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Posts Tagged ‘email marketing’

10 tips to make sure your holiday marketing email gets delivered

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

email graphicEmail is still the top online marketing tool, but staggering volumes of marketing email is headed toward in boxes during the holiday season. Taking a number of steps can help ensure yours gets delivered, says a whitepaper from Message Bus, which sells cloud-based infrastructure for messaging.

“Good deliverability means doing the right things for the right reasons and having a backup plan,” said Len Shneyder, Sr. Marketing Manager at Message Bus.

“In order to be successful this holiday season, marketers have to leverage the totality of their customer data in meaningful ways. But data alone isn’t enough, understanding the nuances involved in messaging across platforms and devices is crucial.”

He added, “The staggering volumes of email currently being launched must be tempered with a keen understanding of the underlying principles of good messaging practices, device specificity and deliverability principles to differentiate legitimate email from spam.”

Top 10 tips for Ensuring Black Friday & Cyber Monday Deliverability:
1. Consider removing the oldest and least active 1% of your email file and you stand to gain a 5% lift in overall deliverability.
2. Break your list into logical groups starting with your most active subscribers and email each segment separately in order to gauge list performance by activity and to allow your most active list portions to deliver.
3. Spend the time and investigate the AOL Postmaster Site and familiarize yourself with their error codes and rejection messages.
4. Whitelist your IPs and setup feedback loops with domains that offer these services to ensure the health of your sending IPs and house file.
5. Pinpoint unique windows to deliver email by examining deliverability and other metric dimensions like mobile use to ensure your customers not only receive the email but also are likely to read it.
6. Personalize the landing page for the calls to action in your email to help minimize the barriers to conversion.
7. Properly code your email and avoid the common mistakes made by marketers that can damage your ability to deliver email to domains that employ SpamAssassin.
8. Use a template that works across the greatest swath of mobile devices used by your customers.
9. Check postmaster pages for published threshold limits and ensure that you are throttling mail per the AUPs established by different domains.
10. Experiment with your SWYN, you’ll learn a bit about your audience in the process and maybe even identify ardent and dedicated fans of your brand.

To download the free whitepaper, go to: http://www.messagebus.com/info/black-friday-cyber-monday-email-guide/.

Lessons from Presidential campaign email marketing

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

email graphicHow are the Presidential campaigns using email and what can marketers learn from their tactics?

Silverpop, a digital marketing provider, says the results of a study comparing the email marketing tactics of President Barack Obama and Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, based on emails received during a three-month period ending July 5, examines how the candidates are using email marketing to engage their supporters.

According to Silverpop’s research, the candidates are neck and neck in terms of email frequency and donation requests. Each campaign sent 47 donation requests during the review period, with donation requests included in 76 percent of Romney’s emails and 68 percent of Obama’s.

When it came to other areas, there were noticeable differences.  Other highlights from the analysis included:

  • Obama used first-name personalization much more frequently than Romney, greeting recipients by their first names 98 percent of the time (as compared to only 8.5 percent for Romney).
  • Romney, however, did use Obama’s name in his emails nearly half of the time, while Obama only referred to his competitor by name in one of every four emails.
  • When it came to responding to the healthcare decision, Romney responded more quickly and more blatantly used the situation as a fundraising opportunity.
  • Each candidate used multiple “from names” in an effort to have his emails stand out in the inbox. In each case, the majority of emails (57 percent) were sent from a campaign staffer.

Lessons for marketers

“Email is an incredibly powerful marketing tool that clearly stands out in its ability to deliver timely, personal, and relevant messaging that can be directly linked to a specific call to action,” said Loren McDonald, Silverpop’s vice president of industry relations.

“It wasn’t surprising to see both candidates using the channel in similar ways.  As Election Day approaches, we would expect to see an increase in frequency and, if they are paying attention to best practices, also an increase in integration with social media campaigns and in the level of segmentation and targeting to different audiences based on specifics such as engagement levels and geographic locations.”

Four best practices for successful email marketing

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012
Amanda Steinberg

Amanda Steinberg - Founder & CEO, DailyWorth

By Allan Maurer

Email is still the marketers top online tool, says Amanda Steinberg, founder & CEO of DailyWorth.com, but engaging in best practices will improve your results.

DailyWorth emails its financial advice to 250,000 women a day. The site has garnered publicity form

New York Times, Forbes, USA Today, and a recent 2-page spread in Cosmopolitan magazine. Prior to DailyWorth, Steinberg owned and operated multiple Website development consultancies. A graduate of Columbia University, Steinberg also contributes to ForbesWoman.com.

Steinberg is one of dozens of digital experts participating in the upcoming Digital Summit in Atlanta May 9-10. She’ll join speakers from Google, Gilt, Mashable, The Huffington Post, Twitter, Klout, and many other firms at the event, which had fewer than 100 seats left.

Steinberg will be talking about email best practices. We asked her for some of her top email marketing tips.

First, she says, “Put a lot of thought and effort into your subject line. That’s the moment you’ll capture your reader or not. Too many email marketers use generic or repetitive subject lines. Use something that gets them to open it.”

Second, “Keep your content really short. One of the things I’ve learned is that people are just getting buried in their email. So editing and honing down what you’re sending is critical. We keep them to no more than 200 words.

Third, “Keep your list 100 percent opt-in. If someone doesn’t understand they’re signing up for it, it can do more to hurt you than help you.”

Fourth, “Don’t send your emails at 7 a.m. when everyone is mass delete mode. Send it late afternoon.”

She also says that the best way to market an email newsletter is to barter, exchange and advertise with other email newsletters.

“Email is best path to more email,” she says.

DailyWorth, she says, “Delivers one piece of financial advice a day, often telling a story.” She says they measure ten metrics, open rate, click through rate, shares, likes, and comments generated.

Eight ways email can win customers with lifecycle marketing

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

email graphicStreamSend, a leading email marketing service providerand creator of the social marketing tool suiteStreamSend Share, says email marketers can win and keep new consumers via lifecycle marketing.

