team correctly. To do that:

  • Prioritize communication. Whether you choose to meet on Zoom, Slack, or any other platform, ensure you establish a robust communication system. Also, ensure to foster meaningful connections that will help your team feel truly connected.
  • Invest in collaboration tools. Technology has made it possible for teams to collaborate in real-time on projects. With tools such as Asana, Monday, Trello, and many others in your stack, it will be work as usual for your remote team.
  • Design a system for measuring results. Working from an office has the advantage of direct supervision, therefore it’s easy for employees to produce the desired results. With remote work, that can be a challenge. You’ll have to design a system that will help you measure important metrics and milestones realistically.

Building an effective remote team can be a challenge. However, if you consider these (and other factors unique to your business model), you’ll soon have your team up and running in no time.

Culture Still Matters – Foster It

Culture plays an important role in the success of any business. And even though your team has shifted to remote work, it should be fostered. Use your online meetings to encourage teammates to keep up company culture. Other ways to foster company culture in remote teams include:

  • Regular communication
  • Have virtual meetups/ build community
  • Include personal development programs for your employees in your calendar

Developing and fostering your brand’s culture is a great way to keep employees motivated and productive as they work away from the office.

Productivity – How to Ensure You Meet Your Deadlines

One of the greatest fears team managers have when it comes to remote work is maintaining the productivity standards they’re used to. However, there’s no need for productivity levels to take a dip simply because your workforce is now working from home. Here’s how you can ensure your team remains productive during a lockdown, isolation, or any other situation that has led to remote working:

  • Establish daily check-ins
  • Set up efficient collaboration systems
  • Set expectations
  • Supervise your teams

A well-designed remote working structure can actually help you get better results from your team. So instead of dreading it, embrace it. Who knows, you may just love remote working so much that you’ll embrace it for good.

Email Marketing in Times of Crisis – Now’s Not the Time to Throw in the Towel

While the world is reeling from the impact of Covid-19’s impact, we need to remember that life must go on. And as an email marketer, you play a critical role in connecting people to their favorite brands as they’re stuck in their homes. So, now’s not definitely the time to throw in the towel. Simply revise your strategy and continue giving your audience valuable content.

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email list management

Email List Management: The Complete Guide

No marketing platform drives as much ROI as email. With ROIs as high as $42 for every $1 spent, every marketer should be using it.

Besides commanding insane ROIs, the email also has a unique advantage over other marketing platforms – versatility. Whatever business goal you have, be sure email can play a role in its fulfilment. From building strong relationships with your customers to new product announcements, email plays a central role in your success.

But for email marketing to give you the mouth-watering ROIs others boast of, there’s one crucial element you need to master – email list management.

This article will discuss the importance of email list management and some of the best methods for doing it.

Defining Your Email Marketing Strategy

Before you embark on an email marketing campaign, it’s crucial that you always define your strategy at the outset. This involves identifying your objectives and your path to achieving them. It is from this strategy that you can then consider how to segment your email lists. Segmenting your list is a critical component of email list management that helps your campaign become targeted and thus more effective. This is because segmentation helps you send personalized emails. And yes, that is important as research shows that personalized emails enjoy 26% higher open rates than those that lack personalization.

To pull off a highly effective email marketing strategy, therefore, you need to identify and process relevant data. This is data that helps you target the right people with the right message. You should factor in everything you have learned from previous marketing campaigns while developing your strategy.

What is Email List Management?

In its simplest form, email list management is the practice of organizing and managing your email list into relevant segments and lists. It involves (among other things):

  • Segmenting your list
  • Identifying inactive subscribers
  • Re-activating dormant subscribers

If you have experienced high opt-out rates, this also suggests that your email marketing should be more targeted. People are more likely to opt-out if they do not feel the information that they are receiving is relevant or useful to them. The more you work to understand your customers, the more effective your marketing to them will be.

And that is why it’s important that you understand email list management and follow email list management best practices.

