Who said Email Marketing is Passé?




Yes, it is true. Each of us finds it irksome when we keep getting email notifications despite unsubscribing. Things get worse when we find a string of spammed emails from those sites we haven’t even subscribed to. Well, there is one thing we will all agree upon. When it comes to email marketing, not many have succeeded in finding a niche in its marketing strategy. And those who have, are still riding high on its open rate success.

Though it is the oldest forms of marketing, email marketing can never go outdated. It reaches a large number of readers and if it strikes the right cord, brings a tremendous value from click-through rates.

So, what is it that has made only a few to succeed in email marketing and others to fail? What is it that others have missed? Let’s open the secrets from that box and take a detailed look at the factors.

FIND YOUR CUSTOMER

First of all, never send emails to those who haven’t subscribed. I repeat... Never! Otherwise, it makes a reader question the genuine status of the company. Whether you have 2 subscribers or 20,000, it doesn’t matter. List only those who have subscribed. Or else, you will be treated no less than a spam.


Once a user has subscribed, use an optimized search engine for better data collection. For example, if someone was browsing through the category of shirts on your website, an updated email reminder regarding his last search will be a good idea. Also, give varied options from different brands for the same product, pairing options for trousers and shoes along with the shirt. The picture of a celebrity wearing something similar in terms of design, color or pattern really incites interest in the reader.

Always know the preferences of your readers. Most of us don’t even open the promotional emails regarding updates and information. Maintain the data of which emails were opened, which were simply read and which email had a click through. Keep a track of your email’s engagement metrics. Know what interests your customer. This will help the company keep up with the detailed preferences of every user.

MAKE EMAILS USER-FRIENDLY

An email is user-friendly when the users find it easy when it comes to managing subscriptions, option selection, is visually appealing and has creative content (Your research on your customer’s engagement metrics will be of a great use here). If a user wishes to unsubscribe, let him go. Don’t make an already vexed user more agitated. Always provide a feedback form to know about the user’s grievances.




infographic source: Emailmonks.

MANAGE YOUR EMAIL’S CONTENT

Keeping too many options asking for details is not the way. Make your forms and data crisp and precise while covering important points. Always provide a continuation link for the website with every option as it not only increases click-through rates, it also boosts the rate of conversion.

Make sure, every email has a different content. A regurgitated data will neither go well with the reader nor will it keep you among the likes of the customer. Keep your title catchy and the content fresh.

Also, make sure the user gets a detailed email of every transaction he has made. This will be more like a precise record-keeping for the user and will make him feel that every transaction is authentic.

KEEP THE TIMING RIGHT



If you want your user to read your email, make sure the email doesn’t reach them at an unsuitable time like at 5 am or at 11 pm or such wee hours. The best time to send your emails is around mid-afternoon, evenings and weekends. These days, people use auto-synced email update on their phone where they get to read an email the moment you send them. Hence, you need to time your click on the send button right.

In case it is an announcement of a flash sale or an important update, make sure you give the reader enough time to act on it. Hence, such emails are best to be sent in the morning. Evenings are a dull affair since it is post work hours and the reader won’t even bother to open your website assuming that most of your products on sale would be sold out.


KEEP YOUR ACT CLEAN

Obviously, no one wants to see the junk in the spam box. It is your responsibility to keep the format and the quality of your emails right. Misleading header information may result in your email to land in the spam folder. Also, the source of your email needs to be right.

Always give true information about your contact details. Provide the users the right address and phone number. Also, make sure that your website’s name or your email Id doesn’t have something similar to a spammy case who would get yet another chance to misuse your company’s profile. In case it does, report about it immediately.

DON’T MAKE THEM PAY!

What makes your user hit that unsubscribe button in less than 3 seconds? It is the ‘Pay for Subscription’ option. Always make sure that you don’t charge your user for any reading material, information, guide, etc. Keep it open to all. Charges should be levied only for exclusive material.

Gone are those days when newsletters and magazines use to charge a bomb for their content. A user obviously does not want to pay for something that is available for free at somewhere else. Hence, give an initial free offering. Only the premium and exclusive material can be charged.