“Lifecycle email marketing, particularly when powered with social marketing, consistently shows far greater results than messages that are irrelevant to recipients’ interests and relationship with your business,” said Dan Forootan, president of StreamSend Email Marketing.

“The key is to recognize customers’ lifecycle categories, then act on that information with targeted messages that are valued and shared. Here are eight important steps towards creating those kinds of one-to-one messages and building strong, profitable customer relationships.”

1.    Divide and Conquer 
Segment your audience according to their status: Prospects, Engaged and Inactive. Three very different groups requiring very different approaches.

2.    Set Goals by Group 
Each of the categories deserves its own goals, respecting recipients’ interests and aligning with marketers expectations. This is where it starts to feel like one-on-one communication.

3.    Prospect by the Numbers, 1:1 
Prospects have shown interest and supplied an email address, but not yet engaged with a business. The first step here is to make an introduction – a welcoming one that explains how you obtained their information – then build credibility by showing customer success, while supplying an incentive to make that first purchase and start the relationship

4.    Rules of Engagement 
Engaged customers can be sub-divided according to new or established customers. Newer ones should be nurtured to handle questions, supply contact information and the guidance necessary to develop the relationship. Messages to the established customer can range from newsletters, company updates and targeted promotions. This group is also more likely to share your message socially.

5.    Get Active 
Inactive customers are inevitable, despite the most nurturing relationship. But they don’t have to be lost and messages that leverage existing information about their interests can be effective. After acknowledging their absence, businesses can send surveys to look for reasons, and offer incentives that offer benefits and savings to get them active again.

6.    The Lifecycle Triangle 
Lifecycle marketing is based on the three corners of the lifecycle triangle: offering the right message to the right audience at the right time. Email auto-responders based on segmented lists let businesses leverage the customer information they have compiled to complete the triangle.

7.    The Message that Keeps on Sharing 
Inside the email, responses to widgets and offers let business create new, segmented lists with up-to-date, increasingly relevant information. Sharing can include favorable blog mentions, product reviews, getting involved in promotions – but the big payoff is when audience members start sharing your well-targeted messages with their network of friends and peers.

8.    Go Viral 
No matter which customer corner of the lifecycle triangle is being targeted, the Share option needs to stand out, loud and clear.

Prospects, excited at the offers to bring them into the customer fold, may want to pass on those benefits to friends.

Engaged customers are often ready to endorse the business sender and want to share the high quality and trusted value that relationship represents to them.

Inactive customers, reminded and impressed by the commitment to bring them back, can want to share the rewards as they renew this relationship. And as these customers send the message viral, an unlimited number of fresh leads enter the picture, and the lifecycle triangle.

Email drives more purchases than Facebook & text combined

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

email graphicA new study released today by global interactive marketing provider ExactTarget (NYSE:ET) found two thirds of online Americans have made a purchase as a result of email, nearly twice the percentage who have purchased after receiving marketing messages delivered via both Facebook and text messaging.

“Americans are changing the way they interact online”

Based on a survey of 1,481 U.S. online consumers, ExactTarget’s 2012 Channel Preference Survey asked how Americans communicate online with brands and with friends and found a growing divide between personal communications preferences and how consumers want to receive marketing messages.

“Americans are changing the way they interact online,” said Jeff Rohrs, ExactTarget’s vice president of marketing. “Our 2012 Channel Preference Survey provides new data that identifies how today’s hyper-connected consumers are engaging with brands and offers exclusive advice on how to avoid the pitfalls of using personal communications preferences as a proxy for marketing communications.”

The study found consumers’ preferences vary significantly for communications with brands and friends. 77 percent of consumers surveyed said they prefer to receive marketing messages via email, while only 45 percent prefer email for personal communications.

Five percent said they prefer to receive marketing messages via social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn), while 13 percent prefer social media for personal communications.

Key findings of the research include:

  • Email
    • 96 percent of online consumers use email at least weekly.
    • 66 percent have made a purchase after receiving an email marketing message.
    • 76 percent prefer email over all other channels for customer service messages.
    • 66 percent of teens (ages 15-17) prefer email over all other channels for permission-based marketing.
  • Text Messaging
    • 68 percent of online consumers use text messaging at least weekly.
    • 16 percent have made a purchase after receiving a text (SMS) marketing message.
    • 25 percent prefer text messaging over all other channels for real-time travel alerts.
    • 9 percent of consumers ages 25-34 prefer text messaging over all other channels for delivery of tickets to an event purchased online.
  • Social Media
    • 70 percent of online consumers use Facebook at least weekly.
    • 20 percent use Twitter at least weekly.
    • 20 percent have made a purchase after receiving a marketing message on Facebook.
    • 32 percent of teens (ages 15-17) have made a purchase after receiving a marketing message on Facebook.
    • 16 percent of teens (ages 15-17) have made a purchase after receiving a marketing message on Twitter.
    • 4 percent prefer Facebook over all other channels for permission-based marketing.

Only one day left to grab the Early Bird rate for Digital Summit

Thursday, March 15th, 2012
Joel Lunenfeld

Joel Ludenfeld, director of global brand strategy for Twitter, is among the more than 75 speakers at the upcoming Digital Summit in Atlanta

Only one day remains to grab the early bird rate at TechMedia’s Digital Summit 2012, slated for May 9-10 at the Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta. This year’s event features speakers from Twitter, Mashable, Klout, Pandora, The Onion, Huffington Post, StumbleUpon, and Google, among many others.

The Digital Summit is offering an Early Bird rate until tomorrow, March 16.

More than  50 expert panels and presentations by more than 75 thought leaders will cover topics such as Customer Engagement, SEO, Analytics, Usability & Design, Paid Search, Email Marketing, Ecommerce, Online Video, Facebook & Twitter Marketing and many more.

This year you can also sign up for a pre-conference event that offers a dozen more sessions covering social media from fundamentals to advanced features and usability & design. The 5-hour long workshops are designed to provide take-aways you can put to work as soon as you get back to your office.

