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Email Marketing Tips, Tricks and Trends [Recap]

Recently, AMA (American Marketing Association) held a webinar titled “Email Marketing Tips, Tricks and Trends from Brands Winning in the Inbox”. This webinar, hosted by Jamie Bradley of Emma, covered a variety of dos and don’ts when it comes to a successful email marketing strategy. Here are some quick tips and stats from the webinar to help increase the engagement with your email marketing. If you haven’t heard, email is kind of a big deal. First, you may be wondering, why would I focus my attention on email? Wasn’t email pronounced as a dead marketing channel 10 years ago? Wrong! Email is actually the number one activity on the internet. But I heard social media is the new email! While social media is definitely an important overall piece to any company’s marketing efforts, email is where you really want to promote to your customers. 70% of users said that email is their preferred method of interacting with a business online. Plus, when it comes to driving purchases, email marketing provides a 3 times higher conversion rate than social media   …

image of phone with apps showing

How Social Listening Can Increase Customer Engagement

The water cooler is lonely. In today’s world, the “water cooler” conversations have moved into the digital realm of forum posts, blogs and social media. Tapping into and listening to these conversations should be a key piece of your store’s marketing strategy. I joined in on an American Marketing Association webcast today titled “How Innovation in Social Listening Ignites Marketing Success, which was sponsored by Netbase.”. In this post, I’ll highlight some takeaways from this webcast which can help increase your customer engagement and overall satisfaction. When it comes to tracking digital conversations, there are two approaches today. Social monitoring, is the traditional method of reacting and responding to topics made by users online. Social listening, a newer technology, allows for exploration and discovery of insights to gain a better understanding of who your audience is. The insights gained about your audience can be leveraged for customer acquisition, customer retention and increasing your overall brand value. Specifically, social listening can help you understand what your current customers are talking about online. Now, you might be wondering, ‘why would I care what…

Photo of opened meal kit on kitchen counter.

Competing with Meal Kit Delivery

The meal kit market has grown significantly since being introduced broadly to the U.S. in 2012, and it’s changing the way some consumers shop for food. On a recent NGA Webinar titled “A Contest of Convenience: How to compete with the meal kit format”, Erik Thoresen from Technomic discussed how this fast growing market represents both an opportunity and a threat to retailers. In the blog post, I’ll break down some of the takeaways from his presentation. What are meal kits? First, what exactly are meal kits? Chances are, you’ve already heard of these ‘meals in a box’ delivered to your doorstep. Meal kits are ingredients and meal components which companies assemble and transport to consumers for home preparation. The biggest companies today offering meal kit delivery include Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, Gobble, Home Chef, Marley Spoon and Plated. The meal kit market has seen significant growth. The meal kit trend started in the U.S. around 2012 and globally is estimated to have a $3.3 billion dollar impact on the retail channel in 2020 (the amount that customers will spend…

Walmart to go truck

Why Now is the Time to Act on Online Shopping

Online shopping continues to be one of the hottest topics in the grocery industry today. Many retailers are hesitant to make an investment in an online shopping strategy today, but I will caution you on that approach. Recent moves by Walmart have made it very apparent that online shopping in the grocery industry isn’t a matter of IF, but WHEN. Walmart made headlines last month when it announced it was closing 269 stores globally. But, that move was made in part to help strengthen “the e-commerce business and expanding Pickup services for customers.” And now, Walmart is moving full speed ahead, announcing that they will be investing nearly 1 billion dollars to expand their online shopping capabilities — including expanding their grocery items available online.   When Walmart rolls out their online grocery service, they’re likely to feature a no-fee pickup and low-fee delivery experience. But the independent retailer can compete very well in the online shopping space with mega retailers like Walmart. Customers shopping online at their local independent retailers will appreciate knowing their personal shoppers. Online shoppers are…

