Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Expand the reach of your message through “Share Within Your Network”

When it comes to email marketing, the goal is to expand the reach of your message. Campaigns generally have the option for users to “Refer to a Friend,” which gives the reader an opportunity to forward the message along to someone they know.

This concept seems natural, but is it the most effective means of spreading your reach? The easy answer is no. With social media now leading online activity, email marketers should look to embrace “social sharing.”

With one click of a mouse, readers can share a message within their social network. According to Facebook.com, the average user has 140 friends who can potentially view your newsletter.

Tell a friend campaigns, or TAF-as we refer to them here at KobeMail, are soon to be a thing of the past. Consumer reports show that subscribers don’t normally trust marketers to behave responsibly with their own email addresses, let alone the email addresses of their friends. The main issue with TAF campaigns is that they are marketer-centric, and in order for a campaign to be truly successful, they must be customer-centric!

By inserting a tab within the email campaign that would allow the reader to share the message with their online community, the marketer can reach a much broader audience with little to no extra effort. The posted content can be tracked for reporting, as can the number of clicks that the posting generated.

The social sharing tool enables the reader to publish the email newsletter right to his or her Facebook or Twitter account. There is a lot less friction with this format compared to the normal TAF approach. The referring subscriber does not have to turn over any identifying information, whether it is their own email address or those of their friends.

Companies need to enhance their brand presence online. The audience reading the message can drastically increase simply by adding an option on the message to “Share with your network.”

Studies suggest that TAF campaigns will be overtaken by “SWYN” campaigns over the course of the next 18 months. At KobeMail, we want our partners to stay ahead of the curve, which is why we are promoting this concept. In order to best serve our client, we have to think as the client. When it comes to email marketing, the reach of the message is what drives sales. Sharing your message through social media networks is the easiest and most efficient way for your message to reach a larger audience.

Author: Courtney Dillsworth

Editor: Peter Schirripa

Monday, December 20, 2010

Holiday Strategy

With the fast approaching holiday season right around the corner, it’s time once again to start thinking about how, as an email marketer, you can increase your ROI. Consumers are predicted to cut spending this year, which is going to mean-as retailers-you need to tighten your pocket books too. Luckily, though, email continues to generate the greatest ROI over other marketing channels. Think about it – there are no postage stamps or envelopes attached to emails and the turnaround for conversions is much faster.

Businesses will benefit more greatly this holiday season by focusing on sending out well-targeted email campaigns and promotions rather than the usual holiday circulars that fill our mailboxes beginning right around Thanksgiving.

In 2010, it’s important to include links to all of your social media sites in each of your mailings. This will allow you to essentially market to a huge pool of new and un-targeted consumers for absolutely no cost. This, in turn, will likely boost your ROI because previously uninformed potential customers are now fully aware of your store’s amazing holiday promotions and gift ideas.

Remember that December is the largest shopping month, so start testing ASAP if you haven’t already. Compare your 2009 campaigns sent in November and December to see where you can improve for this year’s strategies. At KobeMail, we offer a great reporting tool called Campaign Comparison as part of our application. This allows you to take a few campaigns and see the reporting for each side by side and compare directly where each campaign performed best. With the KobeMail Campaign Comparison option, you can put together a well optimized and finely tuned campaign for your 2010 holiday mailing strategy.

Author: Peter Schirripa

Editor: Courtney Dillsworth

Friday, December 17, 2010

Last Minute Holiday Sending

Our inboxes are fuller during the holidays than any other time of the year. The digital world is filling your mailboxes with emails from every brand you have ever subscribed to. It is important to not only land in the inbox of your subscribers, but to differentiate your message from the zillions of others so it will stick out and ultimately lead to a sale of your product or service.

During this season, subscribers certainly have spending on their minds. Here are two suggestions from KobeMail on how to tweak your email campaign to bolster your chances of a sale:

1. 1 1. Keep it Social

We’ve written before about the importance of social media integration into your email campaigns, but now we have another suggestion: offer incentives. Facebook makes it very easy for readers to be “fans” of your company, so you should be taking advantage of that. Instead of just featuring redirect links to your Facebook or Twitter page, give your readers the chance to gain something out of it. Offer your subscribers an incentive for clicking your social media links. You can say something like “Become a fan and get 20% off of your first purchase.”Make your readers feel privileged to be a part of your social media campaign.

