Wednesday, 7 January 2015

10 benefits of email marketing

Email marketing is utilised by thousands of businesses of all sizes across the globe. Those who are unfamiliar with this method of advertising may not immediately understand why it is so popular amongst companies in a variety of industries - but here are ten reasons why email marketing is seen by many as vital marketing tool... 

10. Low-cost

One of the most obvious benefits of email marketing is its lower cost compared to mainstream marketing channels. There are no print or postage costs and no fees paid in exchange for exposure on a certain billboard, magazine or television channel.  Email marketers might consider investing in specialist software to automate, track and evaluate their emails. Granted, there may be a small overhead for sending thousands of emails at a time, but these costs are far lower than what you would expect to pay using other marketing channels.

9. Target fans of your brand 

Email marketing is one of the only channels that consumers ask to receive. The majority of businesses utilising the platform only send messages to those who have signed up to receive them. This can allow for much higher conversion rates as a business is only targeting those who already have an interest in their brand. It is, of course, possible to send unsolicited email marketing messages, but this is only likely to annoy consumers and result in a damaged brand image. 

8. Segmentation

Most marketing professionals would happily pay to ensure they were only spending money targeting those who were interested in their brand. Email marketers can go one step further though, by only sending emails to subscribers who meet certain criteria.
If a franchise only has an offer on in certain areas of the country, it can easily arranged for emails to be sent only to those living in certain areas. If there is a sale on sports goods, it can be arranged for only those who have shown an interest in sports to receive an email.
Email list segmentation works fantastically for brands who gain information about their subscribers. Studies have shown that marketers who use this tactic often boast improved engagement rates as a result.  

7. Calls to action

Email marketing is great for taking advantage of impulse buying. There aren't many other marketing platforms which allow customers to go from witnessing an offer to purchasing an item within two clicks of a button. With a tempting call to action and a link straight to the checkout, email newsletters can drive sales like no other channel.

6. Easy to create

Email marketing doesn't necessarily require a huge team or reams of technical nous in order to be successful. It's certainly possible to jazz up an email campaign with fancy templates, videos, images and logos. Yet, some of the most successful campaigns utilise simple plain text emails, suggesting that it's the content of an email that is the most important thing.

5. Easy to track

Another key benefit of email marketing is that it's easy to see where you're going wrong. Most email marketing software will allow you to track open, click-through and conversion rates, making it simple to spot how a campaign can be improved. These changes can be made almost immediately too, whereas print or broadcast advertising requires quite a bit of effort to alter.

4. Easy to share

Subscribers can forward brilliant deals and offers to their friends at the click of a button. There aren't many other types of marketing that can be shared as easily as this. Before you know it, subscribers could become brand evangelists; focused on introducing your business to a new market.    

3. Global

What other marketing platform lets you instantly send a message to thousands of people across the world? Sure, social media can help you spread the word amongst a global audience - but there's no telling who's actually reading your content.

2. Immediacy

Due to the immediacy of email, a business can start seeing results within minutes of its emails being sent. A 24-hour sale is a brilliant marketing ploy that can be utilised by email, as it creates a sense of urgency and convinces subscribers to take immediate action. Businesses typically have to wait weeks until they see sales come in as a result of print or broadcast campaigns and, even then, how can they be sure what was responsible for the purchase?    

1. Return on investment

In the business world, results are arguably all that matters. With this in mind, the main reason that most businesses invest in email marketing is the fantastic return on investment. In 2011, the Direct Marketing Association estimated that email marketing typically returns £40 for every £1 invested. A number of sources have suggested that this is better than any other platform.
When you take into account, the points made above, it's easy to see why. Perhaps it's time for your business to start taking this marketing platform more seriously... 

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Tags : email marketing, email marketing malaysia

Monday, 5 January 2015

The email marketing bucket list

The email marketing bucket list

Caught up in day-to-day business, we sometimes lose sight of the truly remarkable. Do you remember what campaigns you did the last 3 months? Were they worth doing (for you and the business)? Would it have mattered if you “kicked the bucket” tomorrow?
There are always multiple reasons why not to do something remarkable. But in the end we all have wishes and ambitions and if you leave it at that, they become regrets.