Benefits of Email List Management

Managing your email lists comes with many benefits. The main benefit being that it allows you to target your messaging more effectively. As a result, your customers will find your information relevant, thereby leading to a pleasant and more effective customer journey. Targeted messaging also leads to higher levels of personalization, which results in your customers feeling more connected to your business. Customers are much less likely to opt-out of your communications if those communications are providing them with useful information.

One of the best examples of sending targeted messages is one that is employed in e-commerce – the cart abandonment email. When a customer loads an item into their cart but don’t go through with the purchase, an email is sent out to the individual to remind them of the abandoned cart. This is a great way of providing relevant communication and encouraging customers to complete a purchase.

Another great example of targeted messaging is the recommended products email. This is an email sent to recommend similar products to the ones a customer viewed or bought. It can also be used to encourage customers to purchase items that complement those they have already purchased. For example, if a Home Depot customer purchases a set of drawers, the company may send an email about matching furniture items. This is a good way of maintaining a customer’s engagement and building brand loyalty. These kinds of personalised communications are only possible with good email list management.

If you put in the time and effort to develop an advanced email management system, you can efficiently arrange these kinds of communications. Customers will feel more valued if they receive emails targeted to them specifically rather than generic ones. If customers receive regular, generic emails, they are much more likely to lose interest or become irritated. This will increase your opt outs. Customers receiving engaging, targeted communications are far more likely to remain on your lists and engage with your company.

List Segmentation – The Pillar of Email List Management

Email list segmentation is one of the core elements of email list management. This is because list segmentation allows you to keep your entire list organized. Essentially, it helps you streamline your email marketing campaigns, thereby helping you to achieve your marketing objectives. Need proof? According to a study conducted by Mailchimp, segmented email campaigns have a 14.31% higher open rate than non-segmented ones. And more importantly, they command a whopping +100% higher click rate.

There are several methods you can use to effectively segment your list. In most cases, a combination of these methods will be more effective. You can also test different forms of segmentation from one campaign to the next. This will help you identify the most effective forms of segmentation for your marketing purposes.

Below are some of the different methods you can consider using to segment your email list, making for highly effective email marketing campaigns.

Customer Behaviour

Segmenting your customers based on their behaviour is one of the most effective methods of managing your email lists. You can gather information on your customers’ purchasing history, the amount they have spent, and their engagement with your marketing communications. Engagement with previous emails can also be useful data to use as it will help you to place them on the right email list.

You can identify if they have responded to previous types of products or particular deals in the past.

Apart from engagement with your emails and products, another great way to segment your list is by observing how they engage with your website.

  • What pages do they frequent?
  • Which links have they clicked?
  • Which channels bring them to your website?

All these pieces of data can give you a good picture of who your customer is and what they are looking for. As a result, you can easily place them on a relevant list.

Position in Sales Funnel

Identifying where your customers are in the “sales funnel” will help you to market to them effectively. By segmenting your list according to your customers’ position in the sales funnel enables you to tailor messages that specifically address them according to where they are in the customer journey. This will make it easier for them to convert into a paying customer or move further along the funnel.

Source of Sign Up

Some companies segment lists based on where customers have visited their website from. It is possible to track where visitors have accessed your website. For example, you can see if they have visited from a social media advertisement or from an affiliated website. This can give you useful information on their online behaviour and an insight into their interests and preferences.

Surveys

Surveys are a great way to get information about your customers. And you can use this data to know how to segment your list. This is because surveys can help you identify what specific customers want from your business. While not everyone may respond to your surveys, the ones who do will give you a wealth of data that can be used to manage your email list more effectively.

Geography

Knowing where your customers are physically located can help you have a good email list segmentation strategy. For example, if you have customers in different time zones, segmenting them according to geographical location will help you increase the chances of your emails being seen and opened. This is because you will be able to send your emails when your recipients are awake as opposed to sending them at a time when they’ll be asleep.

Geographical location can also help you market products that are relevant according to:

  • Season
  • Terrain
  • Culture

For example, Adidas market different kinds of products depending on geography. They will promote heavy outdoor wear in locations where the weather is colder at the time. In areas where the weather is warmer, they promote lighter wear.