2. Dedicated Messages

Even if you are selling a product or service that is holiday oriented, there are most likely hundreds of other companies who fall under that same umbrella. A great idea to differentiate your message is to partner with a popular email digest that is known for delivering a unique voice to a loyal audience of fans. This is a useful technique when you want to expand the reach of your message. There are plenty of online newsletters out there that could be a great potential partner.

It can be difficult to attract the attention of consumers during this busy holiday season. Online shoppers go through a plethora of emails, so it is important to make your message unique and targeted. Email campaigns and sponsorships can help marketers get to the inbox while increasing sales. Use these two techniques and you’ll be sure to find success this holiday season.

Author: Peter Schirripa

Editor: Courtney Dillsworth

Thursday, December 9, 2010

10 Essential Numbers

As email marketers we’re all responsible for knowing what seems like hundreds of figures. At KobeMail, we’d like to make it easy for you. Here are the 10 most important numbers you should know.

1. The Percentage of NEW site visitors who sign up for your newsletter
According to Jeanne Jennings of Marketing Sherpa, new site visitors can increase conversion rates up to 25%.
2. Abandon rate for new user sign up
This number will show you at exactly what point users are abandoning your sign up page and will allow you to optimize it for more conversions.
3. List size
It’s important to know how many users you’re reaching out to each time you send a campaign.
4. Monthly list growth rate
This will give you an idea of your overall campaign performance. Are users signing up or unsubscribing?
5. Bounce rate
This will show you how clean your lists are and how your creatives are scoring spam-wise.
6. Open rate
This will show you how effective your subject lines and from names are
7. Click through rate
This will tell you if your link placement is good and if your content is engaging and relevant
8. Conversion rate
You should know the conversion rate for the bottom line of your campaigns, which is the overall number.
9. Return on investment
This is the revenue generated for each dollar spent.
10. Dollar value of an email address
You can get this figure by dividing the revenue from all of your email efforts by the average number of people on your lists. Knowing how much 1 email is worth allows you to realistically know how much to spend on list acquisition.

Our KobeMail application puts all of these figures into one place in easy to read charts. For more information, please feel free to contact us.

Author: Courtney Dillsworth

Editor: Peter Schirripa, Yasifur Rahman

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Customer Testimonials Build Better Email Campaigns

Let’s be honest- if you offer a great product or service, you will most likely have a successful time selling it. The goal is always to accelerate sales. Including customer testimonials in your email marketing campaigns is a great way of improving sales. The perspective of peers is very valuable information to prospective customers. It provides them with a view of your products or services they can trust.

It helps prospective customers to learn from others’ experiences, particularly their peers. Testimonials give them a better sense of the level and quality of results they can expect to see. As a marketer, testimonials are generally free pieces of sales collateral you can get from your clients or consumers. When incorporating testimonials into your email, here are a few things to consider:

1. Define a clear objective. What demographic of prospective clients are you trying to reach? What action do you want them to take after reading the testimonial? What will they need to hear from the testimonial in order to take action?

2. Ask every customer for a testimonial. This suggestion might sound bold, but when you truly think about it, it’s risk free. Aside from using their testimonials in your favor to promote your products or services, they’re also are a free way to gauge what your existing clientele finds the most appealing about your company.

3. Make it clear to your customers how you are going to use their testimonials. To get the most out of customer testimonials, they need to be effective. Tell your customers what you are trying to accomplish. Aside from having a testimonial shaped the way you want, it also gives your clients a feeling of comfort. It will make it easier for them to write how they truly feel.

4. Make it specific and short. The most effective testimonials are very precise. They should document specific experiences and services. People tend to be unaffected by general testimonials. The more focused, the better the results will be.

Customers turn to testimonials in order to learn from others’ experiences. You want to make sure that you have a lot of testimonials so you can insert them on a rotating basis. Testimonials should be featured in an obvious location within your creatives so they’re effective.

Help your clients help you! KobeMail has a few clients who currently feature client testimonials within their email campaigns. Feel free to reach out to us to see how they can influence your email marketing!

Author: Peter Schirripa

Editor: Anthony Lee