Jump the “permanently delayed” fence

Without action though, the most inspiring ideas will become “permanently delayed”. So why not create an email marketing bucket list? A list of all the things you want to with email marketing. People do it for their complete lives, why not for your professional life and favourite marketing channel?

Open up email marketing possibilities

A bucket list opens up possibilities. It’s a method to set any and every activity or goal, whether it’s big, small or random. Having a bucket list reminds you of what’s really important AND awesome so you can act on it.  It will only take 20 minutes of your time to get a good list started.

What would you put on your email marketing bucket list?

A bucket list is just like planning ahead all the highlights. But it is ok if your list has seemingly simple items on it. Some conservative tactics might spring to mind first, but in some cases the most radical ones come out first. Just write all your thoughts down. Once you get into a constructive mode, the juices start flowing and a whole range of ideas will come out.
Here are some questions to get you started on your own email marketing bucket list:
* What would you do if you have unlimited time, money and resources?
* What are the best marketing campaigns you have seen lately and why where they so great?
* What have you always wanted to do, but have not done yet?
* Anything that has bothered you too much and needs to be addressed?
* Anything you wanted to try but didn’t because it might go wrong?
* Who would you like to have as a recipient on your list? Or as a client?
* What is the smallest detail you could change that could make a massive impact?
* What achievements do you want to have?
* What activities or skills do you want to learn or try out?
* What would be cause for a celebration at the office?
* Who do you admire in your field and would you like to work with?
* What would be the one thing that your subscribers would go crazy about?

Some ideas you might want to put on your list:

* Create an on-boarding or welcome series for new subscribers
* Shopping cart abandonment campaigns
* Create a birthday emailing
* Work with a great email marketing consultant
* Get your email marketing program reviewed
* Automate the import/ export and reports
Email template redesign
* Create an inspiring list growth program
* Do a campaign with video in email
* Upgrade the preference centre
* Get started on better A/B split testing and optimization

A bucket list is not an email marketing strategy

An email marketing bucket list is not the same thing as an email marketing strategy (although creating a solid strategy might be one of the items on the list). But with a good bucket list you can uncover motivation, passion and improvement points. And it feels darn good if you can strike an item off the list. Just thinking about the possibilities gets most people enthusiastic about their email program.

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The 6 Most Important Things in Email Marketing for 2015

As the new year approaches, we are starting to make plans. Next to stargazing and broad predictions about the future of email marketing. It is interesting to see what marketers find are focus points for their email program for next year. 

What will email marketers focus on next year?

We can’t do everything and especially not everything at the same time. So one of the major questions is: what will we be focusing our email marketing efforts on? Econsultancy ask just this question in their yearly email marketing census study (which, by the way, reports that email is still one of the most effective marketing channels). Which three areas do we think are the most important for the coming year? Below are the answers marketers gave.

Looking at the top 6, here are a few tips for the coming year:

1. Strategy and campaign planning

Starting off with the big one. Strategy (or a lack thereof) has always been a top priority on the road to effective email marketing. Write it down. Write all the ideas down, create a strategy document, but before putting it into action imagine the next scenario where you are presenting the outcomes of your email strategy.
A normal marketing plan will not just say: let’s keep doing exactly what we were doing and try to get the results we got the year before. Unless the market is really down, we want to elevate the results and possibly improve email marketing ROI. Some plans however look more like an endless wish list where you will find everything that you might want to do possibly, maybe, someday. That is not really a plan. We have to make some choices because you can’t do everything at the same time. If it is not now, move it to your email marketing bucket list.
What will make your management and CEO dance on the table at the end of the year? In your email marketing strategy describe that outcome very specific and the way to achieve that. The magic is in catching your outcome and translating it into the right email marketing KPIs. It also is a good litmus test to see if you are chasing ghosts. Is someone really going to be doing the jive in the boardroom because of X% more opens alone? (Hint: I hope not)

2. Automated campaigns and marketing automation

Yes, let’s focus on automated campaigns. They are hot, the adoption of Marketing automation is up and for good reason, if you automate the right type of campaigns they can garner quite the results even with lower volumes. In fact, a study by The Lenskold Group reported that 78% of successful marketers say marketing automation is responsible for improving revenue contribution. Wow!
Picking the right campaigns to work on is maybe the most important step. You’re looking for high impact, lower time investment and an increase in activity of your subscribers, plus enough volume in terms of recipients.
There are many types of automated or drip campaigns with their own do’s and don’ts. Thought a birthday campaign was out of fashion or corny? Not as long as it works! It adds a timely contact to all the subscribers in your list, that is good reach for a triggered campaign. And to come up with an original / inspiring message, creativity is the only challenge. Want to get more out of them? Those triggered messages often work better as a series.