Brands can also promote different products based on regional preferences. You can track which products do well in which regions and promote them accordingly.

Age and Gender

Some of the most common methods of segmentation are also among the simplest. Two such are age and gender. These demographics can help you ensure that you not only market the right products to certain demographics, but also helps ensure you craft the right message. To pull this off, you’ll either have to gather this data on sign up or through a survey. Knowing a customer’s age and gender can also help you understand their interests and preferences.

Email List Cleaning – The Necessary Evil of Email List Management

Another aspect of email list management that you need to take seriously is list cleaning. Sure, having a huge email list is great for bragging rights, but keeping inactive subscribers will cost you as you will experience high bounce rates and low open rates. This is dangerous as it can adversely affect your sender reputation. In essence, list cleaning will help you to run an efficient, targeted campaign.

Apart from segmenting your email lists, you should thoroughly clean them. Yes, as much as you may want to have an email list that is bursting at the seams, email list management best practices demand that you clean your list regularly.

Email list cleaning involves (among other things) identifying and removing:

  • Duplicate email addresses
  • Inactive subscribers
  • Defunct email addresses

Removing these kinds of subscribers is important as it helps ensure that you to avoid spam complaints and reduce your bounce rates. It will also help to maintain the efficiency of your marketing strategy.

How to Deal with Inactive Subscribers

An inactive subscriber is one that has not engaged with your emails for:

  • A certain period
  • A number of emails

For this type of subscribers, you have two options. First, you should try to re-engage them with targeted emails and incentives such as discounts or deals. Some will respond to your re-engagement campaign while others won’t. For those who don’t respond to your re-engagement campaign, you can take the second route – removing them from your list.

Defining Objectives for Each Segment – The Key to a Wildly Successful Email Campaign

When segmenting your email lists, it is important to consider your objectives or desired outcome of your marketing campaign – particularly for each segment. The strategy for each section should also fit in with your overall marketing strategy. You should consider the type of customer in each segment and what they need from your company. Some common objectives you can set for your segments can include (but are not limited to):

  • Inform
  • Engage
  • Drive sales
  • Onboard new customers
  • Re-engaging inactive subscribers
  • Scheduling a demo

Defining your objectives will help you create an effective email marketing strategy and craft a message that will inspire the right response.

Using Data for Future Campaigns

Every time you send a marketing email, you can use it to gather the information you can use to fine-tune future emails. You can learn a lot of very useful information that you can then use to improve future marketing communications. If you carry out effective segmentation for one campaign, you will gather more information that you can use to segment future lists even more successfully. If you get disappointing returns from one campaign, you can still use the data to build a better campaign.

This is why email list management is crucial to the success of your email marketing campaigns.

Email List Management – The Lifeblood of Every Marketing Campaign

A healthy email list is essential to achieving your business goals and increasing your ROI. Therefore, never, under any circumstances, send run an email marketing campaign on a stale list. Proper management of your email list will ensure that your business enjoys a healthy growth and an increased bottom line.

So, go ahead and start implementing email list management best practices.

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Applying the principles of dating in email marketing

Email marketing is effective only if you can build an amicable relationship with the subscriber. Isn’t it the same way in dating? To win over someone, you ought to befriend him or her. After all, friendship is at the cynosure of all successful love relationships. Similarly, if you become friends with your subscribers and understand them well, you can create better emails that deliver more value.

With that said, email marketing is a lot similar to dating. Here’re some key similarities between the two.