TechMedia events sell-out, so it’s always a good idea to register early. Do so by March 16 and get the Early Bird rate of $245.

Digital Summit 2012

From March 17 to April 13, registration will be $295, and after April 14 rises to $345.

Survey shows strong adoption of Facebook ads among small businesses

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

facebook adPayvment, the number one Facebook ecommerce platform, says results of its F-Commerce Facts survey of over 100,000 sellers on Facebook, the majority of which are small businesses with less than 500 Facebook fans,  shows strong adoption and favorability towards Facebook Ads, with most sellers planning to use the social network’s ad products again.

The data also shows that small sellers are using a wide variety of outside marketing channels to drive traffic to their Facebook storefronts, including Twitter, Google ads and email marketing.

“While a handful of large retailers have put their F-commerce efforts on hold, there are hundreds of thousands of small businesses who are successfully selling products on Facebook”

“While a handful of large retailers have put their F-commerce efforts on hold, there are hundreds of thousands of small businesses who are successfully selling products on Facebook,” said Christian Taylor, founder and CEO of Payvment.

“This data provides a quick snapshot of the current state of Facebook commerce and shows a robust and vibrant environment in which sellers are aggressively marketing their products through many different channels, driving sales for their products and bringing revenue and traffic back to Facebook.”

Key conclusions from the survey include:

1. Facebook Ads are the top promotional tool for sellers beyond general Facebook marketing.

Facebook sellers are doing their part to fuel Facebook’s $5 billion forecasted ad revenue this year.

More than one-third (39 percent) of respondents report having used Facebook Ads, making this the most prevalent marketing tactic used by sellers to drive traffic to their stores beyond general Facebook marketing — such as promotions and deals posted to their wall — and nearly 70 percent of respondents say they plan to use Facebook Ads again.

Facebook Ads enjoy high favorability among Facebook sellers who have used them. Sellers cite effectiveness in fan and customer acquisition as their top reason (68 percent) for planning more Facebook Ad campaigns.

Other reasons for continuing to use Facebook Ad programs include the ability to start and stop campaigns (60 percent), Facebook’s targeting capabilities (60 percent) and Facebook Ads’ ease of use (55 percent).

But not all Facebook sellers have had success acquiring new fans and customers with Facebook Ads. Among the 30 percent who say they wouldn’t use Facebook Ads again, 68 percent report that they did not acquire many new fans or customers through this channel.

Lower-than-anticipated results may be due to confusion about how to effectively use Facebook Ads, as one-quarter (25 percent) of respondents who haven’t tried Facebook Ads say they don’t understand how to use them.

Cost is also cited as another top reason for not using Facebook Ads again: 65 percent say they wouldn’t continue using Facebook Ads because they are too expensive. Interestingly, among those who aren’t currently advertising on Facebook, only 32 percent say that Facebook Ads are too expensive to use — the majority (63 percent) cite lack of budget as their primary deterrent.

2. Sellers are using many outside marketing channels to bring traffic back to Facebook stores.

FacebookWhile most sellers are actively marketing their Facebook storefronts and products on Facebook (84 percent) and 39 percent are using Facebook Ads, many are also using other marketing channels to drive traffic to their stores.

More than one-third are promoting their Facebook store on their company web site (38 percent), 34 percent are using Twitter, and 30 percent are using email marketing. A small percentage also use paid media outside of Facebook to attract new fans and customers: 12 percent are running print ads, 9 percent are using direct mail and 8 percent are buying search ads on Google.

The data also shows that Facebook sellers plan to increase their marketing efforts across the board over the next six months.

Use of Google Ads is expected to grow by 38 percent; use of print ads is expected to grow by 30 percent; use of email marketing is expected to grow by 29 percent; and use of direct mail is expected to grow by 26 percent.

In addition, 21 percent more businesses plan to promote their Facebook store on their company web site over the next six months, which would bring the total number of sellers linking back to Facebook from their web site to nearly half (46 percent) of all sellers.

3. The ability to market and sell products on the same platform is a top benefit for sellers.

The survey also validates the appeal of Facebook as a platform where sellers can both market and sell their products. When asked what they like best about selling on Facebook, the majority of respondents cite the ability to promote their products via social marketing as a top benefit (61 percent). About the same number of people (60 percent) also like that customers don’t have to leave Facebook to buy their products.

Familiarity with Facebook and its ease-of-use are also perceived as major benefits of selling on Facebook. Nearly 50 percent say it is easy to set up and maintain a storefront on Facebook, and 40 percent say they like selling on Facebook because they are already familiar with how Facebook works.

Product discovery is also seen as a benefit, with one-third of respondents (33 percent) saying they like selling on Facebook because shoppers can more easily discover their products.

4. Facebook storefronts are the sole sales destination for more than one-third of sellers.

Facebook storefronts are the sole sales channel for more than one-third of Facebook sellers (37 percent), while 63 percent of sellers are also selling products on their company web site.

Other top sales channels for Facebook sellers include trade or craft shows (30 percent); retail stores (29 percent); eBay (29 percent); Etsy (21 percent); and Amazon (15 percent).

5. The biggest challenge for new sellers is growing their fan base.

Facebook commerce is a relatively new phenomenon and is still in its early days. Nearly 50 percent of respondents have been selling on Facebook for less than 6 months, and 72 percent report having less than 500 fans.

The majority of respondents (72 percent) point to their small fan base as the biggest challenge of selling on Facebook.

The data also underscores the need for additional tools and support to help sellers grow their Facebook presence: more than one-third of respondents (38 percent) cite lack of understanding about how to do marketing on Facebook as a top challenge, and 31 percent say they don’t have enough time to do marketing.

About the F-Commerce Facts Survey

The F-Commerce Facts survey was conducted by Payvment, the number one Facebook ecommerce platform whose more than 100,000 active sellers drive nearly 80 percent of all the shopping on Facebook.

This survey was fielded online, between February 15, 2012, and February 28, 2012, and sent to a random sample of Payvment’s seller base of over 100,000 business owners.

