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Mapping the buyer’s journey helps businesses stay relevant and personalize the campaigns

For most businesses, the buyer’s journey is an important aspect of planning marketing campaigns. Why? Because that’s how you can send a relevant message at the right time to the right person and increase your conversions. Sending personalized messages manually to the hundreds of subscribers on your list can be quite a daunting task, which is why you need to automate your campaigns. Here are the different automation emails that every business should send to their prospects based on their buying stage and their action.

Welcome or onboarding emails

This is your first ever contact with the prospect, which happens when they share their email address with you. You will need to make them feel welcome, set the expectations for the future and motivate them to provide their personal information that would let you send better and more relevant emails. The email…

A well-planned newsletter makes sure your customers always remember you

Enewsletter writing is hard – particularly as you don’t really get a great deal of feedback as to what works and what doesn't. The only guidelines email marketers can work off are engagements and clicks - but this metric varies depending on what vendor you use and how they measure engagement. So how do you know you're writing engaging copy?

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Go out there and subscribe to some of your competitor's newsletters to see what works and what doesn’t. Don’t stop there. Check out newsletters in other businesses and areas. Look at some of your near-competitors (those who have products that are close to yours but not the same) and see what they do. They might have good ideas you can apply. You…

4 tips to send your email newsletter at the perfect time

One of the worst things you can do is send an e-newsletter at the wrong time. If you do not pick a good time to fire off an email it will run the risk of being deleted rather quickly, because the other emails sent at the same time will make it fight for attention and all your hard work will be wasted. This is why it drives me a bit crazy when people or companies send their email newsletters all at the same time. No one wants to check their phone in the morning and have 30 emails. Or be hit up with a bunch of emails during dinner time. Those emails run the risk of being sent straight to the trash. After many months of deleting email newsletters sent at inopportune times, I knew there had to be a better way.…

A review of essential features for newsletter software

Despite the flourishing technical capabilities of email marketing programs, a huge percentage of email marketers send emails and newsletters without making the most of the services on offer, thereby writing off a lot of potential. Whether it be a poor delivery rate, inconsistent newsletter display or insufficient tracking facilities, there is usually room for improvement. But how do we know which features are the most important? These 10 features are not 'rocket science', nor do they require any specialist knowledge. But they are fundamentally important if your email newsletter campaign is to be successful. They should help you to differentiate between newsletter marketing providers, whether you are setting out or reviewing your current provider. Software certifications A customisable sender address Content personalisation facilities Recipient grouping and segmentation Duplicate dispatch control Automated lifecycle emails Consistent display on mobile devices Consistent display in all web and email clients Comprehensive tracking options A/B tests: establish the best…

Do you dare ask your mailing list if they want to unsubscribe?

In this post, I'll veer away from my usual advice and updates on Facebook, although Facebook does feature. This is the story of what some might think is pretty much the anathema of a good marketer... I proactively tried to reduce the size of my mailing list. Why? Well a number of reasons, the idea was initially driven by the fact that we were about to go over a monthly price threshold in our email provider's pricing options. At the same time the list felt like it was getting a bit dated with open rates languishing and some names having been with us for up to a decade. We'd recently done a competition which rewarded people for referring "friends". It was clear from a look through some of these email addresses that they were in fact second or third emails…
Enewsletters are still the main online direct to customer communications tool, so it pays to invest time and thought in a decent template. Over the past few years of running email marketing training courses I have reviewed hundreds of enewsletter templates and often see the same basic errors. Individually they often aren't important, but if several good practice features are missed, they can definitely adversely affect the experience or response rates.

Three best practice enewsletter template examples

Good practice will naturally vary according to sector. The two main enewsletter styles are B2C retail-style for transactional sites featuring products and information-led for business-to-business, relationship development and publishing. We will look at and example from each.

1 B2C transactional newsletter example

2 B2B informational newsletter example 3 Professional services/membership enewsletter Added this since I wrote…

Ideas for increasing your responses by using a more human approach...

What would you say if I was to suggest you take account of your target audience when designing your email program? Actually, you'd probably say nothing... just roll your eyes and find fresh reading material. It's not exactly groundbreaking advice. However, the nature of digital marketing seduces us into thinking of the "audience" as a collection of data or unfeeling robots. So we have segments, samples, cells and clusters...where each email address is a set of numbers, a sequence of letters and a few database fields. Of course, each email address also represents a human being (gasp!). Not a shocking concept, I'll admit, but one we often neglect in the way we design emails and email systems. Yet a recognition of human foibles and limitations helps build better emails for better response. Here are some examples showing…

My ideas on how to deal with unpredictability in email marketing in the year ahead

As your local Greek philosopher never tires of telling you, the only constant is change. Many industry experts devote the occasional post or two in January to predicting how email marketing will develop this year. Instead, I'd like to look at what we might do to better exploit or cope with the dynamic nature of the email and online marketing environment in 2012. Because change isn't always as predictable as we'd like it to be. Please chime in with your own ideas!

1. Revisit the basics

Like every year, vendors and the media will regale us in 2012 with all sorts of clever things you can do with your email marketing. Clever things that can bring great results, such as shopping cart abandonment emails that pull in £250 in sales for each £1 invested. Not everyone can access the necessary tools,…

Creating an enewsletter that keeps subscribers engaged

As I've shown with these examples, the design and layout of your email newsletter is important, but it's the content of course, which really helps engagement. The chart below shows that online users aren't set on shopping primarily, rather it's learning, having fun or socializing! Source: RF Intent Index

The sell-inform-entertain balance

For me, getting the correct balance between using your newsletters as a sales tool and adding other types of value is key to their success. This applies equally to other e-communications like a blog, Facebook or Twitter. (more…)…

New report advises on Enewsletter best practice

Value: [rating=3] Our commentary : An enewsletter is still a key customer communication for many companies. Given this, it's always struck me as curious that usability advice for Emails and enewsletters doesn't get as much attention as that for websites. You may not now that Jakob Nielsen, well-known for his usability advice has produced an enewsletter usability report for many years - I've downloaded them in the past. If you're not aware, you could find the tips on increasing subscription and engagement with the enewsletter useful. Alternatively, learn through our Enewsletter examples or 24 point enewsletter best practice list. Marketing implications Here are some of the key findings I took from this report. 1. Make your email signup slick. I'm surprised the signup period took around 3 miniutes on average - but this is an improvement from over 5 minutes on previous studies. 2. Remember the increasingly cluttered inbox.…