1.   Try to build trust with your subscriber

Trust is the foundation of all relationships. It enables effective communication and holds the relationship together. You would not go on a date with a stranger or with someone you do not trust. Same applies to your subscribers. If they cannot trust you, they would neither buy from you nor engage with your email.  To put it in other words, when you have a date, you know the details of that person. From whom you are meeting to how do they look like, you have all the information about them. You don’t just randomly knock on a stranger’s door and expect them to go on a date with you. The same is the case with email marketing too. When a prospective buyer connects with you, they are surely going to expect some value from you. So, get going and offer them something worth valuing. From an informative newsletter and a creative welcome email to an exciting discount, there are lots of ways to make your best first impression in front of your subscribers. Remember, the first goal of any email marketing campaign is to know your subscribers well while winning their trust. Therefore, rather than jumping towards conversations and profits, you should better go with the flow and extract details about your subscribers. Take this analogy into account – when you go on your first date, you don’t think about getting married right away. You look towards knowing your date and hanging out a bit before taking the big leap. In short, whether it is email marketing or dating, it is all about hitting the right chord at the right time, thereby building life long, trustworthy relationship.

2. Knowing about interests is the key

If you have dated anyone, you would understand how important it is to know about the interests and preferences of your respective partner. From their food preferences to movie interests, you need to know it all to have a worthwhile dating experience. Consequently, email marketing is no different. You need to get hold of your customer’s likes and dislikes to have a long-lasting relationship with them. Therefore, you must let the customers decide the type of information they are looking forward to getting delivered in their inbox. Once you know about their interests, make sure to send content that’s relevant to their interests and see how it makes them convert with ease while elevating your ROI and profits like never before.

3. Communication is critical

Communication is important. Regardless of it being a relationship or an email marketing campaign, striking a chord with your partner and customer is imperative. However, doing all the talking alone can have a negative impact. Imagine going on a date and doing all the conversation all by yourself without giving another person the chance to put their thoughts forward. Your date will get bored for sure. The key to a successful date is not only interesting but, being interested too. This would ensure that your date goes smoothly filled with conversations that flow effortlessly. This same process goes with email marketing too.  You can build a genuine connection with your subscriber if you let them speak their mind. Asking for reviews, feedbacks, creating polls can help you do the needful. The replies can be both positive or negative. However, if you listen to it carefully, you would understand what your customer actually wants. It is a great way of interacting and bonding with your customer on a personal level.

 4. Be consistent in your approach

Irrespective of it being a dating or email marketing, if you want to build a strong relationship, you need to do it regularly and be consistent in your approach. However, make sure your approach doesn’t get redundant. Well, just the way you keep date life fresh with a little bit change. Sometimes it is a dinner date and sometimes it’s a casual hang out at your house, these little transformations make life fun. Similarly, you can keep your email marketing campaign top-notch by sending regular emails. Remember not to be over-enthusiastic though. It’s better to experiment with different elements of your campaign such as fonts, layouts, discounts and offers to understand what resonates with customers and makes them responsive.

5. Keep it simple and subtle

Nobody likes a clingy partner. The ones that constantly keep nagging you, asking your whereabouts every time you are not with them. The same goes with email marketing too. After all, irritating your customers with a lot of emails is the last thing that you would want to do, right? Spamming your customers will only put you in the blacklist, resulting in damaged brand reputation. So, you better put out your best strategic foot forward and plan an email campaign that grows your relationship with customers smoothly. Sending reminders, newsletters and sales pitches are some of the many ways to devise your email campaign properly. In addition, a surprise mail with a discount once in a while is also a great idea to boost that relationship further.

Wrap up

Dating, if done right can be the first step towards a fulfilling relationship. From being truthful and interesting to be able to carry out a conversation and make a personal connection, these are few of the many ways that a good partner does. Similarly, email marketing is done in an apt way can easily convert emails into sales. All you need to do is take elements like relevancy, personalization, consistency and simplicity into account and you are good to go.

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How to Send Birthday Emails That Connect? – A Detailed Guide

There’s no marketing channel better than email marketing. We’ve heard it a hundred times and accepted it once and for all. With several technological advancements we’re sending all sorts of emails – action triggered, automated, order related etc. to connect with our subscribers. They love it too. But you know what still entices us the most? Good wishes that come our way on our special days! Birthday emails are thus important and will always be.

Birthday Emails, but WHY?