There were 750 total responses from sellers across 12 different countries. Nearly 50 percent of respondents were new sellers on Facebook (less than 3 months), and 72 percent of respondents report having less than 500 fans. No incentive was offered to complete the survey.

Early bird rate for Digital Summit available until March 16

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

TechMedia’s Digital Summit 2012, slated for May 9-10 at the Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta, is offering an Early Bird rate until March 16.

Digital Summit 2012More than  50 expert panels and presentations by thought leaders will cover topics such as Customer Engagement, SEO, Analytics, Usability & Design, Paid Search, Email Marketing, Ecommerce, Online Video, Facebook & Twitter Marketing and many more.

This year you can also sign up for a pre-conference event that offers a dozen more sessions covering social media from fundamentals to advanced features and usability & design. The 5-hour long workshops are designed to provide take-aways you can put to work as soon as you get back to your office.

TechMedia events sell-out, so it’s always a good idea to register early. Do so by March 16 and get the Early Bird rate of $245.

From March 17 to April 13, registration will be $295, and after April 14 rises to $345.

Best words to use in email subject lines to get a response (infographic)

Friday, February 10th, 2012

BaydinIf you want people to respond to your email, use words such as “Apply,” “Opportunity,” and “Connect.” But avoid “Confirm,” “Join,” “Press” and “Invite,” among others. So says Baydin, which makes the email plugin Boomerang.

Baydin gathered data from five million emails and discovered which subject lines got the most responses and which did not.

It also found that sending email early – before work at around 6 a.m., worked best.

But getting past the user delete button can be tough. The average email user gets 147 emails a day (we get several hundred) and deletes 71 in under 5 minutes while spending 2.5 hours a day mostly on about 12 of them.

Here’s an infographic the company created on its findings:

email infographic

Email, search outperformed social networks in online holiday shopping (infographic)

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

BaynoteMore than 84 percent of consumers said their online shopping experience this season was “good” or “excellent,” up from 78 percent last year, according to Baynote’s  2nd Annual Holiday Online Shopping Experience Survey.

Social networks played no role for 80 percent of online shoppers surveyed, but personal recommendations were important – evidence of missed marketing opportunities.

The attributes consumers said were most important to ensuring a positive online shopping experience included a smooth checkout process, effective on-site navigation and search, informative user reviews and comments, and personalized product recommendations, although consumers indicated there is room for improvement across the board.

Furthermore, consumers were generally satisfied with privacy controls across eCommerce channels this year, except on Facebook, which has publically struggled to quell the privacy concerns of its users; more than one out of five people said it did not meet their expectations on privacy.

“With so much hype around emerging channels this holiday season, our survey shows online retailers which of them actually delivered the best online experience,” said Anurag Wadehra, chief marketing officer for Baynote.

“While social, mobile and tablets all have tremendous potential, retailers need to improve the customer shopping experience across these new channels. This holds particularly true for the tablet, which we expect will dominate all other emerging channels in the coming year.”

Key findings of the Baynote Holiday Online Shopping Experience Survey include:

  • The future of mobile commerce is the tablet:
    • Nearly half of tablet owners (49 percent) used their tablets to make purchases.
    • Respondents indicated that tablets would become a larger part of mobile commerce than other platforms; nearly 60 percent of tablet owners expect to use their tablet to research or purchase products in the next year, compared to only 21 percent of mobile phone users.
    • Despite opportunities around the tablet, consumers gave the overall shopping experience on this channel a B- grade.
  • Despite the hype, social commerce has yet to deliver on its promise:
    • Nearly 80 percent said social networks had no influence on their holiday shopping decisions yet 55 percent said getting advice on products from friends was important, indicating retailers are missing an opportunity to exploit the social graph.
    • Less than nine percent of consumers purchased something from a retailer’s Facebook fan page yet 20 percent made a purchase on an eCommerce website based on a promotion seen on Facebook.
    • Consumers gave the overall shopping experience on Facebook a C+ grade.
  • Personalized recommendations are driving sales:
    • The majority of shoppers (57 percent) purchased items recommended to them, indicating personalized recommendations are paying off for online retailers. Shoppers were most satisfied with how retailers personalized the shopping experience on retail websites, compared with Facebook, mobile phones and tablets, with 93 percent saying it met or exceeded their expectations.
    • Email and search delivered the most relevant personalized product recommendations, outperforming those of eCommerce sites and in-store sales associates.
    • Consumers found coupons and promotions delivered via email, direct mail and search more useful than those received via emerging channels such as daily deal sites and social networks.
    • Baynote created this infographic illustrating the survey results:

infographic

Email, social media marketing top investments planned for 2012

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

StrongMailNow and then we hear that email, troubled by spam and overfull mailboxes, is not the marketing tool it once was. A new survey disputes that. Sixty percent of business executives surveyed in StronMail’s 2012 Marketing Trends Survey say they plan to increase their email marketing budgets, while 55 percent plan to boost social media marketing.

More than a third, (37%) say they’ll kick up their spend for mobile and search.

Survey Highlights

  • 92% plan to increase or maintain marketing spend in 2012
  • 60% plan to increase email marketing budget; 55% social media; 37% mobile/search (tied)
  • 45% cite data integration as primary email marketing challenge in 2012; 43% lack of resources/staff; 40% content management
  • 48% cite increasing subscriber engagement as top 2012 email marketing initiative; 44% improving segmentation/targeting; 32% growing opt-in email list
  • 68% plan to integrate email marketing with social media; 44% with mobile; 17% with search

Marketing Budgets Remain Healthy; Email and Social Media Attract Increased Investment

Email marketing (60%) and social media (55%) were cited as the top two areas for increased marketing spend. According to the survey, 51% of businesses plan to increase their marketing budgets in 2012, and another 41% plan to maintain current levels. Only 8% of respondents plan to decrease marketing budgets, which is a slight increase over the 7% reported in last year’s survey. Other areas of increased spend included mobile and search, which are tied at 37%. Direct mail (28%) and tradeshows (23%) are top targets for decreased spend.

