Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Few Simple Ways to Build Your Email List Using Twitter

Link Your Twitter Bio directly to an Opt-In Page
Its common knowledge that a link should be present on your twitter page that allows users to be directed to your website, now its time to take this concept one step further. Adding a prominent link that redirects to an opt-in form is the easiest way to encourage fast and easy email signups. This technique allows users to be added to your email db without having to search for the signup form on your website. Don't forget to track the clicks on this link to measure its effectivness comparitively in regards to ultimate conversions.

Schedule Newsletter focused Tweets
A Tweet that prompts users with a question like "Did you miss our newsletter?" or "Check out this great offer located in our montly newsletter" is a great way to increase readership. Even moreso, once the user clicks on the link located in the Tweet they should be prompted to Signup to recieve your mailings so they dont miss out in the future.

Offer A Deal
Offering a deal to Twitter followers that encourages sign-up and forwarding of your offer to friends is one of the best ways to increase reach and gain new users. Some sort of discount, trail, etc that can only be unlocked through opt-in and furthermore prompts the user to share the deal with friends will help spread the word and ultimetly increase your database size.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Lead Generation via Social Media Outlets

Is your organization currently utilizing Social Media channels to grow your database? Are you seeing positive results? If it’s working then you are on right track but if its not generating an ample number of daily leads then here are some questions to ask yourself in an attempt to find out what you’re doing wrong.
Are you looking for signups in the right place?
Most companies have started adding social media buttons to their websites, emails, and even started posting advertisements that link directly to these platforms instead of company websites.  As this practice becomes more and more common you must consider how to hone in on your target market specifically. Instead of blindly incorporating just any social media outlet to your primary marketing strategy prioritize your goals and analyze the users you’re trying to reach.
Is your content relevant and valuable to perspective customers?
Intriguing content is one of the most important aspects needed to grab and hold a user’s attention.  You can’t assume that individuals will buy your product just because they fit the mold of a potential customer, you must clearly convey the benefits to them. Utilizing well thought out content that is put across in an organized and exciting manner will help gain customer interest and maintain customer loyalty.
Are you utilizing clear call to actions that redirect to the proper location?
Be sure to have convenient and prominent spots to redirect a user to the information they are looking for regarding your product. It is also important to periodically make sure the links you have provided in the ads are working properly to ensure users can engage and convert without trouble. Consider not only where links are located about how many calls to action are present – does the user always have an opportunity to redirect without having to search for a link.
If you’re just getting started with Social Media, start with a few sites only and monitor traffic and conversion rates (how many people have actually completed the registration or bought your product) via these outlets.  Give these initial test outlets a couple of months and as always collect data and analyze in an attempt to set goals moving forward.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Power of Double Opt-In Emails

There are many ways to acquire a list, but how do you make sure the emails you are receiving are good? While building your user consumer base online it is important to consider sending a follow-up email to confirm the user email address - a mailer generally refer to as a “double opt-in” email confirmation. This is typically set up using an autoresponder which immediately shoots out and email when a live sign up takes place.

 I recently read about a test study in which the outcomes of the single opt-in method vs.  double opt-in was quantified and was surprised of the findings. The single opt-in methods the list grew larger quicker and lead to slightly more opens and conversions in the short term. So why use the double opt-in?

The main reason we suggest a double opt-in method for our clients is safety. A confirmation email can help eliminate users who are providing phony emails or the ones that will report you as spam as they may not remember signing up in the first place. It’s an initial step to help keep a good reputation across ISPs.  Asks yourself is its worth sending out to more emails that can ultimately ruin your reputation for a slight higher conversion initially or send out to less, maintain a good reputation, and building toward higher conversions.
Patience is virtue, and using a double opt-in method can get you a much healthier database and maintain your mailing image as a reputable source. Here at KobeMail we have seen the benefits of using this process and would recommend other to use. To find out more feel free to contact us at anytime or visit our website.  

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Truth About Banner Ad's

Banner advertisements that encourage recipient action are typically placed horizontally on top of the email or vertically on the left or right side and can help to increase clicks within mailing. Keep the following in mind when using banner images in emails:

Although the larger banners get more click throughs, placing a large image above the fold may take away from instantly viewed content, especially when users have not downloaded images.
Tracking banner ad’s individually is important in understanding the level of user engagement and making judgments about if and where to place ad’s in the future.   
Studies have shown that movement does generate higher click through rate but some moving or flashing banners can come across as spam and can take a while to load.  
Colors and text should complement the newsletter but should still stand out, the advertisement or image should work with the content.
If you are sending out to different emails different banners may be more relatable to each group. Target each group to receive the appropriate advertisement as you would with the newsletter content.  
Incentives like give-away, discounts or gift are good for attracting your reader’s eye but you don’t want an ad’s call to action to prevent the reader from exploring mailer content.
Banner advertisements are a good way to spread brand awareness, promotion products, and drive traffic to website.  Just remember - This could be the first step in attracting a customer but it is your website that will be the final step for converting. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tips for Email Follow-Ups

Below are some brief tips to consider when re-sending an email message to the same list of users, hope these help with future follow-up mailings

Hardbounces should be removed. To help avoid spam traps remove hardbounces from your lists. Removing hardbounces from your list before re-sending is necessary to help ensure proper inbox delivery. Sending to previously bounced users may hurt your reputation with the ISPs so it is important to continuously cleanse your database.    