Let’s leave the emotional angle behind. Let’s look at what statistics say. According to Experian as compared to promotional emails, birthday emails have:

  • A 481% higher transaction rate
  • 342% higher revenue per email
  • 179% higher unique click rates

Undoubtedly, birthday emails stand out as the most effective emails a marketer can send.

Every business MUST send Birthday emails because:

  • They are a delight for the customers. Anyone would feel special on receiving a personalized wish and offer, isn’t it?
  • They accelerate conversion rates as the exclusive offer/ discount are tempting for the subscribers who are quite likely to shop around their birthdays.
  • They are likely to activate the inactive customers. The personalization and discount coupon combo might just click with some subscribers.

Well, now that you know how important it is to send birthday emails to your subscribers, let’s dive into what are the basic requirements for these emails.

You need data. You need to know when your subscriber’s birthday is.

Three ways to collect subscribers’ birth date

  1. Ask for their birthday when they are subscribing to your newsletter/ emails. Simply add a birthday field to your sign-up form.
  2. Ask on your double opt-in screen
  3. If you have missed out on both these occasion, you can always encourage them to update their profile which includes their birthday, like this email from Steakhouse.

Suggestion: Keep your form as short and simple as possible so people actually complete the information.

Great! Now you have their birthday. What next? It’s important to understand that there’s much more to a birthday email than just a wish and businesses are leaving no stone unturned in order to please their potential subscribers.

Types of welcome emails with examples:

  1. A warm birthday wish

Basic as it may seem, a warm wish can bring a smile on the recipient’s face and this builds your brand’s recall value. Take a look at this email from Facebook. It’s simple yet eye-catching and it’s personalized!

Source: Really Good Emails

  1. Irresistible Discount Coupon/ Free Gift/ Free shipping on the occasion

Birthdays are about gifts and surprises, aren’t they? Most businesses use the tactic of sending special discounts for the subscriber or offering gifts or free shipping on the special occasion. This email from Pizza Express is all about inviting the subscriber to celebrate their birthday at Pizza Express but they do it subtly by offering a free drink because it’s the subscriber’s birthday. Great one!

Some go the extra mile, offering a discount or coupon code that can be redeemed anytime during the entire birthday month. Check out these emails from National Geographic and Nike:

                                                                                                                                           Source: Really Good Emails

Sending a birthday email series

Just like it works for welcome emails, it works for birthday emails too. It’s always better to send a series of birthday emails or a drip campaign rather than sending just one email and hoping for the best to happen. Here’s how you can do it:

Email

When to send

What to send

Email 1 7 days before subscriber’s birthday Present the offer well before the birthday, so they can get their order delivered before their birthday
Email 2

On subscriber’s birthday Warm birthday wish + Offer
Email 3 7 days after subscriber’s birthday Reminding them about the exclusive offer

Take a look at this email from Figleaves, which they sent before the subscriber’s actual birthday.

The second email, the one from Subway, is sent after the subscriber’s birthday. It has been sent to remind them about the offer they are missing out on.

                                                                                                                                              Source: Really Good Emails

Birthday Email Best Practices

Automate for convenience

It is not possible for any business to manually send a birthday email to all their subscribers. Automation turns this tedious and time-consuming task into an easy one. You set up automation, and an email is automatically delivered to the subscriber’s inbox on their birthday. Well, around 51% of companies are currently using marketing automation.

Personalize for better engagement

Nearly 90% of retail marketers are using personalization and they are doing so because it works. First name personalization, while it may seem like an old tactic, works well in birthday emails.

Runtastic, in this birthday email start off on the right note by personalizing the subject line. The subject line says, ‘A Gift For You: Happy Birthday, Smiles Davis’

Source: Really Good Emails

Write a clear & creative CTA

You have taken all the efforts to create this birthday email campaign because you want your subscriber to shop and your revenue to increase. So, a CTA plays a big role here. You want the subscriber to take action, click on the CTA and visit your website; the CTA must be bright, bold, to the point and creative.

Draft a crisp copy

While words can convey a thousand emotions, in today’s busy life, pictures work better. So, keep your copy crisp. At the same time, make sure you have put up everything you want to convey.

