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Five Ways to Reduce Spam Complaints

Spam, a questionable canned meat, and a questionable email. I recently learned all about the latter at a KCDMA event featuring Chad White, research director at Litmus, a local web and email firm. White’s research has led to the conclusion that consumer’s definition of spam email is changing. Spam used to mean only emails with malicious intent, such as phishing. Now, people consider spam to include irrelevant or un-actionable content. People are marking emails as spam because they are sent too frequently, they aren’t relevant, and because they don’t work in mobile formats. Additionally, some people consider marking an email as spam similar to leaving a bad review on Yelp. So how do you avoid being considered spam? Ensure permission practices are appropriate for each acquisition source. Remember the context: who are they and how did they sign up? If they signed up at an event, you may want to remind them in your welcome email to them. At sign-up, set the right expectations around what they’ll be receiving and how often they’re going to get it. The higher quality…

laptop, typing, desk

Recap: Data That Drives Email Marketing Relevance (KC IABC BCS Breakout Session)

During the 2017 Kansas City – IABC Business Communicators Summit, I was able to attend a breakout session featuring Jessica Best, Director of Data Driven Marketing at Barkley Integrated Marketing and Advertising Agency. She spoke to our group about the importance of email marketing and how to use data to its fullest potential to benefit an organization. Before we dive into what Jessica had to say, let’s get down to brass tacks. You NEED an email program if you’re going to reach any significant portion of your customer base. The ROI on email marketing still tops any other marketing channel’s returns and it is a relatively inexpensive platform to utilize. Aside from the low monetary investment that such a campaign requires, she made the point that your lists are known audiences and putting the data you collect on them to work can be accomplished in 6 steps: Define your Goals As with any marketing endeavor, it is important to define your goals and ask questions about what you would like to achieve. This should be the first step of most…

customer-journey graphic from discovery to educaiton to trust to conversion to advocacy

Practical Steps to Building Your Customer Journeys

Is your customer journey a road to nowhere? That question started off a recent presentation by emfluence teammates Sara Theurer and Alex Boyer. Their discussion revolved around how marketers can help build engaging and memorable customer journeys. To answer the question, though, one had to know what a customer journey is. It is the journey customers take when interacting with a business. Boyer noted it happens in 5 steps: Discovery, Education, Trust, Conversion & Advocacy, yet these days, those steps aren’t navigated from start to finish in that order. There are multiple entry points to the journey because customers are experiencing so many different forms of messaging. Any of the behaviors we want customers to perform aren’t just instinct, customers need to be guided through the journey and we do this through customer touch points, whether indirect like blog posts or direct via emails. Conduct a Customer Journey Audit To help sculpt the customer journey, and the Discovery & Education of your brand, Boyer shared some best practices to put in place. The first is an audit of what you…

So, how do I grow my email list if I shouldn’t purchase one?

At the 2016 emfluence email conference, there was a running joke throughout many of the presentations around the idea that it’s never a good idea to purchase email lists. http://i1103.photobucket.com/albums/g476/GreenBear135/tumblr_m9q9r9gVSk1r4wj0vo4_1280.gif We’ve mentioned it once or twice here on the AWG Marketing blog, but we’ve never suggested alternative methods for growing your email list. To remedy that, here are a few ways you can grow your list organically: Lightbox on your website Emfluence claimed at the conference they see a 400% increase in list growth through lightboxes placed on website homepages. What’s a lightbox? A simple pop-up that encourages the user to subscribe to your email list. Contact Us Page Include a link to subscribe on your website. Your “contact us” page is good spot for that. If people can send you a message on the contact us page, ask for their email and permission to send them marketing messages. Social Media Encourage your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram followers to sign up to receive your emails. If they like you on social, they are interested in hearing about what you have…

Situations when it’s okay to buy an email list

My colleague Sharlyn wrote a post about a year ago titled, “Why you shouldn’t buy an email list,” where she talks about the problems with purchased email lists. You should always look at these things from both sides, so I’ve compiled a lists of situations when it’s okay to buy an email list: Never One of the greatest advantages to email is that users opt-in because they want to hear from you. It’s not like printing a mailer and having it sent to an entire zip code, where the houses you reach, the better. There’s a solid chance that a good chunk of that purchased list includes email addresses that aren’t valid. (Even if they tell you that they’re verified.) In fact, our main email provider prohibits sending emails to purchased lists. Why? Email users can mark your messages as SPAM, which is not a canned meat product. Having your emails marked as spam can lead to the registrar blocking your domain name, which means your emails won’t be sent anymore. You do not want that. So when you’re tempted…

Example of pop up box to get customers to sign up for eClub.