WATCH YOUR WORDS

Compose your emails intelligently. Even for an established company, a wrong framed email title can make the user not open it. For example, a title like ‘Click here to win a prize’ is a complete no-no. Articulating a good email also includes staying non-controversial regarding the emotions of the reader you touch. ‘Make your mom feel special’ is not the right way to describe your offer. Moms are special and they always will be. Instead, opt for a line like ‘Give your mom a gift to remember’.

The right content will surely be good bait for better click-through rate.

Bonus infographic:

How to Send Out Emails Like a Professional


Courtesy of: Onblastblog.

To wrap the subject, it would be safe to say that considering everything from a user’s point of view will give a better perspective and deeper insight about marketing of any kind, whether it is through ads, emails or SMS. A correct analysis of the user experience and relevant metrics is what lies behind a successful marketing strategy. If you yourself find something troubling or irritating as a user, you should consider that as don’ts lesson learnt in advance for your company.

Good luck.



8 Useful Tips To Help You Blog on a Budget!




Gone are the days when we used to run blogs for free. These days, the upfront costs for running blogs are like pulling your hair out. Yes, it is THAT bad. There are countless tools involved in maintaining a blog. And it pains us to say that those tools are quite pricey. Unless you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth, you need to have a frugal plan with you.

So what can we do to run a blog on a budget? In this article you'll discover a bunch of tips that can help you run a blog without any extra greens flying out of your wallet.

Begin Planning Your Blog

Apart from saving money, there is also the stress, headache and the time that you have to account for. Of course, this requires an intense level of planning. You have to carefully weigh your options well before you can even think about launching your blog. 

The first thing that you need to plan out first is your niche or the kind of topics that you would like to write on. Then there is your target audience, blog categories, the kind of posts and content that you will create and how frequent you get to blog. 

Get A Domain

If you want to make it easier for your audience to find you, you will need a domain. This will give you a URL that is short and easy to remember. Even for a free blog, a domain is absolutely important. It has to be short, sweet and to the point. Add that to the fact that it will give you a real professional look. 

You can purchase your domain through your host, but if you like to keep things separate then perhaps Namecheap is your best bet. 


Source: Whoishostingthis.

Pick A Blog CMS

If you’re going to be blogging regularly, then you will be in need of a blog CMS. It is a better way of helping your manage your content without having to know how to code. A CMS is your blog’s platform. There are various platforms that bloggers can use, but WordPress is the most approachable.


Source: Onblastblog.

Get A Good Host

Just because you’re on a budget, doesn’t mean that you aim for low-quality hosts. SiteGround is a good place to start. They are reliable and highly recommended for that matter. If your budget can handle better than go for Flywheel as it has a better reputation. 

Be sure to get a CMS if you’re planning to buy a good host. You may need to install and set it up, but it depends on what host you get. Squarespace is another solution that can give a web builder and a host all in one go. 

Make Your Blog And Brand Identity

Brand identity ensures your authenticity to your traffic. You have to ensure that your brand identity matches with your niche, audience, as well as the type of content that you share. For example, if you have a bright and upbeat attitude, you don’t want it to sound gloomy. 

It also has to be something that you do not have to change often. It should also be long-term, beautiful and in good working conditions. There are free DIY classes such as CreativeLive’s on how you can create your own brand identity. 

A Clean And Organized Theme

Going on a self-hosted route like that of WordPress means that you will need a theme that works as well as it looks. WordPress’ theme directory has plenty of free themes that will spare your spending hand. Bear in mind that just because it is free, doesn’t mean WordPress does cheap quality. 

True, there may not be that many customizations, but it still delivers. If quality is what you’re looking for, then give Genesis Framework a go. 

Email List

It will take months and years of hard work for you to cultivate a great following. The best place to grow your audience is with the help of an email list. Of course, there are social media as well, but that shouldn’t be the only option for you to take. Social media is a fad that will just come and go when the time comes, but email has been around and will stay relevant as it is. 

