The tactics are coming in full force around the topic of Marketing today for tomorrow’s holiday shoppers. As much of the retail industry is having meetings three times a week (this started in July)solid plans are still in preparation. What this means for software companies and advertisers is a greater chance to introduce new services to the industry before plans are concrete.
Last year what did you do for your brand that was outside of the box? Most of the big box brands followed the same tactics that they’ve done year after year achieving some of the same or some less than spectacular results. In most polls that Zoom Email Marketing (http://zoomemailmarketing.com) conducted by The Directory52 Network, it showed that nearly 68% of small to mid-level retailers spent meeting in a creative space and developed out-of-the-box concepts that had a greater return than the previous years.
Of course we have Direct Mail and Postal Circulars which gain about a 15% increase in market share but the two big tickers were Email and Social Media. When I say social media, I am speaking of the big four (Facebook, Twitter, Email and Mobile). These locations filled with helpful apps were the source of over 30% of all revenues seen. So now I ask, what will your plan for Q4 include?
Some companies like Bronto (http://bronto.com) have already started their influx of emails to marketers on LinkedIn and beyond offering tips, tricks and secrets to navigate successfully this holiday season. Now I am sure most of you may be thinking “Its Christmas Already?” and of course it is not, but the time to prepare is always 90 days and beyond. If you have not already started your planning, you should mark on your calendars for August 25th as the spit fire deadline to create your genius plan.
Posted by Chris Richardson
The holiday season is fast approaching, and seeing how it’s a time where Internet store owners make a great deal of the revenue, now is the time to start preparing for your holiday newsletter campaign. There are a number of resources you can use to help make the preparation an easier task, because engaging potential consumers correctly will only help your marketing efforts.
Over at the Email Marketing Reports site, they have compiled a list of resources any good email marketer can use. It should be noted that, even though there is two months until Christmas, if you wait until the last minute to roll out a new holiday season marketing campaign, you stand a good chance of missing out on a great deal of the holiday spending.
Keep in mind that directly after the brick-and-mortar stores enjoy their Black Friday — the day after Thanksgiving, of course — the Internet enjoys what is now referred to as Cyber Monday. For those who may not know, Cyber Monday is the first Monday following Thanksgiving, and it’s quickly been acknowledged as the biggest online shopping day of the year.
This means any effective email campaign targeting Cyber Monday needs to be active before Thanksgiving, which brings us back to EMR’s list of resources that was made to assist you with an effective holiday season marketing effort. The list is as follows:
- Retail Email Guide to the Holiday Season 2011: the big 51 page report from Chad White…full of information on what top retailers did last year, plus advice on how to approach timing, frequency and an array of seasonal email tactics.
- Planning for the holidays: a long list of questions to ask when reviewing what you did last time…thus laying the foundation for this season’s campaigns.
- Holidays ahead of time: advice for (small) business on what might go into holiday emails, with an emphasis on standing out from the typical “X%-off” promotions.
- Holiday retail email ideas: tips, suggestions and warnings on how to ramp up your email marketing in time for Q4 and then make more use of the seasonal opportunity.
- Top 10 steps: ideas for planning and preparing campaigns in advance of the holiday season.
- Top 12 dates: list of key dates and events around which to plan appropriate holiday messaging.
- A holiday marketing story: access a 10-page download outlining specific tactics and approaches to follow to get the most out of seasonal email campaigns.
- Here come the holidays: suggests you get optimization and testing done before the holiday rush.
- Holiday preparedness: 4 tips to help ensure seasonal success isn’t hampered by delivery issues.
- Holiday season will be bigger: brief tips on the overall approach to take to Q4.
- Retail email campaign planner: access a free and cute .pdf holiday campaign calendar off this (sales) page.
- Holiday email trends: offers predictions on the tactics retailers will favor and/or should take a closer look at.
As the publication points out, this list is by no means comprehensive, but it is a great starting point. EMR also indicates they will be adding more resources to the list, so keep it bookmarked if you need further direction. Now get to work on that killer holiday season marketing campaign because time’s running out and Christmas will be here before you know it.