3. Segmentation

By splitting up your database into groups with similar characteristics, you can send more targeted messages. If at all possible, a nice combo with automation can be made by for instance loading in the articles from your site per interest / preference group.
My tip: It is a good idea to stop treating your subscribers as a homogenous lump, but also keep the added value of the email newsletter segmentation up. Segmentation isn’t something you do because you can, or because it is the right thing to do. We all say we want more relevant messages, but when it comes to execution, segmentation isn’t always the answer. Does something like a different intro text per segment going to make a message that much more relevant?
If there isn’t any added value to that specific segmentation, don’t segment. It might seem like you are breaking the rules, but a segmented message isn’t better per definition. Value comes first. An alternative might be to not go so specific inside the email, but instead write a message that is appealing to multiple groups.
A good tip is to segment your results. Send out the same email, but look at which groups respond best and to which themes and parts of your messaging. You can break free fromthe tyranny of email marketing averages and learn what enthuses each segment.
The Econsultancy email census reported that respectively 24%, 22% and 20% of marketers say they put the following in their top 3 focus points for the year as well:
  • Measurement and analytics,
  • List / data quality
  • and delivering relevant communications.
Think of these as the lifeline of your email program: they are needed to succeed.

4. Insights from measurement and analytics

24% say you can’t analyze or improve on what you don’t measure. Analytics goes beyond the click in the email of course. Inside your email marketing software there is a lot of statistics at your fingertips and as soon as the emails are out the door, real-time stats start updating, telling you how many and which people opened, clicked, bounced and so on.
My tip is to not only start monitoring the statistics but start reporting regularly. Make a report each time you send an email, or at a regular time interval if you send very often. Yes, go beyond that dashboard and with each email you send, write down:
  1. what worked,
  2. what didn’t work or could be changed,
  3. what questions remain unanswered.
I used to work at an agency before becoming a consultant and we used to do this all the time. With each email there would be a short report. So even if you have one of the best email agencies working for you (yes there are specialized email marketing agencies), be sure to let them add value there. There is a danger to this reporting though: Soon you will be wanting to answer those questions and actually start paying attention to the metrics that matter!
What else it does is set inherent reminders of things that need to be fixed. Because those issues will come back again and again and again in the reporting. Added extra is that it is definitely inspiring to find A/B email split testing ideas and will allow you to share your results with interpretation.

5. List / Data Quality

22% say growing your email list into a bigger, more active audience is a sound tactic to improve your email marketing outcomes. It is almost the same effort to use professional email I wrote about picking the right touchpoints for email list growth before and there is even a template for that. The source is a big predictor for the quality of the list.
Will list growth be recognized as a win? Not if your goals are only set in percentages. Open, click and conversion percentages are great to compare individual emails and look at activity trends. But at the end of the year, we want to see the results in absolutes. You see, a 15% growth of your file at the same quality will boost your results by 15%! Data quality is sometimes an issue though, are the people on your list really still interested in the preferences they gave 2 years back? At least add an easy win in the footer of your emails, asking them to update their profile.

6. Delivering relevant communication

Delivering relevant messages seems like the holy grail of email marketing. In my personal opinion relevance has been watered down a bit too much as an email marketing term. It has lost much of its meaning because people without experience in the field tend to overuse the term. The truth is, it is impossible to be relevant all the time to everybody. So here is a thought: how do we change that broad term into something more manageable? Try and make emails have value to a part of the recipients by knowing their needs and build it up from there. Either building the value to be greater or addressing more parts of your list. That will end up pushing their content buttons.
We all go into the next year looking to be more and more focused on getting real business value through all of our marketing channels. But as you have seen, it isn’t more than Strategy, Automation and Segmentation that will determine success. Which of these items is on your radar for the next year? Share with us in the comments below!
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Tags : email marketing, email marketing malaysia

Friday, 2 January 2015

10 Tips To Setting The Stage For Big Enterprise SEO

1. Have a bit of SEO Faith

It is not uncommon to see businesses spend a large amount of money enterprise SEO initiatives. However, most end up with results that tend to indicate SEO doesn’t have the proper ROI and isn’t as influential to their business as they originally assumed.
Companies should be looking to do customer acquisition for their enterprise, or driving customers to their website instead of doing a feasibility test. SEO is a long term pursuit, and requires proper coordination.