For a free option, MailChimp is your way to go. You could have up to 2000 subscribers, but since it is free, your chances are quite limited. Don’t be afraid to spend a little in order to get the best features and turn up the quality of your blog for the better. 

Find Some Images To Blog

An image can either make or break your blog. Your blog’s growth depends on how accurate and high of quality the images that you share are. The images that you use could be of the post, your own self, sidebar graphics, products and more. You can get free images from several online resources or you could hire a professional photographer, or an illustrator, add elements and graphics to your pics as well. 

Now that you have most of the things that you need for your blog, you are all set to go. 

Infographic How responsive are retailers to consumers on social?




Are retail brands ready for the social media holiday rush?

Will they keep pace with their customers’ expectations and respond on social quickly?

The stakes are higher than ever for retailers this holiday season, with the National Retail Federation estimating that holiday sales will increase to $656 billion this year. Lithium Technologies' State of Social Engagement 2016 study for the retail industry uncovers how well Fortune 1000 retail brands are engaging with consumers across social platforms. The study reveals that the retail industry did well in interacting with their consumers, providing insights into the products they sold, posting content about getting the most from those products and often linking to promotions that can drive sales. As retail brands seek to garner attention from consumers during the holiday rush, it is crucial for them to engage, listen and respond to customers on social media. In fact, Twitter found that customers are willing to spend up to 20% more with a brand if that brand responds to their social media activities.


25 Ways to Learn Faster (Infographic)




So little time, so much to learn... but worry not! If you need to prepare yourself for an exam or need to learn something new for your daily tasks at work, taking a look at this infographic is a great idea. It will help you smarten up on a particular topic in a short time, by only taking into account these 25 smart tips for your mind and your body.

There are so many experts researching the brain and even learning about how to learn can seem a Herculean effort in itself. That’s why the work of all these researchers has been distilled into this handy infographic produced by Writemypapers. The infographic runs through 25 of the most effective ways to set your body and your mind to the task of learning new things. 

Have you ever thought that your brain also needs a warm-up before a learning session? Do you use a learning agenda and different learning tactics? If your answer to all these questions is no, it’s time to read these 25 tips to learn faster and better. You’ll learn how to build up practical experience and splitting your learning schedule into chunks. You’ll also read about the importance of giving yourself plenty of time to absorb the information before a deadline. And as you’ve fine-tuned your mental efforts, it is also time for taking care of your body, as this can also boost learning. Studies have shown that getting 15 minutes of exercise can improve your memory and the ability to think clearly...wait no more and take a look at it!



Top 10 Cheat Sheets And Infographics To Help You Master Digital Marketing




Since digital marketing first exploded into the marketing scene, it has been growing at an exponential rate, which can make it difficult for an aspiring digital marketer to become a master in the field. 

Though marketing resources vary widely and include television, billboards and radio, what comes to mind when people are talking about digital marketing platforms are the internet, social media and mobile. The latter three platforms are subject to many changes and it is for this very reason that marketers find themselves struggling to stay on top of every trend and change. 

This post comprises 10 digital marketing cheat sheets and infographics, which will help any aspiring marketer to get into the digital marketing field and capture relevant audiences.

Affiliate marketing

This is a form of internet advertising that allows individuals to market a company’s products and get paid when they generate sales, leads or traffic for a website. There are four key players in an affiliate program and these include: 

• The affiliate, who is the person marketing the product

• The merchant, who is the owner of the website or product

• The network, which is the company running the affiliate program

• The customer

Affiliates are paid commissions whenever visitors take a desired action. Affiliates can also join multiple tier programs that allow them to earn commissions from anyone they introduce into an affiliate network.

Common terms used in affiliate marketing

Cost per sale/ acquisition (CPA): Payment model where commissions are paid only when a purchase is made. 

Cost per lead (CPL): Where payment is done when a visitor subscribes for a product or service. 

Cost per click (CPC): A payment model based on clicks generated by an affiliate’s efforts.

Pixel code or tracking code: This is a small-sized, transparent graphic that accompanies every affiliate link and is meant for tracking performance. 