Create new subject lines.  If you are sending a follow-up email to a portion of your database you may want to consider sending the message with a new subject line. This will keep the message “fresh” and allows you to test which headers work better than others.  An easy way to change the line while keeping the same message is adding a pretext, such as “Newsletter:” or “Don’t Forget-” which could also be used to stress urgency.

Review Content. If you are going to re-send the same email take a look at the content and analyze which links were clicked on more than others. What call-to-actions worked best? Once those questions are answered you may want to tweak your email before re-sending to get better results.

Remove users who have converted. If you are sending a follow up email remove the users who have already converted. Those users would have no need of a follow-up email, may not open the email again, and could even become irritated with the repetition ultimately having a negative effect on your />
The tips given should be taken into account when considering re-deploying an email. Happy Mailing!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Why Email Marketing Works

Some of you may wonder if email marketing is even worth including as a piece of your marketing pie. For those who consider it unworthy I ask you to have a closer look at the following information.

According to an online survey done by Exact Targets in 2012 it shows that about 66% of Americans have made a purchase resulting from emails. This statistic ranks email as number one compared to direct mail, telephone, Facebook, and other social media channels.

Marketing Channel and Engagement Benchmark Survey” by Message System Resources has created a survey where they gathered that email is the most popular marketing channel for businesses. They report that 97% of respondents use email for marketing campaigns and 63% of its respondents reported it delivers the greatest ROI compared to social media.

There has been a forecast that email’s ROI will drop with social media rising in the next few years but according to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) study, email marketing's ROI for 2012 is predicted to "fall" to $39.40 for every $1 spent, accounting for $67.8 billion in sales. Now although social media ROI is expected to rise, it is predicted to be $13.43 for every $1 spent in the year 2016, still not matching email’s ROI (reference article).

Marketing campaigns should be well balanced – Don’t exclude other marketing channels and only engage through email - but do consider the tremendous weight email can have in reaching your consumer base.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Avoiding Gmail Spam Placement Con't

As discussed in recent blog post regarding Gmail Filtering, we know that Gmail’s stringent user based filters can mean problems with deliverability to the inbox and serious headaches for bulk email senders. Below are some of the frequently seen causes that prevent deliverability to Gmail Inbox:

Phishing – Phishing can be seen when emails (spammers) try to trick Gmail users into sharing sensitive information. These messages are dishonest, unwanted by the recipient, and have the underlying intention of causing harm.

Unconfirmed Sender – When Gmail is unable to confirm the identity of the sender messages due to invalid or lack of sender data emails can be blocked.

Message Attributes – When messages display characteristics of harmful or unidentifiable characteristics such as sales of illegal products or unsuitable language it will send the email to spam and warn the user of the contents.

User Preferences – If a Gmail user has previously marked a message as spam it will automatically be filtered to the spam box.
All of the above causes can be overwhelmingly annoying when you are a reputable sender mailing to users who have previously opted in to receive your mailings. Keep in mind, however, that these settings prevent you, as a user, from being scammed or annoyed by constant unwanted emails of threats.

Stay tuned for info on the specific messages Gmail displays and how to interpret their meanings and combat their effects…

- The KobeMail Team

Monday, October 8, 2012

Your Website & the Holiday Rush

Getting ready for the holidays? With another holiday season right around the corner, all businesses must start to consider how to increase your ROI in the upcoming year. We the main focus on everyone’s mind should be optimization of their websites (and corresponding emails of course!) to ensure quick and proper use during flooded holiday periods. 
Since the Internet has become the easiest way to avoid holiday crowds online shopping booms during the holidays attracting everyone who appreciates its instant convenience.  It is imperative that companies make sure their websites can handle more than usual number of users and orders during this time. Companies need to consider that every second your website is down due to extreme traffic you are losing customers and revenue from those sales.
Here is an article we found particularly insightful regarding your website optimization and the holiday season:
- Happy Mailing

