There are many places to focus your marketing attention, but where to put your marketing dollars is often a question we get here at PTC Computer Solutions. Should you focus on making a technological jump to a more sophisticated Email Marketing Solution? And, if so, how can you best make the technological leap can conspire to make the road to marketing growth a challenging one. How can you tell when the time has come to reevaluate your goals, processes and technologies to determine if the marketing technology that helped your business get started has the capabilities necessary to take you to the next level? Here are eight tips on a more sophisticated email
marketing and marketing automation solution so you can optimize your campaigns, realize your marketing ambitions and keep the successes coming as contributed by Chief Marketer:
- You want better deliverability. It can get frustrating when you create a super-cool email, only to see it fall short of reaching your customers, ensnared in junk boxes and spam folders. If you want to maximize the chances of your messages arriving safely in your recipients’ inboxes, it may be time for a solution that combines a more robust platform with a team of experts dedicated to email delivery. A more sophisticated, scalable platform will give you room to grow and provide tools that help you build a deliverable message and monitor email delivery. Meanwhile, a dedicated deliverability team can work behind the scenes to ensure whitelisting and authentication and continuously optimize deliverability levels. All you need to do is follow deliverability best practices, and you’ll be on your way to landing in that inbox. Quick tip: Manage expectations at the beginning of a relationship. Obtain explicit approval to send marketing messages, tell subscribers what kinds of emails you send (consider including samples) and how often you send them, and deliver a welcome message upon opt-in, asking subscribers to add your email address to their contact lists or address books.
- You want advanced segmentation and targeting. As message clutter increases, competition in the inbox grows fiercer. Increasing relevance by delivering different messages to recipients based on their individual preferences, behaviors and demographic data is a key way you can stand out. Today’s tools allow for more granular segmentation and enable you to use personalization and dynamic content to create a richer customer experience. Not only does this lead to better responses as well as improved customer relationships, loyalty and value, but because it’s highly automated, it enables you to focus on other aspects of your email program. You can even use advanced segmentation to reduce list churn, employing reporting and scoring to predict when subscribers may become inactive so you can head them off at the pass with targeted, engaging content. Quick tip: Use dynamic content to populate messages with content related to each recipient’s interests, such as personalized text and images. For example, a CPG company might send recipes and baking tips that incorporate a recipient’s favorite products, while a baseball news site might send articles aligned with a recipient’s favorite teams.
- You want advanced testing. As an aspiring marketer, you’re always looking for ways to improve conversions, but how can you be sure what subject lines, “From” names and message elements work for your target audience, driving more opens, click-throughs and conversions? By testing these elements, you can gain insights into your customers’ behaviors, see which message elements convert better, and ultimately improve the performance of your marketing mailings. And with more sophisticated platforms, the system will send the best-performing email to your entire list once a winner has been determined based on the criteria you’ve provided. Quick tip: When evaluating possible subject lines, test concepts and direction—such as discount versus benefits or humor versus serious—while minimizing variables such as length or position of the call to action. Since the subject line with the most opens may not drive the most conversions, consider picking your winner based on your key business goals such as revenue, downloads or registrations.
- You want to send triggered messages. Broadcast emails remain an integral part of the messaging mix, but today’s consumers are demanding increasingly relevant communications. Sending messages triggered by customer behaviors and demographics is instantly engaging since it relates directly to the recipient’s actions or interests, and will therefore increase the likelihood of an open and click, encourage future purchases and build loyalty. Better still, it happens automatically—simply define the triggers, and the automation engine will do the rest. Examples include service satisfaction surveys, review requests and notifications, birthday and anniversary offers, and much more. Quick Tip: You don’t have to boil the ocean to take your program to the next level. You can start by adding a message that delivers the most value, such as a cart abandonment email, a welcome series, or adding cross-sell/upsell content to transactional messages. Test content, layout, offers/no offers, timing and cadence. Then, add another triggered message.
