This week we’re continuing with our analysis of digital marketing – what it encompasses, how it all works together and why you should be using it in your total (offline) marketing strategy. In Part 1 we talked about what digital marketing is and includes. As a recap, I define digital marketing as the marketing that occurs online or via mobile device to result in an offline or online action by the potential customer. This week, I’m going to break down the parts that digital marketing so you can understand 1) how important that individual piece is, and 2) how it works with the other parts to complete the digital footprint of your business. The segments we will discuss are search, content, social, email and mobile marketing. [Read more…] about The Benefits of Digital Marketing Part 2
In the age of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and YouTube one would think that email is so old school and needs to go the way of the dinosaur! I mean who doesn’t chuckle when they see an @aol.com email address? But email is far from dead. As a matter of fact, according to ExactTarget’s 2012 Channel Preference Survey, email is “the number one direct channel in terms of daily use and consumer reference for both personal and marketing communications”. [Read more…] about Email is Not Dead
In my last post, I discussed a few no-no’s in email marketing that I still see showing up in my inbox on a consistent basis. I’d like to cover just a few more.
If most people are like me, they are getting tons of email already – some spam, some not spam. If we sign up for your sale previews, newsletter or whatever, please don’t abuse me by sending me email every other day. Honestly, I think once a week is as frequent as you can get before getting REALLY annoying. Even if I wanted your email, I’d unsubscribe if it overloaded my inbox.
Give full disclosure at the email opt-in. No “uncheck-if-you-DONT-want-spam-from-our-3rd-party-partners”or other fine print. Assume that I don’t want it and give me the option to check it if I do. Outline email frequency so I’m not overwhelmed if your email campaign is nicknamed “Shock and Awe” at the office.
If you have more than one email campaign, don’t add me to ones I didn’t subscribe to. A nice feature that I have seen is giving those that subscribe the ability to modify their subscription. That way, if they are signed up for three email campaigns and want to unsubscribe from two, they can do so without unsubscribing from all and then having to sign up again for the one.
Now, most people won’t catch this, but after working for an email marketing company, I have a heightened sensitivity to the issue. According to the CAN-SPAM Act, there are some items your email campaign is required to have. A few of the important ones are:
- Don’t use misleading header information. That means your business or identity needs to be identifiable in the “To”, “From” and “Reply-To”. Social media is about transparency anyway – if you’re hiding, there’s a big chance you’re a spammer.
- Use a descriptive Subject line to describe your email. Don’t lie to get people to open your email.
- Your address needs to be on there somewhere and I’m not talking about an email or website.
- Give me the opportunity to opt-out and do it in a clear way. Nothing is more annoying than opt-out instructions listed waaaaay down on an email in font size 2. You do more harm to your brand trying to keep a subscriber with hidden or complicated opt-outs than if you just let them opt-out. I’m on Chris Brogan’s newsletter list and he’ll casually say even in the email that if the newsletter is just not your thing, its o.k. to unsubscribe. I doubt too many people take him up on the offer. Now you don’t have to encourage people to unsubscribe, but if you’re open and free about it, you’ll look better than if you’re reluctant about it.
These are just a few of the blatant email marketing mistakes I still see in my inbox or junk mail. If you want to do it right, try to avoid these and you’ll stand out from the pack.
I know. There are a million blogs, ebooks and articles about the do’s and don’ts of email marketing. However, I still receive enough screwed up email newsletters from companies to know that the message is not getting through (or is being completely disregarded). I’m going to tackle a few of the most common mistakes that I still receive via email.
I still get the amazingly long email newsletter. You know the kind. The one with article after article listed one below the other so you’re scrolling…and scrolling…and scrolling just to read the thing. News flash. While you may think your newsletter is filled with valuable information, the value decreases in direct proportion with the length. Why? Because the length decreases the opportunities for the newsletter to actually be read completely. If you absolutely have to have a mile-long newsletter, put a hyperlinked table of contents at the top where people can get to what they want easily without having to go through the entire mess.
Text versus HTML
There is an ongoing battle online between those that think HTML email is how satan communicates and those that think it is a magic bullet. I can understand the text argument. Really. No hassles with coding, compatibility or the “fluff” to distract from the message. While that might work for a tech audience, it probably won’t fly for everyone else. I don’t know about you, but text newsletters are boring. Nothing stands out. I’m not inspired to read, click or do anything else but ignore it until I finally delete it from my inbox.
Here it boils down to your audience and what you are trying to accomplish. If you’re looking for click-throughs or some sort of engagement with your audience, you ought to go with HTML. However, this is not something you do yourself unless you are experienced in this area. I suggest going with a company that has templates or can create a customized one for you. Their designers are usually on top of all the design specs needed to have it render properly.
While were discussing HTML email, let me drop a quick note about “breaking” your template. Email templates are usually built with fixed widths so that there is no vertical scrolling for smaller monitors. Countless times I’ve seen the sender drop photos or graphics into their email that “breaks” the template causing it to not line up properly. This looks sloppy and unprofessional. Re-size your graphics so that it fits neatly into the template without stretching the borders.
I could go on, but I’m going to leave the rest for another post. In part 2, we’ll explore some other common mistakes in email marketing like opt-ins and links.