Starting from Square One
If you just started your business, or if you just launched your website, you probably don’t have an email list to send to. So what do you do?
Ways To Grow Your Opt-In List:
- Place your email newsletter signup form on your home page .
- Link to your signup form from every page of your website (you might add a link to your footer, or side navigation).
- Place a link to your email signup form in your email signature (ask everyone in your company to do it too)
- Add the link to your signup form in all the invoices your company sends
- Offer free giveaways to one lucky subscriber (it can be a company t-shirt, or something kooky, like a 20 pound box of banana candy).
- Post free whitepapers or helpful articles on your site. They’ll get downloaded like crazy, if you just offer them for free, and with no registration. Inside your whitepaper, place your own “full page ad” to your newsletter.
- Send out personal, one-to-one emails to all your clients, and ask them to please signup to your newsletter.
- In your “Contact Us” form on your website, add a checkbox to “signup for our newsletter”
- Add an “opt-in for our newsletter” checkbox in your e-commerce checkout page.
Already Have a List of Customers?
What if you already have an email list of customers that you’ve been doing business with for years? Well, just because they’re your customers, it doesn’t mean they want to start receiving your email newsletters.
Let’s say you run a small consultancy with a couple dozen clients who are very close to you. If you just assume they’d want your newsletter, and you subscribe them to your list without their permission, you’re just going to irritate a lot of them (or worse, get yourself reported as a spammer). I’ve had colleagues start their own companies, and then add me to their lists. It’s kind of awkward clicking the opt-out link in those emails, know what I mean?
If you’ve got an e-commerce store, you’re probably sitting on a huge email list of customers who have purchased something from you in the past. But if they didn’t check a box for email marketing, or if you haven’t emailed them anything in years, you shouldn’t start sending them emails out of the blue. If only 0.1% of your customers forgot who you are, and report your campaign as spam, you could get blacklisted.
So what the heck can you do? It’s simple, but surprisingly few email marketers bother. They’re so excited about sending their first campaign, they throw politeness out the door.
If you have a list of customer email addresses, and you want to start sending them email marketing, but you don’t have their permission yet, ask them for permission.
Send a “Re-Introduction Email.” It’s extremely effective, and best of all, it’s polite. You just put together a personal note. Write it like you’d write to a friend. Here are some examples for different scenarios:
“Hi Jane, we’d like to stay in touch with our customers and let them know about new developments in our industry. We’re starting up a company newsletter, and I’d love to include you on our list of subscribers. If you’re up for it, just click the link below to opt-in. As our way of thanking you, the Welcome Confirmation Email that you receive will include a link to a free whitepaper on…”
“Some time ago, you purchased something from our online store (SKU# 98765), and you indicated that you’d like to receive future email promotions from us. Well, we’ve finally gotten around to starting up a newsletter, and we just want to make sure you still want to hear from us. If you do, please click the link below to subscribe…”
“Some time ago, you purchased something from our online store (SKU# 98765), and you indicated that you’d like to receive future email promotions from us. Well, we’ve finally gotten around to starting up a newsletter (below is our first issue). If you don’t want to hear from us anymore, we totally understand. Just click here to unsubscribe from the list.”
“3 years ago, you came to our booth at the ACME Trade Show in Chicago. You signed up for more information about when we’d launch our XYZ Widget…”
The spam box is the bane of email marketers, and newsletter providers the world over. It’s a messy science to try and get past spam, even when you’re providing healthy content to your readership. Streamsend, an expert email marketing company, has put together seven steps in order to audit email deliverability.
In a press release, Dan Forootan, president of StreamSend Email Marketing had this to say, “Deliverability is the foundation for all email campaigns.” He continues, “Every email marketer, even those with seemingly satisfactory sending results, can benefit from taking an hour a month to perform a basic deliverability audit to make sure all the checks and balances are in place and to take the necessary action to improve deliverability. Here are the seven steps to make this happen.”