Create graphics that delight

Like stated earlier, you need to be really good with the graphics. Use colors, fonts, and design styles that are striking. Make the email look like a celebration of sorts. Wish to create a GIF? Go ahead. Make the email ‘fun’.

Develop a responsive email

How many of you open your emails on a desktop and how many on your mobile devices? The latter number is definitely growing. According to Litmus, 42% of email is now opened on a mobile device. To make sure that your efforts don’t go down the drain, develop a responsive email that looks perfectly fine no matter what device your subscriber uses – desktop or mobile.

Wrapping Up

Birthday email is a form of personalized email and there’s no second thought about the fact that personalized emails perform better that blast emails. While it is essential that you send a birthday email to your subscribers to build brand reputation and a personal connect, it is also important to do it the right way and follow the best practices to ensure a better ROI.

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HOLD OUT GROUPS

Email Marketing: What’s a Hold Out Group and Why You Should Use Them

What is Holdout Group Testing?

Holdout testing is the process of reviewing your email marketing program to quantify if the campaigns being sent are generating increased engagement/conversions vs not sending anything. Are these campaigns/automation really giving an incremental increase in engagement/conversions/revenue that would otherwise not be realized.

This is like an A/B test, as it has two segments, but one segment receives no emails.  They are excluded from the mailings.  You then measure the purchase/conversion behavior of the two segments to define the level of increased engagement that the segment being emailed has over the segment being excluded.  In most cases (one would hope), the group receiving email will have a higher conversion rate.

More to think about:

There are many costs to factor in after you get the results.  You need to weigh the cost of the email program you are testing.  Cost of the ESP to send the campaigns, cost to design, code, test, and setup/deploy the campaigns, count your manhours.  Use that as part of the cost of doing campaigns.  A small increase in revenue may be outweighed by the costs of that program.

Depending on your list size, type of campaign/automation and mailing frequency, this type of test may take 30-90 days to complete.

Why you should do this?

The main reason for running holdout tests is to understand if you are cannibalizing natural sales that would have happened if no marketing email were sent. For an e-Commerce company that regularly sends discounts and/or offers to its customers, this process enables you to determine if those discounts/offers are in some way cannibalizing the profits of your business. The worst-case scenario for the company would be the segment of customers who did not receive an email end up purchasing your products at the same or higher rate. That essentially means you’re giving away your profit margin when it’s not needed.

Let’s use a Cart Abandonment program as an example:

If you are doing testing, running a cart abandonment program or really any email marketing you should have a holdout group.  A holdout group is a group that does not get that specific type of mailing.  That’s your baseline of “what if we didn’t send them anything?  What is there natural progression through the buyer journey if not prodded by email.

For example: If you run a cart abandonment program, you should first know what your natural cart abandonment return rate is with no program running.  In other words, how many people come back on their own, with no messaging to buy what’s in their cart.  How many come back the first day, the second day, the third and so on.

Once you know your natural return rate you can then measure the true value of a program.  If your natural return (conversion) rate is 5% and when running your program, you see a total of an 11% return rate, then you know the program generated an additional 6% return.  The program didn’t create 15% because you now know your natural return is 6%.  Those percentages will change month-over-month so reviewing your programs regularly is imperative.

Now you can measure true revenue (to a point, as there will always be variables out of your control that will affect results) from that program as well.  If over a 12-month period the natural returns delivered an average of $10,000 per month, and the Program total delivered $22,000 per month, you know the programs value over the baseline natural return.  These numbers will vary over time with some peaks and valleys and will be influenced by sales and holidays, so adjust as needed.

Wrapping this up:

Some companies hold out 10% of subscribers (sometimes using a dynamic segment of subscribers for each test process) as a complete blackout during testing or all year.  If you have a very effective and robust email marketing program, it seems silly to ignore the boost of revenue to that 10% group, so I suggest doing your testing a few months each year but shift the test months each year.  If you are an e-commerce company and do heavy volume/revenue during the holidays, don’t test then, grab all the revenue you can during the holidays.  Test throughout the rest of the year.

