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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…

Survey's Matter - How to create a quality survey

Surveys Matter: How To Create A Quality Survey

Last week, I wrote about the importance of surveys when it comes to connecting with your customer base and creating a content marketing strategy. I also shared some interesting results from a survey I conducted. Now that we know why surveys matter, it’s time to explore what elements make a survey effective and useful. I sent my survey out via email. I chose this method because I know it will be seen by a segment of my customers who are engaged with my brand and more willing to share their feedback – after all, they had to take a step to opt-in to receive my emails in the first place. Conducting an email survey also typically gives you some context behind who is answering your survey questions. My email database has the participants’ names, email addresses (in case I want to follow up with more questions) and birthdays, so I have some demographic information. This helps me interpret and build upon the results. Surveys can also be posted on social media. You can simply ask questions in a post or…

Survey's matter - what your customers are telling us online

Surveys Matter: What Your Customers Are Telling Us

What kind of content do your customers like to see in emails? Do they want more recipes or coupons? Do they follow you on social media? How often do they want to receive messages from you? These are all questions that should guide your content marketing strategy. Finding the answers to these questions is easy! Simply create a survey. That’s what I recently did for the Best Choice email subscribers. I do this annually in December to help guide my marketing strategy for the coming year. It’s easy, takes little time and the feedback is valuable. Plus, surveys provide you with unbiased information that also engages your customer base. This makes them feel like their opinions matter and you care about their needs. So what did I find out from the Best Choice customers (who are also our member retailers’ customers!)? Check out the infographic below for a summary of some of the results.

Checking email on a mobile device

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   …

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…

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…

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…