Banner Ad: A flashy electronic advertisement that is placed on a website. 

Cookies: Text files that allow the affiliate software to track origins of conversions and which banners or links get conversions. Tracking can also be done using unique affiliate IDs that are embedded into the ad. 

Direct linking: Where affiliate links don’t redirect but go to a landing page. 

Email link: An affiliate link contained in an email signature or newsletter. 

Text link:
 An affiliate ad that contains only text. 

Here’s an infographic detailing everything about Affiliate Marketing.


Email marketing

Among the most important but sometimes undervalued digital marketing resources is email marketing. By moving marketing into your inbox, you make communication personal as you can communicate directly with your target audience. 

Why you need to learn about email marketing

• With one click of a button, you’ll educate your whole subscriber list about your products and brand.

• Email is targeted, hence has a higher likelihood of generating conversions, creating relationships and building loyalty. 

• Landing straight into your audience’s inboxes ensures you remain top-of-mind. 

Terms to make you sound like an expert email marketer:

Above the fold: This is the part of your email that is visible without any scrolling necessary. All relevant information should be in this section. 

Bounce: This is when emails are rejected as spam or if they are undelivered to invalid addresses. 

Open rate: This is the number of people who open your email and is calculated as a percentage of all the emails sent out. 

Click through rate (CTR): Number of clicks generated by the link in your emails. If for instance you send 1000 emails and 100 people click on the link, your CTR is 10% (100/1000). 

Larry Kim from Wordstream and Brian Dean from Backlinko came together to create this Infographic on CTR.

Subscriber: These are visitors who fill in a form on your website in order to access what you are offering. Subscribers become part of your email marketing list. 

Email Marketing Cheat Sheet (infographic courtesy Marketo)


SEO

When you post your content to the web, or market any products online, you have to work at making that content or product visible to internet visitors. This is achieved through a process known as search engine optimization (SEO). You optimize by linking keywords or phrases that web visitors would often use when searching for your service or product. 

Key SEO terms that you should always have on your finger tips

SEO is very wide and the terms below in no way represent all there is to learn about this fundamental resource for digital marketing. For a more in depth study into SEO, you can check this guide:

White hat SEO: these are approved methods for SEO, whose aim is to generate traffic and increase conversions for your website without compromising on user experience. 

Black hat SEO: This is unethical SEO practice such as keyword stuffing or links that misdirect to other websites. Black hat is not allowed by search engines and could even lead to websites being delisted. 

Search engine results page(SERP): If you query the search engine, the results it returns are referred to as SERP. 

Keywords: These are commonly searched words or phrases related to a product or service. Linking content and products to keywords allows internet visitors to easily find them. 

Long-tail keywords/keyword phrases: These are made of more than one word

Call-to-action: Messages that ask visitors to take action on your owned media. Examples include: ‘click here’, ‘download’, ‘buy now’, ‘subscribe,’ among others. 

Link building: refers to efforts to get more inbound links to your owned media from other external media such as guest blogging sites or social media. 

Metadata: This is data that summarizes your content. It provides information about your website to the search engine, making it easy for search engines to find the content and rank it. Metadata and metatags are displayed in search engine results, and determine the decision by an internet browser to visit your website. 

Organic traffic: This is traffic that originates from internet search results. The opposite is paid traffic, which is generated from paid adverts. 

Page rank/ranking: A number between 0 to 10 that shows how your website ranks on search engines. 

Here’s Rand Fishkin explaining how Old-school SEO myths still are around and he busts them in this Whiteboard Friday. 

Learn more about SEO in this infographic which comes courtesy of: Webydo.


Content marketing

Another effective hence increasingly relevant digital marketing resource is content marketing. It’s been tried and tested by small businesses and large corporations such as Microsoft and John Deere, and proven instrumental in generating large amounts of traffic and increasing customer retention. Internet Marketer, Neil Patel, explains how anyone can create a money-making blog in less than an Hour!

Key buzzwords of content marketing

Content: This is any type of written, visual or audio material available on electronic media such as websites, blogs or social media platforms. 