It should be noted that if you are going to test or do a holdout group, your segment or list size should be at very least 50,000 subscribers.  Anything less would be statistically irrelevant.  Also, make sure your holdout group matches the sending group.  If you are sending to actives, the hold group should be actives.  Don’t use a random segment process, random tends to be anything but random.  Try to give fair advantage to each group to succeed/fail equally.

Thanks for stopping by our blog and if you’ve found this valuable, please share it on your social channels.

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If you need help with this type of testing or any other aspect of your email marketing program, we offer a free 30-minute phone consultation.  No hard sell just a call to see if we might be a fit for your needs.  Contact us here.

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Black Friday Email Inspirations: Amp up Your Email Conversion Rate

According to Finder, 86% Americans are planning to spend their hard-earned cash on pre-Christmas sales like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Singles Day. Adobe Analytics has predicted that retailers will bring in as much as $7.5 billion on Black Friday in 2019, which is more than 20% increase over 2018.

As the big Friday of 29th November is just around the corner, we are here with awe-inspiring email examples that would help you up the email game this Holiday season.

1.AppliancesConnection.com

Subject line: Black Friday Deals on LG Signature Kitchen Packages

The brand has sent an interesting email with perfect imagery to encourage purchases. Although the images are appealing enough, the design seems a bit overwhelming for the recipient. However, the good part is that they have included their offer right at the top of the email.

  2. Bella Ella Boutique, LLC

Subject line: New markdowns up to 70% off

The email begins by creating a sense of urgency in the subscriber’s mind with the statement “16 DAYS UNTIL BLACK FRIDAY”. It will tempt the subscriber to get on the VIP text list by building “fear of missing out”. The hero image is catchy and informs the subscriber about the exciting 70% off. The email also has attractive images to display the dresses on sale. They have used fancy typography to lay emphasis on specific sections of the email. The last section with GIFs is also quite engaging for the reader.

3. Mattress Firm

Subject line: Want a bigger bed AND up to $600 in savings?

With a nice preheader text and view in browser link, the email follows all the best practices of creating an email. Furthermore, it also breaks the monotony by doing away with the column layout. Besides their Black Friday sale- early access, they have also promoted the military offer for Veteran’s Day.

4. saferwholesale.com

Subject line: Black Friday Preview – Up To $40 OFF DELIVERY @ SaferWholesale – Call Now!

It is a short and sweet email that perfectly syncs with the mood of Black Friday. The black and red color are perfectly used to create that festive aura. It adheres to the best practice of having 80:20 text to image ratio. There are three different CTAs the correctly redirect the reader to the relevant landing page.

Over to you

If you are struggling with a resource crunch and looking for professional email templates for the Holiday season, just share your requirements with us and we would love to help you out.

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Thanksgiving Day Email Inspirations to Boost Your Sales

Thanksgiving Day is one of the most favorite holidays in America. In 2018, 165M+ shopped over the Thanksgiving period of five days. 65% of Thanksgiving weekend shoppers said deals drove them to buy. Moreover, it is predicted that total US retail sales will reach 3.8% to $1.008 trillion. If you want to make the most of the first-ever trillion-dollar holiday season, you should focus on creating better emails that would give you the best results in terms of conversions

That said, let’s have a look at the email inspirations for Thanksgiving Day.

1. Adorable Essentials

Subject line: Spice Pumpkin & Grace Dress 50% Off – Perfect for Thanksgiving!!

The hero image perfectly matches the colors of fall and gives Thanksgiving Day vibes to the email recipient. The offer is highlighted in plain text so that there is no renderability issue and all the recipients are able to know the purpose of the email. It is an important aspect of email accessibility too. The email ends with promoting their reward program and social media icons.

It would have been good to have a preheader and link to view the email online.

2. 41 Olive

Subject line: Make Your Thanksgiving Feast That Much Better!