- You want more automation. As your marketing ambitions grow, you’ll seek new ways to optimize your campaigns—without putting additional stress on your existing resources. Enter marketing automation. With today’s robust campaign builders, you can reduce manual processes and intuitively create automated, intelligent, customer- driven campaigns. Translation? Instead of blanketing customers with the same generic communications, you can send them down unique communication tracks based on their actions. You simply establish if-then rule sets for how you want to route customers (“if they click on this product link, then we’ll send them a follow-up email focused on that product four days later), and automation takes care of the rest. Within a single program, you could have multiple messaging tracks, each containing content related to the specific product, service, etc. that a customer indicated an interest in. By building reactive campaigns that zig and zag based on recipient actions, you’ll drive customer engagement to higher levels. Quick tip: Collect valuable information about new customers by placing them in a welcome series program that follows up an initial welcome email with a message asking them to tell you more about themselves. Based on their response—or non-response— you can send them down different messaging tracks that explain your email program’s value proposition, invite them to update preferences, or contain content related to their interests.
- You want multichannel capabilities. With new channels emerging on a seemingly daily basis and your customers weaving in and out between posting on social networks, sending text messages, accessing mobile apps, checking in at a retail locations and more, it’s never been more important to be where your customers are. By automating and coordinating marketing message delivery across channels, you can grow your database, increase message reach, and connect with customers in more human, engaging ways. The key is integrating your campaigns so that the whole of your multichannel efforts is greater than the sum of its parts. Quick tip: Attract a new group of engaged customers by using social, mobile and offline sources to help you attract email subscribers. Add an email opt-in form to your Facebook page, link QR codes in print materials to an email sign-up landing page, include tweets teasing your email program in your Twitter feed, ask new mobile app downloaders for their email address, and more.
- You want more responsive support and access to consulting services and content. Gaining access to advanced capabilities can be exciting and liberating—but your enthusiasm may be dampened if the gee-whiz features are accompanied by a steep learning curve. Fortunately, the best marketing technology solutions offer flexible training schedules (live and Web-based), 24×7 support, an onboarding manager to help get you up and running, and a menu of consulting services to assist you in optimizing your programs. Depending on the vendor, it may also provide a variety of educational resources, such as tip sheets and online communities, that you can use to get new ideas as well as answers to frequently asked questions. Quick tip: It can be challenging, but remember to take occasional breaks from your daily tasks to absorb the latest industry news and thought capital. Read a white paper. Listen to a Webinar. Watch a video. You’ll likely discover something you didn’t know, and you can apply your new learnings to future marketing campaigns.
- You want better reporting. It can be frustrating to wrestle with limited reporting tools that make it difficult to customize reports, identify trends and share information. Interactive, granular reports can improve marketing results by giving you real-time, data-driven insights that help you optimize performance and prove ROI. Having the ability to slice and dice data based on your knowledge of your customers can further help you identify high- and low-performing segments, more easily view trends over time, and adjust future campaigns based on your findings. And having reporting tools that give you choices for how you visually present and export the data can make it easier to make sense of the reports and share your findings with others. Quick tip: Don’t stop at process metrics such as opens and clickthroughs, list churn and share rates when evaluating the success of your messages or campaigns. To gain a more complete view of how your email program is performing, measure it against your company’s strategic marketing and business goals, including total revenue generated, cost savings and customer retention.
Enjoy your marketing success. If you have any trouble implementing any of these ideas, contact PTC Computer Solutions and we’ll help you on your way.
Are you using Email Marketing to assist your online presence? If all of this befuddles you, belittles your being, begs your brain to be foddered, belying your intellect…not to worry, PTC Computer Solutions is an expert on this stuff and is here to help. It’s what we do. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or go to our website at www.ptccomputersolutions.com for more information. We are always at the ready.
Online marketing is an incredibly dynamic environment with a tremendous number of moving parts. It is a constantly changing world. You do what you do best. Let us do what we do best. Keeping involved and staying ahead of the latest improvements is what we do at PTC Computer Solutions. If you are looking to get noticed on the Internet but don’t know where to begin, let PTC Computer Solutions help you get started or help improve your current website and website marketing plan and budget.
Among everything else we do, PTC can plan a full marketing strategy and budget for your company and complete any marketing efforts, web or otherwise, you wish to achieve in order to deliver a consistent and effective message to your prospects. Contact David W. B. Parker (when you think of “W. B.” think of WeB) at email@example.com or go to our web site at www.ptccomputersolutions.com for more information.
By David W. B. Parker
PTC Computer Solutions
PTC Computer Solutions
Jacksonville Beach, Florida