Tag Archives: Email Marketing

Educating A New Generation

“Things have changed since I was in school.” Sounds like something your parents said to you growing up, huh? That statement still holds true. Kids are a part of a whole new learning generation; interaction is mostly via instant message, text message, Twitter and Facebook and the internet is the first place they turn for research. The shift in marketing is taking place as we speak, but are Marketing and Public Relations instructors and professors educating their students about the phenomenon that is social media?

Back in the day, marketing majors were required to learn the 4 P’s (Product, Price, Promotion, Place) and that is still relevant, but along with the 4 P’s they need to have a basic understand of HTML, design software, e-mail marketing campaigns, search engine optimization, and knowledge of social media (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube,etc). However, are recent grads receiving said education?

We’ve all read that many companies are struggling to understand social media and how it can be used in their industry. With this occurring, companies are looking to hire recent grads with degrees in Marketing and Public Relations to fill the social media gap. But, are colleges and universities integrating the new trends in marketing into their curriculum – such courses as Internet Marketing, Digital Media and New-Media Marketing? Another challenge: are college professors and faculty on top of the changing trends in the marketing world? If not, they need to be. How can you teach it, if you don’t fully understand it yourself? As the old adage states, “lead by example.”

Here’s a questions for all our Marketing & PR majors out there –Are NC State, Duke and UNC teaching courses on new-media and internet marketing? Or are you educating the professors on social media?

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Filed under Email Marketing, Facebook, marketing basics, north carolina, social media, twitter

Back to the Basics

data driven salesAs the old saying goes, time is money.  Companies are looking for ways to trim their budgets and reach a more targeted audience with less.  Here are four quick ways to use the information you have in your customer database to your advantage:

  1. Make a list – many marketers have data in several different locations; consolidate this information and store it in one location that is easily accessible.  Also, be sure to rid your list of addresses that have bounced in the past campaigns; practicing good list hygiene can lead to a higher open rate.
  2. Become one with your IT personnel – Don’t consider the IT staff your enemy; marketers need them to grow business opportunities.
  3. Identify basic, but relevant customer data points – find information that will allow you to reach your target market with information that is of significance to them. Such as customer IDs, purchase history, sales data, and order values.
  4. Conduct a test drive with e-mail – E-mail marketing continues to grow and drives the most ROI versus any other online-marketing channel.  Like a scientist testing his or her hypothesis, use a control group and test group to test what works and what doesn’t.  For the test group, use a data-driven campaign.  For the control group, use standard messaging.  For example, the test group is selected email addresses that are relevant for the targeted campaign, while the control group is randomly selected email addresses.

Test and Learn – Send out the pilot e-mail and track the results using web analytics.  Use the information to build a more integrated approach for future campaigns.

Don’t expect high numbers right off the bat.  Remember: “Slow and steady wins the race!”

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Top Ten E-mail Marketing Mistakes

With the presence of bulk e-mail services and new software, e-mail marketing has become increasingly easy to execute.  Now is not the time to let your guard down – make sure you aren’t making any of these common mistakes:

1. Sending An Email Without A Strategy. You must have a strategy detailing the who, what, and why for each message.  Otherwise, you might be reaching the wrong audience.

2. Using A Old, Tired or Just Plain Mysterious List. If contacts haven’t opted-in to your e-mail list, you may be flagged as spam and prohibited from sending messages in the future.  Also, a fresh list cuts down on undeliverable emails.

3. Missing Subject Opportunities. Your top-line message should include a link to a Web-based version in case your message is being viewed by a reader with a PDA or other e-mail system that doesn’t support HTML content.

4. Focusing On The Wrong Content. The audience of your message needs know that it is important.  E-mails with the highest open rates come from thought leaders in the industry or from personal insights on industry trends.

5. Being Too Graphic or TextHeavy. Having too much text or graphic content in your e-mail can be overwhelming to the reader if there is nothing there to move them smoothly through the page.

6. Having An Obvious Sales Pitch. If your readers sense a sales pitch, they are likely to stop reading, delete the email, and may even report your email as spam.

7. Testing On Only One Browser. Don’t assume that all e-mail systems will display your message the same.  Testing with a Mac, PC, Internet Explorer, and Firefox and in the most used email clients will ensure that readers are able to see all of your content correctly.

8. Ignoring Statistics. Metrics will reveal whether your message was successful, along with showing bounce rates, open rates, opt-outs, and spam reports.

9. Sending At The Wrong Time. Keep your contacts’ time zones and business hours in mind.  Recent data suggest higher open rates occur on Tuesdays and Wednesdays between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

10. Forgetting To Lead Your Web Traffic.  Opinion-driven news letters are most effective when they have content directing web site traffic.  A portion of your story should have a link to “read more” and have links relevant to specific website pages.

One more thought – what are you using for your “From” line in your marketing e-mails?  B2B Magazine recommends using a real person’s name for this line because, after all, B2B buyers are still people.  Personalize the “From” and ‘Reply to” fields so that they are coming from the sales representative that the particular lead or contact “belongs” to.

What strategies are you using to give your e-mail a more personal touch?

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Filed under Economic Downturn, Email Marketing, marketing basics