First and foremost, check delivery reports. Problems can’t be fixed if they’re never found. Studying reports, and finding the problems of certain emails is the first step to increasing deliverability for a campaign. Upon finding errors, and ISP blocks you can go about finding the solution to the problem.
Along with delivery reports, keeping up with open rates for email domains is a vital tool of preemptively fixing a problem. There are many email services which are awful about bouncing emails back to the sender, which leave you with incomplete data. Checking open rates can help alleviate these discrepancies.
When data analysis and delivery reports aren’t enough, receiving feedback from your users can provide insight into how your emails are being received. Make sure you have the proper feedback loops channeled through your emails. Then you can use the feedback to help pinpoint problems with greater ease.
Most marketers have little understanding of how to utilize unsubscribe links. Though you never want a reader to unsubscribe from a newsletter, not having the link or utilizing improperly can be a huge detriment. If a potential reader receives a newsletter and they can’t find an unsubscribe link, then the next logical step is to mark it as spam. This is much worse than simply taking an unsubscribe, as spam data is compiled with certain email providers.
SPF (Sender Policy Framework) records are a vital aspect of deliverability when it comes to email. The SPF is located in the sender’s DNS, and is used verify a sender when an email is released. Be sure it’s reflecting back on you.
Test, test, test. You can never test an email enough. It’s never good to release a campaign in a hurry, as even the tiniest problem can send an email to the spam box. Therefore, it is imperative to keep tabs in how your email is being shown in various inboxes. You will also want to test deliverability based on the ISP of the recipient.
The identity of your email is based on the server IP from where it came. These IP’s have a reputation which leads to emails either being viewed as good email, or as spam. There are several tools out there which can provide you a report of how your IP is viewed by various ISPs and services.
If you are serious about your eMail Marketing, you definitely should!
INTEGRATION IS KEY!
DMA2010 is the global event covering all marketing channels — from traditional to digital — capitalizing on the principles of data and direct marketing as the underpinnings to enhance the end user experience and maximize ROI.
Unlike any other conference out there, DMA2010 is the ONLY event to focus on integration of both direct and digital marketing, covering every segment and channel!
There is no better way to maximize your marketing ROI and improve bottom line results than marketing integration — and that’s DMA2010’s mission!
DMA2010 is the Global ROI Marketing Event — taking data, direct, and digital to transform it into the one constant metric that all marketers agree on — ROI.
Who Should Attend?
DMA2010 Conference & Exhibition is incredibly helpful for marketing professionals with the following responsibilities:
» Database Marketing » Statistics
» Business Development » Customer Service
» Direct Mail Marketing » Product Development
» Web Marketing » Creative Direction
» Market Research » Circulation Copywriting
» Integrated Marketing » Web Design
» Brand Management » Broadcast
» Email Marketing » Multichannel Marketing
» DRTV » Production Management
» Insert Media » Teleservices
» Search Marketing » Mailing Services
» Strategic Analysis » Fulfillment
» Sales Merchandising » List Management
» E-commerce » List Compiling
» Communications » Direct Marketing Consulting
Research has shown that people need to be “exposed” to your products or services at least seven times before they will purchase. Your web site can help, but emailing your customers using automatic “follow up” emails can get the job done much quicker.
If you haven’t heard about “autoresponder emails”, they allow you to automatically send as many follow up emails to your web site visitors as you like. Once they sign up to your mailing list, you can use Zoom Email Marketing to schedule a series of 3, 4, 5 or even 20 follow up emails to be sent to each subscriber at separate intervals over a period of time.
For example, if someone subscribed to your mailing list today, you can schedule a series of 3 autoresponder emails to be sent to them automatically by Zoom Email Marketing. You might schedule the first one to go out 24 hours after they have subscribed with more information about your products/services.
The second might go out 48 hours after, with a free eBook or more content, and you might send the third one 72 hours after, including a link to buy your product with a discount. The possibilities are endless.
It’s a no-brainer that autoresponder emails can help increase sales, and the best thing is that once you’ve setup the autoresponder, you don’t need to do anything else — Z.E.M takes care of everything and will send the autoresponder emails at any time of the day, 7 days a week.