The email has talked about their offer right in the hero image, along with a clear CTA. The next section showcases the flavors of Fall with distinct CTAs for each product. Also, note how the fonts change in each section. It is a good idea to share the map of the store in the last section followed by the links to Facebook and Twitter social profiles.

3. BannerBuzz

Subject line: Thanksgiving Cheer Comes Early This Year!

It is a perfectly designed email with a “View in Browser” link and contact details mentioned right at the top of the email. They have clearly conveyed their offer and the code to avail it. The CTA is included in the first fold to drive more conversions. They have promoted their individual products in the next section with separate CTAs for each. The theme of the email matches the Thanksgiving season quite well.

4. Rue La La

Subject line: Gather ’round! Thanksgiving Weekend Style is on.

Rue La La sends out a short and sweet email to promote their Thanksgiving Day outfits for different purposes. The GIF is sure to grab the attention of the email subscribers and entice them to make the purchase.

However, it would have been better to have more informative alt-text for this email.

5. Jeni’s Ice Creams

The hero image is enough to tempt the recipient to try out their delicious ice creams but in case it’s not, the supporting copy would do the magic. The email follows all the email marketing as well as design best practices to ensure maximum conversions.

So, are you set to design an awesome Thanksgiving Day email and amp up your sales?

If you need any assistance for your holiday email marketing, let Inbox Army be of help.

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WHY are You Sending that Email? Really, Why?

Whenever you get ready to send an email campaign, do you ever ask yourself, “Why am I sending this email?”

You should ask that key question every single time you plan to send a manual campaign or set up an automated campaign.  “Why” is the most important question!

When I ask people why they send some of their email campaigns, whether newsletters, promo emails, triggered messages or others, the answer I get the most is “Because we’ve always sent these.”

Sorry to be blunt, but that’s not a good answer.

This tells me they have not defined their campaign goal. They might have a general idea – to drive more sales, perhaps – but no real plan to be successful. Just send, repeat, and hope for the best.

Knowing your “Why” will lead you to understand all the reasons you have for sending an email: to announce a sale, offer a discount, promote an event, inform or educate, drive or nurture sales leads, and many more.

Define your “Why” and then clearly define your GOAL for that “Why.”  Without a defined goal, you’ll find it hard to measure success.  Have clear KPIs to track, such as revenue, form fills, whitepaper or other collateral downloads win-back opens or clicks, and more.

Knowing your “Why” helps you decide on the other important Ws:

Who? Who will receive your email?  Who is your target, list, segment?

What? What is the message/content/creative/value for your recipients?

When? When will your send your email? Date, time, action trigger?

Where? Where will your email send people who click? To a sale page, product page, download page? Does the landing page continue the email’s message or content?  Is it branded the same?

Too often I see retail emails promote multiple products but send customers to the homepage or a category page. Your customers expect to go directly to the page for the product they clicked on.

What are your goals?

Once you know your Ws, decide on the goals and KPIs to track. Set up a process to review how close you came to hitting them.  If you are testing different aspects of your email (and you should), ask the same questions above for every touchpoint are you testing:

  • Opens
  • Clicks-to-opens rate
  • Conversions or revenue
  • Landing page conversions (form fills, calls, downloads, etc.)

Include the landing-page review as part of the process.  Many email campaigns succeed by one measure (opens or clicks) but fail in the long run because the landing page didn’t continue with the same message or had too many barriers for a successful journey to the goal.

Do you plan to use coupon codes? Use a unique code for each message. Don’t share that code with other channels.  If you promote a discount code on web, social or email, each channel should have its own code to track conversions and attribution.

Design your campaigns with mobile and your audience.

Over 50% of all emails are opened on mobile devices. Ensure they render properly, that links and buttons are “fat-finger friendly.”

If you email to an older audience, consider using larger fonts. Also, avoid light-grey text. It’s difficult to read for those with aging eyesight. Your landing page/site should be mobile friendly as well.

Wrapping up

If you always ask “Why” before sending any email, you will find your planning will change. At the very  least, you’ll know you are planning and targeting properly with clear goals.

Good luck, and may your deliverability be high and your conversions higher!

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