Some might say we live in a world of oversharing. You can find just about anything on your social feed - from what your friend ate for lunch to a video of a squirrel getting drunk on fermented pumpkin. We share unique content (like this blog post) and we share frequently because we're positively reinforced with "favorites", "likes" or an increase of new followers. It becomes a cycle, a lifestyle.
But does this trend carry over to email marketing? Just what is social sharing in email and how effective is it?
If you've researched social sharing in the past, you may have seen mixed results across studies. One recent study showed that including links to share on social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter generated a 115% higher CTR (click-through-rate) than emails without an option to share.
But another study, by MarketingSherpa, suggests that social sharing buttons are not as effective.
So should we or shouldn't we add social buttons? The answer is that it depends on both your audience and the content that's being shared.
Always have your audience and your end goal in mind. Producing highly relevant, quality content will always be the best motivator for customers to share.
On the flip side, social sharing buttons can eat away at traffic or conversions if you aren't careful. If the goal of the email is to increase blog traffic, you may want to consider having social sharing buttons that directly promote the highlighted blog post.
Or, if you're aiming to drive sign-ups through social, provide a direct link to the landing page for users to share.
Having users refer your product to a friend is much more organic, with the added value of social proof. In return, it guarantees that you're able to attract those with similar interests to your most engaged customers.
Additionally, if you're simply looking to drive exposure on social, you can consider adding "Follow Us" buttons instead. I use these in my own email campaigns and have seen 20% of click-throughs attributed to social media follows.
So always have a specific ask and work to integrate all parts of the email towards that one goal.
There are a few ways to add social sharing buttons into your email.
Most template editors allow you to drag and drop in pre-made social sharing buttons. For a more customised approach, you can code your own button. Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter have documentation with pre-made code you can use.
Twitter's Tweet Button allows you to craft a personalised message for your contact list to share. The Facebook button may be a little bit trickier for the non-developer to pick up, but is also highly customisable.
Social sharing buttons have the potential to be highly impactful,providing a high ROI for the time it takes to create and integrate them into your email templates.
Copyright © 2015 Amir Jirbandeyis marketing lead UK at Mailjet.
When it comes to building a brand and converting prospects into customers, email marketing is still one of the most powerful and cost-effective tools. But in an era of one-click unsubscribe and a customer base highly attuned to the ways of marketers, how can small businesses make the right connections?
The days of buying a prospect database are long gone – that approach is a fast track to a bad reputation and an avalanche of unsubscribes.
Instead, firms need to actively capture the email addresses of both customers and prospects; pretty much everyone you come across.
It is also worth considering creating a single database that combines both sales and marketing information. This avoids duplication and errors and it also makes it much easier to track interactions. This way, your sales staff get insight into all the past prospect communications, including which emails prompted click throughs and which did not.
Email marketing is not a one-off event; it is an opportunity to build a relationship. And that means not bombarding individuals with blatant product sales – that will do nothing to inspire confidence or demonstrate value.
Instead, organisations need to create content that is interesting, insightful and indicates an understanding of the market.
It’s well worth running an email marketing campaign once a month. But with each mailing, you’ll have manage all the inevitable email bounces and unsubscribes manually and that can be an administrative nightmare.
You can save a lot of time and stress by using one of the many low cost email marketing tools on the market. Products such as MailChimp can automate much of this process; and if it is integrated with your CRM system, so much the better as that means your database will also be updated automatically.
Email marketing tools provide valuable information about the success of each email campaign – most notably click through rates (CTR).
By combining your email marketing tool with your CRM you can add relevance to that data – correlating the number of leads generated and sales closed provides a direct financial ROI figure that can help you improve your on-going email marketing activity.
Once you have mastered the process of sending regular, relevant and interesting emails, you can further fine-tune your email strategy. One way to boost your results is to split the email campaign between customers and prospects and refining the message accordingly.
If the company has enough insight in the customer database to distinguish between hot and cold prospects, it is also worth considering varying the frequency of the emails; creating a stronger, more frequent relationship with those on the point of purchase, for example.
Email marketing is all about building a long-term relationship and then closing the deal. The key to success is to get the right processes in place from day one and then use the data to improve your return on investment.
Copyright © 2015 Helen Armour, marketing manager at Really Simple Systems.
Image by: The Logo Company
A few weeks ago, a friend of mine working in a large digital publishing company had a debate with a client about whether or not to use a black background in a forthcoming email campaign.
She asked me if I had any research to back her up. Unfortunately I didn't have anything concrete, but putting myself on the receiving end of that email, I knew I would hate getting an out-dated looking email from the 1990s.
This made me dig a little bit deeper into the psychology behind colour and how people react to colour in email.
There are seven main colours and they evoke very different feelings:
But how does colour affect email responses? The best way to find out is to test. We tested these two approaches:
In a driving context, green means “go” and red means “stop”. So which of these do you think had the higher conversion?