Content curation: This is different from content creation in that instead of creating new content, a content curator finds existing content on the web, extracts useful parts from it and then presents it to readers. 

Content distribution: This refers to the many ways that you can distribute content to your audience. You can find more in-depth information about content distribution in here. 

Buyer persona: These are fictional characters that you create as a representation of the audience your content is targeted for. Working with personas in mind will help you to create the right content. 

Editorial calendar: Refers to a road map that guides you on the type of content to create, the personas you’re targeting, when to publish and which methods to use for distribution. 

Evergreen content: this is content that stays relevant for many months or years to come. This type of content is extremely helpful as it continues to attract traffic without needing to create new content. 

Influencers: These are people whose expertise or experience shapes an industry. Collaborating with influencers, will help your content marketing efforts.

A Beginners Guide to Content Marketing [INFOGRAPHIC]

via: Demandmetric.


Social media marketing

This is the use of social media platforms such as twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and others, to gain traffic for your owned media. When used together with the other methods discussed in this digital marketing cheat sheet, social media creates a robust marketing strategy that allows your content to be shared, get followers, backlink to your media and increase real time engagement with your audience. 


Key buzzwords used in social media marketing

Each social media platform is a monstrosity and has its own terminology unique. But to get you started, here are some of the terms you might come across or need to use often: 

Comment: A response to a social media posting. 

Reach: Number of times a post has been received and read by unique viewers/readers. 

Social media optimisation (SMO): Practices used for generating traffic for posts through social media. 

Social listening: Monitoring what people are saying on social media.

Social retargeting: Consolidation of potential customers into a pool that you can target with social media messages in future. 

Trending: When a topic achieves a lot of popularity. 

Vanity metrics: Metrics that are viewed as intangible and immeasurable and whose ROI is difficult to determine. Examples include likes, shares and retweets.

Viral: When content is shared across social media platforms at a fast rate, this is called going viral. You can’t predict or plan for your content to go viral.

Apart from this, having the right mindset of a Social Media Marketer is important and here are few social media skills that can prove to be helpful.

How to Feel Like a Social Media Professional (Infographic)



Paid advertising/SEM

This is a marketing effort that involves paying for online advertisement in order to generate more traffic. Paid advertising is effective, but it should only be used to support and grow your other media. This is because when you stop paying, traffic could easily disappear. 

There are 3 main payment models used in paid advertising:

CPM (cost per 1000 impressions): Under this model, an advertiser will pay every 1000 times an ad is displayed to a user, whether or not they clicked on it. 

PPC (pay per click): Also known as CPC (cost per click), advertising costs are incurred when people click on an ad. This model has higher chances of conversion if the clicks are from people who are interested in your offering. 

CPA (cost per acquisition): With this model, an advertiser only pays when a lead is generated. Though it tends to be more expensive than CPC and CPM, it has more guarantee of conversions. 

Common terms used in paid online marketing

Bid price: This is the price you set as the budget you are willing to spend for an ad. 

Ad copy: This is the advert. It includes the header, short description and URL. It displays at the top of the results page in the search engine. 

AdWords: This is an ad network owned by Google and is the most used form of pay-per-click advertising. Other popular alternatives from other search engines include: Bing Ads and Yahoo search ads.

Landing page: This is the page that an ad link directs to. 

Impressions: This is the number of times your paid advert displays on the SERP when related keywords or terms are searched.

AdWords Infographic – A Beginner’s Guide

via: Doyledigital.


Video advertising

A report by BI Intelligence shows that video has the highest click-through rate compared to other digital advertising resources.


It’s no wonder then, that video has grown tremendously in its relevance as a resource for digital marketing.

Key online video advertising terms

Rich media: Ads other than still images, but containing features such as video and audio. 

Streaming: Transfer of data that allows for real-time video watching. 

Autoplay video: Video that plays automatically once a page is loaded 

Cue point: A marker that triggers the point at which an ad will run within a video. 