Friday, October 5, 2012

Marrying your Emails & Landing Pages

When you are trying to get a user to respond to a call to action, it is important that both your email and your landing page help the process go as easily as possible. The following are three suggestions that will help enhance the union between your emails and corresponding landing pages:
1. Pick ONE call to action – Have you ever received an email that was asking you to do more than one thing? Sign up for this offer, join our social media channels, buy a product, get our newsletter, read user stories, gain more information…the list could go on and on. Users may get overwhelmed by all the different actions they’re asked to take and then end results could be losing potential signups or business. Extra call to actions can distract users try sending a mailing with one decisive and strong call to action instead.
2.Connecting information – Typically you want your email to be short and sweet. Give only enough information so that the user understands the core value of what you are offering in an attempt to redirect user to the landing page where they can obtain a more detailed description. Use the email to pull the user in with interesting snippets and give them cause to search for more information.
3.Target audience – The same rules apply to emailing as to landing pages. The more personal the better the possibility of conversions. Trying to make a standard email and landing page to reach different demographics can be difficult – you must know your audience in order to communicate well with each group. For example, if you’re an insurance company your information may read differently for your agents and for your customers. Same rules and regulations apply but the language and perks highlighted will be different for each. Segment and reach your audience accordingly.
Although the email is the first thing a user might see, the landing page may be the last before the point of purchase – Both should work together as a team.
Please feel free to contact us here at KobeMail with any of your email questions!

Back to School: Email Layout Basics

Remember when you first learned the basic of writing a school essay?  The rule of thumb taught to all young students, “you must have a beginning, middle and an end,” can be applied to the concept of email writing as well. Check out the below segmentation:
Beginning - The start of an email will be considered the Subject Line and Headline. As we were taught, this is the part that introduces the middle and end and should capture attention. To make the most use of this space, build a mutual relationship where the subject line and opening of the email support each other in a clear and concise way.  The first two sentences, or content above the fold line, should capture the essence of the mailing.

Middle - This is where the meat of your email lies, between the top of the mailing and some content below the fold. Give information that supports the beginning of your email to back up the value of the service or product you are trying sell. It is important to maintain user interest here in an attempt to make them take action.
End – This is where your call to action (CTA) should reside. Without being pushy, you must lead the user to act on the intended offer by clicking and being redirected to a landing page. Draw users’ attention using buttons, prominent text, or even clever CTA’s like a See How it Works.
Following the simple formula above will allow you to maintain clean and clear emails that help to increase traffic and help to ensure positive data results. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Take the Time to Schedule Properly

Reaching a vast market, which spans across multiple time zones, can be a difficult task. The following is some information regarding how to best target recipients in and outside the country in the most effective manner to get the best possible results. Please keep in mind the below is in reference to senders who maintain location variables within their database for each user so that segmentation is possible.

First consider what time users are most likely to read your email. While you can’t generalize and say users all check their email at a certain time you can take into consideration the demographics of your list along with generally accepted industry knowledge.

The general recommendation is to send emails early morning mid week to obtain the best data results. Scheduling a campaign for 11am EST for New Yorkers will put the email in mailboxes at 8am PST in California – which generally accommodates both parties reasonably.

KobeMail is located in New York but we service clients all across the US and must constantly consider time differences while working with our clients to ensure their email campaigns have proper reach and return. We even work with clients outside the US who in turn mail out to clients across the globe. This is where scheduling gets tricky. You must have a comprehensive understanding of multiple outside factors that could affect the outcome of your send in regards to time. A few examples are below:

- When individuals generally take lunch breaks
- Holiday celebrations that aren’t celebrated everywhere
- Typical vacation/travel time

Understanding where your users are coming from and consideration of multiple location variables is very important. Collecting location data during the signup process and utilizing that data during scheduling can have a positive impact on your relationship with recipients and their willingness to take action.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Getting Back to the Basics

What fundamental elements of your emails you have tested lately?
In earlier blogs we have discussed the importance of testing subject lines in an attempt to increase opens on your email campaign. Subject line testing is a primary element that most email marketers know to utilize in an attempt to establish headers they know will peak user interest.
Now let’s delve further – Once you’ve gotten the user to open does that mean they will engage, scroll down, and click through? Not necessarily. The secondary element to focus on, that is just as important as subject lines, is content. How would you know what content users will like? Well, there is no ONE answer to this question. As long as the content is concise, easily understandable, andcaters to your users then you have a higher possibility of gaining their interest. In order to find out what works for you, testing and analysis are continuously necessary.
Content checks lead us to highlight another important element – the call to action and its relative placement within the body. Placing a prominent call to action in the beginning of the email should help to increase response rates and untimely increase your bottom line results.
Conducting regular subject line testing and analyzing response action based on email content will help in understanding your users, catering to their wants, and increasing your data results.