Subscriber Engagement is Top Email Marketing Priority; Data Integration is Top Challenge

The top email marketing initiatives for 2012 are increasing subscriber engagement (48%), improving segmentation and targeting (44%) and growing opt-in email lists (32%). Data integration is key to achieving these top priorities, but it is also identified as the primary email marketing challenge in 2012 (45%), followed by lack of resources (43%) and content management (40%). These opposing data points represent an opportunity for email service providers to fill the gap with relevant services.

Marketers Focus on Integrating Email Marketing and Social Media

More than two-thirds of businesses plan to integrate social media and email in 2012, versus 44% integrating mobile and email. The strong ties between email marketing and social media are also emphasized by the 47% of businesses that plan to increase investment in using email to drive growth in their social media channels, such as corporate Facebook and Twitter pages. The next popular areas of investment are batch promotional (44%) and newsletter (39%) programs, followed by real-time lifecycle marketing programs (35%), with an emphasis on winback (68%) and welcome (59%) programs.

Marketers Unclear on Value of Mobile Marketing

More than a third of businesses plan to increase their investment in mobile marketing programs such as mobile apps (29%) and SMS alerts (20%), but there is a lack of consensus on the primary value of this emerging channel. Building customer and loyalty (35%) was identified as the top benefit, followed by expanded reach (29%) and awareness building (28%). However, this is offset by a similar percentage still trying to figure it out (24%) and a smaller percentage citing no value at all (7%).

Full survey data is available at: www.strongmail.com/2012marketsurvey

Internet Summit nears capacity crowd for top Southeast digital marketing event

Friday, November 11th, 2011
Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk keynotes the 2011 Internet Summit in Raleigh next week, which is nearly sold-out.

Fewer than 50 seats remain for next week’s Internet Summit, which is bringing hundreds of digital media and marketing thought-leaders to the Raleigh, NC Convention Center Nov. 15-16.

The event, which attracts a capacity crowd, offers take-away insight into social media marketing, search engine optimization, ecommerce trends, email marketing, we and mobile analytics, big data, cloud computing, startup fund-raising and much more.

You’ll have access to visionary thought leaders who will share their insight and experience with you.  Hear from the founders of companies like Twitpic, TheLadders & HowStuffWorks!  Not enough?  How about a Keynote from Top rated SXSW keynote and ‘Social Media King’ Gary Vaynerchuk?

That’s just a sampling of the more than 120 speakers and presenters that will be on hand.

We interviewed just a handful of the many presenters. For a preview of what thought-leaders will be presenting at the event see:

The Internet Summit’s Talented Speakers & Presenters include:

  • Gary Vaynerchuk, Co-Founder, VaynerMedia
  • Marc Cendella, Founder & CEO, TheLadders
  • Marshall Brain, Founder, HowStuffWorks
  • David Payne, Chief Digital Officer, Gannett
  • Noah Everett, Founder, TwitPic and Heello
  • Ro Choy, COO, Formspring
  • Liz Strauss, Co-founder, SOBcon & LizStrauss.com
  • Brian Hitney, Developer Evangelist, Microsoft
  • David Perry, Business Development Executive, Google
  • Jack Krawczyk, Sr Product Marketing Mgr, StumbleUpon
  • Traug Keller, Sr VP of Production, ESPN
  • Catherine Cook, Co-Founder, myYearbook
  • Eric Ranta, SVP of Value Engineering, SAP
  • Micahel Cristinziano, VP Strategic Development, Citrix
  • Doug Smith, Dir Product Management, Taleo
  • Malin Huffman, Head of Product Development, NetSuite
  • Jerry Cuomo, CTO WebSphere, IBM
  • Lee Congdon, CIO, RedHat
  • Jeff Ragovin, Chief Revenue Officer, Buddy Media
  • Peggy Fry, Chief Revenue Officer, Clearspring Technologies
  • Mike Relm, Founder, Relmvision
  • Bob Young, Founder & CEO, Lulu.com
  • Donna DeMarco, Co-Founder & VP, Viddler
  • Emily Keye, Marketing Strategist, Bronto
  • Tammy Gordon, Dir Social Communications & Strategy, AARP
  • Markus, Renstrom, Head of SEO, Yahoo!
  • Dr. Manuel Aparicio, CEO & Co-Founder, Saffon Technologies
  • Julianna DeLua, Enterprise Solutions Evangelist, Informatica
  • Tony Haile, General Manager, Chartbeat
  • Ryan Mannion, Chief Technology Officer, Politico
  • David Giambruno, SVP and CIO, Revlon
  • Gaurav Howard, Sr. Dir Product Marketing, Marketo
  • Michael Lubek, CIO, GE Global Applications
  • Angela Connor, Social Media Manager, Capstrat
  • Ryan Allis, CEO, iContact
  • Prerna Gupta, CEO, Khush
  • Kevin Dando, Dir Digital & Education Communication, PBS
  • Clint Smith, Co-Founder & CEO, Emma
  • Matt Crenshaw, VP of Marketing, Discovery Communications
  • Scott Gunter, VP of User Experience, Usability Sciences
  • Lindsay Wassell, Partner & Consultant, KeyphraSEOlogy
  • Steve Ashley, VP Internet Marketing, Market America
  • Dennis Gullitto, APM Product Marketing Manager, Compuware
  • Scott Baker, Sr. Mgr Virtualization & Cloud Engineering, NetApp
  • Jeramiah Dooley, vArchitect, VCE/Cisco Virtualization
  • Gerard Bush, Chief Creative Dir, The brpr Group
  • Ted McDonald, Analyst, Verisign
  • Rob Ousbey, VP Operations Seattle, Distilled
  • David Gudai, VP of Marketing, Storkie
  • Glenn Mersereau, Dir of Internet Marketing, PHE
  • Jim Tobin, President, Ignite Social Media
  • Kevin Pomplun, CEO, SkyGrid
  • Sherry Bastion, Web Creative Director, Lenovo
  • John Lovett, Sr Partner, Web Analytics Demystified
  • Drew Diskin, Dir of Interactive & Web Strategy, Penn Medicine
  • Lynette Montgomery, VP Ecommerce, Burt’s Bees
  • Noah Dinkin, Co-Founder & President, FanBridge
  • Jessica Bowman, SEOinhouse.com
  • Todd Moy, Sr User Experience Designer, Viget Labs
  • Donna Bedford, Global SEO Lead, Lenovo
  • Francis Shepherd, Media Evangelist
  • Dallas Lawrence, Chief Digital Strategist, Burson-Marsteller
  • Karen Albritton, President, Capstrat
  • Thuy LeDihn, Senior Marketing Manager, .ORG
  • Adam Covati, Co-founder & CTO, Argyle Social
  • Kyle Scott Richardson, Social Media, NC National Guard
  • Cara Rousseau, Social Media Manager, Duke University
  • Loren Baker, VP of Marketing, Blueglass
  • Matthew Muñoz, Partner & Chief Design Officer, New Kind
  • Jill Whalen, CEO, HighRankings
  • Jason Caplain, General Partner, Southern Capitol Ventures
  • David Heaney, Senior Associate, TomorrowVentures
  • John Lawrence, Partner & CFO, Longworth Venture Partners
  • Brooks Raiford, CEO, NCTA
  • Roger Krakoff, Managing Partner, Cloud Capital Partners
  • Charles Nicholls, Chief Strategy Officer, SeeWhy
  • Jeff Campbell, VP & Co-Founder, Resolution Media
  • Gary Storr, Business Architect & Solutions, Nortel
  • Jeff Spivey, VP Board of Directors, ISACA
  • Doug Hanna, CEO, A Small Orange
  • Lisa, Braziel, Strategy Director, Ignite Social Media
  • William Blackmon, CEO, LinkMein
  • Chris Condayan, Public Outreach, Am Society for Microbiology
  • Kyle Scott Richardson, Dir of Social Media, NC National Guard
  • Jill Carlson, Marketing Manager, Argyle Social
  • John Lane, VP Strategy & Creative, Centerline Digital
  • Michael , Gowan, Associate Dir of Web Strategy, Duke Medicine
  • Dana Kirchman, SVP Head of Client Operations, Lumi Mobile