Bumper ad: A short brand advertising video that appears within another video and plays for less than 10 seconds 

Linear ads: Ads scheduled within video content and will play before (pre-roll ad), during (mid-roll ad), or after (post-roll ad), the main video content. 

Non-linear ads: These ads are placed within or over the video ad and run at the same time as the main video content. A good example of non-linear videos is overlay ads. 

Overlay ads: An ad that shows at the bottom of the screen when the video is playing. 

Interstitial ads: Video ads that load when transitioning from one web page to another. 

In-banner videos: Videos embedded within an ad banner. The video plays when a viewer clicks on the banner.

Marketing automation

Due to the many marketing platforms at the consumer’s disposal today, the buying cycle for any product will involve different touch points.

For example, a consumer’s first point of contact with your product might be through an advertisement on TV. She may then turn to Facebook to learn more about the product and view customer comments. Eventually_ and maybe after a couple of days_ she’ll go to your website or a store near her to make a purchase. 

This is just but one scenario; each conversion journey will take on a unique path. To keep track of all these conversions paths, you need to automate. 

Marketing automation is the key to connecting all your marketing channels, allowing you to chase immediate sales while nurturing future prospects. Automation also makes your analytics more efficient and dependable, it can allow you to integrate systems and undertake any customizations you want. 

There’s a wide variety of marketing automation tools to choose from and many give a free trial which gives you an opportunity to try them out before committing to a budget.

Retargeting

Retargeting (or remarketing) is a marketing strategy that works magic for websites that attracts a lot of traffic (approximately 5000 visitors monthly).

Retargeting is best put to use when you find that though other digital marketing resources such as content marketing are generating traffic, they are not retaining it or leading to conversions. 

Retargeting uses cookies that anonymously track your target audience’s web activities. Cookies allow you to serve ads whenever people who’ve visited your site are surfing the web as such people are more likely to take an interest in your offers.

Website

We cannot conclude this digital marketing cheat sheet without talking about your website.

All the marketing strategies that you invest your time, energy and budget in serve one main purpose: to increase conversions on your website. Your website forms part of your owned media and this means that have direct control over the kind of experiences you want to give your audiences. This therefore means that your website is the most important part of any digital marketing strategy. 

Important website-related terms

Website terminology is very vast but for the purpose of this article, we’ll restrict ourselves to a few marketing-related terms: 

Accessibility: The ease with which your site is accessible on different interfaces and devices and to different people even those with physical handicap. 

Anchor text: Text that refers to your webpage and accompanies a hyperlink. 

Backlinks: Links that direct from other websites to your website. 

Bounce rate: The rate at which people are leaving your website without navigating to other pages. A high bounce rate means that your navigation is not good or you don’t have good content. 

Conversion: This is when visitors become buyers. Conversion is the main goal of all digital marketing efforts. 

Landing page: This is the page that a visitor arrives at first when entering a website. Advertisements are usually designed to direct traffic to a landing page. 

Website optimization: This involves structuring a website to make it search-engine friendly in terms of faster loading and good quality. 

Here’s the anatomy of a perfectly optimized page which will prove to be handy.


Essential Digital Marketing tools [Infographic]



Source: Smartinsights.

In conclusion

Digital marketing resources are growing at a dizzying rate. Mastery in this field therefore requires taking part in a comprehensive and current course. Deep-diving into the resources and strategies discussed in this online marketing cheat sheet will allow you to:
  1. Keep up with current trends and changes taking place in the field of digital marketing.
  2. Stand out from the crowd. Marketers find themselves battling to get their brands noticed as more companies turn towards digital marketing. A digital marketing course will give you better understanding of how to use the resources available to you to capture consumers’ attention and get noticed in your industry.
  3. Make use of digital analytics. By learning digital analytics, you will be able to monitor and collect the large train of online data left by customers, analyze it and apply insights to making decisions.
  4. Become an effective marketer by finding the right digital mix for your company. The resources discussed in this digital marketing cheat sheet will not work in the same way for every business.
  5. Create loyalty for your brand through intensified direct engagement with your customers.
  6. Identify areas of overlap among the different strategies in order to maximize on budgets, time and human resources.

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