Using a Modal Window or “Lightbox” to Grow Email List

When we built a new website for Warehouse Market’s 15 stores in the Tulsa area, they also asked for an email marketing program. In order to allow customers to sign up for the email distribution list, we included a promotional graphic and a signup form on the website. To make it more apparent and easy to sign up, we created a “lightbox” popup form. After the customer is on the website for a few seconds, they will see the form show up, giving them an opportunity to sign up before going any further. If they choose not to, they can close the popup and continue viewing the website. The popup won’t show up again for another 24 hours. However, the customers seem to be ok with the popup. In fact, many must be using it. There were 600 customers who signed up for the email program within the first 3 weeks the website was up, and they have continued to collect approximately another 100 signups each week.

Photo of man reading emails on his laptop

Regaining A Captive Audience: Email Re-Permission Campaigns

Have you ever spoken in front of a large crowd and felt like nobody was listening to you? That’s how it feels when you are sending marketing emails to your customers and receiving a low open rate. But how do you fix it? You’ve spent the time and effort collecting these email addresses from your customers and yet nobody is “listening.” The solution: an email re-permission campaign. What is an email re-permission campaign? In an email re-permission campaign, you send an email to all of your subscribers asking them if they would like to continue to receive emails from you. You can conduct either a soft or a hard re-permission campaign. A soft re-permission campaign involves sending an email to your current subscriber list, asking if they would like to be removed from the subscriber list. The customer has to take action in order to actively be removed from the subscription list. A hard re-permission campaign involves sending an email to your current subscriber list, asking if they would like to stay on the subscriber list. The customer has to…

Graphic from Emfluence marketing platform user conference May 7, 2015 Kansas City MO.

Lessons Learned from Spin! Pizza, YRC Freight, and Boulevard Brewing Co.

I walked into the Emfluence User Conference (#emflConf) for the first time with the hope of learning how AWG can better use the Emfluence digital marketing software to create high-engagement social media content and email marketing campaigns. By the end of the day my expectations were surpassed. Marketing specialists from Spin! Pizza, Boulevard, YRC Freight, and Emfluence shared their experiences and digital marketing expertise. Here are some important “lessons learned” from this year’s presenters: SPIN! PIZZA Root your brand or store in your community and what your customers care about. Spin! Pizza asked their customers who their favorite non-profit was through an email campaign, then donated t-shirt sales to the charity voted most by customers. Get creative with your email marketing to bring in customers on low-traffic days. When bad weather hits the area and people don’t want to deal with the elements, Spin! Pizza sends out a Crummy Weather Special- 20% off coupon via email to their Spin Club members. Promote special events through a multiple email campaign. Spin! hosts an annual fundraising event called “Pups on the Patio”…

Person typing on laptop, close-up of hands.

Trends in Email Marketing [Recap]

Last week, emfluence, a digital marketing agency here in Kansas City held its annual user conference. The emfluence Conference (or #emflConf on Twitter) hosted some great case studies and learnings on the latest trends in social media and email marketing. One of the keynote speakers, emfluence’s own Jessica Best, discussed ‘Trends in Email Marketing’ in 2015. Here’s a quick rundown of what we learned, and some takeaways on what you should be thinking about for your store’s email program this year. Looking back on 2014, here are a few trends that emerged in email marketing: Email volume in one day still FAR outweighs social media. Still think email is dead? Think again! There are many more marketing emails sent in one day than social media posts. Email ROI still tops all other marketing channels. Some studies show that companies have attributed 23% of their sales to email marketing. Mobile readership is increasing dramatically. Designing a mobile friendly email is really a must. In most cases, at least 50% of emails are being read on a mobile device. Remarketing to your…

Why you shouldn’t buy an email list

I didn’t know what to expect when I went to my first Email Community Meet Up last Monday. Everyone in the room had some form of email marketing experience, and yes, some opinions were tossed around. Surprisingly, the meeting started off with a basic topic, and the whole group shared the same opinion. Buying an Email List Is A Bad Idea. I was surprised at how many hands flew up when asked, “How many of us are asked if we can buy an email list”? I was even more surprised to see the person next to me mouth the words EVERY DAY while raising her hand because… I work with her! So on my drive home I try to put myself in one of our partner’s shoes. Maybe we get this question so much because it’s fairly common to buy an address list for Direct Mail? Sure, growing an email list isn’t easy, but that is why it is considered the best way to communicate with your customers. You can gauge your customer’s trust in your store by how many…