Internet Summit is an outstanding learning experience mixed with  prime networking opportunities and entertaining keynotes.

There’s even 5 additional hours of intense session digging deep into Social Media, SEO & Search, User Experience & Design and Analytics when you add the pre-conference to your registration.

Email vital in driving traffic to social sites

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

ResponsysResponsys, Inc. (NASDAQ: MKTG), a provider of email and cross-channel marketing solutions, has found that retailers are more focused on using their email marketing programs to promote their social communities and less focused on email for social sharing in a its Viral & Community Links in Emails 2011 report.

Email marketing continues to be a key tactic for raising awareness of and driving traffic to retailers’ communities on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. Among the top online retailers tracked by the Retail Email Blog, 88% of them include community links in their promotional emails, up from 75% in 2010, approaching near universal adoption.

“This report is a strong endorsement of email’s ability to raise awareness of and drive traffic to brands’ social media pages on an ongoing basis,” said Ed Henrich, Senior Vice President of Professional Services at Responsys. “It’s also further evidence that cross-channel integration is increasingly vital to future marketing success.”

Facebook and Twitter dominate retailers’ community efforts, although YouTube has grown to become a strong third-place contender. Every retailer in the study linked to Facebook from their emails; 84% linked to Twitter; and 29% linked to YouTube.

However, fewer retailers are including share-with-your-network (SWYN) links in their emails, instead relying on their websites to spur social sharing. The percentage of retailers that include a SWYN link in every promotional email dropped to 25% from 26% in 2010 after rising from 12% in 2009.

“Three times as many retailers include share-with-your-network (SWYN) links on their product pages as regularly as they include them in their emails,” said Chad White, Research Director at Responsys and author of the Viral & Community Links in Emails 2011 report. “That’s a strong indication that retailers are sold on the benefits of SWYN, but that placement further down the sales funnel is more effective in general.”

Meanwhile, forward-to-a-friend (FTAF) usage continues its long-term decline, dropping to 41% from 44% in 2010 and 48% in 2009. Overall, 52% of retailers now include some viral mechanism — either SWYN or FTAF — in their emails, down from 56% in 2010.

Information on how to btain a copy of the complimentary Viral & Community Links in Emails 2011 report.

10 key steps power small business email marketing

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Stream SendStreamsend, a California-based email marketing service provider, says there are 10 key steps small businesses should take to power email campaigns with social applications like Facebook, reaching whole new audiences and attracting more prospects with increasingly targeted messages.

“Actually, it is very simple – social marketing is a powerful way to build your prospect list, effectively sharing your message with offers that attract,” reports Dan Forootan, president of StreamSend Email Marketing. “And email marketing is unsurpassed for invaluable measurement on what content is working, and how well. Combine the power of these two media and you get unprecedented reach, targeting and audience-building capabilities.

“Here are ten steps we help businesses take to maximize their email-social connection with new business prospects.”

1.    Engage! – Social Marketing is a fabulous prospecting and customer engagement tool; build your audience with it by providing authentic content that adds value to their lives and businesses.

2.    Get on the Right Track – Get enough of this valued information in front of the user so that you are “Liked” – then you know you’re on the right track and you’re halfway there. Conversely, don’t ignore lack of acceptance – re-tune your message and content until you’re back on track.

3.    Spread the Wealth — Use email marketing newsletters to announce new Linked-In, Facebook or Twitter feeds, directing readers to your social networking site for sign-up.

4.    Build a Free Facebook Fan Page – This public profile enables you to share your business and products with Facebook users. And don’t be shy: share that link with your all your audiences or other pages you might have.