The red button outperformed green by 21%. It’s probably not what you had in mind, right?
Which colours to use for calls to action is an age-old discussion. The lesson we must learn here is that even if we do our research, we should always be testing our campaigns.
Every customer is different and their response to each colour can vary depending on their mood, location, device used and many more. So remember: always A/B test.
Copyright © 2015 Amir Jirbandey is marketing lead UK at Mailjet.
Many small firms pour all their marketing time and resources into maintaining social media accounts in order to interact with customers and strengthen their online reach.
But, in order to fully ensure customer satisfaction, it’s important not to neglect social media’s predecessor, email.
Email is still a vital tool for businesses that want to communicate with their customers. As popular as social media has become, the use of email isn’t faltering, and the number of email accounts is expected to increase from over 3.9 billion in 2013 to over 4.9 billion by the end of 2017.
While it may appear that consumers head straight to social media when they’re dissatisfied with a product or service, 42% of people use email as their most common channel for making a complaint.
However, as this infographic shows, businesses are not always equipped to deal with the number of emails that enter their inboxes. Although 41% of consumers expect an email response within six hours, only 36% of retailers respond this quickly. And 59% of businesses take more than eight hours to reply; while one in four take 24 hours or more.
Copyright © 2015 numero is a UK customer service software provider.
There are many reasons that businesses make the jump to a new email service provider; a growing contact list, a new budget or the need for new features. But whatever the reason, a switch can also be an excellent opportunity to re-evaluate your current sending processes and improve your deliverability.
If you’re thinking about switching email service providers, here is a useful checklist to make the transition as smooth as possible so you can spend less time stressing about the migration and more time on email marketing.
Copyright © 2015 Amir Jirbandey, marketing lead UK at Mailjet.
Unfortunately, when it comes to email marketing there are many bad habits and we’ve all seen them — both as marketers and consumers. Here are some of those bad habits that need to be addressed and — importantly — how to do it.
As consumers we have all received badly targeted email, often for products we would never use. When they fill our inbox we view these organisations as a nuisance; even if we have previously used them, it could even deter us from future dealings.
Remedy: Use the information you hold on your existing clients to better target them and future new prospects.
When selecting or sourcing a distribution list for your email marketing, it is important to appreciate that sheer volume of data is not the key to a successful campaign. Sending to large volumes of email addresses not only suggests that your targeting is weak, but it can have a detrimental effect on the number of Inboxes you reach overall.
Remedy: Send your emails to a smaller, higher quality list to yield better results.
Buying inaccurate (often cheaper) data is a real issue in the industry and the reason some inexpert people say “never buy data lists”.
Remedy: Use a reputable supplier whose data is relevant, up to date and accurate — they can also help you select and target the best prospects.
People are often disappointed in the results of their first email campaign, but you shouldn’t pass judgment too quickly — a single email can be only so effective.
Remedy: Your email campaign should be part of an ongoing series of communications, by both email and other media, to generate and nurture leads.
Most marketing professionals will use a platform suitable for email communications. However, we do still come across some organisations that try to use systems such as Outlook to send mass email. This causes issues with limited send capacity and spam filters blacklisting your company, as well as creative limitations. On top of that, without being able to monitor open, click and other response statistics, you never know exactly how your email and list is performing.
Remedy: Use a dedicated email marketing platform.
This may seem an obvious point, but putting significant effort into both the design and content of you email will pay dividends. A poorly designed email and content that doesn’t appeal to your target audience will damage your reputation.
Remedy: Generally speaking, if you are promoting a product, less is more in terms of copy; make it easy for the recipient to glance over then read more detail if the content is of interest.
When you send your emails, the timing can be as vital as the design — but the best time to send will vary, depending on your target audience. Get it wrong though and the response will be disappointing.
Remedy: The best way to ensure you send your email at the most appropriate time is to test (and test again) — then opt for the one or two times that you have found give the best open and click results.
If you don’t even reach the Inbox of your client or prospect, then your email campaign will not deliver results.
Remedy: Make sure you are aware of spam filters and what they react to, ensuring your content is not blocked from reaching the intended recipient.
Virtually everyone is aware that email is not a high cost mode of communication, so it does not automatically make a client think “this is a reputable company” when they receive an email — especially if you are displaying any of these other bad habits too. This is another reason that email should be just one element of your marketing and communications arsenal.
Remedy: Combine email with direct mail, social media, web presence, print/TV/radio and any other advertising medium that is appropriate for your business and budget.
In the end, every business and product is different; hence you may find that email promotion is not right for a particular product in your range or a particular branch of your business.
Remedy: Always monitor and respond to results and tailor your media as well as your messages.
Tim Holt is the managing director of Data HQ.