2. It is NOT Cheap

Enterprise SEO isn’t cheap! It can cost up to 6 or 7 figures annually. Yes in the hundreds, if not millions of dollars. The overall ROI, or more properly lifetime value (LTV) of a customer will make up for SEO costs. This is something you’ll have to discuss thoroughly with the executives, and get them to buy-in to everything, including the cost.
The Best SEO Rank Tracker Software I've Ever Used

3. In-House SEO or External Consultants

I am an external consultants, and I’d love to sell you on the facts of why you should hire AnnexCore, but that’s not my goal in this article. I want you to figure out if it is better to hire internally or an external team. In-house has it’s advantages in speed, potentially cost, and is close to the pulse of the company. The disadvantage are that you may have to train them, they will lack experience if you’re hiring right out of college, and may not not of the latest tools available out there.
My honest opinion would be to build an in-house team, but before you start doing that, you should get help from an lean external agency. They will help you establish the framework to move forward, and train your team as they go forward. Even when you have an in-house team, the synergy that an in-house and external team combined can be immeasurable.

4. Enterprise SEO Needs Time, Not A Magic Wand

Don’t think Enterprise SEO will be magic wand that will turn things around for your company immediately by driving the hoards of traffic from Google. It takes at the lowest six months before you can see results. Think of it is large cargo ship (like the Maersk Triple E) and will take some time to cross the ocean. Additionally, enterprise SEO has a larger agenda to fulfill ranging from legalities and technicalities of the projects at hand, things can appear to be virtually at a standstill for some time.

5. Get Everyone Involved

If you rank higher on a search engine, you are definitely going to get more exposure. Search engines get data from every nook and corner on the internet. Your Public Relations (PR) team may have had a sponsorship page which drew in hundreds of links, or a speech by your CEO that got retweeted a thousand times, everything factors into your SEO.
If you understand things in the broader perspective, you will be able to adopt Enterprise SEO program more completely, which better results. It isn’t about constantly adding more keywords to rank for, it’s about driving traffic by offering stuff the public wants.

6. Marketing and SEO go Together

Place Enterprise into marketing, IT or even editorial. Of course, you have to base it around the structure of your business and the industry you’re in. In large electronics manufacturing companies, having engineers on the team helps provide valuable technical insight and opportunities.

7. Make the Right Decisions

There are plenty of SEO companies out there, and many of them are great SEO companies, but some of them aren’t the best suited for enterprise SEO. Like in programming, there can be 10x SEO individuals who are the equivalent of a team at times. If your SEO person or team doesn’t have the ability to handle responsibilities for a large business, if they cannot articulate a vision or cannot garner respect from other executives, they aren’t worth it.

8. Gather up Those Technical Resources

Engineering resources are a bit difficult to locate, and quite often expensive. If your Enterprise SEO does not have its own technical resources, it is no reason to worry. Sometimes you have to scratch your head, take inventory of what you do have, and what you need to build up over time. Like we said before, Enterprise SEO has to be about the long haul. You can build this content by working with your vendors, customers and the multitudes of departments you have access too.

9. Process. Process. Process.

When you manufacture anything, or you run an editorial team. It is quite often about arepeatable process. Enterprise SEO plays the same game.
It requires you to manage the entire web activity ranging from search engine results, content on-site, social media mentions, and continuous updates. This is why establishing a comprehensive process so nothing gets left out is important, and at the same time figure out which SEO efforts aren’t worth it.

10. Pay Attention to Mentions

All search engines including Google, gather web signals from a variety of data. Social media happens to be the biggest area to monitor. You never know when a mention onTwitter could result in a backlink for you. It also lets you snip bad PR in the butt quickly. Also keeping tabs on who is backlinking to you is important as well, it let’s you see who could potentially be a new market for your company.
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Tags: seo, seo malaysia, seo service malaysia, seo company