5.    Keep it Fresh — Use email plus social to add new items to your Fan page. When you can put your email marketing piece right on a Facebook tab you are giving a prospect a chance right there to tell you what they are looking for. Give them what they want and you are giving them a reason to come back.

6.    Make the Affinity Connection – Search and “Like” all the related business fan pages you think might have common customers or who might become a customer.

7.    Zero in on List Candidates — Post more custom Fan pages that have “opt-ins” to your list opportunities; contests or newsletters can accomplish this well.

8.    Read your Stats – See who’s reading what in your communications and send auto-emails to your prospects based on what interests them the most.

9.    Build your List – By getting your customers to both “like you” and get on your list, you are building a strong foundation for them to opt-in. Remember, social “likes” only go so far; over time your message will fall down your visitors’ newsfeeds so that you may not be seen.

10.  Take the Next Step – Continually ask your social visitor to opt-in to your list, get a coupon, etc., so you can “take a next step” together – into a mutually profitable relationship.

Online tactics are three of the top five used by marketing pros, survey says

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

SagefrogThree of the top five marketing tactics being used by more than 125 marketing pros relate to online marketing (website development, email marketing, and Social Media Marketing) according to the sixth annual Business-to-Business (B2B) Marketing Mix Survey that monitors and reports marketing mix plans, activities and performance.

Respondents also reported using marketing practices such as press releases, direct marketing, Search Engine Optimization, and seminars. Other survey questions examine a range of marketing topics, including most-used social media tactics, top areas of marketing spend, and top sources of sales leads.

“Marketers are reporting that our B2B Marketing Mix Survey is helping them to allocate their marketing resources wisely, optimize their marketing mix investments, and maximize business results,” said Mark Schmukler, managing partner at Sagefrog Marketing Group.

Key results include:

  • The areas of highest marketing spend involve digital marketing, including website development, direct marketing (email and direct mail), and online marketing
  • Tradeshow and event marketing remains a top source of sales leads
  • The most utilized social media tactics are social networks (66%) such as LinkedIn and Facebook, blogs (34%), and video sharing sites (29%)
  • About two-thirds of respondents (68%) reported that their 2011 marketing budget is 5% or less of their overall revenue
  • Forty percent (40%) of respondents expect their marketing budget to increase in 2012

To see all the results of the 2011 B2B Marketing Mix Survey, download a free copy of the report here: www.sagefrog.com/pdf/2011_B2B_Marketing_Mix_Survey_Results.pdf

Social networks fail to deliver many online sales

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

ForresterAlthough many marketers are rushing to establish a social network presence, a study by Forrester and GSI Commerce found that social media had little impact on online purchases during the 2010 holiday shopping season, resulting in less than 2 percent of orders.

Actual holiday purchase data from 15 retailers that were GSI Commerce clients showed that:

Most consumers purchased online following some web marketing influence.

Shoppers in the study touched some retail marketing vehicle before completing a transaction. Usually, they explicitly searched for a product or they received a retailer email. In fact, 77 percent of transactions in hard goods and 82 percent in soft goods engaged in some interactive marketing tactic.

Nearly half of purchases followed mulitple exposures to web marketing efforts.

About half of online shoppers touched at least two marketing points, which the report suggests highlights opportunities for retailers to “think beyond the tradtional last-click measurement.”

Search and email were the most effective tactics driving sales.

Traditional tactics were most effective in driving online sales. The report says 60 percent of soft goods buyers and 40 percent of hard goods purchasers came to retail websites from email and search specifically.

Display and affiliate marketing showed a strong influence.

The report suggests that display and affiliate marketing may not be getting their due because they typically play a role early in the research funnel and are followed by visits to search or email. Display ads, though, were the first marketing touch for 13 percent of soft goods buyers. Last-click analysis of marketing campaigns thus underestimate the effect of first-click tactics.

Social tactics “came alive” during key dates for soft goods. The truth is that social tactics
Social tactics were largely ineffective in driving sales. The data from this study indicated that less than 2% of orders were a result of shoppers coming from a social network. That said, to the degree that social networks did have an influence on holiday purchases, it was greatest during the Thanksgiving weekend and the Cyber Monday that followed.

Social media plays other brand roles

While this study should give marketers pause if they view social networks primarily as sales tools, we have heard many digital media experts, consultants and advisors at our various events (the next is the Digital Summit in Atlanta May 16-17) point out that social media can play many other important roles in marketing.

Those include brand awareness, a sense of engagement with a brand, early warnings of potential product trouble, and more.

Also, we suspect that marketers are really only just getting started with their social media campaigns, figuring out what works and what doesn’t. Out and out commercials on Facebook or Twitter have seldom proved effective, for instance, while campaigns that are entertaining and engaging have much more success. These findings could be as much about how social media was used during the 2010 holiday season than about whether they can be used effectively to boost sales. — Allan Maurer

Email marketing firm iContact offers free edition

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011
iContact Free

iContact staff spell out "Free" at the company's campus

RALEIGH, NC – The email marketing firm iContact demonstrated some real world marketing savvy Tuesday, introducing a free edition of its email and social marketing tool by having its staff spell out “FREE,” outside its offices.

“Today, we are announcing a major new product launch for iContact designed to make email marketing and social marketing available to everyone in both their professional and personal lives,” said Ryan Allis, CEO, iContact. “We want to provide easy access to free email marketing and social marketing tools backed by world-class customer service.”

The free edition includes email creation, sending and tracking for up to 500 subscribers and 24 designer templates for messages. It has social media tools integration with Facebook and Twitter, and compatability wiht iPhone and Android mobile apps. It also includes a built-in survey tool.

The company, which powers TechJournal South’s daily eWire, began eight years ago in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, as a two-person company. Founders Ryan Allis and Aaron Houghton were in college.

The company admits the free edition is intended to attract potential clients for its paid products, but the founders also say they want to help other young companies succeed.

“We believe that everyone needs a chance. As two entrepreneurs who set out to build a company while still in college, we can’t count the number of people who helped us get started,” they wrote in a statement.