Mail slot that says No Junk Mail

Say No to Spam — Tips for Landing In Your Customer’s Inbox

Spam. It’s a dirty word if you’re a reputable email marketer. But sometimes, due to the unpredictable nature of email domain filters, even your well-intentioned email can land in the the junk folder. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to help avoid this from happening to your campaigns. Last week, the American Marketing Association hosted a one hour webinar titled “10 Ways to End Crimes Against Spam-anity”. During this webinar, we looked at smart ways to not only improve your emails, but stay out of spam. Here are some key takeaways to consider for your campaigns. Who are you? Check the fingerprints on your campaign. When sending email, ensure that it is from a real email address. Even better, use a specific contact or business name when sending and keep it consistent. The first impression is important. Your email subject line should relate to your call to action. Some studies say that up to 35% of recipients open based on subject line alone. Try to keep it to 35 characters or less and be honest, and don’t over-sell…

Mouse clicking on a grocery basket hovering over a keyboard.

Trends in Online Grocery Shopping

Technology is changing the way people shop for everything, including groceries Studies show that the demand for online grocery shopping is currently underserved Competition is quickly growing for online grocery One of the hottest topics today in grocery is online shopping, and for good reason. Retailers are increasingly hearing from those customers that are looking for the convenience that online shopping can bring. In addition, many national and regional chains are evaluating or entering the online shopping sector today. So what’s the real opportunity for retailers looking to get into online shopping? Let’s take a look at a recent study from BI Intelligence, which highlights the biggest e-commerce trends happening today in retail. The following slides are from The Future of Retail: 2015 Report by Business Intelligence. Looking specifically and the grocery industry, here are the trends surrounding online shopping:               As you can see from these slides, the opportunity for online grocery is vast. The demand is there from customers, but most supermarkets don’t currently offer this service. If you want to tap…

Classroom chair

Lessons Learned from KCDMA Bootcamp

Just over two weeks ago was the annual Direct Marketing Bootcamp, hosted by the Kansas City Direct Marketing Association. This bootcamp was an interactive, all-day workshop where we reviewed how to craft compelling offers, create campaigns that are effective and measurable, and how and what to measure to determine program success. Here are four key takeaways from the event that you should be thinking about when marketing your store: Make sure you follow these 3 factors for success with a direct mail campaign: – List (40%) – Are you targeting the right people? – Offer (40%) – Is your offering compelling enough for your customers to act on? – Creative (20%) –  Make sure the look and feel of your direct mail is clean and enticing. Test EVERYTHING! The overall theme to every successful marketing campaign is to test early, and test often. Make sure you send the best offer out to your customers by sending the promotion first to a test group. And don’t stop testing! Just because an offer or promotion worked well before, doesn’t always mean it…

pictures of faces

Using Contests to Connect with Your Customers

Contests are a great way to connect with your customers online and can be a win-win (pun intended!) for your store and your customers. In this blog post, I’ll walk through how to create a contest that delivers delight to your customers and provides real business value to your store. Wondering why you should run contest or promotion in the first place? Be sure to check out Melanie’s blog post on the why and how of social media promotions. First Things First – Set Your Goal When you first set out to create a contest, think about the goal you have in mind. Are you wanting to create more engagement on your page? Are you looking to collect customer email addresses for your email program? Defining these goals up front will help determine the right type of contest to run. Choose the Right Type of Prize After determining your goal of the contest, ensure you have selected a prize that will be desired by your audience. After all, if you’re giving away something that no one really wants, you’re likely…

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How to Be Successful Selling on Facebook

The very last day of 2014, I published a blog post that explained why you must earn the right to promote on social media (read it here). Even in the fast-paced world of social media, I believe that principle still stands today: you must add value to your social networks and stay away from being overly-promotional. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t have success selling on Facebook and other social media sites! In this post, we’ll look at a recent retailer case study and explain how you can be successful with selling on Facebook. KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL AD When you’re really wanting to get the word out about an upcoming sale or promotion, the best tactic on social sites, especially Facebook, is to set it up as a paid advertisement. While organic reach isn’t dead, it doesn’t typically work well for promotional posts, you’ll find much greater reach when you put some dollars behind your social promotion. With that said, make sure your ad get the point across quickly and efficiently so you’re maximizing your advertising dollars spent. Here…

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…