“For individuals, community organizations, and small businesses that are just starting out, we believe email marketing and social marketing should be free, easy to use.”

TechJournal South is a TechMedia company. TechMedia presents the annual conferences:

SoutheastVentureConference: www.seventure.org

Internet Summit: www.internetsummit.com

Digital East: www.digitaleast.com

Digital Summit: www.digitalsummit.com

 

 

 

Register for Digital Summit by Friday for best rate, free business best seller

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Digital SummitEven with tax day being slightly extended this year, April 15 is still the most dreaded day of the year.  But you can feel better by getting the best rate for Digital Summit 2011 in Atlanta.

In addition to the best available rate, register by Friday and receive a copy of the New York Times bestseller “The Thank You Economy,” by Keynote Speaker Gary Vaynerchuk. Thank You Economy book

The conference on May 16-17th brings together hundreds of marketers, internet execs and entrepreneurs at Atlanta’s premier digital event with Industry Experts sharing insights on top level trends and best practices, micro-topic actionable strategies, hot early-stage companies, plus hours of networking with peers and thought leaders.

Making sense of Website Analytics?  Understanding SEO and Search?  Finding ROI on Social Media initiatives?  Figuring out where your marketing dollars are best spent? Digital Summit 2011 brings you relief with sessions targeted to give you answers and strategies ready to implement when you return to the office:

Social Media Marketing;
Trends in Ecommerce
Social Media Trends
Online Advertising Analytics and Measurement
Cloud Computing
Search Marketing
Mobile Marketing
Reputation Management
Advanced SEO
Ad Words
Social Media ROI
Advanced Analytics
Online Video
Usability & Design
Email Marketing
Demo Showcase
Venture Capital Viewpoint
Internet Entrepreneurship

Register before April 15th and pay only $245 and receive a copy of The Thank You Economy with your paid registration.

Survey says: Online retailers adding cart abandonment emails

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

SilverpopATLANTA – Retailers are recognizing the value of trigger-based cart abandonment email programs, according to a recent benchmark survey conducted by Silverpop, which sells a scalable, integrated email marketing and marketing automation platform. These low volume but high ROI emails often comprise less than 5 percent of a company’s total email volume, while delivering 25 to 40 percent or more of email revenue for retailers.

The survey showed that eighty-three percent of respondents will be distributing cart abandonment emails by the end of 2011 and nearly three-fourths will have implemented browse abandonment campaigns by the end of the year.

We hope that online merchants realize that cart abandonment on their sites is often related to a problem with the site or it’s checkout process. While the fact that a user got as far as putting items in a cart certainly suggests a readiness to buy, their abandonment of the car also suggests something likely discouraged them. Sending them an email without correcting the problem that originally stymied the user could also be counter-productive.

Still,  it is not surprising that timely, relevant emails tied directly to consumer behavior deliver much higher metrics than broadcast emails. In fact 80 percent of survey respondents reported an open rate of 21 percent or higher for cart abandonment reminders while only 31 percent experienced similarly impressive results from their general broadcast emails.

High conversion impact

And even more impressive is the impact these programs have on conversion (and ultimately revenue), with 45 percent of survey responders reporting that their cart recovery emails yielded a conversion rate of 11 percent or higher— nearly four times that of their corresponding broadcast emails.

“Inboxes are crowded, the ‘noise’ is louder than ever, and generic batch-and-blast emails are becoming less effective at the message level,” said Loren McDonald, Silverpop’s vice president of industry relations. “Retailers that have employed recipient-driven messaging such as cart abandonment campaigns have seen excellent results– generating incremental boosts in revenue and customer loyalty with only a modest time investment.”

According to research conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 90 percent of ecommerce leads go cold within one hour. So, despite retailers’ recognition of the effectiveness of cart-abandonment campaigns, the Silverpop survey also found some room for improvement in the areas of frequency and timing given the following findings:

  • 83 percent of survey responders waited five or more hours to send the first recovery email
  • 61 percent wait more than 24 hours to send the first cart recovery email
  • 67 percent only send a single cart recovery email

The benchmark survey also indicated a high level of interest in other transaction-based messaging, such as post-purchase emails. Nearly three-quarters of survey respondents send a notification after a sale is completed, with service satisfaction surveys (50 percent) and product review requests (43 percent) popular examples. However, there is still room for growth in this area as well.

Only 2 percent are sending notifications that the review has posted—missing an additional opportunity to engage with the consumer, and possibly increase revenue even further.

“Relationships should never end after a purchase,” added McDonald. “Once a customer shows their loyalty to a brand, the brand should do everything in its power to show loyalty to its customer—whether by acknowledging recent actions or offering ‘happy birthday’ and ‘purchase anniversary’ emails.”

Click here to download the full survey.

iContact connects with $40M funding for email marketing

Monday, August 30th, 2010

iConctact logoDURHAM, NC – iContact, the email marketing firm, has raised $40 million in new backing from JMI Equity.

Ryan Allis, CEO and co-founder of the company, said, “We’ll use the majority of these new funds to make significant investments in sales and marketing, back-end technology, our product features and usability, global expansion, and of course our people that drive all of our success. For us, this is just the beginning of building a company that will be here in North Carolina for decades to come.

The funds will enable us to better fulfill iContact’s vision of building a great global company based in North Carolina for our customers, employees and community.”

The company, which has 65,000 customers, including TechJournal South, plans to occupy new offices in Morrisville in September. It raised $5 million in debt in 2008.

Of this raise, Allis said, “The funds will enable us to better fulfill iContact’s vision of building a great global company based in North Carolina for our customers, employees and community.”

The North Carolina Technology Association named iContact software company of the year in 2009.

JMI’s Brad Woloson and Jit Sinha join iContact’s board.

Allis is active in “social engineering” for community purposes. See: Can a for profit entrepreneur be a social entrepreneur?

Allis also wrote a book about building iContact into a success story. See:

Zero to One Million: Ryan Allis book outlines path to success

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